THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Thursday, 16 February 2006
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
Olympic officials are not deterred by small crowds (Deutsche Presse Agentur)
Flamme soll kleiner werden (Berliner Zeitung)
Green name of game (24 hours)
Conservation 'need more investment' (Jakarta Post)
Les énergies renouvelables, solution aux changements climatiques (Plein Soleil)
Project to develop sewage system launched (Antigua Sun)
Orphan Chimpanzee Rescued (The Cameroon Tribune)
Other Environment News
La entrada en vigor del Protocolo de Kyoto (Agence France Presse)
EU pressures Bush over climate accord (Independent)
Hole in ozone layer expected to increase (The Guardian)
Depuis quand le Sahara est-il un désert ? (Futura Sciences)
BBC links to huge climate project(BBC)
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
UN Daily News of 15 February 2006
S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 15 February 2006
Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.unep.org
Deutsche Presse Agentur: Olympic officials are not deterred by small crowds
By John Bagratuni
Olympic officials insist they are not put off by small crowds at the competition sites and say
that the fewer spectators present than at other Games is a deliberate choice.
The Turin Games are a far cry from the more than 100,000 ski-crazy Norwegians who attended
each of the cross-country races 1994 in Lillehammer.
Attendance at popular figure skating is also lower than for instance in Salt Lake City 2002.
The Turin organising committee TOROC imposed a limit at mountain venues simply in order to
avoid a transportation collapse on the narrow routes to the venues.
"It was agreed with the federations and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to transport
less people," said organising committee spokesman Guiseppe Gattino on Wednesday.
Gattino also named another reason for the smaller crowds which at some venues has even raised
complaints by athletes.
"People are working in February. It is unrealistic to think that 50,000 people will go to the
mountains," he said.
The IOC has no objections with spokeswoman Giselle Davies saying that it isn't big attendance
alone but the atmosphere created by those at the venues that is equally important.
TOROC has 1 million tickets overall on offer for the Games, of which 802,000 were sold by
Wednesday. TOROC has met its financial target of 64 million euros from ticket sales.
But TOROC has also dished out 42,000 tickets for events in sports less popular in Italy for the
symbolic price of 1 euro each to school children as part of an education scheme.
That fills seats in otherwise very empty venues and is also part of the Olympic legacy scheme,
as Olympic memories may prompt youngsters to take up a sport, for which the Games' venues
could then be used.
Olympic legacy is a key element of Games these days, for TOROC and the IOC.
"The excellent legacy prospects for Torino and the surrounding area are becoming clearer," said
Jean-Claude Killy, head of the IOC co-ordination commission, last September.
Gattino said that the legacy was one reason why the ice skating arena seats around 9,000 and
"It is part of the legacy that the arenas are not too big. They would be fully crowded today and
fully empty in the future. Our capacity is coherent with post-Olympic use," said Gattino.
The legacy also includes environmental concerns.
When Turin was declared the first "Green" Olympics by the European Union in January, with
Piedmont region head Mercedes Basse saying that "practices of energy-savings and CO2
control, in line with the Kyoto Protocol" were also a key element of the legacy.
"The EU certificate shows that we are state of the art," said Gattino.
Thursday marks the first anniversary of the enforcement of the Kyoto protocol and United
Nations executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Klaus
Toepfer of Germany, will be in the Olympic host city to adress fans and athletes on the Medals
Plaza on the day.
Berliner Zeitung:Flamme soll kleiner werden
UMWELT. Klaus Töpfer will das Problembewusstsein von Zuschauern und Athleten schärfen.
Der frühere Umweltminister und heutige Chef des Umweltprogramms der Vereinten Nationen
(UNEP) wird am Donnerstag eine Rede auf dem Medal Plaza halten, am Jahrestages des
Inkrafttretens des Kyoto-Protokolls zur Reduzierung der Treibhausgase. UNEP hält die Spiele
von Turin für "die umweltfreundlichsten der Geschichte". Sie sollen die erste Großveranstaltung
ohne negativen Einfluss auf das Klima sein, sieben Millionen Euro wurden investiert. Für
italienische Umweltaktivisten ist das zu wenig. Sie verlangen, die Olympische Flamme am
Kyoto-Tag zu löschen oder herunterzufahren. Die Flamme verbrauche 1500 Kubikmeter Gas
pro Stunde, so viel wie ein Dorf mit 750 Einwohnern in einem Jahr.
24 hours (Canada): Green name of game
By Bob Mackin
Torino, Italy: Athletes come to the Olympic Games vying for gold.
Organizers in Torino are trying to stay green or get green, depending on your perspective.
Torino Organizing Committee is hyping its Ambiente 2006 sustainability program today, the
first anniversary of the Kyoto Accord.
"It's an important moment for TOROC because for us it will be an opportunity to underline all
the commitments TOROC has done to have an environmentally friendly attitude in our
activities and in our organization," said TOROC spokesman Giuseppe Gattino.
Being an industrial city, it has its air pollution problem. Smog alerts are not uncommon.
TOROC began its own micro-version of Kyoto, called HECTOR (Heritage Climate Torino). It
estimated 121,000 tons of carbon dioxide would be produced during the Olympics and
Paralympics - almost 60 per cent from venue operations and 22 per cent from transportation to
venues. It's being offset by the equivalent of 151,000 tons of carbon credits through five
projects to lessen greenhouse gas emissions at public buildings before 2012. It was kicked off
by a 5 million Euro financing package by Piedmont Regional Government.
Each Games employee, it's expected, will produce the equivalent of 500 kg of greenhouse gas
emissions. Since pins are a currency unto themselves at the Games, TOROC staffers are selling
enviro-themed keepsakes for 10 Euros. Proceeds go to projects in Mexico, India/Sri Lanka and
Tons of solid waste are generated daily so the Games have five colour-coded containers: yellow
for paper and cardboard; grey for plastic; brown for organic waste; blue for glass and tins; and
green for stuff that can't be recycled. TOROC said the latter would be turned into refuse-derived
fuel, which might be a euphemism for fire.
Methane, rather than diesel oil, is used for heating the ice venues.
Lines and other markings on the ice at hockey's Palasport Olimpico are natural. Only
Palaghiaccio, home of curling, at Pierolo will remain a permanent ice sports venue.
The other four will be used for sports, concerts and exhibition.
Buildings were made with pedestrians, not vehicles, in mind.
In the mountains, TOROC boasts of tree planting and stream cleanups and built 10 water
Four of the six media villages will be used after the Games, including one for residential use.
The buildings are mostly on reclaimed industrial land and were aligned to maximize sunshine
during winter with rooftop gardens.
The Olympic Village, home of 2,500 athletes, coaches and officials in 39 buildings, is almost a
third of a kilometre from the Olympic District, where Oval Lingotto is host to speed skating and
Palavela has figure skating and short track speed skating.
Walking is the norm. The Olympic Village is on the former site of Torino's outdoor market and
employs Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating, energy-saving lightlbulbs and the insulation is
recycled cellulose fibre. Rainwater is recirculated to keep the gardens green.
When in Torino, one must do as the Torinese do. Which means eating pizza with a knife and
fork. Slices are a quarter of a pie and the cutlery will put you through a Uri Geller-like
experience. It's biodegradable and bends with ease. But you've gotta give the Torinese credit for
Jakarta Post: Conservation 'need more investment'
Last week, some 150 health and environment ministers from around the world gathered in
Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, to discuss the best way of halting the deterioration of the
planet's environment. The Jakarta Post's Tubagus Arie Rukmantara attended the event. This is a
report of the three-day meeting.
Rifai, an official at the Indonesian Consulate-General in Dubai, advised The Jakarta Post not to
travel to the Middle East in the middle of the year because the temperature could reach more
than 50 degrees Celsius.
However, his compatriot, Bambang, noted that Indonesia, along with the rest of Asia and
Africa, were also feeling the heat.
"The bottom line is the world is getting warmer," said Bambang, who works for an oil company
While there is still argument about how bad global warming will be, scientists have reached a
consensus that climate change will not only bring shifts in temperature, but will also affect sea
levels, rainfall, humidity and winds.
In a report recently published by The Lancet medical journal, which reviewed dozens of
scientific papers during the past five years, scientists found that health risks would increase as
climate changes affected water sources and migration patterns.
"Sea levels have risen in recent decades, and people had already started moving from some low-
lying Pacific islands. Such population movements often increased nutritional and physical
problems and diseases," the Qatar-based newspaper Gulf Times said, quoting the scientists.
About 150 health and environment ministers attending the Ninth Special Session of the United
Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Governing Council in Dubai, agreed that the threat
existed. They urged all governments to invest more in projects to save the future of the planet.
In its policy statement, UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfer said the world should focus on
strengthening its ability to deal with the economic and environmental challenges climate change
"This special session meets at another important crossroads, where the environment meets
economics. Where the urgency of balancing development with the Earth's life support systems
is being finally heard," he said.
"Where developed, developing and rapidly developing economies know that environmental
degradation is the bottleneck for economic development."
The three-day session discussed environmentally friendly energy sources and discussed green
Toepfler stressed the need to invest in cleaner, renewable energy in order to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals of 2020.
In his closing remarks, UNEP Governing Council president and Indonesian State Minister for
the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said the state needed to find more creative ways to lure
greater investment into clean energy.
Governments should set an example by focusing their purchasing power on buying energy-
efficient goods, equipment and services, he said in his closing remarks.
This was because "the high transaction costs of initial investments in renewable sources of
energy and efficiency remain an investment barrier."
"The ministers recommended that governments should revise their energy tax and pricing
frameworks to ensure that these reflect the full costs of energy production, consumption and
use, and phase out environmentally harmful subsidies in favor of other energy sources," he said.
In the Indonesian context, he told the Post that Cabinet needed to discuss how to increase
budget allocations for the environment and how to provide incentives for regional
administrations to create clean, green areas.
"In total, the state budget's allocation to the environment is worth only Rp 5 trillion (US$541
million) to Rp 7 trillion and is spread throughout all the ministries. This is only 0.1 percent of
the total state budget amounting to about Rp 647 trillion," Rachmat said.
"We need to invest more in projects that are environmentally sound," he said.
Plein Soleil (France): Les énergies renouvelables, solution aux changements climatiques
Un nouveau rapport du Réseau d'action pour les énergies renouvelables, rendu public le 8
février 2006 lors de la 9ème session extraordinaire du programme des Nations Unies pour
l'environnement (PNUE) qui s'est tenue à Dubai, préconise le développement des énergies
renouvelables pour faire face aux changements climatiques.
Aussi bien dans le milieu scientifique que politique émerge un consensus sur le fait que le
monde pourrait échapper aux menaces les plus tragiques du changement climatique si le
réchauffement planétaire se limitait à un accroissement de deux degrés au dessus du seuil pré-
industriel, affirme, selon un communiqué publié à Dubai et à Paris, un récent rapport du
Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement (PNUE).
Selon le PNUE, 30 milliards de dollars ont été investis dans le secteur des énergies
renouvelables en 2004, contribuant à hauteur de 160 GW, soit 4 % de la capacité énergétique
Parmi ces incitations figurent le " financement carbone " et l'échange de droits d'émission
comme étant à long terme des moyens prometteurs pour le développement de marchés
d'énergies renouvelables, indique le communiqué le PNUE.
Antigua Sun: Project to develop sewage system launched
by Nikisha Smith
A new sewage system remains in the works for Antigua & Barbuda in the foreseeable future.
The Environment Division launched a multi-million dollar project last Thursday at the Musuem,
entitled ―Mitigation of Goundwater and Coastal Impacts from Sewage Discharges from St.
The project was chosen by the Integrated Watershed and Coastal Area Management (IWCAM).
The four-year project will be jointly sponsored by UNDP, UNEP, two of the Global
Environment Fund’s (GEF) implementation groups, CEHI and the government of Antigua &
The Antiguan demonstration project was the first to be chosen from among many that were
submitted by Caribbean islands, and has been in the works since 1998. Negotiations began in
1998 and the project started officially in 1999.
Paula Caballero said proper waste management is an issue for all developing states, not just
Antigua & Barbuda. She also said the level of governmental support is noteworthy.
Patricia Aquing said the results of the demonstration project; the successes and challenges
should be able to be replicated in any other developing state around the world. Because of the
similar developmental challenges that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) share, the project
would serve as a model for dissemination through the main IWCAM project.
The first stage of the project involves assessing the level of damage that has been done to the
watershed in St. John’s and to find ways to mitigate the damage.
Melesha Banham, environmental officer, said the project falls under the division because waste
from the drainage in St. John’s eventually reaches the coastal areas, creating a potential
The budget of the project is approximated to be a total of US$22 million, with the government
co-funding US$8.6 million of that cost.
It was revealed that Antigua & Barbuda is the small island developing state with the most GEF
sponsored projects in the Caribbean.
Those present at the launch were Ambassador John Ashe, Chief Environmental Officer Dianne
Black-Layne, Chief Health Inspector Lionel Michael, United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) representative Paula Caballero, United Nations Environment Programme
representative (UNEP) Chris Corbin and Patricia Aquing, Caribbean Environmental Health
Institute (CEHI) representative.
The Cameroon Tribune: Orphan Chimpanzee Rescued
Bafia (Mbam and Inoubou): An orphan chimpanzee, with a poacher’s bullet wound on its head
was rescued from the hands of a dealer specialized in trade in protected wildlife species on
January 29, 2006 in Bafia. Four large sacks of drugs popularly known as marijuana, weighing
about 50kilogrammes were also seized from the dealer along with the young chimp.
Shortly after the arrest, the Head of the Mbam and Inoubou Divisional Delegation for
National Security, Commissioner Alega Germain told pressmen that the arrest was proof of the
age-old link between illegal trade in protected wildlife species and trade in drugs at local,
national, regional and international levels. Admitting that trade in drugs has been documented in
Bafia in the past, Mr. Germain said, that was the largest consignment of drugs so far arrested in
The arrest is part of a nation-wide campaign launched by the Cameroon Government in
2003 with the support of the Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA) which aims at the effective
application of the 1994 wildlife law by effectively bringing offenders to book. The operation is
being carried out in a process that serves as a model for inter-ministerial and non-governmental
organization cooperation involving, as it does, the National Forest and Wildlife Control Brigade
of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, the Ministry of Justice, the General Delegation for
National Security and LAGA.
The arrested dealer will face the 1994 wildlife law which provides a prison sentence of,
from 1 to 3 years and / or a fine of, from 1 to 10 million CFA francs for any person found in
possession of part of de! ad or live protected wildlife species. To the Director of LAGA, Ofir
Drori, ―trade in apes and other protected or endangered wildlife species is a very serious
Combating commercial hunting is a measure equally adopted by the 2003 Yaounde
Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) Declaration and the 2003 Kinshasa
Declaration on Ape Conservation signed during the last Council meeting of the Great Ape
Survival Project (GRASP) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The Grasp
Declaration stressed the urgent need for more effective media campaigns to highlight wildlife
crimes-a view equally held by United States Age! ncy for International Development (USAID)
through its conservation initiative known as the Central African Regional Programme for the
As the Bafia dealer awaits trial, the orphaned chimp, rescued in very poor health condition, is
on its way to the Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC)-a rehabilitation centre where it will receive
long-term appropriate care. Meanwhile, it is receiving first aid veterinary care in Yaounde by
the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund (CWAF), the In Defence of Animals Organisation (IDA) and
Other Environment News
Agence France Presse: La entrada en vigor del Protocolo de Kyoto
La entrada en vigor del Protocolo de Kyoto, que marcó un primer paso contra el excesivo
calentamiento del planeta, cumplirá dentro de dos días su primer aniversario mientras Estados
Unidos, el primer contaminador mundial, se mantiene fuera de ese compromiso.
El Protocolo, el más importante de los 220 acuerdos internacionales sobre el medio ambiente
establecidos en la historia, fue firmado por 34 países industrializados en la ciudad japonesa de
Kyoto en 1997 y entró en vigor el 16 de febrero de 2005.
Sus firmantes se comprometieron a reducir para 2012 las emisiones de gases que provocan el
efecto invernadero, causado por el consumo de energías de origen fósil como el carbón o el
petróleo, en 5,2%, el nivel que había en 1990.
El Protocolo de Kyoto sólo establece compromisos formales para los países industrializados,
que causan alrededor de 56% de las emisiones mundiales de anhídrido carbónico o dióxido de
En cambio, los 123 Estados en vías de desarrollo que ratificaron el documento -entre ellos dos
grandes contaminadores en pleno crecimiento económico como China e India- sólo tienen
obligaciones no vinculantes.
Por su parte, Estados Unidos, responsable de 25% de las emisiones de CO2 mundiales, rechazó
el Protocolo por considerar que debilitaría la economía estadounidense, en una actitud que fue
imitada también por Australia.
La conferencia de la ONU sobre el cambio climático de diciembre de 2005, en la ciudad
canadiense de Montreal, terminó sin ningún progreso simbólico, ya que Washington se limitó a
aceptar la idea de participar en discusiones informales en vista ―de acciones de cooperación a
largo plazo para hacer frente al cambio climático‖.
Dicha conferencia, sin embargo, aseguró la continuación del Protocolo de Kyoto, pues tomó la
decisión de reflexionar sobre nuevos compromisos en materia de reducción de emisiones de
gases con efecto invernadero más allá de 2012.
Independent (South Africa): EU pressures Bush over climate accord
Brussels - The European Union urged the world on Wednesday to seize the "last chance" to
agree on limiting climate change after the Kyoto treaty runs out, notably pressing the United
States on the first anniversary of the pact.
EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas noted that a climate change conference in
Montreal in December had agreed to start discussions early this year on arrangements for the
world after 2012, when Kyoto lapses.
"The international community must seize this opportunity. It is literally the last one before we
run out of time to contain climate change," he told reporters.
He noted that the EU has already made proposals to build on Kyoto, by making further deep
cuts in greenhouse gas emissions "that will be necessary to keep climate change within tolerable
"For this we need the full participation of all major emitting countries - such as the United
States - the world's leading economy, but also the world's leading polluter," he said.
Washington has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in the Japanese city of that name in
1997, on the grounds that it would simply be too expensive for US business.
The EU comments came ahead of the first anniversary Thursday of the protocol, a landmark
text aimed at tackling the carbon pollution threatening the planet's climate system, which took
effect last February 16.
Dimas said the need for action was underlined by natural disasters scientists believe to be
sparked by global warning, including Hurricane Katrina in Florida, which "brought home to us
all the terrible human suffering and the huge economic cost" of such catastrophes.
"Climate change is one of the gravest challenges we face. It poses a vital threat to the future
stability and prosperity of our societies," said the EU official.
The Guardian (UK): Hole in ozone layer expected to increase
The hole in the ozone layer could grow significantly over the next few years, reigniting fears
over skin cancer, cataracts and damage to vulnerable plant life.
According to scientists in Germany, changes in the sun's activity have delayed natural repairs to
the layer of gas high in the stratosphere, and are about to trigger further ozone loss. They say the
ozone layer, which shields the Earth from the worst of ultraviolet radiation, will not begin to
recover until the end of the decade.
Martin Dameris, who led the research at the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in Wessling, said:
"The ozone hole will stay around for another four to five years. We can't expect it to start to
recover until 2010 and then it will take another 40 to 50 years to repair completely."
Ozone depletion is a largely forgotten problem since the Montreal protocol successfully reduced
levels of CFC chemicals in the atmosphere, after British scientists in Antarctica reported they
were destroying ozone. But some experts have been puzzled by the layer's slow recovery.
The German team pins the blame on the 11-year solar cycle, which makes the amount of solar
radiation striking Earth periodically rise and fall. Scientists already knew the cycle influenced
ozone, but Dr Dameris says its role in controlling the layer's recovery has been overlooked.
Reporting their findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the team says: "We do not
expect recovery, but a return to stronger ozone depletion and deeper ozone holes in the next few
years in line with the expected lower solar activity." The sun's activity is expected to fall until
the "solar minimum" in 2007/08.
An observed increase in ozone between 1997 and 2003 is partly explained by a surge in solar
activity from 1997 to 2001, they say: "We do not believe a sustained reversal of ozone depletion
started in the late 1990s. A recovery is only pretended."
They reached their conclusions using a computer model that looked at how the sun's activity
and material spewed into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions affected ozone. They say the
computer correctly predicted levels of ozone from 1960 to 2003, making them confident it can
accurately forecast what will happen next.
Ann Webb, an ozone scientist at Manchester University, said it would take decades for the
ozone layer to recover fully because the banned CFCs degrade slowly in the atmosphere.
Some chemicals introduced to replace CFCs still damage ozone, she said, and there are
worrying signs that climate change may be making the situation worse. Scientists are
particularly worried that increased amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the lower
atmosphere could start to cool the stratosphere, accelerating ozone loss.
Last spring ozone cover over the UK neared record lows following the coldest Arctic winter on
Futura Sciences: Depuis quand le Sahara est-il un désert ?
La découverte et l'analyse de formations dunaires fossiles au Tchad par des chercheurs du
CNRS conduisent à réviser l'estimation de l'âge du Sahara. Le désert chaud le plus vaste de la
planète ne serait pas âgé de 86 000 ans, comme on le croyait, mais d'au moins 7 millions
d'années ! Ces travaux représentent le premier jalon de la reconstruction de l'histoire climatique
ancienne du Paléo-Sahara, durant une période encore largement méconnue.
Il y a quelques milliers d'années, à l'emplacement de l'actuel désert du Sahara, régnait un climat
humide et se trouvaient de nombreux fleuves et lacs, dont le Lac Méga-Tchad. Le Sahara n'est
pas pour autant un « jeune » désert : d'autres épisodes désertiques antérieurs ont été enregistrés,
le plus vieux remontant à 86 000 ans. D'autres indices, trouvés au sein de carottages réalisés
dans l'océan au large du continent africain, suggèrent l'existence en Afrique du Nord d'épisodes
arides antérieurs à ce dernier. Mais aucune étude au cœur du Sahara n'avait encore permis de le
Le Tchad, et plus particulièrement le désert du Djourab (Bassin du Tchad), est devenu une
région clef pour étudier l'origine et l'évolution des hominidés anciens. C'est à cet endroit, depuis
1994, que les chercheurs de la Mission paléoanthropologique franco-tchadienne (MPFT) ont
mis successivement au jour « Abel », Australopithecus bahrelghazali, premier australopithèque
décrit à l'ouest de la Rift Valley puis « Toumaï », Sahelanthropus tchadensis, le plus ancien
hominidé connu à ce jour.
Comprendre les modalités d'émergence des hominidés anciens passe d'abord par la
connaissance de leurs paléomilieux de vie. Aux côtés des paléontologues, des sédimentologues
cherchent aussi à découvrir les paléoenvironnements successifs (contextes sédimentologiques,
fauniques et floristiques) des hominidés anciens dans le Sahara. Leur méthode de travail repose
sur le principe de « l'actualisme » : à partir des systèmes sédimentaires actuels, ils établissent
des critères de reconnaissance pour chaque environnement (un lac, un fleuve, un désert, etc…),
qu'ils appliquent ensuite aux séries anciennes. Chaque environnement possède ainsi sa signature
géobiologique propre, ou « faciès sédimentaire », définie en termes de lithologie (études des
dépôts sédimentaires), de structures sédimentaires, de géométrie des dépôts et de contenu
Les chercheurs ont ainsi identifié dans la région de Toros Ménalla, au cœur du Djourab,
d'importantes formations de dunes fossiles témoignant d'un véritable erg dunaire fossile formé
au Miocène supérieur, il y a 7 millions d'années. C'est le plus ancien témoignage direct d'un
épisode désertique franc au Sahara. Il a précédé une phase climatique plus sahélienne marquée
par la mise en place de paysages verdoyants et de lacs éphémères.
L'identification dans le Djourab d'autres niveaux de dépôts caractéristiques des déserts suggère
que le Sahara a connu des conditions arides intermittentes au moins au cours des 10 derniers
millions d'années, à l'instar de ce qui a déjà été mis en évidence dans le Quaternaire (de 1,8
millions d'années à nos jours). Cette étude représente le premier jalon de la reconstruction de
l'histoire géobioclimatique ancienne du Paléo-Sahara, durant une période encore largement
BBC: BBC links to huge climate project
The BBC is inviting viewers to join the world's biggest online climate prediction project.
Climateprediction.net has already been running for two years and has generated forecasts on the
likely extent of climate change.
Participants download software onto their personal computers which run the program when the
machine is idle.
Its newest, most sophisticated computer model is being launched on Tuesday in conjunction
with BBC Four in the UK.
"The main change in this model is that it uses a fully dynamic ocean," said the project's chief
scientist David Stainforth from Oxford University.
"Previous versions used a very simplified ocean, whereas this one allows us to see how the
atmosphere and the ocean interact," he told the BBC News website.
The upgraded design should provide a more accurate representation of the real world, where
heat and gases are continuously exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean, and should
produce more realistic projections of future climate.
Climateprediction.net was established more than two years ago and uses the "distributed
Rather than running programs on one supercomputer, it uses the combined power of numerous
PCs, each running a slightly different computer simulation.
No two simulations produce exactly the same results; overall, the project produces a picture of
the possible range of outcomes given the present state of scientific knowledge.
Last year climateprediction.net released results from its existing model suggesting that a
doubling of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide would increase the global average
temperature by between 2C and 11C.
Distributed computing has been used before, notably by the Search for Extra-Terrestrial
Intelligence or Seti, where several million people have downloaded software enabling them to
analyse data from observations of distant stars for signs of alien life.
The scientists behind climateprediction.net believe their project is also a tool to spread
awareness and understanding of climate change.
The link to BBC television may, they believe, help with this angle of their project as well as
recruiting more users.
They hope to have initial results from the new model about three months after it is launched.
Frances McNamara, the BBC's producer for the experiment, said the project would give people
a chance to be part of efforts to tackle a warming world.
"We wanted to use the BBC's web and interactive services to help the audience to make a
personal contribution - not only to the climate change season of programming, but also to
genuinely new science."
At the end of the BBC Four programme Meltdown, viewers will be asked to log in, download,
and set their PCs to the task of predicting the climate of the future.
Meltdown, part of the Climate Chaos Season, will be broadcast on BBC Four on Monday 20
February 2006 at 21:00GMT.
ROAP Media Update 14 February 2006
UN or UNEP in the news
'Demarcation of hazard line to be completed soon'
Hindu, India, Chennai, Feb. 14. (PTI): As part of efforts to streamline coastal zone
management, demarcation of a 'hazard line' along the coastal stretch of the country would be
completed in a couple of months, Union Minister for Environment and Forests, A Raja, said
here on Monday.
Based on the recommendation of a high level committee constituted by the Central
Government, the drawing of a hazard line intends to check developmental activities within 500
metres from the sea.
…The ministry recently initiated action for preparing a National Programme of Action for
Prevention of Marine and Coastal Pollution from Land Based Activity, he said. United Nations
Environment Programme-Global Programme of Action (UNEP GPA) would fund the
project. UNEP-GPA has already given USD 50,000 to conduct the study for the project, Dr
Anjan Datta, Programme Officer, UNEP- GPA said.
Need for global law on coastal zone management: UNEP official
NewKerala.com, India - http://www.newkerala.com/news2.php?action=fullnews&id=9012
Coastal hazard line being demarcated
Chennai Online, India -
National action programme to prevent marine pollution: Raja
Webindia123, India -
Almaty to host sitting of the Caspian Ecological Programme steering committee
Kazinform, Kazakhstan, ALMATY. February 13, 2006. KAZINFORM. /Assel Soltanayeva/ A
session of the Steering Committee of the Global Ecological Fund will take place on February
14-15 in Almaty.
The sitting will be devoted to discussing the outcomes of the Caspian littoral states’ activity.
Great attention will be paid to the development of the strategic partnership of the Global
Ecological Fund, aimed at further cooperation widening of the Caspian littoral states.
The realization process of the five littoral states’ Caspian Ecological Programme is supported
by the international partners like Global Ecological Fund, UNDP, UNEP, the World Bank, and
the European Union for technical assistance to CIS countries.
The first stage of the Global Ecological Fund carried out during 1998-2002 ended with drafting
Trans-Border diagnostic analysis of the National Caspian Environmental Protection Plans and
the Caspian Sea Strategic Action Plan.
Realization of Framework Convention on the Caspian environment protection be debated
Kazinform, Kazakhstan - ALMATY. February 13, 2006. KAZINFORM. /Assel Soltanayeva/
On February 16 the reps of the members states of the Framework Convention for the Protection
of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea will convene in Almaty to elaborate coordinated
approaches for realizing Framework Convention and to define specific cooperation
mechanisms, including institutional ones.
The Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea
was signed back to November 2005 by the spokespersons of the Caspian littoral states in
Tehran. Kazakhstan ratified it on December 13, 2005. The European Office of the UN
Environment Programme in Geneva coordinates the Framework Convention activity.
NGOs Discuss Environment Plans at Int'l Forum
CRI, China - Feb 12, 2006 - China's non-governmental voice has grown stronger in the recent
global discussions on environmental issues held in Dubai at the beginning of this month.
The high-profile delegation, sent by the All-China Environmental Federation (ACEF), one of
the most influential environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) in China, was led by
Song Jian, ACEF chairman. |
At the forum, Song has clearly set forth China's standpoints on three main topics energy and the
environment, chemicals management and tourism and the environment.
…The seventh United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Civil Society
Forum was held to collect suggestions from international environmental NGOs for the ninth
Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, held
After meeting the Chinese delegation, Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director, expressed
his hope of increasing co-operation with China's environmental NGOs. Currently, UNEP carries
on most of its co-operations with the official governmental departments.
NGOs discuss environment plans at int'l forum
Xinhua, China, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-02/13/content_4171837.htm
NGOs discuss environment plans at international forum
People's Daily Online, China -
Bird flu in Africa needs more attention
People's Daily Online, China - The deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus has finally
landed on Africa when cases were reported in several chicken farms in Nigeria early February.
The epidemic has aroused wide concerns because this was the first bird flu outbreak confirmed
in Africa, indicating further spread of the disease. The channel of virus spread into the continent
is still unknown, so people are not sure about effective prevention and control measures. Being
the poorest continent of today's world, Africa is ill-equipped to handle an epidemic while the
closer contact between farmers and their fowls add difficulty to curbing virus expansion.
….The UN Environment Program, perhaps thinking the same, is preparing for a global early
warning system against bird flu. Unfortunately, scientists' predictions are proved right when
related research and the warning system are still under way.
Turin aims to host greener Games
Kazinform, Kazakhstan - TURIN. February 13, 2006. KAZINFORM - Organizers of the Winter
Olympics in Turin, Italy, promise that their games will be "the greenest ever." They have vowed
to put together a "carbon neutral" event—meaning it will have no net impact on climate
change—by investing in forestry, energy efficiency, and other measures to offset carbon dioxide
emissions from the event,
KAZINFORM cites Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas blamed for trapping heat in the atmosphere and causing
"This is the first time an Olympic event will be able to offset all the carbon emissions produced
during the event," said Ugo Pretato, the head of environmental programs for the Turin Games.
…"We expect [to generate] about 300,000 tons [272,000 metric tons] of carbon credits,
allowing us to offset also the emissions produced by spectators," said Pretato.
But Theodore Oben of the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi, Kenya, says
carbon emissions are just one way of looking at the environmental impact of an event.
There is also the issue of waste generation and the use of water and energy prior to the games.
"The ecological footprints are extensive," Oben said.
As Davao City increasingly embraces tourism to boost its economy, it faces the challenge of
tempering tourism's ugly side.
Davao Today, Philippines, By Grace S. Uddin, davaotoday.com - DAVAO CITY - Like many
Davaoenos, Danilo Dungog, a 34-year-old pump-boat operator who transports tourists to and
from Samal Island , was ecstatic over the holding in this city of the recent ASEAN Tourism
Forum. "We are happy because these foreigners will go to the beach ," Dungog said a few days
before the forum formally opened.
…Government and tourism officials are convinced that the holding in Davao City of the
ASEAN Tourism Forum, in which hundreds of tourism executives from around Southeast Asia
congregated to discuss the future of the industry, has put the city on the tourism map. Not a few
are optimistic that Davao will soon become a major tourism destination like Cebu . This early,
they are counting the potential windfall.
…These views are supported by a recent study by the United Nations Environment Program,
which said that local economies do not benefit much from tourism. "Of each US$100 spent on a
vacation tour by a tourist from a rich country," the UNEP study said, "only around US$5
actually stays in a developing-country destination's economy."
Then there's the matter of sex tourism, including child-sex tourism, one of the problems
constantly faced by developing nations as they promote tourism. In fact, according to experts,
the growth of tourism in Cebu and other areas in the Philippines , such as Boracay, has given
rise to the sexual exploitation of women and children.
US Co walks away with trademark on 'tribal' product
Webindia123, India - Thiruvananthapuram | February 12, 2006 - A tribal community in Kerala
which shared its traditional knowledge with Indian scientists for the development of a herbal
formulation is now left in the lurch with a US company bagging international trade mark for the
Once hailed as a path-breaking profit sharing formula for the tribals and the pharma industry,
the story of ''Jeevani'' known for its regeneration powers has taken the same old twist, depriving
the tribal community of the profits due to it.
…This profit sharing was endorsed by the UN Environment Programme and the World Trade
Organisation as a global model in benefit-sharing and recognising intellectual property rights of
indigenous people in accordance with the guidelines of the UN Convention on Biodiversity
But with the American company obtaining the trademark, the tribals who were instrumental in
developing the product were now deprived of their rights.
General Environment News
CSIRO muzzles climate scientists
Australian, Australia -February 13, 2006 - THREE of the CSIRO's top climate change experts
were repeatedly gagged from talking about cutting greenhouse emissions by an increasingly
censorious organisation worried about continued government funding.
In claims to be aired on the ABC's Four Corners program tonight, former CSIRO climate
director Graeme Pearman says he was told "at least a half a dozen times" not to talk publicly
when it reflected poorly on government policy.
Dr Pearman, who won a UN environment award in 1989 and an Order of Australia in 1999, told
the program he first came under scrutiny when he joined the Australian Climate Change Group,
which recommended a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.
ROA Media Update 16 February 2006
General Environment News
Avian flu: Minister says Cameroon at risk
Yaoundé, Cameroon (PANA) - Cameroon's Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Industry
Minister, Aboubakary Sarki, has warned against the dangers of the spread of the bird flu which
has been reported in neighboring Nigeria. "We are not safe from this disease due to our long
common land border (about 1,200-km) with Nigeria, where the bird flu was reported a week
ago," the Minister told journalists here Tuesday. The threat is all the more worrisome in view of
the free movement of people and animals between the two countries, and fear of migratory birds
visiting zoological gardens in northern Cameroon. The government has already launched a
national epidemiological surveillance, and set up an inter-departmental committee to arrest
potential contamination. The committee is also expected to carry out public awareness
campaigns, with specialist’s health facilities in the country standing ready. Last October, the
Public Health Ministry mobilized about 42 billion CFA for the prevention of avian flu in
Cameroon-About 540 CFA francs=1USD). The country has also received US$50,000 from the
UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), while the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has
offered to train local health workers on how to fight the virus. The World Health Organization
(WHO) is also reported to have provided Cameroon with Tamiflu, the drug against avian
influenza. Meanwhile, private daily newspaper Le Messager, Wednesday reported the
suspicious deaths last week of over 800 chickens in a farm in Yaoundé. There was no official
confirmation of the report.
Nigeria sets up bird flu Crisis Management Centre
Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo Wednesday announced the
establishment of a Crisis Management Centre to coordinate all activities in the national battle
against avian flu reported in the country last week. At a Presidential Villa meeting with officials
of the UN and donor agencies assisting Nigeria deal with the flu, Obasanjo instructed the
Ministers of Agriculture, Health as well as Information and National Orientation to show
regular presence at the Centre until the flu is contained. The Centre, which is to be equipped
with effective communications for nationwide contacts, will also serve as coordinating point for
all donors, inter-ministerial groups and task forces. It would receive reports and assistance from
the international community and disseminate information on a regular basis on the flu. The UN
Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Nigeria said the UN family and donor
community were already meeting every other day to review the situation and offer all assistance
possible. "This is not Nigeria's fight alone. The whole sub-region is at risk, so we shall provide
all necessary help to check the flu," he stressed.
Découverte de 28 oiseaux morts au large de Nouakchott
Nouakchott, Mauritanie (PANA) - Un groupe de 28 oiseaux morts ou malades ont été
découverts mardi matin à 28 kilomètres au large de Nouakchott, rapporte le quotidien officiel
mauritanien Horizon dans sa livraison du mercredi, ajoutant que cette découverte suscite
l'inquiétude chez les responsables des services concernés qui ont dépêché une mission sur les
lieux pour procéder à des prélèvements qui seront envoyés dans des laboratoires étrangers
spécialisés pour analyses. La découverte des oiseaux morts ou malades au large de Nouakchott
survient après une hécatombe dans les basses cours de 3 localités de la région de Kaédi (vallée
du fleuve) avec la mort de plusieurs centaines de poulets. Des prélèvements effectués sur ces
poulets et envoyés pour analyse à l'Institut national d'élevage et de recherches agronomiques
(ISRA) de Dakar ont permis d'établir que ces morts n'ont pas pour cause la grippe aviaire, selon
les services officiels. En dépit de ce constat cependant et conscientes du fait que la Mauritanie
n'est pas à l'abri de l'épizootie aviaire, les autorités affirment avoir renforcé un dispositif de
prévention qui était en place depuis plusieurs jours "pour faire face à la menace qui pèse sur
toute la région ouest africaine depuis la découverte, la semaine dernière, des premiers foyers
dans le nord du Nigeria".
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
15 February, 2006
HAITI: SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR PEACEFUL EXPRESSION OF ELECTORAL
Stressing that post-election demonstrations have been hampering the vote
count, United Nations Security Council members today called on Haitians to
rely on legal processes to express any concerns about last week’s
―[Council members] urge all Haitians with concerns or questions about
possible post-electoral irregularities to pursue these peacefully and
legally with the Haitian electoral authorities immediately, and they call
on those authorities to fully investigate those charges,‖ the president of
the 15-member Council for February, Ambassador John Bolton, said in a
statement to the press.
Recalling the peaceful conduct of the vote last Tuesday, the Council
appealed to the Haitian people to uphold their commitment to democracy and
the rule of law by refraining from violence as the results of the election
were being tabulated and reviewed.
―The members of the Council reiterate their call for all Haitians to
respect the results of the election when they are announced and to remain
engaged in the political process,‖ the statement said.
Earlier in the day, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations
Hédi Annabi gave the Council his daily closed-door briefing, which included
developments in Haiti.
According to a UN spokesman, Mr. Annabi said vote tabulation had not
resumed because tabulation centre employees have been reluctant to brave
the protests. He also informed the Council that the UN Stabilization
Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)
would take steps to ensure that the centre resumed its work, depending on
the security situation.
Meanwhile, UN engineering units have been clearing away the roadblocks set
up by demonstrators in recent days.
HUMANITARIAN WORKERS MUST BE PROTECTED IN CôTE D’IVOIRE, SAYS UN
Underlining the principles and laws governing humanitarian work after the
burning and looting of United Nations and partner offices in Côte d’Ivoire,
Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said today the Government has
pledged to prevent further attacks.
―The Government has assured me that it will not happen again and that
actions will be taken to prevent it,‖ he said on the first day of his
three-day visit to the West African country.
Mr. Egeland will meet national and local authorities and humanitarian
communities in Abidjan, the commercial centre, in Bouaké, the stronghold of
the armed opposition, and in Guiglo, where facilities of 10 organizations
were attacked by a youth group called the Young Patriots that supports
President Laurent Gbagbo.
The attackers were protesting a decision by the UN-authorized International
Working Group that would effectively have dissolved the National Assembly,
whose mandate had expired in December. Last week Secretary-General Kofi
Annan sent a bill to Mr. Gbagbo for the damage to UN premises.
Mr. Egeland, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said
targeting the staff and assets of international humanitarian organizations
was to be deeply regretted.
―The United Nations humanitarian organizations in Côte d’Ivoire are doing
impartial, neutral and apolitical work to assist people in a situation of
great need,‖ he said.
―We want to continue our work,‖ he added. ―We will have regular meetings
with the Government to discuss concrete measures to protect civilians and
the neutrality of our work.‖
Mr. Egeland met with Foreign Minister Youssouf Bakayoko and the
Inter-Agency Humanitarian Coordination Committee to discuss humanitarian
concerns and priorities.
Before leaving the country on Friday, Mr. Egeland will meet with
beneficiaries of humanitarian action, Government officials, representatives
of humanitarian organizations, and others, bringing relevant parties
together to commit themselves to respecting freedom of movement, protecting
civilians and providing security for humanitarian workers.
The UN maintains a peacekeeping force in Cote d’Ivoire with a total of more
than 7,500 uniformed personnel, while thousands of UN civilian staff
provide humanitarian assistance to a large portion of the population of 17
million people in addition to refugees from neighbouring countries.
A failed coup in September 2002 began a civil war that has left Cote
d’Ivoire split between a rebel-held north and a government-controlled
south. Both parties are now are now represented in a Cabinet headed by
Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny.
Meanwhile, Force Commander Lt.-Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor of the UN Mission in
Liberia (UNMIL) announced that he is sending a Nigerian mechanized infantry
company to the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in response to a
Security Council resolution that was approved earlier this month.
The unit comprises 200 soldiers and officers, together with 14 armoured
personnel carriers and support vehicles. The deployment started on Tuesday
and is scheduled to end on Friday, he said.
SECURITY COUNCIL ENDORSES DEVELOPMENT COMPACT FOR AFGHANISTAN
The United Nations Security Council today endorsed a framework for future
partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and the international
community to bolster the war-torn country’s security, economic development
and counter-narcotics efforts.
The framework, known as the Afghan Compact, sets out a five-year agenda for
sustained engagement with Afghanistan to help consolidate democratic
institutions, curb insecurity, control the illegal drug trade, stimulate
the economy, enforce the law, provide basic services to the Afghan people
and protect their human rights.
Since its launch on 31 January, at a conference in London, the Compact has
received widespread international support, including pledges of $10.5
billion for the interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy (iANDS),
which the Council also welcomed today.
In its unanimously adopted resolution, the Council also welcomed the
updated national Drug Control Strategy presented at the London conference
and encouraged additional support for it.
The Council also praised the adoption by the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) of a revised Operational Plan that would allow for
continued expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
In other news on Afghanistan today, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and
the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced that 23 former
military commanders from various provinces of the country will graduate
tomorrow from a business management course.
The Commanders Incentive Package (CIP) programme has reintegrated
approximately 320 commanders and 140 Ministry of Defence generals into
civilian life since its inception in 2004.
DROUGHT-STRICKEN SOUTHEAST ETHIOPIA NEEDS $18.5 MILLION – UN AGENCY
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) appealed today
for $18.5 million to help farmers, herders and others suffering through a
drought in south-eastern Ethiopia that has created severe food shortages
with pre-famine conditions and widespread migrations of people and animals.
More than 1 million people in the country’s Somali region alone need
immediate aid to stave off starvation as the crisis will probably worsen
with the onset of the three-month dry season in January, officials at FAO
headquarters in Rome said.
―Successive seasons of drought in the worst-affected areas have now eroded
many households’ assets to the point of destitution,‖ said Anne M. Bauer,
Director of the FAO Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division. ―A
range of appropriate emergency interventions need to be put in place as
quickly as possible before the already alarming conditions become much
The drought has hit particularly hard in the Somali and Oromiya regions,
where the impact of last autumn’s failed rainy season was intensified by
the influx of large numbers of livestock from drought-affected areas in
north-eastern Kenya and south-western Somalia.
Drought has devastated the economies of many pastoralist groups in East
African countries this year, especially Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and
Kenya, leaving 11 million people at risk of food shortages.
FAO said funds are needed for emergency interventions to save the lives of
the animals that are a key household asset for many families and will play
a role in post-drought recovery. These interventions include vaccine
supplies, vaccination equipment and animal feed as well as providing meat
and animal products to vulnerable households.
To address destitute farmers’ need for locally available seed, FAO’s appeal
calls for more than 14,000 tons of crop seeds to nearly 700,000 families in
the coming year. About 6,000 tons of seeds are urgently needed for the
planting season that just began.
FAO funds are also earmarked for the maintenance of canals and other
irrigation structures, as well as for upgrading farmers’ water management
skills so water is available for vegetable crops.
In addition, to prepare for the threat of the deadly bird flu making its
way across Ethiopia’s borders, FAO officials are working with the
Government to strengthen the African nation’s ability to monitor the
disease and train field and laboratory personnel in diagnostic skills.
DR OF CONGO: UN DELIVERS FOOD AID TO THOUSANDS FLEEING FIGHTING IN
As thousands of people flee fighting in the eastern part of the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations food relief agency is
airlifting 30 tons of aid this week via UN peacekeeping helicopters.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported yesterday that it urgently needs
$20 million to help about 800,000 internally displaced people and refugees
in the eastern part of the vast African nation. For the entire country, WFP
needs $75 million for a $191 million recovery operation that will help up
to 1.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable
people until June of this year.
Last week, helicopters from the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC)
began transporting UN supplies, including seven metric tons of WFP
fortified maize flour, to Mitwaba town, located about 60 kilometres from
Lubumbashi in Katanga Province. WFP’s partner, Action Contre La Pauvrete,
began distributing the food on Saturday.
In addition, trucks loaded with 100 tons of WFP maize flour, enriched
vegetable oil and salt left Lubumbashi last week for Mitwaba. The food sent
by road and air should cover the needs of 13,600 displaced people for two
The consequences the five-year-long civil war that ended in 2002 and
ongoing unrest have devastated people’s food security, WFP said. Farmers
fear for their lives and cannot tend their fields and sexual violence
against women continues.
Felix Bamezon, WFP’s Country Director in DRC, said the country’s needs
remain very acute and the agency’s operations are badly under-funded. ―We
had to close a sub-office in Mbuji-Mayi, the capital of Kasaï Oriental
province, in September because of the lack of funding,‖ he said.
FORMER RWANDAN OFFICIAL SHOULD BE TRIED IN NORWAY: UN GENOCIDE
The Prosecutor of the United Nations Tribunal set up to bring to justice
the organizers and leaders of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda today requested
that a former senior official, accused of involvement in the mass killings,
be tried in Norway.
Michel Bagaragaza, who surrendered last year, had pleaded not guilty to
charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, or in complicity in
genocide, but had agreed ―to assist the process of justice‖ by giving
testimony, according to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Mr. Bagaragaza, who is currently being held in a UN detention unit in the
Netherlands, had supported the Prosecutor’s request calling on the Trial
Chamber to transfer his case to Norway.
During the 1994 genocide, Mr. Bagaragaza was director general of the office
controlling the Rwandan tea industry and a member of the former Rwandan
President’s political party, whose youth wing was known as the Interahamwe,
the ICTR said.
―An indictment confirmed on 28 July 2005, alleges that Mr. Bagaragaza
participated in a plan to fund, arm and train the Interahamwe militia so
that they could attack and kill the Tutsi civilian population of Rwanda,‖
the Tribunal stated.
―It specifically alleges that the Accused gave material support to those
who attacked and killed Tutsi civilians in Gisenyi Préfecture in April
1994, including the Tutsis who sought refuge in Nyundo Cathedral,‖ it
Neither genocide nor complicity in genocide are categorized as specific
crimes under Norwegian criminal law. If the Trial Chamber grants the
transfer, Mr. Bagaragaza is likely to be prosecuted as an accessory to
homicide under the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code. If convicted, he
would face a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison.
The Prosecutor argued that transfer of cases to national jurisdictions
other than Rwanda would provide for wider understanding of how genocide can
happen. It can also lead to the development of ideas for prevention,
deterrence, or effective intervention, he said.
According to the motion for transfer, ―at the very least, such prosecution
can counter the voices that deny that there was a genocide in Rwanda in
1994 or dismiss it as a spontaneous eruption of inter-ethnic violence.‖
The order for Mr. Bagaragaza’s detention in the Netherlands expires on 18
February 2006 but the Prosecutor could apply for an extension of up to six
additional months to permit the consideration of his request for transfer.
The Security Council has directed the Tribunal to establish a strategy to
conclude all trials by the end of 2008, and appeals by the end of 2010. The
plan also authorizes the Prosecutor to refer appropriate cases for
prosecution in national jurisdictions and urges Member States to consider
accepting such cases.
Former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda was condemned to life
imprisonment for his involvement in the genocide.
UN HEALTH AGENCY AIMS TO CURB SKYROCKETING SALES IN COUNTERFEIT
Extremely lucrative and ever more attractive to criminal networks, global
sales of counterfeit medicines are expected to soar to $75 billion by the
end of the decade, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.
The United Nations health agency will be demanding immediate action to curb
the growing epidemic of illicit medicines as pharmaceutical companies,
regulators, consumer groups and others gather tomorrow at a three-day
meeting in Rome.
―People don’t die from carrying a fake handbag or wearing a fake T-shirt.
They can die from taking a counterfeit medicine,‖ said Howard Zucker,
Assistant Director General for Health Technology and Pharmaceuticals at
WHO. ―International police action against the factories and distribution
networks should be as uncompromising as that applied to the pursuit of
Part of the broader phenomenon of substandard pharmaceuticals, counterfeit
medicines are different in that the identity or source of the drugs are
deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled. WHO says these medicines are
particularly dangerous because not only do they rarely carry any
therapeutic benefit, but they can dupe sick people into believing they are
taking something to improve their health. Instead, the ingestion of these
drugs could make them sicker or even kill them.
Every country is involved in counterfeit medicines, which is estimated to
make up 10 per cent of the global medicines trade. According to a report
released by the US-based Centre for Medicines in the Public Interest,
counterfeit drug sales will skyrocket to $75 billion in 2010, a 92 per cent
jump from 2005.
WHO officials want to create a global task force that will focus on
legislation, law enforcement activities, trade, risk communications and
innovative technology solutions that can curb the sales of these drugs. The
solutions would include public-private initiatives that tap into new
technologies that can detect counterfeits.
―Countries should think about ways to make the necessary technological,
legislative and financial adjustments as quickly as possible to guarantee
the availability of quality assured essential drugs,‖ Mr. Zucker said.
Last year, WHO set up the world's first web-based system for tracking the
activities of illicit drug traders in the Western Pacific Region. The Rapid
Alert System (RAS) communications network relays reports on the
distribution of counterfeit medicines to the appropriate authorities so
they can respond right away. That system should be expanded to include all
regions, WHO said.
Information on fake drug identity and distribution needs to be shared at a
national and international level among drug regulatory authorities, customs
and police organizations, pharmaceutical companies, non-governmental
organizations and consumer groups.
This week’s conference in Rome is being hosted by the Italian
Pharmaceutical Agency (AIFA) and Italian Cooperation, and organized with
the support of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
& Associations (IFPMA) and the German Government.
UN PRODUCES MANUAL FOR HUMANITARIAN WORKERS ON NEGOTIATING
WITH ARMED GROUPS
Humanitarian groups in conflict zones trying to provide civilians with
food, protection, or safe passage are faced with the daily possibility that
they may have to negotiate with armed groups and the United Nations Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is releasing a handbook
to tell them how.
Ahead of the official launching tomorrow of the first ever comprehensive UN
―Manual on Humanitarian Negotiations with Armed Groups,‖ UN Emergency
Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said: ―I strongly urge all those engaged in
negotiations with non-state armed groups to consult the manual in order to
prepare and conduct the dialogue with these groups carefully.‖
―We envision that the manual and the companion set of guidelines will
become essential guides for humanitarian practitioners in the field,‖ he
After research, extensive consultations with key UN units and non-UN
humanitarian partners and several field visits, all supported by the Swiss
Government, OCHA has produced the manual and guidelines, as well as a
CD-ROM version that includes background papers.
The project responds to resolutions passed in the General Assembly and the
Security Council, OCHA said.
In approaching negotiations, the publication says, humanitarian
organizations should build a profile of the armed group’s motivations,
structure, principles of action, interests, constituency, needs,
ethno-cultural dimensions and control of population and territory.
At all stages, humanitarian organizations must ensure that the talks are
conducted in accordance with relevant security procedures, it cautions.
Humanitarian organizations must also bear in mind that armed groups may
sometimes use their ability to exert force against civilian populations as
a bargaining tool, or misuse the negotiations to enhance their position in
political talks or to support their claims of legitimacy.
In that regard, an important framework for negotiations is provided by
international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and
international criminal law, in addition to fundamental humanitarian
principles, the manual says.
IN REMOTE ATLAS MOUNTAINS, UN AGRICULTURAL FUND AIDS MOROCCANS
More than 75,000 people living in remote mountain villages in Morocco will
benefit from a new $34.4 million development project to improve
agricultural production, strengthen infrastructure, and diversify income
sources, the United Nations agricultural fund announced today.
―At the moment, as in much of rural Morocco, these farmers are not equipped
to face the challenges of an economy that is opening up to free market
competition,‖ said Mounif Nourallah, country programme manager for Morocco
of the UN International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), which is
providing a $16.2 million loan for the project.
―Through better management of water, land and animal resources, and
improved access to technical, financial and other support services, farmers
will be able to increase and diversify their incomes in a sustainable
manner,‖ Mr. Nourallah added.
The loan agreement was signed yesterday at IFAD headquarters in Rome by the
fund’s President, Lennart Båge, and Tajeddine Baddou, Ambassador of the
Kingdom of Morocco, which is co-financing the project along with the OPEC
IFAD said that communities will be at the heart of the project, which will
help people in Boulmane Provice, one of the country’s poorest regions,
prepare local development plans that address their priorities for
Training will help strengthen their ability to plan and participate in the
implementation and maintenance of investment activities, access rural
financial services and create micro-enterprises, the fund added.
In the area to benefit from the project, small farmers generally grow
cereals on very small plots, where productivity is low because of severe
climatic fluctuations and erosion causes flooding and landslides, IFAD said.
UN ENVOY TO LIBERIA PRAISES WEST AFRICA FOR POLICE CONTRIBUTION TO
Stressing the essential role of United Nations police in peacekeeping missions, the world body’s
top envoy to Liberia praised West African countries for their personnel contributions and urged
all countries to send more women officers for police units.
The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) said today that Alan Doss had conveyed his thanks to a
visiting delegation of senior police officials from Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone,
who are on a five-day visit to Liberia to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by a
state that is emerging from more than a decade of bloody civil war.
―The primacy of civilian policing is a key pillar in the restoration of a failed state,‖ Mr. Doss
was quoted as saying, adding that the training, advising and mentoring provided by UN Police
to Liberia’s own force was a key element of the overall UN mission in the country.
The press release said that the visit by the West African officials had been organized by the
Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in Ottawa, Canada, and Mr. Doss commended it for a project
aimed at helping to develop the capacity of West African police. The delegation also included
representatives from the Economic Community of West African States and the Pearson Centre
The release went on to say that as the UN Police is now increasingly engaged in building the
skills and capacity of local police officers, a main challenge faced by the UN is to find skilled
police personnel capable of training, mentoring and advising their counterparts in post-conflict
Mr. Doss called on contributing countries to send more women police officers ―as women are
greatly underrepresented in UN police operations,‖ and he also stressed the importance of
sending officers who adhere to high standards of conduct.
The police component of the UN mission in Liberia (UNMIL) numbers almost 1,100 officers
and since its inception in 2003 it has worked closely with its Liberian counterparts and is now
gradually changing strategy and handing over ―local ownership of all policing functions,‖ the
component’s Deputy Police Commissioner Ingrid Dagestad told the UN News Service in a
―The whole UN police mission has to shift focus where each and every one of us will have a
stronger advisory role at the strategic, tactical and operational level, and in a mission-wide
perspective, have an integrated approach in communities around the country,‖ she added.
UNMIL’s police component also runs one of the largest training programmes ever conducted by
a peacekeeping mission. Ms. Dagestad said that more than 1,300 Liberian officers had
graduated from the UN-assisted Police Academy and are now deployed into service.
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE
15 February 2006
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane
Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
The Security Council this morning heard a daily briefing by the Secretariat on the
situations in Haiti and Côte d’Ivoire. That was in closed consultations. The briefer was
Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi. Council members were
then briefed by Ambassador Oswaldo de Rivero of Peru in his capacity as the Chairman of the
Sanctions Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And following consultations,
the Council adopted a resolution on Afghanistan endorsing the ―Afghanistan Compact‖, which
provides the framework for partnership between the Afghan Government and the international
community. As you’ll recall, that plan was launched in London two weeks ago.
The Security Council President for the month of February, Ambassador John Bolton of
the United States, then read out a Council press statement on Haiti, urging the Haitian people to
refrain from violence as the results of the elections are tabulated and reviewed.
** Côte d’Ivoire
Turning to Côte d’Ivoire, Jan Egeland, the head of the UN’s humanitarian operations, is
in Côte d’Ivoire today meeting with officials from the Government and non-governmental
organizations. He stressed that aid organizations there are engaged in impartial, neutral and
apolitical humanitarian work, to assist people confronting great needs, and that they need to
continue their work. He also said that recent attacks on UN agencies in Guiglo were deeply
regrettable. He said the Government has assured him that such violence will not happen again.
He also noted that the UN will have regular meetings with the Government to discuss measures
to protect civilians and the neutrality of work by aid workers.
A press release on that visit is available upstairs.
The Secretary-General is at Princeton University today where he is chairing a Global
Colloquium of University Presidents. The event has brought together more than 50 academic
experts from 25 universities around the world, as part of the Secretary-General's effort to further
an exchange of ideas between the UN and academia, both in the developed world and the global
Last night, the Secretary-General addressed a private dinner of the university presidents,
and talked to them about UN reforms and the challenges that the UN faces. Today, he’ll deliver
closing remarks, following a keynote speech by UN Development Programme Administrator
Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that farmers and herders
in drought-stricken south-eastern Ethiopia are facing severe food shortages with pre-famine
conditions, including wide-spread human and livestock migration. The UN agency is asking for
$18.5 million to help mitigate the effects of the drought and save pastoral livelihoods. And we
have more on this in the press release upstairs.
And lastly, an update on our favourite referendum on self-government from Tokelau.
The referendum on self-government in free association with New Zealand is continuing. The
results are expected to be announced later today local time, which will be early tomorrow in
New York. And as I mentioned to you last week, we have a team of electoral experts there
assisting that process. And after the second leg of the referendum was successfully completed
in Atafu on Monday, the team has now moved to another atoll in this chain, which has a name,
which I will not even try to pronounce -- excuse me. The polls there were completed as
scheduled, and the team is scheduled to move onto a third atoll, which has a name that I still
will not pronounce, where the final votes will be cast.
And on that note, I will start with you, Mark.
*Questions and Answers
Question: If the vote goes in favour of self-determination, presumably Tokelau then
becomes a Member of the United Nations ...
Spokesman: No, it does not, because they are voting on self ... to be self-governing
within New Zealand -- my understanding, it’s self-government in free association with New
Zealand, so we will not move to 192.
Question: About Haiti -- is the UN going to seek to step in to help officiate these
Spokesman: Well, you know the Haitian Government has created a commission to look
at the results of the elections. We are very much hoping that the Haitians will find a speedy
political solution to this crisis. Our team on the ground, led by Ambassador Valdes, is working
in cooperation with not only the Haitian Government, but interested ambassadors on the ground
to try to help the Haitians find a solution to this. In the meantime, we do very much appeal for
calm as the results continue to be tabulated.
Question: Will the UN be able to help investigate what happened yesterday in Haiti --
finding all these ballots in the garbage?
Spokesman: The UN will assist in every way it can, but it is important that people who
do have complaints about the elections address them to the electoral commission.
Question: Does the Secretary-General have any position on Lebanese army’s transfer of
weapons to Hezbollah?
Spokesman: We have been following these reports -- these statements about these arms
shipments, including those by the Lebanese army. I think if these violations were to be
confirmed, this would be an alarming development in relation to resolution 1559. Mr. Roed-
Larsen, who, as you know, is the SG’s envoy on 1559, has been having discussions with
Lebanese officials over the last couple of days to look further into these reports.
Question: Just to follow up: if the Lebanese army -- as it says it has done -- has helped
transfer weapons to Hezbollah, is the Lebanese army in contravention, in your opinion, of
Spokesman: I think, the first ... 1559 calls for the disarmament of Lebanese militias.
The first and obvious step in the disarmament process would be to stop the flow of arms.
Again, I don’t want to go too much into hypotheticals, but if these shipments are confirmed,
this would be a violation of 1559.
Question: On the issue of Guantanamo Bay [inaudible] -- does the United Nations or
the rapporteurs intend to revisit the issue of ascertaining Guantanamo Bay again [inaudible]?
Spokesman: I think the report is scheduled now to be released tomorrow, and I would
encourage you to address that question to the rapporteurs. We have just received the contact
numbers for all four or five of them, who are the authors of this report, and we can put you in
touch with them.
Question: The question is, will there be an effort to revisit the ....
Spokesman: I think that question needs to be addressed to the rapporteurs. The question
is whether or not these rapporteurs will go -- it needs to be addressed to them.
Question: How is that report going to be released? Is it just gonna be ...
Spokesman: It will be released in Geneva. I will check after the briefing -- I assume it
will be released in hard copy in Geneva and made available on the web. But we’ll put you in
touch with them.
Question: Will there be anybody on this end, here in New York?
Spokesman: No, the rapporteurs ... I don’t believe the rapporteurs -- from what I have
been told, from the press operation in Geneva, I do not believe the rapporteurs are briefing the
press, but as I said, we have their contact information. We can put you in touch with them.
Question: There is a Daily Telegraph article today about Eurest Support Services that
looks at how the problem was actually wider than was earlier believed and more people have
been let go and what not. And the investigation continues. But in the same article, it’s
mentioned that Eurest is still supplying a very lucrative contract in Eritrea and that all this talk
about suspension -- that the UN was going to suspend them and then consider other contracts
and push Eurest out of the way -- has not happened. What’s going on, really?
Spokesman: I will have to get details on that. My general understanding is that some of
these -- these are not contracts that can be easily stopped and replaced from one day to the next.
Some of them have to continue, because the main objective is to obviously supply the troops
and the peacekeepers, but I will get you some exact language on the status of ESS.
Question: OK -- you are saying that it needs to sort of work through the system in the
supply under the current obligations and that you don’t want to stymie the mission and not feed
it -- I understand that. But when does it stop? I mean, when do you really suspend ...?
Spokesman: I will get you ... My understanding is that they are not able to bid on any
new contracts, but as I said, I will get you some language right after the briefing on what the
Question: And just one other follow-up: there are 200 contracts that are being
investigated by the OIOS. What sort of cases are coming out of that? Are there more Eurest
Support Services type cases? Anybody being suspended?
Spokesman: When OIOS is ready to give you an update, or the Department of
Management is ready to give you an update on this ongoing investigation of procurement, they
will, but I don’t have anything new on that.
Question: A wire service report that I just saw said Brazil, which is leading the
peacekeeping mission in Haiti, is proposing that the best way to avoid violence would be to
simply declare Preval the winner. If he falls a little short, could the Secretary-General
countenance such a solution?
Spokesman: I think it is not up to the Secretary-General to decide who the winner of the
Haitian elections is going to be. There is a Haitian-led election commission and we do very
much hope that the Haitian people will find a political solution that is acceptable. But again, we
are not the ones to crown the winners of any election.
Question: Does the Secretary-General believe that the policy on Lebanon so far, which
stretched one part of 1559 and another resolution, namely the investigations into the
assassination [inaudible] and neglecting the disarmament of militias, has contributed to the
situation where now arms are being ...
Spokesman: I don’t think we have been neglecting those aspects. Part of the
implementation of 1559 will have to be a Lebanese process, which we will facilitate as much as
we can, and we have Mr. Roed-Larsen, who continues to work on resolution 1559 and is
expected to report back to the Council.
Question: Is there any lesson here as to any other situation, in which armed militias are
part of the process and [inaudible] by the Quartet in the case of the Hamas there were demands
that they should disarm -- should we now be more forceful on the disarming of the militias
Spokesman: I think I will let you draw those lessons.
Question: I was just wondering if there is any update on the fate of UNMEE employees
who were arrested and jailed in Eritrea?
Spokesman: We continue to ... We’ve been told now it’s down to 11 local staff, which
is obviously 11 too many. The Mission has been protesting to the Eritrean Government, and
we’ve had contacts here, as well, in New York, and we do very much hope the situation is
resolved rapidly, which puts our national staff in an unacceptable position.
Question: Obviously, negotiations continue, but the message has been sent that you can
grab UN people and the UN won’t come to grab them back. So is that basically -- is there a
broad policy on what happens when UN people get grabbed? In missions by national countries
when individuals get grabbed, you go and get them out, by any means. But, obviously, that’s
not the way the UN works. I mean, what is the policy? What are the standards?
Spokesman: There is a much greater and wider problem here, which is currently being
examined, which is the fate of the Mission, of UNMEE, notably in the face of restrictions that
continue to be imposed on us by the Eritrean Government, which makes it very difficult for us
to do our work. And the Security Council is currently discussing that and we do expect some
movement on that within the next month, but we are working actively on the ground and trying
to get explanations from the Government why it has detained its own nationals and we are
trying to get them out as quickly as possible.
Question: How do you monitor the fact that these guys aren’t being hurt?
Spokesman: Again, these are ... these people have been detained by the local
authorities. I will check with the Mission, but I have no doubt they are trying to get access to
them, but we are continuing to push the Eritrean Government to not only release them, but also
to give us an explanation as to why they are doing this.
Question: I understand you’ve received no explanation, but what understanding do you
have about the detentions?
Spokesman: We have very little understanding about what the Eritrean Government is
doing in terms of the restrictions it has imposed on our Mission as a whole, whether it’s the
banning of helicopter flights, especially when we are trying to med-evac peacekeepers, making
it hard for us to do our work, and obviously including the detention of these national staff.
Question: Is this a first-time incident or is it something that has happened in the past? Is
there a history of this?
Spokesman: Well, there is a history of Eritrea making it difficult for us to do our job
over the past few months, yeah.
Question: Recently, the Group of 77 has written a letter to the President of the General
Assembly to go and clarify the position of the Security Council, because it expressed fear that
the power of the UNGA has been usurped by the Security Council. The issues that were
supposed to be discussed in the GA are now being discussed in the Security Council. Is there a
position that is being taken on the issue by the Secretary-General or should we ask the President
of the GA to respond to that?
Spokesman: The second part. No, I think the letter was addressed to the President of
the General Assembly and I would let him answer that.
Question: What is the UN position on the latest pictures released on Abu Ghraib?
Spokesman: All these pictures, like the ones we’ve seen in the British press, are deeply
disturbing and we would hope they are investigated as soon as possible.