First Meeting of the Ministers of the Environment of the Americas:
Photos and RealAudio of Thursday, 29 March
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View from the back of the conference room during Thursday morning's meeting.

David Anderson, Minister of Environment of Canada, welcomed participants and said the meeting should send a message to world leaders on the need for sustainable growth and prosperity.

RealAudio of Minister Anderson's introductory remarks

Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon, University of Toronto, opened the first session addressing the issues posed by the challenges of environmental management in a changing hemisphere and the need for innovation. He argued for a shift from an environmental protection paradigm to an environmental innovation paradigm and suggested the need to act innovatively and proactively. He also underscored the importance of information to increase the capacity of different groups and suggested promoting partnerships to avoid gridlocks of information sharing.

RealAudio of Homer-Dixon's presentation

Alicia Bárcena, Director of Environment and Human Settlements at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and facilitator of the session, started by highlighting the great progress achieved through sub-regional integration.
Minister Anderson having a word with Christie Whitman, Administrator of the USA's Environmental Protection Agency and an unidentified participant.
Ministers and heads of delegation pose for the meeting's official portrait

During the afternoon session, participants discussed the meeting's second theme, "Environment and Health - understanding the linkages." Mauricio Pardón, Director of Environmental Health at the Pan American Health Organization [left], delivered the keynote address. Highlighting the role of health concerns as a major catalyst for environmental conservation, he noted that a billion people in the Americas are exposed to atmospheric pollutants above acceptable levels, resulting in approximately 100,000 deaths annually. Elisabeth Dodswell, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, was the session moderator.

RealAudio of Pardón's presentation

At the evening cocktail reception, Pierre-Marc Johnson, former Premier of Quebec [right], discusses global policy trends with Juan Mayr, Minister of the Environment of Colombia [left].
A scene from the diner reception, from left to right: Minister Anderson watches as Adrianna Hoffmann, Executive Director of the National Commission on the Environment of Chile is introduced to David Runnalls, President of IISD, by Pierre-Marc John, former Premier of Quebec, as Yolanda Kakabadse, President of IUCN and Alicia Bárcena look on.
After the dinner, participants heard from such speakers as Pierre Bourque, Mayor of Montreal, who spoke of the important role decisions taken at the municipal level can play in the achievement of sustainable development.

Right, and below: some of the peaceful
environmentalists protesting outside the Omni Hotel
The insatiable media lined up on the stairs [right],
waiting to be let into the meeting room [below]

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