United Nations

A/RES/44/228


General Assembly

  85th plenary meeting
                                                        22 December 1989


                                                        
         44/228. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolution 43/196 of 20 December 1988 on a United Nations
 conference on environment and development,

      Taking note of decision 15/3 of 25 May 1989 of the Governing Council of
 the United Nations Environment Programmeon a United Nations conference on
 environment and development,

      Taking note also of Economic and Social Council resolution 1989/87 of
 26 July 1989 on the convening of a United Nations conference on environment
 and development,

      Taking note further of Economic and Social Council resolution 1989/101 of
 27 July 1989 on strengthening international co-operation on environment
 through the provision of additional financial resources to developing
 countries,

      Recalling its resolutions 42/186 of 11 December 1987 on the Environmental
 Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond and resolution 42/187 of
 11 December 1987 on the report of the World Commission on Environment and
 Development,

      Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on the question of the
 convening of a United Nations conference on environment and development,

      Mindful of the views expressed by Governments in the debate held at its
 forty-fourth session on the convening of a United Nations conference on
 environment and development,

      Recalling the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human
 Environment,

      Deeply concerned by the continuing deterioration of the state of the
 environment and the serious degradation of the global life-support systems, as
 well as by trends that, if allowed to continue, could disrupt the global
 ecological balance, jeopardize the life-sustaining qualities of the Earth and
 lead to an ecological catastrophe, and recognizing that decisive, urgent and
 global action is vital to protecting the ecological balance of the Earth,

      Recognizing the importance for all countries of the protection and
 enhancement of the environment,

      Recognizing also that the global character of environmental problems,
 including climate change, depletion of the ozone layer, transboundary air and
 water pollution, the contamination of the oceans and seas and degradation of
 land resources, including drought and desertification, necessitates action at
 all levels, including the global, regional and national levels, and the
 commitment and participation of all countries,

      Gravely concerned that the major cause of the continuing deterioration of
 the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of production and
 consumption, particularly in industrialized countries,

      Stressing that poverty and environmental degradation are closely
 interrelated and that environmental protection in developing countries must,
 in this context, be viewed as an integral part of the development process and
 cannot be considered in isolation from it,

      Recognizing that measures to be undertaken at the international level for
 the protection and enhancement of the environment must take fully into account
 the current imbalances in global patterns of production and consumption,

      Affirming that the responsibility for containing, reducing and
 eliminating global environmental damage must be borne by the countries causing
 such damage, must be in relation to the damage caused and must be in
 accordance with their respective capabilities and responsibilities,

      Recognizing the environmental impact of material remnants of war and the
 need for further international co-operation for their removal,

      Stressing the importance for all countries of taking effective measures
 for the protection, restoration and enhancement of the environment in
 accordance, inter alia, with their respective capabilities, while at the same
 time acknowledging the efforts being made in all countries in this regard,
 including international co-operation between developed and developing
 countries,

      Stresses the need for effective international co-operation in the areas
 of research, development and application of environmentally sound technologies,

      Conscious of the crucial role of science and technology in the field of
 environmental protection and of the need of developing countries, in
 particular, for favourable access to environmentally sound technologies,
 processes, equipment and related research and expertise through international
 co-operation designed to further global efforts for environmental protection,
 including the use of innovative and effective means,

      Recognizing that new and additional financial resources will have to be
 channelled to developing countries in order to ensure their full participation
 in global efforts for environmental protection,

                                       I
      1.   Decides to convene the United Nations Conference on Environment and
 Development, which shall be of two weeks' duration and shall have the highest
 possible level of participation, to coincide with World Environment Day, on
 5 June 1992;

      2.   Accepts with deep appreciation the generous offer of the Government
 of Brazil to act as host to the Conference;

      3.   Affirms that the Conference should elaborate strategies and measures
 to halt and reverse the effects of environmental degradation in the context of
 increased national and international efforts to promote sustainable and
 environmentally sound development in all countries;

      4.   Affirms also that the protection and enhancement of the environment
 are major issues that affect the well-being of peoples and economic
 development throughout the world;

      5.   Affirms further that the promotion of economic growth in developing
 countries is essential to address problems of environmental degradation;

      6.   Affirms the importance of a supportive international economic
 climate conducive to sustained economic growth and development in all
 countries for the protection and sound management of the environment;

      7.   Reaffirms that, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations
 and the applicable principles of international law, States have the sovereign
 right to exploit their own resources pursuant to 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 and to play their due
 role in preserving and protecting the global and regional environment in
 accordance with their capacities and specific responsibilities;

      8.   Affirms the responsibility of States, in accordance with national
 legislation and applicable international law, for the damage to the
 environment and natural resources caused by activities within their
 jurisdiction or control through transboundary interference;

      9.   Notes that the largest part of the current emission of pollutants
 into the environment, including toxic and hazardous wastes, originates in
 developed countries, and therefore recognizes that those countries have the
 main responsibility for combating such pollution;

      10.  Stresses that large industrial enterprises, including transnational
 corporations, are frequently the repositories of scarce technical skills for
 the preservation and enhancement of the environment, that they conduct
 activities in sectors that have an impact on the environment and, to that
 extent, have specific responsibilities and that, in this context, efforts need
 to be encouraged and mobilized to protect and enhance the environment in all
 countries;

      11.  Reaffirms that the serious external indebtedness of developing
 countries and other countries with serious debt-servicing problems has to be
 addressed in an efficient and urgent manner in order to enable those countries
 to contribute fully and in accordance with their capacities and
 responsibilities to global efforts to protect and enhance the environment;

      12.  Affirms that, in the light of the foregoing, the following
 environmental issues, which are not listed in any particular order of
 priority, are among those of major concern in maintaining the quality of the
 Earth's environment and especially in achieving environmentally sound and
 sustainable development in all countries:

      (a)  Protection of the atmosphere by combating climate change, depletion
 of the ozone layer and transboundary air pollution;

      (b)  Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources;

      (c)  Protection of the oceans and all kinds of seas, including enclosed
 and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and
 development of their living resources;

      (d)  Protection and management of land resources by, inter alia,
 combating deforestation, desertification and drought;

      (e)  Conservation of biological diversity;

      (f)  Environmentally sound management of biotechnology;

      (g)  Environmentally sound management of wastes, particularly hazardous
 wastes, and of toxic chemicals, as well as prevention of illegal international
 traffic in toxic and dangerous products and wastes;

      (h)  Improvement of the living and working environment of the poor in
 urban slums and rural areas, through the eradication of poverty by,
 inter alia, implementing integrated rural and urban development programmes, as
 well as taking other appropriate measures at all levels necessary to stem the
 degradation of the environment;

      (i)  Protection of human health conditions and improvement of the quality
 of life;

      13.  Emphasizes the need to strengthen international co-operation for the
 management of the environment to ensure its protection and enhancement and the
 need to explore the issue of benefits derived from activities, including
 research and development, related to the protection and development of
 biological diversity;

      14.  Reaffirms the need to strengthen international co-operation,
 particularly between developed and developing countries, in research and
 development and the utilization of environmentally sound technologies;

      15.  Decides that the Conference, in addressing environmental issues in
 the developmental context, should have the following objectives:

      (a)  To examine the state of the environment and changes that have
 occurred since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in
 1972, and since the adoption of such international agreements as the Plan of
 Action to Combat Desertification, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of
 the Ozone Layer, adopted on 22 March 1985, and the Montreal Protocol on
 Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, adopted on 16 September 1987, taking
 into account the actions taken by all countries and intergovernmental
 organizations to protect and enhance the environment;

      (b)  To identify strategies to be co-ordinated regionally and globally,
 as appropriate, for concerted action to deal with major environmental issues
 in the socio-economic development processes of all countries within a
 particular time-frame;

      (c)  To recommend measures to be taken at the national and international
 levels to protect and enhance the environment, taking into account the
 specific needs of developing countries, through the development and
 implementation of policies for sustainable and environmentally sound
 development with special emphasis on incorporating environmental concerns in
 the economic and social development process and of various sectoral policies
 and through, inter alia, preventive action at the sources of environmental
 degradation, clearly identifying the sources of such degradation and
 appropriate remedial measures, in all countries;

      (d)  To promote the further development of international environmental
 law, taking into account the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on
 the Human Environment, as well as the special needs and concerns of the
 developing countries, and to examine in this context the feasibility of
 elaborating general rights and obligations of States, as appropriate, in the
 field of the environment, and taking into account relevant existing
 international legal instruments;

      (e)  To examine ways and means further to improve co-operation in the
 field of protection and enhancement of the environment between neighbouring
 countries, with a view to eliminating adverse environmental effects;

      (f)  To examine strategies for national and international action with a
 view to arriving at specific agreements and commitments by Governments for
 defined activities to deal with major environmental issues in order to restore
 the global ecological balance and to prevent further deterioration of the
 environment, taking into account the fact that the largest part of the current
 emission of pollutants into the environment, including toxic and hazardous
 wastes, originates in developed countries, and therefore recognizing that
 those countries have the main responsibility for combating such pollution;

      (g)  To accord high priority to drought and desertification control and
 to consider all means necessary, including financial, scientific and
 technological resources, to halt and reverse the process of desertification
 with a view to preserving the ecological balance of the planet;

      (h)  To examine the relationship between environmental degradation and
 the international economic environment, with a view to ensuring a more
 integrated approach to problems of environment and development in relevant
 international forums without introducing new forms of conditionality;

      (i)  To examine strategies for national and international action with a
 view to arriving at specific agreements and commitments by Governments and by
 intergovernmental organizations for defined activities to promote a supportive
 international economic climate conducive to sustained and environmentally
 sound development in all countries, with a view to combating poverty and
 improving the quality of life, and bearing in mind that the incorporation of
 environmental concerns and considerations in development planning and policies
 should not be used to introduce new forms of conditionality in aid or in
 development financing and should not serve as a pretext for creating
 unjustified barriers to trade;

      (j)  To identify ways and means of providing new and additional financial
 resources, particularly to developing countries, for environmentally sound
 development programmes and projects in accordance with national development
 objectives, priorities and plans and to consider ways of effectively
 monitoring the provision of such new and additional financial resources,
 particularly to developing countries, so as to enable the international
 community to take further appropriate action on the basis of accurate and
 reliable data;

      (k)  To identify ways and means of providing additional financial
 resources for measures directed towards solving major environmental problems
 of global concern and especially of supporting those countries, in particular
 developing countries, for which the implementation of such measures would
 entail a special or abnormal burden, owing, in particular, to their lack of
 financial resources, expertise or technical capacity;

      (l)  To consider various funding mechanisms, including voluntary ones,
 and to examine the possibility of a special international fund and other
 innovative approaches, with a view to ensuring, on a favourable basis, the
 most effective and expeditious transfer of environmentally sound technologies
 to developing countries;

      (m)  To examine, with a view to making recommendations on effective
 modalities for favourable access to, and transfer of, environmentally sound
 technologies, in particular to the developing countries, including on
 concessional and preferential terms, and on modalities for supporting all
 countries in their efforts to create and develop their endogenous
 technological capacities in the field of scientific research and development,
 as well as in the acquisition of relevant information, and, in this context,
 to explore the concept of assured access for developing countries to
 environmentally sound technologies, in its relation to proprietary rights,
 with a view to developing effective responses to the needs of developing
 countries in this area;

      (n)  To promote the development of human resources, particularly in
 developing countries, for the protection and enhancement of the environment;

      (o)  To recommend measures to Governments and the relevant bodies of the
 United Nations system, with a view to strengthening technical co-operation
 with the developing countries to enable them to develop and strengthen their
 capacity for identifying, analysing, monitoring, managing or preventing
 environmental problems in accordance with their national development plans,
 objectives and priorities;

      (p)  To promote open and timely exchange of information on national
 environmental policies, situations and accidents;

      (q)  To review and examine the role of the United Nations system in
 dealing with the environment and possible ways of improving it;

      (r)  To promote the development or strengthening of appropriate
 institutions at the national, regional and global levels to deal with
 environmental matters in the context of the socio-economic development
 processes of all countries;

      (s)  To promote environmental education, especially of the younger
 generation, as well as other measures to increase awareness of the value of
 the environment;

      (t)  To promote international co-operation within the United Nations
 system in monitoring, assessing and anticipating environmental threats and in
 rendering assistance in cases of environmental emergency;

      (u)  To specify the respective responsibilities of and support to be
 given by the organs, organizations and programmes of the United Nations system
 for the implementation of the recommendations of the Conference;

      (v)  To quantify the financial requirements for the successful
 implementation of Conference decisions and recommendations and to identify
 possible sources, including innovative ones, of additional resources;

      (w)  To assess the capacity of the United Nations system to assist in the
 prevention and settlement of disputes in the environmental sphere and to
 recommend measures in this field, while respecting existing bilateral and
 international agreements that provide for the settlement of such disputes;

                                       II
      1.   Decides to establish the Preparatory Committee for the United
 Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which shall be open to all
 States Members of the United Nations or members of the specialized agencies,
 with the participation of observers, in accordance with the established
 practice of the General Assembly;

      2.   Decides that the Preparatory Committee shall hold an organizational
 session of two weeks' duration in March 1990 and a final session, both at
 United Nations Headquarters, as well as three additional substantive sessions,
 the first at Nairobi and the following two at Geneva, the timing and duration
 of which shall be determined by the Preparatory Committee at its
 organizational session;

      3.   Decides that the Preparatory Committee, at its organizational
 session, shall elect, with due regard to equitable geographic representation,
 a chairman and other members of its Bureau, comprising a substantial number of
 vice-chairmen and a rapporteur;

      4.   Decides that the host country of the Conference, Brazil, shall be
 ex officio a member of the Bureau;

      5.   Requests the Secretary-General, following the organizational session
 of the Preparatory Committee, to establish an appropriate ad hoc secretariat
 at the United Nations Office at Geneva, with a unit in New York and another
 unit in Nairobi, taking into account the decisions to be made by the
 Preparatory Committee regarding the preparatory process for the Conference and
 based on the principle of equitable geographic distribution;

      6.   Decides that the ad hoc secretariat will be headed by the
 Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
 Development, who will be appointed by the Secretary-General of the United
 Nations;

      7.   Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to prepare a
 report for the organizational session of the Preparatory Committee containing
 recommendations on an adequate preparatory process, taking into account the
 provisions of the present resolution and the views expressed by Governments in
 the debate at the forty-fourth session of the General Assembly;

      8.   Decides that the Preparatory Committee shall:

      (a)  Draft the provisional agenda of the Conference, in accordance with
 the provisions of the present resolution;

      (b)  Adopt guidelines to enable States to take a harmonized approach in
 their preparations and reporting;

      (c)  Prepare draft decisions for the Conference and submit them to the
 Conference for consideration and adoption;

      9.   Requests the United Nations Environment Programme, as the main organ
 dealing with environmental issues, and other organs, organizations and
 programmes of the United Nations system, as well as other relevant
 intergovernmental organizations, to contribute fully to the preparations for
 the Conference on the basis of guidelines and requirements to be established
 by the Preparatory Committee;

      10.  Requests the Secretary-General to ensure the co-ordination of
 contributions from the United Nations system through the Administrative
 Committee on Co-ordination;

      11.  Invites all States to take an active part in the preparations for
 the Conference, to prepare national reports, as appropriate, to be submitted
 to the Preparatory Committee in a timely manner, and to promote international
 co-operation and broad-based national preparatory processes involving the
 scientific community, industry, trade unions and concerned non-governmental
 organizations;

      12.  Requests relevant non-governmental organizations in consultative
 status with the Economic and Social Council to contribute to the Conference,
 as appropriate;

      13.  Stresses the importance of holding regional conferences on
 environment and development with the full co-operation of the regional
 commissions, and recommends that the results of such regional conferences be
 introduced into the preparatory process for the Conference, bearing in mind
 that regional conferences should make important substantive contributions to
 the Conference;

      14.  Decides that the preparatory process and the Conference itself
 should be funded through the regular budget of the United Nations without
 adversely affecting other ongoing activities and without prejudice to the
 provision of sources of extrabudgetary resources;

      15.  Decides to establish a voluntary fund for the purpose of assisting
 developing countries, in particular the least developed among them, to
 participate fully and effectively in the Conference and in its preparatory
 process, and invites Governments to contribute to the fund;

      16.  Requests the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee to report to the
 General Assembly at its forty-fifth and forty-sixth sessions on the progress
 of work of the Committee;

      17.  Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its forty-fifth and
 forty-sixth sessions an item entitled "United Nations Conference on
 Environment and Development".
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