THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Wednesday, 3 November 2004
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
• ENS - Social, Environmental Risks Ignored by Corporate Boards
• CSRWire - Press release from: Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands
• Associated Press - Queen Elizabeth II Remembers Pain of War
• The Hindu Queen Backs U.N. On Global Warming
• Financial Times - Arctic ice cap set to disappear by year 2070, says new report
• YubaNet - Survey Finds most Corporations not Reporting on Social,
• Africa News - Namibia;Workshop Focuses On Land Degradation
Other Environment-related News
• BBC - Aid agencies' warning on climate
• BBC - Climate gas cuts 'are affordable'
• BBC - Carbon 'reaching danger levels'
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
• UN Daily News of 2 November 2004
• S.G’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 2 November2004
Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.unep.org
Social, Environmental Risks Ignored by Corporate Boards
LONDON, UK, November 1, 2004 (ENS) - Corporate boards are failing to disclose to financial investors
how environmental and social issues pose strategic risks and opportunities for their businesses, according to
an international review of corporate sustainability reports by SustainAbility, the United Nations Environment
Programme and Standard & Poor's.
"Risk & Opportunity: Best Practice in Non-Financial Reporting" finds that only three reports of the Top 50
assess the balance sheet implications of key environmental and social risks, despite this information being
increasingly important to analysts, investors, lenders, insurers and re-insurers.
The top three overall are Co-operative Financial Services (UK), Novo Nordisk (Denmark) and BP (UK).
(Embedded image moved to file: pic13931.jpg)
John Elkington is chairman of SustainAbility, a business consultancy on corporate responsibility and
sustainable development. (Photo courtesy Massey University)
"Corporate governance is the hottest topic," says SustainAbility Chairman John Elkington, "but recent
scandals have meant most boards are focused on financial integrity issues ? to the detriment of the
bigger picture of non-financial risks and opportunities."
The survey is SustainAbility and UNEP's sixth international review of corporate environmental and
The 2004 survey is the first in partnership with Standard & Poor's, a source of independent financial
information, analytical services, credit ratings, equity research, indices and corporate valuations.
This year's report is the first to explore the link between credit ratings and the quality of companies'
governance and disclosure of non-financial risks.
Over 350 reports were submitted and 50 were selected by an international independent expert committee for a
full analysis. Over half of the Top 50 reports are new to the survey and overall there has been a significant
rise in sustainability reporting quality since 2002.
"The good news is that the overall quality of non-financial reporting has improved dramatically since our
first benchmark survey, in 1994," Elkington said.
"Now the challenge is to ensure leading companies integrate their financial and non-financial accounting and
reporting in ways that help analysts and rating agencies do their job properly.
Most current attempts are resulting in 'Frankenstein's Monsters', stitched
together from ill-marched parts, but 2005 will see leadership companies
setting new standards."
The early sustainability reporting pioneers are breaking new records
and are being followed by growing numbers of companies from all over the
world," said Monique Barbut, director of UNEP's Division of Technology,
Industry and Economics.
"It is striking that 47 out of the 50 top reporters are users of the
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines. Without doubt,
sustainability reporting is moving mainstream," she said. "It is now
critical that financial reporting and sustainable reporting become
accepted as part of an integrated package." "Risk & Opportunity: Best
Practice in Non-Financial Reporting," is online at:
Press release from: Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands
European Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility: Competing For a Sustainable Future, 7-9
November, Mecc, Maastricht
Invitation for the Press
(CSRwire) MAASTRICHT - During its EU presidency, the Dutch Government will organise the European
Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), entitled ‘Competing for a Sustainable Future’ in
Maastricht, the Netherlands, 7-9 November 2004. The conference is hosted by Minister for Foreign Trade
Karien van Gennip (Ministry of Economic Affairs) and co-organised by the ministry of Foreign Affairs, the
ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the
ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment
The conference provides a wide range of plenary and break-out sessions in which participants of the business
community, governments, civil society, academia and media in the EU member states will share their
experiences and innovative ideas on issues such as transparency, chain responsibility, climate change,
biodiversity and transition, core labour standards, CSR in developing countries, participation of SMEs and
The European Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility is another step in the process that started at the
Lisbon European Council in March 2000, when the European Union set itself a new strategic objective: to
become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustaining
economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.
Since then companies, national governments, the EU, labour unions and non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) have been developing knowledge and best practices of CSR as one of the major strategies to achieve
the Lisbon objectives.
The challenge of the three-day conference in Maastricht is to evaluate this process and to define, how CSR
contributes towards the competitiveness of Europe in a more sustainable world.
The conference starts on November 7th with an opening statement by the minister of Foreign Trade, Karien
van Gennep, followed by a number of other key-note addresses. Mr. Tim Sebastian (BBC) will moderate a
high level forum discussion on people, planet, plrofit and volunteering. ,
Speakers/panellist areMr Gunther Verheugen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry;Mr Mark
Ware,Group Vice President of Communications and External Affairs for BP;Mr Juan Somavia,Director-
General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO);Mr Klaus Toepfer,Executive-Director of the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);Mr Peter Woicke,Executive Vice President, International Finance
Corporation, World Bank (IFC); Mr Georg Kell,Executive Head of the United Nation's Global Compact; Mr
Arvind Ganesan,Director of the Business and Human Rights Programme, Human Rights Watch; Mr Jaques
H. Schraven, Vice-President of the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE),
President of VNO-NCW; Mr Achim Steiner,Director General of IUCN - The World Conservation Union; Mr
Tom de Swaan,Chief Financial Officer, ABN AMRO; MrSimon Zadek, Chief Executive Accountability.
On November 8th the plenary focus is on business and environment, with key note speakers Pieter van
Geel,State Secretary for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of the Netherlands; Ms Barbara
Kux, Chief Procurement Officer and Member of the Group Management Committee, Philips; Mr Jeffrey Mc
Neely Chief Scientist IUCN, The World Conservation Union and Mr Klaus Toepfer, Executive-Director of
the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
On November 9th the focus will be ondevelopment and social aspects of CSR. Key note speakers will be Ms
Agnes van Ardenne, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Mr Patrus Ananias, Minister
for Social Development of Brasil; MsRenate Hornung-Draus Director German Employers Union (BVDA),
(chair); MrHans Hofmeijer, Director Multinational Enterprises Programme, International Labour
Organisation (ILO); Mr Walter Cerfeda, Director of Corporate Sustainability Management, European Trade
Union Confederation (ETUC); Mr Bernard Giraud, Executive Director CSR Europe, Director Sustainable
Development and Social Responsibility, Groupe Danone and Mr Simon Wilson, Social Platform
In the closing plenary Mr Viscount Etienne Davignon, CSR Europe, Prof. dr. Gilbert Lenssen, President of
the European Academy of Business in Society and Mr FrankWelvaert, Director Corporate Social
Responsibility for Europe, Johnson & Johnson, Ms. Noreena Hertz (University of Cambridge, tbc) and Ms.
Marianne Barner (IKEA, tbc) will discuss the results of the conference and react on observations of the youth.
The conference will be closed by Mr Vladimir Špidla, European Commissioner Social Affairs and Karien
van Gennip, Minister for Foreign Trade of the Netherlands.
Other highlights of the conference:
Fair Trade Fashion Show
Presentation of new guidelines for sustainable reporting and active shareholding
Best practices of CSR in Eastern European countries
Evaluation of international guidelines on human rights and corruption
Instruments for consumer information and dialogue with companies
European launch of the Africa Corporate Sustainability Forumand the Interamerican CSR Network.
The whole congress will be open for members of the press. You have to assign by e-mail: Dc_secr@minez.nl
Queen Elizabeth II Remembers Pain of War
BERLIN - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath at Germany's national war memorial
and urged remembrance of the suffering of both sides in World War II during a state visit
Tuesday that underlined the two countries' postwar reconciliation.
President Horst Koehler received the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, at a state dinner.
The British and German leaders praised their nations' close relationship, and called on their
people to look beyond old stereotypes.
"In remembering the appalling suffering of war on both sides, we recognize how precious is
the peace we have built in Europe since 1945," the queen said.
"We owe it to those who built (the) partnership to continue the process into the 21st century:
to learn from history and not be obsessed by it; to look beyond the simplistic stereotypes to
realize how often we share the same outlook," she said.
Koehler thanked the queen for her reconciliation efforts and "because you supported the
freshly unified Germany."
The queen earlier received military honors at Charlottenburg palace, the German head of
state's temporary headquarters. She also met with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and a
group of German and British teenagers.
On Wednesday, she opens a conference on climate change at the British Embassy, chaired
by Klaus Toepfer, head of the U.N. Environment Program.
She will also attend a gala concert at the Berlin Philharmonic. The proceeds will help restore
the Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, in Dresden - devastated by Allied firebombing in
After meeting Koehler and Schroeder, the queen laid a wreath at Germany's central
memorial for war victims, the Neue Wache, on the central Unter den Linden boulevard.
Dedicated in 1993, the memorial includes the ashes of an unknown soldier and an unknown
concentration camp victim.
It is the 78-year-old monarch's fourth state visit to Germany, following trips to West
Germany in 1965 and 1978 and the reunited Germany in 1992.
The Hindu November 2, 2004
November 2, 2004
HEADLINE: QUEEN BACKS U.N. ON GLOBAL WARMING
London: Queen Elizabeth II will this week support a United Nations conference in Germany
on global warming, signalling the British royal household's whole-hearted conversion to
green issues. Amid reports that she castigated her Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for failing to
persuade the White House to shift its stance on the Kyoto protocol, it was revealed on
Sunday that Windsor Castle is to install environment-friendly hydro-electric turbines on the
Thames. The move does not represent an ideological departure; the Prince of Wales and the
Duke of Edinburgh are committed conservationists. But the timing suggests an eagerness to
position the monarchy at the forefront of what is becoming a popular, global concern. The
conference to be held in Berlin on Wednesday is chaired by Klaus Topfer, Germany's
former Environment Minister who now runs the U.N.'s Environment Programme. The
monarch's attendance at a reception for the conference, which is debating the sensitive
international controversy, is likely to send a powerful message around the globe. During the
visit, the Queen is also expected to join the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, at a
forum for young people to voice their concerns about global warming and how best to
combat it. The U.K. Government on Sunday refused to confirm or deny reports that the
Queen has urged Mr. Blair to put pressure on the U.S. President, George W. Bush, to sign
up to international treaties limiting the production of greenhouse gases.
LOAD-DATE: November 2, 2004
Financial Times (London, England)
November 2, 2004 Tuesday
HEADLINE: Arctic ice cap set to disappear by year 2070, says new report
BYLINE: By FIONA HARVEY
The Arctic ice cap is melting at an unprecedented rate, with potentially dire consequences
for the rest of the world, according to one of the most authoritative studies on global climate
Arctic ice is only half as thick as it was 30 years ago, the Arctic climate impact assessment
report has found. During the same period the distribution of Arctic ice has shrunk by 10 per
cent according to the report, conducted by more than 250 scientists over the past four years
and commissioned by the Arctic Council.
A warmer Arctic could cause sea levels to rise nearly a metre by the end of the century,
flooding many coastal regions and perhaps halting the Gulf Stream, the ocean current that
brings warmer water and weather to north-western Europe.
Pal Prestrud, vice chairman of the steering committee for the report, said: "Climate change
is not just about the future, it is happening now. The Arctic is warming at twice the global
If current rates of change continue, there may be no ice in the Arctic in the northern
hemisphere's summer by 2070, according to the study, to be discussed next Tuesday at an
international conference in Iceland.
The report is the most comprehensive undertaken of the Arctic region, and is the product of
the eight nations with Arctic territories: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway,
Russia, Sweden and the US.
It focuses on the scientific evidence for Arctic warming, with projections of future warming
and its consequences. Finding ways to prevent such a future was a "political question"
outside the scope of the report, said Mr Prestrud.
Warming could be slowed by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, he said, but that would
would need to be done urgently. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat on
As Arctic ice melts, global warming is likely to accelerate. As the ice reflects much of the
sun's heat back into space, so a shrinking ice cap will mean more heat is absorbed by the
A warming Arctic could enhance world shipping, as the journey between the UK and Japan
could be shortened by 10 to 12 days by a route through passages that are ice-bound today,
said Mr Prestrud. The Arctic region is thought to harbour 25 per cent of the world's
remaining oil and gas reserves, and melting ice might increase their accessibility, though it
could also hamper drilling attempts that rely on a steady platform of ice.
Nicola Saltman, climate change programme leader at WWF, the global environmental
organisation, said: "This research provides incontrovertible proof that climate change is
happening in the Arctic. It highlights the urgent need for Arctic governments to take action
now by reducing their CO emissions."
A strategy for tackling global warming under the UK's presidency of the G8 and the
European Union next year will be developed at a conference tomorrow in Berlin, to be
opened by Queen Elizabeth. Participants will include Sir David King, the UK chief
scientific adviser, Klaus Topfer, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, and
the UK and German environment ministers.
LOAD-DATE: November 1, 2004
Survey Finds most Corporations not Reporting on Social, Environmental Issues
By: UN News
Published: Nov 2, 2004
The United Nations environment agency today released a new survey that finds most of the
world's top-ranking corporations failing to inform investors about the impact of environmental
and social issues on their business opportunities.
Co-authored by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in partnership with the private
firms SustainAbility and Standard & Poor, the >survey points out that despite an increasing
demand by investors, analysts, lenders and insurers, only three of the "Top 50" companies
revealed their assessment of the key environmental and social risks in their reports this year.
"Corporate governance is the hottest topic," SustainAbility Chairman John Elkington said in a
statement, "but recent scandals have meant most boards are focused on financial integrity
issues - to the detriment of the bigger picture of non-financial risks and opportunities."
Describing efforts to ensure that leading companies integrate their reporting in ways that help
investors and analysts as "a challenge," he said he was hopeful that the next year "will see
leadership companies setting new standards."
Despite minimal reporting by corporations, Monique Barbut, director of UNEP's technology,
industry and economics division, sounded optimistic, as well. "It's striking that 47 out of 50
top reporters are using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines," she said in a
statement. "Without doubt, sustainability reporting is going mainstream."
November 2, 2004 Tuesday
HEADLINE: Namibia;Workshop Focuses On Land Degradation
BYLINE: New Era
REPRESENTATIVES from English-speaking African countries have converged in
Windhoek to familiarise themselves with eligibility activities of the Global Environment
Facility, (GEF) which would enable them to get funding for sustainable land management
The GEF made land degradation its focal point to enable people to take care of their
immediate needs before they can care for the environment.
The 10-year-old facility has noted that people could not care for the environment when they
struggle in their day-to-day lives.
Andrea Kutter, an environmental specialist with GEF, said yesterday in the facility's deals
with global public goods such as water, climate, biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, land
is a major concern because people are engaged in practices that harm the ecosystem.
"The ecosystem is out of balance," she said.
Opening the workshop yesterday, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and
Tourism, Dr Malan Lindeque said Namibia has come to realise that there is an urgent need
for developing a critical mass of human resources that are capable of addressing the key
environmental problems facing the country.
"Resource and land managers at all levels, including farmers, harvesters, wood cutters,
municipalities, national governments and even industry concerned with natural resources
have to be aware of and be trained in sustainable environmental management practices," he
In attendance at the workshop are 80 participants from focal points of the United Nation's
Convention on Biological Diversity, GEF operational and regional focal points and sub-
regional organisations such as SADC, COMESA, national experts and non-governmental
The workshop will enable the countries to enhance their knowledge of GEF eligibility
criteria and structure of a project proposal to be submitted to the organisation for funding
under the Operational Programme on Sustainable Land Management (OP15).
Kutter said the facility has funds amounting to US$250 million for it to raise awareness, do
training courses and harmonise policies in developing countries all over the world. These
include countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, among others.
She said Namibia is spearheading the approach considering that it has played a key role in
the field of combating land degradation in Africa within the framework of UNCCD. It was
on this basis that Namibia was also selected to host the three-day workshop.
Several countries such as Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Kenya in Africa, China
and Indonesia in Asia and Brazil and Nicaragua in Latin America are now preparing
themselves to embark on GEF funded projects.
Dr Lindeque said desertification is one of the greatest challenges posed by the process of
land degradation, which threatens the livelihoods of many Namibians as well as inhabitants
of other African countries.
He said time has come to address deforestation, bush encroachment, overgrazing and other
forms of land degradation.
"We need increasing awareness that these issues must be addressed in a coordinated manner
involving all relevant stakeholders," said the PS.
Dr Lindeque said it is important for Namibia to engage in international initiatives and as
such the country has established policy and legal frameworks that help the country address
environmental and developmental issues.
The workshop is the third in a series of nine sub-regional meetings being organised by the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), MET, the United Nations Development
Programme, UNESCO the Secretariat, Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World
The first and second workshops were held in Qeshm Island in Iran and Tunis in Tunisia
respectively. The Namibia workshop will be followed by workshops in Fiji, Kaza-khstan,
Brazil, Jamaica, Geneva and Thailand.
LOAD-DATE: November 2, 2004
Aid agencies' warning on climate
By Alex Kirby
The greenhouse effect could wreck attempts to lift the world's poorest people out of poverty and reverse
human progress, campaigners say.
A report by a coalition of environment and aid agencies calls for urgent action to avert the threat.
The Working Group on Climate Change and Development says
industrialised countries must cut carbon emissions massively by mid- The impacts of climate
century. change will fall
They must also help developing nations adapt to climate change, it
argues. developing countries and the
A report by the coalition, Up In Smoke, says global warming threatens
to make the Millennium Development Goals unattainable. Dr RK Pachauri, The Energy
and Resources Institute
They are the internationally agreed targets for halving world poverty by 2015. The report says the warming
could "even reverse human development achievements".
The coalition's 17 members include ActionAid, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam and
Two other members, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the New Economics
Foundation (Nef), organised the report's production, with the involvement of all the rest.
The foreword to the report is by Dr RK Pachauri, director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute
(Teri), India, who also chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
He writes: "Most notable as a major issue of concern is the nexus
between climate change and the widespread prevalence of poverty in the
"As the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC clearly indicates, 'The
impacts of climate change will fall disproportionately upon developing
countries and the poor... within all countries.'"
Among those endorsing the report is Desmond Tutu, winner of the
Nobel peace prize and former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town.
He said: "I urge governments, development and environmental Plans for human development
organisations to work together to find sustainable solutions to avert a must be "climate-proof"
catastrophe that will exacerbate human suffering to a magnitude that
perhaps the world has not yet seen."
The report's author, Andrew Simms of Nef, said: "Thousands of people are aiming to make poverty history,
but global warming has been critically overlooked...
"To rescue the situation we need a global framework to stop climate change that is based on equality, and we
have to ensure that plans for human development are made both climate-proof and climate-friendly."
The report says this means "every policy decision at every level must pass the test of whether it will increase
or decrease vulnerability to the effects of climate change... planners must view all development decisions
through the lens of risk reduction."
In his foreword Dr Pachauri writes: "It is unlikely that development can... be made climate-proof. But
integrating the impacts of climate change in the form of adaptation measures within development strategies
can certainly minimise the cost of such impacts."
The coalition says help for developing countries to adapt must acknowledge that "rich country subsidies to
their domestic fossil fuel industries stood at $73bn per year in the late 1990s".
It says industrialised countries must cut their greenhouse gas emissions to 60-80% below their 1990 levels "to
stop climate change running out of control".
It wants to see plans to relocate communities threatened by climate change, and a global risk assessment of the
likely costs of adaptation in poor countries.
Faced by "the intertwined challenges of obscene levels of poverty and a rapidly warming global climate", it
says, humanity has no choice.
"There is no either/or approach possible: the world must meet both its commitments."
Climate gas cuts 'are affordable'
By Alex Kirby
The world can ward off a dangerous rise in temperature much more cheaply than
many people think, a UK scientist says.
Professor John Schellnhuber, of the University of East Anglia, believes the cost of averting
runaway climate change could be as low as 0.3% of global GDP.
He is telling a high-level conference in the German capital, Berlin, that the world can avoid
a major catastrophe.
But he says there is no simple solution for reducing greenhouse gases, and the world will
need a mix of strategies.
Professor Schellnhuber is research director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
Research, which is based at the university.
He is presenting his analysis at a conference on Wednesday at the British Embassy in Berlin, entitled Climate
Change: Meeting The Challenge Together.
There's no magic bullet for climate change - but if we have a portfolio strategy, we
can solve it
Professor John Schellnhuber
The Queen is expected to attend a reception for the participants, who will see a video
address by the prime minister, Tony Blair.
Professor Schellnhuber says capacity-building, reducing vulnerability to the effects of a
changing climate, and increasing resilience will all be necessary, but will not be enough to
meet the threat.
His list of 15 possible ways of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main
greenhouse gas produced by human activities, is exhaustive.
It includes more efficient vehicles and buildings, reduced vehicle use, capturing CO2 at the
point of emission, and where possible replacing coal, oil and gas with other fuels.
Professor Schellnhuber also argues for cutting deforestation, and for ploughing methods
which release less CO2.
Controversially, in the eyes of some, he proposes the use of nuclear power to replace coal.
In a key part of his speech, he says the cost of preventing climate change reaching
dangerous levels would be between 0.3 and 0.5% of the world's gross domestic product.
The way to achieve this, he believes, is by trying to mitigate the probable effects of a
warming world, and at the same time adapting to them.
So the infrastructure of our cities must become "less brittle and more robust", to help them
to withstand harsher conditions.
Professor Schellnhuber says the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has risen by over 30 %
since the pre-industrial era to stand today at about 380 parts per million (ppm).
He says: "The magnitude and rate of the increase is unprecedented in the past two million
years. The concentration is likely to reach 1,000ppm by 2100 if no action is taken to reduce
"A CO2 doubling is likely to cause an increase in global mean surface temperature of
1.5-6C. Recent results suggest the 'most likely' increase is around 3C.
"The maximum global mean surface temperature since the emergence of H. sapiens was
1.5C above the present."
Professor Schellnhuber told BBC News: "My main message is that there's no magic bullet
for climate change - but if we have a portfolio strategy, we can solve it.
Action needed now
"In the scientific community we think an atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 450ppm -
the equivalent of a 2C rise in temperature - is about the most we can allow.
"Beyond that you start to reach the 'tipping points', the unpredictable areas where rapid
changes can set in.
"We need to act over the next 50 years, though some of what has to be done will take a
century or more to work through.
"Remember what the economist John Maynard Keynes said about Britain in the second
world war: 'We threw good housekeeping to the winds. But we saved ourselves... and
helped save the world'."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Carbon 'reaching danger levels'
By Alex Kirby
The UK government's leading scientist says levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already represent
Professor Sir David King told a London audience the world had to adapt to prepare for significant changes
ahead, and also to reduce greenhouse gases.
He said climate change was "the most serious issue facing us this century and beyond", needing global
On present trends, Sir David said, the world was just 60 years from triggering an irreversible climate disaster.
Sir David, the government's chief scientific adviser, was delivering the annual Greenpeace business lecture,
entitled Global Warming: The Science Of Climate Change - The Imperatives For Action.
He said measurements of atmospheric CO2 taken at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, and published
earlier this year, were significant.
They showed that while carbon levels had increased in recent years by It's a damned good thing we
an average of 1.5 parts per million (ppm) annually, in 2002 and 2003 put the London Thames Barrier
the increase had been more than 2ppm. up. A flood would knock out the
City of London and cost about
Levels had risen by 2.08ppm in 2002 and 2.54 the following year. Sir £30bn
David said: "This is taking us up into relatively dangerous levels of
CO2 for our planet." Sir David King
If warming temperatures one day melted the Greenland ice cap, he said, that would mean global sea levels
would ultimately rise by 6-7m (19-22ft).
"Is there a point where the melting becomes irreversible?" he asked. "Yes, there is. When the temperature
around Greenland is 2.7C above the pre-industrial level - that is the tipping point.
"We're already 0.6C above it, and to avoid raising temperatures too far we should prevent atmospheric CO2
going beyond 500ppm."
Atmospheric concentrations have risen from about 280ppm before the
Industrial Revolution to 315 in 1957, when the Mauna Loa data
collection began, to a high recently of 379ppm.
Asked how long it would take to reach 500ppm, Sir David told BBC
News Online: "We're now close to an annual rise of 2ppm, so on present
trends it will take us about 60 years - assuming we're not on an
exponential growth curve."
He said much of the UK could face an increased risk of flooding as the
climate changed, and said the Thames Barrier, built to protect London
from catastrophic floods, was being used six times a year, not once
every three to five years as planned.
"It's a damned good thing we put it up," he said. "A flood would knock
out the City of London and cost about £30bn."
Sir David is the UK government's
Sir David also challenged the argument that rail is more
chief scientific adviser
environmentally friendly than road.
As trains were now running at up to 125mph (200km/h), he said, they were responsible for much more carbon
ROAP Media Update – 03 November 2004
UN or UNEP in the news
Painting competition for children
Bangkok Post, 3 November 2004 - The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and the
Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE) are now organising the
International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment. Held annually since 1990, the
contest has received over 160,000 entries from children in over 100 countries.
General Environment News
Circulation of Environmental Hormones Rises by 80 Percent
The Korea Times, 3 November 2004 (By Kim Rahn, Staff Reporter) - Distribution of chemical
substances has increased more than 60 percent in four years, with environmental hormones up by 80
percent, according to the Environment Ministry Tuesday.
The ministry said 21,513 kinds of chemicals, amounting to some 287 million tons, were distributed
in 2002 according to its survey on the nation’s 13,773 companies dealing with chemical materials.
The research focused on poisonous substances or chemicals consisting of over 100 kilograms of one
element, and over 1,000 kilograms of a compound.
The figure showed a 63.9 percent increase compared to the 29,283 kinds, amounting to 175 million
tons, reported in 1998, mainly because the amount of imported chemicals rose more than threefold
from 42 million tons to 122 million tons.
UNEP China Office’s input to ROAP media update – 2 November 2004
General Environment News
Careful use of fertilizer urged
While few would question the need for chemical fertilizers in China, the real need is for its effective
use to prevent environmental damage, experts say. In the wake of a recent survey, which points to a
lack of knowledge among the country's farmers, experts are calling for more education and
environmentally-friendly farming…In Tongxiang of East China's Zhejiang Province, an eco-
construction programme has been introduced to maximize use of resources and minimize pollution.
Energy conservation highlighted
Chinese and foreign analysts urged the government to impose energy conservation as one of the
central pieces of the long-term energy policy yesterday, reported China Daily on Tuesday. Without
effective energy saving, China cannot sustain a long-term energy supply and will have to pay huge
costs for environmental pollution, analysts said in a presentation of the World Energy Outlook 2004
report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).
Poachers threatening antelopes' survival
China Daily 2004-10-30
…A century ago, more than a million Tibetan antelope roamed the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, while
today it is estimated that less than 100,000 remain in the wild. …China launched two national anti-
poaching campaigns in 1999 and 2004, but antelope killing and smuggling remain rampant in the
border area. …Besides poaching, other activities such as mining have destroyed vital antelope
habitat, said Yuan Guoying, a researcher with the Xinjiang Environmental Protection Institute.
Joint efforts needed for a green world
China Daily 2004-10-28
By 2010, Shanghai will produce 20,000 tons of garbage every day. That number is likely to grow by
7 per cent annually. The statistics point to an underlying environmental problem in China: Its
garbage output. Officials gathered yesterday for an annual environmental forum, a forum
underscored by the reality that China produces one quarter of the world's garbage. Most of such
solid waste is buried, taking up land and harming the environment, said a report published by
Outlook Weekly. …Co-ordinated actions are needed to solve global and regional environ-mental
issues, while at the same time diversified development in all nations should also be accepted,
Minister Xie Zhenhua of SEPA said during the Fifth Green China Forum.
UN Daily News - 2 November 2004
For information media - not an official record
In the headlines:
• Security breaches rise in Darfur camps housing Sudanese who have fled violence – UN
• Annan asks UN budget committee to fund new security plan
• UN finances improved but still 'delicate'
• Security Council condemns use of force in Guinea-Bissau
• Iraqis can now check voter registration lists prepared with help of UN experts
• UN doing all it can to win release of abducted workers, official says
• Calm returns to Liberia after factional violence and looting – UN
• Fréchette calls for international commitment to face new threats collectively
• Gambian national sworn in as International Criminal Court Deputy Prosecutor
• Bangladeshi lawyer named UN rights expert on human trafficking
• UN welcomes Malaysia’s decision to grant temporary stay to Myanmar refugees
• UN workshop in Kenya looks at finding $64 billion for Africa's development
Security breaches rise in Darfur camps housing Sudanese
who have fled violence – UN
2 November - Security breaches have been increasing in the camps housing Sudan's Darfur refugees
and internally displaced people on both sides of the Sudanese-Chadian border, the United Nations said
today. In the middle of the night, Sudanese army and police surrounded Al Geer camp in Nyala town,
South Darfur, and forcibly removed some of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to another location
which is ill-equipped to care for them, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York. "The
site is currently not able to cater for any additional influx and as such is not suitable for any relocation."
He said roughly 15 trucks were used to relocate the IDPs. "The remainder of the population was
dispersed into the surrounding area of Nyala town as a direct result of this action." After briefing the
Security Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jan Pronk, told journalists that
despite the memoranda of understanding the government had signed, continuous pressure on the
internally displaced population (IDPs) resulted overnight in "violent pressure" on some of the 20,000
IDPs in El Geer to another location called Sherif. The IDPs were told that the move was being made in
close consultation with the UN and with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), "which is not the
case," Mr. Pronk said.
"This is flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. It is also in flagrant violation of the
agreements reached with the government on the modalities of return and relocation of IDPs," he said.
The non-voluntary removals would have to stop, not only in El Geer, but everywhere in Darfur, he said,
adding, "Stop it and reverse what has happened." In another incident today, units of the Sudanese army
and police undertook crowd control measures at a camp know n as El Chareia, according to George
Somerwell, a spokesman for UN Special Envoy Jan Pronk. "They fired tear gas and they fired shots in the
air to try to calm the IDPs who are inside this camp," Mr. Somerwell told UN Radio. Two weeks ago the
population of El Chareia numbered 40,000, he said, and the IDPs feared that the Sudanese Government
would remove them to an unknown location. The UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) had
contacted the Khartoum Government, which is "making every effort that it can to try to calm the
situation," Mr. Somerwell said. At the UN complex in Geneva, Switzerland, the spokesman for the Office
of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ron Redmond, said his agency, along with other
international organizations, has been forced to cancel missions to Darfur this week because of security
problems, including the kidnapping of 18 Sudanese from a commercial bus on the road between Zalinge
and Nyala last Thursday.
The local authorities had blamed the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement and Sudan Liberation Army
(SLM/SLA) for the abductions, he said.
In the Djabel Moon and Masteri areas, near El Geneina, tensions were high and travel restrictions, lifted
two weeks ago, have been re-instated. A few dozen people were reported to be leaving each night to join
the refugees in Chad, but others were afraid of the dangers on the road, Mr. Redmond said. In Chad,
meanwhile, "instigators" have been holding night meetings that led to unruly incidents by day, he said.
Aid workers from two international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) left Breidjing Camp after
some refugees brought out knives during a discussion of how to prevent the spread of hepatitis-E and
demanded to know why eight of the people causing trouble had been arrested. "At the heart of the
problem lies the fear among many refugees that the creation of associations to set up income-generating
activities will 'normalize' their situation, give the impression that they are well implanted in Chad and
hamper their chances of returning to their homes," Mr. Redmond said.
Given this reluctance to create associations on the basis of working trades, no such groups were
established, except for the water and sanitation committee, he said. UNHCR has received $83 million of
the $114.8 million sought by the agency for refugees and IDPs in eastern Chad and Darfur through the
end of the year.
Annan asks UN budget committee to fund new security
2 November - Saying that the safety of United Nations workers “has to be my first priority,” Secretary-
General Kofi Annan has presented his $97 million plan for new unified security measures to the General
Assembly’s main budget committee. “Please understand that security for our staff has to be my first
priority,” he stressed, “and that therefore I consider this one of the most important proposals – if not the
most important – that I have put before you during my time as Secretary-General,” Mr. Annan said in
remarks to the Assembly’s Fifth Committee on Monday. “Those talented and dedicated men and women
carry out vital missions of development and peace throughout the world, in always challenging and
sometimes hostile circumstances,” he added. “They need and indeed deserve the best possible safety and
security.” Under the plan Mr. Annan unveiled last month, three separate entities currently responsible for
staff safety – the Office of the Security Coordinator, the UN Security and Safety Services and the security
component of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations – would be combined into a new Directorate
of Security to be headed by an Under-Secretary- General reporting directly to him.
The new Directorate would be responsible for assessing threats and risk, and providing common security
policies and standards throughout the UN system. Day-to-day decision-making on security matters,
meanwhile, would remain with local offices. According to cost estimates, some $35 million will be
needed to bolster the safety of field offices around the world, and nearly $28 million will have to be spent
to upgrade the premises at the UN complex in New York, pay for more security officers and training, and
install new access control measures. In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that after last year’s
bombing of UN offices in Baghdad and other tragic incidents, the world body was forced to acknowledge
that it had become a target of political violence, challenging long-held perceptions that it was protected
by its flag and by its status as an impartial, benevolent actor. That new security reality provides a
compelling rationale for security reform, he said, noting also that various studies have identified
shortcomings in the UN’s existing security management system. Catherine Bertini, the UN Under-
Secretary-General for Management, said Mr. Annan is actively reviewing candidates for a new security
director and will hopefully be able to make an appointment soon.
“He’s looking for a lead security person,” she said. “What we absolutely have to have is somebody who
has been steeped in the operations and management of security for most of their career, if not all.
Somebody who has the confidence of the international security community, and someone who is able to
work seamlessly with all of the different entities [that] have security information.”
UN finances improved but still 'delicate'
2 November - The financial situation of the United Nations had improved this year but remained
"delicate," as many countries still were not meeting their obligations in full, the top UN management
official said today. Catherine Bertini, the Under-Secretary-General for Management, told a press briefing
that large amounts were still outstanding for UN peacekeeping operations, the financial position of the
international tribunals remained precarious and the amount available for "cross-borrowing" may not be
adequate. "The only way to secure a strong financial future for the United Nations is for Member States
to meet their financial obligations in a full and timely manner," she stressed. Ms. Bertini noted that as of
29 October, 114 countries had paid their regular budget assessments in full, compared to the recent high
of 141 by the end of 2000. Of the total $706 million outstanding from the regular budget, the United
States owed $530 million, Brazil owed $76 million, Argentina owed $18 million and Iraq owed $13
million. Saudi Arabia and Mexico owed $10 million apiece, and 71 other Member States together owed
$49 million.The cash-on-hand available at the end of the year was estimated at $113 million, which
would be an improvement from the "very precarious" $23 million in cash-on-hand for the regular budget
at the end of last year, she said. That projected positive balance was partly based on fact that the United
States had said it would pay approximately $300 million of their assessment for the regular budget in near
future. As for the level of unpaid peacekeeping assessments, Ms. Bertini said, it should be seen in the
context of the "very significant increase" in overall assessments for peacekeeping operations, which
totalled $4.5 billion as of 29 October, compared to $2.3 billion in 2003. Ms. Bertini also stressed that the
ongoing financial problems faced by the UN tribunals for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia
continued to be "a cause for great concern." Only 79 countries had fully paid their Tribunal assessments
by 29 October. The persistent arrears potentially had very severe implications for the ability of the
Tribunals to operate, she warned. "If the process gets slowed down, it means the Tribunals have to go on
longer, which means that Member States will be assessed for longer periods of time," she said. "So it's
counter-intuitive not to pay and get it finished." The United Nations had had to borrow funds from closed
peacekeeping missions to keep the Tribunals operating, a practice known as "cross-borrowing." The
amount available in closed peacekeeping missions, which was "the only pot" for crossborrowing, was
estimated to be $27 million at the end of 2004. That was not a large cushion and could potentially pose a
very serious problem for the Organization, Ms. Bertini said.
Security Council condemns use of force in Guinea-Bissau
2 November - Reacting to the recent assassinations of top military officials in Guinea-Bissau, the United
Nations Security Council today said the parties in the country must not attempt to seize power by force.
In a statement read out in an open meeting by the Counc il's President for the month, Ambassador John
Danforth of the United States, the Council condemned in the strongest terms the use of force to settle
differences or address grievances. It also stressed the need for urgent international measures to deal with
restructuring of country's armed forces, and to assist the Government in tackling the crisis.
On 6 October actions by mutinous soldiers led to deaths of the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Gen.
Verissimo Correia Seabra, and the Chief of Human Resources, Col. Domingos de Barros. The Council
stressed that the Government and national authorities must remain committed to the promotion of the rule
of law and the fight against impunity, including when considering ways of implementing a Memorandum
signed on 10 October. The 15-member body urged all political parties to continue working, in good faith,
with national authorities to complete implementation of the Transitional Charter before the holding of the
presidential elections by April 2005. As the Government addresses the military, political, institutional and
economic problems responsible for recurrent political turmoil and instability in Guinea-Bissau, the
Council underlined the importance of addressing their root causes, as well as finding immediate solutions
to improve the situation. The Council also asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to include in his next
report on UN Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) and suggestions on what
contribution the United Nations could make towards an active and coordinated international effort to
assist the country. UNOGBIS was established in March 1999 to coordinate the efforts of the UN system
after the civil strife of the late 1990s.
Iraqis can now check voter registration lists prepared
with help of UN experts
2 November - Iraqis will now be able to check if their names are properly registered on voter rolls
prepared by the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq with help from United Nations electoral
experts. The six-week confirmation process, which began Monday, is a significant step towards the
holding of elections planned for January, a UN spokesman said today. There are currently eight electoral
experts among the 35 UN international staff in Iraq, with plans to increase the number of electoral experts
while staying within the security ceiling.
Meanwhile, the UN is "working diligently" to look into the entire security system for those 35 workers as
well as assessing whether additional staff can be adequately protected in Baghdad, said Catherine Bertini,
the UN Under-Secretary-General for Management, at a press briefing in New York.
Fiji has already agreed to provide protection for UN facilities and staff in Baghdad and will be deploying
later this month. Ms. Bertini confirmed that the United States has also provided very detailed descriptions
of what it is able to provide for UN staff should the additional workers be sent to Iraq. "We're still
assessing that and then have to make a proposal to the Secretary-General and ultimately he has to decide
how to proceed," she said.
UN doing all it can to win release of abducted workers,
2 November - The United Nations is doing all it can to support efforts to win the release of the three
foreign UN workers abducted last week in Afghanistan, a top official of the world body said today.
Catherine Bertini, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Management, said unfortunately there are no
new developments in the case, although the UN is doing "everything possible to secure the release of
our colleagues." "The Government of Afghanistan is leading the investigation and is fully committed to
working to ensure the rapid release of our colleagues," she said at a press briefing in New York. "We're
also providing support to their families." Shqipe Hebibi, Annetta Flanigan and Angelito Nayan were
taken by armed gunmen from their UN vehicle on 28 October in the Afghan capital of Kabul. They had
been contracted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to work on the country's first-ever
presidential elections last month.
Responding to questions, Ms. Bertini said the UN did plan to make any changes to its operations in
Afghanistan at this time. Meanwhile, a coalition of Afghan religious authorities today condemned the
abduction of the three UN workers as an action contrary to Islamic principles and strongly demanded
their release, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said.
The All-Afghanistan Clergy Council pointed out that the three individuals had come to the country to
serve the people of Afghanistan, according to Mr. Eckhard.
Calm returns to Liberia after factional violence and looting
2 November - Rivals within a former Liberian rebel group were responsible for last week’s flare-up in
violence which was calmed after United Nations forces deployed throughout the area, a spokesman for
the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) said today.
While previous reports blamed the violence on religious differences, James Boynton told the UN News
Service that some members of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) wanted
to hold onto their weapons while others are ready to go forward with the political process.
“The facts that have come to light since [the start of the violence] don’t point to a religious conflict at
all,” he said. “We believe that the conflict arose over property issues, and from that there were others that
jumped on board with their own issues to incite riots and commit arson,” he said, naming LURD
members who targeted those within a splinter of the group. Some LURD members wanted to see the
disarmament process continue while others “thought it was wise to bring it to end,” he said.
The situation has remained “very calm” over the last 24 hours, the spokesman reported. Some 250 people
were arrested, 208 were reported injured and 16 died during the violence.
Community meetings held in the flashpoint areas – including Jacob’s Town and Paynesville – were
broadcast by UNMIL radio and aired on local television stations as part of the UN’s effort to restore
Most of the deaths, according to Mr. Boyton, resulted from “blunt force trauma from clubs, sticks or
rocks and [injuries from] machetes.” One individual was burned to death while two others were reported
shot. Asked whether the low proportion of injury by gunfire in a country which had been awash in
weapons was a reflection of the UN’s just-concluded disarmament campaign, he replied: “We would like
to think so.” While cautioning that it would be “naïve” to think all weapons have been collected, he
added, “We do term the disarmament programme to be a success.”
The UN appeal for humanitarian aid to Liberia is set to fund projects to help former fighters rejoin
society. In his latest report on Liberia, Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that the “ex-combatants
constitute a highly volatile group” who need urgent education, training and job opportunities.
But the appeal faces a roughly $200 million budget gap. Mr. Boynton called this a “real concern” as the
UN seeks to reintegrate demobilized soldiers back into a society already suffering from an 85 per cent
unemployment rate. In order to support the UN’s efforts to achieve sustained peace in Liberia, donor
countries should “make good on their pledges” to help fund the humanitarian appeal, he said.
Fréchette calls for international commitment to face new
2 November - The United Nations Charter has served humanity well but, as new threats arise, the
international community must devise a common approach to conquer emerging challenges, UN Deputy
Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said.
Opening the University of Ottawa's new School of Political Studies yesterday, she called for an
international response to problems that transcend borders.
"How can States protect themselves against international terrorism and stop the proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction? And what is the responsibility of the international community confronted by
massive violations of human rights within a State? What role should be assigned to military force and
when is the use of force permissible? Who should decide and who should authorize?" she asked.
Canada announced the formation of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty
at the UN's Millennium Summit in September 2000. The summit also worked out the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) which aim to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.
To attain the MDGs, the international community needed effective measures to eliminate poverty,
hunger, environmental degradation and communicable diseases and to provide safe drinking water. In the
Millennium Declaration the rich countries
had promised to help poor countries achieve these goals and they should honour those pledges, she said.
"The cause of development and the cause of peace are one," Ms. Fréchette said. She also called for
reform of all principal UN organs to take into account relations in today's world, giving developing
countries a greater voice in international decision-making. "Nations that truly believe in collective
solutions to common problems must not be scared off by the difficulties besetting multilateralism," she
said. "Nor must they allow themselves to believe that the best days of the UN are past. The UN is doing
better than people think and it is changing with the times."
Gambian national sworn in as International Criminal Court
2 November - Fatou Bensouda, a legal expert from Gambia, has been sworn in as Deputy Prosecutor of
the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a ceremony held in The Hague.
"The timing of Ms. Bensouda's election could not be better," said Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-
Ocampo, whose office is likely to start courtroom activities soon in support of the investigations, which
are underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda.
Ms. Bensouda was elected in the first and only round of a secret ballot in September, securing 58 of the
78 votes cast by delegates.
The new Deputy Prosecutor, who was sworn in yesterday to serve a nine-year term, has worked as a
lawyer, a prosecutor, and a government Minister in Gambia. In May 2002, she took up the post of Legal
Adviser and Trial Attorney at the UNInternational Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). She has been
the manager of a leading commercial bank and a delegate of the Gambia to the meetings of the
Preparatory Commission for the ICC in New York in 1999. Established by the Rome Statute of 1998, the
ICC can try cases involving individuals charged with committing war crimes after 1 July 2002. As of
September this year, 97 nations have signed on as members of the Court.
Bangladeshi lawyer named UN rights expert on human
2 November - The United Nations Human Rights Commission has appointed Sigma Huda of Bangladesh
as its Special Rapporteur on trafficking of persons, especially women and children.
Ms. Huda is the founder and current president of the Bangladesh Women Lawyers Association. She is
also the Secretary- General of the Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights, as well as a
founding member of various organizations fighting against trafficking and sexual exploitation of women
and girls. The Special Rapporteur is mandated by the Geneva-based Commission to recommend ways to
uphold and protect the rights of the victims of trafficking.
UN welcomes Malaysia’s decision to grant temporary stay
to Myanmar refugees
2 November - The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed the recent decision of the Malaysian
Government to grant temporary stay permits to the Rohingya refugee population from Myanmar.
“This demonstrates the strong humanitarian commitment of Malaysia and of this Government in
particular,” said Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“The action will regularize the situation of the refugees, who up until now had been tolerated but were
still considered illegal migrants and subject to arrest.” According to UNHCR estimates, there are some
10,000 Rohingyas – who come from North Rakhine State in Myanmar – living in Malaysia, many of
whom arrived during the 1990s.
Mr. Redmond said the agency is awaiting all the details of the decision, which is still being prepared
within the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry, so it can inform the Rohingyas. “We’re ready to assist the
authorities in any way we can to help implement the decision,” he said.
UN workshop in Kenya looks at finding $64 billion for
2 November - Difficulties mobilizing development resources for Africa and ways of improving the
continent's financial systems are being discussed at a workshop in Kenya this week coordinated by
the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Experts attending the Nairobi meeting, held from 1 to 3 November, are seeking to identify how
African countries can garner the $64 billion in new investment needed to generate a growth rate of 7 per
cent and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) designed to halve extreme poverty by 2015.
Nii Wallace-Bruce, workshop coordinator and senior economist at the ECA' s Economic and Social
Policy Division, said the funds could come in a number of ways. "These resources can be generated
either domestically, through increased domestic savings and improvements in public revenue collection
systems, or from external sources." In several countries, however, opportunities for engendering domestic
development funding are hampered by a lack of skilled workers, inadequate infrastructure and high levels
of illness and death in the population due to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, ECA said.
In extreme cases, political disintegration has led to armed conflicts, draining resources and adding
disincentives to domestic and foreign investment, the Commission said.
According to the data available, between 2000 and 2003 only seven of the 53 African countries reached
the desired GDP growth rate of at least 7 per cent, while 22 countries achieved only half of that rate.
Thirteen countries showed a decline. Participants represented the African Development Bank, the African
Union (AU), ministries of finance, economic planning, justice and health, as well as central banks,
universities, non-bank financial institutions, stock exchanges, securities and exchange commissions and
social security insurance departments.
Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
And The Spokesman For The General Assembly President
Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for the
Secretary-General, and Djibril Diallo, Spokesman for the General Assembly President.
Spokesman for the Secretary-General
Joining us today is Catherine Bertini, Under-Secretary-General for Management, to brief you on the
financial situation of the Organization. One of her regular updates. We’ll be getting to her in just a few
**SG - Fifth Committee Remarks
The Secretary-General addressed the Fifth Committee yesterday to outline his proposals for
improving security for UN staff -- as set out in the $97 million security package that was recently presented to
the General Assembly.
In his remarks, he said that the UN faces a security environment of unprecedented risk -- where the
UN has become a target of political violence, and is no longer protected by its flag and its status as an
impartial, benevolent actor. For example, typical peacekeeping operations today take place in conflict zones,
and often amid a collapsed society, where, in some cases, non-state actors have little or no respect for the rules
He said that this new security environment provides a compelling rationale for security reform. He
added that his plan addresses all the shortcomings of current security arrangements, which are fragmented at
The Secretary-General said that security for UN staff is his first priority, and that the proposed
security package is one of the most important proposals -- if not the most important -- that he’s ever put
forward to the Committee during his time as Secretary-General.
We have full copies of his remarks available in my office. And Catherine Bertini, of course, our
guest today, will be able to help you with questions you might have on this matter.
On Sudan, we are receiving reports that at least two camps housing internally displaced persons in the
Nyala area of south Darfur, Sudan, were surrounded by units of the Sudanese army and police earlier today.
According to preliminary reports, at one site within Nyala town, at approximately 3:00 a.m., government
forces surrounded the Al Geer IDP camp and started forcing the residents out.
Between 3:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., a proportion of the population of this camp were relocated to
another site north of Nyala town. It is estimated that 15 trucks were used to relocate the displaced persons.
The remainder of the population was dispersed into the surrounding area of Nyala town as a direct result of
this action. The site is currently not able to cater for any additional influx and, as such, is not suitable for any
relocation, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Operational agencies in south Darfur have been coordinating to discuss how best to respond to the
needs of the newly arrived IDPs. There have been extensive contacts between the UN mission and the
Government of Sudan, which has been reminded of its obligation to ensure only the voluntary movement of
A significant step towards the holding of elections in Iraq got underway yesterday. For the next six
weeks Iraqis will be able to check if their names are properly registered on the voter rolls which were prepared
by the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq, with assistance from UN electoral experts.
The UN Mission in Afghanistan is continuing its contacts with the Afghan authorities who are trying
to obtain the release of the three UN staff members abducted last week.
Today, the All Afghanistan Clergy Council, a coalition of Afghan religious authorities, condemned
the abducting of the three staff members as an action contrary to Islamic principles. They said that
Afghanistan is a UN Member State, and that the three individuals had come to the country to serve the people
of Afghanistan. The Council strongly demanded the release of the three staff members.
The Security Council is holding consultations on its program of work for November, which has been
approved, and on a draft program of the planned Council meeting in Nairobi on the 18 and 19 of November.
Then, under other matters, Council members are expected to hear a briefing on recent developments in Liberia.
The President of the Security Council for November, Ambassador John Danforth of the US, will
speak to reporters at the stakeout following consultations.
In an interview with UN Radio, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia,
Jacques Klein, described the recent violence in Monrovia as a spontaneous incident, which won’t pose a
serious threat to the peace process in the country. Klein noted that 95,000 people had been disarmed and more
than 6 million rounds of ammunition destroyed.
The hard job now will be reintegrating these people into Liberian society, which already has 85 per
cent unemployment. He outlined the challenges ahead in a country whose capital is still without running
water, without electricity and without sewerage.
Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Liberia says that rivals within a former Liberian rebel group were
responsible for the violence, which was calmed after United Nations forces deployed throughout the area. A
spokesman for the Mission told the UN News Service that some members of Liberians United for
Reconciliation and Democracy, or LURD, wanted to hold onto their weapons, while others are ready to go
forward with the political process.
**DSG – Ottawa Speech
The Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette delivered the inaugural address at the new School of
Political Studies at the University of Ottawa yesterday.
Ms. Fréchette called on the international community to rally around a commitment to collective
security, and to make a real dent in the problems of extreme poverty and hunger, unsafe drinking water,
environmental degradation and endemic or infectious disease. She also called on the world to update the
institutions of global governance to make them more legitimate.
She said, “Nations that truly believe in collective solutions to common problems must not be scared
off by the difficulties besetting multilateralism.” She went on, “Nor must they allow themselves to believe that
the best days of the UN are past. The UN is doing better than people think”, she concluded, “and it is
changing with the times”. We have the full text, of her speech, available upstairs.
ICC – Deputy Prosecutor Sworn In
Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia was sworn in as Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal
Court in an open session held in The Hague yesterday.
According to Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the timing of Ms. Bensouda’s election could
not be better. His Office is expected to begin courtroom activities soon in support of the investigations which
are underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
**Trafficking Rapporteur Appointed
The UN Commission on Human Rights has appointed Sigma Huda of Bangladesh as Special
Rapporteur on the trafficking in persons, especially women and children. Ms. Huda is the founder and current
president of the Bangladesh Women Lawyers Association, and the founding secretary of the Institute for Law
and Development. And we have more on that upstairs.
**Sports Year 2005
Swiss tennis great Roger Federer and New York City Marathon record-holder Margaret Okayo will
be here at UN Headquarters on Friday, to take part in the launch of The International Year of Sport and
Physical Education, which takes place in 2005. The aim of the year is to encourage the use of sports to
promote education, health, development and peace.
The Secretary-General will provide opening remarks at the launch, which will also be attended by
Adolf Ogi, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace. The launch will
take place in this room, at 12:30 pm. And we have more details on that upstairs.
**Guest at Noon Tomorrow
And finally, Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, will be joining us tomorrow to brief on UNRWA’s work.
**Questions and Answers
Question: Yes, could you, on the issue of Sudan you were discussing earlier…Is it the United
Nations position that the Sudanese civilians are being forcibly relocated? Is the United Nations calling for
them to stop this? Or are you sympathetic with them that these camps can’t sustain these internally displaced?
And also, is Mr. Pronk going to be saying anything about this issue today?
Spokesman: Well, we were gathering information on this right up to a few minutes ago, so I think
we’re still trying to establish what’s taking place, and what the motivation of the Government is, for taking this
action. So, I don’t think I can give you any official reaction yet. And Mr. Pronk is currently before the
ACABQ, and until he gets out of there we won’t be able to see if he has any reaction or not. But you may try
to catch him as he comes out of the ACABQ meeting. We’ll also be talking to him when he gets out. Evelyn?
Question: Yes, on the security budget. It’s a bit out of context since the DSG has already said the
same thing as the Secretary-General did. The reason he went to the Fifth Committee is because the ACABQ
wants cuts. And I’d like to know how much cuts? How many cuts do they want? And, also, what is the
current…how much is the United Nations spending now for security? I know how many additional posts and
so forth but his speech yesterday was mainly because…to try to reverse the proposals for cuts. Just presenting
security for the first time.
Spokesman: I’m going to let Catherine take that question, if you don’t mind.
Question: The DSG has already made a speech to the ACABQ…
Spokesman: If there are no more questions, I’ll ask Catherine Bertini, the Under-Secretary-General
for Management, to come up.
[Ms. Bertini’s briefing has been issued separately.]
Spokesman for General Assembly President
There is no meeting of the Plenary today. All the Committees are meeting in informals.
I have a number of items for your consideration. The First Committee approved nine draft texts
yesterday. Those draft resolutions included one asking the Secretary-General to explore the issue of
verification, including the role of the United Nations, with the assistance of a Panel of Government Experts, to
be established in 2006.
That draft resolution is entitled “Verification in all its aspects, including the role of the United
Nations in the field of verification”, and that draft resolution was approved without a vote. By the draft’s
terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the critical importance of, and the vital contribution that has been made
by, verification measures in non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements.
Also yesterday, the Committee approved a draft on a nuclear-weapon-free Southern hemisphere.
That draft resolution would have the Assembly affirm its conviction of the important role of nuclear-weapon-
free zones in strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and in extending the areas of the world that
were nuclear-weapon free.
Other draft texts approved by recorded votes yesterday were one on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-
Ban Treaty, otherwise known as CTBT; and also nuclear disarmament; and implementing the Ottawa
The Committee will meet tomorrow, Wednesday, at 9:30 a.m., to continue taking action on its
remaining drafts texts.
Two items on the activities on the General Assembly President, Jean Ping. First item, he has been
invited to the sixth annual meeting of the heads of the principal organs of the United Nations. That meeting
was to start at 12:30. And, in that meeting, President Ping was to tell participants that, beyond the traditional
agenda of the General Assembly, the fifty-ninth session has the special responsibility to prepare for the 2005
High-Level Meeting, which will take place during the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations. President
Ping informed participants that work was progressing well at the
General Assembly, that Member States reaffirmed the central role of the General Assembly as the principal
deliberative organ of the United Nations and the bedrock for the reinforcement of multilateralism.
The President also noted that, among issues on the agenda of the plenary, the revitalization of the
General Assembly, Security Council reform and the upcoming 2005 events are the most prominent.
Concerning the Security Council, added the President, Member States are of the view that it must be reformed
and adapted to the realities of the twenty-first century. The President also said that, “there is understanding
that the reform must address the Council’s composition, its method of work as well as its relationship with the
General Assembly and other bodies.”
On this important issue, there is an expectation that the report of the High-Level Panel will shed some
light. Member States, continued the President, are insisting that Security Council reform and the need to
address peace and security concerns should not overshadow developmental issues, such as poverty eradication,
financing of development, fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic or malaria and other diseases.
The second item on the agenda of the President today is a meeting this afternoon with Deputy
Secretary-General Louise Fréchette. Among the issues they are expected to cover are matters arising out of
the Cardoso report. You may recall that this report deals with the UN-civil society relationships. You also
will recall that the General Assembly debate on this point brought out the important contributions that non-
governmental organizations and civil society organizations continue to make to the work of the United
Nations. At the same time, delegations felt that further attention needed to be given to the modalities of the
participation of NGOs and civil society organizations to that work.
This is all I have for you today. Any questions? If not, thank you.
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