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Palestinians harmed by fishing restrictions off Gaza say UN aid officials

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called for an immediate easing of the restrictions given that April is the start of the annual high season, when fish migrate from the Nile Delta region in Egypt to Turkish waters across the Mediterranean Sea.Under current restrictions, Palestinians are allowed to fish only up to six nautical miles off the Gaza coast, whereas a deal in 2002 between the UN and Israel allowed for fishing up to 12 miles off the coast and the Oslo Accords of 1993 gave fishing rights for up to 20 miles.The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have said the restrictions are necessary to prevent Palestinians smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, described the relaxation of restrictions as critical.“Being confined so close to shore has meant poor catches for Gazan fishermen in terms of fish size, value and quantity,” she said, adding that fish stocks have depleted because many natural breeding grounds are close to shore.Many of the Israeli restrictions seem to be imposed arbitrarily, OCHA said in a press release, with fishing allowed in some locations but not others, and on some days but not others. It called for a means of communication between Israeli naval boats and Palestinian fishermen to reduce the hazards.OCHA also said that many Gaza residents now buy fish imported from Israel at a much higher price because of the restrictions, placing the commodity out of reach of many people.For the families of the fishermen, the reduced income means they have become progressively impoverished over the past six years, and now depend on aid and jobs from the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and other humanitarian agencies. 19 April 2007Israeli restrictions on where Palestinian fishermen can work in the waters off the Gaza Strip are hurting more than 40,000 people who depend on the industry as their main source of income, the United Nations humanitarian arm warned today. read more

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Ban welcomes proposal for first binding limits on airlines carbon emissions

A statement attributable to the UN chief’s spokesperson said the proposed rules, which would limit carbon emissions and strengthen the efficiency of all new commercial and business airliners after 2028, build on the strong momentum coming from the Paris Agreement and represent the latest in a series of successful multilateral efforts to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change.“Carbon emissions from aviation are growing rapidly, with the number of flights worldwide expected to double in the next 15 years. The ICAO’s new rules come after years of negotiations and are the first time that governments have set emissions standards for the aviation industry,” the statement said.For its part, ICAO said in a press release yesterday that the “eagerly awaited” aircraft carbon dioxide emissions standard was unanimously recommended by the 170 international experts on its Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, paving the way for its ultimate adoption by the UN agency’s 36-State Governing Council.Under the recommendation, the new standard would be applicable to new aircraft type designs as of 2020, as well as to new deliveries of current in-production aircraft types from 2023. A cut-off date of 2028 for production of aircraft that do not comply with the standard was also recommended.In its current form, the standard acknowledges carbon dioxide reductions arising from a range of possible technology innovations, whether structural, aerodynamic or propulsion-based.ICAO said the proposed global standard is particularly stringent for larger aircraft, since operations of aircraft weighing more than 60 tons account for more than 90 per cent of international aviation emissions. The proposed standard, however, covers the full range of sizes and types of aircraft used in international aviation today.“The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” said Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council.The Montreal-based agency works with 191 Member States and industry groups to reach consensus on international standards, practices and policies for the civil aviation sector. read more

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