UNEP launches African lakes atlas

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- The UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) Monday launched an Atlas of African Lakes here at the opening session of the 11th World Lakes Conference.
The conference, which is being held in Africa for the first time, will span five days and has attracted over 500 delegates.
Titled "One Planet, Many People: Atlas of our changing Environment", the atlas provides a comprehensive visual presentation on changes in the global environment.
It focuses on environmental issues like effects of urbanization, consequences of energy consumption, endangered species, habitat loss and diversity, State of global water resources and coastal areas and land use practice and global land cover changes.
The Atlas brings into focus dramatic, and in some cases damaging, environmental changes sweeping Africa's lakes.
Produced by UNEP, the atlas compares amazing satellite images of the past few decades with current ones.
According to the UNEP executive director Klaus Topfer, natural and man- made impacts bring extensive deforestation around Lake Nakuru in Kenya and lakes in other parts of Africa.
Satellite measurements detailing the falling water of the Victoria are also mapped, he added.
"I hope the highlighted images of Africa's lakes will galvanize delegates at this conference to greater action to conserve and restore crucial water bodies," Topfer said.
He also hoped the images would "ring warning bells" around the world that to overcome poverty and meet the agreed development goals by 2015, management to Africa's lakes must be part of the equation.
"We face increasing tensions and instability as rising population compete for life's most precious resources," he noted.

31 october 2005 15:17:00

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