First Preparatory Meeting of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum on “Good Governance” under German Chairmanship

Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF) Enlarge image Ambassador Pohl opens the EEF (© Micky Kröll) The First Preparatory Meeting of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum under German Chairmanship took place on 25-26 January in Vienna. The main topic was good environmental governance and enabling sustainable economic development. The meeting gathered around 250 representatives of national ministries, international organizations, companies, academia and NGOs. Issues such as environmental legislation and its impact on business and investment, transparency and access to information, resource efficiency, green technologies and sound waste management frameworks were discussed.

In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador Pohl presented the German priorities in the Economic and Environmental Dimension and emphasized the central role that good governance plays for sustainable economic development and thus for stability and security. Under the term “sustainable connectivity” Germany aims at giving additional impetus to economic exchange in the OSCE area. The OSCE Secretary General welcomed the German approach of including more representatives from the business community at OSCE events. He stressed that good environmental governance will remain a priority for the OSCE and its Field Missions.

Botschafter Pohl, Prof. Töpfer and Dr. Wendenburg Enlarge image Botschafter Pohl, Prof. Töpfer and Dr. Wendenburg (© StäV) Prof. Töpfer, former German Federal Minister for the Environment and former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), gave an overview of the developments from the first UN Environmental Conference in 1972 to the World Climate Conference in Paris in December 2015 and emphasized the “magical triangle” of economic development, social stability and environmental protection. He explained that shifting the ecological burden of resource exploitation onto others was and had always been a source of tension and conflict, and noted that the OSCE, as the largest regional security organization, would be called upon to deal with this issue in its many forms in the course of its work.