§ Lord Swinfen
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What their assessment is of the likely outcome of the Earth Summit in Rio.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Wakeham)
The Government are committed to the success of the Earth Summit and my right honourable friend the Prime Minister will attend the meeting with other world leaders. The Government will sign the framework convention on climate change and have joined with other members of the EC in urging all countries to sign and ratify it as soon as possible thereafter. This convention will be a significant first step in tackling the global problems of climate change.
The Government will also sign the convention on biodiversity, which should provide an initial step in protecting natural habitats and the range of species throughout the world. This will be subject to satisfactory arrangements that take full account of the Government's concern about financial commitments. The Government have already announced that they will provide new and additional financial resources through the global environment facility to assist developing countries in meeting the incremental costs of their commitments under the convention.
The Government hope that an effective statement of principles on the sustainable development of the world's forests will be agreed and a process to follow the principles up. Agenda 21 provides a coherent framework for action by all to achieve more sustainable types of development and growth. The Government attach great importance to its agreement at the meeting and hope that it will contain a declaration of basic principles and that stronger machinery will be established to carry forward work at a national and international level.