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Statement About Signing the United Nations Environment Program Participation Act of 1973

December 17, 1973

I AM pleased to have signed into law a bill authorizing a $40 million voluntary contribution by the United States to the United Nations Environment Fund over the next 5 years. As I first proposed such a contribution early last year, and it has since been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, this bill reflects broad agreement on the need for international action to halt the continuing degradation of the global environment.

The indiscriminate depletion of natural resources, the pollution of our environment, and the problems of sustaining me: quality of life in urbanizing societies throughout the world require that we act as a community of nations. The United Nations Environment Fund, established by the United Nations General Assembly,. will be used to coordinate and to fill gaps in existing international activities concerned with improving the world environment. A good beginning has already been made. Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment took place in 1972, the United States has been most active in developing this new environmental program and drafting several international treaties concerning the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of mankind, protection of endangered species of plants and animals, and prevention of the contamination of the oceans from shipping and offshore disposal of wastes.

But we need to do much more. We need additional knowledge about what the serious global problems are and how to cope with them; we need to monitor conditions and trends of pollutants in the oceans, in the atmosphere, and in terrestrial environments; and we need to manage our natural resources more effectively.

These are the kinds of activities that will be supported by the United Nations Environment Fund.

We hold the Earth its environment and its resources--in trust for future generations. We must not violate that trust, nor our obligation to the future, by permitting the increasing degradation of the environment. I call upon all nations to support the U.N. Environment Program and to work cooperatively to conserve and enhance the world environment so that others may enjoy and benefit from it as we have.

Note: As enacted, the bill (H.R. 6768), approved December 15, 1973, is Public Law 93188 (87 Stat. 713).

Richard Nixon, Statement About Signing the United Nations Environment Program Participation Act of 1973 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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