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Newsletter and Technical Publications
Freshwater Management Series No. 2

Phytoremediation: An Environmentally Sound Technology for
Pollution Prevention, Control and Redmediation

An Introductory Guide To Decision-Makers


The UNEP - DTIE International Environmental Technology Centre

Established in April 1994, the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) is an integral part of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It has offices at two locations in Japan - Osaka and Shiga.

The Centre's main function is to promote the application of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. IETC pays specific attention to urban problems, such as sewage, air pollution, solid waste, noise, and to the management of fresh water basins.

IETC is supported in its operations by two Japanese foundations: The Global Environment Centre Foundation (GEC), which is based in Osaka and handles urban environmental problems; and the International Lake Environment Committee Foundation (ILEC), which is located in Shiga Prefecture and contributes accumulated knowledge on sustainable management of fresh water resources.

IETC's mandate is based on Agenda 21, which came out of the UNCED process. Consequently IETC pursues a result-oriented work plan revolving around three issues, namely: (1) Improving access to information on ESTs; (2) Fostering technology cooperation, partnerships, adoption and use of ESTs; and (3) Building endogenous capacity.

IETC has secured specific results that have established it as a Centre of Excellence in its areas of specialty. Its products include: an overview on existing information sources for ESTs; a database of information on ESTs; a regular newsletter, a technical publication series and other media materials creating public awareness and disseminating information on ESTs; Local Agenda 21 documents developed for selected cities in collaboration with the UNCHS (Habitat)/UNEP Sustainable Cities Programme (SCP); advisory services; Action Plans for sustainable management of selected lake/reservoir basins; training needs assessment surveys in the field of decision-making on technology transfer and management of ESTs; design and implementation of pilot training programmes for adoption, application and operation of ESTs; training materials for technology management of large cities and fresh water basins; and others.

The Centre coordinates its activities with substantive organisations within the UN system. IETC also seeks partnerships with international and bilateral finance institutions, technical assistance organisations, the private, academic and non-governmental sectors, foundations and corporations.

UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics

The mission of the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics is to help decision-makers in government, local authorities, and industry develop and adopt policies and practices that:

  are cleaner and safer;
  make efficient use of natural resources;
  ensure adequate management of chemicals;
  incorporate environmental costs;
  reduce pollution and risks for humans and the environment

The UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (UNEP DTIE), with the Division Office in Paris, is composed of one centre and five branches:

The International Environmental Technology Centre (Osaka), which promotes the adoption and use of environmentally sound technologies with a focus on the environmental management of cities and freshwater basins, in developing countries and countries in transition.

Production and Consumption (Paris), which fosters the development of cleaner and safer production and consumption patterns that lead to increased efficiency in the use of natural resources and reductions in pollution.

Chemicals (Geneva), which promotes sustainable development by catalysing global actions and building national capacities for the sound management of chemicals and the improvement of chemical safety world-wide, with a priority on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Prior Informed Consent (PIC, jointly with FAO).

Energy and OzonAction (Paris), which supports the phase-out of ozone depleting substances in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and promotes good management practices and use of energy, with a focus on atmospheric impacts. The UNEP/RISØ Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment supports the work of the Unit.

Economics and Trade (Geneva), which promotes the use and application of assessment and incentive tools for environmental policy and helps improve the understanding of linkages between trade and environment and the role of financial institutions in promoting sustainable development.

Coordination of Regional Activities Branch, which coordinates regional delivery of UNEP DTIE's activities and ensures coordination of DTIE's activities funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

UNEP DTIE activities focus on raising awareness, improving the transfer of information, building capacity, fostering technology cooperation, partnerships and transfer, improving understanding of environmental impacts of trade issues, promoting integration of environmental considerations into economic policies, and catalysing global chemical safety.

For more information contact:
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
39-43, Quai André Citroën 75739 Paris Cedex 15, France
Tel: 33 1 44 37 14 50; Fax: 33 1 44 37 14 74
E-mail:; URL:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water, and land — upon which life depends. For 30 years, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. EPA provides leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. EPA works closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and Indian tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws. EPA is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs and delegates to states and tribes responsibility for issuing permits, and monitoring and enforcing compliance. Where national standards are not met, EPA can issue sanctions and take other steps to assist the states and tribes in reaching the desired levels of environmental quality. The Agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts.

Environment Canada

Environment Canada’s mandate is to preserve and enhance the quality of the natural environment, including water, air and soil quality; conserve Canada’s renewable resources, including migratory birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna; conserve and protect Canada’s water resources; carry out meteorology; enforce the rules made by the Canada – United States International Joint Commission relating to boundary waters; and coordinate environmental policies and programs for the federal government.

Environment Canada’s vision is to see a Canada where people make responsible decisions about the environment, and where the environment is thereby sustained for the benefit of present and future generations.

Environment Canada’s mission is to make sustainable development a reality in Canada by helping Canadians live and prosper in an environment that needs to be respected, protected and conserved.

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