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Text: Environmental Initiative for the 21St Century

Washington -- Following is the text of a State Department release, entitled "Environmental Initiative for the Twenty-First Century," as distributed by the U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesman April 9, 1996


In a major address at Stanford University on April 9, 1996, Secretary of State Warren Christopher outlined a broad-ranging agenda for further integrating environmental issues into U.S. diplomacy. Since 1993, the Clinton Administration has sought to restore American leadership to international environmental efforts. In 1996, the Department will take additional steps to protect systematically the world's resources, to use environmental issues to promote core U.S. interests, and to ensure needed expertise and financial support.

Efforts To Protect The Global Environment

Global environmental problems transcend borders to threaten the jobs and health of Americans.

PRIORITIES: In 1996, we will begin negotiations on several international agreements whose culmination in 1997 will make it the most important year for international environment issues since the Rio Earth Summit. In the next year we will seek: agreements on post-2000 emissions cuts to mitigate climate change; a process for managing and eliminating the most dangerous chemicals; and consensus strategies for managing the world's forests sustainably.

NEW INITIATIVES: Annual Report on Global Environmental Challenges: Starting on Earth Day in 1997, the Department will issue an annual assessment of global environmental trends, policy developments, and U.S. priorities for the coming year.

International Conference on Treaty Compliance and Enforcement. Since 1993, we have built on an impressive set of international environmental agreements, from banning ozone-depleting chemicals to protecting endangered wildlife. We must ensure that these treaties work now and into the next century. Accordingly, we will host an international conference within two years on treaty compliance and enforcement.

Advancing U.S. Interests In Key Regions And Countries

Natural resource issues are critical to maintaining stability and advancing core U.S. interests worldwide.

PRIORITIES: Europe: Advancing worldwide population and environmental cooperation through the New Transatlantic Agenda with the European Union; Latin America: Ensuring a successful Hemispheric Sustainable Development Summit in Bolivia; Middle East: Advancing water resources discussions in the Middle East Peace Process; Asia: Launching the Sustainable Development Forum with China; Africa: promoting growth and preventing conflict by preserving soil, forest and agricultural resources.

NEW INITIATIVE: Environmental Opportunity Hubs. To intensify our regional environmental efforts, we will instruct our embassies in key countries to work with NGOs and businesses to address pressing region-wide natural resource issues, especially those which might lead to conflict; advance sustainable development goals, and help U.S. businesses to sell their leading-edge environmental technology.


We will pursue aggressively the support necessary for critical activities that protect natural resources.

PRIORITIES: Multilateral. We have requested $180 million for multilateral assistance for population and the environment, including funding for the International Organizations and Programs account and the Global Environment Facility, while more forcefully coordinating donor activities.

Bilateral partnerships. We have requested $56.25 million for the North American Development Bank, most of which is dedicated to environmental projects which will directly benefit U.S. border communities. We have requested $725 million for USAID environment and population programs in selected countries.

NEW INITIATIVE: Partnership for Environment and Foreign Policy. In a time of diminishing financial resources for diplomacy, it is critical that we help forge a new coalition between "traditional" foreign policy specialists, environmental experts, and business leaders. We will sponsor a series of meetings with these groups to identify specific suggestions for better integrating environmental issues into our conduct of foreign policy. We also will expand environmental training for our diplomatic corps.