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15/4 - Special session of the Governing Council in 1990 (decision 15/4)

20. At the 14th meeting of the session, on 26 May, the Council had before it a draft decision on this subject submitted by Greece, India, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the United States (UNEP/GC.15/L.38) and prepared on the basis of an earlier draft decision submitted and then withdrawn by the Bureau (UNEP/GC.15/L.34/Rev.2).

21. The Secretary explained that the costs of holding the proposed special session, which would have to be borne by the regular budget of the United Nations, would depend on the venue, which, according to paragraph 1 the draft decision, would in turn depend on the General Assembly’s decision as to the location of the first session of the preparatory committee for the proposed United Nations conference on environment and development. By way of example, he said that the financial implications of holding such a three-day special session were estimated at $65,000, if it was held in Nairobi, $307,000, if it was held in Geneva, and $404,000, if it was held in New York.

22. The draft decision was adopted by consensus.

23. The Executive Director said it was understanding that the decision as adopted by the Council was in contradiction with the decision taken by Governments two years previously to hold biennial sessions with special sessions held only to adopt the system-wide medium-term environment programmes. The present decision was tantamount to a request to revert to annual sessions. In any event, the decision would be transmitted to United Nations Headquarters with a request to the Secretary-General to include in the regular budget the funds required for the session, according to the figures the Secretary had provided.

24. The representative of the United Kingdom recalled that the delegations that had initiated the first, informal draft of a decision on a special session of the Council had agreed to omit any mention of the desirability of holding the session at the ministerial level on the understanding that the report on the work of the session would contain a specific remark to that effect.

25. Speaking in response to the statement of the Executive Director, the representative of the United States of America said that he had supported the decision on the understanding that it in no way indicated a wish on the part of the council to revert to annual sessions.