BULGARIA: Ambassador Slavi Pashovsky attached particular importance to the agreement on the establishment of the CSD. The Commission should have a strong mandate and assume a dynamic role in identifying priorities and emerging issues related to sustainable development. The Commission should provide for the active involvement of UN agencies, international financial organizations, other relevant intergovernmental organizations and NGOs. As a country undergoing a process of transition to a market economy, Bulgaria is particularly interested in the transfer of environmentally safe technologies and financial resources. Pashovsky expressed Bulgaria's interest in contributing to the international efforts in Europe to protect the environment.
POLAND: Dr. Zbigniew M. Wlosowicz, the Polish Charg d'Affaires, stated that this session of the General Assembly provides a perfect opportunity to prevent the spirit of Rio from fading away. The CSD, he said, should be an effective and efficient body ready to take decisions, elaborate policy guidelines, and deal with questions of financial resources. He advocated that the Commission meet at the ministerial level and highlighted the special role to be played by NGOs and the international financial institutions. He expressed support for the two conventions (climate change and biodiversity) and the statement on forest principles signed in Rio and said that he hoped that the conventions continue to evolve and that negotiations begin in the future on a global forest convention.
BELARUS: Ambassador Gennadiy Buravkin stated that having experienced one of the biggest technogenic disasters of the twentieth century -- Chernobyl -- Belarus will work further in the international arena to ensure that the choice is made in favor of the well-being of our common home -- the Earth. Buravkin then went on to outline some of his government's priorities: (1) prevent unnecessary competition between the "transition" countries of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the developing countries with regard to international aid and special technical assistance from the industrialized states; (2) intensify and better coordinate activity of the European regional ecological security structures as the necessary prerequisite for sustainable development; (3) coordinate activities of environmental agencies within the CIS; (4) encourage the participation of NGOs in the elaboration and implementation of sustainable development; and (5) facilitate new partnerships in the market-oriented world.
URUGUAY: Dr. Miguel Langon, Special Representative of the National Commission for the Environment, expressed concern that the Rio Conference did not end with the adoption of more concrete and effective commitments. At home, Uruguay is actively preparing a national environmental code that will embrace the principles embodied in Agenda 21. Within the UN, Uruguay believes that a necessary prerequisite for peace, security and development is the total preservation of the environment. He then proposed the timely drafting and approval of an international environment code and proceeded to outline Uruguay's draft proposal for such a code to be considered by the General Assembly. The draft contains a preamble and 13 chapters, ranging from the consecration of the basic principles that should govern a code of this nature, to the provision for harmonized systems of international organization.
YEMEN: Ambassador Ahmad Al-Haddad stated that the products of Rio recognize that there is a collective responsibility to protect the Earth. He supported the statements made by the Secretary-General both in Rio and during this General Assembly debate. The CSD must coordinate all the activities in the UN system that deal with environment and development. Given the multiplicity of tasks to be carried out, developing countries need support to strengthen their infrastructures so they can protect the environment.
EGYPT: The representative from Egypt, Dawlat Hassan, said that UNCED may not have succeeded as much as its supporters would have liked, but was more successful than its detractors had forecasted. There is a need for more investment by the developed North since the developing countries need the necessary incentives to redirect resources toward the implementation of the programmes in Agenda 21. She expressed hope that the negotiations for a convention to combat desertification would receive the same attention as did the climate change negotiations. She also elaborated a number of programmes being implemented in Egypt to combat air pollution, preserve fresh water resources, deal with population growth and other environmental issues.
SAUDI ARABIA: The representative of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Biari, discussed the environmental protection measures undertaken by the Saudi petroleum industry to limit air pollution and other detrimental environmental effects. He also described a number of environmental policies and initiatives in the Kingdom and the serious environmental effects of the Gulf War.
ESTONIA: Speaking on behalf of Latvia and Lithuania, Ambassador Ernst Jaakson stated that the Baltic states have completed studies of their environmental problems except in the areas currently controlled by the Russian Army, where access is limited and the environmental consequences of fifty years of occupation are unknown. The Baltic states are looking at future steps toward sustainable development including legislated policies and governmental action regarding national compliance and enforcement of existing environmental conventions. He said that it is to UNCED's credit that Agenda 21 explicitly recognized the role of markets and competition among firms as the prime means through which sustainable development will take place.
SIERRA LEONE: The representative from Sierra Leone said that the economic implications of Agenda 21 are immense. There is a need for global partnership with the industrialized world, based on equity, to implement Agenda 21. He stressed the need for new and additional financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity building. In view of the vulnerability of African countries to desertification, he urged that the work of the INC on a convention to combat desertification begin as soon as possible. He supported the establishment of the CSD and reiterated the views of many delegations as to its function and composition.
GAMBIA: In his review of UNCED's accomplishments, the representative from Gambia expressed hope that the Climate Change Convention will eventually include measures to decrease emissions of specific greenhouse gases. The heavy debt burden, lack of food security, weak and unsustainable economic growth, low standard of living, and a rise in unemployment comprise major constraints to achieving sustainable development. He highlighted the need for a convention to combat drought and desertification and expressed hope that the restructuring of the GEF will include drought and desertification as a fifth programme area.
PALESTINE: Dr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa, the permanent Palestinian observer, gave the final statement of the morning. He advocated the establishment of the CSD and stressed that one of its priorities should be to monitor financial and technological flows to developing countries. He reminded delegates that sustainable development is only a privilege of independent nations, for people living under illegal, foreign occupation are totally helpless with regard to the control and conservation of their own environment. He then restated principle 23 of the Rio Declaration that refers to the environment and natural resources of people under oppression, domination and occupation.
[Return to start of article]