Switzerland wants to highlight the connection between poverty and the environment at the international environmental forum which is taking place in Malmö, Sweden.
Ministers from around the world who are attending the three-day United Nations conference hope to reach agreement on global environmental priorities. They aim to end the meeting by signing a declaration calling for worldwide cooperation between environmental, economic and trade organisations.
The Swiss delegation is led by Philippe Roch, head of the federal environment agency. Roch says the less resources a country has at its disposal, the more inclined it is to exploit natural resources in the short-tem without thinking of the future. He says tackling poverty would ensure better respect for the environment. Conversely he points out that a healthy environment is a prerequisite for ending poverty.
Other key issues on the agenda include climate change, the preservation of bio-diversity and how individuals and organisations can help protect the environment.
Delegates also hope to lay the groundwork for a conference in 2002 as a successor to the Rio Earth summit of 1992.
swissinfo with agencies