OSCE's economic and environmental dimension highlighted at Bishkek workshop

Participants at an OSCE workshop in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek on Thursday said more attention should be paid to the economic and environmental dimension of the 55-nation Organization's approach to security.

BISHKEK, February 20, 2003 -- Participants at an OSCE workshop in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek on Thursday said more attention should be paid to the economic and environmental dimension of the 55-nation Organization's approach to security.

The workshop on "The Economic and Environmental Dimension of the OSCE and Central Asia" was organized by the newly founded OSCE Academy and the OSCE Centre in Bishkek on the premises of Kyrgyz National University. It was opened by Academy Coordinator Anara Nasyrova.

Dr. Frank Evers from the Centre for OSCE Research in Hamburg, one of the Academy's main partner institutions, reflected on "Building Co-operation between OSCE Field Missions and Partner Institutions in the Economic and Environmental Dimension". He suggested that it should be the OSCE's main task to put economic and environmental issues on the agenda and get implementing and funding organizations involved.

"The OSCE is not only human rights. The economy is the basis for any implementation of Human Rights," said Professor Kazimir Karimov, Head of the Environmental Protection Foundation of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asian Countries, who briefed the audience about major environmental issues in the region. He stressed the importance of the link between ecology and the economy and the need for transparency in both fields as the basis for confidence and co-operation.

During the discussion, it became clear that issues of water supply and nuclear waste in the Osh region were the major concern of the audience, consisting of environmental and economic experts and students of several Kyrgyz universities.

Professor Turar K. Koichuev, Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Reforms under the Kyrgyz Ministry of Finance, compared the economic situation of Central Asian countries and other countries of similar size. "Foreign investors are interested in the whole region and not only in one country," he said. "For this reason the whole Central Asian region should become an attractive partner by developing more specialization, expertise and international co-operation."

In the final lecture, Karoly Attila Soos, Teamleader of the PCA Project Office of the European Commission in Kyrgyzstan, explained the Commission's position concerning development support, its support for the private sector, infrastructure and the legal system. In the future, the focus will be placed more on NGO and governmental institution building. The quality of implementation will play a crucial role, regardless of the size of projects.

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