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News Archive 2007

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Drisviaty lake in Belarus, industrial safety in Moldova

Minsk and Vadul-lui-Voda - 07-14.12.2007

A feasibility study seminar 'Cross-border Assessment and Transboundary Cooperation for Management of the Drisviaty/Druksiai Lake Basin' was held on 7 December 2007 in Minsk, Belarus. It included participants from Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia, representing stakeholders from the government Ministries and agencies, universities, private sector and NGO, as well as specialists from Norway and Sweden. The purpose of the seminar was to outline stakeholders and their interests, make an assessment of available data on the state of the environment of the Drisviaty/Druksiai lake basin, and draft a working plan for project implementation. The main issues discussed included the Environmental Impact Assessment of the new nuclear power plant to be built in the vicinity of the Lake Druksiai, effects of the Ignalina NPS on the biodiversity of the lake, and social concerns associated with the construction of the NPS and storage of the nuclear waste. Importance of public participation was highlighted.

On 13-14 December 2007 a workshop on strengthening safety measures at hazardous facilities was held at Vadul-lui-Voda, Moldova under the aucpices of the UNECE convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents. The purpose of the workshop was to promote cooperation and application of common standards on safety between Moldova and its neighbouring countries, Romania and Ukraine. The workshop was supported by experts from the Czech Republic and Italy. Representatives of Apa-Canal Service, the operator of a hazardous activity in Moldova, also took part. The key objective of the workshop was to discuss the legislation, standards and methods necessary for national authorities to ensure adequate safety at hazardous activities, including the legal basis for issuing licences and permits, as well as verification of safety documentation and conducting inspection. The workshop enabled participants to share good practice and experience in conducting safety inspections, providing guidance to operators and developing tools and practices through adoption of which safety could be further strengthened.

Materials of both meetings are available on-line:

Drisviaty Lake - Minsk
Industrial safety - Vadul-lui-Voda


Results and future steps in the upper Amu Darya river basin

Kabul, Afghanistan - 20-21.11.2007

On 20-21 November 2007, Kabul and Afghanistan will be theater of an important meeting which will gather representatives of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and international organizations to discuss regional cooperation on environment and security risks in upper Amu Darya River basin. The meeting has been organized by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with support from the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) partners. It will be an opportunity both to discuss preliminary results of Amu Darya basin assessment carried out by a team of Afghan and Tajik experts and to chart the way towards addressing identified environmental risks. Please see the press release below.

 Press release (Kabul, 20-21 November 2007)
 Agenda, Upper Amu Darya River Basin, Kabul 20-21 November 2007
 List of Participants, Upper Amu Darya River Basin, Kabul 20-21 November 2007
 Summary Notes, Upper Amu Darya River Basin, Kabul 20-21 November 2007
 Photos, Upper Amu Darya River Basin meeting, Kabul 20-21 November 2007


Advisory Board and Regional Coordination meetings

Geneva - 04-07.11.2007

The annual Advisory Board meeting of the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) was organized on the 6th of November 2007 in Geneva. The meeting was hosted by UNEP Regional Office for Europe and opened by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Representatives from donor and recipient countries, academia and international organizations to reviewed the initiative’s strategic objectives as well as the progress of implementation of the regional work programmes. The Initiative as a whole and its regional work programmes received support from the participating governments.

The meeting concluded that as the links between environment and security have become ever more recognized and the integrated approach of environmental management and conflict prevention is being given increased focus on the global political agenda, the need for the ENVSEC partner organisations’ assessment, policy development and capacity-building work is greater than ever. In order to better coordinate and support the increased number of ENVSEC projects the partner organisations will strengthen the strategic management and coordination of the Initiative.

The meeting participants identified solid funding base as one of the biggest challenges and noted that continuous support of the donor countries will be vital to the further development of the ENVSEC Initiative. As a result of the meeting concrete possibilities for collaboration with the World Bank were identified and the ENVSEC partner organisations committed themselves also to continuing collaboration efforts with the European Commission. In 2008-2009 the ENVSEC partners will aim at further strengthening the national ownership of the Initiative and at improved communication on the purpose and results of the ENVSEC activities.

 4 November EE agenda
 6 November AB agenda
 7 November CAU agenda
 Registration form (AB meeting)
 Directions to IEH II
 Advisory Board meeting Report
 Central Asia presentation
 South Caucasus presentation
 South Eastern Europe presentation
 World Bank presentation
 ENVSEC Financial information


"The Environment and Security Initiative: From analysis to action" article by David Swalley published in the OSCE Magazine


"At first glance, destroying left-over pesticides in Moldova, investigating the impact of wildland fires in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and promoting best practices in closing down mines in south-eastern Europe appear to share little in common. But a closer look reveals that all three activities involve battling human-induced environmental hazards that have the potential of wreaking havoc on local communities and their neighbours." - FOR THE FULL PRESS RELEASE PLEASE REFER TO THE BELOW DOCUMENT -

 ENVSEC in the OSCE magazine


ENVSEC at the 6th “Environment for Europe

Belgrade, Serbia - 10-12.10.2007

Belgrade hosted the 6th "Environment for Europe" Ministerial Conference from the 10th to the 12th of October 2007. The conference gathered Governement Delegations, Intergovernmental Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Major Groups and Media. Within the plenary session efforts and work of ENVSEC were rewarded by the positive statements of His Excellency Constantin Mihailescu, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Moldova and Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The Ministerial Declaration itself explicitly recognized, at paragraph 30, the work of ENVSEC in participating countries and trying to reduce environment-related security risks. ENVSEC received also a very good visibility by presenting projects and activies during several successful side events organised within an exhibition area shared by UNEP, UNDP and the European Environment Agency (EEA). For selected media coverage and ENVSEC-related plenary statements please refer to the links below.

Hanna Hopko, "Are the Ministers on the right course?"
The Day, Kyiv, Ukraine, No 31 - 23 October 2007 (in Ukrainian, Russian, English; the article was awarded in a national competition by Ukraine's Ministry of Environment Protection)

Natalia Shulepina, "Before and after the Belgrade assessment"
Zerkalo XXI, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 11 December 2007 (in Russian)

 ENVSEC in Belgrade


Launch of ENVSEC assessment in Belarus and strengthenning Pripyat river cooperation

Kyiv, Ukraine/ Minsk, Belarus - 17-19.09.2007

ENVSEC assessment of environment and security issues and linkages in Eastern Europe will be presented to Belarus audience at an round-table in Minsk on 19.09.2007. The meeting will also discuss the main findings of the assessment as well as forthcoming ENVSEC activities in Belarus. These include reducing risks from near-border stocks of obsolete pesticides and mining operations, fostering cooperation in transboundary basins of the Pripyat river and the Drysviaty lake, and mapping post-Chernobyl radioactive contamination in Polesie. Preceding ENVSEC presentation in Minsk, a Belarus-Ukrainian-Polish expert meeting in Kyiv on 17-18 .09.2007 will discuss how ENVSEC can support cooperation in the upper Pripyat basin for water management and monitoring of spring floods. ENVSEC assessment and work programme for Eastern Europe is available in the Eastern Europe section of this website.

 Press release Minsk 19-09-2007 RUSSIAN version.


Two ENVSEC workshops in Central Asia

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - 17-18.09.2007

On 17-18 September, 2007, representatives of Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, the Russian Federation and international organizations gathered in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to discuss regional cooperation on environment and security risks in the East Caspian region and the Amu Darya River basin. Facilitated by the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) partners, the meeting aimed at a preliminary agreement on priorities for regional management of shared natural resources and environmental problems related to water, deforestation and biodiversity loss. - FOR THE FULL PRESS RELEASE PLEASE REFER TO THE BELOW DOCUMENT -

 Press release (18.09.07)
 Meeting summary - East Caspian and Amu Darya consultations 17-18 September 2007 in Ashgabat
 Agenda Amu Darya 18 September 2007 ENGLISH
 Agenda Amu Darya Ashgabat 18 September RUSSIAN
 Agenda East Caspian Ashgabat 17 September ENGLISH
 Agenda East Caspian Ashgabat 17 September RUSSIAN
 List of Participants, East Caspian, 17 September bilingual RUS ENG
 Photos, Lower Amu Darya River Basin meeting, Ashgabat, 18 September 2007
 List of Participants, Lower Amu Darya Basin, 18 September, bilingual RUS ENG


ENVSEC assessment report for Eastern Europe

Prague - 21.05.2007

New report examines opportunities for improving environment and security in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine

Prague, 21 May 2007 – A new assessment report being launched today at the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum by a partnership of international organizations examines the links between environment and security in three East European countries and proposes some 20 projects and activities for improving conditions there.

The report highlights the importance of recognising the region’s geopolitical positioning between the EU and the Russian Federation, improving energy security without jeopardising the environment, cleaning up obsolete military infrastructure and chemicals stocks, addressing the Trasnistrian conflict in Moldova and strengthening cooperation over shared rivers and ecosystems.

The ENVSEC partners that have produced the report are the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Regional Environment Centre (REC) in association with the ‘Science for Peace and Security’ programme of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The report notes that the three former Soviet republics of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine are targeted by the EU’s “Neighbourhood policy” while being viewed by Russia as being part of its “near abroad”. By pursuing collaboration on environment and security the region can position itself as a bridge rather than a barrier between these two major powers.

Energy security is a dominant issue for the region. The three countries depend on Russian gas supplies, and they are transited by pipelines transporting natural gas to the EU. Belarus and Ukraine are pursuing greater energy self-sufficiency in part through plans to build nuclear power plants despite the shadow of Chernobyl, whose legacy continues to place a heavy burden on the Belarus and Ukraine economies and on the livelihoods of their people.

The rapid development of oil terminals and thermo- and hydro-power plants also has important implications for both security and the environment. The region’s environment stands to benefit if more environment-conscious energy planning and a more efficient use of available resources can be achieved.

While Eastern Europe succeeded in navigating its recent political transition peacefully, the Ukraine in particular is still littered with airbases and other unused military infrastructure containing munitions and rocket fuel that pose environmental risks.

The ubiquitous depots of industrial wastes and obsolete pesticides are another legacy of the past, as is the heritage of unsustainable mining practices still present in such socially and environmentally-stressed regions as Donbas in Ukraine and Soligorsk in Belarus. Meanwhile, the region has been targeted by illegal waste traders responding to tougher environmental regulations in neighbouring countries that have just joined the EU.

Another major challenge is the ongoing Trasnistrian conflict in Moldova. Solving this conflict is a prerequisite to addressing the environment of this region in a fully collaborative manner. At the same time, the prospects for conflict resolution can be improved through greater cooperation on common environmental challenges such as pollution and waste.

Finally, the report considers the region’s network of shared rivers, including the Dnieper, the Dniester, the Pripyat and the Zapadnaya Dvina / Daugava, to name just a few. Other shared ecosystems include the Carpathian region and the Polesie marshlands in Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Poland. Each of these shared natural resources offers an excellent opportunity for regional cooperation, as is demonstrated by the ENVSEC-facilitated agreement on Dniester basin cooperation developed between Moldova and Ukraine.

It is increasingly recognized today that security is not just a military issue, and that the destruction and over-exploitation of natural resources and ecosystems can also threaten the security of communities and nations. Similarly, disputes over cross-border pollution or shared assets such as rivers and lakes can cause political tension and even conflict. Countries experiencing an economic transition or political stress are particularly vulnerable to environmental damage and resource competition.

The Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) was conceived to support countries in their efforts to manage environmental risks. This international partnership recognizes that the best path to addressing environmental and security concerns is through international dialogue and neighbourly cooperation. It therefore assists Governments to identify common solutions and develop joint projects for achieving them.

Note to journalists: See the report and further information at www.envsec.org, or contact ENVSEC Eastern European desk at UNEP Regional Office for Europe +41 22 917 8281 or nickolai.denisov@unep.ch or OSCE Press and Public Information Section +43 1 514 36 180 or press@osce.org.

 ENVSEC assessment report for Eastern Europe


ENVSEC Central Asia Work Programme updated




Technical workshop on 'Innovations for contaminated mine waters assessment, management and remediation'

Bor, Serbia - 26.03.2007

The technical workshop on 'Innovative techniques and technologies for contaminated mine waters assessment, management and remediation' will be organised in Bor, Serbia, 26th-29th of March 2007. The objectives of the workshop are to to support risk mitigation and promote innovative techniques and technologies for cost effective, robust, and socially responsible remediation of contaminated mine water. The workshop will bring together representatives of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) as well as experts from international organisations and NGOs. The workshop is organised by UNEP and the Regional Environmental Center Country Office in Serbia with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency and the Austrian Development Cooperation.

 Draft Meeting agenda


ENVSEC Progress report 2006


ENVSEC Progress Report 2006 covering the activities and results of the Initiative in 2006 is now available.

 Download the report




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