U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: Europe and Canada Bureau

U.S. Department of State
96/03/19 Statement: Environment Programs in New Independent States
Office of the Spokesman

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

(Kiev, Ukraine)
____________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release           March 19, 1996

STATEMENT BY NICHOLAS BURNS, SPOKESMAN

UNITED STATES-SPONSORED ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMS
IN THE NEW INDEPENDENT STATES

In Russia, the United States is pursuing a multi-faceted initiative to preserve the Lake Baikal watershed. Activities include promoting sustainable agricultural techniques, assisting in land-use planning, and helping local governments develop an ecotourism industry. Each activity is designed to demonstrate the very real benefits of pursuing environmentally friendly economic development.

Under the auspices of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission (GCC), the United States and Russia are developing programs to eliminate lead from gasoline and to support the Russian-American Oil and Gas Technology Center in mitigating environmental damage to the Russian Arctic.

Also under the GCC, U.S. and Russian experts are developing a comprehensive "environmental health" strategy aimed at lessening the effects of air and water pollution. Related activities have included environmental audits of industrial enterprises and municipal drinking water systems.

Cooperation is proceeding in reforestation programs across the New Independent States as well as in clean air management projects in targeted factories and cities.

In Ukraine, United States Government programs center on achieving a successful shutdown of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. These efforts, which are coordinated with our G-7 partners, involve energy system restructuring, energy efficiency and nuclear safety programs. In addition, separate initiatives are underway to improve industrial waste management in Donetsk and water quality in Lviv.

In Central Asia, the United States Government's major effort has been the Aral Sea Initiative. Several million people living in the Sea's basin have been deprived of access to safe water and have suffered high death rates due to elevated levels of surface and ground water contamination.

The Aral Sea Initiative is designed to help meet the urgent need of these people for access to safe water by providing recommendations for water quality improvements, public health education and water management practices. The governments of Kazakstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have joined in working with us on this initiative.

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