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U.S. Department of State
96/02/27 Remarks: Environment & Sustainable Development, El Salvador
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(San Salvador, El Salvador)
For Immediate Release February 27, 1996
BY SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
TO THE WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL
San Salvador, El Salvador
February 27, 1996
Good Morning. President Zablah, thank you very much for that nice
introduction. I feel very fortunate to be here this morning. I arrived
in El Salvador the night before last. I spent two wonderful nights and
a good full day yesterday in this great country in this great climate.
It is very fortunate for me to have a few minutes with you this morning
before I get on my plane and go down to Santiago. If this upsets the
procedure and schedule for the conference I want to apologize and I want
to thank you for disrupting your schedule in order to hear a few words
from me. I want to begin this morning by extending my condolences for
the passing away of Luis Pomo. Through his leadership of this
organization and widespread business interests throughout this region,
Luis Pomo made a substantial contribution to this country's development.
I know that you will honor his memory by continuing to champion his
commitment to the strong environmental and sustainable development
values that underlie this organization.
This meeting today is reflective of a very important objective of
my trip to Latin America and the Caribbean: to reinforce our security
and prosperity by promoting sustainable development and protecting our
environment. Your pioneering work is the clearest proof that those who
pit economic development against environmental protection make what
President Clinton has called "a false choice." Our citizens need and
deserve both - that is a healthy environment and a strong and sound
economy. By helping to organize the Summit of the Americas' Conference
on Sustainable Development in Bolivia this year, you are helping to
ensure social progress and economic prosperity for all our peoples. And
I'm delighted to have a chance to emphasize here today from this
platform the importance of that conference in Bolivia.
By your action you recognize that working together to protect
Central America's natural resources makes good business sense. It opens
opportunities to develop and market new environmental technologies. It
offers El Salvador and its neighbors the chance to benefit from the
experiences of others, and to avoid the short-sighted mistakes that have
been made over and over again in the past.
President Clinton and I strongly believe that protecting our
environment is a central national interest of the United States.
Whether in San Francisco or San Salvador, pollution can take a
tremendous toll on human health and the prospects for stability and
economic development. Damage to the environment can intensify conflicts
between nations over shrinking resources and competing needs. That kind
of damage to the environment weakens our global economy by harming
agriculture and fisheries, by harming forests and manufacturing.
That is why the Clinton Administration is putting environmental
goals squarely in the mainstream of our foreign policy. Earlier this
month, working closely with Vice President Gore who has given so much
leadership on this issue, I instructed the U.S. Department of State to
identify the impact of environment and population issues on key U.S.
interests, and to improve the way we use our diplomacy to achieve
environmental objectives. I am determined that we will fully integrate
the environment into our diplomacy and we will be working on that very
hard in the year 1996.
The State Department will also focus on how we can make greater
use of environmental initiatives to achieve larger strategic and
economic goals. Here in Central America, that means strengthening
stability and prosperity through the CONCAUSA partnership that our
presidents signed at the Miami Summit a little over a year ago.
Elsewhere in the world, it means supporting the peace process in the
Middle East by encouraging joint water projects. One of the real
dividends of the peace between Israel and Jordan has been the
development of joint water projects in that region where water is in
such short supply. It means deepening our alliance with Japan through
our Common Agenda on health and the environment. The Common Agenda with
Japan is, I think, one of the untold stories of this period and reflects
excellent cooperation between the United States and Japan. And it means
helping our companies to capture more of a $400 billion market in
environmental technologies. This subject is important enough to me that
I am going to set out these goals more fully in a major policy address
within the next month or two.
As part of this policy process, I recently invited some of the
best scientists in the United States to brief me and my senior staff
about the issue that brings us here today: climate change. I must say
it was an eye-opener to all of us even though we felt somewhat
sophisticated and informed before that briefing. The build-up of heat-
trapping "greenhouse gases" and the resulting threat of dramatic changes
in the earth's climate system are among the most significant long-term
economic, environmental and diplomatic challenges facing the world and
we intend to make sure that we do our part to address these challenges.
That is why the United States has been in a leadership role. That
is why we are pleased to help pioneer joint efforts to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions. The U.S. Initiative on Joint Implementation recognizes
that greenhouse gas is a global concern -- and that cutting carbon
dioxide in San Jose, California is just as important as cutting it in
San Jose, Costa Rica and we must work every place to do so. So far,
four Central American countries have used the initiative to fund
projects that range from reforestation to the building of solar energy
stations. This offers an inexpensive way to reduce emissions, as well
as new opportunities for trade and the exchange of technology.
By organizing conferences like this and by helping bring these
projects to life, you are providing both immediate concrete results and
a cooperative vision for the future. We will continue to support your
efforts, and to work with all the governments of Central America to
strengthen our partnership on the environment. The United States of
America, let me say in conclusion, is determined to strengthen this new
partnership on the environment for sustainable development for the 21st
century -- between the public and private sectors, between North and
South America, between humankind and the natural resources we inherited.
Our common future depends upon working together, working in this
partnership for the environment and sustainable development. I wish you
a very good conference and I want to thank you again for receiving me at
the beginning of this morning as you begin your program. Good luck and
I look forward to working with many of you over the next few years as we
work on the very important agenda that you announce here today.
Thank you very much, Mr. President and ladies and gentlemen.
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