Closing Conference for EU funded project "Enforcing citizens' rights and public participation in decision making on environmental issues - practical implementation of Aarhus Convention in Mangystau"
Environment and the public participation in decision making in Kazakhstan
ASTANA - Kazhydromet, Orinbor 11/1 - 20 April 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to welcome you all today at the closing conference "Environment and the public participation in decision making in Kazakhstan" organized by the EU funded project " Enforcing citizens' rights and public participation in decision making on environmental issues - practical implementation of Aarhus Convention in Mangystau". This project has a total budget slightly in excess of EUR 396,000 of which EUR 336,000 are funded by the EU. This action is implemented since 2014 by the Czech NGO ‘ARNIKA’ in partnership with the ‘Center for introduction of new environmentally safe technologies Fund’ from Karaganda and the ‘Karaganda regional Ecological Museum’.
Unfortunately, I had no possibility to be with you today, but I would like to convey to you all my sincere appreciation for the results achieved by this project. I would also like to salute the fruitful cooperation among different stakeholders project developed on several occasions with various local authorities, health representative offices, media and other NGOs.
Let me briefly recall that the overall objective of the project is to contribute to local development, especially in the region of Mangystau, by improving the access to information and increasing public participation in decision making on environmental issues.
As such, the project specifically supported two large public interest campaigns. In Almaty, the “Save Kok-Jailau” campaign permitted to halt the construction of a high-mountainous ski resort within the Ile-Alatau National Park territory which constitutes the habitat of many rare species, including snow leopard. In Pavlodar, the most air polluted city of Kazakhstan, a 100 thousand citizens petition set up by the project eventually led to the dropping the idea to build a municipal waste incinerator.
The project also set up two new information tools, that is to say, the online mapping of environmental hot spots and the database of the largest polluters of the air in Kazakhstan. Several analyses of the impact of the polluted environment upon people’s health were also carried out notably for camel milk and chicken eggs and further shared with local authorities and health services.
The project did not focus only on the research of toxic hotspots. It also contributed to empowering civil society in the field of environment protection in Kazakhstan. An informal network of CSOs was established to support projects dealing with local and regional environmental issues.
The project results show the need to secure and remediate contaminated sites as well as to continue measuring and controlling dioxins or heavy metals pollution. It also showed that public access to information, increased public participation in decision making process on environmental issues, and enforcing legislation are key to the full compliance with the national strategies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, such as a green economy as a part of the Strategy "Kazakhstan 2050", the National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the state program of Kazakhstan health care development "Salamatty Kazakhstan, as well as regarding the Aarhus convention implementation on national level.
I will stop my address here and wishing you a fruitful meeting and lively exchanges.