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issue 2, March - April 2000

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Linkages between Climate Change and Desertification: Opportunities of an Integrated Approach

This article aims at highlighting the opportunities of an integrated approach towards linkages between climate change and desertification, so that further impetus is added to this endeavour and corresponding activities are encouraged, thereby contributing to an enhanced implementation of both conventions.

What are linkages and why are they important?

The process of linkages describes the endeavour of two or more entities, contributing different perspectives and complementary expertise to achieve one overarching objective in a cooperative manner. Joining forces on cross-cutting issues results in a win-win situation for each separate entity and an improved situation overall, thus, creating synergies.

Linkages are vital as they help to generate consistent, coordinated and integrated responses. They also reduce overlaps and duplication, detect gaps, and avoid conflicts. The sharing of efforts undertaken, different experiences, best practices and lessons learned, all help in minimizing costs and maximizing the probability of a successful outcome.

In the context of this article the following three areas of possible and complementary linkages are considered:

  • Procedural and organisational linkages. For instance in the area of administrative arrangements, e.g. it can help in the case of co-location, data management, and logistical support, in coordinating, streamlining and harmonizing processes, increasing the consistency of approaches and terminology, and enhancing the coherence of intergovernmental action.
  • Scientific and technological linkages. For instance in the area of vulnerability, land degradation and carbon sequestration, helps to ensure that the numerous and complex interlinkages between the causes, impacts, and response options are fully addressed and complementarities are taken advantage of. A better pool of scientific and technical expertise can be established by enhancing multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral exchange and research.
  • Social and institutional linkages. For instance in the case of capacity building, education, training, and public awareness, outreach and involvement of key groups, all help to enable and mobilise stakeholders‘ involvement in the process so as to let them take ownership and multiply efforts undertaken. By forging such alliances, momentum can be maintained and impact increased.

International tendencies, towards an integrated approach

There is increasing interest being given to focussing on the close relationship between Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and the addressing of these phenomena in an inter-related manner. Activities range from international research with global orientation to local community projects.

The need for coordinating activities among the so-called "Rio Conventions", the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), has been recognized on numerous occasions, for instance at the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly that took place in November 1999.

During this session, the General Assembly encouraged the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) and the permanent secretariats of the UNFCCC, UNCCD and CBD, to further examine appropriate opportunities and measures to strengthen their complementarities and improve scientific assessments of ecological linkages amongst the three conventions. The session further emphasized the importance of facilitating and supporting the enhancement of linkages and coordination within and among environmental and environment-related conventions. Relevant agencies and conventions have been invited to report on their activities in this field to prepare for the forthcoming Rio +10 meeting to be held in 2002.

Such considerations, however, have up until now focussed predominantly on scientific and technological linkages. During a workshop organized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Senegal in 1998 for example, it was acknowledged that global climate change is expected to exacerbate regional and local desertification processes, and that the causes and results of desertification in turn will exacerbate global climate change through their effect on soil and vegetation. It was further recognized that given the strong inter-connections between climate change, desertification and biodiversity loss, a need exists for mutually reinforcing collaboration at the national and global level to achieve the objectives of the UNFCCC, UNCCD and CBD. It was further concluded that many of the same human activities that threaten biodiversity and contribute to desertification, such as land conversion, also contribute to climate change, and that opportunities to employ measures that will address all three simultaneously should therefore be explored further.

It was only recently though that the need to consider, research and address linkages within a broader and more integrated approach was acknowledged.

Some of the more recent initiatives in this regard were an Expert Meeting on Synergies in National Implementation between the Rio Agreements organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Israel in 1997; a 1998 report elaborated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the World Bank "Protecting our planet, securing our future"; a 3-day international conference organized by the United Nations University (UNU) in cooperation with UNEP in Japan in 1999; and a series of linkages meetings organized by UNEP during the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 5) to the UNFCCC at the end of 1999.

Some possible areas of linkages between climate change and desertification

Over the past few years some complementary linkages between climate change and desertification have for instance in the areas of procedural and organizational, scientific and technological, and social and institutional linkages been addressed on various occasions. Linkages on the social and institutional level have, however, as opposed to the two first categories, received very little international attention up until now.

In October 1997, during the first session of the Parties to the UNCCD in Rome, Mr. Michael Zammit Cutajar, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC secretariat acknowledged linkages between the UNFCCC and the UNCCD, based on the interactions among the ecological problems they attempt to address and their commitment to sustainable development as the overarching solution to these problems. In December 1999, during another presentation of the UNFCCC secretariat at UNCCD COP3 in Recife, Brazil, the need and potential of linkages at various levels was reiterated.

Possible procedural and organizational linkages mentioned related to administrative arrangements, based on the co-location of the two secretariats in Bonn, Germany, data management, and the harmonization of reporting requirements.

Some of the possible scientific and technological linkages mentioned related to vulnerability. The adverse impacts of climate change will be felt most by those people and countries that possess the least capacity to react and adapt, a theme that is of particluar relevance to African countries in view of their vulnerability to global warming and the concern that this will intensify droughts and land degradation. In September 1999, the UNCCD secretariat participated actively in the first UNFCCC workshop on the implementation of articles related to adverse impacts and vulnerability. This issue is under further consideration and negotiation by the UNFCCC Parties and any further cooperation with and input received from the UNCCD secretariat will be of considerable value.

Another area of possible scientific and technological linkages is that of land degradation and carbon sequestration. Revegetation, including the establishment of forest vegetation, will mitigate the detrimental effects of land degradation, and at the same time promote carbon sequestration - thus, helping both the UNFCCC and the UNCCD to achieve their goals. The conditions under which such carbon sinks could be used by Parties to offset their industrial greenhouse gas emissions are yet to be negotiated before the Kyoto Protocol can enter into force. It is envisaged that important steps towards that goal will be made at UNFCCC COP6 in November 2000.

Possible social and institutional linkages mentioned relate for example to capacity building, education, training and public awareness. Linkages in these areas are considered important as they not only enable and support national governments in implementing policy measures, but also help to reach out to stakeholders, involving, enabling and mobilising them to contribute to the implementation of the process at the local and national level.

These issues constitute the very basis for stakeholder involvement and are anchored in both conventions: Article 6 of the UNFCCC, Article 10 of the Kyoto Protocol and Articles 5, 6 and 19 of the UNCCD.

The UNFCCC and UNCCD will only succeed if they are widely supported by the public, key constituencies and interest groups. Governments must convince producers, consumers, communities, and individuals to adjust their activities in ways that support the objectives of the conventions. People must therefore be made aware of how the implementation of conventions might affect them, the policies that their governments are adopting in response, and the voluntary actions that they can take themselves. Long-term outreach programmes that seek to engage influential partners must be strengthened. The involvement of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) should be enhanced to provide skills and expertise. Information needs to be better disseminated to target groups through popularized materials.

During a meeting organized by IUCN in South Africa in August 1999, with countries such as Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana and Malawi, the need to coordinate and link implementation among the various environmental conventions at the national and regional level was reiterated. This was also put in the context of the need to increase activities in the areas of capacity building, outreach strategies, public education, training and awareness.

In the case of capacity building for example, the following areas of concern were mentioned: facilitation of decision making processes by governments, assistance with sectoral studies and national communications, enhancement of the understanding of vulnerability, adaptation, inventories, negotiating skills of delegates and institutional strengthening. The need for the elaboration of outreach strategies to involve the general public and other stakeholders was also stressed. Concerning public education, training and awareness programmes, the need to reinforce the role of NGOs and to integrate these issues in national communications were especially highlighted.

While many of the commitments deriving from the UNFCCC and UNCCD processes are seen as national-level tasks (such as reporting, compiling inventories and reforming legislative frameworks), the success of these instruments depends on their implementation at the local level where people live and make their livelihood in close relationship to the environment. National actions may provide an influential context, but the necessary physical changes can take place only at the local level and it is there that the instruments will succeed or fail.

Conclusion

Linkages are important to generate consistent, coordinated and integrated responses, and to harness synergies. Internationally, there is increasing interest to focus on the close relationship between MEAs and to address these phenomena in an inter-related manner. Activities range from international research with global orientation to local community-projects.

The recent recognition of the need and opportunities inherent in broadening the scientific and technological perspective towards a more holistic and integrated approach has been taken forward by the international community dealing with linkages and sustainable development, and has led to the first initiatives in this field.

Over the past few years, some complementary linkages between climate change and desertification have been considered on various occasions for instance at the levels of procedural and organizational, scientific and technological, and social and institutional linkages.

The UNFCCC and UNCCD operate in a shared ecosystem and the agenda of neither one of the two conventions should be seen in isolation. The achievement of respective objectives should be pursued in an integrated and mutually supportive manner. There is much to be gained by exploring the linkages and synergies among the two conventions and the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Hanna B. Hoffmann, IGO Outreach Officer, UNFCCC Secretariat

The above are personal views of the author, and should not be considered as views of the Secretariat or of the Parties.

References:

  • IUCN - Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertication, Report of a workshop, UNCCD COP 2, Dakar/Senegal, 1998
  • IUCN - Climate Change in Southern Africa, Report of the IUCN Regional Scoping Meeting, Johannesburg/South Africa, August 1999
  • UN - 54th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, A/C.2/54/L.22, November 1999
  • UNCCD - Review of activities for the promotion and strengthening of relationships with other relevant conventions and relevant international organizations, institutions and agencies - Collaboration and Synergies among Rio conventions for the implementation of the UNCCD, UNCCD COP 3, ICCD/COP(3)/9, September 1999, www.unccd.de
  • UNDP - Synergies in national implementation - The Rio agreements, UNDP, March 1997
  • UNEP - Synergies - Promoting Collaboration on Environmental Treaties, Vol.1, Number 1, UNEP, October 1999, www.unep.ch/conventions/
  • UNFCCC - Statement by Michael Zammit Cutajar, Executive Secretary, to UNCCD COP 1, Rome/Italy, October 1997
  • UNFCCC - Statement by Janos Pasztor, Coordinator, Information, Outreach and Administrative Services, to UNCCD COP 3, Recife/Brazil, November 1999
  • UNU - Interlinkages: Synergies and Coordination between Multilateral Environmental Agreements, UNU, Tokyo/Japan, July 1999
  • UNEP/US-NASA/The World Bank - Protecting our planet, securing our future - Linkages among global environmental issues and human needs, November 1998

Upcoming UNFCCC events

  • 12-16 June 2000 Twelfth sessions of the Subsidiary bodies, Bonn, Germany
  • 11-15 September 2000 Thirteenth sessions of the Subsidiary bodies, Lyon, France (tbc)
  • 13-24 November 2000 Sixth session of the Conference of the Parties, The Hague, The Netherlands
The Shared Rivers Initiative: Building  a common vision for international river basins in Southern Africa

Almost half of the world’s land, and as much as 70% of inhabitable land falls within international watersheds. Of the 214 multinational river basins in the world, 57 are in Africa, with southern Africa possessing the Orange/Senqu, Limpopo, Incomati and Zambezi as significant shared river systems. According to Peter Gleick (author of The World’s Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources), the entire sub-region is mostly dependent on rainfall and runoff for water supply, with every major perennial river being shared by two or more countries.

Shared rivers and conflict

If the rivers draining international basins delivered water in excess of requirements the potential for conflict would be low. This, however, is unfortunately not the case for most of Africa, as illustrated by the example of Mozambique, where South Africa and Swaziland constitute the major catchment area of several rivers systems that are shared with that country. In fact according to Gleick, "Mozambique’s rivers all originate outside of its borders in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland, and by the time they reach Mozambique they are substantially depleted or contaminated. Mozambique has become concerned that its neighbours, particularly South Africa, are contributing to their difficulty in growing food and to the problems in maintaining even minimal flows in the shared rivers".

European experience shows that countries that use less than 5% of their total runoff experience few water management problems, whereas in countries using over 20%, water supply becomes a national issue to the extent that it limits the realisation of economic potential. Estimates from the Department of Water Affairs reveal that South Africa currently utilises about 50% of the total runoff. Scarcity of water has thus made allocation a central issue, in terms of allocations to sectors (e.g. domestic, agriculture, industry and environment) within a country and between countries. This is particularly the case now that Mozambique has acquired the political stability to promote social and economic development.

Legal reform promoting sustainability

Achieving equity in the distribution and utilisation of water resources is therefore a critical and urgent need for the region. The new South African National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998), together with the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998), have been a major step forward in establishing the principles of equity and sustainability as a basis for decision-making and planning. An entire chapter of the National Water Act, for example, is devoted to establishing the mechanisms that ensure the provision of water to meet international obligations.

Equal partners sharing a common vision

Although it is clear that the principles of equity, efficiency and sustainability inform our attempts at conflict resolution and consensus building, debate between unequal partners, and particularly partners who do not share a common vision, will not yield lasting solutions. Furthermore, political ideologies and conflicts have, until recently, prevented collaboration between researchers in the region. Different approaches have emerged, each characterised by a focus on national issues notwithstanding the acknowledged importance of integration at a river basin scale. Because rivers cross political borders, it is understood that there must be complementary capabilities (understanding, expertise, technology, management processes and information) amongst all the affected partners.

Phase 1 of the Shared Rivers Initiative (SRI)

It was with this goal in mind that a group of stakeholders convened in February 1999 to discuss what actions would be required to achieve sustainability in the management of shared river systems. The group represented a diverse range of researchers, government officials and interested parties. Arising out of this workshop was a team of enthusiastic partners who all agreed that the best way forward was to devote a year towards working together to document issues of concern, share problems, develop capacity and most importantly, collaborate on developing a comprehensive research proposal that would meet the research and development challenges of the forthcoming decades. The Swedish International Development Co-operation (SIDA) generously agreed to fund this initial phase, and work towards developing a shared vision commenced in the last quarter of 1999.

The research programme has both a conceptual and a geographical focus. The conceptual focus is one of research being directed towards providing the knowledge, understanding and support required to promote management for the environmental sustainability of shared river systems. The geographical focus is that of research being initially focussed on one shared river system, the Incomati. In this way researchers will develop:

    • an integrated (trans-disciplinary and trans-boundary) understanding of the environmental management of shared river systems
    • a systematic approach (information, processes, procedures, models etc.) to understand the environmental management of shared river systems
    • an enhanced research capability
    • a dynamic and proactive network for sharing information and developing understanding
    • an enhanced ability to communicate with stakeholders, and to contribute to the integrated management of river systems

The first phase is structured around four components, with equal representation from each of the three countries on all the four Task Teams. A Core Team with two representatives from each country provides a co-ordination and facilitation function. The focus areas for the four Task Teams are:

River Health

Focus on common river health standards and control, water quality and biological health indicators, and determining appropriate protocols.

Socio-economics

Focus will be directed towards developing protocols for determining costs and benefits as well as social values of river systems, and integrating economics and social values into decision-making.

Decision Support

Focus will be on the protocols and procedures required for determining the allocation and delivery of water of an appropriate quality and quantity to sustain river system health through joint decision-making that is informed by complementary expertise and shared decision support and information systems.

Institutional Support

Focus on frameworks and protocols for institutional co-operation within and between countries to promote consistent policies and the development of an institutional framework to support sound decision-making.

Gleick has suggested that "effective joint management will require joint basin control over international rivers, the integration of environmental and social factors into estimates of the benefits and costs of physical infrastructure for water supply, and the more efficient use and allocation of existing supplies". Phase 1 of the Shared Rivers Initiative is an important first step in this process, as it is an attempt to build both bridges between nations, and a strong foundation for achieving equity and sustainability in the use of our shared rivers.

By Dr. Neville Quinn, Centre for Environment and Development, University of Natal, South Africa

For further information about the Shared Rivers Initiative contact Professor Charles Breen at the Institute of Natural Resources (+27 333 3460796) or Dr Nevil Quinn, Centre for Environment and Development, University of Natal (+27 333 2605664).

 

Trade and Sustainable Development

A few months have passed since the breakdown of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Seattle. The comments on what happened in Seattle have been numerous and varied. Many commentators, notably among the media, took the easy way out and blamed the collapse of the meeting on the street demonstrators. They were portrayed as people being against trade and economic co-operation and dominated by a group of violent anarchists.

There was indeed violence on the streets and certainly there were anarchists among the protesters but the vast majority of the protestors, however, were disciplined and peaceful. Representing human rights organisations, labour activists, farmers, indigenous people, forest activists and environmentalists, they questioned the wisdom of launching a new trade round, not because they were against trade and economic co-operation, but because they felt that the trade system of today is unfair to people and detrimental to the environment. Listening to ordinary people though, has never been the WTO’s strong point. The WTO has been concerned with one thing only: namely the expansion of trade. In this vein, trade liberalisation has been viewed as bestowing benefits to all involved parties, with any negative consequences been either sidelined or dismissed completely as being irrelevant.

The Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) protestors in Seattle were of great significance. Although they certainly focussed attention on some of the obvious shortcomings of the WTO it would, however, be wrong to claim that it was them that caused the collapse of the meeting. As the WTO Director-General Mike Moore commented in the European Parliament: "We did not need help from the outside for the meeting to break down". The tensions among WTO members were sufficient for the meeting to collapse; tensions between the US and the EU, but even more so between the North and the South.

Undoubtedly it is a well-established fact that nations that have opened up their borders to trade and competition have done significantly better in terms of growth than those countries that have chosen not to. Trade, however, is merely a means and not an end in itself. Our common vision for the future should be one of sustainable development, i.e. harmony between economic growth, social development and concern for the environment.

There are many opportunities for trade to support sustainable development, but this will not happen by itself. Certain rules or framework conditions have to be put in place first. Surveying the past record of the WTO, serious shortcomings clearly present themselves from the point of view of sustainability.

The organisers expected the Seattle round to be merely a meeting on multilateral trade. It soon, however, became a meeting on globalisation. Trade can no longer be viewed as a sector issue. The inter-linkages with poverty, development, debt issues, environment, human rights etc. are just too obvious to ignore. Seen from that perspective, Seattle became the first inter-governmental meeting at a high level to deal with globalisation and its inherent opportunities and risks. It was clearly evident that the WTO was ill prepared for such a discussion.

Much of the criticism levelled against globalisation and the WTO emanates from the poor results it has had so far for many developing countries. When one focuses on the poorest countries, there can be no doubt that they have been the losers of the Marrakech agreement in 1994. Their share of world trade has gone down and the same is true for their share of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Their opposition to a new trade round therefore should not have come as a huge surprise. A few months before Seattle, the Group of 77 had given the WTO formal notice that they would not agree to further liberalisation measures without prior application of the three R’s: "review, repair and reform" of the WTO. They felt that the pace of change was too fast, that the full consequences of the Marrakech agreement had not been properly assessed and that the agenda for Seattle was dominated too much by northern interests.

Their opposition to the WTO was amplified by the difficulties most of the low-income countries experience in participating fully in the WTO. Many members lack diplomatic representation in Geneva where the headquarters of the WTO are located and are therefore put at a clear disadvantage.

Most developing countries reacted strongly against having environment on the agenda of the proposed trade round. They saw it as yet another obstacle for their exports that rich countries were putting in place; a sort of protectionism in disguise. Such sentiments are understandable. There are indeed many examples of double standards from the industrialised world as regards to trade and the environment. Their opposition does also not end there. Developing countries feel that the support pledged before the Rio Conference to help them address Agenda 21 and the Rio conventions has not been forthcoming. Their first priority, they claim, has to be one of poverty alleviation and therefore environmental protection will have to wait. For anyone genuinely interested in protecting the global environment, it should be clear that environmental issues cannot be dealt with separately from the issues of development and poverty reduction. The inter-linkages are certainly obvious.

The relationship between trade liberalisation and the environment is a complex one. Increasing trade can improve environmental quality by increasing efficiency and by facilitating the transfer of environmentally benign technologies. A more integrated world economy would also provide strong arguments in favour of international co-operation to protect and safeguard the environment.

However, trade expansion could also have negative effects for the environment by shifting production to regions where environmental protection is currently insufficient. There are many examples where increased trade has overwhelmed environmental governance. The concentration, pace and scale of international demand offers large incentives to use the environment in an unsustainable manner in many poor countries. Current examples of this include shrimp farming in Asia, timber logging in many tropical countries, the conversion of virgin forests to palm oil plantations and exotic vegetable growing in South America, to mention but a few.

Another major problem concerns the relationship between the WTO rules and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). It is presently unclear as to what extent WTO rules have priority vis--vis MEA’s or vice versa. A further problem relates to the way in which the WTO has specifically dealt with environmental issues. For many years in fact, environmental issues were not recognised at all. In 1995, the environmental community was encouraged by the re-establishment of a committee on Trade and Environment. Very little progress has, however, been made and it became obvious to many that the Committee was seen as nothing but a distraction from the real agenda.

Furthermore, the WTO Dispute Settlement Panel has all but ignored environmental and social concerns. In most environmental disputes that have come before the WTO Dispute Panel – whose deliberations are secret – the ruling has been for business and against the environment. The whole Dispute Settlement System is under severe criticism, both for its lack of transparency and its narrow interpretation of social and environmental issues.

A great deal more could be said about the WTO and the environment. No doubt, there are obvious tensions between trade expansion and environmental sustainability, the resolution of which would be of interest to all parties, developing countries included. Environmental provisions are introduced first and foremost out of a genuine concern for the rapid depletion of forests, fisheries and other natural resources, as well as the grave consequences of increased pollution, and not because of a primary interest to put up barriers to trade.

For everyone interested in the strengthening of the multilateral trade system it should be clear by now that trade discussions in the future will have to take into account a whole range of issues. An integrated approach is needed. This means that trade cannot be dealt with separately from issues such as development, poverty reduction, human rights and the environment.

The world needs a rule-based trade system and it needs reform – both as regards its working methods and procedures and its content. In order to support sustainable development – and in order for the multilateral trade system to benefit all its members – a number of things have to happen:

Firstly, WTO working methods and procedures have to be changed. Secrecy has to give way to transparency. Poor member countries have to be assisted so that they can participate fully in the work of the WTO.

Secondly, most of the poor countries currently have little to offer the global market except for farm products, textiles and commodities. For WTO members from Africa for example, more than 75% of their export earnings are derived from commodities. Hence, any new trade round has to start with addressing the priority issues for the least-developed countries. This would entail dismantling trade barriers for farm products, textiles and leather and for the EU to do away with its agricultural export subsidies.

Thirdly, and related to the other points, are the supply constraints and capacity needs experienced by most developing countries. One particular problem is related to information and communications technologies (ICT). ICT provides a host of opportunities for people all over the world, including the poor. Properly designed, ICT can help to advance human development and reduce poverty. Things like distance education, health information, trade promotion, participation, etc. can all be vastly improved through ICT.

Most countries in the world today have access to the Internet. For the majority of developing countries, however, connectivity is limited to a few locations in their capitals. We must bear in mind that more than 70 percent of the world’s population has never used a telephone and more than 2 billion people lack access to electricity.

To correct the present situation would require some kind of crash programme that would develop infrastructure and connectivity and support institution building. Very little of this capacity building is, however, actually taking place. We can hardly expect the private sector to be actively engaged in such efforts. This is primarily the task of the public sector. In most developing countries though, the public sector is badly organised and poorly financed. Well-targeted development assistance is desperately needed to strengthen governance as well as capacity.

Finally, environmental concerns have to be mainstreamed into WTO policies and procedures. The Dispute Settlement Mechanism has to be rethought. Disputes that are environmental in nature should first and foremost be resolved within the respective environmental conventions with respect for the precautionary principle being guaranteed.

By Anders Wijkman, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-President of GLOBE International

 

The XVth GLOBE International General Assembly (GIGA 15)

This year's GIGA was convened on 7-9 April in Otsu next to Kyoto in Japan. The General Assembly was organised in conjunction with the G8 Environment Ministers meeting.

GLOBE members from all over the world attended the GLOBE conference. Among them, Gwen Mahlangu, member of the South African National Assembly, who represented GLOBE Southern Africa. She was accompanied by Francis Caas, Executive Director of GLOBE Southern Africa.

GLOBE members produced a declaration, which was handed to the Environment Ministers of the G8 Group. The Declaration highlighted the need to increase the role of legislators in global environmental governance, as well as reiterated the necessity of dealing rapidly with climate change and urged the G8 Ministers to create linkages between trade and sustainable development.

On climate change, GLOBE members appealed to developed countries to promote the transfer of efficient, clean and affordable energy technologies to developing countries. They also urged developed nations to ensure that the Clean Development Mechanism is used as a tool for the promotion of sustainable development and is supplementary to existing development aid.

On trade and the environment, GLOBE members present in Otsu urged the G8 Ministers to ensure that the new WTO round takes into account the social, development and environmental concerns of its members, that WTO decisions do not contradict existing Multilateral Environmental Agreements and that the WTO's working methods and procedures should be improved so that secrecy gives way to transparency.

The GLOBE General Assembly was divided into three sessions addressing the following issues: climate change: energy resources for the new millennium, trade and the environment: biotechnology, natural resources and food security, and global environmental governance: the role of legislators. Various action agendas were adopted, namely on Energy, Climate Change, Trade and Sustainable Development and Global Governance. Two Memorandums of Understanding, respectively with the World Conservation Congress (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) were discussed and adopted. A Working Group on Nuclear Energy and the CDM was also created.

The 16th GIGA will most probably take place in Los Angeles in August 2001 and will be convened by GLOBE USA.

Information on the GLOBE International General Assembly can be accessed at: http://www.globeint.org/

You can also contact the GLOBE International Secretariat: Tel: 32-2-282 4920/25/26, Fax +32-2-230 9530, E-mail: dwebber@globeint.org