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Opening of the session

3. In the absence of the secretary-general of the United Nations, his representative, the Executive Director of UNEP, opened the session.

4. The session was then addressed by H.E Daniel Arap Moi, President of Kenya and current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity, who said that there was a direct relationship between widespread poverty and environmental degradation that must not be ignored. Only when poverty was relieved could work begin in earnest to restore and conserve the environment. Moreover, there was no lack of intellectual, technological and material resources which could be deployed to help meet basic human needs throughout the world: what was lacking was political will to tackle the problem. He also drew attention to the population explosion in many parts of the developing world, which made it essential to shift from the safe ground of talking about human health and well being and recognize that the central issue was that of human survival. Continuation of present trends would lead to total collapse; they must be helted and where possible reversed. Against a background of inadequate support to UNEP in the past, he urged all countries to co-operate with it in the years to come, and to enable it to play a more active, fearless role as a warning system and pressure group.

5. The Executive Director read out messages from His Majesty King Baudouin I, King of the Belgians, Zhao Ziyang, Premier of the State Council of China, H.E. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, H.E. Fernando Belaunde Terry, President of Peru, and his Majesty Charles XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, as well as from the secretary-general of the United Nations.