THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Monday, 8 December 2003
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
Associated Press Online - Experts: Global Warming May Cool Europe
Associated Press - Global warming, Christmas carol overkill have Austrians in a
The Denver Post - Hot debate on global warming
The Toronto Star - Already enough to fill five hockey rinks
Xinhua - Macao bids for UNEP's "Champions of the Earth" award
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin) - WISH LISTS; Baffling to read what
the rich value
Frontline - Importing Danger
Bangkok Post - Saving on energy to help fund security costs
Other Environment-related News
BBC - Pro-Putin party set for victory
Moscow Times - Italy Offers Russia Kyoto Carrots
Scoop - 15 climate-friendly projects win Kyoto credits
FT - Trees won't cure the greenhouse effect
The Washington Post - Rethinking Kyoto
BBC - Demand for 'Kyoto tax' on the US
San Francisco Chronicle - China's emerging environmental consciousness
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
U.N. Highlights of 5 December 2003
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
Associated Press Online
December 7, 2003 Sunday 2:43 AM Eastern Time
Experts: Global Warming May Cool Europe
Western Europe might actually get colder as a result of global warming, because the melting Arctic ice cap is
cooling off the warm ocean current that is largely responsible for Europe's mild weather, scientists an
If the ice cap in Greenland and the Arctic continues to melt at its current rate, Europe's temperatures would
take a sharp dip after five or more decades of increasingly warm weather. That turnaround could spell
trouble for regions that by then will have adapted to more tropical conditions, the experts told reporters
Friday at a U.N. climate change conference here.
"To mitigate the advancement, the increase, the acceleration of that warming, we would need to take really
radical steps, far more extreme than the Kyoto Protocol on global warming is proposing," Jonathan Bamber of
the University of Bristol said.
Bamber said increased influxes of water from the Artic could trigger a slowdown or diversion of the Gulf
Stream, the current that sweeps warm water from the Gulf of Mexico up to the North Atlantic, warming the
waters and climate of Western Europe.
Bamber also said that in the next five years, Europe could expect increasingly hazardous conditions in the
Alps. Last summer was the first ever that the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc were closed for fear of rocks
loosened by melted ice and snow.
And during Europe's record heat wave this summer, 10 percent of the "permanent" ice in the Italian Alps
melted away, said Damiano Di Simine, president of the Italian chapter of the International Commission for
the Protection of the Alps.
He told reporters that 53 billion cubic feet of fresh water had been lost, a resource critical to northern
Italy's water-intensive crops, like rice.
"But every year we lose large quotas of water, between 5 and 10 percent of the Alpine ice, so within about
20 or 30 years, well lose it all," he said.
Earlier this week, the United Nations Environment Program issued a report saying that global warming
was threatening the world's ski resorts, with melting snow at lower altitudes forcing the sport to move
higher and higher up mountains, and threatening to make downhill skiing disappear altogether at some
Despite grim the prognosis, panelist Bill Hare, Climate Policy Director of Greenpeace International, cited
European efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions as significant progress toward implementing policies and
technologies that can slow climate change.
The Kyoto treaty calls for countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for global
warming. The U.N. conference is grappling with the possibility that the pact might never come into force
because the United States has rejected it and Russia hasn't ratified it.
"The hardest and most fundamental problem to be overcome is the U.S. at present," Hare said. "And unless
and until the U.S. starts to move, everyone else will be that much slower."
December 6, 2003, Saturday, BC cycle
Global warming, Christmas carol overkill have Austrians in a not-so-merry mood
BYLINE: By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer
DATELINE: VIENNA, Austria
It could be the weather - there's nary a snowflake in sight. Maybe it's angst over unprecedented labor
unrest or global warming melting away ski slopes in the Alps.
Whatever it is, Austria - known worldwide for its magically festive Christmas traditions - is in a Grinchy state
In this tranquil country where a priest penned "Silent Night" in 1816, Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas"
suddenly seems more appropriate - or would be if only more Austrians were in the mood for Yuletide music.
Just in time for this weekend's season-opening St. Nikolaus holiday, labor unions are pressing stores to stop
the incessant playing of carols, denouncing the practice as "psychological terrorism" that grates the ears of
"They become aggressive and develop an aversion to Christmas music," said Gottfried Rieser, a leader of the
campaign. "It gets to the point where on Christmas Eve, when they're at home with their families, they can't
stand 'Silent Night' or 'Jingle Bells' one more time."
Rieser wants shops to limit carol playing to one hour - 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - to give workers a break. "There's
no sense in playing 'Softly Falls the Snow' in the sausage department," he said.
Workers are especially touchy in Austria this holiday season.
For the first time since World War II, teachers, railroad employees and airline pilots are staging periodic
strikes as the government whittles away at traditional job protections and the right to retire early and
Others are looking warily past Christmas to the new year, when the neighboring Czech Republic, Hungary,
Slovakia and Slovenia join the European Union. Many Austrians fear their country - historically a place
where East meets West - will be overrun by foreigners who will compete with them for jobs.
Since last Christmas, joblessness has jumped 13 percent in Vienna. Among the capital's 1.6 million people,
80,500 are unemployed - including 2,000 artists and actors - which may help explain this year's
Dismay over the sluggish economy has cast a pall over Saturday's celebration of St. Nikolaus, the
white-bearded saint who arrives in his bishop's miter and delivers biscuits and sweets to young children.
On Christmas Eve, the Christkind, or Christ Child, sneaks into homes and deposits presents under the tree.
Dec. 25 itself is more of a feast day when families gather for a big meal.
Austrians' aversion to the American Santa Claus, seen by many as encroaching on local traditions, came into
focus Friday when the western town of St. Wolfgang banned the sale of Santa items at its market.
"We all grew up with the Christ Child, not with that rumbling Santa Claus and all his ho-ho-hos," said Hans
Wieser, a local tourist official.
The country's fairytale outdoor Christmas markets are doing a brisk business - throngs of locals and tourists
sip steaming cups of spiked punch beneath strings of twinkling lights and browse among the handmade
ornaments and cuckoo clocks.
But the weather is all wrong. There have been days recently when it's been unseasonably mild.
Austrians blame the foehn, a system that funnels balmy winds from the Sahara into the Alps. It brings a
touch of spring, but it can also put people in a foul mood by giving them tension headaches and sleepless
"Foehn" (pronounced halfway between "phone" and "foon") is the same word as the German for hair dryer.
Annoyed Austrians say they feel like they're being blasted in the face by a big one.
They're also worried about global warming, and with good reason: A new U.N. Environment Program report
warns that snow is melting at lower altitudes and could mean an end to downhill skiing at some alpine
Skiing is a multimillion-dollar industry in Austria, but this year, many slopes are a sickly green.
"Real winter won't come until January," said meteorologist Alexander Podesser, dealing a blow to the
traditional Christmas start of the ski season.
As if that's not enough gloom and doom, Austrians are bracing for a major outbreak of influenza that's now
The flu is forecast to hit here - you guessed it - right around Christmas Day.
The Denver Post
December 5, 2003
EDITORIAL Hot debate on global warming
The climate is changing, and human activity plays a part in that change, according to a growing body of
scientific evidence and even top U.S. government experts on global warming.
The latest study supporting the theory that humans play at least a major role - though not necessarily an
exclusive one - in climate change has been published in the journal Science. A similar conclusion comes in a
report by the United Nations Environment Program about the impact of warming on ski resorts. The studies
all point to the same conclusion - the climate is in fact changing. Humanity's role is shown by the fact that the
carbon dioxide build-up occurring today exceeds anything in the past 400,000 years - a period covering several
ice ages and natural warming cycles.
The mounting scientific evidence supporting the global warming theory is in stark contrast with the political
fact that the major diplomatic effort to slow that warming - the Kyoto treaty - is virtually a dead letter.
After the treaty was signed in 1997, the U.S. Senate voted 97-0 against ratifying it on the grounds it would
hurt the U.S. economy. That 'sense of the Senate' resolution wasn't a formal rejection of the treaty, which the
Clinton administration hadn't formally submitted for ratification, but it clearly presaged later moves by the
current Bush administration to sideline the treaty.
Last week, some confusing news came out of Russia, indicating that country may also reject the accord.
The Kyoto treaty must be approved by 55 industrial countries, representing at least 55 percent of the
world's greenhouse gas emissions, before binding its signatories to continue the cumulative fight to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. But subsequent reports from top Russian government officials indicate that
Russia may yet ratify the pact.
Regardless of the formal fate of the treaty, The Denver Post believes it is long past time to implement what
President George H.W. Bush's EPA director, Bill Reilly, wisely called a 'no regrets' strategy. Simply put, that
called for doing things which were manifestly in the national interest in and of themselves and that had the
added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Even if we later concluded that global warming was not a
threat, Reilly argued, we would not regret such wise moves.
High on the list of no-regrets policies would be efforts to improve energy efficiency in the home, the office,
the factory and in our motor vehicle fleet. Improved energy efficency means a more competitive U.S.
economy and less dependence on politically unstable foreign energy sources - reducing carbon dioxide
emissions is just a bonus. Boosting energy efficiency also boosts the U.S. economy. A 2000 U.S. Department
of Energy report, 'Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future,' concluded that Americans could save as much as $ 124
billion and cut carbon dioxide pollution by adopting currently available energy technologies.
Likewise, The Post strongly urges development of alternative power sources, including nuclear power and
wind power, that also increase energy security while reducing greenhouse gas.
Global warming is happening - and no-regrets solutions are available that will ease that problem while
strengthening our economy. It's time to stop adding to the global warming problem by spewing out so much
political hot air and start implementing the practical solutions that are already available.
The Toronto Star
December 6, 2003 Saturday Ontario Edition
Already enough to fill five hockey rinks
BYLINE: Peter Calamai, Toronto Star
Used nuclear fuel bundles are piling up at power plants Now, the industry is looking for a permanent plan
Slowly but inexorably, the trickle of used fuel bundles from Canada's nuclear reactors has become a torrent
and a small mound has mushroomed into a hill that will remain deadly for 100 centuries.
It took four decades to produce what we have now - enough highly radioactive waste to fill five standard
hockey rinks to the top of their boards, with fuel bundles stacked like cordwood.
That's already one of the world's largest stockpiles of nuclear fuel waste, largely because the CANDU reactor
needs more natural uranium fuel to produce a kilowatt of electricity than do the enriched uranium power reactors
But in two more decades, Canada's pile of waste will more than double, based on the used fuel to be
discarded from the 22 existing reactors operating to the end of their so-called "design" lifetimes of 40 years.
Almost 90 per cent of the current waste fuel bundles are stored in Ontario, mostly at the Pickering nuclear
power plant and at the two Bruce plants near Kincardine on Lake Huron (see chart below).
For the first 10 years after being removed from the reactor core, the burning hot fuel bundles are kept under
water in pools within the secure reactor complex to cool, a process called wet storage.
Then, they're stacked inside thick concrete-and-steel casks and moved to ordinary buildings elsewhere on
the plant site. This is called dry storage.
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) plans to build dry storage facilities at Darlington and expand existing
storage at Pickering and also at Bruce, where it retains waste responsibility even though a private company
operates the station. But OPG's plans also call for transferring this waste fuel from this temporary storage to
long-term management beginning in 2035.
Right now, no one knows what form that long-term management will take.
The publication this week of an 84-page discussion document marks the start of what promises to be a very
public and almost certainly acrimonious debate about what to do with a lethal radioactive legacy whose
origins stretch back to Canada's wartime role as supplier of uranium for the first atomic bomb.
The debate is likely to be acrimonious because individual and collective values will be as prominent as the
nuts-and-bolts technology on which discussion focused in the past.
And the dialogue will be very public because Elizabeth Dowdeswell is in charge and she wouldn't have it any
Dowdeswell is president of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), the industry-run agency
that published the discussion paper (www.nwmo.ca). She is also a high-profile environmentalist, having
served five years as head of the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi following three years as
a senior bureaucrat with the federal environment department.
"We need to give clear evidence that economic, social, environmental and ethical questions will have centre
stage in our discussions. Our focus has to be much broader than just technical issues," Dowdeswell says.
The discussion document, Asking The Right Questions, reflects that broad focus. Only one of the proposed
10 key questions looks specifically at the technical adequacy of any long-term approach.
Five questions deal with what are termed overarching aspects, such as aboriginal values, equity between
generations and institutional capacity over a 10,000-year period. Other questions touch on security,
economic viability, environmental integrity and human health and safety.
Calling this "thinking out loud," NWMO urges Canadians to say how these key questions can be improved
before it moves on the next stage - the yardsticks for judging how well it answers the questions.
Those answers will lead to a formal recommendation, no later than Nov. 15, 2005, about how the federal
government should handle the waste fuel problem.
Already it's known that the recommendation will be one of two basic approaches: some form of disposal or
some kind of storage. The devil is in the details - when to permanently seal a burial site, whether the
"mausoleum" storage should be above or below ground, in one central location or at individual power
stations. And most of all, in whose backyard.
Although the agency's job does not include choosing an actual site for the country's nuclear waste, it is
supposed to name an "economic region" to locate each of the approaches that it considers. Statistics
Canada defines 76 such regions across the country with 11 in Ontario, including Toronto, Ottawa, London
At a minimum, the waste agency is legally obliged to look at three approaches: deep geological disposal in
the Canadian Shield; storage at nuclear reactor sites; or storage at some central location, either on the
surface or underground.
This week's discussion paper strongly hints that NWMO won't be looking at any of the other solutions
sometimes mentioned, such as an international repository, packing used fuel bundles into wells or
reprocessing the waste to extract useable uranium and plutonium.
From the three or more approaches that it studies in detail, NWMO must choose one to recommend to the
Yet Ottawa is free to ignore NWMO's recommendation, even though it last year enacted the law that forced
the nuclear industry to set up the body.
The Nuclear Fuel Waste Act also belatedly ordered nuclear reactor operators to start funding a kitty for
implementing the long-term management approach finally chosen. That fund - largely financed by OPG -
stands at roughly $680 million and will grow by $110 million annually until the government decides there is
enough money to do the job.
"That's the fatal flaw in this whole procedure. No matter how thorough the analysis is, the feds can still do
nothing, as they have so often in the past," says David Martin, a nuclear activist with the Sierra Club.
The federal government has energetically promoted Canada's nuclear industry through direct ownership,
billion-dollar subsidies and Team Canada sales trips headed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien. But it has
dragged its feet for decades on the waste problem and even ignored key recommendations from its own
environmental assessment into disposal options.
That assessment in 1998 and another study a decade earlier both highlighted a lack of public trust in the
federal government, regulatory agencies and the nuclear industry.
Focus groups organized for NWMO objected strenuously to the federal government's ability to subvert or
thwart any recommendation.
A strong weapon in the battle for public trust is the presence of an advisory board to the waste agency,
headed by former Toronto mayor David Crombie, who is also a former MP. The agency is required by law to
keep the advisory board fully informed and to include its independent comments along with the final report.
Dowdeswell and other NWMO officials have already talked with 250 people who have an obvious stake in
outcome - nuclear power plant workers, environmentalists, aboriginals, the nuclear industry, church groups,
even parliamentarians, although both the Commons and the Senate have made minimal contributions to the
waste question compared with their counterparts elsewhere.
NWMO also convened roundtables and workshops, including one gathering where two dozen futurists mused
inconclusively about our future world in 25 years (one generation), 175 years (seven generations), 500
years (20 generations) and 10,000 years (400 generations).
Such off-the-wall exercises aside, the discussion document and the imminent public consultations are
absolutely crucial to NWMO overcoming the widespread public skepticism and distrust concerning nuclear
The document suffers from some curious omissions. Fissile material is repeatedly mentioned but never
defined. The 76 economic regions are listed only in a background paper. Bureaucratic phrases like Governor
in Council are used without explanation.
Thermal, toxic and radioactive dangers from waste fuel are outlined but no mention is made of India
reprocessing fuel from CANDU reactors to build its first "nuclear device" in 1974.
More seriously, NWMO appears to have missed the announced intention of Bruce Power to test fuel with
slightly enriched uranium, thus bumping up waste radioactivity.
The whole exercise has ramifications well beyond the nuclear waste issue.
As Dowdeswell notes in the discussion paper:
"It will set a benchmark for how we as a society will discharge our responsibilities to manage the many
wastes from the technologies we use to support our quality of life."'No matter how thorough the analysis is,
the feds can still do nothing'
GRAPHIC: Nuclear Waste Management Organization Some of Canada's used nuclear fuel is stored in
concrete-and-steel casks like these at power generating stations. The Nuclear Waste Management
Organization is charged with the job of recommending a long-term strategy for disposing of used fuel
December 8, 2003, Monday 5:15 PM Eastern Time
Macao bids for UNEP's "Champions of the Earth" award
MACAO, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) --Over 1,000 Macao citizens wearing sportswear of different colors made a
formation of a "rainbow" Sunday at the launching ceremony of the city's bid for "Champions of the Earth"
entitled by the United Nations Environment Program ( UNEP).
Xia Kunbao, coordinator of the UNEP's China Office, said at the ceremony that "Champions of the Earth" is a
new global environmental award of the UNEP to replace the Global 500 Roll of Honor. It is presented every
year to six outstanding environmental achievers and leaders.
Nominated by Xie Zhenhua, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, Macao submitted
an application to the UNEP for the award in November.
Xia said that he has learned that Macao has made much progress in environmental protection for sustainable
development especially after its return to China in 1999.
With a coverage of 25 square kilometers, Macao is short of land resources. It witnessed a dramatic increase
of population in the 1960s to 1970s, and became one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Now
with a population of 450,000 and over 10 million tourist arrivals every year, Macao has made sure that 90
percent of the urban sewage is treated before discharge.
Leong Vai Tac, president of the General Committee of the Environment Council of the Macao Special
Administrative Region, said at the ceremony that through the application of the UNEP's environmental
award, Macao aims to encourage citizens to continuously participate and support environmental education
Macao's Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah and Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's
Government in Macao Bai Zhijian attended the ceremony held at the Ruins of St. Paul, a landmark in Macao.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)
December 7, 2003 Sunday ALL EDITION
Baffling to read what the rich value
I have a suggestion for Larry Bean, editor of the Robb Report, and Tom duPont, publisher of the duPont
Registry ("Wish lists of the rich," Nov. 30).
Why don't they add to their "wish lists" for the rich the $25 million that the United Nations Environment
Program is seeking to help save the great apes -- gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans -- from
the threat of extinction? Perhaps one of the well-heeled "discriminating buyers" might think it's the latest
craze in conspicuous consumption.
I am disgustingly amazed at what people think is valuable.
India is increasingly becoming a dumping ground for toxic industrial wastes from developed countries, which
can pose serious threats to public health and the environment.
INDIA has become the preferred dumping ground for the world's hazardous substances and industrial wastes,
which are often toxic and life-threatening. While developed countries can afford the luxury of banning the use
of hazardous substances and even the processes that generate them, governments of developing nations such as
India seem to think that they need every dollar and every job that the processing of such substances creates.
Greenpeace activists protest in front of a ship from the U.K carrying a cargo of toxic wastes to the ship-
breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat, on November 12.
Thus, brain-damaging mercury and toxic electronic and plastic wastes from the United States; cancer-causing
asbestos from Canada; defective steel and tin plates from the European Union, Australia and the U.S.; toxic
waste oil from the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Kuwait; toxic zinc ash, residues and skimmings; lead waste
and scrap; used batteries; and waste and scrap of metals such as cadmium, chromium, cobalt, antimony,
hafnium and thallium from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Norway
are all dumped on India.
Hazardous substances are those that are ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic. Developed countries dump toxic
substances on developing countries using a loophole - "exporting for recycling or recovery purposes" - in the
1989 Basel Convention, a United Nations environment treaty that imposes a ban on the export of hazardous
wastes from developed to developing countries. (The U.S. is the only developed country that has not ratified
the Basel Convention.)
Hazardous wastes generated by developed countries have increased manifold. For example, the U.S. produced
five times more hazardous waste in 2002 (265 million tonnes) than it did in 1975 (57 million tonnes). The cost
of managing such waste in the U.S. ranges from $25 to $2,500 a pond depending on the toxicity and reactivity
of the substances. Thus, it is economical to ship toxic wastes to developing countries where the cost of
managing them is negligible. This also enables developed countries to keep their environment clean.
According to studies, including those by environmental activist groups such as Greenpeace and Toxic Link,
every year over 1,00,000 tonnes of hazardous wastes enter India in gross violation of the 1997 Supreme Court
order banning such import. Lately, developed countries have gone another step forward, by shifting production
processes that generate hazardous wastes to developing nations. With 101 countries prohibiting waste imports
(up from three in 1989), South Asian countries (particularly India) with their lax laws and regulations, are
becoming the "preferred dumping ground" for hazardous wastes.
Toxic dumping happens in three ways: direct dumping, export of "dirty" products and export of obsolete waste
technology. Mercury tops the list of hazardous substances that are dumped directly in India. According to data
published recently by the Kolkata-based Directorate-General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics
(DGCIS), imports of mercury to India rose sixfold between 1996 and 2002 - from 285 tonnes to 1,858 tonnes.
The quantity of organo-mercury compounds (for example, pesticides and slimicides) that made its way into the
country zoomed 1,500 times - from 0.7 tonne to 1,312 tonnes. Between 1997 and 2003, over 70 per cent of all
the mercury exported from developed countries came to India. Of this, Spain exported 417 tonnes, the U.K.
368 tonnes, Russia 267 tonnes, Italy 172 tonnes, the U.S. 165 tonnes, France 403 tonnes, Germany 806 tonnes,
Japan 362 tonnes and China 627 tonnes. India is also the biggest processor of mercury, nearly 70 per cent of
the world's production. It consumes 1,350-1,843 tonnes per annum or 50 per cent of the global production.
Why is the rest of the world phasing out mercury? Primarily there are two reasons: the high cost of managing
toxic residues locally, and its devastating impact on public health and the environment. Mercury is poisonous
in any form - inorganic, organic or elemental. Its organic compound methyl mercury has been scientifically
proved to be a neurotoxicant that damages the brain. It is genotoxic too as it passes through the placental and
the blood-brain barrier, putting the foetus at risk. Mercury is known to cause severe and permanent damage to
the central nervous system, lungs and kidneys. It can trigger depression and suicidal tendencies and cause
paralysis, Alzheimer's disease, speech and vision impairment, allergies, hypospermia and impotence.
Mercury is mobile. It persists and bioaccumulates (builds up in organisms) and biomagnifies (moves up the
food chain). Even minuscule increases in methyl mercury exposures can affect the cardiovascular system, says
the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Global Mercury Assessment Report. It is also
suspected to be carcinogenic according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. "With mercury
imports continuing unabated, and a pollution problem that has already assumed gargantuan proportions, India
sits on the brink of a disaster," the agency warns. Dr. R.C. Srivastava, co-chairperson of the UNEP's
Chemicals Working Group and co-chair of the Mercury Global Assessment Report drafting group, agrees:
"There is sufficient evidence to show that mercury puts human beings at risk."
Why does India import mercury in such large quantities? Mercury has over 3,000 uses. The largest consumer
of the metal is the chlor-alkali industry, which manufactures caustic soda and chlorine, followed by makers of
measuring instruments such as thermometers and barometers. It is also used in manufacturing electrical
apparatus such as mercury vapour lamps, electrical switches, fluorescent lamps and so on.
What toll does mercury contamination take in India? Mercury has severely contaminated land, water, air and
the food chain throughout the country. At a recent conference organised by the Centre for Science and
Environment (CSE) on mercury pollution, Dr. Srivastava said that mercury contamination in India was
reaching alarming levels largely owing to the discharge of mercury-bearing industrial effluents, with a load of
0.058-0.268 milligram/litre (mg/l). This is several times more than the prescribed Indian and World Health
Organisation (WHO) standards of 0.001 mg/l (for drinking water) and 0.01 mg/l (for industrial effluents).
ANOTHER substance dumped on India is asbestos, a carcinogenic that is banned in all developed countries.
Of the 1.25 lakh tonnes of asbestos used in India every year, India imports over one lakh tonnes. Over 80 per
cent of the imports come from Canada (which exports nearly all the asbestos it mines) where its use is banned.
India's asbestos industry, with a turnover of Rs. 800 crores, is spread over 15 States. India imports raw
asbestos worth over Rs.40-50 crores every year. Although it banned the import of asbestos waste in 1998, over
500 tonnes were imported in 1999-2000.
Asbestos has affected the lives of workers who have either mined it or made things out of it. It threatens
virtually everyone's health. Because of its durability and tensile strength, asbestos is used in over 3,000
products. In India, asbestos is used mainly in the manufacture of pipes used in irrigation and drainage systems.
It is also an input for automobile, petrochemical, fertilizer, transportation and defence industries. Finished
products may not be very harmful, but there is enough scientific evidence to show that it poses a health hazard
to those exposed to its fibre. Once widely used as insulation for houses and specialised equipment, asbestos
was eliminated in many countries when it became known that it has a tendency to break into minute fibres.
When inhaled, it can damage the lungs.
Called the magic mineral, asbestos is a generic term for six kinds of naturally occurring mineral fibres. All
types of asbestos tend to break into very fine fibre - some of them 700 times finer than human hair. Because of
its small size, the fibre remains suspended in the air for several days. Virtually indestructible, the fibre is
resistant to chemicals and heat and is very stable in the environment. It does not evaporate in air or dissolve in
water. According to Dr. S.K. Dave of the National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad, the primary
routes of exposure to asbestos are inhalation and ingestion.
According to the United States National Toxicology Programme database, there is sufficient evidence to prove
the carcinogenicity of all forms of asbestos in humans. Exposure to asbestos particles can cause several fatal
diseases including the malignant or cancerous mesothelioma and lung cancer. Other asbestos-induced medical
problems include asbestosis, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural fibrosis and benign pleural effusions (pleura is the
thin membrane that covers the lungs). According to Greenpeace, in the last 30 years, over 170,000 people have
died in India owing to asbestos-induced cancer. According to a study by USA Today, in the next 20 years,
asbestos pollution will claim over one million lives in developing countries. The International Labour
Organisation (ILO) is trying to ban asbestos use in all its 177 member-countries. The attempt is resisted by
Canada, the largest exporter of asbestos to India. A number of substitutes to asbestos are used in developed
countries, including cellulose polyacrylonitrile, glass fibre and unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
In India, Schedule 3 of the Factories Act (1948) lists asbestos as a disease-causing substance. Asbestos use is
also regulated by the Air and Water Act, the Hazardous Waste (Handling and Management) Rules 1989 and
the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Besides these, the Indian Standards Institution (now the Bureau of
Indian Standards) has set a number of national standards and specifications relating to asbestos mining,
manufacturing and handling. But the norms for asbestos emission are lax.
EXPORT of electronic waste, or e-waste, is emerging as another major problem. E-waste is the collective
name for discarded electronic devices such as monitors, printers, keyboards, central processing units,
typewriters, PVC wires, mobile phones and telephones. Among e-wastes, obsolete computers pose a
significant environmental and health hazard. The U.S. alone exports over 10 million tonnes of e-waste
annually. The waste from these products includes toxic substances such as cadmium and lead in the circuit
boards; lead oxide and cadmium in monitor cathode ray tubes; mercury in the switches and flat screen
monitors; cadmium in computer batteries; polychlorinated biphenyls in older capacitors and transformers; and
brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, plastic casings, cables and PVC cable insulation that
releases highly toxic dioxins and furans when they are burned to retrieve copper from the wires. Most of these
substances are toxic and many are carcinogenic.
These materials are complex and difficult to recycle in an environmentally sustainable manner even in
developed countries. What is needed are sophisticated technologies and processes, which are expensive, and
hi-tech skills and training that are often beyond the reach of most developing countries.
According to a report by the Delhi-based Toxic Link, India is becoming the largest dumping ground for e-
waste, especially used computers, from the U.S., Singapore and South Korea. Though the government has
prohibited the import of used computers, they land as "donations" or "charity" and there is no specific check to
monitor their entry, says the report.
The Toxic Link report points out that India has over 1.38 million obsolete computers with manufacturers
adding about 1,050 tonnes of electronic scrap every year. E-wastes now form over 70 per cent of landfills,
warns the report.
According to "Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia", a 2000 report by a group of U.S.-based
environmental organisations, over 80 per cent of the 20 million computers (containing 1,000 different
substances, most of them toxic) that became obsolete in the U.S. moved to Asia; India was a major importer of
these. This e-waste, closely stacked, can encompass an area of one acre (4,047 square metres) and rise to a
height of 674 feet (202 metres).
Much of all this waste reaches Indian shores on ships. Interestingly, these vessels are also sent to India when
they complete their sailing life. Ship-breaking sounds like a harmless industry, but is far from that.
Considerable toxic wastes are generated in the process.
Just one minor port, Alang in Gujarat, breaks up over half of the world's ships that are scrapped. The over
25,000 workers of Alang are exposed to asbestos, cancer-causing chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyl
(recently the U.S. banned its use in manufacturing processes), heavy metals and toxic paints. The working
conditions are also extremely hazardous. By the end of 2002, the U.S. ordered over 300 of its rusting naval
vessels to be sent to India and Bangladesh.
Indeed, the international waste industry has arrived in India. Many of these ventures are financed with
government subsidies and by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International
Finance Corporation (a subsidiary of the World Bank that lends to private industries). But many of these
technologies seem to be economically unviable and, worse, environmentally hazardous.
Instead of selling safer technologies, companies prefer to sell only those that are not saleable in their own
countries owing to the stringent standards prevailing there. These obsolete methods are exported to India while
developed countries have moved to safer technologies such as autoclaves and microwaves.
According to CSE director Sunita Narain, many alternatives are available for dealing with these toxic
substances and these are used in developed countries. For instance, the chlor-alkali industry can switch to the
membrane cell process. Similarly, mercury substitutes are used in medical equipment in the developed world.
Says Sunita Narain: "We should leapfrog to clean substitutes because we cannot afford to become the world's
dumpyard for toxic substances." More appalling is that while the world is dumping mercury into India, the
government has bothered neither to regulate its trade and use, nor to keep an inventory of the metal's stock.
According to available data, only about 0.2 per cent of the mercury used in the country is regulated. There is
no information on how almost 90 per cent of the mercury India imports is used.
It is not as if there are no laws or international instruments to regulate trade in hazardous wastes. Two
multilateral environmental agreements cover mercury and its compounds: the Basel Convention on Control of
Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, and the Rotterdam Convention on the
Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. These
instruments regulate trade in hazardous wastes but contain no commitment to reduce their use and release. In
India, there are the Hazardous Waste Act, 1989, and the May 1997 Supreme Court ruling banning the import
of hazardous wastes followed by the orders of February 1998 disallowing auction of hazardous waste stocks in
ports and container depots. But these legal instruments are practised more in the breach.
Citizens groups such as Toxic Link, Shristi, CSE, SEWA, Exnora and Greenpeace have on many occasions
highlighted the pollution hazards of mercury, asbestos, ship-breaking, e-waste and so on. In 2001, for instance,
a campaign led by several environmental groups in the U.S. and India sent back a Mumbai-bound cargo ship
carrying close to 200 tonnes of mercury reclaimed from Holtrachem, a factory in Maine, U.S. This was
followed by a sustained campaign in Tamil Nadu for the closure of a thermometer factory owned by Hindustan
Lever Limited (a subsidiary of Unilever) in Kodaikanal (Frontline, August 29, 2003) that was dumping
mercury waste, causing irreparable damage to public heath and environment. But that is only the tip of the
According to Ravi Agarwal of the New Delhi-based Shristi, it is becoming increasingly clear that many
products in the global economy are leaving an international trail of toxic waste. Any solution, he says, must be
based on fundamental approaches such as the precautionary or polluter-pays principles, which are recognised
even in international laws. According to him, new types of wastes, untried technologies to handle waste, and
unsafe industrial processes should not be permitted and measures such as making industries accountable,
strengthening local initiatives, maintaining precautionary principle and refusing waste from other countries
should be taken.
Harry Suryadi, a Bangkok-based environmental activist, says: "The cradle-to-grave approach for every product
that is made up of hazardous substances will go a long way in checking hazardous waste exports to India."
According to him, the company that manufactures products containing toxic substances, such as computer
monitors and so on, should also take the responsibility of managing them when they become obsolete and are
ready to be discarded. It is high time, he says, India took a serious look at the problem, which is slowly
assuming alarming proportions as the problems they create far outweigh the gains from them.
Saving on energy to help fund security costs
At a time when hotels, airlines, airports and others are facing unprecedented increases in security costs, former
Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Pradech Phayakvichien has a clear answer about where to come up
with the money: Save money by saving energy.
The money saved by making more cost-efficient usage of energy, he says, will allow the travel and tourism
industry to invest in security and at the same time contribute to the long-term industry goal of environmental
Although they have faded into the background in the last few years of health and security fears, environmental
issues are due to make a comeback on the travel and tourism agenda on Dec 17 when 83 hotels are awarded
the Green Leaf, a certification programme created to boost commitment and action by the hotel industry to
Sars, a health-related issue, created a huge financial crisis but travel and tourism companies, especially the
major hotels, still have had to find money to invest millions of baht in upgrading security.
Mostly, this has involved re-directing funds from investment in other areas, like product and service
improvements, marketing or human resources development.
However, Mr Pradech says that if hotels, airlines and airports undertake a massive energy saving programme,
the millions of baht saved could help at least partially offset the higher security investment rather than diluting
their product quality or marketing programmes.
"If cost-cutting is their top priority these days, saving energy is one of the most efficient ways of doing it," he
That will be one of the main messages he will be imparting to the 83 Thai hotels when they receive Green Leaf
certification, a project that Mr Pradech has become involved in since his controversial transfer to the semi-
inactive post of TAT adviser in 2002.
Officially registered in 1998, the Green Leaf Foundation's founding partners are the TAT, Thai Hotels
Association, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand,
Metropolitan Waterworks Authority and Association for the Development of Environmental Quality.
The project is supervised by a Board of Environmental Promotion of Tourism Activities (Bepta). Through
seminars, awareness and training campaigns and technology-transfer projects, the Green Leaf certification
helps hotels improve their efficiency in saving energy, water and other natural resources.
Mr Pradech claimed that research has shown that hotels participating in the campaign have been able to lower
their energy usage by about 20% or by 400,000 to 1,2 million kilowatts while usage of water and paper, plus
garbage disposal, has been cut by at least 5%, 10% and 20% respectively.
Mr Pradech sees the Green Leaf project as an important component of Thailand's plans to become the Tourism
Capital of Asia by 2006.
"In an era of intense competition for the tourism dollar, good marketing will help attract visitors to the country
but only high quality product improvement will help decide whether that visitors will go away satisfied, come
back again or recommend Thailand to their friends, colleagues and relatives."
He notes that with visitor arrivals this year having crossed the 10 million mark, and due to grow further as
transport infrastructure improves, a good quality product will become absolutely imperative to deliver on the
marketing promise, create a positive image and competitive advantage for the country.
Mr Pradech says there is plenty of scope to grow the campaign. The 83 hotels awarded the Green Leaf still
comprise only about 20% of hotel members of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) or less than 1% of all hotels
"We see high potential for reaching out to the small hotel enterprises which lack environmental conservation
expertise," said Mr Pradech. "We have targeted 200 hotels to receive the Green Leaf certificate within two
Another very important step is to link the project to a similar UNEP project targeted at tour operators.
"Basically, tour operators who join that project should be encouraged to give priority to using the Green Leaf
certified hotels in their tour packages," he said. "In addition to saving costs, it is important for hotels to know
that commitment to environmental conservation can also generate a positive revenue stream."
Mr Pradech will raise this issue when he addresses an environmental seminar organised by the World Tourism
Organisation in Kuala Lumpur this week.
Funding and other forms of support for Green Leaf have come from British Embassy, Asia Foundation, US-
Asia Environmental Partnership, National Energy Policy Office, Department of Environmental, Quality
Promotion, Faculty of Environment and Resources Studies, Mahidol University, Tridhos Three-Generation
School Village, the Dusit Group, Hilton International Bangkok at Nai Lert Park, May Fair Inn Co Ltd, Thai
Airways International and leading hotels in Thailand.
- Imtiaz Muqbil is executive editor of Travel Impact Newswire, an e-mailed feature and analysis service
focusing on the Asia-Pacific travel industry.
8 December 2003
Pro-Putin party set for victory
The party backing President Putin is heading for a convincing victory in
Russia's parliamentary elections.
With almost 70% of the votes counted, the pro-Kremlin United Russia Party
leads with over 36%.
The ultra-nationalist party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the Communists are vying
for second place.
It seems likely that at least one of two liberal, pro-free market parties will fail to
get the 5% of votes needed to win party list seats in parliament.
Some 23 party lists are competing for half of the 450 places in the State Duma
in the fourth such election since the collapse of communism.
You are all participants here in a revolting spectacle
which for some reason is called an election
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov
The other 225 seats are being contested by individual candidates on a first-past-the-post
Foreign observers and other parties said that the campaign was marred by open bias in favour
of United Russia in the media.
The turnout was unexpectedly put at over 30% - well above the 25% mark needed to validate
The election will decide the make-up of the Duma for the next four years.
The BBC's Stephen Dalziel says the slight polarisation in voting for the two second place
parties does not necessarily spell trouble for Mr Putin.
The misleadingly named Liberal Democrats will be expected to support President Putin on most
of his decisions as they did in his last parliament, he says.
United Russia 36.5%
Communist Party 12.9%
Liberal Democratic Party 12.3%
Yabloko (liberal) 4.2%
Agrarian Party (rural left) 4.0%
Union of Right Forces 3.8%
Source: Election Commission
But the result is being seen as a major defeat for the Communists, who have been a dominant
force in the Duma for the past decade and were considered the greatest threat to the Kremlin.
Liberal parties opposed to Mr Putin have also fared badly. One of them, the Union of Right
Forces, currently has just 3.8% of the vote, and may not be able to rely on stronger support in
Moscow and St Petersburg - which have not yet finished counting - to push it over the 5%
Mr Putin is also likely to be boosted by the success of the Motherland Party, which is
expected to come fourth with around 9% despite being set up only a few months ago.
Analysts say Motherland was created by Kremlin insiders with the aim of taking away votes
from the Communists.
Mr Putin, whose popularity ratings top 80%, cast his ballot with his wife, Lyudmila, at an
institute in southern Moscow.
This is a serious victory we can rightly be proud of
Central Election chief Alexander Veshnyakov has promised to publish results from across the
country's 11 time zones on the internet within 24 hours of polling stations closing.
Lyubov Sliska, a senior figure in United Russia, said the result meant democratic reforms
"This is a serious victory we can rightly be proud of," she said.
But Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov denounced the elections as a "shameful farce".
"You are all participants here in a revolting spectacle which for some reason is called an
election," he said after exit polls were published.
"We are living in an authoritarian regime," said Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky, adding that
the presidential administration had used all its resources to bring about United Russia's
Our correspondent says that if Mr Putin has a Duma which largely supports him, it will be more
difficult for any challenger in the presidential elections next March.
After nearly four years in the Kremlin, Mr Putin, the former head of the secret police, still
appears to be riding a wave of genuine support.
The hard line his administration has taken against corruption and wealthy oligarchs has gone
down well with voters.
Some analysts say that if United Russia and its allies gain a two-thirds majority, they could
change the Russian constitution and potentially pave the way for Mr Putin to stand for more
than the current two terms as president.
Exit polls suggest he will control around 60% of the chamber - just short of this - but some
analysts believe the Kremlin could make deals with some independent deputies to achieve its
More than 1,100 international observers from 48 states have been accredited for the election,
but their numbers may increase to 2,000.
Monday, December 08, 2003
Italy Offers Russia Kyoto Carrots
By James Osborne Bloomberg
MILAN, Italy -- Italy plans to help finance projects in Russia to reduce greenhouse gases and to demonstrate
to President Vladimir Putin the economic benefits of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, an international accord to
combat global warming.
This week Italy will announce its intention to invest in a fund for Russian projects, regardless of whether
Russia ratifies the accord, Corrado Clini, director general of Italy's Environment Ministry said at the United
Nations convention on climate change in Milan. If Russia were to ratify Kyoto, the projects would help Italy
meet its emission-reduction goals.
Implementation of Kyoto hinges on Russian approval. Andrei Illarionov, Putin's economic adviser, on Tuesday
said Russia would not ratify the treaty because it would slow economic growth. A day later, Deputy Economic
and Trade Development Minister Muhammad Tsikhanov said Russia was moving toward ratification.
"Italy understands that without Russia the Kyoto Protocol is a useless piece of paper to throw in the rubbish
bin," said Sergei Roginko, a Russian government official overseeing Kyoto-related investments. Roginko said
he is trying to persuade Russia to ratify the treaty with backing from companies, regional leaders and countries
such as Italy and Germany.
The Kyoto Protocol allows developed countries to earn credits for funding projects in areas such as Eastern
Europe and Latin America. Countries like Italy can use the credits to help meet 2010 emissions targets, instead
of paying for more costly measures at home or buying credits through an emissions-trading system. They also
encourage investment in emerging economies.
Russia needs to invest between $3 billion and $4 billion per year on energy efficiency, according to its Energy
"We believe that there are good economic reasons to ratify the Kyoto Protocol," said Artur Runge-Metzger of
the European Commission's climate change unit.
Companies such as BP, Europe's biggest oil company, and Tokyo Electric Power Co., Asia's largest power
company, are already backing a World Bank carbon fund that has invested $180 million in projects such as a
hydroelectric power station in Chile and the conversion of a coal-fired power plant in Hungary so it can burn
The 120 nations that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol since it was drawn up in 1997 are counting on Russia's
support because it accounts for 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels. The protocol must be
ratified by industrial nations that produce 55 percent of greenhouse gases for it to take effect. The United
States, the world's biggest producer of such pollution with 36 percent of 1990 emissions, has rejected the
In October, the European Commission published draft legislation that would allow credits earned in
developing countries to be used in its emissions-trading market, due to start in 2005.
Such trading may encourage companies to invest in projects because the credits could be sold for cash,
improving returns, officials said. The rules for such a transfer may be agreed upon as early as April because
the system is supported by all the EU member states and the European Parliament, said Jurgen Salay of the
commission's climate change unit.
Without Russian ratification, however, such mechanisms and Italy's proposed investment will lose value.
Linking projects in emerging markets to the European emissions-trading system "would make ratification more
possible, but it's not the only reason for doing so," said Oleg Pluzhnikov, deputy chief of the ecological
department of Russia's Energy Ministry. "Joint initiatives could become a very good mechanism to attract a
significant amount of the funds" to upgrade Russia's energy industry.
National delegates and observers at the Milan convention said they expect Russia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol,
probably after presidential elections in March.
15 climate-friendly projects win Kyoto credits
Monday, 8 December 2003, 11:00 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government
15 climate-friendly projects win Kyoto carbon credits
Fifteen projects, including wind farms, hydro-electricity schemes and industrial heat plants, have won
a share of Kyoto Protocol 'carbon credits' from the Government for reducing emissions of greenhouse
The credits, or Kyoto Protocol emission units, have been awarded in the first tender round for Projects
to Reduce Emissions, a key plank in the Government's climate change policy. The Government
received a total of 46 bids for the four million emission units on offer.
"This tender round, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, has produced a great result," says the
Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson.
"Some of these 15 projects could start reducing emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as
early as next year. What's more, the bulk of them will help to make New Zealand's electricity supply
more secure in the next few years. This is a great result for the environment, the owners of these
projects and New Zealand as a whole."
Other successful tenders include proposals for generating electricity from geothermal activity and gas
from landfills. The owners of the 15 projects include large and small organisations in both the private
and public sectors.
The Government expects to sign the first agreements with project owners this month, at which stage
further information about each project will be available.
All 46 tenders were assessed by an independent panel, chaired by company director Rick Christie,
while the final decisions were taken by the Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment,
The emission units awarded by the Government are expected to be internationally tradeable when the
Kyoto Protocol comes into force. Some international carbon credit trading is already occurring and
project owners will be free to trade their units as they wish.
Emission units will be transferred to project owners annually according to the emissions they reduce
in that year. The awarded units are for reductions that will be delivered during the first commitment
period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012).
"This programme is a great example of how businesses and New Zealand as a whole can take
advantage of the opportunities created by the Kyoto Protocol," Mr Hodgson said.
"None of these projects or reductions in emissions would have happened without the award of these
units - that's the basis of this programme. It offers tangible rewards for developments that take us
further towards a sustainable energy future."
Questions and Answers
How were the successful tenders selected?
To be eligible for the Projects to Reduce Emissions tender, a project had to:
achieve a minimum reduction in emissions of 10,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent during the first
commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012); be additional to "business as usual"; achieve
reductions in emissions that would not occur without the project; and achieve reductions equal to or
greater than the number of emission units requested from the Government.
Projects that will contribute to near-term electricity security were given priority over other projects
and those offering the most reductions in exchange for the least number of units were also ranked
higher than others.
Who decided which tenders would be awarded emission units?
Tenders were evaluated by the New Zealand Climate Change Office and then assessed by an
independent panel. The panel was chaired by company director Rick Christie, and included
PriceWaterhouse Coopers partner Suzanne Snively, company director and dairy farmer Hilary
Webber and chemical process engineer Bill Wakelin. The final decisions, based on the
recommendations of the assessment panel, were made by the "Decision Maker" Chief Executive of
the Ministry for the Environment, Barry Carbon.
Were all eligible tenders awarded emission units?
There was extremely strong competition for the four million emission units available which means
not all eligible tenders were awarded units.
How much is an emission unit worth?
The international market will set the price for future emission units. Greenhouse gas emissions
trading is already underway through emerging national-level emissions trading schemes and on a
voluntary level. One brokerage firm estimates that over 60 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent have
been traded since 1996.
Will there be more tender rounds in the Projects to Reduce Emissions programme?
It is expected that Projects rounds will be held annually.
If a project was unsuccessful in this tender round, can it be considered in subsequent tender rounds?
Yes. However, it would still need to pass the eligibility tests in future rounds.
What's the difference between a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement (NGA) and a Project?
During the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008 to 2012), it is recognised that the
international competitiveness of some New Zealand firms or industry groupings could be at risk from
the proposed emissions charge. For firms that are prepared to commit to moving towards world's best
practice in the management of their greenhouse gas emissions, the Government is prepared to
negotiate a full or partial exemption from the emissions charge. This is called a Negotiated
Greenhouse Agreement (NGA).
A project is a specific activity that reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the Kyoto Protocol's first
commitment period (2008 to 2012) in return for an incentive. It may involve new technologies and
practices that would not be currently economic, or where market barriers exist to prevent them being
taken up. An activity can only be a project if it would be uneconomic without the award of the
Are firms with a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement in place also eligible for Projects?
Firms in the process of negotiating a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement (NGA) with the Government
were not eligible to participate in the Projects tender unless their negotiations had been concluded.
Firms with an NGA in place were able to submit a project proposal but a "no double dipping"
principle applies under which the Projects incentive cannot be used to help meet an agreed NGA
How does the "no double dipping" principle work in respect of Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements?
Under the "no double dipping" principle:
firms in the process of negotiating a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement (NGA) with the Government
were not eligible to participate in the Projects tender until their negotiations had been concluded; and
firms with an NGA in place could submit a project proposal but the Projects incentive could not be
used to help meet an agreed NGA target. Similarly, a firm with a successful project could apply for
NGA status, but the project would be excluded from the scope of the NGA.
Can emission units awarded to projects be used to offset the Government's proposed emissions
No, they cannot be used to offset any other domestic policy measures such as the emissions charge.
What part do Projects play in the Government's climate change policy package?
Projects are a key component of the Government's confirmed policy package on climate change. The
package was announced in October 2002, to enable New Zealand to meet its targets under the Kyoto
Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Projects policy,
together with the emissions charge planned from 2007, and Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements
(NGAs for firms whose competitiveness will be at risk from the charge) are expected to play key
roles in reducing emissions.
What is the status of the Kyoto Protocol?
More than 100 countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol including the member states of the
European Union, Canada, Japan, Norway, Iceland and a number of Eastern European countries. The
Kyoto Protocol will enter into force if 55 countries (including developed countries that were
responsible for 55 per cent of developed-country carbon dioxide emissions in 1990) ratify the
What happens if the Kyoto Protocol does not enter into force?
If the Kyoto Protocol does not enter into force then the agreement with project participants will
automatically be terminated.
What are greenhouse gas emissions?
Greenhouse gases trap some of the heat the earth radiates back into space. This is referred to as
'global warming' or the 'greenhouse effect', hence the term, 'greenhouse gas'. The greater the
concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the greater the projected temperature rise and
associated climate change. The greenhouse gases included in the Kyoto Protocol are carbon dioxide
(CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and a group of synthetic gases - hydrofluorocarbons
(HFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
FT, 5 December 2003
FEATURES - SCIENCE & HEALTH: Trees won't cure the greenhouse effect
What could be wrong with planting trees? On the face of it, the benefits of trees are clear: they
reduce flooding, prevent landslides and provide a home for wildlife. Perhaps most important, they
reduce the risk of climate change by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The Washington Post
December 05, 2003,
NOT MANY PEOPLE really like the Kyoto Treaty on global warming. President
Bush's domestic opponents criticized him for abruptly abandoning attempts to
ratify it when he took office in 2001, conveniently forgetting that the Senate
had voted 95 to 0 to reject it in 1997, a margin that surely reflects broad
bipartisan opposition. Among the many European countries that have also
complained loudly about the United States' failure to ratify the treaty, only
two, Britain and Sweden, are actually on track to meet Kyoto's targets for
reduction of greenhouse gases. This week the European Union's environment
commissioner sent a scolding letter to all 15 member countries, complaining that
the trend of emissions is "going in the wrong direction." Canada, which has also
assailed the United States for abandoning the Kyoto accord, may now be close to
also pulling out of the treaty. Worse, an unforeseen flaw in the treaty's design
has left Russia, not a country with a deep commitment to the environment, with
an effective veto over the whole affair. Russia is now being coy about whether
it will ratify, apparently hoping that it can extract advantages from Western
Europe in exchange for doing so.
Perhaps because this situation is coming to a head just as a United Nations
meeting on climate change is taking place in Milan, some people are describing
it as a "crisis." But it is also possible to look at the prospective demise of
the treaty as a wonderful political opportunity for the United States. The Bush
administration may have been right to abandon the treaty, given its unrealistic
targets and its failure to include developing nations such as China. But the
president did so in a manner that almost seemed designed to offend the rest of
the world. Mr. Bush now has the chance to reverse the world's impression of the
United States as bloated, polluting and selfish and to help ameliorate the
effects of global warming at the same time.
At the moment American diplomacy on this issue is not nearly vigorous enough.
The administration's stated approach -- to call for investment in new
technologies that can reduce emissions -- isn't inherently wrong, but it is
incomplete. Newer, cleaner and cheaper technologies are needed, and the United
States should help the rest of the world acquire them. But companies must have
an incentive to invent such technologies as well as to install them. A new
treaty containing more acceptable but nevertheless mandatory emissions targets
for both industrialized and developing nations has to be part of the equation as
well. Hard though it will be for this administration, some form of mea culpa --
or at least open acknowledgment that the United States has been rhetorically out
of step with the rest of the world -- is necessary too. No one at this point
will believe any American statements about climate change unless they come from
the very top, and even then it will be difficult. In recent weeks, White House
officials have been telling anyone who would listen that the president really is
interested in climate change, and that he does care about lowering carbon
emissions. The president should say so himself and seize this opportunity to
rejoin the international debate.
Demand for 'Kyoto tax' on the US
Countries refusing to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases should face
trade sanctions, according to a British independent think-tank.
The United States has not signed the Kyoto agreement on climate change and
Russia has indicated it may follow.
The New Economics Foundation wants the EU to tax imports from these
countries because they enjoy a competitive disadvantage as energy costs
Signed-up countries are currently meeting in Italy to discuss the treaty.
New Economics Foundation spokesman Andrew Simms told BBC Radio 4's Today
programme EU countries would be within their rights to "work out the cost of
the free ride America is getting" and raise that amount.
We are about half a century away from being
ecologically and economically bankrupt because of
New Economics Foundation
"There are very few signals the United States understands - they do understand economic
signals," Mr Simms added.
"There is only a certain amount of time people can go around behaving like teenagers who
don't have to care about anybody else," he told Today.
"We are about half a century away from being ecologically and economically bankrupt
because of global warming."
The British diplomat who proposed environmental sanctions 20 years ago, Sir Crispin Tickell,
told the programme the United States' refusal to sign the United Nations Climate Change
Convention was the "height of irresponsibility".
The protocol, negotiated to implement the convention, requires industrialised countries to cut
their emissions of six gases which scientists believe are exacerbating natural climate change.
Signatories will by some time between 2008 and 2012 have to cut emissions to 5.2% below their
But many scientists say cuts of around 60-70% will be needed by mid-century to avoid
runaway climate change.
The protocol will enter into legal force when 55 signatories have ratified it, including
industrialised countries responsible for 55% of the developed world's carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions in 1990.
Some critics say President Bush's decision that the US, which emits more greenhouse gases
than any other country, would not ratify the protocol has already condemned it to irrelevance.
The agreement faces collapse without ratification from Russia, which is responsible for 17% of
global emissions, but seems to be pulling away from backing it because it says it will limit
A senior Russian adviser said the country would not sign the agreement, although another
minister then said he supported it.
San Francisco Chronicle
China's emerging environmental consciousness
Monday, December 1, 2003
While Congress was debating last month an energy bill stripped of provisions to raise fuel-efficiency
standards for sport utility vehicles, the Chinese government announced fuel-economy standards for all new
cars that are significantly stricter than anything contemplated in the United States.
China's economy is booming, and with that boom China must decide how to
address areas of increased energy production, recycling, transportation,
building standards and clean water.
Today, China emits 12 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, second only to the United States (which
emits 25 percent). What China decides will have a huge impact not only on China, but also on the global
environment as a whole.
When factories, power plants and automobiles spew pollutants into the air, these emissions can take to the
wind and cross borders and oceans. North America's emissions can drift to Europe, European pollution to Asia,
and in less than 10 days, toxic emissions from China can reach San Francisco. Around the world, the toxic
blend of soot, ash, acids and other airborne particles is affecting climate change and causing acid rain.
On a recent trip to China, environment commissioner Alan Mok and I met with the environmental managers
of Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. The dynamism, financial and human resources and sheer force of will
that these cities are exerting for positive environmental change was very encouraging. For instance, the
Chinese government indicates that it is installing pollution controls on coal-burning power plants and
prioritizing renewable-energy development to provide lowest-cost electricity to remote areas -- and, in
themlonger term, diversify energy sources. China has plans to develop small hydro-powered generators, as
well as solar, wind and tidal projects.
But it is China's response to its nascent car culture that's most impressive. During the first four months of this
year, 1.36 million cars were sold in China, making it the world's fastest growing auto market. There are more
than 10 million privately owned automobiles in China, compared to 200 million in the United States. In
Shanghai alone the number of private vehicles has increased from 7,000 five years ago to 170,000 today. Fifty
percent of China's total smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions come from vehicles in large cities.
Encouragingly, China is working hard to change this picture. The government reports that it has already
purchased more than 80,000 clean natural gas vehicles and has established 228 CNG fueling stations. Hong
Kong reports 30,000 propane-powered taxis, and Beijing is converting all of its buses to run on natural gas. A
new Chinese clean air law calls for new cars to get 7.5
percent better fuel efficiency than in the United States. For sport utility vehicles, the Chinese standards are as
much as 13 percent higher. And the law is being enforced: On the day I spent with Shanghai environmental
chief Zhang Quan, he noted that there were more than 10,000 tickets issued for vehicle-related violations.
These funds will help provide the $10.8 billion Shanghai plans to spend over the next five years on
environmental projects that will help the city move away from coal to cleaner fuels and to develop clean
On the recycling front, Chinese city dwellers are now producing nearly as
much waste as U.S. citizens. Like San Francisco, China has developed markets for its recycled materials.
China has about 1,500 factories engaged in recycling waste materials, and there is a national goal established
to recycle 50 percent of all industrial waste.
Granted, China has its environmental setbacks as well. There's the travesty of the Three Gorges Dam, and the
country depends too much on coal, which brings acid rain and high levels of sulfur-dioxide pollution that may
account for up to 26 percent of all deaths. But my meetings with officials in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong
Kong inspired me because they all have the commitment, energy and high-level political support to create
meaningful environmental change. China is poised to serve as a model of how to create sustainable
development in mega-cities around the world.
Jared Blumenfeld is director of San Francisco's Environment Department.
ROAP Media Update – 08 December 03
UN or UNEP in the news
GLOBAL warming threatens to cool off western Europe
Taipei Times, Taiwan, Dec 7, 03 - Western Europe may get colder as a result of global warming, because
the melting Arctic ice cap is cooling off the warm ocean current that is largely responsible for Europe's mild
weather, scientists and environmentalists said.
... Earlier this week, the UN Environment Program issued a report saying that global warming was
threatening the world's ski resorts, with melting snow at lower ...
SAVING on energy to help fund security costs
Bangkok Post, Thailand (Business), Dec 8, 03 - At a time when hotels, airlines, airports and others
are facing unprecedented increases in security costs, former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor
Pradech Phayakvichien has a clear answer about where to come up with the money: Save money by
Officially registered in 1998, the Green Leaf Foundation's founding partners are the TAT, Thai
Hotels Association, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand, Metropolitan Waterworks Authority and Association for the Development of
Environmental hazards: Are we dealing with them properly?
The Daily Star, Bangladesh, Dec 6, 03 (Chaklader Mahboob-ul Alam, writes from Madrid) - I am not going to
write about natural disasters over which, we, the human beings, do not have much control. Instead, here in this
letter, I am going to focus on man-made environmental hazards , which in my opinion, can be dealt with, if
there is a collective will to do so.
…Six years after the acceptance of the Kyoto Protocol for discussion and ratification, which held out the
promises of a safer world (from an environmental point of view), the situation today is far worse. According to
data , recently published by the UNEP, instead of any global reductions, actual emissions in 2000 went up by
8% in comparison with emissions in 1990. During this period, emissions went up in the US by 16.8%, in India
by 62.8%, in Japan by 12.3% , in China by 4.6% and in Australia by 23.8%.
General Environment News
Environmental sustainability through recycling
The Philippine STAR 12/07/2003 (By Hubert Strait Adoreno) - The society we live in today is
without a doubt not sustainable: industrialized countries‟ consumption depends heavily on
nonrenewable resources, particularly fossil fuels and metals and the targeted economic development
of the world‟s developing majority will hasten the exhaustion of these scarce resources.
The collapse of nonrenewable resources such as steel, oil and coal will definitely become critical.
Because they are available only in finite quantities, they will eventually be degraded beyond
Flood spreads in districts in Medan municipality
Jakarta Post, National News - December 07, 2003 (Apriadi Gunawan) The Jakarta Post, Medan, North
Flooding hit three districts in the North Sumatra capital of Medan on Saturday, forcing thousands of
families to temporarily abandon their homes. No fatalities were reported.
… Medan Maimoon district head Nasib said that 700 residents had to abandon their homes during the
… Floods are rampant in North Sumatra during the rainy season, and the situation is rapidly deteriorating due
to severe deforestation.
Global warming could submerge three large Indian cities
Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 8, 03 - Global warming could submerge three of India's biggest cities
beneath the sea by 2020 unless the crisis was brought under control, an Indian scientist warned
"If the warming continues, there will be about half to one metre increase in sea level by 2020 and
cities like Bombay, Calcutta and Madras will be completely submerged," said Rajiv Nigam, a
scientist with the Geological Oceanography Division in the western Indian state of Goa.
He said a one-metre rise in sea level could cause five trillion rupees ($A147.24 billion) worth of
damage to property in Goa alone.
15 climate-friendly projects win Kyoto credits
Scoop, New Zealand, Monday, 8 December 2003, - Fifteen projects, including wind farms, hydro-
electricity schemes and industrial heat plants, have won a share of Kyoto Protocol 'carbon credits'
from the Government for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
… "Some of these 15 projects could start reducing emissions of greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere as early as next year. What's more, the bulk of them will help to make New Zealand's
electricity supply more secure in the next few years. This is a great result for the environment, the
owners of these projects and New Zealand as a whole."
As mercury dips, smog chokes Vadodara
The Times of India, Dec 8, 2003 - VADODARA: In the past few months Vadodara has
been recording an abnormally high level of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter
(RSPM). According to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), RSPM level in the city
is 67 per cent higher than the national average.
… The consolation though is that in the past three years, the presence of oxides of nitrogen
and sulphur has come down, say to within the national standards, due to use of better quality
fuel, efficient engines and better enforcement of rules. A major source of RSPM is vehicular
emission. Vadodara has recorded an increase of 52,000 vehicles in the past one year.
Time out for pollution
The Times of India, Dec 8, 2003 (CHETAN MALLIK AND KANIZA GARARI) - IF you think
that the authorities have forgotten about their move to phase out 15-year-old vehicles, then be
prepared for a shock. The fight for a pollution-free environment might get a shot in the arm as the
state government is now in the process of preparing an action plan, which will be submitted to the
Bhurelal Committee – a guiding force behind the Supreme Court rulings on vehicular pollution –
before December 15. The authorities are also toying with the idea of banning odd and even
numbered vehicles on a particular day of the week to cut the number of vehicles on the road. On
other days, private and government vehicles might also face similar ban.
ROWA MEDIA UPDATE
Survey of coastal areas set to begin
AN environmental survey of all of Bahrain's coastal zones is expected to start early next
year, it was announced yesterday.
The aim is to study damage on Bahrain's coastal areas and develop a strategy to manage
The survey, being conducted by the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine
Resources, Environment and Wildlife, will use satellite pictures and field research as well as
economical and social indicators to measure sustainable development.
The survey results will then be analysed using Geographical Information System (GIS).
"This will help ensure that any future projects planned in the kingdom do not affect our
coastal environment," said commission president and Southern Governor Shaikh Abdulla
bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
"Land reclamation has meant that the northern and eastern area of the mother island Bahrain
has been increased by seven per cent since the Seventies," he said.
"Some projects were beneficial to people like the two causeways linking Bahrain to
Muharraq and the King Fahad bin Abdulaziz Causeway linking Bahrain with other countries
of the world.
Doing away with landmines for a better future
An international symposium on the dangers of mines and the remains of wars
in the Arab world will be held in Sharjah next week under the patronage of
His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the
Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
The symposium, titled `For a Better Future' is being organised by the Sharjah
City for Humanitarian Services in cooperation with the Arab Network for
Studying the Dangers of Mines, the Operation Emirates Solidarity for
Demining Southern Lebanon, the Sharjah Department of Culture and
Information and the Canadian Embassy in the UAE.
The symposium will be sponsored by the Sharjah Television and its satellite
channel and Dar Al Khaleej Publishing House and will be attended by
several Arab and foreign experts who will discuss the impact of mines on
environment, and will speak about the victims of land mines and their rights.
The speakers will also demonstrate the international and Arab experiences
and will highlight the humanitarian role of the UAE in demining areas in
Lebanon and Kosovo.
Civic body to keep tabs on indoor air quality
In line with the Local Order 11 of 2003, Dubai Municipality will soon
expand its spectrum of coverage of premises for monitoring indoor air
quality, Redha Hassan Salman, Head of the Environment Protection and
Safety Section (EPSS) at the civic body's Environment Department told
Khaleej Times recently.
"Presently handled by the EPSS and the Clinic and Medical Services Section,
the monitoring of indoor air quality is limited to critical or sensitive areas
such as smoking lounges, multi-storey car parks, kids' nurseries, and in some
cases public halls. But that will soon change and our coverage in terms of
premises will expand once the relevant executive regulations of the Local
Order are formulated," Mr Salman said.
Titled "Health and Safety of Buildings", Section 9 of the Local Order 11 of
2003, defines in general terms the prerequisites for a healthy and safe
building, while it specifically refers to issues pertaining to indoor air quality
and environment of buildings in different articles of the section. Article 56 of
the local order mentions the responsibility of the landlord in maintaining the
quality of indoor air, and also suggests covering or protecting equipment that
releases gases or pollutes air.
Wastewater treatment discussed at regional conference
The first regional conference on wastewater treatment was launched here on Sunday in an effort to spread
awareness on the efficiency of this new water source in irrigation and other uses.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser said the
conference would offer an opportunity for local and international participants to share
experiences and exchange know-how.
He also highlighted the significance of holding such a conference in Amman since Jordan is
one of the leading countries in the region in the field of reclaimed water.
The Kingdom was the first country in the region to implement wastewater treatment projects
on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, as is the case in the 98 million cubic metre (mcm)
Khirbet Al Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Nasser, also minister of agriculture, called for heightened awareness amongst citizens on the
benefits of recycling water as a means of reducing fresh water depletion in uses other than
New green strategy for kids
With a view to catching' em young and instilling a sense of environmental values in
children, the authorities have adopted a multi-pronged strategy.
The strategy is formulated and implemented by the Supreme Council of Environment and
Natural Reserves (SCENR), with the active co-operation of the Ministry of Education and
While devising the strategy, "we tried to look at the level of children's knowledge,
educational awareness and competence in dealing with environmental factors," said Darwish
Ahmed, director of media at the SCENR.
To suit different categories of children, the council has factored in six elements into the
game plan, which is aimed at students at all levels. "We are doing that in order to achieve
the best results," Darwish said.
The council looked at ways to complement the academic knowledge the children might have
gleaned from books. The result was a children's magazine with focus on environment. It has
already signed a deal with Gulf Publishing and Printing Company to prepare and distribute
Rashid and Noora, a monthly magazine with a strong environmental message.
Besides, the council is to make a 90-episode cartoon to disseminate the message in an
adventurous and hilarious way, in a manner the children would enjoy and understand,
Darwish said. The cartoon is being prepared now.
The council decided to strengthen further the environmental theme with hands-on
experience for children, and to provide a place where they can apply their knowledge and
interact with real nature.
In order to give children the confidence to deal with the real world - with animals and
plants, the council will be making a museum and park with stuffed and live animals and
birds. The park will have "small live" animals, birds and various plants.
This will be located at the Muntazah Park, which will be converted into an environmental
park. The facility is at the designing stage now, the media director said.
Prepared by News Services Section DH/4033
http://www.un.org/News/ 5 December 2003
* Annan condemns train explosion in the Russian Federation
* UN-created monitoring board for Iraqi development fund holds first meeting
* Annan‟s High-Level Panel on threats starts deliberations
* Humanitarian and security situations in western Sudan reach new lows – UN agency
* UN humanitarian envoy to visit Côte d‟Ivoire next week
* UN tribunal sentences Bosnian Serb general to 20 years‟ jail for role in Sarajevo siege
* Cambodia: UN team to help set up war crimes court for Khmer Rouge leaders
* UN war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone withdraws indictments
* Facing „enormous demands,‟ UN refugee agency launches $1 billion appeal
* UN human rights agency appeals to donors for nearly $55 million for next year
* Annan urges Commonwealth to give special attention to fighting HIV/AIDS
* UN mourns loss of senior official Sharon Capeling-Alakija
* Annan hails dedication, courage of volunteers
* UN human rights agency offers assistance to Iraqi officials
* Annan says panel assessing civil society‟s new role in UN work to report soon
* UN refugee agency joins disarmament programme in Liberia
* Afghans close to completing UN shelter scheme for returning refugees
* UN anti-drugs agency holds talks with Afghanistan‟s Foreign Minister
* Cooperation among western Mediterranean countries will improve security – Annan
* UN refugee office to monitor closure of camp for Chechen refugees in Ingushetia
* Arab women lag in workforce and parliaments, UN committee informed
* UN maritime agency agrees to accelerate phase out of single-hull tankers
* Pope hails UN food agency‟s Alliance Against Hunger
* UNESCO chief condemns murder of Philippine journalist
5 December – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today condemned this morning‟s
explosion inside a commuter train in the Russian Federation, saying the attack appears to be “yet another act of
Media reports say at least 40 people have been killed after a suicide bomber blew himself up on the
train, just outside Yessentuki station in the southern fringe of the Russian Federation, near Chechnya.
The Secretary-General believes “terrorism can never be justified,” a UN spokesman in New York said
in a statement.
Mr. Annan sent his condolences to the Government of the Russian Federation and the families of
those killed or injured by the explosion.
5 December – An international board entrusted by the United Nations Security Council with
monitoring the United States-led management of funding and revenues in Iraq held its first meeting today, with
Secretary-General Kofi Annan attending.
The International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), which includes representatives of the UN,
the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,
met at UN Headquarters in New York for private talks.
IAMB, created to audit the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), is charged with ensuring the DFI is
used in a transparent manner to meet the Iraqi population‟s humanitarian needs, the economic reconstruction
and repair of infrastructure, the continued disarmament of Iraq, and the costs of Iraqi civilian administration.
The DFI was set up earlier this year by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority.
The Security Council also charged IAMB to make sure that export sales of Iraqi petroleum, natural
gas and petroleum products are consistent with international market best practices.
5 December – The United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, mandated to
make a broad examination of global peace and security issues, met Secretary-General Kofi Annan today before
starting a weekend of deliberations in New Jersey.
The 16-member panel is also being asked to identify the contributions of collective action in
addressing major challenges and threats and to recommend changes necessary to ensure effective collective
action, especially by the UN.
After talks with Mr. Annan, the Panel‟s chair, former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun of
Thailand, told reporters that the members would go to a place – Princeton, N.J. – where they could not be
influenced by UN Secretariat staff or governments.
They were due back in New York on Sunday, 7 December, he said.
In answer to questions, he said their mandate was broad and they could not be expected to cover all
the issues being raised. They would confine themselves to real and immediate issues, though they could make
recommendations for the medium term.
UN failures to take collective action in responding to threats were remembered, but its successes were
not recalled, he said. He declined to be more specific before the panel had had a chance to discuss the mandate
5 December – Fighting in western Sudan has brought the humanitarian and security situations to an
unprecedented low, risking the lives of thousands of civilians who cannot be reached with food aid, United
Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said today.
“The humanitarian situation in Darfur has quickly become one of the worst in the world. Access to
people in need is blocked by the parties in conflict and now, as the need for aid grows, stocks of relief
materials are dwindling,” said Mr. Egeland, who is also Under-Secretary-General in charge of the UN Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Fighting between forces loyal to the Government of Sudan and the main rebel Sudan Liberation
Movement/Army (SLM/A) escalated in the Darfur areas last March and drove 670,000 people to join an earlier
200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). Some 70,000 of them fled across the border into Chad, where
they lack basic supplies, OCHA said.
The Sudanese crisis is already estimated as being the worst worldwide, with 4 million people
displaced. The SLM/A has been holding talks with the Sudanese government recently, but the other rebel
movement, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), has refused to do so.
In the few areas accessible to humanitarian workers, IDPs lack water, food, shelter and sanitation
facilities, Mr. Egeland said.
“I remind combatants of their obligation to minimize the impact of their hostilities on civilian
populations, in accordance with international law,” he said.
Access to both rebel- and government-held areas continues to be denied or constrained by restrictions
on travel permits and insecurity caused by militia activity and banditry, OCHA said. Trucks carrying aid have
been attacked and relief workers held by armed groups.
“I urge the government and the militias to take all possible steps to allow humanitarian workers to
safely deliver aid to people who desperately need it. Parties to the conflict should honour the agreement they
signed in September, which guaranteed aid workers safe and unimpeded access to people in need,” Mr.
5 December – The United Nations Secretary-General‟s Humanitarian Envoy to Côte d‟Ivoire,
Carolyn McAskie, will visit the country‟s capital, Abidjan, next week on an evaluation mission, the UN Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
She will arrive in Abidjan on Sunday for a her fourth evaluation visit, during which she will meet
governmental authorities, UN agencies and a broad range of national and international humanitarian workers.
She will review the humanitarian situation and assess the country‟s needs, especially for aid to refugees and
displaced people, OCHA said.
During her mission, Ms. McAskie hopes to mobilize contributions totalling $59 million for the 2004
UN Consolidated Appeal for Côte d‟Ivoire. She will also draw the attention of the international community to
the risk that the humanitarian situation might deteriorate if the vital, immediate needs of almost a million
people are not filled.
5 December – The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today sentenced a
former Bosnian Serb general to 20 years in jail for spreading terror among Sarajevo residents during the city‟s
long siege with a campaign of sniping and shelling attacks.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found General Stanislav Galić
guilty of one charge of violating the laws or customs by war by spreading terror among a civilian population,
and four charges of crimes against humanity, for murder and inhumane acts other than murder. Two other
charges were dismissed.
In a majority judgement, the tribunal‟s Judge Alphonsus Martinus Maria Orie of the Netherlands and
Judge Amin El Mahdi of Egypt found that General Galić commanded a branch of the Army of Republika
Srpska (SRK), the military wing of a self-proclaimed area within Bosnia-Herzegovina, between September
1992 and August 1994. That branch “had virtually encircled Sarajevo” by September 1992, the tribunal said.
The judges agreed with prosecutors that General Galić was “criminally responsible” for many of the
sniping and shelling attacks that occurred in Sarajevo over the next two years.
“These attacks were mostly carried out in daylight. They were not in response to any military threat.
The attackers could for the most part easily tell that their victims were engaged in everyday civilian activities,”
Judge Orie and Judge El Mahdi stated.
Those attacks included the notorious attack on a Sarajevo marketplace in February 1994, when a
mortar shell exploded, killing 60 people and injuring more than 100 others.
“The Trial Chamber has no doubt that the Accused was well aware of the unlawful activities of his
troops,” the judges said.
In a separate opinion, Judge Rafael Nieto-Navia of Colombia dissented in part with the majority
Judge Nieto-Navia found that the offence of inflicting terror on a civilian population does not fall
within the jurisdiction of the tribunal‟s trial chamber. He also found that there were reasonable doubts over
some of the shelling and sniping incidents.
But the judge did find that the SRK deliberately or recklessly fired on civilians in Sarajevo, and that
General Galić knew or had reason to know of this. He said that given this, he would have sentenced him to 10
5 December – A staff team left United Nations Headquarters in New York today for Cambodia to
provide technical and practical help to local officials as they set up and operate a court to try the former leaders
of the Khmer Rouge for war crimes.
UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told today‟s press briefing that the team, which is led by Karsten Harrel,
will arrive in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, over the weekend.
The team will hold discussions with Cambodian officials next week before returning to New York the
According to media reports, the Khmer Rouge were responsible for more than 1.7 million deaths, or
nearly one in five Cambodians, when they ruled the Southeast Asian nation between 1975 and 1979.
In May, the General Assembly authorized the UN to help Cambodia set up and run two Extraordinary
Chambers in the new tribunal. One will be a trial court and the other will be a Supreme Court within the
existing Cambodian justice system.
5 December – The United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal for Sierra Leone announced today that
it has formally dropped indictments against two prominent former rebel leaders, Foday Sankoh and Sam
Bockarie, saying it has no doubt that the two men have died.
In a press statement issued in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, a spokesman for the Special
Court for Sierra Leone – which was partly set up by the UN as the West African country recovers from 10
years of civil war – said the withdrawal of the indictments would enter into the court records.
But the court spokesman, David Crane, said that “does not mean that there will not be a record of
what Sankoh and Bockarie did to the people of Sierra Leone.”
Mr. Sankoh, who died in a Freetown hospital in July after a long illness, was a former leader of the
rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and had been indicted for war crimes, atrocities and human
Mr. Crane said a death certificate records that Mr. Bockarie died in May of gunshot wounds, and
several witnesses positively identified the body. Mr. Bockarie had also been a leader of the RUF and was
facing war crimes charges.
The Special Court is an independent tribunal set up by the UN and the Government of Sierra Leone.
Its task is to bring to justice those who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996.
5 December – With unresolved crises making “enormous demands,” the United Nations refugee
agency today launched a $1 billion appeal, $70 million more than in 2003, to fund its work for next year to
care for more than 20.5 million refugees and other people worldwide.
The Global Appeal 2004, which the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will formally
present to donors on Monday at a pledging conference in Geneva, includes $955 million for its annual budget
and over $57 million for supplementary programs for the Liberian crisis and Sudanese refugees.
The agency‟s budget is mainly funded by voluntary contributions from donor countries. Only $25
million is allocated from the UN‟s regular budget. UNHCR is still experiencing a shortfall of $51.2 million in
its current year $930 million annual budget.
“Unresolved refugee situations in a number of countries continue to put enormous demands on
UNHCR,” the agency‟s head, Ruud Lubbers said in a foreword to the appeal document released today.
More than a third of the 2004 budget will go for repatriation and refugee assistance in Africa, where
UNHCR cares for more than 3.3 million people, some of them exiled since wars erupted in their homelands
more than 30 years ago. Protracted refugee groups on the African continent include Burundian refugees who
fled in 1972 and 1994, Western Saharan refugees now in their 28th year of exile, and Somalis who fled civil
war beginning in the late 1980s.
But Afghanistan will remain UNHCR‟s single largest operation worldwide in 2004, and the agency is
budgeting some $132 million for projects there and in the seven neighbouring states to finance repatriation and
assist the remaining refugees. Since early 2002, the agency has helped some 3 million Afghan refugees and
displaced persons to go back to their communities.
Mr. Lubbers stresses in the foreword that the 2004 budget is resource-based, meaning that the agency
is seeking funds based on expectations of contributions and does not address the true needs of the many
millions of individuals under its care.
5 December – The United Nations human rights agency today appealed for $54.8 million in
contributions to fund activities in the coming year and to continue efforts to strengthen the institution.
Voluntary contributions are particularly important for the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) as they account for over two thirds of its total budget, the agency said in a news
release in Geneva. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has requested more regular budget funding from the General
Assembly for the 2004-2005 period and the OHCHR will also get $27.1 million from the UN budget next year.
Introducing Annual Appeal 2004, to be launched officially on Monday at a meeting of UN Member
States in Geneva, acting OHCHR head Bertrand Ramcharan, said it comes during one of the most difficult
periods in the agency‟s short history.
“Our challenge, has been to maintain momentum in a time of crisis and to honour Sergio‟s memory
by sustaining progress in a time of transition,” Mr. Ramcharan said in reference to former Human Rights High
Commissioner Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Baghdad in August.
The agency must continue “his efforts to strengthen the institution, to give it a sharper focus and
clearer priorities, to streamline and rationalize its structures, to improve its field policies, and to improve its
internal management,” he added. ”These reforms serve our overall goal of promoting an integrated human
rights programme that brings together several critical components into a coherent whole.”
The appeal covers the areas of support to UN human rights organs, including the Commission on
Human Rights and the bodies that monitor how human rights treaties are implemented, programmes at the
regional and country levels, response to new human rights challenges and the strengthening of OHCHR‟s
capacity, including information technology and staff security.
Commonwealth Heads of Government
5 December – Given that HIV/AIDS is claiming many more lives in Africa than conflicts are, the
Commonwealth should give special emphasis to fighting the pandemic at its current summit, United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.
In a message to a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, taking place in Abuja,
Nigeria, Mr. Annan praised the organization – a 54-member group comprised of the United Kingdom, its
former possessions and other States – for its efforts to defeat extreme poverty, hunger, death, disease and
But the scourge of HIV/AIDS “warrants special emphasis,” the Secretary-General said, especially so
soon after World AIDS Day, which was observed on Monday.
“It is spreading at an alarming rate. The disease is a terrible threat, not just to human life, but to good
governance and sustainable development,” he said.
Mr. Annan noted the UN works in partnership with the Commonwealth in peace-building efforts
around the world, including Guyana, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and many Pacific island States.
The Secretary-General added that he was aware this Commonwealth meeting would discuss the
situation in Zimbabwe, and the need for reconciliation between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
“It is vital for dialogue to resume without delay in Zimbabwe, and for tangible progress to be made,”
5 December – Staff members and diplomats at the United Nations gathered today to pay tribute to the
late executive coordinator of the UN Volunteers (UNV), Sharon Capeling-Alakija, whom UN Secretary-
General Kofi Annan called “a natural world citizen inspired by a profound desire to help build better lives for
Ms. Capeling-Alakija, a Canadian who joined the UN in 1989, died 4 November in Bonn, Germany,
after a long illness.
“At a time of unprecedented change in the world and in the role of the United Nations, Sharon had an
instinctive grasp of the need for the organization to reach out as widely as possible and engage people from all
walks of life to join in our mission,” Mr. Annan said.
“She brought that understanding to bear on all her work with us – whether as Executive Coordinator
of the United Nations Volunteers programme, Director of Evaluation and Strategic Planning at UNDP (United
Nations Development Programme), or Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).”
The highly successful International Year of Volunteers she led in 2001 provided vivid testimony of
the energy and enthusiasm she brought to that approach, he said.
The UNV supports human development globally by promoting volunteerism and by mobilizing
5 December – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the dedication and courage
of millions of selfless volunteers who, day-in day-out, work without publicity to help millions of others in a
world dominated by news of war, conflicts and other man-made disasters.
“Volunteers do not ask, „why volunteer?‟ but rather „when?‟ „where?‟ and „how?‟” Mr. Annan said in
a message marking International Volunteer Day. “These dedicated and courageous individuals are important
partners in the quest for a better, fairer and safer world.”
Noting the daily dose of adverse news about man-made disasters, he declared: “It is often a challenge
not to lose heart when we see the suffering inflicted on so many millions of people throughout the world. But
far away from the spotlight, there are millions of generous individuals who, around the clock and around the
world, roll up their sleeves and volunteer to help in any way they can.”
Whether working alone or as part of organized movements, they care for the old, the sick and the
handicapped, Mr. Annan said. They help people with HIV/AIDS, teach children to read and young adults the
vocational skills, build houses, clean rivers, dig wells, protect human rights, build democracy, resolve conflict
and maintain peace. They rush relief supplies to people struck by calamity and work with marginalized groups
to ensure that their needs are heard and met.
Paying tribute to “one of their greatest champions,” Sharon Capeling-Alakija, Executive Coordinator
of the UN Volunteers (UNV) who died last month, Mr. Annan concluded: “Let us remember that each
contribution - no matter how small - can help make a difference.”
5 December - The United Nations human rights agency has offered to make its expertise available to
Iraqi officials and representatives of civil society as they establish a legal framework to promote and protect
The initiative is one of a series of steps discussed by acting head of the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Bertrand Ramcharan, and Iraq‟s Minister of Human Rights,
Abdel Baset Turki, during a meeting on 3 December in Geneva.
The talks focused on issues of human rights protection in Iraq and on efforts to deal with past
violations, the agency said in a news release. Follow-up meetings between Iraqi officials and OHCHR
continued through 4 December.
Mr. Turki briefed Mr. Ramcharan on current human rights concerns in Iraq, as well as on efforts to
prepare a declaration on human rights for the country, envisaged constitutional provisions on human rights and
draft rights legislation. He sought the support of OHCHR in a number of areas, including the training of human
rights trainers and the establishment of a human rights resource centre in Baghdad.
Mr. Ramcharan said OHCHR would arrange a human rights training course urgently in Amman,
Jordan, for officials of the human rights ministry. OHCHR was also ready to arrange for some 10 people to
travel from Baghdad to Amman to meet with the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on
Iraq, Andreas Mavrommatis. Mr. Ramcharan and Mr. Turki expressed readiness to continue and intensify the
5 December – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the intensification of the
relationships between civil society organizations and governments over the past 15 years has been rewarding,
but presented new challenges on which a panel he has appointed will report early next year.
In a message to the 22nd General Assembly of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations
(CONGO) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, he said yesterday: “I think we all sense that some real challenges
have come to the fore – such as the sheer numbers of foundations and other groups seeking to participate and
the quality of the participation.”
A panel of eminent persons, chaired by former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, “is
expected to report early in the new year,” he said.
“In the end Governments will decide on these matters, but each of you has an important role to play in
this path of change and I hope you will make your voices heard,” Mr. Annan said.
When the 12-member panel was appointed last February, Mr. Cardoso told journalists that the
explosion of civil society organizations was the reason Mr. Annan had decided to examine the resulting
problems and the possibly expanded links between the UN and non-State actors, such as NGOs,
parliamentarians, foundations and members of the private sector.
5 December – The United Nations refugee agency has joined the UN inter-agency programme of
disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration (DDRR) in war-torn Liberia, announcing it
would offer assistance to 40,000 former combatants in the West African country and in its neighbours.
In a statement issued in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) said it would help demobilized Liberian fighters inside Liberia, former Liberian fighters
currently in neighbouring countries, and foreign ex-combatants currently in Liberia.
The DDRR programme, launched in a symbolic ceremony on Monday by Jacques Paul Klein, the
Secretary-General‟s Special Representative for Liberia and the chief of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL),
effectively begins on Sunday.
UNHCR‟s representative in Liberia, Moses Okello, said in a statement that the DDRR process will
allow many thousands of refugees and internally displaced people to return to their homes in Liberia, which is
recovering from years of civil war.
Under the DDRR scheme, ex-fighters can bring their weapons to sites in Monrovia, Buchanan and
Tubmanburg, where UN peacekeepers will then instruct them in demobilization training. The former
combatants will also receive a small financial allowance to help them reintegrate into society.
The UNHCR said it will provide plastic sheeting and kitchen sets to the demobilization centres, and
support plans for skills workshops and the building of feeder roads.
Today the agency announced it had begun one-day workshops in internally displaced people (IDP)
camps for community watch teams – bands of volunteers who carry out regular patrols around the camps, and
mediate during conflicts.
The UNHCR estimates there are still about 315,000 Liberian refugees scattered across West Africa
after 14 years of civil war ended this year.
5 December – Afghans have almost completed construction of the 52,000 homes planned in a United
Nations scheme to provide shelter for thousands of returning refugees, the UN‟s refugee agency announced
A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kris Janowski, said today that
34,000 homes have already been built, providing shelter to more than 170,000 people who returned to
Afghanistan this year after years of war and Taliban rule.
At a press briefing in Geneva, Mr. Janowski said another 16,000 houses are currently under
construction and should be ready for habitation by the end of the year. Another 2,000 homes are expected to be
built early next year.
In October, the UNHCR stepped up the pace of the scheme to try to make sure that as many homes as
possible were built ahead of Afghanistan‟s normally bitter winter.
Mr. Janowski said that, under the scheme, the UNHCR provides tool kits, walls, roofing timbers,
doors and window frames to approved refugees, as well as a stipend to help pay for construction.
The UNHCR has estimated that more than 610,000 Afghan refugees have returned this year, with
almost all arriving from either Pakistan or Iran.
5 December – Afghanistan‟s Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has held talks about rising drug
production in his country – by far the world‟s biggest producer of opium – with the United Nations anti-drugs
agency and foreign government representatives in Vienna today.
Mr. Abdullah told the meeting with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that drug control
efforts are an essential part of rebuilding Afghanistan, which is recovering after more than two decades of
either war or brutal Taliban rule.
“Opium cultivation and trafficking have a major destabilizing potential and might hamper all other
efforts. Therefore, we are looking forward to the donors‟ conference in Kabul early next year as an opportunity
for the international community to send a clear message of support for Afghan people,” he said.
At the meeting, UNODC‟s Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa stressed the importance of
balancing law enforcement efforts with the international community‟s need to provide enough resources for
Afghanistan to rebuild its economy with other industries.
In October the UNODC released a survey showing that the area under opium poppy cultivation in
Afghanistan jumped by 8 per cent this year. Now there is opium production in 28 of Afghanistan‟s 32
provinces, up from 18 in 1999.
The survey also showed Afghanistan provides about three-quarters of the world‟s output of opium,
which is the source of heroin. About 1.7 million Afghans, or roughly 7 per cent of the national population,
work in the industry.
5 December – The strengthening of cooperation and coordination among the countries of the western
Mediterranean region, especially on migration policies, will contribute to and consolidate regional stability and
security, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.
“The development of common strategies when faced with globalized exchanges will have a positive
impact on the growth and stability of the region,” he said in a message read to a summit of western
Mediterranean countries by the UN resident coordinator in Tunisia, Ariel Francais.
“In this context, it is important that the European side continue to support efforts by the Maghreb
countries to achieve economic integration and cooperation. The manner in which migration is managed will
also influence regional security and stability. That‟s why I‟m pleased with your willingness to promote a
global, balanced and coordinated approach for human exchanges and migration.”
Mr. Annan urged the Arab Maghreb countries to make their regional integration concrete and to
formulate common objectives with a view to establishing a partnership with their European neighbours, he
5 December – The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said today it would
monitor the closure this year by the Russian Federation‟s Migration Service of a third camp in Ingushetia for
Up to 3 December Camp A, or Alina camp, housed 818 refugees. They are now being offered a
choice of returning to Chechnya, going to Camp C, Satsita camp, also in Ingushetia, a republic bordering
Chechnya, or taking rooms in temporary settlements which have been repaired by non-government
organizations (NGOs), UNHCR said.
One hundred and three families said they wished to relocate to Satsita, 72 families chose to return to
Chechnya and another 27 families had not yet made up their minds. UNHCR said it was making sure that these
choices are voluntary.
Camp A is the third camp closed in the past year, it said. Iman camp was closed last December. Camp
B, Bella, was closed in late September and about 1,000 persons were moved to Camp Satsita, it said.
UNHCR, Ingushetia migration authorities and the displaced people have been erecting tents at Satsita
for the new families, while NGOs are helping hook up lines for gas, electricity and water.
In another development, UNHCR sent a mission to Grozny to survey the situation of voluntary
returnees in two temporary accommodation centres (TACs). Everything was fine, except for garbage collection
outside, it said.
The internally displaced people (IDPs) there were concerned about compensation for property losses
and education for their children, UNHCR said.
5 December – The Arab region has the world‟s lowest proportion of women in the workforce and
parliament, the United Nations adviser for women‟s issues yesterday told the first meeting of a UN committee
set up to assess the progress of Arab women.
Eight years after the historic UN conference on women was held in Beijing, the UN Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) attracted more than 250 female politicians, community leaders
and experts in women‟s rights to Beirut, Lebanon, for the first meeting of ESCWA‟s Committee on Women.
In a message delivered to the committee meeting, Angela King, the UN Special Advisor on Gender
Issues and Advancement of Women, said the committee is poised to play a key role in improving the cause of
women across the region. Wariara Mbugua, a senior social affairs officer for the UN, read out Ms. King‟s
message on her behalf.
In the message, Ms. King told the committee that “Arab women continue to be affected by the spread
of poverty perpetuated by increased economic difficulties, political instability and deteriorating social
conditions,” adding that armed conflict across Western Asia was also holding back women‟s empowerment.
Ms. King also pointed out that three countries in the region – Oman, Qatar and the United Arab
Emirates – have not signed or ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women (CEDAW).
Only 5.7 per cent of parliamentary seats in the Arab region are held by women, compared to the
global average of 15.2 per cent, according to Ms. King.
ESCWA‟s Executive Secretary, Mervat Tallawy, said Arab women had increased their contribution to
the economy since the Beijing conference in 1995, especially in the services sector. She also noted that some
countries had lifted their representation of both women in parliament and women as government ministers.
Ms. Tallawy added, however, “Arab women are still suffering from the negative mentality, attitudes,
and trends which harm their status, role and image in society due to traditions.”
Delegates to the committee meeting came from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Oman, Qatar, Syria, the Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen. The committee
meeting concludes today.
5 December – The United Nations agency responsible for maritime issues has brought forward the
deadline for the phasing out of single-hull tankers by five years to 2010.
A meeting of the International Maritime Organization‟s (IMO) marine environment protection
committee in London this week agreed to accelerate the phase-out deadline, thereby amending the
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.
This week‟s IMO meeting is also considering a plan to introduce new regulations banning the
carriage of heavy grades of oil on single-hull tankers. The two proposals were introduced by the European
Union earlier this year.
A spokesman for the IMO said the accelerated deadline shows the organization can react quickly and
expeditiously to situations such as the one caused by the Prestige tanker, which caused an environmentally
damaging oil spill when it sank off Spain‟s northwestern coast last year.
5 December – Pope John Paul II today gave his backing to the International Alliance Against Hunger
promoted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), saying the service was more
urgently needed than ever.
“Our meeting today allows me to express the appreciation of the Catholic Church for the important
service which FAO renders to humanity,” the Pope said at a special audience at the Vatican for delegates from
many of FAO‟s 188 Members attending the organization‟s biennial Conference at its Rome headquarters.
“Today this service is more urgently needed than ever. Hunger and malnutrition, aggravated by
growing poverty, represent a grave threat to the peaceful coexistence of peoples and nations,” he added,
according to a FAO news release.
“Given this close relationship between hunger and peace, it is clear that economic and political
decisions and strategies must increasingly be guided by a commitment to global solidarity and respect for
fundamental human rights, including the right to adequate nourishment,” the Pope declared.
“For this reason I am confident that the work of FAO in establishing an International Alliance Against
Hunger will bear fruit in practical choices and political decisions inspired by the awareness that humanity is
5 December – The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) today condemned this week‟s murder of Nelson Nadura, a Philippine radio journalist, noting he is
the fifth journalist to have been killed in the Philippines this year.
UNESCO‟s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, in a statement issued from the organization‟s
headquarters in Paris, said he welcomed the pledge by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to ensure
that such attacks on journalists do not go unpublished.
Mr. Nadura, a journalist with Radio DYME in Masbate City, in the central Philippines, was murdered
on Wednesday. He hosted a morning talk show on politics and current affairs at the radio station. More than 40
journalists have been murdered in the Philippines since the Southeast Asian country returned to democracy in
Mr. Matsuura said “it is crucial that action be taken to deter such crimes, which strike at democracy
and governance. I hope that the President‟s resolve will help provide safe working conditions to the profession,
which has paid all too heavy a tribute to the fundamental human right of freedom of expression.”
In 1997, UNESCO‟s Member States adopted a resolution calling for the perpetrators of crimes against
journalists to be brought to justice.
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