Environment Leaders' Summit
of the Eight
Miami, Florida, May 5-6, 1997
The Environment Leaders stressed the overwhelming
scientific evidence that links the build-up of greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere to changes in the global climate system, and
the likelihood that these climate changes will lead to unacceptable
impacts on human health and the environment in all nations. They
noted the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change that: "Climate change is likely to have wide-ranging and
mostly adverse impacts on human health, with significant loss
of life." Major threats to human health and safety include the
potential for more severe heat waves, more intense air pollution,
the spread of infectious diseases, and more extreme storms and
droughts. Safe drinking water may be compromised by rising sea
level and salt water intrusion, by warmer temperatures that promote
growth of disease organisms, and by changes in rainfall patterns
that affect water quantity and quality. Changes in regional weather
patterns are likely to lead to loss of forests, wetlands, and
other natural ecosystems, with significant adverse effects on
wildlife and biodiversity. The relationship of these ecosystem
changes to human health could be significant. The Leaders agreed
to work together to enhance international efforts to further develop
global systems for monitoring climate change and other environmental
trends in order to continue strengthening scientific support for
The Environment Leaders stressed their commitment
to achieving a strong agreement for controlling greenhouse gases
at the Third Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto. They agreed that
developed nations need to take the lead and show their seriousness
of purpose by adopting quantified legally binding emissions targets
that provide for emissions limitations and significant and realistic
emissions reductions within specified time frames. They supported
an agreement that allows the Parties flexibility in meeting those
targets so that the most efficient and cost-effective policies
and measures are used. They stressed the importance of setting
up an appropriate mechanisms for monitoring and ensuring compliance
among the Parties. The Leaders recognized that in order to meet
the ultimate objective of the Convention actions by developed
countries alone will not be sufficient. They agreed to work in
partnership with developing countries to assist them in taking
concrete steps to help address this problem. An agreement in Kyoto
that reflects these approaches will be an important next step
on the right long-term path toward ultimately stabilizing greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere at an acceptable level.
Environmental Enforcement and Compliance
The Environment Leaders discussed the fundamental
importance of compliance with domestic environmental law. They
agreed that effective enforcement of environmental law is essential
to punish and deter environmental violations, ensure fairness
for those who pay the costs associated with environmental compliance,
and to provide a basis and give incentives for voluntary efforts
to improve the integration of environmental enforcement with traditional
law enforcement institutions and other agencies.
The Environment Leaders committed themselves to
support and enhance the emerging international cooperative efforts
among their governments and international bodies. They noted the
value of compliance mechanisms under international environmental
agreements and the importance of individuals and groups having
access to environmental information and effective administrative
and judicial mechanisms. They agreed to enhance a collective focus
on trade which is illegal under international environmental law,
including shipments originating in our countries and those that
have adverse impacts on developing countries. They also agreed
to further consultation under existing mechanisms to implement
these cooperative efforts.
United Nations General Assembly Special Session
The Environment Leaders agreed that the United Nations
General Assembly Special Session provides a unique opportunity
for world leaders to reaffirm their commitment to sustainable
development. They highlighted the importance of moving toward
pragmatic, results-oriented implementation of the outcomes of
the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development. As part
of this effort, they stressed that there is a need for continued
integration of environmental, economic, and social issues, rapid
progress in the eradication of poverty, and recognition that good
governance, protection of human rights, and democracy are essential
elements of sustainable development.
It was agreed that the Special Session should embrace
a frank assessment of successes since Rio as well as the shortcomings
that have been experienced. Against this background, it was stressed
that the Special Session should identify central priorities for
future action in key areas:
Forests: Given the continued loss and degradation
of forests in many regions, there is a critical need for immediate
action to implement the proposals agreed by the Intergovernmental
Panel on Forests, and for a long-term commitment to a holistic,
balanced and integrated approach to the sustainable development
of all types of forests. The Environment Leaders agreed to continue
to work together to that end.
Freshwater: The Special Session should launch a
process of the development of a global program of action on freshwater
in the CSD, with the ultimate goal of making safe drinking water
and sanitation available to all the world's population.
Energy: The Special Session should initiate a process
coordinated in the CSD for promoting sustainable energy use, focusing
on energy efficiency and the use of renewables, while addressing
the needs of people without access to energy services.
The Environment Leaders stressed that progress
cannot be made without strong international institutions for environment
and sustainable development. They strongly endorsed the recent
decisions to restructure and reform the UN Environment Programme,
recognizing its role as the leading global environmental authority,
as confirmed in the Nairobi Declaration. They called for an early
first meeting of the UNEP High Level Committee of Ministers to
advance the future work of UNEP.
The Leaders reaffirmed the CSD as the strategic
forum for sustainable development issues. The successful reform
of UNEP governance and the emerging consensus on the work of the
CSD will enable more attention to be focused in the future on
the substantive agenda for the environment and sustainable development.
They further agreed that the CSD should focus in
the next five years on freshwater and energy to pursue the initiatives
outlined above. In addition, they agreed that it should address
oceans issues, including combating marine pollution and promoting
the sustainable management of marine resources and integrated
coastal zone management, and improving coordination among relevant
international institutions. They also called on the CSD to deal
with the issues of trade and investment, tourism and transport,
including by promoting the phase out of leaded gasoline as soon
as possible and considering initiatives to improve sustainability
in air transport.
In addition to these priorities for future action,
the Environment Leaders stressed that the Special Session should
send strong messages to ongoing multilateral environmental negotiations
on climate change, the Montreal Protocol, biosafety, prior informed
consent and persistent organic pollutants, as well as to the first
conference of parties to the convention on desertification.
The Environment Leaders highlighted the need for
further action in the Special Session on a number of key cross-cutting
issues of sustainable development. They agreed on the need to
make progress in moving toward sustainable production and consumption
patterns and significantly improved eco-efficiency. They agreed
on the need to facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound
technologies to developing countries, to increased efforts to
mobilize both public and private sector financing, including ODA,
and to ensure an adequate replenishment of the Global Environment
Facility. They also reaffirmed the principles on trade and environment
from their last meeting in Cabourg, and agreed on the need for
progress in making trade and environment mutually supportive in
favor of sustainable development.
Looking ahead to the holding of a "Rio plus 10"
conference in 2002, the Environment Leaders called on the Special
Session to consider inviting eminent experts to assess the challenges
of sustainable development at the start of the 21st century.
1997 Declaration of the Environment
Leaders of the Eight
on Children's Environmental Health
We acknowledge that, throughout the world, children face significant
threats to health from an array of environmental hazards. The
protection of human health remains a fundamental objective of
environmental policies to achieve sustainable development. We
increasingly understand that the health and well-being of our
families depends upon a clean and healthy environment. Nowhere
is this more true than in the case of children, who are particularly
vulnerable to pollution. Evidence is growing that pollution at
levels or concentrations below existing alert thresholds can cause
or contribute to human health problems and our countries' present
levels of protection may not, in some cases, provide children
with adequate protection.
Among the most important environmental health threats to children
worldwide are microbiological and chemical contaminants in drinking
water, air pollution that exacerbates illness and death from respiratory
problems, polluted waters, toxic substances, pesticides, and ultra-violet
radiation. Most of these threats are aggravated for children living
in poverty. While not a comprehensive list, we have chosen items
for action, enumerated below, because they can benefit most from
collective effort by the Eight.
We affirm that prevention of exposure is the single most effective
means of protecting children against environmental threats. We
seek to improve levels of protection for children, and we reaffirm
the priority of children's environmental health in our own countries,
as well as in bilateral and multilateral agendas. We agree to
cooperate on environmental research, risk assessment, and standard-setting
within the jurisdictions of each ministry. We agree to raise public
awareness that would enable families to better protect their children's
health. We urge our Leaders to make the protection of children's
environmental health a high environmental priority and call for
international financial institutions, the World Health Organization,
the United Nations Environment Programme and other international
bodies to continue ongoing activities and give further attention
to children's environmental heath, in particular the environmental,
economic and social dimensions of children's health.
Environmental Risk Assessments & Standard Setting: Historically,
due to a lack of comprehensive science, environmental protection
programs, standards and testing protocols often have not adequately
taken into account nor fully protected infants and children from
environmental threats. While our countries have incorporated the
precautionary principle or precautionary approaches and safety
factors into environmental standard setting, it is important to
employ more explicit scientific consideration of children's characteristics
and behavior in this process.
We pledge to establish national policies that take into account
the specific exposure pathways and dose-response characteristics
of children when conducting environmental risk assessments and
setting protective standards. We agree there is a need to upgrade
testing guidelines to improve our ability to detect risks to children
and to assess and evaluate the effects of both single and multiple
exposures for children. We urge cooperation through the OECD on
adopting revised, harmonized testing guidelines. We will promote
research to understand the particular exposures and sensitivities
of infants and children to environmental hazards and exchange
research results and information on regulatory decisions. Where
there is insufficient information, we agree to pursue the precautionary
principle or precautionary approaches to protecting children's
health. We call for the consideration of children's environmental
health, based on sound science, in the negotiation and implantation
of future bilateral, regional and global agreements, such as the
negotiations on persistent organic pollutants, long range transboundary
air pollution, and trade in particularly dangerous pesticides,
chemicals and hazardous wastes.
Children's Exposure to Lead: Lead poisoning is a major
environmental hazard to children and our countries have taken
many successful actions to reduce children's exposure to lead.
Our countries continue to support the reduction in risks from
exposure to lead.
We call for further actions that will result in reducing blood
lead levels in children to below 10 micrograms per deciliter.
Where this blood lead level is exceeded, further action is required.
We acknowledge the importance to child health of maternal exposure
to lead and agree to reduce maternal exposure.
We commit to fulfill and promote internationally the OECD Declaration
on Lead Risk Reduction. We commit to a phase-out of the use of
lead in gasoline, the elimination of exposure to lead in products
intended for use by children, the phase-out of the use of lead
in paint and rust-proofing agents, the restriction of lead in
products that may result in ingestion in food and drinking water
and to set schedules and develop strategies for elimination or
reduction of lead from these sources. In addition, we agree to
conduct public awareness campaigns on the risks to children from
lead exposure and to develop scientific protocols and programs
to monitor blood lead levels in children to track our progress
in this important effort.
Microbiologically Safe Drinking Water: Worldwide, the greatest
threat to childhood survival is lack of access to clean water,
with more than four million children dying annually from diarrheal
disease associated with contaminated water. In recent years, a
number of countries have experienced serious waterborne disease
outbreaks associated with microbial contaminants, such as cryptosporidium
and bacterial and viral pathogens. All countries and relevant
international organizations should better incorporate the existing
knowledge bases into protecting children from microbiological
contaminants in drinking water.
We agree to focus increased attention on drinking water disinfection,
source water protection and sanitation, as major instruments of
good drinking water quality in our national and regional programs,
as well as through existing bilateral foreign assistance programs,
international organizations and financial institutions. We will
facilitate technology transfer to and capacity building in developing
countries where micro biologically safe drinking water is a primary
child survival concern.
We strongly support the initiative on sustainable use of freshwater
for social and economic purposes, including, inter alia, safe
drinking water and sanitation, proposed in the context of the
preparations for UNGASS and consider that this initiative should
make a major contribution to children's health.
We agree to share information and policies among our countries
to improve our drinking water standards and will designate officials
from our ministries to exchange monitoring data on microbiological
drinking water contaminants and waterborne disease outbreaks on
a regular basis. We agree to collaborate on research to support
the development of technologies and methods to control disease
outbreaks and will give special emphasis to appropriate technologies
for small drinking water treatment systems.
Air Quality: Air quality is of particular importance to
infants and children, both indoors and outdoors. Childhood asthma
and other pediatric respiratory ailments are increasing dramatically
in our countries and are substantially exacerbated by environmental
pollutants in the air, including emissions from fossils fuel combination
and other sources. While research on children's exposure to some
specific air pollutants has been conducted by some our countries,
further research is needed.
We undertake to reduce air pollution in our respective countries,
which will alleviate both domestic and transboundary impacts of
air quality and, particularly, children's health. Recognizing
that indoor air pollution has been identified as a critical problem
affecting children's health worldwide, we agree to exchange information,
on indoor air health threats and remedial measures.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Children exposed to environmental
tobacco smoke are more likely to suffer from reduced lung function,
lower respiratory tract infections and respiratory irritations.
Asthmatic children are especially at risk. Many of these symptoms
lead to increased hospitalizations of children.
We affirm that environmental tobacco smoke is a significant public
health risk to young children and that parents need to know about
the risks of smoking in the home around their young children.
We agree to cooperate on education and public awareness efforts
aimed at reducing children's exposure to environmental tobacco
Emerging Threats to Children's Health from Endocrine Disrupting
Chemicals: There is growing scientific evidence that a variety
of environmental contaminants can exert adverse health effects
by their ability to alter the functions of hormones within the
body. These effects, which include cancer, reproductive disorders,
changes in behavior and immune dysfunction, have been observed
in laboratory animals exposed to specific chemicals, wildlife
populations in several broadly contaminated ecosystems such as
the Great Lakes, and to a more limited extent in humans exposed
to some organochlorine compounds. Some of these chemicals also
are capable of causing long-term neurological damage. Infants
and children may be at particular risk to the potential effects
of these contaminants. Children may be exposed to endocrine disrupting
chemicals in utero, through breast milk and in the environment.
We encourage continuing efforts to compile an international inventory
of research activities, develop an international assessment of
the state of the science, identify and prioritize research needs
and data gaps, and develop a mechanism for coordinating and cooperating
on filling the research needs. These activities should complement
initiatives that are being pursued in international fora such
as the Inter-governmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and
through the work of agencies such as the United Nations Environment
Programme. We pledge to develop cooperatively risk management
or pollution prevention strategies, as major sources and environmental
fates of endocrine disrupting chemicals are identified and will
continue to inform the public as knowledge is gained.
Impacts of Global Climate Change to Children's Health:
Decisive international action must be taken to confront the problem
of global warming including at Kyoto. Our children and future
generations face serious threats to their health and welfare from
changes in the Earth's climate due the build-up of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere. Overwhelming scientific evidence links
human actions to anticipated changes in the global climate system
that are likely to result in unacceptable impacts to all nations.
In the words of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
"Climate change is likely to have wide-ranging and mostly adverse
impacts on human health, with significant loss of life." Children
will be among the most susceptible to more severe heat waves,
more intense air pollution, and the spread of infectious diseases
and we are only beginning to understand the interactions between
these issues and other global trends, such as ozone depletion.
Future generations will face many potential impacts of climate
change with serious health, environmental and economic consequences.
We must address environmental health threats with a specific focus
on children which, for many countries, will require increased
coordination between environment, health and other ministries.
Countries must increase institutional and other scientific capacities
to work on the specific problems of environmental threats to children.
We will make the steps agreed upon in this declaration a priority
in domestic action plans, report on our progress in carrying out
those steps in appropriate international fora and broaden our
cooperative efforts on children's environmental health with other
We recognize that environmental threats to children's health must
be set in a larger context of poverty alleviation and economic
and social development and we urge Leaders to commit to specific
results-orientated actions that will accelerate a global transition
to sustainable development at The UNGASS and other international
Implementation Actions on Protecting Children's Health and Environment
Which the Environment Leaders of the Eight Have Agreed to Promote
Within Their Governments and Countries
Risk Assessment and Standard Setting
- Urge the OECD to expedite completion of the process of
updating and harmonizing developmental and reproductive toxicity
- Designate officials to work towards enhanced international
harmonization of risk assessment approaches that explicitly
address environmental risks to children.
- Each country agrees to develop and share individual country
actions to accomplish the goals of the OECD Declaration on
- The Eight will establish principal points of contact and
a mechanism for sharing timely information regarding lead
hazards in toys and other products to which children might
be exposed, including imported products, and will consider
other joint actions as appropriate.
Microbiologically Safe Drinking Water
- Provide access, on a timely basis, to new technological
developments on blood lead level testing.
- Recommend that foreign assistance programs of the Eight,
international organizations, and international financial institutions
focus increased attention on drinking water disinfection and
source water protection for nations worldwide.
- Designate contact points to exchange monitoring data on
microbiological drinking water contaminants and waterborne
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
- Designate contact points to collaborate on research to
support the development of technologies and methods, focused
on small drinking water systems, to control disease outbreaks.
- Request that the International Organization on the Management
of Chemicals and U.S. EPA complete an international inventory
of ongoing research activities.
- Work with UNEP and other appropriate international organizations
to complete an international scientific assessment.
- Develop an international research strategy after completion
of the inventory and scientific assessment.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke
- Support an OECD initiative to develop a battery of screening
and testing guidelines for endocrine disrupting chemicals
that considers the special susceptibilities and exposures
- Convene a scientific conference, through WHO or another
appropriate scientific organization, to synthesize and share
the latest scientific information on risks to infants and
children from environmental tobacco smoke and compile information
on the most effective educational strategies concerning exposures
- Carry out regional commitments to address transboundary
impacts of air pollution.
- Cooperate through existing scientific organization to enhance
the exchange of information on health threats and effective
remedial approaches for addressing indoor air quality problems.