UN News Service: "The theme of the UN environmental day this year is "Green Cities - Plan for the Planet," The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has adapted it to: "Green your Camps - Improve Natural Resource Management and Plan for the Planet." The Day was celebrated yesterday, 5 June, in San Francisco, California and around the world."
"An atlas of environmental change compiled by the United Nations reveals some of the dramatic transformations that are occurring to our planet. It compares and contrasts satellite images taken over the past few decades with contemporary ones. These highlight in vivid detail the striking make-over wrought in some corners of the Earth by deforestation, urbanisation and climate change. The atlas has been released to mark World Environment Day. The United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep) produced One Planet Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment in collaboration with other agencies such as the US Geological Survey and the US space agency (Nasa)." Read full article
"Iraq's environmental problems - among the world's worst - range from a looted nuclear site which needs cleaning up to sabotaged oil pipelines, a U.N. official said on Thursday. "An improvement is almost impossible in these security conditions. Chemicals are seeping into groundwater and the situation is becoming worse and creating additional health problems," said Pekka Haavisto, Iraq task force chairman at the United Nations Environmental Programme." Full Story
"Fifteen years after the former Iraqi government used old blueprints dating from the British Empire to drain a vast wetland, the area is slowly creeping back to life. For millennia, the Mesopotamian Marshlands were an isolated and swampy oasis in the desert, covering more than 20,000 square km of interconnected lakes, mudflats and bayous. Some believe it is where the biblical Eden was located. The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), which first alerted the world via satellite images that the marshes were vanishing, is playing an active role in capacity-building and promoting sustainable development in the area. The agency created the Marshland Information Network, comprising the Marshland Arabs Forum, various government ministries and the U.S.-based Iraq Foundation, which runs the Eden Again Project. "We're targeting smaller communities with projects for drinking water, sanitation and water quality management," said Chizuru Aoki of UNEP. "The goal is to support environmentally sustainable technologies." Read more... For background on this story read The Demise of Mesopotamian Marshlands, UN Chronicle 2002
From UN News Service: "As part of a United Nations-backed effort to rid the planet of some of the worst pollutants tied to cancer, birth defects and immune system damage, 800 government officials and observers from 130 countries will gather next week in Uruguay for the first meeting of a treaty banning the world's most dangerous pesticides and chemicals."
"[T]he need to protect the environment does not begin or end in the great outdoors. The ecology of urban areas is becoming an increasing concern of the environmental movement, as underscored by its focus in an upcoming five- day United Nations conference on "green cities." The conference is attracting mayors from around the globe to try to bring attention -- and possibly some international accords -- on city-environment issues such as urban design, transportation, energy, open space, recycling, health and water." Full Editorial
"A high-level U.N. meeting is trying to tackle what a senior U.N. official called the world's "silent humanitarian crisis" - dirty water, poor sanitation and slums. Jose Antonio Ocampo, undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, told the 53-member Commission on Sustainable Development at the opening of a two-week meeting on Monday that providing safe drinking water and basic sanitation to the world's slum dwellers is an achievable goal." Read More (Via UN Wire)
"Changes to the environment that are sweeping the planet are bringing about a rise in infectious diseases, the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) has warned. Loss of forests; the building of roads and dams; urban growth; the clearing of natural habitats for agriculture; mining; and pollution of coastal waters are promoting conditions under which new and old pathogens can thrive, according to research published today in Unep's Global Environment Outlook Year Book for 2004/2005." More...