The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Lord Bishop of
The scars of the Kosovo conflict are still visible along
the banks of the River Danube. Long after the attention of
CNN was transferred elsewhere, the communities who depend
on the river for their economic lifeblood were left counting
the cost of the war. NATO allies, like Romania and Bulgaria,
were particularly hard hit by the severing of this vital artery
The Danube presentation was faced with a situation in which
there was a need both for a healing of memories and for a
practical plan for rebuilding bridges, dealing with pollution
and repairing some of the damage caused by the bombing.
A notable contribution to the healing of memories was made
by the Prayer for Peace held in Novi Sad. Representatives
of various confessions and religions participated and the
moving address delivered by the Ecumenical Patriarch. It is
an important feature of co-operation between religion and
science in ecological matters that the potency of analysis
can be enhanced by sacred symbols, and energy for change focused
in events which put the "facts of the matter" in
the proper human context of suffering and hope.
This presentation contained a sober audit by Dr Josip
Cicek, using examples from Croatia, of the damage done
both to the natural environment and to the cultural heritage
by recent wars in the Balkans.
In a contribution focusing more precisely on the aftermath
of NATO action during the Kosovo campaign, HE Mr
Pekka Haavisto, Chairman of the Balkans Task Force,
raisedsome important questions about modern warfare and the
risk of heavy pollution when industry close to big cities
was targeted. In view of the considerable and continuing threat
to human health involved in such action, Mr Haavisto's presentation
asked whether the rules of modern warfare need an update.
In a wide-ranging contribution, Mr Thomas Spencer,
Executive Director of the European Centre for Public Affairs
in Oxford, presented the challenge of incorporating the countries
of the Danube in the new Europe. He pointed out that, if there
was sufficient political will, we could soon see a degree
of European unity unparalleled since the division of the Roman
Empire by Diocletian.
Mr Georgios Zavvos, representing the European Union's
Commission, provided some reassurance that the Commission
regarded the re-opening of the Danube for navigation as of
"prime importance". This important point was made
during a presentation held in the Palace of the People in
Bucharest with the generous assistance of the Romanian Government.
Mr Mark Malloch-Brown, the Administrator of the United
Nations Development Programme, looked further ahead in his
presentation on "Identifying Economic Needs". Whilst
acknowledging the obvious importance of financial support
from the international community, Mr Malloch Brown emphasised
the crucial significance of issues of governance and assisting
countries to develop a political culture which respects human
rights and participants real power to local communities.
War and the environment (Dr Josip Cicek)
An environmental assessment of the Balkan conflict (HE Mr Pekka Haavisto)
The commitment to reconciliation and cooperation (Mr Thomas Spencer)
The Danube River and the European Union in the post-Kosovo era (Mr Georgios Zavvos)
Identifying economic needs (Mr Mark Malloch-Brown)