EEDIM 2019: Joint Statement by the Group of Friends on the Environment

The 2017 OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

EEDIM Statement by the Group of Friends on the Environment at the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting

As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Veselin Sukovic, Permanent Representative of Montenegro Permanent Representative to the OSCE
Vienna, October 14, 2019

Mr. Chairperson,

I am speaking on behalf of the informal Group of Friends on the Environment, composed of the following OSCE participating States: Albania, Germany, Austria, Canada, the United States of America, France, Georgia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

Severe security risks are emanating from environmental stresses. A healthy environment is essential for our daily lives, including our health, welfare, economy and, ultimately, our safety and security. One important area in this regard is water management, the focus of this year’s Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation (EEDIM).

Water is integral to security: it has become a key element in the context of peace and stability. Water underpins all of the sustainable development goals and serves as one of the foundations for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Engagement on water security matters should be aimed at enhancing peace, security and stability. Destroying water infrastructure, polluting water or diverting watercourses represent a risk both for security and for the environment. We support constructive dialogue between participating states and following international environmental best practices while developing major water infrastructure projects with transboundary impacts.

The OSCE has a long track record of supporting participating States in jointly and sustainably managing water resources, and it has successfully supported co-operation between participating States. We are supportive of these efforts and would welcome more in-depth discussions on the topic during upcoming chairmanships. With the Slovak Chairmanship’s focus on energy security in mind, water is also key to any discussion on innovative and efficient energy technologies that offer economic and environmental benefits to end users.

Mr. Chairperson,

The international community must work together to balance the economic needs of our societies with threats to our water resources and to our environment more broadly. International cooperation can contribute to efforts to eradicate energy poverty, tackle climate change and protect the environment. The Agenda 2030 has driven many of our actions in this regard. To address these issues effectively and in a sustainable way, international cooperation should be strengthened, even while noting that states face differing national circumstances and constraints.

The OSCE, as the largest regional security organization, recognizes the close connection between the environment and security. The OSCE aims to promote the sustainable management of natural resources, particularly water, to reduce the risk of disasters, to manage hazardous waste safely, to promote connectivity through ‘green’ infrastructure, and to address the challenges of access to affordable energy, of environmental degradation, and of climate change. We support the efforts of the OSCE and encourage the Secretariat and executive structures to continue their initiatives in this regard.

Finally, looking beyond EEDIM’s focus on water management and security, the Group of Friends welcomes the ongoing discussions on transboundary environmental crime and on environmental good governance in general. We call on future chairmanships to keep these topics high on the agenda.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson