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Cablegate: South America Esth News, Number 78

DE RUEHBR #1509/01 2081328
R 271328Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

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1. The following is the seventy-eighth in a series of newsletters,
published by the Brasilia Regional Environmental Hub, covering
environment, science and technology, and health news in South
America. The information below was gathered from news sources from
across the region, and the views expressed do not necessarily
reflect those of the Hub office or our constituent posts.
Addressees who would like to receive a user-friendly email version
of this newsletter should contact Larissa Stoner at
stonerla@state.gov. The e-mail version also contains a calendar of
upcoming ESTH events in the region.

2. Table of Contents

--(3)Brazil Will Share Expertise in Agriculture with Africa

--(4)Study on Infants in Peru Sparks Ethics Inquiry
--(5)AIDS Treatment Advances in Brazil
--(6)Argentina, Paraguay Sign Health Cooperation Agreement
--(7)Argentina Launches Latin America's First Biosecurity Lab

Water Issues
--(8)Brazil Adopts Freshwater Ecoregions in First National
Freshwater Management Plan

--(9)Albatross Colony Observed In Southern Chile
--(10)Peru, Brazil Join Forces Against Biopiracy in the Amazon

Fishing & Marine Conservation
--(11)First U.S. Marine National Monument Established in Hawaii
--(12)Venezuela: Seeking Adoptive Parents for Turtles

Protected Areas
--(13)Guyana: Kaieteur National Park Faces Funding Hurdles
--(14)Ecuador Increases Monitoring of Yasuni National Park
--(15)Parks and People, Not Parks vs. People

Science & Technology
--(16)USD3 Billion Bid To Boost Biotech in Brazil
--(17)Chile, Argentina, Caribbean Lead in Access to New Technologies

--(18)South American Countries Agree on S&T Cooperation

Pollution & Industrialization
--(19)Court Rules Pulp Mills Construction Can Continue
--(20)Judicial Ruling Requires Clean-Up of Argentina's
Matanza-Riachuelo Basin
--(21)Chile: Paper Mill Fined
--(22)Codelco Spill Contaminates 17km of Marshland Near Santiago

--(23)Chile Announces "Energy Autonomy" in Next Two Years


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--(24)IBD Releases USD 1.9 Million For The Amazon
--(25)Leaky Pipes, Stingy Aid Slow Peru Gas Project
--(26)Chile: Environmentalist Sells 4,000 Argentine Hectares to
Business Group
--(27)Brazil: Environmentalists Threatened


3. Brazil Will Share Expertise in Agriculture with Africa

JULY 14, 2006 - African nations are set to benefit from Brazilian
expertise in tropical agriculture thanks to an agreement between
Brazil and Ghana. Under the agreement signed 10 July, Ghana will
host the first African branch of the Brazilian Agricultural Research
Corporation (Embrapa). The branch will act as a regional base for
sharing Brazil's agricultural knowledge with the whole continent,
and will be located at the Council of Scientific and Industrial
Research in Accra. Two staff will identify local research needs,
plan studies that can be undertaken in Brazil, and seek
international partners to cooperate in the agency's initiatives.
Research will be carried out in Brazil by Embrapa's 38 research
units, which will send their findings back to Ghana. The branch was
decided upon after an increasing number of demands coming from
Africa for Brazilian agricultural technology. The move comes as
part of Brazil's commitment to South-South cooperation.

Source - SciDev


4. Study on Infants in Peru Sparks Ethics Inquiry

JULY 18, 2006 - A legal inquiry was launched to determine whether
Peruvian babies were given a medicine made from genetically modified
rice without their parents' informed consent during a clinical
trial. The researchers deny any wrongdoing and are backed by
Peruvian doctors and ethicists, but the claim has prompted Peruvian
parliamentarian Mercedes Cabanillas to take action. The clinical
trial in question was led by Nelly Zavaleta of Peru's Nutrition
Research Institute and began in August 2004. It compared three oral
rehydration solutions for treating infant diarrhea - a major killer
in developing nations.
One solution, made by US company Ventria Bioscience, contained
proteins found in breast milk that had been produced from rice with
human genes inserted into its DNA. Zavaleta and colleagues found
that this solution significantly cut the severity and duration of
acute diarrhea. But critics fear that introducing two human genes
into plants to produce drugs could threaten people's safety.

Source - SciDev

5. AIDS Treatment Advances in Brazil

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JULY 18, 2006 - Brazilian researchers are giving a large step to
increase efficiency in AIDS treatment. Just like the Americans, who
recently announced a combination of three retroviral medicines in a
single pill, state company Lafepe (Pernambuco State Pharmaceutical
Laboratory) is concluding tests to launch three combined medicines.
The project has been developed over the past eight months by
scientists and experts from Pernambuco's federal university. The
Lafepe laboratory has the capacity to produce 100 million pills

Source - Public Affairs US Embassy Brasilia. Original source Gazeta

6. Argentina, Paraguay Sign Health Cooperation Agreement

JULY 17, 2006 - The presidents of Argentina and Paraguay signed a
series of agreements and memorandums of intent to cooperate in
sanitary vigilance and prevention on the border between the two
countries. The agreements also set joint action toward diseases
such as AIDS, dengue, malaria, Chagas, and basic first aid
procedures. Argentina's program for Community Doctors, which
includes nearly 6,000 doctors throughout the country, will lead the
first aid training for Paraguay doctors.

Source - Argentina's Ministry of Health

7. Argentina Launches Latin America's First Biosecurity Lab

JULY 14, 2006 - The Ministry of Health inaugurated the National
Administration of Health Laboratories and Institutes (ANLIS), the
first biosecurity lab built in Latin America. The Level 2 and 3
labs will be used for animal and human epidemiological vigilance.
Nearly 30 million pesos (approximately USD10 million) were spent on
the new building. The Minister of Health, Gines Gonzalez Garca,
also announced plans to double the country's investment in research,
also improving reference labs throughout Argentina's provinces in
order to strengthen the network of epidemiological investigation.
Avian Influenza was pointed out as an example of diseases that can
be monitored through this new lab.

Source - Argentina's Ministry of Health

Water Issues

8. Brazil Adopts Freshwater Ecoregions in First National Freshwater
Management Plan

JUNE 06, 2006 - The government of Brazil has approved its first
national plan for managing its freshwater resources. A critical
component of this plan is the adoption of freshwater ecoregions
defined through scientific studies resulting from a partnership
between The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The
Freshwater Management Plan assures that aquatic biodiversity is an

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important aspect of freshwater planning for the entire country.
Before, the most important considerations for the government were
hydroelectric potential, navigation and water utilization regimes
for drinking water, other household uses, industrial uses and
irrigation. With the world's largest river basin - the Amazon - and
the world's largest tropical floodplain - the Pantanal - the
freshwater biodiversity of Brazil is staggering. In fact, Brazil
has more freshwater fish species than any other country on Earth.

Source - The Nature Conservancy


9. Albatross Colony Observed In Southern Chile

JULY 18, 2006 - Research by Chilean scientists revealed the presence
of black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses in Tierra del Fuego, at
the southern tip of Chile. Investigation by the Cuarternario Fuego
Institute (Ceque), and the Institute of Chilean Antarctic Research
(Inach) revealed the southern end of the country, only a few
hundreds kilometers south of Punta Arenas, has become a breeding
ground for the huge gliders of the sky. Chile's colonies may help
scientists study the birds. In 2004, at their breeding colonies in
South Georgia, an island in the South Atlantic Ocean near Chile's
tip, British researchers tagged 47 young gray-headed albatrosses
with instruments that log daylight levels. When 35 returned 18
months later, the team downloaded data from 22 of the instruments
and read the pattern of daylight lengths. Twelve birds flew east,
all the way around the world. Three flew around the globe twice.
Typical journeys involved flights of as much as 600 miles in a day.

Source - Santiago Times (no link)

10. Peru, Brazil Join Forces Against Biopiracy in the Amazon

JUNE 15, 2006 - Peru and Brazil have signed a series of agreements
to protect the natural resources and traditional knowledge of the
Amazon. Experts from both countries met June 6 and 7 in Lima to set
a strategy for combating biopiracy. The first step outlined by this
strategy is to carry out an inventory of resources and have this
list recognized by intellectual property entities worldwide. A
second step would be to get other Amazon countries involved in the

Source - SciDev

Fishing & Marine Conservation

11. First U.S. Marine National Monument Established in Hawaii

JULY 18, 2006 - On June 15, President Bush created the largest
protected area in U.S. territory, the Northwest Hawaiian Islands

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(NWHI) Marine National Monument. The new monument is the largest
single conservation area in the United States and the largest
protected marine area in the world. As a monument, the NWHI covers
nearly 140,000 square miles - more than 100 times larger than
Yosemite National Park, larger than 46 of the 50 states, and more
than seven times larger than all existing National Marine
Sanctuaries combined. The NWHI Marine National Monument is an
entirely new designation, the first area to be created as a National
Marine Monument. The existing National Monuments are administered
by the Department of the Interior, while National Marine Sanctuaries
are administered by the Department of Commerce's NOAA. The
President's proclamation charges NOAA to use its expertise to
oversee the new marine areas, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to
apply its skills to the wildlife refuge areas. As part of the
proclamation, the Departments of the Interior and Commerce will work
with the State of Hawaii and the public to develop a plan to manage
the monument.

Source - NOAA

12. Venezuela: Seeking Adoptive Parents for Turtles

JULY 08, 2006 - A program to protect sea turtles of the southern
Caribbean and the beaches of Venezuela began a new phase with the
search for "adoptive parents" -- symbolically -- for each of the
animals sighted by the Center for Research and Conservation of Sea
Turtles (CICTMAR). The cost of adopting a turtle of the
leatherback species (Dermochelys conacea) is 30 dollars, and the
renewal price is 25 dollars, if it is an individual adoption, and
140 dollars for a collective adoption. Whoever adopts a turtle or
nest receives a certificate, informational material and posters.
Cictmar, in addition to protecting the nests, marking and studying
the females, promotes education of the residents of Paria peninsula,
in far northeastern Venezuela, to prevent harm to the species.

Source - Tierramerica

Protected Areas

13. Guyana: Kaieteur National Park Faces Funding Hurdles

JULY 08, 2006 - According to Navin Chandarpal, Presidential Adviser
on Sustainable Development, the development of the Kaieteur National
Park (KNP) is hindered by one of its major challenges - funding.
Chandarpal noted that the lack of financial support from
international financial institutions has been placing numerous
hurdles in the development process of KNP and this has been delaying
the plan for the park. Meanwhile, initial difficulties in getting
miners to cease operations in the vicinity of KNP have been largely
overcome through dialogue. Authorities were able to convince miners
of the importance of the preservation of the biodiversity of the
facility. Kaieteur National Park is situated on the Guiana Shield,
a plateau that is one of the world's oldest and most remote
geological formations. The Park covers 627 square kilometers and

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242 square miles with approximately 63,000 hectares. It's the first
National Park in Guyana.

Source - Stabroek News

14. Ecuador Increases Monitoring of Yasuni National Park

JUNE 30, 2006 - Ecuador's Minister of the Environment, Ana Alban,
announced the creation of new forest and wildlife trafficking
control and prevention posts in the southern part of the Yasuni
National Park. This initiative was possible thanks to an agreement
between the Ministry, Andes Petroleum Company, and Fideicomiso
Mercantil Vigilancia Verde. According to the press report, this is
one of the government's initiatives towards reaching the goals of
the National System of Forest Control.

Source - La Hora

15. Parks and People, Not Parks vs. People

JUNE 15, 2006 - At the World Conservation Congress in Bangkok two
Novembers ago, a parade of speakers at one session contended that
the latest scourge of native peoples was not disease, war, alcohol
or greedy interlopers; it was national parks. Protecting nature for
the animals impoverishes millions of indigenous and other rural
people by preventing them from farming, cutting timber or eating
those same animals. Worse yet, protected areas don't even work that
well because of the local hostility they engender. Parks are
promoted by rich American and European conservation organizations
practicing a new, soft colonialism. Or so the argument went. A
couple of weeks ago on the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon,
around 50 ribeirinhos, or river dwellers, strategized with
conservationists on how to get their land included in vast areas
they wanted the federal government to protect. So, are parks good
for poor people or bad? And do they protect nature?

Source - SGgate.com

Science & Technology

16. USD3 Billion Bid To Boost Biotech in Brazil

JULY 14, 2006 - A Brazilian consortium has unveiled a
multi-billion-dollar strategy aimed at making the country a world
leader in biotechnology. The Brazilian Forum of Biotechnology
Competitiveness, which includes government agencies, the private
sector and academic institutions, announced the plan on July 4. It
identifies research areas that have the potential to boost the
competitiveness of Brazilian industry, increase Brazil's
participation in global trade, speed up its economic growth, and
create jobs. The overall cost of putting the plan into action will
be USD3 billion, which will come from the public and private
sectors. Of this, more than USD530 million is earmarked for
health-related biotechnology, including the production of drugs and

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vaccines for neglected diseases and cutting-edge research in the
fields of genomics, proteomics, nano-biotechnology and stem-cell
science. The plan entails creating new funding mechanisms,
training, and improving the infrastructure of research institutions.

Source - SciDev

17. Chile, Argentina, Caribbean Lead in Access to New Technologies

JULY 07, 2006 - Chile, Argentina, Barbados, Jamaica and the Bahamas
lead the region in terms of access to digital communications
technology and its use, according to a new index released by the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The index goes from 0
representing no access to new technologies to 1, which means these
technologies are fully accessible. The Bahamas has an index of
0.58, followed by Chile and Barbados with 0.52. Argentina and
Jamaica have an index of 0.47. The Americas region as a whole is
led by Canada (0.65) and the US (0.62). Uruguay, Mexico, Venezuela
and Costa Rica scored 0.43, Brazil 0.42, Peru, Panama and the
Dominican Republic 0.39, Colombia 0.38, El Salvador 0.37, Ecuador
0.36, Bolivia, Paraguay and Guatemala 0.30, Cuba 0.27, Honduras
0.25, Nicaragua 0.24, and Haiti 0.15.

Source - Business News Americas. Article kindly shared by US
Embassy Buenos Aires.

18. South American Countries Agree on S&T Cooperation

JUNE 07, 2006 - Science and Technology Ministers from nine South
American countries signed an agreement on May 30 to elaborate an
integration plan for science, technology, and innovation for
2006-2010. The Buenos Aires Declaration was signed by Argentina,
Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and
Ecuador. One of the objectives of the agreement is to optimize
regional science and technology cooperation.

Source - SciDev

Pollution & Industrialization

19. Court Rules Pulp Mills Construction Can Continue

JULY 13, 2006 - The International Court of Justice in The Hague
rejected Argentina's request to suspend the construction of two pulp
mills in Uruguay on the grounds that they pose a pollution threat.
"The circumstances did not require a provisional measure ordering
the suspension of the mills' construction" said the president of the
court, Rosalyn Higgins. The court ruled that the construction of
the pulp mills posed no serious threat to the environment and could
continue while the judges evaluate the potential risks of the pulp
plants once they begin operation.

Source - MercoPress

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20. Judicial Ruling Requires Clean-Up of Argentina's
Matanza-Riachuelo Basin

JULY 08, 2006 - The Matanza-Riachuelo river basin, the most polluted
in Argentina for more than a century, could begin to see some
cleaner waters as the result of an innovative ruling by the National
Supreme Court of Justice -- considered a landmark in the history of
Latin American environmental law. In response to a lawsuit by the
residents affected by the pollution, the Argentine high court this
month summoned 44 companies to report on the waste they dump into
the Riachuelo River. It also urged the government to present a
management plan and convened a public hearing for all parties
involved for September 05. The decision not only made an impact
amongst those directly involved, but also in the judicial arena. It
caused a buzz at a recent Latin American conference on environmental
law and policy, held in Buenos Aires Jun 20-30, with officials from
legal systems across the region.

Source - Tierramerica

21. Chile: Paper Mill Fined

JULY 08, 2006 - The company Celulosa Arauco y Constitucion (CELCO),
located in the 10th Chilean region of Los Lagos, will have to pay a
fine of about 60,000 dollars for the foul odors emanating from its
mill in 2004, ruled the Appeals Court, upholding a sentence of the
health authorities in the city of Valdivia. The stench was
perceptible 60 kilometers away, and triggered a range of health
problems amongst the residents of San Jose de la Mariquina, north of
Valdivia. Lucio Cuenca, director of the Latin American
Environmental Conflict Observatory (OLCA), said in a Tierramerica
interview that the ruling sets a positive precedent, and activists
hope for a repeat in other cases before the courts against CELCO,
because, in his opinion, "there are administrative and environmental
incidents that justify the closing of the mill."

Source - Tierramerica

22. Codelco Spill Contaminates 17km of Marshland Near Santiago

JULY 11, 2006 - Over ten thousand liters of liquid mineral waste
seeped from a Codelco plant into the Caren marsh in April, in the
Alhue community of the Metropolitan region of Santiago, killing
flora and fauna and contaminating drinking and irrigation water. A
report by the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) confirmed that
the El Teniente plant owned by state-owned copper giant Codelco was
the source of the leak, which began the evening of April 15 and
lasted 12 hours. The contaminants spread over 17 kilometers of
marshland, killing crops, livestock and countless fish that feed off
the water. Codelco immediately informed the community and national
authorities of the spill and launched a USD2 million recovery plan
with universities and public services. Clean-up efforts were
successful, said Jos Ignacio Gomez, Metropolitan Director of SAG.

Source - Santiago Times (no link)

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23. Chile Announces "Energy Autonomy" in Next Two Years

JULY 17, 2006 - Over the next two years, Chile will become energy
"autonomous", cutting its current Argentine dependency and cooling a
"national security threat", announced President Michelle Bachelet.
The plan includes several ambitious projects which will eliminate
the vulnerability of the Chilean economy and put an end to virtually
the only bargaining chips neighboring countries such as Argentina
and Bolivia appeal to in dealings with Santiago. The plan to cut
energy dependency on Argentina is based on a re-gasification plant
of liquid gas being built by British Gas in a port city in the north
of the country at a cost of 350 million US dollars. The plant
should be operational by 2008 and together with other private
initiatives and the development of gas deposits in Magallanes
Region, in the extreme south, should help grant the country more
energy independence.

Source - MercoPress


24. IBD Releases USD 1.9 Million For The Amazon

JULY 14, 2006 - The Inter-American Development Bank approved USD 1,9
million for the Program of Enforcement of the Joint Regional
Management for the Amazon. This information was given by Rosalia
Arteaga Serrano, Secretary General of the Organization of the Treaty
for Amazon Cooperation during the first Meeting of Ministers of
Defense of the Amazon countries in Bogota, Colombia. According to
Serrano, one of the objectives is to create a regional policy for
science and technology directed to the development and
rationalization of the resources of the world's largest tropical
forest. Serrano noted that this is very important in view of the
"ongoing threat of biopiracy." Researchers of the Amazon countries
found that Indian shamans are the major source of information
regarding herbs, minerals and animals with medicinal properties.

Source - Public Affairs U.S. Embassy Brasilia

25. Leaky Pipes, Stingy Aid Slow Peru Gas Project

JULY 17, 2006 - Camisea is backed by an international consortium of
companies, including Texas-based Hunt Oil, and the US supported
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It's slated to turn Peru
into a net energy exporter and save USD4.1 billion in energy costs
from 2004 to 2033, according to the IDB. It will also create
government royalties - one Peruvian province has already landed more
than USD254 million. But critics want to know why one of the
project's pipelines has ruptured five times since December 2004,

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impacting sensitive ecosystems and remote jungle communities. They
also complain that benefits have not trickled down to poor Peruvians
and that the IDB, which put in USD75 million in 2003, has not
fulfilled its oversight role. "We are of the view Camisea has not
been a success. It could have been better designed," US Treasury
Assistant Secretary Clay Lowery told a Senate foreign relations
hearing. The hearing focused on problems with multilateral banks
funding pipelines in developing countries.

Source - Christian Science Monitor

26. Chile: Environmentalist Sells 4,000 Argentine Hectares to
Business Group

JULY 18, 2006 - A December 2005 deal by environmentalist Douglas
Tompkins to sell part of his Argentine land holdings marked the
first time the American real-estate tycoon has dealt with the
Angelini Group, the most wealthy business entity in Chile. Many
hope the new relationship between the Tompkins and Angelini can
generate a new dialogue between environmentalists and companies in
the forest, fishing and energy sectors. Angelini, who already has
100,000 hectares of pine forest and 113,000 of natural forest in
Argentina, will use the 4,000 hectares of poplars and willows in the
Buenos Aires delta for wood pulp production. While the exact amount
paid for the land is unknown, Argentine media reported Tompkins sold
the land for USD6 million. If true, Tompkins would have made a USD5
million profit.

Source - Santiago Times (no link)

27. Brazil: Environmentalists Threatened

JULY 08, 2006 - Vilmar Berna, an environmental journalist who won
the United Nations Global 500 prize in 1999, lives under a death
threat issued more than a month ago in Niteroi, a city neighboring
Rio de Janeiro. He filed a complaint and requested police
protection, but the response has been slow in coming. His situation
is worrisome because in February 2005 another environmentalist was
murdered, Dionisio Julio Ribeiro, defender of the Tingu Biological
Reserve, also located in the Rio metropolitan area. A hunter
confessed to the crime but was absolved in May "due to lack of
evidence". The violent reaction against activists may come from big
landowners in the Amazon as well as the artisanal fishermen along
the beach where he lives -- they fear his presence because they use
illegal fishing methods, he explained.

Source - Tierramerica

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