An intermediate collection centre (ICC) for obsolete pesticides is ready for use at Vakhsh Burial Site in Khatlon Oblast, Southern Tajikistan. The storage centre is built in the frame of the project Demonstrating and scaling up sustainable alternatives to DDT for the control of vector borne diseases in Southern Caucasus and Central Asia (DDT Project). Vakhsh Burial site is one of the most problematic obsolete pesticides hot-spots in Central Asia that reportedly contains 4000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides including large volumes of DDT.
For many years the site was abandoned and unguarded. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tajik authorities were not able to maintain Vakhsh well and illegal waste extraction became a daily practice. Even today DDT is openly available at local markets. The chemicals are used as an affordable alternative to the expensive modern plant protection products, but also because ‘nothing works better.’ All this time cattle had free access to the burial site and free access to the heavily polluted standing water in excavation pits.
For many years national and international stakeholders gave little priority to solving the problems around the hot-spot Vakhsh. Fortunately this attitude has changed recently: To stop the illegal excavation and lower the risks for public health of cattle drinking polluted water from the site, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) fenced the site off earlier this month . The Tajik Committee for Environmental Protection in turn, built a guard house overseeing the site and appointed a guarding team. The United Nations Development Organization (UNDP) constructed a water supply installation that will help to re-vegetate the area and stop erosion. Last but not least a Ministry of Emergency Situations team, trained by Veolia Environmental Field Services, will transport up to a hundred tonnes of repackaged DDT and associated waste to Vakhsh. Veolia was contracted for these activities in the frame of the DDT Project.
Milieukontakt and Green Cross Switzerland are the implementing the DDT Project in the region for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).full article |
Intensive training of a Ministry of Emergencies team in the repackaging of obsolete pesticides has started on Friday 12 June in Khatlon Oblast, Southern Tajikistan. The training is provided in the frame of the project Demonstrating and Scaling Up Sustainable Alternatives to DDT for the control of vector borne diseases in Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. Milieukontakt and Green Cross Switzerland are the implementing this project in the region for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Repackaging of 65 tonnes prioritized DDT will be carried out later this month under supervision of Veolia International Field Services from Cardiff in the UK.full article |
The biannual HCH and Pesticides Forum will be organised in Spain from 3-6 November 2015. Milieukontakt provides an active contribution to this Forum and is part of the Scientific and Program Committee. The main objectives of this Forum are:
- to review past and ongoing activities in the field of obsolete pesticides problems in Spain, Central European and EECCA (Easte European, Caucasus and Central Asia) Countries, Africa, Asia and South America;
- to review recommendations from the 12th Forum (in Kiev, Ukraine) for concrete actions in the EECCA region and assess results;
- to discuss the national and regional strategies, action plans and financial resources for elimination of the obsolete pesticides – from discussion to action;
- to review and exchange technologies and experiences on inventory, risk assessment, environmental impact assessment of central stores, environmentally sound management, storage and destruction of obsolete pesticides and contaminated soils;
- to discuss and review awareness raising activities on the obsolete pesticides problems (globally, regionally, nationally and locally);
- to show successful regional and national initiatives, engagement of NGOs and academic institutions.
Please find the 1st announcement of the forum here:
And see the following introduction to the Forum:
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A national inventory of obsolete pesticide stocks in Tajikistan, recently carried out by FAO Turkey, demonstrated that there are a lot of mixed-unknown stocks in the country. In order to prepare well for repackaging and subsequent destruction of the obsolete pesticides it is necessary to identify the different substances.
In the Frame of the GEF UNEP DDT project Demonstrating and Scaling Up Sustainable Alternatives to DDT for the Control of Vector Borne Diseases in Southern Caucasus and Central Asia, Milieukontakt went to Tajikistan in December to sample two sites where the repackaging of 60 tonnes of DDT and associated waste is planned to take place this spring. The samples are currently being analyzed at RIKILT laboratory at Wageningen University.
Together with the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, Milieukontakt is preparing the construction of an Intermediate Central Storage to store the repacked pesticides. Ultimate destruction of the stocks will have to be carried out by a follow-on project.full article |
Milieukontakt is a project NGO partner of FAO in the large scale project “Improved pesticides and chemicals management in the former Soviet Union” funded by FAO and the EC. Milieukontakt coordinates activities related to inventory of obsolete pesticides, to development of Environmental Management Plans needed for safeguarding of obsolete pesticides stocks, and to awareness raising on obsolete pesticides in the project countries. For the latest newsletter of the project – which includes information on the tendering of waste management services and Monitoring and Evaluation of the project – please see:
and here the Russian version:
full article |
On the 23rd of August, Tros nieuwsshow interviewed Bram de Borst about what is needed to create a DDT-free world. Due to the economical crisis, in developing countries like Kyrgyzstan DDT is traded illegally at local farmer markets. However, as 60 people needed to be hospitalized in 2011 and 130 sheep died a year later, the Kyrgyz authorities understood that they really have a problem. Milieukontakt supports local NGOs and local authorities to identify the stocks and demonstrates ways to deal with this issue. Developing countries need international assistance to help them to solve the problem.
Please click on the link below to listen to a podcast from the interview.
full article |
In de Volkskrant van woensdag 13 augustus staat een interessant interview over Milieukontakt met bestuursvoorzitter Bram de Borst. Hij vertelt onder ander over een succesvol project in Kirgizië, waarbij Milieukontakt afgelopen jaar zorgde voor het afdekken, omheinen en bewaken van een voor de bevolking en het milieu gevaarlijke pesticiden stortplaats. Als u het artikel in de Volkskrant wil lezen, kunt u de link hieronder openen.
In the Dutch national newspaper “De Volkskrant” an interesting interview with our chairman Bram de Borst was published. He tells among other things about a succesful project implemented in Kyrgyzstan in the last year, whereby Milieukontakt organised for the covering, fencing and guarding of an obsolete pesticides’ dumpsite that posed a great risk to human health and the environment. To read the article in ‘De Volkskrant” (in Dutch), click on the link below.full article |
Stocks of obsolete pesticides pose a threat to public health and the environmental in Kyrgyzstan. Exposure to the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), that many of these stocks contain, can lead to serious health effects including cancer, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems and diminished intelligence. Unusable stocks piled up in Soviet-time Kyrgyzstan due to over- ambitious planning and mismanagement of pesticides.
Burial site in South Kyrgyzstan – a hotspot that needs direct intervention
As a signatory to the Stockholm Convention, Kyrgyzstan aims to eliminate the obsolete stocks and reduce the release of POPs into the environment. Large international projects will be needed to organise and finance the final disposal of the stocks and it will take time to find enough support to develop and really implement these projects. Today, however, the health and environmental risks remain urgent and something needs to be done.
The burial site in Jalal Abad province for instance is one of the Kyrgyz hot-spots that need direct intervention. The fencing material that once isolated the site from its surroundings has been taken away by locals and illegal “waste miners” come to the burial site and dig out the pesticides, in order to sell these on the local market as Dust (DDT). They spill the pesticides and pollution of the soil has been observed as a consequence of these activities.
After the consumption of poisoned meat 98 people fell ill and 35 were hospitalised
Another problem is local herds of sheep and cattle passing by the site. Two years ago 98 people fell ill and 35 were hospitalised after the consumption of the meat of poisoned cows that reportedly drank standing water from pits on the site. This year a herd of 130 sheep died after drinking from the same pits.
An international coalition of NGOs and the Dutch Engineering Company Tauw received funding to lower the short term risks of the Jalal Abad burial site with cost effective and low tech measures to protect the environment and groups at risk from villages close to the site. Milieukontakt International, Tauw, Green Cross Switzerland, together with the Kyrgyz NGOs Ekois and Green Light joined forces for risk reducing remediation of the site. Awareness raising activities and a social medical intervention to support the village of the people who were poisoned will play an important role. The initiative is financed by the GEF Small Grants Programme for Kyrgyzstan, Green Cross Switzerland, OSCE and the Milieukontakt Private Donations Fund.
New fence to avoid further accidents
During a first mission in July it turned out that there is strong commitment to solve the health and environmental problems from the burial site in Jalal Abad district. A Memorandum of Understanding, designed as a Go / No Go decision making instrument to measure the commitment of local government, was signed by all relevant stakeholders even before the mission. Moreover, the first steps of technical implementation were already taken. Recently a new fence was build around the site. (See the picture above.) These results give a good perspective for further project implementation and high hopes that the project results will be reached in efficient cooperation with local government and NGOs.
full article |
2014 Year of Action for EU FAO Partnership Project
2014 is set to be the busiest year yet for the EU and FAO partnership project “Improved pesticides and chemicals management in the Former Soviet Union”, of which Milieukontakt is one of the implementing partner organisations.
The plans are now in place. The targets have been identified and the partners at national and regional level have a clear picture as to where we want to be by the end of the year. We have already been joined by Belarus who signed the project agreement with FAO in early February. We hope the remaining countries make similar commitments in the first quarter of the year.
Please read the Project Newsletter, focusing on the following issues:
1. Actions for dealing with (obsolete) pesticides problems from the past
2. Actions for achieving a sustainable future
3. Actions to further improve communication, capacity assessment and education as the key to pesticide risk reductionfull article |
- Jaarrekening 2013
- Financial statement 2013
- Jaarrekening 2012
- Jaarrekening 2011
- Financial Statement 2011
- Jaarrekening 2010 (.pdf)
- Annual report 2010 with Financial Statement (.pdf)
- Annual report 2009 with Financial Statement (.pdf)
- Annual report 2008 with Financial Statement (.pdf)
If you are interested in reports before 2008, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org article |
Project partners come together in Kiev for the second Steering Committee Meeting of the Project
On 11 and 12 November 2013 the second Steering Committee Meeting of the project Improved pesticides and chemicals management in the former Soviet Union was organised in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. This EC/FAO partnership project is implemented in cooperation with Blacksmith Institute, Green Cross Belarus, Green Cross Switzerland, the International HCH and Pesticides Association (IHPA), and Milieukontakt International.
International HCH and Pesticides Forum on elimination of Obsolete Pesticides
The 12th International HCH and Pesticides Forum met in Kiev from 6-8 November 2013. The Forum took note of the overall slow progress of elimination of obsolete pesticides, their negative impact on the socio-economic performance of many countries, the severe adverse effects on health and quality of life, as well as its far-reaching consequences to neighbours with shared water resources.
Regional Workshop on Pesticide lifecycle assessment
Representatives from ten Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian countries (EECCA) met at the Medved Institute in Kiev, Ukraine, for an FAO facilitated workshop to develop action plans based on results of regional studies completed in 2013.
Please download the full newsletter :
English version : EU-FAO PROJECT Newsletter 040EC NOV 13
Russian version : EU-FAO Newsletter GCPRER040EC_RUSfull article |
Environmental Management Plan International Training under the EU and FAO partnership project “Improved pesticides and chemicals management in the Former Soviet Union”
From 17 to 20 September, FAO will hold a training on development of environmental management plans for environmentally sound management of obsolete pesticides in Tbilisi, Georgia. The training will be immediately followed by a meeting of the Programme Technical Committee (PTC) to assess progress in implementation and to start preparations for the second annual Steering Committee meeting to be held in Kiev November 11 and 12. The training and PTC meeting will be attended by representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Ukraine as well as representatives of programme partners including Milieukontakt International, Green Cross, and IHPA. The participation of representatives from Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be supported by the UNEP project “Demonstrating and Scaling-up of Sustainable Alternatives to DDT in Vector Management Global Programme”. Both projects aim to reduce the risk from obsolete pesticides on public health and the environment in the former Soviet Union.
For the full press release, please see Press_release Georgia 040 EC
full article |
12th Forum 10 years after the 7th forum in Kiev: what has been achieved in a decade in Ukraine – what is Ukraine’s role for the other Eastern European, Caucasus and Central European countries
November 06-08, 2013, Kiev,Ukraine
The forum objectives are:
- to make a status of the developments and new plans in Ukraine over the last decade, and assess if these developments can be used as an example for other countries in the region and elsewhere;
- to review past and ongoing activities in the field of obsolete pesticides problems in Central European and EECCA Countries, in Africa, in Asia and in South America;
- to make a review of what has been realised from the 11th Forum recommendations;
- to discuss the national and regional strategies, action plans and financial resources for elimination of the obsolete pesticides;
- to review and exchange technologies and experiences for inventory, risk assessment, environmental impact assessment of central stores, environmentally sound management, storage and destruction of obsolete pesticides and contaminated soils;
- awareness raising of the obsolete pesticides problems globally, regionally, nationally and locally
Milieukontakt will participate at and actively contribute to the HCH forum in Ukraine, amongst others we will organise in cooperation with Green Cross a session called “Education and awareness raising; a need and a must”.full article |
Several students from the International Rural Development Class at CAH Vilentum University of Applied Sciences in Dronten visited Milieukontakt over the years for an internship at the Amsterdam office. Milieukontakt in turn, was invited by CAH Vilentum for short trainings on lobbying and advocacy.
This year CAH Vilentum and Milieukontakt decided to intensify the cooperation with and Introductory Course on Green Agenda Sustainable Development Planning for the International Rural Development Class at the new CAH Vilentum establishment in Almere.
Since 1998 Milieukontakt has been working on the development of an approach for sustainable development planning in rural areas and smaller municipal entities of cities. Contrary to many planning approaches, the Milieukontakt Green Agenda Approach starts out by identifying local values rather than problems. Participation in the process is not limited to experts or certain stakeholder groups, but is wide open to all. Thanks to the process, its results are genuinely owned by the citizens. If well implemented, the Green Agenda development planning brings about opportunities for development without disruption of local traditions and culture, and destruction of nature and environment.
The first steps in developing this approach were initiated by Milieukontakt and its Romanian partner Focus Eco Centre. Over the years the method has been further developed in more than ten countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and between 2007 and 2010 a large Green Agenda project was implemented on the Balkans.
This year’s CAH’s International Rural Development Class comprises of students from Latvia, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Portugal and Brazil. Milieukontakt will introduce the Green Agenda approach and present examples of successfully implemented Green Agenda pilot projects. Next to other assignments, the students will have to choose a small village in their native country, analyse the community based on the Green Agenda approach, talk to community representatives and design a Green Agenda development plan.full article |
A consortium of Tauw, Witteveen+Bos, Milieukontakt and Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE) is selected by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to conduct a site assessment and feasibility study of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), pesticide burial site Nubarashen in Armenia.
The Nubarashen Burial site was built in the mid 1970ies as a disposal site for POPs, obsolete pesticides and other chemicals. The burial site is located on the south east side of Yerevan in a valley subject to severe erosion processes. A small village comprising of summer cottages is located around four kilometres down the slope from the burial site. Other villages are located in the area at some greater distance to the burial site.
In 2010 OSCE and FAO experts, assisting the Ministry of Emergency Situations, concluded that emergency measures had to be taken as the complete cover of the burial site had been removed and there was a direct risk of the spread of pesticides waste via surface water and by air. Recently the site was capped with clay and the area was fenced. The Ministry of Emergency Situations also installed permanent site guards.
The consortium will investigate the site and carry out feasibility study to support the selection of a long term solution for the elimination of risks for the POPs pesticides waste at the burial site. Special attention will be paid to assess health risks for vulnerable groups living close Nubarashen.full article |
Milieukontakt partners with FAO in new regional project on obsolete pesticides and alternatives to pesticides
Milieukontakt International is one of the partners in the new EU funded FAO project Improving capacities to eliminate and prevent recurrence of obsolete pesticides as a model for tackling unused hazardous chemicals in the former Soviet Union, together with the International HCH and Pesticides Association and Green Cross Switzerland. The overall objective of the project is to contribute towards better protection of environment and public health in the ENPI East region and Central Asia, through reducing the risk posed by hazardous waste and chemical life cycle management in the region, placing specific emphasis on pesticides as a model group of hazardous chemicals.
The specific objectives are as follows:
- To strengthen knowledge in the countries/region about the extent of the problem by completing/creating inventories of pesticide stockpiles, serving also as a model for other hazardous chemicals;
- To strengthen national and local in-country capacity and expertise to carry out risk assessments and strategically prioritise remediation of polluted sites, safe storage and destruction of hazardous chemicals;
- To improve the legislative framework in line with EU policy approaches and relevant multilateral environment agreements;
- To prevent the recurrence of obsolete pesticides by strengthening effective life cycle management for pesticides and promoting strategies to reduce pesticide use;
- To improve awareness among decision makers and the public of the risks associated with obsolete pesticides and hazardous chemicals and the need to take action, including the costs in both human and economic terms of non-action;
- To enhance cross-regional exchange of expertise and experience;
- To improve donor coordination.
Milieukontakt participated in the Steering Committee Meeting of the project that took place in Moldova on 27 and 28 September. Here Milieukontakt and partners of the Milieukontakt network presented our previous work on obsolete pesticides. In the EU FAO project, Milieukontakt International is providing support, advice and training to countries on inventory, PSMS (this is the FAO database tool for keeping all inventory data, which also provides a risk setting of all inventoried sites), Environmental Management Plans, Environmental Assessments, supervision during safeguarding and national communication strategies.
Please see also attached Milieukontakt partner profile:
Soon more information about the project will be published on this website.full article |
As many other developing countries, Vietnam is facing legacy problems with obsolete and POPs pesticides. In the case of Vietnam many of the former storages are emptied in a clean-up campaign and send for destruction to a modern cement kiln. But people have buried the stocks as well in the past because they did not know what to do with them. As a result the pesticides are mixed with soil and it is more difficult to collect and destruct them.
The Dutch Environmental Consultant Tauw implements a UNDP project to write a handbook with guidelines for Obsolete and POPs pesticides remediation based on the practical example of 10 pilot remediation sites.
For this assignment Tauw established in 2011 a consortium of the International HCH and Pesticides Association (IHPA), Milieukontakt International and the independent legal expert Helle Husum. The drafting of the handbook is well underway and pilot remediation has taken place on the first location: under the management of Berto Collet from Tauw a bunker with 25 tonnes of Lindane and DDT was emptied.
Boudewijn Fokke from Tauw is drafting the handbook and uses the extensive experience of John Vijgen from IHPA to review the result. Thus far the handbook contains 7 environmental management plans for the pilot remediation sites. Helle Husum writes a gap analysis of the obsolete and POPs pesticides legislation in Vietnam and Wouter Pronk of Milieukontakt writes guidelines for stakeholder involvement at local level. This in order to make sure that the local people that live close to the sites are well informed before a remediation starts, know how to minimize health risks and avoid mistakes, accidents and protests around the project.full article |
Mongolia’s economy is booming. International investments for exploration of the extensive mineral deposits resulted in a growth rate of close to 20 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. But pesticides problems from the past – when the country was a Soviet satellite – remain unsolved.
A mission form Milieukontakt and the International HCH and Pesticides Association (IHPA) to Mongolia in October 2011 revealed that on different locations in the country obsolete stocks of POPs pesticides are stored under substandard conditions. The scale of the problem, however, is difficult to establish without a further research.
During a seminar with Milieukontakt and IHPA and Regional Inspectors from the Plant Protection and Quarantine Department of the Ministry of Agriculture in Ulan Bataar it was agreed that the inspectors would look into the matter in further detail and search for not administered stock of obsolete and POPs pesticides. This in order to get a first indication of the scale and extend of the problems in Mongolia.
Unfortunately the inspectors thus far were not able to provide Milieukontakt and IHPA with further details of amounts of obsolete and POPs pesticides in their home provinces.
It will be important to set up structural cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders in order to get the facts straight about the scale of the problem in Mongolia and prepare next steps to eliminate the acute risks on human health and the environment stemming from obsolete and POPs pesticides.
A mission report will be available after Milieukontakt and IHPA received comments on the outcomes from the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Milieukontakt and IHPA mission to Mongolia was financed as part of the FAO, Green Cross Switzerland, IHPA and Milieukontakt implemented and GEF-funded project: Capacity building on Obsolete and POPs Pesticides in Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian (EECCA) countries.full article |
In a new publication Milieukontakt describes lessons learned about building civil society for the environment. The publication is based on more than 20 years experience in this field in over 30 countries. It is published in the framework of the project, ‘Serving Albanian Environmental Civil Society in Environment’ (SACSIE), conducted in Albania from 2007 to 2010.full article |
In February 2007 the program Green Agenda in The Western Balkans began with the intention to develop Green Agenda processes in at least 12 communities in 6 countries. Nobody knew if this process would work in a region so much affected by recent conflicts. The big question was: Are local citizens in the region capable of cooperation outside their own circle and can they look at the future based on values developed in the past?
Now, 4 years later, a Green Agenda document has been adopted in 16 communities, and 7 more have gone through the process of development of Green Agenda documents. Local citizens have worked together to define values and develop pilot projects within a strategy based on these values. In each country local project managers, platforms, trainers and local working groups have been, and still are, committed to support the development of a true participative democracy of which Green Agenda is one of the most advanced, bottom up, approaches.
Download the handbook here:
Green Agenda on the Western Balkans