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IPEN Regional Meeting for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus & Central Asia (EECCA) in Kyrgyzstan
IPEN Regional Hub Eco-Accord, in cooperation with the Independent Ecological Expertise, an IPEN Participating Organization in Kyrgyzstan, successfully organized and hosted the EECCA regional workshop in Kyrgyzstan from August 26-29. The meeting was held in one of the most beautiful places, Lake Issyk-Kul, located in the Tian Shan Mountains. It is the second largest saline lake in the world, warm enough to swim in.
The team of 24 NGO representatives from countries in the EECCA region worked hard to strengthen and adopt a revised Regional NGO Strategy for the current period until 2030, with its intermediate assessment in 2020.
The programme of the meeting was quite comprehensive, but the team allocated enough time for a fruitful discussion, communicating many different perspectives and expertise on a range of topics.
Below, please see a brief introduction to the agenda of the meeting:
Day 1: Gathering at the venue, self introduction, strategizing for the next day.
Day 2: Introduction and a review of IPEN global campaigns and the strategy of work
- IPEN EECCA regional priorities and their link to IPEN global operation;
- POPs and mercury country situation reports released by NGOs from Kazakhstan: questions and answers session;
Public monitoring session
- NGO participation in environmental monitoring: practical guide for NGOs
- Environmental and biomonitoring campaigns in the EECCA: goals and objectives of NGO projects
- IPEN mercury free campaign in the EECCA region: monitoring of mercury in Moldova as the focus country;
- IPEN chemicals in products campaign: new data from Nepal and its link to the data from Russia, Belarus and Armenia
- Hazardous chemicals in products: phthalates health risks and routes of exposure
- Questions and answers session. Discussion of the draft resolution on phthalates ban in toys
Occupational safety and the right to know session:
- Stories from the Clean Room film was demonstrated at the workshop. NGOs from Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan shared their experience and lessons learnt from the film screening in their countries. A Resolution on the solidarity with Samsung workers and SHARPS was discussed and adopted at the meeting.
- EECCA projects on e-waste and hazardous chemicals in electronics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan as the focus countries.
- EECCA regional lead in paint campaign: progress in the legislation development: Ukraine and Tajikistan as the focus countries.
-Questions and answers session. Discussion of the draft resolutions on e-waste and lead in paint.
Day 3: Presentation and in-depth discussion of the draft EECCA NGO Strategy on chemical safety till 2030
- Current NGO initiatives in the EECCA region: each workshop participants had a chance to briefly present their current projects on chemicals and waste. It was exciting to learn more about what NGOs are doing at the grassroot level in different EECCA countries and under different circumstances, both political and financial. This session resulted in broad discussions and sharing of lessons learned and ideas cultivated. An NGO located in Tajikistan informed others about the availability of the first XRF device in the region. The possibility of its use by all EECCA NGOs if requested was confirmed. This suggestion was immediately utilized by a group from Cheliabinsk city, Russia, who are planning to start a crowdfunding that will help to invite Tajik NGOs for product and soil testing in the city. (Note: Cheliabinsk is one of the most highly industrialized cities in Russia, with a very high level of air pollution. NGOs in the city have set up a public movement and organized successful crowdfunding to fight governmental plans of yet one more copper mining facility in the city surroundings which are already suffering from extreme environmental pollution).
- Outcomes of the Second meeting of the intersessional process considering the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 were discussed. The workshop participants were introduced to the initiative of the Swedish government to launch a High Ambitious Alliance on chemicals and waste to address pollution.
- General discussion on how we see the future beyond 2020 in the EECCA took place. The workshop participants discussed possible joint campaigns, including:
- Women and chemicals;
- Highly hazardous pesticides, including glyphosate ban;
- Water and air quality: reducing the risk of pollution;
- Safe waste management, including low POPs content, plastic waste management, safe management of e-waste, and more.
The following draft resolutions were discussed:
Draft resolution on highly hazardous pesticides with the focus on glyphosate ban;
Draft resolution on plastic waste.
- A significant discussion was focused on the options of raising funds for the work in the region. It was noted that the region is very much under funded and NGOs often compete for small projects instead of trying to elaborate on a regional initiative and fundraise for its implementation. A regional campaign on chemicals in toys of 2011-2012 was highlighted as a good practice example of a collaborative project.
- NGOs note that they are ready to start brainstorming on possible ways for raising funds for the region based on the revised regional Strategy.
- Good examples of partnerships with the intergovernmental agencies such as UNIDO and UNDP were discussed based on the outcomes of the projects in Central Asia, Moldova and Ukraine.
- Possibilities of cooperation with the industry was discussed based on the initiatives that NGO participate in, including e-waste recycling, lead in paint, mercury containing waste and others. NGO experience in assisting governmental agencies in preparing their applications to the Special Programme was discussed.
The working language of the workshop was Russian.
All documents, as well as the regional Strategy, the resolutions and the photos, are available on Eco-Accord website at www.ecoaccord.org