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UN agency strikes environment agreement with Central Asian economic group

Source: United Nations

18 August 2004 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and a regional trading group based around Central and Western Asia today reached a deal to promote renewable energy sources, toughen green laws and encourage eco-friendly tourism in the area.

The agreement, signed by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer and the Secretary-General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Askhat Orazbay, at a meeting in Tehran, commits the two bodies to joint activities to strengthen protections across a range of environmental issues.

Apart from encouraging cleaner energy sources, stronger laws and healthier tourism, the agreement identifies how UNEP and ECO can boost environmental education and training and improve monitoring of the environment.

Mr. Toepfer said the agreement gives the region "a tremendous opportunity" to achieve the goals set out at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. That meeting committed governments around the world to expand access to safe water, decent sanitation and clean energy sources.

The ECO, set up by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey in 1985 to encourage social and economic development, also includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Earlier this week, Mr. Toepfer told the Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development meeting in Tehran that sustainable consumption is becoming more important than ever as Asia's middle classes continue to expand and place pressure on resources.

"Once new infrastructure is built it is going to last for 100 years," the UNEP chief noted. "The newly affluent in Asia must have access to zero-emission housing, to hybrid or fuel cell cars and/or clean public transport systems, and to eco-friendly residential and commercial suburbs."

... Payvand News - 8/19/04 ... --

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