First Meeting of the Ministers of the Environment of the Americas
Montréal; March 29-30, 2001 - Funding for SD's coverage of this meeting provided by Environment Canada

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The first Meeting of the Environment Ministers of the Americas convened in Montreal, Canada, and closed on Friday at 2:00 pm. The two-day meeting brought together Environment Ministers from 33 nations and more than 100 other representatives from governments, international organizations, and United Nations agencies. The meeting was be structured according to three key themes: the challenge of environment management in a changing hemisphere and the need for innovation; environment and health: understanding the linkages; and conservation of biodiversity in healthy ecosystems. Above right: Anderson [center] with other ministers at the closing press conference.

IISD's SUMMARY REPORT  is available online in  HTML ball.gif (204 bytes) TEXT ball.gif (204 bytes) PDF
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  Archive: photos and RealAudio of 29 March
Photos and RealAudio from Friday, 30 March

Above: after a lengthy debate on the content of the Communiqué, the meeting broke for a few minutes as participants met in huddles to pour over new text.

Right: once it was clear that consensus could not be achieved, participants from Latin American and Caribbean countries gathered to agree on a statement to be issued at the press conference (see below).

Yolanda Kakabadse, President of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), delivered the guest speaker address on conservation of biodiversity in healthy ecosystems. She said conservation and protection must form part of economic development and stressed that a hemispheric alliance must take social, political, economic and environmental considerations into account. She said the economic capacity of biodiversity is undeniable and emphasized the need to integrate environmental concerns into trade policy.

RealAudio of Kakabadse's presentation

Session moderator, Russel Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, reminded participants that biodiversity loss is an irreversible process and identified two paths in front of the world today with regard to biodiversity: liquidate it now and restore it later; or value intact ecosystems now. He highlighted the importance of a global assessment to register all existing species.

Canadian Environment Minister Anderson thanked all for their participation, and challenged the ministers to unite in making the Americas a model for the rest of the world. In closing, he said the meeting had established a common belief that the environment is not a luxury, but fundamental to sustainable development.

RealAudio of Anderson's closing statement

Final Ministerial Communiqué:
English Français Español Portuges
Closing press conference:
Minister Anderson [center] with, from left to right, the Ministers from Haiti, Belize, Venezuela, (Anderson), Panama, Argentina and Uruguay.

RealAudio of Anderson's opening statement to the press

RealAudio of Latin American and Caribbean countries' statement on climate change

      RealAudio of Anderson's comments on climate change: part one   part two

The meeting meets the press: no lack of media presence

Anderson surrounded by the media minutes after the close of the meeting.

Anderson saying farewell to Juan Mayr, Minister of the Environment for Colombia [second from the left], and representatives from UNDP.

Archive: Photos and RealAudio from Thursday, 29 March


bulletOfficial Environment Canada website for the meeting of the Ministers

bulletDraft Documents: English Français Español
Annotated agenda
Background paper for theme #1 - Environmental
management in a changing hemisphere: the need for innovation
Background paper for theme #2 - Improving our
understanding about environment and health linkages
Background paper for theme #3 - Conservation
of biodiversity in healthy ecosystems

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