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A - Review of recent developments for subjects other than those selected for in-depth reporting

130. Introducing part I of the programme document (UNEP/GC.6/7 and Corr. I and Add.I), the assistant executive director, bureau of the programme, pointed out that the text was essentially an updated of the events since the fifth session of the council for those subjects which had not been chosen for in-depth reporting to the council at its sixth session, and drew the attention of the committee to policy matters requiring its special consideration. Two mattes on which the executive director felt in particular need of the guidance of the council were the degree of support which should be given to the secretariat for the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, and to meetings of the parties to that convention; and the future work o the working group of experts on environment law.


(a). earthwatch

131. Many delegations considered earthwatch to be the corner stone of UNEP’s activities, and felt that it would remain one of the most important parts of the programme for some time to come. They did, however, express concern at the apparent slow rate of progress made in some Earthwatch components, mot notably the global environmental ‘onitoring system (gems) and the international register of potentially toxic chemicals (IRPTC). It was noted in that connexion that the international referral system (IRS), which had made good progress, could function as a self-contained entity, whereas both gems and IRPTC could not be pursued without data. Delegations emphasized that earthwatch had to be an operational integrated system if it was to succeed and enable international development activities to be undertaken in full harmony with the environment.

132. Several delegations welcomed the creation of the division of environmental Assessment, 8/ which they hoped would help would help accelerate the integration of assessment activity and the operation of its various components. The stressed, however, the immediate need for a plan of action for assessment, in order to ensure co-ordination between component parts which at present appeared to function independently.

133. The representative of FAO underlined the successful co-operation of his agency with UNEP in a number of important activities, and drew attention to the assessment of natural resources contained in the 1977 report of the state of natural resources and environment for food and agriculture.

(1) Global Environmental monitoring System

134,. Many delegations expressed their continued support of GEMS, and stressed that it should operate as part of an integrated Earthwatch Programme. Several delegations suggested the, adoption of a programme development plan, which would establish goals for specific areas. In the attainment of each goal, the plan would provide for three sequential phases In order to: determine trends; provide best estimates of the impact of such trends on both human and non-human targets; and outline alternative courses of action to remedy and reverse those trends, should they be recognized as creating a hazard. Such an approach would enhance the effectiveness of GEMS by ensuring greater harmonization between the monitoring, research and development. Another delegation considered that reports of some monitoring programmes should be made readily available to the general public, as well as to Governments.

135. Referring to the work undertaken by the GEMS subgroup of the Environment Co-ordination Board's working group of Earthviatch, it was suggested that an ACC subgroup could play an equally important role in the co-ordinated development of activities and thus contribute to giving greater momentum to the attainment of the Executive Director's goal of achieving fully operational GEMS by 1982.

136. A number of delegations described national monitoring activity efforts to establish effective monitoring systems. Some delegates called for assistance to developing countries to enable them to play an effective role in GEMS. A number of delegations indicated their government’s Interest in participating in the work of UNEP On ocean pollution, tropical forest and natural resources monitoring. The representative of Kenya stated that there was a proposal to set up In Nairobi, the headquarters of the International Centre for research in ,Agro-Forestry (ICRAF), which would be a significant development In the Implementation of the tropical forest cover monitoring programme; Kenya also declared Mount Kenya a biosphere reserve in order to facilitate establishment of the proposed. UNEP/WHO/Kenya government baseline monitoring station. One delegation indicated that the basic problems of comprehensive background monitoring would be discussed at an international symposium to be held at Riga (Soviet Union) In December 1978.

(11) International Referral System

137. All delegations welcomed the progress made In expanding and Improving IRS, and particularly the promotional efforts to broaden the user base. It was recognized that the System should now be strengthened by Governments making much more use of It. Several delegations welcomed the organization by UNEP of training courses and seminars, and called on It to Intensify such activities among developing countries so as to make their national focal points operationally effective; other delegations described the activities of their national focal points. One delegation hoped IRS would participate In the Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries, to be held In Argentina in August-September 1978. Two delegations also referred to the need for strict observation and full implementation of International agreements, including the quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971, to ensure the successful conduct of all IRS activities In the spirit of co-operation and understanding.

(111) Research, evaluation and review

138. Some delegations considered that the Executive Director's report on evaluation techniques for lead (UNEP/GC/INFOP. IATION/8) had demonstrated the Interrelationship between monitoring, assessment, research and evaluation. Evaluation was Indeed the culmination of the assessment process, serving to Integrate the other functions. One delegation felt that the report was not comprehensive enough, and should have assessed the Impact an Increase In the level of lead could have on human beings. One delegation expressed the view that It was Important to obtain in the very near future results on the basic toxic chemicals, and consolidate them In UNEP documents.

(iv) Assessment of basic human needs In relation to outer limits

139. The action envisaged by the Executive Director in the assessment of basic human needs was supported. One delegation requested that, In selecting the Institutions to participate In the network to under-take research, consideration be given to including French-speaking Institutions which had done considerable work on the subject.

(v) Assessment of outer limits

Climatic changes

140. The Executive Director s plans to co-operate with WMO and other agencies in the development of the World Climate Programme and in the organization of the Conference of Experts on Climate and mankind were supported. Particular reference was made to the need to support research Into the role of carbon dioxide on climatic changes.

141. The representative of VPIO referred to several co-operative activities with UNEP, Including those on weather modification, desertification, pollution monitoring, the ozone layer and climate. In reply to questions,he gave detailed Information about the organization of the World ClimateConference (WCC) 9/ scheduled for February 1979; participants would be drawn from decision-makers, planners, climatologists, etc., and conference papers would be sent out by November 1978.

Weather modification

142. Delegations expressed satisfaction with the results of the recent WMO/UNEP Informal meeting of experts on legal aspects of weather modification,10/ which had agreed on a number of principles of conduct for the guidance of States on weather modification experiments and operations,

And made valuable comments on the development of guidelines for national legislation. One delegation expressed the view that the Executive Director should submit the principles to Governments for comment before transmitting them to the Governing Council I at Its seventh session.

143. The Committee also supported the plans of the Executive Director to continue supporting the WMO Precipitation Enhancement Project, IO/

Particularly the part of its which dealt with assessment of the environmental impact of precipitation enhancement.

Risks to the ozone layer

144. Several speakers commended the Executive Director for the work already done the Co-ordinating Committee on the Ozone Layer, 11/ and welcomed the first issue of the Bulletin on the Ozone Layer, They also supported the Executive Director's plans for the active follow-up of the work of the Co-ordinating Committee.

145. Reference was made to-the action envisaged by some countries to limit the use of chlorofluorocarbons. One delegation In particular informed the meeting of Its Government's intention to use voluntary means to cut the use of chlorofluorocarbons in aerosols by 25 per cent in 1979 as against the 1975 figures, and informed the Committee of a conference to be held on the subject at Ponn in December 1978.

146. One delegation proposed that UNEP should harmonize the actions taken by various countries to protect the ozone layer, Including not only research and continued monitoring activities, but also the development of regulatory policies. It was pointed out, however, that where regulatory policies were concerned; UNEP would not take a position until further scientific evidence of depletion of the ozone layer was available.


147. The important role of the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen, carbon, sulphur and phosphorus in maintaining the biospheric balance was recalled, and the role of UNEP in the study of the subject was commended. One delegation said that full information on the details of UNEP activities

in the Important area of photosynthesis would be much appreciated.

148. Noting the fact that man was upsetting the balance of biogeochemical cycles In a variety of ways, with as yet unforeseeable consequences, the representative of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) expressed appreciation for the collaboration of UNEP In the SCOPE biogeochemical cycles project, 12/ the aim of which was to help provide additional scientific data a basis for counteracting man-made disturbances of the cycles and for full exploitation of the earth's productivity.

(b) Environmental data

149. Support was expressed for UNEP's activities on environmental data; 13/ one delegation Indicated that environmental data from national lnstittiti3ns In Its country would be sent to T)NEP for use as appropriate. Another delegation referred to the valuable work being undertaken under the auspices of the Senior Advisers on Environmental Problems of ECE In developing environmental Indicators, while another referred to similar work currently under way In Its country.

150. At the conclusion of its debate on environmental assessment, the Committee recommended for adoption by the Governing Council a draft decision on the International Referral System submitted by the delegations of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic and Thailand. During the discussion In the Committee, operative paragraph 5 of the draft was amended to reflect the understanding that its Implementation was to be strictly within the resources available to the Executive Director.

Action by the Governing Council

151. At the 14th plenary meeting of the session, on 24 lay 1978, the Governing Council adopted by consensus the draft decision recommended by Sessional Committee I (decision 6/3 A). 14/

2. Subject areas

(a) Human settlements

152. Many delegations, while agreeing that UNEP had a key role to play In relation to human settlements,, stressed the Importance of developing close links with Habitat, Centre for Human Settlements and clearly delineating the respective responsibilities of the two bodies In order that they might undertake complementary programmes of action. One delegation said that If that could not be done ' during Habitat's transitional. Period, the Executive Director might wish to defer until 1980 the In-depth reporting on human settlements, whereas many others supported the proposal to have the in-depth review for 1979. 15/ It was suggested that a report he submitted to the Council at Its seventh session on the, relationship between the two organizations. One delegation said that the In-depth report for the seventh session should include discussion of the problem of refugees and human settlements.

153. Several delegations pointed out that UNEP should be concerned solely with the environmental aspects of human-settlements, and the need for a definition of those aspects was indicated. Others suggested that UNEP should also concern itself with such aspects of human settlement as employment, new economic opportunities and the question of rural-urban migration. Several delegations 3/ stressed the relevance of the human settlements. Technology programs. and one expressed support for the regional networks, which should reinforce national and subregional endeavors.

154. Among other points raised were low-income -housing the use of local materials In human-settlements technology, and the training of human settlements managers. One delegation spoke of the need to support programmes to help the most deprived sections of the community, and others expressed Interest In the conceptual work on human settlements and ecosystems as a means to the Integration ton of natural and man-made components of the environment. Some delegations supported the regional programmes on human settlements.

155. The representative of the united nation department of economic and Social Affairs called for close collaboration between UNEP and the center for Housing, Building and Planning regarding the conceptual report on human settlements and ecosystems, 16/ as well I as the activities under the human settlements technology programme. 17/

(b) Terrestrial ecosystems 18/

156. Concern was expressed by many delegations regarding the rapid depletion of tropical forest ' s and woodlands, with Its serious Implications for climate, genetic diversity water, soil and bast ' c human needs such as food and energy. Several delegations expressed the hope that UNEP would expand its activities in the area, particularly, one delegation said, on the maintenance of forests for the protection of watersheds. One delegation said that its Government would like to see tropical deforestation reflected more specifically in the goal relating to the use of natural resources. Another delegation, supported by others, recalled the decision of central and West African States at. Kinshasa In 1975 on the creation of a regional documentation and training Center for tropical ecology, and suggested that UNEP should. Support the center.

157. Several delegations spoke of their interest In mountain, Island,, coastal and other ecosystems and welcomed the role of UNEP In the area. Some speakers, who spoke on their collaboration with UNESCO/MAB and IUCN In relevant projects, singled out mountain ecosystems. One speaker referred to the danger posed by natural and man-made disasters In these vulnerable ecosystems, and another spoke of the Interest with which his Government was looking forward to the state of knowledge report of the joint UNEP/UNESOO project In the Andean region. 19/

158. One delegation noted that studies of Island ecosystems had special significance for the South Pacific region, and expressed his Government's support for the preparation of the comprehensive environmental management plan for the region. 20/

159. One speaker said that in his country the destruction of mangrove ecosystems had led to the appearance of the anopheles mosquito. He thus hoped to see an integrated ecological approach, which would ensure the complete health of such ecosystems.

160. The representative of UNESCO spoke about the links between the loan and the Biosphere programme (MAB) and rational management of the environment. UNEP support for MAB was appreciated; the programme was developing rapidly In many countries, and It was now felt desirable to concentrate on approximately 30 projects of regional significance on tropical forests, arid and semi arid rangelands, mountain ecosystems and urban systems, focusing on results of a practical nature. The representative of FAO noted that FAO was Implementing, in some cases with the assistance of UNEP. The wider use of integrated pest management techniques, the management of grasslands in arid and semi-arid areas and the management of tropical forests.

161. The programme on genetic resources was !generally supported, and 'it was suggested that the funds allocated to the subject area be Increased. The co-operation of FAO, UNESCO and IUCN with UNEP In the framework of the Ecosystems Conservation Group was welcomed. 21/ one speaker, noting the Importance many organizations attached to the subject, welcomed the collaboration now under way enabling an Institute in his country to conduct courses In the field. Some delegations emphasized the importance of habitat conservation, and one described the importance its Government attached to the preservation of pines and eucalyptus as being of considerable economic benefit, The Importance of the proposed expert consultations on genetic monitoring was noted and a number of delegations recalled the role of microorganisms In biogas production and waste recycling and utilization. The representative of FAO spoke of the Organization's work in developing improved genetic materials and the conservation of endangered or promising genetic resources and in the use of microbial agents for lmproving, nitrogen fixation. The representative of UNESCO stressed the importance of the development of an International network of biosphere reserves and the need for continued support from UNEP in that respect.

162. Regarding wildlife and protected areas, one delegation stressed that wildlife protection should focus on the consumer markets by forbidding the sale and use of skins and trophies. Another delegation, supported by others, said that governing Council decision 86 C (V), whereby UNEP was to provide secretariat services for the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, should be respected, since the protection of wildlife was a specific task of UNEP, and one which It shared with no other organization In the United Nations system. All of the Parties to the Convention were members of that system, and they hoped for universal adherence to the Convention. It was unrealistic to expect the Parties to provide secretariat services; if they were required to do so, some might withdraw from the Convention, and other States might be deterred from ratifying it. Other delegations, however, argued that UNEP, as a catalytic and coordinating body, should not enter into an open-ended commitment, which created a precedent. One speaker suggested that UNEP might support projects under the Convention, rather than undertake Its administration on a continuous basis, and called for an amendment to the Convention, since contracting parties normally were responsible for providing secretariat services.

163. The representative of IUCN said that while It was not for a non-governmental organization to comment on the principle Involved, the dilemma would have to be quickly resolved In order to set the Convention fully In motion, since it was a dynamic and versatile tool for regulating the trade In endangered species. He also referred to progress In respect of the world Conservation Strategy, 22/ comments on the first draft of which had already been received, and which would be fully discussed during the forthcoming fourteenth General Assembly of IUCN to take place at Ashkabad, USSR.

164. At the conclusion of Its debate on terrestrial ecosystems, the Committee recommended for adoption by the governing Council draft decisions on humid tropical forest ecosystems of the African continent, submitted by the delegations of Belgium, Canada, France, Gabon, Germany, Federal Republic of, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, United Republic of Cameroon, Uruguay and Zaire and on the secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora, submitted by the delegations of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Federal Republic of, Ghana, Kenya, Switzerland, United kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Uruguay. The Committee agreed to Include its additional recommendations regarding terrestrial ecosystems In the general draft decision on programme matters (see para. 287 below).

Action by-the Governing Council

165. At the 14th plenary meeting of the session, on 24 May 1978, the Governing Council adopted by consensus the draft decisions recommended by Sessional Committee I (decision 6/5 B and D). 23/ for other action by the Council on the Committee's recommendation regarding terrestrial ecosystems see paragraph 291 below.

(c) Environment and development

166. In the area of the Integrated approach to environment and development, Including ecodevelopment, 24/ most speakers underscored the Importance of environment and development activities, and endorsed the work planned and carried out by the Executive director. The proposed amendments to the programme, 25/ as well as the proposal that an In-depth report on environment and development should be submitted to the Governing Council at Its seventh session, 26/ were supported. Several delegations felt that In view of the critical Importance of environment-developmont for the overall progress of UNEP, the subject required greater financial resources than in the past; concern was therefore expressed at the decrease in funds in the relevant budget line. One delegation felt that Governing Council decision 87 A (V) had not been fully Implemented.

167. It was generally felt that, as a result of the catalytic role of UNEP, environmental awareness had permeated the United Nations system.more work remained to be done, and most speakers underlined the crucial Importance of the Inputs by UNEP Into the activities leading to the formulation of the International development strategy for the 1980s and beyond, as well as Into the Implementation of the new International economic order.

168. Many speakers stressed the need for a greater number of activities leading to practical results, to give substance to the theoretical work accomplished so tar. The two UNEP-sponsored ecodevelopment projects 27/ were therefore welcomed, and their catalytic role and potential multiplier effects were noted. Other ecodevelopment projects, not supported by UNEP, were also praised.

169. Several speakers noted the Importance of work on the methodologies for Incorporating the environmental dimension into planning and decision-making, and supported the activities of UNEP In that area including the regional seas programs activities. They also stressed that insufficient knowledge of the subject was available and that tools must be developed through practical experience. Two delegation spoke of the growing attention paid to environment in their Governments' bilateral aid programmes,

170. A number of delegations expressed strong support for the UNEP sponsored regional seminars on alternative patterns of development arid life styles, and welcomed the intention of the Executive Director to link them with the regional seas programme. 281 Another speaker felt that the seminars also offered an opportunity for exchange of environment development experience between developing countries on a regional basis, something that should become a regular practice.

171. It was generally felt that high importance should be given to environmentally sound and appropriate technologies, and that UNEP should play a dynamic role in their promotion and in the environmental aspects of technology In general. One delegation said that the concept should be redefined as locally appropriate and accessible technologies that must be scientifically sound, acceptable to the community and realistic regarding resource, and take account of cultural factors. Other speakers emphasized the Importance of introducing appropriate local technologies through self-reliance and economic and technical co-operation among developing countries. One delegation inquired as to the nature of the management mechanism of the network on environmentally sound and appropriate technologies. 29/ Another expressed the opinion that UNEP should encourage the selection, promotion, dissemination and use of environmentally sound technologies by supporting relevant research, assisting Governments, and even promoting a system to encourage the adoption of promising Innovations that could not otherwise be pursued through lack of adequate financial and other support, while another said that UNEP should emphasize more the generation of local technologies, rather than the transfer of technologies. Some speakers indicated that, to permit more practical solutions to problems in developing countries, more dissemination of information, more training courses, and more funds were needed for the sub-area.

172. Regarding Industry and environment, one delegation said that future seminars should more adequately reflect the realities of environmental protection In participating countries. P, number of speakers supported the efforts of UNEP to encourage the use of low-waste and non-waste technology and recycling. 30/ others indicated the need for more concrete action in areas such as industrial siting, and for Improved dissemination of Information. It was also suggested that the UNEP secretariat should work In close co-operation with ECE and OECD, which had considerable experience In the field, One representative said that the programme should be adjusted to reflect better the industrial problems of the Asian region, and In particular those of agriculture-based Industry, both because- of its Importance to developing countries and because of the high pollution potential of the effluents It produced.

173. The representative of ECE noted that a compendium of low-waste and non-waste technology in the ECE region would be produced In co-operation with UNEP and the competitive values of low- and non-waste technologies assessed; he also informed the Committee of a seminar on environmental Impact assessment to be convened by ECE in 1979.

174. At the conclusion of Its debate on environment and development, the Committee recommended for adoption by the Governing Council draft decisions on environment and development, submitted by the delegations of Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Thailand, Venezuela and Yugoslavia, and Improvement of the working environment, submitted by the members of the Group of 77 represented in the Council. The Committee agreed to Include Its additional recommendations regarding environment and development In the general draft decision on programme matters (see para. 287 below).

175. During the discussion of the draft decisions on environment and development, the delegations of France, Greece, Iran, Spain and the United States of America urged the Executive Director to exercise his 20 percent discretionary authority to increase the allocation to the Oceans budget line. While supporting the delegations sponsoring the draft decision, the representative of Kenya stated that his Government attached great Importance to energy, which should also receive the attention of the secretariat In considering Increased budgetary allocations.

Action by the Governing Council

176. At the 14th plenary meeting of the session, on 24th may 1978, the Governing Council adopted by consensus the draft decisions recommended by Sessional Committee I (decisions 6/6 A - C). 31/ The representative of Greece, speaking on behalf of a number of delegations in the group of Western European and other States noted that the first pr-eambular paragraph of part A of the decision reflected the language of General Assembly resolution 32/168, which had been adopted without a vote. The delegations on whose behalf he spoke were happy to join the consensus on the decision. However, their position with regard to the programme of action on the establishment of a new International economic order, referred to in that paragraph, was weII known and was In no way affected by the text of the decision. They looked forward to playing a constructive role In the work of the United Nations In Incorporating the environmental dimension In the preparatory work for the formulation of the new International development strategy.

177. For other action by the Council on the Committee’s recommendations regarding environment and development, see paragraph 291 below.

178. Regarding marine pollution, most delegations expressed concern at the Increase In oil spills, and it was pointed out that the recent "Amoco Cadiz" disaster was the most serious so far. It was felt that ocean baseline monitoring stations should be set up to permit assessment of damage to the marine environment, and that agreement should speedily be reached on strengthening existing marine pollution conventions. One delegation informed the Committee of its country's broad programme of research into pollution and of the monitoring, on an experimental basis, of the ocean floor. Another speaker said that, although the workshop on marine pollution hold at Penang In April 1976 had identified priority research areas, progress since then had been disappointing, and UNEP should therefore assist In the programme. One delegation said that UNEP should help fund developing countries to assist them in coping with oil spills.

179.The representative of IMCO reported that the International Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention convened by the Organization in February 1978 had adopted two protocols which supplemented and strengthened the requirements of the, 1973 and 1974 conventions on marine pollution and safety. He also informed the Committee of the outcome of discussions and decisions of IMCO related to the "Amoco Cadiz'' disaster.

180. The UNEP programme for living marine resources was generally endorsed. One delegation said that its Government was setting up marine parks, while another referred to the first monk Seal Conference, held In Greece in May 1978. The importance of living marine resources as a source of food for the world's population was noted.

181. The representative of FAO said that the Organization was involved in reducing pressure on marine fish resources, and in developing and promoting aquaculture.

182. At the conclusion of Its debate on oceans, the Committee recommended for adoption by the governing Council a draft decision on marine pollution, submitted by the delegations of Belgium, France, Germany, Federal Republic of, Ivory Coast, Senegal, United Republic of Cameroon, United States of America and Zaire. The Committee agreed to incorporate its additional recommendations regarding oceans in the general draft decision on programme matters (see para. 287 below).

183. The representative of Kuwait expressed doubt at the appropriateness of referring In the draft decision to the "Amoco Cadiz" incident; his delegation had misgivings regarding the legal implications of that reference, as well as regarding the Implications of operative paragraph 4, which would require extensive financial and human resources to implement. The representative of France assured delegations that the draft decision was not intended to interfere with the mandates of other United Stations bodies and was not binding in nature. The representative of Uruguay, supported by the representatives of Belgium, France and the Federal Republic of Germany, expressed the view that the problem of ships flying flags of convenience was one that required immediate study and should have been referred to in the draft decision.

Action by the Governing Council

184. At the 14th plenary meeting of the session, on 24 May 197P, the Governing Council adopted by consensus, as orally amended by the President, the draft decision recommended by Sessional Committee I (decision 6/7 A). 33/ For other action by the Council on the Committee's recommendations regarding oceans, see paragraph 291 below.

(e) Energy

1)35. The UNEP energy programme received general support from many delegations, and some felt that the funding for the programme should be increased. The concept of rural energy centres 34/ was endorsed by most delegations, and some called for similar centres to be set up in other countries. Many speakers stressed the Importance of alternative or non-conventional energy sources, and it was suggested that UNEP Investigate all avenues of nonpolluting energy. One delegation called for a conference on solar energy, while another said that Its Government was prepared to assist developing nations in making the transition to solar and renewable energy resources. It was suggested that the UNEP should expand its activities in the assessment of energy needs in developing countries and the development of non-conventional environmentally sound energy resources.

186. One delegation said that social and economic factors should be taken into account when considering environmental Impacts of various. Energy sources. Others noted the reviews on the environmental Impacts of mining and on hydropower, and suggested that similar reviews be undertaken on the consequences of the transport, processing and use of coal and on geothermal sources of energy. Many delegations also emphasized the Importance of energy conservation. One speaker said that the results of the UNEP/IIASA project on different energy scenarios 35/ should he disseminated widely.

187. One speaker said that since 1958 biogas had been increasingly employed in rural areas of his country, and had been found to be of particular benefit because of its adaptability to rural areas as an energy source and the use of the nutrient-rich residue as a fertilizer. However, much work had still to be done, and his country wished to learn from others.

Natural disasters

188, The Committee endorsed the actions planned by the Executive director, in particular the co-operation of UNEP with UNESCO in organizing the International conference on earthquake prediction 36/ and the Preparation of an In-depth report on natural disasters for consideration by the governing council at Its seventh session. I t was also suggested that the Executive Director should support a global network of International warning centres for tropical cyclones.

189. One speaker reported on the work Initiated In his country, In co-operation with others, In the area of earthquake prediction, which involved assessing seismic risk due to large public works and designing a full-scale experiment for earthquake prediction in selected zones. A meeting of experts on the subject was to be held In Italy in July 1978 and UNEP would be informed of progress in the programme.

190. One delegation suggested that man-made disasters should be Included In the subject area.

191. The representative of WHO referring to the fifteenth of the goals for 1982 37/ approved by the Governing Council at Its fifth session, 38/ “Beginnings of an operational, world Wide early-warning system for natural disasters", said that the word "Beginnings" was misleading where disasters caused by meteorological phenomena were concerned, since

early-warning systems against such disasters were already In operation.

3. Supporting measure 39/

(a) Environmental training

192. Several delegations supported the UNEP programme on environmental training and Particularly welcomed the separation of objectives and strategies for environmental education and environmental training While some delegations supported the Proposed objectives and strategies for environmental training others called for clearer formulation, harmonization and ordering of some objectives and strategies In Paragraphs 137 (environmental training) and 409 (environmental education) of the Programme document. Some other delegations considered that the Proposed Objectives and strategies for training were directed towards professional and technical levels, whereas they should address themselves to general environmental training for the public, who had an Important role to play In improving the environment. One delegation suggested that the objectives were too general, particularly those regarding the establishment of environmental training centres In developing countries; another considered that one of the proposed strategy elements duplicated a UNESCO objective.

193. Many delegations emphasized the Importance of environmental training and fellowships, particularly for personnel from developing countries, and several suggested the provision of special funds, to be administered by the UNEP regional offices, for training such groups as tropical ecologists, economists and engineers. Many speakers welcomed the Executive Director's establishment of a programme activity Centre on environmental education and training In Africa, 40/ and hoped that UNEP and UNESCO would co-operate In Its operation. The hope was expressed that the establishment of the centre would catalyse and assist in the effective co-ordination of United Nations training schemes. One delegation described the full range of subjects offered In training courses-provided by the International Centre for Water Resources management established In co-operation with the Government of France, some of' which were organized In co-operation with WMO and UNESCO. 41/ Another speaker expressed regret at the absence of reference to the International training course In environmental management at Urbino, Italy, established by the Italian Government In collaboration with UNEP, In the training section of the programme document; courses at the Centre would start In September 1978, and experts from all English speaking countries were Invited to take part.

194. Several speakers described environmental training and education programmes In their countries; one Indicated that environmental education would be Initiated at the primary-school level, while others stated that training programes had started at the university level.

195. Referring to the problems of environmental training, the representative of UNESCO stressed the value of the courses sponsored by UNESCO and UNEP at montepeller/Toulouse (France), Enschede (Netherlands), Sheffield (United Kingdom) and Dresden (German Democratic Republic) on training In the Integrated study and management of the environment and Its natural resources.

196. The Committee agreed to include its recommendation regarding environmental training in the general draft decision on programme matters (see para.287 below).

Action by the Governing Council

197 For action by the Governing Council on the Committee’s recommendations regarding environmental training see paragraph 291 below.

(b) Technical assistance

198. Many delegations welcomed the establishment of a Technical Co-operation Unit In UNEP 42/ and indicated they would co-operate with the Unit. One speaker emphasized that the Unit should not be operational, but primarily advisory and catalytic in function. It was indicated that the Unit's functions should be spelt out to Governments to enable them to co-operate effectively with it.

199. Many delegations also welcomed the establishment, with UNEP support, of environmental units In the United Nations regional commissions. 43/ However, one delegation questioned whether that could be regarded as technical assistance. All speakers noted the role the regional advisory teams were playing in the various regions, and some delegations called for their strengthening to facilitate technical assistance in a wide range of subjects. One speaker stressed the Importance of technical assistance In conducting seminars and workshops on topics of particular significance to a given region,, such as environmental planning, ecodevelopment, environmental management, etc., and offered his Government's assistance In training courses r6latino to remotely sensed data. Another delegation stated that, under agreements with UNEP, Its Government was organizing courses for specialists from developing countries on such subjects as sand-dune fixation, management of grazing land and secondary salinization of soils as a result of Irrigation, as well as study tours.

200. Some delegations indicated that they would co-operate with UNEP In providing Information which could be passed on to others used In processing requests for technical assistance through the clearinghouse facility. 42/ One delegation however wondered whether the fact that there were so few responses from Governments was a result of lack of publicity, or of lack of Interest or understanding on the part of Governments.

4. Environmental law Including environmental management

(a) Environmental law

201. Several speakers said that, since environmental law was a key aspect of the UNEP programme and one of the social means of ensuring the protection of the environment, environmental law activities should be expanded and coordinated with the work of the United Nations system; a modest Increase In the staff dealing with environmental law would enable the secretariat to do what was expected of It in that field.

202. Welcoming the Register of International Conventions and Protocols in the Field of the Environment (UNEP/GC/INFORMATION/5 and SUPPLEMENT), many delegations considered it should be continuously updated and disseminated to Governments. The efforts of UNEP to encourage more States to accept environmental conventions and protocols were commended; the value of the Register In that respect was acknowledged, and It was suggested by one delegation that the Register should Include the full texts of conventions. Another delegation thought that developing countries had not accepted some instruments because the texts, and their regulatory annexes, demanded a level of technical expertise they did not always possess; many of the conventions and protocols also Imposed heavy burdens on developing countries In terms of finance, personnel and equipment. Accordingly, UNEP should provide assistance to developing countries In regard to the more complex or technical conventions. The same delegation Invited UNEP to Improvise review procedures, with participation of States on a voluntary basis, In order to assist developing countries in assimilating existing conventions and Introducing necessary legislation. Another speaker said the Register should provide a basis for periodic evaluation on Implementation, while another asked how UNEP would help States ratify conventions and protocols.

203. Several delegations referred to the useful assistance the Environmental Law Information System of the Environmental Law Centre of IUCN was rendering to administrators and lawyers from both developed and developing countries, and called on UNEP to co-operate fully with the Centre. One delegation expressed doubt as to the usefulness of UNEP extending its role in the teaching of environmental law in universities, which it felt was beyond the scope of the programme. Several other delegations, on the other hand, supported the Proposals for Introduction of environmental law into university education. Another delegation emphasized the usefulness of government lawyers from developed countries assisting their counterparts from developing countries on an ad hoc basis, a procedure that was more practical, and likely to yield results sooner, than proceeding through universities. Several delegations also urged the formation of national and regional associations of International lawyers to hold seminars on environmental law topics of Interest to their regions. One delegation asked UNEP to consider when promoting the register of sources of environmental law, that two such compilations were already in existence.

204. A number of speakers noted with appreciation the adoption by the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts of principles for the guidance of States In respect of shared natural Resources (UNEP/GC.6/17). One speaker hoped that the General Assembly would support the principles and call on States to respect them, and another hoped that a convention would result from the principles.

205. Many delegations referred to the, work of the Working Group of Experts on Environmental Law, and a number expressed regret that the Group's report on its session hold in April 1978 was not available to the Committee. It was, however pointed out that the Executive Director had submitted a progress report on the work of the Group. 44/ Some delegations were of the view that the Group had made good progress at Its first and second sessions and supported an amendment to the proposed draft decision calling on the Group to expedite Its work In accordance with the work programme agreed at Its second session; others, however, expressed disappointment at the Group's work. -Several speakers supported a proposal by one delegation that the Group should, before the seventh session of the Governing Council, agree on a long-term work programme covering the topics to be discussed by the Group and the possible establishment of subgroups to deal with them. It was suggested that the Group should meet at a high level In January 1979 and that the Executive 61rector should report on the meeting to the Governing Council at Its seventh session. Another speaker, supported by others, stated that, while the development of International legal principles on liability and compensation for pollution or environmental damage was Important, it was more Important to avoid such damage, and UNEP might In future convene a panel of experts on the subject. There was considerable scope for International co-operation In the environmental assessment ' of proposed activities having Impacts within the national jurisdiction of two or more States, or outside national jurisdiction altogether; the results of such work might lead to a set of principles or a draft convention on environmental assessment. Some delegations said that the Group of Experts should prepare guidelines on matters contained in the work prepared, agreed at its second meeting, beginning with part 1. Several other Delegations emphasized the Importance of including In the Group's member’s technical and scientific experts on the various subjects it dealt with.

206. One delegation stressed that the activities of UNEP should include research and the elaboration of theoretical principles of environmental law, as a necessary basis for further sectoral developments.

207. At the conclusion of its discussion, the Committee recommended for adoption by the Governing Council a draft decision on environmental law, submitted by the delegations of Canada and the Netherlands. During the debate In the Committee on the draft decision, the representative of Australia stated that his delegation attached Importance to the development of legal principles relating to liability and compensation as mentioned In the third preambular paragraph, and called on the Group of Experts on Environmental Law to concentrate on a small number of specific areas, for example on developing broad guidelines for national legislation. The Group should not be drawn Into scientific and technical aspects, which 'in the view of Australia were.-outside Its competence. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany, in reply to a question as to the legal Institutes and organizations envisaged In operative paragraph (b), said that the paragraph envisaged the Environmental Law Information System of the Environmental Law Centre of IUCN and similar Institutions or organizations.

In reply to another question, the Assistant Executive Director, Bureau of the Programme, stated that the decision entailed no additional financial Implications and would be implemented within current financial resources.

Action by the Governing Council

At the 14th plenary meeting of the session, on 24 may 1978, the Governing Council adopted by consensus the draft decision recommended by Sessional Committee I (decision 6/9). 45/

(b) Environmental management

209. In supporting the activities under environmental management, one delegation considered the account should be taken of distinctive regional characteristics, and called on UNEP to support the proposed South Pacific Conference on the Human Environment. 46/ The dependence of environmental management on environmental education and training was pointed out, and UNEP was advised to co-operate fully with Governments and the United Nations system In Its promotion of environmental management advice. It was also noted that attempts to Integrate environmental standards and criteria In development projects or programmes financed by International and regional bodies had not been entirely successful; UNEP should assume a role In that respect, either by establishing criteria and standards which could be applied to large and important projects, or by preparing relevant guidelines and manuals for use by the United Nations system and regional bodies-, It was essential to Incorporate the costs of environmental measures in project planning, and In order to ensure that the United Nations system and regional bodies followed the guidelines, It was desirable for the competent legislative organs to endorse them by appropriate resolutions or decisions. It was also suggested that financing Institutions should make Incorporation of environmental considerations a condition of their assistance. One delegation expressed the view that the proposed handbook on environmental machineries and legislation would serve a useful purpose. 47/