MONTEVIDEO, May 26 (Tierramérica).- The weekly news service on the environment and development, Tierramérica, was awarded the Zayed International Prize in the category of Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society, granted by the United Arab Emirates.
Upon announcing the prize on May 19, the organizers said that Tierramérica serves as a space for debate, drawing a wide range of social actors from Latin America and around the world.
Tierramérica is produced by the international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS) and sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Bank. It is published as a weekly insert in 20 Latin American newspapers.
The multimedia Tierramérica product includes selected news items broadcast by 400 radio stations in 10 Latin American countries, and a web site in Spanish, English and Portuguese (www.tierramerica.net).
The history of Tierramérica began in 1995, when it was published as a magazine every two months. Since 2000, the weekly print edition is published in newspapers and magazines in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The other Zayed Prize-winners were U.N. special envoy for climate change and former director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway, for the Zayed Prize for Global Leadership in the Environment; Jane Lubchenco, a professor of marine biology and zoology at Oregon State University in the United States, and Professor V. Ramanathan, a climatologist from India who is based in San Diego, California, for the Zayed Prize for Scientific/Technological Achievements. Environment Development Action in the Third World (ENDA), in Senegal, shared the award in the category of Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society with Tierramérica.
The Zayed Prize was established by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, and has a fund of one million dollars.
Government Against All Whale Hunts
SANTIAGO, May 26 (Tierramérica).- One month before the Chilean capital hosts a meeting of the International Whaling Commission, President Michelle Bachelet has repeated her rejection of allowing hunts for scientific purposes.
In her public address to Congress on May 21, Bachelet announced a bill to declare Chile as a nation free of cetacean hunting, and that all such marine mammals will be declared "natural monuments".
Elsa Cabrera, director of the non-governmental Cetacean Conservation Center, which has led a campaign for Chile to declare its waters a whale sanctuary, applauded the announcement and said she is optimistic about the scope of the proposed legislation.
"With this announcement, Chile has positioned itself as host of the next Commission meeting," she told Tierramérica.
Legal Instrument to Protect Forests
TEGUCIGALPA, May 26 (Tierramérica).- The recently created Institute of Forest Conservation (ICF), entrusted with executing and supervising the application of the new Forestry Act in Honduras, is taking form following the arrival of its new director, Suyapa Otero.
Her challenge is to fight illegal logging and to define a public policy of environmental conservation.
The application of the law will not only change the traditional relations between the government and the logging sector, but will also give communities a place for participation in forestry management and conservation, "under a model of sustainable development," Otero said in a Tierramérica interview.
Otero was sworn in while a march of environmentalists from the central department of Olancho, led by Catholic priest Andrés Tamayo, headed to Tegucigalpa to demand an end to illegal logging, the depoliticizing of the ICF and clear rules for community participation.
Annual Rite with Crocs and Turtles
CARACAS, May 26 (Tierramérica).- Venezuela released some 900 young Orinoco crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius), hatched in nurseries and biological research stations of the Environment Ministry.
With releases occurring since late April, this annual ritual is increasingly successful in saving this endangered species, deputy minister for conservation, Miguel Rodríguez, told Tierramérica.
"The young are released into tributaries of the Orinoco River, which are home to some 15 populations of crocodiles, which are nearly disappeared from Colombia and in Venezuela there are about 2,500," said Rodríguez. It is one of the largest crocodile species, with individuals measuring up to seven meters long.
Also in April and May, with the beginning of the rainy season, thousands of young turtles of the species Podocnemis expansa, or giant South American river turtle, are being released.
More Control over Energy and Environment
HAVANA, May 26 (Tierramérica).- The Cuban National Assembly of Popular Power created a special commission made up of 32 deputies to reinforce government control over efficient energy use and environmental protection.
Parliamentarian Leonardo Martínez told Tierramérica that the commission, established on May 19, will have the mission to monitor energy savings and the development of renewable energy sources, as well as programs for environmental education and culture.
Cuba is carrying out an energy savings plan that in the past three years saved 680,000 tons of petroleum annually. The national budget for 2008 dedicates 40 million dollars to the use of clean energy sources. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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