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Abu Dhabi initiative to be launched on Monday

posted on 31/08/2002: 1867 views

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) will witness on Monday, when more than 100 world leaders meet here, the launch of Abu Dhabi Global Initiative on Environmental Data Collection, according to a source. The launch of the initiative will take place in the presence of Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Klaus Topfler, executive director of UN Environment Programme (UNEP), international personalities and heads of delegations attending the summit as well as the UAE delegation to the WSSD.

Majid Al Mansouri, secretary-general of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA), said he had met Topfler and conveyed to him greetings of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of state for foreign affairs and deputy chairman of ERWDA.

Mansouri indicated that it had been agreed between Sheikh Hamdan and Topfler, in a recent meeting in Abu Dhabi, to set up Zayed Information Centre at the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain for the purpose of collecting data pertinent to the initiative. The initiative will be jointly funded by ERWDA and UNEP-West Asia chapter. ERWDA will pay US$5 million for the initiative while an extra amount of US$25 million will be sought from donors inside and outside the UAE, Mansouri said.

He added that an environmental data foundation would be established in execution of the initiative. The foundation's board of directors will be under the chairmanship of Sheikh Hamdan and membership of Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Midfa, minister of health, Mohammed Al Bawardi, managing director at ERWDA, Klaus Topfler of the UNEP and other environment and sustainable development-interested figures, Mansouri said.

He went on to say that the initiative was well received by heads of delegates here, who stressed their support to it during the meetings "we had with them on the sidelines of the summit." He pointed out that the head of the Venezuelan delegation, who also chairs the Group of 77, also confirmed the support o his group to the initiative. The ERWDA secretary-general noted that a meeting will be held in Abu Dhabi next October to draw up a comprehensive strategy for the initiative and an implementation plan.

A number of committees, he said, for secretariat, public relations and fund-raising will be formed, over and above an international committee to manage and superintend the initiative.

The UAE delegation to the Summit is carrying out intensive activities. The delegation participates in all official meetings and events held on the sidelines of the summit, including holding meetings with heads of other participating delegates, with the aim of co-ordinating stances and consulting on articles of the conference official document. The UAE delegation to the summit also participates in the meetings of the Group 77, as well as, the meetings of the Group of the Advanced countries.

The Emirates News Agency, WAM, learned that the conference succeeded up to now in reaching an agreement on 88 per cent of the articles of the Earth Charter, after differences on 156 articles. It appears that differences inside the conference concentrated on issues on trade, financing and penetration of products of developing countries to global markets and linking this to labour standard and environment. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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