The EnvironmentNo nation can keep its pollution to itself. Wastes discharged into the air and water in fact befoul a common resource. Restraint on the part of individual states, however laudable and necessary, is inadequate to the problem, for, in the absence of international action competitive economic pressures will severely limit national abilities to require the costly measures needed to protect the environment. A broad international approach is therefore necessary.
In the United Nations this country has joined with most other nations of the world in preparing for the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, which will consider the whole range of environmental problems. We are also participating in discussions on the environment with such diverse groups as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (the nations of both Eastern and Western Europe), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the developed nations of the Free World), NATO's new Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (our Atlantic allies), and the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (the major shipping nations).
These activities are developing a consensus, reflected last year in the call by the NATO/CCMS Conference on Oil Spills for an end to intentional discharges of oil and oily wastes into the oceans by the middle of this decade. The Prague Conference, called by the Economic Commission for Europe, will play an important role in promoting East-West cooperation on environmental problems. The growing international concern is also reflected in our bilateral discussions with countries such as Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, with whom we have a variety of arrangements on environment matters.
The vigor of these efforts must increase, however, for we consider it essential that the international community take at least the following measures within the near future:
- Identification of pollutants and other ecological hazards which are dangerous on a global scale.
- Establishment of an effective world monitoring network to keep track of these environmental dangers.
- Initiation of a global information system to facilitate exchange of experience and knowledge about environment problems.
- Establishment of internationally accepted air and water quality criteria and standards.
- Development of international guidelines for the protection of the environment.
- Achievement of comprehensive international action programs to prevent further environmental deterioration and to repair the damage
- Development and improvement of training and education programs to provide the skilled capability to meet the environmental challenge.