Bernard Snoy, the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, heads the Environmental Assessment Mission, which includes United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union and NASA specialists and other local and international experts. Other OSCE officials will also participate.
"The mandate of the Mission is to assess the short-term and long-term impact of the fires on the environment in the fire-affected territories and to make recommendations on how to counteract those consequences," said Mr. Snoy. "We will make recommendations for a future environmental operation that would, among others, prevent the reoccurrence of such fires."
"It is significant that this team draws on specialist knowledge from several international organizations as well as local expertise," he added.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/285) last month that called on the United Nations Environment Programme in particular to work with the OSCE. The resolution asked the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to provide a report to the United Nations General Assembly by 30 April 2007.
The UN resolution said the General Assembly was seriously concerned by the fires and said they had inflicted widespread environmental damage.
To ensure the assessment is as comprehensive as possible, the Mission will examine and assess fire-affected areas along both sides of the Line of Contact, Mr. Snoy said.