Written Answers. - Destruction of Tropical Rainforests.

Roger T. Garland

Question:

75 Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the continued destruction of the world's tropical rainforests.

There is no provision in the Charter of the United Nations for an emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Article 20 of the Charter states that: "The General Assembly shall meet in regular annual sessions and in such special sessions as occasion may require. Special sessions shall be convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the Members of the United Nations".

The 45th Session of the United Nations General Assembly is currently taking place in New York and environmental issues such as that mentioned by the Deputy are on the agenda for discussion.

Roger T. Garland

Question:

76 Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will seek to stop the allocation of EC Structural Funds to French Guiana for the purpose of building two roads through pristine rainforests which are likely to initiate a spiral of deforestation by landless colonists.

I share the Deputy's concern that the process of economic development should not be pursued at the expense of disproportionate damage to the environment. The European Community, for its part, has taken particular steps to ensure that such an eventuality does not arise in relation to projects assisted by the Community's Structural Funds.

The Structural Funds are dispensed under a Community Support Framework which is drawn up in respect of each region. Once the Community Support Framework has been adopted by the Commission, as it has been in respect of French Guiana, the implementation of the programmes identified in the framework is a matter for the Commission and the member state concerned.

Each Community Support Framework requires that measures supported under the framework comply with EC legislation on the environment. Furthermore, in respect of projects likely to have a significant impact on the environment, there is a requirement for member states to supply the Commission with appropriate information so as to allow the Commission to evaluate the impact on the environment of the project concerned. I understand that it is the intention of the Commission to follow this procedure in respect of major road building projects to be funded under the Community Support Framework for French Guiana.