Environment and Security

Environment and Security 4 /


In the debate on what role the environment plays in caus- ing or resolving conflict, the partnership of international organizations working on the ‘Environment and Security’ initiative takes a pragmatic position. In focusing on par- ticipatory assessments and targeted follow-up activities in conflict-prone areas, we believe that we can promote environmentally sustainable development and peace on the ground. In this context, we are very happy to present an in-depth assessment of the situation in the Ferghana Valley – a region where environment and security linkages are both evident and challenging. Recent political developments in Kyrgyzstan and tragic events in Uzbekistan have once again put the Ferghana Valley in the centre of global attention. The landslide that in spring 2005 threatened radioactive waste dumps at Mailuu-Suu in Kyrgyzstan in the upper part of the Ferghana Valley offered fresh reminders of how

environmental problems can easily acquire regional and security dimensions. Environmental degradation can ag- gravate social tensions or awaken otherwise dormant con- flict-generating forces. At the same time, cooperation for better environmental governance in complex socio-political settings can help build confidence and improve relations between communities that share common resources. This assessment has been produced upon the request of the countries of the Ferghana Valley – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – and has widely benefited from their in- puts. It shows how the ‘Environment and Security’ initiative has helped identify both environmental threats to regional security and opportunities for cross-border dialogue. We hope that this assessment will contribute to a better under- standing of linkages between environment and security, as well as strengthen the environmental dimension of conflict prevention efforts in this crucial part of Central Asia.

Frits Schlingemann Ben Slay Marcin Swiecicki Chris DeWispelaere

Director and Regional Representative, UNEP Regional Office for Europe Director, UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities Director, NATO Security Through Science Programme

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