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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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Integrated Water Management for the Lepenec River

29 May 2014

REC has ensured cooperation between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo (Territory under UN Resolution 1244) concerning the management of shared transboundary water resources of the Lepenec river in South Eastern Europe (SEE). In a project aiming to introduce integrated water management, a joint expert group was set up to assess water supply and wastewater management. Based on the technical documentation and results of the assessment, the expert group have also analysed the legal and institutional set-up concerning the management of the Lepenec river and created a stakeholder map for introducing integrated water management.

On 29 May 2014 in Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a bilateral meeting between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo (Territory under UN Resolution 1244) was organized. In the meeting high-level officials from the Macedonian and Kosovan ministries, responsible for environment, physical planning, agriculture, transportation and economy, and representatives from hydrometeorology and health-care institutes, the business sector and non-governmental organisations met and jointly reviewed the project activities and next steps. The project is funded by the Government of Finland.

ENVSEC Embarks on a New Decade in South Eastern Europe

31 March 2014 - 01 April 2014

The annual ENVSEC Regional Coordination meeting for South Eastern Europe (SEE) convened on March 31 - April 1, 2014 in Podgorica, Montenegro. Through the support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), ENVSEC partner organizations, OSCE, REC, UNDP, UNECE, UNEP and associated partner NATO, have ushered in a new decade of work in the region through a multi-annual regional programme. Continuing work in the region for 2012-2015 is currently funded by ADA, with additional financial resources available for selected activities by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Swiss Development Cooperation.

Mr. Branimir Gvozdenovic, Minister for Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, in the opening session called for stronger support from the donor community to the countries of SEE and praised ENVSEC for their significant support to resolving environmental concerns in the region.

Over 100 participants attended the meeting including high level officials from Montenegro, national focal points from the SEE region, international organizations, academia, civil society organizations, corporate leaders and other partners. The meeting was an opportunity to acknowledge the relevance and progress made in addressing environment and security risks in the SEE region. Participants in the meeting stressed that regional cooperation is a key generator of political stability and economic process in the region, and that in this regard ENVSEC activities in the region contribute solid support to the Western Balkan countries in meeting the demanding requirements of EU membership.

The meeting consisted of a high-level opening panel which discussed the added value of ENVSEC, a working meeting of the ENVSEC National Focal Points representing Ministries of Environment and Ministries of Foreign Affairs from each country in the SEE region, a world café, and a roundtable discussion. Through the working meeting and subsequent discussions, participants were exposed to the priority areas for ENVSEC actions in the SEE region for increased regional cooperation. Additionally participants were given tools to gain new opportunities for ENVSEC to synergise with partners for greater efficiency; to expand upon recognised tools and methods that are applied in other regions; to mainstream disaster risk reduction, management and preparedness; and to support political instruments and processes, such as the SEE 2020 Strategy, with ENVSEC expertise for orchestrated activities that can catalyse resources and strengthen the region.

Strengthening Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in South Eastern Europe

24 February 2014 - 25 February 2014

With reference to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention), the ENVSEC Initiative is carrying out country studies and a regional study on the key issues of access to environmental justice in South Eastern Europe (SEE).

The project has identified challenges and good practices in the implementation of the access to justice pillar of the Aarhus Convention by analyzing relevant legislation and practice in six countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99), Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. In addition, the draft regional study provides targeted recommendations on the way forward aiming at removing barriers in access to justice on the basis of inclusive participation of all stakeholders.

The report suggest, given continued support to the project, to address these recommendations through multi-stakeholder dialogues and targeted capacity building efforts to stakeholder groups like civil society, state institutions, judiciary, environmental lawyers and legal practitioners. This would assist the regional cooperation on environmental governance through participatory and informed decision-making.

A summary of the preliminary findings and conclusions of the regional study were presented at the seventh meeting of the Aarhus Convention Task Force on Access to Justice, serviced by UNECE (Geneva, 24-25 February 2014), and will be finalized for the Aarhus Convention Meeting of the Parties (30 June-2 July 2014). This project is implemented by three of the ENVSEC partners, the OSCE, REC and UNECE.

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.

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