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Create effective new global environmental agency, ministers urged
Date:2/21/2012

selves far short of what's needed to relieve poverty and reverse environmental decline." Options distilled from years of deliberation centre on strengthening the capacity of UNEP, a UN programme, or creating a new specialized agency for the environment -- "a locus for effective decision-making akin to world organizations governing common human interests in areas such as trade, health and nuclear technology."

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak recently announced his country's endorsement of the latter, recognizing that "transformative change in international environmental governance transcends the North-South divide and requires global collective action," says Prof. Zakri. Others endorsing the idea include the entire membership of European Union, the African Union and many middle Asian countries.

"I want to underline that establishing a specialized agency does not mean establishing a watchdog for environment at the expense of economic development," says Prof Zakri. "The agency envisioned is a facilitator of environment-related coherence and cooperation. The focus is on helping member states, particularly developing countries and countries with economies in transition, to meet environmental commitments through their national development strategies."

Europe is expected to press for reform of environmental governance as a top priority when governments meet in June at the "Rio+20" conference in Brazil, convened to assess progress since the milestone 1992 Earth Summit, itself a 20th anniversary event marking the 1972 UN Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.

Europe envisions a new agency with the same charter as UNEP but more money, more staff and more heft in the UN system. UNEP today, according to the European proposal, is "a body too low in the UN family to exert its influence."

Resistance to the idea has been expressed by some powerful countries including the US and Brazil, the latter concerned that economic
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
Malaysian Industry‑Government Group for High Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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