19 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 1 (1989)

handle is hein.journals/envpola19 and id is 1 raw text is: 








   The new year started with good news for the environment and with promise of more
 to come. The Montreal Protocol to control substances which deplete the ozone layer
 came into force at the beginning of January (seepage 2). Shortly afterwards the Envir-
 onment Ministers ofEuropean Community Member  States decided to move faster than
 required by the Protocol, and it is expected that the London Conference on the Ozone
 Layer-- with broader participation -- will do likewise. Atmospheric protection was also
 the goal of the legal experts who met in Ottawa in February (seepage 8), where many
 new proposals were made.
 The   results of the Sofia Conference concerning a convention on the transport of
 hazardous waste came more quickly than expected. Since then, however, doubts have
 been voiced that a convention can be adopted that is strong enough to meet demands and
 in time for the signing ceremony scheduledfor the 22 March in Basle (see reporton page
 5). As UNEP's Executive Director is still optimistic that a positive outcome can be
 achieved in the short time left, we hope to be able to print the convention in the next issue.
 Other  good news was that some Southeast Asian nations have moved to protect their
 tropical forests. In the wake of severe flooding in the country, blamed on uncontrolled
 deforestation, the Thai Government issued a decree in January abrogating all logging
 concessions. In Indonesia, the Government has said that it will tighten controls over
 holders of timber concessions and permit holders who violate forestry regulations are
 liable to have their licences revoked. Although this is a start, it is clear to all concerned
 that only a global forest conservation and replanting programme, which will require
 unprecedented international co-operation and political support, can hope to save the
 world's tropicalforests. Such aprogramme would be the good news for the start of next
 year!



 Preparations were already under way for the next UNEP Governing Council when
 news was leaked that a conference ofabout 20 Heads ofState and Government had been
 called in The Hague for the middle ofFebruary. Rumours were so strong that the Dutch
 Prime Minister had to confirm what one group called the French initiative and what
 another termed the FrenchlNordic/Dutch initiative. We know that this meeting was
 plannedwithout inviting,for example, the USA, the USSR and the UK. On the other hand,
 the Prime Minister ofIndia and the President ofBrazil were known to have accepted. We
 shall be very interested to see what comes out of the meeting. While no formal agreement
 can be reached, we expect that in addition to a strong Declaration at least a Working
 Group will have been created so that next time something more positive can be reported.
 Unfortunately, we cannot yet announce anything concrete for UNEP's Governing
 Council in May, as the discussion papers are not yet out. Quite a high-level discussion
 has already been held in Nairobi with the participation of some Ministers, concerning
 UNEP's general programme  and tasks. It will, therefore, be interesting to see what
proposals the Executive Director will make on the basis of the advice given by the
meeting.                                                                   O


                                                                   2 March 1989

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