|Multi-stakeholders workshop discussing implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Belarus|
29 January 2014 - 31 January 2014
Good environmental governance is key for tackling environmental challenges. In January 2014, OSCE and UNECE organized 3 days multi-stakeholder workshop on “Advancing Implementation of the UNECE Aarhus Convention in Belarus”. The workshop was organised in close cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus and in partnership with the RUE Belorussian SRC ‘Ecology’, with support from the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative.
The diverse participation of practitioners from the central and local level demonstrated the strong commitment of Belarus to the implementation of the Aarhus Convention. Over 50 representatives of central and local governments, academia, governmental institutions, representatives of environmental civil society organizations, as well as Minsk and Hrodno Aarhus Centers, highlighted the challenges and solutions for advancing the implementation of the Aarhus Convention and its amendment on genetically-modified organisms (GMO) in Belarus. Participants familiarized themselves with the current implementation of the Aarhus Convention; they explored different measures to enhance the implementation of the Convention and its GMO amendment at the national and local levels, including with support of the Aarhus Centres.
At the opening of the workshop the First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Vitaly Kulik, stated that significant progress has been made in integrating the Aarhus Convention’s provisions into national legislation and in strengthening the capacities of state institutions in Belarus. He noted that "the National Workshop Advancing Implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Belarus will further promote implementation of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention".
|ENVSEC report: Transboundary Cooperation and Sustainable Management of the Dniester River Basin|
22 January 2014
A publication presents the achievements of the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) project “Transboundary Co-operation and Sustainable Management in the Dniester River Basin: Phase III – Implementation of the Action Programme”. The project was led and implemented by three of the ENVSEC partners, UNECE, OSCE and UNEP.
Project activities, transboundary water monitoring, fish fauna conservation, information sharing on the basin level, public awareness, and reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change, and development and signing of the Moldovan-Ukrainian Dniester River basin Treaty, are described in the publication.
The signing ceremony took place at the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) in Rome in November 2012 (see Treaty text in Russian and English as well as the related press release).
The publication provides recommendations for further activities in the Dniester basin and is a valuable reference for the further development of the transboundary integrated water resources management.
Dniester without Borders Summary (English)|
Dniester without Borders Summary (Russian)|
Dniester without Borders (Russian)|
|ENVSEC assists Azerbaijan and Georgia to make another step towards sustainable management of the Kura River Basin|
Baku, Azerbaijan - 16 January 2014
On Thursday, 16 January 2014, representatives of Azerbaijan and Georgia met in Baku to negotiate the text of a draft bilateral agreement on the shared water resources of the Kura River Basin as part of a joint United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) project under the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC). The consultations were constructive, and the draft text will now be the basis of final negotiations between the two countries.
Azerbaijan and Georgia rely on the water in the Kura Basin as a key source of drinking water, as well as for sanitation, municipal and industrial water use, hydropower and irrigated agriculture, among other uses. Increased variation in and reduction of water flow, deterioration of water quality, ecosystem degradation, flooding and bank erosion are some of the issues that need to be addressed jointly by the two Riparian States.
The draft agreement provides a framework for cooperation between the two countries on water pollution prevention and control, conservation of biodiversity, emergency situations, data and information sharing and public participation. The agreement also envisages the establishment of a joint commission for the protection and rational use of water resources of the Kura River Basin.
The project to develop the agreement is being funded by the Government of Finland.
For further information please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/water/caucasus.html
|Trilateral Vision for the Protected Area “Sharr/Šar Planina–Korab-Dešat/Deshat”|
Popova Shapka, FYR of Macedonia - 07 November 2013
On 7 November in Popova Shapka in the Sharra mountains, the three Environment Ministers of the bordering countries Albania, Kosovo and FYR of Macedonia signed the Joint Vision for the transboundary protected Area “Sharr/Šar Planina - Korab - Dešat /Deshat. Furthermore, FYR of Macedonia committed to concrete actions in order to establish the national park Sharra. This was the second trilateral ministerial meeting regarding this proposed transboundary protected area organized by UNEP, through the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC).
Besides the Ministers of Environment from Albania, Kosovo and the FYR of Macedonia, the Austrian Ambassador to Macedonia, the Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Macedonia, UNEP representatives, EuroNatur representatives, and Mayors of local municipalities of all three bordering countries as well as many other representatives from the local communities, academia, governments and NGOs attended the meeting.
At the press conference, Minister Ademi, FYR of Macedonia, expressed his gratitude for the support received from local communities, UNEP and NGOs, and stated that “Albania and Kosovo have proclaimed protected areas from their sides of the mountain, and therefore it is now time for the same to happen on Macedonian side”. All ministers highlighted their common standing on the protection of the Sharra mountain, which will contribute to overall ecological value and socio-economic prosperity through the development of eco-tourism. Minister Ademi also flagged the expectation of discussing the proclamation of the Sharra national park on the next Parliamentary Session of Macedonia.
The meeting was a great achievement of the ENVSEC Initiative, as it represented a large stepping stone towards achieving the transboundary protected area, through cooperation and partnership between the countries.
|The First Decade of Partnership for Environment and Security|
Brussels - 06 November 2013
Celebrating 10 years of the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC), governments and experts, beneficiaries and donors, gathered in Brussels to share their achievements, and to debate lessons learned and future priorities concerning the environment and security.
Please click here for more information, including the presentations given at this event.
|Reducing climate change and security risks in South Eastern Europe|
Podgorica, Montenegro - 04 November 2013
Podgorica hosted on 4 November 2013 a national training titled “Vulnerability assessments addressing security risks connected to adaptation to climate change in Montenegro”.
The training was organized under the auspices of the ENVSEC project Transforming Environmental and Security Risks into Cooperation in the South East Europe programme, and with the support of the Austrian Development Agency. Considering the conflict risks over natural resources, which may also be triggered by the adverse impacts of climate change, the aim of this project is to contribute to the straightening of human and institutional capacities for vulnerability and impact assessment, and to raise awareness of climate change adaptation.
With the objective of helping local authorities in Montenegro to conduct impact and vulnerability studies, the training focused on climate change conditions and Montenegrin policies, the impact of climate change on biodiversity and responses through local biodiversity actions plans. Early warning system for extreme weather conditions were presented, as well as discussions on how to integrate climate change adaptation strategies into decision-making processes. It was highlighted that vulnerability assessments are a central part of the adaptation process, and examples of how to assess vulnerability were reviewed for various regions (Africa, Europe and Central America). Participants also discussed the identification of feasible short-term and long-term adaptation measures and opportunities for Montenegro to access financial resources for climate change adaptation.
The over 20 participants represented several Montenegrin municipalities, national park authorities, ministries of Sustainable Development and Tourism, the Institute for Hydrometeorology and Seismology of Montenegro, EPA-Montenegro, and the Universities of Montenegro and Donja Gorica.
|Round Table Discussion on the Implementation of the SEA Protocol in Belarus|
Minsk, Belarus - 05 September 2013
In September 2013, a Round Table was held at the Belarus Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection to present and discuss the Preliminary Report of the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) on improvement of environmental legislation. If Belarus is willing to join the SEA protocol, several steps are needed in order to integrate environmental questions into decision-making processes.
The participants, representatives of ministries, NGOs, legal experts and representatives from international organisations indeed widely recognized the need for strengthening environment-focused national legislation in order to accede to the Protocol.
Participants discussed the Preliminary Report, including the preparation procedure, the involvement of various sectors, and the decision-making processes as well as the existing national legislative framework of Belarus. They widely agreed on the essential need of the development of a legal, regulatory and technical framework in the field of environment protection to respond to the current ecological challenges. To reach this goal, the project “Linking Environment and Security in Belarus”, under the auspices of UNDP, UNEP and UNECE, and in the framework of the “Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood” (EaP GREEN) programme, aims to support the development of a comprehensive legal framework for international environmental cooperation in Belarus.
This project acknowledges that an improved and environment-friendly national legislation is the first step to identify and limit security risks from environmental hazards, and consequently to accede to the Protocol on SEA. The next task is to determine the most appropriate way forward to integrate the environmental laws required by the SEA Protocol into existing national legislation.
|Addressing climate vulnerability in the Dniester river basin |
Chisinau, Moldova - 09 July 2013
The Dniester River shared by Moldova and Ukraine will be affected by climate change, leading to warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. This is the conclusion of a study carried out within the UNECE-OSCE-UNEP project under the international Environment and Security initiative (ENVSEC) “Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester”.
The study predicts a temperature rise by 2050 and changes in precipitation leading to drier summers with less flow, but also more frequent and heavier rains in the basin. Flooding is a major transboundary problem for the Dniester; heavy floods in 2008 lead to several dozens of casualties and major financial losses. Climate impacts on water resources also have a cascading effect on the population of the basin and other sectors such as agriculture (decreasing the availability of water for irrigation, while increasing demand), power generation (reduced hydropower potential), recreation (water-linked tourism), fisheries and the state of biodiversity.
Representatives of different water users, sectors, regions and authorities along the Dniester River gathered on 9 July in Chisinau to discuss the risks and possible measures which can minimize the risks and protect the population, infrastructure and natural landscapes of the basin. Through round-table discussions focusing on climate change impacts in specific regions and sectors, as well as interactive group discussions, the workshop helped identify and prioritize climate change impacts and potential adaptation measures in the Dniester Basin. The participants suggested that climate change impacts on groundwater levels and runoff should be addressed through improved management of water reservoirs in the basin and better information exchange between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, especially in situations of extreme weather events, reforestation and the restoration of critical ecosystems.
The stakeholder workshop was held in the framework of the new project “Climate change and security in the Dniester basin” carried out by UNECE and OSCE, under the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) with funding from the EU Instrument for Stability (IfS) and the Austrian Development Agency, the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation. The new project was launched on 10 July, followed by the seventh meeting of the Working Group on Flood Management and Climate Change Adaptation.
|Aarhus Centres Annual Meeting|
Vienna, Austria - 03 July 2013 - 05 July 2013
|To mark the tenth year of OSCE involvement in support of the Aarhus Convention, OSCE held a meeting entitled “Aarhus Centres: A Decade of Partnership in Implementing the Aarhus Convention” from 3 to 5 July 2013 in Vienna. It highlighted the role of the Aarhus Centres in putting the Convention’s principles into action. National Focal Points and other government representatives, Aarhus Centre Managers, NGOs, representatives of OSCE field operations as well as several international experts participated in the meeting to share experiences, lessons learned and best practices on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention and to enhance networking among Aarhus Centres. The event also aimed at strengthening capacities of Aarhus Centres and other Aarhus Convention national stakeholders on several priority issues related to the Convention.|
|Sava countries discuss the development of the programme for flood risk management |
Zagreb, Croatia - 05 June 2013 - 06 June 2013
|ENVSEC has launched a project that aims to assist the countries through which the Sava River flows - Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia - to adapt to climate change and anticipate flood risk. A draft programme has been developed that was discussed at a workshop in June organized by the International Sava River Basin Commission.|
|Flood Preparedness in the Dniester River Basin|
Lviv, Ukraine - 27 May 2013 - 28 May 2013
|A workshop on flood preparedness and managing climate change, organized by UNEP, facilitated improvements in the way the public is informed about floods in the Dniester River Basin. The May workshop, in Lviv, Ukraine, brought together representatives from the Governments of Ukraine and Moldova. Experts from the Environment Protection Agency (UK), the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (Poland), OSCE and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) also participated in this workshop.|
|Cooperation in the Drin River Basin|
Tirana, Albania - 28 May 2013
The five Drin River Riparians held the first Meeting of the Parties to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a Shared Strategic Vision for the Sustainable Management of the Drin River Basin 28 May 2013 in Tirana. At the meeting, high-level representatives from the five Riparians decided on an action programme to strengthen their cooperation and to address urgent issues, such as flood management and improved monitoring and exchange of information, and outlined other priority steps to be taken, including raising public awareness and involving stakeholders in the management of the basin.
The Riparians were represented by Fatmir Mediu, Minister of Environment, Forests and Water Administration of Albania; Shpetim Rudi, Deputy Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning of Kosovo (United Nations administered region, Security Council resolution 1244); Maro Evangelidou, General Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change of Greece; Velizar Vojinovic, Assistant Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development of Montenegro; and Stevo Temelkovski, Deputy Minister of Environment and Physical Planning of the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia.
In advance of this meeting, stakeholders met to discuss a US$ 4.5-million project, which will be an important contribution to the further cooperation in the basin. Among others, it will seek to improve the joint analysis and understanding of common problems and will set up demonstration projects on the benefits of sustainable development along the river and lakes in the basin. The project is funded by the Global Environmental Facility with UNECE as one of the executing agencies.
|Multi-stakeholder workshops in Minsk and Vilnius address adaptation to climate change in the Neman River Basin |
Minsk, Belarus and Vilnius , Lithuania - 19 March 2013 - 15 May 2013
|Plans for strategic collaboration on climate change adaptation in the Neman (Nemunas) River Basin — shared by Belarus, Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation – were developed by representatives of different water users and authorities when they met at two workshops (one in March in Minsk, Belarus; the other in May in Vilnius, Lithuania) organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The participants reviewed the outcomes of the vulnerability assessment prepared under the ENVSEC project “River basin management and climate change adaptation in the Neman River Basin”, and discussed next steps, including an initiative to bring forward a transboundary agreement between the three countries.|
|Strengthening transboundary water cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan|
Tbilisi, Georgia - 30 April 2013
|The fifth bilateral consultations between Azerbaijan and Georgia took place in April 2013 in Georgia to further support both countries in strengthening transboundary water cooperation. The meeting was organized by the OSCE and the UNECE in collaboration with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Environment Protection of Georgia. Consultations were held among representatives of the state agencies of Azerbaijan and Georgia to discuss in detail a draft agreement between the Governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Georgia on “Co-operation in the Field of Protection and Sustainable Use of the Water Resources of the Kura River Basin".|
|Environmental Mediation and Conflict Resolution in South-East Europe|
Podgorica, Montenegro - 08 April 2013 - 10 April 2013
|An April workshop on Environmental Mediation and Confliction Resolution in South-East Europe allowed stakeholders to explore potential strategies and approaches to managing conflict and potential conflict with each other. The workshop - organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in partnership with the REC - was attended by international experts, NGO representatives and National Authorities from ministries and environmental agencies in Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia. Aarhus Centre representatives also attended from the aforementioned countries and Bosnia and Herzegovina.|