a bulletin on global warming and the Third World

issue 10  December 1993

published by the International Institute for
Environment and Development (London, UK) and the
University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) with support
from the Swedish International Development Authority in
association with the Stockholm Environment Institute

editorial office:  TIEMPO, c/o Mick Kelly, School of
Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia,
Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK (email crunorwich@gn.apc.org)



Small islands seek specific mandate
Small island and sustainable development
A small island action plan
Climate and the mangrove ecosystem

Details of international conferences

Networking in Latin America
Global change and rangelands

A Weather Eye on.....
World Coast Conference
Views from the South
Tiempo Resource Service



There is no doubt that small island developing states
are amongst the most vulnerable nations as far as
climate change and sea level rise are concerned. 

To set the scene for a major conference in 1994, Maralyn
Ballantyne argues that the United Nations should give
special consideration to small island states and
low-lying developing nations, 
a mandate that is lacking to date. We then present
results from a recent survey of priority areas for
action with regard to the sustainable development of
these vulnerable nations. The major conclusions of 
an action plan developed at a Regional Technical Meeting
held in Trinidad and Tobago in preparation for the
conference are also summarized.

The 1994 meeting, the Global Conference on the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing
States, will be held on Barbados in April-May. The
conference will include a review of current
socio-economic development trends, an examination of
specific vulnerabilities, the definition of necessary
actions and policies, and consideration of institutional
arrangements at the international level.

Ecosystems such as the mangrove are also particularly
vulnerable to environmental change. Phan Nguyen Hong
discusses the manner in which climate change and sea
level rise may affect the valuable 
mangrove ecosystems of Vietnam and highlights the
disrupting role of human activity.

Networking is the theme of our final two contributions.
Eduardo Sanhueza outlines the aims of the newly-formed
Climate Action Network Latin America and Mark Stafford
Smith describes plans for collaborative research on
global change and rangelands.



Maralyn Ballantyne describes the difficulties the
Caribbean is experiencing in convincing the
international community of its special needs.

Convincing the international community that the
Caribbean small island developing countries and the low-
lying countries of Belize, Guyana and Surinam are unique
and are in need of special consideration is a difficult

Pleas to this effect have received no ear in the past.
The matter has been raised at the United Nations for
years. However, the United Nations still has no specific
mandate to deal with small island developing countries
as such. 

The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Economic Commission
for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have held
several meetings on small island developing countries
where their precarious position and unique
vulnerabilities were vociferously articulated.

>From the perspective of Caribbean experts and
technocrats the facts are patently clear; the case for
special treatment is strong. This was reflected in the
deliberations in preparation for the 1994 Global
Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small
Island Developing States. The meeting is to be held in
Barbados as one of the major outputs of UNCED.

Consider this submission of the small twin-island of St
Kitts and Nevis at the Small Island Developing States
(SIDS) Prepcom -- "We face a situation where up to 30 per
cent of national budgets are often absorbed by the need
to respond to natural disasters."

Placed against the point made by Belgium, speaking on
behalf of the European Community, that SIDS benefit from
higher levels of overseas development assistance than
other developing countries and are privileged to have a
large number of expatriates who contribute their
knowledge and expertize to the local economies, one
quickly realizes the monumental task facing SIDS as they
labour to hammer home what to them is an uncontestable

As pointed out by several SIDS at the Regional Technical
Meeting (RTM) held in Trinidad and Tobago in July 1993
and the Prepcom, overseas development assistance levels
do not reflect the real situation. SIDS incur higher
costs per capita in providing routine services such as
safe drinking water and electricity.

When Caribbean SIDS convened at the Port-of-Spain RTM,
they addressed those characteristics which intensify
their vulnerability.

They insisted that they are prone to and are greatly
affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes and
earthquakes, droughts and climate variabilities as well
as human-induced disasters such as oil spills and the
disposal of toxic and other waste in the sea around

It is the severe and pervasive impact of these
occurrences on high proportions of the population and
the economy which is a source of great worry to
Caribbean people and governments alike. 

Several Caribbean delegations emphasized the fact that
islands are nearly wholly coastal zones and are subject
to stress from a number of elements including the heavy
concentration of economic activities, settlements and
recreational activities in these relatively small areas.
It is in this context that they are particularly
susceptible to any sea level rise resulting from climate
change. It was also pointed out that SIDS tend to suffer
significant climate variability over relatively short
time periods, creating difficulties for production.

One is also witnessing the classification of Caribbean
SIDS as high risk entities. 

In the words of the official substantive report of the
RTM, "this classification has led to the unavailability
or exorbitant costs of insurance and re-insurance with
adverse consequences for investment, production costs,
government exposure and infrastructure." Rapidly
increasing insurance rates may render much of the
Caribbean tourism industry less competitive and in some
cases uninsurable.

In preparing their action plan at the RTM, Caribbean
SIDS, in concert with Atlantic and Mediterranean SIDS,
admitted that, while some of the conditions which they
experience are common to many developing countries,
unlike other developing countries SIDS face these
conditions concurrently as well as more intensely making
SIDS particularly disadvantaged. This leads to
significantly less resilience both economically and
ecologically and extreme vulnerability and dependence.

The RTM put forward climate change and sea level rise
and natural and environmental disaster preparedness
among its priority areas, stressing that SIDS are
vulnerable to the effects of global warming,
particularly sea level rise.

Erik Blommestein is co-author of the article Climate
change and socio-economic impacts, included in the
recent publication Climate Change in the Intra-Americas
Sea. The publication looks at the implications of future
climate for the ecosystems and socio-economic structure
of the marine and coastal regions of the Caribbean Sea,
Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Bermuda and the north coast of
South America. 

He told this writer that the time was long overdue for
the Caribbean countries to evaluate the effect of and
response mechanisms to different climate and sea level
rise scenarios. By the time there is greater certainty
about the magnitude of sea level rise and climate
change, these countries would have a greater
understanding of the options open to them. 

The Guiana Coast forms the coastline for Guyana,
Surinam, French Guiana and parts of Venezuela and
Brazil. Over 90% of the population of Guyana, Surinam
and French Guiana live along the Guiana Coast.

J. Daniel of the University of Guyana has warned that
"long-term plans to counter the consequences of sea
level rise on the Guiana Coast are non-existent.
Governments have not taken the possible threat of sea
level rise seriously and the coastal communities are
mostly unaware of the possible danger."

The United Nations Environment Programme and the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission task team on
climate change is in the process of developing
mathematical models which are intended to assist policy
makers in the evaluation of their decisions on land-use
and economic activities within the various climate
change scenarios.

While some onlookers may feel that the Caribbean has not
sufficiently considered sea level rise and climate
change within the sustainable development focus of the
action plan, one thing is certain -- both the political
directorate and the people are acutely aware of possible
impacts and are searching for options.

To some extent, the recommendations embodied in the
action plan formulated at the RTM and presented to the
recent New York Prepcom represent a strong effort at
forging consensus on how to prepare for future outcomes
of climate change and sea level rise.

The strong, wide-ranging participation at the RTM,
including active non-governmental organizations, augurs
well for a democratic and consolidating Caribbean
position at the April-May 1994 Global Conference on the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing

The Global Conference will be the first test of the
"global partnership"  declared at the Earth Summit, by
which rich and poor countries agreed to act together to
pursue sustainable development.

Maralyn Ballantyne is Associate Social Affairs Officer
with the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the



Environmental change, whether the result of present-day
variability or future problems such as global warming,
presents a serious threat to the sustainable development
of vulnerable small island states.

The following conclusions regarding priority areas for
action with regard to climate change and sea level rise
and natural disasters are taken from Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States: With
Special Reference to The Atlantic and Caribbean States:
An Overview by Mark Griffith and John Ashe. 

Work on the document was carried out under the aegis and
sponsorship of the Centre for Sustainable Development at
the University of the West Indies and the Caribbean
Community and Common Market (CARICOM) Secretariat.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
Impacts arising from global issues such as climate
change and sea level rise or depletion of the ozone
layer will negatively impact on the region's resources
and hence will further constrain the already limited
development options. 

Impacts of global issues have in common that the people
of the region bear little responsibility on their
occurrence, have no management control on their causes,
but bear potentially high risks and costs. 

The increase in flood risk, for example, is larger than
average for small islands, while for Small Island
Developing States (SIDS) the annualized costs for
protection or adoption to sea level rise as percentage
of GNP could be as much as 10 to 300 times higher than
for continental countries in North America or North and
Western Europe. These estimates are based on the
analysis contained in Global Climate Change and the
Rising Challenge of the Sea, Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, March 1992. Current levels of the GDP of
the SIDS and support by the international community are
unlikely to generate sufficient funds to successfully
implement mitigation policies and programmes. The costs
do not take into account future losses in tourism
earnings arising from climate change impacts and the
depletion of the ozone layer emanating from a loss of
beaches and a future loss in demand from an increase in
malignant skin neoplasms, which could further depress
the GDP of SIDS.

In order to provide a scientific basis for assessing the
potential impacts of climate change, the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United
Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
and other UN agencies, established task teams to assess
the implications of climate change in the nine regions
covered by the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. The results
for the Atlantic, Caribbean and the Mediterranean are
summarized in the box on page 8.

One general conclusion which may be drawn from the
results is that the impacts associated with climate
change are expected to vary from one region to another
due to regional peculiarities.

Natural Disasters
Natural disasters, though not peculiar to SIDS, are a
particular problem in these countries because of their
pervasiveness. The result is often total devastation of
the country's infrastructure, the country's foreign
exchange earning capacities and extreme social and
economic dislocation.

Cape Verde in the Atlantic region, and most of the SIDS
of the Caribbean, lies within the Caribbean hurricane
belt. These countries are therefore affected from time
to time by hurricanes, tropical storms and depressions,
and storm surges which cause extensive damage to both
the basic social economic infrastructure and to the

For example, with respect to the effects of storm
surges, the Bahamas is still recovering from the
extensive damage to sea wall coastline developments
caused by storm surges in October 1991. The islands of
New Providence and Elethera where the damage was largely
confined were particularly affected.

These countries are extremely vulnerable and, as a
result, require adequate early warning systems,
mitigation and preparedness measures and measures
designed to minimize the economic shock associated with

In a recent survey aimed at determining the
disaster-proneness of countries in terms of their
economic impact it was shown that, of the 25 most
disaster-prone countries in the period January 1970 to
1989, 13 were small island developing states. 

Of the 13 most disaster-prone countries, six are located
in the Caribbean: Montserrat, St Lucia, Antigua and
Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the
Grenadines, and Jamaica. 

The economic damage caused by the average significant
disaster, when expressed as a percentage of 1980 GNP,
was 47 per cent for Dominica (which experienced three),
40 per cent for St Lucia (which experienced two), 18 per
cent for St Vincent and the Grenadines (which
experienced two) and 13 per cent for Jamaica (which
experienced four).

Though some capability exists in the Caribbean region
for disaster response, the present focus seems to be
primarily toward hurricane preparedness and response.
The capability lies essentially at the national level in
the various countries with the CARICOM Caribbean
Disaster Response Agency playing a coordinative role.

One indirect economic result of the increased storm and
hurricane activity is the dramatic increase in hurricane
premiums on property. 

In addition, the vulnerabilities of these countries are
being further compounded by the withdrawal of coverage
by large international insurance companies under the
pretext of the increased frequency of hurricanes and the
potential recovery claims. Critical  life lines  such as
electricity facilities are now unable to secure adequate
insurance coverage for their facilities. 

Unlike large countries such as the United States where
provisions are made for disaster relief by declaring an
area a  disaster zone,  no such provisions exist in or
for SIDS where the impacts are more pervasive. 

Further information: Information Officer, Centre for
Sustainable Development, University of the West Indies,
Mona, Jamaica.



o  increase in land degradation
o  decline in agricultural production
o  damage to natural terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
o  decline in infrastructure


o  beach erosion
o  burdensome beach protection and stabilization
o  dislocation of economic structures
o  shoreline retreat of major deltas
o  damage to benthic systems
o  saline intrusion of coastal lagoons, estuaries and 


o  accelerated coastal erosion
o  dislocation of coastal communities
o  damage to coastal lagoons, coral reefs and mangroves
o  spatial and temporal changes in rainfall distribution
o  decreased water resources
o  reduction in biodiversity
o  damage to socio-economic activity and infrastructure



o  small size
o  narrow range of natural resources
o  limited and fragile resource base that allows less 
room for error in its utilization and management
o  susceptibility to natural environmental events (e.g. 
o  little natural organic biological diversity
o  distance from continents and external competition 
fosters species endemism
o  little overall climate variability but potential for 
climate upsets
o  tendency towards ecological instability when
isolation is breached
o  abundance of marine biodiversity and similarly high 
rates and numbers of species due to environmental change
o  high rate of biodiversity per square kilometre of
land area
o  almost immediate repercussions on the coastal zone 
and marine environment from terrestrial events

o  relative isolation and completely circumferential sea 
frontier and EEZ giving a high ratio of ocean space to
o  extensive land/sea interface which increases the
fragility of coastal ecosystems and the demand for
coastal zone management
o  no interior hinterland or central terrestrial core 
area that are essentially distant from the sea; coastal
resource planning and management is synonymous with
national planning and management
o  dominance of the sea and its use for shipping makes 
these countries particularly vulnerable to hazards
associated with international shipping and waste
o  small land mass to ocean space makes islands
especially vulnerable to global environmental phenomena
such as sea level rise


o  extreme openness of their economies (external
relations of trade, aid technology flows and investment)
o  more dependent on foreign trade than larger countries 
and having less influence on the terms in which that
trade is carried on
o  extreme dependence on the external sector (other
states, agencies and large transnational corporations)
o  high dependence on the external sector and openness 
of their economies
o  low economic resilience in recovering from shocks
o  intimate association/relation between economic
development and environmental assets
o  narrow range of skills and specific difficulty in
matching local skills with jobs

Source: Towle, 1983; Griffith and Inniss, 1992; 
UN General Assembly, 1993



An action plan was developed at the Regional Technical
Meeting (RTM) for the Atlantic/Caribbean/Mediterranean,
held in Trinidad and Tobago in July 1993. At the
meeting, specific recommendations were advanced
regarding policies and measures necessary if developing
states in these regions are to cope adequately with
natural and anthropogenic environmental problems.

The resulting Action Plan is based on a series of
programmatic actions to be taken at the national,
regional and international levels in order to ensure the
sustainable development of Small Island Developing
States (SIDS). 

The Action Plan recommendations that follow have been
extracted from the Substantive Report of the Regional
Technical Meeting for the Atlantic/
Caribbean/Mediterranean Preparatory to the Global
Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small
Island Developing States, under the section Management
of environmental problems of Small Island Developing

Natural and anthropogenic environmental disaster

National policies and measures

o  Establish and/or support integrated disaster
management agencies.
o  Formulate comprehensive disaster mitigation,
preparedness, response mechanisms and develop or
strengthen early warning systems. These should take into
account the relationship between environmental
management and disaster mitigation.
o  Develop industrial disaster management plans
including off-site disaster plans. Local communities,
NGOs and the private sector should be included in the
development of these plans.
o  Develop the human resource scientific and
technological capability for hazard mapping and data and
risk analysis.
o  Improve the rapid dissemination of information and
o  Incorporate appropriate elements of the disaster
management into the educational curricula at all levels
and in relevant professional training programmes.
o  Establish a  National Disaster Emergency Fund  for
areas where insurance is not available in the commercial
insurance market and which embraces joint private and
public sector support.
o  Bearing in mind the needs of the poor, develop and
enforce building codes and standards and physical
planning support activities such as hazard mapping.
o  Assess potential sources of human-induced disasters,
in order to assist contingency planning on a national
and regional basis.
o  Incorporate awareness and preparedness for
emergencies at the local level in national disaster

Regional initiatives

o  Establish and strengthen, where appropriate, regional
disaster mitigation and preparedness management
agencies, measures and programmes. Such agencies should
have a coordinating responsibility for a wide range of
disasters including industrial disasters and oil spills.
o  Establish, or strengthen, as appropriate, mechanisms
for the sharing of experience, information, resources
and expertize with regard to disaster preparedness,
prevention, mitigation and response between SIDS in
different regions.
o  Support the operation of a "National Disaster
Emergency Fund" and the enactment of standard building
o  As part of Agenda 21, and within the framework of the
United Nations Disaster Relief Organization, the regions
should aim for all major public and private sector
entities to have written disaster recovery plans for
their operations by the year 2000.
o  Promote inter-agency collaboration in establishing
and utilizing models for disaster management.
o  Increase access to telecommunication links and
satellite facilities for disaster monitoring, assessment
and information exchange.
o  Establish regional mechanisms and communication
systems for rapid response to disasters.

International initiatives

o  Support the development of the human resource,
scientific and technological capability for hazard
mapping and data and risk analysis.
o  Support SIDS in establishing institutional mechanisms
for disaster planning, management and response (short
term and long term).
o  Facilitate the free and rapid exchange of data at the
national, regional and global levels for monitoring and
diagnosing meteorological, hydrological and
oceanographic information.
o  Facilitate easier access to telecommunications and
satellite technology for disaster mitigation, planning,
response, and assessment.
o  Facilitate the development and/or strengthening of
early warning systems.
o  Give support to "National Disaster Emergency Funds" 
and the further development of building codes and

Climate change, sea level rise and climate

National policies and measures

o  Early ratification of the Framework Convention on
Climate Change.
o  Assess the socio-economic implications of the impact
of climate change, climate variability and sea level
rise on SIDS.
o  Map areas vulnerable to sea level rise and develop
computer based information data bases, covering the
results of surveys, assessments and observations.
o  Formulate comprehensive adjustment and mitigation
measures for sea level rise within the framework of
integrated coastal area management and the cost of
o  Implement systems for systematic and continuous
research, assessment and monitoring of the effects of
climate change and its impacts.
o  Participate actively in the work of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including
work impacting on sea level rise, forecasting of
tropical storms/ hurricanes and change in rainfall
o  Strengthen human resource capability in fields such
as remote sensing and mathematical modelling.
o  Improve public awareness and understanding of the
potential impacts of climate change.

Regional initiatives

o  Create and/or strengthen institutional networks to
monitor climate variability, climate change and sea
level rise and impacts on SIDS. 
o  Establish cooperation frameworks, training,
technology transfer, surveillance of climate change and
the sharing of experiences to assist in the preparedness
response by countries in response to eventual climate
o  Intensification of studies on early warning systems
for countries to respond to climate change events.
o  Promote at the international level, specific
initiatives to develop climate change and climate
variability models in tropical areas.
o  Develop regional or sub-regional projects, as
appropriate, focusing on climate variability and/or
climate change with respect to: improved prediction of
extreme events, e.g. floods and droughts; and, the
effects of El Ni$o/Southern Oscillation on the frequency
of hurricanes.

International initiatives

o  Assist SIDS in assessing the impact of potential sea
level rise including response, adjustment and adaptation
strategies and their financial implications.
o  Provide improved access to financial resources for
the development and implementation of response
adaptation strategies recognizing the specific
vulnerabilities and disproportionate costs borne by
small island developing states.
o  Support the implementation of systems for systematic
and continuous research, assessment and monitoring of
the effects of climate change and its impacts.
o  Support multi-disciplinary research and monitoring
programmes to further substantiate the role of the ocean
in world climate.
o  Promote and support the collection and exchange of
tidal and other relevant information of SIDS and
low-lying coastal developing states in relation to
climate change including their participation in the
Global Level of Sea Surface (GLOSS) Programme of the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
o  Support programmes to monitor the impact on the
salt-water/fresh-water interface, including that
resulting from sea level rise on the fresh-water
resources of SIDS and low-lying coastal developing
o  Facilitate effective precautionary and response
strategies to climate change.
o  Support affected SIDS in the context of international
efforts to combat desertification and drought.

Further information: Maralyn Ballantyne, Economic
Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean,
Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean, PO Box 1113,
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.



Vietnam has over 3000km of coastline along which
mangrove forests not only cover a considerable
area -- 400,000ha before the war -- but also play a
significant role in maintaining ecological health and
the social and economic well-being of the many coastal

In this article, Professor Phan Nguyen Hong describes
the potential impact of climate change on Vietnam's
mangrove ecosystem. Professor Hong is Director of the
Mangrove Ecosystem Research Centre at Hanoi National
Pedagogic University and co-author of Mangroves of
Vietnam, recently published by the World Conservation
Union, Bangkok.

In recent decades, the mangrove forests of Vietnam have
been affected by many detrimental changes in extent,
composition and actual forest quality. These changes are
due to various causes but the principal ones are those
resulting from human activities and climate-related

There are four climate-related factors that have direct
impacts on the mangrove ecosystem: 

o  air temperature;

o  frost;

o  rainfall; and 

o  monsoons and storms.

Mangrove species are diverse in equatorial,
subequatorial and humid tropical regions where annual
temperature is high and temperature amplitude is small.
Low temperature reduces the tree size, leaf area index
and species composition of the flora as well as the
complexity of communities. 

These characteristics can be clearly seen when comparing
the mangrove forests at Tien Yen and Quang Ninh in the
north of Vietnam and Vung Tau in the south. At Vung Tau,
the numbers of communities and of the species in each
community are much larger and the succession is also
more complicated than in the north.

Frost caused by low temperature damages the mangroves in
the north of Vietnam, especially on days with a low
tide. On January 17th and 18th in 1961, for example, it
was recorded in Quang Ninh that a number of mangrove
leaves became dry and died when the temperature fell to
below 2 C.

Rainfall, as well as temperature, has a significant
influence on the distribution and zonation of mangrove
species. Regions with low rainfall, such as along the
estuaries of the Luy River in Phan Ri, the Cai river in
Phan Thiet and the Ba Ngoi in Kkanh Hoa, have flora
systems that are poor and scattered with stunted trees.

The influence of rainfall can also be seen in two areas
of southern Vietnam. The mean annual temperatures at
Vung Tau and at Ca Mau are not very different (within
1 C) but the average annual rainfall is 1,357mm in Vung
Tau with 124 rainy days and is 2,360mm in Ca Mau with
165 rainy days. The substrate sediment at Ca Mau is
thicker, though, so there are five more species than at
Vung Tau and the tree size is also larger.

The significant influence of rainfall on distribution
and species composition is because rainfall regulates
salt concentrations in both soil and plants as well as
providing a source of freshwater for the mangroves. This
is an important factor when propagules begin to take
root and also in their season of blooming and fruiting.
If, however, high rainfall occurs over a short period
and other months of the year are prone to drought, the
conditions can be considered unfavourable for the growth
and distribution of mangroves.

The north-east monsoon has the worst effect on mangrove
communities. During the winter months, it brings cold
air to the north and to north central Vietnam, thereby
causing a sudden decrease in air and water temperatures.
These, in turn, seriously affect the growth and
composition of mangroves as well as many other tidal
creatures. In south Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri,
sand carried inland by high-speed north-east monsoons
fills up creeks and salt and brackish swamps damaging
the mangroves inside the estuaries.

In the south of Vietnam, north-east monsoons cause large
waves to erode the east coast, destroying many mangrove
areas and felling thousands of trees. Many benthos die
after being brought on to land together with the mud and
sand by the waves and some zooplankton species have to
move away. 

Remote sensing data shows that in just two years, from
1973 to 1975, the Con Loi-Ben Tre area lost 460ha and
the Hau river mouth lost 350ha. The Ca Mau peninsula
alone lost 9,630ha of coast, accounting for 81% of the
extent of Vietnamese coastal erosion.

According to the remote sensing data of SOYUZ, between
the 28th of April 1992 to the 17th of June 1993, 600ha
of mangroves from the Bo De river mouth to past the Rach
Goc estuary fell down due to winds. 

The eroded area has now spread to the tip of the Ca Mau
cape. The monsoons also carry sand from the sea, forming
a thick layer on the mangrove forest ground near the
coast. When this occurred the pneumatophore of Bruquiera
and Avicennia could not work so a lot of trees died
standing in large patches.

The dry, hot south-west monsoon also causes a lot of
devastation to the mangrove forests along the brackish
water river mouths in north central Vietnam, especially
when the tide is low in June to August every year. At
these times, the salinity in the unflooded mangrove soil
rises to very high levels (40 to 45%). This leads to the
death or migration of some species of brackish mollusca
and polychaete.

Tropical depressions and storms constrain the
distribution of mangroves. In the coastal plains of the
north, the soil is very rich in alluvia but mangroves
only form narrow stretches inside the river mouths
because they cannot grow at spots with strong waves and

Typhoons occurring in the Yen Hung district -- Quang
Ninh, Hai Phong, Thai Binh, Ha Nam and Ninh Binh -- have
broken the sea dykes, destroying the naturally growing
mangrove forests and those planted by people to protect
the dyke. This has also resulted in the devastation of
the sheltered nurseries and spawning grounds of many
species of sea animals as well as water birds. A storm
accompanied by heavy rain can break mangrove branches,
cause flowers and fruit to fall off and carries a lot of
seedlings into the sea. Storm No. 6 on the 17th of
August 1991 washed away more than 70% of the
newly-planted seedlings at some communes of Thach Ha
district in Ha Tinh province.

There are also indirect relationships between climate
change and the mangrove ecosystem through changes in sea

Inundation is only one of the effects. As sea level
rises, coastal erosion and the severity of coastal
flooding will increase and coastlines will recede unless
they are stabilized by dykes or through sand
nourishment. Salt water intrusion into ground water,
rivers, bays and estuaries will increase. Changes in
rainfall patterns and in temperature will modify
salinity gradients in estuaries and alter rates of river
delta sedimentation. Coastal currents and upwelling
patterns are likely to shift geographically and change
in intensity. All of these "sea changes" will affect the
biodiversity in coastal zones.

There are a number of causes for sea level rise in the
Vietnamese coastal and riverine areas. Some are active
in the present-day while others threaten the future.They

o  the north-east monsoon;

o  increased riverflow;

o  local heavy rains;

o  alluvium accumulation; 

o  human activities; and

o  the greenhouse effect.

North-east monsoons have contributed significantly to
sea level rise in Vietnam. The monsoon occurs in the dry
season from November to the following April when the
tide level is at its highest in the year (October to
December). This results in salt water intrusion far
inland in many areas, particularly so in the Mekong
river delta. According to the documents of the Mekong
River Committee, when the wind speed went up to 5ms-1,
the water level increased by 10cm. When the wind speed
went up to 10ms-1, the water level rise was 20cm. When
there was no wind, the water level increase only
accounted for 4cm.

Meteorological factors also affect sea level. Increased
riverflow is a major cause but this usually only occurs
in the rainy season and is a short-term effect. Again,
on the timescale of days, sea level rises highest in the
days with spring tide and storms. Heavy rains may cause
localized rises in sea level. If any of these factors
change in frequency or severity, a longer-term change in
sea level may result.

Alluvia, the result of erosion borne from inland by
rivers, accumulates partly on the river bed and along
the river basin and partly near the river mouth forming
small islets.

Dyke and embankment construction in mangrove forests and
on accretions for shrimp ponds or agricultural
production, for example, constrains water distribution.
The building of dams for reservoirs and hydrological
plants reduces the flow of river water resulting in salt
water invasion and subsequent salt intrusion far inland.
In Minh Hai, for example, the use of ground water
without proper planning has reduced the water amount
rapidly. This can lead to landslides in the mangrove
areas favouring an even higher rise in sea water.

Human activity is likely to prove one of the major
long-term influences on sea level, as is the global
environmental problem of climate change caused by
greenhouse gas emissions.

Preliminary studies from the General Department of
Meteorology and Hydrology show that the sea level may
rise by up to 1.5mm a year. The annual tide level data
in the years from 1982 to 1992 at Ca Mau and Genh Hao
stations show that the average level rise over that
period has been 1.5cm.

Sea level rise, together with monsoons and storms,
accelerates the speed of mangrove coastal erosion. This
erosion results in the destruction of many rich and
various mangrove forests as they fall into the sea, as
has occurred all along the east coast of the Ca Mau
cape. Erosion also destroys the shelter of a great many
tidal and forest animals as well as the spawning grounds
of some fish and shrimp species. 

Sea level rise facilitates the invasion of mangroves
into the mainland, killing other cultivated plants. For
example, the land in some coastal areas has been used
for one-crop rice or subsidiary crop cultivation in the
rainy season but, in the past few years, a large extent
has had to have been left fallow due to salt intrusion.
This has occurred in Can Gio district, in Ho Chi Minh
City and in the Long Phu district.

In some other districts, such as Thach Ha, Cam Xuyen of
Ha Tinh province and Yen Hung of Quang Ninh province,
salt intrusion has destroyed the living places of some
field creatures and facilitated the invasion of
mangroves into the land. This has changed the
properties, the distribution and the succession of some
biological communities.

Sea level rise has prevented soil accumulation so tidal
flats become deeply flooded. This is likely to hinder
the development of pioneer mangrove communities like
Avicennia alba and Sonneratia alba in the river mouths
and accretions because their pneumatophores lying under
deep water cannot get the air necessary for the trees.

Humans, too, have experienced the impact of sea level
rise. In recent years, the level of spring tide in
November and December has risen. This has flooded the
floors of some low stilt houses in the Ngoc Hien
district of Minh Hai province as well as flooding
several village paths. In Ba Tau hamlet of the Vien An
Dong commune in Ngoc Hien, salt water has submerged and
flowed even into the high fields of marrows and beans.

Coastal ecosystems, especially mangroves, have rich
biodiversity resources but are easily destroyed by both
natural and human impacts. 

There are many environmental factors that affect these
ecosystems as a whole, but climate change plays an
important role as it not only influences the
biodiversity directly but also has indirect impacts
through factors such as the environmental hydrology and

High population growth and unplanned economic activities
have significantly damaged the biodiversity resource,
thus affecting climate change and sea level rise. This
issue has not been given sufficient concern in Vietnam.
Studies should be supported and promoted to gain
comprehensive data. This will enable us to find
solutions for the possible disasters that may result
from climate change.



International Conference on Groundwater: Drought,
Pollution & Management
Brighton, UK: 01-02-94 to 03-02-94
Co-sponsored by the UK Overseas Development
Administration, the conference has been prompted by the
increasing concern on the long-term sustainability of
groundwater resources. Amongst topics to be discussed is
the quantity constraints related to climate change in
both developed and developing countries. Details: J
Watts, HR Wallingford Ltd., Howbery Park, Wallingford,
Oxon OX10 8BA, UK.

Climate & Survival in Southern Africa
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe: 21-02-94 to 25-02-94
A conference on the impact of drought and the role of
environmental change in shaping the future of the
sub-continent. Aims to bring together climatologists,
hydrogeologists, environmental scientists with managers
of natural resources and environmental policy makers
from within the region and overseas. Will provide a
forum in which to discuss current understandings, likely
impacts and courses of action. Details: Shaun Russell,
Environment Advisor (SCTD), British Council, Medlock
Street, Manchester M15 4AA, UK.

Climate Change & Rice Symposium
Laguna, Philippines: 14-03-94 to 18-03-94
Symposium intends to review the broad issues of global
climate change and its effects on agriculture as well as
summarizing research on the impacts of climate change on
rice and rice ecosystems. Papers will cover topics such
as: production and emission of trace gases by rice
soils; UV-B effects on rice and the rice ecosystem; and,
effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on rice and rice
ecosystems. Details: Keith T Ingram, Climate Change and
Rice Symposium, International Rice Research Institute,
PO Box 933, 1099 Manila, Philippines.

Fifth Global Warming Science & Policy International
Conference & Expo
San Francisco, USA: 04-04-94 to 07-04-94
Conference is to include two symposiums: Symposium on
Global Warming and Public Health and Symposium on Energy
Resources and Their Impact on the Environment. Policy
makers, scientists and members of industry intend to
assess progress towards Agenda 21 and discuss actions
necessary for sustainable development of the global
economy. Details: Sinyan Shen, Conference Chair, Global
Warming International Center, POB 5275, Woodridge, IL
60517, USA. 

Global Climate Change: Science, Policy & Mitigation
Phoenix, USA: 05-04-94 to 08-04-94
An international conference covering a wide range of
topics related to global climate change. Participants to
discuss the current understanding of the science and the
adaptive measures necessary to cope with present and
future climate change. Details: Conference Organizer,
Air & Waste Management Association, POB 2861,
Pittsburgh, PA 15230, USA.

Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of
Small Island Developing States
Barbados: 25-04-94 to 06-05-94
The Global Conference was called for at the Earth Summit
in June 1992. Small islands were  designated as an
ecologically vulnerable group warrenting special
international attention. The conference goal is to put
together a strategy for sustainable development specific
to small islands based on Agenda 21. Dates not finalized
so check if wishing to attend. Details: Barbados
Conference Organizer, 2nd Floor, Bretton Hall, 16
Victoria Avenue, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

International Conference on Monsoon Variability &
Trieste, Italy: 09-05-94 to 13-05-94
Primary objective of the conference will be to
understand the variability and predictability of
monsoons on timescales from days to decades. Main topics
will be: observations of monsoon variability; model
simulations of monsoon variability; mechanisms of
monsoon variability; short- and medium-range prediction
of monsoon activity; and, extended-range predictions.
Details: R L Newson, WCRP, World Meteorological
Organization, Case Postale 2300, 1211 Geneva 2,

International Conference on Tree Rings, Environment &
Humanity: Relationships & Processes
Tucson, USA: 17-05-94 to 21-05-94
Conference intends to address aspects of the past and
future Earth, including its physical, biological and
social systems with contributed papers presenting
research results, case studies and methodological
innovations. Three different dendrochronology-related
field trips will be available. Details: International
Tree-Ring Conference, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research,
Bldg 58, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721,

Global Change & Terrestrial Ecosystems: The First GCTE
Science Conference
Woods Hole, USA: 23-05-94 to 27-05-94
Intended to be a comprehensive assessment of the IGBP
Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) Core
Project. Conference will examine impacts on terrestrial
ecosystems including agriculture, forestry and soils,
and feedbacks to the physical climate system. Limited
resources are available to assist scientists from
developing countries. Details: GCTE Core Project
Officer, CSIRO Division, Wildlife & Ecology, POB 84,
Lyneham, ACT 2602, Australia.

Towards the World Governing of the Environment - IV
International Conference
Venice, Italy: 02-06-94 to 05-06-94
The conference intends to emphasize the evolution and
implementation of the concept of an International Court
of the Environment. Discussion will focus on the
scientific, technical, administrative and legal
questions involved in the global management of the
environment. Details: Judge Amedeo Postiglione, ICEF
Director, Corte Suprema di Cassazione, Piazza Cavour 1,
00193 Rome, Italy. 

Global Forum '94
Manchester, UK: 25-06-94 to 03-07-94
Ten-day programme of conferences, exhibitions and
seminars with theme of  Cities and Sustainable
Development Strategies for a Sustainable Future.  The
forum intends to facilitate the creation of new, and to
strengthen existing, working partnerships between
intergovernmental bodies, governments and independent
sectors. Details: Information Officer, Global Forum
'94, PO Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester M60 2LA, UK.

International Symposium on the Role of the Cryosphere in
Global Change
Ohio, USA: 07-08-94 to 12-08-94
Topics for the symposium will include: the role of high
latitude processes in global climate models; how ice
sheets and glaciers drive and respond to global change;
detecting and understanding global change in paleo
records and modern observations. Details: Secretary
General, International Glaciological Society, Lensfield
Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER, UK.

Contemporary Climatology
Brno, Czechoslovakian Republic: 15-08-94 to 20-08-94
Conference is organized by the Commission on Climatology
of the International Geographical Union. Programme
intends to have a broad coverage of climate variability
and climate change, together with regional climate and
impacts. Details: Rudolf Brasdil, Department of
Geography, Masaryk University, Kotlarska 2, 61137 Brno,
Czechoslovakian Republic. 

Budapest '94
Budapest, Hungary: 20-09-94 to 23-09-94
This is the Second International Symposium and
Exhibition on Environmental Contamination in Central and
Eastern Europe. Symposium intends to discuss issues
related to the identification and evaluation of
innovative technologies which can be used to solve
environmental problems. Details: Peter Richter,
Technical University Budapest/CHAERSE, Dept. of Atomic
Physics, Budafoki ut. 8, H-1111 Budapest, Hungary. 

1994 Conference on Population & Environment in Arid
Amman, Jordan: 23-10-94 to 26-10-94
Conference topics to include: human causes of
desertification; environmental problems of living in
arid regions; population dynamics in arid regions and,
population-management policies for arid regions.
Although main focus will be on the Middle East and
Africa, papers will be included that are relevant to
other arid regions of the world. Details: John Clarke,
IUSSP Committee on Population and Environment, 34 rue
des Augustins, 4000 Liege, Belgium.



Eduardo Sanhueza outlines the objectives and activities
of the Climate Action Network in Latin America.

As is well known, the Climate Change Convention has
recently been negotiated and signed by more than one
hundred and fifty countries. Thirty-one governments have
already ratified that agreement and an Intergovernmental
Negotiating Committee is preparing for the First Meeting
of the Conference of the Parties, intended to take place
in early 1995.

Undoubtedly, important progress has been made in
preparing to cope with the threat of global warming.
However, there is still a long way to go before strong
and relevant policies can be implemented. The real
bargaining on how the commitments will be met is just
starting and all indications are that these new
negotiations will again take their time to be completed.

The industrial societies of the developed countries are
responsible for the bulk of the greenhouse gas
emissions, but these emissions affect the living
conditions of everyone on earth. Moreover, these
emissions are closely associated with a dominant
economic system which does not appropriately take into
account environmental costs and results in an
unsustainable development process characterized by the
overconsumption of energy.

The industrialized countries know very well that they
have the primary responsibility to reduce their
greenhouse gas emissions and that this process will mean
a heavy burden for their economies and will have
significant effects on the standards of living and the
lifestyles of their populations. But, since climate
change has global impacts, all countries, including
developing countries as they move down a similar path of
economic development, must modify their production and
consumption patterns.

By signing the Convention, developing countries have
accepted the principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities and have also demanded major additional
transfers of resources in order to build global warming
concerns into their development strategies. 

These two conditions are of fundamental importance for
developing countries. It is understandable, given recent
economic history, that developing nations suspect that
most northern-originated schemes increase their poverty.

It is, therefore, not difficult to foresee that the
Convention's debate is going to be dominated by
discussion on financial mechanisms allowing for maximum
flexibility for this transfer of resources. Also, that
finding a common denominator between the economic
interests of both developed and developing countries is
not going to be an easy task.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played an
important role in all of these negotiations and

NGOs were consistently invited to express their views
during official meetings in the preparatory phase of the
Convention. Their participation is now recognized under
Article 7 of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Today, NGOs are actively contributing to the preliminary
phase of the First Conference of the Parties and there
is no reason for us to consider that there may be a
change in this situation. In fact, the tone of the
present discussions indicates that it will be essential
to increase and improve NGO participation.

The negotiating process has stimulated joint work and
activities among many NGOs. At a meeting held in Germany
in March 1989, NGO representatives from western and
central Europe, from the United States and from
developing countries decided to establish a Climate
Action Network (CAN) of NGOs. The participating NGOs
share a common concern for the threat of climate change
and a desire to cooperate in the development and
implementation of short- and long-term coping

The overall goal of the Climate Action Network (CAN) is
to promote government and individual action to limit
human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable

In pursuit of this goal, the objectives of the Network

o  to coordinate information exchange on international, 
regional and national climate policies and issues, both
between CAN groups and other interested institutions;

o  to formulate policy options and position papers on 
climate-related issues; and

o  to undertake further collaborative action to promote 
effective non-governmental organization involvement in
efforts to avert the threat of global warming.

The Climate Action Network is now organized into seven
regional networks, coordinated by several informal
information nodes managed by existing NGOs. Regional CAN
groups include Climate Network Africa, Climate
Network-Europe, CAN Latin America, CAN North America,
CAN South Asia, CAN Southeast Asia and CAN UK. The last
regional coordination established was the Climate Action
Network Latin America (CANLA). This was established at a
workshop held during the NGO Forum in Rio de Janeiro.

At present, this regional network consists primarily of
organizations from Brazil, Chile and Mexico which
attended the Climate Convention negotiations in
1991-1992 and are now participating in the preparatory
phase of the First Meeting of the Conference of the
Parties. The secretariat, served by the Instituto de
Ecologia Politica in Chile, now maintains initial
contacts with NGOs in the rest of the Latin American
countries. CANLA membership is open to all
environmental, development and other citizen-based
organizations that subscribe to the goals of CAN and are
active on climate-related issues.

Since its establishment, the main CANLA concern has been
to collect and disseminate within the region
documentation on existing works on climate change and
related issues. In pursuance of these aims, CANLA has
produced a first newsletter dedicated to explain, in a
simplified and general manner, what the greenhouse
effect is, its eventual climatic impact and the
negotiating process of the Climate Change Convention. 

We intend to continue editing this newsletter on a
regular basis so as to continue our awareness-raising
and education campaign on this issue. We will also
inform on the progress of the undergoing implementation
process of the Convention offering the opportunity to
the grassroots movement to analyse global issues from
their perspective. The newsletter will also contain
reports on local activities that contribute to global

With similar objectives, CANLA is also working jointly
with the Latin American division of Greenpeace editing a
survey on the eventual impacts of climate change on the
Latin American region. 

This publication, in addition to being mainly focused on
the impacts of climate change in this part of the world,
intends to be mostly based on results of research work
carried out by members of the scientific community of
the region. Our aim with this publication is to offer to
governmental authorities, policy makers, journalists and
the general public of the Latin America region a source
of scientific information on the issue based on sound
arguments but expressed in a simplified language.

To date, contributions from Latin American governments
or regional NGOs to the dominant debate on financial
mechanisms in the Framework of the Climate Change
Convention process have been very scarce, if at all. 

There is an urgent need for an in-depth analysis on the
implications of these financial mechanisms for the
region, and, in turn, to represent our own views in the
international debate. As a first initiative to meet
these aims, CANLA is organizing, and is in the process
of seeking funding, to hold a regional workshop on Joint
Implementation so that the pros and cons regarding this
particular mechanism can be extensively debated by
regional governmental and NGO representatives.

Finally, CANLA members are permanently involved in
activities to assist in the ratification processes of
the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Latin
American countries and in the monitoring of
implementation processes of the Global Environment
Facility's projects in the region.

Eduardo Sanhueza coordinates the Protection of the
Atmosphere Program as well as coordinating the
activities of CANLA through the Instituto de Ecologia



Mark Stafford Smith describes plans for new research on
global change and the world's rangelands.

As one component of its effort to predict the effects
of global change on key agricultural production systems,
forestry and soils, the Global Change and Terrestrial
Ecosystems (GCTE) Core Project of the International
Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) is launching a
major research programme on global change and

The emphasis of the work is to predict how the
interacting effects of changes in climate, atmospheric
composition and land use will impact on pasture and
range composition and production, and the consequent
effects on livestock production.

Preliminary planning for the programme (Task 3.1.3) was
carried out at the International Grasslands Congress,
held in Palmerston North, New Zealand, in February 1993.
A communication network of interested researchers was
established, and a workplan for the development of the
Task was drafted.

The workplan has three major objectives:

o  to predict the effects of changes in atmospheric
composition and climate on vegetation composition and
animal productivity in different rangeland ecosystems at
the patch and landscape scales;

o  to predict the effects of biophysically-driven change
in rangeland ecosystems on land use practices and
production priorities at an enterprise and regional
scale; and

o  to predict the feedback effects of global change in
the rangelands on atmospheric composition and climate.

The first objective is concerned with understanding the
biophysical constraints on rangeland production, and how
these will be affected by global change. It includes
experimental and modelling studies on the effects of
elevated carbon dioxide on plant productivity; on
changes in the composition of rangelands due to
interacting change in climate, fire and grazing; and on
the direct and indirect impacts on animal productivity.

The second objective aims to understand how the
biophysical changes predicted under Objective 1 will
alter potential enterprise or subsistence returns in
different rangelands systems, and how this may lead to
change in management practices. 

It aims, in collaboration with the IGBP-HDP project on
Land Use/Cover Change, to develop regional land-use
models that are sensitive to both biophysically-driven
changes in productivity and to market- or policy-driven

Long-term changes to rangelands productivity may have
important feedback effects to further change in climate
and atmospheric composition. Under Objective 3, the
effects of changes in rangelands composition and
productivity on albedo, roughness and
evapotranspiration, as well as on fluxes and pools of
carbon and other elements, will be studied.

A feature of the GCTE Rangelands Task is its inclusion
of the complete range of systems, from hot, dry (e.g.
the Sahel) to cool, moist (upland pastures in
mountainous regions) and from ranching-style commercial
production to subsistence-dominated systems. 

Indeed, a feature of the programme is the emphasis on
the nature of the socio-economic system under which
rangeland management is carried out in determining the
responses to global change.

The next step in the development of the Task is an
implementation workshop, to be held in mid-1994. The
objectives of the workshop are to finalize the Task's
workplan, to identify a set of contributing projects to
the Task, and to enhance interaction and communication
among the contributors to the network.

Further information: GCTE Core Office, CSIRO Division
of Wildlife and Ecology, PO Box 83, Lyneham ACT 2602,



Reflecting on progress since the signing of the Climate
Convention, Weather Eye detects little evidence that any
clear direction is emerging from the international

With original plans for an energy tax weakened by
compromise, the Clinton Administration is now facing
criticism over its 50-point programme to return carbon
emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000, the target
suggested for the industrialized nations under the
Climate Convention. Critics argue that the programme
relies on voluntary measures rather than setting
enforceable standards. There was some hope that the
programme might set mandatory standards for fuel
efficiency, cutting traffic pollution which is the main
source of carbon dioxide in the United States. Instead,
the programme relies on tax incentives to encourage
employers to subsidize their workers' use of public

Congressional deals to firm up support for the North
American Free Trade Agreement have also threatened US
commitment to restrict methyl bromide use in the latest
round of the Ozone Protocol negotiations. While agreeing
to cut emissions by a quarter by the year 2000,
President Bill Clinton has also assured congressmen that
there will be no restrictions before that year in order
to protect the Arkansas methyl bromide industry. 
Is compromise a step forward in comparison to the
previous administration's incalcitrant position on
environmental matters?

Meanwhile, the European Union is having difficulties in
reaching agreement on joint ratification of the Climate
Convention. Britain, following its opposition to a
carbon or energy tax, is now opposing plans to share the
emission reduction burden equitably across Europe. 

The proposal, which would allow poorer nations to meet a
less rigorous target than the rich, would still result
in the stabilization of total emissions Union-wide by
the year 2000. But Britain does not want to go beyond
its stated target of the stabilization of national
emissions by the end of the century. Equity would
suggest that a more ambitious UK target is needed. 

At the same time, the President of the European
Commission has advanced an extensive plan for economic
growth which relies on increased energy consumption and
road-building. This looks set to make stabilization that
much more difficult a goal.

1993 ended with the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
facing serious problems over its future. An independent
committee, whose report was commissioned by the
participating countries, has concluded that the GEF
lacks a rational strategy and is suffering from
inadequate leadership. The committee has called for
control of the fund to be taken away from the World Bank
and for its activities to be put on hold in the interim. 

The report cites the  lack of agreement among industrial
and developing countries on the raison d'tre,
objectives and strategies of the GEF  as one of its main
failings. This divergence was transparently obvious
during talks on the future of the GEF in Colombia in
December. Negotiations broke down completely over the
allocation of seats on the new 30-member Executive
Council. The donors wanted 14 seats for themselves, 14
for the developing nations and two for Eastern Europe.
The developing countries held out for 18 seats, arguing
that the majority of GEF projects are being implemented
in their nations.

The World Coast Conference in Noordwijk in November 1993
was undoubtedly a successful event (see page 24). But a
few ironies did not go unnoticed.

Some participants became rather bored with being
lectured on the advantages of building with nature by a
nation that has battled nature on the coastline for
centuries. Their attention was distracted by the view of
the sea out of the venue's windows, over sand dunes that
had been flattened to improve the prospect.  Not one of
the best examples of sustainable coastal management for
delegates to take home with them,  was the comment of
one participant.

The centrepiece of the fourth day of the meeting was a
computer program demonstrating the benefits of coastal
management in the imaginary country of Catopia.
(CAT -- Concepts and Tools of coastal management).
Delegates were impressed by the program as an
educational tool, though felt its capabilities as a
decision-making tool were limited. They were not so
impressed by the fact that the program was available
 for a small price  on a  case by case basis. 

It was at times like this that the fine dividing line
between formal conference and trade fair became
indistinct. There were a large number of consulting
firms present, many of which were newly-privatized
branches of Dutch ministries. Though a global meeting,
no other countries were asked to take part in the trade

We couldn't resist sharing the news that the
intellectual might of the electronics firm Toshiba has
recently come up with a patent application for a food
trolley controller which saves diners the trouble of
passing food dishes from one side of the table to the

Each diner would wear an electrode which monitors brain
wave patterns. A neural network computer detects when
one of the diners becomes irritated and presumably
hungry. It then signals the trolley to move toward that
diner making the food readily accessible. 

The relevance to climate change? Presumably the computer
could be programmed to control over-consumption, heading
off over the horizon when it considers sufficient
calories have been ingested.



An international conference on coastal zone management
was held in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, from the 1st to
the 5th of November 1993. Participation at the World
Coast Conference included delegates from more than 90
nations, 20 international organizations and 23
non-governmental organizations.

The conference was organized as part of a continuing
process intended to fulfill recommendations contained in
Agenda 21 which expressed  the urgent need for coastal
states to develop capabilities for Integrated Coastal
Zone Management (ICZM) and to implement national ICZM

The aim of ICZM is to balance conflicting goals for the
use of coastal resources in order to ensure the
sustainable development of coastal zones. It is
considered the most appropriate means of addressing both
current and long-term coastal management issues.

Discussion at the meeting focused on the actions that
are necessary for coastal states to undertake in
preparing appropriate coastal zone management
strategies. The conference statement recognized that
these actions also needed to encompass strategies that
dealt with the likely impacts of climate change. This
reiterated the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
call for "coastal states to develop programmes for
coastal zone management to address the impacts of global
climate change." 

The conference delegates acknowledged that there are a
number of obstacles and constraints, found at both
national and local levels, that have hindered the
effective development of many national programmes. These

o  fragmented institutional arrangements;

o  competing interests and lack of priorities;

o  inadequate legislation and/or lack of enforcement;

o  land-tenure regimes and other social factors;

o  limited understanding of, and experience in,
integrated coastal zone management;

o  limited understanding of coastal and marine
resources, processes and opportunities;

o  single-sector oriented bureaucracies; and

o  lack of information and resources (funds, trained
personnel, relevant technologies, equipment, etc).

Many delegates pointed out, though, that in overcoming
such problems it was necessary to take into account the
unique characteristics that applied to each coastal

In the words of one delegate, echoed by many, "what
works, for example, for The Netherlands isn't
necessarily going to work for the Maldives or

Comprehensive assessment studies and planning and
management strategies need to fully assess not only the
local marine and terrestrial ecosystem characteristics
and their particular vulnerabilities but also the socio-
economic needs and desires of the resident communities
and the nation as a whole. 

In recognition of this, the conference statement noted
that "a national ICZM programme should facilitate
integrated decision making through a continuous and
evolutionary process for cooperation and coordination
among sectors, integrating national and local interests
in the management of activities concerning the
environment and development. These programmes include
coordination of activities throughout the coastal zone,
taking into account, where appropriate, river basins,
ecosystems or entire islands. Coordination is also
required within and among national programmes, regional
organizations and international institutions."

For developing coastal nations, any fully integrated
coastal zone management programme must include measures
that deal with critical short-term problems as well as
strengthening long-term capabilities.

Compounding the difficulties facing these nations is the
severe lack of adequate technology and the financial
means to implement integrated protection schemes.
Regional and international support for programmes to
assist developing coastal nations has increased over
recent years but still proves to be inadequate and, in
some cases, inappropriate. 

The conference urged funding institutions to "assist
coastal states, in particular developing countries, in
the formulation and implementation of ICZM strategies
and programmes that take fully into account the existing
environmental, scientific, technical, social, political,
cultural and economic context of individual nations and
that enhance socio-economic objectives directed toward
the achievement of sustainable development."

Many delegates pointed out that there was a need for
stronger, more binding, international mandates that
emphasized agreements dealing with climate change
impacts together with sustainable development. 

It is intended that the conference statement and report
will contribute to the work of the Preparatory Committee
for the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development
of Small Island Developing States which is preparing for
the conference to be held in Barbados in April-May 1994
(see page 1). The conference statement and report will
also contribute to the Second Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

Further information: Information Officer, Coastal Zone
Management Centre, National Institute for Coastal and
Marine Management, PO Box 20907, 2500 EX The Hague, The



In 1992, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) invited
the views of southern NGOs on what would constitute the
ideal "global environmental facility."

The report, The Southern Green Fund, is now available
and provides a much-needed grassroots perspective on
ways forward in financing, implementing and controlling
environmental assistance.

The project's goal was to identify "how a
user-designed -- as opposed to donor-designed -- Green Fund
could be used to address critical environmental problems
in developing countries with a strong emphasis on
grassroots control and participation."

WWF felt that it was time to provide a channel through
which southern views on the Global Environment Facility
and what it should be were made available to a wide

The project was based on four regions, Africa, Latin
America, South Asia and Southeast Asia. WWF-India also
provided a national report. A total of 120 southern NGOs
were involved in the process. The areas for discussion
included funding priorities, accountability mechanisms,
administrative structures, donor relations and criteria
for selection of project executants.

The final publication contains a Consolidated Report
which lists fundamental issues, conclusions and
recommendations alongside the regional reports and the
national report for India.

The participants concluded that, whatever the instrument
set in place to deal with global environmental problems,
it must be characterized by transparency, democratic
participation, accountability, equitable representation
of the South at all decision making levels, minimizing
the role and control of the North, decentralizing the
local decision making processes from the state structure
and the incorporation of NGOs at all decision making

Further information: Conservation Policy Division, WWF
International, Avenue du Mont-Blanc, CH 1196 Gland,



The Tiempo Resource Service has recently published a
56-page briefing document "Global Warming and Vietnam",
in collaboration with the Centre for Environment
Research Education and Development in Hanoi.

Copies of the document in English can be obtained by
writing to the Editorial Office. Copies in Vietnamese
will be available shortly.  

The briefing document is free to low-income
subscribers. Others are requested to contribute a
donation of 5 sterling or a comparable 
publication which will be forwarded to a Third World



Maralyn Ballantyne, Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Subregional
Headquarters for the Caribbean, PO Box 1113,
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Phan Nguyen Hong, Director, Mangrove Ecosystem Research 
Centre, Hanoi National Pedagogic University, 91 Nguyen
Khuyen Street, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Eduardo Sanhueza, Climate Action Network Latin America, 
Seminario 776, Santiago, Chile. 

Mark Stafford Smith, CSIRO National Rangelands Program, 
PO Box 2111, Alice Springs, NT 0871, Australia.