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NATO hosts meeting
A board meeting of the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) took place at NATO HQ on 23 March. Representatives of NATO, which is associated to ENVSEC through the Public Diplomacy Division, met with representatives of the three international organisations involved in this Initiative – the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
This was one of the regular board meetings held four times a year by the ENVSEC organisations, which discussed ongoing and future projects as well as future directions that ENVSEC can take. This Initiative might extend its current focus on Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Southeast Europe also to Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.
This meeting was followed on 24 March by an information session in which representatives of the Co-operative Programmes Section of the NATO PDD, the OSCE, UNEP and UNDP briefed members of the International Staff and of national delegations on the aim of ENVSEC and on the projects carried out under its auspices.
NATO’s added value to ENVSEC is represented by its expertise in dealing with unstable regions such as Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Southeast Europe, and by its experience in co-operating with Partner countries on environmental security issues under the Security though Science Programme.
NATO regularly provides ENVSEC with a list of ongoing and recently proposed environmental security projects, e.g. applied R&D projects supported under the NATO Science for Peace funding mechanism, or pilot studies and short-term projects supported under the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS). These projects are then screened against ENVSEC criteria as defined by OSCE, UNDP and UNEP in consultation with governmental bodies of the countries in these regions. These criteria relate to questions such as ‘Does the project have an impact on security? Does it integrate environment, security and policy? Is it focused on a vulnerable region?.’ NATO projects that meet all criteria are embedded in the ENVSEC initiative.
NATO and the other ENVSEC organisations are also working hand in hand on some environmental issues as identified by the stakeholders, such as radioactive waste in the Ferghana valley, Central Asia. In the framework of ENVSEC, NATO experts have participated in country visits and are initiating complementary projects.
The OSCE, UNEP and UNDP set up the Environment and Security Initiative in 2002 with the aim of identifying, together with regional stakeholders (such as governmental representatives and NGOs), environmental issues that are a threat to stability and peace and using environmental co-operation as a confidence-building exercise in vulnerable regions. Since 2004, NATO has become associated with ENVSEC through the collaborative programmes of the NATO’s Security through Science Programme and the activities of the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society.
Further information on ENVSEC can be found at www.envsec.org. A NATO Science for Peace project embedded in ENVSEC will be featured in the forthcoming issue of the newsletter ‘Science, Society, Security’, which will be available at www.nato.int/science/publication/newsletter/newsletter.htm.