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    U.N. body seeks to avert environmental wars

    By Alex Kirby

    A UN project launched several years ago to try to defuse potential conflicts has begun to build on its successes.

    The project, developed by the UN's Environment Programme, tries to tackle environmental threats before they can push neighbouring states into war.

    After years of delicate negotiations, Unep recently brokered a treaty aimed at protecting the fragile Caspian Sea.

    Now it says many countries have learnt to trust it and to work much faster in trying to resolve their differences.

    The project is called the Env/Sec Initiative: Enhancing Environment and Security in South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    It is the work of Unep's regional office for Europe, together with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN Development Programme.