In Kyoto, the UK asked Norway to withdraw a draft resolution of the Nordic countries seeking to draw attention to the problems of marine pollution. The Whitehall view was that such problems were being dealt with adequately in other forums. This assertion flies in the face of the conclusions of the Rio Conference on Environment and Development, where the serious threats of land- based pollution are identified and
it is acknowledged that there is
no global scheme to address such pollution.
Moreover, the statement served as a reminder of the UK role in preventing agreement among the European nations on a permanent ban on dumping of radioactive wastes at sea. At Kyoto, the fear of having to vote against the Nordic proposal, thereby exposing the inconsistencies in the UK environmental policy, apparently caused Mr Gummer's delegation to join in the consensus. Could it be that Mr Gummer's service to the environment is confined to cost-free public statements?
Those countries whose very survival depends on a healthy marine environment can only hope that Mr Gummer will respond to the call
of the IWC and work to remove the notorious threats to the oceans that fall within the jurisdiction of his government.
JON BALDVIN HANNIBALSSON
Minister of Foreign Affairs
17 MayReuse content