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Taking action on trade-related environmental degradation

Seattle/Nairobi, 2 December 1999 - At the 3rd World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Seattle, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is releasing six new reports that demonstrate how countries can take action to address trade-related environmental degradation.

"These reports clearly demonstrate how individual countries can identify the impacts of recent trade liberalization on their natural and environmental resources, and then develop innovative strategies to address negative impacts and strengthen positive ones," said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director.

The country-level reports include new action-oriented research on trade-related environmental problems in the forestry, mining, fisheries, manufacturing, and water sectors of six countries: Bangladesh, Chile, India, the Philippines, Romania and Uganda. Each report concludes by recommending a set of practical measures that promise to effectively halt trade-related environmental degradation, and in turn, ensure that the country's trade remains robust yet sustainable over the long-term.

"Through trade liberalization, enhanced trade objectives were achieved in these six countries, but there were serious negative environmental, and related social, impacts of expanded trade activity as well," said Toepfer. "However, with technical assistance from UNEP, national teams, including NGOs, successfully developed policy packages to redirect each country's trade and economic development along a sustainable path", he said.

The six projects were entirely country-driven - conceived, designed and conducted by national teams of practitioners - making them among the first of their kind. In each country, national teams are now working closely with relevant government departments to implement sustainable development policies. UNEP plans to help start similar projects in other countries in 2000.


For more information contact:
Hussein Abaza,
Chief, UNEP - Economics and Trade Unit, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics,
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland,
Tel: (+41-22) 917-8179, Fax: (+41-22) 917-8076,
Robert Bisset,
UNEP press officer in Seattle, c/o Crown Plaza Hotel,
tel: 1-206-464-1980, fax: 340-1617, mobile: 206-909-3518,

In Nairobi, please contact:
Tore J. Brevik,
UNEP Spokesman and Director of Communications and Public Information,
P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya;
Tel.: (254-2) 623292; Fax: 623692;

UNEP News Release 1999/134

Friday 03 Dec 1999
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