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CAPACITY BUILDING ON LIFE CYCLE ANALYSIS RECOMMENDED BY EXPERT MEETING

BARCELONA/NAIROBI December 2002 - The experts met to discuss the work programme for the next years of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. The initiative will be a global forum to exchange information and carry out specific tasks in the fields of methods and data for Life Cycle Analysis and to advance the concept of Life Cycle Management. Widely accepted life cycle data and methods were seen as the basis for the promotion of an extended use of life cycle approaches. Life Cycle Management was seen as the crucial element of the initiative to make the link between the data and methods provider and the decision makers. Industry and governments were especially interested in this part of the initiative due to its enormous potential for applications of life cycle thinking in the future.

The experts stated that significant opportunities could be identified by industry and governments to protect the environment and to alleviate poverty by adopting life cycle thinking. "Based on the 'cradle to grave' approach the Life Cycle Initiative will help address environmental problems in a socio-economic perspective", Chandak said. "With its focus on sharing of information and closing the knowledge gap between developed and developing countries, the initiative will critically help translate life cycle thinking into practice and support the function-based approach proposed by UNEP to change unsustainable patterns of production and consumption."

In response to the call to changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production from the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg UNEP collaborates with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) in the Life Cycle Initiative. This initiative will help governments, businesses and consumers to adopt more environment friendly policies, practices and life-styles. It will develop and disseminate practical tools for evaluating the opportunities, risks and trade-offs, associated with production and use of products and services over their whole life cycle. UNEP/SETAC partners in the Life Cycle Initiative are AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), Japan, Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Government of the Netherlands, Government of Switzerland and the Government of Quebec.

For more information contact:

Robert Bisset, UNEP Press Officer and Europe Spokesperson on mobile +33-6-2272-5842, email: robert.bisset@unep.fr

Note to editors:

The Life Cycle Initiative has been established with an International Life Cycle Panel as the core advisory body. A secretariat and a scientific executive committee are being established along with working groups for the sub-programmes. SETAC is an independent, non-profit professional society that provides a forum for individuals and institutions engaged in the research and education on environmental issues.

For more information about the Life-Cycle Initiative see http://www.uneptie.org/pc/sustain/lca/lca.htm

UNEP Information Note 2002/32