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Avril 2014 - UN Special

Environment and
nd pr
Environnement et progrès
rets du
Palexpo: les secrets
développement durable
Health is the “Heartbeat” of
sustainable development
NO 738 – AVRIL 2014
In Memoriam
Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky
Using water to create peace
La chasse au CO2 est ouverte
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Rédactrice en chef / Editor-in-chief
Environment and progress
Environnement et progrès
Palexpo: les secrets du
développement durable
In Memoriam
Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky
NO 738 – AVRIL 2014
© Shutterstock
Health is the “Heartbeat” of
sustainable development
Using water to create peace
La chasse au CO2 est ouverte
À l’intérieur de Palexpo: Les secrets
European Emissions Trading Scheme 17
WHO gardens
Population dynamics and environment 12
Health is the “Heartbeat”
of sustainable development
Story of the birth of WHO
President UNAIDS Staff Association
Exploring the UN Canteens
In Memoriam – Dr Vladimir Petrovsky 22
Apprendre le chinois, un plaisir?
Environment and progress
Je pense,
donc j’innove
I think, therefore
I innovate
La publication du rapport Brundtland (Our
common future) en 1987 marque le point
de départ d’une nouvelle ère environnementale. En créant un cadre structurel
international, le rapport a placé la protection de l’environnement au cœur de
l’agenda politique et a ouvert la voie vers
un nouveau mode de pensée où l’imagination, associée au talent, à l’audace et à la
détermination, est un moteur de progrès.
The publication of the Brundtland report
(Our common future) in 1987 marks the
point of departure for a new environmental era. The creation of an international
structural framework has placed the protection of the environment at the heart
of the political agenda and has opened
a new way of thinking where progress is
inspired by imagination, talent, boldness
and determination.
De nos jours le monde moderne en perpétuel mouvement, où il faut constamment
se renouveler, ne laisse aucune place à
l’immobilisme. Nous sommes amenés à
innover en repoussant les limites pour
trouver des solutions hors cadre aux défis
The modern world, in perpetual motion,
where we must constantly renew, leaves
no room to stand still. We innovate by
pushing out the boundaries in order to
find solutions and address new challenges.
suisses du développement durable
Environnement et progrès
Think seasonal and buy local!
The Ethiopian Children’s Appeal
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Alternatives to toxic clothing
Yasuní – Oro Verde versus Oro Negro 32
Crucial Environmental Challenges
Using water to create peace
From conflict to co-existence
with wildlife
Écosystèmes et symbiose
Indian man plants 1360-acre forest
Swimming with sharks
La chasse au CO2 est ouverte
Inde – Le Taj Mahal
Parc National Suisse
Certaines alternatives environnementales
sont déjà à portée de main: il est possible
de porter des vêtements éco-responsables
composés de fibres textiles non toxiques
dérivées de produits naturels ou de rouler
en voiture «verte». Les drones jouent un
rôle majeur dans la protection de l’environnement et l'agriculture locale innovante
offre aussi des solutions écologiques et
durables en réduisant l’empreinte carbone.
Se résigner à ne pas dépasser sa zone de
confort condamne à l’inertie. ■
«L’homme ne peut découvrir
de nouveaux océans tant
qu’il n’a pas le courage de
perdre de vue la côte.»
Some alternatives are already at hand: it is
now possible to wear eco-friendly clothes
made of non-toxic textile fibers derived
from natural products or drive “green”
cars. Drones play a key role in the protection of the environment and innovative
local agriculture also offers ecological and
sustainable solutions by reducing the carbon footprint.
Inertia is the preserve of complacency and
self-satisfaction. ■
“You cannot discover new
oceans unless you have
the courage to lose sight
of the shore”.
André Gide
André Gide
Revue des fonctionnaires internationaux
des Nations Unies à Genève et de
l'Organisation mondiale de la Santé.
Magazine of the international civil
servants of the United Nations at Geneva
and of the Word Health Organization
Avril 2014 | 3
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Making the case for investing in health
and wellness in the United Nations workplace
When people talk about HIV
or cancer, usually there is an
understanding that earlier
diagnosis and care makes the
treatment outcomes better.
Unfortunately, the same awareness is too often absent when it
comes to issues of stress, burnout and general psychological
Increasing demands, the culture of
“do more with less”, are creating
strains on staff and organizations that
need urgent attention. One of the first
steps is breaking the silence.
At UNAIDS, we in the staff
association started noticing in
2012 that colleagues seemed
to be coming to us more often
with concerns about stress,
anxiety and workload. We
were worried, because what
we heard were not the usual
stories – what some of us call
the “good stress” – where you
have big demands but you get
the job done, there’s a feeling
of achievement, and you move
on to the next challenge. We
run an annual staff survey,
and in 2013 we decided to
expand the section on health
and performance.The results
confirmed what we were all
hearing: one in four colleagues
responded that they felt their
performance had suffered in
the previous twelve months due
to work-related stress or anxiety. Compared with the previous
year’s survey, we also observed
an increase in the number of
colleagues reporting being
repeatedly requested to work
outside regular office hours.
When we speak with staff association counterparts in other
United Nations agencies, we
see that we are hardly unique,
and certainly far from the worst
cases. What does seem to be
unique, however, was our joint
staff-management response. To
better understand the 2013 survey findings and discuss possible follow up actions, we jointly
hosted a half-day dialogue on
health and wellness at UNAIDS.
The meeting brought together
UNAIDS senior management,
the staff association Executive Committee, key resource
people serving UNAIDS (e.g.
Ethics office, Health and Medical Services, Ombudsman), as
well as UN Plus1 and UN Cares2
representatives, to review the
current situation and discuss
how to strengthen staff health
and wellness as part of maximizing our collective contribution to the HIV response. After
the dialogue we issued a joint
staff-management communiqué
to all staff, and have put this
issue on the agenda of Regional Management Meetings,
amongst other fora. We plan to
take stock and assess progress
in our 2014 staff survey.
Why is staff-management partnership so important to promoting health and wellness?
From our perspective as a
staff association, we both have
important roles to play – organizations have a duty of care to
staff, and staff members need
to be active in taking care of
their health and contributing
to a healthy workplace culture. When it comes to issues
of mental health, we often face
significant barriers of stigma,
shame and general reluctance
to talk about problems and seek
support. In our experience, by
working together, staff associations and management can
break the silence and open a
dialogue in the organization.
There is the human imperative
to do so, but it is increasingly recognized that promoting
Avril 2014 | 5
programmes to field personnel.
The report notes that “preventive care is more cost-efficient
than treatment” and concludes
that the “early management
of such [chronic and serious]
conditions may also result in
lower rates of absenteeism
and higher productivity among
active staff, costs that are not
easily reflected in the insurance
programme costs.”
Public servants for #zerodiscrimination. Jason Sigurdson (centre) together with
officials of the Austrian Trade Union Federation on the sidelines of the 67th Council of
the Federation of International Civil Servants Associations in Vienna, February 2014.
health is in our collective
interest as part of maximizing
performance and impact. At a
recent meeting of the United
Nations High-Level Committee
on Management3, the UN Medical Directors’ Working Group
stated that psychosocial and
stress-related disorders have
increased significantly in the
United Nations, and highlighted
how “performance-related discussions often offer an opportunity to bring to light previously
hidden health issues – both
physical and psychological.”
Members of the United Nations
Inter-Agency Security Management Network4 have emphasized the importance of stress
counselling in both critical and
non-critical situations.
One of the most important institutions enabling us to take care
of our health and that of our
6 | Avril 2014
families is staff health insurance. Staff associations participating in the WHO Global
Staff/Management Council, our
own included, have emphasised
that resolving the problems of
lengthy claim reimbursement
delays and the lack of local recognition of staff health insurance – especially at country
level – is essential to ensuring
that staff and their families
stay healthy and can get the
care they need, when they need
it.5 We have called for urgent
reform. Others in the United
Nations System appear to be
already taking steps in this
direction. A recent report of the
United Nations Secretary-General 6 noted that the United
Nations Secretariat is currently
working with third-party health
insurance administrators to
enable an expansion of disease management and wellness
Our staff association will continue advocating for investment
in staff health and wellness in
the United Nations System,
including in the context of the
comprehensive review of the
United Nations compensation
package, launched last year by
the International Civil Service
Commission.7 Strengthening
our systems and institutions for
health and wellness may not
happen overnight, but there are
actions we can all take starting
– As a staff member, if you think
that stress and anxiety is
affecting your performance,
seek advice and support from
the staff counsellor in health
and medical services, or a
private medical practitioner.
Don’t wait until the situation
gets worse. If you have concerns about your workload,
or need specific flexibilities
or support to better manage
professional and personal
obligations, a health condition or a disability, begin a
conversation with your first
line supervisor and explore
together what might be
– If you are a manager, learn
how to recognize signs
of possible health issues
among your staff; know
what resources are available in your organization and
duty station; get advice and
coaching on how to initiate
a conversation with your
colleague and refer them to
information and support services. Colleagues in human
resources, Health and Medical Services and your staff
association can all provide
you with further information. ■
The UNAIDS Secretariat Staff
Association represents 820 colleagues working in over eighty
countries around the world to
advance the vision of Zero new
HIV infections, Zero discrimination, and Zero AIDS-related
deaths. It is a member of the
Federation of International
Civil Servants Associations
À l’intérieur de Palexpo
Les secrets suisses du développement durable
À la lumière des discussions post-2015 sur les objectifs du
développement durable il est temps d’analyser les différents
modes de vie ou pratiques commerciales durables qui ont
été mis en place par des individus ou des entreprises depuis
longtemps déjà. Quelles sont les conditions préalables au
développement durable? De quelles qualités avons-nous besoin
pour devenir écologiquement durable et économiquement
prospère en même temps? Sur ce point précis et sur tant
d’autres, Philippe Echivard et Michel Chavallier de Palexpo à
Genève vont réfléchir ensemble avec le UN Special et partager
leur expérience au sein de ce célèbre centre d’exposition
qui est devenu l’un des pionniers du développement
durable en Suisse et à l’étranger.
Dernier arrêt du bus 28 avant
l’Aéroport de Genève. La pluie
tropicale régulière de cet hiver,
accompagnée par la première
tempête de 2014 ainsi que les
vents capricieux de février –
une journée parfaite pour parler du développement durable
(DD) avec Philippe Echivard,
Directeur du Département
Opérations et Michel Chevallier,
Responsable Media à Palexpo.
Ils m’accueillent dans le bâtiment administratif en face des
énormes vitrines du Centre de
Congrès où dans chaque couloir et chaque bureau se trouve
Outbound, leaves Geneva at 20:25 and arrives in
Beijing at 12:55 the next day.
Return, leaves Beijing at 13:30 and arrives in Geneva
at 18:25 the same day.
Experience the fascination of China !
Avril 2014 | 7
Photo: Palexpo
Deux voisins durables: Aéroport de Genève et Palexpo avec son toit photovoltaïque.
le personnel très actif et souriant, vacant à leurs occupations respectives. Non loin de
là, on remarque également, à
chaque endroit, la présence
de poubelles de recyclage et
de lampes LED à détecteur de
Palexpo a plus de 30 ans. Né
en 1981 dans la Villa Sarasin,
dans le cœur de la nature, une
petite villa s’est transformée en
un grand centre de foire international qui attire les gens du
monde entier. Aujourd’hui,
Palexpo est connu en Suisse
et à l’étranger, non seulement
pour ses fameux Salons internationaux de l’automobile,
des arts, des livres, mais aussi
en tant qu’entreprise, avec
sa propre Charte du développement durable (DD), qui
démontre un modèle de durabilité et de réussite dans les trois
domaines : environnemental,
social et économique.
Comment a commencé
cette histoire ?
Nous avons commencé l’initiative du développement durable
(DD) à Palexpo bien avant la formalisation de notre Charte en
2011! En 1993, quelques années
après le rapport Brundtland,
nous faisions déjà le tri et le
recyclage des matériaux, suivis par les changements aux
niveaux social, économique et
aussi au niveau du management. Aujourd’hui nous nous
occupons du développement
durable sans même nous en
rendre compte.
8 | Avril 2014
Alors, pourquoi formaliser ?
La formalisation apporte la
reconnaissance. En 1993,
nous ne poursuivions pas ce
but parce que personne ne s’en
préoccupait à ce moment-là.
Nous étions les seuls parmi les
centres d’exposition qui avions
cette politique.
J’imagine que le développement durable est toujours un
chemin épineux. Quels sont vos
plus grands succès et vos plus
grands défis ?
Au niveau environnemental,
à ce jour, Palexpo recycle 80%
des déchêts générés par les
activités du Centre. Il s’agit surtout de matériaux d’expositions
tels que les moquettes, les tapis
fabriqués avec des matières
plastiques, du verre ou du bois.
Après chaque exposition, les
tapis repartent chez les fournisseurs, où ils sont entièrement
recyclés. Les 20% restants (les
déchêts de cuisine) ne peuvent
pas être triés ni recyclés.
Pour chauffer les halles,
Palexpo ne brûle pas de fuel,
mais reçoit de l’eau chaude
qui arrive par voie souterraine.
Le plus grand centre photovoltaïque de Suisse se trouve sur
le toit de Palexpo. C’est aussi
l’un des plus grands installé sur
le toit d’un site d’expositions
dans le monde. Nous sommes
d’ailleurs le seul centre qui peut
se prévaloir de ne pas utiliser
l’électricité nucléaire.
Le Supercross International de
Genève, qui a lieu chaque année
en décembre dans les halles de
Palexpo, utilise la même terre
depuis sa première édition en
1985. Trois mille mètre cubes
de terre sont stockés sur un site
propre. Pour les transporter les
camions n’empruntent même
pas la route.
Nous incitons les visiteurs à
venir au Salon de l’Auto en
transport en commun, leur
évitant de prendre leur voiture. Oui, c’est un paradoxe !
Mais près de 60% des visiteurs
le font.
Au niveau social, nous encourageons l’égalité et le bien-être
du personnel. Les femmes, par
exemple, touchent les mêmes
salaires que les hommes.
Les grandes expositions sont
pleines d’imprévus, ce qui
entraîne un surcroît de travail
et nous amène à travailler
énormément. Mais les responsables s’assurent que les heures
supplémentaires soient récupérées afin d’éviter les accidents. Les chefs du planning
doivent s’y conformer, ce qui
les amène à être plus créatifs
et plus flexibles. La flexibilité
est la qualité première que l’on
demande à tous les gens qui
travaillent dans notre structure.
Selon le sondage anonyme de
cette année, que nous réitérons tous les 3-4 ans auprès
du personnel, plus de 90% se
sont déclarés satisfaits de travailler avec nous ici à Palexpo.
Et au niveau économique, le but
premier de Palexpo est d’aider
la ville et le Canton de Genève,
ainsi que la Suisse dans son
ensemble, à croître économiquement. Voici le but de notre
mission !
Est-ce qu’être durable
coûte cher ?
C’est plus cher de ne pas
l’être. Aujourd’hui la plupart
des gens, même avec la crise
économique, choisit « la voie
verte» au lieu de «la voie sale».
Nos clients font rapidement le
calcul : s’ils ramènent leurs
déchets dans leur pays, ils
devront payer pour le retraitement et le transport; si inver-
sement ils les laissent ici, c’est
nous qui faisons le recyclage
pour eux. C’est plus économique et écologique.
Chaque année Palexpo héberge
ou organise autour de
30 grandes expositions.
Quelle est la place qu’occupe
le développement durable (DD)
dans l’organisation de ces
expositions ?
Si quelques années auparavant
les organisateurs se ne préoccupaient pas du développement
durable (DD), nous le faisions
déjà. Aujourd’hui si vous ne
répondez pas à leurs critères
de développement durable,
vous n’êtes pas considérés
comme une place d’expositions
Nous avons toujours incité
les organisateurs à limiter le
transport, à traiter avec les
entreprises locales afin d’éviter
l'augmentation du trafic routier.
Depuis 2006, chaque année au
Salon de l’Auto, nous présentons une section consacrée aux
véhicules à propulsion alternative. Cette année, presque 10%
des véhicules exposés émettent
moins de 95 grammes de CO2
par km – c’est moins que les
normes européennes (95 g/ km
pour 2020). Chaque année,
nous baissons le plafond :
100 g/ km en 2013, 105 g/km
en 2012. Cette année pour la
première fois, sur un circuit
« indoor », les voitures électriques ont pu être aisément
Au niveau de la restauration,
l’utilisation du label « Genève
Région – Terre Avenir» garantit
que de nombreux produits de
la ferme servis aux restaurants
sont d’origine genevoise.
Qui sont vos alliés dans
le domaine du développement
durable (DD) ?
Pour le développement durable
les partenariats sont essentiels!
Nous avons un partenariat
avec les Initiatives cantonales
– Agenda 21 et Eco 21.
Avec les SIG (Services Indus-
bus électrique TOSA sans ligne
de contact. Il se recharge aux
arrêts (biberonnage) et est plus
écologique qu’un bus diesel.
Il semble que vous vivez presque
dans un monde idéal. Comment
voyez-vous le futur avec les
objectifs du développement
durable après 2015 ?
La Charte du développement
durable (DD) de Palexpo a dix
engagements qui impliquent
la responsabilité des employés
et partenaires. Comment les
impliquez-vous ?
Nous avons des rêves très pratiques ! Nous allons essayer de
consommer moins d’électricité et moins d’eau. Le défi
est de maintenir ce niveau et
d’améliorer tout ce qui a déjà
été créé. Aussi, nous pensons
qu’à terme, la valeur écologique
de chaque produit pourra être
intégrée dans sa valeur de
marché. Cela représentera
une vraie reconnaissance des
efforts que chacun de nous
investit dans le développement
Il n’y a pas besoin de leur
apprendre à recycler ou à respecter la nature. C’est imprimé dans les consciences. En
revanche, c’est lorsque nous
ne le faisons pas que c’est
anormal ! Le personnel est fier
de pouvoir participer à ce type
Nous suivons les recommandations du GRI (Global Reporting
Initiative) et nous avons des
indicateurs du développement durable qui mesurent et
contrôlent l’utilisation des ressources humaines, naturelles
et économiques. Nous allons
bientôt publier un rapport sur
le développement durable.
Il ne s’agit pas seulement de
recyclage. Cela va bien au-delà. En respectant notre terre,
notre ville et notre région, nous
en tirons une certaine fierté.
La fierté de faire partie d’une
grande mission qui est celle de
protéger et de préserver notre
planète pour un monde meilleur, pour que la pluie de juin
ne s’invite pas en janvier…
Philippe et Michel m’ont
convaincue que c’est à la portée de tous, sans être obligé de
dépenser de l’argent. Le développement durable comme
un mode de vie responsable ?
Pourquoi pas ? C’est possible,
ça existe. ■
Palexpo on the web :
Rome ne s’est pas faite en un
jour. Le développement durable
ne sera pas atteint immédiatement. Le temps, les années, les
changements générationnels
œuvreront pour que le développement durable fasse partie
de notre conscience.
Plus d’informations sur la stratégie du
développement durable de Palexpo :
Philippe Echivard, philippe.echivard@
Plus d’informations sur Palexpo et
visites : Michel Chevallier, [email protected]
administratives et 92 appartements de 2 à 6 pièces.
Les Colonnes, L’Aqueduc et L’Amphithéâtre
• 36 16 appartements de 2 et 2.5 pièces dès Frs 475’000.–
• 17 5 appartements de 3 et 3.5 pièces dès Frs 800’000.–
• 34 15 appartements de 4 et 4.5 pièces dès Frs 915’000.–
• 5 2 appartements de 6 pièces dès Frs 1’470’000.–
Images non contractuelles
triels de Genève) nous collaborons pour essayer de réduire la
consommation d’énergie. Nous
avons des détecteurs dans les
couloirs, les ateliers, le parking. Nous incitons les clients
à choisir l’électricité solaire ou
Nous sommes basés tout près
de l’Aéroport de Genève. Un
bon exemple de notre collaboration est celle que nous avons
avec le Salon de l’Aviation d’Affaires en Europe (EBACE), qui
a lieu à Genève chaque année
au mois de mai. Vous pourrez
visiter l’exposition à pied en
utilisant une passerelle qui relie
Palexpo au tarmac de l’aéroport où sont exposés les avions.
En 2013, les CFF (Chemins de
fer fédéraux suisses) ont fourni 136 trains spéciaux pour
amener les visiteurs au Salon
de l’Auto depuis différents
endroits en Suisse.
Depuis juin 2013, les TPG
(Transports publics genevois) ont mis en route entre
Palexpo et Genève Aéroport le
Surfaces de 136 m2 à 809 m2 aménageables au gré du preneur
dès Frs 6’250.– / m2
TÉL : +41 22 707 10 50 | FAX : +41 22 707 10 03
[email protected] | WWW.GRANGE.CH
Avril 2014 | 9
Take a stroll through the WHO gardens
Chris Black, WHO
Both are the result of many years of devoted work towards improving our minds and
bodies. Luther Burbank, American botanist, said: “Flowers always make people
better, happier, and more helpful; they are
sunshine, food and medicine for the soul”.
Prince Charles
WHO certainly has gardens to be proud of,
with horticultural contributions from all corners of the world. The gardens of WHO provide paths for strolling, corners for relaxation,
lawns for picnics, trees for shade, and even a
wild garden with butterfly and bird habitats.
Perhaps the most well-known area is the
Japanese Garden next to the Executive
Board Room, which was a donation from
the Government of Japan in 1971. It is a
rejuvenating patch of color designed to
incorporate architectural principles to
induce peace and calm. The elements of
trees, stones and water are incorporated,
representing all facets of nature. Five rocks
weighing about 13 tonnes were placed in
the tonseki fashion, reflecting the mythical
symbol of the authority of a chief performing an act of benevolence for his people.
The miniature pagoda in one corner has
five levels, denoting the five stages in the
life of the Buddha. The murmur of water in
the tiny pool denotes the movement of the
waves of the ocean. The tiny island on it has
a rock in Yukimidoro style, which translates
to, and is in the shape of, “a woman who
looks at the snow with a flowery hat”.
On the opposite side of the Executive Board
Room and complementing the adjacent Indian Room is the Indian Garden, inaugurated
in May 2007, which showcases plants used in
traditional Indian health care and medicinal
systems. The plants, some of which come
from as far as the Himalayas, and the many
10 | Avril 2014
Cherry trees :Laurence Vercammen
“If you have a library and garden, you have
everything you need,” so said Marcus Tullius Cicero,
Roman philosopher and politician, in 106 BC.
Move fast forward to 2014 and we in WHO can
count ourselves fortunate that we not only have a
bounteous collection in our library but also more than
one beautiful and serene garden in our workplace.
beautiful artefacts including marble lions,
elephants and fountain, have been donated
by the Government of India and the National
Medicinal Plants Board in New Delhi.
India has a rich tradition of plant-based
remedial health-care systems such as
ayurveda, unani and siddha schools of
medicine. Originating several millennia
ago, these together use over 45,000 species
of plants to produce about 8,000 plantbased medicines. At the inauguration of the
Indian Garden, the then Indian Minister of
Health and Family Welfare said: “In India
the food we eat, the language we speak, the
dress we wear, and the culture we follow
all depends on our traditional system. We
encourage WHO to take a more active role
in propagating these traditional systems
and we hope this garden will help promote
the use of natural and herbal medicine”.
At the rear of the Main Building are sprawling lawns that have been divided into four
distinct zones, known as “royal”, “diplomatic”, “Director-General” and “staff”. The Royal
Zone has a walnut tree planted by Queen
Sophia and King Juan Carlos of Spain in
March 2005 alongside a Norwegian ash
planted in April 2006 by Queen Sonja and
King Harald of Norway. The Ash has important connotations in Norse mythology and
is regarded as the tree of choice for kings.
The Prince of Wales, who gave the keynote
address to the World Health Assembly in May
2006 has planted a silver birch. The Prince,
well known for his love of gardens and his
passion for protecting the environment, said
during his visit, “I do believe most strongly
that we should not view poor health as something that exists in isolation, but which forms
as a direct consequence of our communities,
our cultures, our lifestyles and the way we
interact with our environments. The state
of our health reflects the food we eat, the
exercise we take, the water we drink, the
air we breathe and the quality of our housing and sanitation. I believe it also extends
to our social needs and circumstances, the
need to belong to a community, the need for
meaningful work and daily purpose. The
need in our lives for dignity and kindness,
for self-respect, for hope and, above all, for
harmony and, dare I say it, beauty.”
In the Diplomatic Zone, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan planted a Japanese maple next to the WHO flagpole
during his visit to the Organization in
October 2005. The Organization holds a
special place in his heart – he began his
United Nations career in 1962 working as
a Budget Officer at headquarters.
In the Director-General Zone, Dr. Gro
Harlem Brundtland, WHO Director-General
from 1998 to 2003 planted a red maple
before she retired. She selected the tree
for its vibrant leaf colors of red, orange
and yellow in the autumn.
Trees have traditionally been planted in
many cultures in honour of an accomplishment or an important rite of passage such
as a graduation, wedding, retirement or the
birth of a child. This tradition is also considered appropriate for honouring the life
of a loved one or respected colleague after
their death. In May 2007 Director-General
Dr. Margaret Chan planted a tree in memory of the late Director-General Dr. Lee
Jong-wook in the headquarters gardens.
Mr. Rhyu Simin, Minister of Health of the
Republic of Korea, selected the evergreen
tree Pinus sylvestris, which symbolizes for
the Korean people honour, integrity, sincerity and life throughout history. Traditionally
featured in Korean paintings and literature,
the pine tree reflected the passion and will
of Dr. Lee, the minister explained. “I hope
Dr. Lee will be remembered as a person of
dedication and sacrifice and that this small
tree will be cherished as the symbol of his
achievements and noble spirits.”
A magnolia tree was chosen to honour the
memory of another dedicated staff member – Lisa Veron, whose untimely death
took place while working for the Stop TB
Department in WHO’s regional office in Zimbabwe. Lisa was based in Geneva for more
than two years, before she was tragically
killed in January 2005. At the ceremony,
her husband, Martin Brunner, spoke about
the beauty and simplicity of the magnolia
flower as a symbol of her special qualities
and her work. Colleagues paid tribute to
her at the planting of the tree by recalling
her professionalism and dedication to TB
But perhaps the most striking in the WHO
gardens are the 70 cherry trees, donated
by the Japanese Government in April 2006.
With their magnificent pink blooms, they are
certainly among the best known symbols
of spring. Because the cherries blossom in
bunches of flowers, they are symbolically
associated with clouds, and stand for the
ephemeral nature of life in Japanese culture.
They have been planted in avenues along
the approach to the main reception and
behind the main building parallel to the
Member State flags which are raised for
WHO’s birthday on 7 April and then again
for the World Health Assembly in May. The
blooming of the trees is definitely one of
the most delightful sights every spring,
marking the end of the often harsh Geneva winter and the beginning of new life in
the WHO parks. ■
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Avril 2014 | 11
Population dynamics and environment
Looking beyond doom and gloom
© Emily J. Phillips, Courtesy of Photoshare
For several decades media and prominent
speakers have presented human population growth as inherently negative for the
environment. This has led to the intuition
that subsequently population size growth
is the dominant driver of environmental
degradation. However, the evidence behind
these claims remains highly speculative.
In this article we will present data – based
on demographic and environmental data –
that challenge the general assumption that
fewer people will save the planet.
Neo-Malthusian claims: ‘population
growth as main cause of environmental
Neo-Malthusians have revisited a theory
developed by Thomas Malthus in 1798.
Malthus claimed that exponential population growth would outstrip linear food
production growth. The so-called ‘positive
checks’ (such as hunger, war, diseases,
starvation,…) make populations bounce
back to the number in accordance with
food supply, and are therefore considered
as desirable. However, these predictions
have proven to be inaccurate: since 1960,
food production has grown faster than the
world population has, while mortality has
not increased but decreased. Additionally,
world population growth is not exponential, but is in constant decline since 1968.1
A 14-year-old Afghan mother receives contraceptive pills and family planning education during a visit to her midwife.
Midwives are vital to the health of mothers in Afghanistan as women are typically not allowed to visit male health
care workers. This young mother believes her husband will be supportive of contraceptive pills once she has
explained to him the benefits of family planning.
Annual population growth rates
Demographic transition in developing and
developed world
The call of the Neo-Malthusians to curb
human numbers comes at a time when
global fertility rates have already dramatically decreased. In the past fifty years,
12 | Avril 2014
However, the Malthusian philosophy lives
on in a modern interpretation, pointing
at environmental impact of population
growth. The idea is that more people will
inevitably lead to a bigger impact on the
planet, and that populations need to be
‘controlled’ in order to avoid environmental
North America
Latin America & Caribbean
average children per women have actually fallen from 5 to 2.5. According to estimates, fertility rates will further converge
at 2.0 by the end of the century, leading
to negative population growth in the long
term.1 This debunks the often refrained
fear that we are having too many children:
currently, more developed regions do not
have enough children to ensure that their
reproductive population is replaced.
As a consequence of decreasing global
fertility rates, the peak number of children
has been reached: the world will never
have more than 2 billion people aged
0-14 years.2 At present the population will
continue to grow but that will stem from
growth within the adult population. For
instance, the number of persons aged 60
or over is expected to increase from 841
million in 2013 to 2 billion in 2050 and
close to 3 billion in 2100.1
Should we blame populations or consumers?
Considering population as the biggest driver comes with the assumption that any
population decrease could benefit the environment. This would divert the attention
on poor countries with high fertility rates.
Stephenson et al.3 point out that ‘consumers
cause climate change’ is a far more accurate simplification than ‘populations cause
climate change3. It is hard to consider the
majority of the inhabitants of low and lower
middle income countries as consumers,
knowing that their electricity consumption
is even too low to consider registration.
Consequently, studies show that tackling
overconsumption in high income countries
would have a larger, more direct impact on
the environment than addressing overpopulation in the developing world.4
price tag. One of the biggest challenges of
this century is to meet the reproductive
and development needs of the poor, while
leapfrogging the carbon-based economic progress model pursued by most high
income countries. This concern should be
addressed in line with the ambition of the
international community to integrate the
environmental pillar systematically within the post-2015 development agenda, to
ensure a steady orientation towards sustainable development. ■
1 World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision,
Highlights and Advance Tables. New York: United
Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
Population Division, 2013.
2 Rosling H. The joy of facts and figures by Fiona
Fleck. Bull World Health Organ. Switzerland; 2013:
3 Stephenson J, Crane SF, Levy C, Maslin M. Population, development, and climate change: links
and effects on human health. Lancet 2013 Nov
16; 382(9905):1665-73. doi: 10.1016/S01406736(13)61,460-9. Epub 2013 Jul 11.
4 Mace G, Terama E, Coulson T. Perspectives on
International Trends and Dynamics in Population and
Consumption. Environmental and Resource Economics 2013; 55(4): 555-68.
5 Stenberg K, Axelson H, Sheehan P, et al. Advancing
social and economic development by investing in
women’s and children’s health: a new Global Investment Framework. The Lancet 2013; Nov 18. pii:
S0140-6736(13)62,231-X. doi: 10.1016/S01406736(13)62,231-X. [Epub ahead of print]
The authors would like to acknowledge Mrs Christine
Meynent for selection and sharing the photo
Reproductive health for all: overcoming the
development-environment dilemma
This does not contradict the need for family
planning/contraceptives services in developing countries. Indeed, the evidence on
the health and economic benefits of these
services is compelling enough to support
increased investments in this field. Millions of maternal and child deaths could
be prevented, creating huge opportunities
for economic and social development.5
As societies break the spiral of poverty
and are able to effectively decrease fertility
rates by preventing unwanted pregnancies, so does their per capita environmental impact mount. Several countries such
as China, Brazil, and Turkey managed to
reach below-replacement fertility rates, but
encountered a simultaneous rise in per capita CO2-emissions. Fewer, more healthy and
wealthy people could have a bigger impact
on the planet compared to ever more people
trapped in extreme poverty.
The social and economic empowerment of
women, which help families to meet their
needs for energy, water, health services,
transportation, etc., has an environmental
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Avril 2014 | 13
Photo credits: WHO
Health is the “Heartbeat”
of Sustainable Development
In September 2013, I had the pleasure
of attending a high level meeting on ‘Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce
Short-lived Air Pollutants (CCAC)‘ in Oslo,
Norway. This meeting is an alliance of over
60 countries, UN agencies and civil society
groups, in which the World Health Organization (WHO) had just become its newest
The Oslo meeting offered a unique opportunity from officials of respective ministries of
Environment in countries and Environmental NGOs from around the world to meet
with a delegation of senior WHO officials
about a common concern, namely, the soaring costs to health of air pollution-related
deaths and illnesses.
According to the latest scientific estimates,
millions of people die prematurely every
year as a result of health risk factors associated with both indoor and outdoor air
14 | Avril 2014
pollution exposures. Air pollution is a major
factor in the development of many respiratory diseases, some cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. The evidence suggests
air pollution is one of the largest single
risks to health that the global population
now faces.
Hence, our world faces an unprecedented
growth in the rates of death and disability
from non-communicable diseases, including respiratory diseases, cancers, heart
disease, and a range of obesity-related
diseases. Indeed, these diseases may be
closely connected to unhealthy lifestyles
and choices people make. Regardless of
such choices, many people in large, developing cities cannot easily and safely walk
or cycle outside their homes so as to get
some exercise as there is legitimate fear of
being run over by a vehicle or of inhaling
air choked with fumes from these same
This said, we, WHO’s Department of Public
Photo credits: WHO
diseases that are still highly prevalent in
developing countries, including diarrhoeal
diseases which are responsible for nearly
two million deaths of under five-year old
children a year; deaths from malaria, dengue fever and other vector-borne parasites
and viruses.
Health, Social and Environmental Determinants of Health, estimate that about
one-quarter of the global burden of death
and disease is due to unhealthy environmental factors. This “burden” includes both
communicable and non-communicable
Among the former group of diseases are the
water, vector-borne and air-borne infectious
In addition, developing countries also are
now facing a “double burden” of growing
non-communicable diseases which are
already prevalent in developed countries.
It is worth mentioning that many of these
also are due to environmental factors related to unsustainable development. These
include cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory conditions triggered by air
pollution, indoors and outdoors; cancers
from exposure to dangerous chemicals
in factories, farms and at home; physical
inactivity risks, traffic injuries, and obesity-related cardiovascular and cancer
conditions that are exacerbated when
people cannot move easily on foot, bicycle or public transport for their daily routines, and as such become more sedentary.
Moreover, nutritional diets have become
almost non-existent as individuals shift
from diets of fresh foods to diets high in
fat and processed foods, the reason being
that the latter are simply more affordable
and accessible. In a gist, over 80% of the
diseases and injuries monitored by WHO
are influenced somehow by environmental
or occupational factors.
Additionally, social “determinants”, such
as insecure land tenure, employment and
joblessness, poverty, discrimination, violence and drug abuse typically interact
with, and also exacerbate, the poor environmental conditions in which the world’s
poor live, work, raise families, and age.
Together, these contribute to higher rates of
HIV and TB transmission, under nutrition,
occupational injuries and health risks from
chemical exposures, as well as many other
disease conditions.
Having framed the dismal problem associated with air pollution, it is refreshing to
identify pockets of clean, health-enhancing
development. Brilliant examples include
large cities such as Copenhagen, Zürich,
Amsterdam and Curitiba, Brazil. These cities
appear to have high rates of healthy “active
transport” as well as low concentrations of
health-damaging particulate air pollution.
Local Moves
We make it easy
Contact Christophe Wilkins
T: +41(0) 79 686 69 28
E: [email protected]
a must-see
Avril 2014 | 15
trations, safe drinking water, ionizing and
electromagnetic radiation and chemical
exposures and other key environmental
background factors are used by countries
around the world as the basis for national legislation, standards, and enforcement
Leadership and advocacy
We join with our fellow UN agencies,
national governments and ministries, and
with civil society campaigns and coalitions
to make a difference. WHO has long been
active in UN-supported campaigns for
example eliminate lead in gasoline and
paint; halt the use of asbestos, which causes lung disease; and eliminate mercury
in medical devices to name just a few. We
have recently joined the UN Secretary
General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative supporting clean energy initiatives
for households and in energy-poor health
clinics of developing countries.
Photo credits: WHO
Focusing on primary prevention makes
great sense today as the world looks forward to an agreement on a new set of
post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
So given these pockets of refreshing pollution-free environments in some select cities, where does this leave developing cities,
which are hungry to develop but struggle
to cope with polluting industries, urban
sprawl including soaring traffic? WHO’s
Department of Public Health, Social and
Environmental Determinants of Health
(PHE) dares to suggest that the dismal
associated problems of air pollution that
developing cities face can be addressed
by policy makers in countries. They may
do so by coming up with effective policies, development strategies and affordable
technologies. Where these already exist,
they may ensure that the policies such as
strong regulations on the environment,
and sustainable irrigation and water
management – development strategies
such as prioritization of dedicated networks of urban public transport, walking
and cycling pavements – and affordable
technologies such as solar or hydroelectric
sources are implemented in tandem and
on a sufficient scale.
also requires policy makers to empower
their health sectors to lead and act along
with other government and economic sectors on these issues. This is where WHO’s
PHE Department comes in. Our focus is
on what we call “primary prevention”.
This involves population-wide, proactive,
upstream preventive policies and actions.
We work across different sectors in distinct
ways and with different partners, bringing
core activities and added value including:
Quantifying death, disease and disability from
different environmental (and where feasible)
social risks
Data contributes to awareness, prioritization, and action. WHO generates periodic
estimates of population illness and deaths
related to air pollution, unsafe water and
sanitation, exposure to certain chemicals
such as lead, as well as from risks such
as physical inactivity and unhealthy diets
– which may be due to a mix of environmental factors as well as lifestyle choices.
Guidance in norms, standards and indicators
The flip side to the above line of action
16 | Avril 2014
WHO guidelines for air pollution concen-
In the new SDGs, health should be a measure of the sustainable development progress. Are we building more sustainable
cities? We can track progress by examining
if urban air pollution concentrations, often
dangerously high in emerging economies,
begin to stabilize and decline. Are we making sustainable use of water resources? If
so, rates of waterborne diseases should
also decline. Are we reducing climate
change emissions? If yes, we should also
see reductions in heart disease and respiratory illness since a shift to more sustainable urban transport and urban energy
systems could minimize air pollution, and
therefore decrease the chances of heart
disease, respiratory illness and cancers
in individuals.
Collectively, all of these activities touch
every one of us, across the planet – rich
and poor, newborns and elderly. They
help support health and well-being across
our journey through life by avoiding and
eliminating unnecessary illness, injury and
death through primary prevention of social
and environmental hazards. Indeed, they
are the healthy heartbeat of sustainable
development. ■
The European Emissions Trading Scheme
How to couple the finance
and the environment
photo credit: Thomsonreuters
The European Emissions
Trading Scheme (EU ETS)
was established with the aim
of reducing greenhouse gas
emissions and complying with
EUs international obligations in
the Kyoto Protocol.
Hæge Fjellheim
I invited Hæge Fjellheim to
help us to better understand
the EU ETS and get her views
on trading in this market.
Hæge is a senior policy analyst
with the EU carbon analysis
team at Thomson Reuters Point
Can you please tell us
very briefly how the EU ETS
is supposed to help reduce
emissions in Europe?
The EU ETS is a so-called capand-trade scheme. The basic
idea is to set a cap1 upfront,
which defines the maximum
amount of greenhouse gas
emissions from the covered
sectors. The cap is reduced
every year, so that emissions
will gradually fall. Under this
cap, installations receive or
buy allowances – and can buy
or sell these in line with their
needs. This should ensure that
the cheapest emissions reduction measures are implemented first so that the climate
goal is reached at the lowest
possible cost. Once a year,
companies have to surrender
allowances to authorities to
cover their actual emissions,
and if they are not able to,
they will be fined. So there is
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photo credit: iStockPhoto
a strong incentive to comply
with the rules and keep total
emissions within the cap.
The important thing to understand in my view, is that it is
the cap that defines the environmental ambition – and this
is decided by EU policy makers.
The ongoing political debate in
the EU on climate targets for
2030 will also define the cap
for EU ETS beyond 2020.
Can we say that the scheme
really has reduced emissions?
In your view what are the main
The declining emissions in
Europe during the last years
are mainly due to lower industrial activity caused by the
financial recession. However,
I think it is safe to say that setting a price on emissions has
had an effect on companies
behaviour. Our annual survey
amongst market participants
confirms this; around half of
the respondents report the EU
ETS has caused abatement in
their company.
The scheme allows for trade
in allowances (EUAs) as other
financial instruments, and there
18 | Avril 2014
are even specialized “climate
exchanges”. We might think that
the financial markets discovered
another new way to quickly
win money through arbitrage
or merely trade speculation.
Is the European carbon market
purely financial trading or are
the covered entities really
being incentivised to reduce
In my view there is a clear
incentive for the power and
industry companies to comply
with the EU ETS rules; bear in
mind that incentive to reduce
emission is set by the carbon
price or expectations of future
carbon prices. With the low carbon prices in Europe there is
a concern that it does not give
a sufficient incentive to drive
green investments, and EU is
currently discussing reform of
the ETS to deal with this. To
your other question, I’d say that
the carbon market is no different than other markets in that
financial players take positions
which lead to profits or loss.
It is for example much more
financial trading in European
power markets than in the carbon market. It is true that a few
years ago, there were several
incidents of frauds related to
carbon trading. However, these
incidents were insignificant in
terms of the traded volume, and
it has for sure led to better regulations of the market.
Do you think the scheme will
stay in place for a long period?
I am pretty confident the EU ETS
will play a major role in Europe’s
climate policy also in the future.
The European Commission in
fact wants to strengthen the
scheme beyond 2020, making
it the main vehicle for Europe
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate investments
in renewable energy and green
Can we expect emission
reductions by 2020?
Yes, as the cap is reduced year
by year, we will see reductions
at least in line with this ambitious level.
least this is the case for the EU.
The whole “infrastructure” of
the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) is also important
as development of systems
for monitoring, reporting and
review of countries emissions
and measures – such as national carbon markets – should help
to build trust among countries.
But in a consensus-based
organizations like the UN, there
will always be laggards, and
there is a need for countries
to ‘lead by example’. With the
CDM now dying, it remains to
be seen what role international
carbon markets will play in the
2015 global climate agreement
in Paris. ■
1 Cap has the meaning of an upper
limit; a ceiling. We keep using the
word cap here, because is the term
used in the market.
For further reading
Finally what is the role of
international organizations like
the United Nations in carbon
I think the UN international
negotiations create a push for
countries to speed up their
national processes to determine national climate goals – at
Exploring the UN Canteens
A Foodie’s Paradise? The Stagiaire Perspective!
ENV house
Red Cross
Main dish value
Soup value 70%
Salad choice
Ambiance (view)
Ambiance (noise) 30%
Ambiance (light)
Risk of crowdedness
Proximity to the Palais des Nations
Final mark
Very bad
Very good
We all know that moment:
in the middle of all the UN
bureau-craziness, we just want
to sit down during our lunchtime and savour that moment
of peace. But let’s stop for a
moment: which canteen is
the foodie’s heaven? Which
one offers the best value?
And which one has the most
user-friendly environment?
This article takes a look at how
the 13 different UN cafeterias
compare to each other. If nothing else, this article will provide
some food for your thought!
Food may be more important
than we actually think. Food is
political, especially in a place
like the UN. According to the
World Food Programme, 842
million people in the world do
not have enough to eat, yet
food that we throw away in
the developed world may feed
all the hungry people several
times over. Also, food is connected with many risks. Every
now and then, protests break
out over genetically modified
(GM) food. Yet another aspect is
not to be underestimated; food
security could affect everyone
in the UN. A golden-rule of food
preparation: either peel it, cook
it or don’t eat. A field-trodden UN official would know
very well!
During my 5-month internship
with the Joint Inspection Unit
of the UN System (UNJIU), I
decided to look at life at the
UN in Geneva from a different
perspective: it is the food that
helps UN officials to run the
conference diplomacy, coordinate humanitarian affairs or
lead the peace talks. This article, therefore, puts food on top
of the agenda and evaluates
several important aspects of
the UN canteens such as food
price-to-quality ratio, but also
the environmental aspect of
eating well, such as the canteen noise level, crowdedness
or simply the canteen view. Of
course, the food contractors
alike are trying to provide excellent service; they often use local
ingredients, helping to reduce
our carbon footprint, and they
are generally respectful of the
environment, but while all UN
canteens are equal, some are
more equal than the others.
If taste is the most subjective of all
senses, how is one to objectively
evaluate UN canteens where 193
palates have to respected?! Being
a canteen connoisseur actually
requires several years of training
to finally develop a palate, which
can tell whether those Brussels
sprouts have really been grown
in Brussels or flown across half
of the world to land on your
plate. With hindsight, then, this
is not a task for a single unpaid
stagiaire-foodie, but for a real
inspector in order to do justice
to this complex topic. ■
Questions, ideas? Contact the author at
Avril 2014 | 19
photo credits: Jonas Zech
Food miles
Think seasonal and buy local!
Is it really necessary to eat exotic and out-of-season fruits from all
around the world at any given time of the year?
Daniel and Jonas Zech, 11-year old twin brothers from Switzerland,
studied the subject of food miles in depth during their school years in the
USA. They were keen to share what they learned.
Left: Jonas, right: Daniel
Every time we visit a market,
we are really impressed by all
the fruits and vegetables from
different countries all over the
world – more countries than
most of us travel during our
lifetime. When you buy a basket
of 15 fresh fruits or vegetables,
they can sum up easily around
30,000 “food miles”, which
means that the fruits have travelled 30,000 miles from their
country of origin before ending
up on our local store or market
– a distance which equals a trip
around the world.
We ask ourselves how significant are food miles on our environment? Is it really necessary
to eat exotic and out-of-season
fruits from all around the world
at any given time of the year,
most of them air freighted from
their countries of origin? Does
“eating organic” really justify
buying certain fruits irrespective of the thousands of food
miles created?
20 | Avril 2014
Today, our food is transported
further than ever before, often
by air, which is a major contributor to greenhouse emissions
and climate change. Transporting delicate foods long distances requires packaging to protect
them or a lot of energy to keep
them frozen along the way.
Today, we even harvest and
ship unripe products around
the world to artificially ripen
them in energy-consuming
facilities before they come to
our shops. The organic movement was based on minimizing
the environmental impact, but
the increasing demand has led
to thousands extra food miles.
Of course considering only food
mileage would be too simple.
There are possibly cases in
which local fruit which is grown
in a greenhouse is more environmentally hazardous than
the transported fruits from a
warm climate. Some people
also argue that buying organic food is a successful way for
developing countries to create
jobs and business. So in any
case, when we buy imported
fruits and vegetables, we should
still be conscious of the “food
miles” and the environmental
impact created. As a simple
rule, we should rather buy
foods which were transported
by ship or by truck than transported by air which has a much
higher environmental impact.
We know how we feel after a
long distance flight around the
world… jet-lagged. No wonder
that new research has found
that the longer and further
fresh, fragile vegetables and
fruits travel, the more their
vitamin and mineral content
deteriorates. Fruits need to be
packed earlier to prevent its
spoiling on its long journey. It
is a fact that short distances
promote fruit quality: the earlier the fruits come after harvest
on our plate, and the riper the
fruits and vegetables are at harvest, the better for our health.
So, what can we do to reduce
our food mileage without us
restricting our eating quality?
Buying local is for sure a good
principle. We should ask more
questions where fruits and vegetables come from and weigh
in aspects to become a climate
friendly consumer and to reduce
food mileage. Sometimes it is
very obvious and we only need
our common sense. Why should
we buy something that we get
locally, transported around the
world? And if we do not get it
locally, then there is certainly
a local alternative that is more
environmentally friendly.
Changing what we eat can have
also a big effect on the environment. Today, we are used to have
access to all fruits all year long.
We should rather ask for fruits
and vegetables which are in
season in our region. Out of season regional products which are
cultivated in energy-consuming
greenhouse cultivation reduces
the food mileage, but does not
help the environment either.
Eating seasonable and regional
fruits seems to be a good principle without compromising much
on diversity and choice. With a
regional menu we will support the
local or regional farmers and will
ultimately preserve the culinary
variety of the different regions.
Think about that: When we travel
to a different country in the world,
we love to eat the regional products and learn about the different
food culture. Finding there fruits
and vegetables shipped from
home would be awkward. In the
same way, we should adapt this
thinking when we shop fruits and
vegetables at home.
Furthermore, we will build trust
while touring local and regional farmers and have at the same
time a better idea where the
fruits and vegetables come
from. As well as reducing food
mileage, local shopping would
lead to more agricultural diversity, which is also better for the
environment after all. ■
Edie Wells
The Ethiopian Children’s Appeal
On behalf of ‘The Ethiopian
Children’s Appeal’, I would like
to report on the annual delivery
made in January 2014 to the
Sodore and Melka Oba Schools
located in Sodore, Ethiopia.
Since 2001, the ECA has been
delivering school supplies, building classrooms and libraries and
from 2012 planting vegetable
gardens at these rural schools.
Its main source of funding is
through a Spring and Winter
bazaar showcasing Ethiopian
artisanal products. Both the June
and November 2013 bazaars
held in Geneva, Switzerland,
were well attended with many
activities for children and adults
alike, as well as performances
by members of the UN musical
clubs. There were also dance and
music performance by several
children of UN colleagues.
During this year’s delivery, I was
accompanied by six colleagues,
one from The Global Fund to
Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria, and five graduate students. Four students are currently participating in Webster
University’s Global International
Relations Masters’ Programme,
while one is a PHD candidate
from North Carolina; four are
African Americans who were
visiting Sub-Saharan Africa for
the first time. They helped me
to deliver school supplies such
as exercise books, pens, pencils,
and even treats to more than 900
children. They also prepared an
Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas
celebration with gifts for the HIV/
AIDS children who I consider
my adopted grandchildren and
that live at the Artist for Charity (AFC) home in Addis Ababa.
This year, we were also able to
install a water line to the Melka
Oba School so that children could
have clean drinking water. The
vegetable garden reaped three
harvests of corn and soybeans
which helped to feed the destitute families of children attending the school. With the help
of the Ethiopian Institute for
Sustainable Development (ISD)
and its venerable founder, Susan
Edwards, as well as her staff,
we were able to work with the
local community to install trench
dams which will prevent flooding
and erosion in the school area.
Furthermore, we are collaborating with ISD in implementing a
project to fund vocational training for graduating secondary students, as well as projects that will
provide employment to mothers
in the community (chicken farms
and dairy cows). We also delivered school supplies to a third
school which is located in the
national park reserve in the
region of Lake Langano.
The AFC children are growing
up fast. Three young ladies now
attend university; one is at the
University of Nova Scotia, one
at Adama University and the
other one at Arba Minch University. I was able to locate a
Geneva-based charity that
agreed to finance the private
secondary education of all the
AFC children.
Last September ‘The Ethiopian
Children’s Appeal’ was presented the UN 21 Award for staff
volunteerism in 2013. During
my recent trip to Ethiopia, I
had the honor of personally
delivering the award to our
colleagues working in the UN
Economic Commission for Africa in recognition of their help
in establishing ECA, initially
as a task force thirteen years
ago. The Commission, under
the leadership of Executive
Secretary Carlos Lopes, continues to provide transport, fuel
and drivers in order to make
the deliveries, and we greatly
appreciate this support.
We are hoping that the ECA
association will become a recognized non-governmental
organization in the USA, Switzerland and Ethiopia in the
near future. While in Ethiopia,
I met with Ethiopian officials to
discuss this change of status
for the ‘Ethiopian Children’s
Appeal’, and will follow up once
I retire from the UN.
Linked to the ECA is “The
Schoolery: Jewels for Schools”,
a charity boutique that I set up
in my spare time on
shop/schoolery. The shop features jewelry designed by local
Ethiopian artists and myself. All
proceeds from the shop help to
support the two schools as well
as the AFC children. It is also my
hope to help set up a cooperative in Ethiopia to train homeless and unemployed mothers to
design jewelry themselves and
to promote their work online.
There is indeed more to be
done, and though I will be retiring in a few months, I plan to
hold a final bazaar and gala in
late May or early June this year.
This will be an opportunity to
raise funds to continue the work
of the EAC and to personally say
thank you and goodbye to all of
you in Geneva who have provided ECA with so much support
and care. I look forward to your
continuing patronage. ■
Avril 2014 | 21
In Memoriam
Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky
Many called him the “perfect diplomat”.
As former Under-Secretary-General and
Director-General of the United Nations
Office in Geneva, Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky
has a long and illustrious career.
His career in the UN Secretariat as Political Affairs Officer
started 7 years later. Within
5 years he received the rank
of Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary, and from
1979 to 1986 was Director
of the Department of International Organizations at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He became Deputy Minister
of Foreign Affairs, and later
served as First Deputy Minister. By 1992 he was appointed,
by then UN Secretary-General Dr. Butros-Butros Ghali,
Under-Secretary-General for
Political Affairs in New York as
well as Special Envoy in Libya.
A year later, he was appointed
Under-Secretary-General and
22 | Avril 2014
Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva.
He also served during the first
mandate of the Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan until 2002.
At that time Dr. Petrovsky was
also the Secretary-General
of the Conference on Disarmament, and the Personal
Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Conference on Disarmament. He was
also Special Envoy of the UN
Secretary-General to Libya and
Special Representative of the
UN Secretary-General in Albania (1998).
As UNOG Director-General, he
initiated public “open days” of
the United Nations Office thus
creating a symbolic bridge
between the “left and the right
banks” of the City of Geneva. He
had a strong and clear vision
and even dreamt of Geneva
as a place where peace may
flourish, change is welcome and
diversity embraced and, perhaps more concretely, where
specialists and luminaries
from all fields come together
and define and implement the
new security paradigm. He also
strongly connected the different UN Agencies together and
greatly improved relations with
the host country Switzerland
through regular meetings
with the Government in Bern.
United Nations photo archives
He began his diplomatic
career in 1957 as attaché
in the Permanent Mission
of the USSR to the UN, after
graduating from the Moscow
State Institute of International
Relations (MGIMO). In 1975,
Dr. Petrovsky received his
Doctorate in History at the
Institute of International
Relations and Work Economy.
He then worked in foreign
policy throughout the difficult
period of the Cold War. During
the perestroika period, he was
First Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs while Mr. Gorbachev
was President.
During the final year of his
work (before his retirement),
one of his dearest dreams came
true – Switzerland became the
190th Member of the United
It was his personal aspiration
for peace, combined with his
goodwill and patience, perseverance, wisdom and integrity,
that gave weight to his words
and made him a friend to many,
outside the professional realm
of the negotiating table.
Dr. Petrovsky is also the author
of numerous books: Diplomacy
of 10 Downing Street; Dialogue
for Peace. Participation of the
USSR in Multilateral Diplomacy; Disarmament: Concept,
Problems and Mechanisms;
Diplomacy as an instrument of
good governance; among other
volumes. He is a recipient of
numerous awards.
Dr. Petrovsky passed away in
Moscow on 21 February, 2014
after a long and severe illness.
The United Nations, as well as
the whole diplomatic community, have lost the rare personality of Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky. A
man who loved the world and
served it all his life with untiring enthusiasm and hope. ■
Photo credit: WHO
Story of the birth of the World Health Organization
7 April 1948 is
the day WHO
was born, and is
observed as World
Health Day. In an
interesting tryst
with history, the
idea of WHO was
conceived over
a chance lunch
encounter of three
medical men at the
conference where
the United Nations
was formalized.
The first few chapters of the
history of WHO were actually
scripted at the luncheon table.
Dr. Szeming Sze, one of the
founding fathers of WHO writes
in his memoir (The Origins of
the World Health Organization:
A personal memoir 1945-8)
that “it all came about quite
In the summer of 1945, when
the last battles of World War
II were being fought, delegates
of 50 nations gathered at the
United Nations Conference on
International Organization in
San Francisco, USA (25 April–
26 June). These 850 delegates
represented 80% of the then
world’s population, people of
every race, religion and continent; and it was here that the
final draft of the United Nations
(a term coined by US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt) Charter
was signed.
Countries pledged themselves
to a “United Nations” to secure
lasting peace, but there had not
been any formal talk on a global health organization. UNICEF
was the only health-related
agency of the United Nations
that was initially planned, and
it was to be mainly involved in
rehabilitating child victims of
war (hence it was then called
“emergency” fund).
There were three “medical
men” – delegates who were
medical doctors – at the San
Francisco Conference who
developed a lasting friendship
during the sessions: Dr. Szeming Sze of China, Dr. Geraldo de
Paula Souza of Brazil and Dr.
Karl Evang of Norway. Dr. Sze
was fluent in Chinese and English, and as translator at crucial
meetings had an inside view
of all key proceedings. Dr de
Paula Souza had proposed the
health clause in the UN Charter
(Articles 55 and 57). Dr. Evang
was one of the early proponents
of a global, collective approach
to public health.
On 2 May 1948 the three medical men, who can be described
as the “founding fathers of
WHO”, met during the conference for what Dr. Sze later
called “a medical lunch”. At that
lunch, Dr. Evang broached the
topic: “Why don’t we start a
new health organization?” That
was the first time at San Francisco that anyone had spoken of
a global health organization. At
that time there were regional
“sanitary” organizations in different parts of the world but no
truly global health body. When
the seed of the idea was conceived, the three took up the
task of persuading the delegates to support the vision of
a global health body.
The three doctors proposed
a resolution asking the San
Francisco delegates to convene another conference with
the agenda of setting up a global health body. However, the
Steering Committee had too
many draft resolutions already,
and discouraged more submissions. So the draft resolution
that emerged from that first,
and soon to be historic, lunch
did not see light of day.
Dr. Sze writes in his memoirs
that he was “just giving up
hope when another miracle
luncheon happened”. He found
himself sitting next to the Secretary-General of the Conference,
Mr. Alger Hiss, at lunch one day.
Dr. Sze briefed him about the
need for such a health organization, and expressed regret
that no more resolutions were
being allowed. Mr. Hiss, a pragmatic diplomat of wide experience, suggested a “practical”
solution: “Oh, it’s very simple.
Don’t present it as a resolution,
call it a declaration,” Dr. Sze
quotes him as saying.
The next day Dr. Sze proposed a
“Draft Declaration” on an international health organization
as a joint declaration of Brazil
and China. The declaration was
approved unanimously, and a
conference to discuss such an
organization was agreed upon.
That set off a chain of historic
events culminating in the birth
of WHO in 1948.
Incidentally, it was Dr. Szeming Sze who coined the name
“World Health Organization”. ■
Avril 2014 | 23
“Innovations that are guided by smallholder
farmers, adapted to local circumstances,
and sustainable for the environment will be
necessary to ensure food security in the future!”
— Bill Gates
Studies estimate that fresh food travels over
1,500 miles before being consumed
— National Sustainable Agriculture Information Services 2008
Photo credits: Jonas Zech
Getty Images
Philippines, Tacloban Astrodome and Sky-Watch Huginn X1 UAV in action
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are fast
becoming a game-changer in the UN world
Unmanned aerial vehicles, known
variously as UAVs, remotely piloted
vehicles (RPVs), remotely piloted
aerial system (RPAS), flying robots
and more commonly as drones, have
been a feature of aviation since its
humble beginning. In the 21st century,
the technology has reached a point
of sophistication that the UAV is now
being given a greatly expanded role
and is largely seen as a “game-changer”
in many industries – the New York
Times referred to them as
“a new paradigm”.
26 | Avril 2014
Rarely a day goes by without
new and innovative uses of
UAVs being front page news
– from a well-known online
retailer hoping to use them to
deliver packages to farmers
using them to analyse humidity in their fields so as to know
when, where and how much
to irrigate their crops. UAVs
are also used by UN staff. One
example, still fresh to memory,
was right after Typhoon Haiyan
in the Philippines.
For international
Tacloban, where Typhoon Haiyan
hit Philippines the most.
them, quite literally, a
In November 2013, the World
watched in horror as Typhoon
Haiyan made land near the
City of Tacloban, Philippines
destroying houses, bridges,
and killing thousands. Communications were disrupted and
tens of thousands of survivors
were in need of immediate
rescue teams who
were dispatched to the
archipelago, two of the
major challenges facing
them were access to
affected areas and
priority setting. Help now
comes from the air in
the form of a Sky-Watch
Huginn X1 UAV that gives
birds-eye view of the
situation and allows them
to assess damages and
speed up their activities.
This quadcopter can hover and
fly in strong winds, rain, dust
and even snow and still provide valuable imagery. It was
that UAVs are a “key weapon
against illegal hunters” later
adding “If people hear them,
if they know there’s an eye in
the sky, it’s a huge deterrence
to try anything.” He adds: “The
next level up is what we call
observation – the ability to use
the camera to see what’s going
on in situations and direct our
rangers to a location.”
trafficking. The UAVs are so
versatile that we are now also
analysing their use to watch
over endangered marine turtles and their precious eggs
and partnering for the re-introduction of the eagle in the
Alps. This game changer UAV
is portable and made to work
in rough field conditions so it
is a natural to assist in many
wildlife protection projects.
Joining efforts for conservation
developed by the field for the
easy to deploy and the
Initially developed to support
demining activity, it is easy
and fast to fly. Controlled
remotely through a touch
screen computer, the Huginn
X1 uses advanced technologies including GPS, live video
streaming and FLIR thermal
you people even when your
Ronald Christiaans, member of
a combined UNDAC / EUCPT1
assessment team on Samar
Island, confirms that these
types of UAVs help relief teams
identify the most affected areas
and allocate their resources
more efficiently. Reflecting on
the success he stated: “It confirmed that using a UAV can be
very helpful especially in the
first phase of an emergency. If
I would go on a new mission to
an emergency area, I hope that
such UAVs would be there to
support the mission.” Andrew
Schroeder, Director of Research
and Analysis for Direct Relief,
summarizes “The Huginn X1
was not only valuable in terms
of structural assessment but
also as a way to scout locations in advance to determine
the best possible routes of
approach and assistance”.
In wildlife conservation, UAVs
are now also seen as guardian
angels. They fight Against
thermal imaging shows
eyes could not see them”.
Indeed, the Huginn X1
provides key information
and makes previously
inaccessible areas,
accessible and visible.
2013 saw more white rhinos
illegally killed in South Africa than in any previous year,
according to figures recently
released by WWF International. Over 1000 of these majestic
animals were poached, which
represents a staggering 50%
increase from 2012. In 2007 a
total of 13 rhinos were killed,
in 2013 the number was nearly
3 per day.
Anti-poaching teams are on the
front line of this battle. These
unseen heroes of the bush perform their daily activities and
patrols carrying basic equipment. They are often outgunned
and outnumbered by poachers but the UAV is helping to
change this imbalance.
For people search and
rescue he adds “The UAV
is a great tool for this:
Danoffice IT has been a global technology partner exclusively to The United Nations,
The European Commission
and NGOs for over 18 years.
Although their core activity is
to provide IT solutions (servers,
data centers, computers, printers) around the globe they are
also an approved reseller of the
Sky-Watch Huginn X1 UAV. In
2012, recognizing the urgent
need to act and protect endangered species from illegal killing and building on their vision
“Improving the World through
Information Technology” they
joined a Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) campaign
called “Against Poaching”.
Together with building awareness on the poaching issue via
38,000 “likes” on,
the other objective of “Against
Poaching” is to use UAVs to
protect big mammals against
The future: how will UAVs help
your work?
In the future we are likely to
see UAVs put to an even greater variety of uses. One could
easily imagine that proximity
assessment UAVs will be part
of standard equipment for disaster response, overview of refugee camps and assessment of
fire or highway accident areas.
Also as a result of recent field
activities, Danoffice IT contribute to a working group on the
use of UAVs in the humanitarian world. ■
1 United Nations Disaster Assessment
and Coordination/European Union
Civil Protection Team
WWF International; IUCN – Save Our
Species; The Freedom Project; CNN
International; BBC; Wikipedia
For more information please contact:
[email protected]
ardi au sam
Ouvert du m
Rob Breare, who is heading a
Kenyan conservancy’s project
to help protect rhinos, says
Avril 2014 | 27
Apprendre le chinois, un plaisir ?
Le saviez-vous ? Quatre heures par semaine, avant
d’aller au travail ou pendant leur pause déjeuner, une
cinquantaine1 de vos collègues se rendent dans les
annexes « le Bocage » pour prendre des cours de chinois.
Avez-vous jamais été tenté d’apprendre cette langue
longtemps réputée (à tort) difficile ?
De découvrir l’histoire millénaire de ses idéogrammes ?
Connaissez-vous notre programme et
les activités que nous proposons ?
En voici un bref aperçu en cinq questions.
Quels sont les niveaux
enseignés ?
Nos cours de chinois sont
offerts trois trimestres par
année. Chaque trimestre
comporte douze semaines de
cours et se termine avec des
examens écrits et oraux. Les
cours généraux d’apprentissage
du chinois sont divisés en huit
niveaux, allant du niveau débutant au niveau avancé.
En plus des cours généraux,
une palette de cours à option est
offerte en fonction des besoins
des étudiants. Ces cours leur
28 | Avril 2014
permettent de développer des
compétences linguistiques spécifiques et d’approfondir leur
compréhension de la culture
chinoise. Voici une liste de cours
spécialisés que nous offrons
régulièrement à nos étudiants :
– Améliorer la prononciation
de la langue chinoise (A1-B2)
– Expression orale (niveau
intermédiaire, B1)
– Préparation à l’EAL (LPE,
– Lire et écrire le chinois
(niveau avancé, B2)
– Comprendre et parler le
chinois (niveau avancé, B2)
– Révision grammaticale
(niveau avancé, B2+)
– À la une de la presse (C1-C2)
– Portraits chinois (B2-C1)
Notre enseignement du chinois
a pour objectif de développer
les compétences orales et
écrites de nos étudiants en
axant leur apprentissage sur
la communication; ceux-ci
apprennent donc le chinois
dans une ambiance à la fois studieuse et décontractée. Compte
tenu de la difficulté de pratiquer
le chinois en dehors des cours,
nous accordons une importance
toute particulière à l’oral lors
des premiers trimestres : les
séances se déroulent en chinois
dès le niveau 2.
Quelle est notre contribution à la
préservation de l’environnement ?
Aux niveaux débutant et intermédiaire, nous employons
la méthode que nous avons
développée. Il s’agit de documents téléchargeables. Les étudiants ont donc la possibilité
de venir avec leur tablette sans
aucun document imprimé.
Nous contribuons ainsi à la
diminution de l’usage de papier
grâce aux nouvelles technologies : nous utilisons un projecteur ou un visualiseur pour
travailler le texte, l’image ou
la vidéo ; la plate-forme pédagogique Moodle qui permet
d’archiver les ressources
et d’accomplir de multiples
exercices interactifs (devoir en
ligne, forum, Wiki, etc.) ainsi
que des tests en ligne; et Skype
qui donne la possibilité à un
étudiant en mission à l’étranger
de suivre le cours à distance.
Nous œuvrons donc à la création d’un environnement de
travail sans papier.
Quelle est la place de la culture ?
La culture fait partie intégrante
de notre programme, ainsi
qu’en témoignent les « fiches
cultures » qui jalonnent notre
méthode. Mais des activités de découverte sont aussi
régulièrement organisées :
ateliers de calligraphie et de
peintures chinoises, projections de films chinois (deux
séances par trimestre), initiation à la cuisine des différentes
régions de Chine, cérémonie
du thé, célébrations de fêtes
traditionnelles, etc. Ces activités motivent nos étudiants en
remettant dans son contexte la
langue qu’ils apprennent.
Quelles sont les possibilités de
formation ?
Chaque été, nos étudiants ont
la possibilité de participer à
trois semaines de cours intensifs en Chine, à l’Université
de Nanjing. 2 Ce programme
d’été leur offre une expérience
unique. En dehors des cours, ils
peuvent participer à diverses
activités, d’échanger avec des
Chinois et découvrir le pays.
incompréhensible. Apprendre
le chinois, au début, c’est
un peu ça. Par la suite, cela
se complique sérieusement
mais c’est surtout un moyen
de mieux connaître et comprendre l’autre. Finalement,
quelle satisfaction – après tous
ces efforts – lorsqu’on parvient
non seulement à dialoguer mais
également à écrire dans cette
langue! Après cela, ce n’est plus
du chinois, c’est du mandarin!»
— Françoise
Qu’en disent nos étudiants ?
« Pour moi, aller en cours de
chinois, c’est un peu comme
si j’allais à un cours de dessin
ou de travail manuel, ou à une
conférence, mais pas à un cours
au sens où on l’entend habituellement. Apprendre le chinois,
c’est comme un jeu. C’est complètement différent des autres
langues. On pense qu’on ne
va pas arriver à apprendre
le chinois, mais grâce à l’excellent enseignement qui nous
est donné, j’ai réussi à arriver
au niveau 5. Je me surprends
moi-même. »
— Aleth
« En français, il existe une
expression « c’est du chinois »
pour dire qu’un texte est
« Plus j’apprends le chinois,
plus je suis accro. De plus,
A Genève, les tandems – ou
système d’apprentissage par
les pairs – mis en place dans
la section des langues, permettent toute l’année à nos
étudiants de faire des échanges
linguistiques : ils peuvent ainsi
exercer leur chinois avec un(e)
chinois(e) qui souhaite améliorer sa pratique de l’une des six
langues officielles de l’ONU.
[apprendre le chinois] c’est un
bon exercice pour le cerveau. »
— Carlos
Un proverbe chinois dit: «Ceux
qui persévèrent ne manqueront
pas d’être récompensés pour
leur travail.» C’est valable pour
l’apprentissage du chinois.
— Claudia
“Chinese is one of the most
interesting languages that I have
ever studied. Learning Chinese
means learning about a fascinating culture. Chinese has opened
a window to a new world, to
new ideas and experiences, and
last but not least “speaking”
Chinese is extremely rewarding… I would encourage anyone
that is up for a CHALLENGE to
join us in this long road to a
fantastic discovery.”
— Eugenia
Pour mieux nous connaître, venez
consulter notre page web :
1 Nous avons entre 40 et 80 étudiants
par trimestre.
2 Sponsorisé par le Gouvernement
chinois, ce programme de cours d’été
est offert à tous les étudiants des
cours de chinois de l’ONU (tous les
Bureaux des Nations Unies) à partir
du niveau 2. Les frais de cours et de
logement sont pris en charge par le
Gouvernement chinois. Seul le voyage
est aux frais des étudiants. Les fonctionnaires du Secrétariat de l’ONU
peuvent bénéficier d’un congé avec
paie s’ils obtiennent l’approbation de
leur superviseur.
Et vous ? Prêt(e) à vous lancer
dans cette nouvelle aventure ?
Nous serions ravis de vous
accueillir ! ■
Avril 2014 | 29
В поисках альтернатив
токсичной одежде
Anke Damaske.
пестицидов чем на любую другую
сельскохозяйственную культуру.
В странах Азии на долю хлопка
приходится порядка 30 процентов всех используемых пестицидов . Китай2 является самым
большим потребителем химических веществ для текстильной 3 промышленности, на его
долю приходится 42% мирового
потребления .
German biologist and fashion designer Anke Damaske who spins milk into fiber.
Ксения Черная-Скэнлон, Советник Генерального директора
Международного союза охраны природы и автор блога Green
Stilettos, посвященного эко-моде.
О токсичных веществах присутствующих в косметике и продуктах бытовой химии потребителю
известно уже немало, однако
в отношении одежды эта тема
еще недостаточно на слуху. Тем
не менее, в последние годы эта
проблема находится под пристальным вниманием экспертов как в области экологии, так
и в сфере здравоохранения. С
развитием новых технологий
текстильная и химическая промышленность становятся все
более взаимодополняющими.
Какова же на сегодняшний день
ситуация с использованием токсичных веществ в текстильной
промышленности и каковы перспективы развития более экологичной и здоровой одежды ?
Для начала небольшой экскурс
в токсичную « подкладку » нашей
одежды, зачастую скрытую от
30 | Avril 2014
глаз покупателя. Начиная от
« противопожарных » пижам для
грудничков и заканчивая дизайнерскими футболками с аппликациями для молодых модниц,
химические компоненты — к
примеру, тефлон и формальдегид
— повсеместно используются в
производстве одежды, а тяжелые металлы, включая кадмий и
хром, — при обработке кожаных
изделий. Этот коктейль химикатов пагубно сказывается как на
здоровье окружающей среды, так
и на здоровье человека.
Даже в производстве таких, на
первый взгляд, « натуральных »
материалов как хлопок применяются различные химикаты и
пестициды, включая запрещенные к использованию в рамках
Стокгольмской конвенции о стойких органических загрязнителях.
Не случайно, что обычный (неорганический) хлопок пользуется
незавидной репутацией «грязного
белого золота ».
По данным ООН, на хлопковые
поля выпрыскивается больше
К тому же, наличие или отсутствие токсичных элементов в
одежде совершенно не зависит от
ее цены или же страны происхождения. В течение последних трех
лет международная экологическая
организация Greenpeace проводила широкомасштабное исследование одежды как доступного
ценового диапазона, так и ведущих марок сегмента роскоши.
В обоих случаях выводы неутешительны : и дешевая, и дорогая
одежда может быть токсичной.
Наиболее удручающим результатом тестирования Greenpeace
является то, что даже в детской
одежде класса люкс прячутся
« маленькие монстры » — потенциально опасные для здоровья
детей химикаты.
В результате проверки, которая проводилась в собственной
лаборатории Greenpeace в Эксетере (Великобритания), в 16 из 27
образцов детской одежды и обуви
были обнаружены токсичные
вещества, такие как этоксилаты
нонилфенола (ЭНФ), фталаты,
пер- и полифторированные соединения (ПФС) и сурьма.4
Перед лицом сложившейся
ситуации « зеленые » и потребительские организации бьют тревогу, призывая к укреплению
законодательной базы как в
отношении производства, так и
в отношении маркировки одежды. В то же время, небольшое, но
быстро растущее число компаний
инвестирует в разработку новых
технологий для производства
экологичной одежды, которая
не только не наносит ущерб, но
напротив, оказывает благотворное воздействие на здоровье
Примером таких высокотехнологичных материалов является
одежда из водорослей или молочного волокна, которые обладают
рядом превосходных качеств для
носки. Во-первых, это так называемые « дышащие » материалы,
обеспечивающие комфорт как в
жару, так и в мороз. Во-вторых,
подобно косметическим продуктам на основе водорослей и молока, одежда из этих тканей обладает
целительными свойствами, в том
числе для людей страдающих от
экземы и ряда других кожных
заболеваний. В-третьих, оба являются побочными продуктами, а
в некоторых случаях, даже отходами пищевой промышленности,
и, таким образом, значительно
снижают экологические издержки
связанные с производством текстильных изделий.
Волокно из молочного белка производится при использовании
обезжиренного сухого молока
с применением биоинженерных
технологий. Технологический
процесс — дружелюбный для
природы, потому что используется меньше воды, бережется
почва и другие ресурсы. Экстракт молочного белка содержит
ряд незаменимых аминокислот,
которые положительно влияют на
кожу человека. Кроме того, ткань
хорошо впитывает влагу, отлично пропускает воздух, регулирует
тепловой баланс – что напрямую
влияет на комфортность человека. Волокно чаще всего используется не в чистом виде, а в составе
с шелком, кашемиром, хлопком,
шерстью, модалом и другими
Впервые одежда из водорослей
была изготовлена в 2004 году
из разновидности водорослей
gigartina chamissoi, которая в
большом количестве растет в
Тихом океане около побережья
Перу. Затем ее использовали
члены перуанских научных антарктических экспедиций, которые
отметили, что одежда из водорослей способна почти на 100%
блокировать ультрафиолет, тем
самым препятствуя развитию
онкологических заболеваний.
Сейчас одежда из водорослей
пользуется растущим спросом
на мировом рынке. Немецкая
компания Innovation & clothing
factory представила новый экологичный продукт под брендом
Twosquaremeter («Два квадратных
метра » в переводе с английского
— среднестатистическая площадь
человеческого тела). Коллекция
включает в себя вязаные изделия
из хлопкового волокна в сочетании с коричневыми морскими
водорослями, которые собираются раз в год на северо-западном
побережье Исландии. Эти редкие
водоросли содержат витамины и
минералы, которые эффективно борются со старением кожи,
а также, по словам производителей, регулируют температуру
тела и нейтрализуют неприятный
запах пота.
In search of alternatives
to toxic clothing
Уже сегодня ведущие эксперты
полагают, что за подобными
инновациями буд ущее текстильной промышленности, и
что « детоксикация » коснется
не только наших гардеробов,
но и продуктов потребления в
целом. Для этого, безусловно,
потребуются совместные усилия
правительств, индустрии моды,
экологических организаций и
групп защиты прав потребителей. Хочется верить, что интерес
к эко-текстилю и к « зеленому
стилю » вообще — не просто
очередной каприз моды. ■
1 Xenya Cherny-Scanlon is Special
Adviser to the Director-General, International Union for Conservation of
Nature and author of eco-fashion blog
Green Stilettos
2 Pesticides, FAO:
3 Global Chemicals Outlook, UNEP
4 “The King is Naked” report,
Greenpeace International, 2013
The article explores fashion’s
toxic side and gives an outlook on
healthy and eco-friendly clothes of
the future. While the presence of
hazardous chemicals in cosmetics
and household cleaning products
is relatively well-known, consumer
awareness of toxic elements in
clothing is much lower. Meanwhile,
this issue has recently been under
close scrutiny of environmental and
health experts. From fire-retardant
infant sleep-suits to designer
T-shirts, the use of chemicals such
as teflon and formaldehyde in
clothes is ubiquitous, while heavy
metals including chromium are
widely used in leather tanning.
Even the so-called “natural” fibers
like cotton account for one-fifth of
pesticides used worldwide. A recent
investigation by Greenpeace found
Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs),
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA),
phthalates and other chemical
‘little monsters’ lurking in children’s
clothes sold by both high-street and
luxury brands. In the face of this
alarming situation, environmental
and consumer groups are pushing
for stricter regulations in the textile
industry. At the same time, a growing
number of companies are investing
in new fibers which not only reduce
negative impacts, but actually benefit
people’s health. Among these new
‘eco-textiles’ are algae and milk
fibers which have hypoallergenic and
UV-protective properties. It is hoped
that the textile industry will respond
to the detox challenge, and that the
green trend in fashion overall is here
to stay. ■
To learn more about sustainable fashion,
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Avril 2014 | 31
Oro Verde versus Oro Negro
¿ Qué piensa Usted cuando
escucha hablar sobre el Ecuador ? La respuesta a esta pregunta puede ser muy variada,
pero en la mayoría de los
casos, uno podría pensar en
un país andino con volcanes
nevados, con la belleza de las
Islas Galápagos ; pero no necesariamente en un país que tiene
parte de la Amazonia dentro de
sus fronteras. Sin embargo, el
Ecuador es un país amazónico.
Ese tesoro verde conlleva una
responsabilidad muy grande,
pues la conservación del ecosistema amazónico y de su selva
virgen es una prioridad para
los estados que comparten el
‘pulmón’ más grande del planeta, principalmente Brasil, Bolivia, Perú, Ecuador, Colombia y
El gobierno del Ecuador creó
gran expectativa al anunciar
ante la Asamblea General de la
ONU en el año 2007 la creación
del proyecto Yasuní ITT, cuyo
objetivo era evitar la explotación del petróleo encontrado en
el área protegida del Parque
Nacional Yasuní que tiene una
extensión de 982.000 hectáreas. Para ese fin, se conformó un fondo manejado por el
PNUD en el que la comunidad
internacional donaría 3600
millones de dólares destinados
a la conservación ambiental y
al desarrollo social. El Ecuador anunció de esa manera
32 | Avril 2014
su intención de mantener
inexplotadas reservas de 846
millones de barriles de petróleo que equivalen a un quinto
del total de las reservas probadas que tiene el país. Esta fue
una decisión importante, pues
aproximadamente 30% de los
ingresos del gobierno ecuatoriano, miembro de la Organización de Países Exportadores de
Petróleo (OPEP), proviene de la
extracción de crudo. Con esta
novel iniciativa, el Ecuador pretendía evitar la emisión de más
de 400 millones de toneladas
de CO2 (equivalente a la emisión
anual de países como Brasil o
Sin embargo, y para desasosiego de una audiencia global
que seguía de cerca esta iniciativa única de renunciar a un
recurso natural importante, el
presidente ecuatoriano Rafael
Correa anunció el 15 de Agosto
del 2013 que su gobierno abandonaba el proyecto debido a la
falta de aportes de los donantes
y que empezaría la explotación
petrolera de una parte del área
protegida. « El mundo nos ha
fallado », dijo el presidente al
explicar que se recibieron donaciones por solo 13 millones de
dólares, una pequeña fracción
de la suma total esperada, que
ascendía al 50% de lo que el
Ecuador hubiera recibido por
explotar el petróleo que se
encuentra en el área del Parque
Nacional Yasuní. Yasuní es el
área de mayor biodiversidad
de la Tierra, en la que cada
hectárea de este parque ecológico contiene más tipos de
árboles (2.113 especies) que
todo el territorio de Canadá y
los Estados Unidos de América
juntos. La UNESCO la declaró
como ‘Reserva de la Biosfera
Mundial’, en reconocimiento
a las más de mil especies de
insectos, 149 de anfibios, 121
de reptiles, 497 de peces, 596
de aves y 201 de mamíferos
que existen en su selva virgen. Los Científicos aseguran
que este material biodiverso
constituye un banco de ADN
que podría ofrecer la cura para
muchas enfermedades. Además
de esta riqueza impresionante
en flora y fauna, Yasuní es el
hogar de grupos indígenas (los
Tagaeri y los Taromenan) que
viven en aislamiento total por
voluntad propia y que serían
afectados por la explotación
petrolera que está a punto de
Pero para sorpresa del gobierno del Ecuador y de su política ambiental, sus propios
ciudadanos se han organizado y además de protestar en
las calles ya por varios meses,
están ahora recogiendo firmas para pedir un referendo
constitucional. De ganar una
mayoría de votos, el resultado
electoral forzaría al gobierno a
cambiar sus planes de explotar
el petróleo que se encuentra en
el Yasuní, pues convertiría esas
acciones en ilegales, aunque el
presidente Correa ha dicho que
solo se explotaría menos del 1%
del área total protegida. Hasta
mediados de Marzo, los organizadores han recogido casi la
totalidad de las firmas requeridas para forzar la votación
y todavía les quedan varias
semanas antes de llegar a la
fecha límite establecida para
mediados de Abril.
Más allá de lo que suceda en el
futuro, la realidad es que este
fracasado proyecto ilustra el
permanente conflicto de los
países menos desarrollados,
entre la urgencia del desarrollo
económico y social y la importancia de preservar el ambiente. Desafortunadamente, al
mismo tiempo también estamos
viviendo esta dicotomía en la
negociación de la agenda de
desarrollo post 2015, pues los
llamados países del Norte y los
del Sur no logran ponerse de
acuerdo en cuál sería el balance
entre la lucha contra la pobreza
y la agenda ambiental.
Queda en el aire la pregunta :
¿debe Ecuador privilegiar el oro
verde antes que el oro negro ?
Parecería ser que la única respuesta posible hasta ahora es
la del trovador que canta :…
amanecerá y veremos. ■
Photo credit: Greenpeace Türkiye
Crucial Environmental
Challenges to the
Continuity of Life
One cannot be healthy in a sick
environment. According to the
World Health Organization
(WHO), environmental factors
are behind one third of children’s diseases and more than
eighty health disorders. Thirteen
million children’s lives could be
saved if the right environmental care is undertaken. The Arab
World is at exceptional risk
because of its special unique
nature. The oil and gas in the
area provide financial resources,
but are also a source of environmental catastrophes. The lack of
natural resources varies between
countries. Demographic changes
and environmental degradation,
in addition to globalization and
global warming, shed doubt
on the ability of environmental
resources to sustain a decent
life. This and the failing biodiversity impact countries where
environmental protection policies are missing or insufficient.
Fast population growth leads
to uncontrollable consumerism
and unsustainable exploitation of
natural resources, while conflicts
lead to destruction and havoc. It
is shameful to leave our waste to
our children to clean up. If states
suffer a lack of funding for sustainable developments, the youth
through civil society organizations are making a difference
by cleaning beach strands,
mountains and launching public
awareness campaigns. ■
Avril 2014 | 33
Using water to create peace
where there was once conflict
Water is vital to life on Earth,
but also threatens peace.
Human reliance on freshwater, from the Nile and Jordan
River Valleys to the Mekong
Delta and beyond, has prompted sabre-rattling between
neighbouring States sharing
cross-border watercourses.
Without global consensus on
how to manage this essential
natural resource, water could
be the source of tensions, plus
conflicts, in the future.
Green Cross International, the
World Wildlife Fund (WWF),
and a few other civil society
players have been tirelessly
promoting for almost two decades the United Nations Watercourses Convention, which,
once ratified, will be the world’s
first global framework to guide
the use, management and protection of water while easing
tensions between nations.
34 | Avril 2014
“Water is at the heart of our
economies, our societies, our
futures,” according to Alexander Likhotal, President of
Green Cross International,
the Geneva-based nongovernmental organization founded
in 1993 by President Mikhail
Gorbachev. “Water is the
basis for all development and
its strategic importance has
demonstrated it can serve as a
vehicle for peace and also tension. The risk of competition
between regions and countries
may only increase if we do not
find a way to protect and share
Humans use 54% of the world’s
fresh water resources, which
make up less than 3% of Earth’s
total water supply. The world’s
267 international watercourses
cover nearly half the planet’s
surface and generate almost
60% of global freshwater
flow. But only about 40% are
jointly managed by some sort
of cooperative frameworks
between riparian states.
In February 2014, Côte d’Ivoire became the 34th country to
accede to the United Nations
Watercourses Convention,
leaving just one further State
approval of the treaty for it to
enter into force. Côte d’Ivoire
is one of several West African
countries committed to the
equitable sharing of the Volta
River Basin and has been
working with neighbours on a
regional water agreement.
While this international convention awaits ratification, several
regions in the world have found
themselves embroiled in conflict over access to cross-border
water sources.
On the Israeli-Syrian border,
the Golan Heights has been
a centre of conflict since the
1967 Six-Day War. The Golan
supplies Israel with one-third
approaches and solutions to
the water scarcity problem,
resulting in an agreement by
participants from Jordan and
Israel to promote integrated,
joint mitigation of the Jordan
Valley water crisis.
of its water. In such an arid
region, rainwater from Golan’s
catchment replenishes the
thirsty Jordan River, and has
helped nourish Israeli agriculture, supplying the means to
grow grapes for wine, orchards
and fertile soil upon which
cattle feed.
The Nile River Basin is home
to around 600 million people, more than half of Africa’s
population. Two tributaries,
the Blue Nile in Ethiopia and
the White Nile, originating in
Burundi, feed the basin. Several
treaties between Nile riparian
States have given up to 66%
of the river’s ownership to
Egypt. Egypt and Sudan have
both exploited the Nile’s waters
by constructing dams for crop
However, in 2010, Egypt and
Sudan rejected the Entebbe Agreement, a cooperative framework signed by six
upstream Nile countries, including Ethiopia, to find equitable
ways to share the water. Tensions flared between Egypt and
Ethiopia over the latter’s launch
of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project, building of
which is expected to be completed in 2017. Egypt fears the
dam will drastically reduce the
flow of water to the arid country.
Recognizing the value of
cooperation, not conflict, over
water, GCI staged a conference in the Jordanian capital,
Amman, in 1999 on sustainable regional solutions for water
in the Greater Jordan Valley.
The event’s aim was to discuss
In 2000, during the World
Water Forum held in The
Hague, President Gorbachev
and GCI began pushing for
the ratification of the UN
Watercourses Convention in
cooperation with experts on
transboundary water issues
and political figures.
In 2003, Green Cross France
launched a project to protect
trans-boundary groundwater
from pollution in Israel and the
Palestinian Territories and, in
2007, helped train 150 people
in the Gaza Strip on water
sanitation and infrastructure
In South America, pollution
from a Uruguayan paper mill
flowing into the Uruguay River
– which is shared by Argentina
– caused turmoil between the
two countries for four years. In
2006, Green Cross Argentina,
in collaboration with Green
Cross Switzerland, began dialogue and exchange involving
all actors to find sustainable, peaceful solutions to the
problem, which ultimately led
to reconciliation.
“Progress can be made in
terms of economic, social and
environmental status if water
crises can be solved,” according to Marie-Laure Vercambre,
Director of GCI’s Water for Life
and Peace programme. “And
the benefits that derive from
joint and participatory management, and sound water allocations, can precisely lead to such
socio-economic improvements.
This is what experts commonly call “benefits sharing”. For
that, there must be recognition of shared responsibility
and benefits when it comes to
providing and conserving water
between nations and competing
The UN Watercourses Convention, she adds, presents the
most powerful, comprehensive
path to achieve such goals.
As Mr. Gorbachev has stated:
“The actions and voices of millions of citizens have brought
the global movement for the
right to water this far. I hope
that more people will join us
to help bring us closer to the
ultimate goal – a world where
everyone’s right to safe water
and sanitation is not just recognized but is also fulfilled.” ■
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Avril 2014 | 35
From conflict to co-existence with wildlife
People who live in close proximity to wildlife often view it
differently from the rest of us.
They may not see wildlife as
magnificent or cuddly creatures
that need protection. Wildlife
to them can be a threat, a nuisance or simply food. However,
this antagonistic relationship
has the potential to escalate
into conflict with adverse consequences for both wildlife and
people. For wildlife it translates
into retaliation killing, overhunting, accidental deaths in
fishing nets and loss of habitat.
For people it manifests as loss
of livestock, risk of imprisonment for breaking wildlife laws
and sometimes even the loss
of life. Some of the reasons for
this conflict range from local
traditions and customs to a
lack of alternative livelihood
SOS – Save Our Species aims
to transform conflict into co-existence, securing a more sustainable future for wildlife and
people. Funding more than 90
projects and protecting more
than 200 species in 50 countries, SOS is a global initiative
that firmly believes together
we can save wildlife – our life
support system – and therefore
save ourselves.
To accomplish this, SOS funds
several projects that offer
incentives to communities to
change their attitudes towards
wildlife. Community empowerment and stewardship is an
important part of SOS’ strategy
to safeguard species. A quarter
of all SOS funded projects have
a community engagement and
alternative livelihood creation
component. The diversity of
projects funded by SOS ensures
36 | Avril 2014
that a wide range of approaches are implemented to resolve
conflicts. Some of them include:
Creating sustainable livelihoods
Due to their remoteness, the
income-generation opportunities in wildlife-rich areas are
limited. “Too many times development can only be by taking
part in illegal activities, such as
hunting protected species and
logging,” acknowledges Simon
Mahood of WCS Cambodia, a
SOS grantee. Their Cambodian
Birds Project is working to turn
things around for threatened
bird species like the Giant Ibis.
The project promotes improved
land-use planning at key sites
through the expansion of the
Ibis Rice ‘wildlife-friendly’ initiative. Under this programme,
rice is purchased at a premium
from farming families adhering
to conservation agreements.
The project is also working to
develop eco-tourism by training local volunteers in tourism
hospitality, providing critical
equipment such as binoculars,
developing eco-tourism activities and helping attract visitors.
In a similar vein, the SOS
funded Tree Kangaroo Project is working to protect the
charismatic and ecologically
important Tree Kangaroo and
other endemic species of Papua
New Guinea. SOS grantee, the
Woodland Park Zoological Society, worked to promote wildlife-friendly land use practices
such as encouraging the cultivation of “Kangaroo-friendly”
coffee. This was followed by
creating a market for the fully
organic coffee beans, connecting local coffee growers with
coffee roaster Café Vita to roll
out a premium coffee batch in
their stores in the United States.
Preventing retaliation through
compensation measures
Wild predators face the risk of
retaliation from local communities due to the threat they pose
to livestock. It is not unusual
for herder families to lose an
entire month’s income to livestock attacks by snow leopards
and herders have suggested
“eliminating” the cats in order
to solve this problem. The SOS
funded Snow Leopard Project is
working to change the attitudes
of villagers in Pakistan towards
this magnificent carnivore.
A Livestock Insurance Programme provides compensation
for animals lost to predators
while a Livestock Vaccination
Programme reduces the number of livestock lost to disease.
Both these programmes help
reduce retaliatory persecution of Snow Leopards in the
region by enabling locals to
associate the species with
positive change. A herder in
Gilgit-Baltistan best summed
up the change in attitudes
thanks to these programmes
– “We treated snow leopards
and other predators as beasts;
and killing them used to be
taken as a sign of prestige in
the community. Now, thanks to
the interventions of the Snow
Leopard Foundation in the valley, perceptions have changed.
We’ve learned again to coexist
with these animals.”
Empowering local communities
Empowerment often begins
with a sense of ownership,
which is why the communities of the Gourma region in
Mali rallied to protect “their”
migrating elephants in a project
implemented by WILD Foundation, an NGO working in the
region for some years.
Then in 2013, as the threat of
armed conflict simmered, the
600 elephants of the remote
arid region unwittingly walked
into the crosshairs of jihadis
turned poachers ready to take
advantage of a breakdown in
law and order. SOS helped by
funding a Rapid Action Grant to
support emergency work, first
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Ryan Hawk
“Vaquita-friendly” fishing gear
that does not harm the species
has been identified, tested and
is ready for roll-out for shrimp
fisheries. The challenge now
is to successfully deploy these
new technologies to fishermen
in the Upper Gulf.
creating community vigilance
cells throughout the animals
vast range.
In tandem, communities initiated activities to reduce the
human-elephant competition
for resources by creating firebreaks to mitigate the devastation to crops from bushfires
and managed water resources
so as to share them with the
elephants. Such work is ordinarily important, became even
more crucial with the threat of
conflict in the region. It also
offered an honorable alternative to recruitment by the jihadis who were offering wages of
$50 per day- a fortune by local
Meanwhile, community elders
spread the message to the
region’s young men especially,
that killing an elephant steals
from the people of the Gourma
and that the ivory, being dry
and brittle, was of little value
anyway. By the time the conflict had subsided, none of the
520 young men working on the
emergency project joined the
armed groups, instead preferring the more “noble” cause
of protecting their wild inheritance. The work to protect the
Gourma elephants continues.
Avoiding accidental capture
An estimated 300,000 cetaceans (whales, dolphins and
porpoises) die as “bycatch”
each year because they are
unable to escape when caught
in nets. Most of the world’s
cetacean bycatch occurs in
gillnet fisheries as gillnets
pose a high risk of entanglement. The SOS funded Vaquita
Project is working to save the
Vaquita porpoise, one of the
world’s rarest marine mammals, from the threat posed by
gillnets used in shrimp fishing
in the Upper Gulf of California.
While adopting the new technology will depend on training and instruction as well as
governmental support, changing attitudes to protecting the
last 200 Vaquita has to come
from within the community
if the population is to stand a
chance of recovery, according
to Enrique Sanjurjo, project
leader. The answer is food, of
course! An ongoing campaign
in coordination with local restaurateurs to create and serve
up “Vaquita-friendly” dishes of
seafood is gathering momentum and warm reviews. Creating these connections between
wildlife and consumer behavior
are just as important toward
changing attitudes as the policy framework to produce new
Investing in people helps
change attitudes towards
wildlife. Successful outcomes
are often a result of a good
understanding of the relationship between wildlife and
people. Innovative and participatory projects developed by
SOS grantees are helping to
reverse decades of indifference
and hostility towards wildlife.
These initiatives need financial backing to be implemented effectively in order to bring
about long-lasting change. SOS
is uniquely placed to harness
the funding and technical
expertise of its founding partners, the World Bank and GEF
(Global Environment Facility),
the authoritative science of
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and
the resources and ingenuity of
the private sector to create a
mechanism that ensures sufficient funding goes to species
conservation projects where
and when it will have the most
impact. Join us in giving our
magnificent wildlife a secure
future. ■
To learn more about SOS:
To subscribe to the SOS newsletter:
Support SOS on Facebook:
Follow SOS news on Twitter:
To contact SOS for media
and business-related queries:
Simon Bradley
SOS – Save Our Species
00 41 22 999 0372
[email protected]
IUCN Global Headquarters
Rue Mauverney 28
1196 Gland
Education /enseignement
french language summer courses 2014
courses at all levels
from June 23rd to August 22nd (3 separate sessions)
intensive course for beginners
from June 23rd to August 22nd (9 weeks)
university preparatory course
from July 14th to August 22nd (6 weeks)
for programmes and information:
Uni Bastions, rue De-Candolle 5, CH-1211 Genève 4
T. +41 22 379 74 34 | [email protected] |
faculté des lettres
Avril 2014 | 37
Au fil des siècles, le développement des sociétés humaines
a progressivement modifié les
espaces naturels de la terre.
Les territoires ont été transformés, domestiqués et adaptés à nos différents modes de
vie. Le progrès technique et
l’industrialisation ont accéléré ces changements et permis
d’améliorer les conditions de
vie d’une population sans cesse
croissante. La capacité de notre
planète à absorber nos activités,
puis à se régénérer, a souvent
été considérée comme acquise.
Le développement humain a
atteint une magnitude telle que
ses effets sur l’environnement
sont de plus en plus perceptibles, au point de remettre en
cause la facilité d’accès, voire
la disponibilité de certaines
ressources et services écosystémiques. Sans aller jusqu’à
parler d’anthropocène, dont
les tenants affirment que nous
sommes entrés dans une nouvelle ère géologique définie
par l’influence prédominante
de l’Homme sur le système
terrestre, force est de constater notre impact toujours plus
grand sur la planète.
La vie moderne, en particulier
en milieu urbain, nous procure
parfois un sentiment de détachement vis-à-vis des contraintes
naturelles. Une illusion qui nous
fait oublier notre appartenance
et notre entière dépendance à
la nature. Or, nos modes actuels
d’exploitation et de consommation pourraient mettre en péril
les bases mêmes du système sur
lequel ils reposent.
Les apports de la nature restent
encore largement ignorés. L’air
que nous respirons, ce que nous
mangeons, une grande partie
de ce que nous produisons et
38 | Avril 2014
consommons est directement
issu ou dérivé des écosystèmes,
terme qui désigne un système
naturel qui tendrait à évoluer
vers un état théorique stable.
Reste à savoir si cet équilibre
existe réellement, tant les stratégies de survie par la conquête
de certaines espèces, y compris
parfois la nôtre, peuvent laisser
L’Évaluation des Écosystèmes
pour le Millénaire 1,publiée en
2005 par les Nations Unies, ne
compte pas moins de 24 fonctions écosystémiques. Cette
étude avait pour objectif de
décrire et évaluer au niveau
mondial tous les services rendus par les écosystèmes dont
dépendent la survie et le bienêtre des hommes en vue d’une
utilisation durable. Elle distingue quatre types de services:
Les services de prélèvement (aussi appelés d’approvisionnement) qui concernent la
nourriture, les fibres naturelles,
les ressources génétiques, les
produits biochimiques, l’eau
douce, les molécules organiques, etc.
Les services de régulation :
régulation du climat, prévention de l’érosion, purification
de l’eau et décomposition de
déchets, pollinisation, etc.
Les services culturels: valeurs
spirituelles, historiques, scientifiques, éducatives, religieuses,
esthétiques, récréatives etc.
Une quatrième catégorie, les
services de soutien ou d’habitat, sous-tend les trois catégories précédentes en favorisant
les conditions de vie et de la
Seuls quatre de ces services
continuent à augmenter leur
capacité tandis que quinze
autres sont en déclin. Notre
pression exercée sur les écosystèmes accélère la pollution et
Écosystèmes et symbiose
la dégradation des ressources
Des concepts et outils économiques 2 peuvent aider nos
sociétés à mieux intégrer les
apports de la nature dans nos
processus de prise de décision.
La valorisation n’est certes pas
une panacée, mais un moyen
pour faire de meilleurs choix
que par le passé où l’invisibilité
du capital naturel et de ses fonctions a exacerbé sa dégradation.
Il est particulièrement difficile
d’évaluer les implications des
modifications des écosystèmes:
certains effets ne se manifestent
que très lentement et peuvent se
produire très loin de leur lieu de
départ. De plus, leur complexité
est extrême, tant l’échelle des
organismes et éléments impliqués est variable. Toutefois,
à force d’observations et de
mesures, les informations dont
nous disposons permettent de
mieux comprendre leur fonctionnement et les conséquences
de leurs altérations. On restera néanmoins prudent sur la
notion de productivité qui peut
aboutir à des simplifications
dans la quête de nouvelles
limites de rendements.
Pourquoi, au fond, s’inquiéter
de la dégradation des écosystèmes? Pour les mêmes raisons
qui nous motivent à poursuivre
les Objectifs du Millénaire pour
le développement: offrir une vie
décente au plus grand nombre.
Non seulement la répartition
des richesses naturelles est
inégalement répartie sur la
planète, mais une majorité
des personnes qui ne bénéficient pas des conditions minimales de bien-être sont aussi
celles qui sont généralement les
plus exposées à la détérioration
des services écosystémiques,
conduisant ainsi à la perte de
leurs moyens de subsistance.
Que ce soit l’instinct de survie
le plus immédiat ou le goût du
luxe, toutes sortes d’aspirations
matérielles nourrissent un
cercle vicieux d’utilisation irréfléchie des ressources. Mais estil possible d’envisager la terre
comme un bien public dont le
bénéfice des uns ne diminuerait
pas celui des autres ? Détenir
la richesse d’un écosystème
pourra toujours aisément
valoir le risque de la violence
et du conflit pour s’en assurer
le contrôle, ne serait-ce qu’un
temps. Sa mise en valeur, elle,
dépendra de sa bonne gestion.
Face à cette réalité, nombre de
personnes dans le cadre des
Nations Unies et ailleurs font
un travail admirable et s’engagent quotidiennement pour
une meilleure prise en compte
de la valeur des écosystèmes et
de leur partage pour le bien de
tous. La décennie 2011-2020
est la Décennie des Nations
Unies pour la biodiversité3. ■
Indian man plants 1360-acre
forest by himself over 30 years!
Greenpink org
Deforestation in India has been a
mounting problem for decades. This is
the story of how one man, alone, has
worked to rewrite this wrong.
Wikimedia Commons
A little more than 35 years
ago, in 1979, a young teenager named Jadav “Mulai” Payeng, saw the raw and carnal
effects of deforestation first
hand: denuded landscapes, soil
erosion, failing agricultural production, and wildlife unable to
survive without the much-needed natural protection forestry
With no one to help him, Payeng visited a desolate sandbar
in Johrat and over the course
of 35 years he single-handedly
planted saplings, one day at a
time. It all started when Payeng
was 16, on a day when floods
washed many snakes ashore on
the sandbar. A day later, after
the floodwaters had receded,
Payeng noticed the snakes had
dried up.
This event changed his life.
Ever since, he dedicated every
day to grow a refuge for wildlife
and create a lush green ecosystem. He has forever changed
the landscape.
Facing serious problems, Payeng used quick wits, trial and
error, and ingenuity to solve
these complex issues. For example, unable to draw enough
water from the river to feed the
plants, which covered such a
large geographic area, he engineered a bamboo platform
to cover each sapling. He then
placed earthen pots atop the
platforms with small holes
in the base. Water, including
rainwater, would then gradually trickle to the plants below.
Payeng also released termites,
ants, and earthworms into the
soil to help achieve the fertile
conditions that enabled the
saplings he planted to grow and
flourish into the lush landscape
seen in Johrat today.
Decades after planting his very
first sapling, Payeng has managed to successfully cultivate
a 1,360-acre forest that covers 550 hectares of land and
is home to wild elephants,
tigers, rhinos, deer and an otherwise thriving ecosystem. He
has created a safe haven for
endangered species that risk
habitat loss.
Despite Payeng’s incredible
work and dedication, it took
a long time before forestry
officials recognized his efforts
and impact. “We’re amazed at
Payeng,” says Gunin Saikia,
assistant conservator of Forests. “He has been at it for
30 years. Had he been in any
“The snakes died in the
heat, without any tree
cover. I sat down and
wept over their lifeless
forms. It was carnage.
I alerted the forest
department and asked
them if they could grow
trees there. They said
nothing would grow
there. Instead, they
asked me to try growing
bamboo. It was painful,
but I did it. There was
nobody to help me.
Nobody was interested,”
says Payeng.
other country, he would have
been made a hero.”
In 2008, the government finally
named the forest after Payeng,
Mulai Kathoni Bari. The forest
of Mulai is where “the Forest
Man of India” continues to live
We hope he inspires you to
plant at least one tree in your
lifetime. ■
Avril 2014 | 39
Swimming with Sharks
I watched “Jaws” way too young.
I remember that night. I was sitting on
the couch, no older than five,
happily watching TV with my mother.
I watched “Jaws” way too young. I remember that night. I was sitting on the couch,
no older than five, happily watching TV
with my mother. She browses through the
channels and finally decides it is a good
idea to watch a certain movie. I see a shadow of a pair of legs swimming. Then I hear
the bone-chilling music “Duunnn dunn…
duunnn duunnn… duunnnn dun dun dun
dun.” Until suddenly I see the flesh-ripping
jaws and razor-sharp teeth followed by
panic and blood-curdling screams. The
screen turns red. Within seconds, my
brain associates swimming with sharks
and sharks with blood. And for the rest
of my life, I am traumatized. I instantly
develop Selachophobia, an intense fear
of sharks.
In spite of my fear, I loved swimming. But
I could not put my fear to rest. Whenever I
entered a pool, I would put on my goggles
40 | Avril 2014
and do a 360°search for the slightest sign
of the predator. I would not even put my
feet in the water unless there was at least
one other person physically larger than me.
I would think, doing the basic math, the
more people there are and the “juicier” they
are, the less likely a shark would choose
me for dinner. I knew that sharks could
not survive in chlorine, but after seeing a
couple of “Hollywood productions”, nothing seemed impossible. In fact, my fear of
the unknown predator was so intense, it
proved to give me a competitive advantage
over others by spurring me on in races. I
would swim faster thinking a great white
shark was behind me.
When I was around ten, on a family vacation to the Maldives, my father encouraged
me to learn scuba diving and go snorkelling.
I loved it. I loved the coral reefs. They were
full of life and vibrant colours. Until one
day, when I was snorkelling with my elder
brother, I noticed a small shark-like shape
swimming our way. Immediately, an alarm
went off in my head and before I knew it,
I was out of the water and out of breath.
After that day and post this family vacation, I decided to learn more about the
predators. I wanted to understand my fear.
My fear became an interest. My parents
bought me books about sharks and book
after book, I read them cover-to-cover – to
be honest, they were mostly pictures. Soon,
my fear of sharks became a passion. Rather
than exclusively depending on Hollywood
for information about them, I watched
documentaries produced by National
Geographic and the Discovery Channel.
Several years later, we returned to the
Maldives. This time, I was excited to get in
the water. I went snorkelling and restarted
scuba diving. One morning, I joined a group
of people to explore a nearby reef. I figured
out that since I was in a large group of people, I had no reason to fear being attacked.
Almost forgetting my fear, I swam with one
of the group leaders who slowly decided to
distance himself from the larger group of
people. Without giving it much thought, I
followed. Soon we were in deeper waters,
beyond the corals, and we kept going. It
was so beautiful, I completely forgot sharks.
Until suddenly, the group leader I was
following stopped swimming. He turned
around and motioned to me with his hand
to stop. At first, I did not understand why.
Then he made a gesture I did not recognize immediately – that of a shark’s dorsal fin. Before I knew it, six black-tip reef
sharks encircled us. Apparently, we had
swum right into their hunting grounds.
You can probably guess my reaction
– I panicked! I splashed and splashed.
They spun around me. They were fast and
they were everywhere. Below me, besides
me and above me. I splashed water all
around me. Understandably, one of the
sharks decided to sniff my flipper, like
a puppy sniffing a delicious treat. And
then, unable to control myself, I kicked.
I kicked really hard. Fortunately, refraction
impairs human vision underwater and I
missed the shark’s jaws. The shark immediately backed away.
And at that moment, I realized, I had no
reason to fear sharks, for they feared me.
I respected them. They were just curious
mammals. They meant no harm. They did
not want to hurt me. In a photo I took
under water, I managed to capture the
shark’s beautiful black-tipped fin despite
the bubbles caused by my unnecessary
panic. As the sharks peacefully left the leader and I, I enjoyed one of my best moments
under water. Of course, my relief had a lot
to do with it, but it was truly magical. The
incredible colours of the fish and corals
were bright. A giant emerald-green sea
turtle joined us and an amazing rare leopard eel swam right past me. I noticed little
white-striped orange clownfish from the
film “Finding Nemo” in a nearby coral. I
had finally overcome my fear. I was in love
with the ocean.
When I returned home to Geneva, Switzerland, I discovered a film called “Shark
Water” by Rob Stewart, a young film director who had been swimming with sharks
since the age of nine. Thanks to the environmental social network I was working
on, a friend introduced me to Rob who
invited me to the European premiere of his
new film “Revolution” at the Cannes Film
Festival. He taught me that sharks are not
the ruthless killers that I once thought they
were. They are not our enemies. But we
are theirs. Today, sharks are endangered
species. According to the Huffington Post,
more than 100 million sharks are killed
by humans every year, that is, almost
3’000 sharks every day. In contrast, less
than 12 humans are killed a year by sharks
according to the National Geographic. In
fact, the odds of being attacked by a shark
are so slim that we are more likely to be
killed by a faulty vending machine or by
accidentally falling out of bed or by choking on a hot dog. Without sharks, man
cannot survive. Sharks are critical to our
ecosystem. It is very simple. If we look at
the last five major extinctions, they have all
been a direct result of ocean acidification.
When our oceans go belly up, we will be in
serious trouble. If we continue our current
rate of overfishing and overconsumption,
by 2048, our oceans will be empty. Notably,
the United Nations confirms that an estimate of over 70% of our world’s fisheries
are fully exploited. If we do not act now, it
may be too late to save our future.
I hope that by sharing my story, I can help
raise awareness about the threat of shark
extinction and convince others who grew
up watching “Jaws”, to love the creature
we were taught to fear. ■
impressionner : v.t. produire une vive impression
12, rue des Mouettes . CP 1352 . 1211 Genève 26 . Tél. 022 307 26 00 . Fax 022 307 26 01 .
Avril 2014 | 41
Toujours aussi sympa la Smart maintenant équipée d’un moteur électrique qui la propulse à 125 km/h avec une autonomie de 145 kilomètres
Salon international de l’automobile de Genève
La chasse au CO2 est ouverte
Le Salon international de l’automobile
de Genève a été le premier salon
international à dédier un espace
spécifique aux véhicules à propulsion
alternative et aux énergies
renouvelables. Le Pavillon vert a vu
le jour en 2009 déjà.
une véritable course pour le
développement de technologies
alternatives, unissant écologie
et économie. En six ans seulement, l’industrie automobile
a non seulement su faire face
à une crise majeure, mais
elle a également entièrement
revu et adapté ses produits
pour satisfaire les désirs des
automobilistes soucieux de
Aujourd’hui, à l’occasion de
la 84e édition du salon, tous
les grands constructeurs ont
inclus dans leur gamme des
véhicules à faibles émissions
de gaz carbonique. Depuis
l’an dernier, ces voitures ont
rejoint leurs stands de marque
respectifs. Cette année, du 6 au
16 mars, les visiteurs, amateurs de ces technologies, ont
pu trouver un dépliant, coédité
42 | Avril 2014
par SuisseEnergie, répertoriant
toutes les voitures émtataettant
moins de 95 g de CO2 par km.
Poussés par la demande croissante pour des véhicules moins
polluants, par la nécessité de
préserver l’environnement et
l’introduction de prescriptions
concernant les émissions de
CO 2, les constructeurs automobiles se sont lancés dans
Le seuil de 95 g est en baisse
par rapport à 2013. Ce chiffre
correspond à la moyenne
des niveaux d’émission que
l’Union européenne imposera
aux véhicules neufs dès 2021.
L’an dernier, ce chiffre était
fixé à 100 g de CO 2 par km.
Quelque 10% des 900 véhicules
exposés au Salon de l’automobile de Genève se situaient en
dessous de cette valeur. Cette
année, plus de 65 modèles,
soit plus de 7% des modèles
exposés, répondaient déjà aux
exigences prévues dans six ans.
Aux côtés de ces voitures
« vertes » (fonctionnant à l’essence, au diesel, au gaz naturel
– biogaz et hybride) conçues
pour ne pas trop détériorer
notre couche d’ozone et protéger ainsi notre santé, les
véhicules électriques (équipés
de batteries mais aussi de panneaux solaires) trônaient également sur les stands du salon.
Hyundai prend même le risque
d’utiliser la pile à combustible
alimentée avec de l’hydrogène
pour propulser ses voitures. On
aurait juste pu espérer trouver
sur le stand Tata la voiture à air
comprimé, imaginée par Guy
Nègre, et déjà commercialisée
en Inde.
Profilée comme un vaisseau spatial et propulsée par un moteur hybride diesel
rechargeable, la Volkswagen XL1 est la voiture de série la plus économique de tous
les temps avec une consommation de 0,9 l/100 km
A noter que pour les véhicules
électriques, un circuit d’essais
avait été tracé dans la halle 1
du salon afin que les visiteurs
puissent tester et apprécier
les accélérations, le confort et
le silence de conduite de ces
citadines modernes.
aérodynamique, l’utilisation
de matériaux allégés innovants
et une direction assistée électrique conjuguent leurs vertus
pour contribuer à limiter les
émissions de CO 2 avec des
versions qui ne rejettent que
Voiture de l’année
En sport automobile aussi
Pour la troisième fois consécutive, la voiture de l’année
a été couronnée au Salon de
l’automobile de Genève par
un jury composé de 58 journalistes spécialisés, venant de
22 pays. Après la Nissan Leaf
électrique, ce fut au tour de
l’Opel Ampera, qui utilise une
mécanique hybride électrique
et thermique, de décrocher la
palme tant convoitée l’année
suivante. En 2014, sept voitures
avaient été sélectionnées pour
la finale, dont deux voitures
électriques, la BMW i3 et la
Tesla Model S. Mais finalement,
c’est la Peugeot 308 qui fera
l’unanimité. Dès sa conception, la nouvelle Peugeot 308
présentée au Salon de Genève
a eu vocation à allier performances environnementales et
prestations routières de haut
niveau. Un travail rigoureux de
réduction de la masse du véhicule a permis de gagner 140 kg
par rapport au modèle précédent. Une nouvelle silhouette
Avec la collaboration de l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest, le
Salon de Genève proposait
une exposition exceptionnelle de voitures ayant marqué l’histoire des 24 Heures
du Mans. Cette épreuve qui
est considérée comme la plus
grande course automobile du
monde est un impitoyable banc
d’essais des technologies du
futur; beaucoup d’innovations
mécaniques testées au Mans
se retrouvent plus tard sur
les voitures de série. Porsche,
dont ce sera le grand retour au
Mans en juin prochain, avec
un tout nouveau prototype
hybride, essayera de détrôner Audi, vainqueur ces deux
dernières années avec des voitures hybrides fonctionnant au
diesel et à l’électricité. Et, des
prototypes 100% électriques
ou à hydrogène se préparent
à affronter bientôt le circuit de
13,6 km qui accueille quelque
250 000 spectateurs tous les
Réservé à des monoplaces 100% électrique, le championnat du monde de Formule E
se disputera dès septembre sur des circuits tracés au cœur de grandes villes comme
Pékin, Rio de Janeiro, Monte-Carlo, Londres et Berlin
Porsche de retour aux 24 Heures du Mans cette année avec la 919 Hybrid propulsée
par deux moteurs, un électrique pour les roues avant et un V4 2 litres turbo essence
pour les roues arrières
Même la Formule 1, dont le
championnat du monde a
débuté le 16 mars à Melbourne
(Australie), s’est mise au vert.
Depuis 2009, les monoplaces
disposent déjà d’un système, le
KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery
System), qui permet de récupérer l’énergie cinétique générée
par le freinage. Ainsi, au lieu
d’être perdue et gaspillée, dispersée sous forme de chaleur,
cette énergie apporte un afflux
supplémentaire de puissance. A
partir de cette année, le règlement technique proposé par
la Fédération internationale
de l’Automobile impose, en
plus, aux écuries de Formules
1 d’équiper leurs voitures d’un
dispositif capable de récupérer
la chaleur émise par les échappements des moteurs. Ces suppléments d’énergie transformée
en électricité permettent de
faire chuter la consommation
d’essence de près de 40% grâce
à des moteurs électriques qui
viennent booster le moteur à
combustion de chevaux supplémentaires. Et, en septembre
prochain, débutera le tout nouveau championnat du monde
de Formule E où ne seront
engagées que des Formule 1
électriques… ■
Avril 2014 | 43
Le Taj Mahal
Mes divers voyages en Inde m’ont
amené à visiter le Taj Mahal à
plusieurs reprises. Et, à chaque fois,
c’est le même émerveillement devant
cette fascinante beauté surnommée
« la perle blanche de l’Inde ».
Majestueux mausolée funéraire
bâti sur un socle de grès rose
et réalisé en marbre blanc
incrusté de pierres précieuses
et semi-précieuses, le Taj Mahal
a été édifié entre 1631 et 1648
à Agra, dans l’État de l’Uttar
Pradesh, à 200 kilomètres au
Sud de Delhi. C’est l’Empereur moghol Shah Jahan qui
ordonna sa construction afin
de perpétuer le souvenir de
son épouse favorite, Mumtaz
Mahal, qui mourut en 1631.
Bijou de l’art musulman en
Inde, le Taj Mahal est l’un des
chefs-d’œuvre universellement admirés du patrimoine
de l’humanité.
Shah Jahan
Né en 1592, fils de l’Empereur moghol Jahangir et de la
Princesse rajput Manmati, le
Prince Khurram reçoit le titre
de Shah Jahan («Souverain du
monde ») en 1617, au terme
d’une campagne militaire
44 | Avril 2014
réussie. Auparavant, il avait
épousé Arjumand Banu Begam,
plus connue sous le surnom de
Mumtaz Mahal. Cette femme,
l’une des trois qu’il prit, est la
nièce de Mihr-un-Nisa, l’une
des épouses de l’empereur
Jahangir. Grâce à cette union,
la notoriété du Prince Khurram
grandit. Après la mort de son
père en 1627, il monte sur le
trône de l’empire moghol, qui
est le plus vaste et le plus riche
du monde. Décidé à poursuivre
l’œuvre de ses prédécesseurs,
Shah Jahan mène diverses campagnes militaires destinées à
étendre son empire. Son règne
est marqué par plusieurs succès, mais il ne réussira néanmoins jamais à percer en Asie
centrale. En 1639, l’Empereur
transfère la capitale d’Agra à
Delhi et s’y installe, donc six
années après le décès de son
épouse favorite, Mumtaz Mahal,
morte en couches. Plus de
20 000 ouvriers et près de 20
Le Taj Mahal attire beaucoup de touristes indiens
ans seront nécessaires à l’édification du Taj Mahal, sa dernière demeure.
En 1657, Shah Jahan tombe
gravement malade, événement
qui déclenche une guerre de
succession entre ses quatre
fils. C’est finalement Aurangzeb
qui s’empare du trône et se
proclame empereur l’année
suivante. Il décide alors de
faire emprisonner son père
au fort d’Agra (Fort Rouge)
depuis lequel on aperçoit le
Taj Mahal, tout proche. Triste
fin pour Shah Jahan qui passa
la fin de sa vie en pouvant voir
la tombe de sa bien-aimée,
sans pouvoir l’approcher. Il
ne pourra la rejoindre qu’en
1666, après sa mort.
Sur la rive de la Yamuna
Longue de 1370 kilomètres,
la Yamuna est l’une des sept
rivières sacrées de l’Inde. Elle
prend sa source dans l’Himalaya, coule en direction du
Sud-Est, et après avoir traversé Delhi et Agra, se jette
dans le Gange à Allahabad.
Cinquante sept millions de personnes dépendent des eaux de
la Yamuna qui, après le Gange,
est le cours d’eau le plus sacré
en Inde. Elle est considérée
comme la fille de Sûrya, le dieu
du soleil, et la sœur de Yama,
le dieu de la mort et, selon la
tradition, ceux qui prennent un
bain dans ses eaux saintes ne
craignent pas la mort. Sur sa
rive droite, à Agra, à l’intérieur
d’un parc de près de 17 ha,
s’élève le Taj Mahal.
Maçons, marbriers, mosaïstes,
sculpteurs, peintres, calligraphes, bâtisseurs spécialisés
dans l’édification des dômes et
autres artisans venus de l’ensemble de l’Empire, ainsi que
d’Asie centrale et d’Iran, ont été
réquisitionnés pour participer
à la construction du Taj Mahal,
sous les ordres de son principal
architecte, Ustad-Ahmad Lahori.
La beauté architecturale du Taj
Mahal repose sur une combinaison rythmée de pleins et
de vides, d’éléments concaves
et convexes, d’ombres et de
lumières, où les arcs et les
coupoles en rehaussent l’esthétique. Le Taj Mahal, qui
possède des qualités architecturales uniques d’équilibre, de
symétrie, d’harmonie, et une
qualité d’exécution exceptionnelle, représente le plus beau
joyau architectural et artistique
de toute l’architecture funéraire
indo-islamique. C’est le matin,
sous un ciel d’un bleu lumineux,
alors que les premiers rayons
de soleil apparaissent, que le
Taj Mahal est le plus beau,
pour le plus grand plaisir des
photographes qui veulent à tout
prix réaliser le fameux cliché
du monument se reflétant dans
l’eau des bassins avoisinants.
La perle blanche de l’Inde
Le caractère unique du Taj
Mahal réside dans plusieurs
innovations véritablement
remarquables qui ont été introduites par les architectes et
horticulteurs de Shah Jahan.
L’un des traits de génie qui a
inspiré l’aménagement du site
est d’avoir placé la tombe, non
pas au centre, mais à une extrémité du jardin divisé en quatre
parties, de telle sorte que, vue
de loin, cette disposition accentue l’effet de profondeur et
de perspective. Le monument
est aussi l’un des meilleurs
exemples de tombeau surélevé. Le tombeau lui-même trône
sur une plate-forme carrée surélevée, les quatre côtés de la
base octogonale se prolongeant
au-delà du carré formé par les
angles. Les quatre minarets
isolés, placés dans les angles
de la plate-forme, ajoutent une
dimension jusqu’alors inconnue
à l’architecture moghole.
L’élément le plus imposant du
complexe du Taj Mahal, près
de la tombe, est la porte principale qui se dresse majestueusement au centre du mur
sud de l’avant-cour. Elle est
flanquée de galeries doubles à
arcades qui s’ouvrent sur le jardin, d’inspiration persane. Ce
dernier est structuré par deux
grands canaux qui se coupent
à angle droit et forment une
croix, dont le centre est occupé
par un bassin carré.
La chambre principale, coiffée
d’un dôme en forme de bulbe,
qui contient les cénotaphes
de Mumtaz Mahal et de Shah
Jahan, obéit à un plan strictement octogonal. La magnifique
balustrade en marbre ajouré
qui entoure les deux cénotaphes est d’une qualité d’exécution exceptionnelle. Finement
polie, elle est richement ornée
d’incrustations représentant
des motifs floraux d’une admirable perfection.
De part et d’autre du monument principal, la mosquée et
le pavillon des invités du Taj
Mahal, en grès rouge, créent
un fort contraste avec la tombe
en marbre blanc disposée au
centre. Les deux édifices, dont
les structures sont identiques,
reposent sur une vaste plateforme. Ils comportent une
imposante salle de prière de
forme oblongue, composée de
trois travées voûtées formant
un arc avec le portail central
Le Taj Mahal a été dessiné
selon un plan parfaitement
symétrique, conçu pour faire
plus particulièrement ressortir la symétrie bilatérale par
rapport à un axe central sur
lequel sont disposés les principaux éléments.
Des millions de touristes
visitent le Taj Mahal chaque
année. Cela en fait le monument le plus visité d’Inde et
l’un des plus emblématiques
au monde. ■
Avril 2014 | 45
Pourquoi ne pas le faire ?
Parc national suisse
Je vous propose des petites balades à
des degrés de difficulté différents, pour
vous changer les idées, vous oxygéner
et vous déstresser. N’oubliez pas : ne
rien faire nuit à votre santé. Je vous
souhaite des journées de marche et de
détente agréables et ensoleillées.
46 | Avril 2014
Le Parc national suisse se situe
dans le canton des Grisons.
Créé en 1914, il est le premier parc national en Europe.
Zernez en est la plaque tournante. Les commémorations
du centenaire auront lieu en
2014. Les itinéraires sont de
difficulté variable, entre 1400
et 3200 mètres d’altitude. Son
règlement est très strict : pas
de chien, interdiction de sortir
des sentiers balisés, cueillette
interdite. Ceci nous permet de
voir entre autre les edelweiss
et les animaux : cerfs (2000
environ dans le parc), chamois
(1500), bouquetins (350), marmottes (1500) habitués à voir
les randonneurs ne pas sortir des chemins. Une paire de
jumelles est indispensable…
pour observer ces animaux
ainsi que les deux couples de
gypaètes couvant dans le parc,
mais également l’aigle royal.
Une visite du musée national est recommandée car il
regorge d’informations et
d’explications intéressantes.
Il est de surcroît très ludique
pour les enfants.
L’Alp Trupchun
Depuis Zernez, prendre la
route N° 27 direction Saint
Moritz. Bifurquer à S-Chanf et
suivre les panneaux parking
Parc national jusqu’à Prasüras
(altitude 1690 mètres) parking et point de départ. Suivre
Parc National par Via Sura Val
Trupchun, balisage rouge et
blanc. Passer par le chemin
panoramique. Passage à l’aire
de repos de Val Mela et arrivé
à l’Alp Trupchun (altitude 2040
mètres) en deux heures vingt.
Accueillis par d’innombrables
marmottes. Pour les cerfs et
gypaètes les jumelles étaient ce
jour là indispensables. Retour
par la rive droite en suivant le
torrent en une heure quarante,
soit au total quatre heures et à
mon GPS 15,150 km parcousurs et 350 mètres de dénivelé positif. Cette randonnée est
très fréquentée en septembre
au moment du brame du cerf.
Pour plus de détails : Guide
des sentiers pédestres du Parc
national suisse, Klaus Robin.
Indispensable : une carte officielle vendue avec le guide des
sentiers pédestres.
Ne pas oublier de vous équiper de bonnes chaussures de
marche et de vêtements adaptés à l’altitude et à la saison.
Corrigendum Article Mrs F. Nocquet, HRD Director WHO
In March 2014, the interview with Mrs Françoise Nocquet, HRD
Director at WHO was conducted by Mrs Veronica Riemer on behalf
of the WHO-HQ Staff Association. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Revue des fonctionnaires internationaux des Nations Unies à Genève et de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé.
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Your health demands perfection
Avril 2014 | 47
The new
BMW 5 Series
Freude am Fahren
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