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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.

Fire Management training in Antalya

Antalya, Turkey - 15 October 2014 - 17 October 2014

From 15 to 17 October 2014, the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities in Antalya, Turkey, held a regional training course on fire management to build the capacity of national authorities, fire brigades and unit leaders from the South Caucasus and Western Balkans. The course was held within the framework of ENVSEC with funding from the Governments of Austria, Finland and Switzerland. It was organized in co-operation with the Global Fire Monitoring Center and hosted by the International Fire Management Training Centre in Antalya under the Turkish Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs.

Participants learned about the concepts, good practices and standards of wildfire management. This included handling fires burning on areas contaminated by radioactivity, unexploded ordinances and land mines. The training was provided by experts from Germany, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

Halil Yurdakul Yigitguden, the co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities was quoted saying “natural disasters can have a direct impact on security, addressing common disaster challenges, on the other hand offer an opportunity for co-operation within and among countries.”

Cross-boundary co-operation, community fire management and advanced technologies for fire prevention and preparedness were also focus areas of the training course. Participants shared their experiences, good practices and lessons learned. The final day was devoted to a practical exercise in the field where the participants studied fire behaviour and fire suppression techniques as well as tools and equipment.

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Workshop on Climate Change and Security in Yerevan

Armenia - 12 May 2014

A national consultation workshop in Yerevan, 12 May 2014, focused on identifying the security implications of climate change for Armenia. The meeting convened representatives and experts from national ministries and agencies, international organizations and civil society including the Aarhus Centres of the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, to examine recent analyses of the trends and impacts of climate change, discuss related policy and to map out the areas most at risk.

“Over the past years, climate change has moved from being a purely environmental and development issue to one of national and international security,” said Tomasz Dembski, Economic and Environmental Programme Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan. “Moreover, it has a direct impact on many other environmental and socio-economic issues, such as biodiversity, water resources, energy and public health, among other things.”

Vartouhi Asatourian, Head of the UN Division at the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “Climate change is a global issue and its prevention, response and adaption measures require international collaboration. Due to the seriousness of the implications of climate change, it is one of the priorities in the Armenian Government’s agenda for a number of years. Armenia appreciates the efforts of the international organizations and, in particular, the ENVSEC Initiative, in supporting the country’s measures on tackling the challenges posed by climate change.”

The results from the national workshop will feed into a report on climate change and security in South Caucasus, which will be further discussed at a regional consultation workshop later this year.

The event was organized jointly by OSCE and UNEP, in the framework of the ENVSEC project “Climate Change and Security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the South Caucasus”, funded by the EU Instrument for Stability, together with the Austrian Development Agency.

National Consultation Workshop on Climate Change and Security in Tbilisi

Georgia - 08 May 2014

A national consultation workshop took place on 8 May 2014 in Tbilisi, under the ENVSEC project “Climate Change and Security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus”.

The project aims to increase the understanding and awareness of climate change as a security challenge, and the consequent need for transboundary cooperation on climate change adaptation in the three regions as well as enhancing national and local stakeholders’ capacity to anticipate, prevent and mitigate effectively and in a timely manner potential security risks resulting from climate change.

The national consultation workshop was designed to identify security implications of climate change at national and transboundary levels. It identified and mapped geographic areas requiring priority action (hot-spots), reviewed links between climate change and socio-economic aspects, and contributed to developing recommendations for reducing potential security risks that stem from climate change. The workshop brought together representatives of national authorities, climate change experts and civil society. The meeting was opened by the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Georgia, Mr Boris Iarochevitch, representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection as well as the Office of the Co-coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA).

The results from the national workshop will feed into a regional report on climate change and security in the Southern Caucasus, which will be further discussed at regional consultation workshop later this year. The project was launched in 2013, and it is funded by the EU Instrument for Stability, together with the Austrian Development Cooperation.

ENVSEC Technical Mission to Arsenic Mining Site

Georgia - 02 May 2014 - 06 May 2014

In Lentekhi municipality of Georgia over 50.000 tons of arsenic containing waste resulting from former Soviet production of arsenic anhydride and metallic arsenic pose significant risks to the surrounding environment and health of local communities. The waste is stored in deteriorated steel containers with a high probability of leakage or remains unprotected in surface impoundments. After a flooding in September 2013 the security risks for the surrounding environment significantly increased when the wall of the container burial site was washed away, exposing the steel containers and escalating the risk of hazardous waste leakage.

Following the flooding, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resource Protection of Georgia appealed to OSCE and the ENVSEC Initiative, and as a result, a technical mission led by UNEP and OSCE was established. In the framework of this new ENVSEC project to address emergency environment and security threats at the arsenic mining site in Tsana, national and international experts visited Georgia on 2-6 May 2014 to assess the situation at the three locations in the Lentekhi municipality where arsenic containing mining waste is stored. The expert team also visited the laboratory of the Georgia National Environmental Agency, in charge of environmental monitoring and undertaking the analysis of the Tsana soil and water samples, and held meetings with the Lentekhi local administration and the Ministry.

Based on their findings, the expert team will determine immediate contingency measures for the arsenic waste, suggest appropriate waste management options for Tsana area, and design appropriate waste containment structures to completely seal the mining waste.

The group photo of the technical mission team is courtesy of Doug Hickman, Team Leader of the ENVSEC technical mission to the arsenic mining site in Georgia.

Discussing National Capacity against Forest Fire in Georgia

24 March 2014

On 24 March 2014 in Tbilisi, Georgia, OSCE organized under the ENVSEC framework the fifth national roundtable on forest fire management. This was in co-operation with the Global Fire Monitoring Center based in Germany and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, under the auspices of the ENVSEC project "Enhancing National Capacity on Fire Management and Wildfire Disaster Risk Reduction in the South Caucasus” (Phase Three).

During this roundtable the participants reviewed recent developments within the Georgian forestry sector and prepared a draft National Policy on Forest Management. The participants also discussed the future steps for application of the recommendations, in view of advancing an effective forest fire management policy to better handle and prevent wildfires and related damages. The progress made indicates the level of concern from Georgia for forest protection and their commitment to reducing risks of wildfire disasters, including by working in partnership with OSCE and the ENVSEC Initiative.

Previous achievements of this project comprise of the 2013 establishment of the National Forest Agency within the Georgian Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, and the Forest Fire Strategy for improving forest fire management.

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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