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News Bulletin
"Update on the Environment and Debt of Poorest"

by Ella Kokotsis
G8 Research Group

Volume 3, Issue 4
Saturday, June 19, 1999, 5:00 p.m.

On Friday, June 18, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced that the Group of Seven leading industrial nations meeting in Cologne agreed to write off $27 billion of debt owed by the world's poorest nations. The German Chancellor further announced that additional bilateral aid from the G7 would be written off in addition to the $27 billion collective package. In total, 40% of the debt owed by the poorest nations would be cut through these initiatives.

Germany's historic interest in international environmental initiatives at the G7 has led to speculation that three major environmental concerns are likely to emerge during the leader's deliberations this weekend. The first involves biodsafety and the debate over the advantages of genetically-modified foods. This issue, which pits the Americans and Canadians against the Europeans and the Japanese, will emerge during discussions as leaders will recognize the need to pursue adequate consultations and preparations in ensuring a successful conclusion to the negotiations of a biosafey protocol no later than the fifth Conference of the Parties in May 2000.

Climate change and the implementation of the Buenos Aires Action Plan will be discussed with particular emphasis on the early entry into force of the Kyoto protocol and a comprehensive compliance regime including procedures and mechanisms containing binding consequences for non-compliant members. 2005 will remain a target deadline for the achievement of significant reductions in greenhouse gases.

German news sources have also learned that Schroeder's government has found no support from the G7 for an initiative to halt the construction of two nuclear power plants in the Ukraine. Any move forward on credits to the Ukraine will be halted by Schroeder. During their discussions, the leaders will reiterate the importance of emphasizing the full implementation of the Nuclear Safety Account grants agreement, particularly with respect to the Ukraine. The leaders will further stress that funding from the G7 and other international donors envisaged under the M o U is dependent on the closure of Chernobyl taking place as scheduled by 2000. The safety of Chernobyl reactor 3 continues to be of grave concern to the G7 and will further be discussed during the leaders' deliberations.

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