“We urgently need clear, detailed and credible information on the impacts on human settlements and infrastructure, and on the possible environmental repercussions of the Balkans conflict, such as water and air pollution or the release of hazardous waste,” said UNEP Director Klaus Toepfer. “Such vital information will enable us to come up with a prioritised action programme for the whole region,” he said.

Due to the circumstances of the ongoing conflict, it is extremely difficult to verify information on environmental damage in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the wider Balkans region. However, the environmental impacts of the conflict on both the human population and natural ecology need to be objectively and scientifically assessed.

The broad-based joint Task Force team will collect, collate, and review available information on impacts on human settlements and actual and potential environmental impacts in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and neighbouring countries. In co-operation with technical bodies and relevant United Nations agencies, it will also identify areas in need of assistance, help formulate response measures and give recommendations on specific actions to be taken in the short, medium and long-term. The Task Force will be chaired by UNEP’s Senior Policy Advisor, Bakary Kante of Senegal.

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