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Election to UNEP Governing Council

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The Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Neal Blewett, today announced that Australia had been elected to the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The election took place on Tuesday at the Forty-Sixth

Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Dr Blewett said UNEP played a unique role in the UN system and in the international community, coordinating environmental programs and promoting environmental awareness throughout the UN system.

"Australia’s election to the Governing Council is a welcome and timely development, consistent with the progressive and constructive role we have sought to play internationally on environmental matters," Dr Blewett said.

Australia has taken an active interest in UNEP since its creation in 1972. Australia was elected to the first UNEP Governing Council in 1973-75 and served subsequently on the Council from 1979-81 and 1983-89.

"This four year term, which will commence in 1992, will span a most exciting and challenging time for environmental matters in the United Nations. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, to be held in Brazil in June 1992,

is expected to mark a new era for UNEP.

"As part of the Governing Council, Australia will strive to redefine and strengthen UNEP's role in order to give full expression to decisions taken at UNCED," Dr Blewett said.

Dr Blewett recalled the Prime Minister's announcement at the recent Harare CHOGM of Mr Hawke's intention to attend UNCED. He noted also the forthcoming visit to Australia by UNCED Secretary-General, Maurice Strong, from 29 October until 2 November. In a press release on 21 October, Senator Evans and Mrs Kelly said the visit signals the importance Australia

attaches to environment and development issues domestically and internationally, and the Government's commitment to the UNCED process.

25 October 1991 CANBERRA