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Posted on on November 18th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Drylands, Deserts, and Desertification – 2008 Conference. December 14-17, 2008, Sede Boqer Campus, The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Israel.

THE PROGRAM As Available on November 18, 2008. There might be still Changes and Additions, as well –   further Poster Sessions.

Download this schedule: detailed_program_sessions_1611_publish.doc

Drylands, Deserts and Desertification – 2008
December 14-17, 2008

Please note that the list of presentations is still not final. Furthermore, the breakdown into sessions may change. Abstracts for the Poster Sessions will be listed separately during the conference

Pre Registration will begin on the evening of December 13, 2008
8:00-9:00 Registration
9:00 – 9:30 Welcome
9:30 – 10:15 Plenary Address: Cutting through the Confusion: An Old Problem (Desertification) Viewed through the Lens of a New Framework (the DDP, Drylands Development Paradigm) – James Reynolds, Duke University (U.S.A)
10:15 – 10:30 Respondents: Thomas Schaaf,, Chief, Ecological Sciences & Biodiversity Section, UNESCO, Ingrid Hartman, Amoud University, Borama, Somaliland, Godfrey Olukoye Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Uriel Safriel, Hebrew University, Israel
Moderator: Alon Tal
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-12:30 Parallel Sessions I
1. Soil Degradation and the Drylands
Chair: Professor Yonah Chen, Hebrew University Agricultural Faculty, HYPERLINK “
Causes and Consequences of Soil Damages in Bosnia and Herzegovinia: Some Experiences in Soil Conservation, Markovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Soil Decomposition in a Tropical Semi-arid Region in Central Mexico, Maria Hernandez Cerda, Enrique Romero, Gonzalo Madero, (Mexico)
Soil Communities in the Arava Valley Desert System, Stanislav Pen-Mouratov, Tamir Mayblat, and Yosef Steinberger (Israel)

Effect of plant patchiness on soil microbial community structure

Ali Nejidat, Eric A. Ben-David, Yonatan Sher, Regina Golden, Eli Zaady (Israel)
2. Desert Ecology (A)
Chair: Professor Tamar Dayan, Tel Aviv University, HYPERLINK “,
Water and Carbon Balances of Tamarix Desert Vegetation Under Variation in Precipitation and Groundwater Table,Hao Xu, Yan Li, (China)
Periodic and Scale-free Patterns: Reconciling the Dichotomy of Dryland Vegetation, Jost von Hardenberg, Assaf Kletter, Hezi Yizhaq, Ehud Meron (Israel)
Water Balance in Desert Mammals and in Flying Birds: Different Evolutionary Paths with Similar Physiological Outcomes, Berry Pinshow (Israel)
Desertification In the Grasslands Of Central Australia: Effects Of Fire And Climate Change, C. R. Dickman, G. M. Wardle, A. C. Greenville and B. Tamayo (Australia)
3. Benchmarks and Indicators of Desertification
Chair: Professor Moshe Shachak, Ben Gurion University,
Spatial Vegetation Patterns Indicating Imminent Desertification Max Rietkerk (Netherlands)
Do Vegetation Indices Reliably Assess Vegetation Degradation? A Case Study in the Mongolian Pastures, Arnon Karnieli Y. Bayarjargal, M. Bayasgalan, B. Mandakh, J. Burgheimer, S. Khudulmur, and P.D. Gunin (Israel)
Results On Changes Of Vegetation Structure And Composition In Semi-Desert Steppe,B.Mandakh Ph.D, Ganchimeg Wingard, (Mongolia)
Restoration of Pasture Vegetation and Assessment of Desertification in Kazakhstan Mirzadinov R.А., Baisartova А.Y., Bayazitova Z.Е., Torgaev А.А., Makhamedzhanov N.Т., Usen К., Karnieli A., Mirzadinov (Kazakhstan)
4. Pastoralism and the Drylands (A)
Chair: Dr. Eli Zaady, Gilat Research Station, Volcani Institute
Complex Interactions Between Climate and Pastoralists in Desert Grasslands, Curtin, charles (U.S.A)
Sustainable Grazing Strategies for Semi-arid Rangelands of Central Argentina, Roberto Distel (Argentina)

Trophic interactions and the ecology of habitat degradation in grasslands, Yoram Ayal(Israel)

12:30 – 14:30Short Field Trips and Lunch Break
14:30-16:00 Parallel Sessions II
5. Remote Sensing and Assessment of Desertification Processes (A)
Chair: Professor Danny Blumberg, Ben Gurion University,
Progress in mapping global desertification, S. D. Prince (U.S.A)
Desertification Risk Assessment in Northeastern Nigeria Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques, Taiwo Qudus, S.O. Mohammed, (Nigeria)
Integrating Remotely-sensed Vegetation Phenology and Rainfall Metrics to Characterize Changes in Dryland Vegetation Cover: Example from Burkina Faso Stefanie Herrmann, Thomas Hopson, (U.S.A)
On the Definition of Desertification through the Case Study of the Egyptian-Israeli Borderline, Arnon Karnieli, Christine Hanisch, Zehava Siegal and Haim Tsoar (Israel)

Evaluation of optimal time-of-day for detecting water stress in olive trees by thermal remote sensing, Nurit Agam, Alon Ben-Gal, Yafit Cohen, Victor Alchanatis, Uri Yermiyahu, and Arnon Dag, (Israel)

6. Drought and Salt Resistant Plants for Sustainable Dryland Development (A)
Chair: Dr. Gozal Ben Hayyim, The Volcani Institute HYPERLINK “
Potentials for Utilizing the Mulberry (Morus Alba) and the Neem (Azadirachta Indica) For Desertification Control In Northern Ghana: the Experience of the Sericulture Promotion And Development Association, Ghana. Paul Kwasi Ntaanu (Ghana)
Phenology, Floral and Reproductive Biolgy Studies of Genus Zizipus in Negev Desert Conditions, Manoj Kulkarni, Bert Schneider and Noemi Tel-Zur (Israel)
Dissecting the Molecular control of Stomatal Movement in CAM plant: A Potential Source for Genes Conferring Drought Tolerance in C3 Plants, Yaron Sitrit (Israel)
Comparison of Germination Strategies of Four Artemisia Species (Asteraceae) in Horqin Sandy Land, China, Li Xuehua, Liu Zhimin and Jiang Demning (China)
Role of Hydrophilins in Water-stressed and Salt-stressed Environments, Dudy Bar-Zvi, (Israel)
7. Water Management Strategies in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Alfred Abed- Rabbo, Bethlehem University,
Water Management in a Semi-arid Region: An Integrated Water Resources Allocation Modeling for Tanzania, Shija Kazumba (Tanzania/Israel)
Towards Sustainable Management of Wadis in Semi-Arid Environments- IWRM Approach, Walid Saleh, Amjad Aliewi, Anan Jayyousi (Dubai)
Is Desalination Right for Sydney? Phoenix Lawhon Isler(Australia)
16:00-16:15 Coffee Break
16:15-17:15 Parallel Sessions III
8. Remote Sensing and Assessment of Desertification Processes (B)
Chair: HYPERLINK “” Prof. Hanoch Lavee, Bar Ilan University , HYPERLINK “
Assessing Land Cover Change and Degradation in the Central Asian Deserts Using Satellite Image Processing and Geostatistical Methods, Arnon Karnieli, Tal Svoray, Uri Gilad, (Israel)
A Dynamic Model of Dryland Hydrology Using Remote Sensing, Elene Tarvansky, (United Kingdom)
The Effect of Wildfires on Vegetation Cover and Dune Activity in Australia’s Desert Dunes: A Multi-Sensor Analysis, Noam Levin, Simcha Levental, Hagar Morag (Israel)
9. Desert Ecology (B)
Chair: Dr. Yehoshua Shkedy, Chief Scientist, Israel Nature and Parks Authorit, HYPERLINK “
Is Grass Scarcity in the Chihuahuan Desert A Result of Shrub-Grass Competition or Soil Moisture Limitation? Giora Kidron and Vincent Gutschick (Israel/U.S.A)
Short-term responses of small vertebrates to vegetation removal as a management tool in Nizzanim dunes, Boaz Shacham and Amos Bouskila (Israel)

Microbial diversity of Mediterranean and Arid soil ecosystem. Ami Bachar, Ashraf Ashhab, Roey Angel, M. Ines M. Soares and Osnat Gillor, (Israel)

Effects of woody vegetation and anthropogenic disturbances on herbaceous vegetation in the northern Negev, Moran Segoli, Eugene David Ungar, Moshe Shahack (Israel)
10. Land Restoration Strategies
Chair: Dr. Avi Gafni, Director of Research, Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael,
Role of Wetlands in Sustainable Drylands D. Mutekanga (Uganda)
Restoration of Abandoned Lands, Gabrielyan Bardukh, (Armenia)

Desertification in the Sahel: causes, prevention and reclamation Dov Pasternak (Israel)

11. Strategies for Living in the Drylands
Chair: Prof. Avigad Vonshak, Director Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research,

Micro-Climatic Effect of a Manmade Oasis During Different Season in an Extremly Hot, Dry Climate, Oded Potchter (Israel)

Ecological sanitation (ECOSAN) as an alternative approach for sustainable dry-land development, Amit Gross (Israel)
Has dependence on runoff agriculture on the dryland environment of the central Negev mountains changed significantly in the last few thousand years? Testing the contribution of the geological substrate, Wieler Nimrod. Avni Y. Benjamini C. (Israel)
12. Pastoralism and the Drylands (B)
Chair: Mr. Shmulik Friedman Head of Israel Grazing Authority HYPERLINK “
Normative Carrying Capacity of an Isralei Forest for Domesticated Grazers. David Evlagon, Samuel Komisarchik, Yehuda Nissan, No’am Seligman (Israel)
Herd No More: Livestock Husbandry Policies and the Environment in Israel: from 1900 Until Today, Liz Wachs, Alon Tal (U.S.A)
17:15-19:00 Poster Session (including contest) and Cocktail
19:00-20:00 Dinner
20:00 Evening Activities (optional)
Moonlit Hike in Nahal Haverim (Please come w/ walking shoes and warm clothes)
OR Films from the Desert Nights Film Festival (sponsored by the Italian Embassy, Tel Aviv)

8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30 – 10:15Plenary Addresses
Professor Pinhas Alpert, Director, Porter School of the Environment, Tel Aviv University,
“Climate Change’s Impact on Desertification in the Mediterranean Region”
Rattan Lal,Director, Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University. “Carbon Sequestration in the Drylands: Where we Are? Where we might go?”
Dan Yakir, Head, Department of Environmental Sciences & Energy Research, Weitzman Institute, “Israel Forestry, Carbon and the Drylands: Recent Findings from Israel”
Moderator: Mark Windslow, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Germany
9:45-10:00 Coffee Break
10:00-11:30 Parallel Sessions IV
13. The Role Vegetation in Combating Desertification (A)
Chair: Dr. Elli Groner, Arava Institute for desert studies/BIDR,
Use of Indicator Species in Enhancing the Conservation of Drylands of Kenya J. Aucha, V. Palapala, and J. Shiundu (Kenya)
Green Spots as a Tool to Combat Desertification in the Aral Sea Region, Lilya Dimeyeva, (Kazakhstan)
Vegetation Change in Response to Grazing and Water Level Decline in the Enot Zukim Nature Reserve (en Fescha) Israel, Linda Whittaker, Margareta Walczak, Amos Sabach and Eli Dror (Israel)
Improving sustainability and productivity of rainfed field crops in the Negev regions
David J. Bonfil (Israel)
14. Drought and Salt Resistant Plants for Sustainable Dryland Development (B)
Chair: Professor Micha Guy, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, HYPERLINK “
The chemical induction of Polyploidy Mutan in Zizphus Mauritiana, Noemi Tel Zur and Mohmmad A.Taher (Israel / Jordan)
Using the Model Plant Arabidopsis Thaliana and Extremophile Arabidopsis Relatives to Identify Genes that Can Confer Plant Tolerance to Arid Conditions, Simon Barak (Israel)
Recently Domesticated Native Desert Herbs for Sustainable Planting in Arid and Saline Areas, Elaine Solowey (Israel)
Pattern Formation, State Changes and Catastrophic Shifts in Poa bulbosa Production as Responses to Simulated Grazing, Hadeel Majeed, Yaakov Garb, Moshe Shachak (Israel)
Germination and seedling survival in NaCl solutions after desiccation of some halophytes-used in pasture and fodder production in the solonchak salinities of the Kyzylkum desert, in Uzbekistan, Tanya Gendler, Japakova Ulbosun, Nicolai Orlovsky and Yitzchak Gutterman (Israel)
15. Afforestation in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Gabriel Shiller, The Volcani Institute, HYPERLINK “
Dryland Afforestation, Bill Hollingworth, (Australia)
Soil and Water Management along with Afforestation for Rehabilitation of Desertified Areas of the Israeli Negev, Yitzak Moshe (Israel)
Land Restoration in the Mediterranean, V. Ramon Vallejo, (Spain)
The Impact of Tree Shelters on Forest Survival of Eight Native Broadleaf Species in Forest Plantations in Israel, Omri Boneh (Israel)
16. Irrigation in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Alon Ben-Gal, Gilat Research Station, Volcani Institute,
Combating Land Degradation in Irrigated Agriculture Through Systematic Characterization of Saline-Sodic Soils for Improved Irrigation Efficiency in Kenya – E.M. Muya, (Kenya)
Adaption of Drip Irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Towards a Strategy for Technology Transfer, Lonia Friedlander (U.S.A)
Managing salt, nutrient and soil structure in reclaimed water irrigated vineyards of South Australia, Biswas and McCarthy (AU)
Future strategies for drainage problems in the desert area (IGNP) of Western Rajasthan in India, Kiran Soni Gupta (India)
Root zone salinity management strategy for the Australian drought, Schrale (AU)
17. Climate Change in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Yeshayahu Bar-Or, Chief Scientist, Ministry of Environmntal Protection, HYPERLINK “
Climate Change Trends in an Extreme Arid Zone, Southern Arava (Israel and Jordan) Hanan Ginat, Yanai Shlomi, Danny Blumberg (Israel)

Climate change and its effect on Mediterranean Basin ecosystems, Pua Bar (Kutiel) (Israel)

Climatic Change and Desertification Predictive Modeling In The Northeastern Nigeria.
Dr. Ojonigu Ati And Taiwo Qudus (Nigeria)
11:30-13:30 Open Campus Lunch Break
13:30-15:00 Parallel Sessions V
18. The Role of Vegetation in Combating Desertification (B)
Chair: Mr. Tauber Israel, KKL, HYPERLINK “javascript:addSender(”
Desertification not at all costs – a matter of temporal and spatial scales and policies
Pua Bar (Kutiel) (Israel)
Cropping systems in the Indian arid zone and long-term effects of continuous cropping
N.L. Joshi (India)
Establishing the Relationships between Soils, Vegetation and Ecosystem Dynamics: A Strategy for Land Degradation Control in Nurunit Marsabit District, Kenya, E.M. Muya, (Kenya)
19. Indigenous Knowledge in the Combating of Desertification
Chair: Prof. Aref Abu Rabia, Ben Gurion University, HYPERLINK “
Ethnobotanical Approach to the Conservation of Dryland Vegetation James Aucha (Kenya)
Environmental and Economic Potential of Bedouin Dryland Agriculture, Khalil Abu Rabia, Elaine Solowey and Stefan Leu (Israel)
Traditional Knowledge and Technologies: Administration of Common Goods from the Perspective of Goat Producers in the Lavalle Desert, Laura Maria Torres (Argentina)


20. Managing Drought in the Drylands

Chair, Mr. Yaakov Lomas, Israel Metereological Institute, HYPERLINK “

Drought Risk Reduction in Rajasthan, India Madhukar Gupta (India)
Merits and Limitations in Assessing Droughts by Remote Sensing, Arnon Karnieli and Nurit Agam (Israel)
The Impact of Long Term Drought Periods in Northern Israel, Moshe Inbar (Israel)
Hydric Characterization of the Sinaloa State (Mexico), Through the Aridity and Aridity Régime Indices, Israel Velasco, (Mexico)
Economic Sustainable rainfed wheat production under Semi-Arid climatic conditions – Agrometeorological criteria for planning purposes, Lomas (Israel)
21. Carbon Sequestration
Chair: Dr. Noam Gressel, Assif Strategies, HYPERLINK “
Semi-arid Afforestation and its Effect on Land-atmosphere Interactions,
Eyal Rotenberg et. al., (Israel)
Capacity of the forest ecosystems to sequester carbon (Case of the watershed basin of Rheraya- area of Marrakech) ) Rachid Ilmen (Morocco)
Halting Land Degradation and Desertification: A Win-Win Mitigation Strategy Neglected by the Climate Establishment, Stefan Leu (Israel)
Special Round Table discussion: Mid-east Regional Cooperation to Research Desertification with Arab and Israeli Desertification Experts
Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli experts meeting and discussing common concerns and solutions to address desertification in the Middle East region.
Moderator: Prof. Avigad Vonshak
Jeffrey Cook Workshop in Desert Architecture and Planning
Architecture and Urban Planning in the Drylands
Dryland Urban Expansion: Environmental Problems and Urban Planning, the Case of Urmuqi China S. Liu (UK)
Towards a Comprehensive Methodology for Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE): A Hot Dry Climate Case Study, Isaac Meir, Eduoardo Kruger, Lusi Morhayim, Shiri Fundaminsky, Liat Frenkel, (Israel)
Sick Building Syndrome in a University Building – an Educational Survey, Lusi Morhayim, Issac Meir (Israel)
Urban Sustainability in Desert and Dryland Areas – a First Exploration, Yodan Rofe and Gabriela Feierstein (Israel/Argentina)
Microclimatic Issues in the Planning of a Modern City in a Desert Environment, Evyatar Erell (Israel)
Sustainable Architecture in the Outback/Desert Regions of Australia: The Paradigm in Theory and Practice, Terence Williamson (Australia)
Arch. Suhasini Ayer-Guigan (India)
Arch. Mary Hancock (UK)
Arch. Laureano Pietro (Italy)
15:30 Bus Ride to Mitzpe-Ramon
16:00-17:00 Sunset Overlooking the Ramon Crater, Visit to Ramon Visitor’s Center
17:30 PLENARY LECTURE: Professor Uri Shani, Director, Israel Water Authority,
“Addressing Scarcity in the Drylands: Israel’s New Water Management Strategy”,
Moderator, Ms. Hila Ackerman, Director of Environmental Department, Ramat Negev Regional Council
19:00 Dinner
20:00 Evening Activity: Music & Dancing OR Astronomy Lecture
DAY 3, December 16, 2008: FIELD TRIPS

A detailed plan will be provided separately


8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30 – 10:15Plenary Addresses/ PanelReconsidering the Axiom of “Bottom Up” Desertification Programs: Lessons Learned about Partnerships and International Assistance
Chris Braeuel UNCCD Focal Point, Canada,
Christian Mersmann, Director, The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, Rome
Alon Tal, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research
DelphineOuedraogo, Ministry of Environment, Focal Point to UNCCD, Burkina Faso

Moderator: TBA

10:00-10:15 Coffee Break
10:15-11:50 Parallel Sessions VI


22. The Contradictions of “Gender Equality” in Development Discourses in Desert Regions (Panel A)

Chair: Prof. Rivka Carmi, President Ben Gurion University,

Rethinking modern education among indigenous Negev Bedouin, Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder (Israel)

Looking Ahead: Bedouin Women, Higher Education, Identity and Belonging,Ronnie Halevi (Israel/U.S.A.)

The nation and its natures: Depictions of women Environmental Educators in the Israeli Negev Desert, Miri Lavi-Neeman, (Israel/USA)

“My Life? What is there to tell?” : Interpreting the life stories of multiply marginalized women in an Israeli ‘Development Town” Sigal Ron (Israel)
23. Public Policy, Economics and Desertification
Chair: Dr. Moshe Schwartz, Ben Gurion University,
Economic Instruments for Mitigation of Desertification Problems in Armenia Gevorgyan Suren, (Armenia)
Land Degradation, Subsidies Dependency and Market Vulnerability of Stock –breeding Households in Central Crete Hugues Lorent, et. al., (Belgium)
The Value of Israel’s Forests and Desertification, Tzipi Eshet, Dafna Disegni and Mordehcai Shechter (Israel)
Current Status and Issues for Combating Desertification In Western Rajasthan, Kiran Soni Gupta, (India)
How To Put Desertification and Water Management in The Political Agenda: The South Italy Development Policies, Carlo Donolo (Italy)
24. Food Security in the Drylands
Chair: TBA
Livelihood Strategies: Indigenous Practices and Knowledge Systems in the Attainment of Food Security in Botswana, Maitseo Bolaane (Botswana)
Drought and food insecurity: a rationale for national grain reserves, Hendrik Bruins (Israel)
Drought Management Planning in Water Supply System, Enrique Cabrera (Spain)
The Impact of Drought on Agriculture in Jordan, Sawsan Batarseh and Hendrik J. Bruins (Jordan)
25. Case Studies – Projects that Combat Desertification
Chair: Beth-Eden Kite, Deputy Director, Mashav, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Combating Desertification: An Attempt at Wasteland Development in Rajasthan, India, Kusum Bhawani Shanker, (India)
Valuing the Successes of combating desertification – Experience of Burkina Faso in the rehabilitation of the productive capacity of the village territories, Ouedraogo Delphine (Burkina Faso)
Development of Drylands of Kenya Using the Jatropha Curcas Value Chain J.A. Aucha, V. Palapla, and J. Shinundu, (Kenya)
Production Diversification for Expanding the Economic Foundations of Argentinean Monte Desert Communities, Elena Maria Abraham, Giuseppe Enne (Argentina)
11:50-12:00 Coffee Break
12:00-13:00 Parallel Sessions VI
26. Bottom Up: Community Participation in Programs to Combat Desertification
Chair: Dr. Haim Divon, Deputy Director, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Man, Desert and Environment, Hanan Ginat, Noa Avriel-Avni (Israel)
People and institutional participation in forest management for sustainable development: options for drylands based on experiences from Sudan. Edinam K. Glover (Finland)
Dryland Gardening: A Sustainable Solution to Desertification? Southern Africa as a Case Study, Adam Abramson (U.S.A)

27. Culturing Desertification: Gender and the Politics of Development (Panel B)

Chair: Dr. Pnina Motzafi-Haller, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research,
Development and the Role of Women in Pakistan, Masooda Bano, (UK)

Domestic Water Provision and Gender Roles in Drylands, Anne Coles (UK)

Women’s Work: Gender and the Politics of Trash Labor in Dakar,Rosalind Fredericks, (USA)

28. The Negev Desert – Development and Conservation
Chair: Dr. Yodan Rofeh, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research,
The Israeli Negev Desert: From Frontier to Periphery, Yehuda Gradus (Israel)
The National-Strategic Plan for Developing the Negev – Negev 2015: An Old Prospect or a New Future, Na’ama Theshner (Israel)
The potential of TOD for development of the Northern Negev, Prof. Dani Gat (Israel)
Sense of place and naming in Hura as an example of the changing spatial consciousness of Beduoin in the Negev, Arnon Ben Israel and Avinoam Meir (Israel)
29. The Political Ecology of Deserts and Desertification
Chair: Dr. Yaakov Garb, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research,
Rebuilding the Land: Political Ecology of Land Degradation in Somaliland Ingrid Hartman (Germany)
Desertification Narratives (and Their Uses) in the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Davis (U.S.A)
Desertification or Greening in the Sahel? Case study of Inadvertent Greening in the Oued Kowb, Mauritania, Stefanie Herrmann, Mamadou Baro, Aminata Niang (U.S.A)
Political Ecology: Wind Erosion on the U.S. Southern High Plains
R. E Zartman and A.C. Correa (U.S.A)
30. Assessing International Efforts to Combat Desertification
Chair: Professor Uriel Safriel, Hebrew University,
Follow the Money: Navigating the International Aid Maze for Dryland Development Pamela Chasek (U.S.A)
The Global Mechanism – Lessons Learned C. Mersmann, (Italy)
Research Priorities of the UNESCO Chair on Eremology Gabriels (Belgium)
An Analytic Review for International Collaborations for Drylands Research and Sustainable Development, J. Scott Hauger (U.S.A)
A Conference to Improve the Flow of Science into the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Mark Winslow (Germany)
13:00-14:30 Lunch and Concluding Session

e-mail:  desertification at
tel:   972-8-659-6997
fax: 972-8-659-6772


See also:

Posted on on May 17th, 2008


Posted on on March 31st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Desmond Tutu: Millions are dying on the world’s roads. It’s time to act.
This epidemic comes with a vaccine in the form of simple life-saving measures.

Monday, 31 March 2008, Editorial, The Independent.

Meeting today at the UN General Assembly in New York, the world’s governments have an opportunity to start the fightback against one of the world’s most destructive, yet least reported, health emergencies: the epidemic of death and injury being played out on the world’s roads.

The scale of the crisis is not appreciated. In the 10 seconds it has taken you to read this far, another two people have been killed or injured by traffic. Each year, more than 1.2m lives are lost. Over 50m people are injured, many of them suffering long-term trauma and disability. And the numbers are going up.

Every road death is a human tragedy that leaves grief, shock and anger in its wake. To these costs can be added wider impacts. Lost productivity that comes with traffic injuries costs developing countries 1-2 per cent of GDP. Health systems are placed under immense stress. And for the poor, a road injury is often a one-way trip into poverty.

Following a push from groups like the Make Roads Safe campaign, the UN will vote on holding a first ever road safety summit. If the children, pedestrians and cyclists in developing countries who represent the vast majority of casualties had the vote there would be only one outcome.

Rich countries are now making real progress in cutting the human toll, putting in place more stringent traffic rules, designing safer roads, and protecting people from metal. Sadly, the casualty curve in developing countries is heading in the opposite direction. Road deaths are already comparable in scale to malaria and tuberculosis. For the 10 – 24 age group, they are the single biggest cause of mortality. The World Health Organisation projects an 80 per cent increase in death by 2020. Yet unlike malaria, road deaths do not generate global initiatives – they are absent from global agendas.

Africa has some of the world’s most dangerous roads. There are two deaths for every 10,000 cars in the US, compared to over 190 in Uganda and Ethiopia. Many victims are children and poor farmers in rural areas far from emergency services.

But this epidemic is global. Traffic is a major source of death in Latin America; South Asia has the fastest growing casualty lists. In contrast to rich countries, where car occupants account for most victims, in developing countries it is people too poor to own a car bearing the brunt. Visit a trauma ward in Nairobi, Sao Paolo, or Manila, and more than one-in-every five beds will be occupied by a road traffic patient.

What is driving this carnage? Speeding cars, badly maintained roads, and roads designed for speed, rather than lowering pedestrian risk, play a part. Add to this lethal cocktail anarchy in the form of disregard for traffic rules and you have a perfect storm.

Aid donors are part of the problem. The G8 has pledged $1.2bn for Africa’s roads. We welcome this because roads are vital to poverty reduction and the development of market opportunities. But Africa needs safe roads. International norms dictate that 10 per cent of transport infrastructure spending should be for safety. The G8 has allocated just 1 per cent.

This is an epidemic with a vaccine that comes in the form of simple life-saving measures. Well-designed roads, speed limits, the enforcement of laws on crash helmets do not require rocket science.

Some developed countries are setting new safety standards transforming road safety by putting people first. Sweden has adopted a ‘Vision Zero’ programme. The aim: to design roads geared to minimise risk.

Many developing countries are also leading by example. Rwanda, has cut road deaths since 2000. When truck drivers enter from Kenya, they now have to adjust from 60km to a 40km speed limit. In Vietnam and Thailand, education and law enforcement on helmets has dramatically cut deaths. Bogota, has invested in walkways, cross points, and regulated public transport.

An international summit could build on these positive examples. The Make Roads Safe, campaign is calling for a $300m action plan to help poor countries strengthen road safety. But we do not have to wait for an international summit to act. The stakes are rising by the day. Investing political capital and financial resources in safer roads today will prevent countless human tragedies, enhance public health, lift people out of poverty and boost economic growth tomorrow.

We desperately need a people-first transport policy for the 21st Century. The UN General Assembly has a chance to take us in that direction by voting for a road safety summit. Any other outcome would be indefensible.

Desmond Tutu is Emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


Posted on on March 21st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Modern Purim thoughts include the UN.

Purim is the day when Jews remember the plans made by Haman to eradicate all the Jews of the old Persian empire. He did not succeed and paid with his life – as we say – the rest is history.

Jews were ordered to remember what happened then – so they read that story – the Megillah (the parchment of Esther) – year after year – on the evening before Purim. This year it happened on Thursday, March, 20th – so last night we participated at the “Megillah Madness” – at The New York Synagogue in Manhattan – led by Rabbi Marc Schneier.
The celebration was at very high tone and at serious decibels – this to the sound and projections of the Beatles Music and the noise of the traditional “grogger” rattles. Each time the name Haman is read – and this happens 54 times during the readings – mayhem brakes lose and the costumed servers came forth to bring us delicious Haman’s Ears (“Oznei Haman” in Hebrew – staffed with marmalade or poppy seeds), or glasses of sweet whisky spiked drinks. Purim is in effect an annual of catharsis, healthy for the mind and the soul. Quite nice when all you are supposed is to remember evil, so you are better prepared when it strikes again. You see, Purim does in effect obligate today the State of Israel to the UN mandate of: “The Principle to Protect.”

On Purim, the Jewish Jockers are used to run a competition for the coveted “Haman of the Year Award” and this year’s two top candidates were two heads of UN Member States who appear daily on the UN menu: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of the Sudan. The former attacks Jews verbally every day, and has also sponsored militants that fight Jews and Israel daily, while the latter was reportedly actually engaged in genocide against less Arabized Africans of Darfur. has posted many times articles on above deeds. We even tried to understand the background of the genocide in Darfur by considering climate change aspects as an influence on what started the warfare. But whatever the reasons, it is the government of Khartoom that backed its favorites. We see here fights between intruding, more Arabized, pastoralists against lesser Arabized, and blacker, agriculturalists. Our claim was that this is genocide that was started by increased desertification in the region. The UN as an institution did not want to hear such arguments, and eventually it took Sir Nicholas Stern, and the intervention of the UK government at the UN Security Council, to vindicate last year what we were saying three years ago. Whatever the issue, it was al-Bashir’s responsibility “TO PROTECT” his citizens. Instead he puts hurdles before those from the outside that came to help.
The UN Security Council has had Darfur on its agenda for five years, and the genocide continues. But the Council spends disproportionately more time considering Israel’s actions with various UN diplomats berating Israel for defending itself vigorously.
Our “Haman of the Year Award” goes to President al-Bashir. If his enemies don’t get him, the UN has established an International Criminal Court and we wonder why was it not invoked yet in the matter of Sudan’s actions in Darfur. Our website described last week how Dr. al-Bashir let UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wait for him in Dakar, and never showed up for the meeting claiming a headache.

Happy Purim – and I would like to note further that this year Purim falls on the same day as Good Friday – or Easter Friday. This has happened only the second time since 1910.

Easter occurs on the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, and that full moon usually coincides with the first day of Passover. That is how both religions – Judaism and Christianity have the renewal holidays aligned. This year this is not the case, and the reason is that it is leap year in the Jewish calendar, and an added month (a 13-th month) has been introduced. That brings instead the strange alignment between Easter and Purim. We would like to see in this an opportunity for healing – in the sense that we could say changes could be introduced so that Haman-type of hatred is removed from our lives – our society gets renewed like at Passover time, though this is Purim time. Would it be so terrible to ask the UN to consider this proposition of making sure that evil is remembered and actually acted against?


Posted on on January 6th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Monday, Jan. 7, 2008

Hope and betrayal in Kenya.

By GWYNNE DYER as picked up on The Japan Times.

LONDON — More than two years ago, when Kenya’s current opposition leader, Raila Odinga, quit President Mwai Kibaki’s government, I (that is Gwynne Dwyer) wrote the following: “The trick will be to get Kibaki out without triggering a wave of violence that would do the country grave and permanent damage. . . . Bad times are coming to Kenya.”

The bad times have arrived, but the violence that has swept Kenya since the stolen election Dec. 27 is not just African “tribalism.” Kikuyus have been the main target of popular wrath and non-Kikuyu protesters have been the principal victims of the security forces, but this confrontation is about trust betrayed, hopes dashed, and patience strained to the breaking point.

Nobody wants a civil war in Kenya, but it’s easy to see why Raila Odinga rejects calls from abroad to accept the figures for the national vote that were announced last Dec. 30. If Odinga enters a “government of national unity” under Kibaki, as the African Union and the United States want, then he’s back in the untenable situation that he was in until 2005, and Kibaki will run Kenya for another five years.

If Odinga leaves it to Kenya’s courts to settle, the result will be the same: There have been no verdicts yet on disputed results that went to the courts after the 2002 election. So when the opposition leader was asked by the BBC if he would urge his supporters to calm down, he replied: “I refuse to be asked to give the Kenyan people an anesthetic so that they can be raped.”

Despite the ugly scenes of recent days, Kenya is not an ethnic tinderbox where people automatically back their own tribe and hate everyone else. For example, it is clear that more than half the people who voted Mwai Kibaki into the presidency in the 2002 election were not of his own Kikuyu tribe, because the Kikuyu, although they are the biggest tribe, only account for 22 percent of the population.

Kibaki’s appeal was the promise of honest government after 24 years of oppressive rule, rigged elections and massive corruption under the former president, Daniel arap Moi. If he had been just another thug in a suit, most Kenyans would have put up with Kibaki’s subsequent behavior in the same old cynical way, but his victory was seen as the dawn of a new Kenya where the bad old ways no longer reigned. It is his abuse of their high hopes that makes the current situation so emotional.

By 2005, Kibaki’s dependence on an inner circle of fellow Kikuyu politicians was almost total and the corruption was almost as bad as it had been under Moi.

British ambassador Sir Edward Clay accused Kibaki’s ministers of arrogance and greed that led them to “eat like gluttons” and “vomit on the shoes” of foreign donors and the Kenyan people. The biggest foreign donors, the U.S., Britain and Germany, suspended their aid to the country in protest against the corruption.

Most of the leading reformers quit Kibaki’s government in 2005, and in the weeks before last month’s election their main political vehicle, the Orange Democratic Movement, had a clear lead in the polls. That lead was confirmed in the parliamentary vote Dec. 27, which saw half of Kibaki’s Cabinet ministers lose their seats and give the opposition a clear majority in Parliament.

The presidential vote was another matter. Raila Odinga won an easy majority in six of Kenya’s eight provinces, but in Central, the Kikuyu heartland, the results were withheld until long after the vote had been announced for more remote regions. Observers were banned from the counting stations in Central and the central tallying room in Nairobi, and on Dec. 30 Samuel Kivuitu, the chairman of the electoral commission, declared that Kibaki had won the national vote by just 232,000 votes in a nation of 34 million.

It stank to high heaven. Ridiculously high turnouts were claimed for polling stations in Central — larger than the total of eligible voters, in some cases — and 97.3 percent of the votes there allegedly went to Kibaki. It was an operation designed to return Kibaki to office while preserving a facade of democratic credibility, but no foreign government except the U.S. congratulated Kibaki on his “victory” — not even African ones — and local people were not fooled.

Within two days Samuel Kivuitu retracted his declaration of a Kibaki victory, saying the electoral commission had come under unbearable pressure from the government: “I do not know who won the election. . . . We are culprits as a commission. We have to leave it to an independent group to investigate what actually went wrong.”

But Kibaki is digging in, and innocent Kikuyus — many of whom did NOT vote for Kibaki, despite the announced results — are being attacked by furious people from other tribes.

Meanwhile, the police and army obey Kibaki’s orders and attack non-Kikuyu protesters. It is not Odinga who needs to accept the “result” in order to save Kenya from calamity; it is Kibaki who needs to step down.

He probably won’t, in which case violence may claim yet another African country. But don’t blame it on mere “tribalism.” Kenyans are not fools, and they know they have been betrayed.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based journalist.


The Way The UN Reported on the Kenya Event in Its Official Daily News:

UN DAILY NEWS from the
4 January, 2008 =========================================================================


Some 250,000 Kenyans are now estimated to have been displaced by post-electoral violence, United Nations humanitarian officials reported today, as the world body’s independent human rights experts voiced deep concern at the ethnic dimension of the conflict.

Overall, between 400,000 and 500,000 people have been affected by the conflict.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone today with both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, and called on them to resolve their issues through dialogue. The violence, which has reportedly claimed more than 300 lives, erupted after Mr. Kibaki was declared the winner of last week’s poll. Mr. Ban also spoke with Ghanaian President John Kufuor, current chairman of the African Union.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that virtually all movement of food for both western Kenya and the entire region, including Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was frozen for days due to the insecurity.

The 14 human rights experts, covering issues ranging from racism to sexual violence to freedom of belief, deplored the growing inter-ethnic conflict, citing the deaths of dozens of civilians, including children and women, after a mob set fire to a church where they had taken sanctuary.

“We are profoundly alarmed by the reports of incitement to racial hatred and the growing frictions between the different ethnic groups,” they said in a statement calling on the authorities, political, ethnic and religious leaders to put an end “to what may become the dynamics of inter-ethnic killings… in the light of historical precedents in the region.”

Rwanda, to the west of Kenya, was the scene of genocide in 1994, when ethnic Hutu extremists massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis has also killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past four decades in Burundi, Rwanda’s southern neighbour.

In a litany of “great concern,” the experts said the massive displacement, especially in the Rift Valley, threatened the right to food, health, housing and education. They also cited reports of gang rapes and the attendant likelihood of HIV infection and reported curbs on free expression, in particular a ban on live coverage of events.

“While we recognize the prerogative and duty of the Kenyan authorities to maintain public order, we are, however, alarmed by reported instances of use of excessive force by Kenyan security forces against demonstrators and other civilians,” they added.

“We urge the incumbent Kenyan authorities to take all necessary steps and measures to bring an end to the present situation, including by addressing appropriately questions raised with regard to the latest election results. We also call upon the leaders of political parties to show restraint and control over their followers and supporters.”

WFP will shortly provide food through the Kenya Red Cross for 100,000 people displaced in the Northern Rift Valley, but it said: “The biggest problem is the difficulty for trucks carrying WFP food to reach areas in western Kenya.”

Some 200 trucks were loaded with WFP food in the Kenyan port of Mombasa from a ship that arrived over Christmas carrying 30,000 metric tons – enough to feed 1.5 million people for a month – for Uganda, southern Sudan, Somalia and the eastern DRC. The food for Somalia will be sent by sea, but the rest has to go by land, WFP said.

Some trucks left Mombasa but then were stranded due to insecurity on main roads and checkpoints set up by vigilantes in western Kenya. Fifteen trucks are stranded in or near Nairobi, 60 in Mombasa and others in Eldoret, near the site of the church massacre. Each truck carries 34 tons of food. “WFP is holding urgent talks to resolve this issue and get food to those who need it in Kenya and elsewhere,” the agency said.

Kenyan security forces recently escorted 20 WFP trucks carrying food for north-western Kenya, southern Sudan, Uganda and the DRC, but the insecurity and roadblocks are still hampering humanitarian access.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is trying to establish so-called “safe spaces” for displaced mothers and children, provide water and sanitation to over 100,000 people, and distribute family kits to supply up to 100,000 people with blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets, soap and jerry cans.


The Dwyer article just validates our previous posting on the Kenya and of the UN problems.

Kenya will not be helped from the outside as long as the UN does not recognize the fact that the Head of State they deal with – Kenya’s President is the culprit. People will get killed because of this UN lack of honesty. Saying that this is like Rwanda, as we already wrote, is simply dodging the reality that Kibaki must be told he has to go – like Musharraf must be told he has to go. The UN was never able to take such positions and to make such statements – so it will be unfair to claim that it is because of the Libyan Presidency of the Security Council. Will Mr. Ban Ki-moon take steps in private that can be helpful, or his private contacts are no different from those stated words.

Time will tell – but according to other news we picked up in the media, the Western town of Kisumu, a town of 500,000, third largest in Kenya, is being ravaged. This is a town where the main Street is called after Mr Odinga’s father – Oginga Odinga – and people here got furious when they realized that the election was stolen by the President.

In effect the platform of Raila   Odinga’s “Orange Democratic Movement” is nothing else then a revival of the party that won the 2002 elections for Mr. Kibaki – only to see that once elected he forgot its multi-tribal composition that was intended to create a Kenyan National image, and for all practical purpose turned the country over to his Kikuyu tribe.

Odinga, and others, left the government in 2005 and prepared for the new elections in 2007. They thought they won on the basis of returns from all regions except the Central region where the Kikuyus live. Kibaki delayed the release of the votes from that region, and furtively swore himself in for another 5 years. Hell broke lose, and most probably now, besides having to get Mr. Kibaki to let in foreign observers to supervise new elections, it will also be needed to write a new Constitution that gives more power to the tribes and the regions – this in order to answer some of the needs created by the last 5 years of Kibaki’s rule in Kenya. Kenya attempted to become a real State that was going to be above tribalism, but the Kikuyus destroyed this by the attempt to rule alone – think of the Sunnis in Iraq! This sort of behavior does not succeed when you are an absolute minority, and now there will have to be made an attempt to go back to some sort of Federal System that can take away the thorns that Kibaki will leave behind.

And the UN? As long as the UN presence continues in Nairobi, there will be the need for the UN to voice suggestions for a   positive approach to move the country from the present rot. Actually, December 2006 people at the UN in Nairobi saw things coming – so why was no attempt made to Show Kibaki that he is mounting a hill of problems by giving all to just those that belong to his tribe, the main tribe that resides in the area of the Capital. The UN could have informed him that similar situations caused disaster in other post-colonial States in Africa. The US sent to Kenya Ms. Jendayi E. Frazer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, that will have to bring the two contenders for leadership into the same room and have them negotiate a settlement. To shuttle between them will just prolong the killings. It is important to realize that the problem is still political, and yet not really a full blown ethnic conflict and it better be tackled before it gets worse.


Posted on on January 4th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Looking at the following cut-out we see that the Kikuyu, who are only about 22% of Kenya’s population, live mainly in Nairobi, and in a rather small part of Kenya located in the Central area west of Nairobi.
The remaining parts of the Central area   are occupied by a mix of tribes with the further out West part occupied by the main opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Luo. In between we see the large region of the Rift Valley with a Kalenjin majority – and that is the tribe of Kenya’s previous strongman – President   Daniel arap Moi, whose dislogement after years of corruption, is major part of Kenya’s independence history. All that part of rural and small town Kenya, including the town of Kisumu, up to the corner of borders with Uganda and Tanzania at Lake Victoria are now basically Odinga territory. This is the area that was once occupied by Indian tea plantations that were expropriated at independence, and taken over by the Kenya Government. The area marked with the number 7 (mixed) on the map, close to the Tanzanian border, is occupied mainly by the Massai, their cattle herds, and game parks. This is usually a quiet area, but they were Freedom fighters against the British.

The North-West corner of Kenya, west in the Rift Valley, borders with South Sudan and Ethiopia, and is occupied by the same people as South Sudan, mainly Christian and animists – so there was always a chance of spillover of problems from those regions. But if one looks at the map, it is easy to see that all of the above takes only less then half of the Kenya territory. The larger part is actually Muslim – with better to do people on the coast, and basically Somali Muslims in the areas marked on the map two times with the number 4, or the Eastern and North-Eastern regions towards Somalia and the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, that is also inhabited basically by Somalis. It is just inconceivable that all of the Horn of Africa region is in turmoil, and that this North-Eastern corner of Kenya, and its rich South-Eastern Coastal Area, are spared and will not become part of the same game. In effect, when I was in Nairobi for COP 12 of the UNFCCC, December 2006, at a time of strong rains and murderous floods in the Somali part of Kenya, I was told by people from UNEP that the region there was dangerous because of the closeness to Somalia. There is no tourism in that part of Kenya. Also the Government of President Mwai Kibaki was not highly appreciated in those circles, troubles were already foreseen.

For a while Kenya was a prospering set-aside with its status of a UN Center, but once things start unraveling, it might be pulled in as next area, after Ethiopia, as a place of confrontation that may get on the fault line between Arabized Africa and Christian, more-or-less secular Africa. As a sign of the times, Israel’s El Al Airlines were not flying the last two years to Nairobi, and the only available connection in Sub-Sahara Africa was via Addis Ababa. This becomes specially interesting with Israel joining now the UN UNEP and Habitat Headquarters on the outskirts of Nairobi.


And the UN   Does What It Usually Does: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon communicates with the Member State Government and asks the President Kibaki, in diplomatic language, to be less violent to his own people. Then the whole UN affiliates’ mechanism start talking of aid to the refugees. But the reality is also that we heard from the Libyan Presidency of the Security Council that nothing more then the above will be discussed at his Council – the only UN body designed to show a tooth-rich stand.

In the meantime we learn from the new UN News Service that the situation looks like it did in Rwanda – “Rwanda, to the west of Kenya, was the scene of genocide in 1994, when ethnic Hutu extremists massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis has also killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past four decades in Burundi, Rwanda’s southern neighbour.”
In Kenya there are no Hutu and Tutsi’s, but – yes – it could evolve to a similar   high level of human disaster ending in plain genocide. Good comment, but why did the writer say “Rwanda, to the west of Kenya?” Actually Rwanda does not border with Kenya and though there are similar inter tribal problems that date before the British or the Belgians run those places, but were exacerbated by the colonial powers – then used by the new African governments to buttress their own positions – “favor some and exploit the rest.” Rwanda is on the other shore of Lake Victoria, but has no access to the Lake. That is because the British wanted to have the whole lake under their East Asia Colonial structure – s o now it is only Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania that share lake Victoria. Rwanda is not to the West of Kenya, but actually rather to the Southwest, after crossing via Tanzania. This is just a small comment to help the UN folks with their Geography.

Further, we have been to Lake Victoria, and without enlarging on what we said in the introduction, we will just say that the British and the Belgians had different goals for their colonies. That area of the Lake Victoria region was rather intended for the production of tea and the British brought in people from India to establish the plantations. There were here also British settlers and we could find some similarities here rather with Zimbabwe (to what the UN News Service could also have referred as “West of Kenya” – all right – Southwest).
Rwanda was run by the Belgians like Congo – that is for mining purpose. This was a much harsher destructive destiny and it showed in the results.

UN DAILY NEWS from the
4 January, 2008 =========================================================================


Some 250,000 Kenyans are now estimated to have been displaced by post-electoral violence, United Nations humanitarian officials reported today, as the world body’s independent human rights experts voiced deep concern at the ethnic dimension of the conflict.

Overall, between 400,000 and 500,000 people have been affected by the conflict.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone today with both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, and called on them to resolve their issues through dialogue. The violence, which has reportedly claimed more than 300 lives, erupted after Mr. Kibaki was declared the winner of last week’s poll. Mr. Ban also spoke with Ghanaian President John Kufuor, current chairman of the African Union.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that virtually all movement of food for both western Kenya and the entire region, including Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was frozen for days due to the insecurity.

The 14 human rights experts, covering issues ranging from racism to sexual violence to freedom of belief, deplored the growing inter-ethnic conflict, citing the deaths of dozens of civilians, including children and women, after a mob set fire to a church where they had taken sanctuary.

“We are profoundly alarmed by the reports of incitement to racial hatred and the growing frictions between the different ethnic groups,” they said in a statement calling on the authorities, political, ethnic and religious leaders to put an end “to what may become the dynamics of inter-ethnic killings… in the light of historical precedents in the region.”

Rwanda, to the west of Kenya, was the scene of genocide in 1994, when ethnic Hutu extremists massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis has also killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past four decades in Burundi, Rwanda’s southern neighbour.

In a litany of “great concern,” the experts said the massive displacement, especially in the Rift Valley, threatened the right to food, health, housing and education. They also cited reports of gang rapes and the attendant likelihood of HIV infection and reported curbs on free expression, in particular a ban on live coverage of events.

“While we recognize the prerogative and duty of the Kenyan authorities to maintain public order, we are, however, alarmed by reported instances of use of excessive force by Kenyan security forces against demonstrators and other civilians,” they added.

“We urge the incumbent Kenyan authorities to take all necessary steps and measures to bring an end to the present situation, including by addressing appropriately questions raised with regard to the latest election results. We also call upon the leaders of political parties to show restraint and control over their followers and supporters.”

WFP will shortly provide food through the Kenya Red Cross for 100,000 people displaced in the Northern Rift Valley, but it said: “The biggest problem is the difficulty for trucks carrying WFP food to reach areas in western Kenya.”

Some 200 trucks were loaded with WFP food in the Kenyan port of Mombasa from a ship that arrived over Christmas carrying 30,000 metric tons – enough to feed 1.5 million people for a month – for Uganda, southern Sudan, Somalia and the eastern DRC. The food for Somalia will be sent by sea, but the rest has to go by land, WFP said.

Some trucks left Mombasa but then were stranded due to insecurity on main roads and checkpoints set up by vigilantes in western Kenya. Fifteen trucks are stranded in or near Nairobi, 60 in Mombasa and others in Eldoret, near the site of the church massacre. Each truck carries 34 tons of food. “WFP is holding urgent talks to resolve this issue and get food to those who need it in Kenya and elsewhere,” the agency said.

Kenyan security forces recently escorted 20 WFP trucks carrying food for north-western Kenya, southern Sudan, Uganda and the DRC, but the insecurity and roadblocks are still hampering humanitarian access.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is trying to establish so-called “safe spaces” for displaced mothers and children, provide water and sanitation to over 100,000 people, and distribute family kits to supply up to 100,000 people with blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets, soap and jerry cans.


Posted on on October 19th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

OCTOBER 19, 2007, A report by the International Action Network on Small Arms, Saferworld, and Oxfam International, states that Armed Conflict Costs Africa $18 Billion Each Year.
Between 1990 and 2005, 23 African nations have been involved in armed conflict. The list includes Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda.
During the past 15 years, almost $300 billion has been squandered on armed conflict in Africa, capital that could have been used to lift the continent out of extreme poverty and to prevent continued disease epidemics, a new study revealed.

The estimated $18 billion per year “is a massive waste of resources—roughly equivalent to total international aid to Africa from major donors during the same period. It is also roughly equivalent to the additional funds estimated to be necessary to address the problems of HIV and AIDS in Africa, or to address Africa’s needs in education, clean water and sanitation,” the report stated.

In effect, 38% of the world’s armed confrontations take place on African soil.

In addition, the report highlighted that “the average annual loss of 15 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) represents an enormous economic burden—this is one and a half times average African spending on health and education combined.” “This is money Africa can ill afford to lose,” Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf stated in the introduction of the report.

“The sums are appalling; the price that Africa is paying could cover the cost of solving the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa, or provide education, water and prevention and treatment for TB and malaria. Literally thousands of hospitals, schools, and roads could have been built, positively affecting millions of people. Not only do the people of Africa suffer the physical horrors of violence, armed conflict undermines their efforts to escape poverty.”

President Johnson-Sirleaf understands the huge loss it represents for the continent, including her own country. Since 1991, Liberia has been one of the African nations that has been the target of armed combat and widespread civil strife. Although conditions for peace in the country were established in 2003 after President Charles Taylor left office, Liberia continues to experience political and economic perils, including the challenge of accommodating thousands of Liberian refugees who have returned to their homeland since the war ended.

However, it is not only robbed human lives and financial resources stolen in conflict that continue to cause the most damage to the continent, but the intangible daily mental and physical effects felt by the people themselves—and in some cases, other nations around them not directly involved in the conflict itself.

According to the report, African countries involved in conflict have, on average, “50 per cent more infant deaths, 15 percent more undernourished people, life expectancy reduced by five years, 20 percent more adult illiteracy, 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient, and 12.4 per cent less food per person.”

In the report, experts conclude that the majority of the problem lies in poor regulation of arms movement across borders—approximately “95 per cent of Africa’s most commonly used conflict weapons come from outside the continent.” These include the Kalashnikov assault rifle, more commonly known as the AK-47.

Also of primary concern is the tendency for regionalized conflicts to be magnified into international ones. According to the report, the situation in Darfur has already “drawn in neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic,” and other clashes in the area have caused similar situations.

Additionally, the economies of countries in armed skirmishes become intertwined. “In 2002, when fighting in Cote d’Ivoire made access to the key Ivorian seaport of Abidjan virtually impossible, foreign trade was disrupted in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger,” the report stated. And in Somaliland and Mozambique, “informal economies that provided a basic means of survival in wartime have been partly responsible for the collapse of formal rural market networks and have been an obstacle to post-conflict resolution,” the report said.


Source: MCT


Posted on on July 27th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Grist Magazine. July 27, 2007. The top 15 cities and few runners up who have made the most impressive strides toward eco-friendliness and sustainability.

These metropolises aren’t literally the greenest places on earth — they’re not necessarily dense with foliage, for one, and some still have a long way to go down the path to sustainability. But all of the cities on this list deserve recognition for making impressive strides toward eco-friendliness, helping their many millions of residents live better, greener lives.

1. Rekyjavik, Iceland

Remember the grade-school memory device “Greenland is icy and Iceland is green”? It’s truer than ever thanks to progress made by Iceland and its capital city in recent years. Reykjavik has been putting hydrogen buses on its streets, and, like the rest of the country, its heat and electricity come entirely from renewable geothermal and hydropower sources and it’s determined to become fossil-fuel-free by 2050. The mayor has pledged to make Reykjavik the cleanest city in Europe. Take that, Greenland.

2. Portland, Oregon, U.S.

The City of Roses’ approach to urban planning and outdoor spaces has often earned it a spot on lists of the greenest places to live. Portland is the first U.S. city to enact a comprehensive plan to reduce CO2 emissions and has aggressively pushed green building initiatives. It also runs a comprehensive system of light rail, buses, and bike lanes to help keep cars off the roads, and it boasts 92,000 acres of green space and more than 74 miles of hiking, running, and biking trails.

3. Curitiba, Brazil

With citizens riding a bus system hailed as one of the world’s best and with municipal parks benefiting from the work of a flock of 30 lawn-trimming sheep, this midsized Brazilian city has become a model for other metropolises. About three-quarters of its residents rely on public transport, and the city boasts over 580 square feet of green space per inhabitant. As a result, according to one survey, 99 percent of Curitibans are happy with their hometown.

4. Malmö, Sweden

Known for its extensive parks and green space, Sweden’s third-largest city is a model of sustainable urban development. With the goal of making Malmö an “ekostaden” (eco-city), several neighborhoods have already been transformed using innovative design and are planning to become more socially, environmentally, and economically responsive. Two words, Malmö: organic meatballs.

5. Vancouver, Canada

Its dramatic perch between mountains and sea makes Vancouver a natural draw for nature lovers, and its green accomplishments are nothing to scoff at either. Drawing 90 percent of its power from renewable sources, British Columbia’s biggest city has been a leader in hydroelectric power and is now charting a course to use wind, solar, wave, and tidal energy to significantly reduce fossil-fuel use. The metro area boasts 200 parks and over 18 miles of waterfront, and has developed a way-forward-thinking 100-year plan for sustainability. Assuming civilization will last another 100 years? Priceless.

6. Copenhagen, Denmark

With a big offshore wind farm just beyond its coastline and more people on bikes than you can shake a stick at, Copenhagen is a green dream. The city christened a new metro system in 2000 to make public transit more efficient. And it recently won the European Environmental Management Award for cleaning up public waterways and implementing holistic long-term environmental planning. Plus, the pastries? Divine.

7. London, England

When Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled London’s Climate Change Action Plan in February, it was just the latest step in his mission to make his city the world’s greenest. Under the plan, London will switch 25 percent of its power to locally generated, more-efficient sources, cut CO2 emissions by 60 percent within the next 20 years, and offer incentives to residents who improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The city has also set stiff taxes on personal transportation to limit congestion in the central city, hitting SUVs heavily and letting electric vehicles and hybrids off scot-free.

8. San Francisco, California, U.S. Nearly half of all ‘Friscans take public transit, walk, or bike each day, and over 17 percent of the city is devoted to parks and green space. San Francisco has also been a leader in green building, with more than 70 projects registered under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system. In 2001, San Francisco voters approved a $100 million bond initiative to finance solar panels, energy efficiency, and wind turbines for public facilities. The city has also banned non-recyclable plastic bags and plastic kids’ toys laced with questionable chemicals. Next thing you know, they’ll all be wearing flowers in their hair.

9. Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador

After it suffered severe damage from natural disasters in the late 1990s, the Bahía de Caráquez government and nongovernmental organizations working in the area forged a plan to rebuild the city to be more sustainable. Declared an “Ecological City” in 1999, it has since developed programs to protect biodiversity, revegetate denuded areas, and control erosion. The city, which is marketing itself as a destination for eco-tourists, has also begun composting organic waste from public markets and households and supporting organic agriculture and aquaculture.

10. Sydney, Australia

The Land Down Under was the first country to put the squeeze on inefficient, old-school light bulbs, but Sydney-dwellers took things a step further in March, hosting a city-wide one-hour blackout to raise awareness about global warming. Add to that their quest for carbon neutrality, innovative food-waste disposal program, and new Green Square, and you’ve got a metropolis well on its way to becoming the Emerald City of the Southern Hemisphere.

11. Barcelona, Spain

Hailed for its pedestrian-friendliness (37 percent of all trips are taken on foot!), promotion of solar energy, and innovative parking strategies, Barcelona is creating a new vision for the future in Europe. City leaders’ urban-regeneration plan also includes poverty reduction and investment in neglected areas, demonstrating a holistic view of sustainability.

12. Bogotá, Colombia

In a city known for crime and slums, one mayor led a crusade against cars that has helped to make Bogotá one of the most accessible and sustainable cities in the Western Hemisphere. Enrique Peñalosa, mayor from 1998 to 2001, used his time in office to create a highly efficient bus transit system, reconstruct sidewalks so pedestrians could get around safely, build more than 180 miles of bike trails, and revitalize 1,200 city green spaces. He restricted car use on city streets during rush hour, cutting peak-hour traffic 40 percent, and raised the gas tax. The city also started an annual “car-free day,” and aims to eliminate personal car use during rush hour completely by 2015. Unthinkable!

13. Bangkok, Thailand

Once known for smokestacks, smog, and that unshakeable ’80s song, Bangkok has big plans for a brighter future. City Governor Apirak Kosayodhin recently announced a five-year green strategy, which includes efforts to recycle citizens’ used cooking oil to make biodiesel, reduce global-warming emissions from vehicles, and make city buildings more efficient. Bangkok has also made notable progress in tackling air pollution over the past decade. Though the city’s pollution levels are still higher than some of its big-city Asian counterparts, its progress thus far is impressive.

14. Kampala, Uganda

This capital city is overcoming the challenges faced by many urban areas in developing countries. Originally built on seven hills, Kampala takes pride in its lush surroundings, but it is also plagued by big-city ills of poverty and pollution. Faced with the “problem” of residents farming within city limits, the city passed a set of bylaws supporting urban agriculture that revolutionized not only the local food system, but also the national one, inspiring the Ugandan government to adopt an urban-ag policy of its own. With plans to remove commuter taxis from the streets, establish a traffic-congestion fee, and introduce a comprehensive bus service, Kampala is on its way to becoming a cleaner, safer, more sustainable place to live.

15. Austin, Texas

Austin is poised to become the No. 1 solar manufacturing center in the U.S., and its hometown utility, Austin Energy, has given the notion of pulling power from the sun a Texas-sized embrace. The city is on its way to meeting 20 percent of its electricity needs through the use of renewables and efficiency by 2020. Austin also devotes 15 percent of its land to parks and other open spaces, boasts 32 miles of bike trails, and has an ambitious smart-growth initiative, making it a happy green nook in what’s widely perceived as a not-so-green state. To put it mildly.


Chicago, IL, U.S.

Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) is striving to make his hometown “the greenest city in America.” There’s lots of literal greenery: under his leadership, Chicago has planted 500,000 new trees, invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the revitalization of parks and neighborhoods, and added more than 2 million square feet of rooftop gardens, more than all other U.S. cities combined. And there’s plenty of metaphorical greening too: the Windy City has built some of the most eco-friendly municipal buildings in the country, been a pioneer in municipal renewable-energy standards, provided incentives for homeowners to be more energy efficient, and helped low-income families get solar power.

Freiburg, Germany

Home to the famously car-free Vauban neighborhood and a number of eco-transit innovations, Freiburg is a tourist destination with a green soul. The city has also long embraced solar power.

Seattle, WA, U.S.

Mayor Greg Nickels (D) has committed his city to meeting the emission-reduction goals of the Kyoto climate treaty, and inspired more than 590 other U.S. mayors to do the same. True to its name, the Emerald City is also planting trees, building green, and benefiting from biodiesel and hybrid buses.

Quebec City, Canada

Dubbed the most sustainable city in Canada by the Corporate Knights Forum, Quebec wins big points for clean water, good waste management, and bike paths aplenty. C’est magnifique!


Posted on on June 7th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Activities at The UN – That Have Long Range Value – Do Not Appear In The UN Journal. Such As the June 6, 2007 Global Climate Events With ATHGO International and Mr. Miliband – The Activist Environment Minister Of the UK.

ATGHO International is a Los Angeles based organization with extensions to New York, Geneva, Washington DC, Yerevan, and Brussels. It is the Alliance Toward Harnessing Global Opportunities –…

Its mission is training, motivating, and inspiring future generations of international diplomats with skills and vision to cope with the rapid changes and challenges of the 21-st century. It was established in 1999, with the financial help of rich Armenian-Americans and is busy educating young people, globally, on issues of global dimension. It is only natural thus that its 2007 meeting at the UN, June 6-8, 2007, was for the purpose of: a conference on global warming and climate control titled – “Global Third Way: Becoming One with the Environment.”

They brought about 400 students and young professionals from 80 countries (250 academic institutions). The main focus was obviously Former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Project in a series of presentations, panel discussions, with the involvement of many ambassadors to the UN, scientists, think tank members, NGOs, others with involvement at the UN …

I visited the Wednesday panel: “Developing International Will.” Among the participants were the Ambassadors from Switzerland, Japan, Sri Lanka, Namibia and others. We heard from Swiss Ambassador Peter Maurer that his embassy will be the first to become carbon-neutral. He also wants to do away with much of the travel by aiming at computer conferencing. Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka stressed the need for bottoming up rather then a top down approach because the responsibility is ours – we cause the demand that pushes the private sector to answer the needs we create. So also in matters of Climate change – the answer must be a bottoming up approach.

Then a tremendous observation was made by a student from the University of Cologne. He said that President Bush, by raising the question of the lack of democratization in Russia, brought out The response of President Putin that he will redirect his missiles, and the result is that the G8 meeting has been highjacked and the original question of climate change will not be dealt with. He wanted to know what should be the reaction to such an intentional highjacking of the meeting. The question was deemed very relevant to the topic of the panel and all members addressed it in various ways – but the common line was that as long as the threat is felt more by one group then another there will not be a an honest dealing with the subject. The Swiss Ambassador remarked that we must realize that in the end we have a common future, and that is that it will take us at end – to heaven or to hell.

The students continued their questions and when I left to go to the other meeting I was convinced that in that room there were young people that are not ready to bend before the art of bamboozle that is common practice in today’s diplomacy. Also, I was quite convinced that the ambassadors that participated at this meeting came there to put their best foot forward. These were not people that stood there for hidden purpose. They explained the diverse angles of the problem and talked about how one could have these ends meet – this provided that there is a clear understanding that the problem is real and we are not entitled to pass it on to a next generation.

When I left, next speaker was going to be Princeton U. Professor Michael Oppenheimer who was a lead author of the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports of the IPCC and co-founder of CAN (Climate Action Network) – an NGO.

I had to leave because at 5pm, in a different corner of the UN basement, organized by the UK Mission to the UN, we were going to listen to the Rt. Hon David Miliband MP, UK Secretary of State for Environment, on whose tour to Washington DC and the UN in New York we posted two earlier notes. The fact that he came here, rather then be already in Heiligendamm, we considered as a matter of high importance to the follow up of the G8+5 Summit.

There were many Ambassadors present in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium. Even the Swiss Ambassador moved over here from the podium at the other meeting. There was also a sprinkling of press people – none from the major daily press – those folks never come to the basement – they usually write only what they pick up in the official UN press-briefing room (S-226) or by bringing up questions at the official “stake-outs” in front of the Security Council.

Retiring Exquisite British Ambassador Sir Emyr Jones Parry, chaired the event and the lectures title was: “Climate Change and Development: Promoting Low Carbon Growth.” The invitation also said: “The speech will examine the complex relationship between climate change and development, and look at how we can ensure that sustainable economic growth and a low carbon emission economy are mutually reinforcing and mutually exclusive. There will be an opportunity for questions afterwards.”

The backdrop of all this is the G8 meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, that has, under the leadership of the German EU Presidency, as its main topic of discussion Climate Change and as well will be touching upon Aid to Africa. Historically, it was under the UK EU Presidency, and at the Gleneagles, Scotland, G8 meeting, in 2005, and under the NGO push coming from popular activists Geldorf and Bono, that both those topics got on the G8 agenda, and the link between those topics is Sustainable Development.

Further, April 17, 2007, the UK Presidency of the UN Security Council, brought another first – the so called “Open Discussion on Energy, Security, and Climate Change,” which again was looking at security problems in Africa that result from global warming/climate change induced in other regions of the globe but having terrible effects upon Africa. Again, sustainable development was seen as a way out of this dilemma.

But, as said, this year’s G8 is under German leadership, and Tony Blair can only try to give a supporting hand to Mrs. Merkel’s efforts. Nevertheless, the leaders of the UK feel that these subjects are very much at the heart of UK Foreign Affairs interest, as well as at the heart of every other department in the British Government including the obvious Ministry for Environment. That is while everyone had his eyes on Heiligendamm, Mr. Miliband thought that trying to defuse USA opposition by talking to Washington political establishment about the need to continue negotiations on a post-Kyoto 2012-and-beyond regime for dealing with the needed decrease in CO2 emissions, with a follow up to the UN headquarters in New York, to speak with the ambassadors, the UN personnel, and the press that covers the UN. Mr. Miliband is also part of the establishment that has feelings of responsibility of the “richesse oblige” kind – that tells him and us that the common and differentiated responsibilities concept obliges the developed world to help the least developed part of the world. He also feels that the Doha trade round, whose prime purpose was to help poor nations develop, has stalled over rich country subsidies and this also impacts on Climate Change by interfering among other things with rational development of biofuels.

With above in mind, I am reviewing my notes for what novel nuances I could find on the June 6, 2007 evening at the UN.

First, from Sir Parry’s introduction we learned that this is not a subject of emissions alone – this is about environment policy, energy policy and the consequences and costs onf inaction. That the Security Council has specifically the responsibility to take position on these topics because there is no greater threat to security then the level of water rising because of global warming and the wiping out of whole UN Member States.

From Ambassador Parry we learned some dates, that to the best of my knowledge, were not made public by the UN yet. These are in September – with the UN Secretary-General to make a statement on the subject September 24th and a high level debate September 26-27.

Mr. Miliband delved right into the topic of development and the need to decrease the carbon footprint. He stressed that this is not an anti-growth approach, but a choice between low carbon growth and high carbon growth. His choice is clear and he stressed that it is based on Rio’s Common and Differentiated Responsibilities.

There are three reasons for the responsibility to help developing economies to achieve low carbon development.

(1) Climate Change effects all parts of the world – CO2 emitted in Bangalore is like CO2 emitted in Birmingham Alabama or England.

(2) Economic Development has the possibility to leapfrog in its development. There is no reason why a developing country now should repeat the mistakes that were done by previously developing countries.

(3) A post 2012 framework of commitments is necessary which collectively has to be a UN legal and binding framework. It has to be started by the G8+5 meeting.

Mr. Miliband went through part of the scientific data that shows how from a 280-300 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere of the pre-industrial era we got now to 425 ppm which led to a temperature increase by 0.7 degrees C
(1.5 degrees F) and what is worse – this increase that at first was slow – is accelerating now. This might have tremendous impacts in some areas, and he gave as an example Northern India where crop yields could fall by 75%. Also, deforestation results now in CO2 emissions that reach now 18-20% of total emissions.

* Above creates pressure for migration – WE Will Not Be Able To Adapt – We Will Have To Migrate, he said.

Mr. Miliband is adamant that we need to decrease energy demand and DECARBONIZE. He has no doubt that nuclear power is part of the energy mix – but he thinks that it will never reach a large part of the mix.

In Transport – a post-oil policy will lead to increase in biofuels, with inputs from energy efficiency and other technologies such as hybrids.

* Develop decentralized energy production including biofuels use, efficiency, wind, solar. Decentralization is specially advantageous in rural areas in developing countries.

The UK wants to build around 5 elements:

(1) Agreement to a long term goal needed to boost market commitment. President Bush also said it is needed and now we have to move to practical steps.

(2) A Carbon market with price on carbon and the backing of low carbon technologies. In this respect UNDP has already announced the creation of a new Carbon Credits Facility. see:…

(3) Carbon trading will bridge between countries. The World Bank will help with clean energy investments.

(4) Help dissuade deforestation.

(5) Help develop means for adaptation as it was asked at the Nairobi meeting of December 2006.

The bottom line is that 2007 is the last year to launch the negotiations for the post-2012 period and the G8 can help launch this and then to get it to the UN for general inclusion.

When the extensive Q&A period was started, it became obvious that with the many ambassadors in the room, they will be the ones to be favored for the questions.

The first was Mr. Peter Maurer, Ambassador for Switzerland. He pointed out the WTO mechanisms and linked them to the Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms and carbon mechanisms in general – saying that the beauty of these mechanisms is that they provide funding for development. This being a win-win.

The Ambassador for Mexico touched upon energy, Security, Climate Change and in Mr. Miliband’s answer we found the notion that Nations, and even parts of Nations, will in the end set their own way on how to generate low carbon energy. We found these ideas extremely interesting as he opened the way (a) to the possibility that there will be different ways of handling the problem – not just one agreed upon way, and (b) that doing something about climate change may take preference to Sovereignty in a dry way that things nations must have one central decision making center. What we read here is that States, Provinces, Territories etc., which are parts of a larger Sovereign Nation, may decide on their own way of contributing to solutions to the global warming problem – this being part of the stated US position so far as it mentions National Governments, but different from the US position when it might allow for separate ways of parts of a Nation.

Then, he continued pointing out that not all Nations are in the same situation – for instance Austria has already a 70% low carbon electricity generation infrastructure based on hydropower, but the UK has only 35% low carbon electricity.

Miliband points out that science, providing some solutions, has now shifted the old way of talking about the weather. We still talk about the weather, but now we might have the power to do something about it!
As Such:

* the business community has undergone now a fundamental shift, and wants a smooth and orderly change to low carbon.

* the political climate has changed. The green parties are involved. But there is a danger of backlash – and we saw the defeat of some Greens.

* there is recognition of the fact that development can be threatened by Climate Change. Me must thus line up market solutions and make the social justice parts of the Rio Declaration work.

The Ambassador from Uganda brought up the topic of transfer of Technology. Mr. Milbank insisted that the biggest drive will be for private sector investment. There will be a price on the carbon (the pollution) and it must be a just price. If it is too low there will be no incentive for change. Also, AID MONEY MUST BE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF A SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE.

To a question on biofuels Mr. Milbank he said that the emerging model calls for years of biofuels and that two questions will have to be answered:
(1) if the production is sustainable and (2) if the impact on other issues does not create negative aspects.

To look at the way Mr. Miliband, a youngish looking well centered presenter, made his arguments, there is really no reason to worry about his impact on the relationship with the US or with the UN, as one might have thought from the article in the Independent we brought up in:…

In effect he did not come to accuse President Bush, but rather to set the stage for a possible cooperative form that allows, under the aegis of the UN, after making sure that the problems are fully understood, a multi-ways move provided it goes in the same direction – a decarbonization of our energy systems in order to avoid horrendous future problems. Considering the article in the Independent, it really was far from the truth, at least at his presentation in new York. What he said in Washington we do not know, but we saw that he had enough to say in order to make the whole thing sound positive, and he allowed enough slack to economical skeptics.

To link back to the first part of this posting, the ATGHO meeting, we wish that his presentation had been available also to the young folks that were in that other, much larger, Conference Room. Those folks, after all, will be those to live with the consequences of actions or inactions at the UN. Mr. Miliband was not really a presenter that made another scientific background presentation. He rather, in a subtle way, tried to show how the world of international politics has the obligation and the possibility to do something about the problem – and the event gave pretty much the blueprint of things to come.


Posted on on March 14th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

“Kenya: We Are Not Obliged to Cut Carbon Emissions” is the title of an OPINION column in
“The East African” (Nairobi) OPINION column, March 13, 2007, by Grace Akumu, Executive Director, Climate Network Africa, based in Nairobi.

The United Nations Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol state clearly who has and who does not have obligation to reduce greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions. Industrialised countries have an obligation to reduce these emissions, which include carbon dioxide. Developing countries have no commitment to do so.

It was the 1992 Climate Change Convention that first stated that developed countries should commit themselves to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. It was subsequently realised that developed countries needed emissions reduction targets and in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was agreed to.

Under the protocol, developed countries undertook quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments, to 5 per cent below their 1990 levels by 2012.

Up to now, developed countries have not met their GHG reduction commitments. It is baffling that companies such as Tesco of the United Kingdom now want to impose GHG reduction conditionalities on those countries with neither Convention nor Protocol commitments to reduce their GHG.

TESCO’S MOVE to bastardise the Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol must be resisted at the highest levels, because it was not without a reason that developing countries did not take on GHG emission reduction commitments in 1992 and 1997.

It was realised that developed countries had over-industrialised since the Industrial Revolution of the 1840s and that historically and currenttly, they are to be held responsible for 75 per cent of the GHG emissions in the atmosphere that are thought to be causing climate change.

The Climate Change Convention takes cognisance of the state of underdevelopment in developing countries. It states that since “per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low, the share of global emissions originating from developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs.”

It is instructive to note that no country can develop without emitting GHG. The Convention, however, foresaw that some companies such as Tesco would be mischievous and put in a clause (pp 2) which states that: “Countries should enact effective environmental legislation, that environmental standards, management objectives and priorities should reflect the environmental and developmental context to which they apply, and that standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate and of unwarranted economic and social cost to other countries, in particular developing countries.”

KENYA’S FLOWER industry employs 2 million Kenyans directly and indirectly. The horticulture industry is the second foreign exchange earner after tourism, which accounts for 42 per of the country’s gross domestic product.

If European companies are allowed to ridicule the implementation of the Climate Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, it will be an understatement to say that Kenyans will have to bear disproportionate social and economic costs of climate change.

This is despite the fact that they are not responsible for this climate change and the Climate Convention and its Protocol still exempts them from making GHG reduction commitments.

Current World Development Movement statistics show that in January this year alone, one British citizen had already emitted what it will take 12 months for one Kenyan to emit in terms of GHG.

The Climate Change Convention further states: “Responses to climate change should be co-ordinated with social and economic development in an integrated manner with a view to avoiding adverse impacts on the latter, taking into full account the legitimate priority needs of developing countries for the achievement of sustained economic growth and the eradication of poverty (pp 4).”

In addition, “measures taken to combat climate change, including unilateral ones, should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade (pp 7).”

Unilateral and discriminative actions such as those of Tesco citing carbon air miles are therefore simply contributing to undermining the Convention and its Protocol. In fact, they confirm the fear of developing countries that industrialised countries want to use the Convention and the Protocol to curtail the development of the South.


Kenya: Now, World’s Biggest Solar Greenhouse Opens in Naivasha
by Catherine Riungu, The East African (Nairobi), March 13, 2007.

The world’s largest commercial project using solar panels for heating greenhouses has been launched in Kenya.

Based at Bilashaka Flowers in Naivasha, the Ksh40 million ($54,000) project is a joint venture between the government of Netherlands and a Kenya-based Dutch breeder, Van Kleef Roses Ltd. The only other country with a similar (but smaller) project is Germany.

The project comes hot on the heels of the carbon emissions controversy. Reports have emerged that the UK could drastically reduce imports from Africa under the “food miles” policy that seeks to reduce aeroplane contamination of the atmosphere.

Agriculture Minister Kipruto Kirwa said the project is testimony that Kenya is ahead of other flower producing countries in developing environment-friendly technologies. Three years ago, Kenya became the first country in the world to develop geothermal greenhouse heating technology at Oserian Flowers.

The global community is lobbying the retail chains to consider all carbon emissions from production to the point of sale, not just the distance travelled. The argument is that Europe produces more carbon than Africa and so it would be unfair to deny market access to its growers based only on the miles covered to deliver the produce.

According to Van Kleef director Judith Zuurbier, the solar panel is expected to increase production by up to 20 per cent by creating a better growing environment as well as to reduce costs incurred through kerosene heating. Equally important is reduction of carbon emissions from the kerosene as well as reliance on non-renewable energy.

Heating and lighting for greenhouses is required to prolong daylight since flowers require at least 14 hours of light per day as well as warmer temperatures at night.

And now the Kenya Flower Council wants the industry to shift to solar energy as the main source of heating for greenhouses as the sector fights to convince the world that flowers from this part of the world are produced in an environmentally responsible manner.

According to chairman Erastus Mureithi, the government could go into private public partnership with the council to assist the industry to switch to the technology, borrowing from the government of Holland, which has joined hands with Van Kleef to set up the landmark solar project in the country.

The council also wants the government to support the Ksh25 billion ($342 million) sector in developing a “green label” brand for marketing its produce abroad. This is aimed at countering the impending labelling of products that have been imported using aeroplanes.

“Since supermarkets in Europe intend to create awareness among consumers through the powerful tool of labelling, instead of fighting the move, we can turn the events in our favour by labelling our produce climate-friendly,” Mr Mureithi said.

Mr Kirwa asked the sector to give the government a proposal on how to develop large-scale greenhouse solar heating so that its implementation can be worked out.

Apart from its being a showcase for replication in other flower farms in the country, the Van Kleef project has the potential to draw growers from across the world as they tap natural energy.

Kenya has been a learning centre for the flower industry, as the country has one of the most successful horticultural sectors in the world.

South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda are among African countries whose delegations frequently visit Kenya to learn about management of the flower sector and to borrow expertise on setting up their own codes of practice.

According to KFC chief executive officer Jane Ngige, Kenya’s code of practice is internationally accepted and benchmarked against quality labels.

Among these are Eurepgap, the International Labour Organisation and the Flower Label Programme. Kenya is also in the process of getting accreditation from the Tesco Trade Sector Scheme.

Tesco, the biggest supermarket in the EU, is spearheading the “food miles” campaign, which is set to become the biggest challenge so far for the fresh produce trade.

Kenya is currently the leading supplier of cut flowers to the EU, with a 31 per cent market share. It has held this position since edging out Israel.


Posted on on February 26th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

 Global Warming Could Kill Uganda Coffee

Kampala, UGANDA: February 27, 2007. A rise in average temperatures of just two degrees centigrade would wipe out coffee in Uganda and other east African countries that depend on the crop as a key export, a climate expert said on Monday.

Scientists at a U.N. panel on climate change last month predicted that the world will warm up by between 1.8 and 5.4 degrees C on average by the end of the century, largely as a result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.

Higher temperatures are expected to cause drastic weather changes in many parts of the world, with most getting hotter.

“If we have an increase of 2 degrees centigrade in Uganda, coffee-growing areas would be drastically reduced to less than a tenth of their current size (in hectares),” deputy commissioner of meteorology, Philip Gwage, told Reuters.

The average temperature in Uganda’s coffee-growing area now is about 25 C (77 F).

He added that although there are no accurate predictions on local climate, a 2-degree rise was a “realistic expectation”.

“For coffee to grow you need certain temperatures (and) amounts of water. If temperatures go above certain limits, you would not be able (to grow it),” he said.

Gwage added that it would be the same for other east African coffee growers, but not top producer, Ethiopia, whose high altitude would keep the climate cool.


Coffee is Uganda’s top export. The country has become a key player in the production of robusta after a political crisis in former top African producer, Ivory Coast, cut production.

It is the continent’s second biggest grower after Ethiopia, which produces the highland arabica variety. Output is forecast at 2.7 million 60-kg bags in 2006/7.

Uganda’s fertile central areas enjoy good rains and mild temperatures, despite being near the equator, because of an elevation to over 1,000 metres above the sea level.

Gwage said that could change with global warming.

“Robusta, literally, would disappear except for in the highland areas. Central (Uganda) would lose everything.”

Unlike most of Africa, which is predicted to become parched as the world warms, Uganda would most likely get more rainfall from increased surface evaporation off the Great Lakes.

But that does not mean it would benefit from climate change, because the boost in rains needs to be evenly distributed, not erratic, as it increasingly is.

“Will (the rainfall) be spread over the growing season? If it is not, if it falls in one month (surrounded by) dry spells, then the benefits for agriculture are lost,” he said.

Uganda, one of Africa’s most well-watered countries, has suffered more droughts during planting seasons in the past 10 years than ever before. Floods, which destroy crops by washing them away and water-logging fields, were also common. Gwage urged farmers to use irrigation systems to store water for when the weather is dry. He also said more drought resistant crops like mango trees should be grown with coffee.


Posted on on February 1st, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

from the February1, 2007 edition of the Christian Science Monitor

A clearer global climate forecast – by Peter N. Spotts, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor.
A report coming Friday, tomorrow, February 2, 2007, will offer the strongest consensus yet on how the Earth will change:

By 2100, retired snowbirds will be joined by “sun birds” – who flee north to escape oppressively hot, humid summers not just in Miami, but Milwaukee as well. In the US West, deep mountain snows – currently a key natural reservoir for fresh water – will virtually vanish. And while the growing season will expand by about a month, urban gardeners will spend more time indoors as higher temperatures help boost smog at ground level.

Welcome to a world where the climate is, on average, 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than today.

That projection – more specific than any previous one – is just one element expected to emerge this week as some 500 scientists from around the world gather to put the finishing touches on a major report on the Earth’s climate and what the future may hold for it as humans continue to pump heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

It’s the first of three volumes set for release this year by the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Details in the document, which focuses on climate change, remain closely held until its release Friday morning. Leaks to the press based on earlier drafts, however, suggest that the researchers are projecting temperature increases of between 2 and 4.5 degrees C (3.6 and 8.1 degrees F.) by century’s end if carbon-dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reach twice their preindustrial levels. Their “most likely” increase is expected to be about 3 degrees C.

“Three degrees is very significant warming,” acknowledges Thomas Delworth, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J.

Of course, projecting future climate is a dicey proposition. High-powered computers are loaded with mind-numbing programs whose math represents a range of key processes in the oceans, atmosphere, and land. Scientists enter a few key numbers at start-up, such as the sun’s radiation level and levels of greenhouse gases at a beginning time, then press “enter.”

Still, “we’re not completely sure of a lot of the physics, and it’s hard to build a model for something you don’t understand,” says William Collins, a modeler at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “We don’t know the trajectory for man-made greenhouse gases over the next century.”

To finesse that issue, the IPCC has developed a range of emissions profiles, based on different assumptions about population and economic growth and the pace of adoption of new technologies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The emissions profile that yields the 3-degree C warming “is fairly optimistic,” Dr. Collins says. It assumes rapid economic growth, a rapid influx of new, more efficient technologies, and a world population that peaks mid century, then starts to decline. Based on past and current emissions, many climate scientists say that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 by century’s end is a done deal.

One rule of thumb: Wet areas will get wetter and dry areas will get drier. The most rapid warming is expected over the continents. In essence, climate bands move north, giving Wisconsin the kind of summers once limited to places like southern Mississippi. Warming in northern North America and north-central Asia would be largest in winter. Already, disappearing sea ice, melting permafrost, shifts in vegetation, and melting Greenland ice are signaling the changes under way in the far north.

One likely hot spot: coastal areas around the Mediterranean Sea.
“Every model projects strong drying over the Mediterranean, from Spain through the Middle East,” Dr. Delworth says. The region could range on average from 4 to 8 degrees F. warmer in the summer than today, sending any remaining beachgoers on the Costa del Sol scrambling for cooler climes. “That’s a very profound impact” on a geopolitically important part of the world, he adds.

Another region of concern is Africa’s Sahel, which has seen a series of severe droughts over the past 30 years. Yet Delworth acknowledges that the models fail to agree on whether the drying trend of the past 30 years will continue.

For the US, global warming will squeeze more moisture out of the already dry Southwest. “But the consensus among models is not as high,” he explains. One reason: Models are still having a hard time capturing the wind patterns that bring seasonal monsoons to the region.

Mountains in the US West will still get precipitation in winter, but it’s more likely to be rain than snow. Throughout the country, when it rains, it will pour, as extreme-weather events become more common – raising the likelihood of floods and giving fits to Western water managers.

In one study published last year, researchers from the US and Australia compared projections from several models and found that climate extremes – ranging from more frequent and intense heat waves and fewer frost days to longer dry spells and heavier rainfall – appear around the globe, although consensus among the models begins to evaporate when they tried to look at regional patterns.

One broad area that may receive more scrutiny: the portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado that host vast expanses of sand dunes. A recent study by researchers at the University of Nebraska and the University of Wisconsin notes that many of these dune systems are on the knife’s edge of mobilization, and could begin to wander across the landscape if moisture becomes much more scarce.


Posted on on December 16th, 2006
by Pincas Jawetz (


photography by Pincas Jawetz

George Clooney is a hero, here at since his coming out with Syriana, a movie we reviewed on December 31, 2005 –“The ‘Sopranos’ – “Munich’ and ‘Syriana’ On To Petrocollapse – ???

We realized immediately the stress on Middle East oil in these movies. We posted a second article mentioning “Syriana” on May 30, 2006 -“Hollywood – US Secret Weapon?”

Then following a meeting organized by Ambassador Bolton, we discovered Mr. Clooney’s attempt to do something about the people of Darfur. We had already noted in our postings that Darfur is just one more case of misery created by the curse of oil – this time it was China’s interest in Sudan’s oil that gives safe heaven to the Khartoum effort to rid itself of people, among its own citizens, whom they detest and whom they wish to see vanish. We printed Ambassador Bolton’s remarks, and our comments, as “What More Has To Happen For The Security Council To Recognize The Misdeeds of Sudan in Darfur?” which we posted on on September 15, 2006. There we see how Mr. George Clooney and Nobel Peace-Prize Winner, Professor Elie Wiesel, took on the case of the Darfurians. It was clear that they stepped in where the UN displayed impotence in its incapability to take of its blinders of “member-states sovereignty” making a mockery of its highly tooted “Resposibility To Protect” principle. (Please read the three above links.)

Now we learn that the very active “SAVE DARFUR COALITION” has linked with Mr. Clooney and had him organize a mission that took a delegation to Beijing and Cairo, with him at its head, and we are quite excited of the choices that were made, and which, as we shall see, remained under-reported at the UN.

The Coalition’s Executive Director is David Rubinstein who helped found the coalition in 2004 and has worked since to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur, and the misery in the neibouring Chad, the African Central Republic, and Uganda. With him works former US Ambassador, Mr. Lawrence Rossin, who leads the outreach to governments and NGOs.

George Clooney visited Darfur in April 2006, then in September 2006 appeared before the UN Security Council in the meeting that was suggested by Ambassador Bolton, and now organized the trip to Beijing and Cairo with the participation of Mr. Rubinstein, Ambassador Rossin, and David Pressman, a human rights lawyer and former aide to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The other stars in the delegation were: Ms. Tegla Loroupe, a Kenyan Olympic, World Champion, and record holder distant runner; Mr. Joey Cheek, American speed skater and Olympic gold medal winner; and Mr. Don Cheadle, the Academy Award nominee for “Hotel Rwanda.”

This delegation was perfect for its pupose. The involvement of the Olympians, at a time Beijing is preparing to host the world at the 2008 Olympics was not just an NGO mission – but a rather highly political mission. The Olympians can tell beijing that they will be at the cross-hairs of global public attention – obstructionism in Darfur will be amplified like with a megaphone, and misdeeds for African oil will be viewed with magnifying glasses.

The participation of Mr. Cheadle, as expected, did address us, the folks at home, with his reminding us of our inaction on Rwanda.

At request, the delegation has available:

footage taken of Darfurian Refugees in Chad at…

and Joey Cheek’s Heisman Humanitarian Award dinner Acceptance Speech at…


The meetings at the UN on December 15, 2006 were requested by the UN Mission of the Goverment of Canada.

These included an early meeting with the outgoing UNSG, Mr. Kofi Annan, and a Photo opportunity with him offered to the UN Press at 9:00am, followed by a Press Conference at 9:45am with the presence of the full delegation, but the active participation of only the four “cellebrities,” while Mr Rubinstein and Ambassador Rossin were available for interviews latter in the day.

All of the above was going on in New York, while in Geneva, on the previous day, the UN Information Service, Geneva, released a “2007 Work Plan for Sudan” that was just a routine UN funding of “Humanitarian & Recovery Assistance” request for US$ 1.8 billion worked out between the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Sudan’s so called Government of National Unity. This, as if money alone could solve the problem. Our hurting comment comes, that even though we clearly realize that the people of Darfur must be helped, we nevertheless clearly do not believe that help will, or can, come via goodness of Khartoum.

The agreement between Manuel Aeanda da Silva, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sudan, and Al Tighani Salih Fedail, Minister for International Cooperation of Sudan, mentions that some
US$ 300 million were already funded. The paper says that $563 million will be needed for “recovery and development.” I did not find there any indication that life for the Darfurian will be Sustainable and assured before expenditures can start. Though it seems that in South Sudan the peace process has led to improvements and people started to return to their localities, but this is not the case in the larger Darfur region.

Journalists in Geneva asked: “Why, as a major oil producer, Sudan was in dire need of funds to finance the peace process in South?” Mr. Da Silva pleaded that Sudan was not a major oil producer yet, but it was on the verge of becoming one. When he took up his post, three years ago, production in Sudan was bellow 200,0000 barrel a day. By December it would be 500,000 and in three years probably over 1 million barrels a day. That is why he was stressing that his proposal was a short-term investment.”

The tune was that there was banditism in Darfur, but in the areas controlled by the government there was peace – but really – those were not the areas that one was called to help!

To a direct question on whether the Government was aiding and abetting the militias in Darfur, the Sudanese Minister said “the Government was committed to respecting to the letter the peace agreement signed in Abuja. In Darfur the problem was not forces or the lack of numbers. “LOOK AT IRAQ.” he said, “With the thousands of US soldiers and Iraqi police they could not assure peace.” The problem was a political one. What had to happen was respect the signed peace agreement and to ensure that others did so. What do people mean by Janjaweed? There were people with arms in Darfur for a hundred years now. To carry arms was a social question. But for the last ten years the circulation of arms had skyrocketed and they could now buy Kalashnikows. There was an international black market in arms in the region, and it had to be stopped.”

Mr. Da Silva said, that in 2005 in Darfur they had 80% access, or they could reach about 80% of the 4 million they wished to reach. This November, they had 62% access in Darfur. In West Darfur they could not move freely on 95% of the roads. What they did was they used escorts, moved via private commercial trucks or flew in assistance. It increased the cost of the operation and decreased resources, but it did not mean that people would die tomorrow. He felt that the reporting coming out of Darfur was very superficial. The situation was truly complex and the reporting did not reflect that. Simplicity in reporting on Darfur could be very dangerous, he said.

We at believe that Mr. da Silva has half a point. The other half is that he does not mention that life in Khartoum is very well – thank you – and he, in UN diplomatic fashion, does not talk about the lack of real co-operation he gets from the Sudanese – so how can one talk of Recovery & Development that involves Khartoum, when all one can do is to try to save human life?
The International Criminal Court, finally, is ready to look now into the Darfur Attrocities, as presented these last few days by Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo before the Security Council. He announced on December 14, 2006, that he “is preparing evidence to specify individuals who appear to bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity including persecution, torture, murder, and rape.” The UNSC referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor in March 2005, and his first case focuses on incidents from 2003 and 2004, as he said: “Perhaps most significant, the evidence reveals the underlying operational system that enabled the commission of these massive crimes.” The Prosecutor announced that he is requesting the Government of Sudan to facilitate a visit by his Office to the Sudan in January 2007 to interview individuals that Sudan is holding in custody upon his rquest.
December 15, 2006, France admitted that its Mirage F1 fighter jets raided towns bordering Sudan’s Darfur region in order to prevent regional chaos. They have attacked and scattered a rebellion in north-eastern Central African Republic (CAR) that had probably also a devastating impact on civilians.

The French claimed that they are trying to prevent the “Somalization” of the region. “The region is crucial and we want to put a peace force in Darfur” said the spokesman for the French Defense Ministry.

After the opposition from the Sudanese President Omar El Beshir, the Un axed plans to put 20,000 UN peacekeepers in Darfur. It seems that troops from Chad and Gabon are helping the small French garison already stationed in CAR.

With above in mind, what can Gerge Clooney and his athletes expect to achieve?
The first fast answer is – that with their notoriety they attract the pubic’s attention to the problem.

The second, and deeper answer is that they had actually the capacity, from their own personal backgrounds, to try to talk sense to the Chinese and the Egyptians that received the delegation.

In effect they have actually a higher moral ground to stand on, then the UN officials that have achieved very little in years of talking about the problem, so their discussion partners may see a new angle that provides for benefits and an exit strategy also.

I will mention as a starter something that even the UN reporting found of value: The UN News Service
writes: “Mr. Cheadle, who was nominated for an Academy award for his performance in the film Hotel Rwanda, said the battle to protect Darfur’s civilians had reached a crucial stage, with the number of attacks on humanitarian workers and AMIS staff members rising sharply in recent months. In Rwanda there wasn’t anything done until there were bodies clogging up the rivers and the streets. That’s when the world decided it could no longer be ignored… By then. of course, it was too late.”

Ms. Loroupe called on AU and African Governments to become much more aggresive in protecting civilians, and “to see that this is taking place in their house. Darfur is in their house and they have to clean their house,” she said.

Mr. Cheek said that in their visit to Beijing, “they stressed to Chinese officials that the world would be watching their actions extremely closely in the lead-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will be held in the Chinese capital. I hope that Arab States and the likes of China and maybe even Russia will see that this is something in which we must all get involved to stop the crisis, and not see it as a Western ulterior motive,” he added.

Now even more to the point: The delegation went to China because China does a lot of trade with Sudan, obviously, Clooney of Syriana knows of the trade that buys oil and how this can destroy the population of the oil cursed country. Egypt has a long history with Studan – the neighbor “up the Nile river” that at various points n their common history was part of Egypt. Both countries, China and Egypt, have the most solid relation with the Sudan – China because of its developing the oil resource that provides the money to keep afloat the Sudanese rulling folks, and Egypt, a close Arab-Moslem country with common heritage with a part of the rulling Sudanese establishment.

Interesting, George Clooney remarked that both – in China and in Egypt – people told them that with the UNSG, Mr. Kofi Annan becoming available at the end of the year, he could be very effective to deal with the problem on the invitation of the Government of Sudan. So here we have the suggestion, which Clooney mentioned that he already discussed with Sudan, that if Sudan invites Mr. Annan to take over the mediation between the various interests, China and Egypt would back the idea.
George Clooney said also that “there are talks and more talks, on whom is to be blamed, but we believe that everyone we spoke to wants the killings to end.” Here Clooney gave a slap to the UN, but expressed diplomatically that he saw hope with China and Egypt. Obviously, this is no reference to Sudan.

He said it is not really important if 200,000 were killed or the number is two million – it is obviously beyond 9,000 and this is too much.
Further – “everyone agrees that when you survive meningitis, malaria, and other deseases, and walk through the desert to the refugee camps, you should be safe there.” This is humanitarianism if people are ready to think in humanitarian terms, pity that this is not the general case with all cultures, and we are not ready to accept this beyond saying that we wish it were true.
Reuters wanted to know what about the Arab nations? Will they back a force? and Clooney said that what he can say is that both, China and Egypt would back a UN force, The questions are “what helmets, who would be in charge, who would pay.” He added that recently a convoy of supplies was attacked, but Egypt has access to the region and will not be fired upon. He suggested a colaboration of forces from China and Egypt – we think – not a bad idea at all. Sudan is dependent on China and Egypt anyway – so what the problem? We should really think of the 2.5 million people – the number of potential victims if we do not take some drastic step.

SustainabiliTank wanted to know from Mr. Clooney if he brought up in Beijing the question of the impact of the oil money on these events. He answered me correctly that he did not go on a political mission – that is for others to do. Their mission was rather an attempt to increase the goodwill of the Chinese by showing to them that it is in their interest to cooperate in trying to save lives. I accept this judgement in full.


From the UN transcript – the follow up Press Conference with the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, the normal “Dayly Noon PC” following the above meeting with the Clooney team – there were the exchanges as quoted here:
“Question: At the Darfur briefing this morning, we were told that Egypt and China would like Mr. Annan to become some kind of peace envoy to Darfur, or to appoint one. I would like to know what Mr. Annan would think about that? Also, if you could give us a read out of the meeting this morning.

Spokesman: From the meeting this morning, the Secretary-General listened very closely to what Mr. Clooney and his delegation had to say. He very much encouraged them to continue with their efforts to raise awareness for Darfur, which is in line with his efforts to reach out to the NGO communities and non-traditional players, to continue raising the importance of the need for a solution to Darfur. As for the Secretary-General’s future plans, as he’s said a number of times, he plans to go underground for a few months as soon as he leaves office on 1 January. And then once he re-emerges, he will decide what his priorities are and what he wants to do.”

Question: Follow-up; there was also concern expressed about the transition. When Mr. Annan leaves, the impetus behind getting a solution in Darfur. Any comments on how the UN will continue?

Spokesman: Without wanting to speak for the next Secretary-General, I think the main issues on the agenda of the UN will not disappear on 31 December. The Secretary-General has briefed his successor on those issues, obviously including Darfur, and I think the Secretary-General-designate spoke to you about his priorities for next year. But we very much hope that there will be continued engagement on that front.

Question from Also, on the George Clooney team. My impression of what was said in the press conference was that he didn’t go there as an NGO, but he went as a group of interested people who were trying to show how much, for the Chinese, it would be important to do something before the Olympics. He also pointed out that Egypt was a ruling power in Sudan in the past. So he, in effect, went to talk to two Governments who have the strongest power over Sudan. So is there anything in that direction, not just as an NGO involvement, but something that opens the way to a political involvement that the Secretary-General picked up from his meeting with Clooney and his team?

Spokesman: All I can tell you is that the Secretary-General encouraged Mr. Clooney to go on with his efforts. And if you look at the statement the Secretary-General made about two weeks ago at the Human Rights Watch event, he was very clear, in that those countries with strong political and economic ties with Khartoum should use their influence in a positive way.

The problem with bringing George Clooney in as a speaker on Darfur, as we could see even at the press conference at the UN, is that some of the ladies, be they even salted correspondents from serious media,
is the celebrity aspect – bordering with idolatry – and there was at the UN in effect an unusual competition for the right to ask questions from him. To show this aspect I bring here what METRO had to say today:



Posted on on October 7th, 2006
by Pincas Jawetz (

for the International
Criminal Court
For more information, contact:
Sally Eberhardt
Director of Communications
Tel: +1-212-687-2863, ext. 17
E-mail:  eberhardt at

Media Advisory – 6 October 2006

President of the ICC to Address UN General Assembly on Monday

WHAT: On Monday, 9 October 2006, the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Philippe Kirsch, will present his second annual report of the ICC to the United Nations General Assembly. Judge Kirsch will be addressing the General Assembly about the Court’s activities and planning during 2005-2006. This address will provide an update to the Court’s 3 August 2006 report [UN Doc. A/61/217] which stressed the crucial need for cooperation from States, the UN and other international organizations in ensuring the ICC’s future success, especially with regard to executing ICC arrest warrants: “Over one year has passed since the Court issued its first warrants of arrest and the five subjects of the warrants remain at large. If trials are to be held, States and international organizations must assist the Court by arresting and surrendering those persons and others for whom warrants are issued in the future.” The report also discusses the continuing difficulties the ICC is having in conducting investigations in on-going conflict situations like Darfur and provides updates on the status of the Court’s first three cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Sudan.

WHEN: Monday’s address by Judge Kirsch is due to start at approximately 12:00 pm (EST) in New York. If delayed, it will open the afternoon session of the Assembly at 3:00 pm (EST). The President’s previous address to the Assembly took place on 8 November 2005.
The President’s address will be webcast on the UN’s website at:
WHO: Judge Philippe Kirsch (Canada) was elected as an ICC judge from the Western European and others Group of States (WEOG) in February 2003. He was then elected to serve as President of the ICC in March 2003. In addition, he was assigned to the ICC Appeals Division along with Judge Georghios Pikis (Cyprus), Judge Navi Pillay (South Africa), Judge Sang-hyun Song (Republic of Korea), and Judge Erkki Kourula (Finland). In 1998, Judge Kirsch served as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole of the Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. He was also Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court (1999 to 2002).
# # #

Important notice: The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) is not an organ of the International Criminal Court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, does not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts.