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Environmental Security Initiative Launched in Southern Caucasus

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  • Environmental Security Initiative Launched in Southern Caucasus

    Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc.
    State Department
    May 18, 2004

    Environmental Security Initiative Launched in Southern Caucasus;
    Workshops held May 10-18 in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan

    Eliminating environmental problems helps to ease political tensions:
    that is the basic idea behind a new initiative launched in the
    Southern Caucasus region by the Organization for Security and
    Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Environmental
    Program (UNEP) and the UN Development Program (UNDP).

    Following is an OSCE press release on the initiative and the events
    marking its launch May 10-18 in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan:

    (begin text)

    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe


    18 May 2004

    Press Release


    BAKU, 18 May 2004 -- An initiative focusing on the links between
    environmental problems and security was launched this week with
    national events in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

    Through the Environmental Security Initiative, the OSCE, the United
    Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the UN Development
    Programme (UNDP) aim to identify cases in which environmental
    degradation may pose threats to human security and contribute to
    instability, and suggest action to deal with them.

    The initiative began on 10 May in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, with
    two days of consultations among government officials,
    non-governmental organizations and local and international experts.
    They discussed key environmental risk factors that have the potential
    to hamper security in Armenia.

    The workshops continued on 14 and 15 May in Tbilisi, Georgia. They
    focused on the role of environmental security in economic growth and
    poverty reduction in Georgia, both greatly dependent on the quality
    and quantity of existing natural resources in the country.

    Concluding the series, a workshop in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 17 and 18
    May focused on principal environmental concerns with security
    implications in the country, including trans-boundary water pollution
    and freshwater quality as well as contamination of the Caspian Sea
    and deforestation.

    The main idea behind the Environment and Security Initiative,
    launched in 2002, is that eliminating environmental problems helps to
    ease political tensions. In order to achieve this, the Initiative
    seeks to:

    Raise awareness of environmental risks and their impact on security;

    Engage with government and non-government groups to identify both
    risks posed by environmental change and opportunities for
    trans-boundary co-operation to promote sustainable development, peace
    and stability;

    Map risks, as well as needs and opportunities, for environmental
    co-operation to improve sustainable resource management, crisis
    prevention and peace promotion;

    Develop and implement projects to reduce risks identified.

    National consultations are considered to be a key element of the
    Initiative as they generate information on specific problems that can
    then be addressed through individual projects.

    For further information, please contact:

    Gohar Avagyan, Senior Press and Public Information Assistant, Office
    in Yerevan, 60 Zarobyan (former Plekhanov) Str., 375009, Yerevan,
    Armenia. Tel.: 1 54 10 62, 1 54 58 45. Fax: 1 56 11 38. E-mail:
    [email protected]

    Press and Public Information Office, Mission to Georgia, Krtsanisi
    Governmental Residence No. 5, Tbilisi, Georgia. Tel.: 32 24 42 01.
    Fax: 32 24 42 03. E-mail: [email protected]

    Ulvi Akhundlu, Media and Political Assistant, Office in Baku, 4
    Magomayev Lane 2nd floor Icheri Sheher 37004, Baku, Azerbaijan. Tel.:
    12 97 23 73. Fax: 12 97 23 77. E-mail: [email protected]

    (end text)

    (Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs,
    U.S. Department of State.)