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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C., July 7, 1972.
DEAR SENATOR: As two of the eight delegates appointed from the Senate, we had the privilege and the responsibility of representing the United States at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm from June 5–16, 1972. From our experiences as members of the official delegation, we have become more aware of the growing division between the rich and the poor nations on the subject of environmental quality. It is extremely unfortunate that the desire for development has transformed the unifying potential of environmental concern into a politically divisive issue. We hope that this U.N. Environmental Conference will be a major step in bridging this gap between the developed and developing countries, and will act as a catalyst in formulating action for future international environmental agreements.
This report to the Senate consists of two parts. The first section is a joint report presenting our general observations and recommendations. The second section is an appendix containing the official list of the U.S. delegation and the final report of the conference. We hope that this report will prove useful to the Senate in its consideration of future international environmental agreements. Sincerely yours,
On December 3, 1968, the General Assembly of the United Nations in response to the initiative of the Swedish Government, unanimously decided that a United Nations Conference on the Human Environment should be convened in Stockholm in 1972. The established aims of this Conference were:
(1) To draw the attention of governments and the public to the importance and urgency of environmental problems;
(2) To identify the aspects of these problems which require international action, and to lay the basis for this action;
(3) To intensify current national, regional and international efforts and to give them a common outlook and direction. Preparations for this Conference were guided by a 27-nation Preparatory Committee which met four times during the past two years. In addition, five Intergovernmental Working Groups and seven regional seminars were conducted to provide insights into the major areas of environmental concern, and to develop specific action proposals and recommendations needed to respond effectively to these concerns. All of these activities produced 350 basic documents-including 86 national reports—totaling 13,000 pages of Conference documentation.
This information was studied, condensed, and converted into an “Action Plan” which consisted of approximately 138 proposals for international action and over 60 recommendations for national action. These proposals covered the following subject areas:
I. Planning and management of human settlements for en
vironmental quality; II. Environmental aspects of natural resources management; III. Identification and control of pollutants of broad inter
national significance; IV. Educational, informational, social and cultural aspects
of environmental issues; V. Development and environment; VI. International organizational implications of action
proposals. This "Action Plan" was intended to provide a "blue print" for the launching of a concerted international attack on the problems of preserving and enhancing the human environment. It called for a series of recommedations for a cooperative approach to the assessment of important problems. It was intended to provide opportunities that would place in the hands of decisionmakers the best knowledge that science and technology could make available. As Maurice Strong, the Secretary General of the Conference emphasized, these recommended actions constituted the "crucial first steps” toward the larger goals of environmental action.