Series No. 7
Approach in Environmental Management
Role of the International
Environmental Technology Centre
The International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) was established
by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in April 1994. The Centre’s
main function is to promote the application of environmentally sound technologies
in developing countries and countries in transition. IETC pays particular attention
to urban environmental problems and to the management of freshwater resources.
IETC’s activities assist decision makers in governments and other organizations
||Facilitating the exchange of information,
||Building local capacity to make informed decisions,
||Promoting the development and demonstration of environmentally sound technologies leading
to their adoption and use.
Purpose of this Publication
The purpose of this publication is to provide
a conceptual overview of phytotechnologies and their importance in relation
to various environmental problems and potential solutions. Although it does
not address all aspects of phytotechnology, it does provide the basis of
a conceptual framework for understanding the importance of ecosystems approaches
in helping to achieve sustainable development objectives. It also examines
the role of phytotechnology in relation to some key issues including integrated
water resources management, urban environmental management, biodiversity and
The introductory section highlights the importance of an ecosystems perspective
in the development and application of sustainable, environmentally sound technologies.
It outlines the rationale for promoting appropriate, environmentally sound
applications of phytotechnologies. It also describes how ecologically sound
engineering practices and ecotechnologies can
help society adapt to the dynamic self-organizing characteristics of natural
systems. Section 2 describes the
context for the beneficial application of phytotechnologies, including biodiversity,
sustainable water, climate change and the importance of ecosystems and “natural
capital”. Following this, in Section 3, some examples of environmental
applications of phytotechnology are presented. Section 4 summarizes some of
the important factors that must be taken into account when considering the
development and application of phytotechnologies, and section 5 highlights
a number of important issues and possible actions that require further consideration.
Appended to the publication is a glossary of relevant terms.