In a message to the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Environment for Europe, Mr. Annan said the platform is important for dialogue and cooperation, not only among governments, but also with international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. “Your efforts to extend the environmental legal framework, to ensure that existing international environmental law is applied, and to keep the environment high on the international agenda demonstrate your conviction that together, we can make a difference,” Mr. Annan said in the message, delivered on his behalf by Brigita Schmognerova, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The three-day conference, which started today, is the fifth in a series of regional conferences where environmental ministers and other policy makers discuss ways of strengthening cooperation to protect and improve the environment. The “Environment for Europe” process is aimed at harmonizing environmental conditions and policies in all the UNECE Member States. The Ministers will be discussing pan-European environmental cooperation and taking stock of the progress made since their previous meeting in Aarhus, Demark, five years ago.