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Minister To Attend Global Environment Forum

2 February 2001 Media Statement

The Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, leaves on Monday to attend the
United Nations Environment Programme's second Global Ministerial Environment
Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, from February 8-9.

The meeting is being held in conjunction with UN Environment Programme's 21st session of the Governing Council of which New Zealand is a member. This takes place every two years to set the UNEP's work programme and budget.

The Minister will also attend a meeting of Commonwealth Environment Ministers during the afternoon of February 7.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading agency within
the UN system dealing with environment issues. New Zealand began its most
recent term on the Governing Council of UNEP last year, and will serve until the end of 2003.

Ms Hobbs attended the inaugural ministerial forum at Malmo, Sweden, last May and was one of a host of ministers from around the globe who issued the Malmo
Ministerial Declaration. The Declaration outlined the major environmental
challenges facing the international community and reiterated ministers'
political will to overcome them.

"Events like the Global Forum are an important opportunity to explain what
New Zealand is committed to doing, while at the same time helping to keep our
situation in perspective" Ms Hobbs said.

The broad topics at this year's Forum include implementation and development of the Malmo Declaration, environment and poverty, and environmental emergencies.

"The agenda exemplifies the wide-reaching implications of environmental issues in the age of globalisation and the need for solutions which take account of a wide range of social and economic factors," the Minister said.

" I will also use the opportunity to promote progress on implementing the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Several of the ministers who were key participants at last November's climate change meeting in The Hague will be in Nairobi, including Jan Pronk who presided. He wants to carry forward those discussions."

The key issue on the agenda for the Commonwealth Environment Ministers' meeting will be their contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, commonly referred to as Rio plus 10.

Discussion on this issue is expected to be a major feature of informal
meetings in Nairobi. New Zealand's preparations for the Summit, which will
set the course for the sustainable development agenda in the years to come,
have already begun.

Ms Hobbs will return to New Zealand on February 12.


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