Posts Tagged ‘Laos’

Global: Die wunderbare Welt des CO2 (Teil 2)

Dienstag, Dezember 4th, 2012

Share of global emissions (% world total 2010)



(Tabelle aus: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012, S. 17, 18
Download des o. g. Reports hier.)


(Quelle: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012)

USA: Regierung als Büttel der Gen-Industrie?

Donnerstag, September 8th, 2011

“Wikileaks: US Pushing GMOs Around the World

By Jill Richardson

About a week ago, Truthout published an article titled, “New WikiLeaks Cables Show US Diplomats Promote Genetically Engineered Crops Worldwide.” I’ve been waiting for something like this to come out.

One of the first cables I clicked on (from Morocco) mentioned something called Biotech Outreach Funds. Huh? More information please! 

It didn’t take long to Google a State Department presentation on the topic. It was presented by Jack A. Bobo, who was then the Deputy Chief Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He is now the Chief of the Biotechnology and Textile Trade Policy Division, a job he was given in March of this year. He’s been working on biotech for the State Department since 2002, under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Bobo’s presentation outlines which countries around the world allow and grow genetically engineered crops. He also shows a map of countries that fall into each of the following stages of GMO legalization: “Granting Production & Import Approvals, Conducting Pre-Commercial Field Trials, Granting Import Approvals, and Commercialization Delayed.”

The State Department’s role, he says, “Covers all trade issues related to biotechnology” and “Covers food aid/development issues involving biotechnology.” State coordinates with the USDA, FDA, EPA, President, USAID, and Dept of Commerce on these issues. (USAID, by the way, is an agency within the State Dept.) Their goals are to: “Promote science-based regulatory systems, Maintain flow of trade while ensuring health and environmental safety of products, [and] Reduce hunger and poverty and increase incomes in developing world.”

And, yes, the State Department had, at the time of this presentation (it has no date, but is from some time after 2004), $500,000 in “Biotech Outreach Funds” to spend on speakers, workshops, translation, and the U.S. website.

Another document I found, a job description for state department interns, says the following:

The Agriculture and Biotech Trade Affairs (ABT) division of the Office of Multilateral Trade and Agriculture Affairs (MTAA) seeks to open markets to U.S. agricultural products and to eliminate barriers to such trade. ABT works to advance the State Department’s critical global food security goals and policies that alleviate the problems associated with rising global food prices. The ABT team contributes to the development of effective food aid policies, and promotes rural development and increasing agricultural productivity through the application of appropriate technologies, including biotechnology. ABT oversees the distribution of the Department’s biotech outreach funds to promote international acceptance of biotechnology.

Interesting, huh? In one leaked memo from Romania, “DOS Senior Advisor for Biotechnology Jack Bobo visited Romania to meet with new Romanian government officials to advocate for the benefits of agricultural biotechnology.” 

During this trip:

Mr. Bobo also met with industry representatives from Monsanto and Syngenta (he had met with a Pioneer representative during his prior stop in Hungary). The industry officials noted that anti-biotech EU member states, particularly France, are lobbying the GOR [Govt of Romania] to change its position on biotechnology. The representatives agreed that organizing a group of pro-biotech supporters would be beneficial and could help support Romania and other newer EU member states to exchange experiences with more developed countries such as Spain, thereby banding their voices together in dealings with the Commission.

Another cable from Thailand describes the U.S. embassy in Thailand’s request for $20,000 in Biotech Outreach Funds in 2010 to “support a workshop on the intersection of biotechnology, food security, rice production and the four lower Mekong countries [Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam].” The memo goes on to say:

As insecticide use in rice fields is extensive in some lower Mekong areas, such as the Mekong delta, the environmental benefits of GMOs could bring important allies from environment officials. With rice and other crop production a key element for the four nations, and the great promise that GMOs hold for rice production in the face of climate change, an outreach event that draws together these four countries, food security, rice and the environment in the context of science and biotechnology is a natural fit.

The $20,000 in outreach funds would go for the following proposed two-day conference:

Embassy Bangkok, in collaboration with FAS, USAID/RDMA, Embassies Vientiane, Phnom Phen and Hanoi would hold a conference on “Agricultural Production, Climate Change and Biotechnology” for two days in the spring of 2010. The conference would review climate change predictions for rice and other crop production in the various aspects of rice farming – dry and wet season, rice paddy and dry land. Another presentation would relate rice and other crop production to food security for Asia. Another would review how manmade water management – irrigation diversions, canals, dykes and hydropower dams, will affect rice production. The conference would then move into the state of biotechnology for rice production in the U.S. and China, what biotech could offer for rice producers, and what the actual state of play is for rice biotech exports to, for example, Europe under WTO rules. Targeted participants would be a mix of scientists and government officials, the latter a mix of environment, water management, trade and agriculture officials.

This is not the only example of U.S. funds working to promote biotech. Another cable, from Mozambique, notes the use of “USDA Emerging Markets Program funding” to send “three Mozambicans in an agricultural biotechnology informational tour of the United States in November 2009.” Yet another cable from Mozambique discusses a proposal for Biotech Outreach Funds “to bring two experts in the subject matter to South Africa to meet with regulators, academia, consumers, and legislators on currently relevant topics such as regulation of stacked genes, low level presence and labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) on foods, and liability and redress.”

Another cable requesting Biotech Outreach Funds comes from Tunisia, proposing a workshop to address the following:

With growing population pressure and limited farm lands, Tunisia’s food security is increasingly threatened by irregularity of rainfall.  The proposed workshop would address the advantages of agricultural biotechnology in arid and semi-arid regions, including positive effects on crops yields, biotechnology’s impact on biodiversity and the environment, and direct socio-economic benefits to Tunisian farmers from the use of biotechnology in agriculture.

Lovely, huh?”


(Quelle: La Vida Locavore.)

Südostasien: Xayaburi-Staudamm-Projekt sorgt für Zwist

Sonntag, Juli 10th, 2011

“Laos Steamrolls Neighbors in Xayaburi Dam Process

Government Unilaterally Claims Regional Consultation Process Complete

Bangkok, Thailand: Laos appears to have defied its neighbors in a move to press ahead with the proposed Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong Mainstream, despite concerns raised by neighboring governments and regional civil society groups. A letter leaked to International Rivers, dated June 8, 2011, reveals that the Lao Government has informed the Xayaburi project developer Ch. Karnchang that the Mekong River Commission's (MRC) regional decision-making process is now complete, presumably giving Ch. Karnchang the green light to proceed with the project.

The MRC itself, however, is yet to officially announce the regional process as complete. Previously, at a Special Joint Committee Meeting on April 19, the four member governments agreed to defer the decision on the project to a Ministerial level meeting, likely to take place in October or November 2011. At this Special Joint Committee meeting, whilst Laos proposed to proceed with the dam, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam called for an extension to the decision-making process citing concerns about transboundary impacts and knowledge gaps requiring further study and consultation. Vietnam also recommended that the decision on the Xayaburi Dam and other proposed mainstream dams be deferred for a period of ten years.

The procedures of the MRC's regional process clearly state in Article 5.4.3 that ‘The MRC [Joint Committee] shall aim to arriving at an agreement on the proposed use and issue a decision that contains the agreed upon conditions.' "By deciding unilaterally that the regional decision-making process is complete, the Government of Laos has committed an egregious breach of trust and has joined the ranks of rogue nations," said Ms. Ame Trandem, Mekong Campaigner with International Rivers.

The letter written by the Director-General of Laos' Ministry of Energy and Mines to the Xayaburi Power Company Limited refers to a one-month study by the international consultancy group Pöyry. The letter states that in Pöyry's view the "Prior Consultation of the Xayaburi Project has now been completed," and that the Lao government "hereby confirm[s] that any necessary step in relation to the 1995 Mekong Agreement has been duly taken."

Conclusion of the PNPCA process is a prerequisite to the Xayaburi Dam developers signing a Power Purchase Agreement with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, which the company is now seeking.

"Laos has no entitlement to unilaterally declare the end of the PNPCA process at this stage," said Ms. Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, a Thai Lawyer from the Community Resource Center and member of the Mekong Legal Network. "Chapter 2 of the 1995 Mekong Agreement makes it clear that the regional decision-making process is 'neither a right to veto the use nor unilateral right to use water by any riparian without taking into account other riparians' rights'. The three other lower Mekong countries asked for the project to be delayed for further study, including a trans-boundary Environmental Impact Assessment. Laos has an obligation under international law to both conduct such an EIA and negotiate in good faith under the Mekong Agreement before moving forward."

On April 23, at a meeting in Phnom Penh, the Prime Ministers of Vietnam and Cambodia jointly expressed concern about the Xayaburi Dam's transboundary impacts to fisheries and agriculture. Subsequently, at the 18th ASEAN summit in Jakarta on 7 May 2011, the Lao Prime Minister agreed to a request by Vietnam's Prime Minister to temporarily suspend the Xayaburi Dam and commission a review of the project's documents by an international consultancy firm under the framework of the MRC.

Laos' Ministry of Energy and Mines had publicly confirmed that the study had been commissioned, yet no further details of the study nor the role of the MRC in this process was announced to the public. It now appears that the study was a cursory, one-month review of the PNPCA process and not a review of the environmental and social impacts of the project.

"It's no surprise that the Pöyry Group was selected to review the Xayaburi Dam given their long history of dodgy deals that have allowed disastrous dams to proceed in the Mekong region," said Pianporn Deetes, Thailand Campaign Coordinator for International Rivers. "But it's outrageous that Laos would stoop so low as to place its consultants' opinions above its neighbors concerns. The extensive scientific evidence that demonstrates the dam's severe social and environmental impacts should no longer be ignored, and the Xayaburi Dam should be cancelled."

Media Contacts: 
  • Ame Trandem, Mekong Campaigner, International Rivers: +66 868822426, ame [at] internationalrivers [dot] org
  • Pianporn Deetes, Mekong Campaigner, International Rivers: +66 814220111, pai [at] internationalrivers [dot] org
Contact us: 

Ame Trandem
ame [at] internationalrivers [dot] org
+1 510-848-1155

Pianporn Deetes
pai [at] internationalrivers [dot] org
+66 814 220 111 “


(Quelle: International Rivers.)

Siehe auch:

Laos pushes ahead with Xayaburi Dam

Global: (Be-)Merkenswerte Gesundheitsstatistik

Mittwoch, Juli 14th, 2010

GLOBAL: Ten eyebrow-raising health stats

Photo: Tugela Ridley/IRIN
Where are the world’s youngest mothers?

DAKAR, 14 July 2010 (IRIN) – Pause for thought: IRIN has trawled the 2010 World Health Statistics report to bring you 10 fascinating facts on global health.

Not the spreadable kind: In 43 low-income countries 40 percent more people had non-communicable diseases – including diabetes, heart disease and stroke – than infectious illnesses in 2004. Non-infectious diseases killed 33 million worldwide in 2004.

Sleepless in Swaziland: No under-five children slept under insecticide-treated bed nets to ward off malarial mosquitoes in Swaziland, whereas in Madagascar 60 percent of children did so, according to the countries’ most recent surveys conducted since 2000.

Midwifery in Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan is the only low-income country in the past decade to boast coverage of nurses and midwives similar to that in high-income countries – 108 nurses and/or midwives per 10,000 residents. Australia (109), Switzerland (110), Luxembourg (104) and Canada’s (100) are comparable.

Oil-rich, but doctor-poor: Equatorial Guinea, which in 2009 had the world’s 64th highest per capita income, and the highest in sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank), had the same number of doctors per 10,000 residents (3) as did Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Namibia, Togo, Sudan, Yemen and the Pacific islands of Samoa and Tonga.

Protected in the Pacific: Fewer than a quarter of women in Africa reported using contraception, while over 80 percent of women in the region WHO classifies as western Pacific used it. Chad had the world’s lowest contraceptive use at 2.8 percent.

Choking on fumes: Of the 20 countries worldwide where more than 95 percent of those surveyed reported using solid fuels (wood, coal, charcoal, crops) for indoor cooking – associated with higher rates of fatal respiratory diseases like pneumonia – six are in West Africa (not counting Benin, Gambia and Chad, which come within points of the highest threshold.)

Photo: Rodrigo A. Nguema/IRIN
Petrol dollars have not made it to parts of Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo (file photo)

Measles: While 76 percent of one-year-olds in Africa on average were immunized against measles in 2008 versus 58 percent in 1990, these rates were 24 and 51 percent, respectively, in Somalia and Equatorial Guinea in 2008.

Slow on sanitation: Thirty percent of people in Africa used “improved sanitation facilities” – including a composting or flushing toilet, piped sewer systems, septic tanks, or latrines with open ventilation or concrete slabs – in 1990. Eighteen years later, the statistical equivalent of less than half an additional person joined them.

Under-weight children: Some four out of 10 under-five children are considered underweight in Niger, India and Yemen.

Youngest mothers: Almost two out of 10 girls aged 15-19 in Niger have given birth, followed by Afghanistan (1.5) and Bangladesh (1.3).


(Quelle: IRIN News.)


Siehe auch:

GLOBAL: Poll ranks AIDS as top health issue
GLOBAL: Health lessons from four big earthquakes