ALMATY, Kazakhstan, 27 August 2012 – A two-day OSCE-supported conference on environmental security and protection initiated by the Ecological Forum of Non-governmental Organizations of Kazakhstan (EcoForum) concluded in Almaty today.
The event was supported by the OSCE Centre in Astana jointly with the United Nations Development Programme, Kazakhstan’s Environmental Protection Ministry and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia.
The EcoForum’s Annual Assembly brought together more than 70 representatives from the largest grass-root environmental network, which unites 80 national NGOs. National and international experts exchanged experience and good practices and discussed how the civil society can do more to address environmental challenges through promoting a green economy, low-carbon development, use of renewable energy and efficient water management. The participants also reviewed ongoing initiatives, such as the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Aarhus Convention, the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, and the activities of the national Aarhus Centers network.
“To effectively tackle environmental problems, it is essential to have non-governmental organizations that have the strength to influence public opinion in local communities through a wide set of communication channels and to maintain a dialogue with the government and the private sector,” said Jeannette Kloetzer, the Deputy Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana. “The OSCE Centre supports the activities of the EcoForum, which help its member NGOs use common language and define consensus approaches in co-operation with the government and local authorities.”
In the meeting’s outcome document, the participating NGOs underscored that sustainable development “can only be achieved with a broad alliance of people, governments, civil society and the business community, all working together to secure the future we want for present and future generations.”
“In light of President’s Nazarbayev address in which he stressed that an environmentally friendly economy is important for sustainable and long-term growth, the Ministry is doing more to promote a greener economy. We very much appreciate that civil society organizations are supporting the Ministry’s initiative,” said Ruslan Bultrikov, Adviser to the Minister of Environmental Protection. “Encouraging the participation of civil society and indeed every citizen to accomplish strategic goals is necessary to successfully implement political measures.”
“Today’s event is of vital importance for enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations to address environmental issues and promoting co-operation within the EcoForum and other partners. We believe that the outcomes of the meeting will contribute to strengthening the environmental network in Kazakhstan,” said Svetlana Mogiluk, the Chairman of the EcoForum.
The meeting was part of OSCE Centre’s long-term activities in Kazakhstan focused on paving the way to sustainable development and environmental democracy.