An OSCE-led team of international and local experts called for more co-operation to prevent and manage fires in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, such statement was made following the end of a 10-day mission to assess the environmental impact of fires in the region, Trend reports with reference to the OSCE Baku Office.
"The fires have covered extensive areas and inflicted significant damage," said Bernard Snoy, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, who headed the Environmental Assessment Mission.
"The authorities have used all available means to counteract the fires; in the future, capacities will need to be strengthened to prevent and handle fires, through co-operation in a regional and international framework," he added. The mission examined and assessed fire-affected areas and met with officials on both sides of the Line of Contact.
The mission is preparing a report that will include recommendations towards an environmental operation and other confidence-building measures as envisaged in a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 7 September 2006.
The mission's report will be submitted to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in November. The UN General Assembly Resolution requested the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to provide a report to the member states of the UN General Assembly by 30 April 2007.
The mission included experts from the Global Fire Monitoring Center, the United Nations Environment Programme, the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the Council of Europe as well as local experts. Also participating were officials from the Office of the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office on the Conflict dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference.
The mission was supported by a contribution of the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative. Armenia and Azerbaijan provided in-kind contributions.