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"Sustainable Bioenergy: Challenges & Opportunities" Conference Opens in Bonn

Meeting to focus on development of biofuels wordlwide

Bonn, Germany —   October 11, 2006

The United Nations Foundation and the German NGO Forum on Environment & Development today announced the opening of the Sustainable Bioenergy conference in Bonn, Germany. The two-day conference, held Oct.12-13 at the Altes Wasserwerk (former German Parliament building), brings together experts from governments, NGOs, business and science for a series of meetings, workshops and speeches looking at opportunities for bioenergy, assessing sustainability challenges, and identifying viable solutions for responsible utilization of these important renewable energy sources.

“This conference is taking place at a time of growing energy supply insecurity, high oil prices and the detrimental impacts of climate change,” said Melinda Kimble, the head of the United Nation Foundation’s International Biofuels Initiative. “In this context, the large-scale use bioenergy such as biofuels and biomass will play a major role in future energy policy scenarios worldwide. The Bonn conference is the first time that so many stakeholders coming from different horizons get together to assess the potential of this rapidly developing energy sector and the global market already taking shape, and work on sustainability criteria while keeping environmental integrity as a priority.”

Among the 45 conference speakers are:

• Corrado Clini, Director-General, Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, and Chair of the Global Biofuels Energy Partnership, fostered by the 2005 G8 meeting.

• Suani Coelho, Deputy Environment Secretary, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

• Harsha Vardhana Singh, Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization, who will speak on International Trade and Environment

• Karl Watkin, chairman of D1 Oils, a UK-based global producer of biodiesel, will lead a discussion on Financing Bioenergy.

Topics discussed at the conference include environmental impact issues such as
• Intensive land use, deforestation, and soil erosion
• Biodiversity loss
• Water use
• Pollution
• Climate change

Social impacts of biofuels development such as
• Opportunities for developing countries and European farmers
• Domestic use vs. export
• Technology transfer issues

About the UN Foundation

The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and also works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. The UN Foundation is a public charity. For a complete listing of UN Foundation grants and programs or to learn more about the United Nations Foundation, visit www.unfoundation.org.

One of the UN Foundation’s areas of focus is energy and climate change. Its International Biofuels Initiative promotes the sustainable production and use of biofuels in developing countries, under conditions that can attract foreign and domestic investment. Biofuels are liquid fuels made from biomass (plants and trees), and include biodiesel for trucks or generators and ethanol for cars or cooking. A domestic biofuels industry can create jobs, increase income in rural areas, and reduce the need for costly imports of foreign oil.

The Initiative will assess biofuels potential within developing countries and work with national decision-makers and private-sector groups, including NGOs and civil society groups, to develop country-specific strategies for the production and use of biofuels.
The Initiative is supported by the UN Foundation and is being undertaken in partnership with five UN agencies working in coordination:

• United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
• Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
• United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
• United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
• United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Press Contacts:

Katherine Miller
Communications Director
United Nations Foundation
(o) 202.778.1622
(c) 202.247.7280
(e) kmiller@unfoundation.org

Amy DiElsi
Press Secretary
United Nations Foundation
(o) 202.887.9040
(c) 215.
(e) adielsi@undfoundation.org

 
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