The Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative is a partnership of 6 organizations - the OSCE, the Regional Environment Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as an associated partner.
The Initiative contributes to the reduction of environment and security risks, and strengthens co-operation between and within countries that are vulnerable to environmental damage and competition over natural resources.
The partnership grew out of discussions in the 2002 OSCE Economic Forum, and was launched in 2003 simultaneously at the OSCE Economic Forum in Prague and the Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Kiev.
The starting point for ENVSEC activities in a region is a regional environment and security assessment that looks at environmental challenges and identifies their political, economic, and social consequences that may have a security impact. The assessment benefits from a series of regional and national consultations with local stakeholders, including representatives from Ministries of Environment, Foreign Affairs and Defence civil society and academia. The participants give their view on what environmental issues they see as most relevant and interact with a mapping team, which maps out in graphical form the priorities identified in the assessment. Based on the results of the regional assessment, ENVSEC develops environment and security activities addressing the identified challenges.
Assessments have been conducted for Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus und Central Asia, and regional work programmes were developed and are continuously updated.
In its current overall work programme, ENVSEC focuses on four areas of intervention:
Fostering co-operation over shared natural resources, particularly transboundary water.
Contributing to the reduction of cross-border risks from hazardous substances and pollution.
Supporting improved urban development and adaptation to climate change.
Fostering empowerment of civil society to address environment and security risks.
In mid-2011, the ENVSEC Initiative had a portfolio of 59 projects – 52 ongoing and 7 in the pipeline – implemented in all four focus regions. The overall project budget amounted to 42 million US-dollars.
In 2011, the OSCE chaired the ENVSEC Initiative. The primary objective of the OSCE's Chairmanship of ENVSEC was to reinforce the security aspects of the Initiative and to renew the understanding of the environment and security linkages in the OSCE region.
For more information on the ENVSEC Initiative, please visit the ENVSEC website.