The project was highlighted in the latest UNDEF Newsletter. Please click below for the UNDEF latest newsletter, including the Board’s green light for new project proposals, UNDEF’s event with the UN Deputy Secretary-General during the High-level Political Forum, and stories from UNDEF’s work in the field (including AWHHE project).
In August 2021, UNDEF conducted an external evaluation of the implemented project. The report highlighting the successful project implementation is published in the evaluation section of UNDEF’s website (https://www.un.org/democracyfund/content/europe). To read the report, follow the link:
We’ve been working in Armenia for several years now. That’s not surprising consider the historical development in the area during 20th century the modren-time consequences it has brought on this transcaucasian country. The past had not been always keen here in the “cradle of life”. Hence Arnika’s activities in Armenia since 2010.
Help the rural communities to implement sustainable agriculture and eliminate the danger of chemical pollution in Ararat and Armavir regions. That is the main goal of the new project “Scaling Up Experience in Improvement of Chemical Safety to Contribute to Poverty Reduction in Rural Armenia” of the Czech not-for profit organization Arnika Association and Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE). Project is focused on finding of technical solutions to eliminate several hot spots contamination by obsolete toxic pesticides caused by their improper management and storage, including so called persistent organic pollutants (POPs). It will also help Armenia to implement international Stockholm Convention.
The problem of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) has existed in Armenia since 1980’s, when annually 450-500 tons of pesticides were used in agriculture. In single years the load of pesticides application exceeded the average level of the former Soviet Union by 20 times and made up 9 kg/ha. The most vulnerable territories in term of pesticides load were the following provinces: Ararat (Artashat, Vedi, Masis), Armavir (Armavir, Etchmiadzin), Kotayk (Kotayk, Nairi, Hrazdan), Tavush (Ijevan, Tavush, Noyemberyan), Aragatzotn (Ashtarak), Syunik (Kapan, Meghri) and Vayotz Dzor (Vayk, Yeghegnadzor).
The problem of POPs in Armenia is connected with wide application of chlorine organic compounds, as well as with accumulation of obsolete pesticides, the major part of which was either left in warehouses or buried in an unorganized manner. In 1982 was built the only burial site of obsolete pesticides where more than 500 tons of obsolete pesticides of different groups were buried among which 60 % were persistent compounds: DDT, HCH, etc. Lack of information on toxicity of pesticides and their hazard for health and the environment is explained by the fact that after the collapse of the former Soviet Union the villager remained alone with his problems. At present there is no any coordinated mechanism and also appropriate information materials at local level. With regards to the existing materials, they are not available.
This joint Czech-Armenian project focused mainly on following areas:
- Lack of capacity to solve the problem of pollution by obsolete pesticides
- Lack of information on obsolete pesticides hazard among civil society.
- Low NGOs awareness on the problem.
- Absence of national NGOs work coordination.
- Low public awareness of the problem.
- Lack of information on NGOs financial opportunities.
The poject was supported by the European Union, Czech Development Agency and Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the Programme of Czech Development Cooperation, Global Greengrants Fund and IPEN (International POPs Elimination Network). Its content is sole responsibility of Arnika Association and AWHHE and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union and/or other co-sponsors.
Introduction to EDCs
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. Research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming.
EDC-free Europe http://www.edc-free-europe.org/
Other useful resources
One of the main objectives of the UNECE-WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health is the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation to everyone, with special consideration to ensure equitable access to these services for all members of the population.
Three critical factors in ensuring equitable access to water and sanitation are: reducing geographical disparities, overcoming the barriers faced by vulnerable groups, and addressing affordability concerns. Equitable Access Score-card, а self-evaluation analytical tool, has been developed under the Protocol on Water and Health to help Governments to establish a baseline measure of the equity of access to water and sanitation, identify related priorities and discuss further actions to be taken.
Armenia announced its intention to apply the Equitable Access Score-card at the national level during the seventh meeting of the Working Group on Water and Health in November 2014.
Objectives of the self-assessment of the situation of equitable access to water and sanitation in Armenia
- Achieve a better understanding of the situation and challenges related to equitable access to water and sanitation to facilitate the identification and prioritization of problems to be considered for the setting of targets under the Protocol;
- Identify relevant stakeholders and create links with them;
- Raise awareness among stakeholders on equity issues;
- Develop a comprehensive overview of the existing policy measures to address inequities in access to water and sanitation.
The project duration was 12 months and accomplished in October 2016.
The launching workshop for ensuring the early involvement of different stakeholders and explaining the rationale, objectives, process and expected outcomes of the self-assessment exercise was organized on 15 December 2015, back to back with a consultation meeting on small scale water supply and sanitation systems and a meeting of the Steering Committee of EUWI NPD. This workshop helped to identify additional stakeholders that later were involved in the exercise.
The “findings workshop” to present interim results, gather additional information, identify reform options and discuss possible recommendations was held on 7-8 July 2016.
Following the first workshop, UNECE and the main national stakeholders constituted a Project Team, consisting of national consultants with expertise and experience in the main fields covered by the Protocol on Water and Health, including a representative of the NGO “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE)”, and supported by an international consultant appointed by UNECE and a UNECE staff member. This team compiled the information needed and produced the drafts of the situation analysis and Score-card in Armenian and English which were then considered by the State Committee of Water Economy of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia.
At the second workshop Armenia announced its intention to develop an action plan on ensuring access to water supply and sanitation to be approved by the government and beneficiary ministries.