III - GENERAL DEBATE
32. In discussing agenda item 4 at the 2nd to 7th plenary meetings of the session, the Council had before it the following documents: the introductory report of the Executive Director (UNEP/GC.9/2), with addenda on resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council of relevance to UNEP (Add.1), the Governing Council session of a special character in 1982 (Add.2 and Add.2/Corr.1 and 2), relationships with nongovernmental organizations (Add.3), work on the interrelationships between people, resources, environment and development (Add.4, with a supplement containing the related report of the Secretary-General to the Economic and Social Council), the introductory statement of the Executive Director (Add.5) and a preliminary report on listing of dangerous chemical substances (Add.6), as well as the report on "The state of the environment: selected topics - 198111 (UNEP/GC.9/3).
33. In his introductory statement at the opening meeting, the Executive Director outlined the major developments in the world community since the Councills eight session, the arrangements for the Governing Council session of a special character and programme and Fund matters.
34. In the global round of negotiations planned to tackle the unprecedented current instability and structural disequilibrium in the world economy, the environment represented just one area in which co-operation must replace confrontation. Grim economic conditions might appear to lessen the urgency of environmental concerns, but neglect of such concerns had contributed significantly to the present situation. The arms race was continuing on a disturbing scale, now swallowing up more than $500 billion a year in resources better devoted to development, with well-known adverse effects on the environment. It was to be hoped that measures to check the arms race and lessen international tension would emerge from the forthcoming second special session of the General Assembly on disarmament.
35. Since the eighth session of the Governing Council, the General Assembly had adopted the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade (resolution 35/36) which took due account of environmental considerations. A number of environmental problems had been singled out as requiring determined efforts to ensure sustainable and environmentally benign economic development. Of particular significance were efforts to increase food production, improve standards of nutrition and rationalize energy production and use. The Assembly had also called for further research on the interrelationships between people, resources, environment and development - proposals on which were before the Council.
36. Environment would be a significant issue at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, the Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and the Conference on Least Developed Countries ' all to be resumed or held in the near future. He hoped that the Councills discussion would clarify positions to be taken at those conferences, and assured the members that the UNEP secretariat could be counted on to make an appropriate contribution.
37. At the present session, the Governing Council was to launch the process of preparation for the tenth anniversary, in 1982, of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The session of a special character would combine the twin strands of a stock-taking of achievements so far and a looking forward to prospects to the end of the century and beyond. His report to the Council enumerated the various activities proposed by the secretariat to mark the anniversary.
38. A revw of major achievements in the implementation of the Stockholm Action Plan, together with a report on the state of the environment 10 years after Stockholm and a review of UNEP's goals for 1982, would serve as a basis for consideration of what had happened to the environment over the past decade. Those documents in turn would lead into the forward-looking papers: the perspective document, trends for action by UNEP over the next decade, and the system-wide medium-term environment programme for 1984-1989. The secretariat planned to build into the process of preparation interlinkages and as much scope for mutual ,influence between the two strands as possible. It had endeavoured to devise a common time-table for the preparations together with Governments, the scientific community, members of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental and non-goverrunental organizations.
39. As far as the perspective document was concerned, consultations had shown that the task of defining a long-term agenda for action and setting aspirational goals for the world community should follow the reaching of agreement on shared perceptions and should draw to a large extent on the views of Governments. Consequently, he proposed that only the first part of the perspective document should be prepared for 1982, leaving consideration of the full document for 1984.
40. In order to assist the Council in its dual task of reviewing major achievements and identifying major trends for action in the next decade, the secretariat proposed to draw up a single discussion document made up of,four parts. The first part would summarize changes in the environment and in perceptions of it as they emerged from the 1982 state of the environment report; the second would summarize achievements in the implementation of the Stockholm Action Plan; the third would outline common perceptions of long-term environmental issues; and the last would set out recommendations concerning major trends for action by UNEP in the next decade.
41. At its eighth session, the Council had decided that goals for 1992 should be drawn up in time for the tenth session. However, since the system-wide medium-term programme was to set detailed objectives for 1989, and since in 1982 the Council was to define trends for action over the subsequent decade, the Council might wish to consider postponing discussion of the 1992 goals until the eleventh session.
42. The Council had also considered at its eighth session proposals for the preparation of a list of dangerous substances and for the convening of a scientific symposium. It had subsequently been agreed that the symposium should be held after the session of a special character. Concerning the list of dangerous substances, a note was before the Council seeking guidance on concrete action to be taken.
43. Turning to programme and Fund matters, the Executive Director'pointed out that for the first time the Council had before it a programme performance report on progress in the implementation of work plans and decisions. He would welcome the views of the Council on both the presentation and the substance of the report.
44. The medium-term plan, which covered the period before the start of the system-wide medium-term programme on 1 January 1984, had been drawn up in the light of the provisions of the International Development Strategy for the 1980s. The Council was invited to express its views on the presentation and content of the plan, and to decide upon the level of funding required for its implementation. Also before the Council were the draft objectives for the system-wide medium-term environment programme; the guidance of the Council would be of great assistance in the negotiation of the programme with the co-operating agencies.
45. Despite appeals by the Governing Council, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, total pledges to the Environment Fund stood at slightly over $125 million, against a target for 1978-1981 of $150 million. Certain late payments had complicated the situation, and a sizeable number of countries had continuously failed to pay their expected contributions during the same year. That was all the more regrettable in that the environment was often a unifying factor between neighbouring countries, some of them otherwise in a state of war, as was testified to by the arrangements in West and Central Africa, the Caribbean, the Kuwait Action Plan region, South Asia and the ASEAN region referred to in the documents before the Council. Increased financial support for the Environment Fund was necessary, and he recommended to the Council a target of $120 million for contributions during 1982-1983. The Councills decision on that target would be the most crucial decision of the session.
46. In the light of the objectives the United Nations system would try to achiev,e over the period 1984-1989, the Council was called upon to give an indication of t;he resources it believed should.be available from the Environment Fund for that six-year period: the basis for such an indicative figure could be the Fund targq@t decided upon for 1982-1983. The Council might also wish to consider instituting a system whereby pledges were made for a multiyear period under the six-year umbrella.
47. The share of non-convertible currencies in the over-all balance of the Fund had fallen to 58.9 per cent in 1980. While the level of such currency balances had exerted no undue influence on the selection of projects, it would be helpful if the Council renewed its appeal to countries to ensure that at least 25 per cent of their contributions in 1982 was in convertible currency, with the proportion increasing thereafter.
48. Turning to the trust funds for which UNEP was responsible, he reported on progress made in the Mediterranean area, and appealed for prompt payments to ensure a predictable schedule of contributions and avoid difficulties in implementation.
49. The signatories to the Kuwait Action Plan had launched their own regional organization, and by the end of the year UNEP would no longer be responsible for supervising its secretariat or administering its trust fund. That was a clear example of the successful catalytic role of UNEP and the Environment Fund.
50. Additional trust funds were proposed for West and Central Africa and for the Caribbean. In the face of such new demands, UNEP's financial role in existing programmes would necessarily diminish. He hoped that the Council would call on the Governments concerned to provide the necessary financial and technical resources for the implementation of such action plans.
51. The Council also had before it reports on additional resources required to meet serious environmental problems in developing countries and on arrangements for financing plans of action (UNEP/GC.9/10/Add.2 and Add.3). He looked forward to receiving the Councills recommendations on those subjects.
52. The coming four years, for which he had been accorded the privilege and honour of being re-elected as Executive Director, would be a period of great challenge for the environment and for UNEP. For much of mankind, accelerated economic development was imperative, and in that process the relevance of environment had been recognized. In the environmental cause a new policy of co-operation would permit a shift from the waste of resources and the protection of privilege to a world whose most precious resource, the co-operation of people and nations, was conserved and nurtured to serve the common good and preserve the rights of future generations. Failure would represent a waste of will and resources, and ultimately of the future.
53. The Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) (UNCHS) said that the co-operation between UNCHS and UNEP to which he had referred at the previous session had continued to develop, despite a scarcity of resources.
54. UNEP's evaluation of progress made in the past decade would have to be seen against the background of the broad relationship between the development of settlements and the need to maintain a habitable physical environment for the world's rapidly growing population. Recalling recommendations 1 and 4 adopted by the Stockholm Conference, he said that much remained to be done to implement them; while the poor lacked some of the most basic needs, the rich minority suffered side effects from their own affluence. moreover, many of the poor, especially in large cities in developing countries, suffered from the technological ills generated by the rich.
55. Conventional settlements development often led to long, heavy traffic flows, expensive utility networks, pollution of waterways and destruction of the environment. Hundreds of millions of people in the developing countries lacked safe drinking water, hygienic waste disposal, adequate shelter and safe, efficient and cheap transport. Existing infrastructure and services had frequently not been expanded fast enough to serve the growing numbers of people.
56. inappropriate transport systems were a major source of air pollution, while congestion could be reduced, through constructon of more roads and parking places, only at enormous expense. Long-term improvements would require earlier planning, the promotion of public transport and the careful ordering of land uses.
57. The construction of buildings and infrastructure also posed environmental hazards. As expectations rose, demand shifted away from locally available, easily obtainable construction materials to those used by the industrialized countries. However, even a preference for wood-built houses could have an enormous impact on the world's forests. International research was needed to analyse the total impact on the world's resources of the building of a billion houses within a period of 30-50 years.
58. The international community was well aware of environmental problems in the largest cities, but water supply and sanitation data of the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that the environmental conditions of the rural population lagged far behind even those of the urban poor. The concentration of public investment in the cities and the lack of opportunities in rural areas meant that continued growth of slums and squatter settlements was almost inevitable. Many conventional responses to the problems of urban growth had failed to furnish a long-term solution. Yet, with proper planning, squatter settlements could be positive elements in development. The removal of obstacles to their improvement would allow the vigour and ingenuity of their inhabitants, which had already been demonstrated in a number of developing countries, to make an extremely useful contribution to society. More broadly, the economic and environmental problems found both in cities and in the rural areas called for wider distribution of public investment to slow down the rural exodus. At the same time, any attempt to influence population distribution must be rooted in a comprehensive development policy implemented at both national and local levels.
59. An increasing number of Governments wishing to improve their settlements had found that available planning techniques did not yet include appropriate accounting systems. New ways were needed of giving proper weight to environmental factors while maximizing net economic and social benefits. The point at which collective costs and collective benefits were in balance might be considered an economic, social and environmental break-even point. The full spectrum of costs and benefits should be taken into account, even those which were difficult to quantify, and environmental standards established related to the goals which were sought. Existing standards for the durability of buildings and the availability of public health facilities, and new standards being adopted on air and water quality, should be supplemented by standards to control, for example, the size, spacing and density of buildings. Moreover, institutional arrangements were required which would actually make use of such standards and of environmental accounting in making major decisions on settlements development. A narrow sectoral approach to settlements development should give way to a process of comprehensive planning to prevent or minimize the undesirable side effects and consequences of development. Awareness of environmental factors should inform and enhance policy-making planning and decision-m.
60. National plans alone could not take into account regional and local environmental issues. Consequently, subnational planning, for which, regrettably, many countries lacked institutions and personnel, was needed to provide a framework for development projects of national and local significance and offer efficient guidance for decisions on industrial location, infrastructure development and settlement growth.
61. Meanwhile, regional comprehensive plans should decide on focal points for urban growth, the distribution of industry, the layout of infrastructure, the means of waste disposal, the location of recreational areas and the protection of agricultural land,. The purpose of comprehensive local planning was to programme investment and distribute it spatially. Control of the location and density of activities would provide a basis for harmonizing the built environment with the natural environment.
62. Despite the many unknown and uncontrollable variables involved, coordinated multisectoral planning was to be preferred to incremental and fragmented decision-making. Population growth, overburdened facilities and a deteriorating environment in and around human settlements made it imperative to attempt to reduce conflicts among sectoral components. Every tool must be used, whatever its stage of development, to design, build and maintain a habitable environment.
63. During the general debate, which took place from the 2nd to the 7th plenary meetings of the session, numerous speakers paid tribute to the achievements of UNEP and commended the Executive Director and his staff on their work.
64. Many speakers felt that the ninth session of the Governing Council, the last before the tenth anniversary of the Stockholm Conference, was of particular importance in that it should provide guidance to the Executive Director in the preparations for the Council session of a special character in 1982 and the tenth regular session, which would chart the future course of the programme.
65. The general economic climate was difficult throughout much of the world, and nations now had to confront basic problems of lack of resources, as well as come to terms with the difficult problems of inflation and unemployment. In that tightening economic context, where hard choices had to be made and priorities had to be set, the need for environmental protection and conservation would come under rigorous scrutiny. It would, however, be short-sighted to weaken the commitment to environmental action. Economic difficulties only strengthened the argument for pooling resources, and undoubtedly presented UNEP with a challenge to enhance its urgent and vital role of environmental advocacy.
66. In that connexion, many delegations noted with appreciation the increasing recognition throughout the world that environmental considerations were as important as traditional economic parameters in national development planning. Accordingly, they welcomed the adoption by the General Assembly of the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade, and commended the Executive Director for his initiatives in ensuring that environmental considerations were properly reflected in it. It was felt that UNEP would have now to gear itself to giving operational content to the relevant provisions of the new Strategy in order to ensure environmentally sustainable development
Various representatives expressed support for UNEP's initiatives in the field of interrelationships between people, resources, environment and development, and endorsed the case-study approach, including the priorities for action by UNEP as suggested by the Executive Director. Some delegations pointed out that scientists from the socialist countries should be involved in studying the question, in order to ensure that all approaches were taken into account.
68. The Secretary-Generalls report on the interrelationships (UNEP/GC.9/2/Add.4/Supplement) was introduced by the Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs, who observed that the action needed to alter population, resource and environmental trends could not be postponed without foreclosing important development options. At the same time, it was necessary to place that action in the context of a multidisciplinary approach to development. Consequently, he emphasized the need to supplement current efforts to mobilize, synthesize and integrate knowledge on interrelationships by undertaking empirical investigations of specific problems and issues. it was clear that all relevant organizations and institutions should be involved in these efforts, within and outside the United Nations system which went beyond the capacity of the system alone to undertake.
69. Commenting on the Secretary-Generalls report, one delegation said that it contained many valuable conclusions, but that its abstract nature made it inadequate as far as a concrete presentation of continuing activities in the United Nations system or concrete proposals for a system-wide medium-term environment programme was concerned. In view of the numerous concrete suggestions for the programme of work it contained, the full report of the high-level group of experts convened bv the Executive Director should be annexed to the Governing Councills report on its ninth session.
70. Appreciation was expressed for UNEP's efforts to increase environmental awareness and the emerging consensus in both developed and developing countries as to the need to achieve environmentally sound development. It was hoped that such development would be reinforced as a result of the session of a special character. A few delegations emphasized in that connexion the need to review UNEP's catalytic role and perhaps redefine it to include practical assistance and direct involvement in the execution of projects, in order to enable the organization to make the impact it needed and deserved to make in many developing countries, especially those of Africa.
71. Support was expressed for the suggestions made by the Executive Director to ensure that the forthcoming global round of negotiations took environmental considerations fully into account. One delegation, however, noted that environment was not among the major issues on the agenda of those negotiations, and expressed the view that UNEP should not become involved.
72. Delegations emphasized the need for the rapid implementation of the World Conservation Strategy, which, in the view of one delegation, had introduced the concept of conservation as equal in importance to, essential for and complementary to development. In that connexion, reference was made to the special character of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), as an organization composed of Governments and non-governmental organizations, and the hope was expressed that UNEP would not cut its project-oriented support to the organization.
73. Many delegations described environmental machinery in their countries, and enumerated decisions of environmental significance adopted in recent years. One delegation sail that UNEP could play an important role in publicizing national efforts to incorporate the environmental dimension in development, and drawing them to the attention of other - particularly developing - countries. Mention was made of such awareness-creating events as national tree-planting days, a soil erosion week, and an environmental protection publicity month. One representative described an annual international festival of environmental films, and suggested that the 1982 festival might be held under UNEP auspices to help commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Stockholm Conference.
74. Many representatives drew attention to the increasing international co-operation in the field of environment, citing their Government's accession to a number of international conventions covering a wide range of subjects, as well as their participation in international environmental conferences.
75. Reference was made to regional co-operative activities in the environment field both within and outside the United Nations framework. Some representatives felt that UNEP should seek to promote such activities, and that the Council should discuss at its tenth session the possibility of establishing regional components within the Environment Fund. In the view of one delegation UNEP should even go further and identify subregions which could constitute focuses for programming and financial support. One delegation suggested strengthening the regional commissions to deal with problems which were essentially regional in scope, thus freeing UNEP for activities in research, information and assistance in the implementation of national programmes. Many other delegations, however, felt that UNEP should decentralize its functions and assign greater responsibilities to the regional offices in terms of the planning and implementation of its projects and activities, in such a way that global action by UNEP could be built up efficiently and flexibly around regional targets and needs. To that end, they requested the Executive Director to strengthen the structures of the UNEP regional offices.
76. Many references were made to specific regional activities. Assistance from UNEP was requested for the South Asian Co-operative Environment Programme, the ASEAN Subregional Environmental Programme, the East Asian Seas Programme, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the Red Sea Programme and the Wider Caribbean Environment Programme. One delegation urged the Council to reverse the decision to cut financial support to the Mediterranean Trust Fund.
77. A number of delegations noted that, in Europe, the High-level Meeting on the Protection of the Environment of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) , had opened up new prospects for international co-operation, and expressed the hope that UNEP would continue to support activities in pursuance of Council decision 8/16 A, especially as they were of significance beyond the European region.
78. A number of representatives commended the work of UNEP in the regional seas programme, and noted with satisfaction its growing successes in various parts of the world. One representative cited the programme as a good example of the catalytic role of UNEP, while others considered it to be one of the brighter spots in UNEP's work. One representative expressed gratitude for the selection of Athens to host the secretariat for the Mediterranean Action Plan, while another requested modifications in the Red Sea Programme to enable full participation by all interested parties.
79. The Chairman of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the Caribbean Environment Programme, held in Jamaica in April 1981, furnished the Council with a detailed em report on the steps which had been taken to get the programme under way, and expressed the hope that co-operation with UNEP would continue.
80. Noting that environmental degradation in certain regions posed serious threats to the quality of life, and that remedies could prove difficult because of lack of political will and the divergent interests of nations, one representative called upon the Governing Council to adopt a decision on an "environment security plan' to protect countries from the adverse effects arising from the process of development in neighbouring States. Another representative, however, pointed out that the issue to which reference was being made was a bilateral matter which it was inappropriate to bring before the Governing Council.
81. A number of representatives deplored the waste on armaments of resources which would be better used for environmental projects, and the potentially adverse consequences of the arms race for the environment. They stressed that initiatives were urgently necessary, that UNEP must not stand aloof from issues of disarmament, peace and security, that the Executive Director should ensure prompt preparation of the Secretary-Generalls report on the adverse effects of the arms race, and that UNEP should play an active role in the second special session of the General Assembly on disarmament. One delegation, however, expressed the view that UNEP should leave disarmament issues to bodies which specialized in that subject.
82. A number of representatives urged UNEP to promote the implementation of General Assembly resolution 35/8 on the historical responsibility of States for the preservation of nature for present and future generations, an issue to which the arms race was also relevant.
83. one representative reiterated his country's call for an international meeting to discuss the serious issue of material remnants of war, including compensation for damage inflicted by them, and urged UNEP to take the necessary steps for the convening of such a meeting in the near future. Another representative expressed regret at the lack of progress in implementing General Assembly resolution 35/71 of 5 December 1980.
84. General support was expressed for the Executive Director's proposals concerning the arrangements for the session of a special character. Various delegations expressed the view that, inter alia, for reasons of economy, the 1982 sessions should be held at Nairobi. The representative of Mexico said that his Government would not press its proposal that Mexico should host the special Governing Council meeting to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Stockholm Conference, and that it would provide the Government of Kenya with full support. A number of representatives urged that the sessiion of a specialcharacter should be as short as possible, with some saying it should last six working days at most. Others, however, felt that more time would be necessary. For the tenth regular session, several delegations suggested that seven days would be sufficient, especially as the Executive Director had rightly indicated that there would be no need for a general debate.
85. It was generally agreed that the Governing Council should make it clear at the earliest opportunity that countries should be represented at the session of a special character at a high political level, preferably at the ministerial level.86. Several delegations stressed that the Council should strive to avoid any duplication between the two sessions; the session of a special character should ai.,n to rekindle interest in, and the political commitment of Governments to, the cause of the environment. Many emphasized that it would furnish an excellent opportunity to conduct a wide-ranging review of UNEP's achievements in its first decade of existence, and sketch out ideas for future activities. Items suggested for discussion at that session were a study of the environmental effects of certain military activities, on the basis of an expert report; examination of ways and means to remedy the non-observance of the Stockholm principles or facilitate their application; and a thorough review of the value for money yielded by UNEP funds used to support the activities of other United Nations organizations.
87. Most representatives endorsed the Executive Director's suggestion that a single principal document should be presented to the session of a special character. One suggested that the Council should consider organizing regional meetings to harmonize views on the document, and that national and regional reports on the environment should also be submitted to the session. Another urged the Council to commission a special study of the various aspects of land degradation, which constituted the most serious ecological threat to the environment. The hope was expressed that the various reports which had been called for could be consolidated to ensure that the session of a special character did not suffer the blight of proliferating documentation.
88. Several delegations emphasized that the report on the state of the environment 10 years after Stockholm should be a document of use to policy-makers, and should be drawn up in close co-operation with all the relevant parts of the United Nations system. Other delegations stressed that due account should be taken of achievements in the socialist countries, and that a representative of the eastern European countries should participate in the final editing of the report. Suggested topics for in-depth treatment included food, energy and soils.
89. One delegation, supported by other delegations, proposed the establishment of an independent commission of eminent persons, similar to the Pearson and Brandt Commissions, to undertake a study of the world's environment to the year 2000 and beyond. Some delegations suggested that the perspective document should be drawn up by an intergovernmental preparatory Committee established by the General Assembly, with the assistance of the commission of eminent persons, and agreed with the proposal that the special session should be furnished with only the first part of the perspective document, i.e., the part on shared perceptions. One delegation did not favour further consultations outside the Governing Council on the perspective document. A number of delegations felt that formulation of the 1992 goals for UNEP should be postponed in order to keep documentation within bounds.
90. One delegation expressed regret that the information programme for, the 1982 sessions suggested by the Executive Director gave no details of expected inputs from elsewhere in the United Nations system, or of the crucial role which could be played by non-governmental organizations, and requested the Executive Director to provide further details, while another felt that the programme needed sharpening to focus on a limited number of components with major impact. One representative expressed the view that national activities could enhance the impact of the tenth anniversary, while another felt that prizes and medals should be awarded as incentives to environmental protection.91. Several delegations emphasized that UNEP should concentrate on areas where it had a unique capability to achieve environmental objectives, and should eschew over-ambitious or controversial projects. Some pointed out that its catalytic efforts and the injection of "seed cap@tal" into regional intergovernmental groupings would in due course be amplified through self-help. One delegation felt the Governing Council should lay down that programmes should benefit countries which needed them most; others urged that assistance to developing countries should be distributed in a more balanced manner, with a few stressing that more money should be allocated to projects in Africa. Another said that UNEP should be more selective in the future in setting programme priorities, while another called for a thorough analysis of failure to reach targets in such areas as the Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS), ocean programmes and arid and semi-arid ecosystems.
92. General satisfaction was expressed at the concise and useful programme performance report submitted by the Executive Director (UNEP/GC.9/5 and Corr.1 and 5/Add.5). One delegation suggested that the report should become an annual publication, perhaps more analytical in content, while another said that more emphasis was needed on pest management systems and rangeland assessment.
93. A number of delegations welcomed the meilium-term plan for 1982-1983. One delegation felt it was essential to ensure that the plan was sufficiently complete to serve as a guide for UNEP, preclude arbitrary interpretation and allow for modification where necessary, while another said that the relationships between the various components should be clearly spelt out.
94. The report on the state of the environment for 1981 was generally welcomed, though one speaker felt it took insufficient account of socioeconomic conditions in socialist countries. One delegation said that it was not sufficient for the Governing Council simply to take note of the report: what was needed was a commitment by Governments to concrete action. Another expressed support for the Executive Director's suggestion that countries should allocate a percentage of their gross national product for pollution control, and suggested that the section of the report on ground water should be rearranged to draw a distinction between arid and wet areas. One delegation stressed in particular the importance of environmental economics as a means of analysing the efficiency of various corrective environmental protection measures and evaluating the damage inflicted on the environment due to poorly planned economic development.
95. Numerous representatives said that they attached special importance to the Earthwatch Programme. The increased information emanating from GEMS was welcomed; however, one delegation stressed that GEMS would play a useful role only if it was genuinely global in nature, while another said that further refining and greater co-ordination of the programme was necessary.
96. The International Referral System (INFOTERRA) Programme was felt to be of great importance and worthy of support; however, one delegation critized its over-large administrative apparatus and the fact that it provided limited benefits to countries.
97. Several representatives commended the work being carried out on the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) and urged UNEP to strengthen such activities in order to meet the growing risks posed by the widespread use of toxic chemicals, and to ensure that the developing countries didnot become a dumping ground for unsafe pharm aceutical products and hazardous chemicals. One representative stressed the need to discourage the export of harmful chemicals to, and their marketing in, developing countries. It was pointed out that a coordinated effort should be made to expand the IRPTC working list of selected chemical substances by adding to it potentially toxic chemicals selected from among those discovered or developed since the last survey. One delegation, recalling the proposal that a list of dangerous chemical substances should be drawn up for submission to the Council at its tenth session, and welcoming the Executive Director's preliminary report on the subject, expressed the hope that, in preparing the list, the Executive Director would draw upon expertise available in IRPTC and use outside experts where appropriate.
98. Some delegations urged UNEP to expand its efforts to implement the World Climate Impact Studies Programme; others called for an international carbon dioxide programme. A number of delegations expressed support for the drafting of a convention to protect the ozone layer. It was suggested that a working group should be set up to prepare a first draft, and that the Co-ordinating Committee on the Ozone Layer should oversee the whole process.
99. Many representatives expressed serious concern at the increasing problems of desertification, and supported UNEP's work in coordinating the implementation of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification. The co-operation between UMEP and UNDP and through the United Nations Sudano-Sahelian Office (UNSO), in combating desertification in the Sudano-Sahelian region was also welcomed, and a request was made to include Benin among the countries eligible to receive assistance through UNSO. The representative of Mexico offered to explore the possibility that his Government might host a conference on monitoring the process of desertification for countries in the western hemisphere, or possibly with broader participation.
100. One delegation felt that the functions of the Consultative Group for Desertification Control should be redefined and clarified, while another said that the Desertification Branch of UNEP should be strengthened and reinvigorated to enable it to give priority to assessing the implementation of the Action Plan well in advance of the 1985 target date.
101. One delegation requested the Governing Council to add Bangladesh to the list of countries eligible to receive assistance under the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification. Another delegation said that it would firmly oppose any proposal to include Bangladesh in the list.
102. Support was expressed for UNEP's activities in relation to tropical forests. One delegation expressed regret that the scheduled second expert meeting had not yet taken place, stressing that a global action plan was urgently needed. Another delegation, however, felt that such a plan was not called for, and would involve an unacceptable infringement of national sovereignty. One delegation stressed the need for the collection and dissemination of information, the devising of strategies, the development of management techniques and the expansion of training in relation to tropical forests.
103. Support was expressed for UNEP's efforts with regard to the development of a world soils policy, and further work on soil productivity was suggested. One delegation felt that the guidelines being prepared by UNEP on soil erosion and siltation would be most useful. Another expressed support for the global monitoring of soil degradation, while a third drew attention to the report of the second expert meeting on world soils policy, and stressed the need for further action on its recommendations at the national, regional and international levels.
One delegation urged UNEP to ensure that priority was given to solving the problems related to land degradation as singled out for special attention in the newinternationaldevelopment strategy.
104. Many delegations drew attention to the critical world energy situation and its ffect on many developing countries, particularly in connexion with the growing attack on forest resources as a way of meeting national energy needs. Some drew attention to efforts to meet the requirements for domestic fuel from such sources as biogas, and by upgrading wood-burning systems to make them more efficien. was felt that UNEP could make a significant contribution to such efforts by assisting States in strengthening their research and development capabilities in the field of alternative sources of energy, more particularly in such areas as wind, biogas, etc.
105. Many delegations referred to the importance, in particular for developing countries, of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, stressing that the development and utilization of new sources of energy and the conservation and protection of the environment were interrelated issues. A number of delegations stressed the need for UNEP to make a substantive contribution to the Conference and to participate as appropriate in the implementation of its recommendations. One drew particular attention to the gravity of the fuelwood crisis and, supported by others, suggested that the Council should address an appeal to the preparatory committee for the Conference on the t subject. Another representative offered two studies carried out in his country on n energy issues as contributions to the energy conference.
106. Several delegations expressed support for UNEP's planned input to the forthcoming Conference on Least Developed Countries. Tt was pointed out that the Conference should bear in mind the importance of energy as a major factor determining the prospects of those countries.
107. Several delegations welcomed the Executive Director's report on international co-operation in the use of shared natural resources. One delegation urged the Council to adopt the principles on shared natural resources and to call upon Governments to respect them. Another, however, emphasized that UNEP must not go beyond what had been decided by the General Assembly, and in particular should not proceed as if the principles had gained broad acceptance.
108. Environmental law was considered to be a subject of growing importance, and support was expressed for UNEP activities in that field. One delegation particularly welcomed the fact that UNEP planned to start work on a global convention on environmental impact assessment.
109. A number of delegations welcomed the work done in preparing for the ad hoc meeting of senior Government officials expert in environmental law, to be held at Montevideo in November 1981, which should establish a framework and set out a programme for the long-term development of environmental law, with particular regard to the interests of developing countries. One suggested that the programme should be so formulated as to include the components of assessment, management, and supporting measures. Others, while welcoming the holding of an informal preparatory meeting in Ottawa in 1980, thought that the priorities the participants had enumerated should be broadened to include problems specific to the developingcountries in the management, protection and rational exploitation of their natural resources. Another delegation stressed that the Council should give clear guidance to the preparatory committee in developing the agenda for the ad hoc meeting, and expressed the hope that the preparatory process would result in the identification of issues and discussion topics which would justify its Government's participation.
110. Noting that environmental education was critically important in training people who were later to he engaged in environmental management, one delegation said that the need for the establishment of a programme activity centre for environmental education could hardly be overemphasized: UNEP should strengthen its efforts to promote the establishment of networks of institutions for environmental education and training, and should give priority in the programme to the necessary technical and financial assistance to Governments. Similar views were expressed by another delegation, which commended UNEP for its support to the International Centre for Training and Education in Environmental Sciences (CIFCA) and welcomed the work on the establishment of a network of environmental education institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean.
111. A number of delegations expressed appreciation of the role of non-governmental organizations in UNEP's activities, particularly in enhancing environmental awareness, and it was pointed out that such organizations could make a special contribution to celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Stockholm Conference. One delegation requested that a reference to IUCN should be added to the Executive Director's report on relations with non-governmental organizations.
112. Some delegations considered that the Executive Director's target of around $120 million for expenditure under the medium-term plan for 1982-1983 was reasonable, while others found it somewhat on the low side: if 25 per cent real growth in activities during the biennium was expected, then contributions to the Fund should rise to some $150 million. Others, however, felt that the $120 million figure was unrealistically high, and that the Council should not approve a programme for which sufficient funds were not expected to be available, but should set the 1982-1983 budget at the level of likely contributions. In addition, one delegation said, a desirable target towards which efforts could be directed might also be established. Another delegation suggested that alternative programmes should be presented based on different levels of contributions, and several pointed out that if the level of contributions was uncertain, UNEP must review its priorities. one delegation suggested that an effort should be made to link planning in UNEP with the availability of financial resources, while another said that the Governing Council should enjoy maximum flexibility to modify or terminate projects each year as appropriate.
113. One delegation remarked that UNEP's administrative expenses were still considerable, and included expensive and not always effective missions. Moreover, the tendency persisted to transfer the cost of services which used to be paid for from the Fund to the regular budget of the United Nations. Remedying that situation would not only improve the programme's efficiency, but would also promote the mobilization of available resources.
1.14. Appreciation was expressed for the efforts to broaden the base of the Fund. A number of delegations appealed to Governments to increase their contributions to the Fund, or at least maintain them in real terms. Numerous delegations announced their Governments' contributions for the period 1982-1983, many of them reporting increases over the previous period.115. Regret was expressed at the shortfall in contributions, and concern was shown at the tendency to delay payments to the Fund. One representative rejected suggestions in the documentation that any particular Government was to blame for delays in programe implementation. UNEP had substantial investments of which use could have been made; moreover, the delays might have been due, for instance, to the large number of vacancies and the rapid staff turnover.
116. Many delegations expressed support for the proposed "special window" to provide additional finance for dealing with environmental problems in developing countries, as requested by the General Assembly. One said that the "special window" should attract resources additional to those in the Fund, and would be a suitable mechanism for financing a series of specific programmes. Others felt that the proposal merited special and careful consideration, while one pointed out that if it was introduced, it would be necessary for recipients to attach high priority to environmental problems. A third group of delegations, however, opposed the suggestion, arguing that UNEP was not a development aid agency and that the "special window" would compete for scarce resources while increasing overheads. Several expressed reservations concerning amendment of the financial rules to earmark finance for specific purposes, which would have implications for the nature and role of the Fund.
117. One representative pointed out that, as discussion had shown, the various mechanisms proposed for securing additional resources by means of international fees, charges or taxes were not appropriate or feasible, and said that UNEP should abandon that approach.
118. Concern was expressed at the level of non-convertible currency balances in the Fund. Strong support was expressed for the Executive Director's efforts to encourage contributors in non-convertible currencies to fix a minimum of 25 per cent for the convertible portion of their contributions in 1982 and an increasing proportion every year thereafter. Some delegations pointed out that contributing in non-convertible currencies amounted to earmarking contributions for use only in the contributing country. Other delegations attached the utmost importance to maintaining the voluntary character of the Fund without any restrictions, and it was pointed out that increasing activities in countries which contributed in non-convertible currencies were leading to a reduction in the accumulated balances, and that the Executive Director's report showed that the alleged difficulties were non-existent.
119. The adoption of Arabic as a working language of the Governing Council was welcomed as a step forward. One representative expressed the hope that all necessary measures had been taken to ensure its introduction.
120. Several delegations welcomed UNEP's efforts to implement Council decision 8/4 of 28 April 1980 on assistance to the Palestinian people, while another requested information on action taken to implement the various resolutions on the subject.
121. The representative of the PLO denounced inhuman Israeli practices aimed at uprooting the Palestinian people from their homeland. Recent developments included further annexation of land, closure of holy places and repressive measures against universities. Attacks on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon had been combined with interference in Lebanese internal affairs. Moreover, the new United States Government had, through its policies, dragged the world to the brink of war.He appealed to the Governing Council to condemn Israel, the United States of America and their allies which were bent on destroying not only the environment but the very existence of the Palestinian people.
122. The representative of Israel, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, deplored the PLO representatives attempt to misuse the forum of the Governing Council. Many improvements had occurred in the living conditions of the Palestinian Arabs in the past 13 years, and the area was enjoying unprecedented prosperity and absolute religious freedom. The core of the Arab/Israeli conflict remained the adamant refusal of many Arab States to recognize Israelis right to exist, added to the terrorist activities of the unrepresentative PLO, whose aim was to destroy the State of Israel. Israel was co-operating with UNDP in implementing a number of projects to benefit the Palestinian people; concentration and co-ordination of international assistance was the best method of serving the interests of the population.
123. The delegation of the United States of America, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, deplored the continued practice of the PLO of using a scientific and technical forum for polemical and propagandistic attacks, indicating that the PLO intervention did not deserve the dignity of a substantive response.
124. One representative denounced the war of aggression against his country carried out by the Hanoi authorities, backed by the Soviet Union. Appeals by the General Assembly for an end to the aggression and the withdrawal of Vietnamese forces had been ignored, and Kampuchea had become a devastated and arid land. A scorched-earth policy designed to cause famine had been combined with the use of chemical weapons, in violation of international agreements. A United Nations commission should be sent to Kampuchea to confirm the truth of the reports which had been received. Another representative expressed regret at recent aggression which had hampered development and adversely affected the environment in Kampuchea and Afghanistan.
125. Several delegations welcomed the fact that the Executive Director had implemented Council decision 8/3 of 28 April 1980 on relations with South Africa, and one urged him to ensure that countries were made aware that the situation in South Africa presented a potentially highly damaging environmental problem. One delegation stated that apartheid represented a gross violation of the basic principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Human Environment, and called an the Governing Council to condemn the system and render all possible assistance to the victims of apartheid.
126. The representative of the secretariat of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) briefly outlined her organization's achievements in the field of environmental co-operation. Activities planned for 1981-1985 fell into such priority areas as low-waste and non-waste technologies, the rational use of natural resources and a global monitoring system, and would help to achieve the aims laid down at the ECE high-level meeting on environmental protection held in 1979. She also mentioned activities being carried out under the co-operation agreement between CMEA and UNEP.
127. The Acting Director of the South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) said that the programme, which reflected the deep concern of the participating countries about environmental matters, was designed as a self-reliant effort to ensure that the resources of the subregion were managed in such a way as to furnish a sustained basis for development. He paid tribute to UNEP and its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific for their untiring efforts to make the programme a reality, and appealed to donor agencies to furnish appropriate assistance.
128. The representative of the European Economic Community expressed satisfaction with the co-operation between EEC and UNEP, which had led to a marked convergence of views. Environmental concerns occupied an important place in numerous Community policies, including those on development aid and regulatory activities within the, Community. EEC was especially interested in UNEP activities concerning environmental law and regional seas, and was a keen participant in them.
129. The representative of the Environment Liaison Centre (ELC), speaking on behalf of a number of non-governmental organizations represented at the session, expressed concern at the slackening financial commitment to UNEP. She welcomed the Executive Director's proposals for participation by non-goverrunental organizations in the 1982 sessions, which would revive interest in environmental issues, and described various activities planned in conjunction with the tenth anniversary celebrations. Non-governmental organizations welcomed the fact that responsibility for relations with non-goverrunental organizations had been allocated at a high level in UNEP, but continued to believe that the responsibility should be a full-time one.
130. The Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) expressed appreciation to UNEP for its co-operation and to Governments for their support, mentioned the various activities of his organization in the field of conservation for development and highlighted the world Conservation Strategy - which had perhaps done more to put conservation on the world's agenda than any other single action since the Stockholm Conference - as the best reflection of IUCN's broad conservation mandate. IUCN had taken various steps to further the direct implementation of the Strategy, and also welcomed the signing of a new round of projects in co-operation with UNEP, which he hoped would shortly be expanded.
131. The Chairman of the Commission on Environment of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), speaking also on behalf of the International Centre for Industry and Environment, reported the the "Environmental Guidelines for World Industry" adopted in 1974 were to be updated and revised. He outlined the current activities of ICC and its subsidiary bodies, and described plans to mark the tenth anniversary of the Stockholm Conference with an industrial conference. Industry was willing to accommodate and even anticipate environmental concerns, but rejected unnecessary constraints, and the oversimplification implicit in such slogans and catch-phrases as "the polluter pays' and "zero pollution". He appealed for a spirit of co-operation and understanding between Governments, industry and conservationists, each acknowledging the sincerity of the others in pursuit of the common goal of a better environment.132. After expressing his appreciation for the positive remarks made during the general debate on the achievements of the programme, the Executive Director drew attention to a number of areas in which agreement had emerged. They included his intention to continue to give operational content to the environmental and considerations now included in the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade, the importance of environment in the global round of negotiations, the approach toward the study of interrelationships between people, resources, development and environment, the value of the system-wide medium-term environment programme as a coordinating tool, and the contents and process of preparation of the first section of the perspective document. Noting that a number of representatives had raised questions concerning UNEP's ability to influence the United Nations system, he emphasized the fact that members of the United Nations system were extending a very high degree of positive response to UNEP's views and underscored a number of the difficulties that must be faced particularly in dealing with the agencies, not the least of which was the fact that the agencies did not yet have a unified programme budgeting system.
133. Noting that significant disagreements seemed to exist concerning the Fund target for the 1982-1983 biennium, with some Governments urging greater economies and concentration of activities, he drew attention to the number of new activities as well as requests for funds which had emerged during the current session. He would of course always be guided by the wishes of Governments, but he needed clear and specific directives if he was to discharge the responsibilities of the programme effectively. He could not, however, see how standing machinery to oversee the management of the Fund and the administration of projects could be considered at all when he was entrusted, as Executive Director, by the General Assembly resolution which established UNEP, with the administration of the Fund.
134. Regarding the duration of the session of a special character and the tenth regular session, it was important for Governments to realize that sufficient time must be allowed to enable representatives to participate effectively in the session. During the current session some 68 speakers had participated in the general debate, which had occupied six meetings; at the session of a special character, t ' here would be considerably more speakers. At its tenth regular session, the Council would be called upon to adopt decisions relating to the report on the state of the environment, the periodicity and duration of sessions of the Governing Council, the report of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC), the report on UNEP/Habitat joint bureau meetings, the regional presence of UNEP, the system-wide medium-term environment programme and the programme performance report, the management of the Fund and the implementation of the Fund programme, among other subjects. Those requirements had led him to the conclusion that the regular session would require a minimum of nine days, while the session of a special character could not be finished in less than seven days.
135. He welcomed the suggestion made regarding a policv statement from the Council addressed to the energy conference. He also explained in some detail the nature of the report on the state of the environment 10 years after Stockholm. It was not a document to be negotiated by Governments, since it was a report by the Executive Director. There would be three versions: a scientific version, a popular version and an executive summary by the Executive Director addressed to policy-makers.
136. Responding to the comments made by one delegation regarding the Fund balance and its bank investments, he explained that although the records had reflected investments of $11.2 million at the end of 1980, there were liabilities to be set against that figure. The important figure was the Fund balance at the end of the year, which was $10.8 million in convertible currency, including $6.8 million in pledges which were unpaid at the time. Consequently, he would not have had the ability to make additional commitments against such funds while waiting for information not only on the date of payment of the contribution of the State in question, but essentially on whether more contributions would be forthcoming.