The United Nations "Habitat" Conference opened in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday (31 May), and among the speakers at the first session were the U.
GV Dais in conference hall and Habitat symbol
SV Waldheim speaking (2 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: WALDHEIM: This conference represents another major step in the efforts of the United Nations to resolve the major global economic and social problems that confront humanity. It is a response from the international community to the tragic circumstances in which hundreds of millions of our fellow citizens of this planet have to live. It is a conference designed to take action to alleviate the burdens of today and to lighten those of future generations. It must demonstrate international determination that intolerable conditions of life are no longer acceptable. Its purpose is to give hope to those now in despair, positive assistance to those in need, and to emphasise again that the dominant aim of the United Nations is to be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations. In preparation for this conference, ladies and gentlemen, the United Nations with the help of other bodies of the organisation, has prepared a global review of human settlement conditions which is a part of your conference documentation. From this important research we learn these sobering facts; one third or more of the entire urban population of the developing world lives in slums and squatter settlements. A large percentage of the people of the less developed countries have no water within a hundred metres of their homes. This condition is a particular burden on millions of women and children. More than one half of all people in developing countries have no electricity in their homes, and after the setting of the sun, lack an adequate source of light. These statistics on the living conditions of more than one billion people dramatically attested to our purpose here today, and to the need for an additional dimension of human solidarity.
Initials CL/1637 CL/1645
This film is serviced with an extract of Dr. Waldheim's speech to the opening session of the Habitat conference. A transcript is provided below.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The United Nations "Habitat" Conference opened in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday (31 May), and among the speakers at the first session were the U.N. Secretary General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, and the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Pierre Trudeau.
Dr. Waldheim said that the statistics on the plight of more than one billion of the world's population presented to the conference, showed the need for an additional dimension of human solidarity. He called for new global strategies based on the interdependence "not only among peoples, but the interdependence of the problems they confront".
The Conference is the largest gathering ever staged by the United Nations, and its aim is to tackle basic human problems, such as housing shortages, starvation and polluted drinking water. However, the 130 countries which are taking part may have to tread warily to avoid becoming embroiled in such controversies as the gap between the rich and the poor nations, opposing government policies on land ownership, and the Palestinian issue.
Prime Minister Trudeau outlined the hopes of the conference at the opening session, and said that no nation could afford to isolate itself in self-contemplation, "clasping to its breast its possessions in denial to others". He said the human race had entered an era of community interest which was vital to the survival of the species.
SYNOPSIS: The first session was addressed by the United Nations Secretary General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim.