Demonstrating and Scaling Up Sustainable Alternatives to DDT for the control of vector borne diseases in Azerbaijan

Project General Information


Demonstrating and Scaling Up Sustainable Alternatives to DDT for the control of vector borne diseases in Azerbaijan

Persistent Organic Pollutants


While the number of VBDs and their incidence in countries of the WHO European Region is much less than that of the tropical, developing countries, there are, nevertheless, a substantial number of such infections in the Region. Furthermore, the incidence of some of them has been on the rise, and their distribution is spreading (malaria; visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL)). Some other VBDs are much neglected and updated information is missing (a.o. Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF)). VBDs could result in ill health, death, and economic hardship for the affected communities and are a serious impediment to economic development.

In the past, DDT has been used extensively as an insecticide for malaria control/elimination and by the agricultural sector as well in many countries of the Region, and as a result, malaria had been almost eliminated by the beginning of the 1960s.

The perception that the WHO European Region is free from malaria has changed rapidly over the past decades. Since the early 1980s, the number of countries affected by malaria has increased from 3 to 10. At the beginning of the 1990s, the residual reservoir of malaria infection, aggravated by political and socio-economic situation in the transition countries, mass population migration in the region, and almost discontinued activities on malaria prevention resulted in conditions favorable for malaria transmission. Consequently, large-scale epidemics broke out in Central Asia and the Trans-Caucasian countries, and a total of 90 712 malaria cases were officially reported in the WHO European Region in 1995.

Since 1995, there has been a substantial reduction in the number of reported malaria cases as a result of intensive anti-malaria interventions. To bring the incidence of malaria down, priority was given to vector control measures with particular emphasis on indoor residual spraying (IRS). The goal of the new regional strategy (2006) is to halt local transmission area- or country-wide, clear up malaria foci and reduce the number of locally acquired cases to zero by 2015.

The other VBDs occurring in the Region have benefited from the previous structured anti-malaria campaigns. However, there have never been similar campaigns aimed at any of the other VBDs, and the current (neglected) burden and potential threat by leishmaniasis, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and other VBDs must not be underestimated.

Although vector control has proven to be highly effective in preventing transmission of various VBDs, national capacities of entomological services are often not strong enough, and they are now facing shortages of technical support and financial resources for vector control. today, national vector control programmes often lack trained personnel and, as a result, routine entomological activities are not conducted in a proper manner. Like elsewhere, the WHO European Region has been facing problems related to the use of residual insecticides, development of vectors resistance, unsafe storage of insecticides/pesticides with threats to humans and the environment, and indiscriminate use of pesticides in agriculture that has often accelerated resistance induction in vectors.

Possible climate changes could change the temporal and spatial distribution of vector species and result in an increase in the prevalence and incidence of VBDs. Increased population mobility, international air transport of goods, and uncontrolled migration due to political or economic instability may facilitate the introduction of new VBDs into areas where they have not been reported before.

In order to ensure that countries reduce their reliance on the use of persistent and as such more residual  insecticides (like DDT) while at the same time strengthen national strategies based on sustainable and cost-effective vector control alternatives to tackle VBDs, the development of the joint WHO/UNEP DSSA Program (Demonstrating and Scaling-up of Sustainable Alternatives to DDT in Vector Management) supported and financial assistance was received from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) for the individual projects. This project is part of the global DSSA Program.

DDT is one of the twelve (12) insecticides recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in IRS. According to WHO, DDT is still in use primarily for malaria control in approximately 24 countries worldwide. DDT is a synthetic chemical compound once used widely in the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and throughout the world as a pesticide. From 1950 to

1970, more than 20,000 tonnes of DDT were used annually in the FSU. Soviet production and use continued secretly also after the 1970 ban. In some cases, DDT production even increased. Most DDT was applied in the southern regions of the FSU where agricultural activity was greatest, such as Moldova and Ukraine, followed by the Northern Caucasus region of Russia and the Central Asian republics. It is estimated by the FAO that currently still 150.000 tons of DDT are stored in countries that belonged to the Former Soviet Union.

The Customs Department of the Ministry on State Incomes and Taxes of the Republic of Tajikistan revealed and prevented illegal import of 17 tons of DDT, delivered from neighboring countries in the regions in the years 2005 – 2006; a clear prove of the existence of illegal regional transboundary chemicals movements.

DDT is often stored mixed with other obsolete pesticides. The accumulation of the large quantities of chlorinated pesticides in agriculture has its background in the extensive, centrally managed and often uncritical use of plant protection products in the former Soviet Union. Large amounts of chemicals were brought into the areas via “central stores” located along the railways or aviation bases. From there they were brought, usually by trucks, to the farms where they were temporarily stored before use. The liberal supply, coupled with subsequent bans or controls on certain products as well as changes in crop rotation reducing the need for pesticides, resulted by mid 60-ties in large accumulation of now obsolete pesticides in storages, burial places and in the worst case  environmental media. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet system, about 50% of the banned and outdated pesticides were collected in central stores, while the rest remained scattered throughout the country, often stored under increasingly deplorable conditions.

The Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) restricts the production and use of 12 chemicals including DDT. Recently more chemicals were added.  DDT, like the other POPs, poses significant global risks because it is toxic, bioaccumulates in the food chain, and is susceptible to long-range environmental transport (via air and water). The extensive use of DDT for agricultural purposes has resulted in a number of effects from egg-shell thinning to developmental and reproductive effects manifested in wildlife.  Continued exposure to DDT may threaten both biodiversity and human health. 



Full Size Project(FSP)



GEF Trust Fund

Stage Grant to UNEP Grant to other IA Co-Financing UNEP Fee Other IA Fee


Executing Agency Category

Partner Category

Name Category Period

Jan Betlem


Fiscal Year Project activities and objectives met

$ 0.00