17. In discussing agenda items 5 (a) and (b) and 6 (a) and (b) at its 61st to 65th meetings, the Council had before it the following documents: "Introductory report of the Executive Director" (UNEP/GC/87); "The state of the environment: selected topics - 1977" (UNEP/GC/88 and Corr.1 and 2); "Report of the Environment Co-ordination Board on its sixth session" (UNEP/GC/89 and Add.1); a report on relevant General Assembly and Economic and Social Council resolutions and decisions (UNEP/GC/104 and Corr.1 and Add.1); a report by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions on co-ordination questions in the activities of UNEP (UNEP/GC/L.47); and an information paper reproducing previous decisions of the Governing Council on programme policy and implementation (UNEP/GC/INFORMATION/3).
18. In an introductory statement (UNEP/GC/L.48) at the Councils 60th meeting, the Executive Director thanked Governments for his re-election, and paid tribute to the retiring Deputy Executive Director, Mr. R. B. Stedman, and Special Adviser for Programme Matters, Mr. David A. Munro. He then introduced the new management team of UNEP, which would take up its duties in the next few months: Mr. Peter S. Thacher, Deputy Executive Director; Mr. Sveneld Evteev, Assistant Bureau of the Programme; Mr. Peter H. Oltmanns, Assistant Bureau of the Environment Fund and Management; Administrator of UNHHSF; Mr. Philip Ndegwa, Deputy Assistant Bureau of the Programme; and Mr. Yusuf Ahmad, Deputy Director, Bureau of the Environment Fund and Management.
19 In the view of the Executive Director, General Assembly resolution 31/112, expressed by the Governing Council in decision 78 (IV) that the institutional arrangements for international environmental co-operation appeared adequate and sound and that, in any decision about restructuring the economic and social sectors of the United Nations system, environmental considerations within the system should be observed, strengthened and given institutional visibility, was a confirmation that UNEP was on the right track. Much, however, remained to be done to meet the high aspirations expressed by Governments at Stockholm in 1972. He intended in the near future to examine the structure of the secretariat and ensure that it was organized in the most effective way to meet the tasks ahead.
20. UNEP had been created to reinforce and co-ordinate the efforts of the world community in the environmental field, not to take them over. The Environment Fund was relatively small because it was to be a source of leverage or seed-money to stimulate action. The Programme's role, however, had not always been wholly understood, even, perhaps, by some Governments. A major source of misunderstanding had been the uniqueness of the UNEP concept within the United Nations system: UNEP was meant to be catalytic, and it was not easy to measure the output of a non-operational programme.
21. UNEP was unique in its small size. If, however, the environment -programme were to be kept moving rapidly from the conceptual to the operational stage, the secretariat was now marginally too small for its evolving tasks. He hoped the Council would agree that the proposed increase of five Professional posts was modest considering the scope of the work ahead. Governments could render vital assistance in identifying candidates of the highest calibre; he hoped to be able to maintain an appropriate geographical balance among the staff.
22. UNEP was unique, too, in the way it related to the United Nations system and in its interagency co-ordination arrangements. New channels had been devised and new standards set for effective substantive co-operation at the programme formulation stage. Since the fourth session of the Governing Council, 17 joint programming exercises with United Nations organizations had taken place, and more were scheduled for the months following the fifth session. The Environment Co-ordination Board had decided, at its sixth session, that joint programming should in future focus increasingly on subject areas in which several agencies would participate with UNEP, rather than take the form of exclusively bilateral dialogues between UNEP and the individual agencies. Those developments had introduced unique and effective ways of co-ordination among members of the United Nations system.
23. Communication with Governments, regarding which some dissatisfaction had been
· expressed at the fourth session, had been facilitated through the issue of Report to Governments. Other useful sources of contact included the informal consultations with Governments, the permanent representatives accredited to UNEP, whose number had increased over the last year from 36 to 43, and the focal points at Nairobi. In the past year, the Executive Director had paid official visits to some 30 countries, which had added greatly to his understanding of their environmental problems and their efforts to deal with them.
24. The relationships between UNEP and non-governmental organizations had progressed steadily. In his view, the growth in numbers and influence of those groups since the Stockholm Conference was a development of considerable significance. World Environment Day was the climax of year-round information activities of the Programme reaching out to the general public. While considerable progress had been achieved in the area of publications, efforts would continue to be made to improve that important aspect of communications, the most important current development of which was the publication of the first issue of the environmental journal entitled Mazingira.
25. It was encouraging to note the importance given to environmental issues at the fourth session of UNCTAD', at the 14orld Employment Conference and at the General Conference of UNESCO. A detailed account of the results of Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements 3/ and their relevance to UNEP was available in reports before the Council. The question of institutional arrangements for international co-operation in the field of human settlements would soon be considered by the Economic and Social Council with the aim of presenting concrete recommendations to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session. While the Governing Council was not required to take any formal action in that respect, any views it wished to express would help the Secretary-General prepare for the discussions in the Economic and Social Council. The Secretary-General of the United Nations Water Conference would report personally to the Governing Council, which might wish to consider the implications for UNEP of the plan of action adopted by that Conference.
26. The environment was one of the four areas selected by the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination (CPC) for study in depth at its seventeenth session. UNEP, had contributed to the report on interagency co-ordination in the area (E/AC/51/82 and Add.1 and 2) which the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC) would submit to CPC, and had prepared an evaluation of certain programme subareas for inclusion in the environment chapter of the Secretary-Generals report to CPC on programme evaluation (E/AC-51/80).
27. The format of two of the most important documents before the Council, the state of the environment report (UNEP/GC/88 and Corr.1 and 2) and the programme document (UNEP/GC/90 and Corr.1 and Add.1 and 2), was substantially different from that followed in previous years. He hoped that the changes,, which were described in the introductory sections of the reports themselves, would meet with the approval of the Council. His proposals to report in 1978 on a limited number of areas, and to make in his introductory report each year, similar proposals for the following year's session, would, if endorsed by the Council, enable it to study specific subjects in depth, give concrete directives, and ease the burden on it's members and on the secretariat by lessening the volume of paper. Continuing efforts would be made to reduce that volume and to improve the quality of the documentation.
28. He was gratified by the response by contributing Governments, particularly the largest contributors, to the appeals made at the fourth session for prompt payment of pledges and by the fact that 70 countries had to date pledged or contributed to the Fund. He hoped, however, that the list would continue to grow even more rapidly. He believed that the $100 million level initially established for the Fund was, if maintained in real terms, adequate to carry out the catalytic function. It was urgent, however,, that the Council pronounce itself on a target f the Fund, and that contributing Governments announce their intentions for 1978 and future years soon, lest the programme should suffer disruption due to financial uncertainties. Guidance was also expected from the Council on the use of non-convertible currencies in ways consistent with the programme.
29. The ultimate purpose of the activities of UNEP would remain proper management based on adequate assessment, of human activities affecting the environment. Governments were rightly looking to UNEP to help them achieve effective environmental management and to offer them practical guidance. For its part, UNEP would in the future need the views of Governments on its information efforts and more information on their own activities. UNEP had developed a clearing-house capacity for technical assistance requests,, but an indication of the willingness potential donor countries to respond to those requests was needed.
30. One implication of environmental assessment which needed to be stressed was that UNEP, in reviewing actions or inactions which put the environment at serious risk, would almost certainly come into confrontation with other interests, particularly if the issues at hand were of global significance. While such confrontations were perhaps inevitable if environmental organizations were to discharge their responsibilities, UNEP could and should help resolve them.
Presumably, the Governing Council would wish UEEP to be aware of expressed concern, to develop a capacity to assess the risk independently, to sound an alarm when appropriate, and to suggest alternative courses of action. If that assumption were correct, the guidance of the Council would be required in defining how and at what point an alarm should be sounded. Impartiality, professional competence and integrity, and an increased capacity to prepare and defend elements of environmental legislation would be required. As in all other matters, the Motivation of UNEP should be clearly seen by all to be the achievement of a better world for the family of man.
31. The Executive Director proposed the following goals for the programme by 1982:
(a) An operational Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS), with results available, evaluated and published,
(b) An operational International Referral System (IRS) with nearly all countries having registered sources and making use of the service;
(c) The International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) in a
position to issue warnings and technical publications;
(d) Periodic state of the environment reports and the issue of the first quinquennial report;
(e) Concrete advice for use by Governments in dealing with priority pollutants;
(f) Implementation of action plans to demonstrate environmentally sound methods of controlling schistosomiasis, malaria and cotton pests;
(g) Concrete achievements in the implementation of the plan of action to combat desertification, advance implementation of a world-wide tree programme and the publication of guidelines to control soil degradation, and a world-wide system of pilot and demonstration projects in rational management of water resources;
(h) A global network of microbiology resources centres to conserve microbiological resources and apply them in environmental management;
(i) Development of a global plan for the restoration, conservation and management of wildlife, and the establishment and management of a network of parks and other protected areas;
(j) Advice on environmentally sound patterns of development, including the rational and non-wasteful use of natural resources and ecodevelopment, for use nationally and internationally.
(k) Tested guidelines and methodologies in the proper integration of environmental concerns into development planning processes for use by Governments and international organizations;
(1) A global network of institutions to test, apply and publish advice on appropriate and environmentally sound technology, particularly for use in isolated rural areas;
(m) Guidelines on reducing the adverse environmental impact of specific industries, including advice on industrial location, for use by Governments and industries;
(n) Adoption and implementation of action plans for each of the regional seas covered by UNEP programmes;
(o) Initiation of an operational, world-wide early-warning system for natural disasters;
(p) Advanced implementation of the plan of action for environmental education, and the full functioning of the programme activity centre on environmental education and training;
Established procedures for effective communications with Governments and information to the public at large;
(r) A fully operational technical assistance clearing-house facility;
(s) Achievement of wide acceptance and application of existing and future international conventions and Protocols in the field of the environment;
(t) Agreement on the principles which should guide States in their interrelations in respect of shared natural resources, the problems of liability and compensation for pollution and environmental damage, weather modification and risks to the ozone layer, and codification of those principles into international treaties;
(u) Development of the capacity to provide comprehensive and practical advice on the implementation of environmental management, based on the outcome of relevant work throughout the programme.
32. Essential to the achievement of those goals were a good knowledge in the secretariat of national and international efforts towards their attainment and a good analysis of where UNEP stood with Fund-supported activities before it entered into new commitments. Moreover, they could be attained only through a coordinated effort by the members of the United Nations system, by the scientific community, by nongovernmental organizations and, above all, through the support of Governments.
33. During the general debate, which took place at the Council's 61st to 65th meetings from 10 to 12 May 1977, a number of delegations pointed out that international co-operation for environmental protection was a key element in the improvement of international relations. UNEP had an important part to play in the establishment of a stable and peaceful world in which the twin imperatives of a sound environment and a satisfactory rate of development could both be met.
34. Several speakers stressed that improvement of the quality of life for all people should not be seen only in terms of a balanced system of relationships between the protection of the environment on the one hand, and progress and development on the other, however important the management of those relationships,., just economic relations within the framework of the new international economic order; an equitable distribution of world resources, individual and collective self-reliance of countries and the basic socioeconomic structures of States were also significant factors in the achievement of environmentally sound social, economic, cultural and political development. Some speakers also stated that disarmament, détente and the increasing implementation of peaceful coexistence and co-operation among States with different social, economic and political systems and at different levels of development were important pre-conditions for the achievement of a world environment properly in tune with the long-term needs of present and succeeding generations. The adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 31/72 to which was annexed the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques, was an important step in that direction. Some delegations said that UNEP had a responsibility to contribute to the work related to the interrelationship between environmental protection and international security.
35. Several speakers stated that environmental degradation was often closely linked to the intolerable living conditions of much of the world's population. One delegation reiterated that pollution and damage to the human environment were generated primarily by colonialist, imperialist and super-Power policies of exploitation and plunder. Establishing a new international economic order and shaking off foreign control were essential not only to the independent development of the national economies of the developing countries, but also to the protection and improvement of their environment. The two superpowers' rivalry for hegemony extended all over the globe and was growing ever fiercer, while international tension was being aggravated. The super-Power that styled itself socialist was engaged in arms expansion and war preparations every day and was reaching out everywhere for aggression and expansion; yet it was shamelessly chanting its peace hymn. At international environmental forums in the past years, it had ceaselessly spread such shop-worn themes as disarmament and détente as necessary conditions for protecting the environment. Another delegation emphasized that, despite the prevailing spirit of co-operation which had characterized all sessions of the Governing Council, some statements reflected an attitude of confrontation contrary to that spirit.
36. Several delegations pointed out that new avenues had recently been opened in Europe in the area of international co-operation for the protection of the
environment, which could serve as a model for concerted regional action in other parts of the world. The Soviet proposal for the holding of an All-European Conference on the Protection of the Environment as a follow-up to the Final Act of the European Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, held at Helsinki had found broad support at the thirty-second plenary session of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). It would mark the start of a regional environmental dialogue at the policy-making level, which would, inter alia, intensify governmental support for the work of UNEP and other international · governmental and non-governmental bodies dealing with environmental problems. One delegation reiterated its view that such a high-level meeting should aim at reaching conclusive results, preferably in the form of legal instruments or otherwise binding arrangements. Some delegations also referred to the activities of CMEA for mutual co-operation in the field of the environment. A few speakers also recalled the various environmental activities carried out within the framework of ECE and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
37. Several delegations described measures recently adopted in their countries for the protection and improvement of the environment, and pointed out that the establishment of environmental machinery and the enactment of environmental legislation in an increasing number of countries attested to the growing environmental awareness of the world community. It was generally- felt that the creation of UNEP, and its activities in the past five years') bad measurably contributed to those positive developments.
38. Most delegations felt that, despite some short-comings'. UNEP had, in the past year, consolidated its status as an organization seeking to achieve maximum social, economic and environmental benefits for all mankind through a comprehensive and integrated approach to the planning and management of the total human environment. It was generally recognized that the prime function of UNEP was to co-ordinate and catalyse environmental activities within the United Nations system and the world at large,, and that it should not generally assume an operational role. Some speakers said that UNEP should, to the extent possible, refrain from initiating projects in areas where other organizations were already established and had long-standing experience.
39. For several delegations, the main task of the Governing Council at its fifth session was to ensure the continued dynamism of UNEP, reaffirm its coordinating and catalytic role and restate vigorously the commitment of its member States to the value of -practical co-operative solutions to environmental problems. Several delegations noted with satisfaction the confirmation, by General Assembly resolution 31/112, that the institutional arrangements for international environmental co-operation appeared adequate and sound and that, in any decision about restructuring the economic and social sectors of the United Nations system, environmental considerations within the system should be observed, strengthened and given institutional visibility.
40. Commenting on the report of the Environment Co-ordination Board on its sixth session (UNEP/GC/89 and Ada.1) and the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions on co-ordination questions in the activities of UNEP, (UNEP/GC/L.47), a number of delegations welcomed the progress accomplished by UNEP in coordinating and harmonizing environmental activities within the United Nations system. One delegation stated that the Board's report clearly showed that the working relationships between UNEP and the specialized agencies had reached a maturity which should enable the Board to become the creative instrument for environmental co-ordination for which it was originally conceived. A few delegations expressed concern that UNEP had not yet fully succeeded in sharing with all the agencies its understanding of its own purpose. In the view of one delegation, the difficulties encountered by UNEP in discharging its coordinating role were essentially due to the complexity of the United Nations system and the relative youth of UNEP; to help solve those difficulties, the Council should call upon Governments, particularly its members, to impress upon the specialized agencies the need to collaborate even more closely with TJNEP, and to encourage the Board to take all measures in its power to foster that collaboration. The proposal of the Executive Director to strengthen the Board was generally well received, and the joint programming exercises were seen by most speakers as the main tools for the effective discharge by UNEP of its coordinating responsibilities. One delegation requested the Executive Director to submit agreed memoranda on joint programming between UNEP and other agencies of the United Nations system to the Governing Council for its approval.
41. The spokesman of the specialized agencies represented at the Council and of IAEA confirmed that the progress achieved in the field of co-operation between UNEP and the specialized agencies had resulted primarily from the joint programming exercises. With the second cycle of joint programming, which was just beginning, that promising dialogue would undoubtedly yield increasingly fruitful results. One speaker stressed the need for higher governmental consistency on environmental matters in the different agencies of the United Nations system.
42. Most delegations supported the Executive Director's proposal that the Council
should concentrate every year on selected parts of the program--me. Some delegations also endorsed the 21 goals listed by the Executive Director in his introductory statement as the basis for programme development. Others, while welcoming that initiative by the Executive Director, felt that more goals would need to be considered in some detail. Some delegations felt the need for UNEP to be more selective and focus more sharply on a limited number of global and international issues that it could tackle more effectively than any other organization. One delegation suggested that such a selective approach might be based on the criteria established at the first session of the Governing Council. 4/ Another delegation said that the secretariat's efforts to concentrate the activities of
UNEP were insufficient, and that the number of small minor projects and internal projects should be further reduced, while another pointed out that small projects should continue to receive consideration because of their spread effects.
43. Several delegations stressed the need for a proper balance between global, regional, subregional and national projects. While recognizing the primarily global nature of the UNEP mandate, they felt that national projects should receive appropriate attention since they often required only modest investments and could have significant catalytic effects within regions. Some delegations said that the and level at which UNEP could most appropriately pitch its activities was the regional one; they stressed in that connexion the crucial role which the UNEP regional offices could - and had already begun to - play in fostering regional co-operative action to tackle common environmental programmes.
44. The question of evaluation was generally considered to be a most important one, given the catalytic role of UNEP and the likelihood that the future level of governmental support for UNEP and the Fund would increasingly depend upon evidence of value for money. It was also generally recognized that the Council could not formulate sensible policies or take meaningful decisions unless it were aware of the merits of the work at hand and activities proposed. For the secretariat too, systematic evaluation of programmes and projects was indispensable as the basis for pro-nosing an appropriate apportionment of resources.
45. Some speakers stated that programme evaluation should be the responsibility of the Council and project evaluation that of the secretariat. Several speakers welcomed the fact that the secretariat had begun the latter process; one delegation felt that the main achievement in that area was the greater awareness of the relevance of evaluation to proper project formulation and implementation; all project evaluation arrangements should be independent of co-operating agencies or the secretariat itself, and a portion of the funds allocated to particular projects should be set aside specifically for evaluation. It was to be hoped that, at the sixth session of the Governing Council, the Executive Director would be able to report on the outcome of specific evaluations. Another delegation felt that, to ensure that the whole programme was subject to close scrutiny every two or three years, the Council should each year select a few programme areas for examination in the following year, and a preliminary examination of the selected programme areas, within the context of over-all United Nations activity, should take place at the intersessional meetings. In the view of another delegation, formulation of criteria for assessing the real effectiveness of projects was of great importance.
46. With regard to the distribution of functional responsibilities between the Council and the secretariat, some delegations stated that the Council should concentrate primarily on policy guidance and programme development, whereas the secretariat's main concern should be in the area of project formulation and implementation. In their view, the Council should review the priority subject areas and functional tasks, and determine relative priorities between them. The secretariat should prepare the initial goal statements and corresponding budgets for the Councils consideration and report on the successes or failures in reaching those goals. One delegation said that in future all UNEP projects should be approved by the Council.
47. Most speakers said that the level of the Fund should be stabilized in real terms. Other delegations noted that their Governments' level of contributions would be based on their evaluation of the future performance of UNEP. Still others felt that, given the scope of UNEP activities and their importance in particular for developing countries, all efforts should be made to raise the level of the Fund to allow UNEP to perform its important tasks without undue financial constraints. A number of delegations announced that their Governments would make initial or increased contributions to the Fund in 1978. Several delegations expressed disappointment at the fact that many countries had not yet contributed to the Fund or increased what were in many cases nominal contributions; the Governing Council should urge those Governments to make additional efforts to support the Fund. While a few delegations endorsed the idea that pledges should be at least biennial, one delegation took the view that annual pledges would be preferable, since budgetary procedures made it difficult for some Governments to commit themselves for a longer period. Several delegations, pointing out that the size of the Environment Fund for the next cycle should be seen in the light of the catalytic and coordinating role of UNEP, stated that their Governments would contribute to the Fund in 1978 at the same level as in previous years.
48. Some delegations gave examples of joint activities between UNEP and their Governments which demonstrated the use to which non-convertible currencies could be put. One delegation stated that UNEP should try to maintain an appropriate balance in the distribution of Fund programme resources among the various geographical and ecological regions. Another speaker stated that the documents submitted to the Council gave the impression that the financial expenditures of UNEP for projects implemented through other organizations nearly always exceeded the share of the co-operating agency or supporting organization; that problem should receive appropriate attention.
49. A number of speakers supported the view of the Executive Director that, while the concept of a small secretariat was basically sound, the scope of the programme warranted a modest increase in the size of the staff of UNEP. They also endorsed the Executive Director's view that the staff should be of the highest calibre and that the assistance of all Governments was needed if an appropriate geographical balance were to be maintained in the secretariat; one delegation argued that highly qualified staff who might be available should not be rejected solely for reasons of geographical balance.
50.Delegations expressed appreciation of the continuing efforts of the secretariat to improve the quantity and quality of information provided to Governments and to bring the work of UNEP to the attention of the general public. Some delegations welcomed the steps taken to increase the opportunities for informal and frank exchanges of views between the secretariat and permanent representatives and focal points at Nairobi. Additional efforts were needed, however, in reporting on
progress made in project implementation and on the results achieved through completed projects, as well as on the internal activities of UNEP. On the other hand, Member States should provide more information to UNEP on their environmental activities. One delegation remarked that, while UNEP questionnaires and the scope of the information requested sometimes made too great a demand on Governments, it was regrettable that Governments sometimes failed to answer or answered too late requests for information. Several delegations endorsed the idea of a network of friends of the environment, but others stressed that such a network should be established only through the proper government channels. One delegation suggested that the mass media and other information media should be mobilized to promote new environmental ethics. Some delegations insisted on the need to maintain constant consultations and flow of information between UNEP and Governments, particularly with regard to the calendar of meetings, the recruitment of experts and the preparation of questionnaires.
51. While commending the conciseness and improved quality of documentation, particularly the programme document, delegations generally thought that there was
still room for improvement, specifically with respect to financial documentation. One delegation felt that the programme document needed further refinement, since it reported on detail rather than policy and failed to provide important information required for policy decisions. It was difficult to correlate the information
contained in the compendium of objectives, strategies and concentration areas with con4,
· that provided in the programme document and with the budget and Fund information;
there should be greater consistency in those documents if the Governing Council is
to carry out its policy function properly. Some speakers urged greater efforts to comply with the six-weeks rule for document distribution.
52. While most delegations commended the selection of topics in the state of the environment report and considered that the issues analysed were of major importance before most countries, some delegations observed that the report would have been more realistic if it had reflected the problems and experience of countries with
and different socioeconomic systems. Several speakers endorsed the proposal regarding the preparation every five years of a comprehensive state of the environment report.
Not all delegations, however, were convinced of the need for an annual state of the environment report; the Executive Director could, instead, draw the attention of delegations to emerging problems in his yearly introductory report. Some delegations suggested that the informal consultations could be used for more constructive and specific discussions.
53. In stressing the need to carry forward the results of Habitat: United Nations
Conference on Human Settlements, several speakers stressed the importance of the
forthcoming discussion by the Economic and Social Council of the question of
institutional arrangements for international co-operation in that field. A few speakers were gratified that UNEP had taken steps to comply with Habitat recommendations without prejudicing the future deliberations of the Economic and Social Council and the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Restructuring of the Economic and Social Sectors of the United Nations System. Stressing the close relationship between the man-made and the natural environment, some delegations said UNEP should be given over-all responsibility for human settlements activities in the United Nations system. One speaker expressed preference for the establishment of a new institution, and another stated the willingness of his Government to host a programme activity centre on human settlements under UNEP. Another delegation said that the role of UNEP in the area of human settlements should be limited to the environmental aspects of the question.
54. A number of delegations said that the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation should become operational as rapidly as possible, and noted with satisfaction the appointment of an Administrator to head the Foundation. Despite the high priority attached by UNEP to human settlements, much remained to be done to meet that most fundamental need of people. It was therefore regrettable that the Foundation had not yet been able to develop sufficiently its own institutional identity and visibility, so as to attract the voluntary contributions which it needed to fulfil its crucial mandate. Not one developed country had yet contributed to the Foundation; its -precarious financial situation was a matter of very serious concern which the Council should consider with a view to helping the Foundation gain the support it deserved. A few delegations endorsed the proposal by the Executive Director that the Governing Council should recommend to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session that a minimum target of $50 million be set for voluntary contributions by Governments to the Foundation for the years 1978 to 1981. One delegation, however, felt that the role of the Foundation should only be defined after the over-all institutional arrangements for human settlements had been decided.
55. It was generally agreed that substantial progress had been achieved in the regional seas programmes. The Mediterranean programme was a particularly good example of the catalytic role of UNEP, and amply demonstrated that shared environmental concerns could effectively contribute to bridging -political differences between countries. Two delegations stressed the need for further regional co-operation and for technical assistance by UNEP in preventing and combating oil pollution, a problem whose seriousness was becoming increasingly obvious to many Governments.
56. Several delegations expressed concern with the problem of ozone layer depletion and considered that the recent meeting of experts on the ozone layer had resulted in many useful suggestions and recommendations for further research and monitoring efforts. One delegation suggested that UNEP should help to develop a convention for the protection of the ozone layer. A number of delegations urged continued international efforts to find solutions to the problems of cancer through appropriate handling of environmental factors. One delegation stressed the need for international action, including the formulation of international rules and procedures, to prohibit the use of developing countries as experimental or dumping grounds for chemical products that had not been tested adequately in the countries of origin. Several delegations urged continued action by UNEP in respect of soil and forest Protection, and called for reafforestation and tree-planting programmes, and widespread public participation in such -programmes. One delegation welcomed the inclusion of integrated plant protection and the protection of genetic resources in the programme, while another considered that UNEP should convene a regional conference for Latin America to deal with the problems of soils, since in some countries of that region soil degradation had reached alarming proportions.
57.Many delegations expressed concern about the problems of desertification and Support for the preparations for the United Nations Conference on Desertification. One delegation urged that a special fund to combat desertification should be established as a follow-up to the Conference. A number of delegations ex-pressed satisfaction with the results of the United Nations Water Conference, and hoped that, in view of the interrelationships between water and desertification issues, the implementation of the relevant global, regional and national measures would be properly coordinated.
58.Some speakers referred to the importance of natural resources management in general and wildlife protection in particular. One delegation emphasized that adequate support must be made available for the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, reiterated its position on a 10-year moratorium on commercial whaling and pledged its best efforts to provide protection for marine mammals. Another delegation said that his Government hoped to convene in 1978 an international conference to adopt a convention on migratory species of wild fauna.
59.A few delegations commended the work undertaken in the area of natural disasters, but felt that more needed to be done. One speaker suggested that the Governing Council should focus on the issue of natural disasters in a more comprehensive way than previously, by considering also those disasters resulting from man's activities. Another delegation pointed out that the dimensions and frequency of natural disasters in some regions could make environmental planning and other environmental questions appear somewhat irrelevant.
60.Several delegations referred to the need for a major international effort with respect to energy conservation, the development of alternative sources of energy and of environmentally sound and appropriate technologies and low-waste and non-waste technologies, and the transfer of such technologies. A few delegations welcomed the progress of the industry programme. One delegation expressed satisfaction with the December 1976 consultative meeting on the programme, which had evinced strong support for new approaches to the programme, especially an
increased focus on environmental hazards, rather than on wide-ranging seminars convened on an industry-by-industry basis, and on the development by UNEP of an information system on environmental problems associated with industrial development.
61. Some delegations felt that UNEP should devote more attention to promoting the formulation and implementation of international environmental legislation and persuading Governments which had not ratified existing international environmental conventions to do so. One delegation urged UNEP to explore the question of more substantial co-operation with the International Law Commission (ILC) and contribute to the preparedness of the United Nations system to assist member Governments in their national efforts with regard to environmental legislation.
62.Some delegations felt that the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on natural Resources Shared by Two or More States should be reconvened to enable it to reach consensus concerning principles and guidelines for the conduct of States in respect of such resources.
63. Another delegation emphasized that environmental standards should be formulated mainly by individual countries in accordance with their own needs and conditions, and that relevant international regulations must respect the principles of national sovereignty and of consultations on an equal footing. On the other hand, UNEP must ensure that the world system is able to influence national programmes in such a way that, regional and global concerns are adequately catered for, taking into account political, economic and technological realities.
64. Several delegations welcomed the special importance given to activities under environmental education and training, which would help developing countries develop their own technical and managerial capabilities. The importance of the environmental education programme developed by UNESCO and UNEP and of the forthcoming intergovernmental conference on environmental education to be held at Tbilisi, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was generally acknowledged. A number of Spanish-speaking delegations commended the establishment and operations of the International Centre for Training in Environmental Sciences (CIFCA) and hoped that efforts would be made to promote and expand similar institutions. One delegation referred to its Government's official proposal to organize special training courses in environmental management primarily for nationals of the southern Mediterranean basin, the Arabian peninsula and Africa. Another delegation stated its Government's readiness to hold, in pursuance of the recommendations of the UNEP-sponsored Symposium on Eutrophication and Rehabilitation of Surface Waters, appropriate short-term on-site courses for experts from developing countries.
65. Several delegations expressed the view that Earthwatch was a particularly important aspect of the work of UNEP; one delegation referred to it as the very cornerstone of UNEP. Measurable progress had been accomplished with regard to its three components, GEMS, IRS and IRPTC, but further efforts were needed to speed up their development so that they could become fully operational as soon as possible. GE14S was singled out as the tool which would permit UNEP to develop a capacity to assess environmental risks independently and sound an alarm when appropriate. In that connexion, delegations generally endorsed the suggestion by the Executive Director that such a role should be entrusted to MP as the environmental conscience of the world and as the guardian of the planet's environment. One delegation, noting that GEMS had been too long in reaching its productive stage, expressed the view that, although environmental data might be fragmentary in the early stages, UNEP should now start processing, evaluating and reporting to Governments on selected environmental parameters, so that they could take whatever corrective measures might be required; the work of the Environment Co-ordination Board's subgroup on research and evaluation should therefore be carefully coordinated with the development of GEMS. Another speaker said that the ECE programme for the monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transport of air pollutants in Europe, which had received the active support and co-operation of WMO and UNEP, might serve as a valuable contribution to GEMS. Several speakers underscored the usefulness of IRS as a unique mechanism for the exchange of information and experience between countries; increased registration of sources of information by Governments was needed to enable IRS to reach its full potential. A number of speakers also expressed the hope that IRPTC would soon become fully operational, since it could play a crucial role in the monitoring and assessment of the environmental impact of the increasing number of chemicals which were entering the planet's environment.
66. Some delegations stressed the important function of technical. assistance and environmentally sound development; and approved intentions of UNEP to develop the capacity to assess risks and sound alarms, where appropriate, to promote environmental impact assessment of development projects, to intensity efforts at the regional level and to support national environmental protection efforts which were of regional or global significance. He also took it that the Council approved in principle the proposal to report on a limited number of areas, and the establishment of a definite number of goals.
72. He shared the concern of the Council regarding documentation, the developments in the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Natural Resources Shared by Two or More States, and Earthwatch. Perhaps both the secretariat and Governments had underestimated the co-ordination difficulties relating to GEMS. With regard to
IRS, the problem was, as some delegations had said, one for Governments rather than for UNEP.
73. He fully shared the Councils views on the urgent need for proper evaluation of the programme, and of projects. The latter task was the easier; the guidance of the Governing Council was needed regarding the evaluation of the catalytic activity of the Fund and the evaluation of the programme.
74. Finally, the Executive Director replied to and commented on the specific points raised by a number of delegations.
Action by the Governing, Council
75. At its 75th meeting, on 25 May 1977, the Governing Council adopted by consensus a draft decision submitted by the President on programme policy and implementation (decision 82 (V)). 5/ The President indicated that all draft decisions submitted by him had been the subject of consultation with the Bureau and the Chairmen of the regional groups.
76. The representative of France said that in his delegation's view, the text of the decision should not have referred to the report of the informal working group
on documentation which had met during the fifth session, since it had no official status.
77. The representative of Canada said that the informal working group had commended the progress made in improving documentation, including the production of a single programme document, the separation of policy and information documents, and the regular provision of project information direct to Governments. To assist the Executive Director in making further improvements, it had annexed to its report specimen outlines of typical sections of the programme document, under the headings introduction, objectives, significant recent progress/developments, current major needs, targets, budgetary considerations and work plan. The group's concerns had been that the programme document should reflect the environmental activities of the entire United Nations system and, to the extent possible, of other international organizations, that it should show clearly the relation between programme content and cost implications, on an agency-by-agency and annual and total cost basis, and that it should provide the Council with the information required to enable it to decide on the framework within which the programme should develop and to determine its direction and
priorities. Accordingly, the group's recommendations called for the further development of
multiagency joint programming, the indication of costs down to the programme area level, evidence of
past achievements, identification of current problems and establishment of quantifiable targets. There
would thus be a direct link between the programme and the detailed project information provided to
Governments; the Executive Director's intention to produce in-depth analyses of selected topics each
year could easily be coordinated with the programme areas, and the setting of specific targets would be
an important element in the development of satisfactory programme evaluation.
78. At its 75th meeting, the Governing Council adopted by consensus a draft decision submitted by the
President regarding the report of the informal working group on documentation 61
61 Idem, "Other decisions".