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May 8, 1998

The Organization of American States and the Costa Rica-based Earth Council will enter into partnership on sustainable development and environment efforts, under an agreement signed Friday afternoon between them.

Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas signed for the OAS, along with Earth Council's chairman, Maurice F. Strong. The ceremony took place in the Costa Rican capital of San Josť, where the OAS official and his Earth Council co-signatory were attending the swearing-in of that country's new president, Miguel Angel Rodriguez Friday.

Under the agreement, mechanisms and guidelines are also to be set up for sustainable development policies and strategies to be formulated to encourage public participation and exchange of information and expertise. The cooperation will benefit projects related to local, national or regional initiatives in the Western Hemisphere.

The agreement will also promote existing and proposed actions while facilitating public participation in decision-making on environmentally-sound development around the region. It covers as well strategic programs to facilitate implementation of action plans that came out of the 1992 Earth Summit, the 1996 Bolivia Sustainable Development Summit and the plan of action emerging from the recent Summit of the Americas, as concerns environment issues.

Priority will be placed on executing the Inter-American Strategy for Public Participation in Environment and Sustainable Development in the Americas.

A San Josť based international non-governmental body that started in late 1993, Earth Council evolved directly out of the United Nations sponsored Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.

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