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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
6 May 2006
Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, will lead an Australian delegation to the 14th session of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD14) in New York next week.
The key themes for CSD14 are energy for sustainable development, climate change, air pollution/atmosphere and industrial development.
Senator Campbell will report on Australia’s achievements and share relevant Australian expertise with other countries.
“Providing access to low cost, reliable and cleaner energy technologies is an essential part of helping countries achieve sustainable development and Australia has a lot to offer in this area,” Senator Campbell said.
“The Australian Government’s investment in energy efficiency initiatives, cleaner energy technologies and remote power generation has given us a lot of know-how that we can share with other countries – particularly our Pacific Island neighbours.
“One example is Australia’s Bushlight Programme, which provides remote indigenous communities with reliable renewable energy, reducing their diesel consumption and saving up to 20 tonnes of greenhouse gas in each community each year. So far, renewable energy plans have been discussed with more than 450 remote communities and more than 90 systems have already been installed.”
Senator Ian Campbell will hold last minute discussions with nations that have been working closely with Australia to shore up support for Australia’s strong anti-whaling stance at the upcoming IWC.
“A growing number of IWC member countries support the push for a return to commercial whaling and, as next month’s IWC meeting in the Caribbean draws closer, we cannot afford to slacken our efforts now,” Senator Campbell said.
“I am concerned that reports of aggressive recruiting by pro-whaling nations of developing countries in the lead up to the IWC may lose the pro-whale conservation majority that Australia achieved in Korea last year.
“I will use meetings at the UN to seek to strengthen or save our whales global network.”
There has been a moratorium on commercial whaling since 1986 and we will make every effort to ensure it continues.
“Australia will also be doing all it can to muster support for a global ban on the killing of whales for ‘scientific’ purposes and will take every opportunity to further the message that killing whales is totally unnecessary. All the information we need from whales can be done perfectly well by non-lethal methods.”
While there has been an encouraging recovery of whale numbers in the world’s oceans, whale populations remain at risk. “The so-called Japanese ‘scientific’ whaling programme in the Southern Ocean this season killed 853 minke whales and 10 fin whales. From 2007-08 it plans to kill 50 fins and 50 humpbacks, at the same time continuing to kill 935 minke whales,” Senator Campbell said.
“Australia will continue to urge Japan, Norway and Iceland to end their whaling activities.”
The International Whaling Commission meets in St Kitts and Nevis from 16-20 June, 2006.
Senator Campbell will also participate in a number of high level discussions and bi-lateral meetings progressing the work of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6) with a number of countries expressing an interest in the work of the AP6 and Australia’s role in it.
In response to interest about the AP6, Senator Campbell noted that eight industry-government taskforces established under the AP6 made a strong start to their work when they met in Berkeley in the United States from 18-21 April.
More than 300 high-level industry representatives and government officials from across all partner countries – China, India, Japan, Korea, the United States and Australia – worked together to start developing detailed technology-focused action plans on renewable energy, clean fossil energy, aluminium, cement, steel, power generation, coal mining, and buildings and appliances.
A strong contingent of Australian business representatives participated in the work – including the chief executives of Pacific Hydro, Loy Yang Power, Solar Systems and CS Energy, plus senior managers from major companies including BHP, Hydro Tasmania, Lend Lease, BlueScope Steel, the Bayard Group and Cement Australia.
“Many countries are recognising the need for a multi-track approach, including the need to focus on the development and deployment of technology as a complement to further work through the United Nations, the G8 and bilateral partnerships,” Senator Campbell said.
“Achieving the goal of sustainable development is a critical task for developed and developing countries alike.
“The old mindset of choosing between development and sustainability is being replaced as new technologies, knowledge and experiences are showing we can now have the best of both worlds.
“In Australia for example, industry leaders such as BP have become involved in the Government’s Greenhouse FriendlyTM programme, proving that environmental wins are compatible with business profit. In just five years, the BP Global ChoiceTM programme has achieved 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement.
“Economic development, business growth and being environmentally responsible are not mutually exclusive,” he said.
This is the 14th meeting of the world’s environment ministers, meeting under the auspices of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development established by the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
Marianne McCabe on 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580