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Press Release


  August 25, 2006

The Organization of American States (OAS) will receive a contribution of Can$1.5 million from the government of Canada to strengthen trade-related environmental policies in the hemisphere, under the terms of an agreement announced during a ceremony at OAS headquarters today.

“One important lesson from the trade agenda is the critical need for countries to ensure that complementary policies are put into place to promote sustainable development through poverty alleviation, rural development and social inclusion. The OAS has an important role to play in this regard,” said OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, who was accompanied at the ceremony by Ambassador Paul Durand, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OAS, and a number of other diplomats from the region.

In thanking the Canadian government, Insulza said the agreement “marks an important step forward in helping countries of the hemisphere advance regional solutions to environmental management in the context of economic growth, through trade-related capacity-building.” The Secretary General noted that in recent years, trade promotion agreements in the region have placed a growing priority on environmental issues.

Insulza said the Canadian contribution will strengthen the ability of member countries—particularly in Central America and the Andean region—to implement environmental provisions in regional trade agreements. Support will be provided in such areas as effective enforcement of environmental laws, public participation, innovative financing mechanisms for environmental management, trade-related agricultural practices, and safe management of fertilizers and pesticides.

The contribution, made through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), follows nearly two years of OAS consultations with officials throughout the region regarding capacity-building needs in free trade and sustainable development. Insulza said the OAS will seek to engage partners such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, as well as other stakeholders, to provide continuity and support to efforts in this area.

The donation complements previous Canadian contributions to the OAS of Can$3.75 million for trade-related technical assistance, a sector to which the CIDA has earmarked more than $23 million for the Americas.

Ambassador Durand noted that the agreement supports Canada’s priorities, helping to maximize the environmental and development benefits of trade in the region. The heart of the agreement, he said, has to do with strengthening the technical capacity of the public and private sector, and contributing to good governance and public participation in environmental management. “These are key aspects for trade and environmental policies to be mutually supportive,” Durand said. He noted that such issues will be part of the discussion among the OAS member states at the upcoming ministerial meeting on sustainable development, scheduled to take place October 5-6 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

Reference: E-176/06