CNN Lebanon counts the cost of conflict - -- United Nations by tyndale


									                            THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                 Friday, 13 October 2006.

     UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

     Africa‘s two highest mountains are melting away, threatening water supplies and eco-
      tourism (The Associated Press)
     Lebanon counts the cost of conflict (CNN)
     Key challenges to be probed at expo (Gulf Daily News)
     Barua calls for tuskers‘ safety(Statesman News Service)
     Convergence needed on sustainability reporting, says study (Business Day)

              Other Environment News

     Water for millions at risk as glaciers melt away (The Guardian)
     Toxic paint is endangering marine life, says WWF (The Guardian)
     Tissue firms accused of falling short on recycling (The Independent)
     Big bogs spurred ancient global warming: report (Reuters)
     Al Gore : "La crise climatique menace l'avenir même de la civilisation"(Le Monde)
     Government considers Bill to cut emissions (The Independent)
     Bush Pushes for Renewables (Environment News Service)
     Big Oil fine with ethanol as additive(STAR-TELEGRAM)
     Ivory Coast Toxic Probe Ship Leaves Estonian Port (Reuters)

              Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

     ROAP
     ROA

              Other UN News

     UN Daily News of 12 October 2006
     S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 12 October2006

                  Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
    Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692,,
The Associated Press: Africa’s two highest mountains are melting away, threatening water
supplies and eco-tourism
(Also appears in L.A Times, Seattle times, CBS New York, Charlote Observer, Times Daily,
News Day, Washington Post, Indipendence South Africa…more than 50 others in the U.S)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Africa's two highest mountains — Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya
— will lose their ice cover within 25 to 50 years if deforestation and industrial pollution are not
stopped, environmentalists warned Thursday.
Kilimanjaro has already lost 82 percent of its ice cover over 80 years, said Fredrick Njau of the
Kenyan Green Belt Movement. Mount Kenya, one of the few places near the equator with
permanent glaciers, has lost 92 percent over the past 100 years.
"This is a major issue because declining ice caps mean the water tap is effectively going to be
turned off and that is a major concern," said Nick Nuttall from the U.N.'s Environment Program.
At 19,335 feet, Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain and the Mount Kenya, 17,057 feet, is
the second-highest. Both also are major attractions for mountaineers, hikers and other tourists.
All the evidence shows climate change is underway and Africa is the must vulnerable continent
to this, said Nutall. Industrial nations also need to step up support to help poor nations adapt to
global warming with drought and heat resistant crops and alternative energy sources so people
do not cut down trees for fuel, Nuttall added. .
"The two mountains will lose their ice mass in the coming 25 to 50 years if deforestation and
industrial pollution are not brought to an end," said Njau, who heads the Green Belt
organization's Mount Kenya Bio-Carbon Project.
The warning came weeks before a major climate summit in Nairobi.
The Green Belt Movement, in collaboration with the French Agency for Development, plans to
launch a $2 million project to plant 2 million trees in the coming 30 years over an area of 4,942
acres within the areas of Mount Kenya and the Kenyan range of mountains called the
Both are important water catchment areas in Kenya, with many rivers originating from them
and these rivers are major sources of water and power generated by dams.

CNN: Lebanon counts the cost of conflict
13 October 2006

With 220 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline and 300 days of sun per year, Lebanon's
beaches are one of the country's main assets and millions of dollars have been invested in the
past few years to develop dozens of resorts along the coast.
But these same resorts are now counting the losses inflicted by Israeli strikes and ensuing oil
spills which have turned the Big Blue into a Big Black.

The month-long war between Hezbollah and Israel and an eight-week sea and air blockade have
increased Lebanon's public debt to $41 billion from the $38.6 billion estimated at the start of
The conflict caused extensive damage to the country's infrastructure leaving 15,000 houses and
apartments leveled 78 bridges and 630 km of road destroyed and an economy in tatters.
But the most harshly hit sector was perhaps the tourism industry which lost an estimated $2.5
billion in expected revenues. The wellbeing of Lebanon's economy depends greatly on the travel
and tourism industry which contributes 11% of the GDP thanks to the country's sandy beaches,
snowy peaks and vibrant nightlife.
This year promised to be exceptionally fruitful with the number of visitors expected to reach 1.6
million for the first time since the 1975-1990 civil war.
"Our direct losses and the loss of earnings amount to $10 million," said Roger Edde, owner of
Edde Sands, one of Lebanon's hippest resorts.
"We closed for three weeks to clean the beach from the oil slicks which also evaporated,
causing breathing problems, and activities have been slow since the September 2 reopening."
An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 tonnes of fuel have spilled into the Mediterranean and
contaminated 150 kilometers of coast after the Jiyyeh power plant was hit during an Israeli
bomb raid in mid-July.
It is the first time Lebanon has faced an environmental catastrophe on such a large scale, with
marine fauna and flora also badly affected.
Yacoub Sarraf, the Lebanese Environment Minister, appealed to the international community to
help with relief efforts, saying the country lacked the necessary expertise, equipment and
financial means.
"Our priority today is to save the Mediterranean Sea. Thousands of tons of heavy fuel have been
spilled on our shorelines and millions of God's creatures are craving for your help," he said.
Bahr Loubnan, a Lebanese NGO for the protection of the sea, is currently working with the
French Ministry for National Development and Environment and a number of international
organizations to clear the 150 kilometers of coastline that were affected by the oil spills.
"We're quite optimistic about the progression of the operation and if everything goes as planned
we hope most of the work will be over before the start of the winter season," said Rima
Tarabay, Vice-President of Bahr Loubnan.
Ninety percent of the fuel lying on the sea bed has now been cleared by a team of divers
working continuously for the last three weeks.
A new technique known as "surf-washing" has also been introduced to clean oil-covered rocks
and pebbles by blasting them with powerful waves or hot water until the fuel is cleared and can
be collected.
The efforts are being led by Professor Bernard Fichaut, who previously took part in the clean-up
operations in the wake of the 1999 Erika disaster and who believes this method is the best
available to clear oil quickly, cleanly, and at low cost.

France is significantly assisting with the clearing efforts by providing expertise and equipment.
According to Pascal Luciani, the technical adviser to the French Environment Minister, results
are encouraging but could have been achieved earlier if the clean-up operation had not been
hindered by the bombing.
"We had to wait till the end of the war to start cleaning the coast so this means that there's now
more hydrocarbon and waste mixed with sand that needs to be cleared."
A UN-led team of international experts has also started assessing the damage done to Lebanon's
environment. The team, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and
working closely with the Lebanese authorities, is visiting and sampling the sites along the
country's coast which are thought to present potential risks to human health, wildlife and the
wider environment.
"The field work will take up to three weeks and both the governments of Norway and
Switzerland have pledged funds for this assessment mission," said Dr Habib Elhabr, Director of
the UNEP for West Asia. "The final report will hopefully be out by mid-December."
The UNEP is familiar with assessing post-conflict environmental damage as it has already
conducted similar missions in Liberia, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.
"There is an urgent need to assess the environmental legacy of the recent conflict and put in
place a comprehensive clean-up of polluted and health-hazardous sites," said Achim Steiner,
UNEP's Executive Director.
"Work is on-going to deal with the oil spill on the Lebanese coast. We must now look at the
wider impacts as they relate to issues such as underground and surface water supplies, coastal
contamination and the health and fertility of the land," Steiner said.
The team will also assess Beirut International Airport, where fuel tanks were set ablaze after
repeated bombing, sewage treatment and hospital facility sites, and unexploded ordinance.
Many Lebanese villages and fields are still littered with cluster bomblets, making the clean-up
operation all the more dangerous.
The country is slowly getting back on its feet but, almost two months after a ceasefire was
declared, Sarraf said it was only a start: "The real war in Lebanon begins today, the war of
rebuilding, the war of forg


Gulf Daily News: Key challenges to be probed at expo

BAHRAIN will host the first international conference and exhibition on green industry next
Environmental challenges of global nature, such as, sustainable development, cleaner
production, industrial waste management, environmental health and awareness will be
highlighted at the conference.

It will be held from November 20 to 22 at the Gulf Hotel's Gulf International Convention and
Exhibition Centre.
The event is being organised by Bahrain Society of Chemists, United Nations Environment
Programme (Unep), Al-Reem Environmental Consultancy and International Fuel and Quality
Centre (IFQC).
A number of experts will discuss recent environmental progress in the industrial sector, like
waste minimisation, industrial pollution prevention, recycling, environmental standards and
The conference will attracted more than 300 delegates, including environmental engineers,
scientists, researchers, government officials, academic experts and others interested in
environmental issues, said Environmental Affairs senior specialist Abdul Karim Rashid.
A special keynote lecture entitled Landfill's Role in Sustainable Waste Manage-ment will be
delivered by Professor Debra Reinhart, from the University of Central Florida. Prof Reinhart
has been teaching and conducting research in solid and hazardous waste fields for more than 16
International environmental management adviser Prof Richard Hawkins will deliver a keynote
speech on the real meaning of recycling.
Dr Zara Khatib, from Shell, who has over 22 years experience in exploration, production and
operation, will chair a forum and panel discussion on Regional Carbon Manage-ment: Vision,
Strategy and Way forward.
The panel discussion will be co-chaired by Bapco's environmental management system
development co-ordinator Ijaz Ashraf.
The other forum is entitled Win-Win Scenarios for Industry, which will be chaired by Dr Basel
Al Yousfi, acting deputy regional director at Unep.
More than 50 technical papers will address important environment-related industrial issues in
the region.
Prior to the conference, three courses will be conducted on risk management industry,
environmental management system and energy industries as well as the environmental
challenge-strategies for cost effective responses.
An exhibition will be held on the sidelines of the conference, which will display and
demonstrate the activities, products and services of companies, consultants and research
organisations in industrial environment field.
Major companies in Bahrain like Bapco, GPIC and Banagas will demonstrate their experience
in practising the environmentally friendly process.
The conference is sponsored by Banagas, GPIC, Bapco, Sabic, Saudi Aramco, Green Power,
Shell, Alba, and Naizak

Statesman News Service: Barua calls for tuskers’ safety

SILIGURI, Oct. 12: Eminent elephant expert Mrs Parbati Barua, who cane here yesterday to
attend the inauguration of the wildlife film festival, stressed on the need to create an awareness
among the people on the protection of elephants.

The 53-year-old Mrs Barua, a resident of Gauripur in Assam and arguably the only woman in
the world to get recognition in capturing elephants and managing them, said: ―The elephants do
not cause any harm to the human beings if they are not disturbed. The disturbances come in the
form of encroachment of forests which pose a threat to the elephants.‖

She said the destruction of forests in north Bengal and Assam was responsible for the influx of
elephants into the human land.

Mrs Barua, who understands the language of pachyderms, said these animals love music. ―I also
use the musical technique to capture and tame wild elephants,‖ Mrs Barua, said.

She added that Mela Shikar is the best method to capture elephants in India.

Mrs Barua urged the people to assist the forest department in protecting the wild elephants. She
said the conversion of railway track between Siliguri and Alipurduar from metre gauge to broad
gauge was responsible for the deaths of a large number of elephants. Trains plying on this route
pass through different wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, posing a threat to the animals.
Mrs Barua, however, lauded the role played by the West Bengal forest department officials in
protecting the elephants.

Mrs Barua, the niece of the legendary film director, Mr Pramathesh Barua of Devdas fame, is
the 11th generation of her famous family who has mastered the art of taming wild elephants.
Her forefathers had an intense attachment with elephants and she hoped to pass on the legacy to
her future generations, which she learnt from her father, Mr Prakitish Barua.

Mrs Barua won numerous awards, including the coveted United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) Global 500 award and the Roll of Honour award in 1989, for her great
works. She is also a member of royal family of the erstwhile princely state of Gauripur, now in

Business Day: Convergence needed on sustainability reporting, says study
Sanchia Temkin
13 October 2006

HARMONISATION of voluntary standards and mandatory regulation will lead to better and
more useful corporate sustainability reporting, says a joint report by KPMG‘s sustainability
services and the United Nations Environment Programme.
The report was presented this month at an international conference to launch the new G3
version of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines on sustainability reporting.
The report argues that balanced regulation should highlight the importance of a publicly
recognised set of per-formance indicators, of which the GRI provides a global reference

The research also stresses the need for independent verification, stake-holder engagement and
the role of government in enforcing a level playing field and introducing incentives, such as
relieving reporting companies from obligations to report separately to individual government
The report gives an overview and analysis of current trends and approaches in mandatory and
voluntary standards for sustainability reporting and corporate responsibility.
Daniel Malan, associate director of KPMG SA sustainability services and co-editor of the
report, said: ―It is not surprising that sustainability reporting has attracted the attention of
regulators and that a variety of different regulatory approaches has evolved, mostly voluntary,
and some mandatory.
―The debate of these different approaches will continue to evolve, taking into account regional
George Molenkamp, chairman of KPMG‘s global sustainability services, said: ―Our research in
18 countries highlighted more than 100 examples of both voluntary and mandatory standards.‖
These examples included voluntary initiatives and national legislation with reporting
requirements on selected issues including new mandatory requirements related to corporate
Malan said existing mandatory reporting requirements often focused on a limited part of the
sustainability reporting spectrum, such as labour relations or specific environmental indicators.
―We have recommended that integrated sustainability reporting could perhaps fulfil the same
requirement, and that governments could possibly relieve companies from additional reporting
requirements should they publish a quality sustainability report.‖
The new report notes that convergence between financial and nonfinancial reporting raises the
question of reporting ―on what?‖ and ―to whom?‖.
It recommends that government departments take stock, and harmonise reporting requirements
in local legislation, comparing them with GRI requirements and international trends.


                                    Other Environment News

The Guardian (UK): Water for millions at risk as glaciers melt away

· Crisis threatens parts of South America and Asia

· Decline accelerates as global warming takes hold

David Adam, environment correspondent

Wednesday October 11, 2006


The world's glaciers and ice caps are now in terminal decline because of global warming,
scientists have discovered. A survey has revealed that the rate of melting across the world has
sharply accelerated in recent years, placing even previously stable glaciers in jeopardy. The loss
of glaciers in South America and Asia will threaten the water supplies of millions of people
within a few decades, the experts warn.

Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, who led the research, said:
"The glaciers are going to melt and melt until they are all gone. There are not any glaciers
getting bigger any more."

Loss of land-based ice is one of the clearest signals of global temperature rise, and the state of
glaciers has become a key argument in the debate over climate change. Last year, New Scientist
magazine published a letter from the television botanist David Bellamy, a renowned climate
sceptic, which claimed that 555 of 625 glaciers measured by the World Glacier Monitoring
Service have been growing since 1980. His claim was quickly discredited, but the perception
that glaciers are both growing and shrinking remains.

Dr Kaser said that "99.99% of all glaciers" were now shrinking. Increased winter snowfall
meant that a few, most notably in New Zealand and Norway, got bigger during the 1990s, he
said, but a succession of very warm summers since then had reversed the trend. His team
combined different sets of measurements which used stakes and holes drilled into the ice to
record the change in mass of more than 300 glaciers since the 1940s. They extrapolated these
results to cover thousands of smaller and remote glaciers not directly surveyed.

The results revealed that the world's glaciers and ice caps - defined as all land-based ice except
the mighty Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets - began to shrink far more quickly in 2001.
On average, the world's glaciers and ice caps lost enough water between 1961 and 1990 to raise
global sea levels by 0.35-0.4 mm each year. For 2001-2004, the figure rose to 0.8-1mm each

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists say: "Late 20th century
glacier wastage is essentially a response to post-1970 global warming." Dr Kaser said: "There is
very, very strong evidence that this is down to human-caused changes in the atmosphere."

Emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat in the atmosphere, warming the
surface. One of the first impacts of glacier melting is likely to be in South America. In August, a

report from 20 UK-based environment and development groups warned that Andean glaciers
are melting so fast that some are expected to disappear within 15-25 years.

This would deny major cities water supplies and put populations and food supplies at risk in
Colombia, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia.

Other countries are noticing the effects. Studies show snow and ice cover in the eastern
Himalayas has shrunk by about 30% since the 1970s. Melting glaciers have created lakes in the
mountains which could burst and cause widespread flooding. Of 150 glaciers that once stood in
Glacier National Park in the northern US, only 27 remain. The US Environmental Protection
Agency says the biggest are a third the size they were in 1850. Continued warming could melt
them completely by 2030.


The Guardian: Toxic paint is endangering marine life, says WWF

Tuesday October 10, 2006

Wildlife campaigners warned today that a chemical used in paint on boats and ships is
spreading pollution from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

The WWF said member countries of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), including
the UK, are allowing the toxin tributyltin (TBT) to contaminate wildlife and enter the food

The environmental group is calling on member countries to ratify their own five-year-old
legislation to bring an end to the pollution.

TBT was widely used in anti-fouling paints to prevent marine organisms sticking to the hulls of
boats and ships.

The WWF is to submit a paper tomorrow to a meeting of the IMO on the problem of TBT

Its research shows the impact on mussels, oysters, clams, abalone and gastropods as well as
high contamination of a range of other marine animals such as skipjack tuna and harbour

Dr Simon Walmsley, head of WWF-UK's marine programme, said: "This is a scandal the world
should be ashamed of.

"Forty years after TBT's negative impacts were first identified and five years after the
legislation to ban it was agreed, TBT is still used indiscriminately, polluting global marine life
and our food chain."

Only 17 out of 166 member countries of the IMO have ratified the legislation.

However, the majority of the shipping industry supports a ban, with only unscrupulous
operators still using it.

The leading paint companies have not produced TBT since 2003 and market commercially
viable alternatives instead.

Dr Walmsley added: "Generally the shipping and paint industries support the legislation being
ratified. Delegates at the IMO whose countries have not signed up - including the UK - should
be ashamed.

"This is the most toxic chemical ever deliberately released into the marine environment and
there is no excuse for doing it."

The negative impacts of TBT were first suspected in the late 1960s.

It has been shown to change the sex of dog whelks, has caused oyster crops failures in France
and has closed shellfish farms.

The WWF said it contaminates wildlife in the open ocean as well as in coastal waters.

After 2008, EU legislation will ban the use of TBT on EU-flagged vessels and any ship painted
with it will be refused entry to EU ports.

WWF said the size of the EU market meant this would be enough to hamper any shipping
company's trade.

Reuters: Big bogs spurred ancient global warming: report

By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Massive peat bogs in Siberia and elsewhere may have helped spur global
warming at the end of the last ice age some 12,000 years ago, scientists reported on Thursday.

The ice was already melting when the bogs formed, but the fact that they emitted the
greenhouse gas methane accelerated the warming trend, said Glen MacDonald, a climate change
expert at the University of California Los Angeles.

But this does not take humans off the hook, given that the amount of methane sent into the
atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution is far higher than what occurred naturally
from decomposing material in the old bogs, he said.

"The amount of methane that we have added to the atmosphere is even more extreme than the
rate of this change that happened at end of the last ice age," MacDonald, the study's lead author,
said in a telephone interview. "Over the last 200 years we have more than doubled the amount
of methane in the air."

At the close of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago, the bogs "really turned on," MacDonald
said, and caused a rise in the atmosphere's methane level from 450 parts per billion by volume
to 750 parts per billion.

But from the year 1750 until the present, he said, methane levels went from 750 parts per billion
to 1,700 parts per billion.


"About 60 percent of the methane going into the atmosphere is anthropogenic," or human-
caused, MacDonald said. "Natural sources today aren't really capable of producing the spike
that we're seeing. Methane has reached levels that are unprecedented."

Methane, known to scientists as CH4 and colloquially as swamp gas, is an odorless, colorless
gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect, in which the sun's heat is trapped in the lower
atmosphere, warming Earth.

It occurs widely in nature when bacteria help decompose plant and animal material, without the
benefit of oxygen. This happens in big bogs, which are made up of a thick layer of incompletely
rotted dead organic matter beneath a layer of living vegetation.

By taking core samples of peat bogs in Siberia, and adding that data to samples of other peat
bogs, the scientists determined that these peatlands formed a bit before the end of the last ice
age, but really grew explosively as it ended.

Methane is said to be up to 23 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so
knowing a potential source of methane is important, the researchers said.

This research, by scientists from the University of California Los Angeles and the Russian
Academy of Sciences, was published in the current edition of the journal Science.

Methane, known to scientists as CH4 and colloquially as swamp gas, is an odorless, colorless
gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect, in which the sun's heat is trapped in the lower
atmosphere, warming Earth.

It occurs widely in nature when bacteria help decompose plant and animal material, without the
benefit of oxygen. This happens in big bogs, which are made up of a thick layer of incompletely
rotted dead organic matter beneath a layer of living vegetation.

By taking core samples of peat bogs in Siberia, and adding that data to samples of other peat
bogs, the scientists determined that these peatlands formed a bit before the end of the last ice
age, but really grew explosively as it ended.

Methane is said to be up to 23 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so
knowing a potential source of methane is important, the researchers said.

This research, by scientists from the University of California Los Angeles and the Russian
Academy of Sciences, was published in the current edition of the journal Science.


Le Monde:Al Gore : "La crise climatique menace l'avenir même de la civilisation"
LE MONDE | 12.10.06 | 15h23 • Mis à jour le 12.10.06 | 15h57

Quel est le message que vous voulez transmettre à travers votre film, Une vérité qui dérange ?

Nous sommes confrontés à une crise climatique qui a le caractère d'une urgence planétaire.
Même si ces mots semblent terrifiants, ils sont malheureusement pertinents pour décrire la
relation radicalement nouvelle qui s'est établie entre l'espèce humaine et l'écologie terrestre.

Rien, dans notre expérience passée, ne nous prépare au défi auquel nous sommes maintenant
confrontés, mais c'est un défi que nous devons surmonter.

La bonne nouvelle est que nous avons tout ce qui est nécessaire pour résoudre la crise, si nous
agissons rapidement. Ce qui manque peut-être, c'est la volonté politique. Mais en démocratie, la
volonté politique est une ressource renouvelable, et le moyen de la renouveler est de diffuser la
connaissance de cette situation auprès d'autant de personnes que possible.

Vous estimez qu'il y a une crise dans la démocratie. Quel est le lien entre le fait que la
démocratie soit en mauvaise forme et la difficulté à faire avancer les solutions à la crise
climatique ?

L'information dans une société circule selon un mode de fonctionnement écologique. J'utilise le
mot "écologie" comme une métaphore, mais il est incontestable que l'écologie de l'information
après la révolution de l'imprimerie a créé les bases des Lumières, au XVIIIe siècle. Les
individus ont pu participer à la discussion publique et, bientôt, une méritocratie des idées a
émergé. Le succès des idées individuelles a commencé à dépendre de leur intérêt public. Cette
écologie de l'information a formé la base de la démocratie représentative, dans la république
française et aux Etats-Unis.

Mais il y a cinquante ans, la télévision est devenue la source dominante d'information. Et dans
mon pays, beaucoup plus qu'en France, sa domination est maintenant si écrasante que les
journaux perdent des abonnés. En dépit d'Internet, qui est une source d'espoir pour rouvrir le
forum public aux individus, la télévision accroît son importance année après année. Chaque
Américain regarde en moyenne la télévision quatre heures et demie.

Donc, la crise de la démocratie provient de la domination de la télévision ?

La télévision est un medium à sens unique, à la différence de la presse écrite. Elle est pilotée par
les annonceurs, qui l'utilisent pour vendre des produits, et pour capter l'audience la plus large
avec le dénominateur commun le plus bas. Dans mon pays, le dialogue politique est maintenant
conduit pour l'essentiel au moyen d'annonces télévisées de trente secondes. L'influence malsaine
de l'argent en politique est largement due à la nécessité pour les hommes politiques de
rassembler suffisamment d'argent pour se payer ces annonces. Nous avons des élections dans
une trentaine de jours. 80 % du budget des candidats est employé à acheter des spots télévisés
de trente secondes. Et ces spots ne ressemblent pas aux textes de Voltaire ou de Thomas Paine !

Ils sont plutôt sur le mode "Achetez Coca-Cola !"

Oui, ou des images de Ben Laden, ou de Saddam Hussein, ou ce genre de choses. L'espace
nécessaire en démocratie pour échanger des idées complexes et des informations abondantes a
été réduit à une aire très petite. La veille du jour où le Sénat a voté la guerre en Irak, un sondage
a été réalisé, montrant que 77 % des Américains croyaient que Saddam Hussein était à l'origine
de l'attaque du 11-Septembre. Le sénateur de Virginie de l'Ouest, Robert Byrde, a pris la parole
au Sénat : "Pourquoi cette salle est-elle vide ?, a-t-il demandé, pourquoi cette maison est-elle
silencieuse ?" La chambre était vide parce que les sénateurs étaient dans des petites réunions
destinées à lever des fonds pour se payer des annonces à la télévision.

Et la maison était vide parce que ce qui se dit au Sénat est maintenant largement hors de propos
: les élus pensent que ce qui compte est ce qui est dit dans les spots de trente secondes. Alors,
sur des questions aussi complexes que la crise climatique, qu'il est si difficile d'appréhender…
c'est pourquoi j'ai décidé d'aller vers les gens, au moyen de ce film, afin de changer l'état d'esprit
de la masse, afin que la crise climatique devienne un sujet d'intérêt public et que les citoyens
fassent pression sur leurs représentants politiques.

Mais quel est le lien entre Internet et l'écologie ? Internet permettrait un vrai débat entre les gens

Oui, bien sûr. De la même manière que la presse a cassé le monopole d'information de l'Eglise,
de même que la télévision est devenue dominante au milieu de XXe siècle, Internet sera
finalement le médium dominant. Auprès des jeunes, il est déjà le médium dominant. Mais les
trois quarts des gens qui se connectent à Internet regardent en même temps la télévision, qui a
une qualité qu'Internet n'a pas. L'image animée en direct a un effet quasi hypnotique sur les
gens. Les spécialistes en neurosciences appellent cet effet le "réflexe établi", qui se déclenche
quand un mouvement se produit dans notre champ de vision. Nos prédécesseurs dans la savane
africaine, il y a des centaines de milliers ou des millions d'années, étaient assis, et ceux qui ne
regardaient pas les feuilles bouger ne sont pas nos ancêtres [rire]. La télévision active ce réflexe
que nous avons tous, en moyenne toutes les deux secondes. Les gens qui regardent la télévision
ne participent pas à la démocratie s'ils la regardent quatre à cinq heures par jour.

La première version d'Internet a été créée au début des années 1960, afin de garantir la pérennité
des communications en cas de guerre nucléaire. Cela fonctionne selon le principe de la
commutation de paquets : tout message est cassé en petits morceaux qui voyagent selon des
chemins différents et se combinent à l'arrivée. Cela fait qu'il est impossible d'utiliser Internet
pour une diffusion de masse en direct. On ne peut envoyer les informations qu'à une personne
ou à un groupe.

En ce moment, la télévision et Internet commencent à s'imbriquer, se mêler, on peut charger une
émission et la regarder plus tard – il n'empêche que la télévision reste le média dominant. Le
résultat en est que le dynamisme de l'échange intellectuel, qui est fantastique sur Internet,
n'influence pas encore la politique, le résultat des élections ou le vote du Congrès sur des
questions importantes. Cela arrivera. Mais nous sommes dans une période de vulnérabilité, où la
démocratie est fragile. Pas seulement aux Etats-Unis : la Russie contrôle complètement la
télévision et maintenant intimide les reporters de la presse écrite. Quelques démocraties
naissantes, comme en Afrique du Sud, contrôlent la télévision. En Italie...

Avec Berlusconi.

C'est l'exemple parfait de la façon dont les choses peuvent se passer. De plus, la propriété des
chaînes de télévision a été concentrée entre les mains de quelques conglomérats. Dans mon
pays, ils ont beaucoup d'activités qui ont à voir avec le gouvernement. Tout cela est complexe,
mais la télévision a eu un effet de suppression sur le débat démocratique. C'est Internet qui le
fera revenir au premier plan.

The Independent (UK): Government considers Bill to cut emissions
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
Published: 13 October 2006

The Government may bow to mounting pressure from green groups and opposition parties by
bringing in a Climate Change Bill.

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, is considering what a new law might achieve and
there are growing signs that legislation may be included in the Queen's Speech on 15
November. Although no final decision has been taken, options include setting up an
independent system to monitor progress in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and implementing
measures in the Government's energy review, which will pave the way for a new generation of
nuclear power stations.

Mr Miliband wants to ensure the proposed Bill has teeth and is more than just "gesture politics".

However, the move is unlikely to go as far as the Tories and Liberal Democrats have demanded.
Ministers remain opposed to setting annual targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, saying
they might be unworkable because of unforeseen circumstances such as a rise in gas prices
which would push electricity companies into using more coal.

The Government also opposes a call by Friends of the Earth for ministers to be fined for
missing environmental targets.

Yesterday Mr Miliband called for a cross-party consensus on tackling the threat to the planet.
He told the Commons: "Climate change requires change right across society, from government,
from individuals and from business. All these changes have met with scepticism, all with
opposition, but they were right. Now we need to go further. We will do so, and I look forward
to support from across the House in this drive."

He said the facts about climate change were "more alarming and the need for action more urgent
than previously thought". He said carbon dioxide levels were higher than at any time for the
past 740,000 years, 10 of the warmest years since 1850 had occurred since 1990, and global
temperatures could rise by up to 5.8C by the end of the century.

Peter Ainsworth, the shadow Environment Secretary, was "delighted" the Government appeared
to have shifted its opposition to a Bill. He said: "We need rolling annual carbon reduction
targets to be agreed in Parliament; an independent body to assess the science and make
recommendations as that evolves; and an annual report to Parliament to ensure ministers and
civil servants are accountable."

But he faced charges of double standards after saying Tory MPs could oppose plans to build
wind farms in their constituencies despite the party's support for renewable energy.

Mr Ainsworth insisted: "Individual members of parliament have a duty to represent their
constituents' interests where they are affected by infrastructure projects of any kind.

"Conservative members are perfectly at liberty to take a view about proposals in their own
constituencies. It doesn't actually affect Conservative Party policy."

Chris Huhne, said the Government liked to "talk the talk" on climate change but its policy was
disjointed and dysfunctional.

The Government may bow to mounting pressure from green groups and opposition parties by
bringing in a Climate Change Bill.

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, is considering what a new law might achieve and
there are growing signs that legislation may be included in the Queen's Speech on 15
November. Although no final decision has been taken, options include setting up an
independent system to monitor progress in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and implementing
measures in the Government's energy review, which will pave the way for a new generation of
nuclear power stations.

Mr Miliband wants to ensure the proposed Bill has teeth and is more than just "gesture politics".

However, the move is unlikely to go as far as the Tories and Liberal Democrats have demanded.
Ministers remain opposed to setting annual targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, saying
they might be unworkable because of unforeseen circumstances such as a rise in gas prices
which would push electricity companies into using more coal.

The Government also opposes a call by Friends of the Earth for ministers to be fined for
missing environmental targets.

Yesterday Mr Miliband called for a cross-party consensus on tackling the threat to the planet.
He told the Commons: "Climate change requires change right across society, from government,
from individuals and from business. All these changes have met with scepticism, all with
opposition, but they were right. Now we need to go further. We will do so, and I look forward
to support from across the House in this drive."

He said the facts about climate change were "more alarming and the need for action more urgent
than previously thought". He said carbon dioxide levels were higher than at any time for the
past 740,000 years, 10 of the warmest years since 1850 had occurred since 1990, and global
temperatures could rise by up to 5.8C by the end of the century.

Peter Ainsworth, the shadow Environment Secretary, was "delighted" the Government appeared
to have shifted its opposition to a Bill. He said: "We need rolling annual carbon reduction
targets to be agreed in Parliament; an independent body to assess the science and make
recommendations as that evolves; and an annual report to Parliament to ensure ministers and
civil servants are accountable."

But he faced charges of double standards after saying Tory MPs could oppose plans to build
wind farms in their constituencies despite the party's support for renewable energy.

Mr Ainsworth insisted: "Individual members of parliament have a duty to represent their
constituents' interests where they are affected by infrastructure projects of any kind.

"Conservative members are perfectly at liberty to take a view about proposals in their own
constituencies. It doesn't actually affect Conservative Party policy."

Chris Huhne, said the Government liked to "talk the talk" on climate change but its policy was
disjointed and dysfunctional.

The Independent: Tissue firms accused of falling short on recycling
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 12 October 2006
It may sound like an impertinent question: does your loo paper really need to be quite so bright
and fluffy? But it's serious, according to the green pressure group WWF, which says that too
much virgin fibre from the world's forests is being used in lavatory tissue, when recycled fibre
would be just as good.
The group says major tissue manufacturers have improved their performance, but are still not
producing enough environmentally friendly goods and need to make a greater effort to reduce
the impact of their products on the world's forests.
The charity ranked the five lavatory tissue manufacturers which make up 75 per cent of the
European market according to their environmental credentials. Companies were rated on
recycled content, wood sourcing practices, pollution control and transparency. SCA Tissue, the
maker of Naturelle and Velvet, was ranked top, scoring 69 per cent. Kimberly-Clark, the maker
of Andrex and Kleenex, scored 40 per cent and Procter & Gamble, maker of Bounty and
Charmin, scored 34 per cent. Georgia Pacific, which makes Lotus and Nouvelle in the UK,
came last, with just 26 per cent.
"At a time when the world's natural forests are under an ever-increasing pressure it is essential
that retailers should be offering the most environmentally friendly tissue products to their
customers," said Beatrix Richards, forests campaigner at WWF.
"The levels of recycled fibres being used in lavatory paper, paper towels and napkins are still far
too low. As a result, trees from natural forests and plantations from around the world are
chucked straight into our lavatories and bins. The manufacturers themselves may be becoming
more responsible but this must be matched by offering a greater range of responsible products."
According to WWF, SCA Tissue is the only surveyed company that is able to ensure that a
significant proportion of wood fibres used in its products don't come from poorly managed
forests. This manufacturer also promotes the highest environmental and social standards in
forest management, reaching 89 per cent of the achievable scores on sourcing.
The assessment shows that Metsa Tissue, Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark and Procter &
Gamble have become more aware of the need to address controversial wood sourcing. But they
still fail to show how they effectively exclude the use of timber which is linked to unsustainable
forest exploitation, illegal logging and land rights conflict.
WWF's advice to consumers is to buy recycled lavatory paper first and foremost. "Customers
have a role to play in creating demand for recycled tissues and lavatory tissue," said Ms
Richards. "Consumers should compare the different tissue products and buy those with the most
recycled content."
The European tissue business is worth around €8.5bn (£5.7bn) annually, and accounts for 26 per
cent of global tissue consumption, with each European using 13kg. Every year 25 million trees
go into the production of lavatory paper, paper towels, napkins, facial tissues and handkerchiefs
for EU consumers.

Environment News Service: Bush Pushes for Renewables

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, October 12, 2006 (ENS) - President George W. Bush today warned the
nation not to become complacent about the need for new energy sources. "Let me put it bluntly -
we're too dependent on oil," Bush told attendees at a renewable energy conference in St. Louis.
"Low gasoline prices may mask that concern."
This week the national price for unleaded gasoline reached its lowest point since mid-February.

"I welcome the low gasoline prices, however it's not going to dim my enthusiasm for making
sure we diversify away from oil," Bush said.
The president spoke at the 2006 Advancing Renewable Energy conference, a three-day meeting
sponsored by the government. (Photo by Eric Draper courtesy White House)
The president did not offer any new proposals during the speech, but rather repeated his
message that technology holds the key to the nation's energy future.
"This country has got to use its talent and its wealth to get us off oil," Bush said. "And I believe
we will do so, and I believe - I know - the best way to do so is through technological
"It's time to get rid of the old, stale debates on the environment and recognize new technologies
are going to enable us to achieve a lot of objectives at the same time," Bush said. "Technology
will enable us to be able to say we can grow our economy and protect our environment at the
same time. It's not a zero-sum game anymore.
Security and economic concerns are central to the nation's need to curb its dependence on
foreign oil, said Bush, whose speech was interrupted by a protestor who yelled "Out of Iraq now
- soldiers are not renewables!"
The president ignored the interruption and called on Congress to make the renewable energy tax
credits permanent and touted his programs to promote hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells.
Ethanol is critical to the nation's energy future, Bush said, and there are ample signs of good
progress. Annual ethanol production is up to five billion gallons from 1.6 billion in 2000 and 40
new ethanol refineries are set to begin operations next year. But there are only 700 gasoline
stations that offer ethanol to consumers and few Americans own cars that can run on the
Bush said federal investment in producing ethanol from crops other than corn will pay off in the
long run. "The thing that's preventing ethanol from becoming more widespread across the
country is the lack of other types of feedstocks," Bush said. "It seems like it makes sense to
spend money, your money, on researching cellulosic ethanol, so that we could use wood chips,
or switch grass, or other natural materials."

Switchgrass can yield almost twice as much ethanol as corn, estimates geneticist Ken Vogel.
(Photo by Brett Hampton courtesy USDA)
The transition to new energy sources will not come overnight and the nation "has to be "realistic
about the timing." said Bush, who also renewed his call for more domestic energy production
from traditional sources, such as oil, gas and coal.
The president urged Congress to pass legislation to expand oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of
Congress needs to get the bill to my desk as quick as possible," Bush said. "So when you finish
the elections, get back and let me sign this bill so the American people know that we're serious
about getting off foreign oil."
Bush also stated his support for the continuing use of coal and the expansion of nuclear power.
"If we want to keep this country competitive, if we want to make sure we can compete globally,
we must promote civilian nuclear power," Bush said. "We must have more energy coming from
nuclear power."
"One of the problems we've had is that nobody wants to build any plants," the president added.
"They're afraid of the costs of regulation and the litigious nature that surrounds the construction
of nuclear power plants - litigious problems surrounding the construction of the nuclear power
Critics said Bush's speech offer little new to the nation's energy debate and illustrated the
president's aversion to efforts to curb demand for energy.
Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the president overstated the role
that biofuels - in particular ethanol - can play in curbing the nation's dependence on oil.
"The President's energy speech failed to articulate an effective vision for curbing America's oil
addiction," Markey said. "Even if our country pursues an aggressive ethanol development and
deployment plan, ethanol will not be able to reduce our oil consumption nearly as quickly or as
nearly much as raising fuel economy standards."
Addressing the same conference on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced nearly $17.5 million for 17 biomass research,
development and demonstration projects that they say will help break America's addiction to oil.
Bodman and Johanns
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, left, and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns resopond to
questions at a press conference at the USDA/DOE Renewable Energy Conference. (Photo
courtesy USDA)
"Americans are discovering the road to energy independence is paved with natural resources
grown right here at home,‖ Secretary Johanns told delegates.
"This is a new era for America‘s farmers, ranchers and rural communities as they seize this
moment where opportunity meets need, and where American ingenuity breaks a century long
addiction to oil," Johanns said.

"This funding will spur new scientific innovation that will help us kick our over-reliance on
oil,‖ Bodman said. "By investing in our nation‘s promising researchers we are closer to making
clean, affordable alternative sources of energy a reality."
The new grants are intended to develop technologies necessary to help make bio-based fuels
cost-competitive with fossil fuels in the commercial market.

Energy Department funds go to three projects developing cellulosic biomass. The Agriculture
Department will provide funding to address such topics as feedstock production and product
The largest grant goes to Edenspace Systems Corporation of Virgina. An award of $1,926,900
will be used to develop commercial corn hybrids engineered for enhanced, low-cost conversion
of cellulosic biomass to ethanol.

STAR-TELEGRAM :Big Oil fine with ethanol as additive
ST. LOUIS — Big Oil supports corn-based ethanol as a gasoline additive but opposes efforts to
mandate greater use of ethanol through so-called E85 motor fuel, the head of a trade group
representing major oil and gas producers said Wednesday.
―Some industry critics erroneously claim that our industry is opposed to ethanol and is doing all
it can to discourage its use. Nothing is further from the truth,‖ Red Cavaney, president of the
American Petroleum Institute, told a conference on renewable fuels co-sponsored by the U.S.
Agriculture and Energy departments.
But Cavaney, whose organization includes heavyweights like Exxon Mobil, Chevron and
ConocoPhillips, said new fuel sources should not be pushed at the expense of others.
―We do not have the luxury of limiting ourselves to only a few sources of energy supply to the
exclusion of others,‖ he said. ―Nor should our leading sources of energy, oil and natural gas be
written off before we have found cost-competitive and readily available alternatives.‖
He reiterated figures from the Energy Information Agency that highlight America‘s dependence
on foreign energy sources.
―Oil and natural gas will provide nearly two-thirds of U.S. energy consumption to the year
2030, including more than 90 percent of motor-fuel consumption,‖ Cavaney said.
He said political efforts by some ethanol-producing Midwestern states to mandate use of E85,
an 85 percent ethanol gasoline blend, ―can prove unnecessarily expensive and risky.‖
He pointed to recent government reports that ethanol has only about 70 percent of the fuel
power of gasoline and that relatively few U.S. motor vehicles can use E85.
―If we are to encourage more long-term use of ethanol, we need to avoid surprising consumers
with unanticipated problems,‖ Cavaney said.
Corn-based ethanol has emerged as the renewable fuel of choice this year, primarily because of
a government-ordered switch away from MTBE — now discredited because of its toxicity — as
an environmentally friendly extender.
Ethanol consumption will amount to about 4.6 billion gallons this year, compared with 140
billion gallons of gasoline.
But ethanol, blended mostly at 10 percent a gallon, is now part of 46 percent of all gasoline sold
in the United States.

The surge in ethanol demand has led to the construction of more than 100 processing plants in
Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and the Dakotas. To allay fears that the rising demand for
corn will put pressure on food prices, scientists are working on ways to convert so-called
cellulosic biomass — primarily cornstalks and switch grass, as well as wood chips, into fuel.
―The time for renewable energy clearly has come,‖ U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns
told the crowd gathered at the St. Louis convention center. ―We are looking toward the day
when the U.S. buys fuel not by the gallon but by the bushel.‖
Johanns said that ethanol will remain economically competitive as long as crude-oil prices stay
above $30 a barrel, roughly half of where it has traded in recent weeks. He also said ethanol is
profitable even without the 51-cent per gallon federal tax subsidy in place through 2010.
Johanns and U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman spoke Wednesday as part of the Bush
administration‘s effort to associate itself with politically popular renewable fuels.
The president, who kicked off much of the interest in renewable fuels when he lambasted
America‘s ―addiction‖ to oil in his State of the Union address in January, will visit the two-day
meeting for a luncheon speech today.
The profit potential for renewable fuels isn‘t lost on some of the mainstay industries in the Corn
Belt. Speakers Wednesday included the chief executives of Illinois-based Archer Daniels
Midland Co., a leading grain processor and ethanol producer, and of the venerable farm-
implement maker Deere & Co.
―There is still a nagging fear that the current interest in renewable fuels is a product of the
recent rise in the price of gasoline or just the political power of the Midwest,‖ said Robert Lane,
Deere‘s chief executive. ―We must build sustainable, profitable businesses in renewable
Archer Daniels Midland CEO Patricia Woertz said: ―We must not let cynics dim our vision.‖


Reuters: Ivory Coast Toxic Probe Ship Leaves Estonian Port

TALLINN - A ship which Ivory Coast says discharged toxic waste that killed eight people
in Africa was allowed to leave an Estonian port on Thursday and sailed to a treatment
plant where it was due to unload its cargo.

The Panamanian-registered Probo Koala was seized on Sept. 27 in the port of Paldiski,
following a request by Ivory Coast where thousands of people suffered vomiting, stomach pains
and other symptoms in late August.
Estonia mounted a criminal investigation after impounding the tanker -- which the company
says is carrying routine petroleum "slops" from the inside of oil tanks -- suspecting it may have
discharged dangerous waste into the Baltic Sea.
Although the investigation was continuing, the state prosecutor's office said it was no longer
necessary to hold the vessel and it was heading to North Estonia, near the border with Russia, to
unload its waste.
The head of waste management at the Estonian Environment Ministry, Peeter Eek, said the
tanker was expected to finish unloading on Friday. The waste would then be treated at a nearby
"Once the waste has been unloaded it will be free to leave Estonian waters," he said.

"The ship has lost its value as evidence and once we are assured that the waste ... can be
processed into something not hazardous, the prosecutor will have no further reason to hold the
ship," a spokeswoman said.
Trafigura, the Dutch-based oil trading firm which chartered it, said the vessel in Africa did not
breach procedures.
"The Probo Koala followed all correct procedures when it offloaded slops at Abidjan," the
company said in a statement.
Thousands of people in Ivory Coast suffered vomiting, stomach pains and other symptoms
caused by toxic fumes from waste from the ship in late August, according to the government.
The incident stretched the country's health services and forced its cabinet to resign.

Newsweek International: Why the Frogs Are Dying

Climate change is no longer merely a matter of numbers from a computer model. With startling
swiftness, it is reordering the natural world.

By Mac Margolis

Oct. 16, 2006 issue - Draped like a verdant shawl over Costa Rica's Tilarán Mountains, the
Monteverde cloud forest has long been a nature lover's idyll. Hidden birds flirt to the whisper of
rushing streams and epiphytes tumble from the mist, while delicate flowers bloom impossibly
from the jungle's maw. With luck you might even catch the iridescent flash of the resplendent
quetzal, the elegant symbol of the Central American rain forest.

There's one member of this pageant that won't be turning up, however: the Monteverde
harlequin frog. Named after its palette of yellow, red and black, this miniature amphibian—a
member of the genus Atelopus—had thrived in these Costa Rican mountains for perhaps a
million years. Yet the last time

J. Alan Pounds, an ecologist who has studied the cloud forest's wildlife for 25 years, spotted one
in Monteverde was in 1988. Its cousin, the golden toad, went missing about the same time.
Indeed, the more scientists search, the grimmer the situation looks. A study by 75 scientists
published earlier this year in the journal Nature estimated that two thirds of the 110 known
species of harlequins throughout Central and South America have vanished. And that may be
just the beginning.

The loss of a species is sad enough, not least a jewel like the harlequin, which one researcher
described as a tropical Easter egg. What has puzzled scientists is why. For millennia, this
denizen of tropical America survived by adapting to whatever changes nature threw its way.
Suckers lining the underbelly of tadpoles allow them to cling to rocks without being flushed
downstream. The adult's carnival-like costume warns potential predators to stand clear or risk a
deadly dose of tetrodotoxin. But apparently there's one peril the harlequin couldn't trump:
climate change.

Monteverde gets its lifeblood from the trade winds, which blow moisture uphill where the air
cools and condenses into clouds. An ark of plants, insects and animals flourishes in the cool

misty mountains. Gradually, though, a warming trend has raised nighttime temperatures and
increased cloud cover, which makes for cooler days by blocking solar radiation. The subtle
change, which might go unnoticed by us bipeds, is thought to have been ideal for
chytridomycosis, a disease caused by a waterborne fungus that has flared up throughout tropical
Central and South America. Scientists believe the chytrid disease kills the frogs by blocking
their natural ability to absorb water through their porous skin (and perhaps also by releasing a
toxin), essentially causing them to die of dehydration. What really frightens researchers,
however, is the potential implications of the die-off. "There's basically a mass extinction in the
making," says Pounds. "I think amphibians are just the first wave."

For years now, eminent researchers have been warning of a gathering climate disaster. The
findings at Monteverde, and scores of other research stations around the globe, have shaken
people's complacency. This was not just another computer model spitting out mathematical
warnings but a whole living genus on the brink. Alarmed at the portents, a network of
conservationists is trying to evacuate the remaining harlequin frogs to fungus-free zones and
frog farms. But such heroics may be futile. Scientists monitoring wildlife around the world are
echoing Pounds's research. Their conclusion: many more species will perish.

A global temperature rise of a mere 0.6 degrees Celsius over the last century has sent shock
waves through the animal kingdom. From the desiccating rain forests of Australia to the
thawing Arctic, the warmer weather is expelling animals from age-old homelands, scrambling
mating and nesting habits, and putting competitors on a prickly collision course. As habitable
spaces get smaller, competition for food grows fierce. Meanwhile, insects and pests, which
flourish in the heat, abound. So may the diseases they carry, like dengue fever, avian pox or
cholera. Scholars are asking whether the loss of individual species could have a knock-on effect
all through the food chain. "We are seeing problems from pole to pole; we see them in the
oceans and we see them on land," says Lara Hansen, chief climate-change scientist at the World
Wildlife Fund. "There are very few systems that I can think of that are untouched by climate

Not all the science points to disaster. Some species can adapt to the changing climate. But to
what extent? "Climate change is happening a lot faster than the process of evolution can," says
biologist Camille Parmesan, at the University of Texas. "The fact that species are going extinct
is telling you that they didn't adapt."

Still others parry that the havoc credited to climate change owes more to deforestation or
diseases spread by humans. Yet to many experts, that misses the point. "We already know that
all kinds of diseases respond to climate conditions. We also know that the interaction of species,
especially predators and parasites, can also complicate the equation—which is something the
computer climate models don't take into account," says Pounds. "That makes the impact of
climate change difficult to predict, but probably even more severe than you'd imagine."

The trouble at Monteverde only heightened a mystery that had scientists stumped for years: why
do whole species of wildlife disappear in apparently pristine parks and nature preserves? There
had been no shortage of theories to explain the demise of the harlequins, from acid rain to an
overdose of ultraviolet rays. By the late nineties, attention shifted to the chytrid fungus
outbreaks, which many amphibian experts concluded were the smoking gun. But Pounds wasn't
satisfied. After all, it wasn't just harlequins, but all kinds of amphibians that were dying. And if
the chytrid disease was killing the frogs, what was behind the deadly outbreak?

In time, Pounds learned that the fungus flourished in the wet season and turned lethal in warm
(17 to 25 degrees Celsius) weather—exactly the conditions that climate change was bringing to
the cloud forest. More important, he found that 80 percent of the extinctions followed unusually
warm years. "The disease was the bullet killing the frogs, but climate was pulling the trigger,"
says Pounds. "Alter the climate and you alter the disease dynamic."

In a broad survey of scientific literature, Parmesan and Wesleyan University economist Gary
Yohe recently concluded that hundreds of animals and plants had responded to climate change
by jumping their biological clocks. Yellow-bellied marmots stir from hibernation 23 days later
than they did in the mid-1970s, when temperatures in the Rocky Mountains were 1.4 degrees
cooler. Some 65 bird species in the U.K. are laying eggs nearly nine days earlier than they did
in 1971. Others have literally fled, pushing north to cooler climes or to higher altitudes. Nearly
two dozen species of dragonflies and damselflies are now wandering nearly 90 kilometers north
of their habitual range in the U.K. of four decades ago, while in Spain a steady warming trend
has reduced the habitat of 16 species of highland butterflies by a third in just 30 years.

On a boundless planet such artful dodging would not be a problem. But climate change is
beginning to crowd animals together. Canada's red fox has moved 900 kilometers north into
Baffin Island, where it is trespassing on the grounds of the Arctic fox. Scientists are reporting a
complex ripple effect at Monteverde. The same warming trend that makes for hotter nights in
the wet season also provokes prolonged dry spells in summer, attracting all sorts of fair-weather
strangers. One is the aggressive keel-billed toucan, which has climbed from the foothills to the
cloud forests, competing for food and nesting spots with the quetzal.

On the ground, Pounds's team has noticed a dramatic decline in the population of lizards, and
some snakes like the cloud-forest racer and the firebellied snake, which once fed on the
harlequin frogs. The loser, again, looks to be the quetzal, which is already capturing fewer frogs
and lizards—a key protein and calcium source for its nestlings. "When interactions between
species are disrupted, the outcome can sometimes be devastating," says Pounds.

Pests are the big winners in a warming world. A parasite called the nemotode, which dies off in
the heat, has compensated by breeding faster, which causes fertility to plunge, or even death,
among infected wild musk oxen. A kidney disease has flourished in the warming streams of
Switzerland, ravaging trout stocks. Meanwhile, the oyster parasite, a scourge to shell fishermen
in Chesapeake Bay, has crept all the way to Maine because of milder winters. Though there's
little hard science linking climate change to farm pests, most agricultural experts say it's a
matter of connecting the dots. "There is good evidence that warmer conditions favor more
invasive species," says David Pimentel, who studies invasive plants and pests at Cornell
University. "Invasive plants can compete with native varieties and cause extinctions."

Global warming is taking an especially heavy toll on specialists, species whose biology tailors
them to specific geographic areas and narrow climate and temperature ranges. A recent casualty
is the honeycreeper, a tiny songbird found only in the mountains of Hawaii. It has been
decimated by a plague of avian pox carried by mosquitoes that have moved steadily farther into
the highlands.

An even bleaker example is the pika, a small, mountain-dwelling lagomorph related to the
rabbit, with a low threshold for heat; it starts to die as soon as the mercury tops 24 degrees,
which is exactly what is happening in its native habitat. Nine of 25 pika communities known in
the western United States in the 1930s have now vanished, while fully half of those that once
roamed the Tian Shan Mountains of northwest China are gone.

One of the most besieged of all the specialists is the polar bear, which hunts seal from floating
chunks of sea ice. Warmer currents in the Arctic Ocean have hastened the breakup of ice floes
and forced the bears to swim greater distances for their meals, putting them at risk of drowning
or starving. Already bear watchers say the average weight of polars in Hudson Bay has dropped
from 295kg to 230kg—near the threshold below which they stop reproducing. Polar bears now
top most green groups' endangered lists.

More than polar bears will be in trouble if atmospheric temperatures rise two more degrees—far
from the worst-case climate forecasts. The Greenland ice shelf would melt, posing a threat to a
whole web of life that depends on ice, including plankton, which feed fish, which are eaten by
seals, which are meals for both polar bears and Inuk hunters. In the Southern Hemisphere, many
researchers have already linked sharp declines in penguins like the rock hopper, Galápagos,
blackfoot, Adélie and the regal emperor to warmer ocean currents, which have flushed away
staple food supplies like krill, a coldwater crustacean.

The loss of creatures is alarming enough. What about losing an entire ecosystem? For most of
the last two decades, Stephen Williams, a tropical ecologist at James Cook University in
Australia, has been studying the evolutionary biology of the Australian rain forests. The
sprawling experiment was meant to plot how wildlife evolved in the mountainous cloud forests
along the coast of northeast Queensland, where thousands of unique animal and plant species
have thrived for 5 million years. But when Williams ran his data through a computer model,
testing for a modest rise in world temperatures (3.5 degrees Celsius over a century), he was
floored. By 2100, his team concluded, up to 50 percent of all species would be gone. "I
expected to see an impact, but this was shocking," says Williams.

Perhaps what is most alarming about Williams's study is that even if not another tree ever falls
to the chainsaw or bulldozer, one of the planet's most heralded World Heritage sites will still be
under silent siege. "We're looking at losing most of the things that the protected areas were put
in place to preserve," he warns. Already the populations of the gray-headed robin and a small
frog belonging to the species Cophixalusneglectus are beginning to thin, while marsupials,
reptiles and a host of forest birds are fleeing the heat ever higher up the mountainside, to where
the life-giving clouds have retreated. "Soon," says Williams, "there will be nowhere to go."
Nowhere, perhaps, but heaven.


                                     ROAP Media Update
                                       13 October 2006

General Environment News

      Asean ministers to meet over haze problem today – TODAYonline
      Economic loss estimated at US$50m since the start of the haze - Channel News Asia
      Earthquake rocks Taiwan, no reports of damage - Courier Mail
      Energy Guzzler - Asia News

General Environment News

Asean ministers to meet over haze problem today
TODAYonline, Singapore, Friday • October 13, 2006

AS environment ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meet today
in Indonesia to discuss the haze, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said that Indonesia
will ratify the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution it signed in 2002.

Dr Yudhoyono told this to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a telephone call yesterday, in
which he thanked Mr Lee for his letter of Wednesday.

He gave his assurance that Indonesia was determined to take effective measures to prevent
future forest fires.

Both leaders agreed that Indonesia and the regional countries would take concrete steps and
develop a long-term plan of action towards preventing the haze, according to a statement from
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Lee, who welcomed Indonesia's decision to host today's meeting, thanked Dr Yudhoyono
for his commitment and sincerity in dealing with the problem.

He assured Dr Yudhoyono that Singapore would give Indonesia its full support.

The haze was not an easy problem to solve, but he was confident that with Dr Yudhoyono's
leadership and personal attention, Indonesia would ultimately be able to tackle it successfully.

At the meeting in Pekan Baru, Riau province today will be Singapore's Environment and Water
Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, and his counterparts from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia,
Singapore and Thailand.

Dr Yudhoyono, who had apologised on Wednesday to Malaysia and Singapore over the crisis,
"puts high hopes on the results of the Asean ministerial meeting", his spokesman said.
Economic loss estimated at US$50m since the start of the haze
Channel News Asia, Singapore, By Rita Zahara, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 12 October 2006

SINGAPORE: Singapore has suffered an estimated loss of US$50m since the onset of the haze
in early September.

This according to economists, who studied the impact the haze had on the economy in 1997.

The good news is the haze is expected to improve later this month.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) registered 42 at 10pm on Thursday, a sharp difference from
150 when this year's haze was at its peak last Saturday.

Although this year's haze is less severe than in 1997 when large tracts of Singapore and
Malaysia were covered in haze, economists say the haze has nonetheless hurt Singapore's

"Some of the various losses arising from forest fires and haze include threat to public health,
rise in respiratory illness, hospitalisation and treatment costs. Losses in tourism, losses in
productivity because people take time off from work because they're sick, losses to recreation,
outdoor recreation in particular, people cannot enjoy the outdoor life," said Assoc Prof Euston
Quah, Head, Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University.

Studies on the 1997 haze crisis showed Singapore had suffered estimated losses of about

The breakdown: health costs - US$5m, loss in tourism - US$210m, loss in visibility - US$41m,
loss in recreation - US$95, 000.

The economic loss per household was estimated at about US$400 while losses each
Singaporean experienced US$100.

NEA will be releasing graphics of the haze situation daily, so that the public can visualise how
close Singapore is to the hotspots and take precautionary measures.

The images taken from 10 different satellites are analyzed daily by a team of about 6
meteorologists at the Met Services Division to provide an integrated representation of the haze
condition in the region.

"The south-west monsoon season turns out to be also the dry season in the South Sumatra
region and the dry season together with the south-west monsoon is coming close to an end. We
do expect wetter conditions to occur sometime towards the end of October. With wetter
weather, we would expect the smoke haze condition in the source region that is in South
Sumatra, Jambi, in the Riau area to gradually ease off leading to an improvement in the whole
regional haze situation," said Lam Keng Gaik, Chief Meteorological Officer, Met Service
Division, NEA.

Still, experts say the haze may persist for awhile.

"A lot of fire the hotspots are really what we call peat swamps and some of the burning goes
underground so we really need to douse that fire and we really don't know how much rainfall is
required," said Dr Chang Chew Hung, Department of Geography, Nanyang Technological

Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim will attend the Sub-Regional
Ministerial Meeting on Transboundary Haze Pollution at Pekanbaru in Riau Province, Indonesia
on Friday. - CNA /dt
Earthquake rocks Taiwan, no reports of damage
Courier Mail, Australia, From correspondents in Taipei, Taiwan, October 13, 2006

AN earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale rattled Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau
said, with tremors felt in the capital Taipei where buildings shook.

There were no immediate reports of damage, according to cable television news channel TVBS.

A spokesman for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd, the world's top contract chip
manufacturer, said by telephone operations were unaffected.

The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 12.46am (AEST) was about 90km southeast of Ilan
county on the eastern coast, at a depth of 3.5km, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Earthquakes occur frequently in Taiwan, which lies on a seismically active stretch of the Pacific

One of Taiwan's worst-recorded quakes occurred in September 1999. Measuring 7.6 on the
Richter scale, it killed more than 2400 people and destroyed or damaged 50,000 buildings.,23739,20573160-954,00.html#
Energy Guzzler
Asia News, By Goh Sui Noi in Beijing, The Straits Times, Publication Date : 2006-10-13

China is at the forefront in developing renewable energies in a bid to cope with its soaring

Teacher Ren Yushi, 32, is one of 35 million people in China who have installed solar water
heaters in their homes.

He bought the heater for his top-floor flat in Beijing to save on electricity bills, and also because
it was environmentally-friendly.

Not everyone who buys a solar heater cares about pollution or depletion of Earth‘s natural
resources, but China has more users of these appliances than the rest of the world combined.

Solar energy is among a number of renewable energy sources that the Chinese government is
developing to address the energy needs and pollution problems of Asia‘s economic powerhouse.

It is also working on or considering harnessing wind, biomass, geothermal, tidal and wave
Earlier this year, Beijing implemented a new Renewable Energy Law. Regulations are being
drawn up in tandem with the new law to encourage the development and use of renewable
sources of energy.

It has been more than a decade since China began looking seriously at developing renewable
energies. Hydroelectricity was already in use in the country when it became a net importer of oil
in 1993.

Three years later (1996), the Cabinet-level National Research and Development Commission
launched a clean energy project to help develop a sustainable energy system that would include
maximising energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources.

A new impetus came in recent years as surging economic growth drove up energy demands,
with acute shortages and blackouts in major cities and industrial zones.

Energy demand will soar even more as growing affluence and the government‘s push to raise
living standards lead to higher demand for energy-guzzling cars, air-conditioners, refrigerators
and television sets.

―To improve their daily lives requires a lot of energy resources,‖ said Shen Yiyang, programme
manager for energy and environment at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
in China.

―If current forms of energy are used, it will be impossible to satisfy demand. It will also put a
lot of pressure on the world oil market.‖

Instability in the oil-producing Middle East where much of China‘s oil comes from have led to
worries about energy security and the need for self-sufficiency.

Renewable energy sources are the way to go, given that China‘s oil, natural gas and coal
resources are being depleted rapidly and will last only 15, 30 and 80 years respectively at
current rates of extraction.

With oil prices soaring, the high cost of renewable energies is beginning to look less daunting.
But energy concerns are not the only reasons for the push to develop renewables.

Environmental factors have become important as the economic, health and social costs of
pollution from burning fossil fuels are becoming apparent.

Among them: lower crop yields, higher occurrences of respiratory diseases and acid rain which
falls on one-third of the country.

The new law aims for renewable energy sources to make up 15 per cent of China‘s energy
capacity by 2020, up from about seven per cent now.

It also commits US$180 billion to developing such energy sources from now until that year. Tax
breaks, low-cost loans and other financial incentives are also being considered.

The introduction of renewable energies such as solar and biomass power has been especially
important in remote and rural parts of China where it can be costly and difficult to get
connected to the power grid.

Access to electricity through renewables not only turns villagers away from burning coal,
firewood or oil but can also improve their standards of living as well, said Shen of the UNDP.

―Without electricity, villagers could do little when it got dark, but now they have access to TV
and computers and understand the outside world,‖ he said.

Information from the outside helps villagers tailor their products to demand and earn more, he

China‘s commitment to renewables, and to more efficient production and use of energy, has
been praised by the World Bank‘s chief scientist Robert Watson.

―It has some very good plans of how to produce energy in the most sustainable way. We have to
strongly support their direction towards renewable energy, more efficient use of energy, more
efficient production of energy,‖ he told The Straits Times during the recent International
Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Singapore.

China‘s energy strategy includes increasing efficient usage through encouraging energy-saving
buildings —95 per cent of the country‘s buildings are highly energy-consuming.

It also includes more efficient transportation and the development of energy-efficient products
such as light-bulbs and refrigerators.

Still, the country‘s sheer size, and its 1.3 billion people, makes its energy demand and the
environmental consequences daunting for itself and the world.

Dr Watson pointed to how China added an average of one gigawatt of new electricity power per
week from coal last year—the same amount of power the whole of Africa is expected to add per
year for the next 20 years.

In addition, China is the biggest emitter of sulphur dioxide from coal. In 2010, coal will still
make up about two thirds of the country‘s primary energy consumption.

It is also the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, after the United
An Indian think-tank has called China‘s target of cutting sulphur dioxide emissions by 10 per
cent in 2010 ―pitiful‖. It said the expected increase in coal production would in effect cancel out
the effort to reduce emissions.

But, as Shen pointed out, if China fails to turn to renewable sources of energy, its soaring
demand for oil would push prices up further.

Conversely, the sheer economies of scale to come from its efforts to develop renewables will
push down prices of these alternative power sources.

And that can only be good news for the rest of the world.


                                           ROA Media Update
                                            13 October 2006

                                       General Environment News
Africa: $100 Million Fund for Clean Energy in the South
SciDev.Net (London): The European Commission last week (6 October) said it would dedicate
US$100 million to help developing countries adopt energy-efficient technologies and make more use
of renewable energy to combat air pollution and climate change. The Global Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy Fund will help overcome the difficulties of raising enough commercial funding
for such projects by providing new risk-sharing and co-financing options to attract international and
domestic investors. "The lack of access to energy is a major obstacle for regions that already
experience problems in accessing capital," says European commissioner for development, Louis
Michel. "This fund can mobilise private investments and become a real source of development,
especially in Africa. According to the International Energy Agency, it is possible to reduce global
demand for electricity by one third -- simply by improving overall energy efficiency. The agency says
the growing demand for oil could be halved by increasing renewable energy's contribution to the
world's electricity needs from today's 13 per cent to 34 per cent in 2050. This would decrease the
impacts of energy generation on the environment, by reducing levels of carbon dioxide emitted to the
atmosphere. The European Commission will kick-start the fund with a contribution of up to US$100
million over the next four years, and expects that financing from other public and private sources will
boost it to at least US$125 million. The fund will also help create regional sub-funds for Africa, Asia,
the Caribbean and Pacific region, Latin America, North Africa and non-EU Eastern Europe. These
will be tailored to regional needs and will focus on smaller projects ignored by commercial investors.
European commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas says the innovative mechanism will help
bring "clean, secure and affordable energy supplies to the 1.6 billion people around the world who
have no access to electricity".

Liberia: Waterside Becomes Garbage Spot Again
The Analyst (Monrovia): It appears that the removal of thousands of sellers from one of Monrovia's
busy selling centers, Waterside, has done more harm than good with heap of garbage posing serious
health problems for residents and other business owners. According to our reporter who toured the
area, stock pile of garbage is visible at the intersection of Mechlin and Water Streets as well as the
General Market there, and is posing a serious health hazard to thousands of marketers still selling in
the area. In an interview with our reporter, several marketers said the disposal of garbage in the area
was creating problems for them. According to them, the garbage has been in the area for about three
months without any action on the part of authority of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and the
Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) to remove it. "Since August to present, no one has been able to
clear the garbage from here and we have collected money for the disposal of the garbage,' remarked
one of the several marketers, saying the garbage is instead swelling on a daily basis. According to
analysts, if the authorities cannot ensure cleaning the place, then it was useless to remove thousands
of sellers who roam the city with their wares.

Reunion plans Environment Days

Saint Denis, Reunion (PANA) - Reunion plans a number of activities to mark Environment Day 4-10
December, under the theme: "Free choices, responsible gestures," official sources said here. The
event is to raise public awareness on the need to protect the environment for sustainable development.

Mozambican First Lady wants arsonists punished
Muanza, Mozambique (PANA) - Mozambican First Lady Maria da Luz Guebuza, has urged
community leaders to identify those behind the bush fires that have destroyed forests and wildlife in
the country's central province of Sofala. Speaking during a working visit to Muanza, one of the
districts worst hit by the fires, ignited either to clear land for agriculture, or to smoke out bush rats,
Mrs. Guebuza said district authorities should work with local communities to alt the indiscriminate
fires. Describing bush fires as "an enemy of our struggle against poverty," she said teachers should
take the lead in changing attitudes, by explaining to pupils the adverse consequences of bush fires. If
we do not teach our children right away, imagine what things will be like in ten years time," she said.
"We won't have any animals, any medicinal plants, and any forests left." At least two children have
been killed in Mozambican bush fires
this year.

Nigeria: ELF Pledges to End Gas Flaring Dec
Vanguard (Lagos): Port Harcourt ELF Nigeria Limited has promised to end gas flaring in all its
operations in the country from December this year when work on its Amenam Kpono project phase II
would have been completed. The company said already the bridge, which would convey gas from the
phase one of the Amenam Kpono project was about 99% completed. Giving details yesterday at
Saipem yard in Port Harcourt after conducting newsmen round, Engineer Patrick Ngene said the
phase one of the projects came on stream since 1993. And currently about one thousand barrel of oil
daily. He said the phase two when ready would begin to ship gas from the phase one to the NLNG
Bonny for monetization. He said fittings like electric cables, pipelines; instrument lines etc had been
done on the bridge. He said about 42% of the engineering work was local input while the construction
was entirely local content. Stressing that the project would end gas flaring in all its operations Engr
Patrick said the company had reduced gas flaring to about 80%. He said the Amenam Kpolo project
phase two would ship gas to train six. The bridge weighs 750 tons and the length is 93.5 meters.
Width is 6 meters and the height is 10 meters. A statement later from the company reads," The Bridge
that you saw is part of the big AKOGEP II project, made up of a process platform AMP1, a Drilling
platform AMD3. And the jackets for AMP II and AMD3 the Bridge links AMP2 to an older platform
AMP1          that    formed      part      of     the     first     phase      of      the     project.

Namibia: Ramatex Pollution Proved
The Namibian (Windhoek): THE City of Windhoek will soon take over waste disposal management
at Ramatex after underground water pollution was discovered. Environmentalists have raised
concerns about underground water pollution since the establishment of the Ramatex Textile Factory
in 2001, but Government had previously threatened to take legal action against such reports in the
media. Yesterday, the Corporate Communications Manager at the City of Windhoek said they would
soon be taking over the factory's waste management. That would come as a huge relief to residents in
the Otjomuise and Gammams areas, who have complained about air pollution. The Municipality is
currently monitoring the factory's impact on groundwater on a three-monthly basis, thanks to
monitoring drill stations situated in the surrounding area. Through this process, the municipality has
discovered that the environmentalists' concerns were in fact legitimate, at least within close proximity

of the Ramatex factory. In 2004 already, a report by an independent engineering company contracted
to come up with a solution to improve Ramatex's recycling process suggested that the Windhoek
Municipality or an independent contractor take over the factory's recycling system. Ramatex uses
large evaporation ponds to store wastewater. However, not enough water is evaporating from them
and the ponds are believed to have overflowed on several occasions, mixing with water from streams
that run towards the Goreangab Dam. The factory has also been accused of disposing poisonous
wastewater by spraying it onto open areas behind the factory premises. Although water contamination
from the factory appears to be limited to its immediate surroundings, Municipal officials have
described the problem as serious.

                           UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
                                   DAILY NEWS
13 October, 2006


After intensive negotiations, the United Nations Security Council could
vote as early as tomorrow on a United States resolution calling for action
against the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its reported
nuclear test, although the final position of veto-wielding Russia and China
was not yet clear.

The United Kingdom, France, Slovakia and Japan are co-sponsoring the
resolution and ―several others indicated their support,‖ Council President
for October Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan told reporters after the
15-member body held consultations this morning, adding that the US intends
to put it to a vote tomorrow.

―Members also emphasized the need for the Council to act in unity as well
as the need to take swift action. The Chinese and Russian ambassadors again
explained their position,‖ he said.

The five permanent members who have veto power – China, France, Russia, the
UK and the US – were holding further meetings today together with Japan.
One of the key questions has been the issue of sanctions and their

Although all members strongly condemned the reported test in consultations
on Monday, Mr. Oshima said on Tuesday that a major focus was whether to
invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter that allows for sanctions and the use
of force in the case of a threat to or breach of peace.

Asked again about the timing of the vote, Mr. Oshima said: ―I believe the
intention of the United States is to put the text sometime today – that
would imply that they will be putting it to a vote tomorrow.

―There may be changes of course because there are still a lot of
consultations going on among Member States. This certainly will continue in
the afternoon in a very intensive way. So I do not preclude the possibility
of a little bit of delay but I think at least the intention of the proposal
of the United States and that of the co-sponsors is to have it voted

UN officials, led by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, have insisted on the
urgent need for the DPRK to return to the Six-Party Talks that have been
seeking to resolve the issue of its nuclear programme. The talks between

China, DPRK, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia and US have been going on
sporadically in Beijing for several years.



Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea is likely to be
elected by acclamation as next Secretary-General of the United Nations when
the General Assembly meets at 3 p.m. tomorrow to formally appoint the
successor to Kofi Annan, who steps down on 31 December.

The Secretary-General designate will not take the oath of office
immediately, as is usual, but at a later date in December, which would
allow him to finish some of his current responsibilities as his country‘s
foreign minister. He will begin his five-year term on 1 January.

Laying out the procedure for the appointment, General Assembly spokesperson
Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte told a news briefing today that Assembly Sheikha
Haya Al Khalifa of Bahrain will first invite the Security Council President
for October, Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, to report on the Council‘s

On Monday, the 15-member body chose Mr. Ban as its nominee for the post,
but the formal appointment rests with the 192-member Assembly.

The Assembly will then ―take action either by acclamation, as is usually
the practice, or of course you know the possibility exists that somebody
may ask for a vote, though we think it‘s unlikely,‖ Ms. Bindley-Taylor
Sainte said.

Statements will be made by Sheikha Haya, Mr. Annan, the regional group
chairpersons, the representative of the United States as host country and
the Secretary-General designate himself.

Mr. Ban is expected to talk to the news media following his appointment.



Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan‘s war-ravaged Darfur region
enjoyed greater access to aid workers during September but the number of
attacks and security incidents there also jumped in the same month,
according to the latest snapshot by the United Nations‘ humanitarian arm.

Sudan Humanitarian Overview, released today by the Office for the

Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported an increase in
attacks on aid workers‘ vehicles, from hijackings and ambushes to acts of

―The atmosphere of fear and insecurity‖ inside IDP camps is also deepening,
the overview said, with armed men at many sites – especially in the
evenings when there is no international presence – and several assaults

As many as 2 million people are displaced within Darfur, a remote and
impoverished region in western Sudan that has been beset by brutal fighting
between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militias and rebel groups since
2003. An estimated 200,000 others have been killed during that period.

Today‘s report highlighted the problems caused by the fragmentation of the
region‘s rebel forces since May, when only some groups and factions signed
the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). Fighting has intensified since that
agreement was struck.

―Humanitarian access has become a daily challenge for aid workers as
territory is changing hands frequently. Risk of being caught in the
crossfire of ongoing aerial bombings has forced some humanitarian
organizations to suspend all activities near frontlines,‖ the report

Aid workers‘ access to IDPs improved in September, the overview noted, only
because the situation in July and August had been considered the worst in
two years.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has received reports that armed
men shot at two cars belonging to a non-governmental organization (NGO) in
the South Darfur town of Goussa Shark yesterday, UN spokesman Stephane
Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Mr. Dujarric said the Mission has also received reports of sporadic
shooting between soldiers in the North Darfur state capital of El Fasher.



Presenting a mixed report card on African development over the past five
years, the top United Nations adviser on the continent warned today that
the challenge for all Africans is to put in place the conditions for
lasting peace or risk all the progress made in infrastructure, education,
health and other areas under the region‘s common development strategy
coming to nothing.

The New Partnership for Africa‘s Development (NEPAD) was adopted by the
continent‘s leaders five years ago, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila,
Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s Special Adviser on Africa, told reporters,
emphasizing that it was an ―African initiative‖ that lays out an agreed
vision of social and economic development.

―Unless there is peace on the continent, of course, all the projects under
NEPAD will come to nought and therefore the struggle followed by the
Africans is to make sure that we can create conditions on the continent for
peace to prevail and of course if peace prevails, development will
flourish,‖ said Mr. Legwaila.

He acknowledged that people were often sceptical as to whether peace was
advancing in Africa, but picked out several countries, including Liberia
and Sierra Leone, as showing the way forward although at the same time
acknowledging that they needed support.

―Progress has been made although people sometimes are confused by the fact
that most of the peacekeeping forces by the United Nations are in Africa
because most of the conflict is located in Africa.‖

―People think that there is no progress. There is progress. Burundi – the
peace process there was successful, although there are some little
difficulties… and then of course we have Liberia, Sierra Leone. These are
countries which were helped by the United Nations to end conflict.‖

Earlier in the day, the General Assembly began debating Mr. Annan‘s latest
report on NEPAD and international support for the strategy, with its
President, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain, similarly
acknowledging progress had been made on the continent but also calling for
more to be done.

―It is encouraging to note that the report recognized progress in the key
priority areas of NEPAD ranging from infrastructure to information and
communication technologies, to education and health, environment,
agriculture, science and technology, gender mainstreaming and the African
Peer Review Mechanism,‖ she told the Assembly.

―The report reflects the recognition of the progress made since last year,
but also underlines the importance of undertaking policy measures to
accelerate its implementation.‖

Also on Africa, the Assembly started debate today on Mr. Annan‘s report on
the causes and prevention of conflict on the continent, which notes that,
while steady progress is being made in preventing strife, ―increased and
concerted action is needed to prevent simmering crises from escalating and
to ensure that the hard-won peace in countries emerging from conflict
becomes irreversible.‖

The gathering of 192 Member States also discussed the decade of rolling

back malaria in developing countries initiative – particularly in Africa,
with Sheikha Haya quoting World Health Organization (WHO) figures to the
Assembly showing that the disease continues to threaten the lives of at
least three billion people in 107 countries and territories.



Not only has there not been any significant improvement in Palestinian
movement in recent months but the number of Israeli checkpoints and other
obstacles has actually increased, hindering access to essential services,
according to the latest United Nations update published today.

―The closure system is a primary cause of the humanitarian crisis in the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip,‖ the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned. ―It restricts Palestinian access not
only to basic services such as health and education, but divides
communities from their land and one another, places of work and sites of
religious worship.‖

Obstacles include permanent and partially manned checkpoints, roadblocks
consisting of rows of one-metre concrete blocks, metal gates, earth mounds,
earth walls, trenches, road barriers and an elaborate system of permits.

―The purpose of these obstacles, as the Israeli Government states, is to
protect Israeli citizens from Palestinian militant attacks that have killed
around 1,000 Israelis since September 2000,‖ OCHA noted.

The closures continue to carve up the West Bank, leading to the isolation
of communities, in particular the cities of Nablus, Jerusalem as well as
the Jordan Valley.

As of 20 September, the West Bank closure system comprised 528 checkpoints
and physical obstacles – an increase of almost 2 per cent on the 518
obstacles reported in June, an 11 per cent rise since the start of 2006,
and almost 40 per cent since August 2005 when the total was 376.



The landmark United Nations fund set up to jump-start relief operations for
natural and man-made disasters and save thousands of lives that would
otherwise be lost to delay offers ―living proof‖ that the world body can
reform, the UN‘s top humanitarian official said today.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) – which has committed $174
million to more than 250 projects in 26 countries since its launch in March
– has ensured there are no longer discussions on why there is not enough
money for emergencies, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan
Egeland told a press conference in Geneva.

―The CERF is living proof that the United Nations can reform, is reforming
and is getting better,‖ he said, adding that the Fund has been helped by
the comparative lack of emergencies around the world so far this year.

The Fund‘s achievements include the supply of food rations to thousands of
victims of fighting in Timor-Leste in April, the provision of helicopters
in Sudan‘s war-torn Darfur region to allow aid workers to reach otherwise
inaccessible internally displaced persons (IDPs), emergency flood relief in
Ethiopia, and projects to fight malaria and cholera in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Mr. Egeland spoke after a meeting of CERF‘s advisory group, which reviewed
its operations so far and discussed possible funding goals for next year.
The group consists of 12 expert members appointed by Secretary-General Kofi

Some 52 Member States, a Japanese prefecture and a private disaster
resource organization have pledged more than $273 million to the Fund‘s
grant facility, with almost $267 million already ―in the bank.‖

CERF, which has a target reserve of $450 million, was created as part of
key UN reforms sought by Mr. Annan to ensure swifter responses to
humanitarian emergencies, with adequate funds made available within three
to four days as opposed to up to four months or more under the previous $50
million fund.

A replenishment conference is scheduled for 7 December at UN Headquarters
in New York.



Roughly 250,000 Chechens face a complete cut off of international food aid
and 144,000 Azerbaijanis drastic food aid reduction by the end of the month
unless donors come up with more money, a United Nations food expert warned

Sputtering international funding for these humanitarian operations, handled
by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), has already triggered cut-backs in
Chechens receiving assistance, and rations for Azerbaijanis, said Jean

Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

In a statement he called on UN member states to ―immediately honour their
legal obligations‖ to respond quickly to emergency food situations.

The warning echoes an urgent WFP appeal in July when it had managed to
raised just 28 per cent of the $22 million it needs to feed 250,000
Chechens in 2006.

―From [the end of] October, we will have absolutely nothing left to
distribute,‖ said Koryun Alaverdyan, WFP‘s Deputy Country Director in the
Russian Federation at the time. ―The people we seek to assist are the
poorest survivors of the Chechen conflict.‖

Insufficient donations have already forced the agency to cut the number of
displaced Chechens being assisted in Ingushetia from 27,000 to 16,000 and
only wheat flour has been provided since the beginning of the year, rather
than the standard ration which also included vegetable oil, sugar and salt.

―Without outside help, these people will have to fend for themselves, which
means resorting to measures such as selling what meagre assets they have
left,‖ said Mr. Alaverdyan. ―That would make it even more difficult for
them to start rebuilding their lives.‖

Unsteady funding in WFP‘s current $15.7 million programme for Azerbaijan
has already caused ration cuts, in January and May, and ―if no
contributions are made urgently, food rations might need to be reduced
further,‖ warned Mr. Ziegler.

The present two-year assistance package, is likely to be WFP‘s final food
assistance operation in the country even though a food security and
nutrition assessment – the first of its kind in Azerbaijan – last year
found that nearly 300,000 of the 1 million Azerbaijanis displaced by the
conflict with Armenia would continue to rely on food aid for the
foreseeable future. Only 40 per cent of the households covered by the
survey have access to agricultural land and in all instances most of the
produce grown is for family subsistence, the study found.

WFP has provided over $100 million in food assistance to Azerbaijan in the
past dozen years and more than $80 million to those effected by the
fighting that started in 2000 in Chechnya.

Russia made its first WFP donation in 2003 and to date has donated $22
million worth of food that has gone to Angola, Tajikistan, and the
Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid and serve in a personal capacity, reporting
to the UN Human Rights Council.



Highlighting the widespread incidence of violence against children in all
parts of the world, top United Nations officials today stressed the
importance of following-up on Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s in-depth study
of the problem, by acting on its recommendations for better legislation and

―I think that the decision of the Third Committee confirms the need for a
follow-up, for the implementation of the recommendations,‖ Independent
Expert, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, who prepared the study, told reporters at a
public launch this morning and following yesterday‘s debate by the General

―It would be a waste of all this momentum, this enthusiasm, this
convergence among Member States… if the General Assembly will not be able
to assure a dynamic day-after for the study,‖ he added, referring to the
recommendations that covered everything from legislation and policymaking
to service delivery and institutional measures, while also emphasizing the
primacy of the family in children‘s lives.

The study concludes that violence against children ―exists in every country
of the world, cutting across culture, class, education, income and ethnic
origin,‖ and the head of the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) –– which also
collaborated in the research –– highlighted its ―long and lasting‖ effects.

―A comprehensive response is needed to keep violence out of children‘s
lives, countries for example must make sure that a well-functioning legal
system is in place to protect children against violence with an enforcement
mechanism to punish those who harm children,‖ said UNICEF
Executive-Director Ann Veneman. ―While legal obligations lie with the
state, all sectors of society share the responsibility of condemning and
preventing violence against children.‖

As well as UNICEF, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR), and the World Health Organization (WHO) also contributed to the
study and similarly called for urgent follow-up to its findings.

"Violence against children is a violation of their human rights, a
disturbing reality of our societies,‖ said UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Louise Arbour in a press release. ―It can never be justified whether
for disciplinary reasons or cultural tradition. No such thing as a
‗reasonable‘ level of violence is acceptable. Legalized violence against
children in one context risks tolerance of violence against children

WHO Acting Director-General Anders Nordström said that while health workers
were the ―front line‖ in responding to such violence, states had to put in

enough resources to deal with the issue.

―States should pursue evidence-based policies and programmes which address
factors that give rise to such violence, and ensure that resources are
allocated to address its underlying causes and monitor the response to
these efforts.‖



A senior United Nations relief official arrives in Eritrea tomorrow for a
six-day visit to assess the food situation in the East African country,
where recent rains should mitigate the impact of drought while the
―no-war-no-peace‖ status of the conflict with Ethiopia is aggravating the
vulnerability of people in some areas.

The situation with Ethiopia affects the ―coping mechanisms and return to
more stable lives,‖ the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) said in a news release today ahead of the mission by
Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of
Africa, Kjell Magne Bondevik.

―This is particularly so for internally displaced people and groups that
were recently resettled in their places of origin, where basic services are
progressively being re-established. Mr. Bondevik is interested in gaining
more insight into the chronic humanitarian situation in Eritrea,‖ it added.

The rainy season in 2005 and the rains of the last three months have been
good and this should lead to better harvests.

Mr. Bondevik will meet with senior Government officials and members of the
international community including donors, non-governmental organizations
(NGOs), the Red Cross/Red Crescent movements and the UN system to discuss
strategies for strengthening partnerships and ensure that assistance is as
effective, timely and efficient as possible.

He will also look at long-term approaches to reduce the country‘s
vulnerability to the impact of recurrent drought and conduct a field visit
to witness ongoing activities related to food security.



With over 50,000 internally displaced people still living in makeshift
camps in and around Timor-Leste‘s capital, continued low level fighting in
the streets and elections due next year, United Nations officials today
said that restoring public security was an absolute necessity.

―The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) believes very
firmly that impunity must end, that crimes and acts of violence should not
go unchecked,‖ Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s Acting Special Representative
Finn Reske-Nielsen told a news conference in Dili, capital of the small
South East Asian nation that was torn by fighting earlier this year.

―The need to restore public security in Timor-Leste is evident to all,‖ he
added. ―This is necessary so that people feel safe to return to their
homes. It is necessary for rule of law and to prevent impunity. It is also
necessary so that elections next year will be safe and fair.‖

The Security Council created the expanded UNMIT in August to help restore
order in the country that it shepherded to independence from Indonesia just
four years ago, after a crisis attributed to differences between eastern
and western regions erupted in April with the firing of 600 striking
soldiers, a third of the armed forces.

Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 per
cent of the total population, from their homes.

―While the United Nations police has an interim responsibility for public
security throughout Timor-Leste, the goal is to actually ensure that this
country will possess an effective and trustworthy (national) police service
in the future,‖ UNMIT Acting Police Commissioner Antero Lopes told the news

The national police force disintegrated in May and its members are
currently undergoing a rigorous screening process. Once cleared, they will
be reactivated to work in tandem with UN Police (UNPol) officers. When the
whole screening process is completed, the combined total of UNPol and
national police will be 5,000, a ratio of five officers to every 1,000
citizens, which Mr. Lopes said is one of the highest in the world.

―In a matter of weeks, we should have the full establishment throughout
greater Dili and we should start expanding to the districts throughout
Timor-Leste,‖ he added, noting that the international Joint Task Force made
of troops from Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand has been providing back
up support to UNPol when necessary.

Colonel Malcolm Rerden from the Joint Task Force, referring to concerns
over weapons handed out to civilians during the crisis, said an audit by
the international police and military had confirmed the location and
security of nearly 94 per cent of the missing arms. Of nearly 3,000
weapons, less than 230 remain unaccounted for, posing no significant
threat, he said.

UNMIT‘s mandate calls for a robust police presence consisting of up to
1,608 officers, 34 military liaison officers and a significant civilian

Addressing Timor-Leste‘s parliament yesterday, Mr. Reske-Nielsen called for
speedy approval of vital electoral legislation. Supporting the poll is part
of UNMIT‘s mandate. Although it will not run the elections – that will be
the job of the Timorese government – the UN will provide technical help and
policy advice. More than 400 UN staff will be fielded across the country to



Rapid response specialists will be on deck around the clock seven days a
week to fight bird flu outbreaks and other major animal health or food
health-related emergencies anywhere in the world at a new Crisis Management
Centre (CMC) launched by the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) today.

―One of the lessons FAO has learned in three years of leading the
international fight against Avian Influenza is that speed is of the
essence,‖ FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said at the CMC‘s inauguration
at the Agency‘s Rome headquarters. ―Alert must be lightning-quick. Reaction
must be immediate in combating a disease which can move across borders and
continents terrifyingly fast.‖

Set up in collaboration with the Paris-based World Organization for Animal
Health (OIE), the Centre brings rapid-response capacity to transboundary
animal and plant diseases, and can also react quickly to emergencies
involving plant pests or food safety.

Supported by advanced communications technology and operating with a staff
of up to 15 specialists and veterinarians who continuously monitor and
update disease information from around the globe, the CMC can dispatch its
experts to any hotspot in the world in under 48 hours of a suspected

―The CMC represents a significant leap forward in FAO‘s ability to help
Member Nations prevent and cope with disease outbreaks,‖ Mr Diouf said.
―Three years into the Avian Influenza crisis, FAO and the international
community can draw some satisfaction, and some relief, in the progress made
to contain a most deadly menace to the health of animals and humans across
the globe.

―But despite the encouraging and very real progress made, it does not mean
we can lower our guard. Only when H5N1 (the bird flu virus) has been
totally eradicated will the Sword of Damocles, or more pessimistically the
time-bomb, of a human pandemic be removed,‖ he warned.

Experts fear H5N1 could mutate, gaining the ability to pass from person to

person and, in a worst case scenario, unleashing a deadly human pandemic
similar to the so-called Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 that is estimated to
have killed from 20 million to 40 million people worldwide by the time it
had run its course two years later.

Mr. Diouf noted that although the disease remains a potent threat in
Indonesia and Africa, and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus are still
vulnerable, the situation has improved elsewhere.

The CMC is headed by former Chief Veterinary Officer of Germany Karin


12 October 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 Spokesman for Secretary-General

       **Guest at Noon

       Good afternoon. My guest today, after we hear from Gail with the General Assembly
President‘s office, will be Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, who is the Special Adviser on Africa for
the Secretary-General. He‘ll be joining us shortly to brief on recent progress in implementing
the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development, better known as NEPAD, and that new
partnership has helped in reducing conflict on the continent.

       **Security Council

        Meanwhile, closer to home, the Security Council has two items on its consultations
agenda for today -- discussions on a draft resolution on the UN Mission in Georgia, and another
on the situation regarding the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea.

       **Peacebuilding Commission

        The Peacebuilding Commission, from which you heard yesterday, is meeting today on
Sierra Leone in the ECOSOC chamber.

         The meeting today, and the one scheduled for tomorrow on Burundi, is expected to kick-
start the process by establishing them as eligible under the Peacebuilding Fund, which Carolyn
McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, briefed you on yesterday.


        The Advisory Group of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund met in
Geneva today to take stock of the Fund‘s work, and make recommendations for 2007. Thus far,
52 Member States, a Japanese prefecture and a private organization have pledged more than
$273 million to the Fund‘s grant facility since its inauguration last March. Of those pledges,
nearly $267 million is ―in the bank.‖ Since the beginning of the Fund, it has given $174 million
to over 250 projects in 26 countries experiencing humanitarian crises.

        Among its achievements over the past seven months, the Fund allowed the World Food
Programme (WFP) to get food to the needy in Timor-Leste following last April‘s violence. It
also helped to make the use of helicopters possible in Darfur, so that humanitarian workers
could gain access to isolated internally displaced persons.

       Speaking at a press conference today in Geneva, Jan Egeland, the head of the Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that the Fund was ―living proof that the United
Nations can reform, is reforming and is getting better.‖ And we have more on that upstairs.

       **Occupied Palestinian Territory

        In a report available on its website today, the United Nations Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Jerusalem says that no significant improvement in
Palestinian movement has been observed in recent months.

        Closures continue to carve up the West Bank, leading to the isolation of communities, in
particular the cities of Nablus, Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, OCHA reports. It says that as
of 20 September, the West Bank closure system comprised 528 checkpoints and physical
obstacles, representing an increase of almost 2 per cent since June.

       The closure system is a primary cause of the humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip, the report adds. It notes that the Israeli Government says that the purpose of
these obstacles is to protect Israeli citizens from Palestinian militant attacks.

       ** Sudan

        The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has another
report out today, which is entitled ―Sudan Humanitarian Overview‖, and it covers the month of
September, and its findings include that in general, the atmosphere of fear and insecurity in the
camps for internally displaced people is growing.

        On this same topic, the United Nations Mission in Sudan says it has received reports that
two cars, belonging to a non-governmental-organization, were shot at by armed men on camels
in the town of Goussa Shark, near Nyala in South Darfur, yesterday.

       It has also received reports that sporadic shooting was heard in El Fasher, North Darfur,
following an altercation between two soldiers. We have that OCHA report for you upstairs.

       **Deputy Secretary-General

       The Deputy Secretary-General, Mark Malloch Brown, is in Washington today where he
has been invited to speak at the Brookings Institution.

        He will be addressing an international conference on ―The Use of Force and Legitimacy
in the Evolving International System.‖

        He will have off the cuff remarks at that conference, which we will try make available to
you later this afternoon.

       ** Eritrea - Humanitarian

       From the Horn of Africa, the Secretary-General‘s Special Humanitarian Envoy for the
Horn of Africa, Kjell Magne Bondevik, arrives tomorrow in Asmara, Eritrea, for an official
mission which will last until 18 October.

       The purpose of Mr. Bondevik‘s visit is to look at the food security situation in Eritrea in
the wake of the rainy season. And we have a press release available on his travels upstairs.

       ** Cyprus

       The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus met formally this morning in Nicosia to
discuss the progress made to date on the exhumation, identification and return of missing
persons‘ remains.

        Since the end of August, some fifty remains of missing individuals have been exhumed
and approximately twenty-four have undergone anthropological analysis at the Committee‘s
laboratory in the United Nations Protected Area in Nicosia. And we have a press release

       **Press Briefings

        A couple of events to flag for you, in addition to Legwaila Joseph Legwaila shortly at
1:15 p.m., the Permanent Mission of Slovenia will be sponsoring a press conference to launch
―Human Rights Learning – A People‘s Report‖, with, among others, Justice Richard Goldstone,
whom you will remember is the former Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Tribunals for
the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and who also served on the Volcker panel which looked
into the Oil for Food situation.

        And at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, Ambassador Enrique Berruga of Mexico, Craig Mokhiber
of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and others, will hold a
press briefing in this room to discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, its history, significance, and current status.

        And lastly, at noon tomorrow, we will have as our guest Djibril Diallo, Director of the
UN Office of Sport for Development and Peace, who will provide an update on preparations for
the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit, which will take place on the 29th to the
31st of this month, right here in New York. And that is it for me, any questions?

       Questions and Answers

        Question: Russia sent to Lebanon troops it used in Chechnya for something called the
(inaudible) Battalion. Various human rights groups have said they are widely accused of human
rights abuses and should not be part of the multinational force in Lebanon. I don‘t know if the
United Nations has any comment on that. And also on Anna Politkovskaya‗s report, which
since her assassination has been published and acknowledges torture in Chechnya, whether
Louise Louise Arbour [High Commissioner for Human Rights] is going to look at that report or
do anything about it.

       Spokesman: You have to ask Louise Arbour on the journalist who was killed; I think we
already spoke from here. And on the issue of the Russian troops I don‘t have any specific
information, and of course as a matter of rule, we do expect any troops that participate in United
Nations operations to uphold the highest standards.

       Question: (inaudible).

       Spokesman: That is something I would have to talk to Department of Peacekeeping
Operations about. But that would be the responsibility of Member States to provide us with that
information. [The Spokesman later clarified that Russian troops were not part of the United
Nations Peacekeeping Force. Their presence is part of a bilateral agreement between Russia
and Lebanon.

        Question: I picked up discussions in two of the committees, and I am simply wondering,
I know that you may not be able to address these, but maybe there is a reaction from the
Secretary-General. In the Sixth Committee, an agreement on Comprehensive Terrorism
Convention remains elusive, and in the First Committee on Sustainable Peace in Outer Space
Linked to National Security Development, inaction. Does the Secretary-General have any
reaction to these two topics?

        Spokesman: No, I think you are right in terms of me not being the right one to address
this. The work of the committees is going on; we are not going to comment on these discussions
as they go on. They are doing what they are supposed to do. We do hope that they reach
agreement and consensus on what they have to discuss. But we‘re not going to comment on
these things on a daily basis. Thank you very much, and we‘ll turn to Gail.

      Question: Is the Secretary-General going to be present tomorrow during the General
Assembly, during the acclamation, or consensus, or voting procedure?

       Spokesman: What I can tell you is that the Secretary-General will be present, and right
on cue, Gail will now explain to you what exactly will go on tomorrow.

       Briefing by Spokeswoman for General Assembly President

       Thank you, Stefan. Good afternoon. As announced yesterday afternoon, the General
Assembly is scheduled to meet for the appointment of the next Secretary-General tomorrow at
3:00 p.m. And I am just going to go through with you a little bit the scenario as to what is
expected tomorrow.

        The scenario begins with President of the General Assembly inviting the President of the
Security Council to report on the Council‘s recommendation regarding the appointment of the
Secretary-General. The Assembly will then consider the draft resolution on the subject and take
action: either by acclamation, as is usually the practice, or, you know the possibility exists that a
Member State could ask for a vote, although we think it is unlikely.

       Statements will then be made by the President of the Assembly, the Secretary-General,
the Regional Group Chairs, a Representative of the Host country, and the Secretary-General-

       We had thought that probably tomorrow, as has happened before, the oath of office
might be taken at the same time; however, there won‘t be an oath of office tomorrow. The
Secretary-General-designate will take the oath of office some time in December, at a date to be

      At the Plenary this morning, the General Assembly adopted a resolution granting
exemption to nine Member Sates under Article 19. The Member States are: Central African
Republic, the Comoros, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, the Niger, Somalia, Tajikistan, and

Sao Tome and Principe. This will allow them to vote, during the 61st session of the Assembly
because, of course, right now there is the question of non-payment of dues.

        The plenary is also holding a joint debate on two items, the first being the 2001-2010
Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa. The second item
is the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development (NEPAD), including progress in
implementation and international support; causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace
and sustainable development in Africa.

        Speaking this morning in the Plenary, the President of the General Assembly, Sheikha
Haya Al Khalifa, noted that the adoption of NEPAD five years ago has provided the framework
for a better future, but that greater efforts are required to address the obstacles that hinder
progress, namely youth unemployment, the social, economic and political impact of HIV/AIDS,
the exploitation of natural resources, and the illegal flow of small arms.

       On the main Committees: The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization)
yesterday approved 10 draft texts on decolonization issues, five of them by recorded vote, and
began its consideration of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

       During an interactive dialogue on outer space issues, much attention was given to a
proposal that would establish the ―United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for
Disaster Management and Emergency Response‖, or ―SPIDER‖. This initiative would provide
universal access to all countries and international and regional organizations to all types of
space-based information and services to support the full disaster management cycle of natural
and man-made disasters.

        In the Second Committee, delegates stressed yesterday that countries emerging from
conflict continued to need international capacity-building assistance, even as a report of the
Secretary-General said that some of them should no longer be considered for humanitarian

         The report, Humanitarian Assistance and Rehabilitation for Selected Countries and
Regions, urges the international community to provide aid to Somalia, but says that Angola,
Liberia, Mozambique, Serbia, and Montenegro have moved beyond the need for emergency
relief to the development phase.

        In the Third Committee, discussion centred yesterday on conclusion of the debate on the
advancement of women and introduction of the report on Violence against Children. During
debate, Egypt recommended hosting a conference on violence against children in conflict and
expressed the need to have a yearly follow up for the report rather then every five years. On
another recommendation of appointing a special representative on violence against children,
some countries welcomed this suggestion, while others expressed their concern that the report
does not touch on violence against children in conflicts and under foreign occupation.

        In the Sixth Committee discussions focused on terrorism. The Chairman of the Ad Hoc
Committee on Terrorism, introducing his report to the Sixth Committee, noted that once again
agreement had not been reached on the draft comprehensive convention on international
terrorism. He called on the international community to seize the momentum gained by the
adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and continue the work by
further developing the necessary comprehensive legal frame work. During the Ad Hoc

Committee‘s deliberations, some ideas were flagged and delegates seemed to be of the spirit to
conclude the convention as soon as possible. However, no formal proposals were submitted.
The Ad Hoc Committee also discussed the possibility of convening a high-level conference
under the auspices of the United Nations on terrorism. But there was no agreement on this.
Ideas as to the value of the conference and when to hold it still differ. From today,
Ambassador Perera, the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, will continue his consultations in
an informal setting and bilateral contacts, and he invited interested delegates to take the
opportunity to come forward to discuss any ideas and proposals with him.

       That is the report on the work of the Assembly. Any questions?

       Question and Answers:

        Question: I am sorry but I have a problem because those were the positives, and I am
looking at the negatives and the negatives are, according to what was published today, that we
are looking at the lack of a comprehensive Terrorism Convention that will actually continue
terrorism, and then we also look at the weaponization of outer space, which is going to take
terrorism into outer space. What is the intention now of the General Assembly of dealing with
these two topics?

         Spokeswoman: Well, as you know this is a very sensitive topic, it has been discussed
and it is being discussed. As I mentioned, the Chairman also made the same remarks that you
have made. I think a lot of what you have said came from the Chairman himself, and he has
expressed concern that more needs to be done. I think his hope is that progress will be made in
the informal consultations, since many of the speakers‘ statements suggested that there seemed
to be a spirit to move towards concluding the convention as soon as possible. I think the hope is
that progress will be made within the consultation process.

        Question: I realize I am asking a question for which there is no definitive answer and
there may be an impromptu answer. Is the Secretary-General-designate expected to come and
speak to us at a stakeout here, or near the General Assembly entrance, after the completion of
the ceremony and the various speeches tomorrow afternoon?

       Spokeswoman: I know that yesterday we had had some discussion about that.

       Spokesman for the Secretary-General: I will give you a bit more about his media
opportunities later this afternoon. So as soon as we have something definite we will announce

       Question: Would you email it?

       Spokesman for the Secretary-General: Yes.

       Spokeswoman: I may have forgotten to mention that the Secretary-General-designate is
meeting with the Assembly President this afternoon.

       Thank you very much.

                                            * *** *


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