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25 June, 1997
The major environmental problems of the planet cannot be successfully tackled and sustainability cannot be attained unless major socio-economic ills, such as poverty, are eradicated, Environment Undersecretary Theodoros Koliopanos said in his address to the 19th special session of the United Nation's second Earth Summit.
"The use of sustainable production and consumption patterns must be identified and expanded... Capacity building and close cooperation with third partners and major groups, as well as public awareness, should be actively promoted," he added.
Mr. Koliopanos also stressed the importance of elaborating strategies for freshwater and the oceans, of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and of the negotiation of a global convention on forests.
"Greece, while being rich in forest resources, is also extremely vulnerable to forest fires and deforestation, mainly due to climatic conditions. Considering that forests are indeed one of our most important assets, we strongly believe in sustainable forest management, according to the Rio principles and the proposals put forward by the IPF. In line with our partners in the EU, we advocate the establishment by the UNGASS, of an intergovernmental committee to negotiate a global forest convention," he said.
In an interview with ANA on Monday, Mr. Koliopanos said that apart from the major general issues, such as the climate and biodiversity, the issues of special interest to Greece included coastal and water management, and the effects of tourism.
"Our aim is to develop eco-tourism, conference tourism, and generally tourism in the framework of sustainable development," he said.
The undersecretary, who participated in the crucial coordinating meeting of the 15 EU member-states on Sunday night, stressed that the issues at the top of the EU agenda "coincide to a large degree with the priorities of the Greek government".
Source: Athens News Agency