HC Deb 04 February 1997 vol 289 cc535-6W
Mr. Meacher

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the findings contained in the United Nations environment programme's first global environmental outlook report published on 27 January, in respect of its relevance to the United Kingdom environment and United Kingdom involvement in environmental technology and policy abroad; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library. [13850]

Mr. Gummer

The Government welcome the first UNEP global environment outlook report, a copy of which I am arranging to have placed in the Library. Assessment and monitoring of the global environment is a core function of UNEP. We very much hope that the current session of the governing council will endorse a refocusing of its overall mandate enabling UNEP to concentrate on its core functions. I shall be attending the governing council myself to set out the United Kingdom's position on this important issue.

Overall, the report is pessimistic about the state of the global environment. The UK can, however, be proud of its achievements both at home and in the international arena. We will ensure that the UK continues to implement Agenda 21. We were one of the first countries to publish both a sustainable development strategy and indicators, and annual reports on progress. We will also continue to play a leading part in international discussions on environmental issues, and in encouraging a climate of policy and programmes which stimulates a positive and active contribution by business, for example, in the provision of environmental technology to developing nations.

The Prime Minister's recent announcement that he will attend the special session of the United Nations General Assembly in June, demonstrates the Government's commitment to sustainable development and preservation of the environment.