Scots MEP takes up security role in volatile region

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By Rory Reynolds

A SCOTS MEP is to take up an international disaster investigation role in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

Tory Struan Stevenson will become ‘personal representative for ecology and the environment’ at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe next week.

Stevenson’s role is to strengthen regional security in central Asia, which covers the war-torn nations of Chechnya and Georgia.

His role will focus on the impact of man-made ecological disasters, including the continuing effects of Soviet nuclear tests, as well as investigating what impact they have on the regional economy and security.

The Tory veteran, who has been an MEP for a decade, said: “My remit is to draw up a report on the environmental problems affecting central Asia.“To help achieve this I will have to visit all of the central Asian republics such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

“I will spend at least a week in the Aral Sea area and a further week in the Kazakh Polygon, two of the greatest man-made environmental disasters on earth.

“This is both a great honour and an enormous challenge.”

The veteran MEP was chosen to fill the role by the Kazakh government, who will take over the chairmanship of OSCE next week.

Stevenson has previously led a high-profile international campaign to secure aid for victims of the Soviet nuclear tests in Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan, which is among the most polluted areas in the world.

In 2004 the 61-year-old won a $50,000 prize for an essay on the plight of the local population, which he donated to Mercy Corps Scotland.

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