European Union External Action

EU shares its experience on air quality management with Central Asia

12/04/2019 - 13:28
News

NUR-SULTAN – More than 20 Kazakh national experts, representatives of ministries and industries were trained and learned from the EU experience on air quality management as part of the EU’s tailor-made support to Central Asia (CA) on environmental project preparation. The training is organized by the EU-funded project WECOOP in cooperation with International Green Technologies and Investments Centre (IGTIC) and aims to assist Kazakhstan in improving its air quality monitoring and management capabilities.

According to Kazhydromet, over the past 5 years in the atmosphere of most cities of Kazakhstan the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matters (PM) has regularly been exceeding the permissible exposure limit, which seriously affects the central nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and reproductive systems and cause headache, anxiety, breathing problems, lung cancer, and other diseases. The sources of pollution in Kazakhstan and the region are mostly man-made and include transport, fuel combustion (including individual heating systems), industry, agriculture, and waste disposal at landfills.

Since 1970s, the EU has achieved a considerable progress in air quality management by improving the fuel quality, controlling emissions and integrating the environmental standards into the transport and energy fields. The EU provides the financial and technical assistance to different countries in the world, including to Central Asian states, to help them improve the national legislation and air quality management systems. During the two-day training, the participants discussed air quality management principles and standards, as well as industrial and urban air pollution dispersion models.

Mr Valts Vilnitis, WECOOP Team Leader: “Air quality is one of the priorities put on the national environmental agendas by Central Asian countries. The WECOOP project is aimed at assisting the countries in this area through the following activities: analysis and review of the existing national legislation; strategic consulting on improvement of air quality management and control; and capacity building. During these two days, we discussed the EU’s experience, legislation and case studies in air quality management. This discussion helped us to better understand the existing challenges and we are eager to contribute to air quality management improvement in Kazakhstan and other countries of Central Asia.”

Mrs Gaukhar Beiseyeva, IGTIC Deputy Head: “The partnership under the EU-CA Platform for Environment and Water Cooperation goes up to a new level. As Kazakhstan’s National Coordinator for WECOOP, IGTIC will foster joint efforts, including for capacity building. Qualified human resources are as important as finances and technologies for fulfilling the commitments taken by our country to develop a green economy and reduce harmful impacts on the environment.”

Since October 2018, more than 80 national experts, representatives of NGOs and local private companies have already participated in 5 capacity building workshops in Almaty, Ashgabat, Bishkek and Tashkent and 1 study tour to Vienna, all organised by WECOOP with the financial support of the EU.

Background: The EU-CA Platform for Environment and Water Cooperation was established at the High Level (Ministerial) Conference in Rome (Italy) in 2009 as the framework for the EU-CA cooperation in water and environment based on the EU Strategy for Central Asia agreed with the CA states. The EU-CA Working Group on Environment and Climate Change (WGECC), chaired by the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, assists in the identification of regional cooperation priority actions and supports the Platform by strengthening policy dialogue and cooperation at the regional level and between the EU and CA. The second phase of WECOOP project (www.wecoop2.eu), launched by the EU in August 2016 to support the Platform and WGECC, aims at strengthening the dialogue between the Central Asia partners and at facilitating their cooperation with the EU on environment and climate change.

For additional information, please contact Ms Nurgul Smagulova, Event Coordinator, WECOOP, office telephone: +7(7172)550762, e-mail: nurgul.smagulova@stantec.com; Ms Elnara Bainazarova, Press & Information Officer, EU Delegation to Kazakhstan, email: elnara.bainazarova@eeas.europa.eu.

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