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Councillor calls on governments to improve communities' environments; SPEECH: Leaders decide on strategy ahead of World Summit.

Byline: COLIN HUGHES

A COUNCILLOR from Wales has called on national governments to "do their bit" to ensure a sustainable future for world communities.

Alan Lloyd, Swansea's longest serving councillor, is president of the International Union of Local Authorities and he delivered a keynote speech in Vancouver to delegates from 37 countries.

More than 100 prominent international local government leaders and experts attended the British Columbia conference, held to put the final touches to the local government strategy for the forthcoming World Summit on sustainable development.

Local governments have taken action to improve their communities' environments without sacrificing economic growth or social development.

This is in stark contrast to national governments - including the United States - which have argued over the finer points of the Kyoto Protocol and other international agreements to minimise environmental change.

Local governments are, of course, uniquely positioned, as the level closest to the people, to implement concrete low cost plans for environmentally friendly development through their provision of basic services such as water, sanitation and planning.

Alan Lloyd stressed that national governments and the UN had recognised local action as one of the principal sustainable development success stories of the past decade.

"Now it is their turn to make commitments, " he said.

"Local governments are willing to expand our sustainable development activities but we need national government co-operation and resources to do so."

The World Summit which will be held in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4, will assess global progress towards sustainable development since the 1992 UN conference on environment and development - better known as the Rio or Earth Summit.

It is expected that the ideals of Rio will be made tangible through a Johannesburg plan of action.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 15, 2002
Words:284
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