United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Global  Environment Outlook-1 - The Web version

Chapter 3: Policy Responses and Directions

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Summary of Regional Policy Responses

Regional Cooperation

Regional cooperation concerning the environment has grown significantly in all regions during the past decade. In most regions, there are active programmes to establish regional environmental databases, to strengthen policy making capacities and to develop regional institutional and legislative frameworks, regional environmental networks and high-level policy forums. In Asia and the Pacific for example, considerable emphasis is now placed on regional cooperative mechanisms to strengthen state of environment reporting. A range of regional agreements designed to tackle transboundary environmental problems and to support Pan-European capacity building in CIS countries has been instituted with high-level policy support in Europe.

In Africa regional agreements have recently been drawn up to address the negative effects of conflicts, with consequent benefits for the environment. Other regional policy negotiations deal with land-related issues such as desertification. In North America transboundary environmental issues are among the key concerns of the Region. A number of regional agreements have consequently been put in place to deal with issues such as the Great Lakes ecosystem and joint action on acid rain. The last years have also witnessed the growth and strengthening of sub-regional agreements in Latin America and the Caribbean that address environmental issues as well as economic and social issues, which at the same time recognize attendant environmental and sustainability issues. Specific environmental treaties, conventions, and agreements have been signed in Latin America and the Caribbean that deal with regional resources such as the Amazon and sustainable development of island states. The focus of the many regional groups guiding environmental management in West Asia is on the four regional seas surrounding the countries of the Region, or sub-regional groupings of these countries such as those adjacent to the Mediterranean or comprising the Arabian Peninsula.

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