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REGIONAL OFFICE FOR AFRICA - NEWS UPDATE

      4 May  2007

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General Environment News

Côte d'Ivoire: New Farms, New Lives - At An Environmental Cost

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg): For Katienéfoha Yéo, two decades of cotton farming that resulted in nothing but debt were enough to get him on the road, out of Tanikaha in northern Côte d'Ivoire to Sarala in the west. He is one of tens of thousands of farmers who have moved into regions of centre-west and western Côte d'Ivoire over recent years, establishing new villages and encampments. "Youths who're leaving the savannahs of the north are to a certain extent forced to do this, as their land has become unproductive and agricultural yields almost negligible," Siriki Yéo, chief of the village of Yèkaha in western Côte d'Ivoire, told IPS. The improved farming conditions that migrants find come at a cost, however, as farmers are settling in forested areas that should remain uninhabited for the conservation of natural resources. Additional forest areas are occupied every day says Benoît Cinan Soro, director of Rural Activities of Korhogo (Animation rurale de Korhogo, ARK), a non-governmental organization that defends the rights of subsistence farmers. http://allafrica.com/stories/200705030682.html

Nigeria: ERA Sue Tobacco Firms for $21bn

Vanguard (Lagos): The Lagos State Government and Environmental Rights Action (ERA) have filed an action at the Lagos State High Court against several big tobacco companies seeking extensive relief that intend to regulate tobacco smoking especially as it affects youth and under-aged smokers. The claimants also sought special, general, punitive and anticipatory damages in the sum of $21,617,605, 885.17 (N2, 702,200,735,647.17) from the Defendants. The suit was filed by the Attorney General of Lagos State, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) on behalf of the State Government and the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN). In their suit, the claimants are making the following allegations: That the defendants have recently admitted that tobacco smoking has severe health implications including but not limited to cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary complications; In spite of the obvious knowledge of the adverse effect of their product, the defendants have surreptitiously and fraudulently targeted young and under-aged persons in their advertising and marketing; That through the use of market surveys and sophisticated advertising, the defendants have utilized such means as music, cinema and fashion, to attract and addict young and underage persons into smoking. http://allafrica.com/stories/200705030116.html

Uganda: APAC to Evict Encroachers

New Vision (Kampala): As the Government is planning to give away part of Mabira Forest reserve, Apac district authorities have started implementing the council's decision to evict at least 2,000 wetland encroachers. The exercise, which started on April 23 has seen about 725 sudd-dwellers quitting, according to the district environment officer, Jasper Otimoi. In a recent meeting presided over by the district speaker, Dickens Wasio, technocrats were asked to go ahead and evict the estimated 2,000 wetland encroachers for they were already served with eviction notice. http://allafrica.com/stories/200705030155.html

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