European Union and Kyrgyz Republic strengthen cooperation towards environmental protection in Central Asia

European Union and Kyrgyz Republic strengthen cooperation towards environmental protection in Central Asia

16/02/2016

16 February, Brussels – Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, today met Erlan Abdyldaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, to discuss issues of common interest in the framework of the EU- Kyrgyz cooperation.

Commissioner Mimica and Minister Abdyldaev welcomed the joint cooperation between the Kyrgyz Republic and the European Union on the environmental remediation of uranium mining legacy sites, which nonetheless still pose a grave threat to the environment in Central Asia.

That is why they discussed their common support for the creation of a multi-donor Fund, the Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA), which will finance physical environmental remediation projects. The Minister expressed his gratitude for the European Commission's major contribution of 16.45 million EUR made to ERA. The fund will be managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Government of Kyrgyzstan and the European Commission remain committed to working closely together in inviting further donors to join the ERA fund in order to ensure its full operation.

The Commissioner and the Minister reiterated the importance they attach to the coordination role played by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The European Commission will continue to support the work done by the IAEA in developing a strategic master plan for the environmental remediation of uranium mining legacy sites in Central Asia.

Commissioner Mimica and Minister Abdyldaev also discussed the implementation of EU-funded development cooperation projects in Kyrgyz Republic, and how these can best contribute to achieving the development objectives of the Kyrgyz government. The EU has agreed a Multiannual Indicative Programme of development cooperation, with the Kyrgyz Republic, covering the years 2014 to 2020 and with a budget of €184 million.  The focal sectors of this programme are Rule of Law, Education and Integrated Rural Development.   The Multiannual Indicative Programme for Kyrgyzstan is complemented by a variety of regional projects in Central Asia, covering topics such as border management, infrastructure investment and environmental protection.

Both parties jointly welcomed the progress achieved to date, in particular in developing feasibility studies for remediation work at mining sites in the Kyrgyz Republic, such as Min-Kush and Shekaftar.