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PANEL DISCUSSION ON EMPLOYMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The moderator, Naresh Singh of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, noted that poverty, employment and social integration are central to sustainable development.

Poul Nielson, Denmark's Minister for Development Cooperation, called for policies on worker health and safety, working conditions, and education and training. He also noted that green taxes may contribute to employment and environmental protection, but that political action is needed.

Igor Khalevinski, Russian Deputy Minister of Labor, noted the factors that pose problems in addressing unemployment. He referred to recent initiatives to: attract investment from Russian business; promote social sustainable development; and shift attention from economic to social programmes.

Marius Enthoven suggested: integrating economic growth and environmental protection; stimulating the green industry; focusing on environmental performance rather than productivity; reviewing unsustainable subsidies; and reforming the tax system.

Dick Martin, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canada Labor Congress, noted the possible results if all 1.5 million ICFTU workplaces implemented a local Agenda 21. He suggested environmental audits and promoting workers' environmental rights.

Clement Millin, Texaco, recommended: the adoption of key business principles to promote sustainable development and economic growth; promotion of market economies to promote investment; and the building of education infrastructure capacity.

In the discussion that followed, Paula DiPerna (Cousteau Society) noted the public's fear of job loss. Nielson responded that education is key to change. Nielsen referred to the jobs that were generated from the newly established exhaust-cleaning industry. Simone Bilderbeek (Netherlands Committee for the IUCN) highlighted the concept of job-sharing to ensure equitable resource-sharing. Martin responded that some people are working too hard, while some are not working enough. Richard Tapper (WWF) noted that a sustainable economy is more likely to support higher employment because it increases efficiency in resource use. Carol Lubin (International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centres) asked about women's under-employment. Martin said that women are usually at the bottom of the economic scale and the victims of environmental neglect.

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