United Nations

A/RES/44/224


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 December 1989

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                        A/RES/44/224
                                                        85th plenary meeting
                                                        22 December 1989
 
   International co-operation in the monitoring, assessment and anticipation of
   environmental threats and in assistance in cases of environmental emergency
 
      The General Assembly,
 
      Convinced that one of the main global problems facing the world today is
 the deterioration of the environment,
 
      Recalling its resolution 43/196 of 20 December 1988 on a United Nations
 conference on environment and development,
 
      Aware that increasing environmental degradation caused by human
 activities has led in some cases to irreversible changes in the environment
 that threaten life-sustaining eco-systems and undermine the health,
 well-being, development prospects and very survival of life on the planet,
 
      Also aware that potential environmental disasters, whether natural,
 accidental or caused by human beings, as well as accidents, could pose serious
 and immediate dangers to populations and to the economic development and
 environment of the affected countries and regions,
 
      Convinced that through monitoring, assessment, anticipation and prompt
 multilateral response upon request, in particular on the part of the United
 Nations system, environmental threats could be minimized or even prevented,
 
      Also convinced that early warning of emerging environmental threats and
 degradation would help Governments to take preventive action,
 
      Noting with appreciation the work undertaken by the United Nations
 Environment Programme to develop criteria for the identification of
 environmental threats at the national, regional and global levels,
 
      Stressing the need for close co-operation between all countries, in
 particular through a broad exchange of information, scientific knowledge and
 experience as well as transfer of technology, in monitoring, assessing and
 anticipating environmental threats, dealing with environmental emergencies and
 rendering timely assistance, at the request of Governments, in accordance with
 respective national laws, regulations and policies and taking into account the
 particular needs and requirements of the developing countries,
 
      Affirming the need, in this context, for closer co-operation between the
 United Nations Environment Programme, the Office of the United Nations
 Disaster Relief Co-ordinator, the World Health Organization and the World
 Meteorological Organization, as well as other competent organs, programmes and
 agencies of the United Nations system, bearing in mind the co-ordinating role
 of the United Nations Environment Programme in environmental matters in the
 United Nations system,
 
      Noting the fact that other proposals have been made on strengthening and
 improving the effectiveness within the United Nations system of international
 co-operation in monitoring, assessing and anticipating environmental threats
 and the rendering of timely assistance in cases of environmental emergency,
 
      1.   Recognizes the need to strengthen international co-operation in
 monitoring, assessing and anticipating environmental threats and rendering
 assistance in cases of environmental emergency;
 
      2.   Reaffirms that, owing to its universal character, the United Nations
 system, through the General Assembly, is the appropriate forum for concerted
 political action on global environmental problems;
 
      3.   Underlines the importance of broader participation in Earthwatch,
 established by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and
 operated by the United Nations Environment Programme, in order to strengthen
 its capacity to make authoritative assessments, to anticipate environmental
 degradation and to issue early warnings to the international community;
 
      4.   Reaffirms that, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations
 and the principles of international law, States have the sovereign right to
 exploit their own resources in accordance with their environmental policies,
 and also reaffirms their responsibility to ensure that activities within their
 jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States
 or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction as well as to play
 their due role in preserving and protecting the global and regional
 environment in accordance with their capacities and specific responsibilities;
 
      5.   Requests the Secretary-General, assisted by the Executive Director
 of the United Nations Environment Programme, to prepare a report, on the basis
 of the views of Member States and existing national and international
 legislation in this field, containing proposals and recommendations on
 possible ways and means to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations:
 
      (a)  To monitor, assess and anticipate environmental threats;
 
      (b)  To define criteria for determining when environmental degradation
 undermines health, well-being, development prospects and the very survival of
 life on the planet to such an extent that international co-operation may be
 required, if requested;
 
      (c)  To issue early warnings to the international community when such
 degradation becomes imminent;
 
      (d)  To facilitate intergovernmental co-operation in monitoring,
 assessing and anticipating environmental threats;
 
      (e)  To assist Governments facing environmental emergencies, at their
 request;
 
      (f)  To mobilize financial resources and technical co-operation to fulfil
 the tasks listed in paragraphs 5 (a) to (e) of the present resolution, taking
 into account the needs of the countries concerned, particularly the developing
 countries;
 
      6.   Also requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Governing
 Council of the United Nations Environment Programme the report called for in
 paragraph 5 of the present resolution for consideration during the preparatory
 process for the United Nations conference on environment and development;
 
      7.   Invites the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment
 Programme to consider that report and to present its views thereon to the
 General Assembly at its forty-sixth session, through the Economic and Social
 Council.