A report by the wildlife-trade monitoring programme of the WWF/IUCN found that illegal trade in endangered wildlife remains high in former Soviet states since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. A number of threatened species such as snow leopard and Tien Shan brown bear and wild sheep are poached and traded, while other non-endangered species are traded at levels that may not be sustainable. "Environment: Illegal Wildlife Trade in Central Asia Uncovered," ENS, December 4, 1998.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) earlier this month decried globalisation as "a competing religious vision," and called on churches and social movements to monitor the activities of transnational corporations, the OECD, IMF and similar bodies. It recommended a campaign for a new international financial system and said churches should review the ethics of their own dealings
with respect to investments and use of agricultural land. WCC Eighth Assembly Press Release No. 56, December 15, 1998.
Trade will be the number one focus of U.S. international policy in 1999, according to an U.S. Commerce Department official. Slower trade growth and a growing trade deficit are expected to fuel increased interest in international trade. At the forefront of the trade agenda, the U.S. is expected to push Japan and China to embrace liberalisation and do their part to help Asian countries recover from the economic crisis. "Commerce official: trade to top 1999 international agenda," DOW JONES, December 14, 1998.
Inadequate infrastructure and growing insecurity threaten Colombia's attempts to promote its biodiversity and ecotourism resources. Colombia's 46 national parks occupy about 10 million hectares and are home to nearly 14 percent of the species of flora and fauna known worldwide. Colombia hopes that a governmental Peace Plan will be a success and alleviate security issues, complemented by tax reductions designed to benefit tourism. "Colombia: Ecotourism trapped between biodiversity and insecurity," IPS, December 7, 1998.