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									                           THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                  Monday 9 July, 2007

                        UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

     Companies pledge at U.N. to cut carbon burdens (Reuters)
     Business Leaders Call For Action On Climate Change (Reuters)
     UN Says Ailing Environment a Key 'Stress Factor' (Inter Press Service)
     Learning from the success of Temasek, Khazanah (Jakarta Post)
     Military experts say worldwide water scarcity could lead to future conflict (940
     A Corny Cold War (
     Germany stays nuclear as Merkel U-turns (Irish Independent)
     Govt Agencies Told to Phase Out CFCs (Arab News)
     Migiro urges comprehensive approach to tackle feminization of AIDS (Spirit India)

                                    Other Environment News

     Boeing unveils Dreamliner plane (BBC)
     Gore Brings Surprise Live Earth Concert to Washington (ENS)
     Live Earth: One big gesture for man, one giant problem for the Earth (The Independent)
     Cola King Takes UN Stage in Green Drive (Reuters)
     Canada takes its Great Lakes for granted (Daily Herald Tribune)
     The man making the world's worst polluter clean up its act (The Guardian)
     Wealthy Stake $25 Million in a War With the Sea (New York Times)
     Renewable Energy Future Could Save the World Billions of Dollars a Year (ENS)
     Gold rush threatens Chilean glacier (Al Jazeera)
     Warming strikes a note in China A growing middle class seeing dangers of pollution

                        Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

     ROLAC
     ROAP
     ROA

                                         Other UN News

     UN Daily News of 6 July 2007 Not available
     S.G.‟s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 6 July 2007 Not available

                 Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 7623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 762 3927/7623692,,
Reuters: Companies pledge at U.N. to cut carbon burdens
By Laura MacInnis
Sat Jul 7, 2007 12:08 AM IST
GENEVA (Reuters) - More than 150 companies including Airbus, Coca-Cola and IKEA
pledged on Friday to reduce the carbon burden of their operations in a voluntary pact urging
governments to do more to confront climate change.
Drugmakers Novartis and Pfizer, mining giants Anglo American and Rio Tinto, and the luxury
goods specialist LVMH were among the 153 firms who committed themselves to greater
energy efficiency.
Top environment officials welcomed the companies' promise to undertake "practical actions"
to reduce their contribution to global warming, despite the lack of binding targets.
Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said he hoped
more of the 3,000 businesses which have signed up to a United Nations corporate
responsibility drive would also adopt the measure.
"You need a group of pioneers who get things going," he told a news conference in Geneva,
where more than 1,000 corporate and government leaders met this week for a summit of the
U.N. Global Compact. "These are some of the leaders who would inspire several others in the
Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme, said companies may take time to
accede to the "Caring for Climate" initiative, which was distributed to all Global Compact
members a few months ago for review.
"A company which signs this is making some fairly far-reaching commitments vis-a-vis its
shareholders, vis-a-vis the public, and vis-a-vis consumers, never mind governments also,"
Steiner said.
Among big members of the U.N. Global Compact that did not sign the climate initiative are
banks UBS and Credit Suisse; clothing retailers Nike, Hennes & Mauritz and Gap; oil
company Royal Dutch Shell; mining group BHP Billiton; and coffee company Starbucks.
Bjorn Stigson, president of the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable
Development, said it was important that such initiatives remain voluntary to draw more
companies into discussions on climate change and other issues.
He said regulations on environmental taxes and fees and other measures could help reinforce a
shift towards the greener practices espoused by those participating in the Global Compact
meetings at the U.N.'s European headquarters.
The "Caring for Climate" statement also urged governments "to agree as soon as possible" on
longer-term environmental policies to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, including efforts to
set up a stable carbon-trading market.
Separately, the chief executives of Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss, Lackeby Water Group, Nestle,
SABMiller and Suez launched a "CEO Water Mandate" project to help companies better
manage water use throughout their supply chains and help avoid a global water crisis.

Reuters: Business Leaders Call For Action On Climate Change
By Lisa Schlein
06 July 2007
Business leaders from 150 companies from around the world are calling for action on climate
change. The leaders signed a declaration at a United Nations meeting, in which they committed
themselves to reducing the damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions from products and
services. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.
Thirty of the 150 companies pledging to do something about climate change are from the
Fortune Global 500. Environmental activists say the possibility of coming to grips with this
problem looks better since these companies have come aboard.
The executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, Achim Steiner, says the issue of
climate change is no longer just viewed as a threat to economic development.
He says bringing down the levels of carbon dioxide emissions, which lead to global warming,
is increasingly seen as an opportunity for businesses and for bettering economies.
"In terms of global warming and climate change, the key to rapid progress is in part premised
upon getting markets and, by implication, businesses to become not skeptics and doubters and
therefore brakes on progress, but rather catalysts, innovators and multipliers for a transition to a
more energy efficient economy," said Steiner.
The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, says
climate change will have a very bad impact on poor people. It also will lead to a decline in
agricultural productivity.
Unless business is deeply involved in finding solutions, he says the world will not be able to
tackle the problem of climate change.
"There are opportunities that would open up," said Pachauri. "Ten years from now, the world
would have a low carbon future, one would hope. And, therefore, those who are off the block
the earliest, would be the ones that would turn out to be winners."
Pachauri says it is imperative for businesses and industries to start looking at this low carbon
future and to start making the investments that would be in their commercial interests.
This message is not lost on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The
president of this coalition of 200 of the world's leading corporations, Bjorn Stigson says
business is acting on this challenge.
"We are acting on it because there is a business case for this," said Stigson. "If you reduce
energy use, you become more efficient, you will improve your bottom line, your profit. It is
also a strategic issue. You have to look at what this means for your long-term business strategy
Chief Procurement Officer of Royal Philips Electronics, Barbara Kux, knows first-hand the
difference technology can make. She says 90 percent of the world electricity today is
consumed by lighting.

"By switching to more modern and energy efficient lighting, over 500 million tons of CO2
emissions could be reduced," said Kux. "This is the equivalent of 530 medium sized power
Kux cites a recent study that shows replacing existing lighting technology would save 100
billion euro. She says public awareness about the climate has changed and consumers want to
buy more environmentally-friendly products. She says smart businesses will give consumers
what they want.

Inter Press Service: UN Says Ailing Environment a Key 'Stress Factor'

6 July 2007

Brian D. Pellot
United Nations
A report by the U.N. Environment Programme assessing Sudan's environmental degradation,
scheduled for a national launch in Khartoum on Jul. 8, has spurred debate for linking decades
of conflict in the war-torn region to broader problems like climate change.
"Competition over oil and gas reserves, Nile waters and timber, as well as land use issues
related to agricultural land, are important causative factors in the instigation and perpetuation
of conflict in Sudan," the report says.
"Long-term peace in [Northern Darfur] will not be possible unless these underlying and closely
linked environmental and livelihood issues are resolved."
Since the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region dramatically escalated in February 2003, when
members of the region's ethnic African tribes took up arms against what they saw as decades of
neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, the Darfurian
people have been subject to government-sponsored displacement, rape and murder.
The violence orchestrated by the Sudanese government and perpetrated by its Janjaweed
militias has claimed at least 400,000 lives, displaced 2.5 million people and left more than 3.5
million men, women and children struggling to survive amid violence and starvation,
according to the U.N.
"There have been some people who thought that the report was simplistic in terms of linking
climate change with conflict," Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the executive director of the U.N.
Environment Programme (UNEP), told IPS. "Others say that it is absolutely necessary and a
window onto a wider world."
The report says that flooding, deforestation, overgrazing due to explosive livestock growth and
a marked decline in rainfall as a result of regional climate change have been "a significant
stress factor" in Sudan's largely pastoral society.
UNEP's assessment offers the Government of National Unity, the Government of Southern
Sudan and the international community dozens of recommendations to alleviate environmental
degradation, but whether its recommendations are financially feasible and will have the
potential to create sustainable results remains uncertain.

Amnesty International's representative at the U.N., Renzo Pomi, told IPS, "It's hard to talk
about building a country like Sudan with conflicts going on. My impression is that the process
will be very slow moving."
According to the assessment, the total cost of all recommendations, which are to be financed
primarily by the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan, is
estimated at 120 million dollars over five years. This estimate, however, does not include
several costly recommendations that were not factored into the bottom line.
Two recommendations in the report call for the Government of National Unity and the
Government of Southern Sudan to "increase investment in environmental health-related
infrastructure and services." The report goes on to state, "the investment required to attain even
a basic level of service is anticipated to be in excess of USD 1 billion over a period of more
than a decade" for each of the south and the north.
This additional estimate upwards of 2 billion dollars from two recommendations alone could
effectively render the 120 million dollars and anticipated one to five-year corrective action
timeframe cited in the assessment obsolete.
Andrew Morton, project manager of the report, explained to IPS his agency's decision to not
include these recommendations, among others, in the 120-million-dollar estimate, stating, "I
don't consider these to be environmental expenditures. They are what is needed to build the
Several other UNEP recommendations and stipulations are never fully developed or addressed
in the report. One recommendation calling for Sudan to pursue expensive carbon sequestration
technologies is estimated at just 300,000 dollars, and one to shut down Sudan's illegal ivory
carving and trading industry is anticipated to be cost-free.
Both recommendations account for introduction alone, but do not include implementation,
enforcement or an outlook toward sustainable development.
The assessment notes that, "Many governance recommendations will result in laws, policies
and plans that will have a major economic impact. This follow-on cost is not included in the
Reforming an entire country will likely not be an inexpensive or quick process. "The report is
designed to be alive and relevant for many years," Morton told IPS.
UNEP plans to maintain a central role in establishing the report's recommendations through at
least 2009, if adequate funds are available. "We are close to securing significant funding,"
Morton told IPS, but he would not name potential bilateral sources.
Jakarta Post: Learning from the success of Temasek, Khazanah

Agung Wicaksono, Singapore

The appointment of Sofyan Djalil as the new minister for state-owned enterprises seems likely
to bring a number of breakthrough decisions with regard to the management of Indonesian
state-owned enterprises.
Firstly, his most recent policy, that newly appointed directors of state-owned enterprises would
not automatically serve a five-year term as has been the case, but be subject to a one-year
probationary period instead, is the latest in a string of measures aimed at exerting some
stringent discipline and work ethics at state-owned enterprises.
Along the lines of "good corporate governance practices", the current key jargon of the
ministry, these directors will be measured by a set of key performance indicators aimed at
boosting state-owned enterprises' performances, known to be poor compared to their private
sector peers.
The ministry will also seek capable and experienced individuals from the private sector to
serve as members of the board of commissioners at the enterprises. These professionals are
expected to inject credibility, independence and professionalism into the enterprises by
controlling the performance of the directors.
Secondly, Sofyan also announced a list of enterprises to be privatized this year, with toll-
operator Jasa Marga, Bank Negara Indonesia and construction company Wijaya Karya, the
priorities for privatization in 2007. The decision drew praise and excitement from the capital
market and business world but could certainly ignite sparks from economic nationalistic camps
in parliament and labor unions.
Sofyan has said that whichever state-owned enterprises he can make into public companies, he
will. Public ownership is seen as the best way to improve transparency and accountability,
critical principles in corporate governance and lacking in most of state-owned enterprises.
At last, it is the master plan for state-owned enterprises restructuring that sets the potential for a
bumpy road, despite having the right target and benchmark in mind. The government has
decided to slash its 139 enterprises by half by 2009 through mergers, divestments and
Though the decision was made under the administration of Sugiharto, his predecessor, it
remains a grand strategy to be carried out by Sofyan. A decision to further slash the number to
50 by 2012 or 25 by 2015 is also part of the plan. The master plan, which mainly consists of a
set of restructuring strategies to classify the enterprises into 3 categories -- stand-alone, merger
and sectoral holding -- is aimed emulating the success of the neighboring country's Temasek
Holdings, the investment holding company of Singapore government and Malaysia.
Putting political considerations aside, the holding company structure as a way to manage "state
assets under one roof" is now a global trend. In the Southeast Asian region, along with
Singapore and Malaysia, Vietnam has set up such holding company recently for its state-
owned enterprises, the State Capital Investment Corporation.
Thailand under Thaksin's administration also had plans to build such a superholding structure,
but this seems to have fallen along with his administration after the military coup. China is also
on the way to placing its state-owned enterprises under one holding structure, and even
Kazakhstan is thinking the same way.
The business logic from such structure is clear: strategy alignment and synergy creation can be
unleashed from knitting various state-owned enterprises from different sectors into one

strategy, operational or financial holding. The issues of economies of scale and economies of
scope, which Sofyan has been using as key arguments for this idea, clearly would be in favor
of such a holding structure which will be able to pool resources, lower risks and provide access
to lower-cost financing.
Optimistic as minister Sofyan might be, caveats need to be put on his master plan, especially
when looking at the different context that Singapore and Malaysia. Even between those two
neighboring countries, differences exist, especially with regard to the political economy
dimensions of the investment holding company as a state apparatus.
The Singapore government uses Temasek Holdings first as a catalyst toward economic
development -- especially in areas where the private sector has been reluctant to invest and
later as an investment vehicle in strategic sectors and regions to ensure Singapore's survival
over limited domestic natural resources and a saturated market.
Meanwhile, Malaysia has a different approach. Khazanah Nasional Berhad, together with three
other government-linked investment companies in Malaysia, arguably serves as the principal
vehicle to enhance Bumiputera's (referring to the Malays, believed to be the "native" ethnic
group of Malaysia) participation in the corporate sector, particularly through equity
The contextual differences between Indonesia and the two neighbors are even vaster. Apart
from the difference in colonial legacy inheriting different set of legal systems -- Singapore and
Malaysia have the British common law system while Indonesia inherited civil law from the
Dutch. Indonesia has to accept the fact that it does not have an excess in foreign reserves as
large as Singapore, in proportion to the size of its economy, which enable it to exercise
expansive investment in various regions.
Political context also would unavoidably play into role again, with the young democracy in
Indonesia making politically sensitive decisions with regard to state assets like to be subject to
scrutiny from various group of stakeholders.
All these groups can still throw a spanner into the master plan toward the formation of a
holding structure, in one way or another. Singapore on the other hand, still enjoys a political
climate with a focus on stability under the hands of a limited number of people, which makes
the decision making process faster and resulting in less turbulent resistance.
In a nutshell, the formation of an Indonesian national state-owned enterprises holding company
might be the right means toward the end of having a better structure for the corporate
governance of Indonesian state-owned enterprises.

940 Montreal: Military experts say worldwide water scarcity could lead to future conflict
July 7, 2007, EST.
(CP) - Some of the world's most powerful nations are getting increasingly desperate for fresh
water and observers are concerned that a day will come when countries will fight for the
dwindling resource.
Countries in the Middle East and Africa have long dealt with water shortages but now the likes
of China, India and the United States are grappling with the problem.

And the United Nations says five billion people will be living in areas with limited water
availability by 2025, which will only exacerbate tensions and demand for the limited supply.
Water management has been pushed to the top of the political agenda in some countries and
military leaders are now being drawn into long-term planning to help strategize how
governments will face their dry futures.
Climate change and subsequent consequences like water scarcity present a serious threat to
national security, said a panel of 11 retired three-star and four-star American admirals and
generals in a recent report for the CNA Corp., a non-profit organization.
While it's not yet expected that water will be the sole cause of a war, the report suggests a fight
over natural resources could be the final straw that pushes countries into conflict.
"Disputes over key resources such as water do not automatically trigger violent outcomes, and
no recent wars have been waged solely over water resources," the report states.
"Nevertheless, resource scarcity always has the potential to be a contributing factor to conflict
and instability in areas with weak and weakly-supported governments. In addition, there is
always the potential for regional fighting to spread to a national or international scale."
No expert is suggesting that Canadians should begin to worry about being targeted for their
water, but at the very least, tensions could arise with the United States if disagreements
develop over water policies, said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations
Environment Program, in a statement earlier this year.
"Canada and the United States are, despite being strong economies with the financial power to
cope, facing many of the same impacts that are projected for the rest of the world," he wrote.
"The impacts could be acute and may require very careful, strategic planning and investment if
tensions are to be avoided between humans and nature, and between a wide-range of
economically and socially-important water users."
Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians said she doesn't doubt the Americans would try to
pressure Canada into sharing its water in a time of crisis.
"I am absolutely convinced that the United States has already targeted Canada's water, I'm
absolutely convinced there are high-level conversations going on between some people in
government and business in our country and the United States," she said.
The Great Lakes probably wouldn't be targeted but she predicted interests could turn to the
North once demand for water gets serious.
"My thinking is (Americans are interested) in those mighty rivers in Canada's North and the
intention eventually is to build big pipelines to reverse the flow of that water (south)," she said.
________________________________________________________________________ A Corny Cold War

By William Saletan
Sunday, July 8, 2007; Page B02
Just when you thought George W. Bush and Fidel Castro were dead -- one politically, the other
literally -- they're back at it. Their new fight is about biofuel, the conversion of living things

into liquid energy. One president says it's an assault on nature and humanity. The other says it's
an agricultural revolution that will liberate the masses. Bush is the revolutionary. Castro is the
Bush has been evangelizing for biofuel since the GOP lost control of Congress last year. Castro
has been attacking it since he returned from surgery this spring. "Transforming food into fuels
is a monstrosity," Castro wrote two months ago in a series of angry essays. He said it would
devour the world's food supply, "killing the poor masses through hunger."
Castro's argument has gained widespread support. The Economist declared that "Castro was
right" and faulted Bush's "unhealthy enthusiasm for ethanol." Foreign Affairs magazine
recently published a long article titled, "How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor." Last week, the
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development warned that "increased demand for bio-fuels . . . could drive up world prices for
many farm products." In a visit to Havana, the director of the U.N. Environment Program
echoed Castro's concerns.
The critics are right about several things. Corn-based ethanol isn't very economical or
environmentally helpful. It inflates food prices, and it's propped up by foolish subsidies and
tariffs. But to write off biofuel is to miss the forest for the trees -- or, in this case, the grassland
for the corn. Enthusiasm for ethanol isn't the problem. It's the solution.
Biofuel is our next logical technology. We've had an agricultural revolution, an industrial
revolution and an information-technology revolution. Now we're putting them together to
harness the power of life. Ecologically, it's ideal: a fuel that literally grows on trees.
But biofuel has aroused the same fears as free trade, with a twist. The argument against free
trade was that people in poor countries would underbid and take jobs from people in rich
countries. The argument against biofuel is that people in rich countries will outbid and take
food from people in poor countries. The old buzzword was "job security." The new buzzword
is "food security."
What critics of free trade forget is that people in rich countries aren't just producers; they're
consumers. Competition from poor countries drives down wages but compensates by lowering
prices. Conversely, what critics of biofuel forget is that people in poor countries aren't just
consumers -- they're producers. Crop purchases by rich countries drive up prices but
compensate by driving up incomes. Castro says turning food into fuel is a "waste," but that's
not true. Fuel helps make food available and affordable.
Castro thinks the very idea of making fuel from food is "diabolical." But using food for fuel
wasn't Satan's idea. It was God's. Fuel is the whole point of food. That's why edible crops such
as corn and cassava are also easy ethanol sources: They're loaded with energy-bearing starch.
Biofuel doesn't feed people directly. But we've been diverting food from direct human
consumption since we domesticated animals. Most of the corn we export today feeds livestock,
not people. Two months ago, a U.N. report calculated that one-third of the increased demand
for food over the next 30 years will come from people shifting their eating habits to meat and
dairy -- a net loss of dietary efficiency -- as they become able to afford it. I don't see Castro
complaining about that diversion. In fact, he worries that biofuel is taking land from "producers
of beef cattle." Evidently he's suffering from an irony deficiency.
Castro says Bush insists that biofuel "must be extracted from foods." That's false. Bush points
out that corn is an inefficient ethanol source. In its place, he touts sugar cane, wood chips and

switch grass. Such "cellulosic" ethanol could lower the output of greenhouse gases and deliver
up to six times the amount of energy its production requires.
If you want to help poor people, biofuel beats the heck out of oil. In a biofuel economy, the
chief asset is open land. Who has open land? Poor countries. Latin America has sugar cane.
Africa and Asia have cassava. Switch grass, which grows in dry regions, will level the playing
field further. Bush says that switch grass will empower the western United States. That's nice,
but the real story is that it'll empower the Southern Hemisphere.
What makes Castro and other radicals so conservative about biofuel? The same thing that
troubles Bush about human embryo research: the industrialization of biology. For the right, the
chief concern is humanity. For the left, it's nature. That's why Castro worries that genetic crop
modifications by ethanol conglomerates will unleash "transgenetic contamination" and put
"food production at risk."
True, biotechnology can go wrong. But it also can go wonderfully right. Scientists are learning
to split corn so it can make ethanol and still feed animals. We're studying the use of microbes
to extract fuel from straw and wood waste. We're trying to grow biofuel in algae. We're even
learning to make fuel from animal fat and excrement.
Yes, ethanol subsidies are a scam. Yes, we should drop our trade barriers and let Brazilian
sugar cane wipe out American corn. Yes, we need solar power, conservation and efficiency.
But don't give up on biofuel. It just needs time to grow.
Irish Independent: Germany stays nuclear as Merkel U-turns
Sunday July 08 2007
ANGELA Merkel, the German chancellor, is preparing to perform a major U-turn by scrapping
her government's plans to abandon nuclear power.
The move would bring Berlin into line with many of its European neighbours, who are
investing heavily in new and existing sources of atomic energy, but puts Mrs Merkel on a
collision course with the country's powerful green lobby and her coalition partners.
Mrs Merkel's dramatic change of heart surfaced at an energy summit attended by government
and industry heads in Berlin last week, when it became clear that her ruling grand coalition's
aim of closing Germany's 17 nuclear power plants by the early 2020s were at odds with -
targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions.
A government-commissioned study unveiled at the summit showed that Mrs Merkel's targets
were not feasible without nuclear power.
Germany's first woman leader is passionately concerned about climate change and her decision
to ditch her coalition's anti-nuclear policies stems directly from her own ambitious plans to
protect the environment.
"We cannot just continue as if it's business as usual," she said last week in defence of her
climate control agenda.

However, it will bring her into direct conflict with the influential green lobby, which pioneered
environmental politics in Europe in the Seventies, and will also strain relations with her
coalition partners, the Social Democrats, who favour sticking to the original policy.
Her plans to stick with nuclear power are unlikely to be finalised until after a general election
in 2009, but the issue could nonetheless dominate the contest.
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's Social Democrat Environment Minister, remains adamant that his
party's commitment to abandoning nuclear power should not be undermined. "The plan to
finish with nuclear power will go ahead," he insisted.
There is also opposition from fellow conservatives within Mrs Merkel's own Christian
Democratic Union party. Klaus Toepfer, a leading conservative and former German
environment minister, who until last year headed the UN Environment Programme, said: "We
need a future without nuclear power and we must do everything to develop renewable energy
sources and increase energy efficiency to achieve this."

Arab News: Govt Agencies Told to Phase Out CFCs

M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News

RIYADH, 9 July 2007 — As part of its intensified effort to protect the environment, the six-
nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has called on government agencies and private
organizations to phase out harmful substances including chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) that
deplete the ozone layer.
The call was made while marking the release of a “Unified Guiding Regulation for the Control
of Substances that Deplete Ozone Layer in the GCC Countries.
“The unified GCC guidelines have been issued as per international regulations for protection of
ozone layer, the earth‟s protective shield, within the framework of the Vienna Convention,”
said the GCC Secretariat here yesterday.
The GCC has also renewed its call to adopt necessary measures to contain the use of ozone
depleting substances in accordance with the timeline set forth by the Montreal Protocol and its
subsequent amendments.
The new guidelines called for the imposing of penalties on business entities, which import or
deal with equipment using ozone-harming substances, and the monitoring of halons used in fire
extinguishing systems.
The guidelines have also stressed the need to exchange new information and research materials
between the Gulf countries, while renewing call to phase out CFCs, harmful gases and
chemicals that been contributing to the depletion of ozone layer.
Referring to the new unified guidelines, the GCC Secretariat said, in a statement, that there is a
need to intensify efforts on the part of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia to contain harmful
substances like CFCs.

According to a report, the world production of CFCs would stop in 2010, the timeline set by
the international accords. “As Saudi Arabia falls under the developing nation category, there
are still a few more years left before all imports of CFCs would be banned under the Montreal
Protocol,” said the report.
The Saudi government has already banned any new equipment using CFCs. The problem is
with the old systems that are still running on CFCs. The effort is to convince the users that it
should not be costly for them to change, and moreover, they would be protecting the
environment, said the report. This initiative to monitor and curb illegal trade in harmful
substances and chemicals that damage the ozone layer has already started to see positive results
in the Gulf states.
Spelling out the salient features of the regulations contained in the guideline, the GCC
Secretariat said that the unified guidelines contain 26 articles with a preface. The GCC unified
guiding regulations fully comply with the provisions of all major environmental accords
including the Montreal Protocol, the London amendment (1990), the Copenhagen amendment
(1992), the Montreal amendment (1996), and the Beijing amendment (1999).
The unified regulation, which have been prepared in cooperation with the Office of the United
Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for West Asia, have already been approved by the
Supreme Council, which is composed of the heads of the six Gulf governments.
The GCC Secretariat said that it is pleased to present the regulation so that the Gulf states may
benefit from this guiding regulation and may, in turn, develop their own national regulations
and laws for early implementation.
Spirit India:Migiro urges comprehensive approach to tackle feminization of AIDS

HIV:: Migiro urges comprehensive approach to tackle feminization of AIDS
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today called for a more broad-
based effort to tackle the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.
 “The factors that drive the feminization of AIDS cannot be addressed piecemeal. But to be
honest, despite our best intentions, many of our activities remain rooted at project level: we
have still to make the leap from project to programme, to achieve truly systemic change,” she
told the International Women‟s Summit meeting in Nairobi.

“We know what that change should look like: real, positive change that will give more power
and confidence to women and girls,” she added, calling for steps to bolster education, carry out
legal and social reforms, and promote awareness-raising among men.

Ms. Migiro advocated that “change that will free boys and men from cultural stereotypes and
expectations, such as the belief that manhood comes from showing „who‟s boss‟ or from
frequenting sex workers.”

This process, she emphasized, must include providing anti-retrovirals to prevent parent to child
transmission, and microbicides, as they become available.

To have real impact, efforts must be guided by two key principles: accountability and a drive to
achieve measurable results, she said, calling on participants to “set clear aims, and be prepared

to be held accountable.”

Also addressing the Summit, Margaret Chan, Director-General of the UN World Health
Organization (WHO), reviewed progress in combating AIDS, noting that last year the number
of people in sub-Saharan Africa receiving life-saving drugs passed the 1 million mark. “That is
proof of principle. It can be done,” she said.

She urged all concerned to work to ensure universal access to prevention, treatment, care, and
support for all who need it by 2010.

At the same time, Dr. Chan pointed to the gravity of the spread of the disease. “We have seen
considerable progress, but we are still running behind this devastating, unforgiving epidemic,”
she said, pointing out that for every person starting treatment, another six people will become
newly infected within a year.

To combat this trend, she called for pressing for universal access to treatment and care while
working for prevention. “This is the only way to catch up.”

Organized by the World YWCA and the International Community of Women Living with HIV
and AIDS, the Summit will run for three days and is being attended by 1,800 participants from
all over the world.

In a separate development, the Deputy Secretary-General today visited the UN headquarters in
Nairobi, where she attended a town hall meeting with UN staff. During the meeting, she
highlighted the importance of feedback to headquarters from the field to improve the UN‟s
accountability and progress on the reform agenda.

She also paid a brief courtesy visit to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and planted a tree at the
headquarters complex before holding meetings with the senior management of the UN
Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-


                         Other environment in the News

BBC: Boeing unveils Dreamliner plane

US plane manufacturer Boeing has unveiled its 787 Dreamliner - the firm's first all-new jet
since 1995.
It is the only big commercial aircraft made mostly of carbon fibre rather than aluminium and is
billed as the most environmentally friendly ever built.
Boeing says the 787 is much more fuel efficient than its competitors and produces 20% less
The firm says it already has more than 600 orders. The first test flight is expected in August or
Sunday was chosen for Dreamliner's premiere as it is 8 July, or, in the American date style,
Compare Boeing and Airbus planes
An audience of thousands were in attendance in Seattle as the aircraft was presented to the
"Our journey began some six years ago when we knew we were on the cusp of delivering
valuable new technologies," Mike Bair, who heads the 787 programme, told the crowd.

Hours earlier, Boeing said it had received 35 new orders for the plane.
The orders, from Air Berlin and a Kuwaiti leasing firm, mean Boeing now has 677 orders from
47 customers for the midsize, long-haul jet.
It is due to go into service next year, with Japan's All Nippon Airways set to be the first
recipient as a reward for placing orders for 50 of the aircraft.
Carbon fibre, which is lighter and more durable than aluminium, makes up about 50% of the
plane's structure, including the fuselage and wings.
This is intended to make the 787 fuel efficient. Boeing says the composite materials also mean
air in the cabin can be more humid, leaving long-haul passengers less jetlagged.
Phil Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, a non-partisan US group, told the
BBC that the 787 was a "major step forward" but not the sole solution to aviation emissions.
Some environmentalists say the lower operating costs will make air travel cheaper and simply
encourage more people to fly.
The Dreamliner is Boeing's first all-new plane since the 777, which began flying in 1995.
It is crucial to Boeing's success, just as Airbus is pinning its hopes for the future on its
forthcoming A380.
However, the two are very different planes with different aims.

The European firm sees its superjumbo plane as a response to airline calls for a bigger plane to
meet increasing passenger numbers flying between major hubs.
Boeing is taking a different tack, predicting that the future growth sector will be for additional
medium-sized planes that can service smaller airports.
Airbus is currently developing the A350, which is more of a direct rival to the 787, but it is not
expected to roll out the plane until about 2011.
Boeing received a boost at the Paris air show with an order for 50 of the aircraft from ILFC.
Orders from plane-leasing companies - among the biggest global buyers of aircraft - are often
seen as an indication of how a model will succeed in the long term.
Assembly of the first Dreamliner began in May, although Boeing says that when full operation
is under way, it will take just three days to put together each aircraft.

ENS: Gore Brings Surprise Live Earth Concert to Washington
WASHINGTON, DC, July 6, 2007 (ENS) - A last minute surprise show has been added to
Saturday's Live Earth concert lineup, bringing to the nation's capital the global day of music to
raise awareness of the climate crisis.
The concert at the National Museum of the American Indian will feature former U.S. Vice
President and Live Earth organizer Al Gore, and country music stars the husband-and-wife
team of Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
The show features bands such as the reggae band Native Roots from Albuquerque, the
Cheyenne and Lakota band The Reddmen, and speakers such as educator Henrietta Mann.
Live Earth is a 24 hour, seven continent series of concerts taking place on July 7, 2007,
bringing together more than 150 music artists and two billion people in a global movement to
solve the climate crisis.
Live Earth will reach this worldwide audience through an unprecedented global media network
covering television, radio, Internet, and wireless channels.
With the addition of the Washington concert, there will be two Live Earth shows happening
tomorrow in the United States.
The concerts will start in Australia with Live Earth Sydney and circle the globe, ending at
Giants Stadium for Live Earth New York on Saturday night.
There was no show planned for Washington, DC because of the objections of a small group of
Republican lawmakers, led by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe.
Inhofe blocked a bipartisan resolution that would have permitted Gore to choose the Capitol's
West Front as a Live Earth concert venue.
"There has never been a partisan political event at the Capitol, and this is a partisan political
event," said Inhofe in March.
Live Earth maintains that it is not a partisan political event but is supported by people of all
political stripes.

"The calvary didn't ride to the rescue, the American Indians did," Gore told CBS TV today.
Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee, told reporters on a conference call today that climate change is an issue that
"unites humankind."
"Global warming is the challenge of our generation," said Boxer. "People all over the world
understand that action on global warming is needed now, and the American public is far ahead
of the government when it comes to this critical issue. After serious engagement on this issue
since the beginning of the year, we have begun to build the consensus necessary for action."
"If we don't act, we are in so much trouble it will just be disastrous," she said. "But I am
optimistic. We will take the steps necessary to preserve our only home, this planet.
"This great concert is going to wake up the world," said Apollo Alliance President Jerome
Ringo, who serves on the board of directors of Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, the
group organizing the Live Earth concerts.
"We are beyond the point of just protecting the environment, we need to heal it," Ringo told
reporters on the call. "That requires nothing less than what it took to put a man on the moon,
but this time it can't be just a national commitment, it needs to be a global one. Political Action executive director Eli Pariser said the Live Earth concerts have
prompted house parties across the country and around the world.
"For the past year this has been one of the top issues for people," Pariser said on the conference
call. "This is our biggest set of house parties since 2004, bigger than the 2006 election.
At the MoveOn parties, people will not just be watching the concerts, said Pariser, they will be
watching the Democratic presidental candidates in a town hall meeting.
"Our members have submitted questions by video. [John] Edwards, [Barack] Obama, and
[Hillary] Clinton will be answering the questions on video. Then we will ask our members to
vote on whose is the strongest plan for addressing this climate crisis," Pariser said.
"It's about new leadership," he said. "Our members will pivot from watching the concert
Saturday night to voting on the leaders' plans on Sunday morning."

Live Earth Rides a Rollercoast of Last Minute Changes
The concert in Rio was called off earlier this week but is now back on. The only free Live
Earth show, it is expected to attract upwards of one million people to Copacabana Beach and a
judge blocked the event on security grounds.

Live Earth Communications Director Kristina Schake said Thursday, "We met with authorities
and addressed their concerns, and the concert will continue as planned."
Mondo Entertainment, the local Live Earth promoter in Rio, said, "The Military Police feels
that they can guarantee the security of the show. The Military Police will guarantee the security
of all the sites in Rio with the same efficiency that is required for all events."

After the opener in Sydney, concerts will be staged in Tokyo, Japan; Shanghai, China;
Hamburg, Germany; Johannesburg, South Africa; London, United Kingdom; and Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil, before concluding at Giants Stadium in New York.
The Turkish leg of the Live Earth concerts planned for Istanbul has been scrubbed due to
insufficient sponsorship and lack of time, the organizers have confirmed.
Instead of live performances, Istanbul will see concerts from other cities around the world on
giant screens.
At the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Research Station the science team's indie-rock house
band, Nunatak, will perform, filling the slot for the seventh continent and perfecting the
numerical formula - July 7, 2007 on seven continents - that was the producers' vision.
Darkness and freezing temperatures isolate the Antarctic continent during the Southern
Hemisphere winter so the only people who will attend the Antarctic concert will be Nunatak's
17 over-wintering colleagues. But two billion people worldwide will hear the five-piece band
through the broadcasts on TV, film, radio and the Internet.

Madonna to Perform Newly Written Live Earth Song
Inspired by the Live Earth concerts, Madonna has written a new song, "Hey You." She is
scheduled to perform "Hey You" live at the Wembley Stadium Live Earth concert in London, it
was confirmed by her record label, Warner Bros. Records, who have announced that they will
release a live CD/DVD of the Live Earth Concert Series.
"Hey You," recorded in London, was produced by Pharrell Williams and Madonna. The song
can be downloaded in MP3 format on Microsoft's home page, The
first million downloads are free as Microsoft has pledged to donate $0.25 per download to the
Alliance for Climate Protection for the first million downloads.
Madonna is one of 17 headliners that have been announced for Live Earth London, including
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, and the Beastie Boys.
Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign to inspire individuals, corporations
and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis.
Live Earth is partnering with Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, The Climate Group, Stop
Climate Chaos and other international organizations in this ongoing effort. Live Earth was
founded by Kevin Wall, CEO of Control Room, the company producing the concerts globally.
Official Live Earth concerts will be streamed live at MSN's 39
localized web portals worldwide attract 465 million monthly users.

The Independent: Live Earth: One big gesture for man, one giant problem for the Earth

Live Earth was watched by two billion people on a day when 20 million tons of carbon were emitted,
a square kilometre of the Antarctic ice shelf was lost and a major new study, exclusively revealed by
the 'IoS', shows the damage we are doing worldwide. Special report by Cole Moreton at Wembley
and Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

Published: 08 July 2007
The sun was shining; the bands were good - well, some of them - and the summer had arrived
at last. Tennis players fought it out at Wimbledon and cyclists raced down the Mall in the Tour
de France. But as the crowd inside Wembley Stadium for the London Live Earth concert was
joined by two billion viewers around the world, other things were happening yesterday too.
Live Earth took place on seven continents, over 24 hours. During that time five million people
travelled by plane - and nearly 5,000 people died as a result of air pollution. More than 83
million barrels of oil were consumed - and the Antarctic lost a kilometre from its melting ice
shelf. The population of the world increased by 211,000 - and the forests of the world
decreased by 20,000 hectares.
All this happens every day - symptoms of the global crisis that Live Earth hopes to help to
stop. And the true picture is even worse than we fear, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
Startling new research shows that humanity is pushing the Earth to breaking point by
devouring the life-support systems that make it habitable. Even before the feared climate
change really begins the bite, the planet is already under intolerable strain. An unprecedented
study by top ecologists and climatologists, to be published by the US National Academy of
Sciences, shows that a quarter of all plant life in the world is being destroyed each year by the
demands of just one species: homo sapiens.
"That is mind-boggling," said Kevin Wall, co-founder and producer of the Live Earth shows
which started in Sydney, Australia, at 2am British time and ended in Rio de Janeiro early this
morning. "It is part of the challenge we face, which is so overwhelming that people tend to go
along with their lives in the same way, because it's invisible moment by moment."
Live Earth hoped to beat that inertia by challenging members of its unprecedented global
audience to reduce their own carbon emissions and campaign for serious political action. "The
Earth is a blue ball covered with a very thin layer of lacquer, within which the air, water and
living beings exist," said the former US presidential candidate Al Gore, who also put the
concerts together. "This fragile layer is all we have. It is our only home - and we owe it to our
children and our children's children to protect it."
But the new research in 161 countries - the most extensive study ever made into humanity's
impact on the planet's production of life, powered by the Sun - shows that the Earth is already
in serious trouble. In some parts of the world humans are using up far more than 25 per cent of
plant life for food, fuel and other needs. In Western Europe we gobble up 40 per cent of the
earth's natural bounty, in Eastern Europe 52 per cent, and in India a staggering 63 per cent.
About half of this is accounted for by growing crops and another 40 per cent in forestry and
grazing domesticated animals.
"This is a remarkable impact on the biosphere caused by just one species," said the German
government's chief adviser on climate change. The US Academy's study, actually carried out at
Austria's Klagenfurt University and Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, is

backed by some of the world's most distinguished experts. Dr Nathan Moore of Michigan State
University called the results "alarming". Professor Christopher Field, founding director of the
Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, said: "With millions of species sharing
the leftovers, it is hard to know how many will be squeezed out of the game."
Global warming will place even greater strain on the natural world, the survey says. But it also
warns that one of the main measures proposed to combat climate change - growing extra crops
for to make biofuels - places " massive additional pressures on ecosystems".
Live Earth took place on seven continents in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Johannesburg,
Hamburg, London, New York and Rio de Janeiro. Crowded House were headlining in
Australia long before the doors opened at the new Wembley Stadium, and their lead singer Neil
Finn said this event would shame other rock promoters and set a new standard for responsible
shows. "This is the least we can do at this point in the planet's history. It's a groundswell we
want to be part of."
But Roger Daltrey of The Who (not on the bill anywhere) had said: "The last thing the planet
needs is a rock concert." And Arctic Monkeys said the artists appearing were patronising and
hypocritical, "especially when we're using enough power for 10 houses, just for stage lighting".
British fans at Wembley were well aware of the absurdity of super-rich rock stars lecturing
ordinary people about how to live a greener life. Darren Goddard, 32, a bricklayer from
Norwich, was looking forward to seeing Madonna. But asked whether she would have come by
National Express to cut down emissions, as he had, he just laughed.
"It is ridiculous and a bit insulting to hear them when they've got all that wealth," agreed his
friend Jim Clancy, 45, a builder, " but you need big stars to attract people." And Maria Clancy,
32, a teaching assistant, said: "If she manages to make 100 people change their minds today
then it's almost worth it."
Prime Minster Gordon Brown echoed the need for more awareness. "People are asking, 'What
can I do?'" he said. "When I go round the country and I meet people, they say to me, 'Look, if
we knew what we could do to make a difference to helping the planet, then we would do it.'
One of the things we've got to do in the next few months is have more information about the
different things that we can do to improve the planet."
Live Earth was organised by the Alliance for Global Protection, the charity set up by Al Gore
when his unexpected hit film An Inconvenient Truth turned a failed US politician into the
world's leading green statesman. Kevin Wall, his partner in making the concerts happen, was
also the man behind the Live8 in 2005. Like those shows, this one was not after money. "The
southern hemisphere - in particular Africa - is already the most affected by the climate crisis,"
Mr Wall told the IoS, "but Live Earth isn't about the haves and the have-nots. The air we
breathe here is the same air they breathe in Africa and China. The crisis will affect us just the
same, rich and the poor."
As a promoter he was aware how ridiculous and hypocritical it might look. " But it's not about
what anybody has done in the past. This is about their commitment going forward. If we can
get the rock industry and promoters to make a commitment, if we can get consumers to sign
the pledge, we will achieve something."
Everyone watching was urged to sign up by text or online for a sevenfold pledge to plant trees,
protect forests, buy from eco-friendly businesses, vote for green-minded politicians and make
"a dramatic increase" in energy savings. But the pledge also involved promising to fight for

new laws and policies, to demand that their country sign a new treaty - and the very specific
demand that any new coal power station be able to trap and store the CO2 it produces.
Inside the stadium, the power was coming from renewable sources, the organisers claimed, and
food, drink and souvenirs were being sold in recycled or biodegradable packaging. The burgers
came in boxes made from sugar cane and reed fibre and Madonna's backstage pass hung from a
lanyard made from the recycled stems of grain crops. Her flights - and all those taken by Live
Earth staff and performers - were offset. But most of that was only for this event.
Sharon Looremeta had come from her Masai village in Kenya to speak to the world from the
Wembley stage. "We lived for many years with lots of animals and food but with time we have
become poorer than any other human beings on earth," she said. "Our rivers have dried up. Our
vegetation is drying up too because we do not get the rains we used to. Women cannot work
and children are stopped from going to school because they must walk long distances to look
for water."
How did it feel then, to share a microphone with some of the world's richest stars? "There is a
disparity," she said. "But I have come to share our story and they want to hear it. They are
human. They have feelings and morals. I can go back and say that people here have a
commitment to help us and to change"
Even the reformed spoof rock gods Spinal Tap had their say on global warming. "We're
premiering our new song called 'Warmer than Hell'," said the bass player Derek Smalls.
And in a speech in South Africa, the Benin singer Angélique Kidjo said: "Get your butt out
there and do something. If we don't do something today, then when there's another tsunami
then that cynical person, his arse is going to be on that wave."


Reuters: Cola King Takes UN Stage in Green Drive

SWITZERLAND: July 9, 2007

GENEVA - E. Neville Isdell has come a long way from delivery boy in apartheid South Africa
to chief executive of the world's largest drinks group, The Coca-Cola Co. , and now, UN
champion of environmental protection.

Isdell, who took the top job at Coke in 2004 and is widely credited with turning it around, took
the stage alongside UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week, leading the call for
companies to do more to protect the environment.

"I'm an optimist by nature and a realist by experience," Isdell said, rattling the pulpit before
government and business leaders who met in Geneva to review progress on the UN's Global
Compact on corporate responsibility.

"We need more companies to get involved."

The Global Compact was created in 2000 as a counterweight to anti-globalisation protests,
such as those that disrupted the 1999 World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle.

Isdell as champion of the environment sits well with Coke's optimistic marketing image -- an
image largely styled by Isdell in an effort to reverse a malaise that had inflicted the US drinks
group before his arrival.

Born in Ireland, Isdell was educated in apartheid-era South Africa and licensed as a social
worker before climbing the ladder at Coke.

Isdell, who was an outspoken opponent of apartheid at the time, said he had a lot of explaining
to do with his friends, family and several professors after he left social work and chose the
corporate path -- and that he assured them he would stick to his ideals.

As such, Isdell has made social engagement a byword of corporate policy, offering, for
example, Coke's HIV-positive African employees access to antiretroviral drugs and pledging to
uphold workplace quality standards globally.

Isdell has also led Coke's efforts to recycle and reduce packaging, cut energy use and establish
closer ties to local communities in emerging markets, and has been an outspoken advocate of
the UN's Compact, signed by Coke in 2006.

"In the 21st century, you've going to have to be seen as a steward of the planet," the 40-year
Coke veteran told Reuters in an interview alongside the UN meetings.

The 64-year-old family father Isdell, who never studied business and is reputed to drink six to
seven cans of Coke Zero per day, wore his ideology on his sleeve in Geneva, railing against his
fellow executives to stand up and do more to protect the environment -- particularly drinkable


Coke as environmental champion may be hard to swallow for anti-globalisation protestors or
groups in India who have accused the group of depleting ground water, polluting or selling
contaminated soft drinks -- charges contested by Coke.

But civil society critics such as the UK-based Institute of Social and Ethical AccountAbility
say Coke's role in forging ties between business, government and civil society is a positive one.

"The CEO of Coca-Cola sharing the stage with the UN secretary general, Amnesty
International and the International Trade Union Confederation? That would not have happened
a couple of years ago," said Alex MacGillivray, head of research at AccountAbility.

Isdell says businesses like Coke have a lot to offer non-profit organisations and civil society
groups -- mainly lessons in how to get things done efficiently.

Non-governmental organisations and protest groups that once demonised global giants like
Coke now sometimes look to businesses as "enablers of change," he said.

But he draws the line at Coke harnessing its legendary distribution network to deliver
humanitarian material in Africa -- a suggestion put forward by some aid agencies -- where it is
easier to find a can of Coke than, for example, anti-malarial mosquito nets.

"We can't do that," he told Reuters. "At the end of the day we are a commercial enterprise and
we can't do what governments do or fail to do."

Story by Thomas Atkins\

Daily Herld Tribune: Canada takes its Great Lakes for granted


    While a large chunk of the world grows increasingly parched and desperate for fresh water,
most Canadians don't think twice about turning on the taps for a drink or shower, and having
an instant, abundant supply.
    And few feel guilty for running the water a full minute to make it really cold, or lingering
in a hot shower for half an hour.
   Meanwhile, an estimated 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water, and shortages plague
Australia, parts of Africa, the Middle East and the United States. And the United Nations
warns two-thirds of the world will face serious water shortages by 2025.
    Drier countries must look enviously at a map of Canada with all its large splotches and
veins of blue, but advocates are worried Canadians have taken those vast bodies of water for
granted, and they're particularly concerned there's a lack of alarm over serious, growing
problems in the Great Lakes.
    Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior make up about 20 per cent of the
world's fresh water, are used by more than 30 per cent of Canada's population, and also help to
push out about 50 per cent of Canada's manufacturing output and hundreds of billions of
dollars in trade.
    And yet there seems to be little public concern about problems slowly affecting the health
of those lakes and the creatures that live in and around them.
    ''The Great Lakes are the lifeblood of this entire part of the world, but if people think they
can take much more abuse, or that we can allow more pollution, more invasive species, then
they're wrong,'' said Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, one of the loudest advocates
to protect the country's water.
    ''The entire ecosystem of North America depends on the health of these lakes, and if we
think that they could not disappear or substantially be reduced, we haven't learned anything
from history.''
   A new report by Environmental Defence found many different species of fish are already
somewhat or completely unsafe to eat, and others are getting close to that danger level.

    And yet the federal government has stood by idly while the water quality deteriorates, even
as the American government talks about spending US$20 billion to revitalize the lakes, said
policy director Aaron Freeman.
   ''Pollution sources in Canada are actually becoming worse, while on the U.S. side of the
border, there's been a major cleanup effort,'' he said.
   ''And there has been virtually nothing on the Canadian side to match that commitment.''
    A recent joint report by Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency states the health of the lakes is currently mixed at best, with the good news being the
state of drinking water is considered good in all five lakes.
    But while significant achievements have been made over the last few decades in removing
toxic chemicals from the waters, the report notes it will be 10 to 30 years before those
substances are completely eliminated from the lakes.
    So far, 183 aquatic invasive species are being studied and monitored by scientists -
including round gobies, rusty crayfish, sea lampreys and zebra mussels - and a new one is
found in the Great Lakes about every seven months.
    One study suggests it would cost about US$55 million a year to arrange alternative modes
of transportation to ship goods from the St. Lawrence Seaway to other destinations within the
Great Lakes basin, which Mahon said is a small price to pay considering the billions in costs
incurred by invasive species.

GRAPHIC: photo by Mark O'Neill Environmental Defence released a report on the pollution
of Great Lakes fish from harmful contaminants, such as mercury, PCBs and dioxins and furans.
The report, Up to the Gills: Pollution in Great Lakes Fish, examines fish advisories across the
Great Lakes.

The Guardian: The man making the world's worst polluter clean up its act

Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Sunday July 8, 2007

He is not as well known as Al Gore or David Attenborough but among green campaigners, no
one has a bigger role in tackling climate change than Ma Jun. As China's economic growth
races on at breakneck speed and with more dirty, coal-burning power plants coming on line
each year, the world's most populous nation will soon overtake the US as the biggest
greenhouse gas emitter.
Ma, 39, has emerged as the powerful voice of a budding green movement that is forcing
industry and China's tightly run state to be more accountable for the long-term consequences of
their rush to get rich.

He founded the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, which is among those leading
the charge to clean up the air and rivers of China, a monumental task. Pollution is leaking
beyond its borders. Sand storms caused by desertification blast across Korea and Japan all the
way over the Pacific to America. And as the dump for 50 billion tonnes of effluent annually,
the rivers' toxic discharges threaten marine life hundreds of miles beyond China's seas.

The country's environmental importance was apparent last month when George Bush said he
would not sign up to ambitious new goals to prevent global warming unless China was
involved. President Hu Jintao rejected binding targets, but said China would reduce emissions
voluntarily and has unveiled its first plan to deal with climate change. There is even talk that
after years of red politics and black capitalism China may yet turn green.
Ma has cause for optimism. The ex-journalist switched to activism in 1997 after hearing
Chinese hydro-engineers boast that the Yellow River was a model of water management, even
though it was so over-dammed and exploited that it failed to reach the sea on more than 200
days each year. That inspired Ma to write an influential book warning of an impending crisis.
There was not much an ordinary citizen could do then, when green campaigners were
considered a threat to a government fixated with economic growth regardless of the
environmental cost. But much has changed. Since 2003, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has done
more than any leader to press the environmental case. Five years ago, there were fewer than 50
registered green NGOs in the country. Today there are almost 3,000.
Ma's institute's online China Water Pollution Map - - names and shames the worst
offending regions and companies. It is a symbol of a new kind of social activism in China:
pragmatic rather than idealistic, and relying more on maps and data than votes and speeches to
lobby for change.
If polluting companies want their names removed from the map they have to accept an
environmental audit from a third party and act on any problems. This has prompted a response
by 30 companies, mostly multinationals. Six have already agreed to audits. Among them,
Panasonic Battery in Shanghai which is refitting its factory's water system.
'It is not just because of us,' said Ma. 'But it is really good. They sent a big delegation to our
office to explain their actions and they have invited us to go and check their plant.'
Not everyone is as receptive. Ma says Pepsi, General Motors and five or six British firms are
among those who have not responded. There are 80 multinationals among the 5,500 violators
listed, but they face the fiercest criticism. Ma is unapologetic: 'Multinationals are more
sensitive to public pressure because they have bigger brand names and they have made
commitments to be environmentally sensitive. Chinese firms are not used to this kind of
pressure yet.'
To make domestic firms feel the heat, he plans to target their overseas buyers and suppliers.
'Globalised manufacturing and procurement mean that a lot of high-polluting, heavy duty jobs
are transferred to China,' says Ma. 'We will ask major companies, such as Wal-Mart, Microsoft
and IBM to put pressure on their Chinese suppliers.'
New laws have been implemented on environmental protection in China and the latest five-
year plan includes ambitious targets to cut pollution by 10 per cent and improve energy
efficiency by 20 per cent. But these fine-sounding directives run up against resistance by local
authorities still focused on rapid development, and fear from companies that environmental
concerns will drive them out of business.
'Managers from one big Chinese noodle company came here and told me, "We are just a
farmers' company. Think how it will impact on us." But I tell them the rules are made by the
government. Every firm should comply. It doesn't mean they can't compete.'

So how does it feel for the head of a small campaign to have executives from some of the
world's biggest companies knocking at his door to explain themselves? 'It shows that China has
bottlenecks. Environmental problems cannot be resolved here the way they are resolved in
other countries. I heard that 80 per cent of the environmental problems in the US are solved in
court. That can't happen here.'
These 'bottlenecks' are the one-party state with no independent justice system, no political
accountability and no free media. For decades, there was nothing to stop Communist cadres
and factory bosses from pumping out poisons.
However, the market economy has given consumers more choice, the media have greater
freedom and businesses are gradually paying attention to corporate social responsibility. 'This
is a lucky time for us because central government leaders have changed their mindset,' Ma
says. 'We have a vibrant economy. There is over-supply of goods. That means strong
competition and more consumer power.'
His next project is an air quality map. There is still no comprehensive data for carbon
emissions despite China's G8 promise of significant achievements in this area. Ma says China
needs time to come to terms with climate change. His goal is to ensure China's natural heritage
is not destroyed by economic growth. 'China is moving forward. Developing countries are not
the real culprits. Rich countries must take responsibility.'

New York Times: Wealthy Stake $25 Million in a War With the Sea

Jodi Hilton for The New York Times
Structures near the beach in Siasconset, Mass., are threatened by erosion, including this home
in the process of being moved from the bluff‟s edge.
Published: July 8, 2007
NANTUCKET, Mass. — On this island, the phrase “money is no object” is more than a figure
of speech. Starter homes sell for $800,000 or more, a coffee shop breakfast for two can top
$50, and carpenters routinely commute to work by airplane.

Jodi Hilton for The New York Times
Dirk Roggeveen, a conservation official, on bluffs at Siasconset.

Jodi Hilton for The New York Times
Sankaty Lighthouse, also in danger, is scheduled to be moved to prevent it from collapsing into
the ocean.
So when erosion became a serious threat to bluff-top homes in the village of Siasconset on the
island‟s southeast shore and homeowners decided to fight back by replenishing the beach, cost
was not an issue.
About two dozen of the owners joined with other island residents to form the Sconset Beach
Preservation Fund, whose members are seeking permission to spend at least $25 million of
their own money to dredge 2.6 million cubic yards of sand from a few miles offshore and
pump it onto a 3.1-mile stretch of beach in Siasconset, or Sconset, as it is called here.

They realize that the sand will inevitably wash away, so they are prepared to do much of the
work all over again, perhaps as often as every five years.
If the sand had to be transported by dump trucks, it could take 260,000 trips at 10 cubic yards a
trip. Instead, it will be dredged up from the ocean bottom, mixed with water and pumped to
shore as a slurry that will spew out onto the beach.
The goal “is to see that Sconset Village does not wash away,” said F. Helmut Weymar, a
retired derivatives trader who lives most of the time in Princeton, N.J., but has owned a house
on Baxter Road, the heart of the project area, since the 1970s.
“Were this only about our private property, would I have put this amount of time and resources
into it?” Mr. Weymar said. “My answer to myself is no.”
His family‟s house is in imminent danger, he said, but it would be “pretty simple” for them to
buy another one.
It remains to be seen whether even endless expenditures can hold back the sea. There could
hardly be a more difficult spot to protect than the southeast corner of Nantucket, a 47-square-
mile “sand pile in the ocean,” as one owner calls it. The island lies about 30 miles south of
Cape Cod, which offers some shelter to the island‟s north shore. Cobble shoals to the east
could, in theory, offer some protection to the island, but they perennially shift and some
geologists believe they may actually be positioned now to funnel wave energy at the island‟s
vulnerable shore.
And because Nantucket — like Martha‟s Vineyard, Block Island and Long Island — is little
more than soil, rocks and pebbles left behind about 18,000 years ago at the end of the last ice
age, it is easy prey to encroaching waves. The result is extreme erosion on the island‟s south
and east coasts, on average 10 feet or more per year, especially when storms roar in from the
More important for many here than the potentially enormous financial costs are the possible
environmental costs of the plan, like threats to fish habitat. These are hot issues on all of
America‟s coasts, most of which suffer erosion expected to worsen as sea levels rise because of
global warming.
On Nantucket, the issue is further complicated by history.
Some of the rose-covered weathered gray cottages of the Siasconset village center date to the
17th century — the National Park Service declared the entire island a historic district in 1966
— and their fate may be linked to the fate of the beach the fund supporters hope to replenish.
The more recent but still decades-old influx of wealthy summer residents is also a
“The language of class warfare creeps into it,” said Dirk Roggeveen, administrator of the
Nantucket Conservation Commission, which has crucial permitting authority over the beach
project and has yet to rule on it. “People concerned about the project make statements like
„they are just rich people trying to protect their houses.‟ ”
The fund‟s permit application is in effect an assessment of virtually every economic or
environmental impact that could possibly occur, and a description of how the group would
avoid, monitor, mitigate or compensate for it. For example, fishermen objected that the sand
washing off the newly built beach would scatter their prey, so the proponents offered to

compensate them for reduced catches. And when conservation commissioners and others said
the problem was not just loss of fishing income but the stirred-up sand‟s degradation of
offshore fish habitat, project backers offered to create an artificial substitute.
Much more than the beach in front of supporters‟ homes would be rebuilt; the project would
run from north of Sankaty Lighthouse, already scheduled to be moved from the bluff edge, to a
town sewage facility on the south side of Sconset village.
A northeaster in April cost some homes on Baxter Road as much as 20 feet of land. And
recently, iron beams and other equipment had been assembled on the front lawn of one of these
houses in preparation for moving it to the very edge of the road, a task that will cost tens of
thousands of dollars, at least, and will buy the owners perhaps one or two more April-strength
Other Baxter Road property owners have already moved their houses to the edge of the road, or
across the street to land they owned or bought there. Others are planning to move, even if it
means shrinking their building footprints on their diminished lots.
The current attempt to save the beach is hardly the first effort to protect the houses that line the
bluff at Sconset. In 1994, the property owners began an ambitious test of a new beach
preservation technology, called “dewatering.” They installed a network of pipes to drain water
out of the beach, in theory making it less vulnerable to erosion. Instead, the project itself was
largely washed away. A sandbag operation, ostensibly more benign than the dewatering, has
been going on for years.
Robert Colletti, who works for Holgate Partners, which operates a sand pit on Nantucket, stood
recently in the back of the house on Baxter Road that is about to be moved. It now sits only
about 15 feet from the bluff edge. About 100 feet below him, at the bottom of the bluff,
workers were filling giant jute fiber bags with sand and arranging them in a kind of terrace, in
hopes of preserving what little of the bluff remains between the house and the water. The hopes
may be slim.
“The North Atlantic,” Mr. Colletti said, “it has no mercy.”
ENS: Renewable Energy Future Could Save the World Billions of Dollars a Year
BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 6, 2007 (ENS) - Investing in renewable electricity worldwide
instead of burning fossil fuels could save US$180 billion annually and cut emissions of the
greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in half by 2030, according to a joint report by Greenpeace and
the European Renewable Energy Council, released today.
In the first global analysis of its kind, the report argues for a shift in global investments
towards renewable energy - solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and bioenergy - within the next 23
years, and away from "dangerous" coal and nuclear power.
"As Live Earth mobilizes billions of people to take urgent action against the climate threat, our
report shows not only that the world‟s electricity needs can be met by renewable energy, but
that by doing so, we will literally save trillions of dollars; a massive US$180 billion a year,
forever," said Sven Teske of Greenpeace International.

The report gives the financial rationale for Greenpeace's "Energy Revolution," a blueprint for
how to cut global carbon dioxide, CO2, emissions by 50 percent by 2050, while maintaining
global economic growth.
The Energy Revolution scenario is an alternative to the International Energy Agency's world
energy outlook.
"In sharp contrast," Teske said, a "business as usual approach casts a dark cloud over our
"Its 10,000 new fossil fuel power plants, would increase global CO2 emissions by over 50
percent, and more than double fuel costs; there is no way of putting a price on the disastrous
results this will have for environment and humanity," he said.
The Energy Revolution needs an extra global annual investment of $22 billion in clean and
renewable power plants on top of current expenditure, Greenpeace says.
The fuel cost savings of up to $202 billion per year, means this will pay for itself 10 times
over," said Teske.
The report says that converting the subsidies of $250 billion a year that now are given to the
coal and gas industries to clean, safe renewable energy will cover the costs of the energy
revolution and much more, he said.
The European Renewable Energy Council says the global market for wind turbines was worth
some €18 billion in 2006, and the total renewable industry was worth about $50 billion.
The Council is the umbrella organization of European renewable energy industry, trade and
research associations working in the photovoltaic, wind energy, small hydropower, biomass,
geothermal energy and solar thermal sectors.
Under an energy revolution scenario, renewable energy would be worth an annual market
volume of $288 billion by 2030, the Council projects.
"The renewable industry is willing and able to deliver the power plants the world needs, we
simply need the right climate and energy policy," said Oliver Schäfer, EREC policy director.
"Decisions made in the next few years, will continue to have an impact in 2050. Only if a
renewable energy path is taken, can we avoid the worst excesses of climate change," he
The report stresses the urgent need for decisive action now. In the next decade, many existing
power plants will need replacing, and emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are
rapidly building new energy infrastructure.
"Future Investment - A sustainable Investment Plan for the power sector to save the Climate,"
is online at:,, and

Al Jazeera: Gold rush threatens Chilean glacier

By     Lucia Newman in the Huasco Valley, Chile

Lucia Newman finds the gold

mine is dividing local opinion

Hernan Calderon says he is just an "insignificant insect" to the owners of the Pascua Lama gold
mine high in the Andes mountains in northern Chile.

The cattle herder used to be able to check his herds in the fields of the Huasco Valley via a
public road.

He now requires a key for a gate erected after the land was bought by the Canadian company
Barrick Gold, the largest mining company in the world.

A new gold rush is under way as mining companies seek to supply the ever-increasing demand
for the precious metal from emerging economies such as India, and with reserves dwindling all
over the world they are going to extraordinary lengths to extract it.

Since time immemorial man has risked much to obtain gold, but twenty years ago it would
have been unthinkable to look for it so high in the Andes mountains, too much trouble and
expense to extract.

However next to the Toro I, Toro II and Esperanze glaciers 5,000 metres above sea level
deposits worth an estimated 12 billion dollars have been discovered by satellite.

Verdant valley

Barrick Gold were awarded the contract to mine the site by the Chilean government last year
but hostility towards the company is widespread in the verdant Huasco valley just south of the
world's driest desert.

Hernan Calderon told Al Jazeera: "All this belongs to those people from Barrick. Now the
foreigners are the new owners of Chile and we are just insignificant insects to them."

It has not rained in the valley for ten years, yet the Huasco produces some of Chile's best
grapes, avocadoes and olives for export thanks to careful irrigation with the water that comes
from the glaciers above.

It is a source of water that farmers like Bernardo Torres, fear will become contaminated with
the cyanide used when mining for gold.

"It's a highly toxic activity that will prejudice us all," Torres said. "The leaks and explosives,
the impact of the heavy metals will affect our plants and our health, even if they say it won't."

Others worry that the glacier itself may just melt away once the mine opens.

Because they are white glaciers reflect the sun's rays, this is why they do not melt. But if they
become dark brown from the explosives and dust generated every day, as environmentalists
predict, the glaciers could disappear.

Chile's national chamber of deputies recently called for an inquiry into the Pascua Lama
project after the findings of a report from the country's General Water Directorship from 2002

was publicised by local media and revealed the three glaciers had already dwindled by 50-70
per cent during the exploratory phase of the project.


Rodrigo Jimenez, a spokesman for Barrick, dismissed the report and blamed the melting on
global warming.

When he spoke to Al Jazeera he said one of the conditions to the contract awarded to mine
Pascua lama is not to affect the glaciers in any way.

"There are 400 additional conditions," he said. "And we are going to adhere to them 100 per

"And this is why we can say with confidence that we will not affect the quality or the quantity
of the water for the Huasco valley."

Barrick says that where it goes, it leaves progress and development behind, so Al Jazeera
travelled south to La Serena, where Barrick exploited a gold mine called El Indio until it closed
five years ago.

Mario Gonzalez, who said he worked for Barrick until shortly before the mine closed,
explained that despite precautions being taken there were several occasions when highly toxic
waste leaked into the river that goes into La Serena's water supply.

Jobs boost

"Every time it happened, a few hours later the alarm was sent and a sanitary emergency was
declared," he said.

"No drinking water for three or four days until the waste was washed out into the ocean."

But there were benefits from the El Indio project for the local community. At least a thousand
families were able to build their homes in the area because of the jobs generated by the mine
over a 20 year period.

The promise of jobs in the new Pascua Lama gold mine is important to residents of nearby
Vallenar, the provincial capital where unemployment is high and part of the argument that
helped win Chilean government approval for the controversial project.

Enrique Accorsi, the president of the natural resources commission of the chamber of deputies
said: "We're talking about a project worth billions of dollars and the investment always seens
to weigh more than the negative impact it could have."

Yet a sign in the Huasco Valley reads: "The thirst for gold will leave us without water."

Despite the assurances from Barrick, farmers like Don Manuel believe it, yet he concedes: "I
don't think this can be stopped. We‟re talking about big business, and big business always

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Warming strikes a note in China
A growing middle class seeing dangers of pollution

Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, July 8, 2007


(07-08) 04:00 PDT Shanghai -- Millions of Chinese got their first exposure to Western-style
environmentalism Saturday when the Live Earth concert played to a nation whose stunning
economic boom is becoming a global-warming nightmare.

The concert location in Shanghai was the most visually spectacular of the Live Earth sites
around the world -- at the foot of the Oriental Pearl Tower, an ultra-modern, 1,535-foot-tall
structure that resembles a colossal spaceship hovering over the city.

As the tower's colored lights illuminated the swirling mists of a thunderstorm in garish, candy
hues, the event fairly screamed out to be called a harbinger of the future.

Just what sort of future, however, is far from clear.

The big question for China -- along with the other nations hosting Live Earth concerts -- is
whether the event will spur support for meaningful action to cut energy use and, in so doing,
reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

In China, the stakes are far higher than elsewhere.

International studies have shown that China has overtaken the United States as the world's
leading source of greenhouse gases and that its emissions are rising at a rate that far outstrips
any potential cutbacks by wealthy nations.

But China's leaders so far have refused to consider binding limits for the country's emissions,
saying that wealthy nations should bear all responsibility for cutbacks. And among the Chinese
public, which is rapidly gaining the trappings of prosperity, there has been little support for
going green -- until now.

"We're seeing a new level of public engagement on the environment and climate change," said
Li Lin, director of conservation strategy for the Chinese branch of Worldwide Fund for Nature,
one of the local co-sponsors of the Shanghai event.

Market research firms say their surveys have found rising consumer interest in the environment
and public health.

"The Chinese, especially the young, are coming up on environmental concern in quite a big
way," said P.T. Black, president of Jigsaw International, a Shanghai firm that does market
research throughout China for major multinational corporations.

Black said that recent surveys his firm has conducted among middle-class, urban Chinese
youth show an unmet market niche for products and ideas that are linked to environmental

"It's still not hip or trendy, but people are becoming more confident in asking, 'Why is the sky
so gray? Why is the water so dirty, and the food so unsafe?' It's not like the United States -- the
yuppie sort of Whole Earth, reduced-consumption, simple-life kind of stuff," he said. "They
still want economic development, but they want to develop better, smarter, cleaner."

Some concert attendees said that the message, not the music, drew them to come.

"Some people just want to watch soap operas on TV, but I think people will start thinking
about this," said Ying Ying, a 22-year-old recent university graduate. "Global warming is a
problem for us Chinese, too, not just Americans or rich countries."

Although Shanghai's concert was broadcast on regional television and on a national music
cable channel, it received little advance publicity -- a possible sign that the government was
divided over whether to allow foreign-funded environmentalism to gain a potentially
destabilizing foothold among the public.

Overall, the issue of global warming has received little attention in the Chinese media. When it
does get coverage, it is often portrayed as a purely Western problem, thus echoing the defiant
stance of Chinese diplomats who say a poor nation like China should not be required to cut its

Despite this official hard line, there is growing evidence that top government leaders in Beijing
are convinced that their country's severe environmental problems can no longer be accepted as
a necessary byproduct of economic growth.

Last week, the government's top environmental official, Zhou Shengxian, chief of the State
Environmental Protection Administration, accused provincial and municipal authorities of
protecting industrial polluters who turned rivers into "sticky glue."

Zhou said discontent with pollution has caused rising numbers of "mass incidents" -- the
official euphemism for riots, demonstrations and collective petitions.

Even the location of the Live Earth concert was highly symbolic for the Chinese government.
The Oriental Pearl Tower is a major draw for domestic Chinese tourists and a source of pride
for the nation, seen as a declaration to the world of China's destiny as an economic superpower.
Permission to use the site for major events rests with the highest levels of power in Beijing.

If Live Earth's message could get traction anywhere in China, it would be in Shanghai. The city
of 19 million is China's business capital, and is its most prosperous, outward-looking and
liberal city.

Shanghai has China's best system of mass transit, and is the only city to actively discourage car
ownership by limiting license plates, which are auctioned each month at an average cost of
40,000 yuan -- about $5,260.

But like all other Chinese cities, the air is a smoggy, brownish pea soup that burns the lungs
and causes many visitors to cough painfully.

Even for Shanghai residents who did not attend Saturday's concert, the subject of global
warming provides plenty of food for thought.

On Friday, the subject was hotly debated by a group of students gathered at a cafe near
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the nation's most elite educational institutions. In what
may be a sign of how global warming will play out in domestic Chinese politics, the students
saw it as a policy issue affecting the local quality of life, more than as a planet-wide challenge.

"The government has built many parks recently, and it has cleaned the air somewhat here in
Shanghai," said Lin Likang, a pony-tailed junior. "So we can do something on global warming.
We want to live in a nicer, cleaner environment."

Huang Chenxi, also a junior, agreed.

"We are not poor anymore, so we can use our skills to reduce emissions," she said. "This is
about our future life."


                                  ROLAC MEDIA UPDATE

05 JULY 2007

PNUMA: Cuba es ejemplo pero su modelo no puede exportarse

The Associated Press

El Director Ejecutivo del Programa de las Naciones para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA),
Achim Steiner, aseguró que Cuba puede "enorgullecerse" por como superó la profunda crisis
energética que la golpeó a comienzos de esta décadas, pero advirtió sobre la imposibilidad de
exportar modelos de manera mecánica.
Steiner llegó a Cuba como invitado especial a la Sexta Convención de Medio Ambiente y
Desarrollo en la isla y aprovechó la ocasión para realizar algunas visitas especializadas.
"Cuba puede enorgullecerse de haber resuelto la crisis energética a corto plazo" y de su
compromiso con el desarrollo de fuentes alternativas, dijo Steiner a periodistas.
Golpeada por el aumento del precio internacional del combustible y una tecnología obsoleta y
en medio de jornadas con apagones que obligaron al presidente Fidel Castro a dar
explicaciones públicas, la isla comenzó en 2004 una serie de transformaciones tanto en la
producción como en la distribución de la electricidad.
El amplio programa incluyó desde el cambio masivo por bombillos ahorradores en un
operativo de casa por casa, la sustitución de toda suerte de electrodomésticos con décadas de
uso por otras más económicas hasta la instalación de generadores diesel pequeños por todo el
país para reemplazar a las enormes e ineficientes centrales generadores.
Los cubanos lo llamaron "revolución energética" y contempló además el fomento para el
desarrollo de fuentes alternas como la eólica o la solar, inclusive el uso de gas que antes se
desperdiciaba en la extracción de petróleo.
"El PNMA debe resaltar los esfuerzos de Cuba", comentó Steiner al indicar que se dotó incluso
de pequeños generadores diesel en lugares estratégicos por su importancia social como centros
de salud.
Agregó que ahora la nación caribeña "debería seguir con mucho interés todo lo que esté
sucediendo en el mundo con la energía eólica pues cuenta con potencial para aprovechar de
este recurso en su desarrollo.
Sin embargo, Steiner rechazó que el modelo de la isla sea necesariamente algo que se pueda
copiar de manera directa en cualquier país.
La isla asentó su estrategia de protección ambiental, incluyendo las cuestiones energéticas en
su sistema comunista con sus características de planificación estatal con fuertes controles.
Paralelamente, el funcionario indicó que los países como Cuba y sus vecinos caribeños deben
estar preparados para limitar el impacto del cambio climático y generar una respuesta común.

Se prevé que el fenómeno genere en las islas del área problemas como la pérdida de la
biodiversidad, incremento de los ciclones y su intensidad destructivas y hasta un aumento del
nivel del mar que dejará sepultadas comunidades enteras.

Reconoce PNUMA estrategia energética cubana
La Habana, 4 jul (PL) El Secretario Ejecutivo del Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el
Medio Ambiente (PNUMA), Achim Steiner, consideró hoy que Cuba debe enorgullecerse de
haber resuelto la crisis energética a corto plazo.
Durante una rueda de prensa efectuada en el marco de la Sexta Convención de Medio
Ambiente y Desarrollo, el también Subsecretario General de las Naciones Unidas destacó los
esfuerzos de la isla para sacar adelante el sector de energía.
En vistas de la larga colaboración que ha existido entre el sistema de las Naciones Unidas y
Cuba, dijo que la isla puede contribuir en alto grado a ayudar a la comunidad internacional a
encontrar una respuesta común a los desafíos del cambio climático.
Steiner manifestó además su satisfacción por cómo Cuba en vez de quemar el gas y expulsarlo
a la atmósfera, lo usa para la producción de energía.
Eso, añadió, demuestra parte de lo que considera válido el PNUMA, que el uso racional de la
energía contribuye al desarrollo económico.
Insistió en que las instituciones multilaterales, deben jugar una función importante para
enfrentar los desafíos del cambio climático.
"Sin una buena plataforma multilateral el mundo no podrá responder al cambio climático",
Sobre los biocombustibles, expresó que pueden existir muchas oportunidades, pero también
riesgos y añadió que es necesario hacer una distinción entre combustibles que utilizan desechos
y los que emplean alimentos.
Consideró que lo más importante es el desarrollo de un conjunto de normas y regulaciones
éticas y ambientales para la producción de biocombustibles.
El jefe del PNUMA efectúo hoy una Conferencia Magistral en la Convención en la que
reconoció los logros de Cuba en materia de desarrollo sostenible.
Ese evento es el más importante de su tipo que se efectúa en la isla y en la presente edición
reúne a 250 expertos de más de 20 países.
rl mor PL-197
Reconoce director de PNUMA logros cubanos en desarrollo sostenible
La Habana, 4 jul (PL) El Director Ejecutivo del Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio
Ambiente (PNUMA), Achim Steiner, expresó hoy satisfacción en esta capital por los logros de
Cuba en materia de desarrollo sostenible y educación ambiental.

Steiner, invitado a la Sexta Convención de Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo, exaltó el proyecto de
la Revolución Energética impulsado por la Isla, para lograr un aprovechamiento más racional
de los recursos.
Durante una conferencia magistral, resaltó que Cuba ha invertido en el desarrollo de zonas
protegidas y en mecanismos para minimizar el impacto de fenómenos meteorológicos
extremos, que serán más frecuentes en los próximos años.
Calificó la cita de excepcional y agregó que muestra la preocupación del país caribeño por la
integración de lo ambiental y lo social.
Asimismo, instó a acciones conjuntas para luchar contra los efectos del calentamiento global,
que no sólo afectan a naciones desarrolladas -principales responsables del fenómeno- sino que
sus consecuencias tienen un alcance planetario.
También se refirió al papel unificador de las Naciones Unidas para coordinar e impulsar las
acciones de los países contra el reto que significa el aumento de la temperatura global.
“Juntos podemos dar mejores respuestas. Debemos trabajar con la familia de la ONU para
abordar los retos tecnológicos y humanos contra el cambio climático”, subrayó.
En su disertación ante 250 delegados de diferentes países reconoció también el papel de los
ministerios del medio ambiente para trazar las estrategias de lucha contra el cambio climático e
insistió en la necesidad de adaptación a ese fenómeno.
“La adaptación se ha convertido en una nueva preocupación. Si no nos adaptamos, no solo se
arriesga la vida, sino los elementos esenciales de la economía”, puntualizó.
acl yci mor PL-114
RIGHTS: Global Compact Expands, Impact Still Hazy
By Nergui Manalsuren

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 3 (IPS) - The upcoming Global Compact Leaders Summit this
Thursday and Friday in Geneva seems to be getting more attention from various
stakeholders in the global community than ever before.

But is it because the initiative has proved to be worthwhile, or simply because of the growing
number of corporations that have signed on?

When the Global Compact launched in 2000 at U.N. headquarters, it had 47 business,
government, civil society and labour stakeholders. Today the number has soared to more than
4,000 participants, expected at the Geneva meeting.

The Global Compact is the largest single initiative joining private sector firms with U.N.
agencies and civil society groups to promote universal principles on human rights, labour, the
environment, and anti-corruption.

"It is about trust building, it is about networking opportunities within the global context, it is
also about collective learning on how to tackle these issues," Georg Kell, executive director of
the Global Compact, told IPS.

"Only few years ago there was hardly any corporation out there which had an explicit policy on
human rights," he added.

A new survey of 400 Global Compact member companies by McKinsey and Company found
that 70 percent said their CEOs were more engaged on those issues compared to previous

Eighty-nine percent said they gave employees greater say in policies on labour standards, more
than 80 percent said they had measures against discrimination, while 69 percent allowed trade

Still, according to the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development, there are more than
70,000 multinational companies in the world, plus countless small and medium businesses -- a
number that dwarfs the signatories to the Global Compact.

A report released Tuesday on the environmental, social and governance frameworks of the
Compact by Goldman Sachs found that its guiding principles were not just socially responsible
but also good for business. For example, companies that rated well on social and
environmental factors also tended to be well managed in other areas and perform well

"Today, the idea that through engagement you create value, you protect the brand, you build
social capital, you safeguard your investment, you motivate your workforce, and you have
moral compass when you operate in many different countries is increasingly understood and
has truly gone mainstream," Kell said.

One success story is the Sri Lankan company MAS Holdings, which produces textiles and

The company started with 60 workers in 1987. Today, MAS Holdings employs 40,600 people
in eight countries and operates 28 manufacturing facilities.

More than 80 percent of the employees are women, and management realised that they needed
to balance their additional roles as mothers, wives and caregivers. In 2003, after MAS joined
the Global Compact, it launched an award-winning programme called "Women Go Beyond,"
that includes special programmes for pregnant employees, education on reproductive health,
health, nutrition and domestic violence, and promoting active lifestyles and team sports at

But not every company is so generous or progressive.

"We have delisted roughly 600 participants so far," Kell said. "The main reason has always
been lack of engagement, meaning that presumably the CEO has signed on light-heartedly
assuming that it does not cost anything -- therefore [why not] join?"

Matthias Stausberg, a spokesperson for the Global Compact, also concedes that many
companies tried to associate themselves with the U.N. and used the Global Compact logo for
advertising purposes without really committing to the 10 principles.

"It is a free-rider issue," Stausberg said. "Those companies, especially in the early days of the

Global Compact, just signed the letter, sent it to the secretary-general, and became a GC
participant. And there was never any follow-up."

The initiative is voluntary and not legally binding, but there is a complaint mechanism to
monitor a company's compliance with the universal principles.

"Anybody can approach us and say, we believe that this company has ABC violations of one or
several of your GC principles," Stausberg said. "The interesting thing that in a lot of cases, we
know of violations and inconsistencies on the side of the companies [but] the complaint is not
filed with the GC. Sometimes it is taken directly to the media, or taken directly to the court
system if there's enough reason."

Kell told IPS that the even without formal oversight, public monitoring of the Compact is very

And Stausberg stresses that the Global Compact does not need only good performers -- in fact,
the goal is to engage the corporate "sinners" and encourage them to reform.

The Leaders Summit in Geneva will focus on how to improve existing strategies, and how to
influence local and national governments to better engage the private sector on social and
economic development.


Metodologia da ENSP alia saúde e ambiente e é testada em SP

Um projeto que avalia saúde, meio ambiente e proteção social na cidade de São Paulo foi a
chave para a implementação de uma prova piloto da metodologia GEO Saúde, desenvolvida
por uma equipe de pesquisadores da ENSP. Trata-se do Projeto Ambientes Verdes Saudáveis
(PAVS), que tem como objetivo capacitar 5.700 agentes comunitários de saúde (ACS) e de
proteção social em relação à temática ambiental, de modo que eles possam reconhecer e
abordar em suas atividades as questões sócio-ambientais relacionadas à saúde e ao
desenvolvimento social; propor políticas que promovam ações integradas; e mobilizar a
população para participar no nível local da gestão integrada e do controle social da agenda de
saúde, ambiente e desenvolvimento social.

Um dos produtos previstos no PAVS é a implementação do GEO Saúde na cidade de São
Paulo, com o objetivo de efetuar uma avaliação participativa dos riscos ambientais para a
saúde humana, contribuir para a melhoria da vigilância epidemiológica da região e o adequado
assessoramento aos gestores e autoridades das áreas nos processos de tomada de decisão. O
GEO Saúde é uma abordagem metodológica pensada para a avaliação integrada em ambiente e
saúde no contexto da América Latina e Caribe, produzida em parceria entre a Organização
Pan-americana de Saúde (OPAS), o Programa das Nações Unidas para o Meio Ambiente
(PNUMA) e a Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca (ENSP/Fiocruz), junto com
outros parceiros latino-americanos e caribenhos. Outra prova piloto do GEO Saúde foi
realizada pela Secretaria de Desenvolvimento Sustentável da República Argentina nas
localidades de Chabás e Vicente López.

A coordenadora desse projeto na ENSP é a pesquisadora do Departamento de Endemias
Samuel Pessoa (Densp/ENSP), Sandra Hacon. Os pesquisadores Gabriel Eduardo Schütz e

Eliane Ignotti também estão envolvidos. De acordo com Gabriel, nesta primeira fase está sendo
feito um trabalho de fortalecimento da capacitação dos agentes comunitários, de modo que eles
possam fazer uma ponte entre as questões ambientais e os agravos à saúde. “Estamos
trabalhando no fortalecimento das capacidades dos agentes comunitários. Eles trabalham no
setor saúde, mas tem uma visão muito realista dos problemas ambientais. Fizemos uma oficina
para 143 participantes do PAVS, na qual passamos os conceitos teóricos que dão base ao nosso
método; e depois desenvolvemos oficinas regionais em cinco áreas do PSF da periferia de São
Paulo, contando com uns de 35 participantes em cada uma delas. Nessas oficinas, geramos
diagnósticos participativos, isto é, trabalhávamos com eles o olhar integrado entre os agravos à
saúde e o estado do meio ambiente em busca de respostas possíveis”.

Associação entre água, lixo e seus agravos à saúde é o tema abordado

Os assuntos abordados pelos 143 agentes comunitários de saúde, que participaram desta
primeira fase de implementação da prova piloto do Geo Saúde, foram escolhidos de maneira
estratégica pela Secretaria Municipal de Saúde de São Paulo, a Secretaria do Verde e do Meio
Ambiente, O PNUMA e a ENSP. Nesse caso, o grupo resolveu trabalhar com a associação
entre água , lixo e seus agravos à saúde. Segundo Gabriel, essa foi uma decisão acertada, já que
esse foi o problema ambiental mais citado pelos ACS durante as oficinas. Outro aspecto foi a
escolha da região da metrópole que seria trabalhada.

“São Paulo é uma cidade com muitos problemas ambientais. Porém, como o objeto de trabalho
no PAVS são os agentes de saúde, resolvemos trabalhar nos territórios em que eles atuam. O
PSF na prefeitura de São Paulo ocupa apenas 30% do território, mas se caracteriza por estar
nas áreas criticas de vulnerabilidade e de exclusão social. O primeiro critério para recorte foi o
índice de vulnerabilidade juvenil, que dá uma idéia da precariedade urbana, da violência e
carência de infra-estrutura. As áreas deviam ter também relevância ambiental, em especial em
torno de córregos e nascentes. Finalmente, houve um critério de gestão, para avaliar se haveria
real possibilidade de fazer um trabalho participativo com as equipes de ACS”, justificou.

GEO Saúde: uma metodologia de agregação geográfica flexível

O GEO Saúde é um projeto de abordagem metodológica capaz de permitir um processo
participativo de avaliação interdisciplinar que facilite a implementação de intervenções
intersetoriais em ambiente e saúde. A abordagem metodológica consiste em três etapas que, em
todo momento, visam o fortalecimento das capacidades locais e a busca de respostas. Para
Gabriel, que participou do desenvolvimento da abordagem metodológica e também tem
prestado importante apoio técnico na capacitação dos agentes nas oficinas regionais, foi
interessante comprovar que o GEO saúde é uma metodologia de agregação geográfica flexível,
que pode ser trabalhada em um bairro, uma região e até um país.

A metodologia é dividida em três etapas. A primeira é formação das parcerias institucionais, as
quais definem participativamente o problema de ambiente e saúde a ser abordado, e identificam
a informação necessária para a construção participativa de indicadores. Em seguida,
participativamente, levanta-se essas informações em bases de dados secundários e, se preciso,
em trabalho de campo. Nesta etapa, são construídos os indicadores para descrever o estado
local do meio ambiente, observar quais são as pressões ambientais, os níveis de exposição
humana, os impactos ambientais e os efeitos na saúde, visando a implementação de ações em
resposta a esses problemas. “A abordagem metodológica sistematiza as informações através de
indicadores organizados em um relatório. A terceira etapa consiste precisamente na divulgação

do relatório, na implementação efetiva das respostas, e avaliação e monitoramento participativo
dessa implementação”.

O pesquisador reconhece no PAVS o projeto que abriu as portas para a implantação de uma
prova piloto do GEO Saúde no Brasil. “Esse projeto é muito importante para nós. Ele
possibilitou a realização da prova piloto do GEO Saúde no Brasil. É importante que essa
abordagem seja testada na realidade brasileira com apoio do poder público de São Paulo e com
a possibilidade de consolidar essa metodologia como referência para toda a região. Nossa
intenção não é propor apenas uma resposta pontual ao poder público e ir embora, mas sim
começar um processo que tenha sustentabilidade, que ganhe autonomia, que facilite a
capacitação e a organização da comunidade local para que ela possa dar continuidade a um
processo participativo de avaliação integrada de ambiente e saúde e seja capaz de discutir
SCIENCE: 350 Degrees is Bathwater to These Animals
By Stephen Leahy

PUERTO AYORA, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador , Jul 5 (IPS) - Marine scientists returned
to the Galapagos Islands this week to celebrate a discovery that Charles Darwin never
dreamt of: bizarre animals that live in total darkness around active deep-sea volcanoes.

Thirty years ago, researchers found the first chimney spewing super-hot water -- called a
hydrothermal vent -- 2,500 metres below the surface on the sea floor, with its own thriving
plant and animal community. That life could prosper without sunlight or photosynthesis
changed forever the very definition of what constitutes "life" on the Earth. And it opened a new
window on the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe.

After all, if a tiny shrimp can live in total darkness, under tonnes of pressure in a toxic
chemical soup boiling away at 350 degrees C, why could not life take hold on some distant
planetoid where conditions might not be so harsh?

"We knew right away this was the biggest thing in biology in the past century," recalls Fred
Grassle of Rutgers University in New Jersey, who mounted the first biological expedition in
1977 to the newly discovered hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean about 350 kilometres
from the Galapagos Islands.

Grassle is a tall, large man, stooped a little from age and bending to speak to those who are
shorter than he. Or perhaps he has been shaped by the many hours crammed into tiny deep sea
submersibles like the famous "Alvin", in which the original discovery was made.

"At the time it was thought that the deep oceans were devoid of life and what little life there
might be depended on food falling from above," Grassle told a small auditorium filled with
local school children in Puerto Ayora as part of public celebration of the 30th anniversary of
the vent discovery.

He showed them old slides of skinny, smiling scientists intently working on home-made pieces
of equipment so they could explore an environment as exotic and as dangerous as outer space.

While the children are aware the Galapagos Islands are famous for their unique flora and fauna,
the deep sea world off the coast of their island home is as fantastic a realm as the moon. And as
deep sea scientists like Grassle like to say: "We know more about the surface of the moon than
the deep sea."

Located 1,000 kms off the west coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos is also a very active volcanic
region, sitting atop a magma hot spot on the Nazca tectonic plate. In 1977, the submersible
"Alvin" followed a trail of white clamshells to a small collection of fissures in the planet's
surface emitting super-heated cloudy water dubbed "black smokers". Although hot enough to
melt most metals, the water doesn't boil because of the tremendous pressure at such depths.

Covering an area not much bigger than a baseball diamond, it was thought to be the only one
on the planet, Grassle told IPS.

A series of difficult-to-conduct experiments eventually proved that the amazing creatures --
tube worms, shrimps and others -- living beside these vents use the chemical energy emitted
from the vents to survive. The key component in this unique ecological system is
chemosynthetic bacteria that often live in symbiosis with the resident animals such as clams
and tube worms.

These specialized bacteria oxidise the toxic hydrogen sulfide coming from the vents, providing
nutrients for animals higher up the food chain. And in the case of tubeworms, which don't have
mouths or stomachs, the bacteria reside inside, providing needed organic compounds in
exchange for a comfortable home.

These sulphur-loving bacteria take the place of photosynthesis that provides life on the rest of
the planet, said Grassle. They are ancient, and some scientists speculate that they may have
been the first life forms on Earth.

These discoveries sparked an international bloom of deep sea research. Today, about 100 vent
sites have been found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are located along the 40,000-
mile-long mountain range that zigzags up and down the middle of the world's ocean basins like
a giant zipper, said Christopher German, co-chair of InterRidge, an international nonprofit
organisation and ChEss (Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems).

The ridge marks the area where the Earth's tectonic plates spread apart and new crust forms
from hot lava rising from the mantle, German told IPS.

"Wherever we look along the ridge, we find vents," he said, "and the vents in different regions
of the ocean host very different animals," he said.

Roughly 550 vent species have been discovered living in extreme temperature and pressure
conditions, and new vent species are discovered at a rate of nearly two per month, said Ron
Tyler, co-chair of ChEss, one of the 14 field programmes of the Census of Marine Life, a
global collaboration to document the ocean's life by 2010.

"Vent science has dominated the field of deep-sea biology in the last 30 years," Tyler said in a

Future vent exploration may be more mineralogical than biological as at least two mining

companies are mapping vent sites because of their abundance in gold, copper and other
valuable metals. Technological advances make it possible to mine the ocean floor at great
depths, although any such operations are complex and costly. And the ecological impacts on
the creatures that inhabit the vents could be catastrophic for those at the mine site and those
"downstream" from the resulting plumes of sediments that would be dredged up.

Mining may begin as soon as 2009, says Cindy Van Dover, director of Duke University Marine
Lab in the United States. Scientists will need to be proactive in developing careful guidelines
for companies, including making full ecological assessments of the proposed mining area, she

However, the true wealth of hydrothermal vents is their enormous biodiversity, according to

"They opened our eyes to the possibilities of where and under what conditions life could
thrive," he said. "What I've learned in the past 30 years is that small organisms like bacteria are

And that this discovery took place off the coast where Darwin made one of the biggest
scientific breakthrough in history "is a nice coincidence", he added with a small smile.


                               ROAP MEDIA UPDATE
                          THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                Monday, 09 July, 2007

                                   UNEP or UN in the news

    SpiritIndia : Migiro urges comprehensive approach to tackle feminization of AIDS
    Jakarta Post : Mining proponent's misleading opinion
    Hindustan Times : Kalam to endorse NRI invention

General Environment News

      The Nation : Haze blankets Songhkla
      The Nation : Seventeen dead in dengue scare
      Sin Chew Daily : Malaysia: Malaysia On Alert For Dengue As Fatalities Rise
      The Nation : Watchdog :Sustainability key in effort to fight global climate change
      Bangkok Post : Polluting factory ordered closed
      Bangkok Post : BMA kicks off bike campaign
      Indian Catholic : Govt scales down HIV figure by half, now 2.5 million
      China Daily : NDRC predicts over 3% CPI rise for 2007
      Bernama : Heavy Rains Expected To Continue In Southern China
      Daily Times : 660 dead, million-plus stranded in India floods

                                   UNEP or UN in the news

SpiritIndia, India : Migiro urges comprehensive approach to tackle feminization of AIDS

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today called for a more broad-
based effort to tackle the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.

“The factors that drive the feminization of AIDS cannot be addressed piecemeal. But to be
honest, despite our best intentions, many of our activities remain rooted at project level: we
have still to make the leap from project to programme, to achieve truly systemic change,” she
told the International Women‟s Summit meeting in Nairobi.

“We know what that change should look like: real, positive change that will give more power
and confidence to women and girls,” she added, calling for steps to bolster education, carry out
legal and social reforms, and promote awareness-raising among men.

Ms. Migiro advocated that “change that will free boys and men from cultural stereotypes and
expectations, such as the belief that manhood comes from showing „who‟s boss‟ or from
frequenting sex workers.”

This process, she emphasized, must include providing anti-retrovirals to prevent parent to child
transmission, and microbicides, as they become available.

To have real impact, efforts must be guided by two key principles: accountability and a drive to
achieve measurable results, she said, calling on participants to “set clear aims, and be prepared
to be held accountable.”

Also addressing the Summit, Margaret Chan, Director-General of the UN World Health
Organization (WHO), reviewed progress in combating AIDS, noting that last year the number
of people in sub-Saharan Africa receiving life-saving drugs passed the 1 million mark. “That is
proof of principle. It can be done,” she said.

She urged all concerned to work to ensure universal access to prevention, treatment, care, and
support for all who need it by 2010.

At the same time, Dr. Chan pointed to the gravity of the spread of the disease. “We have seen
considerable progress, but we are still running behind this devastating, unforgiving epidemic,”
she said, pointing out that for every person starting treatment, another six people will become
newly infected within a year.

To combat this trend, she called for pressing for universal access to treatment and care while
working for prevention. “This is the only way to catch up.”

Organized by the World YWCA and the International Community of Women Living with HIV
and AIDS, the Summit will run for three days and is being attended by 1,800 participants from
all over the world.

In a separate development, the Deputy Secretary-General today visited the UN headquarters in
Nairobi, where she attended a town hall meeting with UN staff. During the meeting, she
highlighted the importance of feedback to headquarters from the field to improve the UN‟s
accountability and progress on the reform agenda.

She also paid a brief courtesy visit to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and planted a tree at the
headquarters complex before holding meetings with the senior management of the UN
Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-
Jakarta Post : Mining proponent's misleading opinion
Adi Widyanto, Jakarta

This newspaper, in the Opinion and Editorial page published 21 June 21 this year, ran an
article written by Yolanda Torrisi, the publisher of Asia Miner Magazine in Melbourne. The
article began by raising concern over protracted new mining legislation.

The main concern raised by the writer was the postponement of several mining companies'
operations due to administrative conditions that were not yet fulfilled by project owners. The
cases brought in by the writer included the Toka Tindung Mine in North Sulawesi operated by
Archipelago Res, the subsidiary PT Meares Soputan Mining (MSM) and Dairi Zinc-lead
project in North Sumatra owned by Herald Res. Both the owners are Australian companies.

The Toka Tindung gold mine is now facing severe problem since it has not received an
environment certificate (EIA/Amdal) from the environment ministry. It has also failed to
obtain the consent of local population and authorities. The writer's comment that Toka Tindung
project is supported by local communities lacks verification from other independent sources.

I can only guess that this comment has been made based only on the company's press release.
The fact is that the majority of the population around the mine living in Batuputih,
Rindondoran, Pulisan, and Kalinaun villages rejected the project development.

Their rejection has been delivered to various institutions at the village, provincial and national
levels based on concerns over environmental factors and the social security of the population
around the mine.

Toka Tindung will be mined using the open pit method, which requires the conversion of large
amounts of land without backfilling in the closure of mining. Together with the waste rock
dump, the access road, the tailing dam, and the factory it occupies hundreds of hectares of land,
which used to be productive plantations and provided livelihoods for the local population.

The bigger risk threatens coastal communities whose daily incomes are dependent on fishing
activities in the nearby sea. More than 3,000 locals are involved in the fishing activities in the
neighboring waters, using different sorts of equipment and different sizes of ship, which allows
them to build fishing zones to prevent high competition. Fishing in this area has sustainably
harvested marine resources for generations.

This established local production system is put in danger by the gold mining plan in terms of
risk from the discharge of hazardous materials, both those materials put into the gold
processing or those which originally come from the earth.

Among the major risks are Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) and heavy metals from the open pit, the
tailing dam, and the waste rock dump. Gold deposits are often associated with sulfuric rocks
such as pyrites, which can form acid once they have contact with water and oxygen.

The mining companies in Indonesia tend to believe that they can do everything at the cost of
the people and environment once the contract of work has been secured from central
government. Now if they encounter problems with wide-spread objections against their
destructive mining practice and plan, they blame the critics for creating a nonconducive climate
for foreign investment while in fact they are damaging the mining investment climate
themselves by refusing to apply best mining practices.

Archipelago (MSM) therefore cannot be said to have "fully complied with due process, having
spent much of 2006 revising comprehensive environmental impact analysis documents that
meet all Indonesian and International banking requirements" as the author has written.

With all the risks that have been created for the local environment and community,
Archipelago does not meet the provisions of the Equator Principle and the UNEP Statement by
Financial Institutions on the Environment and Sustainable Development to which its creditor
banks are bound.

Mining proponents should put this matter right by taking into consideration the entire
background and root of the problems from various sources and not just blindly demanding
special treatment and exemption from the Government of Indonesia.

Last but not least, the citation made by the author that mining has contributed 30 percent to the
GDP of Laos is false and is a misleading statement since in fact it only contributes 6 percent. A
World Bank study in 2006 predicted that the sector's contribution would increase to 10 percent
of GDP by the fiscal year's end.

The writer is an environmental and mining monitor activist.

In these days of global warming, climate change and god forbid, climate catastrophe, Going
Green, or the drive to radically reduce carbon emissions, especially by building eco-friendly
constructions, is not longer a fad, it‟s a necessity.

Currently, the Developed World is at the forefront of the drive to go Green, most noticeably the
UK, Scandinavia and Australia. In comparison with West, Asia has generally lagged behind as
far as eco-friendly construction is concerned. But there are signs that this situation is changing,

The Governor of Bangkok, Apirak Kosayodhin, has stated publically that he intends to devote
his last year of office to promoting Green issues, especially reducing the “carbon footprint” of
the capital. This is essentially a follow-up to policy proposals mooted at the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, an international meeting on combating the effect of greenhouse gas
emissions hosted by Bangkok in May of this year.

Going Green has now become the byword of Bangkok‟s City Hall, especially after the signing
of the Bangkok Declaration, when Mr. Apirak was a fellow signatory along with 36 state and
private agencies in a consensus to co-operate in solving problems of global warming. Mr.
Apirak has put a high priority on minimizing the effects of new buildings on the city, notably
by reducing energy consumption; a policy decision which has the full support of Surendra
Shrestha, the regional director of the UN Environment Programme, who met with Mr. Apirak,

What this means in practice is promoting energy efficient buildings. Essentially, the
constituents of an energy efficient building are fivefold:

1. A well-constructed and tightly sealed thermal envelope;
2. Controlled ventilation;
3. Properly sized, high-efficiency cooling systems;
4. Energy-efficient doors, windows and appliances;
5. Significantly reduced energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

To this end, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will seek to work in co-
ordination with the construction industry to implement the Green policy. This includes altering

the Building Control Act so that it is more in line with energy efficiency. Mr Apirak aims to
implement these measures within the next year.

Another aspect of the Green Campaign is an attempt to raise the publics‟ consciousness of
green issues and the dangers of global warming by the publication of pamphlets written in
simple language.

Bangkok has already successfully implemented green fuel when virtually the whole of the
Bangkok taxi fleet was converted to using LPG and Mr. Apirak intends to go further by
discussing with car makers the development of a hybrid car, using both electricity and oil.

As far as Pattaya is concerned there are currently two projects which use energy efficient
elements: Ocean‟s Edge and La Royale. At La Royale Beach, eco-friendly measures include
the installation of

*** Fresh water pools
***Water reticulation systems
***Energy saving air conditioning
***Biological septic tanks and
***Solar power in common areas.

In terms of mega-developments, however, there can be few residents of Pattaya who have not
heard of the imminent construction of the German real-estate developer, Bruno Pingel‟s, Ocean
One Tower. This 91-storey, 611-unit beachfront condominium and commercial development
costing $245 million, designed by Australia-based firm, Woods Bagot, and to be built by
Bruno‟s firm, Siam Best Enterprise, is due to be completed in 2010. This ultra-stylish
construction will be the first eco-friendly high-rise and tallest building in Thailand. One of the
major benefits of living in this showpiece condo, where the prices start at $3000 per square
metre, is that substantial savings will be made on electricity bills, (an estimated 30%) for its
residents. This is made possible by the following green features:

 ***Solar cells incorporated into the tower;
***Solar panels on the roof of an adjacent commercial building to provide power for shops and
***Energy-efficient air conditioners.
***Automatic shading to reduce indoor temperatures,
***80% of the tap water used will be recycled for toilets and subsequently treated for use in
the grounds and gardens
***A high-speed elevator will conduct visitors to an observation deck, generating enough
electricity as it descends to light the deck at night.

In addition, the architects also hope to generate excess energy to be fed into Thailand's national
electricity grid.
Hindustan Times, India : Kalam to endorse NRI invention

An idea that germinated on the dusty streets of Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in the
mind of a prominent Indian scientist will finally see fruition this Wednesday when Indian

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam becomes the first global citizen to acquire two refrigerator-cum-
vaccine coolers, totally powered by the sun.

The SolarChill uses a breakthrough technology aimed at making the process of refrigeration
accessible even to the remotest parts of the world and hence help several social causes like the
vaccination projects of the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children's Fund

Rajendra Shende, the head of the OzonAction Unit of the United Nations Environment
Programme and the brain behind the idea, remembers clearly the moment when the idea struck
him -- during a bus ride in the western African nation of Burkina Faso in 2000.

"Looking out of our bus window at the children of the rural poor and thinking about their
fragile health, it occurred to me that plenty of sunshine does not mean plenty of health. Some
children, carrying their sick younger brothers and sisters, were looking at us as if we were from
other planets.

"I thought that if we could develop a vaccine cooler that uses the solar energy so abundant in
Burkina Faso and other developing countries, and if we develop a vaccine cooler that uses the
solar energy so abundantly available there, and non-CFC (ozone-friendly), non-HFC (climate-
friendly) refrigerants, it will be an environmentally perfect product," Shende told IANS in
Paris, just before leaving for New Delhi for the high-profile acquisition by the Indian president
who has been keeping a close tab on the breakthrough development.

Shende says that the president has been keenly following the progress of the project ever since
he heard about it over a year ago.

"When I informed him about the project, he was very keen and requested me to keep him
informed on the progress. The president could see the huge importance of SolarChill for the
developing countries, particularly in saving the lives of the rural children and women who do
not have access to electricity and effective vaccines," recalls Shende.

And when the project was finally complete and the team was looking for high-profile platforms
for the launch of the project, Kalam was the unanimous choice.

"It was found to be important to get SolarChill known to the world community. I recalled my
discussions with the president in 2005 and wrote to his office. I was immediately informed that
the president is not only keen to install and operate two units in the clinic of the presidential
complex (around Rashtrapati Bhavan) but was very keen to buy these units and not to get them
free," says Shende.

The first use of the SolarChill is for facilitating the preservation of vaccines in far-flung and
remote areas that don't have access to not only electricity but also other fuels like kerosene.
The vaccine coolers so far being used in immunization programmes work inefficiently due to
non-availability or inadequate supply of grid electricity. Even when kerosene is used for the
vaccine cooler, supply of kerosene is not certain in many areas and moreover kerosene is also a
contributor to global warming and pollution.

The technology has already made waves around the world, winning the prestigious 2006
Cooling Industry Awards in the category "Environmental Pioneer" for refrigeration in London
earlier this year.

The project is truly international since it involves a total of seven international organisations
from all over the world. Besides the UNEP, the partners in the project include Greenpeace
International, UNICEF, World Health Organisation (WHO), GTZ Proklima, Programmes for
Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH) and the Danish Technological Institute.

Shende is obviously thrilled by the success of the project. "Receiving the Cooling Industry
Awards is an important statement by industry leaders in refrigeration and air-conditioning that
they recognize the importance, innovation and societal benefits of SolarChill. UNEP and the
other partners would like to thank the organizers and the jury panel members for this award."

Over the last six years, the partnership has developed a versatile refrigeration technology that
operates on solar energy; uses environmentally safe refrigerants, bypasses the use of lead
batteries, and can also be plugged into the electricity grid. SolarChill is applicable for
emergency relief in natural or human made disaster zones. It has been field-tested in Cuba,
Indonesia and Senegal.

The SolarChill technology is publicly owned and will soon be freely available for any
company in the world interested in producing the units. Once it receives WHO approval, the
Partners will work with interested refrigerator manufacturers, ministries of health and
environment, foundations and others to have it commercialised and deployed across the globe.

Shende says that though solar refrigeration per se is not a new concept, SolarChill is a real
breakthrough. What the SolarChill partnership was trying to achieve is to adopt the concept for
vaccines preservation and making it simple for use in rural, remote and least developed areas
where electricity is not available or where the electric supply is irregular. Such situation causes
the efficacy of the vaccines to diminish. Hence even administered vaccination programmes
may not achieve their goals.

The partnership also decided to avoid the need to convert the direct current (DC) solar
electricity to alternate current (AC) electricity by designing the DC motor that would run the

The need for the storage batteries was also to be done away with by designing the effective
insulation that would maintain the temperatures to keep the vaccines effective during the night
when solar light is not available. The product was developed in four years, through
collaborative efforts, field-tested and is now undergoing WHO approval process.

"The power of partnership has produced the product that is pro-poor. Power of nature could be
nurtured to improve the way we make choices for the sustainable development. For the first
time in the history of technology transfer the partnership of seven international agencies, and
NGOs and technical institutes has developed a technology that is in public domain. It would be
made available to those who wish to use it," says Shende.

                                   General Environment News

The Nation, Thailand : Haze blankets Songhkla

Sea transportation off Songkhla was put on alert as haze from forest fires in Indonesia
blanketed the southern province yesterday.

The East Coast Unit of the Southern Meteorological Centre warned all craft in the province to
proceed with caution due to the poor visibility.

Songkhla is the second province after Satun to be hit by the smoke wafting in from Sumatra.

The Pollution Control Department on Friday dispatched a mobile air-quality monitoring unit to
Satun after the skies there turned smoggy for the third straight day. Visibility was reduced to
less than one kilometre.

A doctor said patients seeking treatment for respiratory problems at his Satun clinic had risen
from about 20-30 a day on average to about 50 a day this past week.

The latest report from the mobile unit showed that the dust level in Satun was 71 micrograms
per cubic metre. Should it exceed the standard of 120mg, the air quality will be declared
The Nation, Thailand : Seventeen dead in dengue scare

An outbreak of dengue fever has killed 17 people, and the number of patients infected with the
disease nationwide this year has risen to more than 20,000, the Public Health Ministry said

Dr Vichai Stimai, director of the Bureau of Vector-borne Disease, said the number of dengue-
fever patients in the first half of the year had risen to 21,251 people, 36 per cent higher than the
same period last year.

"The situation this year is more serious than last year because of the earlier arrival of the rainy
season, which brought forward the hatching period of the dengue mosquito," he said.

Not only Thailand, said Vichai, but also neighbouring countries - Vietnam, Cambodia,
Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia - have faced the same situation this year.

He urged the public to remove the breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes by
covering all water containers in households. Mosquito spray is also recommended.

He said the Public Health Ministry had ordered health officials to work with local authorities to
prevent the further spread or any outbreak.

Dr Nattawut Prasertsiripong, chief of the Surat Thani provincial health office, said the disease
had claimed two lives in the province. He recommended people who have fever for two to
seven days, severe headache, muscle pains and pain behind the eyes to visit a doctor, as these
are symptoms of dengue.

He warned those with the symptoms not to take Aspirin, but rather the painkiller paracetamol.
Sin Chew Daily, Malaysia : Malaysia: Malaysia On Alert For Dengue As Fatalities Rise
Updated:2007-07-07 14:05:59 MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Malaysia has stepped up inspections of homes and
construction sites feared to be mosquito breeding grounds in an effort to curb the spread of
dengue fever which has claimed 56 lives this year, a report said Saturday (July 7th).

Authorities recorded 25,858 dengue cases nationwide between January and June, up sharply
from 16,808 cases in the same period last year, Deputy Director General of Health Ramlee
Rahmat told the New Straits Times newspaper.

The number of dengue-related deaths this year has also risen from 46 recorded in the first six
months of 2006, causing hospitals and clinics to be placed on alert, the report added.

More than half the cases were reported in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's largest city, and its
neighboring Selangor state. Enforcement checks showed that most dengue-carrying mosquitoes
breed in houses, construction sites, schools and factories, Ramlee was quoted as saying by the

More inspections have taken place in the past few weeks and more than 15,000 premises have
received warnings this year, Ramlee added, according to the report.

Premises found to have stagnant water _ where mosquitoes can breed _ face a fine unless they
clear up the water.

Ramlee and other health officials familiar with the issue could not immediately be contacted.

The disease, which causes joint pain, high fever, nausea and a rash, is endemic to the region. In
severe cases, it leads to internal bleeding and sometimes death. (AP)
The Nation, Thailand : Watchdog :Sustainability key in effort to fight global climate change
Nophakhun Limsamarnphun

Fred Kindle, president and CEO of Swiss-based industrial giant ABB, is a champion of
sustainability in the business world.

Helping customers save energy and minimise global climate change is one important way to
achieve that objective and is now itself a big business worldwide.

For instance, China, with a GDP growth rate of 10 per cent per annum, is virtually building a
new power plant per week due to its unrelenting demand for energy to power its fast-growing
economy. In the case of Thailand, the Energy Ministry has recently announced an independent
power producer scheme in which new power plants with a combined capacity of 40,000
megawatts could be added over the next 15 years.

Access to energy to power economic growth and environmentalists' efforts to save the climate
are always in conflict, Kindle told me during a visit to Bangkok. As a result, ABB has made
sustainability its chief corporate objective, defining this as the ability to balance economic
success, environmental stewardship and social progress to benefit all stakeholders.

It's not just the environment that is cared for, but also employees, suppliers, communities and
other stakeholders.

For instance, sustainability considerations determine how the firm designs and manufactures its
products so that more energy can be saved, while reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas
emissions that affect the global climate. These products include high-efficiency motors and
variable-speed drives that save enough power every year to supply five million people, while
cutting nearly 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, according to one study covering the firm's
globally installed base of variable-speed drives.

Utilities and industries using all-in-one disconnecting circuit breakers instead of separate
conventional technologies in power substations can cut CO2 emissions by more than 200
tonnes over the product's lifetime. As a manufacturing firm itself, ABB - with revenues of
US$26 billion (Bt884 billion) a year - is also in the midst of a two-year programme to cut its
own energy consumption by 5-per cent per manufactured unit, as its activities now release
greenhouse gas emissions of around 1.7 million tonnes per year.

An electrical engineer by training, Kindle also cited the firm's Azipod propulsion systems, used
in large cruise ships and cargo vessels, as another example of how the company promotes
sustainability. This new type of motor can save 10-15 per cent on energy consumption
compared to its predecessor.

In the industrial sector, energy saving is also key to increased productivity and
competitiveness. For example, the cement industry in Thailand could cut 2-3 per cent off its
energy bill via "process optimisation systems".

In a recent statement to stakeholders, Kindle noted: "We no longer have to make the business
case for sustainability as it has already been made. Sustainability is key to our long-term
business development and success, so we are working to end any separation, real or perceived,
between the business and sustainability, which need to be indivisible."

Kindle said there were no "soft" issues in business any longer, given that environmental, social
and human rights concerns must not be seen as issues affecting only a company's reputation.
They are important in themselves and influence the bottom line.

Cleaning up old power plants has become another big business in the effort to minimise global
climate change. For instance, an old plant near Rome is moving from the use of oil-burning
power generators to coal-fired units, resulting in a net efficiency increase of 45 per cent while
pollution is forecast to drop sharply (sulphur dioxide by 80 per cent; nitrogen dioxide by 60 per
cent; carbon dioxide by 18 per cent and dust levels by 80 per cent).

In addition, wind energy is gaining popularity, especially when crude oil prices continue to
surge to new record highs. For instance, Denmark, with its relatively small population. last
year got 80 per cent of its electricity from wind power for a period of several hours when the
first gales of the year struck the country in October.

With wind speeds of up to 20 metres per second, east and west Denmark enjoyed free
electricity for this brief period, as power plants reduced output to balance consumption and
Bangkok Post : Polluting factory ordered closed

By Piyarach Chongcharoen

The provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office yesterday ordered a bituminus coal-
processing plant in Tha Muang district closed immediately for operating without a licence and
emitting pollution. Office chief Vinij Rakchart said a probe team found Thailand Anthracite
factory had emitted dust and an unbearable foul smell in Ban Nong Kwian.

The office acted upon complaints by villagers in tambon Nong Tak Ya about the nuisance in
their neighbourhood.

The office also found the factory operated without a licence. Such an offence carries a
maximum penalty of a four-year jail term for the principal of the firm or a 400,000 baht fine or
both, said Mr Vinij.

The factory has been processing imported bituminus coals for almost a year and suppling coal
to factories as cheap fuel for electricity generation, he said.

''A sub-standard processing process causes pollution, such as ash residue, and contributes to
global warming,'' Mr Vinij said.

SUPARA JANCHITFAH continues her report on a classic conflict of interests between big
business and community opposition groups in Prachuap Khiri Khan over a proposed heavy
industry project

 It was a costly and eye opening experience for Yod Tavornkran when all the fish he was
raising for market suddenly died. When he tried to find someone to take responsibility for his
loss, which was devastating for the small time businessman, he faced only indifference from
various private and state agencies.

"It shows us the unaccountability of the corporate sector to society. We can't expect
government officials to redress our problems either," said Yod, who gave up fish farming a few
years ago.

On the August 2003 night he and six neighbours who also raised fish inside baskets in Mae
Rampueng canal discovered the massive die-off, and his wife collected some water from one of
the fish baskets into a clean bottle. Later the Provincial Fishery Office sent the water to an
industrial centre in Ratchaburi province for a laboratory test. Yod also filed a complaint at
Bang Saphan district police station in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

He and his neighbours suspect that the die-off may have been caused by wastewater discharged
from the nearby Sahaviriya Steel Industry (SSI)-Barmill plant, or possibly from fuel oil which
leaked into a small canal that passes through the company grounds and later connects to Mae
Rampueng canal.

Concerned state agencies are supposed to be conducting an investigation to try to find out who
was at fault for the fish die-off, and the villagers' group has had a number of meetings with
provincial officials from the agencies and the SSI and its subsidiaries.

When the results of the test came back, Yod and the other villagers could not understand what
was stated in the report, as it was in English. Worse still, he said, one of the Sahaviriya staff
kept the lab report after the villagers had their chance to see it. Yod and the others are simple
folk and not accustomed to dealing with such matters. They did not even think of making a

Sahaviriya declined to respond to the claim that its staff kept the test report, but has
consistently denied that the die-off could have been caused by water discharged by any of its
subsidiary companies.

When the villagers asked about the progress of the investigation, officials from the relevant
government agencies just said, "It's in the process."

Yod submitted petition letters to many agencies, including the the Royal Initiated Project
Centre in Hua Hin. Whenever anyone from these agencies inquired about the investigation,
they got the same answer from provincial officials.

"My case was shown in an ITV programme, and it was covered by Thai Rath newspaper, but
no action has been taken," said Yod in despair.

"We want justice," said Yod, speaking for his neighbours as well, but no one will claim
responsibility for the dead fish in the canal.

Sahaviriya Group of Companies (SGC) environmental adviser Thongchai Indarangura na
Ayudhaya said he has no idea about what caused the die-off, adding that SSI has zero
wastewater discharge because its system recycles the wastewater.

Thongchai emphasised that SSI uses an advanced treatment system for wastewater, and after
treatment it is released into a holding pond. Before it can overflow to the outside area, the
quality of the treated water meets all government standards.

But when former staff of SSI and its subsidiaries who oppose the new smelting project learned
about the "zero discharge" claim, they laughed in amusement. "Zero discharge? The company
can say anything, but we know what they are doing," said one.

Many locals say the water quality of the Mae Rampueng canal has steadily declined in recent
years. "It gives me an allergy," said Yod.

A decrease in the number of natural fish, as well as changes in the colour and level of the canal
water, have also been observed.


Experiences such as the fish die-off have alerted many locals that they can no longer sit still
and allow development to go unmonitored in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. In particular, they
are looking very closely at the proposed new SGC smelting project adjacent to the SSI plant.
They are alarmed by the possible hazards of a smelting operation in their backyard, such as
from the 366,455 tonnes of dust a year that would be generated, according to an environmental
impact assessment (EIA) commissioned by SGC. In May, the EIA was withdrawn from
submission to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning to allow
a review of the land use, environmental and social issues.

As well as the large amount of dust, there are also a number of potentially harmful pollutants
that could be emitted into the air or discharged into water sources by a smelting operation.

SGC has repeatedly assured that the company will install the best and most modern system
available in the proposed new plant to control and monitor environmental hazards. Many locals
say such promises are easy to make but much harder to implement.

The locals at Mae Rampueng have learned how people who work and live near Map Ta Phut
Industrial Estate in Rayong province, as well as Lamphun industrial estates in Lamphun
province, have been suffering from pollution-related illnesses, said Supoj Songsieng, the leader
of the opposition group in Mae Rampueng.

"State officials and most staff of the companies will say there are no health risks related to the
operations of these industries, as they have all best prevention systems and they have done
everything up to the standard. But our question is: why has people's health deteriorated? There
is no doctor who dares to say that their sickness is related to the operation of the industries,"
Supoj lamented.

People in the area around SSI also note the rise of iron levels in the artesian wells in many
villages. For example, in a report of the Department of Groundwater Resources in 1997, the
iron level of artesian well number TL0240, at Na Pak Kuang village in Mae Rampueng sub-
district, was recorded at 0.41 ppm, but in Sahaviriya's own EIA, citing a later study by the
department, in 2001 the iron level had gone up to 14 ppm, far above the maximum acceptable
level of one ppm. The well is 48 metres deep and it is hand-pumped.

When asked about this Thongchai said iron is a natural substance which could be found in any
underground water.

Director Sudjai Wongchalee of the Groundwater Analysis Division said that he could not
speculate on why there is a rise in iron levels unless his division tests the water again. "If
nobody uses the well water, it (the increase in iron levels) could be due to the fact that it
doesn't flow," he said.

In any case, a rise in iron levels is widespread in artesian wells in the area. In Raharn village's
well number TL100, there was also a large increase, from 0.48 ppm in 1997 to 13 ppm, in

Certainly further investigation is needed to determine the cause of the hazardous iron levels,
but many locals have already stopped using the water from artesian wells.

Another main concern about the proposed smelting operation is the 35 million cubic metres of
water a year which will be pumped from Bang Saphan canal and stored in reservoirs near the
plant. SGC's EIA states that it will pump water only seven months out of the year.

Thongchai said his company has already calculated that the diversion of this amount of water
would not affect the locals. "There will be enough water to maintain water levels in the canal,"
he said.

But many local farmers in Nong Mongkol and Pong Prasart subdistricts said that even now the
operations at SSI deprive them of water in the dry season.

Supoj, who once worked for SSI, noted that in coastal communities fresh water is very

"I don't think that they will pump water only for seven months and in the rainy season. What
will their staff do after seven months if the level in the reservoirs falls, or what will happen to
the pumping machines when they don't operate for quite a while," he added.

As noted in the previous article in this series (see Perspective, 24 June, 2007), much of the
opposition to the proposed smelting plant is because it lies within a wetland area. There are
also concerns over the lease of forest reserve land and an old graveyard on the proposed site.


National Human Rights Commissioner Sunee Chairos has asked the Forestry Department to
clarify the matter of leasing forest reserve land.

Director Krisana Pruesawan of the Forestry Land Management Division said that initially the
company planned to lease about 1,200 rai of the forest reserve, but later only asked for 22 rai to
build a road to the new project.

"However, there are some parts of the 22 rai that belong to the National Park and Wildlife
Department, thus we need to hear from them as well.

"My department will study the proposal and will make a recommendation to the minister," said

He remarked that, according to regulations, the opinions of the community would not be
considered in the final decision made by the agriculture minister. He added that what the
Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) had to say, however, would go a long way toward
influencing that decision.

Commissioner Sunee said there are some ministerial orders which state in general that, in
addition to the TAO's input, if local people oppose a project the officials involved must
reconsider it.

Witoon Buaroi, another opposition leader, said that if a big road were to be constructed in
parallel with the present public road it would obstruct the water flow from the western side of
Na Pak Kuang.

"Presently, a small road obstructs the flow of the water. What will happen if a bigger road is
constructed?" he asked, adding that in recent years the area has experienced flash flooding all
too often.

At a meeting in March, an SGC representative said the company had asked permission to use
"deteriorated" forestland. When it was learned that such land was forest reserve, the request
was reduced to 22 rai.

After her own field study, Commissioner Sunee asked all concerned government agencies and
SGC to be forthcoming with all information.

"We need to give villagers full information, as they should have the right to participate in the
matters that concern them. Sahaviriya is a big company and has been in the area for quite a
while. It should not present only fractions of the information," she said.

In fact, there seem to be several instances where the company has only provided partial
disclosure of its intentions. According to Pramote Chumseua, the vice president of Mae
Rampueng TAO, the company submitted a letter to the TAO offering to lease an old graveyard
(about 15 rai of land) on the proposed site for five years to construct a temporary office, and
after that it would demolish the office and reforest the area.

However, according to the minutes of a meeting on March 19 at the provincial hall of the
National Human Rights Commission, a company representative said that in the first phase the
land would be used for construction of a temporary office, and later, if it could be developed
under proper legal procedures, would remain as part of the industry site as a green area. The
company representative said SGC the had never said it would reforest the area.

Meanwhile, Sanchai Kaewmai of the Provincial Land Office said that, if the land lease ends
after the five-year term, the company must resubmit its application to use the public land.

According to Article 8 of the Land Law, in order to lease public land or to make use of public
land in any way, its status as public land must first be revoked by legislation. Therefore the
Tambon Administration Organisation is not entitled to approve such a leasing proposal.

The deputy governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, Somsak Playvej, said if the opposition
has enough reason to oppose the public land lease, the concerned government agencies could
not allow it. He then asked why Supoj opposes the plan.

Supoj told Perspective that the old graveyard, besides being a sacred place where people in the
past buried and cremated their relatives, also serves as a gazing ground and foraging area for
people to find mushrooms and wild vegetables for home consumption.

"It is the people in the community who will be affected if the project gets the green light," said
Supoj, adding that there is no need to reforest the area, as it is forest now.

After a field visit to Mae Rampueng area, a group from Midnight University, an alternative
education forum for the poor, established by renown historian and columnist Nidhi
Eoseewong, issued a statement which best summarises the feelings of the locals:

"Development is not a disgusted thing in itself, but development must pay attention to (social,
environment and economic) equilibrium, sustainability and justice. To use the name of
development to loot and rob the common properties (of the people) and to lavish on a handful
of powerful people, is deplorable."

This is the second in a series of articles on the social and environmental dispute between locals
in Prachuap Khiri Khan province and the Sahaviriya Group of Companies.
Bangkok Post : BMA kicks off bike campaign

Cyclists are being invited to join a campaign to prevent global warming arranged by the
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) this evening. The event will kick off at Bang
Rak Lovely Plaza on Narathiwat Ratchanakarin road in Bang Rak district and the cyclists will
head to to Lumpini Park to promote bicycles as an environmentally-friendly mode of transport.

Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin urged Bangkokians to abandon private cars and ride
bikes from home or work to shop or conduct business nearby.

Today's campaign will begin at 6.15pm at Lovely Plaza, then head to Sathorn road, Wireless
road and end at Lumpini park. The event is jointly organised by GMM Grammy, with singers
from the company joining the parade.

In previous campaigns, the BMA launched bicycle lanes in the city and bicycle racks were put
up at all BMA offices so staff could bicycle to work.

Mr Apirak unveiled the first of a series of programmes, titled ''Stop Heating up Bangkok,''
aimed at fighting global warming in May when he asked businesses and households to turn off
lights for 15 minutes. The campaign will take place on the 9th of every month until the end of
the year.
Indian Catholic, India : Govt scales down HIV figure by half, now 2.5 million

NEW DELHI (ICNS): While a new government survey confirms that the AIDS cases in the
country are much below the figures projected over the past few years, the health minister
cautioned that the new figures still point towards a serious epidemic.

According to the new estimates, the number of people living with AIDS is just half of the
previous estimates of around 5.7 millions. However government officials warn that it new
lower estimates do not imply the decline of the epidemic per say.

The new 2006 estimates released today by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO)
supported by UNAIDS and WHO, indicate that national adult HIV prevalence in India is
approximately 0.36%, which corresponds to an estimated 2 million to 3.1 million people living
with HIV in the country.

These estimates are more accurate than those of previous years, as they are based on an
expanded surveillance system and a revised and enhanced methodology.

As part of its continuing effort to know its epidemic better, the Indian government has greatly
expanded and improved its surveillance system in recent years and increased the population
groups covered. In 2006, the government created 400 new sentinel surveillance sites and
facilitated National Family Health Survey-3, which is a population based survey.

Launching the third phase of the National Programme Union minister for health and family
welfare Dr Anbumani Ramadoss said, “revision of estimates based on more data and improved
methodology marks a significant improvement in systems and capabilities to monitor the
spread of HIV, a sign of the progress we have made in understanding the epidemic better. This
is welcome progress. “

“Unfortunately, the new figures still point towards a serious epidemic with the potential to
trigger off if the prevention efforts identified in the NACP III are not scaled up rapidly and
implemented in the desired manner. We must remember that India has nearly 30 lakh1 people
living with HIV. These are people facing stigma, discrimination and irrational prejudice
everyday of their lives and need all our support and understanding,” Dr Ramadoss said as he
called upon his colleagues in the medical profession and civil society organizations to fight
stigma and discrimination.

Resulting from a more robust and enhanced methodology, the revised estimates will be used to
improve planning for prevention, care and treatment efforts. “While it is good news that the
total number of HIV infections is lower than previously thought, we cannot be complacent.
The steady and slow spread of the HIV infection is a worrying factor. The better understanding
of India‟s epidemic has certainly enabled us to have more focused HIV prevention and
treatment strategies and more effective deployment of resources,” said secretary health and
chair of the National AIDS Control Board Naresh Dayal.

The new methods developed for the revised estimates has also been used to “backcalculate” the
prevalence for years since 2002 based on the new set of assumptions and measures. These
figures allow a fair comparison of year-on-year trends in HIV prevalence. They show an
epidemic that is stable overtime with marginal decline in 2006.

Commenting on the new estimates and guarding against their misinterpretation additional
secretary and director general, National AIDS Control Organization Sujatha Rao said, "The
calculation of figures for several years, using the new model helps us understand that the new
lower estimates do not mean a sharp decline in the epidemic.” Cautioning against an easing off
the momentum of the HIV response she added, “Using a similar methodology led to downward
revision in estimates in some countries such as Zambia and Rwanda. We will convince all
stakeholders to stay energized and to retain the hard-fought gains of the last decade.”

Showing confidence in the commitment of the Indian leadership, UNAIDS Country
Coordinator Dr Denis Broun said, “The trends evident from the latest estimates validate India‟s
national AIDS strategy. Taking encouragement from the new lower estimates the national
authorities should increase the strength of their HIV programmes. We must scale-up efforts to
reach universal access to HIV prevention, care and treatment. Though the proportion of people
living with HIV is lower than previously estimated, India‟s epidemic continues to be
substantial in numbers. Despite the lower prevalence estimate the cost of prevention efforts
required to control the epidemic remains the same.”

WHO Representative Dr Salim Habayeb commended the vision of the Government of India in
the last 15 years for addressing the HIV epidemic. He also commended the efforts of the states,
civil society, partner agencies as well as the valuable role of the media in facilitating the
creation of an enabling environment. “The HIV burden remains substantial. India‟s efforts,
especially those in prevention, are noteworthy and should be further scaled up along with
provision of Universal Access to treatment for those who need it.”

HIV prevalence shows signs of slight decline among general population

While overall, the HIV epidemic shows a stable trend in the recent years, there is variation
between states and population groups. The good news is that in Tamil Nadu and other southern
states with high HIV burden where effective interventions have been in place for several years,
HIV prevalence has begun to decline or stabilize.

New pockets of high HIV prevalence identified

HIV continues to emerge in new areas. The 2006 surveillance data has identified selected
pockets of high prevalence in the northern states. There are 29 districts with high prevalence,
particularly in the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan and Bihar.

HIV prevalence continues to be high among vulnerable groups

The 2006 surveillance figures show an increase in HIV infection among several groups at
higher risk of HIV infection such as people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men.
The HIV positivity among Injecting Drug Users (IDU) has been found to be significantly high
in metro cities of Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh. Besides, the states of Orissa,
Punjab, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala also show high prevalence among IDUs.

While data does suggest that HIV prevalence levels are declining among sex workers in the
southern states, overall prevalence levels among this group continue to be high,necessitating a
scaling up of focused prevention efforts among these groups.

“Only by controlling the epidemic among the vulnerable groups can the dynamic of the
epidemic be broken,” said Sujatha Rao.
China Daily, China : NDRC predicts over 3% CPI rise for 2007
By Tu Lei (
Updated: 2007-07-09 10:56

The consumer price index (CPI) is expected to rise 3 percent in the first half of this year, and to
exceed 3 percent all year round, said a pricing official with the National Development and
Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body, People Daily reported today.

The bio energies have been popular due to the price hike of crude oil, which has led to price
increases in the international grain market, and pushed up the price of domestic grains. It
contributed to price hikes in meat, eggs and cooking oil, said the official.

The prices of most agricultural products including grain, wheat, corn and pig are lower than
that of 10 years ago, while the feeding costs including the labor price keep increasing, which
causes the price hike of agricultural products, he added.

Meanwhile, the short supply of live pigs has increased pork prices, leading to a higher CPI,
said the official.

In the first half of last year, the pork prices dropped rapidly, and the rising feedstuff prices and
the blue ear disease which killed a large number of pigs nationwide dampened enthusiasm for
raising pigs.

The latest round of price increases began late last year, and eight to nine months would be
enough for new supply to meet market demand, added the official.

For the January-May period, China's CPI increased 2.9 percent. In May alone, the CPI reached
a two-year high of 3.4 percent after rising 3.1 percent in March and 3.0 percent in April.
Bernama Malaysia : Heavy Rains Expected To Continue In Southern China

BEIJING, July 9 (Bernama) -- Heavy rains are expected to continue in the southern areas of
China, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said on Monday.

Torrential rains will hit southeastern Sichuan, western Chongqing, southern Anhui and central
Jiangsu, China's Xinhua news agency quoted the administration as saying.

Heavy rains or rainstorms are also expected in northeastern Yunnan, most parts of Chongqing,
northern Guizhou, and and parts of Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Anhui, Zhejiang and Shanghai.

These regions may also experience temporary thunderstorms and heavy winds, which could
trigger mountain torrents, landslides and mudflows as well as floods, said the administration.

Floods have left 94 people dead and 25 others missing in seven provinces in China, the
Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Sunday.

About 16.67 million people had been affected and 555,100 people in Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan,
Hubei, Sichuan, Chongqing and Shaanxi evacuated by 4 p.m. Sunday.

Hundreds of thousands of houses were damaged and millions of hectares of farmland affected.
Daily Times, Pakistan : 660 dead, million-plus stranded in India floods

KOLKATA: The death toll from heavy rains in India has climbed to about 660 as a minster
said Sunday more than a million people were stranded in the eastern Indian state of West

“Heavy rains over the past two days have led to the swelling of the rivers in the districts. In
many places, the rivers breached embankments and flooded the villagers,” said Mortaza
Hossain, relief minister in West Bengal. By Sunday, the Indian army and airforce had managed

to move around 30,000 of those made homeless by floods in West Bengal to government relief
centres after thousands of mud huts were washed away.

Nine people drowned over the weekend. The monsoon rains, which sweep India from June to
September, cause flooding and deaths almost every year in the densely populated country of a
billion-plus people. Across India, hundreds of people have died in building collapses, lightning
strikes and drownings since the start of the monsoons. Western Maharashtra state has recorded
the most deaths, with 385, the Press Trust of India reported. The deluge has also left a trail of
death and destruction in Gujarat state in the country‟s west, and in the southern states of
Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. afp


                                                                                    09 July 2007
                                      UN-UNEP in the News

Sudan: UN Says Ailing Environment a Key 'Stress Factor'

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg): A report by the U.N. Environment Programme assessing
Sudan's environmental degradation, scheduled for a national launch in Khartoum on Jul. 8, has
spurred debate for linking decades of conflict in the war-torn region to broader problems like
climate change. "Competition over oil and gas reserves, Nile waters and timber, as well as land
use issues related to agricultural land, are important causative factors in the instigation and
perpetuation of conflict in Sudan," the report says. "Long-term peace in [Northern Darfur] will
not be possible unless these underlying and closely linked environmental and livelihood issues
are resolved." Since the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region dramatically escalated in February
2003, when members of the region's ethnic African tribes took up arms against what they saw
as decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, the
Darfurian people have been subject to government-sponsored displacement, rape and murder.
The violence orchestrated by the Sudanese government and perpetrated by its Janjaweed
militias has claimed at least 400,000 lives, displaced 2.5 million people and left more than 3.5
million men, women and children struggling to survive amid violence and starvation,
according to the U.N. "There have been some people who thought that the report was simplistic
in terms of linking climate change with conflict," Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the executive
director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), told IPS. "Others say that it is
absolutely necessary and a window onto a wider world." The report says that flooding,
deforestation, overgrazing due to explosive livestock growth and a marked decline in rainfall as
a result of regional climate change have been "a significant stress factor" in Sudan's largely
pastoral society. UNEP's assessment offers the Government of National Unity, the Government
of Southern Sudan and the international community dozens of recommendations to alleviate
environmental degradation, but whether its recommendations are financially feasible and will
have the potential to create sustainable results remains uncertain.

                                      General Environment News

Nigeria: 'Lagos May Emerge World's Dirtiest City'

This Day (Lagos): Chairman, Lagos Mega City Authority, Professor Akin Mabogunje, has said
Lagos State may remain the dirtiest city in the world, except Lagosians begin to imbibe self-
discipline and environmental cleanliness.
Mabogunje, who said that up till now, Lagos has been described as the dirtiest city in the
world, advised that Lagosians should start keeping their environment clean. He said this
yesterday in Lagos, during a one-day Stakeholder Forum on the proposed rehabilitation,
operation and management of facility for all stakeholders in the waste water management in
Lagos State. The project, which is to enhance the facility's operation and service delivery to
existing industries in its network within the Ikeja Industrial Estate, will help in strengthening
the vision of the Lagos State government on environmental cleanliness.

South Africa: Environmental Journalism Awards Call for Entry

Biz-Community (Cape Town): This year marks the 19th SAB Environmental Journalists of the
Year Awards and the second year that the SAB Environmentalist of the Year Award will be
made. The 2007 awards will be adjudicated based on work produced between 1 August 2006
and 31 July 2007. The awards will take place in Johannesburg on Thursday, 11 October 2007.
Each of the three awards carries a cash prize of R15 000 and a trophy. They are: print and
internet (includes all newspapers, magazines and websites); radio and television (includes all
broadcast media as well as independent filmmakers and production houses); and the Nick
Steele Memorial Award, which for the second year is being given to the Environmentalist of
the Year. Merit prizes carry a prize of R2000 each.

South Africa: Battle for Clean Healthy Country 'Lost'

Cape Argus (Cape Town): The government appears to be losing the battle to realise the
constitutional right of South Africans to a clean and healthy environment, says the DA
spokesman on the environment, Gareth Morgan. Commenting on the just published second
"State of the Environment", which stated that the general condition of South Africa's
environment was deteriorating, Morgan said its contents "paint a worrying picture". The report
was a valuable environmental management tool for which the government and the relevant
stakeholders should be commended, but it showed South Africa was far from achieving the
ideal of sustainable development, he added.

Niger: Shared River Basins, Common Problems

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg): Nigeria and Niger, in West Africa, are neighbouring states.
But the two countries have more than a border in common; they are also share a number of
river basins that are under threat, and the responsibility for conserving them. "The degradation
of land in the trans-frontier river basins of Niger and Nigeria has advanced to the point that it is
undermining local and regional economies, and increasing the vulnerability of rural
communities," Souley Aboubacar, Nigerian co-coordinator of the joint programme, told IPS.
Now, an initiative is underway to conserve four river basins -- Komadougou Yobé, Tagwaï-El
Fadama, Gada-Goulbi, and Maggia-Lamido -- the 'Ecosystems Integrated Management Project'
(Projet de gestion intégrée des ecosystems, PGIE).The PGIE is intended to restore the
ecosystems of the four basins and slow desertification, rehabilitating 48,000 hectares of
degraded land and reducing rates of sedimentation by about 35 percent -- notes documentation
for the project.

Kenya: Alarm Bells Ring as Stocks Dwindle

The Nation (Nairobi): Kenya's fishing sector faces a bleak future over the reduction of stocks
in Lake Victoria, a new government report says. Fish species with more nutritional and
commercial values such as the Tilapia and Nile Perch were fast fading from the water body due
to over exploitation sparking fears that the value of the Lake is in its sun set years. The Nile
Perch, which has for a long time dominated the European markets is said to have reduced by
almost 50 percent, raising fears that the country could lose out in the annual Sh4 billion from
the fish species. In a report released by the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development
yesterday showed that there was an increase in the low value fish species while those in
demand had reduced drastically.



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