Disasters and conflicts

Environmental problems can be of concern for security both between but also within countries. Addressing these risks has been at the heart of Zoï’s work providing support to the the UN and the ENVSEC initiative implemented by a consortium of international organizations on Europe’s borders: South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. Video clip: ENVSEC

Through innovative methodologies for mapping and visualizing the risks we have contributed to flagship assessments with wide recognition throughout the region and world-wide. The assessment reports explain complex environment-security connections to normal people and politicians and help trigger solutions to problems on the ground. The assessments are participatory, focused, concise, attractive and easy-to-understand and widely recognized as powerful communication tools.

Zoï staff led and contributed to ENVSEC’s assessments by developing methodologies, desk studies and actual work in the regions and countries such as Central Asia, the Ferghana Valley, the Eastern Caspian region, the Amu Darya river basin, the South Caucasus, Nagorny Karabakh, the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

Our on-going work focuses on assessments in the Central Asian Water-Environment nexus, transboundary environmental problems Eastern Europe (Dniester and other rivers), Mining in the Balkans, Central Asia and Armenia and keeping an eye on the environment in areas of frozen conflicts in the Caucasus.

We initiated the MEDSEC initiative, extending Environment and Security assessments to the Southern Mediterranean region. The current activities focus on Jordan, Egypt and the Nile river and Palestine.

The 1992 Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents is designed to protect people and the environment against industrial accidents. The Convention aims to prevent accidents from occurring, or reducing their frequency and severity and mitigating their effects if required. Zoï is providing support to the convention's capacity building programme in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.


Zoï Books are produced for the United Nations, the European Union, regions, countries and a growing community of readers world-wide. We closely cooperate with GRID-Arendal in providing environmental information for decision-making.

Our digital library is available here.

Image + Click = e-book


Environmental Assessment and Recovery Priorities for Eastern Ukraine, 2017

The publication “Environmental Assessment and Recovery Priorities for Eastern Ukraine” incorporates existing information from various sources on impact and threats to the environment posed by a conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The publication highlights the main results of studies on soils, surface waters, risks from industrial enterprises and flooding of mines, and analyzes the issues of influence on the condition of forest resources, protected areas and biodiversity.

ebook Ukrainian

pdf English     pdf Ukrainian

A Matter of Survival: Report of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace, 2017

After 2 years of work, the Global High-Level Panel on Water has launched its report, concluding that the global water challenge is not only about development and human rights but it is also about peace and security. Zoï has supported the work with design, layout and cartography.







pdf English     pdf French     pdf Russian     pdf Spanish

ebook English     ebook French     ebook Russian     ebook Spanish

E-learning course: Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, 2017

The Swiss NGO DRR Platform is a network of Swiss NGO’s working on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). Developed by several organizations including Zoï, this e-learning course collects experience-based learning and training material from various years and events. The e-course is available online for free as a self-study tool for practitioners.


Flyer (PDF)


Course modules (PowerPoint presentations):

Module 0

Module 1     Module 1 with video

Module 2

Module 3     Module 3 with video

Module 4     Module 4 with video

Maps: War and Environment in eastern Ukraine, 2017

Zoï and the Toxic Remnants of War Project have published an update of the environmental situation in war-torn eastern Ukraine. These three maps show the latest environment-related developments in Donbas, including fresh attempts to carve environmental policy on both sides of the line of contact.

Recent damage to industries and territories:     English     Ukrainian

Blocked borders, closed factories:     English     Ukrainian

Environmental actions and plans:     English     Ukrainian

Nexus Brief: The El Niño - phenomenon and related impacts, 2016

This nexus brief focuses on the phenomenon of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and in particular on the 2015/2016 El Niño event, which faded out in May 2016, but has impacts and effects on environmental and societal systems that will extend well into 2017.

ebook French     ebook Spanish

pdf English     pdf French     pdf Spanish

Drones in Humanitarian Action, 2016

This report presents the key findings of the research initiative “Drones in Humanitarian Action” (by the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in partnership with CartONG, UAViators and Zoï Environment Network), which examines different uses of drones for humanitarian operations. The in-depth report is based on 14 case studies from 10 countries, as well as expert consultations, stakeholder meetings and a survey of humanitarian professionals in 61 countries.

PDF:     English     French

Ebook:     French

Report: promoting information concerning flood risks in the Dniester river basin, 2016

A report in Russian describing the work performed in the context of promoting information on flood risks in the Dniester river basin.

Nexus Brief: Climate Change & Environment x Migration, 2016

SDC has started a dialogue to address the linkages between climate change, environment and disaster risks on the one hand, and migration and economic development on the other. The dialogue includes thematic inputs, e-discussions and a workshop organized in Morocco in March 2016, with a particular focus on North Africa. This brief focuses on the climate change/environment and migration nexus and synthesizes the main findings from this process to date, including the relevant literature. While addressing this nexus in general, this brief has a specific focus on North Africa and explores different types of migration.

ebook French     ebook Spanish

pdf English     pdf French     pdf Spanish

Mapping floods in the Dniester basin, 2016

These maps in Russian and Ukrainian display flood risks in the Dniester river delta and around Mohyliv-Podolskyi.




Dniester river basin (Russian, jpg):

Risk from floods with 1% probability (medium-probability scenario)

Risk from floods with 0.5% probability (low-probability scenario)

Areas affected in case of a catastrophic flood


Mohyliv-Podilskyi (Ukrainian, jpg):

Areas affected by floods with 1% probability

Mapping floods in the Yaselda river basin, 2015
Dniester flood leaflets, 2014

Produced by Zoï Environment Network for the Dniester river basin, these leaflets describe how people should act when a flood comes.

pdf English   pdf Romanian   pdf Ukrainian

ebook Romanian   ebook Ukrainian


War in Eastern Ukraine: Damage to Donbas Environment, 2014

This snapshot assessment of environmental damage to the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine, plagued throughout much of 2014 with fighting that still continues, was prepared through cooperation between Zoï Environment Network and the Kyiv-based East Ukraine Environment Institute. To assess the situation and compile the map, the experts used the best available information from governmental and other sources and media reports, as well as their own data, judgements and direct interviews with the affected enterprises and areas. As new data are being collected, this remains work in progress.

A zoï article on the subject is available on the Sustainable Security website (link) and on the Ecologist website (link).

Russian version    Ukrainian version

Dniester without borders (Russian), 2014

This report presents achievements of the ENVSEC (UNECE/OSCE/UNEP) project “Transboundary Co-operation and Sustainable Management in the Dniester River Basin: Phase III – Implementation of the Action Programme”. The activities were focused on developing and signing the Dniester River Basin Treaty between Moldova and Ukraine, transboundary water monitoring, fish fauna conservation, information sharing on the basin level, public awareness, and reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change. The publication also provides recommendations for further activities in the Dniester river basin.

Dniester without borders - Executive summary, 2014

This is a summary of the "Dniester without borders" report on environment and security in the Dniester river basin.


Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester river basin - Summary, 2013

The goal of the “Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester river basin” project is to reduce the risks of possible consequences of climate change, identify the most vulnerable areas in the Dniester river basin and improve adaptation capacity in Ukraine and Moldova. This study in particular is aimed at analyzing and discussing the capacity for information exchange on flood risks and timely warnings to the population.

Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester river basin - Report, 2013

Report from a workshop on improving the communication of flood risks in the Dniester river basin at the local, national and interstate levels. Some aspects discussed were the exchange of hydrometeorological information, the role of emergency departments and the mapping of flooded areas.

Visual Atlas of Cooperation - Afghanistan and Tajikistan Environment and Hydrology in the Upper Amu Darya Basin, 2013

Zoï has contributed to UNECE water assessments and helped facilitate implementation of UNECE and United Nations conventions in Central Asia. Based on its previous work with Afghanistan, Zoï was invited to assist in the facilitation of the Afghan-Tajik cooperation process. In the development of this atlas, Zoï’s special talents for presenting environmental issues visually have been of particular value.

Economic development and natural resource management are top priorities for cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Tajikistan. For both countries the adequate knowledge and sharing of information about natural resources and hazards are important.

With 100 photos and 50 maps and graphics based on official sources and original research, this well-illustrated atlas presents information at the river basin – as opposed to the national – level, and portrays challenges from the regional rather than the country perspective. With the objective of supplementing information already available in each of the countries, the atlas is designed to help local policymakers and experts as well as readers outside the region, donors and the international community understand the basin’s natural resources, common needs and priorities. It starts with brief introductions to the countries, illustrates the Amu Darya River basin as a part of the Aral Sea basin and provides details on the Upper Amu Darya.

Environment & Security in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 2012

The report reveals in a striking manner the linkages between environment and security in the occupied Palestinian territory. The message is clear: environmental degradation in Palestine only increases the security risks. Solutions are complex and highly depend on fair and flexible accords between Palestine and Israel, eventually Palestinian independence giving full sovereignty over environmental resources.

UNEP Strategic Priorities in Europe, 2012

The United Nations Environment Programme 2011–2013 strategy focuses on six thematic priorities – climate change; resource efficiency; disasters and conflicts; environmental governance; harmful substances and hazardous waste; and ecosystem management. As part of its effort to come to terms with these priorities, UNEP engaged Zoï to create thematic maps for use as objective tools for priority setting in the European region.

Egypt and the Nile - Environment and Security, 2012

Did the changing climate ignite the Arab Spring? Did failures of Egyptian agriculture and the global increase in food process accelerate the fall of the Mubarak regime? The causes of the wave of revolt sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa are complex and multiple. This reports highlits the fact that environmental security and the preservation and just distribution of basic resources are the keys to peace and stability.

Environment and Security in the Amu Darya River Basin, 2011

The prime aim of this report is to identify the environmental stress points in the Amu Darya basin which have, or may have, security repercussions for the states and population.The report then suggests solutions to the challenges identified during the assessment. All in all, the field missions covered more than 3 000 km. Participants included experts from the region and from international organizations. Almost 100 experts were directly involved or consulted during the process.

UNEP press release

Technical paper: Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester River basin, 2011

ENVSEC Project “Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester river basin” (Dniester - III floods & climate).
Summary of the baseline studies for Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, February 2011.

Jordan Environment and Security, 2011

Jordan is an ideal case study to highlight the tension between available resources and rising demand in the Middle East, but also globally. Jordan is an extreme case in that it lacks all three key necessities for human civilization: food, water and energy. This report explains that in order to provide long-term answers securing the well-being of future generations there are no short-term answers, nor yet within the boundaries of the nation-state. Regional cooperation is needed to maximize shared benefits.

Mining and Environment in the Western Balkans, 2010

Over the last few years UNEP and its ENVSEC partners have been working to identify and reduce transboundary environmental risks from hazardous mining operations in South Eastern Europe, with the focus on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. This document seeks to provide an overview of the results and experience created over this period to facilitate related work in the future and ensure broad dissemination of the lessons learned to guarantee that the efforts made so far can be sustained.

Interactive map

Water management on the upper Pripyat river, 2010

Monograph on water management on the upper Pripyat river between Belarus and Ukraine, prepared by the project team to present project results to the professional audience (Russian).

Mapping flood risks in the Styr-Prostyr basin part of the upper Pripyat basin

Technical paper: Transboundary monitoring of the Dniester River - Assessment and evaluation, 2010

Action Programme to Improve Transboundary Cooperation and Sustainable Management of the Dniester River Basin (Dniester - III)

Russian        e-book Russian          e-book English


Maps of flood risks in the Styr-Prostyr river basin, 2010

The maps are JPG images in Russian ( large files):

topography of the basin
areas affected by floods with probability 0.5% - 1% - 10% - 25%

infrastructure in the basin

infrastructure at risk from floods with probability 0.5% - 1% - 10% - 25%

Taking Land - Crimea, 2010

The photographs in this book form part of a project commissioned by the Environment and Security Initiative (ENSEC) published in association with Zoi Environment Network. Alban Kakulya is a writter and photographer based in Switzerland.

Environment and Security Issues in the Mediterranean, 2009

This synthesis report makes these complex issues better understandable to decision-makers and a more general public. The concise analysis produced integrates the regional environmental and security, political and economical discourse.

Technical paper: Upper Pripyat field study, 2008

A team of Belarus, Ukrainian and international experts visited the area around the Vyzhevsky water gate of the Beloozerskaya water-feed system, on 30 June - 4 July 2008. The report is in Russian.

Summary in English

Environment and Security in the Eastern Caspian Region, 2008

This report considers the role and impact of environmental factors in securing human safety and sustainable development of the eastern Caspian Sea region, including the parts of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan opening onto the Caspian Sea.

Vital Caspian Graphics, 2007

In recent years the Caspian Sea has been the focus of increased global attention. The world-wide decline in oil and gas reserves and have heightened interest in an area where there is still growth potential in oil and gas exploration.

ENVSEC priority areas in Eastern Europe - Poster, 2007

Environment and Security, Priority areas in Eastern Europe, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine.

Environment and Security - Transforming risks into cooperation - The case of Eastern Europe, 2007

This publication highlights the importance of recognising the region’s geopolitical positioning between the EU and the Russian Federation, improving energy security without jeopardising the environment, addressing the Transnistrian conflict in Moldova and strengthening cooperation over shared rivers and ecosystems.


Vital Balkan Graphics, 2007

Environmental protection is one of the areas where the Balkan countries still face a big challenge to catch up with their western neighbours. After the 1990s conflicts and the breakup of Yugoslavia, six new Balkan states emerged. Apart from integrating environmental concerns into the new policies, a major challenge is environmental management across new borders.

Environmental assessment mission to fire-affected territories in and around Nagorno-Karabakh region, 2007

The mandate of the mission led by OSCE was to assess the short-term and long-term impact of the fires of summer 2006 on the environment in the fire-affected territories and to make recommendations on how to counteract any detrimental impact of the fires and on an environmental operation.

Environment and Security - Transforming risks into cooperation - The case of Central Asia, 2005

The assesssment has been produced upon request of the countries of the Ferghana Valley - Kyrgzystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - and has widely benefited from their inputs. it shows how the Environment and Security initiative has helped identify both environmental threats to regional security and opportunities for cross-border dialogue.

Environment and Security - Transforming risks into cooperation - The Case of the Southern Caucasus, 2004

The report briefly presents a preliminary assessment of environment and security linkages in the Southern Caucasus, carried out at the request of the host governments and in consultation with national experts. Its purpose is to establish the parameters for follow-up action by national authorities and international partners.

Environment and security priority areas in the Southern Caucasus Russian - Poster, 2004

The text on this poster is in Russian.

Environment and Security: Transforming risks into cooperation - The case of Central Asia and South-Eastern Europe, 2003

This report focuses on the environmental stress affecting security in two case regions, Central Asia and South Eastern Europe. It provides maps with an overview on major environmental risks to human development and security. The maps are derived from information gathered at consultation workshops in Belgrade and Ashgabat, which were attended by local experts, government and non-government representatives.