NEW YORK, 8 April 1997 -- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations are jointly hosting a symposium, on Thursday, 10 April, at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 1 on "Our Environmental Future: Ethical and Spiritual Perspectives". The Symposium will contribute to the discussion of the ways ethical behaviour and a sense of individual and collective responsibility can contribute to global sustainable development.

The featured panelists will be Professor Gabriel Moran, Director of Religious Education at New York University, who will speak on humanity's ethical and spiritual responsibility in protecting the environment; and Ms. Lahane'ena'e Gay, President of the Pacific Cultural Conservancy, who will bring the perspective of indigenous people's relationship to the planet.

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit, through Agenda 21, forged an international consensus on the measures that need to be taken to achieve development that is environmentally sound and sustainable. The scientific, political, economic and social dimensions of this action programme are already being addressed, to varying degrees of success. However, the ethical and moral issues posed by Agenda 21 still need to be dealt with.

Opening remarks are expected to be made by the Chairman of the Group of 77 and China, Ambassador Daudi N. Mwakawago of the United Republic of Tanzania. Assistant Secretary-General Gillian Martin Sorensen will deliver a greeting from Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The President of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN, the Venerable Chung Ok Lee, will welcome participants; while, Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Coordinator of UNEP's Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Coordination Office, will moderate the Symposium.