Search

 

Cablegate: South America Esth News, Number 84

VZCZCXRO8727
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #2399/01 3182008
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 142008Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7353
INFO RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4402
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 5916
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 4981
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3243
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2033
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3996
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5773
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN 1160
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 6582
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 1175
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3502
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 5853
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 8601
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 3329
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DOE WASHDC
RUEHC/DOI WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DOJ WASHDC
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RUEANAT/NASA HQ WASHDC
RUCPDC/NOAA WASHDC
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHRC/USDA WASHDC
RUCPDO/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 BRASILIA 002399

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS USAID TO LAC/RSD, LAC/SAM, G/ENV, PPC/ENV
TREASURY FOR USED IBRD AND IDB AND INTL/MDB
USDA FOR FOREST SERVICE: LIZ MAHEW
INTERIOR FOR DIR INT AFFAIRS: K WASHBURN
INTERIOR FOR FWS: TOM RILEY
INTERIOR PASS USGS FOR INTERNATIONAL: J WEAVER
JUSTICE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES: JWEBB
EPA FOR INTERNATIONAL: CAM HILL-MACON
USDA FOR ARS/INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH: G FLANLEY
NSF FOR INTERNATIONAL: HAROLD STOLBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR EAID TBIO ECON SOCI XR BR
SUBJECT: SOUTH AMERICA ESTH NEWS, NUMBER 84

1. The following is the eighty-fourth 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

Agriculture
--(3)Dole Food Company Inaugurates Organic Banana Farm in Colombia
--(4)Colombia: Legume to Counter El Nio
--(5)Brazil: Delay in Law to Limit Eucalyptus
--(6)Colombia: Organic Coffee for Japan

Water Issues
--(7)Colombia: Rodrigo Vivas, Winner of the Sasakawa --Prize for His
Contribution to the Fight against Desertification
--(8)Amazon River 'Switched Direction'

Forests
--(9)Peru: Forest Transparency Workshop Shows Opportunities
--(10)Brazil: Amazon Deforestation Lowest Since 1991
--(11)Largest Seizure of Illegally Logged Amazon Rainforest Timber
Announced By Authorities

Wildlife
--(12)USFWS Provides Training against Illegal Wildlife Traffic in
Brazil

Fishing & Marine Conservation
--(13)Argentina: Sabalo Threatened by Overfishing

Science & Technology
--(14)Brazil: Plant Fibers to Replace Asbestos

Pollution
--(15)Bolivia: Pilcomayo River Pollution AttractsNew Attention

Energy
--(16)Brazil and India jin Senegal for Biofuel Production
--(17)Chilean nergy Supplier to Pursue Renewable Energy Projects
--(18)Bolivia: Clean Production Practices Increas Efficiency, Lower
Costs
--(19)Brazil Bus FirmPowers Fleet on Biofuels
--(20)Brazil Teams Up Wth NASA for Aviation Fuel

General
--(21)U.S.-hile Environmental Meetings
--(22)Chile: Conama ets Sights on New Environmental Superintendent
--23)WWF: "Ecological Overshoot" Threatens Earth's Rsources
--(24)Argentina: Plastic Bricks Certifie for Building

BRASILIA 00002399 002 OF 009

-----------
Agriculture
-----------

3. Dole Food Company Inaugurates Organic Banana Farm in Colombia

NOV. 06, 2006 - Dole Food Company recently inaugurated a new organic
banana facility in the La Guajira region of Colombia. Named the
"Don Pedro" farm, the USD8 million growing, harvesting, packing and
shipping facility will employ more than 1,000 local residents. Don
Pedro is the first banana farm in Colombia with a suspended cableway
harvesting system that transports product from the farm directly to
the packing plants. The facility also has a state-of-the-art
irrigation system, advanced fruit cleansing operations and an aerial
fruit propping system.

Source - US Embassy Bogota

4. Colombia: Legume to Counter El Nio

NOV. 06, 2006 - Cratylia argentea, a legume that is resistant to
prolonged drought and highly nutritious for cattle, could be
cultivated by Colombian ranchers to counter the effects of the
climate phenomenon known as El Nio, according to the International
Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). "It is a bush rich in
protein, with a high capacity for sprouting during dry periods,
replacing part of the commercial concentrates, and maintaining cows'
milk production when the weather is too dry or too humid," Carlos
Lascano, a CIAT expert who has been studying the plant for 15 years,
told Tierramerica. He said the legume can adapt to different
regions of the country, but is particularly useful along the
Atlantic coast, a cattle-raising region that sees long dry periods,
which could become worse with El Nio, which is predicted to
intensify towards the end of the year.

Source - Tierramerica

5. Brazil: Delay in Law to Limit Eucalyptus

OCT. 23, 2006 - Far past the 45 days predicted, the delay continues
for the parliamentary vote on a bill that aims to stop the expansion
of eucalyptus in the Brazilian municipality of Sao Luiz do
Paraitinga, 170 km from Sao Paulo. This was the report to
Tierramerica from Marcelo Toledo, an official from the judiciary and
promoter of the bill. Monoculture of the fast-growing eucalyptus
tree for the paper pulp industry already covers "more than 10
percent" of the municipal territory of 73,700 hectares, causing a
rural exodus, pollution and destruction of historic monuments, he
said. The bill was presented Aug. 22 with 540 signatures,
surpassing the national constitution's required minimum of five
percent of the local electorate, but lawmakers have yet to vote on
it. Home to 10,800 people, the mountainous ad forested Paraitinga
lives from tourism and small farms.

Source - Tierramerica

BRASILIA 00002399 003 OF 009

6. Colombia: Organic Coffee for Japan

OCT. 23, 2006 - Beginning in February, the indigenous Arhuacos of
Colombia's northern Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, will export
annually 15 containers to Japan with 289 tons of Tiwun coffee, which
the community grows using environmentally sustainable methods.
Francisco Zalabata, member of the Tayrona Indigenous Confederation,
told Tierramerica that the commercialization of the coffee will take
place through an agreement signed Oct. 19 by his group and the city
of Santa Marta and the Community Trade Network. Zalabata said Tiwun
is a special coffee grown by about 350 indigenous families,
following rules of fair trade, and is considered among those with
best aroma, taste and texture in the world. The aim of the network
in marketing the product, says Zalabata, is to reach the customer
without intermediaries, so that the economic benefits of exporting
their coffee go directly to the growers.

Source - Tierramerica

------------
Water Issues
------------

7. Colombia: Rodrigo Vivas, Winner of the Sasakawa Prize for His
Contribution to the Fight against Desertification

NOV. 04, 2006 - Colombian lawyer and activist Rodrigo Vivas won the
2006 Sasakawa Prize, awarded annually by the United Nations
Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Nippon Foundation, for his
"rainwater harvest" project, to combat desertification. The award,
which includes a 200,000-dollar prize, is one of the most
prestigious environmental laurels in the world. "The lord of the
rains", as his friends call him, created the non-governmental
Fundacion Accion Ambiental (Environmental Action Foundation) six
years ago, focusing on local issues. The foundation works with
farmers to encourage protection of biodiversity, proper water
management, food security efforts and strengthening of community
organizations. Vivas is also executive director of the Consortium
for Sustainable Hillside Agriculture, CIPASLA, which is active in 23
rural districts of the Andean region of Colombia. Click on the link
below for the complete Q&A.

Source - Tierramerica

8. Amazon River 'Switched Direction'

OCT. 24, 2006 - The world's largest river, the Amazon, once flowed
from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific - the opposite of its present
direction, a study shows. Sedimentary rocks in the central part of
South America contain ancient mineral grains that must have come
from the eastern part of the continent. Geologist Russell Mapes
says this must mean that about 145-65 million years ago, the Amazon
flowed east to west.

Source - BBC

BRASILIA 00002399 004 OF 009

-------
Forests
-------

9. Peru: Forest Transparency Workshop Shows Opportunities

NOV. 07, 2006 - USAID, U.S. Forest Service and State sponsored an
Amazon Basin forest transparency workshop in Lima, September 19-22,
2006. Over 100 participants from governments, industry and NGOs
found common ground in identifying solutions to improve forest
governance. Firms and NGO's exhibited services and technologies
that aid log tracking, forest certification and mapping of changes
in forest cover in a novel "Market of Ideas." Bolivian and Peruvian
community-based NGO's formed a plan to exchange best practices; USG,
Tropical Forest Trust and other collaborators began planning for a
new short training course for university faculty in Amazon forestry
management programs.

Source - LIMA 00004289

10. Brazil: Amazon Deforestation Lowest Since 1991

OCT. 27, 2006 - Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest has declined
to its lowest level since 1991 due to strict enforcement of
environmental regulations, according to the Brazilian government.
Preliminary figures released by the environmental ministry showed
5,057 square miles of the rain forest were destroyed this year --
the lowest level since 4,258 square miles were lost in 1991. The
numbers released Oct. 26 are estimates based on satellite images.
The final results are expected before the end of the year. Last
year, the rain forest lost 7,250 square miles. ''It's the second
year in a row there's a decline, so it's good news and we must
applaud the government,'' said Paulo Adario, director of
Greenpeace's Amazon campaign. ''But our preoccupation is that the
average of annual destruction remains high. More needs to be
done.''

Source - NY Times

11. Largest Seizure of Illegally Logged Amazon Rainforest Timber
Announced By Authorities

OCT. 23, 2006 - IBAMA, Brazil's environmental agency, announced the
largest seizure ever of illegally logged timber from the Amazon
rainforest. During a week-long operation -- code named Kojima -- in
late September, authorities impounded nearly 15,000 cubic meters of
unlicensed wood in the Amazonian state of Para. The agency said it
was probably the largest seizure ever in the state. The Kojima
Operation follows the three-week Guariba Operation which confiscated
8,500 cubic meters of sawnwood and logs in the state of Mato Grosso.
Authorities said the Kojima Operation would continue in the region
until at least December, according to a report from the
International Tropical Timber Organization's (ITTO) Tropical Timber
Market Report. 2006 has seen a marked increase in environmental law
enforcement in the Amazon. More than 120 people including 16 agents

BRASILIA 00002399 005 OF 009


of the federal environmental protection agency -- have been arrested
for operating illegal logging and timber smuggling in the Amazon
rainforest and southern Brazil since the beginning of the year.

Source - Mongabay see also BRASILIA 00002319

--------
Wildlife
--------

12. USFWS Provides Training against Illegal Wildlife Traffic in
Brazil

NOV. 06, 2006 - A team of four officers from the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS), part of the U.S. Department of the
Interior, provided Brazilian Federal Police with a training course
to prevent and combat illegal wildlife trafficking over the two week
period of October 16-27, 2006. The U.S Delegation was headed by
special agent Jill Birchell and complemented by special agents Gary
Young, Marty Hernandez and forensics scientist Dyan Straughan. The
course, financed by the Narcotics Affairs Section at the Embassy,
took place in Bonito located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso
do Sul, one of the richest regions of the country in terms of
Wildlife biodiversity. Both the United States and Brazilian Federal
Police believe the exchange of information will help disrupt
criminal organizations, in both countries, that profit from the
illegal trade in wildlife.

Source - BRASILIA 00002325

-----------------------------
Fishing & Marine Conservation
-----------------------------

13. Argentina: Sabalo Threatened by Overfishing

NOV. 06, 2006 - The non-governmental organization Proteger
Foundation revealed on Oct. 30 a nearly secret report by Argentina's
fisheries agency which admits that the fish known as the sabalo
(Prochilodus lineatus) is at risk of population collapse due to
overexploitation. Proteger, which has denounced the overfishing of
this species for years, agreed with the forecast, but criticized the
agency for failing to publicize the official study. According to
Proteger, some 70,000 tons of sabalo -- the leading river-fish
export -- are caught annually, half what was caught 20 years ago
with a smaller fishing capacity.

Source - Tierramerica

--------------------
Science & Technology
--------------------

14. Brazil: Plant Fibers to Replace Asbestos

OCT. 23, 2006 - Research at the University of Campina Grande, in the

BRASILIA 00002399 006 OF 009


eastern Brazilian state of Paraiba, explores the potential uses of
sisal (Agave sisalana) as a substitute for asbestos, a toxin and
carcinogen, as a construction material. The plant, which is grown
in the semiarid Brazilian Northeast, "is low cost, biodegradable,
abundant, and is a non-carcinogen renewable resource," research
coordinator Antonio Farias Leal told Tierramerica. "Its use would
help the social and economic development of Brazil's poorer regions,
thrashed by drought, where no other perennial crop thrives except
sisal, and where nearly a million people rely on it for survival,"
he said. Brazil is the world's leading producer of sisal,
generating about 56 percent of the global total.

Source - Tierramerica

---------
Pollution
---------

15. Bolivia: Pilcomayo River Pollution Attracts New Attention

OCT. 27, 2006 - For centuries, mining and milling wastes from
Bolivia's Potosi mining district have polluted the Pilcomayo River,
an important body of water in Bolivia's southwest. A recent study
indicated that many agricultural fields and waterways are
contaminated with heavy metals and arsenic, which may have long-term
implications for local communities. Past proposals to address the
river's pollution have generated few results, but a new initiative
from the USAID-supported Center for the Promotion of Sustainable
Technologies may change that.

Source - LA PAZ 00002934

------
Energy
------

16. Brazil and India join Senegal for Biofuel Production

NOV. 01, 2006 - In a bid to decrease its dependence on oil and
produce environmentally-friendly energy, Senegal will cooperate with
Brazil and India to launch a biofuel production program by 2007.
Through public-private partnerships, Brazil will provide scientific
and technological know-how, Indian entrepreneurs will supply the
capital, and Senegal will offer land and labor. Biofuels, such as
bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas, are renewable fuels generally
produced from agricultural crops or organic matter. The project is
part of a plan by the Senegalese government to regenerate its rural
economy through investment in biofuels to eventually replace the
country's daily consumption of 33,000 oil barrels. It was
announced on 27 October by Farba Senghor, Senegal's minister of
agriculture, rural hydraulics and food security in a meeting with a
delegation of Brazilian biofuel experts in Dakar, Senegal.

Source - SciDev

17. Chilean Energy Supplier to Pursue Renewable Energy Projects

BRASILIA 00002399 007 OF 009

OCT. 31, 2006 - Chile's principal energy supplier Endesa is
exploring renewable energy sources through its subsidiary Eco
Endesa. Eco Endesa is embarking on projects that would generate
energy using biomass, small-scale hydroelectric dams and wind power.
The projects are part of an initiative by Eco Endesa to invest
USD50 million in producing over 30 megawatts of renewable energy by
2009. The investment represents a growing interest in renewable
energy, which is due in part to transmission cost exemptions and
discounts granted by the Ley Corta II, a new energy law passed in
2005 that created numerous incentives to invest in energy. Eco
Endesa already has several projects in late phases of development,
including the USD17 million Canela wind energy park in Region IV,
and the small-scale hydroelectric dam Ojos de Agua in Region VII.
Planned to be completed in the next two years, the projects will
produce just over 9.5 megawatts of power each.

Source - Santiago Times (no link)

18. Bolivia: Clean Production Practices Increase Efficiency, Lower
Costs

OCT. 26, 2006 - Clean production practices introduced by the
USAID-supported Center for the Promotion of Sustainable Technologies
have increased efficiency and lowered costs for more than 90
Bolivian businesses. [Several] case studies suggest that lower
production costs provide powerful incentives for firms to modify
production processes to improve efficiency and cut pollution,
thereby making them more competitive in domestic and international
markets. Companies have also adopted corporate social
responsibility programs to minimize environmental damage.

Source - LA PAZ 00002903

19. Brazil Bus Firm Powers Fleet on Biofuels

OCT. 25, 2006 - South America's largest city might be getting a bit
greener. A bus company in Sao Paulo is now powering part of its
fleet with a new mix of biofuels and diesel in an effort to curb
emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The mix - a blend of
30 percent biodiesel, 8 percent alcohol and 62 percent petroleum
diesel - will eventually be used by 1,900 buses, about a quarter of
Sao Paulo's entire bus fleet, said Paulo Mendes, director of B100,
which was created by the Itaim Paulista bus company to research
alternative fuels. The fuel was developed as part of joint effort
between B100 and state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known
as Petrobras. Brazil has been a leader in the development of
biofuels, with ethanol providing about 17 percent of the country's
fuel needs. Brazil also will start requiring that biodiesel be
added to regular diesel at a rate of 2 percent in 2008. By the year
2013, trucks will have to run on 5 percent biodiesel.

Source -Washington Post

20. Brazil Teams Up With NASA for Aviation Fuel


BRASILIA 00002399 008 OF 009


AUG. 29, 2006 - Brazilian biofuel company, Tecbio, has linked up
with NASA and US aerospace firm Boeing to develop a biokerosene
aviation fuel. The alternative vegetable-oils based fuel to power
airplanes was invented by Tecbio in 1980 and flight tested in Brazil
in 1984 before being abandoned. It attracted fresh interest after
oil prices rose to record levels this year. A memorandum of
understanding was signed in early August. Based in Fortaleza,
capital of the northeastern state of Ceara, Tecbio has a biofuel
project in the state of Piaui, also in northeast Brazil. Tecbio,
Brazil's largest biodiesel technology company, is implementing six
projects and seeking funding for another four.

Source - MercoPress

-------
General
-------

21. U.S.-Chile Environmental Meetings

NOV. 13, 2006 - Chile and the United States met in Santiago October
23-24 to review bilateral environmental cooperation under the
Environmental Chapter of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the
Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA). Talks focused on
reviewing the successful eight projects implemented under the FTA
and detailed future areas of cooperation: (1) a national Pollutant
Release and Transfer Registry (PRTR); (2) reduction of mining
pollution; (3) capacity building to enforce environmental laws; (4)
workshop and study tour on voluntary environmental efforts; (5)
exchange of agricultural best practices; (6) a study tour on
alternatives to use of methyl bromide; (7) capacity building to
improve wildlife protection and management; and, (8) a pilot project
to retrofit diesel buses in Santiago to reduce emissions.

Source - SANTIAGO 00002369

22. Chile: Conama Sets Sights on New Environmental Superintendent

OCT. 27, 2006 - A complete overhaul in the administration of
environmental affairs is on the horizon in Chile, with the proposed
creation of an Environment Ministry and the announcement of a
planned Environmental Superintendent in charge of enforcing
regulations. National Environmental Commission (Conama) Director
Ana Lya Uriarte announced on October 25th that immediately after
adding the final touches to a bill creating the post of Environment
Minister - currently being debated in Congress - legislators plan to
author another bill that establishes the functions of the
Superintendent. Under the current system, individual ministries and
government agencies are responsible for applying and enforcing
environmental regulations, under Conama's supervision. The lack of
an independent enforcement agency has been the source of much
criticism.

Source - Santiago Times (no link)

23. WWF: "Ecological Overshoot" Threatens Earth's Resources

BRASILIA 00002399 009 OF 009

OCT. 26, 2006 - WWF's 2006 Living Planet Report, the group's
biennial statement on the state of the natural world, says that on
current projections humanity will be using two planets' worth of
natural resources by 2050 - if those resources have not run out by
then. It also confirms the trend of biodiversity loss seen in
previous Living Planet reports. Already resources are depleting,
with the report showing that vertebrate species populations have
declined by about one-third in the 33 years from 1970 to 2003. At
the same time, humanity's Ecological Footprint - the demand people
place upon the natural world - has increased to the point where the
Earth is unable to keep up in the struggle to regenerate.

Source - MercoPress

24. Argentina: Plastic Bricks Certified for Building

OCT. 23, 2006 - Argentina's Housing Secretariat granted
certification of technical fitness to a prototype of a brick made
from plastic bottles for use in construction of houses and buildings
of up to two stories. "This allows access to official funds for
housing made with bricks produced from plastic waste," Horacio
Berretta, director of the Economical Housing Experiment Center in
the central province of Csrdoba, told Tierramerica. Berretta
acknowledged that there are various initiatives for construction
with alternative materials, but noted that not all obtain
certification. This recognition permits large-scale manufacture of
the bricks, beginning with pilot projects in Buenos Aires and in the
southwest province of Catamarca. The plastic bricks are lighter
than traditional bricks, he said. They are more water and fire
resistant, soundproof, and easy to install.

Source - Tierramerica

Sobel

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>