Auf einer OSZE Konferenz im November 2023 durfte ich mich als Moderatorin und Eingangsrednerin für eine bessere grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit bei Umweltkatastrophen in Vertretung der parlamentarischen Versammlung der OSZE Parlamentarischen Versammlung engagieren.
2023 ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL DIMENSION IMPLEMENTATION MEETING
Session II “Strengthening cooperation to address environmental threats including risks of natural and man-made disasters”.
Monday 13 November 14:30 – 16:00 hrs
Moderator:Dr. Gudrun Kugler, Rapporteur of the OSCE PA General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment.
Excellences, dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me welcome you back to Session II of the 2023 Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting. This Session will be devoted to “Strengthening cooperation to address environmental threats including risks of natural and man-made disasters”.
I welcome you all to this important session, which will focus on environmental security, and on the need for regional cooperation in our shared quest for security, stability, and prosperity.
Environmental threats are not merely ecological concerns, they directly impact human lives and regional peace. We must acknowledge the wide range of environmental threats, natural disasters like floods and wildfires – which the world has always seen but now could early warn about and tackle in a coordinated manner as well as man-made disasters, such as industrial accidents and pollution, which have increased with the industrialization of the region.
To tackle these challenges effectively, we must adopt a comprehensive and interdisciplinary and cross-border approach that considers the complex nature of environmental security. As we can read in the Vancouver Declaration: paragraph 111, in which we calls on governments to engage in cross-border dialogue.
Natural Disasters, such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes, can have devastating and far-reaching impacts on communities and ecosystems, requiring coordinated preparedness and response efforts. Early warning systems for natural disasters, including improved forecasting and communication, are essential for timely evacuation and response, saving lives and reducing economic losses. Collaboration on disaster management and sharing of best practices among OSCE participating States can enhance the effectiveness of responses to natural disasters, while also building mutual trust through practical co-operation. And “mutual trust” is a commodity we need more than ever!
In man-made Disasters, improved international cooperation is vital in addressing the transboundary nature of man-made disasters, as incidents in one country can have repercussions across borders. It is our imperative to safeguard essential infrastructure assets to protect both ecosystems and human communities.
The intentional destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in Ukraine causes great harm to humans and to the environment in the With the ensuing floods and chemical leaks, the Kakhovka Dam incident has caused irreparable environmental, economic and human harm, while seriously jeopardizing the safety of the Nuclear Power Plant in Zaporizhia. Deliberate destruction of critical infrastructure driven by conflict is a war crime.
Hazardous waste and harmful radiation do not stop at borders. Neither does our responsibility for the pollution we cause. The polluter must take responsibility, no matter where harmful effects occur.
This is particularly key for water: The OSCE region has approximately 150 rivers and lakes which are shared by two or more States.
The number of reported deaths due to air pollution alone each year are simply shocking, totalling globally 7 million.
I would like to draw your attention to our Vancouver RESOLUTION ON MICROPLASTIC AND NANOPLASTIC POLLUTION: an alarming number of micro- and nano-plastic particles have been detected in virtually all ecosystems of the planet, including in some of the most remote areas of the world. Last year, these particles were identified in various human organs, and even in their blood.
In the Vancouver Declaration, we read in Paragraph 84: Committing to cross-border co-operation on transboundary environmental issues, such as waste management, water management and protection from pollution and hazardous substances.
As most of you know, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly serves as a platform for sharing best practices and fostering policy convergence among our 323 parliamentarians representing 56 parliaments and the security needs of over 1 billion citizens. Given the crises of our time, the General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment of the OSCE PA has become a key committee tackling key questions:
The Committee has made clear statements in its Declarations and Resolutions which were adopted by the plenary of the PA.
This committee is making significant contributions to the discussion: Just to mention one example, since 2021 we formally contribute to the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development, which is the official consultative body of the United Nations very important, legally binding, international treaty Barcelona Convention on the protection of the environment in the Mediterranean region. Notably, on 7-8 December we will contribute to the 23rd Conference of the State parties by bringing our parliamentary perspective into governmental exchanges in this field.
We have facilitated timely policy exchanges and dialogues that bring together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to discuss critical environmental issues strengthening the policy-science interface.
As OSCE governments and parliaments, we must remain steadfast in strengthening cooperation to address environmental threats – recognizing their far-reaching implications for the well-being and security of our people. We must look for new ways of co-operation – including the development of a new cooperation between OSCE executive structures and OSCE PA and renewed partnerships among the OSCE participating states.
I look forward to the fruitful discussions, with the hope that our deliberations will lead to concrete actions.