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Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, Launches State of the Environment Report for the City of Arendal, Norway

Arendal/Nairobi, 23 August 1999 - Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched the State of the Environment report on the Internet for the City of Arendal, Norway.

Cities Environment Report on the Internet (CEROI) is a project within the framework of local Agenda 21. It facilitates access to environmental information for sound decision-making and general awareness-raising in cities.

The report for Arendal will assist local politicians and residents of the Arendal municipality in managing their environmental resources and in decision-making that will steer development in a sustainable direction.

"The challenge to achieve a sustainable development for cities is formidable. Almost half of the population already lives in cities, with an increasing trend towards urbanization" said Mr. Toepfer. "In order to meet this challenge it is crucial to involve the civil society in dealing with environmental problems. The ordinary public, science and policy makers need a common place for exchange of information. The CEROI project in which Arendal participates as a pilot city, is such an instrument", he said.

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The mayor of Arendal, Mr. Ledaal, introduces the SoE Arendal to the dignitaries

In the Arendal project, special input has come from students and teachers at two local schools: Tyholmen Secondary and Birkenlund Junior Secondary. They have produced the report in close cooperation with municipal authorities and GRID- Arendal.

This report contains easily understandable information about the city and its environment. It covers issues such as water, land use, energy, waste and transport. Users will get a quick overview of the present situation, the problems ahead and the manner in which these problems are managed. Through the CEROI network, information about the management of similar problems for cities around the world is easily accessed.

The report provides city authorities with an efficient tool to see how other cities have solved the problems with which they are struggling, exchange ideas and cooperate with other cities in Norway or internationally.

A specially developed "Publikit" software and web presentation tool for making environment reports in the CEROI programme has been used to create the report. This launch is coinciding with the 10-year anniversary of GRID-Arendal. Over the next five years, GRID-Arendal will receive close to US$3 million through the Norwegian Ministry of Environment. GRID- Arendal has also been designated as the UNEP key centre on polar environmental assessment and early warning. arenda1.jpg - 14482 Bytes

Among those participating in the launch were Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the World Health Organization, the mayors of Arendal and of Turku, Finland and staff from Grid-Arendal and Ugland totalkart, GRID-Arendal's partner in the development of the Publikit tool used for publishing environmental reports on the Internet.

The report is available on the Internet at

For more information, please contact: Tore J. Brevik, UNEP Spokesman and Director of Communications and Public Information Branch, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: (254-2) 623292; Fax: 623692; Email: or Aake Bjoerke, Information Manager, GRID-Arendal, P.O. Box 1602, N-4801 Arendal, Norway. Tel.: +47-37035650; Fax: +47- 37035050; Email: bjoerke

UNEP News Release 1999/89

Monday 23 Aug 1999
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