Press release

Global Sustainable Development Network Assisted Through Infrastructure Agreement

October 16, 1996

Announcement by Art Hanson (standing right), CEO of IISD, Gary Filmon (seated centre), Premier of the Province of Manitoba and Lloyd Axworthy (seated left), Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Canada
(audio file 9min 40sec -- Requires RealAudio 2.0 player)

WINNIPEG — Manitoba will become the home base for a worldwide sustainable development information service network, made possible through an innovative project funded by the Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure Works Agreement.

The Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) will build on its existing IISDnet, a global service network connecting Canada with the most current information on sustainable development activities around the world. The project will enable Canadian environmental businesses and enterprises to promote their products and services internationally.

Funding for the project was announced today by Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon and Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy. The infrastructure program's $500,000 investment in IISDnet represents equal contributions by the federal and provincial governments and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

"The project will reaffirm Manitoba's leadership in environmental industries and information technology - two of the world's most important emerging sectors, "Premier Filmon said. "Through IISDnet, the information highway can be used to develop new business opportunities that enhance the environment. For Manitobans, that means economic growth that is forward-looking and innovative, with jobs and opportunities that can be sustained for generations to come."

Speaking on behalf of the Honourable Jon Gerrard, Secretary of State for Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for implementation of the infrastructure program in Western Canada, Minister Axworthy said: "This initiative supports sustainable development information requirements of Canadian business, while contributing to export opportunities for environmental enterprises. It will provide an inexpensive, online showcase to promote Canadian products, services and expertise in environmental technologies, and create jobs and growth in these businesses."

IISD has an established audience of over 12,000 decision-makers around the world, and to date has invested over $1 million in creating the foundation for a leading-edge, knowledge-based information system with the capacity to connect to global electronic networks. "We identified the opportunity to enable businesses to make more effective use of global networks, by providing access to highly focused information and the tools to improve their approach to sustainability," said International Institute for Sustainable Development President and CEO, Dr. Arthur Hanson. "The infrastructure funding will help take us to the global stage.

"IISDnet will also jump-start our efforts to partner with public and private educational institutions across Canada, enabling us to respond to rapid changes in user requirements, technology and the marketplace," he added.

IISD is already working in partnership with the International Development Research Center (IDRC) to foster the use of sustainable development on the Internet with institutions in developing countries. These include emerging markets in the Middle East, Asia and Southeast Asia. Manitoban and Canadian environmental entrepreneurs will be able to reach this global audience via IISDnet.

Current components of IISDnet include the delivery of information on new sustainable development ideas and actions, a prototype electronic tool kit to support decision making, and the Earth Negotiations Bulletin — a state-of-the-art world-wide electronic reporting service covering negotiations on environment and development.

Over the next two years, the expansion of IISDnet to service the business community will generate two information technology positions.

To date, 394 projects and more that $184 million in funding have been announced under the Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure Works Agreement. Infrastructure funding for these projects is expected to create over 3,200 jobs, including direct on-site and off-site employment.

The Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure Works Agreement was signed in January 1994 to encourage infrastructure development and job creation in Manitoba. The Agreement provides for a total investment in Manitoba of $204.8 million, with federal, provincial and local shares of one-third or $68.2 million each. Funds are administered by a federal-provincial agreement committee, co-chaired by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Manitoba government's Executive Council.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 120 people, plus over 150 associates and consultants, come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.