Millennium Project

Emerging Environmental Security Issues
- Monthly Reports -
Items identified between August 2002 and December 2005
for items since January 2006, please see the webpage Environmental Security Monthly Reports

The purpose of this study is to assess worldwide environmental-related issues in order to identify and analyze events that might trigger future international environmental treaties, conventions, or protocols and/or modifications to the existing ones.

Your views on these items and/or your suggestions of additional items are most welcome. Please email Elizabeth Florescu at

The Millennium Project defines environmental security as environmental viability for life support, with three sub-elements:
· preventing or repairing military damage to the environment,
· preventing or responding to environmentally caused conflicts, and
· protecting the environment due to its inherent moral value.

December 2005
November 2005
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August 2005
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December 2004
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December 2003
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August-September 2003
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December 2002
November 2002
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August 2002

December 2005

Montreal Conference on Climate Change Reached New Agreements

Thirty decisions were reached during the first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1) that was held November 29 to December 9, 2005 in conjunction with the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 11), which reached 14 decisions. This package of decisions was named the "Montreal Action Plan" by Stéphane Dion, President of COP 11 and COP/MOP 1. The Plan is a "clear roadmap" for international cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to develop approaches to cope with consequences of climate changes. It also has established a forum to find innovative solutions. The complete listing of these decisions is available at Decisions adopted by COP11 and COP/MOP1. Some highlights include:
· The Marrakesh Accords were accepted at COP/MOP 1 as a "clear rulebook" of the Kyoto Protocol that sets the framework for the Protocol's implementation and enforcement, including a system for an effective global carbon market. A complex compliance regime was accepted and members of the compliance committee were elected to strengthen Kyoto's Parties' accountability in meeting their emission reductions targets. A review for improving the Kyoto Protocol will be formally launched at next year's UNFCCC meeting.
· There are two mechanisms for developed countries to earn greenhouse gas emission credits: 1) The Clean Development Mechanism gives developed countries emission credits for investing in sustainable development projects in developing countries. (Developed nations have pledged over $13 million for this mechanism to be expanded in 2006-07.); and 2) The Joint Implementation mechanism gives developed countries emission credits for investments in low greenhouse gas emissions projects in other developed countries (in particular in transition economies).
· Negotiations for new emissions reduction targets for developed countries in the post-Kyoto period (2013-2017) were approved to begin May 2006. This is to ensure that negotiations are concluded in time to avoid any gap between the first phase and the second phase beginning in 2013.
· A Five Year Plan of Action on Adaptation addresses concrete steps to identify climate change impacts and measures to adapt to it --mainly for developing countries. A one-year process to define how the Adaptation Fund will be managed and operated was approved.
· COP requested the Global Environmental Facility to consider adding carbon capture and storage technologies to those areas receiving financial support. International cooperation in developing, adopting, and transferring green technologies was a theme heard throughout the meetings.
· Agreement was achieved to launch a dialogue and series of workshops in 2006 on strategic approaches for long-term global cooperative action to address climate change that might result in a more inclusive UN climate pact (including the U.S. and China). The U.S. agreed to join talks in the future, as long as mandatory emissions targets were not on the agenda.

Approximately 2,800 government officials and 5,800 representatives of UN organizations, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations attended this comprehensive overview of the world's state in addressing climate change, witnessed by 817 accredited members of the media. More than 120 ministers and other high-level government officials delivered statements, along with senior representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, UN bodies and specialized agencies, and other relevant groups. The reports of 140 NGO "side" sessions can be found at
United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 11 and COP/MOP 1)
Summary Of The Eleventh Conference Of The Parties To The UN Framework Convention On Climate Change And First Conference Of The Parties Serving As The Meeting Of The Parties To The Kyoto Protocol: 28 November - 10 December 2005 (The report begins on the third page of this source at the heading "REPORT OF COP 11 AND COP/MOP 1")
UN conference agrees on future steps to tackle climate change
Climate change: successful conclusion of UN Conference in Montreal - statement by Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas

UN Creates Peacebuilding Commission for Post-Conflict Situations

The UN established a Peacebuilding Commission to prevent countries emerging from conflict from falling back into conflict. The 31-member new Commission will be an intergovernmental advisory organization with membership composed of seven Security Council members (including the five permanent members), seven members of ECOSOC, five top financial contributors to the UN, five top providers of military personnel and civilian police to UN missions, and an additional seven members elected by the General Assembly, with special consideration for States that have experienced post-conflict recovery. The Commission will act by consensus, proposing integrated strategies for improving the UN actions of stabilization and recovery in post-conflict situations. The UN reports that about half of all conflicts over the past 20 years were "re-conflicts" - conflicts that recurred within five years after peace accords.
UN establishes new body to prevent countries from sliding back into war
Secretary-General's remarks on the General Assembly endorsement of the Peacebuilding Commission-- New York, 20 December 2005
The Peacebuilding Commission--Draft resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly. A/60/L.40, 14 December 2005

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

Very Low Cost Chemical Sensors for Environmental Monitoring
Electrical engineering Prof. Vivek Subramanian at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed a technique for inexpensively producing arrays of chemical sensors, using organic semiconductors and ink-jet printing. Based on organic transistors, the array of sensors mimics the behavior of the human nose, differentiating among toxins in air or water. This approach would cut the cost of such sensors from several hundred dollars per unit to about 30¢. As a result, more nearly ubiquitous toxin monitoring will be possible.
Cheap Chemical Sensors. Electronic "noses" made from printed electronics could detect toxic chemicals inexpensively
By Kevin Bullis, MIT Technology Review, December 1, 2005,303,p1.html

Small Robotic Helicopters for Reconnaissance
Scientists from the University of South Florida have been surveying hurricane damage with a miniature battery-powered robot helicopter developed by iSENSYS, a spin-off from like90 LLC. This unit can operate by radio control at altitudes up to 300', over a quarter-mile radius.
USF mini-helicopters go "Back to Katrina"
Robotics Researchers Return to Examine Katrina Devastation With Small Unmanned Helicopters
Isensys website

Phthalates May Trigger Lupus
A new study at Indiana State University provides some evidence, in a mouse model, that phthalates may trigger lupus. In the study, only a certain strain of mice developed fatal cases of lupus after injection with a phthalate compound; much work remains to be done to clarify the possible connection.
Phthalate Linked to Lupus in Mice

Gulf Environmental Group Planned

Kuwait hosted a meeting on December 17-18 to establish a regional body to assess environmental damage and coordinate cleanup projects in the Gulf, including in Iraq. The meeting followed previous talks between officials from five countries: Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The chairman of Kuwait's authority for assessing compensation for damages from Iraq's 1990 invasion and occupation has announced that among the goals of the meeting is the establishment of a regional environmental rehabilitation advisory group, its objectives and scope, and to establish a program for regional cooperation. [Note: at the time of this writing, the results of the closed-door, three-day meeting were not yet available.]
Kuwait to host talks on clean-up
Kuwait to host talks on Gulf environment clean-up. Reuters, 06 Dec 2005

Two Viral Diseases Lie in Wait

A new genus, Henipavirus, has been created for the Hendra and Nipah viruses, causes of serious disease outbreaks in humans and livestock in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Bangladesh. Like avian flu, so far these diseases have not shown human-to-human transmission (the primary vector is the fruit bat; an immediate one is swine), and they do not appear to be as contagious in animal-human contacts, but the human death rate was 40% in a Nipah epidemic in Malaysia.
Deadly New Virus Draws Experts to "Hot Zones".
Bijal P. Trivedi, National Geographic Today, January 21, 2003
Hendra and Nipah viruses: different and dangerous. Nature Reviews Microbiology 4, 23-35 (January 2006) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro1323 (abstract; full article by subscription only)

Chinese Popular and Government Support for Environmental Concerns

Environmental awareness and anger seem to be increasing among the Chinese people, and even certain segments of the government are taking up environmental causes. Pocha (Dec 2005) writes, "A growing section of the Chinese leadership, led by Deputy Environment Minister Pan Yue, has been vocal in calling for China to make its economic policies more environmentally sensitive… Earlier this year, China's State Environmental Protection Administration took the unprecedented step of suspending work on 30 projects, worth more than $10 billion collectively, after they failed to meet environmental standards." There are now more than 2,000 grass-roots environmental NGOs in the country, many of which are now learning how to organize and empower themselves. Although the government is still focusing on high economic growth with little regard to environmental impacts, there are signs that this situation is changing. China recently announced that it would begin monitoring energy efficiency and encouraging cleaner energy production and use as its national income surges. Its National Bureau of Statistics is compiling an index to show each region's energy consumption per unit of GDP for publication every six months.
Environmental awareness and anger grow in China. Poisoned river had affected many directly
By Jehangir S. Pocha, Globe Correspondent. December 4, 2005
China to Monitor Economy-Wide Energy Efficiency
Army Strategy on the Environment

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Climate Change
Melting Permafrost Releases Methane Twenty Times More Dangerous for Global Warming than CO2
Permafrost covers much of Russia, Canada, and Alaska. As it melts, trapped methane gas is released, which is twenty times more effective in creating the greenhouse effect than is CO2. Scientists disagree about how much permafrost will be melted over what period of time; however, the phenomenon has not been properly factored into global warming forecasts. With less snow and ice, solar radiation that used to be reflected off the earth is now absorbed, which furthers the warming impact. New climate simulations using the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate System Model (CCSM) show that global warming may thaw over half of Northern Hemisphere's permafrost by 2050 and as much as 90% by 2100. This would alter ecosystems across the northern latitudes and might increase runoff to the Arctic Ocean and release vast amounts of carbon as well as methane into the atmosphere in greater volume than now released by fossil fuel usage. Canadian Arctic sea-ice cover has been reduced by about 24% in extent and about up to 50% in thickness since 1978, remarks Louis Fortier, chief scientist aboard the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Amundsen and director of several Arctic research programs. Even more alarming, he notes, since 2004 there are indications that the melting has begun to accelerate, with 2005 an all-time record minimum for sea ice cover. In discussing opening of the Northwest Passage for commercial navigation, besides the ecological implications, he warns about risks linked to pollution, as well as major problems of sovereignty and security for Canada.
The Year 2005 Hits the Record Books for Climate Extremes
Data from climatologists around the world show that 2005 is the record year on many counts: warmest year on record; worst Atlantic hurricane season for intensity, number, and consequences; hottest Caribbean waters ever; worst drought; and least perennial Arctic sea ice cover. The global mean surface temperature in 2005 is currently estimated to be +0.48 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14 degrees C, according to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) records.
First People Displaced Due to Rising Sea Levels
Over 100 villagers of the Pacific island Tegua, in Vanuatu, were relocated to higher ground to be protected from aggressive storms and waves considered consequence of climate change. The move, done under a project entitled Capacity Building for the Development of Adaptation in Pacific Island Countries, might represent a first example of formal mass-displacement as a result of climate change.
EU Not On Track Meeting Kyoto Requirements
A new study by the UK Institute for Public Policy Research warns that Britain and Sweden are the only countries in Europe that seem to be on target to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Of the 15 European countries that ratified the Protocol, 10 would miss their targets unless they take urgent action, while France, Greece, and Germany could fulfill their obligations only if planned polices were successfully implemented.
Most of Arctic's Near-Surface Permafrost May Thaw by 2100. National Center for Atmospheric Research, December 19, 2005
Arctic Feels the Heat from Climate Change
2005 - A year of record climate extremes
2005 on the way to becoming second warmest year ever
Vanuatu Villagers May Be First Climate Change 'Refugees'
Tuesday 06 December 2005-Pacific Island villagers may be first climate change refugees: UNEP (Audio)
UK study warns on Kyoto targets. Business Day, December 28, 2005

Codes of Conduct for Scientists to Strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention
States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention met this month in Geneva to conclude a three-year process designed to enhance the implementation of the Convention by adopting a set of principles to guide the development of codes of conduct concerning sensitive biological research. In view of present and future threats posed by biological and toxin weapons, States Parties agreed on a range of different approaches for addressing the codes of conduct function of national specifics and using existing mechanisms and frameworks whenever possible without impeding scientific discovery, or placing unnecessary constraints on research or peaceful international cooperation. Also, it was agreed that the codes and their underlying principles should be widely known and understood, and developed in cooperation with those concerned. States Parties to the BWC will meet again in Geneva, April 26-28 2006 for the Preparatory Committee and then November 20-December 8, 2006 for the Review Conference. [See also Time to Strengthen the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention in December 2004 environmental security report.]
States Parties To Biological Weapons Convention Conclude Meeting After Discussing Scientific Codes Of Conduct. UN News, 9 December 2005

Seventh Conference Of The Parties To The Vienna Convention For The Protection Of The Ozone Layer and Seventeenth Meeting Of The Parties To The Montreal Protocol On Substances That Deplete The Ozone Layer
The 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the 17th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (COP-7/MOP-17) took place in Dakar, Senegal, from 12-16 December 2005. Over 400 representatives from governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental and NGOs, academia, industry, and the agricultural sector participated. More than 50 decisions were adopted on a wide range of issues concerning phaseout of ozone-depleting substances, budgets, target years, and reducing illegal trafficking in CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other substances. Under the Protocol, developing countries have until 2010 to phase out CFCs and halons, and until 2015 to phase out methyl bromide. (The CFC phaseout year for developed countries was 1996.) Even if all targets of the Montreal Protocol are achieved, the ozone layer will not fully recover until 2065, according to research presented at the conference. This is 15 years later than initially estimated. A new report "Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System" of the Protocol's Technology and Economics Assessment Panel and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrated the interlinkages between ozone and global warming. Parties also agreed to defer until 2006 consideration of a U.S. proposal on multi-year exemptions for methyl bromide, and a European Community (EC) proposal for an amendment to the Protocol that would include an expedited procedure for adding new chemicals. The Eighteenth Meeting of The Parties To The Montreal Protocol: MOP-18 is scheduled to take place in late 2006. [See also First Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol Gives One Year Extension to Ban on Methyl Bromide to 11 Developed Countries in March 2004 environmental security report.]
Report of the Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Seventeenth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
Summary Of The Seventh Conference Of The Parties To The Vienna Convention For The Protection Of The Ozone Layer And Seventeenth Meeting Of The Parties To The Montreal Protocol On Substances That Deplete The Ozone Layer: 12-16 December 2005
With ozone layer as fragile as ever, governments agree sharp cuts in methyl bromide plus $470 million package for phasing out harmful chemicals (Press release)
Montreal Protocol Web site

Integration of Chemical Regulations (REACH) Approved by European Council
With minor modifications, the EU ministers have approved the proposed Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. The Council's position should be formally approved in May 2006, followed by a second reading by the European Parliament, and final decision expected in autumn 2006, for entry into force in spring 2007. Operational requirements of REACH are expected to start to be applied from 2008 onwards. REACH creates a single system for all chemicals (replacing about 40 existing legal acts) and will establish a new European Chemicals Agency headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, to manage the evaluation, authorization, and registration of the substances database. REACH will require manufacturers and importers of chemicals produced or imported in volumes over 1 metric tonne per year to submit a registration dossier to the European chemicals agency with comprehensive information concerning the safe use of those substances. Failure to register will prohibit manufacture or import to the EU. [See also REACH Draft Voted by the European Parliament and other related items listed in November 2005 environmental security report.]
REACH: Commission welcomes Council's agreement on new EU chemical legislation
Stavros Dimas, Member of the European Commission, Responsible for Environment policy
Speaking notes - political agreement on REACH

EU New Strategy on Waste Recycling
The European Commission proposed a new strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste, part of the seven thematic strategies considered under the EU's Sixth Environmental Action Programme (6EAP). The new strategy includes consolidating and updating existing legislation (including the 1975 Waste Framework Directive) and minimizing waste by using it as a resource. It will set recycling standards and will include an obligation for all 25 member states to develop national waste prevention programs. The new regulations and a first set of standards for waste recycling are expected to enter into force in 2008. National governments will then have three years to finalize their own waste action programs. [See also New EU Environmental Strategies in the September 2005, and Recycling Regulations in the EU in August 2005 environmental security reports.]
Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste
EU Waste Policy - The Story behind the Strategy [Note: the parts of the document that might be of most interest: 6.6. Simplification: fine tuning to improve implementation--Box 13. Changes to the regulation structure. (Pp. 22), Box 14. How the "end of waste" criteria work. (pp. 23), and 6.6.3. The distinction between recovery and disposal--Box 15. How to distinguish between recovery and disposal (pg 24)]

Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in the Indian Ocean
One year after the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a Consolidated Report for Countries Affected by the 26 December 2004 Tsunami was released that addresses capacity building requirements at regional, national, and community levels in 16 countries. It identifies the achievements, gaps, and specific actions still needed and the responsible authorities for those actions for building an effective warning and mitigation system for the Indian Ocean countries. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that a telecommunications network to provide a tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean is on track for completion by the middle of 2006. However, as of December 2005, there is no agreement on the establishment of a single alert center and the countries that have been conferring are going ahead with plans for purely national systems. [See also Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System to be Operational by the End of 2005 in August 2005, and Tsunami Triggers an Early Warning System for Indian Ocean and Beyond in January 2005 environmental security reports.]
Assessment of Capacity Building Requirements or an Effective and Durable Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in the Indian Ocean: Consolidated Report for Countries Affected by the 26 December 2004 Tsunami
WMO Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation
Tsunami Warning System on Track For Mid-2006 - UN
A year on from the Asian tsunami, satellites are aiding regional rebuilding
Asian Nations Fail to Agree on Regional Tsunami Warning Alerts
Researchers Warn of More Quakes in Southeast Asia
By Axel Bojanowski, Spiegel online, December 23, 2005,1518,392020,00.html

Satellite Technology Use for Environmental-related Issues Expands
Following the adoption of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Declaration by the ESA Ministerial Council, December 5-6 2005, new EU Member States can now be formally involved in the program. The ESA Council also reinforced full support for the GMES Program, which aims to provide the public and policy- and decision-makers essential strategic environmental and civil security information based on operational and integrated space, air, ground, and sea observations. The possible applications would include-but not be limited to-environmental monitoring, risk management and early warning, and climate and weather forecasting. GMES should deliver its first operational Service Elements in 2008. As pointed out at the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal, satellite technology could also play an increasing role in the efforts for monitoring greenhouse gas emission and developing new mechanisms to combat global warming. [See also Space Technology to Help Enforce Environmental Regulations in November and Climate Change--Improved Satellite Climate Change Monitoring in June 2005 and other related items on the same issue in previous environmental security reports.]
Integration Of New EU Member Countries Into GMES Programme Commences
Providing GMES services at the ends of the Earth - interview with Dr Charles Randell
ESA Council meeting at ministerial level
Montreal outcomes: forest focus could enhance role of space in combating climate change

UK Launches $8.5M Nanotech Risk Research
As a follow-up to the 2004 study into the risks and benefits of nanotechnology, the UK government's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced an $8.5 million research plan to identify long-term environmental and health risks from the technology. The new program should lead to a framework for containing any "unacceptable risks" associated with nanotechnology. The study had three foci, to: 1) understand the physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles; 2) determine the avenues of exposure to them; and 3) assess their possible human health impacts. The report describing the effort identifies 19 research objectives and describes ways in which they could be funded. [See also Progress on Establishing Frameworks for Responsible Nanotechnologies in October 2005, Nanotechnology Assessment Reports in March 2005, and New UK Study on Future Impacts of Nanotechnology in August 2004 environmental security reports.]
New Database of Nanotechnology Risk Studies
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington has just established an on-line database intended to provide information on nanotech risk projects worldwide. Although it currently contains U.S government-sponsored research, it is planned to be international and comprehensive.
Buckyballs Could Damage DNA
Using computer simulations, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University found that buckyballs bind strongly to DNA, distorting the strands, which could interfere with the DNA's function, disrupting replication and repair and increasing mutation rates. However, the researchers admit that only actual experiments could determine buckyballs' impact on DNA in the real world.
EPA Nanotechnology White Paper
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft paper that identifies gaps and research needed for better understanding the environmental and health implications of nanotechnology and for designing appropriate regulatory safeguards. After presenting the current state of nanotech, the paper suggests recommendations on next steps for addressing science policy issues and research needs and even indicates that the complexities of nanotechnology are too much for a single government agency to handle.
Nanotech risks: UK launches US$8.5m research plan
Nanotechnology. Health and Environmental Implications. An inventory of current research
Too Tiny for Trouble? Scientists Take a Look
By Barnaby J. Feder, New York Times, November 29, 2005 (by subscription only)
Buckyballs could disrupt functioning of DNA News Service Dec. 9, 2005
External Review Draft Nanotechnology White Paper

Reports to Review

Latest Reports of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Series
Ecosystems & Human Well-being: Wetlands & Water Synthesis, the fifth synthesis report by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), was launched at the opening ceremony of COP9 of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The report assesses the current situation of wetlands in view of strengthening the link between scientific knowledge and decision-making for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and setting future agendas for Ramsar. The report found that the degradation and loss of wetlands, as well as the status of both freshwater and coastal wetland species is deteriorating faster than those of other ecosystems.

Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Health Synthesis, a report by WHO, is the sixth (last) in the series of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reports. Examining the complex interdependence between the ecosystems and human health, the report assesses the current state of affaires, as well as the critical factors that might trigger future changes in ecosystems and the possible health implications. Pointing out the benefits reached over the past 50 years in adapting the natural ecosystems to benefit the human condition, the report notes that not all regions and groups of people have benefited equally from this process. Continued ecosystem degradation, with already serious consequences to human health, could grow worse over the next 50 years. Regions facing the greatest risks include sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, parts of Latin America, and certain areas in South and Southeast Asia, points out the report. [See also Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report in March 2005, Biodiversity Synthesis Report (MA report 2) in May, Desertification Synthesis (MA report 3) in June, and Environmental concerns increase opportunities and challenges for business (MA report 4) in July environmental security monthly reports.]
Note: The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) won the 2005 Zayed International Prize for the Environment, awarded for 'scientific and or technological achievement in environment'.
"Ecosystems & Human Well-being: Wetlands & Water Synthesis" launched at Ramsar COP9
Ecosystems & Human Well-being: Wetlands & Water Synthesis
Ecosystems and Human Well-being: General Synthesis
Human Health Under Threat from Ecosystem Degradation: WHO releases "Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Health Synthesis"
Human Health Under Threat from Ecosystem Degradation WHO Media Release
Ecosystem assessment wins top environment award

European environment - State and outlooks 2005
The European environment - State and outlooks 2005 report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) analyzes the European ecological footprint. Revealing that it takes 2.1 times the biological capacity of Europe to support Europe, the authors emphasize that Europe should reassess its consuming patterns and consider new policies that would take into account the disproportionate impact European present behavior has on the rest of the world's environment. With rich graphs and data, the report shows a comprehensive regional analysis as well as detailed analysis by country and sectors over time. For example, while in 1961, Europeans represented over 12% of global population with a demand on global ecological capacity of less than 10%, by 2002, Europe's population represented only 7% of the world total but its demand on global ecological capacity increased to nearly 20%. The report outlines some economic, technological, and policy strategies for addressing Europeans' ecological footprints without jeopardizing their quality of life. More detailed sub-reports on specific sectors and policies are to come next year.
The European environment - State and outlook 2005

Prospects for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Prospects for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, a study by the IEA, assesses the present state of affairs in research and potentials of hydrogen and fuel cells, and investigates several aspects related to future energy markets, innovative technologies and policies needed to promote the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier and fuel cells as motive devices in transportation and energy distribution systems for the next half century. Additionally to the analysis, it also provides four scenarios for a hydrogen and fuel cells transition, along with governance and decision-making suggestions for addressing the world's energy problems.
Prospects for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, 256 pages, ISBN 92-64-10957-9 (2005) (Press releases and summaries; book available for purchase)

The Future of Technology Assessment
The Future of Technology Assessment is a collection of three essays published by The Foresight and Governance Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It explores the issue of science and technology assessment and related policymaking from multiple perspectives and with a look towards a future that will be fundamentally influenced by the way science and technology will evolve and be addressed. It highlights the importance of making a clear distinction between handling basic and applied science. The first essay, Back to the Future: Revisiting OTA Ten Years Later, by Michael Rodemeyer, reviews technology assessment issues in the U.S. after the dissolution of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), pointing out that the rate of change and globalization make policy- and decision-making difficult to assess and to react to all possible implications of new technologies. Concluding that there is no institutional arrangement for technology analysis, the author contemplates the eventual necessity of an internal or external technology assessment capability. The second essay, This Won't Hurt a Bit: Assessing and Governing Rapidly Advancing Technologies in a Democracy by Daniel Sarewitz, analyzes the transition from conventional to real time technology assessment in the condition of democracy, of complex social settings, when S&T should reflect and serve the system of values of the whole community. The third essay, Paddling Upstream: New Currents in European Technology Assessment, by James Wilsdon, analyzes the science-society relationship, outlining the need and process of public participation in decision-making concerning science.
The Future of Technology Assessment

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November 2005

Human Security Proposed as Reorganizing Principle for the UN

The UN was organized 60 years ago around the principle of preventing national wars. Today it should be reorganized around the principle of addressing human security, which would reinvent global governance, proposes former Canadian foreign minister, Lloyd Axworthy. A UN cohesive response system able to rapidly deploy aid when and where necessary is needed now to efficiently respond to current civil conflicts and disasters.
Former foreign minister wants to "re-wire" UN
By Fabian Schweyher, The Budapest Times, November 21, 2005 (article available for a limited time on the website)

International S&T Information System Proposed

To help resolve the conflict between protecting intellectual property rights and maximizing social benefits from public investments in research around the world, the International Council for Science's (ICSU's) Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) has proposed the Global Information Commons for Science Initiative. This initiative was launched at the World Summit on the Information Society held this month in Tunis, Tunisia, after being formulated at ICSU's annual meeting held in October, in Suzhou, China. The international S&T information system would help develop and implement "new policy guidelines and legal structures that will promote collaboration in a variety of research domains... [and could produce] a productive balance between private research and development, and publicly funded open science," says Paul David, an economist at Stanford University.
Global project seeks to promote access to science
David Dickson, Source: SciDev.Net, 17 November 2005
The Global Information Commons for Science Initiative
Global forum for free sharing of research data planned

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

New On-the-spot Test for Avian Flu and Other Influenza Strains
Scientists at the University of Colorado are perfecting a new "chip" that can test almost instantly for 11 different influenza strains, including avian flu. The test device was already developed and tested for accuracy by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and researchers are working now to develop it into a user-friendlier on-the-spot test for influenza. Currently available technologies either take a long time to get a diagnosis of specific influenza strains; or, if giving faster results, do not differentiate among influenza strains.
New "chip" could provide quick bird flu test (article available for a limited time on the website)

Chinese Find 16 Native Toxin-absorbing Plants
Chinese scientists studied over 5,000 native plant species for their abilities to remove toxins (mainly heavy metals) from the environment. The five-year study identified 16 plants that could safely clean up pollutants such as arsenic or heavy metals, as well as techniques to process the resulting heavy-metal-absorbing plants so that they don't become another pollution problem. The study estimated that using these plants costs less than one-tenth as much as the current chemicals-based cleanup techniques. One of the scientists said that "genes from the species identified could be used to genetically modify other plants" and hence, could enlarge the scope and spectrum of pollution-cleaning plants.
China's five-year hunt for toxin-absorbing plants ends

Possible Cure for Bird Flu
A scientist from the Laboratory of New Veterinary Drugs at the Lanzhou Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Drugs, part of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, declares that he has used traditional Chinese medicine to develop a plant extract-hypercine -that can effectively treat poultry infected with the bird flu virus H5N1. The extract proved efficient in all cases tried on poultry and is now in testing on rats for eventual efficacy for humans.
Plant extract 'protects chickens from bird flu'

Genetically Engineered Vegetables as Vaccination System to Counter Bioterrorism
At a meeting of the G-7 and WHO to discuss weapons of mass destruction and avian flu threats, Italian researchers launched the idea of a "vegetable-vaccination" by incorporating pathogens' DNA into various vegetables' genetic strings (such as potatoes and carrots), which when eaten would help produce antibodies and boost the body's natural defense system against the pathogens.
G-7 and WHO Meet to Discuss WMD, Avian Flu Threats

New Promises for Flexible Solar Cells
Researchers at Wake Forest University's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials have developed an organic solar cell technology (cells are as thin as a coat of paint) with almost 6% efficiency in turning sunlight into useful electrical power. The new technology might be available to consumers in about five years. [See related item Flexible Plastic Solar Cells Converting 30% of Sun's Power into Usable Energy in January 2005 environmental security report]
Nanotechnology Center Makes Flexible Solar Cell Breakthrough

Infrared Radiation for Deicing Aircrafts Cuts Pollution
A system for cutting pollution by deicing aircraft with infrared radiation rather than chemicals is being further tested at the Oslo airport. This heat-inducing system replaces the present technique of spraying the aircraft with anti-freeze or glycol, which pollutes the environment. The InfraTek Radiant Energy Deicing System is built by the Radiant Energy Corp. of Port Colborne ON, and is already in use at Newark International Airport, and at Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport, Wisconsin, with a hangar under construction at JFK.
Pollution-Cutting Infrared System for De-Icing Aircraft Tested at Oslo Airport

Updates on Previously Identified Issues
Nanotech Health, Safety, and Environment Working Group Set Up by ISO/ANSI
A result of the inaugural meeting of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 229, Nanotechnologies, held in London, November 9-11, 2005, was the establishment of a working group on health, safety and the environment, to be convened by the United States within the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) framework. The group will work on standards for environmental issues involving nanomaterials. [See also ISO to Establish Standardization in the Field of Nanotechnologies in the October 2005 environmental security report.]
ISO Nanotechnologies TC 229 Meets in London
U.S. to convene Working Group on Health, Safety, and the Environment

Stockholm Convention Updates
The first meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), held in Geneva on 7-11 November 2005, determined that all five chemicals proposed for inclusion in the Convention (pentabromodiphenyl ether, chlordecone, hexabromobiphenyl, lindane, and PFOS) fulfilled the screening criteria as stipulated in Annex D of the Convention and also adopted a draft outline of the risk profile for the new POP candidates. The first meeting of the Expert Group on Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices to comply with the Stockholm Convention will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, 28 November-2 December 2005. [See also Sweden Calls for World Ban on PFOS Chemical in June 2005, New Chemicals Proposed to be Added to Stockholm Convention on POPs in May 2005, and Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in the April 2005 environmental security scanning reports.]
This month India has ratified the Stockholm Convention, considerably increasing environmental protection in that economically fast-growing Asian country.
Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC)
First meeting of the Expert Group on Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices, 28 November - 2 December 2005, Geneva, Switzerland
India ratifies Stockholm convention on POPs

REACH Draft Voted by the European Parliament
The draft REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) regulation passed the European Parliament on November 17th. Since just fewer than 300 out of more than 1,000 proposed amendments survived, the result pleased neither industrialists, nor environmentalists and the lobbying continues intensely on what might be one of the EU's most important pieces of legislation so far. As it stands now, the priority for screening potentially hazardous substances would be set by volume rather than by risk measures--as was the original plan. The British EU presidency is pushing to pass the regulation by the end of the year. However, that depends on the vote of the EU Council of Ministers due to meet on December 19th. If the Parliament's amendments are not accepted, than the bill might be sent back for a second reading and the debate would go on. [See also The REACH Debate Continues and other related listed items in October 2005 environmental security report.]
No thanks, we're European
Nov 24th 2005, Frankfurt, From The Economist print edition (by subscription only)
European Parliament backs REACH
FACTBOX - All about the EU Chemicals Reform Bill REACH

Global Environmentally Sound E-waste Disposal System is Needed
Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of Electronic and Electrical Wastes (e-waste) is a new program of action for the Asia-Pacific region aiming to achieve environmentally sound disposal of e-waste and to stop illegal trafficking of hazardous e-materials. The program is supported by UNEP Basel Convention Regional Centres in China, Indonesia, and the South Pacific (SPREP-Samoa) and focuses on capacity building at regional and national levels for best implementation of the Convention, assessment of the current situation and design of best strategies to cope with e-waste in the conditions of the region's rapid development. At the program's launch festivity, the need for developing an international e-waste recycling systems along with transparent information and monitoring mechanisms to ensure accountability was highlighted.
A new study, The Digital Dump: Exporting Reuse and Abuse to Africa, by the Basel Action Network, based in Seattle, reports that most of the computer equipment sent from the United States to developing countries as "aid" are not usable, creating environmental problems in already challenged places. Local sources say that the port of Lagos, Nigeria, receives 400,000 used computers a month, 75% of which are junk that must be disposed of, raising environmental issues. [See related items Two E-waste laws entered into force in the European Union of February 2003, and E-waste Management Directive Came into Effect on August 13, 2005 of August 2005 environmental security reports.]
Roadmap Set for the Environmentally Sound Management of Electronic Waste in Asia-Pacific under the Basel Convention
The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-Use and Abuse to Africa Report
Technology; Poor Nations Are Littered With Old PC's, Report Says (by subscription only)

Sunk Weapons Represent a Growing Health and Environmental Hazard
Tons of chemical weapons and ordnance abandoned at the end of World War II continue to litter the world's oceans, representing serious hazards to the environment and human health. There is no compulsory international legislation requiring full disclosure of dumping sites and long-term monitoring of those areas (the London Convention of 1972 is not retroactive and cannot affect acts that had already been executed). However, one would expect that the countries responsible would have moral obligations and common international customary law should demand action for cleanup and protection of humans and environment against the imminent hazards that those sites represent. [See also Chemical Munitions on San José Island, Panama in August 2004, and Ocean Dumping of Chemical Weapons a Continuous Threat in January 2004 environmental security reports.]
Decades Of Dumping Chemical Arms Leave A Risky Legacy
Special Report, Part 1: The Deadliness Below,0,2199000.story
U.S. not legally bound to reveal dump sites
Contributed by: arch_Stanton, Infoshop News, October 31 2005 (article stored for a limited time on the website)

Climate Change Updates
Energy and environment ministers attending the G20 climate summit in London advocated more implementation of "clean technologies" than use of targets to tackle climate change. The 'G20' represents the nations that emit the most greenhouse gases. Global warming induced by human activities appears also to be responsible for rising global ocean levels twice as fast today as they did 150 years ago, according to a Rutgers (the State University of New Jersey) study. The ocean has been rising almost two millimeters per year in the last 200 years compared to a steady one millimeter annually for the previous 5,000 years. See also further in this report item 6.2 Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions, a comprehensive report on the implications of climate change.
Note: The Eleventh Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the first Meeting of the Parties (MOP 1) to the Kyoto Protocol, is currently going on, from 28 November to 9 December 2005 in Montreal, Canada. About 10,000 delegates from 189 nations are participating. The December environmental security report will report on the outcomes.
G20 climate summit pushes technology not targets
Global Warming Appears to Double Rate of Sea Level Rise
United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 11 and COP/MOP 1)

UN Tsunami Early Warning Systems Extended to Mediterranean, Northeast Atlantic
As part of a global tsunami warning and mitigation system, UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) launched the plans for a system for the North-Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean and connected seas. At the first meeting of the new system's Intergovernmental Coordination Group, experts from 23 Mediterranean and Northeast Atlantic countries identified the key technical needs for the system and adopted an action plan for 2006-2007 with the aim of having an initial operational system in place by December 2007. Beyond those in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, planning is underway for one in the Caribbean. [See also Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System to be Operational by the End of 2005 in August 2005, and Tsunami Triggers an Early Warning System for Indian Ocean and Beyond in January 2005 environmental security reports.]
Tsunami early warning system for the Mediterranean and Northeast Atlantic launched in Rome
UN tsunami early warning systems extended to Mediterranean, Northeast Atlantic

Space Technology to Help Enforce Environmental Regulations
Space observations have become a major tool for monitoring environmental change, helping policy making, developing adequate strategies, and assisting enforcing environment-related regulations. The European Space Agency (ESA) is participating in the climate change summit in Montreal, to share results from satellite-based forest mapping services developed to support the Kyoto Protocol. Another ESA project, Globwetland, supports the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands by developing a global wetland information service using satellites. ESA's project called CONTRAILS is a satellite-based service to monitor daily contrail and cirrus cloud generation by airplanes over Europe and the North Atlantic for a detailed assessment of the greenhouse impact of aviation-induced contrails. The project results are expected at the beginning of 2006. ESA and the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) signed an agreement of cooperation for using Earth Observation data in support of the information services of the EU. This will enhance the policy support role of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security system. [See also Climate Change--Improved Satellite Climate Change Monitoring in June 2005 and other related items on the same issue in previous environmental security reports.]
ESA participating in UN's Montreal summit working for a better atmosphere
Satellites support Kyoto Protocol through forest mapping service
Space service for wetlands protection on show at Ramsar COP
Implementing European Space Policy: Key ESA/EC agreement on Earth Observation data signed today
Earth from Space: Contrails over the United States

Bird Flu Updates
Although much is going on worldwide on this issue, the following are some noteworthy activities and updates on avian flu: The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and UNEP are developing a bird flu early warning system based on mapping the different migratory birds' itineraries and timing. This would alert countries and communities and would provide advice on potential hot spot areas, increasing the possibility of preparedness and strategy development.
The number of H5N1 human infections is rising in Asia, and the disease seems to be spreading in animals in Asia. It has also been identified in parts of Europe and North America. World health officials from more than 100 nations met November 7-9 at WHO headquarters in Geneva, to design a concrete global action plan to counter the threat of a possible avian influenza pandemic among humans. The plan outlines a six-point global action plan for countering any eventual pandemic: improved control at source; rapid detection and response; rapid containment; building and strengthening national pandemic preparedness and response plans; integrated cross-sector country plans for coordinated technical and financial support; and factual and transparent communication.
Strategies for combating the avian flu were also on the agenda of the G-7 and WHO meeting on global health risks and threats of WMD, held in Rome.
The seven member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation agreed to create two regional centers to detect and respond to natural disasters and emerging health threats such as bird flu. A regional center for disaster preparation, emergency relief, and rehabilitation will be set up in India and the disease surveillance center will be in Bangladesh. Member countries will also develop a regional strategy for facing infectious diseases.
While these meetings and strategies are focusing mainly on human health, veterinarian and environmental scientists, emphasizing the interconnectedness between the nature of animal and human health, are advocating that maintaining healthy ecosystems is the best and most important strategy of defense against pathogens. [See also Avian Flu Update in October 2005 and other related items on the same issue in previous environmental security reports.]
See items New On-the-spot Test For Influenza and Chinese Might have Found Possible Cure for Bird Flu above for potential detection and cure.
Bird flu: UN-sponsored conference draws up six-point action plan
G-7 and WHO Meet to Discuss WMD, Avian Flu Threats
South Asia to set up disease and disaster centres
Pandemics Signal the Urgency of Achieving One Health
New Avian Flu Early Warning System Based on Migratory Bird Maps

GM Food Protein Revealed to Cause Allergic Lung Damage in Mice
A study in Australia has revealed that subtle structural changes may occur when genetic modification is used to transfer a protein from one species to another. An anti-pest pea protein, coded for by a gene introduced from a bean, caused unexpected immune effects in mice. It turns out that when the transferred gene is expressed in the new organism, slight modifications may occur in the resultant protein, which is then different enough to trigger an immune response. Mice who ate the pea seed and then were exposed to the new protein developed skin reactions and mild lung tissue damage not seen on exposure to the original bean form of the chemical. [See also GMOs Controversy Continues in July 2005 and other related items on the same issue in previous environmental security reports.]
GM pea protein causes allergic damage in mice

Reports to Review
Underwater Sounds from Human Sources Endangering Marine Life
A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sounding the Depths II: The Rising Toll of Sonar, Shipping and Industrial Ocean Noise on Marine Life, is a comprehensive overview of the scientific record on the impact of man-made underwater noise on marine life. It shows that increasing human marine activity-industrial, commercial, and military-became life threatening to whales, dolphins, fish, and other marine species. The report reviews worldwide incidents of mass whale strandings related to military activities, and the oil and gas industry; maps the "hotspots" affected by different human activities; presents the latest scientific findings on noise and whale strandings; and suggests several measures for reducing the impacts of human-made ocean noise. The recommendations include geographic and seasonal restrictions on intense noise from military sonar and seismic air guns; better monitoring and marine life research; stronger international regulations and enforcement concerning marine life protection; and technological improvements to reduce sonic damage.
Another report, produced by the Convention on Migratory Species and UNEP's Regional Seas Programme, estimates that noise pollution linked with underwater sonar and military maneuvers is putting at risk over 4% of marine species. [See also Coalition Urges UN to Consider Legislation to Curb Harmful Ocean Sounds in June 2005, Scientific Models Could Help Navy Avoid Whales During Sonar Tests in February 2005, European Parliament Resolution to Protect Whales From Sonar in October 2004, and Research Confirms Military and Industry Sonar Harms Whales of July 2004 environmental security reports.]
Sounding the Depths II. The Rising Toll of Sonar, Shipping and Industrial Ocean Noise on Marine Life
Fishing Nets Major Risk for Small Cetaceans

Climate Change Impact on Human Health
Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions (CCF), a three-year study by the Climate Change Futures Project at Harvard Medical School's Centre for Health and the Global Environment, is a comprehensive analysis of trends and implications of global warming in several areas: economy (financial, and impact on developing nations), environment (including exacerbating freaky weather); health (spreading and intensifying diseases); and two potential scenarios to outline possible impacts of climate change. The novelty of this study is the analysis of the direct impact of climate change on human health in addition to environmental and economic impacts that are the focus of most other studies. The report concludes that global warming threatens humans and ecosystems alike, particularly if the frequency of extreme weather events increases. It also offers some recommendations of policies and measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the strategies of adaptation and mitigation of climate change effects.
Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions

Recent Reports on Energy Issues
Renewables 2005: Global Status Report
Renewables 2005: Global Status Report published by Worldwatch Institute, is a comprehensive overview of today's global renewable energy status and provides trends and estimations, as well as a look at emerging renewable energy technologies and policies. According to the report, government support for renewable energy is growing rapidly, with at least 48 countries (including 14 developing ones) already having some type of renewable energy promotion policy.
Renewable Energy Markets Show Strong Growth - REN21 Releases "Renewables 2005: Global Status Report"

Target 2020: Policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU
Target 2020, a new report by the Wuppertal Institute in Germany, outlines concrete steps that would allow the EU to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to a third of their 1990 level, by 2020. The recommendations include adoption of comprehensive climate policy strategies at regional and national levels, consisting of mandatory regulations promoting energy efficiency and renewables. To illustrate the analysis, the report compares two scenarios over the period 1990-2020: The "Business-as-usual" scenario--to be avoided, and the recommended "The Policies and Measures (Target 2020)" scenario, which implies high energy-efficiency strategies and policies.
Target 2020: Policies & Measures to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU

World Energy Outlook 2005 -- Middle East and North Africa Insights
The World Energy Outlook is accepted as the most comprehensive source of statistics, projections, and analysis in the energy sector. If energy trends follow the business as usual policy, Middle Eastern and North African oil and gas resources seem critical for meeting the world's future energy needs. This year's World Energy Outlook focuses on whether the energy production from these key regions will be able to satisfy global demand over the next 25 years. It assesses energy demand and supply trends for the entire regions; analyzes the implications of these trends for global energy markets, international oil and gas prices and energy security; presents a "Deferred Investment Scenario" and its consequences; and reviews the region's power and water desalination sectors.
World Energy Outlook 2005 -- Middle East and North Africa Insights (for purchase)

Back to top

October 2005

Progress on Establishing Frameworks for Responsible Nanotechnologies
ISO to Establish Standardization in the Field of Nanotechnologies
The International Organization for Standardization established in June 2005 the Technical Committee for Nanotechnologies (ISO/TC 229) with Chair and Secretariat in the UK. The scope of ISO/TC 229 is to produce standards for "classification, terminology and nomenclature, basic metrology, characterization, including calibration and certification, risk and environmental issues." The first meeting of the new Committee will be held on 9-11 November 2005 in London, organized by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
Nanotechnologies - inaugural meeting
Committee participation

New Nanotechnology Risk Assessment Efforts
Industry/Environmentalist Cooperative Effort on Nanotechnology Risks
DuPont and Environmental Defense recently agreed to collaborate on a framework for the responsible development, production, use and disposal of nanomaterials. According to a statement, its intent is "to define a systematic and disciplined process that can be used to identify, manage and reduce potential health, safety and environmental risks of nano-scale materials across all lifecycle stages. This framework will then be pilot-tested on specific nano-scale materials or applications of commercial interest to DuPont".

Low Environmental Risk from Nanomaterial Manufacturing
A new study from Rice University compares the environmental and health risks associated with the production of five nanomaterials--single-walled carbon nanotubes, buckyballs, zinc selenide quantum dots, alumoxane nanoparticles and titanium dioxide nanoparticles--with the risks of making six everyday products--silicon wafers, wine, high-density plastic, lead-acid car batteries, refined petroleum and aspirin. Using end-to-end analysis of the manufacturing processes, the research team concluded that they present environmental risks no greater than do the technologies in such industries as oil refining, or wine or aspirin production. It should be noted that this work dealt only with possible hazards in manufacturing nanomaterials, not in utilizing them in products. The study is planned for publication in the 15 November issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

Nanomaterials in Drinking Water May be Hazardous
Preliminary results from research at Arizona State University indicate that the presence of certain nanomaterials in drinking water may be hazardous to intestinal cells. A layer of colon cells was broken down when exposed to a simulated intestinal fluid containing titanium dioxide particles. Further, the experiment showed that such a breakdown would allow the particles to pass into other parts of the body. The next phase of the effort will examine the potential adverse effects of the nanomaterials inside cell tissue.

Roadmap for Characterizing Nanomaterial Health Effects
Principles for characterizing the potential human health effects from exposure to nanomaterials: elements of a screening strategy, a report sponsored by the EPA, details the various ways in which nanoparticles can be characterized (shape, size, electrical properties, etc.) and the kinds of tests that can be carried out to determine their effects, in different contact modes, on anatomical and physiological elements in the body.
DuPont, Environmental Defense Create Framework for Nanotechnology
Relative Risk Analysis of Several Manufactured Nanomaterials: An Insurance Industry Context
Nanotech processing 'greener' than oil refining, study
Nanomaterial hazard
Experts Give Scientists Road Map on Nanotechnology Research
Principles for characterizing the potential human health effects from exposure to nanomaterials: elements of a screening strategy

EU to Improve Enforcement of Environmental Regulations

EC Legislation Reform First Targets Environment-related Rules
The European Commission has presented a three-year program to modernize EU legislation as part of its commitment to simplify the EU system of rules. About 250 basic pieces of legislation and 1,250 related legal acts would be updated by repeal, codification, or recasting. The main aims of the legislative reform are to: a) simplify the understanding and implementation of rules; b) transform directives into regulations for prompt and general application by all Member States; and c) improve enforcement. The program will be regularly updated. The process will start with the environment-related sector, since it's the most heavily regulated. The other sectors, as well as the administrative aspect, will follow shortly. The simplification process can be completed only if the European Parliament and Member States support it.
Better regulation continued: Commission wants to simplify over 1,400 legal acts

EU Starts Legal Action Against Member States on Breaches of Environmental Law
The European Commission is enhancing its environmental law enforcement by initiating a series of legal actions against Member States for breaching EU environmental law. The Commission has decided to pursue legal action against Italy in eleven cases, including non-compliance with the EU directive on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and ten cases for lack of cooperation with the Commission (Article 10 of the Treaty) on issues involving nature protection (a military base enlargement on La Maddalena island); several cases on waste management aspects; water resources; and genetically modified organisms (GMO). Along with Italy, Spain and Greece were also sent final warnings for non-compliance with the EU Water Framework Directive.
Italy: Commission takes legal action over 11 breaches of environmental law (IP/05/1303)
Water policy: Commission takes legal action against Italy, Spain and Greece over key directive (IP/05/1302)

Preparatory Process Started for the EfE 6th Ministerial Conference

The 6th Ministerial Conference "Environment For Europe" (EfE) will take place at Belgrade in October 2007. The international preparatory process started officially with the 1st session of the Working Group of Senior Officials (WGSO) held in Geneva, 12-13 October 2005. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP) proposed reviewing issues such as sustainable development, energy, EU enlargement, coordination and implementation of UNECE Conventions, and closer links to other international processes (environment and health, in particular). The European ECO-Forum (a pan-European coalition of more than 200 environmental citizens' organizations) suggested an "action-oriented" review of implementation of several strategies and protocols (including the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, and the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers). The next meeting of the WGSO will be in June 2006.
"Environment For Europe" Process, Meetings of the Working Group of Senior Officials
Towards Belgrade-2007. European Eco-Forum Newsletter, Special Issue, 21 Oct 2005 (e-mail newsletter)

African Countries are Vulnerable to Bioterrorism

African science policy should give higher importance to the threat posed by biological weapons, according to an international meeting of representatives from the fields of science, law, and security, held in Kampala, Uganda, this month. Africa is vulnerable to bioterrorism; it lacks the institutions, technology, and expertise to protect its citizens from biological terrorism. Science and technology policy of African countries should simultaneously enhance biological research for eradicating diseases and assure strict security measures to prevent access to material eventually usable in bioterrorism. Because there is little scientific awareness in both the political leadership and cultures of African countries, it will be necessary to improve public understanding of science. The meeting was organized by the Kampala-based International Law Institute (ILI) and the US-based International Consortium for Law and Strategic Security (ICLSS).
African science policy 'must address bioterror threat'
Peter Wamboga-Mugirya, SciDev.Net, 13 October 2005

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

High Sensitivity Portable Chemical Detection Device
A research team led by R. Graham Cooks at Purdue University has developed a mass spectrometer for chemical detection and identification that has the twin advantages of high sensitivity (10-12 g) and portability/speed (no pre-treatment needed). The equipment uses desorption electrospray ionization (DESI), a technique that separates traces of material from a substrate so that they can be passed into the analytical instrument. The device has analyzed pharmaceuticals at three samples per second.
Fast, accurate detection of explosives on airport luggage possible

Promising Research for Emission-Free Car that Makes Its Own Fuel
A unique project in the incubator program of the Chief Scientist in Israel called Engineuity has put several technologies together to create a stable metal combustion system that avoids oil and pollution. The technique is based on a metal-steam combustor system that produces a continuous flow of hydrogen using water and common stable metals such as magnesium and aluminum. At high temperature and pressure, the metals combine with the oxygen from water forming an oxide and liberating the hydrogen to be used by the car. The metals can be recovered and recycled. The research leader in an audio recording referenced below claims that adapting conventional cars to run on the Engineuity technology should be easy and the overall running cost would be about the same as today's cars. Pending investments, a prototype car based on the new system could be demonstrated to commercial auto companies in three years.
The Car That Makes Its Own Fuel

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

ICSU Launched Global Disaster Research Program
At its 28th General Assembly, the International Council for Science (ICSU) launched a new program on Natural and Human-Induced Hazards to reduce their economic and social effects. The program will connect natural and social sciences to serve policymakers. It would research ways to improve disaster forecasts and human vulnerability, as well as develop the best policies to mitigate and respond to them. [See also Better Disaster Planning to Avoid Environmental Catastrophes in September 2004 environmental security report.]
At Pivotal Event in China, the International Council for Science Releases New Strategy to Strengthen International Science for the Benefit of Society
Launching of a major polar research programme, a new interdisciplinary initiative on disaster mitigation, and long-term actions on other key challenges for science and society
Global disaster research programme launched

UN to Enhance Eco-Development Procedures
UNESCO and Italy began the procedure for establishing the Institute on a Partnership for Environmental Development (IPED) to provide capacity building to help expedite economic development while protecting the environment in developing countries. It will operate mostly by helping to set environmental targets for the UN's priority development projects, and providing necessary knowledge and training to developing countries on how to effectively integrate environmental dimensions into economic development. IPED will be located in Trieste, Italy.
A legal framework for the integration of environmental, social and governance issues into institutional investment, a report just released by UNEP, addresses the issue of eventual "legal obligation" of institutional investors to consider environmental, social, and governance issues when choosing how to invest their resources. [See also Efforts for Increasing Corporate Eco-responsibility in July 2004 environmental security report.]
Italy: Trieste Gets UN Eco-Development Agency
A legal framework for the integration of environmental, social and governance issues into institutional investment
Global investors should consider environmental factors, UN-backed study argues
UNESCO and Italy take first step towards creation of environmental institute

UNU Calls for International Framework for Environmental Refugees
On UN Day for Disaster Reduction, October 12, the UNU warned that by 2010 the world might have to cope with as many as 50 million environmental refugees, while the international community is not presently equipped with an adequate international agreements system to deal with the situation. UN Under Secretary-General Hans van Ginkel, Rector of UNU, emphasized the need to prepare now "to define, accept and accommodate this new breed of 'refugee' within international frameworks," while Dr. Bogardi, Director of UNU's Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, cautioned that the term 'environmental refugee' might sometimes hide the real cause of displacement, which might be bad policies and practices. [See also related item Implications of Environmental Migration to National Security in February 2004 monthly environmental security report.]
As Ranks of "Environmental Refugees" Swell Worldwide, Calls Grow for Better Definition, Recognition, Support (UNU Press release)
U.N. University takes on environmental challenges. By HANS VAN GINKEL. Special to The Japan Times
50m environmental refugees by end of decade, UN warns. David Adam, environment correspondent. The Guardian, October 12, 2005,7369,1589899,00.html

Network of Marine Protection Areas to be Adopted by 2012
The establishment of a network of marine parks to protect the world's oceans from growing pollution and marine environment devastation was proposed at the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress held in Geelong, Australia 23-28 October 2005, In the Conference opening speech, Achim Steiner, director-general of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) emphasized that although there is rising concern and scientific evidence about marine environmental degradation, less than one percent of it is under protection today. He suggested establishing a system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as decided at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. The MPAs would be designed by 2008 through collaboration of all concerned parties--international organizations, sovereign states, fishery organizations, and conservationists, for adoption by world governments by 2012. [See also Marine Protection Issues in the March 2005 environmental security scanning report.]
Interview - Scientists Draft Blueprint to Protect World Oceans
The First International Marine Protected Areas Congress, Geelong, Australia 23-28 Oct. 2005
Nations urged to "think as big as the oceans are vast" (IUCN Press release)

EU Legislation Issues Updates
EU Committee Proposes Banning Fluorinated Gases
The European Parliament has voted to ban the use of fluorinated gases (F-gases) in certain products, including shoes, and car air conditioning systems. This is a much watered-down regulation compared to previous plans. The committee proposes to regulate the F-gases on an environmental basis and not on an internal market basis, which avoids countries having to adopt environmental standards higher than those of the EU's, thereby making themselves subject to trade sanctions. [See also EU Environment Ministers Propose post-Kyoto Protocol Climate Policies in October 2004 and Europe to Reduce Fluorinated Gas Emission in March 2004 environmental security reports.]
EU Lawmakers Back Cutting Greenhouse Gases in Cars
EU committee adopts ban on fluorinated gas

The REACH Debate Continues
The full assembly vote on REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals), a regulation designed to reduce the impacts of hazardous chemicals on public health and the environment, is scheduled for November. However, the debate continues among different European parliamentary committees, industry lobbying groups, and environmental groups. The environment committee, which has the lead role in shepherding REACH, supported changes that would ease requirements for companies that deal with listed hazardous substances in volumes of 1-10 tonnes annually; but, would keep the registration rules for those handling over 10 tonnes annually, while another parliamentary committee recommended just requiring companies to replace hazardous substances with safe ones when substitutes are available. The European Eco-Forum pleads for strengthening REACH and extending it to the rest of the pan-European region, a suggestion that they want to include on the agenda of the Belgrade 2007 "Environment For Europe" Conference. [See also REACH Closer to Finale in August 2005, The REACH Program Closer to Entry Into Force in March 2005, Leading Cancer Specialists call for REACH Strengthening in May 2004, and EU Chemical Policy Reforms in January 2004 environmental security reports.]
EU Lawmakers Ease Chemicals Rules, Fight Looms
EU Likely to Reach Deal on Major Chemicals Bill
Towards Belgrade-2007. European Eco-Forum Newsletter, 21 Oct 2005

Climate Change Updates
Second European Climate Change Program and post-Kyoto Negotiations
On Monday, 24 October, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas launched the second European Climate Change Program (ECCP II) at a stakeholder conference in Brussels. ECCP II will focus on strategies and technologies that would allow the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon capture and storage) and to adapt to the effects of climate change. Commissioner Dimas outlined the Commission's views on the further development of EU climate change policy including after 2012 and called on all states to adhere to the eventual post-Kyoto measures. He underlined EU commitment to initiate a process that will lead to international negotiations on a global climate change regime. Global negotiations for post-2012 strategies will take place at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 11 and COP/MOP 1) to be held on November 28-December 9, 2005 in Montreal. [See also UN Meeting Fails to Agree on Post-Kyoto Strategy in May 2005 and other previous environmental security reports.]
Stavros Dimas, Member of the European Commission, Responsible for Environment
Developing the European Climate Change Programme, Stakeholder conference launching the Second European Climate Change Programme, Brussels, 24 October 2005
EU Must do More to Fight Climate Change--Dimas

Increased Concerns over Rising Sea Level as Effect of Glaciers' Breakup and Melting
Recent studies show that breakup and melting of glaciers is happening faster than expected, increasing concerns over rising sea levels and threatening low-lying regions of the world. Sunlight previously reflected by ice will not be absorbed, hence furthering the warming effect. A new report by researchers from five U.S. and European institutes and universities analyzes the possible impacts of the rapid dynamic of glacial change in Greenland and Antarctica, warning that this could significantly speed up the melting of major ice sheets, worsening the present projections for the sea level's rise. Recent models by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg show that the average global temperature could rise by as much as 4.1° Celsius by the end of the century, melting sea-ice in the Arctic and raising world sea levels by 30 centimeters (12 inches). During the conference of Antarctic climate experts held by the Royal Society in London, Dr. Tony Payne Monday, professor of glaciology at the University of Bristol and co-director of the UK's Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, warned that West Antarctica ice melting "would lead to a sea level rise of five or six meters (16 to 19 feet) around the world, or sufficient to cause effects such as the inundation of much of the state of Florida." Such research will influence the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is due to be published in 2007. [See also Melting of Permanent Frozen Areas Accelerates under Climate Change Issue in the August 2005 environmental security report.]
Breakup Of Glaciers Raising Sea Level Concern
Global Sea Level Rise Forecast to Flood Low-Lying Coastlines
Global sea levels could rise 30 cm by 2100- study

Avian Flu Update
Comprehensive roundups of the latest news on the spread of the bird flu virus and the threat to human health map the cases by countries, and identify actions to counter its spread and effects. Noteworthy actions are the UN Food and Agriculture Organization effort in assembling a 'task force' of health and veterinary specialists to help Indonesia face bird flu; efforts to find/test a vaccine that might be efficient both for birds and humans; the pledge of health ministers from 30 countries to coordinate efforts to fight an eventual influenza pandemic; and some countries (as the UK) commitment to have vaccine for every person in the country. [See also Worries over Avian Influenza Pandemic Increase in September, and Avian Influenza New Developments in April 2005 environmental security reports.]
Bird flu update: 24 October 2005. SciDev.Net 24 October 2005
UN task forces battle misconceptions of avian flu, mount Indonesian campaign
Woodrow Wilson center, Global Health Initiative. Emerging Pandemic: Costs and Consequences of an Avian Influenza Outbreak
Health Ministers Pledge Coordinated Fight Against Bird Flu
European scientists develop H7N1 avian flu vaccine

Publication of Data Dangerous to the Environment
A recent article by futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil reminds us of the question of how to weigh the need for free interchange of the results of scientific research against the possibility that those results would offer a recipe for an environment-destroying terrorist attack. The particular example cited was the publication in the GenBank database of the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus. This information could theoretically lead to the reconstruction of the virus, and its possible release in weaponized form. The threat to the environment from this kind of information dissemination has received relatively little attention so far outside of the nuclear field, but is certain to become a major topic for international discussions. [See also Control of Pathogenic Chimeras and GMOs under Study in January 2004, Bioweapons Are Already Possible to Make, Says New CIA Report and New Lethal Viruses Developed in November 2003 environmental security reports].
Ray Kurzweil calls for 1918 flu genome to be 'un-published'

Reports to Review
Nordic Countries Suggest Actions to Cope with Global Warming
Conservation of Nordic Nature in a Changing Climate is a report commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers to analyze global warming causes and to address strategies concerning the Nordic Countries' abilities to cope with climate change effects. Experts from environmental research institutes in the five-country region affirm that climate changes are mainly caused by humans and urge the region's governments to take joint action against global warming as well as to design strategies to deal with more extreme weather patterns. The report identifies some concrete strategies and tools for adaptation to climate change effects--such as management and administration aspects, including some regarding "natures' goods and services."
Conservation of Nordic Nature in a Changing Climate (TemaNord 2005:572)

Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy
Although focusing on America's energy dependency on oil, the book assesses the world's prospective on oil and gas, the key and most sensitive energy sources for the near future. A contribution of 36 top foreign policy and energy experts, sometimes with divergent opinion, Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy suggests new strategies and policy approaches that could mitigate the risks implied by continued dependence on oil.
Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy. Edited by Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, 640 pp. $65.00 (paper, $29.95)
Book Launch--Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy (video)
Economic, Social, and Environmental (Foreign Affairs review)

Toxicogenomic Technologies and Risk Assessment of Environmental Carcinogens: A Workshop Summary
This report is a summary of the workshop organized by the National Research Council's Committee on How Toxicogenomics Could Inform Critical Issues in Carcinogenic Risk Assessment of Environmental Chemicals. Scientists, policymakers, and advisors participated in the workshop. They assessed how toxicogenomics could address critical knowledge gaps in risk assessments, including how toxicogenomic data could be applied to improve risk assessments, particularly cancer risk from environmental exposure to chemicals. After an overview of the types of data gaps that make regulatory risk assessment difficult, the workshop analyzed the types of toxicogenomics and their role in carcinogen risk assessment, and discussed the types of research that could move the field forward.
Toxicogenomic Technologies and Risk Assessment of Environmental Carcinogens: A Workshop Summary

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September 2005

Environmental Issues were not dominant in the UN Summit Speeches

Environment and global warming issues were mentioned in several speeches delivered by Heads of State and Governments at the UN Summit, however it was not a dominant theme. There were calls to ratify international treaties designed to tackle environmental and global warming problems, and agreement was reached to create a worldwide early warning system for all natural hazards and improve the Central Emergency Revolving Fund to ensure timely relief. Leaders of small island states warned that unless aggressive action is taken to deal with climate change to protect small island states, their people will become environmental refugees due to rising ocean levels. The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement were recognized as an important international framework for the protection of internally displaced persons. Environment was listed along with the International Criminal Court, human rights, and disarmament as an issue that was not addressed strongly enough in the 2005 World Summit Outcome.
UN Summit 2005
Value of collective security through multilateralism stressed at UN Summit
National leaders at UN Summit call for stepped-up action to fight climate change

European Commission Enforces Environmental Pollution Legislation

The Court of Justice of the European Communities ruled that the European Commission (EC) would have the right to require Member States to impose criminal penalties on environmental polluters "in order to ensure that the rules which it [the EC] lays down on environmental protection are fully effective." Although EU countries will still be the ones to prosecute, the Commission could extend its powers by recommending the level of punishment. This ruling is consistent with the Community's environmental strategy underlined by the obligation of having environmental protection requirements "integrated into the definition and implementation of the Community's policies and activities."
Note: The EC began improving its whole system of regulations, by three main actions: withdrawal or modification of pending proposals; simplification of existing EU-law; and better quality of new Commission proposals.
The European Community Has The Power To Require The Member States To Lay Down Criminal Penalties For The Purpose Of Protecting The Environment
Better Regulation

Asian Regional Forum on Combating Environmental Crime Formed

The "Asian Regional Forum" will be established to share information and expertise in policy, law, training, investigation and prosecution related to environmental crimes in Asia. The Forum is the result of a meeting in Bangkok on 25 August 2005 of the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO A/P), the regional office of INTERPOL, the World Conservation Union, TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network), the World Customs Organization, the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Thailand's Office of the National Implementation for Chemical Weapons Convention. The regionalization of the Green Customs Initiative was also discussed to share information and training materials for customs officials to combat illegal trade in commodities of environmental concern. It is estimated that environmental damage caused by illegal trade in hazardous wastes, smuggling proscribed hazardous materials, and exploiting and trafficking of protected natural resources worldwide is US$22-31 billion annually. The Forum will be facilitated by the United Nations Environmental Program's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
Regional Forum On Combating Environmental Crime Formed

Better Disaster Planning to Avoid Environmental Catastrophes

Hurricane Katrina along the U.S. Gulf Coast has introduced a new term, "toxic gumbo", into the environmental vocabulary, referring to the liquid/sludge produced when storms cause flood waters to overrun populated areas, especially industrial tracts, picking up from storage facilities a hazardous mix of all sorts of chemicals, both end-products and precursors. As the flood recedes, it may deposit this nasty brew over an entire region, including wetlands, and/or carry it into previously unaffected waters. Katrina produced environmental damage and pollution of this kind on an unprecedented scale outside of full-scale war. President Bush has suggested a greater role for the military in post-national disaster management.
On the other side of the Atlantic, spurred by floods and fires in many places around the continent, the European Commission passed a resolution calling for better disaster planning coordination among its members.
The Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Beijing, aims to assess disaster reduction progress across Asia and build a platform for cooperation on early warning, disaster prevention, reduction, and response in Asia.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, reviewing the statistics of 2004 natural disasters, called for more emphasis on actions to prevent and react to natural disasters, "because their incidence and severity is increasing due to climate change, environmental degradation, inappropriate development patterns and inadequate mitigation and preparedness systems."
'Toxic Gumbo': Surprises for Chemicals Policy, Bart Mongoven
September 14 2005 22 48 GMT (by subscription only)
EU Parliament Calls for Better Disaster Responses
Asian countries to enhance disaster reduction co-operation
Annan urges global emphasis on disaster planning to mitigate death and destruction

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

New Oil Remediation and Recovery Technique
A proprietary oil remediation and recovery application, using patented Self-Assembled Monolayer (SAMs) technology, has been announced by Interface Science Corp. Its treated material, produced using nanoscale techniques, absorbs about 40 times its weight in oil, and has the added advantage of allowing the absorbed oil to be recovered.
Relevant military personnel should follow the development of this new technology, and consider its eventual use in cleanup of both non-conflict and battlefield oil pollution.
Nanotechnology for Recovery and Reuse of Spilled Oil

Hydrogen Tablets
Scientists at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have invented a hydrogen tablet that can efficiently and safely store and transport hydrogen in a solid form. The tablet consists solely of ammonia absorbed efficiently in sea-salt. When hydrogen is needed, ammonia is released through a catalyst that decomposes it back to free hydrogen. The tablet can be simply recharged just by a "shot" of ammonia. DTU and SeeD Capital Denmark have founded the company Amminex A/S to develop and commercialize the technology.
University of Denmark Scientists Develop Hydrogen Tablet,1602,6487,00.html

Tiny Batteries Offer Several Promises
mPhase Technologies, in collaboration with Rutgers Univ. and Bell Laboratories, is working on tiny batteries that can hold their charge much longer than today's cells, and could be integrated directly into a circuit board rather than connected by wires. "This is something small, less than postage-stamp size that could be integrated into the same piece of silicon that is housing the electronics," according to Ron Durando, CEO of mPhase. Foresight Institute believes that the work might lead to batteries with a 20-year shelf life. The technology is based on a material called "nanograss", developed at Bell Labs, which permits the control of the interaction of electrolytes within the battery.
Putting power into battery research

Bacteria Used to Eliminate Perchlorate from Water
Perchlorate, an ingredient of rocket fuel and fireworks, and known to be dangerous to human health, has become present in drinking water in many parts of the world. Bruce Rittmann of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at Arizona State University, Tempe, has discovered an efficient way to remove the chemical, by using a system of bacteria that feeds on hydrogen gas and perchlorate to produce water and chloride--a compound commonly found in salts and swimming pools. The advantage of this system over others for the same purpose is that it's very cost-effective and it doesn't appear to generate harmful waste by-products. The bacteria are grown on membranes that are wrapped into spaghetti-like strands that can be filled with hydrogen and bundled into cylinders through which flows the contaminated water. A 1.5-meter-tall system with 7,000 fibers can clean 4-8 liters a minute, says the researcher. The system was already tested on ground water from California's central valley, and in about 2 years its efficiency could be boosted enough to clean the waste water of a small city. [See also Firm Regulations for Perchlorates are Needed in October 2004, and Technology for Perchlorates Cleanup of August 2004 environmental security reports.]
Spaghetti filters cleanse water supplies. Chemists package bacteria to eliminate perchlorate.
By Andreas von Bubnoff., 1 September 2005 (by subscription only; see alternative at:

Plastic Bags Taxed and/or Banned

Several jurisdictions, including Ireland, Taiwan, Bangladesh, and some Indian states are banning or taxing the use of plastic bags because of their potential as litter, their role in clogging flood control channels, and their threat to wildlife. Maharashtra blames them for floods that killed more than a thousand people.
Plastic Bags Banned, Blamed for West India Floods

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Nuclear Terrorism Convention Signed by 82 Countries at the UN Summit
The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was signed by 82 countries at the UN Summit, beginning with Russia, the U.S., and France. The Convention, proposed by Russia in 1998, was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2005. [See also UN Convention Against Nuclear Terrorism in April 2005 environmental security report]
Note: The newly released statistics of the IAEA's Illicit Trafficking Database (ITDB) show a substantial increase in illicit trafficking and unauthorized activities with nuclear and other radioactive materials in 2003-2004. Although the majority of the incidents showed no evidence of criminal activity, the Agency warns of the danger that these materials could be used for malicious purposes, like 'dirty bombs.' [See also UN Agency to Intensify Tracking of Illicit Nuclear Trafficking issue in the September 2004 environmental security report.]
Russia to be the first to sign nuclear terrorism convention (article available for a limited time on the website)
Heads of State sign convention on nuclear terrorism
Ninety-nine nations participate in UN treaty event during 2005 World Summit
Nuclear Trafficking Latest Statistics Released

New EU Environmental Strategies
EU Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution for the CAFE Programme
Under the EU's Sixth Environmental Action Programme (6EAP), as part of the Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) strategy, the European Commission proposed the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution. The Strategy, which aims to improve human and ecosystem health, covers most major air pollutants, with accent on airborne particulates known as PM2.5 and ground-level ozone pollution, and sets a cap on concentrations in the most polluted areas. It aims by 2020 to cut the annual number of premature deaths from air pollution-related diseases by almost 40% from the 2000 level. The strategy also proposes changes to the current regulation system by merging existing legal instruments into a single Ambient Air Quality Directive (that would cut by 50% the existing legal texts) and improving reporting requirements. The proposed legislation still has to be approved by member states and the European Parliament. The other six Thematic Strategies that the Commission will present over the next few months cover Soil protection; Sustainable use of pesticides; Protect and conserve the marine environment; Waste prevention and recycling; Sustainable use of natural resources; and Urban environment. [See also The European Union Environmental Initiatives in January 2005 environmental security report]
Air Pollution and the new Ambient Air Quality Directive, and monitor the other Thematic Strategies and developments that could lead to new binding regulations.
Commission proposes clean air strategy to protect human health and the environment
The CAFE Programme. Implementation of the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution
Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice. The Sixth Environment Action Programme of the European Community

EC Proposed Strategy to Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Air Travel
Considering the rapid increase of air travel and consequently its increased share in the overall EU greenhouse gas emissions undermining progress achieved through emission cuts in other areas of the economy, the EC proposed a strategy to tackle aviation emissions. It suggests bringing aircraft operators into the EU's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), as an incentive for airlines to minimize their emissions. The new regulation would apply to all flights departing from the EU, whether to another EU destination or not and all carriers (EU or non-EU) would be treated equally.
Climate change: Commission proposes strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from air travel

Worries over Avian Influenza Pandemic Increase
Lee Jong-wook, the head of the World Health Organization, has predicted that the avian flu virus will mutate so as to make the disease transmissible from human to human, and says that the world has no time to waste to stop it becoming a pandemic. "The pandemic is likely to be like the seasonal influenza, which is much more infectious than the SARS virus," said Dr Hitoshi Oshitani, who ran the battle against SARS and now leads the fight against avian flu in Asia. The United States is working to rally states behind a new U.S. plan to fight the disease, and Canada will host a major international conference in October to discuss how ready the world is to combat a likely pandemic. Concerns are increasing even more as strains of the virus in Asia seem to be becoming resistant to amantadine, a widely used drug for human cases, possibly because farmers are giving it as a preventative to poultry. It has also been shown that strains less dangerous than H5N1 can be transmitted from birds to people. An important achievement is that scientists in Singapore have developed a test kit that can detect the gene specific to the H5N1 strain (so both in animals and humans) within four hours, compared to the several days that it takes with present lab tests. This might help a lot in controlling the spread of the virus. [See also Avian Influenza New Developments in April 2005 environmental security report.]
UN Health Chief Sounds Alarm on Bird Flu
Canada to host big October conference on avian flu
Concern grows over drug resistance in bird flu strains
World has slim chance to stop bird flu pandemic
Global strategy to fight bird flu in animals faces serious funding gap
Singapore Scientists Invent Quick Bird Flu Test

Global Warming Could be the Cause of Significant Disasters
Several research papers published recently link the increasing numbers and intensity of powerful storms to increasing ocean temperatures, suggesting that global warming is the main cause. Most climate models indicate that the effects of climate change will be felt more intensely farther from the equator. ESA's CryoSat measurements of sea ice are expected to confirm or refute this theory and also help with better weather forecasting.
Dr. Nathan P. Gillett argues in an article published in Nature that the impact of global warming on European weather patterns has been underestimated. The Northern Hemisphere Circulation study compares the results of nine state-of-the-art climate models with real situation of Northern Hemisphere air pressure changes at sea level over the past 50 years. It concludes that the simulations underestimate the sea-level air pressure circulation trends, which questions their accuracy in showing changes of weather patterns or predicting regional climate changes.
A report by population health experts from Australia and New Zealand warns that even with action to reduce global warming, thousands of Australians are likely to die by the end of the century because of heat waves caused by human-induced climate change. It is estimated that by 2100 the annual average temperatures could increase by 1 to 6°C over most of Australia, with significantly larger changes in some regions. The report, Climate change health impacts in Australia, also addresses the danger of spread of dengue-carrying mosquitoes, as well as possible large-scale poverty and migration in the Asia-Pacific region, mainly in the Small Island States that are particularly susceptible to climate change.
Shishmaref, a whole community of 600 residents of NW Alaska, needs to be permanently relocated on the mainland to be protected from storm systems that are certain to arrive, as a consequence of global warming. Other communities from farther north might follow.
Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment
Global warming 'could create stronger hurricanes'
Northern exposure to greatest climate change? CryoSat should find out
Climate modeling: Northern Hemisphere circulation
No stopping deaths from climate change
Shishmaref ponders next move as erosion continues

Reports to Review

Asia's Water Security in Jeopardy
The Fall of Water report assesses the situation of Asia's mountain areas, including the Himalayas. It warns that rapid increase in infrastructure, overgrazing, and deforestation, are accelerating threats from highland glaciers shrinking, raising concerns related to the region's future water supplies, flooding, and drought. The report notes that presently about 50% of Asia's mountain region is affected by infrastructure development, which by 2030 could rise to over 70% if current practices continue unrestricted. Similarly, highland glaciers are shrinking by 7% annually, which means that by 2050, about 64% of China's glaciers would have vanished. The report argues that unsustainable local development and climate change accelerated by fossil fuel burning are likely to aggravate the problems. It points out that without fast implementation of sound environmental management policies for sustainable development, water security of about half the world's population could be in serious jeopardy. The outcomes are the results of collaborative work of UNEP, IUCN, Chinese Academy of Sciences, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. The report was released in preamble to the 2005 World Summit of mid-September.
Asia's Water Security Under Threat. Water for Near Half the World's Population under Threat at the Roof of the World

Human and Environmental Security - An Agenda for Change
From the press release: "This ground-breaking book, authored by prominent international decision-makers, tackles the global human security problem across the range of core issues. The authors identify the causes of insecurity, articulate the linkages between the different elements of human security, and outline an agenda for engaging stakeholders from across the globe in building the foundations of genuine and lasting human security for all nations and all people." (The book is available for purchase)
Press release, Network 2015 email list
Human and Environmental Security - An Agenda for Change Available through:

World Resources 2005 -- The Wealth of the Poor: Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty
This joint report from UNEP, UNDP, the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute suggests an approach to addressing poverty by focusing on environment and local natural resources beyond the conventional aid projects, debt relief, and trade reform. It presents models on how natural resources--soils, forests, water, and fisheries--managed at the local level--could be the most effective means for the world's rural poor people to generate a better life. The report pleads for community stewardship of local resources as a critical element of any poverty-reduction activity. UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfer called the report, "essential reading for any world leader serious about defeating poverty." This is the 11th in a series of biennial reports on global environment and governance.
World Resources 2005 -- The Wealth of the Poor: Managing ecosystems to fight poverty
News Release: Major report stresses natural resources as path out of poverty

Environment and Security-The Role of the United Nations
This comprehensive report summarizes the outcomes of a Roundtable Conference conducted by the UN Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Project. It assesses security by its links to population, water, resources, and climate change and makes recommendations to the UN for a better integration of environment with security issues. It recommends that "The UN Security Council should take a leadership role by making environmental security a priority and moving environmental issues from the technical to the security domain", and that the UN coordinate international efforts on environmental security in all fields, from trade to water, climate change, and integrated environmental perspective in all its projects. "By protecting the earth, the UN Security Council can help preserve the peace," concludes the report. [See also New Reports Stress the Link between Environment and Security in the January 2005 environmental security report.]
Environment and Security-The Role of the United Nations

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August 2005

Increasing Oil Demand in China and India Raise Security Concerns
The hunger for energy might become a driving force for some countries to disregard international security issues and accords to the point of jeopardizing international security. For example, there were international concerns expressed about the alleged Chinese offers of arms and other sensitive defense technology in return for oil and gas rights in certain countries. "Unprecedented political opposition" probably triggered by strategic concerns in the US Congress forced the withdrawal of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)'s bid for California's Unocal. Similar concerns may affect the rival bids of China and India to buy a Canadian firm with oil fields in Kazakhstan.
New rules in global rivalry for oil. The growing Asian demand for energy could alter US strategy.
By Mark Trumbull | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Giving China a bloody nose. The Economist, Aug 4th 2005 (by subscription only)
China Rationing Gasoline And Diesel Fuel
China and India Vie for Company With Oil Fields in Kazakhstan. By Keith Bradsher, NY Times, August 16, 2005 (by subscription only)

Soviet-Era Anti-plague Institutes Still Pose Environmental Threat
The United States has an extensive program aimed at minimizing the possible transfer and misuse of Soviet WMD R&D. One area that has fallen through the proverbial crack, however, is the collection of more than 80 anti-plague institutes, which were not a formal part of the Russian biowarfare program and therefore are not covered by the DOD Threat Reduction effort. These establishments, located in all parts of the FSU, still work with extremely hazardous pathogens under totally inadequate physical and biological security. This incredibly dangerous situation is described in a draft report from a major investigation by scholars from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Soviet Germ Factories Pose New Threat. By Joby Warrick, Washington Post, August 20, 2005; A01 (by subscription)

EU and Japan Respond to Risks from Low Dose Chemicals
A series of articles by Peter Waldman in the Wall Street Journal have brought to attention new scientific studies which have indicated that exposure to extremely low levels of certain industrial chemicals, even a few parts per trillion, can have harmful biological effects. Many of these results are controversial, and disputed by manufacturers and users. Compounds include bisphenol A, phthalates, and perchlorates. The EU and Japan are taking measures to impose stricter controls or outright prohibitions on such materials, and are conducting further investigations.
Wall St. Journal series: "levels of risk"
Direct source (by subscription only): A Little Dab'll Do Ya In
Micro-exposure to common chemicals may cause big health problems (by subscription only)

ASEAN Seeks East Asia's Cooperation on Environmental Issues
Senior environmental officials from ASEAN countries, Japan, China, and South Korea met in Malaysia's Penang state to discuss ways to improve regional cooperation and responses to ecological/environmental problems, such as the recent forest fires. Details of future cooperation, which are also expected to cover issues such as climate change and safeguarding biological diversity, will be discussed at a meeting to be held next month in Jakarta.
SE Asia Seeks Cooperation with China, Japan, South Korea on Environmental Protection
Associated Press, August 19, 2005
Forest fires for commercial land clearing should stop
Smoky Haze Chokes Southeast Asia

Taiwan Cracking Down on Environmental Violators
The prevalence of illegal toxic waste dumping has led Taiwan's Environmental Protection Agency to recruit a group of 70 volunteers to patrol industrial areas and report violations of the country's strict waste disposal and recycling rules. The effort is supported by emerging environmental activism among the populace at large.
Taiwan's Enviro-Spies. By Matt Kovac, The Christian Science Monitor

India to Set Up Military Surveillance and Reconnaissance System by 2007
Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee recently declared that India's satellite-based Military Surveillance and Reconnaissance (SBS) System that was supposed to be operational this year, is now in an advanced stage of development and will begin functioning by 2007.
India installs Satellite surveillance system
India To Set Up Military SBS System By 2007

UN Envisaging a Treaty for Multinational Corporations
The UN began a feasibility study and eventual steps for the implementation of an international treaty regulating multinational corporations' activities. One of those closely involved in the process is Harvard professor John Gerard Ruggie, appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as his special representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations. The special representative position was created for identification and clarification of "standards of corporate responsibility and accountability for transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights." STRATFOR (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.) comments that the "appointment is important because it will galvanize a global social movement, which will in turn accelerate the changing systems of public policy development." It might take five years until a draft treaty will be drawn.
Multinational Business and New Policymaking Venues. By Bart Mongoven, Stratfor Strategic Forecastng, August 04 2005 (by subscription only)

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications
Piggybacking Environmental Sensors on Communications Gear
Computer science graduate student R.J. Honicky and Prof. Richard Newton of the Univ. of California at Berkeley are working on inexpensive environmental sensors that can be incorporated into communications devices like cell phones, using the power, location (e.g. GPS), and communications facilities already present in those devices. This technique would greatly reduce the space and cost burden of providing environmental data coverage over a wide area.
Saving the World with Cell Phones. By Rachel Metz,, August 11, 2005,1382,68485,00.html

Micro-reactors Challenge Chemical Weapons Convention Effectiveness
A paper by Tuan Nguyen of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory calls attention to the erosion in effectiveness of the Chemical Weapons Convention caused by the advent of micro-reactors in the chemical industry. These devices, with sizes from a credit card to a notebook, replace large batch reaction vessels and make it much more difficult to monitor and verify compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. Hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, and methyl isocyanate have already been produced using this system, according to Nguyen. He also points out that chemical weapon precursors could be synthesized rather than purchased, making it more difficult to track down and discover the preparation of chemical weapons.
Technological advances could reduce effectiveness of Chemical Weapons Convention

Urine-powered Battery
Ki Bang Lee and a team of researchers at Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed a very inexpensive and miniaturized power source suitable for biochips used for healthcare testing and disease detection, as in a BW situation. The battery is formed by soaking a credit-card-sized piece of paper in copper chloride, sandwiching it between strips of magnesium and copper, and laminating it between transparent plastic films. When the paper is moistened with a drop of urine, the device generates 1.5 volts of electricity.
Scientists develop pee-powered battery. By Bjorn Carey, LiveScience, Aug. 16, 2005

Laser-tracked Honeybees Detect Landmines
Joseph A. Shaw at Montana State University and colleagues have developed an improved landmine detection system which first trained honeybees to sniff out explosive fumes leaking from buried landmines, and then tracks them with polarized laser scanning beams. The accuracy is better than 97% at a distance of 83 m, and there is no danger of setting off the landmines.
Lasers, landmines and honeybees. Ed Gerstner, Nature Physics On-line, 4 Aug 2005

New Efficient Energy-free Technique for Oil Removal from Water
The Extended Gravity Oil Water Separation (EGOWS) concept developed by an engineering team from the University of New South Wales is an improvement on the industry-standard American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity separator that has been widely used for the last 60 years. The device is a simple tank-and-siphon system, entirely mechanical, that operates unattended and purifies water to oil content less than 10 ppm, the level often set by environmental regulations. A simple, innovative application of hydraulic principles results in residence times of days instead of minutes, as is common with API designs. Utility seems be limited to sources with episodic discharges, rather than steady flows.
New approach to oil-water separation

Updates on Previously Identified Issues
Recycling Regulations in the EU
E-waste Management Directive Came into Effect on August 13, 2005
The EC directive for e-waste management, Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE), has come into effect, requiring that all 25 EU member states comply with the electrical and electronic appliances disposal framework in order to minimize the impacts of this kind of waste on the environment. Among other stipulations, the directive requires that all such devices manufactured in the EU bear a label requiring mandatory recycling. The related directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment was also updated, setting maximum concentration values for some substances that were previously supposed to be completely banned in manufacture after July 1, 2006: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). [See also Two E-waste laws entered into force in the European Union of February 2003, and E-waste Directives to be Enforced in the UK of July 2005 environmental security reports.]
Higher Targets for Packaging Recycling and Recovery
The EU updated and strengthened its 1994 Directive for packaging waste, setting higher recycling and recovery targets to further reduce the negative environmental impacts created by the landfilling and incineration of packaging waste and by the production of virgin materials. This type of waste includes packaging made from paper, glass, metals, plastics and wood.
New recycling law takes effect in the European Union
Commission Decision of 18 August 2005
amending Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council for the purpose of establishing the maximum concentration values for certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
Packaging waste: higher recycling and recovery targets due to be implemented in EU Member States. Reference: IP/05/1057 Date: 18/08/2005

REACH Closer to Finale
The drafting of the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) legislation is in its final phases as it moves through committees in the European Parliament. The vote on it is scheduled for November. REACH provides a legal framework for controlling hazardous chemicals, requiring manufacturers and importers to register the physical, chemical and toxicological properties of substances with a central EU database, provide lifecycle safety and environmental risks information, and eventually get a special authorization for those of high concern. Britain, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, hopes that agreement on the program will be reached by the end of the year. [See also The REACH Program Closer to Entry Into Force in March 2005, Leading Cancer Specialists call for REACH Strengthening in May 2004, and EU Chemical Policy Reforms in January 2004 environmental security reports.]
Feature - Reaching Balance: Europe Weighs Health Verses Industry

Climate Change Issues
New Computer Climate Models Reveal Threatening Conditions
New computer climate models reveal Earth's limits of CO2 intake. The computer climate models developed by scientists from Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado indicate that CO2 absorption by land and oceans can not keep up with the current trends of increasing fossil fuel emissions, accelerating climate warming after the critical point is reached. The process is increased by drought and other phenomena already present. The paper explaining the findings, Evolution of carbon sinks in a changing climate was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of August 9, 2005.
Another computer model, also developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, simulates Earth's climate at the time of the greatest mass extinction in history, at the end of the Permian Era. It reveals that an abrupt and dramatic rise in atmospheric levels of CO2 triggered the extinction of an estimated 90-95% of all marine species, and about 70% of all terrestrial species. "The results demonstrate how rapidly rising temperatures in the atmosphere can affect ocean circulation, cutting off oxygen to lower depths and extinguishing most life," says NCAR scientist and lead author, Jeffrey Kiehl.

New observations and climate model data confirm recent warming of tropical atmosphere
Results of state-of-the-art climate models by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are consistent with new observational estimates of temperature data obtained from satellites and weather balloons, providing compelling evidence that the tropical troposphere is warming since 1979. Human activity is considered as one important cause of the warming. [See also New Developments on Climate Change of January 2005 environmental security report.]

Melting of Permanent Frozen Areas Accelerates
Siberia's melting accelerates global warming. Scientists recently discovered that in the last three or four years the entire western Siberian sub-Arctic region has begun melting, transforming the world's largest frozen peat bog into a watery landscape of lakes. This could cause the release into the atmosphere of huge quantities of methane, 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. Consequently, Siberia's melting, considered to be partially caused by global warming, becomes in its turn an accelerating factor of it. This finding follows a similar phenomenon of major expansion of lakes in Alaska's northern extreme, bordering the Arctic Ocean.
The Arctic Ocean could be seasonally ice-free within 100 years, concludes a new report by U.S. and Canadian scientists. Climate warming is causing thawing of Arctic glaciers and ice sheets, driving the Arctic system into an ice-free state for the first time in more than one million years. The researchers could find no natural processes that might slow or reverse the accelerating melting process. Indigenous people and animals of Alaska, Canada, Russia, Siberia, Scandinavia and Greenland, are already feeling the warming, but the consequences will be felt worldwide, mostly by the millions of people of coastal areas. The melting is an accelerating process. [See also Climate Change Updates; Antarctic glaciers shrinking accelerating, in April 2005 environmental security report]

Greenland Conference on Global Warming
Environmental ministers and other officials from 23 countries around the world and the EU met on the edge of a retreating glacier (110 Km in 45 years) in Greenland and agreed that nations must take action against global warming. The proceedings of the conference were not made public and although the group didn't make specific action recommendations, there was consensus that discussions need to be urgently replaced by action.
Evolution of carbon sinks in a changing climate. Inez Y. Fung, Scott C. Doney, Keith Lindsay, and Jasmin John
Climate Model Links Warmer Temperatures to Permian Extinction
New observations and climate model data confirm recent warming of tropical atmosphere
Heat and light. An unexplained anomaly in the climate seems to have been the result of bad data
The Economist print edition, Science & Technology, Climate change, Aug 11th 2005 (by subscription only)
Climate warning as Siberia melts. From issue 2512 of New Scientist magazine, 11 August 2005, page 12 (by subscription only)
Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-Free in Summer Within 100 Years, Scientists Say
Officials at Global Conference Say It's Time to Take Action on Global Warming. By Jan M. Olsen, Associated Press, August 19, 2005

Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System to be Operational by the End of 2005
Further on the efforts to prevent a recurrence of the December 2004 tsunami catastrophe, the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS) ended its first meeting in Perth, Australia, concluding that the network of 23 stations for real-time sea-level observation covering the whole Indian Ocean basin is expected to be established by the end of 2005. Six stations are already operational. The network is the first element of the system; the other two are an improved seismographic network, and the deployment of deep-sea pressure sensors capable of detecting the tsunami signal as it travels over the deep ocean. The entire system is expected to be fully operational by next July. The next ICG meeting is scheduled for December 12-16, in Hyderabad, India. However, the UN oceanographic body warns that the system will be useless without adequate regional and national emergency and preparedness plans. [See also Tsunami Triggers an Early Warning System for Indian Ocean and Beyond in January 2005 environmental security report]
UN-backed Indian Ocean tsunami early warning system begins to take shape
Simple tsunami alert system now in place - U.N. (article stored for a limited time on the website)
Interview - Tsunami Warning Useless without Plans, Says UN Body

Pacific Islands Forum Summit in October
The Pacific Islands Forum Summit will be held on October 27, in Papua New Guinea. It will be preceded by the Small Island States Summit and the Pacific ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) Leaders Summit, and the Pacific leaders' retreat on October 25-26, and followed by a post-forum dialogue meeting on the 28th and 29th. The Forum's topics will include Pacific regional security, aid, policing, peacekeeping, money laundering, arms trading, HIV-AIDS, resource management of commodities and fish stocks, and regionalized governance. It will be attended by the prime ministers of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, PNG, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Nauru, French Caledonia, and other islands states, as well as representatives of the EU, the UN, United States of America, China and Japan. Parallel with the official forum will be meetings of NGOs representing stakeholder groups and lobbyists. [See also Asia and Pacific Countries Adopt Declarations on the Environment of March 2005 environmental security report]
NZ Election Postpones Pacific Forum Until October
Pacific Islands Forum:

Iraq's Marshes Recovering
Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes, which almost vanished during Saddam Hussein's rule, are rapidly recovering to their former 1970s state, according to the findings of the Iraqi Marshlands Observation System. The system is the latest component of the UNEP marshlands project based on the use of a variety of environmentally sound technologies and technical training. However, the funding of the project might be in jeopardy for the moment, since Japan has postponed the donors' conference due to the ongoing controversies over Iraq's constitution. The marshes, reputed to be the biblical Garden of Eden, are a major source of fish and freshwater for local people, as well as an important habitat for wildlife. [See also UN to Help Tackle Iraq Pollution in September 2004 and Iraq Marshlands Restorations Could be Dangerous if not Preceded by Cleanup in October 2003 environmental security reports]
UNEP Press Release. Iraqi Marshlands: On the road to recovery
Japan scrubs Iraq marshland donor conference amid constitution negotiations

Reports to Review
Fluctuations of Glaciers VIII 1995-2000 Report
The latest report by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, Fluctuations of Glaciers (FoG) VIII, examining glaciers' situation over the period 1995-2000, warns of a possible complete deglaciation due to the greenhouse effect in the next few decades. This would be a phenomenon "without precedent in the history of the Earth" notes the report. The conclusion is based on the direct proportionality observed between the losses of average annual ice thickness and accelerated global warming over the last two decades of the 20th century. The FoGs are published each five years since 1959, offering a comprehensive analysis and standardized information on changes in glaciers' conditions.
Fluctuations of Glaciers VIII, 1995-2000 report
'Fluctuations of Glaciers' Report Launched
World Glacier Monitoring Service:

UK Defense Ministry released its first Sustainable Development Report
Ministry of Defense of the UK released its first stand-alone report that aims to provide an overview of the Department's work on Sustainable Development issues. MoD's program for the coming years includes improved data collection systems and the continued integration of sustainable development considerations into procurement. MoD intends to produce an interim report for 2004/2005 and a full report each financial year thereafter.
Ministry of Defense Sustainable Development Report October 2003 - October 2004

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July 2005

Libya Initiates International Conference on Environmental Security for Seas and Oceans
Building on the "Ocean Security Conference" held in the US Congress in May 1997 and the "Towards Enhancement of Ocean Security in the Third Millennium" conference held in the Swedish Parliament in January 1998, the International Conference for the Initiative of Environmental Security of Seas and Oceans was held in Tripoli, Libya, 23-25 July 2005 as the first of three international conferences on the Ocean Security Initiative. It was organized by the Advisory Committee on Protection of Seas and Oceans (ACOPS) under the patronage of the Gadhafi International Foundation for Charities Associations and the Environmental General Authority of Great Jamahiriya. Ocean environment and security experts from 26 countries representing governments, international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector participated. The conference addressed the environmental security issues relating to the seas and oceans from a broad perspective ranging from illegal immigration to transnational organized crime. Participants stressed that international and trans-institutional collective action was required to assure compliance with international terms and standards for improved ocean environmental security.
Tripoli Declaration on Ocean Security (non-negotiated statement)
Opening of the First International Conference for the Initiative of Environmental Security of Seas and Oceans

Nuclear Theft, Smuggling, and Sabotage Countermeasures
The recent conference on strengthening nuclear security held in Vienna, Austria, 4-8 July, 2005 adopted Amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). The original CPPNM applied only to nuclear material in international transport. The amendments substantially strengthen the Convention by providing an expanded system for preventing, combating and punishing nuclear material theft, smuggling and sabotage. The amendments also request expanded cooperation among States regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, to mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and to prevent and combat relevant offences. The new rules will come into effect once they have been ratified by two-thirds of the 112 States Parties of the Convention. This is expected to take several years.
States Agree on Stronger Physical Protection Regime

UNESCO Draft Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights
UNESCO has issued a draft declaration that sets universal ethical guidelines for governments to consider ethical and human rights in science and technology (S&T) policymaking. It covers aspects of human rights, biodiversity, rights of indigenous people, and respect for traditional local resources and knowledge systems. The declaration suggests setting up ethics committees at different levels to assess scientific developments and encourage transparency and public participation in bioethics issues discussions. The draft declaration will be submitted for approval by all 192 UNESCO member states in October.
Towards a declaration on universal norms on bioethics
Ethics, science and human rights come together
JSCOPE Home Page

Russia to Destroy All Chemical Weapons Arsenal by 2012
The Russian government approved a plan to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal by 2012, reported Agence France-Presse in Moscow. Under the proposal, 20% of Russia's 40,000 ton chemical weapons stockpile would be destroyed by 2007, 45% by 2009, and all of it by 2012, meeting its commitment under the Chemical Weapons Convention. "Even though it has the biggest chemical weapons stockpile in the world, Russia has also come up with the safest technologies for disarmament," said Viktor Khristenko, Russia's Industry and Energy Minister. Out of the $6 billion program, foreign countries are expected to cover $385 million. Final approval by the Russian government of the chemical weapons disarmament plan is expected before August 15.
Russia to Destroy Chemical Weapons Arsenal
By Agence France-Presse, Moscow

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications
Nanobarcodes for Multiple Pathogen Detection
Scientists in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University have developed a rapid, low cost, multiplexed, sensitive and specific molecular detection technique for pathogen DNA that uses fluorescence nanobarcodes to identify the individual potential reactants. A single element in the system comprises a section sensitive to the DNA of a particular target and one containing a bar code identifying it. Multiple elements can be placed on a single test probe. Results can be obtained in 30 minutes.
Multiplexed detection of pathogen DNA with DNA-based fluorescence nanobarcodes
Yougen Li, Yen Thi Hong Cu & Dan Luo. Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-5701, USA

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Inspectors Use Satellite Feeds to Track Sensitive Nuclear Materials
IAEA is building a global network for monitoring nuclear facilities by using direct satellite information. This will enhance the possibility of real-time tracking of sensitive nuclear materials and checking that they are not being diverted for non-peaceful use. The first field trial connecting a nuclear power plant in Slovakia to IAEA headquarters started in April this year and the results of the feasibility study for a prospective global system are expected by the end of the year. IAEA will be working with the European Space Agency on the system.
IAEA Inspectors Use Satellite Feeds To Track Sensitive Nuclear Materials

New Techniques May Help Solve Wind farm/Radar Problem (update)
A previous item in these reports [Wind Power vs. Air Defense Radar, March 2004] reported on the problem arising when return signals from wind farm fans interfered with military aircraft control radar systems. Two new developments offer some hope of solutions to this conflict. BAE Systems in the UK has produced a signal-processing algorithm, which uses fuzzy logic to filter out the returns from the rotating blades, leaving only genuine aircraft tracks. The system will be tested this summer and may be ready in a year. Stealth technology for the moving surfaces is also being investigated as a possible way of hiding the blades from the radar beam.
Another approach is being taken by Grimshaw Architects in association with Windpower Ltd, whose Aerogenerator is a Darius-principle wind turbine with a vertical axis that can be operated at ground level (or rather, sea level, since it's planned for off-shore use.).
BAE Uses Fuzzy Logic to Make Wind Farms Vanish
A turn for the better. Wind turbines are ugly and no one wants to live near one. Right? Wrong. By Steve Rose, Guardian, Monday July 18, 2005,3858,5241315-103605,00.html

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes to be Made More Effective
The Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal might be strengthened by new proposals prepared for the biannual ministerial conference to be held in late 2006. Issues on the Open Ended Working Group's agenda include used mobile phones, obsolete ships dismantling, furthering the ratification and implementation of the Protocol on Liability and Compensation, mobilizing funds and empowering the Convention's Regional Centers, and drafting technical guidelines for promoting the environmentally sound management of various kinds of hazardous wastes. [See also Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes of October 2004 and previous environmental security scanning reports on the Basel Convention.]
Press advisory for the OEWG4 - Basel Convention talks to address mobile phones, obsolete ships and new guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes
Secretariat of the Basel Convention

New Protected Ecological Sites
Seven New Sites Added to World Heritage List
The UN World Heritage Committee included 7 more natural sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List, expanded 2, and removed 3. The 7 new sites inscribed are: South Africa - Vredefort Dome; Egypt - Wadi Al-Hitan Whale Valley; Japan - Shiretoko; Norway - West Norwegian Fjords Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord; Mexico - Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California dolphins; Thailand - Dong Phayayen - Khao Yai Forest Complex; Panama - Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection. The two extensions are: India - Valley of Flowers National Park; and UK--St Kilda. The sites removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger List are: Sangay National Park in Ecuador, Timbuktu in Mali, and Butrint in Albania. Altogether, UNESCO World Heritage List numbers 160 natural sites and 24 mixed sites --both natural and cultural.
UN Ecological Reserves Network Adds 22 New Sites
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves, under the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO, added 23 ecosystems to its list, for a total of 482 sites in 102 countries. At these reserves, communities promote sustainable development while also conserving biodiversity. The community members also contribute to governance, management, research, education, training and monitoring at the sites.
[See also Nine New Hotspots Added to World's Protected Areas in February 2005, Intensified Efforts Needed to Save Biodiversity in January 2005, and related items on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in November and June 2004, and October 2003 environmental security monthly reports.]
Seven Natural Wonders Inscribed on World Heritage List
Twenty-three New Biosphere Reserves Added to UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Network

Progress on Efforts to Tackle Climate Change
G8 Environmental Results Are Limited to Post-2012 Concerns
Although the Gleneagles meeting of the G8 industrialized nations did not generate measurable targets and timetables for tackling greenhouse gas emissions, the heads of government of the world's eight wealthiest nations agreed that "climate change is happening now, that human activity is contributing to it, and that it could affect every part of the globe." They also set the stage for dialogues for post-Kyoto regulations that would include the US and other high-emitting countries such as China and India. The dialogues are planned to start with a meeting in London in November to be organized by the British government.
More than hot air. The G8 summit made quiet progress on climate change
The Economist, Science & Technology, Global warming. Jul 14th 2005;emailauth=%2527%25290%253A04%255COOV1%25254%250A&fsrc=nwl&subjectid=348924&story_id=4174286&login=Y (by subscription only)
Investment in Forests, Rivers and Wetlands Will Pay Dividends, UN Environment Chief Tells G8 Leaders
G8 Climate Plan Of Action Delivers Little Change

U.S., Australia, and Asia-Pacific Countries Coalition for Clean Development
The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate founded by the U.S., Australia, China, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, aims to address energy security, air pollution, and climate change issues based on cooperation in the development, implementation, and exchange of new, clean technologies. The joint Vision Statement was issued at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' annual ministerial meetings in Vientiane, Laos. The six countries combined represent more than half of the world's economy, population, and energy use, and are responsible for half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative is "a complement, not an alternative," to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick.
Australia Joins New Asia-Pacific, Partnership On Clean Development And Climate
Asia-Pacific Countries Join U.S., Australia to Control Climate

New Developments for Addressing Natural Disasters
The UN will be organizing the 3rd International Early Warning Conference in Bonn from 27 to 29 March 2006. Guided by the motto 'From Concept to Action,' the conference aims to implement the 'Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015,' (adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan, January 2005) and set short- and long-term early warning projects and address high priority needs mostly in critical countries and regions. The conference is expected to be attended by over 600 representatives of governments, parliaments and international organizations, as well as practitioners and members of the scientific community.
Meantime, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) decided to increase its role in natural disaster mitigation, particularly for helping the world's least developed countries. The program will be mainly based on better implementation and use of latest the S&T in the domain of weather forecast, climate and water, and cooperation with other international organizations that work in disaster risk and preparedness area.
Welcome to the website of the Third International Conference on Early Warning (EWC III)
UN announces new conference on early warning systems against natural hazards
UN weather agency outlines ambitious programme in natural disaster mitigation

E-waste Directives to be Enforced in the UK
The two EU directives on E-waste will be enforced by UK legislation. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive is expected to be enforced by UK law on August 13, 2005. The WEEE Directive of the EC sets a recycling framework for electrical and electronic equipment in order to minimize the impacts of this kind of waste on the environment. The related directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment bans the use in manufacture after July 1, 2006 of certain hazardous substances (lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenylethers (PDBEs)). The two directives on E-waste are already in force at EU level and were supposed to be added to EU Members legal system with rules for monitoring compliance by August 2004. [See Two E-waste laws entered into force in the European Union (EU) in February 2003 environmental security report.]
The WEEE Legislation
Directive on Restrictions of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS)

Conclusions on Health and Environmental Impact of 1990-1991 Gulf War
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) revealed the findings of Phase I of their study on the implications on the health of Kuwaiti civilians who remained in Kuwait during Iraq's 1990 invasion and occupation. The investigations followed for 14 years the health condition of 5,000 Kuwaitis over the age of 50 to assess likely mortality impacts of exposure to smoke from the oil fires and also reviewed trends in morbidity and mortality data from Kuwait's Ministry of Health. The conclusions show that an average individual risk on the order of 2/10,000 may be attributable to exposure to smoke from the oil fires. Screening assessing risks connected to other contaminants -- such as volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals from the oil lakes and marine oil spills; and depleted uranium - also indicated low risks to public health. [See also item 8.2 Study by Sandia on Depleted Uranium further in this report]
The fifty-sixth session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) concluded the assessment of compensations related to Iraqi 1990 invasion. Some argue that the denial of billions of dollars in compensation to some countries for adverse health and environmental effects of the 1990-1991 Gulf War sets a dangerous precedent to discourage future targeting of natural resources and the environment in future wars.
Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to note that the fifth (and last) installment under category "F4"--environmental claims--involved 19 claims filed by six Governments, out of which eight claims filed by four Governments were approved by the Council for compensation, with a total award value of over $252 million.
Public health impact of 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait
A summary of the report and list of contributing scientists is available at:
UN Denial of Billions in Gulf War Health Compensation Denounced
Governing Council Of United Nations Compensation Commission Has Concluded Its Fifty-Sixth Session

GMOs Controversy Continues
FAO calls for an international framework for GM trees
Genetic modification activities in forestry are taking place in some 35 countries and a commercial phase has already started without full scrutiny of potential benefits and risks. FAO says it is essential that environmental risk assessment studies be conducted with protocols and methodologies agreed upon at national and international levels.
UN body urges caution over GM Trees
Biotechnology in forestry gaining ground

GM Crops Created Superweed
Scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK argue that there is a potential that modified genes from GM crops could transfer into local wild plants, creating herbicide-resistant "superweeds." The findings of their four-year study were recently made public. The phenomenon was observed in a trial where cross-fertilization between GM oilseed rape, brassica, and a distantly related plant, charlock, created a new form of charlock that didn't react to lethal herbicide. The same was demonstrated in the lab for other weeds that became herbicide resistant. Although they consider that the potential of such cross-fertilization in the field is likely to be very low, they add that "this unusual occurrence merits further study in order to adequately assess any potential risk of gene transfer." [See also The Controversies over GMO Bans Continue in June 2005 and other previous environmental security reports.]
GM crops created superweed, say scientists
Paul Brown, environment correspondent. Guardian, Monday July 25, 2005,3858,5246601-103528,00.html
Monitoring movement of herbicide resistant genes from farm-scale evaluation field sites to populations of wild crop relatives, July 26th 2005

Discussions over World War II Japanese Warfare Program in China not Settled Yet
The chemical weapons left over by the Japanese invading army during World War II are still realistic threats to the Chinese people and environmental security, say Chinese officials urging Japan to take more measures to accelerate the process of destroying them. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao demands that the Japanese government follow the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons and the memorandum on the destruction of chemical weapons reached between the two governments.
Recently, Japan rejected China's demands for apology and compensation for damages caused by the Japanese germ warfare program during World War II. Chinese Foreign Ministry said, "Germ warfare was one of the serious crimes of the Japanese militarist period during World War II… The Japanese government should properly deal with this problem by using an honest attitude, undertaking its full responsibilities and handling conscientiously the reasonable demands of the injured people." The lawsuit has uncovered information about Japan's biological warfare program kept secret by Japan's government and the United States following World War II, says the Associated Press. For instance, the Unit 731 base near the Chinese city of Harbin may be responsible for as many as 250,000 deaths in the 1930s and '40s during the Japanese occupation of China. [See also China: Japan to Pay $2.7 Million for War Gas Leak in October 2003 and Effects of Poison Gas Used in WWII by Japan in May 2003 environmental scanning reports]
China urges Japan to accelerate process of destroying abandoned chemical weapons (Xinhua)
China Wants Japan to Respond to Germ Warfare Victims

Europe to Harmonize Marine Pollution Legislation
Regulations on marine pollution from ships will be harmonized for all 25 EU member states. The new Directive, considers pollution discharging from ships in coastal waters or the high seas a crime, whether by intention or by negligence. The European Council of Ministers was expected to adopt legislation this month that defines both marine pollution crimes and harmonizes the level of penalties. However, these were not yet adopted at the time of this writing. Penalties for these crimes will be much higher than current fines. Enforcement will be through countries' collaboration in identifying pollution cases and synergies among enforcement authorities, including national coast guards and criminal justice organizations.
Europe Unites Against Marine Polluters

Reports to Review

Environmental concerns increase opportunities and challenges for business (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report 4)
Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Industry, the fourth Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) report, synthesizes and integrates findings related to the interdependence between ecosystems and the private sector. "The Millennium Assessment is a user's guide to the planet for long-term thinkers… an invaluable resource for business leaders who think long term and seek to understand the threats and opportunities that will shape the economies of the future." said Jane Lubchenco, co-chair of the Synthesis Team. [See also items Biodiversity Synthesis Report (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2) of May, Human Footprint on Earth Ecosystem at Critical Stage and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report of March 2005, and Desertification Synthesis of June 2005 environmental security monthly reports.]
Environmental concerns increase opportunities and challenges for business
Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Industry
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Study by Sandia on Depleted Uranium (DU)
Sandia National Laboratories has completed a study assessing health risks associated with accidental exposure to depleted uranium (DU), using as a case study the 1991 Gulf War. The two-year study, An Analysis of Uranium Dispersal and Health Effects Using a Gulf War Case Study, used mathematical modeling to estimate eventual health risks both on troops and civilians. The study's findings are consistent with other U.S. studies on the same issue: there are no proofs of serious health risks implied from use of DU in combat. Closer exposure might enhance some risks, but at low level of probability. The report recommends monitoring of those exposed in close proximity or by handling DU, as well as considering conservative guidelines for uranium workers. [See also Claims of Radioactive Battlefields in Iraq need more scientific ground in August 2003, Depleted Uranium Controversy Continues in July 2003, and Health Research Updates on Depleted Uranium Inconclusive in June 2003 environmental security reports.]
An Analysis of Uranium. Dispersal and Health Effects. Using a Gulf War Case Study
By Albert C. Marshall, Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia completes depleted uranium study-Press Release

IAEA Annual Report for 2004
The annual report of the UN atomic watchdog calls for global cooperation on all nuclear issues--from countering the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism to preventing nuclear weapons proliferation, and meeting a growing energy demand. The report is a comprehensive overview of the Agency's work in 2004 in its three main domains: technology, safety and verification, also presenting prospects for future developments. It highlights that although attention to security of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated technologies increased significantly in recent years, international cooperation is essential to strengthen all countries' preparedness to respond properly to the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism and to build regional and global networks for combating transnational threats. The report notes that out of the over 650 confirmed incidents of trafficking in nuclear or other radioactive material recorded since 1993, the highest number of incidents--121 (of which 11 involved nuclear material) were in 2004. The report will be presented at the IAEA General Conference to be held in Vienna beginning 26 September. Other IAEA reports and documents prepared for the Conference will be made available as they are published.
IAEA Annual Report for 2004
IAEA Issues Annual Report for 2004

Nanotechnology: Environmental Implications and Solutions
According to a review in US National Institute of Health's (NIH) Environmental Health Perspectives, this new book "gives an excellent summary of traditional environmental pollution issues", but "may disappoint those who expect dramatic revelations about nanoparticles as pollutants". One chapter gives a good summary of the production and applications of nanomaterials, but in general the work is wanting in nano-specific information, except, to some extent, in the section on air pollution (albeit with several errors).
Nanotechnology: Environmental Implications and Solutions. Book Review
Nanotechnology: Environmental Implications and Solutions
By Louis Theodore and Robert G. Kunz Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. 378 pp. ISBN: 0-471-69976-4, $99.95 cloth

Update on more efficient vehicles: Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership
Copies of "Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership" will be available this fall from the National Academies Press (202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or order on the Internet at
Clear Vehicle Research Initiative, National Academy of Sciences

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June 2005

First International Research Center for "Creeping" Environmental Issues
The world's first international research center dedicated to 'creeping environmental problems' has been established in the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou. These are the slow and cumulative problems, like global warming and desertification. The Center's vice-president, Ye Qian, is from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. There will be more than 20 scientists from various countries working on the center's projects.
Chinese centre to study 'creeping' environment issues

WHO Project to Minimize Risks of Radon
The World Health Organization (WHO) is launching the International Radon Project to help countries reduce the health risks associated with radon gas. Radon, a radioactive gas emanating from soil, is estimated to be the cause of 6-15% of lung cancer cases. The first phase of the project is designed to run for three years, 2005-07. It will assess risk levels, and exposure measurements and guidelines. It will also increase public and political awareness about the consequences of exposure to radon. It will also identify and promote effective strategies and policies useful to countries for mitigating health impacts of radon. Radon is present worldwide, in air and water, but its concentration is highly dependent on the content of uranium in soil.
WHO launches project to minimize risks of radon
General information about radon:

New Israeli Venture Capital Fund for "Clean Tech" Enterprises
Israeli entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are fueling a burgeoning new crop of "clean technology" enterprises devoted to cleaning up the environment. A "cleantech" venture capital (VC) fund is being formed by the Millennium VC firm. Water management is a central element of many of these efforts. The fund's manager says that, "In five years it [Israel] will be the only country to use all of its wastewater, mainly for agriculture."
Israeli Start-Ups Work on Environmental Technology

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications
Sandia researchers develop unique 'surfactant' material
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a new class of surfactants (surface active agents) that are thermally degradable and easily removable in an inexpensive and environmentally friendly manner. These thermally cleavable (easily broken molecules) surfactants could have very large applicability in any field requiring modification of surface properties and where biodegradability is a primary concern.
Sandia researchers develop unique 'surfactant' material

New Technique to Convert Liquids to Semi-solids and Back Again
Chemist Takeshi Naota, at Kyoto University in Japan, has developed a technique able to convert fuels, lubricants and paints into gelatinous semi-solids by adding a palladium-based compound and applying ultrasound. The process can be reversed by heat or more ultrasound to produce liquids.
Blast of sound turns liquid to jelly news service, Celeste Biever, 25 June 2005

New Antibacterial and Antitoxin Textiles
Researchers from North Carolina State University and textile scientists from Egypt have created a fabric that is up to 90% effective against three commonly occurring microorganisms: Lactobacillus planterum, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Unlike conventional methods of coating, this plasma-based process eliminates chemical wastes, making it a more environmentally sound investment. The antimicrobial agents are attached to the molecular structure of fibers, creating a permanent bond between the fibers and the agent so that washing and wearing do not reduce the efficacy.
Using nanotechnology, researchers from North Carolina State University and University of Puerto Rico have developed "smart textiles" by attaching nanolayers to natural fibers. These layers can be customized for different chemicals and can block agents such as mustard or nerve gas while keeping the fabric breathable. Nanolayers can be attached to a fiber without undermining its comfort or usability, providing very high levels of protection.
Scientists to Develop Textiles with Permanent Antibacterial Properties
Nanotech Researchers Develop High-Tech 'Smart Textile'

Nanotechnology's Bottom-up Approach Gets a Boost
Foresight Nanotech Institute and Battelle Memorial Institute will lead a broadly based project to create a nanotechnology roadmap to help investment become more strategic and help set goals. The roadmap will focus on a bottom-up approach to nanotechnology based on productive nanosystems, using molecular machines to make larger products, scaling up to desktop manufacturing systems. The current approach mostly focuses on the reverse: large machines making smaller things like nanotubes, and other arrangements of molecules and atoms. The roadmap will describe a step-by-step development process starting with today's laboratory capabilities and providing useful products at every stage. Creating a roadmap that includes a broader range of approaches to nanotechnology will make cost, benefits, and time-to-impact judgments more clear for all. Such a roadmap may also assist future developers of international agreements on nanotechnology standards and trade.
News Release: Foresight Nanotech Institute Launches Nanotechnology Roadmap

Nanotechnology Protest
A group of environmental protesters disrobed in front of a high-end Madison Avenue clothing store in New York City to bring media attention against nanotech clothing that has stain-resistant nanotechnology-treated fabrics. This may be an early incident in a new anti-nanotech campaign that could grow into a major movement condemning uses of these new techniques. The situation is exacerbated by the very real lack of comprehensive scientific research on nanotechnology risks, and certainly by lack of public
When Nanopants Attack,1286,67626,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

Russia Accepts London Convention on Dumping of Radioactive Wastes
The Russian Federation announced its acceptance of the regulations that ban dumping radioactive wastes in seawater, as stipulated under Resolution LC.51(16) to the London Convention. Adopted in 1993, Resolution LC.51(16) to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, "London Convention", prohibits all forms of radioactive wastes dumping into seas (including incineration at sea of industrial wastes). The resolution is now in force for all 81 Parties to the London Convention.
Russian Federation accepts ban on dumping of radioactive wastes under 1972 London Convention
The London Convention

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Climate Change
Joint Science Academies' Statement on Climate Change
The heads of eleven national academies of sciences (all G8 countries plus Brazil, China, and India) issued a joint statement: "Climate change is real". Documented with scientific and statistical data, the statement makes clear that global warming is occurring and all nations should engage in sustained long-term actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare for the inevitable consequences of climate change. Since the most affected would be those in developing nations, poverty and migration are likely to increase. Although global collaboration will be necessary, the statement also calls on G8 nations to show leadership in addressing climate change and assisting developing nations to meet the challenges of adaptation and mitigation. [See also 8.4 Climate Change Updates in April 2005 and other previous environmental security monthly reports.]
Text and signatures of the Joint science academies' statement:
Global response to climate change: Climate change is real

Improved Satellite Climate Change Monitoring
The UK's National Physical Laboratory designed the first unmanned probe able to calibrate its instruments in orbit, Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial and Helio Studies (TRUTHS). This will reduce the margin of error and be able to supply more accurate satellite data, thus improving climate change parameter monitoring and helping settle international disputes over greenhouse gas emissions and strategies to curb global warming; e.g., carbon trading. [See also Global Earth Observing System of Systems {GEOSS} Gets 10-Year Mandate in February 2005, and Improved coordination of global Earth observation in August 2003 environmental security reports.]
New probe may silence climate skeptics news service, Duncan Graham-Rowe, 01 June 2005

World's Mayors Sign Municipal Version of the Kyoto Protocol
Mayors from 70 of the world's largest cities signed the Urban Environmental Accords aiming to tackle global warming by implementing ecologically sustainable policies. The agreement specifies 21 actions that mayors should implement to improve their cities' environment, covering the domains of energy; waste; urban design; urban nature; transportation; environmental health; and water. It is expected that at least three actions will be implemented each year until World Environment Day 2012. The "Green Cities" event occurred in San Francisco, June 1-5, 2005.
Urban Environmental Accords. Green Cities Declaration

North America's CEC Ministerial Statement
At the 12th Regular Session of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), the environment ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States adopted the Strategic Plan 2005-2010, which sets the priorities and strategies to achieve the goals. This takes into account the recommendations of the Ten-year Review and Assessment Committee, the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC), and key stakeholders. The priorities for the coming years are: the development of Information for Decision Making (based on high quality environmental information that is integrated and comparable); support for Capacity Building; Trade and Environment issues that help promote environmental protection and improve enforcement of environmental law; and Expand Partnerships for Environmental Stewardship. [See also Review of NAFTA's Environmental Side Accord in October 2003 environmental security report.]
CEC Ministerial Statement

Sweden Calls for World Ban on PFOS Chemical
Sweden proposes a global ban on perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a chemical used by a number of industries including semiconductor makers, and which might be harmful to human and animal health. Sweden would propose the ban under the Stockholm Convention. Sweden hopes that if the approval of the regulation takes a long time, the scientific evidence will convince countries to take independent advance actions to phase out PFOS. [See also Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in the April 2005, and 8.2 New Chemicals Proposed to be Added to Stockholm Convention on POPs in May 2005 environmental security scanning reports.]
Sweden Calls for World Ban on PFOS Chemical

EU Sets 2011 Deadline to Ban Mercury Exports
EU Environment ministers decided to ban mercury exports by 2011. Europe is the world largest mercury exporter, supplying about one-third of global demand. It also proposed the phase-out of mercury in some products such as thermometers, and improved global efforts on mercury waste management. [See also Governments Call for Global Assessment and Control of Mercury Pollution in February 2005 environmental security report.]
EU sets 2011 deadline to ban mercury exports

EU Commission Sets Long-term Energy Goals
In April the EU Parliament's Industry Committee approved raising the 2006-2015 energy reduction goal from 10% to 11.5%. This month the EU Executive Commission set an objective of 20% reduction by 2020, saving €60B per year in fuel costs. New EU laws requiring efficient buildings and appliances may achieve half the goal, but additional measures will be needed. A group of legislators went further, calling for a goal of 23% reduction. [See EU to Set Higher Targets for Cuts in Energy Consumption in April 2005 environmental security report.]
EU Wants 20 Percent Cut in Energy Use by 2020

Russian Green Party Formally Organized
The Green Russia party (now its official name) has now been formally organized with Alexei Yablokov as its chairman and Alexander Nikitin, the former naval officer, and nuclear safety activist, as one of its principal figures. The party's major present goal is to achieve the 50,000 member level necessary for participation in elections. [See also Russia's Green Movement Plans to Become a Political Party of October, 2004 environmental security monthly report]
Veteran Russian ecologists form Green Russia party
Head of Russia's New Green Party Outlines Tasks, Problems

Coalition Urges UN to Consider Legislation to Curb Harmful Ocean Sounds
The Ocean Noise Coalition urges the international community to pass regulations to curb harmful sound waves used by the oil and gas industry, and navies to detect submarines. Marine scientists state that there is increased evidence that these sounds are harmful to whales, dolphins and other marine life. The Coalition aimed to convince delegates from 148 nations to take action on the issue during their forthcoming consultations on oceans and marine law. [See also Scientific Models Could Help Navy Avoid Whales During Sonar Tests in February 2005, European Parliament Resolution to Protect Whales From Sonar in October 2004, and Research Confirms Military and Industry Sonar Harms Whales of July 2004 environmental security reports.]
Coalition Urges UN Curbs on Harmful Ocean Sounds

The Controversies over GMO Bans Continue
The EU is still divided over GMO bans. At the recent European Environment Council meeting, five European countries, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, and Luxembourg got majority support for rejecting the European Commission's proposal to lift the bans on transgenic varieties of maize and oilseed rape, under the justification that they present risks to human health and the environment. Meanwhile, Italy requested that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conduct its own independent scientific research to assess possible health risks associated with GMO rather than rely on data provided by the biotech industry. [See also EU Commission Seeks to Increase Biotech Food Safety in January 2004 and The EU Ended its Ban on Genetically Modified Foods in May 2004 environmental security reports.]
Japan, after finding a U.S. corn cargo infected with the unapproved Bt-10 biotech corn variety, decided to test every U.S. cargo entering the country. In China, genetically modified rice illegal cultivation and commercialization is spreading, increasing concerns that the non-approved variety could enter markets overseas.
EU Environment Ministers Let Five States Keep GM Crop Bans
Italy Calls for Independent EU Research on GMOs
Japan Finds US Biotech Corn, now to Test all Imports
Illegal GMO Rice Spreads across China - Greenpeace

Ratification began for the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments
Australia is the first country to sign the international agreement regulating ships' ballast water, adopted in February 2004 by the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), and began the ratification procedures. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments stipulates a series of measures aiming to prevent potential marine hazards caused by aquatic organisms carried by ships' ballast water. It will come into force 12 months after ratification by 30
Australia Signs Treaty to Limit Hitchhikers in Ballast Water
International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments adopted in 2004

Reports to Review
Lux Report Addressing Nanotech Health, Environmental, and Safety Risks
Nanotechnology's environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risks can be addressed responsibly today, states a new Lux Research report, A Prudent Approach to Nanotech Environmental, Health, and Safety Risks. Explaining different types of risks associated with nanotechnology, Lux estimates that of $8 trillion projected manufacturing output using some nanotechnology through 2014, 25% is exposed to real risk at manufacturing (which should be easiest to mitigate), 7% is exposed to real risk at use, 14% is exposed to risk at end-of-life, while 40% is exposed to perceptual risk. The report states that risks can be effectively addressed today by using well-established risk management techniques, and it also suggests that specific actions from corporations, start-ups, investors, and governments are needed to address nanotech EHS risks. It comments that U.S. government funding for nanotech EHS risk assessment should be increased from the present earmarked 3.7% of the $1.05 billion U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative budget for 2006. [See also item 9.4 Nanotechnology: Environmental Implications and Solutions in May 2005 environmental security monthly report.]
Note: on June 29, 2005 Lux Research released Nanotechnology: Where Does the U.S. Stand? "assessing how U.S. research and business activities in nanotech measure up to those of international competitors." (Report available only to Lux Research clients)
Nanotechnology's Environmental, Health, And Safety Risks Can Be Addressed Responsibly Today
Lux Research information:

European Nanotechnology Action Plan
The European Commission has announced its Action Plan to improve European competitiveness in nanotechnology. The plan outlines European-wide and national measures to strengthen nanotechnology research and implementation in a safe and responsible way. The measures in the action plan include: boosting funding--including research to assess possible impact on human health and the environment; respect of ethical principles and citizens' concerns and expectations; building risk assessment into the research and developing guidelines for such risk assessment (including reassessment of existing EU legislation); full access of the public to research; strengthening international dialogue on common issues; and improved infrastructure. The plan also calls for a legislative
The Nanotechnology Service of the European Commission (EU Nanotech latest news)
Looking small, thinking big - keeping Europe at the forefront of nanotechnology

Desertification Synthesis (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 3)
The Desertification Synthesis report was launched on June 17, to mark World Day to Combat Desertification. It represents a synthesis and integration of the findings of the assessment of ecosystem change-mainly desertification-due to human activity, as well as the consequences of these changes on future human wellbeing. It provides scientific evidence for sustainable living policies. "Growing desertification worldwide threatens to swell by millions the number of poor forced to seek new homes and livelihoods," according to the report. The Desertification Synthesis is part of a series of six MA synthesis reports. [See also items Biodiversity Synthesis Report (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2) of May and Human Footprint on Earth Ecosystem at Critical Stage and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report of March 2005 environmental security monthly reports.]
MA launches Desertification Synthesis Report on "World Day to Combat Desertification"
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

One Planet Many People-Atlas of our Changing Environment
UNEP launched the One Planet Many People Atlas to mark World Environment Day 2005. Using satellite images that compare and contrast images of critical parts of the planet from a few decades ago with contemporary ones, the Atlas shows grave damaging environmental changes, addressing a variety of key environmental issues such as urbanization, deforestation, and melting glaciers.
One Planet Many People-Atlas of our Changing Environment

Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint
Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint is a report launched at the European Parliament, by WWF and Global Footprint Network, analyzing the impact of Europe's lifestyle on the ecosystem. It reveals that Europe's ecological footprint is 2.2 times larger than its own biological capacity. With just 7% of world population, Europe consumes 17% of the world resources supply--a figure that has risen nearly 70% since 1961. The report shows that innovation and addressing ecological deficits are fundamental to maintaining Europe's competitiveness and wellbeing. Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint is based on Global Footprint Network's National Footprint Accounts and analysis (specifically France, Germany, Greece, Poland, and the UK), as well as a comparison of the footprints of 25 European nations. [See also items Biodiversity Synthesis Report (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2) of May and Human Footprint on Earth Ecosystem at Critical Stage and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report of March 2005 environmental security monthly reports.]
Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint (the report)
Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint (press release)

UNU Report Urges the Need For a New Treaty on Deep-Sea Research
A new international treaty is needed to regulate the search for new products from species in deep international waters, the Institute for Advanced Studies of the United Nations University warns in a report. Compounds found in marine organisms can be used in medicines, and commercial exploration lured by potential profits threatens unique deep-sea ecosystem. The report urges the need for a new treaty to regulate exploitation so that benefits from the research are shared fairly and helps humanity as a whole. [See also Could large-scale ocean zoning prevent conflicts? of March 2005 environmental security monthly report.]
Bioprospecting of Genetic Resources in the Deep Seabed: Scientific, Legal and Policy Aspects
Tapping the oceans' treasures: Bioprospecting in the Deep Seabed
'Treaty needed' to regulate deep-sea bioprospecting

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May 2005

World Health Assembly adopts new International Health Regulations
The new International Health Regulations adopted by the World Health Organization's annual assembly on May 23, 2005, will increase security against global epidemics of deadly diseases by improving national and international capacity for preventing and responding to disease outbreaks. The new regulations include comprehensive assessment, reporting, and response standards mandatory for each country and to be implemented within a specific timeframe; operational mechanisms; increased collaboration between countries' health offices and with the WHO; and a better coordinated international reporting and response system. The regulations stipulate the increased roles of countries and WHO in identifying, preventing, and responding to public health emergencies of international concern. WHO should be quickly informed of any outbreak of four diseases--SARS, bird flu, smallpox and polio--as well as any outbreaks of "potential international public health concern" from known or unknown causes or sources. The new regulations will formally come into force two years after approved by the Assembly. [See also UN Report Recommends New Powers to Combat Bioterrorism and Epidemics in the February 2005 environmental security scanning report.]
World Health Assembly adopts new International Health Regulations
Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly
Resolution containing the revised International Health Regulations

New Tools to Monitor Environmental Pollution
Software "Toolkit" for Control of Hazardous Chemicals
The Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous and Other Wastes developed a software "toolkit" that would greatly help assessing and managing the hazardous chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The PCB Inventory and Management Decision Supportive Tool (DST) will help collect and organize PCB data, and support planning for PCB disposal and transboundary movement. In addition to falling under the scope of the Basel Convention, PCBs are to be phased out of use by 2025 under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Secretariat of the Basel Convention
Launch of a PCB Inventory and Management Decision Supportive Tool

New Web Site on Biomonitoring Technology
The Environmental Health Research Foundation (EHRF) launched a new web site that is providing comprehensive information on Biomonitoring," the scientific technique for assessing human exposure to natural and synthetic chemicals [Note: the website is just now being populated.]
Biomonitoring Info

Fostering Environment and Security Connection
International Conference on Environment, Peace and the Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures
The International Conference on Environment, Peace and the Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures, held May 9-10 in Tehran, Iran, was organized by UNEP, Iranian Department of Environment, the United Nations University (UNU), and UNESCO. It discussed and reaffirmed the interaction between environment and conflict, environment and human security, and the role of dialogue in reducing international conflict and protecting the environment. Other issues discussed were: the efficiency of the current international regulations relating to environmental protection during armed conflict; the status of environmental treaties after parties go to war; the applicability of international law to non-international armed conflicts; and UNEP's possible role in assessing liability for damages. UNEP representative noted the potential of a future UN Peacebuilding Commission to address these issues. The delegates adopted the Tehran Communiqué that provides nine recommendations and conclusions arising from the Conference: to create a culture of universal peace and solidarity; to deepen and broaden the process of dialogue among civilizations and cultures; UNEP should continue its initiative on environment, peace and dialogue and consider holding annual international meetings; improve understanding and correlation between security and environment; enlarge the dialogue to include all segments of society; the proposed UN Peacebuilding Commission should contribute to the objectives of the Conference; development of fora for preventive dialogue and post-conflict restitution; and cultural, ethical and spiritual values must be fully integrated into strategies of dialogue for peace, security and development. The Communiqué will be formally submitted to the UN Secretary-General as a message to the September UN General Assembly.
International Conference on Environment, Peace, and the Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures, 9-10 May 2005, Tehran, Iran
Dialogue Among Civilizations Bulletin

Call for Legally Binding Agreement for Forests' Conservation
UN Forum on Forests 5th Session, held 16-27 May 2005, reviewed the effectiveness of the International Arrangement on Forests and determined that better international regulations, management mechanisms, and long-term political commitments are needed to improve forest conservation. Several officials called for a legally binding instrument and quantifiable targets eventually linked to the Millennium Development Goals. [These goals will be reviewed for possible modification at the UN General Assembly meeting in September 2005.] The delegates failed to reach agreement on future international arrangements and improving international regulations on forests. The next UNFF is planned for February 13, 2006.
During the Forum, the World Wildlife Federation and the World Bank renewed their World Bank/WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Use and announced their new forest protection goal to cut global deforestation 10% by 2010.
UN Forum of Forests:
WWF, World Bank Would Trim Global Deforestation 10 Percent by 2010
UN Forest Forum Concludes Two-Week Session At UN Headquarters; Fails to reach full agreement on future global plan

New Resolution on Victims' International Human Rights
The latest Session of the UN Human Rights Commission approved the "Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law." This comprehensive Resolution doesn't introduce new international obligations, but identifies "mechanisms, modalities, procedures and methods for the implementation of existing legal obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law" and reinforces the obligation of all States to respect the international legal obligations and adapt their respective national legal systems to the international laws and regulations on human rights. The Resolution will come into effect after adoption by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, which could occur at the next meeting this September.
Basic principles and guidelines on the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law. Human Rights Resolution 2005/35

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications
Nano-engineered Powders Tackle Toxic Chemicals
FAST-ACT is a new family of nano-engineered powders that can clean up hazardous substances such as VX nerve gas and sulfuric acid. This toxic-chemical cleaner composed of magnesium, titanium, and oxygen was developed by Kansas State University chemist Kenneth Klabunde and will be produced by NanoScale Materials Inc.
Nano-engineered Powders Tackle Toxic Chemicals

New Environmental-friendly Lighting Based on Gallium Nitride
Prof. Colin Humphreys from Cambridge University, UK, is developing gallium nitride-based light bulbs that could last 100 times longer than light bulbs used today. Scientists agree that using gallium nitride in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could help cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 15%. While different nitride-based LED applications could soon materialize, it might take 5-10 years to develop the technology to produce gallium nitride LEDs with an acceptably white light for home and office lighting. Since lighting accounts for 20% of electricity use in developed countries and 40% in developing ones, the financial and environmental savings could be considerable.
UK Scientist's Bright Idea to Fight Global Warming
PlanetArk, Story by Patricia Reaney, 2/5/2005

Enviromatics could contribute to Environmental Security
MIT introduces and explains the emergence of a new field, enviromatics, born from the convergence of information technology and environmental research. Unlike environmental modeling based on statistical data, enviromatics uses real-time ecosystems-status database, Internet tools, and ubiquitous computers. Improved continuous sensing, simulation, and mapping tools make the predictions more reliable than previously. Instantaneous ecosystem analysis and short-term forecasting of ecosystems' conditions is accessible to anybody interested. Possible applications of the new field range from farmers who could avoid eventual damages to their crops, to protection of endangered species that need special habitat conditions. Enviromatics could impact decisionmaking for improving forecasting implications of different action options, as well as increasing public awareness to foster more environmentally friendly practices.
Enviromatics. Computer forecasts enhance farm production and species diversity

Nets of Agents Probe the Environment
An important branch of Enviromatics [See previous item 5.3] is concerned with the acquisition of environmental data. Several current projects (Univ. of Wyoming, Univ. of Pennsylvania, UCLA) are developing variations of advanced data acquisition techniques. These are based on large networks of small intercommunicating devices (agents), incorporating sensors, which can monitor wide areas for environmental data, process it, and transmit results back to a central point. These devices may be stationary--laid out in a grid pattern over the region of concern--or they can be a band of mobile robots swarming over a large area in an internally controlled search for sites and information of interest. Individual units might be specialized; e.g., for radiation, biological weapons, or chemical weapons. The key element here is the combination of individual autonomy, in which each device "runs itself", and intercommunication, which permits low-power wireless transmission of data and plans around the network. In this way the assemblage of units can behave in a seemingly intelligent manner, adjusting its behavior to changing conditions or surroundings. A flight of migratory birds, maintaining its V-shape, is the classic example of this kind of emergent behavior, demonstrating that, in fact, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. [See also On-chip Antenna to Solve Communication Problems among Microscopic Sensors in May 2004, and Robot Swarms in June 2004 environmental security monthly scanning reports.]
Couple Receive Grant to Develop Robots

Progress on Self-replicating Robots
A team of engineers from Cornell University in Ithaca NY, has created robots that can self-replicate similarly to biological cloning. At this stage, they are just simple sets of 4 modular robot cubes, "molecubes", which are able to assemble copies of themselves, when provided a supply of pre-made cubes. Yet, they represent an important step forward compared to previous self-replicating robots, due to their flexibility, "memory", and three-dimension movement possibility.
Stuff of sci-fi nightmares? An army of robots that reproduce
By Steve Connor, Science Editor, 12 May 2005 (by subscription only)
Robotics: Self-reproducing machines
Nature 435, 163-164 (12 May 2005) Brief Communication (by subscription only)
Robots master reproduction
Andreas von Bubnoff

Buckyballs Might Affect the Environment
Scientists have found that buckyballs (the C60 hollow molecule nanospheres), envisioned for use in a wide variety of applications, are soluble in water, and influence the functioning of bacteria. So far, research shows that the particles at a concentration of 0.5 parts per million inhibited bacterial growth and respiration. Several features influence their behavior, including water's Ph. Thus, buckyballs are not biologically inert. This reveals that more research is necessary to understand buckyballs' behaviors and influences on the environment, and to guide the development of any eventual regulations concerning nanotechnology applications.
New research raises questions about buckyballs and the environment
C60 in Water: Nanocrystal Formation and Microbial Response

Sunlight-powered System for Cleaning Water and Produce Electricity
Scientists from Aberdeen University of Scotland began a three-year research project for developing a "photoelectrocatalytic" fuel cell that would harness sunlight to break down various organic pollutants in water and produce electricity as a byproduct. [See also New More Efficient Microbial Fuel Cell Cleans Wastewater and produces Hydrogen in the April 2005 environmental security report.]
Harnessing the power of the sun to clean water
Frank Urquhart, The Scotsman:

Conviction in Transborder Electromagnetic Pollution Case
Cardinal Roberto Tucci, former head of Vatican Radio's management committee, and the Rev. Pasquale Borgomeo, the station's director general, were convicted by a Rome cour for polluting the environment with electromagnetic waves from a transmission tower in the Rome suburb of Cesano, damaging the health of those living nearby. Although under the 1929 Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, Vatican is an independent city-state, Italy's Supreme Court ruled that the case could be tried.
Cardinal Convicted in Environmental Case
By Frances D'emilio, May 9, 2005 6:01 PM,1280,-4993374,00.html

New Developments for Climate Change
Earth is Absorbing an Excess of Solar Energy
A recent paper in Science by NASA scientists reports that Earth is absorbing much more heat than it is losing, a result that adds weight to the pessimistic forecasts on global warming. Their prediction shows a global rise of 1° F. this century even if greenhouse gases remained at their present level. Some of their new data comes from the Argo ocean sensing project and, combined with readings from other sources, indicates that the planet's surface has a solar energy imbalance of +0.85 watts/square meter.
Experts Say New Data Show Global Warming

Reversal of Global Dimming
Researchers found that the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface is increasing, and has been for at least the past ten years, reversing a dimming trend that extended over several prior decades. The reasons for these fluctuations are obscure, but it is likely that this brightening, and consequent increased warming, is at least partly due to a decrease in the emission into the atmosphere of particulates and other sunlight-shielding pollutants from industrial operations. If this trend persists, or even stabilizes, it raises doubts as to whether the current forecasts of global warming are pessimistic enough.
Earth Lightens Up
From Dimming to Brightening: Decadal Changes in Solar Radiation at Earth's Surface
Science, Vol 308, Issue 5723, 847-850, 6 May 2005 (full article by subscription only)

UN Meeting Fails to Agree on Post-Kyoto Strategy
The UN meeting in Bonn trying to extend the spectrum of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012 failed to agree on an international post-Kyoto framework mainly because of EU-US disagreements and major emerging economies that are reluctant to curb their surging greenhouse gas emissions. This two-day seminar attended by delegates from 190 nations, was the first formal UN climate meeting since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force. The next negotiations will be at a meeting of environment ministers in Montreal, Canada, in December. [See also items 8.4 Ambitious Post-Kyoto EU Emissions Goals in March 2005 and 7.1 Kyoto Protocol Came into Force on February 16, 2005 in February 2005 environmental security reports.]
A recent World Bank study shows that trade in carbon dioxide permits surged this year since the Kyoto Protocol came into force and as the EU launched its "cap and trade" scheme.
Bonn Talks To Promote Progress On Climate Change Convention
Post-2012 climate talks stalled at UN conference
Greenhouse Gas Trade Growing Sharply - World Bank

Updates on Previously Identified Issues
Gothenburg Air Pollution Protocol Entered into Force on May 17, 2005
The Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone entered into force on 17 May 2005. The Protocol was originally adopted on 30 November 1999 in Gothenburg (Sweden) and signed by 31 countries. It is the eighth to take effect under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The Protocol sets targets for emission cuts for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and ammonia, and sets limit values for specific emission sources (e.g. combustion plants, electricity production, dry cleaning, cars and lorries) and requires best available techniques to be used to keep emissions down. [See also item 8.1 The Gothenburg Protocol on Air Pollution to Enter into Force on May 17 of March 2005, and item 9.2 Changes to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of December 2004 environmental security scanning reports.]
New Air Pollution Protocol to take effect on 17 May 2005

New Chemicals Proposed to be Added to Stockholm Convention on POPs
The Punta del Este meeting of the parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) established a POPs Review Committee that will be responsible for evaluating additional chemicals that can be added to the current list of 12. Four candidate chemicals were given to the Committee, whose first meeting will be held in Geneva later this year, with its recommendations forwarded to future annual meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention. The four candidates for phaseout are: the flame retardant pentabromodiphenyl; the hexachlorocyclohexanes, including the pesticide lindane; the pesticide chlordecone; and the flame retardant hexabromobiphenyl. [See also Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in the April 2005, and Stockholm Convention on POPs Came Into Force this Month in the May 2004 environmental security scanning reports.]
Governments to take decisive action to implement UN-backed treaty against organic pollutants
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

Meeting of the Parties (MOP-2) to the Aarhus Convention
The second meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention--UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters--took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 25-27 May 2005. It reviewed progress so far and improvement of its mechanism to increase performance of the Convention's implementation in all regions. It assessed the application of principle 10 [access to environmental information at all levels] of the Rio Declaration at both global and regional levels. Agreement was reached on an amendment to the Convention for extending the role of the public in decisions involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The declaration adopted by the Ministerial segment of the meeting was not yet available at the time of this writing. [See also related items Aarhus Clearing House Launched in September 2004, Full Application of the Aarhus Convention in November 2003, The Aarhus Convention and GMOs in October 2003 environmental security scanning reports.]
Aarhus Convention; Second Meeting of the Parties

Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
In spite of all the current discussions on different forms of nuclear threats, the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended its month-long meeting without adopting any significant decisions to improve the NPT and its mechanisms. The three working committees were organized on the main topics of the Treaty: disarmament, verification of safeguards on national nuclear programs, and the peaceful use of atomic energy. No consensus was achieved on any of them and the final document has no "recommendations" section. Yet, many delegates attested their nations' continuous commitment to push for nuclear disarmament, entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and other measures to promote nuclear safety. Ambassador Sérgio de Queiroz Duarte (Brazil), President of the Conference, acknowledged, however, that the ways in which the issues have been discussed, the interest of the delegations, the documents presented, and the debates were an important step forward and a great opportunity for the delegations to put forth their nations' views on how to improve the system of the Treaty. Canadian Ambassador Paul Meyer suggested that annual conferences be held to accelerate progress of the negotiations. Among the positive outcomes of the Conference is the agreement on "indicators of noncompliance" and possible consequences for withdrawal from the treaty.
Meantime, addressing the "Mayors for Peace" conference, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the world's mayors to revitalize their view for a global ban on nuclear weapons by 2020 and advance the organization's Programme to Promote Solidarity of Cities toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 2005 Review Conference
NPT Conference to Deadlock
Nuclear Weapon Ban only Guarantee They Will Never again Be Used, Says Secretary-General in Remarks to Mayors for Peace

Reports to Review
Biodiversity Synthesis Report (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2)
The second Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report, Biodiversity and Human Well-being: A Synthesis Report for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was released on May 22 to mark the International Day of Biodiversity. [See the March 2005 ES Report, Item 8.7, for the first in this series of seven similar Millennium Assessment papers] In response to requests for information received through the CBD, the report synthesizes and integrates findings related to biological diversity from the four MA Working Groups: Conditions and Trends, Scenarios, Responses and Sub-global Assessments. The key findings of the report are: in the last 50 years, human actions have changed the diversity of life on the planet more than at any other time in human history; biodiversity is the foundation for human well-being; human activities are leading to the loss of the variety of life; in the past, actions and programs that promoted conservation and the sustainable use of biological diversity limited biodiversity loss; the size of the task ahead of us is so great that the 2010 biodiversity target will only realistically be achieved in certain areas and regions if we engage in substantial efforts.
MA releases second report: Biodiversity and Human Well-being (news release)
Biodiversity and Human Well-being (report downloadable)

Reforming International Environmental Governance: From Institutional Limits to Innovative Reforms
Reforming International Environmental Governance: From Institutional Limits to Innovative Reforms by the UNU addresses the international institutional framework that would best serve global environmental governance. The ad hoc nature of the current over 500 international agreements and institutions dealing with environmental issues around the world complicates the implementation and compliance process of environmental regulations. The contributors suggest institutional reform of the current international environmental governance system and evaluate three potential models: enforcement, centralization, and cooperation through increased coordination and collaboration. They examine the possibilities of improving international environmental governance by strengthening UNEP and clustering the existent international regulations; a potential World Environment Organization; and the prospect of a World Environment Court; as well as UN reforms.
Reforming International Environmental Governance: From Institutional Limits to Innovative Reforms. Edited by W. Bradnee Chambers and Jessica F. Green. UN University, May 2005

Vital Signs 2005
Worldwatch Institute Vital Signs 2005 report discusses 35 economic, social, and ecological trends that have crucial impacts on the world's future. It raises awareness and a warning signal on the ecological and social costs of today's unsustainable growth and consumption. The report notes that if present tends and patterns continue, environmental refugees could reach 50 million by 2010.
Vital Signs 2005, Worldwatch Institute

Nanotechnology: Environmental Implications and Solutions
Although the book review in Small Times says that the title is overstated--the book not offering "solutions"--it presents a comprehensive overview of today's environmental regulations and their current status, addresses pollution issues including control techniques, and does an assessment of nanotechnology referring to its potential health risks, risk communication, and ethical issues. The book appears to be a good source of information both for environmentalists--explaining nanotechnology - and for nanotech scientists--informing about environmental policies and procedures.
Book Review: Eco-Friendly And Nano Smart, In Theory
By Candace Stuart, Small Times Editor-in-Chief

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April 2005

UN Convention against Nuclear Terrorism

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was adopted by the General Assembly on April 13, 2005 and will be open for signature on 14 September at the high-level plenary meeting scheduled for the 60th session of the UN General Assembly. The Convention creates an enforced legal framework to counter nuclear terrorism. It will provide for a definition of acts of nuclear terrorism, and covers nuclear safety, crisis and post-crisis situations in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards. Under its provisions, States are supposed to cooperate by sharing information and assisting each other in preventing terrorist attacks, and the alleged offenders must be prosecuted or extradited.

General Assembly Adopts Convention On Nuclear Terrorism; Will Open For Signature At Headquarters 14 September
Also Adopts 16 Budget Committee Texts; Peacekeeping Finance, Reform of UN Justice System among Issues Addressed
New Convention Against Nuclear Terrorism Bolsters Global Framework

International Conference on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement

Participants from over 60 countries and 125 organizations explored strategies to improve compliance with domestic and international environmental law at the 7th International Conference of the International Network on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 10-15 April 2005. Papers from the conference stressed the relationship of compliance and enforcement to the rule of law to help achieve a system of good governance and ultimately meet sustainable development objectives. Supporting materials are available on the interactive INECE website.
INECE is the only global network of independent experts dedicated to pursuing the rule of law, good environmental governance, and sustainable development at all levels of governance. It links the environmental compliance and enforcement efforts of more than 4,000 practitioners - inspectors, prosecutors, regulators, parliamentarians, judges, and NGOs - from over 120 countries, through training and capacity building programs, raising awareness, and enhancing enforcement cooperation.

INECE Conference Program with interactive feature of draft results available by clicking on the relevant section and conference proceedings at:
Marrakech Statement (Co-Chair and Executive Planning Committee Final Conference Statement)

International Water Policies Needed

Gorbachev Calls for a Treaty to Declare Clean Water Access as a Human Right
Mikhail Gorbachev wants the UN World Summit in September to declare that access to safe water is a human right and embody this right in a new international treaty. His speech at the 13th meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development called for a legally binding treaty with adequate implementation mechanisms to guarantee the right to clean water and sanitation to all. This former head of the Soviet Union declared that providing clean water for everyone is a bigger challenge than ending the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.

Commission on Sustainable Development, 13th meeting
Mikhail Gorbachev statement under Topic: Turning Political Commitments into Action: Interactive Discussions with UN organizations, Thursday, 21 April 2005
Gorbachev Urges Water Treaty; Criticizes U.S. Nuclear Policy (article stored for a limited time on the website)
Sustainable Development Commission Fails to Sustain Enthusiasm (by subscription only)

Two Reports Stress Water Management to Avoid Conflict
Water, Conflict, and Cooperation, a "policy brief" featured in the latest Woodrow Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Project Report (10), argues that water scarcity issues are both a threat and an opportunity for the UN system. Effective UN water policies and management could enhance cooperation and reduce the potential for conflict. The authors suggest the creation of a "one-stop shop" - pooling the many UN organizations that work on water issues - so that nations and organizations would get the best synergies of personnel, technologies, and advice to improve their water improvement systems.
Another report, Making Water a Part of Economic Development: The Economic Benefits of Improved Water Management and Services, by the Stockholm International Water Institute and WHO, argues that efficient water management for human security could accelerate economic growth, sustainable development, and improving health. The report demonstrates that economic benefits far outweigh the costs and suggests three major investment priorities: access to safe water and basic sanitation; protection of the integrity of aquatic and water-related terrestrial ecosystems; and water-resource management. The report was released at the UN headquarters in conjunction with the 13th Meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

Water, Conflict, and Cooperation
Policy Brief by Alexander Carius, Geoffrey Dabelko, and Aaron Wolf
Making Water a Part of Economic Development: The Economic Benefits of Improved Water Management and Services

China River Basin Issues
Promoting Sustainable River Basin Governance?Crafting Japan-U.S. Water Partnerships in China, a publication by the Woodrow Wilson Center's China Environment Forum and Japan Institute of Developing Economies, is the result of cooperation between Chinese, U.S., and Japanese water experts on improving Chinese river basin management. The report explores areas of collaboration between the three countries on three central issues: (1) river basin management institutions, (2) financing, and (3) public participation.
Meanwhile, the lower Min River, which is one of the Yangtze's major tributaries, is essentially dry as a result of dams built in its upper section; consequently, the downstream communities do not get water for domestic use and irrigation for millions of hectares of farmland, causing food and water shortage in a heavily populated area. [See also Prospects for Conflict over Water Rise in Several Regions in the March 2005 environmental security scanning report]

Promoting Sustainable River Basin Governance?Crafting Japan-U.S. Water Partnerships in China
CEF and Japanese partner Institute of Developing Economies publish book on promoting river basin governance in China
Major Yangtze tributary drying up due to dams, environmental group says

EU to Set Higher Targets for Cuts in Energy Consumption

The European Parliament's Industry Committee approved a proposal for raising energy consumption cuts from the earlier target of 10% to 11.5% over the period 2006-2015. The new schedule is to cut 3% from 2006 to 2009, 4% from 2009 to 2012, and an additional 4.5% from 2012 to 2015. During the Brussels European Council Summit at the end of March, the EU heads of state and government reiterated the importance of implementing the Lisbon Strategy for growth, competitiveness and social cohesion in today's knowledge-based world, and addressed climate change and sustainable development. They also emphasized EU preparations for the September UN Summit and its substantial role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

EU Lawmakers Want Higher Energy Use Cut in 2006-15
Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council

Nanobacteria in Clouds could Spread Disease

Nanobacteria in clouds could become pathogenic airborne contaminants. They could play a crucial role in the spread of disease and in the formation of rain drops, according to Dr Andrei P. Sommer of the University of Ulm, Germany, and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of Cardiff University, UK. Nanobacteria are microorganisms 100 times smaller than ordinary bacteria and can self-replicate. The wind can blow disease-carrying nanobacteria from the ground all the way to the stratosphere where they can oscillate between dormant and active states, as they move between high and low-humidity regions in clouds and then return to different areas on the earth via rain.

Nanobacteria in clouds could spread disease, scientists claim. EurekAlert, 6-Apr-2005
Nanobacteria in Clouds May Spread Diseases Around the World (by subscription only)

New Nanotechnology Forecasting and Assessment Programs
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies launched by the Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) and the Pew Charitable Trusts will assess possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology and potential nanotechnology risk management strategies. It will be a reliable source of information for businesses, governments, and the public through reports, analyses and regular meetings with leaders in the field.
The Institute of Nanotechnology, a global leader in nanotechnology matters, will officially launch the European Nanotechnology Trade Association (ENTA), on June 1, 2005, to act as an interface between nanotechnology businesses across Europe and: governments, science and industry policy makers; and the public and watchdog organizations 'to ensure transparency and that new nanotechnologies are developed in a safe and responsible manner.'

Wilson Center Launches New Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
European Nanotechnology Trade Association Established

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

New and Improved Land Mine Destruction Technique
A British de-mining specialist corporation, Disarmco, in partnership with ordnance and explosive experts at Cranfield University at Shrivenham, have developed a new environmentally friendly and low-cost mine destruction device, codenamed "Dragon". The device is based on a high-temperature pyrotechnic torch, which burns the explosive material in the mine rather than detonating it, a technique that can cause destruction and contamination over a substantial area. According to the university, "The torches are made in situ in … [a] portable unit and do not require any specialist knowledge or expensive training in order to be used safely by local communities employed in decontamination efforts."

Cranfield Leads The Development Of Next Generation Anti-Land Mine Device
Next Generation Anti-Land Mine Device, March 29

Degradable Plastic Could Reduce Environment Footprint
David R. Tyler, a chemist at the University of Oregon, and his colleagues have developed a molybdenum/chlorine-containing plastic which degrades to dust in three days under exposure to light. Items made from this material would, of course, have to be limited to those concealed from illumination until used, and then be required to function for only a short time. However, this disintegration property would offer a simple, environmentally friendly solution to disposal of used devices meeting the above constraint.

Clues to Breaking Down Plastics (article stored for a limited time on the website)

New More Efficient Microbial Fuel Cell Cleans Wastewater and produces Hydrogen
The BioElectrochemically-Assisted Microbial Reactor (BEAMR) is an anaerobic, electrically-assisted microbial fuel cell (MFC). It produces four times the amount of hydrogen from dissolved organic matter such as human, agricultural, and industrial waste and simultaneously cleans the wastewater used as its feedstock than bacteria achieve in normal fermentation. It uses 0.25 volts of electrical boost, about one-tenth the voltage needed for electrolysis of water, which helps it surmount the fermentation energy barrier limit. This form of decentralized renewable energy production could make fuel-cell-based transportation and wastewater treatment more efficient, but further study will be needed for commercialization. The National Science Foundation and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture supported this Pennsylvania State University research.

Microbial fuel cell: High yield hydrogen source and wastewater cleaner

Nanotechnology Used to Produce Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Cars
Using nanotechnology, scientists from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Laboratory for Surface Modification, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, might have found an efficient and environmentally friendly solution for the hydrogen fuel cell-powered car industry. The nanostructured catalyst-based hydrogen production technology seems also to provide solutions for safe and easy distribution by "binding hydrogen with atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia molecules," so that the "resulting liquid could be handled like gasoline and diesel fuel", thus avoiding the high costs involved in building a new infrastructure for fuel cells. Using this technology, "pure hydrogen could be extracted under the vehicle's hood on demand, as needed by the fuel cell, and the remaining nitrogen released back into the atmosphere. The atmosphere is normally four-fifths nitrogen, so the nitrogen emissions are not viewed as polluting" comments an Environment News Service article.

Nanotechnology Used to Produce Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Cars (by subscription only)
Decomposition of Ammonia and Hydrogen on Ir Surfaces: Structure Sensitivity and Nanometer-Scale Size Effects. J. Am. Chem. Soc., Vol. 127, No. 14: April 13, 2005 (abstract; full article by subscription only)

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Single-hull Oil Tanker Phase-out Entered into Force
Single-hull oil tanker phase-out--implementation of MARPOL Annex I regulations 13G and 13H--entered into force on April 5, 2005 for all States Party to the MARPOL Convention. [See also UN Maritime Agency to Accelerate Phase-Out Of Single-Hull Tankers in December 2003 and French Create 90-mile Mediterranean Ecological Zone in April 2003 environmental security scanning reports]. On May 19, 2005, Annex VI of MARPOL on regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships will be effective.

Single-hull oil tanker phase-out - implementation of MARPOL Annex I regulations 13G and 13H

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties
The First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) will be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 2-6 May, 2005 and is anticipated to be attended by 800 government officials and observers from 130 countries. The Conference is expected to establish a process for evaluating future POPs candidates to add to the list, and to discuss best policies and strategies for implementing the Convention's requirements with Guidelines on Best Available Techniques and Environmental Practices.
The Stockholm Convention came into force on May 17, 2004 and the 12 POPs covered so far by the Convention are: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene, dioxins and furans. [See also Stockholm Convention on POPs Came Into Force this Month in the May 2004 environmental security scanning report]

Governments Meet to Launch Global Campaign to Eliminate 12 Most Hazardous Chemicals

Avian Influenza New Developments
New Worldwide Avian Influenza Network (OFFLU)
At the recent international conference on bird flu held in Paris, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the new Worldwide Avian Influenza Network (OFFLU) to improve health security by a better collaboration between veterinary and public health services at local, regional and global levels. Reference laboratories specializing in avian influenza in animals will be coordinated by OIE and FAO, and laboratory networks focusing on human influenza will be coordinated by WHO. Also at the conference, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has formally requested assistance from the international community for fighting avian influenza. On April 25th, it was announced that the outbreak has been successfully contained.
Europe Drafts New Law To Control Bird Flu Epidemics
The European Commission adopted a draft Directive for a law to control bird flu viruses. The new legislation will require EU states to introduce and reinforce surveillance and control measures against low pathogenicity viruses, in order to prevent mutation into a more harmful strain, mostly one that would be transmissible between humans. The new law is expected to enter into force January 1, 2007, replacing the existing one.
Bird Flu less Deadly but more Infectious
The human mortality rate from bird flu in Vietnam dropped considerably over the past year, from about 70% of the people with confirmed cases, to about 20%. The good news is that avian influenza seems to be less deadly than was thought. The downside of the news is that the virus might be more infectious, increasing the probability of an outbreak in Southeast Asia and, hence, worldwide. The fact that people can be infected/carry the virus without even showing symptoms further aggravates the situation and alarms international health organizations. [See also 7.2 Avian Flu Danger at Rise in the February 2005 and other related items in the previous months' environmental security scanning reports]

Bird flu: North Korea appeals for assistance
Bird flu outbreak in North Korea contained
Europe Drafts New Law to Prevent Bird Flu Epidemics (by subscription only)
In Vietnam, A Dark Side To Good News On Bird Flu
By Alan Sipress, Washington Post Foreign Service, Saturday, April 23, 2005; Page A01 (article stored for a limited time on the website)
Avian Influenza: Outbreak in Northern Vietnam Baffles Experts
Dennis Normile, Science, Vol 308, Issue 5721, 477, 22 April 2005 (by subscription only)

Climate Change Updates
UN Secretary-General calls for an inclusive regulatory framework to combat global warming
In a recent article in Foreign Affairs, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, listed environmental degradation and infectious disease among today's greatest threats undermining "states as the basic units of the international system". Referring to the post-Kyoto period, he called for a new international regulatory framework that would include all countries to fight global warming.
Decrease of Himalayas' Snowfall Threatens Arabian Sea Marine Life and Aggravates Climate Change
Research conducted by a team of the U.S. Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences concludes that decreased winter snowfall in the Himalayas is threatening marine life in the distant Arabian Sea and could also aggravate global warming by augmented phytoplankton that produces nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Antarctic glaciers shrinking accelerating
A joint study by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reveals that in Antarctica 87% of 244 glaciers studied are in retreat due to global warming, and that average retreat rates have accelerated over the past years. Antarctica contains more than 90% of the world's ice. Antarctic melting could dangerously raise sea levels, thus drowning low-lying island states and regions. [See also item 9.2 New Developments on Climate Change in January 2005 and 8.7 Human Footprint on Earth Ecosystem at Critical Stage and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report of March 2005 and other items on global warming in previous environmental security reports.]

Warming of the Eurasian Landmass Is Making the Arabian Sea More Productive
Joaquim I. Goes, Prasad G. Thoppil, Helga do R Gomes, John T. Fasullo
Science, Vol 308, Issue 5721, 545-547, 22 April 2005 (by subscription only)
"In Larger Freedom": Decision Time at the UN. By Kofi A. Annan. Foreign Affairs, Monday 25 April 2005
Antarctic Peninsula glaciers in widespread retreat. British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Press release No: 7/2005, 21 Apr 2005

European Geosciences Union General Assembly
The annual European Geosciences Union General Assembly took place in Vienna from 24 to 29 April 2005 with about 8,000 scientists presenting over 3,000 papers from the fields of Earth and planetary sciences. Space science has become essential for monitoring climate change effects, geophysical changes and pollution, and for enhancing natural hazard awareness and management. [See also Increasing Capacity of Space Technology to Assist Environmental Security in July 2004 and other related items in previous environmental security scanning reports]

ESA Press Release:
EGU 2005
Planetary Science Archive

Reports and books to review

New reports from the National Academy of Sciences on Nuclear Safety
Monitoring Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear-Explosive Materials, a new report by the Committee on International Security and Arms (CISAC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), outlines technical and collaborative approaches that could help policy-makers minimize the proliferation of nuclear weapons, prevent terrorists from acquiring them, and reduce risks posed by existing nuclear arsenals. The report emphasizes that transparency, monitoring, and verification of all categories of nuclear weapons and material are crucial. It also addresses some of the institutional and technical approaches related to these issues. However, it doesn't make recommendations on policy or action priorities. There are 30,000 existing nuclear weapons in the world of which the U.S. and Russia possess 95%. Nevertheless, the report notes "enough additional nuclear-explosive material exists in military and civil nuclear facilities worldwide to make something like 100,000 additional nuclear weapons", possibly by non-nuclear weapon states and/or terrorist groups.
Another NAS report, Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report addresses the safety issues of spent nuclear fuel storage at commercial nuclear reactors. It makes recommendations to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on measures to reduce terrorist attack possibilities, as well as implementation of these measures. It calls for plant-by-plant vulnerability analyses and prompt communication of the results for timely implementation of the measures to reduce potential risks.
Policy-makers, industry representatives, and experts representing the world's nonproliferation and nuclear power communities gathered for the 14th International Security Conference organized by Sandia National Laboratories on April 4-6 near Washington, D.C. to bolster discussions about the nuclear fuel cycle and strategies to reduce proliferation risks involving civilian nuclear fuels.
Meantime, the menace of poor safety conditions at nuclear sites around the world persists. Recent massive landslides in Kyrgyzstan in an area with 20 neglected spent nuclear fuel depositories threaten the whole of Central Asia with nuclear ecological disaster. Furthermore, UN officials and non-proliferation experts are concerned that nuclear materials smugglers could be using the drug trafficking routes in Central Asia, exploiting the present instability in the region--such as the political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan. According to the IAEA, the disappearance of radioactive material from facilities in Central Asia after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a "widespread phenomenon."

Monitoring Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear-Explosive Materials: An Assessment of Methods and Capabilities
Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report
Nonproliferation, nuclear industry experts to discuss fuel cycle issues at conference near D.C. April 4-6
Massive landslides to sweep away spent nuclear fuel depositories in Kyrgyzstan
Heightened security concerns about an old trade route

New nanotechnology report from the Institute of Medicine
Implications of Nanotechnology for Environmental Health Research comprises the results of a workshop by the Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine, aiming to assesses promises and implications of nanotechnology in order to develop a research agenda to address critical issues related to the impact of nanotechnology on heath and the environment. In addressing priorities, policy, and government implications, the report concludes that for efficient assessment of potential hazards of nanotechnology, the following are required: an adequate nomenclature; an effective risk-benefit analysis; and both a research framework and strong leadership.

Implications of Nanotechnology for Environmental Health Research
Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine.
Agenda. Technology and Environmental Health: Implication on Nanotechnology

The Little Green Data Book, 2005
"The Little Green Data Book 2005," a joint product of the World Bank's Development Data Group and Environment Department is a quick reference on key environmental data for over 200 countries (one country per page). It presents 47 environment indicators and data, structured under the headings of agriculture, forests, biodiversity, energy, emissions and pollution, water and sanitation, and 'greener' national accounts. Unfortunately the current book's data are only through 2003; nevertheless, it helps the reader get the big picture in a small resource. It can be ordered by sending a email to or it can be downloaded at:$FILE/2005Littlegreendatabook.pdf

The Little Green Data Book, 2005

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March 2005

New UN Reform Report Stresses Environmental Issues

The UN Secretary General has issued an extensive report on UN reform entitled In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all, with environmental issues cited in all sections. It states that 'threats to peace and security in the twenty-first century include not just international war and conflict but […] also include poverty, deadly infectious disease and environmental degradation since these can have equally catastrophic consequences.' [para.78] It proposes that the Secretariat include better responses to, "humanitarian emergencies and its handling of environmental issues", that, "National investment and policy priorities" improve environmental management and policy reforms, and calls on countries to adopt time-bound environmental targets. "Ensuring environmental sustainability", should be one of the global actions priorities. It specifically requires [para.212] a more coherent framework of global environmental governance, for effective implementation, coordination and monitoring of the over 400 international environmental treaties already in force. This is reiterated in the Annex-For decision by Heads of State and Government calling for a, "more integrated structure for environmental standard-setting, scientific discussion and monitoring, and treaty compliance." The Reform Report will be discussed and adopted at the summit of world leaders in September 2005 at the UN.

The Secretary-General Statement To The General Assembly
New York, 21 March 2005
In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all
Report of the Secretary-General [see: Secretariat, System-wide coherence, i]

Marine Protection Issues

Could large-scale ocean zoning prevent conflicts?
Increasing numbers of environmental lawyers and environmentalists believe that future conflicts could be prevented by large-scale ocean zoning for oil, fishing and wind farms, as well as that there is an immediate need for regulations to protect the oceans' natural resources. "We're now able to do on the open ocean what we once did on our western frontier-eradicate the wildlife, extract the minerals and alter or pollute the habitat," says David Helvarg, president of the Blue Frontier Campaign. Many variations of coastal zoning have been established around the world, which may one day lead to new large-scale ocean zoning within a more comprehensive integrated planning mechanism for local, regional and international standards and regulations for 'pro-active rather than re-active' ocean management.

Zoning Rules to Protect Marine Resources. by Daniel Hendrick (by subscription only)

Improved Cooperation Among International Organizations to Fight Marine Pollution
The fight against marine pollution gained strength with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, and the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. The effort is designed to implement environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes in order to prevent coastal and marine pollution. It is based on collaboration of the 13 Basel Convention Regional Centres (BCRCs) with the various Regional Seas Programmes, and reciprocal technical and legal training support. [The Basel Convention regulates the movement of hazardous waste; it covers toxic, poisonous, explosive, corrosive, flammable, ecotoxic, and infectious wastes that are being moved from one country to another.]

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos and the European Commissioner responsible for the environment, Stavros Dimas, also had a meeting this month focusing on better collaboration between the two organizations to enhance marine environmental protection from pollution from ships and related activities. They agreed on the need for ratification, by as many States as possible, of the newest IMO conventions such as the Ballast Water Management Convention and the Convention on Anti-fouling Systems, to enable them to come into force soon.

The amendments to the MARPOL Convention-including the revised phase-out schedule for single-hull tankers and a new regulation on the carriage of heavy grades of oil-will enter into force on April 5, 2005; and, on May 19, 2005, Annex VI of MARPOL on regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships will be effective.

Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes and UNEP Regional Seas Programme to fight coastal pollution together
Secretary-General Mitropoulos and EC Commissioner Dimas focus on marine pollution issues at a productive meeting

Water-related Issues

Decade "Water for Life" Launched
The International Decade for Action "Water for Life" was officially launched on World Water Day, March 22, 2005. This is intended to focus world attention on improving policies and strategies to achieve the international commitments and targets concerning water-related issues by 2015. The actual debates and policy recommendation issuance are expected to occur next month at the 13th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.

Water for Life website:
UN News:

Prospects for Conflict over Water Rise in Several Regions
Rapidly melting glaciers in the Himalayas could cause vast flooding followed by long-term, severe water shortages in the region, according to World Wildlife Fund's report, An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China. Water from the Himalayas feeds into seven great Asian rivers, ensuring the water supply of hundreds of millions of people. Flooding and then water shortage will inevitably cause mass migration.
The reduced capacity of the Jordan River and the ecological disaster caused by its over-exploitation triggered discussions between Israel and Jordan. However, no agreement has been reached. The problems are worsened by Jordan's plan to construct a new dam on the Yarmuk River, the largest tributary of the Jordan. Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) tries to mitigate the situation by organizing discussions and joint activities; it also launched the idea of placing the Jordan river on UNESCO's World Heritage List due to its tremendous ecological and cultural significance.
The risk of conflict over water for countries along the river Nile or its tributaries increases as the 1929 treaty is being increasingly contested. The treaty allows Egypt to use Nile water only for irrigation or power generation. Meantime, under the umbrella of the Nile Basin Initiative launched by the Nile riparian states in 1999, Italy is funding a new project to improve water management among the ten Nile Basin countries. Implemented with assistance from FAO, the project will integrate technical water resource and water use data with demographic, socio-economic and environmental information to examine how specific policies and projected water use patterns will affect water resources in the region.

An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China.
Once mighty Jordan reduced to a trickle,2763,1433272,00.html (article stored for a limited time on the website)
Risk of armed conflict over Nile water (article stored for a limited time on the website)
Promoting equitable and sustainable use of Nile water resources

New Reports on Water-related Issues
The Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace Initiative, a joint project of Adelphi Research, the WWICS Environmental Change and Security Project, and the National University of Costa Rica, has recently published two papers analyzing the role of water for security: Regional Water Cooperation as Confidence Building: Water Management as a Strategy for Peace, by Aaron T. Wolf
The report analyzes the shift of the "environmental security" concept from a presumed causal relationship between environmental stress and violent conflict to a more intricate framework of "human security" that considers a complex set of relationships between environment and society. Water has been identified as the most critical factor in many areas-from political to economic, social, and environmental. While looking at 'Indicators of Tension,' the paper also suggests some opportunities and types of policy recommendations to mitigate possible water-related disputes: the new technologies for water negotiation and management (including modeling and monitoring tools); watershed commissions developed for those basins that do not have them, and strengthened for those that do; improved water-related funding assistance; and better involvement and focus of civil society, private industry and research organizations.
Environmental Conflicts and Regional Cooperation in the Lempa River Basin: The Role of Central America's Plan Trifinio, by Alexander López
Assessing current environmental trends in the Central American context, the report focuses on the region's international river basins and uses the Lempa example to analyze areas of conflict and cooperation; factors that could reduce conflict potential; and the effectiveness of the Trifinio Plan and its role in facilitating post-conflict dialogue and confidence building among the three signatory countries: Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
The U.S. National Academies have created the Water Information Center, a new Web site that provides free access to more than 100 Academies reports on water-related issues

Regional Water Cooperation as Confidence Building: Water Management as a Strategy for Peace, by Aaron T. Wolf
Environmental Conflicts and Regional Cooperation in the Lempa River Basin: The Role of Central Americ's Plan Trifinio, by Alexander López
Water Information Center of the NAS:

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

Self-Assembling Robots
The M-TRAN II robot, developed by the Japanese Distributed Systems Design Research Group, represents a new generation of modular robots, with a flexible design able to rearrange itself into countless different shapes and create dramatically different patterns of movement. [See also 5.2 Scorpion Robot for Complex Roving Missions item in the February 2005 environmental security report]

Self-Assembling Robots

Microbes Can Help Build Nanodevices for Detection
University of Wisconsin scientists have electrically stimulated bacteria to self-assemble into nano-bio-electrical circuits that could detect toxins like anthrax in near real-time. These circuits have the potential to make building atomic-scale machines far easier than current methods, and create a new class of biological sensors. This ability to a) manipulate individual bacteria by electrical means, b) form them into nanostructures, and c) use their biochemical properties for useful applications, such as the detection of toxins, provides an alternative to the painstaking manufacture and assembly of nano systems by larger more costly systems. Nanotechnology self-assembly to create larger devices (bottom up construction) has been seen as a more distant future possibility. This breakthrough brings the promise of low-cost, precision mass production a step closer to reality.

Harnessing microbes, one by one, to build a better nanoworld

Russian Discovery of New Bacterial Cleanup Technique
Scientists from the G.K. Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Pushchino have discovered that the bacterium Pseudomonas putida can transform the toxic by-products contained in reaction masses (RMs) that arise when mustard gas residue is destroyed by chemical detoxification. This technology, if extended to other hazardous materials and brought to the point of practical application, could be an alternative to incineration or a process called bituminization for the final cleanup of CW sites. Both those methods are expensive and environmentally risky.

Could Microbes Solve Russia's Chemical Weapons Conundrum?

Nanotechnology Issues

Nanotechnology Assessment Reports
Scientific Forward Look on Nanomedicine is a foresight study by the European Science Foundation, assessing the application of nanotechnology to medicine. This study included over 100 international experts from academia, industry, private foundations and governmental agencies, who reviewed future developments, opportunities and challenges facing this emerging field worldwide. The study analyzes the current state-of-the-art in nanomedicine, identifies Europe's strengths and weaknesses, and provides recommendations on future research priorities and organizational matters.
Response To The Royal Society And Royal Academy Of Engineering Report: 'Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties' is a 'response report' to the independent study conducted by the UK Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering (published in July 2004) on the opportunities and uncertainties concerning nanotechnology to ensure that England has an adequate regulatory system for responsible nanotechnology development. This 'response report' sets out the UK Government's agenda on nanotechnologies; and will be reviewed by an independent body after two and five years.
Potential Environmental Pollution and Health Hazards Resulting from Possible Military Uses of Nanotechnology with Implications for Research Priorities Helpful to Prevent and/or Reduce Such Pollution and Hazards is the result of a two-round Delphi by the Millennium Project of the American Council for the UNU that assembled a 25-member expert panel to identify and rate these issues.
European Science Foundation Publishes Forward Look Report on Nanomedicine ESF news release - issued 28/02/2005 -
Response To The Royal Society And Royal Academy Of Engineering Report: 'Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties'
Potential Environmental Pollution and Health Hazards Resulting from Possible Military Uses of Nanotechnology with Implications for Research Priorities Helpful to Prevent and/or Reduce Such Pollution and Hazards is available on request from the Millennium Project via email to

China Creates World's First National Standards for Nanotechnology
The first national standards for nanomaterial in the world will come into effect in China on April 1st. Research on 15 nanomaterials standards is underway, but, so far, seven items are included: a Glossary, four standards for nanoproducts (nickel powder, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and calcium carbonate), as well as two for testing of gas adsorption BET and the granularity of nanopowder.

World's first national standard for nanotech to be effective in China
People's Daily Online, March 2, 2005

Asia and Pacific Countries Adopt Declarations on the Environment

At the Fifth Ministerial Conference On Environment And Development in Asia and the Pacific that took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 24-29 March 2005, ministers and senior officials from 52 Asian and Pacific countries pledged green-friendly approaches to development in the region. The delegates adopted the Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (2005), the Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific (2006-2010) and the Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth. These instruments set clear implementation actions to promote environmentally friendly economic policies, including promoting partnerships and economic tools to improve ecological efficiency, reviewing national laws and identifying, assessing, monitoring, and capacity building to manage disaster risks.
The leaders' group from the Pacific Islands Forum held its first meeting on the Pacific Plan, a Forum initiative. One of the four areas of concern is sustainable development and environmental security. The Pacific Islands Forum is the association of the 16 independent island states of the Pacific. Its objective is, "to enhance the economic and social well-being of the people of the South Pacific". The Plan lays out how the region can improve cooperation in the four areas; it will be further developed during the coming months.

Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific
Delegates at UN meeting pledge green-friendly approach to development in Asia and the Pacific
PM and Pacific leaders to meet
Regionalism Yes - Federalism Going Too Far Says PM
Pacific Islands Forum

Liberia's First Environment Center Opened

The UNHCR has opened an environmental protection agency in Liberia to ensure that the repatriation of thousands of refugees will not have a negative impact on the environment already devastated by 14 years of war. The agency will educate the repatriates on how to use and revive the environment as they resume their daily activities.

UNHCR opens Liberia's first environment centre

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

The Gothenburg Protocol on Air Pollution to Enter into Force on May 17
The Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol) will enter into force on 17 May 2005. The Protocol is the eighth to take effect under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The Gothenburg Protocol controls several pollutants and their effects and sets targets for emission cuts by 2010 for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and ammonia, as well as specific emission sources (e.g. combustion plants, electricity production, dry cleaning, cars and trucks). [See also item 9.2 Changes to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of December 2004 environmental security scanning reports.]

New Air Pollution Protocol To Take Effect On 17 May 2005

The REACH Program Closer to Entry Into Force
The Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) legislation for controlling hazardous chemicals is likely to enter into effect in 2006 or shortly thereafter. It has already passed the legislative process, but the EU Commission has to approve it, and some modifications are possible. Manufacturers, importers and users who exceed the established threshold of 1,000 metric tons/yr will have to provide physical, chemical and toxicological data. Lifecycle safety and environmental risks for specific uses will have to be provided. "High concern" and "very high concern" are designations for chemicals that will need 1) tight management or possible substitution or 2) "are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction (CMRs); persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBTs); very persistent and very bio-accumulative (vPvBs); persistent organic pollutants (POPs); or have equivalent properties", respectively. Owing to the EU's large trade volume, impacts of this legislation will be worldwide. Provision is made for an agency to securely handle proprietary information. Some 30,000 chemicals are expected to be controlled by this legislation/policy. Full registration of a given chemical must be completed within three years of final enactment of REACH, or manufacture, importation and use will have to cease. As with the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act, REACH supplements the Rotterdam Convention. [See also items related to the REACH program in the environmental security reports of May and January 2004, August and April 2003, and November 2002.]

Prepare now for REACH compliance
By Beth Sirull, Chemical Engineering Progress, March 2005 (by subscription only)

Interpol Creates Global Information Center to Combat Bioterror Threat
At a recent Interpol conference, police and health specialists decided to create a global information center to fight the threat of bioterrorism and asked for greater cooperation between law enforcement and health organizations. The health sector representatives called for an alert system that would allow quick response in case of an epidemic-whether of natural origin or from a bioterrorism source. Three training workshops are scheduled: the first in South Africa at the end of this year, the next two in 2006 in Chile and China. The information center on bioterrorism will be located at the Lyon Interpol headquarters and be available to all 182 members of the organization. [See also item 1.2 Interpol Warns World Unprepared for an Eventual Bio-terrorist Attack in February 2005 environmental security report.]

Interpol to Create Global Bioterror Information Hub

Ambitious Post-Kyoto EU Emissions Goals
EU environmental ministers seek to push for more ambitious EU emissions targets after the current Kyoto target period, proposing a reduction of developed nations' greenhouse gases emissions of 15-30 percent by 2020 and 60-80 percent by 2050 relative to 1990. However, while keeping the 2020 target, the EU heads of state and government omitted the 2050 goal, with the provision to review it later in the light of future developments. The UN Secretary-General's UN reform report asks for a more inclusive international framework for mitigating climate change, and calls on all states for a better mobilization to develop tools for stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012, with broader participation by all major emitters. [See also item 7.1 Kyoto Protocol Came into Force on February 16, 2005 in February 2005 environmental security report.]

EU Ministers Want Tough Post-Kyoto Emissions Target
EU Leaders Drop 2050 Emissions Reduction Target
In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all
Report of the Secretary-General

The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? Workshop Summary (2005)
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies published summaries of the workshop held June 16-17, 2004, addressing the increased concern about the prospect of an influenza pandemic and exploring the issues that must be resolved to prepare and protect the global community. The summary report, The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? outlines lessons learned from previous influenza pandemics; the avian influenza outbreak in Asia and its implications for human health; influenza pandemic preparedness strategies and planning opportunities and obstacles in different domains and geographical levels.
This month a Vietnamese family of five was infected by Asia's bird flu epidemic, which has killed 49 people since the end of 2003.
Although North Korea has confirmed initial cases of bird flu, South Korean officials suspect that it is far more widespread and is taking steps to protect its boarder with its northern neighbor.
[See also 7.2 Avian Flu Danger at Rise in February and 9.3 Bird Flu Outbreak Urge World Readiness in January 2005 environmental security reports]

The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? Workshop Summary (2005)
Vietnam Family of Five Confirmed With Bird Flu
South Korea Suspects North's Bird Flu Outbreak Extensive
[HIO-UPDATE] Health Information Operations Update, (Dated Weekly)

Regional Governance Key for Tsunami Early Warning and Recovery
The first Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development Summit was held at Lake Toba, Indonesia, March 10-12, 2005, under the theme "Global Partnership on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Post-Disaster Settlements." The Lake Toba Call declaration summarizes the agreements reached by the participants, mainly focusing on creating partnerships at the regional level within the UN system for disaster early warning systems and post-disaster rehabilitation, and to guarantee that the local governments could work properly in a network of regional governments to ensure sustainable development not only at local, but also at regional and international levels. [See also 9.1 Tsunami Triggers an Early Warning System for Indian Ocean and Beyond in January 2005 environmental security report]

Lake Toba Call Emphasizes Coop Among Regional Governments In Overcoming Tsunami
Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development Summit

Human Footprint on Earth Ecosystem at Critical Stage and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report
Two recent studies at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder Colorado have indicated that global warming will continue to increase even if its causative factors are brought under better control. The investigators, Gerald Meehl and Tom Wigley, used three computer simulations, two extremely detailed, to derive the predictions that, even assuming greenhouse gas content stayed at the 2000 level, there would still be a minimum 0.9° F rise in the global temperature, and a 4" ocean level elevation by 2100, causing severe dislocations. In the worst case, the temperature change could be as much as 6.3°F, with a one-foot rise in the ocean with no further input of greenhouse chemicals.
At the recent meeting in London, environment and energy ministers from 20 of the world's biggest polluters discussed the best policies for sustainable growing non-polluting economies. Britain emphasized that environment-centered economic policy and international cooperation are the only effective way to prevent a crisis caused by global warming.
The UN Secretary-General's report for the reform of the UN also lists climate change as one of the three major challenges for the international community that require particularly urgent action.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report, conducted by 1,300 experts from 95 countries, reveals that approximately 60 % of Earth's vital ecosystem services are being degraded or used unsustainably. Without improved ecology-centered policies, revised consumption patterns, better education, and implementation of new eco-friendly technologies, the situation will worsen in the next 50 years, seriously endangering life on earth. This is the first report in a series of seven synthesis reports and four technical volumes that assess the state of global ecosystems and their impact on human well-being. It has been released together with a statement by the Millennium Ecosystem board of directors entitled "Living beyond Our Means: Natural Assets and Human Well-being."
[See also related item 9.2 New Developments on Climate Change in January 2005 and other items on global warming in previous environmental security reports.]

No stopping rising sea levels, study says
Global Warming Threat Central To Policy - Britain
In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all
Report of the Secretary-General
Millennium Ecosystem Synthesis reports
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report

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February 2005

Better International Cooperation to Combat Bioterrorism and Epidemics

UN Report Recommends New Powers to Combat Bioterrorism and Epidemics
The UN report A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility recommends expansion of the UN's capacity to investigate and intervene in a country when a suspicious disease outbreak occurs, whether the epidemic has a natural or terrorist origin. The Security Council should cooperate with the WHO to respond to and support international action including "cordon operations" for quarantine and international public health access. If existing International Health Regulations (IHR) "do not provide adequate access for WHO investigations and response coordination, the Security Council should be prepared to mandate greater compliance." The report's recommendations will be considered at the fall summit of Heads of State. The eventual changes required to IHR-the rules that govern the WHO-might get to a vote in May.
Note: The recommendations might get serious support, in light of governments' response times to cases of SARS in 2003 and recent avian flu outbreaks.

Biowar: U.N. to expand bioterror powers?
By Dee Ann Divis, The Washington Times, January 27, 2005.
A more secure world: Our shared responsibility (relevant to this item: V.B.4. Better public health defences, 142- 144 pp. 44; and recommendation 37, pp. 82)

Interpol Warns World Unprepared for an Eventual Bio-terrorist Attack
Interpol chief Ronald Noble warns that there is substantial evidence of a possible biological attack by Al Qaeda, "which could cause contagious disease to be spread," and "no entity in the world is prepared for it." Some 400 police officers and health officials from around the world will attend a bio-terrorism conference organized by Interpol beginning March 1, in Lyons, France, to improve cooperation and information sharing between intelligence agencies and police departments to better combat bioterrorism threats.

Interpol sounds bio-terror alarm (article available for a limited time on the website)

Russia No Longer Funding Bioterrorism Countermeasures Research
Lev Sandakhchiyev, Director General of the Vektor State Science Center of Virology and Biotechnology in Novosibirsk, announced that from 2005, Moscow would not fund any more research for biological terrorism countermeasures, Interfax reported on February 1, 2005. "Russia has effectively wound up its program to develop protection against pathogens" said the Russian scientist, and he added that there are no "real, constructive programs" among Russia, the U.S. and Europe for cooperating to counter the threat of biological terrorism.
Russia No Longer Funding Bioterrorism Countermeasures Research, Scientist Says
Russian General Describes Plan for Military, Civilian Bioterrorism Countermeasures

UNEP Report Warns of Increasing Changes in Infectious Disease Patterns due to Environmental Encroachments

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)'s Global Environment Outlook Year Book for 2004/2005 warns that the loss of forests, increasing construction of roads and dams, urban growth, agricultural expansion, mining, and pollution of coastal waters are causing major rises in the incidence of infectious diseases, including the appearance in humans of diseases such as Nipah, which had previously been found only in animals.
The Independent, Michael McCarthy, 22 Feb 2005
GEO Year Book 2004/5

Governments Call for Global Assessment and Control of Mercury Pollution

As part of the effort towards a legally binding treaty to control mercury pollution, environment ministers attending UNEP's 23rd Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, requested UNEP to conduct a study on the amounts of mercury being traded and supplied around the world. The EU called for a clear framework with bans and deadlines, but the Governing Council was not ready to go that far at this time and decided instead on a partnership formula. The first pilot partnership projects should begin by September. The program will be reviewed in two years and assessed to determine whether further action (including a legally binding treaty) is needed. Similar global assessments were suggested for cadmium and lead to better understand the health and environment effects of these heavy metals and establish whether global action is needed to address them. [See also Senators Urge U.S. Support for Global Mercury Treaty of October 2004, EU Parliamentary Committee Moves to Strengthen Air Pollution Laws of January 2004, and UN Protocol to Restrict Heavy Metal Emissions in Europe Came Into Force in December 2003 environmental security reports.]
Note: the EU Executive Commission recently proposed a ban on mercury exports by 2011. Europe is the world's largest supplier of mercury.
Summary of the 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum 21-25 February 2005
Action on Heavy Metals Among Key GC Decisions
EU Commission Proposes Ban on Mercury Exports
Countries reject global mercury treaty
By Roxanne Khamsi,, 28 February 2005

New International Treaty to Protect African Rain Forest

At the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government of Central Africa on the Conservation and Sustainable Management of the Central African Forest Ecosystems, on February 5th, Central African countries signed a landmark regional conservation treaty, establishing cross-border partnerships to help save the world's second largest rain forest. The treaty will make it easier for countries to jointly track and combat poachers, manage funds for training and conservation, and harmonize laws in different countries that regulate logging. In his message, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed the linkage between forest ecosystems and security in the region.

African leaders sign landmark forest treaty (by subscription only)
Forests Central To Anti-Poverty, Sustainable Development Efforts, Says Secretary-General In Message To Brazzaville Summit

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

Scientific Models Could Help Navy Avoid Whales During Sonar Tests
Duke University biologists are developing scientific models based on sets of environmental parameters which could predict different marine species' presence in proximity to sonar testing areas, helping to prevent eventual harm to the animals. The research was triggered when several whales of three species beached in January near Oregon Inlet just after a Navy training exercise used sonar at 240 nautical miles from Oregon Inlet. Although the incident might be a coincidence, the new model might help rule out the possibility of such accidents.

Scientist Could Help Navy Avoid Whales During Sonar Tests (by subscription only)

Scorpion Robot for Complex Roving Missions
The Scorpion robot developed by Frank Kirchner from the University of Bremen, Germany, is able to access difficult terrains that are inaccessible to larger, wheeled vehicles. A prototype is currently being evaluated at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA. Although developed mostly for other planets' exploration, the Scorpion robot could also be used on Earth, to investigate difficult or dangerous territories inaccessible to humans or larger vehicles.

Scorpion Robot Could Conquer Worlds
Walking machine may go where wheeled explorers cannot.
Jessica Ebert, 10 February 2005; news050207-14
Robot Wars. Technology guru Ray Kurzweil offers a vision of future fighting machines.
Philip Ball, 08 February 2005

Better Water Management to Safeguard Ecosystems

UN conference 'Water for Food and Ecosystems'
The recent UN conference 'Water for Food and Ecosystems,' attended by 26 ministers and more than 600 delegates from 140 countries, emphasized the need for "a true valuation of water" and called for better strategies for balancing water use between agriculture and environment. It called for better management of water, taking into account socio-economic and environmental concerns, basic human rights, and cultural factors, and adopted a list of actions to improve the efficient use of water, highlighting the importance of public/private partnerships in achieving the goals. Water policy and strategy issues were also discussed at the 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum held 21-25 February 2005, at Nairobi, Kenya.

Water for food and ecosystems conference
New strategies needed to secure food and safeguard ecosystems
Summary of the 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum 21-25 February 2005

Finally--A Project to Address the Aral Sea Disaster
The Government of Uzbekistan and the World Bank have instituted a Drainage, Irrigation and Wetlands Improvement Project, described as "the first meaningful intervention in the Aral Sea Basin to break a vicious cycle of high water applications, water logging and secondary soil salinisation", said Masood Ahmad, head of the World Bank team designing the project. According to a World Bank statement, the agreement hopes to improve the local economy, and the water quality of the Amu Darya River by safe disposal of drainage effluent and enhancing the quality of wetlands in the Amu Darya delta. The team leader added that the project would begin to address the problem by substantially improving drainage conditions and significantly improving water use efficiency in the irrigation sector.

Uzbekistan: World Bank funds water project in Aral Sea region

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Kyoto Protocol Came into Force on February 16, 2005
The UN Kyoto Protocol to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came into force on February 16, 2005. Under the Protocol, the industrialized Member States are bound to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming to at least 5% of 1990 by 2012. The six major greenhouse gases covered by the Protocol are: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). So far the Protocol was ratified by 128 states. Plans for post-Kyoto climate change policies and strategies have already begun. A "G8 Plus" group (including key developing industrial countries China, India and Brazil) could emerge to advance Kyoto by helping emerging industrial nations to develop "clean" technologies based on G8 scientific advances. [See also EU Environment Ministers Propose post-Kyoto Protocol Climate Policies and Russian Vote Will Bring Kyoto Protocol Into Force in the October 2004 environmental security monthly reports.]

UN's Kyoto treaty against global warming comes into force
The Kyoto Protocol Enters Into Force. UNEP article
Climate change talks heat up as clean technology emerges,,2-1486338,00.html (article might be available for a limited time on the website without subscription)

Avian Flu Danger at Rise
According to CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, the avian flu is the "most important threat that we are facing right now." Recent evidence that the avian flu can move between species increases the concern that a large-scale human-to-human transmission is possible, and could lead to a pandemic if the virus mutates. A new National Academy of Science study of the 2003 bird flu outbreak in the confirmed that the avian influenza virus can spread from human to human. The study published in the January/February 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that both direct and indirect transmission of the virus are possible (over half of those who worked directly with infected birds, and nearly two-thirds of people who had direct contact with farmers tested positive for bird flu antibodies.) Japanese researchers found flies infected with H5N1 virus after the 2004 outbreak among chickens in Japan.
Veterinary officials from 28 countries participating to the recent international conference on avian influenza in Asia, also stressed the gravity of the situation and concluded by calling upon the governments in the region and the international community to make combating bird flu a top priority and examine the likelihood of an influenza pandemic and strategies for prevention and response. Shigeru Omi, chief of WHO Asia, warned "the world is now in the gravest possible danger of a pandemic." The conference was held on February 23-25 in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, jointly organized by the UN FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the WHO. [See also Bird Flu Outbreak Urge World Readiness in January 2005, and Birdflu Will be a Much Bigger Killer than SARS, According to WHO item of November 2004 environmental security reports.]

Human Transmission of Avian Virus Documented
Flu pandemic warning (by subscription only)
Leading veterinary experts of 28 countries call for more vigorous bird flu control
Japan Says Found Bird Flu in Flies From 2004 Outbreak
Avian Flu World's No. 1 Threat, CDC Head Says

Multilateral Approach Needed To Keep Nuclear Arms from Terrorists
Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, a study carried out by a group of experts from 26 countries at the request of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), concluded that multilateral cooperation is essential for curbing "burgeoning and alarmingly well organized nuclear supply networks, and from the increasing risk of acquisition of nuclear or other radioactive materials by terrorist and other non-State entities." The report suggests multilateral arrangements-by region or by continent-to strengthen controls over fuel manipulation, transparent fuel movement, enrichment, reprocessing and disposal and storage of spent fuel. The study is now widely circulated and will be discussed at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May. International cooperation was also the call of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the 41st Conference on Security Policy held in Munich this month.
IAEA Director, Mohamed ElBaradei, warned that terrorist groups might have already obtained a nuclear weapon, or the material necessary to create one. He is proposing seven measures to strengthen the NPT, which will be presented at the May NPT Review Conference, including a five-year moratorium on construction of uranium enrichment facilities.
In the meantime, nuclear materials are moving around without control. Indian Police found weapons-grade uranium on two men who were arrested on suspicion of being drug peddlers. 253.6 grams (8.8 ounces) of substance was identified as 99% uranium by the Bhabha Atomic Research Center. The origin and destination of the uranium are currently being investigated. Russian police seized 40 kg of uranium-238 from a person who claimed to be using it as 'weight lifting equipment'. [See also Increasing Calls for Improved Management of Nuclear Materials and Nonproliferation in the January 2005 environmental security report.]

UN panel says multilateral approach needed to keep nuclear arms from terrorists
ElBaradei Warns Terrorists May Have Obtained Nuclear Weapon or Related Materials
Annan Seeks Overhaul of Security Measures (article stored for a limited time on the website)
ElBaradei Proposes Measures to Strengthen NPT
Two suspected Indian drug peddlers carried weapons-grade uranium: report
Russian Man Says Toxic Uranium for Weight Lifting

Global Earth Observing System of Systems Gets 10-Year Mandate
At the Third Earth Observation Summit held in Brussels, February 16, representatives of 54 nations and over 40 international organizations formally adopted the 10-year plan for implementing the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS). The plan provides a framework and institutional mechanism to connect Earth observation tools used by different nations and agencies independently. GEOSS will facilitate environmental monitoring, a better understanding of the environment and trends of change, and building of an early warning system. Part of GEOSS, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative jointly led by the European Commission and ESA is designed to collect and manage data and information for both environment and civil security purposes. [See also International Agreement on Earth Environmental Observing System of April 2004, and Improved coordination of global Earth observation in August 2003 environmental security reports.]

Earth and Space Week: Third Earth Observation Summit agrees ten-year GEOSS action plan
GMES, European Contribution To GOESS Initiative
GMES Website

Nine New Hotspots Added to World's Protected Areas
The new report by Conservation International, Hotspots Revisited, the result of a four-year project by nearly 400 ecologists, reveals nine more crisis areas for biodiversity. The 34 identified 'hotspots' harbor half of the world's plant species, three-quarters of the most threatened mammals, birds, and amphibians, and 42% of land vertebrates. The new website launched by Conservation International ( features complete and updated information on the 'hotspots' around the world. [See also Intensified Efforts Needed to Save Biodiversity in January 2005, and related items on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in November and June 2004, and October 2003 environmental security monthly reports.]

Website with all the hotspots
Nine more crisis areas for biodiversity. By Jessica Ebert, News@nature.Com, 2 February 2005 (article available free for a limited time)

UK Cooperation with India and Others on the Environment and Sustainable Development
As the result of a meeting between their ministers of environment, the UK and India have decided to enhance cooperation in dealing with issues related to sustainable development. These issues include emission of greenhouse gases, joint research on climate change, wildlife conservation, and reforestation. The UK Minister, Elliot Morley, also stated that this year, within the G8, the UK would focus on multifaceted and complex areas of climate change and Africa, and that these talks with India are the first in a series of dialogues that the UK will initiate with developing countries with rapidly growing economies, the next being China. [See also India Drafting New National Environment Policy in January 2005 environmental security report]

India, UK to enhance cooperation on sustainable development. The Hindustan Times, February 4, 2005
Britain and India to collaborate on climate research. By V. Padma, February 9, 2005, SciDev.Net

Back to Top

January 2005

Bioterrorism via smuggled Ebola-contaminated bushmeat from Africa

Underground networks of African poachers have been selling illegal bushmeat for decades. Might these networks be contacted one day by bioterrorists? Experts speculate that Ebola-contaminated bushmeat could be smuggled into a country by bioterrorists to trigger an Ebola outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are currently working in Gabon and the Congo with active cases of Ebola.

Stop the Carnage
CONGO: MSF intervention for Ebola outbreak extended

The European Union Environmental Initiatives

The European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS)
European Union (EU) Directive 2003/87/EC entered into force on 25 October 2003 to implement carbon dioxide allowance trading, which became formally active on January 1, 2005. Over-the-counter allowance trading had begun even before January 1, though formal markets will not be established until later in Spring 2005. Approximately 12,000 industrial plants and energy producers in the EU had to begin monitoring and reducing CO2 emissions to meet limits set for 2005 and 2007. The EU has agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions by 8% compared to 1990 levels. Entities exceeding their assigned limits must either find methods to reduce them or to buy unused allowances from entities that are operating under their own limits. Plans for four nations have not been approved so far: Czech Republic, Greece, Italy and Poland. The EU Commission is empowered to accept or reject all or parts of any nation's plan. Transportation emissions are not included in the requirements, but could be added at some later time.

The European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS)
EU Launches Pioneering Emissions Trading Scheme. By Stuart Pearson, Reuters News Service, January 4, 2005.
FACTBOX - EU Launches CO2 Emissions Trading on Jan 1. Reuters News Service, January 4, 2005.

EU Clean Air for Europe Initiative to Limit Air Pollution
Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) is an integrated action plan prepared by the EC to further improve the quality of the air for Europeans. An EU Directive of 1999 set limits for some air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM10 - airborne particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and lead. The limits are to be met by 1 January 2005, with the exception of nitrogen dioxide, which is 2010. The CAFE is the next step, and the Commission is expected to adopt it by mid-2005. European citizens were invited to comment by the end of January about the quality of the air they breathe and suggest measures to improve it.

Questions and Answers on new EU limits for air pollution

Increasing Calls for Improved Management of Nuclear Materials and Nonproliferation

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, concerned about terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear materials, urged the international community to reinforce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and draw a concrete roadmap and timetable for irreversible nuclear disarmament. Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.) introduced a bill this month that proposed to re-establish U.S. efforts to convert Russian nuclear weapons production sites to civilian use, as part of the counterterrorism bill, Targeting Terrorists More Effectively Act of 2005. Nuclear proliferation and threats top the discussions of the Geneva Conference on Disarmament that began on January 27. The May 2005 NPT Review Conference will further discuss nonproliferation initiatives and a new disarmament action plan.

Meanwhile, the Institute for War and Peace recently reported on a former Grozny chemical factory wrecked by war, poverty and lawlessness, where dangerous radioactive cobalt lies practically unguarded and already caused the death of several people. In Armenia, the Metsamor aging nuclear power station is a problem given its location and the need to fly in fuel on Russian planes through Georgian airspace-equivalent to "flying around a potential nuclear bomb" states Alexis Louber, head of the EU delegation in Armenia.

UN atomic watchdog warns anew on nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands
Dirty Bomb Attack More Likely to Occur Than Nuclear Terrorism Incident, Experts Say
Senate Bill Would Boost Nonproliferation Measures
Conference On Disarmament Opens First Part of 2005 Session
Chechnya's Ticking Radiation Bomb. By Amina Bisaeva in Grozny (CRS No. 271, 26-Jan-05).
Armenian Atomic Dilemma. By Kerob Sarkisian in Yerevan, Sophie Bukia in Tbilisi and Idrak Abbasov in Baku.
Black Blood of the Cold War. Optimist, Green Cross Russia. (by subscription only)

Intensified Efforts Needed to Save Biodiversity

The International Conference on Biodiversity, Science and Governance hosted by UNESCO in Paris, 24-28 January 2005, concluded that strong science and effective governance mechanisms, strategies, and concrete actions to curb the current trend of biodiversity loss are needed by the 2010 target date set at the 2001 World Summit on Sustainable Development. With more than 7,000 animal species and 60,000 plant species threatened, some scientists estimate that the current rate of extinction is a thousand times greater than at any other time in the course of human history. Biological diversity is the basis of environmental viability for all life support.

International Conference "Biodiversity: Science And Governance"
Toepfer Calls for Strong Science and Effective Governance at Paris Conference

Small Island States Adopt Position on Addressing Climate Change

The UN meeting of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held in Mauritius, January 10?14, concluded with the adoption of the Mauritius Declaration and Strategy that emphasizes the need for developing robust global early warning systems to protect against natural disasters, and measures and strategies to cope with rising ocean levels and other consequences of climate change. As part of fighting pollution, the SIDS asked for regulation of radioactive wastes transported through their national waters.

Small Island Nations Appeal for Help to Deal with Environmental and Economic Woes
UN Small Island Conference Adopts Mauritius Declaration, Strategy; Recommits To Sustainable Development Of Most Vulnerable Nations (ENV/DEV/SIDS/6 14 January 2005)
Rising Seas Threaten Islands, Cities, Coasts. Reuters News Service, Story by Alister Doyle, January 10, 2005

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

Flexible Plastic Solar Cells Converting 30% of Sun's Power into Usable Energy
Researchers at the University of Toronto, Canada have invented an infrared-sensitive material that could turn the sun's power into electrical energy at 5 times higher efficiency than present methods. This flexible plastic solar cell harnesses infrared light from the sun (half of the sun's spectrum not previously accessed) and forms a flexible film on the surface of cloth, paper or other materials, becoming a 'portable' energy source.

Nanotechnologists' new plastic can see in the dark. University of Toronto, Press release, January 10, 2005.
Spray-On Solar-Power Cells Are True Breakthrough. Stefan Lovgren, for National Geographic News, January 14, 2005

Nanoshells Dramatically Improve Sensing Capability
Research at Rice University's Nanophotonics Laboratory has shown that a class of nanoparticles known as nanoshells can enhance the sensitivity of chemical sensing by a factor as high as10 billion. This is accomplished by using them to produce "surface enhancement" in Raman scattering, an optical technique for chemical analysis. The nanoshells are a few hundreds of nanometers in diameter and consist of a glass sphere coated with a layer, typically gold or silver, whose thickness can be varied to "tune" the shell to a specific optical wavelength. According to Prof. Naomi Halas, the Laboratory Director, this "creates an opportunity to design all-optical nanoscale sensors-essentially new molecular-level diagnostic instruments-that could detect as little as a few molecules of a target substance, which could be anything from a drug molecule or a key disease protein to a deadly chemical agent."

'Nanoshells' enhance sensitivity to chemical detection by factor of 10 billion
Study shows nanoshells ideal as chemical nanosensors

Iron Nanoparticles for Environmental Cleanup
A new study from Oregon Health & Science University's OGI School of Science & Engineering, in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNL) and the University of Minnesota, shows that some iron nanoparticles may be effective in cleaning up carbon tetrachloride in contaminated groundwater. The researchers studied two types of iron nanoparticles, one with a shell of sulfur-rich magnetite and the other with a coating of oxidized boron. When applied to carbon tetrachloride contamination, the former produced a mix of harmless chemicals while the latter yielded chloroform, a highly toxic material. These fundamental results should aid greatly in the development of nano-iron-based cleanup methods for contaminated sediments and soil as well as for groundwater, and for their application to a range of more complex organic pollutants.

OHSU-Led Study Finds Advantages To Iron Nanoparticles For Environmental Cleanup.
Study finds advantages to iron nanoparticles for environmental clean up

Robots that Can "Recharge" by Eating
Researchers at the University of the West of England, Bristol, are working on creating robots with artificial digestive systems and corresponding metabolisms that would allow robots to 'eat' to recharge their electrical needs. The robots would collect bacteria from sewage sludge, break it down into sugars, and convert the biochemical energy into electricity that powers the robot.

Ecobot Eats Dead Flies for Fuel. Wired. Com, by Lakshmi Sandhana.,1282,66036,00.html

New Assertions on the Role of Environment in Global Security

Disputes over Water Continue to Threaten Security
In central Kenya, Kikuyu and Maasai tribal fighters clashed over scarce water supplies, killing at least 14 people in two days. Thousands fled the fighting site, some were injured, and dozens of houses were burned. Although officials stopped the fight, tensions remained high.
India and Pakistan talks over the Baglihar hydropower dam on the Chenab River failed. Pakistan is objecting to the construction of the dam that would affect the flow of the Chenab into its territory, and contravenes a 1960 water-sharing treaty negotiated by the World Bank. The long-running dispute threatens to cause another setback to an already fragile peace process.

At Least 14 Killed as Kenyan Tribes Clash over Scarce Water Supplies. Associated Press, January 25, 2005.
India, Pakistan Hold Crucial Talks over River Row. Reuters, January 06, 2005.
Pakistan says water talks failure will affect peace with India. Islamabad (AFP) January 10, 2005.

New Reports Stress the Link between Environment and Security
The 10th anniversary report of the Woodrow Wilson Center Environmental Change & Security Project highlights the fundamental role of the environment for global peace building. Top thinkers identified and analyzed key themes with crucial impact on conflict prevention over the next ten years: population, environment, and health. UNEP executive director, Klaus Toepfer, said that "Environmental security is the disarmament policy of the future."

World Watch Institute State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security calls for new approaches to global security by addressing poverty, disease, and environmental decline, 'the true axis of evil' as stated by the Institute's president, Christopher Flavin.

The Optimist, Green Cross International's magazine (now available online), is highlighting current problems and opportunities for achieving sustainable and equitable development as the true path towards global peace and security. With articles ranging from the environmental legacy of the Cold War to cultural and poverty issues, it covers the wide landscape of security components.

Outgrowing the Earth: The Food Security Challenge in an Age of Falling Water Tables and Rising Temperatures, the new book by Lester R. Brown, Founder and President of the Earth Policy Institute, investigates the impact of water shortage and climate change on food security and implicitly security in general. The book also suggests some practical steps to overcome food shortage and its implications.

Can Securing the Environment Win the Peace? 10th Anniversary Report Examines the Next Steps for Environment, Population, and Security
State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security
Optimist, Green Cross International (might require subscription)
Outgrowing the Earth: The Food Security Challenge in an Age of Falling Water Tables and Rising Temperatures

India Drafting New National Environment Policy

Having received inputs from the constituent states and others, the Ministry of Environment and Forests in India is about to begin preparing the final draft of the new National Environment Policy. This comprehensive new document will replace a variety of single-issue statements and will incorporate the concepts of sustainable development. The policy addresses all levels of concern, from local to global, and is based on seven objectives and 15 guiding principles.

Current draft policy:
A policy of promise. By B.S. Padmanabhan, India's National Magazine, Vol. 21 - Issue 26

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Tsunami Triggers an Early Warning System for Indian Ocean and Beyond
The Tsunami Warning System in the Indian Ocean, followed by a global one, toped the discussions of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Kobe, Japan, January 18-22, 2005. [See also items Tsunami Triggers an Early Warning System for Indian Ocean of December 2004, and Natural Disasters Raise the Environment on the Global Security Agenda of October 2004 environmental security report.] The tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean should be launched by June 2006 with the rest of the world to follow a year later, said Koichiro Matsuura, head of UNESCO. UNEP's Executive Director Klaus Toepfer stressed that such a system should be extended to all forms of natural and man-made disasters, including climate change. Grassroots groups were unhappy with the conference's outcomes, as it failed to set concrete plans of action and targets with political commitment and measures to hold nations accountable for their pledges. Germany plans to hold an international conference later this year on how to enhance early warning systems and limit the damage from natural disasters. It has already hosted two disaster early warning conferences in 1998 and 2003. The EU is considering setting up an international reaction force made up of about 5,000 experts identified by national governments, trained together and placed under central co-ordination in an emergency, with rapid reaction teams in different disaster situations.

World Conference on Disaster Reduction
UN Ready for Indian Ocean Tsunami Alert System by 2006
Scientists Get To Work On Early Warning System After Tsunami Disaster
NGOs say disasters summit dropped the ball. AlertNet, By Tim Large, 22 Jan 2005.
Germany Plans Disaster Early Warning Conference
EU Considers Creating Disaster Reaction Force

New Developments on Climate Change
New scientific evidence shows that the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface is decreasing. The decrease in the radiation is caused by the increase of particulate pollution in the atmosphere, which renders it more reflective, causing sunlight to produce less heat, apparently offsetting to some extent the greenhouse-gas-caused global warming tendency. However, considering that CO2 (the warming factor) levels are projected to rise over coming decades while the particles (the cooling factor) are fairly under control, scientists estimate that by 2100, there could be a temperature rise of 10ºC, rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.

Similar results were generated by the biggest-ever climate-modeling experiment, which revealed that greenhouse gases could cause global temperatures rise some 11ºC (20º Fahrenheit) by 2100, which is more than double the amount predicted by the UN Panel on Climate Change. This ongoing exercise involves more than 95,000 people from 150 countries who download the '' climate model screen saver. Over four million model years were simulated. The project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and coordinated by Oxford University.

Meeting The Climate Challenge, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Center for American Progress in the U.S., and the Australia Institute, has found that global warming is 10 years away from the point of no return. It states that the critical point will be when temperatures rise by two degrees centigrade above the average world temperature prior to the industrial era. Considering that global average temperature has already risen by 0.8 degrees since then, and the critical point will be when CO2 reaches 400 ppm, at the current level of 379 ppm and rising by more than 2 ppm annually, it means that the no-return point will be reached in about 10 years. The report suggests G8 countries should generate at least 25% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025, and double their research spending on low-carbon energy technologies by 2010.

Indian scientists say that global warming caused by pollution has affected the movement of the monsoon that is now difficult to predict and influences the life of millions of people.

In view of the latest evidences, Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to enhance climate change policy efforts during this year as he heads the G8 group and the European Union.
[See also UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in December 2004 and Global Warming Issues Get Momentum in November 2004 environmental security reports]

Why the Sun seems to be 'dimming'. BBC News, by David Sington, 13 January, 2005.
Global warning "10 years from no return". BizWorld, Monday, January 24;s=rollingnews.htm
Bleak first results from the world's largest climate change experiment
Internet project forecasts global warming., by Michael Hopkin, 26 January 2005
City pollution affecting weather and its forecast. Times News Network, January 17, 2005

Bird Flu Outbreak Urge World Readiness
The H5N1 virus has killed at least 42 people in Asia in the last year, including 30 in Vietnam. WHO warned at mid-January that the bird flu virus was endemic in Asia and it appeared to be evolving towards a possible human outbreak. The "New England Journal of Medicine" reported this month on the first documented human-to-human transmitted case of bird flu that occurred in Thailand last September. Infectious disease experts warn that the H5N1 virus could be more dangerous than SARS, as H5N1 infected victim could appear healthy even while carrying the virus. The outbreak of the deadly virus in Asia prompted the EU to check Europe's preparedness to cope with an eventual pandemic. [See also Birdflu Will be a Much Bigger Killer than SARS, According to WHO item of November 2004 environmental security report]

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on Friday for "all possible measures" to fight the emergence and spread of deadly bird flu that has appeared in Southeast Asia, Xinhua news agency reported.
Asia Acts But Helpless if Deadly Bird Flu Occurs
Asia Bird Flu Outbreak Spurs EU To Check Readiness
First Person-to-Person Avian Flu Transmission Confirmed (by subscription only)

Back to Top

December 2004

Tsunami Triggers an Early Warning System for Indian Ocean

If a system like the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific, headquartered in Hawaii, existed for the Indian Ocean, many lives would have been saved this December. This realization will lead to international agreements to create a Tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean (and possibly the Atlantic, leading to a global system). The Governments of Japan, India, and Australia announced that they will create such a system headquartered in India. This will be a top priority for the World Conference on Disaster Reduction to be held in Kobe, Japan January 18-22, 2005. [See also item Natural Disasters Raise the Environment on the Global Security Agenda of October 2004 environmental security report.] The establishment of globally connected early warning for natural disasters seems inevitable.

Experts Say Tsunami Warning System Would Have Saved Lives
Japan pledges $500 million in tsunami aid (includes technical support for Tsunami Early Warning System to be headquartered in India)
Australia Offers to Set Up Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System
India says will set up tsunami warning system
World Conference on Disaster Reduction
The Army Strategy for the Environment

UN Report Recommends Basis for Global Security Consensus

It is not likely that all UN Member States will agree with all 101 recommendations in the UN report: A more secure world: Our shared responsibility. Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change; however, it goes further than any UN report thus far to address the security challenges of the 21st century. Since no State can protect itself wholly by its own actions, the report provides an agenda to establish collective security. Both national security and human security are addressed. Environmental degradation, social equity, health, and transnational organized crime are raised to a par with threats from weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. The report also addresses UN reform, guidelines for the use of force, and defines terrorism (which reduces an impediment to creating better international agreements to address it).

A more secure world: Our shared responsibility

Time to Strengthen the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention

Because the knowledge of how to weaponize diseases and alter their genetic properties is increasing, the sooner these capabilities are controlled, the safer the world will be. To this end, international experts met in Switzerland December 5-9 to strengthen the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Discussions focused on enhancing international surveillance capabilities for infectious diseases and improving national and international response to suspected use of biological or toxic weapons. In addition to a verification regime, Switzerland proposed more attention to biological weapon disarmament to prevent proliferation and terrorist access. Agreements necessary to manage these threats have not been achieved. An international code of conduct for scientists will be considered in 2005 at the Meeting of Experts (13?24 June) and the Meeting of States Parties (5?9 December). The Sixth Review Conference in 2006 will assess the Convention's operation and implementation.
Bioweapons Report 2004, produced by the Bioweapons Prevention Project, assesses the global state of technology that could be used to create biological weapons and the state of regulations addressing such efforts. It concludes that the BWC "lacks effective mechanisms for monitoring and verifying whether or not states parties are complying with their treaty obligations," and unless updated at its 2006 review conference, the BWC will become irrelevant. The report also forecasts scientific advances by 2011, indicating that a more responsive mechanism is needed for reviewing scientific developments other than the five-year review conferences. Australia and Indonesia have scheduled a February regional workshop in Melbourne on the BWC and strategies to reduce the possibility of bioterrorism in South Asia. Other countries of the region will also be invited.

Swiss seek progress on biological weapons
swissinfo, Scott Capper, December 6, 2004
Official Documents of the BWC experts meeting
Bioweapons Report 2004 report
Biological Weapons Convention Requires Updates to Match Technological Change, Group Says
By David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire
Australia to host bioterror workshop,, December 22, 2004,6093,11760887,00.html

Chemical Weapons Convention Annual Conference

The ninth annual Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was held in The Hague, from 29 November to 3 December 2004, to re-enforce efforts to eliminate chemical weapons and their production facilities. Although this was the largest meeting thus far and countries representing 90% of the world's chemical industry are States Party to the Convention, some States of concern remain outside its control. An interesting precedent was created when Libya's request was approved to convert chemical weapons production facilities into a pharmaceuticals plant to produce low-cost treatments for AIDS/HIV, malaria and tuberculosis for the African market. The Chinese representative called on Japan to get rid of the chemical weapons it left in China during World War II. She noted that 2000 Chinese casualties were caused by these weapons since the end of the War, underlining the need to make the Convention more effective and timely for the destruction of such weapons, as well as creating the relevant facilities for preventing chemical weapons proliferation and acts of chemical terrorism.

Chemical Weapons Ban Conference papers (see events from Nov. 26, to Dec. 2, 2004)
U.S. Chemical Weapons Convention website
China urges Japan to destroy chemical weapons abandoned in China

EU to Ban the use of Cadmium in Batteries

As part of its effort for reducing environmental pollution from heavy metals, the EU has decided to ban the use of cadmium in consumer batteries. Cordless power tools, medical equipment, emergency lighting, and alarm systems are exempted so far, but in 2008 when the law will be reviewed, the European Commission might propose a complete ban-as previously suggested by such countries as Sweden and Denmark. The environmental ministers also set collection targets for portable batteries. After adapting their national legislation to the new EU regulations, in the first four years, 25% of all used batteries should be collected on their territories; while after eight years, the rate rises to 45%. The new legislation is awaiting European Parliament approval.

Council agrees minimal ban on cadmium in batteries
EurActive, December 21, 2004

Microwave Frequencies used for Environment-sensing are in Jeopardy

Interference caused by increasing microwave activities from such applications as mobile phones, wireless computer communications, collision avoidance systems, and possible new military communications technologies are ruining the reliability of satellite data for weather forecasting and climate change. In a recent interview with the BBC, Dr Stephen English, manager of the Satellite Radiance Assimilation Group at the UK Met Office, called attention to the serious impact on climate change research of allowing various terrestrial radio services to use narrow bands in the microwave spectrum which are uniquely suited for making satellite-based meteorological observations that yield vital data for such research. He told the BBC, "Microwave observations are vital because they see through clouds--this is not possible in any other frequency band. We only need a few narrow-frequency bands for Earth remote-sensing, but most of these are unique, so there is no alternative. These bands are primarily used for temperature, water vapor, sea ice, clouds (ice and liquid), and rainfall and snowfall estimation." According to the BBC, a meteorologists' working group on frequency management says protecting key regions of the microwave spectrum for passive remote-sensing is "a dramatic challenge", because of "the huge pressure of the commercial and military telecoms".
Forecasters face losing key tools
By Alex Kirby, BBC News, December 17, 2004

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

"Designer" Bacteria could help Cleanup Pollution and Produce Hydrogen
Craig Venter (who led the Human Genome Project) and his colleague Hamilton Smith are trying to construct the entire genomes of living creatures to create organisms by design. The team first created a virus from its chemical elements in November 2003 and now is trying to create bacteria. The Department of Energy's "Genomes to Life" program coordinates the research and hopes to use future "designer" bacteria to create hydrogen and methane, and clean up nuclear waste. Although it is already known how to use bacteria for some forms of environmental cleanup, building bacteria from scratch would allow the design of very specific bacteria for very specific tasks, including prevention of the designer bacteria's ability to reproduce in the environment beyond the original intended purpose.

Let there be bacteria
By Geoffrey Carr. The Economist, 'The World in 2005' (by subscription only)

Korean Nanotechnology production techniques Cut Costs and Environment Impact
Prof. Taeghwan Hyeon and associates at Seoul National University's School of Chemical Engineering have announced the development of a safe and inexpensive way to directly produce a large amount of monodisperse (uniformly sized) nano-crystals using non-toxic salts. Hyeon said that these are truly revolutionary findings enabling large-scale production of nano-particles at low cost--just 250 won (about 25 cents) per gram. His team used metal salts as a reactant to regularly produce as much as 40 grams in a single reaction. Although the technique reduces the environmental impact in production, it does not mean it reduces the environmental impact of the nanomaterials after production and application.

Green breakthrough for nanoscience:
South Korean scientists report nano-technology breakthrough

Flexible Solar Cells could be sewn in Clothing
A European Union research project called H-Alpha Solar has developed light, flexible solar panels that could be sewn on fabrics and placed on surfaces to charge objects such as cell phones. When in full production, it is estimated to cost about 1 euro ($1.34) per watt.
Pliable solar cells are on a roll
Bendy Solar Panels Provide Portable Energy Supply

Proposed T-Rays (TeraHertz) Devices Could Detect About Anything
New devices that use terahertz rays (T-rays have a 1000 times higher frequency than microwaves) to see through clothing and packaging can precisely identify chemical and biological weapons, explosives, or conventional weapons. Even hermetically sealed anthrax and plastic guns would be detected. The potential applications of T-rays are huge, ranging from military and security, to medical sector, and are even promising for nanotechnology. Research is preliminary, but T-ray palm devices might one day detect cancers in the body, determine from a distance the chemicals in a hazardous waste spill, or find victims trapped under rubble, says one of the researchers, Dr. James Kolodzey, of the University of Delaware. Scientists from America, Europe, Asia and Australia shared the latest advances in T-ray technology at the international workshop on TeraHertz for Defence and Security, at Adelaide University, Australia.
T-Rays Detect Chemical, Biological Weapons, Find Cancers (by subscription only)

Biodegradable Mobile Phones
Researchers at the University of Warwick, together with high tech materials company PVAXX Research and Development Ltd, and Motorola designed a mobile phone that can be turned into compost and even flower when discarded. The phones are made of a new high tech biodegradable material, which disintegrates in a few weeks when buried in compost, and grows a flower from a seed placed in the phone's cover.
Researchers compost old mobile phones & transform them into flowers

Automated Water Safety Sensor Units
Sandia National Laboratory teamed with CH2M Hill of Englewood, Colo., an engineering and construction firm, and Tenix Investments (Australia's largest defense and technology contractor) to develop a monitoring device that can detect currently unmonitored biological agents--such as germs, toxins and bacteria--in water systems. Initial commercial units and wider deployment are anticipated from late 2005 to mid 2007.
Sandia, Tenix, and CH2M Hill will develop automated water safety sensor units
Sandia National Laboratories, Press Release, December 6, 2004

New Zealand's Largest Environmental Management Forum

The Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) will hold its annual Environmental Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, 29 March - 1 April 2005. This will be the largest Australasian environmental management event to be held in New Zealand; more than 300 specialists are expected to attend. According to the conference announcement, concurrent sessions will explore case studies in resource management, environmental management systems; integrated planning and systems-thinking; environmental assessment and reporting; and communication and environmental education. Field trips and technical tours will include the Living Streams restoration program, a Maori perspective of resource management at Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere; the Kowhai Organic Farm at Lincoln University and ecosystem protection in Canterbury's braided rivers. The meeting is designed to be environment-friendly; delegates can make their travel carbon-neutral by paying a CO2 carbon offset charge ranging from $3 to $26. These funds will be used for regeneration of native forest.
EIANZ Conference 29 Mar - 1 Apr 2005, Christchurch, New Zealand
New Zealand to Host Major Environment Forum, EIANZ Press Release

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference
About 6,000 scientists, decision-makers, and activists attended the Tenth Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 10) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (to which is attached the Kyoto Protocol) held in Buenos Aires, 6?17 December 2004. The conference discussed ways to reduce global warming and its effects. It also discussed post-Kyoto policy plans. Although no specific actions and/or regulations were adopted, progress was achieved on the issue of mitigation and adaptation to possible effects of climate change. The Buenos Aires Programme of Work on Adaptation and Response Measures adopted by the conference, includes further scientific assessments of vulnerabilities and options for adaptation, expert papers on various aspects of climate change risks, and recommendations for sustainable development planning. A seminar of governmental experts is planned for next May in Bonn to continue discussions on the issue.
COP 10 Conference site:
U.S. Waters Down Global Commitment to Curb Greenhouse Gases
New York Times, by Larry Rohter, December 19, 2004 (article available for a limited time)
EU Wants More Mandatory Emissions Cuts, US Opposed
UN to look beyond Kyoto in climate change conference

Changes to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution
U.S. ratification brought the Gothenburg Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone to just two ratifications away from its entry into force. This eighth Protocol to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) sets emission ceilings for 2010 for four pollutants: sulphur, NOx, VOCs, and ammonia, regulating emissions by sources (e.g. combustion plant, electricity production, dry cleaning, cars and trucks), and requiring the use of best available techniques to keep emissions down. In the meantime, an expert group is conducting work on fine particles; the results might lead to either amendment of the Gothenburg Protocol or a new protocol specifically on fine particles.
Two new persistent organic pollutants (POPs) may be considered for addition to the Protocol on POPs, pentabromodiphenyl ether (PBDE) and perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS).
As the 1979 Convention presently covers just Europe, the U.S., and Canada, efforts will increase to extend it towards the east, involving East European, Caucasian and Central Asian countries.
[See also the items Study Proposes an International Air Pollution Treaty and Protocol to Control Heavy Metals to Enter into Force of October 2003, and POP Protocol Comes into Force of August 2003 environmental security scanning reports.]

Air Pollution Protocol Boosted by U.S. Ratification. Executive Body wraps up jubilee session
Protocols to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

Fines for Oil Spills will Increase in 2005
Oil pollution damage compensation under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention will be substantially enhanced with the entry into force of the Supplementary Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage at the beginning of March 2005. Under the new Protocol, payments for an oil spill will be raised and capped at 750 million Special Drawing Rights (about $1.152 billion).
Meantime, the EU agreed on stronger measures against ships polluting European waters. Each EU country would be allowed to charge a minimum penalty for marine pollution. The fines are between 150,000 and 300,000 euros (about $398,500) for less serious cases, and between 750,000 and 1.5 million euros for more serious cases, although member states may set higher fines if they want. The new rule is pending approval by the European Parliament. The EU ambassadors will also seek agreement for proposing that ships' captains' personal liability be included in international maritime conventions. [See also International Maritime Organization (IMO) and EU Collaborate on Oil Spill Prevention of March 2003, and International Maritime Organization (IMO) wants global rather than many different local or regional rules of January 2003, and Europe Looks to Maritime Rules After Tanker Spill of November 2002 environmental security monthly reports.]

New fund heralds better deal for oil pollution victims
Supplementary Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage to enter into force
EU Agrees Deal on Punishing Ship Pollution
Reuters News Service, December 10, 2004

Europe Declares Thousands of Protected Natural Sites
The European Commission adopted a list of more than 7,000 nature sites in the Atlantic and Continental regions of the EU to become part of NATURA 2000, the network of protected sites with the objective of halting the decline of biodiversity by 2010.

Nature protection: Commission establishes largest ever list of protected areas in the EU

Back to Top

November 2004

Birdflu Will be a Much Bigger Killer than SARS, According to WHO

WHO's director of their Western Pacific Regional Office said that the conservative estimate is that Birdflu (H5N1) could infect 30% of the world, killing 2-7 million people, but it could go as high as 50 million deaths. SARS killed 800 people last year with a mortality rate of around 15%, while H5N1 kills up to 33%. The Asian practice of selling live chickens and ducks, and slaughtering them in front of customers, should be stopped, and a central abattoir or restriction of slaughtering to a few areas should be substituted. Hong Kong scientists have been fighting to end the widespread practice of killing live chickens in markets since 1997, when the H5N1 virus first spread to humans and killed six people in the territory.
Although birdflu has killed 32 people in Thailand and Vietnam this year, and millions of chickens, ducks and other birds have been culled across Asia, the virus is expected to mutate, allowing it to infect human populations with no immunity. The next indicator of this possibility is expected to be increased infections among pigs. Clinical trials for a vaccine against H5N1 have begun, but even successful results might still have a time-lag of half a year, while many humans could be infected and killed.

Birdflu Far More Deadly than SARS, WHO Says

International Issues of Managing Radioactive Materials
A Single set of International Standards is proposed for Nuclear Power Plants from Design to Decommissioning
The Conference on Topical Issues in Nuclear Safety, with 274 delegates from 37 countries held last month in Beijing, recommended that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) develop a single set of international standards for all nuclear installations from design to decommissioning. Given the growing diversification and globalization of the industry, the sooner these standards are developed and implemented the better.

Safety Experts Endorse Single Set of International Standards for Nuclear Power Plants
Recommendations from the Conference on Topical Issues in Nuclear Safety, Beijing, China
Staff Report, 4 November 2004

Reducing Proliferation Risks by Converting 60 High- to Low-Enriched Uranium Research Reactors Could Take 10 Years
A key to lowering risks induced by the proliferation of weapons-grade uranium is converting civil nuclear research reactors to run on low-enriched uranium (LEU) instead of high-enriched uranium (HEU). So far 31 research reactors have been converted to low-enriched uranium and 7 have been partly converted. However, IAEA estimates it could take 10 years to convert some 60 civilian research reactors that are still running on HEU that are targeted for this conversion. Approximately 200 experts from across the globe discussed these conversion issues at the International Meeting on Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) held in Vienna, November 8-11.

Curbing Potential Spread of Weapons-Grade Uranium Could Take 10 Years - IAEA
UN Press Release, New York, Nov 16 2004 11:00AM (email newsletter)
Progress Reported in Big Job to Convert Research Reactors from HEU Fuel

International Cooperation to Address Radioactive Waste Emergent Disaster in Central Asia
"Radioactive waste in northern Tajikistan is the biggest human-made disaster in Central Asia," said an Environmental Officer of the OSCE at a two-day conference on radioactive waste disposal sites in northern Tajikistan and its consequences on the environment and health of the local population. During the Soviet era, nuclear waste in Tajikistan was not managed well. As a result, it is now claimed that 10 million people in the basin of the Syr-Darya River have been affected by nuclear waste. Over 200 participants from countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as representatives of the UN, the EU, the U.S., and Iran came to Dushanbe to share their expertise in addressing this problem, which has also been a cause of tension with neighboring states, namely Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The conference recommendations will be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the OSCE Permanent Council for a further action plan.

First international conference on radioactive waste in Tajikistan opens in Dushanbe

Biosecurity Internet Tools

United Nations Upgrades Early Warning System for Health and Terror Alerts
The United Nations launched the Global Public Health Intelligence Network II (GPHIN II), an upgrade of the GPHIN emergency-preparedness system designed to alert national health agencies to imminent health and terror emergencies. This Internet-based "early warning" system will gather and disseminate preliminary reports of public health threats on a continuous basis to the WHO and public health officials worldwide, helping early detection of potential public health threats including infectious disease outbreaks around the world, whether they are naturally occurring or the result of an act of bioterrorism. The program was developed by Canada's Ministry of Health with support from Nuclear Threat Initiative's Global Health and Security Initiative.

Will We Be Able to Identify and Prevent the Next Pandemic Before It is Too Late?
Canada behind new health threat alert system
New Tool Launched in Fight Against Infectious Disease Outbreaks; Expanded Global System Will Help Detect Potential Public Health Threats

New NAS Website on Biosecurity
The Policy and Global Affairs division of the National Academy of Sciences launched a new website that is a collection of resources, studies and other activities at the National Academies related to biosecurity. So far, the categories are: biosecurity, publications, reports in preparation, and other activities.

Biosecurity @ the National Academies

Technology Issues Relevant to Environmental Security

Arsenic-polluted Water Decontamination Using Sulphate
Detecting and detoxifying water contaminated with arsenic could become faster, easier, and cheaper according to recent research by the University of Illinois. Tests so far demonstrate that changing the chemical composition of water by adding sulphate to it, could stimulate the bacteria that control arsenic concentration, precipitating arsenic, which is then easily removable from the water. The research remains to be tested in the field.

A cheap fix for arsenic-polluted water?

Nanomaterials Help Stop Bullets
Bulletproof vests' performance could be improved by chemically attaching different nanoparticles to already well-known materials such as Kevlar, says Professor Victor Castano, of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Ceramic nanoparticles would make the material UV-shielded, and chemically functionalized nanoparticles linked to organic structures could be used for waterproofing.

Nanomaterials help stop bullets
By Alan Osborn 23/11/2004

Future Computer-Human Interface Means Cyber Viruses Could Infect Humans
As the human-computer interface continues to evolve into a continuum, it is reasonable to assume cyber viruses will one day be able to transfer into electronic components that will have been added into the human nervous system, and so have biological effects. Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University, and a cyborg pioneer, warned that the emergence of computer-human connection and the production of synthetic viruses comes with great advantages, but also a huge risk: computer viruses will be able to infect augmented humans as they do PCs.

Could future computer viruses infect humans? One ex-cyborg thinks they could..., November 12 2004, by Jo Best,39024667,39125887,00.htm

Recent Developments in Addressing Impacts of Nanotechnology

International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) Created
The International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) is a coalition of academic, industry, regulatory, and non-governmental organizations working together to ensure that nanotechnology benefits humanity without negative implications for health and the environment. ICON activities' categories include: science and engineering research into the potential environmental and health impacts of engineered nanostructures; social science research into public perceptions toward new technology, and the role that regulatory and other governmental policies can and should play in nanotechnology stewardship; collaborative policy activities that develop international standards for engineered nanostructure terminology and metrology, safety guidelines, and best laboratory practices; public communication and outreach that tracks all relevant technical data on nanotechnology's potential risks; and presentation of this information in terms and formats that are accessible by laypersons. ICON is located and coordinated by The Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) at Rice University.

About ICON
CBEN launches partnership for sustainable nanotechnology
Broad coalition will work together to ensure tiny tech benefits human health and the environment

Wise-Nano Project of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
The Wise-Nano project of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology is a collaborative website for researchers from around the world addressing the facts and implications of advanced nanotechnology and what to do about them.

Wise-Nano project

Studies on Environmental Impacts of Nanotechnology
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded 12 grants to universities to investigate the potential health and environmental impacts of nanomaterials. Six of the grants awarded will investigate if manufactured nanomaterials could have any negative health effects or environmental impacts, while the other six grants will study the fate and transport of nanomaterials in the environment. The grants were awarded through EPA's Science to Achieve Results research grants program.
The National Toxicology Program, a part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, will be conducting animal studies to investigate the effects of nanoparticles in the lungs and on the skin, and their uptake and distribution into and through the body.
Other U.S. agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, have also begun to pay attention to the field.

EPA Backs Nanomaterial Safety Research. Activists Say $4 Million Is Far Too Little for Studies
By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, November 12, 2004; Page A23 (free subscription required)
2003 Exploratory Research to Anticipate Future Environmental Issues: Impacts of Manufactured Nanomaterials on Human Health and the Environment. STAR Recipients

ETC Report on Nanotechnology Impact on Food and Agriculture
The ETC Group recently released a report, "Down on the Farm: The Impact of Nano-Scale Technologies on Food and Agriculture", that addresses nanotechnologies' impact on farmers, food and agriculture. The report recommends that until the clear implications of nanotechnology use in agriculture and food chain are known, its use be guided by the Precautionary Principle or even prohibited until a regulatory regime specifically designed to examine these nano-scale products finds them safe. The report also addresses the 'green goo' issue related to potential dangers associated with synthetic biology or nanobiotechnology and, given the extreme risks (that even mainstream scientists are beginning to acknowledge), calls for an immediate moratorium on laboratory experimentation and environmental release of these materials until there is thorough knowledge of their health, environmental and socio-economic implications.

Down on the Farm: The Impact of Nano-scale Technologies on Food and Agriculture (Summery)
Down on the Farm: The Impact of Nano-scale Technologies on Food and Agriculture (Full report)

Global Warming Issues Get Momentum

Kyoto Protocol Will Enter Into Force on February 16, 2005
With the Russian Federation's ratification on November 18, the Kyoto Protocol will enter into force on February 16, 2005. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan characterizes the Treaty's entry into force as "a historic step forward in the world's efforts to combat a truly global threat." The Treaty commits participating industrial countries to reduce their combined emissions of six greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. [See also October 2004 environmental security report.]

UN Secretary-General receives Russia's Kyoto Protocol ratification
Kyoto ratification: pressure rises on US, China, India

Arctic Warming Much Faster Than Expected
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report reveals that the Arctic is warming nearly twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with dramatic physical, ecological, social, and economic consequences for the whole planet. At least half of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is projected to melt by the end of this century, along with a portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet, possibly raising global sea levels by 1 meter by 2100 and 7 meters in the long-term, threatening millions of people living in coastal areas. The possible disappearance of summer sea ice endangers Arctic animal species such as ice-living seals and polar bears, with devastating consequences for local people for whom these animals are a primary food source.
Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment is the result of four years of research by an international team of about 250 scientists, and was commissioned by the Arctic Council-a ministerial intergovernmental forum comprising the eight Arctic countries and six Indigenous Peoples organizations-and the International Arctic Science Committee-a non-governmental organization for facilitating arctic research. At its Fourth Ministerial Meeting held in Reykjavik, November 24, the Arctic Council failed to devise a plan to address the problem, as the U.S. delegation opposed including any specific recommendations in the council's joint declaration. The Arctic peoples and tropical islanders plan to create an alliance to campaign against global warming and lobby industrial nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, even threatening to file official complaints against the U.S.

Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Report (Select "ACIA Overview Report")
Climate change is here, now, say scientists, Nov 3 2004
Rapid Arctic Warming Brings Sea Level Rise, Extinctions (by subscription only)
Arctic People Seek Tropical Team on Global Warming
November 26, 2004 - By Alister Doyle, Reuters
Arctic Nations Cool On How To Fight Global Warming (by subscription only)

A Sample of Counter Global Warming Activists around the World
Unless major actions to reduce greenhouse gases are taken worldwide, parts of Australia could become uninhabitable, warned participants at the recent International Climate Change Taskforce meeting. An Australian court has ordered that an expert planning panel assess the greenhouse gas pollution consequences before any extension of the Hazelwood power station in the Australian State of Victoria begins. Environmentalists petitioned that sites in Belize, Nepal and Peru be considered for UNESCO's World Heritage in Danger List in order to be protected from the effects of climate change. China and the European Commission of the European Union announced a five year, €42.9 million energy and environment program in Beijing to improve energy efficiency in China and combat climate change. Britain and Germany, whose greenhouse gas reductions are among the biggest in the world, are enhancing their fight against global warming through a new partnership backed by leading industrialists, businessmen, and scientists. A range of innovative recommendations for environment-friendly industry will be presented to the countries' leaders. The importance of the event was highlighted by its opening by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her State Visit to Germany.

Parts of Australia could become uninhabitable, environment conference told
Australia court rules that greenhouse gas emissions can't be ignored
Melting Glaciers Said to Be Threatening Everest
EU-China energy and environment program launched
(Xinhua) Updated: 2004-11-04 00:32 (article stored for a limited time on the website)
Global warming: Britain and Germany chart the way forward

The U.S. Might Ratify the Law of the Sea

This month marked the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Law of the Sea. There are indications that the U.S. Senate is now ready to agree to the U.S. ratifying the law in order to keep its important place at the table of negotiations.

Oceans and Law of the Sea website
The U.S. and the Law of the Sea
Jonathan Power, International Herald Tribune, Wednesday, November 3, 2004 (article stored for a limited time on the website)

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Europe Ratified the Stockholm Convention
EU ratified the Stockholm Convention that bans the use of POPs. The treaty entered into force on May 17, 2004. So far it has been ratified by 83 countries, among them 13 EU member states. As Party to the Treaty, the European Commission says that it has already prepared a list of nine additional POPs to propose to be banned under the Convention. [See also related items in May and February 2004, and October 2002 Millennium Project's environmental security monthly reports.]

EU ratifies global accord against dangerous pollutants

Environmental Destruction During War Aggravates Instability
On the occasion of the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, observed on November 6, UN officials highlighted again that environmental degradation, mostly destroying natural resources in wartime, worsens conflicts inside and between nations and re-launched the call for cleanup of the remnants of war. Although legal protections for the environment during war-time is covered by several existing international laws, there might be "need to go further than this piecemeal coverage, and develop clear standards, appropriate sanctions and credible enforcement mechanisms to ensure that environmental damage is avoided, deterred or punished. We may well need to add a 'green' chapter to the long established rules of war set out in the Geneva Conventions" said Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General. Klaus Toepfer, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, stressed that "Joint projects to clean up sites, agreements and treaties to better share resources such as rivers and forests, and strengthening cooperation between the different countries' ministries and institutions may hold the key to building trust, understanding and more stable relations." [See also item UN Secretary-General Wants Updated Laws Against Environmental Damage in War of November 2003 environmental security scanning report.]

Statement by Mr. Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General. Message On The International Day For Preventing The Exploitation Of The Environment In War And Armed Conflicts
International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflicts. Statement by Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP

Nineteen new Biosphere Reserves Added to UNESCO's MAB Network
The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme have added 19 new sites in 13 countries to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The MAB Network now consists of 459 sites in 97 countries. The biosphere reserves are places recognized for promoting development in the service of both socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation. [See related items on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2004 and October 2003 environmental security monthly reports.]

The MAB Programme. New Biosphere Reserves
18th Session of the MAB International Co-ordinating Council

NASA's Eyes in the Sky to Help Global Conservation
NASA and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) signed an agreement to use the space agency's satellite system to map the earth, monitor global environment change, and help conservation efforts. Although the focus will be to discover unknown species of plants and animals and pinpoint their habitats, this is an important project for international collaboration for biodiversity protection in general. [See also July 2004 item Increasing Capacity of Space Technology to Assist Environmental Security and other related items in previous environmental security monthly reports.]

NASA's Eyes in the Sky to Help Global Conservation

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October 2004

EU Environment Ministers Propose post-Kyoto Protocol Climate Policies

Now that the Russian ratification will bring the Kyoto Protocol into force [see item 8.2 in this report], the European environment ministers are planning to initiate talks within the UN on climate policies that would follow after 2012 (when the Protocol's first commitment period ends). The next UN Climate Conference (COP10) will be this December in Buenos Aires and the European Council will meet next spring on its climate policy objectives. The EU's general climate objective is to pursue polices leading to temperatures that would not exceed pre-industrial levels by more than two degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the European Environmental Ministers are planning to ban the more destructive fluorinated gases in certain products, which European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said "have huge global warming potential - in some cases almost 24,000 times that of carbon dioxide." The Ministers also plan to regulate leakage of these gases prior to their complete phase-out. They propose to ban the use of fluorinated gases in double-glazing, fire extinguishers, car tires and recreational items. There was also a call for concrete action to reduce emissions from international aviation and shipping industries.

EU Environment Ministers Limit Most Destructive Climate Gases (by subscription only)

Natural Disasters Raise the Environment on the Global Security Agenda

Natural Disasters as an Environmental Security Issue
Recent natural disasters increased environmental security concerns. The last few years' storms, droughts, and heat waves increased poverty and migrations in regions already vulnerable to conflict. David Anderson, former Canadian Environment Minister, said that global warming posed a greater long-term threat to humanity than terrorism. Although natural hazards cannot be avoided, their dramatic consequences can be reduced by preparedness and risk reduction measures including early warning systems, environmental protection, land-use planning, technology development, and education. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that early warning and advance planning, and building a "culture of prevention" could halve the rates of death and destruction in the decade following 2010 compared with this decade. To address these goals, the WMO has launched the Natural Disaster Mitigation and Prevention Programme. The new Early Warning Promotional Platform for natural disasters has been set up in Bonn, Germany, under the auspices of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). Several international organizations are working closely with the Secretariat for the ISDR in preparing the World Conference on Disaster Reduction to be held in Kobe, Japan, January 18-22, 2005.

Timely Access And Response To Accurate Early Warnings Are Crucial For Minimizing Impacts Of Natural Disasters. WMO, International Day for Disaster Reduction, 13 October 2004
Improve Chain Of Information, Decision-Making In Preparing For Recurring Hazards, Says Secretary-General In Disaster Reduction Day Message
World Disasters Report 2004
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Analysis - Global Warming Seen as Security Threat

Additional Environmental Security Role for the UN Security Council
Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, said that the restructuring of the UN Security Council might be necessary to address the environment-conflict nexus more efficiently. He stated, "One of the options being discussed is to create a subdivision under the Security Council that focuses on environment-related security concerns." [See related item in September environmental security scanning report].

"Solving the Environmental Problems of the 21st Century" lecture by Dr. Klaus Töpfer
Georgetown University, October 7, 2004
The United Nations Environment Programme's Klaus Toepfer Launches Understanding Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation

OSCE Workshop on Environmental Risks and Security in Earthquake Areas
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held an international workshop on environmental risks and security in earthquake-prone areas, as part of the preparations for the World Conference on Disaster Reduction to be held in January in Kobe. More than 250 participants from 52 countries addressed such issues as raising public awareness, education and training on social consequences of earthquakes, preparedness, and risk and disaster reduction. Ambassador Vladimir Pryakhin, Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan said that these issues are "closely linked with the provision of national security to the country and the region."

OSCE Office in Yerevan holds workshop on environmental risks and security in earthquake areas

Technology Issues Relevant to Environmental Security

Bionanotech Particles Can Detect Bacteria in 20 Minutes
A team of researchers at the University of Florida created a bioconjugated nanoparticle that can detect single pathogenic bacteria in just 20 minutes. Although demonstrated just for E. coli, researchers say that by changing the antibodies employed, the ultrasensitive particles can be modified to detect a wide variety of bacteria. The team continues to work for enlarging the technique's scope by creating bioconjugated nanoparticles to detect multiple bacteria simultaneously. The new technique is a promising method for detecting bioagents in food, and clinical and environmental samples, and for early medical diagnosis. It could also prove important for assisting the enforcement of current and future international treaties that address organic transfers across national borders.

A rapid bioassay for single bacterial cell quantitation using bioconjugated nanoparticles
National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.0404806101
Nanoparticles Enable Speedy E. coli Detection

Nanodevices for Biomolecules Detection
Two U.S. research teams designed nano-devices for virus detection. The nanoelectromechanical device by Cornell University can detect an insect baculovirus, while the nanowire field effect transistors developed by Harvard University can detect single influenza viruses. These techniques enlarge the capability to detect different viruses simultaneously.
Argonne National Laboratory scientists developed a magnetic sensor for bacteria and virus detection. The device relies on measuring the Brownian relaxation of magnetic nanoparticles when they are bound to target biomolecules. The team is now working to improve the sensitivity of the technique.
All three methods could be used in medicine and/or the detection of bacteria and viruses in the environment.

Nanodevices target viruses
Electrical detection of single viruses, National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.0406159101
Magnetic sensors tackle viruses

Motion Detector Allows Naked Eye to See Motion of 10 Nanometers
Sandia National Laboratories have developed a motion detector 1,000 times more sensitive than any known so far. It has the ability to sense a motion of 10 nanometers with the naked eye. The device is based on a formerly unrecognized property of optics: light diffracted from very small gratings that move very small lateral distances undergoes a relatively big, and thus easily measurable, change in reflection. That change can be amplified for human visibility, or it can be fed to additional instruments for a variety of measurement and automated control and analysis functions. Such high sensitivity detectors would have extensive applications from improving earlier warnings of earthquakes to detecting future nanotech weapons and surveillance equipment.

Device allows naked eye to see motion of 10 nanometers

Low-cost, Non-polluting Sewage Treatment System
Nothing escapes into the ground or water supplies from BIPU (bio-remedial in field personnel unit), a low-cost, non-polluting, flush toilet sewerage system. It holds solids in a special plastic chamber where they break down, while the liquid content is removed and evaporates in an elevated absorption system. The system is produced by Tasmanian Environmental Solutions at George Town, Tasmania. It has been used in Tasmania for several years, and the UN used 150 BIPU systems during the East Timor peacekeeping operations.

Loo-loo of an idea breaks new ground, Sunday Tasmanian, by Mike Bingham, 26 Sep. 2004,5942,10881610,00.html

Water Nanofilters
Carbon nanotube water filters might replace traditional filtration systems, which are difficult to clean and must be changed frequently. The new technology, developed by a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, consists of a quartz tube filled with tightly packed radially oriented nanotubes. The water molecules can squeeze out through nanometer-sized gaps in the walls, but bacteria like E. coli and viruses like the 25-nanometer-wide poliovirus get stuck. The resistant structures can be cleaned repeatedly.
Nanofilters. By David Cotriss, Innovation News, November 2004

Revival of Nuclear Power in Asia Poses Security Concerns

China is planning to build two large new nuclear reactors per year for the next 16 years. While much of the rest of the world is turning away from this energy source, 16 of the 27 nuclear power plants now being built worldwide are in China, India, Japan and South Korea. The political-military issues of this are addressed in the new edition of The Military Balance by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies.Source
Dyer: China syndrome: Asia leads in the revival of nuclear power
The Military Balance 2004-2005. International Institute of Strategic Studies, October 2004
Report buying information:
Editor's Foreword
Think-tank warns of increased nuclear threat. By Peter Spiegel in London, Financial Times, October 19 2004 20:21 (free registration required)

Russia's Green Movement Plans to Become a Political Party

The Green movement finally made a public appearance in Russia, with a press conference on 15 October, led by Alexei Yablokov. A major figure in their campaign to become a recognized political party is Alexander Nikitin, the former naval officer who was acquitted of espionage for revealing pollution hazards in Russia's submarine program. Yablokov claims that 50-60% of the population is concerned about a healthy environment and would support a trusted green party. It is unclear if this group can overcome the substantial bureaucratic obstacles to forming a new party to participate in the 2007 parliamentary election, but their efforts are certain to bring the environment much more strongly into the forum of public discussion in the country.
Russia looks to green alternative as political screws tighten

Chinese Automobile Industry's Potential Environmental Emphases

China is the world's fastest-growing car market and may surprise the world at how fast it becomes a major automobile producer of next generation cars (as it surprised the world at how fast it became the world leader in mobile phone usage). 150 experimental and advanced-technology vehicles were on display at the Challenge Bibendum, an exhibition of eco-friendly cars held in Shanghai. The China Daily speculates that the rising cost of oil and the forthcoming Olympics (2008) and World Expo (2010) are strong incentives to make China a green car leader, rather than following the gasoline model.

Automakers unveil efficient cars in China

New Reports Relevant to Environmental Security

WWF The Living Planet Report 2004
World Wildlife Fund's The Living Planet Report 2004 examines humanity's ecological footprint, and the state of nature and resource use in 149 countries. It reveals that humanity is running an 'ecological debt,' consuming over 20 percent more natural resources than the Earth can produce, destroying ecological balance, depleting groundwater, and damaging biodiversity. The report urges us to live within the means of our planet, and adopt and implement policies to reverse the ecological debt trend: increase biocapacity; reduce world population; diminish per person consumption; and improve resource efficiency. The WWF is urging governments to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 and create national and regional targets for creating networks of protected areas to safeguard biodiversity, as agreed at several UN Summits.

The Living Planet Report 2004 available online at:
WWF Press release, 21 Oct. 2004

Environmental Double-role in Southern Caucasus Conflicts
Environment and Security: Transforming Risks into Cooperation - The Case of the Southern Caucasus, highlights the link between environment and security in the Southern Caucasus, arguing that environmental degradation and competition for natural resources could worsen the situation in this area already vulnerable to conflicts. The report gives an overview of human security in the regional context and then looks at specifics for the three countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. It examines both the negative effects of conflict in the region and the opportunities environmental issues present for cooperation and confidence building. The report is part of the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) [see item OSCE-UN Launches Environmental Security Initiative in Southern Caucasus in the May 2004 environmental security scanning report].

Environment and Security: Transforming Risks into Cooperation??The Case of the Southern Caucasus
Report downloadable
Caucasus - Transforming Risks into Co-Operation
Joint OSCE/UNEP/UNDP News Release

Technology and Biological Weapons: Future Threats
Technology and Biological Weapons: Future Threats, a report published by Bradford University, UK, is an overview of present biological warfare possibilities, with case studies and possible future threats involving the vulnerability of the immune system. The report analyses the possible dual use of research in the area in order to show potential misuses. It finally shows that all biotechnology and bioinformatics areas discussed in the paper are of particular concern for the future for both promoting and combating biological warfare. The authors warn that if governments do not act fast enough, then one day, "… it will be virtually impossible to defend ourselves."

Science and Technology Report No. 2. Technology and Biological Weapons: Future Threats
By Kathryn Nixdorff, Neil Davison, Piers Millett, and Simon Whitby, Bradford University, UK
Scientists warn of growing bioweapons threat
USA Today, October 28, 2004, (article stored for a limited time on the web site)

Blood and Soil: Land, Politics and Conflict Prevention in Zimbabwe and South Africa
Blood and Soil: Land, Politics and Conflict Prevention in Zimbabwe and South Africa by the International Crisis Group (ICG) analysis the link between land reform in the region and instability and violence, offering practical policy suggestions.
Blood and Soil: Land, Politics and Conflict Prevention in Zimbabwe and South Africa
Africa Report N°85

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

European Parliament Resolution to Protect Whales From Sonar
The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling on its 25 member states to halt the deployment of high-intensity active naval sonars until a global assessment of their cumulative environmental impact on marine mammals, fish and other marine life has been completed. The resolution also asks the European Commission to conduct an assessment study of current practices and their impact in European waters. The issue is expected to be on the agenda of two upcoming events: the second meeting of the Parties to a European regional cetacean conservation treaty November 9 to 12 that will vote on a resolution on the harmful effects of military sonar on marine life, and the final stakeholders meeting on the EU Marine Strategy, November 10-12. [See also items Research Confirms Military and Industry Sonar Harms Whales of July 2004, and US military waived in respecting environmental law of May 2004 environmental security reports.]
European Parliament Calls For Halt To High Intensity Naval Sonar Use

Russian Vote Will Bring Kyoto Protocol Into Force
The Kyoto Protocol will come into force 90 days after Russia deposits the formal instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the UN. Being ratified by the Russian State Duma on October 22, 2004 and by the Federation Council on October 27, it needs just Putin's stamp of approval. The Treaty commits participating industrial countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The six greenhouse gases covered are: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). [See items on Kyoto Protocol in July and June 2003, and December 2002 Millennium Project environmental security reports.]
Russian Duma ratifies Kyoto protocol
Russia forced to ratify Kyoto Protocol to become WTO member
China hails Russian State Duma's approval of Kyoto Protocol

Open Skies Treaty may also Serve Environmental Agreements
Participants in the Seminar on the Environmental and Ecological Use of the Open Skies Regime discussed the possible use of the Treaty's system for ecological purposes, such as natural disaster cases, urbanization, and enforcement of international environmental regulations. The main purpose of the Open Skies Treaty is to enhance military transparency through observation flights, to facilitate the monitoring of compliance with existing or future arms control treaties, and to assist in conflict prevention and crisis management. The Treaty entered into force on January 1 2002, and currently has 31 States-Party, including the United States. [See also related items Increasing Capacity of Space Technology to Assist Environmental Security of July 2004, Better Use of Satellites to Monitor International Treaties of March 2003, Improved coordination of global Earth observation in August 2003 and International Agreement on Earth Environmental Observing System in the March and April 2004 environmental security monthly reports.]
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Forum for Security Co-operation, Press release, 15 October 2004
Open Skies Treaty-comprehensive overview
Federation of American Scientists

Chemicals could be the Cause of 'Gulf Syndrome'
A new study by a federal panel of medical experts concluded that there is high probability that some '91 Gulf War veterans suffer from inexplicable illnesses due to exposure to neurotoxins such as sarin, (from an Iraqi weapons depot blown up by American forces in 1991); pyridostigmine bromide (a drug given to troops to protect against nerve gas); and pesticides used to protect soldiers in the region. This is a new view, inconsistent with previous panels' conclusions.
Gulf War and Health: Updated Literature Review of Sarin (2004)
National Academy of Sciences, ISBN: 0-309-09294-9, 132 pages, 6 x 9, paperback (2004)
Chemicals Sickened '91 Gulf War Veterans, Latest Study Finds
By Scott Shane, October 15, 2004 (article stored for a limited time on the website)

Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes
The COP7 of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes focused on increasing electronic waste issues, and disposal of old military vessels and decommissioned fishing boats. Under the theme 'Partnership for meeting the global waste challenge,' the participants agreed that partnership between governments; partnership with the private sector, international organizations and NGOs; and synergies with other chemical management conventions, such as the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, are key for environmentally sound wastes management policies. [See also: UN University Study Calls for Reducing Electronic Waste and Hazards of March 2004, Electronic Waste, and New and Stricter International Regulations for Electronic Waste of March 2003, and Electronic Waste is the Fastest Growing Waste Problem in the world of February 2003 monthly environmental security reports.]
Conference of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes COP7 (25 - 29 October 2004)
Meeting the global waste challenge: Basel Convention conference to focus on priorities, partnerships and resources

Senators Urge U.S. Support for Global Mercury Treaty
A bipartisan group of seven Senators introduced a resolution urging the U.S. to collaborate with international partners to prepare a comprehensive strategy for reducing global mercury pollution and mercury use. The Senators introducing the proposal include: Mark Dayton (D-MINN), Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). They suggest starting international negotiations for a binding international agreement to limit mercury use, trade, mining, and pollution, to be considered at the next UNEP Governing Council meeting in February 2005. [See related items: EU Parliamentary Committee Moves to Strengthen Air Pollution Laws of January 2004, UN Protocol to Restrict Heavy Metal Emissions in Europe Came Into Force of December 2003, and Protocol to Control Heavy Metals to Enter into Force of October 2003 environmental security monthly reports.]
Dayton urges Bush to support global mercury treaty
BusinessNorth, 10/8/2004

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September 2004

Congressman Leach Calls for New Actions to Address Asian Environmental Security Problems

Representative James A. Leach, chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House International Relations Committee said before the committee September 22, 2004 that, "By almost any objective measure, it would appear the scale of the environmental challenges in Asia demands a more robust response from countries within the region as well as the international community," and he invited policy input.

Representative James A. Leach, Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Asia's Environmental Challenges, September 22, 2004
Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

OSCE Security Forum Urges Destruction of Thousands of Tons of Dangerous Ammunition and Weapons

In a special meeting held on September 29 in Vienna, the OSCE's Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) discussed the best strategies to secure and/or destroy the vast stocks of deteriorating weapons and munitions left over from the Cold War across Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The life-threatening stocks represent a huge problem because of their quantity (very large-Ukraine alone identified 120,000 tons on its territory overdue for destruction), placement (in populated areas and next to important infrastructures), composition (some are nuclear), and costs (their destruction or secure storage exceeds the countries' financial capabilities). Representing an imminent human and environmental hazard, and terrorism risk, it is critical to urgently deal with the situation.

OSCE security forum urges destruction of thousands of tonnes of dangerous ammunition and weapons

China Climate Change Organization Formed

China National Council of International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (CNC-IHDP) was launched by Chinese scientists and humanities researchers to increase Chinese involvement in international discussions on the impact of global climate change. The new organization run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences will coordinate the efforts of researchers in all fields to promote China's research on global climate and environmental changes, and to investigate the relationship between those changes and sustainable development, globalization and human safety, and global land change and urbanization.

China boosts research on impact of climate change
By Jia Hepeng, 3 September 2004

UN Agency to Intensify Tracking of Illicit Nuclear Trafficking

At its 48th General Conference, IAEA warned that nuclear and radiological terrorism didn't diminish in spite of the efforts to expand and accelerate preventive actions. The IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database includes about 600 illicit incidents involving unauthorized acquisition, possession, use, transfer, or disposal of nuclear material and/or other radioactive or dangerous material. Non-participating States are encouraged to join the 80 Member States to increase the program's efficiency.

IAEA Database Tracks Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear Material Worldwide

Technology Issues Relevant to Environmental Security

A Radioactive Element's Rate of Decay Has Been Speeded Up
Japanese scientists from Tohoku University in Sendai have decreased the half-life of beryllium-7 by about half a day, which represents almost 1%, the most dramatic result obtained so far. While this is a promising success, researchers admit that the possibility to significantly speed up the process remains "somewhat remote". However, Peter Möller, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, says that re-creating conditions such as those found in the interior of a hot star (which we don't know yet), might considerably enhance the effect that the Japanese scientists have obtained.

Radioactivity gets fast-forward
By Philip Ball,, 17 September 2004

'On-Off Switch' for Buckyball (C60) Toxicity
Researchers at Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) have demonstrated that adjusting the surface properties of buckyballs can control the nanoparticles' toxicity. They identified specific surface alterations that can reduce or augment buckyballs' toxicity depending on the purpose for which they are designed. Although just at the cytotoxicity level, these findings are important for buckyball toxicological risk assessment, and more extensive toxicological studies are already planned. However, this should not be confused with the concept of creating "off-switches" for future nanoweapons, a requirement in need of research and development.

Rice finds 'on-off switch' for buckyball toxicity
Public release date: 24-Sep-2004
Contact: Jade Boyd,, Rice University

Nanotubes that Detect and Kill Biological Agents
With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense's Army Research Office, University of Pittsburgh researchers have found a technology for developing nanotube structures that act both as biosensor and biocide. The objective is to produce a paint that would change color in contact with biological and/or chemical agents and also neutralize the toxic substances. The antimicrobial nanotube structures are the product of a single-step synthesis of a hydrocarbon and a salt compound (quaternary ammonium).

Nanotubes Made That Detect and Kill Biological Agents (by subscription only)

New Power Sources Needed for the Soldiers of the Future
At the request of the U.S. Army, the National Academies' Board on Army Science and Technology conducted research to assess the present and future technological needs for effective power systems for the "soldier of the future." The report presents a review of various technology options, suggests future design concepts, and makes recommendations for more energy-efficient technology development and system design.

Meeting the Energy Needs of Future Warriors (full report)
Press Release: New Power Sources Needed for Soldier of the Future

Small Disposable Nuclear Power Plants Raise Environmental Concerns
The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Lab is developing a "small sealed transportable autonomous reactor" (SSTAR) that can meet the energy needs of developing countries without the risk of diverting fissile material to weapons programs. The reactor will have partial breeder capability, and will incorporate a mechanical system to move a generation point along a linear fuel store. A satellite-based alarm system to guard against tampering is planned. The reactors can be transported to a location, and without needing refueling or maintenance, generate power in the 10-100 MW range for up to 30 years. A prototype is hoped for by 2015.

US plans portable nuclear power plants
New Scientist, September 03, 2004
Nuclear Energy to Go; A Self-Contained, Portable Reactor
Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos

New Ecological Network Has Environmental Implications

The National Science Foundation announced the formation of a Design Consortium and Project Office for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), field and lab instrumentation deployed across the United States and integrated via a cutting-edge information network into a continent-wide research platform designed to answer scientific questions at regional and continental scales to enable ecological forecasting. According to an NSF scientist, "It will … [bring] together ecologists, engineers, social, physical, computer, and earth scientists-to investigate ecological phenomena that span large geographical areas and long periods of time." NEON is important because of the significant role of ecological monitoring and evaluation in monitoring the state of the environment as it is protected by domestic law and international agreements.

NEON Design Consortium and Project Office to Coordinate Design of Ecological Observatories

UN Annual Treaty Event Produced 93 Actions from 32 Countries

A special event was held this month at the UN to get countries to speed up the process of their acceptance of international agreements. The focus this year was on treaties that protect civilians, especially during times of armed conflicts. Some 32 countries participated by completing 93 actions??accessions, ratifications or signatures to treaties that protect the rights of civilians, covering subjects from armed conflicts to transnational crime, pesticides and chemicals.

Annual treaty drive at UN brings 93 actions from 32 countries
UN Press Release, September 24, 2004
Press Briefing on Focus 2004 Treaty Event

New Reports Relevant to Environmental Security

High-Level Panel Recommends the UN Better Connect Environment and Security
Environment and Security-The Role of the United Nations is the summary report of a panel of experts in the fields of water, climate change, and natural resources who assessed the link between environment and security and how the UN could prevent environment-related conflict, and even use the environment to build peace between nations. The report suggests that the UN more efficiently integrate the environment into its security agenda and recommends that the "Security Council mainstream environmental issues into its security operations, add environmental conflict experts to its staff, and facilitate sharing conflict-related environmental data and analysis across UN agencies." The report is part of the UN Foundation's United Nations and Global Security Initiative.

Protecting the Earth, Preserving Peace: Preventing Environmental Threats to Security
ECSP Contributes to the United Nations' High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change
Environment and Security-The Role of the United Nations
Report of the Roundtable Conference, June 2, 2004

UNEP Report Understanding Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation
UNEP's latest report, Understanding Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation was launched by Klaus Toepfer at the conference Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace: Finding Paths to Environmental Peacemaking, held at Britain's Wilton Park, September 16-19. The report features papers by several environmental security experts, analyzing different aspects of the link between environment and conflict, institutional implications, early warning, and opportunities raised by environment and security initiatives.

Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace: Finding Paths to Environmental Peacemaking
September 16-19 at Wilton Park in the United Kingdom
Understanding Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation
UNEP report

New WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality
World Health Organization (WHO) updated Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality recommends a completely new approach to water management, shifting from reactive action (responses to outbreaks), to preventive action, by managing drinking water quality in a holistic, systematic way: from source to tap.

WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality, third edition
WHO issues revised drinking water guidelines to help prevent water-related outbreaks and disease
Press release, 21 September 2004

Bioterrorism, Preparedness, Attack and Response 4
This new book edited by: John Blair, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas; Myron Fottler, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, and the Hon. Albert C. Zapanta , Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, reviews how bioterrorism could affect the healthcare system of the United States. The book gives one of the broadest overviews of the issues of bioterrorism preparedness thus far.

Part I: Biological Agents and Terrorist Agents
The Bioterrorism Formula: Facing the Certainty of the Uncertain Future; The International Threat of Biological Weapons: Legal and Regulatory Perspectives; Cocktails, Deceptions and Force Multipliers in Bioterrorism; Modeling the Environmental Jolt of Terrorist Attacks: Configurations of Asymmetrical Warfare;

Part II: Chaos, Complexity and Change
Chaos and Complexity in a Bioterrorism Future; The Environmental Jolt of Likely Bioterrorism; Changing Organizations for Their Likely Mass-Casualties Future.

Part III: Organizations Respond?or Not
Multiprovider Systems as First Line Responders to Bioterrorism Events: Challenges and Strategies; Bioterrorism Visits the Physician's Office; Responding to Bioterrorism: A Lesson in Humility for Management Scholars; Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response: A Resource Guide for Health Care Managers.

Part IV: Defending the Homeland: Changes and Challenges
The Role of the Reserve Forces in Defending the Homeland; Civil-Military Relations in an Era of Bioterrorism: Crime and War in the Making of Modern Civil-Military Relations; Integration or Disintegration? An Examination of the Core Organization and Management Challenges at the Department of Homeland Security.
Bioterrorism, Preparedness, Attack and Response
ISBN: 0-7623-1105-3, 392 pages, publication date: 2004 Imprint: ELSEVIER Price: $95

Former EPA Administrator Calls for US Leadership in Environmental Protection
At the conference on the Making of Environmental Law at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Russell E. Train, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, presented his recent book, Politics, Pollution, and Pandas, and called for US leadership in this field. Although the U.S. was the world leader in environmental protection in the 1970s, he said, it is now widely viewed as a laggard or even as an impediment to progress. With other panelists at the conference, he urged the need for new US leadership in environmental protection.
WWICS Conference - The Making of Environmental Law: Past, Present, and Future
September 28, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

First Conference of the Parties to Rotterdam Convention
The first Conference of the Parties to Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade was held in Geneva, 20-24 September 2004. The delegates approved 14 new hazardous substances to be added to the initial 27 substances already on the UN-backed treaty list. The conference also established a Chemical Review Committee to assess future proposals to add new chemicals and pesticides to the PIC list, as well as finalize other administrative procedures necessary for good operations. [See items of Rotterdam Convention in February 2004 and November 2003 Millennium Project environmental security reports.] The fourteen new additions are: binapacryl; toxaphene; ethylene dichloride; ethylene oxide; monocrotophos; DNOC and its salts; dustable powder containing a combination of benomyl at or above 7 per cent, carbofuran at or above 10 per cent and thiram at or above 15 per cent; amosite, actinolite, anthophyllite and tremolite asbestos; tetraethyl lead and tetramethyl lead; parathion; and chrysotile asbestos.

COP 1. Documents of the Conference of the Parties at its First meeting (COP 1), Geneva, 20-24 September 2004
14 hazardous substances added to UN-backed treaty on pesticides
UN Press Release, September 24, 2004

Aarhus Clearing House Launched
Aarhus Convention implementation is made more effective by the launch of a new clearinghouse, which provides information on citizens' environmental rights. [See related item Full Application of the Aarhus Convention in November 2003 Millennium Project environmental scanning report.]

Environmental democracy clearing house launched to highlight progress under the Aarhus Convention
Aarhus Convention clearinghouse

UN to Help Tackle Iraq Pollution
UNEP in collaboration with the Iraqi Ministry of the Environment will start a long-term, large-scale environmental clean-up process. The project will begin with an assessment across the country to determine the areas with highest threats and prioritize areas for cleaning. For the pilot project, five high priority sites are likely to be chosen out of more than 300 environmental 'hot spots'. [See related items in previous Millennium Project environmental security reports: Medact Report on Iraqi Environmental Health, November 2003; Iraq Marshlands Restorations Could be Dangerous if not Preceded by Cleanup, October 2003; Claims of Radioactive Battlefields in Iraq need more scientific ground, September 2003.]

UNEP and Iraqi Environment Ministry to Assess Key Polluted Sites
Eric Falt, UNEP Press Release, 14 September 2004

Antarctica Glaciers Could Melt Faster than Expected
Two recent reports warn that the glaciers in Antarctica are melting much faster than expected, and contain more ice than previously estimated, meaning considerable sea level rise in case they break up.

Thin Glaciers Get Thinner in Antarctica - Report
Story by Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent; 27/9/2004
Antarctic Glaciers Melting Faster This Year (by subscription only)
NASA Reports Show Antarctic Response to Global Warming - 23 September 2004

Kyoto Protocol might Come Into Force
Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked key ministers to sign the documents for the adherence of Russia to the Kyoto Protocol, in order to introduce it to the Russian Duma for ratification. On September 30th the Russian Cabinet approved this. However, the ministries have three months to submit implementation plans, before the final Duma votes on ratification. This would put the Russian Duma's vote after the U.S. election; hence, Russia would be making the Kyoto decision knowing if Kerry or Bush has been elected. Russia non-ratification may have been a bargaining chip with the Bush administration, but could have less leverage with a Kerry administration. [See items on Kyoto Protocol in July and June 2003, and December 2002 Millennium Project environmental security reports.]

Russian Cabinet backs Kyoto pact
Russian Ministries Move to Approve Kyoto Treaty

Call for Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Entry into Force
At the recent CTBT ministerial meeting, the participants issued a joint statement calling on all non-signatory States, particularly the 12 whose ratification is mandatory for the treaty's entry into force, to ratify the document. Representatives of Finland and Japan stressed that this is essential in view of the present threats to security emphasized by the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons technologies and knowledge that has not been adequately addressed. [See item Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization to be Restructured, in July 2004 Millennium Project environmental scanning report]

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Press conference
Entry into force of nuclear-test-ban treaty would strengthen security of states, peoples everywhere, Secretary-General says at launch of ministerial statement

Overview of Explosive Remnants of War Protocol
The Arms Control Web site published a comprehensive overview of the current state of affairs of the abandoned ammunition and unexploded ordnance and the Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Protocol. The ERW is Protocol V to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), aiming to make governments clean up battlefields after armed conflicts end. [See Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in November 2003 Millennium Project environmental security report.]

Arms Control Today September 2004
Contending With Explosive Remnants of War
Ambassador Chris C. Sanders

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August 2004

Risks of Conflicts over Water are Increasing

World Water Week Warns of Wars over Water
Scientists at the World Water Week conference held in Stockholm, August 16-20, 2004, have stated that the risk of wars being fought over water is rising because of explosive global population growth and widespread complacency. A report prepared by the International Water Management Institute extrapolated present water consumption to a point of conflict over water. The conference called for increased water infrastructure investments. Water tables are falling on all continents. About 40% of humanity lives in the 260 major international water basins shared by more than two countries. According to the recently released joint WHO-UNICEF report, more than 1 billion people drink unsafe water and over 2.6 billion (40% of the world's population) have no access to basic sanitation.

Scientists Say Risk of Water Wars Rising
Reuters, 23 Aug 2004
World meeting goals on safe drinking water, falling behind on sanitation: UN
Jonathan Fowler, Canadian Press, Thursday, August 26, 2004
One Billion People Still Drink Unsafe Water - UN
Generating Water from exhaust

Bangladesh Contests Indian River-Linking Project
At a recent regional meeting, Bangladesh and Nepal continued to object to India's plans to divert water from 37 rivers to its drought-prone areas by building reservoirs, dams, and canals. Bangladesh is claiming the plan would reduce its water levels, threaten the livelihoods of millions of people, turn parts of Bangladesh into desert, and damage the impoverished country's fishing and farming sectors. Nepal is also claiming the project would cause unseasonal flooding in Nepal, where most of the rivers flowing through India and Bangladesh originate. As with the simmering Indian-Pakistani water situation, this water diversion is a potential trigger for armed conflict. Although India's new government has seemed willing to discuss the issue, the fact remains that India has a long-term water scarcity problem that it must somehow address.

Environmentalists decry India's river-linking project
Julhas Alam, Associated Press, 24 Aug 2004
S Asian peoples' network for water to face river linking
The New Nation, 22 Aug 2004

European Environmental Legislation New Developments

EC Reports EU Environmental Law Enforcement by EU Members is Poor
European environmental law implementation presents "serious shortcomings" according to the "Fifth Annual Survey on the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental law" covering the year 2003. Timely transposing of environmental laws passed at the European Union level into national laws is the main problem. In 2003, environmental law non-compliance represented over a third of the cases brought before the European Court of Justice. The survey found that most of the infringements were related to air quality, waste disposal and treatment, water quality, nature protection and environmental impact assessments. The report also suggests a more proactive policy in enforcing compliance by designing more "enforcement-friendly" environmental laws, and offering more support to nations in the implementation process.

Implementation of EU environmental law: survey highlights serious shortcomings
Brussels, 19 August 2004, IP/04/1038
Fifth Annual Survey on the Implementation and Enforcement of Community Environmental Law 2003
European Law Enforcement Poor: Citizens Complaints Justified (by subscription only)

EU Persistent Organic Pollutants List
The European Union has proposed banning additional chemicals beyond those found on the Stockholm Convention's list. The chemicals include: hexachlorobutadiene, octabromodiphenyl ether, pentachlorobenzene, polychlorinated napthalenes, short-chained chlorinated paraffins, pentabromodiphenyl ether, chlordecone, hexabromobifenyl, and hexachlorocyclohexane.

EU Wants to Expand 'Dirty Dozen' Chemicals List
Reuters, 12 Aug 2004

Chemical Munitions on San José Island, Panama

Several chemical munitions have been found recently on San José Island, Panama, a chemical weapons testing site up to 1948. Although the US has offered to dispose of the munitions found to date and provide funding for the equipment needed for any further cleanup, Panama has been unwilling to release Washington from further responsibility. Since the Panamanian government has refused the offer, the US government considers the matter closed.

Panama Pushes U.S. to Clean Up Chemical Weapons
Associated Press, 12 Aug 2004
Panama worried more U.S. chemical munitions left
Frances Robles, Miami Herald, 5 Aug 2004

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

Technology for Perchlorates Cleanup
Sub-Surface Waste Management (SSWM) of Delaware has developed a technology for rapid cleanup of perchlorates from soil and groundwater. The new technology is based on a special blend of microbes and nutrients that can degrade perchlorates in soils within approximately a week of initial inoculation.
SSWM Bio-Raptor Demonstrates Its Solvents & Rocket Pollution Solution

Aquatic Plant Removes POPs from Wetlands
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered that duckweed, a common floating aquatic plant, can remove persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from wetlands, particularly chlorinated, fluorinated and mixed chloro-fluoro compounds. It remains to be determined how to dispose of the plants after they absorb and store the compounds.
Common Aquatic Plant Removes Pollutants from Wetlands (by subscription only)

Battle Simulators to Reduce Environmental Stresses from Military Exercises
The Department of Defense has just acquired two massive new simulation-oriented computer complexes, which should substantially reduce environmental stresses from large-scale battlefield exercises. Each cluster consists of 256 dual 3-GHz Linux processors; they will be delivered to the USAF Maui HPCC (Maui High Performance Computing Center) and ASC (Aeronautical Systems Center) CMSRC (Center Major Source Resource Center) at Wright Patterson AFB, and will be used by the Joint Forces Command's Joint Experimentation Directorate (J9). These systems will allow large-scale, high-resolution combat simulations that weren't possible with the previous hardware. [See also previous Millennium Project environmental scanning items: Software algorithms for ecoterrorism prediction and simulations to improve environmental policy efforts, by identifying plausible futures linked to key environmental issues, August-September 2003; and Virtual Earth Simulation might help reduce environmental impact of military operations, March 2004.]
Related news: Sandia National Labs announced that they are assembling the world's fastest yet smaller and most cost-effective supercomputer. Red Storm, the new supercomputer, is expected to become operational in January 2005.
Pentagon turns to Linux for high-end battlefield simulations
Computerworld News Story by Todd R. Weiss, August 17, 2004,10801,95309,00.html?nas=AM-95309
Red Storm to be assembled in New Mexico

New UK Study on Future Impacts of Nanotechnology

Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Uncertainties, by the UK Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering reviews the state of knowledge and ignorance about potential health, safety and environmental impacts of nanotechnology, plus an assessment of the social and ethical issues of its future. Although clearly stipulating that there is no ground for a moratorium on nanotechnology research, the report calls for more research into the health, safety, and environmental impacts of nanotech. It recommends establishment of "an
Interdisciplinary centre (probably comprising several existing research institutions) to undertake research into the toxicity, epidemiology, biopersistence and bioaccumulation of manufactured nanoparticles, their exposure pathways, and methods and instrumentation for monitoring them in the environment."

Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Uncertainties report text
pdf of the main report (3,511 KB) or a hard copy of either the main or summary reports can be ordered via email or phone at +44 (0)20 74512585.

Climate Change--New Developments

Dust and Climate Change
At a recent meeting of the International Geographical Congress, the issue of dust as a hidden climate problem was raised. The deposition of dust can affect the environment in several ways, including climate change, soil salinization, disease transmission, ocean fertilization, ice cap reflectivity change, air pollution, and the neutralization of acid rain. Professor Andrew Goudie of Oxford University claims that in parts of Africa, which appear to be the major sources of global dust, annual dust production has increased tenfold in the last 50 years. Research is scheduled for next year to determine whether dust in some parts of the world is more important than pollution in affecting climate change.

Dust 'is hidden climate problem'
Alex Kirby, BBC, 19 Aug 2004
4x4s replace the desert camel and whip up a worldwide dust storm
Paul Brown, environment correspondent, Friday August 20, 2004, The Guardian,12374,1287212,00.html

New Outcomes on Climate Change Consequences
"Impacts of Europe's Changing Climate", a report released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on August 18, reveals that the continent is warming more rapidly than the rest of the world. Science published the results of a new computer model developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado that shows global warming might trigger more frequent and intense heat waves, mostly in cities in the U.S. and Europe. A Johns Hopkins University researcher, leading a team from several universities, forecast that Eastern US cities will experience hotter summers and more smog; and that, by the end of this century, the heat index will rise in the range of 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, translated mainly into deterioration of the air quality and related health consequences. Our Changing Planet, which summarizes recent and planned climate change research by 13 government agencies and was submitted to the U.S. Congress this month with a covering letter signed by the president's secretaries of commerce and energy, along with his science adviser, might change the Bush administration's attitude on global warming. The report states that heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, are the only likely causes of global warming during the last 30 years, and also reveals other newly identified risks. Scientists at the recent EuroScience forum in Stockholm concluded that humans will have more impact on the environment than Nature and identified important hot-spots. In the meantime, an analysis by Princeton University scientists shows that there are technologies that could be immediately implemented to aggressively curb global greenhouse gas emissions, but the political will is lacking.

Impacts of Europe's changing climate
EEA Report
A Hot, Hot, Hot Europe
By Jim Motavalli
Europe 'must adapt on climate'
By Alex Kirby, BBC News Online environment correspondent
Heat Waves to Worsen Across America, Europe -Study
Story by Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent, August 16, 2004
Study: European winters may vanish by 2080
More Heat Waves Expected
by Dan Whipple; Boulder CO (UPI) Aug 23, 2004
Global Warming Could Cloud Cities With More Smog
By J.R. Pegg, Washington, DC, August 5, 2004 (ENS) (by subscription only)
White House report says people cause global warming news service
U.S. Report Turns Focus to Greenhouse Gases
By Andrew C. Revkin, NY Times, August 26, 2004
EuroScience Open Forum-the first pan-European Scientific Meeting ever!
Global Climate Technologies Here, Political Will Lacking
By J.R. Pegg, August 17, 2004 (ENS) (by subscription only)

Emerging Viruses as Result of Environmental Change and Genetic Mutation
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston have discovered that environmental alterations, such as replacing forests with ranchland, combined with genetic mutations, can produce new, more infectious, viruses. The paper published in the August 3 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Make italics] details the background research and future focus of the group of researchers.

Environmental Change + Genetic Mutation = New Viruses (by subscription only)

FDA Approves Dirty Bomb Antidotes

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the commercialization of two products designed to help deal with consequences of terrorists using dirty bombs. The drugs (penetate calcium trisodium injection, Ca-DTPA; and penetate zinc trisodium injection, Zn-DTPA) help speed elimination of radiation from the body and are especially effective for treating contamination from plutonium, americium and curium.

FDA Approves Dirty Bomb Antidotes
The Associated Press, ABCNEWS, Aug. 11, 2004

Health Impacts of Fuels

According to a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer, the risk of ovarian cancer increases with increased exposure to diesel exhaust. Likewise, exposure to gasoline engine exhaust also was found to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. However, the study's findings contradict those of previous studies linking other types of cancers to engine exhausts. Meanwhile, a study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that living near a fuel station might quadruple the risk of acute leukemia in children.

Diesel Exhaust Exposure Raises Ovarian Cancer Risk
Reuters, 17 Aug 2004
Fuel stations may pose child cancer risk, says study
Reuters, 19 Aug 2004

US And Allies Should Change Priorities Says New Book On Terrorism

The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism from the Monterey Institute in California recommends new priorities based on risk (likelihood multiplied by impact) and concludes that addressing the availability of highly enriched uranium should be put at the top of the list: "The United States must dramatically revise U.S. efforts to protect fissile materials abroad so as to make securing, consolidating, and eliminating highly enriched uranium (HEU) the leading and most urgent task, taking clear precedence over addressing the dangers posed by plutonium, which must, nonetheless, remain an important priority. The overarching principal guiding policy should be to move toward a world in which fewer countries retain HEU, fewer facilities within countries possess HEU, and fewer locations within those facilities have HEU present."

The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism by Charles D. Ferguson and William C. Potter
ISBN 1-885350-09-0 Available from the Monterey Institute in California
Phone: (831) 647-3545 or Fax: (831) 647-3585

UK Suggests Environmental Court similar to Australia and New Zealand

A report for the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has recommended that a specialized court and judges be established to address environmental and "overdevelopment" issues. If the UK environmental court were to be established, becoming the third such national court in the world (after Australia and New Zealand), then increased environmentalist pressure for such a court in the US and other countries will increase. There have even been suggestions for a UN Environmental Security Council. It is reasonable to assume that increasing environmental law with increasing technological capacity to identify infractions will put increased pressure on courts to become more capable of addressing these matters.

Polluters targeted by court dedicated to environmental cases

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Pollutants Travel Globally
As an update to Item 4.1 of the July 2004 Environmental Issues report, which discussed transatlantic transport of upper air pollutants, a new and larger study by the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation, or ICARTT, an air quality study billed as the largest and most comprehensive yet done, reveals that pollutants from Asia, in particular China, are reaching the East Coast of North America and are presumably continuing eastward toward Europe and Africa.

Asian grit aloft in New England; Pollutants found to travel globally
By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff August 9, 2004

Environmental Role for Army in Brazil
Further on last month's item, Environmental Role for Army in Brazil, on 6 August 2004, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources and the Army Command of Land Operations signed an agreement for the Army to provide logistic support and guarantee the security of operations to monitor, control, and combat deforestation in the Amazon. In addition, approximately 0.5% of Brazil's total defense budget has been allocated for this effort. This is a further development from last month. (See last month's scanning item on this topic.)

Brazil Calls Army to Battle Deforestation
Maurício Cardoso, Agência Brasil, Brazzil, August 2004

Maritime Worker Security
The necessary ratifications have been received for the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention (Revised) (ILO-185) to go into force on 9 February 2005. ILO-185 will set international standards for seafarer identification documents ("SID") that will provide reliable, positively verifiable, and internationally recognized identification and be acceptable in lieu of a visa for purposes of shore leave. This agreement will ease the enforcement of treaties for protection of the maritime environment against attack.
UN-backed maritime identification to go into force to fight terrorism

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July 2004

The Military's Environmental Role Continues to Increase Around the World

Environmental Role for Army in Brazil
Brazil has established an agreement between its environmental and defense ministries to provide military support to environmental enforcement efforts. Although Brazil has used its army in such a role since the late 1990s, this marks the first time that a formal agreement has been signed outlining the responsibilities of the two agencies in directly addressing deforestation.
Note: A recent report by Conservation International reveals that Brazil's tropical savanna is disappearing at a faster rate than Brazil's Amazon and Atlantic rain forests and might disappear by 2030 if current clearing practices continue. This environmental group will meet with Brazil's government at the end of July to further discuss the situation.
Brazilian Army to Help Protect Rainforest
VOA News, 14 July 2004
Brazilian Army to Join Fight Against Deforestation
Associated Press, 14 July 2004
Brazil's Savanna is Set to Disappear by 2030, says Report
Reuters, 20 July 2004

Environmental Role for Army in Lebanon
A recent editorial in a Lebanese newspaper called for the Lebanese Army to take on an environmental role in the country in the absence of a wartime mission.
Pollution: The war to vanquish an insidious enemy should begin now
The Daily Star, 10 July 2004
The growing trend of governments to use the military in peacetime for enforcing environmental legislation indicates an increased recognition that environmental conditions are an essential part of national security. [See also the recent statement by a senior Chinese military official who has identified environmental protection as a security role of the military; April 2004 report.]

China to Control NBC and Missile Exports, Possibly Join MTCR

Speaking at the 5th Sino-US Conference on Arms Control, Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui announced a set of laws and regulations to control exports of nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile technologies. These presumably represent the full embodiment and extension of the similar biological weapons and missile provisions announced in August and October 2002. Zhang also indicated China's willingness to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
China enacts laws to control missile exports
Daily Times (site edition), July 22, 2004

Breakthrough Technologies with Environmental Security Implications

Dirty Bomb Clean-Up Technology for Porous Structures
New technology to safely capture and dispose of radioactive elements from outdoor porous structures (brick and concrete) is being developed by Argonne Laboratory's Chemical Engineering Division in Illinois. The new decontamination system is based on engineered nanoparticles and a super-absorbent gel. It is expected to be available in 18 months.
Nanoparticles, super-absorbent gel clean radioactivity from porous structures
Argonne National Laboratory, 2 July 2004

Zircon Options for Nuclear Waste Storage
Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) in the UK discovered that the mineral zircon (ZrSiO4) might be a solution for long-term nuclear waste storage. Computer simulations show that when radioactive materials heavily damage the zircon, the atoms rearrange themselves to form a protective shell around the damaged area. Once the principle is proven and it's fully understood what is going on at the atomic level, then it will be possible to explore alternative materials that could be produced on a much larger industrial scale.
Crystal Options for Nuclear Waste
Jo Twist, BBC News Online, 18 July 2004

Roach-like Robots for Better Post-conflict Clean-Up and Survivor Detection
Researchers at Stanford, Berkeley, and Poly-PEDAL labs designed the Sprawl family of hexapedal robots, based on the cockroaches model. These robots are fast, stable, independent, and lower cost. They could be deployed for landmine detection and for survivor location in natural or other disasters.
Roach Robots
Karen Lurie, Sciencentral News, 8 July 2004

Military Applications of Silicon-Based Ultraviolet Sensors
A photodetector sensitive to ultraviolet light was produced by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They used standard lithographic techniques to deposit thin films of silicon nanoparticles on silicon substrates with small conductive pads of gold to complete the assembly. Electricity flows when ultraviolet light strikes the nanoparticles. In addition to commercial applications, the silicon-based ultraviolet sensors could have military and security functions as ultraviolet-based detectors for missile-warning systems and airborne biological agents. They could also be useful in detection of violations to future environmental treaties; and hence might be considered in the implementation section of future treaties.
Silicon-Based Photodetector Is Sensitive To Ultraviolet Light
Champaign IL (SPX) Jul 20, 2004

Military Implications of Air Pollution-related Measures

Transoceanic Pollution
Researchers have begun studying whether gases from the United States are responsible for pollution in Europe. Specific emphasis is being placed on the transport of pollutants contributing to ozone depletion. [See also item 9.4 Space Technology use for Environmental Security in this report.]
Scientists Investigate If Pollution Is Traveling Across Oceans
UN Wire, 14 July 2004

Vehicle Emissions in Europe
Emissions from sports utility vehicles and vehicles powered by diesel engines are at the core of vehicle emissions control efforts in Europe. Italy, France, and the UK have already implemented or indicated intent to implement local policies to discourage or ban the use of such vehicles. The health impact of emissions from such vehicles is the source of this emerging policy debate.
All-Terrain Pollution
Julio Godoy, Interpress News Service Agency, 16 July 2004

Australia Cuts Sulfur Content in Transport Fuels
As part of the government's strategy to dramatically reduce urban air pollution, Australia introduced tough new fuel standards by reducing sulfur in unleaded gasoline and in diesel over the next five years. The new standards are estimated to save A$3.4 billion in hospital and medical costs by 2020. (See also item The U.S. Army to Use Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Cars item in October 2003 environmental security report.]
Australia Cuts Sulfur Content in Transport Fuels
Environment News Service (ENS), July 26, 2004 (by subscription only)

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization to be Restructured

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Organization will undergo considerable restructuring over the next two years as it progresses from the buildup phase to testing and evaluation, and operation and maintenance. The recently released Report of the 22nd Session of the organization's preparatory commission, held at the end of June 2004, offers some details of the plans. The CTBT will enter into force when 44 required states (Annex 2 States) ratify the treaty; thus far, 32 have ratified it.
Report Of The Twenty-Second Session Of The Preparatory Commission For The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
Twenty-Second Session of the Preparatory Commission concludes
Press Release, Vienna, Austria, 30 June 2004
Changes Anticipated At Test Ban Treaty Organization
U.N. Wire, Thursday, July 22, 2004, By David Ruppe

UN Establishes New Agency for Internally Displaced People

Only three of the current 21 conflicts are trans-border wars, the remaining 18 are internal conflicts. There are about 50 million internally displaced people (IDPs) who have fled their homes due to conflicts, environmental causes, and government orders. In order to address the IDPs issues, the United Nations established the Inter-agency Internal Displacement Division on July 1st. It will initially focus on the major countries of internal displacement - Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Liberia, Burundi and Colombia; and will negotiate access to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sri Lanka. If continued environmental deterioration forces increased migration and conflict within countries that UNHCR is not authorized to reach, then IDP could play an important role in conflict prevention.
New UN office seeks to better address plight of 50 million uprooted people

UN Investigators Warn of Illegal Uranium Mining in DRC

UN investigators warned that illegal mining at a closed uranium mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo poses a terrorism risk. UN authorities "recommended that this mine be secured and put in the charge of a private operation for much more disciplined operations, with the aim of avoiding risks including the high rate of radioactivity ... and uranium trafficking with those who shouldn't get it in their hands." The potential threats of transnational organized crime in cooperation with terrorists for illegal uranium mining are significant.
DRC mining 'a terror threat',,2-11-1447_1560484,00.html

Carpathian Mountain office of the United Nations Environment Programme

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has opened a new office at the Vienna International Centre, which will act as the Interim Secretariat of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians. The office will also promote environmental cooperation in Central and Southeastern Europe. Four of the Convention's signatories (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) have requested the European Commission to adhere to the Convention and support its implementation.
New Vienna office of UN environment agency to focus on Carpathian Mountains
UN News Center, 15 July 2004

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Research Confirms Military and Industry Sonar Harms Whales
The newly released report by the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) indicates that there is compelling evidence that sonar used by the military and the oil and gas industry harms whales. Scientists are unsure why sonar causes whale stranding, internal bleeding, and death. The use of low-frequency sonar is already limited by an agreement worked out between the US Navy and environmental groups whereby the Navy scales back its low-frequency sonar deployment from 75% of the world's oceans to approximately 1% of that area. Now the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is targeting the more common mid-frequency sonar.

The IWC report may reinforce the actions of U.S. animal welfare groups that threaten to sue the U.S. Navy over the use of mid-frequency sonar that harms whales. The groups sent a petition to the European Parliament that asks countries to immediately mitigate the effects of mid-frequency sonar. [See also item US military waived in respecting environmental law in May 2003 Millennium Project environmental security monthly report.]
Whale Sonar Deaths Bring Threat of Navy Lawsuit
Accord Is Sweet Music for Sonar-Afflicted Marine Life
Military, industry sonar harms whales - IWC report
Story by Robin Pomeroy, 23/7/2004, Reuters News Service

Israeli Dimona Nuclear Reactor
Ben Gurion University, the Water Authority, and the Center for Atomic Researches in Wadi Sureek have published findings of elevated radiation levels in the Negev and Arava aquifers near the Dimona reactor. This follows warnings from the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority last year of the potential environmental threat of the aging Dimona reactor. [This follows up on the item in the August-September 2003 environmental security report: Attention is needed to the Dimona Reactor in Israel.]
Israeli Scientific Research: Negev and Arava Aquifer Radiation Caused by "Dimona" Waste
Al-Jazeerah, 15 July 2004

States to Sue the Energy Producers Over Global Warming
California and seven other states are to sue five large energy producers who they contend are responsible for nearly 10% of the greenhouse gases emissions of the United States. The suit demands substantial pollution cuts by the companies, saying the carbon dioxide from energy producers is a 'public nuisance.' [See also the item Carbon Dioxide Emissions calculated for ExxonMobil of February 2004 environmental scanning report.]
States to Sue Over Global Warming,1,1699397.story (by subscription only)
Spitzer and states to sue utilities over CO2, say sources
Deepa Babington and Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 21 July 2004
To Curb Global Warming, Eight States and New York City Vow to Sue Nation's Largest Power Companies
Mark Johnson, Associated Press, 21 July 2004,0,792585,print.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire

Increasing Capacity of Space Technology to Assist Environmental Security
The global environmental monitoring system is becoming increasingly capable of detailed diagnosis. The mission of the Aura spacecraft launched by NASA is to give scientists information on the nature and movements of pollutants and their effect on the atmosphere and the ozone holes. Over the next several years four more U.S. and French satellites should be launched, forming a set of environmental monitors. Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a new collaboration between 17 U.S. federal agencies and nearly 50 countries will monitor data from thousands of manned and unmanned land, air, and sea stations from around the world as well as from space for a continuous assessment of the earth's vital signs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration leads the effort. The coalition members are scheduled to release a 10-year plan in February 2005. Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) launched a new Observing the Earth Portal to better highlight GMES's global monitoring activities and results. [See also related items Better Use of Satellites to Monitor International Treaties of March 2003, Improved coordination of global Earth observation in August 2003 and International Agreement on Earth Environmental Observing System in the March and April 2004 environmental security monthly reports.]
Director José Achache unveils new Observing the Earth website
NASA launches Aura spacecraft to study atmosphere
Reuters, 16 July 2004
Nations Collaborate to Take Planet's 'Pulse'; Vast Network Will Monitor Environment
By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, July 26, 2004; Page A07

Chinese Use of Weather Modification Technologies Might Cause Disputes
Severe droughts in China, particularly in major cities in the central Henan province, led Chinese authorities to the use of weather modification technologies to produce rain. The bombardment of clouds in one area provoked discontent in the neighboring ones who claimed the loss of moisture.
Hey! You! Get off my Cloud
Reuters, 15 July 2004

Efforts for Increasing Corporate Eco-responsibility
The "Responsible Investment Initiative" launched by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) aims to develop by September 2005 a set of globally recognized principles for responsible investment to be considered by the major institutional investors. The initiative is framed in support of the Global Compact, a U.N. effort to enlist the support of the public and private sector for 10 key principles relating to human rights, labor and the environment, and is based on the recent study, "The Materiality of Social, Environmental and Corporate Governance Issues to Equity Pricing," launched at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on 24 June in New York. The new principles will protect both the planet and long-term shareholder value by integrating environmental, social and governance concerns into investor and capital market considerations.

The Word Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) recently published the revised edition of The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, a framework for corporate GHG accounting and reporting, and a tool for helping companies more efficiently manage their GHG emissions. The next steps are: developing of Web-based GHG calculation tools; establishing complementary sector-specific protocols; and working on a new standard focused on the quantification of GHG mitigation projects.
[See also items: Online Database of Sustainable Consumption Initiatives in North America Launched of April 2004, New Initiatives Aiming to Increase Eco-Efficiency and their Implications for Environmental Security of February 2004 environmental security reports.]Sources:
Creating a Global Alliance of Investors
Press release, UNEP, London/Nairobi, 15 July 2004
Corporations Take the Lead on Climate Change
World Resources Institute, 20 July 2004
GHG Protocol Initiative

Iraq Marshlands to be Restored
UNEP announced an $11 million program, funded by the government of Japan, to restore the damaged marshlands of Iraq. The project will use environmentally sound technologies to restore drinking water and sanitation systems to the Marsh Arabs. [This is a follow-up to the items: Iraq Marshlands Restorations Could be Dangerous if not Preceded by Cleanup of October 2003 and Post-conflict Cleanup in Iraq of April 2003 environmental security reports.]
Iraq: UN announces multi-million dollar plan to restore 'Garden of Eden' marshes
UN News Service, July 23, 2004

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June 2004

UNU Environmental Security-related Activities

UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security Founded
The United Nations University has established an Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany (UNU/EHS) which aims to provide research-based, policy-relevant advice and training to enhance the capacity of societies to cope with catastrophic events. As its priority, UNU/EHS will focus on human and environmental security and vulnerability assessment in flood plains and deltas with particular emphasis on urban settlements. Its interdisciplinary and multicultural core team will engage in the development and implementation of research and training programs.
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
Flood-menaced population to double by 2050
Two billion vulnerable to floods by 2050; number expected to double or more in two generations
New UNU Institute in Germany to Advise Governments on Mitigating "Human Security" Threats

Emerging Forces in Environmental Governance, UNU
A recent book published by the United Nations University presents arguments for overhauling international environmental governance. It argues that a new environmental coordinating body is needed to solve problems associated with the proliferation of multiple organizations that administer various treaties, conduct research, and maintain the information required to ensure consistent enforcement of existing international environmental agreements. Enforcement options presented include creation of a World Environment Court, a UN Environmental Security Council with binding enforcement powers, and expansion of the UN Security Council mandate to include environmental security.
Experts weigh need to overhaul environmental governance system as world ecosystems worsen
United Nations University, 2 June 2004
Emerging Forces in Environmental Governance
Edited by: Norichika Kanie and Peter M. Haas

South Asia in the World: Problem Solving Perspectives on Security, Sustainable Development, and Good Governance, UNU Publication
This 460 page book analyses South Asian regional economic, social, security, and environmental issues. Several chapters are dedicated to security issues, and two chapters are specifically addressing environment and security related issues: "Environment: Critical links between environment and development in South Asia" and "The environmental challenge to human security in South Asia"
South Asia in the World: Problem Solving Perspectives on Security, Sustainable Development, and Good Governance
Edited by: Ramesh Thakur and Oddny Wiggen

SIPRI 2004 Yearbook Warns about Genetic Weapons

The annual yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute includes a warning of the potential for new classes of biological weapons.
What's new at SSPRI
Peace Center Alerts Risk of New Biotech Weapons
Reuters, 9 June 2004

Citation Statistics May Reveal Covert Weapons Work

A team at the NM Institute of Mining & Technology has reported, in Nature, a statistical technique for using the interlocking network of authors and citations among scientific papers to detect covert research projects. Applying the method to a Soviet laboratory's body of publications, the scientists were able to detect a 10-year period during which it was engaged in bioweapons studies.
Bioweapons labs outed by own research


Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

Bacterial Integrated Circuits
University of Tennessee scientists have developed a device to collect signals from specially altered bacteria. These Bioluminescent Bioreporter Integrated Circuits (BBICs) have already been used for environmental monitoring.
Bacterial Integrated Circuits
Karen Miller, Science at NASA, 10 June 2004

Robot Swarms
Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence make possible the development of large "swarms" of cheap robots that range is size for a broad set of applications. Operating off simple individual instruction sets, swarms of robots can nevertheless potentially interact in a complex manner, performing a myriad of tasks, including a number of supporting environmental missions. The ability to produce large quantities of simple robots that interact with each other decreases the unit costs of robotics and potentially increases the number of tasks that such swarms can perform.
Send In the Swarm
Stuart F. Brown, Fortune, 1 June 2004,15704,643751,00.html

Sandia National Laboratories funded to develop improved Desalination and Arsenic Removal Technology
Sandia will conduct a $6 million research program to develop techniques for desalination ($3 million) to increase the supply of drinking water and removal of arsenic ($3 million) from water sources. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Tularosa Basin National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo was held on June 29th.
$6 million appropriation to focus Sandia research on drinking water desalination, removal of arsenic


Environmental Implications of Military Activity

Israeli Trench Rises Environmental Concerns
An Israeli concept for digging a 2.5-mile long trench along the Gaza Strip - Egypt border to reduce weapons smuggling has generated some environmental concerns. Specifically, flooding the trench with seawater could cause contamination of groundwater in the area.
Israel Says Gaza Trench Plan Not Set in Stone
Jeffrey Heller, Reuters, 20 June 2004

Russian Military Exercise
Russia is planning to conduct a military exercise in June 2004 that will include responding to an environmental disaster resulting from a terror attack. As Russia is scaling up its military exercises from the 1990s, environmental issues are being included in the exercise scenarios.
Russia Operates Large Scaled Military Training
Yoo-Seong Hwang Ki-Hyun Kim, Donga, 18 June 2004

Personal Computer Dust Health Implications

A report by the Computer Take Back Campaign and the Clean Production Campaign blames brominated flame retardants used in computer casings and other electronics for a host of neurological and reproductive health problems. In order to avoid using materials with these flame retardants, some companies have begun replacing flammable materials with nontoxic flame-resistant materials. The European Union has already banned the use of some of these chemicals in electronic products by 2006, and several states in the US have taken legislative steps to do so as well.
Dust on gadgets is toxic
Benjamin Pimentel, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 June 2004

HIV in the Zimbabwe Military

A recent UNDP-sponsored report indicates that as many as 75% of Zimbabwean soldiers die of AIDS within a year of being discharged. The prevalence of HIV within the military is higher than in the general population, in which the HIV infection rate is 25%.
Military Hit By HIV Scourge
Godfrey Marawanyika, Zimbabwe Independent, 11 June 2004

Europe Embarks on Environment and Health Action Plan

The European Commission has launched an action plan for the period 2004-2010 to reduce pollution health impacts. The new EU system will be focusing on a better understanding of the link between the environment and health, by integrating information on the state of the environment, the ecosystem and human health, and also addressing the eventual effect of emerging environmental issues on health.
Europe Embarks on Environment and Health Action Plan (by subscription only)

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

UNMOVIC Could Become Permanent Agency
Former chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, recently suggested that the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (that searched for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq prior to the war), could become a permanent U.N. inspections body with a "more active role that the UN Security Council envisages for itself in the sphere of weapons of mass destruction". In another address, Blix urged U.S. to better share data and information with the U.N. teams. (See also item UNMOVIC Might Become a Permanent Agency of November 2003 Environmental Security report.)
Blix Urges U.S., U.N. Teams To Share Iraq Weapons Data
UNMOVIC Could Become Permanent Agency, Blix Suggests

FAO's International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Entered Into Force
The FAO's International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture entered into force on 29 June 2004. Countries can now share breeding material from several countries without the need for bilateral agreements for each country. An international fund will be established by payments from those who commercialize plants bred with material from the Multilateral System created by the treaty. The fund will be used to help developing countries improve general conservation, sustainable use of plant genetic resources, and gene bank conservation. It is expected to increase agricultural genetic diversity, which has been reduced considerably; and hence, play a crucial role in the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources increasing food security.
In a related item, "Biodiversity for Food Security" is the theme of this year's World Food Day (October 16th), which will emphasize the importance and linkage between biodiversity and food, and ultimately human security. The connection between food scarcity, migration, and conflict is increasingly recognized by international organizations, which are focusing more attention on ways to address this complex environmental security issue. (See also the items Grain Harvest Shortfalls in the August-September 2003 report, and Food Crisis in Southern Africa and Horn of Africa in January 2004 report.)
Biodiversity for food security
International plant genetic treaty becomes law

UN Conference On Small Island States and Climate Change
The International Meeting to Review Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, scheduled for 10-14 January 2005 in Mauritius, will address the impact of climate change on the environment, economic development, and security of the Small Island States and will examine the results of the last decade's efforts to address the issue.
Note: Community Climate System Model, version 3 (CCSM3), a powerful new climate modeling system at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reveals that global temperatures may rise more than previously projected if humanity doesn't act on reducing green gas emissions.
UN News, New York, Jun 10 2004 2:00PM (full text in the Appendix)
Supercomputer Finds Climate Likely to Heat Up Fast (by subscription only)

Desertification Threatens 20% of the World's Population - UN Secretary-General Says That Climate Change Is a Factor
June 17 marked the tenth anniversary of the Convention to Combat Desertification, and the UN Secretary General took advantage of the occasion to issue a widely publicized appeal for strong international action to stop this threat to a fifth of the world's population, one that is consuming almost 1400 square miles per year. Climate change is recognized as one of the causes of this creeping plague, and the Secretary General's message is certain to increase worldwide pressure for US and Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. A recent analysis in an English-language St. Petersburg newspaper speculated that Russia's ratification is being delayed only by planning for the division of the enormous financial dividend Russia stands to gain from the credit sharing mechanisms of the Protocol.
Note: A new standards system suggested by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) aims to address global warming by efficient land management.
Ten years on: UN marks World Day to Combat Desertification
Kyoto Financial Rewards: Who Will Benefit?
By Greg Walters, St. Petersburg Time
World's land turning to desert at an alarming speed, warns United Nations
By Chris Hawley, Associated Press, Wednesday, June 16, 2004
The CCB Standards

New UNESCO World Heritage Sites
UNESCO World Heritage Committee began its 10-day session on June 28, 2004 in Suzhou, China. It is expected that 48 new sites (33 cultural and 8 natural sites) will be added this year to the list of UNESCO World Heritage. (See also item New Standard-setting Instruments Adopted at UNESCO's General Conference in October 2003 Environmental Scanning report.)
Wonders Of Russia, South Africa Up For World Heritage List
Monday. The Committee will consider the inscription of 33 cultural and eight natural sites this (by subscription only)

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May 2004

Stockholm Convention on POPs Came Into Force this Month

The 2001 Stockholm Convention banning the most dangerous Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) came into force on May 17, 2004. The UN-backed treaty is banning hazardous pesticides, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as part of the UN effort to eliminate the worst health-threatening pollutants. The twelve POPs covered so far by the Convention are: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene, dioxins and furans. Many experts consider the "dirty dozen" list too short. The first Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP 1) to be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in early 2005 will establish a committee for evaluating other potential chemicals and pesticides to be added to the list. The COP will also finalize guidelines for promoting “best environmental practices” and “best available techniques” that can reduce or eliminate releases of the most toxic POPs. [See also related item in February 2004 and October 2002 Millennium Project’s environmental security monthly reports.]Sources:
UN-Backed Treaty Banning Most Dangerous Pollutants Comes Into Force Monday; UN Newsletter, New York, May 14 2004 12:00PM
UN Chemical Blacklist from May 17 Said Too Short; Planetark, By Alister Doyle, 17/5/2004

Environmental Security on the International Agenda

Conference on Environment, Security and Sustainable Development in The Hague
Environmental Security in the 21st Century was the title of the Conference on Environment, Security and Sustainable Development organized by the Institute for Environmental Security in The Hague, May 9-12, 2004. Attended by senior decision makers and representatives from governments, NGOs, development institutions, the private sector, and academia, the Conference discussed the role of environmental security in making the world a safer and more sustainable place. The conference aimed to find integrated, science-based, diplomatic and legal solutions for increasing environmental security. The Conference’s concluding document, Pathways to Environmental Security [not available as of this writing], will include recommendations related to the conference’s objectives.Sources:
The Hague Conference on Environment, Security and Sustainable Development;
The Environment: Threat to Security or Opportunity for Peace? Woodrow Wilson Center, Environmental Change and Security Project
Howling At A Waning Moon: Dispatches from the Hague Conference on Environment, Security, and Sustainable Development, and a U.N. meeting in Nairobi
Dispatches from the Hague Conference on Environment, Security, and Sustainable Development
Geoffrey Dabelko, at the Hague;

Environmental Security Stressed by World Islamic Forum for Dialogue for Inclusion to Proposed International Charter on Values for the United Nations
At a recent conference on religions and cultures, Dr. Hamid ibn Ahmed Al-Rifae, president of the World Islamic Forum for Dialogue (WIFD) presented WIFD’s proposals for inclusion in a new charter on values. Three fundamental points were stressed: Unity of human family; human dignity and justice; and environmental security. This paper was presented in preparation for the development of an international charter on values to be submitted to the United Nations
Academic to Give Input Into New International Charter for Values
Khaled Batarfi, Arab News, 7 May 04 (article available for a limited time on the Arab News web site)

UNEP Post-Conflict Assessment Chairman’s input to UN’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change, the Environmental Change and a New Environmental Security Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center
As a contribution to the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change, the Environmental Change and Security Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS) launched the project Protecting the Earth, Preserving Peace: Preventing Environmental Threats to Security. This new WWICS project will invite panels to address three issues: “What is the link between environment and security? What can be done about it? What contributions can be made by collective action mechanisms such as the United Nations?
As part of this process Pekka Haavisto, Chairman, UNEP Post-Conflict Assessment Unit made a well structured presentation May 25 at the WWICS highlighting the UNEP’s work on post-conflict assessment, links between environmental conditions and conflict, and NATO countries’ work on techniques and equipment for minimizing environmental damage during conflicts.Sources:
Protecting the Earth, Preserving Peace: Preventing Environmental Threats to Security
ECSP Contributes to the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change
UNEP Post-Conflict Assessments: New Tool in Improving the Environment in Post-Conflict Countries; Featuring Pekka Haavisto, Chairman, UNEP Post-Conflict Assessment Unit (live webcast archived)

OSCE-UN Launches Environmental Security Initiative in Southern Caucasus
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the UN Development Program (UNDP) launched the Environmental Security Initiative through a series of consultations in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan May 10th-18th. The initiative began with consultations among government officials, non-governmental organizations and local and international experts, discussing environmental risk factors that have the potential to hamper security in Armenia. Other workshops focused on the role of environmental security in economic growth and poverty reduction in Georgia and on environmental concerns with security implications in Azerbaijan, including trans-boundary water pollution and freshwater quality as well as contamination of the Caspian Sea and deforestation. The purpose of the Environment and Security Initiative is to eliminate environmental problems that might cause political tensions.Source:
Environmental Security Initiative Launched In Southern Caucasus
Azertag, 19 May 04
International organizations launch initiative in southern Caucasus on link between environment and security

World’s Largest Environmental Forum to Set Priorities

About 3000 environmental leaders in government, business, NGOs, universities, and international organizations are expected at the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress scheduled to convene in November 2004 in Thailand. It will address the issue of natural resource conservation relative to economic and population growth. The Congress will have three elements: IUCN Commission Meetings, the World Conservation Forum, and the Members Business Assembly. The Commission meetings will set the priorities for conservation work for the coming four years, addressing species extinction, management of protected areas, laws to conserve nature, ensuring that fair benefits flow to rural people from natural resources, building understanding of how ecosystems function, and improving public understanding of conservation. The World Conservation Forum will discuss and define solutions for problems such as the loss of species and ecosystems, globalization and related health concerns, poverty alleviation, and economic and legal steps to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources.
Environmental Forum to Assemble in Thailand in Nov
Scoop Media, 13 May 04;

EU Pollution Prevention Strategy to Focus on Recycling of Waste

The EU environment ministers held an informal meeting 14-16 May 2004 in Waterford, Ireland. The main topic on the ministers' agenda was the EU’s proposed Thematic Strategy for the prevention and recycling of waste. Originally introduced for consultation in May 2003 and focusing on a life-cycle approach, the proposed strategy calls for waste reduction targets of 20% by 2010 for hazardous waste, municipal waste, and industrial waste. To boost recycling, the proposal also set a legally binding target of 40% reduction in disposal by landfill and incineration by 2010, and a zero-disposal target for 2050. The European Parliament is already on record as endorsing future legislation giving preference to waste disposal over re-use and recycling only when there is clear evidence that it is more environmentally friendly, and has also rejected compulsory waste reduction plans, favoring voluntary agreements instead. As an outcome of the May 2004 meeting, the life-cycle approach was confirmed as the mechanism to follow, but specific targets for waste reduction were not endorsed.
Prevention and recycling of waste: EU ministers confirm life-cycle approach
EurActiv, 18 May 04;

Nanotechnology Post-conflict Environmental and other Field Applications

On-chip Antenna to Solve Communication Problems among Microscopic Sensors
University of Florida electrical engineers have installed a radio antenna less than one-tenth of an inch long on a computer chip and demonstrated that it can send and receive signals across a span of several feet. By covering a large area with a number of such radio chips, each powerful enough to transmit information to the next radio, one can create a single large network that could be monitored from a distance.Source:
In step toward ultrasmall radio, UF team demonstrates on-chip antenna
Aaron Hoover, University of Florida, 11 May 04;

Molecular Pattern Matcher for Chemical Detection
A new paper describes an improved technique for fast, portable, accurate, and flexible quantitative detection of organic molecules such as those which are degradation products of nerve agents. In the reported test, molecules of methylphosphonic acid (MPA) were embedded in an organosilane layer, and then washed away, leaving behind an imprint which, when later filled with another MPA molecule, produced a detectable electrical signal.
A good impression of a bad chemical
The molecular shape of warfare agents imprinted on a sensor., Maria Bellantone, May 20, 2004 (by subscription only)

Nanoporous Ceramic Uses for Heavy Metals Cleanup
A nanoporous ceramic developed by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, US, can be used to remove mercury from water, having as an immediate application treating wastewater from coal-fired power stations. However, researchers say that the thiol-SAMMS material could also remove mercury from water streams resulting from the vitrification of radioactive wastes, battery manufacturing, fluorescent lamp recycling and dental preparations. Also, the technology could be adapted to target other substances such as lead, chromium or radionuclides instead of mercury. [See also item 4.2 Nanoscale Iron Particles as an Environmental Remediation Technology in the August 2003 environmental security report by the Millennium Project]
Nanoporous ceramic hoovers up mercury
Liz Kalaugher, editor of;

Health and Safety Implications of Particulate Matters

Nanotech Safety and Health Issues
A meeting was held in Washington on 18 May at which officials from the Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and CDC's National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) discussed with interested parties from government and business the current state of work on the relationship between nanotechnology and worker safety and health. The major conclusion to be drawn from the meeting is that almost no data on this problem is yet available. Both agencies are conducting and sponsoring research in the area, but even fundamental information on the mechanisms involved, such as dermal absorption, and the role of metal particles embedded in nanomaterials, is lacking. It is estimated that there will be a million new nanotechnology workers, and there are many programs underway to clarify the safety and health situation.
Meeting video:
National Nanotechnology Initiative:
Risks from military uses of nanotech

Soot Particulates may Cause Genetic Mutations in Mice
McMaster University researchers reported that mice breathing filtered air have 52 % lower mutation rates that those mice exposed to soot in open air from a steel mill. It is not known if such particles can make their way through the blood system to affect sperm-forming cells. Although more research is needed, and it is currently unknown if people could inherit pollution-damaged DNA, this is a new area for serious attention. It is clear that High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) electronic filters offer an effective way of removing particulate matter from the air.
Air Pollution Linked to Genetic Mutations
Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press, 14 May 04 (story stored for a limited time on the web site)
Sooty air, genetic mutation link
The Courier Mail, 14 May 04,5936,9558191%255E10369,00.html
Air Pollution Causes Genetic Mutations
Genome News Network, May 13, 2004

IMO Establishes First “Mandatory Area to be Avoided” in New Zealand

The New Zealand Maritime Safety Authority has successfully petitioned the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to have the area around the Poor Knights Islands designated as a “Mandatory Area to be Avoided” (MAA). The Poor Knights area became the first place on the planet to be protected by the new IMO classification, which was created to protect ecologically fragile areas. As a consequence, ships longer than 45 meters (148 feet) must stay at least 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers) east of the Poor Knights starting December 1, 2004.
Poor Knights Islands Shipping Ban
Clare Trevett, New Zealand Herald, 19 May 2004

Russian Submarines Dismantlement an International Concern

Russia intends to raise the issue of foreign aid to assist in the dismantlement and destruction of its obsolete submarine fleet at the upcoming G8 summit. Current proposals to extend existing programs for securing nuclear materials (and destroying biological and chemical agents) to other countries worry Russia because of potential dilution of funds appropriated for this purpose.
Russia wants faster aid for “rotting” nuclear subs
Mark Trevelyan, La Sentinelle, 17 May 2004 (article stored for a limited time on the web site)

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Kosovo Cleanup
Two environmental "hot spots" identified by the UN in the wake of the Kosovo Conflict have been cleaned up and the condition of two others has been declared to be improved, bringing to an end a four-year remediation project run by the United Nations Environment Programme. Remaining remediation activities have been handed over to the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Kosovo Conflict Hot Spots Cleaned Up
UNEP press release, 10 May 04

Sustainable Development and Conflict
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development’s Twelfth Session (CSD-12) was held in New York from 14 to 30 April. This meeting was the first substantive review of progress on targets set by world leaders at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, which include many of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). CSD-12 discussions centered on halving by 2015 the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, and significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. A number of the thematic issues reviewed (extracts below) included the intersection of conflict and natural disaster subjects with environmental and natural resource topics.

Governments urged to embark on a decade of implementation to meet sustainable development targets, as UN Commission concludes
UN Press Release, 30 April 04

Leading Cancer Specialists call for REACH Strengthening
At a colloquium organized by the French Association for Research on Treatments Against Cancer at UNESCO Headquarters, a transatlantic group of leading cancer specialists presented scientific evidence on the necessity of strengthening the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) policy, in order to better control carcinogenic chemicals. The participant experts stated that REACH was much weakened under the pressure of the chemicals industry from both sides of the Atlantic. Corinne LePage, a French lawyer, wants to “advance the idea that polluting is a crime against humanity.” [See also items related to the REACH program in the Millennium Project environmental security reports of January 2004, August and April 2003, and November 2002.]

Reaching for Control of Carcinogenic Chemicals
ENS, May 5, 2004 (by subscription only)
REACH: An Unprecedented European Initiative For Regulating Industrial Chemicals report by Dr. Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition

The EU Ended its Ban on Genetically Modified Foods
By authorizing the import of GM sweet corn, the EU ended its five-year ban on GM food. The Bt-11 maize imports are authorized for the next 10 years.

EU approves GMO canned maize, lifting 5-year ban
FACTBOX - Chronology of EU's ban on gene crops and foods
Belgium: May 20, 2004

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April 2004

The UN Security Council Increased its Role in Preventing Terrorist Access to Weapons of Mass Destruction

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted on April 28, 2004 a binding resolution criminalizing the production and/or acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-state actors. The Council decided that "all States…shall adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws which prohibit any non-State actor to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes, as well as attempts to engage in any of the foregoing activities, participate in them as an accomplice, assist or finance them." Being considered under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the resolution is enforceable by the Security Council through tribunals, embargoes, or military force after all peaceful means of persuading delinquent Member States have been exhausted. However, during the debate, it was underlined that the Council would have to get separate approval for the means of enforcement. During the next two years a committee designated by the Security Council will monitor the implementation of the resolution and within six months all States are expected to present reports on their efforts to execute the provisions.

Security Council To Tackle Draft Resolution On Spread Of WMDs, President Says
New York, Apr 2 2004 5:00PM press release
Security Council Unanimously Votes To Keep WMDs Out Of Terrorist Hands
New York, Apr 28 2004  6:00PM press release
Threats From Non-State Users Of WMDs Discussed In UN Security Council
New York, Apr 22 2004  8:00PM press release

Real-Time Antibody-based Bioterrorism Detection System

A major weakness in most bioterrorism detection technologies is the time lag between sample collection and laboratory verification of the presence of target pathogens. Scientists at the United Kingdom’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down have developed biological sensors based on antibodies. Being based on antibodies, these sensors can detect a bioterrorist attack in real-time, and can distinguish among different pathogens. Since this and other systems being developed by other countries will be important to “scale up” for all countries, international standards and agreements for their deployment and monitoring seem inevitable.

British Scientists Develop Biological Agent Detection System
Global Security Newswire, 15 April 2004 (article stored for a limited time on the web site)

Transgenic Plants to Help Decontaminate the Environment
Bacteria-modified Yellow Lupine to Remove Toluene from Soil
A bacteria-modified yellow lupine seems to be very effective in removing toluene from soil. The scientists who have created it say that depending on the type of bacteria utilized, the approach can be used to develop different varieties for cleaning up other chemical pollutants. [See also the related item on a transgenic plant—a member of the mustard family--which removes arsenic from contaminated soil, in the October 2002 Environmental Security monthly scanning by the ACUNU Millennium Project.]

Plants Dispatched to Decontaminate Soil
Scientific American, April 12, 2004 (article accessible for a limited time for non-subscribers)

Implementation Steps for Landmine Control Convention: New Genetically Modified Plant to Detect Landmine Explosive
Researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, will receive support over the next two years from the Department of National Defence's Canadian Centre for Mine Action Technologies to work on genetically modifying a plant, related to canola, by inserting a TNT-sensitive gene into its DNA. After its seed is planted in suspected minefields and the plants' roots come into contact with TNT, their leaves or flowers will change color, alerting people to the presence of landmines. The project is one small part of a larger joint U.S.-Canadian military threat detection effort called Project BIOS, or biological input-output systems, funded in the United States by DOD.
Anthony Faust, of the Defense Department's landmine detection, who came up with the idea of landmine-detecting plants, said that while the Canadian project deals with landmine detection, the American project deals with biological systems as chemical sensors.
Note: This effort has a larger spectrum as the plant will be able to detect a specific explosive rather than just a simpler breakdown product, as is the case with the Thale Cress, a genetically modified flower that turns to warning red when its roots come in contact with nitrogen-dioxide (NO2), mentioned in the Flower-power could help clear landmines item of January 2004 Environmental Security monthly scanning report.

Plant research may help detect landmines
By Caitlin Crawshaw, University of Alberta, Canada

Invasive Species of Genetically Modified Animals for Reconnaissance and/or Cleanup
As there have been international issues with genetically modified plant and food controversies, it is likely that there will be with genetically modified animals as well. “The report's authors said the most challenging issue facing these agencies is the development of biotech animals. "One concern is that they could escape and mate with wild relatives, spreading new genetic traits throughout wild populations," the 178-page report said.”

Biotech Creations to Test US Governmentt Oversight, Group Says
Planet Ark, Story by Randy Fabi, April 2, 2004

Nanotechnology Health Concerns Highlight Need for International Technology Convention

Buckyballs are spheres former by a specific number and arrangement of carbon atoms.  They are very important for a range of nanotechnology applications, but according to research presented at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society, Buckyballs can cause extensive brain damage in fish. Other studies have shown that such particles can enter the brain. The fish studies, however, were the first to link nanoparticles to the destruction of brain tissue. Additional studies are underway to determine if coating such nanoparticles affects toxicity.
In reaction to this and other nanotechnology-related health issues, the ETC Group suggests, “The international community must formulate a legally-binding mechanism to govern the products of new technologies, based on the Precautionary Principle, one that addresses their health, socio-economic and environmental implications. International assessment should be incorporated under a new International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies (ICENT).”

Health Concerns in Nanotechnology
Barnaby Feder, NY Times, 29 March 2004 (by subscription only)
Nano's Troubled Waters: Latest toxic warning shows nanoparticles cause brain damage in aquatic species and highlights need for a moratorium on the release of new nanomaterials

Ecosystem-based Management of Costal Areas
U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Emphasizes Ecosystem-Based Management
A preliminary report by U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy released on April 20, 2004 recommends changing the current fragmented system for managing oceans and coastal areas to an ecosystem-based management approach. For a new, coordinated, and comprehensive national ocean policy within the federal government, the Commission proposes a three-phase plan, and establishing a National Ocean Council (NOC) within the Executive Office of the President.

National Council for Science and the Environment
U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Emphasizes Ecosystem-Based Management
Preliminary Report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy -Governors' Draft

South-west Pacific Islands Might “Localize” Environment-protection Legislation
In contrast to the preceding item, in the southwestern Pacific ecosystem-based management of coastal areas might become very much decentralized. "The island nations of the south-western Pacific are considering allowing citizens to reclaim legal control of their local seas, in the hope they can use their traditional knowledge, customs and laws to protect fish stocks and biodiversity,” says a New Scientist article. In this plan, villages will own the seas immediately adjacent to them, and can set up environment-protecting restrictions for them, with the legal backing of the central government.

Local taboos could save the seas
New Scientist, April 04 (article accessible for a limited time for non-subscribers)

Government Environmental Ministers’ Meetings
UNEP’s Governing Council Focuses on Water and Sanitation
A recent international gathering of environment ministers focused on the need to boost water and sanitation services for over two billion people in human settlements. The meeting also showcased water saving and water supply technologies that can play a key role in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and the World Summit on Sustainable Development’s Plan of Implementation. These call for governments to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without access to safe and sufficient water and basic sanitation supplies. Ministers and officials from over 150 nations also discussed the need to boost the science base of UNEP in areas including environment and conflict and environment and poverty.

Eighth Special Session Of The United Nations Environment Programme’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Press release, 29 March 2004,

Meeting of OECD Environment Ministers
At the 20-21 April 2004 meeting, the OECD environment ministers agreed that more ambitious policies supported by stronger political will are needed to meet the environmental targets that they set for 2010 in the OECD Environmental Strategy. A new Environmental Outlook will also be produced.

European ECO-Forum News Digest, April 27, 2004 (email newsletter)
Meeting of the OECD Environment Policy Committee at Ministerial Level (Paris, 20-21 April 2004)
Implementation Of The OECD Environmental Strategy For The First Decade Of The 21st Century,2865,en_21571361_27379763_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

Chinese Army Environmental Role Increases

A recent statement by a senior military official has identified environmental protection as a security role of the Chinese military.

Army urged to lead in environmental protection efforts
Xinhua Net, 1 April 2004 (article available for a limited time on the website)

Japanese Asbestos Claims

A recent ruling by the Japanese Supreme Court has derailed attempts by a number of Japanese citizens to sue for health impacts of working with asbestos at US military facilities. Under the current Status of Forces Agreement, suits are brought against the Japanese government, rather than against the United States. However, reimbursement can be sought by Japan, if Japanese courts rule in the plaintiffs' favor. The Supreme Court ruling dismissed the claims made on the basis of a statute of limitations expiration.

Japanese Asbestos Cases May Cost U.S. Millions
Nancy Montgomery and Hana Kusumoto, Stars and Stripes, April 5, 2004,13190,SS_040504_Asbestos,00.html?

Military Introduction of Tree Pathogen in Italy

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and in Italy, have shown the origin of a tree pathogen threatening Italian pine trees to be the US Army units that occupied the area 60 years ago. "This study suggests that when planning military operations abroad, there is a need, and a responsibility, to check for potential micro-organisms that could be introduced to foreign lands, and to take measures to prevent them from spreading." The research in Italy supports a common suspicion among plant pathologists in Europe that certain diseases in that region are linked to US Army bases. Although there does appear to be a correlation, there is no proof yet that other US bases are the cause of similar tree die-offs elsewhere in Europe.

Researchers say US military accidentally introduced tree pathogen to Italian estate during WWII
Sarah Yang, University of California at Berkeley, 30 March 2004

CEC Invites Public Comment on Draft Document: Future Directions under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Sound Management of Chemicals Initiative

The draft document Future Directions under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Sound Management of Chemicals Initiative is available for public comment, “to assist in determining how the Sound Management of Chemicals (SMOC) initiative can best evolve in future years to assess, reduce and, wherever possible, eliminate threats from toxic chemicals to our environment and health in North America.”

CEC News: CEC invites public comment on draft document: Future Directions under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Sound Management of Chemicals Initiative

Updates on Previously Identified Issues
European Union Polluter Pays Law
The full European Parliament approved the final draft of the Polluter Pays law on March 31, 2004. Despite huge pressure from the business sector, no exceptions were included. However, there is an exception for the military: Paragraph 6 of Article 4 stipulates that "This Directive shall not apply to activities the main purpose of which is to serve national defence or international security nor to activities the sole purpose of which is to protect from natural disasters." [See also related items in February 2004 and December 2003 monthly environmental security reports.]

Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage
E.U. Parliament approves law forcing polluting companies to pay for cleanups
Environmental News Network, April 1, 2004
Business slams EU pollution law

South Asian Environmental Migration
A recent editorial summarized environmental migration issues in South Asia and suggested that there is an environmental migration vector in place between Bhutan and Nepal. [See also related item Implications of Environmental Migration to National Security in February 2004 monthly environmental security report.]

Environmental Refugee
Suresh Bhattarai, The Weekly Telegraph, 14 April 2004

Online Database of Sustainable Consumption Initiatives in North America Launched
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) launched on 21 April 2004 a new online database cataloguing information about sustainable consumption and production initiatives in North America: [See also related items New Initiatives Aiming to Increase Eco-Efficiency and their Implications for Environmental Security in the February 2004 Environmental Security monthly report.]

North American Sustainable Consumption Alliance
The database
Online database of sustainable consumption initiatives in North America launched
CEC Newsletter

International Agreement on Earth Environmental Observing System
Further to International Agreement on Earth Environmental Observing System item of last month, at the second Earth Observation Summit on 25 April in Tokyo, representatives from 47 countries approved the framework document for implementing the observation plan, including the measures and goals for an observation network to be set up in ten years from 2005. According to a news agency report, "The document adopted nine goals for observation, including minimizing damage from natural disasters and human-induced hazards, recognising environment-related factors affecting human health and welfare, improving management of energy and water resources, and others. The document also emphasized the importance of building up an international observation network to share information gained through satellites, observatories and ships, and to cover spots left unobserved under the current observation network."

Earth Observation Summit endorses action plan
Vietnam News Agency, 04/26/2004
47 Countries, European Commission Agree To Take “Pulse Of The Planet”
Milestone Summit Launches Plan to Revolutionize Understanding of How Earth Works
NOAA release:
Plan for global Earth monitoring agreed at Tokyo summit
ESA News

Climate Change: Large Ice Deposits Melting as Consequence of Global Warming
A recent study of climate change by Jonathan Gregory, of the Centre for Global Atmospheric Monitoring at the University of Reading, using modeling techniques and reported in Nature, paints a gloomy picture of the possible future course of global warming and the melting of large ice deposits, in particular, the Greenland ice cap, if rigorous efforts are not undertaken immediately to reduce greenhouse gases. Not starting for perhaps fifty years and taking place over several centuries, this could cause a 7-meter rise in the ocean level, flooding many populated areas. A most disturbing further conclusion is that the change could become irreversible.

Catastrophe alert over melting ice from Greenland
By Nigel Hawkes, Times Online, April 8, 2004,,8122-1067480,00.html
Greenland ice cap 'doomed to meltdown' news service, April 04, 2004

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March 2004

Ocean/Sea “Dead Zones” was Focus of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum with 158 Nations

'Environmental Dimension of Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements' was the focus of the 8th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum that took place in Jeju, South Korea, from 29 to 31 March 2004. At the time of writing of this report the outcomes of the Forum were not yet available. The first discussions were mostly committed to the nearly 150 oxygen-starved or “dead zones” in the world’s oceans and seas, highlighting that, although yet unknown, the consequences associated with these oxygen-depleted areas are predicted to be significant on a global scale. Excess of nitrogen from agricultural fertilizers, vehicle fumes, factory emissions, and wastes are the causes of the dead zones where marine creatures do not have enough oxygen to survive. "What is clear is that unless urgent action is taken to tackle the sources of the problem, it is likely to escalate rapidly,” said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer.

The Forum also launched the Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2003, the first yearbook in the annual series associated with UNEP's flagship report, Global Environment Outlook (GEO). The report highlights major global and regional environmental events and achievements during 2003; has a chapter dedicated to freshwater in its role in achieving the Millennium Goals; ‘Emerging Challenges - New Findings’; raises awareness on emerging issues and new scientific research that ‘may assist society in recognizing and better understanding emerging environmental issues and help decision makers in designing adequate responses’ (; and features GEO indicators for some of the key global and regional environmental issues and trends identified in GEO reports (including Ratification of Selected Agreements:

'Environmental Dimension of Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements'
Zones emerging as big threat to 21st Century fish stocks (Press release, March 29, 2004)
UNEP Aims to Breathe Life-Giving Governance Into Dead Zones (by subscription only)
Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2003

First Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol Gives One Year Extension to Ban on Methyl Bromide to 11 Developed Countries

At the 24-25 March intergovernmental meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, eleven industrialized countries have been granted "critical use exemptions" on the use of the pesticide and fumigant methyl bromide. The discussions ended with a compromise by adopting a double-cap concept distinguishing between use and production of the toxic chemical. The exemptions give users of methyl bromide a one-year extension to adopt cost-effective substitutes for this ozone-destroying substance. "The high demand for exemptions to the methyl bromide phase out shows that governments and the private sector will have to work much harder to speed up the development and spread of ozone-friendly replacements," said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer.
The 1987 Montreal Protocol requires the signatory states to phase out the use of nearly 100 chemicals that damage the ozone layer.

Methyl bromide approved for temporary uses
US, others delay elimination of damaging pesticide
Montreal Protocol Web site:
IISD: Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 24-26 March 2004
Earth Negotiations Bulletin

Tensions Among Ten Nations May Change Nile Water Usage Treaty

A committee of representatives from ten African countries bordering the Nile River met in Uganda on 8 March 2004 to decide how they can best share the river. This meeting was a follow-up to one held in Ethiopia last December, during which the committee was set up by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). The NBI, based in Entebbe, Uganda, is an intergovernmental organization formed in 1999 to help the countries cooperate in the management and use of the Nile River. Most of these countries have called for the abolishment of the 1929 treaty that prohibits any country from using the Nile in a way that would reduce the water supply of Egypt or Sudan. This effectively prohibits the other countries from using the waters in large-scale projects such as irrigation and hydroelectric power production. As a result, tensions in the region are increasing. The treaty is seen as preventing development. [See also African Water Issues in the Millennium Project, April 2003 Environmental Security monthly report.]

It must be something in the water
Gamal Nkrumah, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 3 March 2004 (article stored for a limited time on the Al-Ahram Weekly web site)
Nile River sharing discussed,,2-11-1447_1495086,00.html (article stored for a limited time on web site)
MPs Want Part in Nile Talks

Virtual Earth Simulation Might Help Reduce Environmental Impact of Military Operations

The U.S. Army has given a computer simulation company called “There” a contract to build a simulation of the Earth within four years to help it prepare for conflicts around the world. The simulation will use real-world terrain databases and include all aspects of a conflict situation, including surroundings and people (represented by avatars). A Baghdad section is to be ready in September of this year. The emphasis in the Baghdad simulation will be on human interaction rather than conflicts involving large quantities of military hardware.

The Army's Virtual World
Lindsey Arent, ABC News, 19 March 2004 (article stored for a limited time on the ABC website)

International Assessment of Arctic Pollution Triggers Action Plan

The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have published a report on the environmental impacts of industrialization on the Arctic and its native peoples.  The report, compiled by the UNEP GRID Arendal Centre in Norway, warns that the northern polar region faces a diverse range of threats from unsustainable development, pollution and climate change. By focusing attention on the Arctic, the report specifically attempts to facilitate successful implementation of the EU's second Northern Dimension action plan, covering 2004-2006. This document focuses on five priority sectors: economy and infrastructure, social issues (including education, training and public health), environment, nuclear safety and natural resources, justice and home affairs and cross-border co-operation. Within each of these sectors, it sets out strategic priorities and specific objectives, and indicates the priority actions to be pursued in achieving these objectives.

Although the action plan's geographical priority is the Baltic area, it has the potential to address circumpolar and global issues affecting the resources and environment of the entire Arctic. The action plan, which includes a focus on sustainable development, is expected to play an important role in developing cooperation between the EU and regional bodies related to the Arctic, such as the Arctic Council. Specifically, its environmental provisions include (1) enhanced cooperation of all partners to ensure convergence of environmental legislation, standards and norms throughout the region, including Environmental Impact Assessment, (2) enhanced commitment of all partners for the implementation of the HELCOM Copenhagen Declaration on maritime safety and reduced pollution and the rapid ratification of the Kyoto Protocol; the UN/ECE Espoo, Aarhus and Stockholm Conventions; and the UN/ECE Convention on Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, (3) cooperation on Kyoto Protocol implementation, (4) enforcement or development of national legislation ensuring convergence with European regulations or directives on chemicals, toxic and urban waste, water and sea pollution, and safety of oil transport by sea, and (5) implementation of the Arctic Council Action Plan to Eliminate Pollution in the Arctic

Arctic report urges action over environment and local people
Sorcha Clifford, Environmental Data Interactive Exchange, 19 March 2004
E.U. needs to do more to protect Arctic, study finds
Associated Press, March 16, 2004

Environment is on the List for a Proposed Unified African Military

The AUF (African Unification Front) has published a manifesto calling for military unification across all of Africa. (The AUF is a non-governmental organization that is working to consolidate Africa into a unified political, social, and economic entity.  It claims its legitimacy from the article in the OAU treaty that calls for a pan-African parliament.) This manifesto contains several direct references to use of military forces in environmental contingencies:
· “No army units are allowed inside the capital cities unless the cities are under threat of military occupation by a hostile FOREIGN power, or in the course of assisting the public in event of an environmental or humanitarian disaster (operations other than war).”
· “The 'enemy' must cease to be other Africans, and must include humanitarian and environmental failure.”
It also contains several indirect environmental references, such as to the “dumping” of obsolete military equipment in Africa.

AUF Seeks Integration of African Armed Forces
African Union Front, 15 March 2004[40]=i-42-dde9c6424ec0c3bf5caeb82e6a106296 (article stored for a limited time on the Mathaba.Net News web site)

Wind Power vs. Air Defense Radar

There is a growing controversy about the potential interference of wind energy installations with air defense radar. The UK Ministry of Defense objects to wind turbines within 46 miles of air defense radars, and Germany has a similar, but smaller, restriction. Last year the UK MoD blocked several formal planning applications for wind power projects.  Wind energy is now the world's fastest-growing power source, tripling worldwide since 1998 and will continue to grow due to pressure to reach reduced CO2 emissions. There are no treaties explicitly protecting renewable energy resources such as wind energy farms. As this resource continues to grow and supply transborder electricity, it is possible that future international agreements will be sought. A potential provision might address when a renewable energy source has priority over other demands.

Wind Energy. Views on the Environment: Clean and Green
by Thomas O. Gray, AWEA Communications Director
MoD chiefs threaten wind power.
Mon 1 March, 2004 01:13 (article stored for a limited time on the Reuters web site)

First Species Selected To Be Protected Under A NAFTA Commission

NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) announced the first three wildlife species to be safeguarded under a new trinational effort to protect species of common conservation concern in North America: the leatherback turtle, humpback whale and pink-footed shearwater (bird). The North American Conservation Action Plans are designed to “establish a common conservation approach across the continent to reduce threats, share expertise and provide key information to the public and wildlife officers.” The final action plans for a common approach among authorities in Mexico, United States, and Canada to protect the three species will be presented for public comment this fall.

Three wildlife species chosen for trinational protection

Europe to Reduce Fluorinated Gas Emission

In August 2003 the European Commission adopted a proposal to regulate emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) used in refrigeration, air conditioning systems, and other industrial applications. The main elements of the proposal are provisions to improve the containment of these gases, better reporting, specific restrictions on marketing and use of F-gases in certain applications, and a phase-out of HFC-134a in car air conditioning systems. Although the European Parliament's environment committee voted on 15 March 2004 in favor of the reduction of fluorinated gas emissions, on March 31st, the plenary session rejected the proposal.

Proposed ban on F-gases gets cool reception
Euractive, 30 March 2004
Europe Greens Paint, Rejects Tough Refrigerant Controls (By subscription only)

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Calls For Recommitment On Anniversary Of U.N. Climate Treaty
Marking the ten-year anniversary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, U.N. Environment Program Executive Director Klaus Toepfer called for rapid ratification of the Kyoto Protocol that is the framework for how nations should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the convention's objective of "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations." U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan hailed the rise of wind energy use, hybrid vehicles and other green policies but called for even more efforts since atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased 5 percent in the decade since the convention (not the Kyoto Protocol) entered into force. He also called on those countries that have not yet ratified the protocol to do so, pointing mainly to Russia. [See also Millennium Project monthly Environmental Security reports of December 2002 and January, June, and July 2003.]

On Anniversary Of U.N. Climate Treaty, Calls For Recommitment
U.N. presses Russia to salvage global-warming pact
Reuters, Mar. 21, 2004 (article stored for a limited time on The Philadelphia Inquirer web site)
UNFCCC web site:

International Agreement on Earth Environmental Observing System
Further to Improved coordination of global Earth observation item of August 2003 Millennium Project monthly Environmental Security report, at a Cape Town meeting, government officials and scientists from over 30 countries agreed on the framework document prepared by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), that stipulates the mechanism of the global data-sharing system. The document details the ten-year effort to implement the integrated system comprising all environmental observing facilities, linking together thousands of earth observation facilities based on land, on sea and in space. Signing is scheduled for the framework document in Tokyo at the end of April, and for the detailed 10-year implementation plan in Brussels in February 2005.

Nations link up to improve earth observation
SciDev.Net, Tamar Kahn, 3 March 2004
Ad hoc Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
DRAFT, Inaugural Session, 1-2 August 2003, Meeting Summary
Group on Earth Observation

UN University Study Calls for Reducing Electronic Waste and Hazards
Computers and the Environment: Understanding and Managing their impacts, a recent UNU study, presents the environmental impact of personal computers’ manufacturing and argues the efficiency of the present legislation on limitation of the use of some hazardous chemicals and electronic waste management. The report calls for a better understanding of the impacts and the necessity to take appropriate action worldwide to halt "the growth of high-tech trash." [See also Millennium Project monthly Environmental Security reports of March 2003: Electronic Waste, and New and Stricter International Regulations for Electronic Waste and Electronic Waste is the Fastest Growing Waste Problem in the world of February 2003.]

Computer Manufacturing Soaks Up Fossil Fuels, UN UNIVERSITY Study Says
UN Press Release, New York, Mar 8 2004 4:00PM
Computers and the Environment: Understanding and Managing their impacts

Robotics in the Battlefield
Robotic elements are becoming a more and more significant part of the modern battlefield. By 2010 it is planned for the Stryker infantry vehicle to be equipped with an autonomous navigation system and other, application-oriented, "intelligent" facilities, and it will be only part of a complement of unmanned military vehicles and systems. One scientist in the field has predicted that "Well before the end of the century, there will be no people on the battlefield".

This trend will be enhanced by the increasing role of nanotechnology to produce tiny, intelligent pieces of equipment. These unmanned devices are involved with the battlefield environment in two ways: 1) as hazards to the environment, and 2) as environmental cleanup implements. They thus have two sets of connections with the body of environmental protection agreements and treaties. See also Millennium Project monthly Environmental Security reports of August 2003: Serpentine Self-Healing Robot and Genetic Engineering, Nanotechnology, and Robotics Technology Forecast of November 2003 report.]

Robots for No Man's Land. Defense Companies Developing the 'Brains' to Remake War
By Yuki Noguchi, Washington Post Staff Writer (Article stored for a limited time on Washington Post web site)

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Cell Phones Damage Rat Brains

Although many studies over the past decade suggest that cell phone use may cause various adverse effects such as headaches and memory loss, no scientific consensus exists about the effect of long-term, low-level radiation on the brain and other organs. A comprehensive $12 million federal investigation of cell phone safety is currently under way but will take at least five years to complete. Meanwhile, researchers are attempting to replicate a recent Swedish study that showed significant blood vessel leakage, as well as areas of shrunken, damaged neurons in rat brains exposed to cell phone radiation. The higher the radiation exposure level, the more damage was apparent. International standards and agreements to limit radiation exposure from devices such as cell phones may emerge in response to future confirmations of these studies.

Neuroscience: A Swedish study links mobile phones to brain damage
Elizabeth Svoboda, Popular Science, February 2004,12543,573349,00.html

New Targets and Measures for Protecting Biological Diversity

UN Convention on Biological Diversity 7th Conference of the Parties (COP 7) held in Kuala Lumpur, 9-20 February 2004 and attended by some 2,000 participants, including 80 ministers, reaffirmed governments' engagement to establish a worldwide network of protected areas (on land by 2010 and in the world's oceans by 2012), by setting rigorous targets to reduce loss of biological diversity. The delegates decided to adopt a more quantitative approach to help monitor the extinction rates and meet the targets and sub-targets. Using measurable indicators, governments will be able to more accurately measure progress or regress on the set-up targets. COP 8 will be held in Brazil in 2006.

Official documents for the COP 7 meeting:
The Latest News on Activities and Events at COP 7 available at COP 7 Press Room:

The First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP MOP 1) held in Kuala Lumpur, 23-27 February 2004, adopted procedures and mechanisms to implement and promote compliance with the Protocol aiming to protect biological diversity from the potential risks that may be posed by living modified organisms (LMOs), commonly referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The delegates adopted documentation requirements and other procedures concerning labeling, handling, transport, packaging, and identification of LMOs. Some matters on which no agreement was reached will be considered at the next meeting, to be held in 2005. A negotiating group of experts will address the issue of liability and redress for damages resulting from transboundary movements of GMOs and develop a regime by 2008. [See also related item in August-September 2003 report.]

The First Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety:
Biosafety Protocol now operational as governments agree documentation rules for GMO trade. Press release:
Biosafety Protocol: Transgenic Shipments Must Be Identified (by subscription only)

NATO Creating a CBRN Unit

NATO is creating a special chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defense unit with assets from 13 member nations, including the United States. The Czech army, renowned for its expertise in weapons of mass destruction defense, will be responsible for training the unit. The unit will operate both independently and as part of the new NATO Response Force. Once a nation's CBRN troops have gone through the training, they will be on call from their home country, on a rotational basis, by NATO command for quick deployment abroad.

NATO plans special brigade to fight terror risks
Bruce I. Konviser, Washington Times, 5 Feb 04 (Article stored for a limited time on the Washington Times web site)

Recommendations for the Biological Weapons Convention and other International Mechanisms to Prevent Terrorists from Getting Pathogens

More than 60 bioscience experts from around the world gathered at the International Symposium on Securing High Consequence Pathogens and Toxins, Feb. 1-6, at Albuquerque Sandia National Laboratories to discuss securing pathogens and toxins from terrorists. The goal of the symposium was to share information and begin dialogue in the view of establishing international biosecurity measures and standards and protocols that would lead to improved security of facilities conducting infectious disease research worldwide. “Although most international bioscience labs have systems in place to prevent people from being accidentally exposed to infectious diseases, no international guidelines exist that specify how labs should prevent malicious theft or sabotage of biological materials,” says Sandia technical host Ren Salerno. He also recommended that “biosecurity measures and standards be adopted and considered as national implementation policy for the Biological Weapons Convention.” (Also see the  December 2003 report Item 1: International Agreement Needed to Insure Laboratory Bio-safety.)

Bioscience experts from around the world gather at Sandia to discuss securing pathogens from terrorists

United Nations International Decade for Water

The 1.2 billion people without access to safe drinking water, and the 2.4 billion people without adequate sanitation pose a major long-range environmental security threat. The UN International Decade for Action, "Water for Life", 2005-2015 will increase attention to the implementation of water projects around the world and calls on the UN Secretary-General and others to increase collaboration to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal #2 on Water.

UN unedited text of resolution;
Institute for Multi Track Diplomacy commentary;

New Initiatives Aiming to Increase Eco-Efficiency and their Implications for Environmental Security

UNCTAD Releases New Guidelines on Corporate Environmental Accounting
In February the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released the Manual for the Preparers and Users of Eco-efficiency Indicators, containing guidelines on eco-efficiency indicators that link the financial achievement of a corporation to its environmental performance. The Manual helps to standardize the presentation and disclosure of a company’s environmental performance and how to relate it to its financial results. The Ciba Specialty Chemicals multinational is the first company to base its environmental reporting on the UNCTAD model.

UNCTAD Releases New Guidelines On Corporate Environmental Accounting
Adopted First By Ciba Specialty Chemicals; Press Release, 13/02/2004.
UN agency releases new guidelines on corporate environmental accounting.

Europe Publishes Its First Pollution Register
The European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER) gives access to information on annual industrial emissions into air and water––mostly since 2001—of 9256 industrial facilities in the 15 Member States of the EU as well as Norway. The information can easily be searched and/or grouped by pollutant, activity (sector), air and water (direct or via a sewerage system) or by country. It is searchable by name or by clicking on a map, or by sources of a particular pollutant.

EU announcement about The European Pollutant Emission Register
European Pollutant Emission Register web site:

UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Catalogue of Environmental Networks and Data Sources
The UNECE Working Group on Environmental Monitoring in cooperation with the European Environment Agency has developed a catalogue of environmental expert networks and data sources for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA).

The catalogue is available at: Login ID: WGEMA; Password: EECCA and click the “English” button (right upper corner) to switch to English

Carbon Dioxide Emissions calculated for ExxonMobil
A new study by Friends of the Earth claims that that over ExxonMobil’s 120-year existence, it added three times as much carbon dioxide into the air as the current annual global emissions from all sources of fossil fuels. This is the first time a company's contribution to global climate change has ever been calculated "and could prove vital in paving the way for compensation claims against companies by victims of global warming caused by man-made pollution."

ExxonMobil's Dirty Century
Sanjay Suri, Inter Press Service, 2 February 2004.

Crimes Against the Environment Considered on the list of War Crimes against Saddam Hussein

The Kuwaiti parliament is currently considering specific war crimes actions against Saddam Hussein. Included in the war crimes list are “crimes against the environment”. These are separate from financial reparations actions previously taken.

Parliament sets up panel to look into Saddam trial
Gulf News, 16 February 2004. (article stored for a limited time on the Gulf News web site)

Implications of Environmental Migration to National Security

Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute, has written an article on environmental refugees movements that summarizes the environmental triggers of migration and the relationship of such migrations to national security. Although not precipitated by any single event or addressing any single problem, the article makes the case that a global effort is needed to address the causes of these environmentally-driven migrations.

Environmental refugees: When the soil dies and the well dries
Lester R. Brown, IHT, 13 February 2004 (article stored for a limited time on the International Herald Tribune web site)

IMO Adopts New Convention on Ships' Ballast Water

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) after ten years of talks, aims “to prevent the potentially devastating effects of the spread of harmful aquatic organisms carried by ships' ballast water.” The Convention requires that all ships have on board and implement a Ballast Water Management Plan approved by the Administration, carry a Ballast Water Record Book, and respects standards on ballast water management procedures. The Convention will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35% of world merchant shipping tonnage.
Note: Prior to the Conference, the WWF pointed out the acute necessity of strict rules and standards concerning ships’ ballast water management giving concrete examples of bio-pollution that had already occurred.

Alien invaders in ballast water – new Convention adopted at IMO
International Conference on Ballast Water Management: 9-13 February 2004
International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments adopted in 2004
International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments
Environmentalists urge action on ship ballast water
ENN, Wednesday, February 04, 2004, By Reuters (Article stored for a limited time on ENN web site)

Predictive Conflict Modeling

Case studies suggest that the major sources of civil conflict that are associated with declines in available cropland and fresh water have been generated by the decreasing capacity of rural areas to maintain secure livelihoods and absorb growing labor forces. In the past, eruptions of civil tensions over cropland have been more common than over freshwater resources. While low per capita levels of land and water persist in several populous industrial countries, these countries – with their robust urban economies and well-run services – are much less vulnerable to civil conflict involving these resources. Tensions between states over renewable natural resources have most often developed over rights to ocean fisheries and transboundary freshwater supplies. These tensions generally have led to interstate negotiations rather than warfare. Continued rapid population growth in the developing world, however, suggests a future unlike the past. The prospects for continued interstate cooperation, particularly over transboundary water rights, remain uncertain. Countries in high or extreme demographic stress categories for cropland or renewable fresh water were about 1.5 times as likely to experience civil conflict in the 1990s as countries that did not fall into these categories, suggesting a weak association between worsening scarcities of these critical resources, by themselves, and an increased likelihood of civil conflict.

The Security Demographic: Population and Civil Conflict After the Cold War
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 17 December 2003

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Rotterdam Convention (PIC) entered into force on February 24, 2004
The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade entered into force on February 24.  The Convention stipulates that export of a chemical covered by the Convention can take place only with the prior informed consent of the importing country and requires labeling and information on potential health and environmental effects. This will promote the safer use of chemicals. The Convention presently lists 27 chemicals, but another 15 will be considered for inclusion at the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to be held in September 2004. [See also the items on the Rotterdam Convention in the Millennium Project’s environmental security reports of November 2003, and March 2003, and October 2002.]

PIC web side:
Rotterdam Convention enters into force
Rotterdam Convention on safely marketing chemicals comes into force, UN says

Stockholm Convention on POPs to enter into force on 17 May 2004
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants will enter into force on 17 May 2004, following France becoming the fiftieth State to ratify the agreement on February 17. The Stockholm Convention calls on governments to replace existing POPs and prevent the development of new POPs. Most of the presently targeted 12 POPs will be banned immediately and the first Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP 1) to be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in early 2005 will establish a Committee for evaluating other potential chemicals and pesticides to be added to the list. The COP will also finalize guidelines for promoting “best environmental practices” and “best available techniques” that can reduce or eliminate releases of the most toxic POPs. [See also related item in October 2002  monthly report.]

Stockholm Convention on POPs web site:
Stockholm Convention on POPs to enter into force on 17 May 2004

Network of Environment Centres in Central Asia
The resolution adopted at the third regional seminar on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Central Asia, organized by the OSCE Centre in Dushanbe, calls for the set up of a new network of Aarhus Resource centers in five Central Asian states (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) to raise environmental awareness and provide the general public with access to information. The network will improve the mechanism for implementing the Convention and help governments and civil society in the region to collaborate on decisions regarding environmental policy. [See more information on the Aarhus Convention and its military implications in the November 2003, August-September 2003, and February 2003 Millennium Project’ environmental security monthly reports.]

OSCE regional seminar on implementation of the Aarhus Convention calls for network of environment centres

New European Directive on Polluter Pays Principle of Environmental Liability
The European Commission adopted a White Paper on Environmental Liability on 9 February 2000. The objective of the White Paper was to explore how the polluter pays principle, one of the key environmental principles in the EC Treaty, could best be applied to serve the aims of Community environmental policy. After exploring different options for Community action, the Commission concluded that the most appropriate option was a Community framework directive on environmental liability. Under the proposed directive, Member States would be responsible for ensuring that environmental damage is either prevented by taking appropriate measures or effectively remedied by restoring the previous situation if damage has already been done.

The European Parliament adopted a total of four amendments to the directive on 17 December 2003. The issues at stake concern the creation of a harmonized compulsory financial guarantee scheme for water and soil damage, the elimination of the operator's right to limit his liability in accordance with international conventions, the Commission report on the application of the provisions in relation to the exclusion of sea and nuclear pollution from the scope of the directive and the measures to be taken by the competent authority in the case of remedial action. The European Council established its initial negotiating position on the same day, indicating that it could accept partially and with compromises two of the European Parliament's amendments.

Since the Council was not able to accept all the amendments adopted by the European Parliament, the process of conciliation was officially opened on 27 January 2004. (The purpose of conciliation is for the European Parliament and the Council to agree upon a joint text, which will then be officially approved by the two institutions. The Commission's role in conciliation is to take all the necessary initiatives with a view to reconciling the positions of the European Parliament and the Council.) The two institutions have until 24 March to reach an agreement.

Environmental liability: Commission welcomes agreement on new Directive, 20 February 2004

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UNEP May Establish a New Secretariat on Environment and Conflict

UNEP held an international meeting to address and assess the impact and link between environmental degradation and political instability, human conflict, and health. A UNEP survey conducted prior to the meeting found that the links between the environment and poverty, trade and conflict were the main "knowledge gaps" in understanding environmental-related issues. This gap will be the focus of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Forum to be held in March. As a result, the “UNEP might set up a new secretariat on environmental peace and conflict,” said Dr. Steve Lonergan, Director of UNEP's division of early warnings and assessment.

UN Aims to Study Link Between Environment, Wars
Reuters, Story by Alister Doyle, 14/1/2004,
Sound Science Key to Saving the Planet
UNEP Press Release, - 9 Jan 2004

Ten Companies Kick Off Global Greenhouse Gas Register

The Global Greenhouse Gas Register (GHR) launched at the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, creates a global standard for the disclosure of corporate greenhouse gas emissions and reduction targets. This is a voluntary system with a Web site to be accessible in February. This common platform will allow the participating companies to enter data on their emissions and promote transparency. Ten multinational companies that are responsible for 5% of the global carbon dioxide emission have already agreed to participate in the new effort. The Register was first announced on 9 December 2003 in Milan, Italy, during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP9) meeting.

Global Greenhouse Gas Register Launched. Ten Companies Already Committed to Disclose Worldwide Climate Emissions. 21 January 2004 - Davos, Switzerland
Ten Companies Kick Off Global Greenhouse Gas Register (by subscription only)

EU Parliamentary Committee Moves to Strengthen Air Pollution Laws

The European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health, and Consumer Policy adopted a draft legislative proposal setting binding standards on air polluting substances. The new international legislation would establish limits and regulate arsenic, cadmium, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in ambient air and strengthen the provisions on mercury emission limits. The proposal will become law after passage by the full European Parliament. Although these substances are already classified as toxic under several EU regulations (see The Protocol on Heavy Metals item in Millennium Project reports of December and October 2003), the new legislation would extend and strengthen the binding standards on these air-polluting substances.

EU Parliamentary Panel Votes to Limit Air Pollutants (by subscription only)

Nanotech Health Dangers Increasingly Understood around the World

Nanoparticulate (less than 100 nanometers in size) pollution has been shown to enter the bloodstream and brain after being inhaled. In addition to causing damage at the point of entry to the body, nanoparticulate pollution has been shown to cause lung damage and has been implicated in cardiovascular disease. Since the field of nanotechnology is new, no long-term studies of occupational exposure to nanoparticulate pollution have yet been performed. Like any other form health threat and environmental pollution, nanoparticulates are likely to find their way into international regulatory agreements. US EPA and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Program on Governance and Foresight have held seminars on this new form of pollution and health risk.

Tiny particles 'threaten brain'
Alex Kirby, BBC News Online, 8 Jan 04 (article stored on the Web site for a limited time)

Flower-Power Could Help Clear Landmines

Thale Cress, a genetically modified flower that turns to warning red when its roots come in contact with nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) evaporating from explosives buried in soil, could help detect landmines. Scientists hope that Thale Cress might also be useful for detecting and cleaning soil contaminated by heavy metals such as lead, copper, zinc and chromium. Restricted tests will begin this year and the prototype might be ready within a few years, says the Danish developer, Aresa Biodetection.

Flower-Power Could Help Clear Landmines
Elinor Schang, Planet Ark, 28/1/2004;

Control of Pathogenic Chimeras and GMOs under Study

The issues about how to handle the problems of genetically modified viruses and pathogenic chimeras (artificially created hybrids of disease-causing organisms), in particular those related to smallpox rose on the agenda of the scientific and health communities (including the WHO). The WHO's committee on smallpox research is currently weighing various proposals for new and continuing experimental efforts, including some based at CDC and US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (AMRIID). It is likely that the discussions on bio-safety/biodefense will soon move from the health and research committees to wider international legislative bodies triggering new Protocols to existing treaties (i.e. Biologic and Toxic Weapons Convention) or even new international treaties dealing with genetic manipulation and its hazards.

Smallpox mixes make a stir
Nell Boyce, U.S. News, January 19, 2004 (by subscription only)
Congress Should Authorize New DOD Agency To Develop Vaccines, Drugs Against Biowarfare Agents. The National Academies, Press Release, Jan. 22, 2004
Giving Full Measure to Countermeasures: Addressing Problems in the DoD Program to Develop Medical Countermeasures Against Biological Warfare Agents
Lois M. Joellenbeck, Jane S. Durch, and Leslie Z. Benet, Editors, Committee on Accelerating the Research, Development, and Acquisition of Medical Countermeasures Against Biological Warfare Agents, National Research Council.

Ocean Dumping of Chemical Weapons a Continuous Threat

Since WWII, several nations, including the US, have disposed of chemical munitions by disposing of them at sea. Each year, several stories appear in the media about these munitions being caught in fishermen’s nets. Recognizing the potential threat of contamination of fish supplies, several countries have been monitoring known dumping sites and attempting to map suspected dumping sites. Recently, environmental interest groups have begun to take interest in the issue, calling for the recovery of these abandoned munitions. Although no treaty currently requires the recovery of these munitions, interest on the part of governments is increasing with respect to how to minimize the hazard and mitigate any significant release of chemical agents into the waters surrounding dumping areas. Since the UN has been consistent in recent years in its interest in long-term and widespread contamination issues, it is reasonable to expect international agreements to address this issue.

Hitler's chemical weapons a seeping menace
Alister Doyle, Reuters, 23 Jan 4 (article stored on the Web site for a limited time)

Proposal for a Network of Protected Natural Areas

At a recent meeting in Madrid, environmental officials from Europe, Russia, and Central Asia formulated a common proposal aiming to stop global biodiversity decline by 2010. The proposal considers developing a network of protected natural areas––by 2010 on land and 2012 at sea, including parts of the high seas, which fall outside national jurisdictions. The Proposal will be presented at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 7) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 9-20 February.

Europe Agrees on Proposals to Save Species
Planet Ark, January 22, 2004

Garrisoning the Planet

The article America's Empire of Bases presents an interesting perspective on the issue of domestic versus overseas bases in the context of environmental requirements. Essentially, it alleges that the current emphasis on shifting from existing overseas bases to new, expeditionary bases is driven by the military’s desire to evade environmental compliance requirements.

America's Empire of Bases
Chalmers Johnson,, January 15, 2004;

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

EU Chemical Policy Reforms
On 31 October 2003, the European Commission submitted to the European Parliament a proposal for the establishment of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program. On 3 December 2003, the President of the European Parliament announced that he had referred the proposal to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy. One of the most important elements in the proposed regulation is the establishment of a European Chemicals Agency. On 12 December 2003, at the Brussels European Council, a political agreement was reached on the location of this European Chemicals Agency, which will have its seat in Finland. Under the REACH system, EU Member States will maintain a system of official control, but the European Commission itself will establish guidelines for the enforcement of the REACH program. [See also the issues on the REACH program in the reports of August and April 2003, and November 2002.]

Parliament on chemicals review: vote before summer?, 19 Jan 04

EU Commission Seeks to Increase Biotech Food Safety
The EU executive Commission adopted new legislation that requires each variety of genetically modified organisms used in food and animal feed to be assigned a unique code so products containing these GMOs can be accurately labeled and traced when they get on the market. [See also European GMO-related policy items in the reports of October and August 2003, and December 2002]

EU Commission Seeks to Increase Biotech Food Safety. Planet Ark, 19/1/2004

Food Crisis in Southern Africa and Horn of Africa
Africa is currently facing an acute food crisis, with more than 6 million people at risk in Southern Africa and at least 12 million in the Horn of Africa. Rains have come too little and too late to remedy a serious drought that has decimated crops and led to widespread dependency on donor supplies. According to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), 6.5 million people are vulnerable to food shortages in South Africa. Zimbabwe is particularly hard hit. In addition to wild fruits and roots, households in some parts of Zimbabwe are reportedly already eating locusts. According to the USAID, the total number of people facing food insecurity in Zimbabwe could rise to about 7.5 million, or more than half the population, before next year. Even the region’s breadbasket, South Africa, has been devastated by the recent drought, which has reduced maize crops to their lowest level in more than half a century. The Greater Horn of Africa food security bulletin estimates that 7 million people in Ethiopia, 2 million in Tanzania, 1.2 million in Kenya and 1.2 million in Eritrea are facing hunger. [See also the item Grain Harvest Shortfalls in the August-September 2003 report.]

Southern Africa failing to head off food crisis-WFP
Steve Swindells, AlertNet, 22 Jan 04
Horn of Africa: At least 12 million reported to be in need of assistance

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International Agreement Needed to Insure Laboratory Bio-safety

Although the fastest and most extensive medical coordination in history - lead by the World Health Organization - stopped human-to-human spread of SARS, an additional approach will be needed to make sure it does not return.  Two new cases (one in Singapore in September and the other in Taiwan in December) have been traced to laboratory practices, which may have caused the infections. Hence, lack of global standards, monitoring, and enforcement, could prove a new source of health threats. Although many laboratory biosafety standards exist, there is no international treaty governing their usage. The US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and NIH (National Institutes of Health) publish the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) manual, which is generally considered to be the international “gold standard”. Even the WHO (World Health Organization) Laboratory Biosafety Manual follows many of the BMBL standards. While many countries use these biosafety standards, there is no uniformity of application or compliance requirement. (Unlike in the nuclear and chemical sectors that regulate the use and transport of radioactive and hazardous materials in the US, the BMBL standards are considered advisory, not regulatory, standards.)

Fresh SARS cases: WHO asks governments to be careful, December 19, 03 (article stored on the web site for a limited time)
Experts: Labs are biggest SARS threat. The Washington Times, December 17, 2003 (article stored on the web site for a limited time)
Biological Critical Mass: A Warning Even Greater Than It Seems. Prefatory Comment by Patrick Gunkel to “Experts: Labs are biggest SARS threat” (private email)
“Super-TB” created by scientists. BBC, 2003 December 26

Better Actions to Counter Invasive Species Needed say 750 Scientists and 100 Organizations

The National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species has urged the Bush Administration to approve legislation to counter the increase and spread of 50,000 invasive species in the US that cost the US $137 billion a year.  The letter was signed by 750 scientists and 100 NGOs. Several treaties address some aspects of this problem, such as the International Plant Protection Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). Even in the US with an Executive Order and a National Management Plan for invasive species, about 46% of the threatened and endangered species owe their listing in whole or in part to the uncontrolled spread of invasive species, according the US Department of Interior.

U.S. Losing War Against Invasive Species
J.R. Pegg, Environmental News Service, 19 Dec 03

Sweden Initiates New Commission to Cooperate with the UN to Reduce Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission will provide “proposals on how to make progress in non-proliferation and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, and on how to minimize the risk of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists,” said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at its launch December 16, 2003. The Commission headed by UN expert Hans Blix will meet three times a year and is expected to deliver the first report at the end of 2004. Libya’s recent renunciation of the development of weapons of mass destruction may increase pressure on other countries to follow suite and reinforce the work of the new commission.

The same day the Commission was launched, the U.S. proposed a draft U.N. resolution that would criminalize WMD proliferation and ban their transfer to individuals or organizations.  It did not have an enforcement mechanism. Russia and Britain had proposed the inclusion of the Resolution under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, that would allow military enforcement, but the US opposed it. Also this month the UN General Assembly passed 52 resolutions focusing on weapons of mass destruction.

Annan hails establishment of panel on weapons of mass destruction
UN News Center, December 16, 2003
Proliferation of ‘Non-Strategic’ Nuclear Weapons, New Agenda For Disarmament; Among Issues, As General Assembly Adopts 52 First Committee Texts
UN Press Release, December 8, 2003
Targeting Spread of Deadliest Arms
U.S. Proposes U.N. Resolution Curbing Transfer of Weapons
By Colum Lynch, Washington Post Staff Writer, December 17, 2003; Page A37 (article stored on the web site for a limited time)
Russia Lauds U.S. Resolution on Weapons
By Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press, December 19, 2003 (article stored on the web site for a limited time)

OECD Strengthens Environmental Standards

The OECD nations have agreed to strengthen environmental standards for companies bidding on contracts to build civil infrastructure projects around the world with funding from export credit agencies. While the new guidelines would not necessarily be as stringent as those of the United States, officials said they would force firms bidding on infrastructure contracts to abide by far tougher environmental rules than they do now.

OECD Said to Reach Deal on Environmental Standards
Reuters, December 11, 2003 (article stored on the web site for a limited time)

OSCE Addresses Risks of Ammunition Stockpiles

Foreign Ministers of 55 countries endorsed the OSCE Document on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition. It is a politically binding international instrument that addresses risks arising from surplus stockpiles of all categories of conventional ammunition, explosive material and detonating devices, stock surpluses that can cause environmental problems and hazards to populations. The document could serve as a valuable reference and tool for other organizations, including the United Nations and will be disseminated to the OSCE's Partners for Co-operation, which include Afghanistan, Japan, The Republic of Korea and Thailand, as well as to the Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

OSCE document foresees action against risks of ammunition stockpiles
OSCE, December 1, 2003

New European Union Law Controls Radioactive Sources

The new European law to control radioactive sources adopted on December 22 sets out requirements that ensure control over every present and past high activity radioactive source in Europe. The new law addresses the issue at all levels: from prevention and recovery of orphan sources to remediation including responsibility, intervention and financing. The law requires that each source be duly identified and marked, as well as detailed record keeping of all sources for perfect traceability.

New European Law Controls Radioactive Sources
December 24, 2003 (ENS) (by subscription only)

“Nanofingers” with Environmental Security Implications

The “nanofingers” developed by the Ohio State University could be very versatile sensors, depending on the chemicals with which they are coated. They could be used for detecting chemicals in the air, electricity-generating solar cells, or for photocatalysis, in which light activates chemical reactions that clean up toxic chemicals from soil or water. Each "nanofinger," is a filament carved from inexpensive ceramic material and measures up to five micrometers long and at most 50 nanometers wide. "What's really great about this process is that it involves no fancy techniques. All you need is a furnace and a cylinder of hydrogen," says Sheikh Akbar, professor of materials science and engineering and project advisor.

Tiny "Nanofingers" To Support Sensors, Other Applications
Ohio State Press Release - December 8, 2003

UN Summit on ICT Reinforces Trend to Transparency

The first phase of a United Nations-backed global summit on information and communications technologies (ICT) ended with the unanimous adoption of a declaration on the values of an "information society." Included in this declaration are protections of the freedom of the press, the goal of universal access to technological progress, and respect for multilingual and diverse content. The goal of enabling sustainable development was also included. As information and communications technologies spread, the availability of the same information that the military uses also becomes available to others. For example, the same GPS signals and weather data used by the military become enablers to achieve the declaration’s goal of assisting in sustainable development.

UN-backed summit ends with declaration on 'information society for all'
UN News Center, December 12, 03

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

UN Protocol to Restrict Heavy Metal Emissions in Europe Came Into Force
The Protocol on Heavy Metals restricting the emission of three harmful heavy metals -- cadmium, lead, and mercury entered into force on December 29, 2003. The objective of the Protocol is to control emissions of man-made heavy metals that are harmful to health and the environment. See also Millennium Project environmental scanning October 2003 report: Item 1 Protocol to Control Heavy Metals to Enter into Force.

New UN Protocol Set To Restrict Heavy Metal Emissions In Europe
UN News Service, New York, Dec 24 2003

UN Maritime Agency to Accelerate Phase-Out Of Single-Hull Tankers
At its 50th session, the International Maritime Organization decided to bring forward the deadline for the phasing-out of single-hull tankers; the final phasing-out date for Category 1 tankers (pre-MARPOL tankers) is brought forward to 2005, from 2007, while for category 2 and 3 tankers (MARPOL tankers and smaller tankers) is brought forward to 2010, from 2015. The amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships are expected to enter into force on 5 April 2005. See more reference to the phase-out of the single hull tankers in the June and July 2003 Environmental Scanning reports.

Presently, a Latvian single-hull oil tanker carrying 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil heading to Singapore is raising concerns in Spain, which forbids the ship to come into its territorial waters and warned it would use its navy to stop the ship if needed. The EU single-hull tankers ban only applies to vessels loading in EU ports.

IMO meeting adopts accelerated single-hull tanker phase-out, new regulation on carriage of heavy fuel oil
Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 50th session: 1 and 4 December 2003
IMO Newsroom,

EU Polluter Pays Bill
In addition to EU Agrees Eco-Liability Law to Make Polluters Pay item of June 2003 environmental scanning report, a bill to make firms pay for damaging the environment recently won approval from European Union lawmakers, but was criticized by environmentalists as too weak and by industry as too harsh. In most EU countries, there is currently no law assigning value to damage caused to the environment. See also Fifth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in May 2003 report.

Controversial EU 'Polluter Pays' Bill Gets Backing
Reuters, 19 Dec 03
EU Pollution Law 'Threat to UK Wildlife Protection'
By Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News

Kuwaiti War Damage Payment
A United Nations panel has approved paying an additional $1.4 billion in damages to the victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Of this amount, about $1 billion will go to pay for environmental cleanups resulting from oil-well fires, oil spills and other pollution caused by Iraq. See also Iraqi environmental harm in Kuwait invasion greater than thought in the October 2002 environmental scanning report.

U.N. OKs $1.4B for Iraq Kuwait victims
Alexander Higgins, Associated Press, 18 Dec 03

UN Reports Warn of Global Warming Consequences
Several UN reports issued this month warn of dramatic consequences of climate change, which may increase efforts around the world to implement the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol or to make “other deals on the environment.” A WHO report “examines, for example, how weather, air pollution, and water and food contamination affect the way diseases emerge. It further suggests effective means for all countries to monitor and control the health effects of climate change." The report estimates that 150,000 deaths and 5.5 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years were caused in the year 2000 due to climate change.

A FAO report highlights the growing vulnerability of Small Island Developing States to sea level rises. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that late 20th century temperatures were the highest for the past millennium, the 1990s were the highest decade in the Northern Hemisphere, and 1998 was the warmest year in the past 1000 years. Actions to achieve the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are becoming increasingly urgent.

WHO Report details:
WHO Press release:
Come On, Everybody Else Is Doing It
On climate change, other nations get cracking while the U.S. is slacking, by Amanda Griscom
WMO Statement On The Status Of The Global Climate In 2003: Global Temperature In 2003 Third Warmest. WMO Press Release, December 16, 2003
Annan Calls For Urgent Action To Combat Global Warming
UN News Service, New York, Dec 10 2003
UN Report Warns Small Island Developing States Increasingly Vulnerable
UN News Service, New York, Dec 2 2003
Nations seek to work around U.S. Climate roadblocks (by subscription only)

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UN Secretary-General Wants Updated Laws Against Environmental Damage in War

November 6th is the International Day for Preventing Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.  At its second annual observance this year, Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, and Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) urged the international community to assess how they could protect the environment in time of war through legal and other mechanisms. "While humankind's ability to wage war continues apace with new and even more potentially devastating weapons," said Toepfer, "international rules and laws designed to minimize the impact on the Earth's life support system have lagged far behind." He also mentioned a recent report commissioned by the German Environment Ministry, which asserts that the Geneva Protocol's requirement of proving "widespread, long-term and severe damage" has rendered it ineffective for environmental protection, as it applies only to "expected damages rather than possible ones" and remains unenforceable due to a lack of a common definition of these three terms and lack of any assessment envisioned to be carried out after a conflict.

Annan calls for expanded laws against environmental damage in war; United Nations, 6 November 2003
If There Must Be War, There Must Be Environmental Law
By Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on the International Day for Preventing Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, 6 Nov 2003
New York, 6 November 2003 - Secretary-General's message on the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

The Rotterdam Convention comes into force 24 February 2004

November 27, 2003 Armenia became the 50th country to ratify the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.  This began the 90-day countdown to the treaty's entry into force on 24 February 2004. The Convention enables importing countries to decide which potentially hazardous chemicals they accept for importation, and to prohibit those they don't consider safe.  It also requires the exporting country to label the products providing information on their chemical content and potential health and environmental effects. Currently the Convention lists 27 chemicals and five more pesticides under deliberation; however, more substances are likely to be added in the future. [See also Millennium Project's environmental scanning reports of March 2003: Tighter Controls on Asbestos, Pesticides, and Lead Additives; December 2002: Switzerland supports Paraquat Ban; and October 2002: The Rotterdam Convention Expected to Enter into Force with within a Year.]

Treaty on hazardous chemicals and pesticides trade to become law
PIC web side:

Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

A new Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) recommended by the Group of Governmental Experts on ERW and Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines (MOTAPM) was adopted at the 28 November Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention. It became Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War, annexed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCWC). The text of the new Protocol (contained in Annex II of the Report––CCW/GGE/VI/2) was not yet available at the time of this writing. The Group will continue its work in 2004 on the issue of ERW focusing on the implementation of existing legislation and studying possibilities of improving the design of certain specific types of munitions, including sub-munitions to minimize the humanitarian risks if/when they become ERW.

Another protocol under negotiation being considered for submission to the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention is the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use and Transfer of MOTAPM.

Draft protocol on “explosive remnants of war” adopted at UN in Geneva
Group of Experts Concludes Negotiations on a Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War

NGOs Launch Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs

The Cluster Munition Coalition, involving NGOs from around the world, launched a campaign aiming to ban, under international law, the use of cluster bombs. The campaign also calls for help for victims and an overall cleanup of explosive remnants. Several governments - including the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico support the campaign. The campaign has two aims: embedding in international law the responsibilities of parties with regard to ERW, and binding the use of cluster munitions (CM) by universal humanitarian standards. Regarding CM, the campaign aims to restrict use and production, as well as trade in cluster munitions.

NGOs launch cluster bomb campaign: (story stored on the web site for a limited time)
Cluster Munition Coalition International web page:

New Organizations with Mandates with Eventual Environmental Security Implications

UNMOVIC Might Become a Permanent Agency
The U.N. Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission (that searched for weapons of mass of destruction in Iraq prior to the war) was suggested to become a permanent agency to investigate biological and missile programs worldwide. The project is supported by Britain, France, Canada, the European Union and Russia. As funding is the biggest impediment, there are suggestions to make it a permanent section of the U.N. Secretariat, or an organ of the Security Council.

AP: Britain, France Secretly Plan Agency. Dafna Linzer, Associated Press Writer, Tue Nov 25 (story stored on the web site for a limited time)

World's First Academy of Environmental Law Opens
The Academy of Environmental Law opened by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in China, November 4, is a global network of university law departments and will function as a forum to promote environmental legal education and advanced environmental law research, and convene annual colloquiums in different parts of the world.

World's First Academy of Environmental Law Opens. (by subscription only)

World Network of Regional CDC-like Organizations Proposed
During the EU/US Symposium: Transatlantic Cooperation on Combating Bioterrorism held November 24, 2003 at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC, the idea of a world network of regional CDC-like organizations was proposed as a necessary element of combating the effects of bioterrorism on the general public. Initially a European CDC was proposed, but since a global system is really required, the conversation quickly moved to suggesting one for each region of the world.

EU/US Symposium on Transatlantic Cooperation on Combating Bioterrorism,
November 24, 2003, Embassy of Italy in Washington DC. For more information: Professor Giorgio Einaudi, Science Attaché, Italian Embassy <>.

European Green Diplomacy Network
The EU recently announced an initiative to enhance its capacity to negotiate effectively on environmental issues. The "Network of Diplomats and Experts on European Diplomacy on Environment and Sustainable Development" was established some months ago, and will draw on existing diplomatic resources in the new, enlarged, 25 members EU. The Network has identified efforts to encourage Russia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as a first activity. Other targets include effective negotiations at a meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in February 2004, and efforts to promote renewable energy and marine environmental protection. In terms of methods, the Network will gather intelligence on the positions of other actors, and will play an active role through, among other things, setting up campaigns to get the EU message out across the world. The initiative will seek to redress the problem of EU negotiators spending much of their time in internal processes, thereby moving toward a more proactive -- rather than reactive -- approach in their negotiating tactics.

Europe to put muscle behind its green vision. ENDS Environment Daily, 12 November 2003 (by subscription only)

European Space Policy Institute founded
The European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), founded in Vienna at the initiative and with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Austrian Space Agency (ASA), is intended to become the focal point for promoting European space policy in the world. It creates a network of think tanks that will cooperate in know-how and join forces in order to conduct comprehensive space policy research. Any organization or legal person with a particular interest in taking part in ESPI activities may become a member of the Institute.

European Space Policy Institute founded in Vienna. European Space Agency Press Release N° 80-2003, Paris, 26 November

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications

Bioweapons Are Already Possible to Make, Says New CIA Report
A CIA scientific advisory panel has produced a report that indicates advanced bioweapons are already possible to make. The recent Australian and American mousepox virus manipulation [see also items 5.3 and 6.3] is one example of the use of techniques that could be applied to anthrax, smallpox, or other potential biological agents. The report also brings up the possibility of designer diseases that would be immune to treatment, or that would linger inactivated in the body until the passage of a certain amount of time or until a specified second substance had entered the body. The panel proposed developing defenses aimed at strengthening the body's resistance to all disease, rather than creating treatments for individual diseases.

Science Panel Warns of Bioweapons Future. John Lumpkin, Associated Press, 14 November 2003 (story stored on the web site for a limited time)
The Darker Bioweapons Future. Central Intelligence Agency, 3 November 2003

Artificial Virus that Could Lead to a New Life Form Was Created
The Institute of Biological Energy Alternatives in Rockville MD has created a wholly artificial virus and claims that it could lead to a new life form. This synthetic bacteria-scale organism was produced using oligonucleotides (single-stranded DNA fragments) and an adaptation of the commonly used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique - the polymerase cycle assembly (PCA) method. Although an artificial virus has been created before, this is the first time one has been constructed to genetically match an existing organism. The researchers suggest that it can be engineered to produce clean energy or clean up pollution. If so, then future modification to environmental treaties could follow, especially as pressures noted in Item 1 of this report continue to increase.

Scientists use DNA to make virus. BBC News, 13 November 2003 (story stored on the web site for a limited time)

New Lethal Viruses Developed
A new form of extremely deadly mousepox, a relative of the smallpox virus, has been deliberately created through genetic engineering. The new form of virus kills all mice and is resistant to antiviral drugs and the vaccine that would normally have protected the subjects. In a similar way, cowpox virus (which infects a range of animals including humans) was also altered, as was rabbitpox.  Although these modified viruses are not contagious, there is no guarantee that other poxviruses modified in a similar way would also be non-contagious. These researches reveal once more that bioterrorists could use similar techniques to modify a poxvirus that infects humans.

US develops lethal new viruses. Newscientist, 29 October 03.

Laser Technology Development
Advances in laser technology may make a functional general-purpose laser weapon system available for fielding within a decade. Three major technology streams are being pursued: chemical lasers, free-electron lasers, and solid-state lasers. With numerous government and private sector research labs pursuing the goal of building battlefield lasers, it is no longer a question of if but when they will be fielded.

Warfare at the speed of light. Oakland [CA] Tribune, 19 October 2003 (story no longer available on the Web)

Genetic Engineering, Nanotechnology, and Robotics Technology Forecast
“Promise and Peril of the 21st Century” by the futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil is an interesting forecast of genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR) technologies and their implications. He offers warnings on threats posed by nanotechnology, as well as those of its control and access. And, he calls attention to “the vital task in front of us: to rapidly develop ethical and legal standards and defensive technologies that will be essential to our security. This is a race, and there is no alternative.”
Similarly, an International Herald Tribune article, “Research alert: small can kill” based on DuPont research, draws attention to the fact that assessing the potential environmental and health impacts of nanomaterials could take years, being much outpaced by the rate of industrial adoption of nanotechnology.

Promise and Peril of the 21st Century. Ray Kurzweil, CIO Magazine, Fall/Winter 2003
Research alert: small can kill. Barnaby J. Feder NYT, Wednesday, November 5, 2003
The International Herald Tribune (story stored on the web site for a limited time)

Nanotubes Detect Nerve Gas
Naval Research Laboratory researchers developed nanotube-based sensors from random networks of single-walled carbon nanotubes that could detect sub-parts-per-billion concentrations of nerve agents, other chemical warfare agents, and other toxic chemicals. Nanotube network sensors combined with filters coated with polymers that are sensitive to certain chemicals could make sensors that detect specific chemicals. Arrays of sensors could be incorporated into handheld or remotely operated devices designed to detect a variety of substances. According to the researchers, carbon nanotube sensors could become available within two to five years. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Research & Technology Division is currently accepting proposals to develop such capacities for the civilian population, while previous military research has focused on protection of military personnel.
Meanwhile, at the Harvard Biosecurity 2003 conference, government officials were more skeptical, offering the opinion that fast, inexpensive, reliable devices for detecting biological agents are still at least six years in the future.

Nanotubes Detect Nerve Gas. Technology Research News, November 21, 2003
Rapid, Accurate Biological Attack Detection Capability Is Years Away, Experts Say. David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire

Progress on the Biological Weapons Convention for Better Control Over Biological Agents

Negotiations on the Biological Weapons Convention concluded on 14 November 2003 in Geneva. The participants recommended the study of and, if necessary, the alteration of the existing legislation of the parties to the convention in order to exercise better control over biological agents. This is a step forward for the Convention from the breakdown in 2001 caused by the Bush administration's decision that what was proposed at the time did not satisfy US national interests. The US position at the time was that planned changes to the Convention would threaten US national security and commercial interests, without effectively deterring states wishing to develop bioweapons. The lack of concrete enforcement measures was at the core of this concern. This year, signatories addressed some of those concerns by agreeing to cooperate on legal and technical measures to ensure that monitoring of biological compounds is more effective, and also essentially agreed with the original US position that there still exists a need for enforceable pathogen control measures. Next year’s meeting is scheduled to examine how to enhance international capabilities for investigating cases of alleged use of biological weapons (and suspicious outbreaks of disease). The meeting in 2005 is expected to discuss codes of conduct for scientists around the world.

Countries pledge to tighten national bioweapons controls. ABC News Online, 14 November 2003 (story stored on the web site for a limited time)
Summit To Discuss How To Strengthen Biological Weapons Convention. UN News Service, New York, Nov 10 2003

New Strategy for International Chemicals Management Launched

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) was launched at the first session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom1) that took place in Bangkok, Thailand. The delegates discussed potential issues to be addressed by the SAICM, and its relation to existing chemicals-related agreements and debated whether or not the SAICM should be just a political statement and not encompass legally binding agreements. Other issues discussed included: monitoring of progress; prioritization of issues; dissemination of information; the precautionary approach/principle; corporate liability and accountability; and the role of science in risk assessments. It was generally agreed that the SAICM’s objectives should be linked to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) target for 2020 and that it should address the widening gap among countries in following chemical safety policies.

Summary of the First Session Of The Preparatory Committee For The Development Of A Strategic Approach To International Chemicals Management; 9-13 November 2003
New Strategy For International Chemicals Management To Be Launched In Bangkok.

Canada ratified the Convention on the Law of the Sea

Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea represents an important step, as it has one of the longest coastlines in the world, bordering on three oceans, and one of the largest expanses of ocean space off its coast.

New York, 7 November 2003 - Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Canada's ratification of the Convention on the Law of the Sea
Declarations and statements

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Full Application of the Aarhus Convention
On 22 October 2003, the European Commission put forward three new legislative proposals towards a full application of the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters in order to implement its provisions into EU law. These proposals cover those aspects of the Convention that were not dealt with by earlier directives. Once the European Parliament adopts these proposals, they will complete the process of transposing the provisions of the Aarhus Convention into EU law, both at EU level and in the EU’s member states. Specifically, the three proposals cover: 1) directive on access to justice on environmental matters; 2) regulation on the application of the Aarhus principles to the EU institutions and bodies; and 3) decision on conclusion by the EU of the Aarhus Convention, which would allow the EU to ratify the convention.

Commission proposes new legislation for access to environmental justice. Environmental Data Interactive Exchange, 31 Oct 03
UNECE Aarhus Convention takes hold in the European Union.

Medact Report on Iraqi Environmental Health
The international health charity Medact (the UK affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)) released a report on 11 November 2003 saying that more than 20,000 Iraqis have died in the period between 20 March and 20 October 2003 as a result of the environmental health aftermath of the war. The numbers used in the report are based on an independent survey written and researched by health professionals for the Iraqi Health Monitoring Project. The report assesses the impact of the war on a number of factors affecting health, including access to clean water and sanitation; poverty and household food security; environmental degradation; disruption of social systems and public services (including health services); and social breakdown. According to Medact, all of these indicators show a worsening of conditions over the seven-month period studied.

The Medact report also calls on the occupying forces to further investigate the current and long-term health impacts of the war, ensure that all reconstruction of public services including health is fully funded, and carry out their obligation under the Geneva Convention to maintain law and order and to protect hospitals, health professionals and those who provide humanitarian aid. The report further recommends the re-establishment of an Iraqi health sector based on the principle that health and health care are fundamental social rights.

Iraqis To Take Brunt 'For Generations' To Come: Report. Islam Online, 13 November 2003 (story stored on the web site for a limited time)
Continuing Collateral Damage. Medact, 11 November 2003.

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Protocol to Control Heavy Metals to Enter into Force
The Protocol on Heavy Metals will enter into force on 29 December 2003. The objective of the Protocol is to control emissions of man-made heavy metals that are harmful to health and the environment. At this point it focuses on three toxic heavy metals: cadmium, lead and mercury. It is the seventh Protocol to take effect under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Protocol to control heavy metals to enter into force. Press Release, Geneva, 7 October 2003

International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies Intended to be Submitted to the UN in 2004
"Mulch ado about nothing?...Or the Sand Witch?" Communiqué recently released by The Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC group) expressed concern about the potential impacts that nanotechnology-based products might have on the environment and health, because these products are coming to market in the absence of government regulations and/or public discussion. ETC Group suggests that the public should be fully engaged in a discussion of the socio-economic, as well as health and environmental implications of nano-scale technologies and international regulations and standards concerning the use of nano-scale technologies are needed. To this end, ETC Group is collaborating with other partners to develop an International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies (ICENT), which it hopes to submit to the United Nations in 2004.

Nanotech Meets the Environment.
Mulch ado about nothing?...Or the "Sand Witch?"

Regional- and Continental-Scale Ecological Monitoring System Proposal
The National Science Foundation has proposed formation of a new US network of research sites that would facilitate scientific cooperation on regional- and continental-scale ecological monitoring. The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) would focus on issues such as biodiversity, climate change, emerging infectious diseases, invasive species, and land use. As proposed by NSF, 17 NEON observatories would be built over the next 7 years — one for each major US eco-region. These observatories would link existing ecological research sites. But a Sept. 17, 2003, report by the National Research Council challenged the eco-regional approach. Debate over the approach may soon be resolved by Congressional funding.

Neon: Addressing the Nation's Environmental Challenges. NRC prepublication report, 2003
National Research Council Endorses NEON but Recommends Restructuring. National Council for Science and the Environment, 25 Sep 03

Review of NAFTA's Environmental Side Accord
The NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) announced the review of the operations and effectiveness of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). The Ten-year Review Assessment Committee (TRAC) will assess the implementation of the NAAEC over the past ten years, examine the CEC and its programs, evaluate how the organization has addressed the environmental impacts of NAFTA, and suggest a roadmap of recommendations for the CEC over the next decade. The draft report will be circulated for public comment before the final report is delivered to the Council in spring 2004.

Ten-year Review of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation

New Standard-setting Instruments Adopted at UNESCO’s General Conference
UNESCO’s General Conference 32nd session adopted five standard-setting instruments, including a Declaration Concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage. Although not a binding instrument, the declaration covers situations of both peace and war; and of international and non-international conflicts (including instances of occupation); It also calls upon States to “take all appropriate measures to prevent, avoid, stop and suppress acts of intentional destruction of cultural heritage, wherever such heritage is located” and cooperate with each other and raise public awareness regarding this issue. The other four instruments adopted are: the International Convention on the Preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage; the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data; The Recommendation on the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace; and The Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage.

UNESCO adopts a convention on the safeguarding of intangible heritage and a declaration on human genetic data

Antibiotics Disposal
The disposal of antibiotics, expired medications, and endocrine disrupting compounds such as birth control pills via the wastewater system is a relatively new issue, but one which has long-range ramifications for the development of new wastewater treatment and sewage disposal regulations in the future. Current wastewater treatment requirements and technology do not address all of these pollutants, which pass through the wastewater system and reenter the environment downstream. Some of these compounds may then bioaccumulate and affect human health upon consumption. Current food safety laws do not address testing for all such compounds. Other compounds may interfere with the hormonal cycles of flora and fauna, disrupting reproductive cycles, or cause antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria to emerge.

Flushing Unused, Outdated Medications 'Mixed Concern' Says Kansas State Professor
AScribe Newswire, 13 Oct 03.

“Sustainable Forest Management” Raised on Global Political Agenda
The XII World Forestry Congress (held once every five years) was hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the end of September, in Quebec City and attended by more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries. For the first time, the Congress addressed humans’ dependency on the forest, stating that worldwide, some 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods and therefore underlined the importance of reinstating forest issues higher on the political agenda. The “Final Statement: Forests, Source of Life” listed principles, objectives, and strategies including the formulation and enforcement of legislation that relates to sustainable forest management. The FAO is responsible for monitoring, assessing and reporting on progress on the implementation of the conclusions of the Congress. It must also present a progress report to the XIII World Forestry Congress to take place in 2009. It is likely that international forest-related agreements with national implications for legislation will emerge to better secure sustainable forest management.

XII World Forestry Congress; FINAL STATEMENT; Forests, source of life
Québec, Canada, September 28th, 2003.
World Forest Congress Harmony Broken By Canadian Logging (By subscription only)

Environmental Degradation Causes more Refugees than War and Politics
A new report by New Economics Foundation claims that more refugees now flee from environmental degradation than from wars or political persecution.  It calls for a new category of ‘environmental refugee’ to be created and recognized. The report also goes on to advocate that richer countries have a responsibility for helping poorer ones care for these refugees because of the ecologically destructive economic activities carried out by the more developed nations.  It also claims that the Geneva Convention definition of a refugee applies to those uprooted by environmental damage. However, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) does not agree with the report, citing differences between those forced to flee political persecution and those forced to flee environmental damage. Nevertheless, the sheer number of displaced persons and refugees underscores the need to take environmental security far more seriously.

More refugees flee from environmental problems than war, says report
Environmental Data Information Exchange, 3 Oct 03.

Study Proposes an International Air Pollution Treaty
The journal Environmental Science & Technology has published a study proposing a global treaty focusing on intercontinental air pollution. By cooperating to reduce pollutants like ozone and aerosols, countries could address their own regional health concerns and keep their downwind neighbors happy. The study suggests a treaty based loosely on the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), which initially addressed acid rain deposition in Europe through voluntary participation. The convention has since been amended to cover a broad range of pollutants. Participants include countries from Western and Eastern Europe as well as the United States and Canada. Expanding such a treaty to include Asia would give the United States even more incentive to participate, since westerly winds spread pollution from that part of the world to North America.

New global treaty proposed to control climate change and improve health
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 15 Oct 03.
Proposed Air Pollution Treaty Could Better Control Climate Change While Improving Health.
Researchers Offer Kyoto Alternative. (by subscription only)

Firm Regulations for Perchlorates are Needed
Large scale dumping of perchlorates, a component in rocket fuel continues to pollute underground water in the United States due to lack of regulations. Although aircraft and missile developers were warned of this problem for many years, rather than addressing the problem, the Department of Defense (DOD) has ignored it, says Gene Ayres, author of the article Rocket Fuel in our Food, appeared in World Watch Magazine. While EPA openly acknowledges the gravity of the situation, there are not yet firm regulations for perchlorates.
EXTi (Electro Oxidation Technologies), a San Jose company recently announced a new technology able to clean perchlorate (and nitrate) polluted water. National and international regulations seem inevitable in order to stop and/or limit the pollution.

Rocket Fuel in our Food
World Watch Magazine: November/December 2003. (downloadable for free)
New Technology able to Destroy Perchlorates/Nitrates in Water
EarthVision Environmental News, June 2, 2003.

European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law Increases It’s Role
Europe's IMPEL (European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law) is an informal network of the environmental authorities of European Union Members. The network is increasing its policy advisory role and capacity building in EU candidate and accession countries. It also proposes to develop enforcement indicators measuring the success of pollution permits, inspection, and enforcement. Formal work is to be kicked off at the next IMPEL plenary meeting in November.

EU pollution inspectors network growing up
Environmental Data Information Exchange, 10 Oct 03.

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications that Could Affect Monitoring and Enforcement Possibilities for International Treaties

Bacterial Conversion of Soluble Uranium to Insoluble Uraninite
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has enabled Geobacter bacteria to convert soluble uranium to insoluble uraninite. A recent test showed that after 50 days, in the presence of artificially elevated levels of acetate, 70% of soluble uranium had been converted into uraninite.

Bugs boost Cold War clean-up
Betsy Mason, Nature News Service, 13 Oct 03.

Hand-Held Chemical Analysis and Detection System
Sandia National Laboratories has developed and tested a series of hand-held chemical analysis and detection systems that can identify the presence of hazardous chemical or biological agents: biotoxins, viruses, and bacterial agents; chemical warfare agents and a selection of toxic industrial chemicals, explosives, and organic solvents. Developed mainly for homeland security, Sandia seeks commercial partners to further develop the technology and make it available on the market to other organizations concerned of environmental quality and control.

Sandia seeks commercialization partners for hand-held chemical analysis and detection system
Press release.

The U.S. Army to Use Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Cars
The U.S. Army recently announced that General Motors agreed to develop an off-road vehicle for the military powered by hydrogen fuel cells. California-based Quantum Fuel System Technologies is to build the prototype vehicle. This reflects the recent focus by the U.S. government on using alternative fuel systems to power the country’s military, enabling it to reduce logistics costs around the world. (In Iraq, for example, a gallon of fuel cost about $400 due to the transportation costs of moving the fuel around the world and around the battlefield.)

Army set to use hydrogen vehicles
Jeremy Grant, Financial Times/MSNBC News, 8 Oct 03.

Technologies that Could Trigger New Forms of Arms Race

Weather Modification Technologies
Over the last 30 years, US research on weather modification has dwindled, and only a handful of research programs exist in other countries. Over this period, atmospheric science has made significant advances, but because weather-modification research has not kept pace, these advances have not been applied in any coherent or sustained way. The National Research Council has published a report calling for a coordinated, sustained national program to answer fundamental questions about basic atmospheric processes and address other issues that are impeding progress in weather modification.

U.S. Should Pursue Additional Research on Weather Modification
National Academies of Science Press Release, 13 Oct 03.
Prepublication Report
National Academies of Science Press Release, 13 Oct 03.

The Human Epigenome Project
The world's first project to map key chemical changes that switch human genes on and off has begun. The Human Epigenome Project follows the completion of the Human Genome Project and aims to map the way methyl groups are added to DNA across the entire human genome. These "epigenetic" changes are believed to turn genes on and off. There is evidence that the methylation pattern of genes is altered in certain tumors. Methylation is a natural process that mainly occurs on cytosine, one of the four bases that make up DNA. When a methyl group is added on to cytosine in the promoter region of a gene - the sequence that causes it to be expressed - the gene is switched off.

Human gene on/off switches to be mapped
Shaoni Bhattacharya, news service, 7 Oct 03.

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

The Aarhus Convention and GMOs
The second meeting of the new Working Group on Genetically Modified Organisms under the Aarhus Convention concluded that a legally binding mechanism for public participation related to GMO activities in the framework of Aarhus Convention is needed. If developed, the legally binding options would be proposed to the next Conference of the Parties in 2005.

The documents of the Working Group are available at

Old Ships Decommissioning a Continuous Problem
EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom wants the US to recall four decommissioned ships already on their way to Britain for dismantling. Both US and British environmentalists and wildlife groups have called for banning movement of the ships because they fear an ecological disaster if they break up en-route across the Atlantic. In addition to carrying fuel, these ships also have PCBs and asbestos aboard.

'Send ghost fleet back' says EU official
BBC NEWS, 14 Oct 03.

Nuclear Issues: EU Nuclear Safety Standards
The European Commission proposal to create the European Union's first ever legal nuclear safety standards is blocked by Germany, UK Sweden, Finland and Belgium who ask that two draft laws be downgraded into non-binding instruments.

EU States Stall Commission's Nuclear Safety Standards (by subscription only)

China: Japan to Pay $2.7 Million for War Gas Leak
Further on Effects of Poison Gas Used in WWII by Japan item of May 2003 environmental scanning report, Japan has agreed to pay China $2.7 million compensation for the August accident caused by chemical weapons Japan left behind in China after World War II. Beijing demands that Tokyo speed up the process of clearing up the chemical weapons, which China says have injured some 2,000 people in recent decades.

China: Japan to Pay $2.7 Million for War Gas Leak.

Iraq Marshlands Restorations Could be Dangerous if not Preceded by Cleanup
The Desk Study on the Environment in Iraq by the United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) Post-Conflict Unit [see April 2003 Millennium Project environmental scanning report] made a major point about the need to restore the Mesopotamian marshlands that were drained in 1991; along with the long-term projects for cleanup of hazardous wastes and emissions, better water and sanitation management, and restoration of the country's ecosystem. The Marsh Arabs of Iraq have started to breach dykes and shut down pumping stations in order to restore the marshes drained by Saddam Hussein's regime. Between 200 and 300 square kilometers of land has now been inundated as people start returning to their ancient way of life. However, some experts worry that these actions could hamper the region's long-term recovery. Flooding areas contaminated with heavy metals such as lead and mercury may create problems for people and wildlife drinking the water and for wildlife living in it. Upstream dams have also reduced the water flow so much that just 15 to 20 per cent of the lost marshes can be restored.

Iraqis reclaim their ancient wetlands, 1 Oct 03.

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EU Hydrogen Research Strategic Agenda

The European Union (EU) announced its ‘hydrogen research strategic agenda’. The EU hopes to replace 20% of vehicle fuels with alternative fuels by 2020. By way of background, a National Science Foundation official has told the Millennium Project, that methanol may well prove more feasible than hydrogen for fuel cells, but hydrogen is the current direction of research. The EU will fund hydrogen development and deployment research projects in order to develop a sustainable hydrogen economy, with component technologies for applications in transport, stationary and portable power. The EU strategy will include a policy framework across transportation, energy, and environmental domains, a public-private partnership to promote commercialization, and a framework to develop international co-operation.

Source: Europe paves way for hydrogen economy. Environmental Data Interactive Exchange, 9 Sep 03

Grain Harvest Shortfalls

The Earth Policy Institute reports that the global 2003 harvest will fall short of consumption by 93 million tons. This will continue a decline in world grain stocks experienced over the last several years. Elevated temperatures and aquifer depletions are the major drivers of this production decline. The immediate implication is that if such environmental conditions continue, the world will soon be unable to feed itself.
Note: The FAO food outlook preview released this month also reveals a sharp decline in prospects for world cereal output since June, which translates to a much greater global cereal carryover draw down than expected, and a much tighter global supply-and-demand situation.

World Facing Fourth Consecutive Grain Harvest Shortfall
Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute, 17 Sep 03

Food outlook preview (FAO)

Indian Water Diversion

India has been planning to divert water from 37 Himalayan rivers to drier areas of the country. A report on this irrigation scheme is due by 2006, with construction to commence shortly thereafter and be completed by 2016. However, diversion of these rivers affects neighboring Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan, who depend upon these rivers for 85% of their drinking water. Flooding during the monsoon season is likely to increase as a result of this diversion. Salinity would affect agricultural lands. The mangrove forests of the Bangladeshi deltas, which are a World Heritage site, would suffer from the lack of fresh water influx. Bangladesh is protesting through diplomatic channels. About 40% of humanity lives in the 260 major international water basins shared by two or more countries; hence, one can expect an increasing need for bi- and multi-lateral treaties to prevent conflict.

Source: Bangladesh PM blasts Indian river-link plan on legal grounds
Daily Times, 19 Sep 03

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications that could affect Monitoring and Enforcement Possibilities for International Treaties

Smart Dust
Smart dust has been in development for the last decade, with the intent of providing a cheap, lightweight, lingering, swarm-based technology that could provide multi-spectral intelligence over critical battlefield and post-conflict areas inaccessible or too hostile for other reconnaissance technologies. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has developed a smart dust application for optically alerting the presence of oil in water. "Such devices could be used to monitor the purity of drinking or sea water, to detect hazardous chemical or biological agents in the air or even to locate and destroy tumor cells in the body" said Michael Sailor, a professor at UCSD's department of chemistry and biochemistry who led the study.

Calif. Chemists Develop 'Smart' Particles
Randolph Schmid, Associated Press, 26 Aug 03

UCSD Chemists Develop Self-Assembling Silicon Particles; A First Step Toward Robots the Size of a Grain of Sand. August 25, 2003

Nanoscale Iron Particles as an Environmental Remediation Technology
A National Science Foundation sponsored study has found that nanoscale (1 to 100 nanometers in diameter) powdered iron is an effective environmental cleanup tool. Nanoscale iron breaks down chlorinated organics into less toxic organic compounds and electrochemically reduces heavy metals to a less soluble form, which reduces their migration through groundwater. Since nanoscale iron can be suspended in a slurry and pumped into contaminated areas, no pump-and-treat or earth moving approaches are needed for remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater.

Source: Nanoscale Iron Could Help Cleanse the Environment
National Science Foundation Press Release 03-94, 3 Sep 03

Detecting Chemical Threats With "Intelligent" Networks
A new system based on microsensor arrays connected to artificial neural networks has the potential to provide early warning of chemical warfare agents well before concentration levels become lethal. The Prototype, presented by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists and a guest researcher at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, has the potential to detect compounds such as sulfur-mustard gas and nerve agents (tabun and sarin) at levels below 1 part per million and predict their concentration in the ambient air. The research, funded by NIST and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, continues.

Source: Detecting Chemical Threats With "Intelligent" Networks

Software Algorithms for Terrorism Prediction
DARPA research into information technologies that enable collaboration among teams of intelligence analysts, policy-makers and covert operators could make it possible for humans and computers to "think together" in real time to "anticipate and preempt terrorist threats." The development of inference network applications is a major step towards such a goal, and is forecast as occurring within two years.

Source: FutureWatch: Using computers to outthink terrorists
Dan Verton, Computerworld, 1 Sep 03,10801,84467,00.html?from=imuheads

Serpentine Self-Healing Robot
British researchers have developed a self-healing robot that uses a shape memory alloy for propulsion and a genetic algorithm to adapt its mobility routines when dealing with damage to itself. Using these two features allows the robot to operate without external operator input and adapt to damage rather than being rendered incapable of completing its mission.

Source: Robot spy can survive battlefield damage
Duncan Graham-Rowe,, 20 Aug 03

Gamma-Ray Weapons
An explosive being developed by the US Department of Defense could blur the critical distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons. The work has also raised fears that weapons based on this technology could trigger the next arms race. The explosive works by stimulating the release of energy from the nuclei of certain elements such as hafnium but does not involve nuclear fission or fusion. The energy, emitted as gamma radiation, is thousands of times greater than that from conventional chemical explosives. One gram of hafnium isomer could store more energy than 50 kilograms of TNT. The effect of a nuclear-isomer explosion would be to release high-energy gamma rays capable of killing any living thing in the immediate area. It would cause little fallout compared to a fission explosion, but any undetonated isomer would be dispersed as small radioactive particles, making it a somewhat "dirty" bomb. This material could cause long-term health problems for anybody who inhaled it. The current forecast for producing militarily significant quantities is five years.

Source: Gamma-ray weapons could trigger next arms race
David Hambling,, 13 Aug 03

Space Elevator Technology
Space elevator technology, centered on the concept of stretching a light but strong ribbon from the surface of the earth to a point in space geosynchronous with the location of the ground end, is quickly approaching technical feasibility. Such technology could be used to boost payloads into earth orbit at an economy of scale that rocket technology cannot match. Preliminary studies indicate that this technology could be ready in 15 years.

Source: High hopes for space elevator
MSNBC News, 17 Sep 03

New Regional Environmental Protection Developments

Gulf Cooperation Council Elevates Priority of Environmental Protection
The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remarked in a recent environmental awards ceremony that the GCC leaders have an interest in joint environmental projects and efforts to increase environmental awareness. Sheik Jaber of Kuwait stated that commitment to environment protection was necessary from all countries in the region as an integral issue that could not be separated by borders. These statement define regional environmental policy, which in effect commit GCC member states to increase environmental protection efforts.

Source: Environment top priority; GCC ministers meet in Kuwait
Arab Times, 15 Sep 03

Brazil’s Response to Biopiracy
Biopiracy, or the harvesting / removal of genetic material without payment or royalties, is increasing as genetic engineering technologies continue to develop new medicines and other genetically derived products. In response to this economic loss, the Brazilian federal police have launched Project Drake, a program to monitor aerial and seaports as well as to increase awareness of the problem. Currently, US foreign policy recognizes genetic Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) under the 1994 Uruguay Round of GATT trade negotiations. Through IPR, genetic material can be traded, in exchange for “socially valuable innovations” that arise from it. Furthermore, the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) facilitates multinational markets’ use of genetic resources.

Source:Brazil Cracks Down on Biopirates
Brazil, 19 Sep 03

New Regional Environmental Offices in Asia to Strengthen Environmental Protection
In an effort to strengthen UNEP’s delivery of regional-level programs, a new office was opened in China.  As part of an effort to promote the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP), a 1994 agreement made by China, Japan, South Korea and Russia to preserve the marine environment in Northeast Asia, regional coordination offices are also planned to open shortly in Toyama, Japan and Pusan, South Korea.

Environmental information centers opened in Baku, Azerbaijan and Dushanbe, Tajikistan as a step in the implementation of the United Nations Aarhus Convention (to promote public access to environmental information and encourage participation in decision-making in environmental affairs). The offices were opened with support from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Azerbaijan's Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources opened and respectively the Tajik Ministry of Nature Protection.

Pollution Prevention in West Asia
At a recent waste management and pest control conference, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) official said that many countries in the region had laws regarding the management of waste and environmental pollution, but that enforcement was problematic. The lack of technical expertise and infrastructure were also cited as barriers to more effective regional waste management.

Environmental NGOs Wield Increasing Influence over Policy in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstani non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that concentrate on environmental issues are wielding growing influence over government policy, as was evidenced at a conference held in Almaty in early June 2003 that focused on developing new environmental legislation to be introduced into Parliament later this year.
"The main goal behind [setting up] the [environmental] working group is that the law will be drawn up from the outset by interested NGOs, users of natural resources and the Environmental Protection Ministry," the Deputy Environmental Protection Minister Nurlan Iskakov said.
Kazakhstan, like the rest of the Central Asian republics, faces increasingly severe environmental problems stemming from both the Soviet era, when it was a nuclear center, and the first ten years of independence, State spending on environmental protection has tripled in the past three years. According to Open Society’s EurasiaNet, “NGOs have played a key role in helping to harness grass-roots concerns into cohesive pressure on policy-makers. A key moment for Kazakhstan’s environmental movement occurred in early 2003, when an NGO coalition mounted a successful campaign to force the government to shelve a revenue-generating scheme to import nuclear waste. …[President] Nazarbayev recently indicated that environmental protection would be among the government’s top policy priorities in the coming years.”

Japanese Government Approves Regional UNEP Office

United Nations Environment Programme opens China Office - 19 sep 2003

Environmental information centre opens in Azerbaijan

Environment information resource centre opens in Tajikistan with OSCE support

UNEP official stresses need for enforcement of environment laws
By A Staff Reporter, Times of Oman, 07 Sep 03

Environmental NGOs In Kazakhstan Wield Increasing Influence Over Policy In Kazakhstan

International Meetings with Implications for Environmental Security

World Parks Congress Adopts Conservation Accord
The Durban Action Plan and Durban Accord adopted at the 5th World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa stipulates new commitments and policy guidance for protected areas worldwide. Among the 32 specific recommendations are: establishing a global system of protected areas linking surrounding landscapes and seascapes by 2012; and the development of a credible global estimate of funding needs by 2006 to improve the management of the world’s 100,000 protected areas.
Also at the congress, West African countries (Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal, as well as 50 organizations) announced their participation in the Regional Program for Conservation of Coastal and Marine Resources, a new integrated network of protected marine areas to address rapidly declining fishing stocks.

International Freshwater Forum calls for better watersheds management
In his address to the International Freshwater Forum in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, emphasized that delay in providing safe water results in great risks and called for better regional watersheds management. The same idea was reaffirmed in the message of OSCE Secretary General, Jan Kubis who also indicated that the OSCE is directly engaged in a number of projects that aim at promoting dialogue and co-operation on sustainable water management “to enhancing early warning and conflict prevention mechanisms and strengthen processes of confidence-building and co-operation throughout the OSCE area." The Government of Tajikistan was hosting the forum under the broader theme of “Water, Environment and Security”.
At a side-event, OSCE, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNEP presented the joint OSCE/UNDP/UNEP Initiative on Environment and Security (ENVSEC). Phase one of the Initiative identified the key problems affecting the environment and human health and posing an immediate security risk in the region; "the next step will be to map out and implement common environmental priorities and opportunities for strengthening co-operation," said Frits Schlingemann, Director and Regional Representative, UNEP.
Note: The “World Bank's Board of Directors has recently endorsed a new Water Resources Strategy as well as a new Infrastructure Action Plan in response to strong client-country demand for infrastructure.” (Ian Johnson, Vice President of Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development; and Nemat Talaat Shafik, Vice President) The United Nations University (UNU) and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) will host in October an international symposium on “Public Participation and Governance in Water Resources Management.”

International Bar Association Meeting 15-19 September 2003
The International Bar Association held its annual meeting in San Francisco 15-19 September 2003. International environmental law is one of the topics on the agenda. Although the outcomes of the meeting are not yet available, there were several sessions with eventual relevance to environmental security; e.g. Health issues related to exposure to chemicals session held by The Committee for Environment, Health and Safety Law stated that “Comprehensive new legislative requirements affecting virtually all sectors of industry are expected, which raise industrial concerns that necessary and important chemicals not be banned or delisted without adequate risk assessments."

The Meeting of Experts to Strengthen a Global Ban on Biological Weapons
The Meeting of Experts was held in preamble to the annual meetings of the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) as set by the Fifth Review Conference of the treaty [see Strengthen a global ban on Biological Weapons issue in Millennium Project November report]. The experts from 150 States Parties and UN World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), focused on addressing the legal framework necessary for implementation and enforcement of the Convention’s requirements, and security mechanisms concerning pathogenic microorganisms and toxins. The outcomes of the meeting are not yet available, but will constitute the input to the annual meeting of States Parties to BTWC to be held in November 10-14, 2003.
Note: Referring to "genetic bombs", a recent article , is warning that "advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."

Conference On Disarmament Unable To Agree On Work Program
The U.N. Conference on Disarmament, the sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, failed again in reaching consensus on a program of work. [See also Millennium Project’s September 2002 and January 2003 emerging environmental security issue reports.] The adopted annual report requests that future presidents conduct consultations among member countries during the inter-sessional period and, if possible, make recommendations considering all relevant proposals and the outcomes so far. The 2004 sessions are scheduled for Jan. 19 to March 26, May 10 to June 25, and June 26 to Sept. 10.

Vth IUCN World Parks Congress Sets Agenda for Next Decade, Spurs Conservation Initiatives for Africa

Over 700 Threatened Species Not Protected – Study

World’s Protected Areas Top 100,000, Exceed Size Of India And China – UN Report; UN News Service, New York, Sep 9 2003 10:00AM

Water as a security issue - OSCE Secretary General encourages co-operation in message to Tajikistan forum

“Water, Environment and Security”, Dushanbe International Fresh Water Forum

Environment and security was key issue for International Forum on Fresh Water in Dushanbe

Environment Matters, 2003

World Must Act Now To Provide Safe Water, Further Delay Entails Great Risk – Annan; UN News Service, New York, Aug 30 2003 2:00PM

UNU to Host Symposium On Public Participation In Managing Water Resources; UNU Press Release, September 25, 2003

International Bar Association Conference Papers

International lawyer group to meet in S.F.
Convention to feature 700 speakers from 170 countries
Harriet Chiang, Chronicle Legal Affairs Writer, Saturday, September 13, 2003’

Experts meet at UN headquarters in Geneva to strengthen biological arms ban

Conference On Disarmament Adopts Annual Report, Concludes 2003 Session
Speakers Regret Conference’s Inability to Adopt a Programme of Work for Seven Years; Welcome the “Five Ambassadors” Proposal to End the Stalemate
Conference On Disarmament Concludes 2003 Session

Updates on Previously Identified Emerging Issues

Protocols Coming Into Force

POP Protocol Comes into Force
The U.N. Economic Commission for Europe has announced that the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) will enter into force October 23, following France's ratification. POPs is the sixth protocol to take effect under the Geneva Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the U. N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). [See also Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Regime to Enter into Force in 2004 in July 2003 and The Stockholm Convention May Get Some Teeth issue in October 2002 monthly environmental scanning report]. The protocol focuses on 16 substances (11 pesticides, two industrial chemicals and three by-products/contaminants) with the ultimate goal of eliminating any discharges, emissions and losses of these POPs.

Cartagena Protocol On Biosafety Enters Into Force
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety requires exporters to provide the importer complete relevant information and documentation pertaining to genetically modified organisms. It also establishes an Internet-based biosafety clearinghouse to help nations exchange information about genetically modified organisms.
The Protocol entered into force on September 11; to date, 57 states and the European Community have ratified it. Strategic and operational measures for the implementation of the protocol will be discussed by States Parties at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, February 23-27, 2004.

Persistent Organic Pollutants Protocol To Enter Into Force

Cartagena Protocol On Biosafety Takes Effect 11 September

Entry into force of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: Press Kit

EU Chemical Policy Reforms
Over 70 health and environmental organizations have written to the US government, accusing it of “intervening in the regulatory process of sovereign nations at the behest of the industry”, and urging it to cease efforts to undermine EU chemicals policy reforms. Key elements of the proposed changes include: introduction of the REACH system to Register, Evaluate and Authorize new Chemicals; the obligation for the chemical industry to provide safety data and risk assessments of new chemicals; and provisions to reduce animal testing. The US chemical industry and the Bush administration are opposed to these changes.
Note: The REACH system proposals have been revised in response to criticism from the chemical industry and from the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The recently released new draft lightens the burden on industry and clarifies previously vague provisions concerning manufacturers and importers and the "duty of care" to avoid open-ended liability claims. Also, industry concerns over stricter protection of confidential business information is better addressed.

NGOs attack US administration for trying to block EU chemicals bill
Environmental Data Interactive Exchange, 19 Sep 03
European Chemicals Authorization Plan Changed to Suit Industry (by subscription only)

Claims of Radioactive Battlefields in Iraq need more scientific ground
Several stories have emerged in recent weeks trying to expose a link between elevated radiation readings in Iraq with various illnesses among military personnel. Iraq: Experts Warn of Radioactive Battlefields story is a good example of such sloppy reporting. Another story, Iraqi Cities 'Hot' with Depleted Uranium, widely distributed (over 600 news and internet sites have carried it or cited it so far), contains a number of factual errors and leaps of logic. Doing the math, radiation levels in Baghdad of around 4 Sieverts are claimed; 1 Sievert is the radiation dose causing immediate radiation sickness. However, no acute radiation poisoning is reported. The citation of the AEPI report is incorrect; a 200 Rem (i.e., 2 Sievert) dose would cause nausea, vomiting, and other acute symptoms. Such as dose is not twice the exposure limit but 2,000 times the exposure limit. Obviously, US ammunition handlers do not experience such doses.
Note: A UK Telegraph News article writes that the UK Army will end the use of controversial uranium-tipped shells in the next 6 years. This could add pressure for an international treaty to ban their use.

Iraqi Cities 'Hot' with Depleted Uranium
Sara Flounders, Coastal Post, 04 Sep 03

Iraq: Experts Warn of Radioactive Battlefields
Katherine Stapp, Inter Press Service, 12 Sep 03

Army's new tank gun will end use of controversial uranium-tipped shells
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, Telegraph News, UK (Filed: 21/09/2003)

Nuclear Issues

Attention is needed to the Dimona Reactor in Israel
The Palestinian Environment Quality Authority warns that the Israeli Dimona nuclear reactor is vulnerable to a meltdown and may be a source of radioactive contamination in neighboring countries. Anecdotal burials of nuclear waste in the Negev desert are cited as a source of radioactive contamination. Jordanian cancer data are further cited as evidence of this alleged contamination. Jordan raised concerns about this reactor three years ago, which indicated that radioactive pollution of local aquifers could contaminate a vast area extending from southern Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia into Egypt. At the request of Oman, the subject of Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and Threat was addressed at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on September 15-19. The resolution just states, “The item was discussed. Several Member States requested that this item be included in the provisional agenda of the 48th regular session of the General Conference.”

Dimona Reactor… a Mystery Threatening the Middle East
International Press Center (IPC), 18 Sep 03

IAEA Item 21 of the agenda; (GC(47)/21)
Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and Threat

Groundbreaking Resolutions Adopted by the IAEA General Conference
In its effort to strengthen nuclear and radiation safety, the IAEA 47th General Conference held in Vienna, 15-19 September, adopted several resolutions: establishing a nuclear-weapon-free-zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East "as an important confidence-building measure"; resolution calling on all Member States to implement safeguards agreements and stressing the importance of additional protocols that would strengthen the system's capability for detecting undeclared nuclear material and activities; a comprehensive resolution that stresses key IAEA role for global cooperation and covers all aspects related to nuclear and radioactive material from manufacture, storage, transport to waste management. Emphasizing transportation safety, it requests the development of an Action Plan for the safe transportation of radioactive material based on the findings of the International Conference on the Safety of Transport of Radioactive Material held at the IAEA in July this year [see IAEA To Enhance Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials item in July report].

IAEA 47th General Conference main page:

Official documents and resolutions of the General Conference are issued in printed form. Selected reports and information documents or excerpts from them, related to major items on the Provisional Agenda are available at (This list will be updated as more documents become available)

Application of Nuclear Safeguards in the Middle East:

States Support Measures to Strengthen IAEA Safeguards:

States Back Measures for Strengthened Safety in Nuclear, Radiation Fields:

Nuclear Worries Proliferate Over North Korea, Iran, ENS Newsletter (by subscription only)

UN Disarmament Yearbook reiterates the Need for total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
The 27th edition of the UN Disarmament Yearbook published by the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs, was released on September 5, 2003. Listing the dangers and consequences of use of small arms, landmines, WMD, and conventional weapons, UN Secretary-General says that “Of all these challenges, however, the total elimination of nuclear weapons must remain the top priority.” The report assesses progress made to strengthen disarmament legal norms with regard to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as well as bilateral, multilateral and regional developments, illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and steps in eradicating and reducing anti-personnel landmines.
Note: The 2003 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), held in Vienna, stressed the importance of prompt adoption of the treaty by the 12 countries whose ratification is key to its operability (China, Colombia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, United States and Viet Nam.)

Sources: Total Elimination Of Nuclear Weapons No: 1 Disarmament Priority - Annan
UN News Service, New York, September 5, 2003
Conference Calls on Holdout States to Ratify UN-Backed Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
UN News Service, New York, September 5 2003 6:00PM

Nanotechnology Market Growth Curve
In the past few years, nanomaterials have become integral components of products as diverse as sunscreens, electrically conductive coatings, and strong, lightweight plastic composites. Up to this time, most of the applications have depended on unique chemical and physical behaviors of ultra-small particles, behaviors that border on quantum effects. Nanodevices that perform functions are beginning to enter the practical market. Now nanomaterials are vying for new markets in electronics, food packaging, industrial processing and other areas. Nanotechnology is now a $385 million-per-year business in the United States, a figure that is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2008 and $20 billion by 2013.
Note: See also related issues in Millennium Project monthly reports: Who Will Control Nanotechnology? (June 2003) and Some Nanotechnology may become a new kind of pollution (November 2002)

Gordon Graff, Purchasing magazine, 28 Aug 03

Improved coordination of global Earth observation
At the Earth Observation Summit held in August in Washington, the delegates agreed to improve the access to data and exchange of information between countries and organizations and enlarge it towards a more encompassing global partnership. A 10-year Implementation Plan based on better use and coordination of existing systems and initiatives will be prepared. Its framework will be presented at the 2004 Ministerial Conference to be held in Tokyo and the Plan itself at the Ministerial Conference to be hosted by the European Union towards the end of 2004. [See also Better Use of Satellites to Monitor International Treaties, March report, Millennium Project Environmental Scanning.]

Source: Improved coordination of global Earth observation
ESA Press Release N°49-2003 - Summit agrees to improve coordination of global Earth observation

GMO controversy continues

EU Countries May Ban GMOs With Proof of Risks
Continuing this issue from the Millennium Project’s September 2002 and March 2003 report, (Genetically Modified Food Issues – EU Official OK’s Single Country’s Import Ban) the EU's highest court ruled on September 9 that EU governments may impose temporary bans on genetically modified foods if it is provable that there are health risks associated with them.

Source: EU Countries May Ban GMOs With Proof of Risks, Court Says
UN Wire, Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Canada Introduces Voluntary Labeling of GM Food
Voluntary Labelling (sic) of Foods Obtained or Not Obtained Through Genetic Engineering (GE) is a proposal for standards in labeling GM food in Canada. After passing the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), it goes to the Standards Council of Canada for implementation. This might be the way towards mandatory labeling of GM provenience food.

Source: Government of Canada. Consensus reached on Voluntary Standard for Labelling of Genetically Engineered Foods. Ottawa, ON September 8, 2003.

Back to the Top

JULY 2003

Post-conflict issues

Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (5MSP) 15-19 September 2003

This meeting will assess the state of the world in the struggle against landmines. Militant organizations are expected to intensify their campaign to increase the number of States adhering to the Ottawa Convention. In the context of this September meeting in Thailand and Italy taking over as President of the European Union, the Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines released a set of recommendations to the EU Presidency: Promoting a truly mine-free world; The role of the Italian Presidency of the European Union. The recommendations are grouped by region. Concerning trans-Atlantic relations, it stipulates: “Seek reassurance from the current administration that the stated US goal of accession to the Ottawa Treaty by 2006 still stands;” and “Raise the issue of incompatibility between Treaty obligations and obligations arising from State parties’ membership of NATO.” The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) calls for action to stop production and use of antipersonnel mines in seven Asian countries: China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Vietnam. At the annual gathering, participants will include the 134 states that have joined the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and others, including the ICBL.

Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines -- recommendations to the EU Presidency
Action alert on Asia: for the Meeting of States Parties, 01-Jul-2003
Italy urged to embrace global landmine challenge, Rome, Italy, 17-Jul-2003

North American Regional Action Plan on Dioxins and Furans, and Hexachlorobenzene

The draft of a new North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) to improve the capacities of the Parties to reduce exposure to dioxins and furans, and hexachlorobenzene in the three North American countries is now available for public comment. This is the last phase before the completion of the action plan that sets out practical measures to reduce the risks to the environment and human health from the release of these substances. The public comment period ends 16 September 2003. The three substances are a group of organic pollutants that are toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative, and which can be transported long distances through atmospheric and aquatic pathways.

Source: Phase One North American Regional Action Plan

New Report on Advanced Sensors for Biological Warfare Agents

This National Research Council report is expected to be released August 2003. It identifies critical materials and manufacturing technologies to make, validate, and deploy sensors to identify biological warfare agents -- mainly disease-causing bacteria and viruses. The report determines how the U.S. Government could help manufacture and field such sensors. Advancing sensor technology makes monitoring and enforcement of environmentally related treaties potentially more effective.


Environmental Victory in Japan May Presage Further Campaigns

After 12 years of grassroots protests by the people of Teshima Island in the Inland Sea of Japan, the Government of Japan has agreed to an effort to clean up the island. It has been a dumping ground for toxic industrial waste. This effort may cost up to $500 million. The success of this grassroots environmental drive may very well encourage an increase in the number and intensity of other similar environmental efforts in Japan.

Source: Japanese Winning Cleanup Battles
By Howard W. French (NYT), New York Times - Foreign Desk, July 2, 2003

East African Environmental Security Symposium

The “Integrating Environmental Security Concerns in Development Policy in Africa” project is implemented by the Partnership for African Environmental Sustainability (PAES) and covers Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. The EU-funded project seeks to provide a new framework for resolving violent conflict through addressing issues of environmental degradation, resource depletion and poverty as potential causes of violent conflict in Africa. The Symposium to be held in Kampala, Uganda, 23-25 September 2003 will present the main findings of case studies on Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. The suggested topics of focus for the Symposium are: environmental insecurity, poverty and conflict linkage; environmental regeneration and conflict prevention and resolution; water resources scarcity and conflict; environmental security, sustainable peace and development; and legal and institutional, social and economic, and political and cultural aspects of environmental insecurity and conflict; integrating environmental security considerations in policy and strategies development; gender dimensions of the environmental insecurity and conflict link; and sound environmental management as a tool for conflict resolution.

Source: Symposium On: Environmental Insecurity, Poverty And Conflict: Towards Sustainable Peace And Development In Africa
Kampala, Uganda, 23-25 September 2003,

Asian Cities and Oil Representatives Meet to Cut Air Pollution

The Clean Air Initiative, an environmental group affiliated with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, met in Singapore on 21 July with representatives from 12 oil companies to discuss reducing air pollution in badly afflicted Asian cities. A consultant told the group that its first task should be to develop a schedule for cities to set and achieve acceptable levels. A spokesman for the Initiative said that their eventual goal is clean air legislation. 19 Asian cities in ten countries (including five capital cities) are members so far.

World Bank group meets to clean up Asia's deadly air
By Associated Press, 22 July 2003,
The Clean Air Initiative (CAI), World Bank

New Catalyst Makes Hydrogen Power More Feasible

A team of scientists of the University of Wisconsin at Madison has developed a hydrogen-making catalyst that uses cheaper materials and yields fewer contaminants than do current processes, while extracting the element from common renewable plant sources. Further, the new catalyst lies at the heart of a chemical process the authors say is a significant advance in producing alternate fuels from domestic sources. “The aqueous-phase reforming (APR) process can be used on the small scale to produce fuel for portable devices, such as cars, batteries, and military equipment,“ said James Dumesic, one of the team’s scientists. “But it could also be scaled up as a hydrogen source for industrial applications, such as the production of fertilizers or the removal of sulfur from petroleum products.” Relative to other catalysts, the Raney-NiSn can perform for long time periods (at least 48 hours) and at lower temperatures (roughly 225 degrees Celsius).

Source: New Catalyst Paves Way For Cheap, Renewable Hydrogen
SpaceDaily, Jul 2, 2003,

Updates on Previously Identified Emerging Issues

Depleted Uranium Controversy Continues Cites Source Saying Radiation Pollution Near Baghdad Airport Might Be Related To Depleted Uranium

The source says that: unexplained diseases contracted by a number of American troops in the vicinity of Baghdad Airport might be caused by the use of depleted uranium (DU); the levels of radioactive pollution were high enough to have destructive impacts on humans and environment and even on generations to come; and that the Americans argued that the mysterious symptoms might be the consequences of exposure to excessive hot weather and sun that the U.S. troops are not used to.

Source: Mysterious Diseases Haunt U.S. Troops In Iraq

Nuclear Policy Research Institute Makes the Scientific Case Against Depleted Uranium

Further to DU Symposium held at the New York Academy of Medicine June 2003 [see Environmental Security monthly report, June 2003], the Depleted Uranium: Scientific Basis for Assessing Risk report published by the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI) is a comprehensive review of some of the key research applicable to the issue and reaches some conclusions and recommendations for the future. Some of the conclusions include clear health risks induced by exposure to depleted uranium and that DU fragments and contaminated equipment should be cleaned up and civilian access, especially by children, should be prevented. The NPRI recommendations include: health investigation of civilians and soldiers in affected areas; immediate action to prevent further civilian exposure to contaminated equipment and ordinance; and schedules for the remediation and cleanup of contaminated equipment, buildings and other locations where depleted uranium may be found. Further tasks are: establish systems for long-term monitoring of migration of DU into the environment, water supplies and milk; and health assessment of the population in areas where DU was used.

Given the potential long-lasting risk to noncombatants, the military should investigate alternative sources for ammunition material and immediately halt the production, sale and use of depleted uranium munitions.

Unprecedented Report Makes The Scientific Case Against Depleted Uranium
Christine Haenn, Nuclear Policy Research Institute, 07/08/2003
Depleted Uranium: Scientific Basis for Assessing Risk

Nuclear Safety

Looted Nuclear Material Situation in Iraq Not Fully Assessed

Related to the “Nuclear Safety During Conflicts” issue [April environmental security report] is a new report by IAEA to the UN Security Council concerning the inspection of the Tuwaitha nuclear research complex near Baghdad.  It explains that while most of the low-radiation nuclear material and containers were recovered and they do not present significant health risks or dirty-bomb danger, the IAEA could not assess the situation with respect to the highly radioactive cesium-137, cobalt-160 and other materials, which could be used in dirty bombs and present higher health risk. The IAEA and Greenpeace called upon the coalition authorities to give full access for investigation of all nuclear sites. Radiation sickness in residents at looted nuclear sites has been observed and a contaminated water supply is suspected as well. Greenpeace calls upon the coalition forces to protect the citizens in the occupied territories by virtue of the Geneva Convention.

Source: UN in Dark About Looted Iraq Dirty Bomb Material
Story by Louis Charbonneau, Reuters News Service, Austria, July 17, 2003,

Implementation of the Safeguards Agreement between the Republic of Iraq and the International Atomic Energy Agency pursuant to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Report by the Director general, 14 July 2003,

IAEA To Enhance Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials

Related to the nuclear safety issues considered in previous monthly reports , is a recent weeklong international conference on the Safety of Transport of Radioactive Material.  IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei acknowledged that current nuclear material transportation safety is relatively good, but recognized the increasing concern about nuclear security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism. He specifically cited issues of uniform applications and possible improvements of the present regulatory control system for the transport of such radioactive materials; timely and effective communication between concerned governments, and between these governments and the public at large; and understanding on how to reconcile the need for transparency with the requirements for security. With the increasing number of nuclear power plants to be decommissioned around the world, the eventual movement of on-site storage to long-terms storage sites, and the potential interest in terrorist use of dirty bombs, new international agreements may reflect the concerns of the IAEA Director General.

Source: UN Nuclear Watchdog Meets To Enhance Safe Transport Of Radioactive Materials
UN newsletter, New York, Jul 7, 2003

Related sources imply transportation increase for safer and deeper burial sites:
IAEA Says Terrorism Necessitates Deep Waste Burial
UN Wire, July 21, 2003,

The Long Term Storage Of Radioactive Waste: Safety And Sustainability
A Position Paper of International Experts
International Atomic Energy Agency,

New Regulations Concerning Genetically Modified Food

European Parliament Enacts Genetically Modified Food Labeling Rules

In a preamble to lifting the ban on GM food, the European Parliament passed regulations for the traceability and labeling of genetically modified (GM) food and feed products and sets the accidental mixing of GM in non-GM to no more than 0.9%. The new regulation also allows EU states to set ‘appropriate measures’ that protect conventional strains from cross-pollinating with GM crops. The new regulations are expected to come into force in September, with firms having six months to apply them.

Pressure To Label GM Food Mounts In EU And US,

E.U. passes GM labeling laws, U.S. is unimpressed
By Robin Pomeroy, Reuters, Environmental News Network, 03 July 2003,

UN Commission Adopts Landmark Agreement on Safety of Bio-Foods

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a subsidiary of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), adopted three sets of standards on safety of genetically modified food at its recent 26th session held in Rome. The standards cover the scientific assessment of DNA-modified plants; a new standard for irradiated food that accepts higher levels of gamma rays to kill bacteria and increase shelf life; and new quality standards for many food items. Altogether, the Commission adopted more than 50 new food safety and quality standards, some of which are revisions of old standards. The guidelines concern food safety and not environmental risks. The guidelines set rules across the Codex's 169 member countries and can be used to settle trade disputes.

Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme Codex Alimentarius Commission
Twenty-sixth Session, FAO Headquarters, Rome (Italy), 30 June - 7 July 2003,

Additional New Micro Device for DNA Testing

Related to item “New Chip Speeds Field Detection of Specific DNA's” [April 2003 monthly report] is the American Society for Microbiology's (ASM) Conference on Bio- Micro- Nano-systems. Cornell University announced the development of a testing system for DNA that fits on a silicon chip, which can be customized to detect a wide variety of microorganisms. The chip consists of one area that captures the DNA from the sample and purifies it, and a second where a polymerase chain reaction is performed. The key improvement of this device over earlier ones is the incorporation of the purification step onto the chip. The next step in the evolution will be adding a fluorescence-based detection element. The researchers expect the final system to be about the size of a shoebox.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are incorporating this technology in the diagnosis of emerging diseases and in the early detection of bio-terror threats, using so called "Zebra chips."

Miniature biolab embedded on silicon chip
American Society for Microbiology, July 9, 2003,
Nathaniel C. Cady,
16th July Hill Briefing SARS: Lessons for Bio Defense
[Dr. Carole A. Heilman, Director of the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)]

TESEO Guide Facilitates Space-Based Environmental Monitoring

Related to the European Space Agency Treaty Enforcement Services using Earth Observation (TESEO) initiative [“Better Use of Satellites to Monitor International Treaties”, environmental security report March 2003] is the Agency’s new CD-ROM introductory guide to what Earth Observation data is available and how it can be utilized by those who need it. The Environmental Conventions and Observation from Space multimedia CD-ROM is for anyone in the business of protecting the environment. The CD-ROM specifically highlights how Earth Observation data can be used to support the implementation of three international treaties—the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the 1992 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, and the 1996 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

New Guide Highlights ESA's Environmental Enforcement Activities,

Russia Closer to Ratifying Kyoto Protocol

Based on the conclusions of a Russian government team that Kyoto Protocol ratification would carry no economic or political risks, President Vladimir Putin is expected to submit in September the Protocol ratification for discussion to the Russian Parliament. The European Union is urging Russia to ratify the agreement so it can enter into force and promises that Western countries would invest in Russian emission-cutting technology.

Russia Edges Toward Ratifying Kyoto Protocol,
EU ministers put pressure on wavering Russia to ratify Kyoto protocol
By Stephen Castle in Brussels., 21 July 2003,

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Regime to Enter into Force in 2004

Related to “The Stockholm Convention May Get Some Teeth” issue [October 2002 monthly report], the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Stockholm Convention) held earlier this month in Geneva its 7th session (INC-7). The discussions mainly focused on details for the preparation of the first Conference of the Parties to the convention and also to consider technical and financial mechanism, terms of reference for the POPs Review Committee (POPRC) and non-compliance issues. The most controversial issues of INC-7 seemed to be related to technical assistance and non-compliance matters.

POPs coverage of INC-7:
POPs Session Lays Groundwork For Stockholm Convention
Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 14-18 July 2003, Geneva, Switzerland

New International Maritime Organization Environmental Standards

Related to the item “New Marine Regulations” [June 2003 monthly report] are the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) revised guidelines on environmental safety and health-related issues and considered submissions by the European Union to accelerate the phase-out of single hull tankers. The guidelines include issues related to double-hull oil tankers, shipbreaking, ballast water management, greenhouse gas emissions from ships and ship recycling. The draft guidelines will be submitted for adoption at the 23rd IMO Assembly to be held in November 2003.

Secretary-General urges realistic, pragmatic and well-balanced approach to tanker regulations as key meeting gets underway
Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 49th session: 14-18 July 2003, (Latest News)

Misc. China to Create Long-term Plan for Scientific and Technological Development

On 30 May 2003, the Chinese State Council urged the preparation of a long-term plan for China's scientific and technological development. According to the People’s Daily, “The plan would be formulated on the basis of an overall analysis of the development and changes in global politics, economy, military affairs, culture, public health and ecological environment ….”


Back to the Top

JUNE 2003

Post-conflict issues

New UN Policy on Mine Victim Assistance

The UN system has recently adopted the UN policy on Victim Assistance intended to protect the rights of persons directly affected by landmines. Some 15,000 to 20,000 persons are killed or injured by landmines annually. Approximately seven of every ten victims are civilians and half of these are children. Most landmine survivors lack access to adequate medical care, rehabilitation services, trauma care and employment opportunities, although the 1997 Anti-personnel Mine Ban Treaty requires States Parties to “provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of mine victims...” States Parties have acknowledged this provision to be weak and have highlighted the need for a legal instrument that would address the concerns of landmine survivors within a broader context of disability and human rights. The new UN policy will be coordinated by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), which is in charge of ensuring effective policy development and coordinating mine action activities carried out by UN agencies, programs and departments, and of establishing mine action programs as part of peacekeeping operations or in humanitarian emergencies.

Source: Statement by Mr. Martin Barber, Director, UN Mine Action Service, 19 June 2003

Mine Action and effective coordination: the United Nations Policy, Sectoral policy: The scope of action of mine action centres and organizations in victim assistance copies available at UNMAS, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)

Draft Protocol on Cluster Bombs Cleanup Liability

Negotiations on a protocol under the U.N. Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons ended without agreement on the text; the next meeting is November 2003. The new draft would require owners of the weapons to clear their unexploded cluster bombs they had used during conflicts. The new protocol would also cover hand grenades and other explosive devices. The UK and the US opposed the legally binding protocol, opting for weaker language that would stipulate just a voluntary declaration of intention to remove cluster bombs after a conflict. A recent Landmine Action report says at least 92 countries are threatened by unexploded cluster bombs or other explosive remnants of war. It is possible that consensus will be reached in November on the new protocol that will require in more- or less-binding language for the weapons’ owners to clear unexploded cluster bombs and other explosive devices they used, after the conflict is over.

Britain tries to weaken UN deal on cluster bombs
The Guardian, Thursday June 26, 2003, by Owen Bowcott,3604,985051,00.html

Report says 92 states strewn with lethal war debris:

Health Research Updates on Depleted Uranium Inconclusive

The Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI) held a symposium at the New York Academy of Medicine June 2003 to explore what is currently known about the health effects of depleted uranium munitions. Key experts from a variety of fields presented their findings and reviewed current policies. A comprehensive background paper on “The international legal ramifications of the use of DU weapons”, by Avril McDonald  asserts that while there are several legal arguments that could potentially be made for the restriction or prohibition of DU use, more scientific data is required to make a strong enough case.

Streaming audio and print form the NRPI Symposium on the health effects of depleted uranium munitions are available at:

The international legality of depleted uranium weapons. Background paper for presentation on ‘The international legal ramifications of the use of DU weapons’, Symposium on The Health Impact of Deplete Uranium Munitions.’ by Avril McDonald:

More Precise Method of Identifying Short and Longer Term Radiation Impacts on Humans

Liability for depleted uranium and other radioactive impacts could eventually be verified by a new technique to examine DNA damage. A team of American and Russian scientists used new dyes on DNA and computer imaging software to examine chromosomes to more precisely determine the kind of radioactive impacts in humans.  Applying the dyes to the blood of 31 Russians who worked at a secret nuclear facility near Ozyorsk and scanning their DNA now color highlighted, revealed that despite the fact that their exposure to plutonium was more than ten years ago, the results were remarkably clear-cut, with higher levels of radiation exposure corresponding to higher levels of intrachromasomal damage.  The technique is relatively easy and, once the process is refined and automated (this study took two years to conduct), it should provide scientists with a reliable way to measure the lifetime radiation exposure of individuals and provide legal evidence in liability cases.

Geiger counter in every human revealed

Draft Strategic Plan for Environment and Security Management Across North American Borders

Environmental Ministers of Canada, US, and Mexico approved a strategic plan for North American regional cooperation on a broad set of environmental issues prepared by The North American Working Group on Environmental Enforcement and Compliance Cooperation and Joint Public Advisory Committee.  The central issues addressed in the strategic plan included: conservation of biodiversity; freshwater; management and tracking of hazardous waste; enforcement matters; environmental enforcement and compliance cooperation; health; management of chemicals; cooperation on North American Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers; air quality; and disclosure of financially relevant environmental information. Following a 60-day public review the draft strategic plan will be finalized and ready to be implemented.

Source: CEC Newsletter, 25 Jun 2003
CEC Ministerial Statement; Tenth Regular Session of the CEC Council:
Background material on each topic reviewed by Council:

Chemical Tracking System Discussed by South American Countries

With support of the United Nations, Brazil's Environment Ministry and Canada, nine South American countries -- Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay and Colombia have discussed the development of national tracking systems for chemical emissions. The idea is to have industry track their polluting materials (mostly chemicals) from the place of generation to the final destination, regardless if the material ends up in another product or as waste in a river. It has not yet been decided if the reporting and registration will be mandatory or optional. The system will make clearer the current chemical pollution situation, leading to public pressure for actions that decrease environmental pollution. Polluting substances—mainly chemicals—will be inventoried in all industries.

U.N. Wire, June 24, translation by Maura Campanili and Agencia Estado
Conference background in Portuguese:

The European Union Has Created Environmental Diplomacy Network

The Council of the European Union has established a network of experts that “… will address the link between environment and security by ensuring that environmental factors are fully addressed in conflict prevention activities as well as in post-conflict reconstruction while at the same time bringing together Member States' analyses of environment and security linkages in different regions as a step towards identifying priorities for more concerted action… provide the third parties (countries and/or international organizations) with explanations on EU policies and on its positions on relevant issues…” according to the EU Presidency Note 10 June 2003 on the European Diplomacy on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Linking environmental and security issues will be the new EU "green diplomacy" network’s main focus due to the recognition that scarce resources are a source of conflict, conflicts affect the environment, destroyed environments reduce stability, poverty is a source of potential conflict risk, transboundary environmental protection can lead to wider cooperation, and bilateral and multilateral diplomatic efforts can further sustain development. The new network was endorsed by European heads of state and of government at the Thessaloniki, Greece, meeting, to help integrate environment into foreign policies, in line with the bloc's Cardiff process on environmental integration.

EU presidency paper:
Theassaloniki European Council Presidency Conclusions (see page 23 points 77 and 76):

Who Will Control Nanotechnology?

Just as nuclear technology is used by both military and civilian institutions and has national and international controls, so too will nanotechnology.  The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has had sessions with US EPA on the environmental impacts of nanotechnology.  European environmental groups including European Greens, The Ecologist, Greenpeace, The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Genewatch UK, Clean Production Action and ETC Group, as well as a cross-party group of MEP's, held a seminar on nanotechnology at the European Parliament in Brussels on June 11, 2003, to consider societal and safety questions that need to be answered preparatory to possible governmental and treaty actions in this area. The seminar was followed by a discussion among civil society organizations in Europe on strategies to address the issues involved in the technology. Prince Charles has reportedly called for the Royal Society to convene and discuss the implications of nanoscale manipulations, and ETC, in a recent paper on nanotechnology, states, “Ultimately, governments must negotiate a legally-binding International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies (ICENT).”

Nanotech and the Environment Woodrow Wilson Seminar
European Seminar on Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies being held on June 11th in Brussels. Plus Civil Society discussion June 12th

New Award Winning Book on Mediterranean Environmental Security

A major new book, Security and Environment in the Mediterranean - Conceptualising Security and Environmental Conflict was published this month by Springer Publishers. The work is the Book of the Year from AFES-PRESS, the Peace Research and European Security Studies group. A spectrum of authors including security specialists, peace researchers, environmental scholars, demographers, and specialists in climate, desertification, water, food and urbanization, from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America have contributed to the 1162 page book. They analyze environmental security and conflict prevention in the region, as well as the environmental impact of World War II, the Gulf War, the Balkan wars and conflicts in the Middle East. Factors of global environmental change – population growth, climate change, desertification, water scarcity, food and urbanization issues, and natural disasters – are also examined in the context of security. In its conclusion, the book makes recommendations for further research on environmental security and policy options for cooperation in the Mediterranean.

The book contains forewords by Lord Robertson, the Secretary-General of NATO, and Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and 52 scholarly papers on all aspects of environmental security in the Mediterranean area.

Springer Online
Details with a list of content, the forewords and sample pages:

New Marine Regulations

Northeast Atlantic Nature Protection Zone Proposed
In June the Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) met in Bremen to consider proposals that would make ocean regions extending from Spain to the Arctic and westward from the British Isles for hundreds of miles into the mid-Atlantic protected marine nature reserves. The meeting, attended by the environment ministers of the European Union, dealt with strategies concerning hazardous and radioactive substances, eutrophication, ecosystems and biological diversity, and offshore activities. A major topic was coordination of protection efforts with the European Commission. Norway is objecting to the plans because of possible interference with its fisheries.

News story:
Meeting announcement:

The European Parliament Wants a much Stronger EU Marine Strategy
A recent resolution adopted by the European Parliament strengthens initial suggestions by the European Commission for a European Union strategy for the marine environment. The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) called for a strategy based not only on the 'ecosystem approach', but also on  'precautionary principle', the 'polluter-pays principle', and sustainable development, with special attention to enforcement measures and benchmarks to make the strategy more effective and harmonize national laws. The changes along with the amendments on a revision of the Seveso directive on major accident hazards will be submitted for approval to EU governments.

Environment Daily 1468, 23/06/03 (by subscription only, however the following web reference is open)
European Parliament resolution on the Commission communication: 'Towards a strategy to protect and conserve the marine environment':

European Parliament Backs Tough Marine Sulfur Rule
The February environmental security scanning report, “Item 6 Proposals to the EU to cut sulfur emissions from ships” reported that the European Parliament voted for much stricter sulfur limits in marine fuels than those proposed by the European Commission. The 1.5 percent limit on marine fuel sulfur content that would initially apply throughout the European Union is planed to decrease to 0.5 percent two years later. The current marine fuel sulfur content is around 2.7 percent. The restrictions will be effective 12 months after the law enters into force. The limits would apply to shipping registered anywhere in the world and regardless of their originating port.

European Parliament Backs Tough Marine Sulfur Rule

Freshwater Issues

Water - Two Billion People Are Dying For It!

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day, celebrated June 5 in Beirut, Lebanon was “Water - Two billion people are dying for it!” UNEP released the report “Groundwater And Its Susceptibility to Degradation: A Global Assessment of the Problem and Options for Management” on the eve of the event. It examines groundwater resources. Intensive irrigation is largely the cause for dropping groundwater levels across Africa, Asia, Central and South America. Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, said, “Some two billion people and as much as 40 percent of agriculture is at least partly reliant on these hidden stores.” This is the first time the Day’s celebrations have been held in the Arab world, highlighting increased awareness of water-related issues in the region, where, Mr. Toepfer noted in his speech, “it is estimated that in some areas over 90 per cent of the population could be suffering severe water stress by 2032”. The report provides numerous, although politically and socially difficult, suggestions for sustainable management of groundwater. Toepfer noted that in the Middle East few private companies are investing due to political instability. Furthermore, political instability and regional conflict could adversely affect agreements concerning shared rivers, lakes and aquifers.

UNEP World Environment Day web site

UNEP report, Groundwater and its susceptibility to degradation: A global assessment of the problem and options for management, June 2003

UNEP press release, June 5, 2003, UNEP Urges Action to Better Manage the Globe's Groundwaters

UN Wire, June 9, 2003; Water: UNEP Head Says “Sector Should Never Be Privatized”

UN Nuclear Agency Helps Countries Trace Water Supplies

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is helping countries avoid water crises by using isotope hydrology for locating sources of water. This technique allows engineers to quickly acquire information that would normally take a half of century of data collection. The agency has assisted about 45 countries with setting up hydrology labs. Isotope hydrology could be very beneficial in Africa where groundwater is heavily relied on.

UN Nuclear Agency Tries To Avert Water Crisis, Planet Ark, June 3, 2003

Water Issues in China

Chinese officials released an annual environment report that warns of looming water problems. There will be shortages this summer in northern China, with the Yellow River falling to its lowest level in 50 years. Pollution is also a serious problem with more than half of the watersheds of China’s seven main rivers contaminated by industrial, farm and household waste.
According the Millennium Project Beijing Node co-chair who worked on China’s water scenarios, in 10 years, even in the best?case scenario, the water situation in China will be worse and will not begin to improve for another 5–10 years. With 22% of the world's population, China has to survive on only 7% of the world's total freshwater resources. Some 300 major Chinese cities plus 50 million people in rural areas face water shortages today.

The head of the State Environmental Protection Administration, Xie Zhenhua, noted that the pollution problem would be exacerbated in China’s two largest rivers by the Three Gorges Dam project.  The newly created reservoir will stretch hundreds of miles trapping pollution that would normally flow downstream. Engineers are concerned about cracks in the concrete gates that have not been properly repaired.

UN Wire, June 6, 2003; China: Millions Face Water Shortage, Pollution Problems, Officials Say

UN Wire, June 2, 2003 China: Water Starts to Fill Three Gorges Dam

Updates on Previously Identified Emerging Issues

UN Protocol on Biosafety Enters into Force

Continuing this issue from the Millennium Project’s March 2003 report, on 13 June 2003, Palau became the 50th country to ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. It will enter into force 90 days later on September 11. The protocol, adopted in January 2000 by 130 UN member governments, signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, sets out a regulatory system for the handling, use, and transportation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Countries can ban genetically modified products if there is insufficient scientific data on the products’ safety. There are separate procedures for GMO’s intended for food, feed, or processing, and those that will be introduced into the environment as seeds, trees, or fish.

UNEP Press Release 157, June 13, 2003; Cartagena Protocol On Biosafety Enters Into Force In September

Climate Change

Pending Russia, the Kyoto Protocol Might Enter into Force by the End of the Year
As mentioned in previous reports, Russia is key to the Kyoto Protocol coming into force––its ratification bringing the percentage of States Parties to 60% of countries responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, exceeding the 55% needed for the Protocol to enter into force. If Russia ratifies the protocol at the September climate change conference to be held in Moscow, it could come into force by the climate change summit to be held in December, in Milan.

Source: Russia must end uncertainty over Kyoto - UN; Story by Philip Blenkinsop, 12/6/2003

Greenhouse Gases reduction might have economic benefits in long-term says MEPs
Jorge Moreira da Silva, a key European Parliamentarian, said that to reduce greenhouse gases will cost industry and consumers in the short term, but have economic benefits in the long-term. He said that the EU could show the world that it can cut green gas emissions without bankrupting the economy. The new bill he proposes will cap the amount of CO2 by allowing the big emitters to buy or sell excess credits under an "emissions trading" system. Mr. da Silva also expressed his hope that if the scheme can be made cost-effective and credible, it could eventually help the United States to revise its climate change policy.

INTERVIEW - EU climate laws mean some pain, long-term gain – MEP; Story by Robin Pomeroy, Story Date: 2/6/2003

US Citizens Support Greenhouse Gas Reduction
A new survey conducted at the University of Oregon finds that strong majorities of Americans support the Kyoto Protocol (88 percent) and even unilateral American action to reduce emissions (76 percent), "One of the most surprising findings was the strong, bipartisan support for action," said Anthony Leiserowitz, the study's principal investigator. "Clear majorities of Republicans and Democrats, and conservatives and liberals said they support national policies to address global warming."

Seven states - Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington - have sent notices of intent to sue the federal government for its failure to take action to regulate CO2 emissions. All seven states have notified the EPA of their intent to sue for its failure to review and revise the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for fossil fuel-fired electric generating units. Three of the states (Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts) are also suing the EPA for its failure to list CO2 as a "criteria air pollutant." If the EPA or the courts agree with the states’ positions, the EPA will be required to develop a National Ambient Air Quality Standard or NAAQS for CO2, which in turn would require that states develop ways to meet the NAAQS for emitters within their boundaries, and the NSPS process initiated by Section 111 would require the EPA to examine and set performance standards for new power plants.

Survey finds Americans want action on global warming

Seven states notify EPA of their intent to sue over global warming

Draft EU Constitution Keeps Green Policy Gains

The May environmental security scanning report, “Item 6 Draft EU Constitution Criticized,” noted that following a joint statement by environment ministers in May and strong lobbying from green groups, the blueprint for a new EU constitution includes key environment policy concepts which had been deleted from previous treaty drafts. The environmental statements have now been included again.  The sustainability definition and reference to integrating environmental concerns into other policy areas have been also reintroduced. Part three, which deals with integration principles and EU policies, including environment, is delayed, pending more negotiations before production of a definitive draft.

Source: Draft EU constitution keeps green policy gains; Environment Daily 1464, 17/06/03

EU Agrees Eco-Liability Law to Make Polluters Pay

As noted in the May environmental security scanning report, “European Leaders Pass 'Polluter Pays' Measure',” the proposed “Polluter Pays” law, expected to come into force in 2005, was changed by EU environment ministers by exempting oil tankers and radioactive pollution on the grounds they are covered by existing international agreements. The ministers also removed the parliament's demand for compulsory financial cover for companies in sectors such as energy, metals, chemicals, waste and other hazardous industries. The bill will become law after being approved by the Parliament.

Source: EU agrees eco-liability law to make polluters pay; Story by Robin Pomeroy, 16/6/2003

Back to the Top

MAY 2003

Post-conflict issues

Danger of Unexploded Ordnance in Basra Area
Abandoned munitions and unexploded ordnance (UXO) are injuring people every day in Iraq. There are about thirty abandoned munitions sites around Basra that British forces admit that they do not have sufficient troops to guard. Future international agreements may not only assign legal responsibility to the owners of the ammunition for its cleanup, but also extend the responsibility to occupying powers, independent of the reason for occupation.

UK troops lecture Iraqi pupils on unexploded bombs
Iraq: Basra - Unprotected munitions injure civilians
Human Rights Watch documents on Iraq:

Effects of Poison Gas Used in WWII by Japan

The Japanese government has decided to help citizens believed to be suffering from illnesses induced by contamination assumed to be related to chemicals produced by the military for use as weapons in WWII. According to a 1973 government survey made public in April 2003, Japan disposed of 3,875 tons of poison gas after WWII; the military will conduct an investigation on domestic post-war disposal of poison gas.

Japan has long been beleaguered and faced lawsuits over an estimated 700,000 chemical weapons it abandoned in China after the war. However, at the beginning of May a Tokyo court rejected a compensation claim from five Chinese over health damage they suffered, although it admitted that the chemical weapons were responsible for their health problems.

Japan to help citizens believed ill from WW2 gas. Elaine Lies, 22/5/2003
Japan court rejects damages for Chinese injured by chemical weapons

Unexplained high levels of uranium found in Afghan urine samples

Even though both US and UK Defense officials have said no depleted uranium shells were used in Afghanistan and an independent team also found no evidence of depleted uranium shells in Afghanistan, high uranium levels were found in urine samples of Afghan civilians and identified several hundred people suffering from illnesses and conditions similar to those of Gulf veterans. The team from the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), based in Canada, which used an independent UK laboratory, cannot explain the uranium contamination.

Afghans' uranium levels spark alert, by Alex Kirby, BBC News Online environment correspondent.
War Report. Select articles, documents, and analyses compiled and frequently updated by the Project on Defense Alternatives

Safeguarding radioactive materials is inadequate

Possibly 100 countries may hold radioactive materials that are not safely guarded. Friedrich Steinhäusler, a physicist from the University of Salzburg in Austria and a former member of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, and scientists from Stanford University in California found gaping holes in the ability to detect nuclear smuggling, inadequate inventory of radioactive materials, and serious shortages of trained staff, equipment and resources. The countries surveyed are: the US, China, Germany, Austria, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Israel, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh.

Recent looting and destruction at nuclear sites in Iraq could lead to radioactive material used by terrorists to make dirty bombs, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General. As a result, the U.S. may welcome IAEA experts to examine nuclear arms development sites in Iraq.

IAEA, Interpol, and the World Customs Organization conference expressed serious concerns over the “frightening picture” of easy access to radioactive material, poor border controls, inadequate monitoring equipment, and widespread smuggling. IAEA is discussing plans to strengthen the IAEA's Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

Russia, US, and EU signed The Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Program in the Russian Federation (MNEPR) treaty to cleanup Russian atomic waste and stop it from getting into the hands of terrorist groups.

Plutonium for sale, by Rob Edwards, Stockholm.
IAEA Urges Return Of Experts To Iraq To Address Possible Radiological Emergency
UN Newsletter, New York, May 19 2003
US opens door to UN nuclear inspectors in Iraq, Charles Aldinger, 22/5/2003
Combating the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Some Reflections
by Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Le Monde, 5 May 2003
Russia signs treaty to track nuclear waste

Future Environmental Security Problems with Methane Hydrate

Methane hydrate in the ocean floor and in permafrost is potentially a greater energy source that all the world's coal, oil, and non-hydrate natural gas combined; hence, if it can be processed economically, then its mining could become a major industry in the future. However, it is unstable and it’s mining could release large amounts of methane affecting the global climate; and hence, may lead to need for international agreements. The US and Japan have begun experimental drilling. Methane hydrate is methane encased in water molecules via cold temperature or pressure. Since it is held mechanically rather chemically, it is easily released. Methane has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

National Energy Technology Laboratory items: Methane Hydrate Library
Exploration on the North Slope:
Natural Gas Hydrates: A Guide for Engineers by John Carroll. Gulf Pub. (2002) ISBN 0-75067569-1
Survey by the US Coast Guard:

US military waived in respecting environmental law

A new bill is meant to give the US military discretion to waive laws meant to protect rare animal and plant species if the restrictions are judged to interfere with military training and readiness. Under the new bill, the military is exempted from complying with the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. Initially, the Congress was asked to exempt the Department of Defense from five major environmental laws; three were fully rejected: the exemptions from two hazardous waste laws and the Clean Air Act. Conservationists are concerned about endangered species with critical habitat on military lands and the consequences of U.S. Navy sonar tests that might injure or kill some marine species.

- On May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called biodiversity “an essential heritage for all humankind,” and appealed to governments and the entire international community to preserve the planet’s diverse ecology “on which all life depends.” He also called on countries to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Biosafety Protocol. (UN News letter, May 22, 2003)
- A new initiative to be introduced by 18 countries to this year’s June meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Berlin will greatly strengthen the ability of the IWC to protect the world’s cetaceans - whales, dolphins and porpoises. (

Washington: House Approves Increasing Defense Dept. Waivers of Environmental Rules, by Carl Hulse, NYT:
Defense Spending Bill Attacks Wildlife Protection, By J.R. Pegg, Environment News Service
Congress Split Over Pentagon's Duty to Wildlife, by J.R. Pegg,

Fifth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference

Ministers and other top officials from 55 countries in Europe held an environmental conference in Kiev, May 21-23, 2003, formally adopting the strategy to "stabilize" European biodiversity by 2010 as well as setting up specific targets involved in reaching this goal. Three new international protocols were adopted, and a convention to protect the Carpathian Mountains, and several other statements and resolutions on biodiversity and energy efficiency were approved (see bullets below). The meeting's final ministerial declaration also stipulates that UN/ECE's Environment for Europe program will focus on implementing existing agreements. The next ministerial environmental conference is scheduled for 2008.

· Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) (37 countries signed including all EU members).

· Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) that actually gives a start to the Convention on assessment of the influence on environment in transboundary contexts (36 countries signed including all EU members).

· Protocol on Civil Liability and Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters to the UNECE Conventions on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Waters and International Lakes (22 countries signed; some EU members didn’t sign, as they do not consider it tough enough). Total liability protocol requires that potential polluters take out financial security amounting to at least a quarter of the maximum liability.

The protocols will enter into force when 16 signatories ratify.

· The Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians intends to be a mechanism for preserving the Carpathians while benefiting isolated mountain communities.

Note: The Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative, which aims at promoting the use of environmental management strategies to reduce insecurity in South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, received a major boost when the OSCE Economic Forum, taking place in Prague, was linked via video to the "Environment for Europe" Ministerial Conference in Kiev. The two UN agencies involved in the ENVSEC Initiative – UNDP and UNEP – presented during this meeting the outcomes of the Initiative's first phase and introduced its follow-up work program.

Kiev conference web site:
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) web site:
European Commission Kiev pages
The Ministerial Declaration:
Civil liability protocol information
and full text
Statements on Carpathian protection from UNEP
and WWF
Statement on biodiversity by the European Centre for Nature conservation;
Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).
Statement on pollutant registers by the German environment agency
Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention).
Protocol on Civil Liability and Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters to the UNECE Conventions on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Waters and International Lakes:
The Opening of The 5-th Pan-European Conference of Environment Ministers  “Environment for Europe”, Kiev, Ukraine, May 21-23, 2003
Press Release--Briefing of Mr. Stepan Lizun – the First Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment:

Draft EU Constitution Environmental Orientation Uncertain

Environment ministers from 25 countries and the eight largest environmental NGOs in Europe, the "Green 8", expressed "serious concerns" regarding the proposed new EU Constitution currently being drafted in Brussels, saying that it represents a backward step for environmental policies. They would like to have environmental protection and sustainable development among the constitution's "central objectives" as it is in the EU's present treaty.

ENDS, Environment Daily 1443 (14/05/2003) Newsletter
Follow-up: See Green groups press release

European Leaders Pass 'Polluter Pays' Measure

The proposed new law, “Polluter Pays”, expected to come into force in 2005, would require companies to cover the full cost of cleaning up environmental damage they cause and forces firms to pay for environmental liability insurance to cover clean-up bills even if they go bankrupt. There is no exception for any industry (not even ocean transport or nuclear industries).

Institute for Global Ethics, Ethics Newsline -- May 19, 2003
EU assembly tells polluters to pay debts to nature

EU Parliament Backs Polluter-Pays Plan; by Constant Brand, Associated Press Writer, May 14, 2003

Environmental Security Think Tank Opens in The Hague

The new Institute for Environmental Security is a newly established think-tank headquartered in The Hague with liaison offices in Brussels and Washington, DC. The Institute is dedicated to advancing global environmental security through diplomacy, law, finance and education. Its program––Horizon 21––integrates current and emerging ecological hot-spots, power relations, spheres of influents, and areas of potential conflicts.

The Web site of the Institute will be:

New Consultative process to set EC Strategy on Waste Prevention and Recycling

The European Commission adopted a Communication called "Towards a Thematic Strategy on Waste Prevention and Recycling" that launches a broad consultation exercise on the EU's future policy in this area, inviting stakeholders to comment on the policy options. The options include issues like: how to avoid generating waste, how to reduce the use of resources, and which wastes to recycle. Based on the feedback, the Commission will determine its final objectives for waste prevention and recycling and decide what measures to propose for final adoption by the Council and the European Parliament.

Commission sets the scene for a new Strategy on Waste Prevention and Recycling; Brussels, 27 May 2003:

Water Issues

Water, Sanitation, Human Settlements next focus for UN Commission on Sustainable Development
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will focus sanitation and human settlements during 2004 and 2005 and how to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

UN Press Release, 9 May 2003;
WSSD Plan of Implementation, 5 September 2002;

Water Forum Held in Egypt
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) held a workshop on mapping methodology, the first of a series of activities to improve water management in Western Asia. The workshop, hosted in cooperation with Egyptian government ministries and UNESCO, was a part of establishing the Arab Integrated Water Resources Management Network (AWARENET). The network links training and research institutes and encourages collaboration on improving and disseminating knowledge on concepts of integrated water resources management in the ESCWA region. Participants learned mapping methodology and developed an AWARENET plan of action that details activities, timetable, management structure, and a fund raising strategy.

ESCWA Press Releases, 7 May 2003

Greece Hosted Transboundary Water Issues Conference

The Government of Greece and the World Bank jointly hosted an international conference -- Sustainable Development for Lasting Peace: Shared Water, Common Problems, Shared Knowledge in Athens, Greece on May 6-7, 2003. The conference discussed transboundary water issues in southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean, focusing on sustainable management of water resources to promote responsible growth, stability and peace.

UN Wire, May 2, 2003

Updates on Previously Identified Emerging Issues

REACH system might be delayed another year

This pertains to the November 2002 Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) policy. The European Commission released its over 1,000-page draft REACH chemicals policy, but the timetable for agreeing on a formal legislative proposal was pushed back to mid-July, 2003. The formal legislative proposals are expected to pass to EU governments and the European Parliament in October. Eco-militants believe that this would mean at least a year’s delay in putting the REACH system into place.

Reach chemicals reform plan put back again

EU wants to see Russian action on Kyoto treaty

As noted in the December 2002 and January 2003 Millennium Project environmental security scanning reports, it is essential for the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force that Russia ratify it. In May, the European Union expressed strong interest in seeing Russia taking active measures toward ratification. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström also noted that Russia could not expect any more help from the EU to finance the treaty. She also mentioned that one of the most serious problems is that in Russia the basic knowledge of climate change is very bad.

EU wants to see Russian action on Kyoto treaty

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APRIL 2003

Post-conflict issues

Further to last month’s Millennium Project report, the United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) Post-Conflict Unit has completed and released the Desk Study on the Environment in Iraq.  The report provides a preliminary assessment of the main environmental threats in Iraq and recommendations for immediate and long-term cleanup. Critical long-term environmental vulnerabilities and risks are associated with water resource management, waste management, the oil industry, and ecosystem degradation. Two decades of war and misrule have left Iraq with extreme pollution and other environmental hazards that need urgent cleanup. The most urgent priorities are those needed to address humanitarian issues including restoration of water supply and sanitation systems, and cleanup of accumulated municipal and medical wastes. A scientific assessment of areas where weapons containing depleted uranium (DU) have been used is also a priority. Long-term projects indicated include cleanup of hazardous wastes and emissions, better water and sanitation management, and restoration of the country's ecosystem, especially the Mesopotamian marshlands that were drained in 1991. The study also recommends that steps be taken to build strong national institutions and capacities for long-term environmental management.

The UNEP Desk Study on Environment in Iraq

UNEP Press Release, April 23, 2003

UNEP Press Release, April 6, 2003

UNEP outlines strategy for protecting people and the environment in post-war Iraq
UNEP Press Release, April 23, 2003

Depleted uranium issues in Iraq:

Agent Orange Study May Spur Chemical Bans and New Claims

A conceptual framework and geographic information system (GIS) software package was developed to assign exposure opportunity indexes to troops, locations, or individuals to herbicides (such as Agent Orange in Vietnam) by Columbia University for the US National Academy of Science. The model takes into account factors such as herbicide type, locations and amounts of application, and troop movements to generate a quantitative estimate of exposure and likely health effects. The model helps individuals determine their proximity to spraying and corresponding health risks.

The researchers also found that about seven million liters, or ten percent more than previously thought of the dioxin-containing Agent Orange defoliant was used. The finding prompted Vietnam to call on the US to provide aid to help victims stating, “the U.S. has a moral responsibility for this.” The US does not provide compensation to Vietnamese victims, but funds multi-million dollar health programs in general.

The complete findings of the study are published in the March issue of "Environmental Health Perspectives." The abstract is online at:

Environmental News Service, April 1, 2003

Planet Ark, April 22, 2003

Nuclear Safety During Conflicts

During the war in Iraq, uranium and radioactive isotopes lay unguarded for several days of looting in a warehouse near the nuclear center at Tuwaitha. With new uses of radioactive materials for “dirty bombs” and the increased drive by various states to acquire nuclear capability, increased attention is being paid to guarding nuclear materials and facilities during conflicts and social instability.

Security of nuclear elements: Material:

Progress on a Comprehensive Anti-Terrorism Convention

The UN’s Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism has reached agreement on the majority of 27 articles in the draft comprehensive convention on anti-terrorism. The committee has recommended the establishment of a working group to settle outstanding issues of the convention’s scope, preamble, and a definition of terrorism and of some phrases. It has also recommended that a high-level UN conference to formulate a comprehensive response to all forms of terrorism be held. The comprehensive convention on international terrorism would aim to fill in gaps left by treaties, which deal exclusively with particular manifestations of terrorist activity.  The UN General Assembly established the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism in 1996 to harmonize international legal structures against terrorism. So far, it has successfully negotiated two treaties: the 1997 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing, and the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.


Current Draft of EU Constitution Weakens Environmental Policy Framework

Counter to the increasing trend of environmental regulations and enforcement in Europe, recent drafts of the European Union Constitution appear to weaken environmental efforts. A draft passage on general EU principles and objectives released earlier this year weakened the definition of sustainable development, dropped references to the improvement of environmental protection, and eliminated the obligation for the EU to integrate environmental protection into all its policies. However, there are also various movements underway to strengthen the environmental provisions. A draft of the constitution should be delivered in June before being finalized through an inter-governmental conference next year.


African Water Issues

IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Network), the UN Humanitarian news agency, issued a Web special on African water issues. It includes case stories on the Nile, regional cooperation between South Africa and Swaziland, and the saving of Lake Chad.

Source: EDC News - Environment & Development Challenges, No 14, April 2003

Updates on Items from Previous Monthly Reports

European Union to put Information Responsibilities on Chemical Industry

Further to the Millennium Project’s November 2002 report, the development of the EU chemical policy continues. Chemicals of high concern require authorization in terms of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) policy.

At the European Voice Conference "Beyond REACH" held in April 2003, the EU Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström, said the new policy would change the way chemicals are dealt with in the EU. The chemical industry will be obliged to provide information about its own products. The specific uses of high-concern substances -- persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic pollutants (PBTs) and very persistent and very bio-accumulative substances (vPvBs) will have to be authorized. The use of other substances of high concern will be authorized on a case-by-case basis. The European Commission will discuss the new regulatory framework at one of its next meetings and present a final proposal for legislation this summer.

This month’s European Chemicals Bureau Newsletter includes an article on Existing Substances that reports on the progress made at the Technical Meeting on March 10-14, 2003 and at the parallel Expert Working Group on identification of PBT and vPvB substances.

EU Press Release, March 31, 2003|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=

European Chemicals Bureau Newsletter, 11th ECB Newsletter on the 16 April 2003 reports on the scientific and technical aspects of the work carried out and coordinated by the ECB in support of European legislation on chemicals control.

More details on the EU chemicals policy:
Europe’s Environmental News Service (subscription only)
European Chemicals Bureau

French Create 90-mile Mediterranean Ecological Zone

The French National Assembly has approved a law creating a 90-mile ecological zone to protect the country’s Mediterranean coastline, with the primary objective of stopping ships from dumping dirty ballast water in the designated zone. Offenders face fines up to $600,000 and up to four years in jail.

The law was approved just days after the European Union agreed to ban single-hull oil tankers from its ports. The ban will enter into force once the European Parliament approves it. Single-hull oil tankers older than 23 years would be immediately banned from the EU, while more modern ones would be phased out in stages up to 2015.   The EU is pushing for the ban to be adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) by the end of the year.

UN Wire, April 8, 2003
UN Wire, March 31, 2003

New Chip Speeds Field Detection of Specific DNAs

Technological change creates opportunities to change international treaties’ enforcement requirements.  For example, a new chip could make it possible to do faster DNA analysis of biological materials in the field. Scientists Todd Krauss, Benjamin Miller, and Hui Du  at the Univ. of Rochester have developed a technique for creating microchips which will detect the presence of specific DNA sequences in a sample.  The new chips eliminate the complex series of steps now necessary to perform DNA testing. They contain a field of bent DNA fragments attached vertically at one end to a substrate. When a piece of DNA from the sample attaches to a matching fragment, it straightens it out, exposing the previously concealed free end, which contains a chemical “flag” that fluoresces under proper illumination.

Sources: News story:
Univ. press release:

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MARCH 2003

Post-conflict issues

War in Iraq triggers UNEP environmental study and plans for post-conflict clean-up

The United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) Post-Conflict Assessment Unit has initiated a desk study of the environment in Iraq to recommendations for minimizing risks to the environment and human health, management of freshwater and waste, ways to prevent further ecosystem degradation, and response to environmental hazards from ongoing military conflict.

At the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Klaus Toepfer called attention to the long-lasting destruction of the Mesopotamian marshlands, also much affected by the present conflict; he pointed out that the over 20 years of military operations in the Gulf have produced enormous environmental damages, most being deliberate, and thus “should be treated as a crime against humanity”. He underlined that presently the UNEP is assessing Iraq’s most urgent needs and will be ready to start work reconstructing Iraq “within days” after the war is over. “We have a standby unit at Bahrain ready to go into the country immediately after the conflict ends,” said Toepfer.

Note: “Eden Again” project, a scientific collaboration sponsored by the Iraq Foundation, works on a restoration plan of the Mesopotamian Marshlands to the condition they were in 15 years ago. The project members consider this “an opportunity and a test of the world's ability to respond to one of the worst environmental disasters for a generation.” (

Depleted Uranium in Bosnia and Herzegovina Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment. It is now available in PDF format:
“Conflict and the Environment in West Asia (Iraq, Kuwait and the region)”, UNEP web page, contains continuously updated assessment of the environmental situation in Iraq and the Gulf region.
UNEP News Release, March 21, 2003
Air pollution from Baghdad fires poses risks for human health and the environment, says UNEP
Issued in Amman on 30 March 2003
Drying Mesopotamian Marshes Now Struck by Iraq War
UN warns of growing public health risk in Iraq
“The spoils of war”, The Economist print edition, Mar 27th 2003, page 71; an overview of environmental damages as consequences of conflicts and examples of cases when environment was used as warfare (including the Iraqi marshes).
The "Eden Again" Project: A New Project Sponsored by the Iraq Foundation

UN Confirms that Contamination by Depleted Uranium Persists in Bosnia and Herzegovina

For the first time, a UN report released this month confirms contamination of drinking water and air caused by the use of DU weapons in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994 and 1995. Even though the contamination is at a low level, monitoring is required. “The findings of this study stress again the importance of appropriate cleanup and civil protection measures in a post-conflict situation," said Pekka Haavisto, chairman of the UNEP DU projects. "We hope that this work will play a role in protecting human health and the environment in the unfortunate event of future conflicts." (See also the Millennium Project’s October 2002 Environmental Security Scanning report.)

Depleted Uranium Contaminates Bosnia-Herzegovina
UNEP News Release, March 25, 2003

Agricultural Warfare

Although the Biological Warfare Convention nominally prohibits agricultural warfare, its use is becoming increasingly probable, especially in asymmetric conflict, as is the incorporation into future treaties of specific provisions requiring remediation of both its effects, and the effects of battle on the agricultural infrastructure in general (e.g. destruction of fields, fences, and water resources). These consequences can be severe and long-lasting.

Review articles
U.S. vulnerability

Australia Claims First Complete Clean Up of an Atomic Bomb Test Site

Australia announced that it is the first country to successfully clean up a former (British) atomic bomb test site. The US$108 million rehabilitation buried 360,000 cubic meters (12.71 million cubic feet) of contaminated soil in 10-15 meter (33 ft-50 ft) deep trenches and treated radioactive debris pits. The success of this claim is disputed by Greenpeace and  senior U.S. and an Australian advisers who worked with the project.

Source: Australia says cleans up British A-bomb test site
Story Date: 26/3/2003, Reuters

Technological Breakthroughs with Environmental Security Implications
Since technology can affect enforcement of international treaties and/or create the possibility of new treaty’s enforcement, several developments are added below that could change the character of emerging environmental issues.

Muon Technology Can Help Detect Smuggled Nuclear Material
Los Alamos National Laboratory research indicates that fragments of cosmic rays could help in the detection of smuggled nuclear materials. Dense materials such as uranium can be detected and imaged by tracking the paths of muons as they pass through the target materials. Muons are created naturally when cosmic rays from space interact with the Earth's atmosphere, and pass through the Earth's surface at a rate of approximately 10,000 particles per square meter per minute. The concept offers a promising addition to conventional X-ray, gamma and neutron-detection systems.

"We found that we could detect a 1-liter block of uranium in the equivalent of a truckload of sheep, for example, and the greater the efforts at shielding the material, the more obvious it becomes with the muon technology" said Priedhorsky, chief scientist of the Laboratory's Nonproliferation and International Security Division. For example, a 1-minute shower of particles would be required to reasonably scan a suspected smuggler's vehicle.

Source: Cosmic Particles Find Potential Role In Homeland Security

New Diamond Film Connects Electronics and Biology for On-Going Bio-Alert Systems

Chemists at the University of Wisconsin – Madison have developed a technique for chemically modifying diamond so that it can be deposited on silicon as a highly stable, DNA-modified surface film. This film, which can be integrated with microelectronic devices, has the advantage of being much more chemically stable than other substances, such as gold, glass, and glassy carbon, which have been considered for detectors. “Bare” silicon oxide degrades on contact with water, and other materials have proven to be either unstable or difficult to integrate. Scientists are quoted as saying that they can detect the electrical response when biomolecules bind to the diamond surface. These biosensors could be "sprinkled in public places such as airports, bus depots, subways, stadiums and other places where large numbers of people gather." One scientist says they could act as a  "bio cell phone, where they just sit in place and sniff, and when they detect something of interest, send a signal" to warn of danger. They also note that more work has to be done on the engineering of systems using these components. The technique may also turn out to be capable of producing reusable “biochips” for laboratory use.

Source: Diamond Film May Enable Critical New Sensors For Bioterror

Miniature Spectrometer Can Detect Biological Hazards

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a miniature device that can identify molecules in a fraction of a spore of anthrax and other biological hazards within 30 milliseconds by examining their photothermal signatures. The process uses thermal detection to identify peaks in the specimen’s absorption spectral response produced using an infrared monochromator. The Calorimetric Spectrometer (CalSpec™) device technology can accurately identify biological hazards such as anthrax almost instantly, and may be able to reach sensitivities as high as one part per trillion (enabling the “fraction of a spore” level). The device is expected to be available in 2004. It is now hand-held; miniaturization efforts are underway to reduce it to coin-size.

Source: Miniature Spectrometer Can Detect Biological Hazards
ORNL Release, with technical details:

Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives For Rechargeable Batteries

Toshiba announces world’s first small form factor direct methanol fuel cell for portable PCs
Toshiba Corporation has announced the first prototype of a small size (825 cc; 50 in³) direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for portable PCs. According to their press release, it represents a clean energy breakthrough with the potential to end reliance on rechargeable batteries. The new fuel cell produces an average output of 12W and maximum output of 20W, and can achieve approximately five hours of operation with a single cartridge (50 cc of high concentration methanol) of fuel, giving significant advances in operating times if replaceable methanol cartridges are used. The unit contains circuitry allowing communication on its status with the PC it is powering.

Biofuel Cell Could Replace Rechargeable Batteries
A similar advance has been announced by scientists at St. Louis University, who have reported the development of a biofuel cell that uses ethanol and an enzyme. Their breakthrough was the use of a polymer with specially tailored micelles (pores) in which the enzymes can thrive, thereby increasing the cell’s life to up to a month without recharging.

Toshiba Announces World’s First Small Form Factor Direct Methanol Fuel Cell for Portable PCs,
Biofuel Cell Could Replace Rechargeable Batteries

Silicon Nanospheres Rank Among Hardest Known Materials

Measurements made at the University of Minnesota and confirmed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have shown that silicon nanospheres (12 nm) have hardness falling between sapphire and diamond. This raises the possibility of producing superhard materials from this form of matter.

Source: New Measurements Show Silicon Nanospheres Rank Among Hardest Known Materials
"DU is used in armor because its superior strength, hardness and density can defeat conventional armor-piercing ammunition. By  the same token, ammunition with needle-like DU penetrators  punches right through conventional armor. "

Better Use of Satellites to Monitor International Treaties

The Treaty Enforcement Services using Earth Observation (TESEO) was established two years ago by the European Space Agency (ESA) to help monitor international treaties and bring together agencies and organizations that otherwise do not usually collaborate. The international conventions involved in the TESEO effort range from monitoring wetlands and ensuring compliance with Kyoto Protocol emission targets to combating desertification and preserving World Heritage sites and protecting gorillas in east and central Africa. Several pilot projects have already begun.

UN agencies and conventions’ secretariats met to at the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) offices in Frascati to determine how to make better use of satellite imagery. According to ESA, it is possible that the initiative will be folded into the upcoming Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative sponsored by ESA and the European Commission; however, some ongoing projects (including the Kyoto inventory) will continue as independent activities.

Source: TUBE-ing with TESEO: Treaty officials assess how space could help
Paris (ESA) Mar 05, 2003,

International agreements are needed for 158 International Freshwater Basins

Several water security-related reports were released during the largest gathering of water scientists and policy experts at the Third World Water Forum held March 16-23 in Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga, Japan. “Water for People, Water for Life” report discusses looming water wars and the “Atlas of International Freshwater Agreements” surveyed of water-sharing contracts among nations and found that of 263 international freshwater basins, 158 lack cooperative agreements.
UNESCO announced the creation of a “Water Cooperation Facility” to help countries prevent and resolve freshwater disputes

Mr. Toepfer of UNEP suggested that international organizations “… should perhaps act as the water equivalent of marriage guidance counselors, amicably resolving differences between countries and communities who may be straying apart, or act as go-between for those who are flirting with cooperation but are too coy, too unsure, maybe even too distrustful about how to proceed. So we must hone our skills and develop our capabilities in what will be the increasingly important field of hydro-diplomacy.”

World Water Forum
World Water Forum Press Release on Water Security and Peace, March 20, 2003
UNESCO Press Release on Water Cooperation Facility, March 21, 2003
Conflict or Cooperation: Pioneering Atlas on Freshwater Charts the Choices
UNESCO Press Release on World Water Development Report, March 5, 2003
Environment News Service on People’s Water Forum, March 24, 2003
Water Initiative High-level Meeting in Moscow, Towards Kyiv-2003, European Eco-Forum News Digest, N 62, March 2003, ECO-Accord Center
"Water For Life" Initiative English-language web page
EU-EECCA component of the Initiative is available in English and Russian at

International Framework and Data Standards on Environmental Security

A Journal of the Forum For Environmental Law article stressed the importance of better international agreements for sharing information to address environmental security issues. The priorities of environmental security efforts have shifted with recent international terrorist groups’ attacks and threats to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. There is a new urgency for governments, corporations and individuals to address such risks and security has become more important in environmental law, regulations, and environmental management. Frameworks are needed for systematic exchange and analysis of information among law enforcement agencies, customs services, environmental regulatory agencies, trade agencies, and intelligence sources. New agreements are needed for data standards for better information sharing and integration to enforce compliance to agreements.

Special Report # 5: Eco-Terrorism, Environmental Crime, And International Environmental Security
The Journal of the Forum For Environmental Law, Science, Engineering And Finance™, (F.E.L.S.E.F. ®), in the Spring 2003 issue of its Web journal, Failsafe.

New Reference for Environmental Dispute Resolution

The Environment, Energy, and Resources Section of the American Bar Association has recently published a book, “Environmental Dispute Resolution: An Anthology of Practical Experience”, whose description states that it “provides comprehensive and thoughtful treatment of environmental dispute resolution for the serious practitioner and also practical guidance for those wishing to focus on particular aspects [and] … provides a toolkit of diagnostics, systems, strategies and methodologies proven effective in diverse substantive contexts.” The book deals primarily with environmental disputes in the small (inter-party, rather than of global scope) but one chapter discusses the question, “Is Mediation a Better Alternative for the Resolution of International Environmental Disputes?” and another “Environmental Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution: A Framework for Analysis.” There is a 66-item Notes/Bibliography section and many Web references.

Sources: Book announcement:
The Forum for Environmental Law, Science, Engineering and Finance ™, (F.E.L.S.E.F. ®), in the Spring 2003 issue of its Web journal, Failsafe, reproduces Chapter 1 of the book:

Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Opens for Signing this May for Public Participation In Environmental Impact Assessments

The SEA is a Protocol to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context that will require its parties to include public participation in environmental impact analysis of all major projects prior to implementation, and requires that a response be given to that public participation – project from land-use planning to transport and from agriculture to industry. The Protocol is expected to be adopted and be opened for signature at the Ministerial ‘Environment for Europe’ Conference in Kiev, Ukraine, on 21 May 2003. The first meeting of signatories is expected in May 2004. Although negotiated under UNECE, the Protocol will be open to all UN members.

Sources: Convention On Environmental Impact Assessment In A Transboundary Context
Text of the Protocol:
UNECE Press release:

Updates on Previously Identified Emerging Issues

Tighter Controls on Asbestos, Pesticides, and Lead Additives

Further to the Millennium Project’s October 2002 report, work under the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure continues. A committee of government experts set up under this Convention on hazardous chemicals called for tighter trade controls on asbestos, several deadly pesticides and two toxic lead additives in gasoline. The panel recommended that the following be added to the PIC Procedure: five forms of asbestos, pesticides DNOC, parathion, a pesticide mixture of benomyl, thiram and carbofuran, and tetraethyl and tetramethyl lead additives. The panel’s recommendations will be discussed by the PIC Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva in November.

Source: USCIB UN Report,

Tightened Nuclear Security Needed to Overcome ‘Dirty Bombs’

Updating the Millennium Project’s January 2002 report on this subject, at the recent International Conference on Security of Radioactive Sources, IAEA Director-General Mohamed El Baradei raised the problem of “orphaned” radioactive devices that have been distributed worldwide over the past 50 years and have fallen outside official regulatory control. He warned that current controls of radioactive sources are inadequate, especially in the former Soviet republics and called for additional security measures. "Our database of cases of an indication that there is a market and there is an effort to obtain radioactive sources, and the obvious question is why," El Baradei said.

The four-day conference was organized by the IAEA and co-sponsored by the Russian Federation and the United States in co-operation with the European Commission (EC), the European Police Office (EUROPOL), the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the World Customs Organization (WCO). The issues discussed ranged from the prevention of illicit trafficking to the response to a “dirty bomb” attack.

IAEA Calls For Urgent Measures To Stop Terrorists From Obtaining ‘Dirty Bomb’, UN Newsletter, New York, Mar 11 2003 12:00PM

Nuclear security too poor to stop dirty bombs - UN

Genetically Modified Food Issues – EU Official OK’s Single Country’s Import Ban

Continuing this issue from the Millennium Project’s September 2002 report, on March 14, European Court of Justice adviser Advocate General Siegbert Alber stated that Italy had the right to ban import of genetically modified maize if the government had evidence that it posed a risk, even though the product was allowed EU-wide: "The Italian Government was entitled to adopt provisional measures...provided that it had detailed grounds for considering, as a result of new information or a reassessment of existing information, that the use of the food in question endangers human health or the environment." Italy based its action on lack of faith in the rigor of the testing procedure on the final food product. The full Court will not deliver its final ruling for several months, and may refer to the Italian courts the question of the adequacy of the evidence presented against the genetically modified product.

Source: News story:

International Maritime Organization (IMO) and EU Collaborate on Oil Spill Prevention

As noted in the Millennium Project’s January 2003 report, following the shipwreck of the oil tanker “Prestige” off the coast of Spain in November last year, recommendations for new regulations regarding oil tankers may become part of future international treaties.  Leaders of the European Union (EU) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) met on March 5 and agreed that the IMO should lead in establishing new measures concerning maritime safety while the EU would play a supporting role. The IMO has published a list of 66 ships that could be banned from EU waters. Meanwhile, the EU will propose to the IMO measure for phasing out single-hulled tankers.

Sources: UN Wire, March 4 and 6, 2003
IMO Press Release, March 5, 2003

Electronic Waste

As noted in the Millennium Project’s February 2003 report, regulation of the disposal of electronic waste is a growing concern. UNESCO’s New Synergies for Recycling of Information Technology Equipment forum this month looked at current initiatives for creating a global recycling strategy. More than one million computers will become obsolete in the next three years. Rather than being discarded, older computers could be used in the developing world.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Government announced plans to establish a network of offices throughout Asia to monitor illegal trade in used Japanese electronics. The plan is in line with the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

Sources: UN Wire, March 13, 2003
UNESCO Press Release, March 13, 2003

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Post-conflict issues

UNEP’s Post-conflict Environmental Assessment’s May One Day Get Extended to On-going Environmental Assessments

During UNEP Governing Council’s Drafting Committee meeting (February 3-7, 2003) the role of UNDP in post-conflict environmental assessment was discussed, including the possibility of environmental assessments of ongoing armed conflicts such as in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. Although it was agreed to strengthen UNEP’s ability to conduct post-conflict assessments and report to the relevant UN bodies and commissions for further follow-up, it is clear that the potential for assessments in longer-term on-going conflicts is an emerging issue that could lead one day to international agreements.

Source: Earth Negotiations Bulletin

Geneva Convention for Environment

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Secretary, called for the equivalent of a Geneva Convention for the Environment at the Agency’s Governing Council meeting in February: “We have the Geneva Conventions, aimed at safeguarding the rights of prisoners and civilians. We need similar safeguards for the environment. Using the environment as a weapon must be universally condemned, and denounced as an international crime against humankind, against Nature. He stressed that environmental security had to be a fundamental part of a long-lasting peace policy. In an article written to mark the meeting held from 3-7 February 2003 in Nairobi, Kenya, Toepfer said that the environment is often neglected as "the long-term casualty of war," and went further to recommend that the international community, “…outlaw those who deliberately put the environment at risk in war.”


Invention of a New Multisensor System Required to Speed Up Land Mind Clearance

RAND estimates that unless considerably improved detection and de-mining technology is created, then at the current rate it will take 450-500 years to clean up the world of hidden anti-personnel mines. Its study "Alternatives for Landmine Detection" estimates it will cost $60 million [the RAND report says 60, while their press release says 50] to produce the initial prototype over the next 5-8 years to develop the necessary technology, beyond the $100 million per year the US already spends on humanitarian land mind clearance.

Note: The UN made an official announcement on Feb 27 2003, that 44 of the 45 countries required to destroy their remaining stockpiles of landmines under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on their Destruction (1999 Ottawa Treaty) “have succeeded in doing so within the prescribed time frame, making it one of the most successful disarmament accords”, said UN officials.

Investment needed to clear world's landmines - group
Countries Succeed In Meeting UN Treaty Deadline For Destroying Landmines, UN Newsletter, New York, Feb 27 2003
RAND’s full report:

New United Nations Treaty requires publicly accessible data base of Pollution Information

A new international treaty will become a legally binding protocol to the Aarhus Convention (on environmental democracy issues). The two-year negotiations were successfully concluded under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and will be formally adopted and signed at the Fifth Ministerial “Environment for Europe” Conference in Kiev, Ukraine, in May 2003. The treaty will require companies to record and disclose information on their output and transfer of 86 pollutants, including greenhouse gases, heavy metals, acid rain pollutants, and certain carcinogens such as dioxins. That information will be made publicly available via a database (the Pollution Release and Transfer Registry) in each country party to the treaty. A broad range of industries are required to report annually such as power stations, the chemical and mining industry, waste management facilities, wood and paper producers, and intensive agriculture. Some information may be kept confidential where disclosure could affect national defense or public security.

Source: United Nations Press Release ENV/DEV/716

UNEP Governing Council meeting and the Fourth Global Ministerial Environment Forum Largest Ever

UNEP’s 22nd Governing Council and the 4th Global Ministerial Environment Forum 3-7 February 2003 had the largest number of governments represented and total participants in its history.  It also discussed record numbers of documents and more than 40 decisions were adopted. Although the final report will be available later, UNEP press releases and the summaries presented in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin indicate a continuing growth in the number international environmental agreements, the number of countries participating, the scope of coverage, and increasing movement toward better monitoring and enforcement.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Vol. 16 No. 30, Monday, 10 February 2003.
Press Release, UNEP/135 Action On Chemicals Pollution And Support For Africa Agreed At End Of Global Environment Ministers Meeting;
Environment Ministers At UN Meeting Seek To Reduce Global Levels Of Mercury; UN News Center, 2003-02-03,
Governments Back UN Study To Rescue Natural Resources In Palestinian Territories, New York, Feb 7, 2003 (UN Newsletter)

Environmentally Cleaner warfare: Energy on Targets vs Metal and explosives on Targets Needs Environmental Evaluation

If a war in Iraq occurs, new energy weapons are expected to be used. Such weapons do not appear to be an environmental problem compared with metal and explosives. This presents the opportunity to do a post battlefield assessment of the environmental impacts compared to previous weapons impacts.  Variations of these energy weapons that cause short duration pain have also been suggested in crowd control.  Since these kinds of weapons present a new category of arms, it is reasonable to anticipate that eventually new rules for their control will emerge.

NY Times:
Magazine article:  David A. Fulghum, "Pulse Weapons, Stealth Defenses Near Readiness," Aviation Week & Space Technology," Sept. 30, 2001.

New and Stricter International Regulations for Electronic Waste

Two E-waste laws entered into force in the European Union (EU)
Two directives on E-waste entered into force in the European Union (EU):  1) Directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS); and 2) Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). These laws are to be added to EU Members legal system with rules for monitoring compliance by August 2004. According to WEEE, producers will be financially responsible for collection, treatment, recovery and disposal of all waste from their products marketed after August 13, 2005. Under RoHS, manufacturers will have to cease using lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, or the brominated flame retardants PBDE and PBB, in products marketed from July 1, 2006.

European Electroscrap Laws Enter into Force, February 18, 2003, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Text of the two directives:

Electronic Waste is the Fastest Growing Waste Problem in the world.

According to the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, E-waste is the fastest growing waste problem in the world with serious occupational and environmental health threats.  These threats are being sent overseas via export of obsolete electronics to developing countries. Asian buyers, mainly China, receive an estimated 80% of the computers collected by recyclers. Large Chinese communities make their living by searching electronic waste disposal sites in unsafe conditions. According to Chinese state media, carcinogens and toxins such as lead, mercury and beryllium get into the soil and water causing serious health problem to the population.

The leaders in the electronic industry and environmental groups have created the "Electronic Recycler’s Pledge of True Stewardship” because they were not satisfied with the US Government’s actions to address environmentally sound recycling.

Chinese Dumps Said To Threaten Public Health,
Electronic Recycler’s Pledge of True Stewardship,

Proposals to the EU to cut sulfur emissions from ships

The European Union released a legislative proposal intended to reduce ships' sulfur emissions, going beyond the global maritime norms. The high sulfur fuel used by ships is responsible for sulfur dioxide emissions that contribute to acid rain, which can pollute waterways and damage forests and crops. Although the shipping industry is contesting the proposal as contravening the International Law of the Sea, the green groups consider that the targets to cut ship sulfur emissions should be as high as 80% by 2010. So far the EU is only will to look at cuts around 10%,

Source: Tug of War Looms over Sulfur in EU Ship Fuel,

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Post-conflict issues

Governance is key to post-conflict environmental future says UNEP Report on Afghanistan

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released the report Post-Conflict Environment Assessment on the environmental damage of two decades of warfare in Afghanistan. The report found that the most serious issue is the long-term environmental degradation caused, in part, by the complete collapse of local and national forms of governance.
The report includes 163 recommendations to be implemented by the Government of Afghanistan with technical and financial assistance from the international community. If the linkage of governance and environmental management becomes better understood, then future international treaties on post-conflict environmental cleanup may include training and development (capacity building) for local governance’s environmental management.

Afghanistan Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment, January 2003,
UNEP Press Release, January 29, 2003

Environmental viability for life support is increasingly critical in the Palestinian Occupied Territories

UNEP Desk Study on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories reports that water pollution, lose of natural vegetation, climate change, desertification, waste-dumping, and land degradation are escalating particularly in the Palestinian Occupied Territories due to military conflicts, protracted refugee situations, and rapid population growth. This study will be “one of the top items” for the UNEP Governing Council meeting of environmental ministers to be held in Nairobi 3-7 February 2003. The potential human disaster in Somalia’s food supply, environment, and governance set the precedence for UN authorized invasion. Although circumstances are different, the UNEP report increases attention to environmental deterioration as both a result and contributing cause of conflict. Such increased attention could eventually translate into international agreements for not only post-conflict environmental repair, but also for environmental security monitoring systems and criteria for environmental threats to life support sufficient to warrant international intervention.

UN Press Release, January 23, 2003,
Desk Study on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (UNEP/GC.22/INF/31)
Documents for the Twenty-Second Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (2/3 down the list is the Desk Study on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (UNEP/GC.22/INF/31),

OECD and the Republic of George signed an agreement eliminate or recycle left over munitions dumps on former military bases.

Recognizing that old weapons on former military bases have become a threat to the safety, ecology, and security, the Georgian Government and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) signed an agreement 30 January 2003 establishing a project to eliminate or recycle these stockpiles of ammunition and bombs. The governments of Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Turkey have assured financial support for the project. With similar closing of many post-Cold War bases around the world, it is reasonable to assume that other countries will also seek such international agreements.

Source: OSCE States will fund long-term scheme to destroy surplus weapons and explosives in Georgia,

Pressure mounts for increased funds and better techniques for demining

Minefields in Angola impede food aid delivery to tens of thousands of starving people and previously prevented farmers from harvesting crops. World Food Program (WFP) calls for funds for demining activities.

Note: At the ongoing Conference on Disarmament, several speakers called for universal accession to the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel landmines.

Sources: Minefields halt Angola food aid
Landmine Monitor Report 2002: Toward a Mine-Free World
Land minds prevent food harvest

UN Conference On Disarmament Opens 2003 Session

The UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva has been unable to reach consensus on a program of work since 1998. The impasse may be resolved by the “Five Ambassadors Initiative” [see the Millennium Project’s September 2002 emerging environmental security issue report] that proposes four separate tracks with a separate work plan for each track: 1) guarantees not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states; 2) nuclear disarmament; 3) a ban on production of weapons-grade fissile materials; and 4) prevention of an arms race in space. Delegates to the Disarmament Conference have welcomed this initiative, but it is not yet clear if it will be adopted. February 5-7, 2003, the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters will meet in closed session in New York, and may make recommendations useful to the Conference on Disarmament. This first part of the Conference ends on March 28. The next two parts will be held from May 12 to June 27, and from July 28 to September 10.

Sources: Conference On Disarmament Opens 2003 Session, Hears Message From Secretary-General Urging End To Impasse, UN Press Release, 21.01.03
Representatives Of Netherlands, Italy Address Conference On Disarmament, UN press release 28 January 2003
Conference On Disarmament Debates Middle East, North Korean Withdrawal From Missile Treaty, Other Topics, Press Release, 30.01.03

Commercial radioactive components recognized as “dirty bomb” hazard

The Monterey Institute Center for Nonproliferation Studies has released an assessment of the security risks posed by commercial radioactive sources (e.g. a cesium-137 cancer therapy device), which might be used by terrorists to manufacture a "dirty bomb." Up to now, the security of such everyday components, used in science, healthcare, and industry, has not been of substantial concern to planners, but the recent association of terrorists with radiological dispersal devices has brought about a change in their view of this threat. It is now recognized that improved control of such “ingredients” is imperative

Dirty bombs are not weapons of mass destruction (i.e. extensive immediate fatalities), but rather of mass disruption, in the form of public panic and of later prolonged and expensive cleanup. It is nevertheless important to remove this weapon from the terrorist arsenal. Control of even high security risk components is very spotty, and generally limited to advanced countries – at present the US and Canada permit the export of most high-risk sources without any government check of end users.

Monterey Institute news release:
Monterey Institute paper:
Australian study:

Global Mercury Assessment report

The Global Mercury Assessment report prepared by the Global Mercury Working Group [see September 2002 issue below] was released and will be reviewed at the February UNEP’s Governing Council. Concluding that "there is sufficient evidence of significant global adverse impacts to warrant international action to reduce the risks to human health and the environment arising from the release of mercury into the environment", the assessment calls for immediate actions to address the dangers of mercury, including "launching talks for a legally binding treaty," and "reducing risks by reducing or eliminating the production and consumption of mercury."

An internal document leaked to a mercury watchdog group suggests that the United States plans to impede talks on an international law that would impose mandatory measures on mercury production, use or releases.

Note: At the February UNEP’s Governing Council meeting there was agreement on immediate actions, including the establishment of a UNEP program on mercury and a list of objectives and actions for capacity-building to reduce risks from mercury; and on a process to consider options for additional action, including the possibility of a legal instrument or other instruments or measures, for review by the next meeting of the Governing Council.

Source: UNEP Chemicals, Global Mercury Assessment,
The Global Mercury Assessment report

Pharmaceutical-producing plants as a new controlled element

Sentiment is growing around the world for the imposition of restrictions on the use of genetically modified plants to produce pharmaceuticals. A report of the UK Parliament’s Select Committee on European Communities recommends that,  “these are grown indoors or that out-crossing should be made biologically impossible, by, for example, ensuring male sterility”. Several US food industry groups (e.g. the Biotechnology Industry Assoc.) have urged a moratorium on the use of these methods until better controls are in place. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency held a “Multi-Stakeholder Consultation” on the subject. It should be noted that this problem raises a set of issues different from those associated with genetically modified food crops.

UK Parliament document on risks:
Article on contamination:
CSIS Paper on “Plant Biotechnology in National Defense: Creating Strategic Reserves of Vaccines and Therapeutic Drugs to Counter Agents of Biowarfare”:
CFIA meeting proceedings:

Stricter application of EU environmental laws in accession countries

In a talk on January 21 in Brussels, Belgium, EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said that the ten countries set to join the European Union next year must turn their attention from adopting EU environment laws to implementing them. She was addressing the ninth and last annual informal meeting with accession country environment ministers. According to the Environmental News Service, “this Informal Meeting, the last of its kind, heralds the beginning of a new phase of more intensified co-operation to ensure that environmental standards are uniformly applied across the enlarged European Union. “ Six months before the official accession date, the Environment Commission must report on how well the new states are implementing the laws, and there is a hint that sanctions might be applied if their performance is not satisfactory. Financing of the implementation is a problem, and environmental groups in Eastern Europe are already complaining that EU laws are not being uniformly applied.

Source: Environmental News Service story –

International Maritime Organization (IMO) wants global rather than many different local or regional rules

As noted in the Millennium Project’s November 2002 report, following the breakup of the oil tanker “Prestige” off the northwest coast of Spain, recommendations for new regulations regarding oil tankers may become part of future international treaties. Authorities in southwestern France have prepared lawsuits seeking compensation for damage to the fishing industry caused by the oil spill. The city of Brest has opened a criminal inquiry to identify those responsible for the disaster. Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is stressing that the IMO is the appropriate forum to decide on new measures concerning maritime safety adopted by EU countries. New standards agreed to through the IMO rather than the EU would apply equally to all ships of all countries and not just to EU countries.

UN Wire, Jan. 9 and 2, 2003

Developing countries’ compliance with environmental regulations is expected to improve via new modes of international assistance

Follow-up to the Global Judges Symposium concerning capacity building of legal stakeholders - Senior Judges and UNEP are helping developing countries improve their international environmental law capacity.

Inter-Linkages: Environmental Governance in 14 Asian and Pacific Countries - The UNU Inter-linkages Initiative helps the understanding and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements at national and regional levels.

UNU to discuss global integration of environmental assessments – The Globally-Integrated Environmental Assessment Modeling Forum is an ongoing set of discussions, workshops, peer reviews, and newsletters on issues concerning globally integrated model-supported environmental assessments.

REC's role after EU enlargement in 2004 - The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC, Hungary) will continue to build environmental agreement monitoring and compliance capacity in Europe and developing countries.

Judges Ad Hoc Meeting For The Development Of A Plan Of Work As A Follow-Up To The Global Judges Symposium Relating To Capacity Building Of Judges, Prosecutors, And Other Legal Stakeholders, Nairobi, Kenya - 30-31 January 2003,
Public Forum on Inter-Linkages: Environmental Governance In 14 Asian And Pacific Countries Press Release
UNU Inter-Linkages Initiative
International Experts Will Meet At UNU to Discuss Global Integration of Environmental Assessments, Press release
REC's role after EU enlargement in 2004; Towards Kyiv-2003, European Eco-Forum News Digest, N 54, January 2002

Water Issues

International Year of Freshwater
Designation of 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater has triggered many events around the world to increase more responsible water use and conservation. The World Water Development Report will be launched at the Third World Water Forum (March) highlighted by the World Water Day, March 22, 2003. The report is the first UN system-wide effort to monitor progress in all areas of water from health to ecosystem and governance. “Future of Water” was the theme of the 21st Century Talks held at UNESCO Headquarters on January 28.

Web sites are created to disseminate information and build awareness.
The official site of the International Year of Freshwater 2003 is
The site of World Water Day, 22 March 2003, is

International Year of Freshwater 2003:
21st Century talks: the Future of Water, UNESCO, January 28, 2003, Paris
World Water Day, 22 March, 2003, UNEP Executive Director's Message

European Water Pollutants List Delayed One Year
The European Water Pollutants List will be published at the end of the year (one year delay) together with the package of new water quality objectives and emission standards intended to implement the law. The delay is necessary to determine whether the substances under review stay listed as priority substances -- remain in circulation under certain restrictions – or will be declared priority hazardous substances -- to be phased out entirely within 20 years.

Source: European Water Pollutants List Delayed One Year,

Draft Report On Environment, Water And Security In Central Asia
"Environment, Water and Security", draft paper prepared under the leadership of the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia, suggests that there is a need to develop a comprehensive international legal document to implement the recent decisions of UN conferences in Johannesburg, Monterrey, and Doha for Central Asia.  It also recommends the establishment of a UN Commission for Sustainable Development in Central Asia. The document promises to be a comprehensive analysis of the water situation in the region and its implications for security. The initiative and the document will be presented at the Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" (Kiev, 21-23 May 2003).

Source: European ECO-Forum Newsletter, Thursday, 23 January 2003
The UNECE Secretariat's document "Almaty Meeting on Environment, Water and Security in Central Asia" is available at

Update on the Kyoto Protocol

For the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force, it is essential that Russia ratify it. Although at the WSSD in August Russia pledged to ratify the Protocol, its position seems undecided yet. In January, high Russian dignitaries made contradictory declarations concerning Russia’s position with reference to the Protocol.

Russian Official Says Kyoto Ratification Coming Soon, UN Wire, 01/21/03
Russia delays global warming pact, may wreck deal, EnviroLink, 01/17/03

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Post-Battlefield Cleanup:  New Production Process for Gold Nanoparticles Make Biosensors Less Costly
Mass availability of low cost biological sensors may be available sooner than previously thought.  A new process has been demonstrated that allows bullion quality gold nanoparticles to be deposited on silicon from relatively low quality gold sources. Organic molecules can then be deposited on the gold surface of the computer chip. Since gold does not corrode in air, it is the best computer-biology connection. This connection is what can link computer systems for improved biological surveillance.


UN Panel Adopts Global Classification and Labeling System for Chemicals
After a decade of negotiations the UN Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals adopted a new global system on chemical safety in Geneva. The Globally Harmonized System for the Labeling and Classification of Chemicals (GHS) includes measures on proper management, hazard classification and pictogram labeling of chemicals. The GHS adds to the harmonized classification and labeling already in place for the transportation sector for application to the workplace and consumer sectors.

The Committee is a UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) subsidiary body and operates through the UN Economic Commission for Europe. The mandate for this work was adopted under Agenda 21 at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, and the Plan of Implementation was adopted on 4 September 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Countries are encouraged to have the new system fully operational by 2008. A UN publication of the GHS text will be available in early 2003.

U.N. Panel Adopts Global Classification, Labeling System
A New Global Classification And Labeling System For Chemicals (GHS)

Kyoto Protocol expected to come into force next year
Canada and New Zealand became the 100th and 101st countries to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol requires 55 Parties to the Convention to ratify (or accede to) it (including countries listed in Annex I) accounting for 55% of carbon dioxide emissions in 1990; as of 19 December 2002, 101 Parties have ratified or acceded to the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol is expected to come into force next year when Russia will ratify it.

Kyoto Protocol To The United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (text of the Protocol)
Status of ratifications:
Kyoto Thermometer

New Zealand signs up to Kyoto climate change pact
Canada sees Kyoto vote upping U.S. green support

Water Poverty Index
The newly developed Water Poverty Index is designed to help policy-makers to identify where problems exist and the appropriate measures to deal with their causes. The index, compound of five vectors - resource, access, use, capacity and environment - highlights that it is not the quantity of available water resources that counts the most, but the effectiveness of the use of those resources.

A Water Poverty Index reflecting social adaptive capacity'L_FRESHWATER_YEAR

Europe to Label Transgenic Animal Feed and Foods
European food and agriculture ministers adopted a proposal on regulation of food and feed containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Marketing of genetically modified food and feed will be subject to prior approval and that GMO feed must be labeled as such, even if GMOs cannot be identified in the final product, if GMOs is over 0.9 % threshold. The final adoption of the GMO proposal requires the approval of the European Parliament.

Europe to Label Transgenic Animal Feed and Foods

Environmental NGOs meet in Preparation for European Environmental Ministers Meeting May 2003
The European Eco Forum - a network of environmental groups - held a strategy meeting of over 60 environmental NGOs from 28 countries with some government and UN officials to discuss and prepare a broad set of environmental proposals to the Governments of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in the preparation for the 5th Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" (21-23 May 2003, Kiev, Ukraine).

European ECO-Forum web site has continuous updates on the preparation of the Kiev Conference
BRATISLAVA DECLARATION on the pan-European agenda for the forthcoming Kyiv Environmental Ministers Conference (11 pages PDF file)

UN General Assembly Adopts Resolutions on Marine Protection
The UN General Assembly concluded its debate of oceans and the law of the sea by adopting three resolutions: one entitled “Oceans and the Law of the Sea” (resolution A/57/L.48/Rev.1) on compliance of shipping vessels with conservation measures; and the other two on protecting the marine environment and harmful fishing practices. The Assembly also decided to establish a UN process for global reporting and monitoring of the marine environment by 2004. The Secretary-General would be invited to establish an effective, transparent and regular inter-agency coordination mechanism on oceans and coastal issues within the UN.

UN General Assembly Document A/57/L.48/Rev.1, Oceans and the law of the seas click on Draft resolution A/57/L.48/Rev.1 (Oceans and the Law of the Sea, to be issued under symbol A/RES/57/141) in English
General Assembly Adopts Resolutions On Marine Protection
Stronger Measures To Protect Marine Environment From Tanker Accidents Urged, As General Assembly Ends Sea Law Debate

Switzerland supports Paraquat Ban
The Swiss government says it will support efforts to add the pesticide paraquat to Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade to protect developing countries from its harmful consequences. The convention was ratified by Switzerland on January 10, 2002. The pesticide is produced by the Syngenta corporation. Product names include Crisquat, Cyclone, Dextrone, Dexuron, Gramoxone Extra, Herbaxone, Ortho Weed and Spot Killer, and Sweep. The Berne Declaration and other NGOs from around the world welcomed the Swiss government's announcement.
Classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a highly toxic compound in toxicity class I, it may be found in formulations with many other herbicides, including simazine and diquat dibromide.

News story:

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Post-Battlefield Cleanup issues

UN Designates November 6th as International Day for Conflict and the Environment
The United Nations has designated November 6 as the “International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in Wars and Armed Conflicts.” This designation is the result of UN member states requesting UNEP and the UN Human Settlements Program to monitor the issue. This provides a new avenue for increasing public awareness of environment impacts of conflict.


Liabilities for World War II land mines in Egypt and warships in the Pacific
Egyptian authorities estimate that there are 18 million landmines and unexploded bombs in the el-Alamein desert, which threaten human life and retard the region’s development. Egypt does not have the resources to solve this problem and wants the landmines and ordnance removed. Some of the 2000 World War II warships loaded with oil, chemicals and ordnance in the South Pacific are beginning to leak. There are similar problems in the Mediterranean and the California coast. Unlike commercial vessels, where salvagers can claim rights to sunken cargo, warships forever belong to their flag state. Assignment of liabilities for old conflicts may become a larger issue. Since many countries in the affected areas do not have the financial or scientific resources for cleanup operations, UN or other international resolution could one day require the responsible countries to provide financial and technical assistance to address these issues.

World War Two wrecks haunt Pacific with oil spills
Egypt still suffering from World War Two legacy

Controversy over the impacts of depleted uranium continues
The health impact of armor piercing bullets with depleted uranium (DU) is subject of continuing complaints and subsequent research in several former conflicts. Although one UNEP study in Kosovo found no significant impact of DU, Bosnia and Herzegovina has requested that UNEP conduct a study in their country. After examining 14 sites, a team of UNEP experts has identified three radioactive “hot spots” in Bosnia and advised the government of Bosnia to begin decontamination of the sites and to educate local people about the hazards. A full report will be published in March 2003.The World Health Organizations has warned that depleted uranium has significant chemical toxicity and UNEP is calling for "precautionary action" at locations where the public has access to depleted uranium sites. According to an article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Iraqi medical doctors say DU has caused cancer and birth defects, others outside Iraq say DU has a role in the Gulf War Syndrome. Iraq offered a resolution banning weapons that used DU to the U.N. General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee in November that got 35 votes in favor, 59 against, and 56 abstentions.

Iraqi cancers, birth defects blamed on U.S. depleted uranium:

Balkans: UNEP Chief Reports On Depleted Uranium Ahead Of Annan's Visit
U.N. release, Nov. 14

Bosnia: UNEP Team Links Radioactive Sites To Depleted Uranium

Iraq resolution on depleted uranium last paragraph: UN Wire, Nov. 04, 2002

Collateral damages caused by attacks need to be redefined
Although precision weapons are seen as reducing collateral damage and reducing conflicts’ duration, a study of precision bombing in Yugoslavia that targeted chemical plants brings into question the definition of “collateral damage.”  The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research report of this study argues that, “there is need for a sharp redefinition of how target sets and collateral damage are evaluated…. Currently collateral damage is measured in terms such as the number of civilian casualties or the cost of replacing property. Long-term environmental harms can be much more difficult to quantify and evaluate, despite their very significant costs."

Precision Bombing, Widespread Harm report:
Press Release:

Bioremediation of the environment

Pollution-eating microbe may help clean up
A Michigan State University study has discovered a microbe (called TCA1), which derives energy by breaking down trichloroethane in to a less-toxic substance. Trichloroethane contaminates ground water and also erodes the ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. This is another discovery of bacteria that consume toxins, suggesting a strategy for bioremediation of the environment.

Artificial organism and/or genetically engineer living bacteria used in cleanup operations
Craig Venter, who sped up genomic research, is now trying to speed up the creation of a partly artificial life form, by creating an artificial chromosome. It would be a first step towards his eventual goal of creating an artificial organism from scratch. The objective is to try to make microbes that can clean the air of excess carbon dioxide or to produce cheap hydrogen fuel. This is a different approach than genetically engineer living bacteria to do dirty work, such as absorbing radiation or toxic chemicals that consist in inserting genes from one species into another.

Source: Pollution-eating microbe may help clean up
Genome pioneer to try to build artificial life:

Some Nanotechnology may become a new kind of pollution
Little is known about the range of biological impacts of the range of potential nanotechnologies. Could nanotubes and other nanotech variations create anomalies within the human immune system? What happens if they accumulate in organs? What might the impacts be if they intermingle with other substances in Nature? As a result, some like the ETC Group (Eco-Equity Erosion, Technology Transformation and Corporate Control) are calling for a moratorium on further nanotech work, until more is know. Others say the benefits of continued research out weigh the risks. A new study via the Bochum Verification Project (applied-physics research for automatic sensor systems) has produced a paper for a joint NSF-EC workshop: "Risks from Military Uses of Nanotechnology - The Need for Technology Assessment and Preventive Control.”  Among its recommends are international agreements “to prevent production or release of systems capable of self-replication in the wild, binding both the civilian and military sectors…

…The nanotechnology initiatives of various nations should work together to build confidence and common purpose…In the long run, containing the risks of the new powerful technologies - genetic engineering, pervasive computer networks, micro-systems, and nanotechnology - will probably require fundamental changes in the international system, particularly strengthening of law and political institutions, including international criminal law, and reorienting of the military mission from war fighting to organizing cooperative security.” It is very likely that environmental health concerns will initiate discussions for new agreements specifically addressing hazards from nano-size components.

Risks from Military Uses of Nanotechnology:
The Lecce paper:
EPA reports:
New York Times article on hazards:
Nanotechnology forecast:
News story:

Strengthen a global ban on Biological Weapons
Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention decided to hold annual meetings to discuss a limited agenda until the next review conference in 2006. According to World Environment News, years of discussions on a legally binding new protocol to the 30-year-old pact came to a shuddering halt last December when the U.S. accused fellow members Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea of violating the treaty and refused to continue negotiations on new, tougher rules, including onsite inspections. Discussion at the annual meetings would be limited to five subjects primarily addressing ways that individual countries could improve domestic measures to control and penalize biological weapons activities. However, "Compliance measures are totally missing from this package," notes Chairman Tibor Toth.

States seek to salvage global ban on germ weapons
Press Release of Fifth Review Conference of the BWC

U.N. General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee debated new disarmament-related resolutions
U.N. General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee debated and voted on more than 50 resolutions on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons disarmament, small arms, the Register of Conventional Weapons, missiles and the work of the Conference on Disarmament. The GA adopted 53 texts; the only one defeated was the one concerning depleted uranium, presented by Iraq. Draft G, on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control calls upon States to adopt measures ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment.

Comprehensive UN Press Release: GA/10105 (22 November 2002)
Abstract Press Release: 53 First Committee Texts Adopted by the General Assembly
Committee Debates The Future Of Multilateralism

EU Identifies Persistent and Bio-Accumulative Chemicals
The European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) has produced a first list of persistent and bio-accumulative substances that may eventually be classified as chemicals of high concern, requiring authorization in terms of the EU’s new REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) policy. Bureau officials have reported that a definitive version of the list will be published following consultation with industry. The list identifies 125 substances from almost 2,700 high production volume chemicals that are registered in the EU. All are either environmentally persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBTs), or are very persistent and very bio-accumulative without necessarily being toxic (vPvBs). How PBTs and vPvBs should be handled under REACH is one of the key issues being debated within the European Commission, as it prepares legislation for a new EU chemicals policy.

Source: European Chemicals Bureau
Technical Guidance Document In Support Of Commission Directive 93/67/Eec On Risk Assessment For New Notified Substances And Commission Regulation (Ec) No 1488/94 On Risk Assessment For Existing Substances and the Existing Substances Regulation – Results are available on the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) web site under “What’s New”, November 2002

Europe Looks to Maritime Rules After Tanker Spill
The breakup of the oil tanker "Prestige" spilling over a million gallons of oil into the ocean and polluting 124 miles of the Spanish coast prompted the European Commission to place the issue of oil tankers in EU waters on the agenda for the Maritime Transport Council Meeting on December 6. Until the oil tankers’ design, navigation, and maintenance improves, and regulations about sea routes change, such disasters are expected to continue. In cooperation with International Maritime Organization the World Wildlife Fund has suggested a series of steps including the designation of particularly sensitive and vulnerable sea areas, tanker design, improved maintenance and inspection of all vessels, and limited routes for the ships carrying dangerous and toxic material. It is reasonable to expect that some of these recommendations will find their way into future international treaties.

Source: Europe Looks to Maritime Rules After Tanker Spill

European Union Debates Limits to environmental liability
The EU is considering more open-ended liability of corporations that cause environmental damage. Industry representatives want to put limits to financial liability, while environmental groups argue that the polluter should pay for total costs to repair damages caused to nature, even if the corporation was acting within the laws at the time of damage. For example, if the development of a genetically modified food caused a change in another plant which intern destroyed some part of the ecology, the corporation will be liable for all coasts to correct the situation.

Source: EU firms fight "blank cheque" eco-liability law

Water issues

 2003 will be the Year of Potable Water
UNEP designated 2003 as Year of Potable Water.  The World Water Forum will be held in Kyoto, Japan, in January 2003.

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Initiates Program to Fight Water Shortages
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) plans to launch a $100 million five-year initiative in 15 developing countries to fight water shortages. Together with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), they have produced the Global Water Outlook to 2025: Averting an Impending Crisis, that projects that by 2025 water scarcity will cause annual global losses of 350 metric tons of food production - more than the annual grain harvest of the US.

Environment, Water And Safety in Central Asia
Regional Environmental Center of Central Asia (CAREC) launched a competition among experts focused on the preparation of the report Environment, Water and Safety in Central Asia, that will be disseminated among interested parties and presented during the Fifth Ministerial Conference Environment for Europe (Kiev, May, 2003) and World Water Forum (Kyoto, March, 2003).

Israel-Lebanon: Water Project Launched Despite Mounting Tension
The water-pumping project at the southern Wazzani River launched by Lebanon in October despite Israel’s disagreement, could lead to an escalation of hostilities in the region. There is no formal agreement on sharing water in the region. At a recent meeting at the AAAS, the Israeli Director of Friends of the Earth organization stated the stringent necessity for enforced treaties that clearly stipulate quotas and rules for shared watersheds in the region, to avoid future conflicts.

CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food:
Global Water Outlook to 2025: Averting an Impending Crisis
Environment, Water And Safety in Central Asia, Towards Kiev-2003, European ECO-Forum News Digest, Nov. 15, 2002; updates are also available at
Israel-Lebanon: Water Project Launched Despite Mounting Tension
Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director, Friends of the Earth; AAAS, After Johannesburg symposium, November 21, 2002

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Post-Conflict Environmental issues
The environmental consequences of conflicts and discussions about post-conflict pollution, testing, and clean up accelerated by the recently established UNEP Post-Conflict Assessment Unit increases the likelihood of new international agreements on the obligations of clean-up and damage compensation.

UNEP Assessing Depleted Uranium Sites in Bosnia
At the request of the Bosnia and Herzegovina government, UNEP has begun contamination testing in 12 sites that may have been targeted by ordnance containing depleted uranium (DU) during the 1994-95 Bosnian conflict. Although UNEP reported last year that the use of shells had not caused widespread contamination, new concerns were raised when increased rates of cancer were found among peacekeeping soldiers in Bosnia and Kosovo. UNEP is trying to determine the current and future health or environmental risks of using depleted uranium. The final conclusions will be presented in a report to be published in March 2003.

Sources: UNEP Postconflict Assessment Unit:
UN Wire, Oct. 15, 2002

Increased Funds for Study of Long-term Effects Atomic Radiation
The UN Special Political and Decolonization Committee approved a draft resolution encouraging UNEP to increase funding for the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. General Assembly Resolution 56/50 called on the Committee to continue its 47 years of work on the problems in the field of ionizing radiation.

The draft resolution also requests dissemination of the Scientific Committee's finding to the General Assembly, the scientific community and the public, and welcomes member states' readiness to provide the committee with relevant information on the effects of ionizing radiation in affected areas. Increased funding will ensure the Scientific Committee’s ability to successfully discharge its responsibilities and mandate.


UNEP to Release a Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment in January 2003
Preliminary findings of the UNEP assessment mission to Afghanistan reveal key environmental problems including deforestation, drought and erosion. Military activities, refugee movements, overexploitation of natural resources, and a lack of management and institutional capacity have damaged the environment during nearly three decades of war. “UNEP will perform an assessment to explore the opportunities and benefits from a wide range of international environmental conventions…[including] Desertification, Climate Change, Biodiversity, Ramsar, CITES, Migratory Species, POPs, Basel and World Heritage.” The results of a six- month UNEP assessment with recommendations for reconstruction and recovery will be published in January 2003.

Sources: and

Iraqi environmental harm in Kuwait invasion greater than thought
Kuwait's Public Authority for Assessment of Compensation for Damages Resulting from the Iraqi Aggression presented the first results from U.N.-financed studies into environmental damage to the Governing Council of the UN Compensation Commission this month. The study found greater Iraqi environmental damages than first estimated. Diplomats and U.N. sources said the commission was expected to approve a payment of almost $700 million to Kuwait for damage due to Iraqi mines and ordnance left behind as Iraq's troops fled. The Commission is scheduled to end its work at the end of 2004.

Source: UN Wire, Oct. 03, 2002
Reuters Planetark, October 3, 2002

Transgenic Plants to Decontaminate the Environment
Researchers at the University of Georgia have announced the successful development of a transgenic plant, a member of the mustard family, which removes arsenic from contaminated soil and concentrates it in its leaves, to be harvested and safely destroyed. Two arsenic-protective Escherichia coli (E. coli) genes were transferred into thale cress, which then flourished in a normally poisonous arsenic-rich soil, and concentrated two to three times as much arsenic as wild specimens.

Although this particular approach applies only to the absorption of arsenic, it is possible that similar transgenic methods could be developed, to produce phytoremediants for chemicals that are more likely than arsenic to be battlefield contaminants.  If so, then these could find their way into international agreements on post-conflict environmental agreements.

Source: Environment News Service, Engineered Plants Soak Up Arsenic, by Cat Lazaroff, October 7, 2002
Copies of the paper are available by e-mail from Dr. Richard Meagher at

The Rotterdam Convention Expected to Enter into Force with within a Year
The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade provides guidelines for identification, management and trade of harmful chemicals and requires warning labels on certain tradable substances.  The Convention has been signed by 72 governments (plus the EU) and ratified by 33 countries; it will enter into force after the 50th ratification, which is expected within a year. In the meantime, countries are expected to voluntarily comply with the evolving terms of the Convention.  Currently 26 pesticides and 5 industrial chemicals are subject to the PIC procedure under the convention.  Chemicals and pesticides subject to the PIC procedure cannot be exported unless the importing country is made aware of their dangers and gives explicit consent.

The ninth session of it’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee met in September 30 to October 4, 2002 in Bonn. The Committee agreed to include monocrotophos to the list of chemicals subject to prior informed consent in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention and to recommendations on the range and description of DNOC, asbestos, and Granox TBC and Spinox T.

Sources: Earth Negotiations Bulletin Vol. 15 No. 75, October 7, 2002, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD),
The Rotterdam Convention:
Annex III [Chemicals Subject to The Prior Informed Consent Procedure] to the Rotterdam Convention: Annex

The Stockholm Convention May Get Some Teeth
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which has been signed by 151 countries and ratified by 21, will go into force after 50 ratifications.  It calls on governments to replace existing POPs and prevent the development of new POPs, but it had no provisions for liability and redress of infractions. This gap was explored by a recent workshop of the Stockholm Convention.  It discussed the possibility of shifting liability from states to private actors; difficulties in establishing retroactive liability; obstacles to creating a viable liability regime (including difficulties in identifying the sources of release and victims of damage, as well as in attributing damage to a particular POP); and status of some relevant existing international instruments in the field of liability and redress.

Note: Arctic Pollution 2002, report by the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program, shows that industrial pollutants from other parts of the world are threatening humans and wildlife in the Arctic and therefore calls for a global ban of POPs to protect the Arctic. The World Wildlife Fund called on Russia and the US to ratify the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Source: Summary of the Stockholm Convention workshop on liability and redress
19-21 September 2002;
Arctic Pollution 2002:
Press release from World Wildlife Fund

Environmental Strategy Preparations for 12 Countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia
Georgian Ministry of Environment with support of UNDP and OECD held a meeting in October for countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia to explore how to: harmonize environmental polices and legislation; monitor and prevent environmental pollution; manage natural resources; integrate environmental concerns into sectoral policies; use debt for environment strategies; develop public awareness for environmental decision-making; and identify transboundary problems in participating countries. These discussed are to lead to a regional environmental strategy by the “Steering Group for Elaboration of the G12 Environmental Strategy.”

Source: Environmental Strategy For 12 Countries (NIS) - Meeting in Tbilisi

Nuclear-Free Zones Continue to Grow

Central Asia agrees to become a Nuclear Free Zone
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan agreed to become the world's next nuclear weapons-free zone after five years of negotiations. The treaty bans all production, testing, and admittance of nuclear weapons in the region, as well as helping any other country to do so. This is the first such agreement to be negotiated under the UN. It is expected to be signed by the end of this year. Other nuclear free zones include the Antarctic, Africa, Latin America, South Pacific, South Asia, and Mongolia.  Currently Central Europe, South Asia and the Peninsula of Korea, and the Middle East are in negations for their own free zones.

Source: Washington Post, October 4, 2002:

Cuba’s ratification of the Treaty of Tlatelolco completes Latin American and the Caribbean Nuclear Weapons Free Zone
Cuba was the last of 33 eligible states to ratify the Treaty of Tlatelolco October 26,2002, which establishes a nuclear weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Source: UN Wire, October 29, 2002

Proposal for additional Protocols and/or amendments to the Nuclear-Weapons-Free- Zone treaties
The Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) has presented the paper: What means Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones? which specifies some principles to be considered in the existent and future NWFZ treaties such as: applications during wartime as well as peacetime; prohibition of peaceful nuclear tests; prohibition of military attacks on nuclear facilities of Member States; extension of denuclearization to the maritime areas adjacent to Member States; and a new international enforcement mechanisms for possible cases of violating the treaties (such as the Bangkok Treaty mentions).

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones (NWFZs):'s.htm

Aarhus Convention meeting
Lucca, Italy, 21 to 23 October 2002

The Parties to the UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters--the Aarhus Convention --held its first meeting from 21-23 October 2002 in Lucca, Italy. The Aarhus Convention seeks to strengthen the role of the public and non-governmental organizations in environmental decision-making. A high-level segment, attended by over 20 Ministers and vice-Ministers for the environment, adopted the Lucca Declaration on the first day of the meeting.

The key elements of the Declaration include: developing a system that requires industries to report certain annual pollution emissions, adoption of guidelines on genetically modified organisms, improving public access to electronic media and the public's ability to challenge environmental decisions, establishing compliance checks to follow-up on public environmental violation concerns, and adoption of a structure to allow NGOs to gain significant representation in the Convention's governing body. Parties of the Convention agreed to work towards the adoption of an effective protocol for a pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR) system at the Kiev Ministerial Conference, to be held 21 to 23 May 2003. The Aarhus Convention entered into force on 30 October 2001, and has been ratified by 20 countries not including the US.

Sources: UNECE, Draft Lucca Declaration, October 20, 2002

Prospective International Agreements for Mountain Regions
The Bishkek Global Mountain Summit (BGMS) was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 29 October – 1 November 2002, as the final event of the International Year of Mountains. No proposals for specific treaties or agreements are included in the Draft BGMS Platform, whose final version will be the principal output document from the Summit. However, in preparation for the Summit, a series of Thematic Papers were prepared, one of which was "Prospective International Agreements for Mountain Regions", by Wolfgang E. Burhenne, International Council of Environmental Law, Bonn.

"Prospective International Agreements for Mountain Regions" reveals that there is no legally binding global agreement that specifically addresses mountains related issues. The document suggests the development of international legal instruments for mountain regions, and presents a checklist and some factors that should be considered in eventual regional mountain ecosystem agreements. The paper also applies outside of the specific "mountain" context and might be used in drafting future treaties for protection of specialized regions or ecosystems.

Source: "Prospective International Agreements for Mountain Regions", by Wolfgang E. Burhenne:
Bishkek, Global Mountain Summit, 29 October – 1 November 2002

Committee on Emerging Issues and Data on Environmental Contaminants
The National Academies' Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology has established a new Web site for the Committee on Emerging Issues and Data on Environmental Contaminants:

Source: NAS e-newsletter, Fri, 18 Oct 2002

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Six-year deadlock may end at the Geneva Conference on Disarmament talks, opening possibilities for new UN treaty initiatives
Due to an inability to agree on priorities, the Geneva disarmament talks had been stalled since 1996. Ambassadors from Algeria, Belgium, Colombia, Chile, and Sweden have presented a “nonpaper” placing the following key issues on parallel tracks with their own committees and workplans: 1) negative security assurances, or guarantees not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states; 2) nuclear disarmament; 3) a ban on production of weapons-grade fissile materials; 4) prevention of an arms race in space, or PAROS.

According to the UN Wire, there was "general agreement" on recommendations concerning fissile materials and nuclear disarmament; the major obstacle is the space arms race issue. Russia and China have circulated a paper recommending elements for a new treaty on the peaceful uses of outer space "because they find the [existing] treaty is not good enough."  On the other hand, the United States feels that the existing treaty is adequate and that there is no need for negotiations on another legal instrument.

Article at
The Treaty web site:

Environmental cleanup of depleted uranium continues in Montenegro with calls for assistance, reimbursement, and, in some NATO countries, a ban on such ammunition
The controversy over depleted uranium continues in Europe.  According to the New York Times, depleted uranium particles have been detected in the air and ground two years after the NATO attack of the Cape Arza area of Montenegro in 1999. Some research in the United States, Canada and Britain has shown that uranium particles from depleted uranium-coated bullets can have potentially dangerous health effects, though there is no agreement on what a harmful dose would be. As a result, cleanup and storage is warranted by UNEP guidelines, leading the director of the Montenegro Toxicological Institute to call for NATO to "come and take back your radioactive waste and pay for decontamination."

If such calls proliferate, they could lead to new agreements requiring the military that used the bullets to remove them from the battlefield after the conflict or could lead to an outright ban of such ammunition.


Global Mercury Assessment Working Group recommends actions to UNEP’s Governing Council including potential new UN Treaty
The evidence of environmental and health impacts of mercury have led the Global Mercury Assessment Working Group to recommend talks for a legally-binding treaty, measures to reduce and/or eliminate the use, emissions, discharges and losses of mercury and its compounds, international cooperation, risk communication, and other such actions.

Source: UNEP Chemicals, Global Mercury Assessment,

Antigua (Northeast Pacific) Environmental Convention
The new Convention for Cooperation in the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northeast Pacific––known as the Antigua Convention––is intended to reduce pollution and improve conservation of fish supplies in the northeastern part of the Pacific Ocean. The Convention will come into force when the countries concerned ratify it. However, the action plan has already been approved.

The contracting parties are bound to prevent, reduce, control and avoid pollution of the marine and coastal environment of the Northeast Pacific, and to avoid pollution or other environmental harm to areas beyond their boundaries. Further, they must follow the "polluter pays" principle, and the precautionary principle. They also must endeavor to perform an environmental impact analysis of any activity that might cause pollution or other significant or harmful environmental alterations to coastal areas.


Mexico launches a major nationwide Program for Environmental Health
The Mexican Ministry of Health has launched a major nationwide Program for Environmental Health. The main objective of the program is to increase the protection of the population's health against unnecessary or excessive exposure to physical, chemical, and biological agents that are present in the environment.

Mexico has signed or ratified 46 environmentally-related multilateral treaties. This new program will cause the provisions of those treaties to be more rigorously enforced by the government agencies that are partners in the program. Military installations, training, and joint U.S.- Mexico exercises in the border region are likely to be more closely scrutinized after the implementation of this environmental program than before.


European Parliament decides that countries must have the right to reject genetically modified (GM) organisms
The European Union assembly voted to support legislation that will bring EU laws into line with the Cartagena Protocol, a global treaty on trading genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that requires exporters to seek permission from importer countries before shipping GMOs.

Source: Reuters, September 24, 2002, EU Parliament Backs Right to Reject GM Organisms

Environment in Central Asia––the role of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
The recently issued report by the International Crisis Group, "The OSCE in Central Asia: A New Strategy", urges the OSCE to increase its activity in Central Asia. The OSCE has wide involvement in the European environmental arena and it's likely that it will extend its activities to Central Asia. Political structures and economic development have first priority in the area, but actions toward environmental improvement have begun as well.

As Central Asian governmental structures improve and OSCE’s environmental policy assistance continues in the region, it is reasonable to expect more rigorous enforcement of existing environmental laws and treaties as well as acceptance of improved environmental policy.

Source: Summary Report (with link to full report):

Strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) Return to Geneva: A Comprehensive List of Measures. Review Conference Paper No 7; Series Editors: Graham S Pearson and Malcolm R Dando, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) Fifth Review Conference is scheduled to resume on 11-22 November 2002 in Geneva. This Paper examines how to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. It is a comprehensive analysis of the BTWC (1972) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) (1997) and of the measures proposed by States Parties at the Fifth Review Conference in December 2001. It highlights the necessity that States Parties continue their efforts to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the implementation of the Convention through a legally-binding instrument.

The Paper suggests language for the Final Declaration and actions that would strengthen and move the BTWC forward. It also recommends two new conventions: Convention on Criminalization of CBW that would complement both the CWC and the BTWC; and Convention on Physical Protection of Dangerous Pathogens.

Source: Return to Geneva: A Comprehensive List of Measures. Editors: Graham S Pearson and Malcolm R Dando,
Bradford Project on Strengthening the BTWC and Preventing Biological Warfare
SIPRI Chemical and Biological Warfare Project:

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)
Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August to 4 September 2002

The WSSD was a big step forward in global awareness of the necessity of sustainable development. The outcomes will be visible in time and they will surely influence changes towards more environmentally friendly economic development. Even though the Plan of Implementation contains no specific language referring to “environmental security” or military actions, there are several paragraphs (i.e. sound management of chemicals (par. 22); deal effectively with natural disasters and conflicts, including their environmental impacts [ref. to Africa] (par. 59); and enhanced partnership between all major groups (par. 150)) and approaches relevant to the military.

Observation: military–environmental linkages seems not to have been discussed directly during the conference; however, the earlier draft of the Political Declaration [2 September, 2002] included stronger language on military conflicts and sustainable development, but it was softened in the final The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development [4 September 2002]. (Renat Perelet, Russian Academy of Science, participant at the Conference)

The Summit’s documents call upon governments to ratify or accede to and implement the conventions and/or protocols and other relevant instruments relating to the safety and protection of the environment and to consider stronger enforcement mechanisms. It also mentions repeatedly the importance of cooperation and technical assistance and capacity-building between the developed and developing countries. This might very well apply to military activities as well

One of the key outcomes of the Summit refers to “Chemicals” and calls for the achievement by 2020 of use and production methods that do not lead to significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. It also suggests schedules for implementing some specific international instruments such as the Rotterdam Convention (2003) and the Stockholm Convention (2004). The Summit also recommended the establishment of marine protected areas consistent with international law and based on scientific information by 2012.

Sources: WSSD web site:
Key Outcomes of the Summit:
Plan of implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development:

Multinational firms that allow foreign local contractors or employees to violate human rights may be held liable by their own courts
A US Federal Court of Appeals has reinstated a suit against Unocal for its actions in Myanmar where, according to villagers, abuse was inflicted by local military forces on behalf of France's Total Elf-Fina and U.S.-based Unocal. The alleged abuses included murder, torture, and rape. The US suit was filed against Unocal under a 200-year-old federal law, the Alien Tort Claims Act that gives foreign citizens the right to use US courts when suing corporations for violating their human rights, regardless of where those violations occurred.

Sources: Institute for Global Ethics Newswire, September 23, 2002; Los Angeles Times, Sep.19, 2002 AP, Sep. 19 -- Dow Jones, Sep. 19 – Bloomberg News, Sep. 18

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International Commission on Intervention and Sovereign States
The mandate of the Commission is to promote a comprehensive global debate on the relationship between intervention and state sovereignty. The Commission completed its work during the 2000/01 Millennium Assembly year and reported back to the UN Secretary-General and the international community in December 2001. Recently the print report was published: The Responsibility to Protect––Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.

The central point of the report is:
States have the responsibility to protect their citizens from avoidable catastrophe, but if they are unwilling or cannot do so, other states may take the responsibility.

“Off-switches” for bio-weapons
Just like land mines now have “off-switches, there is a need to develop “off-switches” for bio-weapons.

Document source:  Future International Environmental Security Issues and Potential Military Requirements over the period of 2010 to 2025, a report for AEPI by Millennium Project
The report is available from the AEPI "Jarrett, Robert - AEPI" <>. It is also included in the 2002 State of the Future by Jerome C. Glenn and Theodore J. Gordon, , Washington, DC, 2002.

Microbes could be required as part of post-battle field clean up protocol in the future
If we are able to create microbes that clean up a variety of environmental damages, then such microbes could be required in future post-battle field clean up treaties. In theory we could alter microbial DNA to do almost anything conceivable including restoring training and battlefield environments. “Scientists have long looked at extremophiles––bacteria that live in hotter, colder, more toxic, and more radioactive environments than we do––as sources for tools.”

Source: New research to find environment-cleansing bugs; Story by Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent; Reuters News Service; USA: July 25, 2002

North America's Environment: A Thirty–Year State of the Environment and Policy Retrospective, UNEP, August 13, 2002
Focusing on UNEP's North American region, comprising Canada and the United States, this report provides an integrated analysis of the state of resource assets and 30–year trends in nine major themes: atmosphere, biodiversity, coastal and marine areas, disasters, freshwater, forests, human health and the environment, land, and urban areas.

This report expands on the North American regional contribution to the State of the Environment chapter of GEO-3, published in May 2002.

Basically the report suggests that Canada and the United States should give much more attention to environmental matters and therefore serious policy and behavior changes are needed. The two countries account for about 5 % of world population, are responsible for about 25% of CO2 emissions, consume nine times the world average in gasoline and have an "ecological footprint" four times greater than the world average. The report indicts the two countries for exporting environmental harm to the rest of the world.

The report also points out that non-renewable resources, including water, have been intensively exploited. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) can be enforced and extended between the two countries similar to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (1992) that exists for the Economic Commission for Europe state members.

North America's Environment: A Thirty–Year State of the Environment and Policy Retrospective

UNEP Global Judges Symposium on Sustainable Development and the Role of Law
UNEP convened a Global Judges Symposium on Sustainable Development and the Role of Law in Johannesburg from 18 to 20 August 2002. Chief Justices and other senior judges from approximately 70 countries around the world participated in the Symposium. These experts are convinced that the world-wide effort to crack down on environmentally-damaging developments and comply with agreements covering issues ranging from hazardous wastes to the trade in endangered species is being undermined. This is partly due to weaknesses in many countries' legal systems, but mainly as a result of the lax enforcement.

Press release on the Symposium:

An action plan or "programme of work" to strengthen the development, use and enforcement of environment-related laws has been drawn up by over 100 of the world's most senior judges in a move that signals a new era in the quest to deliver sustainable development. The action plan was presented on August 27, 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

One of the statements adopted at the symposium reads: We emphasize the importance of the peaceful resolution of conflicts to avoid situations in which weapons of war degrade the environment and cause irreparable harm directly through toxic agents, radiation, landmines and physical destruction and indirectly destroy agriculture and create vast displacement of people

International Liability for Injurious Consequences Arising Out of Acts not Prohibited by International Law
In an address to the Global Judges Symposium in Johannesburg preceding World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Hans Correll, General Counsel of the United Nations, described the work of the UN International Law Commission and its efforts in preparing Conventions that can provide bases for agreements among states. He further stated, "The International Law Commission is also presently considering a topic entitled 'International Liability for Injurious Consequences Arising Out of Acts not Prohibited by International Law', and has so far completed the first part of the study which focuses on the prevention of transboundary damage from hazardous activities." 19 Draft Articles have been formulated, and additional ones on liability and compensation are being considered.

Hans Correll's speech:

"Common but differentiated responsibility" might become a new concept, with considerable implications for the developed (mostly North American) countries.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, President of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in the opening of the Summit, on August 26, 2002 called for agreement on the controversial concept of "common but differentiated responsibility" between the developed and developing worlds in tackling poverty and environmental crises, which would point up the disproportionate contributions of the United States and a handful of other industrialized countries to global environmental damage.

Environmental Security:  Metaphor for the Millennium
by Kheryn Klubnikin and Douglas Causey, Harvard University. Paper to be published in Summer/Autumn 2002 issue of Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations.

The report is a comprehensive history of the concept of environmental security, its evolution, rising importance, and future implications in policymaking. Using three examples (Vietnam, the Gulf States of the Middle East, and Kosovo), the authors illustrate how military conflict, environmental health, and national security are related and perceived in international contexts.

The report highlights the serious damages that military actions can––and do––cause to the environment. Damages listed in the report go unpunished due to the lack of international treaties or insufficient enforcement of the existing ones.

Global Assessment of the State-of-the-Science of Endocrine Disruptors is a new report by the International Program on Chemical Safety
released on August 12, 2002.
An assessment prepared by an expert group on behalf of the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, and the United Nations Environment Program

The report is a global assessment of the current state of scientific knowledge relative to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDS) and environmental endocrine disruption, focusing on the global peer-reviewed scientific literature where the associations between environmental exposures and adverse outcomes have been demonstrated or hypothesized to occur via mechanisms of endocrine disruption.

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