Communiqué GB Environment Ministers' Meeting in Trieste, 2-4 March 2001
1. We, the Environment Ministers of the
eight major industrialized countries and the European Commissioner
responsible for the Environment, have met from 2 to 4 March 2001 in
Trieste, Italy as a follow up to our last meeting in Otsu, Japan in 2000
to discuss challenging environmental issues. Discussions centred on
three key themes: I. Climate Change; II. Sustainable Development towards
Johannesburg 2002; III. Environment and Health. We call upon the chair
to forward this communiqué to the chair of the Genoa Summit of Heads of
State and Government.
2. As this new millennium begins, we must
take stock of the range of complex global environmental challenges to be
addressed to achieve sustainable development which must be met with
short and long-term actions. We share the strong concerns about the
environmental threats for our planet. We must exercise vigorously our
leadership to counter these threats and to live up to our
I. Climate Change
A. Promoting timely global action to meet
the challenges of climate change
3. "Emissions of greenhouse gases
and aerosols due to human activities continue to alter the atmosphere in
ways that are expected to affect the climate. There is new and stronger
evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is
attributable to human activities. The globally averaged surface
temperature is projected to increase by 1,4 to 5,8°C over the period
1990 to 2100. The projected rate of warming is much larger than the
observed changes during the 20th century." (Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change-IPCC, WG I, Third Assessment Report -January 2001).
4. "Scientific studies show that
human health, ecological systems, and socio-economic sectors (e.g.
hydrology and water resources, food and fiber production, coastal
systems, and human settlements), all of which are vital to sustainable
development, are sensitive to changes in climate -including both the
magnitude and rate of climate changes -as well as to changes in climate
variability." (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-IPCC,
Special Report, Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of
5. We express our concern about the
seriousness of the situation according to the findings of the IPCC
report. We commit ourselves at the resumed COP6 to strive to reach
agreement on outstanding political issues and to ensure in a
cost-effective manner the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol,
making full use of all opportunities, including ministerial meetings. A
successful outcome at COP 6-bis is necessary to allow early entry into
force of the Kyoto Protocol. For most countries this "means no
later than 2002, with timely ratification processes.
6. We recognize the importance of
continuing consultations on issues such as sinks and the Kyoto
Mechanisms and compliance, to lay the basis for decisions at the resumed
We agree that
efficient, transparent and clear rules on the Kyoto Mechanisms are
important to achieve the goals of the Kyoto Protocol and that a
comprehensive and strong compliance system, supported by a reliable
system of monitoring, reporting and review will facilitate compliance
and discourage non-compliance.
7. Furthermore, we commit to take the
lead by strengthening and implementing national programs and actions, to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to promote and disseminate
environmentally sound technologies and practices and renewable energy
In addition, we look
forward to concrete recommendations from the G8 Renewable Energy Task
Force established by the Heads of State and Government at the Okinawa
Summit as stated in paragraph 66 of the Okinawa Communiqué.
8. Achieving the ultimate objective of
the Convention will require much greater efforts in developed countries,
and developing countries. We reaffirm our responsibilities to take the
lead in combating climate
change. We also welcome those actions
already being taken by developing countries and encourage them to
strengthen their efforts in this field.
We recognise the
importance of capacity building and technology transfer, as well as the
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), in order to assist and support
developing countries in addressing climate change.
9. We recognise the findings of the IPCC
that some countries may be particularly vulnerable to adverse effects of
climate change, namely small island developing states and least
developed countries. We also acknowledge the need to continue supporting
adaptation measures by those countries.
10. We recognise the importance of
capacity building and technology transfer, as well as Joint
Implementation, in order to assist, and support countries with economies
in transition in addressing climate change.
B. Strengthening domestic actions
11. All G8 countries have already begun
and commit themselves to take strong domestic actions to tackle global
climate change. We note the benefit of showing demonstrable progress in
the years ahead. G8 countries will submit transparent and accountable
information on domestic actions as required by the Climate Change
We confirm that the
use of the Kyoto mechanisms will be supplemental to domestic actions.
12. We recognise that a firm consensus
for action on climate change is needed and that all sectors of society
must be called upon to play their part in implementing change.
Addressing social and employment issues is a matter of fundamental
importance to promoting consensus.
13. Using the opportunities and
advantages of the market and sending the right signals to the market are
important for effectively addressing climate change. G8 countries are
introducing measures that may include market mechanisms and will promote
the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We applaud the many private
companies, civic groups, and individuals that are working to reduce
their emissions. We congratulate, for example, businesses that have
adopted voluntary programs, including innovative market-oriented
approaches. These efforts demonstrate that the private sector, through
the development of new technologies and the adoption of energy-efficient
practices, can playa central role in meeting the challenge of climate
change. We pledge to encourage and facilitate further voluntary actions
by civil society now and to exchange information about how we can
develop more effective public-private partnerships.
II. Sustainable Development towards
Preparation for the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002
14. G8 Environment Ministers appreciate
the decision of the UN General Assembly ASS/199 accepting the
offer of the Republic of South Africa to
host the World Summit, and recommending attendance by Heads of State and
15. The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable
Development presents a special opportunity to review past progress and
to identify and anticipate new and emerging challenges that we will face
in efforts to achieve sustainable development. We must find ways to
ensure that globalisation promotes sustainable development to the
benefit of all. Equally it will be essential to capture the benefits of
technology for sustainable development.
16. The Summit should identify ways to
promote better integration and coherence between the global development
agenda, poverty eradication and global environment protection. We
reaffirm the OECD Environmental International Development Target. The
Summit should take forward looking action oriented
decisions, particularly on sustainable
energy and water. In this context, we look forward at the international
conference on Freshwater (Bonn 3-7 December 2001) to contribute to the
agenda setting in this field. Furthermore we would support the inclusion
of health and environment as an element of the agenda for the Summit.
17. Recognizing that the majority of the
world's population are now living in urban areas, we underscore the
importance of promoting sustainable communities, including through local
agenda 21's. We encourage the inclusion of these issues at the 2002
World Summit, and in this regard look forward to the outcomes of the
June 2001 special session of the UN General Assembly reviewing the
implementation of the habitat agenda (sustainable human settlements).
18. We also emphasise the need to
integrate environmental, social and economic policy making, including
through the elaboration and formulation of national sustainable
All countries should strive to mobilize
their public and private domestic resources towards this end.
We reaffirm the
crucial role of partnerships between countries, through the private
sector, market based approaches, and through the mobilization of
We commit ourselves
to assume leadership in changing unsustainable production and
consumption patterns. Measures identified must be backed by specific
means of implementation.
19. We stress the
need for early aQd effective preparations at all levels. We recognize
that the engagement of civil society (citizens, non-governmental
organisations, workers and business organizations, indigenous groups)
will be critical to the success bf Johannesburg Summit in 2002. Their
involvement must be assured throughout the preparatory process as well
as in implementing and monitoring its results.
20. The private sector has emerged as a
global actor that has a significant impact on the environmental trends
through its investment and technology decisions. A more active
involvement by business in efforts to promote sustainable development,
as well as a greater commitment to a new culture of environmental
stewardship, should be pursued.
Environmental Governance, and
integration of environmental policy into other sectorial policies
21. The strengthening of international
environmental governance is important to meet the challenges. of the
21st century and to implement multilateral environmental agreements.
Effective, accountable governance not only helps to strengthen democracy
and human rights, promote economic prosperity and social cohesion, and
reduce poverty, but is critical to enhance environmental protection and
the sustainable use of natural resources, and deepen confidence in
government and public administration.
22. Furthermore, we underline that
environmental considerations should be taken into account throughout the
negotiations of the next WTO round with a view to achieving by the end
of the round an overall outcome which respects global and regional
environmental commitments and contributes to the advancement of
sustainable development. The new round should maximise the potential for
positive synergies between trade liberalization, environmental
protection and economic and social development, including through the
phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies.
23. The approaching WSSD should serve as
a catalyst to encourage innovative thinking, based on sound analysis and
supported by political will and high-Level engagement, on cost-effective
measures to advance the coordination and implementation of existing
legal and institutional mechanisms of international environmental
governance. Within this context, we will strengthen our effort to ensure
that globalization supports sustainable development.
24. We call on internationally operating
enterprises to support the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
and the Global Compact Initiative of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to
foster their realisation, thus promoting and protecting human rights,
labour standards and the environment in their foreign direct investment.
Relevant international institutions should examine which activities
could further these goals.
25. We underline the need to improve
UNEP's coordinating role in international environmental management and
the need to foster voluntary exchanges of information between all
international environmental institutions and bodies with a largely
environmental remit, to provide coherence, in particular on a thematic
basis, among schedules, assessments, reporting strategies and actions,
mindful of autonomous nature of the separate treaties involved; improve
existing structures of co-operation between Conventions and between
their Secretariats, notably within thematic clusters; and reinforce the
links between environmental and non environmental institutions
increasing the participation of civil society .
26. We welcome the UNEP Governing Council
Decision (Nairobi, February 5-9, 2001) to establish "an open- ended
Intergovernmental Group to undertake a comprehensive policy-oriented
assessment of existing institutional weakness as well as future needs
and options for strengthened international environmental governance,
including the financing of UNEP". We commit to support the process
and look forward to its results feeding into the preparation for the
WSSD. The 10th session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development acting as the preparatory
body for the World Summit should also address the issue in the broader
context of multilateral efforts on sustainable development with the
objective of enhancing policy coherence and implementation.
27. The strengthening of international
environmental governance should be based on existing structures, in
particular UNEP, with its headquarters in Nairobi, with a view to
adapting them to new requirements.
28. Stable, predictable and adequate
funding is a prerequisite for improving governance of international
institutions. As regards UNEP, various methods could be contemplated to
achieve this. All countries should be ready to play their part in the
29. We continue to recognize the serious
environmental effects of violations of MEAs and the need to prevent
them. We continue to support broad participation in, effective
implementation of, and compliance with existing MEAs. Consideration
should be given to ways of making them more effective, including by
studying which compliance mechanisms would be most appropriate. We
appreciate the ongoing activities by UNEP and the G8 Lyon Group Law
Enforcement project on Environmental Crime, particularly concerning
exchange of information and other cooperative efforts.
30. We note the general orientation of
donors to contribute substantially to the third replenishment of the
Global Environment Facility (GEF) and recognize its vital role in
improving and protecting the global environment as well as in the
implementation of the Rio conventions and most recently the convention
on persistent organic pollutants.
31. G8 Environment Ministers stress the
importance of, and the need to promote, international, regional and
global cooperation among states, intergovernmental and nongovernmental
organisations, for the conservation of biological diversity and
sustainable use of its component. We endorse the concept of sustainable
development in all economic, social and ecological areas of societal
life and the concept of access to genetic resources and related
"benefit sharing" on the basis of relevant international
32. The G8 countries stress the
importance of capacity building to ensure biodiversity conservation and
sustainable use. We encourage countries to improve policies,
legislation, guidelines and fiscal and enforcement measures for
conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
33. The G8 countries also take note of
the necessity to build support for strengthened action to ensure
protection and sustainable use of the oceans and their resources and in
this regard we look forward t6~an effective first intergovernmental
review of the global programme of action for the protection of the
marine environment, which is scheduled for November 2001 in Montreal,
Environmental Guidelines for Export
34. Export Credit Agencies (ECAs), given
their important function in supporting export trade and facilitating
investment in economic development and infrastructure projects, can
play; a key leadership role in fostering sustainable development.
ECAs should therefore take necessary
actions to ensure that environmentally negative impacts, both local and
global, arising from the projects benefiting from their support are
mitigated and minimized.
The potential of ECAs to contribute to sustainable development needs to
be fostered through a strong and effective commitment of the
international community to quickly develop and implement common binding
environmental guidelines for ECAs' for encouraging strengthened
integration of environmental consideration in investment decisions.
These common guidelines should be based on the practices of other
internationally recognized, publicly supported multilateral finance
agencies such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank. ECAs should
also adopt common measures to increase the transparency of their
decision making process, including public access to environmental
information, public consultation and consideration of relevant elements
of the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams (WCD).
36. We therefore welcome and urge
"Special effort to meet the commitment taken by the G8 Heads of
State and Government in Cologne and Okinawa to develop common
environmental guidelines for ECAs by the July, 2001 G8 Summit. We
welcome the work carried out so far within the OECD towards common
approaches on the environment and on officially supported export
credits, look forward to the report on progress of the
OECD Export Credit Group (ECG) to the
OECD Ministerial Council 2001, and call for increased and urgent
attention to this issue to ensure its successful and rapid completion.
III. Environment and Health
37. The protection of human health and
the prevention of environmental-related diseases are one of the
fundamental objectives in our current and future environmental policy.
Our policies should
be based on the precautionary approach, as set forth in principle 15 of
the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, in order to reduce
adverse impacts on the environment and to address risks on human health.
We also recognize the need to promote actions aimed to an integration of
environmental and health consideration into the other policies.
38. Water quality
and ensuring ~he safety of drinking water and recreational water
continues to be a challenge in many G8 countries and we must also work
collectively to increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation in
developing countries and in countries with economies in transition. The
improvement of water quality and the increased access to safe drinking
water and sanitation in these countries should be considered as
priorities for the cooperation policies in environmental field. We
commit to improve the research, data collection and information
exchanges on environmental and health risk assessment connected with
emissions of pollutants in the environmental media, with particular
emphasis to freshwater. We confirm the provision contained in paragraph
13 of the Communiqué of the G8 Environment Ministers meeting of Otsu
2000 regarding the security from floods, droughts and other natural
39. The improvement of air quality,
particularly in urban areas affected by increasing levels of smog,
particulate matter and other forms of air pollution, continues to be an
important environmental health challenge faced by G8 and many other
countries. We commit to improve the collection, assessment, and
dissemination of air quality data and to cooperate on risk assessment
and science-based approaches that reduce emissions of major air
pollutants and their transport across borders.
40. G8 Environment Ministers consider
food safety to be of utmost importance. Maintenance of effective food
safety systems and public confidence in them assumes critical importance
in public policy.
41. We underline the importance of
national and international environment and health agencies working
together to address environmental health issues and note successes such
as the policies arising from the 2nd European Conference on Environment
and Health in Helsinki and the 3rd Conference in London in 1~99. We also
note with great pleasure that Health and Environment is a theme of the
March 2001 Meeting of Environment Ministers of the Americas.
We recognize the
need to strengthen the co-operation between national environment and
health policy makers and to support the collaboration among sectoral
international organizations such as UNEP, FAO and WHO, as well as the
integration between international processes involving Health and
Environment matters. We also recognize the promotion of partnership
among governments, industries and other bodies and associations as a way
to improve standards and to secure benefits to public; health, with
particular attention to the chemicals management.
42. We welcome the successful conclusion
of the negotiations of the Global Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants held in December 2000. We will increase our efforts in
supporting the signature and the early entry into force of the
Convention, as well as for reducing the health and environment impact
caused by the use of these highly toxic chemicals. We are strongly
committed to supporting and facilitating the implementation of the
Convention by developing countries and countries with economies in
transition through technical and financial assistance. We also commit
ourselves to implement international projects aimed to improve our
knowledge of the safe use of chemicals; the risks that can be involved
in their manufacture, release into the environment and disposal; and the
means to avoid or reduce risks. We are further committed to promoting
internationally the development of national Pollutant Release and
Transfer Register (PRTR) schemes compatible among countries, which at a
minimum have the characteristics identified in the Priorities for Action
at Forum III of the IFCS and which include a core set of chemicals (i.e.
POPs chemicals, heavy metals, ozone depleting chemicals), as a means to
increase access to information and recognizing that communities have a
right-to-know about chemicals in the environment.
43. We welcome the decisions of the UNEP
Governing Council to initiate a global assessment of mercury and its
compounds, and to examine the need for a strategic approach to chemicals
44. We reaffirm our commitment to ratify
the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC)
for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade
Environmental health of children and
other particularly vulnerable groups
45. Protecting the health of our children
is a shared fundamental value. We recognize the special vulnerability of
children to environmental threats and are committed to working together
to do our utmost to remove those threats. We recognize that poverty and
insufficient protection from environmental threats are often found in
tandem. We will work together to address the most serious environmental
health threats, including microbiological and chemical contaminants in
drinking water, air pollution that exacerbates illness and death from
asthma and other respiratory problems, polluted water, toxic substances
We recall the attention of the G8 Members
on the protection of the health of particularly vulnerable categories of
people such as children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons who
are immunocompromised exposed to environmental-related health risks,
indigenous people who rely directly on the natural environment for food
and shelter, and of those populations affected by severe diseases
related to the poverty .
46. We attach high importance to the
Declaration of the Environment Leaders of the eight on Children's
Environmental Health, 1997, and to "the special vulnerability of
children and reproductive health to environmental threats" as
contained in the WHO/UNECE Declaration of London on Environment and
Health of June 1999 and in the North American Commission for
Environmental Cooperation Council Resolution on Children's Health and
the Environment of June 2000.
47. We recommit ourselves to take
initiative for a rapid implementation of the two Declarations our own
countries, in developing countries and in countries with economies in
transition. We look forward to the joint ltaly-US international workshop
to be held in Rome in November 2001 on the development of strategies to
address childhood asthma. We also encourage participation in the
Children's Environmental Health II: A Global Forum for Action taking
place in September 2001, Washington DC and in the UNICEF Special Summit
on Children in New York.
48. In this regard we underline the
related risks associated with air pollution in urban areas, and we
recognise the relevant role of all levels of government and of the
national and regional initiatives towards promoting more sustainable
cities. We note the particular importance of traffic and transport in
contributing to air quality deterioration, in developing and developed
countries alike, and stress the need to ensure the integration of urban
and regional planning and national innovation policy in the
transportation sector within the environment and health debate. These
issues confront developing and developed countries alike.
49. We look forward to continuing our
cooperation and dialogue on this important issue.
IV. Edict of the Taliban leadership on
destruction of all statues and shrines in Afghanistan
50. Mindful that the diversity of natural
and human systems is at the core- of sustainable development, we
express dismay and
shock at reports of the edict of the Taliban leadership ordering the
destruction of all statues and shrines in Afghanistan. We strongly urge
the Taliban leadership not to implement this deeply tragic decision and
fully support the efforts of UNESCO to this end. Afghanistan's rich
cultural heritage is of vital importance not only to the people of the
Afghanistan but also to the world as a whole.