H - General statements by observer organizations
87. The observer for the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania said that the political system in South Africa had to be overthrown because it was the root cause of serious environmental problems such as land degradation, soil erosion and endemic poverty. In spite of so-called reforms, Africans were still unable to buy land or reside without a permit outside the Bantustans, scattered pieces of barren and impoverished land on which over 11 million Africans were compelled to live and to which 1,700,000 more were currently under threat of removal. For the PAC of Azania, apartheid was the outcome of colonial conquest and therefore Namibia was not Africa's last colony, as supporters of the Pretoria r6gime wanted the world to believe. The decolonization struggle would end only when South Africa - Azania - had also been liberated and the right to self-determination of its African people established. He wished to thank all the Governments and peoples that had continued to bring pressure to bear on the racist r6gime of Pretoria by implementing United Nations resolutions on sanctions and imposing sports and cultural boycotts. He also thanked those countries and organizations which had secured the unconditional release of the President of PAC. In conclusion, he expressed his movement's solidarity with the Namibian people and with the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) in their hour of need and with the Arab Palestinian people and the new State of Palestine.
88. The observer for the United Nations Department of International Economic and Social Affairs (DIESA) welcomed the Executive Director's emphasis on the need to "give shape and provide content" to the concept of environmentally sound and sustainable development and to develop methodologies for its implementation. There was already considerable knowledge about the environmental impacts created by socio-economic development policies and DIESA was currently exploring in that connection a number of avenues of analysis and assessment. The Department believed that those activities would make useful contributions to the 1992 conference, in the preparation of which it could and should play an active role. As the Governing Council would be aware, work was under way on the United Nations international development strategy for the 1990s. His Department would convey any further conclusions of the Council on
that matter to the ad hoc committee of the whole for the preparation of the strategy.
89. The observer for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) outlined the main recommendations contained in the decision on sustainable development recently adopted by the Trade and Development Board. During the Board's meeting, developing countries had expressed concern that environmental issues would lead to new conditions in their relations with developed countries and that resources for development would be diverted to environmental protection. While welcoming the adoption of the Basel Convention, he emphasized that it remained to be seen whether it afforded sufficient protection to developing countries, especially against illegal
traffic in hazardous wastes. With regard to sustainable development, UNCTAD believed it was extremely important to formulate international and national development policies which corresponded to the environmental opportunities and constraints facing each least developed country. With regard to technical assistance, UNCTAD was already dealing with one request concerning an environmental issue in a least developed country. As the secretariat reviewed the relationship between sustainable development and the main lines of UNCTAD's activities, the scope for such assistance would become clearer. Undoubtedly, further requests for assistance would be received to which the UNCTAD would be ready to respond, provided that additional financing was made available, as the Board decision explicitly requested.
90. The observer for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) drew attention to the UNDP Administrator's report, which outlined a cost-effective strategy for responding rapidly to the increasing number of demands from Governments for technical co-operation and pre-investment support that integrated environmental and sustainable development considerations into development planning and into micro-economic and macro-economic management. The strategy also aimed at accelerating the flow of technology and substantial additional resources for projects and programmes to combat environmental degradation, to implement biodiversity and conservation activities and to mobilize community participation at the grassroots level (including women and youth). Strengthening the technical capacity of developing countries to participate effectively in the international dialogue on the biosphere required the urgent attention of the international community, as well as increased financing. At the request of a developing country, UNDP was already preparing a feasibility study on phasing out the use of chemicals and materials producing CFCs and replacing them with acceptable substitutes. In collaboration with UNEP, the World Resources Institute and a number of bilateral programmes, it was also carrying out a feasibility study on identifying new sources and mechanisms to finance conservation activities. An international symposium was planned for late 1989 to consider a specific action plan based on options formulated following consultations with developing countries in six regional workshops held earlier in 1989. UNDP was also considering launching a world youth environment programme under which Governments would involve young people in a number of environmental projects, thereby contributing towards alleviating unemployment and providing training. In conclusion, he welcomed the Executive Director's proposal on enhanced co-operation with UNDP.
91. The observer for the United Rations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated that the Director General of his organization strongly believed that it was important to act at the present time to safeguard natural resources and to preserve environmental integrity for future generations, making use of the available knowledge and building on the momentum created by recent initiatives. However, action should be combined with a continued, vigorous and scientific assessment of the problem and of possible solutions. UNESCO attached great importance to the climate change issue and was prepared to provide support for the activities of IPCC. It would also contribute to preparations for the proposed 1992 conference. The Director General of the Organization had repeatedly underlined the important role of the scientific community, which should be closely associated with any United Nations programme or action plan in the environmental field. In that connection, proposals had been made to establish a corps of scientists to
monitor the implementation of environmental protection measures recommended at the international level. The UNESCO draft medium-term plan for 1990-1995 and its draft programme and budget for 1990-1991 gave high priority to activities related to environment and natural resources management.
92. The observer for the World Bank welcomed the important international, regional and national meetings that had recently taken place on environmental and sustainable development issues; however, considerable energy and resources would be needed if good intentions were to be translated into action. There was a need for increased international co-operation, as well as new forms of participatory action at all levels. The Bank had been encouraged by the strong interest shown by member countries in new, comprehensive and participatory planning mechanisms, called national environmental action plans (EAPS) and he explained their concept. It was also satisfying to note the interest shown by United Nations bodies and bilateral agencies in the EAPS. With regard to the Mediterranean Action Plan, sizable investment would be required in order to implement its priority components and institutions such as the World Bank and the European Investment Bank had an important role to play in that respect. He stated that the World Bank sought close co-operation with UNEP in its endeavours and would soon respond positively to the Executive Director's constructive proposal for enhancing the partnership. The Bank had made considerable progress in integrating environmental issues into economic decision-making and recognized that it had to be very explicit when advising member countries on the benefits and costs of alternatives for increased economic growth and enhanced social development within a sustainable development framework. For countries that had experienced negative economic growth during recent years, the task was difficult, but it was essential to ensure that structural reforms which aimed at increased economic growth took into account productivity improvements that safeguarded rather than undermined natural resources.
93. The observer for the World Meteorological Organization (WHO) said that scientific research to explain the factors determining meteorological conditions was the basis of the work of his Organization. Its scientific findings had been the necessary starting point for international action in regard to the ozone layer. However, less was known as yet about regional variations than about the global picture. Adequate support for research into climate change was vital but unfortunately the level of resources made available to increase scientific knowledge had recently declined. WMO was much concerned with the questions of atmospheric and climate changes and water resources and he strongly endorsed their inclusion in the Executive Director's list of priorities.
94. The observer for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said that, in the light of United Nations General Assembly resolutions 42/186 and 42/187, INO commissioned a study to appraise its programme of technical assistance in the marine environment field. As part of that study, all IMO member States had been invited to identify problems encountered in implementing INO conventions for the prevention of marine pollution. In addition, a resolution on technical assistance in the field of protection of the marine environment had been adopted by the INO Marine Environment Protection Committee, and was expected to be endorsed by the sixteenth Assembly, the governing body of IMO, in October 1989. The World Commission on Environment and Development had made a number of recommendations which related to the implementation of the London Convention on Dumping of Wastes at Sea. The Consultative Meeting of the
Contracting Parties to the Convention, in October 1988, had accepted the recommendation that the Convention should reaffirm the rights and responsibilities of States to control and regulate dumping within the 200-mile exclusive economic zones. With regard to the recommendation of that Commission on the reporting of releases of toxic and radioactive substances from land-based sources into any body of water, the Consultative meeting had confirmed that the Convention already provided for notification of the nature and amounts of wastes dumped at sea and the recording and dissemination of the relevant information. IMO proposed to review the existing rules and practices with respect to transport of hazardous wastes by sea in the light of the provisions of the Basel Convention, with a view to recommending any additional measures needed to assist member States in fulfilling their responsibilities with regard to the protection of the marine environment. It had also taken note of the conclusions of the London Conference on Saving the Ozone Layer and it had agreed that the use of halons as fire-extinguishing agents on board ship should be restricted as much as possible. A draft resolution to that effect would be submitted to the sixteenth Assembly of INO. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 431196 on the proposed United Nations conference on environment and development, the Secretary-General of INO had drawn attention to the fact that an environmentally sound marine transport infrastructure was an essential element of sustainable development and had urged that the conference agenda should include a review of the actions taken by INO to protect the marine environment. In conclusion, he said that pollution of the oceans and coastal development - in particular the development of ports - also had a grave impact on the marine environment. Many developing countries endeavoured to earn foreign currency through coastal tourism. That increased the strain on the coastal environment, which was particularly sensitive to pollution owing to its vulnerable ecosystems, such as mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds. INO, with its unique mandate with regard to the protection of the marine environment could play an important part in achieving environmentally sound and sustainable development.
95. The observer for the European Economic Community (EEC) said that regional organizations could be useful building blocks for global solutions. In addition to achieving project Europe, 1992 should be a milestone towards a European ecological community, since it was a legal requirement that environmental policy should be a component of all other EEC policies. The Community would participate in examining specific mechanisms for transfer of technology and financial assistance to developing countries, as follow-up to the Helsinki Declaration. Global climate change was the next big challenge and the aim should be to have a convention and implementing protocols ready by 1992. The 1992 conference should also concentrate on how global policy to preserve the environment could best be co-ordinated and made more effective. That necessarily included the central role of UNEP. The first task should be to strengthen existing structures, without excluding other developments subsequently. As to environmentally sound and sustainable development, the Community accepted that economic development was sound only if environmentally sound. It sought to increase the percentage devoted to environment within the resources which it made available for co-operation with developing countries. In that respect, the link between debt and the environment could not be underestimated.
96. The observer for the Nordic Council said that the Council had increased its efforts to contribute towards strengthening protection of the environment through, in particular, the convening of international conferences and the adoption of a wide-ranging action programme on the environment and protection of the seas. Most areas of human life had an environmental aspect and it had to be stated categorically that environmental disaster meant economic disaster. The risks consequent upon irresponsible use of biotechnology also constituted a new threat and strong controls at the international level would have to be implemented. Greater solidarity between rich and poor countries was required because environmental problems affected the world as a whole. The know-how for tackling environmental problems already existed, but increased financial resources and practical political decisions were called for. She expressed satisfaction that many countries attending the Governing Council had committed themselves to increasing their financial support for UNEP programmes and it was to be hoped that disarmament would free further resources. In conclusion, she stated that the environment had to be protected for future generations. In that regard, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was before the General Assembly, represented a step forward, in that it gave children the right to a safe and sound environment.
97. The observer for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) stated that, in preparing for the 1992 conference, it would be essential to avoid overlapping and inefficiency resulting from poor communication between the numerous, independently operated bodies concerned the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations, various pieces of co-ordination machinery and so forth. He recalled that, during the period 1970-1972, intergovernmental working groups on marine pollution, environmental monitoring and exchange of environmental information had provided, in advance of the Stockholm Conference, tangible products which eventually became the London Convention on Dumping of Wastes at Sea, GEMS and INFOTERRA. He put the question whether the same mechanism should not be adopted over the next two years in preparation for the 1992 conference. He strongly endorsed the Executive Director's inclusion among the priorities of the risk of climate change from atmospheric pollution and supported the idea of a framework convention on the protection of the global climate. He welcomed proposals in the supplement to his introductory report for the conservation of biological diversity; supported the other priorities of the Executive Director; and stressed the importance of accommodating regional differences in the ecosystem. Finally, he said that IUCN was preparing an Antarctic conservation strategy - a matter which was relevant to the Council's discussion of the Executive Director's reports on the state of the environment.
98. The observer for the Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) said that her organization represented thousands of non-governmental environment and development organizations in all regions of the world. ELCI wished to draw particular attention to three of the key issues listed in the Executive Director's report, namely, atmospheric issues, impoverishment of biological diversity and hazardous wastes and toxic chemicals. Non-governmental organizations called upon Governments to make climatic change a priority issue. A detailed statement outlining the policy options that non-governmental organizations (NG0s) were recommending had been distributed to all delegations. Governments were asked to take immediate action to reduce the use of fossil fuels by the introduction of energy conservation and energy-efficient technologies and to increase reliance on renewable energy
resources. Won-governmental organizations wished to reiterate that nuclear power was neither an acceptable nor an effective option. Steps had also to be taken to preserve the world's forest and bush lands and to create new forested areas. In addition, Governments, with the support of UNEP, should launch a campaign to educate citizens and industry about the consequences of environmental pollution and continued deforestation. UNEP should promote the negotiation of a global convention and the necessary protocols to control emissions of greenhouse gases. In order to save time, UNEP should begin formulating a protocol to control the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, simultaneously with the framework convention. Governments of developing countries should participate actively in the process and resources should be made available for that purpose. Industrialised nations should begin reducing their own emissions immediately, without awaiting the completion of international agreements. While ELCI welcomed the Basel Convention and the London Guidelines on the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade, it considered that the real measure of success would be whether those instruments actually succeeded in drastically reducing trade in such substances. UNEP must move towards a preventive policy based on reduction of waste generation at the source and the phasing out of the use of toxic chemicals where adequate substitutes existed. With regard to biological diversity, UNEP should assist IUCN in involving people from developing countries in the drafting of a global convention on the conservation of biological diversity, on which IUCN was working. Subsequently, UNEP should promote negotiation of the convention, in collaboration with IUCN, ELCI and other non-governmental organizations. Finally, she urged the Governing Council to strengthen the recommendations of its decision 1418 relating to co-operation with non-governmental organizations and in particular to appoint an NGO liaison officer with an NGO background at a senior professional level.
99. The observer for Greenpeace International said that many of the statements at the session had contained praise for recent international environmental instruments on the ozone layer and the movement of hazardous wastes. That was little more than self-flattery. The limited consensus reached by the international community on a small number of issues fell far short of providing the solutions required for sustainable development. Immediate, time-bound action was required at both international and national levels on the priority areas listed in the Executive Director's report. Accordingly, Greenpeace urged the Governing Council to adopt decisions addressing the root sources of environmental problems, rather than their symptoms: to eliminate hazardous wastes at source and to make the requisite technology unconditionally available to developing countries; to place the onus on the discharger to prove that his actions were not harmful to environment and to end all dumping in the seas and oceans immediately; to switch to environmentally benign projects and processes, including substitutes for nuclear power; to make the polluter pay for the social costs of his actions; and to promote activities compatible with the peaceful coexistence of all forms of life. Greenpeace also urged members of the Governing Council to make the necessary changes unilaterally if international progress was too slow. He concluded by saying that Greenpeace would not fall to bring to the attention of the public any issues upon which action was not taken.
100. The observer for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) recalled that his organization covered 5,300 enterprises in 100 countries. He said it was important to recognize the mood of the public: people wanted action on environmental pollution and neither Governments nor industry were doing enough to address an issue which was real, urgent and complex. Global organization was required and UNEP enjoyed very great credibility with both the developing and the developed world. Any additional body would merely serve to distract from the main task. UNEP should be encouraged and financed to do more: the Executive Director's budget proposals were reasonable. Work on the problem of the ozone layer and hazardous wastes must continue and efforts must be made to reduce the time delay in ratifying conventions. The trade-off between sustainable development and productivity must be managed. The fact that industry must change its ways was by and large recognized. There must be more interaction between industry and Governments in the matter of technology and financing. ICC had identified four areas for action on sustainable development over the next few years and had issued guidelines to industry on how to participate in concrete ways. The areas were: radically new concepts and action between Governments and industry in an ecological/economic approach; accelerating the transfer of clean technology; promoting environmental auditing by industry, since far too few enterprises appreciated the need for it; and promoting knowledge of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Basel Convention.
101. The observer for the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) said that the concept of sustainable development elaborated in the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond and in the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development encapsulated a challenging approach to environmental care. With the help of the UNEP Industry and Environment Office in obtaining speakers from the United Nations, IPIECA had held a useful symposium at Paris in September 1988. The World Commission report expressed the opinion that industry was an indispensable motor of growth. Since energy drives the motor, the petroleum industry would help seek the optimum energy solutions to the issues involved.