Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe: Tajikistan & The Environment

Posted: October 18, 2011 in Economy and Resources, Geography, International, Journalism, Politics, Tajikistan
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Developing environmental protection and sustainability strategies and legislation

From 2005, upon request of the host country, the OSCE supported the development of the “Environmental Strategy for the Republic of Tajikistan“. The strategy, later renamed “Concept on the Environmental Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan” was approved on 31 December 2008 by Decree of the President of Tajikistan. Today, the OSCE Office in Tajikistan supports the development of the detailed Action Plan for the Government’s implementation of the Concept on Environmental Protection.

Between 2005 and 2008, upon request of the host government, the OSCE supported the working group of experts created to propose amendments to the Nature Protection Law. The proposed amendments are closely related to the provisions of the Aarhus Convention and suggest improvements in environmental inspections, standards and certification. They were submitted to Parliament for review and deliberative vote in 2008 and were approved by the Parliament Council of the Republic of Tajikistan on 22 June 2009. This represents an important step towards the final vote on these amendments following yet another round of legislative and executive deliberations. The OSCE currently supports the working group of experts created to amend the waste management legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan.

 

Radioactive waste management

Approximately 54.8 million tonnes of waste from past uranium mining operations is still located in unsecured sites in northern Tajikistan, a number of them close to Khujand, the country’s second-largest city. The largest single dump site, containing some 12 million tonnes of radioactive waste, is in the town of Taboshar, north of Khujand.

In order to address this problem, the OSCE has implemented numerous projects to raise the awareness of the neighboring communities on the dangers of radioactive waste. The OSCE has also supported the rehabilitation of a mud flow trap to prevent landslides in the vicinity of the radioactive waste hill and has supported a partial assessment of Taboshar’s radioactive waste sites.

Building on these achievements, the OSCE Office in Tajikistan is currently working on creating stronger strategic partnerships with interested stakeholders that would work on conducting a comprehensive full-scale assessment of the Taboshar uranium tailings.

Implementing the Aarhus Convention

The implementation of the Aarhus Convention provisions, such as public access to information, participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters, remains an important part of the Office’s activities in the environmental dimension.

Aarhus Centres in Dushanbe and Khujand in northern Tajikistan provide journalists and the general public with information on environmental issues, as well as organizing and conducting seminars to raise awareness on the Convention’s goals and achievements. The Aarhus Centre in Dushanbe also launched a website –www.aarhus.tj – dedicated to educating the public on the essentials of the Aarhus Convention. In 2009, a new Aarhus Centre was opened in Kurgan-Tyube to support the implementation of the Convention in Khatlon province.

The “Green Patrols”

Since 2003, the Office has supported a group of young Tajik environmental activists, known as the “Green Patrols” in Sughd region.

The Green Patrols have since expanded their activities and are now active in Dushanbe, Sughd, Khatlon and the Districts of Republican Subordination, i.e. 13 districts of Tajikistan which are administered by the central government.

The Office helps the Green Patrols publish the monthly magazine “Compass” and organize training in schools, clean-up events, and tree planting campaigns and organize and run summer camps. It is negotiating with relevant stakeholders on the appropriate protocol for establishing Green Patrols operations as an extra-curricular activity in all schools in Tajikistan.

Environmental journalism

The OSCE Office in Tajikistan will assist in organizing the final round of the Central Asian Environmental Journalism Film Festival in Dushanbe in September 2009. An independent jury will select the best journalistic work among media products of the top Central Asian environmental journalists on climate change, water issues, biodiversity and ecotourism.

The Office organized an Environmental Film Festival in Dushanbe in April 2009 in partnership with the Bactria Cultural Centre. The festival opened on Earth Day and presented films on environmental issues to the general public free of charge.

Over 15 television documentaries on the most pressing environmental issues in Tajikistan have been produced and broadcast with the Office’s support in 2008. In 2009, another 11 documentaries will be produced and broadcast under OSCE support.

Water management

In order to help stem potential conflict among Central Asian countries over shared water resources, the OSCE Office in Tajikistan has been gradually expanding its portfolio of water-related activities.

Since January 2009, in close co-operation with the Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resources, the Office has been helping Tajikistan with the improvement of its national integrated water resources management. It assists the government in enhancing the collection, analysis and transfer of data related to water resources availability and use. In addition, it is assisting the Ministry in the development of a state programme for water development.

The Office also facilitates dialogue on trans-boundary water resources and works to enhance the country’s capacity to negotiate trans-boundary agreements regarding water resources management and energy security. One of its medium-term goals is to promote Tajikistan’s adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-boundary Watercourses and International Lakes.

 

VIA: OSCE

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