Pollution and climate change the central themes for meeting of Nordic environment ministers on Svalbard
The ministers adopted a declaration about climate change, agreeing to work towards new international regulations for emissions after 2012 and a new regime under the Climate Convention that will guarantee global reductions in hazardous emissions. They also agreed on the need to concentrate attention on the work that needs to be done to adapt to climate change, and called on the Nordic countries to collaborate on improving knowledge of expected climate changes and mapping out the vulnerability of the Nordic countries in the face of those expected developments.
Initiatives need to be taken in the environment sector and the ministers agreed on the need to support the efforts of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs to move the environment to the top of the Arctic Council agenda.
Combating pollution was another main theme of the meeting. The ministers agreed to work together to have more organic pollutants covered by international agreements (The Stockholm Conventions, LRTAP), for example. They also called on the Nordic countries to promote global efforts to curb the misuse of mercury and other heavy metals, agreeing that Nordic funding should be made available to finance a new mercury convention should the UNEP board call for negotiations on the issue at its meeting in February 2007.
The meeting also discussed the new draft strategy for the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO). The ministers adopted a positive attitude to continuing the work of NEFCO's environmental development fund, which helps fund projects and promotes supplementary investments, e.g in environmental technology and energy savings in North-West Russia and Ukraine. They also gave the nod to an evaluation of the need to increase NEFCO's funding to make sure the Corporation is able to make progress with its work.