Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum – Panel VIIIc

The panel was chaired by Ms. Wajiha HARIS,, President, Scheherazade Foundation, who was joined by Mr. Marcel MINDRESCU, University of Suceava, Romania, Ms. Dariia KHOLIAVCHUK, Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Chernivtsi, Ukraine, Mr. Gabriel PĂUN, Agent Green, Romania, Mr. Carl BRUCH, Director of International Programs, Environmental Law Institute (ELI), USA (via VTC), Mr. William KEETON, University of Vermont, USA (via VTC), Mr. Shahmar HAJIVEV, Senior Advisor at the Center for Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), Azerbaijan.

The war in Ukraine has introduced significant challenges for environmental protection. The nation’s forests have sustained damage or protected areas in active combat zones or under occupation. Additionally, the land is temporarily occupied, and hectares are contaminated, necessitating extensive mine clearance efforts. These factors have created a critical need for robust environmental remediation and conservation strategies. Consequently, the discussions introduced examples of fostering environmental diplomacy. One of the examples highlighted is the Bucovina Peace Park, which aims to enhance bilateral relations, promote peace and resource management cooperation, preserve natural heritage and biodiversity, reintegrate a historically significant region, and protect the unique architectural and cultural heritage of diverse ethnic communities. Other main points discussed included the Carpathian Convention’s Forest Protocol from COP3, highlighting regional cooperation in forest management; the Cordillera del Condor Peace Park by Peru and Ecuador, symbolizing reconciliation and biodiversity conservation; and Azerbaijan’s energy strategy at COP29, emphasizing its commitment to environmental protection and climate action.