TELECOMMUNICATIONS: UNEP Hosts Global Initiative For Environment
     Representatives of European, North American and Japanese telecommunications companies met at the UN Environment Program (UNEP) in Paris earlier this month to discuss a global telecom initiative for the environment.
     The proposed initiative would combine two existing charters already adopted in North America and Europe to foster global cooperation on matters such as sound environmental management. The plan would build on lessons learned from creating the existing charters and open access to operators from other regions.
     The Environmental Charter for the North American telecommunications industry, signed by seven companies last February, focuses on the industry's environmental impact and the contributions it can make toward sustainable development.
     The Environmental Charter of the European Public Telecommunications Network Operators Association, signed by 23 European companies, requires a company commitment from European public network operators to exceed regulatory requirements and to implement environmental management systems.
     Telecommunications is one of the most dynamic industries in the world because of rapid technological developments and deregulation of previously closed markets. The importance of the new initiative, UNEP notes, is that the industry's potential to contribute substantially to sustainable development has not yet been realized.
     While representatives in the Paris meeting included telecommunications service providers only and not manufactures, participants agreed to establish a platform for dialogue and for attracting other stakeholders (UNEP release, 16 Feb).
Source : UN Foundation. February 24, 2000