ENVSEC News

ENVSEC News

 
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ENVSEC Management Board meeting

Vienna, Austria - 14 April 2016

On 14 April 2016, ENVSEC partners will meet in Vienna to discuss the developments over the past 6 months, plan new projects and determine a way forward for ENVSEC in terms of programmatic activities, partnerships, and focus areas.
 

ENVSEC Briefing for OSCE delegations

14 April 2016

Using the opportunity of OSCE's Chairmanship in ENVSEC in 2016 and the Management Board meeting scheduled for 14 April, on the same day an ENVSEC briefing for OSCE delegations will be organized, focusing on ENVSEC highlights and success stories such as: disaster risk reduction and climate change; sustainable mining; transboundary water co-operation; and environmental good governance.
 

ENVSEC Management Board teleconference

- 09 December 2015

Final Management Board teleconference of 2015. The Chair will update partners on the current state of affairs in ENVSEC. A more detailed update to follow.
 



Launch of the Geneva Science-Policy Platform for Environment and Security

17 November 2015

Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of countries accredited at the UN in Geneva, as well as distinguished members of the international academia, attended the launch event of the Geneva Science-Policy Platform on Environment and Security, hosted jointly by the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) represented by the UN Environment Programme and the University of Geneva. The launch event provided an opportunity for the policy-making and academic community to discuss the implications of climate change on European and global security. The newly established platform will serve as a network supplying knowledge and technical expertise for new approaches to confront existing and emerging challenges in the field of environment and security. It will establish continuous dialogue between scientists and policymakers to generate new ideas and methodologies to implement new solutions that facilitate environmental cooperation. The Platform will meet on an annual basis to address existing and emerging environmental risks and tensions in the overall context of global issues. For more information see link below
 
GSPP Launch

Management Board teleconference

- 01 April 2015

The first Management Board teleconference of 2015 was held in April 2015. The Chair presented the draft Chair's objectives and called for partners' inputs on the substance. It was also decided to launch a calendar of events for ENVSEC in 2015-2016, finalize the 2014 Annual report of ENVSEC, and hold physical meetings of the Secretariat and Management Board back-to-back in June 2015.
 



ENVSEC Management Board and Partners’ meetings

Belgrade, Serbia - 25 November 2014 - 26 November 2014

The ENVSEC inter-agency Management Board meeting and annual ENVSEC Partners meeting took place on 25-26 November in Belgrade, Serbia. The partners of the ENVSEC Initiative reviewed the progress made within the regional and cross-regional context, engaged in in-depth discussions with the donors on how to improve results delivery and inter-agency project implementation, and planned the way forward for the Initiative. With a view to its upcoming Chairmanship of the Initiative, UNEP presented an outline of strategic objectives for 2015. The thematic focus areas of ENVSEC in 2015 will include water, disaster risk reduction and climate change and security.
 



UNECE supports strengthening of dam safety in Central Asia

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan - 11 November 2014 - 12 November 2014

On 11-12 November 2014, UNECE organised a regional meeting on dam safety in Bishkek as part of the implementation of the third phase of the project “Capacity-building for cooperation on dam safety in Central Asia”. Representatives from key authorities and stakeholders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan participated along with representatives of international organizations and experts from the Russian Federation.

The regional meeting provided a platform for participants to exchange experiences and agree on a project work plan for 2015. The work plan supports the development of national legislation and institutions in the participating countries as well as continued joint work on smaller dams where safety has been less regulated. With the support of UNECE, safety assessments of the Kirov and Ortotokoi dams in Kyrgyzstan, up-stream of Kazakhstan on the Talas and Chu rivers, will be undertaken in 2015 to upgrade their safety monitoring. Additionally, work to establish a formal framework for cooperation on dam safety between the Central Asian states will also continue.

The regional meeting was organized as part of the Environment and Security Initiative. The UNECE dam safety project is also a component of the UNECE Water Convention and SPECA programmes of work.

For further information please contact:

Mr. Bo Libert
UNECE Regional Adviser on Environment
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2396
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

ENVSEC Central Asia Regional Coordination Meeting

Almaty, Kazakhstan - 11 November 2014

On 11 November, the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) organized a Regional Coordination meeting for Central Asia in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The meeting brought together nearly 40 representatives from the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as representatives from the international organizations accredited in the region. The participants reviewed and analysed the progress to date within the ENVSEC initiative and defined new priorities for its long-term (2015-2025) and short-term (2015-2018) programme implementation in the Central Asia. UNDP, UNEP and other partners of the ENVSEC Initiative will develop work programmes for assessing and addressing environment and security risks in the region based on the outcome statement of this meeting.
 



UNECE supports policy response to recent accidents of dams in Kazakhstan

26 September 2014

On 17 September 2014, the government of Kazakhstan, UNECE, and the Executive Board of the International Fund for the Saving of the Aral Sea organised a roundtable on dam safety in Astana, to discuss and plan for improved dam safety in Kazakhstan. Representatives from key authorities and stakeholders from Kazakhstan participated in the roundtable, along with international experts.

Dams and reservoirs are efficient means of addressing floods and droughts, but ageing dams represent increased risks to life, health, property, and the environment. In 2010, the failure of the Kyzyl-Agash Dam in Kazakhstan caused the flooding of the nearby village, killing at least 43 and leaving some 300 people injured. Another accident in spring this year stresses the need for improved policies and control in this sector.

The conclusion of the roundtable is that Kazakhstan needs to strengthen its legislation, as well as institutional capacity, to guarantee the safety of existing hydraulic infrastructure, and that international experiences are important in this process. Support from UNECE was requested for further development of national legislation, capacity-building, and the development of an international training centre.

Another issue discussed was the cooperation of Kazakhstan with neighbouring countries on transboundary rivers and its infrastructure. With the support of UNECE safety assessments of the Kirov and Ortotokoi dams in Kyrgyzstan upstreams of Kazakhstan on the Talas and Chu rivers have been made. It was concluded that steps should now be taken to improve the safety monitoring of these dams in cooperation with Kyrgyzstan.

The roundtable was organised as part of the Environment and Security Initiative. The UNECE dam safety project is also a component of the UNECE Water Convention and SPECA programmes of work and is implemented in cooperation with the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

For further information please contact: Mr Batyr Hajiyev Economic Affairs Officer Deputy Head ESCAP/UNECE SPECA Office Almaty, Kazakhstan Office: + 7 727 338 4402 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or

Mr. Bo Libert UNECE Regional Adviser on Environment Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2396 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note to Editors: The project “Capacity-building for cooperation on dam safety in Central Asia” is organised to help Central Asian countries to set up or revise national dam safety regulatory frameworks, to achieve their harmonization and to promote subregional cooperation for information exchange and notification in case of accidents or emergency situations related to hydro-technical infrastructure. For more information see: http://www.unece.org/env/water/damsafety.html

The Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative was established in 2003 and includes the OSCE, the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNECE and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The ENVSEC Initiative works to assess and address environmental problems, which threaten or are perceived to threaten security, societal stability and peace, human health and/or sustainable livelihoods, within and across national borders in conflict prone regions. http://www.envsec.org/
 

First Step Towards Enhancing National Capacities for Managing Climate Related Security Risks

29 January 2014 - 31 March 2014

In the framework of the ENVSEC project “Climate Change and Security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus” implemented with funding from the European Union Instrument for Stability (IfS) and the Austrian Development Agency and under the overall lead of the OSCE, a first round of national multi-stakeholder consultation workshops on Climate Change and Security were organized by UNDP in all five countries of the Central Asia region. The meetings conducted in Turkmenistan (29 January 2014), Uzbekistan (5 March 2014), Kyrgyzstan (18 March 2014), Kazakhstan (28 March 2014) and Tajikistan (31 March 2014).

These multi-stakeholder workshops enabled a collection of perspectives from national stakeholders on the security implications of climate change on a national and trans-national level and they facilitated a participatory process for identifying and mapping geographic areas requiring priority action (hot-spots). Furthermore, during the meetings the links between climate change and different sectors were reviewed and recommendations for reducing potential security risks resulting from climate change were drafted. The discussions were based on the results of regional desk studies conducted by local and international experts on the security implications of climate change as a first step of this project, and the results will feed into the finalized versions of the regional “Climate Change and Security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus” vulnerability assessment reports.
 

Water Management Responses to Climate Change for the Chu and Talas River Basins

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan - 27 February 2014

A stakeholder meeting to discuss with national officials of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the findings of the project "Promoting Cooperation to Adapt to Climate Change in the Chu and Talas Transboundary Basins” was organized on 27 February 2014 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, by UNECE and UNDP Bishkek Office.

Under the project, a comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts on water resources has been prepared for the Chu and Talas transboundary river basins for the first time. The results indicate an increase in temperature in the basin area, especially in summer and autumn, with likely accompanying changes in rainfall which might result in a deterioration of moisture conditions during the summer-autumn. In the mountains, hotter summers and milder winters with more liquid precipitation (instead of snow) can be expected. Consequently, the area and volume of glaciers is predicted to significantly diminish. The findings have been synthesized in a project brochure.

On the basis of this outlook, an initial set of adaptation measures and recommendations has been developed. The workshop participants discussed these, and future needs and possible policy responses. The workshop made a link to the latest developments in climate policies in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and to the work of the Chu Talas Commission established in 2006 with support from OSCE, UNECE and UNESCAP. The Chu Talas Commission has enabled joint and transparent decision-making on water allocation and maintenance costs by Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as well as relevant information sharing, efficient implementation of joint projects, prevention and rapid settlement of problematic situations in the Chu-Talas river basins.

For the vulnerable agricultural sector, the assessment led to identification of potential adaptation measures ranging from technical to policy and financial measures. Key issues were improvement of water use efficiency and checking the robustness of water management practices and of long-term investments in infrastructure against changing weather conditions. Coordination of water management measures will be needed, as the impacts are foreseen to propagate across borders.

This joint UNDP-UNECE project has been implemented in the framework of the ENVSEC, financed by the Government of Finland.
 

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.
 

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