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11.1 Environmental aspects of development

planning and co-operation

196. In his introductory statement, the Assistant Executive Director explained the special role of subprogramme on environmental aspects of development planning and co-operation in promoting follow-up to the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond and the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. In particular, the subprogramme aimed to provide guidance and assistance with analysis, policy adjustments, changes in procedures and institutional arrangements and training to integrate environmental objectives into decisions on development, planning and administration. It also made available guidance to foster environmentally responsible attitudes towards international trade, investments and aid.

197. The Committee took note of the programme activities implemented during 1987 and 1988 and endorsed without comment the proposed programme for the biennium 1990-1991.

11.2 Environmental law

198. The Assistant Executive Director introduced the environmental law programme and noted the milestones that had been passed since the fourteeth session of the Governing Council, namely the entry into force of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the adoption in March 1989 of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. He said that the Environmental Law and Machinery Unit had one of the heaviest workloads within UNEP. He also expressed the gratitude of the Executive Director to the Governments that had hosted meetings and supported the participation of experts from developing countries in the work leading to and following up these legal instruments.

199. Many representatives expressed their support for environmental law activities and congratulated the Unit and UNEP on its important achievements, such as the Montreal Protocol, the Basel Convention and the introduction of prior informed consent into the London Guidelines.200. Several representatives gave priority to the development of a convention on biological diversity and a convention on climate. One stated that UNEP should be closely linked with the preparation of a convention on climate and that sufficient budget allocations for this activity were necessary.

201. Another representative emphasized the importance of protecting the ozone layer by implementing the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol and referred to the recent meetings in London and Helsinki. He also stressed the importance of the Helsinki Declaration and appealed to all countries to sign the Basel Convention and become parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol.

202. Several representatives emphasized the importance of the Basel Convention and some informed the Committee of their participation in the development of this instrument and their progress towards ratification.

203. One representative drew attention to the concern of the member States members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) regarding the dumping of hazardous wastes in Africa and called upon UNEP to assist in obtaining the international community's acceptance of an eventual total ban on transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. Research on cheaper and safe waste disposal technology should be carried out and information from States circulated by the secretariat to developing countries.

204. One representative expressed his Government's intention to support and participate in the work on trade in potentially toxic chemicals. He also noted the importance of the work of the Environmental Law and Machinery Unit in the area of industry and environment and industrial accidents.

205. One representative stated that any guidelines and/or principles prepared under UNEP auspices and adopted by the Governing Council should operate for some time before a decision was taken on the development of binding legal instruments based on these guidelines and/or principles. She said that it was more important to implement existing guidelines than to prepare new conventions.

206. Some representatives stressed the urgent need to seek ways to provide technical assistance to developing countries to strengthen their national legislation and institutional arrangements in the field of the environment.

207. Several representatives expressed the view that a global convention on environmental impact assessment would be premature. These delegations supported the development of regional agreements on environmental impact assessment. They also maintained that the time was not ripe for a convention on industrial accidents.

208. Some representatives drew attention to the limited resources of the Environmental Law and Machinery Unit, considering its work programme. The representative of Finland expressed her Government's willingness to support new posts in the Unit, pointing out the need for further financial support and suggesting that a part of her Government's increased contribution to the Environment Fund might be allocated to the Unit.

209. The Assistant Executive Director urged representatives to give clear

guidance on the Unit's future work.