141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

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What is DU?

  • Depleted Uranium is a waste product of the nuclear enrichment process.
  • After natural uranium has been ‘enriched’ to concentrate the isotope U235 for use in nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons, what remains is DU.
  • The process produces about 7 times more DU than enriched uranium.

Despite claims that DU is much less radioactive than natural uranium, it actually emits about 75% as much radioactivity. It is very dense and when it strikes armour it burns (it is ‘pyrophoric’). As a waste product, it is stockpiled by nuclear states, which then have an interest in finding uses for it.

DU is used as the ‘penetrator’ – a long dart at the core of the weapon – in armour piercing tank rounds and bullets. It is usually alloyed with another metal. When DU munitions strike a hard target the penetrator sheds around 20% of its mass, creating a fine dust of DU, burning at extremely high temperatures.

This dust can spread 400 metres from the site immediately after an impact. It can be resuspended by human activity, or by the wind, and has been reported to have travelled twenty-five miles on air currents. The heat of the DU impact and secondary fires means that much of the dust produced is ceramic, and can remain in the lungs for years if inhaled.

Who uses it?
At least 18 countries are known to have DU in their arsenals:

  • UK
  • US
  • France
  • Russia
  • China
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Taiwan
  • Israel
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India
  • Belarus
  • Pakistan
  • Oman

Most of these countries were sold DU by the US, although the UK, France and Pakistan developed it independently.

Only the US and the UK are known to have fired it in warfare. It was used in the 1991 Gulf War, in the 2003 Iraq War, and also in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s and during the NATO war with Serbia in 1999. While its use has been claimed in a number of other conflicts, this has not been confirmed.

Health Problems

  • DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. In laboratory tests it damages human cells, causing DNA mutations and other carcinogenic effects.
  • Reports of increased rates of cancer and birth defects have consistently followed DU usage.
  • Representatives from both the Serbian and Iraqi governments have linked its use with health problems amongst civilians.
  • Many veterans remain convinced DU is responsible for health problems they have experienced since combat

Information from animal studies suggests DU may cause several different kinds of cancer. In rats, DU in the blood-stream builds up in the kidneys, bone, muscles, liver, spleen, and brain. In other studies it has been shown to cross both the blood-brain barrier and the placenta, with obvious implications for the health of the foetus. In general, the effects of DU will be more severe for women and children than for healthy men.

In 2008 a study by the Institute of Medicine in the US listed medical conditions that were a high priority to study for possible links with DU exposure: cancers of the lung, testes and kidney; lung disease; nervous system disorders; and reproductive and developmental problems.


Epidemiology

What is missing from the picture is large-scale epidemiological studies on the effects of DU – where negative health effects match individuals with exposure to DU. None of the studies done on the effects on soldiers have been large enough to make meaningful conclusions. No large scale studies have been done on civilian populations.

In the case of Iraq, where the largest volume of DU has been fired, the UK and US governments are largely responsible for the conditions which have made studies of the type required impossible. Despite this, these same governments use the scientific uncertainties to maintain that it is safe, and that concerns about it are misplaced.

However, in cases where human health is in jeopardy, a precautionary approach should prevail. Scientific scepticism should prevent a hazardous course of action from being taken until safety is assured. To allow it to continue until the danger has been proved beyond dispute is an abuse of the principle of scientific caution.

Environmental Impacts
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has studied some of the sites contaminated by DU in the Balkans, but it has only been able to produce a desk study on Iraq. Bullets and penetrators made of DU that do not hit armour become embedded in the ground and corrode away, releasing material into the environment.

It is not known what will happen to DU in the long term in such circumstances. The UNEP mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina found DU in drinking water, and could still detect it in the air after seven years – the longest period of time a study has been done after the end of a conflict.

Uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, so DU released into the environment will be a hazard for unimaginable timescales.

Decontaminating sites where DU has been used requires detailed scrutiny and monitoring, followed by the removal and reburial of large amounts of soil and other materials. Monitoring of groundwater for contamination is also advised by UNEP. CADU calls for the cost of cleaning up and decontaminating DU affected sites to be met by the countries responsible for the contamination.

The Campaign
CADU is a founder member of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) – now comprising over 102 member organisations in 27 countries.

CADU and ICBUW campaign for a precautionary approach: there is significant evidence that DU is dangerous, and faced with scientific uncertainty the responsible course of action is for it not to be used. To this end CADU and ICBUW are working towards an international treaty that bans the use of uranium in weapons akin to those banning cluster bombs and landmines.

Through the efforts of campaigners worldwide the use of DU has been condemned by four resolutions in the European Parliament, been the subject of an outright ban in Belgium, and brought onto the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly.

Source

Sign Petition to Ban DU

International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

141 states support second uranium weapons resolution in UN General Assembly vote

The United Nations General Assembly has passed, by a huge majority, a resolution requesting its agencies to update their positions on the health and environmental effects of uranium weapons.
December 2 2008

The resolution, which had passed the First Committee stage on October 31st by 127 states to four, calls on three UN agencies – the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update their positions on uranium weapons. The overwhelming support for the text reflects increasing international concern over the long-term impact of uranium contamination in post-conflict environments and military ranges.

In the 17 years since uranium weapons were first used on a large scale in the 1991 Gulf War, a huge volume of peer-reviewed research has highlighted previously unknown pathways through which exposure to uranium’s heavy metal toxicity and radioactivity may damage human health.
Throughout the world, parliamentarians have responded by supporting calls for a moratorium and ban, urging governments and the military to take a precautionary approach. However the WHO and IAEA have been slow to react to this wealth of new evidence and it is hoped that this resolution will go some way to resolving this situation.

In a welcome move, the text requests that all three agencies work closely with countries affected by the use of uranium weapons in compiling their research. Until now, most research by UN member states has focused on exposure in veterans and not on the civilian populations living in contaminated areas. Furthermore, recent investigations into US veteran studies have found them to be wholly incapable of producing useful data.

The text also repeats the request for states to submit reports and opinions on uranium weapons to the UN Secretary General in the process that was started by last year’s resolution. Thus far, 19 states have submitted reports to the Secretary General; many of them call for action on uranium weapons and back a precautionary approach. It also places the issue on the agenda of the General Assembly’s 65th Session; this will begin in September 2010.

The First Committee vote saw significant voting changes in comparison to the previous year’s resolution, with key EU and NATO members such as the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Iceland changing position to support calls for further action on the issue. These changes were echoed at the General Assembly vote. Once again Japan, which has been under considerable pressure from campaigners, supported the resolution.

Of the permanent five Security Council members, the US, UK and France voted against. They were joined by Israel. Russia abstained and China refused to vote.

The list of states abstaining from the vote, while shorter than in 2007, still contains Belgium, the only state to have implemented a domestic ban on uranium weapons, a fact that continues to anger Belgian campaigners. It is suspected that the Belgian government is wary of becoming isolated on the issue internationally. Two Nordic states, Denmark and Sweden continue to blow cold, elsewhere in Europe Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain are also dragging their feet, in spite of a call for a moratorium and ban by 94% of MEPs earlier this year. Many of the abstainers are recent EU/NATO accession states or ex-Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan.

Australia and Canada, both of whom have extensive uranium mining interests and close ties to US foreign policy also abstained.

The resolution was submitted by Cuba and Indonesia on behalf of the League of Non-Aligned States.

Voting results in full

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.

Absent: Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia.

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in “The War to End All Wars”, World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.

In late 2000 and January 2001, reports were exploding across Europe about the rise in cancer amongst NATO soldiers who had served in the “peacekeeping missions” in Bosnia and Kosovo. The effects of the depleted uranium in the U.S. and U.K. weapons could not be ignored.

But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.

Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi En Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,

“When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds.”

And The Tehran Times further endangers their country by continuing to report on the problem, calling it a war crime.

And across the internet, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Helbig seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to bring up the subject.

But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution, on October 31st, calling for “relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010.” The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.

Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I’ve put together the following.  Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.

Ten Essential Facts:

1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually “depleted” of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.

2. Depleted uranium is plentiful – there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium – and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.

3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.

4. Depleted uranium is “pyrophoric”, which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip – and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.

5. Depleted uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO “peace-keeping” bombing missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who’d served in the Balkans.

7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO’s Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock’s report, “Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium”, detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium’s health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 – 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to “Shock and Awe” Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.

9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain’s Freedom of Information law.

10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen.  It is up to us to bring this to his attention.  THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here

Dr. Keith Baverstock’s November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization:
Rob Edwards article on Baverstock:

Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer:  Scroll down on the page and you’ll find her documents on DU.

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

Be sure to encourage those who are still not supporting the ban,  that it  is something that needs to be banned.

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

We, the people, need to let governments and the United Nations know that these weapons can have no part in a humane and caring world. Every signature counts!

  1. An immediate end to the use of uranium weapons.
  2. Disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used and immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites under strict control.
  3. Health surveys of the ‘depleted’ uranium victims and environmental investigations at the affected sites.
  4. Medical treatment and compensation for the ‘depleted’ uranium victims.
  5. An end to the development, production, stockpiling, testing, trade of uranium weapons.
  6. A Convention for a Total Ban on Uranium Weapons.

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Oil-rich Angola is in line for a one-billion-dollar World Bank Loan

November 20 2008

LUANDA (AFP) — Oil-rich Angola is in line for a one-billion-dollar credit from a World Bank organ that aims to reduce poverty and create jobs, a bank official said Wednesday.

Senior World Bank economist Ricardo Gazel told AFP that Angola was applying to join the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which serves middle-income and credit-worthy poor countries.

“Angola is hoping to join the IBRD, which means they will have access to a one billion dollar credit over four years, which would be 250 million dollars a year,” Gazel said.

Since Angola joined the World Bank in 1989, the former Portuguese colony has received 677 million dollars in credits and grants.

After nearly three decades of civil war ended in 2002, Angola began looking for financing from countries around the world to begin rebuilding its shattered infrastructure.

Angola also expanded operations in its vast oil fields to rival Nigeria as Africa’s top producer.

Economic growth — at just 3.3 percent in 2003 — is set to top 20 percent this year, but nearly 80 percent of the country still lives on less than two dollars a day.

China’s government opened a 4.5 billion dollar line of credit to Angola in 2004, while the China International Fund (CIF) has opened 2.9 billion dollars worth of loans.

European donors have also developed an interest in Angola, with Spain last year promising 600 million dollars in reconstruction aid.

Source

European donors have also developed an interest in Angola, with Spain last year promising 600 million dollars in reconstruction aid.

I bet they are interested. More like they want the Oil.

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 9:42 am  Comments Off on Oil-rich Angola is in line for a one-billion-dollar World Bank Loan  
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The World Bank and IMF in Africa

A little History

The World Bank and IMF in Africa

August 2008

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are two of the most powerful international financial institutions in the world. They are the major sources of lending to African countries, and use the loans they provide as leverage to prescribe policies and dictate major changes in the economies of these countries. The World Bank is the largest public development institution in the world, lending over $24 billion in 2007 – of which over $5 billion (or 22 percent) went to Africa.

The World Bank and IMF are controlled by the world’s richest countries, particularly the U.S., which is the main shareholder in both institutions. The World Bank, headquartered in Washington, DC, follows a “one dollar, one vote” system whereby members with the greatest financial contributions have the greatest say in decision making. The U.S. holds roughly 17% of the vote in the World Bank and the 48 sub-Saharan African countries together have less than 9% of the votes. The Group of 7 rich countries (G-7) control 45% of World Bank votes. This system ensures that the World Bank and IMF act in the interest of the rich countries, promoting a model of economic growth (called neo-liberal) that benefits the richest countries and the international private sector.

Over the past two decades, the poorest countries in the world have had to turn increasingly to the World Bank and IMF for financial assistance, because their impoverishment has made it impossible for them to borrow elsewhere. The World Bank and IMF attach strict conditions to their loans, which give them great control over borrower governments. On average, low-income countries are subject to as many as 67 conditions per World Bank loan. African countries, in need of new loans, have had no choice but to accept these conditions.

The World Bank and IMF have forced African countries to adopt “structural adjustment programs” (SAP) and other measures which cut back government spending on basic services. They have required African governments to reduce trade barriers and open their markets, maintaining their economies as sources of cheap raw materials and cheap labor for multinational corporations.

As a result of World Bank and IMF policies, average incomes in Africa have declined, and the continent’s poverty has increased. Africa’s debt crisis has worsened over the past two decades, as the failure of World Bank and IMF intervention has left African countries more dependent than ever on new loans. These institutions have also undermined Africa’s health through the policies they have imposed. Forced cutbacks in spending on health care, and the privatization of basic services, have left Africa’s people more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other poverty-related diseases.

The policies of the World Bank and IMF have come increasingly under fire, for the negative impact they have had on African countries. But these institutions, and the U.S. and other wealthy countries that control them, refuse to address these concerns. Instead, they continue to use Africa’s debt as leverage to maintain control over the economic policies of African countries. Even as Africa faces the worst health crisis in human history, these institutions insist that debt repayments take priority over spending on the fight against poverty and HIV/AIDS. African countries continue to spend up to five times more on debt servicing than on health care for their populations.

In response to growing criticism of their policies, the IMF and World Bank have continuously repackaged their structural adjustment programs over the last two decades. In 1999, the institutions began a funding system that requires a country to create a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which purports to outline programs that will promote growth and reduce poverty over the next several years. Through the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF), which disburses funds, the World Bank and IMF approve and then finance these poverty reduction programs. While the World Bank and IMF claim that this allows greater flexibility for countries receiving assistance, the degree of ownership that countries have in PRSPs is exaggerated. Parliaments and civil society are often excluded from developing and adopting PRSPs.

In 2005, the IMF created the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). PSIs do not provide financial assistance to the countries that choose to participate. Rather, the IMF provides economic policy advice to a country, and then monitors it to determine whether or not the country has earned the IMF’s endorsement. Creditors and donors can then base their decision to offer loans or grants to a country on the IMF’s PSI assessment. In practice, this program continues to enforce IMF economic reforms and compromise the ability of African governments to decide on their development path.

To address the external debt crisis of poor countries, the IMF and World Bank introduced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in September 1996. Designed by creditors, this initiative was intended to extract the maximum in debt repayments from poor countries. It has failed even to meet its stated objective of reducing Africa’s debt burden to a “sustainable” level, and the strict HIPC eligibility requirements prevent many countries from receiving much-needed assistance.

In July 2005, the Group of 8 (G-8) proposed a debt cancellation deal for 18 countries, 14 of which are in Africa. That September, the World Bank and IMF approved this deal through the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). The MDRI grants debt cancellation to countries that meet certain eligibility requirements, including adherence to economic policies and programs that the World Bank and IMF deem satisfactory. As of December 2007, the World Bank and IMF have approved MDRI debt relief for 25 countries, 19 of which are in Africa. Although the MDRI provides some progress on the issue of debt, it still leaves many African countries trapped under the burden of illegitimate debt. Furthermore, it establishes the precedent that future debt cancellation will only be offered to countries that have submitted their economies to the draconian dictates of the World Bank and IMF’s structural adjustment policies.

The benefits of debt cancellation have been proven repeatedly. While in 2003, Zambia was forced to spend twice as much on debt payments as on health care, partial debt cancellation allowed the government to grant free basic healthcare to its population in 2006. In Benin, more than half of the money saved through debt cancellation has been spent on health. In Tanzania, the newly available funds were used to eliminate primary school fees, increasing attendance by two-thirds. Uganda is currently using the $57.9 million of savings it gained from debt relief in 2006 to improve primary education, energy and water infrastructure, malaria control, and healthcare. Cameroon is using its $29.8 million in savings for poverty reduction, infrastructure improvement, and governance reforms.

Since 2007, there has been talk of the IMF selling its gold reserves to offset its growing administrative budget deficits. In order for the IMF to sell any part of its gold reserves, the sale must be approved by an 85% majority of its members. The United States controls about 17% of this vote, giving it an effective veto over this action. In February 2008, the U.S. Treasury announced that it would support the sale if the IMF takes part in a package of reforms that would put more emphasis on surveillance and financial stability and less on lending.

By law, however, the U.S. Congress must authorize the sale of IMF gold before the U.S. Executive Director may support such a decision. This puts Congress in a unique position to greatly influence the future actions and operations of the IMF. In contrast with Treasury’s modest reform proposal, Congress could seize this opportunity and condition its approval of the IMF’s gold sales on a bold reform agenda that eliminates IMF policies that have restricted investments in health, education and HIV/AIDS spending. Specifically, gold sales should be approved only if the IMF ceases use of overly restrictive deficit-reduction and inflation-reduction targets, eliminates budget ceilings for the health and education sectors and de-links debt cancellation from such harmful macroeconomic conditions. Gold sales could also be used to finance expanded debt cancellation.

African countries must have the power to shape their own economic policies and to determine their own development priorities. This requires the cancellation of all of Africa’s illegitimate external debts, and an immediate end to the harmful policies the World Bank and IMF have imposed in Africa.

Source

South Africa: IMF Can Only Bring Misery

by Trevor Ngwane and George DorThe Sowetan
July 12 2000

Last Friday, Horst Koehler, newly-appointed head of the International Monetary Fund, received a hostile response from the anti-privatisation forum, Jubilee 2000, the campaign against neoliberalism and the South African Communist Party. We are trained to be hospitable in the African tradition, but this was a fair exception.

The Anti-Privatisation Forum includes two campaigns. The first is the anti-Igoli Forum which opposes Johannesburg’s “iGoli 2002” plan to privatise our city. The second is the Wits University Crisis Committee, which opposes a similar strategy, “Wits 2001,” which has led to massive job losses and the decline of arts education at South Africa’s main university.

The campaigns oppose the privatisation of social goods, like water and education, that in a just society should be under the control of communities, workers and students. The unity of our struggles is all the more urgent in view of this week’s Urban Futures Conference, at which the powers behind iGoli 2002 and Wits 2001 are hoping to showcase the sale of our city and our university.

If Horst Koehler thought his visit to South Africa would be widely applauded, he should know that workers, community activists and students in Johannesburg have been protesting his institution for many years.

The last such visit by an IMF leader was in October 1996, when Michel Camdessus came to meet workers, community activists and students, as requested by finance minister Trevor Manuel. But our leadership in Cosatu, Sanco and Sasco boycotted the meeting on grounds that the IMF would do harm to South Africa.

The subsequent events in East Asia, which shamed Camdessus, proved that a firm stand against the IMF was correct. We know that firsthand in our country and our continent, where for more than two decades people have suffered immensely, due to IMF interference.

The IMF made billions of dollars of loans to apartheid South Africa during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Our allies in the Jubilee 2000 South Africa movement have demanded that these loans, which were repaid by South African society during one of the most repressive, bloody periods in our history, now in turn be the basis for reparations by the IMF to a democratic South Africa.

During the late 1980s, when the apartheid regime began to sell state assets to white-owned conglomerates and raised interest rates to the highest levels in our history, the IMF was prodding it to do so. The IMF consistently argued that South African workers were overpaid, and that South Africa should implement a Value Added Tax to shift the burden of tax payment further to lower-income people. The apartheid regime generally followed this advice and was applauded by the IMF for doing so.

In December 1993, the IMF granted a US $750 million loan (about R5,1 billion) which was purportedly for drought relief. Actually, the drought had ended eighteen months earlier. The loan carried conditions such as a lowered budget deficit to prevent a new government spending more on social programmes, and lower wages for civil servants. These conditions have subsequently become government policy in the form of Gear. The loan was a secret agreement, only leaked to the business press in March 1994.

Again and again in Southern Africa and across the Third World the IMF’s free-market economic advice and conditions on loans have been disastrous. These disasters have led to a profound crisis of legitimacy for the Washington institution. Former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote in the April 2000 New Republic magazine that the IMF is populated by “third-rate economists.”

One reason for the IMF’s crisis of legitimacy is the control exercised by the US government. This power is based on ownership of 18% of the IMF’s shares, enough to veto anything the US disagrees with.

The IMF remains a profoundly undemocratic institution, whose economic policies have been roundly condemned for the misery caused throughout the Third World and especially in East Asia, Russia and Latin America when “emerging market crises” occurred during 1997-99.

The IMF’s fraternal institution, the World Bank, has had an especially obnoxious role in Johannesburg. Bank staff were responsible for a 1995 infrastructure policy which recommended low standards and high prices for household water and electricity, even though the Reconstruction and Development Programme mandated the opposite. Bank staff recommended that low-income households be not given flush toilets but instead use pit-latrines, without considering the public health risks of excrement leaking into Johannesburg’s water table through its dolomitic rock.

When a similar scheme was established in Winterveld in 1991, hundreds of people got cholera as a result.

The Bank also promoted privatisation of municipal services across the country. In Johannesburg, it took the lead on research to promote a one-sided, pro-corporate perspective on iGoli 2002. It is no wonder that the Johannesburg privatisation plan has been renamed “E.Coli 2002”.

For all these reasons, the visit of Horst Koehler and the ongoing role played by the World Bank in Johannesburg represent very serious dangers to poor and working-class people and the environment.

When 30,000 people joined in protest against these institutions, in their hometown Washington DC in April, it was clear they were not listening to us but we all are surprised by how quickly they have followed us back to Johannesburg to do their damage. They must not be allowed to arrange the junk-sale of our university, our city, our country and our continent.

Trevor Ngwane is a Johannesburg councillor and Wits master’s degree student, while George Dor is chairman of the campaign against neoliberalism in South Afric. Both are affiliated to the Alternative Information and Development Centre in Johannesburg.

Source

Is Africa being bullied into growing GM crops?

David Fig

27 June 2007

Africa must not let multinational corporations and international donors dictate its biotechnology agenda, says David Fig.

Africa is rapidly becoming a focal point for multinational crop and chemical corporations clearing the way for the extended uptake of their products and technologies. In particular, African governments are facing enormous pressure to endorse and adopt genetically modified (GM) crops.

Organisations like the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa — bankrolled by the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations — are partly to blame through their heavy investment in infrastructure aimed at supporting the development and distribution of GM crops and seeds.

But the African Union (AU) itself is now also encouraging the adoption of GM technology. Working in tandem with its development wing, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the AU’s High Level Panel on Modern Biotechnology is soon to release a Freedom to Innovate plan — the clearest expression yet of the trend to back this controversial and risky technology. And it does so uncritically, rather than taking a more rational precautionary position that would safeguard Africa’s rich biodiversity and agriculture.

The AU is also engaged in efforts to revise the carefully crafted African Model Law on Biosafety, which outlines the biosafety provisions necessary for African environmental conditions.

The revisions emanate from those seeking to make the biosafety content less stringent, placing Africa under even more pressure to conform to the needs of the gene corporations.

Saying no to the GM bandwagon

Support for GM technology, though, is by no means universal across the continent. The AU’s efforts in shaping the Freedom to Innovate plan and model law contrast with the leadership role that the Africa Group took in developing the Cartagena Protocol to ensure more stringent biosafety precautions.

Indeed, a number of African governments and civil society organisations are increasingly speaking out against the pressures from gene companies — and the foundations that back them — to adopt their technologies.

For example Angola, Sudan and Zambia have resisted pressure to accept GM food aid, while nongovernmental groups such as the African Biodiversity Network, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, defend community and farmers’ rights to reject GM seed. At one stage Burkina Faso implemented a moratorium on the planting of GM crops.

The Freedom to Innovate document does little justice to the debate raging around Africa. Instead it seeks to institutionalise the pro-GM position of larger countries like Nigeria and South Africa for the entire continent.

Offering unbiased advice

There is no question that Africa needs technology to develop. But it must be appropriate to a country’s chosen path of development.

New technologies aimed at development must be evaluated in depth by, among others, scientists with no vested interests.

Natural scientists must assess GM technology’s likely impacts on both the environment and human and animal health. Social scientists must also examine the potential socio-economic consequences of such innovation — such as impacts on local food security, trade or indebtedness. Stakeholders, including those who safeguard traditional knowledge, could further enrich such assessment by indicating proven alternatives.

This model of technological assessment could serve Africa very well. It could enable governments to formulate appropriate policies and development priorities.

Most importantly, if a technology is found to be questionable or negative in terms of its impacts — or if there are no clear development benefits to be derived from its adoption — a precautionary mechanism must exist that can delay and carefully regulate its introduction.

The freedom to choose

The Freedom to Innovate plan tries to advocate the idea that all biotechnology benefits Africa and fails to analyse the risks attached to their adoption. While some aspects of modern biotechnology might prove useful in African agriculture, this does not mean that one aspect of this — GM crops — can increase continental food security and farmer prosperity.

GM technology forces Africa into high-input, chemical-dependent agriculture which impacts on biodiversity and creates debt burdens for small farmers.

In addition, the regulatory steps required for control of GM crops are so demanding of resources that, even when other budgetary areas relating to food security may need more pressing attention, Africa is forced to prioritise their set up.

Gene corporations, together with the scientists that work for them, have invested a lot of time, effort and money in developing GM crops. Not surprisingly, they are the ones who propound the idea that transgenic crops can rescue Africa from poverty and underdevelopment.

But Africa must not let itself be bullied into accepting a technology that has yet to prove itself as appropriate for solving the continent’s hunger problems. The AU’s role should be one of providing governments with well-reasoned technological evaluation, rather than acting as a proxy for promoting a specific industry’s commercial needs.

David Fig is an independent environmental policy analyst based in Johannesburg, and a trustee of Biowatch South Africa.

Source

Africa and the IMF: In Defense of Economic Correction

August 6 1993

Regarding “To the World Bank and IMF: Africa Has Its Own Agenda” (Letters, July 1) from Hassan Sunmonu:

The writer, secretary-general of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, suggests that World Bank and IMF-supported economic adjustment programs in Africa have increased African indebtedness and poverty. This assertion flies in the face of the evidence wherever these programs have been carried out in a sustained manner.

It also ignores the fact that the pace of progress achieved has varied across countries, depending on the nature and the severity of the pre-existing economic conditions, the effects at times of unfavorable external developments (such as worsening terms of trade and drought), and domestic political realities.

Mr. Sunmonu calls on the IMF and the World Bank to abandon their “anti-people and anti-development programs,” accept the rights of all countries to formulate their own development plans, give to African governments sovereign authority over their economic policies, withdraw all experts from African central banks and finance ministries, and compensate African countries for the harm done them and write off their debts.

Such extreme views ought not to go unanswered.

IMF-supported macroeconomic and structural adjustment programs aim at helping countries attain higher growth, lower inflation and improved balance of payments and external debt positions. In most cases, the IMF is called upon for assistance when economic imbalances become very severe and growth has slackened, or even turned negative.

In assisting member countries to develop policies to restore economic health, the IMF is, together with the World Bank, helping them direct public spending away from nonessential or unproductive uses, including excessive military spending, to social, infrastructural and other priority needs. It is only through successful stabilization of their economies and determined structural adjustment – to expand supply capacities – that countries will eventually generate resources to promote development and reduce poverty, strengthen debt-servicing capacities and withstand external shocks.

Because the IMF is fully aware that adjustment policies may have temporary adverse effects on some of the poor, it is helping countries design social safety nets and otherwise formulate targeted social programs to assist the poor during periods of adjustment. It takes great care to tailor its macroeconomic policy advice to the individual needs and circumstances of each member country. At the request of several African member countries, the IMF has assigned a small number of resident representatives and technical experts in specific areas.

The IMF currently has committed more than $4 billion under its concessional loan facilities to 30 African countries. Writing off IMF loans to African countries would be counterproductive. IMF loans are drawn from a limited revolving pool of funds, and are made available temporarily to countries in balance of payments needs. If loans were written off, the pool would contract, with the risk of depriving other countries in need – many in Africa – of IMF financing.

I certainly share Mr. Sunmonu’s disappointment at the slow and uneven pace of economic progress in Africa. While those countries with records of determined implementation of strong reform policies have shown progress on growth and inflation, there is still indeed a long way to go. Far too many of the countries that have embarked on programs of economic correction have let them slip at the first hurdle.

MAMOUDOU TOURE,

Director.

African Department.

International Monetary Fund.

Washington.

Director

Source

World Bank pushes Malawi agriculture privatisation

April 5 2004

The World Bank is demanding the privatisation of the Malawian agricultural marketing board as a condition of its latest structural adjustment loan. The way the Bank has manoeuvred to persuade Malawi’s parliament to accept this shows the limits of ‘country ownership’. It also demonstrates key weaknesses in one of the World Bank and IMF’s new tools, Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) studies which are supposed to outline likely consequences of key reforms so as to enable a better debate on policy design. A Malawian civil society campaign coalition which has mobilised against these planned reforms expressed its concern with how the World Bank and other donors have pushed their agenda on this issue “at the expense of the food security of the poor”.

The privatisation of the state marketing board in Malawi (ADMARC) has been an objective of the World Bank for 10 years. It represents a central element in an approach to agriculture that holds that full liberalisation of the sector will be best for poor women and men. This approach has been increasingly questioned in Malawi and other countries in the region, particularly in the context of the recent food crisis. Many commentators believe the full liberalisation of other elements of the agriculture sector under Bank and Fund advice was a major cause of the food crisis and the subsequent deaths in 2002.

Because of the controversy over the proposed reforms, including studies by civil society groups, the Bank agreed to commission a Poverty and Social Impact Analysis. This research showed that ADMARC’s important role in supporting the lives of poor women and men would be destroyed by privatisation. But, presumably embarrassed by the results, the Bank delayed publication of the study for two years, withholding it until just after the Malawian parliament had agreed to the reforms.

In late December 2003 legislation was rushed through a special parliamentary session turning ADMARC into a limited company, the first stage in the privatisation process. This session was boycotted by many MPs, partly because they had already expressed opposition to the privatisation of ADMARC in two previous hearings. Civil society campaigners expressed concern that ADMARC privatisation was being “used as a carrot for grants and loans”. This was borne out by the Bank’s response to the parliamentary vote, a February announcement of a new $50 million structural adjustment credit with the privatisation of ADMARC as one of its conditions.

The civil society and official impact analysis studies agreed that ADMARC is clearly in need of reform, but demonstrate that it plays a vital social role in ensuring market access for the rural poor by running subsidised markets country-wide. These markets would close under privatisation and the small and weak private sector would be unlikely to fill this gap, leaving a dangerous vacuum in service provision that directly threatens people’s livelihoods.

Civil society groups have mobilised to publicise these issues, with a major campaign during 2002 against the privatisation of ADMARC. An active media campaign resulted in a series of high-profile national debates. Parliament was closely involved, and in particular the Agriculture committee which carried out its own analysis showing the harm that privatisation would cause to the poorest.

The decision-making process and its outcome are being declared unacceptable by Malawian civil society groups. They are “demanding that any conditionality regarding ADMARC is immediately removed from the new loan” and encouraging civil society groups in other countries to take action in their support. Groups pushing the Bank to conduct Poverty and Social Impact Analyses will also need to ensure far greater control over the process of commissioning, reviewing and disseminating such studies, to ensure that they enrich debate rather than sit on shelves until the World Bank or IMF browbeat parliamentarians to accept their agendas.

Source

A few years back it was well known what was going on.

50 Years is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice

50 Years Org

Had a Call to Action for Mobilization
in Washington, DC

Reasons being:

For six decades, the World Bank and IMF have imposed policies, programs, and projects that:

  • Decimate women’s rights and devastate their lives, their families, and their communities;
  • Subjugate democratic governance and accountability to corporate profits and investment portfolios;
  • Trap countries in a cycle of indebtedness and economic domination;
  • Force governments to privatize essential services;
  • Put profits before peoples’ rights and needs;
  • Abet the devastation of the environment in the name of development and profit;
  • Institutionalize the domination of the wealthy over the impoverished – the new form of colonialism; and
  • Facilitate corporate agendas through the economic re-structuring of countries enduring conflict and occupation, such as East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

In the 60th anniversary year of the IMF and World Bank, we demand the following measures from the institutions and the governments which control them. Add your voice, endorse the demands:

  • Open all World Bank and IMF meetings to the media and the public;
  • Cancel all impoverished country debt to the World Bank and IMF, using the institutions’ own resources;
  • End all World Bank and IMF policies that hinder people’s access to food, clean water, shelter, health care, education, and right to organize. (Such “structural adjustment” policies include user fees, privatization, and economic austerity programs.);
  • Stop all World Bank support for socially and environmentally destructive projects such as oil, gas, and mining activities, and all support for projects such as dams that include forced relocation of people.

We furthermore recognize the urgency of the world’s most catastrophic health crisis, the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We assert the culpability of the international financial institutions in decimating health care systems of Global South countries, and reject the approach of fighting the pandemic with more loans and conditions from these institutions. We call on the world’s governments to best deploy their resources by fully funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. We demand the elimination of trade rules that undermine access to affordable life-saving medications.

Help end global economic injustice driven by the policies and programs of the international financial institutions!

A few Projects Related to Pollution

1. Guinea

Gold Mining and Mercury Emissions in Northern Guinea

The Project aims to reduce occupational health and environmental hazards of artisanal (small-scale) gold mining communities in northern Guinea. The total population of the area covered by the project is estimated at 150,000 of which over 40,000 people are involved every year in gold mining activities. The unregulated burning of mercury amalgam is the primary method for gold extraction. It is widely reported that this method yields 1 kg of gold for every 1.3 kg of mercury employed.

2. Guinea

Leaded Gas Phase Out Task Force

Guinea, on the Atlantic coast of Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Conakry, the capital, is a bustling, colorful and vibrant city of about 2 million struggling with the side effect of urbanization—pollution.
The lack of sewage and water treatment directly impacts human health in the city. Only a fraction of households, primarily in the wealthiest neighborhoods, have reliable access to running water at all, while well water is contaminated by bacteria and parasites. The city has no wastewater treatment facilities, and only 8% of households are connected to a piped municipal sewage system. The overwhelming majority of households have only basic latrines; in better homes, the floor is tiled and the hole is deep. As a result, diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis A, poliomyelitis, typhoid, cholera, and meningitis run rampant.

Major Environmental Concerns

 Air Pollution – From leaded gasoline, automobile exhaust, traffic jams and old cars. Also from fuel sources: charcoal, plastic bags and tires used to cook, and the burning of garbage. Leads to elevated cases of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

 Water pollution – Lack of sanitation services pollutes coastal marine ecosystem, contaminates food supply , increases instance of waterborne diseases (malaria, diarrhea, hepatitis A, poliomyelitis, typhoid, skin diseases, cholera, meningitis), and renders water undrinkable.

 Lack of Infrastructure and Public Services – Residential and commercial garbage collection is just beginning to be put into place. No waste water treatment plant exists, although plans are afoot to install a sewage treatment facility in the western part of town. Human waste, when collected, is disposed of directly into the ocean or local dump.

3. Guinea

PCB Clean-up and Removal

Abandoned PCB capacitors from France, England, Germany and the US have contaminated approximately 3 acres in the center of Conakry. There have been significant observed impacts on human health and the environment because the water is entirely saturated with PCB waste. The black PCB oil runs directly through the site into a shallow channel that empties into the ocean. The site is within 100 yards of a village that relies on the water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

4. Mozambique

Center for Environmental Research and Advocacy

The capital of Mozambique, Maputo, lies on Maputo Bay. City residents rely on considerable amounts of fishery resources, both for consumption and economic reasons. Maputo Bay beaches also serve many residents and tourists as a leisure spot throughout the year. Yet despite its beauty, there is growing evidence that the waters inside the bay are polluted by untreated sewage coming from new developments in the city that are not connected to the existing sewage and drainage facility and water treatment plant.Groundwater contamination from pit latrines and storm water effluent is polluting the bay to the extent that swimming is inadvisable in all but the most distant areas of the bay. The Ministry of Health tests fecal coliform levels regularly, and there is a general ban on the consumption of shellfish from the bay.

5. Mozambique

Environmental Journalists Group

Although pollution from industry, automobiles and domestic waste continue to adversely affect the quality of life in Maputo and in Mozambique in general, the majority of the population lacks education and awareness of pollution issues and their relation to human health. A lack of public debate on the subject means a general lack of pressure on relevant institutions to act where human health is threatened by pollution contamination. The media, and especially the radio, is an important source of environmental information and education due to national coverage and transmission in local languages.

6. Mozambique

Gold Mining and Mercury Emissions in Manica, Mozambique

This project seeks to contribute to the reduction of occupational health hazards of small-scale gold miners in the Manica District of Mozambique by promoting the use of mercury retorts, while at the same time leading to overall reduction of environmental degradation in the region. Manica is a district of Mozambique in the Manica Province with a population of 155,731 people. Manica District borders with the Republic of Zimbabwe in the west, the District of Gondola in the east, the District of Barué to the north through the Pungué River, and the District of Sussundenga in the south, which is bounded by the Revué and Zonué Rivers. In the Manica District of Mozambique, more than 10,000 people are directly and indirectly involved in artisanal (small-scale) gold mining activities (garimpagem) as their main source of income.

7. Mozambique

Leaded Gas Phase Out Task Force

Mozambique, like many other developing countries, uses leaded gasoline. While the adverse health effects of lead have been well-documented and many of the world’s countries have either completely phased out use of leaded gasoline or lowered lead concentrations, Africa remains as a bastion of leaded gasoline use. The primary lead exposure pathway is via airborne lead and lead in dust and soil. In congested urban areas vehicle exhaust from leaded gasoline accounts for some 90 percent of airborne lead pollution.

8. Senegal

AfricaClean

Air pollution in Dakar, the capital, is a source of concern for local authorities. Large quantities of atmospheric pollutants emitted by vehicles are starting to pose serious environmental and public health problems, especially for the most vulnerable population (children, pregnant women, people suffering from diseases and respiratory complications such as: tuberculosis, pneumonia, cancers, bronchitis, asthmas, and allergies). Common pollutants emitted are: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and suspended particles.

9. Senegal

Baia de Hanne, Senegal

This project takes the first steps to initiate the clean up of the most polluted region of Senegal – Hann Bay. The bay wraps around the industrial zone of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is highly populated area, with local residents bathing in the water, and numerous fishing boats along the crowded shore. Industrial pollution along the banks from 1968 – 1997 has rendered the bay exceedingly toxic. This work will fund and support a group both within the Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Environment to create a credible implementation plan that will install an industrial waste treatment plan for the factories of the Hann region. Once the effluent treatment plant is in operation, work can begin to remediate legacy contamination from historical toxins.

10. Swaziland

Bulembu Legacy Asbestos Mines

Havelock is a town on the northwest border of Swaziland and is home to one of the world’s largest asbestos mines, which is now closed. The town and mine are dominated by Bulembu, Swaziland’s highest peak. The asbestos mine in Bulembu operated from 1939 to 2001 and was closed without rehabilitation of the environment. The mine dumpsite has contaminated the Nkomazi River and poses a grave contamination risk to the multi-million dollar Maguga dam, which is about ten kilometers away. Huge fiber-rich dumps dwarf the school, which is less than 200 meters from the old mill.

11. Tanzania

ENVIPRO

EnviPro is an environmental engineering NGO working on a project in the neighborhood of Vingunguti, in Dar es Salaam, to manage waste effluent from Vingunguti Abattoir, a local slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse is dumping waste directly into the Msimbazi River, posing a significant health risk to residents of Dar es Salaam and surrounding areas, and EnviPro has designed a plan to install a wastewater treatment program for the plant.

12. Tanzania

Environmental Management Trust

Mikocheni, a neighborhood in Dar es Salaam, is home to four heavily polluted streams that run directly into the Indian Ocean. Untreated industrial and domestic waste is dumped into the waterways upstream, or into storm drains. Environmental Management Trust (EMT) is undertaking a project to monitor and stop this pollution of marine habitats and breaches. The project goals are to make wastewater treatment mandatory for all polluting industries, to stop residential houses from releasing waste from septic tanks into streams, and to ensure that sewers, storm drains and pumping stations are properly maintained to prevent leaks into the stream.

13. Tanzania

Leaded Gasoline Phase-Out, Tanzania

The government of Tanzania has developed a leaded gas phase-out action plan and it was discussed at a national stakeholders’ meeting in Dar es Salaam in September, 2003. The country’s planned phase-out of leaded gasoline is part of a larger initiative to ban the use of leaded gasoline in Sub Saharan Africa, as stated in the Dakar Declaration of 2001.

14. Tanzania

Msimbazi River Action Network

The Msimbazi River flows across a third of Dar es Salaam City and eventually discharges into the Indian Ocean. The river is an important water resource for residents of some of Dar es Salaam’s poorest neighborhoods. Residents use the water in various ways – for drinking, bathing, support for agriculture and industry, and as an environmental buffer. Nevertheless, many industries continue to pour unwanted end products from human and industrial activity into the river, threatening most of its functional benefits, and even its usefulness as an irrigation source.

The Msimbazi River Action Network (MRAN) brings together current Blacksmith partners (EMT, Envipro and LEAT) in an effort to organize clean-up and oversight activities focused on the Msimbazi River in Dar es Salaam. This network connects community and government representatives with the aim of minimizing industrial and domestic pollution sources on the river, and to protect the over 100,000 people living on the river from heavy metal contamination as well as deadly diseases such as cholera.

15. Tanzania

Pollution Prevention in Lake Victoria

The Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) works in Mwanza and surrounding regions with community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the Mwanza City Council to identify problems and educate both polluters and victims of pollution about environmental laws. LEAT also conducts public interest litigation to force the cessation of polluting activities by both local factories and Mwanza City authorities. And LEAT works with surrounding towns and villages affected by polluting industries. Village and municipal leaders and residents have been educated about existing environmental laws used to combat environmental pollution, and they have been briefed on the Village Land Act of 1999 which stipulates rights of villagers regarding their land and other natural resource laws.

16. Zambia

Advocacy and Restoration of the Environment

Zambia is a land-locked country in Central/Southern Africa with a population of about 10 million people. About 1.25 million people inhabit the capital, Lusaka, with another 2 million in the northern Copperbelt region. Major pollution-related problems are due to mining and industrial waste. In 2001, Blacksmith Institute helped to found ARE, an NGO focusing on a heavily polluted industrial area on the Kafue River. The Kafue River, part of the Zambezi basin, is a source of potable water for over forty percent of Zambia’s population. It is also host to wildlife and birds. For decades, industries such as copper mines, metallurgical plants, textile plants, fertilizer factories, sugar processing plants, cement factories, various agricultural activities, and the Kafue Sewage Treatment Plant (KSTP) have polluted the river. Mineral deposits, chemicals, and suspended solids have led to overgrowth of aquatic weeds, choking river life. The continuous discharge of raw sewage into the Kafue River from the KSTP has contributed to the steady supply of nutrients (ortho-phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, etc.) ensuring the proliferation of various types of weeds, like the Salvina molesta, thereby causing eutrophication. Both aquatic life and human health are in danger. High incidences of environmentally mediated disease, such as gastro-enteritis, intestinal worms, and diarrhea diseases mostly in children have been reported from communities around the river and have been linked to drinking water from certain parts of the river. The raw sewer pollution of Kafue River could inadvertently lead to outbreaks of epidemics like cholera.

Bata Tannery uses various chemicals in tanning animal skins. Amongst these chemicals is chromium sulfate, which can easily be converted to either hexavalent or trivalent chromium. The effect of these chemicals on human and aquatic life is potentially lethal. Equally, the yeast production from Lee Yeast results in high concentrations of both chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in the wastewater. The net effect is the reduction in the river system’s oxygen concentration, leading to toxic anaerobic conditions.

17. Zambia

Kabwe Environmental Rehabilitation Foundation

For almost a century, Kabwe, a city of 300,000 in Zambia, has been highly contaminated with lead from a government-owned lead mine and smelter, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM). Although the mine has been closed since 1994, residents continue to get sick and die from the contamination due to a lack of cleanup efforts on the part of the company and the government.

Lead is one of the most potent neurotoxins known to humans. When breathed in, lead directly attacks the central nervous system. It is particularly damaging to infants and children, and can cross the mother’s placenta, putting unborn and nursing infants at risk. Yet, remarkably, the citizens of Kabwe have until recently been completely unaware that they are living in one of the most poisoned cities on earth. Blacksmith founded a local NGO, Kabwe Environmental and Rehabilitation Foundation (KERF), that has been bringing educational services to the community on how to limit exposure to lead, and nursing support for those who are ill.

18. Zambia

Kabwe Lead Mines

Kabwe, the second largest city in Zambia with a population of 300,000, is located about 130km north of the nation’s capital, Lusaka. It is one of six towns situated around the Copperbelt, once Zambia’s thriving industrial base. In 1902, rich deposits of potentially dangerous lead were discovered in the mine and smelter located in the center of the town. Ore veins with lead concentrations as high as 20 percent have been mined deep into the earth and a smelting operation was set up to process the ore. Mining and smelting operations were running almost continuously up until 1994 without the government addressing the potential danger of lead. The mine and smelter, owned by the now privatized Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, is no longer operating but has left a city with poison and toxicity from deadly concentrations of lead in the soil and water.

During the operation there were no pollution laws regulating emissions from the mine and smelter plant. In turn, air, soil, and vegetation were all subjected to contamination, and ultimately, over some decades, millions of human lives were also affected. Some recent findings reveal the extent to which one of the most potent neurotoxins to man, lead, has affected the health of Kabwe citizens. In the U.S., normal blood levels of lead are less than10 mcg/dl (micrograms per deciliter). Symptoms of acute poisoning occur at blood levels of 20 and above, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and leading to muscle spasms and kidney damage. Levels of over ten are considered unhealthy and levels in excess of 120 can often lead to death. In Kabwe, blood concentrations of 300 micrograms/deciliter have been recorded in children and records show average blood levels of children range between 60 and 120 mcg/dl.

Children that play in the soil and young men that scavenge the mines for scraps of metal are most susceptible to lead produced by the mine and smelter. A small waterway runs from the mine to the center of town and had been used to carry waste from the once active smelter. There is no restriction to the waterway, and in some instances local children use it for bathing. In addition to water, dry and dusty backyards of workers’ houses are a significant source of contamination for the locals. One of the most common ways that workers and residents become exposed to toxic levels of lead is through inhalation of contaminated soil ingested through the lungs.

19. Zambia

Maamba Coal Mines

The only coal mine in Zambia is located in Maamba where coal is extracted by open-pit quarrying. Since 1967 coal has been continuously produced by the Maamba Collieries in Southern Zambia near Lake Kariba. Although it has a production capacity of one million tons of coal per year, actual production is less than half this capacity.

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And this Happened in India

The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

(Jamaica) IMF decimating one country after another

Once in debt you are their slaves. They go in destroy the agriculture and make your country depend on their subsidised food imports. What happens if they decide not to provide the food? Mass famine or should I say mass depopulation.

Added November 3 2009

Life and Debt is a feature-length documentary which addresses the impact of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and current globalization policies on a developing country such as Jamaica.

Life & Debt is a woven tapestry of sequences focusing on the stories of individual Jamaicans whose strategies for survival and parameters of day-to-day existence are determined by the U.S. and other foreign economic agendas. By combining traditional documentary telling with a stylized narrative framework, the complexity of international lending, structural adjustment policies and free trade will be understood in the context of the day-to-day realities of the people whose lives they impact.

4 Videos detailing the problems

Cause and affect.

Network Platform & Demands to the IMF and World Bank at 50 years is enough

Coping with global financial crisis

By Patrick Kagenda

October 31 2008

As the American economy struggles to recover from the credit crunch and European economies jostle with rescuing their financial institutions, subsidiary of American companies operating in Uganda are maintaining an upbeat facade, claiming they are not affected by the American economic woes.

Mr. Erick Rakama, Business development manager at DHL an American courier service provider, told The Independent that despite DHL cutting operations in USA, the action will have no effect on DHL Uganda operations. “Each country operates autonomously,” said Rakama.

Ms Poonam, the operations manager at UPS Uganda, another American courier company said the effects are strictly on the American market and not on the local markets like the Ugandan market. “We are not affected at all”, she said.

At AIG Uganda, Alex Wanjohi, AIG Uganda Managing Director said AIG Inc has decided to refocus the company on its core property and casualty insurance businesses which includes AIG Uganda Limited. This means it is business as usual for AIG South African operations where AIG Uganda falls.

“We operate autonomously and throughout the challenges faced by AIG Inc, AIG Uganda’s financial position has not been affected at all,” he said, “We have retained a very strong financial position and we continue to pay claims and write new business as usual”.

The Chief Executive of the Uganda Securities exchange, Mr Simon Rutega, said the lack of confidence in financial markets poses a potential for turmoil.

“In the short run the global credit crunch may not affect Uganda because our securities, our companies and our economies have no direct correlation,” he said, “We are not entangled with those markets despite the remittances coming from those economies, however the effect would be in the long run if this problem progresses.”

Uganda exports mainly primary commodities.

He said there could be a reduction in donor aid and support to social services.

“We have also learned that we have to be careful with these derivatives so, we have to verify whether those instruments are effective or not,” he said.

Experts continue to echo Rutega’s claim that African stock exchanges are insulated from the financial turmoil because of their limited links to the global economy.

“All of Africa represents only one percent of global trade,” Willy Ontsia, head of the Central Africa Stock and Shares Market (BVMAC) in Libreville said;

“If the crisis is short, its impact on Africa and emerging market economies will be relatively weak.”

“But if the crisis is prolonged, that will have an impact on several indicators that affect growth in developing countries,” he said, noting that a global slowdown would affect trade in raw materials — the backbone of many of the continent’s economies.

“Africa is less exposed because of its limited links to the international financial community… but I have reason to worry about the economic effects of the financial crisis on the continent,” said Donald Kaberuka, head of the African Development Bank (ADB).

“It’s the long-term effects that cause us great worry,” he told a press conference in Tunis.

But World Bank President Robert Zoellick last week said that developing nations may be at “a tipping point”.

“We have seen the dark side of global connectedness,” he said as the turmoil battered markets from Cairo to Johannesburg, posing risks to foreign investment and trade that could threaten Africa’s recent economic gains.

Some economists insist that the financial crisis will hit poor and rich countries the same “because there is no decoupling between their performances”.

Due to differences in their starting situations, the outcome will be different and growth in developing economies will slow but not so much as in advanced countries as their trade and capital accounts suffer.

Egypt’s main index plunged more than 16 percent at one point last week, mirroring spectacular losses around the world amid worries about European banks and doubts about the 700 billion dollar US bailout package.

The main index in South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, fell by seven percent but stabilised with trading in marginally positive territory.

Other key markets, including oil-exporter Nigeria and Morocco, suffered far less dramatic declines, while some bourses in countries like Ivory Coast have actually posted small gains.

Economies like South Africa, which are more connected to international finance, are more easily affected by the global turmoil, seen in the volatility on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, said Razia Khan of Standard Charter Bank in London.

“For the rest of Africa, the global financial market rout is likely to mean a rise in risk aversion,” she said, warning that international investors were likely to seek stability rather than the risks posed by emerging markets.

Daniel Makina, a risk management expert at the University of South Africa, said those indirect effects could prove just as damaging for African economies, especially if exports to the rest of the world slow down.

“South Africa does a lot of trade with US and Europe especially,” Makina told AFP. “A recession in the US and Europe will impact on South Africa exports.”

Crude oil accounts for more than 50 percent of Africa’s exports, with Angola and Nigeria the biggest producers, according to the World Bank.

Worries that weak global growth will reduce demand for fuel have already sent oil prices tumbling to eight-month lows.

“All these things have ripple effects that could hurt growth,” Ontsia said. “Our fear is that this crisis will continue.”

  • Due to a general shortage of credit, poor countries will increasingly find it difficult to access finance.
  • Inflation, which is the main problem for the poor, could be reduced.
  • General re-pricing of risk due to the crisis will increase the cost of borrowing
  • Economies that depend on exports will be most impacted, especially due to a softening in commodity prices

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Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 5:51 am  Comments Off on Coping with global financial crisis  
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