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South America Environment, Science &Technology, and Health Newsletter Edition 97

by Stoner, Larissa A — 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. n accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
Agriculture: Argentina to Harvest 100 Million tons of Grains in 2008, Social Problems Follow Forests: Guyana Timber Company Harvesting Legally Outside Its Concession; Rapid Deforestation Poses Warming Threat; Rainforest Politics Strides onto the Boardwalk; Civil Resistance Aimed at Saving Colombian Jungle Wildlife; Leading Amazon Biologist Imprisoned In Brazil Fishing & Marine Conservation: South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization; Fishing Venture in Ecuador Wins UN Prize; Aquaculture Company to Phase Out Chile Lake Farms Protected Areas: Galapagos Put on UN Danger List Science & Technology: Scientific Cooperation between Peru and Paraguay; US$ 19 Million for Innovation Projects in Chile Pollution & Waste Management: Air Pollution in Lima Worsening; Argentina: Pulp Mill Waste Used for Roads; Brazil: Floating House Made of Garbage; Complaints in Argentina about Fuel-Oil Use Climate Change: Clean Development Inequities, a Perspective from Guyana; Climate Change a Concern for Andean Presidents Energy: Chile: Biofuel Plant Proposed for Desert Cultivation; Work to Resume On Brazil Reactor; Developing Nations Embrace Renewable Energy; Japanese Biofuel Project in Brazil Creates 50,000 Direct Jobs; Chile Launches Energy-Efficiency Campaign General: Congressmen Seek Pascua Lama Review Because Of Glacier Damage; Brazil: Industrialists Ask for Reform of Environmental Laws; Lake Disappears Suddenly In Chile; Argentina: US$ 6.6 Million for Sustainable Development; Update on Avian Influenza; Chilean TV Documentary Highlights U.S. AI Preparedness, International Cooperation

NOTE: The South America ESTH Newsletter is now also available on the Intranet - http://brasilia.state.gov/hub/default.htm

Also attached is a calendar of up-coming ESTH events across the Western Hemisphere.

Agriculture

Argentina to Harvest 100 Million tons of Grains in 2008, Social Problems Follow

 

JUNE 26, 2007 – Even the most optimistic analysts hadn’t foreseen such a boom in grain production in the country.  Argentina’s grain harvest has reached 94 million tons this year and may exceed 100 million tons by 2008, mostly due to an increase in corn productivity.  As occurs in Brazil, this growth in grain production has caused changes in the rural scenery.  The price of land has skyrocketed to as much as USD10, 000 per hectare – thus, only the most efficient survive the business (i.e. with the most advanced technology).  Cattle grazing is being pushed further and further north, which is less appropriate for the activity.  According to the press report, over 100,000 rural producers have ceased activities in the country over the past 15 years.  Heavy taxing, high interest rates, and lack of government incentives are also big headaches for rural producers in Argentina.

 

Source – Folha de Sao Paulo (hard-copy in Portuguese)

 

Forests

Guyana Timber Company Harvesting Legally Outside Its Concession

 

JULY 8, 2007 - The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) maintains that Barama Company Limited (BCL) is acting within the confines of the law when it harvests timber from outside its own concession, a practice that observers have deemed illegal.  Commissioner of Forests James Singh, told Stabroek News that Barama's Timber Sales Agreement allowed it to engage in contractual arrangements with smaller logging companies.  In this way, Barama harvested from these concessions in exchange for capital investment in those companies' operations.  Barama's General Manager Girwar Lalaram had said that the third party arrangement that Barama had with small concessionaires was of mutual benefit.  He called Barama's reliance on smaller concessions more of a social decision rather than an economic one and insisted that the company was putting in much needed infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and other structures in those areas outside its concession.  Lalaram had also maintained that the company was using the smaller concessions to boost its capacity in peeler logs, used in the manufacture of plywood.  The practice of subletting is one of the factors which caused BCL's certification with the Forest Stewardship Council to be suspended in February for three months.

 

Source – Stabroek News http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=56524104

 

Rapid Deforestation Poses Warming Threat

 

JUNE 26, 2007 - Deforestation in Latin America and the Caribbean is accelerating, a new report shows, and the implications are growing more ominous every year.  Researchers say forest is being increasingly cleared to make way for big cattle ranches and large soybean farms -- especially in Brazil, which accounts for about 60 percent of the forest land in Latin America and the Caribbean.  An annual report published in May by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization shows that from 2000 to 2005 the rate of destruction of forest in Latin America and the Caribbean had risen to 0.51 percent of overall land, up from 0.46 percent during the 1990s.  Chile, Uruguay and Costa Rica were the only countries in the region that had more forest land in 2005 compared to 2000, the FAO found.  Peru, like other countries, has taken steps to prevent deforestation.  But peasants all too often move into forested areas, cut down trees, set the brush on fire to make way for small plots and plant crops to eke out a living.  Peru has only 450 forest rangers in the Peruvian System of Protected Areas, or one per 100,000 acres.

 

Source – Miami Herald http://www.miamiherald.com

 

Rainforest Politics Strides onto the Boardwalk

 

JUNE 24, 2007 - A Brazilian hardwood called ipe is stirring controversy on the Jersey Shore, as two communities consider using it to rebuild boardwalks in coming months.  Environmentalists say the use of ipe contributes to the decimation of the Amazon rainforest, where these 100-foot-tall trees have been growing for more than 250 years.  Now Brazil’s leading exported lumber, ipe has seen a surge in popularity driven in part by boardwalk restoration projects like those being planned in Ocean City and Wildwood.  Officials in these and other municipalities say the alternatives — domestic woods and synthetic lumber — do not offer the same durability, strength and aesthetics.  In a study of shipping patterns, Rainforest Relief, an environmental advocacy group based in Jersey City, found that the United States was receiving five shipments of ipe a month 10 years ago; today there are 150 to 200 a month.  Scott Paul, forest campaign coordinator for Greenpeace, said he has never seen an issue attract as much attention as the use of ipe.  The debate became particularly heated in Ocean City, where Mr. Paul predicted that the city’s decision “will be seen as a test case nationally, I’d even argue internationally.”

 

Source – The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com

 

Civil Resistance Aimed at Saving Colombian Jungle

JUNE 18, 2007 - In the Darién Mountains, near Colombia's border with Panama, some 3,000 Afro-Colombians are working to restore their crops and recover their land, from which they were forcibly expelled 10 years ago.  The communities hope that, through the partial demobilization of paramilitaries promoted by the government, their lands will be returned to them as part of the reparations as victims of the illegal armed groups.  But it won't be that easy -- the commercially farmed lands are already in progress.  The local population subsists on their own maize and rice, traveling from the communal humanitarian zones to the plots that belonged to them before they were displaced, and returning at the end of the day, sometimes facing military harassment.  In the community zones they are trying out production of medicinal plants and fruits, but they still lack the capacity to grow crops that assure them a decent livelihood.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://www.tierramerica.info/nota.php?lang=eng&idnews=382

 

Wildlife

Leading Amazon Biologist Imprisoned In Brazil

 

JUNE 23, 2007 - A world-renowned primatologist has been arrested in the Brazilian Amazon under charges that he was illegal sheltering 28 primates in his home.  Supporters say Marc van Roosmalen, 60, has been framed by illegal loggers who have long been adversaries of the prominent conservationist.  Van Roosmalen, who's worked in the Amazon for nearly 20 years and is credited with the discovery of several previously unknown species of monkeys, was named a "hero for the planet" by Time magazine in 2000 for his work to save the increasingly threatened Amazon rainforest.  Van Roosmalen's work has put him at odds with cattle ranchers, farmers, and illegal loggers who are driving forest clearing in the region, which has lost more than 55,000 square miles (142,000 square kilometers) of forest since

2000. These development interests have been linked to a number of incidents, including the high profile killing of rubber tapper Chico Mendes in 1988 and the 2005 slaying of American nun Dorothy Stang.

 

Source - www.mongabay.com

 

Fishing & Marine Conservation

South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization

 

JUNE 2007 - Representatives of 25 governments met in Chile in May to discuss the formation of a South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization and sustainable-fishing regulations for the region’s high seas.  Environmental groups lauded one of the principal outcomes of the meeting: the creation of rules that would effectively end a fishing method called bottom trawling in the South Pacific’s international waters.  But industrial fishing operators, while supportive of restrictions on bottom trawling, complained that the rules go too far.  Meanwhile, green activists and some fishing-industry representatives were concerned that a second measure adopted—a two-year limit on fishing for jack mackerel (Trachurus murphy)—is structured in such a way that the species will come under more pressure rather than less.

 

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

Fishing Venture in Ecuador Wins UN Prize

 

JUNE 2007 - Ventures begun by women in the Galápagos and in Guatemala are among five worldwide recipients of the Equator Prize, awarded biennially by the United Nations Development Program to recognize projects that make sustainable use of biodiversity to fight poverty.  On Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands, the six-member Pescado Azul Women’s Association of Isabela received the award for commercializing smoked tuna.  They have been making smoked tuna since 2001 and selling it in the Galápagos, Quito and Guayaquil tourist markets. They only purchase tuna caught locally in compliance with Galápagos National Park rules.  In the process, they have created an environmentally sustainable income source for themselves and some 200 fishermen, who might otherwise contribute to the over-fishing of fast-declining species such as shark and sea cucumber. To smoke the fish, the women are burning wood from a non-native tree, the guayaba, that conservation authorities want eradicated from the Galápagos.

Source – EcoAmericas

 

Aquaculture Company to Phase Out Chile Lake Farms

JUNE 21, 2007 - The world’s largest aquaculture company, Norway’s Marine Harvest, announced it plans to eventually replace all of its Chilean lake-based smolt centers with more environmentally friendly land-based facilities.  The announcement coincided with a related report published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  Entitled “Salmon Farming in the Lakes of Southern Chile – Valdividan Ecoregion,” the WWF study noted that while Chile’s booming farmed-fish industry has created approximately 45,000 jobs and record profits, the business is also taking a tremendous toll on southern Chile’s lakes, most especially those in Region IX, on the Island of Chiloé and in Region XI.  The WWF insists that a relatively small number of these closed systems could replace all current lake production – at a cost of approximately US$45 million.  While that may sound like a significant amount of money, the figure – the WWF points out – represents just 2 percent of the industry’s overall annual earnings: US$2.2 billion in 2006. 

 

Source – Santiago Times (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

 

Protected Areas

Galapagos Put on UN Danger List

 

JUNE 26, 2007 - Experts said the 19 islands and surrounding ocean were under threat from "invasive species", increased tourism and growing immigration.  In a statement, the organization said increased international interest in the islands - which are Ecuador's most popular tourist attraction - was effectively contributing to their gradual decline.  "The number of days spent by passengers of cruise ships has increased by 150% over the past 15 years," the organization said in a statement.  "This increase has fueled a growth in immigration and the ensuing inter-island traffic has led to the introduction of more invasive species."  Earlier this year Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said the Galapagos were at risk and in need of urgent action to protect their unique ecology.  He said he was considering a range of measures designed to protect the islands' environment.

 

Source – BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6241416.stm.  For article on same topic (Influx of Humans Testing Galapagos Limits) in June’s EcoAmericas please contact Larissa Stoner.

 

Science & Technology

Scientific Cooperation between Peru and Paraguay

 

JUNE 27, 2007 – Scientists from Peru and Paraguay will take part over the next two years in a program to exchange knowledge and experience thanks to an agreement signed in Asuncion June 18 by the Joint Science and Technology Commission from both countries.  Some of the areas included in the agreement are institutional strengthening, genealogic mapping of bovine and ovine populations, historical-cultural tourism, artcraft development, and social assistance for children.  A meeting will be held in July 2008 to evaluate the goals met and lessons learned.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3714&language=2&CFID=8415648&CFTOKEN=28813030

 

US$ 19 Million for Innovation Projects in Chile

 

JUNE 24, 2007 – The Government of Chile has allocated more than US$19 million to 37 innovation projects in the country.  These projects won the XIV National Contest for Research and Development Projects, promoted by Chile’s Commission on Science and Technology Research (Conicyt).  Some of the topics covered are fishing and aquaculture, health, information technology, and mining.  One highlight is a project that uses biotechnology to obtain biofuel from microalgae grown in the Chilean desert.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3708&language=2&CFID=8415648&CFTOKEN=28813030

 

Pollution & Waste Management

Air Pollution in Lima Worsening

 

JULY 06, 2007 - A recent report issued by Peru's National Institute for Statistics and Information (INEI) concludes that Lima's air quality is deteriorating.  For example, airborne lead particles have increased by 119 percent compared with 2006.  All of the air pollutant levels for Lima are significantly worse than those of downtown Los Angeles, and particulate matter (PM 2.5) levels are more than six times higher than U.S. EPA standards.  The city's chaotic transportation is a principal reason for this pollution.  The GOP needs to address the factors that are linked to political authority and municipal responsibility.  The city is home to over one-third of Peru's 28 million inhabitants, and the metropolitan area accounts for almost half of the country's $93 billion GDP.

 

Source – US Embassy Lima

 

Argentina: Pulp Mill Waste Used for Roads

JUNE 25, 2007 - A waste product from the cellulose industry can improve gravel or dirt roads in an environmentally friendly way, says an industrial technology agency in Argentina.  Sodium lignosulfonate, a byproduct obtained from paper pulp in which sulfite and sodium carbonate are utilized to separate the lignin from the wood, is then mixed with the water used to wet down the gravel roads of farms in the southern Argentine province of Río Negro.  In consultation with the Río Negro municipality of Cipolletti, the National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI) found that the lignosulfonate reduces the risk of road washouts and prevents dust clouds.  And "it is not a contaminant and has great combining strength," Angel Casabona, an INTI engineer from Cipolletti, told Tierramérica.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://www.tierramerica.info/nota.php?lang=eng&idnews=eco&nro=71

 

Brazil: Floating House Made of Garbage

 

JUNE 18, 2007 - In a fetid canal, filled with garbage from the city of Rio de Janeiro, a bricklayer built his floating house and made it into a symbol of recycling, leaving the authorities by turns applauding or frowning.  Brick by brick -- or rather, rubbish by rubbish -- the home was made from material pulled from the otherwise beautiful Guanabara Bay, in the heart of Rio de Janeiro.  Once a paradise of white sands and transparent waters, dolphins and other marine species no longer venture here because it is one of the most contaminated bays in Brazil, mostly with heavy metals from industry. The Rio de Janeiro state government is concerned about the level of contamination of its bodies of water.  The State’s Secretary of Environment announced that 73 million dollars would be invested in cleaning up rivers, lakes and the coastline. 

 

Source – Tierramerica http://www.tierramerica.info/nota.php?lang=eng&idnews=383

 

Complaints in Argentina about Fuel-Oil Use

 

JUNE 2007 - In April 2004, Argentina signed an agreement with Venezuela under which it would receive 1.5 million cubic meters of fuel oil annually in exchange for cattle, food and oil-field pipe and tubing.  The deal came at an important time.  About to enter the southern-hemisphere winter, Argentina was facing bottlenecks in its supply of natural gas, a key fuel source both for electricity generation and home heating.  The previous month, these bottlenecks had prompted rolling shutdowns of industrial gas service.  The agreement eased the fuel squeeze on power plants and allowed a tightening of ties between Argentine President Néstor Kirchner and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.  But three years later, the accord has become the subject of hot debate in Argentina, with the Buenos Aires municipal ombudsman’s office charging that local power plants’ use of fuel oil is exacerbating air-quality problems.  The ombudsman’s office says that since local plants were not adequately adapted to liquid fuel, their combustion of fuel oil has led to problems including air contamination and acid rain in the greater Buenos Aires region.  The federal government rejects the charge.

 

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

Climate Change

Clean Development Inequities, a Perspective from Guyana

 

July 9th 2007 - Ten years after the Clean Development Mechanism was established in 1997, Guyana's lone entry to the scheme has been the bagasse co-generation project at the Skeldon estate.  That project is still to roll so not a single certified emission credit (CER) has been accrued to this country in the decade of the CDM's life.  It appears that Guyana is on the radar [of venture capitalists interested in CERs] and we have to be careful that offers to freeze concessions for the purpose of the carbon credits trade are expertly evaluated.  Suriname is presently assessing a 40-year offer from a British/Hong Kong investment firm for 1.5 million hectares of virgin forest.  A huge drawback for countries like Guyana has been the non-recognition of standing forests as automatic sources of credits.   Neighbor country Brazil is currently proposing the creation of a voluntary fund which will compensate developing countries which reduce deforestation.  Guyana is not known to be engaged in clear felling and will therefore be unlikely to benefit.  Iwokrama and other conservation concessions would have gained immensely if standing forests had been included in the credits deal.

 

Source – Stabroek News http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_editorial?id=56524214

 

Climate Change a Concern for Andean Presidents

 

JUNE 19, 2007 – The presidents of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru made a plea to the international community that they cooperate “urgently and necessarily” to confront climate change, which has caused disasters of larger intensity and frequency in the Andean region, affecting vulnerable populations.  This call is included in the Tarija Declaration, which was written in the Bolivian city of Tarija on June 14 at the closing of the XVII Andean Presidents Council.  The declaration also points to the need for developing diversified sources of energy in order to protect the environment and guarantee food safety for populations in the region.

 

Source - SciDev

http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3697&language=2&CFID=8415648&CFTOKEN=28813030

 

Energy

Chile: Biofuel Plant Proposed for Desert Cultivation

JUNE 28, 2007 - Researchers at the Universidad de Tarapacá in Arica plan to introduce the “physic nut” (Jatropha curcus) to the arid north of Chile.  This shrub, common to Central America, is often used to produce non-edible oil for making candles and soap.  And it has a second use that proves more lucrative and exciting: its seeds can be used in digesters to produce biofuel.  When pressed, Jatropha curcus’s seeds release oil that, when combined with simple alcohol and sodium hydroxide, constitute the building blocks of biodiesel fuel.  In April, Chile’s government took the first steps towards producing alternative energy sources like biofuel. Rather than corn – from which the United States produces ethanol – officials said they would grow cheaper, but lower yielding rapeseed.  Chile’s government hopes that within 10 years, 15 percent of transportation fuel will be biofuel.

Source – Santiago Times (no link)

 

Work to Resume On Brazil Reactor

 

JUNE 26, 2007 - Brazil's national energy council has recommended restarting a long-stalled and controversial project to build the country's third nuclear reactor.  Brazil currently has two nuclear energy plants, located at Angra dos Reis some 150km (100 miles) from Rio de Janeiro.  Work on the third stopped in the 1980s over security fears and lack of funds.  The proposal must be approved by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who supports nuclear power as a solution for Brazil's energy problems.  Brazil's two nuclear plants, Angra 1 and Angra 2, which have an installed capacity of about 2,000 megawatts, are situated near the coastal resort area of Angra dos Reis between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.  Angra 3, located in the same region, would increase capacity to 3,000 megawatts. Officials said approval of the third plant could herald the start of a wider nuclear project to build up to eight reactors by 2030.

 

Source – BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6240268.stm

 

Developing Nations Embrace Renewable Energy

 

June 21, 2007 - Developing countries have increased investment in renewable energy, accounting for one-fifth of the world's total last year, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).  The increase happened largely in Brazil, China and India with significant funding of solar, wind and biofuel sectors.  Latin America accounted for five per cent of last year's investment, most of which financed Brazilian bioethanol plants.

The report attributes the growth to global concerns over climate change and increasing energy demands and energy security, in addition to a persistently high oil price, growing consumer awareness of energy efficiency and government incentives.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3702&language=1

 

Japanese Biofuel Project in Brazil Creates 50,000 Direct Jobs

 

JUNE 19, 2007 - The project is of colossal dimensions.  It is the largest irrigation work in northeastern Brazil, at 500 kilometers of extension (310 miles).  In all, 150,000 hectares (115,000 in the state of Pernambuco, and the remainder in the north of the state of Bahia) will be turned to planting.  For a long time, the so-called Canal of the Savannah has been but a dream to the population of the northeast.  But an agreement signed between the Japanese trading company Itochu and the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras was the first step for making the project come true.  The memorandum of understanding that was signed analyzes the best way for catering to the Japanese market.  The executive project for the Canal of the Savannah, at an estimated cost of 56 million Brazilian reais (US$ 29.3 million), will have an initial investment, by Itochu and Petrobras, of 20 million reais (US$ 10.4 million). The public-private partnership also counts on the participation of the São Francisco and Parnaíba Valley Development Company (Codevasf), which collaborated with 16 million reais (US$ 8.3 million), and from the state and federal governments, which will contribute another 20 million reais from the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) of the Brazilian government.

 

Source - http://www.brazzilmag.com

 

Chile Launches Energy-Efficiency Campaign

JUNE 27, 2007 - Faced with record high levels of natural gas consumption and the instability of gas imports from neighboring Argentina, Chile’s government announced plans to launch a publicity campaign urging Chileans to save gas and electricity.  The National Energy Efficiency Program marks the first-ever governmental attempt to reduce gas and energy consumption and is expected to last two months.  It will give practical tips for more efficient gas usage in television, radio and newspaper advertisements, as well as public billboards. The double-edged message urges consumers to save energy and lower household expenses, said Energy Minister Marcelo Tokman.  The tips include taking shorter showers, making sure the oven door is hermetically sealed, using a pressure cooker, decreasing the temperature a house is heated by two degrees, and turning off the “calefónt,” or gas-powered water heater, when it’s not being used.  Tokman said a decree will be drafted this week allowing electrical companies to reward clients who reduce their consumption of electricity.  Talks are also underway between Chilean government officials, Phillips, and General Electric to evaluate a proposal to distribute four million energy-efficient light bulbs to low-income families.

 

Source – Santiago Times (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

General

Congressmen Seek Pascua Lama Review Because Of Glacier Damage

JUNE 26, 2007 -  A TV news report revealing drastic destruction of glaciers near the Pascua Lama gold mine project prompted the Chamber of Deputies to call for an inquiry into the mining project. The project has provoked strong local, national and international criticism since its inception and during his recent global warming visit to Chile, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore refused to allow Barrick Gold to sponsor his trip.  Chilean environmental authorities approved the project last year, but on the condition that the three glaciers sitting atop the mining site –Toro I, Toro II and Esperanza— not be damaged.  But a report released by the General Water Directorship (DGA) in 2002— but generally unknown until mainstream TV Channel 13 publicized the findings recently —reveals that the three glaciers had already been reduced by 50 to 70 percent during the project's exploratory phase due to work done by the company.  According to the report, Barrick Gold removed snow and put down sand in glaciers Toro I and Toro II to build a road.  In glacier Esperanza, the company made perforations in 150 sites to analyze the mineral composition of the rocks below.  This work left the glacier covered in powder. Forty-three deputies must give their approval for a formal inquiry to take place. Meanwhile, the environment minister will make her own report on the issue on July 12.

Source – Santiago Times (no link)

 

Brazil: Industrialists Ask for Reform of Environmental Laws

 

JUNE 25, 2007 - The National Confederation of Industry (CNI), Brazil's leading business association, will press the government to change environmental legislation and to speed up issuance of environmental permits.  "The Brazilian regulatory framework is great on paper, but not in practice. The legislation is very complex and ends up creating legal uncertainties. This delays projects and, in some cases, makes them unfeasible," Maurício Mendonça, head of CNI's environmental council, told Tierramérica.  The main complaint of the industrialists is the delay in obtaining environmental permits. The authorization requirement "is an achievement of society. But because of the bureaucracy and legal complexity, it has turned into an obstacle in the country's development," said Mendonça.

Source – Tierramerica http://www.tierramerica.info/nota.php?lang=eng&idnews=eco&nro=71

 

Lake Disappears Suddenly In Chile

 

JUNE 21, 2007 - When park rangers patrolled the area in the Magallanes region in March, the two-hectare (five-acre) lake was its normal size, officials say.  But last month they found a huge dry crater and several stranded chunks of ice that used to float on the water.  One theory is that an earthquake opened up a fissure in the ground, allowing the lake's water to drain through.  Geologists and other experts are being sent to the area, which is some 2,000km (1,250 miles) south of the capital, Santiago, to investigate.

 

Source – BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6225676.stm

 

Argentina: US$ 6.6 Million for Sustainable Development

 

JUNE 17, 2007 – The Government of Argentina has announced the creation of a National Institute for Sustainable Development Research, in which it will invest US$6.6 million.  The institute will have four departments which will deal with environmental regulation and ecosystem conservation; responsible production and consumption; climate change and sustainable energy development.  Activities of the Institute will include scientific cooperation and capacity-building on technical, scientific, and managerial skills related to environmental management.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3689&language=2&CFID=8415648&CFTOKEN=28813030

 

Update on Avian Influenza

Chilean TV Documentary Highlights U.S. AI Preparedness, International Cooperation

 

JUNE 20, 2007 - Based on interviews with USG experts and the private sector, leading broadcaster Chilevisión is producing a DOS-supported, 60-90 minute prime-time program describing how the U.S. is dealing with the threat of a pandemic and how it seeks to cooperate with Latin America to prevent an international health and economic crisis.  The post believes the project has excellent potential to raise awareness of the seriousness of a possible pandemic in the Hemisphere.  The production is expected to air in the next two months, and will be shared subsequently with other embassies to be offered for broadcast elsewhere in the region.

 

Source - Santiago 994

 
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