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CD-ROM spreads the message of sustainable forests

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has brought out a CD-ROM and brochure aimed at informing developing countries about the sustainable development of alpine forests.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has brought out a CD-ROM and brochure aimed at informing developing countries about the sustainable development of alpine forests.

The government agency says the information could prove invaluable to developing countries facing many of the environmental and economic problems Switzerland has already tackled.

The publications coincide with a meeting in New York of the United Nations commission on sustainable development. Forests are the theme of the conference, which runs until May 5.

Andri Bisaz, a senior official at the development agency and one of the authors of the project, stresses that Switzerland is not trying to lecture anyone:

"Our idea is not to teach developing countries, but to describe what has happened here in Switzerland, both positive and negative. And if developing countries think they can use something of our experience, they can take it from the CD-ROM, or come to Switzerland and ask for it to be explained in a little more detail."

The CD-ROM focuses on the Bernese Oberland because of its success in the 19th century marrying economic needs with protection of the environment. The region found that sustainable development was the long-term answer to alleviating the kind of poverty found nowadays in developing countries.

by Michael Mullane

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