The environment in the news t unep and the Executive Director in the News



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THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS

T


UNEP and the Executive Director in the News



  • INT'L WOMEN'S DAY:Groups Blast U.N. on Gender Parity (IPS)

  • Kofi Annan accused of ignoring women's reforms (AP)

  • De la Vega anuncia en Nairobi donaciones para varios programas de ayuda humanitaria (Libertad Digital)

  • España colaborará en África con un millón y medio de euros para paliar la hambruna a causa de la sequía (Diario de Ibiza)

  • FOCUS: Ethical Behaviour: Can Our Way Of Living Really Save The Planet? (THE OBSERVER)

  • UNEP Enacts Kyoto Compliance Rules (Insurance Journal)

  • African Environment Scribes Renew Commitment (All Africa Global Media)

  • 5 juin, Journée Mondiale de l’Environnement (Liberté)

  • Vietnam Hanoi Workshop Plans Cleaner Production Methods With Swedish Help (Thai Press Reports)

  • ABC (Australia): AM - Scientists call for urgent action over extinction rate


uesday, 7 March
2006











Other Environment News


  • Energy-Strapped Asian Countries Forced to Become More Efficient (Associated Press)

  • Stopping the next extinction wave (BBC)




Environmental News from the UNEP Regions



  • ROA

  • ROAP

  • ROWA


Other UN News


  • UN Daily News of 6 March 2006

  • S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 6 March 2006


Inter Press Service: INT'L WOMEN'S DAY:Groups Blast U.N. on Gender Parity

Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 6 (IPS) - "We are disappointed and frankly outraged that gender equality and strengthening the women's machineries within the U.N. system are barely noted, and are not addressed as a central part of the U.N.'s reform agenda," says the letter released here, in advance of International Women's Day scheduled to be commemorated Wednesday.

The letter is signed by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership, the U.N. Committee on the Status of Women, the Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

The groups say they are disappointed over the appointment last week of Mark Malloch Brown of Britain to succeed Louise Frechette of Canada as the new deputy secretary-general, the second highest ranking job in the world body.

The coalition says it expected a continued gender balance between the secretary-general and his deputy, and would have therefore preferred another woman to succeed Frechette.

"We already knew that only lip service was being given to gender parity," WEDO's Executive Director June Zeitlin said Monday.

"The United Nations is going in the wrong direction. We need new and innovative leadership and the way to get that is by ensuring we reach 50:50 women and men in all decision-making positions," Zeitlin said in a statement released here.

"We are deeply concerned that the position of women in high-level U.N. posts has stagnated," the letter complains.

The women's groups are also outraged that a short list of candidates released last week for the position of executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) does not contain a single woman.

"This is unacceptable," says the letter," At the very least, the United Nations should set an example of gender balance in all high-level decision making positions."

The all-male list of candidates for UNEP executive director includes: Borge Brende (Norway), a former minister of environment; Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Echandi (Costa Rica), currently minister of environment and energy; Shafqat Kakakhel (Pakistan), deputy executive director of UNEP; Rajendra K. Pachauri (India), director-general, Energy and Resource Institute; and Achim Steiner (Germany), director-general of the World Conservation Union. The outgoing UNEP executive director is Klaus Topfer of Germany.

Last week, Rachel Mayanja, U.N. assistant secretary-general and special adviser on gender issues, provided a statistical update of the status of women in the Secretariat and the U.N. system.

As of December 2005, she said, the percentage of women in the professional and higher categories was about 37.2 percent. "Basically, there was no change from last year," she pointed out.

But women did lose some ground at senior levels. Women represent 26 percent of staff at the Director (D-1) level and above, a decrease of 2.9 percentage points since 2004. Women represent 27.3 percent at the D-1 level alone, a decrease of 5.2 percentage points since 2004.

Mayanja also said that among the 31 individual departments or offices in the Secretariat (with 20 or more professional staff), only five have met or exceeded the gender balance target and 10 have reached 40 to 49 percent.

"The lesson is clear. More concerted action is needed even to maintain the current representation of women, particularly at the D-1 and above level. Recruitment and retention must be targeted by level," she added.

Mayanja also appealed to member states to "recommend qualified women for senior level positions to help us achieve the goal that you have mandated us".

Meanwhile, the letter from the women's coalition says that for more than six decades, women's groups and others from around the world have been strong supporters of the United Nations.

"We have actively shaped the U.N.'s work on peace, human rights, development, security and environmental issues, and, of course, on gender equality. The United Nations is at a critical juncture."

At the 2005 World Summit last December, women's organisations successfully advocated for greater commitments on gender equality and expected to see these commitments implemented in the U.N. reform follow-up, the letter adds. But the results have been poor..

A wide ranging Platform of Action was adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

"We must ask how it can be that more than 10 years after the commitment to gender parity at the Beijing Conference, the United Nations is still offering only token representation of women on critical committees, high level expert panels and in senior positions within the organisation," it says.

The letter says that "mechanisms and processes dealing with U.N. reform have failed to display a consistent and visible commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment".

For example, it points out that the new High-Level Panel on U.N. system-wide coherence in areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment has only three women out of 15 members.

"We urge that additional women be added to the panel and that gender equality issues be explicitly considered under each theme," it says.

Furthermore, it says, the panel should be mandated to hold consultations with civil society groups, especially those working on women's rights, in order to ensure consideration of the impact on women of any proposed reforms.

Women's groups call for serious consideration to be given to the implications of the current reforms on the women's equality agenda, the letter notes.

"The pattern of publicly adopted commitments and statements followed by lack of implementation sets a disheartening precedent which retards the work and reputation of the United Nations and impedes the urgently-needed progress of gender equality worldwide," the letter concludes.


__________________________________________________________________________________
Associated Press: Kofi Annan accused of ignoring women's reforms

[appears in The Hindustan Times]

7.3.2006


Women from over 50 countries have criticised Kofi Annan in an open letter for failing to promote women and women's rights.

The women said on Monday that they were "disappointed and frankly outraged" that strengthening the UN machinery focusing on women is not a central part of the UN's reform agenda.

They also expressed deep concern "that the position of women in high-level UN posts has stagnated."

At a news conference to highlight the letter, Charlotte Bunch, executive director of the Centre for Women's Global Leadership, said, "We are really disappointed that once more we have to be here asking, 'Where are the women? Where's the money? Where's the commitment in concrete terms?'"

"Although we've had a lot of rhetorical commitment to women's rights, it still hasn't made it on to the big agenda of UN reform," she lamented.

At the 1995 UN women's conference in Beijing, and at the 10-year review in 2005, commitments were made by the United Nations and governments to achieve equality of the sexes.

"If we are really going to say that women's equality is at the centre of the 21st century" and that this is an issue the UN has advanced in its 60-year history, Bunch said, "then it's time to have a new look at the reforms from the eyes of women."

The women who signed the letter are attending the 50th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and come from over 70 organisations.

They urged Annan in his address to the commission on Wednesday, which is International Women's Day, "to announce concrete proposals for advancing gender equality" and strengthening the UN bodies that work for women's rights.

June Zeitlin, executive director of the Women's Environment and Development Organisation, said that women attending the commission's two-week meeting "are demanding that women be seated at every decision-making table in these discussions regarding UN reforms, and that the women's equality agenda be addressed."

The letter noted that a high-level panel appointed recently to study how the UN system deals with development, humanitarian assistance and the environment has only three women out of the 15 members.

This week, the UN announced an all-male short list for the new executive director of the UN Environment Program despite a campaign by women's groups to appoint a woman, Zeitlin said.

"This disparity between men and women at the UN is getting worse and we're really at an all-time low," she said.

"In 2006, this is just unacceptable in an institution that's committed to gender equality and women's participation in decision-making." Perhaps the problem is best exemplified by last Friday's appointment of Annan's chief of staff Mark Malloch Brown to replace Louise Frechette as deputy secretary-general when she steps down on March 31, Zeitlin said.

Pawadee Tonguthai, head of Asia Pacific Women's Watch, who spoke on behalf of women in the region, said they protest "the fact that the UN hasn't been acting as a role model for governments in terms of putting more women in decision-making roles or taking care of this equal participation by women."

"If you don't have the UN as a role model," she said, "the government itself will also go backward."

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Libertad Digital: De la Vega anuncia en Nairobi donaciones para varios programas de ayuda humanitaria

7.3.2006

España donará un millón de euros a Kenia y medio millón a Etiopía para ayudarles a paliar la hambruna que ha agravado la sequía en los últimos meses y contribuirá con siete millones de euros, en dos años, al Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA). Así lo anunció este lunes en Nairobi, en el último día de su primera visita oficial a Kenia, la vicepresidenta primera del Gobierno, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, quien avanzó también que se contribuirá con 600.000 euros a ONU-HABITAT para mejorar los "asentamientos humanos" en África.



L D (EFE) La nueva aportación al PNUMA, subrayó, triplica la realizada hasta ahora, mientras que la que se facilitará a HABITAT, la cuatriplica.

La vicepresidenta ofreció una rueda de prensa en la Embajada de España tras reunirse con el presidente de Kenia, Mwai Kibaki, con quien constató el buen momento que atraviesan las relaciones entre ambos países. En el encuentro, trasladó a Kibaki el deseo de reforzar las relaciones políticas, económicas y culturales y, en concreto, el interés de las empresas españolas, sobre todo del sector pesquero y energético, de impulsar proyectos en el país.

La vicepresidenta, que reiteró la voluntad del Gobierno de situar a África en un lugar prioritario de la acción exterior española, hizo balance de la primera etapa de este viaje, que este lunes por la noche continuará en Mozambique, y destacó que, para ella, hay "un antes y un después" de la visita a Kibera, uno de los suburbios más grandes y pobres de Kenia.

Sólo trabajando por la igualdad "tendremos futuro como sociedad, como planeta", destacó Fernández de la Vega, quien centró buena parte de su agenda a reunirse con representantes de la sociedad civil que trabajan por el desarrollo. Una de las entrevistas más destacadas la mantuvo este lunes, con la Premio Nobel de la Paz Wangari Maathai, quien ha dedicado sus últimos treinta años a la defensa de los derechos humanos, la democracia y el medio ambiente. La vicepresidenta invitó a Maathai a visitar España y a participar en la Exposición de Zaragoza, para contribuir al desarrollo sostenible y a la búsqueda de instrumentos eficaces de gestión del agua.

Tras su reunión, avanzó que España abrirá dos vías de colaboración con las organizaciones en las que participa Maathai, vicepresidenta de Medio Ambiente keniana entre 2003 y 2005. A través de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (AECI), España colaborará con el Movimiento Cinturón Verde, creado por la Premio Nobel y hoy activo en quince países africanos, para trabajar en el desarrollo sostenible y en la reforestación; el apoyo español se dirigirá, en concreto, a los bosques del Congo.

El segundo acuerdo, que previsiblemente se firmará en Madrid, será de colaboración con el ECOSOC, organismo de la Asamblea General de la Unión Africana que busca potenciar la participación ciudadana en la vida social, política y económica.

La Nobel keniana agradeció la ayuda española y destacó la importancia del medio ambiente para alcanzar los Objetivos del Milenio y superar los actuales niveles de pobreza. Recalcó además la relevancia del fomento de la participación de la sociedad civil africana a través de ECOSOC, ya que, subrayó, "sólo con un buen Gobierno y una gestión responsable de los recursos podremos prevenir los conflictos y preservar la paz".

Tras estas actividades, la vicepresidenta visitó la sede de la ONU en Nairobi, una de las cuatro que tiene la organización en el mundo, donde fue recibida con danzas africanas y la canción tradicional "Akuna Matata" y donde, siguiendo la tradición de las personalidades que visitan el centro, plantó un nuevo árbol en los jardines.



____________________________________________________________________________
Diario de Ibiza: España colaborará en África con un millón y medio de euros para paliar la hambruna a causa de la sequía


[also in Faro de Vigo, La Provinvia de las Palmas, Informacion]

6.3.2006
España donará un millón de euros a Kenia y medio millón a Etiopía para ayudarles a paliar la hambruna que ha agravado la sequía en los últimos meses y contribuirá con siete millones de euros, en dos años, al Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA).

Así lo anunció hoy en Nairobi, en el último día de su primera visita oficial a Kenia, la vicepresidenta primera del Gobierno, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, quien avanzó también que se contribuirá con 600.000 euros a ONU-HABITAT para mejorar los "asentamientos humanos" en Africa.

La nueva aportación al PNUMA, subrayó, triplica la realizada hasta ahora, mientras que la que se facilitará a HABITAT, la cuatriplica.

La vicepresidenta ofreció una rueda de prensa en la Embajada de España tras reunirse con el presidente de Kenia, Mwai Kibaki, con quien constató el buen momento que atraviesan las relaciones entre ambos países.

En el encuentro, trasladó a Kibaki el deseo de reforzar las relaciones políticas, económicas y culturales y, en concreto, el interés de las empresas españolas, sobre todo del sector pesquero y energético, de impulsar proyectos en el país.

La vicepresidenta, que reiteró la voluntad del Gobierno de situar a Africa en un lugar prioritario de la acción exterior española, hizo balance de la primera etapa de este viaje, que esta noche continuará en Mozambique, y destacó que, para ella, hay "un antes y un después" de la visita a Kibera, uno de los suburbios más grandes y pobres de Kenia.

Sólo trabajando por la igualdad "tendremos futuro como sociedad, como planeta", destacó Fernández de la Vega, quien centró buena parte de su agenda a reunirse con representantes de la sociedad civil que trabajan por el desarrollo.

Una de las entrevistas más destacadas la mantuvo hoy, con la Premio Nobel de la Paz Wangari Maathai, quien ha dedicado sus últimos treinta años a la defensa de los derechos humanos, la democracia y el medio ambiente.

La vicepresidenta invitó a Maathai a visitar España y a participar en la Exposición de Zaragoza, para contribuir al desarrollo sostenible y a la búsqueda de instrumentos eficaces de gestión del agua.

Tras su reunión, avanzó que España abrirá dos vías de colaboración con las organizaciones en las que participa Maathai, vicepresidenta de Medio Ambiente keniana entre 2003 y 2005.

A través de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (AECI), España colaborará con el Movimiento Cinturón Verde, creado por la Premio Nobel y hoy activo en quince países africanos, para trabajar en el desarrollo sostenible y en la reforestación; el apoyo español se dirigirá, en concreto, a los bosques del Congo.

El segundo acuerdo, que previsiblemente se firmará en Madrid, será de colaboración con el ECOSOC, organismo de la Asamblea General de la Unión Africana que busca potenciar la participación ciudadana en la vida social, política y económica.

La Nobel keniana agradeció la ayuda española y destacó la importancia del medio ambiente para alcanzar los Objetivos del Milenio y superar los actuales niveles de pobreza.

Recalcó además la relevancia del fomento de la participación de la sociedad civil africana a través de ECOSOC, ya que, subrayó, "sólo con un buen Gobierno y una gestión responsable de los recursos podremos prevenir los conflictos y preservar la paz".

En el marco del Movimiento Cinturón Verde, que desde 1976 anima a los ciudadanos y, especialmente a las mujeres, a plantar árboles como forma de preservar el ecosistema y fortalecer a las comunidades, Fernández de la Vega y Maathai plantaron un olivo en el parque Uhuru-Ri de Nairobi, con el que la Premio Nobel mantiene un especial vínculo.

En 1989 se opuso a que el Gobierno dictatorial de Daniel Arap Moi autorizara a un magnate australiano la construcción de un rascacielos en la única zona verde de la ciudad y la presión nacional e internacional obligó finalmente al empresario a abandonar sus proyectos.

Tras estas actividades, la vicepresidenta visitó la sede de la ONU en Nairobi, una de las cuatro que tiene la organización en el mundo, donde fue recibida con danzas africanas y la canción tradicional "Akuna Matata" y donde, siguiendo la tradición de las personalidades que visitan el centro, plantó un nuevo árbol en los jardines.

____________________________________________________________________________

THE OBSERVER :FOCUS: Ethical Behaviour: Can Our Way Of Living Really Save The Planet?: After A

Date: March 05, 2006


week in which Amex launched its red card, David Cameron said he was going for wind power and the Lonely Planet pleaded for less air travel, Robin McKie, Amelia Hill, Juliette

ROBIN MCKIE, AMELIA HILL, JULIETTE JOWIT AND NICK MATHIASON

Source:

On the surface, Kendal Murray's life looks utterly average. Each morning, she showers, makes toast and drops her children off at nursery before going to work. Only on closer inspection do the details of her routine reveal some remarkable features: her shower is heated by solar panels on her roof; the electricity for her toaster comes from a local wood-burning generator; and when she takes her children to nursery, she walks - naturally.

Murray lives in BedZED, the Beddington Zero Energy Development in Sutton, south London, the first large-scale 'carbon neutral' community which, by using energy only from renewable sources generated on site, does not add significant amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

'People have a hair-shirt image about green living but it can be easy, affordable and attractive,' said Murray. 'I live with a clear conscience and haven't had to give up a single thing to live this life.'

Welcome to the world of ethical living which, if recent trends are maintained, will see most of us adopting lifestyles like that of the the Murrays, not only taking care to save energy and to cut back on our carbon output - thus joining Tory leader David Cameron who yesterday announced he is to install a wind turbine on his west London home - but ensuring that we wear clothes which do not exploit workers in the developing world, go on holidays that do not damage precious habitats, and keep our children fastidiously eco-friendly.

A few days ago, Marks & Spencer became the first high-street store to launch its own fair trade cotton T-shirts and socks. Then the supermarket giant Sainsbury's confirmed it had placed the largest order ever for fair trade cotton. Last week Top Shop announced that it was bringing fair trade clothing into its stores. At the same time, the market for organic food has mushroomed to more than pounds 1.1bn, with the result that ethically produced food - organic, fair trade, vegetarian and free range - now accounts for 5 per cent of Britain's pounds 80bn food bill.

And now luxury brands are getting in on the act. Last week saw the launch of Product Red: Bono's idea to use branded sunglasses, trainers and T-shirts bought on American Express credit cards to raise money to fight Aids in Africa. Endorsed by actresses and supermodels such as Elle MacPherson and Claudia Schiffer, the Amex Red card contributes 1p of every pound you spend to the cause.

Ethical living is on the march, in other words. Statistics published by the Co-operative Bank show that Britons spent pounds 25.8bn on ethical goods and services last year, up 15 per cent on 2004. More than 40 per cent of that went on ethical banking and investments, though sales of fair trade goods - items which pay a premium over the market rate to the producer - are also rising dramatically.

Ten years ago, there were no fair trade products. Last year shoppers spent almost pounds 200m on them and the market is rising 40 per cent a year, with coffee at the head of the list of favourite products. Cafedirect is now the sixth-biggest selling coffee brand in the country.

In addition, the government is considering moves to strengthen its Code for Sustainable Homes so that it is likely to become mandatory for new homes to have ambitious targets for reducing energy use. Such a move is important because 50 per cent of UK carbon emissions come from the built environment and because of massive house building that is planned in the south of England.

It all seems highly encouraging. But are those billions being wisely spent? Are they really helping the environment? And can consumers control the destiny of the planet through their spending, thus by-passing the best international efforts of politicians? These questions take us to the heart of one of the most compelling issues of the day: to what extent can consumer power save the world? Not surprisingly, answers reveal a wide gulf between proponents, and opponents, of ethical living.

Consider the issue of eco-tourism. There are obvious attractions in having holidays that do not lead to widespread degradation of precious habitats, such as the concreting over of coral islands or the building of huge hotels that soak up vast quantities of water for showers and swimming pools. However, the issue is not that straightforward. For example, most eco-tourist resorts are in South America, Asia and Africa. Getting there involves burning a great deal of fuel and adding vast amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

It is a point that even professional travellers now acknowledge. Yesterday the world's two main gurus of globetrotting - Mark Ellingham, founder of the Rough Guides, and Tony Wheeler, who created Lonely Planet - both admitted their publications have helped to spread a casual attitude to flying, one that is boosting rises in carbon dioxide levels and aiding global warming. So make fewer flights and stay longer, they advised.

It is still not that simple, as Paolo Guglielmi, a project manager for the United Nations Environment Programme in the Mediterranean, pointed out. 'If the only environmental concern was the flying, we'd be on the right track; the problem is it's not the only problem.'

This point has been demonstrated in a recent study by academics which suggests the environmental impact of eco-tourism is often significantly greater than that of staying at home. John Hunter and Jon Shaw, of Aberdeen University, estimated the 'ecological footprint' of 252 eco-tourist holidays in terms of the number of global hectares of the planet needed to provide the resources used there. The results, to be published in the journal Environmental Conservation , show that in all but one case the net effect was to increase pressure on natural resources.

'There's probably a difference here between the hard and soft cores of tourism,' added Hunter. '[You could] go on a trek through Mongolia where you sit on the back of a camel and eat like locals; if you go to the Philippines or Thailand and visit an eco-park once and the rest of the time live in a luxury hotel, your impact is going to be huge.'

This point is backed by Guglielmi. 'The problem is coming from the word eco-tourism, which is interpreted in any country in a different way,' he said. 'We range from places where eco-tourism is interpreted as tents, to other countries, particularly along the south Mediterranean shores, where the word is simply greening five-star hotels along the coastline for kilometres.'

Then there is the issue of food. On one level, fair trade products give small producers in developing countries access to lucrative markets. On the other hand, importing of the stuff from thousands of miles away increasingly contributes to food-mile pollution.

Similarly, moves to keep our children 'eco-friendly' are criticised for their impracticality. Disposable nappies are rated a godsend by most parents, while a 2005 Environment Agency study concluded there was little difference between washable and disposable nappies in terms of their ecological impact.

In any case, retail analyst Richard Hyman, a consultant at Verdict Research, said he was far from convinced that British consumers are prepared to sacrifice rock bottom prices for peace of mind. 'We live in a world where most people are keen to support their local shops but don't do anything about it,' he said. 'People are happy to talk about ethical awareness but when it comes to consumer patterns the talk is not reflected.'

The road to achieving a true, ethical, sustainable lifestyle is going to be a rocky one, in other words. However, that does not mean the goal is not worth pursuing, say supporters. They point out to the often horrific impact that westerners can have on the developing world, both in terms of the cost to the environment and in human lives.

Last week, three separate incidents in Bangladesh garment factories resulted in the deaths of several hundred people. Fires broke out at two factories in Bangladesh's port city of Chittagong and a third factory collapsed in the capital, Dhaka. Inside the factories were clothes bound for Europe and America. Not one of the incidents was reported in UK newspapers. Yet they demonstrate the terrible price that is sometimes paid to produce items we take for granted.

Such incidents give the ethical movement its impetus and are likely to continue to keep pressure on businesses so that they ensure products and services are provided in a way that is morally acceptable to most individuals. It may prove tricky to work out the details of ethical living programmes but there is always going to be a desire to achieve them.

And in the end, we will all benefit, according to Kendal Murray. 'I have never lived anywhere remotely as friendly as this,' she said of BedZED. 'There is a sense of community here that is a direct result of the fact we all feel linked by the common cause of environmental living. When I tend to my vegetables in my allotment or walk to the recycling tip, I meet my neighbours and we talk. Everywhere else I have lived, people go from their doors to their cars and disappear in a gust of petrol fumes.'


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Insurance Journal: UNEP Enacts Kyoto Compliance Rules

March 6, 2006


The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has formally launched a compliance system for the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The system applies to those countries that have signed the Kyoto Protocol, but does not affect the U.S., China, India or other countries that have failed to ratify the pact.

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commented: "Climate change is the most serious challenge facing the world and the Kyoto Protocol is the internationally agreed mechanism for averting it".

The regulatory system contains both an enforcement branch and a facilitative branch. The enforcement wing has the power to decide on the consequences for countries encountering difficulties in meeting their commitments by 2012. The other branch is designed to promote compliance by offering countries advice and assistance.

"Kyoto has many carrots including the chance for developed nations to offset some of their emissions in developing countries through tree planting and renewable energy schemes, up to participating in the emerging carbon trading markets," Toepfer continued. "With today's announcement, the Protocol also has teeth, as befits a legally binding treaty. This in turn adds to the integrity of Kyoto and its provisions, in particular the credibility of the emissions trading markets."

Toepfer wished Ambassador Ra�l Estrada Oyuela of Argentina, chair of the Committee's enforcement branch, and Hironori Hamanaka of Japan every success and a "not too busy time". He also noted that the "signs of climate change are all around us, from the melting of the Arctic and the glaciers up to extreme weather events and the migration of species. I sincerely believe that the world is no longer in any doubt that climate change is real and that the targets set under Kyoto are modest and doable�that few if any will be bothering Ambassador Estrada or Mr. Hamanaka over the next six years".

The announcement precedes a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - http://www.ipcc.ch. - that is expected to be released by the end of March. Early reports indicate that the IPCC's assessment will present the strongest evidence yet of the link between climate change, global warming, and the emission of greenhouse gasses, mainly CO2.

The consequent disruption of normal weather patterns is being taken increasingly seriously by the insurance and reinsurance industries, who have come to realize that more frequent and more violent weather events could result in a lot more claims and higher losses.

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All Africa Global Media :African Environment Scribes Renew Commitment

by Innocent Gahigana in Mauritania

Source: Date: March 06, 2006

Kigali, Mar 05, 2006 (The New Times/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) --In a bid to improve on professionalism, members of African Network of Environmental Journalists (ANEJ) have tasked themselves to create a platform through which environment activists can operate.

.This was agreed on during the ongoing ANEJ board workshop that opened mid last week in Nouakchott city, Mauritania. It aims at promoting the role of African media in the implementation of poverty alleviation and environment protection projects backed by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in seven African countries including Rwanda.

Other issues tackled include challenges in reporting about poverty and environment and the way forward in averting the hardships in line with the ANEJ commitment.

The participants agreed on building the capacity of members and attracting new ones from African countries and around the globe. They also agreed on the need to update the ANEJ website.

Addressing the participants, the Mauritanian Minister for Rural Development and Environment, Mr.Gandega Sylli, said that journalists have a mandate to change the social perception over the use of natural resources to alleviate poverty.

The minister said: "Africa is currently facing environmental degradation and the people's perception over the use of available natural resources is the source of the hazard. You must show your commitment by conveying critical messages to create awareness among Africans."

Addressing participants, Kane Mamadou from UNEP is set to support ANEJ's effort to create awareness on the environment and poverty. "This requires great commitment of all media practitioners in regard to information dissemination and documentation." The workshop is sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme.

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Liberté: 5 juin, Journée Mondiale de l’Environnement

Pnue : l’Algérie sera le pays hôte
Par : Nabila Saïdoun
7.3.2006

Après le Liban, l’Espagne et les États-Unis, c’est au tour de l’Algérie d’être choisie par le Pnue en guise de pays hôte pour la célébration de la Journée internationale de l’environnement qui se tient le 5 juin de chaque année. C’est du moins ce qui a été annoncé par Cherif Rahmani, ministre de l’Aménagement du territoire et de l’Environnement, lors de la rencontre tenue, hier, au siège de son département. L’occasion pour le ministre d’annoncer l’installation officielle du comité interministériel pour préparer l’événement et dont le coordonnateur est M. Slimani, président de l’Observatoire national de l’environnement et du développement durable (ONEDD).
“D’importantes délégations sont attendues pour ce jour qui devrait revêtir un cachet particulier pour tout le peuple algérien”, a déclaré le ministre précisant que l’événement en question sera parrainé par le président de la République. La Journée mondiale de l’environnement 2006 sera placée sous le slogan de “Ne désertez pas les zones arides”, ce qui n’est pas du tout éloigné de la préoccupation mondiale actuelle et pour laquelle l’ONU a réservé de grandes festivités de sensibilisation. C’est aussi Cherif Rahmani qui a été désigné, en guise d’ambassadeur et de porte-parole honoraire, par Kofi Annan pour 2006, Année internationale des déserts et de la désertification.

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Thai Press Reports: Vietnam Hanoi Workshop Plans Cleaner Production Methods With Swedish Help

March 6, 2006 Monday

Section: Regional News - Local and international scientists, researchers and environmentalists gathered at a workshop in Hanoi late February to discuss ways of implementing cleaner production methods.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) funded a 2.1 million USD project called Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction from Industry in Asia and the Pacific (GERIAP), the principles of which were under discussion at a workshop focussing on cleaner production methods. The project was jointly implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre (VNCPC).

The five-year project, which will wrap up this June, aims to encourage selected industry enterprises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and costs by improving energy efficiency and also to provide training for companies in energy efficiency methodology and case studies, barriers and action plans.

"Positive experiences from these selected enterprises will be multiplied widely as others follow suit and start to apply similar technology in their production," said Sophie Punte, GERIAP project coordinator.

The project includes nine Asian countries; Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, China, India, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka. - ScandAsia

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ABC (Australia): AM - Scientists call for urgent action over extinction rate

[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1585594.htm]

AM - Tuesday, 7 March , 2006  08:28:00

Reporter: Sarah Clarke

TONY EASTLEY: Scientists say they have the first concrete evidence to show that the planet is entering the largest mass extinction in 65 million years.

They warn that humans are destroying the biodiversity so rapidly, that some plants and animals are simply failing to regenerate.

There are more than 30 extinction hotspots around the world, with two in Australia, and the prediction is that as many as five million species may be lost this century.

Leading international scientist Professor Norman Myers has been flown to Australia to advise the Federal Government on how to address the crisis.

As Environment Correspondent Sarah Clarke reports, Professor Myers believes this generation can do something to help.

SARAH CLARKE: It's being labelled "the great dying-off".

This century, scientists are warning the world could lose up to half its species and it's happening in the flickering of an evolutionary eye.

NORMAN MYERS: We are well into the opening phase of a mass extinction of species. There are about 10 million species on earth. If we carry on as we are, we could lose half of all those10 million species.

SARAH CLARKE: Professor Norman Meyers is a Visiting Fellow of Oxford University and has advised the Prime Ministers of Australia, Sweden, Italy, India and Indonesia about biodiversity.

He's also won the United Nations Environment Prize.

Australia has two of the world's 33 major extinction hotspots. Now Professor Myers is in Australia to advise the Federal Government on how to save what's left.

NORMAN MYERS: Australia has one designated hot spot in South Western Australia and another one is being planned along the eastern strip of the country.

A hotspot is an area that features exceptional concentrations of species that are found nowhere else in the world - we call them endemics - and number two, these are, though severely threatened, they contain the last remaining habitats of large numbers of species and they've also lost at least 70 or 80 per cent of their original vegetation already.

SARAH CLARKE: Evidence shows insects, which account for more than half the described species on earth, are disappearing faster than birds.

Frank Howarth is from the Australian museum.

FRANK HOWARTH: Many areas of Australia's ecosystems depend on the work of insects.

So at the Australia Museum we put a lot of effort into to looking at these hotspots, about what insects actually occur there, whether their numbers are increasing or decreasing, because they tell us a lot more about some of the high level effects.

SARAH CLARKE: The Federal Government has invested $36 million in a program to protect these fragile areas.

But Nicola Beynon from Humane Society International isn't convinced the action plan in place can do the job.

NICOLA BEYNON: The Australian Government is investing a lot of money in biodiversity conservation. Human Society International is concerned that that money may not be invested in the most sensible way.

SARAH CLARKE: Professor Myers says more parks and reserves are needed, and while his warnings are dire, he's convinced the situation can still be turned around.

NORMAN MYERS: We would be the first generation in the whole of human history since we came out of our caves to tackle a mass extinction head on and cancel it. That is what we could do, and if we do, I think people will cheer for us from thousands of years ahead.

TONY EASTLEY: Professor Norman Myers, ending that report from Sarah Clarke.

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