Iran is planning to nominate Dasht e Loot by 6Y0V811


									                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                      Tuesday, 20 June 2006

                         UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

     The Green Line: Seeing green is worthy goal of World Cup soccer campaign (El

     UN offers $200k desert prize (Environmental Data Interactive)
     UN agency launches multi-million dollar transport project to curb greenhouse gases
      (UN News Centre)
     Even the fish are gasping for air in the heat wave (The Times)
      Exhibition Compares Images Of Africa And China (China Daily)
     Defying Nature`s End (Accra Daily Mail)
      Kompetent und geradlinig (
     Asistieron docentes a encuentro ambiental (Diario de Mexico)

                                     Other Environment News

     UN To Save Leatherback Sea Turtles (ENN )

     The challenges facing an urban world (BBC)

     Waste Oil Dumps Threaten Towns in Northern Iraq (NY TIMES)

                         Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

     ROLAC

     ROAP

                                          Other UN News

     UN Daily News of 20 June 2006
     S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 20 June2006

                  Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
    Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692,,
El Universal: The Green Line: Seeing green is worthy goal of World Cup soccer campaign

BY TALLI NAUMAN/ The Herald Mexico
Lunes 19 de junio de 2006
The color green has a double meaning for Mexicans at the World Cup soccer tournament in
Germany this month. Not only is it the ever emblematic hue of the country’s team jersey, but at
this event it is also the FIFA’s badge of commitment to environmental protection.

Thanks to the organization of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and the FIFA, the
world’s largest sporting event will promote energy, waste and water saving measures that will
have local impact while setting examples far and wide.

Mexico’s goalkeeper coach Jorge Campos, who accompanied star goalkeeper Oswaldo Sánchez
on the trip to Europe after the latter’s father died while preparing to attend the championship
games, arrived with head coach Ricardo Antonio La Volpe. And Campos was not there just to
play ball.

His other team, that of Wildcoast’s Defend the Sea campaign, was on the journey, too, carrying
forward the effort to gather petition signatures for marine protected areas, which Campos

Wildcoast’s petition calls for federal and state action to create an effective network of such
areas, based on the model of sustainable fisheries established by a federation of nine lobster
cooperatives on Mexico’s northwest coast of the Baja California Peninsula.

The Regional Federation of Cooperative Societies of the Baja California Fishing Industry
(Fedecoop) was the first community fishery in the developing countries to receive international
certification for sustainable management under the guidelines of the Marine Stewardship
Council. Fedecoop’s representatives have since been invited to share their know-how with
fishing groups up and down the coast.

They learned that they could duplicate their catch by limiting it to certain sizes of shellfish, to
specific areas or zones, and to shorter time-spans, as well as by chipping in on the local
enforcement of authorized fishing boats and crews. With the green label provided by
certification, they have the potential to take advantage of new export markets in a competitive
industry that is otherwise putting Mexican fishermen out of business.


Like Mexico, the other 31 countries in the soccer tourney are kicking in their share to reach
what UNEP and FIFA are calling the “Green Goal.” They want this to be the most
environmentally friendly soccer tournament ever. The German Organizing Committee and the
Oeko Institute are behind it.

A short film featuring the slogan “World Champion for the Environment: We are working on it”
premiered on giant screens at the pre-match warm-up and continues to show before each match.
A “climate neutral scheme” intends to offset the greenhouse gases of all the 100,000 tons of
carbon dioxide generated within Germany by transportation, construction and maintenance of
the soccer stadiums and the presence of 3.2 million spectators.

If you are wondering how this ambitious objective can be reached, the answer is in part a
transportation plan that provides fans who opt for the so-called Kombi ticket to receive free, 24-
hour public transit at the 12 World Cup venues. While that will cost the World Cup 2006
Organizing Committee some 2 million Euros, it is calculated to effectively reduce private
vehicle use, a main cause of global warming.

Also, state-of-the-art energy management systems, such as the one installed in the Munich
Arena, are expected to reduce electricity consumption up to 20 percent.

Waste should be cut by the “cup of the Cup,” a reusable drinking cup for fans, which is the only
one allowed on the grounds, and requires a one-Euro deposit. Some 300 volunteers are trained
to raise awareness about this and other environmental measures.

Stadium roofs, such as the one at Berlin, are being used to harvest rainwater, and water saving
restroom fixtures are in place.

While valid criticisms can be made, these are the kinds of things that can convince even the
least soccer-oriented sports enthusiast to wave a flag and toot a horn. Win or lose, participants
in this aspect of the games have made a contribution to conservation.

Talli Nauman is a founder and co-director of Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness, a
project initiated with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Environmental Data Interactive
UN offers $200k desert prize (19 June 2006)


One lucky winner will walk away with $200k for their desert work

As part of its campaign to highlight the growing threat of desertification, the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) is offering a US$200,000 prize for outstanding contributions
to the protection of the environment.

In keeping with World Environment Day's theme this year, the annual Sasakawa prize will go to
a group or individual involved in the fight against desertification.

Those shortlisted include a nomad's co-operative from Mauritania and an ecological architect
from Colombia.

"None of these environmental leaders is yet an internationally recognised name, though they
may all be destined to become so," said UNEP's deputy director, Shafqat Kakakhel.

"However, we feel that their exemplary work in the field of environmental conservation and
sustainable development related to this year's World Environment Day theme of deserts and
desertification deserves recognition and support."

UN News Centre :UN agency launches multi-million dollar transport project to curb
greenhouse gases

19 June 2006 – Aiming to curb greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100,000 tonnes a year, the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a multi-million dollar public
transport project covering three major Latin American cities that are some of the most polluted
on earth.

The project, which was unveiled at the World Urban Forum III gathering in Canada, will be
centred on Concepcion, Guatemala City and Panama City and will lead to the creation of
modern bus networks, cycle ways and pedestrianization schemes while tackling local air
pollution and damage to forests, agricultural land and other key ecosystems.

“In 2007, for the first time in history, more people will be urban than rural dwellers. By 2050,
some 6 billion people are expected to be city dwellers. The World Urban Forum is thus an
important meeting central to all our interests,” Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director, said.

“The urban environment is inextricably intertwined with the rural one and inextricably linked
with the way local, regional and global natural resources are soundly and sustainably managed.
So it is vital that we get cities right if we are to meet the internationally agreed development
goals, if we are to deal with such pressing global issues as climate change.”

Funding for the project will come from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent
financial organization that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the
global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities, UNEP said.

The three cities will also work with others in the region through the new Network for
Environmentally Sustainable Transport in Latin American Countries (NESTLAC).

The Forum, which runs through Friday, involves thousands of delegates from across the world
and is being organized under the auspices of UN-HABITAT, the agency that aims to achieve
sustainable development of human settlements.

Mr. Steiner highlighted that UN-HABITAT was UNEP’s key partner in the broader Sustainable
Cities Programme working with more than 100 cities worldwide to promote environmental
planning and management under Agenda 21, the comprehensive sustainability plan born at the
1992 Rio Earth Summit.

As part of the Forum, UNEP and its partners are showcasing a study of numerous cities
worldwide and looking at how they are managing waste more efficiently. For example,
Hyderabad in India is turning waste into ‘refuse derived fuel’ which, the city says, emits less
greenhouse gases than traditional biomass like wood or agricultural wastes.

“The rapid rate of urbanization, especially in developing countries, is a fact of life. But some
cities are also demonstrating other facts, namely that improving local air quality and curbing
waste up to countering greenhouse gas emissions can go hand in hand with that urbanization
and with that growth,” Mr. Steiner said.

In a related development, UN-HABITAT announced the appointment of former Mozambique
President Joachim Chissano as its Youth Ambassador to ensure that the concerns of young
people remain high on the international agenda. A Youth Convention met on the eve of the
World Urban Forum, and was capped with the signing of agreements with two organizations
working with young people in Africa.


The Times (London): Even the fish are gasping for air in the heat wave
June 17, 2006, Saturday

THE heat wave has killed thousands of fish, and many more may die if the drought in the South
East continues, the Environment Agency has said.

As the coarse season began yesterday, the agency said that the dead fish had been suffocated by
an explosion of algae brought on by hot weather. It said that the algae were exhausting the
oxygen in ponds, lakes and streams across the country.

More than 5,000 fish died at Cuckoo's Hollow, a lake near Peterborough, and 3,000 at a
commercial coarse fishery in Worcester. A further 1,500 died at Captains Pit in the Wirral and
1,000 at Old Bedford counter-drain in Cambridgeshire.

Conservationists have been fighting to keep fish alive in four locations by pumping air into the

The Environment Agency said that the deaths were an "early indicator" that more waterways
would become deoxygenised over the summer. It has asked anglers to get in contact if they saw
fish in distress.

Dafydd Evans, its head of fisheries, said that drought conditions in the South East could
threaten stocks.

"The combination of hot weather and low water levels can make fish distressed and lead to
death," Dr Evans said. "It's usually OK to fish during a drought, but anglers should pay careful
attention to how the fish are behaving."

Mr Evans explained: "In hot weather, fast-growing freshwater algae increase their activity,
which can exhaust much of the dissolved oxygen in streams, ponds and lakes, depriving fish
species of the oxygen they need to survive."

At Cuckoo's Hollow, where roach, pike and eel were among the fatalities, the oxygen level
dropped to 5 per cent; 100 per cent is normal in daylight, but this drops severely at night.

Rapid changes in weather condition can also kill fish. Pollutants and run-off affect water
quality, while cloudy, cooler weather can kill algal blooms, which releases vast amounts of
carbon dioxide.

Aerating machines were brought in to the Mansbridge Reservoir at Southampton after a
member of the public noticed fish gasping and alerted the Environment Agency.

The freshwater deaths oc- curred as the United Nations said that exploitation of the deep seas
was "rapidly passing the point of no return".

The UN said that 60 per cent of sea life was at risk because of intensive fishing and dumping.
The species that have suffered most include tuna, cod, swordfish and marlin, which have
declined by up to 90 per cent in 100 years. Consumption of sea fish has risen fourfold in 42
years. More than 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of ocean. In the
Central Pacific, there are up to 6lb (2.7kg) of marine litter to 1lb (0.45kg) of plankton.

Achim Steiner, of the UN Environment Programme, said: "Humankind's ability to exploit the
deep oceans and high seas has accelerated over recent years. It is a pace of change that has
outstripped our institutions and conservation efforts.We need to bring the lessons learnt in
coastal water to the wider marine world."

Weather, page 77

LOAD-DATE: June 17, 2006

China Daily: Exhibition Compares Images Of Africa And China
June 16, 2006 Friday

A Chinese photographer's comparative images of the dry landscape and wildlife of western
China and South African grasslands and creatures are on display in Nairobi, capital of Kenya.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is hosting Luo Hong's solo exhibition,
which features 140 photographs. The show will run until June 20.

Luo has spent the past 12 years exploring grasslands and deserts in China and Africa. "I often
waited for wild animals and tracked them for dozens of days continuously in the desert, living
only on instant noodles," he said.

The photographer captured flamingos on Lake Nakuru in Kenya, elephants in Kilimanjaro and
giraffe herds in Namibia.

Cristina Boelcke, director of the division of region co-operation of UNEP in Nairobi, said the
exhibition "will enhance the friendly exchange and mutual understanding in the field of
environment between China and UNEP." The photographer's next project is to snap pictures of
Africa and western China during the rainy seasons.

LOAD-DATE: June 16, 2006

Accra Daily Mail: Defying Nature`s End
| Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2006

An international symposium called “Defying Nature’s End: The African Context,” will
examine how conserving the continent’s unmatched biodiversity can help alleviate poverty,

fight disease and improve the quality of life for people. Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei, head of CI’s
Ghana programme will present a paper.
The symposium from today, June 20-24 in Madagascar’s capital will be attended by
government leaders, international organizations, conservation groups and local communities.
Speakers will include Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana; Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of
the U.N. Millennium Project; and environmental leaders from around the world, particularly
Major themes for the symposium organized by Conservation International include the status and
importance of African biodiversity; assessing and valuing the ecosystem services it provides;
using debt relief to properly manage natural capital and reduce poverty; and how biodiversity
conservation can help Africa reach the Millennium Development Goals set by the United
Nations in 2000 to achieve significant progress in alleviating poverty worldwide by 2015.
In addition, the symposium will present the latest research on links between the environment,
poverty and health, and new strategies on resource management and governance to realize the
greatest benefits from nature.
“No one can argue that nature provides the cheapest and most effective source of clean water,
food, natural resources and other benefits of ecosystem services,” said CI President Russell A.
Mittermeier. “The challenge is how to maximize these benefits in a sustainable way through
biodiversity conservation, so that they exist in perpetuity. That is exactly what the Madagascar
symposium will be tackling.”
The symposium will include five plenary sessions that will be synthesized at the end to produce
the Madagascar Declaration, a virtual blueprint for how African biodiversity can contribute to
sustainable development and alleviate poverty and disease transmission. Topics include:
* “Africa’s Importance for Biodiversity – Opportunities and Constraints,” featuring
presentations by CI President Russell A. Mittermeier and other major environmentalists;
* “How debt reduction and investment should ensure that nature’s capital is well-managed and
poverty is reduced,” featuring presentations by the World Bank, Agence Française pour le
Développement, and IUCN-World Conservation Union;* “Environment, Poverty and Health,”
featuring presentations by Prof. Bob Swanepoel of South Africa’s National Institute for
Communicable Diseases, and Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei, head of CI’s Ghana program;
“Putting Africa’s Biodiversity to Work; Environmental Services Valued and Evaluated,”
featuring presentations by David Obura from Coral Reef Degradation in the Indian Ocean, and
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, former environment minister of Costa Rica; and,
* “Resource Management and Governance,” featuring presentations by Joelisoa Ratsirarson,
Secretary-General of Madagascar’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, and John
Woods, managing director of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority.
President Ravalomanana and Botswana Vice-President Ian Khama will speak at the
symposium’s opening session on June 20, along with CI Chairman and CEO Peter A.
Seligmann. The final session on June 24 will include presentation of the Madagascar
Declaration and speeches by dignitaries including Jeffrey Sachs, advisor to the Director-General
of the United Nations.

Other events being held in conjunction with the symposium include a media training program
for African and Malagasy journalists; a photo training workshop; the launch of the International
Council of Mining and Metals “Good Practice Guidelines for Biodiversity and Mining”; and the
U.N. Environment Program’s “African Environmental Outlook”.

________________________________________________________________________ Kompetent und geradlinig
Das ist eine kleine Sensation: Rainer Baake, langjähriger Staatssekretär im
Bundesumweltministerium, wechselt zur Deutschen Umwelthilfe e. V. (DUH). Wie der
Vorstand gestern bekannt gab, wird Baake die Geschäfte ab Anfang September leiten.
Allerdings nicht allein, sondern in einer Doppelspitze mit dem aktuellen Geschäftsführer Jürgen
Kollegen des bündnisgrünen Politikers nutzen ihre Erfahrungen bislang, um gut dotierte Jobs in
der Wirtschaft anzutreten - notfalls auch beim einstigen Feind. So stellt Rezzo Schlauch, grüner
Ex-Staatssekretär unter Wirtschaftsminister Wolfgang Clement, seine Fähigkeiten heute dem
Atomkonzern EnBW zur Verfügung. Simone Probst, grüne Ex-Staatssekretärin bei
Umweltminister Jürgen Trittin, soll nach Angaben des Kölner Stadtanzeigers Deutschlands
Luftverpester Eon beraten. Gunda Röstel, grüne Ex-Parteichefin und Ex-Spitzenkandidatin in
Sachsen, dient heute Gelsenwasser, einem der weltgrößten Trinkwasserhändler.
Nicht so Baake. Ihn schien ein Job in der Wirtschaft nie interessiert zu haben. Lange wurden
dem Diplomvolkswirt Chancen auf den Chefsessel des UN-Klimasekretariats vorhergesagt.
Wegen der sensiblen Postendiplomatie der Vereinten Nationen sanken diese aber nach der
Berufung des Deutschen Achim Steiner als Töpfer-Nachfolger zum Chef des
Umweltprogramms Unep. Auch über herausragende Positionen in der internationalen
Umweltdiplomatie war spekuliert worden. Baake, ein exzellenter Stratege, hatte sich als der
große Strippenzieher an Trittins Seite einen Namen gemacht.
Nun also wechselt er zur Deutschen Umwelthilfe, die sich dank dieser Personalie weiter
profilieren wird. Die profitierte bereits deutlich von ihrer jüngsten Personalpolitik. Das
"Netzwerk für eine lebenswerte Zukunft" hatte vor zwei Jahren Gerd Rosenkranz zum
"politischen Leiter" des Hauptstadtbüros berufen, der zuvor als Spiegel-Redakteur für
Energiethemen zuständig war. Nach knapp zwei Jahren hat der erfahrene Journalist der
Umwelthilfe zur deutlichen Profilierung verholfen.
Das wird mit Rainer Baake ebenso gelingen: Vom Atomausstieg über die Klimapolitik, vom
Bundesnaturschutzgesetz bis hin zur Abfallpolitik - der Vater zweier Töchter war auf vielen
"umweltpolitischen Großbaustellen" der verantwortliche Bauherr. Er kennt nicht nur die
Materie, sondern auch die allermeisten Akteure auf dem Umweltparkett. Baake, der im August
51 Jahre alt wird, folgt dem bisherigen DUH-Bundesgeschäftsführer Jörg Dürr-Pucher, der nach
elf Umwelthilfejahren eine Firma im Bereich der erneuerbaren Energien gründen will. NICK

Diario de Mexico:Asistieron docentes a encuentro ambiental

Ixtapan de la Sal, Méx.- La educación ambiental y la participación de todos los sectores de la
sociedad deberá ser un tema de interés común y voluntades políticas de los gobiernos, mencionó
Gustavo Reséndiz Serrano, encargado del despacho de la Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, en el
marco de las Actividades Demostrativas sobre Ciudadanía Ambiental Global, Encuentro
En el último día del taller sobre Ciudadanía Ambiental Global, convocado por la Secretaría del
Medio Ambiente, a través de la Dirección de Concertación y Participación Ciudadana y por el
Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA), asistieron más de cien
docentes de las 12 regiones del Estado de México de la Secretaría de Educación (SEP); de los
Servicios Educativos Integrados al Estado de México (SEIEM) y de los planteles Conalep de la
Durante la jornada de actividades demostrativas, Francisco Argüello Zepeda, investigador de la
Facultad de Ciencias de la Conducta de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
(UAEM), presentó la conferencia Psicología Ambiental, en la cual destacó que el tema de
educación ambiental, así como la conducta ecológica responsable, deberá considerar factores
sociodemográficos, cognitivos, de intervención ambiental y fundamentalmente de participación,
a fin de lograr esfuerzos y proyectos en común.
La Dirección de Concertación y Participación Ciudadana manifestó que la Carta de la Tierra y
el Decenio de la Educación para el Desarrollo Sustentable son documentos que ayudarán en la
agenda estatal de trabajo en materia ambiental, los cuales permitirán crear programas
transversales e interinstitucionales para construir una estructura estudiantil sólida, a fin de hacer
un frente común que ayude en la construcción de una sociedad más participativa y responsable.


                                    Other Environment News

Environmental News Network: UN To Save Leatherback Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Restoration Project Presents Plan Of Action
June 19, 2006 — By the Sea Turtle Restoratin Project
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Sea Turtle Restoration Project presented a plan of action yesterday
to the United Nations regarding the protection and restoration of the leatherback sea turtle
against longline fishing. Over 1,000 scientists from nearly 100 countries and over 280 NGOs
joined in a call for a moratorium on high seas industrial longline fishing to prevent that

The Pacific leatherback survived millions of years of global change and outlived the dinosaurs.
The leatherback sea turtle is the largest living reptile species with the widest migratory range of
any species on our planet. Once the most abundant sea turtle, now it may have as few as five
years remaining in the Pacific. To lose this population would be a major failure of international
ocean conservation efforts. In addition to the Pacific leatherback population, longline fishing
injures or kills approximately 4.4 million sharks, seabirds, billfish, and marine mammals in the
Pacific each year.

“We no longer have time to experiment with the few remaining leatherbacks; technological
fixes have not proven effective and strong action to stop the impact of longline fishing on the
high seas has not been effectively implemented,” said Eli Saddler, a policy analyst for the Sea
Turtle Restoration Project. “We do not have the luxury of time to continue to permit
unregulated high seas longline fishing when not only sea turtles, but also other threatened and
endangered species, as well as commercially important species, are being devastated by
destructive fishing practices.”

The STRP’s plan of action to stop the current plight includes but is not limited to:
•       action by UN delegates to include language that will require the immediate cessation of
longline fishing in areas known to be migratory paths of the leatherback in the Pacific to their
•       measures to be taken to find solutions to the problem that includes a wide range of tools
available through a comprehensive ecosystem-based management plan that addresses high seas
longline fishing,
•       use of permanent and temporal closures of critical areas of the high seas from longline
fishing and,
•       creation of high seas marine protected areas that will provide a haven for sea turtles and
other species that are threatened by destructive fishing practices.
Developing countries that rely on sea turtles and other species for ecotourism, as well as the
domestic commercial and sport fisheries affected by high seas longline fishing have a real
economic incentive to require action to address high seas longline fishing practices and to
demand action to protect ocean resources. About The Sea Turtle Restoration Project - The Sea
Turtle Restoration Project fights to protect endangered sea turtles in ways that make cultural and
economic sense to the communities that share the beaches and waters with these gentle
creatures. With offices in California, Costa Rica, and Papua New Guinea, STRP has been
leading the international fight to protect sea turtle populations worldwide. The Sea Turtle
Restoration Project, founded in 1989, is a project of Turtle Island Restoration Network, a
nonprofit environmental organization incorporated in California. In order to achieve our goals,

STRP uses a strategic combination of grassroots education and organizing, legal pressure,
hands-on conservation, innovative use of the media, research, and policy advocacy.

Contact Info:

BBC: The challenges facing an urban world
By Mark Kinver

The world is fast approaching the point where the majority of the human population will be
found in urban areas.

Somewhere, sometime in 2007, someone migrating from their rural home to begin a new life in
a town or city will tip the global rural/urban balance, the UN estimates.

Throughout history, the world has experienced urbanisation but the huge rise in the number of
people making their homes in towns and cities is a recent phenomenon.

In 1950, less than one-in-three people lived in urban areas. The world had just two so-called
"megacities" with populations in excess of 10 million: New York and Tokyo. Today, there are
at least 20.

Greater Tokyo, the world's biggest city, has expanded from 13 million residents in 1950, to
today's figure of 35 million.


The United Nations estimates that about 180,000 people are being added to the urban
population every day. This means the world's urban infrastructure has to absorb the equivalent
of the population of two Toykos each year.

North America and Europe's urban areas already account for about 70-80% of the regions'
populations, and these are expected to stabilise at these levels.

Developing nations are shouldering the vast majority of this burden, leaving them struggling to
cope with the huge influx of people into urban areas. Some cities' populations are 40 times
larger than what they were in 1950.

Cities in the developing world are growing too fast for their governments to keep up
MaxRandor, London, UK

In the traditional model of urbanisation, which North America and Europe experienced during
the Victorian era, people were pushed away from the countryside by the mechanisation of
agriculture, and pulled towards urban areas by the offer of jobs and wages.

'Premature urbanisation'

Sub-Saharan Africa, which has the world's highest rate of urban migration, is not following this

The size of its cities bears no resemblance to their economic wealth and are experiencing what
the UN's human settlements agency, UN-Habitat, calls "premature urbanisation".

The agricultural sector is not flourishing and urban areas are not generating economic growth
but failing crops, natural disasters and conflicts are forcing people to flood into towns and cities.

Currently, about 36% of Africa's population lives in urban areas but the continent is
experiencing urbanisation rates twice as high as those seen during the West's industrial
revolution. It is predicted that Africa will be an urban continent by 2030.

Because the urban areas are economically stagnant or in recession, local authorities do not have
the money or expertise to provide services such as access to water, housing, education and

As a result, 70% of Africa's urban population find themselves living in slums.

Africa is not alone. An estimated one billion people in Latin America, Asia, as well as Africa,
live in slums or informal settlements that are not legally recognized.

Without any intervention, this number could double by 2020.

In Asia, China's urbanisation has followed the traditional drivers experienced by the West. Its
industrial revolution is the most rapid the world has seen, and the Chinese government says it
has helped lift more than 200 million people out of poverty.

Millions of people migrated from rural to urban areas to fill the jobs generated by the economic

Not everyone sees it that way. Anti-poverty campaigners say many workers receive low wages
and live in poor conditions. An estimated 200,000 people each year move to slums on the
southern outskirts of the capital, Beijing.

Seeking solutions

Although China's large-scale poverty reduction strategy could act as a framework for others to
adopt, not all regions have the export markets and trade links that South East Asia enjoys.

UN-Habitat says the "urbanisation of poverty" has been overlooked. Traditionally, Western aid
agencies have focused their efforts on the impact of floods, droughts and conflicts affecting
rural dwellers.

In an effort to focus attention on the problem, the UN Millennium Declaration set the target of
significantly improving the quality of life for 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

The UK government's Commission for Africa said that the international community had to work
together to tackle the urban poverty gripping the continent.

The commission's concluding report warned: "These slums are filled with an increasingly
youthful population, unemployed and disaffected. Africa's cities are becoming a powder keg of
potential instability and discontent."

More than 10,000 delegates are expected to attend the third World Urban Forum, being held
later this month in Vancouver, Canada.

The two-yearly meeting, organised by UN-Habitat, is viewed as a chance to share experiences
and knowledge, and aims to forge partnerships that will help deliver the goal of balancing
urbanisation with a city's ability to absorb new inhabitants.

The delegates are aware of the growing sense of urgency of the challenge ahead because the
next time they gather, they are likely to meet in an urban world.


NY TIMES: Waste Oil Dumps Threaten Towns in Northern Iraq


BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 18 — An environmental disaster is brewing in the heartland of Iraq's
northern Sunni-led insurgency, where Iraqi officials say that in a desperate move to dispose of
millions of barrels of an oil refinery byproduct called "black oil," the government pumped it
into open mountain valleys and leaky reservoirs next to the Tigris River and set it on fire.

The resulting huge black bogs are threatening the river and the precious groundwater in the
region, which is dotted with villages and crisscrossed by itinerant sheep herders, but also
contains Iraq's great northern refinery complex at Baiji.

The fires are no longer burning, but the suffocating plumes of smoke they created carried as far
as 40 miles downwind to Tikrit, the provincial capital that formed Saddam Hussein's base of

An Iraqi environmental engineer who has visited the dumping area described it as a kind of
black swampland of oil-saturated terrain and large standing pools of oil stretching across several
mountain valleys. The clouds of smoke, said the engineer, Ayad Younis, "were so heavy that
they obstructed breathing and visibility in the area and represent a serious environmental

The area contains perhaps 30 villages on both sides of the Tigris River as well as a few
shepherds with no fixed addresses, said Ahmed Mahmoud, an engineer who runs the assessment
and monitoring department of the environmental office in Tikrit. Averaging a few hundred mud
houses and perhaps 2,500 residents each, the villages have names like Zuwiya, Mesahag and
Upper, Middle and Lower Halej.

Most of them depend on water from wells or the river, and about a dozen sit immediately
between the river and the oozing bogs, which in places are no farther than 800 yards from the
river's edge, Mr. Mahmoud said. He added that at least some of the black oil was already
seeping into the river.

Exactly how far those pollutants will travel is unknown, but the Tigris passes through dozens of
population centers from Baghdad to Basra. In the past, oil slicks created when insurgents struck
oil pipelines in the Baiji area have traveled the entire length of the river.

As much as 40 percent of the petroleum processed at Iraq's damaged and outdated refineries
pours forth as black oil, the heavy, viscous substance that used to be extensively exported to
more efficient foreign operations for further refining. But the insurgency has stalled
government-controlled exports by taking control of roadways and repeatedly hitting pipelines in
the area, Iraqi and American officials have said.

So the backed-up black oil — known to the rest of the world as the lower grades of fuel oil —
was sent along a short pipeline from Baiji and dumped in a mountainous area called Makhul.

A series of complaints handed up the Iraqi government chain were conveyed to oil industry
officials, and as of last weekend the fires had at least temporarily stopped, but black oil was still
being poured into the open valleys, according to Mr. Younis, who works in the province's
Department of Environment and Health Safety.

The elected governor of the province that contains Baiji and Makhul said in an interview that he
was outraged by what was happening there. "I call upon the United Nations and the United
States administration to make haste in saving the people of Baiji and Tikrit from an
environmental catastrophe," said the governor, Hamad Hmoud al-Qaisi.

But with few options for disposing of Baiji's current production of black oil and so much at
stake for the Iraqi economy, it is unclear whether the government will even be able to hold the
line on the burning at Makhul. A United States official in Baghdad, speaking anonymously
according to official procedure, said earlier this month that Baiji was still turning out about
90,000 barrels a day of refined products, which would yield about 36,000 barrels a day of black

Iraq's refineries will grind to a halt if the black oil does not go somewhere. "Unless we find a
way of dealing with the fuel oil, our factories will not work," said Shamkhi H. Faraj, director of
economics and marketing at the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

The dumping and burning has embarrassed ministry officials and exposed major gaps in the
American-designed reconstruction program, even as President Bush appeals to the international
community for much more rebuilding money in the wake of his visit to Baghdad.

Mussab H. al-Dujayli, a technical expert at the State Oil Marketing Organization, said the large-
scale dumping defied sound engineering practice. "The consequences of it are dreadful," he
said. "God forbid."

Still, the complaints that halted the burning, however temporarily, represent something virtually
unheard of in a country that has long had few if any checks on pollution by government
industries: a backlash by local political and environmental officials.

Last month, motivated by citizen complaints and whistle-blowing employees at Baiji, Mr. Qaisi,
the governor, formed a technical committee that investigated and wrote a report warning of
severe environmental consequences if the practice was not stopped.

"The wastes there are untreatable because the terrain is rocky and contains many caves that
allow these wastes to slip through and eventually reach the groundwater where nearby towns
depend on wells," Mr. Qaisi said.

The concerns quickly reached Narmin Othman Hasan, the minister of the environment, who
said in an interview that she complained to oil officials. After that, the fires went out.

Adel al-Qazzaz, the manager of the state-owned North Oil Company, which has immediate
responsibility for operations in the north, repeatedly declined to respond to questions on the
black oil after he was reached by phone and e-mail in Kirkuk, where his offices are.

The United States official who discussed Baiji's level of oil production said that the black oil
could be taken out by truck, and that one of the state-owned marketing companies had
undertaken to do so.

But Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, who served two stints as oil minister from September 2003 to
January 2006, said that plan probably had not been fully worked through. The roads in the
Sunni badlands of the north are dangerous and sometimes impassable. And about 150 large
tankers would have to leave Baiji fully loaded every day to remove the current production of
black oil. Simply finding that number of working vehicles and loading them quickly enough
would be challenging under the best of circumstances, Mr. Uloum said.

Aside from the dangers of the road, Iraqi officials have been saying for months that trucking
companies are often controlled by local gangs, smugglers and insurgents.

Mr. Uloum said he had never allowed the black oil to be thrown on the open ground or burned
during his tenures. "This is pollution, environmental problem," he said. "We should care about
it, especially when you talk about the water, the river."

The lower grades of fuel oil are a byproduct of refineries the world over. But modern refineries
can get far more gasoline, kerosene and other high grades of fuel out of crude than Iraq's
decrepit installations, despite faltering American efforts to rebuild them.

Before the 1991 Persian Gulf war and the trade embargo that began the year before, Iraq had
little trouble selling black oil abroad, either shipping it overland or mixing it with crude oil that
was exported through pipelines.

The embargo made that impossible, and in 1992, Iraqi engineers began drilling deep holes into
Makhul, said Adnan Sammaraie, an Iraqi engineer who was then an Oil Ministry official and
worked on the plans for the project.

The idea was to pump black oil and other refinery byproducts inside the mountains, where
countless miles of cracks, caves and fissures could in theory contain almost limitless volumes,
Mr. Sammaraie said. But the system was improperly monitored and it malfunctioned almost
immediately, coughing up black oil and other polluted wastes and pouring them over the
mountain range.

Engineers shut Makhul down, not for environmental reasons per se, but rather out of fear that
the seeping oil would reach the Tigris and flow downstream toward the town of Auja, Mr.
Hussein's hometown, which sits on the riverbanks near Tikrit. "Everyone was scared to death,"
Mr. Sammaraie said.

Ultimately, the engineers began reinjecting the black oil into wells in the oil fields around
Kirkuk, 60 miles northeast of Baiji. That practice, too, has been criticized by international oil
experts, who call it wasteful and often damaging to the wells. "These are solutions that we were
forced to do," said Thamir Ghadban, another former oil minister.

The country was much less compelled to use those solutions after the American-led invasion in
2003, when the trade embargo ended. The refineries are still not back to their full capacity, but
the insurgency has made it difficult to export even the lessened levels of black oil again, and the
pipeline carrying it to the Kirkuk oil fields was struck at least once by saboteurs, Mr. Uloum

So, gingerly at first, the government began sending black oil to Makhul again, intending to use
the belly of the mountain range as a storage depot, just as envisioned in the original design. In
2004, about three million barrels of black oil, an average of 8,000 barrels a day, went to
Makhul, Mr. Uloum said, adding that the rate remained steady through at least the first few
months of 2005.

"I didn't have any problems with the idea itself," Mr. Uloum said.

But he said that as the area became increasingly dangerous, it was unlikely that the proper
monitoring was taking place.

And by the spring of this year, several Iraqi officials said, they were receiving reports that
Makhul had malfunctioned again and that refinery workers were spewing prodigious amounts of
black oil into the mountain valleys and lighting it on fire.

"I'm sorry for the status of our oil industry," said Sabah Jumah, a former Oil Ministry official.
"It was the best in the Middle East."

An Iraqi employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Kirkuk for this article.

                                  ROLAC MEDIA UPDATES
                                       19 June 2006

      Vote Buying at International Whaling Meet?
      GLOBAL: Marine Bio-Riches in Danger
      BRAZIL: A Bid to Put Brakes on Transgenic Cotton
      ARGENTINA: Responsible Fishing Code Not Applied
      FEATURE - Proposed Dams to be Chile's Next Environment Battle

Vote Buying at International Whaling Meet?
Diego Cevallos

Japan allegedly tried to bribe Central American countries ahead of the International
Whaling Commission meeting to support an end to the moratorium on commercial whale
hunting. Honduras and Guatemala deny there was any such pressure.
MEXICO CITY - Around a thousand whales are killed each year with harpoons that explode as
soon as they penetrate the skin, electrical charges of thousands of volts, or gunshots to the head.
Japan is the leader in these practices and, in its zeal to maintain and expand the whale hunt, has
allegedly bribed governments of small Latin American countries, according to charges by
environmental activists and scientists.

The Japanese government has proposed lifting the moratorium on commercial whale hunting, in
place since the mid-1980s, during the meeting of the International Whaling Commission, Jun.
16-20 on the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The IWC delegates voted Sunday in favor of a motion that could open the way for a return to
commercial whaling. Brazil and New Zealand criticized the vote outcome. Japan now has to
convince 75 percent of the Commission's 65 member countries to vote against the moratorium
at a future meeting.

In exchange for the votes of several countries -- many with no whaling tradition whatsoever --
in favor of its position in the IWC, Japan has offered financial support and consultation services
for fishing industries, denounce some activists and experts.

"This is known by everyone, and Japan doesn't even try to hide it," Jorge Urban told
Tierramérica. He is a whale expert at the Autonomous University of Southern Baja California,
in western Mexico, and has attended all of the annual IWC's scientific committee meetings
since 1986.

It was expected that the larger countries of the Latin American region, like Argentina, Chile,
Brazil and Mexico, would oppose lifting the moratorium. But on the eve of the IWC meeting
there was an alert that smaller nations like El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua

might support Japan's proposal to once again allow commercial whaling.

"Half of the countries that are members of the Commission want to end the ban and the others
want to maintain it," said Urban.

The international environmental organization Greenpeace accused government of President
Manuel Zelaya in Hondruas of succumbing to Tokyo's pressures.

The Honduran foreign minister, Milton Jiménez, expressed his indignation. "That is speculation
and an intolerable insult. Any determination about this matter should be made by the president
in consultation with his ministers, and that is not on the agenda. Honduras does not sell nor does
it negotiate its votes," Jiménez told Tierramérica.

Greenpeace "should identify its source in order to prove (that the country was bribed) and we
will make a formal protest if this speculation continues," he said.

To the pleasant surprise of the environmentalists, at the last minute El Salvador and Guatemala
reported that they were not able to join as new members of the IWC and would therefore not be
attending the meeting.

"Guatemala will not be in St. Kitts and Nevis, not as a IWC member and not as an observer,"
that country's foreign minister, Jorge Briz, told Tierramérica last week.

Nicaragua and Honduras, which are already IWC members, maintained an uncertain position.
Although the Honduran government expressed offense at Greenpeace's charges that it had
accepted bribes, it did not clearly state what its vote would be.

The decision to restrict whale hunting in the 1980s was made based on evidence that several
species were in danger of extinction as a result of over-hunting.

There are more than 20 species of whales worldwide, and scientists say some cetacean species
are highly intelligent, with complex social systems and communication abilities.

Japan, Iceland and Norway argue that the populations of some kinds of whales have already
reestablished themselves to a sufficient degree and that whale hunts could be reinstated without
harm to the species. Those countries say, for example, that minke whales, the smallest of the
baleen family, number more than 500,000.

The approximately 1,000 whales that are hunted annually are part of quotas established by the
IWC for scientific studies and allow indigenous populations, like the Inuit in the Arctic, to
maintain their ancient fishing and food traditions.

The Norwegian government is the only one to unilaterally break the ban agreed by the IWC. In
1993 it renewed fishing for minke whales, which measure some 10 meters long.

The Norwegian authorities say the moratorium adopted in 1986 should have been reassessed in
1990, but that did not happen because the majority of the Commission's members were opposed,
even though they considered that there was clear evidence of the recovery of some whale
species, like the minke.

Japan, meanwhile, maintains whale hunts ostensibly for scientific studies. But the meat from the
vast majority of the whales its fleet hunts ends up on plates in restaurants in that country or
exported as an exotic product.

"Japan and Norway say they have the right to hunt whales, and they argue that they make use of
the resource while maintaining it. That same right is one we have to state that the resource can
be used sustainably without the need to kill them," said Lorenzo Rojas, Mexico's representative
before the IWC.

Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico oppose a renewal of commercial whale hunting. Most
Latin American countries have no whale hunting tradition, but several have developed a
successful tourism industry based on whale-watching excursions.

Whale-watching generates revenues of more than a billion dollars a year around the world,
contributing to an improved quality of life in coastal communities.

"The killing of whales cannot coexist with observation, and it has been proved that whale-
watching is much more profitable than whale hunting," said Roxana Scheteinbarg, coordinator
of the Argentine non-governmental Whale Conservation Institute.

"Whether or not there is a large population, there is no longer any need to hunt whales," she said
in a Tierramérica interview.

According to Mexican expert Urban, the studies conducted by Norway and Japan that say
minke whales can be hunted again without threatening the species are inconclusive.

The risk of extinction weighs on all of the big whale species of the Asian Pacific, like gray
whales, of which only about 120 can be found in that region, said the scientist.

At sea, whales are killed by shooting them with a so-called grenade harpoon, which explodes
upon contact with the animal. Poles that transmit high electrical charges are also used.

If none of the usual methods kill the giant mammal, the hunters use firearms: the order is to
shoot directly at the whale's head.

GLOBAL: Marine Bio-Riches in Danger
MEXICO CITY - Fishing worldwide is growing so quickly that it has surpassed the regulating
capacity of institutions, making it urgent to adopt new conservation measures, says a report
from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Presented Jun. 16 in New York, "Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas"
states that more than 60 percent of the marine world and its diversity, located outside national
jurisdictions, are being subjected to ever-increasing pressures.

"Commercial activities at sea are rapidly expanding and are reaching increasingly considerable
depths, where there are resources that have been little studied and are potentially vulnerable,"
says Kristina M. Gjerde, an adviser with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the non-
governmental organization that co-authored the UNEP study.

The report recommends defining preventive systems for protected marine areas and conducting
urgent evaluations of the impacts of human activities.

BRAZIL: A Bid to Put Brakes on Transgenic Cotton
RIO DE JANEIRO - The Brazilian Ministry of Environment is trying to prevent the legalization
of planting Bollgard genetically modified cotton, and has asked the National Technical
Commission on Biosafety to revise the authorization for its commercial cultivation, issued a
year ago.

The ministry argues that sufficient studies were not conducted about the impacts in the Brazilian
context, where autochthonous species could be contaminated by genetic material from the
transgenic crop.

The Commission restarted meetings this week, but even though the debate on this issue will
intensify, it is unlikely the body will accept the request, Gabriel Fernandes, coordinator of the
Campaign for a Transgenic-Free Brazil, told Tierramérica.

The cotton variety Bollgard, developed by the U.S.-based agribusiness giant Monsanto, was
released under restrictions in areas where native cotton is grown. But the rules are not very
effective in a country where genetically modified crops have been planted illegally, with seeds
for soybeans, maize and cotton smuggled into the country.
ARGENTINA: Responsible Fishing Code Not Applied
BUENOS AIRES - The Argentine environmental group Fundación Vida Silvestre warns that
there is a gap between the local fishing reality and the Code of Conduct for Responsible
Fishing, of the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency.

"For example, they set maximum captures without considering the tradition of under-declaring,
and without discounting the takes of other countries," Guillermo Cañete, coordinator of the
foundation, told Tierramérica.

A study by the Fundación Vida Silvestre shows that the precautionary focus recommended by
FAO, in the 1995 code, and on a voluntary basis, "is not well incorporated" into local

The environmentalist said the study conducted in Argentina's five coastal provinces will
continue with workshops in the districts involved, in order to adjust the regulations.
FEATURE - Proposed Dams to be Chile's Next Environment Battle

 RIO BAKER, Chile - On the banks of the Rio Baker, Cecilio Olivares
 worries his days of guiding tourists on horseback through the
 magnificent Patagonian scenery could be over if power companies build a
 series of dams on the striking, turquoise-coloured river

 Olivares has lived his 59 years on the Baker, which flows through
 Chile's wild and remote Aysen region. The Baker's swift waters -- it
 has the strongest flow rate of any Chilean river -- have attracted the
 nation's largest power generators.

Endesa Chile, a unit of of Endesa Spain, and Colbun are proposing a
joint, US$4 billion project to build four dams on the Baker and Pascua
rivers in the rugged region some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south of the
capital Santiago, to produce 2,400 megawatts of power.

"I hope it doesn't hurt us much," an unshaven Olivares, wearing
sheepskin trousers, a poncho and a thick wool hat, told Reuters in a
resigned tone.

Tourism in Aysen -- which attracts hikers and wilderness adventurers --
has grown in the past decade and tourism activity rose 11 percent in
the first three months of this year, compared with the same period last

Olivares earns his living farming, raising sheep and guiding tourists
-- mostly Europeans -- on hiking, fishing and horse-back riding
vacations in Chile's south, home to fox, endangered huemul deer and
beech tree forests.

Environmental groups are already lining up against the power project,
and the dams look to become the next major environmental battle in one
of Latin America's healthiest and most modern countries.

In recent years Chileans have debated the toll booming development is
taking on their wilderness areas. Public opposition has been fierce
over big power projects, new mines and wood-pulp plants that produce


The Endesa-Colbun project is one of a flood of new power generation
investments being proposed to satisfy leaping power demand as Chile can
no longer count on cheap natural gas imports from neighbouring
Argentina, struggling to meet its own needs.

President Michelle Bachelet says Chile must balance the need for more
electricity with preservation of wildlife areas and has pledged a
national zoning project to define river basins to protect and rivers to

"They want to flood thousands of acres to dam the waters of the Baker
and Pascua rivers, which will affect not only local residents, but also
the environment and tourism, and we won't allow that," said Carlos
Garrido of the organization Defenders of the Spirit of Patagonia.

Environmental impact studies will not be complete until next year and

the first dam would not begin construction until 2008, but Endesa is
already working to win over locals and environmentalists.

The company has consulted with local politicians and set up information
centres in the cities of Coyhaique and Cochrane, close to where the
plants will be built.

Endesa executives have also met with Chile's best-known
environmentalist, American former clothing magnate Douglas Tompkins, a
fierce defender of Patagonia's wild areas.

Tompkins bought more than 714,000 acres (289,00 hectares) of forest in
southern Chile and turned it into a park that is now run by a
foundation. His wife Kristine's Patagonia Land Trust has purchased a
173,000-acre (70,000-hectare) cattle ranch south of Rio Baker and is
planning a park there.

An Endesa executive told local media the meeting with Tompkins, who has
been publicly critical of damming rivers in the South, was to give him
information the company has given others about the project.

"There are still a lot of questions. We're doing the research right
now. We have to take into account that this is a long-term project,"
said a company spokesperson regarding environmental impact studies.


One main concern of locals who live off tourism is losing their land if
Endesa Chile sticks to its plan to build two dams on the river, Baker I
and Baker II

"People are accustomed to living peacefully. Imagine all the people who
will come for the construction. It's not fair that they come here and
want to change everything," said Patricio Krebs, who left a stressful
life in Santiago to manage tourist cabins a few yards from Rio Baker.

A few weeks ago Endesa said it would try to limit flooded areas as much
as possible to minimise social and environmental impact. It estimates
it would flood some 9 square miles (23 square km) for the Baker I plant

"Let them do their project but without damming the river; let them look
for other technologies. The problem is the dams, they're going to kill
tourism in the region," said Alejandro del Pino of the business
organisation Corporacion Costa Carrera.

A few years ago, Endesa faced opposition on the construction of its
Ralco dam, which flooded ancient Indian burial grounds in southern
Chile. Ralco is up and running, but only after Endesa paid huge sums to

 communities that were dislocated.

 Last year, No. 1 industrial conglomerate Copec was forced to
 temporarily shut down a huge new wood pulp plant in southern Chile and
 to take stricter measures to clean up its waste water after the deaths
 of black-necked swans in a wetland nature sanctuary.

 Canada's Barrick Gold is facing opposition from environmental and local
 groups to its giant open pit gold project Pascua Lama, located high in
 the Andes mountains on Chile's border with Argentina.

 Story by Monica Vargas

 Story Date: 19/6/2006


                             UNEP BRAZIL MEDIA UPDATES
                                     20 June 2006

Ministry of Environment: ONU reconhece avanços no plano brasileiro de combate à
Gerusa Barbosa
O secretário-executivo do Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Claudio Langone, afirmou que, nos
últimos três anos e meio, o Brasil avançou de forma expressiva para combater o processo de
desertificação, passando o tema, inclusive, a integrar a política de governo. "Somente uma
política de desenvolvimento mais integrado pode reverter a situação das populações brasileiras
que vivem em áreas de risco", disse. O secretário participou nesta sexta-feira (16), em Brasília,
da solenidade comemorativa ao Dia Mundial de Combate à Desertificação (17 de junho). Na
ocasião foram lançados produtos filatélicos produzidos pelos Correios (selos, carimbos e cartão
postal personalizados) relativos à data e uma cartilha explicativa sobre o Programa de Ação
Nacional de Combate à Desertificação e Mitigação dos Efeitos da Seca (PAN-Brasil).

Estado de São Paulo: Agricultor salva nascentes de rios
O entorno da nascente é limpo, colocam-se pedras, instalam-se canos e a cabeceira é vedada
José Antonio Pedriali
Londrina - O agricultor Pedro Diesel, de Matelândia, no Paraná, não tem poderes divinos, mas
ressuscita nascentes - 1,2 mil nos últimos oito anos, calcula. “Se as nascentes forem
recuperadas, as águas dos rios aumentarão, porque elas é que dão vida e saúde aos rios”,
Diesel se dedica integralmente à recuperação de nascentes assoreadas, pisoteadas pelo gado ou
simplesmente abandonadas. Seu sítio de pouco mais de 20 hectares, na comunidade de
Cruzeirinho, teve de ser arrendado para permitir a Diesel dedicação em tempo integral à
recuperação das nascentes. “O que me realiza neste trabalho é a saúde das famílias atendidas, a

saúde dos animais que servem de sustento a essas famílias, o que faz com que elas tenham
maior rendimento financeiro, e os benefícios à natureza.”

Folha de São Paulo: Asfalto cortará área mais biodiversa da Amazônia
Uma região da Amazônia quase totalmente inexplorada e que provavelmente abriga a maior
biodiversidade da região será cortada por uma rodovia asfaltada, com obras começando até o
final deste ano.
A BR-319, que liga Porto Velho a Manaus , na verdade, já existe, mas é uma estrada fantasma.
Concluída no final dos anos 1970, a via nunca recebeu manutenção, e hoje a maioria de sua
extensão é intrafegável, com alguns trechos totalmente cobertos pela mata.
Preocupados com a possibilidade de deterioração ambiental no futuro próximo --algo comum
sempre que se abre uma estrada na Amazônia-- biólogos planejam quatro expedições ao local
até o fim do ano.

Agência Ambiente Brasil: Brasil já tem Centro de Pesquisas sobre Reflorestamento Comercial
com Nativas

Brasil já tem Centro de Pesquisas sobre Reflorestamento Comercial com Nativas
A criação de um Centro de Pesquisas exclusivamente dedicado a espécies nativas foi um dos
resultados do "1° Workshop sobre reflorestamento comercial com espécies nativas" realizado
dias 25 e 26 de maio na Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas da UNESP em Botucatu-SP.
Organizado para promover o intercâmbio de experiências entre pesquisadores e empreendedores
do Brasil e do exterior sobre espécies arbóreas com potencial de utilização comercial, o evento
reuniu especialistas da UNESP, do Ministério do Meio Ambiente, da Esalq/USP, da Tropical
Flora Reflorestadora, do Horto Florestal de Bauru e da FUNDECOR, da Costa Rica.


                                 ROAP MEDIA UPDATES
                                        20 JUNE 2006
                                  UN or UNEP in the News

UN agency launches multi-million dollar transport project to curb greenhouse gases
UN News Centre - 19 June 2006 – Aiming to curb greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100,000
tonnes a year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a multi-
million dollar public transport project covering three major Latin American cities that are some
of the most polluted on earth.
The project, which was unveiled at the World Urban Forum III gathering in Canada, will be
centred on Concepcion, Guatemala City and Panama City and will lead to the creation of
modern bus networks, cycle ways and pedestrianization schemes while tackling local air
pollution and damage to forests, agricultural land and other key ecosystems.

“In 2007, for the first time in history, more people will be urban than rural dwellers. By 2050,
some 6 billion people are expected to be city dwellers. The World Urban Forum is thus an
important meeting central to all our interests,” Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director, said.
“The urban environment is inextricably intertwined with the rural one and inextricably linked
with the way local, regional and global natural resources are soundly and sustainably managed.
So it is vital that we get cities right if we are to meet the internationally agreed development
goals, if we are to deal with such pressing global issues as climate change.”
Funding for the project will come from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent
financial organization that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the
global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities, UNEP said.
The three cities will also work with others in the region through the new Network for
Environmentally Sustainable Transport in Latin American Countries (NESTLAC).
The Forum, which runs through Friday, involves thousands of delegates from across the world
and is being organized under the auspices of UN-HABITAT, the agency that aims to achieve
sustainable development of human settlements.
Mr. Steiner highlighted that UN-HABITAT was UNEP’s key partner in the broader Sustainable
Cities Programme working with more than 100 cities worldwide to promote environmental
planning and management under Agenda 21, the comprehensive sustainability plan born at the
1992 Rio Earth Summit.
As part of the Forum, UNEP and its partners are showcasing a study of numerous cities
worldwide and looking at how they are managing waste more efficiently. For example,
Hyderabad in India is turning waste into ‘refuse derived fuel’ which, the city says, emits less
greenhouse gases than traditional biomass like wood or agricultural wastes.
“The rapid rate of urbanization, especially in developing countries, is a fact of life. But some
cities are also demonstrating other facts, namely that improving local air quality and curbing
waste up to countering greenhouse gas emissions can go hand in hand with that urbanization
and with that growth,” Mr. Steiner said.
In a related development, UN-HABITAT announced the appointment of former Mozambique
President Joachim Chissano as its Youth Ambassador to ensure that the concerns of young
people remain high on the international agenda. A Youth Convention met on the eve of the
World Urban Forum, and was capped with the signing of agreements with two organizations
working with young people in Africa.
WHO under fire over controversial transfer

Civic groups say US pushed for Bangkok official to be replaced after FTA warning
The Nation, Thailand, 20 June 2006 - Civic groups are questioning whether the World Health
Organisation can be trusted to protect the health of Thais, following claims that the global
health body demoted its country representative for Thailand under political pressure from the
United States.

Some 14 civil society groups yesterday released an open letter calling for an explanation. They
cited a report by Asia Times Online, which said Dr William Aldis was transferred from

Thailand for public comments that a free-trade agreement with the US could curtail access to
life-saving medicines.

"How can the WHO, as a global agency to protect public health, provide fair protection to all if
intervention is allowed to take place? We condemn such intervention," said the open letter,
released yesterday.

The report by Asia Times Online said WHO country representative Dr William Aldis was
transferred just 16 months into his term because Washington was unhappy with his warning that
the Thai government should think carefully before exchanging its right to access cheap
medicines for an FTA with the US.
Jiraporn Limpananont, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Pharmacy and
member of the Drug Study Group, one of the 14 groups that signed the letter, demanded the
WHO explain reasons for the "controversial decision".

"If the WHO insists that the US has nothing to do with the removal, then it has to disclose why
Dr Aldis was transferred before his term was completed," she said in a telephone interview.
Aldis had been in the country representative for Thailand for 16 months. Such postings are
usually four years or longer.

According to Asia Times Online, the removal of Aldis was made by the WHO's late director-
general Lee Jong-wook, on March 24, one day after a US ambassador to the UN in Geneva paid
Lee a private visit to express displeasure with Aldis' comments in a Thai newspaper. Aldis is
now in a research position at a WHO regional office in New Delhi.
Asia Times Online said Lee characterised the transfer to a position with less authority as a

On January 9, while the sixth round of FTA negotiations between Thailand and the US were
taking place in Chiang Mai, Aldis wrote an opinion piece for the Bangkok Post expressing
concern over tighter legislation for intellectual property rights. If Thailand signed the FTA with
a condition to tighten such legislation - as required by the US - it would risk the lives of
hundreds of thousands of Thai citizens living with HIV/Aids and likely bankrupt the Bt30
health scheme, he warned.

FTA Watch representative Kannikar Kijtiwatchakul feared a chilling effect. WHO officials may
no longer dare to express concerns about policies that threaten public health, she said. "Dr Aldis
was demoted for doing his job as a member of a neutral global body. His removal will damage
public-health protection not only in Thailand but in other developing countries that have less
Pennapa Hongthong, The Nation
New UN human rights body opens first session
People Daily Online, 20 June 2006 - The first session of the UN Human Rights Council opened
Monday in Geneva, marking a new era of the world's efforts to improve respect for human

The 47-member new council replaced the former 53-nation Human Rights Commission, which
became discredited in recent years for its politicization and ineffectiveness.
"Today we are all part of a historic occasion, the opening of the first session of the Human
Rights Council," said UN General Assembly President Jan Eliasson.

"At this moment, the UN, through the new Human Rights Council, sends a message of respect
of human dignity and a message of hope and solidarity to the peoples of the world," he said.
"Let us be guided by a spirit of renewed cooperation and of upholding the highest standards of
human rights," he added.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also addressed the opening meeting, saying that the new
Human Rights Council must represent a break from the past.

"The eyes of the world -- especially the eyes of those whose human rights are denied, threatened
or infringed -- are turned toward this chamber and this council," Annan told the meeting.
He reminded the council, whose 47 members were chosen for the first time by the General
Assembly in May, that they had pledged to "respect human rights at home and uphold them

"You have much hard work before you," Annan said. "In the weeks and months ahead, as you
descend into detail and wrestle with issues at the heart of the council's mandate, I urge you to
keep constantly in mind the noble aims that brought you here."
This council will never be allowed to become caught up in political point-scoring or petty
maneuvre again, he said.

"Think always of those whose rights are denied - whether those rights are civil and political, or
economic, social and cultural; whether those people are perishing from brutal treatment by
arbitrary rulers, or from ignorance, hunger and disease," he warned.
A host of ministers will also address the council, and much of the initial two-week session will
be devoted to planning future work.
Unlike the former Human Rights Commission, which met annually, the council will meet at
least three times a year.
Source: Xinhua

Iran’s Natural Sites to be Nominated for World Registration
Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency, Iran, 19 June 2006
Iran is planning to nominate Dasht-e Loot, Sahand and Sabalan mountains, and Kataleh Khor
cave as the geotourism attractions of the country for UNESCO world registration.

Tehran, 19 June 2006 (CHN Foreign Desk) -- Dasht-e Loot (Loot Desert), Sahand and Sabalan
Mountains, and Kalateh Khore cave have been suggested by Iran’s Geology Organization as the
geotourism attractions of the country to the natural department of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and
Tourism Organization (ICHTO) to be inscribed in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage.

Iran has seven historic sites registered in UNESCO while no natural site from this country
which enjoys enormous potentials has been registered yet. Now by introducing its natural sites,
Iran is trying to take a step towards not only introducing its geotourism attractions but also
preserving its natural sites against possible damages.

The file will be first studied by the registration council of the historical and natural department
of ICHTO and then after their approval, it will be submitted to UNESCO for a final decision.

“A few weeks ago, Frencesco Bandarin, UNESCO’s Director of World Heritage Center, paid a
visit to Iran to study the condition of some historical, cultural and natural sites of the country.

Determining the geotourism attractions of the country was one of the issues which were
mentioned during his visit to Iran. We discussed the case and nominated some natural sites such
as some parts of Dasht-e Loot, the vicinity of Sahand and Sabalan Mountains, and Kataleh Khor
Cave in Zanjan to be introduced to UNESCO for registration in its list of World Heritage Sites,”
said Alireza Kazemi, head of Geotourism Department of Iran’s Geological Survey.

According to Kazemi, UNESCO’s Director of World Heritage Center believed that Dasht-e
Loot is the best option for Iran to be nominated since it is unique in the world from many
aspects. “The highest sandy hills of the world are located in Dasht-e Loot and according to the
studies, this region is considered one of the most torrid places in the world,” added Kazemi.

Geotourism is a form of cultural-environmental tourism that can develop in areas with
important geological monuments which are exploited in order to attract visitors with special
interests. Geotourism was given an important attention by UNESCO since the year 2000 when
the issue of geoparks was first introduced. The countries who enjoy appropriate geotourism
potentials started introducing them in order to attract more tourists and boost their tourism

In a joint research made by some prominent university professors from the United States,
Britain, France, and China, published in a book entitled “Geotourism Sustainability, Impacts
and Opportunities”, Iran and China have been introduced as the most attractive countries for

Having an area of 1,648,000 square kilometers, Iran is the sixteenth biggest country in the
world. It sharing long borders with the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf from the south and the
Caspian Sea from the north, and is surrounded by mountains, giving it a diverse climate in its
different parts. Due to its unique geographical condition, Iran is considered a country with a
large climatic and natural diversity. Iran not only enjoys very desirable sea shores usable in all
seasons, it also has very beautiful mountains. It is one of the world’s most mountainous

Besides all these natural attractions, the two famous deserts of Iran, Dasht-e Loot and Dasht-e
Kavir, covering an area of over 360,000 square kilometers, are amongst the most interesting yet
least known places in the world. The plain of Loot is the largest pit in the plateau of Iran and
one of the hottest and driest in the world with a minimum trace of water.

Iran also has very beautiful islands in the Persian Gulf such as Kish and Qeshm Islands, which
attract a large number of tourists every year who want to relax and enjoy themselves. To
introduce its islands better, Iran is making a documentary film on Qeshm Island with the
cooperation of Italian experts and filmmakers.

Heads up for disasters
Through its Education for Sustainable Development programme, Unesco coordinates a regional
effort in natural disaster preparedness
Bangkok Post, 20 June 2006 (Learning Post) Story and photographs by ORATIP

When a magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit Indonesia's Aceh province at 6:58am on December 26,
2004, no one was prepared for the awesome consequences - tsunamic waves, massive loss of
life, physical destruction and emotional devastation.

The event was a concussive wake-up call to those whose lives were affected. It also pressed
international communities to pool their technical resources and to collaborate on the creation of
a uniform safety response to lessen the consequences of a similar cataclysm in the future.
Eighteen months later, there is the regional workshop on Education for Natural Disaster
Preparedness in Asia-Pacific, a sub-regional project coordinated by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in Bangkok. The project aims to
develop education materials that will help to prepare local interest groups for disaster
anticipation, recognition and prevention through sample case studies of six Asia-Pacific
countries, namely Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Maldives and Thailand.

The "lesson that I learned from the [2004 tsunami] was just how difficult it is to coordinate so
many people who wanted to help," says Elias, Education for Sustainable Development
programme specialist at Unesco Bangkok. "One thing this project can do is to highlight the
input from many people, so that when regional or local disaster management plans are being
prepared, they are more aware of solutions and contributions that others have made." The
project, says Elias, did not set out to produce materials to be spread throughout the Asia-Pacific
region. Nor did it seek to address every kind of natural disaster or to examine the role of each
interest group.
Project highlights

Each of the six countries developed education materials that are locally relevant and culturally
appropriate in each country. Indonesia, the country most affected by the devastating earthquake
and its aftermath, developed a set of folding pictures and a simulation game that involves
natural disasters as two educational resources for schools.
"While Indonesia is prone to natural disasters, no education for natural disaster preparedness has
been included in school curricula from primary to tertiary education," says Professor
Hendrawan Soetanto from Indonesia's University of Brawijaya.
"People must be able to understand the warning signs and other factors that influence natural
disasters," he says, adding that the resource materials would teach them what to do before,
during, and after a disaster strike. The folding pictures and simulation game will, for the first
time, bring the knowledge of natural disaster preparedness to school-aged children.
The set of pictures - which features earthquakes, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions - is
designed to be instructional and participatory material for 12-17 year-olds. While focusing on
the pictures, teachers can encourage students to discuss appropriate actions to take in each type
of natural disaster.

Similar methods are applied to the simulation game, which teaches basic understanding and
prevention of hurricanes and tsunamis, in addition to other disasters. The board game is typical,
in that students take turns and collect points if they answer disaster-related questions correctly.
However, Professor Soetanto acknowledges that it will be difficult to incorporate knowledge of
natural disaster preparedness into formal education because Indonesia's existing primary and
secondary curricula are already massive. As a result, these two edutainment materials, he says,
will be included as extra-curricula activities for students.
Thailand, on the other hand, chose video as an instructional medium and targets people at the
community level as the principle audience. The knowledge of natural disasters, says Dr Ampai
Harakunarak, director of Thailand Environment Institute's Environmental Education and Human

Resources Development Centre, has already been incorporated in all levels of the national
curriculum. In addition, the country has many non-formal documentary materials that instruct
citizens what to do in the event of a natural disaster.
To Dr Ampai, most of these existing educational materials are not very relevant to the local
communities. This type of knowledge is therefore not immediately usable, she adds.
"Emergency information is only useful when we can immediately recall it during critical times,
so that we know the proper steps to take when a disaster strikes."
With these given circumstances, Dr Ampai's team chose to focus the video on a specific
audience group in the northern Chiang Dao district, where mudslides regularly occur. The video
is narrated in a northern Thai dialect and not only teaches villagers what to do after mudslides
occur, but also informs them of possible preventive measures.
"We don't expect the video to cover all the possible scenarios and contingencies, but at least it
can help to reinforce and build continual awareness in the community," she says.
This is the initial step. Whether it is the video, posters, folding pictures, or simulation games,
some of these educational materials presented at the workshop will be developed further to
reach a broader audience. After all, it is everyone's duty to protect and nurture the environment,
for people play a catalytic role in causing - or preventing - many natural disasters.
For more information about the Education for Natural Disaster Preparedness in Asia-Pacific
project, contact Derek Elias at 02 391 0577 or visit . To comment on
this or any other article in Learning Post, contact: .

General Environment News
Chinese Officials Judged on Energy Efficiency

BEIJING - Chinese officials, for decades expected to foster economic growth at almost any
cost, will now have to weigh up the amount of energy their firms are burning, the official
Xinhua news agency reported.

Zhejiang, a province on the booming east coast, has added energy efficiency to the criteria used
to evaluate local officials' performance and decide their future career prospects, the report said.
Worried about growing dependence on imported oil and the environmental toll of dirty-burning
coal, Beijing has launched an energy saving drive that aims to cut the amount of energy used to
generate each unit of national income 20 percent by 2010.
Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan has called for a nationwide appraisal system to include energy
efficiency. At present the country's financial hub, Shanghai, uses it as a performance criteria, as
do Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei and Gansu provinces.
In Zhejiang nearly 70 top officials have been given responsibility for energy-saving, which
leaders hope will reduce firms' costs, promote innovation and protect China's battered
environment, Xinhua quoted governor Lu Zushan saying.
Between 2001 and 2005, energy consumption growth outstripped overall economic expansion
by 6 percentage points, while the amount of power used to generate each unit of output in China
is 3.4 times of the world's average, Xinhua said.
Story Date: 20/6/2006

India to Give Army Powers to Protect Wildlife
NEW DELHI - India plans to enlist the army to help protect its threatened tiger population and
other animals, giving soldiers the power to arrest or even shoot poachers, wildlife officials said
on Monday.

The smuggling and sale of Indian tiger and leopard skins is common across India's border with
China and poaching of endangered animals is widespread throughout the country.
While the country's 1.1 million-strong army -- the world's second largest army after China -- is
deployed in many environmentally fragile border hotspots, troops currently have no powers to
act against wildlife crimes.

Officials from the National Board for Wildlife told Reuters the government was planning to
amend existing legislation to give the army powers to act in border areas where smuggling and
poaching is common.
"The amendments to the Wildlife Act will mean that the army will be able to arrest, detain and
even open fire on poachers who evade arrest," Kalpana Palkiwala from the National Board for
Wildlife said.

"This will give them parity with chief wildlife wardens," she added, speaking after a meeting
chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Conservationists say that India, which has half the world's surviving tigers, is losing the battle to
save the big cats.

A century ago, there were about 40,000 tigers in India. But decades of poaching have cut their
number to 3,700, officials say. Conservationists say the population could be under 2,000.
The government says the amendments, which will come before parliament in the coming
monsoon session, will also provide for the creation of a national agency charged with
registering and investigating cases.

"We have decided to have a central investigating agency in the name of the Wildlife Crime
Control Bureau," A. Raja, environment minister, told reporters.
"This will be a multi-disciplinary body, which will have officials from police, customs, forestry
and army," he said. (Additional reporting by Nigam Prusty)
Story by Nita Bhalla - Story Date: 20/6/2006
Japan and pro whaling nations win vote at IWC
Radio New Zealand, New Zealand - Posted at 10:18am on 19 Jun 2006
Pro-whaling nations have secured their first victory at world whaling talks by passing a
resolution that labelled the 20-year moratorium on commercial hunts "no longer necessary".
Although the non-binding resolution will not result in the moratorium being overturned, it was a
significant triumph for Japan and its allies campaigning for the International Whaling
Commission (IWC) to lift the ban on commercial whaling.

News reports say the moratorium would need a 75 per cent majority to be overturned.
The resolution proposed by commission hosts St Kitts and Nevis passed by 33 to 32 votes with
one abstention.

It criticised a 1968 moratorium on commercial whaling, blamed whales for depleting fish stocks
and said non-governmental organisations were a threat.

900 villagers evacuated as volcano spews ash
AUTHORITIES evacuated close to 900 villagers living near Mt. Bulusan yesterday after the
volcano spewed ash again Sunday and blanketed eight villages, officials said.

But the lack of volcanic quakes accompanying the ash explosions and the low levels of sulfur
dioxide being emitted “suggest that no large or active magmatic intrusion into shallow depths
has taken place,” said Renato Solidum, chief of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and

Instead, the activity pointed to an “interaction of more volumes of magma with an overlying
water-saturated zone beneath the summit,” he said.
“It remains to be seen if the recent explosions would provide an uncorking effect and induce a
major hazardous eruption, because the very low earthquake activity suggests otherwise.”
But Solidum warned that hazards remained due to the large volume of volcanic debris spread
over the summit and surrounding hillsides.

“As the rainy season progresses, this accumulated loose volcanic material will be eroded,
mobilized and mixed with rainwater that could form lahar and torrential flows,” he said.
Sorsogon’s Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council said a major eruption could affect the
towns of Bulusan, Barcelona, Casiguran, Juban, Irosin, and Gubat and endanger the lives of up
to 80,000 people.

It said the residents evacuated yesterday were taken to 63 preidentified evacuation centers, most
of them public schools.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had ordered the evacuation and pledged to send 500 bales
of used clothing and a van of foodstuff.
“We were just obeying the President’s order to move people from the volcano’s slopes to safer
areas,” Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor said.
He said some residents were refusing to leave their homes, and that prompted the President to
appeal to them to move to safer areas.

“We appeal to local residents to avoid flirting with danger and follow the contingency measures
being implemented by authorities,” Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in Malacañang.
Scientists said Sunday’s eruptions were the eighth in a series of explosions since Mt. Bulusan
went active in March, and that they were longer than the earlier ash ejections.
Alert Level 2 is still up around the volcano, meaning no human activity is allowed within the 4
km permanent danger zone.

Meanwhile, one million students from 42,000 elementary and high schools are expected to join
today’s simultaneous earthquake drills at 9 a.m.
“It’s important for us to prepare for a large earthquake,” Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr.
said in Camp Aguinaldo.
“It’s not far off that it will happen in the Philippines.” Mar Arguelles, Jaime Pilapil, Fel V.
Maragay, Arlie Calalo, and AFP


                            UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
                                    DAILY NEWS
19 June 2006


19 June - The new United Nations Human Rights Council held its inaugural session today, with
Secretary-General Kofi Annan calling for “a clean break from the past” and a “new era” as the
enhanced body seeks to give teeth to the protection of rights for all, an issue that often seemed
to elude its much-criticized predecessor.

“What must be apparent, above all, is a change in culture,” Mr. Annan told representatives from
over 100 countries at the first meeting of the 47-member body in Geneva, appealing for an end
to the confrontation and distrust that pervaded the now-replaced Human Rights Commission.
“Never allow this Council to become caught up in political point-scoring or petty manoeuvre,”
he entreated those present. “Think always of those whose rights are denied - whether those
rights are civil and political, or economic, social and cultural; whether those people are
perishing from brutal treatment by arbitrary rulers, or from ignorance, hunger and disease.
“The truth is that those denials go together. All too often, it is those who seek to improve the
welfare of their communities who become the victims of oppression; and it is the lack of
freedom and of legal safeguards that inhibits economic and social development,” he declared.
The creation of the new Council was a major plank in Mr. Annan’s UN reform package “In
Larger Freedom,” which he issued in March last year and which was later endorsed by the
World Summit at UN Headquarters in New York in September.

Although its final form does not contain all the elements Mr. Annan sought, it is regarded as a
significant improvement on the Commission, with several features to make it stronger and more
effective. These include its higher status as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, its
increased number of meetings throughout the year and an examination of the human rights
records of its own members.

“It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the eyes of the world - especially the eyes of those
whose human rights are denied, threatened or infringed - are turned towards this chamber and
this Council,” Mr. Annan said today.

He noted that in his report he had stressed that human rights form the third of the three pillars,
with economic and social development and peace and security, on which all UN work must be

“I argued that these three are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and are the pre-requisites for
our collective well-being. No society can develop without peace and security,” he said. “No
State can be secure if its people are condemned to poverty without hope. And no nation can be
secure or prosperous for long, if the basic rights of its citizens are not protected.

“In short, lack of respect for human rights and human dignity is the fundamental reason why the
peace of the world today is so precarious, and why prosperity is so unequally shared,” he added.

Mr. Annan held out the prospect of even greater enhancement of the Council, noting that at the
moment it is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, pending a review within five years.
“I venture to hope - and I suggest it should be your ambition - that within five years your work
will have so clearly established the Human Rights Council’s authority that there will be a
general will to amend the Charter, and to elevate it to the status of a Principal Organ of the
United Nations,” he declared.

He stressed that although human rights are an inherently sensitive topic, that does not mean they
are inherently intrusive, or antithetical to State interests. “Nor should we accept the widely
parroted notion that there is a built-in tension, or a necessary trade-off, between freedom and
security, he said.

“This Council represents a great new chance for the United Nations, and for humanity, to renew
the struggle for human rights,” he concluded. “I implore you, do not let the opportunity be

In an opening address, General Assembly President Jan Eliasson urged Member States to
continue working in a spirit of compromise and responsibility. “Now you have to show
determination and courage to translate intentions and words to the changing of realities and
taking action,” he said. “This requires from all of us statesmanship and preparedness not only to
examine each other but also to examine ourselves.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called on members to look beyond
national interests. “Through its deliberations, the Council should search for, articulate and
implement a broad concept of universality of rights and freedoms, designed to reflect first and
foremost individual human dignity, rather than cater to the narrow pursuit of national self-
interest and regional factionalism.”
Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico was elected as Council President. “We are at a crossroads of an
historic nature,” he told the session. “We can and should contribute to improve the respect of
human rights all around the world, and at the same time, we can and should contribute to the
reform and strengthening of the multilateral system.”

The Council also elected four Vice-Presidents: Tomas Husak (Czech Republic) (Eastern
European group), Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco) (African group), Blaise Godet
(Switzerland) (Western Europe and Others Group) and Musa Burayzat (Jordan) (Asian group),
who will assume the role of rapporteur.


19 June - As the new, strengthened Human Rights Council held its inaugural session, two
United Nations experts stressed that today also marks the birthday of one of the world’s most
acclaimed rights defenders, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and
democracy leader who continues under house arrest in Myanmar.

“Her steadfast commitment to the principles which all member states have pledged to promote
and protect, strongly accentuates the responsibility of us all to demonstrate the integrity of our
words, employ our individual and collective efforts to re-invigorate and lend our full support to
the international system of human rights protection,” they said.

The two - Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio
Pinheiro, and Secretary-General Kofi Annan’ Special Representative on the situation of Human
Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani – noted that Ms. Suu Kyi has been detained for over 10 of the past
16 years for her peaceful advocacy of fundamental democratic freedoms.

“If the international community is to give credence to its renewed commitment, it should ensure
that such defenders who at great personal cost, spearhead the global drive towards a more
equitable and peaceful world, are to be celebrated and supported, not silenced,” they said in
their joint statement.

Mr. Annan has consistently worked for her release over the years, and reaffirmed his
commitment to continue doing so when Myanmar’s authorities extended her house arrest for
another year at the end of last month, despite his personal appeal to the head of State, Senior
General Than Shwe, to free her.


19 June - Keeping up with the march of time, the Swiss watch maker Swatch today presented a
special edition of its product to Secretary-General Kofi Annan to commemorate the
inauguration of the new United Nations Human Rights Council.

“I would like to applaud Swatch for having produced the special version of their famous
timepiece to mark this historic occasion,” Mr. Annan said on receiving the watch, which has a
blue face with a big 19 on it for the date and the new Council’s logo of a blue globe and an
orange dove on its band.

“I have to admit being a bit confused when I was told about the presentation of the new ‘Human
Rights Swatch,’” he joked. “I thought people were talking about that admirable NGO we all
know – and which played a significant part in the effort to bring about the creation of the
Human Rights Council. I'm obviously referring to Human Rights Watch,” he told Swatch Chief
Executive Officer Nicolas Hayek at the ceremony in Geneva.

Then, speaking in French, he added: “But basically, I don’t think this mistake is so serious.
Without doubt a watch is called a ‘watch’ in English because it lets you keep an eye on the time,
and also to ensure that others are on time.
“And that’s exactly the way we must use our new Swatch – to ensure that we’re all on time, on
time for the 21st century as far as human rights are concerned. Our work in this field must be
synchronized with the most active part of civil society, of which Human Rights Watch is a very
good example.”


19 June - Saying that militias connected to Islamic courts now control three major districts of
Somalia and might be driving toward the Ethiopian border, the top United Nations envoy to the
country stressed today that it is crucial to open a legitimate dialogue between the leaders of that
movement and the Transitional Government.

“If something is not done now, the conflict might take on a regional dimension,” François
Lonsény Fall, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative told journalists in New
York after briefing the Security Council upon returning from his trip to the region.
Any dialogue with the Union of Islamic Courts, who earlier this month drove warlords out of
the capital, Mogadishu, must, he stressed, be done under the framework of the transitional
Charter and the other transitional institutions that have be painstakingly built over the past few
years with the support of the international community in Somalia, which has not had a
functioning government since the collapse of President Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime in

In response to journalists’ questions, Mr. Fall said that even given its long history as a “failed
State,” Somalia was receiving stronger Council attention at the current time because progress in
building those transitional institutions could now be erased, and it is very possible that there are
extremist elements among the Islamic Court leaders, though very little is known about them.
He also pointed to the danger of regional destabilization; there have already been unconfirmed
indications of Ethiopian troop movements toward the Somali border.

Compounding this, humanitarian agencies are facing increasing difficulties in gaining access to
people in the areas now controlled by the Islamic Courts. Mr. Fall said that a meeting between
an international humanitarian team and leaders of the Islamic courts was in the process of being
arranged, representing the first diplomatic contacts with any of them.

Meanwhile, The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
reported today that the recent fighting, the worst drought in a decade and decreased
humanitarian access have combined to create the most severe malnutrition in Somalia in years.
With malnutrition rates at 23 per cent, the agencies say, the situation is much worse than the 15
per cent malnutrition that would signal an emergency. In southern Somalia, five surveys taken
since January found that one fifth of children were so malnourished that they needed
supplementary or therapeutic feeding and than only 10 per cent of those needing such feeding
were being reached.

The agencies called on Somali authorities, donors and others to take urgent action over the next
10 weeks to get food and other assistance to those most in need.

Access for humanitarian aid getting worse in Sudan despite accord: UN officials
19 June - Despite last month’s peace deal in Sudan’s Darfur region between the Government
and the largest rebel group, access to humanitarian aid for the people displaced by the violence
there – estimated at over 2 million – and elsewhere in the impoverished African country has
deteriorated in recent months, the top United Nations aid official in Sudan and other UN agency
representatives said today.

The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator
Manuel Aranda da Silva also told reporters in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, that the world
body had so far received less than half the funding it requires for this year’s humanitarian
assistance to the country.
“Access has always been an issue in Sudan, particularly in Darfur over the last two years. In the
last three months we have had deterioration in getting access in Darfur. There are at least
250,000 people we cannot reach, they are mainly in western Darfur, but they are also in North
Darfur, reasons for the lack of access are mainly due to infighting,” said Mr. da Silva.

“As you know we have an ambitious work plan for this year, $1.7 billon for recovery and
development activities of which $1.5 billion is for humanitarian operations. Against that $1.5
billion we have $600 million so far, and totally we have $760 million against humanitarian
recovery. That is less than 50 per cent of what we require for this year,” he explained.
Other UN agency representatives raised similar access concerns for humanitarian aid in
different parts of the country, in particular Kassala state in the east of Sudan bordering Eritrea
and also Red Sea state in the northwest.

“We have seven refugee camps in Kassala state, and we have had problems accessing them in
the past...Yesterday our people were prevented from going to Kilo 26 camp to perform regular
monitoring activities,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative
Kalunga Lutato told reporters.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it had similar access problems, particularly in
Kassala state, where it conducts monitoring and distribution.

“The general view is we were able through the monthly plan to have access in the last two or
three weeks, but it has been stopped and we cannot move out of Kassala state due to check
points…We were able to distribute some commodities recently which should keep things going
for some time, but if the access issues continue there will be problems,” said WFP Deputy
Director Ebenezer Tagoe.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Sudan, Ted Chaiban, also spoke of
access problems but despite such difficulties, over the weekend the agency reported some good
news with the demobilization of 181 children from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army
(SPLA) in the south of the country.

In addition to these 181 children – 174 boys and seven girls – formally released through the
Southern Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, another 30
children went home earlier by themselves prior to the demobilization as they came from nearby
locations, UNICEF said in a news release.

While welcoming the demobilization, the agency warned that a great deal of work remains.
“There are still more boys and girls who are associated with armed groups in Southern
Kordofan and other areas of Sudan and we hope they too will return home soon,” said Mr.

Apart from the increased political infighting among rebel groups, and banditry of the past three
weeks in the Darfur region, Mr. da Silva said there had however been a “clear reduction of
clashes” between the Government and the Sudan Liberation Army forces, but he added that
there was “tension in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps,” related to the fact that
people there do not recognize last month’s peace agreement.

Regarding the broader humanitarian situation throughout Sudan, he noted that the UN had
signed basic agreements with the authorities last December on movement and access and said
further negotiations would take place with the Government on this topic.

“It is the Government’s responsibility to take care of its own people, but we cannot be held
responsible for what happens to people we cannot reach,” Mr. da Silva concluded.

More than 4 million Sudanese were displaced internally by a decades-long war in the south,
which is separate from the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where more than 2 million
people have been uprooted, including more than 200,000 who have fled to eastern Chad.
There has been increased international diplomatic activity in recent weeks to try and halt the
bloodshed in Darfur, including a visit by a Security Council delegation and a mission by a joint
UN-African Union team to strengthen the AU monitoring force already there and to prepare for
its possible transition to a full-fledged UN peacekeeping operation.

Afghanistan: UN calls on national, international forces to avert civilian casualties

19 June - With operations going on in southern Afghanistan, the United Nations mission in the
country called on both national and international security forces to exercise caution to prevent
civilian casualties.
“We call on the security forces to do everything they can to ensure the safety and protection of
local communities in district areas where operations are taking place,” UN Assistance Mission
in Afghanistan (UNAMA) spokesman Aleem Siddique told a news briefing in Kabul, the

In another development, with 50,000 children under the age of five dying every year in
Afghanistan as a result of diarrhoeal disease, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will this week
support the Health Ministry in launching its annual public awareness campaign aimed at
reaching 2 million people to safeguard the health and hygiene of urban households.
“Too many children die every year from preventable diarrhoeal disease,” UNICEF officer
responsible for hygiene promotion Zahida Stanekzai said. “By following the simple steps
outlined in the campaign – washing hands at critical times, breastfeeding infants, responding to
cases of diarrhoea with the provision of extra fluids to sufferers, boiling or purifying drinking
water, and practicing good personal hygiene, families can better protect themselves against this
killer disease.

“While the risks from diarrhoeal disease are high at this time of year, its prevention is relatively
simple. We hope that this campaign will ensure that as many families as possible are fully
aware of how they can safeguard themselves and their children,” she added.
The first phase of the campaign will begin in Kabul on 24 June, targeting 850,000 people,
before moving to Jalalabad, Mazar and Ghazni in following weeks.
Each phase lasts 20 days, and will involve hundreds of community health workers, teachers and
religious leaders taking key health and hygiene messages directly to households, in addition to
mass media information announcements in a country where nearly a quarter of deaths amongst
children under five result from diarrhoeal disease.

Meanwhile, the UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA) along with the Mine
Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA) are both working to clear minefields in one of
most prominent cultural and tourist spots in the country, the former site of the Buddha statues in
Bamiyan destroyed by the ousted Taliban regime.
MAPA has already cleared three minefields surrounding the site. But the achievements have
come at a high price; two de-miners working for the MAPA lost their lives last week in separate
incidents, one involving an improvised explosive device.

UN agency launches multi-million dollar transport project to curb greenhouse gases

19 June - Aiming to curb greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100,000 tonnes a year, the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a multi-million dollar public
transport project covering three major Latin American cities that are some of the most polluted
on earth.
The project, which was unveiled at the World Urban Forum III gathering in Canada, will be
centred on Concepcion, Guatemala City and Panama City and will lead to the creation of
modern bus networks, cycle ways and pedestrianization schemes while tackling local air
pollution and damage to forests, agricultural land and other key ecosystems.
“In 2007, for the first time in history, more people will be urban than rural dwellers. By 2050,
some 6 billion people are expected to be city dwellers. The World Urban Forum is thus an
important meeting central to all our interests,” Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director, said.
“The urban environment is inextricably intertwined with the rural one and inextricably linked
with the way local, regional and global natural resources are soundly and sustainably managed.
So it is vital that we get cities right if we are to meet the internationally agreed development
goals, if we are to deal with such pressing global issues as climate change.”

Funding for the project will come from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent
financial organization that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the
global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities, UNEP said.
The three cities will also work with others in the region through the new Network for
Environmentally Sustainable Transport in Latin American Countries (NESTLAC).
The Forum, which runs through Friday, involves thousands of delegates from across the world
and is being organized under the auspices of UN-HABITAT, the agency that aims to achieve
sustainable development of human settlements.

Mr. Steiner highlighted that UN-HABITAT was UNEP’s key partner in the broader Sustainable
Cities Programme working with more than 100 cities worldwide to promote environmental
planning and management under Agenda 21, the comprehensive sustainability plan born at the
1992 Rio Earth Summit.

As part of the Forum, UNEP and its partners are showcasing a study of numerous cities
worldwide and looking at how they are managing waste more efficiently. For example,
Hyderabad in India is turning waste into ‘refuse derived fuel’ which, the city says, emits less
greenhouse gases than traditional biomass like wood or agricultural wastes.
“The rapid rate of urbanization, especially in developing countries, is a fact of life. But some
cities are also demonstrating other facts, namely that improving local air quality and curbing
waste up to countering greenhouse gas emissions can go hand in hand with that urbanization
and with that growth,” Mr. Steiner said.

In a related development, UN-HABITAT announced the appointment of former Mozambique
President Joachim Chissano as its Youth Ambassador to ensure that the concerns of young
people remain high on the international agenda. A Youth Convention met on the eve of the
World Urban Forum, and was capped with the signing of agreements with two organizations
working with young people in Africa.

To counter nuclear terrorism, UN urges phasing out civilian use of high enriched uranium
19 June - Amid clear signs that terrorists are trying to acquire nuclear material through criminal
networks, the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency today called for urgent and
more coherent global action to minimize the uses of and commerce in high enriched uranium
(HEU), a main ingredient in nuclear weapons production.

“Although much has been achieved so far, much vulnerability remains,” International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told the Conference on
Minimization of Highly Enriched Uranium in the Civilian Nuclear Sector in Oslo, Norway.
“In recent years, the security and non-proliferation concerns associated with the potential uses
of HEU for malicious and terrorist purposes have further highlighted the importance of this
work,” he said in a message delivered by Special Assistant Vilmos Cserveny.

The measures he recommended include stepped-up joint efforts towards eventually eliminating
the civilian use of HEU by addressing the remaining technical hurdles involved in switching to
the use of low enriched uranium (LEU). HEU involves uranium enriched to 90 per cent or more,
and nearly 100 civilian facilities around the world operate with such weapons-grade material.
But according to many experts, most if not all of the benefits obtained, such as isotope
production that is vital to medical treatments, industrial productivity, water management and
many other humanitarian uses, could also be achieved by using LEU while still ensuring a
secure and effective path for nuclear research for peaceful purposes, he said.
Mr. ElBaradei also called on all countries to agree to stop producing fissile material for use in
nuclear weapons. To build confidence, countries with civilian and military HEU stockpiles
should release clear inventories of those stockpiles and publish a schedule under which the
remaining HEU will be verifiably down-blended, he added.

“By investing in these measures, we could alleviate proliferation concerns associated with the
continued uses of HEU and reduce substantially the risk of nuclear terrorism,” he said.
He also reiterated his call for all enrichment operations to be brought under multinational
control, making it far more difficult for any country to divert enriched uranium for use in

The IAEA cooperated with the Norwegian Government in preparing the conference, which
brings together a wide spectrum of representatives of concerned governments, the nuclear
industry, the nuclear research community, concerned non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
and academic institutions.

UN labour agency calls on Myanmar to act against forced labour

19 June - The United Nations labour agency has called on Myanmar to take “tangible and
verifiable” measures within the next few months on the issue of forced labour or face the
prospect of further action.

At the end of its sessions on Friday, the 95th Conference of the International Labour
Organization (ILO) called for the release of any person imprisoned following contacts with the
ILO and an end to prosecutions currently underway by the end of July.
It also sought agreement between Myanmar and the ILO by the end of October on a credible
mechanism for dealing with complaints of forced labour with all necessary guarantees for the
protection of complainants.

At its November session, the ILO Governing Body will examine whether these measures have
been taken and will have full authority to decide on the most appropriate course of action.
During the Conference, Myanmar expressed a willingness to cooperate with the ILO and
released Su Su Nwe from detention. Her release had been called for by the ILO since her

imprisonment last year, a few months after she successfully prosecuted government officials for
imposing forced labour.

ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards took note of information from the
Ambassador of Myanmar that his Government would put a six-month moratorium on
prosecutions of complainants on an experimental basis and that during this period, as an interim
measure, the complaints of forced labour would be handled by the Director-General of the
country’s Labour Department together with the ILO Liaison Officer.
The Committee underlined that although this may sound positive, it was late and limited. Words
had to be urgently confirmed by deeds in all relevant matters, in particular the acquittal and
release of persons who had already been prosecuted and the cessation of prosecutions currently

The authorities now needed to immediately enter into discussions with the ILO, with a view to
establishing as soon as possible a credible mechanism for dealing with complaints of forced
labour, the Committee said.

The issue of forced labour has been before the ILO for several years. In May 2003, the Agency
and Myanmar came to a Formal Understanding on a facilitator to help possible victims seek
remedies. In addition, a Plan of Action was to comprise a road-building project, alternatives to
the use of forced labour, and information and awareness raising.
The Committee also examined other cases covering forced labour as well as freedom of
association, discrimination, child labour, employment policy, labour inspection and wages,
adopting special paragraphs expressing concern over freedom of association in Bangladesh and
In the case of Belarus, there had been continued failure to eliminate serious discrepancies in the
application of the relevant Conventions, the Committee said, adding that further action would
be considered by the Governing Body in November.

Accepting a commemorative painting, Annan hails US role in founding UN
19 June - Accepting the gift of a painting that depicts the late United States President Harry
Truman signing the United Nations Charter, Secretary-General Kofi today praised the US role
of in founding and maintaining the world Organization.

“This gift is precious to the United Nations in several ways,” said Mr. Annan in a message
delivered by Susan Markham, Director of Strategic Communications Division in the
Department of Public Information.

“It comes from the Government of our host country, without which the United Nations could
not have been born, and without which we could hardly exist today. And it depicts a singularly
poignant moment in human history – the President of that country attending the signing of the
Charter which sealed our creation.”

Recalling Mr. Truman’s stirring dedication to the UN and its founding goals of peace,
development and human dignity, Mr. Annan said the mission remains the same after 60 years,
but the world situation has changed.

“To achieve that mission in the 21st century, the UN must adapt to new realities, and be
equipped to deal with new challenges,” he said, listing the wide range of current UN concerns,

from fighting disease and environmental degradation to achieving the dream of “a just and
peaceful global community.”

“It is the biggest test the United Nations faces in the new century,” Mr. Annan said of that
dream. “It is a test Harry Truman would definitely want us to pass.”

Annan calls on young people to remind Governments of their development goal pledges
19 June - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on young people to
remind Governments of the pledges they made to translate the Millennium Development Goals,
which seek to remedy a host of social ills by 2015, into reality, saying that as “leaders of the
future” the youth of today are essential to helping meet these targets.

Mr. Annan’s message was delivered at the opening of the UN European Youth Leadership
Summit in Vienna, which runs for three days and brings together young people from 27
European countries to discuss ways to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) through sport, culture and peace.

“Governments need to be reminded of the pledges they have made to translate the Millennium
Development Goals into reality. That is where young people like you come in. Your voice can
hold leaders to those pledges. I know you will not resign yourselves to a world where others die
of hunger, remain illiterate and lack human dignity,” Mr. Annan said.
That is why this Leadership Summit is right to focus on sport and culture as tools to accelerate
progress towards reaching the Goals. As the massive following of the FIFA World Cup
currently shows us, sport has an exceptional power to mobilize, motivate and unite people from
every continent, race and religion in a common cause. The same is true of culture in all its forms
– from music to poetry and art.”

The Summit is being organized by the UN New York Office of Sport for Development and
Peace and is hosted by the Government of Austria in its capacity as the current holder of the
European Union (EU) Presidency, according to the UN.

The Director of the New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace, Djibril Diallo,
pointed out that the young participants were the first generation of the 21st century, gathered to
discuss the future of Europe and how to be leaders.
At the end of the conference on 21 June, a torch – symbolising youth, cooperation and sport –
will be passed on to a youth leader from the United States, and the regional summits will end in
a global summit at UN Headquarters in New York on 30 October 2006.


19 June - An increase in development aid since 2002 has raised health and education standards
and hastened gender equality among the world’s poorest nations but overall poverty rates are
not improving, according to a new United Nations report released today.

The 2006 annual progress report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the
Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) adds that domestic reforms
and a revival of commodity prices have underpinned strong economic growth in many of those
States. A number of them also benefited from a steep rise in oil prices.

But despite signs of progress, extreme poverty has deepened, and overall social indicators
remain cause for concern, the report warns.

Chronic poverty continues to be aggravated by diseases such as HIV/AIDS and by
environmental degradation, says the report, which the Secretary-General submitted to the
Economic and Social Council.

In addition, the positive impact of growth in many cases is mitigated by high birth rates and an
unequal distribution of resources. Climate change is already taking a toll on many low-lying or
island LDCs, and is likely to pose a growing challenge to development in upcoming years, the
report notes.

“The message we are getting from the least developed countries is that they are working hard to
take advantage of economic opportunities and to use effectively the assistance from
international partners,” said Anwarul Chowdhury, the UN’s High Representative for the LDCs,
Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
“It is important that the international community stays the course on promised aid, debt relief
and tariff-free access for LDC exports, as populations in these countries continue to struggle to
escape extreme poverty.”

Of the 50 LDCs, of which 34 are in sub-Saharan Africa, 15 in Asia and the Pacific and one –
Haiti – in the Western hemisphere, more than half recorded average annual growth rates of 4 per
cent or better during 2000-2004. Foreign direct investment has generally been on the rise in
these countries in general.

Trend lines for primary school education and gender quality in education, adult literacy, under-
five and access to sanitation and clean water are largely positive, the report states. In contrast,
seven of these nations experienced declining life expectancy, often in countries affected by


19 June - The lending of pregnant cows to neighbours who have fallen on hard times, a tradition
among herdsman in Niger, has been added to a list of cultural practices around the world that
best contribute to sustainable development, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.

The jury of the Harmony List, an initiative of UNESCO and a group dedicated to socially
responsible investment, cited the Wodaabe people’s tradition of “habbanae” as a cultural
practice that significantly contributes to improving quality of life, and integrates its culture into
social, environmental and economic development.

According to habbanae (which is pronounced ha-ba-na-i and means “bond” in the Peul
language), when a herdsman loses his herd each member of the community lends him a
pregnant young cow to be kept for three years.
“This tradition is more than a contract designed to help people in need, it also helps consolidate
the life of the community as a whole by strengthening the bond among its members,” UNESCO

The Harmony List was born in 2004 of a partnership between UNESCO’s International Fund
for the Promotion of Culture and the Crédit Agricole Group, both of which provide jury
members who pre-select up to 10 cultural practices from all regions of the world, out of which
at least one is inscribed on the Harmony List.

In 2004, Bedouin hospitality of the Middle East and Cree bush schools of northern Canada were
honoured. The practice chosen for 2005 was the traditional Chinese medicine of the Miao
community in Guizhou Province, China.

This year, the jury also recognized the “Story-Tellers Grandmothers Programme” of Argentina.
Launched five years ago by the Mempo Giardinelli Foundation, it mobilizes senior citizens to
read stories to children, and contributes to dialogue between generations, UNESCO said.


18 June - As an assessment team continues to hold discussions in Sudan on a possible transition
from the current African Union mission in Darfur to a United Nations operation there, the Prime
Minister of Denmark today told reporters following a meeting with Secretary-General Kofi
Annan that his country would back a UN force in the vast, strife-torn region.
“Denmark supports a UN takeover of the peacekeeping mission in Sudan,” said Prime Minister
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, adding that the Government would “positively consider a military
contribution if the UN requests so.”

Darfur has been the scene of numerous atrocities, including the killing of scores of thousands of
civilians amid fighting between the Government, pro-Government militias, and rebels that has
forced millions to flee their homes. A peace agreement was struck in May, and a joint UN-AU
team is currently holding talks aimed at preparing for a transition from the overstretched AU
Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to a UN force.

Asked about the status of that team, the Secretary-General said its work is continuing. “I hope
the Government will agree to cooperate and support the force, because we are really going there
to help the Government and to help the people of Sudan,” he said. “In the meantime, we are
approaching governments informally but we will firm up that request once we have the
agreement from the Sudanese Government and the Security Council has adopted the resolution
authorizing a peacekeeping force in Darfur.”

Mr. Annan voiced appreciation for Denmark's support for the UN and for countries in the
developing world, especially in Africa. “There is quite a bit of assistance one can give, but I was
also happy to notice in my discussion with the Prime Minister that the Danish assistance to
Africa is not limited only to Darfur; they are working in other countries as well and this is
extremely welcome,” he said.

On the question of human rights and the fight against terrorism, the Secretary-General said it
was his strong view that there had been a “rather disturbing development” where civil liberties
are being undermined in the name of combating the scourge. “Sometimes all governments have
to do is paint the 't-word' on somebody to lock him away without due process,” he noted.
“These kinds of approaches really undermine human rights and civil liberty and give the
terrorists a victory they cannot win on their own,” he stressed. “When you look at situations
where you have these sorts of conflicts or terrorist activities and others, often it is because

human rights have been undermined, there is no rule of law and you have the sort of disruptions
that we all believe should not happen.”

Concerning the Middle East, Mr. Annan said his contacts with leaders in the region indicated
room for an easing of tensions. “In my own discussions with the Prime Minister of Israel and
also with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, I have urged for restraint, and President
Abbas has indicated he has advised the Palestinian side to stop sending Katushyas. The Prime
Minister has also told me that they would also prefer not to use their missiles, so I would hope
the two leaders will find their way of bringing the violence in the region down.”
He added that the Palestinians “should also find a way of agreeing on a common agenda for the
future towards the relation with Israel, towards the peace process and towards the recognition of

Diplomatic Quartet backs international mechanism to aid Palestinian people
17 June - The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East – made up of the United Nations, United
States, European Union (EU) and Russian Federation – today issued a statement elaborating on
an EU proposal for channeling aid directly to the Palestinian people and voiced hope that others
will participate in it.

The “temporary international mechanism” would be limited in scope and duration and operate
with full transparency and accountability, the Quartet said in a statement, pledging to review
whether it is still needed after three months.

“The mechanism facilitates needs-based assistance directly to the Palestinian people, including
essential equipment, supplies, and support for health services, support for the uninterrupted
supply of fuel and utilities, and basic needs allowances to poor Palestinians.”
The statement voiced the Quartet's hope that other donors, international organizations, and
Israel would consider participation in the mechanism. “Donors are also encouraged to respond
to humanitarian and other assistance requests by international organizations, especially UN
agencies, active in the West Bank and Gaza,” the group noted.

The Quartet also reiterated its call for the Palestinian Authority Government to commit to the
principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and
obligations, including the Roadmap. “The Palestinian Authority government must fulfill its
responsibilities with respect to basic human needs, including health services, as well as for
proper fiscal management and provision of services,” the Quartet said.
The mechanism was discussed at a meeting of Quartet principals on 9 May, when they grappled
with the problem of deteriorating conditions in the West Bank and Gaza as donors balked at
funding a Hamas-led Palestinian Government that has yet to renounce violence.


17 June - The senior United Nations envoy to Iraq today condemned the latest round of
sectarian violence, including the assassination of an Imam from the southern city of Basra and a
deadly blast at a mosque in the capital, Baghdad.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, “strongly condemned
Friday's criminal attack on Buratha Mosque in Baghdad which killed a number of innocent
worshippers and injured many others.”

In a statement, he also “strongly condemned the assassination of the Imam of Al-Basra Kabir
Mosque and three other persons accompanying him, while he was on his way to the mosque for
the Friday prayers.”

Mr. Qazi warned of “dire consequences for the people of Iraq if such violence was allowed to
envelop the country” and called on the Government, political and religious leaders to intensify
their mutual efforts to bring about a reduction of violence and to strengthen human rights
protection for all Iraqis.

In addition, the envoy called for the protection of the sanctity of holy sites and places of
worship and voiced hope that Iraq's political and religious leaders “will have a crucial role to
play in successfully implementing the Iraqi Prime Minister's National Reconciliation Plan.”


17 June - The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building in Asia (CICA), which brings
together a diverse range of countries from across the region, has a key role to play in advancing
responses to major global challenges, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to
leaders gathered in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

“This summit draws upon a region of tremendous diversity, with human and natural resources
that have much to offer each other and the world,” Mr. Annan said in the message, which was
delivered by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari.
He noted that while many of CICA member States are establishing new commercial ties, “still
others are searching for opportunities to realize their full potential.” Despite these differences,
the Conference “plays a helpful role in advancing fruitful interaction and exchange, and in
promoting conditions for stable economic growth,” he said.

The Conference has 17 permanent members: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Mongolia, Egypt,
Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey,
Uzbekistan. In addition, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Ukraine, the
United States and Viet Nam are observers, as are the UN, the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the League of Arab States.

The Secretary-General noted hat CICA has addressed issues in the security, economic,
environmental and cultural spheres. “I am glad to know that CICA is promoting the peaceful
settlement of disputes. I welcome the opportunity to deepen UN-CICA cooperation in
combating terrorism. And I am encouraged by the steps you are taking to promote tolerance and
mutual understanding,” he said.
On the sidelines of the Summit, Mr. Gambari is expected to meet several heads of State in
attendance including the President of Aghanistan, Hamid Karzai, and the presidents of
Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan.

En route to Almaty, Mr. Gambari visited Tajikistan, where he reviewed progress achieved in
recent years through the UN Peacebuilding Office in the country, known by its acronym
UNTOP. The visit coincided with the nine-year anniversary of the signing of the 1997 peace
agreements ending that Tajikistan's civil war.

The UN is also working, through vehicles such as the UN-supported Forum on Conflict
Prevention for Central Asia, to promote regional cooperation among Central Asian countries in
combating terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.



19 June 2006
       Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq,
Associate Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

      Good afternoon. We hope to have in our room fairly shortly, Ambassador François
Lonseny Fall, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia.

       **Secretary-General in Geneva

        Today in Geneva, the Secretary-General spoke to the first meeting of the new Human
Rights Council, saying that a new era had been proclaimed in the history of the UN’s human
rights work. He told the delegates that the eyes of the world are on them.

        The Secretary-General called on the new Council to make a clean break with the past.
“In place of a culture of confrontation and distrust,” he said, “we must see a culture of
cooperation and commitment, inspired by mature leadership.”

       We have copies of his speech upstairs.

        The Secretary-General also held a number of bilateral meetings following the opening of
the Council. Among others, he met with the Foreign Ministers of Austria, Nepal and Serbia, as
well as with the Minister for Human Rights and Disaster Management of Sri Lanka.

       **Secretary-General in Copenhagen

      Earlier on Sunday, the Secretary-General attended the World Food Programme’s Global
Meeting, which, every two years, brings together the WFP’s managers, in Copenhagen,

       Prior to addressing the meeting, the Secretary-General was hosted by Danish Prime
Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen for a working lunch at his official residence just outside of

        Following the luncheon, the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister held a press
encounter, at which the Secretary-General said there was currently an opportunity to resolve the
current crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme diplomatically.

         He was also asked about the current UN budget impasse, and the Secretary-General
expressed optimism that the situation would be resolved soon. “There has been a considerable
mistrust within the membership and between groups,” the Secretary-General said, “and I think
that is dissipating and all of them seem to be working very seriously now towards reform.”

       **Security Council

        The Security Council today met with the Special Representative of the Secretary-
General for Somalia, François Lonseny Fall -- good afternoon, Mr. Fall -- who briefed the
Council this morning on the political, humanitarian and security situation in that country, in
light of recent developments. Mr. Fall also updated Security Council members on a series of
meeting he held in Nairobi and Somalia with Somali and regional officials.

        And after I’m done with the briefing, Ambassador Fall will come up here and talk to you
about the situation in Somalia. Welcome.

       ** Sudan

        On Sudan, the UN Mission in Sudan says there has been an improvement in the security
situation in Darfur, due to a significant reduction of fighting between Government forces and
the Sudan Liberation Army. However, there has been an alarming increase in banditry, in
which convoys and compounds belonging to international non-governmental organizations and
the UN have been targeted.

        The Mission says there has been an increase in insecurity in and around camps for
internally displaced persons that can’t be addressed at the moment by the African Union forces
on the ground.

        In Khartoum, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sudan, Manuel
Aranda da Silva, held a press conference today where he expressed concern over significant funding
shortfalls despite an increase in pledges. For instance, only slightly more than a third has so far been
received of the $1.7 billion needed for humanitarian, recovery and development activities in Sudan
this year.

      Separately, UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), has welcomed the
demobilization of 181 children from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Sudan’s Nuba
Mountains area earlier this month.

        We have a press release on that, and we expect to have a transcript of Mr. da Silva’s press
briefing later today or possibly tomorrow.

       **Quartet Statement

       On the Middle East, on Saturday, the members of the Middle East Quartet – the European
Union, Russian Federation, United States and United Nations – issued a joint statement endorsing

a European Union proposal for a temporary international mechanism, limited in scope and
duration, which facilitates needs-based assistance directly to the Palestinian people.

        The Quartet expressed its hope that other donors, international organizations, and the
State of Israel would consider participation in this mechanism. The Quartet will review the
continued need for such a mechanism after three months. Donors are also encouraged to
respond to humanitarian and other assistance requests by international organizations, especially
UN agencies, active in the West Bank and Gaza.

        In its statement, the Quartet reiterated its call for the Palestinian Authority government
to commit to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous
agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap. And we have copies of the full statement

       ** Iraq

        On Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, over the
weekend strongly condemned Friday’s attack on Buratha Mosque in Baghdad, which killed a
number of innocent worshippers and injured many others. He also strongly condemned the
assassination of the Imam of Al-Basra Kabir Mosque and three other persons accompanying
him, while he was on his way to the mosque for the Friday prayers.

         Qazi called on the Government and political and religious leaders to intensify their
mutual efforts to bring about a reduction of violence and to strengthen human rights protection
for all Iraqis. He also called for the protection of the sanctity of holy sites and places of

        Late last Friday, we issued a statement saying that the Secretary-General had agreed to
an Iraqi request for the UN to provide strong support in developing an International Compact
for Iraq. The Secretary-General looks forward to receiving more details from the Iraqis on the
Compact and on the role they would wish the UN to play. And that statement’s full text is out
on the Web.

       ** Afghanistan

        The UN Mission in Afghanistan has called on security forces, both national and
international, to ensure the safety and protection of local communities in areas where operations
are taking place.

        Also, in the press briefing by the Mission in Kabul earlier today, the spokesman noted
the latest casualties among deminers in Afghanistan. They also noted that deminers have
cleared more than 1 billion square metres of contaminated land across Afghanistan since 1990,
but more than 700 million square meters of contaminated land still remain. The remaining
contaminated land affects an estimated 4 million Afghans.

       And we have more information on that in the briefing notes from Kabul.


       On Timor-Leste, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Timor-Leste, Finn Reske-
Nielsen, and the Timorese Labour Ministry, said today that the number of people displaced
throughout the country’s 13 districts has now been discovered to be 15,000 more than
previously recorded, bringing the total number of displaced people outside of the capital to

        Reske-Nielseen met President Xanana Gusmão today for talks on ways of getting food
aid to the outlying districts of the country.

       In addition, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Timor-Leste, Sukehiro
Hasegawa, today met Japan’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs to discuss Tokyo’s $5
million pledge made in response to the recent flash appeal for humanitarian assistance for

       **Press Conference

       Tomorrow we have a press conference scheduled. Following the Security Council’s
open meeting tomorrow on the UN Mission in Kosovo -- that’s scheduled for the morning --
Søren Jessen-Petersen, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo, and Agim
Çeku, Prime Minister of Kosovo, will be in this room to brief you.

       And that’s it for me. Do we have any questions before we turn to Ambassador Fall?

       **Questions and Answers

       Question: This actually follows up on something I asked Friday about the five Chinese
Uighur asylum seekers that are now in Albania. I’d asked Stéphane if the UN or UNHCR had
any role in trying to find them sanctuary, and he said he would look into it, but I didn’t hear
anything back. I contacted UNHCR over the weekend and they said to me that it’s their
understanding that the Albanians will address this within the framework of their law. But, I
think Albania has already denied them political asylum. So, I guess I wanted to [know] what’s
going on.

        Associate Spokesman: Well, what we can do is try and get you in touch with UNHCR
today for anything further they might have on this. UNHCR is clearly in the lead on this, so
we’ll leave it to them. But we’ll try and help you get in touch with someone today about that.

       Question: On the race for the next Secretary-General, Shashi Tharoor is in India right
now and he’s made a number of statements talking about his candidacy. Is he in India on UN
business? What’s he doing there?

        Associate Spokesman: No. This is during his annual leave. He has made it clear that he
will take some annual leave for personal business.

       Question: How long is he going to be gone for?

        Associate Spokesman: I’m not sure, but what he had made clear to management was
that any days that he spends on these sorts of activities would be days on which he takes annual

       Question: In a recent issue of Foreign Policy Magazine, Olara Otunnu -- I’m not sure
what his status is at the UN any more…

      Associate Spokesman: He used to be the Special Representative dealing with Children
in Armed Conflict…

       Question: Right. He describes the situation of the Acholi people in northern Uganda as
“genocide”. I was wondering if the UN agrees with that?

        Associate Spokesman: There hasn’t been any UN guidance about whether genocide is
being committed there, no. Jan Egeland has raised his concerns about the tremendous
humanitarian crisis in northern Uganda, and members of the Security Council have been briefed
about that when they have taken up humanitarian crises in Africa.

         Question: But Olara Otunnu describes what he calls a “conspiracy of silence” by Member
States and the UN who are focusing only on the Lord’s Resistance Army and ignoring what he
calls a “systematic destruction” of the Acholi people. Has the UN ever raised the issue of the
Acholi people? Does the UN consider there to be an issue there?

       Associate Spokesman: Regarding the Acholi people, I suggest that you talk to the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who have brought up concerns about
various groups inside the country.

        Question: I just wanted to find out, Jan Egeland has been inside Uganda. What is his
position on the situation there?

        Associate Spokesman: He has briefed the Security Council on his concerns about the
tremendous humanitarian crisis. Obviously the work he does there is in his capacity as the
senior humanitarian official in the UN Secretariat. He has brought his concerns to the Security
Council’s attention.

        Question: Over the weekend, on British television Channel 4, there was a documentary,
or kind of exposé, about MONUC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) having
provided support to Government troops in razing a town called Kazana -- torching of huts and
deaths of civilians -- so it seems like a pretty serious charge. It’s also in the Observer
newspaper of the Guardian. I don’t know if the UN has checked into this… if there is a
response from the UN?

        Associate Spokesman: In fact, we are checking into this. I don’t have anything for you
on it now, but the Department of Peacekeeping Operations did inform me today that they are
looking into this, and so we will examine what these charges are and what’s behind them.

       Question: Can we expect some kind of update in this room? How will this be handled?

       Associate Spokesman: We’ll provide you an update when we have some more

        Question: A follow up on that, does the UN have a plan, at any stage, now that it’s
doing more active… I don’t know if you call it “war fighting”, but conflict… in Congo in Haiti,
to do any assessments of civilians hurt in these raids? Time and time again we’ve heard the

same basic response as the US, which is that “we don’t do civilian body counts”. I was
wondering of the UN was trying to step up its monitoring of these things, so, maybe, it doesn’t
get taken by surprise by reports in the British media and so forth?

       Associate Spokesman: The UN’s standing rules for its peacekeepers are, in fact, to
avoid any civilian casualties, and whenever there are problems reported to us, we look into
them. So we’ll continue to do that.

       Question: One more thing. I don’t know how many times I have to ask this, but can we
ever have a briefing on the budgetary situation of the UN?

          Associate Spokesman: We’ve put in a request and we’ll try and get someone in to speak
to you.

       Question: Because I’ve been asking about once a day for the past couple of weeks, and
keep on being told “yes, yes, yes”, and then nothing ever happens. So will something happen?

          Associate Spokesman: Yes something will. We’ll try and get someone for you.

       And with that, I would like to welcome Ambassador François Lonseny Fall, the
Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia.

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