Mail _ Guardian _South Africa_ Africa - -- United Nations by maclaren1

VIEWS: 173 PAGES: 78

									                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                  Tuesday, 26 September 2006

      Special: 61st General Assembly Opening Session 2006

             Hon. Dr. Michael Frendo(Malta), excerpts on environment
             H.E. Mr. Talbak Nazarov (Tajikistan), excerpts on environment

     UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

     Africa: The world's 'septic tank' (Mail & Guardian)
     China appoints new delegates to int'l organizations (Xinhua Economic News Service)
     UN fears decline in non-financial reporting (Financial Times)
     Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit (BMU)
     Le Parti Vert condamne l'irresponsabilité fédérale en environnement (Quebec Hebdo)

              Other Environment News

     No Survivors in WWF Helicopter Crash in Nepal (ENS)
     Biofuels 'answer' to trade talks (BBC)
     Earth May Be at Warmest Point in 1 Million Years (Reuters)
     Why China is heading for environmental catastrophe (Money
     Lifestyles of Lear Jet liberals (San Francisco Chronicle)
     Pundits who contest climate change should tell us who is paying them (The Guardian)
     New pavers to purify run-off (Science Online)
     Boreal Forests Provide Billions in Uncounted Benefits (ENS)

              Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

     ROAP
     ROA
     ROLAC
     ROWA

              Other UN News

     UN Daily News of 25 September 2006
     S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 25 September 2006

                  Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
    Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692,,
Hon. Dr. Michael Frendo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Malta

Madam President,
In focusing on development issues, we must emphasize the need for development to be
sustainable, to respect the environment and to take into account the rights of future generations,
children, youth and the yet unborn.

Development does not mean a ‗free-for- all‘ attitude in the exploitation of earth‘s bountiful
resources. There must be sustainable development that allows our forests to regenerate, our air
to be pure and the seas to be free of pollution.

Climate changes, global warming, are not issues which can be relegated to intellectual
exercises: positive political action is required to address the problems of global warming and to
avoid an exacerbation of the consequences of lack of care for the environment. As some
dramatic experiences have already shown, the consequences of lack of respect for the planet and
its environmental balances have been particularly borne by the world‘s poor whether in
developing or in developed economies.

A concerted effort by all mankind is therefore required in this regard and the United Nations is
the appropriate forum to address such issues affecting all countries as the fragility of our planet
and its ceo—system put on all of us a greater responsibility to act rapidly and together.


H.E. Mr. Talbak Nazarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Tajikistan


It is also obvious that in many respects the attainment of the MDGs depends on assistance rendered by
the international community to developing countries. Tajikistan joins the request addressed to donor
countries, to at least double the amount of assistance provided for the purposes of long-term
development. The proposal to exchange developing countries‘ debts for national projects in the field of
sustainable development remains urgent.
One of the major assets of our planet is freshwater, which is indispensable for sustaining life on Earth.
Our common goal in this respect is to develop qualitatively new patterns for sustainable management of
water resources and for addressing water related economic issues at the national, regional and
international levels. That can be achieved through combined relevant support on behalf of the
international community and national efforts, with the leading role of the countries and regions faced
with the problems in the field of water resources supply.
In this regard, Tajikistan counts on continued active involvement of the member states in events within
the International Decade of Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015, including a successful holding of the
International Freshwater Forum in Dushanbe in 2010. In order to coordinate activities in this area the
Government of Tajikistan is establishing the National Water Committee, whose assignment is to monitor
and develop measures for implementing goals and objectives of the ―water‖ Decade of Action at the

national, regional and global levels through interaction with countries and international organizations
concerned. Our efforts in the ―water‖ area is part and parcel of the strategic program for the attainment
of the Millennium Development Goals.


Mail & Guardian (South Africa): Africa: The world's 'septic tank'
Christophe Parayre Dakar, Senegal


"We talk of globalisation, of the global village, but here in Africa, we are under the impression
of being that village's septic tank," says Senegalese ecologist Haidar al-Ali.

A series of pollution scandals, ranging from the discharge of toxic waste in Côte d'Ivoire to
radioactive tanks in Somalia, show that Africa's poverty, corruption, and non-existent or
malfunctioning democracies make it the world's preferred dumping ground.

According to the French environment protection group, Robin des Bois, the waste sent to Africa
-- such as old tyres, cars and broken computers containing toxic parts -- is "very difficult, if not
impossible, to recycle."

"To Asia goes everything that can be salvaged and that is of high added value, such as copper
wire and metal scraps," the group's director Charlotte Nithart said.

In Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire's economic capital, seven people died, 24 were hospitalised and there
were 37 000 calls for medical help after an Ivorian firm, Tommy, dumped toxic waste at 11
public sites across the city in August.

The company had been hired to properly dispose of 500 tonnes of a highly toxic mixture of oil
residue and caustic soda used to rinse out a Greek-owned ship's tanks.

In the last days of 2004, the tsunami started by an earthquake in Asia hit the coast of Somalia
where it damaged toxic water containers on the northern coast of this country, plunged into
anarchy by 15 years of civil war.

Health problems were reported by the local population, including "acute respiratory infections,
dry heavy coughing and mouth bleeding, abdominal haemorrhages, unusual skin chemical
reactions, and sudden death after inhaling toxic materials", according to the United Nations
Environment Programme (Unep).

Starting from the early 1980s and continuing into the civil war, the hazardous waste dumped
along Somalia's coast includes radioactive uranium waste, lead, cadmium, mercury, industrial,
hospital, chemical and leather treatment, and other toxic waste, Unep wrote in a country report.

In 1996, the European Parliament officially asked the governments of the United Kingdom,
Italy and Spain to repatriate toxic waste exported to South Africa by Thor Chemicals.

The Parliament noted that hundreds of tonnes of toxic mercury waste had caused damage to the

environment and caused severe health problems amongst local people.

In the West African nation of Cameroon, about 5 600 litres of chlorine were dumped in 2005 in
a village near Douala, the economic capital. Authorities tried to dilute the chlorine at sea but the
operation turned disastrous when the mixture exploded, killing a soldier and injuring about 10

Africa is a favourite place to treat or simply dump hazardous waste because treating such waste
in industrialised countries is very expensive.

Robin des Bois said it costs between €300 and €500 to treat a cubic metre of hazardous waste.
In Africa it is between six to 15 times cheaper because often there is no real treatment and no
proper storage.

The Basel Convention, set up in 1989 to prevent dumping of toxic waste in countries without
proper facilities for handling it, has helped regulate the flow.

But illegal traffic in toxic waste continues, Robin des Bois's Nithart said, "because businessmen
try to get around the regulations in order to save money".

For the Senegalese ecologist "the waste is often accepted by corrupt people or factions who
want money to buy weapons".

To really put an end to this traffic "we need sentries, people willing to get involved in protecting
our environment", he added.

Nithart said lack of controls in Africa were part of the problem.

"If, in African ports, there were stricter controls to check that these wastes did not arrive, if the
loops were closed in the health and environmental controls, then the Probo Koala [the Greek
ship in the Côte d'Ivoire] would not have arrived in Abidjan."

But she also put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of European authorities.

"A European country like The Netherlands, with an infrastructure, a port authority, specialists in
waste disposal, customs and everything else, still let the Probo Koala go," she said.

"It's not when hazardous waste arrives that Europeans should try and control it, but when it
leaves," Nithart said. -- AFP

Xinhua Economic News Service: China appoints new delegates to int'l organizations
September 25, 2006

China's State Council, or cabinet, has announced the appointment of new delegates to
organizations under the United Nations (UN).

Zhang Ming was appointed China's delegate to the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, replacing Guo Chongli.

Tang Guoqiang was appointed delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and
the UN Industrial Development Organization ( UNIDO), replacing Wu Hailong.

Chen Jinghua takes up the post of delegate to the International Seabed Authority (ISA),
replacing Zhao Zhenyu.

Meanwhile, Li Jun was removed from the post as deputy director with the General
Administration of Civil Aviation. Enditem (?)

LOAD-DATE: September 26, 2006


Financial Times: UN fears decline in non-financial reporting


The boom in companies reporting on their impact on society and the environment could soon
lose momentum, with "non-financial reporting" in future playing only a "very limited" role in
sustainable development.

An internal United Nations-commissioned study, obtained by the Financial Times, argues that
moves by companies to report on their labour standards and environmental footprints will
remain a "niche practice" limited to trans-national companies based in industrialised countries.

Few small and medium-sized enterprises, or companies in emerging markets, are set to join the
"sustainability reporting" club, according to the study.

The findings may raise questions on the value of such reporting, depicted by corporate social
responsibility advocates as central to boosting the accountability of companies' social image.

The trend towards non-financial reporting for investors and customers has been particularly
strong in Britain, where 70 of the top 100 companies produce such documents.

The study predicts that by 2020 only 11 per cent oftransnational companies - let alone other
businesses - will provide social and environmental data.

The 101-page study focuses on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an Amsterdam-based
non-profit agency whose measurement indicators have become standard-setters used by around
1,000 transnational companies and other organisations.

The leaking of the report is awkward as next week hundreds of companies are to attend a GRI
congress in Amsterdam where a new set of indicators are to be launched.

Their preparation, costing Euros 9m (Dollars 11.5, Pounds 6.1m), has been financed partly by
companies including General Motors, BP, Microsoft and Alcan. Al Gore, former US vice-

president, and Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of Anglo-American, are keynote speakers.

The study was commissioned by the UN Environment Programme, a GRI supporter since 1998,
and was written by the Global Public Policy Institute, a Berlin-based think-tank. Achim Steiner,
UNEP executive director, will discuss its findings with GRI at the conference.

Mr Steiner told the Financial Times that the study - which has already stirred controversy within
the UN and GRI - "poses legitimate questions", but he believed that non-financial reporting had
a bright future.

"Growth in these activities will expand, although the ways in which the information is presented
will evolve."

The study, based on interviews and surveys covering companies, non-governmental
organisations and other experts, says sustainability reporting will remain important for a core
group of companies, but an anticipated "exponential growth" in take-up by others is unlikely.

It argues that there will in future be less pressure on companies to act, since the interest of
governments in legislating for this type of reporting is "tapering off".

Last year the British government withdrew proposals that would have made reporting on
environmental impacts obligatory for listed companies.

_____________________________________________________________________________ Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und
Reaktorsicherheit (BMU)
Pressedienst Nr. 242/06
Berlin, 25. September 2006

Deutschland und Frankreich wollen Zusammenarbeit im Umweltschutz weiter
intensivieren 15. Deutsch-französischer Umweltrat

Bundesumweltminister Sigmar Gabriel und die französische Umweltministerin Nelly Olin
wollen der europäischen Führungsrolle im Klimaschutz neuen Schwung verleihen. 'Wir
erinnern daran, dass die Treibhausgasemissionen global bis 2050 um 50 Prozent reduziert
werden müssen. Das heißt für die EU, dass sie ihre Emissionen um 30 Prozent bis 2020 senken
muss', betonen beide

Minister in der Abschlusserklärung zum 15. Deutsch-Französischen Umwelt¬rat, der am 24./25.
September 2006 in Royaumont bei Paris stattfand. Beide Länder halten es für notwendig, dass
auf dieser Grundlage weitere große Treibhausgasemittenten in die nächste Phase der
internationalen Klima¬schutzverpflichtungen ab 2012 einbezogen werden. Das Treffen in
Royaumont diente auch der Vorbereitung des deutsch-französischen Ministerrates am 12.
Oktober in Paris. Neben Bundesumweltminister Sigmar Gabriel nahm auf deutscher Seite auch
die rheinland-pfälzische Umweltministerin Margit Conrad an den Beratungen teil.

Die Minister erörterten den Stand der Vorbereitungen der nächsten Weltklimakonferenz im
November in Nairobi. Im Mittelpunkt dieses Gipfels werden die wichtigen Themen

An¬passung an den Klimawandel und die Fortentwicklung der internationalen
Klimaschutz¬politik nach 2012 stehen. Die Leitlinie der EU für die internationalen
Verhandlungen ist das sogenannte '2-Grad-Ziel', wonach die globale Erwärmung bis zum Ende
dieses Jahr¬hunderts diesen Wert im Vergleich zu vorindustriellen Werten nicht übersteigen
darf, um die Auswirkungen des Klimawandels auf ein erträgliches Niveau zu begrenzen. 'Dies
ist um so notwendiger, als die negativen Klimafolgen (Hochwasser, Dürre, Stürme) für die
europäische Bevölkerung bereits heute deutlich spürbar sind', heißt es im
Abschlusskommuniqué des Treffens.

Ministerin Olin und Bundesumweltminister Gabriel sind übereinstimmend der Auffassung, dass
die Anpassung an die Klimafolgen in den verschiedenen Politikbereichen der EU
Berücksichtigung finden muss – sowohl in der Außenpolitik als auch in der Rechtsetzung auf
EU-Ebene. Anpassung an den Klimawandel werden auch ein Thema eines internatio¬nalen
Symposiums zu 'Klimawandel und die europäische Wasserdimension' sein, das unter deutscher
EU-Präsidentschaft vom 12. bis 14. Februar 2007 in Berlin stattfinden wird.

Ein wichtiges Thema des deutsch-französischen Umweltrates waren energiepolitische Fragen.
Frankreich und Deutschland erachten eine konsistente Energiepolitik für eine effektive
Klimaschutzpolitik national und in der EU für unabdingbar. Der vom Frühjahrsgipfel zu
verabschieden¬de Aktionsplan 'Energiepolitik für Europa' solle den Impuls für eine
Doppelstrategie aus einer drastisch erhöhten Energieeffizienz und dem substantiellen Ausbau
der erneuerbaren Energien geben. 'Zudem soll die EU in die Lage versetzt werden, international
bei Energiethemen mit einer Stimme zu sprechen und den Binnenmarkt für Energie konsequent
weiter auszubauen. Damit kann die EU neben Klimaschutz auch ihre technologische
Führungsrolle auf diesen Gebieten ausbauen und zugleich Wachstum und Beschäftigung
sichern.' Das von der EU-Kommission geplante Grünbuch zu marktwirtschaftlichen
Instrumenten soll genutzt werden, um gemeinsam weitere Anreizmöglichkeiten zu
identifizieren. Gabriel sagte, Deutschland werde während der deutschen EU-Ratspräsidentschaft
der Energiepolitik eine hohe Priorität einräumen. Er kündigte für den 29.-31. Januar 2007 die
'2007 European Renewable Energy Policy Conference' in Brüssel an.

Deutschland und Frankreich sprechen sich für einen Richtlinienvorschlag der Europäischen
Kommission zur Erzeugung von Wärme und Kälte aus erneuerbaren Energien aus. Sie begrüßen
konkrete Projekte wie das deutsch-französische Geothermieprojekt in Soultz-sous-Forets.

Bundesumweltminister Sigmar Gabriel begrüßte die erneute Initiative Frankreichs zur
Weiterentwicklung des Umweltprogramms der UN (UNEP) zu einer vollwertigen
Umweltorganisation (UNEO). Nach Auffassung der beiden Minister erscheint eine starke,
speziell der Umwelt gewid¬mete Organisation der Vereinten Nationen angesichts der
zunehmenden globalen Umweltprobleme notwendiger denn je. Sie zogen eine positive Bilanz
der bisherigen Beratungen in der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen. Gemeinsam mit
den europäischen Partnern werden sie die konstruktive Haltung vieler UNO-Mitgliedstaaten
nutzen, um der Aufwertung der UNEP näher zu kommen. Präsident Chirac hat auf der UN-
Generalversammlung zu einer internationalen Konferenz zur Unterstützung dieser Idee nach
Frankreich eingeladen.

Weiterhin tauschten sich die Minister zu verschiedenen Aspekten der folgenden Themen aus:
Alpenkonvention, biologische Vielfalt und Artenschutz, illegaler Handel mit bedrohten Arten
sowie Jagd.

Deutschland übernimmt während des ersten Halbjahres 2007 die EU-Ratspräsidentschaft.
Bun¬desumweltminister Gabriel betonte, dass eine gute Umweltpolitik innovative
Technologien hervor¬bringt und Arbeitsplätze schafft. Schwerpunktthemen der deutschen
Präsidentschaft werden neben einer Initiative für eine ökologische Industriepolitik der
Klimaschutz, die Energiepolitik, nach¬haltige Mobilität und der Schutz der Biodiversität sein.
Die französische Umweltministerin Nelly Olin sicherte ihm dabei die volle Unterstützung ihres
Landes zu.

Das vollständige Kommuniqué ist auf der Internetseite des BMU verfügbar.

Hrsg: BMU-Pressereferat, Alexanderstraße 3,
10178 Berlin
Redaktion: Michael Schroeren (verantwortlich)
Thomas Hagbeck, Jürgen Maaß, Frauke Stamer
Tel.: 01888/305-2010.
Fax: 01888/305-2016

Quebec Hebdo :Le Parti Vert condamne l'irresponsabilité fédérale en environnement
Annonceur vedette

Vitroplus Sainte-Foy
Le Parti Vert condamne l'irresponsabilité fédérale en environnement
La chef du Parti vert, Elizabeth May, a préparé le terrain pour la prochaine session
parlementaire en déplorant les décisions récentes du gouvernement minoritaire Harper qui
érodent la réputation internationale du Canada en matière d'environnement, lors de sa première
conférence de presse depuis son accession à la direction du parti environnementaliste, le 26 août
«Ça fait 19 ans aujourd'hui que le monde s'est réuni à Montréal, sous l'égide des Nations Unies,
pour négocier un protocole visant à protéger toute vie sur la terre. Le Protocole de Montréal
fonctionne. Les destructeurs d'ozone sont en voie d'être interdits et éliminés grâce à cet accord.
C'est au cours de cette période que le Canada s'est forgé une réputation comme chef de file
mondial en matière de politiques environnementales», a fait remarquer Elizabeth May.

«Au cours des dernières semaines, le gouvernement Harper a violé toutes les promesses qu'il a
faite au monde entier. Nos engagements envers le Protocole de Kyoto sont cruciaux et urgents,
mais il n'existe aucun plan pour les respecter», a-t-elle insisté.

Pour les Verts, «les nouveautés troublantes» comprennent:

* Le refus de respecter les objectifs du Protocole de Kyoto;

* La décision d'éliminer le poste d'ambassadeur à l'Environnement et au développement durable
créé par l'ancien premier ministre Brian Mulroney;

* La décision d'interrompre notre très modeste contribution (1,5 M$) à l'opération du
mécanisme de développement propre prévu par le Protocole de Kyoto.

En outre, Mme May allègue que le gouvernement du Canada a refusé d'accueillir la conférence
sur le Protocole de Montréal à l'occasion de son 20e anniversaire, en septembre 2007. «Nous
avons appris que le Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement (PNUE) a demandé au
Canada d'accueillir la conférence du 20e anniversaire de l'accord environnemental le plus
efficace au monde, et que le gouvernement Harper s'est borné à répondre "trouvez quelqu'un
d'autre." Le premier ministre Harper est-il contre le Protocole de Montréal ou veut-il éviter
d'attirer l'attention sur le fait que le Protocole de Montréal, qui a inspiré le Protocole de Kyoto,
fonctionne vraiment?», a demandé Elizabeth May.
Appel à la désolidarisation

Lors de la conférence de presse, Mme May était accompagnée de David Chernushenko – qui
s'est placé deuxième lors de la course à la direction. Il travaillera en étroite collaboration avec la
chef de parti à titre de leader adjoint principal. Tous deux ont demandé aux Canadiennes et aux
Canadiens de montrer au monde entier que Stephen Harper ne les représente pas.
«La promesse de 1,5 M$ n'est qu'une première étape, mais elle s'avère fondamentale au
démarrage du Mécanisme de développement propre du PNUE qui aidera les pays en
développement à réduire leurs émissions de carbone», a soutenu M. Chernushenko.
Réagissez à cet article / Imprimer


                                   Other Environment News

ENS: No Survivors in WWF Helicopter Crash in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal, September 25, 2006 (ENS) - A helicopter chartered by the international
conservation group WWF has crashed in the mountains of Nepal, killing all 24 people on board,
Nepalese authorities confirmed Monday. The helicopter crashed Saturday on its return from a
ceremony where Nepal's government turned over conservation of the wildlife and habitat
around the Himalayan mountain of Kanchenjunga to a coalition of local communities.
The group on board the private Russian helicopter included Nepalese government officials,
journalists, Western diplomats, Russian crew members and seven WWF staffers.
The helicopter left a conservation site in Ghunsa, near the foot of Kanchenjunga around noon
local time on Saturday.

The individuals on the helicopter had just celebrated a major conservation success for the
wildlife and local communities of Kanchenjunga. (Photo courtesy Red Panda Project)
The mountain, which is the third tallest in the world, is in eastern Nepal near the border with
India. The helicopter was due to land in Taplejung, about 190 miles from Katmandu, 20 minutes
later but failed to arrive.

A rescue team searched for the helicopter for nearly two days before finding the crash site
Monday, about a mile from its departure point in a very remote and mountainous area.
Rescuers, who reached the wreckage on foot, confirmed there were no survivors.
Bad weather appears the primary factor in the crash, Nepalese authorities said. A WWF staff
member said the helicopter hit an outcrop of rocks on a ridge and crashed into a small clearing.
"The colleagues we have lost had dedicated their lives to conserving the extraordinary natural
resources of Nepal and of the Earth," said WWF International Director General James Leape.
"Their deaths are a huge blow to conservation efforts in Nepal, and worldwide. They will be
greatly missed."

The Nepalese officials on board included Narayan Poudel, director general of Nepal's
Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Gopal Rai, state minister for
forests and soil conservation. Rai, whose wife also perished in the crash, was the official who
formally handed over the management of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) to a council
of local communities.

"I am very happy to be part of this significant day when the people of Kanchenjunga take on the
responsibility of managing this conservation area," Rai said while addressing the community
members gathered on the occasion. "I am convinced that the local communities will show even
greater commitment to saving the unique natural and cultural heritage of Kanchenjunga."

The conservation effort aims to preserve imperiled species, including the red panda. (Photo
courtesy Red Panda Project)

The KCA is known for its rich biodiversity, spectacular scenery and vibrant cultural heritage.
The area is home to globally threatened wildlife species such as the snow leopard and red
panda. The project, largely driven by WWF, aims to foster conservation efforts and to support

the local communities through health services, informal education and income generating

Mingma Norbu Sherpa, director of WWF's Eastern Himalayas Program, called the ceremony a
"historic day for one of the world's most spectacular natural treasures."
"The decision shows the government's commitment to give power to local communities,
especially with regard to natural resources and equitable sharing of benefits," said Sherpa, who
was also on board the helicopter.

The other WWF staffers on the helicopter were: Jill Bowling, WWF-UK conservation director;
Jennifer Headley, WWF UK coordinator; Matthew Preece, WWF US program officer; Dr.
Chandra Prasad Gurung, country representative for WWF Nepal; Harka Gurung, advisor to
WWF Nepal; and Yeshi Larma, also of WWF Nepal.

The helicopter was also carrying Margaret Alexander, the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) deputy mission director in Nepal, as well as Dr. Bijnan Acharya, an
environmental specialist working on behalf of USAID and Pauli Mustonen, charge d'affaires of
the Finnish Embassy.

Other conservationists quickly expressed their sorrow at the tragedy, including the World
Conservation Union (IUCN).

"Many of these remarkable people were dear friends," said Bill Jackson, director of IUCN‘s
Global Program. "Their tragic loss will be severely felt in Nepal and in the conservation family
worldwide, as equally as in my own family.‖

Dr. Harka Gurung, Nepal's first tourism minister was killed in the helicopter crash. (Photo
courtesy Deepak Gajurel)

Nepal lost outstanding planners, biologists, botanists, geographers, ecologists, sociologists and
conservation managers. "The loss is irreversible," says senior conservationist Bhairab Risal.
Among those killed in the crash was Dr. Harka Gurung, Nepal's first tourism minister. He needs
no introduction in whole of South Asia for his contribution in promotion of mountain tourism,
conservation of wildlife and environment. Dr. Gurung was the former vice-chairman of Nepal's
National Planning Commission.

Dr. Chandra Prasad Gurung, a geographer, helped to implement the first landscape level
conservation program in Nepal,the Tarai Arc Landscape. (Photo courtesy Deepak Gajurel)
Dr. Chandra Prasad Gurung was the country representative of WWF Nepal since 1999. His
expertise includes ecotourism, sustainable development, integrated conservation and
development, and protected area management. He designed and implemented the first
successful community-based integrated conservation and development project, the Annapurna
Conservation Area Project regarded worldwide as one of the successful protected areas in its
ability to integrate conservation with sustainable rural development and to promote eco-tourism.
Former Director General of the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation, Dr.
Tirtha Man Maskey was a well known personality in the conservation field in Nepal. Maskey
specialized in crocodile research. Along with receiving medals in Nepal, he also was awarded
the Order of Golden Ark by the Netherlands' Prince Bernhard.

Narayan Prasad Poudel, the director general of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife
Conservation, was one of the key persons for the establishment of Makalu-Barun National Park.
He was a respected conservation manager.

Dr. Damodar Prasad Parajuli, secretary of the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, was a
respected researcher in the field of medicinal plants. Bigyan Acharya was an ecologist, while
Sarad Kumar Rai was a well known botanist.

"Nepal's conservation efforts will face a setback in the absence of these personalities," mourned
wildlife biologist Dr. Mukesh Chalise. "It will take decades to groom such experts in nature
{ENS journalist Deepak Gajurel contributed to this report.}

BBC: Biofuels 'answer' to trade talks

US tycoon Ted Turner has said a focus on biofuels could break the current deadlock stalling
world trade talks.

Speaking at a World Trade Organization forum, Mr Turner said huge demand for plant-based
fuels could help farmers and reduce their need for state aid.

He said subsidies and tariffs should be replaced by support for biofuels.

The current five-year long Doha round of trade talks are suspended because of a failure to reach
an agreement over agricultural subsidies and tariffs.

UN Foundation

"Farmers have always grown crops for food and fibre," Mr Turner said.

"Today, farmers can grow crops for food, fuel and fibre. The global demand for biofuels is huge
and rising.

"That's why I'm confident that in the near future, farmers' incomes will be assured, not by
subsidies and tariffs, but by market forces."

Mr Turner was speaking in his role as chairman of the United Nations Foundation, which was
set up in 1998 after he gave $1bn to support UN causes and activities

The UN Foundation is promoting the production and use of biofuels in developing countries and
wants to attract more foreign and domestic investment in the area.

"By investing in biofuels, developing countries can produce their own domestic transportation
fuels, cut their energy costs, improve public health, create new jobs in the rural economy and
ultimately build export markets," Mr Turner said.

Environmental concerns

Biofuels are a renewable energy source made from agricultural produce or its by-products,
including manure, rape seed, soya beans, cane sugar and palm oil.

They include ethanol, which is used in cars and for cooking, and biodiesel, which is used for
trucks and generators.

The European Union recently issued a directive calling for biofuels to meet 5.75% of its
transportation fuel needs by 2010.

But some experts have warned of the potential downsides from a huge growth in biofuels.

Much of the fuel would be made from plants grown in Brazil and Southeast Asia, where
rainforests are being destroyed to plant crops.


Reuters: Earth May Be at Warmest Point in 1 Million Years
US: September 26, 2006

WASHINGTON - Earth may be close to the warmest it has been in the last million years,
especially in the part of the Pacific Ocean where potentially violent El Nino weather patterns are
born, climate scientists reported on Monday.

This doesn't necessarily mean there will be more frequent El Ninos -- which can disrupt normal
weather around the world -- but could well mean that these wild patterns will be stronger when
they occur, said James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York

The El Nino phenomenon is an important factor in monitoring global warming, according to a
paper by Hansen and colleagues published in the current Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences.

El Ninos can push temperatures higher than they might ordinarily be. This happened in 1998
when a so-called "super El Nino" helped heat the Earth to a record high.

What is significant, the scientists wrote, is that 2005 was in the same temperature range as 1998,
and probably was the warmest year ever, with no sign of the warm surface water in the eastern
equatorial Pacific typical of an El Nino.

The waters of the western equatorial Pacific are warmer than in the eastern equatorial Pacific,
and the difference in temperature between these two areas could produce greater temperature
swings between the normal weather pattern and El Nino, they wrote.

They blamed this phenomenon on global warming that is affecting the surface of the western
Pacific before it affects the deeper water.


Overall, Earth is within 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C) of its highest temperature levels in the past
million years, Hansen and the others wrote. They noted a recent steep rise in average

temperatures, with global surface temperatures increasing about 0.4 degrees F (0.2 degrees C)
for each of the last three decades.

Scientists attribute this rise to human activities, notably the release into the atmosphere of
greenhouse gases -- notably carbon dioxide -- which let in sunlight and trap its heat like the
glass walls of a greenhouse.

Human-caused global warming influences El Ninos much as it sways tropical storms, the
scientists wrote.

"The effect on frequency of either phenomenon is unclear, depending on many factors, but the
intensity of the most powerful events is likely to increase as greenhouse gases increase," they
wrote. "Slowing the growth rate of greenhouse gases should diminish the probability of both
super El Ninos and the most intense tropical storms."

Weak El Nino conditions were present this month in the tropical Pacific, and could strengthen
to a moderate event by winter, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, which monitors the phenomenon.

In the United States, private forecaster WSI Corp. predicted warmer-than-normal weather over
the Northeast and Midwest for the rest of this year, spelling sluggish energy demand for the
start of the heating season.

The warm outlook, after the mildest winter on record last year, is due to uncertainty over the El
Nino -- a warming of Pacific waters around the equator that can drive weather patterns around
the globe, WSI Corp. said.

(Additional reporting by New York Energy Desk)

Story by Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent


Money Why China is heading for environmental catastrophe

Related Articles

  * Can China really save the world?
  * China and the ‗balance of financial terror‘
  * China‘s trade deals shake US
  * A soft landing made in China?
  * Can China temper the boom?

Free email from MoneyWeek
Money Morning is the FREE daily email from MoneyWeek – a punchy round-up of the latest
investment news and profit opportunities. DON‘T MISS IT!

Our Most Popular Articles

  * The US housing market 'freefall' continues
  * Why gold is not like other metals
  * Paul Hill's tip of the week: a small cap with big prospects
  * What's the best way to preserve wealth?
  * Can oil prices bounce back?

How to cash in on Big Oil‘s $86 billion dollar spending spree...With oil trading around $70 a
barrel, the big oil companies - Big Oil - are flush with cash. But if Big Oil wants to stay Big Oil,
there‘s only one thing they need - more oil. Read on here to find out more...

That is how a friend of mine described it. He was talking about what happened in Beijing,
where he‘d gone on business, in April.

The sky suddenly turned a jaundiced hue. The capital city of the People‘s Republic of China
was quickly shrouded in a thick yellow dust.

The streets emptied, the airport closed, the traffic slowed to a crawl. People with respiratory
problems struggled for breath as a monster struck...the wind-dust tempest known as Feng
Chenbao...the yellow dragon.

Feng Chenbao was once believed to be a portent of "chaos under heaven" in the Middle
Kingdom – signalling the prospect of famine, pestilence and anarchy. And today, Chinese
agriculture is indeed facing the mother of all crises. A lethal combination of global warming,
drought, reckless farming practices, and mass irrigation has turned vast swathes of land into
salty wastelands and desert.
China's crises: toxic sandstorms

Every year between March and June, Beijing regularly suffers from the ‗yellow outs‘ of Feng
Chenbao. These huge plumes of toxic grit are born in the Gobi desert during the dry and windy
season. They form a chocking pall as they pick up heavy metal particles and carcinogens, such
as dioxins, as they pass over China‘s industrial regions.

Each spring, they hurl millions of tonnes of sand not just at China but at North and South Korea
and Japan as well. Indeed, the Korean Environmental Institute puts the damage caused in Korea
alone at nearly $5bn a year, and reckons nearly 2 million people become ill during the sand
storm season.

The storms do not stop in East Asia though. They often make it all the way across the Pacific to
the western United States, and have been known to make it as far as the Atlantic – travelling a
full halfway around the world.

This is now a tremendous problem. According to the United Nations Environment Protection
Programme there are now five times as many toxic sand storms blowing across northeast Asia
each Spring than was the case in the 1950s, and it‘s worsening further with increasing
desertification in China. In total, a third of the world‘s arable land is already being affected.
China's crises: desertification

Why is China turning to desert? The process is nothing new in itself. In the 4th century BC the
philosopher Mencius wrote about it and its human causes, including tree cutting and over-
grazing. But the rate at which China and India are growing rapidly creates huge problems for
global agriculture.

It is widely known that poor people increase their consumption of meat at a greater rate with
each increase in income. This puts increasing demands on arable land.

Cows bred for meat are much hungrier and thirstier than the grain that goes into bread or rice.
According to the BBC, a kilogram of grain-fed beef needs at least 15 cubic metres of water. A
kilo of lamb from a sheep fed on grass needs 10 cubic metres. By comparison, a kilo of cereals
needs only from 0.4 to 3 cubic metres. But it takes 12 kilos of grain for each kilo of feedlot

So it is not enough to produce incrementally more food for each new person on the planet. The
world must now produce exponentially more food for each new person because of increasing
wealth in the developing world. So far, the solution has been the so-called ―green revolution‖.
Increasingly sophisticated fertilisers and more productive strains of crop have enabled the
world‘s farmers to keep pace with its increasing population.

However, at base, the green revolution has relied on over-use of scarce water resources to grow
crops on already dry land.
China's crises: drought

I can't stress enough the risk of drought the developing world faces. If the world‘s water were
compressed into a single gallon, only 4 ounces would be fresh. Of that, only two drops would be
easily accessible and only one of which would be for human use. From that single drop, more
than 90% goes to agriculture and industry.

What's more, new strains of wheat and maize may improve crop yields, but they are a lot
thirstier than older varieties. That's increasingly counter-productive as much of the world turns
arid as a result of climate change. These crops are supported by irrigation sourced from non-
replaceable underground water reservoirs alongside the widespread use of new dam projects.
This is having a dire effect on global water supplies, yielding yet another source of global and
geopolitical disruption and crisis.

So the spectre of a global water shortage of biblical proportions is due less to leaky pipes and
over-use of garden hoses than to the green revolution. For example, the Saudis have spent over
£20bn pumping water from an underground reservoir to supply a million hectares of land in the
desert to grow wheat. For every tonne of wheat grown, the government supplies 3000 cubic
metres of water – or over three times the norm for wheat cultivation. And it all comes from
wells that are not being replenished by rainfall.

A third of all irrigation systems across the world use such underground water. Yet while these
one-off sources are pumped dry, farmers in India‘s rain starved Gujarat region insist on raising
dairy they can use 2,000 litres of water to produce one litre of milk!
Agricultural crisis in China and elsewhere

In short, the world‘s agricultural system is beginning to warp, threatening the global trading
mechanism and raising the spectre of widespread famine. Since 1984 world grain production,

for example, has failed to keep pace with world population growth. In the space of 20 years it‘s
fallen from 343kgs per person to 303kgs.

Meanwhile, a startling 12 million hectares (30m acres) of farm land becomes un-farmable – an
area roughly half the size of the UK.

Few think of China as a desert nation but that‘s what it‘s becoming. According to the Chinese
Ministry of Science and Technology just 7% of China‘s land mass is now supposed to feed a
fifth of the world‘s population.
The arable land is concentrated near the east coast as the Gobi desert encroaches from the
northwest. And a "Great March East" - reminiscent of Mao‘s forced "Long March" - could
begin as the rural poor invade the cities of the East and South...cities that are already creaking as
they try to cope with the current influx of people from the country.

There are undercover reports of tens of thousands of protests in the Chinese countryside, where
many impoverished and increasingly desperate farmers spend more time clearing away sand
than farming. They are unable to scratch a living.

Some local officials are hiring gangs of thugs to quell these protests. There is near panic in
official circles in China, and not just because these dust storms and pollution in general may
‗blot‘ out the showcase Olympics in 2008.

There looms the much more serious prospect of "chaos under heaven".


San Francisco Chronicle: Lifestyles of Lear Jet liberals
Debra J. Saunders
Sunday, September 24, 2006

LIMOUSINE liberals, move over. You've been out-glammed by Lear Jet liberals who burn
beaucoup fossil fuels in the sky as they soar around the planet fighting global warming.
 Last week, they flew to their Mecca, the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York
City. For the left-leaning and loaded, this is the meeting that has it all -- the mega-rich paying        
to be seen caring about poor people and the environment, while posing for photos with former
President Bill Clinton.
You see, they care so much more about the environment than President Bush because they
support the Kyoto global-warming pact, which they believe would save the planet from
greenhouse gases, if only Bush had not rejected it. (Never mind that Clinton never asked the
Senate to ratify the pact, probably because senators voted 95-0 for a resolution rejecting any
treaty that exempted China and India.)
Forget that Kyoto has the depth of a cowboy movie set. The storefronts look like a general store
and saloon, but when actors walk through the door, there's nothing there. The overwhelming
majority of industrialized nations that signed on to Kyoto amid much fanfare haven't cut their
greenhouse gases. In June, the United Nations reported that only two Western European
signatories -- Britain and Sweden -- are on target to meet their greenhouse-gas reduction targets,
which call for a worldwide reduction of 5 percent below 1990 levels in 2012.

Spain is spewing more than 40 percent above its 1990 levels. Canada is 30 percent over. By
comparison, Dubya's America looks good -- emitting 16 percent more greenhouse gases than in
No wonder Lear Jet liberals love Kyoto: it allows them to look like they really, really care about
the environment -- and have their contrails, too.
The big news of the CGI was an announcement by Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin
Atlantic Airways, that he would donate $3 billion over 10 years -- his personal profits from his
airline and train businesses -- to global-warming research. That's more money than I'll ever see,
or spend on R&D, so bully for Branson. Still, it should be noted that Branson said some of the
money will go back to his own corporations' research. That's not quite charity.
Besides, Branson hails from a country where some enviros believe flying is worse than a mega-
SUV. The Bishop of London recently referred to flying abroad on holiday as "a symptom of
Europeans are acutely aware of the effect flying has on one's carbon footprint. Flying is the
fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases in the U.K. As the Guardian reported, greenhouse-
gas emissions from flying more than doubled from 1990 to 2004 to 5.5 percent of the U.K.'s
emissions. It would not surprise me if some day Britain legislates a limit on short flights -- say,
London to Edinburgh or Paris, trips you can make in a car or train about as fast as flying. That
would be bad news for Virgin Express.
In California, Branson has a soul mate in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Critics hit the
governator for signing global-warming bills while owning four Hummers, but his biggest green
sin is dibs on a private plane.
Flying is my biggest item in my carbon footprint calculation and I don't own a jet. Flying is
probably the biggest personal polluter for people who fly roundtrip more than 10 times a year.
So, all those Hollywood stars who preen about their Priuses can see themselves as eco-virtuous
only by ignoring their plane travel.
They are in a pickle. How can they be beautiful people if they don't jet to an island for a week or
two of eco-tourism?


The Guardian: Pundits who contest climate change should tell us who is paying them

Covert lobbying, in the UK as well as the US, has severely set back efforts to combat the
world's biggest problem

George Monbiot
Tuesday September 26, 2006
The Guardian

On the letters page of the Guardian last week, a Dr Alan Kendall attacked the Royal Society for
"smearing" its opponents. The society had sent an official letter to Exxon, complaining about
the oil company's "inaccurate and misleading" portrayal of the science of climate change and
about its funding of lobby groups that deny global warming is taking place. The letter, Kendall
argued, was an attempt to "stifle legitimate discussion".

Perhaps he is unaware of what has been happening. The campaign of dissuasion funded by
Exxon and the tobacco company Philip Morris has been devastatingly effective. By insisting
that man-made global warming is either a "myth" or not worth tackling, it has given the media
and politicians the excuses for inaction they wanted. Partly as a result, in the US at least, these
companies have helped to delay attempts to tackle the world's most important problem by a
decade or more.

Article continues
Should we not confront this? If, as Kendall seems to suggest, we should refrain from exposing
and criticising these groups, would that not be to "stifle legitimate discussion"?

There is still much more to discover. It is unclear how much covert corporate lobbying has been
taking place in the UK. But the little I have been able to find so far suggests that here, as in the
US, there seems to be some overlap between Exxon and the groups it has funded and the
operations of the tobacco industry.

The story begins with a body called the International Policy Network (IPN). Like many other
organisations that have received money from Exxon, it describes itself as a thinktank or an
independent educational charity, but a more accurate description, it seems to me, would be
"lobby group". While the BBC would seldom allow someone from Bell Pottinger or Burson-
Marsteller on air to discuss an issue of concern to their sponsors without revealing the sponsors'
identity, the BBC has frequently allowed IPN's executive director, Julian Morris, to present
IPN's case without declaring its backers. IPN has so far received $295,000 from Exxon's
corporate headquarters in the US. Morris told me that he runs his US office "solely for funding

IPN argues that attempts to prevent (or mitigate) man-made climate change are a waste of
money. It would be better to let it happen and adapt to its effects. The Network published a
book this year arguing that "humanity has until at least 2035 to determine whether or not
mitigation will also be a necessary part of our strategy to address climate change ... attempting
to control it through global regulation of emissions would be counterproductive". Morris has
described the government's chief scientist, Sir David King - who has campaigned for action on
global warming - as "an embarrassment to himself and an embarrassment to his country".

Like many of the groups that have been funded by ExxonMobil, IPN has also received money
from the cigarette industry. Morris admits it has been given £10,000 by a US tobacco company.
There is also a question mark about his involvement in a funding application to another tobacco
company, RJ Reynolds.

In the archives that the cigarette companies were forced to open as part of the settlement of a
class action in the US, there is a document entitled Environmental Risk. It is an application to
RJ Reynolds to pay for a book about "the myth of scientific risk assessment". "The principal
objective of this book is to highlight the uncertainties inherent in 'scientific' estimates of risk to
humans and the environment." Among the myths it would be contesting were the adverse health
effects of passive smoking. The application requested £50,000 to publish the book; the editors
would be "Roger Bate and Julian Morris".

Morris insists that his name was added to the document without his consent. He says he had
"nothing" to do with the book. It was published in 1997 under the title What Risk?, with a
foreword by the MP David Davis. It claims that passive smoking is no more dangerous than
"eating 50g of mushrooms a week", and attacks "politically correct" beliefs such as "passive
smoking causes lung cancer" and "mankind's emissions of carbon dioxide will result in runaway
global warming". Morris is not named as its coeditor, but he is the first person thanked in the
acknowledgments, for his "editorial suggestions".

The book's editor, Roger Bate, is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute - which
has received $1.6m from ExxonMobil - and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has
received $2m. Until 2003, he was Morris's predecessor as head of IPN. When the book was
written, he ran the European Science and Environment Forum (Esef), which published What
Risk?. The registered owner of Esef's website is Morris. He claims he had nothing to do with
Esef, and registered the name "as a favour to a friend".

The investigative group PRWatch alleges that Esef was originally called Scientists for Sound
Public Policy (SSPP), and was founded by a public relations agency working for the tobacco
company Philip Morris. Documents in the tobacco archives show that SSPP was the subject of a
fierce turf war between the PR firms Apco and Burson Marsteller, which were vying for Philip
Morris's account.

Burson Marsteller's proposal argued that "industrial resistance" to regulation is "perceived as
protection of commercial self-interests". A different "countervailing voice" was required,
consisting of "international opinion formers supported financially by the industry". Their role
would be "educating opinion leaders, politicians and the media". The group would also seek
funding from other industries. Some of those Esef recruited as "academic members" were
people working for US lobby groups later funded by Exxon, who have made false claims about
climate change.

Like Morris, Bate has often appeared on radio and television programmes. Interviewed by the
Today programme about climate change, he argued that cutting carbon emissions has been
"folly all along". Instead, we should concentrate on adapting to climate change. In 2000, he
presented a film on BBC2 called Organic Food: the Modern Myth, on which Morris also
appeared. Bate has not yet answered the Guardian's requests for a response.

There is no law against taking money from corporations, or against advancing arguments in the
media that are in tune with theirs. Nor should there be. The problem is what appears to be a
failure to declare an interest. When someone speaks on an issue of public importance, we
should be allowed to see who has been paying them. This should apply to all advocates,
pressure groups and thinktanks, from Greenpeace to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The BBC's producer guidelines are clear on this point. "We need to ensure that we do not get
involved with campaigning programming which is politically contentious. Programmes should
not embrace the agenda of a particular campaign or campaigning group ..." Throughout the late
1990s and early 2000s, some of us warned that campaigning groups did not always describe
themselves as such. We were ignored. The BBC now seems to have woken up to the problem.
But we have lost 10 years in which climate change could have been tackled.

· George Monbiot's book Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning is published this week

Science Online:New pavers to purify run-off

By Anna Salleh


Car parks, patios and other paved areas could one day collect rainwater, purify it then channel it
to underground tanks for reuse, say researchers.

Professor Simon Beecham, a civil engineer from the University of South Australia, says special
porous pavers made of concrete containing specific additives would purify the polluted run-off.

He says the water could then be captured in large underground tanks and be used for irrigation,
cleaning and flushing the toilet.

"We're trying to harvest a resource that we've not been able to tap into before," Professor
Beecham said.

Roads, driveways, pathways and the like make up 60 per cent of impervious urban surfaces.

The run-off from them causes flooding and pollutes waterways.

Professor Beecham says until now, harvesting rainwater from them has proved more difficult
than from roofs.

His team is developing a system in which porous concrete pavers allows run-off to seep into
underground tanks made of galvanised metal or a flexible plastic lining filled with gravel.

A special bonding material ensures the porous pavers are strong enough to withstand the heavy
weight of cars and trucks.

Additives mixed into the pavers, or into the sand and gravel bedding material beneath them,
enables the system to trap pollutants.

A paver injected with ferrous hydroxide, for example, traps toxic and persistent heavy metals
like lead, zinc and cadmium that come from sources such as car tyres, brake-linings and

A layer of microbes on fabric beneath the pavers can trap and degrade hydrocarbons such as oil.

Professor Beecham says a layer of granulated activated carbon traps dissolved organic matter
from leaf litter that is responsible for algal blooms in rivers.

Long-term use

He says the pollutants can accumulate in the pavers over 25 to 30 years, allowing usable water
to be caught and pumped above ground for reuse.

He says the pavers could also allow trees, which themselves soak up and recycle water, to grow
more freely because their roots have access to more water and air.

Problem tree roots could be avoided by using a special concrete device that directs the roots
away from the pavers.

The pavers could be seeded with low maintenance native vegetation including sedges.

Professor Beecham says one of his PhD students, Baden Myers, is about to construct a full-scale
prototype of the complete water harvesting and reuse system, which he predicts will cost 10 to
30 per cent more than conventional paving.

Part of the research has been submitted to Water Management, a journal of the UK's Institution
of Civil Engineers.

The South Australian Government water authority, SA Water, is a major source of finance for
the research.


Environment News Service:Boreal Forests Provide Billions in Uncounted Benefits

GATINEAU, Canada, September 25, 2006 (ENS) - Boreal forests provide $225 billion in
ecological services, including water filtration and carbon capture, according to estimates
released Monday by Canadian researchers. This huge figure is unrecognized in national income
accounts or measures such as gross domestic product (GDP), said the researchers, who urged
creation of a comprehensive accounting system for natural capital to recognize the full value of
services provided by boreal forests.

Mark Anielski, an Edmonton-based ecological economist and leader of the research effort, will
make the plea this week at Canada's 10th National Forest Congress.

The boreal forests span 6.4 million square miles across most of northern Canada, Russia and
Scandinavia, accounting for about one third of the planet's total forest area. It is characterized
by coniferous forest cover and provides key habitat for more than 200 bird species, as well as
caribou, lynx, moose, black bear, timber wolf and other mammals.

Anielski and research colleagues estimate that environmental services from the boreal - from
climate regulation via carbon capture and storage, water filtration and waste treatment, to
biodiversity maintenance, pest control by birds - are worth about $143 per hectare. This
amounts to $83 billion annually in Canada alone. boreal

Large conifers dominate the boreal forests. (Photo courtesy NASA)

"If these ecosystem services were counted in Canada, they would amount to roughly 9% of
GDP," Anielski said. "Ignoring these values would be like leaving out the combined annual
contribution to GDP made by Canada's health and social services sector and half of the public
services sector."

The goal of the National Forest Congress, which coincides with Canada's National Forest Week
(Sept. 24-30), is to advance an integrated, multi-disciplinary stewardship of forest resource
management - an approach that reflects a broad variety of stakeholder concerns and

The theme is "Sustainable Land Management in the Boreal."

"Canada's boreal represents one-quarter of all forest in the world and its survival depends on
achieving long-term, sustainable and integrated land-use management policies and practices,"
said Congress Chair Barry Waito, chairman and CEO of the Canadian Forestry Association.
"Canadians need to understand the challenges presented by highly compelling interests and
values that sometimes compete, and the importance of balancing economic development,
ecosystem sustainability, Aboriginal interests, and community and social values."

Anielski noted that resource extraction and development in the boreal are vital to human well-

"The point of our research is that services provided by the boreal ecosystem make a quantifiable
contribution to well-being as well - values that are important to reflect in national and regional
economic balance sheets and measures like Gross Domestic Product," he explained.

During his presentation at the National Forest Congress, Anielski will call on all levels of
government, together with industry and local communities, to develop a natural capital
accounting system to reveal the total value of ecosystems and to guide land-use planning,
resource management and economic development policies. It would include, among other
things, a comprehensive inventory of the boreal's natural capital.

Anielski said the boreal is "like a giant carbon bank account," with forests and peatlands of
region storing an estimated 67 billion metric tons of carbon in Canada alone - a figure that is
eight times the amount of carbon produced worldwide in 2000. boreal

The vast forests are marked by wide swaths that have been clearcut, and are also under
increasing pressure from mining and hydroelectric development. (Photo courtesy NRDC)

The amount of carbon absorbed and sequestered by the Canadian boreal each year is worth $1.6
billion, Anielski said, based on figures about the price of carbon emissions created by the global
insurance industry.

"Among other questions to be addressed is whether and how that contribution to global well-
being by Canada and other boreal countries should be recognized by other nations," Anielski

The National Forest Congress begins today and extends through Wednesday.

Organizers hope it will result in a commitment from stakeholders - including the forestry,
energy, mining, agriculture and tourism industries, Aboriginal people and communities - to
create a cross-sectoral council to examine national and international goals for stewardship and
sustainable land management.

All figures have been converted to U.S. dollars.

                                     ROAP Media Update
                                      26 September 2006

                                   UN or UNEP in the news

The Westin Bali participates in UNEP'S Clean Up the World Weekend
e-Travel Blackboard (press release), Australia, Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali as part of the Bali Hotels Association took the opportunity
to participate in the United Nation Environment Programme - Clean Up the World Weekend.

 Hotel Associates gathered with students and teachers from a local school who were the overall
winners of the ‗School Cleanliness Competition‘ held by The Westin Bali last July in
conjunction with the ‗Cares for Community‘ programme initiated by Starwood. All participants
spent time cleaning up roadside rubbish that had accumulated on a section of the Nusa Dua By-

The children arrived early for the activity with fresh faced enthusiasm that was an inspiration to
all participating Hotel Associates. Since the School Cleanliness Competition was held, there has
been a noticeable improvement in the appearance of the school environment.

―It is very impressive and I am confident that they will continue their fine efforts" commented
Jan Bundgaard the General Manager of The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali.

With greater focus on environmental care programmes, hopefully we can instill a more intense
understanding within the local community, especially for the younger generation, regarding the
importance of looking after our surroundings. It is important that we preserve Bali so that we
will be able to enjoy its magic for many more years to come.

China appoints new delegates to int'l organizations
People‘s Daily Online, 26 September 2006
China's State Council, or cabinet, has announced the appointment of new delegates to
organizations under the United Nations (UN).

Zhang Ming was appointed China's delegate to the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, replacing Guo Chongli.

Tang Guoqiang was appointed delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and
the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), replacing Wu Hailong.

Chen Jinghua takes up the post of delegate to the International Seabed Authority (ISA),
replacing Zhao Zhenyu.

Meanwhile, Li Jun was removed from the post as deputy director with the General
Administration of Civil Aviation.

Ha Noi to host regional roundtable on clean, sustainable production
Viet Nam News, Vietnam, (25-09-2006)
HA NOI — Sustainable development and cleaner production methods will be discussed at an
Asia Pacific roundtable to be held in Ha Noi from April 25 to 27 next year.

The 7th Asia Pacific roundtable for sustainable consumption and production will be held in
conjunction by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Asia Pacific
Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production, the United Nations Industrial
Development Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Head of the Ministry‘s Department of Environmental Impact Assessment, Nguyen Khac Kinh,
said the roundtable would be an opportunity for the region‘s developing economies to hear
regional and global experts present their views on key issues and risks in the area, as well as
debate solutions for accelerating the shift to sustainable development.

Kinh, who is also head of the roundtable‘s organising board, has invited submissions on the
topic from interested consultants, representatives of business, researchers, governments and
community organisations, who were also urged to join the roundtable. Submissions should
address issues relevant to the region and focus on policies, practices and recent research on life
cycle management strategies, sustainable rural development, sustainable resource management
and industrial and urban development.

Formed in 1997, the roundtable aims to foster dialogue among industry, government, academia
and non-government organisations in the region to address pollution and developmental

UNEP Commends Nat’l Ozone Protection Campaign
Iran Daily, 21 September 2006
Iran was commended by the United Nations Environment Program for its successful
implementation of projects to protect ozone layer, head of the Office for Montreal Protocol
Projects on Solvents, Poisonous Waste and Pesticides said.
Ahmad Malayeri told IRNA that the UNEP awarded a plaque of honor to the Islamic Republic
for its active support of projects preserving the stratospheric umbrella that protects life on earth
from the sun‘s radiation.
He added that the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has
implemented 74 ozone protection projects in Iran.
The official explained that the projects include converting to ozone-friendly technologies in
production of compressors, domestic and industrial refrigerators as well as foam, which are the
main ODS (ozone depleting substances) consuming industries.
The official noted that the UNIDO projects target phasing out over 3,980 tons of ozone
depleting substances that would have torn an even larger hole in the protective ozone shield. So
far 2,800 tons of gases harmful to the ozone layer have been eliminated.
UNIDO is deemed as an implementing agency for the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal
Protocol in the context of UNIDO‘s mission to support developing countries and countries in
transition in their pursuit of sustainable industrial development. He went on to say that the
majority of UNIDO projects have been evaluated as successful during visits by Executive

Committee of the Multilateral Fund for Implementation of the Montreal Protocol and Ozone
Officers of Compliance Assistance Program Regional Office for West Asia. Meanwhile,
director of Department of Environment‘s National Office for Preservation of Ozone Layer
acknowledged that consumption of ozone depleting substances has inflicted harms on the
Fereydoun Rostami urged that ODS transactions be controlled to prevent an increase in factors
damaging the ozone layer. Speaking at a conference in Sari, Mazandaran province, on
protecting the ozone layer, the official said that monitoring customs offices is among the top
programs of the office in the trade sector.
Each year, September 16 is observed worldwide as the International Day for the Preservation of
the Ozone Layer. The United Nations first declared International Ozone Day in 1995, in
commemoration of the date on which countries signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances
That Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.
Nation launches clean-up campaign
Viet Nam News, Vietnam, (23-09-2006)
THANH HOA — A national campaign to "clean up the world", with the theme of combating
desertification, was launched by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the
Australian Embassy in Viet Nam and the central Thanh Hoa Province People‘s Committee, at a
ceremony yesterday.

The Clean up the World campaign, initiated by Australia, has become an annual event that sets
out to encourage different communities to participate in protecting the environment.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen called for
authorities at various levels and sectors, social organisations and every Vietnamese citizen to
take practical actions to help protect the environment. As many as 120 countries are organising
such campaigns.

Recently, Viet Nam also launched a National Action Programme to combat desertification in
four areas of the country.

The programme, which is set to run until 2010, strives to fight desertification in the Northwest,
the Central coastal area, Tay Nguyen (the Central Highlands) and the Long Xuyen Quadrangle
in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

Actions will also be taken to reclaim land, reform land-use rights policy and to promote hunger
eradication and poverty reduction plans.

According to figures from the agricultural sector, Viet Nam has 9.3million ha of fallow land,
including 7.3million ha of uncultivated land and barren hill land.

Over the last 10 years, adverse droughts have meant severe consequences for agricultural and
forestry production in many areas, especially the central provinces and Central Highlands.

Landslides have been occurring frequently in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the Northwest and
the Central areas.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation and UNESCO says Viet Nam has about 462,000ha of
coastal sand area, of which 87,000ha are sand dunes and sand hills.

Before joining the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Viet Nam
had already launched several programmes to combat desertification.

The programmes included tree plantings during the Tet holiday initiated by President Ho Chi
Minh, land reclamation, Programme 327 to cover barren hills, and a forestation programme to
prevent sandstorms.

Laws that include provisions on desertification have also been passed, including the 1999 Water
Resources Law, the 2003 Land Law, the 2004 Forest Protection and Development Law and
most recently the National Action Programme to combat desertification in 2006-2010.

Viet Nam, with the aid of international organisations, is implementing 50 other projects to fight

Pham Minh Thoa, who works at the Office of Convention to Combat Desertification, said Viet
Nam would create a programme with international assistance to sustainably manage forestry

The programme will be funded by the World Bank, the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and
the Transfer Forest Fund (TFF). It will stress the importance of raising public awareness about
protecting the environment and ending deforestation. It will also focus on the over-exploitation
of underground water resources, massive over-fishing, and uncontrolled aquaculture. — VNS

Lake clean-up a success
Malaysia Star, Malaysia - Sep 21, 2006, By VIVIENNE PAL
A GOTONG-ROYONG at Taman Aman Lake in conjunction with the Clean Up the World
(CUW) Weekend marked the beginnings of what could well become a yearly affair on the home

Celebrated on the third weekend of September and participated by some 35 million people
worldwide, CUW Weekend aims to address land degradation issues in the environment and
promote ways of engaging the global community in positive long-term environmental

―We plan to include this in the calendar as an annual event under the PJ Local Agenda 21,‖ said
Kampung Tunku assemblyman and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) environmental
committee chairman Datuk Dr Wong Sai Hau.

―Because next year is Visit Malaysia Year as well as our 50th year of independence, we plan to
make the event even bigger, hopefully bringing it to other places.‖

Dr Wong said the response was encouraging with more than 300 people turning up to clean and
beautify the area.

In addition to residents from Len Seng Garden, SEA Park and SS3, personnel from Alam Flora
and the Global Environment Centre (GEC) also participated in the event.

Students from five schools within the vicinity were invited to participate in the event under the
River Rangers programme initiated by the GEC.

Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Roslan Sakiman launched the event.

On a local scale, the objective of the event was also to increase the public‘s awareness on the
importance of caring for the environment, and alert joggers, visitors and residents of the area on
the problems revolving around the lake.

―This lake has no outlet, and the infestation of algae causes the lake to stink. Even though the
Federal Government has put in RM2.9 million into Taman Aman, there are not enough funds
for treatment of the lake.

Students planting a plant sapling to help beautify the lake.
―We also want people to know that caring for rivers is not enough; you have to look after your
own drains as well because everything flows back to the river,‖ said Dr Wong.

SMK Sri Aman Petaling Jaya student Teoh Xiu Jong, 14, said the event was meaningful and a
good way to spend a Sunday morning.

―We also use this park sometimes. This is our way of giving back to the environment what we
took from them,‖ said Teoh.

Resident R. Wong, however, was sceptical about the programme, calling it ―superficial‖.

―It is a good start, but there is so much more to be done, ― said Wong.

―For instance, the water flow in certain parts of the pond needs to be rectified to stop stagnation,
and street lamps need to be set up for residents who cut across the park from Section 22 to the
nearby LRT station.‖

Africa, World’s Septic Tank
Iran Daily, 26 September 2006
Senegalese ecologist Haidar al-Ali says, ―We talk of globalization, of the global village, but
here in Africa, we are under the impression of being that village‘s septic tank.―
According to AFP, a series of pollution scandals, ranging from the discharge of toxic waste in
Ivory Coast to radioactive tanks in Somalia, show that Africa‘s poverty, corruption, and non-
existent or malfunctioning democracies make it the world‘s preferred dumping ground.
According to the French environment protection group, Robin des Bois, the waste sent to
Africa--such as old tyres, cars and broken computers containing toxic parts--is ―very difficult, if
not impossible, to recycle.―
―To Asia goes everything that can be salvaged and that is of high added value, such as copper
wire and metal scraps,― the group‘s director Charlotte Nithart said.

In Abidjan, Ivory Coast‘s economic capital, seven people died, 24 were hospitalized and there
were 37,000 calls for medical help after an Ivorian firm, Tommy, dumped toxic waste at 11
public sites across the city in August.
The company had been hired to properly dispose of 500 tons of a highly-toxic mixture of oil
residue and caustic soda used to rinse out a Greek-owned ship‘s tanks.
In the last days of 2004, the tsunami started by an earthquake in Asia hit the coast of Somalia
where it damaged toxic water containers on the northern coast of this country, plunged into
anarchy by 15 years of civil war.
Health problems were reported by the local population including ―acute respiratory infections,
dry heavy coughing and mouth bleeding, abdominal hemorrhages, unusual skin chemical
reactions, and sudden death after inhaling toxic materials,― according to the United Nations
Environment Program (UNEP).
Starting from the early 1980s and continuing into the civil war, the hazardous waste dumped
along Somalia‘s coast includes radioactive uranium waste, lead, cadmium, mercury, industrial,
hospital, chemical, leather treatment and other toxic waste, UNEP wrote in a country report.
In 1996, the European Parliament officially asked the governments of the United Kingdom,
Italy and Spain to repatriate toxic waste exported to South Africa by Thor Chemicals Ltd.
The parliament noted that hundreds of tons of toxic mercury waste had caused damage to the
environment and caused severe health problems amongst local people.
In the West African nation of Cameroon, about 5,600 liters (1,232 gallons) of chlorine were
dumped in 2005 in a village near Douala, the economic capital. Authorities tried to dilute the
chlorine at sea but the operation turned disastrous when the mixture exploded, killing a soldier
and injuring about 10 people.
Africa is a favorite place to treat or simply dump hazardous waste because treating such waste
in industrialized countries is very expensive.
Robin des Bois said it costs between 300 to 500 euros (380 to 634 dollars) to treat a cubic meter
(35 cubic feet) of hazardous waste. In Africa it is between six to 15 times cheaper because often
there is no real treatment and no proper storage.
The Basel Convention, set up in 1989 to prevent dumping of toxic waste in countries without
proper facilities for handling it, has helped regulate the flow.
But illegal traffic in toxic waste continues, Robin des Bois‘s Nithart said, ―because businessmen
try to get around the regulations in order to save money.―
For the Senegalese ecologist ―the waste is often accepted by corrupt people or factions who
want money to buy weapons.―
To really put an end to this traffic ―we need sentries, people willing to get involved in protecting
our environment,― he added.
―If, in African ports there were stricter controls to check that these wastes did not arrive, if the
loops were closed in the health and environmental controls, then the Probo Koala (the Greek
ship in the Ivory Coast) would not have arrived in Abidjan.―
But she also put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of European authorities.
―A European country like the Netherlands, with an infrastructure, a port authority, specialists in
waste disposal, customs and everything else, still let the Probo Koala go,― she said.

                                   General Environment News

By Chris Lang. Published in WRM Bulletin 110, September 2006.
Wherever industrial tree plantations are planted in the South, governments provide a range of
subsidies to investors. In Indonesia, the government has handed out billions of dollars for
plantation development. The plantation and pulp sectors have also received generous aid
support. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank funded studies in the 1980s. A
range of export credit agencies helped finance the construction of pulp mills.

During the 1980s, while vast areas of Indonesia's forests were being destroyed by logging
companies, the Indonesian government set up a "Reforestation Fund" financed by royalties
collected from logging companies. Once the logging companies had carried out their
reforestation obligations they could reclaim the money from the Reforestation Fund. Of course
most logging companies carried out no reforestation and simply wrote off the payments to the
Reforestation Fund. As a result, the amount of money in the fund grew rapidly.

In the 1990s, the government changed the Reforestation Fund to allow direct financing of
industrial tree plantations. But most of the money went to Suharto's family and business cronies.
The NGO Down To Earth notes that Suharto used money from the fund for the State Aircraft
Company and the Southeast Asian Games. Between 1993 and 1998, more than US$5 billion
was lost from the fund. Many Reforestation Fund loans that did go to industrial tree plantation
companies became bad debts. Two years ago, the Forestry Department rescheduled
Reforestation Fund loans. As a result, 14 plantations companies closed because they could not
repay the debt.

Companies drew up proposals requesting funding for industrial tree plantations, but the areas
planted were far smaller than claimed. Between 1990 and 1997 almost US$1 billion was
distributed from the fund, which should have paid for five million hectares of plantations. Less
than one-fifth of this area was actually planted.

Earlier this year, the World Bank/WWF Forest Alliance started a project with the Ministry of
Forestry aimed at developing "financial mechanisms that can help to expand and accelerate
plantation development". In an "activity concept note" dated February 2006, the Alliance states
that the area of plantations in Indonesia needs to be "at least doubled", in order to secure the
future of the country's wood processing industry (which is dominated by the pulp and paper
industry). The total capacity of Indonesia's pulp mills is almost 6 million tons a year. According
to the Centre for International Forestry Research, about 70 per cent of the wood consumed in
these pulp mills is mixed tropical hardwood from what's left of Indonesia's forests.

Where plantations have been established, it has been at huge environmental and social cost. For
example, in Riau province, 75 per cent of Asia Pulp and Paper's land is peat swamp. The only
way of establishing plantations is by clearing the forest and draining the land.

An obvious answer would be to address the structural problem of massive over capacity in the
pulp sector in Indonesia. Plantations are not even profitable. According to the World
Bank/WWF Alliance, "returns to plantations are believed insufficient to attract commercial

investment." But the World Bank/WWF Alliance is determined to rescue the pulp industry by
finding new subsidies for more plantations.

The World Bank/WWF Alliance proposal is a bean-feast for consultants. According to the
February 2006 "activity concept note", the Alliance was to hire "expert consultants" and pay
them an average of more than US$2,000 a week.

These experts were to develop a strategy and a plan. They were to look for financial institutions
or mechanisms to create incentives for plantations. They were to develop interim results and
hold workshops. They were to engage stakeholders. They were to develop criteria and
indicators, identify opportunities and barriers and analyse future trends and likely market

The experts were to determine "conditions and interventions that will help to improve plantation
financing based on the principle of 'The right tree in the right place for the right reasons,
meaning the right end markets.'"

The experts were to "examine approaches for identifying beneficiaries and financial
mechanisms that will enable resources to reach the right target groups, engaging in the right
activities (environmental, social and financial viable) for the right reasons (informed and market
responsive) with the right financing."

The experts were to "focus on establishing institutional means to ensure the right funds going to
the right projects based on the right information and right returns on investment in the right time

The experts were to be such experts that they could do all this without the inconvenience of
talking to any communities affected by industrial tree plantations. The World Bank/WWF
Alliance "activity concept note" states that "This feasibility study should draw on and
synthesize previous studies and analyses, rather than primary data collection."

With this project to subsidise the pulp industry the World Bank/WWF Alliance shows where its
loyalties lie: with the pulp industry and against the people.

By Chris Lang. Published in WRM Bulletin 110, September 2006.
When a forestry operation is certified under the Forest Stewardship Council system, it should
mean we can all relax in the knowledge that the forests are reasonably well managed.
Unfortunately, it seems, this is not the case. SmartWood, an FSC accredited certifier, recently
certified forestry operations in Laos which are producing timber that is illegal under the Lao
Forestry Law.

The FSC certification is the result of more than a decade of aid projects and millions of dollars
of aid money. Between 1996 and 2000, a project funded by the World Bank and the Finnish
government set up a series of Village Forestry Associations in Savannahkhet and Khammouane
provinces in Laos. The project, part of the Forest Management and Conservation Programme
(FOMACOP), aimed to develop a model of "village forestry", through which villagers would
log the forests and receive a share of the money from the timber.

The first attempt to determine whether "village forestry" could be FSC certified came in 1999.
But Lao government officials were unhappy about any outside monitoring of forestry
operations. Rumours spread that government officials were worried about losing a lucrative
source of income: bribes from the logging industry. FOMACOP collapsed in 2000, shortly after
the failed certification attempt.

The World Bank and the Finnish government subsequently set up another project, this time
called the Sustainable Forestry and Rural Development Project (SUFORD). In May 2003,
SmartWood assessed the forest management. In January 2006, after a series of conditions were
met to SmartWood's satisfaction, SmartWood issued an FSC certificate for 39,000 hectares of
forest managed by six villages in Savannahkhet province. A month earlier, SmartWood issued a
certificate for about 10,000 hectares of village forestry in Khammouane province.

WWF supported the certification together with the Tropical Forest Trust, an organisation set up
in 1999 to expand the area of FSC certified forest in the tropics. "FSC certification of these
forests is a giant step forward for sustainable forestry and conservation in the region," said
Roland Eve, WWF's Country Director in Laos.

But a leaked consultant's report from the World Bank- and Finland-financed SUFORD project
tells a different story. The report documents the findings of a visit by a team from the Lao
Forestry Department and a consultant to the SUFORD project, Tomas Jonsson. The team visited
Thapanthong district in Savannahkhet province between March and May 2006.

The team found that the certified logging operations are not carried out in accordance with
management plans. "Documents were scattered and parts were missing" and "only partially
understood" by local forestry staff, loggers and villagers, according to Jonsson‘s report.

The team found that the villagers and local forestry staff were "next to unable to use the tree
maps". The maps were found to be inaccurate. In the forest, trees to be logged were not
adequately marked. Unmarked trees had been logged. Some marked trees were left standing.
Resin trees used by villagers had been cut. Some large, good quality logs were left in the felling
area. Skid trails were not as marked on the maps. Hardly surprising, as the logging crew didn't
have copies of the maps. Neither did they have safety equipment or protective gear. Logging
crews lived under a tarpaulin, in a logging camp with no washing facilities or toilets.

More trees were logged than in the management plans because the province issued logging
quotas "over and above the harvestable volumes as per approved logging plans." Several areas
had been logged which were not yet supposed to be harvested according to the management
plans. The team also found signs that villagers were felling and processing sawnwood within
the certified area.

The team concluded that logging is not controlled by the management plans but is driven by the
demand from an ever increasing number of local sawmills. Logging plans are interpreted "as
giving the right to cut a certain volume instead of specifically permitting the selected and
marked trees to be removed," according to Jonsson's report.

With FSC certification it should be possible to trace wood back to the specific location that it
came from in the forest, through a system of marking and tracking the timber. "In all inspected
locations (forest, landing, mill)," the team found that "no tree or log was marked as per

requirement." Logs that were marked did not have the appropriate number and were often
marked with chalk. "Tracing and chain of custody of trees/logs is therefore impossible," Jonsson
wrote in his report.

The control team also found evidence of illegal logging - logging in areas where management
plans were non-existent or not yet approved. Without adequate timber marking, there is no way
of knowing whether timber from these or any other illegal operations is being passed off as FSC
certified timber.

But SmartWood knows all this. SmartWood's assessors issued a condition which states that "By
the end of Year 1, all logs must contain clear and lasting marks (e.g. paint or chops) to identify
the village, strip, and log number."

It is illegal under the Lao Forestry Law to move logs that are not appropriately marked. Before
SmartWood's condition is met, therefore, FSC certified timber from Savannahkhet is illegal
under Lao law.

Central and lower north hit hardest
The Nation, Thailand, 26 September 2006
Warnings also for Northeast and South

Riverside areas in the lower North and Central regions were flooded yesterday, as rainwater
continued to pour into dams and rivers.

In Phichit, more than 1,000 homes in seven districts were submerged after the Yom and Nan
rivers overflowed. On Sunday night, a 14-year-old girl died in Sam Ngam district after being
bitten by a snake in her flooded home.

In Phitsanulok province, some 22,231 people were affected and nearly 4,500 rai of farmland
and 194 roads were damaged by flooding. Although the Nan River gradually receded below
critical levels, Phitsanulok city council arranged sandbags along the river banks and set up
water pumps last night.

In Bang Rakam district, HRH Princess Siribha Chudhabhorn gave relief bags to affected

In Anthong province, many areas remained submerged under more than a metre of water.

In Lampang, three villages in Thoen district and four villages in Mae Prik district were two
metres underwater. Three schools in Mae Prik were closed indefinitely.

In Nakhon Sawan's Chum Saeng district, 101 villages with over 10,000 families and some
27,000 rai of farmland were flooded, while five local schools were closed.

Lop Buri's Pasak Dam contained 680 million cubic metres of water - over two thirds its full
capacity, dam chief Saksiri Yusuk said. If rainfall and northern floods caused water levels to
reach critical levels, he would give plenty of warning to potentially affected residents in
Phattana Nikhom district, Saraburi, Ayutthaya and Bangkok.

Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin said the rise in water levels from Thursday to Saturday -
due to floodwater from the North and high sea tides - was worrying. He ordered canals to be
excavated and for 200,000 sandbags to piled along the banks of Chao Phya and water pumps
installed in key areas.

The Meteorological Department warned of a depression in the South China Sea expected to
trigger heavy rains and floods in Loei, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Sakon
Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Khon Kaen, Nan, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, and
Phetchabun. Fishermen were warned to be extra cautious in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of
Thailand, where 2-metre waves were forecast

Surat Thani was on watch for landslides and ready to evacuate 15,000 residents in Panom

Flood hits north India, killing 14 people
People‘s Daily Online, 26 September 2006
At least 14 people were killed by floods caused by heavy rains, which have wreaked havoc on
the north Indian state of Bihar, according to an official report issued by the state government

The floods have hit various districts of north Indian state of Bihar for five days, which have a
total of 38 districts. More than 5 million people in the state became homeless.

All major rivers in the state are flowing above the warning line and the rail as well as the road
links to Patna, the state capital.

In districts like Bhagalpur and Banka, the authorities have sounded red alert keeping in view the
gravity of the situation and sought helicopter from the state government for help

The continual rains resulting in heavy waterlogging have also forced the Patna district
administration to order closure of schools for the next two days.

The local meteorological office predicted that heavy rains will continue for two more days.

Source: Xinhua

Brunei seizes nearly 2,000 turtle eggs from suspected Malaysian smuggler
Pravda, Russia, Front page / World, 09/25/2006
Brunei authorities seized 1,983 eggs of endangered turtles that were being smuggled from
Malaysia into the tiny sultanate, a news report said Monday.

Customs officials found the eggs in a car Sunday after questioning a 36-year-old Malaysian man
who was behaving suspiciously while driving the vehicle through an immigration checkpoint
that borders Malaysia's eastern Sarawak state, the Borneo Bulletin newspaper reported.

The man claimed he was carrying salted fish for sale, but authorities detained him after
discovering the eggs hidden in boxes and bags, the report quoted unidentified officials as

The report, which showed a photograph of some of the eggs, said the suspect could face a fine
under Brunei's wildlife laws that list sea turtles as endangered and make it illegal to sell turtle
eggs, which have long been considered a delicacy in the region.

No other details were available, and officials representing the Royal Customs and Excise
Department at the Kuala Lurah checkpoint could not immediately be reached for comment,
reports AP.

At least three of the world's seven sea turtle species the green, the hawksbill and the olive ridley
land on the beaches of Borneo island, which includes Brunei, to lay their eggs. All seven
species are listed as endangered or are threatened with extinction.

Indonesia's death toll from bird flu now at 51, Australia, 26 September 2006
Indonesia's death toll from bird flu has now reached 51 with the death last week of a young
child from South Jakarta.
Health officials say the 9-year-old boy from Ciputat Raya died in a hospital in Tulungagung, in
East Java on Monday, after becoming sick on September 13 and developing a fever and cough
and breathing difficulties.

The officials say tests by two laboratories have confirmed he had the disease.

The scattered archipelago of 17,000 islands now has the world's highest human death toll from
the H5N1 virus, and has reported more bird flu deaths this year than any other nation.

According to the health ministry's bird flu information centre, the boy had been in contact with
chickens in his home that had died.

His death follows that of an 11-year-old boy from East Java province who also died last week
and also had chickens die around his house.

Officials are apparently sending a team to investigate the cases but it is widely acknowledged
that disease is endemic in poultry across most of the country.

Almost all cases of bird flu in humans have been contracted from diseased poultry and the
disease does at present remain one which mainly affects birds.

However the fear prevails that the virus will ultimately mutate to a form which could be easily
passed from human to human, triggering a pandemic with the potential of killing millions.

The World Health Organisation says the H5N1 avian flu virus has killed 144 people worldwide,
not including the deaths of the two boys since late 2003.

    Most of the deaths have been in East Asia, but the virus has also spread to Europe, Africa and
    South and Central Asia.

    Indonesia has been the focus of sharp criticism in the past for not doing enough to combat the
    disease, but David Nabarro the UN bird flu coordinator, says that Indonesia is making progress
    in its fight against the deadly virus but has expressed disappointment at the slow flow of funds
    pledged by international donors to Indonesia for the effort.


                                           ROA Media Update
                                           26 September 2006

                                       General Environment News
Southern Africa: Angola-Namibia - Green Groups Slate Plans to Build Hydro Power Plant
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks: Environmentalists have opposed attempts to revive
plans to build a controversial hydro power project on the Kunene River in northwest Namibia.
Following an international outcry, the construction of the proposed Epupa Dam was halted eight
years ago as the resultant flooding would have destroyed the livelihood of the semi-nomadic
Ovahimba ethnic group. The Kunene River forms a natural border between Namibia and Angola.
The Ovahimba live on both sides of the river and graze their livestock in the valley in the dry season.
"We totally oppose the project," said Bertchen Kohrs of the environmental group Earthlife Namibia.
"There are other options for Namibia's power supply like the Kudu gas field off the Namibian coast
and renewable energies like wind and solar power." The Namibian and Angolan governments have
now decided to go ahead with the project, announced Reiner Jagau, chief technical adviser at the
Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) at a recent conference. "A feasibility study will start
before the end of this year ... the dam is to feed a 500 mega watt (MW) hydro electric plant and it is
expected the construction will be completed by 2013". The dam is to be constructed in a deep gorge
in the Baynes Mountains, some 40km west of the Epupa Falls, a popular tourist destination.
According to the California-based International Rivers Network (IRN), an anti-dam lobby group,
Epupa Dam's reservoir would evaporate twice as much water as the entire country uses each year - a
major issue in a country that continually suffers from drought and water shortages. "Climate change
is likely to heighten the risks of hydroelectricity for the driest parts of Africa," according to IRN. If
built, Epupa might flood 250 square kilometers of the Ovahimba's pastures, cultural sites and
ancestral graves. Namibia's growing power needs, however, has driven the government to pursue
the project. Namibia is dependant on South Africa for about half of its average daily power
consumption of 200 MW out of its peak demand of almost 500 MW. South Africa's power utility,
Eskom, announced in 2004 that it would be unable to provide Namibia with a steady supply of
electricity in the near future. Eskom's surplus capacity is expected to run out by 2007, as power
demands in South Africa were expected to increase by 1,200 MW per annum.

Kenya: Country's Sap among the Best in the World
The Nation (Nairobi): The opening of a commercial aloe processing factory in Baringo this month
removes the trade from just a few well-connected people to hundreds of local farmers. Trade in aloe
was banned through a presidential decree and listing on appendix (II) of CITES 17 years ago. But an

estimated 300 tones of the plant extract are still exported illegally from the country every year. "This
ends up in South Africa where it is re-packaged and re-exported to Europe, Asia and North
America," says Kenya Forestry Research Institute's head of the Biospecting and Intellectual Property
Coordinator, Dr Kavaka Watai. The black market - a thriving multi-million shilling trade - has been
going on for decades, complete with its own chain of producers, middlemen, transporters and
exporters, but who disguise their products as natural gum. The ban was, however, never gazetted to
give it legal teeth. In the absence of this, punishment for those caught trading in aloe products
(usually exported as boiled bitters or crystals) was confiscation of the items. But the worst impact
has been discouraging investors and farmers who, lucrative as the aloe-based cosmetics industry is,
have shied away from putting their resources in it due to CITES restrictions and lack of regulations.
The global demand for aloe gum is estimated at over 1,000 tones. Kenya's informal trade exports
300 tones a year, while South Africa produces 600 tones and Venezuela and India about 100 tones.
Mr. Watai says the country can produce 1,600 tonnes. "The global demand for aloe gel is estimated
at $80 million but trade in derived products is estimated at $110 billion. We may not earn all this
money but it will contribute to poverty reduction and wealth creation, especially in the arid regions."
Aloe extracts are used in the manufactures of drugs, cosmetics and a health drink. Aloe has been
used throughout the ages to cure headaches, stomach upsets and many other ailments. In Kenya, it is
traditionally used to treat burns and cuts, acne and skin disorder, stomach upsets, hair loss and skin
ailments. Doctors rediscovered aloe vera in the 1930s, when it was found to heal radiation burns due
to X-rays, after other methods met with little success. It did the same for atomic fallout victims a
decade later, following the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings. The extract is also used to give
trauma victims the fluid they need to stay alive until they can get blood transfusion. These include
soldiers wounded on the battlefield and who have lost several pints of blood - they can be injected
with a small amount of extract from aloe vera. The extract quickly diffuses through the bloodstream
and multiplies the effectiveness of the blood remaining in the system. Scientists have also been
looking at the extract's ability to treat internal inflammatory diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.

Zambia: ZCCM to Spend $1.8bn on Environmental Concerns
The Post (Lusaka): ZCCM Investment Holdings plc through its Consolidated Environmental
Management plan (CEMP) has identified 50 issues of environmental and socio-economic concern
that will be mitigated at a cost of US$1.8 billion. The 50 issues fall within themes of water supply
quality, ground contamination, air pollution, loss of land and aesthetic values, flora and fauna,
geotechnical issues, non-mining economic activities, socio-economic and health issues. The phase
two of the CEMP project report under the Copperbelt Environment Project(CEP) was carried out
during 2004-5, with the objective of assessing the environmental and social conditions within the
Copperbelt region. The report stated that consideration was given to identify and prioritize
environmental liabilities that would be addressed by environmental management facility (EMF)
created for funding and administration of mitigation efforts on behalf of ZCCM Investment Holdings
plc. "These have been evaluated and risk ranked and mitigation measures have been identified and
costed and in addition to ranking all of the 50 issues identified during the project have been
categorized into 14 items that are considered urgent and will be eligible for EMF funding," it stated.
The second phase of the CEMP further stated that Copper mines at Nchanga and Nkana plants are
the worst contributors of suspended solids and dissolved metals to rivers without following
appropriate pollution control monitoring and treatment. "The most contamination and associated
environmental impacts within the Copperbelt region are caused by discharges and emissions from
ongoing mining, processing and smelting operations and the main contributors are Nchanga and
Nkana mines, both of which discharge directly to local rivers without appropriate pollution
monitoring control and treatment, so corrective measures must urgently be put in place to reduce
emissions from these mines," stated the report. "But this does not imply that there is no need for

improvement at other mines since other pollution sources include emissions of sulphur dioxide and
particles from smelters at other mines where improvements are also imperative and urgent." The
CEMP forms part of the Copperbelt Environment Project which is a World Bank and Nordic
Development funded project that is assisting government to address the environment and social
liabilities that were not passed on to private investment at privatization of ZCCM assets.

Scientist urges Ghana to develop nuclear energy
Accra, Ghana (PANA) - A Ghanaian nuclear physicist Edmund Osae, Monday called on the country
to develop nuclear energy to help address is electricity problems. Osae, a former Deputy Director-
General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, said it appeared Ghanaian authorities were afraid
of pushing into nuclear energy production. He said overcoming the fear was a sure means to save the
country from its recurring energy crisis. "Building a nuclear power for our electricity generation now
is the best thing that could happen to us to free the country from the energy crisis since it does not
require a lot of fuel." "Besides, the country has the capacity and expertise to develop and efficiently
manage nuclear energy, so let's stop trading fear and anxiety that the development of nuclear reactors
will cause explosions," Osae added He noted that globally, nuclear power was being developed at a
fast rate because of its competitive cost compared with other forms of electricity generation, except
where there was direct access to low cost fossil fuels. "Vietnam has developed two nuclear power
plants what about Ghana? We are getting late and fear has gripped the nation but why should
that be when about 38 countries in the world have more than 400 nuclear reactors." "What are we
crying about? We did not know how to build thermal power plants some years ago, but today is it
not Ghanaians who are manning the thermal power in the country? Osae asked. He said Ghana had
ratified the international treaty against developing nuclear bomb, so, the issue of developing nuclear
power should not come in.


                                         ROLAC Media Update
                                          25 September 2006

           LATINAMERICA: Biofuel Boom Sparks Environmental Fears
           PERU: President García Floats Hope for Waterless City Dwellers
           CUBA: Havana Event on Environmental Cleaning
           BRAZIL: Globe warms: rainforests burn

    LATINAMERICA: Biofuel Boom Sparks Environmental Fears
    Mario Osava

    RIO DE JANEIRO, (IPS) - The use of biofuels is on the rise in Latin America and is
    feeding dreams of abundance in countries like Argentina and Colombia. But the
    experience of Brazil, a pioneer in this alternative energy, raises questions about their
    potential negative environmental consequences.

    With ethanol and biodiesel as a springboard, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva aims to
    turn his country into an energy superpower -- in contrast to the 1970s when the Brazilian

economy was thrashed by its dependence on oil imports and its dramatic price hikes.

But environmentalists warn that although biofuels reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (which
lead to global climate change), they could also trigger a massive expansion of the biofuel crops,
pushing the agricultural frontier deeper into the forests, destroying habitat and biodiversity.

Alone for three decades in widespread use of ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, to replace a portion of
gasoline in vehicles, Brazil developed technologies and a sugarcane economy that ensure its
absolute competitiveness in exports, still limited by protectionist barriers and an unstable
international market. And this South American giant intends to fight for the biodiesel market,
where it lacks the same pioneering history.

Other countries in the region are trying to emulate the Brazilian strategy. Colombia and
Argentina stand out for strengthening legislation to encourage development of biofuels.

A 2001 Colombian law stipulates that the country's gasoline must have 10 percent ethanol in
2009, with gradual increases to 25 percent in 15 to 20 years. A similar bill is being drafted for
biofuel, based on the African palm, from which 600,000 tonnes of oil are already being
produced yearly as food.

"Colombia could be third in production of biofuels, surpassed only by the United States and
Brazil, if production of palm oil for biodiesel comes out favourably," David Cala, director of
CORPODIB, a consortium of businesses, university and technology centres involved in industry
development of biotechnology, told Tierramérica.

Exports could reach 10 million litres daily of alcohol from sugarcane and beets, and three
million tonnes a year of biodiesel -- two to three times greater than domestic consumption -- in
15 to 20 years, estimates Cala.

In Argentina, the Biofuels Act, approved in April, imposes a requirement of five percent
biodiesel or ethanol in petroleum derivatives beginning in January 2010.

"That obligatory minimum, which could be more," requires 600,000 tonnes of biodiesel and
160,000 tonnes of ethanol annually for the domestic market, which would absorb eight and
three percent, respectively, of national output of soybeans and maize, Miguel Almada, an
economist for the National Biofuels Programme, told Tierramérica.

But furthermore, "in development is an export industry for ethanol and biodiesel of around two
million tonnes per year," he added.

These optimistic economic forecasts should, however, take into account the environment
variable. And Brazil's experience in this regard can teach some lessons.

"It is worrisome that a new economic cycle based on biofuels would trigger the expansion of
monoculture crops and, consequently, deforestation," says Délcio Rodrigues, an energy expert
with Vitae Civilis, a Brazilian non-governmental organisation that is active in fighting climate

The sugarcane economy is not a good environmental model. In the southeastern state of Sao
Paulo, which produces 70 percent of Brazil's alcohol, the companies generally do not obey the

Forestry Code, which requires nature preservation of 20 percent of rural properties.
Furthermore, the cane fields are burned to facilitate the harvest, which creates serious local air
pollution, said Rodrigues in a Tierramérica interview.

Soy, the main raw material for biodiesel in Brazil, due to its massive current production, "has
already become one of the principal factors behind deforestation of the Amazon and the
Cerrado, a biome of savannahs and scrub forests that covers the extensive central area of
Brazil," said the expert.

Biodiesel began to be added to petroleum-based diesel in Brazil at a proportion of two percent,
and that will be increased to five percent in 2013. The country has opted for H-BIO, a process
of hydroconversion developed by the state-run oil giant Petrobras, which adds up to 18 percent
plant or animal oil in the petroleum refining process to produce diesel.

Petrobras has already adapted three of its refineries, and plans to begin production in December,
seeking to save on imports of 256 million litres of diesel next year, and a billion litres by 2010.
Soybean oil will be the main input. H-BIO will not affect biodiesel because they are
complementary, say energy authorities.

Consumption of 840 million litres of biodiesel is forecast for 2007, with a mix of two percent.
The programme was designed to favour family farming for the production of castor oil, palm
and other sources of vegetable oils, with tax exemptions especially for Brazil's poorest regions,
in the northeast and north.

However, the plan involves small farmers only as simple suppliers of oil-producing crops,
without including them in the agro-industrial process, in cooperatives that at least process the
harvests for the oils, said Rodrigues. Petrobras should assume "social responsibility", he said,
adding that pressure from European importers to respect environmental standards could prevent
some harm.

Studies by the ministries of agriculture and environment identified -- in the Brazilian states that
already have infrastructure to produce alcohol -- 15 million hectares of degraded areas that
would be appropriate for agricultural expansion, Vania Araújo, from the Environment Ministry,
told Tierramérica.

This could triple the six million hectares currently planted with sugarcane, theoretically without
invading protected areas, but it would require a good monitoring system coordinated with the
state governments, because the environmental authority is decentralised, said the official.

PERU: President García Floats Hope for Waterless City Dwellers
Milagros Salazar
LIMA, (IPS) - Seventy percent of residents in the Peruvian capital’s northwestern
Carabayllo district lack drinking water -- but they represent only a fraction of the seven
million people in this South American country of 27 million with no piped water.

To address this alarming deficit, President Alan García this month launched the "Water for All"
programme, which aims to bring running water to an additional 2.5 million people between

2005 and 2011.

A truck passes through the dusty roads of the Las Mercedes neighbourhood in Carabayllo three
times a week to supply residents with water. Customers pay these private companies up to 50
soles (15 dollars) per month -- that is, 10 times more than what Lima residents on the public
water grid pay. They also run health risks, because the tanker trucks are not regulated.

"This water contains rust that accumulates in the tanks," said Edgardo Cárdenas, a home-owner
whose land also lacks sewer services.

"During the summer, babies often get stomach problems from drinking this water," added
Magdalena Alfaro, another Las Mercedes resident and a mother of two.

"Over the last 14 years I‘ve had to replace the silo four times," says María Victoria Canto,
referring to the septic tank she has instead of a sewer system. Her two-storey brick and cement
house has no potable water or sewage system.

Metropolitan Lima is made up of more than 40 districts, including Carabayllo, where a mere 30
percent of the 200,000 residents have access to drinking water and sewage services.

Figures from the Peruvians Without Water Movement show that two million of the 7.9 million
inhabitants of the province of Lima are in the same boat, while in the rest of the country the
total climbs to five million.

Similar figures are cited in the report "Citizens Without Water: Analysis of a Right that Has
Been Violated," prepared by the ombudsperson‘s office in July 2005. The document states that
6.8 million Peruvians (25.3 percent) lack drinking water and 11.5 million (42.9 percent) have no
sewage services.

"Millions of Peruvians are living in sub-standard conditions, and we're drinking water that's not
fit for human consumption. Even though we have repeatedly asked that the State, through its
representatives, take action, they rarely listen to us," Abel Cruz, president of the Peruvians
Without Water Movement, told IPS.

The Movement links 1,600 leaders of shantytowns and neighbourhoods without services
throughout the city of Lima.

García, who launched the drinking-water programme Sep. 2, pledged 69 million soles
(approximately 21.2 million dollars) to address the needs of 160,000 Carabayllo residents --
approximately 90 percent of the people in the district who currently do not have access to piped

The first stage of the initiative focuses on metropolitan Lima, implementing nine major projects
that over five years will benefit 600,000 of the waterless residents. This comprehensive
coverage, however, will not be replicated on the same scale in the rest of the country.

A representative of the Housing Ministry press office told IPS that an estimated 400 million
soles (some 123 million dollars) are earmarked for the Lima projects. But the total nationwide
investment for the initiative has not been defined.

In 2003, Vice Minister of Construction and Sanitation Jorge Villacorta calculated that the State
would have to spend 4.47 billion dollars to meet by 2015 the Millennium Development Goal
(MDG) that calls for reducing by half the number of people without access to drinking water.

The eight MDGs were adopted by the United Nations member countries in 2000 as a platform
for drastically reducing global poverty and inequality by 2015.

But in Peru, according to the ombudsperson‘s office, investment plans for the sector amount to
a mere 1.2 million dollars for the 2001-2008 period.

"We are nowhere near reaching the goal, because for years the shortage of water has been
absent from government policies, let alone being addressed as a human rights problem. Now
President García has made a significant commitment, especially en Lima, but it isn‘t enough --
huge gaps in service still remain in the rest of the country," Carlos Alza, assistant ombudsman
for public services and the environment, told IPS.

The State‘s previous failure to recognise a citizen‘s right to access to drinking water means that
the issue did not make the political agenda, so funds were not allocated to improving coverage.

According to Villacorta's 2003 calculations, to meet the MDG, drinking water coverage must be
increased from 75 to 82 percent, and sewage system coverage increased from 57 to 77 percent.

The most serious problems are found in the rural areas. The ombudsperson‘s office revealed
that 70 percent of rural residents throughout the country -- that is, 6.3 million Peruvians -- do
not have proper sewage systems.

As if that were not enough, sewage-treatment figures are even more extreme.

Only 16 percent of sewage is treated to minimise the impact on the environment -- a proportion
that must be increased to 97 percent. "In this respect, we are practically starting from zero,"
added Alza.

Despite the urgency of the situation, the "Water for All" programme does not include projects to
address this issue. "One reason is because taking action on sewage treatment issues doesn‘t
score political points. It doesn't increase popularity," Congressman Carlos Bruce, who up until
six weeks ago was housing minister in the outgoing Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006)
administration, told IPS.

Last July, municipalities were ordered to issue ownership certificates to residents who did not
hold title to their property, allowing them to request water and sewage services, in accordance
with the General Sanitation law.

To be able to offer a quality service, the García administration must also harmonise Peruvian
legislation with international drinking-water standards.

The Peruvian regulation on water purity dates back to 1946. It establishes maximum allowable
lead limits of 0.1 milligrams per litre, while World Health Organisation limits are 0.01 mg/l --
10 times stricter.

CUBA: Havana Event on Environmental Cleaning
Havana, Sep 24 (Prensa Latina) A round table named "Almendares River S.O.S - 10 Years
Later" will take place September 26-28 in the Cuban capital, announced local sources on
According to officials of the Antonio Nunez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Man and those
of the Havana's Great Metropolitan Park, sponsoring the initiative, the meeting will be attended
by experts and investigators from more than 20 Cuban institutions.
They will help to define a strategy to continue with cleaning up tasks in the Almendares-Vento
Basin and will pay homage to the deceased personages Jesus Montane Oropesa and Antonio
Nunez Jimenez, promoters of the rehabilitation of the mentioned institutions.
The analysis of actions carried out over the last 10 years regarding the recovery of natural water
fountains through the use of technologies for the treatment of residual waters and the
reforestation of the hydro-regulating strip will be starting points for the debate.
Besides, participants will examine matters related to environmental education, the need for mass
participation as well as experiences and challenges in environmental cleaning.
BRAZIL: Globe warms: rainforests burn
In what is becoming an annual event, increasingly frequent and more intense fires are
sweeping through the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and Brazil. The burning of the
rainforests not only threaten biodiversity in the affected areas but, by contributing
towards climate change, they also put the entire planet at risk.
In tropical latitudes, months pass without any rain and in the dry season forests become
susceptible to fire. These can occur naturally and would normally not pose a serious problem,
but clearing land as a result of logging or to make way for plantations is exacerbating the
problem and every year the fires spread faster and further.

Greenpeace teams in both Indonesia and Brazil have recorded the scale of the infernos and are
clear about the reasons why they are happening. Much of the forests in the Indonesian province
of Riau in Sumatra are peatland forests, so normally protected from fire by their boggy
environment, but industrial activity has changed all that. The forests are being cleared for
plantations of oil palms and acacia pulpwood for paper, creating the perfect conditions for fires
at the same time.

"Once these peat swamps are exposed due to logging," Greenpeace forest campaigner Hapsoro
explained, "they dry out like a wet sponge exposed to sunlight and become extremely
flammable. Once it starts burning, it's very difficult to stop without heavy rain."

The effects of the Indonesian fire also spread across the region. Smoke drifts across South East
Asia, clogging the air above the Malaysian peninsular and incurring the wrath of neighbouring
governments, and Hapsoro urged the Indonesian authorities to take urgent measures. "The
Indonesian government must seriously reconsider allowing any type of land clearing to be done
in these areas to minimise the possibility of large and uncontrolled forest fires," In the Brazilian
Amazon, fires have been witnessed in several protected areas and the Greenpeace team sent to

investigate also saw rampant deforestation and illegal logging. In the Jamanzim National Forest,
using natural resources responsibly is permitted, but intense logging activity has been observed
within protected areas.

Both regions boast some of the most diverse varieties of plant and animal life anywhere in the
world but fragile habitats, already under pressure from human activities, are being pushed even
harder by the increasing number and scale of the fires.

Rest of the world suffers too

Rainforests play a vital role in regulating the global climate and the more trees that are felled,
the more unpredictable the climate will become.

Tropical deforestation accounts for around 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, a
staggering amount that explains why 75 percent of Brazil's own carbon dioxide contribution
comes from forest conversion.

But with drought plaguing many areas - such as last year's catastrophic event in the Amazon -
the forests dry out and become even more susceptible to fire. This in turn releases more carbon
dioxide and smog into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change and the cycle of destruction

This isn't just a problem for Brazil and Indonesia but for the whole planet. Concrete efforts must
be made at a local level to protect rainforests from illegal logging and conversion to plantations,
but there must also be international support to back this up. Sustainable management of the
forests allows local communities to support themselves and make a living.

                                      ROWA Media Update
                                       26 September 2006

Pressure on coastal environment systems
Dredging, reclamation cause of concern
Meera Ravi
Staff Correspondent

Massive dredging and reclamation activities are adding to pressure on the coastal environmental
systems of the Arabian Gulf region said a Qatar-based expert, Fahad Al Jamali.
Al Jamali estimates that in Bahrain, the total area dredged is about 1,350ha and the area
reclaimed is 900ha, resulting in adding about 39sqkm new land mass in less than 20 years by
increasing the surface area from 661.87sqkm in 1975 to 700sqkm in 1994.
The threat posed by the real estate boom is in addition to the pressures resulting from oil spills,
contamination from industrial sources and municipal releases, global warming, desalination and
power plant discharges into the sea, he said in key research work that has won him a doctorate
from the University of Wales, UK.
―Gulf countries have already developed 40 per cent of the coastal line. For instance, 10km of
the Omani coastline has been reclaimed with quarry and sand beach material. Nearly 60 million
cubic metre of sediments were dredged during construction of the Saudi Bahrain causeway,‖
said Dr Jamali in his thesis on ‗Biodiversity and Colonisation of macrofauna in artificial lagoon,

In Kuwait, a considerable parts of the inter tidal area in front of Kuwait city and in areas on
southern coast have been reclaimed. As a consequence, significant erosion problems have
developed along most of the fill edges of the reclaimed areas, says Dr Fahad‘s study.
Recreation and tourism development have also expanded with the construction of new houses,
marinas, resorts and luxury modern hotels. However, these include the creation of canals in the
desert to supply beaches for individual houses, marine artificial lagoons and islands.

Waste         water      treatment        unit      in      Qurayat       nears     completion
QURAYAT — Construction of a temporary new unit for wastewater treatment in the Wilayat
of Qurayat, which is being implemented by Oman Wastewater Services Company, is nearing
completion. The project was assigned to an Omani company in collaboration with an
international firm to build a modern unit to deal with the wilayats needs. The station was
designed to process around 300 square metres of waste water daily. It has a chemical unit to
treat industrial waste water. Qurayat station project, which cost around RO 250,000, is expected
to be completed by October.


No water, electricity crises

KUWAIT: the Ministry of Energy expects no water or electricity crises during the holy month
of Ramadan, despite the expected increase in consumption during the holy month. Sources said
Minister Al-Jarrah has given strict and direct instructions to the electricity generating stations,
emergency centres and water distillation plants to be on full alert during the holy month, and to
be ready for any kind of emergency or contingency.


Cost effective and eco-friendly fuel will be available from next month
ABU DHABI — From October 8, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution (Adnoc
Distribution) will introduce another cost-effective and environment-friendly fuel, which will
save Dh1 and 50 fils per gallon on super and special brands.

The new variety of petrol E-plus (Octane 91), will be available at all Adnoc Distribution
services stations across the UAE.

The launch of this new product is aimed at reducing the financial burden of the consumer. It
also comes in line with Adnoc Distribution's commitment to developing oil resources without
creating environmental imbalance.

E-plus will be available alongside Special 95 and Super 98 to meet consumer demand for new
products that are less expensive and more environment-friendly.

E-plus, which comes in red colour, is another high quality product that is as efficient as other
fuels and will save an amount of Dh1 compared to (Super) which is priced at Dh6.75 and 50 fils
less compared to (Special) which is priced at Dh6.25 per gallon at Adnoc stations.

E-plus will be sold at Dh5.75 per gallon. Adnoc Distribution, in cooperation with Takreer and
the Marketing Directorate of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has prepared
detailed studies and completed all preparations to ensure the availability of the fuel as per
potential demand of the market.

Motorists can fill their vehicles with the new fuel at all Adnoc stations. However, the Super will
be available at select stations in each emirate. A list of those stations will be published to
customers shortly. Adnoc will launch an educational campaign for the new product under the
slogan E-plus: The Happy fuel: Less expensive More economical to provide the consumers with
detailed information about E-plus.

A special website has been launched containing relevant information about the new product
explaining its features and functions In coordination with car dealers in the
country, a list of vehicles which can use E-plus is available on the website.

Transmitter fitted on a marine turtle

ABU DHABI — The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), in cooperation with WWF-
Pakistan and the Sindh Wildlife Department, recently installed a satellite transmitter on a
marine turtle at Sandspit on the Karachi coast.

Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary-General of EAD, witnessed the occasion, which was the second
coordinated conservation effort of its kind after the first one in 2001, also in Pakistan. A second
transmitter is planned to be installed on another turtle later this week.

The main objective of the project is to monitor the movement patterns of the marine turtle,
which is declared as an endangered species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Prior to the release, Ali Hassan Habib, Director-General of WWF-Pakistan, delivered a key note
address. It was followed by a presentation about the NGO's conservation initiatives. Thabit
Zahran Al Abdessalaam, director of EAD's Marine Environment Research Centre (MERC),
presented an overview of Abu Dhabi's marine programmes. Also present during the release was
Brigadier (Rtd.) Mukhtar Ahmed, Vice-President Emeritus WWF-Pakistan.

The transmitter, installed on the turtle's exterior, will help in collecting information about post-
nesting migration patterns of the turtles, their foraging area, the time spent for foraging and the
resting and distance covered per day. It will also help in collecting information about their
biological characteristics and general behaviour. These data will help determine what
conservation measures need to be implemented to protect marine turtles. Both transmitters were
provided by EAD, which also trained WWF-Pakistan's staff on satellite telemetry of marine
turtles. In 2001, the data collected showed that the tagged turtles returned back to the nesting
habitat to re-nest.

In the UAE, EAD has been conducting a sea turtle survey project of nesting habitats in the Abu
Dhabi emirate. The green and hawksbill turtles are the focus of this project, as they are regularly
observed in UAE waters. However, the hawksbill is the only species that nests. The survey,
which extended from Abu Dhabi City to Al Sila and the offshore islands of the emirate, has
helped EAD develop a strategy for conserving the species.

Hawksbill turtles nest from mid-March to mid-June. The hawksbill turtle, which has so far been
recorded to nest only on the islands, will not nest in areas containing heavy debris and litter, on
rocky shores, near mangroves or exposed tidal flats. They require clean, sandy beaches to nest.

The marine turtles are toothless reptiles! They can have a life span between 100 and 200 years.
Turtles can't tolerate low temperatures and generally die at less than 8°C. Females come ashore
to nest often on the same beach where they hatched many years earlier.

Uniform waste management system soon
By a staff reporter

26 September 2006

ABU DHABI — The UAE has taken the first practical steps to introduce a uniform Hazardous
Waste Management System.

The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and the Federal Environmental Agency
(FEA), in cooperation with environmental agencies and other institutions concerned in the
emirates, are coordinating their efforts to kick off the unified system nationwide.

According to Dr Salim Masri Al Dhahiri, Director-General of the FEA, the initial steps for the
implementation of the project were discussed by the Environmental Coordination Committee at
its meeting on Thursday.

The panel called for immediate implementation of the initial steps in order to kickstart the
national project which will put an end to one of the major concerns of environmentalists and the

authorities. Among the steps discussed was the introduction of a uniform permit for import of
hazardous chemical substances.

This procedure will ensure efficient control and monitoring of imported hazardous chemical
substances and their mobility in the country.

Other steps include preparation of a list of chemical substances included in the system that have
been classified into six categories — insecticides, ozone depleting substances, drug substances,
explosives, dual use substances, and chemical substances.

The FEA will distribute CDs containing these lists to the authorities concerned for reference.

                           UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
                                   DAILY NEWS
25 September, 2006


Impoverished Liberia has made progress this year in rebuilding since its
new President took power in January, the top United Nations envoy to the
country said today, describing a feeling of ―cautious optimism‖ after 14
years of civil war, but he also emphasized the importance of security and
the need to press on with recovery efforts.

Alan Doss, Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s Special Representative, made his
remarks after briefing the Security Council on Mr. Annan‘s latest report
which acknowledges ―tangible progress‖ in areas such as Government reform
and the fight against corruption but also recommends that the UN Mission in
Liberia (UNMIL) be extended for another year until 30 September 2007.

―Progress has been possible but at the same time we do underline that the
situation remains fragile... so we will continue to emphasize the security
dimension, the importance of dealing with potential problems in the
security area, remaining alert and responsive and being willing to deal
robustly if threats emerge either within the country or externally,‖ Mr.
Doss told reporters in New York.

―But also trying to encourage now the recovery and reconstruction process
that must ultimately underpin all the national efforts to move forward and
to move beyond the shadow of the conflict.‖

He said that UNMIL was now in a ―consolidation phase‖ which he expected to
last until the end of 2007, after which the mission would move into a
gradual drawdown phase if the security situation permits, although he
emphasized it was too early to predict too far ahead. In his report, Mr.
Annan said one UNMIL infantry battalion would be withdrawn in November, but
he also stressed the need to closely monitor the security situation.

―The President‘s been in office barely eight, nine months, so we have to be
cautiously optimistic as we move forward, and as you know Liberia is in a
troubled neighbourhood: the situation in Côte d‘Ivoire still remains very
uncertain; Guinea, of course, has its preoccupations; and next year
there‘ll be elections in Sierra Leone, of course.‖

―So altogether we think that we should ‗steady as she goes,‘ so to speak,
and keep moving in the same direction.‖

UNMIL was established in 2003 to support the implementation of a ceasefire
and a peace process in Liberia and as of the start of this month had over

14,800 military and police personnel in the country. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,
the first woman elected to lead an African nation, was inaugurated as
Liberia‘s President on 16 January.



All sides in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan should mark the Muslim
month of Ramadan by resuming peace talks and refraining from the violence
that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and driven
around 2 million from their homes over the past three years, the United
Nations envoy to the country said today.

―The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
for Sudan, Jan Pronk, has sent a letter to the leaders of the Government of
Sudan and all movements involved in military action in Sudan‘s western
region of Darfur urging them to refrain from hostilities and resume
dialogue during the month of Ramadan,‖ a UN spokesman told reporters in New

―He urged them to embrace peaceful dialogue as a gesture of sincerity and
goodwill to the innocent civilians who have silently borne the brunt of the
violence and insecurity,‖ added spokesman Stephane Dujarric, speaking at
the start of the holy month for the Islamic world.

Last Friday the Security Council, expressing ―grave concern‖ over the
worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur, extended the mandate of the UN
Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) until 8 October, while also making known its
intention to renew it further, a move that came just days after the African
Union (AU) extended its own mission in the strife-torn region until the end
of the year.

However, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last Tuesday again rejected a
proposed UN force for Darfur as an attempt to re-colonize his country,
criticizing August‘s Council resolution to deploy more than 17,000
peacekeepers in the region where UN officials warn that a man-made
humanitarian catastrophe is looming.

They estimate that over 400,000 people have already lost their lives and
some 2 million more have been driven from their homes in three years of
fighting in Darfur between the Sudanese Government, allied militias and
rebel forces.



The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today deplored
the ―senseless murder‖ of a leading woman official working for gender
equality in the southern city of Kandahar.

Safia Annajan, Director of Women‘s Affairs in Kandahar, was shot and killed
outside the front gate of her home as she left for work this morning.

―UNAMA is appalled at the senseless murder of a woman who was simply
working to ensure that all Afghan women play a full and equal part in the
future of Afghanistan,‖ spokesman Aleem Siddique told a news briefing in

Mr. Siddique stressed that despite security constraints in the south and
south eastern regions of the war-torn, UN agencies are striving to ensure
that both humanitarian and development assistance reaches communities
affected by the conflict.

In humanitarian and development assistance, the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF)
and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) have already pre-positioned
humanitarian supplies in the southern provinces. UNICEF is leading on
delivering essential non-food items such as blankets, warm clothing,
medical kits and other essential non-food items for up to 1,500 families,
while WFP has positioned 322 metric tons of food in Kandahar, and in
Lashkargah city in Helmand province, enough supplies for 3,000 people.

Additionally the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is providing some 4,300 shelter
units to build homes for over 30,000 Afghans as part of its initial
reintegration effort for vulnerable returnees. The project includes 740
shelter units for four districts in Kandahar province, and 300 units for
three districts in Helmand province.

In south eastern Afghanistan, more than 850 houses have so far been
completed in Paktya and Khost provinces, while another 2,100 shelter units
have reached the roofing level. Countrywide, UNHCR‘s shelter programme aims
to help more than 18,000 families to build their houses in 2006. About half
of the planned shelter for the year have already been completed, with the
rest expected to be completed by the end of the year.

With some 85 per cent of Afghan women and 55 per cent of men illiterate,
UNICEF is working with the Education Department to start building 55 new
schools in four provinces. The people of Nangarhar and Nuristan will
benefit from 18 new schools, while 10 new schools are planned in Kunar and
a further 9 new schools in Laghman province. The project, including both
formal and community-based schools, will cost $1,357,000.

Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF are helping
the Health Ministry carry out a polio eradication initiative throughout the

country, which has seen a six-fold rise in the number of cases over last
year (28 cases confirmed in 2006 compared to 4 in the same period in 2005).
The two agencies are also carrying out parallel campaigns for vaccinating
women of childbearing age (15-45) against neonatal tetanus and children
from 9 months to 5 years against measles.



Five ―current trends‖ in fighting the global scourge of terrorism risk
violating human rights, an independent United Nations expert told the newly
established Human Rights Council today as it began the second week of
debate on a wide range of issues at its second session in Geneva.

Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur on the protection and promotion of
human rights while countering terrorism, said these trends consisted of

resorting to the notion of ―terrorism‖ to stigmatise political, ethnic or
other movements they simply did not like;
questioning or compromising the absolute prohibition of torture and of all
forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment;
going beyond the criminalization of incitement to commit serious crime, by
penalising the ―glorification‖ or ―apology‖ of terrorism, or the
publication of information that ―could be useful‖ in the commission of acts
of terrorism;
justifying tightening immigration controls by the risk of terrorism;
the issue of terrorism largely replacing drug-related crime as the primary
public justification for extending the powers of the police, coupled with
the abandonment of many of the traditional safeguards.
In presenting his report, Mr. Scheinin stressed that his mandate was not
only to disclose and criticize human rights violations, but equally
importantly to identify and publicize best practices, in terms of
legislative and practical solutions that combined an effective fight
against terrorism with the protection and promotion of human rights and
fundamental freedoms.

Representatives from almost 20 countries took part in discussions following
the presentation.

The Council today also heard reports on the effects of structural
adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human
rights; the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and
impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination; the
right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate
standard of living; the right to education, and human rights and

transnational corporations.

It also heard concluded discussions on a report from the Special Rapporteur
on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Special
Rapporteurs are unpaid independent human rights experts.

This second session of the Council, set up earlier this year to replace the
much-criticized Commission on Human Rights, opened last Monday and will run
until 6 October.



The failure of the Doha Round of international trade negotiations earlier
this year ―represents a very real crisis,‖ Barbados‘ Foreign Minister told
the General Assembly today as she called on industrialized countries to
resolve their differences so that inhabitants of the world‘s poorer nations
can enjoy a better standard of living.

Speaking during the Assembly‘s annual debate at United Nations Headquarters
in New York, Dame Billie Miller said that the differences between countries
should not be insurmountable.

―There is nothing more important for small developing countries than an
improved multilateral trading system if we are to have the chance to
participate in and benefit from the ingoing process of globalization,‖ she

Dame Billie stressed that the trade negotiations must not only focus on
liberalizing trade rules and enhancing market access for poorer countries.

―For while it is important to have agreements that open up access to
markets, it is even more essential for any negotiated trade agreement to
contain provisions that would assist developing countries to implement
policies aimed at transforming their economies. In other words, market
access is meaningless without goods and services with which to trade.‖

The Barbadian Foreign Minister also called for extra support to be given to
the world‘s most vulnerable economies to allow them to integrate better
into the multilateral trading system.



Ethiopia has been allowed to defy international law for four years and
reject the binding decision on the demarcation of its border with Eritrea
because the Security Council has chosen to encourage and support its
conduct, Eritrean Health Minister Saleh S. Meky told the General Assembly

Mr. Meky said Ethiopia‘s refusal to accept the Boundary Commission‘s
arbitration of the border violates the Algiers Peace Agreement between the
two nations and threatens the peace and security of the wider Horn of
Africa region.

He said Ethiopia would not have been able to breach the agreement ―with
impunity‖ if its conduct had not been ―encouraged and supported by certain
powers in the UN Security Council.‖

Mr. Meky said both the Council and Secretary-General Kofi Annan ―chose to
accommodate‖ Ethiopia when its Government sent a letter in 2003 announcing
its rejection of the Boundary Commission ruling and calling for a ―new
mechanism‖ to overrule that decision.

―When the chips are down, major powers, and especially the United States,
continue to pursue their perceived narrow interests at the expense of
regional peace and security, and the sovereign rights of nations and

He also accused the Secretary-General‘s periodic reports on the work of the
UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) of downplaying Ethiopian
violations and instead apportioning blame equally between the neighbouring
countries or singling out Eritrea for criticism.



The diamond industry, long associated with conflict in Africa, can be a
force for positive change through international cooperation, the Foreign
Minister of Botswana told the United Nations General Assembly today.

―We continue to prudently manage the revenue from the sale of diamonds and
to effectively use such revenue to educate our people, provide potable
water, health care and build a network of infrastructure such as roads,
telephones and rural electricity,‖ Lieutenant General Mompati S. Merafhe
told the Assembly‘s annual debate today. ―This is the good that diamonds
have and continue to do.‖

Botswana participates in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, which

aims to ensure the integrity of the legitimate diamond trade, he said,
calling the mechanism ―one of the best examples of global cooperation.‖

The Scheme is ―the embodiment of global consensus, unrelenting political
will and determination of members to do the right thing underpinned by
strong support and resolutions of the Security Council,‖ he continued.
―This is important because about 10 million people globally are either
directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry.‖

He said 65 per cent of the world‘s diamonds are sourced from African
countries. ―Diamonds have and continue to do good in Botswana. The diamond
industry in Botswana has been at the cutting edge of human development and
transforming lives for the better, in all fields of human endeavour.‖



Terrorism is a scourge that afflicts all countries and must not be
associated with any particular faith, ministers from a number of States
told the United Nations General Assembly today during its annual debate.

―We appeal to the UN Security Council to act on this issue with dispatch –
for Muslims everywhere have a strong emotional reaction to what they
perceive to be the oppression and humiliation of their Palestinian, Iraqi
and Afghan co-regionalists,‖ said Hassan Wirajuda, the Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Indonesia. ―Terrorists operating as far away from the Middle
East as South-East Asia justify their heinous crimes as retaliation to what
they consider as aggression against Islam.‖

He pointed to the ―error of some Western circles attributing to Islam a
propensity for violence‖ and said this was ―matched by the error of
terrorist groups claiming that violent means are sanctified by Islam.‖

Dialogue, he said, is the only way to overcome this problem. For its part,
Indonesia has been actively promoting interfaith and intercultural
dialogue, he said. ―It is our way of debasing the ideology of terrorists
and at the same time empowering the moderates and strengthening the voice
of moderation.‖

―Fighting this scourge from which no country is safe requires unity and
cooperation at both the regional and international levels,‖ said Mohammed
Bedjaoui, the Foreign Minister of Algeria. He said his country had suffered
terrorist violence and welcomed international attention to the threat.

Stressing the urgency of concluding a comprehensive convention against
international terrorism, he said it must ―contain an unequivocal definition

of this scourge and draw a distinction between the legitimate struggle of
peoples against foreign occupation on the one hand and on the other acts
perpetrated by terrorist groups or individuals.‖

He also warned the international community to ―make sure not to mix up this
scourge and a particular religion, civilization or geographical area.‖

M. Morshed Khan, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, agreed that the scourge of
terrorism knows no boundaries. ―It is professed and carried out by a
handful few and the victims are the vast majority of innocent men, women
and children.‖

Efforts to combat terrorism have seen some positive results, but the
actions of individual countries ―have created divisions among people and
affected interfaith harmony,‖ he said. ―Many are being subjected to racial
or religious profiling, thus fomenting suspicion, misunderstanding and even

He said this played into the hands of those fomenting acts of violence.
―This is what the terrorists are looking for. We must ensure that they do
not have their way.‖

Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalghem, the Secretary of the General People‘s
Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya, also
stressed that terrorism is not the province of any one group. ―It is a
problem that cannot be resolved by attributing it to a certain religion or
nationality,‖ he said. ―It is also shameful and unacceptable to describe
the legitimate struggle of people against foreign occupation as an act of

He said the international community must cooperate ―under the UN umbrella
to study this phenomenon and reach a definition of terrorism which
distinguishes between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples for
self-determination and independence.‖



Nations lacking access to the sea require international support in their
efforts to achieve development, the Foreign Minister of Laos told the
United Nations General Assembly today as it continued its annual debate.

―I appeal to the international community to further address the special
problems of this vulnerable group,‖ said Thongloun Sisoulith, the Minister
for Foreign Affairs of Laos. He called specifically for global efforts to
help facilitate a mid-term review to assess the Almaty Programme of Action,
a plan adopted in 2003 aimed at helping to meet the special needs of

landlocked developing countries.

He added that a recent summit meeting of leaders of those States had
adopted a Declaration reaffirming their right of access to and from the

The needs of developing countries in general were discussed by Hor Namhong,
the Foreign Minister of Cambodia, who said there has been very little
progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of
targets for tackling poverty and other global ills. He attributed this in
part to ―the negative impact of globalization which has led to the widening
gap between developed countries and the poor nations.‖

He especially decried the lack of progress towards addressing the extreme
poverty which afflicts 1.3 billion people globally. ―Eradication of poverty
is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the whole world and requires
cooperation of the developed countries, international organizations as well
as the private sector,‖ he said, calling for increases in debt relief,
foreign direct investment and official development assistance to address
the problem.



The Foreign Ministers of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan called for stepped-up
international efforts to help Afghanistan establish peace and stability,
defeat the drug trade and make economic progress during their addresses to
the United Nations General Assembly today.

Tajikistan‘s Talbak Nazarov told the Assembly‘s annual debate that
Afghanistan‘s neighbours in Central Asia should play a greater role in its
post-conflict reconstruction, especially in trying to combat the country‘s
narcotics problem.

The current programmes are ineffective, Mr. Nazarov said, urging the
establishment of ―an up-to-date, efficient and capable Afghan border
service‖ to police the boundary with Tajikistan and to implement joint
measures with Tajik border authorities against drug traffickers.

―We are convinced that these measures could serve as a basis for
implementing the initiative of establishing the first section of the
security belt around Afghanistan,‖ he said.

In his address to the Assembly, Vladimir Norov of Uzbekistan also
identified drug production as one of the most dangerous problems in
Afghanistan, threatening the security of the wider region.

Mr. Norov said ―real progress in implementing the concrete project funded
by the international community‖ needs to be made so that Afghans can see
they are making social, economic and humanitarian progress.

Both Mr. Norov and Mr. Nazarov also stressed the threat posed by terrorism,
calling for regional organizations to play an enhanced role in dealing with
the scourge.



Expressing deep concern about the ―untenable‖ stalemate in the peace
process between Ethiopia and Eritrea, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi
Annan today called on the Security Council to extend the mandate of the UN
monitoring mission between the two sides for six months, warning of the
potential for disaster if the situation is not resolved.

Mr. Annan made his remarks in his latest situation report covering the
activities of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) since March
and ahead of its current end of mandate on 30 September, while he also drew
attention to instability across the whole of the Horn of Africa region.

―Four years after the 2002 decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary
Commission, I remain deeply concerned about the stalemate in the
Ethiopia-Eritrea peace process. This is an untenable situation, which, if
allowed to fester, could lead intentionally or unintentionally to events
with disastrous consequences for the two countries and the whole region.‖

―The situation in the Horn of Africa remains politically tense and fragile.
The continuing conflict in Somalia and the unresolved crisis affecting
Darfur contribute to the instability affecting the region. Having the
foregoing facts in mind, I recommend to the Security Council that it extend
the mandate of UNMEE for six months, until 31 March 2007.‖

Mr. Annan also said the various arrests, detentions and expulsions of UNMEE
international and locally recruited staff in recent months was
―particularly troubling‖ and he repeated calls for all restrictions on the
Mission to be lifted and those staff detained to be released without delay.

He reiterated concerns that Ethiopia has not accepted the decisions of the
Boundary Commission and also Eritrea‘s refusal to continue to cooperate
with the body, adding that the military situation in the Temporary Security
Zone and the adjacent areas between the two sides remained tense, despite
it being ―generally stable‖ over the past six months.

In an annex to the report, the Secretary-General presented an update on the
proceedings of the Boundary Commission, which reopened its office in Addis
Ababa in August while it still seeks Eritrea‘s permission to reopen its
Asmara field office.

UNMEE monitors the ceasefire along the disputed border over which the two
countries fought a war from 1998 to 2000, but its work has been hampered by
both sides, in particular by Ethiopia‘s refusal to accept the border set
the Boundary Commission and restrictions imposed by Eritrea.



Elections in the divided West African nation of Côte d‘Ivoire are unlikely
to take place next month as scheduled, but if they are not staged before
the end of this year then the Security Council must be ready to intervene
and impose heavy sanctions on those causing the delays, Nigeria‘s Foreign
Minister told the General Assembly today.

Speaking during the annual debate, U. Joy Ogwa – in an address delivered on
behalf of President Olusegun Obasanjo – welcomed recent efforts by the
Ivorian parties and urged them to ―remain steadfast in their commitment in
order to ensure that the peace process remains on course.‖

But she also said the timetable for elections has been delayed and warned
that it must not be further postponed. ―It is now doubtful that elections
can take place in October [but they] must not be allowed to be frustrated
beyond 31 December.‖

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is set to tackle the
issue, she noted, but warned that if this effort does not succeed, ―a
resolution of the Security Council will become necessary to impose heavy
sanctions on all culprits and their relations.‖

She also decried the proliferation of arms in West Africa and hailed the
fact that ECOWAS had adopted a landmark Convention on Small Arms this June.
This stood in contrast to the inability of the UN to agree on the issue,
she said, voicing ―deep disappointment that the first UN Review Conference
on Small Arms and Light Weapons failed to agree on a final document,
including a similar ban on arms suppliers to non-State actors.‖

Joining Nigeria in this call was the Foreign Minister of Gabon, Jean Ping.
He said the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the
Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, in All its Aspects had
represented a ―major breakthrough‖ but further action is needed.

―We do regret though that the Review Conference held in July ended in
failure,‖ he said. ―Despite this we need to continue implementation of that
programme as well as the international instrument on tracing and marking
small arms and light weapons,‖ he added, calling also for negotiations
leading to the adoption of a similar pact on brokering of such weapons.

The Foreign Minister of the Central African Republic, Cöme Zoumara, said
the proliferation of small arms and light weapons was a blight exacerbating
the problems in the country, which bordered Sudan and Chad.

The Central African Republic was working to address the rebellion in the
north-east of its territory – the border area – but the problems there were
endemic, he said. The rebels were organizing ambushes in the region and the
armed forces deployed there faced numerous obstacles.



Mass illegal immigration from Africa to Europe is causing real hardship for
countries such as Malta, the nation‘s Foreign Affairs Minister told the
General Assembly today as he called for greater support from other United
Nations Member States to share the burden.

Speaking at the Assembly‘s annual debate in New York, Michael Frendo said
Malta and other arrival countries needed help not just to absorb the
economic and physical cost of receiving the asylum-seekers, but to tackle
the criminal groups that ―are taking advantage of the aspirations of human
beings who have lost all hope.‖

He urged the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist with the
resettlement of refugees, noting that Malta had the second highest number
of asylum applications last year in the European Union (EU).

―No country can tackle such an overwhelming phenomenon on its own,‖ Mr.
Frendo said, stressing that smaller nations such as Malta face particularly
acute difficulties.

―Illegal immigration needs a holistic approach internationally, stretching
from combating criminal organizations, particularly in the countries of
origin and of transit, from the strengthening of border control, to the
promotion of good governance, economic development and the rule of law, to
the resettlement of refugees and persons with humanitarian status and to
the return of illegal immigrants to their countries of origin and transit
and their reintegration in society.‖

In their addresses to the Assembly today, the Foreign Ministers of four
other European countries stressed the importance of multilateralism in

dealing with problems that transcend national borders.

Slovenia‘s Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said ―we live in a tightly
inter-connected, interdependent and transparent world‖ that no organization
or forum is more appropriate for helping each other than the UN.

Mr. Rupel praised the decision by leaders at last year‘s World Summit to
enshrine the idea of a ―responsibility to protect‖ peoples from genocide,
ethnic cleansing or gross violations of human rights.

―We regard this as a conceptual breakthrough,‖ he said, urging Member
States to make sure they do not allow the tragedies that occurred in Rwanda
and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s to now happen in Darfur or
anywhere else.

Reinforcing that concern about Darfur, Kinga Göncz, the Foreign Minister of
Hungary, said she hoped this session of the General Assembly would bring
advances in elaborating the concept of ―responsibility to protect.‖

Ms. Göncz said Hungary also welcomed the creation of the Peacebuilding
Commission, the Human Rights Council and the Democracy Fund over the past
year, although she added that UN management reform is still to take place
and the membership of the Security Council has not yet been broadened.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said Council reform will not be
complete until there is an enhanced representation from Eastern Europe in
recognition of the substantial increase in the number of countries in that
region since 1991.

Mr. Tarasyuk joined Ms. Göncz and Mr. Rupel in calling on the UN to take
special care in determining the future status of the province of Kosovo,
stressing that any decision should not be imposed on the parties.

Fiorenzo Stolfi, San Marino‘s Secretary of State for Foreign and Political
Affairs and Economic Planning, endorsed the calls for UN reform, from the
Security Council to the General Assembly. ―For small and medium-size
countries that represent the majority of the Member States, the
revitalization of the General Assembly – the main and sometimes the only
forum where they can make their voice heard – is essential,‖ he said. Mr.
Stolfi emphasized that was it important to draw clear lines so that the
Human Rights Council and the General Assembly do not overlap in their work.



The United Nations-shepherded peace process in Nepal can act as a model for
other countries of how to resolve conflicts and it can also demonstrate the
importance of democracy, the Himalayan nation‘s Deputy Prime Minister told

the General Assembly today.

Speaking during the annual debate at UN Headquarters in New York, K. P.
Sharma Oli described the restoration of parliamentary democracy earlier
this year as a ―momentous change,‖ noting it had led to a ceasefire between
the Communist Party (Maoist) and Government forces.

―The people of Nepal have become, for the first time in history, the real
sources of sovereignty and State authority,‖ he said.

Mr. Oli said he was confident that the peace process, which is being guided
by Ian Martin, the Secretary-General‘s Personal Representative in Nepal,will conclude
successfully with the establishment of a fully-fledged

Last month the two sides asked for UN help in a range of areas, including
human rights monitoring, election observation, arms management and
ceasefire monitoring.

―Successful resolution of our internal conflict will set a worthwhile
example to the rest of the world that democracy is indispensable and
brightens the prospect for resolution of all kinds of conflicts.‖

Mr. Oli – who is also the Nepalese Foreign Minister – said the country now
faced pressing challenges of reintegration, rehabilitation and
reconstruction as it attempts to make the transition to a post-conflict

―It is critically important that newly emerged democracies are safeguarded
and protected, allowing them to develop further and flourish,‖ he said,
voicing support for the UN Democracy Fund.

Mr. Oli also offered thanks to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his help in
the peace process and to the role played by the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal.



The United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda today began the trial of
a former prosecutor on charges of genocide, extermination and murder for
allegedly recruiting, arming and ordering militia to massacre Tutsis and
moderate Hutus during the 1994 killing spree in the small Central African

Simeon Nchamihigo, former deputy prosecutor of Cyangugu Prefecture, pleaded
not guilty to all charges in the four-count indictment during his initial

appearance in 2001 before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
(ICTR), based in Arusha in neighbouring Tanzania.

More than 800,000 people were massacred, mostly by machete, for being
ethnic Tutsis or Hutu moderates during a period of less than 100 days
starting in April 1994.

The prosecution alleges that the defendant wore a military uniform and
carried a weapon as he participated in a campaign with leaders of the
military and the Interahamwe militia in Cyangugu to exterminate Tutsis and
moderates from the Hutu opposition whom he considered traitors and
accomplices of the rebel Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front.

It added that on numerous occasions in 1994, the defendant distributed
weapons and ordered the killing of Tutsi civilians including a priest, who
was killed in his presence at a roadblock in May of that year. He is also
alleged to have rewarded Interahamwe members with food and beer for
participating in the massacres.



United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today again called on the
world‘s wealthy countries to ―go the extra mile‖ to re-balance the rules of
the trading system in favour of the poor and push ahead as soon as possible
with the so-called Doha Round of talks which seeks to achieve such a

―Setbacks in the Doha talks have led some to consider settling for
something less than a true development round – or for no round at all. That
must not happen,‖ Mr. Annan said in a message to the UN message to the
World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum in Geneva.

―This Forum provides a chance to reflect on the rules of international
trade, and how they affect people's lives. It is a reminder that opening up
global trade is essential, if we are to reach the Millennium Development
Goals by 2015,‖ he added, referring to the targets of slashing a host of
ills, such as extreme hunger and poverty, high infant and maternal
mortality and lack of access to education and health care, all in the next
nine years.

The Doha Round has been in limbo for many months, partly over subsidies
that wealthy countries grant their agricultural industry and tariff and
other measures that impede access to such markets by poorer nations, and
Mr. Annan has issued numerous appeals for progress, most recently at the
Non-Aligned Movement summit in Havana earlier this month.

―I join developing and least developed countries in calling for the round
to resume as soon as possible,‖ he said in today‘s message. ―Our countries,
and our people, need and deserve no less in order to lift tem selves out of
poverty. I urge WTO members to go the extra mile (and) make a trade deal



United Nations efforts to promote bio-energy sources such as sugar cane or
sunflower seeds to replace fossil fuels like petroleum, thus reducing
poverty while producing clean, low-cost power, gained new momentum today
with the inauguration of the Secretariat of the Global Bioenergy
Partnership (GBEP).

Launched at the 14th Session of the UN Commission for Sustainable
Development in May in New York, the Secretariat is located at the UN Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO)headquarters in Rome and is supported by
the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. Its mandate
includes facilitating a global political forum to promote bioenergy and to
encourage the production, marketing and use of ―green‖ fuels, with
particular focus on developing countries.

―We are happy that FAO was chosen to host the GBEP Secretariat,‖ FAO
Assistant Director-General for Sustainable Development Alexander Müller
said. ―Its presence will stimulate us to continue helping governments and
institutions formulate appropriate bioenergy policies and strategies. We
hope the creation of a Global Bioenergy Partnership will help reduce
current dependency on oil.‖

Over the next decades, bio-energy will most probably provide an increasing
amount of the world‘s energy needs, but this must be done in a sustainable
manner, he added.

The Secretariat will be the principal coordinator of Partnership
communications and activities and will assist international exchanges of
know-how and technology, promote supportive policy frameworks and identify
ways of fostering investments and removing barriers to the development and
implementation of joint projects.

In the short term, the Secretariat will update the inventory of existing
networks, initiatives and institutions dealing with bio-energy and identify
any gaps in knowledge. It will also assist the Partners in identifying and
implementing bilateral and multilateral projects for sustainable bio-energy
development and support the formulation of guidelines for measuring
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions due to the use of bio-fuels.



With nearly a billion people in South Asia still lacking basic sanitation,
children should be placed first in the debate on improving hygiene
standards in the region, according to the United Nations Children‘s Fund

Addressing delegates from government ministries from Pakistan, India, Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Myanmar at a meeting in
Islamabad last week, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Cecilia Lotse
said the region had high numbers of children who were malnourished and at
risk from diseases caused by bad hygiene and, in particular, from lack of
regular hand washing with soap and clean water.

Calling on participants at the second Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) to
put children first, Ms. Lotse emphasised the double dividends that occur
when efforts are concentrated on sanitation. ―Women and girls are safer
when they do not have to go out of the house to use night soil sites,‖ she

―Since the first SACOSAN in 2003, around 100 million additional people now
have toilets, but that still leaves more than nine hundred and twenty
million without,‖ she noted. ―We also know that more girls will go to
schools that provide separate and private facilities.‖

On Thursday UNICEF will be launching ―Progress for Children: a Report Card
on Water and Sanitation,‖ detailing the impressive progress made to date in
expanding access to safe water and basic sanitation, but also making clear
that there is still a long way to go.



A United Nations computer game aimed at promoting positive attitudes
towards refugees by taking players through the trauma of fleeing
persecution and seeking asylum has beaten the world famous composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to garner a prestigious Austrian award for an
interactive computer game.

LastExitFlucht (LastExitFlight) - which can be found at and played free of charge - was awarded the Austrian
Multimedia and E-Business State Prize in the category for ―Knowledge and
Learning,‖ after beating off stiff competition from a CD-Rom about the life
of Mozart.

―We are working with real refugees every day all over the world - so we

know their reality,‖ UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) public
information officer Roland Schönbauer said, accepting the award last week
before 400 selected guests, including the speaker of the Austrian
parliament Andreas Khol.

A jury of 14 experts from universities, the corporate sector and the media
which chose the winner praised LastExitFlucht as ―a game which excellently
creates empathy for the situation of refugees.‖ While it is aimed at
teenagers, the panel said the game also forced adults to reflect on
political attitudes towards refugees. They praised the game's realism and

The game, launched in March by UNHCR for the youth market in
German-speaking countries, takes players through the experience that
millions of refugees face, including fleeing their homes and struggling to
with a new culture and language in a foreign land.

Among the different scenarios, players must overcome obstacles in leaving
their homes in search of safety and assistance. In exile, they must cope
with the difficulties of starting a new school, not knowing the language
and having to make new friends. They also experience what refugees go
through when facing discrimination on the streets, applying for a job and
generally starting a new life.

It is a reworked version of a Swedish-language game, Motallaodds, which was
designed by UNHCR in Stockholm and launched last December. There is also a
Norwegian version and the agency hopes to translate it into other
languages, including Danish and English.

LastExitFlucht also provides a factual library including interviews with
real refugees and charts the history of asylum in Europe, explaining the
difficulties refugees in Europe currently face in upholding their rights.
With some 120,000 hits since its launch, the site has received enthusiastic
support from young people, teachers and the media in Germany, Switzerland
and Austria.



Italians serving with an international maritime task force off the Lebanese
coast over the weekend rescued a Syrian who had been swimming for two days
after apparently falling from a passing ship, the United Nations Interim
Force in Lebanon ( UNIFIL) reported today.

The Italian ship San Marco, which is coordinating its work with UNIFIL,
rescued the man after he was found several hundred meters off the coastline
on Saturday.

He was initially administered first-aid by the San Marco doctor and later
evacuated to the hospital in Tyre, southern Lebanon, UNIFIL said.

Meanwhile, UNIFIL‘s Indian, Ghanaian and Italian battalions over the
weekend provided medical assistance to 64 people and veterinary help to 40
animals. In addition, several thousand litres of water were distributed by
UNIFIL to three Lebanese checkpoints.



In an effort to further thwart terrorist plots to blow up airliners, the
United Nations aviation agency will this week move ahead on producing a new
list of prohibited items that passengers cannot bring on board, such as
liquid, gel and aerosol products capable of being used in improvised
explosive devices.

On 27 and 28 September, the International Explosives Technical Commission
of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO ) will take up
the work of a panel that met earlier this month following the thwarted
terrorist plot in August in the United Kingdom to blow up some 10
trans-Atlantic flights.

The Agency aims to issue the new list of banned items to its 189
Contracting States by the end of November.

―The issuance of a revised list of prohibited items is a complex matter
involving law enforcement, explosives technologies, evaluation of trace
detection equipment, training of security personnel, logistics and
commercial considerations,‖ ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh González
said last week.

Earlier this month, ICAO‘s Aviation Security (AVSEC) Panel reviewed an
expanded list of prohibited items prepared by the Organization‘s
Secretariat. In the coming weeks, the Panel will incorporate appropriate
national and regional initiatives taken to date to deal with the new threat
posed by liquid, gel and aerosol products.

―The Panel is working diligently on ways to strengthen and streamline
security procedures at airports,‖ Mr. Kobeh González said.

The reports of both AVSEC and the Technical Commission both bodies will be
presented to the ICAO Council at its next session beginning 10 October.

Once the recommendations are adopted, ICAO will notify all Member States of
various issues related to liquids used as explosives, including: a new list

of prohibited items; measures needed to counter the new threat; ongoing
work on technologies and operational procedures for detecting prohibited
liquids; and the need for new measures to be effective, practicable,
sustainable and harmonized among States.

Special emphasis will be placed on close cooperation with intelligence
agencies and aviation regulators. A mechanism to rapidly share significant
security information on an international basis will be provided.

In the longer term, ICAO will revise its security Standards and guidance to
deal proactively with this new threat and others that may emerge, focussing
on further enhancing airside security, including staff screening and cargo,
catering and hold baggage security.

―Our overall security objective is twofold: to diligently assess new and
emerging threats to aviation, and continually monitor and upgrade processes
to ensure they are commensurate with the level of threat identified; and,
to expedite the clearance of passengers and cargo at airports while
maintaining the highest level of security,‖ Mr. Kobeh González said.



Voicing concern over new restrictions on basic human rights in Thailand
after last week‘s coup, including free assembly and expression, the top
United Nations rights official today called on the country‘s new leaders to
ensure fundamental freedoms and reinstate disbanded rights bodies.

―The forcible and unconstitutional replacement of Thailand‘s freely-elected
Government on 19 September, the establishment of martial law, the abolition
of the 1997 Constitution, the dissolution of Parliament and the Cabinet as
well as the disbanding of the Constitutional Court, have raised important
human rights concerns,‖ UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour
said in a statement.

She called on the leaders of the Council for Democratic Reform under
Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) to ensure respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms and reinstate the country‘s human rights commission.

―The various decrees issued by the CDRM restrict a number of basic human
rights, such as the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of
opinion and expression, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention,‖
Ms. Arbour said, urging the new authorities to restore the maximum exercise
of such rights.

Expressing concern over the disbanding of the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC), she recalled that Thailand is party to a number of
international human rights instruments, including the International

Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. She urged the CDRM to take all
necessary measures to ensure that the country‘s international obligations
are respected and to reinstate the NHRC.



25 September 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 the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

       **Security Council

        The Security Council this morning is holding consultations on Liberia, following a
meeting with troop-contributing countries to the UN Mission in that country. Council members
were briefed by Alan Doss, the Secretary-General‘s Special Representative for the country, on
the Secretary-General‘s recent report on Liberia. That report, which came out last week, says
that the authority of the Liberian State is being consolidated throughout the country. We expect
Mr. Doss will come to this briefing once he gets out of the Council Chamber.

        Then, at 3 o‘clock, the Security Council will hold a closed meeting on Somalia. Council
members are to hear a briefing by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya and the Chairman
of the Council of Ministers of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

       ** Lebanon

        The Indian, Ghanaian and Italian battalions of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon
(UNIFIL) over the weekend provided medical assistance to 64 people, as well as other health
aid. In addition, several thousand litres of water were distributed by UNIFIL to three Lebanese
checkpoints. We have more details upstairs in a press release.

       ** Iraq

       Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-General‘s Special Representative for Iraq, expressed deep
concern that more than 140 persons have been sentenced to death, and that over 50 persons have
been executed in Iraq since 2004.

        He noted that the Secretary-General has consistently encouraged States to abolish the
death penalty, which he rejects in all circumstances. Qazi recalled that the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights has called on States to abolish capital punishment completely
and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on executions.

        The United Nations continues to urge the Government of Iraq to commute all sentences
of capital punishment and to base its quest for justice on the protection and promotion of the
right to life. We have a press release upstairs with more details.

       ** Afghanistan

        The UN Mission in Afghanistan today expressed its sorrow that Safia Annajan, the
Director of Women‘s Affairs in Kandahar, was shot and killed this morning outside the front
gate of her home as she left for work in that southern Afghan city.

        The UN Mission in Afghanistan is appalled at what it called ―the senseless murder of a
woman who was simply working to ensure that all Afghan women play a full and equal part in
the future of their country‖. We have a press release upstairs with more details from

       ** Sudan

        The Secretary-General‘s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, sent a letter to the
leaders of the Government of Sudan and all movements involved in military action in Sudan‘s
western region of Darfur, urging them to refrain from hostilities and resume dialogue during the
holy month of Ramadan. He urged them to embrace peaceful dialogue as a gesture of sincerity
and goodwill to the innocent civilians who have silently borne the brunt of the violence and

       ** Ethiopia - Eritrea

        Available on the racks today is the Secretary-General‘s latest report on Ethiopia and
Eritrea, in which he notes that the situation in the Temporary Security Zone between the two
counties remains generally stable. However, the Secretary-General is deeply concerned about
the continued restrictions by Eritrea on the freedom of movement of the UN Mission in many
areas of the Temporary Security Zone and the prolonged ban on UN helicopter flights.

        In an annex to the report, the Secretary-General presents an update on the proceedings of
the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, which reopened its office in Addis Ababa in
August, while it still seeks Eritrea‘s permission to do so in Asmara.

       ** Thailand

       The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is urging the leaders of the
Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy in Thailand to ensure respect
for human rights and fundamental freedoms and reinstate the country‘s human rights

        The forcible and unconstitutional replacement of Thailand‘s freely-elected Government
on 19 September, the establishment of martial law, the abolition of the 1997 Constitution, as
well as the dissolution of Parliament and the Cabinet, have raised important human rights
concerns, Ms. Arbour said in a statement released in Geneva.

       **Human Rights Council

        In Geneva, the Human Rights Council is continuing its discussions on a number of
thematic reports presented by UN-appointed human rights experts. Today, Council members
heard presentations by, among others, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child
prostitution and child pornography; the Independent Expert on the effects of economic reform

policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights; and the Chairperson of the
Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights.

        Tomorrow, the Council will take up its consideration of country and regional reports,
starting with Somalia, Cuba and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

       ** Rwanda

       The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda reports that it has begun the trial of
former Rwandan Deputy Prosecutor Siméon Nchamihigo, who is charged with four counts of
genocide, extermination, murder and other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity.

        The former Rwandan prosecutor is accused of distributing weapons and ordering the
killing of Tutsi civilians in 1994. He was arrested in Arusha by Tanzanian authorities in 2001.

       ** Burundi

        The Secretary-General on Friday appointed Youssef Mahmoud of Tunisia as his Deputy
Special Representative for Burundi. Mr. Mahmoud will also serve as United Nations Resident
Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator. He previously served in posts in Guyana, as well
as in the Department of Political Affairs here in New York.


       UNICEF head Ann Veneman will be speaking today at a panel discussion on the
education of girls in the developing world, at 1 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library

       Also speaking will be the US Under-Secretary for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, and
Mary Wilson, whom some of you may remember is a former member of the Supremes. The
event will be moderated by Kate Snow of ABC News.


        The Secretary-General today sent a message to the World Trade Organization‘s Public
Forum in Geneva. In it, he says that setbacks in the Doha talks have led some to consider
settling for something less than a true development round -- or for no round at all -- and that
must not happen, he stressed.

        The Secretary-General adds that he joins developing and least developed countries in
calling for the Doha Round of trade talks to resume as soon as possible.


         Lastly, just an in-house note, we have been told by our colleagues in security and media
liaison that the restrictions in place regarding access by journalists to the second floor have been
lifted as of noon for those of you who only carry a pen and paper. For those of you who work
with TV cameras, you will still need an escort, but the rest of you are free to roam.

       Questions and Answers

        Question: UNIFIL in Lebanon, there is a story in the front page of the New York Times
and there is an interview in the Jerusalem Post with General Pellegrini, and it seems that the
new UNIFIL looks like the old UNIFIL, and the robust mandate is slowly being watered down
on the ground with alleged reference to rules of engagement, which we certainly didn‘t see
when DPKO put them out. We need a bit of an explanation because I can see no reason why
Israel should withdraw its troops if UNIFIL: a) does not stop a bunch of missiles that may
come in front of it, b) does not nothing if Hizbollah moves over the border. What is it doing
there? It sounds suspiciously like the old UNIFIL.

        Spokesman: The mandate of this new UNIFIL is more robust than the previous one.
Obviously, there are operational decisions that the commanders will have to make on the
ground. But clearly, if UNIFIL troops come in contact with people who are violating the
resolution they will need to take appropriate action. One of the aims of the deployment of
UNIFIL is to assist the Lebanese army in creating this weapons-free zone in the south. That
will be primarily the responsibility of the Lebanese army, but if in the course of its duties,
UNIFIL does come across incidents where people are in violation of the resolution, they will
have the authority to take operational action.

        Question: That is just not what it is saying and I would love to have DPKO explain this
to us, because what you are saying is the standard understanding after the resolution. Now they
are down on the ground and they are saying that they have to ask permission from the Lebanese
Armed Forces to go to the bathroom. And that is not what we understood.

       Spokesman: I am telling you what our understanding and our framework is from here.

       Question: Can you give us an update on the incident with the Venezuelan Foreign
Minister? And what‘s the next step from the United States?

        Spokesman: We were advised on Saturday of this incident at Kennedy Airport. The
Secretary-General was informed. He has tasked his legal counsel Nicolas Michel to try to
gather the facts and help both the Venezuelans and the Americans get past this unfortunate
incident. In theory, the proper channel for these cases would be to be taken up by the Host
Country Committee, which is currently being chaired by the Ambassador of Cyprus. But, to my
knowledge, no one has seized that Committee and the Venezuelans have not asked it to meet.
We are trying to work with both the Americans and the Venezuelans, so we can get past this
incident as quickly as possible.

       Question: Have you got the findings of the UN investigation into the killing of those
four UNIFIL observers?

        Spokesman: No, that report is in the process of being finalized and we are talking to
DPKO to have someone to come down and brief you, probably midweek, on the findings of the

       Question: Finalized? What does that mean? Because I understand it was done, ready
and written.

       Spokesman: It‘s not done, ready and written.

           Question: But is it with the SG now?

       Spokesman: It is in the Secretariat. It is being finalized. It is being looked at by various
departments and it is not yet ready.

          Question: Could you confirm that Somalia‘s Interim Prime Minister did speak to the
Secretary-General and ask him to partially lift the arms embargo on Somalia? And, secondly, is
the Secretary-General going to be speaking to the Security Council or make any appeal to them
to lift this embargo?

       Spokesman: No, I don‘t believe the Prime Minister has spoken with the Secretary-
General, though I will check, and that, obviously, is a decision for the Security Council to take a
long hard look at.

           Question: Has there been any sort of contact between the Somali… (inaudible)?

           Spokesman: Not that I am aware of. But I can check.

           Question: On the UNIFIL report, who will sign it? Will UNIFIL sign it? Will the SG
sign it?

       Spokesman: It is a DPKO report. It‘s a standard operating report. It‘s a board of
inquiry, which DPKO routinely does when there is a death of a peacekeeper.

       Question: This whole issue that Evelyn brought up, I mean, that came up during the
formation of the Force. At that time, at least from the briefing we got from Mark Malloch
Brown, it seemed that everybody knows exactly what they do and how they do it. Now, on the
ground, it seems that they don‘t.

        Spokesman: Look, I‘ve told you what our position is from here. We also have on the
ground currently the UN‘s Chief Military Adviser, General Metha, as well as the head of the
strategic cell, which is being set up here at Headquarters, led by an Italian general. They are all
on the ground talking to General Pellegrini, going over the procedures and exactly how they
ought to be implemented. It is clear that UNIFIL has the authority to intervene if the Lebanese
army is not in a position to do so when there are violations of the resolution. The resolution‘s
aim is to help and assist the Government of Lebanon to strengthen its authority and to create a
zone in the South where the only guns are those of the Lebanese army and the UN.

           Question: By adding another layer, Headquarters will add clarity to the mission?

        Spokesman: It is not adding another layer, it is enhancing the capacity of UNIFIL to do
its work and it is a cell that will look at strategic issues. This is a very big force we will have on
the ground, in a very complex operation, and it will now have the support of a strategic cell.
That cell will not be a filter between the ground and UN Headquarters.

        Question: On Venezuela again -- the US Ambassador claims there was no incident at
the airport and this whole situation is a result of Venezuelan spin. Are you concerned that the
UN is getting caught in the middle of this?

       Spokesman: We are trying to help both parties get past this incident. It is a very
unfortunate thing that happened. Mr. Michel is trying to get the facts and trying to move on as
quickly as possible. I don‘t think anybody wants to escalate this, and give it any more

         Question: Regarding the size and robustness of the new UNIFIL force, I may be a little
behind this, but the last figure I got for total troops deployed was in the vicinity of 5,000. Is it
still the intention of General Pelligrini and all others concerned to deploy up to the full
authorized amount of 15,000?

        Spokesman: I think the next big deployment will come in about three weeks with the
second phase. We will also have the deployment of the German naval units, which will bring
quite a lot of troops and we will be closer to 12,000. Obviously these are operational decisions
that will have to be looked at as the process goes on. But UNIFIL is already quite operational,
having overseen the handover of about 85 per cent of the Israeli positions from the IDF to the
Lebanese Armed Forces.

        Question: Do I infer correctly from your various comments that the Venezuelan Foreign
Minister has, in fact, not yet departed from Caracas and is still waiting for his authorization to
depart to be sorted out?

        Spokesman: No, first of all, departing from New York. I‘m not aware of where he
physically is. It is not an issue of authorize, people are free to come and go as they please. It is
not an issue of anyone having to authorize any foreign minister to leave this country. It is up to
him when he decides to leave. We are just trying to clarify the facts of what happened on
Saturday evening at John F. Kennedy Airport.

       Question: It is my understanding that he was told he couldn‘t leave.

       Spokesman: Not at all.

      Question: Could you tell us anything about the Hariri report? Did the Secretary-
General have a meeting this morning?

        Spokesman: Yes, the Secretary-General met with Serge Brammertz this morning. The
report is in the process of getting to the Security Council ambassadors, a process which we are
trying to quicken. The Council ambassadors will get it, we hope, very shortly.

       Question: What does the process consist of? Does it consist of any reading and editing?

      Spokesman: There is no editing. It consists of us receiving the report and the Secretary-
General writing a standard cover page, and someone actually carrying it from the 38th floor,
down to the Security Council and then giving it to the Security Council ambassadors.

       Question: Will we see him?

       Spokesman: I don‘t think you will see him before Friday when he is scheduled to brief
the Council.

       Question: Does he plan to hold a briefing then?

       Spokesman: We will try to convince him.

       Question: Will the SG say anything on the report?

       Spokesman: No, he will not. This is an update report to the Security Council.

        Question: Pope Benedict XVI today called for a genuine dialogue -- cultural and
religious -- among Muslims and Christians in particular. Does the SG have any reaction to this
important statement? And also, will the Alliance of Civilizations take part in the dialogue?

        Spokesman: As a general statement we would obviously encourage any sort of dialogue
along those lines. And that is exactly what the Alliance of Civilizations is trying to do. What
links there may be between any Vatican initiative and the Alliance I don‘t know but I‘d be
happy to check for you.

       Question: Back to the question of the airport, a more basic question: in light of the
present conditions on international aviation and security problems, is there not a place for the
UN and any host country to redefine the obligations of UN personnel and visiting dignitaries on
how to be processed at airports? I think this is the real question.

        Spokesman: The rules and regulations of what it is expected of any host country is
clearly defined in the host country agreements, which you are welcome to read as it is a public
document. The details of this particular incident you are referring to, we are still trying to get
more information, but, as I have said a number of times this morning, we just want both sides to
clear this up as quickly as possible and move on. There are agreements that regulate lots of
things and sometimes there are problems, and we just want to try to solve them and move on.

       Question: But my question is, if there is not a need for actual redefinition, in light of the
new reality, what the responsibilities are?

        Spokesman: There is no new reality. The agreements exist. Everyone knows them. As
always, as with any procedure, sometimes there are problems. When a problem arises, we try to
solve it and move on.

       Question: On the appointment of the South Korean Deputy High Commissioner for
Human Rights, does it seem right that, weeks before ending his term, there are appointments
being made? It seems like there‘s something wrong about that.

        Spokesman: I read your column, as always, with great interest. This place needs to be
staffed, appointments need to be made. This is an organization that goes on. There is no link
between, contrary to what some have implied, to the appointment of Kyung-wha Kang and the
selection of the next Secretary-General. She went through a very tough process. The post was
advertised in a number of major publications. We sought input from NGOs, Missions. It was a
competitive process. Five candidates were shortlisted. And, in the end, in a panel chaired by
the High Commissioner herself, she came out as the strongest candidate.

       Question: (inaudible) in January?

       Spokesman: I‘d have to check exactly those dates, but the point is that posts come up
and they are vacated and that people need to be replaced.

       Question: Who asked the UN to get involved in the Venezuelan airport incident?

       Spokesman: The Venezuelans contacted us. And we then contacted the US authorities
and we asked for details from the Venezuelans. But this is a matter that needs to be taken up by
the Host Country Committee. We are just trying to facilitate between both parties, those being
the Venezuelan Government and the US Government, on this specific issue only.

      We will go to the GA Spokeswoman and then return to Mr. Alan Doss, the Secretary-
General‘s Special Representative for Liberia.

       Briefing by the Spokeswoman for the General Assembly President

        Thank you very much, and good afternoon to you. The general debate continues this
morning with some 27 speakers expected to address the Assembly, including the Minister of
State and Foreign Affairs of Gabon, Former President of the General Assembly, His Excellency,
Mr. Jean Ping. He has, in fact, already addressed the Assembly.

       The President of the Assembly, Sheikha Haya Rashed al Khalifa, is scheduled to hold a
number of bilateral meetings today with the Prime Ministers of Gabon, Morocco, Slovenia,
Guinea-Bissau, Malta, Guatemala, Iran, Syria and South Africa; the Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova; the Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Trade of the Republic of Korea; and the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam.

       Those are the meetings for today.

                                            * *** *


To top