THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Friday 28, July 2006
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
Efforts to reverse environmental degradation trends in S. China Sea pay off
Dodging bullets too long (The Guardian)
UN issues mangrove warning (Eddie News)
Economically Promising Desert Life Turning Deadly (Realty Times)
Lebanon response OCHA situation report No. 06 (Relief Web)
Nurturing young as messengers of peace... (Gulf Daily News)
Indonesia: Earthquake and Mt. Merapi Volcano OCHA Situation Report No. 20
Other Environment News
Greens fire off SOS after huge Lebanon oil spill from war (Agence France-Presse
Cold, Hard Facts (New York Times)
A hard look at aerosols (Christian Science Monitor)
Gagnants et perdants de la canicule (Le Figaro)
Report Faults EPA on Clean Air Regulation(ENN)
Parts of U.S. West Bar Tree-Cutting on Private Land(ENN)
ENVIRONMENT:Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy (IPS)
Aid Groups Are Criticized Over Tsunami Reconstruction (The New York Times)
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
UN Daily News of 27 July 2006
S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 27 July 2006
Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.unep.org
Xinhua: Efforts to reverse environmental degradation trends in S. China Sea pay off
Source: Xinhua Economic News Date: July 27, 2006
BEIHAI, Guangxi, Jul 27, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --Twenty-four demonstration projects
showcasing ecological protection have been built by seven nations bordering the South China
Sea since 2002, said Dr John Pernetta with UN Environment Program (UNEP).
Pernetta, runs a UNEP program known as "Reversing Environmental Degradation Trends in the
South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand". He was in Beihai, a coastal city in the Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region, attending a meeting on sea grass in the South China Sea. Specialists from
China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines attended the
He spoke highly of Chinese Government's commitment and its efforts toward environmental
protection in South China Sea.
Under the UNEP program, demonstration projects aim to protect coastline mangrove forests,
coral reefs, seagrass, wetlands, fishery resources. It also tries to seek ways to control pollution
and enhance bio-diversity and promote sustainable use of coastal resources.
China has established protection projects in Beihai and Fangchenggang cities in Guangxi, and
Shenzhen and Shantou cities in Guangdong Province. They focus on the conservation of
seagrass, mangrove forests, wetland protection and pollution control, according to Huang
Zhengguang, the Chinese specialist on the South China Sea scheme.
China is trying to find environmentally-friendly ways of exploiting the coastal resources while
meeting the needs of local fishermen, said Huang.
At the Mangrove Forest Demonstration Zone in Fangchenggang City and the Seagrass
Demonstration Zone in Hepu, Beihai City, fishermen have stopped trawling and are using cages
or bait hooks to catch fish. Digging for seashells with a hoe or spade has also been banned.
The Guardian: Dodging bullets too long
Global warming will provide the salvos that sink the already blazing insurance industry.
July 27, 2006 01:13 PM |
The heatwave rolls across Europe and, just as in 2003, morgues are filling up, woods and heaths
are ablaze, pumping yet more carbon into the atmosphere, nuclear plants are being shut down
because their cooling water is no longer cool and all the other sorry impacts are clocking up.
Once again, those of us who warned back in the late 1980s that this kind of event would become
ever more frequent and intense have to choke back the urge to scream, "We told you so."
Take the sober world of insurance, just one of the many sectors of the economy that stand to be
ruined by unmitigated global warming. Earlier this month, Lloyd's of London carried out a
Greenpeace-style, non-violent direct action: seeking to make the point that global warming
threatens its survival, it unveiled an ice sculpture of the globe in the heart of the City.
What an irony. As long ago as 1993, when I actually worked for Greenpeace, I listened to a
director of Lloyd's of London warn that enhancing the greenhouse effect could bankrupt not just
Lloyd's but the entire global insurance industry. By 1995, I had also heard industry leaders warn
of a greenhouse-triggered global insurance crash in Tokyo, New York, Munich, Zurich and
Bermuda - most of the world's major insurance centres. In 1996 - 10 years ago - two books
warned of the threat climate change posed to insurers and other financial institutions. (The
World Business Council for Sustainable Development published Changing Course and Gerling,
the German insurance giant, published Climate Change and the Financial Institutions). In 1997,
the world's largest reinsurance company, Munich Re, concluded that ripple effects from a
greenhouse-triggered global insurance crash could topple the global capital markets.
The insurance industry takes well over a trillion dollars in annual premiums. It is second only to
tourism in income terms. Much of this income is invested. Several hundred billion dollars is
retained for property catastrophe losses, which mainly involve earthquakes and climatic
disasters. Though losses in recent years have been unprecedented, they have not exceeded a
quarter of the reserve pot in any one year. But in a warming world, disasters are likely to be
more numerous and more intense.
To date, somewhat amazingly, Hurricane Katrina is the only climate catastrophe to have hit a
city in a developed country The insurance industry has been dodging bullets for years.
The worst-case scenario for insurers works like this. The dice finally roll unkindly. A full-blown
hurricane hits, say, New York. A drought-related wildfire then sweeps into Los Angeles. It
would take only a few mega-castrophes of this kind to drain the industry's property catastrophe
reserve. A machine gunfire of smaller catastrophes could have the same effect.
Even on current bullet-dodging trends, one of the industry's most eminent climate experts,
Andrew Dlugolecki, has warned that in a world doing nothing about greenhouse gas emissions,
net wealth destruction would exceed net wealth creation by 2065 or thereabouts, even without a
crash in the world economy.
What has the insurance industry done about this threat to its profitability and indeed very
survival? Virtually nothing. A few representatives have dropped into the climate talks since
1995 for a day at a time. Not a single full-time lobbyist has been deployed, even though the
fossil-fuel industries deploy hundreds, all of them to differing degrees trying to keep us locked
into the suicidal status quo.
Some companies joined an initiative set up by the UN environment programme (Unep). Despite
Unep's best efforts, it has become a talking shop where meaningful action is far from the
agenda. A very few companies have instigated unilateral initiatives, among them Swiss Re,
which has built a small portfolio of clean energy investments. With these and a few other
exceptions, the industry is asleep at the wheel of a juggernaut accelerating towards a cliff edge.
The insurance industry is at its most dysfunctional when it comes to investment. Most of the
climate-risk whistleblowers come from underwriting departments. They are the people who
understand risk. The investment departments, meanwhile, behave as though global warming has
no price implications whatsoever. Much of their vast income they invest in energy, and almost
all the energy investments they make are in fossil fuels - the main source of greenhouse gas
emissions. The insurance industry is throwing a suicidal Mississippi river of capital at the very
industries, companies and technologies that fuel (quite literally) the global warming threat to its
I have been saying since 1993 that this situation cannot last, and I still believe that it cannot last.
But the collective irresponsibility of the insurance industry now beggars belief. Acting as
though global warming is a problem unworthy of a price tag in 2002 has become somewhat akin
to saying that the world is flat.
It cannot be long before a shareholder collects every scientific report on climate change over the
last decade and sends them in a package to every director of an insurance company with a letter
asking what the company is doing to safeguard his or her investment. The answer, as things
stand, would be hilarious, if it were not so tragic. An interesting lawsuit could be not far behind.
Of course, the industry can introduce fancy risk-hedging financial strategies, and to a degree
already has. But it could also belatedly begin the process of risk abatement by seriously
investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. This, after all, involves markets that are
growing fast, even in the current investment climate. But increasingly the insurance industry is
reminiscent of the Bismark: the ship is ablaze already, without much of a rudder, and any day
now, global warming could provide the salvos that sink it.
Eddie News: UN issues mangrove warning (27 July 2006)
The UN Environment Programme has called for urgent action to protect the mangroves of the
islands in the Pacific Ocean from climate change.
It has published a study warning that some islands could lose more than half their mangrove by
the end of the 21st century. It says that American Samoa, Fiji, Tuvalu and the Federated States
of Micronesia stand to be worst hit as rising sea levels engulf the coastal trees.
As well as calling for cuts to global emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol
and its successors, the UNEP makes a number of specific recommendations for the islands
In order to avoid losing up to 13% of these ecosystems, the islands should reduce local pollution
to make the mangroves more resilient and restore wetlands that have been lost to development,
the report says.
In addition, the mangroves should be allowed to expand further inland by setting back some
coastal developments, UNEP says.
UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said: "There are many compelling reasons for fighting
climate change - the threats to mangroves in the Pacific, and by inference across other low lying
parts of the tropics, underline yet another reason to act.
"Industrialised nations must meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, the international
emission-reduction treaty, as a first step to even deeper cuts needed to stablise the atmosphere."
Kitty Simonds, executive director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management
Committee, said that the mangroves must be protected because of their contribution to fish
stocks. Mangroves act as nurseries for fish, filter coastal pollution, and are a source of timber,
dyes, nets and fish traps for local communities.
UNEP cites studies estimating the economic value of goods and services generated by the
mangroves at $900,000 per square kilometer. A Thai study put the figure at $3.5 million per
Realty Times: Economically Promising Desert Life Turning Deadly
by Broderick Perkins
People who enjoy the hot, arid conditions of desert living -- and relatively lower home prices --
may soon find the cost of water shortages and rising temperatures are more than they bargained
Desert regions not only yield more affordable housing because of their relatively remote and
challenging environments, they also hold the possibility of new global economies.
Unfortunately, climate change in cactus country is producing weather even the knarliest desert
denizen is finding tough to survive, according to "Global Deserts Outlook".
According to the assessment of the world's deserts, released this summer and conducted by the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN's environmental watchdog, almost
one-quarter of the earth's land surface -- 33.7 million square kilometers (13 million square
miles) -- has been defined as "desert."
It's home to more than a half billion people and in the near future it could be home to many who
didn't choose the full monty.
Among the most densely populated deserts are the Sonoran Desert in southwest Arizona and
southeast California and the Chihuahuan Desert which stretches from southeastern Arizona, to
southern New Mexico and western Texas. Both deserts also dip below the border into Mexico.
The already rugged environments are just beginning to really feel the heat.
"Climate change as a result of human-made emissions is already affecting deserts. The overall
temperature increase of between 0.5 and 2 degrees Celsius (1 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit) over the
period 1976-2000 has been much higher than the average global rise of 0.45 degrees Celsius,"
according to UNEP.
That's just for starters. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body of
scientists advising governments and UNEP, says temperatures in deserts could rise more, by an
average of as much as 5 to 7 degrees Celsius (about 9 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit) by as soon as
This summer, residents in the southwest, among others experiencing recording breaking
heatwaves, are all too aware of similarly higher temperature changes just this summer compared
to last summer.
Higher temperatures have profound implications for both the water supply and the delicate
The report says underground water supplies, some centered around oases and areas formed over
thousands, and in some cases, over a million years, are increasingly being drained of water for
agriculture and settlements including retirement resorts.
Renewable supplies of water, fed to deserts by large rivers, are also expected to be threatened
severely by as early as 2025. That includes the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers in North
America along with the Gariep River in southern Africa; the Tigris and Euphrates in
southwestern Asia and the Amu Darya and Indus Rivers in central Asia, the report says.
"A large fraction of the water used for agricultural and domestic purposes in the arid southwest
of the United States, the deserts of Central Asia and the Atacama and Puna Deserts on both
sides of the Andes is drawn from rivers that originate in glaciated/snow-covered mountains,"
which are now thawing out at unexpected rates.
"Water is a vital and limiting factor in deserts. Many life forms exist in limbo, suddenly bursting
into fruit and reproducing in vast numbers in response to 'rain pulses.' Water supply is also vital
for human settlements and these are even more vulnerable to unsustainable withdrawals of
water," UNEP reports.
Just as global warming is beginning to cause higher sea levels to nip at the coastlines, higher
temperatures generate desertification, pushing the desert frontier out, closer to populations
centers typically situated on the desert fringes.
That could force a desert lifestyle on those who didn't bargain for the full deal, the report says.
What's worse, high temperatures are deadly.
More people in the U.S. die from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes,
floods, and earthquakes combined according to the Centers for Disease Control.
That's all unfortunate because technology exists today that can serve deserts a destiny as carbon-
free commerce centers with historic economic clout -- clout that could help turn the tables on
An area 800 by 800 kilometers (about 500 miles by 500 miles) of a desert such as the Sahara
could capture enough solar energy to generate more than the world's electricity demands.
"If the huge, solar-power potential of deserts can be economically harnessed, the world has a
future free from fossil fuels. And tourism based around desert nature can, if sensitively
managed, deliver new prospects and perspectives for people in some of the poorest parts of the
world," says Shafqat Kakakhel, UNEP's deputy executive director.
Most deserts, including those in Arizona, also have sunlight and temperature climates that
favor shrimp and fish farms.
Animals and wild plants adapted to the harsh desert world, hold promise for new sources of
drugs, industrial products, and crops.
But the planet and its deserts are running out of time.
"Faster climate change is already happening and most climatologists believe that its acceleration
is inevitable, whatever the cause, and almost whatever the response: it may be too late to
intervene to change the trajectory of the next few decades. Temperatures, and with them
evaporation (and hence aridity), will almost certainly rise further, which may or may not be
compensated by increased rainfall," the report says.
Published: July 28, 2006
Relief Web: Lebanon response OCHA situation report No. 06
Lebanon response OCHA situation report No. 06
Ref: OCHA/NY - 2006/0006
Concerns grow for civilians in south Lebanon, potential environmental crisis in the making
1. Concern is growing over the fate of civilians in the far south of Lebanon, where military
operations have been taking place for almost two weeks. A recent ICRC mission found many
southern villages lacking basic facilities, including safe drinking water, food and medical
supplies. The mission noted safety remains the main concern. It also noted serious public health
risks resulting from people being forced to drink waste water or from contaminated ponds.
In several villages, ICRC found people sheltered in schools and patients stranded in hospitals,
waiting to be evacuated. In other villages streets were empty, as people feared bombardment.
The mission noted dead bodies had not been removed from the streets in many villages and
other bodies were still buried under rubble.
2. The Ministry of Environment in Lebanon reports a major oil spill from a power plant near
Beirut as a result of aerial bombing. A joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit is on stand-by to
assess environmental pollution risks of damaged infrastructure (i.e. power plants, seaports,
airports, fuel depots) which could pose risks to local populations. Approximately, 10,000 tons
of heavy fuel oil has been spilled into the sea so far, according to one environmental group. The
Lebanese government has issued a warning for all citizens to stay away from polluted sights
along the coast.
3. Figures from the Government's Higher Relief Committee place the estimated death toll at 418
and 3,225 injured the great majority civilians. It is widely agreed, however, the total number of
casualties may be much higher than these figures. The conflict continues to affect an estimated
800,000 people, including internally displaced, individuals under siege, refugees, and asylum
seekers. Although the majority of displaced are staying with relatives and friends, an estimated
125,000 are staying in schools and public institutions in Lebanon, and, according to WHO,
210,000 have crossed the border into neighboring countries. Press reports indicate that 51
Israelis have died in nearly two weeks of conflict in Lebanon. Some 115,000 Third Country
Nationals (TCNs) from some 20 countries continue to remain trapped in Lebanon.
4. Security Phase IV remains across the country. Heavy exchanges of fire continued with the
same intensity along the length of the Blue Line in the past 24 hours. There were three incidents
of firing close to UN positions in the last 24 hours from the Israeli side. It was also reported that
Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Marwahin, Alma Ash Shab, Brashit,
and At Tiri.
5. The IDF has maintained their presence inside Lebanese territory in the area of Marun Al Ras,
Bint Jubayl and Yarun in the central sector. Intensive fighting in these areas, as well as the
shelling of the area of Aytarun, and the aerial bombardment of the areas of At Tiri and Brashit
north of Bint Jubayl was reported yesterday. This morning, sporadic fighting was reported in
Bint Jubayl and Marun Al Ras, and intensive shelling of the area of At Tiri. Dozens of
Hezbollah rockets landed in northern Israel, wounding at least one person, Israeli emergency
Humanitarian Situation and International Response
6. Following the success of the first UN relief convoy from Beirut to Tyre, carrying WFP,
UNICEF, WHO and UNRWA emergency supplies, another two UN aid convoys are scheduled
to depart Beirut to the South, with 10 trucks each. The first will leave tomorrow, Friday, and
second one is schedule for Sunday, 30 July, security conditions permit.
7. A Jordanian military plane carrying aid reportedly arrived in Beirut Thursday, extending a
humanitarian airlift operation, which started on Wednesday, with three Jordanian flights
carrying relief supplies for Lebanon. They were the first planes to land at Beirut since the
conflict broke out on July 12.
8. WFP is now planning to distribute up to 12,000 metric tons of food and non-food relief items
per month and is making available a common UN trucking fleet to UN agencies, non-
governmental organizations and international organizations. WFP has begun distributing 25
metric tons of high-energy biscuits to 95,000 displaced people in and around Beirut.
9. UNHCR field teams in mountain areas outside Beirut are buying and distributing relief to
displaced people while waiting for tonnes of relief goods to be delivered from Syria. UNHCR
staff have also been determining the priority needs of the displaced in other locations in
Lebanon. UNHCR's emergency team in Lebanon is being strengthened with the expected arrival
in Beirut on Thursday of five further staff members.
10. A UNICEF distribution of drinking water and installation of water tanks continued in Aley
today. To date, recreational materials have been distributed to nine IDP gathering points
sheltering some 1,500 children. UNICEF, in close cooperation with Ministry of Social Affairs
(MoSA), is assessing the capacity of local NGOs to operate in an emergency situation. An
UNICEF aircraft carrying water purification tablets, family water kits and medical supplies for
WHO will arrive in Beirut tomorrow.
11. IOM, on 25 July, assisted more than 150 Iraqis who had arrived at the Al Arida border point
with Syria to the transit centre in Tartous. On 26 July two convoys of 311 Ethiopian nationals
and 285 Sri Lankan nationals arrived in Syria from Beirut. They are initially staying at the
CARITAS sponsored transit centre in where they will receive food and shelter flown home in
the next day or two. Today, an IOM charter plane from Latakia will transport a group of nearly
300 Sri Lankan nationals to Colombo. On Friday, IOM is planning to send empty buses towards
Tyre in order to identify Third Country Nationals (TCNs) needs/potential caseloads and, where
possible, evacuate them to Beirut.
12. UNDP, in coordination with the Lebanese government, has now established two warehouses
in the areas of Chouf and Aley. The warehouses will store UNDP non-food items, as well as
food items from the high relief committee. UNDP distributions to IDP Centers have benefited
nearly 68,000 people (13,548 Families) thus far.
13. As conflict and displacement are risk factors to increased violence against women and girls,
the IRC will soon be deploying a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Coordinator to Beirut and
UNFPA and UNICEF have included prevention of gender-based violence and exploitation in
their emergency response progammes.
14. WHO is emphasizing the importance of appropriate donations, in order to decrease the
burden on the already overloaded ports of entry, warehouses and transportation means in
Lebanon and Syria. The organization is also coordinating the transport of relief items with the
WHO Crisis Management Center in Jordan. A WHO Emergency Task Force has now been set
up, which will also back up the WHO Lebanon office.
15. The ICRC has now set up two bases to provide medical assistance to 200 villages in South
Lebanon. Two ICRC trucks reached Tyre yesterday with enough food supplies for 480 families
for one week. The food will be distributed in priority areas in the south over the coming days.
The committee, however, was unable to travel in the area south of Tyre yesterday because of
ongoing military operations. An ICRC team is on stand-by to distribute aid there as soon as the
situation allows. Thirty-four tonnes of emergency items from the ICRC have arrived in Beirut
by ferry. This is the third convoy in the past week, following recent truck convoys from
16. UNFPA is currently procuring supplies for hygiene kits for IDPs in Lebanon, which will
most likely be distributed in collaboration with Lebanon Red Cross. UNFPA emergency
reproductive health kits requested last week by the Ministry of Public Health will be delivered
by air to Limassol airport on Friday and from there loaded on a vessel to be shipped to Beirut.
WFP is assisting with logistics.
17. The American NGO International Aid today said it is preparing to send medical supplies
and hygiene kits to Lebanon and Syria, following weeks of fighting that has led to a
humanitarian crisis in the region. An initial shipment of 5,000 hygiene kits, along with other
basic medical supplies, is expected in a matter of days.
18. The Lebanese Ministry of Public Health on 25 July issued an appeal to the UN, donors,
NGOs, the private sector and the public at large requesting donations of desperately needed
drugs and medical equipment to aid wounded and displaced Lebanese civilians. Supplies
requested include intravenous antibiotics, insulin, gauzes and bandages, empty blood bags,
antibiotics for pediatrics, antipyretics for children and anesthetics. A list of medical supplies
requested from the Lebanese Ministry of Health is available at
– Shortages of food and non-food items for displaced population.
– Little or no access to targeted areas due to damaged roads and insecurity.
– Destruction of communications infrastructure, including mobile cellular antennas, has
disrupted communication links throughout the country.
– Destruction of factories has stopped production of many local food and non-food items.
– According to the government, estimated unemployment rates have reached 75% and total
losses are now estimated at $4 billion USD.
This situation report, together with additional information on the current crisis is also available
on http://www.reliefweb.int. As your tool for timely information sharing, please encourage
submissions of documents and maps by email to email@example.com.
Gulf Daily News: Nurturing young as messengers of peace...
THOUSANDS of Bahraini and Gulf students took part in peace education programmes
conducted by the United Schools International (USI) Arab regional office since its operations
began 25 years ago.
"We are grateful to the Bahrain government which patronised the peace education activities of
our organisation," said secretary general Jiya Lal Jain.
"We started functioning under the guidance of Rashid Sulaybikh, the then secretary general of
the Bahrain National Commission for Unesco.
"The Education Ministry and a large number of private sector organisations continued
supporting our office."
The official organ of USI Arab regional office is the quarterly publication, Workshop of Peace.
Until December last year, 165,000 copies of Workshop of Peace and 252,000 copies of other
publications were printed and distributed in Bahrain, Mr Jain revealed.
"We also conducted annually a UN information test and a general knowledge test for school
children in the region," he added.
"Up to this year, 84,473 students took the UN tests and 102,526 students have participated in
the general knowledge tests.
"These tests were aimed at popularising the UN system among school children and developing
the habit of newspaper reading in students respectively."
Two textbooks, General Knowledge Primer and General Knowledge Digest, are revised and
printed every year and supplied to the students as source books.
In collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (Unep) West Asia Regional Office , USI
has also been conducting essay writing and painting competitions on environment annually.
"Until the end of 2004, a total of 16,961 essays and 20,796 paintings were received from
students in the region," Mr Jain revealed.
In 1986, USI published A Brief History of Education in Bahrain, which traces the growth of
education in the country in the 20th century.
The UN conferred the Peace Messenger Award in 1987 on USI in recognition of its services.
"We are committed to promoting peace education," said Mr Jain.
"The objectives of USI are to build defences of peace in the minds of school students and to
promote teachings about the UN in schools.
"The USI symbolises an experiment in world citizenship."
Relief Web: Indonesia: Earthquake and Mt. Merapi Volcano OCHA Situation Report No.
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2006/0138
OCHA Situation Report No. 20
INDONESIA (Central Java and Yogyakarta) EARTHQUAKE and Mt. MERAPI Volcano
This report is based on information received from the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator‘s
Office in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the UN team in Yogyakarta.
1. Some 102,807 households have not yet received any form of emergency shelter assistance.
2. More assistance is required for the recovery of health facilities in Central Java.
3. ―School/development‖ fees appear to be an issue, possibly preventing children from going to
schools. The Provincial Department of Education and District Heads of Education are working
to find the solution.
4. Replacement of tools and equipment damaged in the earthquake, provision of agricultural
inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, water pumps, and repair of irrigation systems are needed for
5. Equipment is needed to enable the communication between communities and health offices.
6. As of 20 July, the death toll stands at 5,778. The number of seriously injured stands at
37,883. 139,859 homes have been completely destroyed. 468,149 additional houses have
suffered earthquake damage. All statistics come from the National Coordinating Board for the
Management of Disaster (BAKORNAS PB).
7. The central and local governments have agreed on a cost-sharing scheme to complete the
outstanding payment of rice and side-dish allowances to beneficiaries.
8. The National Technical Team for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction together with the
provincial governments of Yogyakarta and Central Java are discussing the feasibility of
increasing the housing reconstruction fund to IDR 15 million per house by distributing funds to
only 30% of the total number of households with destroyed homes.
9. The hygiene campaign needs to be strengthened to prevent communicable diseases in Bantul.
At present, there are not enough effective communication tools between communities and the
health office. This is mainly because radio stations were severely damaged during the
10. Dengue fever cases in Bantul are on the rise.
11. The district government plans to reallocate funds from the district budget for housing
reconstruction. The funds from the central government covers only 93,000 damaged houses –
that is only 30 % of all damaged homes.
12. Trucuk sub-district needs assistance from international NGOs, particularly in terms of
shelter and livelihood programmes. Only a few national NGOs are working in this area.
13. Mount Merapi volcano has been quiet since 12 July. The alert level has been reduced to the
14. Taking advantage of the remaining momentum from the last Merapi response, the UN is
exploring the possibility for one-day strategic workshop with stakeholders.
15. The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, in close cooperation with the European
Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre, has received from the Indonesian Ministry of
Public Works, a request for technical assistance to assess the integrity of four large (irrigation)
dams in the Yogyakarta Earthquake affected area. The EC MIC will deploy two experts to assist
the Ministry in their assessment activities.
16. The local government says that follow-up treatment is free of charge at the health facilities
that treated patients previously. For new patients, only selected hospitals can provide free
17. Health facilities in Bantul have been benefiting from national/local government resources,
help from UN agencies and NGOs. However, assistance is needed for the recovery in Central
18. Methods of disposing expired and damaged medical supplies are being discussed. One
possible way is through a cement factory in Bogor, which has proper disposal facilities.
19. Printed materials for public information on breast-feeding, wound care, disability and
medical rehabilitation have been developed and will be distributed to the community. The
tetanus immunization campaign will be broadcasted through public service announcements on
TV and radio shortly.
20. No new outbreaks of disease in the disaster area have been reported this week. Tetanus is
under control. Two new cases were found last week.
21. IOM has returned 4,829 people from 14 different hospitals in Yogyakarta, Bantul and
Klaten to their home villages and helped 300 patients go back to hospital for follow-up medical
22. IOM has distributed 160 boxes of Basic Hygiene and First Aid Kits including two baby-kits
to beneficiaries or members of their families who are pregnant or have babies up to six-months
23. IOM is planning to distribute baby kits for 208 pregnant women in four sub-districts of
Bantul on Friday 28 July with assistance from the District Health Office in Bantul.
24. The first Phase of Mental Health Training, Training for Trainers (TOT) was held on 18 -21
July. Fifteen psychiatrists and five nurses participated. The second Phase of Training for
General Practitioners and Nurses will follow on 1 August.
25. IOM is finalizing its health promotional leaflet on Wound Care and Disability Prevention
and Rehabilitation that will be distributed soon in coordination with the health promotion sub-
cluster working group.
26. Final Meeting on the Medical (Orthopaedic) Follow-Up Program in Solo was carried out
successfully among key players like Solo Orthopedic Hospital, Moewardi Hospital, IOM and
Handicapped International. Patient‘s Database was given to IOM and Handicapped
International by both hospitals in Solo.
Water and Sanitation (Watsan):
27. Public Works (PW) organized the Klaten Watsan Coordination Meeting on 26 July. 12
participants attended it. It has been decided that the meeting will be held every fortnight starting
on 9 August.
28. PDAM will continue water trucking services:
29. Two Public Hydrants and one water bladder were phased out on 17 July.
30. 573 wells have been cleaned by PW Klaten and the activity is continuing. PW Bantul has
provided data on well-cleaning, and PW Yogyakarta is preparing a proposal for well-cleaning.
Other well-cleaning proposals from AAI, YKMI, Bina Bakat and YKY are being processed.
31. 1,970 toilets have been constructed or are under repair. Out of which 353 are individual
household toilets and the others are communal facilities.
32. IRD supported by UNICEF plans to construct 100 school latrines. It will start by early
Food and Nutrition:
33. World Vision is planning to provide supplementary food through Posyandu. The programme
will target 3,000 malnourished children in five sub-districts (Sewon, Jetis, Dlingo, Imogiri and
Pleret) of Bantul District and five sub-districts (Gantiwarno, Trucuk, Cawas, Bayat and
Prambanan) of Klaten District. Food provisions include porridge (MP-ASI) for children
between 6 months to 24 months of age and biscuits for children between 24 months to 60
months of age. An assessment of the situation prior to the implementation of the programme
will be completed this week. Distribution will begin the first week of August 2006 and last till
34. UNICEF and HKI conducted a training on Vitalita distribution on Monday 24 July. It was
attended by the participants from eight puskesmas in Bantul and 12 puskesmas in Gunung
Kidul. Upon completion of the training, Vitalita will be distributed to 5,000 children under the
age of five. The last training session was conducted on Tuesday 25 July for the 16 participants
from Yogyakarta, Sleman and Kulonprogo districts. 27,000 sachets of Vitalita will be
distributed to children under the age of five.
35. ―School / development‖ fees appear to be an issue, possibly preventing children from going
to schools. The Provincial Department of Education has come to an agreement with all district
Heads of Education that if a family is unable to pay the fee (either because of the chronic
poverty or earthquakes), it is suggested that schools coordinate to collect the fee from a
―wealthier‖ family. Alternatively, the Provincial Department of Education will subsidize the
36. Reconstruction of schools has started at a few sites. Bantul District Department of Education
reported that 137 primary school buildings have plans for reconstruction in the near future.
37. Save the Children trained 800 teachers in educational complementary methods concerning
teaching in 1) emergency preparedness; and 2) psychosocial awareness and strategies regarding
how to deal with post earthquake problems in daily life.
38. 50 schools each in Bantul and Klaten received from Save the Children:
- 95 school-tents and 59 Kindergarten-tents
- 5 200 plastic mats for the primary schools and 1,690 for the Kindergartens
- 600 blackboards
- 400 Cooperative games kits
- 200 school kits
- 53 clean-up kits
39. Save the Children rehabilitated latrines and wells in the 67 schools in partnership with
40. Save the Children rehabilitated a small bridge, assisted by PMI, to enable children to access
school. They are currently seeking funds for temporary schools.
41. PMI, financed by Netherlands RC, distributed 3,000 school kits in Bantul in Kota YY,
Sleman, Bantul, Gunung Kidul, and Kulon Progo. Distribution of 11,938 school kits will take
place in Klaten shortly.
42. World Vision built five bamboo temporary schools in Bantul and provided seven school
tents with watsan facilities, student furniture, text books, uniforms, and bags.
43. Japanese Government distributed 3,700 school tents in Bantul and Klaten, as district Dinas
44. AMURT Completed construction of four temporary schools benefiting 542 children with
basic teaching and learning materials and psycho-social program. 15 volunteers who assist in
psycho-social program were trained for 30 hours, and 65 teachers in five schools were trained
for three hours.
45. The construction of two temporary schools by AMURT is in progress and will be ready by 3
August. The construction of another four temporary schools will start by 1 Aug.
46. AMURT plans to start psycho-social programmes in four schools on 31 July, and to provide
basic teaching and learning materials to six schools.
47. 63 schools in Bantul and 34 schools in Klaten received from UNICEF:
- 114 School tents
- 10,138 student backpacks with stationeries (Bantul) and 4,752 in Klaten distributed
- Rehabilitation/reconstruction of latrines and watsan facilities for 100 schools on-going
- 200 Blackboards and rulers
- 100 Recreation Kits
48. UNICEF identified additional 25 schools in Bantul (list to be finalized) and 13 schools in
Klaten (1,920 backpacks) to receive backpacks and notebooks.
49. UNICEF is currently preparing for psychosocial support/emergency preparedness activities
and the provision of temporary schools.
50. The Rapid Assessment of Learning Spaces has begun to assess current conditions of
learning spaces at 2,600 schools in Bantul and Klaten.
51. A one-day strategic planning meeting will be held on 27 July. The objective is to fill in the
geographical and programmatic gaps as identified in the Who-What-Where mapping. This will
enable organizations working within the four key areas of intervention (Child Protection,
Gender, Psychosocial and Gender) to address the geographical and programmatic disparities
and gaps identified in Klaten and to formulate the monitoring framework for the Cluster.
52. A total of 155 safe spaces for children, including 80 in Bantul and 75 in Klaten, have been
established by international and national NGOs to date, while 13 mobile teams are operating in
Bantul and seven mobile teams in Klaten. 249 vulnerable children have been registered by
53. UNICEF is conducting a Child Protection Assessment with local authorities, and the Child
Protection Working Group, to help inform programme direction and priorities within the sector.
Data collection will be conducted at the sub-district level with the participation of local
authorities and a wide range of both INGO‘s and local NGO‘s. Results from the assessment are
expected to be released by 18 August.
54. Gaps remain in addressing the protection needs of elderly. There are no agencies within the
Protection Cluster covering this need.
55. The Cluster has been preparing the strategic framework for both the Transitional Shelter and
the Livelihood Working Groups. The framework includes the terms of reference, strategies, and
identification of government partners. The framework documents will be finalized with the
Working Group members shortly.
56. The Cluster organized the workshop on 26 July in Bantul to discuss the livelihood recovery
activities by the governments and the organizations and agencies in cooperation with Ministry
of Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Agriculture, Marine and Aquatic Resources.
57. The Emergency Shelter Cluster is now merging its planning and coordination functions with
the Transitional Shelter Working group of the Early Recovery Cluster under an umbrella
‗Shelter Coordination Group‘. Both Clusters have a joint meeting twice a week and they are co-
chaired by IFRC, UNDP (or UN-Habitat), and the GOI Yogyakarta Department of Public
58. As of 25 July, some 102,807 households have yet not received any form of emergency
shelter assistance from known sources.
59. Distribution coverage of emergency shelter roofing materials has reached 69% of affected
households. A further 98,933 tarpaulins are confirmed in the pipeline. Coverage is projected to
reach 98% by 20 August when tents/tarpaulins confirmed in the pipeline are distributed. Given
that additional inputs from national civil society and unknown international NGOs are assumed
to be 20%. A hundred percent coverage is assured before the onset of the rainy season.
60. Final-phase planning currently focuses on coordinated in-filling of outstanding emergency
shelter needs, coherence of public messaging for application of technical best practices,
monitoring outcome and impact, and advocating to GOI on the implications of housing policy
on transitional shelter provision.
61. The Cluster members are currently operational in 69 of the 71 earthquake affected sub-
districts out of total 104 sub-districts in the two affected provinces.
62. A workshop ―Two months on: working with Government Recovery Policy‖ will be chaired
and co-chaired by Bappeda and Ministry of Public Works facilitated by OCHA on 2 August.
63. Recommendations on transitional shelter materials guidelines have been finalized under the
facilitation of IFRC. Technical guidelines and standards are under production in poster form
under facilitation of GMU as follows:
- Bamboo technical guidelines: completed
- Bamboo shelter construction: completed
- Key Messages: to be completed by 30 July
- Core Room construction: work in progress
64. Data capture for the ―Shelter Security Needs and Vulnerability Assessment Survey‖ was
completed on 10 July. The initial analysis is being undertaken with the Cluster Strategic
Advisory Group. Preliminary findings should be available on 29 July.
65. A critical issue at hand is how the humanitarian community best integrates its transitional
shelter solutions with GOI initiatives based on partial allocation of compensation grants. The
Cluster continues to advocate with district authorities of Bantul and Klaten for transitional
shelter policy that sees an overlap of emergency and recovery operations through newly
established GOI sectoral focal points.
66. Coherent guidelines for permanent ‗core room‘ shelter construction have been drawn up by
Gajah Mada University with inputs of the Cluster members. The copy of the guidelines by the
Ministry of Public Works is not yet available.
67. The implications for community mobilization in terms of brick-making and cash-for-work,
and the assessment of self-recovery capacities and supply-side need further exploration and
The Full Report from the Shelter Cluster can be obtained from the ReliefWeb Website.
68. A livelihoods assessment for Yogyakarta and Central Java will be conducted from 31 July to
4 August. The results of which will feed into a Strategic Planning Workshop with key
stakeholders to be held on 7 and 8 August in Yogyakarta.
69. FAO completed a workshop on the agriculture damage assessment on 20 July. It was
attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture from Jakarta and Agriculture
Department officials, BAPPEDA Yogyakarta and Central Java, DPRD Klaten, BPTP
Yogyakarta (Agriculture Applied Technology Research Center), UN agencies, Universities, and
NGOs. Key recommendations from this workshop include:
- the results of assessments from other organizations should be combined to develop strategies
for the rehabilitation of livelihoods within the agriculture sector
- agencies should quickly develop a common assessment/survey methodology that is
comprehensive and could be implemented quickly
- a national level workshop on agriculture with key stakeholders should be conducted to raise an
awareness of the actual situation in the earthquake affected areas and to propose a common
strategy for future recovery programming
- a joint task force based in Jakarta that consists of the key stakeholders and donors, should be
formed to coordinate with the existing agriculture sector group in Yogyakarta (includes FAO,
provincial and district level Dinas Offices, NGOs and universities).
70. Damages to the agriculture sector were not identified as a serious problem as most of the
crops were still growing in the field. However, this does not mean that agriculture damages are
71. Key elements for revitalizing livelihoods are the replacement of tools and equipment
damaged in the earthquake and also the provision of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers,
water pumps, and the repair of irrigation systems.
72. ―Multiple negative impacts‖ will cause a complex disruption of livelihoods activities.
Necessary support must be provided quickly before the next rainy season through the provision
of direct agricultural inputs to targeted farmers.
73. If no assistance is provided, approximately 1.5 million people will be faced with food
security problems, and more than 150,000 farmer households will be trapped in a vicious circle
74. It is critical to develop livelihood strategies with key stakeholders that address the
immediate needs of the affected farmer households.
75. The logistics cluster is in the process of closing down as agreed to by the Cluster Heads on
76. Fleet currently consists of 86 trucks and 44 light vehicles operating at capacity.
77. IOM has delivered 17,000 tons of food and non-food items for a total of 93 organizations,
including the Government, UN agencies and international and local NGOs.
78. OCHA Yogyakarta holds regular Coordination Briefings at 8 am every Monday.
79. The schedule of the Coordination Meetings in Klaten is:
- Shelter Meeting: 14pm, Thursday in PU Klaten.
- NGO General Coordination Meeting: 16pm, Thursday in Bapeda Klaten
- Education Cluster Meeting – Central Java – Klaten: 10am, Friday in Dinas Pendidikan.
Tel.: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 0023
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
(in GVA) Mr. Guido Galli, direct Tel. +41-22-917 3171
(in N.Y.) Ms. Kirsten Gelsdorf, direct Tel. +1-917-367 3599
(in GVA) Ms. Elizabeth. Byrs - direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(in N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker - direct Tel. + 1-917 367 5126
Other Environment News
Agence France-Presse English Wire: Greens fire off SOS after huge Lebanon oil spill from
Date: July 27, 2006
by Haro Chakmakjian
BEIRUT, July 27, 2006 (AFP) - Lebanons greens launched an international appeal for help
Thursday to combat an environmental crisis caused by a huge oil spill south of Beirut, more
than two weeks into an Israeli air war.
―The escalating Israeli attacks on Lebanon did not only kill its civilians and destroy its
infrastructure, but it is also annihilating the environment,‖ warned the Green Line Association, a
It said an air strike two weeks ago on Jiyeh power plant which serves southern Lebanon had
resulted in a 15,000-ton oil spill.
―The power plant has six fuel tanks. Four of them have burnt completely, while the fifth one,
which is also the main cause of the spill, is still burning,‖ it warned.
The spill has hit more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Lebanese coast from
Jiyyeh to Shekka, north of the capital, including Beirut‘s only sandy public beach of
Ramlet al-Baida, said Green Line.
―This is definitely one of the worst environmental crises in Lebanese history,‖ it said in a joint
statement with other environmental groups.
The NGOs warned that the marine environment, including the endangered green turtle -- not to
mention the future tourism prospects of Lebanon -- would ―suffer tremendously for several
years from this spill‖.
―This oil spill is bigger than what the local authorities can handle and urgent help is needed
from outside,‖ they said, while adding that Israel‘s sustained air strikes were endangering those
involved in clean-up operations.
The environment ministry, which has received a pledge from Kuwait to share its expertise in
ecological crises built up after the 1991 Gulf War, said a complete oil- clean cleanup would cost
tens of millions of dollars.
While residents of the Beirut area have been advised to steer clear of the Mediterranean waters,
officials said Wednesday the ancient Phoenician port of Byblos had also been polluted by the
Fishing boats at the port, north of Beirut, were surrounded by a large oil slick while nearby
beaches were also covered by the sticky fluid, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.
The pollution, which has killed fish and much of the marine life in the area, threatens a wider
ecological catastrophe, Environment Minister Yacub Sarraf has said.
Sarraf and residents said the slick was also caused by a leak from an Egyptian commercial boat
which was hit by a missile off Beirut during the battles between Lebanon‘s militant group
Hezbollah and Israeli forces.
An Egyptian sailor was killed when the boat was apparently hit by a Hezbollah missile, as it
sailed close to Israeli naval vessels.
Four Israeli sailors were also killed when their warship, which was patrolling Lebanese waters
as part of a massive air and sea blockade, was hit in the attack.
―The black slick appeared about seven or eight days ago and is becoming thicker by the day,‖
Zalpha Sfeir, a resident of the picturesque resort town known for its Phoenician ruins and fish
―It will take six months to clean up everything, when the boats which are off the coast will stop
dumping all their toxic liquids,‖ she said.
Officials in Lebanon‘s northern neighbour Syria issued a similar warning after a slick reached
―A black slick spread over 10 kilometres (six miles) appeared yesterday (Wednesday) on the
Syrian coast,‖ said Hassan Murjan, environment official for the southern port of Tartus.
―It‘s diesel from the electric power station or the boat that were attacked in Lebanon,‖ he said,
adding that tests were being done to determine where the oil came from.
The rocky nature of the coastline meant the pollution would have to be cleaned by hand ―which
will take some time‖, he said.
Israel launched a massive air, sea and ground offensive on Lebanon after Hezbollah captured
two Israeli soldiers along the two countries‘ border on July 12 to secure a prisoner swap.
A flotilla of civilian and military boats have since been used to evacuate foreign nationals from
the war-bruised country, many of them tourists who arrived on summer holidays before the
AFP 271736 GMT 07 06
New York Times: Cold, Hard Facts
July 27, 2006
By PETER DORAN
IN the debate on global warming, the data on the climate of Antarctica has been distorted, at
different times, by both sides. As a polar researcher caught in the middle, I‘d like to set the
In January 2002, a research paper about Antarctic temperatures, of which I was the lead author,
appeared in the journal Nature. At the time, the Antarctic Peninsula was warming, and many
people assumed that meant the climate on the entire continent was heating up, as the Arctic was.
But the Antarctic Peninsula represents only about 15 percent of the continent‘s land mass, so it
could not tell the whole story of Antarctic climate. Our paper made the continental picture more
My research colleagues and I found that from 1996 to 2000, one small, ice-free area of the
Antarctic mainland had actually cooled. Our report also analyzed temperatures for the mainland
in such a way as to remove the influence of the peninsula warming and found that, from 1966 to
2000, more of the continent had cooled than had warmed. Our summary statement pointed out
how the cooling trend posed challenges to models of Antarctic climate and ecosystem change.
Newspaper and television reports focused on this part of the paper. And many news and opinion
writers linked our study with another bit of polar research published that month, in Science,
showing that part of Antarctica‘s ice sheet had been thickening — and erroneously concluded
that the earth was not warming at all. ―Scientific findings run counter to theory of global
warming,‖ said a headline on an editorial in The San Diego Union-Tribune. One conservative
commentator wrote, ―It‘s ironic that two studies suggesting that a new Ice Age may be under
way may end the global warming debate.‖
In a rebuttal in The Providence Journal, in Rhode Island, the lead author of the Science paper
and I explained that our studies offered no evidence that the earth was cooling. But the
misinterpretation had already become legend, and in the four and half years since, it has only
Our results have been misused as ―evidence‖ against global warming by Michael Crichton in his
novel ―State of Fear‖ and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, ―Godless: The Church of
Liberalism.‖ Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from
climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as
reason to doubt that the earth is warming. One recent Web column even put words in my mouth.
I have never said that ―the unexpected colder climate in Antarctica may possibly be signaling a
lessening of the current global warming cycle.‖ I have never thought such a thing either.
Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that
period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was
published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the
ozone hole over that continent. These models, conspicuously missing from the warming-skeptic
literature, suggest that as the ozone hole heals — thanks to worldwide bans on ozone-destroying
chemicals — all of Antarctica is likely to warm with the rest of the planet. An inconvenient
Also missing from the skeptics‘ arguments is the debate over our conclusions. Another group of
researchers who took a different approach found no clear cooling trend in Antarctica. We still
stand by our results for the period we analyzed, but unbiased reporting would acknowledge
differences of scientific opinion.
The disappointing thing is that we are even debating the direction of climate change on this
globally important continent. And it may not end until we have more weather stations on
Antarctica and longer-term data that demonstrate a clear trend.
In the meantime, I would like to remove my name from the list of scientists who dispute global
warming. I know my coauthors would as well.
Peter Doran is an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of
Illinois at Chicago.
Christian Science Monitor: A hard look at aerosols
from the July 27, 2006 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0727/p17s01-stss.html
Scientists are learning more all the time about the particles' impact on the atmosphere and
By Robert C. Cowen
If you are concerned about man-made climate change, keep an eye on aerosol pollution. The
concentrations of tiny particles, called aerosols, that float in the global atmosphere are on the
rise. They come from dusty deserts and industrial emissions. They can change the way clouds
form and can redistribute rainfall. They heat or cool parts of the atmosphere and Earth's surface
depending on their composition. Their influence is one of the biggest unknowns in climate
science. Until scientists know more about what aerosols are up to, they can't fully predict future
climate change. Global warming due to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is only part
of the picture. And so, the aerosol hunt is on. On Monday, NASA released the first images from
Calipso, one of two satellites launched in April to make detailed observations of clouds and
aerosols. More images are needed to produce meaningful conclusions. But two weeks ago,
NASA took what it called "a big step forward" in its understanding of aerosols. The late Yoram
Kaufman at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and colleagues uncovered
what aerosol particles do to clouds. It depends on the aerosols' color. Goddard's Lorraine Remer
explains: "When the overall mixture of aerosol particles in pollution absorbs more sunlight, it is
more effective in preventing clouds from forming. When pollutant aerosols are lighter in color
and absorb less energy, they have the opposite effect and actually help clouds to form."
The researchers explained in the online edition of the journal Science how they used
observations from robot observers at 200 sites around the world to pin down this effect. They
also made extensive surveys of sky conditions from 17 locations such as Beijing and Rome.
They estimate that the net result, world-wide, has been a 5 percent increase in global cloud
Satellite data shows that aerosol pollution comes from many sources and travels quickly.
China's pollution reaches North America in five days. North American pollution reaches Europe
in three days.
Last May, Timothy Garrett and Chuanfeng Zhao at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City
reported a study showing how aerosol pollution helps heat up the Arctic. Dr. Garrett explained
that "particulate pollution from factories and cars can be transported long distances to the
Arctic, where it changes clouds so they become more effective blankets, trapping more heat and
further aggravating climate warming." The effect is especially strong in winter when Arctic air
is very stable and pollution lingers. It makes the surface 2 to 3 degrees F. warmer when aerosol-
laden clouds cover the area than when the air is clean.
Also in May, Chul Eddy Chung and Veerabhadran Ramanathan at Scripps Institution of
Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., showed how aerosols can modify greenhouse warming.
Summarizing their paper in the Journal of Climate, Dr. Ramanathan said that aerosol pollution,
"also called 'brown haze,' appears to be masking the greenhouse warming in the northern Indian
Ocean, while the greenhouse warming continues unabated in the southern Indian Ocean." He
added that we are starting to see that air pollution affects sunlight and is potentially causing a
major disruption to rain patterns, with some regions getting more and some less. But much more
data and research is needed to fully understand what all this means to our climate.
Le Figaro: Gagnants et perdants de la canicule
Restaurateurs, grands magasins, vendeurs de climatiseurs, glaciers, ostréiculteurs... Les
fortes chaleurs font des heureux et des malheureux.
« ÉTABLISSEMENT CLIMATISÉ ». Avec la canicule, les commerçants et les restaurateurs
capables d'offrir un peu de fraîcheur n'hésitent pas à l'afficher en vitrine. Les autres attendent
impatiemment le retour de températures plus clémentes et, avec elles, celui des clients. « Nos
ventes explosent, se réjouit Stéphane Molle, directeur commercial de la société Proclim, vendeur
de systèmes de climatisation et de chauffage. Nous répondons à la demande, mais depuis début
juillet, nous avons un délai d'approvisionnement un peu plus long. » Chez Proclim, il faut
compter trois semaines d'attente. Dans un Leroy Merlin d'Ivry-sur-Seine, on parle d'une liste
d'attente de 300 personnes...
Bien climatisés, les grands magasins sont globalement satisfaits des soldes. Au Printemps, tous
les vêtements légers, de bord de mer, sont partis comme des petits pains. Chez Carrefour, les
ventes de stores intérieurs et de moustiquaires ont explosé (+152,9 % du 17 au 22 juillet),
comme celles d'accessoires de piscine (+74,2 %).
Aux premières loges pour profiter de la chaleur, les marchands de glaces se frottent les mains.
« Nous avons augmenté nos ventes de 20 % en juillet, avec même une pointe à + 40 % la
première semaine de juillet », se réjouit Bernard Tual, directeur marketing de Nestlé Glaces.
Heureusement pour eux, les industriels disposent de stocks importants et d'une souplesse dans la
production. « Toutes nos lignes de production fonctionnent en ce moment, alors qu'à cette
période habituellement, nous sommes à 50 % de notre capacité », note le responsable de Nestlé.
Pour le marché français des crèmes glacées, qui pèse 300 millions de litres et 1,2 milliard
d'euros, la canicule pourrait se solder par un bonus de 120 millions d'euros à la fin de l'année.
« Un très bon cru car le marché des glaces est d'une grande stabilité depuis plusieurs années »,
note Bernard Tual.
Boom des ventes d'eauLes fabricants d'eau et leurs distributeurs sont aussi ravis. Chez
Carrefour, les ventes d'eaux gazeuses ont bondi de 24,1 % entre le 10 et le 20 juillet et celles
d'eaux plates de 21,2 %. Le week-end dernier, afin d'éviter les ruptures de stock pour certaines
eaux, les transports par poids lourds ont d'ailleurs été autorisés dans toute la France. Mais la
canicule ne fait pas que des heureux. Les restaurateurs qui n'ont pas pris les devant en
investissant dans une climatisation le paient cher. « La canicule représente une baisse du chiffre
d'affaires de l'ordre de 30 à 40 % pour les établissements non climatisés », précise Michel
Bessière, du Syndicat national des hôteliers et patron de deux brasseries à Paris. « On est
toujours trop alarmiste ! », tempère toutefois André Daguin, président de l'Union des métiers et
des industries de l'hôtellerie. Logiquement, à midi, les gens préfèrent rester dans leur bureau
climatisé, avec un sandwich. Selon Michel Bessière, seuls 10 % des cafés sont climatisés et
20 % des hôtels, brasseries et restaurants.
« Les établissements préfèrent investir dans les travaux de mise aux normes d'hygiène et de
sécurité, explique-t-il. De plus en plus de cafés ont recours aux brumisateurs. »
Pour finir, certains professionnels sont littéralement pris au piège. C'est le cas de producteurs de
moules et d'huîtres. « Les fortes chaleurs saturent la quantité d'oxygène présente dans l'eau, ce
qui asphyxie une certaine partie des coquillages. Pour les moules, la perte devrait être
maximale », s'alerte Denis Regler, directeur de la section régionale de la conchyliculture de
Méditerranée. Autour de l'étang de Thau, au nord de Montpellier, 750 entreprises sont touchées
- une menace pour environ 2 000 emplois.
ENN: Report Faults EPA on Clean Air Regulation
July 27, 2006 — By John Heilprin, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The government is failing to reduce health risks from toxic air pollution as
required by law, congressional investigators said Wednesday.
The Environmental Protection Agency has not met 30 percent of the Clean Air Act's
requirements and regularly misses deadlines, they said.
EPA scientists issued their own report Wednesday, saying the agency should consider
tightening its national health-based standards for smog-forming ozone to a level similar to
California's, though not as restrictive as what the Swiss-based World Health Organization
recommends. They said the risks of asthma and other respiratory ailments are greater than
previously believed. EPA is under court order to propose a decision on this by next March.
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the EPA largely
has failed to regulate air pollutants from small sources, including dry cleaners and trucks. The
GAO report said the EPA has not yet met 239 of the law's requirements; of those the agency did
fulfill, only 12 were met on time.
"EPA has not reduced human health risks from air toxics to the extent and in the time frames
envisioned in the Act," according to the report by the investigative arm of Congress.
The report was requested by nine senators -- six Democrats, two Republicans and one
independent -- and six Democratic members of the House.
Separately, a panel set up by the U.S., Canada and Mexico reported Wednesday that pollution in
North America fell by 15 percent from 1998 to 2003.
In 2003, the latest year for which figures were available, the total amount of pollution released
or transferred elsewhere in North America was 3.3 million tons.
The top 10 chemicals emitted in the three nations were hydrochloric acid, methanol, sulfuric
acid, hydrogen fluoride, toluene, styrene, xylenes, n-hexane, methyl ethyl ketone and carbon
Some, such as toluene and xylenes, come from mobile sources, open burning or asphalt paving;
hydrochloric acid and other chemicals come from coal-fired electric utilities.
Sen. James Jeffords, a Vermont independent, and some Democrats said the GAO report shows
the EPA is allowing people to be unlawfully exposed to health risks such as cancer,
reproductive damage and birth defects.
"This report confirms that EPA has abdicated its responsibility to protect our citizens from
dangerous, cancer-causing pollutants," Jeffords said.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said the report shows that "virtually all Americans face an
increased risk of cancer from breathing toxic air pollution, yet EPA refuses to carry out the
Clean Air Act's mandates, leaving everyone exposed to unnecessary cancer risks."
Agency officials said the EPA and the Bush administration are making progress. By next year,
the EPA said, emissions of toxic air will have dropped by 57 percent from 1990 levels due to
new standards affecting dozens of types of industrial facilities.
"Environmental progress is similar to a relay race with each administration passing the baton to
the next," EPA spokeswoman Jessica Emond said. "The Bush administration completed one leg
of the race, while accelerating environmental progress for future generations."
Source: Associated Press
ENN: Parts of U.S. West Bar Tree-Cutting on Private Land
July 27, 2006 — By Laura Zuckerman, Reuters
SALMON, Idaho — In a state where pine and fir outnumber residents, the loss of several
privately owned spruces should hardly excite attention, let alone spark a crusade emblematic of
a new trend to protect trees on private land.
But in the ski community of Ketchum, Idaho, a seasonal home for the rich and famous and the
last resting place of writer Ernest Hemingway, a developer's plan to cut down three towering
conifers on his property spurred the city to issue an emergency order last month outlawing the
felling of mature trees.
Resident Lara Babalis wanted additional assurances. She spent days collecting signatures on a
petition to save the spruces and engaged in an extended vigil beneath the trees in the hours
before the cutting ban was to go into effect.
When Babalis interrupted her trespassing vigil to walk her dogs, a construction worker
delivered a deathblow to the 80-year-old evergreens. "A guy with a chain saw showed up the
minute I took a break. By the time I came back, they were dying," she said.
Just two weeks before, the neighboring town of Hailey called a halt to the injury or destruction
of large trees after a property owner in the business district chopped down five of his century-
These resort towns are the latest among a growing number of communities from Idaho to
California seeking to protect their dwindling natural canopies by placing restrictions on the
cutting of trees on private land.
The policies -- which do not apply to timber harvesting on private tree farms or federal lands --
are being imposed amid debates over future growth in exclusive enclaves such as Ketchum and
Hailey, which are hemmed in by public lands and where developers seek to fill entire lots with
ECOLOGY VS. PROPERTY RIGHTS
Tree devotees applaud the measures but property rights proponents say towns are going too far.
"Since when do the rights of trees take precedence over the rights of people?" said Elbie Bellon,
owner of a tire and auto store in Hailey. "I'm a tree-hugger. I've planted hundreds in my
lifetime, but I think it's totally ridiculous that someone can come along and tell you not to cut a
Sprawl, old age and lean local budgets are behind a steady loss in the number of mature trees in
many U.S. cities, according to American Forests, a non-profit conservation group based in
A study conducted by the group showed urban areas had 21 percent less tree cover in 2003
compared to a decade before.
Trees save cities millions each year by improving air quality, lowering energy use and reducing
storm water runoff. Deborah Gangloff, executive director of American Forests, cites research
that suggests trees raise worker productivity, aid healing and boost spending by shoppers.
Worshiped by ancient religions and praised by poets, trees were rooted in the American
consciousness even before John Chapman sprinkled apple seeds across the nation's then frontier
in the early 19th century.
"Trees invoke a tremendous amount of passion in individuals and in communities," said Dan
Lambe, vice president of programs for the National Arbor Day Foundation.
FLOCK OF CONTROVERSY
That passion played out in public in San Francisco after a property owner in October cut down
the first of several trees last year favored by a wild -- and now celebrated -- flock of parrots.
City officials responded to the ensuing outcry by approving a program in January that protects
trees designated as landmarks.
Since then, the city's forestry council has outlined goals to upgrade an urban forest whose
origins date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when a a nearly treeless landscape
In the lakefront community of Kirkland, Washington, officials have cut from five to two the
number of healthy trees residents are allowed to fell on their property. Violators face a fine of
up to $1,000 a tree and bear the cost of its replacement.
David Stephenson, manager of the Idaho Community Forestry Program, is among those who
hope such steps will rejuvenate the spirit of planting that infused Western towns a century ago
and provided the framework for their forests today. He worries that the decline of communities'
canopies is linked to an underlying cultural shift.
"People once moved to cities from rural areas and they wanted to bring with them that rural
character, which trees represented," he said. "Now we have generations born and raised in cities
and we are in danger of losing that contact with nature."
Back in Ketchum, where tree cover has declined by an estimated 40 percent since 1993,
residents are still seething over the developer's destruction of the three spruces.
"The community is outraged with that type of behavior," said City Manager Ron LeBlanc.
IPS: ENVIRONMENT:Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy
PARIS, Jul 27 (IPS) - The extreme hot summer in Europe is restricting nuclear energy
generation and showing up the limits of nuclear power, leading environmental activists and
The heat wave since mid-June has led authorities in France, Germany, Spain and elsewhere in
Europe to override their own environmental norms on the maximum temperature of water
drained from the plants' cooling systems.
The French government announced Jul. 24 that nuclear power plants situated along rivers will
be allowed to drain hot water into rivers at higher temperature. The measure is intended "to
guarantee the provision of electricity for the country," according to an official note.
France has 58 nuclear power plants, which produce almost 80 percent of electricity generated in
the country. Of these, 37 are situated near rivers, and use them as outlet for water from their
The drought accompanying the hot summer has reduced the volume of water in the rivers, and
might force some power plants to shut down.
Under normal circumstances, environment rules limit the maximum temperature for waste water
in order to protect river flora and fauna.
"For many years now, French authorities have defended nuclear power arguing that it is clean
energy, good for the environment, and that it will help combat global warming, for it does not
emit greenhouse gases," Stephane Lhomme, coordinator of the environmental network Sortir du
Nucléaire (Phase Out Nuclear Power) told IPS.
"Now, with global warming leading to extreme hot summers, we are witnessing that it is the
other way round," Lhomme said. "Global warming is showing the limits of nuclear power
plants, and nuclear power is destroying our environment."
During the hot summer of 2003, French authorities had allowed nuclear power plants to drain
excessively hot water into rivers, leading to considerable damage to flora and fauna, Lhomme
According to the minutes of the National Surveillance Committee on water drained from
reactors Aug. 21 and Sep. 3 2003, "hot water temperatures might have led to high
concentrations of ammoniac, which is potentially toxic for the rivers' fauna."
The minutes point to a European norm on the concentration of ammoniac in rivers, which
France did not respect.
Meanwhile France is importing some 2000 megawatts of power per day from neighbouring
countries to compensate for shortages in production at nuclear power plants.
While the French authorities have overridden their own environmental norms, in Germany
energy providers have slowed down some nuclear reactors to limit waste water temperature and
to protect flora and fauna.
Reactors Kruemmel, Brunsbuettel and Brokdorf situated along the river Elbe which flows
through Eastern and Northern Germany have all been slowed down. So have traditional fossil
fuel power plants situated along the river Rhine.
The nuclear reactors Isar 1 near Munich, and Neckarwestheim near Stuttgart have being
authorised to drain hotter water into the nearby rivers than normally allowed.
In Spain, the nuclear power plant at Santa Maria de Garoña, one of eight Spanish reactors, was
shut down last weekend due to the high temperatures recorded in the river Ebro, into which the
reactor drains the water used in its cooling system.
The power plant, Spain's oldest, provides 20 percent of the electricity generated in the country.
German energy expert Hermann Scheer says the situation shows a need for radical change in
policy. "We must massively invest in renewable energy sources, and get rid of nuclear power as
soon as possible," he told IPS.
Scheer is president of Eurosolar, the European association for renewable energy resources, and
winner of the 'Alternative Nobel prize' for his commitment to the environment.
In France, nuclear scientist Hubert Reeves urged the government to "invest massively" in
renewable energy resources. "We are behind many of our European partners such as Germany,
Denmark and Spain in this matter, and cannot wait until the energy crisis reaches its climax to
find an alternative to our present model," he told IPS.
A crisis, he said, "is round the corner." Fossil energy sources are about to be exhausted, and
"nuclear technology will not solve present problems within a reasonable period of time.we
should abandon nuclear power and invest in alternative sources." (END/2006)
The New York Times: Aid Groups Are Criticized Over Tsunami Reconstruction
Brick houses built in Aceh Province by the Turkish Red Crescent Society have received the
By JANE PERLEZ
Published: July 27, 2006
MASJID, Indonesia — For a moment, the villagers in this seaside community glimpsed a vision
of a splendid future: houses with shady verandas, a new elementary school and an end to the
squalid barracks that had been their world since the Asian tsunami swept all before it 19 months
Kemal Jufri/Imaji, for The New York Times
Abdullah, left, and his family live in temporary housing built by Oxfam, which has fired several
staff members over its reconstruction effort.
But the houses, built with untreated, rickety wood by the aid agency Save the Children, turned
out to be uninhabitable — some of them were thrown together in three days and nights, the
villagers said. The foundations of the school remain abandoned, overgrown with weeds.
―People are mad,‖ said Innu A. Barkar, the village head, as he walked around the empty houses,
some of them relegated for use as chicken yards. ―The aid workers gave promises, but they
don‘t turn out to be reality.‖
Life in Aceh, the northernmost province of Indonesia where 170,000 people perished in the
December 2004 tsunami, has resumed a semblance of normality.
For the most part, children are in school, roads are being rebuilt, outdoor markets are packed
with local produce, employment is not too hard to find, and even the peace accord between the
national government and separatist guerrillas is sticking. Almost everyone has been moved out
of muddy tents, though many families still live in dilapidated barracks.
But beneath the activity, a veil of disenchantment with international aid agencies pervades, a
feeling that extravagant promises backed by unprecedented donations, large and small, from the
around the world have yet to materialize.
To many, the $8.5 billion that humanitarian agencies, foreign governments and Indonesia say
they will spend on the rebuilding of Aceh seems a mirage. In some ways, they are right. So far,
the World Bank says only $1.5 billion of the $8.5 billion dedicated to the disaster has yet been
More than that, much of what has been spent has not been spent well. A scathing report issued
in mid-July by experts from governments, the United Nations and international aid agencies,
and endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, makes clear that the villagers are not just
Many of the hundreds of aid agencies that poured into Aceh in the aftermath of the tsunami
displayed ―arrogance and ignorance‖ and were often staffed by ―incompetent workers‖ who
came and went quickly, the report said.
Although the billions of dollars in donations translated into a record $7,100 for each affected
person — compared with $3 for each survivor of the 2004 floods in Bangladesh — the people
of Aceh have not seen the fruits of the generosity, the report added.
The assessment, which Mr. Clinton noted in a foreword contained ―uncomfortable reading,‖
rapped the aid agencies for paying more attention to advertising their ―brands‖ and releasing
self-laudatory reports than accounting for their expenditures.
The agencies performed relatively well during the first three months after the tsunami when
they delivered food and water, and kept diseases at bay. Much of that success was ―thanks
largely to local inputs,‖ the report said.
For the longer term reconstruction, the report said that lack of expertise by the agencies had led
to ―shoddy results.‖
House building is in fact the main source of complaint. In some areas, clusters of new houses,
their corrugated iron roofs glinting in the tropical sun, have sprouted in the barren landscape. In
others, row upon row of dilapidated barracks, swollen with families squatting in tiny rooms,
attest to the slow going in building new family dwellings.
In all, about 25,000 houses, constructed by a wide variety of agencies, have been completed out
of a projected 120,000 that are needed, according to the United Nations agency Habitat.
There were many reasons the rebuilding has fallen short, said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, director
of the Indonesian rehabilitation and reconstruction agency.
Flush with donations from the public as never before, the aid agencies felt compelled to press
ahead with building houses even though they lacked experience.
―They said, ‗Let‘s build,‘ ‖ Mr. Kuntoro explained. ―They don‘t talk about contracts; there are
no agreements with contractors. It‘s build houses, boom, boom, boom.‖
He said he had warned the agencies. ―I kept telling them that the type of people they had, the
way they managed, had to change,‖ he said. ―It took until the end of last December to convince
them to change.‖
As for the disappointments in Masjid, Save the Children said it would demolish 371 unusable
houses it had built here and elsewhere, and would repair 200 others.
The agency, which suspended its construction programs in order to investigate what went
wrong, has ordered prefabricated houses from Canada. Starting in September, it plans to train
villagers on how to assemble them, said Mike Kiernan, the group‘s director of communications.
Masjid residents said the houses built for them were uninhabitable.
Three housing inspectors have been fired from the agency for failing to do their jobs, Mr.
Similarly, Oxfam dismissed 10 staff members on grounds of gross misconduct after uncovering
collusion between them and Indonesian contractors that resulted in shoddy houses, said Ian
Small, the director of Oxfam in Aceh.
There were other problems as well, some peculiar to Aceh. One of the big stumbling blocks, for
instance, has been the supply of wood, the most common material in local housing.
The province of Aceh, a great storehouse of timber with some of the most valuable forests in
Indonesia, is also one of the most over-logged places in the nation. In a move to preserve the
endangered forests, the Indonesian rehabilitation and reconstruction agency, which is
overseeing the rebuilding, issued a ruling that basically prohibited the use of wood from Aceh.
The scramble for enough wood for 20,000 one-room temporary houses became an enduring
quest for Kevin Duignan, a building contractor from New Zealand who came to Aceh to head
up the housing efforts of the International Federation of the Red Cross.
To build the houses, he issued families do-it-yourself kits with tools and steel frames bought in
Bangkok. But to get the wood planks for the walls, the Red Cross signed on with a British
timber company, which supplied Baltic pine bought in Scandinavia.
Concerned about potential health problems associated with the wood‘s antitermite treatment, the
Red Cross headquarters in Geneva took two months to approve the contract.
Finally, the wood was milled in Britain, and then shipped via Singapore to Medan, the
Indonesian port just south of Aceh, Mr. Duignan said.
But often the journey by ship from Britain to Singapore took much longer than the three weeks
it was supposed to take, and delivering the wood over Aceh‘s rotten roads ate up still more time.
By mid-July, just 8,900 of the planned 20,000 temporary houses that were supposed to be up
months ago were finished, Mr. Duignan said.
One of the occupants of the tiny new homes, Cut Darnita, decorated her interior with vases of
fabric roses and orchids, a cheery red rug and a coffee table draped with a white linen cloth. The
five-member family lay down mats on the floor to sleep at night.
―It‘s small but nice,‖ she said of the room, about 226 square feet. When would she get a
permanent home? Ms. Darnita shrugged.
Not all the news is bad. Work on a highway down the devastated west coast of the province,
financed by the United States government, is under way, and a new port has opened in
Meulaboh, the seaside town that was smashed to smithereens.
Of the lucky ones with a roof over their heads, those with houses built by the Turkish Red
Crescent Society are the most pleased.
―They‘ve given us good quality,‖ said Khairuman, 45, a building laborer, and his wife, Suginah,
43, as they showed off their blue-tiled bathroom replete with bath and shower in the beachside
community of Lampuuk. Like many Indonesians, they use one name.
The Red Crescent Society paid $10,000 for each brick house, about double the cost of houses
built by other agencies. And it sent a team of engineers with experience from the 1999
earthquake in Turkey.
―The people of Aceh suffered; they need to stay in good houses,‖ said an engineer, Ali Pekoz.
From the sunproof window glass to imported hinges on the doors, the Turks chose the best
fittings, he said.
The harsh analysis by Mr. Clinton‘s evaluation group has prompted some introspection among
the major aid agencies. The criticisms come as some argue here in Aceh, and in Washington,
that more experienced private contractors or national armies should take on future
reconstruction efforts in disaster areas.
But the humanitarian agencies reject that idea, saying they bring a special dimension to the
work that is implied in their very name.
―I suppose we all could have given the billions raised for the effort to the Halliburtons of this
world, and perhaps the job would be done by now,‖ Mr. Small of Oxfam said in a recent speech.
―But would that build a fairer, more accountable and equitable society where the poor are not
left behind for the lack of a voice and where women are empowered to effect change, and
society as a whole has built up the capacity to go forward on its own?‖
ROAP Media Update 28 July, 2006
UN or UNEP in the news
• Technicians gauge sustainability – Vietnam News
General Environment News
• District police chief accused by villagers – Bangkok Post
• HRC insists zinc mine led to illnesses – Bangkok Post
• The grim lessons of Tangshan, 30 years on – Bangkok Post
• Illegal trade of wildlife tops 10 bln dollars: experts – Xinhua
• Keeping Viet Nam's Elephants Secure – Asia News Network
• Strong earthquake rocks some parts of Indonesia – People‘s Daily Online
• ASEAN Targets Biofuels, Efficiency, as Energy Fix – Planet Ark
• China Ramps Up Efficiency Drive, Eyes Fuel Tax – Planet Ark
UN or UNEP in the news
Technicians gauge sustainability
Viet Nam News, Vietnam - (26-07-2006)
HA NOI — About 20 technology consultants and providers from throughout Viet Nam have
spent four days learning how to evaluate sustainability.
The participants in the course, held at the Ha Noi University of Technology by the Viet Nam
Cleaner Production Centre, were taught to make their evaluations through use of a methodology
developed by the United Nations Environment Programme‘s International Environmental
Titled, Sustainability Assessment of Technology (SAT), the system allows for both the strategic
and operational evaluation of technology based on the so-called three pillars of sustainability –
the economy, the society and the environment.
The course focused on teaching the participants to make the assessments through the various
elements and tools of the methodology.
Deputy director Surya Prakash Chandak of the International Environmental Technology Centre
and Dr Prasad Modak of the Environment Management Centre, India, were among the
SAT had been specifically developed by his centre to promote more informed technology
choices, Surya Prakash Chandak told the learners.
World competition made it important that technologies were not only economically attractive
but were also environmentally sound and socially responsible, he said.
The training was to equip promoters of cleaner production support sustainable development.
It was now well known that cleaner production could deliver economic, environmental and
Cleaner production could be applied in several ways, from nil to low-cost options as better
process control to high-cost as technology change.
Viet Nam Cleaner Production managing director Ngo Thi Nga said that although cleaner
production could provide industrial enterprises with significant savings, the full potential of
cleaner production could be explored only by applying new technology.
The selection of technology in Viet Nam had not been based on systematic assessment covering
all aspects of sustainability.
The result was that the technologies selected may not be the most sustainable.
Viet Nam has several ways to assess technology assessment primarily those developed by the
Science and Technology Departments of Da Nang, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and HCM City.
They differ from each other and mostly focus on technology performance and its economic
The introduction of SAT was expected to provide consultants with a more comprehensive tool.
The wider dissemination and practice of SAT was expected to help industries in Viet Nam as it
moved toward sustainable industrial development, said Nga.
Technology was one of the most critical factors influencing the competitiveness of any
business, especially industry, she said.
There were many possibilities and options to improve the existing technologies.
These included tighter process controls, better management, the up-grading of equipment or its
replacement with more efficient, cleaner technologies.
But the last option usually required heavy investment and decisions about investment was
traditionally based on its techno-economic feasibility.
Such decision-making was not comprehensive enough to cover all aspects of sustainable
development. — VNS
General Environment News
District police chief accused by villagers
Bangkok Post, 28 July 2006 - CHEEWIN SATTHA
Mae Hong Son _ The Mae Sariang district police chief was facing an immediate transfer
yesterday for alleged involvement in illegal logging in the Salween national park. Villagers at
Ban Huay Nong Wai staged a rally to prevent Pol Col Werachai Bang-nguen taking 25 teak logs
seized from the Huay Ngu area of the park out of the forest.
Village head Saluwa Muanjan said they suspected the policeman because he launched a
crackdown without seeking cooperation from forest officials.
He also failed to arrest anybody in the so-called crackdown and prepared to use prison trucks
and private trucks to transport the seized logs instead of forest office vehicles, covered the logs
with plastic sheets as if to hide them.
Pol Col Werachai insisted that he did not break any law.
The Mae Hong Son governor told a team of investigators to look into the villagers' accusations
and then reported its findings to Police Region 5 chief Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na
Pol Col Werachai will be further questioned by a special team comprising provincial officials,
police and villagers which will start its investigation this week, said provincial clerk Pongdet
Tipdet, who will head the inquiry.
Mae Hong Son province is to present a certificate to Mr Saluwa today for his efforts to protect
HRC insists zinc mine led to illnesses
Bangkok Post, 28 July 2006 - KULTIDA SAMABUDDHI
Giant zinc mining company Padaeng Industries has been discharging toxic substances into
natural streams, leading to heavy metal contamination in the environment and cadmium
poisoning among villagers in Tak's Mae Sot district, says the National Human Rights
Commission. ''The cadmium contamination in the rice fields and natural streams did not happen
naturally as state agencies and the company have claimed, but was caused by the company's
mining operation,'' an NHRC report said yesterday.
The NHRC said the Basic Industries and Mine Department was negligent in failing to get the
private company to implement more environmental impact mitigation measures.
Padaeng senior manager Unnop Tungkananukulchai dismissed the NHRC's report, saying the
company's zinc mining operation in the district had nothing to do with the cadmium
contamination or the villagers' sickness.
''We have not violated any state guidelines concerning mining operations or environmental
impact mitigation measures.
''We also run a wastewater treatment facility as required,'' said Mr Unnop.
Cadmium contamination was detected in tambons Mae Tao, Prathat Padaeng and Mae Ku in
Tak province in early 2004 by foreign scientists from the International Water Management
Institute (IWMI), which found that several hundred villagers in the tambons had ''rather high''
and ''high'' levels of cadmium in their blood, suspected to have come from eating cadmium-
State agencies, including the Pollution Control, the Disease Control, and Mineral Resources
departments, inspected the area and concluded the cadmium contamination occurred naturally
as the area was located near cadmium and zinc deposits.
However, after two years of investigation, the NHRC yesterday insisted that contamination was
caused by Padaeng Industries' mining operation, not by natural sources as alleged.
The company failed to put in place wastewater treatment plants to treat toxic-contamination
water from its mine, and should be held to account, it said.
''The company should be ordered to suspend its mining operation until it completes a clean-up
of the contaminated soil and water in the area,'' said human rights commissioner Wasant Panich,
who supervised the investigation.
It should also pay for medical treatment costs of affected villagers, he said
The grim lessons of Tangshan, 30 years on
Bangkok Post, 28 July 2006 - By BILL SMITH
Beijing _ Scientists have long seen the 1976 Tangshan earthquake as a nadir for seismology, but
only recently has China begun to explore the painful possibility that officials sat on experts'
predictions. The lack of any official warning led to an enormous casualty toll of at least 240,000
dead and 400,000 injured in the northern city of Tangshan, according to Chinese government
statistics, though other estimates put the number of dead at up to 650,000.
Experts from the China Earthquake Administration (CEA), such as Geng Qingguo and Huang
Xiangming, learned later that ''their predictions were ignored by the authorities'', according to
author Zhang Qingzhou.
On July 14, 1976, Mr Huang submitted a ''very accurate'' written prediction of an earthquake of
magnitude 5 or above between July 15 and Aug 5, said Mr Zhang, who interviewed many
surviving experts for his recent book, Record of the Tangshan Warning. Another local
seismologist, Tian Jianwu, told a meeting in Tangshan the same day that an earthquake
measuring at least 7.0 on the Richter scale would hit the city within three weeks.
''Although their equipment was out of date, when we go back to look at the history, we and the
China Earthquake Administration have to admit that Tian made an accurate prediction at that
time,'' said Mr Zhang, 46.
International experts agree that the Tangshan earthquake was highly predictable.
''Retrospectively there was enough data,'' said Gary Gibson, principal research seismologist at
Australia's Seismology Research Centre. ''Precursors were recorded but not recognised.''
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the northern Chinese industrial city for 15 seconds in the
early hours of July 28, 1976. Fifteen hours later, an aftershock measuring 7.1 on the Richter
scale killed survivors of the first earthquake who were still trapped under rubble or inside
buildings. Interviews with survivors found that many had heard by word of mouth that a big
earthquake was predicted in the area, but few had the reliable information that might have
prompted them to flee.
Tangshan lies on an earthquake belt stretching across northern China and includes the capital
Beijing, 180km west of Tangshan. The belt is not at a plate boundary like many other
earthquake zones, but in an ''area of enhanced activity'' that scientists do not fully understand.
The 1976 earthquake was so devastating because the epicentre was close to the surface and
under an urban area. The first public report on the earthquake was only issued three years later
by the government's official Xinhua news agency, partly because of the aftermath of the chaotic
communist fundamentalism during the 1966-1976 ''Cultural Revolution''.
The ailing Mao Zedong, who died on Sept 9, 1976, was still the nominal ruler of China in July
1976. But the ''Gang of Four,'' led by Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, controlled much of the state
apparatus. Rival factions controlled other spheres within the government and the ruling
The timing of one of the world's most devastating earthquakes, just six weeks before Mao's
death, helped to revive ancient Chinese superstitions that claim major natural disasters foretell
the demise of the emperor.
Xinhua journalist Xu Xuejiang wrote the first public report on the earthquake casualties in
1979. Mr Xu's report gave the official death toll of 240,000 and was approved by the
government to ''publish the truth and quash the rumours'', the Taiwan-based China Times on
Wednesday quoted Mr Xu as saying. The CEA called Xinhua many times to complain that Mr
Xu's report omitted an earlier assertion, by officials loyal to the Gang of Four, of ''factional
interference in the system'' contributing to the scale of the disaster.
Thirty years after the earthquake, it now seems that CEA leaders wanted to reinstate the phrase,
already ideologically dated by 1979, to make themselves look less culpable.
Mei Shirong worked for the administration in Beijing in 1976, when most intellectuals were still
persecuted and the leadership of all workplaces was highly politicised. ''Although the scientific
power in the capital was strong enough, the scientists worried a lot,'' Mr Zhang quotes Mr Mei
as saying in his book.
The book was finally published last year after nearly 10 years of research. Mr Zhang's efforts to
publish it in 2000 were blocked by the CEA, which complained of ''serious problems'' in the
He still believes it is ''impossible'' that top government officials knew about the warnings of a
probable earthquake, implying that CEA leaders failed to act on the experts' predictions. ''All
the predictions had only reached the Earthquake Administration,'' Mr Zhang said. DP
Illegal trade of wildlife tops 10 bln dollars: experts
BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The illegal trade of wild animals and plants has exceeded 10
billion U.S. dollars, becoming the third largest source of illegal trade, after drugs and guns,
According to a press release of an international conference on wildlife trade crimes, experts
attending the meeting said illegal trade of wildlife has threatened the species's survival,
disturbed market order, caused tax loss, and might stir ecological and health hazards.
The conference, co-organized by the Interpol, China's Ministry of Public Security, and State
Forestry Bureau, ended here on Thursday, according to the press release from the China's police
It said the conference was participated by representatives of Interpol, The Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES), police and wildlife protection groups from
21 countries and regions.
They asked all relevant nations to enhance international co-operation in combating crimes on
wildlife, including the exchange of information, law-enforcement personnel, and technology,
the press release said. Enditem
Keeping Viet Nam's Elephants Secure
By Nguyen Anh Tuan, Viet Nam News, Publication Date: 25-07-2006
On a recent trip to the Pu Mat National Park in April, no elephants were visible. Ten per cent of
the total elephant population of Viet Nam is located in the 91,000ha natural reserve.
Giant footprints spread from the Kem Waterfall to the Thoi Stream along the Truong Son
Mountain along the Lao border. From the camera traps, photos show that elephants seem
comfortable in their habitats in Pu Mat of Nghe An Province. They seem easy to pacify, as they
were shown very close to humans without attacking them.
"There were times when we were on fire duty at night deep in the jungle, and we hit the trunk of
a passing elephant as we opened the door. The elephant just turned away," said head of the Pha
Lai rangers post Tran Xuan Long.
He added that normally the elephants would not attack humans if they were not provoked first.
But Nguyen Van Dien, deputy director of Pu Mat National Park, reported an encounter with
four elephants without tusks at the end of last March. A few days later, a female elephant was
spotted wandering near the Kem Waterfall.
Another report says that in the hamlets scattered around the park, the elephants were seen
attacking domesticated buffaloes.
The park has many signposts knocked down by elephants, whose footprints lined the path.
Locals in the mountainous districts of Ha Tinh Province say they have seen a group of three to
five elephants. They came very close to the hamlets and had destroyed crops in neighbouring
areas last April and May.
Their latest appearance was at Son Tay Commune, when locals said there was an older and frail
elephant, who moved slowly and in a small area. He was reported to have uprooted the cassava,
drunk water and walked into Nguyen Khac Long‘s home.
After destroying his house, kitchen, well, cattle stable and orchard for nearly 40 minutes, the
elephant walked along the stream and withdrew into the jungle.
From the 46cm diameter footprints and the manure left behind, local veterinarians said this
elephant could have contracted food poisoning from eating vegetables sprayed with pesticide.
According to experts, wild elephants become enraged when their habitat is damaged or
shrunken. Deforestation has led to human casualties from elephant attacks.
Two years ago, in Quang Nam Province on the central coast, two men were killed by elephants.
Le Thanh Trung and his wife were sleeping at night when a loud crash in front of their house
woke them up. Trung walked out to check and never came back. His wife could only hear him
yell "Great Trunk, Great Trunk".
Trung was knocked down and trampled to death. In another commune, 35-year-old Nguyen
Thanh Son was also killed by an enraged wild elephant.
In the mountainous Son La Province in the north, wild elephants wandered into residential
areas, drawing many curious onlookers. Some even brought hunting dogs with them, and the
noise, the crowd and the tension incited the elephants. One killed Phang A Then.
Out of a total of 14 elephant habitats in Viet Nam, deadly conflicts have occurred in nine of
them, (please see map). The most serious conflict between 1993-1998 was in Dong Nai
Province, where 12 people were killed and in Tanh Linh jungle of Binh Thuan Province, where
13 people were killed.
These incidents have led to an acute warning issued by the National Rangers: Elephants are
feeling unsafe in their habitat and they keep moving to new areas to find food and shelter.
Even in the Pu Mat National Park, where pristine rain forest is protected, signs started to show
that the elephants‘ natural habitat has been affected.
Drawing new reserves
On May 16, 2006, then deputy prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decision to set up an
Emergency Plan of Action to preserve the country‘s elephants by 2010.
The elephants will be counted by electric population control chips and three special national
reserves will be set up. The biggest reserve will be located at Buon Don in Dac Lac, the
country‘s famous home of elephant tamers.
The reserve spreads to Ea Sup (also in Dac Lac Province) and stretches over to part of Dac
Nong Province with two groups of wild elephants currently living there. The total elephant land
will be 250,000ha, embracing the current Yok Don National Park, a traditional centre for
The second special reserve will be in Dong Nai Province, where 10 elephants currently live in a
stable habitat. This area provides an estimated 160,000ha of land for wild elephants, stretching
over the Cat Tien National Park and the Vinh Cuu Natural Reserve.
The last reserve will cover the south-western part of Nghe An province, including the Pu Mat
National Park and stretches of border forests in four districts incorporated with neighbouring
Laotian counterparts. This area will cover a 200,000ha wild elephant reserve.
All the above mentioned zones are current wild elephant habitats, as they cover large swaths of
land with the rich sources of food, water, and minerals needed to sustain the giant creatures.
Strong earthquake rocks some parts of Indonesia
People‘s Daily Online, 28 July 2006 - A strong earthquake rocked some parts of Indonesia's
North and West Sumatra provinces on Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of
casualties or concerns for possible tsunami, according to official sources.
The earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck at 18:16 p.m. local time (1116 GMT) was
centered under the Indian Ocean, about 90 km northwest of Gunung Sitoli, the main town on
Nias island, an official of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.
"It strongly jolted Gunung Sitoli, but so far, we have not yet received any report of damage or
casualties," the official said.
He also aid that the quake was 33 km under the sea.
ASEAN Targets Biofuels, Efficiency, as Energy Fix
VIENTIANE - Southeast Asian nations pledged to meet growing energy demand and cut
painful oil imports by boosting renewables and energy efficiency, but stopped short of setting
regional targets on Thursday.
Energy ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) touted biofuels as
a key way of dealing with record oil prices, though industry officials meeting in Laos talked
more of domestic oil exploration and coal for power.
"High oil prices are clear risks to sustained economic growth of the ASEAN region," ministers
said in a communique after the annual meeting.
"Improvements in energy efficiency and increases in the contribution from renewable energies
to supplies are both important for achieving a sustainable energy future."
The ministers called for continued investment in energy production and infrastructure, support
and increased research to expand renewables, as well as measures to prepare better for
emergencies and capacity to cope with supply disruptions.
South Korea said on Wednesday it would propose joint oil stockpiling with the ASEAN region,
as it was due to meet ASEAN energy ministers on Thursday, together with Japan and China.
The region's top oil consumer, China, told a conference in the Laotian capital that oil prices
were too high to start filling its strategic reserve.
It also said it would gradually raise power tariffs and retail fuel prices towards international
Subsidised prices help prop up demand by keeping fuel cheap for consumers, but there was no
mention of further price rises among southeast Asian countries. Malaysia and Indonesia have
both said they will not raise prices again this year.
The ASEAN ministers said energy security was the shared responsibility of producers and
consumers, matching recent comments from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Producer cartel OPEC has called for a demand road map from consumers and better data on
demand forecasts to help plan investment in extra supply capacity.
Indonesia said it had a target for 10 percent biofuels by 2009, while Thailand aims to displace
230,000 barrels per day or about a quarter of its of oil consumption by 2020 using ethanol in
cars and by switching vehicles to run on gas.
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace said it welcomed the ministers' statement on
renewables other than hydropower, but hoped it was not merely rhetoric since southeast Asia
had some of the largest renewable energy potential in the world.
Story by Neil Chatterjee, Story Date: 28/7/2006
China Ramps Up Efficiency Drive, Eyes Fuel Tax
BEIJING - China, struggling to meet energy efficiency targets, has ramped up its conservation
drive with pledges from regional governments and top firms to cut usage and a renewed push
toward a long-touted fuel tax.
The energy-policy setting National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) held a top-
level meeting on Wednesday to discuss progress towards a goal of making a 20 percent cut by
2010 in the energy consumed to generate each unit of national income.
Regional leaders and representatives from 14 of the country's major firms signed pledges to
meet specific targets, the Commission said in a statement on its Web site (www.sdpc.gov.cn),
without giving the company names.
China wants to crack down on the country's energy appetite to tackle a growing dependence on
imported oil and the impact of fossil fuels on its increasingly battered environment.
It is targeting energy-intensive industries such as steel, power generation, petrochemicals and
construction and also encouraged small-scale domestic savings such as turning up the
temperature in air-conditioned buildings and installing solar water heaters.
But the official China Securities Journal reported that growth in energy consumption had
outpaced soaring first-half economic expansion of nearly 11 percent, suggesting an uphill
struggle to hit the target.
"In the first half of the year... the speed of increase of energy consumption out-paced the speed
of gross domestic product growth," the paper said, without giving a source or a specific figure
for the increase in energy use.
"This means that there is a large question mark over whether we will meet this year's target for a
4 percent cut in energy efficiency," the paper added.
China's energy use for each dollar of national income generated is 3.4 times the world average,
the official Xinhua news agency said.
Beijing has added energy-saving to the list of criteria used to decide officials' career prospects,
in a bid to reverse decades of exhortations to promote economic growth at any cost, and some
officials are promoting wider use of market mechanisms.
"China still labours behind (other countries) on energy efficiency," Chen Deming, vice
chairman of the NDRC, told an Asian energy forum in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, on
FUEL TAX NEEDED
Vice Finance Minister Liao Xiaojun told the meeting China should offer tax breaks for efficient
equipment and focus on using market mechanisms to discourage wasteful use.
"China should closely track changes in international oil prices and prices, and actively create
conditions to promote the introduction of a fuel tax as soon as possible," the China Securities
Journal said in a summary of Liao's comments.
The government keeps tight control over diesel and gasoline markets, but has raised pump
prices twice this year.
Beijing has touted the possibility of a fuel tax for years, but with drivers already grumbling
about an increase of 15 percent in state-set prices since the start of 2006, officials have shied
away from implementing the unpopular idea.
With worries spreading about rapid economic growth, stricter controls on energy use could offer
a way to rein in both industrial expansion and property development, however.
"The meeting... (offered) yet another sign that the tightening campaign is ramping up and that
authorities are melding their policy objectives of curbing runaway investment growth and
improving energy efficiency," the Eurasia Group said in a research note.
The NDRC has also threatened to cut off electricity to energy-intensive firms that "blindly
expand" their capacity, the report added, signalling a tougher approach in a campaign that has
until now been based more on slogans than actions. (Additional reporting by Neil Chatterjee in
Story by Emma Graham-Harrison
Story Date: 28/7/2006
ROLAC Media Update 28 July 2006
• SOUTH AMERICA: Reconciling Mega-projects and the Environment
• BRAZIL: Clean Air for Latin American Cities
• VENEZUELA: Chávez Aims to Divert Sewage from River
• The World Bank founded a Clean Air Institute to help fight smog in Latin America
SOUTH AMERICA: Reconciling Mega-projects and the Environment
BUENOS AIRES, (IPS) - Following announcements of several large-scale joint infrastructure
projects among South American countries, social organisations have called for common
legislation to protect natural resources and the environment.
"The environment knows no political borders. We share natural resources, and are jointly
responsible for their protection," Cecilia Iglesias, of the Environmental Network Civil
Association and a member of the governmental Argentine Civil Society Consultative Council
commission, told IPS.
As a result of Venezuelan efforts, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay finally signed onto the
"Pipeline of the South" construction project, already agreed by Caracas, Brasilia and Buenos
Aires. The 8,000-kilometre pipeline will extend from Venezuela's Caribbean coast to the Río de
la Plata estuary (between Argentina and Uruguay).
"We are very concerned, not only about the Pipeline of the South, but also about the wider-
reaching Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), which is working to
unify South America's 12 countries through bridges, roads, dams and oil and gas pipelines, but
at a high financial and environmental cost," warned Víctor Ricco, of the non-governmental
Centre for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA).
IIRSA was created at the 2000 regional summit in Brasilia to help coordinate infrastructure
initiatives among governments in the region, and served as a launching point for the South
American Community of Nations, which was formally established in 2004 in the Peruvian city
The projects will be funded through loans from the Andean Development Corporation, the
Inter-American Development Bank and the Financial Fund for the Development of the Plata
Basin, among other credit entities.
In all, 335 mega-infrastructure projects are currently in the works, most of which are focused on
energy, transport and telecommunications, with a combined estimated price tag of 37.4 billion
"Information on these projects is scarce, but we do know they will sharply increase debt loads.
If Mercosur incorporated regulation addressing the integral interconnectedness of ecosystems,
we could see the combined impact of these projects," said Ricco. The main proponents of the
joint infrastructure plans are Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, full members of the Southern
Common Market (Mercosur) along with Paraguay and Uruguay. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia,
Ecuador and Peru are external associates of the bloc. The need to see natural resources from a
regional and environmental perspective was also a concern raised in the "1st Regional Meeting
for a Productive and Service-oriented Mercosur" held Jul. 19-21 in the central Argentine city of
Córdoba, parallel to the Jul. 21 summit of Mercosur leaders in the same city.
"A river is connected to a basin, a watershed and an aquifer, and the bloc's environmental
regulations need to protect ecosystems as a whole," Ricco told IPS.
Among the proposals put forward by civil society organisations involved in the meetings was
that "highly polluting activities and industries should be regulated within a regional
environmental protection framework that recognises ecosystems as integral units." They also
recommended harmonising environmental protection standards among the bloc's member
countries, guaranteeing access to public information and carrying out regional environmental
"Independently of each project's environmental impact study, a strategic assessment would
examine the region as a whole, without political boundaries, before the projects are
implemented," explained Iglesias.
Environmentalists say this strategy would help prevent bilateral conflicts, such as the current
dispute between Buenos Aires and Montevideo over the construction of two paper pulp mills on
the east bank of the Uruguay River, which forms a border between Argentina and Uruguay.
The pulp mills are being built close together on the Uruguayan side of the river, the use of
which is governed by a 1975 bilateral treaty.
This year the Argentine government brought the matter to the International Court of Justice at
The Hague, alleging that the treaty had been breached. While the issue has not yet been
definitively resolved, the Court ruled on Jul. 13 against Buenos Aires's request to order a halt to
the construction of the plants.
"There is no question -- the conflict between Argentina and Uruguay could have been prevented
if Mercosur had protocols to deal with the installment of highly polluting industries, especially
if they guaranteed access to information on the impact of such projects," said Ricco.
However, this is not the first time controversy has arisen due to the international nature of a
project's potential environmental impact. The Pascua Lama mining project in the Andes
mountains has faced opposition because it threatens glaciers on both sides of the Argentine-
Ricco said economic development that compromises the ability of future generations to satisfy
their needs is unacceptable. "The Mercosur vision should be founded on sustainable
development, in order to help prevent potentially irreversible damage," he maintained.
BRAZIL: Clean Air for Latin American Cities
RIO DE JANEIRO - Sustainable transport that improves quality of life and reduces greenhouse
gases is the theme of the Clean Air in Latin American Cities Initiative conference that is
drawing experts, political leaders and environmentalists to Sao Paulo Jul. 25-27.
The Initiative, a cooperative instrument involving seven large cities, development agencies,
private businesses, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions, has worked since
1998 to reduce urban pollution. The forum promotes training, fosters the sharing of experiences
and technology, and acts as a catalyst to spark dialogue among the various sectors.
The conference marks the beginning of a new phase, whose main objective is to ―consolidate a
regional strategy to improve air quality,‖ through an institute designed to boost membership,
funding and action plans, Sergio Sánchez, executive secretary with the Initiative, told
VENEZUELA: Chávez Aims to Divert Sewage from River
CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez predicted the day will soon come when he
can swim in the emblematic Guaire river, which flows eastward through Caracas for 53 of its 70
kilometres, picking up residential and industrial waste along the way.
He made the declaration when outlining clean-up programs after the recent inauguration of a
new city subway line.
Environment Minister Jacqueline Farías told Tierramérica that "this dream will be within reach
by October, when a system of new sewage collectors set approximately halfway down the river
is put into operation."
While the system will reduce the flow of the Guaire, the river will be cleaner.
A treatment plant will be built on the Guaire just before the point in which it empties into the
Tuy River. The 450-million-dollar project is scheduled to be completed by 2013, said Farías.
The World Bank founded a Clean Air Institute to help fight smog in Latin America, where road
traffic is the leading cause of pollution killing thousands of people a year.
The new institute aims to improve air quality and fight climate change through a partnership of
cities, private business and non-governmental organizations, the bank said in statement late on
The World Bank will back the new body with investment and lending operations for the urban
transport, energy and environmental sectors.
The transportation sector is the leading cause of air pollution in Latin American cities, with
about 4,000 premature deaths every year in Chile's capital Santiago due to air pollution, the
Latin America has 133 cities with populations over 500,000, ranking as the most urbanized
region in the developing world.
Cities are home to more than three-quarters of Latin Americans, and that that proportion is
expected to grow to 89 percent by 2030, the bank said.
The institute will succeed and encompass a clean air initiative which the World Bank had earlier
"The Institute will serve as an important bridge between cities seeking solutions and donors,
government agencies, and solution providers from the private sector," Institute chairman Mario
Molina said in a statement.
"The World Bank will continue to be engaged with the Clean Air Initiative agenda through
investment operations related to urban transport, energy, and environment; and through
development policy lending operations." said Abel Mejia, the bank's environment sector
manager for Latin America.
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
27 July, 2006
In the headlines:
• Security Council calls for comprehensive Israeli
inquiry into killing of UN peacekeepers
• As conflict rages in southern Lebanon, UN to send
more convoys of emergency supplies
• Iraq and UN join forces to launch Compact to
support peace and reconstruction
• Dialogue needed in Côte d‘Ivoire to smooth path to
peace, UN envoy says
• Nepal: UN team arrives to forge ‗common
understanding‘ on peace process role
• DR Congo: rebel coalition in east lays down arms in
• UN envoy presses for resumption of peace talks in
letter to Somali Islamic leader
• UN reparations panel pays out nearly $396.5
million for Iraq‘s invasion of Kuwait
• In Sri Lanka, UN refugee chief calls on all sides to
allow displaced to return home
• Fighting to curb drugs from Afghanistan, UN
agency to help train officers in Central Asia
• Mongolian sumo star becomes UNESCO Artist for
Security Council calls for comprehensive Israeli inquiry into killing of UN peacekeepers
27 July - Voicing its shock and distress at the Israeli Defence Forces‘ (IDF) killing of four
unarmed United Nations military observers in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, the Security
Council today called on the Israeli Government to conduct a full investigation.
In a statement read out by Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière of France, its President for
July, the 15-member Council stressed that ―Israel and all concerned parties must comply fully
with their obligations‖ under international humanitarian law on the protection of UN and
associated personnel, and ensure that UN staff are not the object of attack.
Extending its deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the Council offered its
sympathies to the governments of Austria, Canada, China and Finland, the nationalities of the
fallen military observers from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
The Council also expressed ―deep concern for Lebanese and Israeli civilian casualties and
sufferings, the destruction of civil infrastructure and the rising number‖ of internally displaced
persons (IDPs) in Lebanon.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has already condemned the attack, while accepting an expression
of sorrow from Israel‘s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and proposing a joint UN-Israeli
investigation into the killings.
The Council statement called on Israel to ―conduct a comprehensive inquiry‖ and take into
account any material gathered by the UN, and publish its results as soon as possible.
Presidential statement on Lebanon
Three of the military observers, who were stationed at a long-standing UNIFIL post near the
Lebanese town of Khiyam, have been confirmed dead, while the body of the fourth observer has
not yet been recovered. The peacekeepers were killed when their post was struck in a direct hit
by the IDF early on Tuesday evening, despite repeated requests during the afternoon from
UNIFIL officials to Israel to protect that particular post from attack.
Meanwhile, in a statement today UNIFIL reported that in the past 24 hours there have been
three incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side, while Hezbollah is reported
to have fired from the vicinity of four UN positions.
More than 600 civilians from the southern Lebanese town of Naqoura and neighbouring villages
have been sheltering inside UNIFIL‘s headquarters in Naqoura in recent days, but most have
now been given a humanitarian escort to the city of Tyre.
As conflict rages in southern Lebanon, UN to send more convoys of emergency supplies
27 July - Responding to the increasing humanitarian crisis in war-ravaged Lebanon, the United
Nations will send two additional convoys of emergency supplies to the south of the country
a UN spokesman said, following the successful aid delivery to the devastated port city of Tyre
―Those convoys, which are being organized by the World Food Programme (WFP), are to go to
the towns of Jezzine and Sidon, and we also hope to go deeper into the south in the following
Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.
With more than one fifth of Lebanon‘s 3.8 million population believed to have abandoned their
homes to escape the conflict,
WFP said in a news release that it plans to increase the number of people targeted by its
contribution to the emergency operation.
Yesterday‘s UN relief convoy, which carried supplies from WFP, the UN Children‘s Fund
(UNICEF), the World Health
Organization (WHO) and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA),
passed thousands of displaced people on the road heading for safe havens. According to one
WFP staff member, the towns and villages that these people have abandoned resemble ―ghost
WFP is responsible for providing logistics support – trucking, warehousing and
communications – to the UN relief operation in Lebanon and has deployed 20 staff to Beirut in
response to the escalating crisis, while support structures have been established in Damascus,
Syria and Larnaca, Cyprus.
Almost 360 Lebanese have been killed in the conflict so far with an estimated 1,500 injured, the
great majority civilians, the
UN‘s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest situation
report, highlighting that 42
Israelis have also died in nearly two weeks of fighting.
―The conflict continues to cause enormous damage to residential areas and key civilian
infrastructure with hundreds of bridges and road networks, mainly in the south [of Lebanon],
systematically destroyed, leaving entire communities in the south inaccessible and hampering
relief operations,‖ OCHA said.
Out of an estimated 800,000 people affected by the violence, around 700,000 have fled their
homes, with 125,000 or so staying in schools and public institutions in Lebanon and 150,000
estimated to have crossed the border into Syria, it added.
Mother comforts children in Lebanon
Iraq and UN join forces to launch Compact to support peace and reconstruction
27 July - The United Nations and the Iraqi Government announced today the formal launch of
International Compact with Iraq, a new partnership with the international community that aims
to consolidate peace and pursue political, economic and social development over the next five
years in the violence-torn country.
―The Compact, jointly chaired by the Government of the Republic of Iraq and the United
Nations, with the support of the World Bank, will, over the next five years, bring together the
international community and multilateral organizations to help Iraq achieve its national vision,‖
Marie Okabe, spokesperson for Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told reporters in New York.
Ms. Okabe explained that vision as that of ―a united, federal and democratic country, at peace
with its neighbours and itself, well on its way to sustainable economic self-sufficiency and
prosperity and well integrated in its region and the world.‖
To achieve this vision, she said, the Iraqi Government has committed itself to making progress
on political inclusion and consensus building, the rule of law, and the establishment of
professional security forces.
Responding to requests by the country‘s leaders last month, Mr. Annan worked closely with
them, as well as the donor community, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), other UN
agencies, and the World Bank ―to come up with a joint approach to support the new
Government,‖ as he described it at the time.
Mr. Annan designated the Deputy Secretary-General, Mark Malloch Brown, as his focal point
in New York for the Compact, and his Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, in the same role on
the ground in Iraq.
Earlier this month, Mr. Malloch Brown conferred with Iraqi leaders on helping the Government
set up a Preparatory Group for the Compact, with support from the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other regional financial institutions.
According to a joint statement issued today by the UN and the Iraqi Government, the finalized
Compact, including key priorities, benchmarks and commitments, will be presented by Baghdad
by the end of the year.
Dialogue needed in Côte d’Ivoire to smooth path to peace, UN envoy says
27 July - Accelerated progress toward elections in Côte d‘Ivoire that was sparked by the summit
of regional leaders convened by Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier this month has also
brought to the fore tensions that ignited recent violence, which need to be eased through
dialogue, a UN envoy said today.
―It is because there has been some progress that we have touched some nerves, which were
Gérard Stoudmann, High Representative for the Elections in Côte d‘Ivoire, told journalists at
UN Headquarters in New York. He emphasized the need for confidence-building measures to
address fears of electoral fraud in the country, which has been divided between north and south
since an aborted coup in 2002.
Mr. Stoudmann said there were ―completely understandable‖ fears within President Laurent
Gbagbo‘s party that a voteridentification scheme would turn foreigners into Ivorians, producing
a new electoral list and denying their party any chance of winning at the polls.
The Government must address such fears through dialogue and public information, he said.
―There‘s a lot of confidence
Gérard Stoudmann building, there‘s a lot of public information which is needed and which has
to be done by the Government.‖
Unfortunately, he said, Mr. Gbagbo‘s party had decided to boycott the initial phase of the
identification process, inspiring the Young Patriots youth group, which in January had
destroyed UN humanitarian offices during riots in the western part of the country, to take to the
streets. Opposition parties had countered them and violence and deaths had resulted.
The fighting had now eased or stopped altogether, but, while the envoy expressed confidence
that the peace process would continue, he said there was much at stake and the road ahead
would be ―bumpy‖ because the process was not perfect, relying on the interdependent pillars of
disarmament, identification and elections.
Mr. Stoudmann was hopeful, however, that elections would take place on time by 30 October.
He said a mini-summit would be held at UN Headquarters in mid-September to determine the
electoral timetable and other details.
Nepal: UN team arrives to forge ‘common understanding’ on peace process role
27 July - A high-level United Nations team has arrived in Nepal aiming to forge a ―common
understanding‖ about the scope and nature of a UN role in the peace process in the strife-torn
Himalayan kingdom, with the head of the mission stressing it will take into account views from
all sectors of society.
The visit comes after Secretary-General Kofi Annan said last week that recent developments in
the country provide an ―unprecedented opportunity‖ to achieve a negotiated solution to the 10
years of conflict between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
―Through consultations with all concerned, the mission seeks to forge a common understanding
about the scope and nature of the UN role in the peace process. The inclusive nature of our
consultations is fundamental,‖ said Staffan de Mistura, the head of the delegation.
―In addition to its contacts with the Government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist), it will also meet with leaders of political parties and members of parliament, civil
society organizations, the news media, and representatives of the international community.‖
Mr. de Mistura, who until recently was the Secretary-General‘s Deputy Special Representative
for Iraq, stressed that clarity among all concerned is ―absolutely essential if the UN is to play an
effective role as an impartial third party.‖
The mission, which is scheduled to be in Nepal until 3 August, includes staff with expertise in
peace processes in other countries around the world, and across a range of disciplines. It will
work mainly in the capital Kathmandu but its members may also carry out visits to the interior
of the country.
―As it shares its expertise and explains the UN‘s methods of work, the mission will also be
taking close note of the particular needs and characteristics of Nepal,‖ he stressed, adding that it
has not come to the Himalayan kingdom with any ―preestablished formulas or timetables in
After completing its work, the mission will report to the Secretary-General on its findings.
Staffan de Mistura
DR Congo: rebel coalition in east lays down arms in UN brokered deal
27 July - Just a few a days ahead of historic elections planned for the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), a major rebel coalition plaguing the eastern part of the country has agreed to put
down its weapons in a breakthrough brokered by the United Nations.
The UN Mission in the country (MONUC) said that the move by the rebel coalition Mouvement
Revolutionnaire Congolais (MRC), which consisted of regrouped combatants from other armed
militias that had previously disbanded, will make relocation easier for displaced persons in the
troubled Ituri District and allow many more to vote in the elections.
William Lacy Swing, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC,
welcomed the agreement, signed yesterday in Bunia by the Congolese Government and the
MRC in the presence of UN officials, calling it a major step forward for the elections and for
peace. He urged other rebel groups to follow the example and lay down their weapons.
In the past few months, UN peacekeepers have been backing the Congolese national armed
forces as they fought to disarm or expel such groups from Ituri and the two Kivu provinces in
the eastern part of the vast country.
Thousands of people fled the conflict in those areas, much of which had been controlled by
militias since the multi-factional and multinational fighting of the Congolese civil war in the
In Sunday‘s elections, the first in the country in 45 years, 25.5 million voters are expected to
cast ballots at 50,000 polling stations in an election involving some 33 presidential, over 9,000
national legislative and more than 10,000 provincial assembly candidates.
It is considered to be the most complex electoral-assistance mission ever undertaken by the UN.
UN envoy presses for resumption of peace talks in letter to Somali Islamic leader
27 July - The senior United Nations envoy to Somalia today wrote to the chairman of the
Council of Islamic Courts in the troubled country to reiterate his call for the resumption of
peace talks with the Transitional Federal Government, a UN spokesman said.
In his letter, François Lonsény Fall, the Secretary-General‘s Special Representative, appealed to
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to send a delegation to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, for fresh
talks with the Government, which ended last month.
Mr. Fall also assured Sheikh Ahmed that the UN is committed to pursuing all avenues for peace
and reconciliation through dialogue in Somalia, which has not had a functioning government
since President Muhammad Siad Barre‘s regime was toppled in 1991.
Earlier this week Mr. Fall travelled briefly to Somalia, where he met Sheikh Ahmed in the
capital Mogadishu and held talks with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in Baidoa. The
President agreed to send a delegation to Khartoum next Wednesday to resume talks, while
Sheikh Ahmed said a decision would be made after consultations with his delegation.
During their meeting on 22 June, the two sides agreed to a ceasefire and promised to refrain
from any provocations that could lead to an escalation of the conflict. Earlier last month militias
associated with the Executive Council of the Islamic
Courts drove warlords out of Mogadishu to take control of the city.
SRSG Fall in Somalia
The spokesman added that in Nairobi earlier today Mr. Fall also briefed a series of officials on
his visit to Somalia, including representatives from the African Union (AU), the League of Arab
States and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
UN reparations panel pays out nearly $396.5 million for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait
27 July - The United Nations Compensation Commission, which settles the damage claims of
those who suffered losses due to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, today announced the
disbursement of about $396.5 million, bringing the total paid out to date to nearly $21 billion.
With this payment, the Commission said, all claims of individuals have been paid in full for
death or personal injury, for departures from Kuwait or Iraq and for property damages. Forty-
nine other claims, including environmental claims, remain to be paid.
The vast majority of funds for compensation payments has come from the sale of Iraqi
petroleum under the "Oil-for-Food" programme, which came to an end in 2003, and later within
the scope of arrangements made under Security Council resolutions.
In Sri Lanka, UN refugee chief calls on all sides to allow displaced to return home
27 July - Sri Lanka‘s Government and separatist Tamil Tigers should resume peace talks and
create the conditions necessary for more than 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) to
return home because they have been enduring a conflict that has lasted over 20 years, the head
of the United
Nations refugee agency said while visiting the country.
The three-day mission to Sri Lanka, which ended today, was the first by a head of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the island and was intended to underline that only
peace can restore normal life, and highlight the agency‘s work with IDPs, refugees in all but
name because they have not crossed an international border.
―We want confidence to be built in all areas for people to return. This must be based not just on
words, but on actions," High
Commissioner António Guterres said in the rebel-held northern area of Kilinochchi on
"The only way to solve this is to create conditions for people to find a permanent solution for
their lives. We do believe that here there are a lot of people suffering and there is not enough
attention paid to their suffering."
A 2002 ceasefire between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE),
who have been fighting since
1983, has been in tatters since April when violence flared again. More than 312,000 people have
been displaced in the conflict and UNHCR assists about 67,000 of these in welfare centres
throughout the country.
Yesterday, Mr. Guterres flew by helicopter to four communities in northern, eastern and
western Sri Lanka to hear first-hand the concerns of some of the displaced, including Tamil
Catholics and also Muslims who had been driven out of different parts of the county.
He also met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and representatives of the LTTE to
discuss the UN refugee agency's planned activities in the country.
Guterres (r) talks to IDPs in Palaiyutu
The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services
Section of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)
Fighting to curb drugs from Afghanistan, UN agency to help train officers in Central Asia
27 July - In the battle against the heroin trade from Afghanistan, which produces almost all the
world‘s supply, the United Nations drug agency is joining an international effort to train Afghan
and Central Asian enforcement officers, as around one fifth of the total output of the illicit
narcotic is smuggled through these neighbouring five republics to Russia and elsewhere in
Under the agreement, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will assist experts from
NATO countries and Russia in developing training programmes and providing logistical
support, as well as being the executing agency for the $927,000 project, it said in a news
―Central Asia is a crucial front in the fight against narcotics trafficking,‖ said UNODC
Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa.
―The illicit drugs that come across these borders devastate the lives of countless individuals
throughout the world. They increase the incidence of HIV/AIDS and fund organized crime.
Strengthening security along Central Asian borders is in all of our interests.‖
The lengthy, rugged and porous borders between Central Asia and Afghanistan are easily
exploited by traffickers and provide a major challenge for police and customs.
This first cooperation agreement between UNODC and the NATO-Russia Council will see
mobile training teams visiting
Afghanistan and its five Central Asian neighbours, which will supplement training in permanent
facilities provided by Russia and Turkey.
Antonio M. Costa
Mongolian sumo star becomes UNESCO Artist for Peace
27 July - The professional sumo wrestler known as Hakuho has become the first Mongolian to
be designated an Artist for
Peace by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in
recognition of his work helping young people in East Asia.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura awarded the title to Hakuho, otherwise known
as Davaajurgal Munkhbat, at a ceremony today in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, as part of
the UNESCO Children‘s Performing Arts Festival of East Asia.
In a statement to mark the occasion, UNESCO said it awards the title Artist for Peace to
―personalities who – thanks to their influence, charisma and fame – help to promote UNESCO‘s
Other Artists for Peace include the Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil, Canadian singer Celine
Dion, Russian conductor Valery
Gergiev and the Japanese ballerina Miyako Yoshida.
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today‘s noon briefing by Marie Okabe,
Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
Good afternoon. We have here already our guest for the noon briefing. His name is
Gérhard Stoudmann, and he is the UN High Representative for Elections in Côte d‘Ivoire. And,
he will brief you immediately after my briefing.
The Government of Iraq and the United Nations today announced, in a joint statement,
the formal launch of the International Compact with Iraq. This Compact is an initiative of the
Government of Iraq for a new partnership with the international community. The Compact,
jointly chaired by the Government of the Republic of Iraq and the United Nations, with the
support of the World Bank, will, over the next five years, bring together the international
community and multilateral organizations to help Iraq achieve its national vision.
The Government‘s vision is that, five years from now, Iraq shall be a united, federal and
democratic country, at peace with its neighbours and itself, well on its way to sustainable
economic self-sufficiency and prosperity, and well integrated in its region and the world. To
achieve this vision, the Government of Iraq has undertaken to make progress on political
inclusion and consensus-building, on the rule of law and on the establishment of professional
The full statement is available upstairs, and it has been issued in Baghdad also, earlier
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reports that there were three incidents of
firing close to UN positions in the last 24 hours from the Israeli side. It was also reported that
Hizbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions.
While heavy exchanges of fire continue to take place along the Blue Line, the UN
mission says that more than 600 civilians from Naqoura and other neighbouring villages were
sheltered inside the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura yesterday, and provided with food and
** Lebanon - Humanitarian
And, on the humanitarian front, we are planning two additional humanitarian convoys to
go to southern Lebanon tomorrow. Those convoys, which are being organized by the World
Food Programme, are to go to the towns of Jezzine and Sidon, and we also hope to go deeper
into the south in the following days.
And, we also would like to let you know that Jan Egeland, who has just completed his
mission in the region, I‘m told, will be briefing the Security Council, and we hope that he will
talk to you at the stakeout following his briefing to the Council around 1 p.m. tomorrow.
The UN team, headed by Stefan de Mistura, has now arrived in Nepal. It is seeking to
forge a common understanding among various groups in Nepal about the scope and nature of
the UN role in that country‘s peace process. As part of that effort, the team will meet with
representatives from the Government of Nepal and the country‘s Communist Party, as well as
civil society, the media and parliament.
The UN team -- which includes experts in political affairs, military and police matters,
electoral assistance and human rights -- will work mainly in Kathmandu, but its members may
also carry out visits to the interior of the country. After completing its work, the mission will
report to the Secretary-General on its findings. We have more information upstairs in a
statement that was made by de Mistura upon his arrival there earlier today.
And, here, the Security Council held consultations this morning on a variety of subjects.
It first heard a briefing on Eritrea and Ethiopia by Dmitry Titov, Director of the Department of
Peacekeeping Operations Africa Division.
And, following that, the Council was briefed by Greek Ambassador Vassilakis, the
chairman of the Sudan sanctions committee, on that committee‘s work. The Council then held
consultations on Georgia, with Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute briefing.
**Security Council Yesterday
And, yesterday afternoon, the Security Council adopted press statements on Côte
d‘Ivoire and Afghanistan.
On Côte d‘Ivoire, the Security Council members condemned the recent surge in violence
aimed at obstructing the normal functioning of the mobile courts, and expressed their full
support for the Prime Minister in his effort to implement the road map and the agreement signed
by all Ivorian parties in Yamoussoukro on 5 July.
On Afghanistan, the Security Council members voiced their concern over the worsening
violence and reaffirmed their support for the Government and the armed forces in their effort to
maintain security. The Security Council members also welcomed the continued efforts of the
Afghan Government and the international community to address the challenges in Afghanistan,
including the cross-cutting issue of counter-narcotics.
**Democratic Republic of Congo
And, in a major UN-brokered development ahead of the 30th of July elections in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN Mission in that country reports that the rebel
coalition, Mouvement Revolutionnaire Congolais (MRC), has agreed to lay down its weapons.
The Mission says the move will facilitate the movement of displaced persons in the eastern Ituri
district and increase their participation in the elections.
A formal agreement was signed yesterday in Bunia by the Congolese Government and
the MRC in the presence of UN officials. William Lacy Swing, the Special Representative of
the Secretary-General in that country, welcomed the agreement as a major step forward in the
electoral process and towards peace. He urged other rebel groups to follow the MRC‘s example
and lay down their weapons. And, we also have upstairs fact sheets detailing MONUC‘s role
and the UN system‘s role in the elections.
And then, turning to Somalia, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for
Somalia, François Lonseny Fall, today wrote to Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Chairman of
the Executive Council of the Islamic Courts in Mogadishu, reaffirming his appeal for the
Islamic Courts to send a delegation to Khartoum for a second round of peace talks with the
Somali Transitional Federal Government.
In his letter, Fall also assured Sheikh Ahmed of the UN‘s commitment to pursue all
avenues for the restoration of peace and reconciliation in Somalia through dialogue.
And, earlier today, in Nairobi, Fall met with ambassadors and senior representatives of
the international community, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the
African Union and the League of Arab States, and briefed them on his latest mission to Somalia,
which was completed on Tuesday.
** Iraq Compensation
And then, on the United Nations Compensation Commission dealing with claims made
after Iraq‘s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, it has made available today a total of more than $396
million to four Governments for distribution to 31 successful claimants.
And, there‘s more details in a press release upstairs.
And last, but not least, there‘ll be a press conference on ― Rwanda‘s Contribution to its
Recovery Through Culture and Arts‖ in Conference Room 6 today, at 3 p.m. Speakers include
Rwanda‘s Minister for Youth, Culture and Sports and the African Union‘s charge d‘affaires
here in New York.
And, the conference will be moderated by our very own Dr. Addadi, seated just over
there. If you want more information on this, you know where to go.
And, that‘s what I have for you. Let‘s start in the back today.
**Questions and Answers
Question: Maybe you mentioned it earlier, I‘m sorry, but, what is the official response,
I‘m not talking about the Mideast, but the drug arrest of the UN mailroom employee? What
facts can you tell us?
Deputy Spokesman: What I can tell you… I assume you‘re referring to…
Correspondent: Oh, any others that have been arrested, feel free to volunteer.
Deputy Spokesman: I don‘t have any particular statement, so, if you have questions,
feel free to…
Question: [talkover] was he a current employee? Did the UN not know until the feds
told the UN about this person? What kind of pouches were used? How many pouches? Where
did they go? Was the UN, were they involved in the informational… [talkover]… well, you
don‘t have… believe me, it‘s not coming out of that pile.
Deputy Spokesman: Let me start with the fact that the operation… the gentleman you‘re
asking about was arrested yesterday. The operation was done in total cooperation between the
United Nations and the US authorities. And, they have… the US authorities have
acknowledged that… and, of course, it is in our interest to cooperate in preventing UN premises
or UN affiliation to be used for any criminal purposes. The gentleman‘s name I can identify is,
as written in the press reports, Osman Osman. He is originally from Somalia, and he worked in
the mail unit. And, that‘s really all I can say for now.
Question: What is his status?
Deputy Spokesman: As is the standard practice in such cases, he will be placed on
special leave with pay, while the legal process is under way. And, as for the details that you
seek, I can only refer you to the indictment, which is being also examined by our Office of
Legal Affairs. And, if they have anything further to say, they will give it to me, but they are
currently studying the indictment. So, that is the totality of what I have, so, if you have any
other questions, I‘m not sure I‘m going to be able to answer them.
Question: Marie, when is the Secretary-General due back at Headquarters, and are their
plans for him to brief the Council?
Deputy Spokesman: I understand he is on his way back from Rome. He should be back
in New York this afternoon. I don‘t think he will be coming into Headquarters, however, until
tomorrow and, when I get his programme for tomorrow, I will let you know. Let‘s go from the
Question: The Canadian Prime Minister is wondering why the United Nations manned
an outpost that was right in the line of fire -- the one at Khiyam -- in the middle of a war zone.
Why do you have that post, and why did you maintain personnel there?
Deputy Spokesman: As you know, the UN mission in Lebanon is there under a Security
Council resolution. It has been there since 1978. In terms of the specific patrol post that the
four UN military observers were based in, as a senior DPKO official told you yesterday and as
was mentioned in the Security Council briefing, they were posted in a well-marked, established
area, and the United Nations had reassurances, assurances and reassurances that they would not
come under attack.
Question: How do you respond to the allegations that the UN is responsible in some
way, or bears some of the responsibility, for the deaths of these four individuals?
Deputy Spokesman: I think we have nothing further to add than what we said on the
subject. There were repeated calls made from the ground, from here, from the Secretary-
General himself, regarding the continuous attacks in the vicinity, and I don‘t think we need to
go any further than what we‘ve already said on this.
Question: Why didn‘t you evacuate the post -- if you noticed that this shelling went on
for hours, like 16 hours, why did you maintain the personnel at this post, why didn‘t you
evacuate them when it became…?
Deputy Spokesman: Because we had guarantees that the UN would not come under
direct hit. Yes?
Question: Does the Secretary-General or peacekeeping have any position on the
Council‘s failure to adopt a statement so far in any way addressing the death of the
Deputy Spokesman: Well, the Secretary-General, as you know, is on his way back, he‘s
flying back. But, I think, as his Spokesman, I can say that he would be disappointed that the
Council was not able to pronounce itself on a statement, on an important statement, on the
killings of four UN military personnel.
Question: Is that as strong as you‘re willing to go on that one?
Deputy Spokesman: [talkover] let‘s ask him directly. I‘m the Spokesman.
Question: Did you just say Spokesman, by the way? You‘re a Spokesperson, by the
Deputy Spokesman: Is that a question?
Question: I‘m just wondering… now that we have an e-mail from one of the deceased
soldiers, observers, in that post, who clearly says that the target was not them, but tactical. And,
now that we have this Commander, this former Commander, who knows very well UN
procedures from his post as the Commander of the force in Bosnia, saying that it‘s clear that
what he meant was Hizbollah was all over the place. Will the Secretary-General now retract his
apparent accusation that Israel deliberately targeted that post?
Deputy Spokesman: Benny, I have nothing further on this subject since yesterday.
Question: Will he retract it or not, it‘s a very simple question? Now, we have two
versions: one that says that it‘s [talkover]… not deliberate [talkover].. he will not retract it?
Deputy Spokesman: No.
Question: That post at Khiyam is the closest post to the Syrian border. Did those
observers have any contact Monday to observe movement between Lebanon and Syria?
Deputy Spokesman: I think that [according to] the resolution, I think that the answer is
Question: On Somalia, the Transitional Government has said that now the Islamic
Courts Union is getting their weapons from Eritrea, a plane landed. I don‘t know if Mr. Fall,
has he said anything on this, can the UN confirm one way or another?
Deputy Spokesman: We can certainly ask him for his comments on that. He‘s in
Nairobi now, but we can run by those comments. No, I don‘t have anything from him directly
on that subject, today.
Question: They‘re also saying a lot of members of the Transitional Government are
resigning due to the Transitional Government‘s failure to negotiate with the Islamic Courts and
for, in their words, inviting Ethiopia into Somalia. So, does he have…? I guess… I think… I
heard what you said, but, I think more needs to be said. Does he have more to say, other than
inviting them to Khartoum?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, this is what I have now. So, we can follow-up for you with
him after the briefing.
Question: On the DRC, the announcement that you made, is that a MONUC
announcement that the Commander is joining the army.
Deputy Spokesman: It‘s MONUC welcoming the announcement.
Question: Cursory research shows that the guy who‘s running the army has previously
been accused of using child soldiers and [talkover]…
Deputy Spokesman: What are we talking about?
Question: The announcement you made, that it‘s a good thing for the Congo that a
militia leader is putting down his arms and joining the army?
Deputy Spokesman: No, it‘s the coalition movement -- it‘s one of the larger coalition
rebel movements that have agreed to lay down their weapons, that‘s what MONUC is
Question: [Name] is that correct?
Deputy Spokesman: I don‘t have the details. Let‘s… we‘ll look into that, upstairs. I
don‘t have further information than the welcoming statement.
Question: On this UNIFIL announcement that they were investigating three additional
attacks close to positions, UNIFIL positions. What is the protocol now for informing Israeli
authorities when, how is this being dealt with since the fatal attack Monday?
Deputy Spokesman: I don‘t quite understand your question.
Question: Is the United Nations informing the Israeli military when there are, when
there are explosions close to UNIFIL positions?
Deputy Spokesman: UNIFIL is in constant touch with the Israeli authorities.
Question: At yesterday‘s briefing, the briefer told us that, she described in great detail
the Israeli bombings of that spot on that day, because we have now evidence that there was
similar attacks a week before. They stressed yesterday in the briefing all those phone calls that
went to Israel on that day, including from here to headquarters -- did similar phone calls go to
Israel a week before?
Deputy Spokesman: I‘ll have to check with DPKO on that for you.
Question: It could mean that, I mean, we have evidence now that this was not
something that happened that day, on that particular event, and after 11 tries, the Israelis finally
were able to hit that spot, but that it happened over a long time that Israel has apparently tried
very hard not to hit the spot -- because there was constant bombardment. So, the question is,
did similar calls, frantic calls, as they were described yesterday, go to Israeli [inaudible] before?
Deputy Spokesman: I can certainly look into that for you, but I think the senior DPKO
official made it very clear that the series of calls that transpired prior to the direct hit on that
base was a result of hours and hours of sustained, close fire.
[The reporter was later told that, as policy, UNIFIL protests any incidents of close firing
that in any way endangers its personnel, to the parties involved.]
Question: I‘m talking about that base… [inaudible] hours and hours.. [inaudible].
Deputy Spokesman: I have said that I would look into it for you. There are no other
questions? Let‘s hear about Côte d‘Ivoire.
* *** *