U.S. Embassy Montevideo - Archives

The Embassy hosts Earth Day 2004 digital video conference

Scientists in Washington D.C. link with Uruguayan environmentalists, NGOs and media to discuss technology-based environmental projects in Central and South America

April 22, 2004


Public Affairs Officer Brian Penn addresses DVC participantsIn 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 Affairs (OES/SAT).

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 in Montevideo).

The audience featured high ranking Uruguayan officials, NGOs, environmentalists and media attended the conference held in the theatre at the U.S Embassy Thursday (April 21.)

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.

For more information on the symposium, click here. (pdf file)
For more information on the Merin Lagoon project, click here (pdf file)

SEDAC (Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center)


Full text of Hector Rubio Sica's speech


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