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Monday, March 22, 2004

Protecting the environment + providing clean water
The 8th Special Session of the Governing Council of the UN Environment Porgramme will be taking place in Jeju, South Korea from the 29th-31st March, 2004.

This meeting is due to discuss the Environmental Dimension of Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements.

A full list of the event's notification + working documents as well as further information documents can be found if you follow these links...

Key papers include:

* Financing wastewater collection + treatment in relation to the Millennium Development Goals and World Summit on Sustainable Development targets on water and sanitation.

* Addressing environmental aspects of the water agenda: Activities of the United Nations system: Contribution of the Environmental Management Group to the 8th special session of the Governing Council/global Ministerial Environment Forum and the 12th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

* Strengthening the scientific base of the United Nations Environment Programme

On a related note, SciDev.Net has recently hosted a good discussion of the relative importance of protecting the environment while addressing poverty alleviation...

The head of the UNDP, Mark Malloch-Brown, states that "The conservation of biodiversity should be seen as a ‘driver’ for poverty alleviation, not just as an end in itself".

While Reginald Victor, professor of biology at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, asserts that "the conservation of biodiversity can only succeed when it is given priority over development."

This is one of those intractable debates, as both poverty alleviation + the environment are important + under-resourced...

Unfortunately, now that humans have the power to shape the destiny of all life on the planet, our ability to act wisely, and for the good of others, has never been more important...

In Earth-Info.Net's view humans will need to become much better at sharing wealth, knowledge + resources, for either people or the environment to have viable, long-term futures.

This will only be possible if leaders are prepared to take the difficult decisions today, that future generations require of them and the rest of society is prepared to do its bit to make this possible.