ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN KAZAKHSTAN

(Draft)

Maira A. Zhunusova

Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Expert group on establishing a Republican environmental information system in Kazakhstan

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


1. INTRODUCTION

Agenda 21, Chapter 40, on information to support decision making specifies the necessity of improving information control with a view to making environmental information more accessible. The UNEP Environmental Assessment Programme (EAP) has a mandate to:

To meet these needs, UNEP/EAP shall provide assistance to developing countries and countries in transition to a market economy so as to facilitate environmental data and information management.

The end product of the programme will be the global operational environmental information network. The UNEP approach involves a number of measures that will be implemented in four stages (Assessment - Implementation - Execution - Operation) for which appropriate guidelines have been drawn up. A general review of environmental information in the country will be given at the assessment stage.

This Report has been drawn up in compliance with the GRID-Arendal-Manager recommendations on the programme in the countries of Eastern Europe and developing countries made by Doctor Otto Simonett.

The purpose of this Report is to assess the current situation and the urgent (global) need to establish an environmental information network in Kazakhstan.

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


2. BACKGROUND

2.1 Brief information about the country

The Republic of Kazakhstan is an independent Eurasian state. Its population is 16.9 million people; its capital is Almaty. There are 19 regions (oblasts). The territory of the country is 2,072,000 sq.km. Population density: 6.2 inhabitants per sq.km.

Geographical position

Situated in the middle of Eurasia, Kazakhstan is at the point of intersection of major arterial roads, and thus a centre of historical, economic, religious and cultural links between west and east, south and north, Europe and Asia.

Kazakhstan borders on Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgizstan and China.

The territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan stretches for 2925 kilometres from west to east - from the Caspian Sea and the Lower Volga to the Altai and the People's Republic of China; for 1600 kilometres from north to south - from the West Siberian Plain and southern Urals to the Tienshan ranges and Kzylkum Desert. Thus, the territory of Kazakhstan lies in central and southern latitudes of the moderate climate zone, while the extreme south is in the zone adjacent to the subtropical one.

The continental position of Kazakhstan in the centre of the Eurasian continent is its distinctive feature, and is reflected in the entire physical and geographical make-up of the territory, its hydrogeography, and its plant and animal life.

The geographical position between the Siberian taiga and Central Asian deserts, and between the Caspian Sea, which is the biggest inland water body of the continent, and the highest mountains of the Tienshan, results in a great variety of natural conditions and sites.

History

The geographical position of Kazakhstan has been, in large measure, conducive to its development. The great caravan trade route, which is known as the "Great Silk Route" and linked Byzantium and China, cuts across the southern part of the country. The caravan route along the Syrdar'y River to the southern Urals and adjacent territories, as well as the trade route cutting across Central Kazakhstan and the Altai to the south-western regions of Siberia, were likewise of great importance. Trading and cottage-industry towns and caravansaries began to appear on those routes. Otrar (modern Farab) and Taraz (Zhambyl) are the best known ones.

The aboriginal and the nomadic tribes, which had crossed the Altai, started to form the future Kazakh nationality. The second half of the 15th century saw the emergence of the first Kazakh khanates, and the formation of the Kazakh nation had been completed by the first half of the 16th century. The word "Kazakh" means a free and independent nomad in the ancient Turkic language.

In the 16-17th centuries, the territory of Kazakhstan, divided into separate khanates, was something of a kind of political formation that did not have any administrative units, judicial bodies or written statutory codes. Those khanates were administered by families that were headed by beys. The tribes of the southern and south-eastern region of Kazakhstan were called the Senior "zhouz"; the tribes of its middle part were called the Middle "zhouz"; and the tribes of the western part of the region were called the Junior "zhouz".

In 1920 Kazakhstan became an autonomous republic and in 1936 a Union republic incorporated into the USSR.

In 1991, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan became an independent sovereign state.

Economy

The Republic is fairly rich in minerals and raw materials. It is able to meet its needs for mineral resources and also to export certain volumes of various raw materials and products thereof.

The workforce is estimated to be 7.4 million people. The general education and scientific level of the workforce is rather high. One worker in ten has a higher education.

The Republic has got a rather great productive potential. Industry accounts for 42.2 per cent of all fixed production assets; agriculture accounts for 26.1 per cent; construction accounts for 4.5 per cent; and transport and communications account for 21.1 per cent. The share of raw-material branches of industry, integrated into the industrial and production funds, amounts to 66.7 per cent; in machine-building it amounts to 11.9 per cent; in light industry and the food-processing industry this share amounts to 3.2 and 4.5 per cent, respectively. The active part (machines, equipment, transmitting devices) accounts for 43 per cent of the total volume of fixed production assets (data from the Report on Human Development, 1994).

90 out of the 105 elements in the periodic table occur in Kazakhstan; 70 of them have been explored and prospected, and 60 elements are now being used in manufacturing processes. Kazakhstan has got large deposits of copper, zinc, rare-earth metals, coal, iron, silver, gold, bauxite, natural gas and oil. Utilization of this potential began only in the past 60 to 70 years.

At present Kazakhstan is faced with a general economic recession.

2.2 Environmental issues and environmental decision making

In 1994, the condition of the natural environment in the Republic of Kazakhstan was, on the whole, unsatisfactory.

The falling-off of production did not bring about an adequate decrease in pollution because enterprises had to save their resources and could not make investments in environmental protection. The environmental situation in Kazakhstan continues to deteriorate due to the economic situation.

On the whole, emissions of pollutants from stationary sources in the Republic amounted to 3,094,600 tonnes in 1994. Motor transport made a major contribution to the pollution of atmospheric air by emitting 1,202,700 tonnes of harmful substances, including:

solid substances - 1028.8

sulphur dioxide - 1134.6

carbon oxide - 468.3

nitrogen oxide - 240.5

specific high-toxic

substances (hydrogen sulphide,

ammonia, benzopyrene and others) - 5.0

Despite a higher water content of the main rivers in the Republic of Kazakhstan in the years 1993-94, compared with the annual average norm and a somewhat lower discharge of industrial sewage, the surface water quality in 1994 was still unsatisfactory. All in all, 7.69 cu.km of waste water of different categories were discharged into natural water bodies, of which 6.04 cu.km were discharged into surface water bodies.

Underground water resources are also subjected to great anthropogenic pollution, with 450 sources of pollution detected so far.

The quality of the drinking water supply in 1994 did not improve in comparison with the previous quality indices; 18.6 per cent of control samples failed to meet hygienic requirements.

The environmental condition of the Aral Sea is still worsening.

The continuous rise of the Caspian Sea in 1994 exacerbated environmental, economic and social problems in the region.

The land resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan continue to degrade, with about 250,000 hectares of agricultural land being withdrawn from use every year. Farmland is being recultivated at a very slow pace.

The soil in a number of regions is contaminated with pesticides and industrial toxicants.

The radiation situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan remains tense, particularly when one takes into consideration the effect produced by the former Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground and other sites used to set off nuclear explosions, the numerous landfills of radioactive wastes and nuclear/industrial complex facilities.

The analysis and assessment of environmental information have helped to draw up the following action programme which sets priorities in the domain of environmental protection and its rational management:

However, owing to a very difficult economic situation, this programme can hardly be implemented in the near future, if at all.

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


3. STATUS OF ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION NETWORK

3.1 Environmental information network at the national level

The State Committee for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources (Goskomprirody) of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic was set up in 1987. In 1991 it was transformed into the State Committee of the Kazakh SSR for Ecology and Environmental Management which, in turn, was reorganized in January 1992 into the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The change of the status, and the wider terms of reference of the Ministry as a body of supradepartmental environmental management, have called for a radical transformation of the environmental protection system, its institutions and personnel management. Apart from the subdivisions, which existed within the framework of the State Committee for Ecology, the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan incorporates: Kazglavzhivokhrana (wildlife protection), Kazglavrybokhrana (fish species protection), Republican specialized laboratory of analytical control, State scientific/production association of industrial ecology "Kazmekhanobar", Republican scientific/production centre of environmental economic analysis and licensing "KAZECOEXP".

Kazglavrybokhrana exercises State control over the protection of fish stocks, and regulates fish farming on the entire territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It has got a ramified network of regional (oblast) and district (rayon) fish-farming inspection offices.

Kazglavzhivokhrana exercises State control over the protection, use and management of wildlife, and keeps State accounts and registers.

The State scientific/production association of industrial ecology "Kazmekhanobar" is the major research subdivision of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It coordinates research in the field of rational use and protection of natural resources, in the development of the mining industry and fundamental trends in the enrichment of mineral raw materials.

The Republican specialized laboratory of analytical control is a controlling and coordinating body within the framework of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It exercises analytical control over environmental pollution at three levels of the analytical control system: State, branch (department) and production level.

The Republican scientific/production centre of environmental economic analysis and licensing "KAZECOEXP" makes an assessment of environmental impacts, elaborates environmental information systems and develops environmental databases.

The Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources performs its functions in compliance with Edict 679 of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 16 March 1992 and the environmental legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In exercising its authority, the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources and its institutional subdivisions and local bodies are guided by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Protection of the Natural Environment", and laws, decrees, regulations and other decisions taken by the President and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources endorses discharge and emission limits, grants and revokes permits and licences for the use of atmospheric air, forest resources, non-timber plant products, and also for discharges of pollutants and disposal of wastes in the environment. The Ministry grants and cancels permits for special-purpose water use. It establishes maximum permissible levels for discharges of pollutants into water bodies, water storages and the landscape.

The principal tasks and objectives of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources are to:

The Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources is headed by the Minister appointed in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Minister has three deputies.

The deputy Minister, who is heading the environmental protection control and inspection activities, is the Chief State environmental protection inspector of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Head of the Main Board of State environmental impact assessment and radiation ecology is the ex officio Chief State environmental expert of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

A board composed of 13 people, including the Minister (Chairman of the Board), his deputies ex officio, heads of leading institutional subdivisions of the Ministry, experts and scientists, has been formed to consider and solve problems pertaining to ecology, environmental protection, and management and use of bioresources. The composition of the Board, suggested by the Minister, shall be approved and reconsidered by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The personnel of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources includes:

The scheme of the Central organization of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources is now undergoing some structural changes.

Special representative bodies of State control in the domain of environmental protection and management include:

Other ministries and agencies dealing with environmental issues:

The Main Board for Hydrometeorology of the Republic of Kazakhstan is an environmental pollution observation centre. It monitors air pollution, the quality of surface and sea waters, and the soil on the territory of the Republic;

The Institute of Monitoring analyses and forecasts the status of the natural environment;

Goskomstat (The State Committee for Statistics) gathers and provides information on actual emissions and discharges into the environment;

Kazakh Institute of Mineral Raw Materials has collected information on underground water resources. It controls the level of their depletion and pollution;

Information on land resources is available at Goskomzem, Giprozem, Farmland Chemicalization Centre, and the Institute of Soil Science of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

Information on plant resources is available at Goskomzem, the Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Meadows and Pastures of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Plant Protection Station of the Ministry of Agriculture;

Information on wildlife and fish stock is available at the Institute of Zoology of the National Academy of Sciences, Hunters and Anglers Society (a public organization), Kazglavzhivokhrana (Kazakh Agency for Animate Nature Protection, Department of Wildlife Reserves of the Committee for Forestry at the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Fish Protection Agency, GiproPX, the Institute of Zoology of the National Academy of Sciences, and at Kazakh Research Institute of Fish Farms;

Information on toxic wastes is available at the Ministry of Health, Sanitary/Epidemiological Station; information on radioactive wastes is available at the National Agency for nuclear power generation and at the National Nuclear Centre;

Information on man's habitat is provided by Gosstroi and architectural organizations;

The sanitary/epidemiological situation, bacteriological contamination, noise, vibration, and electromagnetic oscillations are controlled by the Sanitary/Epidemiological Station and the Republican Radio and Television Board.

Besides, the Institute of Space Research of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan makes use of ARC/INFO GIS to draw maps based on aerial photographs and satellite images.

Education

Since the adoption of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Environmental Protection in the Kazakh SSR" and the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Education" of 18 January 1992, the Republic has mapped out the problem of "environmental awareness building" as a principle of State policy in the sphere of public education.

Faculties of environmental protection and departments of environmental protection and management have been established at a majority of colleges and universities in the Republic of Kazakhstan, among them:

Kazakh National State University, Almaty (chemistry and ecology);

Kazakh National Technological University, Almaty (ecology and monitoring);

Kzyl-Orda Teachers Training Institute (ecology and monitoring);

Kazakh Chemical Technology Institute, Shymkent (industrial ecology);

Karaganda Polytechnic (industrial ecology);

Zhezkazgan Mining Institute (industrial ecology);

Abai State University, Almaty (environmental protection and rational environmental management);

Abai State University, Almaty (geography and ecology);

Petropavlovsk Teachers Training Institute (geography and ecology);

Akmolinsk Teachers Training Institute (chemistry and ecology);

Aktyubinsk Teachers Training Institute (chemistry and ecology);

Arkalyk Teachers Training Institute (chemistry and ecology);

Atyrausk Teachers Training Institute (chemistry and ecology);

Kazakh State Academy of Management (environmental management economy);

Abai Women's Teachers Training Institute, Almaty (biology and ecology);

State Academy of Architecture and Building, Almaty (water supply, sewerage systems, rational use and protection of water resources);

Akmolinsk Construction Engineering Institute (water supply, sewerage systems, rational use and protection of water resources);

Ust'-Kamenogorsk Road Building Institute (water supply, sewerage systems, rational use and protection of water resources).

Non-governmental organizations

The transformations, which were started in the Republic of Kazakhstan in the late '90s, continue to exert profound influence on public awareness of environmental issues, thereby drawing the attention of the general public to the issues of environmental protection and management.

More than 20 public organizations, which have regional action programmes of their own, had been formed in the Republic by the end of 1994. In most cases these organizations are small. They are called upon to resolve specific local problems.

The biggest public organizations are:

The international anti-nuclear movement "Nevada-Semipalatinsk" was launched in Almaty in 1989 by Olzhas Suleimanov, a prominent writer and politician. The movement has carried out its historic mission: the year 1991 saw the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground.

Some of the public organizations are listed below:

3.2 Subnational environmental network

Regional and City Ecology and Bioresources Boards are territorial subdivisions of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources. They ensure the pursuance of the State policy in the domain of ecology, environmental protection and management aimed at preserving man's habitat in the regions under their control. These Regional and City Ecology and Bioresources Boards are guided in their activities by the Law "On Environmental Protection" of the Republic of Kazakhstan and other regulatory acts and edicts of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, by the orders and directives of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, by orders and instructions of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources, and also by the decisions taken by local authorities (regional and district administration, maslikhates).

The standard set-up of a regional (city) ecology and bioresources board includes the following subdivisions and services:

3.3 International cooperation

International cooperation in environmental protection is a priority trend in the policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources is, in the main, responsible for such cooperation.

Drafts of intergovernmental agreements and arrangements in the field of ecology and environmental protection are ready to be signed with the United States of America, the Russian Federation, Mongolia, India, the People's Republic of China, and Israel.

In 1994, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan continued work on the drafting of its executive order "On Accession by the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Basel Convention" and "On Registration of Potentially Toxic Chemical Substances Within the Framework of UNEP".

Experts of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan attended international forums, conferences, and sessions, and took part in the discussion of the Convention on Desertification, the N-EAP for Europe, the Convention on Climate Change and Biological Diversity, and the implementation of the London principles of exchange of information on chemical substances, waste management, and identification and assessment of potentially dangerous transboundary impacts.

This April a mission of the Global Environmental Facility made a visit to the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The mission discussed the issue of Kazakhstan's membership in the GEF and reached an agreement, in principle, on funding the working out of the State strategy of sustainable development and management of biological diversity in Kazakhstan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan has submitted, on behalf of the Government, a request application to the UNDP-GEF Executive Coordinator to notify of Kazakhstan's intention to become a member of the Global Environmental Facility.

The Ministry finds it essential that Kazakhstan should be a party to some of the 180 important international conventions and arrangements on environmental protection concluded and signed so far. About 30 conventions and arrangements are today of priority importance to Kazakhstan (the list of such conventions is annexed). In the immediate future the Ministry will appeal to the Government of the Republic again for a positive decision on Kazakhstan's accession to the Cites, Ramsar and Bonn Conventions.

"Kazmekhanobr", which is the scientific/production base of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, has developed the National Register of potentially toxic substances. This has been done with a view to strengthening the national potential of sovereign Kazakhstan in the area of safe utilization and effective handling of chemical substances. It will provide information on international trade in chemical substances with a view to preventing the harmful effects produced by potentially toxic chemical substances on the environment and human health.

3.4 Analysis of the environmental legislation

In addition to the Law of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic "On Environmental Protection in the Kazakh SSR", which has been in force since 1 August 1991, a number of laws, edicts of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and directives of the Supreme Soviet were enacted in the years 1992-94.

In conformity with this law, the environmental protection agencies are to keep the general public informed about the state of the environment and provide access to environmental information.

The elaboration of the environmental legislation in the country is aimed at assuring legal regulation of environmental activities among juridical and other entities at a time of changing economic, political, ideological and legal realities. The environmental legislation can only be enforced by developing a well-balanced and unified system of legislative and other regulatory acts.

The following bills are now at the stage of drafting or approval:

3.5 Economic considerations related to the establishment of environmental information systems and dissemination of environmental information

The economic mechanism of environmental protection and management in the Republic of Kazakhstan is based on Articles 13-14, Section IV, of the Law of the Kazakh SSR "On Protection of the Natural Environment in the Kazakh SSR" of 1 August 1991. This law specifies the taking of an inventory of natural resources and making of a social and economic assessment thereof; the funding of environmental programmes and measures; integrated environmental management arrangements and licences; harmful emission and discharge limits; economic stimulation of environmental protection; and fees and charges for use of natural resources and environmental pollution.

In particular, the establishment of the national environmental information system is being financed from the environmental fund. As of today, performance specifications have been drawn up to establish the national environmental information system of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources, and a concept of the Unified State System of Environmental Monitoring has been formulated.

3.6 Using environmental information to support decision making in education and mass media

All the institutional subdivisions of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources of the Republic of Kazakhstan are disseminating environmental information in order to enhance education on environmental issues, making use of mass media (experts and department heads of the Ministry of Ecology appear regularly on TV), and contributing articles to the press. The newspapers "Ecocourier", "Atameken", "Tabigat Ayasy" and "Ecologicheski Vestnik" continued to increase public awareness of environmental issues in 1994.

The Kazakh radio and television broadcast the subject programmes "Ecology for you" and "Salvation".

An outstanding contribution to education on environmental issues has been made by the Kazakh society of UN environmental and sustainable development promotion, which was founded on the basis of the Republican society of nature, and by CASDIN (sustainable development information network in Central Asia) and environmental universities.

Information from "Environmental Bulletins" - different accounts and reports of the Centre for environmental pollution monitoring (Main Board for Hydrometeorology of the Republic of Kazakhstan) - is used to support decision making. These accounts and reports are: Yearbook of soil pollution in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Yearbook of surface and sea water quality and of efficiency of water protection measures on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Yearbook of the pollution of atmospheric air in towns and industrial centres in the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Information Bulletin on underground water inventory and on monitoring of underground water protection against depletion and pollution in the Republic of Kazakhstan (prepared by the Ministry of Geology and Protection of Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Department of integrated research of the Kazakh Institute of Mineral Raw Materials).

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


4. ASSESSMENT OF GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

4.1. Priority needs for information to support decision making

The success of the environmental protection policy and administrative decisions taken to govern the environmental protection and management activities in the Republic of Kazakhstan depends on informational support. The problem of providing decision makers with timely and reliable information has always been acute, and it is more so nowadays. Thus there is a need for an environmental information control system that would meet the requirements for prompt and reliable environmental information and provide access to the sources of such information.

Moreover, modern equipment is required to support the publication of the Environmental Information Bulletin of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

4.2. Legislation related to environmental information control and access thereto

The Law "On Protection of the Natural Environment" was adopted in August 1991. This law specifies "legal, economic and social aspects of environmental protection in the interests of the present and succeeding generations" and is aimed to prevent the harmful effects of human activities on the environment, to maintain ecological equilibrium and to establish environmental management in the country.

Pursuant to the Law "On Protection of the Natural Environment", Section II, Article 7, the people shall have a right to obtain detailed and reliable information on the state of the natural environment and human health. Section III, Article 10, stipulates that local authorities shall provide information on the state of the environment. The local authorities discharge their duties mainly through local bodies of ecobioresources management which are called upon to disseminate environmental information among the people.

At present the issue of intellectual property has yet to be solved. Appropriate laws are required to regulate relationships between information sources and information consumers.

4.3. Financing environmental information control

The difficulties encountered during the transition to a market-oriented economy make it more difficult to develop an instrument to control environmental information.

State investments in environmental protection have been greatly decreased owing to the mounting economic crisis. However, there is still a need for environmental information. State agencies at all levels are the main consumers of such information.

4.4. Improving the institutional setting

In order to develop an environmental information control system, it is necessary to establish a Centre for provision of informational support to the bodies of environmental protection and management of the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources.

This Centre should:

4.5. Cooperation with international (global and regional) programmes, including UNEP and UN environmental databases

In 1994, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan continued work on the drafting of its executive order "On Accession by the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Basel Convention" and "On Registration of Potentially Toxic Chemical Substances Within the Framework of UNEP".

However, environmental information resources need to be integrated into the global system of databases much more intensively.

4.6. Priority information and technological needs

For the environmental data and information to be integrated, it is necessary to adopt a national environmental information system wherein new information technologies, local information networks, etc. could be used. This would promote the establishment and further development of a body to control environmental protection information. A lack of technical resources, and organizational and financial problems hamper the development of a working computer network within the system in existence. The telecommunication infrastructure confines itself to simple modem communication with use of telephone channels of poor quality. There is a pressing need to introduce infrastructure for information exchange connected to the Internet and compatible with the GRID information system. This would make it possible to exchange information and to enhance the quality of environmental management.

4.7. Priorities in selecting a database control system

For the problems of environmental information control to be resolved and the new information technologies to be applied in this area, one should opt for an appropriate database control system. One needs immediate access databases that support a large volume of information and meet international standards in the area of information technologies, and also telecommunication systems and communication facilities compatible with the GRID information exchange system.

4.8. Training

The educational level of experts and specialists in the Republic is fairly high. However, due to economic difficulties and the lack of a technical base and new technologies, their knowledge and experience cannot be realized efficiently and in full. In particular, it is necessary to increase the educational level of experts and specialists by means of international cooperation in information exchange, and by holding workshops and implementing joint programmes. This will promote the development of an environmental information control mechanism. The Republic of Kazakhstan should also be connected to the international information exchange network, i.e., be integrated into the international environmental information space.

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


5. PROPOSED ACTIONS

5.1 Actions suggested to improve the situation

At this stage it would be advisable to submit an assessment report on the state of the environmental information system in Kazakhstan and then to mobilize all institutional resources in order to implement some feasible stage. A detailed action programme should be drawn up in order to develop a national environmental information network. This can be done on condition that an Information Centre composed of 3-5 people is set up and attached to the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources. The duty of this Centre would be to improve the institutional setting for developing a national network compatible with GRID. Another function of the Centre would be to provide the agencies responsible for environmental protection and rational use of natural resources, including other organizations concerned, with reliable environmental information.

At the stage of drawing up the Report, the Information Centre is expected to get assistance from other projects, which will promote the development of environmental databases. These databases will be the foundation of the national environmental information network. Meanwhile, this will offer an opportunity to verify the quality of existing databases at different organizations (reliability of data and permanent control over information) and to change the old format of these databases.

5.2 Suggested test measures

It is suggested that a local information network be set up at the Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources; that the available computer facilities be used efficiently; that communication be established with the subordinate units and subdivisions which supply information; and that the said network be connected to the international information network. This will allow the organizational structure of the environment information control system to be expanded and improved.

Better computer resources will allow concentration of basic information at the Information Centre; allocation of large volumes of information; selection of a high-performance database control system; installation of a geo-information system and an expert system for real-time processing of environmental information; and presentation of that information in a format convenient for analysis during decision making. Such systems are being developed by other organizations. They will promote the development of an integrated national environmental information system.

5.3 Obstacles to further perfection

There may occur a certain difficulty in getting high-quality data. The unsatisfactory monitoring system, the difficulties encountered in obtaining remote data, and other factors make the problem much more serious.

Scarce funds and the absence of a normative and methodological base that would meet present-day requirements, are not conducive to the solution of the problems we are faced with.

All this may cause an undesirable delay in developing an environmental information control system.

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


Appendix 1

List of contact telephones

	 

Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources

of the Republic of Kazakhstan

480091, Almaty,
Panfilov St., 106
Minister: N.I. Bayev
Tel: 63-12-73
Telefax: 63-69-73, 50-77-84

Head of Expert Group
developing the Republican environmental information system,
Head of Main Board of
State environmental impact assessment: M.A. Zhunusova
Tel: 63-68-62
Telefax: 63-69-73, 50-77-84
E-mail: yuly@mebr,alma-ata.su

Ministry of Ecology and Protection
of Natural Resources
of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Tel: 61-60-87

Ministry of Health

Tel: 33-46-11

State Committee for Water Resources

Tel: 63-76-01

State Committee for Land Relations
and Land Development

Tel: 41-06-17

Main Board for Hydrometeorology
of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Tel: 62-39-80

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


Appendix 2

List of conventions and arrangements in the area

of environmental protection which are of priority significance

to the Republic of Kazakhstan

  1. Convention on the protection of the plant kingdom of Europe and the Mediterranean, Paris, 1951.
  2. International Convention on the protection of plants, Rome, 1951.
  3. International Convention on the prevention of pollution of the sea with oil, London, 1954.
  4. Convention on the continental shelf, Geneva, 1958.
  5. Convention on high seas, Geneva, 1958.
  6. Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear tests in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater, Moscow, 1969.
  7. International Convention on civil liability for the damage done by oil pollution, Brussels, 1969.
  8. Convention on wetlands of international importance as wildlife habitats, Ramsar, 1971.
  9. Convention on the prohibition of development, production and stock-piling of bacteriological (biological) and toxic weapons and their destruction, London, Moscow, Washington, 1972.
  10. Convention on the protection of world cultural and natural heritage, Paris, 1972.
  11. Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES), Washington, 1973.
  12. Convention on the prohibition of military or any other means affecting the environment, Geneva, 1977.
  13. Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals, Bonn, 1979.
  14. Convention on the protection of wild fauna and its habitats in Europe, Bern, 1979.
  15. Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution, Geneva, 1979.
  16. Protocol to the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution with regard to long-term funding of the Joint Programme of long-range air pollution monitoring and assessment in Europe (EMEP), Geneva, 1984.
  17. Protocol on the reduction of sulphur emissions or their transboundary fluxes by at least 30 per cent to the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution, Helsinki, 1984.
  18. Protocol on the control of emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes to the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution, Sofia, 1988.
  19. Protocol on the control of emissions of volatile organic compounds or their transboundary fluxes to the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution, Geneva, 1991.
  20. Convention on the Law of the sea, Montego Bay, 1982.
  21. International FAO regulations on the genetic resources of plants, Rome, 1984.
  22. International FAO Code on behaviour in the proliferation and use of pesticides, Rome, 1985.
  23. Vienna Convention on the protection of the ozone layer, Vienna, 1985.
  24. Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances, Montreal, 1987.
  25. Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, Basel, 1989.
  26. London Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances, London, 1990.
  27. Convention on environmental impact assessment in the transboundary context, Espoo, 1991.
  28. Multilateral Agreement on CIS cooperation in the quarantine of plants, Moscow, 1991.
  29. Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the area of ecology and environmental protection, Moscow, 1992.
  30. Convention on biological diversity, Rio de Janeiro, 1992.
  31. Framework Convention on climate change, New York, 1992.
  32. Convention on transboundary effects of industrial accidents, Helsinki, 1992.
  33. Convention on the protection and use of transboundary water courses and international lakes, Helsinki, 1992.

[ Introduction | Background | Status of EIS | Assessment of Needs | Proposed Action | Annex 1 | Annex 2 | Annex 3 ]


Appendix 3

Environmental Protection Legislation

The Law of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic "On Protection of the Natural Environment";

Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Natural Resources and Mineral Raw Materials Processing";

"Forest Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan";

"Water Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan";

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Making Amendments to the Land Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan" and Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Individual Farms";

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Protection, Management and Use of Wildlife";

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Making Amendments to the Code of the Kazakh SSR on Administrative Breaches of Law";

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Sanitary-Epidemiological Well-Being of the Population";

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Individual Housing Construction";

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Foreign Investments".


Last updated 18 September, 1996 by Lorant Czaran / Homepage