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Press Release 98/41






Rome, June 5 -- On World Environment Day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today stressed the need for the sustainable use of the world's natural resources, noting that food security and sustainability in agriculture, fisheries and forestry are inseparable.

The FAO World Environment Day ceremonies took place at the UN agency's Headquarters, also attended by Italian Minister of the Environment Edo Ronchi. This year's World Environment Day theme is: "For Life On Earth - Save Our Seas."

Mr. Ronchi told the observance that the global economy, as it is structured today, can not continue to expand if the ecosystems on which it depends deteriorate at the present rate, noting problems with forests, water supplies, soil erosion, fishery resources biodiversity.

"We have to bear in mind to use only the renewable resources that are necessary to us, and not to overexploit them," the minister declared. " We have to make a firm commitment to combat factors such as climate change which influence the availability of resources. We must also not forget the sustainable management of the marine and water resources." He said people should not ask what the Planet can do for them, but what they can do for the Planet.

FAO Assistant Director-General Moritaka Hayashi, head of the Fisheries Department, noted that "the year 1998 has been declared the International Year of the Ocean and the oceans are also central to the theme of the 1998 World Environment day, which we are celebrating today."

Mr. Hayashi said, "Recently environmental issues of fisheries are attracting more and more attention, and 'effects of fish' has been singled out as one of the matters of particular concern regarding the degradation of the marine environment. Public concern is directed particularly toward sustainability of exploited resources, involuntary and incidental capture or entanglement by fishing gear of marine mammals, birds and turtles, and endangered species in general, [by fishing gear], as well as toward adverse impacts form coastal aquaculture or fish farming."

He added that "it would make little sense to argue that the marine and coastal environment should be turned into an environmental sanctuary, while their renewable resources are badly needed to support and feed the ever-growing world population. It is our duty, however, to ensure that the resources of the seas are utilized and managed in a sustainable, environmentally acceptable manner." Mr. Hayashi stressed the need to implement the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

During the observances, FAO Assistant Director-General Henri Carsalade, head of the Organization's Sustainable Development, said "that sustainability and food security are inseparable, adding: "FAO is convinced that it is quite possible to meet the food needs of the world, today and in the decades to come, because production can be further improved while maintaining respect for the principles of sustainable development."










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