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

Secretariat

18 May 2004

Press Release

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS LAUNCH INITIATIVE IN SOUTHERN CAUCASUS ON
LINK BETWEEN ENVIRONMENT AND SECURITY

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.)

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