The Environment and Security Assessments in South Caucasus in 2004 have identified environmental degradation in the frozen conflict zones as a high priority.
As environment is a rather non-political issue, it offers a window of opportunity for transboundary co-operation.
The resolution of environmental issues in the frozen conflict zones could be facilitated through both a political diplomatic approach and a more practical approach by
conducting assessments in cooperation with local experts. Main focus: environmental governance.
Main environmental priorities assessed in Abkhazia:
- marine environment and fish, industrial activities put pressure on the marine and coastal ecosystems of the sea.
- surface water resources and quality (large seasonal variation in run-off, elevated levels of suspended soils and organics during floods, furthermore leaking pipes, unstable pumping).
- hazardous substances (coal mining, nuclear accidents).
- state and management of forests.
- biodiversity (resulting from the conflict, some former cultural landscapes are now abandoned).
- natural disaster (seasonal emergency situations with landslides, mudflows, foods).
- continuation of a diplomatic approach.
- move away from general assessment (requires too many resources and main areas of problems known on the superficial level) rather address concrete issues directly.
- link environmental issues to economic development issues.
- move away from just regional projects, as some issues can also be addressed on the national level. Main environmental priorities assessed in South Ossetia:
- likelihood pastures
- economic issues