II - GENERAL DEBATE
17. In discussion agenda item 5 at the 2nd to 7th meetings of the session the council had before it the following documents: Introductory report of the Executive Director (UNEP/GC.6/2), with an addendum and supplement reporting on the results of the Executive Director’s consultations with governments on the advisability and feasibility of the Governing Council approving UNEP projects; the report on the state of the environment; selected topics-1978 (UNEP/GC. 6/4); and the executive Director’s report (UNEP/gc.6/3) on resolutions of the general Assembly and the Economic and Social Council relevant to UNEP.
18. In an introductory statement (UNEP/GC/6.L.I); at the 2nd meeting of the session, the executive director focused on four main these: major developments in the United Nations System, and in particular the outcome of the thirty-second session of the general Assembly; progress in implementing the environment programme; the position of the fund; and relations between the secretariat and Governments.
19. UNEP was playing an active role in the sessions of the committee of the whole established by the General Assembly to prepare for its special session in 1980 to assess the progress made towards the establishment of a new international economic order. UNEP was also Co-operating with the committee on development planning and the Administrative committee on consideration of the new international development objectives in their consideration of the new international development strategy. Collaboration was needed with other United Nations Organizations, as well as with the director-general for economic Co-operation and development, so as to encourage them to inject environmental considerations into their own contributions to the framing of the international development strategy.
20. The general assembly’s recommendations, in resolution 32/197 of 20 December 1977, on interagency planning, programming, budgeting and evaluation were likely to have a considerable effect on UNEP. The relevant suggestions contained in the introductory report of the executive director. (UNEP/GC.6/2) were in line with the intent of those recommendations. If the suggestions met with the approval of the governing council and the general assembly should be so informed.
21. The section of resolution 32/197 on interagency co-ordinatin was special concern to UNEP. The general assembly recommended inter alla that steps be taken to merge the environmental co-ordination Board, the interagency consultative Board and the UNIDO Advisory committee with the Administrative committee on Co-ordination, which would assume their respective functions. Those steps were subject to the guidance and supervision of the economic and social council, and the Governing Council’s views would be particularly germane to its consideration of the matter.
Answers must be found to a number of questions. Since the principal function of UNEP was to achieve a system wide Co-ordinated response to Environmental Issues, and the Environment co-ordination Board was the institutional function performed by the Board could be conserved. The second was how the Governing council could continue to receive the annual report on system-wide co-operation in the implementation of its decisions which was at present provided by the Board. The third question was how the administrative committee on co-ordination was going to carry out the responsibilities entrusted to the environment co-ordination Board by general Assembly resolution 32/172 of19 December 1977 – to establish a working group on the implementation of the plan of Action to combat desertification, and to prepare a progress report every year, and a complete guidance of the council on those highly important issues would be greatly appreciated.
22. the general Assembly’s decision in section III of resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977 that there should be close links between habitat, centre for the human settlements and UNEP was in line with the position taken at earlier sessions of the governing council concerning the relationship between the natural and man-made environments. UNEP welcomed the location of the centre at Nairobi; it pledged its full support, offered its co-operation and would endeavor to establish the closest possible links with the new institution.
23. As to the permanent headquarters buildings of UNEP, the general assembly had approved in principle the construction of United Nations accommodation at Nairobi and had authorized the secretary-general to proceed in accordance with the recommendations in his report to the General Assembly. Construction was expected to begin in Mid-1979, and occupancy was planned for early 1982.
24. The special session of the general assembly devoted to disarmament was of major international importance. Since the arms race and conventional and other forms of warfare had serious environmental and social-economic implications, it was most fitting for UNEP to take the occasion to emphasize the dangers warfare presented to the environment and the environment and the environmental benefits which would flow from arms control and disarmament.
25. UNEP was contributing to the preparations of three forthcoming united nations conferences: the conference on Technical co-operation among developing countries, to be held at Buenos Aires from 28 August to 8 September 1978; the 1979 conference on science and technology for Development; and the 1979 FAO conference on Agrarian reform and Rural Development. At the same time, follow-up action was progressing satisfactorily on the united Nations conference on desertification and the intergovernmental conference on environmental Education. Two conferences which were of the utmost significance to the environment programme and its aim of World-wide action to present and alleviate environment
26. The adoption by the intergovernmental working Group of experts on Natural Resources shared by two or more states of draft principles of conduct for the guidance of states in the use and conservation of such resources represented a major break-through. The responsibility placed upon UNEP by the General Assembly in resolution 3129 (XXVIII) OF 13 December 1973 had thus been discharged. The council might wish to recommend to the general Assembly that it adopt the principles of conduct and call upon states to respect them.
27. An significant step in international environmental co-operation had been taken in April 1978 at a WMO/UNEP informal meeting of meteorological and legal express, which had agreed upon nine draft principles of conduct for the guidance of states in relation to weather modification and prepared guidelines for national legislation on weather modification experiments and operations.
28. On 12 February 1978 the convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and the two related protocols, having received the required ratification by six states, had entered into force. Tow more states and the European community had since deposited their instruments of ratification.
29. The conference of plenipotentiaries on the protection and development of the marine environment and the coastal areas, held in Kuwait in April 1978, had been successful. Delegations from seven countries of the region had approved a comprehensive Action plan, as well as the Kuwait Regional convention for co-operation on the protection of the Marine Environment from pollution and the protocol concerning regional co-operation in combating pollution by oil and other harmful substances in cases of emergency. In addition, they had agreed to establish a marine emergencies Mutal Aid centre to co-ordinate national efforts to avoid and combat pollution by oil and other harmful substances in cases of emergency, and decided to create a regional trust fund of $5.8 million to cover the expenses of scientific and Socia-Economic activities undertaken as part of the action plan. The conference had requested UNEP to set up an interim secretariat to co-ordinate all activities related to the plan. UNEP had agreed to do so and offered to contribute up to $500,000 over the coming two years towards the cost of that secretariat and related activities. It was highly significant that all Governments of the region had committed themselves to a course of development designed to protect the environment for future generations. He confidently expected the Governing council’s full support in translating the agreement into practical activities, and would request its authorization during the session to establish the trust fund.
30. A gratifying instance of interagency co-operation had been the presentation to WHO and FAO to the environment co-ordination Board at its seventh session of three memoranda of understanding governing those organizations’ collaboration in the area of water. The Board had welcomed those agreements, and requested its focal points to prepare a draft statement on the health aspects of water resources development projects.
31. At the meeting of executive secretaries of the united Nations regional commissions at Geneva in July 1976, it had been suggested that UNEP should help the commissions to establish appropriate machinery within their secretaries to deal with environmental issues. Agreement had since been reached with all the regional commissions that UNEP would support, initially for two years, the establishment of environmental units to be placed directly under the supervision of the executive secretaries. The units would work closely with the UNEP regional offices, and it was hoped that the regional commissions would continue to support the units once initial assistance from UNEP ended.
32. Since the fifth session of the Governing council, satisfactory progress had been made in respect of the public information efforts of UNEP. With the assistance and co-operation of the information divisions of other united nations bodies, UNEP had achieved very ood coverage of the United Nations conference on desertification. The four issues of volume I of Mazingira (now in its second year of publication) had received favourable comments. Arrangements were being made with international publishers to have UNEP materials made available to a much wider audience; one such agreement had recently been made with Vinitl publishers in Moscow. Greater attention was being given to developing UNEP’S Audio-visual services. More was being done to get the environmental message closer to the “grass roots” of society everywhere. With the continued help of non-governmental organizations, UNEP was directing its efforts towards giving world environment day more local meaning and significance.
33. Work was under way on the comprehensive state of the environment study, ten years after Stockholm. The aim was a comprehensive assessment of environmental conditions and trends in the decade since the Stockholm Conference. Much interest had already been taken in the study: some foundations in north America, Europe and Japan had pledged financial support, and efforts were being made to obtain more such support.
34. in some areas, achievements had fallen short of his hopes. In spite of the many accomplishment in the Mediterranean progrqamme, agreement had not yet been reached by the Governments concerned on the key problem of how to protect that sea from land-based pollution. He earnestly hoped that present difficulties would not erode the sense of urgency about saving the Mediterranean. The use rate of the international referral system (IRS) was still far from satisfactory, and still more active involvement was needed from governments before the system could deliver what was expected of it. For the international register of potentially toxic chemicals (IRPTC), which was also developing a query-answer capability, effectiveness was also predicated on an increase in the number of national correspondents. Governments had so far shown limited interest in the technical assistance clearing –house facility established in 1975; UNEP was keen to increase the number of countries willing to offer technical assistance to other countries on request, and he appealed to all governments for their support to that activity.
35. With regard to the environment fund, the target of $150 million approved for the medium-term plan period of 1978 to 1981 was predicated on new contributions frommember states which had not contributed to so far at present only 52 governments had announced pledges to the fund-increased contributions from others whose contributions had been modest, and contributions from higher-level donors close to their contributions, for 1973-1977. Sweden had maintained its 1973-1977 percentage of contributions, and he had received assurances from a number of other countries that they were trying to do the same. That would help UNEP to close the gap between the current level of estimated resources for the implementation of the plan, a little over $112 million, and the target figure of $ 150 million..
36. During his recent visit to the Soviet Union, an important break-through had been achieved regarding the use of he noble contribution, both convertible and non-convertible, through agreement on eight projects involving the utilization of he equivalent in noubles of 3.6 million over three years. In addition, the soviet authorities had also agreed that, extractive to 1975, the non-rouble salaries and other emoluments of soviet experts consultants and officials engaged in the development of Fund programme and fund programe reserve activities would be met out of the convertible 25 percent of the contribution. The governing council might wish to consider adding an appropriate amount, corresponding to the non-convertible currency projects recently agreed to in Moscow, to the allocation authority for 1978, 1979 and 1980. For 1978, he would propose that the council apportion the allocation authority thus released, amounting to approximately $ 1.5 million, to a number of budget lines. He hoped the council would approve similar proposals for any other currency in a similar situation.
37. the guidance of the Governing Council was needed on two specific proposed fund activities. The first problem was that of the contribution by UNEP to the trust fund which the Governments convened at the recent Monaco intergovernmental meeting of Mediterranean coastal states on the Mediterranean action plan had decided to establish to ensure the development and co-ordiantion of agreed activities. In view of the importance of supporting activities in other regional seas and of the constraints on the financial resources of UNEP, and in accordance with the governing council’s previous decisions concerning a progressive transfer of executive responsibilities to the Governments of the region, the executive director had proposed at the meeting that the contribution by UNEP to the trust fund should be limited to 25 per cent of the total, and should not exceed 10per cent of the allocation approved by the Governing council at its fifth session for the oceans budget line. The representatives of the Mediterranean countries, however, had suggested that 50 percent of the trust fund could be financed by UNEP and the other international organizations concerned. the second problems was the contribution by UNEP towards the secretariat for the convention on international trade in endangered species of Wild fauna and flora. The executive director had advises the parties to the convention that UNEP would be prepared to meet 20percent of the total cost of the secretariat, up to a maximum of 1200,00 per annum. He had, he had, however, been requested to provide approximately $ 1 million for a two year period. There was also the question of financial support for meetings of the conference of the parties. UNEP had met the cost of holding the first such meeting and was prepared to meet the expenses (around $170,000) of the second, but could not accept that responsibility on a continuing basis without a policy directive from the council. If the council agreed to a higher level of funding for the Mediterranean and the convention, it should determine which allocations to the different budget lines should be reduced, should that be necessary.
38. with regard to relations between the secretarial and Governments, he was gratified to note the good response received to a number of requests for information, connected for example with the level one reviews of environment and development and environmental management and of environmental education and training and with activities in the programme topics selected for in-depth reporting to the council at its sixth session. However, responses had been less satisfactory another questions, such as the implementation of international conventions on the environment
39. Governments could serve the purposes of UNEP, and the environment cause in general, by ensuring that environmental factors were given an appropriately prominent place at forthcoming world conferences and in the formulation of the next international development strategy.
40. The informal consultations with Governments held at Nairobi from 16 to 20 January 1978, had provided good opportunities for contacts between governments and the secretariat. Ongoing liaison and consultations with the permanent representatives in Nairobi and the meetings of the focal points had also continued to prove very useful. Since the fifth session of governing council, the executive director had been to the Holy see, Iran, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the soviet Union, Sweden, France, Belgium, the federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Algeria, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and development. The fact that he had been received at the highest levels by heads of state or government in almost all the countries visited was a gratifying indication of the importance they attached to environmental concerns and to the role of UNEP. The visit had also reinforced his belief that there was urgent need for better exchange of information, experience and access stories. He had received strong support for carrying out concrete case studies on the real costs and benefits of environmental protection in a world faced with a series of economic difficulties, and therefore planned to hold formal consultations on that subject with interested Governments and intergovernmental bodies during the current session of the council. He had also found, particularly among parties to the home convention, a wide concern for proper environmental assessment of development activities supported through bilateral of multilateral aid. None of he countries ha had visited including the soviet Union, was contemplating any changes in the existing procedures for the approval of projects supported by the fund.
41. The Executive director then announced the winners of the international pahlavl environment Prize for 1978 to be awarded on 5 June, World Environment Day. They were professor Mohamed Abdel Fattah El Kassas, professor of plant ecology at Cairo University, and Dr. ThorHeyerdahl, Norwegian Ethoologist, author and explorer.
42. In conclusion, the executive Director stressed the centerlines of environmental considerations in all matters affecting human welfare throughout the world. The secretary-general, in his report to the general throughout the world. The secretary-general, in his report to the General, in his report to the General Assembly at its thirty second session, 3 had reiterated that, since its foundation, the united nations had been searching for a working balance between national sovereignty and interests on the one hand, and international between national sovereignty and interests on the one had, and international order and the long-term interests of the world community on the other. The executive director believed that the environment was an area where that search promised to be most fruitful. The pursuit of solutions to environmental problems implied a concern for long-term interests and those of the world community a a whole. Those considerations, in his view, clearly motivated the work of the governing council. The co-operative which was reflected each year in the work strengthened his belief that the environment programme could do more than any other single field of human endeavor to draw nations and peoples together in mutual understanding and sympathy.
43. During the general debate, which took place at the 3rd to 7th meetings of the session from 10 to 12 May 1978, delegations agreed that the problems facing both developing countries could only be alleviated through environmentally sound development and sustainable economic growth in harmony with the environment. Several speakers noted with satisfaction that the General Assembly had, in resolutions 32/168, stressed the need for ensuring that the environment considerations were taken into account in development programmes in differing social-economic settings, in the implementation of the programme of action on the establishment of a new international economic order and in the formulation of the new international development strategy. UNEP must ensure adequate implementation of that decision in the various forums where those subjects were discussed, particularly in the course of the preparatory work for the 1980 special session of he general assembly which would assess the progress made in the establishment of the new international economic order. Several representatives stressed the importance of the forthcoming united Nations conference on science and technology for Development, and welcomed the action being taken by UNEP to ensure that the environmental dimensions was adequately reflected at the conference. One delegation noted with satisfaction that the executive director was making inputs to the formulation of the new international development strategy for the 1980s.
44. several speakers said that improvement of the quality of life for all people was the central objective to which the harmonization of environment and development policies should be geared, the development of just economic relations between states, equitable distribution of world resources, individual and collective self-reliance of countries and the satisfaction of basic human needs were important factors in the achievement of that objective. Some delegations also stated that effective co-operation in ___
3/ official records of the general assembly, thirty-second session, supplement no. 1(A/3271).
The environmental field for the benefit of present and succeeding generations could only be achieve through a universal, just and lasting peace in the world, through peaceful co-existence among states with different social, economic land political systems and at different levels of development and through the strengthening and widening of international détente. It was also indispensable to work for the prevention of a new world war, put an end to the arms race and switch corresponding resources to peaceful uses. A number of delegations stressed the importance of activities aimed at prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of neutron weapons; in their view s such activities would enjoy broad support from UNEP and other international organizations. International organizations such as UNEP must support such actions; in particular, UNEP should participate actively in the forthcoming special session of the General Assembly on disarmament, which should lead to a major break-through in agreement on practical disarmament measures. One delegation also recalled in that connection on military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques and resolution 4 of the united Nations conference on certification on the effect of weapons of mass destruction on ecosystems, both of which were important steps in the right direction.
45. one delegation said that developing countries had become more keenly aware that the old international economic order, based on oppression, exploitation and plunder, was a heavy restraint on the development of their national economies and the biggest obstacle to environmental improvement only by persevering in the effort to combat imperialism. Colonialism and hegamonism and to replace the old economic order by a new one could they ensure their independence and prosperity and create the necessary political and economic conditions for the improvement of the environment. The super power that styled itself a “Naturally” of the developing countries incessantly touted everywhere the line that development and environmental protection were dependent upon “deterrent” and “disarmament”. Yet, in actual practice, it devoted a massive effort to the arms race. In order to contend with the other super-power for world hegemony, it tries its best to achieve military supremacy by making huge military expenditures in active preparations for a world war, and preached disarmament while practicing the hoax of sham disarmament coupled with genuine arms expansion, so as to cover up its aggression and expansion and, through that ruse, to lead astray the anti hegemonies struggle of the medium-sized and small countries and their people. The developing countries, after winning political independence, still had the task of achieving economic independence and developing their national economics. In the fulfillment of that task, they should earnestly study and improvement, a goal which could be achieved if the interests of the people and the long-term interests of the countries were fully expected and if appropriate protective measures were taken simultaneously with steps towards development.
46. One delegation pointed out that the general debate was business-like and constructive in character. Only one statement had been dissonant, in that it contained slanderous fabrications against a state member of the governing council; the attempt to impose such polemics could only distract the session from discussion of the agenda items. The same delegaion gave a detailde account of its country’s policy, which aimed at maintaining and strenghtening peace in the world, turning intenaional détente into an irreversible process which was comprehensive in coverage, halting the arms race and preventing a new world war. It also emphasized its belief that, viewing the problems of environmental protection in the overall context of efforts to normalize the world’s political climate, international of efforts to normalize the world’s political climate, international organizations, including UNEP, could not stand aside from the actions aimed at putting an end to the arms race, and primarily at elimination weapons at putting an end to the arms race, and primarily at eliminating weapons, including the neutron bomb.
47. Several delegations stressed the importance of the recent endorsement by the economic commission for Europe commission for Europe (ECE) of the Soviet proposal for the holding in 1979, as a follow-up to the Final Act of the Helsinki conference on security and co-operation in Europe, of an all European conference on the protection of the environment which would deal with a number of important environmental problems, several of which were already part of the UNEP programme, and would intensify governmental support for the work of UNEP other relevant international governmental and non-governmental bodies; two of the important subjects to be discussed at the conference were the long range transport of pollutants and the question of low-waste technologies. Some speakers also referred to the activities of CMEA for mutual co-operation in the field of the environment and to the world carried out by EEC and the organization for economic co-operation and development (OECD); in there view, UNEP collaboration with those organizations was of the utmost importance.
48. Several delegations described measures recently adopted in their countries for the protection and improvement of the environmental machineries, as well as the growing body of national environmental legislation, afforded further evidence that awareness and understanding of environmental issues was markedly increasing; the activities of UNEP had, directly or indirectly contributed to those positive developments.
49. Most delegations reiterated that the main function of UNEP was to co-ordinate and catalyze environmental activities within the united nations system. The progress accomplished in that regard was considerable, as evidenced, in particular, by the tone and substance of the introductory report of the executive director and of the reports of the Environment co-ordination Board. Several delegations also felt that the goals for 1982 4/ would help define the practical framework of achievements for UNEP in the medium term, and one speaker said that they would be a useful benchmark by which to measure UNEP’S succeed in raising the environmental conscience of the united nations system ten years after Stockholm. One delegation, while recognizing that all 21 goals were important, in that their timely achievement would substantially contribute to the solution of the environmental.
4/ UNEP/GC/L.48; approved by decision 82 (V), sect. VI.
Problems of the planed, considered that a precise balance and inter co-ordination were needed in their realization in order to avoid scattering of efforts and duplication of activities with other United Nations agencies. The secretariat might therefore wish to consider the preparation of a concrete organizational plan for their attainment, to be submitted to the informal consultations, as well as to the council at its seventh session, together with a progress report on the implementation of the goals.
50. it was generally agreed that the primary function of the governing council was to provide policy guidance to the secretariat; as a rule. It was not necessary for the council to approve individual fund projects. Delegations generally agreed, however, that the Executive director should continue to submit to the governing council any project which, because of its policy implications or financial magnitude, should have the Governing council’s consideration. One delegation felt that rule should be more actively implemented. Another noted that the guidance of the governing council might be sought in respect of grouping of projects which, for example, might result from a thematic joint programming exercise. Another while satisfied with the present arrangements. Felt that commitments entered into by the executive director as a result of joint programing exercises could be reported to the council in a more detailed manner. Some speakers expressed support for the executive director’s initiative in consulting the governing council on the financing of some particularly costing projects, and welcomed his request for guidance on the convention on Trade in Endangered species and on the Mediterranean programme.
51. A number of delegations emphasized the importance of UNEP regional activities and structures, and it was suggested in that connection that the staff of the liaison and regional offices should be straightened. One representative expressed the conviction that UNEP objectives could best be achieved through a regional approach which took account of the specific environmental problems of each region and provided a framework for the formulation as suitable solutions. Regional offices might be given more initiative to assist governments in formulations; an example was the ASEAN sub-regional environmental programme which had recently been formulated by the UNEP regional office for Asia and the Pacific and Governments of the region.
52. A number of speakers expressed concern at the imbalance which they saw in the distribution of Fund resources among the various regions; efforts should be made to redress that situation, particularly in the Asia and the pacific region, where it was hoped UNEP involvement would grow substantially. It was suggested I that connection that UNEP should continue to support the South Pacific countries in the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive management plan in co-operation with the South Pacific commission and Forum.
53. Most delegations agreed that significant progress had been achieved in the presentation and content of the documentation, although further efforts might be needed in areas such as distribution, in particular with regard to the six-week rule. One delegation said that, since the Council’s primary responsibility was to provide policy guidance to the secretariat, the focal point of all governing council documentation should be the programme document and all other documents should only be supportive of that major policy tool. Another delegation expressed the wish that the French language be treated equally in the preparation of documents and in their distribution: UNEP should give appropriate recognition to information sources published in French, and to that end, its Government would endeavor to bring relevant material to the attention of the secretariat. In the view of another delegation, programme documents might be preceded by a concise yet substantial summary of the issues involved.
54. Many delegations commended the state of the environment report and commented at length on the various topics it dealt with. One delegation, however, found the report too superficial to be useful, and pointed out that it failed to draw any conclusion regarding actions to be taken or to illustrate the inter-relationships existing between the subjects it covered; delegation felt that the report, since it had been prepared on the basis of improved data, merited wider circulation, and could be used as an element of environmental education and information efforts.
55. Several delegations said they looked forward to the comprehensive state of he environment report, “Ten years after Stockholm”. And some expressed their readiness to contribute to its preparation. One speaker stated that the report should indicate the progress made towards achieving the Stockholm objectives and, by assessing conditions and trends from a scientifically regorous perspective, provide an analysis of the state of the environmental in the early 1980s which could be used as a guide for determining UNEP priorities for subsequent action. Anther speaker stressed the need for the report to deal comprehensively with the problems of developing countries.
56. Several representatives expressed satisfaction at the topics selected for in-depth review by the council at its seventh session, and one suggested that they might include “Transport and the environment”. Another representative account in the preparation of the in-depth reviews on ecodevelopment and industry and environment.
57. Several delegations recognized that significant progress had been accomplished in the area of communications with Governments, and of public information in general. Report to governments was now providing a much improved picture of project developments. The executive director’s visits to a number of countries had also provided a useful opportunity to review global policy issues, and should be continued. While recognized that the efforts of UNEP to diversify its publications had begun to yield fruitful results, some speakers said that further efforts were needed to mobilize the support of World public opinion for the environmental cause in general, and UNEP activities in particular. In the view of one delegation, too much public information work had so far been directed towards those who were public information work had so far been directed towards those who were already converted; UNEP should address itself to the major inadequacies in respect of information on environmental problems at the international level referred to in paragraph 466 of document UNEP/GC.6.7. some delegations mentioned the need for UNEP to ensurewide dissemination of technical papers and studies on the various programme subjects. One delegation suggested that in the future greater attention should be given to audio-visual services there was also a need for some differentiation in the content and presentation of the information programme, to make it accessible to different groups and regions of the world.
58. Stress was generally placed on the catalytic role of the Fund, which delegations were gratified to learn was now clearly understood by other United Nations agencies. One delegation pointed out that increase in fund resources should be sought primarily from an increase in the number of contributors, rather than in the contributions of current donors. Another delegations expressed concern about the pressed concern about the prospects for reaching the expenditure level proposed in the medium-term plan for reaching the expenditure level proposed in the medium-term plan for 1978-1981 and said it might be voluntary contributions. Its Government’s contributions to the fund would reflect its continuing assessment of programme of lower voluntary contributions. It Government’s contributions to the Fund would reflect its continuing assessment of programme performance and expenditures and of the adequacy of programme plans and budgets. Another speaker started that the fund should concentrate on relatively few crucial projects; it should be used to initiate action and establish mechanisms for further action rather than to finance what ought to be the on-going expenditures of other agencies, however worthwhile the schemes involved might be. That perspective also implied limitation and withdrawal of Fund support in due course; that made available, from sources other than UNEP. Expressing similar concern, another delegation said that better apportionment of the costs related to various projects jointly implemented by UNEP and other international organizations was desirable.
59. One representative stated that, as a result of the executive director’s visit to his capital, significant progress had been achieved towards the use of the non-convertible part of his county’s contribution to the fund, and that intensified co-operation between UNEP appeared hesitant to make full use of voluntary contributions in national currencies.
60. One delegation expressed concern with the height ration of programme support costs to overall fund expenditure. Another suggested that the financial rules should provide for automatic carry-over of unitized commitment for any one project; that was particularly essential for developing countries, where environmental management was relatively new and some time normally elapsed between the conceptual and the operational stages of projects. Several delegations announced that their Governments, in some cases pending parliamentary approval, would increase their contributions to the fund over the next four-year cycle.
61. Many delegations welcomed both the establishment by General Assembly resolution 32/162 of habitat, centre for human settlements and the executive director’s pledges of support for the centre. One representative felt confident that the close linkages between the natural and the built environments would be reflected in harmonious co-operation between UNEP and the centre. Another representative considered that the location of the centre and UNEP, by shedding its responsibilities for the foundation, would be able to concentrate on the environmental implications of development.
62. Some delegations warned that the question of human settlements should not be removed from its environmental framework; the centre and the foundation while considering new projects, since lack of environmental management in the planning and development of human settlements had perhaps been the basic cause of he deterioration in the quality of life.
63. Several delegations expressed the hope that the centre would help recover the momentum generated by habitat: united Nations conference on Human settlements, and promote technical and financial assistance to needy countries. It was highly important that the centre should become operational as soon as possible. It was unfortunately that the executive director of the centre had not yet been appointed and that the level of voluntary contributions to the foundation still remained low. The inadequacy of financial resources was the major constraint on the expansion of programme operations, and some delegations expressed the hope the states would give serious consideration to making their contributions to the foundations as soon as possible. One representative said that his Government’s attitude towards a contribution would depend on clarification of the final structure of the centre.
64. Several delegations stressed the importance of UNEP developing an action programme for the International harmonization of procedures, policies and control efforts in respect of toxic chemicals, and the need for a programme of public awareness which would result in a voluntary world-wide renunciation of the use of certain particularly dangerous and not indispensable chemicals. The chemical contamination of food was a matter of increasing public concern, and concerted international action to limit such contamination was necessary to facilitate world trade in food. A few delegations recalled governing council decision 85 (V) on the export of chemicals, drugs, cosmetics and food, and reiterated the need for action by UNEP and international community line with its provision.
65. It was recognized that problems of chemicals in the environment should be treated in a global and inter-disciplinary manner and that more work was needed on the evaluation of risks connected with their use. It was suggested that all available information of problems linked with chemicals should be thoroughly investigated before being marketed, so that their immediate and long-term effects on human beings and the environment might be determined. Another speaker emphasized the need to improve the channels through which developing countries could quickly obtain useful information relating to chemicals; to that end. IRPTC should be strengthened. Yet another speaker said that IRPTC should exchange information with similar national legislation on its confidentiality. Several other speakers stressed that the development of IRPTC should be accelerated and its availability for nationalprogrammes improved. One representative felt that the efforts of IRPTC should be dovetailed with the valuable work of OECD in the area of toxic chemicals.
66. Several delegations indicated their governments’ willingness to co-operate in the development and strengthening of IRPTC and the other components of earth watch. IRPTC and IRS, though still incomplete, would become increasing to the need for increased public information and participation n IRS at the national level, another delegation said that national focal points should assist in making an inventory of the actual needs for information.
67. A few delegations referred to the establishment of national focal points of IRS and IRPTC, and its was suggested that the council might usefully consider how the activities of such points could be energized and co-ordinated. Another delegation said that IRS and IRPTC would be more effective if the regional offices functioned as regional focal points, thereby strengthening the links between countries in the respective regions and the international focal point.
68. One representative welcomed the first assessment f a major pollutant to come directly out of earth watch, and stressed that the elements of Earth watch needed to function as an integrated whole; the establishment of a new environmental assessment division in UNEP was therefore a welcome development.
69. Satisfaction was expressed with the activities of UNEP in preparing for the United Nations conference on desertification, and with the outcome of the conference. In the view of some delegations, the conference represented the most important international event of the decade. Appreciation was expressed for UNEP support for the transitional projects, and one delegation welcomed the emphasis on prevention in the project for Latin America. Various delegations referred to national efforts to combat desertification; a few delegations pointed out that financial and technical assistance was still urgently required, and joined other delegations in supporting the creations of a special account for implementing the plan action to combat Desetification; a few delegations pointed out that financial and technical assistance was still urgently required, and joined other delegations in supporting the creation of a special account for implementing the plan of Action to combat Desertification.
70. One representative, while endorsing the recommendations contained in the plan of Action and supporting the co-ordination role entrusted to UNEP in that operational measures should be taken within the framework of existing programmes of bilateral and multilateral co-operation programme. Another representative cautioned that the implementation of the plan of Action should not lead to any increase in the regular budget of the united Nations, but should be based on more effective use of existing resources. His government could not accept the proposed automaticity for the financing of the plan of Actin through international taxation and similar arrangements; additional funds for environmental protection, including desertification control, should be provided through the switching of resources at present being wasted, particularly on armaments. Yet another representative referring to finance to the proposal that a tax might be levied on the oil-producing countries to finance the implementation of the plan, suggested that it might be more realistic to draw upon the resources of the international fund for Agricultural Development, which also had a role to polay in combating desertifcation.
71. Several delegations stressed the need to develop adequate soil management and land-use policies; UNEP could help alleviate the problem of soil degradation and lowered fertility resulting from excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, inefficient crop rotation and ineffective agricultural practices. Some delegations warned that loss of tropical forests was becoming an increasingly serious problem, which required global attention and global efforts to combat it. Promotion of such efforts was well with in UNEP’s catalytic and co-ordinating role.
72. One representative supported the administrative measures already scheduled by the Executive Director which would lead to the creation within the secretariat of UNEP of a special unit devoted to desertification. Another representative viewed the strengthening of the United Nations Sahellan Office (UNSO)as a better solution than the establishment of a sub-regional office of UNEP, since efforts should be made to guard against the proliferation of new institutions within the United Nations system.
73. Some delegation, voicing their support for UNEP participation in the implementation of the plan of Action adopted by the united nations water conference, called for even greater UNEP attention to water , one representative hoped that UNEP would concentrate on the problem of water-logging and salinity by providing technical expertise and instituting a special project in his country as demonstration model.
74. One representative appealed to the appropriate United Nations agencies to strengthen regional co-operation and co-ordination in matters relating to wildlife conservation, and referred to his Government’s ban on the sale of game trophies to supplement an earlier ban on hunting. That initiative was commended by other representatives. Another representative declared his government’s willingness to support the adoption of a world –wide convention on migratory species of wild fauna, and recalled that a conference of plenipotentiaries was expected to take place on the subject at Bonn by mid-1979.
75. Addressing the question f marine pollution, delegations noted that the recent “Amoco Cadlz” disaster not only highlighted the dangerous proportions assumed by marine pollution through oil spills due to thanker accidents or off-shore drilling, but also focused attention on the need for co-operation in formulating rules to diminish the risk of such incidents.
The success of UNEP in fostering regional co-operative action plans for countering marine pollution was especially encouraging; the governing council should continue to support allinitiatives to that end, and to encourage states to ratify or adhere to the relevant international conventions. In addition, UNEP should continue to undertake work on international instruments dealing with oil pollution. One delegation suggested that while the problems of marine pollution must in the first place be dealt with by other organizations. UNEP might usefully contribute to the work of the inter- governmental maritime consultative organization (UMCO) and the third United Nations Conference on the law of the sea, for instance by collecting and disseminating information on work already done in the area.
76. Delegations of the coastal states of the Mediterranean expressed particular interest in the continuing development of the Mediterranean programme. A few such delegations voiced concern at the intention of UNEP to disengage itself progressively from the programme; that would, in their view, adversely affected them Mediterranean programe and set a regrettable precedent for the other regional seas programmes. One representative reiterated his Government’s continuing interest in locating the centre for priority action for the protection of the Mediterranean at Split, Yugoslavia.
77. Several delegations welcomed the entry into force of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean and its related protocols, as well as the adoption by the Kuwait Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the Regional Convention for Co-operation on the protection of the Marine Environment from pollution, the action plan and the protocol on oil Spill Emergencies. The States of the region were highly indebted to UNEP and agencies such as IMCO for their contribution to the success of the Conference.
78. One speaker requested more information on action taken with respect to the Gulf of Guinea pursuant to Governing Council decisions, and specifically on workshops dealing with pollution in the Gulf. Another speaker expressed disappointment over the lack of progress in respect of the regional initiatives in the area should be supported by UNEP rather than be left to peter out. Yet another representative expressed his Government’s readiness to co-operate in the implementation of a similar programme for the Caribbean Sea.
79. One delegation welcomed the Executive Director’s intention to approach the problem of natural disasters in a new and more comprehensive manner, while another suggested that man-made disasters should be included among the items for discussion by the Council at its seventh session.
80. One representatives stressed the need for international co-operation restrict any further use of fluorocarbons as spray propellants, in view of the harm they caused to the ozone layer. His Government planned to organize at Bonn towards the end of 1978 an international conference to exchange information on scientific results and harmonize measures for the restriction of the use of fluorocarbons. Another speaker commended the recent first issue of the Ozone Layer Bulletin, the continued publication of which wou7ld be of great value to the development of a comprehensive and concert research programme. The results of the active collaboration between the United Kingdom, France and United States of America in the monitoring of stratospheric pollution would be made available to UNEP as soon as they had been fully analyzed.
81. Some delegations noted that developed countries had a special responsibility for energy conservation and research and development in respect of alternative energy resources. The developed countries had to ask themselves to what extent further increases in energy consumption were essential. The technology existed in various developed countries for the exploitation of non-conventional energy sources, and it should be possible to explore ways and means by which such technology could be made available to the developing countries as a cost-effective proposition. One delegation, observing that a major cause of tropical deforestation was the increasing demand for firewood and charcoal to accommodate the basic energy needs of a large percentage of the world’s people, said that there was a need ford more international action to initiate and promote the application of solar and other renewable energy sources in developing countries. In exercise of its catalytic and co-ordinating role, UNEP could expand its activities in connection with non-conventional, environmentally sound energy sources.
82. Several delegations said that UNEP should continue to pay increased attention to the promotion of environmentally sound technology and to facilitating the access of developing to non-polluting introduced because of resistance from the powerful interests defending polluting technologies. One representative, fully supporting the development of regional networks of institutions to test and apply environmentally sound and appropriate technology, reiterated the proposal that his country should host a demonstration centre for integrated rural settlements technology. A few delegations welcomed the continuing progress of the industry programme.
83. A number of representatives commended the increased attention devoted by June to promoting the formulation and implementation of international environmental legislation and persuading states which had not yet ratified existing international environmental conventions to do so. One representative, however, felt that even greater attention should be paid to the question of liability and responsibility for damage caused by marine pollution. Another representative also stressed that the responsibility of states for the environmental consequences of their actions outside their own territory deserved continued and increased attention. His Government was working on procedures that would meet that responsibility in ways that were compatible with its foreign relations, trade and assistance activities.
84. On the question of whether the fund should continue to support the secretariat of the convention on international Trade in Endangered species of wild Fauna and Flora, one delegation said that the main financial burden should be carried by the parties to the convention. Time should, however, be given to parties to work out a scheme of contributions, and until that was done contributions from the fund might have to be raised in order to secure. Efficient operation. In the view of another delegation, one possible solution would be to try to seek a fresh understanding with the parties to the convention on the basis of a negotiated contribution from UNEP for a finite period. Another representative expressed regret that Governing council decision 86 (V) regarding the provision by UNEP of secretariat capabilities to the convention had not been satisfactorily implemented.
85. A number of delegations described national efforts to implement the recommendations of the intergovernmental conference on environmental educationand praised the UNEP preparatory and follow-up activities in respect of the conference. One delegation said it was important for UNESCO and UNEP continue to co-operate closely in that sector, and noted with satisfaction the agreement between the two bodies to continue the international Programme on environmental education for another five years.
86. One representative said his Government was prepared to repeat a ten –month training course for participants from developing countries on ecosystem management, and to offer a short-term training course on the management of surface water resources , with particular reference to eutrophication .a number of Spanish-speaking delegations commended the ongoing activities of the International Center for Training and Education in environmental sciences (CIFCA).
87. Several speakers, emphasizing the serious problems created by the so shortage of skilled planners ,specialists and decision-makers in the environmental sector, and other facilities, continue to give high priority to training and technical assistance, particularly for the developing countries, in order to facilitate the development of national environmental policies, programmes and regulations.
88. Many speakers acknowledged that environment and development, far from being mutually antagonistic, should in fact be considered complementary, and one delegation stressed that environmental protection policies, particularly pollution abatement programmes, might infact stimulate economic growth. Whereas to much progress was the major cause of environmental hazard in the highly industrialized nations it was the major cause of environmental problems for many countries. One speaker stressed that an ecological approach to development was required for developing and developed countries alike. Another speaker contended that although it might be impossible to set accurate limits to economic growth in GNP terms, there were obviously to set accurate limits (changes in the atmosphere, depletion of non-renewable resources, exhaustion of the atmosphere, depletion of non-renewable resource, exhaustion of the sources of food and water etc ),which must be taken into account; UNEP must work towards the definition of those limits in the formulation of strategy for the survival of mankind. Alternative scenarios for the methods, equipment and structure of production must be studied, particularly in respect of their environmental consequences.
89. One delegation felt that the regional seminars on an alternative patterns of development and lifestyles should situate the issues in the specific contexts of different regions, as well as the linkages between patterns of development in the industrialized countries and the environment development situation in developing countries. One representative looked forward to follow-up action regarding the executive director’s stated goal of achieving tested guidelines and methodologies for the integration of environmental concerns into national and international planning processes. Another delegation suggested that UNEP should initiate work on the development of models for the integration of development and environment objectives which could be used by countries with different development policies,economic structures, pollution densities and geographic conditions. Yet another delegation said that UNEP should keep under continuing review the impact of national and international environmental policies and measures on developing countries, as well as the problem of additional costs which might be incurred by then in the implementation of environmental programmes and projects.
90. It was recognized that as countries developed, they would have to tackle then common environmental problems accompanying rising industrialization. reference was made to efforts being made to evolve appropriate environmental management norms for the guidance of industrial developers. Developing countries were realizing the importance and usefulness of environmental impact assessment as a tool to ensure that environmental impact assessment as a tool to ensure that environmental considerations were take into account in developing countries by providing technical assistance in environmental impact assessment, or even by financing pilot projects for the effective dissemination of the related technology. Another noted that although environmental impact assessment had gained wide acceptance at the national level, it must be given the necessary weight at the international level from the very beginning of the planning process, and not simply constitute the basis for remedial action; UNEP must therefore ensure that ecological considerations were included in multilateral aid programmes, and contribute to facilitating such inclusion in bilateral programmes as well.
91. One speaker pointed out that environmental degradation assumed specific features according to the region under consideration and environmental management should reflect that situation; he was not, however, calling for institutional expansion, and hoped that a suitable decentralization formula could be devised. The representative of Italy recalled his Government’s offer to organize in co-operation with UNEP a specialized training course in environmental management for candidates from developing countries. The three-month course, fully subsidized by UNEP and the intalian Government, to be held at Urbina in September 1978 was expected to be the first of a series of similar initiatives.
92. Several speakers suggested that the Governing council might in future consider attempting to shorten the duration of sessions.
93. The representative of the commission of the European Communities said that UNEP’S work was of growing importance for the development of the community’s environmental protection programme. Moreover certain actions being undertaken at EEC level could make an important contribution to UNEP’S own programme, particularly with respect to IRS, IRPTC, the Mediterranean action plan, toxic chemicals, environmental law and the assessment of the costs and benefits of pollution control. The community had already made an initial response to the problem created by the “Amocco Cadiz” disaster by providing a financial contribution. A more comprehensive proposal for common action by community countries in the area of marine pollution was under intensive consideration by the EEC council, and it was hoped that framewoek. The community countries would also make available to UNEP the results of studies recently undertaken on the impact of alternative energy strategies on the environment.
94. The representative of CMEA stressed the value of co-operation among CMEA countries in protecting and improving the environment. CMEA members had also reached agreement with other countries regarding co-operation in that field. Various UNEP programmes corresponded closely to the common programme developed by CMEA, which regularly sent material on its activities to UNEP and looked forward to a strengthening of contacts and co-operation with UNEP and looked forward to a strengthening of contracts and co-operation with UNEP following the visit of the executive director.
95. The representative of WHO expressed the depreciation of WHO for the pioneering efforts of UNEP towards the promotion of a better quality of life in an unpolluted environment, which was also one of the basic goals of WHO. WHO strategy regarding malaria control was very much in line with the UNEP goals and placed great emphasis on the use of integrated methods of malaria control, including environmental methods. While agreeing with UNEP regarding the promotion of environmental methods of malaria control, whenever they were efficient and consonant with the health objectives pursued, WHO nevertheless believed that the use of insecticides public health programmes should be continued whenever that was indicated, and particularly when there were no other practical and applicable means for controlling vector-borne diseases. The principal reason for the resurgence of malaria in some countries was financial, coupled with the lessening attention paid by governments to malaria control. It was quite clear that it was the sue of pesticides in agriculture, rather than the indoor spraying of DOT against malaria, which had caused large-scale contamination of the environment.
96. Responding to the comments made in the general debate, the executive director said he was gratified that delegations had generally commended the improvement in documentation. While the number of documents before the council had not noticeably diminished, partly as a result of requests for reports by the General assembly, the total number of pages had decreasing from 1200 at the fifth session to 800 at the current one. The state of the environment report was intended to afford the general public an insight into major emerging issues. It could not be a technical document, and would continue to look superficial to experts. To revert to including it as part of the introductory report might be difficult, since the Governing council had agreed at its third session that it should be presented as a separate document. 5/
5/ report of the Governing council on the work of its third session, official records of
the General Assembly, thirtieth session, supplement No. 25 (A/10025), para. 87.
97. he was pleased that delegations had felt his visits to a number of countries and intergovernmental organizations were useful; they had permitted him to obtain clear insights into the wishes and concerns of governments. He would endeavoring thecoming year to travel to those regions which he had not yet had an opportunity to visit.
98. The brad endorsement by the council of the 21 goals he had outlined in 1977 was gratifying. He was pleased by the council’s general recognition that environment and development were complementary, and that environmental considerations should be taken into account in development planning at the preparations for the international development strategy and the implementation of the programme of Action for the Establishment of a new international economic order had also been emphasized; he intended to report to the council at its next session on UNEP’S preparation for and contribution to the 1980 special session of the General Assembly which would assess the progress made in the establishment of the new international economic order. Positive observations had also been made on the continued work on ecodevelopment and on the seminars on alternative patterns of development and lifestyles, the results of which, he hoped, would help refine UNEP’S contribution to the new international development strategy. He had noted Hungary’s proposal that UNEP initiate work on models for the integration of development and environment objectives and Switzerland’s suggestion that the influence of short-term cycles be taken into account in the preparation of next year’s in-depth reviews on ecodevelopment and industry and environment.
99. Many speakers had stressed the crucial importance of assessing the impact of chemicals on the environment and of adopting appropriate control measures. In view of the important role that IRPTC could play in that respect, he appealed to Governments to support the centre through the active involvement of national correspondents. Similarly, the usefulness of IRS was predicated was predicated upon the development of users markets.
100. Norway’s suggestion that the role of UNEP regarding the ozone layer should go beyond research programme co-ordination and branch co-ordinating committee on the Ozone layer. In his view, however, in order to move beyond co-ordination of research into co-ordinating effective protective measures, the committee would need scientific evidence that depletion was reaching dangerous levels.
101. On the question of shared natural resources, he was gratified that the Governing council seemed to be moving towards endorsing his suggestion that the report of the Group of experts be transmitted to the general Assembly with the recommendation that the latter adopt and urge member states to respect the principles of conduct. One delegation had expressed concern that the concept of shared natural resources was still undefined, but he wished to recall that the general assembly had not asked for such a definition.
102. He was pleased at the support expressed by several delegations for his suggestion that UNEP should draw attention to the environmental consequences of the arms race at the special session of the general assembly on disarmament. He would address that session.
103. Several delegations had stated that UNEP should expand its activities in the field of alternative energy sources, especially for the benefit of developing countries. The experimental projects on the establishment of rural energy centres in a few developing countries were moving ahead satisfactorily. UNEP HAD a project with the international institute for applied system analysis on energy options, and would review it to see if it could reflect the problems of developing countries.
104. UNEP had already started consultations with ECE regarding co-opeation in the preparations of the high-level meeting on the environment proposed for 1978.
105. He welcomed the announcement of increased contributions both to the environment fund and to UNHHSF, and the attempts to bring contributions into line with the increased target. Fund activities is Asia and the pacific and in Western Asia were admittedly at a relatively low level, and some accommodation of the needs of the two regions was overdue. He refereed to the comments made in that connexion in document UNEP/GC. 6/13, paragraph 16 (d). it was not true, however, that Asia and the Pacific was not adequately represented among the staff of UNEP. A comparison of the number of staff members from Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the caribbean, and Africa showed that there was a proper geographical balance. He was heartened by the prevailing view that the existing procedures for the approval of projects should be maintained, with the executive director submitting to the council projects which required its consideration because of their policy implications.
106. Two-week sessions of the council would be acceptable for the secretarial. During such a session, it might prove practical t hold committee meetings during the first week, with plenary meetings during the second week for finalization of decisions. In the long run, he would also welcome a decision to hold sessions of the council every two years. However, at the present stage, when there was major consideration of restructure in within the united nations system, it would not be advisable for the executive director to be without the guidance of the council for more than one year.
Action by the governing council 1
107. At the 15th meeting of the session, on 24 May 1978, the Governing council considered a draft decision submitted by the president on progremme policy and implementation.
108. Referring to section III, paragraph 2, of the draft decision, the executive director said that he intended to address the General Assembly in his capacity as executive director of UNEP in order to present to the Assembly the views of the program on the question of the environmental consequences of the arms race. It was not his intention to convey any specific views of states members of the Governing council.
109. The draft decision was adopted by consensus (decision 6/1).6/
110. The representative of China said that his delegation welcomed the explanatory statement of the executive director concerning his intention to address the special session of the General Assembly. China consistently supported true disarmament and opposed sham disarmament, and was resolutely against wars of aggression. His delegation had already referred in the general debate to the harmful consequences for people and the environment, in terms of loss of life, destruction of buildings and farmlands, and pollution, of the continuous aggression and expansion engaged in by the super-powers in all parts of the world. It was highly regrettable that on the eve of the special session, war had broken out again in Zaire. That was the second time a super-power had employed mercenary troops for the military invasion of a sovereign state. The resulting destruction of life and of the environment should be condemned by the peoples of the world. It was on the basis of heat position that his delegation approved section III of the decision just adopted.
6/ For the text of the decision, see annex I below.