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Remarks by Angela Cropper, UNEP Deputy Executive Director at the 17th Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean

Panama City, 26 April 2010- Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ministers and Delegates, guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:

I am delighted to be able to participate in this 17th meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean and to make these opening remarks. And I thank the government and citizens of Panama for hosting this meeting.

It is very timely, given the important processes that are in train during this year, which offer the opportunity to make 2010 a historic year in international policy making for the Environment's contribution to Sustainable Development.

As the Secretariat for the United Nations Environment Programme, my colleagues and I are pleased to see that many of the issues you discussed at global level in Bali in February at the 11th Special Session of UNEP's Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum, are also reflected in this regional meeting. We hope that we might help bridge the gap between the global dialogue and the issues and interests of countries of this region. Though we recognize that a good many of you also attended the Bali meeting and could do so as well. So that is a very good start.

Your meeting this week is taking place during a tumultuous environmental period:

  • there has been a significant increase in knowledge and understanding about environmental issues and the relationship between the natural world and human well-being, although concomitant action still lags behind;

  • there is increasing value being placed on natural resources, even though it is still notional not yet actual;

  • creativity in all quarters abounds: leading to less waste, reuse and recycling of materials, new products, getting more from less, though there is much more potential here;

  • there is widespread citizen involvement facilitated by mind-boggling communications technology, even though these people movements are still lacking in effectiveness.

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