Published: Friday 31 January 1997

-- On December 26, 1996, the Convention to Combat Desertification, a UN treaty aimed against formation of new deserts, came into force. It was one of the pacts agreed at the UN sponsored Rio summit in 1992, as part of an action plan to protect the global environment. Besides checking desertification mainly in African countries, the pact also attempts to tackle social and economic problems caused by dryland degradation in Asia and Latin America. The treaty has been signed by 130 nations of whom 50 have ratified it.

Recently, the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations met in Geneva to discuss the risk of growing resistance of common infectious diseases to frequently-used antibiotics. They agreed on a plan of action to improve opportunities for successful, cost-effective treatment of infections and to promote research and development of new antibiotics.

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