§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role her Department has played in discussions relating to the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Meacher
As a member of the Strategy Council, we have participated fully in discussions relating to the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity878W Strategy since its endorsement at the 'Environment for Europe' Ministerial Conference in 1995, and will continue to do so.
In February officials from my Department attended the 6th meeting of the Strategy Council in Budapest, and the 'Biodiversity in Europe' Intergovernmental Conference which was held under the overall umbrella of the strategy, and which focused on facilitating European regional preparations for the 6th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/COP6), and strengthening co-operation on biodiversity in Europe.
The conference reviewed relevant on-going Pan-European processes, identified priorities and made a number of recommendations for action at the regional level. The conference discussed the main items on the CBD/COP6 agenda which were of special European concern, with a view to developing a regional input for the forthcoming negotiations at The Hague. Among the priority topics considered were:
- Forest biological diversity
- Invasive alien species
- Financial resources and mechanisms for hiodiversity
- Indicators, monitoring and the clearing house mechanism; and
- Strategic Plan for the CBD and the implementation of the Convention.
The main messages from Budapest to the global biodiversity community are that European countries are committed to work jointly for attaining common goals of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and that Europe is keen to learn from a wide range of experiences of other regions with a view to enriching the Pan-European biodiversity process, and is ready to share its achievements and innovations with other regions of the world.