21 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 1 (1991)

handle is hein.journals/envpola21 and id is 1 raw text is: 





                             BDITUzlAL




 The 45th Session of the UN General Assembly (see page 2), had before it several environmen-
 tally related topics.
 Of particular interest were the preparations for the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and
 Development (UNCED);  in this respect the Assembly endorsed the relevant resolutions from the
 UNCED   meeting in Nairobi, concerning the time and venue of the meeting (see page 2). So
 although a decision on the Conference agenda has still not been taken, we know that it will
 definitely be held in Rio around World Environment Day 1992.
 Everyone hopes that representation will be at the recommended Head ofState or Government
 level. With this in mind, the Brazilian President has said that he intends to invite these dignitaries
for a weekend to the restored opera house in Manaus. Hopefully, the Heads of States don' tsimply
decide to come for the trip up the Amazon - because although the sugar pink villa may be worth
seeing, more constructive theatre should be going on in Rio for a longer time.
  Although  the Assembly also accepted the resolution on NGO participation at UNCED,
everything will depend on the details in the accompanying rules. We hope that they will be such
that those Governments already in favour of a restrictive practice in this regard will not be too
disapproving.
  We expect that a third UNCED  Working Group will be created on legal and institutional
aspects. For the institutional aspects, several suggestions are already floating around for
changing UNEP's  mandate. Some contemplate adding to today's catalytic role and making the
Programme  more operational in the future. Others favour limiting UNEP's role to that of a tough
coordination programme covering international environmental activities, especially within the
UN  family.
  Hopefully, UNCED  will proceed in its next meeting to being more explicit as to what this
Conference  - perhaps the largest summit gathering ever held - will actually do. For example,
the possible drafting of an agenda for the 21st century, as suggested by its Secretary-General,
Maurice Strong. We need to see where the Conference is moving, and what these actions should
achieve. Time is short to make these decisions. On the other hand, there is general relief that
UNCED   won't have to draft conventions -for example on climate or biodiversity conservation
-for signing.
One  point on the agenda should be a discussion on a better international system to deal with
violations of agreed international laws,for example, in times of war.
  The Gulf conflict is, unfortunately, supplying us with enough examples of the necessity for
enforcement of such agreements, rules or principles. (See also in this connection the report on
the UNEP Inter-Agency Consultation on Environmental Consequences ofthe Gulf War on page
20).



The  African States have signed the Convention on the Transport ofHazardous Substances (see
vol. 20 at page 173), and at the same time decided on new environmental strategies. We shall
report next time in detail.


                                                                   11 February 1991

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