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Led by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy—President of the University of Winnipeg and former Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada—a group of international experts in trade in natural resources, aid policy and security issues are in Geneva, Switzerland today to establish the operating guidelines for an exciting new International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and IUCN - World Conservation Union project examining the linkages between environment and conflict. There are three Nobel Prize nominees on the steering committee: Dr. Axworthy, Partnership Africa Canada, and Global Witness.
"Lloyd Axworthy is internationally recognized for his significant contributions to effective dialogue and action on security and sustainability issues. He also has a deep understanding of the current political realities and complexities involved in peace-building initiatives. I can't think of a better person to be at the helm of this committee; he is probably one of the two or three best people in the world for this. Obviously, his leadership will be invaluable," said David Runnalls, President and CEO of IISD.
Security is an essential precondition for sustainable development. Without security, social institutions cannot function, people cannot plan for the future and investors cannot safely enter. It's with the best intentions that trade and aid seek to support the internal security goals of developing countries; the starker reality is that trade and aid often undermine security and lead to violent conflict.
Recognizing this, and seeking to develop a more pragmatic and integrated understanding of the divergence between what are supposed to be supportive mechanisms, IISD and IUCN have assembled this advisory steering committee to guide the project team over the next 12-18 months of project activity.
The project will develop a number of focused case studies and rigorous thematic papers to investigate these linkages. It will also seek to assess what policy tools might be effective to combat the problems they cause. Throughout the process the steering committee will oversee the progress and direction of the research. Towards the end of 2005 the conclusions of the project will be launched with a book and a conference.
"I am especially pleased to have such a distinguished group of experts make this commitment to our project. Their guidance and insights will greatly influence the final outcomes of the project and expand the reach of our message considerably," explained Mark Halle, project leader and Director of the IISD Trade and Investment program.
Biographies (PDF - 54 kb) of committee members are also available.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change, measurement and indicators, and natural resources management. By using Internet communications, we report on international negotiations and broker knowledge gained through collaborative projects with global partners, resulting in more rigorous research, capacity building in developing countries and better dialogue between North and South. IISD's vision is better living for all-sustainably; its mission is to champion innovation, enabling societies to live sustainably. IISD receives operating grant support from the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Environment Canada, and from the Province of Manitoba. The institute receives project funding from the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, other national governments, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector. IISD is registered as a charitable organization in Canada and has 501(c)(3) status in the United States.
CEESP, the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, is an inter-disciplinary network of professionals whose mission is to act as a source of advice on the environmental, economic, social and cultural factors that affect natural resources and biological diversity and to provide guidance and support towards effective policies and practices in environmental conservation and sustainable development. Following the mandate approved at the Second World Conservation Congress in Amman, October 2000, CEESP contributes to the IUCN programme and mission with particular reference to five thematic areas: