The Plenary continued yesterday with speeches by Heads of State and Government. The first speaker of the morning was Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan and Chairman of the G-77, who quoted from the Quran, "Disorder and destruction have appeared on earth and in the oceans due to what the hands of man have done." He cited as the fundamental cause of the present economic and environmental crisis, the unjust world economic order and called poverty the "ugliest scar" on the planet.
The Swedish Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, called it a "moral duty" for rich countries to reach 0.7% of GNP for ODA, and he appealed to other countries to share in the efforts to solve problems with nuclear safety, especially in the former Soviet Union. After the nine minute address by the Prime Minister of Mauritania, President Collor had to remind the leaders of the seven minute time limit.
Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa's speech, that was to be broadcast into the Plenary, was reportedly cancelled by UN Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali on the grounds that it would set a bad precedent within the UN. The Japanese leader's speech was circulated later in the day. He stated, without citing a figure, that Japan should "consider a positive contribution" to the GEF and that it was increasing its environment-related aid from US$3.1 billion over the last three years to between US$7 and US$7.7 billion during the next five years.
Won-Shik Chung, Prime Minister of Korea, noted in his speech the ironic ecological inheritance from the Cold War -- a 258 km by 4 km ecological reservoir across the middle of the Korean Peninsula and he proposed a joint South and North Korea survey of the region in collaboration with the UN.
Felipe Gonzalez, Prime Minister of Spain, called for a world conference on forests. Abdou Diouf, President of Senegal, stressed the importance of solar energy and called for its promotion. Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky said that "in order to be successful, structural changes in the economic, the social and the ecological systems of the industrialized states will be inevitable." He supported a CO2 tax on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, but criticized nuclear power as out of line with the principles and priorities of sustainable development.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway, presented what many considered the frankest speech of the morning. She called on all major countries to sign the two UNCED conventions and noted that Norway had reached 0.7% of GNP for ODA more than 15 years ago. She warned that unilateral attitudes toward global problems might turn the global village into a global jungle. Her sharpest criticism was on the lack of democratic decision-making at the international level where the tradition of consensus "can only advance at the pace of the most reluctant mover in each field."
The statement made by Reverend Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of Haiti, drew rousing applause. Aristide called attention to Haiti's ongoing violent political turmoil; slayings for supporting democracy; and the massive destructive environmental consequences. He compared environmental issues with the struggle for democracy stating that environmental pollution is exceeded by even more toxic political pollution; and both the land, through erosion, and political refugees are heading out to sea.
Dr. Luis Alberto Lacalle, President of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, referred to the duty that nations have to refrain from polluting as well as the right not to be polluted, and that duty flows from laws, and international laws are treaties. Lacalle stated that Uruguay, at the UN General Assembly, will push for nations to draft a treaty to legislate, regulate and punish infractions. Lacalle hoped that nations build on UNCED so that another environment-development conference will not be needed in another 20 years.
Heads of State from small island states, urgently called for immediate implementation of UNCED conventions and Agenda 21, stating that the very survival of their people, culture and islands depends on the action of nations, especially around those practices that are causing global warming.
In a charged speech, Malaysia's Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, refuted the assumption that population is a cause of environmental degradation. Disillusioned with the inequities and historical patterns of development, he criticized the Conference for watering down the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 on the insistence by "the powerful and the rich".
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