9 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 1 (1982)

handle is hein.journals/envpola9 and id is 1 raw text is: 





BDITUzlAL


   Major preparations on  the basis of UN-General
 Assembly decisions marked the Session of a Special
 Character (SSC) of the UNEP   Governing Council,
 held to commemorate   the 10th anniversary of the
 Stockholm Conference.
   There were many good general statements, but the
 discussion on the conference report already showed
 the chief concern of many delegations to be how they
 would later be reflected in the conference proceedings
 rather than the task before them. A similar criticism
 is, unfortunately, also valid for members of the UN
 family, whose statements were more a summary  of
 past and present activities, than an answer to the
 agenda points: future perspectives.
 Already   during  the SSC,   discussion arose on
 political matters having nothing directly to do with
 the agenda at all, but which supplied the basis for
 debate on bilateral difficulties between neighbouring
 countries in the field of shared natural resources. The
 most striking example of this was the exchange be-
 tween Bangladesh  and  India. Although  only the
 report stood for discussion at the time, the delega-
 tions continually reverted to points of substance as if
 the rules had ceased to exist, and the President show-
 ed amazing patience with this parallel debate.
 Additional  experience shows there would appear in
 the future to be no reason for a vote under rule 44, on
 the competence of the Council. There will always be a
 majority who feel that the Council is competent for
 almost anything.
 It  was thanks to the many long hours of hard work
 carried out by the Committee of the Whole and the
 Drafting Committee, that the Conference finally pro-
 duced two documents - Action on the Environment:
 Retrospect and Prospect, and the Nairobi Declaration
 (see page 000). Particular thanks are due to the two
 committee chairmen,  Martin  Holdgate  (UK) and
Lopez  Portillo (Mexico) for their competence and


guidance. Both  documents,  inter alia, aim for the
development  of national, regional and international
environmental law and its implementation.

   This trend continued at the 10th Governing Council
 which, for the first time, really gave special emphasis
 to environmental law, following the impetus given by
 the Montevideo Conference. The covering resolution,
 endorsing the results of the conference, was spon-
 sored by more than half of the Member States of the
 Governing Council.
 It  is not possible to analyze the development at this
 point; those closely concerned with environmental
 law should read the Nairobi report in conjunction
 with the Montevideo report in Environmental Policy
 and Law, 8 (1) (1982) page 2. Developments clearly
 demonstrate a new positive trend in UNEP  for its
 future work in this field, and appreciation must be ex-
 pressed to delegates of many Member States for their
 performance in reaching this goal.
   We hope that the planned four governmental con-
ferences on different subject areas of environmental
law -  afollow up to the now endorsed recommenda-
tions of Montevideo - will bring positive results. At
the same time, the fact cannot be ignored that there is
a very small number of governments - in particular,
the United States - who have not been in favour of
this development.
  Insufficient space was available in this issue to
report on the ceremony where, at the Universito Libre
de Bruxelles, in collaboration with the International
Council   of  Environmental   Law,   Ambassador
Magarinos  de  Mello received the Elizabeth Haub
Prize. The jury, who made their decision prior to the
UNEP sessions, honoured him as a prominent
member  of the team responsible for the Montevideo
accomplishments.   The  outcome  of  the  Nairobi
meeting has confirmed the wisdom of this choice. E


0378-777X/82/0000-0000/$02.75   @ 1982  North-Holland

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