2006Dec11doc - -- United Nations Environment Programme _UNEP by tyndale


									                            THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                Monday, 11 December 2006

     UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

     A Warmer world: Vast African lakes dropping fast in possible portent of warmer future
      (Associated Press)
     Trees and People (Napa Valley Register)
     2006 "Green Chinese" awards announced (Xinhua)
     UN seeks trust fund to tackle dumping of electronic waste (The East African)
     Influx of used computers drawing students to colleges (The Standard)
     Liberia: UNEP Donates US $20,000 To EPA (The Analyst)
     Handbook assists African journalists to report about environment (Africa News)
     General Assembly urges action to protect world‘s fish stocks(UN News Centre)
     Environment-Romania:A Small Victory Called Route 66a (Inter Press Service)
     Preocupa a limeños contaminación del mar por causa de los desagües (El Comercio)

              Other Environment News

     The orphans of Sumqayit (BBC)
     Your carbon footprint revealed (Independent Online)
     We may yearn to be green, but we can't afford to be gullible (The Guardian)
     Soweto goes green (Independent Online (South Africa)
     Rights focus sought over climate (BBC)
     Global warming: a few skeptics still ask why it's happening (Christian Science Monitor)
     Selling Fuel Efficiency the Green Way (New York Times)
     The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science: The Deniers,(Financial Post)

              Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

     No News Updates from our Regional Offices.

              Other UN News

     UN Daily News of 8 December 2006
     S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 8 December 2006

                  Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
    Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:cpiinfo@unep.org, http://www.unep.org

Associated Press: A Warmer world: Vast African lakes dropping fast in possible portent
of warmer future

The Associated Press

Sunday, December 10, 2006

[Appears in around 70 news outlets in North America and worldwide]
JINJA, Uganda -- At Jinja pier the rusty red hull of a Lake Victoria freighter sat barely afloat in
water just six feet deep — and dropping. "The scientists have to explain this," said ship‘s
engineer Gabriel Maziku.
Across the bay, at a fish packing plant, fishermen had to wade ashore with their Nile perch in
flat-bottomed boats, and heave the silvery catch up to a jetty that soon may be on dry land and
out of reach entirely. Looking on, plant manager Ravee Ramanujam wondered about what‘s to
"Such a large body of water, dropping so fast," he said.
At 27,000 square miles, the size of Ireland, Victoria is the greatest of Africa‘s Great Lakes —
the biggest freshwater body after Lake Superior. And it has dropped fast, at least six feet in the
past three years, and by as much as a half-inch a day this year before November rains stabilized
The outflow through two hydroelectric dams at Jinja is part of the problem — a tiny part, says
the Uganda government, or half the problem, say environmentalists. But much of what is
happening to Victoria and other lakes across the heart of Africa is attributable to years of
drought and rising temperatures, conditions that starve the lakes of inflowing water and
evaporate more of the water they have.
An extreme example lies 1,500 miles northwest of here, deeper in the drought zone, where Lake
Chad, once the world‘s sixth-largest, has shrunk to 2 percent of its 1960s size. And the African
map abounds with other, less startling examples, from Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, getting
half the inflow it once did, to the great Lake Tanganyika south of here, whose level dropped
over five feet in five years.
"All these lakes are extremely sensitive to climate change," the U.N. Environment Program
warned in a global water assessment two years ago.
Now, in a yet unpublished report obtained by The Associated Press, an international consulting
firm advises the Ugandan government that supercomputer models of global-warming scenarios
for Lake Victoria "raise alarming concerns" about its future and that of the Nile River, which
begins its 4,100-mile northward journey here at Jinja.
The report, by U.S.-based Water Resources and Energy Management International, says rising
temperatures may evaporate up to half the lake‘s normal inflow from rainfall and rivers, with
"severe consequences for the lake and its ability to meet the region‘s water resources needs."

A further dramatic drop in Victoria‘s water levels might even turn off this spigot for the Nile, a
lifeline for more than 100 million Egyptians, Sudanese and others.
"People talk about the snows of Kilimanjaro," said Aris P. Georgakakos, the study‘s chief
author, speaking of that African mountain‘s melting glaciers. "We have something much bigger
to worry about, and that‘s Lake Victoria."
Each troubled lake is a complex story.
Lake Chad‘s near-disappearance, for example, stems in part from overuse of its source waters
for irrigation. Deforestation around Lake Victoria, shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania,
makes the area a less efficient rain "catchment" for the lake, and overfishing and pollution are
damaging its $400-million-a-year fishing industry. Kenya‘s Rift Valley lakes, some just a few
feet deep, have always fluctuated in size, even drying up with drought.
But African leaders say things are different this time, because long-term climate change may
eclipse other factors.
"These cycles, when they‘ve happened, they haven‘t happened under the circumstances
pertaining now — the global warming, overpopulation, degradation," said Maria Mutagamba,
Uganda‘s water and environment minister.
African temperatures rose an average 1 degree Fahrenheit in the 20th century — matching the
global average — and even more in the past few decades in such places as Lake Tanganyika,
climatologists say. If greenhouse gases continue to build in the atmosphere, temperatures may
be several degrees warmer by this century‘s end.
At Lake Victoria‘s receding shoreline, a place of scavenging storks, weedy expanses of water
hyacinth, fishing boats derelict on dried lake bed, people see what‘s happening but don‘t
understand why.
"In just a few years, the lake pulled back from there, maybe 60 meters (200 feet)," said
fisherman Patrick Sewagude, 24, pointing to old high-water marks at Ssese Beach, near
Kampala, Uganda‘s capital.
Someone had planted a few rows of corn on the exposed lake bed. Grass was taking over
elsewhere. "It‘s tough. The fish have gone way out. You pull up stones in your nets," Sewagude
Back in Jinja, 40 miles east of Kampala, researchers at the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization
said falling water levels are the latest blow to the dying biology of Lake Victoria, where
pollution has helped kill off scores of unique species of tropical fish in recent decades. Now
tilapia, once a prime food fish, are declining because their inshore breeding grounds are
"People for many years haven‘t seen such a sudden change in the lake level," said the fisheries
office‘s Richard Ogutu-Ohwayo, a biologist on the lake for 35 years. "Right now it‘s very
difficult to say what will happen. It‘s a grim scenario, of worldwide climate change."
Around the lake shore, everyone has his own theories.
"The water‘s too hot, and the fish are going deeper, beneath the nets," said Modi Kafeel Ahmed,
a Jinja fish processor. But the lake has been overfished, too, he said. "If it goes like this another
five years, the lake will be empty of fish."

For 30 million people living in its basin, Lake Victoria is a vital source — of livelihoods and
food, of water, of transportation, of electric power.
Almost 200 miles across the lake from here, Tanzanian authorities have reduced water supplies
to the city of Mwanza because an intake pipe was left high and dry. The same is happening in
Uganda, where German engineer Erhard Schulte is pushing work crews to finish refitting
Entebbe‘s city water plant, extending its intake pipe 1,000 feet farther out into the lake.
"The old Britisher who designed the original plant never expected the lake would drop this
way," Schulte told a visitor.
Perhaps the worst impact is on power supplies. Tanzanian factories have shut down because the
rivers powering hydroelectric dams, and replenishing Lake Victoria, are running dry. Kampala,
a city of more than 1 million, has endured hours-long blackouts daily.
Uganda‘s two big hydro dams, side by side on the Victoria Nile, the lake‘s only outlet, are
victims and — some say — prime suspects in the crisis.
In 2003, facing growing Ugandan demand for electricity, the Nalubaale and Kiira dams
produced a peak 265 megawatts of power. In the process, their operators began overshooting
long-standing formulas regulating flow of water out of the lake, an independent hydrologist
later concluded.
That outside study, cited by environmentalists, contends 55 percent of the lake-level drop since
2003 is traceable to excessive outflow. But the dams‘ private operators and Ugandan officials
strongly dispute that.
Paul Mubiru, Ugandan energy commissioner, says the dams have had a "negligible" impact on
Lake Victoria, and points to Lake Tanganyika‘s similar fall in levels — with no dams involved.
Earlier this year, the operators announced they were reducing the dam outflows, "but our
observations show that even with the reduced outflow, the water loss is still on the increase,"
Mutagamba, the water minister, told the AP.
Falling lake levels, meantime, mean lower "head" pressure at the dams. Their output has
dropped to 120 megawatts, pushing Uganda deeper into economic crisis.
It is such unanticipated ripple effects — from abrupt environmental change — that underlie the
warnings worldwide about global warming. Scientists find another unexpected example in Lake
Tanganyika, where they say warmer surface waters may be depleting fish stocks.
Many African lakes go unvisited by scientists, but what is known is troubling enough, says
veteran researcher Robert E. Hecky, of Canada‘s University of Waterloo. "It is some of the most
imperative data we have, that global climate change can be affecting these African water
bodies," he said.
A "very comprehensive, very realistic" study of Lake Victoria is needed, preferably conducted
by U.N. specialists, said Frank Muramuzi, the head of Uganda‘s leading environmental
"Businesses are standing still, not working. Fishermen can‘t get enough fish. We do not have
enough water supplies," Muramuzi said. "Rains alone won‘t bring back the lake levels, because
there would still be climate change, a lot of heat, evaporation. It‘s reached a point where people

don‘t know what to do."

Napa Valley Register: Trees and People

By Bill Pramuk
Saturday, December 9, 2006 1:14 AM PST

Let's plant 1 billion trees

An e-mail from a fellow tree enthusiast (who prefers to be called an "environmentally conscious
activist") got me interested in a worthwhile project: Let's plant 1 billion trees. Let's plant them
all over the world, and let's do it in 2007.

She wrote, "If you can plant one or many, pledge to do so. If you know of anyone who might be
able to do this, pass this on," and I thought: "I might know a few people who would like to
know about this."

The project, "Plant for the Planet: the Billion Tree Campaign" was inspired by Nobel laureate
Wangari Maathai, the author of "Unbowed," a person who knows how to take on a challenge.
And she knows how to think big. When a corporate group told her it was planning to plant 1
million trees her response was "That's great, but what we really need is to plant 1 billion trees."

Raised in Kenya, Dr. Maathai came to the U.S. in 1960. She was one of hundreds of Kenyans
sent to study at colleges in the U.S. as part of the "Kennedy Airlift." She earned a bachelor's
degree, then a master's degree in biological sciences and later, a Ph.D. in anatomy.

In 1977 she created the Green Belt Movement, which has facilitated 100,000 women planting
30 million trees across Kenya to combat deforestation, soil erosion and watershed degradation.
She spent over 30 years fighting for human rights and environmental justice in Africa, and was
elected to Parliament in Kenya in 2002. In 2004 she became the first African woman, and the
first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the "Billion Tree Campaign," her pledge, with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, is 2
million trees.

The "Plant for the Planet" global effort is being coordinated through the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP). With the knowledge that many groups have tree-planting
programs, they are assuming leadership to make this a world wide effort. As of this writing, the
count of tree-planting pledges is 26,229,310 (so far only 2.62 percent of the goal).

I found a list of pledge numbers by country and there are some interesting examples.
Remember, these are numbers of trees pledged to be planted in 2007:

Iraq: 300 (pledged by Trees for Kurdistan)

Malaysia: one tree (by an individual person)

Czech Republic: 1,162 trees

Slovakia: zero

Nepal: 1,000 (by the Eco-Club)

Armenia: 500,000 (by the Armenia Tree Project)

India: 27,225 (10,000 by the India Railway; 15,000 by Cleanstar Energy)

Russian federation: 132 trees

China: 1,000,038 (1 million by Grandeur International)

Japan: 518,379 (10,000 by Mitsubishi, the balance by Aeon Environmental Foundation)

Ukraine: 2,000,015 (2 million by the Kyiv Educational and Peacemaking Center)

Kenya: 3,246,362 (2 million by the Green Belt Movement)

UK: 1,104,240 (1 million by Plant a Tree Today)

U.S.: 7,037,791 (2 million by Hawaiian Mahogany Inc.)

Spain: 8,010,269 (almost all by tree-nation.com)

Because of continuing deforestation, the need for fuel, wood products and farmland, UNEP
encourages planting in degraded natural forests, farms, rural areas and sustainable plantations as
well as in urban environments. It also encourages the planting of trees that are well adapted to
the local environment. Mixed species are preferred over monocultures. The project requires that
plantings be verified and that the trees be cared for in the long term.

The Web site states that the loss of natural forests around the world contributes more than the
transportation sector to global emissions of carbon. "Curbing deforestation is a highly cost-
effective way to reduce (carbon) emissions" the site reads.

Are you trying to come up with a gift for someone who has just about everything they need?
Consider logging on to the site (www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/pledges/index.asp) and
signing up for some tree planting in 2007!

"When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope" -- Wangari Maathai

If you decide to pledge, let me know about it. Happy Holidays!

Bill Pramuk is an ASCA registered consulting arborist. Please send questions to

Xinhua: 2006 "Green Chinese" awards announced

12/09/2006 11:17:39

Source: Xinhua Date: December 09, 2006
BEIJING, Dec 9, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Winners of China's annual "Green Chinese"
award were announced at a grand ceremony Saturday night.
The award caught public attention more than a month ago when it gave a controversial
nomination to Chinese film director Chen Kaige.
Chen's film, "The Promise" damaged the environment near a pristine lake shore in Shangri-la in
southwest Yunnan Province, according to the State Environmental Protection Administration
Together with Chen, director Zhang Jizhong, accused of damaging the Jiuzhaigou National Park
during filming also got a controversial nomination.
Organizers argued that "sometimes a negative example can serve as a warning".
Neither of the two nominees made to the short list.
The final eight winners, the Green Chinese, were awarded for their significant contribution to
protecting the environment.
The winners include, Du Shaozhong, vice-director of the Beijing Environmental Protection
Bureau, who initiated the campaign of "drive one less day a month" and refuses to drive a car
but walks 70 minutes to his office every day; Ma Jun, director of the Beijing public
environment study center, who developed China's first water pollution database and released a
map of China's water pollution; Ke Lan, the Phoenix TV anchor woman who exposed
environmental abuse associated with a film that she starred in and Liao Xiaoyi, who made a
documentary on traditional eco-culture.
Co-sponsored by seven government departments and supported by the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), the "Green Chinese" awards were selected by social
survey, Internet voting, review of a judge panel and public voting.


The East African: UN seeks trust fund to tackle dumping of electronic waste
11 December 2006
Special Correspondent
With the illegal transfer of toxic waste on the rise, the United Nations Environmental
Programme is likely to use a trust fund from the Basel Convention to pay for cleaning up
A UN meeting held in Nairobi just over a week ago, on the transport and disposal of hazardous
waste recommended the speeding up of international efforts to reduce the risks posed to human
health and the environment by the huge growth in electronic waste. Among measures to be
considered in tackling the menace posed by the waste are pilot projects that will establish a
take-back mechanism for used electronic products.

The Basel Convention was adopted in Basel, Switzerland, in 1989, but it came into force in
1992. The Convention forbids all forms of hazardous waste export from the industrial countries
to developing countries. But several industrial countries such as the US, Australia and Canada
have not ratified it. The new measures will serve a dual purpose — strengthening the global
collaboration against illegal traffickers and promoting best practices in the disposal of the waste
by coming up with new technical guidelines.
The Nairobi meeting discussed at length the situation in Abidjan in Cote d‘Ivoire, where
cleaning up toxic waste will cost more than $13 million. This has turned attention to the Basel
Convention‘s trust fund. Ministers and heads of delegations at the meeting issued a declaration
calling for urgent action to address the illegal trade in electronic waste.
They called for the improvement of national policies, controls and enforcement efforts, and
urged industry to pursue ―green design‖ by phasing out the need for hazardous components and
managing the entire lifecycle of its products. According to Unep executive director Achim
Steiner, governments need to develop effective regulatory regimes that enable markets to
respond positively to the challenge of electronic waste.
―By partnering with the private sector and civil society, they can promote collection chains that
channel obsolete goods back to their original manufacturers for recovery and recycling,‖ he
said. Some 20 to 50 million tonnes of electronic waste — which includes lead, cadmium,
mercury and other hazardous substances — are generated worldwide every year as a result of
the growing demand for computers, mobile phones, TV and radio sets and other consumer
The Nairobi meeting also called for an elaborate strategy to prevent a repeat of the toxic waste
tragedy in Abidjan. The waste was sent to the city last month by a Dutch commodities trading
firm on a gasoline tanker, which dumped some 400 tonnes in at least eight sites in the densely
populated city. Fumes from the oily waste, particularly hydrogen sulfide, have so far claimed
six lives and injured some 9,000, according to health officials.
Safiatou Ba-N‘Daw, co-ordinator of Cote d‘Ivoire‘s national plan for combating hazardous
waste, outlined the enormous costs her country faces in cleaning up the mess and the tonnes of
soil it contaminated. Among the most affected are children and workers in the informal sector.
Other costs involve the greater demand for health services and the need to destroy affected
livestock and food. ―Our country was already under great financial strain, and this illegal
dumping was the last thing we needed.
―But we are not here to point a finger of blame. Our population is suffering, and we are calling
for solidarity from the international community. We need assistance to help us address this
disaster,‖ she said. ―There is a need to work closely with the International Maritime
Organisation to ensure that our respective regimes complement one another and produce an
airtight global system for regulating all waste linked to shipping,‖ said Sachiko Kuwabara-
Yamamoto, the Convention‘s executive secretary.
Regarding the Cote d‘Ivoire disaster, delegates agreed to establish a strategic plan for
strengthening the international community‘s capacity for staging a rapid and effective
emergency response to such crises.
Other decisions taken at the meeting include the adoption of guidelines for the environmentally
sound management of certain persistent organic pollutants. Many of these pollutants are among
the most hazardous substances known to humanity.


The Standard: Influx of used computers drawing students to colleges

Last Updated on December 10, 2006, 12:00 am
By Michael Ouma
Nairobi last week hosted a meeting held to discuss the problem of and find solutions to the
problem of electronic waste, otherwise referred to as e-waste, in developing countries and
Africa in particular.
The conference, World Forum on e-Wastes held on 30 November, was convened with the aim
to confront the growing reality that, in addition to its many benefits, the global consumer goods
revolution is generating massive quantities of end-of-life computers and other obsolete
electronic equipment.
The meeting came after the realisation of the fact that between 20 and 50 million metric tones of
electronic waste are being generated every year because of the growing demand for computers,
televisions, radios, mobile phones and other consumer electronics.
The conference heard how a rising global tide of electronic waste, especially in developing
countries, is posing serious environmental risks because of the wide range of dangerous
pollutants they can contain, from heavy metals to chlorine compounds.
The meeting acknowledged that the advent of the mobile phone and personal computer has been
a boon to communication, but they have also created a new tide of hazardous waste. Many of
these products are soon discarded because they are deemed to be obsolete or defunct.
According to Mr Kimani Kinyanjui, training manager at Forrnax College, a computer training
firm in Nairobi, the problem of proliferation of old and used computers into the country was
increased with the opening up of the market following the zero-rating of computers and its
accessories last year.
This has led to an influx of cheap and used computers, mainly from Dubai, with some outdated
models retailing at modest amounts of as low as Sh10,000.
Says Kinyanjui: "Many owners of these machines do not know what to do with them when they
develop technical problems as they can not even access the machines‘ related spare parts."
He says that the problem of used and abandoned computers has led many students to join
computer colleges to acquire technical skills in the repair of the machines. A spot-check at most
computer colleges in town revealed that a significant proportion of the student population was
enrolled in technician courses in computer repair. This is in spite of the fact that most of the
machines, when they break down, cannot be repaired.
The member governments to a United Nations-sponsored global pact on the transport and
disposal of hazardous waste agreed last week to accelerate their efforts to reduce the impact and
damage caused by the rapid growth in electronic waste.
The representatives of various governments pledged to introduce pilot projects to take back
used electronic products and to strengthen collaborative efforts to fight illegal traffickers.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), under whose auspices the Basel Convention was
adopted, said it expected a formal declaration to be issued committing governments to work
towards improving their policies and prodding industry to pursue "green design."
The Basel Convention is an international treaty brokered in 1989 by the UN which regulates the
cross-boundary transfer of toxic waste. In practical terms, it attempts to prevent the developing
world from becoming the toxic dumping ground of wealthy states which might otherwise be
reluctant to deal with their own waste.
UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said it was important that governments develop more
effective regulatory regimes so that the market has incentives to respond more positively to the
issue of electronic waste.
"By partnering with the private sector and with civil society, they can promote collection chains
that channel obsolete goods back to their original manufacturers for recovery and recycling," he
Some 120 governments participated in the Nairobi conference, which was the eighth of its kind
to deal with the Basel Convention. Some 20 to 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste are
generated worldwide every year, comprising more than five per cent of all municipal solid
waste. When the millions of computers purchased around the world every year (183 million in
2004) become obsolete they leave behind lead, cadmium, mercury and other hazardous wastes.

The Analyst: Liberia: UNEP Donates US $20,000 To EPA

The Analyst (Monrovia)
December 8, 2006
Posted to the web December 8, 2006
George J. Borteh
The United Nations Environment Program in Liberia (UNEP) has empowered the
Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), by donating office equipment valued at
US$20,000.00. According to UNEP, the equipment, which includes computers, printers,
amongst others, is to kick-start the operations of the EPA.
Presenting the items to the EPA family yesterday in Monrovia, UNEP staff, Mr. Koen Toonen,
said it is the organization's way of demonstrating commitment to improving Liberia's
environment. Mr. Toonen, who is the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Post-
Conflict Office Staff to Liberia, also said that the donation was a challenge towards the
management of the country's environment.
The ceremony, which brought together several Liberian environmentalists from the Planning
Ministry, demonstrated the need for Liberians to be educated about environmental protection in
the society. It also underscored the view to assess the needs of the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), for UNEP to share same with the donor community for further assistance.
During presentation of the equipment, a document to establish ownership for EPA was signed
between both institutions. UNEP activities in Liberia commenced in November 2003, following

a request to represent the cross-cutting theme of the environment in the UN Development Group
(UNDG), needs assessment that resulted to the publication of the UNEP Desk Study on
Liberia's Environment.
The Desk Study, according to UNEP, provided a rapid over view of the environmental problems
faced by the country and identified the immediate needs for reconstruction and development.
At the same time, the UNEP has underscored an urgent need to salvage damaged and sunken
ship from major ports and coast sites in the country in order to reduce the threats of marine
pollution as well as improve maritime safety.
UNEP stressed the need to assist government in repairing national and local administrative
structures responsible for environmental monitoring, enforcement and protection.
UNEP accordingly opened its country office in Liberia since 2005 with a program focusing on
capacity building and institutional development for environmental management in the country.

Africa News: Handbook assists African journalists to report about environment

8 December 2006, by Carlyn Hambuba in Nairobi. The United Nations Environment
Program (UNEP) has launched a Handbook for African Journalists to help them in reporting
about the Environment in the continent. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, who is also
United Nations Under-Secretary General said, UNEP has recognized the need to support
African journalists in their quest to interpret complex environmental issues because Africa is
facing increasing impacts of environmental changes which journalists need to be able to
And UNEP Regional Director for Africa Sekou Toure said the launch of the book is part of
UNEP‘s committement of helping build capacity for African journalists. Mr Toure said the
publication entitled, ―Environmental Reporting for African Journalists: is a Handbook of Key
Environmental Issues and Concepts. He observed that the book is a product of comprehensive
consultations and review between UNEP‘s Environmental Education and Training Unit and the
Africa Network of Environmental Journalists (ANEJ).
The book contains concise information environmental issues and initiatives including: Africa
Environment Outlook 2 (AEO-2) a flagship report on Africa‘s state on the environment. Key
Environmental Issues such as Poverty and Environment, environmental law, health and
Environment, Gender and environment, Youth and Environment, Environmental education and
Information Officer for UNEP‘s regional office for Africa, Angele Luh Sy explained that the
publication also provides an overview of the United Nations and the environment. This include
the core UN bodies working on the environment, some milestones consisting of major
achievements, multilateral and regional environmental agreements (Biodiversity, Ozone,
Climate change, Chemicals and Hazardous wastes, desertification, waters and Seas).
She said the handbook has also captured major initiatives Environmental that have been
developed in the region such as the Africa Ministerial Conference on the Environment
(AMCEN), the Africa Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW), African Roundtable on
Sustainable Consumption and Production (ARSCP), and the Environment Initiative of the New
Partnership for Africa‘s development (NEPAD).


UN News Centre: General Assembly urges action to protect world’s fish stocks
8 December 2006 – Responding to the depletion of fish stocks and degradation of fragile marine
habitats in many parts of the world, the United Nations General Assembly today called on
States to take immediate action to reverse the situation and protect vulnerable deep sea
Adopting a consensus resolution on sustainable fisheries, the Assembly called on all States to
act in a precautionary manner and apply an ―ecosystem approach‖ to the conservation,
management and exploitation of fish stocks.
The resolution also expressed the Assembly‘s particular concern that illegal, unreported and
unregulated fishing constituted a serious threat to fish stocks and marine habitats and
ecosystems, to the detriment of sustainable fisheries, as well as the food security and the
economies of many States, particularly poorer ones.
States were encouraged to take measures to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
activities, and to facilitate mutual assistance to investigations and punishment as needed.
The adoption of the resolution followed a two-day debate on the issue, with nearly three dozen
countries participating.
Over half – 52 per cent – of global fish stocks are fully exploited, while overexploited and
depleted species have increased from about 10 per cent in the mid 1970s to 24 per cent in 2002,
according to a study, ‗Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas‘, which was
issued jointly by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Conservation Union
(IUCN) earlier this year.

Inter Press Service: Environment-Romania:A Small Victory Called Route 66a

Vesna Peric Zimonjic

BELGRADE, Dec. 9 (IPS) - The controversy over construction of a major highway in
western Romania that threatens to destroy the precious Retezat and Domogled natural
reserve parks has been put off at least for now.

Authorities have decided to temporarily halt the project after the environmental aspect of
building the much advertised Route 66a came into focus, with leading experts calling for the
plan to be dismantled.

"This is just the first victory in a long battle," Greenpeace coordinator for Romania, Gabriel
Paun, told IPS on phone from Romanian capital Bucharest. "The break now provides us with a
gap for further assessment of the project itself."

Greenpeace had been warning that construction of the road was illegal, and that hastily drawn
up plans to use international funds had bypassed necessary licences from planning
commissions, environmental agencies and the Scientific Council of the Retezat Park.

Construction of the controversial road has reached a point now only a kilometre from Retezat
forest. The road was meant to connect the towns of Petrosani and Baile Herculane, long
neglected in broader development plans.

Retezat and nearby Domogled in that region are considered among the last remaining unspoilt
forests in Europe. Situated in the west of the country in the southern Carpathians region, they
are home to more than 1,200 plant species, some 60 of them found only in this area.

They are also home to many animal species long driven out of other areas of Europe by
industrialisation and modern life.

Retezat, proclaimed a nature park back in 1935, is home to chamoises, wolves, wildcats and
lynx. Its 2,500-metre-high peaks are home to rare golden eagles and other wild birds.

In Domogled, the rare black pine Banat still survives, one of the rarest species of pines.

But the economic development of Romania, a nation of 22.3 million that is to join the European
Union (EU) Jan. 1, 2007, has led to significant degradation of the environment.

"The construction of Road 66a was presented to people as a major opportunity for further
economic development," Paun told IPS. "I understand how poor people are there, but there's no
excuse to tell them that this is revitalisation that will make the areas prosperous tourist centres."

Construction of the road has been much debated in Romanian media. According to some
reports, the decision to build it came after the EU signalled the need for upgrading major routes.

Romanian President Traian Basescu is reported to have said last summer on a visit to Petrosani
that Road 66a "should be built, and that is it." This boosted his popularity in the former mining
centre that has economically collapsed since the fall of communism in 1989.

Much of the environment was found to have collapsed earlier. Immediately after the end of
communism, it became clear that there had been almost no environmental policy.

Some 20 percent of Romanian rivers were dead by 1989. The air, and also the soil and
underground waters were polluted with toxic chemicals from factories, mining and chemical

The moves to join the EU brought growing interest in the environment. Romania now has the
fastest growing environmental activities in the Balkans.

Reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Wildlife Fund
(WWF) and Greenpeace say Romanian environmental legislation now complies with more than
90 percent of EU regulations.

"People are now definitely ecologically smarter," Paun said. "This helps us to do everything we
can to prevent destruction of the remaining intact environment." (END/2006)


El Comercio : Preocupa a limeños contaminación del mar por causa de los desagües

11 December, 2006
En Latinoamérica solo el 30% de los desechos arrojados al mar es tratado

Por Iván Herrera Orsi
No solo quienes viven cerca del colector Costanera, en San Miguel, y que a diario soportan el
mal olor, esperan que de una vez se jale la bomba y se acabe con el problema. El 87% de los
limeños de los segmentos socioeconómicos A, B y C asegura sentirse muy preocupado por el
vertido de los desagües de la ciudad en el mar, según un estudio del Centro de Negocios de la
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Centrum) y de la empresa Atento.
En el sondeo, que se realizó en agosto y que combinó entrevistas personales y encuestas
telefónicas, se les pidió a los encuestados que indicaran su grado de preocupación por distintos
problemas ambientales en una escala de uno al diez, donde uno significa "nada preocupado". En
el caso de la contaminación del mar a causa de los desagües, el promedio de las respuestas fue
Esto la convierte en el tercer mayor motivo de preocupación ambiental para los habitantes de
Lima. El primero es de alcance global: el deterioro de la capa de ozono (el valor promedio fue
de 9,68). Después viene la acumulación de basura en las calles, que apenas supera por unas
centésimas al vertido de los desagües.
El estudio indica, además, que un volumen importante de limeños está convencido de que el
desarrollo debe ir de la mano con el cuidado del entorno. Un 33% expresó su desacuerdo con
que el crecimiento económico sea una prioridad si esto representa descuidar en algo el medio
ambiente. Aunque la muestra no incluye a los sectores más necesitados de la capital, para José
Pereyra, director del programa de maestría de Centrum y responsable del sondeo, queda claro
que existe disposición de un amplio grupo de la población para apoyar cambios a favor del
medio ambiente. Esto debiera servir de punto de partida para establecer políticas públicas,
explicó. "Lo que hace falta es diseñar soluciones creativas", agregó.

La semana que pasó estuvo de visita en Lima Ricardo Sánchez, director regional del Programa
de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (Pnuma). En diálogo con El Comercio, él
subrayó que la contaminación del mar debido a los desagües "es un serio problema en toda la
región". Únicamente, entre el 20% y 30% de los desagües de las ciudades de América Latina es
tratado antes de verterse al océano, afirmó.
Según Sánchez, la falta de tratamiento de las aguas residuales no solo afecta al mar y al litoral,
sino inclusive a los ríos y a las corrientes subterráneas. El asunto se agrava al considerar que
más del 75% de la población latinoamericana vive en ciudades, lo cual genera un volumen muy
grande de residuos, dijo.
Afortunadamente, el representante del Pnuma observa que en todos los países de la región se
está trabajando planes para revertir esta situación. En algunas naciones industrializadas, la
tendencia es que el tratamiento se efectúe dentro de la propia vivienda. En Latinoamérica, los
gobiernos buscan estrategias que se ajusten a sus posibilidades. "Hay que combatir la pobreza,

pero también hay que garantizar la sostenibilidad ambiental. Es un asunto de justicia con las
generaciones que vienen", agregó.

Mientras tanto, continúa el debate respeto al destino de las alcantarillas de Lima y la
implementación del sistema de tuberías llamado Interceptor Norte, que arrojaría los desechos en
el mar de Ventanilla. Hoy deben reunirse nuevamente los representantes del Ministerio de
Vivienda, de Sedapal, de la Dirección General de Salud Ambiental (Digesa), de la
Municipalidad de San Miguel, de las empresas pesqueras y el presidente electo del primer
puerto, Álex Kouri.
En estos días, el titular de Vivienda, Hernán Garrido Lecca, volvió a insistir en su propuesta de
poner en funcionamiento el Interceptor Norte antes de que esté lista la planta de tratamiento de
Taboada, ya que esta recién podría comenzar a operar recién en el año 2011. Como una medida
preliminar, se utilizaría un sistema de rejillas para separar sólidos y líquidos y cloro para
eliminar gérmenes, dijo.
Los empresarios agrupados en la Asociación de Productores de Harina de Pescado del Callao
están en contra de la idea porque temen que su negocio se vaya por el retrete. "No hay ninguna
solución mágica rápida", dice su abogado, Rómulo Assereto, quien duda de que sea viable usar
Assereto recuerda que esta asociación interpuso meses atrás una acción de amparo y solicitó una
medida cautelar a fin de impedir que Sedapal vertiera los desechos a través del Interceptor Norte
sin que estuviera funcionando la planta de tratamiento. El Juzgado Civil 2 del Callao le dio la
razón y ahora el caso se encuentra en la Corte Superior del Callao, que debe pronunciarse en
segunda instancia.
"La propuesta del Gobierno significaría la contaminación inmediata de la bahía del Callao y el
cierre de las pesqueras. Si se contamina el pescado, no se podría usar", aseguró.
El director ejecutivo de Ecología y Protección del Ambiente de Digesa, Fausto Roncal,
mencionó que él mismo planteó la necesidad de calcular adecuadamente la dosis de cloro. La
razón es que si es muy poca, no desinfectaría; y si se excede del nivel justo, resultaría dañina.
"Todos coincidimos en que dar solución al problema de los desagües en Lima requiere tiempo ,

 El gobierno anterior invirtió S/.160 millones en la construcción del Interceptor Norte .
Quedaron pendientes la planta de tratamiento y un emisor submarino que bombearía las aguas
mar adentro.
En junio, la contraloría encontró irregularidades en el proceso de licitación para la construcción
del Interceptor Norte.
La convocatoria del concurso para la ejecución de la planta de tratamiento está en manos de Pro
Hace una semana el Concejo de San Miguel multó a Sedapal por S/.3,4 millones por contaminar
su litoral.

                                    Other Environment News

BBC: The orphans of Sumqayit

By Nigel Green
BBC News, Azerbaijan
With some of the biggest oil reserves in the world, Azerbaijan is fast becoming an energy
But although foreign investors have pumped billions into the economy in the 15 years
since the country gained independence, some grim aspects of the Soviet legacy remain.
Sumqayit may be a seaside town but it is not somewhere you would want to spend your holiday.
Not unless you like a place that looks like the backdrop for a science fiction movie.
Sumqayit is just an hour's drive from Baku, the oil-rich capital of Azerbaijan.
But here, rather than the gleaming office blocks and the marble squares, green parks and
fountains, all we could see were derelict factories, twisted, rusting metal pipes and tankers
abandoned on broken railway lines.
There were few people to be seen - and the only animals we came across were wild dogs.
My guide for the day was Akif Askerov, a likeable young man who once played football for his
country and now has a well-paid job as a health and safety officer employed by a western oil
As we got out of the car, Akif pointed out we were walking on crushed sheets of asbestos. The
smell of chemicals, aggravated by dust churned up by our car, hit our throats.

Birth defects
Just 20 years ago, Sumqayit was the biggest petro-chemical centre in the Soviet Union.
Under Stalin's orders, this town had been built in the 1930s to feed off the huge oil reserves
After World War Two, Sumqayit's population grew to a third of a million. The workers were
mostly young and relatively well-rewarded.
The list of substances they used to manufacture at Sumqayit is long, but it included huge
quantities of lindane, a pesticide that has been compared to Agent Orange, the chemical so
widely used during the Vietnam War.
And, like Agent Orange, lindane has been blamed for causing birth defects.
In Soviet days, the workers were given extra cheese and milk in the misguided belief that this
would strengthen their bodies' defences. It did not.
Exact figures are hard to find but numerous reports link the town with high levels of deformities
in new-born children. The number of girls and boys here with Downs syndrome, cerebral palsy
and spina bifida is way above average.

The new, independent government of Azerbaijan declared Sumqayit an ecological disaster zone
and closed most of its factories. But they seem to have left an appalling legacy.

'Twisted limbs'
Akif wanted to show me the work that he and his British oil worker friends have done
renovating an orphanage not far from Sumqayit.
It is a large, white four-storey building and as our car pulled up outside, we were mobbed by
children - all clearly handicapped.
But these children were the relatively healthy ones, the ones able to wander out into the fresh air
by themselves.
Inside it was different.
Rahila Hasanova, the nurse in charge, agreed to show me around the orphanage. As we started
to walk along its corridors, there was a strong smell of urine.
We went from room to room, seeing children with twisted limbs or distorted faces.
They ranged from toddlers in cots, sleeping eight to a room, to teenagers who, because they
could not walk, were left to drag themselves along the floor.
Many were screaming but the handful of nurses seemed to be doing their best to care for them.
One boy in particular grabbed my attention. He was about 10 years old and his arms were
wrapped around his body by a makeshift strait-jacket.
Using her own hands and pretending to scratch at her face, Rahila tried to explain to me that this
boy had to be kept like that, otherwise he would tear at his face.
Rahila could not speak any English but, through Akif, she told me she had worked at the home
for 22 years.

Medical conditions
She earns just $30 (£15) a month - around a third of the average wage in Azerbaijan.
But she cannot bring herself to leave the children - most of whom have been abandoned by their
None of these boys and girls have undergone detailed medical tests and so it is impossible to
know the precise cause of their conditions, but Rahila told me that everybody believed that the
disabilities had been caused by the pollution.
There are around 160 children in the 20 rooms of this building. It was worse in Soviet times,
when the orphanage had been home to 400 youngsters and conditions here were much tougher.
As we left, Rahila took me to her house nearby to show me her own two-month-old grand
daughter Fatima, who was born with a heart defect.
She said her baby was in desperate need of an operation and would probably be dead by the age
of two if she did not get it.
Another victim, Rahila believes, of the legacy of Sumqayit.


Independent Online: Your carbon footprint revealed:

Climate change report finds we each produce 11 tons of carbona year - and breaks down how
we do it

By Ian Herbert and Jonathan Brown
Published: 09 December 2006
The first piece of research to calculate a carbon footprint for the average British citizen has
detailed the precise environmental damage each of us causes.
A study by the government-funded Carbon Trust puts the annual carbon footprint of the average
Briton at 10.92 tons of CO2 - roughly half of the 19 tons of CO2 produced each year by the
average American. The research also demonstrates that our leisure and recreation pursuits -
activities as diverse as watching a football match or taking a trip to the seaside - account for
most of our emissions, rather than a lack of insulation or a predilection for 4x4 cars.
The figures are published at a time when the Government is under intense pressure to take
firmer action on climate change, with a raft of environmental measures outlined by the
Chancellor, Gordon Brown, in his pre-Budget report this week.
The individual impact we make on the climate has tended to be diluted by carbon emission
figures generated by the Office of National Statistics which detail emissions at source -
electricity production, for example, or primary manufacturing. But the Carbon Trust's figures
takes the overall emission figure and, using a University of Surrey model, reallocates them to
the point of consumption. The data reveals an annual carbon footprint for each of 11 kinds of
consumer need. That is then divided by the size of the population of Britain.
Nearly a fifth of the average British citizen's 10.92 tons of CO2 - 1.95 tons - is emitted through
recreation and leisure: everything from holiday trips by car and visiting a gym, which has
substantial emissions, a trip to a leisure centre where the swimming pool is heated, watching
television and enjoying live evening sport under floodlights.
The importance of minimising carbon emissions from our homes is also reinforced by the
figures, which show the average British citizen contributes 1.49 tons of CO2 a year through the
heating of his or her home.
In the third category, 1.39 tons of CO2 are generated by food and catering. That includes
everything from emissions generated directly by cooking and food use - refrigerating, freezing
and cooking - plus the indirect emissions from the production of food and drink products and
services. Production includes raw material cultivation, packaging production, manufacturing,
distribution, disposal and recycling. Together, the top three categories account for a half of our
individual carbon emissions.
Consideration of food miles, use of efficient fridges and rejecting items with too much
packaging can help but the message from the Carbon Trust is clear: we are not expected to cut
out many or all of these activities, but we can think more broadly about where we might reduce
our carbon footprint. " This piece of work is about making people aware that everything they do
involves carbon emissions and not just flights and heating their homes," said Euan Murray,
strategy manager at the Carbon Trust.

The trust's research reflects the "I Count" ethos of the Stop Climate Chaos organisation, whose
rally at Trafalgar Square last month was the biggest environmental protest Britain has seen.
"Cynics are gradually accepting that individual actions can make a different when it comes to
tackling climate change," Ashok Sinha, director of Stop Climate Chaos, said yesterday. "We
just have to look at the split in terms of the impact of individual actions and those of
Though individual actions cannot have the impact that reducing aviation fuel use and power
station emissions, the "I Count" campaign's work has been highly effective in communicating
knowledge of the inividual emission savings we can make.
For instance, 2kg of carbon can be saved for every journey under three miles for which we walk
and don't use the car, while 30kg can be saved by switching the power off at nights in your
house and 2,300kg by switching the office to recycled paper.
Fourth in the Carbon Trust's list of personal carbon emissions is " household activities", on
which we each emit 1.37 tons a year. That includes lighting, household appliances such as
vacuum cleaners and DIY equipment, the electricity used to produce household furnishings and
electricity used to create the building itself (from making bricks, to delivering furniture).
We emit a further ton of emissions each year simply by the clothing and footwear we consume.
The figure includes emissions from the chemical processes used to manufacture and transport
the items, emissions from water heating and wet appliances used in cleaning, drying and
pressing clothes
A further 0.81 tons is created by commuting, another category in the data, and 0.68 through
aviation. Education accounts for 0.49 tons, including the production of books and newspapers.
The new footprint has been launched after research earlier this year by the Carbon Trust
showing that two thirds of consumers are more likely to buy products and services with a low
carbon footprint.
The Carbon Trust is working with Walkers, Trinity Mirror, Boots and Marks & Spencer to
undertake a carbon audit of their supply chains. But individual actions are only a part of
reducing carbon emissions. Inherent in the 'I Count' philosophy is the idea that if individuals
take action then Governments will be morally bound to follow suit.

Carbon scores
Recreation 1.95 tons
The single largest source of emissions. Researchers analysed CO2 caused by leisure activities
plus the production of goods and services. Examples include seaside trips, which create 200kg
per person each year, and TV, videos and stereos - another 35kg

Heating 1.49 tons
Second biggest source of CO2 resulting from burning of gas, electricity and oil. It is one of the
easiest sectors to reduce, say campaigners. The easiest way is to turn down heating: every extra
degree on thermostat accounts for 25kg of CO2 each year

Food 1.39 tons

Generated by cooking, eating and drinking, including food miles and production of raw
materials. Includes food transport in UK - equivalent to 300kg per person a year - and driving to
supermarkets - another 40kg. A restaurant meal generates 8kg per diner

Household 1.37 tons
This covers non-heating emissions generated in the home from appliances, furnishings and from
the construction of the building itself. A fridge is responsible for 140kg of carbon annually,
while lighting in a house contributes a further 100kg

Hygiene 1.34 tons
Includes emissions from the NHS and from individuals bathing and washing. Typical examples
include taking a bath instead of a shower, which adds 50kg of carbon in energy production, or
heating up a house's water, which adds 150kg

Clothing 1.00 tons
Energy and emissions generated in producing, transporting and cleaning clothes and shoes. In a
year, the average person will expend 70kg of energy on new clothes, 100kg by using washing
machines and
36kg by using tumble dryers, for example.

Commuting 0.81 tons
Travelling to and from the workplace on both public and private transport including aviation.
Assuming a journey of three miles undertaken five times a week, the use of a car represents
500kg of energy for the average commuter in a year

Aviation 0.68 tons
The fastest growing source of CO2 emissions, thanks in part to the boom in low-cost air travel.
A return flight to Malaga, for example, would represent 400kg of energy per passenger. A short
break to Prague would expend 220kg of energy

Education 0.49 tons
These are emissions relating to schools, educational travel, books and newspapers. School
buildings, for example, made up 172kg of energy; books accounted for 13.6kg; and the 4x4
school run (1.2 miles five times a week during terms) was 200kg

Phones 0.1 tons
All sources of CO2 emanating from communications including computing. Mobile phone
chargers, for example, accounted for between 35 and 70kg per person per year. Sending letters,
by contrast, represented only 0.01kg
The Guardian: We may yearn to be green, but we can't afford to be gullible

As wind farms show, we must be more sceptical about quack remedies peddled in the name of

Max Hastings
Monday December 11, 2006
The Guardian
An independent study declared at the weekend that most wind farms in England are a waste of
space. Government targets for turbines assume that they will operate at 30% of capacity. Most
work well below that, because their sites are insufficiently windy.
Businesses which establish turbines beside their offices, not to mention politicians who put
them on their houses, are erecting "a garden ornament, not a power station", in the words of an
adviser to the Renewable Energy Foundation, which carried out the study. "These are
statements about the company's corporate social responsibility, not efficient generating
capacity." They are also, of course, damnably ugly.
The study is unsurprising to those of us who have believed all along that turbine mania reflects
an unholy alliance between ambitious manufacturers, greedy landowners and credulous
ministers - happy to lavish extravagant subsidies on doubtful technology which burnishes their
green credentials without costing anybody save the taxpayer, who exists to be stuffed.
Likewise last week, the Economist published an assessment of the Fairtrade scheme, whereby
shoppers knowingly pay a premium for food which is organically grown and meets minimum
standards of "fair" prices paid to growers. The Economist suggests that Fairtrade merely
indulges the almost unlimited gullibility of well-meaning consumers. They do not stop to think
that 90% of the premium goes to the retailer, not the producer; that food can be delivered in
huge lorries to supermarkets at less energy cost than is incurred by distribution in smaller
vehicles to farmers' markets. It is the car journeys we make to shops which cause food energy
costs to soar.
"Buying British" may be patriotic, but makes limited ecological sense. Lamb can be raised in
New Zealand and sold in England for less energy-cost than producing it here. Winter tomatoes
can be grown in Spain and trucked to British shops more energy-economically than by growing
them under glass here.
Questions are raised about the entire organic-growing concept: ploughing land to destroy weeds
may do more environmental damage through fuel use than spraying herbicides. Some experts
argue that a "no till" growing system, based on sowing cover crops and using herbicides, is
more sustainable than so-called organic farming, a doubtful and uncertainly-defined concept
even on a good day.
Now, my purpose here is not to claim instant credentials as a pundit on any of these issues, for
which I am less qualified than, well - George Monbiot. It is merely to suggest that we, as
citizens, should be much more sceptical about quack remedies peddled in the sacred name of
Thoughtful people have reached a condition in which most of us, individually as well as
collectively, want to behave better towards the environment than we have done in the past. We
yearn to make our tiny contributions towards stemming global warming, and pursuing
sustainable resource policies.
Unfortunately, however, it is much harder to do so than we want to think. There are sharks out
there, dressed in shiny green camouflage suits, who want to persuade us that by buying this, not
buying that, despoiling the landscape with turbines each bearing the Toynbee seal of approval,

we can "do our bit" without needing to spend years in the trenches, or go over the top at
The truth, of course, is that, as with every divorce, there is no painless means of parting from
our old life and embracing a new. Almost every significant improvement in the global
environment will require international agreements made by governments, together with savage
fiscal burdens imposed on individuals to change their behaviour, above all in the use of fossil
fuels. Only a tiny minority of people are willing - for instance - to drive less, unless obliged by
cost to do so.
It does not seem fanciful to me, a military historian, to compare the current passion for erecting
wind turbines with the building of RAF Blenheim bombers in 1939. A few of you may have
forgotten that the Blenheim was a disastrous military aircraft, known to be so at the time. Yet it
was built in its hundreds, and rushed into deployments which conveyed planes and their hapless
pilots almost seamlessly to extinction at the hands of the Luftwaffe.
The rationale for this folly was simple: it was "better to build something than nothing". In truth,
of course, it was pointless to put into the air machines incapable of doing the business, as pilots'
widows agreed. The erection of wind farms in England costs no lives, but represents the same
Sustainable energy we must have. Some of us pray nightly for the swift evolution of wave-
power technology, offshore wind farms, electric cars, improved water harvesting, and home
insulation. But it represents expensive, landscape-wrecking madness to plant turbines where
there is insufficient wind to render them economic, which means almost everywhere in
Likewise on the issue of food: many of us find the words "world trade talks" mind numbing, but
it is time to wake up. If we really want to help poor people and the environment, vastly more
important than buying doubtfully green products in the supermarket is to end Europe's common
agricultural policy, along with US farm protectionism, and drastically liberalise the poor world's
access to our markets.
Of course this is difficult, and requires commitments by western governments, of a kind which
are so far appallingly lacking. But these are indispensable if we are serious about promoting
rational global agricultural policies. It also seems evident that we need to know more, quickly,
about the environmental economics of shipping agricultural products across the world. Many of
us worry about this, while being unsure about facts in an area where they are notoriously hard to
come by.
Environmentalism generates extravagant emotion and often unreliable analysis. Some of us
have never forgotten Greenpeace's successful 1998 campaign to prevent the offshore sinking of
the redundant Brent Spar oil rig. Subsequent studies suggested that Shell's proposed solution
would have been much greener than Greenpeace's.
I respect much that Greenpeace does, in particular its crusade against global despoliation of
fisheries, but Brent Spar was not an isolated example of the abuse of campaigning sentiment.
Likewise, the arguments about nuclear power and GM crops are much more complex than many
greens allow. Only a lunatic could embrace either technology with enthusiasm. Yet, as usual,
there are important arguments about choices. Some of us believe that both will have to be
accepted, because the alternatives are unconvincing.

The best argument for organic food purchases, like hybrid cars, is that at least they enable
consumers to make gestures which show that they care. Climate change frightens many of us,
including me, more than international terrorism.
It is because so many people are now waving green flags that an aspirant national leader like
David Cameron jumps on the bandwagon. However cynical his motives, if more politicians start
thinking like him and Al Gore rather than like George W, there is some small hope for us all.
But please: unless or until the numbers add up, no more subsidised, futile turbines which look
satanic beside the M4 and silly atop houses in Notting Hill.

Independent Online (South Africa): Soweto goes green
By Anna Cox
11 December 2006
By the middle of next year, about 30 000 trees will have been planted in Soweto.

This is thanks to a cheque for R2-million from the governments of Norway and Denmark and
the World Conservation Union handed to the executive mayor of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo
last week for a project called the Greening Soweto Legacy.

The greening project is part of the preparation for the 2010 World Cup and is one of the key
City Parks projects.

Masondo said the trees would serve many purposes in Soweto - not just aesthetics.
They will stabilise soil and prevent erosion. They would also cut down on noise pollution and
limit vehicular glare and reflection.

"The trees will provide a natural habitat for urban bird life, absorb carbon pollutants, including
dust particles and produce cleaner air, as well as moderate temperature. The trees will help to
develop an increased sense of community ownership and civic pride and act as a catalyst for
economic activity," he said.

The money was handed to Johannesburg City Parks but Johannesburg Water, City Power,
Pikitup and the Johannesburg Roads Agency will also ensure that every aspect of this
environmental project was taken care of, said Masondo. The project will be extended to areas
such as Orange Farm, Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Eldorado Park and Lenasia.

City Parks had actively been lobbying for funding to support this initiative. At an average cost
of R2 000 per tree, at least R44-million was required.

City Parks had already planted more than 8 000 street trees this financial year but an additional
22 000 street trees were required.
Ambassador of Norway, Ove Thorsheim said Johannesburg was the most vibrant city in Africa
but the people of Soweto could not afford to beautify their area.

Duminsani Shoyise of the World Conservation Union, a body which lobbies and encourages
governments to make the environment part of their official policies, said South Africa is third in

the world for bio-diversity.

"Soweto plays a huge role because of its history and because it has become a major attraction. It
has to become environmentally sustainable. It has been shown worldwide that once there is a
green environment, residents and property owners start taking better care of their own homes
thereby improving entire neighbourhoods," he said.


BBC: Rights focus sought over climate

11 December 2006.

More attention to human rights is needed in tackling climate change, former Irish
President Mary Robinson will say in a lecture.
Her speech at Chatham House, a think-tank in London, will argue that climate change is now an
issue of global injustice.
The ex-UN high commissioner for human rights will urge policymakers to adopt "a radically
different approach".
She will also urge rich nations to meet their climate change obligations.
"We can no longer think of climate change as an issue where we the rich give charity to the
poor to help them cope," she is expected to say.
"Climate change has already begun to affect the fulfilment of human rights and our shared
human rights framework entitles and empowers developing countries and impoverished
communities to claim protection of these rights."
Ms Robinson will argue for the revival of multilateral efforts that led to the global eradication of
smallpox and the phasing out of CFC gases.
The issue of human rights was often raised at last month's UN climate talks in Nairobi, notably
by development agencies working in Africa, such as Oxfam and Christian Aid.

Stern warning
A recent report by the former chief economist of the World Bank, Sir Nicholas Stern, suggested
that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%.
But taking action now would cost just 1% of the world's gross domestic product every year, the
700-page study said.
The Stern Report also said that without action, up to 200 million people could become refugees
as their homes are hit by drought or flood.
Scientists say poor countries are likely to be worst-hit because of their concentration in the
tropics, heavy reliance on agriculture and their limited capacity to deal with natural disasters.
"There is strong evidence of the rich causing the problem, with the poor most adversely
affected, and thus it is time that rich countries address their obligations to reduce climate change
and mitigate its effects, including those beyond their borders," Ms Robinson will say.

The lecture marks the 25th anniversary of the death of environmentalist Barbara Ward, who
founded the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in 1971

Christian Science Monitor: Global warming: a few skeptics still ask why it's happening
Scientists who seek alternative to fossil-fuel theory got a hearing.
By Peter N. Spotts | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

With alarms bells over global warming ringing ever louder and more insistent, is it possible - or
credible - for an active scientist working on climate questions to be skeptical of the cause or
future severity?
Amid mounting evidence that temperatures are rising on planet Earth, the "skeptics" and
"agnostics" are a smaller band than they used to be. Yet those who do still harbor doubts about a
looming global-warming crisis are quietly continuing to test alternative ideas about how climate
works and what, if not the burning of fossil fuels, might be causing the temperature creep.
This week some of the doubters testified at a Senate hearing on global warming, perhaps their
last chance to take the bully pulpit for at least two years, now that Congress is shifting to
Democratic control. At a hearing chaired by Sen. James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma, who has
dismissed warnings of a global-warming crisis as a hoax, they expressed misgivings about the
reliability of climate forecasts and questioned whether the current warming even is unusual,
among other things.
These objections are not new, and many environmentalists and scientists say research has
already passed them by. Moreover, they distract from the urgent need to get on with curbing
emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Yet even critics acknowledge that science is a discipline that needs its maverick thinkers - and
that the global-warming skeptics and their research provide a kind of reality check on the
climatology field. They acknowledge, too, that scientific training, temperament, and field of
specialty factor into the motivations of researchers who retain reservations about human-
induced climate change.
"To imply that any scientist who has questions about global warming is somehow part of an
orchestrated campaign" by industry or interest groupsgreatly oversimplifies the spectrum of
motivations among those outside the consensus view, says Annie Petsonk, a lawyer with
Environmental Defense.
"It is much more complicated than that." History shows that science is a field in which it can be
difficult to achieve consensus - even when the question at hand has no public-policy
implications. When the question gets tangled up with politics, economics, and lifestyles, the
ranks of the unconvinced can thin far more grudgingly.
"Science moves slowly," says John Wallace, an atmospheric scientist at the University of
Washington who used to be skeptical about human-induced warming. He cites the controversy
over smoking and health as an example of skepticism's durability when public policy is
involved. Even after accounting for the influence of the tobacco lobby, "there were

scientifically very conservative people who maintained ... doubt until very late in the game -
much to the detriment of a lot of smokers," he says. They insisted, he says, on absolute certainty
on the link between smoking and health.
Not all remaining skeptics fit neatly into one pigeonhole. They do agree that the climate has
warmed and that humans have pumped more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. But some
hold that the climate is too complex to reliably forecast its future trends. Other suggest that
natural fluctuations in climate remain the main drivers of warming. Still others say that, on
balance, warming will be good for humanity.
 Within those broad groups, there's overlap and even ambivalence. "There are days when I am
involved in research and I would look to anyone like: This guy's completely on board," says
Robert Balling Jr., an atmospheric scientist at Arizona State University who is often is
identified as a a skeptic. "Other days, I might be involved in a project that could be seen on the
skeptical side. I don't understand how someone working in this field for 15 years can publish
nothing" but work supporting the consensus view "and not be a little skeptical."
Some who look at the climate issue through the lens of geological time hold that warming's
impact on society pales in comparison with the sudden, natural swings in climate that can
occur. The triggers are unknown, and society is woefully unprepared for them, says Australian
researcher Robert Carter, one of the testifiers before the Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee on Wednesday. The global-warming debate, he argued, is a           distraction that
keeps people from focusing on what he sees as this greater threat.
The University of Oklahoma's David Deming went further, arguing for a form of geo-
engineering to forestall the next ice age. In a phone interview, Dr. Deming said too little is
known about how the climate system works to overhaul economies in an effort to affect it. He
cites the mechanisms that cause ice ages as an example. And he points to work by Richard
Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley who has suggested an unusual
cosmic source for cooling cycles that occur roughly every 100,000 years.
But in an interview, Dr. Muller chuckles and notes that measurements he hoped would bolster
his case for periodic swings through a patch of cosmic dust as the culprit so far failed to turn up
evidence of dust.
He does have misgivings about computer modeling as a forecast tool and about uncertainties in
climate-change science. But given the current state of the science, "we can't rule out that a
substantial portion of the warming is due to human influence," he says. "And we have a
plausible mechanism that can account for the changes. If we extrapolate those forward, the
effects would be bad for the US," even if Canada and Russia might like a warmer climate.

New York Times: Selling Fuel Efficiency the Green Way
Published: December 11, 2006

REMEMBER the dueling beer drinkers in the Miller Lite commercials? Tastes great! No, less
filling! Honda‘s latest campaign stresses its commitment to the environment. The message, of
course, was loud and clear: the beer is both, dummy!
Now the automotive world is doing its own take on a ―not either-or, but- and‖ message, albeit
without the histrionics. Back in the spring, when Americans were terrified that gas prices would
soar past $5 at the pump, car companies promoted the fuel efficiency of their models — or at
least came up with ways to make the gas consumption more palatable. In May, General Motors
began offering prepaid gas cards to buyers of S.U.V.‘s and midsize cars in California and
Florida. Honda began referring to itself as Small Oil.
Gas prices have come down, and the panic has subsided. Car companies, however, are still
emphasizing fuel efficiency — not just as a way to spare the wallet this time, but also as a way
to save the planet. Or, to paraphrase that Miller Lite ad: Less costly! No, fewer greenhouse gas
The signs are all around.
In late August, the Chevrolet division of G.M. sent a fleet of 60 ethanol-compatible S.U.V.‘s to
transport people and equipment to and from the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City
Music Hall. Never mind that ethanol is not particularly easy to find in Manhattan, or that
S.U.V.‘s in general are not particularly fuel-efficient vehicles. It was a strike for green-ness. As
Ed Peper, Chevrolet‘s general manager, put it at the time, ―Going green never looked so good.‖
The Ford Motor Company‘s Focus car was recently granted the Environmental Protection
Agency‘s SmartWay seal, which the E.P.A. grants to vehicles that spew forth relatively low
levels of both regulated pollutants and greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that, while
generally considered safe to breathe, are thought to contribute to global warming. In its
advertisements, Ford still stresses fuel efficiency, but it is highlighting the SmartWay
designation in the brochures that dealers give out.
―It isn‘t that we are changing course from gas mileage to concern for the environment,‖ said
Kristen Kinley, who handles environmental communications for Ford. ―But the two go hand in
hand, and the E.P.A. designation for the Focus was a good fit for marketing and point-of-sale
Honda, too, is going for harmonic messages. Honda used to run one series of ads on the fuel
efficiency of its cars and a separate series lauding how cleanly they run. One ad, for example,
played on the concept of air bags, in this context meaning lungs, while another showed Mr.
Clean (with Procter & Gamble‘s approval) standing in front of a Honda Accord. ―Drive one,‖
the ad challenged, ―and see what the neighbors call you.‖
But Honda‘s current campaign, called Environmentology, tries to position Honda as the ―most
fuel-efficient auto company in America‖ as well as one that is ―committed to developing
environmentally responsible technology.‖ Environmentalism ―is not just the flavor of the week
with us,‖ said Jeffrey Smith, vice president for corporate communications at American Honda
Motor. ―But we recognize that climate change and sustainable fuel are both important global
issues, so the Environmentology campaign is addressing our holistic approach to both.‖
Auto makers do not have a lock on the holistic approach. Oil companies and rental car
companies are jumping on the bandwagon, too.

Exxon Mobil ran full-page newspaper ads in November that claimed that the company was
developing engine and fuel systems that could improve fuel economy by 30 percent while
significantly reducing emissions. And Hertz recently inaugurated its ―Green Collection.‖ For an
extra $3 to $5 a day, environment-conscious drivers can reserve a Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion,
Buick LaCrosse or Hyundai Sonata, all family-size cars that are rated by the E.P.A. as getting at
least 28 miles to the gallon. About half the cars in the green fleet carry the SmartWay seal.
―Customers that don‘t want small cars keep telling us they still want cars that are fuel-efficient
and environmentally sound,‖ said Richard D. Broome, vice president for corporate affairs.
Of course, Hertz already had thousands of such cars in its fleet, and Mr. Broome knows that the
additional charge for reserving one could raise eyebrows. But since Hertz guarantees the
availability of a green car, he said, it must buy more of them, and devise better ways to allocate
them among Hertz locations.
―Normally, if a car you reserve isn‘t available, a rental car company upgrades you to the next-
highest vehicle class,‖ which could mean an S.U.V. or other gas guzzler, he said. ―We have to
make sure these cars are available, and the extra fee covers the logistics of doing that.‖
Paradoxically, those car companies that have traditionally trumpeted their environmental good
citizenry are muting that message, at least temporarily. Subaru, for example, has often been
praised for its environmentally sensitive manufacturing and printing methods and its large roster
of green vehicles. Subaru recently won a SmartWay designation for its Outback S.U.V., and
many Subaru dealers put a sticker noting that on showroom Outbacks.
But Subaru‘s ads still stress fuel efficiency, not environmental correctness. The reason is that
all-wheel drive, which Subaru was one of the first to use, has become so common on S.U.V.‘s
that the company fears that drivers will erroneously associate all-wheel drive with gas guzzlers.
―We‘ve got a limited budget, so it comes down to, How many messages can we afford to send
out?‖ said Lee Garfinkel, chairman and chief creative officer of DDB New York, Subaru‘s ad
agency. ―Maybe down the road we‘ll talk more about the environment, but right now we‘ve got
to stay focused on fuel economy.‖
That is fine with the E.P.A., which cares only that more cars are running clean enough to earn
the SmartWay designation; whether they make promotional hay with it is immaterial.
―Probably less than 20 percent of new cars meet this standard, and next year it‘s going to get
even tougher,‖ said Margo T. Oge, director of the agency‘s office of transportation and air
quality. ―So we‘re going to be pleased when any organization is going after the SmartWay
label, and using it in any way. It shows they realize that people really do care about cleaner,
more sustainable transportation choices.‖

Financial Post: The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science: The Deniers,

Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post

  You're a respected scientist, one of the best in your field. So
respected, in fact, that when the United Nations decided to study the relationship between
hurricanes and global warming for the largest scientific endeavour in its history -- its
International Panel on Climate Change -- it called upon you

and your expertise.

  You are Christopher Landsea of the Atlantic Oceanographic &
Meteorological Laboratory. You were a contributing author for the UN's second
International Panel on Climate Change in 1995, writing the sections on observed changes
In tropical cyclones around the world. Then the IPCC called on you as a
contributing author once more, for its "Third Assessment Report" in 2001.
And you were invited to participate yet again, when the IPCC called on you to
be an author in the "Fourth Assessment Report." This report would specifically
focus on Atlantic hurricanes, your specialty, and be published by the IPCC in

  Then something went horribly wrong. Within days of this last invitation,
In October, 2004, you discovered that the IPCC's Kevin Trenberth -- the very
Person who had invited you -- was participating in a press conference. The title
of the press conference perplexed you: "Experts to warn global warming likely to
continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity." This was
some kind of mistake, you were certain. You had not done any work that
substantiated this claim. Nobody had.

  As perplexing, none of the participants in that press conference were
Known for their hurricane expertise. In fact, to your knowledge, none had
performed any research at all on hurricane variability, the subject of the press
conference. Neither were they reporting on any new work in the field. All
previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability, you
knew, showed no reliable upward trend in the frequency or intensity of
hurricanes. Not in the Atlantic basin. Not in any other basin.

  To add to the utter incomprehensibility of the press conference, the
IPCC itself, in both 1995 and 2001, had found no global warming signal in the
hurricane record. And until your new work would come out, in 2007, the IPCC
would not have a new analysis on which to base a change of findings.

  To stop the press conference, or at least stop any misunderstandings
That might come out of it, you contacted Dr. Trenberth prior to the media event.
You prepared a synopsis for him that brought him up to date on the state of knowledge about
hurricane formation. To your amazement, he simply dismissed
your concerns. The press conference proceeded.

  And what a press conference it was! Hurricanes had been all over the
News that summer. Global warming was the obvious culprit -- only a fool or an
oil-industry lobbyist, the press made clear, could ignore the link between what
seemed to be ever increasing hurricane activity and ever increasing global
warming. The press conference didn't disappoint them. The climate change experts
at hand all confirmed the news that the public had been primed to hear:
Global warming was causing hurricanes. This judgement from the scientists made
headlines around the world, just as it was intended to do. What better way
to cast global warming as catastrophic than to make hurricanes its poster

  You wanted to right this outrageous wrong, this mockery that was made of
Your scientific field. You wrote top IPCC officials, imploring: "Where is the
science, the refereed publications, that substantiate these pronouncements?
What studies are being alluded to that have shown a connection between observed
warming trends on the earth and long-term trends in tropical cyclone
As far as I know, there are none." But no one in the IPCC leadership showed
The slightest concern for the science. The IPCC's overriding preoccupation, it
Soon sunk in, lay in capitalizing on the publicity opportunity that the
Hurricane season presented.

  You then asked the IPCC leadership for assurances that your work for the
IPCC's 2007 report would be true to science: "[Dr. Trenberth] seems to have
already come to the conclusion that global warming has altered hurricane
activity and has publicly stated so. This does not reflect the consensus
within the hurricane research community. ... Thus I would like assurance that what
will be included in the IPCC report will reflect the best available information
and the consensus within the scientific community most expert on the specific

  The assurance didn't come. What did come was the realization that the
IPCC was corrupting science. This you could not be a party to. You then
resigned, in an open letter to the scientific community laying out your reasons.

  Next year, the IPCC will come out with its "Fourth Assessment Report,"
And for the first time in a decade, you will not be writing its section on
hurricanes. That task will be left to the successor that Dr. Trenberth
chose. As part of his responsibility, he will need to explain why -- despite all
expectations -- the 2006 hurricane year was so unexpectedly light, and at
the historical average for the past 150 years.


                            UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
                                    DAILY NEWS
8 December, 2006


The United Nations has often failed to live up to its responsibility to
promote human rights, with the ongoing killing and displacement of
civilians in Darfur only the latest example of how the world has not
improved its act, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today as he urged
Member States, organizations and individuals to make the protection of
rights a reality in every country.

In an address at the Time Warner Centre in New York to mark International
Human Rights Day, which is being staged on Sunday, the outgoing
Secretary-General said he had tried to make human rights central to all of
the world body‘s work during his 10 years at the helm.

―But I‘m not sure how far I have succeeded, or how much nearer we are to
bringing the reality of the UN in line with my vision of human rights as
its ‗third pillar,‘ on a par with development and peace and security,‖ he

Despite the adoption by leaders attending last year‘s World Summit of the
doctrine of a ―responsibility to protect‖ endangered civilians, and the
lessons learned from the disasters of Rwanda and Bosnia during the 1990s,
he said ―reports still pour in of villages being destroyed by the hundred
and of brutal treatment of civilians‖ across the war-torn Sudanese region
of Darfur.

―How can an international community which claims to uphold human rights
allow this horror to continue?‖ he asked. ―There is more than enough blame
to go around. It can be shared among those who value abstract notions of
sovereignty more than the lives of real families, those whose reflex of
solidarity puts them on the side of governments and not of peoples, and
those who fear that action to stop the slaughter would jeopardize their
commercial interests.‖

Mr. Annan also criticized those governments that have tried to depict the
principle of responsibility to protect as an imperialist conspiracy against
developing countries.

―This is utterly false. We must do better. We must develop the
responsibility to protect into a powerful international norm that is not
only quoted but put into practice, whenever and wherever it is needed.‖

He urged civil society groups, human rights defenders and individuals to

each play their part to ensure that governments and the UN are held to
account for their promises on rights. Aside from giving real meaning to
―responsibility to protect,‖ there must be an end to impunity, he said,
citing Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic and the
leaders of the rebel Lord‘s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda as examples of
war criminals still at large.

But the Secretary-General noted there has been some progress in this area,
particularly in the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the
work of the UN war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia,
and the hybrid tribunals in Sierra Leone and Cambodia.

Mr. Annan added that ―we need an anti-terrorism strategy that does not
merely pay lip service to the defence of human rights, but is built on it,‖
adding that States which violate human rights in fighting terrorism lose
the moral high ground.

―That is why secret prisons have no place in our struggle against
terrorism, and why all places where terrorism suspects are detained must be
accessible to the International Committee of the Red Cross.‖

He concluded by saying the international community must move beyond ―grand
statements of principle… [and] work to make human rights a reality in each

Mr. Annan on Monday will travel to the Truman Museum and Library at
Independence, Missouri, to pay homage to the memory of one of the UN‘s
founders and to deliver his last speech as Secretary-General to an American
audience, a spokesman announced.

―He will spell out five lessons derived from his 10-year experience at the
helm of this organization and challenge American leaders of today and
tomorrow to live up to Truman's example of enlightened leadership in a
multilateral system,‖ Stephane Dujarric said.



More than 300,000 Sudanese refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs)
and local villagers in eastern Chad are facing a potential health crisis
following the withdrawal of many humanitarian workers in the face of
ongoing military movements, rebel attacks and inter-communal tensions,
United Nations agencies warned today.

―Many people living in camps and local communities have little access to
health care and their situation could deteriorate quickly,‖ the UN World
Health Organization (WHO) said. ―Due to the reduced humanitarian health

assistance, the health status of refugees and IDPs can rapidly deteriorate.
The increase in the local population has overstretched the capacity of
health services and aid agencies, while supply chains have been affected.‖

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the situation
remained extremely volatile.

―We are working to ensure the basic needs of refugees such as water, food
and primary health services are met while we continue the relocation of
staff from the three northern locations of Bahai, Iriba and Guéréda to the
main eastern town of Abéché or the Chadian capital N'Djamena,‖ UNHCR
spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva. ―We are
keeping skeleton teams in place in these locations, where 110,000 refugees
live in six camps,‖ she added, noting that over 400 international and local
humanitarian staff had been relocated in the past 12 days, with 100 more
still waiting to be moved from Guéréda.

The overall situation of 218,000 refugees from Sudan‘s war-torn Darfur
region, 90,000 displaced Chadians and thousands of villagers took a serious
turn for the worse some two weeks ago when Abéché, hub for relief efforts,
was occupied by rebel forces, then re-taken by Government troops. During
the turmoil the main UN relief supply warehouses were pillaged, reportedly
by local residents.

Since then military movements and armed attacks in the region have
continued to cause havoc. Just this Wednesday, 13 armed men raided the
market in Kounoungo refugee camp near Guéréda. There was an exchange of
fire with the gendarmes responsible for camp security. One local person was

Ms. Pagonis said contingency plans were in place to keep the six camps
running for a month after UNHCR and its partners trained refugee committees
to take on services such as water and sanitation, food distribution, and
health. ―Refugees have responded quickly to help run the camps but are
concerned about the deteriorating security situation,‖ she said.

While the primary causes of illness among refugees were acute respiratory
infections, diarrhoea and malaria, WHO said there were a growing number of
injuries from fighting between rebels and government soldiers. Nearly 200
people were reportedly injured last week in Guéréda and Abéché.

―As violence intensifies, the number of persons wounded by fighting is
becoming a serious concern,‖ the agency‘s coordinator in Abéché, Innocent
Nzeyimana, said. ―Local personnel is not sufficiently trained nor local
resources sufficient to handle these cases.‖

The situation also remains precarious in south-eastern Chad around Goz
Beida and Koukou and along the border with Sudan with regular reports of
inter-communal tensions, attacks on refugees and displaced Chadians,
villages being re-attacked and burned, cattle theft and intrusions of

cattle herds on cultivated fields.

―Refugees in Goz Amir camp situated in this area fear for their security
and report that refugees who go to harvest their fields, allocated by the
local authorities, have frequently been threatened by armed men in military
uniforms,‖ Ms. Pagonis said.



The prospects of all-out civil war in Iraq and even a regional conflict
have become much more real over the past three months as sectarian
violence, insurgent and terrorist attacks, and criminal activities have
risen significantly, according to the latest United Nations report on the
war-torn country released today.

―The sectarian carnage has resulted in a vicious cycle of violence fuelled
by revenge killings,‖ Secretary-General Kofi Annan tells the Security
Council in the report, proposing a possible international conference to
foster national reconciliation and offering UN good offices in helping to
arrange such a meeting.

―The challenge is not only to contain and defuse the current violence, but
also to prevent its escalation,‖ he writes, stressing that the situation
has deteriorated since he warned in his last report in September that that
Iraq was at an important crossroads between taking the high road to
negotiation and compromise or descending further into fratricidal sectarian

He notes that although the figures on civilian casualties since the United
States-led invasion in March 2003 vary between 50,000 and more than
600,000, depending on the sources, the predicament of the Iraqi people is a
constant, with violence permanently hampering human development and greatly
adding to the burden of access to proper health care, social services,
education, employment and economic opportunities.

―While I note the efforts of the Government of Iraq to improve security and
promote national reconciliation, it must undertake an urgent review of
strategies, policies and measures, with the aim of implementing a
consensus-based action plan to halt and reverse current political and
security trends in the country, which needs to be supported by a much
broader and inclusive regional and international effort,‖ Mr. Annan notes.

He lays out a three-point roadmap for the Government to meet the

Developing a fully inclusive process to bring all disenfranchised and

marginalized communities into the mainstream with equitable access to
political power, State institutions and natural resources;
Establishing a Government monopoly on the use of force, not only by
addressing the terrorist, insurgency, sectarian and criminal violence but
also dealing with the problem of militias, including their removal from all
ministries and security forces;
Cultivating a regional environment supporting Iraq‘s transition, with the
Government normalizing relations with its neighbours and the neighbours
working towards fostering greater stability and security in Iraq.
―However, in the light of the deteriorating situation in Iraq and its
potentially grave regional implications, it may be necessary to consider
more creative ways for fostering regional dialogue and understanding, which
could result in concrete confidence-building measures between Iraq and its
neighbours,‖ Mr. Annan writes. ―This process could be broadened to include
the permanent members of the Security Council. The United Nations is
prepared to explore the possibilities of such a process in consultation
with all concerned.‖

Citing positive UN experiences in other parts of the world, such peace
accords for Afghanistan reach in an international meeting in Bonn, Germany,
in 2001, he raises the prospect of bringing Iraqi political parties
together, possibly outside Iraq, with the UN playing a facilitating role.

Mr. Annan reaffirms the UN commitment to Iraq in the political and
humanitarian fields, including strong support for the constitutional review
process and immediate and long-term relief needs. But he also stresses the
severe constraints that deteriorating security has clamped on the
Organization‘s ability to carry out its activities.

He recalls as ―one of the darkest moments in my career‖ the bombing of the
UN compound in Baghdad in August 2003 when the world body lost 22 friends
and colleagues, including the head of the mission, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

―Although there appears to be greater Iraqi and international support for a
more active United Nations role, should there be a further deterioration of
the security situation, the viability of maintaining a significant United
Nations presence in Iraq might be called into question,‖ he warns. ―There
can be no tolerance for exposing United Nations personnel to unacceptable



Responding to the depletion of fish stocks and degradation of fragile
marine habitats in many parts of the world, the United Nations General
Assembly today called on States to take immediate action to reverse the
situation and protect vulnerable deep sea ecosystems.

Adopting a consensus resolution on sustainable fisheries, the Assembly
called on all States to act in a precautionary manner and apply an
―ecosystem approach‖ to the conservation, management and exploitation of
fish stocks.

The resolution also expressed the Assembly‘s particular concern that
illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing constituted a serious threat to
fish stocks and marine habitats and ecosystems, to the detriment of
sustainable fisheries, as well as the food security and the economies of
many States, particularly poorer ones.

States were encouraged to take measures to deter illegal, unreported and
unregulated fishing activities, and to facilitate mutual assistance to
investigations and punishment as needed.

The adoption of the resolution followed a two-day debate on the issue, with
nearly three dozen countries participating.

Over half – 52 per cent – of global fish stocks are fully exploited, while
overexploited and depleted species have increased from about 10 per cent in
the mid 1970s to 24 per cent in 2002, according to a study, ‗Ecosystems and
Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas‘, which was issued jointly by the
UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN)
earlier this year.



As part of ongoing United Nations efforts to make itself more efficient and
responsive to national needs, Viet Nam today was selected as the first
pilot country in the ―One UN‖ reform programme, involving six UN agencies
working more closely together to avoid duplication and fragmentation.

―Viet Nam is at the forefront of the UN move to deliver as one. The UN
family has to combine the diversity of skills and mandates present in our
agencies to realize our tremendous potential as partners in development,‖
said Kemal Dervis, who heads the UN Development Group and is the
Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The ―One UN‖ pilot programme will include at least five other countries and
aims to move beyond coordination to consolidating a single presence in
countries, UNDP said in a press release from the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

This Viet Nam pilot programme will comprise six participating agencies: the
UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF), UNDP, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN
Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), UN Volunteers (UNV) and the Joint UN
Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Other agencies are expected to join or

cooperate with the programme in the near future.

―There was a realization that while we were doing a good job, we weren‘t
being fully efficient,‖ said UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam Jesper
Morch. ―By working together, UNICEF will be able to deliver far more for
Vietnamese children. It seemed obvious to embrace the idea.‖

The ―One UN‖ plan envisions agencies working as one team, with the aim of
avoiding fragmentation and duplication of efforts and instead ensuring a
unity of purpose, coherence in management and efficiency in operations
while maintaining the distinct personality, agenda, and purpose of the
different agencies.

Today‘s announcement came after a meeting between a taskforce on UN reform
and the Vietnamese Government, which also involved participating UN
agencies, funds and programmes, and bilateral donors.

―Viet Nam is always pushing us to do things better, to be ever more
responsive and efficient, and the UN team here is working to answer that
call for more effective assistance,‖ said UN Resident Coordinator John

―With this very exciting pilot opportunity, Viet Nam is being recognized
for its openness and drive to make the UN work better. In a sense, this
pilot is like bringing global reform efforts home, and the development
community will be very interested in what happens here as Viet Nam is now
literally at the centre of UN reform efforts.‖

This announcement comes nearly a month after the UN High-Level Panel on
Systemwide Coherence released its report, Delivering as One, which
recommended, among other things, that the UN ―deliver as one at the country
level, with one leader, one programme, one budget, where appropriate, one
office.‖ Additional pilot countries will likely be announced at the end of
this month.



Security in Lebanon has stabilized in recent months but Israeli overflights
continue, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest update on the
United Nations Interim Force in the country (UNIFIL), where arms caches
have also been discovered in the peacekeeping mission‘s area of operation.

In a letter to the President of the Security Council released today, the
Secretary-General points to greater stability along the Blue Line of
Israeli withdrawal. ―The cessation of hostilities was maintained and there
were no serious incidents or confrontations. Nevertheless, UNIFIL observed

and reported air violations by Israeli jets and unmanned aerial vehicles on
an almost daily basis.‖

The report notes that Israel maintains that its repeated overflights are
not violations but a necessary security measure. ―While mindful of the
Israeli motivations to continue their air incursions into Lebanese
airspace, I would note that such violations of Lebanese
sovereignty…undermine the credibility of both UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed
Forces (LAF) and compromise overall efforts to stabilize the situation in
the south and efforts to build trust and confidence generally,‖ Mr. Annan

Israel continued to withdraw its forces from southern Lebanon, with the
Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) retaining a presence only in the northern part
of the village of Ghajar, which is divided by the Blue Line. UNIFIL is
working with the Lebanese and the Israelis to finalize the withdrawal of
the IDF from the remaining area inside Lebanon and set up temporary
security arrangements for the part of the village of Ghajar inside Lebanese

As Israeli forces pull out, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have been
moving in. ―The deployment of the LAF throughout the south for the first
time in decades down to the Blue Line is a most notable achievement and a
key stabilizing factor,‖ Mr. Annan says, praising the Lebanese forces for
their ―high degree of cooperation‖ with the Force.

Since early September, there have been over a dozen instances where UNIFIL
came across unauthorized arms or related materiel in its area of operation,
including the discovery of 17 Katyushas and several improvised explosive
devices. ―On all of these occasions, UNIFIL informed the LAF, who took
prompt action either to confiscate or destroy the materials,‖ the
Secretary-General writes.

Although the UN continues to receive reports of illegal arms smuggling
across the Lebanese-Syrian border, these have not been verified, according
to the report.

The report also details efforts to tackle the dangers of contamination from
unexploded cluster munitions, which continue to kill and maim even after
the guns have fallen silent. Israel has yet to provide UNIFIL with the
detailed firing data on its use of cluster munitions, says Mr. Annan,
voicing his expectation that such information will be furnished to help
efforts to mitigate the threat to innocent civilians.

The letter will be discussed by the Security Council on Monday, a UN
spokesman told reporters today.



Now that the Security Council has extended the transitional government in
divided Côte d‘Ivoire for a final year, the country‘s political leadership
must not delay in restarting the stalled peace process and resolving their
disputes, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest report on the
West African nation.

Civil society must also put the national interest first and avoid partisan
political agendas, Mr. Annan states in his report to the Council, which
adopted a resolution on 1 November endorsing an African Union (AU) decision
to renew the mandate of Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and President
Laurent Gbagbo ―for a new and final transition period not exceeding 12

The Secretary-General writes that the resolution provides a sound framework
for re-launching aspects of the peace process, including the staging of
long-delayed national elections, which have been stalled since August.

He calls on Mr. Banny and Mr. Gbagbo to ―eschew confrontation and maintain
a constructive working relationship,‖ especially in the areas of
disarmament, identification of voters and the restoration of State

―Ivorian political leaders and civil society… must together cultivate a
culture of political accommodation and tolerance, fight impunity, tackle
the hate media, rid the nation of xenophobia, pay attention to the
insidious local land and ethnic conflicts in the west and contribute… to
put in place a mechanism to guarantee the credibility and transparency of
the crucial identification of the population,‖ Mr. Annan says.

Welcoming the fact that ―some technical preparations‖ for disarmament and
identification have taken place despite the stalemate, Mr. Annan
nevertheless urges all sides to recognize that exceptional measures –
including the possibility of power-sharing arrangements – will be needed
during and immediately after the transition period.

Côte d‘Ivoire has been split in two between the Government-controlled south
and the rebel-held north since the sides agreed to a cessation of
hostilities in 2002. The UN Operation in Côte d‘Ivoire (UNOCI) has more
than 9,000 military or police personnel in place to maintain peace, and Mr.
Annan recommends that its mandate be extended for another year until 15
December 2007.

The report notes that the security situation across the country is
relatively calm, with only a handful of violent clashes – unrelated to
domestic reaction to the Council resolution – taking place recently. Yet
the humanitarian picture remains grim, with reports of fresh outbreaks
among cholera and yellow fever.



Continuing United Nations efforts to bring stability to Timor-Leste, police
officers assisted by a New Zealand Defence force unit this week arrested 17
people after coming under attack at a police post in the town of Bidau,
possibly linked to gang rivalries.

A large group of people allegedly threw rocks and darts at the police
station on Tuesday evening, UN Police (UNPOL) spokeswoman Monica Rodrigues
said in a press release, adding that when the officers tried to determine
the reason for the attack they were also allegedly threatened with machetes
and sling shots with metal balls.

UNPOL, with help from a New Zealand Defence Force Unit, pursued the alleged
offenders, arresting 17 people and confiscating 21 weapons, the release
said. The attack appeared to be motivated by an earlier arrest of a group
member, who has since been charged with possessing a gas grenade and a
baton in connection with a gang rivalry.

A judge in the capital‘s District Court remanded the 17 in custody until
their trial on a date yet to be announced.

UNPOL has been stepping up its patrols and increasing its numbers in the
tiny South-East Asian nation since the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste
(UNMIT) was created in August to help restore order after deadly violence
broke out in April and May, causing the deaths of at least 37 people and
forcing about 155,000 people – or 15 per cent of the population – to flee
their homes.

Last week, the UN signed an agreement with the Government giving it prime
responsibility for policing throughout the country, which the world body
shepherded to independence from Indonesia just four years ago.

August‘s Security Council resolution calls for a police presence of up to
1,608 qualified UNPOL officers from various nations to help Timor-Leste
improve all aspects of policing operations including leadership,
community-policing, investigations, traffic, public order and
administration. There are currently 966 UNPOL officers in the country.

Also in Timor-Leste, the first batch of UN Volunteers (UNV), out of a
planned total of 250 to be brought in to help with next year‘s elections,
today showed off their Tetum skills after attending an intensive 3-week
course to learn the local language.

―The purpose of the course is to give the participants a basic command of

Tetum to make it possible for them to communicate with the Timorese
population in the districts and to perform their duties more effectively
and with increased cultural sensitivity,‖ said UNV Tetum Language
Coordinator Bodil Knudsen.



Most of the estimated 12,000 people who fled across the border from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Uganda earlier this week to
escape violent clashes between Government troops and rebel forces have
returned now that the fighting has subsided, the United Nations refugee
agency said today.

Only about 4,000 Congolese remain in the south-western Ugandan town of
Kisoro, and no new arrivals have been reported in the past few days, UN
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a
press briefing in Geneva.

The refugees, mainly women and children, fled to Uganda after clashes
erupted about 100 kilometres north of Goma in North Kivu province in the
far east of the vast DRC, close to the Ugandan border.

Most of the refugees have been living in local schools and churches in
Kisoro, but some are also sleeping on the porches of private homes, Ms.
Pagonis said, adding that about 950 moved to Nyakabanda, a site south of
Kisoro. Health authorities have started vaccinating the child refugees and
UNHCR is working with local officials and the Ugandan Red Cross on
installing latrines and basic shelter.

This week‘s influx is the second of its kind this year. In January and
February about 17,000 Congolese entered Uganda to escape fighting near
their homes. Although the majority of that group returned home as soon as
the clashes ended, some 3,500 remained in Uganda and were later moved to a
refugee settlement at Nakevale.

Ms. Pagonis said there are 23,000 Congolese refugees living in Uganda, many
of whom fled during the long and brutal civil war in the DRC.



The United Nations refugee agency announced today that it plans to resume
next week the voluntary repatriation of nearly 9,000 people from the

Central African Republic (CAR) back to their homes in either southern Sudan
or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

About 8,000 Sudanese and 900 Congolese will be repatriated by the middle of
2007 under the programme, which was suspended earlier this year because the
border between the CAR and Sudan was officially closed and the volatile DRC
was holding its first free and fair elections in more than 40 years.

Starting next Wednesday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will
fly Sudanese by air from the Mboki settlement in the southeast of the CAR,
where most have been living. More than 2,100 others were repatriated before
the border was closed in April. The CAR Government agreed to open a
―humanitarian corridor‖ to allow the repatriation operation to resume.

On Friday, the first of the Congolese refugees – who are nearly all from
the Equateur province – will cross the Oubangui River, which separates the
CAR and the DRC, by boat. They will join 3,250 refugees who left before the
lengthy election period began.

UNHCR‘s representative in the CAR, Bruno Geddo, said in a statement
released in the capital, Bangui, that the refugees were grateful for the
hospitality they have received while living in the country.

―But now that the circumstances in their home countries are gradually
improving, they have opted for return, and they are looking forward to
regaining their homes,‖ he said. ―By returning home, the refugees are
sending a strong signal that they are committed to help rebuilding their
country of origin and contributing to national reconciliation.‖

The Sudanese are returning following a comprehensive peace agreement last
year that ended a 20-year civil war in the south of the vast country, while
the Congolese are also returning as their country recovers from a brutal
civil conflict.

The repatriation programme is resuming as widespread criminal activity and
recent clashes between national security forces and armed rebels have
forced around 220,000 inhabitants of the CAR to flee their homes. An
estimated 150,000 have become internally displaced persons (IDPs), mostly
in the north, near the borders with Cameroon, Chad and Sudan‘s Darfur
region. Some 50,000 live in UNHCR-assisted camps in southern Chad and
another 20,000 reside in Cameroon.



Moroccan children, especially girls, street kids and those living in rural
areas, continue to drop out of school at unacceptably high rates, driven

mainly by the lack of basic services such as sanitation, water and
electricity, an independent United Nations human rights expert has
concluded after touring the North African country.

Vernor Muñoz, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, said in a
statement issued yesterday following his trip that Morocco needs to make
further efforts to ensure that children are able to stay in school,
especially at the primary level.

He said ―the lack of canteens and boarding facilities, coupled with a
prevailing lack of sanitation, water and electricity supply in various
rural areas, have a direct negative impact in the realization of the right
to education, especially of girls.‖

The statement urged Moroccan authorities to make special efforts to enrol
and continue the education of the estimated population of 600,000 street
children, starting by collecting data on those children and on girls who
serve as domestic workers.

But Mr. Muñoz welcomed the ―very positive institutional and legislative
measures‖ taken by Morocco, including the enshrining of the right to
education in the national constitution, the ratification of the Convention
on the Rights of the Child and the adoption of a national charter for
education and training that includes the incorporation of human rights
teaching into the curriculum.

He praised authorities for their efforts to introduce the language and
culture of the Amazigh (Berber) peoples into the curriculum, as well as
attempts to combat widespread illiteracy, although he added that the
quality of the literacy programmes needs to be improved.

During his visit from 27 November to 5 December, Mr. Muñoz toured primary,
secondary and high schools across the country and met with the Minister for
Education, the Minister of Religious, Endowment and Islamic Affairs and
other senior Government officials. He also held talks with scholars,
teacher unions, UN staffers, representatives of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and others.

Mr. Muñoz will present a full report on his visit to the Human Rights
Council at its session in March next year.

Special Rapporteurs, unpaid experts who serve in an independent personalcapacity, received
their mandate from the defunct UN Commission in Human
Rights and now report to the newly established and enhanced Human Rights



The United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF), set up after the devastation
of World War II to provide food and blankets to millions, celebrated its
60th anniversary today with a special meeting of the General Assembly at
which Secretary-General Kofi Annan and others paid tribute to the agency‘s
tireless work for the world‘s most vulnerable.

―I have been privileged to meet UNICEF colleagues all around the world. I
have seen them do great things for children, on all continents, against all
odds. They have given a voice to those children who need it most,‖ Mr.
Annan said in a message delivered by the Under-Secretary-General at the
Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, Chen Jian.

―…UNICEF‘s emergency responses have saved the lives of millions of children
caught up in wars and natural disasters. Health programmes have saved
millions of children from disease, undernutrition, illness and death.
Education programmes have enabled millions to learn what they need to lead
full and productive lives.‖

Mr. Annan also hailed the agency‘s work for the rights of children, which
he said is at the heart of the world body‘s efforts to attain the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of time-bound targets aimed at
slashing poverty and other social ills, and this theme was built upon by
other speakers.

―UNICEF has shown us that children‘s right to survival, protection and
participation are central to development. We will not be able to achieve
the Millennium Development Goals unless we ensure that these fundamental
rights of the child are realized,‖ Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed
Al Khalifa said in an opening statement read out by acting President
Mirjana Mladineo.

UNICEF‘s advocacy and programming efforts have saved the lives of millions
of children over the past 60 years, through global immunization campaigns
against polio and other diseases, campaigning for the production of iodized
salt to reduce the risk of mental disability caused by iodine deficiency,
returning children to school, as well as through many more humanitarian

However despite all the good work, the speakers acknowledged that much more
needs to be done, with many calling on Member States to live up to their

―Too many children still die of preventable diseases, go hungry, are denied
their right to an education or are forced into early marriage or hazardous
work. Too many children have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
And, too many of them will never experience a childhood,‖ Sheikha Haya

―On this sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations Children‘s Fund, let us
deliver on the promises that we have made in this very Hall to the children
of the world,‖ she added in comments echoed by the UNICEF head herself.

―We are here today to both celebrate the many accomplishments gained over
the past 60 years and to build on the momentum of these successes while
acknowledging that much more needs to be done to advance and protect the
rights of children,‖ UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman told the
audience, which also included young people and Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa

―The world has seen more gains against poverty and more progress for
children in the last 60 years than it saw in the previous 500. Between 1960
and 2004, the under-5 mortality rates in developing countries on average
decreased from 222 deaths per 1,000 live births to 87 deaths per 1,000 live
births,‖ she said.

―But much remains to be done. We still live in a world in which more than 2
billion people live on $2 a day or less. We live in a world in which over
10 million children under the age of 5 die every year of causes that are
largely preventable, such as disease and malnutrition,‖ Ms. Veneman said.

Before the speakers at today‘s commemorative meeting, a video marking 60
years of UNICEF was shown, and other events marking the anniversary include
a photo exhibit and multi-media art show entitled, ―Mosaic UNICEF,‖ as well
as a celebration with children.

Projected in the lobby of the agency‘s Headquarters in New York and running
through January, ―Mosaic UNICEF‖ is a multi-media digital display created
by world-renowned artists Miguel Chevalier and Emmanuel Mâa Berriet using
UNICEF‘s photo archives of children as its foundation.

―I hope people understand there is a relationship between the screen and
themselves and how they move,‖ said Mr. Berriet, who created the software
for the digital display. ―I want people to understand there is a connection
between what they do and what happens. This is not just a piece of art, it
is a process… The face of children really touches people.‖



Secretary-General Kofi Annan today paid tribute to the late former United
States Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick for her
commitment to the world body.

―Always ardent and often provocative, her commitment to an effective United

Nations was clear during her tenure as Permanent Representative, and in her
later career,‖ he said through a statement issued by his spokesman on Ms.
Kirkpatrick, who died yesterday at the age of 80.

Expressing sadness, he extended his condolences to her family and ―all
others touched by this loss.‖



The Serbian politician who has been on a hunger strike for almost a month
as he awaits trial before the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia announced today that he will resume eating and accept
medical treatment now that the court has reversed an earlier decision
concerning his counsel.

Vojislav Šešelj informed the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) that he made his decision after the Tribunal‘s appeals
chamber earlier today set aside a ruling from its trial chamber imposing
standby counsel on him, and its registry made commitments to facilitate
many of his requests about the conduct of his defence.

The trial of Mr. Šešelj, who faces charges over his role in an ethnic
cleansing campaign during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, has been suspended
by the Tribunal until he is fit enough to participate fully in the
proceedings as a self-represented accused.

The ICTY, which sits in The Hague, said in a press statement that its
doctor had begun an examination of Mr. Šešelj to assess his condition and
what immediate steps are necessary to safeguard his health.

Although he continued to drink water, Mr. Šešelj had declined food and
medical care since 11 November. The ICTY warned this week that it held
grave concerns about his deteriorating health.

In granting Mr. Šešelj‘s appeal, the ICTY appeals chamber found that the
trial chamber had abused its discretion by ordering standby counsel without
first establishing additional obstructionist behaviour by the accused that
would warrant such an intervention.

That move meant Mr. Šešelj was not given a real opportunity to show that,
despite his conduct during the pre-trial period, he now understood that to
be permitted to conduct his own defence he would have to comply with the
ICTY‘s rules of evidence and procedure and was willing to do so.

If Mr. Šešelj again behaves in an obstructionist way, jeopardizing the
likelihood of a fair and expeditious trial, and the trial chamber considers

standby counsel should again be imposed, the appeals chamber said a list of
such counsel should first be provided to Mr. Šešelj and he should be
allowed to select a lawyer from that list.

The president of the Serbian Radical Party, Mr. Šešelj faces charges of
crimes against humanity and others relating to the persecutions of Croat,
Muslim and other non-Serb people and their expulsions from area of Croatia,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Vojvodina region of Serbia, between August
1991 and September 1993.

Prosecutors allege Mr. Šešelj participated in a joint criminal enterprise
with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, among others, that led
to the extermination and expulsion of non-Serb people.



With up to 1.8 million East Africans already at risk of infectious diseases
and malnutrition from some of the worst flooding in recent memory, a figure
than could top 3 million by the end of the month, United Nations agencies
today stepped up their relief operations, from airdrops of critical
supplies to appeals for emergency funding.

―The floods are expected to continue until at least the end of December if
not into early next year,‖ UN World Health Organization (WHO)
Representative in Kenya David Okello warned. ―We are already experiencing a
serious situation where people are dying from diseases related to the water
and sanitation situation. Malaria will become a very serious problem in the
weeks to come.‖

A combination of displacement, living in crowding conditions, lack of safe
water and the destruction of sanitation systems is putting 1.5 to 1.8
million people at risk of cholera, measles and malaria as well as nutrition
deficiencies in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The three countries share similar health profiles. In Ethiopia, some 40,000
cases of acute watery diarrhoea have been reported, including over 400
deaths. In Somalia, 100 cases have occurred, particularly in children under
five. Insecurity in Somalia is escalating and people fleeing the conflict
are seeking refuge in Kenya. This will sharply increase the number of
people living in camps, and the potential for health risks, WHO warned.

The United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) today launched an appeal for
$24.2 million to address the immediate needs of the flood victims, warning
that with more rain on the way the number of those directly affected could
total more than 3 million by the end of December.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that with the help of

the United States military it was starting today an emergency airdrop of
over 240 tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies, including plastic
sheets, blankets and mosquito nets, to thousands of mainly Somali refugees
affected by massive flooding in northern Kenya.

―We have been facing serious difficulties in transporting the emergency
supplies from Nairobi [the capital] to Dadaab due to poor road conditions,‖
UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva,
referring to a complex of six camps hosting some 160,000 refugees. ―The US
military will use a C-130 cargo plane to airdrop the supplies, with 15
rotations planned between today and Wednesday.‖

After a five-day break, heavy rain has started falling again in Dadaab,
causing new flooding. With the access road cut by the flooding, the only
way of getting supplies in has been with small cargo planes. The airdrops
are needed as the airstrip cannot take the weight of a C-130.

WHO is ensuring a stockpile of essential drugs for the treatment of
waterborne diseases and laboratory equipment. It is also discussing with
the Government of Kenya an immunization campaign against measles.

In Kenya overall, more than 700,000 people have so far been affected, the
majority of whom remain unreachable, UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs told the Geneva

The Kenya Red Cross was using small canoes to evacuate those marooned but
these were not completely safe on the Tana River where hippopotamus and
crocodiles could easily capsize them. UN agencies have approached
international donors in Nairobi for assistance for three months.

In Somalia some 444,000 people along the Juba and Shabelle rivers have
already been affected. According to the worst case, scenario up to 1
million could be directly affected in the coming weeks, Ms. Byrs said.



The International donor community today pledged $475 million to fight bird
flu after a senior United Nations official warned them that the virus, with
its possible mutation into a deadly human pandemic, remains a potent threat
around the world.

The pledges came at the end of a major three-day donor conference in
Bamako, Mali, during which UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Assistant Director-General Alexander Müller said greater transparency and
data sharing were critical in combating the disease.

At the same he called on donors to make Africa ―a top priority‖ for
resources and technical aid.

―Failure by any one country to contain the disease could lead to rapid
re-infection in many more countries. One weak link can lead to a domino
effect, undoing all the good that we have achieved so far. Now is no time
for complacency,‖ he said.

Senior UN System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza David Nabarro
said last month $1.5 billion is needed worldwide over the next two to three
years for preventive measures.

Although well over 200 million birds have died worldwide from either the
H5N1 flu virus or preventive culling, there have so far been only 258 human
cases, 154 of them fatal, since the current outbreak started in South East
Asia in December 2003, and these have been ascribed to contact with
infected birds.

But experts fear the virus could mutate, gaining the ability to pass from
person to person and, in a worst case scenario, unleash a deadly human
pandemic. The so-called Spanish flu pandemic that broke out in 1918 is
estimated to have killed from 20 million to 40 million people worldwide by
the time it had run its course two years later.

FAO says winning the battle against the virus demands a long-term vision
with more surveillance as well as stronger emphasis on hygiene and movement
control throughout the animal production and marketing chain.



An independent United Nations human rights expert today called on the
Government of Belarus to assure access to proper health care for a jailed
opposition political leader who has been on hunger strike for the past 49

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Adrian
Severin, urged the Government to grant family members, legal
representatives and independent monitors free access to Alexander Kazulin,
leader of the Belarusian Socialist Democratic party Narodnaya Hramada and
former presidential candidate, who was sentenced to five-and-a-half years
imprisonment in July.

―On 20 October, Mr. Kazulin started a hunger strike to protest against the
lawlessness in Belarus and to draw the attention of the [UN] Security
Council to the situation in Belarus,‖ Mr. Severin said in a statement,
voicing ―his deepest concern.‖

In a letter to his family Mr. Kazulin indicated that a doctor‘s exam last
month confirmed that he had lost 36 kilos, the statement noted.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid, independent experts who report to the UN
Human Rights Council.


Despite repeated appeals Yemen has still not granted the United Nations
refugee agency access to 126 Ethiopian boat people who have been detained
for almost two weeks and are now threatened with imminent deportation.

―We also have unconfirmed reports that Ethiopians who arrived in the last
few days have also been detained,‖ UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva today.

―Despite various appeals access has still not been granted. Instead, we
have been informed the group will be deported in the coming days,‖ she

The Ethiopians made the two-day crossing of the Gulf of Aden smuggled in
boats from Somalia, but Yemeni officials have told UNHCR staff that all
non-Somali arrivals will now be detained and deported to their home
countries. The agency wants to determine if there are refugees among the
group who should not be deported.

―UNHCR continues to appeal to the Yemen government to abide by its
international obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and provide
UNHCR with access to this group and other new arrivals who could fear
persecution in their country of origin,‖ Ms. Pagonis said.

―Yemen has previously generously kept its doors open for tens of thousands
of people arriving on its coast every year after making the perilous
crossing of the Gulf of Aden. We urge the government to continue this
policy. UNHCR has consistently offered to help Yemen screen and register
all new arrivals. This offer remains open,‖ she added.

This year, more than 22,000 people have been recorded arriving in Yemen
from Somalia. The number of Ethiopians has increased over the past month.
Many Ethiopians do not register for fear of being deported and instead
attempt to travel on to the Gulf States.

At least 133 Somalis and 193 Ethiopians are said to have died making the
crossing, during which the smugglers reportedly sometimes attack their
passengers and throw them overboard. In all, there are currently over
80,000 registered refugees in Yemen, including some 75,500 Somalis.


8 December, 2006

        The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today‘s noon briefing by Stéphane
Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, Spokeswoman
for the General Assembly President.
       Briefing by Secretary-General‘s Spokesman
        ―The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the death of Jeane Kirkpatrick.
Always ardent and often provocative, her commitment to an effective United Nations was clear
during her tenure as Permanent Representative and in her later career. The Secretary-General
extends his condolences to Ms. Kirkpatrick‘s family and others touched by this loss.‖
       **Human Rights
        This Sunday is Human Rights Day, and the Secretary-General marked the occasion this
morning by addressing an event at the Time Warner Center here in New York, in which he said
that the United Nations had often failed to live up to its responsibility to promote human rights
worldwide. Noting that he had tried to make human rights central to all of the UN‘s work, he
said he wasn‘t sure how far he had succeeded.
        To fix the situation, the Secretary-General offered four suggestions. First, he said, we
must give real meaning to the principle of ―Responsibility to Protect‖. Second, we must put an
end to impunity. Third, we need an anti-terrorism strategy that does not merely pay lip service to
the defence of human rights, but is built upon it. And fourth, we must move beyond grand
statements of principle and work to make human rights a reality in each country.
         The Secretary-General placed a particular focus on the need for Governments to do
better in protecting the rights of the people of Darfur, asking, ―How can an international
community, which claims to uphold human rights, allow this horror to continue?‖ And we have
his full remarks upstairs.

        The theme for Human Rights Day this year is the fight against poverty as a matter of
obligation and not charity. Recognizing that poverty is both a cause and a product of human
rights violations, this year's focus emphasizes that today poverty represents one of the gravest
human rights challenges in the world.
       And I just want to add that the event at the Time Warner Center was sponsored and
organized by Human Rights Watch.
       The Secretary-General, in response to a question about the so-called hybrid force going
to Darfur, noted yesterday that the Abuja Summit of the Africa Union Peace and Security
Council had endorsed that approach. He went on to say that the international community has

been willing to go into Darfur and that it was the Sudanese authorities who have refused to
accept that help.
         ―We are continuing pressing them and we have asked others with influence to work
with them, both from within the global arena and also leaders in the region,‖ the Secretary-
General said. He emphasized that the responsibility to protect Darfur citizens is the
responsibility of the Government in Khartoum. In time, he said, they may have to answer
collectively and individually for what is happening there.
        Meanwhile, the situation in eastern Chad remains extremely volatile, with ongoing
military movements, as well as inter-communal tensions, according to the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees. The agency, UNHCR, says it is working to ensure the basic needs
of refugees such as water, food and primary health services are met while continuing the
relocation of staff from the three northern locations where people had been moved from. We
have more information on the briefing notes from UNHCR.
       **Security Council
        Meanwhile, back here, the Security Council this morning is holding consultations on
Cyprus. Michael Møller, the Secretary-General‘s Special Representative in Cyprus, briefed
Council members on the situation there and on the work of the UN peacekeeping force on the
island, known as UNFICYP.
       Michael Møller, for those of you who are interested, does intend to speak at the stakeout
afterwards. Council members also met this morning with the countries that contribute troops to
the peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.
         And yesterday afternoon, the Security Council received a briefing in closed
consultations on Fiji, by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane. In a
statement to the press afterwards, the Ambassador of Qatar, the President of the Security
Council for this month, said the Council members ―strongly hope‖ all sides will exercise
restraint in the wake of the coup. He added that the Council members were gravely concerned
at the turn of events in Fiji and urged a peaceful solution in accordance with the country‘s
       ** Iraq
         The Secretary-General‘s latest report on Iraq is out as a document today and it mentions
the significant increase in sectarian violence, insurgent and terrorist attacks and criminal
activities in the past few months. Civilian casualties, the report says, have reached an all-time
high. The Secretary-General warns that the prospects of an all-out civil war and even regional
conflict have become much more real. He says that Iraq needs to develop a fully inclusive
political process that is focused on bringing all disenfranchised and marginalized communities
into the political mainstream. The Iraqi Government must also establish a monopoly on the use
of force. And there is a need to cultivate a regional environment that is supportive of Iraq‘s
         The Secretary-General says it may be worthwhile to consider arrangements that could
bring Iraqi political parties together, possibly outside Iraq, with the United Nations playing a
facilitating role. He also expresses his pleasure at the UN‘s lead role in the development of the
International Compact for Iraq.

       The Security Council will hold an open debate on Iraq Monday, and Ashraf Qazi, the
head of the UN Mission, will brief the Council and will also speak to you at the stakeout
       ** Lebanon
        Also on Monday, and this time in the afternoon, the Council will discuss the
implementation of resolution 1701 concerning Lebanon; and today, a letter from the Secretary-
General to the Council providing an update of that resolution‘s implementation is out on the
racks. In the letter, the Secretary-General says that the military and security situation in
UNIFIL‘s area of operations has stabilized since September, although the UN force reports air
violations by Israel on almost a daily basis. The letter also notes that, since September, there
have been 13 instances where UNIFIL came across unauthorized arms or related material in its
area of operations, and then informed the Lebanese Army, which took prompt action to
confiscate or destroy the materials.
       ** Côte d‘Ivoire
         Also out today is the Secretary-General‘s latest report on Côte d'Ivoire, which describes
a relatively calm security situation following last month‘s adoption of resolution 1721. He says
that resolution, which extended the transitional Government for a year, provides a sound
framework for relaunching aspects of the peace process that have been stalled since August.
The report also notes that Côte d'Ivoire has experienced sporadic clashes unrelated to the
resolution and that the humanitarian situation remains a source of concern. He appeals to
President Gbagbo and other political leaders to work with Prime Minister Banny in
disarmament, identification and the restoration of State authority and also calls for President
Gbagbo and Prime Minister Banny to eschew confrontation and maintain a constructive
working leadership. Pointing out that this current 12-month extension of the transition process
is final, he says the situation brooks no further delay.
       And from Timor-Leste, the UN Integrated Mission there reports that UN police, in
cooperation with military, army units from New Zealand, have arrested some 17 people on
Tuesday this week, in connection with an attack on a police post in the town of Bidau. The
suspects appeared in the Dili District Court yesterday and are remanded in custody until the trial
happens and the date has now been set.
        Also, just on the story we have been following from here, our colleagues at the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia say today that, Vojislav Šešelj, a
suspect in the Tribunal‘s custody, who has refused to eat since 11 November, will now resume
taking foodstuffs and receive medical attention.
        The Tribunal's doctors commenced an examination of Šešelj in order to determine his
condition and what immediate steps are required in order to safeguard his health. Šešelj
informed the Tribunal that his decision was made in view of the Appeals Chamber's decision
issued earlier today, which granted his appeal against the Trial Chamber's decision to impose
stand-by counsel. And we have a press release from the Tribunal upstairs.
       **UNDP Viet Nam

         And lastly, Kemal Derviş, the head of the UN Development Group and UNDP
Administrator, today joined the Government of Viet Nam in announcing that Viet Nam will be
the first pilot country in the ―One UN‖ program, which aims to streamline the UN‘s work at the
national level in order to make it more efficient and responsive. Dervis said the program will
also ensure a unity of purpose and coherence in management and operations, while maintaining
the distinct identity, agenda and goals of various agencies. We expect a press release from
UNDP on that shortly.
       **Secretary-General‘s Trip
        And I want to announce a trip that the Secretary-General will be making on Monday.
He will be heading to Missouri, where he will speak at the Truman Museum and Library in
Independence, to pay homage to the memory of one of the United Nations founders and to
deliver his last speech as Secretary-General to an American audience. He will spell out five
lessons derived from his ten-year experience at the helm of the United Nations and challenge
American leaders of today and tomorrow to live up to Truman's example of enlightened
leadership in a multilateral system.
       **Press Conference on Monday
       And a press conference at 11:15 on Monday: Hans Hoogeveen and Hamidon Ali, Chair
and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the UN Forum on Forests, will be here to brief on the work of
the expert group drafting a new international agreement to manage the world‘s forests.
       **Guest on Monday
        And Ross Mountain will be our guest at noon. He is the Deputy Special Representative
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and he will be joining us, as I said, on Monday.
       I will now take your questions.
       **Questions and Answers
        Question: There have been reports on possible renewed fighting in Baidoa, by the
Islamic Courts Union, and I was wondering if there is any reaction and possible relation to the
resolution passed by the Council.

        Spokesman: I don‘t have any fresh reporting for you on Somalia. I have not seen any
fresh reports as to what spurred this renewed fighting, if, indeed, it has happened. I can‘t give
you an explanation. Obviously, the situation, as the Secretary-General said yesterday, remains
of extreme concern to us and he renews his appeal to the transitional Government and the
Islamic Courts to renew their dialogue.
       Question: The Secretary-General says that there is a fear of spread regional conflict in
Iraq. What does he mean? Which countries?
       Spokesman: The Secretary-General has underlined a number of times that one has to
deal with a greater Middle East as a whole, and not deal with Iraq in an isolated matter, and
Lebanon and Israel and the Palestinian issue… -- to deal with these issues as a whole and,
obviously, a further breakdown of the situation in Iraq could very well have consequences
beyond the borders of Iraq.

       Question: What time is that event on Monday?

       Spokesman: 11:30 local time.

       Question: And who are the participants again? I am sorry.
       Spokesman: It‘s Ashraf Qazi and … I am sorry -- which event?
       Question: The Iraq…
       Spokesman: I am sorry -- Iraq -- it‘s Ashraf Qazi, who is briefing the Council on the
Secretary-General‘s report on Iraq and he will speak at the stakeout afterwards.
       Question: So, it‘s not a debate, really.
       Spokesman: No, I don‘t think.
        Question: On Somalia, I think there is this town called Bandiradley that… there are now
two reports that the Ethiopians are now shelling the town. And also the Ugandan Army
spokesman reported as saying the resolution frees Uganda up to send the troops as it‘s been
wanting to do for a year. It seems almost like the resolution, rather than bring peace, is sort of
like blowing a whistle to start a war…
        Spokesman: The Secretary-General was fairly clear on that yesterday -- is that he would
call on the countries that would be sending troops through IGAD to reach out to all the Somali
parties to make sure that everyone in Somalia understands that these troops are there to help the
situation and not to go to war with any one Somali faction, and that the arrival of an
international force should create opportunities for peace in Somalia and not be the source of
new conflicts. So he stressed that it‘s very important that those who would be sending troops
make sure their mission is clearly understood by everyone in Somalia.
       Question: If sending troops to Somalia, apparently, is causing war, would you stop, or
would you think of maybe not sending troops?
         Spokesman: Just to be clear: the resolution that was passed earlier this week on Somalia
calls for the dispatch of troops of IGAD. They will not be blue-helmeted troops -- they are not UN
troops. As far as the Secretary-General is concerned, we have no authority, obviously, over those
troops. We have not been asked to provide any operational assistance, or to work with them. So,
this is a decision of the regional powers. The Secretary-General‘s message was that those countries
that will be participating should make it clear to all the factions in Somalia that they are there to
help and not to go to war with one faction or another.
        Question: Also, on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I got an inter-office yesterday --
a confirmation that there are 150 rebels and militia people dead. I didn‘t really understand that
statement that MONUC is not interested in the body count. It was not clear to me -- I would not
want to misinterpret that. What does that mean? The fighting is taking place. There are now
reports of seven civilians killed… What is MONUC fixated on?
        Spokesman: Well, MONUC is fixated to try to help the Congolese people bring peace to
their country. That‘s MONUC‘s fixation. There were some battles around the town of Sake.
Renegade units from the Congolese army attacked the town, tried to attack other towns, as well,
they were… After being warned by UN forces that they could face fire if they either attacked UN

forces or threatened civilians -- they were warned -- they threatened the lives of civilians, and as
is mandated by the Security Council, the UN returned fire and also some fire was returned by the
regular forces of the Congolese army. It does appear that there were a number of casualties after
that battle and I‘m sure we‘ll try to get a more exact count of what exactly happened.
        Question: Just a clarification. Does the Secretary-General‘s statement imply in some
way that killing and dismantling of the Christian leadership in Lebanon has anything to do with
what is going on in Iraq or between Israel and the Palestinians? Is that what he is talking about?
        Spokesman: What he is talking about is that one should view the issues in the Middle
East as a greater Middle East and one should take a comprehensive approach in that each of
these situations should not be seen in isolation and one should have a regional approach. That‘s
what he means.
       Question: But that‘s exactly what I am asking about.
       Spokesman: That‘s exactly what he means.
      Question: But this linkage is very strange, because there is no linkage between what
happens in Lebanon and Iraq. The conflict is totally different.
       Spokesman: Obviously, each of these areas has particular political tensions and
background and history, but to think that violence can be held back by the borders in one
country and not spread would be foolish. We have seen in other parts of the world how conflict
can spread and conflict does not always recognize national boundaries.
       Mr. Lee.
         Question: On the Sudan, I think, President Bashir has been quoted as dismissing the
[inaudible] and stating that the problems in Darfur are attributable to the National Redemption
Front [inaudible} after the Darfur Peace Agreement. And also there is a report that Jan Pronk --
is it true that he is now in the country during his last visit?
        Spokesman: Jan Pronk -- something I should have… I believe, if he is not already in
the country, he should be soon, but we can double-check on that after the briefing. On the
Sudan, again, I think in his statement the Secretary-General was clear yesterday where the
responsibility to protect the citizens of the Sudan primarily is in the hands of the Government in
Khartoum, which is responsible for protecting its citizens. We have also -– whether it was the
Secretary-General or other officials –- called for renewed dialogue between all the factions in
Darfur. And we have offered, along with the African Union, to help in this Darfur-Darfur
dialogue. It is clear that all the armed factions currently operating have the responsibility to lay
down their arms and to enter into a political dialogue, because the only true solution that we will
find to the situation in Darfur is a political one.
         Question: [inaudible] the material you called personal yesterday -- about Brian Gleeson
-- although the reporting on the UNDP will go on. Since that‘s said, I wonder if you can get
two answers on Mr. Gleeson, since it came up. I don‘t think they are personal -- about his
activities in connection with the Brussels office of UNDP in July 2005 and also how much
European Commission money goes through that office. We‘ve gone to their website -- it
actually doesn‘t exist. It‘s sort of an empty space.

       Spokesman: On those specific questions about UNDP‘s activities, I would ask you to
ask them, because I can‘t answer them and you have a dialogue with them, and I would
encourage you to continue that dialogue.
      Question: Since you chose to sort of critique particular articles about the UNDP, I
don‘t… The reason I am asking you for it is because I‘d like to have those two things by
Monday. I‘ve asked them, as well -- I would just like to…
        Spokesman: Well, if you‘ve asked them, I am sure they will provide you with an answer
in a timely fashion.
       Question: What‘s hampering Israel‘s withdrawal from the northern part of Ghajar in
South Lebanon?
        Spokesman: Fairly intense discussions on the withdrawal of forces from the northern
part of Ghajar are continuing. Obviously, it‘s a delicate issue. One has to take into
consideration all the factors and UNIFL, as of this week, is very hopeful that they will come to
some agreement with the Israelis next week, which will lead to a full and complete withdrawal.
       Question: [inaudible] near Ghajar. Did you find any tunnels near that area?
       Spokesman: I have no information on the existence or non-existence of tunnels.
       Question: On Shebaa Farms, I understand that the Secretary-General is optimistic?
       Spokesman: I would urge you to read the report he sent to the Council, in which he says
he is working on this issue. There is nothing new.

         Question: Just one last thing. Since you always say, like, they are being so responsive,
so take it to them. A simple thing about an audit that they refer to of the Russian Federation
office of the UNDP –- I‘ve been waiting a week for it. A document clearly exists. I just wanted
to clarify. This thing in Brussels –- I haven‘t even asked them and actually, I am not going to
do it, because they think that once I‘ve asked, nothing can be written until they respond, but
they feel no duty to respond in a timely fashion. That‘s why I asked you…

        Spokesman: You know, we spent a lot of time discussing this yesterday. I don‘t want to
drag this on. I take objection with your characterization of the way they respond to you. You
ask some questions -– they give you answers. Maybe it‘s not always in the time frame you
want -– maybe it‘s longer, maybe it‘s shorter, but you ask some questions –- they provide you
with answers.
       Question: [inaudible] respond -– they say I should have waited for them to respond.
       Spokesman: You know, as I said, we spent a long time on this yesterday, I think…
       Question: [talkover]
       Spokesman: The only thing that I would say is you are right: we did have a prolonged
exchange yesterday on this issue. I don‘t want to speak further about it in the briefing room.
My office door is always open to you and I am happy to discuss it further.

       Thank you all. On that note, happy Friday and happy Gail.

       Briefing by Spokeswoman for General Assembly President
       Good afternoon.
        The General Assembly this morning is holding a commemorative meeting to mark the
sixtieth anniversary of the operations of the United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF). The
[Vice-]President of the Assembly, Ambassador Mirjana Mladineo of Croatia, opening the
meeting with a statement on behalf of President Sheika Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa, paid a special
welcome to the children who had come to observe the day. She told them they had a special
role and responsibility in the commemorative event because they were representing children all
over the world.
         Noting that the Millennium Development Goals would not be achieved unless the
fundamental rights of children were realized, the President paid tribute to the achievements of
the dedicated staff at UNICEF who have served the Organization and the children ―so well‖
over the past 60 years. In particular, she paid tribute to those who had lost their lives in the line
of duty, ―working in difficult conditions in the field‖. She said the sixtieth anniversary was a
time to ―remind ourselves that we have much more to accomplish before we can say that we
live in a world fit for children‖. She called on Member States to deliver on the promises they
made in the General Assembly Hall, most recently in 2002, to the children of the world. There
are 10 speakers inscribed to address the Assembly at this commemorative meeting, with the
final speaker being the Executive Director of UNICEF, Anne Veneman.
        The Assembly will then resume its consideration of the item oceans and the law of the
sea to hear the final four speakers on its list and some seven speakers after the vote, as well as a
right of reply, on the omnibus resolution on oceans and law of the sea. The vote on sustainable
fisheries will take place at a later date.
        On Thursday the Assembly heard from 30 speakers on the item oceans and law of the
sea. Throughout the day-long debate, speakers expressed serious concern about the rapid
depletion of fish stocks and that little was being done to reverse this trend. They called for
worldwide adherence to the Convention on the Law of the Sea and for, among other things, new
marine reserves, better management to prevent overfishing and tighter control on pollution. A
global process to monitor and assess the state of the marine environment, they said, was
urgently needed. A major issue identified by many speakers was bottom trawling and illegal,
unregulated and unreported fishing, which were identified as the most destructive fishing
practices and a real threat to vulnerable marine ecosystems.
       Meanwhile, the Second Committee is meeting today on the remainder of the
12 resolutions on its agenda, while the Fifth Committee will hold informal consultations on,
among other things, human resources management and the programme budget.
        Just to give you a heads up for next week, next Monday there will be a joint debate on
Security Council reform and the report of the Security Council to the General Assembly. Of
course, on the 14th, we flag for you the administration of the oath of office of the Secretary-
General-designate and on Friday the 15t, the resumed tenth emergency special session on the
register of damages by Israel‘s construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
including East Jerusalem. On Monday, don‘t forget that we will have a background briefing for
you in this room on some of the items before the Fifth Committee, including the scale of

assessments, and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President will brief on
ECOSOC reform and other ECOSOC matters on the 15th at 11 a.m., so a number of things to
flag for you for next week.
       Questions and Answers
        Question: I have a question on the fact-finding commission which the latest General
Assembly resolution asked for to send to Palestine, to Beit Hanoun. You were just mentioning
the Fifth Committee and they were involved in this business of the fact-finding commission, so
I was wondering whether there was any update on that?
       Spokeswoman: I will find out for you.
       Question: But it‘s different from the one of the Human Rights Council, which they are
       Spokeswoman: Yes, I remember that, that was different. What you areasking meto
check on is where they are at on that particular fact-finding mission at this point in time?
       Anything else? Thank you.

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