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UNEP Executive Director Pays Tribute to Former Swedish Environment Minister

Nairobi, 23 December 2002 - Mr Toepfer said: "The environmental movement has lost a great ally, UNEP has lost a great supporter and I personally have lost a great friend".

He said Mr Larsson had worked tirelessly for a cleaner, healthier and less polluting world. He had been one of the pioneers of the push towards global action on chemicals and a strengthening of cooperation between nations on this issue, said Mr Toepfer.

"Among the many laurels we could heap on Kjell, was his devotion and dedication in helping to secure the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which was signed in Sweden in May 2001. I would urge all those countries who respect his fine achievements, to ratify this important convention as a tribute to Kjell and his work, " he added.

Mr Toepfer said Mr Larsson was a truly a "man of action" rather than a man of words. " "He was a doer and a thinker, and a champion of international solidarity who recognised the inextricable links between the North and the South, between development, poverty and the environment".

"My sympathies go out to Kjell's family, including his three children, and his friends. He shall be sorely missed," he said.

For More Information Please Contact Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: 254 2 623292, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 682656, E-mail: eric.falt@unep.org or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media, on Tel: 254 2 623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

UNEP Information Note 2002/34