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OECD plans to use economic measures to achieve sustainability.

TOKYO, Jan. 18 Kyodo

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) plans to call for achievement of sustainable development by actively utilizing economic measures to protect the environment, a draft OECD environmental strategy to be implemented by 2010 showed Thursday.

In the draft, a copy of which was made available to Kyodo News, the Paris-based group raised five objectives for enhancing the environmental policies of its 30 member countries. The strategy will be finalized at an OECD environment ministers' meeting in May.

Utilizing economic methods is included as a measure for one of the five objectives -- maintaining the integrity of ecosystems through the efficient management of natural resources.

In addition to that, the OECD aims to de-couple environmental pressures from growth in economic sectors; improve information for decision-making by measuring progress through indicators; enhance human health, the quality of life, environmental justice and democracy; and improve governance and cooperation, the draft said.

The document also suggested ways to improve the member countries' policies in the areas of climate change, fresh water supply, maintenance of biodiversity, agriculture, transport and energy.

As to economic measures, the draft said, ''OECD countries should remove subsidies and reform other policies that encourage unsustainable use of natural resources, and ensure that prices reflect the full external costs of natural resources through market and other policy instruments.''

It said such a policy reflects ''the User Pays Principle and the Polluter Pays Principle.''

In the area of climate change, the OECD set the goal of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and increase use of forests to absorb such gases in order to stabilize their concentrations in the atmosphere over the long term to between 450 and 550 ppm (parts per million).

A density of 550 ppm is twice the amount before the Industrial Revolution.

The draft also called for implementation of the 1997 Kyodo Protocol to curb global warming, recommending that member countries create incentives for emissions reductions and technological innovation through such measures as subsidies and green tax reform.

In the energy sector, the OECD urged member countries to ''progressively reduce the carbon content in energy used,'' and ''significantly increase the share of renewable energy in gross energy supply.''

It also suggested OECD countries ''remove environmentally damaging subsidies and tax provisions in the energy sector.''

In agriculture, the draft proposed that member countries ''phase out'' environmentally damaging agricultural subsidies before 2010 and ensure that ''the application of new technologies such as the use of genetically modified organisms does not have adverse environmental or health effects and is acceptable to society.''

The OECD serves as a policy forum to encourage economic cooperation between its 30 member countries, mostly industrialized countries.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jan 22, 2001
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