26 April 1997
Source: http://www.usia.gov/

United States Information Agency

22 April 1997


(First annual report issued on Earth Day April 22) (8070)

Following is the text of the State Department's first annual report on
the environment and foreign policy represents a new way of looking at
the world.

(begin text)

Environmental Diplomacy:  The Environment and U.S. Foreign Policy

United States Department of State

(The U.S. State Department's first annual report on the environment
and foreign policy represents a new way of looking at the world.)

We have moved beyond Cold War definitions of the United States'
strategic interests. Our foreign policy must now address a broad range
of threats -- including damage to the world's environment -- that
transcend countries and continents and require international
cooperation to solve.

Environmental problems such as global climate change, ozone depletion,
ocean and air pollution, and resource degradation -- compounded by an
expanding world population -- respect no border and threaten the
health, prosperity, and jobs of all Americans. All the missiles and
artillery in our arsenal will not be able to protect our people from
rising sea levels, poisoned air, or foods laced with pesticides. Our
efforts to promote democracy, free trade, and stability in the world
will fall short unless people have a livable environment.

We have an enormous stake in the management of the world's resources.
Demand for timber in Japan mean trees fall in the United States.
Greenhouse gas emissions anywhere in the world threaten coastal
communities in Florida. A nuclear accident in Ukraine kills for
generations. Over-fishing the world's oceans depletes resources for
future generations. Our children's future is inextricably linked to
our ability to manage the earth's air, water, and wildlife today.

This first State Department report details the Clinton
Administration's priorities for working globally, regionally, and
bilaterally to combat serious and growing international environmental
threats. It documents an important turning point in U.S. foreign
policy -- a change the President and I strongly support.


Al Gore

Letter from Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright

Just over one year ago, then-Secretary of State Christopher announced
that the State Department would spearhead a government-wide effort to
meet the world's environmental challenges.

He said, "The United States is providing the leadership to promote
global peace and prosperity. We must also lead in safeguarding the
global environment upon which that prosperity and peace ultimately

This report is an outgrowth of that initiative. It will be released
every year on Earth Day. Its purpose is to update global environmental
challenges and policy developments and to set our priorities for the
coming year.

Not so long ago, many believed that the pursuit of clean air, clean
water, and healthy forests was a worthy goal, but not part of our
national security. Today environmental issues are part of the
mainstream of American foreign policy.

We are building on three basic premises.

First, we know that damage to the global environment, whether it is
overfishing of the oceans, the build-up of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere, the release of chemical pollutants, or the destruction of
tropical forests, threatens the health of the American people and the
future of our economy. We know that rapid population growth
exacerbates these problems and has consequences that transcend
national borders. And we know that the global environment can be
protected most effectively if nations act together. For these reasons,
this effort must be a central concern of American foreign policy.

Second, environmental problems are often at the heart of the political
and economic challenges we face around the world, In Russia and
central Europe, environmental disasters left over from the Soviet era
shorten lives and impede reform. In central Africa, rapid population
growth combined with the competition for scarce resources fuels
conflict and misery. We would not be doing our jobs as peacemakers and
as democracy-builders, if we were not also good stewards of the global

Third, we believe, as did President Kennedy, that "problems created by
man can be solved by man." The environmental problems we face are not
the result of natural forces or the hidden hand of chaos; they are
caused by human beings. These problems can be solved if America works
in partnership with governments, NGOs and businesses that share our
commitment to a cleaner and healthier world.

To meet this challenge, the State Department is changing the way we do
business. Four years ago, we appointed an Under Secretary for Global
Affairs. Our embassies and bureaus are developing regional
environmental policies that advance our larger national interests. To
help coordinate these policies, we are opening regional environmental
hubs at our embassies in Costa Rica, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Nepal,
Jordan, and Thailand. We have made environmental cooperation an
important part of our relationships with countries like Japan, India,
Brazil and China.

Globally, we are pursuing five environmental priorities: the problems
of climate change, toxic chemicals, species extinction, deforestation,
and marine degradation. We have made many important advances,
including agreements to phase out the remaining substances that damage
the stratospheric ozone layer and to ban ocean dumping of low-level
radioactive waste.

We have many opportunities this year to make further progress. At the
conference on the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which
will be held in Kyoto, Japan this December, we will be pressing for a
substantive agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The United
Nations will hold a special session this year to commemorate the fifth
anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit. There will also be an important
meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered

Environmental diplomacy is a work in progress.

The depletion of our fisheries, the increase in the level of
greenhouse gases, and the destruction of habitats and species did not
occur overnight and cannot be reversed overnight. We must work with
the Congress and the American people to obtain the resources we need
to support our diplomacy in this area, as in all others.

We have made a good beginning. Our nation and our friends and partners
around the world have the tools, the commitment, and the know-how to
get the job done. As Secretary of State, I am committed to this effort
and optimistic that we will succeed.

Madeleine K. Albright


Between 1946 and 1996, dramatic political change, economic progress
and technological breakthroughs combined to reshape the world.

Today, more people are living under democracy than at any time in
history, free-market economies are expanding on every continent, and
innovations like the Internet have made our communications immediate
and international. But just as common bonds link the world closer
together, so too do common threats increasingly endanger continued
prosperity here at home and around the world.

Climate change, deforestation, overfishing and other environmental
concerns transcend political divisions and geographic boundaries and
present a major challenge for the next century. They are the
consequences of the enormous pressures placed on the world's resources
by an ever-increasing population, spreading industrialization, land
conversion, urbanization, and rising consumption.

At the end of World War II, the earth's population stood at two
billion; now it is nearing six billion. It took hundreds of thousands
of years to reach the two billion mark; only 50 years to triple it.
This gargantuan rise in population has crowded the cities, overtaken
green spaces and created unprecedented demand for energy, food, and

Forests four times larger than Switzerland are lost every year.

Seventy percent of the world's marine fish stocks are fully to
over-exploited. The people of the world annually release 23 billion
tons of carbon dioxide into the air, increasing the earth's
temperature and threatening the health and habitat of animals, plants,
and people. Estimates are that we lose 70 species a day, forever. And
the rate of destruction and loss is accelerating.

No one country is responsible for these problems. Many nations have
contributed to their causes, and they can be addressed effectively
only if the nations of the world work together, adopting and
implementing policies that are result-oriented.

It will take more than governments to combat environmental threats.
Global institutions, including a World Bank which factors
environmental implications into its lending decisions, private
businesses and industries, and nongovernmental organizations must all
be involved in the search for and implementation of solutions.
Additionally, we must reform key United Nations structures to help
organize and coordinate international actions. Only by working in
tandem can we balance world economic growth and development with the
protection of our planet and the life it sustains.

By working within existing and evolving international structures,
negotiating important treaties and agreements, and building on
established relations to break new ground, the State Department is
addressing environmental issues which directly affect the health,
safety and economic prosperity of the American people. Whether
protecting fish stocks or the sources of many of our medicines,
reducing the amount of pesticides and toxins in our air and water, or
mitigating the consequences of climate change, the State Department is
negotiating agreements that will defend America's interests by
safeguarding the global environment.

The State Department, working with other agencies, is focusing its
energies and efforts on five pressing global environmental issues that
can only be tackled collectively, by all the nations of the world:
climate change, toxic chemicals and pesticides, biological diversity,
forest loss, and ocean degradation.


"It has been my opinion, that he who receives an Estate from his
ancestors is under some kind of obligation to transmit the same to
their posterity."

-- Benjamin Franklin

Global warming is a serious and growing threat, and most governments,
including the United States, agree more must be done to protect life
and economies from its effects.

There is now broad consensus within the international scientific
community that human activity is altering the Earth's climate system.
The burning of coal, oil, and other fossil fuels is increasing
substantially the concentration of heat-trapping gases such as carbon
dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in our air. The earth's
temperature and sea levels are rising as a result.

Right now, 23 billion tons of carbon dioxide are being released into
the world's atmosphere each year. At this rate of fossil fuel
consumption, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an
international body made up 2,000 of the world's best climate
scientists, predicts the planet's temperature will rise by 1.8 - 6.3
degrees Fahrenheit, and the seas will rise between 6 inches and 3 feet
by 2100.

This amount of climate change will affect us all. The range of impacts
is likely to include: threats to human health, including increases in
heat-related deaths and illnesses, and in the incidence of infectious
diseases; mounting damage to coastal homes, businesses, and habitat
from rising sea levels; accelerated loss of animal and plant species;
and a shift in agriculture and food production as temperature and
precipitation patterns change. Many scientists also predict that
climate change will lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity
of floods, storms, and droughts.

As the world's largest economy and emitter of greenhouse gases, the
United States has a special responsibility to take meaningful action
to attack the causes of climate change and mitigate its effects.
Acting alone, however, will not solve the problem. Over three-quarters
of global emissions come from outside the United States, and as
developing countries such as China and India continue to grow
economically, their emissions will become an increasingly large
portion of the problem.

It will take time to change the global trend of emissions growth. The
United States is committed to strong action, recognizing that we must
adopt solutions that protect the environment but that are also
consistent with our continued economic growth and competitiveness.

The State Department is engaged in a massive diplomatic effort with
more than 160 nations to reach an agreement on future emissions
reductions at the Third Conference of the Parties to the U.N.
Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan this December.
The United States is pushing for an agreement that includes legally
binding emissions targets for developed nations, maximum national
flexibility in reaching those targets, and provisions that would
substantively involve developing countries in any overall solutions to
the problem.

The State Department, with other U.S. government agencies, is working
with key countries around the world to develop innovative ways of
combating climate change by improving energy efficiency, protecting
forests and other carbon "sinks"; (which absorb carbon from the
atmosphere), and promoting the use of renewable technologies. For
example, through our Common Agenda with Japan, both governments are
cooperating on climate change research based on a multi-year,
multi-billion dollar contribution from Japan.


"If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals -- eating
and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones -- we
had better know something about their nature and their power."

-- Rachel Carson

The security of our water and air and the safety of our food are
directly affected by the world's ability to balance the agricultural,
medicinal and industrial benefits of pesticide and chemical use with
their risks.

Thirty-five years ago, Rachel Carson in her seminal book, Silent
Spring, first raised the alarm in America about the dangers of
unchecked use of persistent organochlorine pesticides like DDT and
chlordane. The United States subsequently took substantial steps to
ensure that these and other pesticides do not poison our people or
wildlife. Yet, as we approach the twenty-first century, the effects of
certain organochlorine chemicals can still be felt worldwide.

This group of compounds, also known as persistent organic pollutants
(POPs) are capable of traveling thousands of miles from their source,
often moving in a northerly direction. POPs can last for decades in
the environment, where they accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals
and people. These substances include such notorious compounds as PCBs
and DDT, which -- though no longer produced in the United States --
are still used abroad and continue to turn up in seal tissue in the
Alaskan Arctic, in Great Lakes fish, and in the bloodstream of
seabirds off the California coast. Humans in such remote locations as
Canada's far northern Baffin Islands carry traces of these chemicals
in their bodies.

While the United States has been able to address many of the risks
from these and other substances at the national level, some of these
risks can be mitigated only through global action. Many developing
countries do not have the resources or expertise to provide effective
regulatory oversight of hazardous chemical use. The United States has
an interest in helping to ensure that countries that produce or import
these chemicals use them safely.

Addressing these problems effectively requires cooperation with other
countries. The State Department and other U.S. agencies are working
globally, regionally, and bilaterally to reduce and manage the use of
these toxic substances.

The United States and over a hundred other countries recently agreed
to begin negotiating a global agreement to ban the production or
minimize the release of 12 of the most hazardous persistent organic
pollutants on the planet.

The United States is also participating in the negotiation of a global
agreement that would require governments to provide each other with
better information about especially hazardous chemicals and pesticides
prior to the export of these substances.

Through NAFTA's Commission on Environmental Cooperation, the United
States, Canada and Mexico are working together to advance the
phase-out of specific persistent organic pollutants, including PCBs
and chlordane, in North America.

The United States and Canada are cooperating to rid the Great Lakes of
persistent organic pollutants.


"Most scientists who work in species diversity agree we're at the
beginning of a species extinction spasm of a magnitude that hasn't
been seen since the end of the dinosaurs."

-- E.O. Wilson

Scientists warn that a quarter of all species could be gone in fifty
years. At present extinction rates, they estimate seventy different
kinds of animal and plant life disappear every day, forever.

Rising consumption of animal and plant products, the rapid conversion
of land to human uses, increased pollution and the spread of exotic
species to non-native habitats are putting enormous stress on the
world's flora and fauna.

The acceleration of this loss of life is occurring just as we are
beginning to understand the value of maintaining biological diversity.
Compounds and by-products derived from animals and plants from around
the world contribute to the development of new medicines,
pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, and food ingredients.
Scientists recently developed a treatment for childhood leukemia from
a flower, the rosy periwinkle, found only in Madagascar, and a
treatment for breast cancer from the yew tree of the Pacific

There is no way to estimate the potential benefits that may come from
millions of species yet to be studied, or yet to be discovered. And
there is no way to estimate the health, economic and spiritual costs
to our children who could inherit a world robbed of a drug to cure
AIDS, stripped of a strain of disease-free wheat, or bereft of the
wonder of such diverse creatures as tigers and sea turtles.

The State Department, along with other agencies, is working to protect
biological diversity, particularly through negotiations, agreements,
and initiatives to conserve forests, wetlands, and coral reefs --
ecosystems all rich in biological diversity and critical for
sustaining human life.

Through the International Coral Reef Initiative, the United States has
entered into a partnership with 75 other countries, scientists and
environmental groups to better protect, manage and monitor coral reefs
and the life they support.

The United States actively supports the Ramsar Convention, an
international agreement to encourage local and national efforts to
preserve and prudently manage wetlands of global significance.

Through the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered
Species, we are attempting to curb international trade in rare plants
and animals.

The State Department is also working to promote American interests
through the Convention on Biological Diversity. The United States has
signed, but not ratified the Convention and is currently not a full
partner in the negotiations.


"The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."

-- Revelation 22:2

The world's forests are disappearing at an unprecedented rate.

Every year, forests four times the size of Switzerland are lost
because of clearing and degradation. In the 1980s, an average of 38
million acres of tropical forest were destroyed each year; those
trends have shown no signs of decreasing in this decade. Subsistence
farming, unsustainable logging, unsound development of large-scale
industrial projects, and national policies that distort markets and
subsidize forest conversion to other uses are causing deforestation
worldwide, from Cambodia to Colombia, from Cameroon to Western Canada
and the Western United States.

The loss of forests has major implications for the world. Forests are
home to 70 percent of all land-living animals and plants. They
replenish the earth's atmosphere and provide the planet with fresh air
by storing carbon and producing oxygen. They help filter pollution out
of the water and protect against flooding, mudslides and erosion.
Forests provide timber, medicines, food, and jobs.

The United States has an enormous stake in the sustainable management
of the world's forests. We are a major forest products importer and
exporter. Our growing pharmaceutical and food processing industries
have a vested interest in protecting the source materials for new
medicines, pharmaceuticals, and food additives. Forests and their
ability to absorb carbon dioxide lower the rate of global climate

President Clinton has committed to the goal of achieving sustainable
management of our forests by the year 2000. And the State Department
and other agencies have been working closely with our global partners
to slow deforestation around the world.

Through the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, we
are pushing for greater national accountability in forest conservation
efforts, helping to build the capacity of less developed countries to
manage their forests sustainably, and encouraging the private sector
to develop codes of conduct to promote sustainable forest management.

Through the U.N. system, the United States is advocating and assisting
in establishing a process for monitoring global forest conditions.

Through the convention on biological diversity, we will be working to
establish national networks of protected forest areas.

The United States has been supporting efforts to preserve forests in
Russia, South America, Africa, and in the Asia-Pacific region. For
example, the State Department has helped Suriname develop the capacity
to consider the environmental, economic, and social consequences of
timber production in its pristine forests; in Papua New Guinea, the
Department is supporting a project to create small, village-based
enterprises as alternatives to industrial-scale forest exploitation.


"Life originated in the sea, and about eighty percent of it is still

-- Isaac Asimov

The oceans, ravaged by pollution and overfishing, are in trouble.

World fisheries are under unprecedented stress as competition for
these finite resources increases. Pollution caused by the deliberate
dumping of debris, chemical contaminants, agricultural and industrial
runoffs, sewage, and vessel discharge has endangered marine life and
habitats. Coral mining, blast fishing, the dumping of contaminated
dredge material, and other human activities have destroyed or
dramatically damaged ocean and coastal habitats and the wildlife they

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates
that 70 percent of the world's commercially important fish stocks are
fully or over-exploited. Chronic overfishing has depleted Atlantic cod
and halibut stocks and resulted in the loss of thousands of American
jobs. Stocks of some large ocean fish -- tunas, sharks, swordfish and
marlin -- have declined 60 - 90 percent in the last two decades. Every
year, 27 million tons of fish, marine mammals, sharks, sea turtles,
and seabirds, one third of the world's catch, are caught
unintentionally and thrown back dead or dying into the ocean.

The United States, with one of the longest coastlines in the world and
as a major maritime power and seafood consumer, has vested economic
and environmental interests in protecting the oceans. In addition to
providing a major food source, the oceans are maritime highways for
efficient commerce and national security. They also serve as a source
for oil, for medicine, and for recreation. The health and economic
well-being of the world's coastal populations and communities are
intimately linked to the quality of the marine environment.

Balancing the health and productivity of the oceans with the needs and
demands of growing human populations is one of the great challenges
facing the world. Globally, regionally, and bilaterally, the State
Department is working to clean up and protect the oceans and their

The United States was a leading champion of and one of the first
nations to ratify a landmark 1995 United Nations Treaty designed to
improve the management of shared fish stocks. This treaty combines a
precautionary approach to fisheries management with strong provisions
on enforcement and incentives for cooperation among countries.

The United States is also working to strengthen regional fisheries
conservation and management bodies, and to create such bodies where
none exist. For example, in the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the United States has successfully
negotiated measures to greatly improve the conservation of Atlantic
bluefin tuna and North Atlantic swordfish.

The State Department led the fight for adoption of a Global Program of
Action to combat the increasing threat from land based sources of
marine pollution. Nations are working together, pursuant to this 1995
Program, to combat ocean contamination from sources such as sewage and
wastewater, persistent organic pollutants, nutrients, heavy metals,
oils, and sediments.

The United States organized and is working through the global London
Dumping Convention to reduce ocean dumping of waste and contaminants
and through the U.N.'s International Maritime Organization to reduce
vessel discharge.


Protecting the Earth's Ozone Layer

The world can unite to solve challenging environmental problems. When
it became clear that several man-made substances were severely
damaging the Earth's ozone layer and that the result was likely to be
millions of additional cases of skin cancer and cataracts worldwide,
governments reacted. The 1987 Montreal Protocol and its subsequent
amendments have dramatically reduced the emission of ozone-depleting
substances into the atmosphere. Because of this landmark agreement,
scientists now believe that the ozone hole will begin to close
sometime soon after the turn of the century. Technological innovation
has spurred the development of ready substitutes for the worst
ozone-depleting chemicals. The greatest remaining challenge is to
continue to help developing countries make the transition to these

Taking Action to Protect Tigers and Rhinos

Tigers and rhinos are species in trouble. The lucrative trade in their
parts and products has pushed them to the brink of extinction in many
places, despite the prohibition of this trade under the Convention on
the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In 1994, the
United States placed sanctions on Taiwan under the Lacey Act for
continuing to trade in rhino horn and tiger bone (products believed by
some to have certain medicinal properties) and thereby undermining the
effectiveness of CITES. In response to this action, Taiwan has taken
dramatic steps to curtail all illegal wildlife trade, including trade
in tiger bone and rhino horn. Taiwan has demonstrated an outstanding
commitment to dealing with this serious problem. As a result, the
United States has been able to lift the trade sanctions and now counts
Taiwan as an ally in protecting the world's endangered wildlife.


The environmental fates of nations are inextricably and intimately
linked within a region.

Toxins in the Great Lakes threaten the health of Canadians and
Americans. Sulfur belched from coal-burning plants in China creates
acid rain in South Korea, North Korea and Japan. Water shortages add
to the tension in the Middle East, where Syria's and Lebanon's control
of Jordan River headwaters directly affects water supplies downriver
in Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza.

In addition to these regional challenges, many countries also face
internal environmental problems. In China, energy demand will triple
by 2010. In Mexico City, 25 percent of the children have symptoms of
asthma and in some parts of the city, over half of the children under
five suffer acute respiratory infections. In India, less than 10
percent of the nation's more than 3,000 cities and towns currently
have adequate sewage collection and treatment facilities.

The ability of countries to tackle these types of problems has
significant implications for their internal political and economic
stability, for the political and economic stability of their region,
and by extension, for U.S. foreign policy. Today, for more and more
United States diplomats working in our embassies and consulates around
the world, implementing American foreign policy means working on
environmental issues.

The State Department now operates on the premise that countries
sharing common resources share a common future and that neighboring
nations are downstream and upwind, not just north and south or east
and west, of each other. Threats to a shared forest, a common river,
or a seamless coastline are forcing countries to expand their existing
bilateral relationships to include environmental issues, and to create
new regional frameworks to confront and combat shared environmental

The State Department is integrating such regional and bilateral
environmental issues into its diplomacy for three purposes:

To help stabilize a region where pollution or the scarcity of
resources contributes to political tensions. For example, the struggle
for water in the Middle East has a direct impact on regional security
and stability. The objective of including environmental issues in the
peace process is to turn a source of conflict into a force for peace.
Cooperation on Jordan River water can complement, even spark, other
joint actions within the region;

To enable the nations of one region to work cooperatively to develop
initiatives to attack regional environmental problems. In 1996, 34
countries in the Western Hemisphere met in Santa Cruz, Bolivia at the
hemisphere's first summit on sustainable development to develop
initiatives on critical environmental issues such as urban pollution,
water resources, and land use; and

To strengthen our relationship with allies by working together on
internal environmental problems. The United States is working with
Ukraine and the G-7 to improve reactor safety in order to prevent
another nuclear disaster, and to close the Chernobyl nuclear power
plant by the year 2000. By reducing the environmental risk, the State
Department is helping to build strong ties and ensure a stable and
secure relationship.

And the State Department is integrating environmental issues into its
diplomacy in two new ways: by establishing regional environmental hubs
in key embassies to work on transboundary solutions to regional
environmental problems, and by raising the profile of environmental
issues in many of our bilateral relationships.

The State Department will focus its regional and bilateral
environmental diplomacy on five key environmental challenges that
affect most, if not all, areas of the world: water resources, air
quality, energy resources, land use, and urban and industrial growth.


"For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of
brooks, of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys
and hills."

-- Deuteronomy 8:7

Water is the indispensable resource. Whether used for drinking,
irrigation, transportation, or energy, people must have it.

But in increasing numbers of countries and regions around the world,
the demand for fresh water outstrips the supply, and the quality of
that supply is rapidly declining.

From 1950 to 1993, the amount of irrigated land increased from
approximately 250 million acres to approximately 600 million acres.
This increase has put enormous pressure on aquifers, rivers, and other
water sources. Erosion, pesticide contamination, and other
agricultural run-off are polluting water sources at an unprecedented
rate and threatening human health, biodiversity, and coastal
resources. At the same time, population growth, particularly in the
cities, has created major problems for water supply and treatment.
Polluted water is a leading culprit in the increasing spread of a
number of deadly diseases, including cholera.

Ensuring the availability of enough clean water for an increasingly
thirsty planet is vital to American interests. The struggle for
limited water resources has historically created tension among nations
in key regions of the world, and the ability of individual nations to
provide drinkable water for their people directly affects their
continued prosperity and stability.

The State Department is actively involved in helping countries and
regions around the world counter threats to their fresh water

In the arid Middle East, addressing and relieving chronic water
shortages are major concerns for the nations there and pose a serious
long-term challenge for the development of a lasting peace in the
region. In Amman, Jordan, the government routinely closes the taps to
conserve the limited amount of water available for its citizens. In
Gaza, "fresh" water pumped from the aquifers does not meet world
health standards for potable water. As part of the Middle East Peace
Process, the United States chairs the Multilateral Working Group on
Water Resources and plays an active role in the Working Group on
Environment and other fora. Through these structures, the United
States is helping regional parties resolve critical issues related to
water allocation, treatment, and supply.

In India, an estimated 70 percent of surface water is polluted. Less
than 10 percent of the nation's more than 3,000 cities and towns
currently have adequate sewage collection and treatment facilities.
Delhi alone puts 630 million liters of untreated sewage into the
Yamuna River every day. Waterborne diseases account for two-thirds of
all illnesses in the country. Under the U.S.-India Common Agenda for
the Environment, launched by the State Department in 1995, the U.S.
Agency for International Development is contributing $125 million in
loan guarantees and providing technical assistance and training for
the development and financing of commercially viable water supply,
sewage, waste water treatment, and similar urban infrastructure
projects in India.


"Clear the air! clean the sky! wash the wind!"

-- T.S. Eliot

For more than a billion people who live in urban areas around the
world, the air they breathe is harmful to their health.

Over three-quarters of the world's 20 largest megacities regularly
exceed the allowable limits for at least two harmful pollutants
monitored by the World Health Organization. The effects can be
serious. For example, sulfur dioxide affects human health and creates
acid rain which can erode buildings, kill aquatic organisms, destroy
croplands, and damage habitats. Nitrogen emissions in the presence of
sunlight can create a form of oxygen toxic to humans and other living
things. Excessive levels of lead can cause a host of health problems,
even brain damage.

The rise in use of fossil fuels around the world -- in cars,
factories, and homes -- has pumped millions of additional tons of
these and other pollutants into the air. While countries are
struggling to provide sufficient energy resources to power their
economies, they must also set and enforce standards and regulations to
protect air quality and human health.

The United States is offering technical expertise and promoting the
export of clean technologies to help other nations improve their air
quality and public health, support American business, and promote the
goals of sustainable development.

In Eastern Europe, decades of reliance on coal-fired power plants
coupled with a lack of environmental regulation have severely degraded
air quality. Air pollution has been implicated in a nearly 50 percent
increase in lung cancer rates among longtime residents of Krakow,
Poland and an approximately 25 percent increase in infant mortality in
parts of the Czech Republic. The Regional Environmental Center for
Central and Eastern Europe, which the United States was instrumental
in establishing, has taken a leading role working with local and
national governments both directly and through the NGO community to
help develop strong environmental regulations on air quality and to
encourage their enforcement.

In Mexico, air pollution is a serious problem. Twenty-five percent of
the children in Mexico City have symptoms of asthma, and in parts of
the city with very high levels of particulate pollution, over half the
children under five suffer acute respiratory infections. Along the
U.S.-Mexican border, air pollution on one side affects the quality of
air on the other side. In 1995, the two governments established an air
quality improvement district for El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez,
Mexico, which is charged with developing a system of incentives and
credits for new industry to reduce air pollution in the area.


"Energy will do anything that can be done in the world."

-- J.W. von Goethe

Energy drives economies. It lights the cities, powers the cars, heats
the homes and runs the factories.

As countries around the world continue to develop, world consumption
of energy could double by the year 2030.

The choice of which energy sources to develop are forcing governments
and the private sector to face a series of complex and interrelated
problems that affect societies at all levels. Coal, while abundant,
easily convertible and cheap, produces 1.3 times the carbon dioxide (a
greenhouse gas that causes global warming) per unit of energy as oil,
and 1.8 times that of natural gas. It also contains trace amounts of
toxic chemicals, is usually high in acid rain-causing sulfur, and
leaves a residue of soot and ash. Natural gas, a much more
environmentally benign energy source, also brings with it attendant
problems: leaks from natural gas pipelines add methane to the
atmosphere, while liquid natural gas poses potential hazards during
its transportation. Nuclear power is a potentially limitless energy
source and generates neither carbon dioxide nor other greenhouse
gases, but there are environmental and safety risks associated with
plant operation (Chernobyl and Three Mile Island) and with transport
and storage of radioactive wastes.

Oil, the most versatile energy source, also raises environmental and
political concerns. The concentration of reserves in relatively few
countries makes it a politically volatile commodity. The highways of
the world are congested with polluting automobiles running on
gasoline, an oil derivative. Disasters related to the transport of oil
in the world's fleet of supertankers remain etched in the public's
mind; while the deliberate torching of Kuwaiti oil wells provides a
vivid picture of waste and environmental degradation.

The power sources of the future may be wind, solar energy and hydrogen
fuel cells -- but the technologies are not yet developed to allow for
their cost-effective and widespread use.

The United States, like other countries, is working on balancing the
trade-offs in our energy choices. And we have a strong interest in
helping other countries evaluate the best mixes of energy sources for
their own needs, so that social, economic, environmental and security
factors are all considered.

China's demand for energy will triple by 2010. It could surpass the
United States as the largest consumer of energy by 2020. China's
reliance on coal for its energy needs results in high levels of sulfur
emissions which cause acid rain in China and in other countries in the
region. The United States is working with China through a bilateral
forum launched by Vice President Gore and Premier Li Peng. Through
this forum, which will address a wide range of environmental issues,
the State Department and other U.S. agencies are working to address
the social, economic, and environmental challenges posed by China's
energy needs, and to find opportunities to apply new U.S. technology
in addressing these critical problems. Also, the U.S. is helping China
inventory its emissions of greenhouse gases and upgrade its
inefficient pulverized coal power to a more economic and
environmentally sound system.

Though eleven years have passed since the explosion which destroyed
Reactor #4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, its
consequences persist. Genetic damage, increased cancer rates,
radioactive contamination of rivers, lakes, and water tables near
Chernobyl are still widespread and remain difficult to predict.
Together with the G-7, the United States is working to improve safety
at Soviet-designed nuclear reactors in several countries and on a
comprehensive program to close the remaining operational unit of the
Chernobyl nuclear power plant by the year 2000. This program supports
broad, deep reforms in Ukraine's energy sector, including increased
efficiency, which also promotes Ukraine's economic stability.


"Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life,
its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his
faith together with his life."

-- Joseph Conrad

By 2020, the world will need to feed 8 billion people.

New crop varieties, pesticides and irrigation continue to improve
yields around the world. However, technological advances have not been
enough to offset the need for additional croplands. And as the search
for and use of arable lands intensifies, the amount of erosion,
siltation, deforestation, and desertification will increase.

Many governments around the world are faced with very difficult
decisions about land use. Local and national leaders must weigh the
competing goals of protecting a forest against providing additional
croplands. They must consider whether regulations and protective
measures to preserve a cropland's long-term viability, such as
limiting irrigation and restricting types of crops planted, place too
much of an economic burden on their citizens by limiting crop yields
in the short-term. They must evaluate whether to control certain types
of land transactions -- for example, selling arable land for
commercial/urban use or to preserve it for agricultural production.

These decisions by governments have social, environmental, and
economic implications, which in turn affect our foreign policy. To
promote domestic and regional stability, the State Department is
working bilaterally and regionally to help countries with land use

In Central Asia, planners have diverted most of the fresh river waters
that once flowed to the Aral Sea, to irrigate water-intensive cotton
crops. Only 10 percent of that water now reaches the Aral. As a
result, the Aral, once the fourth largest inland sea, has lost over
half its surface area since 1960 and continues to shrink. The
accompanying loss of the commercial fishing industry, deterioration in
water quality, contamination of the soil from salt blown hundreds of
miles from the former sea bottom, and declining ground water levels
have devastated a 400,000 square kilometer region. This summer, the
State Department will open a Regional Environmental Hub in Tashkent to
promote regional cooperation on water management in the Aral Sea

The hub will work with the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) which is already taking a two-pronged approach: in addition to
installing water treatment and distribution systems and public health
laboratory facilities in several countries, USAID is also working with
governments in the region to develop sound water management practices
and cross-border water sharing agreements.

As a continent, Africa suffers from the harsh effects of
desertification -- the spreading of the desert to once productive,
arable lands. Dire economic conditions in parts of Africa force people
to extract as much as possible from the land now in order to survive.
As a result, overgrazing, deforestation, inefficient technologies and
management practices, and other factors have degraded over a billion
acres of cropland, moderately or severely. Under the leadership of
Vice President Gore and South African Deputy President Mbeki, the
United States and South Africa are working together to combat the
spread of deserts by improving capabilities to predict droughts,
clearing invasive plant species that choke waterways, and providing
training for better water management. The State Department will open a
regional environmental hub in Addis Ababa this summer, and one of the
hub's primary focuses will be developing regional efforts to combat


"We cannot afford merely to sit down and deplore the evils of city
life as inevitable...We must set ourselves vigorously about the task
of improving them -- "

-- Theodore Roosevelt

By the year 2000, it is estimated that -- for the first time in
history -- half the world's population will live in cities.

In developing countries, cities account for 70 percent of Gross
Domestic Product (GDP). The rapid rate of urban and industrial growth
has been a catalyst for tremendous economic dynamism in places like
Asia and Latin America. But it also has serious environmental
consequences. Most municipal and national governments lack the
capacity to effectively treat sewage, dispose of solid waste, regulate
air and noise pollution, or control sprawl. Most industries do not
have pollution prevention technologies that can ensure clean
production methods at affordable costs. As tens of millions of
additional people are born in or migrate to urban and industrial
areas, the magnitude of these problems multiplies exponentially.

Urban and industrial centers increasingly suffer from a proliferation
of environmental health problems, including the re-emergence of many
infectious diseases. As urban areas expand, arable land disappears as
do wetlands and forests which filter water and air and provide flood
protection. With many of the world's major cities located on or near
the coast, pollution of the marine environment and the resulting
damage to fisheries, coral reefs, and beaches is another major

Engaging governments and the private sector in addressing the
environmental effects of rapid urban and industrial growth is in
America's interests: healthy and livable urban environments are key to
long-term stability, social equity, and economic growth.

The State Department is using regional and bilateral structures to
promote sustainable cities around the world.

By 2000, it is expected that Asia will have over half of the world's
20 most populous cities, with close to 150 million people living in
them. The Asian Development Bank estimates that six Asian megacities
already suffer from severe groundwater degradation. In three of these
cities, sewage facilities exist for less than 15 percent of the
population. Through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum
(APEC), the State Department is promoting cooperative, integrated
approaches to address the problems posed by urbanization and
industrial expansion. APEC initiatives include efforts to: promote
clean production technologies; phase out leaded gas and reduce harmful
emissions; use innovative financing mechanisms to allow cities to
invest in urban infrastructure such as waste water and solid waste
collection and treatment; and reduce urban sources of marine

Cairo, already one of the world's most crowded cities, is adding a
quarter of a million people every year. Urban and industrial pollution
are major and growing problems there, as untreated waste water, soot,
lead emissions, and other pollutants combine to pose a severe threat
to human health. Levels of suspended particulates and lead are among
the highest anywhere and cause an estimated 10,000-25,000 additional
deaths each year. Under an initiative launched by Vice President Gore
and Egyptian President Mubarak, the United States is working with
Egypt to develop and implement sustainable solutions to Cairo's
problems including: converting taxis and buses to natural gas;
phasing-out leaded gasoline; moving smelters out of Cairo; and
investing in modern, clean technology.


The State Department has developed new diplomatic tools to integrate
environmental issues into foreign policy.

Six new "regional environmental hubs" will open this year; six more
are scheduled to be in operation in 1998. The regional hubs were
created to address transboundary environmental problems that can be
solved only if affected nations within a region cooperate with one
another. While the hubs all share a common approach of helping
neighboring nations work together, each hub will tackle the priority
environmental problems specific to its region:

The hub for Central America and the Caribbean, located in San Jose,
Costa Rica, will focus on the loss of forests and biological diversity
and on the management of coral reefs and coastlines.

In Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Central Asian hub will work to encourage
cooperation on water-related problems in the Aral Sea Basin.

Desertification, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water use will
be the focus of the Eastern Africa hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The South Asia hub, located in Kathmandu, Nepal, will promote regional
cooperation on alternative energy, clean air, water sharing, and
environmental disaster preparedness.

In Amman, Jordan, the Middle East hub will work on water resources,
desertification, and coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba as part of the
Middle East peace process.

And in Bangkok, Thailand, the Southeast Asian hub will create
initiatives to promote the sustainable management of forest and marine

The State Department is using or expanding its bilateral relationships
with Brazil, India, Japan, China, Russia, Ukraine, the European Union,
Mexico, South Africa, and Egypt to focus on environmental issues.
These bilateral frameworks allow us to coordinate our efforts and to
develop joint initiatives with allies on global, regional, and
bilateral problems.

Message from Eileen B. Claussen

Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International
Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Environmental diplomacy is not an entirely new concept.

In October of 1973, Congress passed legislation creating within the
State Department the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental
and Scientific Affairs (OES). The result of Congress's foresight is a
bureau that for almost 25 years has been promoting the protection of
the world's environment.

By negotiating key treaties and agreements and ensuring their
effective implementation, OES has been instrumental in such diverse
areas as conserving the unique resources of the Arctic and Antarctic,
fighting to uphold the international moratorium on commercial whaling,
and providing a forum for our scientists to collaborate with
colleagues overseas in areas including health, agriculture, and basic
sciences. Through these and other achievements, OES has made an
important contribution to improving the quality of life for Americans
and people around the world.

Much of this work has occurred outside the spotlight of better-known
United States foreign policy objectives. But today that is changing.
International environmental issues are moving from the periphery to
the mainstream, as their importance is better understood and the
urgency of addressing them increases.

The ability of individual nations and regions to provide clean air,
water, and energy for their citizens is critical to maintaining
stability and growth. The decisions the world makes about reducing
greenhouse gases, conserving forests, and limiting the emissions of
toxic chemicals are literally shaping the planet for this and future

We have produced this report outlining our priorities and actions to
build greater understanding of, and broader participation in, our
efforts to tackle the growing number of increasingly complex
international environmental challenges. We are committed to working
with you, hearing from you, and moving forward together.

(end text)