5th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 19th Special Session - Part 1

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25-Jun-1997 02:05:05
Success of environment and development initiatives impossible without concerted global cooperation, assembly is told at 5th plenary of 19th special session.

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On Third Day of Debate, Special Session Speakers Emphasize Problems of Poorer Countries in Meeting Goals of Action Programmes

However far-reaching might be the plan of action set out at the General Assembly special session dedicated to a review of the implementation of Agenda 21 -- the environment and development programme adopted at the Rio Conference in 1992 -- it would fail without concerted international cooperation, the Assembly was told this morning as it continued its general debate on the implementation of that programme. It was said that official development assistance (ODA) was declining at a time when developing countries were struggling to implement remediation programmes of afforestation, coastal zone and fisheries management, poverty alleviation and education.

Environmental restoration would require a fundamental rethinking of economic activity, the Assembly was told. Least developed countries were destroying the environment with poverty. In developed countries, where 25 per cent of the world's population produced 95 per cent of waste, the destruction was cause through over-consumption.

Also this morning, speakers called for a legally binding agreement on the sustainable management of forests to buttress existing Conventions dedicated to biodiversity, climate change and desertification. The agreement, it was said, should provide for sound and sustainable forest management that was predictable, non-discriminatory, rule-based and transparent. It was suggested that the convention might set out a "third way" between rigid conservation and over-exploitation.

Speaking in debate this morning were the President of the Marshall Islands; the Minister for the Environment of Venezuela; the Deputy Prime Minister of Madagascar; the Minister for the Environment of the Niger; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran; the Minister for the Environment of Austria; the Minister of State for the Environment of Indonesia; the Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho; the Deputy Prime Minister of Malta; the Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas; and the Minister for the Environment and Cooperation of Finland.

Also speaking were the Minister for the Environment of Cyprus; the Minister for the Environment of Fiji; the Minister for the Environment of Jordan; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saint Lucia; the Minister for Tourism and the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda; the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic; and the representative of Israel.

Rubens Ricupero, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Frederico Mayor, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank; and a representative of the Business and Industry Major Group also spoke.

At the outset of the meeting, the President of the Assembly, Razali Ismail (Malaysia), paid tribute to the French underwater explorer and film- maker, Jaques Yves-Cousteau, who died yesterday. It was appropriate, he said, that the Assembly was discussing the global environment at this time.

The special session will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its general debate on the implementation of Agenda 21.

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