We are now focusing on mitigating the negative consequences of the war in Ukraine for our economies and the environment and on helping Ukrainians who are defending not only their country but also European values, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said on Thursday during the opening of the 30th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in Prague.
Mr Rau, who is chairman of the OSCE in 2022, opened a session of the organisation’s 30th Economic and Environmental Forum in the Czech capital.
Celebrating 30 years of the #EEF in #Prague: environmental & economic co-operation in post-pandemic recovery 🔑 to greening economies & promoting resilience in infrastructure & business across OSCE region.
Combatting #climatechange, #corruption & #energysecurity ⬆️ priorities. pic.twitter.com/HZ2KWWLXlm
— OSCE (@OSCE) September 8, 2022
Minister Rau noted that originally the OSCE was supposed to focus on combating the environmental and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in recent months it was not only health or financial difficulties that challenged the OSCE, but also the threat to the peaceful coexistence of countries caused by Russia’s unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine.
The OSCE head emphasised that the war triggered by Russia had caused a humanitarian catastrophe, with many Ukrainian citizens having to abandon their homes as a result of the hostilities and destruction.
“Now we are focusing on how to mitigate the negative consequences of the war on our economies and environment. I believe that sooner rather than later the time will come that we will be able to use our potential to secure a better future for all,” Zbigniew Rau said.
He pointed out that the war had a significant impact not only on the countries of the region, but also on food security worldwide and on the energy situation, especially in Europe.
On Thursday, after the session in Prague, Minister Rau met with US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter, as well as the OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid.
FM @RauZbigniew discussed with @HelgaSchmid_SG @OSCE's potential in the sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine.
Ukraine 🇺🇦 deserves every form of support from the international community during the war as well as in the future recovery.#OSCE2022POL pic.twitter.com/NwLtwh7lEM
— Polish OSCE Chairmanship 2022 (@PLinOSCE) September 8, 2022
Russian aggression devastating to the whole world
The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Lipavský, emphasised that the Russian attack on Ukraine is devastating Ukrainian society, infrastructure and economy, while for the world it brings hunger, drastic increases in energy prices and even the danger of a nuclear catastrophe.
At the @CzechMFA, I opened the @OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum together with my 🇵🇱 counterpart @RauZbigniew, OSCE Secretary General @HelgaSchmid_SG, and @PLinOSCE @AdamHalacinski. The main topics are security and stability in the region but also the Russian invasion in 🇺🇦. pic.twitter.com/CnOpe7Hb5R
— Jan Lipavský (@JanLipavsky) September 8, 2022
OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid stressed that Russia is making choices that harm common security and have a great impact on people’s lives. In this context, she spoke of the spectre of famine in African and Middle Eastern countries, but also of the problem of energy security in many European countries due to the uncertainty of energy supplies.
The war against 🇺🇦 has put energy security high on the int’l agenda.
We need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, invest in renewables & better manage energy demand.
At the @OSCE Environmental and Economic Forum, I laid out the OSCE’s crucial work to help states achieve that. pic.twitter.com/a2YhLZGMGH
— Helga Maria Schmid (@HelgaSchmid_SG) September 8, 2022
Ukraine’s Deputy Energy Minister Yaroslav Demchenkov, who was a guest at the Forum, said that Russia is not only trying to subjugate his country but also to destabilise the situation in Europe, which, he assessed, also has a negative impact on the economies of countries whose governments have so far “flirted” with Russia and tried to do business with it.
The OSCE brings together 57 countries with more than one billion people. In addition to European countries, OSCE members include the USA, Canada, Mongolia and the post-Soviet states in Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Poland’s OSCE presidency will last until the end of 2022.
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