Chemicals

Countries in the region are working to reduce the use of ozone depleting substances, and eliminate the use of  hydro chlorofluorocarbons (See: Montreal Protocol). They are also are eliminating stocks of persistent organic pollutants and reducing their release into the environment.

Long-term exposure to toxic chemicals in water, food, air, and soil can cause or exacerbate many serious human health problems, including damage to reproductive and neurological systems, as well as different types of cancers. (See: Europe’s Environment, The Fourth Assessment (pdf)).

Certain chemicals are of particular concern for poor and vulnerable populations as well as the environment which provides these communities with livelihoods.

What we do

Together with the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNDP supports national partners to safely phase out harmful chemicals. This includes:

  • Making sure national development plans address the issue of harmful chemicals
     
  • Developing and implementing plans and investment projects to eliminate ozone depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
     
  • Addressing stocks and emissions of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

  • Providing alternatives for Methyl Bromide, a toxic ozone depleting substance used in agriculture for fumigation and as a pesticide
     
  • Demonstrating approaches for effective management of persistent organic pollutants POPs, by developing options for disposing of unwanted toxic stocks

  • Enabling activity on POPs in Albania, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan and PCB management projects in Latvia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan

Some results so far

Countries in the region have collectively phased out more than 2,000 tons of ozone-depleting substances, which also contributed to reducing green house gas emissions (GHGs).

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan developed plans to eliminate ozone depleting substances; and Kyrgyzstan and FYR Macedonia included issues related to harmful chemicals in their national development plans.

Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova prepared, and are implementing national strategies to phase-out second generation ozone depleting substances, including hydro chlorofluorocarbons. Georgia phased out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from refrigeration equipment through a programme that provided a percentage of the funding necessary to convert facilities to ozone friendly alternatives. Kyrgyzstan and Moldova eliminated the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in medical inhalers; and Kazakhstan improved the management of halons (fire-fighting agents with an ozone-depleting potential).

Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland adopted alternatives to Methyl Bromide, a toxic ozone depleting substance is used in agriculture for fumigation and as a pesticide; and Kyrgyzstan eliminated the use of Methyl Bromide.

Georgia is disposing of 250 tons of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), Kazakhstan is getting rid of 800 tons of PCBs and Kyrgyzstan is eliminating 50 tons of PCBs.

chemicals chart
Tons of ozone-depleting potential phased out in the region by UNDP projects, in %