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close this bookGATE - 1/95 - Waste Water: Resource Management and Environmental Hygiene (GTZ GATE, 1995, 56 p.)
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Greenpeace Action for Clean Drinking Water

Berlin - The German branch of the international environmental organisation Greenpeace has started a campaign against the pollution of drinking water through pesticides.

The organisation travelled for seven months with their ship "Beluga" on Germanys main rivers, the Main and Rhine. They talked to the neighbouring chemical companies and local authorities and informed the public.

The reason for the campaign were the efforts of the European Union to loosen the legal provisions on the supply of drinking water. According to a Greenpeace statement, this allows for greater pollution of ground water with pesticides. Greenpeace thinks that pesticides, even in the smallest of quantities, should not be found in drinking water.

As "the cause of the water pollution" the chemical industry should bear the costs for cleaning the water. The industry answers by pointing out that the pesticides decompose themselves in the soil very quiekly and are therefore no longer damaging.

750,000 persons have reacted to the Greenpeace appeal for the protection of drinking water. The signatures were given to Jochen Borchert, Minister for Agriculture in Bonn, at the end of last year.

Contact: Greenpeace, Jorg Naumann, Chausseestr. 131, D-10115 Berlin, Phone: + 49302385737, Fax: +49302385745

Combating Desertification: NGOs Co-operate in National Action Plans

New York/Frankfurt The UN Convention to Combat Desertification which was adopted in June 1994 has so far been signed by 95 countries and the European Union. Bo Kjellen, chairman of the committee for the elaboration of the convention (INCD) expects the convention to come into force in 1997. The United Nations have declared the 17th June as the world day for combating desertification.

The UN Convention declares desertification to be a global problem which affects about 900 million people and about 25 % of the agriculturally usable land in the world, particularly in Africa. The central role of the governments and populations concerned in mounting a success fulfight against desertification is emphasised in the convention. A eo-ordinated National Action Plan (NAP) should guide the prevention of further land degradation and the rehabilitation of already damaged areas.

The donors (countries and institutions) are asked to coordinate their contributions for the implementation of National Action Plans both with the governments concerned and among themselves. The convention's signatories have agreed to co-ordinate closely and to co-operate on research, technology transfer and development. Particularly important for the successful implementation of measures to combat desertification is the capacity of the local population regarding their involvement in the promotion of training and research, the development of technological know-how in agriculture and forestry as well as in regenerative energy sources.

New instruments for financing implementation are not part of the convention. In principle funding from the Global Environment Facility can be used.

The convention recommends involving NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the process of drawing up the national programmes, in the consultation processes with the population to promote local involvement and public awareness, as well as in the decision-making process about how to use the funding.

In November 1994 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, more than 50 NGOs concerned with combating desertification set up the international network RIOD (Rau International d'ONG sur la Drtification). The focus of the work of the NGOs until the convention comes into force is representation of the population's concern when drawing up Action Plans for combating desertification.

JGliese, T.B.W., Baumweg 16, 60316 Frankfurt, Germany, Phone: + 49 69 49 0195

"Clearing-House for Applied Futures": Learning from Good Examples

Wuppertal - The "Clearing-houseforapplie futures» (Caf) sees itself as an institution which tries to find answers to the current pressing and long-term aspects of global problems. The organisation, which is based in Wuppertal, Germany, is active as an informer, networker and mediator, according to a brochure. Caf started its work in April 1994.

Caf collects information worldwide about innovative projects and initiatives which aim at sustainable development. This data is accessible for potentially 20 million users through "hopeNet" which is distributed through the "Association for Progressive Communication" and Internet. The bureau aims to bring together in workshops those responsible of initiatives for exchange of experiences, and mediates between these and representatives of politics, business, academia and NGOs.

According to Caf, approaches for solving global political, economic, social and ecological problems do exist. However "constructive, solution-sceking cooperation between different actors in society" is still lacking and urgently needed. The office in Wuppertal has given itself the slogan of "learning from good examples and experiences». In particular experiences from countries outside western Europe and the Third World should be collected.

Contact: Caf (clearing house for applied futures), c/o Wuppertal Institut, Drsberg 19, D-42103 Wuppertal Germany. Phone: +49 202 2492 182-4 Fax: + 49 202 2492 210 Internet, Compuserve: 75110.3176; Applelink: WIKUE