SI Environment Committee Gathers in Rio
21 November 1991
The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was top of the Agenda when the SI Environment Committee met on 21 November in Rio de Janeiro, venue for the forthcoming UN gathering. The SI Committee, chaired by Birgitta Dahl, former Swedish minister of the environment, also focussed on perspectives and priorities for the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Participation in the meeting, which was hosted by the Brazilian Democratic Labour Party, PDT, included delegates from Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela, as well as from Germany, Great Britain, Greece and Spain, and from Canada, while African representatives included the minister of Senegal.
Leonel Brizola, leader of the Brazilian PDT, governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro and an SI vice-president, said in his inaugural address that the International was working 'to unite the causes of the preservation of the environment to those of freedom and social justice'.
Brizola also laid emphasis on the work going on to free Rio's Guanabara Bay from pollution.
Referring to the UN gathering in her speech, Birgitta Dahl said, 'The worst threats to human survival and the environment are war, injustice and poverty. Next comes depletion of natural resources, through exploitation and through misuse. And we in the industrialised countries are the worst polluters. One fifth of the world's population is responsible for four fifths of the environmental damage... the heads of government who go to Brazil cannot go there empty-handed. The conference must be concluded by the adoption of a number of conventions and concrete working programmes with a schedule of commitments'.
As well as agreeing on a common text for submission to the SI Council meeting to be held a few days later in Santiago, Chile, the Committee decided to hold a special session in Rio in June 1992, in conjunction with the UN summit.