Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas hosted a high-level ministerial conference on 28 January in Berlin, during which the ‘Green Central Asia’ initiative was launched.

The initiative aims to support regional integration between Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. High officials from the countries, as well as EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell also attended the conference.

Maas explained that the states of Central Asia and Afghanistan were particularly affected by climate change and stressed the importance of the security impact of climate change. He added that that the next step was the second Berlin Climate and Security Conference on 15 and 16 June.

The frequent floods and landslides threaten to cause the spread of radioactive waste from uranium legacy sites into these former Soviet countries. The EU has invested €41 million to support plans for high-priority sites in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Borrell highlighted the recently presented “European Green Deal”, stressing that it is a matter of will.

“We are going to give a big priority to working with those that account for the greatest emissions, and with the most vulnerable countries, and many of them are in Central Asia”, he explained, and added: “We will focus on strengthening the ability of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to address the security implications of climate change in the Fergana Valley”.