An Expert Roundtable on Nagorno Karabagh

16 October 2008

001WAGBU Europe in partnership with  the Brussels office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation organized an expert roundtable entitled “Nagorno  Karabagh, its Neighbourhood and the Wider Europe” on October 16, 2008 from 14 pm to 17.30 pm.

The summer of 2008 provided a dramatic illustration that history is still in the making in the South Caucasus, and that Europe can play a role in the region.

For the 145000 inhabitants of Nagorno Karabagh, life has changed dramatically since the end of the war against Azerbaijan, in 1994. From the ruins of war, the republic’s institutions have sought to promote economic development and security, to provide public services and to promote the rule of law and democratic reform. Basic infrastructure has been rebuilt, many of the tools of economic governance set in place and GDP has increased fourfold between 1996 and 2006. Today, NKR has rather more effective political institutions and enforces fundamental rights and the rule of law rather better than most in the region, though political as well as economic reforms remain work in progress.

The republic’s development has been carried out against many odds. Already underdeveloped under the Soviet Union, NKR’s economy was subsequently destroyed in the war; the territory is now blockaded by Azerbaijan and its only access to the outside world is through Armenia. No international organization has been allowed to operate in NKR or entertain relations with its authorities, and very few donors have established a presence there. This has created additional, significant difficulties for reconstruction and development.

The status of NKR and a peace settlement that would open the way to cooperation and development in the region have been under negotiation within the OSCE’s Minsk group – for the last 14 years. Over this period, a new generation has grown up in NKR. Under what conditions have they lived? How has society in NKR been transformed? What will be the place of NKR as a society in Europe at large?