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Monday, 11 July 2005
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
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Sir Edmund urges climate care (BBC) La contaminación del aire provoca el 25% de las muertes y el 33% de las enfermedades, según Medio Ambiente (Europa Press) New book has EROS photos (Associated Press State & Local Wire) Prix d’excellence pour l’Algérie (El Watan) L’Algérie reçoit le prix d’excellence de l’ONU (Liberté-Algérie) OSCE-NATO meeting in Ukraine focuses on disposal of dangerous rocket fuel (Noticias.info)
Other Environment News •
G8 calls for new climate dialogue (BBC) Accord minimal sur le climat (Nouvel Observateur) G-8 summit: India unhappy over environment initiatives (NDTV) Environment Ministry looks to use groundwater to cool down big cities in summer (Mainichi Daily News) Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
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ROAP ROA ROWA Other UN News
UN Daily News of 8 July 2005 S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 8 July 2005
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BBC: Sir Edmund urges climate care By Richard Black 10 July 2005 Conqueror of Everest Sir Edmund Hillary has urged world governments to protect the Himalayas from climate change. The World Heritage Committee, which supervises protection of sites of special interest, meets this week. Environmental campaigners, backed by Sir Edmund, want the committee to put the Sagarmatha National Park in the Himalayas on its danger list. This would mean governments are legally bound to protect it - which, they say, means cutting greenhouse gas emissions. In May 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary joined forces with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on the first successful ascent of the world's highest mountain. 'Severe floods' Ever since, he has devoted much time to projects which help the peoples of the Himalayas. Now, a few days short of his 86th birthday, he is turning his attention to climate change. "The warming of the environment of the Himalayas has increased noticeably over the last 50 years," he wrote in a statement sent to the BBC. "This has caused several and severe floods from glacial lakes and much disruption to the environment and local people." In 1985, the Dig Tsho glacial lake burst its banks, releasing a mountainside deluge which rushed through villages, bringing down 14 bridges. 'Thousands at risk' Three years ago, a study by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (Icimod) found more than 40 glacial lakes were filling so rapidly that a similar outburst was likely. Tens of thousands of lives were at risk, it concluded, with Unep's Executive Director Klaus Toepfer describing the situation as "another compelling reason to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases". Petitions before Unesco's World Heritage Committee this week as it meets in Durban, South Africa, are seeking to force action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Every year the committee can decide whether to award places of special natural, archaeological or cultural interest the status of a World Heritage Site, and whether to add any of those sites to its "danger list". By ratifying the World Heritage Convention, nations acknowledge that "such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate".
They also undertake to ensure that World Heritage Sites are kept fit for future generations, and "not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage". Protective measures Environmental campaigners are saying that the 180 nations which have ratified the World Heritage Convention have a legal duty to protect Sagarmatha, as well as Huascaran National Park in Peru and the Belize Barrier Reef, from the impacts of climate change. "Firstly, we will be asking the World Heritage Committee to look carefully at the petitions and urging it to add the sites to the danger list," Peter Roderick - the Director of Climate Justice, the organisation coordinating the petitions - told BBC News. "This will ensure that they receive the higher level of protection they urgently need, such as assessing and making safe glacial lakes in the Himalayas and the Andes. "Secondly, we want the committee to review compliance with the parties' duty under the World Heritage Convention to transmit World Heritage Sites to future generations. Plainly, without drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, this legal obligation will not be met." It is not clear how much support Climate Justice has among governments represented on the World Heritage Committee. The British government did not respond to a BBC request to make its position known. But the view of the first man to stand on the roof of the world is unequivocal. "I support the petition to the Unesco World Heritage Committee... requesting the inclusion of Sagarmatha National Park in the list of World Heritage in Danger as a result of climate change and for protective measures and action." ____________________________________________________________________________ Europa Press: La contaminación del aire provoca el 25% de las muertes y el 33% de las enfermedades, según Medio Ambiente [appears in Diario Siglo XXI, Rebelion, Hispanidad, Fuerteventura Digital, Diario Malga Hoy, Diario de Sevilla, ...] 9.07.2005 Redacción / EP La contaminación, principalmente la de la calidad del aire, provoca el 25 por ciento de las muertes y el 33 por ciento de las enfermedades. Así, en Europa se producen al año 32000 fallecimientos al año por exposición a sustancias cancerígenas, según datos ofrecidos hoy el director general de Calidad y Evaluación Ambiental del Miniserio de Medio Ambiente, Jaime Alejandre. En el ámbito laboral, 440000 personas mueren por contacto con agentes químicos. Sin embargo, de las más de 100.000 sustancias existentes en la Unión Europea, 350 de ellas cancerígenas y 3.000 alergénicas declaradas, sólo 17 tienen aplicadas medidas de gestión de riesgo, explicó Alejandre en su intervención en un seminario celebrado hoy en Madrid sobre la futura directiva europea relativa al Registro, Evaluación y Autorización de Sustancias Químicas (REACH).
Además, alertó de que se han descubierto trazas de productos químicos en seres vivos (entre 300 y 500 sustancias incorporadas a los tejidos humanos), lo que significa que han pasado del medio industrial al hogar. Esto ha redundado en alteraciones en conducta (falta de aprendizaje), reproducción (carencia de acoplamiento sexual) y alteraciones endocrinas, entre otros daños. Por ello, el director de Evaluación Ambiental celebró que Europa se erija en "líder" en cuanto a la regulación de estas sustancias con una normativa que se votará en el Parlamento Europeo después del verano. Para destacar su relevancia, hizo alusión al mensaje del Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) sobre que durante los últimos 50 o 60 años la ciudadanía ha vivido un "experimento químico descontrolado". A su juicio, la futura directiva no tiene por qué suponer pérdida de competitividad de la industria, más aún cuando la mayoría de este sector se concentra en las pequeñas y medianas empresas (pymes), cuya gestión de riesgo es mucho menor. Por ello, el Gobierno español trabaja sobre la normativa de REACH en un grupo interministerial formado por los departamentos de Medio Ambiente, Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación, Sanidad y Consumo, Agricultura y Pesca e Industria, Comercio y Turismo. AHORRO SANITARIO DE 50 BILLONES DE EUROS Por su parte, el eurodiputado de Los Verdes David Hammerstein, organizador del seminario, calcula que el control de las sustancias tóxicas en Europa supondrá un ahorro sanitario de 50 billones de euros en los próximos 30 años. Así, urgió a sacar adelante esta normativa para que Europa lidere el mundo "hacia un futuro y más limpio sin tóxicos". "Estamos jugando a la ruleta rusa con los químicos. Se ha demostrado que todos tenemos tóxicos en nuestro organismo y, sin embargo, seguimos liberando sustancias de las que desconocemos su peligrosidad", afirmó este eurodiputado de Los Verdes, alertando del riesgo que conlleva la acumulación de tóxicos en el organismo. _____________________________________________________________________________ Associated Press State & Local Wire: New book has EROS photos [appears in Aberdeen American News, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Rapid City Journal, Madison Daily Leader, ...] 8 July 2005 A new book uses photos stored and analyzed at the EROS Data Center near Sioux Falls to show changes to the surface of the Earth over the past three decades. The atlas includes photos that show big environmental changes at 80 sites around the world. Those changes include deforestation, urbanization and energy development, according to Brennan VanDyke, North America director of the United Nations Environment Program, which published the book, "One Planet, Many People: An Atlas of Our Changing Environment." "Photographs from space have had a globalizing effect. They help remind people that they do inhabit a single planet, and demonstrate how small and interconnected and fragile it really is,"
VanDyke said. "It's the people of EROS, who have worked so hard, that we have to thank." South Dakota's congressional delegation joined scientists and technicians at the data center on Thursday to publicize the new book. Sens. Tim Johnson and John Thune and Rep. Stephanie Herseth said they're hopeful Congress will increase EROS' budget by up to $20 million for the budget year that starts Oct. 1. "The publication of 'One Planet, Many People' dramatically illustrates the role that EROS and the Landsat satellite program plays in maintaining our eye on planet Earth," Thune said. Landsat satellites, launched between 1972 and 1999, have provided images used by academic researchers, government planners, aid agencies in December's Indian Ocean tsunami and others. Landsat 7 malfunctioned in May 2003, which eventually will mean a new satellite is needed. The Senate has set aside $7.5 million for that, Johnson said, adding that he thinks $12 million more will be added Herseth said the House already has passed the full amount. "There is no substitute for this uninterrupted source of data, and that's why Congress and the Department of the Interior must continue to support EROS," she said. _____________________________________________________________________________ El Watan (Algerie): Prix d’excellence pour l’Algérie 9 juillet 2005 L’Algérie s’est adjugé avant-hier le prix d’excellence international du programme de biosécurité relevant des Nations unies pour l’environnement (PNUE). La distinction a été remise au ministre de l’Aménagement du territoire et de l’Environnement, Cherif Rahmani, par l’Algérien Ahmed Djoghlaf, actuel adjoint du directeur exécutif du PNUE, directeur de la division du fonds pour l’environnement mondial et secrétaire exécutif de la convention pour la diversité biologique à partir de janvier 2006. Lors de la cérémonie, qui s’est déroulée au siège du ministère, M. Rahmani a tenu à remercier le docteur Djoghlaf pour le travail accompli au service de l’environnement et de l’Algérie. Cette récompense, dira M. Rahmani, se veut une reconnaissance pour les efforts déployés par son département en matière de cadre juridique devant réguler l’activité de la biosécurité. Ainsi, le prix d’excellence a été décerné au ministère pour avoir finalisé, dans les délais et avec succès, les dispositions du protocole de Carthagène sur la biosécurité, dont le docteur Djoghlaf est l’initiateur à travers 130 pays. Le programme est doté d’un montant de 50 millions de dollars afin de permettre à ces pays d’accéder à la banque de données sur la biosécurité, comme stipulé dans ledit protocole. _____________________________________________________________________________ Liberté-Algérie:L’Algérie reçoit le prix d’excellence de l’ONU 8.07.2005 L’Algérie a reçu, jeudi, un prix d’excellence de la part du Programme des Nations unies pour l’environnement (PNUE) et du Fonds international pour l’environnement, en reconnaissance aux efforts “colossaux” consentis en matière de protection de l’environnement dans le cadre du développement durable.
M. Ahmed Djeghlaf, sous-directeur exécutif du PNUE et directeur régional auprès du Fonds international pour l’environnement, a remis ce prix au ministre de l’environnement et de l’aménagement du territoire, M. Chérif Rahmani. Ce prix se veut un hommage aux efforts colossaux consentis par l’Algérie dans l’élaboration, en un temps court, du cadre juridique relatif à la sécurité biologique dans le cadre des préparatifs visant la concrétisation du protocole de Carthagène de 2003 sur la sécurité biologique. Intervenant à cette occasion, M. Chérif Rahmani a souligné l’impérative “concrétisation du protocole de Carthagène qui vise la protection de l’environnement et de la biodiversité, de tous les dangers qui les guettent”, mettant en relief “les efforts déployés dans ce sillage par l’Algérie au profit des générations montantes”. _____________________________________________________________________________ Noticias.info: OSCE-NATO meeting in Ukraine focuses on disposal of dangerous rocket fuel KYIV, 8 July 2005 - Finding a comprehensive solution to the major threat to health and environment posed by the explosive missile fuel component, commonly known as melange, was the focus of a joint OSCE-NATO workshop that ends today in the Ukrainian capital. During the three-day workshop, experts and representatives of countries facing this problem (Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan) have shared information on its extent and on the best technologically and environmentally sound solutions. Melange is a highly unstable and explosive missile fuel component that was used for rockets and guided missiles in the former Soviet Union. It is a highly complex chemical substance, whose components are extremely reactive, volatile and highly toxic. It thus urgently requires neutralization. After its collapse, large stocks were left on the territory of the former republics of the USSR. Many OSCE or NATO partner countries are unable to solve this problem alone due to the lack of necessary technical, material and financial resources. Therefore, international assistance is urgently needed. "Melange disposal is a priority for us," said the Ukraine Deputy Defence Minister Volodymyr Tereshchenko, opening the workshop. Dr. Chris De Wispelaere from the NATO Public Diplomacy Division said: "Bringing together so many specialists in melange in such a very short period of time illustrates that OSCE and NATO can indeed efficiently work together. I expect that this workshop will lead to a concrete joint OSCE-NATO work plan that will substantially contribute to melange conversion in all countries facing this threat to the environment." During the workshop, a NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) request for proposals for the provision of a mobile melange disposal plant was presented, and several companies discussed the best technologies available. The Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, Ambassador Vladimir Pryakhin, presented an OSCEled project in Armenia to convert approximately 875 tonnes of melange into liquid fertilizer, which could be used as a management model for other regions.
The Environment and Security Initiative, or ENVSEC (a partnership of the United Nation Environment Programme UNEP, the United Nations Development Programme UNDP, NATO and the OSCE to tackle environmental risks to human security) was also presented as a model of inter-agency co-operation that could bring donors' attention to remediate this hazardous military legacy. As a follow-up to the workshop, an international team of experts will visit several melange storage sites in Ukraine to assess the environmental and health risks and assess the best options for remediation. The OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine will co-ordinate the expert's visit together with Ukrainian authorities. _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
Other Environment News BBC: G8 calls for new climate dialogue 8 July 2005 The G8 leaders have promised a "new dialogue" on climate change. Their communiqué, released at the end of the Gleneagles summit, states that global warming is a "serious long-term challenge" for the entire planet. And the nations promised to act with "resolve and urgency" to reduce the gas emissions thought responsible - but they specified no targets or timetable. Instead, the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says the G8 countries will meet in November for further discussions. Environmental action groups say they are pleased Mr Blair prioritised climate change but are disappointed at the outcome of the summit. They say the communiqué represents "no significant movement", largely because the US administration has been unwilling to shift its position. Inclusive approach Lord May of Oxford, President of the UK's academy of science, the Royal Society, believes opening a dialogue on climate change is not nearly enough. "At the heart of the communiqué is a disappointing failure by the leaders of the G8 unequivocally to recognise the urgency with which we must be addressing the global threat of climate change," he said. "Make no mistake, the science already justifies reversing - not merely slowing - the global growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Further delays will make the G8's avowed commitment in this communiqué to avoid dangerous impacts of climate change extremely difficult. "In its communiqué the G8 talks of 'facing a moment of opportunity' while, at the same time, turning away from that moment." In a statement, Tony Blair acknowledged that the disagreement over Kyoto had not been resolved. But he said the most important thing was reaching a consensus, and that they had achieved. "If it is impossible to bring America into the consensus.... we will never ensure that the huge emerging economies, particularly those of India and China ...are part of the dialogue," he said. "If we can't have America as part of the dialogue, and we can't have India and China as part of the dialogue, there is no possibility in us succeeding in resolving this issue. "What we have is a firm consensus that this problem needs to be tackled, has to be tackled now, together with a dialogue for the future. That, I think, is something to be proud of." 'Big impact' Mark Kenbar, of The Climate Group, believes that Tony Blair "gave it his best shot".
"We would congratulate the prime minister and we are sure he made every effort to achieve something more concrete," he told the BBC News website. "However, the result is not as much as we could have hoped for. "I would say we have moved neither forwards nor backwards. There is at least one country that is not prepared to make emissions reductions. The Bush administration is just not prepared to go as far as others are." Tony Juniper, of Friends of the Earth, agreed that the communiqué would have looked very different if it was not for the United States. "The Bush administration has again done its best to derail international action to tackle climate change, but this is by no means the end," he said. "Tony Blair was right to prioritise climate change at the G8. Even if there was no progress here, there has been a big impact on public awareness and that will make it easier to achieve more in future talks." And John Lanchbery, head of climate change at the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, added: "The US was inevitably the sticking point; President Bush has refused to heed worldwide calls for measures to tackle climate change despite his own scientists and some Republican politicians demanding action, too." US pressure The green lobby believes the other G8 nations have bowed to US pressure on climate change by approving a watered-down declaration that avoids any talk of concrete action. President George W Bush has been reluctant to accept the position of the "scientific consensus" on global warming, and commentators were eager to see what form of words on the issue he would agree to in the communiqué. It states that, "while uncertainty remains in our understanding of climate science, we know enough to act now". Some see that as movement by the US president. The French leader, Jacques Chirac, said: "The agreement which has been reached - even if it doesn't go as far as France had hoped - has a great virtue, namely that it re-establishes vital dialogue and co-operation amongst the industrialised countries on the one hand - those which ratified Kyoto and those which didn't, in other words the US - and on the other between the industrialised countries and the developing countries. "Everybody understands fully well that with the dangers confronting us, as far as climate is concerned, only a coherent plan of action has a chance of turning things around." The Gleneagles communiqué is strong on helping developing countries build low-carbon economies. It recognises that their needs to achieve economic growth will require access to sustainable, clean energy. It also states that the UN Framework on Climate Change - of which the Kyoto Protocol is the best-known part - is the "appropriate forum for negotiating the future of the multilateral regime on climate change". COMMUNIQUÉ: MAIN POINTS It describes climate change as a "serious long-term challenge"
It says human activities contribute "in large part" to increases in greenhouse gases It says "we know enough to act now and put ourselves on a path to slow and, as science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases" It says two billion people lack access to modern energy sources; increasing access is needed in order to support the Millennium Goals It says that developed nations have the responsibility to act _____________________________________________________________________________ Nouvel Observateur: Accord minimal sur le climat 08/07/2005 C’est finalement sur un consensus minimal que se sont accordés les membres du G8, ce vendredi à Gleneagle. Dans un communiqué, approuvé à la mi-journée, les grandes puissances se sont dit prêtes à « agir maintenant » sur le climat « afin de commencer à ralentir et, pour autant que la science le justifie, à freiner et à inverser l'augmentation des gaz à effet de serre ». Dans ce document, les Etats-Unis et leurs partenaires (Allemagne, Canada, France, Japon, Italie, Royaume-Uni, Russie) déclarent que "le changement climatique constitue un défi grave et à long terme qui est susceptible d'affecter tous les points du globe". Après avoir souligné le rôle des énergies fossiles et "d'autres activités humaines" dans "l'accroissement des gaz à effet de serre liés au réchauffement de la surface de la Terre", ils soulignent la nécessité d'agir. En fait d’action, les huit proposent la mise en place d’un forum informel consacré au changement climatique, à l’énergie propre et au développement durable. Outre les membres du G8 les pays en voie de développement devraient y participer. La Chine, l’Inde, le Brésil, l’Afrique du Sud et le Mexique ont déjà participé jeudi à une partie des discussions sur le climat. Ils ont d’ailleurs rappelé que leur "première priorité" était le développement économique et qu'ils n'avaient actuellement "aucun engagement" de réduction de leurs gaz à effet de serre. Ils ont demandé "aux dirigeants du G8 et à la communauté internationale, de mettre au point des mécanismes innovants pour le transfert de technologies et de fournir de nouvelles ressources financières aux pays en développement dans le cadre de la Convention climat et du protocole de Kyoto". Enfin, le communiqué fait en fin de texte une allusion au protocole de Kyoto : "Ceux d'entre nous qui ont ratifié le protocole de Kyoto se félicitent de son entrée en vigueur et oeuvreront pour en assurer le succès", c’est bien maigre. ____________________________________________________________________________ NDTV (India): G-8 summit: India unhappy over environment initiatives 9 July 2005 (London): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that the G-8's action plan on the environment must not come at the cost of development. He said the G-8 would be going against its core values if measures taken by it meant that millions of people would be unable to lift themselves out of poverty. As the G8 summit at Gleneagles came to an end, Manmohan Singh was not too happy at the outcome, especially the initiative taken by developed nations on climate change.
Singh was speaking in London, after attending the G-8 summit in Scotland. Growth rate However, there is some good news as Singh said that all economic indicators point towards a 7 per cent growth rate for the Indian economy this year. He said his government is committed to making sure that the growth benefits all sections of the society by developing infrastructure and having an adequate safety net for the poor. While the Prime Minister said his government will do the best to improve the investment climate in the country, at the same time it will continue to focus on rural health, infrastructure and primary education. PM meets world leaders At the summit, the Prime Minister also met the French and Russian presidents on the sidelines. There was a mutual understanding between Manmohan Singh and French President Jacques Chirac to improve the economic cooperation between the two countries. With Russian President Vladimir Putin, he discussed UN reforms and India's entry to the United Nations Security Council. The Prime Minister has also invited British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac to visit India by the end of this year. ____________________________________________________________________________ Mainichi Daily News (Japan): Environment Ministry looks to use groundwater to cool down big cities in summer 9 July 2005 The Environment Ministry is poised to embark on an experiment of using groundwater to cool down big cities hit by the so-called "heat island" phenomenon, officials said. The ministry will demand that funds be allocated for the project from the next fiscal year's state budget, and consult the ruling coalition. The average temperatures in downtown Tokyo and Osaka are two degrees and one degree Celsius higher than a century ago, respectively, because of the heat island phenomenon. It is attributable to decreases in farmland and forests and increases in concrete-covered areas as well as heat emissions from air conditioners in office buildings. In the planned experiment, the ministry is considering laying groundwater pipes just below the surface of the ground next fiscal year to cool down the surface in cooperation with local governments in urban areas.
However, the ministry will not pump up groundwater to prevent land subsidence, and instead will use groundwater naturally springing out of the ground because of rises in underground water levels in some areas. At the same time, the ministry plans to experiment with groundwater cycling techniques in which groundwater scattered on the surface of the ground soaks into the ground and returns to the underground water system. A past experiment of scattering water on a road surface to which a special pavement was applied to prevent water from flowing away shows that water reduced the surface temperature by about 10 degrees Celsius and the air temperature one meter above the surface by 1 degree. However, the effect of water on reducing the temperature of ordinary pavements has not been clarified. In addition, the ministry will study the effect of the large-scale usage of groundwater, the temperature and quality of groundwater, and the quality and solidity of the surrounding ground. It will then clarify the structure of all groundwater systems in the Kanto region, and simulate the effect of the use of groundwater on the environment. Based on the results, the Environment Ministry intends to work out guidelines for the use of underground water. It is also considering storing rainwater and scattering it on the ground on hot days. ____________________________________________________________________________
ROAP Media Update 11 July 2005 UN or UNEP in the news Bidding Spurs Environmentally Friendly Development Scoop, New Zealand, Friday, 8 July 2005, Press Release: United Nations - Olympics Venue Bidding Spurs Environmentally Friendly Development – UN New York, Jul 7 2005 - Congratulating London on its choice to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the United Nations environmental agency today voiced pleasure that ecological concerns such as the use of renewable energy and reduction of global warming carbon emissions figured prominently in the bids of all the short-listed cities. “I am particularly pleased that many of the environmental commitments made by the bidding cities will still be implemented even though they will not in 2012 be hosting the Games,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said of the other candidates - Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0507/S00162.htm _____________________________________________________________________________ ROA Media Update 11 July 2005 General Environment News African-European water initiative partnership formed Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The Water and Sanitation Programme-Africa region (WSP-AF) and the European Union Water Initiative (EUWI) have entered into a partnership to co-operate in supporting African countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation (WSS MDGs). This follows the signing of a statement of intent in Accra, Ghana, on 24 June 2005 during a meeting of the EUWI's Africa Working Group on Water Supply and Sanitation to chart the way forward for development of national roadmaps to support African countries to meet the WSS MDGs. Under the agreement, WSP-AF and the EUWI will cooperate in supporting the preparation of national reports on the state of water supply and sanitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zambia. The partnership will support multi-stakeholder consultative processes in these countries to seek broad agreement on country-owned road maps towards achieving the WSS MDGs, says the release made available in Dakar Friday. They will also co-operate in mobilizing support for the roadmaps, monitoring progress and sharing knowledge and information on the country processes. A joint monitoring report on the progress of the national road maps will be produced and disseminated regularly. Extension of the cooperation to additional African countries will be agreed between the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) and the EU, says the release. Additional support will enhance the operational capacity of the AMCOW Secretariat in Kampala, Uganda. WSP-AF currently supports the African Ministerial Initiative on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (AMIWASH), hosted by AMCOW, through deployment of a senior water and sanitation specialist at the Secretariat. http://www.panapress.com/newslat.asp?code=eng087043&dte=08/07/2005 G8: Summit Discussions Prioritize Climate Change Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé): World leaders in search of consensus on how to tackle climate change as summit opens in Gleneagles. Deliberations of the G8 summit that kicked off in
Gleneagles, Scotland were yesterday interrupted by the announcement of a series of bomb blasts on London's transport network which left several people dead and scores injured. In the meantime, world leaders kick-started the summit with a topic Africans could not think would be top priority; climate change. But things started rather slowly because participants had not reached consensus on how to tackle the issue. The United States and United Kingdom leaders jointly said it was time to replace a focus on Kyoto-style curbs on greenhouse gas emissions with research into clean technology. President Bush said fast-developing nations must take a role, and welcome India and China's attendance at the G8. Taking place amidst tight security with more than 10,000 police deployed, the summit leaders were however agreed that it is time to go beyond the Kyoto period and develop a strategy forward that is inclusive of the developing nations. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080181.html Climate Tops G8 Summit The New Times (Kigali): The long awaited summit for the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialized countries got underway Wednesday, July 6, with poverty in Africa and the world's climatic changes, taking center stage. Leaders of the richest industrialized nations led by British Prime Minister Tony Blair are converging at the Gleneagles Hotel in the Scottish County of Perthshire, with Tony Blair, who chairs the summit, urging his counterparts from France, USA, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan and Russia to commit themselves to doubling Africa's aid and relieving the continent of debt. Blair called for the doubling of aid to Africa to $50 billion by 2010 and for the G-8 nations to further commit foreign aid equal to 0.7 percent of their economy. Earlier, various NGOs used the occasion to air their grievances about poverty reduction and climatic changes in the world. Their grievances come in the wake of disagreements between Premier Tony Blair and his US counterpart George Bush, on the latter's reluctance to clear a way forward for climate protection. Other G8 leaders have also implored Bush to respect the Kyoto Protocol. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080713.html Stiff New Law to Protect Environment Business Day (Johannesburg): WITH effect from today, companies violating environmental regulations face a fine of up to R5m or 10 years in prison, following the expiry of government's "window period" for offenders last night. Under new law, companies need permission for the construction and upgrading of infrastructure such as communication networks, including masts, towers, reflector dishes, marine telecommunications lines and cables. The National Environmental Management Second Amendment Act requires all companies with operations considered harmful to the environment to seek government authorization. Construction and upgrading of underground cables, used mainly in the mining industry, are also listed among the environmentally harmful activities. Other activities listed include the construction and upgrading of racing tracks, disposal of water used for industrial purposes and industrial activities which involve use of sulphur trioxide. The act came into effect this January, but offenders were given a six-month "window period" to apply for rectification of their unlawful activities. The legislation gives the MEC in the different provinces powers to order companies that violate the act to demolish or cease their operations and rehabilitate environment degraded by their activities. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080528.html Rwanda to Benefit from World Bank Ecosystems Magt Fund The New Times (Kigali); Rwanda is to benefit from a US$53.3 million fund approved by the World Bank (WB) Board of Directors for the implementation of an Integrated Management of Critical Ecosystems project, IMCE. According to the June 30 WB release, the IMCE project that is fully 'built into the design and implementation of the first phase of the Rural Sector
Support Program. The fourteen-year program is being supplemented by a Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant of US$ 4.3 million that is associated with the component dealing with the rehabilitation of farmed wetlands. The release indicates that the first phase of this adaptable lending program consists of a project that focuses on building the institutional and technical capacities that are needed to generate and promote the adoption of efficient cropping and post harvest technologies that will support the process of agricultural intensification. The release further indicates that the activities of the first phase are organized into five components: rehabilitation of farm marshland and hill-side areas; promotion of commercial and export agriculture; support to agricultural services delivery systems; small-scale rural infrastructure development, and promotion of off-farm production activities in rural areas. The IMCE project will also enhance environmentally friendly farming technologies, which are expected to help increase food production and rural income. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080679.html KIST Scoops Global Environmental Award The New Times (Kigali): The Kigali Institute of Science, Management, and Technology (KIST) recently scooped the Special Africa Award, for underlining the vital role which small-scale sustainable energy can play in tackling both climate change and poverty in Africa. According to a release on June 30, Ainea Kimaro of KIST, together with Ramesh Kumar from India, Sundar Bajgain of Nepal and, Stuart Conway of Honduras recently received, on behalf of their respective institutions, a £150,000 of prize money in Global Environment Awards. His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales personally congratulated the victorious institutions. The Second Prize winners, Tony Ighodaro from Nigeria, Asma Huque from Bangladesh and, Ester NalliwLicnachan of Philippines were each awarded Â£10,000 of prize money. When contacted for comment the Rector of KIST Prof. Silas Lwakabamba described the award as 'an honor to the staff and students of the institute and, to the people of Rwanda'. "This is the second time that KIST is being honored, a clear indicator that we are widely recognized by international bodies. He added that KIST would use the thirty thousand pounds to buy equipment to enhance research, and that the institute would continue looking for solutions to the energy problems afflicting the people in the country. The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, now in their fifth year, reward inspirational and innovative renewable energy projects which both provide social and economic benefits to local communities and contribute towards protecting the environment by curbing deforestation and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels - thereby helping tackle climate change. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080678.html Environment Conservation Institute Set Up Angola Press Agency (Luanda): Angolan ministry of Urbanization and Environment (MINUA) will set up this year the National Institutes of Environment Promotion. The information was announced on Thursday in Luanda by MINUA deputy minister, Graciano Domingos, during the closing of the first national workshop on biodiversity conservation strategies. According to him, the institutes will be in charge of the conservation of nature and securing the policies on management and conservation of the national network of the national environment protection areas. He said that although Angola is a country rich in biodiversity, it is noted that it is little known by Angolans themselves, which makes it difficult to take scientifically sustainable measures on its management and definition of priorities. Graciano Domings said this constitutes a constraint for its protection and management, added to the lack of highly qualified human resources, financial resources and poor implementation of existing environmental legislation. He also informed that the strategy and plan of action for the conservation of biodiversity, as well as the report on the state of the environment in Angola are two of the various projects MINUA has designed for the 2005/2006 period. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080311.html
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Addresses African Diaspora Fahamu (Oxford): 'One of the worst outcomes of injustices is poverty,' says Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. 'It robs human beings of their dignity.' In one of those curiously poignant moments of history, Professor Maathai spoke at the Africa Diaspora and Development Day in London on 2 July 2005 where thousands of Africans met to discuss their own future, while across the other side of London in Hyde Park, a largely white, apolitical roadshow known as Live8 was busy telling Africans what they really needed. 'When people are poor and when they are reduced to beggars, they feel weak, humiliated, disrespected and undignified,' said Maathai. ‘They hide alone in corners and dare not raise their voices. They are therefore, neither heard nor seen. They do not organize but often suffer in isolation and in desperation. Yet all human beings deserve respect and dignity. Indeed it should be unacceptable to push other human beings to such levels of indignity. Even before any other rights, perhaps it may be time to campaign for all human beings to have the right to a life of dignity: a life devoid of poverty in the midst of plenty because such poverty demonstrates gross inequalities.” http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080775.html US Embassy, UNSC Extol Forest Reforms Efforts The Analyst (Monrovia): The United States Embassy near this capital and the United Nations Security Council have extolled and acknowledged the NTGL for its work in reforming the forest sector. They also congratulated the Forest Concession Review Committee for developing its recommendations in a fair, open and transparent manner, consistent with the rule of law. The U.S. Embassy says it fully endorses the recommendations of the Forest Concession Review Committee and urges the NTGL to implement these recommendations without delay. Besides the US Embassy acknowledgement of the Forest Concession Review Committee report, the United Nations Security Council has acknowledged the review in Resolution 1607 (2005). It urged the NTGL "to implement the Forest Concession Review Committee's recommendations for reform. According to release from US Embassy, the UNSC noted that reform would ensure transparency, accountability and sustainable forest management, while contributing towards the lifting of the embargo on timber as set for in paragraph 10 of resolution 1521 (2003). The management of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has been working with local and international forestry partners to develop an implementation strategy and timeline which will facilitate the completion of the recommendation in a timely manner. A draft of this implementation strategy was submitted to Chairman Bryant during the Committee's presentation. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080926.html _____________________________________________________________________________ ROWA Media Update 11 July 2005 Bahrain Green trip of a lifetime for two Bahraini girls TWO Bahrainis will be going on a trip of a lifetime this summer, when they take part in a global environmental programme. St Christopher's School student Shereen Abdulla, 16, and Bahrain Bayan School student Ranya Ahmed, 18, were selected to act as ambassadors for Bahrain when they join 50 other international students for the annual International Wilderness Experience taking place in South Africa from 27 July to 5 August. The youngsters taking part in the trip come from 14 other countries, including Malaysia, South Korea and New Zealand.
Shereen and Ranya had to go through a vigorous application process in order to be chosen, involving writing an essay on an environmental issue and a series of interviews. Ranya wrote about land reclamation and air pollution in Bahrain while Shereen chose to write about global warming. They were finally selected as the final candidates after they were each interviewed by Cathay Pacific. The girls will fly to Hong Kong, courtesy of Cathay Pacific, where they will take part in a worldwide Press conference and will then continue their trip to the Entabeni Game Reserve in Johannesburg, South Africa, along with the other students. At the game reserve, the students will enjoy a nine-day programme of nature hikes, camping trips and wildlife observation. http://www.gulf-dailynews.com/arc_Articles.asp?Article=116796&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=28113 UAE Erwda gets new name The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has recently passed a law that would restructure the competent authority for the environment in Abu Dhabi. The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (Erwda) will now be known as the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. Law No. 16 of 2005 as regards the restructuring of Erwda states that it will remain an independent entity with full capacity and financial and administrative independence. It will be chaired by General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, and will remain the responsible authority for environmental and wildlife issues in Abu Dhabi. The law stipulates that all government departments and agencies are required to coordinate and cooperate with the Agency on issues related to researches, studies and programmes that concern the environment and wildlife. The law further states that the minister of justice can, in collaboration with the chairman or deputy chairman of the Board of Directors of the Agency, appoint some Agency staff members to assume the capacity of a judicial enforcement officer. The officer is authorised to inspect sites and projects to ensure they comply with federal and local laws and regulations. Any breach of law would be referred to the relevant judicial authorities for prosecution. Moreover, Agency inspection officers are authorised to stop the development of any project or activity, or ban the use of any equipment or materials found to be hazardous to the health and safety of humans and/or our environment. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/Displayarticle.asp?section=theuae&xfile=data/theuae/2005/july/th euae_july284.xml Install filters, quarries told The Fujairah Municipality has come up with a new set of rules and regulations pertaining to health and environment which is mandatory for establishing an industry. Licences for industry would be issued only if the applicant meets the requirements under the new rules and regulations, aimed mainly at protecting the environment. All applications for industrial licences will have to be necessarily accompanied by a report on the effect the proposed activity would have on environment, the possible damage it can inflict and alternatives to eliminate environmental damage. The Environment Department in the municipality has decided to implement the new rules, under which any commercial or industrial activity will have to comply with health and
environmental specifications and standards. The new set of rules have been distributed to all establishments and quarries. Many establishments were forced to install filters to control the effluent gas within a specific time schedule. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/Displayarticle.asp?section=theuae&xfile=data/theuae/2005/july/th euae_july273.xml Yemen Sana'a summit resolution addresses environmental issues A draft resolution adopted in the recent Islamic summit in Sana’a addressed environmental issues in all occupied Arab territories. Draft resolution 4/32 focuses on the impact of the war in Iraq on the environment. The resolution refers to agenda 21 of the Johannesburg World Summit, the International Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, the Basel Convention on Dangerous Wastes and other conventions. The resolution encourages the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to “continue to incorporate environmental considerations in their developmental policies” and mobilize resources for implementing national programs of environmental protection. The resolution urges Islamic states to exchange information about “desertification, climate change, and degradation of biodiversity,” and calls on United Nations environmental organizations to monitor the rise in the sea level and assess its socio-economic impact. It rejects imposing obligations on only developing countries to contain the phenomenon of climate change, in addition to the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol on the UN Convention on Climate Change. The resolution requires nations involved in World War II to provide the OIC states with illustrated information on locations of mines planted during the war and extend immediate aid to the countries for the removal of these mines, which still threaten human lives and development. In the resolution, the OIC expressed solidarity with Libya concerning the grave damage inflicted on thousands of people and the environment by the mines in its territory as a result of World War II. It supports “demands for compensation from the countries responsible for planting the mines.” http://www.yobserver.com/news_7420.php
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE DAILY NEWS 8 July, 2005 =================================================================== ANNAN WELCOMES G8 LEADERS' PLEDGE TO BOOST AID TO AFRICA Welcoming the agreement by the leaders of the world's industrial powers in Gleneagles, Scotland, on a package doubling overall aid to Africa to $50 billion a year by 2010, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that it was "only a beginning" and that only sustained commitment would ensure Africa's self-sufficiency. Mr. Annan expressed disappointment that the G8 leaders did not commit themselves to a "clear, unambiguous date for ending export subsidies." Such a move, he has said in the past, would level the field for the developing countries to be able to gain access to markets and compete without richer countries. Calling the Gleneagles Plan of Action on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development "an important step forward," Mr. Annan said that the plan needed to be complemented by an agreed international framework for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations beyond 2012 – the sunset year for the Kyoto Protocol – with broad participation by all major polluters from both developed and developing countries, as well as intensified research into new technologies that can reduce emissions and alleviate their harmful effects. "This G8 was being closely watched by people everywhere. The leaders carried the hopes of people around the world who wanted progress towards reducing poverty in Africa, and today they got it," the Secretary-General said in a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, adding: "I hope Gleneagles will be remembered as the beginning of something very big, perhaps even the beginning of the end of mass poverty." The statement congratulated British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the other leaders at the Summit for agreeing on the deal, which comprises aid and debt relief, and aims to ensure that African countries have a means to tackle the obstacles holding back progress towards halving poverty by 2015 and the other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). "This is very good news," Mr. Annan said, welcoming recent progress on debt relief, with final agreement coming in Gleneagles on an earlier decision taken by the G7 finance ministers to wipe out the debt of 18 of the most indebted countries, and an innovative Paris Club debt solution for Nigeria. "Further, in the G8 meeting with African leaders, the latter reaffirmed
their commitment to good governance, democracy and the fight against corruption," he said. "They also reaffirmed the priority they give to the basic decision of achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the areas of health, education, gender equality, agriculture, infrastructure and communication." "I had hoped that G8 leaders might also have committed themselves to a clear, unambiguous date for ending export subsidies. They will have another opportunity to do so in December, at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Hong Kong," he said. Meanwhile, Mr. Annan welcomed the attention they have given to critical regional issues, such as the need to ensure a successful Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and a prompt resumption of the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula. Overall, Mr. Annan said that the progress made at Gleneagles should contribute to a clear and ambitious outcome at the General Assembly's 2005 World Summit, to be held at the United Nations in September. "Between now and then we must move forward, both on what was agreed at Gleneagles and on what was not," he said. "At the World Summit, leaders from all the world's nations will be seeking to reach agreement not only on development issues but also on human rights, security and the strengthening of the UN itself. These latter issues were not the main focus of the Gleneagles talks," said Mr. Annan. "Yet one security issue – terrorism – forced itself on to the agenda in a most tragic and hideous fashion, and produced a united reaction of condemnation and resolve," he said. "This highlights once again the importance of agreeing, in September, on a common definition of terrorism, so that all nations can agree what it is that they are fighting." "But this is the beginning, not the end, for the people and the leaders who made today's success possible. We got here through the exercise of political will. That will must not be allowed to disperse if we are to keep on track for 2015, it added." *** SECURITY COUNCIL DEPLORES EGYPTIAN DIPLOMAT'S MURDER IN IRAQ The Security Council today condemned the assassination of Ihab al-Sherif, Egypt's ambassador-designate to Iraq, and all terrorist attacks in that country, including the attempted assassinations of diplomats from Bahrain and Pakistan as well as attacks against other civilian personnel. In a statement read out in a formal meeting by its President for the month, Adamantios Vassilakis (Greece), the Council emphasized that there could be no justification for such terrorist acts, and underlined the need
to bring the perpetrators to justice. The Council also reaffirmed its unwavering support for the Iraqi people in their political transition as well as for Iraq's independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. It called upon the international community to stand by the Iraqis in their pursuit of peace, stability and democracy, Ambassador Vassilakis said. Council members welcomed Egypt's continued commitment in that regard, and recognized Egypt's important role and that of other neighbouring countries in supporting the political process, helping control transit across Iraq's borders and extending other support to the Iraqi people. Also today, Ashraf Qazi, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative in Iraq, deplored the murder as "a barbaric crime that violated every tenet of Islam and of civilized behaviour." Mr. Qazi had received the Egyptian envoy only a few days prior to his kidnapping last weekend. Yesterday, Mr. Annan called on the Iraqi authorities to "do everything possible" to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice. *** UN WORKERS, INJURED BY STONE THROWERS, PULL OUT OF DARFUR IDP CAMPS United Nations agencies in Sudan’s war-wracked Darfur region were forced to withdraw staff today from most camps in an area hosting up to 70,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) when aid workers preparing for food distribution came under attack by groups of young men armed with sticks and stones. Eight workers were hurt and one of them, while not seriously injured, was still in hospital, according to initial reports. The incidents erupted in several IDP camps around El Geneina in West Darfur at the start of a registration exercise for food distribution conducted by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ensuring the inclusion of vulnerable people among the displaced. “Initial reports from UNHCR staff indicate that as people were lining up to be registered, some groups of young men armed with sticks and stones began attacking aid workers who were supervising the registration,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva. “Some of our teams are being escorted back to El Geneina by African Union (AU) forces. Some minor injuries have been reported as well as damage to
vehicles. But we're still awaiting further details,” he added. UNHCR, WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as well as all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) withdrew from most of the eight camps, including Krindring I and II, Ardamata, Dorti and Abu Zar. The IDP population had requested the registration because there were people residing in the camps who were not IDPs. There are an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 IDPs in camps around El Geneina. In all, about 2 million people have been displaced in Darfur, scene of fierce fighting over the past two years between rebels, Government forces and their allied militias. *** ANNAN TO ATTEND INAUGURATION OF SUDAN'S NEW NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will address the inaugural ceremony of Sudan's Government of National Unity in Khartoum tomorrow, a major milestone in the peace accord ending two decades of civil war in southern Sudan that killed at least 2 million people, uprooted 4 million more and sent 600,000 into exile. The agreement was signed in Nairobi, Kenya, in January by Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Chairman John Garang of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), who will now become vice-president in the new government. Mr. Annan was travelling to Khartoum from Gleneagles, Scotland, where he participated in the G8 summit meeting on Africa, in which he joined the leaders of Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, the African Union (AU), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. On the sidelines of the summit this morning, he met with two of the musicians who had participated in the Live 8 conference focusing on Africa's needs – Bob Geldof and Bono – as well as with film director Richard Curtis, take part in Live 8 and whose recent films include The Girl in The Café, a romantic comedy about a fictitious G8 summit in Iceland where the girlfriend of a British civil servant speaks out to the leaders on behalf of starving children. *** CHAD AGREES TO UN RELOCATION OF 10,000 REFUGEES BEFORE RAINS CUT OFF ALL AID With malnourishment already taking a toll among 10,000 newly arrived Central African Republic (CAR) refugees in southern Chad, and concern
rising over a measles outbreak and rampant malaria, United Nations officials will start wholesale relocation as early as Monday before the rainy season cuts off all possibility of aid. Chadian officials today agreed to a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) request to urgently relocate the refugees, who fled unrest in their own country over the past month, from makeshift settlements among 17 villages along Chad's remote southern border to an already established and fully equipped camp near the town of Gore. Flooding has already begun to obstruct transport in the region and UNHCR staff who this week visited the makeshift refugee sites along the border described extremely difficult living conditions. "Malnourishment is starting to have fatal consequences among the refugees at the border," the head of UNHCR's Chad/Darfur desk, Craig Sanders, said, noting that a child diagnosed some days ago with kwashiorkor, a form of malnutrition caused by inadequate protein intake, died on Wednesday in hospital. The non-governmental organization (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland said it was seriously concerned about a measles outbreak, and that malaria was rampant among the refugees. Out of 20 blood tests administered on Wednesday to a group of refugees at one of the sites, 19 tested positive for malaria. There are also fears of a possible cholera outbreak in the area, where adequate sanitation and water are lacking. The relocation to Amboko camp, which already has 13,000 CAR refugees and can host up to 27,000 people, could start next week, possibly as early as Monday, and should take a couple of weeks to complete, allowing for all those affected to be moved before they are isolated by flooding during the upcoming rainy season. Additional transport trucks are on their way to the Gore region and UNHCR thanked the government for giving the green light to the transfer. "It will be easier for UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies to provide the refugees with health services, drinkable water and the security they need in a proper camp, rather than if they stayed at these makeshift sites along the border," UNHCR's deputy representative in Chad, Marie-Christine Bocoum, said. As of Friday, UNHCR had distributed 4,200 blankets and 1,500 plastic sheets to the refugees. It also sent more staff to the Gore area to support its office there. There are already 30,000 CAR refugees in southern Chad. The majority of them arrived in 2003 after a military coup. Chad is also hosting more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees from the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan who are currently housed in 12 camps in the eastern part of the country.
*** DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES WINNERS OF POPULATION AWARD Congratulating the winners of the Population Award, given to those who improve reproductive health services around the world, United Nations Deputy Secretary General Louise Fréchette said reproductive rights and access to relevant health services must be defended as keys to sustainable development. "They are critical in the global effort to advance equality, to improve maternal and child health, to combat HIV/AIDS, to reduce poverty and to ensure sustainable development," Ms. Fréchette told an audience lauding Professor Mercedes Concepción of the University of the Philippines and APROFAM, a Guatemalan non-profit organization, represented by its chairman, Giancarlo Maselli, yesterday. "We honour Ms. Concepción today for her leading role in population research and the formulation of national population policy in her country. It is not for nothing that she is known in population and reproductive health circles in the Philippines as 'the godmother'," she said. "APROFAM is the leading non-governmental provider of reproductive health services in Guatemala, and we honour it for its outstanding work in providing family planning assistance, reproductive health education, and sexual health counselling and training to low income families in Guatemala," she added. In both developed and developing countries, the consequences of population dynamics are subjects of intense public debate and policy-making, Ms. Fréchette said. "We thank our laureates for what they have done to ensure that population and reproductive health issues receive the full attention they deserve. Through their work, they have provided both information and inspiration, both of which are sorely needed," she said. *** UN AGENCIES CALL FOR MORE EMPHASIS ON AID FOR AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT While welcoming recent donor initiatives to increase development aid and aid coordination, three Rome-based United Nations agencies called today for more funding to help boost agriculture and rural development in the world's poorest nations where hunger is often the major cause of suffering. In a paper prepared for the substantive session of the UN Economic and
Social Council (ECOSOC), currently meeting in New York through the end of the month, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), also welcomed the G8 agreement to immediately wipe out some $40 billion in debt owed by 18 developing countries without cutting overall funds available to those or other developing countries. However, the agencies said that despite the fact that the majority of poor people live in rural areas and that hunger is a major cause of poverty, initiatives aimed at agriculture and rural development and on direct food assistance have been sorely lacking. "The poorest countries are those with predominately agricultural economies and societies, and the three agencies said there is ample evidence that transforming rural lives and livelihoods is essential for successfully reducing hunger and poverty," the agencies said. The agencies called for increasing resource mobilization, combined with greater aid efficiency and focusing the aid where the poor are concentrated – in rural areas. They also called for better harmony between actions on aid and those on trade. Increasing developing country access to world agricultural markets and making their agriculture more competitive domestically and internationally will greatly enhance the impact of development assistance. Meanwhile, with the G8 summit also focusing on climate change, the FAO gathered a group of natural resource experts in Rome to discuss ways of giving poor countries incentives under the Kyoto Protocol to improve the use of fuel wood and reduce deforestation, loss of vegetation cover and land degradation. The Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism does give credit for afforestation and reforestation projects, but does not provide incentives for a more sustainable fuel wood and charcoal production and use, which could lead to a reduction of deforestation and land degradation. FAO says that some practical ways in which poor countries could receive payments for reducing emissions while improving the living conditions of their people include introducing more fuel-efficient domestic stoves and substituting the use of non-renewable biomass with biogas, bioethanol, agricultural residues and sustainably produced and harvested fuel wood. *** PAKISTAN: UN OFFERS ASSISTANCE FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FLOOD VICTIMS United Nations agencies are rushing assistance to Pakistan where heavy winter snowfall and subsequent unprecedented high temperatures have generated major flooding in northern and north-western regions,
threatening some 45,000 people with hunger. The provincial government of North West Frontier Province has appealed to donors and UN organizations for help in providing relief and rehabilitation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today. The UN Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) has formed sectoral groups to assess specific needs and address issues of immediate concern in food, water and sanitation, health, shelter and livestock and agriculture. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has dispatched a relief package and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) provided three new Emergency Health Kits, which are sufficient for emergency health needs of 30,000 people for three months. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) estimates immediate food support is needed for one month for 39,360 people in North West Frontier Province and for 5,000 more in Northern Areas. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) cites a need for feeding and de-worming of livestock affected by the floods. *** AS CRISIS LOOMS IN DROUGHT-STRICKEN NIGER, UN FOOD EXPERT MAKES EMERGENCY VISIT With less than a quarter of the $16 million in funds coming in for drought-stricken Niger and nearly 4 million people facing a catastrophic famine, the United Nations expert on the right to food is making a five-day emergency visit to the West African country to raise global awareness of the crisis. During his mission from 8 to 12 July, Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the right to food, will meet with high-level Government officials, main political opposition parties, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). His team will also travel to Maradi, one of the regions most affected by the current food crisis. "Catastrophe is imminent," Mr. Ziegler said in a statement last month, warning that the persistent drought and the invasion by many thousands of locusts had destroyed an already fragile agriculture. He noted that only $3.8 million of the $16 million the UN appealed for had so far come in. *** EUROPEAN AMBASSADORS PROMISE ASSISTANCE AFTER UN-ASSISTED ELECTIONS IN BURUNDI
The United Nations mission in Burundi has hosted four high-level diplomats who said if assistance is wisely used, their countries will aid the country emerging from civil conflict after UN-assisted elections led to the swearing-in of a President to head a post-transition Government in August. The four were Special Representative of the African Union (AU) in Burundi Mamadou Bah, Ambassador of France Alain Girma, Ambassador of the United Kingdom Jeremy Macadie, and European Commission (EC) Representative Georges-Marc André. At a news conference arranged yesterday by the UN Operation in Burundi ( ONUB), the diplomats warned against misusing donor aid provided to the country. "We would like to see our assistance used most judiciously," Mr. Macadie said. In this connection, Mr. André said that according to the March 2000 Cotonou Agreement signed between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Commission, the Commission's grants will be turned into loans if recipient Governments mismanage the funds. Mr. Bah added, "I often hear you ask, 'What should Burundi legitimately expect?' I would like you to often ponder what people should legitimately expect from Burundi. People legitimately expect from Burundi hard work, much effort and considerable sincerity and transparency in management. These are the qualities that most countries benefiting from aid lack. This situation must change." *** UN EXPERT ON EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS CITES CONTINUING LAPSES IN NIGERIA Despite some progress, the killing of jailed suspects in Nigeria, the jailing of innocent citizens for refusing to pay bribes, the fraudulent placement of evidence, and the imposition of the death penalty by Muslim courts out of all proportion to the alleged offence are all too common in Africa's most populous country, the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings said today. In a statement to the media in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, at the end of a two-week visit, Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, focussed on four issues, "each of which is symptomatic of broader problems existing within Nigerian society today." Citing first the highly publicized case of the killing of a group of
alleged robbers, he declared, without going into the full details: "Let me only add that almost all of the ingredients, from the killings of alleged robbers, to the fraudulent placement of weapons, to the failure to undertake proper post-mortem procedures, to the denial of wrongdoing and to the flight of a senior accused police officer, have been repeated many times over in relation to cases brought to my attention during my visit. "The good news is that for what I understand to be the very first time the Federal Government intervened and established a judicial commission of inquiry. The fact that the police inquiry was open to the public was also a commendable innovation. Such procedures need to become routine in such cases if the police are to get the message that they cannot kill innocent individuals and subsequently label them as armed robbers." The second issue concerned six people, mostly university students, arrested in connection with a bank robbery in Enugu, who were killed in an alleged escape attempt. "This scenario, which unfortunately seems not to be uncommon, is utterly lacking in plausibility," Mr. Alston said. "But even if it were true, it would represent an entirely disproportionate use of force to subdue individuals who were unarmed, were still within police custody and were very far from having escaped. "While I do not for a moment underestimate the scourge of armed robbery which plagues too much of Nigeria, there is no doubt in my mind that the label of armed robbers is very often used to justify the jailing of innocent individuals who have come to the attention of the police for reasons ranging from a refusal to pay a bribe to inconveniencing or insulting the police, or some general offence against public order," he added. Thirdly, on the death penalty, Mr. Alston noted that an official study group last year found the average period spent on death row was 20 years and he strongly endorsed the group's recommendation that the sentences of all inmates presently on death row whose appeals had been concluded should be commuted to life imprisonment. With regard to Islamic Shari'a courts, Mr. Alston cited the case of a man awaiting execution by stoning for homosexual acts. "Sodomy cannot be considered one of the most serious crimes for which, under international law, the death penalty can be prescribed," he said. "The punishment is wholly disproportionate." Finally, he highlighted the response to major incidents involving serious violations of human rights, including large-scale loss of life, citing detailed dossiers on cases of abuse by the security forces. "All too often the response has been to establish commissions of inquiry in order to defuse the situation – but then not to publish the resulting report," he said.
He concluded by stressing that while his mission was designed primarily to ascertain the facts in relation to extrajudicial executions, he had seen many encouraging developments. "In particular, the fight against corruption at all levels is closely linked to the issues with which I am concerned," he declared. "Recent prosecutions and actions taken by the Government are to be strongly welcomed." Noting that his visit was the third undertaken in the space of a few months, he said he was gratified by the degree of cooperation demonstrated by the Nigerian Government and various state governments. "At a time when Nigeria is seeking to obtain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and is involved in continuing negotiations for further debt-forgiveness, such cooperation takes on particular significance," he added. *** MILLIONTH VOTER REGISTERED IN KINSHASA, UN MISSION IN DR OF CONGO SAYS A law student at the University of Kinshasa has become the millionth voter to register in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) capital city of several million people for elections in the country emerging from conflict. The United Nations Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) today identified the female student as Mamitsho Ngodia Mvita, while the president of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Abbot Apollinaire Malu Malu, seized the opportunity to rally the Congolese in favour of registering. The IEC has opened 946 voter registration offices since the exercise began on 20 June in preparation for the elections. The Security Council noted the joint decision last month by the two Houses of the DRC Parliament "to extend for a period of six months, renewable once, the transitional period that was to expire on 30 June 2005." Under the terms of the 2002 Global and All-Inclusive Agreement, the transition could be extended for two six-month periods if technical preparations for the elections were delayed. *** UN POSTAL AGENCY FUND TRANSFER NETWORK TO HELP ARAB NATIONS GET CONNECTED The United Nations postal agency has welcomed the recent decision by senior officials from the Arab region to use its software to set up an
electronic fund transfer network, making it easier for migrant workers and others living abroad to make rapid fund transfers to their home countries at modest cost. "Easy access to money transfers at affordable rates addresses a key need for millions of people, especially migrant workers, and the postal sector has the capacity to respond to this need," said Edouard Dayan, Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU). The decision to set up the network was taken at a conference that was held in Hammamet, Tunisia, from 4 to 6 July, which the Arab ministers had convened to discuss the role of the postal sector in narrowing the digital divide. The ministers had called upon the UPU to work closely with the Arab countries to put in place the necessary connections to link them to its International Financial System (IFS), a suite of applications which facilitates electronic fund transfers between public postal operators and even with certain banks. Currently, some 30 postal administrations both in industrialized and developing countries use IFS software. The project with Arab nations will take some time to implement, owing to the specific systems in use in the various countries, but it should be up and running in 2006. "This is an important decision, because a regional project of this kind will enable the UPU to continue building, in conjunction with its member countries, a worldwide postal network whose financial dimension reinforces its physical and electronic dimensions, lending the postal sector added legitimacy as a natural element of the information society," Mr. Dayan said. Algeria, Djibouti, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Tunisia already use the UPU's IFS system for electronic fund exchanges, but the network has yet to be rolled out to the rest of the Arab world. *** ANNAN 'ENCOURAGED' BY BOLIVIA'S DECISION TO HOLD ELECTIONS IN DECEMBER Heartened that the majority of Bolivia's political forces have worked together to find a democratic solution to the political impasse that has gripped the country for months, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he is "greatly encouraged" by the Parliament's decision to hold presidential and congressional elections in December. In a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan welcomed the decision by Bolivia's Parliament to hold elections for President, Vice-President, Parliament and Prefectos (Regional Governors) in December
2005, followed by a referendum on regional autonomy and elections for a Constituent Assembly in July 2006. Mr. Annan added that an Electoral Needs Assessment Mission from the Department of Political Affairs would be visiting Bolivia in the coming days at the invitation of Bolivia's National Electoral Council. "In this regard, electoral assistance was one of the recommendations made by Under-Secretary-General for Social and Economic Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, as a result of his recent visit to Bolivia on the Secretary-General's behalf," he said. The Secretary-General dispatched Mr. Ocampo last month to assess how the UN could be helpful to the Andean nation as it tackled the political transition and economic issues after former President Carlos Mesa relinquished the presidency, saying he could no longer lead Bolivia in the face of the unrest. *** SENIOR UN ENVOY BRAHIMI HEADS TO NEPAL As part of the United Nations' ongoing effort to help find a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Nepal, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is sending his Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, to meet with top officials in the strife-torn Himalayan kingdom. Mr. Brahimi will visit Nepal from 10 to 15 July and is expected to meet with King Gyanendra, senior Government officials, leaders of political parties and a cross-section of representatives of Nepalese society. In April, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and the Government signed an agreement to set up a monitoring operation to help establish accountability for rights abuses and prevent further violations by all sides in the nine-year-old armed conflict with Maoist rebels. Two UN teams visited the country that month, looking into the needs of an expanded UN rights office there and examining the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs). *** UN ENVOY ON HOUSING EVICTIONS APPOINTS UN-HABITAT MANAGER FOR ZIMBABWE As head of the United Nations urban development agency, the UN Special Envoy investigating the humanitarian aspects of housing and market evictions in Zimbabwe today said she would appoint a programme manager to help the Government of the Southern African country with its urbanization programme.
"As UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, the UN agency responsible for housing and urban development, I recognize the need to immediately support the UN country team by appointing a UN-HABITAT programme manager, with immediate effect," Anna Tibaijuka said as she wound up a nearly two-week-long fact-finding tour of Zimbabwe. The programme managers of UN-HABITAT, officially known as the UN Human Settlements Programme, are urban planning and management experts who work with governments at all levels on "providing adequate shelter for all and developing sustainable settlements in a globalizing world," Ms. Tibaijuka said. "The reason that UN-HABITAT had not stationed a programme manager in Zimbabwe in the past is that statistics had suggested that urbanization was not yet a critical issue in the country," she added. Ms. Tibaijuka, who arrived on 26 June to assess the humanitarian aspects of the evictions, also examined the adequacy of the Government's arrangements for those displaced during the Southern African winter, the official capacity to provide for basic needs and the ability of the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to respond to humanitarian requirements. After criss-crossing the country, she is scheduled to leave Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, tomorrow for Nairobi, Kenya, where UN-HABITAT is headquartered, and said she would report on her visit to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He would then decide how the international community could "further assist the Government and people of Zimbabwe with the challenges I have seen on the ground," she said. *** UN PUTS DISASTER TEAMS ON STANDBY AS HURRICANE DENNIS ROARS THROUGH CARIBBEAN With Hurricane Dennis bearing down on Cuba after cutting a swath through Jamaica and Haiti, the United Nations emergency coordination office announced today that it had put Disaster Assessment and Coordination Teams on standby for possible deployment to the Caribbean. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it had also been in contact with UN Resident Coordinators in the three countries and preparatory measures had been taken to mitigate the storm's impact. Some 300 people in Haiti have so far been evacuated to temporary shelters in the hurricane's wake.
Last month, OCHA, in conjunction with the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the UN Country Team, and local and national government authorities, conducted two simulation exercises to prepare for evacuations in case of natural disasters. *** UN SAYS A FREE, FAIR ELECTION IN KYRGYZSTAN ON SUNDAY IS VITAL TO CENTRAL ASIA Senior United Nations officials appealed for a free and fair presidential election in Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, saying that it would send a positive signal to the other four countries of Central Asia, a landlocked region with 60 million people in a mosaic of cultures. “A successful election in Kyrgyzstan will contribute greatly to political stability throughout the region, which is essential for Central Asia’s long-term development,” said UN Assistant Secretary General Kalman Mizsei, who is also a UN Development Programme (UNDP) official. The presidential election was organized in just three months, with help from UNDP, following the resignation of former President Askar Akaev in April. Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – has drawn international attention because of its geopolitical importance, economic potential and unsettled political situation. Recent outbreaks of violence in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have spotlighted the danger that political instability could undermine development and poverty alleviation in the region, UNDP officials said. “Central Asia will flourish only if countries of the region cooperate with one another and encourage the free movement of people, of goods and of knowledge among themselves, with their neighbours, and with the rest of the world,” said Mr. Mizsei, who directs the UNDP’s Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). UN Resident Coordinator in Kyrgyzstan Jerzy Skuratowicz said, “Kyrgyzstan is at a turning point. There is an urgent need to bring stability to the country and to strengthen national institutions through free and fair elections.” He expressed gratification that the political campaign had been conducted peacefully and added, “We call on all candidates and parties to ensure that the election takes place in a similarly peaceful atmosphere and in strict adherence to the rule of law.” *** LATIN AMERICA MUST FIGHT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE – UNICEF
With Latin America’s indigenous peoples lagging way behind the non-indigenous population in both income levels and human development indicators such as education, health, access to water and sanitation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling for an all-out battle against inequality. “Discrimination against indigenous people in Latin America is a structural problem and the key to tackle it is to overcome the enormous inequalities in this region,” UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Nils Kastberg told more than 80 indigenous children and adolescents from 17 Latin American countries meeting in Madrid, Spain. “We have a debt that is not only from the past, but also from the present,” he told the opening session of the two-day meeting yesterday. An estimated 40-50 million indigenous people live in Latin America, representing 10 per cent of the population. The president of the UNICEF National Committee in Spain, Francisco González-Bueno, urged the participating children and adolescents to take action. “Our obligation is to make the rights embraced by Governments a reality,” he said. “It’s essential that you know your rights in order to be able to demand then, since only rights that are claimed are fulfilled.” The conclusions of the meeting, organized by the UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, will be reflected in a Final Declaration and presented at the Ibero-American Ministerial Conference on Children and Adolescents, to be held in September in León, Spain. *** UNICEF URGENTLY NEEDS $8.2 MILLION FOR ITS OPERATIONS IN PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES With only 36 per cent of funding so far received for its operations in the occupied Palestinian territory, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF ) said today it urgently needed $8.2 million for health services, educational and psychosocial support for youngsters there. Although a gradual easing of restrictions by Israel and a reduction in the use of lethal force has been observed in the West Bank and Gaza since February, resulting in a marked decline in the number of deaths and injuries of children, their rights continue to be challenged in terms of access to health and quality education services. Children have few opportunities for recreational activities, and for leading normal lives. Ironically, the increased calm has meant that children are playing closer to formerly restricted areas, exposing themselves to the very real danger of unexploded ordnance, UNICEF added in its latest update.
Emergency contingency plans by UNICEF in coordination with other UN agencies and non-government organization (NGO) partners in preparation for Israel’s planned withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank provides for pre-positioning of supplies in health, water and sanitation, education as well as adolescent programmes. “After more than four years of conflict and continuous violence, children are still living with distress and continue to be vulnerable,” the agency said, referring to the youngsters’ psychosocial well-being. “The chronic anxiety, undermined self-esteem and feelings of loss of control being felt due to the erosion of households' coping mechanisms adversely affect family relationships.” From January to the end of June, 9,000 children in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank attended debriefing sessions with the teams of trained psychologists and social workers, aimed at reinforcing their capacity to cope with distress. UNICEF's original $12,720,884 appeal for 2005 has been increased to $14.2 million. To date, about $5.1 million has been received. *** IN EFFORT TO AVERT NUCLEAR TERRORISM, UN-BACKED TREATY TO BE STRENGTHENED In a bid to prevent terrorists getting their hands on nuclear materials, delegates from 89 countries today agreed to substantially reinforce a United Nations-backed treaty with amendments that would reduce the risks of theft or smuggling of such materials, as well as of sabotage at nuclear facilities. “This new and stronger treaty is an important step towards greater nuclear security by combating, preventing, and ultimately punishing those who would engage in nuclear theft, sabotage, or even terrorism,” UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said at the end of a weeklong conference in Vienna. “It demonstrates that there is indeed a global commitment to remedy weaknesses in our nuclear security regime,” he added of the amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), which was drawn up in 1980 and applied then only to such material in international transport. The changes make it legally binding for States Parties to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, its storage as well as its transport. They also provide for expanded cooperation between States regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent
and combat related offences. A group of experts has been working on strengthening CPPNM safeguards since the September 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States raised serious concerns about its effectiveness. The Vienna-based IAEA is the depositary of the treaty. The new rules will come into effect once they have been ratified by two-thirds of the 112 States Parties of the Convention, expected to take several years. “But concrete actions are already taking place around the world,” the director of the IAEA Office of Nuclear Security, Anita Nillson, said. “For more than three years, the IAEA has been implementing a systematic nuclear security plan, including physical protection activities designed to prevent, detect and respond to malicious acts.” The Agency´s Nuclear Security Fund, set up after the 2001 attacks, has delivered $19.5 million in practical assistance to 121 countries, helping them to carry out the very kinds of things called for under the amendments, whether in terms of helping States identify vulnerabilities, training staff, or carrying out physical protection work. *** For more details go to UN News Centre
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL 8 July 2005 Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General. Our guests today will be Nobuyasu Abe, the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, as well as the Ambassador of Finland, who is the president-designate of the Second Biennial Meeting on the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons. And they will be here to discuss with you the upcoming meeting. **Secretary-General - Gleneagles As he left the G-8 Summit in Gleneagles today, the Secretary-General congratulated Tony Blair and his fellow G-8 leaders on what they have done for Africa. The leaders carried the hopes of the peoples around the world who wanted progress towards reducing poverty in Africa, and got it, the Secretary-General said. He noted the promise to double aid to Africa by 2010, as well as welcome progress on debt cancellation. Further, the African leaders at the G-8 summit reaffirmed their commitment to good governance, democracy and the fight against corruption. The Secretary-General said he had hoped that G-8 leaders might have committed themselves to a clear, unambiguous date to end export subsidies. But he added that this is the beginning, not the end, for the people and the leaders who made today’s success possible. He concluded, “I hope Gleneagles will be remembered as the beginning of something very big, perhaps even the beginning of the end of mass poverty.” And we have the full text of his statement upstairs and we had just received a few minutes before the briefing the slightly amended version of the communiqué we put out around 11 o’clock. So, if you want to pick up, in our office, the latest version, that would be great. *SG Travels The Secretary-General is now en route to Khartoum, Sudan, where tomorrow he will speak at the ceremony inaugurating the Government of National Unity in that country. And prior to departing Gleneagles he had participated in the G-8’s meeting on Africa, in which he joined the leaders of Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, the African Union, as well as the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. On the sidelines of the Summit meeting this morning, he met with two of the musicians who had participated in the Live 8 conference that had focused on Africa’s needs –- and those were Bob Geldof and Bono –- as well as with the film director Richard Curtis. **Sudan Turning to Sudan, the UN refugee agency reports that there were some security incidents this morning in West Darfur, in several camps for internally displaced persons. The agency says that as people were lining up to be registered for food distribution, groups of young men armed with sticks and stones began attacking aid workers. As a result, UNHCR -- as well as the World
Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, NGOs -- withdrew from most of the camps in the area. UNHCR says that some of its teams were escorted back to West Darfur’s capital by African Union forces. Some minor injuries and damage to vehicles were also reported. And we have more information upstairs from the UN Mission in Sudan. **SG Statement on Bolivia I have a statement on Bolivia. “The Secretary-General is greatly encouraged by the agreements reached by Bolivia’s Parliament this week to hold elections for President, Vice-President, as well as Parliament and regional governors in December of this year, followed by a referendum on regional autonomy and elections for a Constituent Assembly in July 2006. “He is also heartened that the majority of Bolivia’s political forces have worked together to find a democratic solution to the political impasse in that country. “The UN remains committed to sending assistance to Bolivia in carrying out these important elections. An Electoral Needs Assessment Mission from the Department of Political Affairs will be visiting Bolivia in the coming days at the invitation of Bolivia’s National Electoral Council. In this regard, electoral assistance was one of the recommendations made by Under-Secretary-General for Social and Economic Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, as a result of his recent visit to Bolivia on the Secretary-General’s behalf.” **Security Council Later today at 3 p.m., the Security Council is scheduled to hold closed consultations to consider a draft presidential statement on the murder of the senior Egyptian envoy in Iraq, Ihab al-Sharif. The Council is then expected to go into a formal meeting to adopt that statement. Yesterday afternoon, we issued a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General, in which he condemned in the strongest terms those who planned and executed this callous act, which no cause can justify, he said in the statement. The Secretary-General hopes that Iraqi authorities will do everything possible to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice. **Zimbabwe On Zimbabwe, Anna Tibaijuka, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to that country, met with President Mugabe this morning on the last day of her visit. As you know, she has been assessing the impact of the housing demolition that’s been going on in that country. And she will then report back to the Secretary-General. **Democratic Republic of Congo From the Democratic Republic of the Congo, yesterday, Mamitsho Ngodia Mvita, a female law student at the University of Kinshasa, became the 1 millionth person to register to vote in the capital of the DRC. Registration began on June 20 and by now the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has opened more than 900 offices throughout the country. The UN and the international community are providing logistical assistance to the commission for the elections which are scheduled to take place later this year. And next Tuesday, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Congo, William Swing, will be in Brussels to participate in an EU-hosted donors’ conference on financing for the electoral process.
**Nepal Turning to Nepal, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, will visit that country from July 10 to the 15. As part of the Secretary-General’s ongoing effort to help find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Nepal, Brahimi will meet, among others, the King of Nepal, senior government officials, leaders of political parties and a cross-section of representatives of Nepalese society. **UNHCR Earlier this week on Tuesday, we had told you that the UN refugee agency was pushing for the relocation of 10,000 refugees from the Central African Republic to less remote areas of Chad before the onset of the rainy season. UNHCR has just informed us that Chadian officials have now agreed to the agency’s relocation request, and that the refugees will now be moved to an existing camp in the southern town of Gore. The agency has bolstered its staff in Gore as well. But UNHCR also reports that flooding is already beginning to obstruct some movements in the region. And we have more information on that upstairs. **Kyrgyzstan Today, UN officials expressed hopes for a free and fair and transparent election in Kyrgyzstan, which is scheduled to take place this Sunday, emphasizing the importance of peaceful democratic transition not just for Kyrgyzstan, but for all of Central Asia. “Kyrgyzstan is at a turning point”, said Jerzy Skuratowicz, the UN Resident Coordinator in that country. “There is an urgent need to bring stability to the country and to strengthen national institutions through free and fair elections.” The presidential elections of July 10 were organized in just three months, following the resignation of former President Akaev in April. And the UN Development Programme has put out a press release with a little more detail. **Hurricane Dennis Just a couple more notes, turning to Hurricane Dennis, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination Teams are on alert and on standby for possible deployment to the Caribbean. Last month, OCHA, in conjunction with the UN Mission in Haiti, the UN Country Team and government authorities, had conducted two simulation exercises to prepare for natural disaster evacuations. So far, in the hurricane’s wake, some 300 persons in Haiti have been evacuated to temporary shelters. **Flood And speaking of water and heavy rain, here in New York, it’s affected us. As some of you may have noticed that the TV systems are out due to flooding in the GeneralAssemblyBuilding, which has affected the north-east part of the building, as well as a number of conference rooms. All power has been shut down. And we’re told that necessary repairs and cleanups are under way to restore services as soon as possible. **UNTV And this afternoon, World Chronicle will be shown today, it’s a 60th Anniversary special episode hosted by Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, and the guest will be former
Under-Secretary-General Sir Brain Urquhart. The topic will be the UN’s evolution since 1945. And it will air, if the TV service is back up, on UNTV on channels 3 and 31 at 3:30 p.m. **Press Conferences Press conferences: today at 12:45 p.m., Ibrahim Keita, the speaker of the National Assembly of Mali; Mr. von Sydow, the Speaker of the Parliament of Sweden; and Senator Dulce Maria Sauri, Representative of the Speaker of the Mexican Senate, will speak about the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. And our guest on Monday will be Stan Nkwain, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for the Central African Republic. And he will be here to discuss recent developments in that country. That’s it for me. Before we move to our guests, any questions? **Questions and Answers Question: First of all, I believe the question was raised earlier this week about an anonymous letter ... about a gentleman in the procurement department ... and allegations against him. And I’m wondering if there was ever any follow-up on that. Spokesman: There was follow-up. The head of the management division, Chris Burnham, who oversees the procurement division, as soon as that letter was received, asked OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services) to vigorously look into the matter to see if there was any substance to these accusations. Mr. Burnhamhas just informed us this morning that OIOS has told him that there is absolutely no substance to these allegations and accusations against the individual. Question: On the same topic, there was a note by the Secretary-General today on a report of the Joint Inspection Unit on procurement reform that apparently the Joint Inspection Unit recommended a centralization of procurement. That was ... that the Secretary-General and his chief executives board rejects. And I’m wondering what the... was the Joint Inspections Unit recommendations ... are these mandatory? Or are these purely suggestions? And now that the Secretary-General and the CEB have rejected them, that means this goes no further or is there some process? Spokesman: Not wanting to speak off the top of my head, I will check that out for you. Question: On Iraq, is Mr. Qazi about to come here soon to give us a briefing and does the United Nations have any figures of the people killed in Iraq since the US-led war on Iraq? Spokesman: We have no way of keeping track of such figures on an official basis. I will check for you when Mr. Qazi is expected to come to New York and as I’ve promised you in the past, when he does come to brief the Security Council, we will make sure he stops here to speak to you. Question: How much did the renovation of the General Assembly roof cost when that was done? Spokesman: I will try to get a figure for you. Question: They seem to have really done a great job.
Spokesman: It’s Friday. [The Spokesman later announced that the Facilities Management Division has confirmed that the flooding in the General Assembly Hall has nothing to do with the roof and nothing to do with the rain outside.] Question: Stéphane, you mentioned that there is a team looking at Hurricane Dennis. How big of a group or what sort of assets would the UN throw toward that area should it become necessary? Spokesman: These teams... by OCHA are namely coordination teams, I don’t know exactly how many... you’re looking usually at fairly small teams that will go on site to coordinate whatever international aid may come in from various countries. This is the kind of work they performed during the tsunami. And obviously in Haiti, we do have a leg up because we have a peacekeeping mission there with air assets and troops that can help out. Question: One more quick one. The Press Spokesman’s Office announcement of our invited guests of this briefing and the media alert made no mention of what these gentlemen were here to speak about. Spokesman: About the small arms... Question: Yes... Spokesman: We mentioned it yesterday... I mentioned it from this podium yesterday... when I flagged the press conference. Question: Just a follow-up on an earlier suggestion that the media alert and the Spokesman Office’s announcement could be more useful... Spokesman: Check the media alert, but I clearly stated why they were here in my announcement yesterday.
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