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A - Review of the environmental situation and of activities relating to the environment programme

85. Introducing the Level One report, the Deputy Executive Director described the elements of the review of the environmental situation and of activities to the environment programme; the common environmental data base; the on the state of the environment; and the reviews of the priority subject which in the present case consisted of a review of the priority subject Land, water and desertification", as requested by the Governing Council. 13/

86. In the view of all 24 delegations which spoke on the subject, the Executive or was to be complimented on the general content and presentation of the One report. Nevertheless, as reflected below, a number of delegations suggested changes in the report before the Committee, and proposed guidelines to be into account in the preparation of future Level One documents. When further developed and supplemented along the lines proposed by the Executive Director, and into account the views expressed by the Governing Council, the Level One ties could provide sound guidance for policy-making, not only by UNEP at all of its programme development and in pilot demonstration projects with interested countries, but by the world community as a whole in tackling national issues. Several detailed suggestions were made for the revision of sentences in the Level One report, and the Committee agreed to request the official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-ninth Session.,

Executive Director to take those suggestions submitted in writing into account, as appropriate, either in revising the present report or in preparing future reports to the Governing Council.

87. The above comments applied in particular to the report on the state of the environment, which, it was agreed, should be presented in future as a separate document, and could be considered by the Governing Council along with the report of the Executive Director. The Executive Director's annual report on the state of the environment should be reviewed in the light of the comments of the Governing Council, published and given wide distribution, perhaps on the occasion of World Environment Day. In commenting specifically on the report before the Committee, many delegations considered that insufficient attention had been given to social, economic and cultural aspects, and to the human needs and values underlying the philosophy behind human activities relevant to the environment. The aims of environmental development and protection must be seen as a component of a broader coordinated programme of development, and in the context of the real needs of mankind as a whole.

88. Socio-economic and political aspects were mentioned by many delegations, mainly in connection with the subjects of technology transfer, food, population and energy, within the framework of the new international economic order. A number of delegations considered that the problems in those areas should be tackled and minimized by optimizing international economic co-operation, by rationalizing the transfer of technology, by the provision of technical assistance and training and by the development and transfer of resources. Those measures were necessary in order to speed up and harmonize economic and social development in developing countries, and could only be achieved through the implementation of the new international economic order.

89. It was also observed by some delegations that the speeding up of economic and social progress must be based in the first place on the endeavours of each nation problems of the environment could only be solved ultimately by a changed economic order, primarily on the international scale to bridge the gaps between developed and developing countries, but also at the national level to bridge the gaps between urban and rural populations and between the privileged and under-privileged groups within urban centres. On the subject of population, some delegations pointed out the varying significance of population problems in different countries and suggested that the order in which problems were highlighted in the state of the environment report should be rearranged. Several specific suggestions were made for the amendment of the paragraphs on food and population with a view to reflecting more fully all the above considerations and embodying more accurately the conclusions of the World Population Conference, 1974.

90. It was agreed that, poverty being one of the worst forms of pollution affecting the majority of mankind, UNEP should promote the improvement of the environment with a view to eliminating that social ill.

91. Some delegations commented that a number of the assumptions and conclusions in the report were open to debate, as they were based on opinion rather than on established fact. One delegation also felt that, in future, the report should focus on the conditions of the environment as such, rather than discuss wider problems which might more appropriately be dealt with in other forums. Another delegation observed that, in the report, efforts should be continued not to obscure the uncertainties arising both from differing interpretations of scientific data and from differing philosophies and values.

92.Regarding the review of the priority subject area of 'Land, water and desertification", it was noted that the overviews and data on current activities were abbreviated versions of much fuller publications which had been distributed to Governments and were available to members of the Governing Council. While a few queries and comments were made on certain details of the overviews, it was generally agreed that they could provide a very satisfactory basis for the development of the environment programme (Level Two) in the area covered by the

review. The proposed action plans in each subarea, in particular that regarding water, were considered along with the proposed programme.

93.A few delegations, while appreciating the very large amount of data that had been collected and analysed by the secretariat, referred to difficulties in interpretation. It was generally agreed that many of these difficulties would be resolved with the establishment of a common environmental data base for the acquisition, presentation and storage of relevant data received from governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental sources. The Committee therefore urged that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Data 13/ continue its work in that regard in collaboration with the Inter-Organization Board on Information Systems (IOB). It was stressed that the data base activity should be closely linked to, and mutually compatible with, the International Referral System.

94.Reference was made to the importance, where feasible, of comparing the levels of activities and expenditures with actual needs. One delegation suggested that it might be useful to explore further the correlation between the two.

95.The Executive Director's proposals regarding a time-table for the review of the remaining subject areas of the programme were endorsed, with the exception that the subject area Environment and developmental should be reviewed by the Council at its fourth session in 1976 and that the area Health of Governing people and of the environment should be postponed until the fifth session. Many delegations appreciated, however, that, although it was desirable to complete the review exercise as soon as possible, it might prove beyond the resources of the Executive Director to cover, in the period up to the next session of the Governing Council, as many as three subject areas as fully as had been done for "land, water and desertification".

96.One delegation expressed the view that the Governing Council could in future be presented with a convenient summary of the Level One activities, in the form of the state of the environment report, and that the remaining elements of the first level of programme development were best regarded either as an information system or for publication as authoritative works of reference.

97. It was agreed that, in the preparation of future reviews of priority subject areas, full consideration must be given to the concept of environmental management, which permeated the whole programme and reflected the complex interrelationships between the various priority subject areas and functional tasks.

98. Having regard to the general nature of the discussion, the Committee recommended a draft decision on the Level One exercise for adoption by the Governing Council.

99. At the 39th meeting, the representative of Turkey proposed that in Paragraph 2 (b) of the draft decision, the introductory Phrase "A situation paragraph of". In subparagraph (i),, the words of "Development and" should be replaced by "An account of". the words "environmental and protection", the words of a component of a broader integrated programme of development and should ; the words a component of a integral part of the development process".

100. The amendment was adopted by 15 votes to none, with 7 abstentions.

101. The draft decision as a whole, as amended, was adopted by 35 votes to none, with no abstentions