Fri, Oct 20, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Nation pens environment deal with Latin countries

DIPLOMACY IN ACTION Costa Rican Environment Minister Roberto Dobles said that the declaration had created new challenges as well as new opportunities

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

This year's Environment Ministers Meeting ended yesterday with the signing of a declaration by Taiwan and seven Latin American countries agreeing to jointly devote themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Taiwan will work closely with the other signatories to preserve forests, increase energy efficiency, seek alternative energy sources and monitor the environment.

"Today's the happiest day of my life," the Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Chang Kow-lung (張國龍) said. "I have worked for environmental protection in Taiwan for more than 40 years. Now I'm here with all of you to take these first concrete steps to improve the environment in Central America and to promote sustainable development."

Chang said Taiwan's cooperation with these countries had been following the market allocation model, or the MARKAL model, which is an analytical tool developed by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to help countries manage energy use.

Since each country now faced fresh challenges, such as global climate change, a new strategy needed to be delivered, he said.

"The declaration covers a broader scope of issues and at the same time provides concrete action plans," he said.

Costa Rican Environment Minister Roberto Dobles, who is also the chairman of the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), said that the declaration had created new challenges as well as new opportunities and invited Taiwan to invest in major environmental projects.

"We believe that the environment will eventually benefit from our efforts," Dobles said.

According to the declaration, Taiwan will establish an office within eight months to make direct contacts with each of the signatories of the declaration, namely Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

The EPA will seek to cooperate with these countries on potentially viable environmental and energy projects. It will also incorporate initiatives from the nation's public and private sectors to execute such projects.

During the two-day meeting, the administration also held bilateral meetings with each signatory.

As a result, the EPA discussed the possibility of establishing an environmental engineering department at the National University of Belize.

It also exchanged views with other countries about several crucial issues, such as monitoring air and water pollution, genetic engineering and recycling.

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