Washington, DC, February 24, 2011: The GEF last week approved $1 million with an additional $2.14 million in cofinancing to address the potentially dangerous leftovers of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Georgia. The primary objective of the project is to minimize releases of POPs from obsolete pesticide stockpiles in Georgia and to create capacity in management of the POPs pesticide stockpiles. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will implement the project together with the Georgian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources. It will directly contribute to the broader goal of supporting sustainable development through elimination of POPs from the environment. A major part of the funds is dedicated to safe disposal of 250-300 tons of non-soil mixed obsolete pesticides stored at the “Iagluja” dumpsite. Some portion of funds will be allocated for securing basic access control measures at the site as well as research and study. In addition, the project will provide substantial support for creating an enabling environment for POPs management in the future.
Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF said: “Cleaning up these obsolete stocks in Georgia is another step in our global strategy against Persistent Organic Pollutants. We are determined to rid the world of these dangerous chemicals and we will succeed eventually.”
“UNDP and GEF continue their assistance to Georgia to help the country fulfill its environmental obligations under the UN Conventions and achieve global environmental benefits. This new initiative supports actions under the national implementation plan to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)”, said UNDP Resident Representative Jamie McGoldrick.
Goga Khachidze, the Minister of Environment Protection and Nature Resources of Georgia added: "It is important for the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia that we are able to support local citizens in their concern to deal with the pesticides stored within the territory of their communities. The main outcome of the programme is to minimize releases of obsolete pesticides from the biggest dumpsite at Iagluja. This has been a crucial environment concern for Georgia which is possible to mitigate with the financial assistance from GEF"
Why are GEF funds needed?
The GEF has a special obligation to generate global environmental benefits. Direct global environmental benefits in this project include the disposal of 250-300 (⅔ of dumped non-soil mixed pesticides volume in Iagluja dumpsite) tons of POPs pesticides and follow-up minimization of risks of pesticide waste entering the environment and affecting health of humans and animals. The development of a long-term plan for the remediation of the Iagluja dumpsite will help identify and assess the most appropriate methods for dumpsite remediation, particularly for approximately 3,000 tons of low chlorine containing pesticide waste. This can be considered as the first step for the dumpsite remediation in long term and elimination of the Iagluja pesticide waste problem.
Increased technical and administrative capacity for hazardous waste (pesticide) management will provide the framework for collecting, repackaging and eliminating additional 300-400 tons of remaining obsolete non-soil mixed POPs pesticide quantities in future. Experience gained from the realisation of the project can be useful for other countries in
Available government and donor funds are not sufficient for eliminating all obsolete pesticide stockpiles in the country. Thus, GEF funds are requested to address immediate threats emanating from the Iagluja obsolete pesticide dumpsite primarily and creating national capacity in obsolete pesticide management to address the remaining obsolete pesticide stockpiles in future. Improvement of legal and regulatory framework of hazardous waste management
The GEF’s leading role in POPs elimination:
The GEF is the lead institution providing technical and financial assistance to support the efforts of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to implement the Stockholm Convention. The GEF is helping countries create national inventories of POPs and working with these nations to reduce or eliminate the chemicals’ use and release into the environment. The GEF also helps facilitate safe disposal and supports the development of environmentally sound alternative products, practices, and techniques.
Since adoption of the Stockholm Convention in May 2001, the GEF has committed US$ 360 million to projects in the POPs focal area and leveraged some US$ 440 million in co-financing, bringing the total value of the GEFPOPs portfolio to US$ 800 million. See more on GEF work on POPs here: /sites/default/files/publications/Cleaning-up...
Media contact: Christian Hofer, Senior Communications Officer, GEF, email@example.com, +1 202 413 4185