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Multilateral Development Banks and the Environment
Statement before the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 1, 1986. Ambassador Negroponte is Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.1
I am pleased to have this opportunity to present views on behalf of the Department of State regarding the environmental responsibilities and activities of the multilateral development banks (MDBs).
At the outset, I would like to stress that the Department fully supports the goal of the subcommittee in this area. Indeed, the Department believes that in order to be sustainable, development must be based on sound ecological principles and that these principles must be closely and carefully integrated into the development process. Given the major role the multilateral development banks play in influencing the nature and pace of the development process, their capacity and commitment to address the environmental dimension is of critical importance.
The Department of State has for many years carried out an active international environmental program. A substantial part of this effort has been devoted to issues related to rational management of the world's scarce natural resources. Our leadership role in international efforts to address the tropical deforestation problem is just one example. We are pleased, therefore, to have been explicitly recognized by the Congress as a key participant in a broad effort to improve the environmental performance of the MDBs. Over the past year, the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), which I am privileged to head, has assigned a top priority to the MDB-environment issue area.
I would like to emphasize at the outset that, in our view, significant progress has been made in a relatively short period of time in elevating and addressing this issue. We have enjoyed, in this respect, excellent cooperation from the Department of the Treasury, as well as the Agency for International Development (AID), in collaborative efforts to pursue the mandate that Congress has given the Administration in this area.
In addition, we have been working closely with the principal U.S. nongovernmental environmental organizations which were instrumental in focusing public attention on the MDB-environment interrelationship. We have frequent and candid contact with representatives of these organizations. While we may have differences of views from time to time regarding the specific strategy to follow, and priorities, there is solid agreement among the spectrum of involved U.S. Federal and non-Federal institutions as to overall goals and objectives.