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GENERAL DEBATE

29. In discussing agenda items 6 and 7 at the 2nd plenary meetings of the session, the Council had before it documents UNEP/GC(SSC)/INF.2 and Corr.1 (Russian only) and Corr.2 and Add.1, UNEP/GC(SSC)/INF.1 and Corr.1 (Chinese and English only) and Corr.2 and Add.1 and Corr.1 (Chinese, English, Fresh, Russian and Spanish only) and UNEP/GC(SSC)/INF.2 and Corr.1 (Arabic, English and French only).

30. In his introductory statement, the Executive Director said that the task of the session was to give new impetus to the environment movement for the next decade. Since the stockholm Conference, increasing knowledge had confirmed some ideas and refuted others, and had also revealed new ares of concern – for example, desertification, Perceptions, too, had evolved: emphasis was now less on changes in the environment themselves than on their causes and impacts; its various componets were more clearly perceived as resources to be conserved, and their interrlatedness was more generally acknowledged.

31. As in 1972, poverty remained the worst form of pollution, but the then revolutionary concept of environment – based development was now generally accepted with numerous strategies and plans for putting it into effect, notable among them the World Conservation Strategy. However, progress in the application of the concepts developed was far from satisfactory, and the planet’scapacity to meet increasingly needs was being undermined by loss of agricultural land, depletion of troprical forests, pollution and waste disposal.

32. Even without allowing for the new environmental problems that would inevitably emerge, the magintude of those the world already faced made more effective efforts to deal with them essential. On the basis of the expansion in environmental awaremess, and of the co-operation developing among nations under a variety of treaties and other arrangements, he was confident that an improved response would be achieved. The commitment of international and national development assistance institutions to funding only sustainable projects was landmark. Moreover, it had been conclusively demonstrated that environmental protection paid in cash terms, creating jobs and stimulating growth without causing any significant inflation. More attention should be paid to the development of environmental accounting, to correct “environmental deficit financing”, and to promote peace by taking into account the impairment of security by resource exhaustion. The danger posed by environmental degradation to global peace and human survival was regonized, and it was clearly in the interests of the rich nations to invest in the environmental security of the developing countries.

33. The actions recommended in document UNEP/GC(SSC)/2 to avert the impending environmental crisis were to be undertaken by the whole United Nations system, and above all by Governments. The amount of money required to implement them while large, was only some 5 per cent of current arms race expenditure. In promoting political and resource commitments to match the greater understanding of the environment, UNEP would continue the exercise of its catalytic and co-ordinating role, under the policy guidance of the Council, both within the United Nations system and through its contacts with non-governmental organizations and the scientific community. The secretariat was working on ways of improving its caralytic function. However, the crucial factor in timproving its performance was to increase the resources available to the Environent Fund. The uncertainty as to the amount the timing of contributions as a crippling factor whose seriousness Governments should consider.

34 The choice facing nations in 1982 was an unprecedented one – to carry on as they were and face by the year 2000 and environmental catastrophe whose impact would be as devasting and irreversible as that of nuclear war, or to begin a serious co-operative effort to use the world’s resources rationally and fairly. The Stockholm promise that of “all things in the world, people are the most precious remained true, and the potential to meet the needs of those people was there. The environmentaal crisis could be solved, and the session of a special character was a once-in-adecade opportunity for Governments to demonstrate that they and their peoples had the will to do so.

35 At the outset of the general debate, delegations agreed that the session of a special character should provide a forum for evaluating the environmental situation in the light of chanaging circumstances; determining the issues requiring urgent attention and vigorous action; and, in the “spirit of Nairobi”, undertaking renewed efforts to ensure that the earth was maintained as a sutitable place for human life for present and future generations.

36 It was generally felt that substantial progress had been achieved in some areas, thanks to the efforts of UNEP and other international organizations and the significant increase in national awareness of environmental issues. Differences of views between developed and developing countries with regard to environmental perceptions had t a large extent faded over the last 10 years, and the concepts of sustainable development and rational management of natural resources were now widely accepted as the cornerstones of environmental policies. That progress was reflected in the formal recognition in the International Development Strategy for the environment should be considered an itergral part of development policies. While that new environmental awareness would not in itself solve problems, it would provide at least some of the impetus needed to ensure that the immediate steps which had to be taken to cure the financial and economic woes confronting Governments would not be to the detriment of the long-term soundness of the gobal and National environment.

37. At the national, regional and international levels, substantial bodies of legislation and new institutional machinery had been developed to deal with environmental issues. The need to intergrate environment and development policies more closely was enjoying growing recognition by public and Governments alike, and more closely was enjoying growing recognition by public and Governments alike, and industry was increasingly incorporating environmental considerations into all aspects of its activities. In industrialized countries, in particular, it was becoming increasingly clear that forward-looking environmental policies generated development, created employment, allowed for better land management, limited wastes and led to substantial savings. Non-governmental organizations throughout the world had contributed to the promotion of environmental values, which could be said to have become part of the dominant value system in many countries.

38. The past 10 years had also seen an enormous advance in the understanding of the importance of energy considerations that had culminated in the decisions adopted by the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in 1981.

39. Many delegations described measures adopted by their Governments in the past 10 years in the legislative, administrative, institutional and scientific fields for the protection and improvement of the environment, in many cases as a direct result of the Stockholm Conference. Several also mentioned steps taken by their Governments in the field of international environmental co-operation, at the bilateral or multilateral level, stressing in particular their ratification of or accession to international or regional environmental instruments.

40. In the review of the implementation of the Stockholm Action Plan, it was observed that the Plan night have been rather over-ambitious and somewhat unlear where priorities were concerned. While some of its recommendations had led to satisfactorty progress at the national and international levels, implementation of others had not progressed beyond a rather preliminary stage. None the less, it was suggested that the principles of the Stockhlom Declaration might be considered as a “code of environmental conduct” for the present and for the future. Delegations by and large expressed their continuing support for the Declaration and the Plan of Action as valid expression of the international community’s common will be deal with environmental problems in a co-operative manner.

41. It was also noted that other important documents had emerged since Stockhlom, such as the World Conservation Strategy, which had been prepared by UNEP, the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and whose lauching and implementation were strongly supported, and the Declaration of Environmental Principles and Procedures Relating to Economic Development, which had been signed by several multilateral development financing institutions. Several delegations endorsed the World Charter for Nature, the objectives of which were germane to both the Stockholm Declaration and Plan of Action and the World Conservation Strategy, and which would be considered by the General Assembly at its thirty-seventh session. Reference was also made in that connection to General Assembly resolution 35/8 entitled “Historical responsibility of states for the preservation of nature for present and future generations”.

42. Over the past 10 years, UNEP had emerged as a significant institution with a deept sence of commitment to world-wide environmental concerns. Lack of progress in some areas was often more a reflection of the newness of theenvironmental cause than the result of inherent shortcomings in the UNEP programme. More specifically, UNEP had been instrumental in heightening public and governmental perception on a Nations bodies through bilateral and thematic joint programming and the preparation of the system-wide medium-term environment programme. As was evident in the documentation submitted at the session of a special character, one of the major achievements of UNEP had been the progressive establishment, through its environental assessment and monitoring programmes, of a centre for environmental information, which should provide a basis for better understanding of the scope, seriousness and interrelatedness of environmental problems. UNEP has also taken some useful initiatives in such global areas as the athmosphere, for example, with regard to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the athmosphere and the possible depletion of the ozone layer. Such initiatives were particularly coomendable because global solutions to environmental problems were very difficult to achieve given the divergences of interest and concerns among countries and differences in perceptions and capabilities.

43. Nevertheless, it was generally felt that, in spite of those notable achievements, the environmental situation at the outset of the 1980s was bleak in a number of respects. While certain threats to the environment identified in 1972 might be perceived as less serious, other persisted, some had worsened and new ones had emerged. The continued degradation of land and water resources, resulting from very extensive deforestation, denudation, soil erosion, flooding, water logging and salinization, premature siltation of reservoirs and loss of ground water, constituted the most serious single threat to the global environment and represented a grave danger to the well-being and indeed the survival of many developing countries. Another area of serious concern was the deplorable condition of human settlements in most developing countries, particularly with regard to the failure to meet even minimum standards for sanitation and drinking water.

44. The momentum of the relatively rapid progress of the 1970s would be difficult to maintain in the 1980s in the light of the present economic, financial and political difficulties facing the world community. Many delegations referred to political competition, apartheid, the arms race and the development of weapons at mass destruction as conditions which drained valuable resources, misdirected skills, technology and research away from the needs of sustainable development. One delegation pointed out that it was particularly the super-Powers which were developing weapons of mass destruction, and added that aggression and expansion should be included in the list of deleterious conditions which, taken together, presented a grave threat to the peace and security of mankind. It was also noted that the direct environmental impact of war was being felt in various countries in which armed conflict was continuing. In the same context, reference was made to a range of problems which were caused by the persistence of remnants of war. At the same time, although the peaceful use of nuclear energy had grown much more slowly than had been expected in 1972, the threat ofenvironmental cause than the result of inherent shortcomings in the UNEP programme. More specifically, UNEP had been instrumental in heightening public and governmental perception on a Nations bodies through bilateral and thematic joint programming and the preparation of the system-wide medium-term environment programme. As was evident in the documentation submitted at the session of a special character, one of the major achievements of UNEP had been the progressive establishment, through its environental assessment and monitoring programmes, of a centre for environmental information, which should provide a basis for better understanding of the scope, seriousness and interrelatedness of environmental problems. UNEP has also taken some useful initiatives in such global areas as the athmosphere, for example, with regard to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the athmosphere and the possible depletion of the ozone layer. Such initiatives were particularly coomendable because global solutions to environmental problems were very difficult to achieve given the divergences of interest and concerns among countries and differences in perceptions and capabilities.

43. Nevertheless, it was generally felt that, in spite of those notable achievements, the environmental situation at the outset of the 1980s was bleak in a number of respects. While certain threats to the environment identified in 1972 might be perceived as less serious, other persisted, some had worsened and new ones had emerged. The continued degradation of land and water resources, resulting from very extensive deforestation, denudation, soil erosion, flooding, water logging and salinization, premature siltation of reservoirs and loss of ground water, constituted the most serious single threat to the global environment and represented a grave danger to the well-being and indeed the survival of many developing countries. Another area of serious concern was the deplorable condition of human settlements in most developing countries, particularly with regard to the failure to meet even minimum standards for sanitation and drinking water.

44. The momentum of the relatively rapid progress of the 1970s would be difficult to maintain in the 1980s in the light of the present economic, financial and political difficulties facing the world community. Many delegations referred to political competition, apartheid, the arms race and the development of weapons at mass destruction as conditions which drained valuable resources, misdirected skills, technology and research away from the needs of sustainable development. One delegation pointed out that it was particularly the super-Powers which were developing weapons of mass destruction, and added that aggression and expansion should be included in the list of deleterious conditions which, taken together, presented a grave threat to the peace and security of mankind. It was also noted that the direct environmental impact of war was being felt in various countries in which armed conflict was continuing. In the same context, reference was made to a range of problems which were caused by the persistence of remnants of war. At the same time, although the peaceful use of nuclear energy had grown much more slowly than had been expected in 1972, the threat ofenvironmental cause than the result of inherent shortcomings in the UNEP programme. More specifically, UNEP had been instrumental in heightening public and governmental perception on a Nations bodies through bilateral and thematic joint programming and the preparation of the system-wide medium-term environment programme. As was evident in the documentation submitted at the session of a special character, one of the major achievements of UNEP had been the progressive establishment, through its environental assessment and monitoring programmes, of a centre for environmental information, which should provide a basis for better understanding of the scope, seriousness and interrelatedness of environmental problems. UNEP has also taken some useful initiatives in such global areas as the athmosphere, for example, with regard to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the athmosphere and the possible depletion of the ozone layer. Such initiatives were particularly coomendable because global solutions to environmental problems were very difficult to achieve given the divergences of interest and concerns among countries and differences in perceptions and capabilities.

43. Nevertheless, it was generally felt that, in spite of those notable achievements, the environmental situation at the outset of the 1980s was bleak in a number of respects. While certain threats to the environment identified in 1972 might be perceived as less serious, other persisted, some had worsened and new ones had emerged. The continued degradation of land and water resources, resulting from very extensive deforestation, denudation, soil erosion, flooding, water logging and salinization, premature siltation of reservoirs and loss of ground water, constituted the most serious single threat to the global environment and represented a grave danger to the well-being and indeed the survival of many developing countries. Another area of serious concern was the deplorable condition of human settlements in most developing countries, particularly with regard to the failure to meet even minimum standards for sanitation and drinking water.

44. The momentum of the relatively rapid progress of the 1970s would be difficult to maintain in the 1980s in the light of the present economic, financial and political difficulties facing the world community. Many delegations referred to political competition, apartheid, the arms race and the development of weapons at mass destruction as conditions which drained valuable resources, misdirected skills, technology and research away from the needs of sustainable development. One delegation pointed out that it was particularly the super-Powers which were developing weapons of mass destruction, and added that aggression and expansion should be included in the list of deleterious conditions which, taken together, presented a grave threat to the peace and security of mankind. It was also noted that the direct environmental impact of war was being felt in various countries in which armed conflict was continuing. In the same context, reference was made to a range of problems which were caused by the persistence of remnants of war. At the same time, although the peaceful use of nuclear energy had grown much more slowly than had been expected in 1972, the threat ofenvironmental cause than the result of inherent shortcomings in the UNEP programme. More specifically, UNEP had been instrumental in heightening public and governmental perception on a Nations bodies through bilateral and thematic joint programming and the preparation of the system-wide medium-term environment programme. As was evident in the documentation submitted at the session of a special character, one of the major achievements of UNEP had been the progressive establishment, through its environental assessment and monitoring programmes, of a centre for environmental information, which should provide a basis for better understanding of the scope, seriousness and interrelatedness of environmental problems. UNEP has also taken some useful initiatives in such global areas as the athmosphere, for example, with regard to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the athmosphere and the possible depletion of the ozone layer. Such initiatives were particularly coomendable because global solutions to environmental problems were very difficult to achieve given the divergences of interest and concerns among countries and differences in perceptions and capabilities.

43. Nevertheless, it was generally felt that, in spite of those notable achievements, the environmental situation at the outset of the 1980s was bleak in a number of respects. While certain threats to the environment identified in 1972 might be perceived as less serious, other persisted, some had worsened and new ones had emerged. The continued degradation of land and water resources, resulting from very extensive deforestation, denudation, soil erosion, flooding, water logging and salinization, premature siltation of reservoirs and loss of ground water, constituted the most serious single threat to the global environment and represented a grave danger to the well-being and indeed the survival of many developing countries. Another area of serious concern was the deplorable condition of human settlements in most developing countries, particularly with regard to the failure to meet even minimum standards for sanitation and drinking water.

44. The momentum of the relatively rapid progress of the 1970s would be difficult to maintain in the 1980s in the light of the present economic, financial and political difficulties facing the world community. Many delegations referred to political competition, apartheid, the arms race and the development of weapons at mass destruction as conditions which drained valuable resources, misdirected skills, technology and research away from the needs of sustainable development. One delegation pointed out that it was particularly the super-Powers which were developing weapons of mass destruction, and added that aggression and expansion should be included in the list of deleterious conditions which, taken together, presented a grave threat to the peace and security of mankind. It was also noted that the direct environmental impact of war was being felt in various countries in which armed conflict was continuing. In the same context, reference was made to a range of problems which were caused by the persistence of remnants of war. At the same time, although the peaceful use of nuclear energy had grown much more slowly than had been expected in 1972, the threat ofenvironmental catastrophe resulting from the use of nuclear weapons had worsened considerably.

45. It was observed that one of the major causes of inadequate progress in the environmental field was that the international community had not put into effect a genuinely concerted policy for the envionment. It was mentioned that environmental problems in developing countries were largely due to the present unjust international economic order. Too few countries carried out activities as an integral part of a comp

47. Declarations pointed out that the growing seriousness of widespread problems such as desertification, soil erosion, scarcity of water and deterioration of its quality, deforestation and pollution would require a massive mobilization of resources on a global scale in the 1980s if irreversible damage to the resource base of the planet was to be avoided. Providing developing countries with means to solve their problems was one of the basic challenged of the 1980s, and the key to enabling them to reconcile the twin needs of environmental protection and development in the years ahead. A number of delegations said that achievement of that crucial objective called for the full establishments of a new international economic order, without which the continued inequalities and distortions inherent in the current system of international economic relations would hamper the capacity of developing countries to manage and develop their resource base in a sustainable way. Unless genuine efforts in that direction were made by all states, pressures on the environment resulting from the widespread poverty affecting the bulk of the world population. The achievement of the goal was dependent on the political will of all Governments.

48. It was generally stressed that effective international action in the field of the environment and the formulation and implementation of adequate national environment programme could only be achieved in an atmosphere of peace in the world, through the prevention of aggressive war and the application of effective disarmament measures which could enable resources currently wasted on armaments to special session of the General Assembly on disarmament might open the way to progress in that crucial area.

49. There was general agreement that economic and social progress was essential to the effective implementation of environmental protection policies. Stress was, however, laid on the need for a new approach to economic and social progress, based on careful stewardship of the earth’s resources and a concern for the interests of future generals. The guiding principle of such development should be the achievement of sustainable economic and social progress, not only within the limits imposed by nature, but also, and above all, in the context of respect for and protection of mankind; it should have man as the focus, and operate in harmony with the environment. Work should therefore begin as soon as possible on a global strategy for sustainable development, which, while respecting human needsand the human person, should ensure a balance between man and the environment.

50. It was stated that where environmental problems transcended the boundaries of any one nation, the nations concerned should be actively involved in the search for generally acceptable solutions. In the long term, environmental protection and enhancement were best organized on a preventative basis, necessarily calling for interdisciplinary planning by all parties concerned, as well as the integration of environmental considerations at all stages of development planning. It was also pointed out that environmental protection measures were as important in times of difficulty as in times of economic prosperity; environmental action must take due account of problems such an unemployment, inflation and poverty, and could in fact contribute to their alleviation. Incentive/disincentive systems where applicable in economic decision-making, might also be harnessed to encourage environmentally sound decisions, and appropriate international environmental guidelines and sound decisions, and appropriate international environmental guidelines and methodologies should be developed to provide a framework for national action.

51. There was broad agreement on the need to make a direct attack on poverty, which was the main source of environmental degradation in the third world breaking the vicious of extreme poverty would help to unravel the tangled interrelationships between population, resources, development and the environment. In entering a new decade, it was necessary not only to define objectives for the future but also to ensure their attainment through well-defined programme adapted to the specific circumstances of developing countries. Those countries must be supported in their efforts to protect and enhance the environment to achieve an ecological balance. Development assistance was thus essential, but care must be taken to ensure that it had no adverse environmental effects. Important aspects of such aid were the transfer of appropriate technologies adapted to the circumstances of each region or country, and the transmittal of information which could contribute significantly to the formulation of environmentally sound development strategies. That was important not only to help developing countries avoid mistakes made by the industrialized world and prevent duplication of research, but also because, while developed countries had, through experience, attained a large measure of success in devising technological solutions to environmental problems, the developed countries should take pollution control measures to minimize environmental damage in developing countries.

52. It was pointed out that various developing countries had evolved their own technologies or adapted imported ones, which should prove highly appropriate to other countries in similar circumstances. The sharing of information on such technologies would form a very developing countries had already taken steps to promote indigenous development strategies, and were placing emphasis on training and education as tools for the transformation of human resources into employable labour.

53. Some delegations expressed regret that the multitude of environmental activities launched over the past 10 years had not always had an immediate and practical impact for developing countries, and that the methods available to tackle problems in those countries were still inadequate to respond to their priority concerns. It was suggested that UNEP should in future pay special attention to the three priority areas, namely the control of pollution, the management of natural and living resources and the improvement of sanitary and drinking water conditions in the developing countries.

54. A number of delegations emphasized that an effective renewal of the momentum of Stockholm would require a strengthening and perhaps a restructuring of UNEP and increased support, financial, political and scientific, for the environment programme. Some other delegations stressed the importance of conserving the unique role of UNEP as the central catalyst and co-ordinate for environmental affairs in the United Nations system. The deliberations of the Governing Council should be reoriented to provide better opportunities for discussion and decisions on the action required tackling environmental problems. Criteria might also be established to guide decisions on the projects in which UNEP should participate, and mechanisms set up to ensure continuos government participation in deciding which programmes should be undertaken in collaboration with UNEP and how the resources of the Environment Fund should be used for that purpose. UNEP needed the assistance of all specialized agencies and the full support of the General Assembly; closer co-operation with non-governmental organizations was also required. UNEP should be organized in such a way that requests for environmental advice and proposals for specific projects could be processed at short notice, and procedures should be established for providing immediate assistance to countries facing environmental treats.

55. Several delegations said that UNEP possessed the necessary authority and resources for the effective discharge of the tasks assigned to it, and that, while playing a central role in the solutions of global environmental problems, it should, since those resources were limited, concentrate on key areas and on the development of an overall strategy to promote sustainable development. It was suggested that its attention should be focused on three main tasks: the monitoring of, and assistance in, the implementation of programmes of action on problems of global concern, such as the loss of genetic materials, monitoring of the world ocean, the loss of crop lands, soil degradation, desertifcation and forestation; the monitoring and promotion of action to control hazardous wastes and transboundary pollution, and assistance to developing countries in dealing with the most urgent problems of resource management and environmental protection.It was also suggested that UNEP should step up its efforts to develop a system of global environmental management, with special attention to transboundary problems.Further attempts should also be made to develop compatible environmental quality and impact assessment standards, as well as a comprehensive environmental code as a guide for transnational corporations. One delegation suggested that there was a need a draw up guidelines and devise environmental management techniques for the control, rehabilitation and improvement of freshwater ecosystems (inland waters).

56. Several delegations took the view that renewed efforts should be made to solve the problems of toxic chemicals in the environment. Attention was drawn to the list of dangerous substances and processes prepared by the Executive Director, and the need was stressed for the development of guidelines and codes of conduct for international trade in potentially harmful chemicals. The question of the disposal to toxic wastes also deserved more attention, as did the increasingly alarming problem of trade in toxic chemicals from developed to developing countries, which in the view of some speakers were used as dumping grounds not only for dangerous chemicals but also for unsafe pharmaceuticals and other potentially hazardous products, such as baby food formulas.

57. Special emphasis was placed on the crucial importance of environmental training and education, both for developing and for industrialized countries, and UNEP was urged to intensify its activities in that area, taking particular account of the interests of the younger generation. Other activities frequently mentioned by delegations as deserving special attention from UNEP in the coming decade ere the progressive development of environmental law, in line with the conclusions and recommendations of the Ad Hoc meeting of Senior Government Officials Expert in Environmental Law, the preservation of genetic diversity, the strengthening of the industry and environmental programme, the promotion of alternative energy technologies, and active participation in the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade.

58. UNEP could help improve the quality of development co-operation by encouraging the development of simple methods of evaluating programmes from the environmental standpoint. A number of delegations stated that it should set up machinery to assist both donors and recipients in planning development co-operation programme aimed at tackling the worst environmental problems and to channel development assistance funds earmarked for the promotions of environmental protection in developing countries to appropriate projects, the results of which could also be evaluated, with the help of UNEP were appropriate. It was also stated that UNEP should assist in the transfer of know-how by promoting or at least disseminating information on, pilot projects on appropriate technology.

59. It was broadly agreed that it future priorities were to be tackled effectively, a stronger commitment was needed, not only by UNEP but by individual Governments and bilateral donor agencies, which must ensure that plans and declarations adopted at the international level were actually implemented and, where appropriate, converted into international legal instruments.

60. It was proposed by several delegations that a special commission composed by emitnent persons should be establised to prepare guidelines for tuture environmental policies by studying environmental protection measures form a long-term and comphrehensive standpoint. It would explore the concept of the ideal global environment for the twenty-first century, and formulate strategy for its realization. It was also proposed that there should be a decade on the environment. During that year intensive public information and other activities would be undertaken to increase the world’s awareness of environmental problems.

61. Some delegations stated that work should begin as soon as possible on a global strategy for sustainable development. The work, which should be initiated by the General Assembly, should be carried out by an independent commission with active government participation.

62. Several delegations referred to the need to strengthen the catalytic role of UNEP and expressed the view that unless that role redefined to include practical assistance and direct involvement in the execution of projects, UNEP would fail to have the desired impact in many developing countries. It was also strive to avoid dispersal of effort, concentrate on global issues and avoid direct aid or executing agency activities, which would run counter to its mandate. Doubts were also expressed about certain activities upon which UNEP had embarked which it was felt either exceeded or were not completely in accordance with its mandate; such activities could only be undertaken on a national or regional basis, and should not be extended to the global level.

63. There was broad recognition that regional consciousness was increasing, and that the regional dimension was becoming more and more fundamental to the implementation of the UNEP work programme. While addressing global issues was a basic aspect of the responsibilities of UNEP, regional and subregional environmental problems, especially in the developing world, should receive more attention, especially in the context of programmes which had already started, such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Environment Programme (ASEP), the South Asian Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). One delegation drew attention to the declaration adopted by the South Pacific Conference on the Human Environment held in March 1982 in Rarotonga, which marked the formal lauching of the next phase of SPREP. Several references were also made to the regional seas programme as an excellent example of decentralization of UNEP activities towards the regions. Reference was also made to meetings held recently in Latin America, one on the problems of desertification in Latin America and the Caribbean, another aimed at promoting regional awareness of environmental issues and encouraging co-ordinated actions to solve them, held to help prepare for the two 1982 sessions of the Governing Council, and a third convened to facilitate the national, regional of the Governing Council, and a third convened to facilitate the national, regional and internationalexchage of views among environment and development speccialists. Mention was also made of the 1979 high-level Meeting on the Environment which had been held as a follow-up to the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe and had already yielded positive results in the area of regional co-operation, and the first ASEN Ministerial Meeting on Environment, held in Manila in 1981. I Africa, the Lagos Plan of Action had identified priority areas for Africa, where concrete initiatives would be undertaken.

64. It was suggested that the next environmental decade, or the “Nairobi decade” as one speaker described it, should reflect the environmental needs and concerns of developing countries and lead to more regional and sub-regional programmes as part of the implementation of the Stockholm Action Plan. Several suggestions were made for the strengthening of the regional offices of UNEP. It was also stated that the regional commissions had an important role to play, especially in the dissemination of environment information to developing countries. One delegation suggested the inclusion of regional components in the various UNEP programme, as a step towards regionalization. The opening of “special window” to finance regional environmental programmes in developing countries was also advocated. Other delegations felt the need to strengthen the clearing-house function of UNEP.

65. Several delegations stressed that, for UNEP to be able to discharge its important functions effectively, it should have adequate funds at its disposal. They deplored the fact that, despite some welcome increases announced during the session, contributions to the Fund were still inadequate.

66. Representative of United Nations organs, regional commissions and the specialized agencies made statements stressing in particular the activities they had carried out in the area of environment, particularly since the Stockholm Conference.

67. In a statement presented on behalf of over 100 organizations throughout the world, a spokesman for non-governmental organizations attending the session emphasized the human consequences of environmental degradation, stressed the need to forge new patterns of development, denounced war as the most serious of all threats to the environment and reaffirmed their readiness to work for the improvement of the environment. They further expressed the hope that Governments would be much more vigorous in their support of UNEP, and that UNEP would develop more effective measures for liaison with citizen organizations.

68. The representative of Greece, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, and referring to the terms in which the representative of Turkey and mentioned the High Commissioner of Cyprus, said that the High Commissioner was the legitimate representative of the Republic of Cyprus, which was a sovereign state and a full state member of the United Nations. It was well known that Turkey hadinvaded Cyprus and that Turkish troops were still there, despite various United Nations resolutions on the matter. He deplored the distortions introduced by the representative of Turkey.

69. The representative of Turkey, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply said the statement of the representative of Greece was an abuse of the right of reply, since Turkey’s statement had referred only to the statements of the representative of the Greek Cypriot community, and never to Greece. He also said that the credentials of the so-called representative of Cyprus had not been countersigned by a Turkish Cypriot Vice-President, as the constitution demanded. Reference by had been made to refugees, but not to the 60,000 Turkish Cypriots who had been displaced since 1963. As for the application of resolutions, decisions taken in the absence of representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community were not valid.

70. The representative of Cyprus, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply pointed out that his credentials, being perfectly legitimate, had been accepted without comment in the Credentials Committee. As for the question of rfugees, the existence of Turkish Cypriot refugees, if any, should also be attributed to the Turkish invasion.

71. The representative of Bangladesh drew attention to the mushrooming pockets of desertification in his country, resulting form diversion of the waters of the Ganges. The representative of India deplored the fact that a purely bilateral matter unconnected with the subject at hand should have been brought before the Council. He also pointed out that the areas referred to were in fact suffering from flooding and waterlogging rather than desertification. Subsequently, the representative of Bangladesh and India refuted each other;s views.

72. The representative of Democratic Kampuchea said that the Vietnamese army of occupation was systematically detroying and plundering the Kampuchean economy, and evidence had been provided of the use of chemical and biological weapons. The Vietnamese actions were possible only as a result of protection and support from the Soviet Union. He appealed to the Council and the international community to deny Viet Nam international assistance as long as its aggression in Kampuchea continue.

Action by the Governing Council

73. At the 13th meeting of the session, on 18 May 1982, the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamhiriya, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, introduced a draft resolution entitled :Environmental consequences of the Isreali Project to build a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea”, which had been submitted by the African Group, the Arab Group, India and Pakistan, subsequently joined by the Asian Group as a whole and Yugoslavia (UNEP/GC(SSC)/L.6).

74. The representative of Israel challenged the competence of the Council to adopt the draft decision, since the issue had already been discussed in the General Assembly and his Government had transmitted to the Secretary-General a report which dealt inter-alia with the environmental effects of the project. He therefore called for a vote under rule 44 of the rules of procedure.

75. By a vote of 54 in favour and 2 against, with 28 abstentions, the Council decided that it was competent to adopt the draft decisions.

76. The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of vote, said that the session of a special character had been convened to discuss the definition of international environmental goals for the remainder of the century. He therefore deplored the introduction of extraneous political issues which diluted the significance of the occasion and risked diverting UNEP from its unique and essential role. The draft decision was unecessary, inappropriate and unconected with the matters before the Council

77. The representative of Nigeria, on behalf of the sponsors, announced that the expression “the adverse environmental implications” in the operative paragraph of the draft decision should be replaced by “ any adverse environmental implications”.

78. The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the member countries of the European Communities, said that those countries had voted in favour of General Assembly resolution 36/150. However, the inclusion of the word “ adverse” in the present draft amounted to prejudging the issue, and those countries, expect Greece, would have to abstain in any vote on the draft unless it was deleted. A similar statement was made by the representative of Sweden on behalf of the Nordic Countries.

79. The representative of Nigeria said that the sponsors were not concerned about the positive effects of the project; the word “adverse” should therefore remain.

80. The representative of Israel pointed out that no final decision had yet been taken to proceed with the project, which was still in the feasibility study and research stage. All its environmental implications would be studied, as they were for all development projects in Israel, before such a decision was made. Israel had a major chemical industrial project and tourist facilities on the Dead Sea, at the same level as Jordanian projects in the area, and full flood protection would be afforded by existing and planned dykes. The project’s effects on the chemical composition of the Dead Sea’s waters would be negligible, if not non-existent, lastly, the observed that Jordan had put forward at the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable sources of Energy a similar project to link the Dead Sea with the Red Sea, and there had on that occasion been proposal for a study such as that called for in the draft resolution. His delegation would therefore oppose its adoption.

81. The representative of Jordan said that the representative of Israel had sought to conceal the true nature of the Israeli project, and to divert attention form it by referring to the Jordanian project. The israeli project would have vast repercussions on the environmental of the region, including Jordanian territory, and facilities and produce weapons of mass destruction. That was the reason for Jordan’s opposition to the project. His Government would have no objection to the team appointed to study the Israeli project visiting Jordan and studying as well any other project it wished to.

82. The representative of Saudi Arabia confirmed that the word “adverse” should be retained, and commented that the representative of Israel had spoken as if the project was to be undertaken in Israel: the site was in fact in the occupied territories.

83. The representative of Israel called for a vote on the draft resolution. At the request of the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, supported by the

Representative of Saudi Arabia, the vote was taken by roll-call. The draft resolution was adopted by 60 votes to 2, with 26 abstentions (see annex a, resolution IV). The voting was as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, China, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Kampuchea, Demorcatic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, German, Democratic Republic, Ghana, Greece, Guinia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sir Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia.

Against; Israel, United States of America.

Abstaining: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Comoros, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Federal Republic of, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Malawi, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdon of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe.

84. At the same meeting, the Council adopted by consensus a draft resolution(UNEP/GC(SSC)/L.7 submitted by the group of Latin America States (see annex 1, resolution V).

85. At the same meeting, the representative of Mexico introduced at draft resolution on arms and the environment, submitted by the delegations of Mexico and Sweden (UNEP/GC(SSC)/L.5/Rev.1).

86. The representative of Argentina questioned the competence of the Council to embark on a discussion of clearly political matters, which might jeopardize achievement of the purpose of the session of a special character. Besides, the draft resolution did not fairly assign responsibility for threats to the environment arising from the arms race, which most developing countries did not bear. He called for a vote of the Committee of the whole and the Working Group.

87. The representative of China said that the question at issue was already adequately covered in the reports of the Committee of the whole and the Working Group.

88. The representative of Brazil said he did not consider that the operative paragraph of the draft would affect the way in which the issue was dealt with in the appriopriate forums. His delegation could not support the draft, which assigned equal responsibility for the arms race and the threat of nuclear war to the developing countries and the nuclear powers. The text was not in accordance with Brazil’s position in disarmament forums, and the appeal to be conveyed to the General Assembly at its second special session devoted to disarmament was not compatible with the goals Brazil pursued.

89. The representative of the United States of America expressed doubts concerning the appriopriateness of the draft resolution, but said that he would not oppose its adoption.

90. The representative of Uruguay said what, while he fully supported the motives which had led to the submission of the draft resolution, the question was under discussion in other forums in which Uruguay participated, and, in the absence of instructions from his Government, he would not participate in the vote.

91. The delegations of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, the Byelorussian SSR, Finland, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, India, Nigeria, Pakistan,Poland,,Saudi Arabia and the Sudan expressed support for the draft resolution.

92. The draft resolution was adopted by 56 votes to 4, which 15 abstentions (see annex 1 resolution III).

93. The representative of China said that he had not participated in the vote because the session for a special character was an inappropriate forum for such maatters, which were best left to the General Assembly, especially at its second special session devoted to disarmament. The draft also suffered from the fact that it referred to “war” rather than “aggressive war”, made no distiction between justand unjust wars and did not emphasize the principal responsibility borne by the super-powers.

94. The representative of the Soviet Union said that his delegation had voted for the draft resolution, and pointed out that responsibility for war, and especially nuclear war, would not fall solely on the super-Powers, as they were not alone in possessing nuclear weapons.

95. The representative of the Ukrainian SSR said her delegation fully supported the resolution. Expenditure on the arms race was a waster of resources which could be better spend for the benefit of both present and future generations.

96. The Governing Council then considered a draft resolution submitted by the Bureau on the establishment of a special commission on long-term environmental strategies. The president, recalling the extensive and delicate negotiations involving all regional groups which had resulted in the agreed text, appealed for its adoption by consensus.

97. The representative of Nigeria recalled that, under the terms of Governing Council decision 9/3 of 26 May 1981, section III, the Executive Director was to report to the Council at its tenth session on the results of consultations with Governments and international organizations regarding various options for the consideration to those issues at that session. It would be inappropriate to recommend a particular course of action before considering all the option and implications, and his delegation therefore did not believe that the draft resolution under consideration should be before the Council at its session of a special character.

98. The President said he interpreted that statements as challenging the compentence of the Council to adopt the draft resolution, and put the question to the vote in accordance with rule 44 of the rules of procedure.

99. By 49 votes to 6, with 13 abstentions, the Council decided that it was competent to adopt the draft resulution.

100. The representative of Ethiopia said that his delegation was not clear as to the need for or mandate of the proposed special commission, and believe the issue would more appropriately be dealt with at the Council’s tenth session.

101. The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania said his delegation was not in a position to vote in favour of otherwise on the draft resolution, since it had not had time to study the merits of demerits of the proposal.

102. The President then put the draft resolution to the vote.

103. The draft resolution was adopted by 40 votes to 14, with 8 abstentions (see annex I, resolution II).