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					                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                     Friday, 3 February 2006

          UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

         Will it cost the earth? (Financial Times)

         130 ministers will take part in Unep's environment forum (Khaleej Times)
         Biggest Ever Gathering of Environment Ministers in Dubai (Al Bawaba)
         UAE to host largest ever gathering of environment ministers (Deutsche Presse
         Idea sweeter than rocky road (Courier Mail)

         Carburant.... l‘essence tourisme sera sans plomb à Madagascar (Madanight)

         Tchernobyl - Vingt ans après (Le Point)

         Balancing Growth, Environmental Protection a Challenge for China (US State

               Other Environment News

       US firms must go green, Gore says (BBC)
       Encore des interrogations sur le stockage géologique (Le Figaro)
       Las ventas de vehículos híbridos en EEUU se ha duplicado (El Mundo)
       Study Suggests Clay Paved the Way for Evolution of Complex Animals (Scientific

               Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

       ROAP

               Other UN News

       UN Daily News of 2 February 2006
       S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 2 February 2006

                  Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
    Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692,,
Financial Times: Will it cost the earth?
The price of the US's "addiction to oil"goes far beyond the dependence on politically volatile
states cited by President George W. Bush this week. According to the world's leading climate
scientists, reliance on fossil fuels is creating a global warming disaster that could end up costing
the earth.
Faced with these threats, rational people and governments might be expected to reduce their
greenhouse gas output.
But there is little appeal in taking costly action in the short term to stave off a long-term threat -
especially one that, by its nature, is hard to calibrate.
Persuading individuals and businesses to take the action necessary to tackle climate change
caused by economic activity itself requires an economic argument. But how to put a price on the
world's climate and the catastrophes that may follow from global warming?
Attempts to fill a policy vacuum as the expiry of the Kyoto protocol in 2012 looms are suddenly
turning environmental economics into one of the hottest areas of the discipline. The challenge is
to find policies that will make the most efficient use of scarce resources and provide a rational
basis on which to build an international consensus to address climate change among politicians
and business people.
It has taken some time for the economics of climate change to enter the mainstream. While
scientific knowledge in this area has leapt ahead, economic advances have been much slower.
You do not have to look far for the reasons. Most economics theory is designed to cope with
issues that are relatively short term or national. Even international economics is ill-equipped to
deal with trans-boundary issues.
Economists find it hard enough to make an accurate forecast one year ahead, let alone 100. Yet
environmental economics must grapple with a plethora of uncertainties - scientific and political
- over a dauntingly long timescale. Small wonder then that Michael Grubb, chief economist of
the UK's Carbon Trust, a government-funded organisation that advises business, declares:
"Understanding the economics of climate change is like trying to understand the Big Bang
without Newtonian mechanics."
Dieter Helm, a fellow of economics at New College, Oxford, adds: "The usual economists'
toolbox looks puny against the scale of this challenge." Just as the experience of the
unemployment of the 1930s required the reinvention of much of macroeconomics, so climate
change needs new thinking too, he says.
The drawback of the traditional approach notoriously emerged in the mid-1990s when
economists, commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, used a cost-
benefit analysis to assess the damage to the environment. There was an outcry when it emerged
that the analysis involved valuing the life of an American at 15 times that of someone in the
industrially less-advanced world.
Another problem is that environmental goods - clean air and water, a stable climate - are rarely
taken into account by standard economic analyses. For this reason, the United Nations has
begun to promote the idea of "natural capital", as a way of valuing environmental goods so that
they can be included in economists' equations.
As Klaus Topfer, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, describes it: "The
goods and services delivered by nature, including the atmosphere, forests, rivers, wetlands,
mangroves and coral reefs, are worth trillions of dollars. When we damage natural capital, we
not only undermine our life support systems but the economic basis for current and future

generations. Targeted investments in this natural capital have a high rate of return in terms of
The UK can claim to be at the forefront of the debate, thanks in part to a decision by Gordon
Brown, chancellor of the exchequer, to commission a review of the economics of climate
change, headed by Sir Nicholas Stern, a former World Bank chief economist and senior
Treasury official. Sir Nicholas's report will take a global view of the economic risks and
possible benefits of climate change and assess the potential of economic instruments to address
them. The findings will carry weight internationally since they will be part of the basis for UN
discussions, due to begin this year, on the future of Kyoto.
Sir Nicholas spoke publicly about his review for the first time earlier this week, in a lecture to
the Oxford Institute for Economic Policy. Outlining some of the complexities of establishing
economic solutions to climate change he went on: "It is an international collective action
problem . . . The simple standard theory of externality" - on the spillover effects of production
or consumption for which no payment is made - "is useful but not a fundamental answer to the
The first step, he said, was to convince all the governments involved of the need to take urgent
action on climate change. The difficulty of achieving an international consensus is reflected in
the history of the Kyoto protocol, which has been rejected by the US and Australian
governments, and dogged with delays and disagreements (see right).
Countries such as the US have decided that the costs of compliance are too high. As Mr Helm
points out, climate change is a global public "bad", creating incentives for individual countries
to free-ride on others' emissions reductions: if one country reduces its emissions, the effect on
global warming will be negligible but the effect on that country's competitiveness could
Jonathan Kohler, of the Department of Applied Economics in Cambridge, thinks it is not
necessary for everyone to sign up to an international agreement for progress to be made on
emissions reductions. Market forces will do some of the work, he indicates.
"If you think climate change is a big problem and the world will have to do something, at some
point there will be gigantic markets out there and big export opportunities for low carbon
production technologies." He cites the example of Denmark, which captured a large slice of the
market in wind turbines through its early investment in that sector.
Policies to combat climate change need to take into account the impact of technological change
on reducing the cost of renewable energy sources. Mr Kohler, who is also a manager at the
Norwich-based Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, says economic models that take
this into account suggest that the cost of switching over to a low carbon energy environment is
not high compared with the cost of investment in energy systems that would anyway be needed.
What is not clear is how quickly this would happen and how much government intervention
would be required.
The policy instruments available to governments traditionally include a carbon tax, limits on
emissions and incentives to encourage the development of clean fuel technologies. Most
economists favour market-based solutions as the most effective way to drive change in business
practice (see below left) and encourage the development of new technology. In an open letter to
Mr Bush in December, 25 US economists, including three Nobel laureates, urged the president
to control greenhouse gas emissions through mechanisms such as setting limits on the amount
of carbon dioxide countries could produce and allowing them to trade carbon allowances with
one another.
Mr Helm believes that an alternative to subsidising a particular technology, such as nuclear fuel,
in order to provide low carbon generation is to auction long-term carbon contracts. Under such a
scheme, the government would auction carbon contracts for the supply of emission reductions
over a long period - such as 20-30 years. The advantage for governments is that they are not

obliged to evaluate industry claims about which technology is cheaper. Nor would they be
obliged to sell a politically unpopular choice - such as nuclear technology - to a sceptical public.
A similar scheme has been developed by the World Bank.
But bedevilling attempts to provide an authoritative analysis of the economic impact of climate
change, and thus the economic instruments necessary to address it, is the high level of
uncertainty that pervades the subject. Although the scientific evidence points clearly to the
conclusion that human actions are having an effect on the climate, many important questions
remain unanswered: for instance, the extent to which temperature will rise smoothly or in jumps
and the probability of "high-impact" events such as the Gulf Stream changing direction.
Sir Nicholasbelieves his review, due in the autumn, will discover some of the answers. He said
this week: "One of our key tasks is to find out whether you can be green and grow. There are a
lot of arguments to suggest this is likely to be possible."
But, he hinted, the road to knowledge would not be easy: To understand the issues, "you need
all the economics you ever learnt - and more".


Khaleej Times:130 ministers will take part in Unep's environment forum

3 February 2006
DUBAI — The largest-ever gathering of environment ministers will take place in the United
Arab Emirates (UAE) next week for forward-looking discussions on how best to deliver
sustainable energy and more environmentally-friendly tourism.

The ministers will be attending the 9th Special Session of the United Nations Environment
Programme's (Unep) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

Nearly 130 environment ministers and close to 160 countries have so far agreed to participate,
along with the presidents of the Gambia and Switzerland.

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of Unep, said: "There is every sign that we are seeing a
renaissance in the commitment to global environmental issues. This is being driven partly by
the soaring demand and price for fossil fuels."

"It is also being fueled by a growing recognition, especially by rapidly developing countries that
environmental degradation cannot continue. That it is now the bottleneck to future economic
development. That a healthy environment has a lot to do with fighting poverty and delivering a
stable and more peaceful world," he added.

Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General, will be honoured on the evening of February 6
with the top Global Leadership prize for his commitment to sustainable development.

The awards ceremony will serve as the opening for the Governing Council/Global Ministerial
Environment Forum which takes place between February 7 and 9.

Unep will launch its Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2006 outlining the state of the
global and regional environment, with a special focus on energy and air pollution.

Other highlights include the International Conference on Chemicals Management which takes
place between February 4 and 6. Here it is hoped that governments will adopt the Strategic
Approach to International Chemicals Management, putting the world on track to make and use
chemicals in a way that minimises damage to human health and the environment. In doing so
governments will also put the world on track to meet the chemicals commitments made at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation. Delegates from civil society, including trade unions, will meet between
February 5 and 6.


Al Bawaba: Biggest Ever Gathering of Environment Ministers in Dubai
The largest ever gathering of environment ministers will take place in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) next week for forward-looking discussions on how best to deliver sustainable energy and
more environmentally-friendly tourism.
They will be attending the 9th Special Session of the United Nations Environment Programme‘s
(UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.
Nearly 130 environment ministers and close to 160 countries have so far agreed to participate,
along with the presidents of the Gambia and Switzerland.
Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, said: ―There is every sign that we are seeing a
renaissance in the commitment to global environmental issues. This is being driven partly by
the soaring demand and price for fossil fuels‖.
―It is also being fueled by a growing recognition, especially by rapidly developing countries that
environmental degradation cannot continue. That it is now the bottleneck to future economic
development. That a healthy environment has a lot to do with fighting poverty and delivering a
stable and more peaceful world,‖ he added.
―This is underlined by the large participation of environment ministers, along with members of
civil society and industry coming to West Asia. We are also delighted to be in this region and
the UAE in particular,‖ said Mr Toepfer.
―It is the first time we have held our Governing Council in this part of the world. The
commitment of the late Sheikh Zayed to environmental causes, the importance of energy and
tourism to this country, makes Dubai the ideal venue,‖ he added.
The gathering will also take place as the country celebrates the awarding of the $1 million
Zayed International Prize for the Environment.
Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, will be honoured on the evening of 6
February with the top Global Leadership prize for his commitment to sustainable development.
The awards ceremony will serve as the opening for the Governing Council/Global Ministerial
Environment Forum which takes place between 7 and 9 February.

UNEP will launch its Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2006 outlining the state of the
global and regional environment, with a special focus on energy and air pollution.
Other highlights include the International Conference on Chemicals Management which takes
place between 4 and 6 February.
Here it is hoped that governments will adopt the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals
Management, putting the world on track to make and use chemicals in a way that minimizes
damage to human health and the environment.
In doing so governments will also put the world on track to meet the chemicals commitments
made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in the Johannesburg Plan of
Delegates from civil society, including trade unions, will meet between 5 and 6 February.
An international exhibit on environmentally sound technology dubbed ―EST Showcase‖ will be
staged in the Sheikh Rashid Hall.

Deutsche Presse Agentur: UAE to host largest ever gathering of environment ministers


The largest ever gathering of environment ministers is scheduled to take place in the United
Arab Emirates (UAE) next week to discuss how best to deliver sustainable energy and more
environmentally-friendly tourism.

The ministers are due to attend the ninth special session of the United Nations Environment
Programme's (UNEP) Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum, WAM
news agency reported.

Nearly 130 environment ministers and close to 160 countries have so far agreed to participate in
the meeting in the emirate of Dubai, along with the presidents of the Gambia and Switzerland.

"There is every sign that we are seeing a renaissance in the commitment to global
environmental issues. This is being driven partly by the soaring demand and price for fossil
fuels," UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer was quoted by WAM as saying.

"It is also being fuelled by a growing recognition, especially by rapidly developing countries
that environmental degradation cannot continue.

"That it is now the bottleneck to future economic development: that a healthy environment has a
lot to do with fighting poverty and delivering a stable and more peaceful world," Toepfer added.

"This is underlined by the large participation of environment ministers, along with members of
civil society and industry coming to West Asia. We are also delighted to be in this region and
the UAE in particular," Toepfer said.

This is the first time that the UNEP plans to hold its governing council session in the Gulf

"The commitment of the late Sheikh Zayed, former UAE president, to environmental causes, the
importance of energy and tourism to this country, makes Dubai the ideal venue," Toepfer said.

The gathering takes place as the country celebrates the awarding of the 1-million-dollar Zayed
International Prize for the Environment.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to be honoured on the evening of February 6
with the top "global leadership" prize for his commitment to sustainable development.

The award ceremony is expected to serve as the opening for the forum which is scheduled to
take place between February 7 and 9.

UNEP plans to launch its Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2006, outlining the state of
the global and regional environment, with a special focus on energy and air pollution.

Other highlights include the International Conference on Chemicals Management which takes
place between February 4 and 6.

Delegates from civil society, including trade unions, are scheduled to meet between February 5
and 6. dpa ap wjh

Courier Mail (Australia): Idea sweeter than rocky road
Michael Madigan

SUGAR-coated roads are set to challenge traditional bitumen, and they'll come in a candy-
coloured range to brighten the world's highways.

Set to be trialled in Townsville this year, the sugar roads could also put cane growers on the
yellow brick road to riches.

The technology is already available after Australian scientists successfully converted sugar into

The sugar roads are superior to normal bitumen, according to developer Ecopave.

They're non-toxic, they don't contain petroleum, and they have superior engineering properties
because they are more easily laid down.

However, as with many emerging technologies, no money can be found in Australia to
manufacture and promote them.

Ecopave representative Guy Lane will leave Townsville for Dubai today to promote the roads at
an Environmentally Sound Technology Showcase backed by the the United Nations
Environment Program.

The showcase in the United Arab Emirates will be attended by 130 environment minister from
around the world.

Mr Lane, who also heads up his own group, SEA O2 Sustainable Development, said sugar roads
were one of the most exciting environmentally friendly developments on offer.

''They use a complex chemical synthesis process which changes the properties of the
constituents of sugar,'' he said.

''With the addition of special ingredients we can actually transform the sugar into a bitumen

Mr Lane said the roads could be pigmented and made into a variety of colours.

''Pretty much any colour you want,'' he said.

''But if we make light colours the bitumen reflects the sunlight into space.

''That way we can actually reduce the heat build-up in cities, which means we reduce the need
for airconditioning which reduces the greenhouse effect.

''This has major export potential, particularly for developing tropical countries.''

Mr Lane will be looking for finance for a variety of sustainable technologies, including the

''Australian investors are comfortable with hard rocks, blue chips and fossil fuels,'' Mr Lane

''They are less comfortable with 21st century sustainable technologies.''

Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy executive director Ric Brazzale said
sustainable technologies faced a range of barriers.

One was the absence of policies making it attractive for private investors to get involved.

''Increasingly, governments are identifying new technology as the key to sustainable
development,'' he said.

''However without incentives that reward clean energy and make them profitable, the Australian
private sector will simply not mobilise the capital investment required.''

The Daily Observer (Gambia): BSP enhances capacity-building
Written by Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang
Momodou O Njai, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Forestry and
Environment, has said the implementation of the Bail Strategic Plan (BSP) will enhance
delivery and coordination of capacity building activities, promote environmentally sound
technology support and mainstream the environment into the national development plans and
poverty reduction strategies.

 In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer in his office yesterday, Mr Njai said the
process will strengthen national institutions, sub-regional institutions and resource centres to
facilitate environment information collection, management, dissemination and an increased
sense of ownership of the capacity building and technology support activities.
According to him, the Bali Strategic Plan for technology support and capacity building was
adopted by the 23rd session of the Governing Council of Global Ministerial Environment
Forum (GC/G MEF) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He said the plan
was prepared as a means of assisting developing countries and countries with economies in
transition to address their capacity building and technology support needs in the field of the
environment. In the context of the African region, Mr Njai revealed that BSP is of particular
interest, being fully in line with the objectives of the capacity building programme of the
environment initiative of the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development (Nepad) as it
underlines that capacity building should respond to needs and priorities of countries, and inline
with sub-regional and regional environment initiatives. He however said the plan would also
assist individual countries as well as the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment
fulfil the goal of the action plan of the environment initiative of Nepad which was adopted by
the second assembly of the African Union held in Maputo in July 2003.

In view of these developments and priorities focus on the region, he said, UNEP has initiated a
pilot project in six countries in Africa (Lesotho, Rwanda, Kenya, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and The
Gambia) and the projects were launched by the Gambian head of state, President Yahya
Jammeh. He said President Jammeh agreed to spearhead the process in view of its importance
for Africa, the rest of the developing countries, and countries with economies in transition, and
the need for promoting the notion of capacity building and technology support in Africa, in line
with the letter of intent signed between the government of The Gambia and UNEP.

Madanight (Madagascar): Carburant.... l’essence tourisme sera sans plomb à Madagascar

Tourisme ou sans plomb. C‘est devenu pratiquement la même chose. Tout est dans la nuance de
la … communication. Le manque de transparence a fait naître autant de psychose que de
rumeurs chez les propriétaires de véhicules. Les craintes sur le fameux passage au sans plomb
concernent aussi bien les mécaniques que les portefeuilles.
Madagascar ne sera pas le premier pays à adopter l‘essence sans plomb. Il s‘agit d‘une décision
prise sur plan international lors du Sommet mondial de la Terre de Johannesburg en 2002 au
cours duquel une résolution pour lutter contre la pollution atmosphérique a été prise. Ainsi,
toute l‘Afrique subsaharienne devrait utiliser l‘essence sans plomb, sans résidus nocifs pour la
santé, à partir de janvier 2006 selon le Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement
(Pnue). Antananarivo est jusqu‘à maintenant la seule ville malgache où le taux de plomb dans
l‘air dépasse largement le seuil indiqué par l‘OMS. Les deux tunnels d’Ambanidia et
d’Ambohidahy sans les endroits les plus pollués.

L‘essence ordinaire utilisée à Madagascar depuis 2004, ne le serait pas vraiment ; c‘est plutôt du
sans plomb bas de gamme. En 2006, quand on parle de l‘utilisation exclusive du sans plomb, on
annonce qu‘il y aura toujours de l‘essence tourisme mais avec un taux d‘octane moindre. Bref,
l‘essence sans plomb 95 vendue actuellement sur le marché malgache sera encore le super
carburant de référence. Dans quelques mois, l‘essence tourisme sera du sans plomb 93, voire 91.
Avec ce dernier taux d‘octane en particulier, les prix à la pompe ne risquent pas de flamber. La
performance de la mécanique ne sera pas évidemment la même qu‘avec le 95.

Les prix des carburants ont augmenté en moyenne de 5%, fin janvier. Cela n‘a rien à voir avec
la décision de ne plus importer que de l‘essence sans plomb, précise-t-on du côté de l'Office
malgache des hydrocarbures (OMH). Le Directeur général, Manitrisa Ratsimiala Ramonta,
évoque plusieurs raisons. Tout d‘abord, au niveau national, la taxe sur les produits pétroliers
(TPP) prélevée sur l‘essence tourisme passe de 27 à 37%. La hausse est de 5% sur le gasoil qui
sera taxé à 23%. Le super carburant et le pétrole lampant ont été épargnés. Ensuite, la baisse
insidieuse de la valeur de la monnaie Ariary sur le marché interbancaire de devises, face à un
dollar qui ne fléchit pas a un impact direct mais à retardement sur les prix à la pompe. De même
pour la fluctuation des prix du pétrole sur le marché mondial. Ces dernières années, la
dévaluation de la monnaie nationale aurait eu un impact plus important sur la hausse des prix du
carburant que la flambée des cours elle-même.
Madagascar demeure un petit marché pour les sociétés pétrolières. Une consommation de 650
000 tonnes/an ne permet pas d‘avoir une économie d‘échelle. La tendance est plutôt négative
avec une baisse de la consommation de l‘ordre de 7% pour l‘essence et un peu plus de 10%
pour les autres types de carburants, mis à part le gasoil qui s‘est maintenu. L‘inflation
généralisée et la baisse du pouvoir d‘achat ont poussé les usagers à acheter du carburant en
petite quantité. Le passage au sans plomb tant redouté représente une différence qui n‘est pas
importante au point de vue arithmétique mais qui l‘est plus sur le plan psychologique. Avec
1930 ariary le prix de l‘ordinaire et 2350 ariary le litre du super au début de l‘année, une hausse
supposée de 10% du premier en raison de la révision des taxes et surtout de la meilleure qualité
de produit pourrait réduire la différence des prix significativement. Avec une économie de
carburant annoncée de 0,5 litre tous les 3 litres, le super n‘aura peut-être pas du mal à être
adopté par monsieur tout le monde.

Les automobilistes malgaches auront donc jusqu‘en juin pour s‘habituer ou plutôt habituer leur
véhicule à l‘essence sans plomb. Actuellement, seuls 10% des véhicules fonctionnant à
l‘essence est alimenté en super carburant. La crainte des usagers sur l‘éventuelle nécessité
d‘adapter le moteur de leur voiture a été partiellement levée par les responsables de l‘OMH.
Certains automobilistes adoptent déjà le « coupage » du tourisme avec le super. Les
professionnels de la mécanique recommandent une « adaptation » de module pour passer à
l‘allumage électronique. En 2006, les automobilistes n‘auront pas à se réjouir de la suppression
de la vignette annuelle. Cette dernière ne valait que le prix de deux litres d‘essence. Le manque
à gagner de l‘Etat sera compensé par les taxes sur les produits pétroliers. Bref, on aura à payer
un petit morceau de vignette pour chaque litre de carburant acheté. A la fin de l‘année, cela
pourrait valoir le plein d‘essence. Sans plomb, s‘il vous plait.


Le Point (France): Tchernobyl - Vingt ans après
Frédéric Lewino
Tchernobyl, vingt ans déjà ! Le temps est venu d'esquisser un bilan des retombées sanitaires du
plus grand accident nucléaire de tous les temps. Ce délicat exercice vient d'être mené par huit
institutions spécialisées des Nations unies (l'OMS, le PNUD, l'AIEA, la FAO, le PNUE...) et
leurs centaines d'experts. L'étude évalue finalement l'hécatombe totale à 4 000 morts par cancers
et leucémies. Essentiellement parmi les membres de l'équipe d'intervention en 1986 et 1987, les
personnes évacuées et les résidents proches. Seulement 4 000 morts ? On est très loin des
dizaines de milliers de décès redoutés. « Les effets sanitaires de l'accident étaient
potentiellement catastrophiques, mais une fois que vous les additionnez en vous basant sur des

conclusions scientifiques dûment validées, en ce qui concerne le public, ils n'ont pas été aussi
forts que ce que l'on pouvait craindre initialement », explique Michael Repacholi, responsable
du programme Rayonnement de l'OMS. On entend déjà la bronca des antinucléaires, pour qui le
bilan est infiniment plus lourd.
A l'exception de la zone fortement contaminée de 30 kilomètres de rayon autour de la centrale,
tous les autres sites présentent à nouveau un niveau de rayonnement acceptable. Aucune
réduction de la fertilité n'a pu être observée dans les zones contaminées.
Incroyablement, le rapport conclut que l'impact de Tchernobyl sur la santé mentale est le plus
grand problème de santé publique que l'accident ait provoqué. « La pauvreté, les maladies liées
au mode de vie et les troubles mentaux constituent, pour les populations locales, une menace
beaucoup plus grave que l'exposition aux rayonnements », y lit-on.
Beaucoup trouveront ce rapport bien trop lénifiant. Pourtant, le professionnalisme et le sérieux
des experts mandatés par l'Onu ne peuvent être contestés. il faut bien croire que Tchernobyl n'a
pas été l'apocalypse annoncée. La catastrophe chimique de Bhopal aura finalement fait
davantage de morts

US State Department: Balancing Growth, Environmental Protection a Challenge for
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offering assistance in several areas
As the Chinese economy advances, the country's leaders face daunting challenges in balancing
growth with environmental protection, says Jerry Clifford, deputy assistant administrator of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of International Affairs.
Clifford testified February 2 at a hearing in Washington on "Major Internal Challenges Facing
the Chinese Leadership." The hearing was convened by the U.S. China Economic and Security
Review Commission, which was created by Congress to review the national security
implications of trade and economic ties between the United States and China.
"China has an enormous environmental footprint on the planet and it is only getting larger as its
economy speeds forward, as it is responsible for an ever larger portion of the world's
manufacturing, and as the Chinese people begin to enjoy some of the consumer comforts that
citizens in the United States have known for decades," Clifford told the commission.
Government officials in China must find ways to improve the efficiency of the country's
industrial sector while investing in costly but necessary environmental improvements, Clifford
said. These priorities are apparent in China's new Five-Year Plan, he added, which includes
initiatives to address industrial pollution, energy efficiency and inequalities between urban and
rural areas in environmental infrastructure.
"The United States has shown over the past 35 years that significant economic growth is not
inconsistent with dramatic reductions in environmental indicators," Clifford said, noting that,
since 1970, U.S. energy use has increased at much slower rates than its economic output, and
the country's aggregate emissions of major air pollutants have declined.
China's emissions growth likewise must be "decoupled" from its economic growth, Clifford
said. U.S. researchers, studying the effect of China's heavy reliance on fossil fuel combustion,
have found evidence that pollutants such as ozone precursors, particulate matter and mercury
are being transported from Asia to North America.

To assist China in finding solutions, Clifford said, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
collaborates with China's State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) under the framework
of a memorandum of understanding signed in December 2003.
Among the areas of cooperation:
-- China is the world's largest emitter of methane, a major greenhouse gas. EPA is helping
China reduce its methane emissions with recovery technologies for coal mines and landfills.
The initiative has the added benefit of reducing mining deaths from accidental explosions.
-- EPA is working with China to improve assessment of regional air pollution and improve
urban air quality. Working together, EPA and SEPA have developed initiatives in the power
sector and for the municipal bus system in Beijing that will help reduce emissions of sulfur
dioxide and alleviate China's severe acid rain problem.
-- To reduce energy use in urban buildings, EPA is working with China's Certification Center
for Energy Conservation Products, implementing market-based voluntary energy-efficiency
endorsement labeling on products such as refrigerators, air conditioners and other major
-- EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy have promoted the use of renewable energy
resources such as wind power, while helping China draft a national renewable energy law and
develop implementing regulations.
Water pollution and water scarcity are also areas of concern, Clifford told the commission. He
said the United States had offered assistance in November 2005 when an explosion at a
petroleum facility near Harbin in northeast China caused a massive chemical spill in the
Songhua River. The two countries have identified common concerns in areas such as
management of competing upstream and downstream water users, wetlands use, wastewater
treatment and reduction of agriculture runoff contamination.
Clifford said EPA's ongoing bilateral cooperation with China in areas such as watershed
management and regional air quality will help Chinese leaders address the daunting challenges
they face.
"It is in the interest of the United States to help address these problems in China before they
become our problems here at home," he concluded.
For additional information on U.S. policies, see Environment.
Following is the full text of Clifford's statement before the commission:
(begin text)
February 2, 2006
Mr. Jerry Clifford
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of International Affairs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
Major Challenges Facing the Chinese Leadership
Thank you, Chairman Reinsch and Chairman Wortzel for this opportunity to take part in the
opening panel of the Commission's public hearing on "Major Challenges Facing the Chinese
Leadership." I am pleased to join James Keith, the State Department's Senior Advisor for China
in presenting the Administration's perspective on these challenges.
Two weeks ago, when I was asked to make a presentation before the Commission, I was
advised to focus on the key environmental challenges in China, the efforts China's leadership
are undertaking to address these challenges, and the steps that the United States Government is
taking to assist these efforts. Yesterday, when I received the agenda for today's hearing, I saw
that the title for this panel had been changed to read "What keeps Chinese Leaders Awake at
Night?" Well that's easy. 1.3 billion people.
China has an enormous environmental footprint on the planet and it is only getting larger as its
economy speeds forward, as it is responsible for an ever larger portion of the world's

manufacturing, and as the Chinese people begin to enjoy some of the consumer comforts that
citizens in the United States have known for decades.
The cumulative impact of 1.3 billion people will grow dramatically as incomes and purchasing
power increase. Right now China's per capital annual income is $1,700 compared to over
$40,000 in the U.S. Continued economic growth and increasing personal income are top
priorities for China's leaders. What may be keeping them up at night is how to keep up the pace
of economic growth by improving the efficiency of their industrial sector and balancing the high
cost of a lot of needed environmental improvements.
It is important to recognize that our understanding of China is limited. Our efforts are hindered
by a Chinese government that controls information and access. In many cases, the U.S. must
rely upon data that has been provided by the government, some of which is suspect. In other
instances we have had to work with no data at all, though we have had some success in
collecting new data, especially when cooperating with universities and technical institutes.
From what we have been able to learn about China's new Five-Year Plan, China's leaders intend
to address industrial pollution, energy efficiency, as well as some of the environmental
infrastructure inequities between the urban and rural populations. The plan also calls for local
officials to be evaluated in part on the basis of their environmental performance.
There are only a few numeric targets in the plan including: doubling the per capita gross
domestic product (GDP) of 2000 by 2010; reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by
20% of 2005 levels by 2010; and increasing renewable sources of energy to 5% by 2010.
Reaching these targets will mean a lot for China's environmental quality, but it also will mean a
lot for the United States and the global environment.
The United States has shown over the past 35 years that significant economic growth is not
inconsistent with dramatic reductions in environmental indicators. Since 1970, our GDP has
grown by 187%, we are driving our vehicles 171% many more miles every year, energy use is
up 47%, and our population has grown by 40% - even as we have reduced the aggregate
emissions of the six major air pollutants by over 50%.
It is in our national interest that China decouple its emissions growth from its economic growth.
This is true in the broad economic sense that unsustainable growth and hard landings in the
Chinese economy now affect global growth and trade. But we are also learning more and more
over time about China's global environmental footprint.
More than 90% of China's energy consumption relies on fossil fuels, the combustion of which
leads to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution such as ozone, fine particles, mercury and
acid rain. NASA, NOAA and EPA have been collaborating with other researchers in the U.S.
and abroad to study the long range transport of aerosols and other air pollutants in the northern
hemisphere. We are gaining a better understanding of how pollution moves from continent to
continent, and are seeing episodes of pollution in the form of ozone precursors, particulate
matter and mercury transported from Asia to North America.
In April 2001 satellites observed a dust cloud originating in the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia
gathering air pollution as it traveled over China, then over the Pacific Ocean, and ultimately
reaching the East Coast of the United States. Other data is demonstrating the impact of
emissions released in the United States on foreign receptors. We will continue in the coming
years to study this hemispheric transport of air pollutants so that we can better understand the
hemispheric-wide impacts of emissions of different pollutants from different regions.
China is expected to overtake the U.S. as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG)
in the next 20 to 25 years. In addition to its high level of CO2 emissions from coal combustion,
China also is the world's largest emitter of methane, and the largest emitter of coal mine
methane, accounting for 40% of the global total. EPA is helping China to apply methane
recovery technologies for coal mines and landfills under the Methane to Markets Partnership,
the international initiative that focuses on advancing cost-effective, near-term methane recovery

and use as a clean energy source. Assisting China to capture and use its coal mine methane has
the added benefit of reducing mining deaths from accidental explosions.
China's current air pollution problems stem, in large measure, from weak pollution controls on
its coal-fired power plants. Two-thirds of China's total energy comes from coal. By comparison,
coal is responsible for 22% of the energy produced in the U.S..
The high incidence of premature deaths in China has been linked to ambient and indoor air
pollution in China. The WHO estimates that there are as many as 450,000 premature deaths
from indoor air pollution alone. China has a high incidence of respiratory disease, with chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease being the leading cause of death-a disease burden more than
twice the average for developing countries. The State Environmental Protection Administration
(SEPA) statistics show that more than two-thirds of China's urban residents live in cities with
"poor" air quality. EPA is working with China to apply assessment and modeling tools to better
characterize regional air pollution in order to help decision makers develop more effective
Urban ambient concentrations of SO 2 and particulate matter in China are among the highest in
the world. While SO 2 concentrations overall are declining in many parts of China as more and
more pollution controls for SO2 are installed at power plants, the problems associated with
transport of SO 2, specifically acid rain and fine particles, are worsening. Approximately one-
third of the country now experiences severe acid rain. EPA is working with SEPA to develop an
air pollution cap and trade program in the power sector, but many obstacles remain, including
lack of effective monitoring, enforcement, and incentives.
Pollution from vehicles is making up an ever-increasing percentage of urban air pollution. The
Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau (BEPB) estimates the vehicular share of air pollution
to be 79%. EPA is working with SEPA and the BEPB to demonstrate advanced emission
control devices on municipal buses, to assist in developing sound low-sulfur transportation fuel
policies, and to establish effective compliance and enforcement programs.
Energy efficiency has been national policy in China since 1980, and from 1980 to 2000, China's
energy use increased at half the rate of economic growth. However, since the late 1990s, energy
demand has been growing at over one and one-half times the rate of economic growth. To
generate every U.S. dollar of GDP, China uses three times more energy than the global average.
The growth in power consumption has outpaced supply, and during one recent summer peak
load season local governments had to ration power in 24 of 32 provinces.
China has been constructing 400 million square meters of building space every year for 15
years. This is the equivalent of building 1,000 Sears Towers each year. China's buildings
consume 27.5 percent of the nation's total energy. The increase in energy demand from new air
conditioners in China in 2004 alone exceeded the entire generating capacity of the Three Gorges
Dam. EPA is working with the China Certification Center for Energy Conservation Products
(CECP) to reduce energy use in buildings through market-based voluntary energy-efficiency
endorsement labeling.
China has adopted efficiency standards for refrigerators, air-conditioners, clothes washers, and
televisions that will avoid 30 million tons of carbon emissions and save electricity equivalent to
that generated by 17 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power plants by 2020. EPA also is helping
China to strengthen its mandatory minimum energy-efficiency standards program by adding
covered products, increasing efficiency levels, improving enforcement, and implementing
improvements to a government energy management program.
Wind power is the fastest growing source of renewable energy in China. Renewable energy
currently generates less than 5% of China's energy production, up from 3% in 2003, but the
government has set a goal of 10% by 2020. China expects to generate 20gW of wind power by
2020. EPA and DOE have assisted China through the Wind Technology Partnership in drafting
its national renewable energy law and in developing implementing regulations.

The U.S. and China joined India, Japan, South Korea and Australia in launching a new initiative
to reduce air pollution and GHG emissions just last month in Sydney, Australia. These six
countries, which account for about half of the world's population, GDP, energy use, and
greenhouse gas emissions, formed the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and
Climate. The partnership will develop, demonstrate and implement cleaner and lower emissions
technologies. The partnership expects to marshal considerable financial, human and other
resources both from the public and private sectors.
The November 2005 chemical spill in the Songhua River following an explosion at a China
National Petroleum Company facility near Harbin provides a valuable lesson about the limits of
our knowledge about China.
As you know, the Chinese public was not notified of the spill for more than a week and water
intake at treatment plants had to be shut down at cities downstream to prevent nitro-benzene
contamination of water supplies and equipment. As soon as the United States learned of the
accident, President Bush offered assistance. China declined the U.S. offer to send a team to
help China respond to the accident, but both sides exchanged information and the U.S. provided
China with examples of how we have managed benzene and nitro-benzene spills in freezing
temperatures. As the toxic plume approached Harbin there was a run on bottled water and
public confusion about the nature of the contamination as unofficial websites filled the
information vacuum with wide ranging reports.
China did invite a team of experts from the United Nations Environment Program, but this
international team was not allowed to visit the site of the accident, nor were they allowed to take
water samples. The data provided by the Chinese authorities led U.S. and UNEP experts to
conclude that the situation was steadily improving and that the Chinese response had been
appropriate and sufficient. Although the risk remains that nitro-benzene may be re-released
during the spring when river ice thaws and there are likely to be areas where the chemical has
settled into the sediment, this may be a situation that does not require any further action
although we do not know. Disturbing the sediment in an attempt to remove the nitro-benzene
could disturb and release other contaminants in the process.
In December, China announced that it would spend $3.28 billion over the next five years to
improve drinking water quality to communities along the Songhua. When two more chemical
spills followed before the end of the year, the Chinese government announced that it would be
addressing the threat to surface water from chemical plants in the 11th Five-Year Plan. On
January 8, China published its first National Emergency Response Plan.
What can we learn from the Songhua spill? That we don't know much about how China
manages this kind of emergency and that improvements in our working relationship may
provide opportunities for EPA to share its considerable knowledge. To this day, we still do not
know how much chemical was released even though the petroleum facility very likely had an
inventory and the size of the chemical containers was known. Government estimates of the
amount of chemical product ranged from 50 to 100 tons. We do not have an accurate
breakdown of the amounts of the various chemicals in the spill. We also do not know how much
water from firefighters was mixed with the chemical.
The Songhua spill occurred on the heels of the first meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Committee
on Environmental Cooperation while EPA and SEPA experts were in the process of drafting a
strategy for joint work on hazardous waste management. As a result, they were able to include
cooperation to build China's capacity to respond to chemical emergencies as part of this plan of
According to SEPA Vice Minister Pan Yue, water pollution is the most important issue, a
"bottleneck constraining economic growth." About two-thirds of China's water use is for
irrigation. China is aggressively building wastewater treatment plants and some cities already
recycle as much as 20% of wastewater, nevertheless it is estimated that China would have to

spend $50 billion and build 10,000 waste treatment plants in order to reach only a 50%
treatment rate. China is making this investment primarily in its medium and large cities.
Falling water tables and receding surface-water supplies are acute in three north-central river
basins critical to agricultural production -- those of the Hai, Huai and the heavily silted Huang
(Yellow) rivers. Since 1985, the Yellow River has dried up and failed to reach the Yellow Sea
for part of almost every year.
Working with China as it faces the challenge of water scarcity may help the U.S. in managing
its own shortages. Both China and the U.S. have problematic upstream and downstream
relationships due to competition among water users that is at times intractable.
China has expressed a strong interest in adapting some of the water policy tools used in the
United States, such as total maximum daily load (TMDL) and economic instruments that would
address these use and discharge equity issues. China's authorities also are looking at ways to use
wetlands to augment wastewater treatment and best management practices (BMPs) to reduce
agricultural contamination of surface waters, especially from animal waste.
For the past two years, EPA has been working with the Tianjin Environmental Protection
Bureau to monitor, assess, and protect its main source of drinking water for 4 million urban
residents, the Yuqiao Reservoir. We found that policies were in place to protect the reservoir
but were being ignored by local farmers and businesses. Each year tons of animal waste were
being spread on fields in the low lying areas and at least once each year water was diverted into
the reservoir to store drinking water for Tianjin and to relieve pressure from upstream reservoirs
in other provinces during the rainy season. The net effect of the diversion was to flood the
reservoir and stir up the nutrients into the water supply. This problem was exacerbated by the
discharge of nutrient rich water from fishponds that continue to operate around the reservoir in
spite of a decision to close them. In the midst of this critical area where water enters the
reservoir, a massive dredging operation is removing mountains of sand from the lake and river
bottom for use by the construction industry.
The Yuqiao Reservoir would be an excellent candidate for the use of wetlands to filter the
nutrient loads from surface water runoff were it not for the annual diversions that raise water
levels by 3-5 meters, enough to destroy any efforts to cultivate grasses. The local residents have
been told that the water in the reservoir is off limits as a source of drinking water and irrigation
as well as for fishing and recreation. The farmers are prohibited from farming in the flood plain
and from allowing their animals to graze there. But the only one of these restrictions that is
enforced is the ban on the use of the reservoir for drinking water and irrigation. The unintended
consequence of this policy has been to draw down on precious groundwater at alarming rates.
The 11th Five-Year Plan recognizes that more has to be done to assist the rural economies. It
calls for policies that "extract" less and put more back, such as more investment in rural
infrastructure and more protections against the unfair taking of farmers' land for development.
On Sunday, the first day of the Chinese New Year, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao
visited poor farmers in the countryside continuing a New Year tradition for China's leaders of
doing something to stress the government's priorities for the coming year. 2006 will be the year
of the poor rural farmer.
EPA is also working in rural China on priority health concerns. We are working to help
villagers in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces to reduce their exposure to harmful smoke and
chemicals released from using solid fuels for home heating and cooking. About 80% of Chinese
households and nearly all rural homes depend on solid fuels such as coal, wood, and crop
residues for cooking and heating. Emissions from these fuels account for a large percentage of
the 450,000 premature deaths each year in China from indoor air pollution. The highest rates of
lung cancer in the world are found in Yunnan province.
SEPA's leaders have recognized the challenges of inadequate and uneven enforcement and are
trying to make improvements through the creation of six regional offices. In December, EPA

hosted a study tour for three of the new regional office directors and EPA and SEPA plan to
develop a "sister region" relationship between at least three EPA regional offices and their
Chinese counterparts. We expect to involve U.S. states' environmental departments in providing
advice to China on how to develop better cooperation between national and provincial
authorities on issues from monitoring and information management to enforcement and
emergency response. While we do not have funding for this effort, we expect to use distance
learning and study tours by Chinese officials to develop these regional partnerships.
EPA also is working with China through various networks of enforcers including the
International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE,) INTERPOL,
and the Asia Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network that was formed recently by
the U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership and the Asian Development Bank.
I should not close without mentioning the development pressures in Southwest China and the
threats this development poses for one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.
China's leadership is considering the construction of numerous dams to generate electricity,
increase water supply, control floods, and facilitate barge traffic along the Mekong River basin.
This could affect water flows to Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and have an
impact on agricultural and urban water demands.
One policy tool that may be proving useful is something that the U.S. and China have been
working on for several years -- environmental impact assessment (EIA.) China has made
progress in the use and integrity of its EIA process, especially from a technical perspective, as
marked by last year's temporary suspension of dam projects in the Southwest. However, China
still has a long way to go in achieving sufficient public involvement in the process and in
allowing and responding to public comments and objections.
EPA expects that its ongoing cooperation on watershed management, regional air quality,
reducing port emissions, and reducing mercury in health care products will provide
opportunities to demonstrate how the public and other stakeholders can be involved in
achieving environmental results and in assisting Chinese leaders to face their daunting
environmental challenges. It is in the interest of the United States to help address these
problems in China before they become our problems here at home.
In closing let me leave you with one last factoid. In the next five years China will triple its
spending on S&T research. China's future leaders are thinking beyond coal and oil to hybrids
and hydrogen and nanotech. China's dreamers are not worried about getting a sound night's
sleep because they are too busy working to get ahead.
Thank you.
EPA Cooperation with China
Many of EPA's activities in China are conducted under the framework of a Memorandum of
Understanding with China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) that was
signed in December 2003. The MOU and its three annexes on Air Pollution, Water Pollution,
and Pollution from POPs and Other Toxic Substances established a mechanism for the U.S. and
China to determine strategic environmental objectives and to coordinate environmental
activities. The MOU replaced the 1980 Environment Protocol under the U.S.-China Agreement
on Cooperation in Science and Technology that was signed in 1979 and extended most recently
in 2001.
The MOU also established a Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation (JCEC) that had
its first meeting in November 2005. The objective of the JCEC is to strengthen ongoing
collaboration between the EPA and SEPA and to explore new areas for cooperation. The JCEC
also aims to facilitate contacts between environmental and scientific groups from the U.S. and
China, including other government agencies, research institutions, business and industry, and

EPA also cooperates with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), along with the U.S.
Department of Energy, on energy sector projects, with the National Development and Reform
Commission on climate change and energy efficiency, and with the Ministry of Agriculture on
pesticides. The Ministry of Water Resources has asked EPA to enter into a MOU on water
management issues, especially wetlands and water quality. Last summer, EPA and the Asian
Development Bank signed a Letter of Intent, which both sides expect will enhance our mutual
work in China.

                                    Other Environment News

BBC: US firms must go green, Gore says
Corporate America must face up to green and ethical challenges if they are to avoid disaster,
former US Vice President Al Gore has told the BBC.
Firms are so focused on delivering quarterly financial figures, he said, they lose sight of long-
term trends.
"The quarterly reports might look good for a little while and then they fall off a cliff," he told
BBC Radio 4 In Business presenter Peter Day.
The US car industry's problems is an example of consumer power, he said.
"Ford and General Motors are now in a state of crisis in the United States because they have
missed the long term shift in consumer preferences and societal preferences toward more
efficient automobiles with much less pollution," Mr Gore said.

Managing money
As such, it is not just US companies that need to change their ways.
Five years ago, a Supreme Court decision put George W Bush in the White House, leaving Mr
Gore out in the cold.
He immediately changed direction.
"I went into investment management and very quickly began to notice some rather odd
developments that seemed to me out of touch with reality," Mr Gore said.
"So many very significant factors that affect shareholders, that affect the health of the company
were being sort of systematically ignored.
"And not only the environment, but also corporate ethics and stakeholder analysis; how're the
communities where a company is located being dealt with?"

Bubble of unreality
Mr Gore said he firmly believed the impact a company has on the environment and on society
affects both its underlying health and the price of its shares, and he believed ever more US
business leaders are waking up to this new reality.
So he is putting his money where his mouth is.
In 2004, he and the former Goldman Sachs investment banker David Blood founded the
international investment firm Generation Investment Management, which actively seeks to
invest in companies that take a sustainable view of their business.
"David and I met privately with the chief executive of one of the largest companies in
America," Mr Gore said.

"He has been a supporter of President Bush and still is, but he said to David and me in
confidence: 'Let's face it, 15 minutes after President Bush leaves office the United States will
have a new policy on climate change and carbon emissions'.
"I think the significance of that is that many business leaders are now looking at their 'hold
cards' as we say in America, and realising America is in a kind of bubble of unreality.
"As soon as the current administration leaves, and perhaps before it leaves incidentally, there
will be a change and those companies that get out in front of this curve are going to be better
positioned," he predicted.
Mr Gore is also doing his best to spread the word.
He recently criss-crossed America to warn about global warming, at about 1,000 gatherings - a
journey documented in the independent film "An Inconvenient Truth", which premiered at the
Sundance film festival in Utah last week.

Le Figaro:Encore des interrogations sur le stockage géologique
[02 février 2006]
La commission de débat public sur les déchets nucléaires a rendu public son rapport hier (1).
Trois mille personnes ont participé aux débats répartis sur treize réunions à travers la France.
Pour faire passer les messages collectés, son président Georges Mercadal multiplie désormais
les auditions (gouvernement, office parlementaire, presse). Voici les principales conclusions.

«Hâtons-nous lentement !» Le choix entre le stockage géologique profond, l'entreposage ou la
transmutation ne doit pas être précipité. Un avis partagé par beaucoup, sauf la CGT et des
sociétés savantes pronucléaires qui voudraient enfouir dès maintenant. Les autres font valoir
qu'il reste des interrogations sur la faisabilité du stockage géologique. L'entreposage en sub-
surface est remis en selle. Le choix d'un site expérimental est même souhaité.

Si le stockage géologique était choisi, il faut aller plus loin qu'un accompagnement économique
mais mettre en place un projet de développement local. L'inventaire des déchets nucléaires ne
doit pas être cantonné aux déchets hautement radioactifs à vie longue mais aussi, par exemple,
aux déchets de mines d'uranium.

Question transparence, les différentes institutions en charge du dossier nucléaire doivent donner
des informations et être indépendantes entre elles. La population a un rôle à jouer dans
l'amélioration de la surveillance du nucléaire. Les expertises plurielles sont plébiscitées.

El Mundo: Las ventas de vehículos híbridos en EEUU se ha duplicado

Ford y General Motors han entrado tarde en este mercado
MADRID.-Las ventas de vehículos híbridos en Estados Unidos se han duplicado en el
acumulado de 2005 respecto al año anterior, gracias a la subida de los precios de combustible,
informó el Consejo Mundial para el Desarrollo Sostenible. Este organismo recordó en su boletín
que el fabricante japonés Toyota fue el pionero en el desarrollo de este tipo de motores en el
modelo Prius, que en estos momentos es líder de ventas en Estados Unidos.

Los automóviles con motores eléctricos y de combustible llevan en funcionamiento desde hace
mucho tiempo, pero han sido los altos precios del carburante los que han propiciado la
explosión en las ventas de estos vehículos. En este contexto, Toyota ha vendido durante lo que
llevamos de año cerca de 99.000 unidades del Prius, 47.000 unidades más que en 2004.
Así, como muestran los datos de la investigación realizada por la compañía Global Insight, las
ventas totales de híbridos en Estados Unidos ascienden a 200.000 unidades en 2005, y se
espera que alcancen las 500.000 unidades antes del año 2010. Además del Toyota Prius, la
compañía ha lanzado otros modelos, como el todoterreno Highlander, «diseñado para los
La también japonesa Honda, presente junto a Toyota en el mercado estadounidense con su Civic
híbrido, ha añadido otros dos modelos a su gama de vehículos de propulsión mixta

Llegada tardía
Por su parte, los gigantes Ford y General Motors (GM) han entrado tarde en este mercado.
Como demuestra que el primer vehículo híbrido de fabricación estadounidense fuera el Ford
Escape Hybrid que salió al mercado a mediados del año 2004.
Según estas previsiones, las ventas de híbridos y de automóviles con motores diésel totales en
Estados Unidos alcanzarán el 11% del total de matriculaciones antes de 2012, frente al 4,8%
que representan este año.
Por otro lado, el presidente de Ford, Bill Ford, atribuyó el aumento de las ventas de los híbridos
de Toyota y Honda a la intervención del Gobierno japonés en el mercado. Señaló que desde
hace más de 10 años el Ejecutivo nipón «está ofreciendo subvenciones a los productores locales
para fabricar las baterías de los híbridos, que es uno de los componentes más caros de la
fabricación de estos vehículos».
Ford animó al Gobierno de George W. Bush a fomentar, mediante subvenciones, ventajas
fiscales y reducciones de impuestos la fabricación de vehículos ecológicos en Estados Unidos.
Por su parte, la portavoz de Global Insight, Rebecca Lindland subrayó que los híbridos son
unos 3.500 dólares (2.900 euros) más caros que un vehículo similar de gasolina. Agregó que
el ahorro de los híbridos se produce principalmente al circular en ciudad, no en carretera, donde
no presenta tantas ventajas respecto a los motores tradicionales.

Scientific American:Study Suggests Clay Paved the Way for Evolution of Complex

Roughly 550 million years ago the first complex animals, such as trilobites, appear in the fossil
record. Many scientists have concluded that an increase in the amount of atmospheric oxygen
was critical to the relatively sudden evolution of these animals. They knew that photosynthetic
organisms had been producing oxygen for hundreds of millions of years. But what could have
led to the apparently rapid accumulation of the stuff in the atmosphere was a mystery. Now a
team of researchers argues that clay may have played a key role.
Geologist Martin Kennedy and his colleagues from the University of California in Riverside
realized that clay minerals in marine sediments are responsible for trapping the organic carbon

that would otherwise bond with highly reactive oxygen. Today such clay minerals form in soil
when organisms such as microbes or fungi interact with tiny bits of weathered rock. The
resultant clay then washes down to the sea and settles on the bottom, where the clay's chemical
properties actively attract organic carbon and then absorb it, much like kitty litter. The scientists
reasoned that this so-called clay mineral factory might have produced the sharp rise in oxygen
availability that preceded the flowering of complex life forms.
"We predicted we would only find a significant percentage of clay minerals in sediments toward
the end of the Precambrian, when complex life arose, while earlier sediments would have less
clay content," Kennedy explains. "Because clay minerals make up the bulk of sediment
deposited today, we are saying that it should be largely absent in ancient rocks."
The scientists turned to one of the world's oldest outcroppings of ancient sedimentary rock,
located in Australia. The oldest layers from around 850 million years ago are largely composed
of silt, or rock bits that have undergone little chemical reaction. Around 600 million years ago,
however, clay makes its appearance in this rock record. Outcroppings in China and Norway
confirmed the rough chronology.
Other data sources roughly match as well. For example, rock records of an isotope of strontium-
-87Sr--seem to show an increase in so-called chemical weathering, or weathering that is not
simply the result of rain or other natural but not life-related processes. "Exactly when the
terrestrial surface gets covered by some kind of organism, probably single cell, is not really well
understood," Kennedy notes. "That's what our study is addressing."
In other words, microbes and possibly even fungi colonized the surface of the earth at this point
in time, leading to the beginnings of a soil system that is still functioning today. One of the
byproducts of that soil system was clay that eroded down to the sea, trapped organic carbon and
thus freed oxygen to percolate into the atmosphere. "The resulting six-fold increase in oxygen
would have significantly influenced biogeochemical cycling of [oxygen] sensitive elements
such as [iron] and [sulfur] and ultimately increased the oxygen concentration of the
atmosphere," the team writes in a paper published online today by the journal Science. "The
evolutionary innovation and expansion of land biota could permanently increase [chemical]
weathering intensity and [clay] formation, establishing a new level of organic carbon burial and
oxygen accumulation."


                            ROAP Media Update 3 February2006

                                   UN or UNEP in the news

Idea sweeter than rocky road
Brisbane Courier Mail, Australia, Michael Madigan, 03feb06 -SUGAR-coated roads are set to
challenge traditional bitumen, and they'll come in a candy-coloured range to brighten the
world's highways.
Set to be trialled in Townsville this year, the sugar roads could also put cane growers on the
yellow brick road to riches.
The technology is already available after Australian scientists successfully converted sugar into
The sugar roads are superior to normal bitumen, according to developer Ecopave.
…Ecopave representative Guy Lane will leave Townsville for Dubai today to promote the roads
at an Environmentally Sound Technology Showcase backed by the United Nations Environment
The showcase in the United Arab Emirates will be attended by 130 environment ministers from
around the world. Mr Lane, who also heads up his own group, SEA O2 Sustainable
Development, said sugar roads were one of the most exciting environmentally friendly
developments on offer.,5936,18019236%255E3102,00.

Solar solution needs foreign cash
Australian – Australia - Ian Gerard, February 02, 2006 - CSIRO scientists who have developed
the solar technology they believe could replace coal-fired power stations in 20 years have been
forced to look overseas for funding.
The solar turbine technology developed by the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technology
provides the missing link to overcome the inconsistent supply of solar and wind energy.
The joint venture between the CSIRO and solar dish manufacturer CTI, which has developed a
way to store and produce power on a continual basis, will be displayed this weekend at a UN
Environment Program showcase in Dubai in the hope that it can attract $US15million
($19.8million) in venture capital.,5744,18012898%255E30417,00.h

Major Environment Meet In Dubai
Xtvworld (press release), India - Posted on Tuesday, January 31 - Dubai first Arab city to hold
such a major forum in the region
Dubai, UAE, January 31, 2006 (XTVWorld.Com) -- The local organising committee of the
United Nations Environment Programme‘s (UNEP) 9th Special Session of the Governing
Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum 2006 (4th to 9th February) and associated
meetings met at the Police Academy yesterday (30th January) in Dubai to go over the
arrangements for the forthcoming meetings.

`Ship of World Youth' is here
Hindu, India, 01/02/06 - CHENNAI: It certainly looked a very mixed crowd. More than 250
young men and women from different counties were moving freely interacting with the city
youths at a function held here on Monday.
These youth had walked down the gangplank of "Nippon Maru"— a ship that docked at the
Chennai port on Monday with nearly 120 Japanese and around 150 youths from 12 other
countries. They are part of a World Youth Programme.
….The delegates had a busy schedule chalked out by the RGNIYD located in the city out skirts
at Sriperumbudur. They interacted with experts and Indian students from leading colleges in
Chennai on various topics like education volunteerism, United Nations, Environment, Youth
Development and economy. The foreign delegates also got a glimpse of the Indian rural life by
visiting 10 villages in and around Sriperumbudur. This exposed them on various rural
developmental initiatives undertaken by the Government and the role of panchayats. In the
evening the Japanese Consulate hosted a dinner to the delegates in their ship, which was
attended by the elite of the city.

Belgium : UN welcomes new initiatives between Trade Union & UNEP – India - January 30, 2006 - The International Confederation of Free Trade
Unions (ICFTU) informed that at a meeting with Kofi Annan at the World Economic Forum in
Davos on 25 January, ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder said the global trade union
movement had reached ‗good understandings‘ with the United Nations Secretary General on a
series of key international issues.

UK helps India tackle climate change
Indo-Asian News Service, Hindustan Times, India, Chennai, January 30, 2006 - A study
conducted jointly by Indian and British scientists will help the country's policymakers address
climate change issues and carbon emissions in coastal ecosystems like Tamil Nadu.
Britain's National Environmental Research Council provided 275,000 pounds for the study on
"climate change and coastal zones" by the Institute for Ocean Management of Anna University
in Chennai and the School of Marine Sciences and Technology at the University of Newcastle
upon Tyne.
…. India has a 7,500-km coastline and is one of 27 countries identified by the United Nations
Environment Programme where the rising sea levels will submerge densely populated low-lying
There will be a three-degree Celsius change in the global mean temperature by 2100 due to a
doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The 1999 cyclone and the 2004 tsunami are
examples of climatic impacts on nations, say experts.,00040003.htm

also in:

Britain helps India address climate change issues
Webindia123, India - Chennai | January 30, 2006 -

                           UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
                                   DAILY NEWS
2 February 2006
Draft resolution on Iran introduced at UN International Atomic Energy Agency
2 February - A draft resolution concerning Iran was introduced today at a special meeting of
the Board of
Governors of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
A UN spokesman in New York said discussions on the text will continue tomorrow.
The Board meeting was requested last month by France, Germany and the United Kingdom –
the so-called ―EU-3‖ – after
Tehran broke IAEA seals on equipment used to produce enriched uranium.
Last September, the Board of Governors found that Iran‘s breaches of the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty (NPT) were
within the competence of the Security Council, which can impose sanctions, but did not refer
the matter to the 15-member
In New York today, the current President of the Council, Ambassador John Bolton of the
United States, said he would not
comment on the IAEA‘s meeting until it was concluded.
―As long as this is before the IAEA, that‘s what the discussions should focus on, and what
happens when it comes here will be discussed after the IAEA vote,‖ he said.
Offering his view as the representative of the US, Mr. Bolton noted that Washington has for
three years wanted to place Iran‘s clandestine nuclear weapons programme on the agenda of the

Security Council discusses planning for UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur, Sudan
2 February - The Security Council today held closed-door talks on planning for a United
peacekeeping operation in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan, its president for the month of
February told
Speaking to the press after the consultations, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States,
which currently
holds the Council‘s rotating presidency, said: ―We had a preliminary discussion on the draft
statement on planning for Sudan Darfur region peacekeeping activities.‖
He added that experts would continue talks this afternoon on the text.
The UN currently has a peacekeeping operation (UNMIS) overseeing an accord between the
Government of Sudan and the
southern Sudan People‘s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). That agreement ended their
21-year civil war, but did not
address the fighting in the west, in the Darfur region, which is roughly the size of France.
In addition, the Security Council has mandated UNMIS to provide some support to the African
Union‘s peacekeeping
mission in Darfur, known as AMIS, but that operation is set to expire next month.
Last week, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said AMIS will inevitably have to be transformed
into a UN peacekeping
operation in Darfur.

―A firm decision by the Security Council is needed, and soon, for an effective transition to take
place,‖ he wrote in an
opinion article in The Washington Post.
The Secretary-General also warned that the transition must be more than a cosmetic ―re-hat‖ of
African Union (AU) forces.
―Any new mission will need a strong and clear mandate, allowing it to protect those under
threat, by force if necessary, as
well as the means to do so,‖ he stressed.
Mr. Annan further specified that the UN force must be ―larger, more mobile and much better
equipped than the current
African Union mission‖ and called on countries that have the required military assets to be
ready to deploy them.
On other issues, Mr. Bolton said Council members had considered suggestions for improving
their work, including through
―more regular, perhaps even daily, briefings by the Secretariat on peacekeeping operations and
other matters.‖
Regular briefings and subsequent informal discussions on the latest developments would be
―good intellectual discipline‖ for the Council and the Secretariat, he added.

UN’s Iraq envoy meets with Mufti at Baghdad mosque
2 February - As part of his ongoing efforts to reach out to all of Iraq‘s communities, United
Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s Special Representative in Baghdad today discussed recent
developments in
the country with the Mufti of the Gilani Mosque.
In his meeting with UN envoy Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Sheikh Jamal Abdul Karim Al-Daban
raised the issue
of detainees, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
―Mr. Qazi and Sheikh Al-Daban also explored the means through which the United Nations can
be more effective in
facilitating educational and cultural projects in t Baghdad,‖ UNAMI said.

UN probing discovery of corpse near Israel-Lebanon withdrawal line
2 February - Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s Personal Representative to Lebanon today called
for calm
along the country‘s withdrawal line with Israel after the United Nations peacekeeping force in
the area
discovered a corpse there.
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) found the dead body of a Lebanese national in the
area along the so-called Blue Line, after being requested yesterday by the Lebanese authorities
to search for a missing person.
After meeting this morning with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, the senior UN envoy to
the country, Geir Pedersen, called for calm and restraint along the Blue Line.
UNIFIL is currently conducting an investigation along the Blue Line, and is in contact with all
parties to prevent any further escalation or violation of the Line.
The body has been turned over to the Lebanese gendarmerie.

UN agencies call for release of aid workers abducted in Sri Lanka
2 February - Deploring the reported abduction of 10 humanitarian aid workers on the troubled

of Sri Lanka, United Nations officials in the country today called for their immediate release,
they had ―the right to respect and protection from harm.‖
A press statement from the UN Resident coordinator‘s office in Sri Lanka said the aid workers
employed by the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation, a government-registered body.
―These are humanitarian aid workers who devote their professional lives to serving those in
need,‖ the
statement added.
On Tuesday, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said violence between the government and the
separatist Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had eased since both sides agreed last week to hold talks in the middle
of this month.
However UNHCR field offices in Sri Lanka reported that ―tensions remain high in many areas;
that perceived harassment of
civilians by security forces continues; and that some population movement persists,‖ agency
spokesman Ron Redmond told
This month‘s planned talks will be the first direct discussions between the two sides since April,
2003. While welcoming the
announcement, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged both sides to strictly uphold the
―To advance the peace process, it will be important to put an end to the escalating violence in
the north and east,‖ he said
through a spokesman. ―The people of Sri Lanka deserve a new hope that peace could be in
A ceasefire agreement of February 2002 is aimed at ending two decades of fighting between the
Government and separatist forces that has claimed some 60,000 lives.

UN refugee agency begins repatriation of Sudanese in Central African Republic
2 February - Refugees from Sudan have begun returning home from the Central African
(CAR) thanks to a new agreement signed by the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) and the Governments of the two countries, the agency announced today.
The accord, endorsed yesterday in Bangui, paved the way for the voluntary repatriation of some
16,000 Sudanese refugees currently residing in the land-locked nation.
The new agreement is one in a series signed between UNHCR and African countries hosting
refugees. These pacts follow on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January, 2005,
which ended 21 years of
civil war in Sudan.
The first flight of refugees was scheduled to take off this morning, bringing an initial group of
Sudanese. The first phase of
the operation will be conducted by air, and is expected to bring back 5,000 refugees by April,
with the organized return of
the remaining refugees expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Most Sudanese arrived in the country around 1990, and settled in the area of Mboki, where an
estimated 12,000 live today

despite severe humanitarian problems. Throughout this time, UNHCR has cared for the
refugees, including by providing
primary and secondary education, and a functioning hospital.
―The CAR is today faced by a humanitarian crisis, bound to turn into a humanitarian disaster
unless significant international
funding is received,‖ said Maurizio Giuliano, a UN spokesman in the impoverished country.
Despite its own severe difficulties, war-torn CAR currently gives refuge to over 28,000 refugees
from a dozen nationalities.
Jean-Marie Fakhouri, UNHCR Director of Special Operations for the Sudan and Chad, thanked
the CAR Government and people ―for having generously welcomed Sudanese refugees over
more than 15 years.‖
―The hospitality extended to these people by Central Africans despite all their difficulties, has
been truly touching. This teaches us that, even when resources are scarce, human beings are
capable of great solidarity and generosity.‖

UN agency helps tens of thousands of children with education kits in Gaza Strip
2 February - More than 70,000 children in the Gaza Strip are set to benefit from key
educational and
sports supplies given provided by the United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF), as the agency
works to
improve education standards among Palestinian students.
UNICEF said on Wednesday that a recent math and science achievement test in the occupied
Palestinian territory had shown
a decline in learning. The territory was ―among the lowest ranking countries‖ in the survey.
―The quality of the educational services is hampered by restricted access and lack of essential
supplies,‖ the agency, noting
this was particularly true in the worst affected areas such as Al Mawasi and Juhr Edeek where
the UNICEF kits would now go.
The UN agency said its contribution was aimed at supporting the Palestinian Ministry of
Education and Higher Education‘s
goals of achieving ―universal primary education, creating school environments that encourage
children, including girls, to
enrol and complete school, and improving the quality of education‖ especially for the most
marginalized children.
UNICEF, which has been working to improve the situation of children and women in the
occupied Palestinian territory since
the early 1980s, said its donation was made possible thanks to financial support from the
Governments of Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Expected crops in Southern Africa welcome but not sufficient to stem crisis – UN envoy
2 February - Southern Africa may be on the cusp of better harvests but the causes of the
four-year crisis still need to be addressed, a United Nations envoy monitoring relief needs said
in Johannesburg.
―I wish the problems of this region could be easily solved, but the reality is that many millions
people will face extreme difficulties even if there are better harvests this year,‖ said James

who Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s humanitarian envoy in the region and heads the UN‘s
Food Programme (WFP).
―A better harvest will not reduce HIV/AIDS rates, or provide education or supply clean water to
an orphaned child, or
ensure kids get vaccinated against simple childhood diseases,‖ he said, urging attention to the
deeper issues facing the
Southern Africa is in the acute phase of a long-term emergency due to a combination of
HIV/AIDS, food insecurity and the
governments‘ weakened capacity for delivering basic social services, according to WFP, which
calls this trend the ―Triple
Countries in southern Africa have nine of the 10 highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the
world, forcing many families to
choose medicines over seeds and fertilizers.
The region also has endured a four-year drought, broken last month by heavy rains in Malawi,
Mozambique, Zambia and
Zimbabwe that have brought on flooding, displacing thousands of people, exacerbating cholera
and malaria outbreaks, and
washing away newly planted crops.
While recent good rainfalls could mean better agricultural yields in some countries, Mr. Morris
cautioned that this could
hinge on the amount of seeds and fertilizer distributed during the planting season and on future
weather patterns.
Mr. Morris is currently on a five-day trip ending on Saturday, he is scheduled to talk to the
authorities and nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) and visit projects that involve humanitarian aid. It is his sixth trip to the
region since he
became Special Envoy in July 2002.
―Every time I come to southern Africa I am heartened by the progress being made by
governments, the UN, NGOs and other
partners to improve the livelihoods of the poorest people in the region. At the same time I am
staggered at the length of road
we still need to travel to ensure every man, woman and child has access to basic needs and
services,‖ he said.
WFP assists up to 9.2 million people in six southern African countries through the annual
hunger season until April. The
agency, asking for cash donations, said it has a funding shortfall of $63 million for operations
lasting till June.

UN official calls for legislation to equalize women’s access to housing
2 February - The head of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)
is urging governments to enact new legislation to guarantee that women have equal access to
Meeting the gender-related targets of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) will depend to a large extent on changing a multitude of laws and restrictive legislation
that are now major obstacles to women‘s empowerment, UN-HABITAT Executive Director
Anna Tibaijuka said earlier this week in Nairobi, Kenya.

―In order to remove the barriers to gender equality in the human settlements sector, we must
deal with housing laws and bylaws,
urban planning regulations, laws dealing with property rights and inheritance rights, access to
credit, and the list goes
on,‖ she said.
Mrs. Tibaijuka was speaking during the joint two-day meeting of the Inter-Agency Network on
Women and Gender
Equality and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development‘s (OECD)
Development Assistance Committee
(DAC), which brought together some 50 gender experts from around the world.
―Poverty within urban areas means not only very low incomes and associated hunger, but also
overcrowded housing
conditions and exposure to a number of hazards, such as floods, landslides, earthquakes and
fires. The urban poor are
continually at risk by virtue of both their precarious incomes and of the natural and human-
made hazards to which they are
exposed daily,‖ she said.
The Network‘s Chair, Rachel Mayanja, who is also UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan‘s
Special Adviser on Gender Issues
and the Advancement of Women, said both donor and partner countries needed to do more to
halt and reverse the increasing
poverty among women.
―While policies purporting to address gender gaps have been put in place in many countries, the
real political will of
implementing those, including by providing adequate funding, is lacking,‖ she said.
Since 2000 the UN Commission on Human Rights has repeatedly adopted resolutions on the
issue of women's equal access
to and control over land as well as their equal rights to own property.

UN provides $30,000 to aid flood victims in Bolivia
2 February - To help the 175,000 Bolivians hit by severe flooding in this Andean Mountain
United Nations relief agencies have provided a $30,000 cash grant to the Bolivian Government
delivering food and nutritional supplements directly to families and children.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced
that it extended the grant as the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) sent specialized nutritional
supplements for 5,000 kids under six years of age.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has helped 745 families in Santa Cruz and La
Paz as it works with
government agencies and aid organizations to determine the population‘s need for food.
As Bolivia copes with its rainy season, flooding stemming from torrential rains has affected
about 34,000 families and killed
over a dozen people. More than 500 dwellings were damaged or destroyed. Food, water,
medicines, mosquito nets, hygiene
kits and other supplies are urgently needed.
In a separate development, the Guyanese Government this weekend appealed to the
international donor community for aid
after flooding damaged the country, OCHA reported today.

Relief officials estimate that nearly 3,500 families were affected by the flooding of low-lying
coastal and river communities
since heavy rains began in December. Most of the households, which depend on agriculture,
lost their livelihood as crops
and livestock were destroyed by the floods. Others have no regular water supply.
While many families remain in their homes, about 400 households were relocated to five
shelters managed by the national
Civil Defense Commission, which has been coordinating relief efforts with UN agencies,
including UNICEF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) as well as NGOs.
About 90 per cent of Guyana‘s 750,000 people live on only 10 per cent of the national territory
that lies by the coast and along the east and west banks of the Demerara River.

On Danish cartoon controversy, Annan says free press must fully respect all religions
2 February - Reacting with concern to the controversy surrounding cartoons first published in a
newspaper, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today emphasized that a free press
must respect all
A spokesman for Mr. Annan issued a statement in New York emphasizing ―the importance of
misunderstandings and animosities between people of different beliefs and cultural traditions
through peaceful
dialogue and mutual respect.‖
The Secretary-General ―believes that the freedom of the press should always be exercised in a
way that fully respects the
religious beliefs and tenets of all religions,‖ his spokesman said.

Liberia still faces human rights problems but progress is expected – UN official
2 February - Impoverished Liberia is still facing major human rights problems as it struggles to
with the aftermath of 14 years of conflict but notable progress has been made, a United Nations
official in Monrovia said today, voicing confidence that the country‘s new government has the
political will to achieve further advancement.
A recent report issued by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), said the country ―continues to
serious challenges to upholding, protecting and respecting the human rights of its citizens.‖ It
points to
the priority need for the Government to get enough competent judges and magistrates in place
throughout the country.
―The major difficulty in human rights work here in Liberia results from what the High
Commissioner for Human Rights
Louise Arbour described during her visit as the ‗dysfunctional judiciary,‘ the problem is that the
courts are not operating
properly,‖ Dorota Gierycz, director of UNMIL‘s human rights and protection section, told the
UN News Service.
―I know that many international institutions stand ready to assist but I think that it requires very
basic reform of the judiciary
in all its aspects,‖ Ms. Gierycz said by telephone from Liberia, adding she was confident the
new Government has the will to
improve the situation.

―We believe that with the new democratically elected president and parliament and very strong
commitment by the president
to the rule of law and fighting corruption, I think that this issue – which is so critical to the rule
of law – will be at the centre
of government efforts,‖ she said, noting that the country has already made progress.
―After one year of being here, I can see how despite all these negative indicators there is a lot of
potential, there is a lot of
change,‖ Ms. Gierycz said, citing as one example the outcome of the elections that recently
brought President Ellen
Johnson-Sirleaf to office last month, when she became the first woman elected to lead an
African nation.
The establishment of a democratically elected Government in the country also culminated a
peace process envisaged in the
Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 18 August 2003.
Another success was the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which
helped in particular to bring
people together after the devastating violence suffered in the country, said Ms. Gierycz.
UNMIL‘s human rights director also highlighted the increasing role of women in Liberian
society as a further example of
progress in the human rights field and a positive indicator for the future.
―The mobilization of women and their conscious participation in the second phase of the
election, and the state of a society that makes this possible, I think this illustrates positive
developments in the area of human rights,‖ Ms. Gierycz concluded.

UN honours late Secretary-General Hammarskjold at dialogue on civil service
2 February - As it strives to build a cadre of international civil servants able to meet the
challenges of
today‘s world, the United Nations to provide its secretary-general with the autonomy to run the
efficiently, Kofi Annan said today in a message marking the centenary of late UN leader Dag
Hammarskjold‘s birth.
―We are asking Member States to empower the Secretary-General to manage the Organization
and then collectively hold him or her accountable for the results,‖ said Mr. Annan in a statement
delivered at
UN Headquarters at a lecture which attracted several hundred participants.
Mr. Hammarskjold, who led the UN from 1953 until his death in an air crash in 1961, was a
visionary who understood that
development, security and human rights depend upon each other in an interconnected world,
Mr. Annan noted in the
message, which was delivered by the Under-Secretary-General for Public Information, Shashi
―To act on that understanding, we need a strong United Nations and true solidarity among
governments and peoples working
together to fulfil those goals,‖ he said.
The Secretary-General‘s remarks opened the fifth and final event of a year-long celebration of
the birth one century ago of
Mr. Hammarskjold. It also marked the 60th anniversary when the UN‘s first Secretary-General,
Trygve Lie of Norway,
assumed his post.

Mr. Tharoor led a dialogue between General Assembly President Jan Eliasson and Sir Brian
Urquhart, a former Under-
Secretary-General, on the shifting role of international civil servants and the UN since its
creation in 1945.
Placing this in the context of recent scandals, Mr. Tharoor asked, ―who could doubt that the
allegations of malfeasance and
mismanagement that have been levied at the Secretariat recently have – largely unfairly – cast a
pall on our collective
integrity and led some to question our worth?‖
Sir Brian Urquhart drew scattered applause from the audience as he asserted that recent attacks
on the UN, many stemming
from the oil-for-food scandal, were part of a ―very serious and organized ideological attack on
the United Nations.‖
He said it was a difficult task to get the truth to the public and let them know that the
Organization and its agencies are full
of extremely able people doing their jobs and ―doing them in the right way.‖
Mr. Eliasson, a veteran Swedish diplomat, voiced concern about the impact of the attacks on
UN employees working
diligently around the world. ―We have to take this issue of accountability and efficiency and
transparency seriously,‖ he
said. ―But this has seriously hurt morale and people almost have to apologize.‖
At the same time, he pointed out that the public‘s perception of the United Nations can quickly
change, citing his experience at a recent meeting in Chicago, where the audience initially
questioned him aggressively about the oil-for-food scandal, but after learning about the UN‘s
activities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia and other places, showed great enthusiasm for the

       2 February 2006
       The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today‘s noon briefing by Stéphane
Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Pragati Pascale, Spokesperson for the
General Assembly President.
       Briefing by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
       Good afternoon.
       **Security Council
       As you know, the Security Council just held consultations today on its programme of
work for the month of February.
       Also on the agenda was ―Modernizing Security Council Operations‖. Security Council
President, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States, just spoke to you extensively at the
stakeout microphone.
       ** Lebanon
       From Lebanon, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today found the
dead body of a Lebanese national in the area alongside the Israel-Lebanon Blue Line, after
being requested yesterday by the Lebanese authorities to search for a missing person.
        The United Nations peacekeepers found the body this morning and turned it over to the
Lebanese gendarmerie. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon is currently
conducting an investigation along the Blue Line, and it is in contact with all parties to prevent
any further escalation, or violation of the Line.
        Geir Pedersen, the Secretary-General‘s Personal Representative for Lebanon, today met
with the Prime Minister of that country, Fuad Saniora, and afterwards, in brief comments to
reporters, called for calm and restraint along the Blue Line.
       ** Côte d‘Ivoire
        From Côte d‘Ivoire yesterday, shortly after the briefing, the Secretary-General issued a
statement, expressing his concern about reported threats to United Nations personnel in Côte
d‘Ivoire, and the possibility of major violence being unleashed in that country. He reminded the
civilian authorities, including the President and the military authorities, of their personal
responsibility in preventing violence.
       ** Iran
        From Vienna, as you know, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) met today to discuss Iran. That meeting has now adjourned for today.
Members of the Board have before them a draft resolution on Iran, which they intend to take up
further tomorrow.

       **World Food Programme
       And the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Jim
Morris, today said that Southern Africa may be on the cusp of better harvests, but the
underlying causes of the region‘s four-year crisis still remain, and those causes must be
         Morris, who was on a five-day visit to the region, said that, while recent good rainfalls
could mean better agricultural production, much would depend upon the amount of seeds and
fertilizer that were distributed during the planting season, as well as weather patterns over the
coming months.
       As you may know, WFP assists over 9 million people in six Southern African countries
through the annual hunger season, which lasts until April. The agency said its funding shortage
is $63 million for operations through June. It needs cash donations now to procure food locally.
       **Press Conference
        And at 1:15 p.m. tomorrow, Ambassador Don MacKay, the Chair of the committee on
the drafting of the first-ever convention on disability rights, and Mr. Lex Grandia, the Secretary-
General of the World Federation of the Deafblind, will be in this room to brief you on the
outcome of the three-week seventh session of the Committee, which concludes tomorrow.
       And that is it for me. Any questions?
       **Questions and Answers
       Question: I asked the American Ambassador whether he was meeting with the
Secretary-General, and he said that, on the request of the Secretary-General, that he was
meeting him. Can you tell us what this is about?
        Spokesman: This is the routine and traditional meeting that the Secretary-General holds
with the incoming President of the Security Council. It usually takes place a few days before
the start of the month. But, as the Secretary-General was travelling, it is taking place today.
       Question: And the agenda is?
       Spokesman: The agenda is the overview of the work of the Council. But he is meeting
him in his capacity as President of the Security Council.
       Question: Can you tell us about the meeting with Iran? Who called that?
        Spokesman: This was a meeting that the Secretary-General and the Permanent
Representative of Iran had agreed on a while ago. And this was the first mutually agreeable
date for that meeting.
       Question: Why was that meeting not announced until it was over essentially?
       Spokesman: It was scheduled at the last minute, following a phone call between the
Ambassador and the Secretary-General. But it is something they had agreed upon a while ago,
to meet when he got back.
       Question: And what was discussed at the meeting?
       Spokesman: I have really no readout of the meeting at this point.

       Question: Was the situation in Iran discussed at the meeting?
       Spokesman: I think you could assume that, yes.
       Question: Can we get a readout?
       Spokesman: We will see what we can get for you.
        Question: Yesterday the Secretary-General made a rather strong statement warning the
authorities in Côte d‘Ivoire about possible violence to United Nations staff and United Nations
property. On the United Nations side, have any preventive measures taken place to ward off
this possibility?
       Spokesman: Obviously, we‘re taking whatever precautionary measures we can take
regarding the safety of our staff. That is something, especially in that environment, that is being
looked at constantly.
        Question: Have there been any higher-level contacts with the Secretary-General and
Iranian Government officials?
       Spokesman: No.
       Thank you very much. Pragati.
       Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President
       Good afternoon.
       Informal consultations of the plenary on the Human Rights Council are taking place this
morning, where a new negotiating text is being presented by the Co-Chairs, Ambassador Arias
of Panama and Ambassador Kumalo of South Africa.
        In introducing the text, which was sent to all Member States yesterday afternoon,
Ambassador Arias said they had worked to present as clean a text as possible, and had dedicated
a great deal of effort to balance the various positions.
       Consultations of the plenary are scheduled for Monday next week, to conduct further
negotiations. And we have organized a background briefing this afternoon at 2:30 p.m., here in
Room 226, with a senior official from the President‘s Office, to give you an orientation to the
new text and the consultations in progress.
        Today at 12:15 p.m., President Jan Eliasson is participating in a discussion on the
international civil servant, organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, as part of their series
―Commemorating the Centenary of Dag Hammarskjöld‖.
       And yesterday, the President gave the keynote address at the Wharton Economic
Summit, which was commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Wharton School. Speaking to
an audience of 300 alumni, including many CEOs and business leaders, the President spoke on
the importance of multilateralism at the United Nations, and the role of business in the United
Nations work.
       Also this week, the President sent out a letter to all Member States on the Peacebuilding
Commission, summarizing the process under way for the selection of members of the
Organizational Committee. He explained that the Security Council had held its elections and

the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) would soon do the same. And the final lists of the
top troop-contributors and financial contributors are coming from the Secretariat.
        And following an agreement on those four categories, the General Assembly will need
to hold elections on seven seats, to ensure regional balance, with the goal of having the
Commission operational before the spring. And that letter is available, upstairs and online.
       Any questions?
        Question: When they come to meet us at 2:30 p.m., will they give us the text also, when
they‘re doing the briefings?
         Spokesperson: It‘s an informal text and we can‘t officially circulate it. But I understand
it is circulating.
       Thank you.


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