The environmental activities of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan focus on strengthening environmental legislation, promoting environmental conventions, facilitating dialogue on environmental issues between the state, civil society and the business community and improving radioactive waste management. The governmental Committee for Environmental Protection, the parliamentary Commission for Environmental Protection and civil society institutions are the OSCE’s partners for cooperation in this field.
Strengthening Environmental Legislation and Policies
The OSCE Office in Tajikistan has supported the Government of Tajikistan in updating the state legislative and policy framework since 2005, by suggesting amendments to the Nature Protection Law and proposing tangible recommendations on the improvement of the waste management system based on thorough assessments and analysis.
At the request of the government, the OSCE Office in Tajikistan also supported a major Climate Change Survey which recommends environmental and socio-economic policy options to the Government of Tajikistan. It provides a comprehensive analysis of national policy, legal and institutional systems, existing planning tools and budget effectiveness in the area of climate change. The survey also focuses on climate change-driven migration challenges in the country. In 2011, the Office launched a project on supporting the development of a National Environmental Code, combining all existing and recently passed environmental legislation.
Promoting International Environmental Conventions
The OSCE Office in Tajikistan is assisting the government in the implementation of international environmental conventions. Through the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative, the Office supports four Aarhus Centres – in Dushanbe, Khujand, Kurgan-Tyube and Khorog – to promote the principles of the Aarhus Convention, facilitate its implementation in Tajikistan and conduct numerous awareness campaigns addressing environmental security issues in the region.
Facilitating State-Civil Society, Business-Environment Dialogue
Facilitating meetings between the Committee for Environmental Protection and civil society organizations is an important part of the Office’s environmental activities. The Office is also involved in the Civic Action for Security and Environment (CASE), which aims to create an enabling environment for civil society organizations to be a strong partner primarily to their governments as well as to other stakeholders in addressing environmental and security challenges together. CASE supports projects that address these challenges, including those related to sustainable use and management of natural resources, energy, climate change, land degradation and hazardous waste. It seeks to promote constructive interaction between governments and civil society, thereby helping to address various challenges associated with governance, including limitations to participation, transparency and accountability as well as the active involvement of youth and women. In this context, the Office actively supports a group of young Tajik environmental activists, known as the “Green Patrols”. The group organizes various environmental activities for young people—such as trainings in schools, civic clean-up, tree planting campaigns and summer camps.
Radioactive Waste Management
Approximately 54.8 million tonnes of waste from past uranium mining operations are still located in unsecured sites in northern Tajikistan, a number of them close to Khujand, the country’s second-largest city. The largest single dump site, containing some 12 million tonnes of radioactive waste, is in the town of Taboshar, north of Khujand. In order to address this problem, the OSCE has implemented a number of awareness-raising activities, partial rehabilitation of radioactive sites as well as expert assessment in Taboshar and its neighboring areas. Building on these achievements, the OSCE Office in Tajikistan currently works on creating stronger strategic partnerships with interested stakeholders in order to conduct a comprehensive full-scale assessment of the Taboshar uranium tailings.