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					                         THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                              Thursday 2 August, 2007



                       UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

   Asia‘s brown clouds 'warm planet' (BBC)
   African children debate environmental protection (XHINUA)
   PNUE 10 millions et demi d'arbres plantés en une journée en Inde (ONU)
   Conmemoran 20 años del Protocolo de Montreal (La Estrella)
   Pollution Amplifies Greenhouse Gas Warming Trends To Jeopardize Asian Water
    Supplies (Science Daily)

                                  Other Environment News

   Huge sea level rises are coming – unless we act now (NewScientist.com news service)
   UN Debates Urgent Action to Avert Global Warming (ENS)
   UN envoys voice new optimism in tackling climate change (Scoop NZ)
   'Bullying' BAA seeks Heathrow protest injunction (The Guardian)
   U.N. climate chief skeptical about global carbon tax (Reuters)
   Brazil, Alarmed, Reconsiders Policy on Climate Change (New York Times)
   Unusual Nuclear Contamination Found in N.Korea – UN (Reuters)
   Canary islands fires an environmental catastrophe: experts (AFP)
   Hospitals - Generating Health or Pollution? (Inter Press Service)
   Kenya: Tree Felling in Nakuru Faulted (East African Standard)
   Orangutans use 'charades' to talk (BBC)

                      Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

   ROAP
   ROA
   ROLAC

                                       Other UN News

   UN Daily News of 1 August 2007
   S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 1 August 2007




               Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:unepmedia@unep.org, http://www.unep.org
BBC: Asia’s brown clouds 'warm planet'

{Also featured on Daily Times Pakistan, Melbourne story MA}

Clouds of pollution over the Indian Ocean appear to cause as much warming as greenhouse
gases released by human activity, a study has suggested.
US researchers used unmanned aircraft to measure the effects of the "brown clouds" on the
surrounding area.
Writing in Nature, they said the tiny particles increased the solar heating of the lower
atmosphere by about 50%.
The warming could be enough to explain the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas, the scientists
proposed.
The clouds contain a mixture of light absorbing aerosols and light scattering aerosols, which
cause the atmosphere to warm and the surface of the Earth to cool.
The main sources of the pollutants came from wood burning and fossil fuels, the team added.
Aerosols, also known as particulates, cool the land or sea below because they filter out light
from the Sun.
While this process, known as "global dimming", is fairly well understood, the effect aerosols
have on the surrounding atmosphere is still unclear.
The scientists, from the University of California San Diego and the Nasa Langley Research
Center, said there remained a degree of uncertainty because, until now, estimates had largely
been derived from computer models.

Solar heating
For their study, the team of researchers used three unmanned aircraft, fitted with miniaturised
instruments that were able to measure aerosol concentrations, soot amounts and the flow of
energy from the Sun.
The crafts flew over the polluted region of the Indian Ocean at varying heights between 500m
(1,640ft) and 3,000m (9,840ft).
"During 18 flight missions, the three unmanned aerial vehicles were flown with a separation of
tens of metres or less and less than 10 seconds (apart), which made it possible to measure the
atmospheric solar heating rates directly," they wrote.
"We found that atmospheric brown clouds enhanced lower atmospheric solar heating by about
50%.
"[The pollution] contributes as much as the recent increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases
to regional lower atmospheric warming trends," they suggested.
"We propose that the combined warming trend of 0.25 Kelvin per decade may be sufficient to
account for the observed retreat of the Himalayan glaciers."
Seasonal glacier and snow melt from the mountain range feeds rivers that supplies water to
about 40% of the world's population.



                                                                                                  2
The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), in its latest Snow and Ice Outlook report,
said the ice sheets in the region could retreat by up to 81% by the end of the century.
_____________________________________________________________________________

XHINUA: African children debate environmental protection
{FEATURED ON Daily China}
20:37, August 01, 2007
Over 200 children from 35 African countries and Norway have converged here to discuss
matters related to the environment, according to the Cameroonian national radio.
Organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Yaounde meeting, which
began Monday, is bringing together children below the age of 17 to discuss, share experience
and make resolutions on the major challenges facing the African continent on the field of
environmental protection, the radio reported Tuesday.
The meeting, which is the first regional conference bringing African children together to discuss
the environment, is aimed at highlighting the role of children in the promotion of sustainable
development in a continent that boasts the second highest rate of deforestation, a continent
where waste is not treated, where no one at the moment is bothered by pollution and where
unplanned housing is the norm.
In addition, the meeting is being used to prepare African children for the world summit of
children on environment, which will be held in Norway in July 2008.
Source: Xinhua
_____________________________________________________________________________
ONU: PNUE 10 millions et demi d'arbres plantés en une journée en Inde
1 août 2007 – Au cours de la seule journée du 31 juillet, 10 millions et demi d'arbres ont été
plantés dans l'Etat de l'Uttar Pradesh en Inde, a annoncé le Programme des Nations Unies pour
l'environnement (PNUE).
Cette initiative, soigneusement planifiée au niveau gouvernemental, a bénéficié de la
participation de 600.000 personnes et a établi un nouveau record pour la campagne du PNUE «
Plantons pour la Planète: la Campagne pour un milliard d'arbres».
C'est le Gouvernement de l'Uttar Pradesh, l'Etat le plus peuplé de l'Inde, qui a lancé l'opération,
avec l'objectif d'attirer l'attention des habitants sur la nécessité de protéger les forets et
l'environnement en général.
A Lucknow, la capitale de l'Etat, la préparation a été minutieuse, depuis la distribution de livrets
explicatifs et la sélection des différentes variétés de plants, jusqu'à la livraison des 10 millions et
demi d'arbres sur le lieu des plantations et la prise de photos sur chacun des 9.320 sites.
Le but de l'événement, faire participer les différents secteurs de la société, a été atteint, car
autant les écoliers et les agriculteurs que les industries locales et les fonctionnaires ont contribué
à la réalisation des plantations ou à leur financement.
_____________________________________________________________________________




                                                                                                      3
La Estrella: Conmemoran 20 años del Protocolo de Montreal
Hace dos décadas, un grupo de 24 países se reunieron, bajo los auspicios del Programa de las
Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente, para firmar el Protocolo de Montreal relativo a las
sustancias que agotan la Capa de Ozono. Hoy, 20 años después, más de 190 países han
ratificado el acuerdo internacional comprometiéndose a reducir las casi 100 sustancias
controladas por el Protocolo.
En el marco de los 20 años del Protocolo de Montreal, el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para
el Medio Ambiente realiza en la Ciudad de Panamá el Simposio La Capa de Ozono y la Salud,
con la asistencia de expertos en el tema, entre ellos el secretario Ejecutivo del Protocolo de
Montreal, Marco González y la administradora General del Ambiente de Panamá, Ligia Castro
de Dones.
Luego del Simposio se dará inicio a la reunión de la Red de Oficiales de Ozono de América
Latina y el Caribe.
En virtud del Protocolo de Montreal se eliminan más de 25 mil millones de toneladas de dióxido
de carbono equivalente de gases de efecto invernadero, más de lo que se prevé que se reduzca
en el marco del Protocolo de Kyoto durante su primer período. Otro de los grandes logros del
protocolo, según un análisis publicado en Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, es
que el ozono en la estratosfera dejó de reducirse en 1997, excepto en las regiones polares, según
hallaron los expertos tras analizar los resultados de 25 años de observación.
La capa de ozono recubre el planeta y lo protege de la dañina radiación ultravioleta del sol, pero
los químicos fa-bricados por el hombre —principalmente los cloro- fluorocarburos hallados en
algunos refrigerantes y aerosoles— disminuyeron drásticamente el ozono estratos- férico.


_____________________________________________________________________________


Science Daily: Pollution Amplifies Greenhouse Gas Warming Trends To Jeopardize Asian
Water Supplies
Updated: 8/1/2007 7:07:35 PM
 Science Daily — Scientists have concluded that the global warming trend caused by the
buildup of greenhouse gases is a major contributor to the melting of Himalayan and other
tropical glaciers. Now a new analysis of pollution-filled "brown clouds" over south Asia by
researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego offers hope that the region
may be able to arrest some of the alarming retreat of such glaciers by reducing its air pollution.
The team led by Scripps atmospheric chemistry professor V. Ramanathan describes findings
that atmospheric brown clouds enhanced solar heating of the lower atmosphere by about 50
percent in a paper to be released in the Aug. 2 edition of the journal Nature.
The combined heating effect of greenhouse gases and the brown clouds, which contain soot,
trace metals and other particles from a growing cadre of urban, industrial and agricultural
sources, is enough to account for the retreat of Himalayan glaciers observed in the past half
century, the researchers concluded. The glaciers supply water to major Asian rivers including
the Yangtze, Ganges and Indus. These rivers in turn comprise the chief water supply for billions
of people in China, India and other south Asian countries.




                                                                                                     4
"The rapid melting of these glaciers, the third-largest ice mass on the planet, if it becomes
widespread and continues for several more decades, will have unprecedented downstream
effects on southern and eastern Asia," the Nature article concluded.


"The main cause of climate change is the buildup of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil
fuels," said Achim Steiner, United Nations under-secretary general and executive director of the
UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which helped support the research. "But brown clouds,
whose environmental and economic impacts are beginning to be unraveled by scientists, are
complicating and in some cases aggravating their effects.


"The new findings should spur the international community to ever greater action, in particular
at the next crucial climate change convention meeting in Indonesia this December. For it is
likely that in curbing greenhouse gases we can tackle the twin challenges of climate change and
brown clouds and in doing so, reap wider benefits from reduced air pollution to improved
agricultural yields," Steiner added.


The scientists based their conclusions in large part on data gathered by a fleet of unmanned
aircraft during a landmark field campaign conducted in March 2006 in the skies over the
Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean south of India. The Maldives Autonomous
unmanned aerial vehicle Campaign (MAC) took place during the region's dry season when
polluted air masses travel south from the continent to the Indian Ocean. The air typically
contains particles released from industrial and vehicle emissions as well as through biomass
burning.


Such polluted air has been demonstrated to have a dual effect of warming the atmosphere as
particles absorb sunlight and of cooling the earth's surface as the particles curb the amount of
sunlight that reaches the ground. The net effect of the two forces remains uncertain but other
research by Ramanathan has suggested that the surface dimming might serve to mask global
warming, leading scientists and the public to underappreciate the full magnitude of
anthropogenic climate change.


The aircraft, flying in stacked formations, made nearly simultaneous measurements of the
brown clouds from different altitudes, creating a profile of soot concentrations and light
absorption that was unprecedented in its level of vertical detail.


The researchers validated the data from the aircraft with ground-based measurements taken at a
station at the Maldivian island Hanimadhoo.


When the researchers fed both greenhouse gas and brown cloud data into computer climate
models, the simulations yielded an estimate that the region's atmosphere has warmed 0.25




                                                                                                   5
degrees C (0.5 degrees F) per decade since 1950 at altitudes ranging from 2 to 5 kilometers
(6,500 to 16,500 feet) above sea level. At those heights are found many of the glaciers in the
Himalayas. The amount of heating corresponds to observed levels of glacial retreat.


"In order to understand the processes that can throw the climate out of balance, Ramanathan and
colleagues, for the first time ever, used small and inexpensive unmanned aircraft and their
miniaturized instruments as a creative means of simultaneously sampling of clouds, aerosols
and radiative fluxes in polluted environments, from within and from all sides of the clouds,"
said Jay Fein, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of
Atmospheric Sciences. "These measurements, combined with routine environmental
observations and a state-of-the science model, led to these remarkable results."


The analysis revealed that the effect of the brown cloud was necessary to explain temperature
changes that have been observed in the region over the last half-century. It also indicated that
south Asia's warming trend is more pronounced at higher altitudes than closer to sea level.


"The conventional thinking is that brown clouds have masked as much as 50 percent of the
global warming by greenhouse gases through the so-called global dimming," said Ramanathan,
who is lead author of the Nature paper. "While this is true globally, this study reveals that over
southern and eastern Asia, the soot particles in the brown clouds are intensifying the
atmospheric warming trend caused by greenhouse gases by as much as 50 percent."


In addition to Ramanathan, the report's authors include Muvva Ramana, Gregory Roberts,
Dohyeong Kim, Craig Corrigan, and Chul Chung from Scripps Oceanography and David
Winker from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Langley Research
Center.


The NSF provided the main funding for the research. Additionally, the National Ocean and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA provided support as did the UNEP, which
sponsors the Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABC) project and operates the Maldives ABC
observatory in collaboration with Scripps.


Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of California - San
Diego.

====================================================================




                                                                                                     6
                            Other Environment News
____________________________________________________________________________
NewScientist.com news service: Huge sea level rises are coming – unless we act now
25 July 2007

James Hansen
James Hansen heads NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. A physicist and
astronomer by training, he began his career studying the clouds on Venus. Since the late 1970s
he has been studying and modelling the human impact on Earth's climate, and has published
more than 100 papers. He entered the public spotlight in the 1980s with his outspoken testimony
to congressional committees on climate change. Last year he made headlines when he spoke out
against attempts by the US administration to gag climate scientists.
I find it almost inconceivable that "business as usual" climate change will not result in a rise in
sea level measured in metres within a century. Am I the only scientist who thinks so?
Last year I testified in a case brought by car manufacturers to challenge California's new laws
on vehicle emissions. Under questioning from the lawyer, I conceded that I was not a
glaciologist. The lawyer then asked me to identify glaciologists who agreed publicly with my
assertion that sea level is likely to rise more than a metre this century if greenhouse gas
emissions continue to grow: "Name one!"
I could not, at that moment. I was dismayed, because in conversations and email exchanges with
relevant scientists I sensed a deep concern about the stability of ice sheets in the face of
"business as usual" global warming scenarios, which assume that emissions of greenhouse gases
will continue to increase. Why might scientists be reticent to express concerns about something
so important?
I suspect it is because of what I call the "John Mercer effect". In 1978, when global warming
was beginning to get attention from government agencies, Mercer suggested that global
warming could lead to disastrous disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Although it was
not obvious who was right on the science, I noticed that researchers who suggested that his
paper was alarmist were regarded as more authoritative.
It seems to me that scientists downplaying the dangers of climate change fare better when it
comes to getting funding. Drawing attention to the dangers of global warming may or may not
have helped increase funding for the relevant scientific areas, but it surely did not help
individuals like Mercer who stuck their heads out.
I can vouch for that from my own experience. After I published a paper in 1981 that described
the likely effects of fossil fuel use, the US Department of Energy reversed a decision to fund my
group's research, specifically criticising aspects of that paper.
I believe there is pressure on scientists to be conservative. Caveats are essential to science. They
are born in scepticism, and scepticism is at the heart of the scientific method and discovery.
However, in a case such as ice sheet instability and sea level rise, excessive caution also holds
dangers. "Scientific reticence" can hinder communication with the public about the dangers of
global warming. We may rue reticence if it means no action is taken until it is too late to prevent
future disasters.




                                                                                                      7
So why do I think a sea level rise of metres would be a near certainty if greenhouse gas
emissions keep increasing? Because while the growth of great ice sheets takes millennia, the
disintegration of ice sheets is a wet process that can proceed rapidly.
Sea level is already rising at a moderate rate. In the past decade, it increased by 3 centimetres,
about double the average rate during the preceding century. The rate of sea level rise over the
20th century was itself probably greater than the rate in the prior millennium, and this is due at
least in part to human activity. About half of the increase is accounted for by thermal expansion
of ocean water as a result of global warming. Melting mountain glaciers worldwide are
responsible for several centimetres of the increase.
"While the growth of great ice sheets takes millennia, they can disintegrate rapidly"
Greenland and Antarctica are also contributing to the rise in recent years. Gravity measurements
by the GRACE satellites have recently shown that the ice sheets of Greenland and West
Antarctica are each losing about 150 cubic kilometres of ice per year. Spread over the oceans,
this is close to 1 millimetre a year, or 10 centimetres per century.
Runaway collapse
The current rate of sea level change is not without consequences. However, the primary issue is
whether global warming will reach a level such that ice sheets begin to disintegrate in a rapid,
non-linear fashion on West Antarctica, Greenland or both. Once well under way, such a collapse
might be impossible to stop, because there are multiple positive feedbacks. In that event, a sea
level rise of several metres at least would be expected.
As an example, let us say that ice sheet melting adds 1 centimetre to sea level for the decade
2005 to 2015, and that this doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely
depleted. This would yield a rise in sea level of more than 5 metres by 2095.
Of course, I cannot prove that my choice of a 10-year doubling time is accurate but I'd bet
$1000 to a doughnut that it provides a far better estimate of the ice sheet's contribution to sea
level rise than a linear response. In my opinion, if the world warms by 2 °C to 3 °C, such
massive sea level rise is inevitable, and a substantial fraction of the rise would occur within a
century. Business-as-usual global warming would almost surely send the planet beyond a
tipping point, guaranteeing a disastrous degree of sea level rise.
Although some ice sheet experts believe that the ice sheets are more stable, I believe that their
view is partly based on the faulty assumption that the Earth has been as much as 2 °C warmer in
previous interglacial periods, when the sea level was at most a few metres higher than at
present. There is strong evidence that the Earth now is within 1 °C of its highest temperature in
the past million years. Oxygen isotopes in the deep-ocean fossil plankton known as foraminifera
reveal that the Earth was last 2 °C to 3 °C warmer around 3 million years ago, with carbon
dioxide levels of perhaps 350 to 450 parts per million. It was a dramatically different planet
then, with no Arctic sea ice in the warm seasons and sea level about 25 metres higher, give or
take 10 metres.
There is not a sufficiently widespread appreciation of the implications of putting back into the
air a large fraction of the carbon stored in the ground over epochs of geologic time. The climate
forcing caused by these greenhouse gases would dwarf the climate forcing for any time in the
past several hundred thousand years - the period for which accurate records of atmospheric
composition are available from ice cores.




                                                                                                    8
Models based on the business-as-usual scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) predict a global warming of at least 3 °C by the end of this century. What many
people do not realise is that these models generally include only fast feedback processes:
changes in sea ice, clouds, water vapour and aerosols. Actual global warming would be greater
as slow feedbacks come into play: increased vegetation at high latitudes, ice sheet shrinkage and
further greenhouse gas emissions from the land and sea in response to global warming.
The IPCC's latest projection for sea level rise this century is 18 to 59 centimetres. Though it
explicitly notes that it was unable to include possible dynamical responses of the ice sheets in its
calculations, the provision of such specific numbers encourages a predictable public belief that
the projected sea level change is moderate, and indeed smaller than in the previous IPCC report.
There have been numerous media reports of "reduced" predictions of sea level rise, and
commentators have denigrated suggestions that business-as-usual emissions may cause a sea
level rise measured in metres. However, if these IPCC numbers are taken as predictions of
actual sea level rise, as they have been by the public, they imply that the ice sheets can
miraculously survive a business-as-usual climate forcing assault for a millennium or longer.
There are glaciologists who anticipate such long response times, because their ice sheet models
have been designed to match past climate changes. However, work by my group shows that the
typical 6000-year timescale for ice sheet disintegration in the past reflects the gradual changes
in Earth's orbit that drove climate changes at the time, rather than any inherent limit for how
long it takes ice sheets to disintegrate.
Indeed, the palaeoclimate record contains numerous examples of ice sheets yielding sea level
rises of several metres per century when forcings were smaller than that of the business-as-usual
scenario. For example, about 14,000 years ago, sea level rose approximately 20 metres in 400
years, or about 1 metre every 20 years.
There is growing evidence that the global warming already under way could bring a comparably
rapid rise in sea level. The process begins with human-made greenhouse gases, which cause the
atmosphere to be more opaque to infrared radiation, thus decreasing radiation of heat to space.
As a result, the Earth is gaining more heat than it is losing: currently 0.5 to 1 watts per square
metre. This planetary energy imbalance is sufficient to melt ice corresponding to 1 metre of sea
level rise per decade, if the extra energy were used entirely for that purpose - and the energy
imbalance could double if emissions keep growing.
So where is the extra energy going? A small part of it is warming the atmosphere and thus
contributing to one key feedback on the ice sheets: the "albedo flip" that occurs when snow and
ice begin to melt. Snow-covered ice reflects back to space most of the sunlight striking it, but as
warming air causes melting on the surface, the darker ice absorbs much more solar energy. This
increases the planetary energy imbalance and can lead to more melting. Most of the resulting
meltwater burrows through the ice sheet, lubricating its base and speeding up the discharge of
icebergs to the ocean.
The area with summer melt on Greenland has increased from around 450,000 square kilometres
when satellite observations began in 1979 to more than 600,000 square kilometres in 2002.
Seismometers around the world have detected an increasing number of earthquakes on
Greenland near the outlets of major ice streams. The earthquakes are an indication that large
pieces of the ice sheet lurch forward and then grind to a halt because of friction with the ground.
The number of these "ice quakes" doubled between 1993 and the late 1990s, and it has since
doubled again. It is not yet clear whether the quake number is proportional to ice loss, but the
rapid increase is cause for concern about the long-term stability of the ice sheet.



                                                                                                    9
Additional global warming of 2 °C to 3 °C is expected to cause local warming of about 5 °C
over Greenland. This would spread summer melt over practically the entire ice sheet and
considerably lengthen the melt season. In my opinion it is inconceivable that the ice sheet could
withstand such increased meltwater for long before starting to disintegrate rapidly, but it is very
difficult to predict when such a period of large, rapid change would begin.
Summer melt on West Antarctica has received less attention than on Greenland, but it is more
important. The West Antarctic ice sheet, which rests on bedrock far below sea level, is more
vulnerable as it is being attacked from below by warming ocean water, as well as from above by
a warming atmosphere. Satellite observations reveal increasing areas of summer melt on the
West Antarctic ice sheet, and also a longer melt season.
Warmer oceans
The warming atmosphere and increased absorption of sunlight are not the only factors that will
increase surface melt. If there is a significant loss of ice, the surfaces of the ice sheets will be at
lower altitudes, where the air is warmer, causing additional melt: another positive feedback.
Most of the excess energy due to the planetary imbalance is going into the ocean rather than the
atmosphere, because it takes about 1000 times as much energy to heat the oceans by 1 °C as it
does to heat the atmosphere as much. The acceleration of ice sheet disintegration depends on
how much of the extra ocean heat is transferred to the ice.
This transfer can occur in two main ways: by the speeding up of glaciers resulting in more ice
being discharged into the oceans, and by direct transfer of heat from the water underneath and
against fringing ice shelves. Since fringing ice shelves float on water, their melting does not
raise sea level directly. However, ice shelves hold back the ice sheets resting on land or on the
seabed, so as the ice shelves melt or break up, the ice streams draining the ice sheets accelerate,
providing another positive feedback effect.
An example was recently seen on the Antarctic Peninsula. The combined effect of surface melt
and ice shelf thinning from below led to the sudden collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf, which
was followed by the acceleration of glacial tributaries far inland.
Positive feedback from loss of buttressing ice shelves will influence some Greenland ice
streams, but the West Antarctic ice sheet will be affected much more. The local warming and
melt that preceded the Larsen B collapse was only a fraction of the expected warming in the
West Antarctic under business-as-usual scenarios. In fact, observations show the ocean around
West Antarctica is already warming, ice shelves are thinning by several metres per year, and
glaciers are discharging more icebergs.
There are also some negative feedbacks, in the short term at least. As the discharge of ice
increases, regional cooling by the icebergs will be significant. This cooling can lead to increased
sea ice and cloud cover, and thus increased reflection of sunlight. However, cooling of the
ocean surface by melting ice also reduces heat radiation from the water surface. This increases
the planetary energy imbalance, thus supplying additional energy for ice melt. Models confirm
that the cooling effect of melting ice is temporary and that there will be a net increase in ocean
heat uptake around West Antarctica and Greenland as greenhouse gases increase.
Another negative feedback is increasing snowfall on ice sheet interiors, because of the higher
moisture content of the warming atmosphere. Some models predict that ice sheets will grow
overall with global warming, but those models do not include realistic processes of ice sheet




                                                                                                      10
disintegration. Palaeoclimate data confirms the common-sense expectation that the net effect is
for ice sheets to shrink as the world warms, as the GRACE satellites show is happening already.
The findings in the Antarctic are the most disconcerting. Warming there has been limited in
recent decades, in part due to the effects of ozone depletion. The fact that West Antarctica is
losing mass at a significant rate suggests that the thinning ice shelves are already beginning to
affect ice discharge rates.
So far, warming of the ocean surface around Antarctica has been small compared with the rest
of the world, as models predict, but that limited warming is expected to increase. The detection
of recent, increasing summer surface melt on West Antarctica raises the danger that feedbacks
among these processes could lead to non-linear growth of ice discharge from Antarctica.
This problem is urgent. The non-linear response could easily run out of control, both because of
the positive feedbacks and because of inertias in the system.
Ocean warming and thus melting of ice shelves will continue even if CO2 levels are stabilised,
because the ocean response time is long and the temperature at depth is far from equilibrium for
current forcing. Ice sheets also have inertia and are far from equilibrium. There is also inertia in
human systems: even if it is decided that changes must be made, it may take decades to replace
infrastructure.
The threat of large sea level change is a principal element in my argument that the global
community must aim to restrict any further global warming to less than 1 °C above the
temperature in 2000. This implies a CO2 limit of about 450 parts per million or less. Such
scenarios require almost immediate changes to get energy and greenhouse gas emissions onto a
fundamentally different path.
Is my perspective on this problem really so different than that of other relevant members of the
scientific community? Based on interactions with others, I conclude that there is not such a
great gap. The apparent differences may arise partly from a natural reluctance to speak out.
Reticence is fine for the IPCC. Individual scientists also can choose to stay within a comfort
zone, and not worry that they may say something that proves to be slightly wrong. But perhaps
we should consider our legacy from a broader perspective. Do we not know enough to say
more? Using the fact that a glacier on Greenland slowed after speeding up as "proof" that
reticence is appropriate is little different from the common misconception that a cold weather
snap disproves global warming.
The broader picture strongly indicates that ice sheets will respond in a non-linear fashion to
global warming - and are already beginning to do so. There is enough information now, in my
opinion, to make it a near certainty that business-as-usual scenarios will lead to disastrous
multi-metre sea level rise on the century time scale.


_____________________________________________________________________________


ENS:UN Debates Urgent Action to Avert Global Warming




                                                                                                    11
NEW YORK, New York, July 31, 2007 (ENS) – Top United Nations officials joined invited
climate experts today in urging decisive action on a global scale to combat the challenges posed
by climate change.
"We cannot continue with business as usual," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a General
Assembly meeting on the issue at UN Headquarters in New York. He cited the findings of the
UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which confirmed earlier this year that global
warming is directly linked to human activities.
"I believe this is just the kind of global challenge that the UN is best suited to address," said
Ban. "I am gratified by the universal recognition that the UN climate process is the appropriate
forum for negotiating future global action."
"I am determined to minimize the UN system‘s own carbon footprint, and to make this a
climate-neutral organization," the secretary-general said. "To that end, I have launched a
Greening the UN initiative. I have invited all heads of agencies and other UN bodies to work
with me on a comprehensive plan covering our worldwide premises and operations."
The two day informal debate that opened today is the first devoted exclusively to climate
change. Delegates are seeking to translate the growing scientific consensus on the problem into
a broad political consensus for action following alarming UN reports earlier this year on its
potentially devastating effects.
Ban called for "new thinking" to tackle the challenge, since how it is addressed "will define us,
our era, and ultimately, our global legacy." He is convening a high-level meeting on climate
change when the new Assembly session starts in September.
Ban highlighted the need for a comprehensive global agreement under the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change.
The Kyoto Protocol, the international community's current framework for reducing greenhouse
gas emissions, expires in 2012, and Ban said countries must agree on a successor pact to be
ready for ratification by 2009 to allow countries to enact it into law before the Kyoto Protocol
expires.
President of the General Assembly Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa spoke of the "cruel irony"
of the disproportionate effects of climate change on the countries least responsible for it.
"Greater variations of rainfall, combined with rising sea levels, will lead to more extreme
weather, particularly in parts of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America," she said at the
opening of today's meeting. "We therefore have a special responsibility to help those countries
most affected to adapt to climate change."
Such efforts "should not be at the cost of economic growth, but to achieve it," she said, noting
that "a global consensus can only be secured if all countries can share in the benefits from
action to address" climate change.
The General Assembly debate itself is carbon neutral. The carbon emissions from both UN
Headquarters and from the air travel to bring experts to New York have been off-set by
investment in a biomass fuel project in Kenya.
Expert panelist Sir Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics said, "The cost of strong
and timely action in addressing the global causes and impacts of climate change far less than
that of inaction or timid and delayed responses." Stern's 2006 climate change report, "The Stern




                                                                                                   12
Review," received international attention for its conclusion that addressing the climate change
issue now is the best economic choice.
Speaking at a press conference at UN Headquarters, Stern proposed a nine-point plan, including
a 50 percent cut by 2050 in world greenhouse gas emissions, relative to 1990 emission levels.
Rich countries should work towards a target of around 75 percent cuts, he said, as well as
specific targets for 2020.
Stern said that the risks of climate change could be reduced, though not eliminated, by an
expenditure of one percent of world gross domestic product per year.
Strong world carbon markets should be developed and made much more simple and transparent,
he said. In Stern's view, investment in technology and in the science of climate change should
increase and deforestation should be addressed energetically.
Because of climate change, development will cost tens of billions more per year than previously
understood, he predicted. Yet adaptation and mitigation technologies must be developed and
development assistance promises delivered.
Panelist Sunita Narain, director of the Indian Centre for Science and Environment, told the press
conference that the climate change discourse is becoming "locked in the politics of the past" and
"how to move ahead is the issue at hand."
Narain said the Kyoto Protocol had been too little too late, and drastic emission cuts now are
necessary.
If emissions are not controlled with the speed required, there will be dramatic changes in
climate and the poor will suffer its worst impacts, she said, adding that the unpredictability of
rainfall levels is the consequence of climate change most harmful to women‘s ability to care for
themselves and their families.
She suggested that the South, which has not built its energy systems, could try to find a ―leap-
frog‖ technology to make a quick transition to a low carbon economy.
Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, said his company is the third largest consumer
of coal, the fourth largest nuclear operator, and the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the
United States.
The climate change question needs leadership not only from all governments, but also from the
private sector and nongovernmental organizations around the world, he said.
In the United States, legislation on climate change is expected to be in place by 2010, said
Rogers, who emphasized that companies cannot wait for that to happen.
Initiatives are being undertaken, in which energy companies such as General Electric, Dupont
and some 400 other major firms have formed into coalitions to advise the government.
Duke Energy is retrofitting 29 energy supply units to address the realities of a carbon-
constrained world. The investment environment must also be changed to reflect the reality of
climate change, Rogers said, projecting greater investments in new technologies.
He said one way to address the problem is with ―productivity gains‖ in the use of electricity,
whereby energy efficiency products and services are delivered to consumers.




                                                                                                   13
The General Assembly informal debate seeks to build momentum towards the high-level
meeting in September and the upcoming negotiations under the Climate Change Convention in
December in Bali, Indonesia.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Scoop NZ: UN envoys voice new optimism in tackling climate change

1 August 2007 – Top United Nations climate change officials today voiced optimism that
international leaders are ready and willing to tackle climate change on the second and final day
of a General Assembly meeting on the issue.

Ricardo Lagos, one of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon‘s three Special Envoys on climate
change, said that discussions with world leaders on the topic had infused him with ―an optimism
that things can happen,‖ adding that countries seem ready to consider novel solutions to the
problem.

Mr. Lagos, a former Chilean president, said leaders also recognize the need for a ―new, more
sophisticated agreement‖ to succeed the Kyoto Protocol – the international community's current
framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which expires in 2012 – as well as the
necessity for a ―clear and definite timetable‖ on readying a successor pact to be ready to allow
countries to make it law in time.

Another climate change envoy, former General Assembly President Han Seung-soo, also said
he had been ―greatly encouraged‖ by meeting global leaders, most of whom said that new
approaches are crucial.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, Pakistan‘s Environment
Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said the Group welcomed the proposal by Mr. Ban to convene a
high-level meeting on climate change next month at UN Headquarters in New York.

―With the clock continuing to click,‖ he said, ―we need to move fast and act before climate
change turns into a climate crisis.‖

The Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ) Jacques Diouf said
his agency supports the Secretary-General‘s proposed high-level event. Also this fall, FAO will
hold its own meeting to discuss world food insecurity and the challenges posed by climate
change and bioenergy.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ),
told reporters that ―while climate change is in the essence an environmental issue, it is an issue
that can only be solved if an economic answer is provided to it.‖

International assistance is necessary to aid developing countries, whose ―overriding concerns‖
are economic growth and poverty eradication, to allow them to take measures that are ―not
justifiable from a national economic point of view, but that are essential from a climate change
point of view,‖ he said.

Mr. de Boer added that there is a ―general recognition that the Kyoto Protocol in itself is not
enough,‖ and that it is essential to reach agreement on a post-2012 mechanism to combat global
warming.




                                                                                                 14
_____________________________________________________________________________

The Guardian:'Bullying' BAA seeks Heathrow protest injunction
Wednesday August 1 2007
The Heathrow operator, BAA, will today seek "the mother of all injunctions" at the high court
to prevent thousands of people affiliated to environmental organisations from attending a protest
at the airport.
BAA wants to ban the Camp for Climate Action demonstration planned at Heathrow from
August 14 to 21.
The company says it wants to "protect the airport and the safety of passengers and staff against
the planned direct action by environmental activists".
But environmental groups accuse BAA of "corporate bullying" designed to shut down peaceful
protest.
"They are trying to bully over 5 million people who are critical of their plans to massively
increase their output of greenhouse gases," said Joss Garman of the anti-aviation group Plane
Stupid, one of the groups named in the BAA court action.
The injunction application, seen by the Guardian, seeks to impose bans on people travelling on
the Piccadilly line on the London Underground, on mainline trains and on motorways.
The London mayor, Ken Livingstone, has accused BAA of being "out of their skull" and paving
the way for hardcore protesters to invade the climate action camp.
John Stewart, the chairman of the Heathrow anti-noise and anti-expansion organisation Hacan,
said: "This is the mother of all injunctions.
"The aviation executives who dreamed up this one should be spending their time and money
reducing the huge impact of aviation on the climate and local communities, instead of trying to
put legal shackles on people who want to protest peacefully."
Heathrow has been targeted by climate change campaigners as the government prepares to start
the formal process of building a third runway. The runway proposal is backed by ministers,
airlines and business leaders but opposed by local residents and green activists, who say
expansion will contravene environmental policy.
Kate Harrison, of Matrix chambers, who is representing some of the people and groups named
in the injunction, said: "You have to go back to the miners' strike [in the 1980s] to find an
injunction on this scale."
Mr Stewart's lawyer, Gita Parihar, from Friends of the Earth, said: "This is an unworkable
request by Heathrow airport and we are confident it will be thrown out of court."
A BAA spokesman said: "We are throwing the net very wide to make sure the airport can
operate securely. People have rights to protest but people also have the right to go on holiday
too.
"Legally, if you take it [the injunction] to its very extreme, it does mean that people cannot go to
the airport to protest. But that is not realistic."




                                                                                                  15
Up to 1,000 protesters and local residents are expected to attend the camp at a site to be
announced. One day has been set aside for "direct action".
BAA's legal move comes amid mounting criticism of the company's stewardship of it's airports
in greater London. The new City minister, Kitty Ussher, has joined Mr Livingstone and
business leaders in condemning Heathrow for being unable to cope with the number of
passengers and providing such a poor service that it was undermining London's status as a
major financial centre. The Ryanair boss, Michael O'Leary, has attacked poor service and
extortionate charges at Stansted.
Criticisms against BAA have led the Competition Commission to launch an investigation into
the company's London monopoly, which includes Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports.
________________________________________________________________________
Reuters: U.N. climate chief skeptical about global carbon tax
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent Wed Aug 1, 8:06 PM ET
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A top U.N. climate change official voiced doubt on
Wednesday about a global tax on carbon, but said national taxes were possible and laws to cap
global warming emissions were better for business.
"I personally am skeptical on the notion of global carbon taxes," said Yvo de Boer, who heads
the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
International agreement on such a tax would take a long time, de Boer said, and it might take
even longer to get the tax proceeds to the United Nations to deal with global warming.
Speaking at a news conference during the first full-scale U.N. meeting dedicated to climate
change, de Boer said individual nations, including the Netherlands, have already put
environmentally friendly taxes in place.
However, he said national taxes don't offer predictable progress in curbing the human-generated
greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, though they may offer predictable revenues.
He favored so-called cap-and-trade laws, which limit carbon emissions and offer a way for
those who emit more than the limit to buy carbon credits from those who emit less.
"What the business community is calling for at the moment is long-term certainty, clear
emissions caps imposed by governments so that they know what kind of investment decisions
they have to make," de Boer said.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said climate-warming emissions
must be reduced by 50 percent by 2050, but without investment to curb climate change,
emissions could rise by 50 percent instead, de Boer said.
$100 BILLION TO MAKE ENERGY "GREEN"
De Boer said the world would probably invest $20 trillion over the next 20 to 25 years to meet
the energy demand that goes with economic growth. To make these investments "green" would
require an additional investment of perhaps $100 billion a year, he said.




                                                                                                16
De Boer said he was encouraged by comments at this meeting from developing nations that
recognize the need to combat climate change -- which hits the world's poorest countries
disproportionately hard -- even as their economies grow.
Typical were comments by Faisal Saleh Hayat, Pakistan's environment minister, who spoke on
behalf of the Group of 77 developing nations and China.
"Climate change poses serious risks and challenges particularly to developing countries and
therefore demands urgent global action and response," Hayat said at Wednesday's meeting.
"The Group of 77 and China see these discussions as an integral part of the wider sustainable
development debate."
This week's two-day meeting on climate change was a prelude to a high-level gathering on
September 24 on the same subject. This will be followed by an international meeting in Bali,
Indonesia, in December, meant to begin discussions on the future of the fight against climate
change.
De Boer, who is responsible for organizing the Bali talks, said one challenge was coming up
with a plan that the United States would accept.
The United States did not join the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change and rejects
mandatory limits on greenhouse emissions, but President George W. Bush has agreed with other
industrialized nations to negotiate a new climate pact to extend and broaden the Kyoto Protocol
beyond 2012.
Washington's U.N. envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, told Wednesday's gathering that the United States
was committed to stabilizing greenhouse gases, and recognizes "the fundamental connections
among the issues of energy security, climate change, and sustainable economic development."


_____________________________________________________________________________

New York Times: Brazil, Alarmed, Reconsiders Policy on Climate Change

Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times
Brazil has resisted programs to reduce deforestation. In the Amazon, areas the size of New
Jersey have been razed each year.
By LARRY ROHTER
Published: July 31, 2007
MANAUS, Brazil — Alarmed at recent indications of climate change here in the Amazon and
in other regions of Brazil, the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has begun
showing signs of new flexibility in the tangled, politically volatile international negotiations to
limit human-caused global warming.

The New York Times
The factors behind the re-evaluation range from a drought here in the Amazon rain forest, the
world‘s largest, and the impact that it could have on agriculture if it recurs, to new phenomena
like a hurricane in the south of Brazil. As a result, environmental advocates, scientists and some




                                                                                                  17
politicians say, Brazilian policy makers and the public they serve are increasingly seeing
climate change not as a distant problem, but as one that could affect them too.
Brazil remains suspicious of foreign involvement in its management of the Amazon, which it
views as a domestic matter. But negotiators and others who monitor international climate talks
say Brazil is now willing to discuss issues that until recently it considered off the table,
including market-based programs to curb the carbon emissions that result from massive
deforestation in the Amazon, in which areas the size of New Jersey or larger are razed each
year.
―I think things have advanced, certainly, compared to three years ago, when the government
simply refused to discuss deforestation in international forums,‖ said Márcio Santilli, a former
government official who helped start the Socio-Environmental Institute, an environmental
group in Brasília. ―There has been a change of posture which reflects the worries of Brazilian
public opinion on this issue, which in turn puts pressure on politicians.‖
For years, Brazil‘s position in international climate change talks has been that Northern
Hemisphere industrial countries must shoulder the burden of reducing greenhouse gas
emissions. Fearing a loss of sovereignty, it has resisted plans to create market mechanisms to
provide payments for reductions in deforestation and carbon emissions, accompanied by
international monitoring.
Brazil‘s stance on such issues is vitally important because by most calculations it is the fourth-
largest producer of the greenhouse gases that most scientists believe are the principal cause of
global warming. Three-quarters of those emissions result from deforestation, the overwhelming
bulk of which occurs here.
The government‘s new, slightly more nuanced position is not a result of a sudden burst of green
awareness on the part of Mr. da Silva, whose knowledge of the technical details of the debate is
widely described as sketchy. And in public, Mr. da Silva continues to want to shift the blame
northward.
―Everyone knows that the rich countries are responsible for 60 percent of the gas emissions, and
therefore need to assume their responsibilities,‖ he said during a meeting of the Group of 8 in
June. ―We don‘t accept the idea that the emerging nations are the ones who have to make
sacrifices, because poverty itself is already a sacrifice.‖
A number of recent events have led political leaders and ordinary Brazilians to conclude that
they are not immune to climate change. First and foremost was a disastrous 2005 drought in the
Amazon that killed crops, kindled forest fires, dried up transportation routes, caused disease and
wreaked economic havoc.
Brazil sees itself as an emerging agricultural and industrial power, and global warming could
have a disastrous impact on those aspirations. Scientists note that Brazil‘s southern breadbasket
flourishes largely because of rainfall patterns in the Amazon that are likely to be altered if
droughts recur or climate change accelerates.
―Once they really register that the Amazon rain machine is very important to the south of
Brazil, they are going to be much more interested in avoiding deforestation,‖ said Thomas
Lovejoy, president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. ―You
don‘t have to be interested in biodiversity to want rain to keep that amazing agricultural system
going.‖




                                                                                                   18
Brazil also envisions constructing a large network of dams throughout the Amazon over the
next several decades to supply electricity to its industrial heartland in São Paulo, 2,000 miles
south of here. But those plans depend on water flows in the region‘s vast rivers not drying up.
―If rainfall is reduced, as many projections show, either you are not going to have enough water
at all or you will have to have much bigger lakes to fill the dams,‖ said Paulo Moutinho,
scientific coordinator at the Amazon Institute for Environmental Research.
In addition, in 2004 a hurricane formed in the South Atlantic for the first time since weather
records began being kept. The storm came ashore in the southern Brazilian state of Santa
Catarina, which was not prepared for it, and destroyed houses and forced thousands to flee.
―There was no previous registry of this happening, not even in the literature of colonial times,‖
said Carlos Nobre, Brazil‘s most prominent climate scientist, who works at the National
Institute for Space Research.
The latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, issued in
April, has added to concerns here. ―By mid-century, increases in temperature and associated
decreases in soil water are projected to lead to gradual replacement of tropical forest by savanna
in eastern Amazonia,‖ it predicted, while also warning that ―crop productivity is projected to
decrease for even small local temperature increases‖ in tropical areas, ―which would increase
risk of hunger.‖
Among climatologists who study the Amazon, the buzz words these days are ―tipping point‖ —
the moment at which damage to the environment is so severe and widespread that it pushes the
ecosystem into an irreversible cycle of self-destruction.
Scientists disagree how close the Amazon is to such an event. Some warn that it is just a few
years away, while others argue that the margin of safety is decades. But almost all agree that the
danger exists.
―Obviously the uncertainty range is huge, but the momentum is pushing us in that direction, and
the fact that it is close is important, because the process is like steering a big ship,‖ said Philip
Fearnside, a researcher here at the National Institute for Amazon Research. ―People on the
Titanic saw the iceberg, but they couldn‘t turn in time.‖
In the debate over how to reduce carbon emissions and postpone or avoid such a tipping point,
one area of disagreement between Brazil and the international community has been the issue of
compensation for what is known as ―avoided deforestation.‖ This approach sets a monetary
value for greenhouse gas emissions and pays farmers and indigenous people not to raze the
forest.
Brazil has been wary of allowing such a market mechanism, preferring that donations flow into
a government fund that it would administer. Potential donors say they worry about waste and
inefficiency and fear that such a fund would end up, as one person said, asking not to be
identified because negotiations were still under way, being ―money down a rathole, a total scam
that did nothing at all for the people out there in the forest.‖
In the absence of a clear direction at the federal level, governors of some Amazon states are
moving on their own. In June, Eduardo Braga, governor of Amazonas, announced a new climate
change law, the first in Brazil, that allowed compensation for ―environmental services,‖
including payments to farmers and river dwellers for avoiding deforestation.




                                                                                                   19
―This action would have raised big questions and objections just four months ago, but there‘s
been a big turnabout,‖ Mr. Braga said.
Mr. Braga‘s initiative is especially important because his state, the biggest in Brazil, has largely
avoided the devastation occurring in neighboring states to the east and south.
But in the end, how much and how rapidly policy shifts depends largely on Mr. da Silva, who
has consistently argued that ―the Amazon is not untouchable.‖ In April, he saw Al Gore‘s film
―An Inconvenient Truth‖ in Brasília in the company of some of Brazil‘s leading
environmentalists.
―My impression is that Lula‘s intuitive sensitivity to the gravity of the situation is greater than
that of those who surround him,‖ said Mr. Santilli, who was present at the screening. ―I think he
understands and accepts the idea of these differentiated instruments, but I don‘t know if he
realizes that the government‘s position is contrary to this.‖
________________________________________________________________________
Reuters: Unusual Nuclear Contamination Found in N.Korea - UN

AUSTRIA: August 2, 2007

VIENNA - UN monitors said on Wednesday they found higher than normal radioactive
contamination at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex, causing an initial delay in verifying
its shutdown, but the problem was now resolved.

They were speaking after returning to Vienna, headquarters of the International Atomic Energy
Agency, following a weekend handover with a replacement IAEA team that will keep watching
over Yongbyon while five powers seek deals with North Korea on steps to advance its promised
nuclear disarmament.
The first group of monitors said in Beijing on Tuesday after exiting North Korea that
Pyongyang had cooperated fully with their mission, allowing them to verify that Yongbyon,
which produces bomb-grade plutonium fuel, had been shut down.
"At the very beginning when we started the work (on July 14), the (radioactive) contamination
was a bit higher than expected..., a bit more than normal," Adel Tolba, head of the first
monitoring group, said at Vienna airport on Wednesday.
"(So) there was a delay. It took a little time for us ... until we cleaned everything up. But now
everything is fixed," he told reporters.
He said the installation of cameras and other surveillance equipment at Yongbyon was now
back on schedule, denying reports there would be a two-week delay beyond the month IAEA
director Mohamed ElBaradei said it would take to carry out the task.
Tolba could not say why the radioactivity had been higher than normal. Yongbyon's 5-megawatt
reactor and its spent fuel reprocessing plant are based on an antiquated Soviet design.
"This is only a radiation and safety issue, not one of non-proliferation (of nuclear weapons),"
said a senior Vienna diplomat familiar with IAEA operations in North Korea.




                                                                                                    20
Tolba declined comment on the state of Pyongyang's nuclear facilities. Such weighty issues are
left to ElBaradei who will issue a report on the shutdown to the agency's 35-nation Board of
Governors before its next meeting in September.
North Korea closed Yongbyon to uphold its side of a deal thrashed out by six countries which in
return promised energy aid to the impoverished Stalinist state. The six are the United States,
North and South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.
North Korea threw out IAEA inspectors in 2002 after a 1994 disarmament deal collapsed.
Pyongyang's first nuclear test explosion last October stirred global alarm which rekindled
negotiations leading to the disarmament accord in February.
Next week, officials will start ironing out technical details of the next steps to end North Korea's
atomic bomb project, meeting on the fortified border between the North and South Korea, the
chief US negotiator said on Wednesday.
Christopher Hill, speaking at an East Asian security meeting in Manila, said he hoped the six
parties would be able to get through all denuclearisation stages next year, although he called
that timetable "ambitious". (Additional reporting by John Ruwitch in Manila)
________________________________________________________________________
AFP: Canary Islands fires an environmental catastrophe: experts
By Virginie Grognou Wed Aug 1, 1:16 PM ET
MADRID (AFP) - Fires that have devastated Spain's Canary islands over the last several days
have been an environmental catastrophe, charring rare species along with swathes of forested
land, experts said.
Some 20 percent of forests on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria have burned, Spanish
ecologists said, and reforestation is expected to take years.
"The Gran Canaria fire is the largest in the history of the archipelago and the one on Tenerife is
also in the process of becoming one of the largest," said Sergio Armas, spokesman for Foresta, a
foundation for Canaries reforestation.
Lourdes Hernandez, a spokesman for environmental organisation WWF/Adena, called the fires
on the islands of the west African coast an "environmental catastrophe" and "among the worst
that Spain has ever known".
The two fires have ravaged 35,000 hectares (85,000 acres) and caused the evacuation of 12,000
people, according to regional authorities. Authorities said the fires had been stabilised, though
not brought under control.
"In six days, the two islands have lost 20 to 25 percent of their forest mass. That's enormous,"
Hernandez said.
According to Armas, the fire has also threatened some 30 plant and animal species on Gran
Canaria.
The fate of the 4,000 hectares in the Inagua natural preserve is particularly worrying, he said.
The preserve includes the rare Canary pines.




                                                                                                   21
Joaquin Reina, spokesman for the Ecologists in Action group's nature protection program, said
the Canaries account for 25 percent of all vegetation endemic to Spain.
"The socio-economic impact will also be very big," Reina said, explaining that the islands
depend greatly on their natural environment to attract tourists.
That's not to mention the "thousands of people evacuated, including many who will have lost all
or part of their homes," he said.
While reforestation could take decades for some species, Canary pines may be an exception.
"We have one sole glimmer of hope: Canary pines regenerate rather quickly -- between two and
three years," said Armas.
Ecologists said local authorities were not prepared for the fires.
"All communes in Spain are required to establish emergency plans for zones at risk of fire, but
that is only the case for five of the 187 communes in the Canaries," Reina said.
Environmental groups have proposed a return to traditional activities such as the harvesting of
pine needles. The needles, which Armas said have not been harvested in years, have
accumulated to a height of more than 50 centimetres (20 inches) in places.
The needles are "very flammable and have largely contributed to the propagation of the flames,"
he said.


________________________________________________________________________

Inter Press Service: Hospitals - Generating Health or Pollution?


By David Vargas

ASUNCIÓN, Aug 1 (IPS) - A thousand inflated transparent plastic bags labelled "Pathological
Garbage" cover the floor of one of the exhibition rooms at the Juan de Salazar Cultural Centre
in the Paraguayan capital.

The bags form part of artist William Paats‘ Asepsia (asepsis) exhibit, which is aimed at drawing
attention to the serious problem of hospital waste disposal in this South American country.

The exhibit opened in early July, a year after the government‘s declaration of a health
emergency when the two obsolete incinerators that disposed of the waste generated by the city‘s
public hospitals were closed down.

That coincided with the Asunción city government‘s decision to cancel the contract with the
Sudamericana company, which was in charge of collecting and incinerating the waste from
private hospitals in the capital, after authorities found that it was not complying with the
requirements set by the local government.

Given the lack of other means of disposing of hospital waste, collection was suspended for
nearly two months.




                                                                                                  22
The hospitals in Asunción produce over 4,000 kg of pathological medical waste a day,
according to the Health Ministry.

The accumulation of waste reached levels incompatible with minimal hygiene standards, to the
point that scheduled surgical operations had to be cancelled for fear of the spread of hospital
infections.

But the imaginary garbage dump created by the artist is not even remotely similar to the one
that inspired his work and that opened a year ago in the community of Remansito, 15 km from
Asunción, in western Paraguay.

The dump is located on five hectares provided by the Defence Ministry. The Sermat company,
which was hired to incinerate the waste after the incinerators were shut down and
Sudamericana‘s contract was cancelled, transports to the site the more than four tons a day of
waste produced by the hospitals in the metropolitan region.

The company has a single incinerator with the capacity to burn just 200 kg an hour. Four large
pits have been built to store the excess waste.

The incinerator and the waste dump have been a constant source of concern for the people
living in Remansito. When they found out that the waste would be trucked into their area, local
residents created the Coordinating Committee for the Struggle for a Healthy Life, and organised
a series of protests and roadblocks to keep the trucks out.

In August 2006, the Coordinating Committee filed a lawsuit against the company, but the
complaint was thrown out. The appeal was also rejected by the Supreme Court, in June.

"Local people frequently fall ill, and they are afraid to fish, hunt or use the water from their
‗tajamares‘," small irrigation ditches built to accumulate rainwater, Ignacio Cantero, the priest
at the San Vicente de Paul church, told IPS.

"Pollution of the area is an imminent threat. When it rains, the company drains the water from
the pits where the waste has been deposited, and the water goes into a channel that runs into the
Paraguay River," he said.

One member of the Coordinating Committee, Benita Ramírez, even blamed Sermat for the
death of a 19-year-old young man who lived in the area. The cause of death has not been
clarified, and Ramírez suspects that he died as a result of pollution generated by the
pathological waste.

"We believe he died of some infection caused by the garbage," she told IPS. "We hope they can
prove that's not true, but in the meantime we will continue to believe that José Ramírez was the
first victim of this attack on our area."

The company issued a communiqué denying responsibility in the case.

Sermat also announced that a second, larger incinerator would be installed this month, to help
keep up with the daily influx of waste and to gradually eliminate the accumulated garbage.




                                                                                                    23
"We have been notified that an incinerator with the capacity to process 300 kg per hour has
arrived," Víctor Jiménez, a waste management adviser with the Public Health Ministry‘s
department of health services, told IPS.

"That will give the plant a capacity of 500 kg per hour, which will practically cover demand,
and the excess waste that is in the pits can also be incinerated," he said.

According to Sermat, there is currently around 600 tons of pathological waste buried on the plot
loaned by the Defence Ministry.

Paraguay has one of the highest rates of production of waste per hospital bed in the region. The
Public Health Ministry reports that an average of three kg per patient are generated, far above
Argentina‘s 800 grams and Brazil and Chile‘s 900 grams.

The Public Health Ministry launched a programme last year to reduce that quantity by means of
in situ separation of waste.

The department of health services is training health personnel to classify garbage by disposing
of it in three different kinds of bags: black for general waste that requires no special treatment;
yellow for uncontaminated plastics; and red for pathogenic waste.

"Management of hospital waste is a grave deficit that we face, but we are bringing our rules up-
to-date," Carlos María Romero, the director of health services in the Public Health Ministry,
told IPS.

Under a draft law that is in debate in Congress, management of hospital waste "would be the
exclusive responsibility of the health centre that generates it, whether public or private," said
Romero.

Health facilities that do not have the capacity to deal with their waste would be able to resort to
the municipal and provincial sanitation services.

The hope is that approval of the law would lead to the granting of increased funds to public
hospitals, to help them acquire incinerators or adopt other waste disposal methods.

The practice of incinerating waste is increasingly criticised by environmentalists and doctors
because of the large quantities of gas, solid and liquid waste that the process generates,
including extremely toxic substances like heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants.

Chile and Mexico have already eliminated the practice, not only because of the environmental
problems it poses but also due to the high costs of treating the gases and other waste products
generated by burning.

In Paraguay, however, the debate is just beginning.

The state social security institute‘s central hospital announced that this month it would begin to
use a new system, in which waste would be treated and sterilised with chlorine, ground up, and
disposed of as general waste. But this is the only new treatment system for which there are
testing plans in the country.




                                                                                                    24
Another possible alternative would be the sterilisation of pathogenic waste using cobalt-60, a
radioactive isotope.

However, Romero acknowledged that for now, incineration is the only possible option. "It‘s
worse for the waste to be in an open air dump. But over the next year, we have to change our
methods and do whatever is possible to bring ourselves into line with the new tendencies," he
said.

In the meantime, Paats‘ exhibit, made up of over 1,000 plastic bags strewn over the floor of the
white-walled room to recreate a garbage dump, is helping to make people aware of the risk and
the need to do something about it.

"I called it Asepsia because this garbage supposedly comes from aseptic places, like hospitals,
but which due to poor management actually end up hurting the environment instead," the artist
explained to IPS.
________________________________________________________________________

East African Standard Nairobi Kenya: Tree Felling in Nakuru Faulted
2 August 2007


Francis Ngige
Nairobi
Nakuru town residents have protested the felling of trees lining up the Nakuru-Lanet-Njoro
highway to pave way for construction of a dual-carriage way.
Over 1,000 jacaranda trees lining the highway from Stem Hotel to Nakuru town were hewed.
The felling of these trees, which have been in existence for over 57 years, has also affected the
free flow of traffic along the busy highway.
Heavy tree trunks have been left near the road, leaving little space for users of the highway.
China Road and Bridge Construction Company was awarded a contract to construct a dual
carriageway from Lanet through Nakuru Town to the Njoro turn-off.

Move has impacted negatively on the beautification of the town
Speaking on Wednesday, the Director of Environment at the Nakuru Municipal Council, Mr
Samuel Kiarie, said the civic body was not consulted before the exercise started.
Kiarie said the cutting down of the trees had impacted negatively on the beautification of the
town and endangered the environment.
And a group of residents wrote to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
demanding the immediate suspension of the exercise.
The residents threatened to take legal action against the Ministry of Roads and Public Works for
authorising the destruction of the trees.




                                                                                                 25
Under the banner of Nakuru Town Action Group, the residents have petitioned the United
Nations Environmental Programme to intervene.
The group representative, Mr Simon Nasieku, said Environmental Impact Assessment had not
been conducted.
Trucks belonging to the ministry were used to carry the tree trunks from the road.


________________________________________________________________________

BBC: Orangutans use 'charades' to talk

Orangutan communication resembles a game of charades, a study suggests.
Researchers from St Andrews University have shown that the animals intentionally modify or
repeat their signals to get their messages across.
The scientists said they believed all great apes could have this capability, suggesting that the
skill may have evolved millions of years ago.
The study, which is published in the journal Current Biology, involved six orangutans living in
two zoos.
Richard Byrne, an evolutionary psychologist and an author on the paper, said: "We were
interested in the intentions behind communication.
"When humans communicate, we routinely use our knowledge of what our audience knows and
what they don't know automatically.
"We wanted to find out whether the great apes, that have so much flexibility with their
communication, do the same thing."

Bananas vs leeks
To find this out, the researchers set up a situation where six captive orangutans were presented
with a keeper who had treats, such as bananas, and blander food, such as leeks or celery.
The animals gestured to attract the keeper's attention so the tasty treat would be passed to them.
However, once the orangutans had done this, the keepers did one of three things: they either
handed them the treat, handed them the bland food or handed them half the treat. The scientists
then recorded their reactions.
"When the keeper gave the orangutan the really nice food, understandably, that was the end of
it," explained Professor Byrne.
"But when the keeper pretended to fail to understand the original gesture and gave the wrong
food, the orangutans stopped using the gestures they had used before and started using some
different gestures," he explained.
"And when the keeper half understood and gave the orangutan part of the treat, the orangutans
started to repeat the same gestures that they had used, but they would repeat them even more
enthusiastically."




                                                                                                   26
Professor Byrne likened it to a game of charades.
He said: "Part of the skill is to do the miming and the gesturing in the cleverest way - but also
you are paying attention to what your team is guessing, and you tailor what you do next to what
they are doing." Effectively, the orangutans were able to take into account the states of
knowledge, ignorance and partial knowledge of the keeper and react, said Professor Byrne.
Given that orangutans are the most distantly related great ape to humans, the scientists believe
that all great apes would prove to have this skill.
"This ability to take into account how much individuals have understood you, and to modify
what you do next, is probably quite an ancient one in the human lineage," explained Professor
Byrne.
====================================================================




                                                                                                   27
                                ROAP MEDIA UPDATE
                           THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                Thursday, 02 August, 2007


                                   UNEP or UN in the news

    Daily Times : ‗Brown Cloud‘ speeding up melt of Himalaya glaciers
    Melbourne Herald Sun : Glaciers being lost to Asian Brown Cloud pollution
    Taipei Times : `Asian Brown Cloud' threatens Himalayas, report says
    Bayanihan Org : Asia's brown clouds 'warm planet'
    Reuters India : U.N. climate chief skeptical about global carbon tax
    People's Daily Online - Beijing, China : African children debate environmental
     protection
    Bangkok Post : Escap gets first female chief



General Environment News

    China Daily : Looking to environment for answers to key issues
    People's Daily Online : China urges accommodation to "emissions of subsistence" by
     poor countries
    Taipei Times : APEC to discuss threat posed by climate change
    Reuters : Drought Hits 1.2 Million in Central China
    Viet Nam News : ASEAN Plus Three reaffirms commitment
    Viet Nam News : NA approves structure change for 12th Gov‘t
    The Brunei Times : S Asia floods hit millions
    The Brunei Times : Climate change behind China weather woes
    Bangkok Post : Bringing back the forests

                                    UNEP or UN in the news

Daily Times - Lahore, Pakistan : ‘Brown Cloud’ speeding up melt of Himalaya glaciers

PARIS: The haze of pollution that blankets southern Asia is accelerating the loss of Himalayan
glaciers, bequeathing an incalculable bill to China, India and other countries whose rivers flow
from this source, scientists warned on Wednesday.

In a study released by the British journal Nature, the investigators say the so-called Asian
Brown Cloud is as much to blame as greenhouse gases for the warming observed in the
Himalayas over the past half century. Rapid melting among the 46,000 glaciers on the Tibetan
Plateau, the third-largest ice mass on the planet, is already causing downstream flooding late
summer. But long-term worries focus more on the danger of drought, as the glaciers shrink.

The new report triggered an appeal from UN Environment Programme (UNEP) chief Achim
Steiner, who urged the international community ―to ever greater action‖ on tackling climate
change. Researchers led by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of atmospheric sciences at
Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, used an innovative technique to explore the
Asian Brown Cloud.



                                                                                                 28
The plume sprawls across South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia and the northern Indian Ocean,
spewed from tailpipes, factory chimneys and power plants, forests or fields that are being
burned for agriculture, and wood and dung which are burned for fuel. Emissions of carbon
gases are known to be the big drivers of global warming, but the role of particulate pollution,
such as brown clouds, is unclear. afp
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C08%5C02%5Cstory_2-8-
2007_pg4_12
………………………………..
Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia : Glaciers being lost to Asian Brown Cloud pollution
August 02, 2007

THE haze of pollution that blankets southern Asia is accelerating the loss of Himalayan
glaciers, bequeathing an incalculable bill to China, India and other countries whose rivers flow
from this source.

In a study released by the British journal Nature, the investigators say the so-called Asian
Brown Cloud is as much to blame as greenhouse gases for the warming observed in the
Himalayas over the past half century.

Rapid melting among the 46,000 glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, the third-largest ice mass on
the planet, is already causing downstream flooding. But long-term worries focus more on the
danger of drought, as the glaciers shrink.

The report triggered an appeal from UN Environment Program chief Achim Steiner, who urged
the international community "to ever greater action" on tackling climate change.

Researchers led by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Scripps
Institution of Oceanography in California, used an innovative technique to explore the Asian
Brown Cloud.

The plume sprawls across South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia and the northern Indian Ocean. It
spews from tailpipes, factory chimneys and power plants, forests or fields that are being burned
for agriculture, and wood and dung which are burned for fuel.

Emissions of carbon gases are known to be the big drivers of global warming, but the role of
particulate pollution, such as brown clouds, is unclear.

Particulates, also called aerosols, cool the land or sea beneath them because they filter out
sunlight, a process known as global dimming. But what they do to the air around them has been
poorly researched.

Some aerosols absorb sunlight and thus warm the atmosphere locally, while others reflect and
scatter the light.

Professor Ramanathan's team used three unmanned aircraft fitted with 15 instruments to
monitor temperature, clouds, humidity and aerosols. The remote-controlled craft carried out 18
missions in March 2006, flying in a vertical stack over the Indian Ocean.




                                                                                                  29
The planes flew simultaneously through the Brown Cloud at heights of 500m, 1500m and
3000m. They discovered that the cloud boosted the effect of solar heating on the air around it by
nearly 50 per cent because its particles are soot, which is black and thus absorbs sunlight.

The researchers crunched data from greenhouse gases and from the brown clouds in a computer
model of climate change.

The simulation estimated that, since 1950, South Asia's atmosphere has warmed by 0.25C per
decade at altitudes ranging from 2000m to 5000m above sea level - the height where thousands
of Himalayan glaciers are located.

As much as half of this warming could be attributed to the effects of brown clouds, Professor
Ramanathan said. "It is frightening, but I also look at the positive side, because it shows a way
out of the conundrum," he said.

Roughly 60 per cent of the soot in South Asia comes from biofuel cooking and biomass
burning, which could be eased by helping the rural poor get bottled gas or solar cookers, he
said.

Professor Ramanathan's data has been validated with measurements taken on the ground and in
space by NASA.
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22174733-5005961,00.html
………………………………….
Taipei Times : `Asian Brown Cloud' threatens Himalayas, report says

'GREATER ACTION': A scientific report showing the effects of particulate pollution on the
great glaciers prompted UNEP to issue a call for action on climate change

AFP, PARIS
Thursday, Aug 02, 2007, Page 5
The haze of pollution that blankets southern Asia is accelerating the loss of Himalayan glaciers,
bequeathing an incalculable bill to China, India and other countries whose rivers flow from this
source, scientists warned yesterday.

In a study released by the British journal Nature, the investigators said the so-called Asian
Brown Cloud is as much to blame as greenhouse gases for the warming observed in the
Himalayas over the past half century.

Rapid melting among the 46,000 glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, the third-largest ice mass on
the planet, is already causing downstream flooding late summer. But long-term worries focus
more on the danger of drought, as the glaciers shrink.

UN APPEAL

The new report triggered an appeal from UN Environment Program (UNEP) chief Achim
Steiner, who urged the international community "to ever greater action" on tackling climate
change.




                                                                                                    30
Researchers led by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Scripps
Institution of Oceanography in California, used an innovative technique to explore the Asian
Brown Cloud.

The plume sprawls across South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia and the northern Indian Ocean,
spewed from tailpipes, factory chimneys and power plants, forests or fields that are being
burned for agriculture, and wood and dung which are burned for fuel.

`TRUE DRIVERS'

Emissions of carbon gases are known to be the big drivers of global warming, but the role of
particulate pollution, such as brown clouds, is unclear.

Particulates, also called aerosols, cool the land or sea beneath them because they filter out
sunlight, a process known as global dimming.

But what they do to the air around them has been poorly researched.

Some aerosols absorb sunlight and thus warm the atmosphere locally, while others reflect and
scatter the light.

Ramanathan's team used three unmanned aircraft to monitor temperature, clouds, humidity and
aerosols.

Launched from the Maldives island of Hanimadhoo, the remote-controlled craft carried out 18
missions in March last year, flying in a vertical stack over the Indian Ocean.

The planes flew simultaneously through the Brown Cloud at heights of 500m, 1,500m and
3,000m.

They discovered that the cloud boosted the effect of solar heating on the air around it by nearly
50 percent.

The researchers then crunched data from greenhouse gases and from the brown clouds in a US
computer model for climate change.

The simulation estimated that, since 1950, South Asia's atmosphere has warmed by 0.25oC per
decade at altitudes ranging from 2,000m to 5,000m above sea level -- precisely the height where
thousands of Himalayan glaciers are located.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2007/08/02/2003372393
…………………………………….
Bayanihan Org : Asia's brown clouds 'warm planet'
Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 08:14 PM BST

Environmental
The "brown cloud" is pollution from burning wood and fossil fuels. Clouds of pollution over the
Indian Ocean appear to cause as much warming as greenhouse gases released by human
activity, a study has suggested.




                                                                                                31
US researchers used unmanned aircraft to measure the effects of the "brown clouds" on the
surrounding area.

Writing in Nature, they said the tiny particles increased the solar heating of the lower
atmosphere by about 50%.

The warming could be enough to explain the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas, the scientists
proposed.

The clouds contain a mixture of light absorbing aerosols and light scattering aerosols, which
cause the atmosphere to warm and the surface of the Earth to cool.

The main sources of the pollutants came from wood burning and fossil fuels, the team added.

Aerosols, also known as particulates, cool the land or sea below because they filter out light
from the Sun.

While this process, known as "global dimming", is fairly well understood, the effect aerosols
have on the surrounding atmosphere is still unclear.

The scientists, from the University of California San Diego and the Nasa Langley Research
Center, said there remained a degree of uncertainty because, until now, estimates had largely
been derived from computer models.

For their study, the team of researchers used three unmanned aircraft, fitted with miniaturised
instruments that were able to measure aerosol concentrations, soot amounts and the flow of
energy from the Sun.

The crafts flew over the polluted region of the Indian Ocean at varying heights between 500m
(1,640ft) and 3,000m (9,840ft).

"During 18 flight missions, the three unmanned aerial vehicles were flown with a separation of
tens of metres or less and less than 10 seconds (apart), which made it possible to measure the
atmospheric solar heating rates directly," they wrote.

"We found that atmospheric brown clouds enhanced lower atmospheric solar heating by about
50%.

"The pollution contributes as much as the recent increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases to
regional lower atmospheric warming trends," they suggested.

"We propose that the combined warming trend of 0.25 Kelvin per decade may be sufficient to
account for the observed retreat of the Himalayan glaciers."

Seasonal glacier and snow melt from the mountain range feeds rivers that supplies water to
about 40% of the world's population.

The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), in its latest Snow and Ice Outlook report,
said the ice sheets in the region could retreat by up to 81% by the end of the century. (BBC)
http://www.bayanihan.org/html/article.php/20070801201410604




                                                                                                  32
……………………………………..
Reuters India : U.N. climate chief skeptical about global carbon tax
Thu Aug 2, 2007, By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A top U.N. climate change official voiced doubt on
Wednesday about a global tax on carbon, but said national taxes were possible and laws to cap
global warming emissions were better for business.

"I personally am skeptical on the notion of global carbon taxes," said Yvo de Boer, who heads
the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

International agreement on such a tax would take a long time, de Boer said, and it might take
even longer to get the tax proceeds to the United Nations to deal with global warming.

Speaking at a news conference during the first full-scale U.N. meeting dedicated to climate
change, de Boer said individual nations, including the Netherlands, have already put
environmentally friendly taxes in place.

However, he said national taxes don't offer predictable progress in curbing the human-generated
greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, though they may offer predictable revenues.

He favored so-called cap-and-trade laws, which limit carbon emissions and offer a way for
those who emit more than the limit to buy carbon credits from those who emit less.

"What the business community is calling for at the moment is long-term certainty, clear
emissions caps imposed by governments so that they know what kind of investment decisions
they have to make," de Boer said.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said climate-warming emissions
must be reduced by 50 percent by 2050, but without investment to curb climate change,
emissions could rise by 50 percent instead, de Boer said.

$100 BILLION TO MAKE ENERGY 'GREEN'

De Boer said the world would probably invest $20 trillion over the next 20 to 25 years to meet
the energy demand that goes with economic growth. To make these investments "green" would
require an additional investment of perhaps $100 billion a year, he said.

De Boer said he was encouraged by comments at this meeting from developing nations that
recognize the need to combat climate change -- which hits the world's poorest countries
disproportionately hard -- even as their economies grow.

Typical were comments by Faisal Saleh Hayat, Pakistan's environment minister, who spoke on
behalf of the Group of 77 developing nations and China.

"Climate change poses serious risks and challenges particularly to developing countries and
therefore demands urgent global action and response," Hayat said at Wednesday's meeting.
"The Group of 77 and China see these discussions as an integral part of the wider sustainable
development debate."




                                                                                                33
This week's two-day meeting on climate change was a prelude to a high-level gathering on Sept.
24 on the same subject. This will be followed by an international meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in
December, meant to begin discussions on the future of the fight against climate change.

De Boer, who is responsible for organizing the Bali talks, said one challenge was coming up
with a plan that the United States would accept.

The United States did not join the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change and rejects
mandatory limits on greenhouse emissions, but President George W. Bush has agreed with other
industrialized nations to negotiate a new climate pact to extend and broaden the Kyoto Protocol
beyond 2012.

Washington's U.N. envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, told Wednesday's gathering that the United States
was committed to stabilizing greenhouse gases, and recognizes "the fundamental connections
among the issues of energy security, climate change, and sustainable economic development."
http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-28774420070801?sp=true
…………………………………..
People's Daily Online - Beijing, China : African children debate environmental protection
August 01, 2007

Over 200 children from 35 African countries and Norway have converged here to discuss
matters related to the environment, according to the Cameroonian national radio.

Organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Yaounde meeting, which
began Monday, is bringing together children below the age of 17 to discuss, share experience
and make resolutions on the major challenges facing the African continent on the field of
environmental protection, the radio reported Tuesday.

The meeting, which is the first regional conference bringing African children together to discuss
the environment, is aimed at highlighting the role of children in the promotion of sustainable
development in a continent that boasts the second highest rate of deforestation, a continent
where waste is not treated, where no one at the moment is bothered by pollution and where
unplanned housing is the norm.

In addition, the meeting is being used to prepare African children for the world summit of
children on environment, which will be held in Norway in July 2008.
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6229606.html
 …………………………………..
Bangkok Post : Escap gets first female chief
ACHARA ASHAYAGACHAT

For the first time in its 60-year history, a woman has been appointed to head the United Nations
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap). Singaporean Noeleen
Heyzer was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to replace Kim Hak-Su as
Executive Secretary of Escap. The appointment took effect yesterday.

Ms Heyzer was executive director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women
(Unifem) before she took the helm at Escap _ the biggest of the UN's five regional
commissions, both in terms of population served and area covered.




                                                                                               34
''This is a great honour and an exciting opportunity,'' she said in a statement. ''The Asia-Pacific
region has tremendous development experiences and diversity and I will focus my efforts on
bringing a more integrated approach to advancing its social, economic and environmental
agenda.''

Ms Heyzer joined Unifem in 1994. Before that she worked as a researcher for the International
Labour Organisation (ILO), and was a Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the
University of Sussex.

Born in Singapore, Ms Heyzer received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's of Arts from the
University of Singapore and a doctorate in social sciences from Cambridge University.

She has received several awards for leadership, including the UNA-Harvard Leadership Award,
the Woman of Distinction Award from the UN-NGO Committee on the Status of Women, the
NCRW ''Women Who Make a Difference'' Award in 2005 and the Dag Hammarskjold Medal in
2004.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/02Aug2007_news07.php

                                    General Environment News

China Daily : Looking to environment for answers to key issues
By Yuan Peng, Updated: 2007-08-02 07:27

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's current visit comes at a time Chinese goods' safety, the
yuan's exchange rate and China's impact on global climate change are becoming hot topics in
the United States.

The US Senate Finance Committee passed a bill last week apparently targeting the Chinese
currency's exchange rate. Newsweek and Business Week magazines as well CNN have reported
extensively on issues concerning the safety of China-made commodities. It seems to this writer
that Chinese-US economic and trade ties are at a crossroads.

On the shoulders of Paulson, a sponsor of the China-US strategic economic dialogue and also a
senior US official who "knows China well", naturally rests the responsibility to stabilize
bilateral economic relations. His current China visit, therefore, takes on added significance.

It could set the tone for the third round of the strategic economic dialogue that is due to open in
Beijing at the end of the year, and consolidate decisions taken at the second round of dialogue.

During his visit, Paulson once again emphasized the importance of striking a balance in bilateral
trade, urged China to quicken the pace of the yuan's appreciation and also expressed concerns
about Chinese goods' safety. But the purpose of his visit goes beyond all this, in the opinion of
this writer.

His first stop was Xining, capital of Northwest China's Qinghai Province. He carefully studied
the ecological system around Qinghai Lake and the progress of environmental protection there,
implying environment issues top his agenda.

His Qinghai visit has at least three implications.




                                                                                                  35
First, Paulson hopes to see decisions taken at the second round of the strategic economic
dialogue on environmental protection come to fruition.

Second, he hopes to include environmental issues on the agenda of the third round of dialogue.

Third, his Qinghai visit was also designed to urge China to improve the safety of its products
and do something about climate change.

This is because both products' safety and climate change have their roots in environmental
pollution. In doing so, Paulson hopes to take some domestic political pressure off his shoulders.

Premier Wen Jiabao once praised former US Commerce Secretary Don Evans as being an
official of compassion because he made visits to China's underdeveloped west in an effort to get
a better understanding of the country as a whole. It is safe to say that Paulson, who has visited
China on a number of occasions and four in the capacity of US treasury secretary, is definitely
one US official who knows China best, if not the most sympathetic one.

Each of his visits has had some particular meaning. For example, his most frequently visited
place in China has been Zhejiang Province. In his eyes, the province enjoys a flourishing private
economy and the local government is relatively incorruptible, which signals the direction in
which China should develop in the future.

An important aspect of Paulson's China outlook, therefore, is to urge the nation to shift the
model of economic growth. This is also an important factor in the United States' China-related
economic strategy.

The fact that the focus of Paulson's current visit is Qinghai, demonstrates that the US
government is beginning to treat China's environmental issues as one of the priorities in its
China economic strategy, which basically tallies with the US public's concerns - China's
environmental pollution and the safety of Chinese-made products.

To a certain extent, Paulson's concerns about issues in China are the concerns of China itself.
Environmental pollution, for instance, has become a factor largely arresting China's sustainable
development and tarnishing the nation's image abroad. If handled poorly, the country's
environmental pollution could send a negative impact on global climate.

It is against this backdrop that China and the United States have stepped up environmental
cooperation. A number of factors should be taken into account in conducting bilateral
environmental cooperation.

First, environmental issues should be viewed from the perspective of enhancing bilateral
strategic mutual trust and widening the scope of mutual development.

China-US relations have remained stable over the last six years since September 2001.
However, strategic mutual trust between the two sides remains inadequate, which means that
the long-term stability of the bilateral ties is still on shaky grounds.

Finding agreement on "low political issues" can facilitate the enhancement of mutual trust.




                                                                                                 36
Second, environmental cooperation should be immune from the influences of politics and
ideology. In so far as China is concerned, the country should face up squarely to the stark reality
of the deteriorating environment and, therefore, cooperate earnestly with advanced nations,
including the United States.

On the part of the United States, it should "think big", in Paulson's words, and view bilateral
environmental cooperation against the big picture of US-China relations as a whole, and global
economic stability. The United States needs to do away with technological barriers against
China and reduce ideological prejudices in its dealings with China.

Third, bilateral environmental cooperation does not have time on its side, it is imperative to see
quick results. Apart from the fact that China and the United States share big responsibilities in
global climate change and environmental damage, the food-safety problems evolving from
environmental pollution are getting increasingly intensified. They could wreak severe damage
to the Sino-US economic relationship. Accelerated bilateral environmental cooperation and its
accomplishments can only bring positive results.

The author is a researcher with China Institute of Contemporary International Relations
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2007-08/02/content_5447526.htm
.............................................
People's Daily Online, China : China urges accommodation to "emissions of subsistence" by poor
countries
August 02, 2007

"Emissions of subsistence" and "development emissions" of poor countries should be
accommodated while the "luxury emissions" of rich countries should be restricted, a Chinese
diplomat said Wednesday.

"Adapting to climate change is as important as mitigating climate change," Liu Zhenmin,
China's deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, told an informal
debate of the UN General Assembly on climate change.

Stressing the principles of equity and "common but differentiated responsibilities," Liu urged
developed countries to "shoulder in good faith their historical and present responsibilities."

"The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol remain the
international cooperation framework and effective mechanism for addressing climate change,"
he said.

Liu said efforts to address climate change should be conducive to sustainable development.

"For developing countries, economic development and poverty eradication are overriding
priorities," Liu said. "In fulfilling these tasks, controlling greenhouse gas emissions and
adapting to the negative impact of climate change to the greatest extent will also contribute to
achieving sustainable development."

He said the international community should take full account of the issue of adaptation to
climate change and enhancing the capabilities of developing countries, small island developing
countries and the least developed countries in particular, to respond to disastrous climate events.




                                                                                                   37
Wednesday's debate at the UN General Assembly focused on national strategies and
international commitments to address climate change. This followed two interactive panel
discussions Tuesday: "Climate Change: the Science, the Impact and the Adaptation Imperative,"
and "Mitigation Strategies in the context of Sustainable Development."

Liu also stressed the importance of technological progress in tackling climate change.

"The international community should not only strengthen cooperation in research, development
and innovation of new technologies, but also promote dissemination and utilization of existing
technologies and make them affordable and accessible to developing countries," he said.

Liu said the Chinese government is fully aware of the gravity and urgency of the issue of
climate change and has adopted a series of policies and measures to control greenhouse gas
emissions, with major progress.

From 1990 to 2005, China's energy intensity went down by 47 percent, accounting for an
accumulated emission reduction of 1.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

In 1980-2005, by planting trees and protecting forests, another 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide
was absorbed.

Thanks to the adoption of family planning policy since the 1970s, the Chinese population is
now 300 million less than that of expected, which accounts for an annual reduction of carbon
dioxide emissions of 1.2 billion tons, Liu said.

"All these achievements have not come easily, and their contribution to addressing climate
change is something to be reckoned with," he added.

Under China's National Climate Change Program, which was formulated and released in
accordance with the provisions of UNFCCC, China will reduce by 20 percent energy
consumption per unit GDP by 2010 from the level of 2005, raising the proportion of renewable
energy in primary energy supply to 10 percent, keeping the emissions of nitrous oxide from
industrial processes stable at the 2005 level and increasing forest coverage rate to 20 percent.

Liu noted that per capita carbon dioxide emissions of China, home to 21 percent of the world
population, are less than one third of the average level of developed countries.

Although the Chinese economy has maintained a momentum of steady and fast growth in recent
years, over 20 million rural people and over 22 million urban residents still live in poverty and
the development of rural and urban areas and among different regions is imbalanced.

"To improve the living standards of its 1.3 billion people, China's 'development emissions' may
inevitably increase," Liu said. "As a major manufacturer, China's products are enjoyed by
countries across the world, but China itself has to bear the mounting pressure of 'transfer
emissions.'"

"We hope that all parties take full note of these two factors while focusing on China's
emissions," Liu said.
 http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6229762.html
………………………………………..




                                                                                               38
Taipei Times : APEC to discuss threat posed by climate change
AFP, COOLUM, AUSTRALIA, Thursday, Aug 02, 2007, Page 10

APEC finance ministers will discuss how the Asia-Pacific region can deal with climate change
while also meeting ever-expanding energy needs at a gathering in Australia beginning today.

Finance ministers from the 21 countries of APEC will hold a two-day meeting in the
Queensland resort town of Coolum to make policy recommendations ahead of an APEC leaders'
summit in Sydney in September.

Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, who is hosting the event, said the most important challenge
facing the meeting was finding a model acceptable to all that would allow the region to deal
with climate change.

"We [APEC] have the world's biggest emitters -- China and the United States. To have that
discussion with them and to see if we can get an agreement on principles for managing carbon
emissions and cooperation across the world's major economies would be a really good step
forward," he said.

He said that another major topic would be energy security, asking: "How do developing
countries such as China secure the energy which they'll need to drive their growth forward in
the decades that lie ahead?"

An Australian Treasury briefing on the Coolum meeting said the agenda would include
discussion on how the region could meet critical energy infrastructure needs estimated at US$7
trillion over the next 30 years.

"If this investment does not occur, the resulting imbalance between energy demand and supply
is likely to result in higher and more volatile energy prices," it said.

"Compared to other APEC finance ministers' meetings, this is an extremely high level of
ministerial involvement, and I think it will be a very significant meeting," Costello said.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worldbiz/archives/2007/08/02/2003372428
……………………………………
Reuters : Drought Hits 1.2 Million in Central China
CHINA: August 1, 2007

BEIJING - More than 1.2 million people in the central Chinese province of Hunan are facing a
"water crisis" after four weeks of drought and high temperatures, which are also straining power
generating capacity, state media said on Tuesday.

Hunan has received 25 percent less rain than normal and about half of its 2 million water
storage facilities are half-empty, while 859 reservoirs have dried up, the official Xinhua news
agency said.
"The provincial capital, Changsha, has suspended power generation at all local hydropower
stations to save water for drought relief," it added.

Changsha and three other cities in the province have started to seed clouds to try and force
artificial rain, the report said.




                                                                                                  39
The provincial meteorological bureau expects the heat to get worse before there is any
substantial rain, with temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for
most of August, it added.

Neighbouring Jiangxi province is also suffering from drought, even as other parts of China have
been deluged with rain and floods that have killed around 700 people so far this year.

Storms in northern Shanxi province have killed 20 people and destroyed more than 4,000
homes, Xinhua added.

In one county in the south of the province, it rained for 36 hours non-stop starting from
Saturday evening, it said.

The rain is expected to continue into the weekend, the report said.
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/43399/newsDate/1-Aug-2007/story.htm
................................................
Viet Nam News : ASEAN Plus Three reaffirms commitment
(01-08-2007)

HA NOI — The Southeast Asian nations and their three Northeast Asian neighbours including
China, Japan and South Korea reaffirmed their commitment to the ASEAN Plus Three (APT)
partnership and its contributions in helping establish an ASEAN Community by 2015.

The statement was released at the 8th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting held
yesterday in Manila, Philippines, on the sidelines of the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
(AMM).

At the meeting, the foreign ministers reviewed the progress achieved in implementing the
decisions of the APT Summit held in Cebu, Philippines on January 2007, and expressed their
satisfaction that many follow-up actions have been completed.

They noted the important results achieved in the cooperation between ASEAN and the three
Northeast Asian countries in many areas, including the negotiations process and implementation
of agreements to establish the Free Trade Area or Comprehensive Economic Partnership
between ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea, respectively, aiming to establish the
proposed East Asia Free Trade Area.

At the meeting, the leaders agreed on the importance of drafting the 2nd Joint Statement on East
Asia Cooperation and its work plan to steer APT cooperation over the next 10 years, in time for
the 10th anniversary of the APT cooperation framework. They agreed to speed up the
discussion process and have a draft document prepared for the ASEAN Plus Three Summit this
November.

At the unofficial meeting of the foreign ministers of the participating states of the East Asia
Summit (EAS), including ASEAN+3 nations, India, Australia, and New Zealand, the foreign
ministers expressed their delight at the success of the 2nd EAS in January 2007.

They affirmed that the EAS has become an important annual forum where regional leaders hold
dialogues on strategic eco-social issues.




                                                                                                  40
The foreign ministers agreed to boost cooperation in some priority areas including energy
security, education, finance, bird-flu prevention, poverty alleviation and disaster management.

The foreign ministers from non-ASEAN members congratulated ASEAN on the 40th
anniversary of the block‘s establishment, and affirmed that their nations will continue to
cooperate and constructively support the regional integration process and the fulfillment of the
goal to build an ASEAN Community.

The foreign ministers also exchanged views on regional and international issues.

On the Korean Peninsula, the foreign ministers welcomed the progress of the latest round of the
six-party talks and called for all parties involved to continue their efforts to implement the
agreements reached in the talks.

They expressed their wish that the North Korean nuclear issue would be resolved peacefully
through dialogue and negotiation, stressing that the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is
essential in maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

On the murder of the two South Korean hostages in Afghanistan, the foreign ministers
expressed concern and their deepest sympathy to the bereaved families and the South Korean
government. They issued an appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the
remaining hostages to enable them to be reunited with their loved ones.

Addressing the meetings, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Le Cong Phung, head of Viet
Nam‘s delegation, showed his appreciation for the development of the ASEAN+3 process over
the past 10 years.

With regard to development issues, Phung stressed that the leaders have agreed that the
ASEAN+3 is one of the most important cooperation frameworks in the region and the main tool
in the long-term goal of establishing an East Asian Community, in which ASEAN holds the role
as the driving force.

He also said regional countries need to enhance dialogues and increase the cooperation to
ensure peace, stability, and development in Southeast the Asia and Asia-Pacific region. — VNS
http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=02POL010807
………………………………………….
Viet Nam News : NA approves structure change for 12th Gov’t
01-08-2007

HA NOI —The National Assembly yesterday approved the structure of the new Government,
with 22 ministries and ministerial-level agencies and five Deputy Prime Ministers, following a
proposal by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

More than 95 per cent of the NA delegates agreed to merge the Ministry of Fisheries with the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

They also agreed to merge the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Trade. In addition, the
National Sports Committee and the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism will be
merged with the Ministry of Culture and Information to form the Ministry of Culture, Sports
and Tourism.




                                                                                                  41
The National Committee for Population, Family and Children will be dissolved and its functions
assigned to related ministries.

A new Ministry of Information and Communication will be established, based on the Ministry
of Posts and Telecommunications and press and publishing sections of the current Ministry of
Culture and Information.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is to take on State management of Viet
Nam‘s seas, but its name will remain the same.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday also proposed to the NA the nomination of Deputy
PMs, ministers and other Government officials.

Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan and Minister of Industry Hoang Trung
Hai have been nominated to be Deputy PMs along with three incumbent Deputy PMs Nguyen
Sinh Hung, Truong Vinh Trong and Pham Gia Khiem.

The following is the list of nominated ministers and leaders of 22 ministries and ministerial-
level agencies:

1. Minister of National Defence Phung Quang Thanh
2. Minister of Public Security Le Hong Anh
3. Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem
4. Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh
5. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen
6. Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang
7. Minister of Information and Communication Le Doan Hop
8. Minister of Home Affairs Tran Van Tuan
9. Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong
10. Minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh
11. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat
12. Minister of Transport Ho Nghia Dung
13. Minister of Construction Nguyen Hong Quan
14. Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc
15. Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan
16. Minister of Science and Technology Hoang Van Phong
17. Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan
18. Minister of Health Nguyen Quoc Trieu
19. Chairman of the Nationalities Committee Giang Seo Phu
20. Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam Nguyen Van Giau
21. Chief State Inspector Tran Van Truyen
22. Head of the Government Office Nguyen Xuan Phuc

On August 2, the NA will vote to approve the aforementioned list.

National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong yesterday read a proposal to lengthen the
terms of People‘s Councils of various levels by two years (ending in 2011 instead of 2009) and
cutting the term of the 12th NA from five to four years (from 2007-2011).




                                                                                                 42
Yesterday the NA also discussed and approved a resolution on adjusting the law-building
programme in 2007. According to the resolution, the revised Anti-Corruption Law will be
added to the programme to be approved in the first session of the 12th NA.

The revised Ordinance of Implementation of Imprisonment will be also approved in the NA‘s
2007 working programme. — VNS
http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=01POL010807
……………………………………
The Brunei Times : S Asia floods hit millions
SIRAJGANJ, BANGLADESH, 02-Aug-07

AT LEAST 22 people drowned in India after their boat sank in a swollen river yesterday, the
latest victims of flooding in South Asia that has forced millions to live in tents and on
embankments and highways.

The monsoon flooding in the densely populated region, which is crisscrossed by large rivers,
has affected more than 10 million people, many of whom have been marooned in villages for
over a week.

It has also damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, many of them made of mud
and bamboo with tin roofs.

In Bangladesh and India's north and east, more than 130 people have been killed over the past
nine days in drownings, snakebites and house collapses and authorities, short of boats, said they
were overstretched trying to respond.

The latest deaths yesterday were in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh where 22 people
drowned, including a dozen children, and four were missing after the crowded boat they were in
broke apart and sank in a fast-flowing river.

In India's east, some marooned residents have taken to fishing in flood waters to feed their
families.

Across impoverished Bihar and the northeastern state of Assam, around 5.5 million people have
been affected by the flooding.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, at least 35 people have died in the past week and more than 4.5
million people were either stranded, displaced or living in water-logged areas.

Nearly 19,000 houses have been destroyed and another 236,000 damaged by rains and flood
waters in the impoverished, low-lying country, more than half of which has now been affected
by floods. Hundreds of thousands of homeless have crammed into some 600 relief camps,
including school buildings and government offices.Reuters
http://www.bruneitimes.com.bn/details.php?shape_ID=38623
…………………………………
The Brunei Times : Climate change behind China weather woes
BEIJING, 02-Aug-07




                                                                                               43
GLOBAL warming is partly to blame for this year's weather extremes in China, which have led
to more than 700 deaths from flooding and left millions of others without water, an official said
yesterday.

And such extremes are likely to get worse and more common in the future, said Song Lianchun,
head of the China Meteorological Administration's Department of Forecasting Services and
Disaster Mitigation.

"It should be said that one of the reasons for the weather extremes this year has been unusual
atmospheric circulation bought about by global warming," Song told a news conference carried
live on the central government Web site (www.gov.cn).

"These kind of extremes will become more frequent, and more obvious. This has already been
borne out by the facts," he said. "I think the impact on our country will definitely be very large."

Some parts of China have had too much rain, and others too little this summer.

In the southern provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi, about 2 million people are facing drought and
temperatures topping out at about 40 degrees Celsius , which have also strained power grids.

Meanwhile, storms in the northern province of Shanxi have killed more than 20 people and
destroyed more than 4,000 homes. In one county of the province, it rained for 36 hours non-stop
starting from Saturday evening.

Another 26 died and 26 were missing in the neighbouring province of Shanxi after rainstorms
over the past few days, while 11 were killed and 17 were missing in central Henan, the Ministry
of Civil Affairs said.

China is rapidly overtaking the US to become the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases.

China has refused to comply, but the government has shown greater efforts in addressing energy
and environment issues.

Beijing also argues that unless the United States is made to cap its carbon emissions, it will not
follow suit.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stuck to that position at an Asean security meeting in
Manila.

"Global climate change is mostly a result of the long history of emissions and the current high
per capita emissions of developed countries," he was quoted by spokeswoman Jiang Yu as
saying.

"Therefore, developed countries should continue to lead efforts to lower emissions after 2012,
transfer technology to developing countries and promote sustainable development in developing
countries," he added. Reuters
http://www.bruneitimes.com.bn/details.php?shape_ID=38624
……………………………..
Bangkok Post : Bringing back the forests




                                                                                                  44
With help from academics and a well-thought out plan, local people can help with reforestation
projects

 With our own hands, we can help the planet by planting trees, returning greenery to deforested
areas. But with a trick or two, the greenery can more quickly return to a natural forest that a
range of wildlife can call home.

This is what has happened in the upper Mae Sa valley, in the heart of Chiang Mai's Doi Suthep-
Pui National Park, 1,328m above sea level.

Here, a 21 hectare section of the 4,480 hectares of spoiled forest has been brought back to life,
thanks to a reforestation programme using what experts call the "framework species method".

Contrary to most state reforestation programmes, which simply fill areas with a single species
of tree, this reforestation plot in the upper Mae Sa valley is rich in biodiversity.

"The trees we planted have attracted wildlife and accelerated the regeneration of the natural
forest," said Steven Elliot, an expert from the UK at the Forest Restoration Research Unit of
Chiang Mai University (Forru-CMU).

Forty years ago, the upper Mae Sa valley was an abundant tropical forest that protected the rain-
catchment areas of the Sa River, which flows into Chiang Mai's Ping River, a main tributary of
the Chao Phraya.

The forest, however, was cleared for farming, and subsequently abandoned after it became
infertile. Consequently, the rain-catchment area almost died.

Since 1996, however, Forru-CMU has been working with local villagers at Ban Mae Sa Mai
and the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park officers to save their forest, using the framework species
method.

The trick is to grow fast-growing pioneer trees together with shade-tolerant climax trees, which
not only help accelerate regeneration but also attract seed-dispersing wildlife and birds to
accelerate the return of biodiversity to the forest.

According to Elliot, pioneer trees were selected from northern Thailand's indigenous tree
species. They grow rapidly, are resilient to forest fires and form an upper canopy that creates
dense shade and attracts seed-dispersing wildlife.

The shade-tolerant climax trees, meanwhile, grow slowly in the pioneer trees' shade, to form an
under-storey. As these trees grow, more indigenous seeds will be brought in by birds and
wildlife to naturally grow in their shade.

Using this system, the pioneer trees will begin to die after 10 to 20 years, but the dead wood
will enrich the soil, providing food for invertebrates. While the planted climax trees grow to
form the main canopy, the naturally established trees form an under-storey, ready to return the
forest to its former glory.




                                                                                                    45
Since the technique has identified the pioneer and climax trees suitable for the ecosystems of
northern Thailand, the success in the upper Mae Sa valley will help other communities revive
their degraded forests more effectively.

According to Elliot, each site must be cleared of weeds while preserving any existing tree
seedlings or saplings. The next step is planting a mixture of 20 to 30 native tree species,
including both pioneer and climax species, 1.8 to 2m apart.

Between 20 and 30 species will be planted on each site and maintained through weed control
and the use of fertilisers for a few years, until they are well-established. Throughout this time,
fires must be prevented. With these species, natural regeneration processes should further help
the forest's recovery.

Elliot, also a Chiang Mai University biology professor, claimed the project a success for
bringing back 87 species of birds and 61 species of plants after the 30 chosen framework
species were planted here 10 years ago.

Seeds were also brought by various birds and fruit-eating Indian civets (chamod) who come
from the nearby Dong Seng Forest.

"These plant seeds came in here on the wind. They are normally stronger than those planted by
us," the expert said.

According to Elliot, the trees that his team planted changed the conditions in the forest. In the
6th to 10th years, cogongrass (ya kha) will no longer exist in the shade of trees grown to help
re-establish the self-sustaining forest ecosystem.

"Biodiversity here is very high. Apart from two types of lichen, the forest is also home to
barking deer, wild pigs, Burmese ferret-badgers and pangolins. The fruit bats are also coming to
the field plots and bringing more seeds," the PhD from the University of Edinburgh said.

Follow-ups and statistical findings by Forru have confirmed the return of biodiversity in terms
of wildlife and trees in the area. The 2nd and 3rd years saw a rapid increase in canopies. In the
3rd year, 14 species of trees began to bear fruit and become shelters for wild animals. It also
saw the return of mammals like large Indian civets, hog badgers, barking deer and wild pigs.

In the 6th year, multiple tiers of canopies caused many leaves to replace weeds and ensured
appropriate environment for seeds to grow as saplings naturally. In the 7th year, 44 species of
plants became habitats and food sources for wildlife.

Cherdsak Kuarak, a Forru researcher working on the project, is proud to see the renewed
biodiversity in the area.

"We grew 30 kinds of plants here and later found some 90 more types. It's incredible to find
some important species like agarwood (mai krisna). This is our success. More animals will
come here and the forest will grow on its own," he said enthusiastically.

The biggest obstacle to the project is fire. However, the area has fire watch towers, a forest fire
watch team of 15 villagers and teams to create and maintain six- to eight-metre-wide fire
breaks.




                                                                                                     46
To guarantee the forest's survival, the Forru team has solicited the co-operation of the villagers
and strengthened local children's love of nature by regularly taking them trekking and bird-
watching.

Chote Parasidh, assistant headman of Baan Mae Sa Mai, said the villagers, all Hmongs, have
been working to revitalise the forest since 1991 and have willingly joined Forru to help save
their forests since 2001.

"Now, we can hear and see more wildlife, including boars, barking deer, nocturnal animals and
pheasants. They have come back.

"We also saw barking deer running along the village road, last rainy season," he added.

This is why the villagers want to continue the reforestation project even if financial support
might someday come to an end. They also plan to promote ecotourism and homestays for
tourists to learn about their lifestyle and local nature.

So far, over 200 families in Baan Mae Sa Mai and Baan Mae Sa Noi, who mostly earn livings
by growing lychee, have joined the project with the goal to cover 800 hectares, he said.

The villagers and volunteers usually start planting trees early in the rainy season. This year,
nearly 100 Thai and foreign volunteers worked on 3.2 hectares at Baan Mae Sa Mai.

Among the volunteers are Phutthamon Somjai and Sutthida Samerjai, 4th year students of
Chiang Mai University.

Both looked happy planting trees, but they voiced concerns about Chiang Mai's unsolved
environmental problems like rubbish, forest fires and water pollution, as well as many locals'
negligence.

Since 1961, Thailand has lost nearly two-thirds of its forests, mainly due to land clearance for
logging and agriculture.

Despite the project's success, Supol Jitvijak, acting head of the forest resources management
unit at WWF Thailand, said the framework species method should be expanded slowly due to
the shortage of researchers and villagers who know trees scientifically and have time to take
care of them.

Therefore, only 21.5 hectares of the "new forest" have been planted in the past six years, or 3.2
hectares a year of the 4,480 hectares of destroyed forest here.

The reforestation project from 2006 to 2008, which will cover a 9.6 hectare plot, is supported by
WWF Thailand and King Power Duty Free with a budget of three million baht.

Although the technique has proved successful in restoring tropical forests in northern Thailand,
more research is required to find appropriate pioneer and climax trees to restore different forest
ecosystems in other parts of Thailand, according to the Forru.




                                                                                                   47
Elliot cautioned that overenthusiasm and planting more trees than a community can maintain
would eventually allow pests to grow faster than trees.
The success in the upper Mae Sa valley, however, has strengthened the determination of both
the locals and the conservationists to revive the watershed forest of the Ping River.

"And we are on the right track," said Supol.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/Outlook/02Aug2007_out01.php




                                                                                              48
                       REGIONAL OFFICE FOR AFRICA - NEWS UPDATE

                                                                                      2 August 2007
                                  General Environment News

East Africa: Regional Conservation Laws in Offing

The Monitor (Kampala): East African Community countries will soon have general regional
laws on conserving forest and water resource. The deputy Secretary General for the Lake
Victoria Basin Commission, Wilson Kipkore has said. The laws will be passed by the East
African Legislative Assembly to create a balance between economic development and
environmental conservation to cater for current and future generations. The East African
Community comprises Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. The Lake Victoria
Basin Commission was appointed in April 2006 as an apex institution of the East African
Community responsible for management and development of the Lake Victoria Basin. The
EAC established the institution to promote, facilitate and coordinate activities of different
sectors towards the sustainable development of the Lake Victoria basin which is recognised as a
regional economic zone. Lake Victoria is the world's second largest fresh water lake.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200708010857.html

Kenya: Tree Felling in Nakuru Faulted

East African Standard (Nairobi): Nakuru town residents have protested the felling of trees lining
up the Nakuru-Lanet-Njoro highway to pave way for construction of a dual-carriage way. Over
1,000 jacaranda trees lining the highway from Stem Hotel to Nakuru town were hewed. The
felling of these trees, which have been in existence for over 57 years, has also affected the free
flow of traffic along the busy highway. Heavy tree trunks have been left near the road, leaving
little space for users of the highway. China Road and Bridge Construction Company was
awarded a contract to construct a dual carriageway from Lanet through Nakuru Town to the
Njoro turn-off. Speaking on Wednesday, the Director of Environment at the Nakuru Municipal
Council, Mr Samuel Kiarie, said the civic body was not consulted before the exercise started.
Kiarie said the cutting down of the trees had impacted negatively on the beautification of the
town and endangered the environment. And a group of residents wrote to the Ministry of
Environment and Natural Resources demanding the immediate suspension of the exercise. The
residents threatened to take legal action against the Ministry of Roads and Public Works for
authorising the destruction of the trees. http://allafrica.com/stories/200708010927.html

South Africa: Kruger Closes Dam After Algae Kills Animals

BuaNews (Tshwane): A key man-made dam in the Kruger National Park will be emptied and
permanently closed this week after it was again infected with poisonous algae, which has been
killing animals over the past two years. The algae, Microcystis spp, grow when there are high
levels of urine and faeces or agricultural fertilizers in the water. The Nhlanganzwane Dam in the
southern part of the park is believed to have been contaminated by the waste of a large pod of
hippos that congregated in the dam this winter. "We didn't take the decision lightly, but our
primary concern is to stop the spread and effect of this deadly algal poison," said the park's head
of conservation services Dr Freek Venter on Wednesday. The closure of the dam, he explained,
also tied in with the park's policy of closing artificial water points in order to return the area to
its purest natural state. http://allafrica.com/stories/200708010568.html




                                                                                                  49
Mauritania: 'Our Sea And Lagoon Are Not for Sale'

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg): "We are selling everything in this country: from our bodies
to our land and now our sea and lagoons. Is there anything left for us?" asked Jack Bizlall,
spokesperson for a nongovernmental network of organisations called Kalipso. "I do not know
how to tell my kids that they are selling the sea and the lagoon to private investors and that I am
doing nothing to oppose them," insisted environmentalist Vassen Kauppaymuthoo. Together
with local fishermen and others who earn their living from the sea and the lagoon, they are
struggling to stop the government from implementing the Aquatic Business Activities Bill,
presently being circulated. The government's idea is to provide a legal framework to regulate
the exercise of business activities in and around the sea. Portions of sea and lagoon areas will be
leased and therefore shall cease to be part of the public domain while a lease is in operation.
Every       lease    will     be      effective    for     a     maximum        of    30     years.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200708010794.html

====================================================================




                                                                                                50
                           ROLAC MEDIA UPDATE
_____________________________________________________________________________

www.ips.org
PARAGUAY: Hospitals - Generating Health or Pollution?
By David Vargas

ASUNCIÓN, Aug 1 (IPS) - A thousand inflated transparent plastic bags labelled
"Pathological Garbage" cover the floor of one of the exhibition rooms at the Juan de
Salazar Cultural Centre in the Paraguayan capital.

The bags form part of artist William Paats‘ Asepsia (asepsis) exhibit, which is aimed at drawing
attention to the serious problem of hospital waste disposal in this South American country.

The exhibit opened in early July, a year after the government‘s declaration of a health
emergency when the two obsolete incinerators that disposed of the waste generated by the city‘s
public hospitals were closed down.

That coincided with the Asunción city government‘s decision to cancel the contract with the
Sudamericana company, which was in charge of collecting and incinerating the waste from
private hospitals in the capital, after authorities found that it was not complying with the
requirements set by the local government.

Given the lack of other means of disposing of hospital waste, collection was suspended for
nearly two months.

The hospitals in Asunción produce over 4,000 kg of pathological medical waste a day,
according to the Health Ministry.

The accumulation of waste reached levels incompatible with minimal hygiene standards, to the
point that scheduled surgical operations had to be cancelled for fear of the spread of hospital
infections.

But the imaginary garbage dump created by the artist is not even remotely similar to the one
that inspired his work and that opened a year ago in the community of Remansito, 15 km from
Asunción, in western Paraguay.

The dump is located on five hectares provided by the Defence Ministry. The Sermat company,
which was hired to incinerate the waste after the incinerators were shut down and
Sudamericana‘s contract was cancelled, transports to the site the more than four tons a day of
waste produced by the hospitals in the metropolitan region.

The company has a single incinerator with the capacity to burn just 200 kg an hour. Four large
pits have been built to store the excess waste.

The incinerator and the waste dump have been a constant source of concern for the people
living in Remansito. When they found out that the waste would be trucked into their area, local
residents created the Coordinating Committee for the Struggle for a Healthy Life, and organised
a series of protests and roadblocks to keep the trucks out.




                                                                                                 51
In August 2006, the Coordinating Committee filed a lawsuit against the company, but the
complaint was thrown out. The appeal was also rejected by the Supreme Court, in June.

"Local people frequently fall ill, and they are afraid to fish, hunt or use the water from their
‗tajamares‘," small irrigation ditches built to accumulate rainwater, Ignacio Cantero, the priest
at the San Vicente de Paul church, told IPS.

"Pollution of the area is an imminent threat. When it rains, the company drains the water from
the pits where the waste has been deposited, and the water goes into a channel that runs into the
Paraguay River," he said.

One member of the Coordinating Committee, Benita Ramírez, even blamed Sermat for the
death of a 19-year-old young man who lived in the area. The cause of death has not been
clarified, and Ramírez suspects that he died as a result of pollution generated by the
pathological waste.

"We believe he died of some infection caused by the garbage," she told IPS. "We hope they can
prove that's not true, but in the meantime we will continue to believe that José Ramírez was the
first victim of this attack on our area."

The company issued a communiqué denying responsibility in the case.

Sermat also announced that a second, larger incinerator would be installed this month, to help
keep up with the daily influx of waste and to gradually eliminate the accumulated garbage.

"We have been notified that an incinerator with the capacity to process 300 kg per hour has
arrived," Víctor Jiménez, a waste management adviser with the Public Health Ministry‘s
department of health services, told IPS.

"That will give the plant a capacity of 500 kg per hour, which will practically cover demand,
and the excess waste that is in the pits can also be incinerated," he said.

According to Sermat, there is currently around 600 tons of pathological waste buried on the plot
loaned by the Defence Ministry.

Paraguay has one of the highest rates of production of waste per hospital bed in the region. The
Public Health Ministry reports that an average of three kg per patient are generated, far above
Argentina‘s 800 grams and Brazil and Chile‘s 900 grams.

The Public Health Ministry launched a programme last year to reduce that quantity by means of
in situ separation of waste.

The department of health services is training health personnel to classify garbage by disposing
of it in three different kinds of bags: black for general waste that requires no special treatment;
yellow for uncontaminated plastics; and red for pathogenic waste.

"Management of hospital waste is a grave deficit that we face, but we are bringing our rules up-
to-date," Carlos María Romero, the director of health services in the Public Health Ministry,
told IPS.




                                                                                                    52
Under a draft law that is in debate in Congress, management of hospital waste "would be the
exclusive responsibility of the health centre that generates it, whether public or private," said
Romero.

Health facilities that do not have the capacity to deal with their waste would be able to resort to
the municipal and provincial sanitation services.

The hope is that approval of the law would lead to the granting of increased funds to public
hospitals, to help them acquire incinerators or adopt other waste disposal methods.

The practice of incinerating waste is increasingly criticised by environmentalists and doctors
because of the large quantities of gas, solid and liquid waste that the process generates,
including extremely toxic substances like heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants.

Chile and Mexico have already eliminated the practice, not only because of the environmental
problems it poses but also due to the high costs of treating the gases and other waste products
generated by burning.

In Paraguay, however, the debate is just beginning.

The state social security institute‘s central hospital announced that this month it would begin to
use a new system, in which waste would be treated and sterilised with chlorine, ground up, and
disposed of as general waste. But this is the only new treatment system for which there are
testing plans in the country.

Another possible alternative would be the sterilisation of pathogenic waste using cobalt-60, a
radioactive isotope.

However, Romero acknowledged that for now, incineration is the only possible option. "It‘s
worse for the waste to be in an open air dump. But over the next year, we have to change our
methods and do whatever is possible to bring ourselves into line with the new tendencies," he
said.

In the meantime, Paats‘ exhibit, made up of over 1,000 plastic bags strewn over the floor of the
white-walled room to recreate a garbage dump, is helping to make people aware of the risk and
the need to do something about it.

"I called it Asepsia because this garbage supposedly comes from aseptic places, like hospitals,
but which due to poor management actually end up hurting the environment instead," the artist
explained to IPS.


http://www.presidencia.gob.mx/prensa/?contenido=31221


Mensaje del Presidente Calderón al término de la reunión privada que sostuvo con el
señor Albert Gore, Ex vicepresidente de los Estados Unidos de América
Martes, 31 de Julio | Especial
Ciudad de México, Residencia Oficial.




                                                                                                    53
        "Tengo una especial admiración por el señor Gore, por su trabajo y por el extraordinario
liderazgo que él ha tenido en la difusión y en la consciencia de este problema que enfrenta la
humanidad".
        "Yo quiero felicitar sinceramente al señor Gore por ser el portavoz de una preocupación
global y ser el portavoz de millones y millones de seres humanos que estamos preocupados por
el planeta".
        "Platiqué algunos aspectos de la Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climático que ha
emprendido mi Gobierno apartir de este mismo año, es una estrategia diseñada por expertos en
la materia y respaldada con todos los instrumentos a la mano del Gobierno".
        "Somos un país en desarrollo que hemos decidido no seguir con la idea de que
carecemos o de que no tenemos responsabilidad en el tema, sino que al contrario hemos
asumido un compromiso para poner de nuestra parte en orden a reducir las emisiones de
carbono".
        "Otros elementos que conversamos fueron algunas metas que tenemos, por ejemplo, el
decretar tres millones de hectáreas más de Áreas Naturales Protegidas en México, para llegar a
25 millones de hectáreas protegidas en el país que es casi el 14 por ciento del territorio
nacional".

―Yo le quiero comentar al señor Gore que PROÁRBOL ha sido reconocido como el programa,
del programa de Naciones Unidas como el proyecto nacional que más aporta a la meta mundial
de esta Organización de Naciones Unidas‖.

====================================================================




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                            UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
                                    DAILY NEWS
1 August 2007
====================================================================
Ban Ki-moon endorses new initiative on determining Kosovo’s future status

1 August - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed an agreement to have a troika
comprised of the European Union, Russian Federation and United States lead further
negotiations on the future status of Kosovo, the Serbian province administered by the United
Nations since 1999.
―I hope that the new period of engagement will lead to agreement on Kosovo‘s future status,
which remains a priority for the United Nations,‖ Mr. Ban said in a statement released today.
Stating that the status quo is ―not sustainable,‖ he urged the international community to find a
solution that is ―timely, addresses the key concerns of all communities living in Kosovo and
provides clarity for Kosovo‘s status.‖

The agreement was arrived at by members of the Contact Group – the US, United Kingdom,
France, Germany, Italy, and the Russian Federation – which will report back to Mr. Ban by 10
December on the progress of negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade.
It follows a deadlock in the Security Council over a proposal by Mr. Ban‘s Special Envoy
Martti Ahtisaari for a phased process of independence for the province, where ethnic Albanians
outnumber Serbs and others by nine to one.
Kosovo‘s Albanian leadership support independence but Serbia is opposed.
Mr. Ban pledged that the world body will continue to ―play a constructive role in the new period
of engagement,‖ with the Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo (UNOSEK) standing by to
provide information and clarification on request, as well as continue its major role on the
ground.

UN envoys voice new optimism in tackling climate change
1 August - Top United Nations climate change officials today voiced optimism that
international leaders are ready and willing to tackle climate change on the second and final day
of a General Assembly meeting on the issue.
Ricardo Lagos, one of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon‘s three Special Envoys on climate
change, said that discussions with world leaders on the topic had infused him with ―an optimism
that things can happen,‖ adding that countries seem ready to consider novel solutions to the
problem.

Mr. Lagos, a former Chilean president, said leaders also recognize the need for a ―new, more
sophisticated agreement‖ to succeed the Kyoto Protocol – the international community's current
framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which expires in 2012 – as well as the
necessity for a ―clear and definite timetable‖ on readying a successor pact to be ready to allow
countries to make it law in time.
Another climate change envoy, former General Assembly President Han Seung-soo, also said
he had been ―greatly encouraged‖ by meeting global leaders, most of whom said that new
approaches are crucial.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, Pakistan‘s Environment
Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said the Group welcomed the proposal by Mr. Ban to convene a
high-level meeting on climate change next month at UN Headquarters in New York.




                                                                                                   55
―With the clock continuing to click,‖ he said, ―we need to move fast and act before climate
change turns into a climate crisis.‖
The Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Jacques Diouf said
his agency supports the Secretary-General‘s proposed high-level event. Also this fall, FAO will
hold its own meeting to discuss world food insecurity and the challenges posed by climate
change and bioenergy.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told
reporters that ―while climate change is in the essence an environmental issue, it is an issue that
can only be solved if an economic answer is provided to it.‖
International assistance is necessary to aid developing countries, whose ―overriding concerns‖
are economic growth and poverty eradication, to allow them to take measures that are ―not
justifiable from a national economic point of view, but that are essential from a climate change
point of view,‖ he said.
Mr. de Boer added that there is a ―general recognition that the Kyoto Protocol in itself is not
enough,‖ and that it is essential to reach agreement on a post-2012 mechanism to combat global
warming.

UN emergency fund provides $40 million for 16 global crises

1 August - The top United Nations humanitarian official today announced a grant of $40 million
from the world body‘s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide life-saving
support in 16 so-called forgotten crises around the world.
―These grants will provide vital funding for people caught up in some of the world‘s most
neglected humanitarian crises,‖ said John Holmes, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and
manager of the CERF. ―By filling gaps in the international response we aim to ensure that
assistance will reach those most in need.‖
The largest recipients of the new funds will be the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
the occupied Palestinian territory, Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte d‘Ivoire and the Central African
Republic (CAR).
The countries selected for grants face severe ongoing emergencies, against a backdrop of
protracted humanitarian needs and low levels of funding, according to the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
This is the fourth such disbursement since the launch of the landmark fund in March 2006.
Managed by OCHA, it aims to speed up relief operations for humanitarian emergencies and
make funds available quickly after a disaster, when people are most at risk.

CERF funding for aid programmes is made available within 72 hours in emergencies, allowing
UN agencies on the ground to provide immediate assistance.
To date, the Fund has provided $125 million for humanitarian emergencies.

Secretary-General welcomes Guatemalan approval of body to probe armed groups

1 August - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has applauded today‘s decision by the Guatemalan
legislature to approve an independent body to investigate the presence and activities of illegal
armed groups in the Central American country.
The Guatemalan Congress voted to establish the International Commission Against Impunity in
Guatemala (known by its Spanish acronym, CICIG) as a matter of urgency.




                                                                                                56
Mr. Ban ―believes Guatemala has sent a clear message, both to its people and to the
international community, that it is committed to fight crime and impunity, and to provide
security for its citizens,‖ his spokesperson said in a statement.
Under the terms of an agreement between the Guatemalan Government and the United Nations,
the world body and the country will now work closely together with judicial authorities in
Guatemala to set up CICIG.

The Commission will be able to conduct its own investigations and also help local institutions,
particularly the Office of the Public Prosecutor. While it will be an independent, non-UN body,
its commissioner will be appointed by the Secretary-General and report periodically to him.
One of its tasks is to recommend public policies and any legal or institutional measures for
eradicating the illegal armed groups and preventing their re-emergence. The costs are expected
to be borne by voluntary contributions from the international community.

UN sends in helicopters, food, medicines to aid Nepalese flood victims

1 August - With helicopters, food, water purification tablets, blankets and medical supplies
United Nations agencies have rushed emergency aid to tens of thousands of Nepalese hit by
floods and landslides, responding rapidly to the Government‘s request for assistance in the
crisis.

―The UN System in Nepal stands fully committed to extend all possible assistance to the people
of the affected districts who are suffering from the current natural calamity,‖ UN Resident and
Humanitarian Coordinator Matthew Kahane said in an update on the incessant rains that over
the past three weeks have triggered floods and landslides in 28 districts of the Himalayan
country, killing some 57 people, affecting more than 230,000 others and driving 4,000 families
from their homes.
Food, drinking water and temporary shelter have been identified as the major needs. There is a
heightened risk of increased deaths and illness in the coming weeks and months due to
outbreaks of communicable diseases, most importantly acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal
diseases, vector-borne diseases and snake bites.
The UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) has provided water purification tablets and flocculent
powder to purify water for some 30,000 people in affected areas in Banke, Bardiya, Dhanusha,
Mahottari, Rautahat and Karnali Zone. The agency has also sent 6,000 packets of oral
rehydration salts through its partners to address the onset of diarrhoea and dysentery that may
arise from water contamination, as well as tarpaulins, water buckets and blankets.

The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has made its helicopters available, at the Government‘s
request, and, with financial support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), has flown
rescue teams including members of the Nepal Army, police, Red Cross, government officials
and UN agencies for evacuation, relief and assessment operations. UNDP is also coordinating
with the private sector to facilitate contributions to the overall response.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is ready to immediately respond with food aid for
people displaced by flooding across the Terai if the Government requests such assistance, while
the UN World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Epidemiology and Disease Control
Division of the Department of Health, is conducting rapid health assessments, introducing post-
emergency disease surveillance. Medical supplies have been pre-positioned and new requests
are being processed.




                                                                                               57
For its part, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided food and supplies to 1,000 flood
victims in Mahottari, including medical support to the district hospital and jail, and its mobile
health teams are on alert to go other affected areas as requested.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has been helping to
coordinate structures at all levels, facilitating inter-agency assessments as well as working with
the with the Government, Nepalese Red Cross, Army, Police, and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs).

Secretary-General departs for two-day visit to Haiti

1 August - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon departed New York today for a two-day visit to
Haiti, where he will meet with Government officials, as well as representatives from churches,
civil society and the private sector.
Tonight, Mr. Ban will attend a dinner hosted by President René Préval, which will be preceded
by a joint press conference by the two men, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters at UN
Headquarters in New York.
Also on Mr. Ban‘s itinerary is a meeting with the leadership of the UN Stabilization Mission in
Haiti (MINUSTAH), which currently comprises nearly 9,000 uniformed personnel.

Edmond Mulet, the UN Special Representative in Haiti, said that significant progress has been
made in the Caribbean nation, partly due to the cooperation between the UN and the Haitian
National Police. Security operations in Port-au-Prince, the capital, have helped to restore
relative calm to Cité Soleil, Martissant, Grand Ravine and Ti Bois.
Mr. Ban is scheduled to travel from Haiti to Barbados, which holds the current chairmanship of
the Caribbean regional cooperation body known as CARICOM, where he will meet with the
Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the Governor General, as well as with the UN country
team.

Tajikistan: UN closes peacebuilding office at end of mission

1 August - The flag was lowered for the last time yesterday over the United Nations Tajikistan
Office of Peace Building (UNTOP), ending the world body‘s 15-year political presence in the
Central Asian country, first to help halt a civil war that killed over 50,000 people and then to
further the consolidation of peace.
At the ceremony in Dushanbe, the capital, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon‘s Representative
Vladimir Sotirov highlighted UNTOP‘s accomplishments in strengthening national dialogue,
helping to build democratic institutions, and in promoting respect for human rights in the former
Soviet republic of some 6 million people.

He also recalled the ultimate sacrifice of five UN staff members who were killed while working
there for the cause of peace.
In addition, Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi thanked the UN for its commitment to his
country.
In a recent statement marking the 10th anniversary of peace in Tajikistan, Mr. Ban called
UNTOP a successful illustration of the UN working with the Tajik people and the guarantor
countries, adding that the past decade had shown that ―there is no viable alternative to the road
of peace and national reconciliation.‖
UNTOP was established in May 2000 following the successful completion of the UN Mission
of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), which monitored the ceasefire between the Government
and the opposition as well as the implementation of their peace agreement.




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First charges issued by UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia

1 August - The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia set up to try Khmer Rouge leaders
accused of mass killings and other horrific crimes during the late 1970s has issued its first
charges against a member of the notorious group.
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, now faces charges of crimes against humanity over his
role as chief at the S21 prison in the capital, Phnom Penh, during the rule of the Khmer Rouge.
Co-investigating judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) said
in a statement released in Phnom Penh that Mr. Kaing has been placed in provisional detention
following the issuing of charges.

Today Mr. Kaing was assigned a lawyer, Kar Savuth, from the ECCC‘s defence support section,
after he told the tribunal that he could not pay for legal representation. Another lawyer, François
Roux, may also be assigned once his application for registration with Cambodia‘s Bar
Association is heard.
Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the trial court and a Supreme Court
within the Cambodian legal system will investigate those most responsible for crimes and
serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January
1979. More than 3 million people were killed during that period.

Zimbabwe: UN food agency seeks urgent funds to feed over 3 million people
1 August - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) appealed today for $118 million
to assist over three million Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages caused by a poor harvest
and worsening economic turmoil in the southern African nation.
―Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are already starting to run out of food and several
million more will be reliant on humanitarian assistance by the end of the year,‖ stated WFP‘s
Regional Director for Southern Africa, Amir Abdulla.
WFP has nearly 140,000 tons of food already in stock or in the pipeline for Zimbabwe but still
needs another 207,000 tons of cereals and other commodities – valued at $118 million – to
cover its increased relief activities from now until the next main harvest in April 2008.

―WFP plans to feed more than 10 times the current number of beneficiaries over the next eight
months to avert the threat of widespread hunger, but to do this we need more donations – and
we need them immediately,‖ Mr. Abdulla said.
Without assistance, WFP notes that vulnerable families will be forced to adopt ―risky survival
measures,‖ including eating unsafe wild food, selling household assets, exchanging food for sex
and crossing illegally into neighbouring South Africa.
Mr. Abdulla noted that over the past five years, WFP and its partners have helped to save the
lives of millions of hungry Zimbabweans, as well as stopped them from having to resort to
desperate measures such as prostitution or migration.
―With sufficient funds, WFP will be able to help millions more to cope with this latest crisis,‖
he added.

Hybrid Darfur force will help protect lives of women, says UN institute chief

1 August - The newly authorized hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in
Darfur can serve as a major step towards saving the lives of vulnerable women and girls in the
violence-wracked Sudanese region, the head of a UN women‘s institute said today.




                                                                                                 59
Carmen Moreno, Director of the UN International Research and Training Institute for the
Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW), said yesterday‘s Security Council resolution setting
up the force ―has provided an opportunity to put an end to violence against civilians, especially
women, who are in danger.‖
Ms. Moreno called on the new peacekeeping operation, to be known as UNAMID, to treat the
protection of Darfur‘s women as a priority.

―Training troops and police on gender issues before and during their field deployment will
strengthen their ability to prevent the atrocities committed against women,‖ she said. ―Violence
against women can only be tackled from a gender perspective.‖
UNAMID is the first hybrid force involving the UN and will become the largest peacekeeping
force in the world, with an eventual force of nearly 26,000 troops and police officers.

The mission has been given an initial mandate of 12 months and will incorporate the existing
AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), which has been deployed across Darfur since 2004, soon after
deadly fighting erupted between rebel groups, Government forces and allied Janjaweed militias.
Since then Darfur has become the scene of one of the world‘s worst humanitarian crises, with
more than 200,000 people killed and two million others forced to flee their homes. Rape, sexual
enslavement, torture and abductions are also widespread.
Ms. Moreno said that rape was being used as a weapon of war, with women and girls – some as
young as eight years old – at risk every day, even when living in camps for internally displaced
persons (IDPs) or refugees.
She added that women are estimated to represent more than two-thirds of the IDPs scattered
across Darfur and the refugees who have fled to neighbouring Chad or the Central African
Republic (CAR).

UN studies use of space technology in fight against the spread of bird flu

1 August - The United Nations is taking steps to promote the application of space technology to
help Asian-Pacific countries fight bird flu, drawing on its potential as part of an integrated
early-warning system to track the virus‘s path in a region that has suffered by far the largest
share of both human and avian infections in the world.
About 60 experts from nearly 20 countries are participating in a three-day meeting opening
today in Bangkok, hosted by the Information, Communication and Space Technology Division
of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), to examine
how the technology can help to track the flight patterns of migratory birds, believed to have
played a role in spreading the H5N1 virus.
Jointly organized with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, the China National Space
Administration and the Geo-informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of
Thailand, the meeting will look at several potential uses of space-based technologies, such as
geographic information systems, remote sensing and the Global Positioning System (GPS).
These could, for example, help to monitor and determine the migratory routes of wild birds.

To make an avian influenza monitoring and early warning system effective, a mechanism needs
to be set up to systematically collect and share information and participants will discuss ways
for countries to cooperate in using space technology, not only to track bird flu but also other
infectious diseases, such as malaria and schistosomiasis, a highly debilitating parasitic illness
that affects some 200 million people worldwide.




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Of the 319 human cases and 192 deaths so far, 256 and 165 respectively have been in the Asia-
Pacific region. Experts fear the virus could cause a deadly worldwide pandemic if it mutated
into a form more easily transmissible between humans, rather than from birds to people.

For that reason, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently held its second
regional Avian and Human Influenza Simulation in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the support of the
Government and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to model the impact of
an evolving pandemic in the Asia Pacific region.
The 70 participants from more than 15 countries and several UN agencies replicated the roles of
government departments, the tourism industry, international bodies and other stakeholders,
including tourists themselves. It followed a similar exercise held in Paris in March, which
focused on Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

With an estimated 10 million people travelling abroad at any given time and many more within
their own countries, UNWTO keeps a close watch on health risks generally and bird flu
specifically. While there has been no change in the level of alerts issued by the UN World
Health Organization (WHO), the Tourism sector is already taking action to prepare effectively
for the potential dangers.
The simulation helped to identify possible gaps in response systems and to understand the
pressures and dynamics in a real-world situation. It underscored the need for good planning,
clear communications, a fully prepared and trained work force, and unambiguous procedures for
customer and workplace safety.

―The Avian Flu threat does not diminish and like other sectors of the economy tourism needs to
strengthen its defences,‖ UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman said. ―Every
time we hold an awareness-building exercise of this nature we increase preparedness and
strengthen our coordination mechanisms.‖
After conducting its next simulation exercise in Mexico from 19-20 September for the
Americas, UNWTO will have trained together with governments and international agencies
around the world. This will provide a solid base for intensified national simulations in 2008.

UN agencies urge breastfeeding right after birth to reduce infant deaths

1 August - Two United Nations agencies have kicked off World Breastfeeding Week today with
a call for enabling new mothers to nurse their babies immediately after birth to prevent a
significant number of neonatal deaths in developing countries.
―More than one third of child deaths occur during the first fragile month of life,‖ said Ann M.
Veneman, Executive Director of the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF). ―Early breastfeeding
provides critical nutrients, protects infants against deadly diseases and fosters growth and
development.‖

UNICEF estimates that exclusive breastfeeding to the age of six months can prevent the deaths
of 1.3 million children under the age of five each year.
The issue is particularly relevant in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest infant mortality
rate in the world. Some 10 per cent of all babies there die before the age of one and most
neonatal deaths occur at home.
Though the rate of exclusive breastfeeding until the age of six months has more than doubled in
the region since 1990 – to 30 per cent – this still leaves hundreds of thousands of children
vulnerable to disease and death.




                                                                                              61
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) too recommends that all children be exclusively
breastfed for six months, and believes colostrum – the sticky, yellowish substance that is rich in
antibodies and produced by the mother soon after birth – is the perfect food for every newborn.

Mother‘s ―first milk‖ not only nourishes, but it also protects and is ―just what the baby needs
during its first few days,‖ according to WHO.
―In a world where more than 10 million children die before their fifth birthday due to
preventable causes, and where malnutrition is still rampant and associated with over half of all
childhood deaths, there is simply no time to waste,‖ stated WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret
Chan, stressing that breastfeeding needs to start in the first hour of life.
However, due to a widespread lack of awareness of its qualities and its key role in contributing
to the health and growth of newborns, colostrum is frequently discarded. Feeding water or other
liquids deprives babies of a good start in life, notes the agency.

Sierra Leone: UN Radio expands coverage with 40 new reporters during elections

1 August - Radio broadcasts on Sierra Leone‘s upcoming presidential and parliamentary
elections will be considerably enhanced thanks to the recruitment of 40 new reporters covering
the polling process, the United Nations Integrated Office in the country (UNIOSIL) reported
today.
Drawn from all over the country, the temporary staff have just completed a two-day training
workshop in Freetown, organized by UNIOSIL‘s Public Information Office, on balanced and
fair elections reporting.
The training involved coverage of political parties‘ rallies, reporting on voting, counting,
tallying and election results, the historical importance of the 2007 polls and gender perspectives.

The temporary radio broadcasters were also briefed on the Political Parties Code of Conduct
and the Sierra Leone media code of conduct on objective and fair electoral reporting, UNIOSIL
said in a news release.
The new reporters, 16 of whom are women, are all expected to file their reports from 3 to 17
August.
Voters in the small West African nation, which emerged in 2002 from a decade-long civil war,
will go to the polls on 11 August.

UN-backed meeting aims to foster ways to eradicate female genital mutilation

1 August - Dozens of experts from around the world – including representatives from United
Nations agencies, religious and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), law enforcement
agencies, Government and research institutions – are meeting in Addis Ababa on ways to
eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C).
More than 100 million women and girls worldwide have undergone a form of FGM/C, which
has serious physical and psychological effects.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO), UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN
Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) define this traditional practice as ―the partial or total removal of the
female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-
therapeutic reasons.‖
The UNFPA, along with its development partners, convened a Global Technical Consultation
on FGM/C running from 30 July to 3 August. Participants are also discussing related issues of
sexual and reproductive health, human rights and gender.




                                                                                                 62
In welcoming remarks, the Director of UNFPA‘s Country Support Office in Addis Ababa,
Benson Morah, stressed how entrenched the harmful practice is in some areas.
A collaborative approach including the participation of local communities is key ―because the
practice of FGM/C is deeply rooted in some of our cultures, and its eradication must also come
from changes within those cultures,‖ he noted.

According to UNFPA, FGM/C can result in serious health consequences, ranging from severe
pain to haemorrhaging and infection which can be of such magnitude as to result in death. In the
longer-term, the practice could result in damage to the urethra, fistulae and infertility. A recent
WHO study in six countries confirmed that the more extensive the genital mutilation of a
woman the higher her risks are in having obstetric complications.
The agency also states that the practice is a violation of women‘s basic human rights.
WHO estimates that between 100 and 140 million women and girls have been subjected to
FGM/C in 28 African countries and in immigrant communities in Europe, Australia, Canada,
New Zealand and the United States.

Surge in gorilla killings in DR Congo sparks concern from UN official

1 August - The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) sounded the alarm today over the fate of mountain gorillas living in a national park
in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after another four were found
slaughtered late last month.

Seven gorillas have now been shot and killed this year, more than during the conflict that
wracked Africa‘s Great Lakes region in the late 1990s, prompting UNESCO Director-General
Koïchiro Matsuura to call on Congolese authorities to introduce urgent measures to try to end
the killings.
He also announced that a joint mission involving the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the
World Conservation Union (IUCN) will head to the DRC later this month to investigate why
there has been a surge in gorilla killings.
In the most recent attack, probably on the night of 22 July, four gorillas – one ―silverback‖ male
and three females – were killed near Bukima. Two other gorillas, a female and her young, are
now missing.

―The disappearance of these gorillas represents not only a tragedy for the preservation of the
species, but also the loss of an important source of revenue for local communities,‖ Mr.
Matsuura said in a press release issued from UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
The killings this year have been concentrated in the southern part of the Virunga National Park,
which is close to the border with Uganda and Rwanda.
Virunga was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 for its outstanding natural habitats,
but the gorilla killings have led the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the park on the List
of World Heritage in Danger.

Intensive work needed to reintegrate returning Afghan refugees, UN agency warns

1 August - The international donor and humanitarian community must work even more
intensively to ensure that Afghan refugees returning home are able to resume a normal life, with
the lack of land, shelter and jobs posing a very long-term challenge for which there are no quick
fixes, the United Nations refugee agency has warned.




                                                                                                 63
Since 2002, some 5 million Afghan refugees have returned to their battle-scarred homeland,
mostly from Pakistan and Iran, a majority aided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR). There are currently 3 million registered Afghans left in neighbouring countries, most
of whom have been abroad for more than two decades.

―The return of millions of Afghans to their homes and communities has been one of the major
success stories of Afghanistan's recovery,‖ UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for
Operations Judy Cheng-Hopkins said yesterday at the end of a three-day visit to see first hand
the challenges faced by refugees returning to Afghanistan.
―Repatriation will certainly continue but we will have to work even more intensively with the
Government of Afghanistan, the donor community, and our implementing partners if we are to
make return and reintegration sustainable for those who choose to return home in future,‖ she
added.
She noted that the deteriorating security situation in part of the country and difficult economic
conditions underlined how important it will be to continue to maintain a gradual and voluntary
approach to repatriation.

―The primary responsibility lies with the government of Afghanistan. But UNHCR will look
closely at how we and our partners will need to work from now on to meet the reintegration
needs of the long staying population,‖ she declared.
Ms. Cheng-Hopkins left Afghanistan yesterday for Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, to extend
the Tripartite Agreement governing the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Pakistan. The
agreement, first signed in 2003, is a joint programme between the Governments of Afghanistan
and Pakistan and UNHCR to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of registered Afghan refugees
living in Pakistan.

From Pakistan, she goes to Iran, where there are currently just over 900,000 registered Afghan
refugees. The main purpose of her mission to Afghnaistan, where she met with senior
Government officials, was to review UNHCR's activities in the country, one of the agency‘s
most important operations in the world alongside Iraq and Sudan.
She visited one of the busiest returnee centres, close to Kabul, the capital, where she met with
families as they received a UNHCR cash grant for transport and reintegration expenses and
prepared to travel onwards to resettle in their places of origin. She then went to Parwan
province to see a land allocation site.

Asian experts take part in UN meeting to promote regional trade

1 August - Experts from government, academia and the private sector have gathered today in
the Chinese city of Kunming for a United Nations-sponsored meeting set up to identify ways to
encourage greater trade within the Asia-Pacific region.
The three-day meeting, which started today, is expected to focus on promoting trade facilitation,
agriculture and innovation. It will also look at devising policies to improve the efficiency of
existing trade, including by simplifying the international transport of goods.

Trade and economic growth have boomed across much of the Asia-Pacific region in the last
decade, but the conference‘s convenors – the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia
and the Pacific (UNESCAP) – said in a press release that trade barriers still exist in the region
and there is room for Asian countries to strengthen their trade relationships.
UNESCAP, which has convened the meeting in collaboration with authorities in China‘s
Yunnan province, also said that about 20 experts are expected to attend.




                                                                                                    64
65
  DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE
                           SECRETARY-GENERAL
01 August 2007
_____________________________________________________________________________

      The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today‘s noon briefing by Marie Okabe,
Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


       **Today‘s Guest at Noon


       Good afternoon. Our guest at the briefing today will be Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-
General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, who will brief you on the significance of
climate change on agriculture. He‘ll be here shortly, I believe at 12:30.


       **Statement on Kosovo


        I have a Secretary-General‘s statement on Kosovo, which is available upstairs. I will read it
in the third person, however, for the purpose of the briefing.


        The Contact Group has briefed the Secretary-General on its agreement on the modalities
for further negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade. This effort will be led by a troika
comprising representatives of the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United
States.


        The Secretary-General welcomes this initiative by the Contact Group. He hopes that the
new period of engagement will lead to agreement on Kosovo‘s future status, which remains a
priority for the United Nations.


        The international community must find a solution that is timely, addresses the key
concerns of all communities living in Kosovo and provides clarity for Kosovo‘s status. The
status quo is not sustainable.


       The United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo will be associated with the
process by standing ready to provide information and clarification on request.


      The United Nations will continue to play a constructive role in the new period of
engagement and continue its major role on the ground in Kosovo.


       The Contact Group will report back to the Secretary-General by 10 December.




                                                                                               66
      And, as I said, we have copies upstairs of the statement, which is in the Secretary-
General‘s name.


       ** Haiti


         The Secretary-General is on his way to Haiti for a two day visit. Tonight, he will meet
with Haitian President René Préval and Prime Minister Jacques Édouard Alexis. The Secretary-
General will be the guest at a dinner hosted by President Préval this evening. That dinner will
be preceded by a joint press conference by the Secretary-General and the President. During his
visit, the Secretary-General will also be meeting with other members of the Government, such
as the Senate President and the Justice Minister, as well as with the Mayor of Cité Soleil and
representatives of churches, civil society and the private sector. The Secretary-General will also
meet with the leadership of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which currently comprises a
total of nearly 9,000 uniformed personnel.


       According to the UN Special Representative in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, significant
progress was made in the country, thanks, among other things, to the cooperation between the
United Nations and the Haitian National Police. Security operations carried out in the capital,
Port-au-Prince, for instance, have contributed to bringing back relative calm to Cité Soleil,
Martissant, Grand Ravine and Ti Bois.


       **Security Council on Darfur


        In a formal meeting yesterday afternoon, the Security Council unanimously authorized the
establishment, for an initial period of 12 months, of an African Union-UN hybrid operation in
Darfur, or UNAMID, for short. The hybrid operation shall consist of up to 19,555 military
personnel and a civilian component, including up to 3,772 police personnel and 19 formed police
units of up to 140 personnel each. The Security Council decided that the hybrid operation would
have an initial operational capability for its headquarters by no later than this October, and would
assume authority from the African Union Mission in Sudan by the end of this year.


         The Secretary-General addressed the Security Council after the vote, telling them: ―By
authorizing the deployment of a hybrid operation in Darfur, you are sending a clear and
powerful signal of your commitment to improve the lives of the people of the region and close
this tragic chapter in Sudan‘s history‖. He also said that we must put in place the complex and
vital peacekeeping operation authorized by the Council, adding that the resolution will give
even greater momentum to UN efforts to establish the hybrid operation.


        The Secretary-General added that it is crucial that the meeting this week in Arusha of the
Darfur parties yield positive results, so as to pave the way for negotiations and, ultimately, a peace
agreement. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno told
reporters that ―enormous work‖ would be required between now and the end of the year to make
sure that UNAMID can start operations on time. He said that ―the stars are aligned in a good
direction today‖, with a real hope that the tragedy faced by the people of Darfur is coming to an
end.




                                                                                                  67
       **Humanitarian Situation in Sudan


        And also from Sudan, in the wake of flooding in the southern and eastern parts of that
country, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the United
Nations and its partners have so far distributed essential food and non-food items to tens of
thousands of people, as well as chlorine products to half a million people without clean water.
OCHA says that the emergency will likely last for two or three more months, potentially
requiring aid for up to 1.5 million people.


       **Security Council


       And the Security Council, just for the record, also adopted a resolution yesterday
afternoon extending the arms sanctions in effect in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until
10 August. And there are no meetings or consultations of the Council scheduled for today,
which is the first day of the Congolese Presidency of the Council for the month of August.
Congolese Ambassador Pascal Gayama will hold bilateral consultations on the Council‘s
programme of work for this month, and the Council expects to hold consultations on that
programme tomorrow. And he intends to brief you in this room immediately after those
consultations, about 12:30, and we will let you know, as always.


       **Central Emergency Response Fund


        And the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, today announced a grant of
$40 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for underfunded emergencies in
16 countries. This is the fourth such disbursement since the Fund‘s launch in March of 2006.
The largest recipients will be the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte d‘Ivoire and the Central African Republic. Money from the
Fund is aimed at helping redress imbalances in global aid distribution that leave millions in so-
called ―forgotten‖ crises without assistance. To date, the Fund has provided $125 million for
such emergencies. And there‘s a press release with more information on that upstairs.


       ** Nepal


        And in Nepal, the United Nations system has responded rapidly to the national crisis
caused by incessant rainfall there that has triggered floods and landslides in 28 districts
throughout the country. Rescue relief efforts and rapid needs assessments in the affected districts
are being carried out in coordination and collaboration with the Nepal Red Cross Society and
with local government and security forces, as well as UN agencies. There‘s a press release on
this available upstairs as well.


       ** Tajikistan




                                                                                                  68
         And then in Tajikistan, in Dushanbe, yesterday, a flag-lowering ceremony was held to
mark the closure of the UN Tajikistan Office of Peacebuilding (UNTOP), which was established
in 2000. The closure of the Office culminates the UN‘s 15-year political presence in the country;
first in helping to bring an end to the armed conflict and then through the role of UNTOP in
helping to consolidate that peace.


        The Representative of the Secretary-General, Vladimir Sotirov, gave a speech in which
he highlighted the Office‘s accomplishments in strengthening national dialogue, helping to
build democratic institutions and in promoting respect for human rights in the country. He also
recalled the five UN staff members who were killed in Tajikistan working for the cause of
peace.


       ** Cambodia


       And in Cambodia, the co-investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia have charged Kaing Guek Ieav, known as Duch, for crimes against
humanity and have placed him in provisional detention. He was handed over to the
Extraordinary Chambers‘ detention centre yesterday. Today, Kaing was assigned a lawyer by
the Court‘s defence support section, since he had said he does not have the means to pay for his
lawyers. We have a press release from the Court with more information.


       **WFP in Zimbabwe


        And then on Zimbabwe, the World Food Programme (WFP) is calling on donors to
contribute urgently towards the $118 million cost of its massively expanded aid operation. WFP
plans to provide assistance to 3.3 million people in Zimbabwe, 10 times the number of current
beneficiaries, over the next eight months, in order to avert the threat of widespread hunger. It
reports that, with the combination of poor harvest and worsening economic turmoil, tens of
thousands of families are facing severe food shortages. WFP warns that, without additional funds,
its food stocks in the country will begin to run dry in September and will be completely exhausted
by the end of the year. And there‘s a press release from WFP on it.


       **Avian Flu Monitoring


        And just two more announcements. The United Nations is taking steps to have its
Member States apply space technology in their efforts to curb the spread of avian influenza.
The focus is now on promoting the creation of an early warning system partly based on
geographic information systems, remote sensing and the Global Positioning System, among
other space technologies. This will be the topic of a three-day meeting on space-based
monitoring technologies that began earlier today in Bangkok under the sponsorship of the UN
Office for Outer Space Affairs, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(UNESCAP) and its partners. About 60 experts from 20 countries are participating.


       **UNICEF on Breastfeeding




                                                                                               69
        And at the start of World Breastfeeding Week, which is today, UNICEF reports that
breastfeeding babies immediately after birth can reduce infant mortality in developing
countries. According to a study, 22 per cent of neonatal deaths can be prevented by
breastfeeding infants within one hour of birth.


       And on that note, I‘m finished and I will take your questions before our guest arrives.


       **Questions and Answers


       Question: Marie, do you have any news on the Kosovo talks, like exactly what day they
begin? I know it‘s mid-August, and if everyone‘s agreed they should be 120 days, or three
months or, I don‘t know what the Secretary-General is welcoming.


        Deputy Spokesperson: He is briefing you on his meeting with the Contact Group that
took place yesterday, and he is welcoming this initiative by the Contact Group. The start of the
dates is something they would have to announce. But the statement in his name does say that
the Contact Group will report back to the Secretary-General by 10 December, which makes it
about 120 days, I suppose.


      Question: And you have no indication of how long the talks are and when they begin?
Because I don‘t know what he‘s welcoming if we don‘t know when it starts.


      Deputy Spokesperson: I think the Contact Group itself has made some announcements.
The Secretary-General is endorsing the Contact Group‘s initiative.


       Question: I have a follow-up question to that. Is there any room for the Secretary-
General now to step in, and what is actually expected from him? Since the European Union
named its negotiator, or envoy, Mr. [Wolfgang] Ishinger, the United States Mr. [Frank] Wisner,
then Russia has its envoy. Does the Secretary-General feel he has to step in and do something
or name a special envoy?


       Deputy Spokesperson: The statement also refers to the fact that the United Nations
Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo will be associated with the process by standing ready to
provide information and clarification on request.


       Question: Actually, Marie, what does that mean?


       Deputy Spokesperson: This is the statement and what it means is it‘s associated with the
process by standing ready to provide information and clarification on request.




                                                                                                 70
      Question: And we are asking you for information now on whether the Secretary-
General will name a Special Envoy for that process.


          Deputy Spokesperson: The Office of the Special Envoy is Mr. [Martti] Ahtisaari‘s
Office.


          Question: And Mr. Ahtisaari has said his job is finished.


        Deputy Spokesperson: And his office still remains, and he, along with his deputy, are
part of that office.


          Question: Okay, can I remind you of my yesterday‘s question?


          Deputy Spokesperson: I have nothing new on Carla del Ponte.


       Question: One simple question. Referring to the resolution passed last night. Does the
Secretary-General believe that 26,000 is enough, is that a sufficient number of troops and
personnel to get the job done as he sees it?


         Deputy Spokesperson: This is the recommendation that the Secretary-General gave. It
is in his report. And this is the number the Security Council has approved. And as Mr.
Guéhenno, the head of Peacekeeping Operations mentioned yesterday at the stakeout, I think
the task and the challenge ahead is now to get those troops and police together as quickly as
possible.


          Question: So it wasn‘t a compromise?


          Deputy Spokesperson: This was based on assessments done from the ground up.


       Question: Taiwan‘s President Chen wrote a second letter to the Secretary-General, in
which he basically accuses him of violating the rules by summarily dismissing his request to
become a Member.


        Deputy Spokesperson: I understand there has been another round of letters to the
Secretary-General from Member States and to the President of the Security Council. As for the
Secretary-General, I cannot confirm at this point whether an official response has gone back,
but our position has not changed since the last time we were asked.


        Question: What he says in the letter is that it‘s not proper for the Secretary-General to
dismiss such a request. It is up to the General Assembly and the Security Council, that‘s the
rules and regulations.




                                                                                                    71
       Deputy Spokesperson: That‘s correct. It is up to the Member States to decide on the
membership of the United Nations, and I will read again what we said the last time we were
asked about the previous letter, which was, that in keeping with resolution 2758 of the General
Assembly, it could not be received, that was the last letter, and thus was returned by the United
Nations Office of Legal Affairs, and resolution 2758, which was adopted in 1971, is the basis of
the one China policy of the United Nations.


      Question: And they say they‘re not applying in the name China but in the name
Taiwan?


     Deputy Spokesperson: This is our statement and this was a resolution adopted by the
Member States of the General Assembly.


        Question: I have a couple of questions on the Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat.
One has to do with the resolution that was passed yesterday. At the stakeout and elsewhere,
there was a different interpretation to this idea that they could protect civilians without prejudice
to the responsibilities of the Government of Sudan. The Sudanese Ambassador implied that this
would require the permission of Sudan to protect civilians, and the United States Ambassador
said no, it wouldn‘t. Who ultimately decides that, and the Secretariat, given that they created
the resolution, how do they interpret that? Does this mean that the hybrid force, if they see
civilians in harm‘s way, can act without seeking permission from anyone?


       Deputy Spokesperson: Without getting into details, which I don‘t have, I do know that
the United Nations is pleased that the protection of civilians was included in the resolution.


      Question: Is there some way of getting Peacekeeping or the Office of Legal Affairs, or
some Secretariat or DPKO position on what this means, before they‘re deployed, so we can
know?


        Deputy Spokesperson: Yes, but the principle of protection of civilians is something the
United Nations has always been advocating, so that is something that we would obviously
welcome. And in this regard, we do plan to give you an update by Jane Holl Lute on the
logistics aspects of this operation, so that may be a good time to ask that question.


       Question: What logistics?


        Deputy Spokesperson: First, I think the Peacekeeping Department will have a troop
contributors meeting. I understand they‘re planning one for this week. I don‘t have a date yet,
but after that, we‘ll try to get somebody from the Department of Field Support to come and brief
you.




                                                                                                  72
        Question: I remember one instance when the United Nations published, or DPKO
published, rules of engagement. It was a long book as I recall. Is that the same plan for this, in
this case, that there will be a rules of engagement book or publication, or whatever?


       Deputy Spokesperson: Well, there‘s a standard rules of engagement, I‘m sure, put
together by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. But on this specific mission, why
don‘t you wait for when you have the briefing.


        Question: Resolution 1701 was the unveiling of a new idea and this one‘s even newer
since it‘s a hybrid force, so I don‘t think standard rules will apply.


        Deputy Spokesperson: Why don‘t you address that to the head of Peacekeeping at the
briefing?


       Question: After the meeting with the Contact Group, is the Secretary-General more
confident that the issue of Kosovo will, after this negotiation process, still return to the United
Nations? Does he wish that?


        Deputy Spokesperson: Well, as the statement says, he welcomes this initiative by the
Contact Group, he hopes that this new period of engagement will lead to an agreement on
Kosovo‘s future status, which still remains a priority for the United Nations, and he urges the
international community to find a solution that is timely, addresses the key concerns of all
communities living in Kosovo and provides clarity for Kosovo‘s status.


       Question: I‘m asking if the issue will return to the United Nations?


       Deputy Spokesperson: They will report back to the Secretary-General by 10 December.


       So, with that, we‘ll invite up our guest, Dr. Jacques Diouf of the Food and Agriculture
Organization.


                                              * *** *




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