4th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 19th Special Session - Part 1

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24-Jun-1997 01:54:40
The nineteenth special session of the General Assembly resumed this afternoon, to continue its review of the implementation of Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

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General Assembly is told alleviation of global poverty essential if sustainable development goals are to be reached

Special Session Hears Statements from More Government Leaders, Environment Ministers, National and Agency Representatives.

Without alleviating the extreme and increasing poverty that pervades the world, sustainable development is both unrealistic and impossible, the General Assembly was told by several speakers, as it resumed its nineteenth special session this afternoon. Poverty, it was said, precipitates social, political and economic instability; many environmental problems stem from the search for food and other poverty-related behaviours. The increasing scarcity of environmental resources, such as drinkable water, can lead to conflict if not halted through careful management and technological transfer, speakers warned.

Industrialized countries were said to have largely failed to meet the commitments they entered into through Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. While those commitments were made voluntarily, compliance had been grudging. Consumption and production patterns remained unsustainably high, while international assistance to developing countries had declined. Many countries stressed that implementation of Agenda 21 required financial resources for developing countries and technology-sharing.

Statements this afternoon were made by the Prime Ministers of Gabon, Benin, Singapore and Estonia, as well as the President of Guyana. The Vice- Presidents of El Salvador and Colombia also addressed the Assembly, as did the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and the Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Also this afternoon, the Assembly heard statements by the Minister of the Environment and Tourism of Namibia; the Minister of the Environment, Science and Technology of Ghana; the Ministers of the Environment of Cote d'Ivoire, Slovakia and Luxembourg; the Minister of the Environment and Forests of India; the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry of Poland; the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia; the Chairman of the Delegation of Djibouti; the Permanent Representative to the United Nations of Turkey; the Chairman of the Observer Delegation of Palestine; the Executive Director the United Nations Environment Programme; and the Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

The special session will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow to resume its general debate on the implementation of Agenda 21.

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