The Embassy hosts Earth Day 2004 digital video
Scientists in Washington D.C. link
with Uruguayan environmentalists, NGOs and media to discuss
technology-based environmental projects in Central and South
April 22, 2004
celebration of Earth Day 2004, the U.S. Embassy organized
a digital videoconference, featuring Dr. Fernando Echavarria
of the Space & Advanced Technology Staff, in the Bureau
of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific
Echavarria, who came to the State Department as an American
Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Diplomacy
Fellow in 1997, spoke on global imaging and discussed how
countries can access this technology. He also provided information
on the Laguna Merin project in Uruguay.
Also joining the conference in Washington
DC was Peter Samson, a career Foreign Service Officer currently
working as regional officer for the Western Hemisphere in
the Office of Policy Coordination and Initiatives of the
State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Scientific
and Environmental Affairs.
Sitting on a panel in Montevideo, Uruguay
were Tomas Bense, engineer with Teledet SRL, and Juan Samuelle,
environmental reporter for El Observador (a daily newspaper
The audience featured high ranking Uruguayan
officials, NGOs, environmentalists and media attended the
conference held in the theatre at the U.S Embassy Thursday
Using his PowerPoint presentation, Echavarria
detailed these technology-based environmental projects being
conducted throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The Merin Lagoon project which is funded
by the U.S., focuses on using satellite remote sensing to
gather data to use in drafting and implementing policies
to protect the environment from nearby land use, agrochemical
pollution and over-fishing.
Following Echavarria’s presentation,
the panelists asked the experts in Washington about Uruguay’s
specific needs for funding and education for global information
systems and environmental issues. Bense said there was a
lack of advanced technical education in Uruguay and asked
what other Latin American nations were doing to remedy the
problem. He also asked if the information from NASA’s
LANDSAT system was available to the public on a worldwide
basis and expressed concern for the continuity of the program.
Samuelle asked about the availability of
funding for concrete environmental projects from the Fund
of the Americas.
In closing the program, Echavarria directed
participants to information about an upcoming “Monitoring
Science and Technology Symposium” scheduled for Sept.
20 to 24 in Denver, Colorado.