Resources for:
  Governments
  Scientists
  Journalists
  Civil Society
  Business Persons
  Children and Youth

Thematic Areas


 
 Printable Version
 

GENERAL DEBATE

17. In discussing agenda items 5, 6, 7 (d) and (e) and 15, the Council had before it the following documents: introductory report of the Executive Director (UNEP/GC/28), report to the Governing Council of the Environment Co-ordination Board on its third and fourth sessions (UNEP/GC/29); determination of environments elements for inclusion in the criteria for review and appraisal of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade (UNEP/GC/33) the role of UNEP in the attainment of the science and technology objectives of the Second United Nations Development Decade and the World Plan of Action for the Application of Science and Technology to Development (UNEP/GC/34 and Corr.1); resolutions of the twenty-ninth session of the General Assembly of relevance to the activities of UNEP (UNEP/GC/51 and Add.1); and implementation of General Assembly resolution 3337 (XXIX): international co-operation to combat desertification (UNEP/GC/52/Add.2 and Corr.1).

18. In an introductory statement (UNEP/GC/L.27) at the Council's 30th meeting, the Executive Director said that, during the period following the second session of the Governing Council, the basic structure of the secretariat had been completed, and drew attention to some of the difficulties the secretariat had experienced in developing its work programme, in particular the difficult choices it had had to make among a large number of priorities. One major development in the programme was that UNEP had had to take direct responsibility for more projects than originally contemplated, largely because of the need to influence the development of programme activities- the proportion of such internal projects would be reduced in future. "Programme activity centres" were being established, on an experimental basis, as a means of managing specific programme activities by mobilizing and coordinating through UNEP the resources of all those contributing to a particular activity. Such centres had been established at Nairobi for the International Referral System (IRS) and the Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS), and were in the process of being established for the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) and environmental education. The possibility of establishing other centres for environment and development, industry and environment, and ecological and habitat management of pests was being considered.

19. Although there was a need for more specific identification of areas of concentration for programme activities, substantial achievements had been made. They included the work accomplished towards the establishment of IRPTC as a program activity center; the agreement reached at the Intergovernmental Meeting on the Protection of the Mediterranean, held at Barcelona from 28 January to 4 February 1975. 4/ the initiation of activities to improve the ecological management of arid and semi-arid lands, especially range lands; the formation of network of focal points for participation in IRS and production of users' guides, and technical documents, which would permit to begin operation in second half of 1975,, and the completion of initial -,Plans for the operation of which is expected to start functioning in mid-1975. Moreover, progress had achieved in elaborating the concept of "Environmental management", the conceptual basis of the relationship between development and environment and of development had been further elaborated through such means as the UNEP/UNCTAD symposium on Patterns of Resource Use, Environment and Development Strategies, SPO at Cocoyoc, Mexico, from 8 to 12 October 1974, 5/ and there had been important progress in the field of environmental education.

The plan and programme of operations for the United Nations Habitat and Human settlements Foundation had been completed (UNEP/GC/36). Technical assistance had provided to a number of countries to help establish national environmental ties, legislation and administration, while substantial progress had been made in the development of programmes for the use and conservation of micro-organisms and an improved understanding of the ecological and habitat aches to pest management. A co-operative programme with industry had been initiated to facilitate relationships between Governments and key industries in environmental field, regional training courses had been organized for planners administrators, and arrangements had been made, in close co-operation with provide MP and other sources of technical assistance, for a clearing house to increased technical assistance in the environmental field.

In a number of other areas, however, progress had not so far been satisfactory.

Evaluate provision for the protection of the oceans and their living resources had to been incorporated in the agreements being negotiated at the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, and there was no evidence that environmental considerations were being given the attention they deserved at the 'Conference. The Executive Director urged the Governing Council to register its deep concern with regard to this matter, and to bring it to the attention of the Conference. Progress concerning the environmental implications of alternative methods of energy production and use had not been adequate. Although no comprehensive report would be presented to the Governing Council at its third session, interim recommendations on the role of UNEP would be submitted. Particular attention must be given to nuclear energy; the increasing commitment to its use meant that many countries might find themselves irrevocably dependent On nuclear power before related environmental and health risks had been adequately Evaluated. UNEP was working in close co-operation with IAEA in developing a concerted approach to the complex range of issues involved. Insufficient progress had been made in stopping the destruction of soil cover through erosion, salination and the march of the deserts. However, the decision by the General Assembly at its twenty-ninth session to hold a United Nations Conference on Desertification (General Assembly resolution 3337 (XXIX) of 17 December 1974) provided an opportunity to deal in depth with the issue.

22. Although the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, concluded in Washington, D.C. , on 3 March 1973, had now been ratified by the required number of countries, measures to preserve endangered species of wildlife were also insufficient, the Executive Director appealed to all Governments to give priority to ratifying the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 6 / the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 7/ the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 2 November 1973 8/ and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, 9/ so that they might core into force as soon as possible.

23. Progress towards the implementation of UNEP activities on human settlements had also been too slow, although some important projects would soon be launched, while insufficient progress had been made towards adopting effective measures for widespread dissemination of information on environmentally sound "low-waste or no waste" technologies.

24. The development of UNEP activities at the regional level had also progressed too slowly. To improve the situation, the establishment of small regional advisory teams which would be attached to each UNEP regional office was proposed. Finally, additional efforts would have to be made to provide UNEP's special constituencies and the public at large with an adequate flow of information both on activities of UNEP and on major environmental issues.

25. Turning to the Fund of UNEP, the Executive Director reported that 59 countries had pledged close to $109 million over the period 1973-1977 and that estimated resources for that period amounted to some $113 million. The medium-term plan for 1976-1979 proposed a rising scale of expenditure which would have to be matched b contributions. Expenditures for 1974 were considerably below the estimates presented to the Governing Council at its second session, mainly because it was considered essential first to develop coherent programme frameworks and strategic to fund projects in an orderly manner. Furthermore, UNEP was adhering to the concept that the purpose of the Fund was to support the programme and, in many cases, the amounts which could be spent effectively for that purpose had been less than originally anticipated. The capacity of UNEP to spend had nevertheless increased rapidly since 1973. As of April 1975, some 250 projects had been approved, including 130 since the Governing Councils second session, with the average project size increasing from $45,000 in 1973 to $170,000 in the first quarter of 1975. Expenditure forecasts for 1975, 1976 and 1977 were estimated at $20 million, $27 million and $35 million, respectively. The Executive Director therefore appealed to the Governments which had not yet contributed to the Fund t consider doing so, and to those which had contributed to consider increases in its objectives, and described some of the areas of common concern in which collaboration was already under way.

40. Most delegations stressed the danger of an excessive fragmentation of UNEP's resources over too many projects, and the need for UNEP to concentrate most of its efforts and resources on a small number of selected and urgent problems. Several delegations suggested that, during the next few years, activities of L)IIEP should concentrate on such important programmes as those relating to human settlements, desertification, ocean and water pollution and low-waste technology, and on such functional tasks as Earthwatch, environmental law and outer limits. In that connection, one delegation proposed that some sections of part IV, "Development of the programme", in the Levels Two and Three documents (UliEP/GC/31 and Corr.1-3, UliEP/GC/32 and Corr.1-3) be deleted. Some delegations pointed out that UNEP was not intended to be a project-funding agency, although others felt that it should in some cases support small projects, including national projects, especially when they might have pilot value or when their results could be applied on a wider scale or integrated into the activities under the priority subject areas. A number of specific national projects were mentioned in which UNEP was already involved, and requests for assistance were made for similar projects which might yield useful results at the regional or international level. One delegation noted that Fund allocations and the share of UNEP in co-operative projects had increased greatly in 1975, and asked to know the rationale applied in cost-sharing.

41. Many delegations stressed that there was a need for continuous evaluation of projects during the implementation phase and, upon completion, of the results achieved and of the follow-up action needed. They considered that such information was indispensable to the Governing Council if it were to assess UNEP's performance objectively. One delegation requested the Executive Director to develop a methodology for project evaluation and to prepare a report on the subject for submission to the Council at its fourth session. Another suggested that information on projects might be carried on a regular basis by UNEP News. One speaker said the question of criteria for project selection should be critically considered and that priority should be given to action-oriented projects that could provide lessons in generating new technology and institutions to meet environmental requirements.

42. All speakers stressed the practical value of the functional tasks of the programme. Regarding Earthwatch, delegations stressed the need for continued efforts to define more clearly the philosophy, framework and methodology necessary for the attainment of realistic objectives for the successful operation of both GEMS and IRS. One delegation asked for clarification of the working relationships between GEMS and IRS, and another suggested that UNEP should help finance the establishment of monitoring networks in developing countries. Some representatives described facilities in their countries or regions which might usefully be inserted in the GEMS network. One delegation described in that connection the development of a co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluating the transmission of air pollution in Europe which might come into operation in 1976, and referred to the convening, in Norway in 1976, of a conference on the effects of acid precipitation and sulphur compounds on soil, water, materials, climate and human health.

43. It was generally felt that there was need for a more systematic exchange of information on environmental research and expertise, not only from developed to developing countries, but among the latter as well. According to some delegations, the dissemination of such information should be considered the main priority of the programme, primarily because a sharing of environmental knowledge and experience among developing nations would not only permit them to avoid costly duplication of work, but could contribute more than any other form of assistance to the progress of their environmental programmes.

44. Many delegations felt that IRS should receive the highest priority among the activities of UNEP, not only because it was the most important means to the successful attainment of the basic goals of the programme, but also because it would, when established, be a positive step towards international co-operation. One representative warned against the danger that IRS might become a vehicle for the marketing of technologies by rich countries. Another stressed the need for demonstration of the practical uses of IRS through partner seminars and management advice at the national level.

45. Several delegations drew attention to the establishment of national and regional infrastructures to operate data base management information systems which might contribute to the efficient functioning of IRS. One delegation pointed out the importance of co-operation among the members of the United Nations system in the collection of data on their activities, commended the Inter-Agency Task Force on Data for having cleared the way for the maintenance of a data bank on activities of the United Nations system relating to the environment, and indicated the need to work out arrangements for the timely and efficient flow of information between those agencies and the Governments of Member States.

46. one representative asked UNEP to consider producing a guide to the programme which would outline in simple terms, for the general public, the structure of UNEP, its basic aims and objectives and the approach it had taken to achieving them. Another supported the establishment of information centres and the intensification of publishing activities.

47. Most speakers recognized the growing importance of assistance by UNEP to developing countries, particularly in the fields of environmental education and training, and requested that UNEP explore the possibility of extending its support to some of their national educational or research institutions dealing with environmental problems. Some speakers indicated their willingness to establish such institutions with the assistance of UNEP. Several delegations commended the Executive Director's initiative regarding the establishment of a technical assistance clearing house facility in co-operation with UNDP and other sources of technical assistance. Some delegations said that stress should be placed on the contribution of technical assistance and information on low-waste and no waste technologies and on low-energy and protective technologies. The Soviet delegation confirmed its Government's offer to serve as host to the International Conference on Environmental Education, which is scheduled to be held in 1976 under the auspices of UNEP, UNESCO and IUCN.

48. It was generally recognized that the problems of water resources, soil erosion, desertification and deforestation required priority attention from UNEP. Some delegations felt that UNEP should make additional efforts to intensify its related programmes, particularly with regard to soil loss from desertification and deforestation. Many delegations pointed out that human pressures on land use and the need to increase food production gave a new urgency to those matters. One representative warned against the "consumptive" use of tropical forests and woodlands. Many delegations felt that UNEP should participate actively in the preparation of and make an effective contribution to the United Nations Conference on Desertification, and welcomed the energetic approach taken by the secretariat as evidenced by its comprehensive proposals on the subject. However, one speaker thought that the Executive Director's note (UNEP/GC/51/Add.2 and Corr.1) had been prepared too hastily and contained inaccuracies. Some delegations referred to the grave problems that had afflicted the Sahelian region in the past few years, and stressed the need for efficient drought forecasting and for measures to mitigate the consequences of drought at the national, regional and international levels. Some delegations also considered that there should be closer co-ordination of the many relevant activities currently carried out by international and regional organizations. Most delegations stressed the need for additional research in order to achieve a long-term solution of soil erosion and desertification problems, and the importance of sharing all available pertinent information.

49. Many delegations expressed the view that the qualitative and quantitative aspects of water problems could not be dissociated. All recognized their urgency, and the need for UNEP to be actively involved in preparations for the forthcoming United Nations Water Conference was pointed out. One representative was of the view that UNEP should organize preparatory regional meetings for the Conference. Another, while welcoming the specific programmes put forward by the Executive Director in the field of water resources and management of water systems, stressed the importance of waste-water recycling. Representatives of several European countries expressed concern about the pollution of watercourses, and felt that preventive rather than remedial measures were needed.

50. One speaker considered that recent international events justified a greater emphasis on energy in the programme of UNEP, since energy was important for food production, storage and distribution, as well as irrigation and soil reclamation. Another felt that UNEP should give special attention to the needs of rural communities for cheap sources of domestic energy, such as firewood and charcoal Some delegations stressed the need to develop alternative sources of energy and, particularly, to explore more fully the potential of solar and wind energy, which, one delegation pointed out, could be used by developing countries for the desalination of sea water and the exploitation of underground water resources .

51. Most delegations recognized the vital importance of human settlements problems, particularly in developing countries, and expressed the view that UNEP should intensify its efforts to deal with them, taking a comprehensive approach to the problem and striving to develop concrete solutions which could be immediately applied in developing countries. Some delegations called for better integration of human settlements systems in the development process, particularly in developing countries. Certain delegations placed particular emphasis on the fact that human settlements problems in developing countries were largely of a rural or semi-urban character. One delegation said that both traditional and innovative approaches to human settlements were needed, expressed concern at the relatively low rate of expenditure on the first priority subject area of UNEP's programme as agreed at the second session - "Human settlements, human health, habitat and well-being" - and requested that a time--table of relevant activities be submitted to the Governing Council in the shortest possible time indicating what progress might be expected in the area. Another delegation said the programme objectives in the area of human settlements were too vague, and suggested that subregional groups might be established during the current session of the Governing Council to examine and refine them. One delegation stressed the danger of taking too theoretical an approach to human settlements, and indicated that UNEP should concentrate on action rather than analysis. Some representatives said UNEP should help establish or strengthen national institutions dealing with problems of human settlements.

52. All delegations recognized that Habitat should be a solution-oriented policy Conference which should meet urgent social needs by defining practical approaches to human settlements problems, particularly in developing countries. As a result, there was general support for the request by the Secretary-General of Habitat for an additional 4,1.5 million towards meeting the costs of developing countries' audio-visual presentations.

53. Most speakers endorsed the comprehensive plan and programme of operations for the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation, and stressed the critically important role it would have to play in ensuring effective implementation of the solutions to human settlements problems. Some delegations said that financial assistance from the Foundation should take the form of grants or low-interest, long-term loans. One delegation stressed that the proposed ;p3.3 million budget for the Foundation for 1975-1977 was inadequate. Another . pointed out that problem-solving and resource allocation in relation to human settlements problems had suffered from the narrowness of the traditional economic approach in which investment in human settlements was regarded as a service-type expenditure rather than as an economically productive one.

54. Many delegations stressed the importance of environmental law, and some reported on the progress achieved in their countries in the enactment of environmental legislation. One representative expressed the view that a major initiative in the development of environmental law at the national level was vital to the over-all success of UNEP, and advocated an even greater role for UNEP in that respect, since, in his view, there could not be adequate environmental management without adequate environmental law. It was frequently pointed out that many Member States needed guidance in the design, implementation and enforcement of adequate laws to protect their national environments and that UNEP should support co-operative approaches to meet that need, particularly at the regional level.

55. It was also felt that UNEP should play a more active part in the codification and development of international environmental law. One representative said that the action of UNEP in that area should not be conceived as a separate programme, but as the end result of the process of defining, analysing and reaching agreement on environmental protection measures. Some representatives stressed the need to elaborate further the concept of collective ecological security referred to in General Assembly resolution 3326 (xxix) of 16 December 1974.

56. A number of delegations endorsed the Executive Director's recommendation that all States should be encouraged to ratify or accede to the major environmental conventions mentioned in his introductory statement. Some representatives proposed that the secretariat should prepare annually a detailed status report on the conventions, and one of them suggested further that UNEP might encourage the elaboration of new environmental conventions at the regional or international level in several programme areas; his country would particularly welcome a discussion on the possibility of drafting a convention on product control for environmentally hazardous products. Another speaker noted with appreciation the emphasis placed on the need for regional conventions for the protection of specific bodies of water form pollution caused by dumping or discharges from ships and land-based sources; the implementation of conventions for the protection of the marine environment would increasingly require appropriate international organizations, and such programmes could provide useful inputs to the overall monitoring activities of UNEP.

57. There was general agreement that effective programmes for the protection of the marine environment and the conservation of living marine resources wee of vital importance in order to ensure that short-term economic considerations would not prevail over the need to guarantee the long term biological productivity of the seas. Many delegations endorsed the Executive Director's view that the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea should include, in the draft treaties being negotiated at Geneva, provisions for the protection of the marine environment.

58 A number of representatives commended the Mediterranean project as an example of an activity in which UNEP could most profitably engage. Some delegations suggested that UNEP consider initiating similar programmes for the Caribbean Sea and the coastal waters of West Africa. Reference was made by some countries to specific problems they faced, including oil pollution of coastal areas, over-fishing and dumping of radioactive wastes. One delegation noted with satisfaction that future programme activities would include study of the environmental problems of islands as ecosystems and the development of guidelines for the exploitation of off-shore resources.

59 A number of delegations noted with satisfaction the further elaboration of the programme activity center concept and endorsed the approach it reflected, although one delegation said a comprehensive explanatory document on the subject would be most useful. The establishment at Nairobi of progamme activity centers on IRS and GEMS was generally commended, and many speakers supported the work under way towards the establishment of such centers for the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals and ecological management pests. Some representatives felt that the establishment of programme activity centers might also be considered for the sutdy of arid zones and desertification problems, wildlife managementa and the Mediterranean project. One delegation, however warned against the proliferation of such centres, and said it did not see the need for their establishment in such sectoral areas as industry and environment and environmental education, in those areas, UNEP should concentrate on making use of existing international regional or national institutions. Another delegation asked that the Governing council be provided the rationale for the establishment of new centers, on a case-by-case basis before they wee established.

60 A number of delegations welcomed the efforts made by UNEP to develop environmentally sound systems of pest management, and some asked for assistance in supporting national programmes aimed at controlling pests affecting specific areas, such as malaria, biharzia and cotton pests.

61. Several delegations said that high priority must be given to the implementation of comprehensive programmes for the protection of endangered species of flora and fauna. One representative pointed out that the irreversible changes threatening the wildlife population of many developing countries must be given urgent attention. Moreover, more use must be made of the expertise and training facilities available in developing countries, and he proposed that UNEP consider ways of strengthening the Wildlife Management College in the United Republic of Tanzania.

62. Many delegations noted with appreciation the objectives of the programme for the development of environmental health criteria. The involvement of UNEP in the field of natural disasters was also endorsed.

63. Some delegations stressed the significance of the working environment as an integral part of the human environment, and emphasized in that context the importance of a comprehensive approach to environmental problems.

64. Some representatives said that the industry programme of UNEP in Paris had an important role to play in bringing together industrial experience throughout the world in the environmental field. One speaker said the programme should take account of the interplay between Government and industry in the formulation of pollution-control policies reconciling the sometimes conflicting requirements of industrial production and environmental protection.

65. Most delegations stressed that one of the most important tasks of UNEP was to integrate the need for a dynamically developing economy with the demands for effective protection of the environment. A number of speakers endorsed a qualitative, organic approach to development which would recognize those two imperatives. It was generally felt that new developments regarding questions such as food, population, natural resources, energy, oceans and trade and development, had added important new dimensions to the environmental perspective and pointed to the need for a systematic, comprehensive and integrated approach to solving the world's environmental problems. One representative said that UNEP should make a significant contribution to the activities of the unit to be established within the United Nations Secretariat for the study of the relationships between population, resources, environment and development.

66. Many speakers stressed that the concept of ",Eco-development" should be further elaborated and the strategy for its implementation clearly defined, so that it could serve as a basis for a concerted and co-operative approach by the United Nations system as a whole to the formulation and implementation of ecologically sound development methods.

67. Several delegations endorsed the Executive Director's views on the intricate interrelationship between environmental problems and the existing international economic system. They considered that the unsatisfactory development of the poor countries and the widening gap between the developed and less developed had their roots in the built-in inequities of that system, and more particularly in the unequal distribution of resources and the gross maldistribution of the benefits of their exploitation and use. A number of delegations underlined the fundamental importance of the Declaration and the Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order adopted on 1 May 1974. They expressed the view that the programmes of UNEP should closely reflect the new international economic.

68. Several delegations stated that the objectives of the International promote Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade (General developAssembly resolution 2626 (x)cv)) and of the World Plan of Action for the Application the de of Science and Technology to Development 10/ must be guaranteed and developed with emphasis special stress on satisfying the needs of developing countries as reflected in the manage new international economic order. The majority of delegations strongly supported of the the report of the Executive Director on the determination of environmental elements for inclusion in the criteria for review and appraisal of the Strategy, and stressed that it was one of the most important documents the Governing Council country would be considering at its current session. They especially commended the report use of for its endorsement of the new international economic order, its critical stand on develop the low levels of official development assistance and its emphasis on social right reforms. They expressed the hope that the Council would address itself to the territories issues raised in the report and formulate the necessary recommendations to guide the with General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, with regard to the and inclusion of environmental criteria in the Strategy along the lines indicated in the report. One delegation pointed out the inadequacy of economic criteria for the brought measurement of human progress and development, and said the Strategy should include appropriate targets for human well-being in areas such as food, shelter, education, health and work . Several representatives felt that the nature of the contribution of UNEP to the mid-term review of the Strategy should be among the 72.

priority concerns of the Governing Council, in view of the need to strengthen the environmental dimension of development and make it a reality. Many speakers also of the said that- the World Plan of Action should be revised to include the environmental delegates dimension in its programme and priorities for action. One delegation also observed that many of the activities of UNEP already supported a number of the Board scientific and technological objectives set out in the World Plan of Action.

69. A number of speakers commended the Cocoyoc Declaration adopted at the UNEP/UNCTAD Symposium on Patterns of Resource Use, Environment and Development strategies held in Mexico from 8 to 12 October 1974, as the first major Strategies, held in Mexico.

70. Most speakers emphasized that the major task of the international community today was to ensure reasonable standards of nutrition, health, education and social and physical development for the poor masses of the world. Therefore, one underlying objective of the programme of UNEP should be to contribute actively to stepping up the development process in developing countries and, to that end, to promote more economically and environmentally appropriate methods of resource development and management. Some delegations, noting that it was primarily through the development process that environmental goals were effected, endorsed the emphasis placed by the Executive Director on the concept of environmental management which, they felt, could significantly contribute to improved management of the development process itself.

71. A number of representatives emphasized the inalienable sovereign right of each country over its natural resources, and stressed that the rational management and use of those resources was a key to reconciling the twin imperatives of dynamic development and environmental protection. One delegation said that the sovereign right of a State to use resources extending over or affecting areas beyond its territory was qualified by the obligation for that State to act in collaboration he with adjacent States when its activities might cause damage to their environment and suggested that the Executive Director's report on co-operation in the field of the environment concerning natural resources shared by two or more States be e brought to the attention of the International Law Commission.

Action by the Governing Council

72. At its 37th meeting, the Governing Council had before it a draft decision on "Protection of the marine environment: Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea", introduced by the representative of Canada on behalf of the delegations of Australia, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Sweden. Also before it was a draft decision on the role of the Environment Co-ordination Board, 68. Several delegations stated that the objectives of the International promote Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade (General developAssembly resolution 2626 (x)cv)) and of the World Plan of Action for the Application the de of Science and Technology to Development 10/ must be guaranteed and developed with emphasis special stress on satisfying the needs of developing countries as reflected in the manage new international economic order. The majority of delegations strongly supported of the the report of the Executive Director on the determination of environmental elements for inclusion in the criteria for review and appraisal of the Strategy, and stressed that it was one of the most important documents the Governing Council country would be considering at its current session. They especially commended the report use of for its endorsement of the new international economic order, its critical stand on develop the low levels of official development assistance and its emphasis on social right reforms. They expressed the hope that the Council would address itself to the territories issues raised in the report and formulate the necessary recommendations to guide the with General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, with regard to the and inclusion of environmental criteria in the Strategy along the lines indicated in the report. One delegation pointed out the inadequacy of economic criteria for the brought measurement of human progress and development, and said the Strategy should include appropriate targets for human well-being in areas such as food, shelter, education, health and work . Several representatives felt that the nature of the contribution of UNEP to the mid-term review of the Strategy should be among the 72.

priority concerns of the Governing Council, in view of the need to strengthen the environmental dimension of development and make it a reality. Many speakers also of the said that- the World Plan of Action should be revised to include the environmental delegates dimension in its programme and priorities for action. One delegation also observed that many of the activities of UNEP already supported a number of the Board scientific and technological objectives set out in the World Plan of Action.

69. A number of speakers commended the Cocoyoc Declaration adopted at the UNEP/UNCTAD Symposium on Patterns of Resource Use, Environment and Development strategies held in Mexico from 8 to 12 October 1974, as the first major Strategies, held in Mexico.

70. Most speakers emphasized that the major task of the international community today was to ensure reasonable standards of nutrition, health, education and social and physical development for the poor masses of the world. Therefore, one underlying objective of the programme of UNEP should be to contribute actively to stepping up the development process in developing countries and, to that end, to promote more economically and environmentally appropriate methods of resource development and management. Some delegations, noting that it was primarily through the development process that environmental goals were effected, endorsed the emphasis placed by the Executive Director on the concept of environmental management which, they felt, could significantly contribute to improved management of the development process itself.

71. A number of representatives emphasized the inalienable sovereign right of each country over its natural resources, and stressed that the rational management and use of those resources was a key to reconciling the twin imperatives of dynamic development and environmental protection. One delegation said that the sovereign right of a State to use resources extending over or affecting areas beyond its territory was qualified by the obligation for that State to act in collaboration he with adjacent States when its activities might cause damage to their environment and suggested that the Executive Director's report on co-operation in the field of the environment concerning natural resources shared by two or more States be e brought to the attention of the International Law Commission.

Action by the Governing Council

72. At its 37th meeting, the Governing Council had before it a draft decision on "Protection of the marine environment: Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea", introduced by the representative of Canada on behalf of the delegations of Australia, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Sweden. Also before it was a draft decision on the role of the Environment Co-ordination Board, suggested by the President.

73. The Governing Council adopted the draft decisions by consensus (decisions 25 (III)

74. At its 39th meeting, the Council adopted by consensus a draft decision

suggested by the President on international conventions and protocols in the field of the environment (decision 24 (III)). ii/

74. The representative of China said his Government would give further study to the conventions mentioned in the decision.

76. At its 40th meeting, the Council adopted by consensus two draft decisions

suggested by the President, with the concurrence of the Bureau, on programme

policy and implementation (decision 20 (III)) and on environment and development (decision 21 (III)). ll/

TT. At the same meeting, the Council also had before it a draft decision concerning the review of the institutional arrangements for international environmental co-operation, submitted by the Bureau. An oral amendment proposed by the representative of Jamaica, to replace the words "Invites all members of the Governing Council who wish to do so" in paragraph 2 by "Urges its members", was accepted, and the Council adopted the amended text of the draft decision by consensus (decision 22 (III)). ll/

78. At the same meeting, the Council also adopted by consensus a draft decision introduced orally by the President with the concurrence of the Bureau, concerning the establishment of permanent missions to UNEP (decision 45 (III)). ll/to

79. At the same meeting, the Council had before it a draft decision, suggested by the President with the concurrence of the Bureau, on informal consultations. Introducing the draft, the Deputy Executive Director drew attention to the need indicated by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions in As its report (A/9608/Add.16, para .22) 12/ for a decision to appropriate the funds required to finance the informal consultations, and said that, although there was co a general desire to hold the consultations at Nairobi, they might be held in New York or at Geneva if difficulties arose in providing interpretation services.

80. The delegations of the Netherlands and the Philippines orally proposed amendments, both of which were subsequently withdrawn after a statement by the representative of Kenya, supported by the representative of Spain. The President orally introduced a number of agreed changes in the draft decision.

81. The Governing Council adopted the draft decision, as orally revised by the President, by consensus (decision 23 (III)). Il/

82. The representative of the Netherlands said his delegation had accepted the draft decision on the understanding that the words "twice each year" in paragraph 1 would not be interpreted as prejudging the results of the review of the institutional arrangements for international environmental co-operation.