Jul 1, 2009
High Level International Forum on Uranium Tailings in Central Asia (29 June 2009): Four Central Asian countries and several international agencies agreed on a Joint Declaration to cooperate in tackling the problem of uranium residues in the region.
The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, The Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan, along with United Nations Agencies, IAEA, OSCE, European Commission, EBRD and EurAsEC confirmed their commitment to initiatives on the strengthening of the international and regional cooperation to deal with the problems related to the legacy of uranium mining sites in Central Asia.
The Forum was co-chaired by Mr. Igor Chudinov, Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Mr. Miroslav Jenca, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA). Ministerial level representatives of the countries participated throughout the Forum.
The Joint Declaration recognized that the conditions of the tailing sites have deteriorated during the last decades and some tailings are situated in seismic areas near river banks and dwellings and as such are exposed to mudflows and landslides. The signatories confirmed their wish and willingness to address the problems related to radioactive and toxic waste through cooperation and joint actions leading to the full remediation of contaminated areas in accordance with highest safety standards and best mining practices.
It was also acknowledged that Central Asian countries will need additional financial and technical resources to manage and maintain the uranium tailings sites at a safe level. Thereby, continuous support by the international community is needed, among other things, to address the following priority areas:
- Strengthening the legislative framework
- Remediation of the tailings
- Development and implementation of specific projects to improve monitoring, capacity building and public awareness
- Measures to be taken to prevent access of the population to contaminated areas
- Medical-humanitarian measures to improve the quality of life and standard of living of the population
The importance of a regional approach and regional cooperation among the effected countries to address the problem of uranium tailing sites is especially highlighted in the document, and the countries of Central Asia confirmed their full commitment to sustain their domestic programmes, and in particular the regulatory infrastructures, as well as to contribute to the programmes and projects and to respect the principles set out in the Joint Declaration.
“We, the governments of Central Asia, have shown our readiness to work together to tackle this serious and dangerous threat not only to our region but beyond.” Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov