The OSCE's environmental initiatives raise the awareness of environmental risks and their impact on security. By enabling environmental co-operation, the OSCE helps to improve sustainable resource management. Its programmes for regional water management and strategies deal with pollution effects caused by toxic and radioactive waste.
In 2002, the OSCE joined forces with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other UN agencies and NGOs to promote environmental management as a strategy for reducing insecurity in South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, acting in support of the Chairman-in-Office, is charged with strengthening the ability of the Permanent Council and the OSCE institutions to address economic, social and environmental aspects of security.
The Co-ordinator's regular priorities are:
- to enhance the OSCE's interaction with relevant international organizations;
- to strengthen the economic, environmental, and social components in the work of OSCE missions and field activities;
- to deepen interaction with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly;
- to broaden OSCE contacts with non-governmental organizations and the private sector;
- to formulate a programme of work for appropriate additional activities in, and relating, to the OSCE's economic dimension.
Major industrial "hot spots" close to urban areas pose severe threats to health. Land degradation through over-use of pesticides and fertilizers, radio-active or chemical waste leads to loss of livelihoods and migration.
Direct legacies of previous conflicts such as land mines, and unexploded ordinances cause death, injuries and foreclosure of land. All these issues are among the many problems that the OCEEA deals with.
The OCEEA through the ENVSEC Initiative, supports the Mission in Armenia to eliminate Rocket Fuel Components (Melange), by providing assistance to the initial stage of the project.
In the Ferghana valley, tackling the effective management of uranium industry waste and chemical hazards to prevent health and environmental detriment are the main priorities identified under the ENVSEC Initiative.
Finally, in Kazakhstan, an information campaign on radiological safety in towns adjacent to the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site has been concluded.
The Permanent Council [...] reaffirms its support for the Economic Dimension and
the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and welcomes
the Co-ordinator’s commitment to implement the work plan for the Economic
Dimension and the dedication of his budget to that end. Furthermore, the Permanent
Council encourages participating States, Partners for Co-operation, Mediterranean
Partners for Co-operation and other States, as well as international organizations
and institutions to contribute to the voluntary fund for activities related to the
economic and environmental aspects of security; (PC.DEC/331, 15 December 1999) p57
Although the OSCE is not a scientific or technical organization, its Missions/field
presences could still take a more proactive role with regard to environmental threats -specifically by identifying key environmental threats and flash points; focusing high-level attention at the PC on key problems and indicators; facilitating regional approaches to environmental issues both by focusing broad, high-level attention on key issues, and possibly through the mediation provided in expert discussions; providing assistance in coordination of external resources (funding, technical expertise, leveraging NGOs) to address specific threats; and fostering the development of environmentally-oriented
NGOs. (Oslo 1998, CiO Progress Report) p 59
Development of environmental funds drawn from fines levied on polluters and others
found in violation of existing laws. These funds must be separate from national budgets
and dedicated specifically to redressing environmental damage and supporting affected
populations. (Tashkent 1999)
Funding under ENVSEC
“The current sum of project budgets, including all projects in pipeline, under implementation, and already completed, is 19 million USD. Of that amount, 9,4 million USD is raised so far, leaving a gap of 9,6 million USD. Excluding all NATO projects, the raised amount is 5,7 million USD to cover budget demands of 15,3 million USD, thus the same gap.” p20