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Frontier oilsands mine panel ordered to consider impact on world heritage site

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CALGARY — The federal-provincial panel conducting an environmental review of the proposed Frontier oilsands mine project in northern Alberta has been ordered to consider its impact on Wood Buffalo National Park as requested by the UN’s World Heritage Committee.In a report in March based on a visit to the 45,000-square-kilometre park, a world heritage site since 1983, the UN agency warned of risk from industrial development and said the park could be designated “in danger” if Canada didn’t implement 17 recommendations.It set a deadline of February 2018 for Canada to show its plan to meet those recommendations and another deadline of December 2018 to show progress.According to the report, the Frontier project would move oilsands development closer to the southern boundary of the park, increasing the risk that it and its herd of wood bison might be affected by leaks and spills from tailings ponds and other water and air pollution.The panel is to consider potential environmental effects of the project on the value of the world heritage site, including the Peace-Athabasca Delta, and address it in a separate chapter of its report.Project proponent Teck Resources (TSX:TECK) has said oil production at the 260,000-barrel-per-day Frontier won’t take place until 2026 at the earliest. read more

Bringing nuclear test ban treaty into force a central pillar of global

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However, despite being widely supported – with 184 signatories and 168 ratifying States – it has not yet entered into force, more than two decades after its adoption.“Honoring those victims requires bringing nuclear testing to a permanent end,” said the Secretary-General, stressing that “yet, an effective and legally-binding prohibition remains one of the longest unfulfilled goals of nuclear disarmament.”The UN chief stressed that the CTBT is vital to ensuring there are no more victims; it is also essential to advancing nuclear disarmament.The International Day against Nuclear Tests marks the closing, in 1991, of the nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, the largest in the former Soviet Union. More than 450 tests took place there, with impacts still being felt decades later. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is a Vienna-based international organization that will be established upon the entry into force of the CTBT. It will be tasked with verifying the ban and will operate therefore a worldwide monitoring system and may conduct onsite inspections. The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, a UN partner forum, was set up in 1997 and consists of a plenary body composed of all States signatories to the Treaty and a Provisional Technical Secretariat.Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO and Beibut Atamkulov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, also issued a joint statement to mark the International Day.“Kazakhstan and the CTBTO encourage States and the civil society to join forces to put an end to nuclear testing through advancing the much needed entry into force of the CTBT,” they said. The joint statement further mentioned the “Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security”, which to be awarded to CTBTO and late Director General, Yukiya Amano, of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).Saying that it is “high time” to bring the Treaty into force, the joint statement urged countries to “take the last steps of this long journey and finish one of the longest sought international instruments in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament.” “I reiterate my call for all States that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the [Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty], especially those whose ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force,” Mr. Guterres urged in his message for the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, observed annually on 29 August.The Treaty, known worldwide by the acronym CTBT, is a central pillar of international efforts to advancing nuclear disarmament. Check out our roundup of events/comment on International Day #AgainstNuclearTests, urging entry into force of #CTBT: https://t.co/HjqmG02sGx. @SinaZerbo @MFA_KZ @Vienna_kz @UN_Vienna pic.twitter.com/jjhDPZ4aHv— CTBTO (@ctbto_alerts) August 29, 2019 read more