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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8057538.stm
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 May 2009 13:19 )
 

Nations agree to save 'Amazon of the seas'

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Nations agree to save 'Amazon of the seas'

 


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 15:10:00 05/15/2009

Filed Under: Environmental Issues

 

MANADO—Leaders from six nations agreed Friday to work jointly to save Southeast Asia's massive Coral Triangle, considered the world's richest underwater wilderness.

The leaders of East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands signed off on proposals to expand maritime sanctuaries and no-fishing zones during talks in Indonesia.

The Coral Triangle Initiative calls for stronger international cooperation to combat illegal fishing and environmental destruction in an area half the size of the United States and home to half the world's coral reefs.

"The Coral Triangle is a globally recognized treasure. It is unique, there is nothing like it on Earth," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said of the region, which has been compared to the Amazon rainforest for its biodiversity.

Scientists say a combination of climate change, overfishing and pollution is destroying ecosystems in the Triangle, which is a vital source of food for millions of people and a nursery for maritime life from turtles to tuna.

Under the initiative, the littoral countries agreed to expand protected ocean reserves by millions of hectares (acres) and establish joint strategies for identifying key ecosystems and species for conservation.

The initiative calls for fishing to be banned from 20 percent of each major coastal habitat in the Triangle such as coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass areas, but set no specific time target.

It also sets targets ranging between 2012 and 2020 for the designation and establishment of "priority seascape" marine reserves and stronger legislation and planning to curb overfishing and protect threatened species.

The agreement also calls for the establishment within four years of a plan to help coastal and small island ecosystems adapt to consequences of climate change such as rising sea levels, warming waters and increases in acidity.

Indonesia -- a massive archipelago of 17,000 islands -- said it would set aside 20 million hectares (49.4 million acres) of maritime conservation parks by 2020, up from 13.4 million currently.

The overall plan however contained no solid combined target on the protected areas.

The agreement was praised by environmental groups as a rare example of high-level leaders backing an ambitious conservation plan.

Conservation International head Peter Seligmann said in a statement, "in 30 years of conservation work, I have never seen anything like this; six leaders signing a commitment to protect their marine resources for the wellbeing of their citizens and future generations."

A report by environmental group WWF this week said climate change could wipe out the Coral Triangle by century's end if nations do not commit to deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The death of the reefs could leave more than 100 million people without livelihoods, triggering destabilizing mass migrations to cities and neighboring countries, it said.

A new round of international climate change talks to replace the Kyoto Protocol will take in the Danish capital Copenhagen in December.


 
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imns

 



Nations agree to save 'Amazon of the seas'

 


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 15:10:00 05/15/2009

Filed Under: Environmental Issues

 

MANADO—Leaders from six nations agreed Friday to work jointly to save Southeast Asia's massive Coral Triangle, considered the world's richest underwater wilderness.

The leaders of East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands signed off on proposals to expand maritime sanctuaries and no-fishing zones during talks in Indonesia.

The Coral Triangle Initiative calls for stronger international cooperation to combat illegal fishing and environmental destruction in an area half the size of the United States and home to half the world's coral reefs.

"The Coral Triangle is a globally recognized treasure. It is unique, there is nothing like it on Earth," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said of the region, which has been compared to the Amazon rainforest for its biodiversity.

Scientists say a combination of climate change, overfishing and pollution is destroying ecosystems in the Triangle, which is a vital source of food for millions of people and a nursery for maritime life from turtles to tuna.

Under the initiative, the littoral countries agreed to expand protected ocean reserves by millions of hectares (acres) and establish joint strategies for identifying key ecosystems and species for conservation.

The initiative calls for fishing to be banned from 20 percent of each major coastal habitat in the Triangle such as coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass areas, but set no specific time target.

It also sets targets ranging between 2012 and 2020 for the designation and establishment of "priority seascape" marine reserves and stronger legislation and planning to curb overfishing and protect threatened species.

The agreement also calls for the establishment within four years of a plan to help coastal and small island ecosystems adapt to consequences of climate change such as rising sea levels, warming waters and increases in acidity.

Indonesia -- a massive archipelago of 17,000 islands -- said it would set aside 20 million hectares (49.4 million acres) of maritime conservation parks by 2020, up from 13.4 million currently.

The overall plan however contained no solid combined target on the protected areas.

The agreement was praised by environmental groups as a rare example of high-level leaders backing an ambitious conservation plan.

Conservation International head Peter Seligmann said in a statement, "in 30 years of conservation work, I have never seen anything like this; six leaders signing a commitment to protect their marine resources for the wellbeing of their citizens and future generations."

A report by environmental group WWF this week said climate change could wipe out the Coral Triangle by century's end if nations do not commit to deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The death of the reefs could leave more than 100 million people without livelihoods, triggering destabilizing mass migrations to cities and neighboring countries, it said.

A new round of international climate change talks to replace the Kyoto Protocol will take in the Danish capital Copenhagen in December.


 
Last Updated ( Friday, 15 May 2009 17:22 )
 

Stop commercial seals hunt

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Palm-oil use wipes out orangutans

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NZ palm oil use could help to wipe out orangutan

4:00AM Monday May 04, 2009
Orangutans have dwindled 90 per cent. Photo / AP

Orangutans have dwindled 90 per cent. Photo / AP

A cooking oil that is driving the destruction of the rainforests, displacing native people and threatening the survival of the orangutan is present in grocery products commonly found in New Zealand.

Palm oil - blamed for a tree-felling rampage in Southeast Asia - is present or suspected in chocolates, soap products and margarines.

An investigation by the Independent newspaper showed it was present or suspected in 43 of 100 best-selling brands in the UK, far more than the one in 10 products estimated by Friends of the Earth four years ago - but it is also found in many products sold in New Zealand.

Palm oil is present in margarine brand Flora, KitKat and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars, as well as Dove soap, Comfort fabric conditioner and Persil washing powder.

The United Nations Environment Programme believes palm oil is the major driver of deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest are cleared to make way for plantations from which 90 per cent of wildlife disappear, including the orangutan, which is fighting a losing battle against extinction. Orangutan numbers have dwindled by 90 per cent since 1900, with the rate of loss accelerating in recent decades.

 

Emissions from the chainsawed peat-rich forests of Indonesia (which owns Sumatra and half of Borneo) are also thought to generate 4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Only 4 per cent of palm oil production is certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

All companies contacted by the Independent said they were talking to suppliers about moving to a sustainable supply. Most of them, including Cadbury, Kellogg's, Nestle, Mars and Heinz, have set no date for the process.

Nestle said: "Nestle shares concerns about the serious environmental threat to rainforests in Southeast Asia and supports an end to deforestation. Palm oil is not a major raw material and ... the company's use of palm oil has been declining somewhat."

WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund, called on manufacturers to start matching rhetoric with reality by buying sustainable oil, which costs between 10 and 35 per cent more than ordinary supplies which are mixed at refineries.

Originating in West Africa, palm oil has become a £14 billion-a-year ($36.5 billion) industry, with 38 million tonnes produced annually.

Manufacturers use the oil to bind and bulk out chocolate, biscuits, bread and margarine and to give a creamy consistency to soaps.

About 85 per cent of the global supply comes from Borneo and Sumatra, where corruption is rife and where incursions into the forests are enforced by gun-toting security guards.

If present rates of logging continue, the UN Environment Programme estimates that 98 per cent of forests in Indonesia may be destroyed by 2020.

- INDEPENDENT





 

A kite takes a drink in India

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A kite takes a drink on a public lawn in Delhi amid high temperatures in northern India.
 


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