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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2133

Senator GREENWOOD -Every honourable senator has a right, by his voice, to refuse leave for a document to be incorporated in Hansard. In this chamber over the years we have developed a practice that rather than refusal being expressed an opportunity be given to the other side to see the document in advance. When a request was made for leave to be granted for the document to be incorporated I merely expressed a wish to have a look at it without refusing leave. This is the practice which has developed. It is perfectly reasonable. But if Senator Keeffe chooses not to let me have a look at it I will quite readily refuse him leave.

Senator KEEFFE - I regret that this state of affairs has developed. Mr President, will you return the document to me please, and I shall read it into the record?

The PRESIDENT - All right. I return the document to you, Senator, and you may now read the document into the record. You have concluded your speech, you will now read the document.

Senator KEEFFE - I do not know what the Hansard procedure will be but I hope that continuity can be preserved.

The PRESIDENT - That will be arranged.

Senator KEEFFE -I say that because I read and commented on the first 3 paragraphs of the proclamation and I indicated that there were another 4 paragraphs which I felt ought to go into the permanent record for posterity. I proceed now to read the document as a whole including the 3 paragraphs I read previously:

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment,

Having met at Stockholm from 5 to 16 June 1972, and

Having considered the need for a common outlook and for common principles to inspire and guide the peoples of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the human environment,


1.   Man is both creature and moulder of his environment which gives him physical sustenance and alfords him the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth. In the long and tortuous evolution of the human race on this planet a stage has been reached when through the rapid acceleration of science and technology, man has acquired the power to transform his environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale. Both aspects of man's environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights- even the right to life itself.

2.   The protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world; it is the urgent desire of the peoples of the whole world and the duty of all governments.

3.   Man has constantly to sum up experience and go on discovering, inventing, creating and advancing. In our time man's capability to transform his surroundings, if used wisely, can bring to all peoples the benefits of development and the opportunity to enhance the quality of life. Wrongly or heedlessly applied, the same power can do incalculable harm to human beings and the human environment. We see around us growing evidence of man-made harm in many regions of the earth: dangerous levels of pollution in water, air, earth and living beings; major and undesirable disturbances to the ecological balance of the biosphere; destruction and depletion of irreplaceable resources; and gross deficiences harmful to the physical, mental and social health of man, in the man-made environment; particularly in the living and working environment.

4.   In the developing countries most of the environmental problems are caused by under-development. Millions continue to live far below the minimum levels required for a decent human existence, deprived of adequate food and clothing, shelter and education, health and sanitation. Therefore, the developing countries must direct their efforts to development, bearing in mind their priorities and the need to safeguard and improve the environment. For the same purpose, the industrialized countries should make efforts to reduce the gap between themselves and the developing countries. In the industrialized countries, environmental problems are generally related to industrialization and technological development.

5.   The natural growth of population continuously presents problems on the preservation of the environment, but with the adoption of appropriate policies and measures these problems can be solved. Of all things in the world, people are the most precious. It is the people that propel social progress, create social wealth, develop science and technology and through their hard work, continuously transform the human environment. Along with social progress and the advance of production, science and technology the capability of man to improve the environment increases with each passing day.

6.   A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference we can do massive and irreversible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well-being depend. Conversely, through fuller knowledge and wiser action, we can achieve for ourselves and our posterity a better life in an environment more in keeping with human needs and hopes. There are broad vistas for the enhancement of environmental quality and the creation of a good life. What is needed is an enthusiastic but calm state of mind and intense but orderly work. For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world of nature, man must use knowledge to build in collaboration with nature a better environment. To defend and improve the human environment for present and future generations has become an imperative goal for mankind- a goal to be pursued together with, and in harmony with, the established and fundamental goals of peace and of world-wide economic and social development.

7.   To achieve this environmental goal will demand the acceptance of responsibility by citizens and communities and by enterprises and institutions at every level, ali sharing equitably in common efforts. Individuals in all walks of life as well as organizations in many fields, by their values and the sum of their actions, will shape the world environment of the future. Local and national governments will bear the greatest burden for large-scale environmental policy and action within their jurisdictions. International co-operation is also needed in order to raise resources to support the developing countries in carrying out their responsibilities in this field. A growing class of environmental problems, because they are regional or global in extent or because they affect the common international realm, will require extensive co-operation among nations and action by international organizations in the common interest. The Conference calls upon the Governments and peoples to exert common efforts for the preservation and improvement of the human environment, for the benefit of all the people and for their posterity.

That completes the proclamations made at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.

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