Published: Friday 30 April 1999

-- The United Nations (UN) has launched a five-year US $25.83 million project in China to promote the use of renewable energy technologies. The United Nations Development Programme has a US $8.8 million stake in the project, and China has invested US $11.5 million. Australia and the Netherlands have provided the rest of the funds, a UN report said. China relies on fossil fuels to produce energy and is one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, it said. The project was set up in conjunction with China's State Economic and Trade Commission. It would assist government initiatives to reduce the use of fossil fuels and attract investment in renewable energy, the report said.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), in a report, have identified priority areas where conservation action is needed to retain the diversity of fish, molluscs and crustaceans -- key sources of food for people worldwide. The report 'Freshwater Biodiversity: A Preliminary Global Assessment' identifies the African Great Lakes, Madagascar, Tasmania, the Mississippi basin and Lake Titicaca among 23 "hotspots" of fresh water biodiversity.

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