Press releases

Monday 17 Nov 2003

New efforts to fight environmental threats to security

The OSCE and two UN agencies today agreed on new efforts to fight environmental threats to security. Under an agreement signed in Vienna Friday 14th, the three international organizations will jointly adress problems such as water scarcity, hazardous waste, soil degradation and pollution.

VIENNA, 14 November 2003 - The OSCE and two UN agencies today agreed on new
efforts to fight environmental threats to security.

Under an agreement signed in Vienna this morning, the three international
organizations will jointly adress problems such as water scarcity,
hazardous waste, soil degradation and pollution.

The agreement formalizes co-operation between the OSCE, the UN Development
Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) under their joint
Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC).

"The first phase of ENVSEC served to identify the critical issues and areas
under threat," said Marcin Swiecicki, the Co-ordinator for OSCE Economic
and Environmental Activities.

"Now comes the real work to put these issues higher on the political agenda
and facilitate action to deal with the threats."

Frits Schlingemann, Director of the UNEP Regional Office for Europe, drew
parallels between the work of the ENVSEC and the recently signed agreement
on the Caspian Sea, in which he served as a key facilitator: "By presenting
facts and issues to decision-makers, political will to take action can be
mobilized."

The Deputy Director of UNDP's Regional Centre for Europe and CIS, Erdal
Esin, said: "The key aspect is to combine the strengths of our
organizations -- in the environmental, social and security field."

The ENVSEC initiative was launched in 2002 when the three organizations
decided to join forces to assess environmental problems in two pilot
regions, south-eastern Europe and Central Asia.

First results were presented at the OSCE Economic Forum in Prague and at a
ministerial meeting, Environment for Europe, in Kyiv, both held in May
2003.

In addition to the pilot regions, the three-year work programme will also
cover the countries of the southern Caucasus and Eastern Europe.

Monday 17 Nov 2003
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