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Fighting contraband pesticides

UN Environment’s chemicals and waste branch is to help Ukraine crack down on the illegal trafficking of fake pesticides.


As is often the case with counterfeit goods, imitation pesticides – even more harmful to people and the environment than certified ones - are cheap to make and can result in lucrative gains. Out of the 100,000 tonnes of the chemicals consumed in Ukraine each year, 25% are estimated to be illicit – whether produced locally or imported.


Ukraine is party to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions hosted by UN Environment. The new project - titled ‘Strengthening the Enforcement of the Rotterdam Convention in Ukraine and Building Capacity to Counteract Illegal Trafficking of Chemicals' – will help the country fulfil with numerous aspects of the Rotterdam Convention.


In line with the Convention’s prior informed consent principle, funding made available through the Special Programme Trust Fund will support Ukraine in developing and enforcing a national policy informing other countries on whether shipments of listed hazardous chemicals would be accepted - which exporting countries would have to respect. Information exchange will also be boosted with a view to tackling illegal pesticide trafficking through tools promoted under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, whose Secretariat is hosted by UN Environment and which Ukraine takes part in.


Strategies for detecting and preventing contraband pesticides include custom risk analyses, the introduction of significant penalties for smuggling and capacity building for authorities and other stakeholders. However, most of these approaches are still to be introduced in Ukraine. Political instability and an economic downturn have led to weakening the sound management of chemicals in the East European country.


The new project, starting in 2017, will be led by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine and be supported by Green Cross Switzerland and the International Centre for Environmental Conflictology and Safety, among others.


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