Three Meetings in June 2006 Underscore UN Efforts to Improve Early Warning and Mitigation of Natural Disasters

The UN brought together 130 international experts from 20 countries in a Bangkok, Thailand, workshop to help set up a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean, in a bid to avoid a reply of the December 2004 tsunami. Presumably, many of the more than 200,000 people who perished could have been saved had they received advance warning of the incoming waves.

Maintaining Robust Mangrove Forests Protects Coastlines

MangroveA United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report released July 17 found that 16 Pacific nations, including American Samoa and Fiji, could lose more than half their mangroves by 2100.

Friction Over Resources Rises in Aceh

Provincial management of natural resources and lack of transparency in assistance to conflict victims are causing disputes between Acehnese and central government leaders.

Poor Survivors of Katrina Remain Scattered

Louisiana children displaced by Hurricane Katrina number more than 125,000. Part of the American underclass, they and their families now live in tiny Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers that have been placed in remote fields with few dependable services and resources.

Aceh Reconstruction Remains Painfully Slow

The speaker of the Indonesian parliament, Agung Laksono, expressed dismay at the slow pace of post-tsunami reconstruction in Aceh. As of April 2006, only 19,483 housing units had been completed in Aceh, while 21,997 were under construction.

Hurricane Katrina Demonstrated the Weaknesses of U.S. Flood Insurance

Nearly half the people whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina did not have flood insurance, yet the federal flood insurance program did not have enough funds to pay claims worth about $25 billion by those who were insured.

Acehnese NGOs Demand that Peace Deal Be Fully Implemented

The Acehnese Network for Democracy, a coalition of 30 NGOs, says it is very concerned that Indonesian legislators may dilute some of the powers that were granted to Aceh under the August 2005 peace deal.

Costa Rican Environmentalist Receives Conservation Award

Carlos Manuel RodriguezOn Monday, Costa Rican environmentalist Carlos Manuel Rodriguez received the Blue Moon Fund’s first annual Conservation Leadership Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., for his efforts to promote the valuation of ecosystem services in his country.

Which is more important for environmental sustainability: buying locally-produced food or buying organic food?

* Locally grown\n* Organic\n* I prefer organic food, but it’s mostly for health reasons.\n* I prefer local food, but it’s mostly to support my local farmers.\n

International Peace Monitors Extend Stay in Aceh

In mid-May, the European Union and the Indonesian government agreed to extend the mandate of the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) until mid-September. While this is welcome news, the extension is too short.
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