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C - Third Committee

260. The report of the Third Committee on subject areas Ill and VI was considered by the Conference at its 16th and 17th plenary meetings, on 14 and 15 June 1972, The report was introduced by the Rapporteur of the Third Committee, A. M. A. Hassan (Sudan).


261. The report indicated that the Committee had considered the draft recommendations for international action contained in the report on identification and control of pollutants of broad international significance (A/CONF.48/8 and Add.1 and Corr.1) and also a number of amendments and draft recommendations submitted in the Committee. It had taken the following action.

262.It had approved by consensus the following draft recommendations and had recommended them to the Conference for adoption:

(a) Concerning pollution in general: draft recommendations 218, 219, 220, 222, 223, 223a, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 228a, 229, 230, 231, 232;

(b) Concerning marine pollution: draft recommendations 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240 and 241.

_ 280.While not approving of any nuclear tests or of the state of psychosis produced by fear of nuclear weapons, Gabon did not approve of the draft resolution. It would have wished to advocate prohibition of all tests, explicitly including underground tests.

281. Romania agreed that all tests should be condemned, but added that even condemnation of all nuclear tests was not enough; all stockpiling should be condemned as well.

282. The delegation of Italy also requested the Raporteur General to indicate in the report that the Government of Italy had worked ceaselessly for a ban on all types of nuclear weapons testing. Believing, however, that it was inappropriate to take up the question of disarmament at the Conference and that such consideration might impede progress in other arenas, Italy had decided to abstain on the draft resolution.

283.The draft resolution was put to the vote by roll call. The draft resolution was adopted by 56 votes to 3, with 29 abstentions. The voting was as follows:

Infavour: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Ghana, Holy See, Iceland, India. Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand: Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Viet-Nam, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia.

Against: China, France, Gabon.

Abstentions: Bahrain, Belgium, Central African Republic, Cyprus, Dahomey, Dominican Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Guyana, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Libyan Arab Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, United Kingdom, United States of America.

284. The President also put to the Conference the request of Japan concerning the inclusion in the report of the joint statement submitted by Canada, Ecuador, Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru and the Philippines.



285. The report of the Third Committee stated that the Committee had considered the report on international organizational implications of action proposals (A/CONF.48/11), the views of the Preparatory Committee on the subject (A/CONF.48/1 I /Add. 1) and a consolidated document on the United Nations system and the human environment submitted by the Administrative Committee on Coordination (A/c6NF.48/12) it had approved for adoption by the Conference in plenary a draft resolution on institutional and financial arrangements. (The text, as amended in plenary, is given in chapter 111.)

2 The joint statement read as follows

"The Governments associated with this appeal, believing that all exposure to radiation should be kept to the minimum possible, call upon those States intending to carry out nuclear weapons tests which may lead to further contamination of the environment to abandon their plans to carry out such tests."

286. The Committee had agreed, in connexion with paragraph 4 of the draft resolution, to suggest to the plenary Conference that, in the event that no agreement was reached on a recommendation concerning the location of the headquarters of the proposed environment secretariat, the Conference might consider it advisable to request the Secretary-General of the Conference to prepare a factual report, to be submitted to the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh session, containing the necessary technical background information regarding all the locations formally offered.

287.In connexion with paragraphs 2 (e) and 5 (d) of the draft resolution, the Committee had agreed that it would be premature to suggest any permanent mechanism for the provision of scientific and other relevant advice, and that the General Assembly should address itself to that issue at a later date.

288. Reference had been made in the Committee to the desirability of holding a second United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The Committee felt that the plenary meeting was the proper place for a discussion of that matter.

289. The discussion in plenary centered on five main topics: the size of the proposed Governing Council, the location of the headquarters of the proposed environment secretariat, the matter of contributions to the fund, the possibility of convening a second United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and the role of United Nations agencies. Certain additional observations were also made.

Size of the Governing Council

290.The representative of Australia proposed, on behalf of Argentina, Australia, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Spain and Thailand, an amendment to operative paragraph I of the draft resolution, whereby tie size of the Governing Council would be increased from 48 to 54 member States. The delegations of Austria, Colombia, France, India, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Uganda and Venezuela indicated that they were among those which supported the larger figure; Malta also stated that it was not opposed to the change. The United States of America was opposed to a council of 54, indicating that it had already compromised from 27 to 37 to 48; and Brazil, Sudan and Sweden which had originally been in favour of the larger number, considered that 48 had been accepted by the Committee in a spirit of compromise and good faith and should be kept.

29 1. The amendment was approved by 56 votes to 1 1, with 14 abstentions.

Location of the secretariat

292. Several delegations reiterated their proposals for location of the headquarters of the proposed new environment secretariat in their countries; among the cities mentioned were Nairobi, Kampala, Madrid, Mexico City, Valetta and Vienna. The delegation of Norway also suggested Geneva for the first time officially dun*n-g the Conference. There were other proposals outstanding, including London, New Delhi and New York. In the draft resolution as set forth in the report of the Third Committee, paragraph 4 contained brackets for the possible insertion by the plenary Conference of the name of a city. It was, however, decided that the matter should be left for future consideration by the General Assembly, as suggested by the Committee. It was therefore agreed that the Secretary-General of the Conference should be requested to prepare a factual report on all proposals of locations formally offered. Upon the recommendation of the President, it was also agreed that any further proposals, in order to be considered, must be submitted to the secretariat within 30 days of the closing of the Conference, that is, by 16 July 1972.


293.In addition to contributions already pledged by other countries 3 three Governments offered specific contributions: Canada announced that it would contribute from $5 million to $7.5 million to the new fund subject to parliamentary approval, $100,000 of which would be transferred immediately; Australia announced, subject to parliamentary approval, that it would contribute $2.5 million over five years; and the Netherlands pledged to give a maximum of $1.5 million, subject to parliamentary approval, over a five-year period. Several other delegations also expressed their support; France, Panama and Spain said they would contribute, and Austria promised a "substantial contribution" .4 The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany announced that it would immediately make available DM 100.000, to support the preparations for establishing the proposed new machinery.

294. The representative of Israel strongly insisted that a voluntary fund was not adequate to the scale of the problem, and wished it to be supplemented by an additional method of financing. His specific proposal was that slightly more than 3 per cent of any special drawing rights created by the International Monetary Fund should be used to promote action for environmental amelioration. That would benefit the developed and developing nations alike and would have universal approval. Such a decision could not be taken at the Conference, but the represent active was convinced that there should be a will and intention to explore and study the approach.

Proposal for a Second United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

295. The plenary Conference considered a proposal by Egypt and nine other delegations for a second United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Egypt

3 In the course of the general debate, Japan had pledged up to 10 per cent of the target amount if major developed countries made substantial contributions; Sweden announced a contribution of $5 million and the United States of America stated that it would provide, on a matching basis, up to $40 million over a five-year period.

4 Similar expressions of support had been made in the genera debate by Botswana, Denmark, the Federal Republic of German Nigeria, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Italy also indicated that it would support the new fund put forward an oral amendment to the text, deleting the words "in 1977", so that there would be no date specified. Japan offered a suggestion to the effect that the matter should not be decided at that time but that there might be a recommendation that the General Assembly consider the desirability and necessity of holding such a second conference. A formal proposal was also offered by Kenya, recommending that the General Assembly convene another conference in 1977 "in the context of the goals and objectives of the Second United Nations 9 Development Decade". Canada and Mexico repeated their offers to host the next conference.

296. The Egyptian amendment received explicit support from the United States of America, ltaly, Algeria, Portugal and the Sudan. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Switzerland expressed their approval of the suggestion by Japan, although it was not a formal proposal, and Singapore suggested to the delegation of Kenya that its amendment would be better expressed as a preambular paragraph.

297.The Kenya-Singapore amendment received 27 votes in favour and 14 against, with 40 abstentions, and was thus rejected as it did not obtain the required two-thirds' majority.

298. The Egyptian proposal was then adopted by 75 votes to 1, with 3 abstentions.

Role of agencies

299. Towards the beginning of the discussion, the Secretary-General of the Conference stated that, as far as the United Nations Secretariat was concerned, there was no doubt whatsoever that the ultimate authority for the approval of programmes rested within the agencies concerned and their respective governing bodies. The functions assigned to any United Nations intergovernmental body and to its secretariat must be understood and exercised in the context of principles of cooperation, coordination and concerted action. The question of international environmental cooperation within the United Nations system also came up at the end of the discussion, when the floor was given to the representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency to express the views of his agency on the organizational question; he particularly emphasized the position that any new machinery set up should not infringe the Charter rights and obligations of IAEA.

Other comments

300. During the course of the discussion, several delegations raised additional points. Algeria submitted an oral amendment to paragraph 10 of the draft resolution, recommending the assurance of "additional financial resources for assisting developing countries in the implementation of their big environmental projects"; as the amendment engendered procedural and other Objections,

Algeria later agreed that it be withdrawn, provided that due mention of it would be made in the report of the Conference. Australia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and several other nations made reference to the need to have representation on the Governing Council reflect ecological as well as geographical attributes and the interest that countries had in the Council and the institution as a whole: these were not, however, advanced as formal amendments. Furthermore, many developing countries not only insisted upon high priority being given to economic and social development in environment programmes, but also expressed the sincere hope that the secretariat headquarters would be located and a second United Nations Conference on the Human Environment would be held in a developing country.

301. With regard to the Committee's comments On paragraph 2 (e) and 5 (d), delegations agreed that, while it would be premature to suggest at that stage any permanent mechanism to provide scientific and other relevant advice, the General Assembly should address itself to the issue at a later date.

302. Virtually every delegation praised the spirit of compromised and cooperation that had characterized the work of the Third Committee on the organizational question. As the Swedish representative observed, "Peoples and nations have entered a dialogue on the environment"; and, as the Egyptian representative added, a spirit of "convergence" prevailed throughout.