In preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2 - 11 September 2002, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe organized in "Palais des Nations" (24 - 25 September 2001), within the framework of a special Session of the Commission, a Ministerial Regional Meeting for the Summit. The participants adopted a political Statement, which represents the political message from the ECE Region to the Johannesburg Summit.

Mr. Ioan JELEV, State Secretary, Ministry of Waters and Environmental Protection headed the Romanian delegation. Please find below the Statement by Mr. Ioan JELEV, State Secretary.

UNECE - Ministerial Regional Meeting for the Summit

Satement by
Mr. Ioan JELEV
State Secretary, Ministry of Waters and Environmental Protection, Romania

Geneva, September 24, 2001

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me first to address my thanks to the Secretariat for the openness and support offered to facilitate the regional dialogue, in particular for the hard work to reach consensus on the text of the Ministerial statement, which is now a comprehensive, yet concise document. My thanks are addressed also to all those involved in the preparation of the document. During the negotiation process various points of view were expressed, according to each country's particularities and progress in the implementation process. Unity through diversity was our leading principle, and it contributed to the shaping of a common view.

I am honored to have the opportunity to share with the distinguished audience some considerations on these important topics, which are found more and more often on the international agenda.

The contribution of our region to the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, in September 2002, should provide essential information on our common efforts during the past decade, and constitute a good example of joint and responsible action to the other regions.

Throughout the 1990s, the series of UN global conferences has provided us with the cornerstones for a new system of global governance. The challenge in the years ahead will be to turn this vision into reality.

A significant outcome of the Rio Process and of Agenda 21 has been the increasing recognition of the inter-linkage among different aspects of sustainable development and of the necessity to use integrated approaches to solve problems. It is obvious that there are organic ties among climate changes, depletion of the ozone layer, desertification, and the loss of biodiversity, which require integrated approaches concerning research, evaluation and management.

Romania has expressed the interest and concern on environmental problems by ratifying the Rio conventions, including the Kyoto Protocol, as well as other recently adopted legal instruments, such as the Aarhus Convention. Our country initiated and hosted a series of events, significant to our region: the Ministerial Conference for Regional Cooperation in the Danube-Carpathian Region (Bucharest, June 2000), the National Seminar for the Evaluation of the Rio+10 Process (Bucharest, September 2000), the Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development in the Danube-Carpathian Region (Bucharest, April 2001) and the Regional Conference for the Evaluation of the Rio+10 Process in Central and Eastern European Countries (Bucharest, June 2001).

Many of the distinguished delegates, whom I see here today responded to our initiatives and assumed an active role in supporting and strengthening the cooperation in our region. I am honored to inform you that the outcomes of these events have been appreciated and recognized by the highest forum of international cooperation - the United Nations - and the Bucharest Declaration, adopted by the nine heads of state and other high representatives who participated in the Bucharest Summit, is circulated during the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly, as a UN document. Copies of it are available in the room. In addition, the Regional Conference for the Evaluation of the Rio+10 Process in Central and Eastern European Countries adopted a series of Recommendations, to be subsequently supported by concrete actions. In recognition of these outcomes, the Conference has been included, by the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, in the Preparatory Process of the 2002 Summit.

An essential message of the events mentioned above is that sustainable development is emerging as a viable model for solving the problems of transition, to a new and healthy social and economic system.

Sustainable development is not just a dream for the region, but a realistic concept, which has acquired concrete dimensions. It is compatible both with the transition to market economy, and with the requirements of accession to European and Euro-Atlantic structures.

Romania, as other countries in transition, represented in this meeting, considers the Rio Process as an opportunity for development, providing adequate patterns to remove obstacles, to harmonize positions and interests regarding the integration of environmental imperatives into economic processes.

Romania has adopted specific legislation for environment protection, including a national strategy for sustainable development as a basis for its medium and long-term development process, with the support of the entire Romanian society.

As I have mentioned previously, the Ministerial statement is a comprehensive document, reaffirming our commitment in favor of development patterns and actions to be taken in order to preserve national resources and improve the quality of environment. This document should serve as our insurance policy for the well being of future generations.

I wish to express Romania's support for the adoption of the Ministerial statement.

Thank you for your attention.

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