Focus-on-APEC #15 June 1997

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Recommended Citation

Paul Knox , The Globe and Mail, "Focus-on-APEC #15 June 1997", Aprenet, June 15, 1997, https://nautilus.org/aprenet/focus-on-apec-15-june-1997/

FOCUS on APEC

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Focus-on-APEC #15, part 1 of 3

FOCUS-on-APEC

A regular bulletin produced by Focus on the Global South (FOCUS)

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Number 15 June 1997

 

This really is the final issue of Focus-on-APEC. The next bulletin

will be renamed Focus-on-Trade, covering a wider range of issues.

FOCUS was designated the NGO Information/Monitoring Center on APEC

(Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum) by the participants of the

1995 NGO Forum on APEC in Kyoto, Japan. It was out of this

commitment that FOCUS-on-APEC was created. FOCUS-on-APEC carries

APEC-related news, the latest items of interest and concern, and

informed and critical analysis from a progressive perspective — with

a broad geographical concentration on East Asia and the Western and

South Pacific.

FOCUS-on-APEC is where you can learn about other people’s APEC-related

work and they can learn about yours. Please send us your APEC-related

information (by e-mail, fax or snail-mail!) — including news items,

research papers, opinion pieces and information on grassroots

activities happening in your respective country. Your contributions

will be incorporated into the bulletins.

We welcome your comments and suggestions!

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————– IN THIS ISSUE

APEC Environment Ministers Meeting

APEC environment meeting makes little progress

Act on pollution, APEC urged: Group’s credibility called on the line

By Paul Knox , The Globe and Mail

Full text of Ministers’ Statement

APEC Trade Ministers Meeting

Trade: 18 Human Rights: 0

by Allison Lampert

Full text of Ministers’ Statement

APEC Finance Ministers meeting

Full text of Ministers’ Statement

Canadian organising committee

Upcoming events

Electronic bulletins on trade and APEC

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————– IN THE NEXT ISSUE – FOCUS ON TRADE

Walden Bello reports on the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment

The Shrimp Turtle Debate: a clash of environmental politics

Assessing APEC: what is APEC doing and does it matter?

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————— ENVIRONMENT

APEC environment meeting makes little progress

TORONTO, June 11 (Reuter) – Environment ministers from the

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies closed a three-day

meeting on Wednesday, having failed to produce any concrete or

enforceable measures to address the environmental concerns plaguing

its 18 members.

Canada’s Ambassador for the Environment John Fraser, told the final

news conference that simply holding the gathering was an

accomplishment, given APEC’s origin as a group focused on promoting

trade between Asia-Pacific nations.

“I have to be encouraged,” said Fraser who chaired the meeting. “Do

I think that there are magic answers? No, there are no magic answers

but this goes a long way to making it obvious that you can start off

talking about trade, but if you’re talking about meaningful trade,

real health to your people, you can’t exclude the concepts of

sustainable development.”

It was the third meeting of the environmental arm of APEC since the

group’s formation in 1989. Despite preparations for all delegates to

address the news conference, representatives from just four APEC

member economies — Canada, the United States, Chile and Japan —

attended.

Fraser said the delegates were pressed for time.

“It’s late this afternoon, they’ve come a long long way, and they

have to catch planes to go elsewhere,” he said.

The environment ministers will present their recommendations for

sustainable cities, cleaner production and sustainability of the

marine environment to the wider APEC summit to be held November in

Vancouver.

 

Act on pollution, APEC urged: Group’s credibility called on the line

June 10, 1997 Paul Knox, The Globe and Mail

Pacific Rim environment ministers were told bluntly yesterday to stop

avoiding serious ecological problems and turn their Toronto meeting

into more than a chance for environmental businesses to network.

Delegates from the United States and New Zealand urged their

counterparts in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum to

broaden their agenda to include global warming.

U.S. delegate Eileen Claussen said the credibility of eight-year-old

APEC, a trade-liberalization forum that includes 18 countries and

territories, is on the line.

“Many people have real doubts about whether APEC can evolve into a

credible force for environmental protection,” she told the meeting.

“It is true that we certainly have not become one yet.”

Echoing her concern, New Zealand Environment Minister Simon Upton

noted that the United States and China, which together with European

countries emit the bulk of the world’s greenhouse gases, were both at

the table.

“Our citizens are going to expect us to focus on common issues that

affect us all,” he said. “. . . If we can’t talk about these issues at

APEC, where can we talk about them?”

Their comments seemed likely to fuel controversy in Canada over APEC,

whose summit meeting of heads of government will be held in Vancouver

in November. The environment meeting is one of several preliminary

gatherings.

APEC was born as a trade-liberalization group, and unabashedly

promotes itself as a forum designed to make it easier to do business

in the Pacific Region. “APEC has been business-driven from the start,”

a pamphlet produced by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department notes.

Delegates are said to represent “economies,” not “countries.” This is

primarily so that China and Taiwan — both members — can bring

themselves to sit at the same table. But it nourishes the suspicion

that APEC will undermine national sovereignty.

“The environment ministers have been conscripted to an agenda that is

anti-environment,” said Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of

Canadians and one of about 30 people who staged a demonstration

yesterday in front of the hotel where the talks were held.

The forum also is criticized because it goes to some lengths to

provide access to businesses while sharply restricting that of

environmental and human-rights activists. Partly to counter such

criticism, a parallel “youth forum” has been organized this year.

While Canada was instrumental in getting environmental issues on

APEC’s agenda, it has abandoned efforts to include discussion of human

rights and democracy. Most members are electoral democracies, but APEC

includes two famously repressive regimes, China and Indonesia.

In briefings with reporters, Canadian officials stressed the potential

benefits for Canada of the meeting’s three themes: the urban

environment, marine ecosystems and clean industrial processes.

A senior Canadian official said meteorologists can trace toxic

chemicals that show up in the Arctic region back to their countries of

origin in Asia.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that

Ottawa hopes to drum up sales for Canadian businesses that provide

environmental technology or services. “There’s a jobs element for

Canada in this as well.”

If the ministers endorse a draft program of action prepared for the

Toronto meeting, they will agree to give antipollution technology

special emphasis in talks on dropping tariffs and other trade

barriers.

The draft is heavy on exchanges of information and light on formal

commitments. The closest it gets to emissions control is a U.S.

proposal to hold workshops on cutting lead pollution in motor-vehicle

exhaust.

Yet almost no progress has been made on cutting carbon emissions from

autos and industry, which produce the so-called greenhouse gases

believed to contribute to global warming.

In two weeks, when world leaders gather at the United Nations for a

special General Assembly session, they will be forced to acknowledge

that the emissions-cutting promise they made at Rio de Janeiro in 1992

has not been kept.

“The APEC economies contribute almost half of global carbon-dioxide

emissions,” said Ms. Claussen, who is the U.S. assistant secretary of

state for international environmental affairs. “The problem cannot be

solved without us.”

In an interview, Environment Minister Sergio Marchi said the ministers

would discuss climate change informally over dinner and lunch in

Toronto. “The road to and from Rio also goes through APEC,” he said.

He declined to say whether he expected to be Environment Minister when

the meeting wraps up tomorrow. That is the day Prime Minister Jean

Chrétien plans to announce a cabinet lineup for his second mandate.

Hour Magazine May 15-21, 1997

 

APEC Environment Ministerial Meeting on Sustainable Development Joint

Statement Toronto, Canada, June 9 – 11, 1997

“Across borders we have managed to build a common vision on

sustainable development. The time for action is now. We want to help

you build our future.”

We, the Ministers responsible for Environment and Sustainable

Development from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region

commit to sustainable development as a fundamental objective to

achieve human prosperity and a healthy environment.

Specifically, we: take up ….. APEC Leaders’ call for a work program

for sustainable development in APEC that includes the themes of the

sustainability of the marine environment, cleaner production, and

sustainable cities; highlight …. our determination to make cities

in the region more sustainable, and commend our Plan of Action to

Leaders; challenge …. all orders of government, the private sector,

local communities, and individuals to join with us in transforming


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