The environment in the news monday 13 October 2008



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THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS

Monday 13 October 2008


UNEP and the Executive Director in the News


  • The Independent: Leading article: The green lining to this chaos

  • The Independent: A 'Green New Deal' can save the world's economy, says UN

  • Moneycontrol.com, India: Deutsche Bank appoints Munish Varma

  • Daily Nation, Nairobi: Project to restore Mau Forest starts next year

  • Business Mirror, Philippines: It pays to go green

  • Globe and Mail, Canada: In Ecuador, rivers, plants and animals have rights

  • Daily News, Sri Lanka: Campaign to declare Gulf of Mannar a World Heritage Site

  • Gulf Daily News: Digital atlas to bolster green drive

  • Welt Online, Germany: Alcoa Stays Sustainability Course





Other Environment News


  • AP: Beijing to ban half its cars during high pollution

  • AFP: Financial crisis clouds EU's climate change plans

  • Reuters: Exotic climate study sees refugees in Antarctica


Environmental News from the UNEP Regions


  • ROA

  • ROAP

  • ROWA


Other UN News


  • Environment News from the UN Daily News of 10 October 2008

  • Environment News from the S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 10 October 2008

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

The Independent: Leading article: The green lining to this chaos



Sunday, 12 October 2008
There are two responses to the financial crisis that are wrong. One is to say that we can forget all that goody-goody guff about the environment now that people are worrying about how to pay next week's bills. The other is to say that our culture of consumption has been exposed as unsustainable and that we must abandon capitalism for a life that is closer to nature. Today we outline a middle way.
What started as a technical problem in capital markets is now moving quickly into the so-called real economy of jobs, homes and living standards. One subplot in this extraordinary story starts with defaulting banks in a country with a population the size of Coventry and ends (for the moment) with council workers across England worrying about whether they will be paid next week. While we wait for the scale of the recession to become clear over the coming months, many people may assume that green issues will slip down the news priorities.
The Independent on Sunday does not accept that they should. Today we publish the first comprehensive listing of those often unsung heroes of the environmental movement, the IoS Green List. It builds on the success of our Pink List, which celebrates the contribution that gay and lesbian people make to British life, and which was itself a reverse tribute to another list of a more material kind in a rival newspaper.
We hope that the Green List will allow us to recognise the remarkable contribution made by environmentalists in meeting the greatest challenge of our times: saving the ecosystem of our planet from the depredations of human activity. For many of those featured on our list, this will be the first time that their efforts – often deeply unfashionable and pursued for years without thought of personal reward – have been appreciated and marked. In no case do we think this is more true than in that of this year's winner, John Stewart, interviewed by Cole Moreton about his journey from the 2B London bus to the campaign against Heathrow expansion.
Readers may quibble with our rankings, and we hope that you will. We want to provoke a debate about what makes a good environmentalist and how you can evaluate the contribution made by any one person. So please take issue with us and argue that we have recognised the wrong people in the wrong order. Help us to make next year's List even better.
Join the debate, too, about our contention that now is the time, of all times, to focus people's attention on green issues. We believe that it is precisely while advanced democratic capitalism is going through one of its phases of "corrective" destruction that visionary leaders can best seize the chance to re-order its priorities. There is a green dimension to the financial crisis, in that it was triggered by steep price rises in oil and food, as production of both tested the limits of sustainability.
The argument here is one of balance, which is why we do not agree with the anti-capitalists who see the economic crisis as a chance to impose their utopia, whether of a socialist or eco-fundamentalist kind. Most of us in this country enjoy long and fulfilling lives thanks to liberal capitalism: we have no desire to live in a yurt under a workers' soviet.

Heathrow airport is a test case. We understand the conventional economic case, and we are not opposed to air travel as such. But there comes a point when the growth of carbon-based air travel has to be halted and probably reversed if the global ecosystem is to remain capable of sustaining human life at present numbers. It may be easier to adjust to new rules if they are introduced at a time of economic stringency. Now might be the time to say no more runways and that slots on existing runways will go to the highest bidder in a free market, so that the cost starts to reflect the damage done to the environment.


The Independent on Sunday is in favour of market forces, and recognises that they work effectively only when they are well regulated (and on the basis of sound money, which, as we have been forcefully reminded in recent weeks, requires governments to act as lenders of last resort). Market forces cannot respond to the costs of environmental degradation unless governments put a price on – above all – carbon.
To that extent only, we agree with the anti-capitalists: that now is the time to rethink the values that underlie our economic system. As Geoffrey Lean, our Environment Editor, reports today, the United Nations is already working on a plan for green growth, harnessing the power of market forces for environmental sustainability.

In the argument for better regulation of markets in the public interest – which must include mitigating climate change – we hope that the stars of our Green List will light the way.


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The Independent: A 'Green New Deal' can save the world's economy, says UN

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Sunday, 12 October 2008

Top economists and United Nations leaders are working on a "Green New Deal" to create millions of jobs, revive the world economy, slash poverty and avert environmental disaster, as the financial markets plunge into their deepest crisis since the Great Depression.

The ambitious plan – the start of which will be formally launched in London next week - will call on world leaders, including the new US President, to promote a massive redirection of investment away from the speculation that has caused the bursting “financial and housing bubbles” and into job-creating programmes to restore the natural systems that underpin the world economy.

It aims to convince them that, far from restricting growth, healing the global environment will be a desperately -needed driving force behind it.

The Green Economy Initiative - which will be spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), headquartered here, and is already being backed by governments – draws its inspiration from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which ended the 1930s depression and helped set up the world economy for the unprecedented growth of the second half of the 20th century.

It, too, envisages basing recovery on providing work for the poor, as well as reform of financial practices, after a crash brought on by unregulated excesses of the free market and the banking system.

The new multimillion dollar initiative – which is being already funded by the German and Norwegian Governments and the European Commission – arises out of a study commissioned by world leaders at the 2006 G8 summit into the economic value of ecosystems. It argues that the world is caught up in not one, but three interlinked crises, with the food and fuel crunches accompanying and intensifying the financial one.

Soaring prices of grain and oil, it stresses, have stemmed from outdated economic priorities that have concentrated on short term exploitation of the world's resources, without considering how they can be used to sustain prosperity in the long term. Over the last quarter of a century, says UNEP, world growth has doubled, but 60 per cent of the natural resources that provide food, water, energy and clean air have been seriously degraded.

Achim Steiner, UNEP's Executive Director, adds that new research shows that every year, for example the felling of forests deprives the world of over $2.5 trillion worth of such services in supplying water, generating rainfall, stopping soil erosion, cleaning the air and reducing global warming . By comparison, he points out, the global financial crisis is so far estimated to have cost the world the smaller one-off sum of $1.5 trillion.

“We are pushing, if not pushing past, the limits of what the planet can sustain,” he says. “If we go on as we are today’s crisis will seem mild indeed compared to the crises of tomorrow”.

Switching direction and concentrating on 'green growth', he says, will not only prevent such catastrophes, but rescue the world's finances. “The new, green economy would provide a new engine of growth, putting the world on the road to prosperity again. This is about growing the world economy in a more intelligent, sustainable way.

“The 20th century economy, now in such crisis, was driven by financial capital. The 21st century one is going to have to be based on developing the world's natural capital to provide the lasting jobs and wealth that are needed, particularly for the poorest people on the planet”

He says for example, that it makes more sense to invest in preserving forests, peatlands and soils, which naturally absorb carbon dioxide, than destroying them and then developing expensive technology to do the job.

He points out that the world market for environmental goods and service already stands at $1.3 trillion and is expected to double over the next 12 years even on present trends, and adds. “There is an enormous opportunity to ride on this increasing global demand for environmental improvement and turn it into the driver of economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction that is now so desperately needed. And in some places it is already beginning to happen.”

Mr Steiner will launch the initiative in London a week on Wednesday, October 22nd, with the announcement of three projects, concentrating on how investing in the world's natural systems, in renewable energy and in other green technologies would stimulate growth and provide jobs, and giving examples of where it is already taking place.

He will describe, for example, how Mexico is now employing 1.5 million people to plant and manage forests, how China has created the world's biggest solar energy industries from scratch in just a few years, and how Germany has leapt from being a laggard to a leader in renewable energy by giving people attractive incentives to install it in their home.

Pavan Sukhdev, the chair of Deutschbank's Global Market Centre, who is leading the initiative, says: “. Hundreds of millions of jobs can be created, there is no question that traditional industries like steel and cars cannot provide them. But this is a really huge business opportunity.”

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Moneycontrol.com, India: Deutsche Bank appoints Munish Varma

Published on Sat, Oct 11, 2008 at 16:50 , Updated at Sat, Oct 11, 2008 at 17:37

Source : Moneycontrol.com



Deutsche Bank today announced it has appointed Munish Varma as Head of Global Markets India, effective immediately. In his new role, Mr. Varma will be responsible for Deutsche Bank’s leading sales and trading businesses in India. He will report locally to Gunit Chadha, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Bank in India and regionally to Loh Boon Chye, Head of Global Markets Asia ex-Japan.
Mr. Varma joins from Deutsche Bank in London, where he was Head of Global Principal Finance Europe, responsible for illiquid asset trading and principal investments undertaken by Deutsche Bank in the region.
Mr. Chadha said: “Global Markets continues to make a significant contribution to financial markets in India, both as a source of liquidity and as a leading provider of investment and risk management products. Under Munish’s leadership, Global Markets will continue to serve a client base whose needs are increasing in-line with the development of India’s economy and financial markets”.
Mr. Loh said: “India is a strategically important market for our Asian business and one in which we continue to make significant investment. Munish’s appointment ensures our Indian business will continue to make a strong contribution to the Bank’s local franchise and our broader regional platform”.
Deutsche Bank Group is currently at the top of the investment banking league tables in India. It is ranked first in equity capital markets year to date in 2008 and first for arranging foreign currency bonds for Indian companies in 2007, according to Bloomberg.
Mr. Varma takes over from Pavan Sukhdev, who takes a sabbatical from Deutsche Bank to focus on his work in environmental economics and conservation with various non-government organisations, including the Green India States Trust and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Earlier this year, Pavan was appointed by the EU Commission and Germany to lead a G8+5 project to write a report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. He has also been nominated to lead ‘Green Economy’, a major UNEP initiative.
Mr. Varma first joined Deutsche Bank following the merger of Banker’s Trust in 1999 and was instrumental in setting up Deutsche’s credit structuring business, covering asset re-packs and synthetic CDO's. He has been responsible for the Global Principal Finance business in Europe since 2005.
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Daily Nation, Nairobi: Project to restore Mau Forest starts next year


A section of Mau Forest destroyed following human settlement. Restoration of the forest would involve re-establishment of plantations and promotion of natural regeneration. Photo/FILE  

By KENNEDY SENELWA

Posted Friday, October 10 2008 at 21:58
Planting of trees to rehabilitate the Mau Forest will start early next year.

This will be carried out in a joint project of the United Nations and Kenyan Government.

The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) said restoration of the forest would involve re-establishment of plantations and promotion of natural regeneration.
Cut down

Unep’s executive director Achim Steiner said restoration of degraded ecosystems of Mau Forest in Kenya and Lake Faguibine in Mali were country projects to be undertaken jointly with respective governments.


He said the two were part of large-scale projects to rehabilitate nature-based assets in five countries before the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting to be held in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.
Trees in Mau Forest have been cut down while Lake Faguibine is has been almost dry since the 1970s.
In a press statement, Mr Steiner said: “In a climate-constrained world, these nature-based assets and services they provide will become more central to an economy’s ability to thrive and survive.”

He said Mau was the largest closed-canopy forest in Kenya.


It generates goods and services worth more than Sh20 billion annually for tea, tourism and hydro-power sectors.
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Business Mirror, Philippines: It pays to go green

Science

Written by Wolfgang Kerler/ Inter Press Service

Sunday, 12 October 2008 19:38
UNITED NATIONS—A new report shows how a greener economy could eradicate poverty by creating tens of millions of new jobs. But it will not happen solely through the market’s “magic hand.”

“We are sending signals that low-carbon, energy-efficient and less polluting technologies and production processes will be the winners in the new emerging economy,” Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Programme (Unep), told Inter Press Service (IPS).


Together with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organization of Employers and the International Trade Union Confederation (Ituc), Unep released a new report entitled ”Green Jobs: Toward Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World.”
STEINER: “We are sending signals that low-carbon, energy-efficient and less polluting technologies and production processes will be the winners in the new emerging economy.”
It shows the possible impact an emerging “green economy” will have on the world of work. According to the report, “investments resulting from efforts to reduce climate change and its effects are already generating new jobs.”
In Germany, for example, the number of jobs in the renewable-energy sector rose from 66,600 in 1998 to 259,100 in 2006.

In the same year the sector had more than 2.3 million employees worldwide—many of them in developing countries like China and Brazil. The report estimates that employment in the renewable-energy sector will surpass 20 million people in 2030.


Other sectors with a promising green job potential—in developed and developing countries alike—are recycling, public transportation, improving energy efficiency of buildings, small-scale sustainable farming and sustainable forestry management.
By 2030 the volume of the market for environmental products and services is predicted to reach $2.740 trillion per year, from $1.3 trillion at present.
But the report has some bad news, as well. The number of new, well-paid jobs for poor people in developing countries is still far from adequate.
With 1.3 billion working people—or 43 percent of the global work force—earning too little to lift them and their families out of the poverty threshold of $2 per person a day, immediate action is required, experts say.

The current pace of economic transition ”is absolutely not fast enough” to tackle the challenges of climate change and to substantially reduce unemployment and poverty, Steiner said.


“It requires governments to take their responsibilities, to invest and to plan,” Ituc general secretary Guy Ryder told IPS. Sustainable development will require more cooperation between governments, employers and trade unions.
However, as the economy changes in a way that creates new jobs, many already existing workplaces will also change—meaning the environmental impact of enterprises and economic sectors will be reduced, ultimately to sustainable levels—and other jobs will be lost.
“You can have greener workplaces in any industry,” Ronnie Goldberg, vice president of the International Organization of Employers, told IPS. “But some industries eventually may disappear or certainly become much smaller.”
For this reason, the Ituc calls for “just transitions” as Ryder said: “It means transition with protection for displaced workers, which provides alternatives for them—like retraining and new investment—so they can move with a minimum of suffering from where they are today toward new opportunities.”
The director general of the ILO, Juan Somavia, stressed that ”green jobs are not decent by definition.” Especially in industries like waste management, many jobs are dirty, dangerous and difficult.
As natural resources grow scarce and expensive, many new business ideas are born—for example the recycling of mobile phones. Unheard-of in the past millennium, it has emerged to a multimillion-dollar business in recent years.
“Consumers’ demand for pro-environmental goods and services is exponentially increasing,” Tim Augustin, PR and marketing manager of the firm Greener Solutions in Germany, told IPS. With branches in Britain and Germany, it focuses on the recycling and trading of mobile phones.
“In 2007 Greener Solutions Germany collected around 450,000 mobile phones—a growth of 175 percent compared with 2006,” Augstin said. An estimated 100 million mobile phones are replaced every year in Europe alone.
Examples like this make Achim Steiner feel optimistic. “When you look 30, 50 years down the line, we will be producing the same quantity of goods with far less input and far less waste coming out of it. The waste from one production process becomes the input for another.”
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Globe and Mail, Canada: In Ecuador, rivers, plants and animals have rights

ZOE CORMIER

zcormier@globeandmail.com

October 11, 2008

Ecuador has become the first nation in the world to grant constitutional rights to the natural environment.

On Sept. 28, the country voted for a new constitution that - among changes to education, social security and elections - gives many of the same rights to rivers, forests, plants and animals as it does to people.

"Natural communities and ecosystems possess the unalienable right to exist, flourish and evolve," the legislation states. "... It shall be the duty and right of all Ecuadorean governments, communities and individuals to enforce those rights ... [and] every person, people, community or nationality will be able to demand the recognition of rights for nature."

Therefore, people do not have to claim damage to themselves or their property in order to file a claim against those that harm the environment.

"As a constitutional measure, this is groundbreaking," says Theresa McClenaghan of the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

But the motivation may be far more practical than sentimental: Ecuador has often been stuck with the bill to clean up the mess left by foreign oil and mining companies. It is still trying to extract compensation from Texaco, which it accuses of dumping more than 17 million tonnes of petroleum waste into the rain forest in an area known as the "Amazonian Chernobyl."

GRAND THEFT SOLAR

Californian cities may be renowned - in video games at least - for auto theft, but newspapers reported a different kind of crime this month: the stealing of solar panels.

Energy costs are soaring and the American economic future looks, to say the least, unstable. Solar panels cost tens of thousands of dollars to install, but, once in place, provide free energy. So it is understandably tempting to try to get something for nothing, especially in California, where the state's Million Solar Roofs initiative has seen installations soar over the past few years to more than 30,000 panels statewide.

Fortunately, the solar industry has been working on new kinds of panels that would be cheaper to build and easier to install, and would - coincidentally - also be harder to steal.



GREEN JOBS

With a recession looming, environmentalists fear that climate change will be neglected as governments scramble to rescue the ailing economy.

But dealing with one issue does not have to mean abandoning the other. A United Nations report says climate change and economic development "cannot be addressed separately" and dealing with both can be done only by the creation of "green jobs."

The Green Jobs Initiative - launched by the UN Environment Program and trade and labour organizations - argues that investment in environmentally friendly sectors such as public transportation, waste recycling and renewable-energy generation is the best way to propel long-term job creation and improve conditions for the billion people worldwide who live in poverty.

The global market is estimated to be worth $1.37-trillion (U.S.) and is projected to double by 2020. Some of the biggest areas of growth are in developing countries. For example, solar technology employs 600,000 people in China, where green ventures account for 19 per cent of total investment.

In particular, the UN report calls for a greater focus on "decent" work, noting that jobs in the environmental sectors in developing countries are often dangerous and unhealthy. Recycling and waste management in China employs ten million people, but because it is usually done at a small fraction of the cost as in developed nations (often illegally and by hand), recyclers are frequently exposed to extremely dangerous levels of chemicals and heavy metals.

Governments are moving on an unprecedented scale to prevent bank failures and stimulate the stock markets. But "imagine if some of those stimulus packages could be targeted towards not maintaining the old economy of the 20th century but investing in the new economy of the 21st century," said Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP.

For example, the report says an investment of $630-billion - just shy of the $700-billion U.S. rescue package - through to 2030 could create at least 20 million jobs in the renewable-energy sector.



Zoe Cormier is a science writer based in London.

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Daily News, Sri Lanka: Campaign to declare Gulf of Mannar a World Heritage Site

An unprecedented international campaign to protect the Gulf of Mannar from destruction by the planned Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) is to be launched in London, UK, next month.


The Gulf of Mannar, which separates the South Eastern tip of India from the West coast of Sri Lanka, is one of South Asia’s largest biosphere reserves and a site of recognised scientific, environmental, religious and cultural importance. In 2006, when dredging commenced for the SSCP, to provide a navigation route for large vessels around the whole of the Indian peninsula, there was a chorus of disapproval from environmental, humanitarian and religious and cultural organisations worldwide.
Now, for the first time, many of these organizations are to meet to provide compelling multi-disciplinary evidence encouraging the Governments of India and Sri Lanka to ask UNESCO to designate the Gulf as a World Heritage Site.
This would effectively end plans for the SSCP and ensure the Gulf - home for many endangered plant and animal species as well as being the site of the world-famous Adam’s Bridge, or Ram Sethu, a structure sacred for Hindus - is protected. The first international meeting to call for a permanent cancellation of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) and for the Gulf to be designated a World Heritage Site will be held at the London headquarters of the world’s oldest biological society, The Linnean Society, on November 25 and 26.
It will be attended by scientists, biologists, environmentalists, economists, NGOs, religious leaders and civic authorities worldwide. Chairing the meeting will be Peter Bunyard, a fellow of The Linnean Society, co-founder of The Ecologist magazine, and a respected worldwide authority on climate change; Dr. Ranil Senanayake, a leading systems ecologist who has worked with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank on matters of biodiversity and forest rehabilitation; Maaike Hendriks, of Both ENDS in Amsterdam. Both ENDS strives for a more sustainable and fairer world by supporting organization in developing countries to fight poverty and to work towards sustainable environmental management.
The meeting has been championed by Kusum Vyas of the Living Planet Foundation. She says many leading environmentalists and scientists recognise that the SSCP is a flawed venture which has been inaugurated without any detailed review of devastating impacts to the invaluable biodiversity of the Gulf of Mannar.
She also argues the SSCP ignores critical environmental and humanitarian issues - including the impact on the livelihood of thousands of fishermen in the area - and that the project has not taken into sufficient account views expressed by environmentalists, seismologists, oceanographers and those living along the coastline.
“As world leaders contemplate ways to save the earth’s environment, all responsible citizens of the global community must recognize that dredging and destroying one of the world’s few remaining hotspots in terms of its exceptional biodiversity, to create a ship channel in the region of the Gulf of Mannar translates into an ecological disaster,” says Kusum Vyas. “If this project goes ahead, more than 100 species of corals and thousands of sea turtles and endangered sea animals such as dolphins and dugongs will be irrevocably harmed.
“We know the shipping lanes will bring pollution into the area and mankind will lose forever a part of its precious and fragile environment. Such action simply can’t be justified on the grounds it is convenient for people and helps the economy.
To do so would be a sin not just against nature, but also against our own children and generations to come. On the other hand, if the Governments of India and Sri Lanka work to declare the Gulf of Mannar a World Heritage site, they can leave a lasting legacy for their people and the citizens of the world.”
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Gulf Daily News: Digital atlas to bolster green drive



By REBECCA TORR
ENVIRONMENTAL changes in Bahrain and other West Asian countries are being documented with a series of before and after satellite images.
The Atlas of Environmental Change for West Asia aims to provide scientific evidence of rapid environmental changes taking place in many areas around West Asia.
It aims to raise awareness among the general public and policy-makers, while bringing local level changes to the attention of global audiences.
The project is sponsored by United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), Abu Dhabi Environment Agency and Qatar Environment Ministry.
It will highlight environmental case studies, supported by narratives, images, ground photographs and environmental maps.
"This is an atlas that will be made from light imagery, going back 20 or 30 more years ago until today," said Unep West Asia early warning and assessment division regional co-ordinator Dr Adel Abdel Kader, who is also leading the Atlas project.
"It's a very good visual presentation of environment issues.
"We have already done some background work and identified key sites, but now we will discuss what sites from different countries are the most appropriate to look for environment change."
Dr Abdel Kader said Unep had already produced a global atlas and one for Africa, but this was the first of its kind in the region to completely focus on countries in West Asia.
He said a team would collect the oldest to the most recent images from the data available and publish them in an atlas, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
Disaster
It will look at six thematic areas: water resources, land resources, urban development, coastal and marine environment, pollution and extreme events and environment disasters.
Dr Abdel Kader expects people in Bahrain to find the Atlas of interest, particularly with regard to urbanisation, coastal development and desertification.
"The region is really unique - we don't have too many clouds or vegetation blocking the skies, so the images will be much clearer," explained Dr Abdel Kader.
He said the Atlas would be printed with a storyboard, which will include the environment issues that are being discussed and supporting photographs from the field.
"Every image there will be a small story line to discuss what is happening in that area," said Dr Abdel Kader.
When completed, the atlas for West Asia will also be available at Google Earth, where the atlas for Africa can be found.
Unep will hold the Atlas of Environmental Change: West Asia, Orientation and Planning Meeting from tomorrow until Wednesday at Awal Ballroom, Gulf Hotel.
The event will be attended by about 35 country representatives from West Asia, Unep partner institutions in the region, as well as experts from Unep/GRID Sioux Falls in North America.
The meeting aims to give a general orientation to representatives of focal institutions on the vision for the Atlas of Environmental Change for West Asia, how participating institutions would contribute to the preparation process and what are the co-ordination and communication mechanisms.
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Welt Online, Germany: Alcoa Stays Sustainability Course


Alcoa reaffirmed its commitment to the pursuit of a sustainable future today, drawing a clear connection between environmental sustainability, through efficiency and conservation, and economic sustainability in the current climate.
Speaking at the Alcoa Foundation’s worldwide Advancing Sustainability conference in Barcelona, Spain, Alcoa President and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said for Alcoa, operating in a sustainable way was as much about ensuring a solid economic future as a secure environmental future and that it was false to suggest business could have either economic security or sustainability – but not both.
"For Alcoa, sustainability has always been an integral part of our company culture and today more than ever it is critical that we continue to integrate sustainability into all corporate decision making – both inside our business through the products we make and how we manufacture, to our interaction with our external environment through a core focus on energy efficiency and resource conservation.
"Sustainability is about more than just ‘doing good’. It is also about smart business, and at times like these when the economy is down, it is important to make that point very clearly,” said Mr. Kleinfeld.
Mr. Kleinfeld’s comments were made before more than 160 sustainability thought leaders and practitioners, as well as Alcoa’s senior global leadership, at the Foundation’s second biennial Advancing Sustainability Conference, convened to not only share research results from its flagship Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Program, but facilitate global cross-sector partnerships and networks to move to the next level of unlocking our collective potential to address global sustainability challenges.
In addressing the convention, Mr. Kleinfeld furthermore announced a renewed commitment by Alcoa Foundation to the advancement of a sustainable future, confirming a six-year extension of the Foundation’s flagship Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Program.
The Fellowship program, which commenced in late 2005, is delivering fresh insight into the opportunities and challenges facing the field of conservation and sustainability – environmentally, socially and economically – and linking academia, business, government, and non-governmental organizations around sustainable solutions for joint action.
In making the announcement, Mr. Kleinfeld said the extension of the Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Program would unlock answers to the most challenging sustainability issues facing the world today - climate change, energy use, water management, accelerated growth and development in emerging countries by ensuring continued support for the work of over 90 research fellows in all corners of the globe.
"From Australia to Zambia, the program’s fellows are tackling issues that have local impact and global implications - with a goal of providing government and business leaders with usable information they can apply to meet specific sustainability and conservation challenges,” said Mr. Kleinfeld.
"The fellows of this program today are the leaders of tomorrow, and their work is not only defining the challenges we face as a global community, but giving decision makers usable information in the creation of appropriate policy responses to ensure a sustainable future for us all.”

Over the next two days (October 11 – 13), the conference will hear from such global thought leaders as Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; Tim Flannery, Chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council and Arab Hoballah, Chief of the UNEP’s Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, in addition to a range of Fellowship program participants who will share the results of their research to date.


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