Intergovernmental organizations’ impact on environmental democracy in post-soviet countries and their contribution to the transboundary cooperation: the case of OSCE in the South Caucasus region regarding the water/energy nexus

Thumbnail Image
Wolff, Lynn
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
2020 marks the 22nd birthyear of the Aarhus Convention which is the regional legal document for the implementation of environmental democracy in Europe. This study provides a broad comprehension on the principle of environmental democracy by outlining the impact of the intergovernmental organizations work on the concept of public participation, including information sharing and the public participation in the decision-making process, as well as, on their contribution to establish transboundary cooperation in environmental matters. The thesis project is introducing a case-study, namely the impact of environmental democracy and transnational cooperation in environmental matters in the South Caucasian region, more precisely in the energy- water nexus, promoted by the OSCE. After situating the discussions on the theoretical framework, new institutionalism, this thesis investigates how the OSCE acts as a stimulus to strengthen public participation and to contribute to transnational cooperation among Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. This thesis based its discourse analysis on the statements produced during the annual Economic and Environmental Forums of the OSCE, and is including information produced in the Envsec Report on Climate Change in South Caucasia from 2017. This thesis argues, that the work of intergovernmental organizations is essential in order to keep environmental matters and the full implementation of environmental democracy high on the agenda. However, the South Caucasian case demonstrates that the political work of the OSCE is time consuming and progresses slowly. This region is reluctant to implement fully public participation, especially the pillar on information sharing, and is only selectively cooperating on certain topic, excluding the water management. This study confirms that OSCE work is essential, however, certain components such as the frozen conflicts, nationalism, influence of third states, as well as, national interests and selective economic cooperation in the energy sector, hardens the work of the OSCE. Economic benefits are prioritized, meaning that safeguarding the environment through transnational cooperation and enabling public participation are not high on the priority list of the South Caucasian countries. Keywords Discourse Analysis; New Institutionalism; Environmental Democracy; Aarhus Convention; transboundary environmental projects; OSCE; South Caucasus; water/energy security;
Second semester University: Université Libre de Bruxelles
environmental policy, OSCE, Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, South Caucasus, former Soviet Union Republics, participation, international cooperation, energy policy, water resources