BOGOTA, (Tierramérica).- In Colombia, 3,500 children, parents and teachers took part in drafting the "Children's Manifesto for a Healthy Environment", a document that establishes actions and commitments to promote the well being of kids at home, at school and in their natural surroundings.
With the Colombian Family Welfare Institute's publication of the Manifesto the government marked the end of "Children's Month", celebrated throughout April.
The text was backed by the president's office, the ministries of Social Protection, Environment, Housing and Education, as well as UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) and the Pan-American Health Organization.
The Return of Tuberculosis
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- Tuberculosis, a disease that was on the decline in Argentina throughout the 1980s and 1990s, has been on the upswing since 2000, with more than 13,000 new cases each year, reports the Argentine Health Ministry's epidemiology department.
The national average reaches 33 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in this country of 37 million people. But in some impoverished provinces, like the northwestern Jujuy and Salta, incidence of the disease reaches 90 cases per 100,000 people.
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that can be deadly if it is not treated. Provincial doctors report that the patients who are poorest are more likely to wait until the illness is advanced before seeking treatment. Others quit taking medications once they feel better, and then suffer relapses, thus creating danger of further contagion.
Assessing the War's Environmental Impact
CAMBRIDGE, (Tierramérica).- Five teams of biologists from the non-governmental alliance BirdLife International will spend 30 days in Iraq to evaluate the effects of the war on the environment, with particular attention to the situation of the country's bird populations.
Richard Porter, coordinator of BirdLife projects in Iraq, says poor management of reconstruction efforts in the post-war period poses a major threat to biodiversity and local wildlife communities.
The experts will leave for Iraq as soon as minimum security standards can be met. They will work with their counterparts from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and from a network of Iraqi ornithologists and conservationists.
When the United States and Britain launched their attack against Iraq on Mar 20, BirdLife International spokespersons told Tierramérica of their concerns about the fate of bird populations in the area, fearing they would become extinct like the sacred ibis, the African anhinga and the Goliath heron.
Bio-Trade under Scrutiny
LIMA, (Tierramérica).- The Peruvian Bio-Trade Committee, created through a 1996 initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to promote sustainable use of biodiversity, is drawing up an assessment of the private and community enterprises that are involved in such activity.
"Bio-trade is understood as an activity that promotes investment and trade through the sustainable use of native resources," says Roger Rumrrill, an independent advisor on environmental issues related to the Amazon forests of Peru.
The evaluation includes data from 40 trade associations that process and sell various products native to Peru, particularly plants with medicinal properties and "bio-pesticides", that is, plants, animals and microorganisms that can be used in controlling crop infestations.
Represented on the Committee are the National Environment Council, the National Institute of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Industry and Trade's export promotion office, and the National Commission of Andean Peoples, among others. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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