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09.10.07 ECX bans CERs from big hydro projects over EU eligibility uncertainty
Le marché européen du carbone refuse les "économies carbone" des grosses centrales hydroélectriques
Kein europäischer "Carbon Exchange" in Verbindung mit Gross-staudämmen
Europe's largest carbon exchange will prohibit the trading of carbon
credits from hydropower projects over 20 MW amid doubts that these emissions
reductions will be fully tradeable between countries that participate
in the EU's cap and trade scheme.

The European Carbon Exchange, which is planning to launch a futures
exchange for international carbon credits later this year, said it had taken its
decision because of uneven guidelines on the import of credits from
hydropower plants that displace fossil fuel emissions in developing
“As an exchange we can’t risk passing on a CER (certified emissions
reduction) to one of our customers in a member state where this
particular type of CER isn’t allowed for EU ETS compliance. Why would you buy
something if you don't know if you can use it?” said Sara Stahl, head of business
development at London-based ECX.
“We could damage our reputation as an exchange if we offered something
that is riddled with regulatory uncertainty.”
At present, only a handful of EU member states - France, Spain, the
Netherlands and Sweden have outlined criteria for the import of CERs
from hydropower projects, meaning that the transfer of these credits to a
buyer in countries such as the UK and Germany could be illegal.
Nord Pool, an Oslo-based energy exchange that trades both allowances in
Europe's cap-and-trade scheme and CERs, also refuses to allow the trade
in carbon credits from hydropower projects developed through the Kyoto
protocol's clean development mechanism, also citing uncertainty over
fungibility of these credits as the reason for its decision.

Over the counter
In the OTC market, brokers suggested that a lack of clarity and
uniformity in the primary market for CERs means credits from hydro might be
trading at a slight discount, perhaps around €1.00, while few people in the
secondary market were buying these types of credits.
EU rules on the import of carbon credits, which are laid down in a
document known as the linking directive, prohibit the import of forestry credits
and oblige member states to check that CERs from hydro projects over 20 MW
comply with the World Commission on Dams.
But individual countries in the EU ETS have a certain degree of leeway
in interpreting the WCD, which has led to differing guidelines between some
member states, according to market participants.
France is said to be drawing up its own set of guidelines based on the
WCD, Spain allows the import of CERs from hydro projects if they meet certain
criteria from the 2001 report on dams and the Netherlands and Sweden are
also prepared to nod through medium-to-large projects in the sector if
they have embodied some of the key criteria from the commission.
However, other large countries in the EU, such as the UK and Germany,
have yet to approve the import of credits from large hydro, and the former
has been trying to clarify the issue for two years without issuing a set of
In terms of potential credits, hydro is one of the biggest sectors in
the CDM, and even if the sector is unable to generate carbon credits that
can be used in many EU member states, the credits are still eligible for use by
countries with targets under the Kyoto protocol.
One broker suggested that funds and compliance buyers in countries where
hydro CERs are not permitted may choose to sell these credits to buyers
in Japan, where there no restrictions on the types of emissions reductions
that can be bought.
Indeed, many hydro CDM projects registered by the UN have listed
participation from Japanese firms.
The WCD report found that, although many hydro projects had brought
benefits to developing countries, local communities were paying a heavy price in
terms of disruption to river flow and the forced relocation of local
communities to make way for dams.
The report recommended that dams should only be built with the consent
of local people, compensate them for the impact of dams and repair any
environmental damage, which in many cases is not happening under the
CDM, pressure groups claim.

Source: International Rivers Network
Berkeley, California, USA


08.10.07 : Floods Leave Africans Without Money for Food, School
Les crues laissent les Africains sans argent pour la nourriture ou l'école
Hochwasser in Afrika : kein Geld mehr für Lebensmittelsverrät oder Schule

DAKAR, Senegal - Aime Assou should have started his final year of school this week but like hundreds of thousands of farmers across West Africa, floods have left his family without enough money to buy food let alone pay his fees.
From cotton producers in Mali to millet growers in Mauritania, those who work the land in some of the world's poorest nations spent much of the year praying for rain as clear skies and bright sunshine parched the earth.
But when the heavens opened, the downpours were some of the heaviest for a decade, sending floodwaters swirling through mud-hut villages, destroying homes and washing away crops from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east.
"A heavy rain hit the village and lasted eight days. Several of our homes collapsed. Water came into our house then it took our crops from the fields," Assou, 18, said by telephone from near his village of Gouloko, in southwestern Benin.
The United Nations estimates 800,000 people in 13 countries across West Africa alone have been affected by flooding, with Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso and Mali the hardest hit. Conservative estimates put the number killed across Africa at some 200.
In the worst affected areas, relief agencies have battled to provide emergency food rations, safe drinking water and mosquito nets. But even in places where the immediate risk is lower, the long term impact of crop failures will take a heavy toll on poor communities long after the waters have receded.
"The effects of floods combined with those of the severe drought which occurred in June/July have exacerbated the difficult living conditions of vulnerable families," UN humanitarian organisation OCHA said in its latest update.
"Market prices have doubled for most commodities. Lack of safe drinking water remains another major concern," it said of the situation in Ghana.
Images of flooded villages in East and West Africa have been beamed around the world but, for many, the economic impact in the coming months is likely to prove devastating.
The destruction of food crops and the flooding of roads have meant what produce does make it to market is often selling at a premium beyond the reach of many, particularly those who rely on cash crops like cotton for their income.
Mali and Togo have both slashed their forecasts for cotton production in recent days, putting additional strain on a sector which employs an estimated 15 million people in West Africa and which is struggling against tumbling world prices and market-distorting subsidies paid to US farmers.
"The floods washed away our fields meaning we do not have anything to sell at market," said Henriette Kedji, another Gouloko villager. "The children were supposed to have started back at school but they are a worry for us because there is no money to send them to classes."
Plan, an international relief agency which works with children, has provided tents, mosquito nets, and sacks of rice to meet short-term needs in southwestern Benin but aid workers say such communities will need support in the longer term.
"Thousands of children have been affected by the disaster and it is certain that the food security situation and families' finances will be hard hit," said Michel Kanhonou, a children's rights co-ordinator for Plan in Benin.

Story by Nick Tattersall
Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


02.10.07 : Mozambique Plans US$1.7 Bln Hydro-Electric Project
Le Mozambique projette de construire une centrale hydro-électrique pour un coût de 1,7 milliard de $US
Mozambik : ein US$ 1,7 Milliarde Hydroprojekt

MAPUTO, Mozambique - Mozambique plans to build a US$1.7 billion hydro-electric development on the Zambezi river in a bid to meet industry's growing demands for power, its energy minister said on Friday.
In an interview with Reuters, Salvador Namburete said construction of a dam and other generating facilities in the northern Tete province was expected to begin in 2009 and be completed four years later.
The project, which is expected to be approved by the government shortly, would be one of the biggest hydro-electric developments undertaken recently in Africa and significantly raise the amount of power produced in Mozambique.
The planned output would be 1,300 megawatts.
The southern African nation currently depends on the aging Cahora Bassa hydro-electric development to meet much of its electricity needs, which have been stretched by lack of new capacity and a growing manufacturing and industrial base.
"We will be building another dam close to Cahora Bassa in order to boost mega-industry, which is currently affected by an energy deficit," Namburete said.
"The government is interested and, therefore, would immediately analyze and approve the project."
Funding for the project will come from China's Export-Import Bank, he added.
Under the plan, surplus energy from the project would be exported to South Africa and a US$2.3 billion transmission line would be built to carry the power from Tete to the Mozambican capital Maputo.

Story by Charles Mangwiro
Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


01.10.07 : UK : Severn barrage - environmental godsend or catastrophe?
Royaume Uni : le barrage de Severn est il une aubaine ou une catastrophe environnementale ?
UK : ist der Severn Staudamm für die Umwelt ein Glücksfall oder eine Katastrophe ?

A tidal barrage in the Severn estuary could meet almost 5% of the UK's energy needs but environmental NGOs are concerned that the cost to habitats could be too high.
The Sustainable Development Commission, a Government-backed watchdog headed up by celebrated environmental thinker Jonathan Porritt, has published a report looking at the potential for tidal power in the UK.
The mighty Severn, with one of the largest tidal ranges of any river on Earth, features large in the report.
And while the SDC bends over backwards to stress that a barrage should not be built without meeting the strictest environmental criteria, pressure groups from Greenpeace to the RSPB argue that a large number of smaller, less intrusive schemes would be more effective and less damaging than a flagship barrage.
The SDC argues that, were a barrage to be built, public ownership and leadership is essential to ensure the public get a fair share of the reward rather than lining the pockets of a developer.
While its contribution to UK energy generation could be significant, says the SDC, the barrage must not be allowed to divert Government attention from the much wider action needed on climate change.
The fact that a barrage would damage habitat is undisputed and EU law would require Government to take action to replace what is lost.
A habitat creation scheme on this scale would be unprecedented in the UK.
SDC chairman Jonathon Porritt said: "The enormous potential for a Severn barrage to help reduce our carbon emissions and improve energy security needs to be balanced against the impact on the estuary's unique habitat, as well as its communities and businesses.
"This is why we believe that any development must be publicly-led as a project and publicly-owned as an asset, in order to ensure that the Government takes full responsibility for taking a sustainable, long-term approach."
"The Sustainable Development Commission is issuing a challenge to Government to embrace a new way of managing this major project," said Porritt. "We are excited about the contribution a Severn Barrage could make to a more sustainable future, but not at any cost.
"It is vitally important that all parts of Government - including the Welsh Assembly Government and the South West Regional Development Agency - are actively involved in the project, to ensure that work is fully integrated into regional economic and development plans."
The report also looks at the potential for emerging tidal technologies in the UK.
A statement from the SDC said: "Tidal stream technologies present exciting opportunities for low carbon energy production, and the report cites potentially huge rewards in terms of export potential from developing this technology.
"The commission concludes that Government should 'stay the course' to make tidal stream technology a viable proposition, whilst putting in place a robust regulatory framework and supporting the research required to understand potential environmental impacts.
On tidal lagoons, it added: "there are few direct conflicts between tidal barrages and tidal lagoons, with the exception of claims made for large scale lagoon development in the Severn Estuary.
"Although there is little authoritative evidence available on tidal lagoon technology, which proposes using hydropower turbines in an offshore impoundment, lagoons could potentially be developed in a number of shallow coastal areas with sufficient tidal range.
"The commission would like to see the Government investigating their long-term potential by funding a demonstration project. This would allow a full evaluation of the costs and the potential environmental impacts."
The thought of a barrage across the Severn has ruffled feathers at the RSPB, which fears the loss of valuable wetland habitats.
"Europe's most dynamic estuary will be destroyed by the construction of a barrage across the Severn while other less striking measures would cost less and could do more to cut carbon emissions," said a spokesperson for the NGO.
The RSPB argues that the barrage should be built as a last resort, only once other options for renewable energy generation have been exhausted.
It also flags up the significant amount of GHG emissions the construction of such a major piece of infrastructure would entail.
Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB's conservation director, said: "Tackling climate change is hugely important but this can be done without destroying irreplaceable national treasures like the Severn estuary.
"We should be harnessing the power of the Severn but there are better ways of doing this than by hauling ten miles of concrete into the estuary.
"The government should be aiming to help, not destroy, wildlife and that applies to proposals for green energy schemes just as much as new supermarkets or housing estates."
Replacing lost habitat would be a mammoth task, he argued.
"It took eleven years to replace 110 hectares of mudflats destroyed at Lappel Bank on the Medway, when the Government last broke European law," said Dr Avery.
"Damage on the Severn would be ten, twenty or thirty times as great. Other land is being lost to sea level rise so replicating Severn habitats would be enormously difficult."
Greenpeace has also given proposals for a Severn barrage a frosty reception, saying offshore wind is a more sensible solution to the UK's energy needs.
John Sauven, executive director of the pressure group said: "Tidal power can provide the UK with a tremendous amount of energy along with other marine renewables like wave power.
"And, importantly, it can do so without creating dangerous climate change emissions or nuclear waste. The Severn barrage could be a huge resource of carbon free energy, but the jury's still out on the best way to reap the tidal power of the river without having huge environmental impacts on wading birds.
"Offshore wind, as a cheaper option, should also be much higher up the government's priority list. The UK has about 40% of Europe's wind resource which could be harnessed to meet our demand for energy."

Author : Sam Bond
Source : Edie Newsroom


27.09.07 : China Warns of Catastrophe from Three Gorges Dam
La Chine met en garde contre une catastrophe du barrage des Trois Gorges
China warnt vor Katastrophe durch Drei Schluchten Damm

BEIJING, China - China's huge Three Gorges Dam hydropower project could spark environmental catastrophe unless accumulating threats are quickly defused, senior officials and experts have warned.
The dam in southwest China, the world's biggest hydropower project, has begun generating electricity and serving as a barrier against seasonal flooding threatening lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Xinhua news agency reported late on Tuesday, citing a forum of experts and officials.
But even senior dam officials who have often defended the project as an engineering wonder and ecological boon now warn that areas around the dam are paying a heavy, potentially calamitous environmental cost.
"There exist many ecological and environmental problems concerning the Three Gorges Dam," the senior officials were quoted as saying. "If no preventive measures are taken, the project could lead to catastrophe."
The US$25 billion dam, whose construction flooded 116 towns and hundreds of cultural sites, is still a work in progress, but state media have said it could be completed by the end of 2008, just after the Beijing Olympic Games.
Wang Xiaofeng, director of the administrative office in charge of building the dam, told the forum that it was time to face up to the environmental consequences of constructing the massive concrete wall across the country's biggest river.
"We absolutely cannot relax our guard against ecological and environmental security problems sparked by the Three Gorges Project," Wang told the meeting, according to Xinhua.
"We cannot win passing economic prosperity at the cost of the environment."
Wang cited a litany of threats, especially erosion and landslides on steep hills around the dam, conflicts over land shortages and "ecological deterioration caused by irrational development".
The strikingly frank acknowledgement of problems comes weeks before a congress of the ruling Communist Party that is set to consolidate policies giving more attention to environmental worries after decades of unfettered industrial growth.
Wang revealed that Premier Wen Jiabao had used a cabinet meeting earlier this year to discuss the environmental problems surrounding the dam.
Tensions over residents resettled to steep hills where good farmland is scarce had been reduced and water quality in the dam was "generally stable", Xinhua said.
But the officials and experts were worried about the landslides threatening densely populated hill country.
"Regular geological disasters are a severe threat to the lives of residents around the dam," senior engineer Huang Xuebin told the forum.
Huang described landslides into the dam waters making waves dozens of metres high that crashed into surrounding shores, creating even more damage.
The dam has displaced 1.4 million people and is retaining huge amounts of sediment and nutrients, damaging fish stocks and the fertility of farmland downstream, researchers say.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service

25.09.07 : Warming Shrinks Kashmir's Rivers, Streams - Report
Rapport : le réchauffement global provoque le déclin des cours d'eau cashmiri
Erderwärmung führt zu erringerter Wasserführung der Flüsse in Kashmir (Studie)

SRINAGAR, India - Water levels in Indian Kashmir's rivers and streams have decreased by two-thirds as a result of global warming which is melting most of the Himalayan region's glaciers, a voluntary group said on Monday.
According to an ActionAid report on the impact climate change is having in Kashmir, many small glaciers in the disputed state have completely disappeared over the last four decades.
"The study shows that the water level in almost all the streams and rivers in Kashmir has decreased by approximately two-thirds during the last 40 years," said the report titled "On the Brink?"
The report said the average temperature in the mountainous parts of the restive state had increased by 1.45 degrees Celsius (2.6 Fahrenheit) over the last two decades, while in the southern plains the temperature rise was 2.32 degrees Celsius (4.2 Fahrenheit).
Scientists warn that receding Himalayan glaciers could jeopardise water supplies for hundreds of millions of people and rising sea levels threaten Indian cities like Mumbai and Kolkata.
Floods and droughts could become more common, diseases more rampant and crop yields lower as temperatures rise, they add.
Kashmir is in the grip of a nearly 18-year-old insurgency that has killed 42,000 people. Human rights groups put the toll at about 60,000.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


25.09.07 : Un site internet mondial pour la salubrité de l'eau
A global web site for water salubrity
Weltweite Website "Wasser und Gesundheit" on line

L'Académie nationale des sciences américaine et la Global Health and Education Foundation, qui se bat pour l'amélioration de l'accès à l'eau salubre, se sont associées à des académies des sciences, médicales et de l'ingénierie du monde entier. Leur but: alimenter le site internet intitulé "L'eau salubre est essentielle" ("Safe drinking water is essential"). Cette base de données en ligne est destinée à apporter des informations scientifiques et techniques aux preneurs de décision sur les solutions disponibles pour améliorer la qualité et la disponibilité des ressources en eau potable. "De nombreuses approches et technologies nécessaires pour améliorer la qualité de l'eau potable existent déjà", a déclaré le président de l'Académie nationale des sciences américaine Ralph J. Cicerone.
Selon le communiqué des académies nationales américaines, plus d'un milliard de personnes dans le monde n'ont pas accès à de l'eau potable, et les maladies dues à cette insalubrité représentent 80% des maladies rencontrées dans les pays en développement.
Vers ce site web :

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : Journal de l'Environnement du 25.09.2007


24.09.07 : Adoption de la directive sur les inondations
The European Directive on floods is adopted
EU : Annahme der Hochwasser-Richtlinie

La Commission avait proposé ce texte en janvier 2006 et le Parlement s'est prononcé en faveur d'un compromis en avril 2007. La directive relative à l'évaluation et à la gestion des inondations (1) a finalement été adoptée par le Conseil le 18 septembre. Elle impose aux Etats-membres de mener un premier état des lieux d'ici 2011 pour identifier les zones exposées à un risque d'inondation, d'établir des cartes de risque d'ici 2013, et de mettre en place des plans de gestion des risques d'ici 2015. La directive s'applique aux eaux intérieures ainsi qu'aux eaux côtières de l'Union européenne.
Selon le communiqué de la Commission, la directive devrait être mise en œuvre en lien avec la directive-cadre sur l'eau. Les Etats membres prendront notamment en compte le changement climatique dans la gestion des risques des inondations.
L'Europe a connu plus de 100 inondations importantes entre 1998 et 2004, qui ont entraîné la mort de 700 personnes, le déplacement d'environ 500.000 personnes et au moins 25 milliards d'euros de pertes économiques assurées.

(1) Directive du Parlement européen et du Conseil, du 18 janvier 2006, relative à l'évaluation et à la gestion des inondations

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : Journal de l'Environnement du 24.09.2007


21.09.07 : Le WWF revient sur la pollution aux PCB du Rhône
WWF is investigating the PCB pollution in the Rhône River
WWF leitet eine Untersuchung über die Rhöne PCB Verschmutzung ein

Le mystère de l'origine de la pollution du Rhône aux PCB n'est pas prêt de s'éclaircir. Au moment où le ministère de l'écologie, du développement et de l'aménagement durables (Medad) publie le 19 septembre une note explicative sur les dangers et l'origine de ces substances contenues dans les transformateurs électriques, le WWF sort les premiers résultats d'une enquête sur le sujet.
"Les PCB imprègnent les sédiments du Rhône sur environ 300 kilomètres. Depuis 20 ans qu'on connaît cette pollution, aucune étude sur l'impact sur la santé n'a été faite, ni aucune mesure concernant cette pollution n'a été prise!", s'indigne Serge Orru, directeur général du WWF-France. Et d'évoquer le Grenelle: "Si demain, on crée de nouvelles règles sur l'environnement encore plus drastiques, comment peut-on croire qu'elles seront respectées?"
Cette affaire de pollution a émergé en 2005, mais elle est connue par les autorités depuis les années 1980. Marc Laimé, journaliste spécialiste des questions de l'eau, s'en étonne. "Aujourd'hui, il y a encore des processus de relargages atmosphériques ainsi que des milliers de sites orphelins, qui continuent de rejeter du pyralène. Mais les techniques de décontamination, que la Norvège a expérimentées, demanderaient plusieurs centaines de milliers d'euros…"
C'est en 1986 que l'Institut national de recherche agronomique (Inra) rédige un premier rapport d'alerte sur cette contamination du Rhône, communiqué à la Direction départementale de l'action sanitaire et sociale (Ddass) et au ministère chargé de l'environnement. En 1987, le décret du 2 février interdit la vente des PCB (ou polychlorobiphényles, appelés pyralène), qui seront classés parmi 12 polluants organiques persistants (POP) en 2001. En 2003, un plan national de décontamination et d'élimination des appareils contenant des PCB est approuvé, avec une échéance fixée au 31 décembre 2010.
C'est seulement en 2005 qu'une analyse de poissons réclamée par un pêcheur met à nouveau en lumière la contamination. S'ensuivent des arrêtés préfectoraux interdisant la commercialisation et la consommation de poissons du fleuve dans plusieurs départements.
Selon une étude du Cemagref (Institut de recherche pour l'ingénierie de l'agriculture et de l'environnement), l'origine de la pollution serait antérieure à 1987 et due notamment à l'usine Tredi, spécialisée dans le traitement des déchets de transformateurs contenant des PCB. Cette usine est une des deux seules en France habilitées à retraiter les appareils contenant les PCB. Entre 1987 et aujourd'hui, la quantité autorisée de PCB rejetés chaque jour par ces usines est passée de 1,5 kilogramme à 3 grammes.
Perturbateurs endocriniens, les PCB, qui disparaissent de l'eau au bout de 100 ans, s'accumulent dans les graisses. "Une étude américaine sur les Grands Lacs a montré qu'il existait un lien entre la concentration en PCB du cordon ombilical et le développement neurologique de l'enfant, l'apprentissage du langage, le retard scolaire…", explique André Cicolella, directeur de l'unité d'évaluation des risques sanitaires à l'Institut national de l'environnement industriel et des risques (Ineris). "Il faut que des études soient menées sur l'imprégnation de la population française, pour avoir une idée plus précise de ces risques".
Philippe Boisneau, président des pêcheurs professionnels en eau douce, déplore les répercussions économiques des interdits préfectoraux: "25.000 petits pêcheurs du Rhône vivent de la pêche à l'anguille. Aujourd'hui, 24 pêcheurs sont au chômage parce qu'ils ne peuvent plus vendre de poisson!".
Une commission d'enquête parlementaire a été réclamée par Jean-Jack Queyranne, président de Rhône-Alpes et Michel Vauzelle, président de Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'azur, tous deux députés. Une nécessité pour faire le point sur les conséquences de la pollution, sur les actions de dépollution et les mesures à prendre en matière de restauration du milieu aquatique.

Auteure : Diana Semaska
Source : Journal De L'Environnement du 21.09.2007


20.09.07 : Les entreprises britanniques gaspillent l'eau
UK's enterprises spoil water
UK's Unternehmen verschwenden Wasser

L'agence gouvernementale de conseil en environnement Envirowise estime que les entreprises du Royaume-Uni pourraient économiser 1.300 milliards de mètres cube d'eau par an. Selon elle, un investissement de 25.000 livres sterling (36.000 euros) dans la conservation de l'eau permettrait d'économiser 90.000 livres sterling (129.000 euros) par an, et de simples mesures comme fermer les robinets sur les lieux de travail peuvent entraîner un gain de 500 millions de livres (environ 714 millions d'euros) par an. L'agence a organisé la semaine de l'eau au travail du 17 au 21 septembre.

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : Le Journal de l'Environnement du 20.09.2007


20.09.07 : World Bank Loans Bengladesh US$102 Mln for Water Management
La Banque Mondiale prête 102 millions $US au Bengladesh pour la gestion de l'eau
Die Weltbank leiht dem Bengladesh 102 Millionen $US für bessere Wassermanagement

DHAKA, Bengladesh - The World Bank has approved a US$102 million soft loan to support Bangladesh's efforts to improve water resources management, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
At least 2 million households will benefit from the project, which aims to reduce crop losses during the pre-monsoon and monsoon periods and increase agricultural production through improved drainage, flood control and expansion of irrigation.
Bangladesh is prone to recurring natural disasters like floods, erosion, cyclones and tidal surges and each year up to 30 percent of the country is inundated, flooding about 6 million hectares.
"As we have just learned from the recent devastating floods, management of water resources is critical to mitigate the impact of floods," said Xian Zhu, country director for the World Bank.
"This project will support rehabilitation and improvement of existing flood control, drainage, and irrigation schemes, which will reduce the vulnerability to future natural disasters," he said.
The credit from the International Development Association, the Bank's concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period, and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.
(US$1 = 68.70 taka)

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


18.09.07 : Fears Mount Over More Africa Rain, Floods
Pluies et inondation en Afrique : la peur monte
Regen und Hochwasser in Afrika : Angst steigt an.

NAIROBI, Kenya - Fears mounted on Monday that downpours which have killed dozens in Africa, uprooted hundreds of thousands and devastated crops could continue past the end of the rainy season and hit areas that have so far escaped floods.
"Our estimates show the floods are likely to worsen or remain at the same level up to October or early November," said UN World Food Programme Uganda representative Tasema Negash.
Experts say the rising waters may hit as yet unaffected areas in the coming days, such as Uganda's central regions.
"We are calling on the international community to come to their rescue before it is too late," said Musa Ecweru, minister for disaster preparedness in Uganda, where 300,000 people have already been affected and at least nine killed.
Scores have died in more than a dozen countries often ravaged by droughts, but now inundated by torrential downpours destroying settlements and sweeping away crops and livestock -- cornerstones of Africa's developing economies.
Across the continent, uprooted communities shelter in abandoned schools, churches and under plastic sheeting.
Schoolboys carrying books above their heads wade through flooded fields, while villagers stand on the muddy wreckage of homes searching for missing family.
Across east Africa, more than 90 people have now died from floods and the waterborne diseases that have followed -- at least 63 in Ethiopia alone.
In west Africa, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA says floods have affected half a million people. The International Federation of the Red Cross says 87 people have been killed in the past two months, mostly in Nigeria.
But those figures are rough estimates as hailstorms, mudslides and collapsed bridges wreak havoc with relief efforts.
In Kenya, 20,000 people driven from their homes in the largely agricultural southwest left behind a wilderness of wasted crops and drowned livestock.
"These people affected depend their lives on agriculture ... the floods will have a huge economical impact in Kenya," said Elena Velilla, Medecins Sans Frontieres' head of mission.
The UN World Food Programme says it needs US$29 million in Uganda to fight the crisis in a country already burdened by thousands of refugees from neighbouring Congo and more than a million people living in war displacement camps in the north.
With camps for the displaced fast swelling in countries across the centre of the world's poorest continent, experts say the threat of disease is mounting quickly.
"We need medicines because we expect outbreaks of diarrhoea and cholera," Ben Brown, regional co-ordinator of Ghana's National Disaster Management Organisation, told Reuters.
Northern Ghana has been particularly badly hit, and the authorities there have appealed for international help to feed, clothe and house tens of thousands uprooted by rising waters that have killed at least 18.
"Malaria may be expected because we have stagnant waters and mosquitoes will breed," Brown said.
Last week in neighbouring Togo, where at least 20 people have died since last month, the authorities delayed the start of the new academic year for a month after 46 schools were damaged.
And in already impoverished Mali and Niger, swarms of crop-eating locusts are now feared, OCHA said. (Additional reporting by Francis Kwera in Kampala, Orla Ryan in Accra and John Zodzi in Lome)

Story : Jeremy Clarke
Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


18.09.07 : Pesticide "Disaster" in French Caribbean - Report
Rapport : le désastre des pesticides dans les Caraïbes françaises
Pestizid : Katastroph in der französichen Karibik

PARIS, France - Widespread use of pesticides in banana plantations in the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique has caused a "health disaster", according to the author of a report to be presented to parliament on Tuesday. "It is not too much to say that there has been a real poisoning of Martinique and Guadeloupe," Dominique Belpomme told the daily Le Parisien on Monday.
""The situation there is extremely serious. The scientific studies we have conducted show a health disaster in the Antilles," he said, referring to the islands.
French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said Belpomme's report still needed to be confirmed by other scientific studies but she said she "shared his concerns".
Belpomme said the use of pesticides such as chlordecone had caused long-term contamination of soil and groundwater. The pesticide was banned from use in Guadeloupe and Martinique in 1993 but Belpomme said its effects lingered.
"In Martinique, most springs are contaminated. Fruit and root vegetables are contaminated by pesticides, some meat is as well," he said.
He said rates of prostate cancer in the French Caribbean islands were among the highest in the world and there was a rising incidence of congenital deformities in babies.
"Extrapolations show that practically one man in two runs the risk of developing prostate cancer," he said.
He said there was as yet no scientific proof linking prostate cancer with chlordecone but he aimed to conduct further tests later this year.
Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier told Europe 1 radio the situation was "very serious" but he said the destruction of much of the banana stock last month by Hurricane Dean was an opportunity to change practices.
"When they replant, we'll have a chance to use only small quantities of pesticides or none at all," he said.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


13.09.07 : Sudan Floods Death Toll Hits 131, More Rain Expected
Le tribut aux crues du Soudan s'élève à 131 morts, et davantage de pluies sont attendues
Hochwasser im Sudan : 131 Töte. Weitere Regenfälle erwartet.

KHARTOUM, Sudan - The death toll from floods in Sudan has risen to 131, from 122 a week ago, as more information comes in from the regions of Africa's largest country, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
The floods have cut off many villages and made at least 200,000 people homeless and more flooding may be on the way, the United Nations said.

"131 people have died," Hamadallah Adam Ali, the head of Sudan's civil defence authority, said.
The flooding has been most severe in regions where the Nile broke its banks after heavy rains, he added.
In a statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday, the United Nations warned of more rain.
"The flood situation remains critical. The early warning and emergency information centre predicts further heavy rainfall and the risk of flash floods," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
"Access to affected areas for assessments and response continues to be difficult with roads becoming inundated and damaged and airstrips frequently not landable by fixed wing planes," the statement added.
Ali said the government has used tractors to carry aid across heavily flooded fields, as well as boats and helicopters to reach villages isolated by the deluge.
Justin Bagirishya, head of the south Sudan office of the World Food Programme (WFP), said some 16,000 people in remote villages in south Sudan have no access to humanitarian aid and need immediate assistance.
"They are cut off completely. There are no usable roads or airstrips," he told Reuters.
OCHA said 770 affected families from one town in south Sudan are now camped on the town's airstrip to escape the waters.
It said UN and other humanitarian agencies have used boats to deliver food and medical supplies and plastic sheeting to a number of hard-hit areas in south Sudan.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) told Reuters some 1,281 people have fallen ill with acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) since an outbreak in April. Sixty-one people have died.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


13.09.07 : EU Halts Court Action Over French Water Pollution
L'UE met fin à une action en justice contre la France pour pollution de l'eau
EU stoppt Klage gegen Frankreich wegen Wasserverschmutzung

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission took the unusual step on Wednesday of seeking to suspend court action against France, saying Paris had taken steps to tackle the problem of farm pollutants in drinking water.
The European Commission in June asked the European Court of Justice to fine France more than 28 million euros (US$39 million) for ignoring a previous court ruling over water standards in the western region of Brittany.
But on Wednesday, the Commission said France had taken measures to ensure nitrates, caused by the use of fertilisers and manure in agriculture, did not exceed 50 mg per litre by the end of 2009 in the remaining areas where levels are too high.
EU countries were required to meet the limits from 1987. "I am confident that the measures now taken combined with a pro-active response by farmers should lay the basis for more sustainable agricultural practices in Brittany and long-term compliance with (EU) legislation," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


12.09.07 : Flooding Leaves 3.5 Million People Homeless in India
Inde : les inondations laissent 3,5 millions de personnes sans toit
India : 3,5 Millionen Obdachlose nach Hochwasser

GUWAHATI, India - Soldiers in motor boats rescued thousands of marooned people and helicopters air-dropped food as the number of people made homeless after some of the worst flooding in years in India's northeast rose to 3.5 million.
About 10 million people out of the 27 million population of Assam state have been affected by flooding after rains in the past few days. More than 2,000 villages have been completely submerged.
The second spell of flooding in less than a month has also spread across parts of Bangladesh, forcing around a million from their homes and leaving thousands stranded. About 850 people have died in floods there since late July.
"The situation is grim," the chief minister of tea- and oil-rich Assam state, Tarun Gogoi, told Reuters on Tuesday.
About 3 million people in Assam are living in temporary shelters, government buildings and schools, officials said.
Around 400,000 hectares (one million acres) of farmland have been flooded.
Since the annual monsoon rains began in June, about 50 people have been killed in Assam.
In the neighbouring state of Manipur, at least 55,000 people have been rendered homeless and are staying in more than 30 relief camps.
Road links to the tiny state of Sikkim, which borders China, remained disrupted as a large stretch of the main highway connecting the state with rest of the country was blocked by landslides.
The regional weather office in Guwahati - the main city in the country's northeast -- forecast more rains in the next 48 hours.
Prices of essential commodities have shot up across the region as landslides and flooding blocked highways at many places and trucks carrying food and medicines were stranded.
The chief minister of Manipur, Okram Ibobi Singh, ordered officials to release government food supplies for victims.
In Bangladesh, 10 people died overnight, including two killed in a mudslide in Chittagong port city, officials said.
They said the latest floods had started to ebb slightly in the country's north but deteriorated sharply in the northeast. (Additional reporting by Azad Majumder and Ruma Paul in Dhaka).

Story : Biswajyoti Das
Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News service


10.09.07 : Pollution d'eau au Texas: Fujicolor plaide coupable
Water pollution in Texas : Fujicolor pleads guilty
Wasserverschmutzung in Texas : Fujicolor anerkennt Schuld

Pendant trois ans, l'usine de Terrell a rejeté des quantités excessives de déchets, produits par le process industriel de photographie argentique, qui se sont retrouvés dans la station d'épuration locale. D'après l'annonce faite par le Département de justice et l'Agence de protection de l'environnement (EPA) le 6 septembre, Fujicolor processing doit désormais verser 200.000 dollars (146.174 euros) d'amende, et la filiale de Fujifilm USA a plaidé coupable pour avoir violé les conditions de prétraitement requises par le permis de l'usine texane.
Une enquête interne a montré qu'entre 1999 et 2002, des employés ont délibérément choisi de transmettre à la municipalité des tests conformes aux limites fixées par le permis. Si les échantillons d'effluents montraient des teneurs en substances toxiques supérieures aux limites, les employés attendaient d'obtenir des échantillons conformes pour les envoyer aux autorités locales.
En 2002, la ville de Terrell avait déjà condamné l'usine à une amende de 105.725 dollars (77.267 euros) pour avoir dépassé les limites autorisées. Depuis, Fujicolor a renvoyé les employés mis en cause et déclare avoir tout mis en œuvre pour prévenir de telles violations.

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : Le Journal de l'Environnement du 10.09.2007


10.07.09 : Flood Death Toll Hits 7 in Romania, Danube Rising
7 morts suite aux crues en Roumanie, et le niveau d'eau du Danube monte
Hochwasser in Rumanien : 7 Tote, Donaupegel steigt weiter

BUCHAREST, Romania - The number of dead from floods in eastern Romania rose to seven on Friday with one person still missing, authorities said after torrential rains ceased.
Heavy rains have washed away dozens of homes in Vrancea, Bacau and Vaslui counties since Wednesday, forcing hundreds out of their homes.
"The death toll has risen to seven people, one is still missing and 1,391 persons were evacuated," said deputy interior minister Victor Dobre.
Meanwhile in Austria, heavy rains that started on Wednesday swelled some rivers feeding into the Danube. The Kleine Ybbs river in the Lower Austria province reached its highest level in a century and flooded 120 buildings in the town of Ybbsitz.
Firemen and soldiers piled up sandbags to protect an embankment in the town of Lilienfeld at the Traisen river, where rain began falling again overnight. The Traisen also flooded streets in Lower Austria's capital St Poelten.
The Danube is expected to reach its peak level -- which will remain well below the catastrophic floods seen in 2002 -- around midnight near Vienna and early Saturday morning downstream near the Hungarian border.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


07.09.07 : International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River won the 2007 Thiess Riverprize
La Commission Internationale de Protection du Danube a remporté le Prix Thiess 2007 pour les Rivières
Internationale Kommission zum Schutz der Donau hat den 2007 Riverprize gewonnen

Le Riverprize international est doté par la Fondation Internationale pour les Rivières (IRF), fondation créée en 2003. Son but est de protéger et restaurer rivières et cours d'eau dans le monde pour les générations futures. Elle favorise pour cela les relations entre experts du monde entier et vise à la création d'une fond de 30 millions de $ à l'horizon 2010 afin d'atteindre des buts préalablement définis pour la protection des rivières.
Chaque année, l'IRF décerne les Prix international et national Thiess pour les rivières. Le Prix international Thiess, doté cette année de 300 000 AU$, récompense un projet de restauration des rivières, qui soit novateur, original et incitatif, sur quelque rivière que ce projet se situe. Le Prix national Thiess (100 000 AU$) est quant à lui décerné à un projet ou un mode de gestion exemplaire d'une rivière australienne. Ces prix offrent aux vainqueurs la possibilité de mettre en action leurs idées pour sauver nos rivières patrimoniales.
EN 2007, le prix international a été remporté par la Commission Internationale de Protection du Danube (ICPDR), dont le but principal est de mettre en œuvre la Convention de Protection du Danube signée par 13 nations et l'Union Européenne. Cette convention vise à promouvoir et coordonner la gestion durable et équitable de l'eau.
Le Danube est un fleuve européen de 2780 km de long, dont le bassin versant comprend de nombreux affluents sur une surface de 801 463 km2. Ce bassin versant concerne 81 millions de personnes dans 19 pays. L'Histoire n'a pas ménagé le grand fleuve : canalisé et barré au cours des 19 et 20èmes siècles, il a ensuite souffert des pratiques agricoles et industrielles de l'ère soviétique, qui a laissé un héritage environnemental lourd.
L'ICPDR a été fondée en 1998 dans le but de catalyser la coopération internationale dans le domaine environnemental et d'inciter des actions correctives :
> Mise en place de station d'épuration des eaux usées,
> Evolution des politiques environnementales,
> Restauration des plaines d'inondation et de leurs habitats naturels,
> Développement de technologies pour la collecte et le traitement des informations,
> Sensibilisation et éducation à l'environnement (Journée du Danube, magazine Danube Watch, kit éducatif Danube Box…)…
L'ICPDR est ainsi devenue une référence mondiale de coopération en matière de gestion de rivière. Et ce n'est pas fini : le travail continue avec une Déclaration d'Amélioration de la Coopération en matière de gestion de l'eau…
Le prix national a quant à lui été décerné au Groupe de Travail sur les zones humides du Murray (New South Wales, Australie).

Rédaction : SOS Loire Vivante - ERN France
Sources : site web de l'International Riversymposium and Environemtantal Flows Conference (en anglais), site web de la Commission Internationale de Protection du Danube

The International Riverprize is funded by the International River Foundation, created in 2003. It aims to protect and restore rivers and waterways around the world for the future generations. IRF makes easier the relations between international experts and aims to create a AU$ 30 millions funds in 2010 to achieve defined goals to protect the rivers.
Every year, IRF awards the International and National Thiess Riverprizes. International Thiess Riverprize, this year allocated AU$ 300 000, rewards a river restoration project, which is innovative, original and incitative, on any river in the world. National Thiess Riverprize (AU$ 100 000) is given to a project or a model of good management of an Australian river. These prizes give winners the possibility to implement their ideas to save our patrimonial rivers.
In 2007, International Riverprize has been won by International Commission for the Protection of Danube River (ICPDR), whose main goal is to implement the Convention to Protect the Danube, signed by 13 nations and European Union. This Convention aims to promote and coordinate the sustainable and fair management of water.
Danube is an European 2780 km long river, whose watershed includes many tributaries on a surface of 801 463 sq km. This watershed concerns 81 millions peoples of 19 countries. History was not gentle with the big river : canalised and dammed during the 19th and 20th centuries, he then suffered from the agricultural and industrial practices of the Soviet era, which let a heavy environmental legacy.
ICPDR was founded in 1998 with aim to catalyse the international cooperation in the environmental field and to encourage corrective actions :
> Implementation of sewage treatment plants,
> Evolution of the environmental policies,
> Restoration of the flood plains and their natural habitats,
> Development of technologies to collect and treat the information
> Awareness raising and environmental education (Danube Day, Danube Watch magazine, Danube Box : an educative tool kit…)
ICPDR thus became a worldwide reference for cooperation in the river management field. And this is not the end : a Declaration of Improving the Cooperation in the field of water management is currently being discussed…
As for the National Riverprize, it was awarded to the Work Group for Murray Wetlands, in the New South Wales (Australia).

Author : SOS Loire Vivante - ERN France
Sources : web site of the International Riversymposium and Environemtantal Flows Conference, website of the International Commission for the Protection of Danube River


05.09.07 : At Least 87 Dead in West Africa Floods - Red Cross
Au moins 87 morts dans les crues d'Afrique de l'Ouest, selon la Croix Rouge
Hochwasser in Westafrika fordert gemäss dem Roten Kreuz mindestens 87 Tote

GENEVA, Switzerland - Severe floods across West Africa have killed at least 87 people, most of them in Nigeria, over the past two months, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Tuesday.
Weather conditions worsened considerably in August, with areas of hard-hit northern Togo difficult to reach because bridges were swept away by heavy rains, the world's largest disaster relief network said.
At least 68 people have died in Nigeria, 17 in Togo and at least 2 in Mauritania, it said in a statement. More than 100,000 people have been affected in 10 countries across the region, home to some of the world's poorest countries.
"Torrential rains have destroyed homes, leaving thousands homeless. They damaged roads and devastated crops in areas where food security has been a problem before so we need to carefully monitor the situation," said Niels Scott, the Federation's operations coordinator for Africa.
The Geneva-based Federation has released 553,750 Swiss francs (US$456,800) to help national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies cover immediate needs in West Africa.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


03.09.07 : As Greek Fires Rage, EU Debates Fighting Drought
Tandis que le feu fait rage en Grèce, l'UE débat de la lutte contre la sécheresse
EU Debatte zur Dürrebekämpfung während der Grossfeuer in Griechenland

LISBON, Portugal - European Union ministers called on Saturday for more EU action to prevent forest fires in the wake of deadly blazes in Greece, while debating strategies to combat drought and water scarcity in the 27-nation bloc.
Portuguese Environment Minister Francisco Nunes Correia, whose country holds the EU presidency, said environment ministers expressed sympathy to Greece at a meeting in Lisbon after eight days of fires killed 63 people.
"Many delegations expressed their solidarity with Greece, which is suffering devastating damage now, and they recognised the need in this context to further develop European policies," he told a news conference.
Correia said ministers called on the executive European Commission to review ways to strengthen the EU's capacity to prevent such disasters and to increase "preparedness and the ability to respond and support recovery".
But ministers were divided on the need for new EU legislation on drought and water scarcity.
Northern countries, concerned about costs and increased bureaucracy, expressed scepticism, while southern nations sought new rules to address the issue, one official said.
"Everyone was agreed that we have to be more careful in how we use water," he said. The disagreement lay in "how far to take that".
Portugal's Correia said such legislation could require EU governments to identify drought risk areas and draw up contingency plans, but he recognised that not all states supported the idea and said the focus now would be on implementing existing EU water policies.
The European Commission released a report on Friday that said the bloc could reduce its water use by 40 percent.
Meanwhile authorities in Greece said they expected fires there would burn for at least four more days, reinvigorated by strong winds.
The Commission, which has coordinated help for Greece from EU governments, warned that similar disasters were likely to take place again in the future.
"Due to climate change, due to drought and to a number of other phenomena, we must expect similar events to occur in the years to come,"said Peter Mogens Carl, head of the Commission's environment directorate.

Story by Jeff Mason
Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service

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