The environment in the news thursday, 19 August, 2010

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Thursday, 19 August, 2010

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

  • ISRIA: Turkmenistan invites neighbors to regular political consultations under UN auspices

  • Nation (Malawi): UN urges action against advancing deserts

  • Environmental Expert (Blog): Eighty electric days around the world

  • Voxy (New Zealand): Russian Forest Fires Pose Major Threat To Bats

  • Renewable Energy Focus (UK): Oerlikon Solar sponsors electric car race

  • Travel Biz (India): 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism to be held in Oman from October 10-12, 2010

  • Minivan News (Maldives): Newsweek labels Nasheed ‘Green Guru’ for climate change work

  • Aftenpoften (Norway): Gorillaene. En siste kamp for å overleve

  • GreenPeace Magazin (Germany): Die vergessene Katastrophe - Nigerdelta von Öl verseucht

  • Kreiszetung (Germany): Ökonomen diskutieren Ökosysteme

Other Environment News

  • AFP: UN climate panel head expects no climate deal at Cancun

  • AP: AP poll: BP image recovering from spill, still low

  • Reuters: More tests, preparation ahead of final BP well kill

  • AFP: Environmental group fights US-Canada bridge construction

  • BBC: UN to meet to boost aid to flood-hit Pakistan

  • BBC: Smos satellite tracks Pakistan floods

  • BBC: Mass rescue after landslide hits China village

  • BBC: Earthquake ‘double whammy’ caused 2009 Tonga tsunami

  • AP: Indonesia's coral reefs dying at alarming rate

  • Reuters: Food supplies most at risk in Afghanistan and Africa

  • AP: Greenpeace pushes for renewable energy in SAfrica

  • Reuters: Airline experts to assess volcano risks in Iceland

  • Guardian (UK): Urban bees fare better due to varied diet, research reveals

Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

  • RONA

Other UN News

  • Environment News from the UN Daily News of August 18th 2010

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

ISRIA: Turkmenistan invites neighbors to regular political consultations under UN auspices

18 August 2010

Considering the Central Asian and Caspian Basin area an integral historical and geographical space that is now emerging as a strategic center of global significance, which includes important energy, transportation and communication hubs, Turkmenistan proposes to create a system of regular high-level political consultations between the Central Asian and Caspian countries under the auspices of the United Nations in order to strengthen peace and security in the region.

As the correspondent reports from Ashgabat, this statement was made by the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan on 16 August at a special briefing on the upcoming 65th session of the UN General Assembly. Other than establishing a multilateral mechanism for cooperation of Central Asian and Caspian countries, at the upcoming forum Turkmenistan intends to offer its neighbors creating a permanent platform for a policy dialogue on disarmament issues in the Central Asian and Caspian Basin area.

Turkmenistan considers it timely to also think of establishing a UN regional counter-terrorism information-coordination center, a UN educational information center to combat crime, as well as forming in cooperation with the UN an international task force to prepare a comprehensive program to save the Aral Sea.

According to the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Turkmenistan considers cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the most important component of environmental work in Central Asia and Caspian Basin. "In this regard, Turkmenistan proposes to specifically discuss the issue of opening a UNEP center for the countries of Central Asia and the Caspian region. For its part, Turkmenistan could provide all conditions to headquarter this centre in Ashgabat," he said.

With regard to food issues, at the 65th session of the UNGA Turkmenistan will propose to consider the possibility of creating a cluster office of FAO for the countries of the Middle East.
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Nation (Malawi): UN urges action against advancing deserts
18 August 2010
Poor farming practices, lack of water management, deforestation and climate change are turning vast stretches of the Earth into barren deserts, the United Nations said on Monday.

Launching a 10-year campaign to halt the advance of deserts, the U.N. environment programme (UNEP) said land degradation in dry places had affected 3.6 billion hectares (8.9 billion acres) -- a quarter of the world's land area -- and a billion people.

"Continued land degradation ... is a threat to food security, leading to starvation among the most acutely affected ... and robbing the world of productive land," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

The statement said 12 million hectares of arable land was lost to desertification each year, causing losses of agricultural productivity of $42 billion annually.

Africa is the continent considered by U.N. officials to be the worst affected by desertification. Its semi-arid Sahel region, stretching from Senegal in the west to northern Somalia, is fast turning into a wasteland.

Frequent droughts cause crops to fail. Niger and Chad are facing life-threatening hunger as much of the Sahel has been suffering a food crisis in recent months.

UNEP proposed community projects to plant trees and other plants that hold topsoil in place, preventing deforestation and tackling over-grazing by cattle-keepers, and teaching local communities how to manage their land better.

"Efforts have been made to address land degradation ... (but) more action is needed to arrest and reverse ... creeping desertification worldwide," the statement said.

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