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A - Draft objectives, structure and level of detail of the system-wide medium-term and environment programme

190. In his statement introducing the draft objectives, structure and elaborated sample of the system-wide programme, (UNEP/GC.9/7), the Assistant Executive Director emphasized the close involvement of concerned United Nations organizations and bodies in the preparation of the system-wide medium-term environment programme and its consequent collaborative character. The draft programme presented in UNEP/GC.9/7 and its annexes represented the objectives of the environment programme for the United Nations system as a whole, although care was taken not to reproduce entire programmes of other organizations. The programming cycles of various United Nations organs were expected to be harmonized from 1984 onwards; nevertheless, since it would still be difficult to plan unequivocally up to the year 1989, the text had to concern itself with broad issues, thus retaining flexibility. After the Governing Council gave its views on the draft structure, objectives and level of detail of the system-wide programme, the secretariat would intensify consultations with other members of the system so as to develop the programme in detail, within the approved framework, for submission to the Council at its tenth session.

191. Delegations commended the efforts put into preparing the structure and objectives of the system-wide programme. It was observed that, in view of the close link between the formulation of that programme and issues of environmental co-ordination within the United Nations system, the Council needed to consider the programme in terms of such co-ordination. The preparation of the programme was an innovative and challenging undertaking, especially in the light of its system-wide character. When finally approve(A, it should serve as an instrument of interagency co-ordination so as to ensure that international efforts to analyse and alleviate environmental problems had maximum impact. In particular, it must influence, and be concretely reflected in, the individual work programmes and budgets of organizations in the United Nations system. Co-ordination in the system in that respect needed to be intensified, to remedy a situation whereby, for example, adequate budgetary informaton on various subprogrammes identified in the UNEP medium-term plan for 1982-1983 had not been forthcoming from some organizations. Moreover, the participation of organizations in joint programming consultations in respect of individual programmes needed to be intensified.

192. Some delegations asked how binding the system-wide programme was on the organizations of the system. The Committee consequently noted with approval the observations of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination that 'the system-wide medium-term environment programme being jointly conceived and prepared would be of use to the United Nations system as a whole, and that each organization would take account of its provisions in accordance with its constitutional mandate and programming procedures ... as a means for exercising mutual influence on their planning and programming processes' (UNEP/GC.9/4/Add.1, para. 5).

193. Delegations agreed that interagency co-ordination would be greatly facilitated if representatives of individual Governments participating in the governing bodies of members of the United Nations system spoke with one voice on environmental issues. The need for systematic and intensified efforts to ensure interdepartmental co-ordination within Governments in that respect was universally recognized, as was the importance of high-level UNEP representation at the sessions of these governing bodies when they discussed their own future programmes. The Committee noted that, once the system-wide programme was finally approved by the Governing Council, it would be submitted to the Governing Council, it would be submitted to the governing bodies'of concerned United Nations organizations for consideration.

194. There was general agreement that the programme should not cover areas where only Governments could and should act. It could, however, guide Governments in the orientation and implementation of their environment-related programmes.

195. The structure of the system-wide programme was discussed at length. Several delegations welcomed the interagency collaborative effort to present a fairly comprehensive set of subprogrammes aimed at providing a clear picture of the nature and scope of environmental activities planned by the United Nations system. Some, however, felt it difficult to pronounce judgement on the objectives before them in the absence of information on the programme activity under each, since the objectives, of necessity, had to be general. It was therefore suggested that UNEP circulate, if possible, a draft of the full system-wide programme to Governments for comment, so as to enable them to participate more substantively in the preparatory process. It was also emphasized that the programme should reflect the views of intergovernmental and other expert meetings and committees on the subject areas covered by the various programmes.

196. Some delegations said it was essential to relate the system-wide programme to the goals of UNEP for 1992 and beyond and to the perspective document being prepared for the Governing Council session of a special character in 1982, and noted the need to review the programme, perhaps biennially, in the light of emerging environmental problems and findings. Such periodic reviews and refinement would also be valuable inasmuch as subprograimne planning and budgetary allocations would become progressively more specific with time. The secretariat gave assurance that, while the various documents for 1982 were being prepared in parallel, substantive links among them would be maintained.

197. It was agreed that the system-wide programme was not meant to contain only those environmental initiatives to be supported, or otherwise catalysed, by UNEP, nor to imply that every activity it referred to was to be coordinated by the UNEP secretariat. Its aim was to provide a global context for the environment-related activities of the United Nations system, to improve their coherence and co-ordination through mutual support and influence, and thus to achieve cost-effective and maximum impact.

198. Some delegations cautioned that a comprehensive system-wide environment programme might not clearly reflect UNEP's specific role in the system. Hence, rather than attempting to be fully comprehensive, the programme should accurately reflect priority areas for UNEP in the light of what the system had already accomplished and thus focus on filling gaps and supporting crucial environmental initiatives. In particular, prominence should be given to subprogramme elements of multipurpose character with a close bearing on the development of concerns of countries - for example, the gamut of issues relating to soil, water and forestry management and arresting land degradation. The programme should also emphasize assistance to developing countries in implementing environmental activities.

199. Some delegations felt that the draft objectives concentrated too much on preparing surveys, collecting data and monitoring. Greater emphasis needed to be given to action-oriented work, to the application of available and emerging knowledge in environmental protection and improvement in countries, inter alia, through pilot projects, and to strengthening regional training and research centres and national institutional capabilities to formulate, implement and monitor environmental improvement programmes. Some others, however, felt that the emphasis on environmental assessment was legitimate, as UNEP had the potential of making a unique and crucial contribution in that area.

200. Several delegations observed that while the proposed structure appeared to cover the major environmental issues, the guidelines or criteria from which the structure was derived were not explicitly stated. In view of the often all-embracing and trans-sectoral character of environmental issues, it was perhaps difficult to fit the programme into neat categories; nevertheless, the proposed structure could be improved by minimizing overlap between subprogrammes, reordering and regrouping where necessary, bringing out the substantive linkages between subprogrammes and making the functional presentation of the objectives under individual subprogrammes more consistent. For example, the elements of "research", 'training" and 'legal instruments and studies" were mentioned under some subprogrammes but not under some others, even where they could be considered pertinent. It was agreed that a short annex to the programme would be prepared enumerating the various trans-sectoral areas, and providing cross references to their inclusion under the respective subprogramme headings within the main body of the progr amme. One delegation supported the intention of the Executive Director to elaborate programmes of an interdisciplinary and global character, e.g., GEMS, as integral parts of the system-wide programme.

201. One specific proposal was to combine programmes 9-13 under the heading of 'Natural resources development", 4 and 5 under "Environmental issues relating to human settlements', 13 and 14 under "Protection of endangered species", 17-19 under 'Marine environment', 20-22 under 'Environment and development' and 24-26 under 'Supporting measures". Another proposal was to group programmes under the headings, land, water, air, oceans, biota, human settlements, industry, energy, natural disasters and the supporting measures of education, information, training and research. No agreement was reached on these proposals.

202. In response to suggestions by a number of delegations for the need to maximize the outcome from the activities of UNEP, there was reference to the desirability to merge the effort expended on genetic resources and wildlife, and on environmentally sound and appropriate technology, with other relevant parts of the environmental management programme, including for example, energy, human settlements and terrestrial ecosystems. However, a number of delegations stressed the desirability of maintaining areas within the programme, such as regional seas and industry and the environment, as distinct in their own right. Widely varying emphasis was indicated in relation to many activities which included mangrove ecosystems, wetlands ecosystems, environment and transport, mining of nodules from the sea-bed, remnants of wars, especially mines, food storage and prevention of food losses, contamination of extra-terrestrial space, adverse effects of pharmaceuticals, environmental statistics and strengthening of national environmental institutional capabilities. It was argued by some delegations and the representative of IUCN that the scope of the World Conservation Strategy was too broad to be limited to the programme on wildlife and protected areas ' and its contents should therefore be reflected in all relevant programmes. It was ' however, appreciated that the responsibility for making the strategy operational rested with Governments.

203. Specific observations concerning further elaboration of the content of individual programmes were as follows:

Programme 1: One delegation felt that under 1 (a) (iv), effects other than those relating to acidity should also be included. It was also suggested that the programme be limited to the impact on man himself;

Programme 3: while two delegations felt that the item was of low priority, another suggested that "Occupational health problems of migrant workers' be included under 3 (c);

Programme 4: It was felt that since UNEP should be concentrating on the environmental aspects of drinking water supply and sanitation the programme could be appropriately redefined and combined with programme 9;

Programme 5: It was emphasized that environmental aspects of community-level planning should be included. In particular, the phrase "in national, regional and local frameworks' might be added after "planning and development" in 5 (a) (i). It was also proposed that protection of the cultural heritage, including monuments, and participation of the public in environmental improvement of settlements be included;

Programme 7: It was felt that the objectives in respect of protection of the ozone layer 7 (d) were rather vague, and the addition of an element on the development of an effective legal system applicable to the protection of the ozone layer was suggested;

Programme 9: It was proposed that the over-all structure of the objectives be streamlined by including in programme 9 the environmental content of programme 4, and adding a training and research component;

Programme 11: It was felt that the programme needed to respond more sensitively to the requirements for implementation of the world soils policy;

Programme 13: The specific inclusion of "coastal ecosystems", 'mangrove ecosystems" and "wetlands ecosystems' was proposed;

Programme 17- One delegation suggested that the area of marine pollution might be

19: developed along the lines of "Regional seas". It was proposed that programme 18 should include 'oceanographic studies' and other pertinent work of UNESCO and other competent organizations. The representative of UNESCO suggested that the system-wide "Regional seas" programme should not only include the work of the UNEP regional seas programme, but also reflect pertinent work being carried out in the rest of the United Nations system;

,Programme 20: One delegation proposed that "suitable methodologies of cost-benefit evaluation of environmental measures and changes" in subprogramme

20 (b) be supplemented by "and/or methods of assessing cost-effectiveness of expenditures aimed at bringing about desired environmental improvement";

Programme 21: One delegation said that the role of migrant workers in relation to land degradation deserved attention;

Programme 22: The inclusion of the following subprogranlmes was proposed:

- Environmental impact of industrial location policies;

- Industrial waste treatment, disposal and recycling (with the objectives of: preparation of guidelines and manuals for treatment of wastes of specific industries; establishment of criteria for the development and implementation of effluent standards; and organization of training programmes on industrial waste and treatment disposal);

- International exchange of information on industrial environmental control,

- Strengthening of institutions for industrial environmental control;

Programme 23: One delegation proposed that the title be amended to 'Energy and environment", and said that the present subprogramme 23 (a) should focus on new energy technologies. Another suggested that subprogramme 23 (c) fell outside the scope of an environment programme, which ought to concentrate on identifying and promoting environmentally sound ways of producing and using energy. Another proposed the addition of an element on "Methodologies of saving energy". One delegation proposed the addition of "biological energy resources' to the list of new technologies in 23 (a) (ii), while another called for emphasis on the finite nature of conventional energy resources;

Programme 24: It was agreed that the over-all objective should be qualified by addition of the phrase 'within existing institutional frameworks".

One delegation suggested the replacement of 'enforcement' in the title of subprogramme 24 (a) by 'development and implementation'.

In subprogramme 24 (b), it was suggested that the term "guidelines" be added after 'agreements" in line 2, and after "codes in line 6 of objective 24 (b). It was also proposed that the phrase a new body of" be deleted from the title, and the phrase 'new Law of the Sea Convention" replaced by "results of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea". It was further proposed that "and regulatory' be added after 'legislative" in line 1 of objective 24 (c) (i).

Programme 25: Delegations called for emphasis on the role of universities, particularly in developing countries, where their institutional capabilities needed strengthening for the purpose, in respect of (a) introducing environmental dimensions in traditional disciplines; and (b) initiating new programmes of environmental studies;

Programme 26: One delegation suggested that promotion of awareness of environmental management at various levels needed greater emphasis.

204. The Committee considered the sample of an elaborated system-wide medium-term programme for genetic resources presented in annex III of document UNEP/GC.9/7 from the standpoint of format and level of detail to be included in the development of the rest of the programme. The general feeling was that the format and level of detail shown in the sample were satisfactory, although there was scope for improvement so as to provide a more complete, coherent and clear system-wide picture and thus facilitate better implementation. Condensation of the introductory remarks concerning the general orientation of programmes and subprogrammes would also be feasible: reference to relevant decisions and resolutions of concerned organizations in the United Nations system would suffice. The representative of ILO expressed the view that there should be no distinction between secretariat and intergovernmental objectives, since the organizations constituted a whole. Such a distinction could apply only to means of action.

205. It was felt important to bring out links among programmes and subprogrammes, as well as among the responsibilities of the various bodies involved. The section on co-ordination, in particular, should define precisely the nature and scope of involvement of individual organizations in the activities concerned, and should give a clear indication of the planned budgetary allocations by each organization to individual subprogramme elements. Conversely, it was suggested that the pattern and extent of co-ordination might be seen more clearly if the nature and extent of involvement of individual organizations were reflected under each subprogramme. One delegation suggested that such information might be given in tabular form. Another proposed that, if possible, the developed programme should indicate the "target groups" to whom the various programmes were addressed.

206. The representatives of ECA, ILO, FAO, UNESCO, WHO and WMO expressed appreciation of the collaborative efforts put into the preparation of the systemwide programme. They emphasized the importance of furt-her.-interagency consultations on a bilateral as well as multilateral basis in the elaboration of this programme to ensure harmonization of activities compatible with the mandates and programming procedures of the respective organizations. While the programme should reflect all activities considered to be environmental or of particular environmental significance by each agency, those which were of major concern to one agency only might be treated briefly. The representative of UNESCO stressed that the structure of the system-wide programme should b6 broad and coherent and that, in its detailed formulation, activities concerning the assessment and the rational management of natural resources should be associated with those concerning their protection. The representatives said that the system-wide approach should remain flexible and not unduly ambitious in order to achieve concrete results. They indicated that their organizations would continue to collaborate closely with UNEP in the further development of the system-wide programme in the context of the over-all coordinating mechanisms of the United Nations system.