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UNEP and the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) sign cooperation deal in the Persian Gulf Region

Geneva, 5 August 2002 - The agreement will make UNEP a provider of environmental database services for UNCC, which the UNCC Panel of Commissioners for the environmental claims will use to analyse and evaluate the progress and results of the monitoring and assessment projects, awarded by the UNCC Governing Council in June 2001. The databank will contain information from claimant governments regarding the monitoring and assessment projects, and, in addition, information about environmental policies, legislation and general state of environment reports. The databank will also provide information about available remediation methods and technologies.

"It gives us great pleasure to now start the process of establishing and managing a database to assist in the process of monitoring and assessing the potential environmental situation in the region. Our service will give efficient support to the Panel in their work resolving any inconsistencies or duplications in the on-going assessments," said Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP.

The Security Council (SC) resolution 692 of 20 May 1991 established the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) as a subsidiary organ of the SC, to process claims and pay compensation for losses resulting from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Compensation is payable to successful claimants from the UN Compensation Fund, also established under resolution 692. Under SC resolution 986 of 14 April 1995, a certain amount of revenues generated from the "oil-for-food" programme is allocated to the UN Compensation Fund to enable the UNCC to carry out its operations and make regular compensation payments to successful claimants.

Since 1991, the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) has received approximately 2.6 million claims seeking compensation in excess of USD 300 billion. Although the overwhelming majority of the 2.6 million claims filed with the Commission have been resolved, the largest claims still to be considered by the UNCC include those for environmental damage.

The cooperation agreement between UNEP and UNCC will initially cover a two-year period starting in August 2002 at a yearly cost of USD 1 million. All expenses related to this cooperation will be covered by UNCC.

Note to journalists: For more information, please contact Director Donald Kaniaru at +254-2-623507, or Post-Conflict Assessment Unit Head Mr. Henrik Slotte at +41-22-917-8598, or Senior Policy Advisor Mr. Pasi Rinne at +41-22-917-8617.

UNEP Information Note 2002/24