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Brief16July04.doc

  1. 1. THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS Friday, 16 July 2004 UNEP and the Executive Director in the News • The Financial Times - UN to develop responsible investing guide • Reuters - U.N. calls for money managers to invest responsibly • The Washington Times - U.N. starts responsible investing program • GreenBiz.com - UNEP and Investors Join Forces to Launch New Responsible Investment • Business News Americas - MOU signed for Caribbean marine protection UN News Centre - New Vienna office of UN environment agency to focus on Carpathian Mountains • Hartford Courant (Connecticut) - World's children, tall ships heading to New London next week Other Environment-related News • BBC – Europe’s slow climate progress • IHT - First dip in EU greenhouse gases • BBC - Ocean CO2 may 'harm marine life' Environmental News from the UNEP Regions • ROLAC Other UN News • U.N. Highlights of 15 July 2004 • S.G.'s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 15 July 2004 Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:cpiinfo@unep.org, http://www.unep.org
  2. 2. Financial Times 26 July 2005 UN to develop responsible investing guide By Paul J Davies in LondonPublished: July 16 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: July 16 2004 5:00 The United Nations has launched a campaign with leading pension funds and other large asset managers to develop a set of guiding principles for responsible investing. The Responsible Investment Initiative, launched yesterday in London, aims to create added value for long- term investments by bringing environmental, social and governance concerns into investment decisions. The extent to which long-term "extra-financial" concerns affect shareholder value is hotly debated, but those linked with the initiative said there was growing empirical evidence to support the claim. The project follows a 14-month study conducted by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative's asset management working group, which comprises 12 mainly European institutions controlling $1,600bn (&euro1,294bn, £864bn) in assets. They agreed that there was a real long-term threat to share performance if such issues were ignored, though comparative analysis of companies was difficult because of the range of reporting practices and transparency levels that exist and the short-term aims of investors. Klaus Töpfer, UNEP's executive director, said the initiative to design a voluntary code of best practice by September 2005 would begin by focusing on pension funds because of their huge assets. "The world's largest banks have the Equator Principles to guide their actions in support of sustainable development," he said. "We believe the investor community is now ready for similar principles." Sir Graeme Davies, chairman of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the UK's third-largest pension fund, said: "We have to have something meaningful [in the guidelines]. Most important is proving that good [behaviour] really adds value." Clare Brook, head of socially responsible investing at Morley, said that the UNEP initiative was encouraging because of the involvement of analysts at brokerage firms, which have previously avoided material analysis of environmental and social concerns. "We have seen a sea change in brokers' coverage of the issues, which will give support to fund managers," Ms Brook said. Investment banks including Goldman Sachs, WestLB and Deutsche Bank provided sector-specific research reports for the UNEP study, helping to develop techniques for financial analysis of "extra-financial" issues. UNEP said no North American brokerage houses responded positively to the invitation to compile research reports and those that responded cited the difficulty of analysis due to inadequate disclosure by companies. Study available at: www.unepfi.net/stocks ________________________________________________________________________________________ Reuters U.N. calls for money managers to invest responsibly 15 Jul 2004 By Jeremy Gaunt, European Investment Correspondent LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) - The United Nations called on Thursday for the world's largest money managers to come up with guidelines for investing in ways that protect the planet and meet social responsibilities. Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), told a news conference that it was to the benefit of institutional investors to incorporate environmental, social and governance concerns into their decision making. "It is (in their) clear interest, is their responsibility to society," he said. Toepfer was speaking at the launch of a new U.N. initiative with the financial industry that aims at developing a set of globally recognised principles for "responsible investment" by September next year. The principles, which would be voluntary, would support so-called sustainable development -- the goal of allowing the world to develop economically without destroying habitats and without increasing poverty. 2
  3. 3. Investors have become increasingly focused in recent years on issues of corporate governance and social responsibility, at least in part because of growing evidence that doing so brings rewards or, at the very least, avoids investment disasters. "Asset owners and their advisers are beginning to appreciate the importance of retaining a long-term view that anticipates new opportunities and threats," Toepfer said in a statement. IMPACT ON INVESTMENT The launch followed a year's research by UNEP's Finance Inititative, a partnership with industry, into the importance of environmental and social issues on equity pricing. A working group -- incorporating firms such as BNP Paribas Asset Management, Calvert Group and Nikko Asset Management -- reported last month that there was a sometimes profound link between long-term shareholder value and environmental, social and corporate governance issues. Among other things, it urged pension trustees to invest assets in a way that reflected these links. The group also said that there was a need for governments to improve investors' understanding of the links by requiring or enforcing disclosure of environemtal, social and governance issues in financial reports. Thursday's launch was hosted by Britain's Morley Fund Management, which was also a member of the working group. "It is clear to us that success for companies focused on consistent progress over time means embracing the concept of sustainable economic grouth," Keith Jones, the firm's chief executive, said in a statement. __________________________________________________________________________________________ The Washington Times U.N. starts responsible investing program 15 July 20004 New York, NY, Jul. 15 (UPI) -- The United Nations Environment Program began its Responsible Investment Initiative Thursday. The program is aimed at helping major institutional investors create globally recognized principles for responsible investment by September 2005. "The new principles will protect both the planet and long-term shareholder value by integrating environmental, social and governance concerns into investor and capital market considerations," UNEP said in a statement. The initiative follows a meeting of investors and fund managers last month in Paris, where participants proposed a global alliance of investors to guide responsible investment. UNEP initiated the program in response to this proposal and the results of a 14-month study published in June by UNEP on the financial effect of sustainable development. UNEP worked with a group of 21 fund managers and brokerage houses to explore the impact of environmental, social and governance issues on share prices. The study warned of a threat to stock markets if environmental, social and governance issues are ignored by financial analysts and the broader investment community. GreenBiz.com UNEP and Investors Join Forces to Launch New Responsible Investment Source GreenBiz.com URL: http://www.greenbiz.com/news/news_third.cfm?NewsID=26962 LONDON/NAIROBI, July 16, 2004 - The United Nations Environment Program will work with major institutional investors to develop a set of globally recognized principles for responsible investment by September 2005. The new principles will protect both the planet and long-term shareholder value by integrating environmental, social and governance concerns into investor and capital market considerations. 3
  4. 4. The launch of the so-called "Responsible Investment Initiative" follows a meeting of more than 40 investors and fund managers held last month in Paris. At the meeting, organized by the UNEP Finance Initiative and hosted by Groupama Asset Management, participants proposed a global alliance of investors to guide responsible investment best practice. The initiative is being launched by UNEP in response to this proposal and the results of a 14-month study published last month by UNEP on the financial impacts of sustainable development. "The time is now right to develop principles to guide best practice in responsible investment decisions worldwide", said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's executive director. "The world's largest banks have the Equator Principles to guide their actions in a manner supportive of sustainable development. We believe the investor community is now ready for similar principles to assist with the complex process of responsible investment that meets investor expectations", he said. The global public and private investor community, which has a duty to protect long-term asset values, is a key sector in bringing environmental, social and governance disciplines to the heart of capital market considerations. "The short-termism inherent in our markets is a critical challenge when it comes to addressing environmental and broader sustainability issues", Mr. Toepfer continued. "Many investors, at best, view environment and social issues as a mid- to long-term concern and, therefore, of little relevance to the cut and thrust of modern capital markets. This is why asset owners can play such an important role. While investing in our capital markets, asset owners and their advisors are beginning to appreciate the importance of retaining a long-term view that anticipates new opportunities and threats." Sir Graeme Davies, chairman of the Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd, the third largest pension fund in the United Kingdom, said: "Pension funds have liabilities which last several decades so it's inevitable that the serious social and environmental issues which the U.N. system seeks to address will increasingly become material investment issues as well. "The focus of the investment system -- on relative returns over the short or medium term -- can mean both the impact of institutional investors on these wider issues and the investment opportunities they present get less attention than they deserve. That's why I welcome principles which focus attention on material but currently 'extra-financial' issues, principles which each fund can interpret and implement as it judges to be appropriate." Commenting on the importance of UNEP's involvement, Sir Graeme said: "The UN and its sister organizations (e.g. the World Bank, OECD and IMF) have the international legitimacy and expertise to lead this work, as well as considerable clout as investors in their own right. That is why USS is participating in this important initiative." Keith Jones, CEO of Morley Fund Management, agreed, commenting: "It is clear to us that success for companies focused on consistent progress over time means embracing the concept of sustainable economic growth. And an aspect of Morley's success has been our use of SRI expertise to identify companies that are successful because they adopt environmental, social and corporate governance best practice as part of their own idea of winning. We look forward to working with UNEP on this." Michaeal Hölz of Deutsche Bank and chair of the UNEP Finance Initiative added: "UNEP FI is the largest and oldest public private partnership between the U.N. and the financial sector, with 226 member companies worldwide. As chair of this Initiative, Deutsche Bank firmly believes in the potential of public private partnerships to develop and ensure governance, environmental and social performance. The results of UNEP FI's Asset Management Working Group, which form the basis for this announcement, are an example of the success of this network." UNEP will now convene a group of major investors in a learning process to jointly explore how to best develop and disseminate the principles. At the Paris meeting on June 16 investors also encouraged UNEP to coordinate its work with relevant international organizations including the World Bank, the OECD, the CFA institute, the International 4
  5. 5. Corporate Governance Network and the Carbon Disclosure Project. Regional groups pinpointed for collaboration included the Investor Network on Climate Risk in the United States and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change in the United Kingdom. The new UNEP initiative is framed in support of the U.N.'s Global Compact. It also builds on the recent launch of a UNEP study that warned of a threat to stock markets if environmental, social and governance issues are ignored by financial analysts and the broader investment community. The study, "The Materiality of Social, Environmental and Corporate Governance Issues to Equity Pricing," was launched at the U.N. Global Compact Leaders Summit on June 24 in New York. To compile the study, UNEP worked with a group of 21 fund managers and brokerage houses to explore the impact of environmental, social and governance issues on share prices. UNEP and the asset management companies, working under a public-private partnership called the UNEP Finance Initiative, concluded the work by calling upon investors, government and business leaders to embed environmental, social and governance best practice at the heart of our markets. The new initiative to develop a responsible investment approach to guide investors is a response to that call. __________________________________________________________________________ Business News Americas-English July 15, 2004 Thursday MOU signed for Caribbean marine protection BODY: The Secretariats of the Basel Convention and the Cartagena Convention signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday July 15 for the joint protection of the marine environment in the wider Caribbean, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) announced. The agreement will cover the environmentally safe management of hazardous wastes, to prevent coastal and marine pollution. Many of the joint activities will be carried out using regional centers as platforms in Argentina, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay, the statement added. The Basel Convention regulates the movement of hazardous waste worldwide and obliges its members to ensure that such wastes are managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Governments are also expected to minimize the quantities that are transported, to treat and dispose of wastes as close as possible to their place of generation and to minimize the generation of hazardous waste at source. The Cartagena Convention was signed in 1983 for the protection and development of the marine environment of the wider Caribbean region. LOAD-DATE: July 15, 2004 UN News Centre 15 July 2004 New Vienna office of UN environment agency to focus on Carpathian Mountains 15 July 2004 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that it has opened a new office in Vienna that will focus on protecting the Carpathian mountain range, one of Europe's largest, while promoting environmental cooperation in Central and southeastern Europe. Among its tasks, the new UNEP office will serve as the interim Secretariat of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians. The treaty was adopted and signed in May 2003 after Ukraine spearheaded a movement to reach agreement with its neighbours on the mountain range. The Carpathians have a unique ecosystem and an exceptionally high biological diversity, UNEP said, noting that the region provides a livelihood and natural resources for up to 18 million people. 5
  6. 6. The mountain range - which spans the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine - also serves as a haven for a considerable number of endangered species such as the brown bear, wolf and lynx. With close to 4,000 partly endangered plant species, the Carpathians account for 30 per cent of the European flora. "UNEP Vienna will help us to better collaborate with our sister agencies and partners in the region, and at the same time, assist in bringing the Carpathian and other important regional environmental agreements towards a successful implementation," UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel said. __________________________________________________________________________ Hartford Courant (Connecticut) July 15, 2004 Thursday, World's children, tall ships heading to New London next week BYLINE: JESSE HAMILTON; Courant Staff Writer DATELINE: NEW LONDON -- What could an Iranian child, a Brazilian sailing ship and renewable energy possibly have in common? New London, next week. Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and event organizers are preparing the city for an international doubleheader, starting Monday with the International Children's Conference on the Environment and finishing through the weekend with the Tall Ships Environmental Festival. The U.N.-sponsored children's conference -- the first in America -- will bring children from around the world to learn about environmental issues. Then on Thursday, a 30-ship parade will fill the Thames River with towering sails. And the two events have a link: The children environmentalists will go on educational field trips aboard some of the ships. Also, organizers say, the tall ships event, which includes a days-long environmental exposition, has raised money for and given a public presence to the conference. Kate Bailey, managing the whole thing for the primary sponsor, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said the ships also "blended perfectly the historic nature of New London ... with what we wanted to do." The conference, backed by the United Nations Environment Programme and held at Connecticut College, is intended to gather children ages 10 to 13 who have worked for environmental causes in their home countries. Nikoo Sadat Momensade, 12, of Iran, cleaned trash from around her school and is writing a book on ways children can protect the environment. Alice Ofosua Abaassah, 12, of Ghana, promotes fuel-efficient stoves in an effort to reduce harvesting in the forests. Paige Barnett, 12, of Southington, has taught young children about recycling. "All of the kids who are coming have done amazing work to get here," said Lori Palano, who is coordinating the "junior board" of children who helped organize the event. By the end of the week, the 400 "delegates" will forward a list of ideas to the U.N. But as important are the friendships they'll start across the globe. "They are also learning from each other, which is the really interesting thing," Palano said. Meanwhile, on the waterfront, the ships festival offers something for everybody else -- a chance to see ships such as the Cuauhtemoc from Mexico, the Cisne Branco from Brazil and the Mircea from Romania up close. Capt. Peter Boynton, head of the Coast Guard in Long Island Sound, said anchorage areas for the ships will be patrolled and boaters are asked to stay at least 100 yards from the vessels. Also, the channel up the Thames will be cleared of boats during the event. LOAD-DATE: July 15, 2004 BBC Europe's slow climate progress 6
  7. 7. By Alex Kirby BBC News Online environment correspondent The European Union's climate emissions fell only slightly from 2001 to 2002, the European Environment Agency says. But the fall followed two years during which greenhouse gas emissions actually rose, so it does mark some progress. The EEA says the EU has taken a small step towards meeting its target under the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement on tackling climate change. But it warns the states concerned that they have much more to do if they are actually to meet their commitments. Help from the elements In a report, Annual European Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2002 And Inventory Report 2004, the EEA says it estimates emissions from the EU's 15 pre-2004 member states fell by 0.5% from 2001 to 2002. Reasons for the decrease included warmer weather reducing the need for heating produced by the burning of fossil fuels, which gives off carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important of the six gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Other reasons were slower economic growth in manufacturing industries, a continued shift from coal to gas, and specific measures undertaken to reduce emissions. In 2000 emissions of the six gases had risen by 0.2%, and in 2001 by 1.3%. The 2002 fall took the total emissions from the 15 states which were then members of the EU to 2.9% below the baseline year used for calculations, in most cases 1990. While this sounds positive, the EEA says, it means the EU is progressing more slowly than its Kyoto commitment demands. Spain faces a greater challenge to meet its target than any other member state EEA report That requires it to cut emissions to 8% below their 1990 levels by some time between 2008 and 2012. The EEA says the 2001-2 cut of 0.5% "still leaves the EU with a long way to go to meet its commitment... Assuming the 8% reduction were to follow a linear path, emissions should have fallen by 4.8% by 2002." On this basis, it says, only four countries are on track to comply with the national targets accepted by all pre-2004 EU members - France, Germany, Sweden and the UK. The 11 other states are heading towards overshooting their targets, "some by a substantial margin". Ways to catch up The EEA says: "Spain faces a greater challenge to meet its target than any other member state. Its emissions in 2002 were 39.4% above their base year level - well over double the 15% increase it is allowed... under the EU agreement." But the report says several initiatives could speed up progress towards the Kyoto target, principally the EU emissions trading scheme which starts next January. Other measures which could help include the protocol's Joint Implementation provisions, which allow industrialised countries to invest in emission-saving projects in other developed countries, and the Clean Development Mechanism, which lets them make similar investments in developing countries. Emissions from the 10 states which joined the EU on 1 May will not count towards the union's reduction target, although most of the 10 have their own targets. 7
  8. 8. The EEA report says emissions from road transport increased in 2001-2 in all of the 15 EU members except Germany. The Kyoto Protocol has not yet entered into force, because it has not been ratified by enough signatories. With the US, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, refusing to ratify it, the protocol's fate lies in the hands of Russia, whose intentions remain unclear. _________________________________________________________________________________________ IHT First dip in EU greenhouse gases The European Union recorded its first dip in greenhouse gas emissions in three years in 2002, largely because of a warmer winter and the stagnant economy across much of the continent that year, according to a report released Thursday. The European Environment Agency estimated emissions of six gases blamed for global warming declined 0.5 percent in 2002 in the then-15 nation bloc. Under the 1997 UN pact known as the Kyoto Protocol, the EU is committed to cutting its emissions 8 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. So far, emissions are down only 2.9 percent. But EU officials hope for a boost from the start of an emissions trading program next January, under which European companies that emit less carbon dioxide than allowed can sell unused allotments to other companies. The United States has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, arguing it would be harmful to the economy, and the EU survey tended to illustrate such a link. Emissions that had bumped up in 2000 and 2001 reversed course when growth across Europe fell precipitously. "The great challenge is to break that link by finding more efficient means of production," said Tony Carritt, a spokesman for the European Environment Agency. __________________________________________________________________________________________ BBC Ocean CO2 may 'harm marine life' Nearly 50% of the carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the atmosphere over the last 200 years has been absorbed by the sea, scientists say. Consequently, atmospheric levels of the potent greenhouse gas are not nearly as high as they might have been. But the heavy concentration of carbon dioxide in the oceans has changed their chemistry, making it hard for some marine animals to form shells. The research is published in this week's edition of Science magazine. Industrial age Since the beginning of the industrial age around 1800, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) to 380 ppm. Although it seems a lot, many scientists were surprised: the extra CO2 that turned up in the atmosphere was only about half of the total amount emitted. Following an international 10-year survey, researchers found the "missing" CO2 - it had been absorbed into the sea. On the time scale of several thousand years, it is estimated that about 90% of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions will end up in the ocean Christopher Sabine, NOAA "The ocean has removed 48% of the CO2 we have released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels and cement manufacturing," said Christopher Sabine, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (Noaa) in Seattle, US. 8
  9. 9. "If the ocean had not removed 118 billion metric tonnes of carbon between 1800 and 1994, the CO2 level in the atmosphere would be about 55 parts per million greater than currently observed." Sea chemistry This may have slowed global warming, but it also led to a change in seawater chemistry. According to Richard Feely, of Noaa, and his colleagues, that might make life pretty hard for some shell- forming marine animals. Corals, pteropod molluscs and some plankton (single celled organisms) pull carbonate ions from the seawater to produce their calcium carbonate shells. But, as the CO2 concentrations in the water increase, the carbonate ion concentrations decrease. This means the animals lack the materials with which to build their shells. And in areas where CO2 concentrations are particularly high, Professor Feely's team claim, the animal's shells can actually begin to dissolve. "Based on our present knowledge, it appears that as seawater CO2 levels rise, the skeletal growth rates of calcareous plankton will be reduced - as a result of the effects of CO2 on calcification," said co-author Victoria Fabry, of California State University, US. Patchy distribution This effect is not witnessed uniformly throughout the oceans, however. The survey has revealed that dissolved CO2 levels are rather patchy. Because CO2 gets into the water by gas exchange at the surface - and because oceans tend to mix rather slowly - most CO2 is found near the top of the ocean, or in seas that are quite shallow. "About half of the anthropogenic CO2 (i.e. produced by human activity) taken up over the last 200 years can be found in the upper 10% of the ocean," said Professor Sabine. That means shelled creatures that live in surface waters at higher latitudes may have the most trouble. At the moment the oceans house a mere third of the CO2 that they could. Again, that is because our seas are "stirred" very slowly. So deep layers of water, which will eventually reach the surface, are far from being saturated. "On the time scale of several thousand years, it is estimated that about 90% of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions will end up in the ocean," said Professor Sabine. But the key word here is "thousands" of years. In the shorter term, as the surface waters become more saturated, the ocean may become a less efficient sink for CO2. Just what that will mean for the Earth's climate, and for the marine ecosystem, is not quite clear yet. Professor Sabine said: "Future studies of the carbon system in the oceans should be designed to identify and assess these feedback mechanisms [so that we can] determine the ocean's future role as a sink for CO2". __________________________________________________________________________________________ ROLAC MEDIA UPDATE –15 July 2004 www.tierramerica.net Low Scores for Technological Development By By Mario Osava* Latin America's development looks gloomy if countries fail to increase investment in science and technology, an area where the region spends an average of just 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). 9
  10. 10. RIO DE JANEIRO - Captopril is a hypertension medication that brings in billions of dollars a year for the pharmaceutical industry. Bristol-Myers Squibb holds the patent, but it was Brazilian doctor Mauricio Rocha e Silva who in 1948 isolated its basic ingredient, bradicinine, from the venom of the Bothrops jararaca snake. Researchers at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) discovered that the saliva of the vampire bat is a better blood-coagulating agent than those existing on the market at the time. The Germany-based Schering corporation supported the research, but then claimed ownership of the discovery and sold the patent to Japanese firms, without paying a thing to UNAM. Among the region's researchers ''there is a lack of a culture of intellectual property protection, of registering patents,'' Carlos Vogt, head of Sao Paulo state's research foundation, a leading Brazilian science and technology funder, told Tierramérica. It is essential to overcome this ''cultural blockage'', which is manifest even when products are developed for the market, says Eugenius Kaszkurewicz, an advisor to Brazil's Ministry of Science and Technology. Alberto Santos Dumont, who Brazil considers the inventor of the airplane, did not patent his discoveries, unlike his rivals in the United States, Wilbur and Orville Wright. But the limited number of innovations and inventions recognized as Latin American is due largely to deficiencies in other areas. The figures are discouraging and seem to indicate a gloomy future for the region: scant investment, a shortage of scientists that has been aggravated by ''brain drain'', ridiculously low numbers of national patents and lack of protection for local technologies. Latin America's lagging behind could have dramatic consequences because knowledge is a crucial form of capital in the ''new economy'', agree experts. The region dedicates just 0.5 percent of its combined gross domestic product (GDP) to research and development (R&D), compared to 2.5 to 3.0 percent in South Korea, Japan and the United States, a gap that is reflected in productivity, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The Santiago-based United Nations regional agency adds that bridging this gap will require public policies that foment the countries' innovative capacities. Latin American investment in this area comes mostly from the public sector, while in industrialized countries, private companies are the main source of financing. In Chile, the state provides 64 percent of total investment in R&D, 20 percent comes from the country's private sector and 15 percent from foreign investment, according to the Chilean National Commission on Scientific and Technological Research. The financial difficulties of the countries themselves often make the situation worse. Mexico aims to reach one percent GDP for R&D, an increase from its current 0.43 percent. In Venezuela, investment in R&D in the past two years was 0.14 percent GDP. Brazil, which earmarked 1.0 percent of GDP for R&D in 2000, hopes to double that figure by 2006. Last year, 24,753 patent applications were filed in Brazil, double the number in 1990, and 40 percent of the requests were from Brazilian residents. In Mexico, there were 12,207 patent requests, but only 468 were from Mexicans. The major obstacle to greater technological development in the region is ''the economic model based on cheap labor and the export of raw materials, in contrast to the Asian model, characterized by active absorption of technology,'' says Gustavo Biniegra-González, professor at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM). 10
  11. 11. If it continues along its same path, Latin America ''has no future,'' he said in a conversation with Tierramérica. The Mexican government ''doesn't know what to do... because the emergence of China and other Asian countries as assembly plants with cheap labor and an ability to assimilate advanced technology'' has surpassed Mexico's capacity to compete in that area, he said. Biniegra-González predicts a ''disaster of unimaginable proportions'' for Mexico if it doesn't increase investment in science and technology, because importing it is currently costing the country ''more than three, perhaps as much as five percent'' of GDP. Mexico has no strategy to overcome dependence on petroleum, which could run out, he says, within 20 years, nor is there a strategy for the employment of 20 million small farmers ''who will be made obsolete due to massive imports of corn from the United States.'' Paying pensions for an aging population requires economic growth of at least seven percent a year, he adds. Cuba has an educational level similar to that of industrialized countries. There are 559 people working in R&D for every 100,000 inhabitants of the island, more than triple the proportion in Brazil and 2.5 times that of Mexico. ''But the existence of knowledge in itself doesn't in any way guarantee results,'' warned a Cuban economist who requested anonymity. Many obstacles prevent ''the conversion of knowledge into wealth for society,'' such as an insufficient articulation between R&D and the productive sector, a scarcity of capital for research, lack of intellectual property protections and the absence of an integral strategy, said the source. Human resources for R&D are lagging behind in other countries. ''In Venezuela we have 5,688 researchers, but even so we have a deficit of 12,000,'' according to Ruben Reinoso, training director for the Ministry of Science and Technology. In Mexico there is just one R&D scientist per 10,000 people, in contrast to Germany, where there are 20 per 10,000, and the United States, 42 per 10,000, according to official figures. Of the 100,000 Mexicans who received scholarships to study and carry out R&D in other countries in the past 30 years, six percent remained abroad. A third of the 1,500 Chilean scientists dedicated to R&D in 2000 were living in other countries. But in the Brazilian case, Vogt and Kaszkurewicz point to at least ''three success stories'': agri-business fomented by R&D coming out of the state-run EMBRAPA, an agricultural research agency; the internationally competitive aircraft manufactured by EMBRAER; and the technology for deep sea extraction of petroleum developed by the government's oil company Petrobrás. Furthermore, major investment in software development allowed Brazil to achieve a level similar to India and China in that area, but, unlike India, it is focused on the domestic market, said Vogt. Both experts see ''good prospects'' for the future, since the bases of a broad governmental strategy were established, including funds for technological development in 14 areas, a new law to protect inventions, and an industrial policy to stimulate private-sector investment in technology. Brazil's ''brain drain'' is less than in other developing countries, but could become a problem if the greater number of scientists graduating from university is not accompanied by an expansion of jobs in that sector. The state-run universities, which employ most of the researchers, will have to obtain greater autonomy and organize themselves in order to create more innovative technologies, while private companies ''must be bold enough to boost their investment in R&D,'' Vogt said. Currently, the private sector employs just 11 percent of Brazil's scientists, and the distance separating it from the universities has limited the country's technological development and the number of patents registered, he added. 11
  12. 12. BRAZIL: Amazon in the Eco-Spotlight RIO DE JANEIRO - The world's knowledge of the Amazon and its role in the global climate will expand Jul. 27-29 as a result of the 3rd conference of the Large-scale Biosphere Atmosphere (LBA) Experiment in the Amazon, the biggest international cooperation program for environmental studies. More than 700 studies signed by 800 scientists from 170 institutions from Brazil, other Amazon countries, United States and Europe will be presented at the meeting in Brasilia. The LBA, begun in 1998 through a Brazilian initiative, brings the scientists together every two years and is slated to conclude its work in 2006. The studies already published show that the Amazon forests serve as ''carbon sinks'', fixing carbon from the atmosphere, and that deforestation has reduced rainfall and altered the climate in the region and in other places around the world. The Amazon is a mosaic of non-uniform forests, where trees grow and die three times faster in the western region than in the east. CUBA: Saving the Beach Where Columbus Stepped CUBA: Saving the Beach Where Columbus Stepped HAVANA - Cuban scientists were able to halt coastal erosion in parts of Bariay Key, in the eastern province of Holguín, whose sands were the first that Christopher Columbus stepped on when he reached the island more than 500 years ago. The conservation program is the work of experts from the coastal investment unit of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, to protect Cuba's northeastern shoreline. The unit, created in 1999, has spent five million dollars on programs to protect coastal ecosystems from natural phenomena, like erosion, and from the impacts of human activities. Located 800 km from Havana, Holguín province is the Caribbean island's third leading tourist destination. VENEZUELA: Fisherfolk Take Water in Own Hands CARACAS - On the arid Venezuelan peninsula of Paraguaná, 288 residents of La Sabaneta fishing community decided to take the matter of potable water into their own hands, organizing a cooperative that will install several kilometers of water pipeline. Tired of waiting for the irregular deliveries of water in tanker trucks, ''we decided to set up a project four years ago to manage water ourselves. It has taken some time, but we are now ready to install the pipeline,'' Elba Martínez, a member of the community, told Tierramérica on a recent visit to Caracas. According to official figures, there are 100 water management cooperatives in the country, with around 3,000 members, distributing water in small rural and suburban communities. The national government provides materials and technical support for installing and repairing the systems. HONDURAS: 'March for Life' a Success TEGUCIGALPA - More than 30,000 people took part in the ''March for Life'' across Honduras, arriving in the capital from all parts of the country on Jun. 30 to demand measures to protect the environment, defying a ban by the government. 12
  13. 13. The military followed the seven-day march with helicopters and tanks, but the demonstrators, led by Roman Catholic priest Andrés Tamayo, received public support along their route, with local residents providing water, food and lodging. President Ricardo Maduro met with Tamayo on July 1, and they agreed to designate a special high-level commission to attend to the problem of protecting natural resources. Tamayo told Tierramérica, ''This is a good sign, and indicates that the march for life is just beginning.'' Also taking part in the march were senators, business leaders and humanitarian activists __________________________________________________________________________________________ Prepared by News Services Section DH/4185 http://www.un.org/News/ 15 July 2004 THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS * UN development report calls for cultural freedom to become a basic human right * AIDS is wreaking devastating toll on human development – UN report * Security Council calls for speedier disarmament of ex-fighters in Afghanistan * UN strikes deal with Libya to deliver relief supplies to Sudan and Chad * Citing lack of evidence, Annan closes harassment case against top refugee official * In Vienna, Annan discusses global issues with senior Austrian officials * Annan, Thai officials conferred on possibility of international talks on Myanmar * Security Council hopes Annan’s visits to Ethiopia, Eritrea will break deadlock * UN condemns fighting in eastern DR Congo * Thousands of malnourished Liberians threatened with famine by December – UN * UN tribunal gives ex-finance minister life sentence for role in Rwanda genocide * Anti-landmine drive to gain boost at upcoming Nairobi summit – UN officials * UN launches new initiative with major investors to safeguard environment * New Vienna office of UN environment agency to focus on Carpathian Mountains * UNESCO chief ‘categorically condemns’ murder of US journalist in Moscow **** Human Development Report 15 July – Countries should treat cultural freedoms as basic human rights that are essential to life in modern, diverse societies, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says today in its annual flagship report. The authors of the Human Development Report 2004 argue that countries which do not respect and even promote cultural freedoms not only lose out socially, but also struggle to reap any sustainable benefits from economic globalization. 13
  14. 14. The Report calls for nations with multi-ethnic or religious populations to establish “asymmetric” federalist structures to allow different groups to maintain both their own identity and a sense of belonging to the nation as a whole. Citing Belgium, Malaysia, South Africa and Canada as working examples, it says granting some rights and powers to different groups or regions can defuse or avert conflicts and tensions. The focus of this year’s Report – which has examined and measured human development by broad social, political and economic criteria since 1990 – is the value of population diversity after several decades of large-scale international migration. In the Report’s foreword, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown says “allowing people full cultural expression is an important development end in itself.” Nations with rich, diverse cultures, Mr. Malloch Brown adds, are able to make swifter economic and social progress, especially in an era when mass culture is being exported around the world in films, television, books and popular music. He says that while there is no template that will work for every country, it is critical that, as a starting point, minorities have their rights guaranteed in a constitution or in legislation. “But unless the political culture also changes – unless citizens come to think, feel and act in ways that genuinely accommodate the needs and aspirations of others – real change will not happen,” he cautions. The Report debunks a number of myths about diversity, including the idea that a person’s ethnic identity has to compete with their attachment to the State. “Countries do not have to choose between national unity and cultural diversity. Individuals can and do have multiple, complementary identities – ethnicity, language, religion and race, as well as citizenship. Identity is not a zero-sum game.” Outlining the concept of asymmetric federalism, the Report says some provinces or regions enjoy different powers to others because of their individual history or identity – this could include language rights, religious protections or regional parliaments. But all the regions and provinces still fall under a national, unified structure. Mr. Malloch Brown says the solution is to create institutions and policies that encourage pride in national identity and symbols, as well as pride in regional or ethnic/religious backgrounds. *** Human Development Report 15 July – The HIV/AIDS epidemic is having a catastrophic impact on human development in sub- Saharan Africa, reducing life expectancy and living standards in many countries and reversing the effects of any gains made in other fields, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says today. Launching the Human Development Report 2004, its flagship annual report, the UNDP says the inhabitants of at least 46 countries are poorer than they were a decade ago. Almost half of these nations are in Africa. The biggest reason for the deterioration is HIV/AIDS. In eight countries – Angola, the Central African Republic (CAR), Lesotho, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – life expectancy has fallen to below 40 years. UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown says the disease is undermining every aspect of societies, from private family life to economic production. “The AIDS crisis cripples States at all levels, because the disease attacks people in their most productive years. It tears apart the foundations of everything from public administration and health care to family structures,” he says. 14
  15. 15. The Report includes the Human Development Index (HDI), which measures life expectancy, adult literacy, school enrolment rates and gross domestic product (GDP) per person to build a broad picture of daily living standards in each country. This year it measures 175 UN Member States, as well as Hong Kong and the occupied Palestinian territories. The UNDP – which is using statistics from 2002 – does not have enough accurate or recent data to measure 16 States, including Afghanistan, Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Liberia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Somalia. Norway tops the global rankings again this year: its inhabitants have a life expectancy of 79 years, a school enrolment ratio of 98 per cent, a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $36,000. Sweden, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, the United States, Japan and Ireland complete the top 10. In all, 55 nations are classed as having high human development. But the countries at the bottom of the HDI rankings, classed as having low human development and dominated by sub-Saharan Africa, are slipping further behind. Sierra Leone is in last place for the seventh consecutive year as it attempts to recover from a brutal and long-running civil war. The other members of the bottom 10 are Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Ethiopia, the CAR and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The world’s newest nation, Timor-Leste, is also the worst-off in Asia, ranking 158th of the 177 countries and territories measured. The Report also contains indices of human poverty and gender equality and economic inequality to help international policy-makers better target their programmes. Mr. Malloch Brown says the Report is useful in helping to determine what progress countries are making towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight targets set by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000 that aim to cut in half extreme poverty and hunger, bring educational parity to boys and girls and improve the plight of slum dwellers, all by 2015. *** Afghanistan 15 July – The United Nations Security Council today called on Afghanistan’s authorities to accelerate the disarmament of ex-combatants, strengthen the country’s army and police and do more to cut opium production ahead of the scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections. In a statement read out at an open meeting by Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania, this month’s President, the Council noted last week’s announcement by Afghan electoral authorities to hold the presidential poll on 9 October and delay the parliamentary polls until next April. Describing the elections as “a new milestone in the process of constructing a democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” the Council said the remaining time before the polls must be used to ensure they are free and fair. It called for greater efforts to allow Afghan refugees still living in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan to register to vote, and said women should also be encouraged to register. The Council also said the international community must play its role in helping Afghanistan achieve successful democratic elections – the first after decades of war and one-party rule. Meanwhile, more than 7 million Afghans – over two-thirds of the estimated electorate – have registered to vote, and the gender gap is closing as a greater percentage of women continue to sign up, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced today. Briefing reporters in Kabul, UNAMA spokesman David Singh said provisional figures show that 7,175,651 Afghans have registered so far. But this figure is considered incomplete because it leaves out results from remote regions of the country. More than 40 per cent of the registered voters are female – the highest proportion since registration began last December. In total, 4.3 million men are registered and almost 2.9 million women. 15
  16. 16. Afghanistan’s electoral authorities have said they are uncertain of the exact number of eligible voters, but the most recent estimate places the total at about 9.5 million. More than two decades of civil war and harsh Taliban rule, followed by more war and slow reconstruction, mean the country has not had a formal census since 1979. *** Sudan 15 July – The United Nations food relief agency has reached an agreement with Libya to serve as a humanitarian corridor for delivering emergency supplies to more than a million Sudanese people displaced by the civil conflict and militia attacks in the Darfur region of their country. Announcing the deal today, the World Food Programme (WFP) said the first shipments will be delivered via Libya in August towards helping an estimated 1.2 million people in Darfur and another 175,000 refugees in neighbouring Chad. The deal comes amid mounting concerns over acute malnutrition levels among Sudanese living in Darfur and Chad, with more than one in four people found to be suffering in some areas. At a press conference in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, WFP Deputy Executive Director John Powell praised the country for helping tackle what senior UN officials have described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. “The Libyan corridor provides a vital link to the refugees and internally displaced population which allows us to dramatically increase the amount of food aid we can deliver,” he said. Looking to the broader regional picture, he said, “it also has great potential for providing food more efficiently to cope with other emergencies in Central Africa.” UN humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been struggling to deliver food and other emergency aid to civilians in Darfur and Chad because of the area’s remote location, prevailing insecurity and logistical problems accompanying the current rainy season. It can take weeks, for example, for some deliveries to arrive from Port Sudan. The Libyan corridor should allow year-round access to Sudan and Chad, where an estimated 175,000 refugees are living since escaping violence in Darfur. However, a survey by relief agencies shows that more than a quarter of the Sudanese refugees in Chad have acute malnutrition because of a lack of clean drinking water, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The problem is so severe that local Chadians are also affected, with nearly one in four also suffering from the condition. While there are enough food stocks to meet demand, the refugees have been forced to drink dirty water as clean water supplies are often three hours’ walk away. This has led to prolonged diarrhoea, worsening the malnutrition. In a related development, senior officials from the World Health Organization (WHO), including Director-General Lee Jong-wook, have completed a visit to hospitals and camps in South and West Darfur. WHO said it needs extra funds and supplies immediately to help stave off major outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, malaria and other infectious diseases across the region. In North Darfur, an outbreak of shigellosis, a bacterial infection characterized by painful diarrhoea, has struck at least 40,000 people since mid-May. WHO said there have been at least 11 confirmed deaths. *** UNHCR 16
  17. 17. 15 July – Secretary-General Kofi Annan has found that a staff member’s complaint of sexual harassment against the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, cannot be sustained by the evidence, a UN spokesman said today. The Secretary-General made his determination after thoroughly reviewing the report of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) regarding the investigation into the complaint against Mr. Lubbers and also carefully considering Mr. Lubbers’ response to that report, Stephane Dujarric said in New York. The spokesman said the Secretary-General has written to Mr. Lubbers conveying his concerns and has sent UN Under-Secretary-General for Management Catherine Bertini to Geneva to consult with the High Commissioner, his senior managers and the staff “to help them rebuild trust and confidence.” Asked if Mr. Lubbers had made an offer to resign or was asked to leave his post, Mr. Dujarric said he was “not aware of any.” He added, “It’s important that we all now pull together and move forward to get the agency to focus on its central mission.” “The Secretary-General now considers this matter closed,” he said. Mr. Lubbers had issued a statement denying the allegations when they were made public in May. In a statement issued by his spokesman, he said the complaint referred to a formal meeting in the High Commissioner’s office late last year where five other staffers were present. “In that meeting of last December 18, there was no improper behaviour on my part,” he asserted. *** Secretary-General 15 July – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner today in Vienna for talks on a number of issues, including non-proliferation, the situation in the Darfur region of western Sudan, Iran and Iraq. Their discussions also touched on the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which is currently meeting in Austria, according to a UN spokesman. The Secretary-General had appointed the 16- person blue-ribbon panel last November to look into new global security threats and reform of the international system, and to recommend clear and practical measures for ensuring effective collective action. Mr. Annan’s new Special Representative for Kosovo, Soren Jessen-Petersen, then joined the meeting for a review of the situation in that province. Afterwards, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel gave the Secretary-General a tour of the newly- renovated Albertina Museum, and they held talks before Mr. Annan lunched with Mr. Jessen-Petersen to discuss the envoy’s new assignment. Also on the Secretary-General’s programme were meetings with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, who is visiting Vienna, and the new Austrian President, Heinz Fischer. *** Myanmar 15 July – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has discussed with senior Thai officials the possibility of holding international consultations on Myanmar, a UN spokesman said today. During his trip earlier this week to Thailand, where he addressed the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok and conducted an official visit, the Secretary-General exchanged views with Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra, Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and representatives of other nations on the situation in Myanmar, according to a statement released by a spokesman for Mr. Annan. In his talks with the Thai leaders, “the Secretary-General underscored the role and responsibility of the countries of the region in helping to accelerate the process of democratization and national reconciliation in Myanmar, beginning with the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” the statement said, referring to the Nobel Laureate and General Secretary of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). The Secretary-General emphasized the need to engage the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). 17
  18. 18. On the possibility of holding international consultations on Myanmar, Mr. Annan supported the “Bangkok Process” – a meeting first held last December in which 10 Asian and European Government participated – as one format in which they could be conducted, the statement noted. The Secretary-General also welcomed the support of Thailand and others for the continuing role of his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail, including his return to Myanmar as soon as possible. *** Ethiopia/Eritrea 15 July – The United Nations Security Council today expressed the hope that the meetings between Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia in their capitals earlier this month would bring new commitment from both to meet his Special Envoy for constructive negotiations over their problems. After a closed briefing by peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the 15 Council members “called on the parties to speedily implement the decision of the Boundary Commission and to step up their cooperation with the Special Envoy in order to overcome the impasse in the peace process. “They also called on the parties to enhance efforts to reach an effective and mutually acceptable political solution to the remaining problems.” Mr. Annan has said Special Envoy Lloyd Axworthy, Special Representative Legwaila Joseph Legwaila and the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), whose current mandate ends on 30 September, are ready to work with both governments to clarify issues, resolve differences and prevent incidents in the border area peacefully. Some restrictions on UNMEE’s freedom of movement were recently lifted, but the Council stressed that several other open questions, including direct flights between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Asmara, Eritrea, remained unresolved and have resulted in considerable additional costs. *** DR of Congo 15 July – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has condemned the continued fighting which recently claimed nearly 50 lives in the troubled eastern region of the country. At the weekly press briefing on Wednesday, the military spokesman for the UN Organization Mission (MONUC) deplored the clashes in Mahagi district, Ituri Province, between the Front des Nationalistes et Intégrationnistes (FNI) and the Forces Armées du Peuple Congolais (FAPC). “The fighting allegedly left 48 dead, including 27 FNI members, 14 FAPC members and four civilians,” said Maj. Abou Thiam. In that context, MONUC’s Kivu Brigade sent a liaison patrol to Minova to meet with a dissident leader who left the DRC’s armed forces (FARDC), Gen. Laurent Nkunda, and to question him about “allegations of children’s recruitment, tax deductions for war effort, the putting-in-place of a parallel administration and bellicose inclinations towards Bukavu.” Mr. Nkunda dismissed the allegations and repeated pledges of loyalty to the Transitional Government of President Joseph Kabila, but he was warned that MONUC would use ‘‘appropriate retaliatory action’’ in the case of any new attack on Bukavu, Mr. Thiam said. The General and his fellow rebels briefly took Bukavu city in June, claiming mistreatment of their Banyamulenge (Congolese Tutsi) ethnic group, and, according to a MONUC report, have placed combatants on the two roads leading to the university town. The Kivu Brigade, meanwhile, distributed the Congolese National Examination papers to several towns, including Minova, Mr. Thiam said. 18
  19. 19. According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, many refugee children returned home from camps in Burundi to take the examination. MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Touré hailed the installation of the new Bunia district commissioner, Pétronille Vaweka, and four other administrators, with the mission’s help. “This is a meaningful step towards the reunification of the territory,” he said, noting that the inauguration of the new administration marked the end of the emergency administration in Ituri Province. Meanwhile, with MONUC’s current mandate set to expire at the end of this month, mission chief William Lacy Swing left the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, for UN Headquarters in New York for consultations. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is slated to submit a new report on the mission’s operations to the Security Council, Mr. Touré said. “The Security Council will then determine what additional resources to make available to MONUC so it can better fulfil its mandate.” *** Liberia 15 July – More than 300,000 Liberians will be threatened by famine and thousands more waiting for repatriation will be unable to return to the post-conflict West African country from neighbouring countries unless the United Nations refugee agency and emergency food aid programme receive more than $30 million in additional funding, the two said today. With one in six Liberians dependent on international food assistance, including 10,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) at a camp in the capital, Monrovia, the World Food Programme (WFP) said it needs another $11 million to buy food for the rest of the year. From 30 June to 6 July, WFP distributed some 2,725 tons of commodities to over 63,625 IDPs, and 1,950 returnees. The agency also distributed 1,327 tons of commodities to about 267,220 children in 710 schools through the school feeding programme. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it faced a $23 million shortfall for its repatriation programme, which was expected to start next October and end in December 2006. Awaiting help are 300,000 refugees in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, it said. *** Rwanda 15 July – The United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced a former government finance minister to life in jail for his role in the genocide that engulfed the country in 1994. Three judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, found Emmanuel Ndindabahizi guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, specifically extermination and murder. The case against Mr. Ndindabahizi – who served as Finance Minister in Rwanda’s Interim Government from April to June 1994 – focused on events in Kibuye Prefecture, the region where he grew up and later rose through the political ranks. In June of that year, Mr. Ndindabahizi urged bands of Hutus to attack and kill thousands of Tutsis who had taken refuge in the Gitwa Hill area. He also distributed weapons and helped transport the killers. Explaining that Mr. Ndindabahizi instigated, facilitated and assisted the attacks, the ICTR said he “was well aware that his remarks and actions were part of a wider context of ethnic violence, killing and massacres in Rwanda during this period.” Mr. Ndindabahizi, who had pleaded not guilty to the charges, was arrested in Belgium in 2001 and transferred to the UN detention centre in Arusha later that year. 19
  20. 20. Estimates vary but at least 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus are thought to have been murdered in Rwanda during a 100-day orgy of killings starting in early April 1994. *** Landmines 15 July – This year’s Nairobi Summit for a Mine Free World should generate international momentum towards eradicating the indiscriminate weapons, experts attending a panel at United Nations Headquarters in New York said today. The Summit, set to take place in the Kenyan capital from 29 November through 3 December, will be “the most important event since the Oslo treaty negotiations and the signing in Ottawa” of the anti-personnel mine ban treaty, said Susan Walker of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a driving force behind that achievement. The Ottawa Convention, negotiated outside the UN after international talks at the world body failed to produce consensus, mandates a global ban on antipersonnel landmines, the destruction of stockpiles, the clearance of antipersonnel mines, and assistance for victims of those weapons in some 20 countries. Since the pact entered into force five years ago, 143 countries have ratified or acceded to it – making it law in their territories – while more than 37 million stockpiled landmines have been destroyed. But at today’s event, optimism was tempered with reminders of the ongoing threat posed by these weapons. While major progress has been made since the treaty entered into force, the panelists noted that landmines were still being laid in conflicts in Chechnya, Colombia, Myanmar and Nepal. In addition, 10 million stockpiled mines have yet to be destroyed by States parties. Canadian Ambassador for Mine Action Ross Hynes warned against complacency. In remarks made on behalf of Ambassador Wolfgang Petrich of Austria, the president-designate of the Nairobi Summit, Mr. Hynes stressed that “the challenge for Nairobi is to make sure people know it hasn’t been solved and it has to be.” UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno emphasized the importance of clearing landmines for those missions to succeed. He also voiced hope that the Nairobi Summit would bring the “strong burst of energy and commitment needed to finish the job” set out in the Ottawa treaty. Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN, Judith Mbulua Bahemuka, said that Nairobi was prepared to “provide a major forum for the participants to discuss the problem of landmines…affecting most of us in the third world countries where there have been conflicts.” Reflecting international concern over security, she said that the Kenyan Government had set money aside to fund the Summit and guaranteed that measures were in place to provide maximum protection to those travelling to Nairobi. The importance of landmine clearance for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of internationally agreed targets aimed at raising living standards – was stressed by Julia Taft of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). She described how the agency is working to assist countries in setting up mine action centres in a bid to achieve compliance with the Ottawa treaty. *** UNEP 15 July – In an effort to safeguard the ecological future of the planet, the United Nations environmental agency today launched a new Responsible Investment Initiative aimed at collaborating with major institutional investors to develop a set of globally recognized principles by September 2005. The principles will protect both the planet and long-term shareholder value by integrating environmental, social and governance concerns into investor and capital market considerations. “The time is now right to develop principles to guide best practice in responsible investment decisions worldwide,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said. 20
  21. 21. “The short-termism inherent in our markets is a critical challenge when it comes to addressing environmental and broader sustainability issues,” he added, explaining that asset managers, who generally don’t consider the environment and social issues relevant to modern capital markets, could potentially play a key role. Today’s launch follows a UNEP-backed meeting of more than 40 investors and fund managers held last month in Paris, where participants proposed a global alliance of investors to guide responsible investment best practice. It also responds to the results of a 14-month UNEP study on the financial impacts of sustainable development. UNEP will now convene a group of major investors in a learning process to jointly explore how to best develop and disseminate the principles. The initiative is framed in support of the UN’s Global Compact, which obliges participating companies to respect global standards in key areas. It also builds on a UNEP study that warned of a threat to stock markets if environmental, social and governance issues are ignored by financial analysts and the broader investment community. *** Carpathian Mountains 15 July – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that it has opened a new office in Vienna that will focus on protecting the Carpathian mountain range, one of Europe’s largest, while promoting environmental cooperation in Central and southeastern Europe. Among its tasks, the new UNEP office will serve as the interim Secretariat of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians. The treaty was adopted and signed in May 2003 after Ukraine spearheaded a movement to reach agreement with its neighbours on the mountain range. The Carpathians have a unique ecosystem and an exceptionally high biological diversity, UNEP said, noting that the region provides a livelihood and natural resources for up to 18 million people. The mountain range – which spans the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine – also serves as a haven for a considerable number of endangered species such as the brown bear, wolf and lynx. With close to 4,000 partly endangered plant species, the Carpathians account for 30 per cent of the European flora. “UNEP Vienna will help us to better collaborate with our sister agencies and partners in the region, and at the same time, assist in bringing the Carpathian and other important regional environmental agreements towards a successful implementation,” UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel said. *** UNESCO 15 July – The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization today “categorically condemned” the murder of Paul Klebnikov, chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, who was killed in Moscow on July 9. “This crime can only revolt all those who defend press freedom,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura declared. “I hope that the Russian authorities will do their utmost to pursue those responsible. “The punishment of Paul Klebnikov’s killers would send a strong signal to all those who use violence in an attempt to muzzle the quality press, which is as indispensable in Russia as it is elsewhere,” he added. Mr. Matsuura recalled the resolution adopted by UNESCO’s General-Conference in 1997 urging legal action against the perpetrators of such acts and an end to impunity for crimes against journalists. 21
  22. 22. Mr. Klebnikov, 41, was appointed chief-editor of the Russian edition of the influential economic magazine earlier this year and, according to diverse sources who have linked his murder to his work as a journalist, his life had recently been threatened. * *** * __________________________________________________________________________________________ DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY- GENERAL Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Associate Spokesman for the Secretary-General. Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome our visiting journalists from Rwanda and Romania who are here today at the noon briefing. Welcome to the United Nations. **Guest at Noon Our guest today after my briefing will be Hafiz Pasha, who will brief you on the UNDP report, entitled “Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World”, as its “Human Development Report 2004” which was launched in Brussels earlier today. And Hafiz Pasha will take your questions after my briefing. **UNHCR I now have a note concerning Mr. Rudd Lubbers: “The Secretary-General has thoroughly reviewed the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services regarding the investigation into the complaint of sexual harassment brought by a staff member against the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers. He also carefully considered Mr. Lubbers’ response to the report of that investigation. “The Secretary-General found that the complaint against Mr. Lubbers cannot be sustained by the evidence. However, he has written to Mr. Lubbers conveying his concerns and has sent his Under-Secretary- General for Management, Catherine Bertini, to Geneva to consult with the High Commissioner and his senior managers, as well as with the staff, to help them rebuild trust and confidence. “He has also written a letter to all members of the High Commissioner’s staff, a copy of which we are making available to you today. “The Secretary-General now considers this matter closed.” **Secretary-General in Vienna 22
  23. 23. The Secretary-General is, as you know, now in Austria. He met earlier today with the Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner. They discussed the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which is currently meeting in Austria, and also talked about non-proliferation issues, the situation in Darfur, Sudan, Iran and Iraq. The Secretary-General's new Special Representative for Kosovo, Soren Jessen-Petersen, then joined the meeting for a review of the situation in Kosovo. The Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, then gave the Secretary-General a tour of the newly renovated AlbertinaMuseum, and they spoke with each other afterward. The Secretary-General also had lunch with Jessen-Petersen, to discuss his new assignment in Kosovo. Later today, the Secretary-General is to meet with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal, who is visiting Vienna. This evening, he is to have an informal dinner with the new Austrian President, Heinz Fischer. **Security Council The Security Council is meeting in consultations this morning on the UN missions in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as “other matters”. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sierra Leone briefed on the latest report to the Security Council from the Secretary-General. And Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno was to brief on the latest developments concerning Ethiopia and Eritrea. **IAMB/Report As we mentioned to you yesterday, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq is meeting in Washington today. They will be releasing the finalized audit on the Development Fund for Iraq, which covers the period from the inception of the Fund to December 31, 2003. The audit will be made available on the IMF Web site around 2:30 p.m., and the IAMB will post the audit on its Web site a bit later on at 4:30 p.m., along with its own comments on the audit. **Chad and Darfur Turning to the situation in Chad and Darfur, in what the World Food Programme (WFP) described as a landmark deal, WFP announced that the Libyan Government has joined the international community in helping to provide assistance to 1.2 million people displaced by conflict in western Sudan's Darfur region and some 175,000 who have fled to eastern Chad. Libya will provide a corridor for substantial deliveries of WFP food from the U.S. and other donors. The first shipment of 450 metric tons of wheat flour from Switzerland is expected to arrive in the Libyan port of Benghazi in early August, and that is expected to be followed by a US donation. 23
  24. 24. Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports that the first rains have arrived in north-eastern Chad, driving flood-stricken Sudanese refugees out of their makeshift shelters. And, according to a survey conducted last month by the United Nations and relief agencies, more than a quarter of the Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad suffer from acute malnutrition. On Darfur, three inter-agency assessment teams visited areas held by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and found signs that some people are returning to their villages. However, continued air strikes and widespread concerns of protection were reported by the IDPs. And we have more information available upstairs on Sudan and Chad. **WHO/Darfur Health Continuing on the same region, increased funds, people and supplies are critical now in the Darfur region of Sudan to prevent a major health catastrophe. Cholera, dysentery, and malaria threaten the survival of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people. This was the conclusion of two top leaders of the World Health Organization (WHO), as they wrapped up a mission to camps and hospitals in South and West Darfur. That mission included Dr. Lee Jong-wook, the head of WHO. And we have a press release available upstairs. **Liberia Turning to Liberia, the UN refuge agency, UNHCR, along with WFP, said that over 300,000 Liberians will go hungry at the end of this year and thousands more living abroad as refugees will be unable to come home, unless donors soon provide $33 million of additional funding. WFP still needs $11 million to buy this year’s food requirements. One in six Liberians is directly dependent on international food aid, and 10,000 IDPs in Monrovia are entirely dependent on WFP handouts. **Secretary-General/Bolivia Turning to Bolivia, the Secretary-General is following this Sunday’s referendum on changes to the energy sector in Bolivia, and urges all Bolivians to maintain a peaceful and constructive attitude during the coming days. He emphasizes that the UN will keep supporting all Bolivians in the search for peaceful and democratic solutions to the problems of their country. The Secretary-General made those comments in a statement we released yesterday afternoon, copies of which are available upstairs. **UNEP/Principles The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is working with major institutional investors to develop a set of globally recognized principles for responsible investment by September 2005. The “Responsible Investment Initiative” sets out new principles to help protect both the planet and long-term shareholder value by integrating environmental, social and governance concerns into investor and capital market considerations. And a press release from UNEP is available upstairs. **Afghanistan 24
  25. 25. The UN Mission in Afghanistan reports that the number of registered voters in that country has now passed 7 million –- more than 4.3 million men and more than 2.8 million women have now registered. And more details are available upstairs. **Press Briefing Today One last note, a reminder: Journalists and others are invited to a briefing this afternoon at 1:15 in Conference Room 5 on the upcoming Nairobi Summit for a Mine Free World. It will be a panel discussion, which will include Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the head of the Peacekeeping Department; Sudan Walker, of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines; and Martin Barber, of the UN Mine Action Service, among others. You are all invited to attend. That’s it from me. Do you have any questions? Yes, Susie? **Questions and Answers Question: With regard to the Lubbers case, if it was found the complaint couldn’t be sustained by the evidence, does this mean it’s been found to be false or untrue? And, when the Secretary-General was conveying concerns to Mr. Lubbers, if he has been cleared of allegations what kind of concerns does the Secretary-General have? Associate Spokesman: The letter sent to Mr. Lubbers from the Secretary-General will not be made public. So, those concerns are really expressed directly to the High Commissioner. This matter is considered closed. The Secretary-General’s decision was based on the facts, as he received them from the investigation. And his judgement could only be based on the facts as he has received them. Yes, Edie? Question: When you said that the allegations cannot be sustained by the evidence, that implies that, at least to me, that the Secretary-General was possibly looking for some kind of corroboration that wasn’t there. Is that a fair assessment? Associate Spokesman: I don’t want to analyse the statement beyond the words that I have read. I think it’s clear he said the allegations cannot be sustained by the evidence. So? But the letter to the staff will be made public and I do encourage you to take a look at it. We will release it after the briefing. Yes? Question: Stephane, if there wasn’t any evidence, why did Mr. Kofi Annan send Mrs. Bertini for building confidence? Associate Spokesman: I think this has been a long and protracted process. It’s obvious some of the staff at UNHCR have been affected by this and it was important for Mrs. Bertini to sit down not only with Mr. Lubbers, but with his managers and his staff and listen to their concerns and work with them and to make sure the agency and United Nations as whole, that we all move forward, and that the agency works towards its central mission, which is assisting the 17 million refugees around the world. Mr. Abbadi? Question: If there is no damaging evidence in this case, why isn’t the text of the investigating panel made public? Associate Spokesman: I think as a matter of course and I think to protect due process, these investigations are not made public. Susie? 25
  26. 26. Question: Did Mr. Lubbers ever offer to resign, or was he ever asked to resign? Associate Spokesman: Not that I am aware of. Question: Does the Secretary-General believe, does he have full confidence in him and believe he should remain? Or is his situation now difficult? Associate Spokesman: I think the statement speaks for itself and I think, as I said, it’s important that we all now pull together and move forward to get the agency to focus on its central mission. Any other questions? Thank you very much, and we’ll get our UNDP guest to join us. * *** * 26

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