The South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries have decided to put up a joint
front before the United Nation
General Assembly (UNGA) meeting
to be held in June this year in New
York, to press for the implementation of Agenda 2 1. Agenda 21 is an
agreement signed by UN member
governments at Rio de Janerio in
1992 which urges all governments to
increase financial commitments for
environment protection, initiate
national strategies for sustainable
development and include non-governmental organisations in the
design and implementation of
these strategies. The environment
ministers of the SAARC countries,
who met in New Delhi on April 2 to 3,
1997, signed the 'New Delhi
Declaration' defining the common
SAARC position before the UNGA
meet in June.
The declaration proposes to work collectively on toxic waste imports, protecting biodiversity, managing marine pollution and resource sustainability. It urged developed nations to transfer environmentally sound technologies and asked all international and regional funding agencies and financial institutions to provide adequate funds on concessional terms for development activities.
The meeting also decided to set up an information exchange network to promote regional co-operation on the issue of sustainable development. The meeting was the first of its kind since the 1991 pre-Rio meet. The ministers have asked the SAARC secretariat to convene a meeting of experts on how to establish a network among the countries. At present, only an exchange on trade and commerce information is available. The ministers also agreed to follow up a proposal from the Economic Development institution of the World Bank to organise a high-level policy training programme among SAARC countries on "mainstreaming environmentally sustainable" programmes.
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