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FINLAND:

Sirpa Pietikäinen, the Minister of the Environment of Finland, was encouraged by the first meeting of the CSD in June. The Secretariat needs bold and innovative working methods to enable the CSD to draw necessary political conclusions. She suggested that the high level segment should focus on a few major political issues on the agenda of the session. They could even consider the possibility of informal gatherings between ministers, in connection with the high level segment, to facilitate issues. One major political issue at the next session will be how to change production and consumption patterns, and another will concern international trade. She stressed the importance of the interrelationship of international economy, trade and environment, which will be considered by the CSD at its next meeting. She expressed satisfaction that the GEF negotiations are in the final stage and noted that a positive outcome of the GEF restructuring and replenishment negotiations would constitute a major achievement in international environmental cooperation and provide a solid financial basis for the implementation of the Conventions on climate change and biodiversity. A positive experience from the GEF negotiations would also have a breakthrough effect on the ECOSOC reform process. Finally, she stressed the importance of sustainable management of forests and noted that Finland hosted a Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe last June. The follow-up to this conference will be an important contribution to the CSD.