Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

session and on occupied territories. The Executive Director had proposed a special 3-day session of the Governing Council be held in February 1992 to consider three agenda items for submission to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The proposal was adopted as decision 16/3 by a vote of 30 to 8 (U.S.), with 11 abstentions.

The United States requested a roll-call vote on a draft decision on the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories. Decision 16/13 was adopted by 28 votes to 1 (U.S.), with 22 abstentions. The U.S. Representative said his delegation strongly opposed adoption of the decision, which did not address environmental issues as it claimed to do, but focused on matters outside the purview of UNEP. He added that the decision served no useful purpose, environmental or otherwise, and that its adoption risked jeopardizing UNEP.

The Governing Council also approved a management study of UNEP by an outside consultant with results of a first phase to be available to governments before February 1992. A second phase would be conducted after the 1992 UNCED in June. The U.S.-sponsored initiative to promote serious consideration of improved centralized environmental coordination in the UN system resulted in decision 16/18, in which the Governing Council recommended the UNCED Preparatory Committee give priority attention to the matter. Centers for urgent environmental assistance and environmental technology transfer were also approved.

Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer entered into force in 1988, and the Montreal Protocol for Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer entered into force in 1989. Both agreements target reductions of emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons and other substances which degrade the stratospheric ozone layer. UNEP was designated the administering agency or "treasurer" for the Montreal Protocol's Multilateral Fund in 1990. As administering agency, UNEP receives Fund contributions from donor countries and distributes them to the three implementing agencies (UNDP, World Bank and UNEP) according to criteria established by the Executive Committee.

The Fund became operational during 1991 as procedures and guidelines for running it were established. Draft country pro

dil be bmis

grams for some developing countries to reduce ozone-depleting substances were reviewed by the Executive Committee, and the first World Bank investment project for this purpose was approved.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, concluded in 1989, would establish a prenotification and prior consent regime for exports and imports of hazardous and other wastes, and prohibit movement of these wastes to and from a nonparty unless there is an agreement providing for the environmentally sound management of these wastes within the receiving country. At the end of 1991, 17 countries had ratified the convention, and it was expected to enter into force in early 1992. The United States has signed the convention, which has been submitted to Congress for ratification.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Biological Diversity

The UNEP Governing Council convened an ad hoc working group in 1989 to negotiate an international legal instrument for the conservation of biological diversity. Formal negotiations are now being undertaken by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity. The United States has played a strong role in advocating conservation measures to protect biodiversity, stressing the need to strengthen the ability of existing institutions and arrangements to respond to biodiversity issues.

Regional Seas

The United States actively participates in UNEP regional seas programs for the South Pacific and the Caribbean.

The South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP) Action Plan was established in 1982 to help protect the unique environment of the South Pacific while promoting the environmentally sound development of its natural resources. It is monitored through annual meetings of its member governments. In June the United States ratified the convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment in the South Pacific Region (SPREP Convention). In the convention, parties agree to take appropriate measures to protect the South Pacific from pollution from many sources including vessels, land-based sources, seabed activities, storage of hazardous wastes and fallout that might result from nuclear testing.

The Caribbean Environment Program promotes environmentally sound development of the wider Caribbean and has programs to protect the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico from pollution emanating from many sources. The Caribbean Action Plan is also monitored through annual meetings of its members, including the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to agree on priority programs for the region.

The Cartagena Convention sets up general obligations in a legal framework within which specific protocols aimed at protecting the Caribbean marine environment are negotiated and adopted. The most recent protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) was signed in 1990. Parties met in June to adopt formally the three annexes listing the species to be protected under the protocol. General Assembly

UNEP is the principal organ in the UN system for addressing issues of the environment. However, with the UN Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED) scheduled for June 1992, the 46th General Assembly passed a number of resolutions on the environment. The United States led the negotiations to establish a ban on driftnet fishing (discussed in Part 3). Resolution 46/216 on "International cooperation to mitigate the environmental consequences on Kuwait and other countries in the region resulting from the situation between Iraq and Kuwait" passed by a vote of 135 to 0, with 1 abstention. (The U.S. Delegation advised the Secretariat that the United States had intended to vote in favor.) Other resolutions on the environment were 46/217 on environmental threats and environmental emergencies, 46/161 on combatting desertification, 46/168 on UNCED itself, and 46/169 on "Protection of global climate for present and future generations," which is described under "Protection of world climate" below.

UN Institutional Involvement in Environmental
Affairs

The United States presented its views on UN institutional reform during the UNEP Governing Council in May and in a formal paper presented at the UNCED preparatory committee meeting in August. Two fundamental guidelines were emphasized for improving the UN system's ability to deal with environmental and developmental issues: reforms should make optimal use of existing institutions and organizational assets, and they should be based on budgetary support derived from current or planned UN financial resources.

To implement these guidelines, the United States proposed four institutional adjustments: a possible combination of existing ECOSOC committees into a single intergovernmental committee to deal in a comprehensive way with the more political aspects of environment and development or sustainable development; an annual UNDP discussion, with UNEP participation, on environment and development or sustainable development as part of the UNDP Council's agenda; a high-level, effective coordinating mechanism for UN and related agencies and programs, cochaired by the UNDP Administrator and the UNEP Executive Director; and regionally and nationally focused efforts built around or based on the existing UNDP Roundtable/World Bank Consultative Group of donors and UN agencies. UN Conference on Environment and Development

The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) will be held in June 1992, marking the 20th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference, which resulted in the creation of UNEP. Maurice Strong, Secretary General of UNCED, had proposed in 1991 that major outcomes of the Conference should include a statement of general principles regarding environment and development and an action program entitled “Agenda 21." UNCED, in addition, was expected to provide an occasion for signature of agreements on climate change and biodiversity which were being negotiated in other fora.

The UNCED Preparatory Committee (Prepcom) met three times by the end of 1991: August 1990 in Nairobi, March-April 1991 in Geneva, and August-September 1991 again in Geneva. The fourth and final Prepcom was expected to take place March 1992 in New York. At Prepcom 3, delegates agreed on a format for Agenda 21, including objectives, activities, and means of implementation (i.e., financial assistance, technology transfer, institutions) for each topic. The United States was successful in opposing sections devoted to global targets. Work on forest principles proceeded, and negotiators began to narrow differences. U.S. and other proposed language was bracketed in texts on energy, land resources, fresh water, and toxic chemicals and wastes.

U.S. and G-77 positions were far apart on the issue of financial resources; a compromise, with EC assistance, placed this issue first on the agenda for Prepcom 4. The United States emphasized that agreement on concrete and achievable steps must come first, that existing assistance can be made more effective in terms of its environmental impact, and that the private sector can play a major role by building environmental concerns into investment planning.

With the objective of strengthening the institutions themselves and UN system coordination on environment and development, the United States outlined areas of reform and showed how this could be accomplished by restructuring existing institutions. The United States also took the lead in assuring full participation by representatives of nongovernmental organizations.

Protection of World Climate

Resolution 45/212 of 1990 on the "Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind" established a single negotiating process under General Assembly auspices for preparation by an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) of an effective framework convention on climate change. The INC met for the first time in Chantilly, Virginia (near Washington, D.C.), February 4-14, and then three more times in 1991.

The 46th General Assembly in December 1991 reaffirmed resolution 45/212's call for the framework convention to be completed prior to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in June 1992. It adopted resolution 46/169, which urged the INC "expedite and successfully complete the negotiations as soon as possible, and to adopt the framework convention on climate change . in time to be opened for signature during the UNCED."

The INC represents the second phase of an effort to protect the world's climate initiated in 1988, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in response to resolutions passed by the UNEP Governing Council and the Executive Council of the WMO. Administered jointly by UNEP and WMO, the IPCC set up three working groups to assess the current state of knowledge of the science, potential impacts of climate change and possible response options. The United States chaired the working group on response options. During 1991, the work of the IPCC focused on preparation of a supplement to its 1990 First Assessment Report. This supplement was to be released before UNCED in 1992.

[ocr errors]

UN Scientific Committee on the
Effects of Atomic Radiation

The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was established by the General Assembly in

« ÎnapoiContinuați »