Statement by the Honourable Pierre Marc Johnson
of the Sustainable Development Group of the Civil Society Forum,
delivered in Quebec City, April 21, 2001

We believe in improving the well-being of citizens of the Americas through economic growth, trade liberalization compatible with sustainable development.

I. We can ensure that compatibility through the following three approaches.

Firstly, through the incorporation of environmental provisions in the FTAA itself, specifically:

a. by facilitating trade liberalization of environmental technologies and services
b. by safeguarding national domestic implementation of international environmental conventions
c. by harmonizing standards in an upward not downward fashion
d. by the commitment of governments not to create pollution havens.

Some of these and others are found in the NAFTA text.

Secondly, initiate significant environmental cooperation in the Americas, especially in trade-sensitive and trade-related sectors, particularly:

a. through facilitating capacity building in government and civil society and strengthening institutions
b. through establishing state-of-the-environment reporting systems and building a joint management system for shared resources
c. though more systematic environmental impact assessment processes and other sustainable development methodologies.

Thirdly, we believe it is imperative to create a high-level hemispheric experts group on trade and sustainability.

Since the 1994 Miami Summit, sustainable development has been defined as part of the political agenda but has not benefited from political will or adequate resources (in spite of the Bolivia Summit on Sustainable Development in 1996).

The time has come to promote dialogue on trade and sustainability issues in order to build consensus based on a focused agenda that allows for real hemispheric policy options. An experts group would provide for that as well as allow for links to a broader audience in the negotiations.

Ministers, environmental measures incorporated in the FTAA should not used be used for protectionist purposes.

Substantive and significant hemispheric cooperation should replace the threat of trade sanctions to enforce environmental protection, (a lesson we draw from NAFTA and its parallel agreement).

II. In immediate terms, Ministers, the way forward demands clear political will to be expressed not only by ministers of the environment but also by ministers of trade, of foreign affairs, of energy, and of agriculture, and of course heads of states and governments.

Finally, in light of the developments concerning the Kyoto Protocol, an opportunity at the hemispheric level arises to address the climate change issue. The energy cooperation initiative must integrate air emissions reduction, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

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