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South America Environment, Science &Technology, and Health Newsletter Edition 83

by webadmin last modified Jan 10, 2013 11:52 AM
Contributors: Larissa Stoner
The information contained was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so.
Agriculture: Uruguay: A Push for Biotech; Brazil: Cultivating 'Clean' Tomatoes; Chile: Keep Chiloé Free of Transgenics, Say Activists; IDB Signs Historic Pact with Guyana; Family Farms in Latin America: Durable but Fragile; Health: Venezuela: Veto Continues Against DDT to Fight Malaria; Brazil: Hair Stylists Most Exposed to Cancer-Causing Agents; Health Ministers Approve Rubella Elimination, Increased Vaccination Coverage; Forests: Brazil Seeks Deforestation Plan Support; Brazil Tells Foreigners Amazon "Not For Sale"; Chile: Santiago Loses Thousands of Native Trees; Colombia Forest Controversy Simmers On; Fishing & Marine Conservation: Some Cause for Hope in Sea-Turtle Battle; Protected Areas: Protected Area in Brazil's Amazon Rain Forest Has Nearly Doubled; Chile: 'No' to Road through Pumalín Park; Science & Technology: Chile: S&T Budget to Increase by More Than 20%; Bacteria Could Double Chilean Copper Production; Pollution: Venezuela: New Alert on Toxic Sludge; Decades of Amazon Oil Pollution at Issue in Peru; Energy: Uruguay: Observatory for Renewable Energy Proposed; In Reversal, Chile to Weigh Nuclear Power; Bolivia's Challenge Blocks Dams in the Amazon; US$100 Million Fund for Clean Energy; Latin America: Nuclear Energy Reborn; General: Brazilian Indians Fight Back; UN Leading Bid To Help Four Colombian Tribes; Bolivia’s Wants Public Input in Green Policies;

Also attached is a calendar of up-coming ESTH events across Latin America. 

 


Agriculture

Uruguay: A Push for Biotech

 

OCT. 14, 2006 - The Pasteur Institute of Montevideo, which will officially open its doors Dec. 8, is trying to give a boost to biotechnology in the countries of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) and Chile, says executive director Guillermo Dighiero.  Beginning Nov. 13, proposals will be accepted for the pharmaceutical area, "both medical and veterinary, to develop new diagnostic procedures and new medicines based on recombinant technology," in this case using the study of the human genome as the starting point, Dighiero told Tierramérica.   This non-profit foundation, which has already invested 6.4 million dollars, was created by law in 2004, through an agreement amongst the French and Uruguayan governments and the Paris-based institute, and built with funds reconverted from Uruguay's debt to France.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/1014/iecobreves.shtml

 

Brazil: Cultivating 'Clean' Tomatoes

 

OCT. 14, 2006 - Brazil can already produce tomatoes without agro-chemical residues, through Tomatec, a production technique that was tested in the planting of 12,000 tomato plants in Sao Jose do Uba, near Rio de Janeiro. Analysis concluded in September proved the purity of the tomatoes, a crop that is usually heavily treated with pesticides.  The method does use agro-chemicals, but 60 percent less than conventional cultivation, and only before the plants flower. It reduces the loss of fruit to one percent, conserves water and prevents soil erosion.  Although the cost of production is increased 20 percent, it will tend to decline in the future, assures Jose Ronaldo Macedo, coordinator of the technique for the government's agricultural research agency EMBRAPA.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/1014/iecobreves.shtml

 

Chile: Keep Chiloé Free of Transgenics, Say Activists

 

OCT. 14, 2006 - Environmentalists are demanding that Chilean authorities declare the southern archipelago of Chiloé -- 1,190 km south of Santiago -- a transgenic-free zone, and recognize it as a birthplace of the potato (Solanum tuberosum), alongside Bolivia and Peru.  Cultivation of genetically modified foods is not permitted in Chile, but transgenic seed production for export is allowed.  In 2005 there were 12,928 hectares of farmland dedicated to that practice: 93.7 percent maize, 4.85 canola and 1.28 percent soy.   In Chile's 10th region, Los Lagos, where the Chiloé archipelago is located, there is some land dedicated to production of transgenic potato seed, but this biotechnology has not yet been brought to the main island of Chiloé or its surrounding islets.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/1014/iarticulo.shtml

 

IDB Signs Historic Pact with Guyana

 

OCT. 11, 2006 - The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has committed to providing funding at the community level and the first beneficiary is an indigenous non-governmental organization in Guyana’s Region Nine.  An agreement was signed between the Bina Hill Institute (BHI) of North Rupununi and the IDB for a grant of US$80,000, under a program called Enhancing Youth Leadership in Indigenous Communities.  Collaborative support for the program will also come from the North Rupununi District Development Board (NR-DDB) and Pro-Natura (UK).  Director of BHI Sydney Allicock said focus would be placed on tourism, agriculture (crops and livestock) and capacity building. According to the press report, minimum of eight agricultural and aquatic based projects will be designed.

 

Source – Stabroek News http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_general_news?id=56505591

 

Family Farms in Latin America: Durable but Fragile

 

OCT. 4, 2006 - Family farms are not disappearing in Latin America, but they are becoming more vulnerable, requiring government policies to ensure their economic and social inclusion, experts and farmers said at a seminar organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the Chilean capital.  The income earned by family farms has declined markedly between 1990 and 2003 in most of the countries of the region, except in Chile where it has risen slightly, said Martine Dirven, an expert with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).  Although there is no global consensus on the definition of small farms, the World Bank defined them in 2003 as smaller than two hectares, and having a limited asset base.  ECLAC adds that the work is done by the farmers and their unpaid family members.  In Latin America, small-scale family farms make up 63 percent of total farmland, on average. In Ecuador, 91 percent of the 843,000 farms are smallholdings of this kind; and in Peru, smallholdings account for 80 percent of a total of 1.6 million farms.

 

Source – IPS http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34996

Health         

Venezuela: Veto Continues Against DDT to Fight Malaria

 

OCT. 14, 2006 - Venezuela rejects use of the insecticide DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) that was used to fight malaria-carrying mosquitoes a half-century ago, "adopting the criteria that it is toxic, non-biodegradable and accumulates in animal tissue," said Jesús Toro, director of environmental health at the Ministry of Health.  "It's a good decision and we hope that elimination continues of the DDT inventories still held by 24 regional health delegations," María Eugenia Gil Beroes, spokeswoman for the environmental group Aguaclara, said in a Tierramérica interview.  According to the ecologist, the components of DDT are very harmful because the affect the chemical functions of the cell, causing cancer and fetal malformations.  For this reason her group has joined the demands that the World Health Organization desist from recommending even the limited use of DDT in fighting malaria.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/1014/iecobreves.shtml

 

Brazil: Hair Stylists Most Exposed to Cancer-Causing Agents

 

OCT. 02 - Hair stylists run the greatest risk of alterations of their DNA and, as a result, of developing cancer, due to their exposure to chemicals like formol and aromatic amines, found in products for straightening or coloring hair, according to a study presented in Sao Paulo.  "We are working for early identification of mutations in order to prevent cancer of occupational origin, given that tumors tend to appear 20 to 30 years after exposure (to harmful substances)," the study's author Maira Precivalle Galiotte, a biologist at the University of Sao Paulo medical school, told Tierramérica.  Tests of 80 hair stylists showed damage to their genetic material at double the frequency of 80 women who were not regularly exposed to chemicals in their places of work, according to the study.  Hair salons employ 1.3 million people in Brazil, according to the 2005 census.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0930/iecobreves.shtml

 

Health Ministers Approve Rubella Elimination, Increased Vaccination Coverage

 

SEP. 28, 2006 - Health ministers from the Americas at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Directing Council approved a new regional strategy to sustain immunization programs in the Americas, calling on countries to achieve vaccination coverage of more than 95 percent in all districts and to meet the target of eliminating rubella and congenital rubella syndrome by 2010.  In a resolution approved unanimously, health ministers also asked their countries to find new ways to finance and sustain immunization programs so they can introduce new vaccines against rotavirus, pneumococcus, and human papillomavirus, and to use the PAHO revolving fund to buy new and underutilized vaccines, including those against seasonal influenza and yellow fever.

 

Source - PAHO http://www.paho.org/English/DD/PIN/pr060929.htm

 

Forests

Brazil Seeks Deforestation Plan Support

 

OCT. 17, 2006 – Brazil's Environment Minister met on October 17th with former Vice President Al Gore and urged him to back a Brazilian proposal to help developing countries obtain aid to prevent destruction of their rain forests.  Brazil is proposing the creation of a fund financed by developed nations that would provide financial incentives for developing countries to keep their rain forests standing.  Gore, who was in Sao Paulo to promote his book "An Inconvenient Truth," did not speak to reporters following the meeting.  Brazil first proposed the idea in Rome last August at a preparatory meeting for the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Climate Change and said it would make a formal proposal at the conference in Kenya in November.  The idea would be to create a voluntary fund that would reward developing countries for how much they reduce deforestation below traditional levels.   The countries then would get paid on the basis of how many tons of carbon the remaining forest was able to remove from the atmosphere.  Developing countries are not required to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocols.  If the countries deforested more than the preset limit, that amount would be deducted from future credits.

 

Source – The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com

 

Brazil Tells Foreigners Amazon "Not For Sale"

 

OCT. 17, 2006 - Environment Minister Marina Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said on October 17 the Amazon was the heritage of the Brazilian people and was "not for sale."  Their comments, in a signed article on the opinion page of Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, followed a report in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that British Environment Secretary David Miliband was promoting a proposal for a global trust to buy and sell trees in the Amazon.  The report angered Brazilians, who see themselves as the rightful owners and best caretakers of the jungle, 80% of which lies in its territory.  "Well-meaning individuals concerned about global warming should dedicate themselves to influencing their own governments," the ministers said, adding that most greenhouse gases come from rich nations burning fossil fuels like coal and oil.

 

Source – Yahoo News http://news.yahoo.com

 

Chile: Santiago Loses Thousands of Native Trees

 

OCT. 02 - The Chilean government's National Forestry Corporation approved the cutting of 2,700 native trees in the Santiago Metropolitan Park, the capital's biggest "green lung", in order to make way for a 21.5-km highway.  In August, the Itinera group -- affiliate of the Spanish firm Sacyr -- in charge of the project, cut down 1,300 exotic tree species in the park, with the promise to replant more than 20,000 trees.  Work began on the highway in 2005 and is slated for completion in 2008.  The route will connect the Santiago communities of Vitacura (population 81,499) and Huechuraba (74,070), at a cost of more than 200 million dollars.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0930/iecobreves.shtml

 

Colombia Forest Controversy Simmers On

 

SEP. 30, 2006 - The implementation of Colombia's General Forestry Law, enacted by the government in April, has reopened the debate on this legislation as a result of the appearance on a government web site of a regulation process drawn up by an international consultancy in the industry.  On the web site of the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, a proposal appeared this month signed by the Colombia Forestry Program, a cooperative initiative sponsored by the U.S. International Agency for Development (USAID) and administered by Chemonics International, which had explicit participation in the drafting of the law.  In the wake of a flood of criticism, the text was removed from the site.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0930/iacentos2.shtml

 

Fishing & Marine Conservation

Some Cause for Hope in Sea-Turtle Battle

 

OCT. 2006 - Economic incentives and the creation of sanctuaries have become the twin pillars of successful sea-turtle conservation programs in Latin America, offering alternatives to predatory activities and helping turtle populations in some nesting areas to rebound.  In doing so, they have provided a measure of hope in the often frustrating battle to save sea-turtle populations, which have been devastated by fishing fleets at sea and by hunters and turtle-egg gatherers on land.  In at least 20 turtle sanctuaries established over the last three decades in Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, Panama and French Guiana, locals earn more as boat pilots, tour guides and conservation researchers than they once did killing turtles.  Hotel and restaurant owners are faring better thanks to the influx of visitors.  And entry fees at the reserves bring in more money for studies on turtle biology. In the next few months, Colombia’s National Parks Office is expected to declare up to 11 miles (17 kms) of beach in Acandí, a community on this country’s Caribbean coast near the Panamanian border, as a national wildlife sanctuary, a move that would lead to restrictions on development and fishing in turtle-nesting areas and increase the likelihood of greater government investment in turtle conservation programs. The town’s 5,000 inhabitants welcome the prospect.

 

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Protected Areas

Protected Area in Brazil's Amazon Rain Forest Has Nearly Doubled

 

OCT. 14, 2006 - Protected area in the Amazon rain forest has nearly doubled in the past three years, a government official stated on October 7.  More than 70 million hectares (173 million acres) of the forest legally will be either off-limits to development or reserved only for sustainable use by the end of the year, said Tasso Azevedo, director of Brazil's Forest Service.  Only about 30 million hectares (74 million acres) had been declared protected before 2003, when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office pledging to decrease deforestation, Azevedo said.  The federal government has since declared the protection of almost 20 million hectares (49 million acres), while state authorities protected an additional 8 million hectares (19 million acres).  Federal and state officials plan to protect an additional 15 million hectares (37 million acres) by the end of the year.  Many environmental institutions, including Greenpeace, have criticized the government, however, saying the protected areas have been announced but very little has been done to ensure they are protected from loggers, farmers and cattle ranchers. 

 

Source - The Associated Press http://www.iht.com

 

Chile: 'No' to Road through Pumalín Park

 

OCT. 14 - Ecologists and residents oppose the Chilean government’s decision to build a 60-kilometer road through the center of Pumalín Park nature sanctuary, in the country's 10th region, instead of along its coastal border -- which is the cheaper option and would have lesser environmental impacts.  "At stake is the conservation of Chilean ecosystems versus a development model that has destroyed three-quarters of the national territory," Juan Pablo Orrego, director of the Ecosistemas group, told Tierramérica.  The owner of the park, U.S. multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins, and environmentalists say the decision announced Oct. 4 will only benefit the transnational corporation Endesa and the local firm Colbún.  The government proposed that the route, which would connect the cities of Puerto Montt and Chaitén, would also include the transmission lines of four hydroelectric dams that the two companies hope to build.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/1014/iecobreves.shtml

 

Science & Technology

Chile: S&T Budget to Increase by More Than 20%

 

OCT. 07, 2006 – Chile’s budget for innovation, science, and technology for 2007 will be US$ 485 million, according to an announcement made by Finance Minister Andrés Velasco on October 2nd.  The Fund for Innovation for Competitiveness will receive US$ 98 million, which will benefit 300 S&T centers and fifty-thousand businesses.  The S&T budget also envisions funds for the Program for Technological and Regional Investments, which will help high-tech foreign companies to be established in Chile.  Investment in S&T + Innovation is one of the four axis of the GOC 2007 budget with the aim of converting Chile into an innovative and entrepreneurial country.

 

Source - SciDev http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3143&language=2&CFID=5527425&CFTOKEN=596a7ea73946ecd4-A7FA0E63-B0D0-F03F-739D3FFB891BADE7

 

Bacteria Could Double Chilean Copper Production

 

OCT. 02, 2006 - Scientists in Chile have identified bacteria that could allow the country to double the amount of copper it mines.  The Codelco corporation that runs Chile's state-owned mines announced the news 25 September.  High-grade copper reserves are now scarce in Chile and the metal must be extracted from deep rock where it is bound to sulphates and impurities.  The bacteria can break the bonds between copper and sulphur, allowing the metal to be released.  They could be used to exploit low-grade copper ores in a way that is "cheaper, cleaner and more efficient than current techniques", said Ricardo Badilla, chief executive officer of Biosigma, the Codelco subsidiary that developed the technology.  Badilla told SciDev.Net that the technique could be in use by 2008, after it has been tested on an industrial scale.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3130&language=1

 

 

Pollution

Venezuela: New Alert on Toxic Sludge

 

OCT. 02 - The waste ponds used by the state-run metals company Bauxilum, which contain red sludge (silica sands, caustic soda, iron oxides and aluminum oxides), "are at the limit of their capacity and could filter into the surroundings," says the Aluminum Workers' Syndicate in southeastern Venezuela.  Luis Guzmán, of the University of Guayana's environmental management center, told Tierramérica, "the ponds are necessary for waste sedimentation and to allow the liquids to evaporate."  The problem, he said, "is that the rains raise the pond levels to the point of potential overflow or spills" towards populated areas along the Orinoco River, 500 km southeast of Caracas.  "The community should demand that the company dispose of previously treated waste," added Guzmán.  Bauxilum, which has the capacity to produce two million tons of aluminum oxide, did not comment on this matter.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0930/iecobreves.shtml

 

Decades of Amazon Oil Pollution at Issue in Peru

 

OCT. 2006 - Residents of Achuar indigenous village in the Peruvian Amazon used to fetch water from Little Trompeterillo Creek. A look at the creek today, black and scummy as it flows into the nearby Corrientes River, reveals why they no longer do.  All along the Corrientes northward to the Ecuadorian border, three decades of oil drilling have fouled tributaries of the river and the rainforest with oil and production water—the saline, metals-tainted water brought to the surface during oil extraction.  On Sept. 27, the Peruvian government formed a commission to study the problem and recommend solutions.  The move came one day after Health Ministry officials presented the results of the most recent monitoring of water, sediment and blood samples taken in communities along the Corrientes.  While the tests did not show excessive levels of heavy metals in most of the surface or drinking water samples, it did find high levels of certain metals and petroleum residue in sediments and extremely high levels of chlorides at various monitoring points due to the discharge of production water.  Tests also found lead levels in blood samples were above the World Health Organization limit of 10 micrograms per milliliter in about one-third of the children and slightly more than half of the adults tested in two communities.  Last year, a larger study showed elevated blood lead levels in 66% of children and adolescents under age 17 in villages along the Corrientes River and elevated cadmium levels in 98.6%.

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Energy

Uruguay: Observatory for Renewable Energy Proposed

 

OCT. 02 - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is planning to open a regional observatory in the Uruguayan capital to promote renewable energy.  The proposal, which will be submitted for evaluation, was announced at the Ibero-American Ministerial Meeting titled "Energy Security in Latin America: Renewable Energy as a Viable Alternative," Sep. 26-28 in Montevideo.  "Latin America is the region that has made most progress in renewable energy. And the observatory is a necessary initiative for improving the region's energy matrix and the quality of life in the poorest areas," Aizar Antonio Assefh, director of the regional UNIDO office in Uruguay, told Tierramérica.  Once finalized, in 2007, the project will involve the regional governments and institutions. Public participation is expected, but "the private sector can also be a good partner," added Assefh.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0930/iecobreves.shtml.  See also SciDev report: http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3134&language=2&CFID=5527425&CFTOKEN=596a7ea73946ecd4-A7FA0E63-B0D0-F03F-739D3FFB891BADE7

 

In Reversal, Chile to Weigh Nuclear Power

 

OCT. 2006 - Forecasts questioning Chile’s ability to meet its energy needs in the years ahead have given rise to debate about whether the country should consider building nuclear power plants as soon as 2010.  Pressed by leaders of political parties in her center-left coalition government, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet agreed to commission a feasibility study on the viability of nuclear power.  Though by no means a commitment, the decision nevertheless marks a turnaround for a country that for years has shunned atomic energy.  The [news] did not go over well with green groups, which received ten written commitments from Bachelet in exchange for their endorsement of her during last year’s presidential campaign.  One of those commitments was that she would not “include the nuclear energy option in Chile’s energy policies.”  The grouping has sent a letter to Bachelet urging her to call off the study.  It also plans a nationwide educational campaign in municipalities and schools to build support for renewable energy rather than nuclear power.

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Bolivia's Challenge Blocks Dams in the Amazon

 

OCT. 14, 2006 - Environmentalists in La Paz warn that one of the hydroelectric dams that Brazil is planning to build on the Madeira River could flood Bolivian territory.  They are calling for a binational agreement.  The Brazilian government plans to build two hydroelectric dams -- the Jirau and San Antonio -- on an uneven stretch of the Madeira River, in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia, with energy production potential of 3,300 and 3,150 megawatts, respectively.  The Madeira is the biggest tributary of the Amazon River, and begins in the Bolivian Andes.  The Bolivian demands could prolong the discussions about the project, whose environmental impact study will be reviewed in four hearings in November.  The Brazilian authorities have said, for now, that they are willing to listen to their neighbors.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/1014/iacentos.shtml

 

US$100 Million Fund for Clean Energy

 

OCT. 10, 2006 - The European Commission said 6 October it would dedicate US$100 million to help developing countries adopt energy-efficient technologies and make more use of renewable energy to combat air pollution and climate change.  The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund will help overcome the difficulties of raising enough commercial funding for such projects by providing new risk-sharing and co-financing options to attract international and domestic investors.  The European Commission will kick-start the fund with a contribution of up to US$100 million over the next four years, and expects that financing from other public and private sources will boost it to at least US$125 million.  The fund will also help create regional sub-funds for Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific region, Latin America, North Africa and non-EU Eastern Europe. These will be tailored to regional needs and will focus on smaller projects ignored by commercial investors.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3148&language=1

 

Latin America: Nuclear Energy Reborn

 

SEP. 30, 2006 - Just 3.1 percent of Latin America's electricity comes from nuclear sources, but if expansion plans in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico succeed, that proportion could more than double in a decade -- much to the annoyance of environmentalists.  Carried by the global wave towards nuclear energy, pushed by high petroleum prices, Brazil is proposing construction of the country's third reactor, while Argentina and Mexico will go from two to four nuclear energy plants.  Brazil, one of the nine countries worldwide that enriches uranium -- the essential input for nuclear energy --, is trying to make expanded production viable.  And Argentina is picking up enrichment efforts begun in the 1980s, but halted in 1992.  The nuclear plants in operation, with second-generation technology, had an estimated useful life of 15 to 20 years in the case of Mexico, and 30 to 40 years in Argentina and Brazil.  But the plans imply prolonging their operation up to 60 years in some cases.  The criticisms from ecologists, led by the environmental watchdog Greenpeace, point to the danger of accidents, the inevitable accumulation of toxic waste, and the lack of transparency that usually surrounds any nuclear activity.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0930/iarticulo.shtml

 

General

Brazilian Indians Fight Back

 

OCT. 19, 2006 - Brazil’s Companhia Vale do Rio Doce SA (CVRD) - the world’s largest iron ore miner - said about 150 members of the Xikrin indigenous tribe occupied the town of Carajas in an apparent attempt ‘‘to pressure the company to increase financial contributions to the indigenous community.’’  In a statement, the company characterized the occupation of Carajas as violent but did not say if there were any injuries or fatalities.  Carajas, which was built by CVRD, is in the largely undeveloped state of Para.  The invasion came eight months after other tribes blocked a railroad from Carajas in protests over health care, reducing CVRD’s first-quarter iron ore shipments by one million metric tons.  CVRD said it now contributes about US$4.3 million annually to the Xikrins under a social-development agreement signed in June.

 

Source – MercoPress http://www.falkland-malvinas.com/Detalle.asp?NUM=9002

 

UN Leading Bid To Help Four Colombian Tribes

 

OCT. 2006 - The UN Development Program (UNDP) is leading a campaign to provide US$15 million to help four different Indian tribes recover a part of their ancestral lands and restore their forests in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain chain on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.  Members of the Kogui, Wiwa, Arhuaco, and Kankuamo tribes have lived for thousands of years in the Sierra Nevada, the world’s highest coastal range, but small-scale ranchers, subsistence farmers and coca growers have inundated the region in recent decades.  The intruders have destroyed over 85% of the native forests and degraded watersheds that are crucial to the Indians and to lowland communities, including Santa Marta and Valledupar.  Meanwhile, tribal members have been assassinated by illegal guerrilla and paramilitary armies, according to the UN.  The UNDP initiative brings together U.S. philanthropists who over the next five years will provide the money needed to allow the Indians to buy out some 2,500 peasant colonizers and expand their territory, which now covers 1.52 million acres (616,000 has), by approximately one-third.  The Indians say they will emphasize low-intensity farming and regeneration of natural forests and watersheds in newly repossessed territories.

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Spain’s Ence Changes its Uruguayan Pulp-Mill Plans

 

OCT. 2006 - Buoyed in its campaign to block two massive pulp projects just across the border in Uruguay, Argentina is welcoming news that one of those projects will be relocated.  The Spanish company Ence announced that it is looking to build its US$600 million plant elsewhere in Uruguay.  The company said its decision did not stem from Argentina’s environmental concerns over the two projects, located on the Uruguay River just across from the Argentine city of Gualeguaychú.  Instead, it attributed the move to the logistical difficulties of operating in the same area—the Uruguayan municipality of Fray Bentos—as the US$1.2 billion million pulp mill now being built by Finland’s Metsä-Botnia.  Ence got government approval for its mill earlier than Metsä-Botnia, but construction on the Finnish company’s larger project already is well underway.  Argentine officials, who assert the projects would cause significant cross-border air and water pollution, portrayed Ence’s announcement as a victory.   Within a week of the Ence announcement, Uruguayan officials were working to tamp down rumors that Ence in fact would give up altogether on plans for a pulp mill in the country.

 

Source - EcoAmericas

 

Bolivia’s Wants Public Input in Green Policies

 

OCT. 2006 – The October issue of EcoAmericas carries an interview with Vice-Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Juan Carlos Iporre Salguero.  Salguero highlighted the importance of social participation in public planning: “We believe we will guarantee our care for the environment with the participation of the civil organizations in not just consultations, but decisions.”  As for current environmental issues of interest to the GOB, Salguero stated that the “[cleanup of] the Pilcomayo River is a priority, along with Lake Titicaca.  Lake Titicaca is a controversial issue right now. There has not been a responsible approach toward preventing and cleaning up pollution.  We actually just created a new commission with work groups involving various stakeholders to devise programs and projects to clean up the contamination. We also are working with Peru, through a binational institution already established for this purpose.”  On illegal pesticide use in Bolivia: “We are talking with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to get their help with a national plan to clean up old pesticides still lying around in various parts of the country. We also are betting on developing more organic agriculture to give us a competitive advantage.”

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete Q&A)

 

 

 

 
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