UN pact may mean closer scrutiny of chemical sector

 

THE chemical industry's use of toxic materials could be monitored more closely under the mandatory obligations of a UN Chemical Weapons Convention which the Government hopes to have ratified.

The White Paper on Foreign Policy also reaffirms the Government's harder line on the British nuclear industry, suggesting the possibility of strengthening Euratom provisions on nuclear safety in the context of treaty changes arising out of this year's Inter Governmental Conference.

Some restrictions on international trade may be warranted in the interests of environmental protection, it says. But since such measures could be used for protectionist purposes, Ireland requires that they be "clearly defined on a multilateral basis".

The relatively brief chapter on the environment says there is an international consensus that the degradation of natural resources, poverty and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption be inter related and could contribute to conflicts.

The paper commits Ireland "to participate actively in efforts in the UN and the EU to combat regional and global environmental problems and to advance international efforts to promote sustainable development and respect for our common global environment".

It notes that Ireland has already ratified the UN's Climate Change Convention and will "shortly" ratify the UN Biodiversity Convention. It does not refer to the fact that Ireland's contribution to global warming is set to increase.

The paper promises a national sustainable development strategy by mid 1996 to protect Ireland's "high quality" environment. "It is an objective to maintain and enhance this natural resource."