High-level partnership

March 22, 2013

Ambassadors convene in Szentendre for ENVSEC briefing

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GLOBAL STAKEHOLDERS: Dozens of Hungary-based ambassadors hear from ENVSEC partner organisations. Photo: Nathan Johnson

Now in its tenth year, the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) is a multi-agency programme aimed at identifying and reducing interlinked environment and security risks through strengthened cooperation in four regions: Eastern Europe (EE), South Eastern Europe (SEE) the Southern Caucasus (SC) and Central Asia (CA). The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), as one of five partner organizations sharing leadership responsibilities through a rotating chairmanship, will lead ENVSEC in 2013, taking the baton from last year's chair, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

On the evening of March 20, 2013, the REC Head Office in Szentendre, Hungary invited ambassadors to Hungary from all over the world to participate in an ENVSEC briefing, featuring brief presentations from each partner organisation and a special presentation from the Hungarian Government on the World Water Summit to be held in October in Budapest. Approximately 50 ambassadors attended the briefing, which was followed by an evening reception and an ENVSEC Management Board meeting the following day.

REC Executive Director Marta Szigeti Bonifert opened the proceedings by thanking OSCE for last year's chairmanship and looking forward to working hard this year before welcoming UNECE leadership in 2014. Bonifert provided some key statistics of ENVSEC structure and accomplishments, noting that 47 projects worth some EUR 40 million have been carried out under ENVSEC auspices. With the lion's share of past financial support coming from Finland and Sweden (59 percent and 30 percent, respectively), the EU will contribute up to 32 percent during the 2013-15 period. In terms of regional share of activity, the breakdown is as follows: SEE 38 percent, EE 35 percent, CA 16 percent and SC 11 percent.

ENVSEC activities are focused on security issues pertaining but not limited to mention water management, wildfire management, uranium mining and illegal logging.

"The stakes are high and the decisions urgent," Bonifert said.

The other speakers from partner organisations were: Olivier Adam (UNDP, Coordinating Desk for Central Asia), Halil Yurdagul Yigitduden (OSCE, Coordinating Desk for Southern Caucasus), Jan Dusik (UNEP, Coordinating Desk for Eastern Europe) and Marco Keiner (UNECE). Also invited to speak about the upcoming World Water Summit was Gabor Baranyai, Deputy State Secretary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hungary.

Please click here to read more about ENVSEC.