At a glance
Destruction of surplus stockpiles
Surplus stockpiles of munitions, in whatever condition, are not only a potentially lethal hazard, but can also become a source of materials for terrorists. In line with the OSCE participating States' commitment to combating terrorism and addressing environmental threats to security, the Mission was involved in several projects to recycle or destroy military stockpiles and neutralize dangerous chemicals.
At the 1999 Summit of OSCE Heads of State or Government in Istanbul, a fund was created for alleviating the consequences of the withdrawal of the Soviet bases from Georgia. The United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey were the first to contribute to the fund, which was used to implement a project for the neutralization of 400 tons of melange (a highly explosive component of missile fuel) in western Georgia.
Dismantling and recycling obsolete munitions
In June 2003, the Mission began a long-term project for the recycling and destruction of stockpiles of ammunition and bombs on bases in Georgia after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
With the financial support of donor states including Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom, old bombs and other explosive munitions were dismantled at the Dedoplistskaro military base in the Kakheti region.
Ammunition was destroyed and the remaining ballistic propellant and scrap metal was reprocessed. At the end of the third stage of the project, some 320 tons of ballistic propellant had been processed and some 50,000 shells dismantled or destroyed.
Emptying obsolete iron shells and bombs filled with trinitrotoluene (TNT) was another part of the joint project. With the help of a donation from Finland, the Mission purchased the special TNT smelting equipment and renovated a building to house it.
The equipment is environmentally friendly, since it recycles TNT-filled warheads instead of blowing them up, as was done in the past. Sixty-five thousand TNT-filled shells were recycled under the programme.
On 13 May 2009, the OSCE donated the equipment for dismantling and recycling obsolete TNT-filled munitions to the Georgian Defence Ministry.
Neutralizing dangerous chemicals
In October 2003, the Mission started a project funded by the UK, Germany and Italy to reduce the toxic waste pollution caused by the dumping of petrol, oil and lubricants, and the remains of spent munitions on the land of former Soviet bases and to rehabilitate polluted lands in the Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe areas, rendering them suitable for agricultural use.
In 2004, the Mission oversaw the neutralization of approximately 60 tons of collected dangerous and other unwanted chemicals, including the solidified remains of napalm.
In 2006, the Austrian government funded the reprocessing of 3,100 canisters of aerially delivered smoke chemicals and 290 explosive dispensing pods. Austria, Belgium and Italy funded the reprocessing of a further 390 canisters found subsequently.
After the extent and the nature of contamination on designated sites were assessed and the remains of exploded ordnance and chemical debris were cleared, the process of decontaminating the land began.
On 4 July 2008, the OSCE Mission and the Georgian Defence Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding on implementing a new three-year demilitarization plan to dismantle weapons and help in the environmental recovery of former and current military bases in the country.