Cleaning up Songhua River is a priority China Daily 2006 by 8DW4wo6


									                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                  Wednesday, 11 January 2006

          UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

         Climate change hits weather (Daily News and Analysis India)
         Social risks to the bottom line (Financial Times)

         Carburant : Essence sans plomb - Seules 3 sur 50 voitures l'adoptent
          (Madagascar Tribune)
         Africa’s ban on leaded petrol (The Daily Independent)

         Jane Goodall va recevoir la médaille du 60ème anniversaire de l'UNESCO
         Ferrovial y la Fundación Entorno presentan el jueves el primer portal ambiental
          y de sostenibilidad del sector (Terra Actualidad)
         Nigeria Could Earn $20bn From Gum Arabic - UNEP (This Day)

         Chirac Fiddles While the Twin Towers Burn (The Fact

               Other Environment News

       Green is red, white and blue (International Herald Tribune)
       U.S. calls on business to tackle climate change (Reuters)
       Six pays pour une demi-planète (Libération)
       US backs Australia's uranium plan (The Age)
       Un ballenero japonés colisiona contra un buque de Greenpeace (Diario de León)
       Provigo fait la vie dure aux sacs en plastique (Le Soleil)

               Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

       ROAP
       ROLAC

               Other UN News

       UN Daily News of 9 January 2006
       S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 9 January 2006

                  Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
    Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692,,
Daily News and Analysis India: Climate change hits weather
Rajesh Sinha

NEW DELHI: Delhi was cold like never before this winter. Mumbai had rains like never before
last monsoon and southern states had unusually heavy rains about a month ago. The summer
heat had also been abnormal in many parts of the country.

Weather patterns are going haywire due to climate change and extreme weather are becoming a
regular feature. RK Pachauri, chairman of Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
said according to projections of scientists, extreme events of weather - severe cold or heat,
heavy rains, droughts, storms and cyclones - would increase in intensity and frequency. And,
they were also going to occur in new locations that had never experienced them.

Further, climate change would also impact on economy and the state. It would affect
agriculture, water availability, coastal areas with rising sea level, etc, and this would happen on
a longer, steadier basis, said Pachauri. Climate change is expected to impact India's natural
resource base, including water resources, forestry and agriculture, through changes in
precipitation, temperatures, monsoon timings and extreme events, said report of a joint Indo-UK

For this, we have to think of adaptive measures to counter economic adversity that would result
- just as for the first aspect we need to have early warning systems and an appropriate
infrastructure in place. "For instance, even if floods like Mumbai do not happen on such a scale,
we need cities to have proper arrangements for drainage and for pumping out water," Pachauri

This was all the more important since such things were going to keep recurring, for a long time
to come. The process of climate change, already started, would not cease even if the countries of
the world decided on and implemented remedial steps tomorrow.

Scientists also point out that climate change would also change disease patterns - e.g., it can
introduce malaria to areas previously free of it. There is a vast range of other "health stressers" -
from air pollution to heat stress - caused by climate change. WHO estimates a loss of 5.5
million 'disability-adjusted life years' directly caused by climate change in the year 2002.

As climate-related droughts bite harder, water wars will vie with oil wars. The UN's
environment agency (UNEP) warned in 1999 that 14 African countries were already subject to
water stress or water scarcity and a further 11 countries would join them in the next 25 years.
The world is seeing is a rising number of "environmental refugees".

Unfortunately, at this point, we are not even looking at these aspects. There was an urgent need
to create a knowledge base and systems to prepare for consequences of climate change. The
Indian Meteorological Department has neither the expertise nor the equipment for the task, said


Financial Times: Social risks to the bottom line

Carlos Joly and Paul Watchman consider how environmental and other factors affect strategy

Trustees and investment managers who ignore environmental, social and corporate governance
(ESG) matters in institutional investment may be breaching their duties to beneficiaries.

Contrary to the commonly held belief that investment managers' duties preclude taking
environmental and social issues into account, in fact trustees and investment managers are in
many cases obliged to have regard to such issues, particularly where they bear upon investment
value over the relevant term. Indeed failure to consider environmental and social factors in
portfolio management may risk claims of neglect of fiduciary duty by beneficiaries.

This is the conclusion of a legal opinion produced by international law firm Freshfields
Bruckhaus Deringer, for the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP
FI), an association of 170 leading banks, insurers and asset managers.

The 150-page study is not an advocacy paper promoting the integration of ESG for their own
sake but an objective assessment of the legal duties of investment decision makers across the
UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Australia.

The findings call into question conventional wisdom. Investment managers generally believe
they must obey two maxims: first, they must put the beneficiaries' interests before their own;
and second, their principal if not sole duty is to maximise returns on each single investment.

There can be no argument as to the first. Deal for yourself to the detriment of your investor and
suffer the full weight of the law. But the later belief is not a fair reflection of the law.

In the US, the Modern Prudent Investor Rule says that a) there is no duty to maximise the return
of any individual investment in a portfolio; and b) institutional investment decision makers have
latitude to follow a wide range of strategies, as long as their selection is reasonable and
economically defensible; and implies that c) ESG considerations must be taken into account
wherever they are relevant to any aspect of the investment strategy (including general economic
and political context, tax matters, expected risk and return, liquidity considerations, and the
need for income versus capital appreciation).

In all jurisdictions, investment decisions will not be assessed with the benefit of hindsight, but
against reasonable standards taking into account available information at the time the decision
was taken.

The links between ESG factors and financial performance are increasingly apparent to a variety
of institutional investors and brokers. Greenhouse gas emissions, climate change risks, labour
conditions in emerging markets, and contagious diseases such as bird flu are but a few examples
of ESG issues that can affect populations, workforces, markets and products, which in turn may
affect the reasonableness of any particular investment. Indeed, 15 well-known sell-side analysts
produced sector studies for the UNEP FI showing how ESG issues can affect equity price

performance in a number of industries.

However, the weight of these considerations in each investment decision should be assessed on
a case-by-case basis.

Some leading investors are already moving forward on the Freshfields' report findings. Twenty
of the world's largest pension funds and institutional investors have drafted and are in the
process of approving a text of the Principles for Responsible Investment, a new initiative co-
sponsored by UNEP and the United Nations Global Compact. These investors acknowledge that
ESG issues affect the performance of investment portfolios (to varying degrees across
companies, sectors, regions, asset classes and through time) and that they therefore have a
fiduciary duty to include them, for the best long-term interests of their beneficiaries, in portfolio
decisions and shareholder engagement actions.

Carlos Joly is Co-Chair of the Asset Management Group of the UNEP Finance Initiative and an
investment adviser to institutional investors. Paul Watchman is a partner at Freshfields
Bruckhaus Deringer.

Madagascar Tribune: Carburant : Essence sans plomb - Seules 3 sur 50 voitures
La protection de l'environnement exige l'emploi de l'essence sans plomb pour les véhicules à
partir de cette année, mais à cause du coût de ce dernier par rapport à l'essence ordinaire, très
peu de conducteurs l'utilisent pour le moment...
     Pour des raisons d’ordre environnemental, il a été décidé que dorénavant l’essence sans
plomb est de rigueur. Mais les moyens financiers des utilisateurs ne suivent pas. C’est le cas de
nombre d’automobilistes de la capitale en tout cas.
   Le Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement (Pnue) a déclaré qu'à partir du 1er
janvier 2006, la région de l'Afrique subsaharienne utilisera de l'essence sans plomb. Cette
mesure a été lancée lors du sommet mondial sur le développement en 2002. L’ objectif étant de
mettre en place un monde plus propre en faveur de plusieurs millions de personnes habitant la
région. Mais le moyen financier ne permet pas toujours de le réaliser.
Juin 2006. Ce serait le dernier délai quant à l’utilisation de l’essence ordinaire mais il se
pourrait que ce produit disparaît du marché bien avant cette date si les stocks s’épuisent plus tôt.
Pour le sans plomb, les automobilistes sont réticents quant à son utilisation.
   Un prix trop onéreux
   La raison principale est que son coût est trop onéreux par rapport à l’essence ordinaire, 1930
ariary contre 2350 ariary. En une journée, seules 3 à 4 voitures sur 50 l’adoptent exclusivement.
Cependant, de plus en plus d’usagers commencent à le mélanger avec de l’essence ordinaire
mais toujours avec une quantité largement inférieure. En effet, même les types de voitures qui
devraient fonctionner avec du sans plomb pur sont contraint à les mélanger.Et, si un
automobiliste achète une quantité de 5000 ariary, il dépense 3000 ariary pour l’essence
ordinaire et 2000 ariary pour le sans plomb. Par ailleurs, certains d’entre eux jugent qu’il serait
nécessaire d’ habituer le moteur à fonctionner petit à petit avec du sans plomb avant son
utilisation exclusive.
   Attendre l’épuisement du stock
   Les conducteurs de taxis par contre privilégient toujours l’utilisation de l’essence ordinaire
car s’ils utilisent du sans plomb ils seront obligés augmenter leurs frais de courses. Ce qui

pourrait nuire à son activité car déjà la conjoncture actuelle ne permet plus à la majorité de la
population, le luxe de prendre un taxi. Mais quand le moment viendra, nul ne serait épargné à ne
pas l’utiliser car le sans plomb serait le seul mis en vente sur le marché. Toutefois, une autre
variété du sans plomb , le sans plomb 93, qui coûtera moins cher que le sans plomb 95 serait
disponible aux usagers. Vivre dans un environnement sain est primordial pour la santé mais
quand les moyens ne le permettent pas , on adopte les autres altenatives moins coûteuses.

The Daily Independent (Nigeria): Africa’s ban on leaded petrol
  Africa, especially the sub-Saharan region, attracted a very rare commendation recently: The
United Nations (UN), through its organ on environment, lauded the various governments and
institutions that made the banning of leaded-petrol possible. The promise made three years ago
to rid sub-Saharan Africa of leaded petrol was finally being met, when South Africa switched to
unleaded petrol on January 1, 2006. Although, the triumph may seem small compared to the
challenges facing the continent, it is all the same a victory for the human race, especially those
that would inherit the continent from this generation.
         The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that as of January 1,
2006 all the vehicle fuels in Africa would be lead-free. Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of
UNEP, said: “This is a real environmental and health achievement and I pay tribute to all those
governments, companies and others such as the World Bank who kept this promise made at
WSSD”. Expatiating, he noted: “We also need to work to tackle other pollutants, promote
alternative fuels such as bio-fuels and hydrogen alongside more efficient and less polluting
vehicles and transportation networks and systems that are environment and people friendly. Not
just in developed countries but for everyone across the globe,” he added.
  Lead was added to petrol (or gasoline) to make vehicles engines run smoothly, because of its
“anti-knock” properties. However, scientific studies have demonstrated that children living near
roads and in urban areas where leaded petrol is used can suffer brain damage with symptoms
including lower intelligence scores. This is why it was phased out and banned in countries in
Western Europe, North America. Unfortunately, much of Africa, mainly for technological
reasons, a lack of awareness of the health risks and misconceptions about the impact of
unleaded fuels on the engines, was slow to address the issue. However, because of the impetus
from the global front, Africa also embarked on the phase-out and banning of leaded petrol. The
phase-out, promised at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, meant
a healthier world for millions of people across Africa.
  The effects of lead on children range from adverse to deadly. Some of the adverse effects
include brain disease, nerve disturbances (reduced touch sensitivity), and delayed
neurodevelopment such as in sitting up, walking, talking, stature as well as growth rate
reduction. Others include learning difficulties, decreased educational performance, decreased
reading, retarded knowledge of maths, non-verbal reasoning ability and short-term memory.
Even the behaviour of the affected children is not spared. Behaviour such as aggression,
violence, hostility, anti-social or delinquent behaviour and attention problems such as
distractibility, restlessness have been found in children affected by lead.
  In spite of the very grave and imminent danger posed by leaded petrol, progress did not come
easy. However, as the saying goes “where there is the will, there is a way”. Until a few years
ago, almost all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa were using leaded petrol when it had been

phased out in many parts of the world especially America and Europe. In fact, by 2002, only
one country of the forty-nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa- Sudan was fully unleaded.
However, the global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) was formed at WSSD in
2002 with its principal aim as the phasing out of leaded petrol in sub-Saharan Africa. Even as at
2004 just about half of all petrol sold in sub-Saharan Africa was unleaded. Thankfully, rapid
progress ensured thereafter and today Africa is free of leaded-petrol.
  While we are clinking our glasses and savouring this rare victory of good over evil, we must
ask ourselves, especially political leaders in Africa, very important questions. Must we wait for
“outsiders” to organise us to do the right thing? Can we not evolve our own agenda to rid the
continent of pain, peril, and poverty? Majority of Africans are misery walking on two legs.
Those that manage to survive the clutches of hunger are ravaged by all manner of diseases
including the deadliest known to humanity: HIV/AIDS. We sincerely, appeal to the political
leaders to use the God-endowed resources, which are in abundance in every part of the
continent, to develop their domains in a sustainable fashion. It is only in doing so, that our
children would be guaranteed a better future.
We also plead with the well over 30 countries in the world that are still using leaded petrol to
spare the human race of the needless pain and danger that is linked with the deadly metal.
Whatever advantages leaded petrol has, clearly, the disadvantages are too grave. Besides,
advances in technology is providing better alternatives. Our common destiny is tied to a
pollution free environment and a sustainable planet earth!

Xinhua: Jane Goodall va recevoir la médaille du 60ème anniversaire de l'UNESCO

 PARIS, 10 janvier (XINHUANET) -- Le directeur général de l'UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura,
va décerner le 17 janvier, au siège de l'Organisation à Paris, la médaille du 60ème anniversaire
de l'UNESCO à Jane Goodall, la primatologue née au Royaume Uni Angletterre, a indiqué
mardi un communiqué de l'UNESCO.
   Selon ce communiqué, la médaille est remise à Jane Goodall en hommage à une vie
consacrée à la préservation des grands singes africains en danger d'extinction.
   "Le travail sans relâche de Mme Goodall pour la préservation des grands singes d'Afrique
dans leur environnement naturel coïncide parfaitement avec le travail de l'UNESCO en faveur
de l'environnement et du développement durable", a déclaré Koïchiro Matsuura.
    "Mme Goodall a été l'une des premières à donner l'alerte sur le danger d'extinction encouru
par les grands singes, qui représentent un lien direct de l'humanité avec son passé", a-t-il
   Mme Goodall est une chercheurse qui défend les chimpanzés et les autres primates depuis sa
toute première arrivée en Afrique en 1960, a l'âge de 26 ans. La planète compte aujourd'hui 400
000 grands singes contre 2 millions il y a 50 ans; des experts prédisent leur extinction d'ici 30 à
50 ans si la tendance actuelle n'est pas inversée.

    L'UNESCO et le Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement (PNUE) coordonnent
le Projet pour la suivie des grands singes (GRASP), auquel participe depuis 2001 l'Institut Jane

Goodall, une organisation sans but lucratif. Le projet, comme l'Institut Jane Goodall, vise a
réduire la menace pesant sur les primates d'Afrique.

Terra Actualidad:Ferrovial y la Fundación Entorno presentan el jueves el primer portal
ambiental y de sostenibilidad del sector

Ferrovial y la Fundación Entorno presentarán esta semana 'CanalConstrucciónSostenible', el
primer portal 'on line' especializado en Medio Ambiente y sostenibilidad para el sector de la
construcción, las infraestructuras y los servicios.

Según informan ambas entidades en un comunicado, a la presentación, que tendrá lugar el
jueves en Madrid, acudirá el director de Calidad y Medio Ambiente de Ferrovial, Valentín
Alfaya, y la directora técnica de la Fundación, Raquel Aranguren, que informarán del acuerdo
alcanzado para el desarrollo de programas conjuntos que contribuyan al desarrollo de iniciativas
en materia de sostenibilidad, y cuya primera acción ha sido este proyecto.

La página web '' nace con el objetivo de ser el portal de
referencia de sostenibilidad en el sector de la construcción y los servicios.

Además, la web lleva asociado un boletín electrónico de información especializada cuyo primer
número incluirá una entrevista al vice-secretario general de Naciones Unidas y director del
Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA), Klaus Toepfer, y al director
ejecutivo de Greenpeace España, Juan López de Uralde.


This Day (Lagos): Nigeria Could Earn $20bn From Gum Arabic - UNEP

By Agaju Madugba
United Nations Enviro-nmental Programme (UNEP), has said Nigeria could raise as much as
$20billion annually, from the export of gum arabic and other cash crops.
Speaking at a press conference in Kaduna, at the weekend, UNEP, in collaboration with
Admiral Environm-ental Care, said several years of research showed that Nigerian farmers have
the capacity to earn more foreign exchange from oranges, mangoes, sesame, as well as melon
Admiral's Executive Director, Mr Shedrack Madlion, who spoke on behalf of UNEP, said if the
Federal Government is keen on the diversification of its economy, then it has to pay more
attention to agricultural development, especially in creating the enabling environment to
complement farmers and other stakeholders' efforts .
According to Madlion, "Nigeria could solve about 90 per cent of the problem of monocultural
economy, if it could harness its agricultural advantages, particularly with the production of such
high foreign exchange earners.

"UNEP, in collaboration with Admiral Environmental Care, has set up machineries, including
distribution of various electricity generating and solar equipment, for use in the rural areas to
assist farmers across the country.
"However, there is no where in the world where agriculture thrives with hundred per cent
government participation. It is private sector-driven and must be allowed to be managed by
private individuals.
"The UNEP/Admiral collaboration has established a contact point in Nigeria, to help formulate,
enhance and consolidate a healthy enviroment for ecological and food security for the nation.
"The link will also utilise skills on innovative process development for reduction of poverty,
simulation of commerce by establishing relationship with private entrepreneurs, developmental
organisations and agencies in the field of aqua-culture, horticulture, livestock, as well as eco-
"The link agency will also invest in the establishment and continued development of advanced
technologies, to complement and enhance skills in the application of convetional technologies
in arriving at solutions for problems associated with low agricultural participation in Nigeria,"
he said.

The Fact Chirac Fiddles While the Twin Towers Burn
It has become something of a sport among American, conservative writers to recount the
multiple, growing, and seemingly intractable woes, from Muslim immigrant unrest, to
demographic decline, to military impotence, to economic stagnation and unemployment, now
descending upon the continent of Europe. I, myself, have been guilty of such prideful pleasures,
even relishing the Rumsfeldian moniker "old Europe."
And it has been a sport – if something requiring so little effort can be considered sporting – to
attack the inadequacies of the United Nations, lo these many decades, through every war and
genocide not averted, every scandal uncovered, and every inefficiency, bred through ideology,
brought to light.
But it is time, perhaps, to look at these institutions, the EU and the UN, together. For, like two
aged, tipsy tavern patrons seeking to relive past romantic glories, they are now locked in a tight
embrace. This past summer, French President Jacques Chirac gave a speech filled with the
dulcimer tones so irresistible to his quarry, promising the UN the moon (actually, the role of
"organizing a new world order"), if their bond remained intact.
It is worth looking at this speech, since it has not been discussed before in the English-speaking
press. First, Chirac identifies the worldwide problems that only a worldwide government can
address. He mentions terrorism, but there is no real conviction, and he seems to think that the
world has reached a tipping point on the issue, since the UN has finally resolved to define
"terrorism." (Apparently, potential homicide bombers throughout the Middle East are dropping
their explosives belts, muttering, "our actions have now been defined.")
No, the issues for which Chirac believes a UN/EU world government is necessary are global
warming and globalization. In essence, Chirac has picked the wrong issues and the wrong
solution (the true global problem right now is the struggle with radical Islam).

But global warming is a potent issue, since it can never be refuted; a collection of recent news
articles would lead one to believe that global warming has been proven since it is too hot, or too
cold, too dry, or too wet. Chirac states that, "We must continue to strengthen world governance.
I hope that the September [UN] Summit will lend strong impetus to the creation of a United
Nations Environment Organization. From the struggle against climate change to the
conservation of biodiversity, the environment is at the heart of the international community's
responsibilities, and the only way to effectively protect it is through international treaties that
are binding on States, such as the Kyoto Protocol."
With regard to globalization, Chirac states, "Alongside regional crises, there are other
challenges to the future of humankind and of our values. Trade liberalization and the movement
of people and ideas are bringing unprecedented prosperity, but the response they have elicited
from peoples should alert us to the growing malaise being generated by globalization. With its
focus on international trade and finance, globalization appears to threaten cultural diversity,
endanger the environment and constitute an insidious challenge to the equilibrium of societies. .
. . Globalization also allows hundreds of millions of men and women, especially in Africa, to be
left in extreme poverty, hunger, disease and ignorance."
These statements on global warming and globalization illustrate a profound distrust, even
distaste, for capitalism (Chirac reserves the descriptive "insidious" for globalization, not
terrorism). Safety comes solely through regulation: regulation of states when it comes to global
warming and regulation of corporations when it comes to globalization. There is very little
recognition here that national sovereignty and economic freedom are important goods in
themselves, that they have been responsible for some of the most profound human advances,
achievements, and protections, or that all of these goods might be jeopardized by the kind of
super-statism that Chirac appears to be proposing. (The great horrors of the last century, for
instance, were the result of unchecked statism, not unchecked capitalism.)
Chirac goes on to say that, "It is now more than ever the case that no single country has the
answer to these challenges. It is this conviction that underpins France's resolute commitment to
an international system that is more democratic, more just and more representative of the
realities of today's world." More democratic, more just, more representative than what? This is a
serious question, one that will need to be addressed if Americans and Europeans hope to regain
an understanding of one another. Can a world organization such as the UN really be considered
more democratic, just and representative than a modern representative democracy? Where are
the elections – who elected Kofi? – where is the oversight, the accountability?
Of course, there is the air of the pathetic about all of this faulty grand-eloquence. Chirac
promises the UN that France will pursue the establishment of a worldwide "solidarity levy on
airplane tickets" in order to finance the UN. And, even if that fails, France will impose this new
tax upon itself. The fact that the French would consider this a noble gesture, while many,
perhaps most, Americans would consider it unacceptable, even absurd, illustrates the
philosophical divide that seems to be widening between the US and Europe. Since there is a
global enemy out there that is dedicated to destroying us both (the "West"), this is a divide
urgently in need of being addressed.
Douglas Sylva is Senior Fellow at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).
His e-mail address is


                                    Other Environment News

International Herald Tribune: Green is red, white and blue
Thomas L. Friedman
7./8. 1.2006

 As we enter 2006, we Americans find ourselves in trouble, at home and abroad. We are in
trouble because we are led by defeatists — wimps, actually.
What's so disturbing about President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is that
they talk tough about the necessity of invading Iraq, torturing terror suspects and engaging in
domestic spying — all to defend our way of life and promote democracy around the globe.
But when it comes to what is actually the most important issue in U.S. foreign and domestic
policy today — making ourselves energy efficient and independent, and environmentally green
— they ridicule it as something only liberals, tree-huggers and sissies believe is possible or
Sorry, but being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation, is not
some girlie-man issue. It is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and
patriotic thing we can do. Living green is not for sissies. Sticking with oil, and basically saying
that a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable
of innovating its way to energy independence — that is for sissies, defeatists -and people who
are ready to see American values eroded at home and abroad.
Living green is not just a "personal virtue," as Cheney says. It's a national security imperative.
The biggest threat to America and its values today is not communism, authoritarianism or
Islamism. It's petrolism. Petrolism is my term for the corrupting, antidemocratic governing
practices — in oil states from Russia to Nigeria and Iran — that result from a long run of $60-a-
barrel oil. Petrolism is the politics of using oil income to buy off one's citizens with subsidies
and government jobs, using oil and gas exports to intimidate or buy off one's enemies, and using
oil profits to build up one's internal security forces and army to keep oneself ensconced in
power — without any transparency or checks and balances.
When a nation's leaders can practice petrolism, they never have to tap their people's energy and
creativity; they simply have to tap an oil well. And therefore politics in a petrolist state is not
about building a society or an educational system that maximizes its people's ability to innovate,
export and compete. It is simply about who controls the oil tap.
In petrolist states like Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Sudan, people get rich by being in
government and sucking the treasury dry — so they never want to cede power. In non-petrolist
states, like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, people get rich by staying outside government
and building real businesses.
Our energy gluttony fosters and strengthens various kinds of petrolist regimes. It emboldens
authoritarian petrolism in Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Sudan and Central Asia. It empowers
Islamist petrolism in Sudan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It even helps sustain communism in Castro's
Cuba, which survives today in part thanks to cheap oil from Venezuela. Most of these regimes
would have collapsed long ago, having proved utterly incapable of delivering a modern future
for their people, but they were saved by our energy excesses.
No matter what happens in Iraq, we cannot dry up the swamps of authoritarianism and violent
Islamism in the Middle East without also drying up our consumption of oil - thereby bringing
down the price of crude. A democratization policy in the Middle East without a different energy
policy at home is a waste of time, money and, most important, the lives of our young people.

That's because there is a huge difference in what these bad regimes can do with $20-a-barrel oil
compared with the current $60-a-barrel oil. It is no accident that the reform era in Russia under
Boris Yeltsin, and in Iran under Mohammad Khatami, coincided with low oil prices. When
prices soared again, petrolist authoritarians in both societies reasserted themselves.
We need a president and a Congress with the guts not just to invade Iraq, but to impose a
gasoline tax and inspire conservation at home. That takes a real energy policy with long-term
incentives for renewable energies — wind, solar, biofuels — rather than the welfare-for-oil-
companies-and-special-interests that masqueraded last year as an energy bill.
Enough of this Bush-Cheney nonsense that conservation, energy efficiency and
environmentalism are some hobby we can't afford. I can't think of anything more cowardly or
un-American. Real patriots, real advocates of spreading democracy around the world, live
Green is the new red, white and blue.

Reuters: U.S. calls on business to tackle climate change
By Michelle Nichols
SYDNEY, Jan 11 (Reuters) - As six of the world's biggest polluting nations started climate talks
in Sydney on Wednesday, top greenhouse gas producer the United States called on industry to
fight climate change with cleaner energy.
The United States and Australia, which have refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse
gas reduction, said the talks would ask global mining and energy chiefs what barriers were
hindering the development of more clean energy.
The new Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate groups the United States,
Japan, China, India, Australia and South Korea. Combined, the six account for half the world's
greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.
"Those of us in government believe our job is to help create the environment, as such, that the
private sector can really do its work," U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman told a joint news
conference with Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.
"We will expect to challenge the private sector to do more, challenge the private sector to take
advantage of opportunities that have been available to them because this matter of greenhouse
gas control is one that we all share."
Green groups say the two-day talks in Sydney are a sham and are disappointed environmental
NGOs and scientific organisations have not been invited.
Protesters in front of a conference venue on Wednesday buried a large replica of Australian
Prime Minister John Howard's head in coal to symbolise what they said was his commitment to
industry profits over climate-change solutions.
About 80 executives from global mining and energy firms, including BHP Billiton, Exxon
Mobil and Rio Tinto, are attending the talks. Bodman and Macfarlane said they would meet
energy officials on Wednesday to ask them to "step up to the plate" to deliver technologies such
as clean coal and renewable energy.
"Governments and taxpayers simply won't be able to afford the sorts of measures that need to be
put in place over the next three to five decades," Macfarlane told Reuters in an interview on
"There are going to have to be substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions based on the
predicted growth in energy demand and to do that, business will have to play its role."
The six nations meeting in Sydney account for 48 percent of greenhouse gas emissions blamed
for global warming that many scientists say is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and will cause
more intense storms, droughts and floods.

By comparison, developed nations bound by emissions caps under the Kyoto Protocol account
for 35 percent greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
In contrast to Kyoto, the Sydney talks will focus on tackling air pollution not through
mandatory cuts, but mainly by improving efficiencies in the use of coal and oil, something
green groups say is a short-sighted approach to tackling climate change.
For example, the International Energy Agency says if governments stick with current policies,
global energy needs and carbon emissions will be 50 percent higher in 2030 than 2005.
While the partnership is adamant it will complement -- not compete -- with Kyoto, Macfarlane
said the reality was technological solutions would easily outstrip any Kyoto savings.
Australia's six states and two territories called on the Australian government on Wednesday to
create a national system to trade carbon emissions similar to that in the European Union.
"New technology will only be widely adopted by industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if
there is a market incentive to do that," Victoria state Environment Minister John Thwaites said.
Local media reported on Wednesday that major coal producers such as BHP Billiton and Rio
Tinto were promoting a plan to launch an industry-wide fund by the end of 2006 to develop
clean coal technologies to reduce greenhouse gases.
Coal remains the dirtiest fossil fuel in terms of emissions, but its use is set to grow in coming
decades because it is abundant and cheap, so the new six-nation climate pact is keen to see the
development of cleaner methods of burning it.
The aluminium industry from the six nations was also expected to announce on Thursday a
strategy on reducing emissions, energy consumption and improving recycling, said local media.
"That's the target -- to get breakthroughs in technologies that are absolutely a matter of life and
death for the planet," Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell told Australian television
on Wednesday.

Libération:Six pays pour une demi-planète
Ensemble, les six pays du partenariat Asie-Pacifique représentent environ la moitié de la
planète. Tant sur le plan de la population, de la création de richesses que sur celui des rejets de
gaz à effet de serre. La Chine, les Etats-Unis et l'Inde sont les trois plus gros consommateurs de
charbon. L'Australie en est un gros exportateur, ce qui a conduit Greenpeace à baptiser le
groupe des six pays le «Pacte du charbon».
Des six pays concernés, seul le Japon s'est engagé au travers du protocole de Kyoto à réduire ses
rejets de gaz «réchauffants» sur la période 1990-2012. Non signataires, Etats-Unis et Australie
s'en sont autoexonérés tandis que Chine, Inde et Corée du Sud n'ont qu'une obligation
Le protocole a été signé en 1997 et est entré en vigueur en février dernier avec la signature de la

The Age (Australia): US backs Australia's uranium plan
The United States has backed a plan by Australia to sell uranium to China for nuclear power as
long as there are strict safeguards to stop it falling into the hands of terrorists.

US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman gave the backing as he attended a major international
climate change conference in Sydney.
Mr Bodman said countries around the globe were facing an increase of about 50 per cent in
demand for electricity in the next 20 years and would have to look at developing nuclear power
in response.
While Australia remains cagey about whether it will adopt nuclear power, Mr Bodman said the
US had no problem with the federal government selling uranium to China.
The two nations are in the midst of negotiations to draw up a nuclear safeguards agreement that
would allow Australia to export uranium to China.
"We don't object to that," Mr Bodman told reporters.
"However we would encourage both the Australians as well as the Chinese to make sure there
are adequate safeguards in place.
"The potential after 9/11 in our country, the threat of terrorists is something we are taking very
seriously and there is concern over the potential access of terrorists to nuclear material."
Australia's Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said Australia was yet to have a proper debate
based on facts rather than emotion about adopting nuclear power in Australia.
He noted that the other five countries attending this week's climate change summit in Sydney
had opted for nuclear power.
"On that basis Australia will supply uranium to those countries that have the most stringent
safeguards and non proliferation agreements in place which will be of course policed by the
Intentional Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna," Mr Macfarlane said.
"These are decisions that other countries have made.
"Whether or not Australia goes down that path or looks at a different mix of renewable energy
along with zero emission coal it really needs to be debated."
Mr Macfarlane has held talks with Mr Bodman and business leaders at the Asia Pacific
Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Summit.
The talks are focused on encouraging businesses to work with governments to develop
technological solutions to reduce greenhouse gases.

Diario de León (España): Un ballenero japonés colisiona contra un buque de Greenpeace

La persecución acabó en colisión. Después de dos semanas de hostigamiento a los barcos
japoneses que se dedican a la caza de ballenas en el Antártico -con fines científicos, según
Japón-, un ballenero embistió ayer a uno de los dos buques de Greenpeace, el Arctic Sunrise,
que tratan de impedir la captura de cetáceos.

La causa de la colisión no está muy clara y las dos partes se acusan recíprocamente de haber
provocado el accidente. Según la versión de la organización ecologista, los hechos se

produjeron cuando el ballenero Nisshin Maru se encontraba transfiriendo carne de ballena de
sus bodegas a un buque de suministros, el Oriental Bluebird. Entonces, un grupo de activistas, a
bordo de una lancha neumática, comenzaron a pintar las palabras «carne de balle-na del
santuario» en el costado del Oriental Bluebird. El barco de Greenpeace se encontraba a más de
un kilómetro de distancia cuando el ballenero Nisshin Mura se desenganchó del buque de
suministro y enfiló hacia el Arctic Sunrise, golpeándolo en el lado de babor.

«No hay palabras para describir este hecho. Nos han embestido deliberadamen-te, poniendo en
serio peligro la seguridad de nuestro barco y las vidas de nuestra tripulación», dijo Shane
Rattenbury, responsable de la expedición, quien aseguró que denunciará el hecho y que
continuarán con la campaña contra la caza de ballenas.

Por su parte, el director del instituto japonés de investigación de cetáceos, Hiroshi Hatanaka,
culpó del hecho a Greenpeace, a la que instó a «cesar de una vez por todas su acciones
peligrosas y criminales».

Le Soleil (Canada):Provigo fait la vie dure aux sacs en plastique
Réjean Lacombe
Un peu tout le monde a décidé de mener la vie dure aux fameux sacs en plastique. Le secteur de
l'alimentation ne fait pas exception à cette démarche. Loblaws-Provigo, Métro et Sobeys-IGA
font des pieds et des mains pour se débarrasser en douce de ces mal-aimés de l'environnement.

Provigo qui a pris le virage vert au début des années 90 a peut être trouvé la méthode idéale
pour reléguer aux oubliettes ces petites pestes de l'environnement. En fait, la porte-parole de
Provigo, Mme Josée Bédard, explique que l'entreprise offre aux consommateurs des alternatives
aux sacs en plastique.

Ainsi, les supermarchés Maxi et Maxi & Cie qui appartiennent à Loblaws offrent le maxi-bac
qui se transforme en un véritable panier d'épicerie. Le consommateur peut ainsi transporter du
supermarché à la maison ses victuailles tout en minimisant considérablement le risque de les
endommager. Toutefois, chaque bac coûte 2,99 $.

Jusqu'à maintenant, semble-t-il, cette opération est couronnée de succès. Si bien que le groupe
Loblaws-Provigo songe sérieusement à offrir ces paniers d'épicerie dans d'autres supermarchés
qui leur appartiennent.

« Il est difficile d'évaluer avec précision, précise Mme Bédard, le nombre de sacs qui seront
économisés avec l'utilisation du maxi-bac. Les ventes sont très bonnes. Selon de nombreux
directeurs de magasins Maxi et Maxi & Cie, l'arrivée du maxi-bac a relancé l'engouement de
notre clientèle pour cette alternative écologique aux sacs en plastique. »

                              ROAP Media Update 9 January2006

                                    UN or UNEP in the news

Climate change hits weather
Rajesh Sinha, 10 January 2006 - NEW DELHI: Delhi was cold like never before this winter.
Mumbai had rains like never before last monsoon and southern states had unusually heavy rains
about a month ago. The summer heat had also been abnormal in many parts of the country.
Weather patterns are going haywire due to climate change and extreme weather are becoming a
regular feature. RK Pachauri, chairman of Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
said according to projections of scientists, extreme events of weather - severe cold or heat,
heavy rains, droughts, storms and cyclones - would increase in intensity and frequency. And,
they were also going to occur in new locations that had never experienced them.
…As climate-related droughts bite harder, water wars will vie with oil wars. The UN's
environment agency (UNEP) warned in 1999 that 14 African countries were already subject to
water stress or water scarcity and a further 11 countries would join them in the next 25 years.
The world is seeing is a rising number of "environmental refugees".
Unfortunately, at this point, we are not even looking at these aspects. There was an urgent need
to create a knowledge base and systems to prepare for consequences of climate change. The
Indian Meteorological Department has neither the expertise nor the equipment for the task, said

The Banned Pesticide in Our Soil
BioX, China, 10 January 2005 - FOR YEARS, COMMERCIAL GROWERS have been using
methyl bromide to strip their soil of pathogens that impede plant growth. Colorless, odorless,
cheap to make (often formed as a byproduct of other bromide manufacturing processes) and
relatively easy to use, methyl bromide is an incredibly effective fumigant, whose tiny molecules
disperse quickly and efficiently throughout the soil. It wipes out the vast majority of soil pests
so well that when it was introduced, farmers practically abandoned all other options. They
simply inject the gas 30 to 60 centimeters below the soil surface, often planting a few days later.
…However, Marten Barel, a consultant for several United Nations agencies, and a member of
the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (part of the UN Environment Program,
or UNEP) argues that growers do not, in fact, need methyl bromide, because alternatives are
available in most circumstances. "Many growers have already adopted alternatives and use them
successfully in the US and other countries," says Barel. For instance, he notes that Holland was
once the largest user of methyl bromide in europe, but the country phased it out a decade ago.
The phase-out led to technical innovation and modernization in crop production, with many
benefits for growers as a result, Barel says.

Khoo Swee Chiow breaks Guinness World Record
Everest News, Nepal - Jan 5, 2006, An attempt by Singapore Adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow to
break the existing record of 212.5 Hours underwater
Having conquered great heights and vast distances climbing, skiing, cycling and swimming,
Singapore Adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow shall now be conquering new territory going
underwater. For his latest adventure, Swee Chiow shall attempt to break the Guinness World
Record of the Longest Scuba Submergence (controlled environment). The record to break, set in
1986, is 212 hours 30 minutes.
The challenges facing Swee Chiow in spending 9 days underwater are sleep deprivation,

dehydration, skin maceration, chest muscular fatigue from breathing underwater, ear infection,
eye irritation from dry air, nausea and vertigo. He shall require great mental and physical
stamina to complete this latest challenge.
Interestingly, after 10 years of global expeditions, this will be Swee Chiow's first adventure to
be carried out on Singapore soil, and his first adventure where he will not be travelling
anywhere. He shall attempt this latest challenge in a specially built water tank measuring
20x10x8 feet, where the public shall be able to interact and encourage him through a viewing
In line with the theme of giving, Swee Chiow, a North East resident, will be giving a very
special gift to the residents of the North East and Singapore on Christmas Day - A World
Record. This shall further establish Singapore on the World Map as a nation of record setters
and breakers. In addition, this feat will be a platform to promote The Indian Ocean - South-East
Asia (IOSEA) 'Year of the Turtle - 2006', a marine turtles and habitat conservation campaign
staged by UNEP, United Environmental Programme and CMS, Conservation of Migratory

UNEP Beijing Office’s input to ROAP media update –11 January 2006
                                   General Environment News

Cleaning up Songhua River is a priority
China Daily 2006-01-10
HARBIN: Top Chinese environmental protection officials have listed water pollution control in
the Songhua River's drainage area as one of the key water pollution control and prevention
projects in the country. It is soliciting suggestions for a five-year plan concerning the control of
the river's pollution from 2006 to 2010. …A draft of a control plan for the Songhua River's
drainage area is currently being worked on by experts and will be announced to the public once
it receives approval from the State Council, according to Li Jieshi, an official from the
Heilongjiang Environment Protection Bureau. ..A primary goal in the draft is to ensure that
more than 90 per cent of the population living within the drainage area of the Songhua River
will have clean drinking water by 2010.


                             ROLAC Media Update 6 January2006 : Macaw Finds Safety in the Pantanal

By Adalberto Marcondes *
Tierramérica travelled into the heart of the Brazilian Pantanal to visit the nests of the
endangered hyacinth macaw. A successful conservation project has quintupled the population of
this majestic bird in just one decade.
CAMPO GRANDE, Brazil - Biologist Neiva Guedes fell in love with the hyacinth macaws
when she first saw them perched on the branches of a tree in the southern Brazilian Pantanal in
1989. Her conservation efforts since then have produced important victories.

"It was a vision of great beauty," Guedes recalled in an interview with Tierramérica. She has
dedicated the last 16 years to saving this endangered species.

In 1990 there were some 1,500 Anodorynchus hyacinthus, and now the population reaches
5,500, thanks to Guedes and her team, who search daily for the nests of the "arará azul", as they
are known here, deep in the Pantanal in the southwestern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Covering 250,000 square kilometers, the Pantanal is home to several watersheds and is
considered a true ecological wetlands sanctuary.

"We are checking more than 500 nests, working very closely with the landowners and the ranch
workers," says Guedes, who the Netherlands declared a Knight of the Order of the Golden Ark
in recognition of her conservation efforts.

The "pantaneiros" who live or work in the Pantanal, are the best allies for preserving the
macaw, one of the most threatened species on the planet.

Thousands of these birds have been identified with a subcutaneous computer chip implanted by
Guedes and her team, who are thus able to collect valuable information about the species and
determine new ways to protect it.

There are also populations of macaws in northwestern Amazonia and in the states of Piauí,
Tocantins and Bahia, in the Brazilian northeast.

But only in the Pantanal is there a preservation effort like this. Organized through the Arara
Azul Project, with support from the local university and the Region of Pantanal, which hired
Guedes as a researcher, along with her lead assistant, a former military officer Cezar Correa.

In other areas, the macaw's situation is more serious, says Guedes. In the Amazon, the species is
one of the top targets of hunters and animal traffickers, and of indigenous peoples who use the
feathers in their crafts.

Animal trafficking is the biggest enemy of this majestic bird, which is the largest of the
macaws, measuring an average of one meter from beak to tail, and weighing about 1.3

A healthy hyacinth macaw can fetch 10,000 euros (14,124 dollars) on the European market. But
the arrival of one safe and healthy bird usually represents the deaths of dozens en route, because
the traffickers take the nests when the birds are very young or even still in eggs.

The macaw reproduces every two years, and the hatchlings need care from the parents until they
are 18 months old, says Guedes. "Once they are in captivity, they are like kittens, and that
docility is highly valued on the black market," explained the biologist.

The actions of official agencies against animal trafficking are still lacking in effectiveness, she

In the 1980s, traffickers in Brazil caught some 10,000 hyacinth macaws. Trafficking has fallen
off somewhat in the Pantanal, and despite the many threats against the species, visitors to the

area can see these birds in their natural habitat, always flying in pairs.

These monogamous birds choose their mates and stay with them for life. One can spot them
looking for food in acuri and bocaiuva palm trees, whose nuts are their exclusive source of food.

Their habitat is also highly specialized: they only nest in manduvi trees, in which the birds
expand the small holes found in the smooth trunks.

The specificity of habitat is a problem for preserving the species, comments team member
Correa, who visits 10 nests per day. For a manduvi to be big enough to hold a macaw nest it has
to be almost 100 years old. "Before that age, the wood is very hard and sometimes (the birds)
are not able to make a hole for a nest," he explained.

The trees that the macaws are using today date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Any
project for expanding the available nesting sites has to be thought out in terms of the next
century, Correa said.

Deforestation poses a serious threat for the macaw and for hundreds of species living in the
Pantanal, one of Brazil's most fragile ecosystems. Thousands of hectares are flooded, and the
plant life has been devastated, leaving the fauna without food sources and shelter.

According to a Jan. 5 report by the non-governmental organization Conservation International,
livestock grazing and soybean cultivation have destroyed 17 percent of the Pantanal's original

Carlos Camilo, born and raised in the Pantanal, has been in charge of running a ranch in the area
for the past 15 years. There used to be more panthers, deer and other large animals, he says.
"Today they are increasingly rare," and deforestation is the leading cause of their absence, he

To make up for the shortage of trees, the Arara Azul project is working on building artificial
nests. After several experiments, Guedes and her team were able to create wooden boxes that
can be hung among the branches of the manduvi tree, to resemble the natural holes of the trunk
-- and they have had some positive results.

The project has the support of the World Wildlife Fund, which pays salaries for the apprentices
to the project, and from the Caiman and Ararauna inns, which serve as logistical bases for the
technical teams and for visitors who come to learn about their work.

The effort also has the backing of companies and private foundations, including Toyota,
Telecom Brasil, Hyacinth Macaw Fund and the Smart Family Foundation.

                            UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
                                    DAILY NEWS
9 January, 2005

UN Security Council carefully weighs next steps for mission in Ethiopia, Eritrea
9 January - While concerned about border tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as the
latter’s ban on United Nations overflights, the world body is avoiding making hasty decisions
on the future of its peacekeeping operation in the Horn of Africa countries, a senior UN official
said today.
After a closed Security Council meeting on the UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE),
Under- Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno told a news conference: “What was clear in the
Council is that there is a sense of urgency, of crisis; that this is not business as usual because
obviously the status quo is unsustainable.
“At the same time there is also a recognition that one should not rush to precipitous decisions,
that everything has to be done to avoid increasing the risk on the front line between Ethiopia
and Eritrea and so time has to be given for diplomacy,” he added.
Eritrea has increased its criticisms of the UN for not forcing Ethiopia to accept the border
delineated in 2002, awarding Badme, the town that triggered the fierce 1998-2000 conflict, to
In his latest report to the Council, Mr. Annan said UNMEE could buy time “for diplomatic
initiatives to unblock the current dangerous stalemate,” or opt for relocation, moving most of
those UN staff now in Asmara, Eritrea, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Other options offered included transforming the mission into an observer or a political liaison
mission, or creating a preventive force deployed south of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ)
currently held by Ethiopia. Or, Mr. Annan added, “UNMEE could be withdrawn entirely.”
Mr. Guéhenno said he was in constant touch with the troop contributing countries and they were
aware that a decision to withdraw could have “momentous consequences,” but at some point
tough decisions would have to be made if developments did not go the way they should.
He welcomed the announcement made by the United States Ambassador that his Government
would soon send a highpowered mission to the two countries.
Earlier today, Ambassador John Bolton told journalists at UN headquarters that US Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, would lead the delegation in an effort to
end the dispute between the two countries on border demarcation.
This involvement by a key Council member in the crisis would give diplomacy a chance, Mr
Guéhenno said, and he hoped that in the weeks ahead the window that had been opened would
not be shut and that “every effort be made to take advantage of that diplomatic engagement to
move the process forward.”
The Council passed resolution 1640 in November giving the two countries until 23 December to
reduce troop levels under threat of sanctions. It also warned Eritrea that it would also face
sanctions if it did not lift its restrictions on UNMEE and it urged Ethiopia to accept the new
boundary. Ethiopia agreed to withdraw some soldiers from the border, but Eritrea demanded
that the UN withdraw peacekeepers of certain nationalities from its territory.

UN seeks Brazilian successor to late force commander in Haiti, peacekeeping chief says
9 January - The United Nations is working with Brazil to find a possible successor to the Force
Commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, who was found dead over the weekend,
the head of the world body’s peacekeeping department said today.

Speaking to reporters in New York, Jean-Marie Guéhenno paid tribute to 58-year-old
Lieutenant-General Urano Teixeira Da Matta Bacellar of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti
(MINUSTAH) for a long and successful career. “The tragic death of General Bacellar has
affected all of us,” said Mr. Guéhenno. “He was a committed soldier who served his country for
39 years and had a distinguished service with MINUSTAH.”
Brazil has made a very strong commitment to Haiti, and another Brazilian Force Commander
would be welcomed, he added.
With the investigation into the death still going on, he declined to comment further on the
circumstances, but stressed that
MINUSTAH’s work continues apace. “The mission is very much under control. Actually, it is
working to prepare for the elections.”
Mr. Guéhenno also welcomed an announcement from the Caribbean country during an
otherwise tragic weekend that the
twice-postponed first round of elections would take place on 7 February. The Security Council
had said last week that the poll should be held by that date at the latest.
Mr. Guéhenno attributed recent trouble in Haiti to the fact that the status of the elections had
changed from having been a dream 12 months ago to becoming a reality. “And it is a reality that
everybody will have to face up to because the elections are going to be free (and) honest,” he
MINUSTAH, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Haitians would exert all
possible efforts to ensure that the elections would give everyone a fair chance to compete and
that afterwards the losers would not be “sidelined or crushed” in the too frequently manifested
winner-take-all proposition in that country, but would be reconciled, Mr. Guéhenno said.
He said Haiti had made tremendous progress in a number of areas. “When I visited Haiti in June
in Bel Air I had to be in an armoured personnel carrier, with a helmet and a flak jacket and Bel
Air was basically an off-limits place. Now the situation in Bel Air is much better, as it is in most
parts of Haiti.”
He acknowledged that the situation in Cité Soleil, another poor suburb of the capital, remains
difficult. There, gangs are mixed with civilians, which is an operational challenge for any force
in the world, Mr. Guéhenno added, and the peacekeepers were looking for ways to “strengthen
their posture.”
Deputy Force Commander General Eduardo Aldunate Herman of Chile has assumed command
of the MINUSTAH force.

UN envoy to Iraq says all parties must honour sanctity of holy sites
9 January - Reacting to an incident at the Umm al-Qura mosque in Iraq, the senior United
Nations envoy to the country today stressed that all parties must honour the sanctity of holy
In a statement released in Baghdad, Ashraf Qazi voiced regret at the event yesterday, when
some security forces entered the mosque.
Mr. Qazi called on the responsible authorities to ensure that the issue is investigated as quickly
and transparently as possible.
This incident, following others in recent weeks involving places of worship, should serve as a
reminder of the need to eschew violence and build mutual trust and confidence, Mr. Qazi said,
calling on all concerned to support a fully inclusive political process that would increase
stability and a peaceful future for the people of Iraq.
Also today, on the occasion of the holy Muslim holiday Eid Al Adha, Mr. Qazi wished the
country’s citizens a peaceful celebration.
“Eid Al Adha El-Mubarak is always a time for people to reach out to one another and solidify
the common bonds amongst them,” he said in a message released in Baghdad.

“For the Iraqi people, this particular Eid Al Adha holds a special meaning as they undergo a
process of national healing and unity,” he added.
Mr. Qazi wished all of the Iraqi people, representatives and their leaders “a festive and peaceful

Top UN envoy for Sudan urges speedier progress in Darfur peace talks
9 January - The top United Nations envoy to Sudan is on his way to New York after attending
the peace talks on the country’s troubled Darfur region in Abuja, Nigeria, where he urged the
Khartoum Government and rebel groups to speed up the pace of negotiations, a UN spokesman
said today.
Jan Pronk, Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, discussed the status of the
negotiations on Darfur and the way forward there with mediators and international observers as
well as the parties involved, the spokesman added.
Mr. Pronk is scheduled to brief the Security Council on Sudan on Friday.
Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reported that West Darfur remains volatile
following last week’s ambush on an African Union (AU) convoy in which one AU soldier was
killed and four others injured. There are conflicting reports on the identity of the perpetrators.
“The tragic death of a soldier from the African Mission is an illustration of the challenges that
this peacekeeping operation is facing," Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno said at a
press conference today. “More often than not, unfortunately, it is facing a situation that is not a
peacekeeping situation.
“The situation has to move into a peacekeeping situation," he stressed. “That means that the
Abuja process has to produce results.”
In his latest report to the Council on Sudan, Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for urgently
improving security in Darfur and intensifying the search for a durable political peace, including
a permanent ceasefire.

Security situation in Central African Republic still ‘precarious,’ Annan says
9 January - The security situation in the Central African Republic, which is rebuilding after a
civil war, remains “precarious” and international support for the country is crucial to
consolidating stability, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report to the
Security Council released today.
Mr. Annan also said that despite the fact that “the overall human rights situation was slowly
improving,” flagrant violations still occurred.
Last month, Mr. Annan extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support
Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) until the end of 2006 at the request of the
Government. And in today’s report, the Secretary-General repeated the need for the
international community to remain engaged in the country.
“The immensity of the task to be accomplished is beyond the capacity of the Central African
Republic alone, which is still recovering from the effects of the politico-military crises and
social tensions it has so recently undergone,” the Secretary- General said.
“Armed gangs continue to interfere with agricultural and commercial activities and precipitate
significant population displacements towards Chad and Cameroon,” Mr. Annan added.
The report also said the crisis in Darfur, in neighbouring Sudan, had made “the security
situation all the more worrisome” in the Central African Republic, while developments in other
African countries could also have an impact.
“If the disturbing military and humanitarian developments in some neighbouring countries
should escalate they might also destabilize the Central African Republic, given its geographical
position in central Africa,” Mr. Annan warned.

UN agency concerned about four Uzbek refugees detained in Kyrgyzstan
9 January - Officials with the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) are calling on the
Kyrgyz Government to refrain from any action aimed at forcibly returning four Uzbek refugees
now in detention to their home country.
The today voiced concern about the fate of the four, who remain in custody in Kyrgyzstan
months after they were arrested following an extradition request from the Uzbek Government.
Officials with the Geneva-based agency have assured the Kyrgyz authorities that they would
help find solutions to the situation, including resettlement in other countries.
The four arrived in Kyrgyzstan in the immediate aftermath of the violent events in Andijan last
May. They had been part of a group of some 500 asylum-seekers recognized as legitimate
refugees, but were the only ones left behind after the others were evacuated out of Kyrgyzstan
in July for urgent resettlement elsewhere.
“I have expressed my gratitude to the Kyrgyz Government for having worked closely with
UNHCR to ensure the protection
of the group,” said Ekber Menemencioglu, the Director of UNHCR's Bureau for Central Asia.
“I also wish to call on the Kyrgyz authorities to continue to provide adequate protection to the
four refugees remaining on their territory.”
The four were detained in June following an extradition request from the Uzbek Government.
Since then, they have been kept in detention in Osh, in the south of Kyrgyzstan, where they are
still awaiting a decision on their fate despite the fact that UNHCR thoroughly reviewed their
cases and determined that they are refugees who deserve protection.
Kyrgyzstan is a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and an extradition of the four
would violate the treaty’s provisions, UNHCR said.
There has been no independent investigation of the events that led to the deaths of a still-
unknown number of people in the town of Andijan in May, 2005.
Last month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, urged the Uzbek
Government to abide by international legal standards amid reports that dozens of defendants
were convicted during closed-door trials.
The High Commissioner’s Office has also found strong, consistent and credible testimony
indicting the Uzbek military and security forces had committed grave human rights violations in

UN to review progress in worldwide fight against illegal gun trafficking
9 January - Since its adoption in 2001, an international action plan to counter illegal gun
trafficking had caused unprecedented government activity in the fight against the scourge, but
the weapons continued to cause human misery, destabilize States and squelch development, the
top United Nations disarmament official said today as he opened a planning meeting for a
review of progress on the issue.
“The problem is a long-term one,” Nobuyasu Abe, the Under-Secretary-General for
Disarmament Affairs, said at the start of the preparatory session for the Review Conference to
Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, which will be held in New York
from 26 June to 7 July 2006.
The huge increase in government anti-trafficking activities because of the Programme of Action
was evidenced by the high volume of national reporting that occurred during meetings of States
on the matter held in 2003 and 2005, he said. At each gathering, over 100 national reports were
submitted to the Department for Disarmament Affairs.
Another positive development was the increase in regional cooperation and the creation of
regional institutions to assist States in carrying out the Programme.

Among the measures agreed to in the Programme of Action, countries said they would ensure
that licensed manufacturers apply an appropriate and reliable marking on each small arm and
light weapon as an integral part of the production process.
They also committed themselves to keeping comprehensive and accurate records for as long as
possible on the manufacture, holding and transfer of small arms and light weapons under their
In addition, countries agreed to strengthen their ability to cooperate in identifying and tracing
illicit small arms and light weapons and guaranteed that all confiscated, seized or collected
small arms and light weapons should be destroyed.
The preparatory meeting for the June Review Conference will run through 20 January.

UN's top rights official touring Uganda, including rebel-infested north
9 January - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour is visiting
Uganda on a weeklong official tour which will include stops in the country's troubled north.
The mission from 7 to 14 January will focus on the general human rights situation in Uganda as
well as on the protection of civilians, particularly those who have been forced to flee their
homes, according to the Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
In addition to Kampala, Ms. Arbour will visit Gulu in the north of the country and the Karamoja
region, in northeastern Uganda.
Northern Uganda has been the scene of nearly two decades of fighting between government
forces and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The Hague-based International Criminal
Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants against LRA leaders, while the OHCHR established an
office in Uganda last year in response to reported abuses.
During her mission, the first by a High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Arbour will meet
senior government officials.
She will also hold talks with representatives of State institutions and civil society organizations
as well as with traditional leaders.

Alleviating extreme poverty is affordable, UN Special Adviser say
9 January - World leaders should make 2006 “the year of real action,” senior UN adviser Jeffrey
Sachs said in Kenya today, asserting that the cost of alleviating extreme poverty is definitely
Billions more people could enjoy the fruits of the global economy, and tens of millions of lives
could be saved if donors would fulfill their commitments, Mr. Sachs, UN Special Adviser and
Director of the Millennium Project, told reporters in Nairobi, which he is visiting as part of a
tour of six African countries.
Commenting on Western assistance to African nations, Mr. Sachs stated that many United
States citizens overestimated “by 30 to 50 times” the amount of aid the US Government spends
on poor nations. He said that of the approximately $4 billion the US was spending in Africa,
“less than one penny out of every $100” actually reached Africans.
Mr. Sachs also pledged that in 2006, the Millennium Project, an initiative he is leading, would
be focusing more on food production to alleviate situations like the drought in Kenya and on
making investments in water management, health and other basic infrastructural requirements.
The UN Millennium Project is outlined in a 3,000-page document that Mr. Sachs produced one
year ago. It contains recommendations for reaching the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) of combatting extreme poverty and other global ills.
During his current visit to Africa, Mr. Sachs, who is the Director of the Center for International
Development at Harvard University, also has stops scheduled in Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali
and Senegal.

UN Sierra Leone peacekeepers protecting Special Court replaced by UN Liberia forces
9 January - With the recent departure of United Nations forces serving in Sierra Leone, a
contingent of Mongolian troops based in Liberia has been assigned to protect the Special Court
in Freetown set up to try those guilty of war crimes in the country over the past decade.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) recently wrapped up its work,
handing the responsibility for guarding the Court to the neighbouring UN Mission in Liberia
“A battalion of some 250 Mongolian peacekeepers has taken over the protection of the Special
Court for Sierra Leone,”
spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York today.
He added that the unit relieves a Nigerian battalion of “blue helmets,” which will return home.
The UN-affiliated Special Court for Sierra Leone is mandated to try those “bearing the greatest
responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian and Sierra Leonean laws”
committed in the country’s territory since 30 November 1996.
Among those whom the Court is seeking to prosecute are former Liberian President Charles
Taylor, now living in exile in Nigeria, and missing former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council
of Sierra Leone commander Johnny Paul Koroma.

Annan pays tribute to UN envoy in Myanmar upon his resignation
9 January - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today paid tribute to his Special
Envoy for Myanmar, Razali Ismail, who resigned the post he held since April 2000.
“The Secretary-General expresses his warm appreciation and gratitude for Mr. Razali’s more
than five years of service as his Special Envoy, during which he helped the Secretary-General’s
good offices aimed at facilitating national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar,” UN
spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement released in New York.
Mr. Razali’s resignation was effective when his contract expired on 4 January. No successor has
yet been named.
Over the past several years Mr. Razali has supported the Secretary-General’s efforts to push the
Myanmar Government to allow a role for opposition parties and release Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi, the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a Nobel Peace
Prize Laureate.

UN food agency hails $10 million UK donation to Pakistan quake relief
9 January - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a $10 million
contribution from the United Kingdom to help operate a helicopter fleet bringing assistance to
the survivors of the massive earthquake that hit Pakistan last October.
Michael Jones, WFP’s Emergency Coordinator in Pakistan, voiced gratitude for the donation,
which he said came in addition to advice that the UK’s Department for International
Development (DFID) has provided.
The money will help the UN airlift operation to continue until the end of March, while some of
it will also secure the operation of four MI-8 helicopters until the beginning of May.
The UN Humanitarian Air Cargo and Passenger Services running the helicopter operation in
Pakistan has received less than half of the $100 million it is seeking to continue providing life-
saving support.
Officials are warning that if additional funding does not come in, the current operation may
have to stop in the second half of March.
Since the earthquake hit the mountainous region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on 8
October, killing over 73,000 people and rendering millions homeless, air operations have been
vital for reaching hundreds of thousands of people, WFP said.

This is all the more true now that winter has set in. Thanks to the helicopters, WFP was able to
pre-position food in high altitude areas which are no longer accessible due to the snowfall. That
food will assist hundreds of thousands of people living in these areas for up to two months.

UN's force commander in Haiti found dead, circumstances under investigation
7 January - As investigators began probing the death of the senior military official leading the
United Nations peacekeeping operation in Haiti, a 58-year old Brazilian general who was found
dead today in Port au Prince, UN officials praised his legacy of peace.
In New York, a spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was “shocked and
saddened” to learn of the death of Lieutenant-General Urano Teixeira Da Matta Bacellar, Force
Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), who was discovered in his
“General Bacellar assumed command of MINUSTAH's military component on September 2005
and he had served his country with honour and distinction for almost forty years,” the
spokesman said.
The Secretary-General extended condolences, as did MINUSTAH officials in a statement
released in Port-au-Prince. “Lt. General Bacellar, who worked tirelessly to support the Haitian
people and their hope for peace, was a distinguished Brazilian soldier,” the mission said in a
statement. “His unexpected death leaves us all bereft.”
MINUSTAH paid tribute to the memory of “a professional and honourable soldier who died in
the service of the United Nations while doing his utmost to uphold the right of the Haitian
people to freely and fairly elect a President and Government of its own choosing.”
It pledged that his untimely death and sacrifice “will not weaken the resolve of MINUSTAH
and the international community to ensure the will of the Haitian people prevails and Haiti joins
the democratic community of nations.”
Lt. General Bacellar served in Brazil's armed forces for 39 years and had occupied a succession
of senior posts before his appointment as Force Commander in MINUSTAH in September


9 January 2006
       The following is a near-verbatim transcript of the noon briefing by Farhan Haq,
Associate Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
       Good afternoon.
       ** Haiti
        The Secretary-General was shocked and saddened to learn of the death on Saturday of
Lt. Gen. Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar, the Force Commander of the United Nations
Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). A full investigation is under way.
        The Haiti Mission, in a statement over the weekend, said that General Bacellar’s
unexpected death “leaves us all bereft” and said that he had done his utmost to uphold the right
of the Haitian people to freely and fairly elect a President and Government of its own choosing.
 His death, the Mission said, will not weaken the resolve of the United Nations Mission and the
international community to ensure that the will of the Haitian people prevails and that Haiti
joins the democratic community of nations.
       We have that press release and the Secretary-General’s statement upstairs.
      The Deputy Force Commander has assumed command of all of the Haiti Mission’s force
       **Statement Attributable to Spokesman for Secretary-General
      I have the following statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
on Myanmar:
       “The Secretary-General has accepted with regret the resignation of Razali Ismail, his
Special Envoy for Myanmar since April 2000. The Secretary-General expresses his warm
appreciation and gratitude for Mr. Razali’s more than five years of service as his Special Envoy,
during which he helped the Secretary-General’s good offices aimed at facilitating national
reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar. Mr. Razali’s resignation was effective on 4
January, upon the expiration of his contract.”
       **Security Council
         For the Security Council, the Security Council is holding consultations today on the
latest report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, which we had mentioned to you
last week. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations,
briefed the Security Council on that report and also on his visit to the region last month. Mr.
Guéhenno is expected to come here, to room 226, now that the consultations are wrapping up
shortly. He is expected to be here at about 12:20 p.m. to brief you on Ethiopia and Eritrea.
        Also, out as a Security Council document today is a note by the President listing the
chairs and vice-chairs of the sanctions committees of the Council, and other subsidiary bodies
of the Council for the year ending 31 December 2006.

       ** Sudan
        On Sudan, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, is on
his way to New York following a three-day visit to Abuja, Nigeria. There, Pronk discussed
with the parties, the mediators and the international observers the progress of the negotiations
on Darfur and the way forward. He urged the parties to speed up the pace of negotiations to
ensure that the seventh round of talks is the final one.
        Pronk is scheduled to brief the Security Council on Friday. Meanwhile, the United
Nations Mission in Sudan reports that the security situation in West Darfur remains highly
volatile, following last week’s ambush on an African Union convoy. Banditry, meanwhile,
continues in South Darfur.
       ** Central African Republic
        Out on the racks today is the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Central African
Republic. In it, he says that the security situation in that country has remained precarious,
especially in the western and north-eastern regions. And although the overall human rights
situation is slowly improving since the return to constitutional legality, human rights are still
often flagrantly violated.
         On a more positive note, the United Nations country team has established a system for
distributing safe water to those hit by last August’s floods. Also, the United Nations has done
much to revitalize press institutions and supply them with technical equipment. That, like I
said, is on the racks.
       ** Sierra Leone
        For Sierra Leone, a battalion of some 250 Mongolian peacekeepers has taken over the
protection of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The unit, which was previously stationed in
Liberia, relieves a Nigerian battalion of Blue Helmets, which will return home.
       The Court’s security was previously under the command of the United Nations
peacekeeping Mission in Sierra Leone, which was disbanded last month.
       ** Pakistan
       Turning now to Pakistan, the United Nations is restarting helicopter operations in the
quake-hit Leepa Valley, following last week's insecurity there. This Saturday, however,
Pakistan's quake zone is expecting heavy snow, which will again inhibit air and land operations
and increase the risk of avalanches and landslides.
       In related news, the World Food Programme today welcomed a $10 million contribution
from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, to help operate a relief
helicopter fleet. And we have a press release on that upstairs.
       **Millennium Project
         Jeffrey Sachs, the Secretary -General’s Special Adviser on the Millennium Development
Goals, is currently in Kenya, at the start of an African tour, which will also take him to Malawi,
Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal. Speaking to reporters today, he said that, whereas 2005 had
been "the year of promises", world leaders should make 2006 “the year of real action”. He said
that billions more could enjoy the fruits of the global economy, and tens of millions of lives
could be saved if commitments and pledges by donors were fulfilled. Sachs went on to say that

practical solutions existed and insisted that the cost of alleviating extreme poverty was
       We have more on that in my Office.
       **General Assembly
        In terms of General Assembly activity, President Jan Eliasson is back at Headquarters
today and is preparing for the resumption of the Summit follow-up process on Wednesday.
 Informal consultations on the Human Rights Council will be held that day, both in the morning
and in the afternoon. The consultations will continue on Friday afternoon, 13 January.
 Consultations on development and the reform of the Economic and Social Council are also
scheduled for the mornings of Friday and next Monday, 16 January. Correspondents are invited
to refer to the President’s letter of 22 December to all Permanent Representatives, which
summarizes what has been achieved so far and spells out in considerable detail what lies ahead
in the reform process in the immediate and medium term.
       The letter is available at the General Assembly website on the United Nations homepage
and copies are also available upstairs.
       Tomorrow marks the sixtieth anniversary, meanwhile, of the very first meeting of the
General Assembly, which was held at Westminster Central Hall in London. There will not be
any special event that day, because tomorrow is Eid Al-Adha, and therefore a United Nations
holiday. However, President Eliasson is issuing a statement this afternoon in observance of the
anniversary, and we have that statement available upstairs.
       **Press Conference on Wednesday
       On Wednesday, we have a press conference scheduled at 12:45 p.m. with David
Nabarro, the United Nations System Avian Influenza Coordinator, who will be here to provide
us with an update on the avian flu, especially on the latest cases in Turkey.
       **United Nations Holiday
        And lastly, I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow is Eid Al-Adha, the Muslim Feast
of the Sacrifice, which is an official United Nations holiday. As is the usual practice, we will
have a duty officer available, should you need assistance. And the regular noon briefing will
resume on Wednesday.
       That’s it from me. Like I said, we expect Jean-Marie Guéhenno to be here in this room
in about 10 minutes or so from now.
       Any questions?
       **Questions and Answers
       Question: Will Mr. Guéhenno be answering questions on Haiti?
        Answer: You are welcome to ask him. Obviously, the purpose of this particular
briefing is for him to talk to you about Ethiopia and Eritrea, because he just finished speaking to
the Security Council about the developments there. So that’s what he is going to talk about first
and foremost. But you can ask him what you want.

       Question: Well, then I’ll ask you: was there an altercation over the use of force
between [Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission, Juan Gabriel]
Valdes, and the Brazilian general the day before?
        Answer: We are not going to engage in any speculation about what might have
happened and what might have occurred prior to General Bacellar’s death at this stage. Our
Department of Safety and Security is on the ground there trying to investigate this matter, and
we’ll try to have a full investigation of what has happened.
        Question: And secondly, this news broke out of Haiti yesterday in drips and drops. I
don’t know whether it was just bad telephones, but neither you nor anyone outside of our people
on the ground in Haiti could get one word. This has got to stop, because it is a vital
peacekeeping mission -- and it’s not three days later when Guéhenno gets his act together that
we get any story out of here. It’s over, you know.
       Answer: No, we recognize the problems. Our colleagues in Haiti have sometimes told
us about the bad communications apparatus, and we certainly sympathize with them about that,
but we will certainly try to provide information as quickly as possible. I do know that Special
Representative Valdes did speak to the press, and we’ll try to get his briefing notes as quickly as
we possibly can.
         Question: You spoke to him today? – no, yesterday?
         Answer: No, yesterday, he spoke.
         Question: Yesterday, one needed just bare minimum details or a reaction that was a
little better than the thing that you put out. I mean, it is just impossible to communicate in Haiti,
or for your office to communicate with Haiti. I don’t know if peacekeeping is doing it and
peacekeeping is not talking to you ... But when it first happens you want a few more details.
        Answer: No, we are trying to get communications from our colleagues there and we
will try to improve that, but ...
         Question: Or are they just not talking to you?
         Answer: No, no. David Wimhurst, for example, has been in touch with our office
earlier this morning, so we’ve got some information from him and we’ll try to get more as the
day progresses.
         Question: Farhan, I’d like to make another complaint, having just been outside trying to
listen to Ambassador Bolton at the stakeout. It was impossible to hear him. There was no
sound, there was no audio engineer there.
         Answer: The regular boom mike wasn’t there?
         Question: There was no audio engineer there.
         Answer: OK, we’ll certainly take that up immediately after this briefing. I am quite
         Question: About Haiti: are you aware that today there is a big strike in Haiti?

       Answer: The Mission on the ground has been dealing with all the recent developments,
including those reports of strike activity. We’ll try to see whether there are any details that they
are providing about their response to that.
       Question: Does the Secretary-General have any comments on the reports that Syrian
President is not going to cooperate with the investigation [into the assassination of the former
Lebanese Prime Minister]?
        Answer: Well, at this stage, we are not going to comment, because at this stage, the
International Independent Investigation Commission is dealing with the question of how its
request will be responded to. We did get information from them late last week that they did
receive a response from Syria. They haven’t provided any further details about the contents of
that response, and I would suggest that you be in touch with the Commission and its
spokeswoman, Ms. [Nasra] Hassan, for any further details on that response. As for cooperation,
of course, all I can do is reiterate our point that all the countries and parties who have been
asked to cooperate with that Commission should in fact do so.
      Anything else? If not, you can wait or come back into this room in a few minutes, and
Mr. Guéhenno will be here to take your questions.
       Question: Does the Secretary-General have anything to say about [UN Envoy] Yash
Ghai’s assessment that Cambodia is turning into a totalitarian State?
        Answer: In terms of that, I think you should look at the statement that came out just a
few days ago from [High Commissioner for Human Rights] Louise Arbour, which stated her
concern, particularly about the recent arrests of several human rights activists. It is a fairly
detailed response, and we put it out, I believe, last Thursday. I can share that with you
     Question: Can you give any more details on the suspected suicide of the Force
Commander in Haiti?
       Answer: An investigation is still ongoing in terms of the cause of death. So we are not
saying at this stage what the cause of death is until that investigation is complete, but our
Department of Safety and Security is handling that investigation.
       OK. So come back in a few minutes, and Mr. Guéhenno should be here to talk to you.


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