Published: Thursday 15 May 1997

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.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.