Comoros

Comoros: Managing and promoting the Karthala Volcano

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International Conference on Scientific Research, Development Opportunities and Risk Management of the Karthala Volcano 19-21 November in the Union of the Comoros

Moroni, Grande Comore, 18 November 2008 - International experts in vulcanology, natural resource exploitation and disaster prevention will meet tomorrow 19 November in Moroni, the capital of the Union of Comoros, for a three-day conference on the Karthala volcano that rises 2,360 m above sea level and covers two-third of Grande Comore, the largest of the three islands in the Indian Ocean that form the Union of the Comoros.

The Grande Comore owes its existence and is to a large extent defined by the active volcano that is estimated to be 130,000 years old. The Karthala has for long been considered mainly a threat to the population of the island but is increasingly being recognized for its potential developmental and economic values in terms of eco-tourism and geothermic energy that could be exploited for the benefit of the population of 732,000 Comorans.

The public conference is co-organized by the Comoran Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It revolves around three major themes: new scientific research, prevention and management of risks and the potential for economic growth, energy exploitation, preservation of a unique biodiversity, agriculture and tourism. The conference will explore all aspects of the volcano including the political and economical dimensions.

Some 30 international invitees representing various academic disciplines, disaster prevention practitioners and natural resource experts will present papers and lay the groundwork for future promotion of the volcano, risk reduction and national legislation on the prevention and management of disasters. The volcano has erupted about 20 times in the last century, and four times since 2005.

Representatives of the media are invited to the conference and to visit the conference web site on www.karthala.org for news and background information. The United Nations Public Information Officers listed below can be contacted for interviews with participants and daily conference updates.

Press contacts:

Toihir Mlahaili, Public Information Officer, United Nations in Comoros, Phone +269 3344435.

Jens Laerke, Public Information Officer, United Nations, Phone +269 3339984.

Please email interview and other requests to: media@karthala.org