UN to Continue Cooperation with CIS over Environmental Protection

An international conference entitled '30 Years of UNEP - Results and Prospects' has opened in Moscow today. It is being attended by over 170 delegates - representatives of Russian and CIS environmental protection ministries, and UN, UNESCO, and World Bank officials. Opening the conference, Francoise Belmont, the deputy head of the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) European regional bureau, said that over the last 30 years UNEP has held a large number of important environmental events in the former USSR. She referred particularly to a report on the state of water resources and climate change which has been prepared. According to Belmont, the main problems in the CIS are a lack of resources for dealing with industrial waste and insufficient funding of environmental monitoring. She announced that UNEP intends to provide CIS states with technical assistance, as well as help with developing national environmental strategies.

During the conference, which ends on December 17, it is planned to discuss preparations for the European conference of environment ministers which will be held in Kiev in May 2003. The programme for the present conference also includes a number of round-table discussions on problems relating to collaboration between UNEP and CIS countries and on other current environmental issues in the CIS.