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Temperature rises due to lack of Shamal

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Temperature rises due to lack of Shamal

The oasis city was on Wednesday one of the hottest spots in the country.

Temperatures have been rising continuously across the emirates in a month that is normally considered to be the wettest in the year.

Weathermen said the conditions are due to prolonged southerly and south-easterly winds.

"The cold Shamal [westerly or north-westerly] winds are currently not blowing, and we are expecting further but gradual increase in the temperature at least up to Saturday," said Dr S. K. Gupta, a senior forecaster at Dubai Meteorological Office.

February is one of the windiest and wettest months in the UAE with regular Shamals affecting the Gulf. The month holds the record for the most rainfall in a day - 150.2 millimetres in 1988 at Dubai Airport.

The department has recorded an average of 25 millimetres of rain in this month, but this year has largely been dry.

The official said the cycles of Shamal winds are not yet completely over as a few more patches are expected at a later stage.

Strong south-easterly winds, however, often develop and bring hot and dry conditions with occasional sandstorms in February. The end of Shamal winds introduces the summer season in the region in the month of June.

According to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), the maximum high yesterday in Al Ain was 36C. Abu Dhabi recorded 35C and Dubai was at 32C. It is expected to rise up to 34C in Dubai in the next few days.

The centre said weather will be fair in general across the UAE.

It said conditions could be hazy at times. It will be cold at night over some interior and mountainous areas. Humidity is also expected to increase at night and in the early morning over some coastal and western interior areas with a chance of fog.

Winds will be blowing at a moderate speed of eight to 15 knots but may cause rising dust in some open areas on Friday.

It will reduce horizontal visibility. The sea will be moderate to rough with three to six feet high waves offshore.


Govt doing well to handle hazardous chemicals: EPA

CAIRO, Feb 25, (KUNA): The Head of the Chemical Materials in Kuwait En-vironment Public Authority (EPA) Ibtisam Al-Refai stressed Tuesday her country’s keenness to manage imported chemical materials with care and wise discretion. Al-Refai, who chaired the 4th meeting of Arab Coordination and Strategic Management of Chemical Materials in the Arab League, said that Kuwait is exerting all efforts to maintain a clean environment, including the formation of a higher committee in charge of coordinating efforts in handling chemical materials, including supervision which are spread throughout 16 agencies in Kuwait.

Al-Refai told KUNA that Kuwait has signed various environment protection treaties, among them the Stockholm agreement on contaminated elements and materials and the Rotterdam agreement which focuses on prior procedures of handling chemical materials. The EPA places a great deal of importance on implementing such agreements in addition to a set out plan on inspection procedures of chemicals storages, Al-Refai said. The Kuwaiti official added that the public authority has the proper human resources needed and the technical expertise in dealing with such tasks of protecting the environment, including various special laboratories assigned to test and analyze numerous types of chemicals with the latest technological equipment.

Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) aim is to develop and upgrade scientific research on industry, power and natural resources as well as to provide scientific advise, a KISR official said. Analytical Laboratory Director at KISR, Amal Al-Rashdan made the remarks on the sidelines of the fourth Arab coordination committee meeting for International Petrochemical Administration which started activities Tuesday at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.

She pointed out that there is a highly qualified squad of experts equipped with the highest technological tools to cope with the fast-paced development in the world.

KISR upgraded its scientific methods in order to meet the diversity of analytical laboratory requirements at the institute, Al-Rashdan added. The KISR laboratory has earned the trust of different international related-centers, due to its efficiency and accuracy, she said. Enhancing the skills of KISR’s working force is among the priorities of the institute to achieve comprehensive scientific development and to serve the needs of KISR’s foreign clients, Al-Rashdan added.


Muscat Declaration on Water Issued
G-77 calls for enhanced regional push on water

«Increasing capacities of member states in negotiation skills and in providing technical advisory services
«Knowledge, mapping and analysis of national capacities in managing shared water resources

The three-day G-77 Ministerial Forum on water concluded yesterday calling for an enhanced co-operation in the areas concerned of preservation and judicious consumption of water. The forum also reached a consensus on a set of joint decisions called ‘The Muscat Declaration on Water’.

Shaikh Abdullah bin Salim al Rowas, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, officially declared the session closed and adopted the document of joint decisions and an action plan for the successful implementation of the resolution. The three-day event, attended by delegations from 130 member states, addressed the challenges and strategies for water resources management in the South and agreed on 21 conclusions and recommendations which will be a mandate for the Istanbul convention to be held next month in Turkey.

 Highlighting the vital importance of water as a source of life, the Muscat Declaration on Water recognises the human right to clean water and hygienic sanitation as the key goal. The main challenges namely the lack of capacity, finance and political will to implement the decisions and other actions recommended by numerous meetings were stressed.

The forum highlighted the importance of strengthening the networking of research and development of institutions on water as well as data information, equipped by new technology in national and regional information centres on water resources received unanimous support from the delegates.

The member states will encourage developing countries to work together to strengthen strategic partnerships so as to contribute to the sharing of knowledge, innovation and transfer of technology for better access to improved water resources and sanitation. A number of steps will be pursued in terms of exchange of scientific and technological know-how among developing countries including:

1. Knowledge, mapping and analysis of national capacities in managing shared water resources,
2. Enhancing capacities of member states in negotiation skills and in providing technical advisory services,
3. Promoting exchange of experiences, best practice and lessons learnt in implementing projects dealing with water resources and environment management,
4. Identify new sources of funding with capacities to scale up available resources and exchange of expertise; identify new approaches for additional funding for projects, irrigation and sanitation
5. Promote innovative technologies to address the negative impacts of water-related disasters such as floods, droughts, cyclones, desertification, deterioration of river watersheds and the intrusion of sea water in to the non-saline ground water in coastal areas resulting from the rise of the sea surface caused by climate change and global warming.

Besides these, enhancement of dialogue on water and sanitation under the UN framework, promotion of sub-regional, regional and international South-South partnerships, joint undertaking for development of irrigation and transfer of low-cost technologies, exchange of experience on the application of good governance between the member states and establishment of a G-77 Achievement Award in the field of water were stipulated in the declaration.

Globally, almost 1 billion people have no access to clean water and 80 per cent diseases are due to polluted water and shockingly, an average of 1.5 billion children die yearly due to diarrohea and other diseases caused by contaminated water and inappropriate waste water systems. It is quite obvious that increasing consumption of water, insufficient water resources, lack of balance between supply and demand, depletion of water resources and absence of prompt, integrated water policies have all led to this critical situation. The Form realised that despite the great number of institutions addressing the issues of water management and projects for access to water, progress in reaching the goals to halve the number of people without access to safe water and adequate sanitation is slow and uneven.

G-77 forum a great success’

The G-77 Ministerial Forum on Water that concluded yesterday was a huge success on various counts, says Shaikh Abdullah bin Salim al Rowas, (pictured) Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, in an exclusive interview with Observer.  "Above all, it was a venue for the member states to express their concerns, their experiences in their domicile backdrop and to render their willingness to share scientific and technological expertise and sharing of experiences and best practices among developing countries".

A majority of the 130- member countries had submitted papers on varied issues relating to water preservation and consumption and the outcome was agreed unanimously among the affiliates of the Group.  "The G-77 members are going to gain from the points they had agreed upon for mutual co-operation and enhanced sharing of technical knowledge and expertise in the field of water," the minister said.

"The core theme of the forum was that water was the source of life on earth for many generations too and it has to be preserved, protected and sensibly used for a brighter tomorrow." Asked on the Muscat Declaration on Water that was passed in the conclusion of the forum, Al Rowas said that the participating delegations from various countries have started mulling over construction of dams and other modes of preservation which are necessary to support underground water.

Oman is the first country to host the first G-77 Ministerial Forum on Water since its inception in 1964 by 77 developing countries, signatories of the "Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries" issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.


Beneficiaries explore ways to improve on-farm water management

Beneficiaries of water-conservation projects implemented under the MEDA Water Programme on Wednesday examined means to improve on-farm water management and evaluate the projects’ achievements.

Representatives from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Italy, among other MEDA countries, took part in a workshop on the optimisation of on-farm water use in irrigation organised by the European Union.

The participants reviewed the output of three sub-regional projects, including Institutional and Social Innovations in Irrigation Mediterranean Management (ISIIMM,) Improvement of Irrigation Water Management and MEDA Water Management Project (MEDWA), and also studied the weak points that hampered the implementation of some goals.

MEDWA field supervisor Hiba Abul Rub said 100,000 farmers directly and indirectly benefited from the initiative, which is implemented by the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) and HWA Hilfswerk Austria.

“The project started in 2003 with the aim of improving on-farm irrigation water management and agricultural productivity,” she told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Commenting on the project’s main achievements, Abul Rub said JOHUD established a wastewater treatment plant in Ghor Safi, grey water storage units and water harvesting units in houses and farms.

“A group of farmers in the Ghor agreed to give us parts of their farms to establish small ponds for collecting rainwater. It helped save irrigation water and increased agricultural productivity,” she noted.

Abul Rub said three water springs were rehabilitated as part of the programme, while scores of farmers received training on water management and farming practices.

The 40 million euro MEDA Water project is part of the EU’s support for the development of the water sector in Middle East and North African countries under the MEDA Regional Indicative Programming.

It includes several project, mainly ISIIMM, which presented a number of methods on irrigation water management through local institutions.

The MEDA Water programme began in 2002 with a call for proposals, and nine projects were selected from more than 40 applications for implementation, which started in May 2003.

It aims at improving local water management conditions, capacity building and technology transfer.

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25 February 2009
African youth to climb Kilimanjaro, joining UN campaign for climate change
A group of young people from impoverished urban areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana, will set off on a gruelling trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro under the United Nations banner to draw attention to the effects of climate change.
Ten underprivileged youth will join 25 other people from the private and public sectors in the fourth annual ascent to the “rooftop of Africa” organized by the Kilimanjaro Initiative, a Nairobi-based non-governmental organization (NGO), in partnership with the “UNite to Combat Climate Change” global campaign.
“This year’s climb will highlight – with the melting ice of Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop – how global warming has a direct impact on the living conditions of individuals and communities throughout the world,” said Wilfred Lemke, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace.

“By raising awareness about the impact of global warming, including in populated urban areas, the Kilimanjaro Initiative will assist in the achievement of MDG [Millennium Development Goal] 7 of ‘ensuring environmental sustainability,’” he added.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that rising temperatures, increased rainfall and extreme weather conditions will dramatically change where and how people live in cities.

The change in climate does untold damage to economic and public infrastructure and stretches the ability of urban centres to accommodate displaced populations, leading to unemployment, deteriorating educational facilities, inadequate health care systems and a possible rise in crime in urban centres, according to the agency.

At the top of Kilimanjaro, the group will use a satellite telephone to call Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is currently on the South African leg of a tour that will take him to Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda nd Egypt.Mr. Ban is also due to fly over the receding ice cap of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, on his way to the city of Arusha to visit the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
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International Polar Year spurs critical research on global warming – UN agency
Research produced during the International Polar Year 2007-2008 shows clearly that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctic are losing mass, providing a critical boost to knowledge of global warming, the United Nations’ climate agency said today.
“The International Polar Year 2007 – 2008 came at a crossroads for the planet’s future” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the UN World Meteorological Organization

(WMO), which today released a study entitled “The State of Polar Research” jointly with the International Council for Science (ICSU).

“The new evidence resulting from polar research will strengthen the scientific basis on which we build future actions,” Mr. Jarraud added.
A joint project of WMO and the ICSU, the International Polar Year (IPY) garnered international funding support of about $1.2 billion over the two-year period aimed at a better understanding of the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
More than 160 multi-disciplinary research projects, developed by scientists of more than 60 countries, have been carried out over the two-year period that will end in March 2009.
The new research shows that the warming of the Antarctic is much more widespread than previously known, and it now appears that the rate of ice loss from Greenland is increasing.
A freshening of the bottom water near Antarctica is consistent with increased ice melt from that continent and could affect ocean circulation, the research finds.
The report also identified large pools of carbon stored as methane in permafrost which, if thawed, threatens to become another massive source of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
In addition to lending insight into climate change, the new research has aided our understanding of pollutant transport, species’ evolution, and storm formation, among many other areas, WMO said.
According to the agency, the Year will leave a legacy of enhanced observational capacity, stronger links across disciplines and communities, and an energized new generation of polar researchers.
“The work begun by IPY must continue” said Mr. Jarraud. “Internationally coordinated action related to the polar regions will still be needed in the next decades,” he said, adding that a major IPY science conference will take place in Oslo in June 2010.
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25 February 2009


  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met for almost two hours today with South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and other government officials, as he started his week-long African trip with a stop in South Africa -- his first official visit to that country as Secretary-General.

  • The Secretary-General and the President discussed a wide range of political issues including Zimbabwe, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and South Africa's role in peacekeeping operations. The Secretary-General also stressed the leading role played by South Africa in engaging non-industrialized countries on the global threat of climate change.

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  • Asked about the UN response to concerns raised about the UN’s environmental architecture in a report by the Joint Inspection Unit, the Spokeswoman said that the report is not confidential. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, it was made available to Governments at the first opportunity, and has already been presented by the primary author to governments.

  • The Chief Executives Board (CEB), Okabe said, has also commenced a process of internal consultations across the system in preparing a response to the system-wide recommendations.

  • The General Assembly has also grappled with the topic for more than two years, and is now seeking the inputs of environment ministers for a way forward.

  • The Spokeswoman said that the report was presented to the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum last week, which took the following decision: "Governments decided that a special group of developed and developing countries ministers 'or high-level representatives' be established to develop a set of options aimed at improving the way the world's environmental architecture is run in order to streamline and boost the ability of the global community to tackle persistent and emerging environmental challenges."

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s own response, the Spokeswoman noted the role being played by the CEB. She added the Secretary-General chairs and meets regularly with CEB to coordinate and streamline the work of the entire UN system on issues of common concern and interest.

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