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

Chapter 3: Policy Responses and Directions

[ GEO-1: Home | Complete Report | Search | Feedback | Order Book | Collaborating Centres | About GEO Reports ]

Latin America and the Caribbean

International Initiatives

The Governments of the region have strongly supported international environmental agreements to help protect the environment and the natural resources of LAC. Among these topics, the regional ramifications and implications of the following are of particular relevance: the effective implementation of Agenda 21 and its commitments, the Biodiversity Convention and the property rights of genetic resources, the Convention on Climate Change and the conservation of the regional forests, and the Antarctic Treaty. Regional priority issues such as the sustainable management of native forests, the restoration of degraded areas, or the establishment of biogeographic corridors at a subcontinental level present opportunities for further international co-operation.

Several countries have participated in the development of international conventions and treaties, though many of these have not been ratified. At the Ninth Meeting of the Region's Environment Ministers in 1995, countries confirmed their commitment to the majority of global environmental conventions. The Ministers fully supported the implementation of the regional application of the Desertification Convention for LAC and the provisions of the Convention on Biodiversity. There was also support for the objectives and actions of the Declaration of Non-Legally Binding Principles on Forests established by UNCED and the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, as well as for the preparation of the Protocol on Land-Based Sources of Pollution in the wider Caribbean region, within the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. To help combat the increase in marine pollution and the resulting drop in fishing harvests, Governments are also promoting an action programme on land-based sources of pollution (UNEP, 1995a).

Other pre-UNCED conventions-such as Ramsar, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste-have received the full participation of the majority of the LAC countries.

A number of innovative initiatives have also taken place in support of environmental protection in the region. One such initiative is debt-for-nature swaps in countries with both debt and environmental problems. These have had a mixed reception. In countries like Costa Rica the outcome has been positive, with substantial funds swapped for external debt being channelled into environment programmes. Other international initiatives that have had some success include Trust Funds that have been launched in countries such as Mexico and Bolivia for the financing and management of protected areas, which are supported by international organizations.

Continue to next section...

[ GEO-1: Home | Complete Report | Search | Feedback | Order Book | Collaborating Centres | About GEO Reports ]