|PAN UK Project: Reducing pesticide risks and promoting alternatives in the former Soviet Union|
PAN UK is working to protect farmers and vulnerable social groups from pesticide risks in the former Soviet Union, and promoting safer alternatives.
The project is working with local partners in six former Soviet countries - Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine - to:
Vulnerable social groups
Users of pesticides often have a poor understanding of the effect of pesticides on their own health or the health of others. Some groups such as women (especially expectant mothers and those who are breastfeeding), and children, are particularly vulnerable to pesticide poisoning. Migrant, seasonal and casual workers, who are prevalent in agriculture, are also vulnerable to pesticide exposure as they rarely have information on pesticide hazards and are often unaware of their rights.
These groups are often overlooked by pesticide regulators, and addressing them in this project will help to understand the risk factors for these often hard to reach sections of the community.
By speaking to farmers themselves and members of vulnerable groups we are building a clearer picture of how pesticides are used in each country and their health effects.
Project staff in discussion with a farming family on their farm in Shnogh village, Lori Province, Armenia. (Photo: PAN UK)
The data gathered during the baseline studies allows us to develop communications materials tailored to each audience and tackle the problems identified.
Strengthening regulatory decision-making
The voices of vulnerable groups often go unheard. We are working to ensure these voices are heard, and that regulatory decision-making is made stronger as a result.
We are training partner organisations in each country to collect and utilise pesticide data to influence governments and regulators.
PAN UK Toxicologist, Dr Rina Guaganini delivering training on pesticide exposure at a workshop for project participants (Photo: PAN UK)
PAN UK is working to deliver the project aims in close collaboration with Secretariat for the Rotterdam Convention, which promotes the open exchange of pesticide information between nations and supports proper labeling and directions on safe handling of pesticides.
The civil society partner organisations with whom we are working on the ground in each of the six countries are:
Funded by the European Union (EU) and the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), this project is part of a wider programme: Improving capacities to eliminate and prevent recurrence of obsolete pesticides as a model for tackling unused hazardous chemicals in the former Soviet Union.