Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL):
The UN regional commission for the Americas, based in Santiago, Chile.
ECLAC has done considerable work in the environment field on such
issues as mining, management of natural resources, water use, wastes,
energy efficiency, and the use of economic instruments in environmental
United Nations Educational, Scientific
& Cultural Organization (UNESCO): the Paris-based United
Nations specialized agency charged with fostering international cooperation
in education, the natural and social sciences, communications and
United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP): Nairobi-based UN agency created in 1972 to coordinate
the environmental activities of the UN. UNEP fostered the development
and negotiations for many major international environment agreements,
including the UNFCCC, Montreal Protocol, and the Basel, Biodiversity,
Stockholm, Rotterdam Conventions.
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO): the Rome-based
United Nations specialized agency created in 1945 to raise levels
of nutrition, improve the efficiency of production and distribution
of all food and agricultural products, and improve the conditions
of rural populations. FAO is the lead UN agency on all issues involving
food, nutrition, pesticides, fertilizers, forestry, and agricultural
and food biotechnology. FAO co-sponsors the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC): a treaty signed at the
1992 Rio Summit which commits contracting parties to the "stabilization
of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that
would prevent dangerous anthropogenic [human-induced] interference
with the climate system." The Convention set no legally-binding emission
targets, but it commited Annex I countries (mostly
OECD) to return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year
2000. The Convention secretariat is based in Bonn, Germany.
United Nations Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods: see United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous
United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous
Goods: the set of UN guidelines, often referred to as
"The Orange Book," on basic requirements applicable to worldwide transport
of dangerous goods by all transport modes. The Recommendations aim
at harmonizing international and national regulations on the subject
while enhancing safety and facilitating trade. They are constantly
updated, usually to reflect new or emerging issues raised by governments.
Since the 10th revised edition published in 1997 the Recommendations have been presented in the form of Model Regulations so that they can be more easily transposed into national or international legislation. Most LAC nations use the Recommendations basis for their own regulations
(some simply adopt them wholesale), as does MERCOSUR. The UN Economic
Commission for Europe (ECE) serves as the secretariat for this work. The Recommendations are now in their 17th edition.
user charges: payments for the cost of
collective services, such as national park management, provision of
potable water, sewage treatment or collection, treatment and disposal
of solid wastes.
the UNEP-sponsored framework convention on international cooperation
to protect the Earth's ozone layer. The Convention mostly serves as
the basis for scientific and technical cooperation, although it was
the vehicle for concluding the Montreal Protocol.
organic compounds (VOCs): organic chemicals that have
a high vapor pressure and thus can easily form vapors at everyday
pressure and temperatures. Benzene, formaldehyde, many solvents (ethers,
toluene, acetone, etc.), petroleum distillates, dry cleaning products
and aerosol spray propellants are VOCs, and gasoline and paints often
contain them. Some VOCs are carcinogenic and/or toxic, many are irritants
and flammable. VOCs have been shown to contribute to smog, and are
suspected contributors to "sick building syndrome."
a guarantee given by the seller (whether manufacturer or retailer)
to the purchaser that the product is reliable and free from known
defects. It usually also provides that, within a certain time limit
and subject to certain conditions, the seller will repair or replace
defective parts without charge to the consumer.
waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE): end-of-life electrical and/or electronic devices, their components and periperials, such as computers, cell phones, television sets, appliances, photocopiers, digital cameras, medical devices, etc. Some of these may contain hazardous substances or materials, such as heavy metals. Also known as "e-scrap," "e-waste," "technological trash" or "technological waste."
picker: man, woman or child who pulls items from waste
in the street, in containers, or at waste management facilities, for
a waste management operation that diverts material from the waste
stream and results in a product with a potential economic or ecological
benefit. Usually includes composting, recycling, reuse and energy
waste reduction: any means
of reducing the amount of waste generated initially, and thus what
must ultimately be collected and disposed of.