B. Recommendations for action at the international level
The texts of the recommendations adopted by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (see chapter X) are given below.
Planning and Management of Human Settlements for Environmental Quality
The planning, improvement and management of rural and urban settlements demand an approach, at all levels, which embraces all aspects of the human environment, both natural and Man-Made. Accordingly, it is recommended:
- That all development assistance agencies, whether international, such as the United Nations Development Programme and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, regional or national, should in their development assistance activities also give high priority within available resources to requests from Governments for assistance in the planning of human settlements, notably in housing, transportation, water, sewerage and public health, the mobilization of human and financial resources, the improvement of transitional urban settlements and the provision and maintenance of essential community services, in order to achieve as far as possible the social well-being of the receiving country as a whole;
- That these agencies also be prepared to assist the less industrialized countries in solving the environmental problems of development projects; to this end they should actively support the training and encourage the recruitment of requisite personnel, as far as possible within these countries themselves.
1. It is recommended that Governments should designate to the Secretary-General areas in which they have committed themselves (or are prepared to commit themselves) to a long-term programme of improvement and global promotion of the environment.
- In this connection, countries are invited to share internationally all relevant information on the problems they encounter and the solutions they devise in developing these areas.
- Countries concerned will presumably appoint an appropriate body to plan such a programme, and to supervise its implementation, for areas which could vary in size from a city block to a national region; presumably, too, the programme will be designated to serve, among other purposes, as a vehicle for the preparation and launching of experimental and pilot projects.
- Countries which are willing to launch an improvement programme should be prepared to welcome international cooperation, seeking the advice or assistance of competent international bodies.
2. It is further recommended.
- That in order to ensure the success of the programme, Governments should urge the Secretary General to undertake a process of planning and coordination whereby contact would be established with nations likely to participate in the programme; international teams of experts might be assembled for that purpose;
- That a Conference/Demonstration on Experimental Human Settlements should be held under the auspices of the United Nations in order to provide for coordination and the exchange of information and to demonstrate to world public opinion the potential of this approach by means of a display of experimental projects;
- That nations should take into consideration Canada's offer to organize such a Conference/Demonstration and to act as host to it.
Certain aspects of human settlements can have international implications, for example, the "export" of pollution from urban and industrial areas, and the effects of seaports on international hinterlands. Accordingly, it is recommended that the attention of Governments be drawn to the need to consult bilaterally or regionally whenever environmental conditions or development plans in one country could have repercussions in one or more neighboring countries.
1. It is recommended that Governments and the Secretary-General, the latter in consultation with the appropriate United Nations agencies, take the following steps:
- Entrust the over-all responsibility for an agreed programme of environmental research at the international level to any central body that may be given the coordinating authority in the field of the environment, taking into account the coordination work already being provided on the regional level, especially by the Economic Commission for Europe;
- Identify, wherever possible, an existing agency within the United Nations system as the principal focal point for initiating and coordinating research in each principal area and, where there are competing claims, establish appropriate priorities;
- Designate the following as priority areas for research:
- Theories, policies and methods for the comprehensive environmental development of urban and rural settlements;
- Methods of assessing quantitative housing needs and of formulating and implementing phased programmes designed to satisfy them (principal bodies responsible: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, regional economic commissions and United Nations Economic and Social Office in Beirut);
- Environmental-socioeconomic indicators of the quality of human settlements, particularly in terms of desirable occupancy standards and residential densities, with a view to identifying their time trends;
- Social-economic and demographic factors underlying migration and spatial distribution of population, including the problem of transitional settlements (principal bodies responsible: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (Center for Housing, Building and Planning), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Health Organization, International Labour Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations);
- Designs, technologies, financial and administrative procedures for the efficient and expanded production of housing and related infra-structure, suitably adapted to local conditions;
- Water supply, sewerage and waste-disposal systems adapted to local conditions, particularly in semi-tropical, tropical, Arctic and sub-Arctic areas (principal body responsible: World Health Organization);
- Alternative methods of meeting rapidly increasing urban transportation needs (principal bodies responsible: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (Resources and Transport Division and Center for Housing, Building and Planning);
- Physical, mental and social effects of stresses created by living and working conditions in human settlements, particularly urban conglomerates, for example the accessibility of buildings to persons whose physical mobility is impaired (principal bodies responsible: International Labour Organisation, World Health Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat).
2. It is further recommended that Governments consider cooperative arrangements to undertake the necessary research whenever the above-mentioned problem areas have a specific regional impact. In such cases, proves on should be made for the exchange of information and research findings with countries of other geographical regions sharing similar problems.
It is recommended:
- That Governments take steps to arrange for the exchange of visits by those who are conducting research in the public or private institutions of their countries;
- That Governments and the Secretary-General ensure the acceleration of the exchange of information concerning past and on-going research, experimentation and project implementation covering all aspects of human settlements, which is conducted by the United Nations system or by public or private entities, including academic institutions.
It is recommended that Governments and the Secretary General give urgent attention to the training of those who are needed to promote integrated action on the planning, development and management of human settlements.
It is Recommended:
- That Governments and the Secretary-General provide equal possibilities for everybody, both by training, and by ensuring access to relevant means and information to influence their own environment by themselves;
- That Governments and the Secretary-General ensure that the institutions concerned shall be strengthened and that special training activities shall be established, making use of existing projects of regional environmental development, for the benefit of the less industrialized countries, covering the following:
- Intermediate and auxiliary personnel for national public services who, in turn, would be in a position to train others for similar tasks (principal bodies responsible: World Health Organization, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (Centre for Housing, Building, and Planning), United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations);
- Specialists in environmental planning and in rural development (principal bodies responsible: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (Centre for Housing, Building and Planning), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations);
- Community developers for self-help programmes for low-income groups (principal body responsible: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (Centre for Housing, Building and Planning));
- Specialists in working environments (principal bodies responsible: International Labour Organisation, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (Centre for Housing, Building and Planning), World Health Organization);
- Planners and organizers of mass transport systems and services with special reference to environmental development (principal body responsible: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (Resources and Transport Division)).
It is recommended that regional institutions take stock of the requirements of their regions for various environmental skills and of the facilities available to meet those requirements in order to facilitate the provision of appropriate training within regions.
It is recommended that the World Health Organization increase its efforts to support Governments in planning for improving water supply and sewerage services through its community water supply programme, taking account, as far as possible, of the framework of total environment programmes for communities.
It is recommended that development assistance agencies should give higher priority, where justified in the light of the social benefits, to supporting Governments in financing and setting up services for water supply, disposal of water from all sources, and liquid-waste and solid waste disposal and treatment as part of the objectives of the Second United Nations Development Decade.
It is recommended that the Secretary-General ensure that, during the preparations for the 1974 World Population Conference, special attention shall be given to population concerns as they relate to the environment and, more particularly, to the environment of human settlements.
1. It is Recommended that the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies should provide increased assistance to Governments which so request in the field of family planning programmes without delay.
It is further recommended that the World Health Organization should promote and intensify research endeavor in the field of human reproduction, so that the serious consequences of population explosion on human environment can be prevented.
It is recommended that the United Nations agencies should focus special attention on the provision of assistance for combating the menace of human malnutrition rampant in many parts of the world. Such assistance will cover training, research and development endeavors on such matters as causes of malnutrition, mass production of high-protein and multipurpose foods, qualitative and quantitative characteristics of routine foods, and the launching of applied nutrition programmes.
It is Environment that the intergovernmental body for environmental affairs to be established within the United Nations should ensure that the required surveys shall be made concerning the need and the technical possibilities for developing internationally agreed standards for measuring and limiting noise emissions and that, if it is deemed advisable, such standards shall be applied in the production of means of transportation and certain kinds of working equipment, without a large price increase or reduction in the aid given to developing countries.
It is recommended that the Secretary-General, in consultation with the appropriate United Nations bodies, formulate programmes on a worldwide basis to assist countries to meet effectively the requirements of growth of human settlements and to improve the quality of life in existing settlements, in particular, in squatter areas.
The programmes referred to in recommendation 15 should include the establishment of subregional centre to undertake, inter alia, the following functions
- Exchange of information;
- Financial, technical and material assistance.
It is recommended that Governments and the Secretary-General take immediate steps towards the establishment of an international fund or a financial institution whose primary operative objectives will be to assist in strengthening national programmes relating to human settlements through the provision of seed capital and the extension of the necessary technical assistance to permit an effective mobilization of domestic resources for housing and the environmental improvement of human settlements.
It is recommended that the following recommendations be referred to the Disaster Relief Co-ordinator for his consideration, more particularly in the context of the preparation of a report to the Economic and Social Council:
1. It is recommended that the Secretary-General, with the assistance of the Disaster Relief Co-ordinator and in consultation with the appropriate bodies of the United Nations system and non-governmental bodies:
- Assess the over-all requirements for the timely and widespread distribution of warnings which the observational and communications networks must satisfy;
- Assess the needs for additional observational networks and other observational systems for natural disaster detection and warnings for tropical cyclones (typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones etc.) and their associated storm surges, torrential rains, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes etc.;
- Evaluate the existing systems for the international communication of disaster warnings, in order to determine the extent to which these require improvement;
- On the basis of these assessments, promote, through existing national and international organizations, the establishment of an effective world-wide natural disaster warning system, with special emphasis on tropical cyclones and earthquakes, taking full advantage on existing systems and plans, such as the World Weather Watch, the World Meteorological Organization's Tropical Cyclone Project, the International Tsunami Warning System, the World-Wide Standardized Seismic Network, and the Desert Locust Control Organization;
- Invite the World Meteorological Organization to promote research on the periodicity and intensity of the occurrence of droughts, with a view to developing improved forecasting techniques.
2. It is further recommended that the United Nations Development Programme and other appropriate international assistance agencies give priority in responding to requests from Governments for the establishment and improvement of natural disaster research programmes and warning systems.
3. It is recommended that the Secretary-General ensure that the United Nations system shall provide to Governments a comprehensive programme of advice and support in disaster prevention. More specifically, the question of disaster prevention should be seen as an integral part of the country programme as submitted to, and reviewed by, the United Nations Development Programme.
4. It is recommended that the Secretary-General take the necessary steps to ensure that the United Nations system shall assist countries with their planning for pre-disaster preparedness. To this end:
- An international programme of technical cooperation should be developed, designed to strengthen the capabilities of Governments in the field of pre-disaster planning, drawing upon the services of the resident representatives of the United Nations Development Programme;
- The United Nations Disaster Relief Office, with the assistance of relevant agencies of the United Nations, should organize plans and programmes for international co-operation in cases of natural disasters;
- As appropriate, non-governmental international agencies and individual Governments should be invited to participate in the preparation of such plans and programmes.