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South America Environment, Science &Technology, and Health Newsletter Edition 86

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 08:03 AM 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: World Bank loan to ensure Uruguay’s free of Foot & Mouth Disease; Latin America Finds the Green In Organic; Brazilian Gene Bank Becomes World's Seventh Largest; Health: Anti-Pneumonia Vaccine Is Promoted in Latin America; Mapuche Pharmaceutical Line Goes International; Harvard Initiates Biomedical Research Partnership in Argentina; Brazil Identifies Genes of Bacteria Used For TB Vaccine; Water Issues: Ramsar Leader Lauds Chile’s Wetlands Initiative; Forests: Brazil: Indians with Green Seal in Hand; Wildlife: Brazilian Police Halt Sale of Turtle, Spiders on Internet; Venezuela: Saving the Walnut Tree; Fishing & Marine Conservation: Global Warming Harms Chile’s Salmon Industry; Colombia: January Shrimp Ban; Protected Areas: Potential Sister Parks - Yosemite and Torres Del Paine; Brazil Creates 7 New Protected Areas in Eastern Amazon Rain Forest; Science & Technology: Uruguay Launches Latin America’s First Pasteur Institute; Brazilian Firms Rush for Innovation Research Funds; Climate Change: Brazil Invests US$37 Million to Fight Global Warming; Brazil Ranks Second In the Number of Programs Aimed On Emission Reduction; Energy: Brazil, U.S. To Foster Ethanol As Alternative Fuel; Engineered Yeast Improves Ethanol Production; Amazon Dam Project Draws Heated Opposition in Brazil; Europe Eyes Brazil’s Ethanol; Chile: Hydroelectric Plans Advance in the South; Chile’s Energy Commission Defends Southern Hydroelectric Projects; Uruguay: The Internet as a Tool to Foment Energy Efficiency; Argentina Invests 1.6 Billion In Two Power Plants; General: OAS Sustainable Development Summit in Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Argentina Approves US$1.5 Billion Pascua Lama Mining Project; Airport Divides Government and Mapuches


World Bank loan to ensure Uruguay’s free of Foot & Mouth Disease


DEC. 20, 2006 - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$ 6.5 million loan for Uruguay to support the Foot and Mouth Disease Emergency Recovery Project and create a full-coverage livestock tracking system in order to keep the country virus-free and minimize economic losses.  The Foot and Mouth Disease Emergency Recovery Project, originally supported by a US$ 18.5 million World Bank loan approved on July 31, 2001, provided technical and financial support to the Government of Uruguay to help contain and mitigate the impact of the outbreak.  “We are very pleased to continue our support to this project. The program was fully successful in making Uruguay free of an economically devastating animal disease, which still has occasional outbreaks in neighboring countries” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank director for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Source – MercoPress  


Latin America Finds the Green In Organic


DEC. 19, 2006 – Latin American farmers can thank health-conscious U.S. consumers for a booming export business.  Farmers in Bolivia are planting as much organic quinoa as possible because of increasing demand in the United States. But quinoa is only one of dozens of organic products that Latin American farmers are increasingly harvesting for export to the United States as they tap into the growing clamor for chemical-free products.  Other organic products from Latin America include sesame seeds from Nicaragua, sugar from Paraguay, soybeans from Brazil, wild mushrooms from Ecuador, coffee from Peru, dried apples from Chile and wheat from Argentina.  She estimates Latin America's organic exports to the United States will reach approximately $250 million this year.  What's driving the increase in organic exports to the United States is simple. While overall U.S. grocery sales are increasing by only 1 percent per year, sales of organic food rose by 16 percent in 2005 to reach $13.8 billion.


Source – Miami Herald


Brazilian Gene Bank Becomes World's Seventh Largest


DEC. 06, 2006 - A Brazilian gene bank of plant seeds has become the world's seventh largest, behind banks in United States, China, Germany, Japan, India and South Korea.  Gene banks store genetic material from plants or animals — such as seeds, spores or eggs — frozen in cold chambers at minus 20 degrees Celsius, keeping it intact for over 100 years for later use.  Last week, the number of seed samples stored in the gene bank managed by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) reached 102,000, representing genetic material collected from 500 different plant species.  Magaly Wetzel, a coordinating manager of the 30-year-old gene bank, said that conserving a rich variety of seeds is essential for a country with a strong agribusiness sector like Brazil.  The world's largest seed bank is managed by the Agriculture Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.  It holds more than 460,000 seed samples and has the capacity to store up to 1 million.


Source – SciDev



Anti-Pneumonia Vaccine Is Promoted in Latin America


DEC. 14, 2006 - A vaccine that fights pneumonia and other diseases could save the lives of thousands of children each year in Latin America, but high costs have kept it from those who need it, a researcher told a congress of health professionals.  "Pneumococcal disease has a huge impact on child health and survival in our region," said Maria Teresa Valenzuela, an epidemiologist at the University of the Andes in Chile, speaking at a regional symposium on the problem in Sao Paulo.  "It kills 18,000 children every year - two children an hour."   A vaccine that fights pneumococcal diseases was introduced in the United States in 2000, and doctors said they were surprised at the effectiveness of the vaccine that fights most causes of pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections and ear infections.  The vaccine would be less effective in Latin America because it only fights 65 percent of the strains that exist here.

But experts say that increased demand could lead scientists to develop a version that fights strains more prevalent in Latin America.


Source – Washington Post


Mapuche Pharmaceutical Line Goes International

Dec. 13, 2006 - Mapuche Makelawen Pharmaceuticals is the pioneering native medicine line launched four years ago in southern Chile. They are now increasing their product line and are in negations to expand internationally.  At the moment they offer healing herbs, tonics nutritional supplements, and 48 naturally derived medications.  After Christmas the company will launch a new cosmetic line called Náyen, meaning energy in Mapudungún, consisting of various crèmes and shampoos.  More than simply export their products, the company seeks to make a distinct mark abroad. They are the first pharmaceutical line to introduce herbal remedies and treatments, based on Mapuche tradition.  Enrique Kaftanski, a partner of the company, is now in communication with business clients in Japan as well as numerous countries in Europe, such as Switzerland, Denmark and Finland. They also anticipate selling their products in many new locations in Chile, particularly large cities.

Source – Santiago Times (no link)

Harvard Initiates Biomedical Research Partnership in Argentina 


DEC. 06, 2006 - Harvard University and the GoA have begun an education and research and development initiative in Argentina that will initially focus on biomedical research, technology and treatment.  The program, called PABSELA, has won the vocal and financial support of the Minister of Education.  The endeavor highlights the continuing opportunities for U.S. science and technology institutions to enhance the U.S.'s long-term intellectual security through collaborative efforts with Argentine partners.


Source - BUENOS AIR   00002697


Brazil Identifies Genes of Bacteria Used For TB Vaccine


NOV. 29, 2006 - Researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, announced November 23rd that they have identified the genetic sequence of the Brazilian strain of the bovine TB bacterium Mycobacterium bovis contained in the BCG vaccine.  The BCG vaccine protects people against both tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy, as the diseases are caused by similar bacteria — Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae.  TB is a highly contagious disease with 87,000 new cases in Brazil each year.

Although leprosy is on the decline worldwide, pockets still remain in areas of Angola, Brazil, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal and Tanzania. In the long term, the researchers hope to use genetic engineering techniques to insert genetic sequences from other bacteria into the M. bovis genome to make the vaccine effective against other diseases.


Source – SciDev


Water Issues

Ramsar Leader Lauds Chile’s Wetlands Initiative

NOV. 29, 2006 - Two years after the death of thousands of Chile’s black-necked swans due to pollution coming from the Celco pulp mill, foreign interest in the plight of Region X’s Carlos Anwandter Wetland Sanctuary has helped provoke action to protect the area.  Secretary General of the Ramsar Wetlands Convention, Peter Bridgewater, met with Chile’s Presidential Secretary Paulina Veloso and the heads of Chile’s governmental environment agencies - Conaf (National Forestry Corporation) and Conama (National Environmental Agency) – November 27 in La Moneda.  Bridgewater’s visit comes in the wake of the Carlos Anwandter Wetland Sanctuary’s October 6 inclusion on the Montreux Record, a list of wetland sites that face critical environmental damage. “I’ve got high hopes for the recovery of this wetland,” said Bridgewater. “The decision made by Chile’s government to register the site on the Montreux Record brings us closer its restoration.”


Source – Santiago Times (no link)


Brazil: Indians with Green Seal in Hand


DEC. 18, 2006 - A territory of the Kayapó Indians that covers 1.5 million hectares in the northern Brazilian state of Pará has become the world's largest area of certified tropical forest.  Indigenous leaders received the certification from the Brazilian Forest Management Council on Dec. 13 in Sao Paulo, along with the organic seal for oil produced from the Amazonian nut Bertholletia excelsa, or Brazil nut.  The oil is used in cosmetics, and the Brazilian association for personal health, perfumes and cosmetics is promoting its environmentally friendly production.  "The Kayapó produce five to 10 tons of oil annually, depending on the yield of nuts," Luiz Villares, of the sustainable business campaign of Friends of the Earth-Brazilian Amazon, told Tierramérica.  Now efforts are focused on certification for Mekragnoti, the neighboring area -- also of the Kayapó -- of 4.3 million hectares, he announced.


Source – Tierramerica



Brazilian Police Halt Sale of Turtle, Spiders on Internet


DEC. 06, 2006 - Brazilian police seized 60 tarantulas, two scorpions and a turtle intended for sale on the Internet by a man operating under the alias Lord Spider.  Investigating a tip from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, police found the insects and turtle in cardboard boxes in the Sao Paulo apartment of 35-year-old Eduardo Galhardo.  Police began searching for Galhardo after being notified by the wildlife service that insects were being smuggled into the United States.  Galhardo faces charges of contraband and mistreatment of wildlife, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  Local courts, however, often convert sentences for environmental crimes to community service and small fines.


Source – International Herald Tribune


Venezuela: Saving the Walnut Tree


NOV. 27, 2006 - Environmental authorities are carrying out a conservation plan for the Venezuelan walnut (Juglans venezuelensis), native to the mountains that separate the capital from the Caribbean sea, a habitat that is under threat from logging, urbanization, soil degradation and changes in rainfall patterns.  "We have a recovery program, with collected seeds that we are working with in two greenhouses to turn them into 3,000 seedlings, which we hope to plant in the area by mid-2007," Miguel Rodríguez, vice-minister of environment, told Tierramérica.  The Venezuelan is one of the 21 walnut species worldwide, of which 17 are from the Americas.  It can grow to 30 meters tall, with a trunk circumference of 80 cm.  Its nuts are not for eating, and yield very little oil.  But the tree's broad stretch provides ample shade and oxygen.


Source – Tierramerica


Fishing & Marine Conservation

Global Warming Harms Chile’s Salmon Industry

DEC. 19, 2006 - Two environmental experts lashed out the Chilean and Argentine governments this week for their failure to address environmental issues currently damaging ecosystems and agriculture on both sides of the Andes.  Dr. Antonio Lara from Chile’s Austral University and his Argentine counterpart, Dr. Ricardo Villalba, warned that global warming is already producing drastic changes in their countries, pointing to the example of the Puelo River, which now carries 20 percent less water than it did 60 years ago.  The river starts in Argentina and flows into Chile’s Reloncaví Estuary.  Lara’s studies of tree rings located near the river showed that the drop in water levels is part of 84-year long cycle. “But this time it’s much much lower,” warned the scientist.  And the reduced flow of the river is starting to have adverse effects on one of Chile’s most important industries.  “This reduction in rainwater affects water rights to the river basin and salmon farming,” said Lara. “Salmon farms in Region X depend on oxygen carried in the Puelo River’s water, which oxygenates the Reloncaví Estuary.”


Source – Santiago Times (no link)

Colombia: January Shrimp Ban


DEC. 18, 2006 - In January a ban begins on shrimp fishing in surface and deep waters of the Pacific Ocean off the Colombian coast.  The measure, which was to enter into force on Dec. 1, was postponed by the Colombian Institute of Rural Development, INCODER, at the request of artisanal fisherfolk, who asked for support in replacing their fishing equipment.  María Rodríguez, ecologist with the National University, told Tierramérica the ban was established in October 1993 to protect and control the exploitation of the country's shrimp resources. Under the ban, it is prohibited to sell shrimp in any of the towns along Colombia's Pacific coast, including hotels, restaurants, and similar outlets, she added.


Source – Tierramerica


Protected Areas

Potential Sister Parks - Yosemite and Torres Del Paine


DEC. 04, 2006 - One of the areas highlighted during the U.S.-Chile talks October 23-24 under the Environmental Chapter of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA) was the establishment of a sister parks agreement between Torres del Paine and Yosemite national parks.  On October 29, Post and visiting OES officials met with the Torres del Paine park superintendent Jose Ulloa to discuss a sister parks agreement with Yosemite.  Ulloa agreed there were several areas where Yosemite's expertise could prove beneficial to the management, interpretation, and conservation of Torres del Paine.  Torres del Paine officials are particularly interested in creating a search and rescue capability, improving fund raising, increasing volunteer activities within the park, and developing trails.  The park has recently seen a 50 percent increase in fees (from USD 20 to USD 30 for entry) and could use some of the additional funding for cooperation projects with Yosemite.


Source - SANTIAGO   00002487


Brazil Creates 7 New Protected Areas in Eastern Amazon Rain Forest


DEC. 04, 2006 - An England-sized swath of Amazon rain forest was placed under government protection Monday, linking forest preserves across four South American nations in a state infamous for violent conflicts between loggers, ranchers and environmentalists.  The protected areas will link to existing reserves to form a vast preservation corridor eventually stretching into neighboring Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.  Known as the Guyana Shield, the area contains more than 25 percent of the world's remaining humid tropical forests and the last greatest unpolluted fresh water reserves in the American tropics.  Conservation International put up $1 million to facilitate the expansion, which preserves much of the jungle's largely untouched north.  Two of the new protected areas, covering 22,239 square miles (57,600 square kilometers) would place the land completely off limits to the general public and only be accessible to researchers.  Together these two new areas are believed to contain up to 54.1 percent of all bird, animal and plant species found in the Amazon, Conservation International said. They also hold several endangered animal species, including the northern bearded saki monkey, jaguars, giant anteaters, the giant armadillo and the ariranha, or giant Amazon otter.  The remaining areas have been declared sustainable use-protected areas, allowing local communities to manage the natural resources and for limited logging under strict management plans.


Source – CNN


Science & Technology

Uruguay Launches Latin America’s First Pasteur Institute


DEC. 10, 2006 – The President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez launched on December 8 in Montevideo the first Pasteur Institute headquarter in Latin America.  The center will specialize in the study of cancer and aging, as well as in human and animal pharmaceutics.  Pasteur Institute will also seek to build the capacity of young researchers and bring back South American scientists living in Europe and the United States.


Source – SciDev


Brazilian Firms Rush for Innovation Research Funds


NOV. 21, 2006 - An unprecedented scheme launched by Brazil's Science and Technology Ministry on September 6th to fund innovation activities has received an overwhelming response from companies seeking to benefit from it.  As many as 900 companies filed 1,075 proposals to the ministry by the closing date of 24 October — representing BRL1.87 billion (US$866 million) worth of funding requests.  This is more than six times the size of the fund available — US$139 million for a period of three years.   Proposals must be related to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, semiconductors and software, nanotechnology, biotechnology, biomass or renewable energy, or the aerospace sector.  Brazil launched two other schemes to boost innovation activities in companies earlier this year.  The first earmarked US$70 million for small and medium companies associated with regional partners.  The second, launched in November, will assign US$28 million to subsidize researchers' salaries in companies.


Source – SciDev


Climate Change

Brazil Invests US$37 Million to Fight Global Warming


DEC. 14, 2006 - A new loans and grants scheme in Brazil will fund company initiatives that help reducing carbon emissions through the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism.  Projects and research that help remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or reduce their emissions will be eligible for the scheme, the first private sector financing program of its kind in Brazil.  The Ministry of Science and Technology unveiled the US$37 million scheme, which will run until 2009, on December 12th.  Eligible projects must cost a minimum of US$233,000.  The Research and Projects Financing (Finep), a public agency linked to the science ministry, will cover 90 per cent of the costs.  The companies will have to repay the loan within 10 years of receiving it.


Source – SciDev


Brazil Ranks Second In the Number of Programs Aimed On Emission Reduction


NOV. 28, 2006 - Programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions are blossoming in Brazil, with the "carbon credit" system winning interest from companies in industrialized countries.  Brazil ranks second among developing countries, behind India and ahead of Mexico and China, in the number of these investments.  In total, 102 projects have been approved so far in Brazil.  Fifty-eight more are under review as part of the clean development mechanism.  These projects represent an overall reduction of 189 million tons of CO2.  More than 80% of Brazil's power is generated in hydraulic plants, and Brazil has been on the cutting edge of biofuel use.  It has invested in and embraced ethanol use in its vehicles, while deforestation in the Amazon has dropped 52% in two years.


Source – Industry Week



Brazil, U.S. To Foster Ethanol As Alternative Fuel


DEC. 19, 2006 - Brazil, the United States and the Inter-American Development Bank launched in Miami the Inter American Ethanol Committee, a private organization to foster ethanol use as an alternative fuel in the Americas.  According to the story, the Committee is a joint initiative by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Brazilian Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues and IDB Chairman Luis Alberto Moreno.


Source – Public Affairs US Embassy Brasilia


Engineered Yeast Improves Ethanol Production


DEC. 7, 2006 - MIT scientists have engineered yeast that can improve the speed and efficiency of ethanol production, a key component to making biofuels a significant part of the U.S. energy supply.  Currently used as a fuel additive to improve gasoline combustibility, ethanol is often touted as a potential solution to the growing oil-driven energy crisis.  But there are significant obstacles to producing ethanol: One is that high ethanol levels are toxic to the yeast that ferments corn and other plant material into ethanol.  By manipulating the yeast genome, the researchers have engineered a new strain of yeast that can tolerate elevated levels of both ethanol and glucose, while producing ethanol faster than un-engineered yeast.  The work is reported in the Dec. 8 issue of Science.


Source - News Office (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)


Amazon Dam Project Draws Heated Opposition in Brazil


DEC. 07, 2006 - Rubber tappers, fishermen and Indians in western Brazil have joined environmental groups in battling a planned US$9 billion hydroelectric project that will flood one of the Amazon's main tributaries.  At hearings near Porto Velho, capital of the remote western Brazilian state of Rondonia, the government said the project would help avert a possible energy shortage, bolster the sluggish economy and allow barges to carry soybeans, timber and minerals on the 4,200 kilometer (2,800 miles) river network.  But environmental activists warned the dams would flood vast areas, including parts of Bolivia and Peru; spread malaria and other water-borne diseases; and destroy migrating fish, bird and animal wildlife and swathes of rainforest.  Roberto Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth, Brazilian Amazon, said the government was like an ostrich, burying its head in the sand and refusing to consider the full economic, social and legal implications for a huge area including northeast Bolivia, eastern Peru, western Mato Grosso and southern Amazonas.  Uncertainty about the project could discourage private investors the government is counting on for financing and management expertise.


SEE ALSO Reporting Cable BRASILIA   00002489


Source – Washington Post


Europe Eyes Brazil’s Ethanol


DEC. 6, 2006 – An increasing number of European nations are showing interest in promoting the production of ethanol in Africa using Brazilian technology, according to Brazil’s former minister of agriculture.  Roberto Rodrigues, the former minister, said both the Netherlands and Britain were interested in tapping Africa’s potential as a sugarcane producer for the world’s leading alternative fuel.  Rodrigues, who made his remarks moments after he was sworn in as coordinator of the Agribusiness Center at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a leading agricultural studies university in Latin America, said that in addition to European nations, African countries are also looking to Brazil to help make ethanol production efficient.  Among those seeking Brazil’s help are agricultural officials in Sudan, he said.


Source – Monsters & Critics


Chile: Hydroelectric Plans Advance in the South


Nov. 27, 2006 - The Comptroller General of Chile granted the Hydro Aysén company a provisional electrical concession to begin studies for the construction of four hydroelectric dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers, in Chile's 11th region of Aysén, 2,000 km south of the capital.  The Comptroller set aside the 129 objections presented by the public to the Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels, among them the U.S. multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins. The future electrical transmission lines would pass through land he owns. Felipe Meneses, attorney for the Aysén Citizen Coalition, which is against the dams because they would flood 10,000 hectares of untouched land, told Tierramérica that the news came as no surprise, and that they would continue filing administrative and legal petitions to prevent the project from materializing.  Hydro Aysén is an umbrella group for the transnational energy company Endesa and the local firm Colbún.


Source – Tierramerica


Chile’s Energy Commission Defends Southern Hydroelectric Projects

DEC. 14, 2006 - In a surprise announcement, the National Energy Commission (CNE) announced its support for hydroelectric projects in the southern Region XI near Aisén - a change of tactics on the part of the government, which has until now distanced itself from the projects and not commented on environmental studies done for the private sector.  The new executive secretary of the CNE, Rodrigo Iglesias, spoke about the shortage of energy in the Chile and specifically in regards to the hydroelectric options.  “It is an alternative that cannot be discarded. We don't have the luxury of throwing away ideas before considering them,” he said.   In declaring support for hydroelectric development in Region XI, Iglesias was clear to point out that the government was not about to support specific projects by either of the two electrical giants Colbún and Endesa.


Source – Santiago Times (no link)

Uruguay: The Internet as a Tool to Foment Energy Efficiency


NOV. 27, 2006 - A web site of Uruguay's Ministry of Industry seeks to promote energy efficiency amongst its customers.  The Internet site,, on line since late October but to be officially launched in December, helps people calculate their consumption, advises how to control energy usage, and includes games to help children learn about energy efficiency practices.  The project has existed since late 2005 and involved an investment of 21 million dollars from the Global Environment Facility, the ministry itself, the state-owned electrical company UTE, and private parties.


Source – Tierramerica


Argentina Invests 1.6 Billion In Two Power Plants


NOV. 25, 2006 - Siemens Power Generation, a unit of Siemens AG (SI) has been awarded major contracts from Argentina for the turnkey construction of two combined cycle power plants.  The Siemens-led consortium will build the power plants in Campana in the province of Buenos Aires and in Timbes near the city of Rosario in the province Santa Fe.  The total order is valued at 1.6 billion US dollars.  Each of the new plants will have a capacity of 830 megawatts.  The primary fuel will be natural gas, with liquid fuel as an alternative. Commercial operation is due to start in the first half of 2008 in open cycle mode and full operation in combined cycle mode is scheduled for one year later, in early 2009.


Source – MercoPress



OAS Sustainable Development Summit in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
DEC. 19, 2006 - Integrated Water Resource Management, Natural Disaster Risk Reduction, and Strategic Alliances for Sustainable Agriculture, Forests and Tourism were the three themes of the First Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and Higher Authorities on Sustainable Development, the first and only ministerial to be held as follow-up to the 1996 "Santa Cruz Summit" attended by then Vice-President Al Gore.  During the two-day conference on December 4 and 5, two key documents were adopted by consensus, the "Declaration of Santa Cruz 10"  (a title which references the 1996 Summit), and the "2006-2009 Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development" (the PIDS).  The Declaration, which updates the original 1996 "Declaration of Santa Cruz" as well as narrows its focus to the above-mentioned three themes, was hailed "as providing new tools to achieve shared goals and results," as well as "identifying and advancing partnerships to integrate environmental considerations into development, poverty alleviation, social and economic policies."  The PIDS was lauded as "a detailed strategic plan for improving the sustainable management of water, reducing the risk of disasters, and turning the promise of sustainable farm, forest, and tropism practices into concrete results."
Source - STATE   00200890


Argentina Approves US$1.5 Billion Pascua Lama Mining Project

Dec. 8, 2006 - The Argentine government gave a final stamp of approval to the US$1.5 billion Pascua Lama mining project, whose future impact on ground water in Chile and Argentina make it one of the most contentious environmental issues facing both nations.  Argentine authorities signed off on the gold-and-silver mining project provided that the company accept 91 conditions that primarily address water treatment issues in Argentina, where the residual waste tanks or tailings dams will be located.  The authorization also requires Canada-based Barrick Gold to create a US$70 million development fund for the local area, a new hospital, and a US$47.5 million electricity line to solve local energy issues.

Source – Santiago Times (no link)


Airport Divides Government and Mapuches


NOV. 27, 2006 - The Chilean government wants the inauguration of the future international airport in the 9th region to mark the country's bicentennial in 2010.  But some 500 Mapuche families oppose construction of the terminal because of potential social and environmental harm.  On Nov. 15 the governmental Regional Environmental Commission (COREMA) of the 9th region of Araucanía approved with 12 votes in favor, four against -- cast by the community delegates -- and one abstention, the environmental impact study for the airport that is to be built in the southern city of Freire.  In 2007 the plan is to expropriate 495 hectares in the town of Huilquilco and hold an international bidding process for construction.  Eight Mapuche communities -- of the 23 near the future airport -- formed the group Ayún Mapu (Joyful Land, in the Mapuzungun language) to coordinate opposition to the draft project presented by the government.  Ayún Mapu will present a petition against the COREMA decision, a stay for protection with the Chilean courts, and another with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Source – Tierramerica

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