Hungary + 3 more

Government of Japan gives $10,000 to Tisza emergency fund

The Government of Japan announced Feb 29 it will contribute USD 10,000 to an emergency fund set up by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) in an effort to respond quickly to the environmental disaster caused by a cyanide spill in the Somes, Tisza and Danube rivers.

The funding is to be distributed to NGOs involved in urgent work to address the crisis caused when a cyanide leak at the Aurul gold mine in Baia Mare, Romania, completely destroyed the eco-systems of hundreds of kilometres of river in Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia. The spill has been termed "the worst environmental disaster in Europe since Chernobyl," and the REC recognises that environmental non-governmental organisations from the countries affected need support in dealing with this situation.

In distributing this funding, the REC aims to support environmental NGOs focusing on immediate efforts, including those already underway, in four areas:

Direct activities in the field, such as clean-up and efforts to preserve biodiversity, etc.

Assistance in public participation, and providing access of local communities to legal assistance in obtaining remuneration.

Facilitation of a multi-stakeholder dialogue, and co-operative efforts between sectors.

Access to, and the dissemination of, information about the effects of the contamination in the rivers to local inhabitants, and the general public.

Through its Tisza River Response Project, the REC is also working to mobilise other sources of funding to support the participation of citizens and access to information through environmental NGOs. The Center also offers its expertise to assist international governmental activities aimed at achieving restitution of the damages and prevention of further accidents. The Center will continue to facilitate the institution of environmental management with businesses, especially industries with high environmental risk.

For more information contact Mary McKinley, E-mail: Tel: (36 26) 311-199. Fax: (36 26) 311-294.

Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe