GENEVA/NAIROBI, 11 February 2000 - Recognizing the importance of Russia to global environmental problems such as climate change and ozone depletion, as well as its need to improve environmental conditions which adversely affect millions of the country's citizens, the United Nations Environment Programme is strengthening its cooperation with the Russian Federation.
"UNEP is opening an office in Moscow to work more closely with the Russian environmental authorities who must address many of the environmental problems that this vitally important European country faces," said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director. "We are committed to collaborating with the authorities and with civil society to seek solutions to both national and global environmental challenges".
According to Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, Chairman of the Russian State Environment Committee, 61 million Russians - almost half the country's population - live in environmentally dangerous conditions. More than 14 percent of Russia's territory is in poor environmental condition, and the air in 120 Russian cities is five times more toxic than acceptable levels as a result of inefficient factories.
UNEP already cooperates with Russia on many major environmental issues, for example through UNEP's Paris-based cleaner production programme and its Geneva-based chemicals programme. UNEP's Global Resources Information Database (GRID) has already established an office in Moscow, which will work closely with the soon-to-be-opened UNEP office in order to provide assistance with capacity-building activities
For more information, please contact: Anders Renlund, Communications and Public Information Officer, Regional Office for Europe, 15 chemin des Anémones, 1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland. Tel.: (+41-22) 917 8272; Fax: (41-22) 917 8024; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. In Nairobi, please contact: Tore J. Brevik, UNEP Spokesman and Director of Information, Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Tel.: (254-2) 623292; Fax: 623692; E-mail: email@example.com
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UNEP News Release 2000/12