In May 1989, at the Governing Council of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Norwegian Minister of the Environment announced that Norway, as a concrete follow-up to the recommendations of the World Commission on Environment and Development, was ready to support the establishment of a GRID (Global Resource Information Database) centre in Arendal, Norway. A project agreement was signed between UNEP and the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment in Arendal on August 22, 1989, for the establishment and operation of GRID-Arendal. GRID-Arendal is established as a foundation in accordance with Norwegian legislation. In 2001 GRID-Arendal was designated an official UNEP Centre.
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