International Cooperation

EPA's Efforts in Central Asia

Central Asia includes five republics of the former Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Central Asia’s economic activity is centered on irrigated agriculture in the south and on heavy and light industry and mining, mainly in Kazakhstan. Cotton is the primary agricultural crop. EPA has been collaborating with Central Asia for over 20 years. Our work focuses on environmental, scientific and technological issues in partnership with the governments and non-governmental organizations of Central Asia.

Explore our work in Central Asia:


International Science and Technology Center (ISTC)

The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) Exitwas established in Moscow by an international agreement in November 1992 as a nonproliferation program. The Center coordinates efforts of numerous governments, international organizations, and private sector industries, providing former weapons scientists from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States with new opportunities for sustainable, peaceful employment.

ISTC activities include research projects, which employ scientists in the development of new science and technology, and supplemental programs, such as training and workshops. The United States is a funding party to the ISTC, and EPA has been an ISTC Partner since 2001.

US EPA recently supported three research projects in the region:

  • Kazakhstan: Bioremediation of Mercury Contamination at a Former Chemical Plant, using Native Bacterial Cultures
  • Kyrgystan: Trans-Continental Transport of Air Pollution from Central Asia
  • Tajikistan: Identifying Sources of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Food

In the past, US EPA supported 5 additional projects in Kazakhstan and one in Uzbekistan.

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Mercury Mining in Kyrgyzstan

A miner pushes a load of ore at the Khaidarkan mercury mine in southwestern Kyrgyzstan.

The last mine known to export primary mined mercury to the global market is in the nation of Kyrgyzstan.

Through the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership, EPA is assisting the nation of Kyrgyzstan to develop a plan to phase out primary mercury production at this mine.

Learn more about the Primary Mercury Supply Project Exitof the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership.

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Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia

From 2003-2009, EPA EPA supported the Regional Environmental Center (REC) for Central AsiaExit based in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
To improve the Water Supply to Villages of Illl-Balkhash Region, EPA supported repair and rehabilitation activities of water pipeline networks. With involvement of the local communities, projects were completed in four villages. Efforts included the establishment of local Water Consumers Associations, and funds from local communities were used to support a percentage of the work.

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Global Methane Initiative

The Global Methane Initiative (GMI) Exit is an international public-private initiative that advances cost effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a clean energy source in four sectors: agriculture, coal mines, landfills, and oil and gas systems.

Kazakhstan is a GMI partner country. A complete list of activities in Kazakhstan Exitis available on the website of the Global Methane Initiative.

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Learn more about Central Asia


For additional information about EPA's work with Central Asia, contact:
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2610R)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460