PNUMA - Resumen de Noticias Diarias
Martes 1 de Noviembre, 2011

UNEP - New UNEP Report Tracks the Changing Global Environment over the Past Two Decades as World Population Hits 7 Billion

2011 – 11 – 01

New Report Lays-out the Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development up to Rio+20 and beyond

Nairobi – The environmental changes that have swept the planet over the last twenty years are spotlighted in a new compilation of statistical data by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), released today in a report entitled “Keeping Track of our Changing Environment: From Rio to Rio+20”.

The report is produced as part of UNEP’s “Global Environmental Outlook-5” (GEO -5) series, the UN’s most authoritative assessment of the state, trends and outlook of the global environment. The full GEO-5 report will be launched next May, one month ahead of the Rio+20 Conference taking place in Brazil.

UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said, “Today marks the deadline for governments, business and civil society to submit their submissions for how Rio+20 can deliver a transformational outcome in terms of accelerating and scaling-up sustainable development for now seven billion people”.

“The indicator report gets us all back to basics, underlining the rapid buildup of greenhouse gases to the erosion of biodiversity and the 40 per cent increase in the use of natural resources—faster than global population growth. But the report also underlines how, when the world decides to act it can dramatically alter the trajectory of hazardous trends that threaten human well-being—action to phase-out ozone damaging chemicals being a spirited and powerful example,” he added.

“Rio+20, under the two themes of a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and an institutional framework for sustainable development, can with the requisite level of leadership trigger the necessary switches that may ensure that the balance of negative versus positive trends moves from the red into the black and that the Right to Development is enjoyed by the many rather than the few,” said Mr. Steiner.

Through data, graphics and satellite images, the UNEP report offers wide-ranging information on a number of key issues:

On population

• As the world's population reaches 7 billion, urban population has grown by 45 per cent since 1992

• Yet the percentage of slum dwellers has dropped from 46 per cent in 1990 to a third in 2010, thanks to improved housing and sanitation

• The number of megacities with at least 10 million people has grown from 10 in 1992 to 21 last year – a 110 per cent increase

• 1.4 billion people globally have no access to reliable electricity or the power grid.

Climate change

• Global C02 emissions continue to rise due to increasing use of fossil fuels, with 80 per cent of global emissions coming from just 19 countries.

• The amount of CO2 per US$1 GDP has dropped by 23 per cent since 1992 underlining that some decoupling of economic growth from resource use is occurring.

• Nearly all mountain glaciers around the world are retreating and getting thinner, with severe impacts on the environment and human well-being.

• Diminishing glaciers not only influence current sea-level rise, but also threaten the well-being of approximately one-sixth of the world’s population.

• Sea levels have been rising at an average rate of about 2.5 mm per year since 1992.


• Tracking energy trends since 1992, the report indicates that the contribution of renewable energy (including biomass) to the global energy supply stood at an estimated 16% in 2010.

• Solar and wind energy accounted for only 0.3% of the total global energy. Increased recognition of the need to move towards low carbon, resource efficient energy solutions can be seen in the 540% increase in investments in sustainable energy between 2004 and 2010.

• Due to the decreasing prices of the technologies and adoption of new policies, growth in biodiesel as a renewable energy source has jumped 300,000 per cent, use of solar energy has increased by nearly 30,000 per cent, wind by 6,000 per cent and biofuels by 3,500 per cent.

Resource Efficiency

• The global use of natural resources rose by over 40 per cent from 1992 to 2005. The report warns that unless concerted and rapid action is taken to curb and decouple resource depletion from economic growth, human activities may destroy the very environment that supports economies and sustains life.


• Despite the net reforestation now seen in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, ongoing forest loss in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean means that global forest area has decreased by 300 million hectares since 1990.

• The annual 20 per cent rise in the number of forests receiving certificates for sustainable forestry practices shows that consumers are exerting influence on timber production. However, only around 10 per cent of global forests are under certified sustainable management.

• A growing percentage of the world’s forests are one that have been replanted--an area equaling the size of a country like Tanzania.

Food Security and land use

• Food production has risen by 45% since 1992. These increased yields are heavily reliant on the use of fertilizers, which as well as enriching soil fertility, can also have a negative impact on the environment, such algal blooms in inland and marine waters.

• Land used for organic farming is growing at an annual rate of 13 per cent.

Drinking Water

• The world will meet, or even exceed, the Millennium Development Goals target on access to drinking water; indicating that by 2015 nearly 90 per cent of the population in developing regions will have access to improved sources of drinking water, up from 77 per cent in 1990.

The data compiled also indicates that environmental target-setting works best for well-defined issues such as phasing out leaded gasoline or ozone-depleting substances.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, for example, used mandatory targets to phase-out the pollutants that were damaging the planet’s protective shield.

Over 90 per cent of all ozone-depleting substances under the treaty were phased out between 1992 and 2009. Similarly, only a small number of countries still use leaded gasoline and they are expected to make the switch over the next year or two.

Other facts and figures from the report include:

• 13 per cent of the world’s land surface, 7 per cent of its coastal waters and 1.4 percent of its oceans are protected.

• There is a growing concern that the oceans are becoming more acidic. This could have significant consequences on marine organisms which may alter species composition, disrupt marine food webs and potentially damage fishing, tourism activities.

• The ocean’s pH declined from 8.11 in 1992 to 8.06 in 2007.

• The number of tanker oil spills recorded has declined in 20 years.

• Biodiversity has declined by 12 per cent at the global level and by 30 per cent in the tropics.

• Eco-tourism is growing at a rate three times faster than traditional mass-tourism.

• Plastics production has climbed by 130 per cent.

The UNEP publication also notes that many environmental issues, which were only emerging in 1992, are now firmly part of mainstream policymaking in many countries.

Some examples include:

• New Multilateral Environmental Agreements and Conventions which have been established or entered into force to address emerging global environmental issues.

• The greening of economy has taken off as a viable pathway of low-carbon, climate resilient and resource efficient economic development.

• Carbon Trading has put a monetary value on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

• Recycling, or processing waste into new resources, is becoming policy and practice in many countries.

• Commercialization of renewable energy, with biofuels, solar and wind energy production growing.

• Chemicals Management has led to the banning of a number of deadly chemicals.

• Organic Products and eco-labeling are growing thanks to consumer demand.

• Nanotechnology is growing, especially in the fields of energy, health care, clean water and climate change.

The authors of the report point out that the lack of sufficient, solid data and monitoring systems to measure progress remains an obstacles to achieving the environmental goals set by the international community. The report highlights the missing pieces in our knowledge about the state of the environment, calling for global efforts to collect scientifically-credible data for environmental monitoring.

The Eye on Earth Summit, to be held in Abu Dhabi next month, presents one such opportunity, where scientists, policymakers and governments will work together to define the key challenges and solutions related to environmental data access and sharing.

Notes to the Editors:

Rio Earth Summit: In 1992 the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly known as the Rio Earth Summit, was convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to address the state of the environment and sustainable development. The meeting yielded several important agreements, including ‘Agenda 21’, a plan of action adopted by over 178 governments to address human impacts on the environment at local, national and global levels, as well as key treaties on climate change, desertification and biodiversity. In June 2012 will be the follow up meeting or Rio+20 in Brazil.

Keeping Track of our changing environment can be found on the GEO-5 website:

Eye on Earth Summit (Abu Dhabi / 12-15 December 2011): Facilitated by Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) and hosted by Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (EAD) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Eye on Earth Summit will strengthen existing efforts for unified, global solutions to the issues that preclude access to data and information on the environment. More at:

For more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Acting Director and Spokesman, Tel. +41 795 965 737 or +254 733 632 755 or email

Shereen Zorba, Head, UNEP Newsdesk, Tel. +254 788 526000, email:


Brasil - La Amazonía brasileña perdió en septiembre 254 kilómetros cuadrados de bosque

2011 – 11 – 01

La mayor pérdida de masa forestal en septiembre se localizó en el estado de Mato Grosso, donde florecen los sectores agrícola y ganadero, con la desaparición de 110 kilómetros cuadrados de bosque

RÍO DE JANEIRO, Brasil.- La Amazonía brasileña perdió en septiembre 253,8 kilómetros cuadrados de bosque, según datos divulgados este lunes, 31 de octubre de 2011, por el Gobierno.

Estas cifras, difundidas por el Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciales (INPE), significan una caída del 43 % frente a los números registrados en el mismo mes de 2010, cuando la zona deforestada alcanzó los 448 kilómetros cuadrados.

Estos datos, en cambio, suponen un aumento con respecto a agosto, en el que la Amazonía perdió 164 kilómetros de selva, la cifra más baja para ese mes desde que se calcula la deforestación de la selva.

La mayor pérdida de masa forestal en septiembre se localizó en el estado de Mato Grosso, donde florecen los sectores agrícola y ganadero, con la desaparición de 110 kilómetros cuadrados de bosque, según el INPE.

El Instituto aclaró que las densas capas de nube que se registraron en la región impidieron visualizar el cinco por ciento de la Amazonía.


República Dominicana - Conversatorio: “Periodismo multimedia sobre temas medioambientales”

2011 – 10 – 31

(3/11/2011 – 7:00 PM)

Jason Manning, especialista de la Universidad del Estado de Arizona, hablará de su experiencia en el área

(Santo Domingo).- Jason Manning, Director de Medios para Estudiantes de la Universidad del Estado de Arizona (ASU por sus siglas en inglés), protagonizará este jueves, 3 de noviembre, el conversatorio sobre periodismo multimedia y el tratamiento de las informaciones sobre medio ambiente, organizado por la Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) y su institución hermana en Estados Unidos, la Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), en colaboración con el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales e INTEC, en el marco del Diplomado Internacional en Periodismo Ambiental.

El conversatorio tendrá lugar a las 7:00 PM, en la terraza de la Biblioteca Juan Bosch, en la calle Cesar Nicolás Penson, entre Máximo Gómez y Alma Mater. Está abierto al público en general, si bien es dirigido especialmente a periodistas y profesionales del mundo audiovisual.

Además de su cargo directivo en la citada universidad, Manning es profesor en la Escuela de Periodismo Walter Cronkite, consejero para estudiantes de la carrera y dicta lecciones sobre periodismo y tecnología, temas latinoamericanos y fronterizos y reporterismo avanzado. Además, ha servido como editor local del proyecto “News21”, en el que un consorcio de 12 universidades desarrolla proyectos periodistas enfocados en la innovación y la investigación.

Antes de llegar a ASU, fue editor de noticias políticas del, donde dirigió la cobertura multimedia de políticas nacionales y del gobierno federal con un equipo de periodistas de varias especialidades. También fue parte del equipo del programa de televisión de PBS “NewsHour” y de la revista “U.S. News & World Report”.

El invitado tiene una licenciatura en Periodismo por la Universidad de Florida, con un certificado en Estudios Latinoamericanos, así como un posgrado en Historia, de la Universidad George Mason. Es autor del primer capítulo del libro "News Now", de Pearson Publishing, destinado a estudiantes de Periodismo.

El Diplomado Internacional en Periodismo Ambiental cuenta con el apoyo de la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID), a través del Programa de Protección Ambiental. El objetivo del programa formativo es reforzar el nivel de conocimiento de los periodistas participantes sobre los temas ambientales más relevantes para el país y ampliar su conocimientos del Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, entre otros.


República Dominicana - Hacen estudio para nuevo parque eólico

2011 – 10 – 31

Empresa francesa entregó datos para parque en Jimaní

La Empresa de Generación Hidroeléctrica Dominicana (EGEHID), junto a técnicos especializados de la Agencia Francesa de Desarrollo, presentaron a la Comisión Nacional de Energía los estudios de pre-factibilidad de un parque Eólico que se instalaría en Tierra Nueva, Jimaní.

El perfil definitivo de proyecto se realizará con un financiamiento no reembolsable por un monto de 94 mil 525 Euros recibidos del gobierno francés a través de la empresa Meteolien Sarl.

El ingeniero Víctor Ventura, administrador de Egehid, encabezó el acto junto al licenciado al licenciado Enrique Ramírez quien mostro gran interés y prometió ofrecer toda la ayuda y colaboración necesaria a fin de que esta propuesta se desarrolle con todo el éxito que amerita.

Ventura dijo que espera que se concrete la primera etapa del proyecto, la cual tendrá una capacidad de unos 30 megavatios y un potencial de generación de hasta 70 Gwh/año.

“Con la instalación de este importante proyecto, el cual esperamos se inaugure en unos 14 meses, la República Dominicana podría aprovechar los vientos que hay en la zona y se fortalecerá de esta forma el sistema eléctrico nacional”, explico el ingeniero Ventura.

El Parque Eólico en Tierra Nueva, es un proyecto que EGEHID piensa ejecutar y materializar, por lo que desde hace dos años tiene instalada en la zona dos torres de 40 metros de altura para medir el flujo de viento, con lo cual fue realizado en su primera parte un estudio de factibilidad por el Centro Nacional de Energías Renovables de España.


Bolivia - Destacan bolivianos importancia de la quinua ante cambio climático

2011 – 10 – 31

QuinuaLa Paz (PL) El viceministro de Desarrollo Rural y Agropecuario, Víctor Vásquez, afirmó hoy que la solicitud boliviana de declarar a 2013 Año Internacional de la Quinua, es una respuesta al cambio climático y al calentamiento global.

La quinua requiere poca agua y es resistente a las plagas y otros fenómenos del clima, dijo Vásquez al asegurar que la producción de este grano puede garantizar la alimentación humana.

Según diferentes investigaciones, la importancia de la quinua reside en su alta calidad alimenticia y amplia adaptación a diversas condiciones agroecológicas.

El vicetitular recordó que el Estado Plurinacional es el primer productor a nivel mundial, seguido por Perú y Estados Unidos.

En Bolivia se producen más de 30 mil toneladas, y la mitad se exporta al mercado norteamericano y europeo, precisó Vásquez al indicar que al menos 70 mil familias bolivianas se dedican a esta actividad.

Recordó que el gobierno trabaja en programas de promoción para la comercialización interna e incrementar la exportación.

En ese sentido, anunció que el próximo 9 de noviembre invitará al cuerpo diplomático de diferentes países a degustar un almuerzo de quinua para promocionar ese alimento nutritivo y buscar nuevos mercados.

El cereal originario del lago Titicaca y los salares de Bolivia, además de Perú y Ecuador, empezó a ganar espacio en el mercado mundial como producto orgánico.

Bolivia solicitó la declaración de 2013 como Año Internacional de la Quinua a la Organización de Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO).

Recientemente los jefes de Estado presentes en la XXI Cumbre Iberoamericana, en Asunción-Paraguay, aprobaron por consenso declarar a 2012 Año Internacional de la Quinua.


St. Kitts and Nevis - St. Kitts and Nevis and Canada Prime Ministers meet in Perth, Australia

2011 – 10 – 31

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (CUOPM) – Climate change and the status of the ongoing CARICOM/Canada Trade Negotiations were among several issues discussed between Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and his Canadian counterpart, the Right Hon. Stephen Harper.

Meeting following the Second Executive Session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Perth, Australia, Prime Minister Douglas, who is also Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), outlined the serious impact of the global and economic crisis on the economies of the Caribbean Community, especially those of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy and Banking Sector of the ECCU within the context of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis; National and Regional Security, and Investment Opportunities in traditional sectors and new emerging areas like Renewable Energy, Greenhouse and Hydroponics Agriculture were also discussed.

Prime Ministers Douglas and Harper also pledged their commitment to the further strengthening of support for the two nations.


Chile - AEMIN 2011 reúne a expertos en energías renovables

2011 – 11 – 01

Aemín 2011, reunirá a destacados expertos Internacionales en materias de Energías Renovables, Huellas de Carbono y Agua

Desde el 7 al 11 de noviembre se darán cita en Con-con, expertos europeos y chilenos para tratar temas relativos al uso del agua, medición de Huellas y Energías Renovables, temas fundamentales, inquietantes y relevantes en este tiempo.

Con la presencia de expertos renombrados a nivel mundial en materia de energía solar y eólica, desalación, huella de agua y carbono, se desarrollará en la Región de Valparaíso uno de los certámenes más importantes en la materia.

Este Congreso que se realizará entre el 7 y 11 de noviembre contará con la presencia del autoridades de Gobierno además de los senadores José Antonio Gómez y Jaime Orpis, en compañía de la Intendenta de la Región de Atacama, Ximena Matas, y su homólogo de la Región de Arica y Parinacota, Rodolfo Barbosa.

Las revistas MINERÍA CHILENA y ELECTRCIDAD son los medios oficiales de este encuentro en materia de minería y energía.

En esta segunda versión del Congreso Aemín, la modalidad de participación se divide en dos. Los días 7 y 8 se impartirán cursos específicos en materia de Desalación y Huellas de Carbono y Agua (revisar apartado “Curso Huellas”).

Por su parte desde el 9 al 11 de noviembre se desarrollará el Congreso Aemín 2011 que tendrá exponentes de la Industria Minera, entre ellos Ferruccio Medici de Anglo American, Diego Lizana de la Compañía Doña Inés de Collahuasi, Martin Brown de Minera El Tesoro, todos expondrán acerca de sus proyectos vinculados a las ERNC que han implementado en sus compañías.

También habrá expositores como Alexander Heinz, Julián Blanco, Miriam Balaban, Thomas Altmann, Jan Shippers, Heloisa Schneider, Rolando Chamy, Ruth Matthews, Fernando Santibañez y Alberto Ceña, todos reunidos en Chile para entregar lo más selecto de su conocimiento, experiencia y visión de Chile en relación a sus materias de dominio.

Curso Huellas

Dieciséis horas serán destinadas al Curso Huellas, que abordará la huella de Co2, cálculo y certificaciones, además de la Huella de Agua en cadenas de producción, identificando la Huella azul, verde y gris. Fernando Santibáñez, Director del Centro AGRIMED, Universidad de Chile y Heloise Schneider, Directora de sustentabilidad y cambio climático KPMG y representantes de Water footprints Network, Holanda, serán los encargados de impartir este módulo los días 7 y 8 de noviembre.

Curso Membranas

Conjuntamente al Curso Huellas, Jan Shippers, Profesor emérito en Tecnología de Abastecimiento de aguas de UNESCO – IHE en Delft Holanda, expondrá el curso de Tecnología de Membranas que se impartirá durante 24 horas desde el martes 8 al 10 de noviembre. Profundizará en materias de pretratamiento, ensuciamiento de membranas e incrustaciones, pensado especialmente para quienes realizan ya este proceso o desean implementarlo.

Aemín 2011, es precedido por Aemín 2010 realizado en Antofagasta, oportunidad en la que se abordó la generación de energía solar y la desalación por osmosis inversa, temas que We Group, empresa organizadora de este evento, ha querido instalar en la opinión pública, aportando con mayor acceso a expertos en el tema y formar profesionales en éstas áreas. Para mayor información de los expositores, horarios y temas a abordar, está disponible la página, sitio en el que también se realizan inscripciones.


Paraguay - Analizarán proyectos de Ley sobre impacto ambiental

2011 – 11 – 01

El diputado Dionisio Ortega (PLRA-Central), presidente de la Comisión de Ecología, Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente, anunció que durante la reunión ordinaria de este martes 1 de noviembre, se analizará el Proyecto de Ley “Que amplía la Ley N° 294/93 ‘Evaluación de impacto ambiental’”.

El documento propone que este trámite legal y administrativo sea razonable, incorporando en la normativa, los procedimientos básicos de evaluación de proyectos ambientales, donde se establezcan plazos, tanto para la autoridad administrativa como para el usuario de la Ley.

Por otro lado, informó, además, que se estudiará el Proyecto de Ley “Que declara como área silvestre protegida bajo dominio público con la categoría de manejo paisajes protegidos al Arroyo Tapiracuai en el departamento de San Pedro”.

El documento señala que para conservar y manejar el Arroyo Tapiracuai, sus nacientes, humedales y afluentes, es necesario impulsar una gestión racional a nivel de cuencas y sub cuencas hídricas, en la que los principales actores son las autoridades publicas locales y las comunidades en general, determinando las prioridades, los usos, las reglas de juegos y en la que exista una amplia participación y decisión.

La reunión esta prevista a partir de las 8:00 horas, en la sala de reuniones de la referida comisión asesora.


Panamá - Panamá y el cambio climático

2011 – 10 – 31

Hace poco más de dos semanas que concluyeron en la ciudad de Panamá dos importantes reuniones preparatorias del XVII período de sesiones, de la Conferencia de las Partes de la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático (CMNUCC), que tendrá lugar en la ciudad turística de Durban, Sudáfrica, entre el 28 de noviembre y el 9 de diciembre de 2011.

En Panamá, como ya lo habían hecho en Bangkok (3 al 8 de abril) y en Bonn (6 al 17 de junio), volvían a encontrarse, el Grupo de Trabajo Especial sobre Nuevos Compromisos de las Partes del Anexo I en el marco del Protocolo de Kyoto (GTE—PK), así como el grupo responsable de abordar la Cooperación a Largo Plazo en el marco de la Convención (GTE—CLP).

Nuestra ciudad, contrario a lo que podría pensarse, no fue escogida por la Secretaría Ejecutiva de la Convención sobre Cambio Climático, fundamentándose en méritos y contribuciones —aunque fuesen modestos— a la causa de la reducción o limitación del calentamiento global. Tampoco se consideró si en las negociaciones mundiales sobre el clima, nuestro país desempeñaba un liderazgo indiscutible.

Alojamos por siete días dos reuniones cruciales de la convención climática, como consecuencia, más bien, de una operación meramente mercantil del gobierno actual, que con fines de promoción turística y de captación por unos pocos días, de la atención mediática universal, se ofreció de sede.

Porque lo cierto es que ni antes, ni durante, ni después de concluidas estas reuniones, podemos encontrar evidencias creíbles de que las autoridades nacionales están comprometidas sinceramente, por un lado, en la protección y conservación de nuestros ecosistemas, y por el otro, en la comprensión de las verdaderas causas que provocan el cambio climático y de las alternativas más efectivas para enfrentarlo.

La política ambiental panameña marcha a contravía del sentido común, del principio indispensable de la precaución y de la salvaguarda de los auténticos intereses nacionales. Por eso resulta fácil explicar las razones del auge y estímulo que experimentan en nuestro territorio, las explotaciones mineras; la construcción de hidroeléctricas; la obsesión por los agrocombustibles; las ilusiones en los organismos genéticamente modificados (plantas, salmones y ahora también mosquitos); las iniciativas de bonos de CO2 o la confianza infundada en mecanismos como la Reducción de las Emisiones por la Deforestación y Degradación de los Bosques (REDD).

Todo ello prueba que más allá de las preocupaciones que debieran existir sobre los impactos sociales, económicos y ambientales, que estos negocios y tecnologías puedan provocar, lo que realmente viene importando aquí, es únicamente el interés que nace de una perversa lógica empresarial y transnacional. Y así, el clima mundial y los ecosistemas panameños, están sencillamente, en serios peligros.


Cuba - Cuba: Guardians of Urban Green Spaces

2011 – 10 – 31

In December 2006 a century-old Ceiba tree was cut down in the San Agustín neighborhood of Havana, the Cuban capital. But this was more than a tree. It was the symbol of the city and of the cultural heritage of this Caribbean nation.

This sad event inspired a group of young Cubans to found El Guardabosques (The Guardian of the Forest or Forest Ranger) in January 2007 with the mission to “contribute to a better management of green spaces.”

El Guardabosques reported the death of the Ceiba tree by email to hundreds of recipients, including government institutions.

“The response was incredible,”says Isbel Díaz, founder of the environmental group, “and it prompted us to perform the first action: edit a digital newsletter.” The group now publishes a free digital newsletter “to denounce anti-ecological depredations in the urban environment.”

The members of this project recognize the role of technology and virtual networks in the creation of a community. According to Isbel Díaz, networks allow you to build “your own communication channels to denounce the actions of private or state institutions that violate the law, or that hidden in the lagoons of the law, damage the environment.”

Thus El Guardabosques was born, a non-institutionalized network of people passionate about nature:

A partir de un núcleo inicial de unas cinco personas, todas vecinos de San Agustín, se han ido sumando puntualmente personas y colectivos a este trabajo. Hay quienes han estado solo en la siembra de una postura y nunca más hemos coincidido, y están quienes han participado en casi todo lo que se hace.

From an initial core of five people, all residents of San Augustín, more people and groups have been joining. Some people only participated in the planting of a tree, never to be seen again, and there are others who have participated in almost everything we do.

The most significant aspect of this project is its focus on inclusion and participative democracy. There are no exclusions based on age, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, political affiliation or economic status to participate in El Guardabosques.

For over five years, the distribution of the newsletter on the Internet has been complemented with hundreds of actions such as cleaning rivers, oceans and landfills. In addition, community projects have focused on planting and caring for trees.

Currently, El Guardabosques' newsletter is sent to nearly 1000 email addresses. Seventy-eight percent belong to residents in Cuba who access the Internet from the internal network, mainly from universities, research institutes, cultural and artistic institutions. The group has also participated in events like the panel “We think Cuba,” which is coordinated by the Hermanos Saiz Association.

In June 2009, El Guardabosques joined the Red Protagónica Observatorio Crítico [es], a network which includes a dozen projects that work on issues related to childhood, sexual diversity, race, information, cultural promotion, among others. Participants inaugurated their fourth meeting in 2010 by planting an Anacagüita tree in a nursery.

According to the newsletter:

Trabajadoras del centro, encabezadas por su amable directora, niños de la comunidad, miembros de la Red Protagónica Observatorio Crítico, e invitados al evento decidimos colectivamente el mejor sitio para sembrar el arbolito, cavamos el hoyo, y sembramos y regamos la planta.

People who work at the center, led by its friendly director, children in the community, members of Red Protagónica Observatorio Crítico, and guests, collectively decided the best place to plant the little tree. We dug the hole, planted the tree, and watered the plant.

The death of the Ceiba tree in San Agustín has inspired the creation of a wonderful network of people who support each other and believe in environmental causes. El Guardabosque has also expanded its network of environmentalists and has created a space for exchange with other projects.


Guyana - Guyana can play a role in sustaining growing world population – Dr. Ashni Singh

2011 – 11 – 01

MINISTER of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh said that despite Guyana’s relative smallness in terms of population, the country can position itself to make a contribution to the global response to the challenges of a growing population, which hit the seven billion mark yesterday, more than doubling what it was in 1959.

A section of the audience at the launch of the UNFPA State of the World Population Report 2011, at the Georgetown Club

To this end, the minister spoke of what Guyana has been doing in terms of the Low Carbon Development Strategy that can be directly related to the challenges that a seven billion population places on the environment.

“The world has finally woken up to the fact that we are on a path that is unsustainable on the environmental front,” he said, speaking at the launch of the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of the World Population 2011 held at the Georgetown Club yesterday.

“This is one area where I believe Guyana has a significant role to play and has situated itself with respect to playing that role,” he said.

The minister said Guyana’s policy position on the role of standing forests in the fight against climate change stands out, “and we must spare no effort to continue to articulate that role, in the context of the need for the global community to find a solution to the global environmental challenges that is truly lasting.”

But he said the fact that there are foregone economic opportunities and that the forests provide the global environmental services that they do, Guyana should be remunerated for those services. “It is a position on which we will continue to seek the support of our friends in the international community, and in particular, the UN agencies,” he said.

He said that the population growth also has implications for food supply and food security. “We have argued that [we have] the potential to contribute more significantly to global food output,” he said, adding that regional food demand is still to be realised.

“This report is being launched around the world under the title ‘People and Possibilities in a World of Seven Billion’. The title of the report is apt, as indeed is the scheduling of today’s launching ceremony, given that today has been designated as the day of seven billion, the date on which the world’s population is estimated to have attained the seven billion mark,” he said.

“We meet on a truly historic occasion today, on a day that provides an opportunity for much reflection and contemplation. There could be no doubt in any of our minds that we live in the era of the most rapid burst of population growth in our planet’s history. Indeed, as the report indicates, over the 37 years from 1974 to now, the world’s population has grown by approximately one billion every 12 years,” he said. The population reached the six billion mark back in 1999.

He said that to put this statistic into context, one has only to contrast it with the fact that it took all of human history until 1804 for the world’s population to get to the one billion mark. “And it took a further 123 years to 1927 for the population to get to two billion. Indeed, it took a further 32 years to get to three billion in 1959. In other words, the world today is two and a half times as populated as it was in 1959, not a year that any one of us would consider distant by any measure,” the minister said.

Singh said that the occasion of the attainment of seven billion is one that provides much to celebrate. “The fact of the matter is that the world has made tremendous progress, particularly in relation to scientific research and technology and in the area of medical science and health care,” the minister said.

“The statistics confirm this...whether it is progress made in reducing child and maternal mortality. The report documents the progress made from 1959, when the world’s population was three billion, to now,” he said.

“The fact that we are able to treat diseases that we were not previously able to treat, the fact that our mothers and expectant mothers receive a level of care that they never previously received, the fact that our newborn children get those critical early medical interventions they need in order to maximise survival ratios, those facts are all things that we, the global community, the national authorities and we, the development community, would be justified in patting our backs and congratulating ourselves on,” the minister said.

But he said that even as the achievement is celebrated, the rapidity with which world population has been growing in recent years is a cause for serious contemplation of its challenges.

“If one were to contemplate the global context, some of these challenges are well known and stare us in the face,” he said. The minister added that the nexus between population dynamics and economic growth, issues related to bringing the benefits of economic growth to each and every citizen of the world, the challenges of population growth and the environment, and climate change, and how those fit together, relate to each other.

He said that in a world where the population is growing rapidly, there will be challenges to energy demand and food security. He said these issues must be given serious thought as the world celebrates seven billion on the planet.

“How we meet, as a global community, the development needs and aspirations of the seven billion who populate our world today, and indeed the eight billion who will populate our world in 13 or 14 years’ time, is a serious question, especially at a time when just as how population growth is uneven, so is economic growth, and at a time when the world’s economy is going through what has been described as its most challenging episode in living memory,” the minister postulated.

“This is a call that I make to the global community, particularly through our development partners, and for them to speak to their principles,” he said.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Assistant Representative Patrice La Fleur said that people are living better lives, planning families better, but that there still remain gaps between the rich and the poor.

Dr. Ashni Singh, Minister of Finance addressing the gathering at the launch of the UNFPA population report yesterday

She said that the next two billion people will live in cities, and as such, planning needs to begin now, as consideration is given to urban growth.

Speaking to the gathering, Chief Statistician Lennox Benjamin said that just 200 years ago, the world’s population stood at one billion people. He said that the advances in information technology and new goods and services that information has spawned have heightened the potential for quality of life that could be attained.

“That is why, throughout the world, the reduction and ultimate eradication of poverty has to be the foremost of goals if mankind is to achieve the highest quality of life,” he said. He added that the growing size of the world’s population has compelled every country to be ultra-conscious of the changing size and composition of its population.

“The National Census continues to be the predominant tool for the monitoring of a country’s changes in population, and Guyana and Suriname are the two countries of the CARICOM group left to conduct their censuses for the present 2010 round, and both have targeted approximately mid-next year to execute their censuses,” he said.

Benjamin said that contrary to what is believed, a census is fundamentally much more than a count of the population. He noted that it is also an evaluation of the quality of life of the people of a country.


Global - Air China realiza su primer test sobre un vuelo operado con biocombustible

2011 – 11 – 01

Air China, en colaboración con PetroChina, Boeing y Honeywell UOP, ha realizado su primer test para comprobar los niveles de contaminación emitidos por un avión que operaba con biocombustible, según ha comunicado la compañía.

Esta aerolínea, miembro de la Star Alliance, llevó a cabo el estudio sobre un B747-400 que despegaba, el pasado 28 de octubre, del Aeropuerto Internacional de Pekín; una iniciativa posible gracias al acuerdo de cooperación entre las energéticas Petrochina y UOP.

Muy comprometida con los ‘vuelos verdes’ para reducir las emisiones y energía consumida, Air China ha conseguido buenos resultados gracias a la optimización de la flota y a una operativa capaz de ahorrar queroseno y lograr cifras inferiores en la emisión de escape.

De hecho, en el año 2009 la compañía creó el ‘Energy and Environment Test’ e inauguró su primer ‘Green Flight’ en 2010. Ahora, un año más tarde, ha puesto en marcha este test sobre un vuelo operado con biocombustible.


Global - Climate change is real and isn’t going away

2011 – 11 – 01

The UK’s economic woes continue with possibly even worse to come. It may seem that this should be our over-riding current concern but the reality is that climate change is still with us and poses the greatest threat to our future well being.

The latest news from the various agencies confirms that concentrations of greenhouse gases are still increasing along with all of the associated problems. The British Antarctic Survey has reported that ice is now melting much faster at both poles. Also the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported last week that the level of climate mitigation pledged to date is insufficient to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius. The UK’s New Scientist magazine believes that sea levels may rise by many metres.

We are currently in a warm period at the end of an ice age. Half a million years ago when global average temperatures were just one degree warmer than today, sea levels were five metres higher.

This could be quite alarming for low lying areas in the City of Peterborough and for land in the east of England. But how soon could this occur? Of course no one knows for sure. The Arctic, the Antarctic and Greenland are losing ice and the rate of loss is accelerating.

Many glaciologists now believe that seas could rise a metre or more by 2100. But the effects will be felt much earlier. Low lying areas in Asia are most at risk.

This week Thailand suffered catastrophic floods, the impacts of which will have far reaching consequences. Thailand is the world’s largest producer of computer hard drives and the disruption to electronics production will have major impacts on global supply chains.

The Climate Change Vulnerability Index has recently reported that 30 countries, such as Haiti, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the Philippines, are at extreme risk from climate change. As low lying areas are inundated by the oceans the indigenous populations will have to seek refuge elsewhere.

I suppose any climate sceptics reading this will now be ranting about a supposed climate change hoax and green stealth taxes. I believe they will need to be aware that a massive study reported a week ago that “Global warming is real.” The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project gathered information from an incredible 39,028 sites worldwide and 1.6 billion data points. It was funded by US oil billionaires who were opposed to climate-disruption remediation with the intention of sabotaging the science of global warming. But the final outcome was that it found that the earth’s surface temperature is definitely increasing and has been for the last century!

So can there now be any doubters that urgent action is needed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases? If we don’t take meaningful action soon the economic and welfare costs of climate change will dwarf those of the banking debt crisis.


Global - Green Economy Generates Trade Concerns in Run-Up to Rio+20

2011 – 10 – 31

Participants in recent regional meetings paving the way for the Rio+20 Conference next June are struggling to find agreement on the concept of a “green economy.” While some see a redefinition of the economy in green terms as a path toward sustainable development, others fear the concept is synonymous with green trade protectionism and conditionalities - to the point where participants at one regional meeting chose not to mention the green economy in their meeting conclusions.

In the past six weeks, there have been four of the Regional Preparatory meetings for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), or Rio+20, which is taking place from 4-6 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio+20 Conference marks the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

The conference’s objective is to secure renewed commitment for sustainable development and meet new and emerging challenges by focusing on two themes: the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

The preparatory meeting for the Latin America and Caribbean Region took place from 7-9 September in Santiago, Chile; for the Arab Region from 16-17 October in Cairo, Egypt; for the Asia and the Pacific Region from 19-20 October in Seoul, Korea; and for the African Region from 20-25 October in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the four regional preparatory meetings, the challenges with regard to the green economy as a Rio+20 theme cut across regions. The definition of the green economy came under challenge from a number of national delegations, with many wanting clearer answers before committing themselves. This was largely blamed on a lack of an internationally-agreed definition of the term “green economy.”

Most clear, however, was the across-the-board insistence that the transition to a green economy must rule out any possible restrictions to trade.

Latin America, Caribbean Sceptical

At the Latin America and Caribbean meeting last month, many delegations were sceptical of the utility of the green economy as a means of promoting sustainable development. Reiterating many familiar positions and concerns, some delegates questioned whether the green economy could potentially be used to justify the imposition of trade conditionalities on the basis of environmental standards as well as protectionist measures to insulate countries’ own green industries.

Some delegates specifically questioned how complementary previously-stated development goals under the WTO’s Doha Round of trade talks - especially with regards to special and differential treatment for developing economies - are with the implementation of the green economy.

Sources at the meeting told BioRes that even Brazil, the host of Rio+20, distanced itself from the green economy by shifting the discussion away from an attempt to clearly define the term, choosing instead to focus on sustainable development in the hope for more agreement.

These positions were translated into the official conclusion of the meeting, where no mention was made of the green economy.

Defining a green economy

The discussion of green economy also featured towards the end of the Arab Region preparatory meeting. As a concept, delegates converged around it being a possible “tool” of sustainable development, rather than replacing sustainable development.

Given the recent social upheavals occurring in the region, the discussion focused on some of the causes of this unrest. Pinpointing unemployment and poverty, participants suggested that the social side of sustainable development be brought to the fore at the Rio+20 Conference.

The Arab preparatory meeting ended with a set of recommendations on the green economy. These called for a clear definition, one that should not substitute sustainable development. The meeting also came up with a series of prescriptions of what the green economy should not be. These included, in particular, not allowing the green economy to become a means to limit the right of developing countries to utilise their natural resources, nor as a tool to exempt developed countries from their commitments in relation to their developing country partners.

The participants at the Asia and the Pacific meeting were reportedly more supportive of the green economy. However, given the strong export interests of the region, there were many who also voiced concerns regarding potential restrictions and conditionalities.

In the “Seoul Outcome” of the meeting, the green economy was firmly established as one of the means to achieve sustainable development within the limitations of national circumstances and stages of development.

Green economy in Africa

While delegates discussed similar issues as their counterparts in other regions during the official sessions of the preparatory meeting, they also looked more in-depth at the linkages between trade and the green economy during a side event in Addis Ababa dedicated to this topic.

Event participants examined challenges and opportunities related to the green economy in the African context, hearing both from economists and exporters that have developed green products. The participants highlighted significant opportunities for African countries in a green economy, such as exports of organic agricultural products, forestry, and other certified products. However, they also said measures such as environmental standards need to be examined further and harmonised.

Additionally, some stressed that green subsidies used as a driver of the green economy should be time-bound and implemented according to WTO rules. One of the biggest development challenges for Africa itself is the move away from exporting raw materials and moving up the value chain in a sustainable manner, participants stressed.

The side event was co-hosted by ICTSD, the UN Environment Programme, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. ICTSD is the publisher of Bridges Trade BioRes.

A number of meetings remain in the coming months, with participants hoping to clear the discord surrounding the Rio+20 meeting and the themes that it will address in June 2012.

The final regional preparatory meeting will take place on 1-2 December in Switzerland for the European region.

The penultimate Intersessional Meeting of the UNCSD will then take place on 15-16 December in New York before the final Preparatory Committee Meeting in May 2012.

ICTSD reporting; “Summary of the UNSCD (Rio+20) Regional Preparatory Meeting for Asia and the Pacific: 19-20 October 2011,” EARTH NEGOTIATIONS BULLETIN, 21 October 2011; “Summary of the UNSCD (Rio+20) Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting: 16-17 October 2011,” EARTH NEGOTIATIONS BULLETIN, 19 October 2011; “Summary of the UNSCD (Rio+20) Regional Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean: 7-9 September 2011,” EARTH NEGOTIATIONS BULLETIN, 12 September 2011.


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