ENVSEC Initiative

An Environment Agenda for Security and Cooperation in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia

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ENVSEC Assessment of Caucasus Countries

Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are in the midst of a tumultuous transition. The ENVSEC partners were asked by the governments of these countries to prepare an assessment of environment and security linkages and possibilities for action which was released on October 22, 2004.

This report—available in both Russian (PDF - 9.4 mb) and English (PDF - 14.6 mb)—uses maps and graphics to highlight areas of particular environmental stress and vulnerability in the Southern Caucasus, as identified by stakeholders from the countries.

In autumn 2002, the OSCE, UNEP and UNDP joined forces with a constellation of UN agencies and NGOs to promote better environmental management as a strategy for reducing insecurity in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Through extensive regional consultations, and under the expert guidance of an international steering committee, this initiative sought to:

  1. deliver regionally-appropriate definitions of the environment and security linkages of greatest relevance in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia;

  2. map these risks and opportunities in the form of a graphically-rich final report and Web site;

  3. present the maps and their conclusions at the Kiev "Environment for Europe" Ministerial Meeting in May 2003, with recommendations for follow-up action; and

  4. mobilize resources and expertise to implement the suggested follow-up activities.

Play the ENVSEC introductory video

This brief presentation (RealMedia) by Television Trust for the Environment (TVE) highlights the linkages between environment and security in the regions of South Eastern Europe and Central Asia, outlining how the ENVSEC Initiative seeks to harness these linkages to promote cooperation and mutual understanding. Year: 2003 Duration: 7'40'' Language: English

Rationale

Cooperation towards sustainable and equitable management of the environment can build bridges across boundaries and between peoples. Sometimes all that is missing is a “roadmap.”

This project sought to facilitate a process whereby key public decision-makers in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia are able to motivate action to address the links between natural resources and social stability, by mapping environment and security concerns and presenting them in a visually-compelling way.

There is growing understanding that rising scarcity and degradation; inequitable access to critical natural resources; and transboundary movement of hazardous materials are posing an increasing threat to security in South Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Environmental factors can, in some instances, trigger or fuel violence and deepen divides. The environment itself can be dramatically affected by conflict.

More hopefully, it is now recognized that actions that reduce environmental stress, guarantee access to vital resources and remove economic incentives for violence present opportunities for enhancing cooperation and building a more sustainable peace. Environmental cooperation can itself be an important means for building confidence between communities.

In South Eastern Europe and Central Asia, several trends could undermine local and international security. After-effects of the economic collapse of the East Bloc, criminality and ethnic tensions place great pressure on the transitional governments. Ensuring economic development—and responding to governance challenges in the context of deepening regional integration—will intensify pressure on natural resources unless mechanisms are put in place in advance to manage the transition.

Regional Consultations

Publications