18 Nov : The United Nations is working on a proposal to organise paperless and environmentally friendly international conferences in future.
To begin with, delegates attending a global gathering in Doha on the ozone layer are being issued laptops in a bid to minimise the use of paper for documents, reports and other publications.
"Tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide, the principle greenhouse gas, are released as a result of the manufacture, printing and shipping of paper in the form of documents, publications and books," said Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director.
"The UN and its numerous meetings are no exception." Special software allows participants from 150 nations to share and amend papers.
The pilot paperless programme will take its next big step forward next February at a meeting of the world’s environment ministers at UNEP’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Participants at the current Qatar meeting are expected to discuss the cost anywhere between USD 300 million to over USD 600 million over the coming years of accelerating the freeze and phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are widely used in refrigeration systems and air conditioners and also propel global warming.