THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Friday, 16 December 2005
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
? Elimination des substances appauvrissant l‟ozone : Le Sénégal sur la bonne voie
? Ozone-conservation plan under way (Accra Daily Mail)
? La technique chinoise de substitution biologique au bromure de méthyle
appréciée à la rencontre sur la couche d'ozone (Xinhua)
? Environment Minister Meets Senegalese Premier (Angola Press Agency)
? Kenya; Draw in the Net On Fishing Subsidies (The Daily Nation)
? UN expert urges reform of fishing subsidies at World Trade Talks (Solomon
? BI to Revise Rule on Environment-Friendly Credits (Antara News) ? South Africa; IFC Grants $3 Million to IST and Plug Power for Fuel Cell Project in South Africa (All Africa.com) ? Five stupid things that harm New Zealand (The National Business Review) ? South Caucasus Seismologists to Create Regional Network of Strong Movements (Arminfo) ? Marine life diverse but declining, finds survey (Mongabay) Other Environment News ? People back atomic power but not new plants-survey (Reuters) ? 2005 warmest ever year in north (BBC)
? One year on, tsunami survivors remember...and rebuild (Reuters)
? WWF advierte nuevos desastres en Aceh a causa de tala de bosques (Terra España)
? Who Will Bring Water to the Bolivian Poor? (New York Times)
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
? UN Daily News of 15 December 2005
? S.G.‟s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 15 December 2005
Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:email@example.com, http://www.unep.org
Le Quotidien (Senegal): Elimination des substances appauvrissant l’ozone : Le Sénégal
sur la bonne voie
En tant que pays en développement, le Sénégal entend se conformer aux recommandations de la
Communauté internationale en matière d‟élimination des substances appauvrissant la couche
d‟ozone. Le pays est sur la bonne voie, fait savoir le bureau national de l‟ozone.
En 2003, le Sénégal a reçu la distinction du meilleur Bureau Ozone dans le cadre de
l‟application des recommandations des protocoles de Vienne et de Montréal en matière d‟élimination des Substances appauvrissant la couche d‟ozone (Sao). Cette prouesse est le
résultat des actions menées par le programme ozone qui coordonne un ensemble d‟activités
pour éliminer les substances qui appauvrissent la couche d‟ozone, dont l‟essentiel est utilisé dans la climatisation et la réfrigération. Selon les recommandations des Protocoles de Vienne et
de Montréal, les pays en développement doivent éliminer les substances incriminées d‟ici 2010.
Le Sénégal est-il en phase avec ces recommandations ? ?Au Sénégal, nous avons un calendrier
d‟élimination annuel. Chaque année, nous fixons des quotas d‟importation. On est sur la bonne
voie. Suivant le calendrier d‟élimination, la tendance est à la baisse. Et nous pensons que le
Sénégal atteindra les objectifs d‟élimination d‟ici 2010?, assure Marie Coly Badiane, directrice
adjointe au bureau sénégalais de l‟ozone. Selon elle, ?le plan d‟actions du Sénégal marche bien?
grâce à des ?activités de sensibilisation?. Mais, il y a, surtout, la ?formation pour les techniciens
frigoristes qui utilisent le plus ces produits?, a-t-elle ajouté. Pour atteindre le but visé, le bureau
de l‟ozone en appelle à la réduction des importations. Et de 120 tonnes d‟importation par an, il y
a quelques années encore, le Sénégal en est aujourd‟hui entre 20 à 30 tonnes par an. Parmi les
secteurs de grande consommation des Sac, figure la réfrigération où l‟on note une forte
utilisation de la substance Chlorofluorocarbone 12. ?Par rapport aux enquêtes que nous avons
menées, la réfrigération constitue l‟essentiel des importations de gaz. Il y a les voitures, la
climatisation et autres, mais la réfrigération constitue même la base des importations de gaz?,
rappelle Marie Coly Badiane. Pour elle, il s‟agit de ne plus utiliser ces substances et de mettre en place d‟autres produits de substitution, comme le F 134 A bien connu des frigoristes. Mais,
sa généralisation se heurte à son coût élevé, selon notre interlocutrice.
Les atteintes au cadre environnemental mondial ont entraîné une détérioration de la couche
d‟ozone. Il en est résulté un trou qui ne sera pas comblé, d‟ici 2075 si les actions de protection
ne sont pas menées, a fait savoir Bakary Kanté, du Programme des Nations-Unies pour
l‟environnement (Pnue), citant des études récentes.
Accra Daily Mail: Ozone-conservation plan under way 15.12.2005
With the impact of ozone-depleting substances already reduced to 2 per cent of their effect
during peak years, representatives of the world's governments are meeting in Dakar, Senegal to
plan the complete elimination of chemicals that destroy the protective layer of the earth's
Already underway, (from 12 to 16 December), parties to the UNEP-developed Vienna
Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer are marking its 20th anniversary and planning
its next phase, along with that of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone
Layer, the successful annex that assists developing countries to rid themselves of ozone-depleting chemicals.
The Protocol's Technology and Economic Assessment Panel is recommending that developed countries provide approximately $439 million over the next three years to support the phase-out by replenishing the multilateral fund that has assisted the transfer of ozone-friendly technologies and know-how to virtually every developing country in the world.
UNEP reports that the process has enabled these countries to surpass their phase-out goals and reduce their consumption of ozone-depleting substances by over 60 per cent.
"The Montreal Protocol clearly demonstrates that, once they have access to technical and financial resources, developing countries are ready, willing and able to take aggressive action to protect the global environment," said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer.
"The multilateral fund has proven itself highly effective in supporting national phase-out programmes, and it deserves the strongest possible support for enabling developing countries to achieve the Protocol's ambitious goals for the years ahead," he said.
Since the adoption of the Vienna Convention in 1985, followed by the Montreal Protocol in 1987, the international ozone regime has expanded to address almost 100 ozone-depleting chemicals for refrigeration, electronics, foam-making and other industries, some of which also contribute to global warming.
While developed countries have already phased out virtually all uses of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), historically the greatest cause of ozone destruction, a number of them have been unable to meet the agreed 2005 phase-out target for methyl bromide, an agricultural fumigant they claim is hard to replace, UNEP said. Developing countries have until 2015 to phase out this chemical.
Xinhua: La technique chinoise de substitution biologique au bromure de méthyle
appréciée à la rencontre sur la couche d'ozone
La technique chinoise de substitution biologique au bromure de méthyle est fort appréciée lors de la conférence des Parties à la Convention de Vienne et au Protocole de Montréal sur la couche d'ozone qui se tient actuellement à Dakar, a-t-on appris jeudi sur place. Selon le directeur de la Coopération avec l'étranger du Bureau général de la Protection de l'environnement de Chine, M. Liu Yi, le bromure de méthyle est une substance qui ne pollue pas la terre mais qui nuit à la couche d'ozone. La recherche sur la substitution à cet élément progresse trop lentement que les pays développés, avec les Etats-Unis en tête, ont demandé de ne pas inclure le bromure de méthyle à la liste noire des substances appauvraissant la couche d'ozone, substances à éliminer au plus tard en 2010, conformément au calendrier fizé par la Convention de Vienne et le Protocole de Montréal.
La Chine a obtenu des résultats probants dans les recherches sur cette technique au bout de quatre années d'expérimentations menées dans trois de ses provinces, a affirmé le chef de la délégation chinoise composée de 20 membres.
Au cours des discussions en groupes et à l'exposition photographique sur la couche d'ozone, cette prouesse de la Chine a été considérée par le Secrétariat de la conférence et les organisations onusiennes présentes, notamment le PNUE, comme la " technique verte, susceptible d'être développée et vulgarisée".
Si cette technique réussit totalement au bout de quelques années de pratique, elle pourra être généralisée dans le monde et empêcher les opérations visant à demander à maintenir l'utilisation du bromure de méthyle chez les agriculteurs, a estimé Liu Yi, par ailleurs confiant dans le succès des négociations sur le renformement du Fonds Multilatéral destiné aux pays en développement qui sont appelés à atteindre à terme les objectifs de protection durable de l'environnement.
Le Premier ministre sénégalais, Macky Sall, en compgnie des experts chinois, a visité jeudi le stand chinois de l'exposition photographique de la Conférence sur la protection de la couche d'ozone.
La 7e réunion des Parties à la Convention de Vienne pour la protection de la couche d'ozone et la 17e réunion des Parties au Protocole de Montréal relatif à des substances appauvrissant la couche d'ozone se sont ouvertes à Dakar pour deux jours, sour la présidence du chef du gouvernement sénégalais Macky Sall et en présence de plus de 500 représentants venus d'au moins 150 pays signataire de ces deux documents.
Cette rencontre internationale se tient à l'initiative du PNUE afin de discuter des aspects liés aux respects des engagements, des moyens à mettre en oeuvre pour maîtriser les importations des équipements utilisant des SAO (réfrigérateurs, congélateurs) et prendre des dispositions afin de maintenir les acquis en matière de protection de la nature.
Le calendrier d'élimination de ces substances, comme la consommation de
chlorofluorocarbones (CFC), halons, bromure de méthyle figure aussi au programme de la rencontre.
Angola Press Agency: Environment Minister Meets Senegalese Premier
The Angolan minister of Environment and Urbanisation, Sita José Diekumpuna, was
Wednesday received in Dakar by the Senegalese Prime-Minister, Macky Sall, with whom he discussed matters relating to the sector that he leads.
At the end of the audience, the Angolan official said to the press that he discussed with the Senegalese Premier issues relating to the West African country's experience in the field of urbanisation promotion, housing and programmes of drainage in precarious districts.
"We transmitted to the Premier the progresses that we saw here and we expressed our interest in strengthening the existing relations in this sectors", underlined the minister Sita José.
The Angolan government official visited already some social projects in the outskirts of Dakar, at the company of his Senegalese counterpart, Assane Diagne, and held a meeting with the minister of Prevention, Public Hygiene and Drainage, Issa Mbaye Samb.
Sita José Diekumpuna is in Senegal representing the country at the 7th conference of the signatory parts of Vienna Treaty on Environment and the 17th World Protocol that started its
works this Thursday.
Organised by the executive secretariat of the Convention, jointly with United Nations Environmental Programme, the forum will analyse the research reports of the phenomena on the destruction of the ozone layer and the climatic changes, elaborated by experts, gathered since last Monday. _____________________________________________________________________________
The Daily Nation (Nairobi): Kenya; Draw in the Net On Fishing Subsidies
While the spotlight is yet again on wrangles over agricultural subsidies, international trade negotiators are making quiet progress on another front - fishing subsidies.
Dealing with fishing subsidies is vital for eradicating poverty and delivering a more durable and stable environment. Many Kenyans depend on fish for their livelihoods.
But over-exploitation by foreign fishing fleets, fuelled by harmful subsidies, can drive these people into ever greater poverty, as well as robbing the marine environment of a key link in the food chain upon which creatures like whales, dolphins and seals depend.
Fishing subsidies are contributing to an unprecedented crisis that is affecting the health of our oceans. It is estimated that more than three-quarters of the world's fisheries are fished to their biological limits or beyond, with many marine ecosystems having been disrupted by the devastation of major species such as cod, tuna and swordfish.
It is estimated that 15 per cent of small cetaceans such as dolphins and porpoises are at risk as a result of lack of food.
Fishermen, especially in developing countries, are also struggling, especially as bigger and more powerful foreign fleets access their waters and fish resources for the international market.
With more than a billion people relying on fish as their primary source of protein, and as many as 200 million depending on fishing for their livelihoods, the exhaustion of the world's fisheries is one of the defining environmental challenges of our time.
The causes of over-fishing are complex. But harmful subsidies are a real part of the problem. Information indicates that fishing subsidies top $15 billion per year - roughly 20 per cent of the fishing industry revenue worldwide. Many of these subsidies contribute to excess fishing capacity, over-fishing, and illegal fishing.
The elimination of harmful subsidies was identified at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development as a top global priority for fisheries, and has been addressed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for an even longer period. One of the trade organisation's core functions is to discipline subsidies that distort international commerce.
However, WTO rules only disallow subsidies that interfere with efforts to export, and in most
cases, governments must mount elaborate proofs of sales distortions in specific markets. Subsidies that distort competition at the level of production are not currently subject to effective discipline.
For fishermen - who must catch fish before they can sell them - such rules do little to prevent subsidies that lead to depleted stocks.
Moreover, existing WTO rules requiring disclosure of subsidy programmes have been ineffective. Repeated studies have concluded that governments under-report their fishing subsidies by nearly 90 per cent - and the little information they provide is often too vague to be of use.
Fortunately, when trade ministers met in Doha in 2001 to launch the current WTO negotiating round, they mandated negotiators to "clarify and improve" WTO subsidy rules on fishing subsidies.
In a ground-breaking move, the ministers also explicitly oriented the fishing subsidy talks towards improved environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
Progress at the negotiating table has been slow but steady. Under the leadership of a broad coalition, including New Zealand, Chile and the United States, the talks have moved into a substantive discussion over how new rules should work.
Importantly, the concerns of developing countries have also received early attention, with Brazil playing a key role. Consensus is now emerging in favour of significant new rules, including an outright ban on the most dangerous kinds of fishing subsidies.
But it is not yet time to open the champagne - the toughest talks lie ahead and new rules must still be defined, including for those falling outside a ban (such as "vessel buy-back" programmes which are considered environmentally positive subsidies).
Vulnerable small islands
And, the special needs of developing countries, particularly vulnerable small island developing states, require solutions that do not exacerbate unsustainable practices or cause competitive distortions.
Governments will need renewed resolve if WTO notification rules are to be given the teeth and the content they deserve. Perhaps most difficult, and necessary, will be integrating appropriate environmental considerations into the new rules without asking the WTO to step beyond the bounds of its trade-related mandate.
This is particularly important as "environmental" and "economic" issues are inextricably intertwined where natural resource management is concerned. It is going to take careful drafting to craft criteria appropriate to the WTO in this area.
Trade ministers meeting in Hong Kong should review and strengthen the WTO negotiating mandate on fishing subsidies that contribute to excess capacity and over- fishing. They should not the let the opportunity to slip through the net of improving the health of our oceans and the livelihoods of fishermen in some of the world's poorest countries.
Mr Toepfer is executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, while Mr Leape is director-general of World Wildlife Fund International.
_____________________________________________________________________________ Solomon Star: UN expert urges reform of fishing subsidies at World Trade Talks
AT the World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong yesterday, a United Nations environment expert urged adjustment to the over $15 billion in annual fisheries subsidies worldwide which amount to roughly one fifth of fishing industry revenue and contribute to the dangerous depletion of global fish stocks.
“In the past year, a consensus is emerging in the WTO that it‟s no longer a question of whether, but of how, fisheries subsidies reform should take place,” said Monique Barbut of the UN Environmental Programme told the gathering, which is part of the socalled Doha Round of trade talks which aims for more equitable terms for developing countries.
Ms Barbut pointed to a growing consensus that some subsidies do deplete fish stocks in all but the most carefully managed and monitored populations.
Among the most damaging are those for infrastructure, capital costs, access to foreign countries stocks and price support, she said.
“The WTO negotiations aiming to discipline these subsidies do hold out a real hope for more sustainable management of this sector, and this Doha Round mandate is a key opportunity for the trading regime to contribute to sustainable development,” she added.
She said the economic importance of fisheries extends across all developing countries, with net foreign exchange receipts from the sector amounting to $17.4 billion per annum, providing livelihoods for 200 million people.
Fisheries also make a huge contribution to food security, with more than a billion people relying on fish as their primary source of protein.
However, the limits of sustainable exploitation of many fish species have now been surpassed. Three quarters of global marine fisheries are harvested at their maximum rate or beyond sustainable levels.
Despite increasing capital investment in the fishing industry and bigger and more powerful fleets, global fisheries production has been almost flat for the last few years. This fisheries crisis not only increases poverty and constrains development, but is also causing potentially irreversible ecological damage in some major marine ecosystems, Ms Barbut stressed.
She emphasised that harmful subsidies must be differentiated from beneficial ones that discourage over-fishing, for example, and that special treatment for developing countries must be built into fisheries subsidy reform, noting that recent proposals have begun to explore how expertise from outside organizations, can be applied in the area.
Antara News (Indonesia):BI to Revise Rule on Environment-Friendly Credits 15.12.2005
Bank Indonesia or BI (the central bank) is planning to revise a regulation requiring companies to attach an environmental audit report to their applications for bank loans.
"Under Bank Indonesia Regulation No.7/1/2005, one of the criteria to assess the quality of
bank`s productive assets is environmental analysis. However, we still don`t have criteria to assess whether an envirionmental analysis is good or not," BAnk Indonesia Deoputy Governor Siti Ch Fadjrijah said on the sidelines of a workshop on sustainable development here on Thursday.
To that end, Bank Indonesia would issue a new regulation or revise an existing regulation requiring companies to attach an environmental audit report to their applications for bank loans, she said.
The report must be audited by an independent auditor accredited by the Office of the State Minister for the Environment, she said.
Hopefully, the revised regulation would not burden banks in assessing the assets of the companies applying for bank loans, she said.
"So we will only ask the debtors to submit an environmental audit report in applying for bank loans," she said.
She further asked banks to help conserve the environment including natural resources by extending credits to environment-friendly companies.
"Many projects funded by bank loans involve the environment. That`s why banks should encourage the operators of the projects to help conserve the environment and social values," she said.
By financing environment-friendly projects, the banks` competitive edge would be getting better because they would escape from reputation risks and legal risks, she said.
Meanwhile, Sigit Purnomo, director of state-owned bank BNI, said banks had contributed to environmental damage.
"We must admit that we have possibly contributed to environmental damage. That`s why we must cooperate in overcoming environmental damage," he said.
On the occasion, Sigit also signed a form to join the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which oversees banks in channelling environment-friendly credits.
BNI is the first Indonesian bank to join the UN body which now groups 170 international financial instutions.(*)
____________________________________________________________________________ All Africa.com: South Africa; IFC Grants $3 Million to IST and Plug Power for Fuel Cell Project in South Africa
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, awarded today a $3 million grant to IST Holdings (PTY) Ltd and Plug Power Inc., who will install 400 fuel cells in remote locations and cities of South Africa over the next three years. The fuel cells will provide a reliable source of electricity and will replace polluting technologies
such as diesel generators.
Plug Power, a U.S. company based in Latham, New York, will produce the five kilowatt fuel cell systems, which IST, a South African company based in Pretoria, will import, distribute, install, and maintain. The project is worth a total of $14 million. When completed, the fuel cell installations will have the capacity to generate about two megawatts - which is equivalent to the electricity needed to power 1,300 households. The electricity is targeted initially for use in backup and prime power applications in telecommunications and other industries across South Africa.
The project will represent the largest number of commercial fuel cells to be installed in a developing country to date. The cells installed using this grant will provide a reliable source of electricity for industrial and information technology applications and for telecommunications systems, including wireless infrastructure. They will help displace highly polluting and noisy diesel generators, providing electricity more efficiently, emitting very little greenhouse gas emission, and operating virtually noise-free.
Rachel Kyte, IFC's Director for Environment and Social Development, commented, "IFC is committed to helping bring sustainable energy solutions to emerging markets. Cleaner technologies are part of the solution. This project will not only provide a clean energy source in South Africa, but will also provide reliable electricity to remote areas of the country."
Harry Coetzee, IST's Group Chief Executive, said, "This project is another major step in IST's drive to implement leading edge technology on the African continent. For more than 25 years we have been in the business of applying engineering technology, and we look forward to strengthening our presence in this area with our Plug Power partnership."
Mark Sperry, Plug Power's Chief Marketing Officer, said, "This funding is essential as we begin to work with IST in the distribution of our fuel cell systems throughout the telecom and utility markets in South Africa. We expect this initiative to positively impact businesses and customers who are regularly affected by power outages resulting in decreased reliability throughout their networks and infrastructure."
The IFC grant is the first under the Fuel Cell Financing Initiative for Distributed Generation Applications, a $54 million program funded by the Global Environmental Facility. The program aims to bring clean, reliable electrical power to places in developing countries where grid power is either not available or unreliable. Its long-term objective is to catalyze the creation of sustainable markets for fuel cells in developing countries. The initiative is currently the only multilateral program that promotes stationary fuel cells.
In its first stage, the Fuel Cell Financing Initiative will subsidize commercial and pre-commercial fuel cell projects, granting a total amount of $9 million between 2004 and 2008. Projects will be subsidized up to $2000 per kilowatt, or 50% of the capital costs of the units, whichever is lower. During the second stage, the program will provide as much as $45 million in funding, but the subsidy level will be lower and will reflect the near commercial costs of the technologies. Fuel cells use an electrochemical reaction, rather than combustion to produce electricity.
Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG), is an established leader in deploying clean, reliable, on-site energy products. More than 550 Plug Power fuel cell systems have been delivered to
customers worldwide in commercial, public sector, telecommunications, utility and uninterruptible power supply markets.
IST Holdings (PTY) Ltd is a South African company that offers installation and commissioning of equipment, network planning and design engineering, manufacturing, marketing, submission of tenders, technical training and a local backup service. The name was an acronym of Integrators of System Technology, which remains an accurate overall description of the group's business.
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.
From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.
The Global Environment Facility helps developing countries fund projects and programs that protect the global environment. Established in 1991, it is the designated financial mechanism for international agreements on biodiversity, climate change, and persistent organic pollutants. It also supports projects that combat desertification and protect international waters and the ozone layer. Its activities, funded by member countries, are implemented largely through the World Bank, UNDP, and UNEP. IFC acts as a private sector interface for the facility, operating through the World Bank as a GEF implementing agency. To date, IFC has developed GEF-eligible projects amounting to $174 million.
The National Business Review (NZ): Five stupid things that harm New Zealand Owen McShane
1. We're prohibiting innovation
Economists have only recently come to appreciate the importance of innovation in promoting economic growth and development. Standard economics took some time to appreciate the value of Schumpeter's "waves of creative destruction" in improving human welfare.
Schumpeter acknowledged and foreshadowed that the invention of the calculator would be tough on the makers of slide rules, just as the invention of the internal combustion engine was tough on blacksmiths and harness-makers.
However, New Zealand has elected to allow its courts, right through to the new Supreme Court, to decide that innovation must be constrained, and that the only permissible competition is competition based on price.