Is Narmada water being made to flow in Sabarmati not supplied to city of Ahmedabad? This has furthered the idea of river...
I have been selling glass for commercial buildings talking about light, thermal/solar heat gain etc.etc..but I...
Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
THE RECENTLY-concluded Rio conference commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 1972 UN Conference on
the Human Environment held at Stockholm. The
Stockholm Conference was a watershed in the international environmenial movement - it put environmental
issues on the international agenda for the first time.
It was Sweden which had first proposed the idea of a
UN Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) in
1968. Acid rain, coupled with global consequences of the
fall-out from nuclear tests in the 1950s, had brought
home the message that humanity had "only one earth".
Thousands of young people across the inclustrialised
world were already fighting their governments against
the establishment of nuclear power stations. As news
broke of one deadly inci4nt after another, some feared
that water and air pollutiolh was getting out of hand.
Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, which had come
out in 1962, had been a significant event. It had aroused
widespread public apprehension about the new chemicals used in agriculture. Sea-faring celebrities like Thor
Heyerdahl and Joan Jacques Cousteau had reported
dying and polluted oceans. And the population explosion had raised fears
that the world would
soon run short of food
and natural resources.
One book that captured world attention
the Stockholm conference was Limits to
Growth Donella and
Coming from a highly
like the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, and using
models, the book had
impressed many with
its depiction of an
hurtling towards collapse - running out of clear air. clean water, minerals
and other natural resources. All these concerns finally
landed on the shores of Stockholm.
As in Rio, Stockholm also witnessed a division between
inclustrialised and developing countries. The latter
emerged as a powerful group of nations in the Stockholm
conference - a fact which got further consolidated
through the Group of 77 in various UN Conferences on
So Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
"The inclustrialised nations," says I K Gujral, who
attended the conference as India's urban housing minister
ter, "were basically worried about air and water pollution, while developing nations hoped for assistance to
wipe out their sordid poverty without needless damage
to ecosystems." The environmental concerns of the North
were viewed by many developing countries as "luxury
In the pre-Stockholm phase, there was a proposal put
forth by some industrialised countries that natural
resources should be placed
The Stockholm under the administration of
world trust to be shared by all the
conference saw humanity. Developing countries
vehemently opposed this idea
developing They argued that the industrialised countries' proposal
countries emerge share the natural resources of
other nations, without offering 1
as a distinct group share the economic power that
they exercised over the international community in return, was inadmissible.
Before Stockholm began a
panel of experts on environmental
and' development had met in
Swiss town of Founex. T
statement, called the Fou
Report, had sharply revealed
divergence of opinion between
industrialised and de e
countries. For the former, development was the cause of environmental problems. For the latter, it would be the vehicle for
correcting social and environmental imbalances.
The Stockholm confer
1"1W finally resulted in an acknowledgement by the international
community of the link between
environment and development
and also of the greater responsibility of industrialised
regarding the contamination of
India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in an unfortunate choice of words, called "poverty the biggest polluter", by which she really meant that the Third worlds
environmental problems are simply a reflection of its
Olaf Palme, the Swedish Prime Minister, the
conference that his government attached "the greatest
importance to the need for development". He found it
"an inescapable fact that each individual in the industries
alised countries draws, on the average, 30 times more
heavily on the limited resources of the earth than his
counterpart in the developing countries."
Stockholm's Plan of Action covered many important
issues such as human settlements, natural resource conservation, land, sea, and air pollution and education.
nvever, there were some notable omissions, to the
uth's annoyance, like population, poverty, desertifica-
in, and real action to protect
opical forests (interestingly,
the insistence of Brazil,
iich had raised the issue of
vereignty over a country's
tural resources). But the conference did give rise-to the UN
NEP), which finally came to
based in Nairobi.
An interesting highlight of
P conference was Palme's refence to the Vietnam War,
without naming it, and his criticism of a nation that was deliberately destroying another
nation's environment. But no
nation picked up the
of environment and
till Indira Gandhi, the only
Prime Minister to attend
conference, also referred to
The success of the
Stockholm conference led to a
a of UN-sponsored megaconferences in the 1970s and early
mos. These conferences followed a predictable pattern
governments repeatedly voted in favour of resolutions
international action, but signally failed to implement
orn. For instance, despite the high-sounding speeches
the 1976 HABITAT Conference, few governments elaborated realistic strategies for confronting the urban settlements crisis.
By the early 1980s, the megaconferences had lost
it momentum. People had become sceptical of their
alts, which rarely justified the expenditure and effort
I went into organising them.
B B Vohra, a retired civil servant who was a member
the India preparatory committee to the Stockholm
lierence, believes that these conferences were soon
hwed to mere junkets for politicians, bureaucrats and
Vs.-Part of the reason for the failure of these conference
." feels Anupam Mishra of the Gandhi Peace
iodation, "is that while new programmes were cobbled to the agendas of UN agencies, most remained
brfunded or had untrained staff."
|face="Arial">Major UN conferences since Stockholm|
|1976||Vancouver||UN Conference of
Human Settlement (HABITAT)
|UN Water Confernce|
|Nairobi||UN Conference of
|UN Conference of
Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries
|Vienna||UN Conference on
Science and Technology for Development
on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development
|1981||Nairobi||UN Conference on
New and Renewable Sources of Energy
But in the meantime, the environmental movement continueded to grow worldwide. The dramatic oil price hikes
973 and 1979 forced industrialised countries to
irtake energy efficiency programmes. With environmental problems growing in developing countries, an
environtal movement began to grow in these countries. The 1973 Chipko Movement nurtured a new
ental awareness in India. When NGOs met in
Nairobi in 1982 to discuss the decade since Stockholm,
they did not display the same faith in development as
their governments did.
"This development has neither given us the gains of
development (reduction of poverty or unemployment)
it given us environment," argued several Third
World speakers present there. "We want an alternative
form of development."
The idea of alternative development was crudely consolidated into the concept of "sustainable development"
by thekWorld Commission on Environment and
Development, also known as the Brundtland
Commission. Even while the Brundtland Commission
was preparing its report, the worl-d,yas shocked by disasters such as the Bhopal gas tragedy, the massive
Sahelian drought, and the Ch6fhobyl nuclear disaster.
In addition, there was growing consensus among scientists on global threats to the ozone layer and to the climate. The 1980s also saw the politicisation of environmental issues. New ecology-oriented parties sprang up in
several countries like France, Australia and Germany.
In 1988, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a UN Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) in 1992, which amounted to a
return to the days of megaconferences.
While many issues in Rio have remained the same as
in Stockholm - for example, the fear of developing
countries that environmental issues could be used in an
interventionist manner - there are many others that are
not. The need to prevent global environmental disasters
like ozone layer depletion and climate change was
never so urgent.
The biggest change pyobably lies in the popularity
that the environmental movement has achieved. More
than a 100 heads of state attended the Rio summit as
against only a handful in Stockholm. But while
Stockholm was marked by the presence of such towering
intellectuals as Margaret-Mead, Gunnar Myrdal, Hannes
Alfven, Barbara Ward and Barry Commoner, Rio was
marked more by the presence of Jane Fonda, CNN's
owner Ted Turner, Glivia Newton John, Roger Moore,
Shirley Maclaine, ang the soccer idol, Pele.
Only time will tell whether this is a sign of a movement having become more pop or more serious.