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

Thematic Areas


 
 Printable Version
 

Annex I

1. The Working Group on the Declaration on the Human Environment was established by the United Nations Conference on the 14uman Environment at its 7th plenary meeting, on 8 June 1972, in accordance with a proposal of China as orally mediated by Iran. Under that revised proposal, the Conference had resolved to devote more time, as appropriate, to the discussion of the draft Declaration, and for that purpose, to set up a working group open to all States participating in the Conference.

2. The Working Group elected the following officers: Taieb Slim (Tunisia), Chairman; Fereydoun Hoveyda (Iran) and L. Benitez Vinueza (Ecuador), Vice-Chairmen; and T. C. Bacon (Canada), Rapporteur.

3. The Working GrOLip had before it the draft Declaration on tiic Human Environment prepared by the Intergovernmental Working Group (A/CONF.48/4) and submitted to tile Conference by the Preparatory Committee for consideration and further action.

4. The Working Group held a total of 15 meetings, from 9 to 15 June 1972. After a general discussion of the scope and content of the proposed Declaration, it proceeded to a detailed examination of the preambular paragraphs and specific principles and of new proposals and suggested amendments. Informal consultations were also held.

5. A number of amendments and proposals were adopted by the Working Group and included, as approved, iii the draft text. The resulting text, which represents the general consensus of the Group, is appended to this report. Reservations were expressed with respect to principle I by South Africa, principle 2 by Uruguay, principle 15 by Portugal and the United States of America, principle 21 by Turkey and principle 24 by China.

6.It was not possible to obtain agreement on the text of principle 20 as contained in the basic text (A/CONF.48/4) and the amendments submitted during the Conference. The Working Group agreed, on the proposal of Uruguay, that it should recommend to the plenary Conference the referral of the principle to the United Nations General Assembly for consideration.

7.With regard to principle 21 of the text proposed in document A/CONF.48/4, the Group was informed that, in spite of private negotiations, DO consensus could be confirmed. The basis for discussion was a suggested formulation reading as follows:

"Man and His environment must be spared the effects of nuclear weapons and all other means of mass destruction. States must strive to reach prompt agreement, in the relevant international organs, on the elimination and complete destruction of such weapons."

One delegation opposed the text, considering it inadequate, and underlined the necessity of referring also to biological and chemical weapons and of providing for the non-utilization of nuclear weapons and other means of mass destruction. It suggested that fuller discussion was needed. It was agreed that the matter should be referred to the plenary Conference for action.

Appendix

DRAFT DECLARATION ON THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Having met at Stockholm from 5 to 16 June 1972, Having considered the need for a common outlook and for common principles to inspire and guide the peoples of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the human environment,

I

Proclaims that:

1. Man is both creature and moulder of his environment, which gives him physical sustenance and affords him the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth. In the long and tortuous evolution of the human race on this planet a stage lias been reached when, through the rapid acceleration of science and technology, man lias acquired the power to transform his environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale. Both aspects of man's environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights-even the right to life itself.

2. The protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue NN,Iiicli affects the well being of peoples and economic development throughout the world; it is the urgent desire of the peoples of the whole world and the duty of all Governments.

3.Man has constantly to sum up experience and go on discovering, inventing, creating and advancing. In our time man's capability to transform his surroundings, if used wisely, can bring to all peoples the benefits of development and the opportunity to enhance the quality of life. Wrongly or heedlessly applied, the same power can do incalculable harm to human beings and the human environment. We see around us growing evidence of man-made liarm in many regions of the earth: dangerous levels or pollution in water, air, earth and living beings; major and undesirable disturbances to the ecological balance of the biosphere; destruction and depletion of irreplaceable resources; and gross deficiencies harmful to the physical, mental and social health of man, in the man-made environment, particularly in the living and working environment.

4. In the developing countries most of the environmental problems are caused by underdevelopment. Millions continue to live far below the minimum levels required for a decent human existence, deprived of adequate food and clothing, shelter and education, health and sanitation. Therefore, the developing countries must direct their efforts to development, bearing in mind their priorities and the need to safeguard and improve the environment. For the same purpose, the industrialized countries should make efforts to reduce the gap between themselves and the developing countries. In the industrialized countries, environmental problems are generally related to industrialization and technological development.

5. The natural growth of population continuously presents problems on the preservation of the environment, but with the adoption of appropriate policies and measures these problems can be solved. Of all things in the world, people are the most precious. It is the people that propel social progress, create social wealth, develop science and technology and, through their hard work, continuously transform the human environment. Along with social progress and the advance of production, science and technology, the capability of man to improve the environment increases with each passing day.

6. A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference we can do massive and irreversible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well being depend. Conversely, through fuller knowledge and wiser action, we can achieve for ourselves and our posteriority a better life in an environment more in keeping with human needs and hopes. There are broad vistas for the enhancement of environmental quality and the creation of a good life. What is needed is an enthusiastic but calm state of mind and intense but orderly work. For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world of nature, man must use knowledge to build in collaboration with nature a better environment. To defend and improve the human environment for present and future generations has become an imperative goal for mankind-a goal to be pursued together with, and in harmony with, the established and fundamental goals of peace and of world-wide economic and social development.

7. To achieve this environmental goat will demand the acceptance of responsibility by citizens and communities and by enterprises and institutions at every level, all sharing equitably in common efforts. Individuals in all walks of life as well as organizations in many fields, by their values and the sum of their actions, will shape the world environment of the future. Local and national governments will bear the greatest burden for large-scale environmental policy and action Nothing their jurisdictions. International co-operation is also needed in order to raise resources to support the developing countries in carrying out their responsibilities in this field. A gron@ @ class of environmental problems, because they are regional or global in extent or because they affect the common international realm, will require extensive co-operation among nations an action by international organizations in the common interest. The Conference calls upon the Governments and peoples to exert common efforts for the preservation and improvement of the human environment, for the benefit of all the people and for their posterity.

Principles

States the common conviction that:

1. (ex 1) Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.

2. (ex 2) The natural resources of the earth, including the air, water, land, flora and fauna and especially representative samples of natural ecosystems, must be safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations through careful planning or management, as appropriate.

3. (ex 3) The capacity of the earth to produce vital renewable resources must be maintained and whenever practicable restored or improved.

4. (tie)v) Nan has a special responsibility to safeguard and wisely manage the heritage of wildlife and its habitat, which are now gravely imperiled by a combination of adverse factors.

Nature conservation including wildlife must therefore receive importance ill planning for economic development.

5. (ex 4) The non-renewable resources of the earth must be employed in such a way as to guard against the danger of their future exhaustion and to ensure that benefits from such employment are shared by all mankind.

6. (ex 5) The discharge of toxic substances or of other substances and the release of heat, in such quantities or concentrations as to exceed the capacity of the environment to render them harmless, must be halted in order to ensure that serious or irreversible damage is not inflicted upon ecosystems. The just struggle of the peoples of all countries against pollution should be supported.

7. (new) States shall take all possible steps to prevent pollution of the seas by substances that are liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea.

8. (ex 6) Economic and social development is essential for ensuring a favorable living and working environment for man and for creating conditions on earth that are necessary for the improvement of the quality of life.

9. (ex 7) Environmental deficiencies generated by the conditions of underdevelopment and natural disasters pose grave problems and can best be remedied by accelerated development through the transfer of substantial quantities of financial and technological assistance as a supplement to the domestic effort of the developing countries and such timely assistance as may be required.

10. (ex 7) For the developing countries, stability of prices and adequate earnings for primary commodities and raw material are essential to environmental management since economic factors as well as ecological processes must be taken into account.

11. (ex 8) The environmental policies of all States should enhance and not adversely affect the present or future development potential of developing countries, nor should they hamper the attainment of better living conditions for all, and appropriate steps should be taken by States and international organizations with a view to reaching agreement on meeting the possible national and international economic consequences resulting from the application of environmental measures.

12. (ex 9) Resources should be made available to preserve and improve the environment, taking into account the circumstances and particular requirements of developing countries and any costs which may emanate from their incorporating environmental safeguards into their development planning and the need for making available to them, upon their request, additional international technical and financial assistance for this purpose.

13. (ex 10) In order to achieve a more rational management of resources and thus to improve the environment, States should adopt an integrated and coordinated approach to their development planning so as to ensure that development is compatible with the need to protect and improve the human environment for the benefit of their population.

14. (ex 11) Rational planning constitutes an essential tool for reconciling any conflict between the needs of development and the need to protect and improve the environment.

15. (ex 12) Planning must be applied to human settlements and urbanization with a view to avoiding adverse effects on the environment and obtaining maximum social, economic and environmental benefits for all. In this respect projects which are designed for colonialist and racist domination must be abandoned.

16. (ex 13) Demographic policies, which are without prejudice to basic human rights and which are deemed appropriate by Governments concerned, should be applied in those regions where the rate of population growth or excessive population concentrations are likely to have adverse effects on the environment or development, or where low population density may prevent improvement of the human environment and impede development.