United Nations

Published: Saturday 30 June 2001

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has proposed to set up a US $98 million fund to help the world's least developed countries (LDCs) improve the safety and quality of their food products. The fund would be set up with voluntary contributions from bilateral and multilateral donors, officials of the FAO said.

The marshes of Mesopotamia have been extensively degraded, according to UN experts. Scientists of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) say that evaluation of satellite photographs taken in 1973 and 2000 show that 90 per cent of the marshlands had now been drained. The marshlands lie where the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers meet in southern Iraq, partially extending into Iran. "The loss of the marshes over the years is a major ecological disaster," said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's executive director.

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