Socio-ecological Union

Moscow, May 7, 2003

Memorandum of the International Socio-Ecological Union for the 5th European conference of ministers Environment for Europe and for the International conference of the Eco-Forum of NGOs (May 2003, Kiev, Ukraine)

1. The International Socio-Ecological Union, one of the largest networks of NGOs in CIS uniting more than 200 collective members welcomes the 5th European Conference of ministers "Environment for Europe" and the International conference of the Eco-Forum of NGOs. ISEU expresses hope for its positive contribution to our common all-European environment.

2. The International Socio-Ecological Union believes that European countries have common interests, common environmental problems, enough potential and capacity to solve them in collaboration, using their positive experience in cooperation in the field of environment.

3. The International Socio-Ecological Union considers the following issues to be most important for the common European environment:

3.1 Transboundary impact and pollution from industrial and other activities, including technological breakdowns and their consequences for human health and natural environment.

3.2 Development and proliferation of ecologically unsafe technologies, design and realization of dangerous projects.

3.3 Destruction of wildlife and natural ecosystems including transboundary specially protected areas.

3.4 Increasing lack of the freshwater, clean air, energy sources and other vital natural resources.

3.5 Ecological consequences of the Cold War military activities, demilitarization and disposal of extra military equipment including those of mass destruction weapons. Current risks include consequences of many local military conflicts, terrorism and also problems of neo-militarization. All these are obstacles on the way to the solution of national, all-European and global environmental issues.

4. The International Socio-Ecological Union stands that the countries of the former USSR are important part of the common European environment. After the USSR collapse many ecological problems influencing regional and global environment are in place and their number is increasing. Their solution is impossible without active and efficient cooperation on an all-European level:

4.1 Despite the fact that one of the first documents signed by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CSI) was The Agreement On The Cooperation in the Field of the Environmental Protection" (1992) the past decade demonstrated incapacity of CIS governing bodies to create efficient institutions for the protection of environment, to commit resources for the resolution of ecological issues.

4.2 The environment protection by the governing bodies of the former USSR countries is not perceived as a priority issue. State institutions neglect the environmental issues despite obvious and severe ecological crisis, the ecological rights of the citizens are violated, environmentally dangerous projects are implemented without ecological assessment and public consultations. Thus, the degradation of the living environment continues on the CIS territory.

4.3 The programs of European aid to CIS countries aimed to the solution of ecological problems despite their positive contribution turned out to be not as efficient as expected and in some cases even contra-productive. The European Bank of the Reconstruction and Development during the last years has been funding a range of ecologically dangerous projects within the CIS states.

5. The International Socio-Ecological Union considers important to hold an open and responsible discussion of the ecological issues, as well as to develop, adopt and implement common decisions and documents e.g. Ecological Strategy for CIS countries - Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia; Carpathian Convention; Ecological Appeal in Defense of Mountains, decisions on energy issues and other problems. There is a good opportunity to change the situation and improve it by the efforts of all 55 countries of the European sub-continent. But to meet the challenge all of us should commit political will, organizational, financial and other resources.

6. The International Socio-Ecological Union is open to collaboration with governmental bodies and NGOs of Europe in the field of environment on the following issues:

6.1 Development and implementation of the international, national and industrial ecological policy aimed to protect the environment through shift to environment friendly practices.

6.2 Ensuring the real, equal and efficient partnership of the state, inter-state bodies and pubic organizations and movements for the solution of environmental problems.

6.3. Creation in frame of the European integration process of the system of social demand, support and access of NGOs to the national and international resources necessary for environment protection activities.

6.4 Providing for the access to the ecological information, development of ecological education with a help of the modern information technologies.

6.5 Providing for environment impact assessment and audit, development of public control system of the environment and nature use.

6.6 Step by step introduction of the European standards in the field of environment protection on the European sub-continent designed to implement the strongest ecological and hygienic standards possible.

6.7 Introduction of stricter standards of certification, limitation and other security means for ecologically dangerous shipments.

6.8 Wildlife conservation, development of the protected nature areas system and eco-net system.

6.9 Implementation of basin approach in the solution of the relevant environmental issues.

6.10 The development and introduction of new technologies, first of all energy and resource efficient.

7. The International Socio-Ecological Union hopes that the meeting and joint work in Kiev will assist to more advanced ecological cooperation between the countries of the European sub-continent.

Co-chairs of ISEU Council
Sviatoslav Zabelin
Sergey Krichevskiy
Lev Fedorov