1. The EU Environment Ministers adopted the Chemicals Directive REACH in Brussels today. This concludes the discussion on reforming the European chemicals policy which spanned several years. European Parliament, Council and Commission agreed on a compromise text in early December which was formally adopted today. The REACH Directive will enter into force on 1 June 2007.

  2. On 15 December 2006 the Act Concerning Supplemental Provisions on Appeals in Environmental Matters Pursuant to EC Directive 2003/35/EC (Environmental Appeals Act, in German: Umwelt-Rechtsbehelfsgesetz – UmwRG) came into effect. Germany thereby transformed European law into national legislation, thus improving the rights of the public by extending the associational claim (see also IV. Background information on the development of UmwRG). The UmwRG makes it possible for associations that encourage the objectives of environmental protection (hereinafter referred to as environmental associations) to take action against breaches of environmental law by means of appeal, i.e. opposition or lawsuit. In order to be able to file an appeal under the UmwRG environmental associations need to be recognised.

  3. Act Concerning Supplemental Provisions on Appeals in Environmental Matters Pursuant to EC Directive 2003/35/EC (Environmental Appeals Act)

  4. Kenya hosted the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 2), in conjunction with the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 12), in Nairobi from 6 to 17 November 2006. Discussions at the Climate change conference centred around African issues. The summit agreed on the principles and structure of the Adaptation Fund and on a five-year work programme on adaptation. The Parties also agreed that Africa should be supported through capacity building and assistance in the development of concrete projects and thus increase the continent's participation in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Germany and the EU announced that they would substantially top up the European Union's umbrella fund Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF). The aim is to mobilise around 1.25 billion euros in climate-friendly investments and thus advance the elimination of energy poverty, particularly in Africa.

  5. On 1 December 2006, the EC regulation 2037/2000 was implemented by the Chemikalien-Ozonschichtverordnung.

  6. The Elisabeth Mann-Borgese Sea Prize of the Schleswig-Holstein Government has been awarded for the first time on the 26th November 2006 in the Schleswig-Holstein Land representation in Berlin. The prize, worth €20,000 and named for the daughter of writer Thomas Mann, honours in the one case an outstanding contribution to the marine sciences and in the other political and social commitment to the conservation and protection of the marine environment.

  7. An oil spill originating from the oil transfer installations of Prahovo in Serbia polluted the Danube River over some 140 km in Bulgarian territory downstream.

  8. On 11 August 2006, the tanker Solar 1, chartered by Petron Corp, was transporting 2,000 tonnes of oil when she sank in the Guimaras Straits, some 10 nautical miles south of Guimaras Island, Republic of the Philippines. Over 1,300 tonnes of oil were spilled at sea very rapidly. Hundreds of kilometres of shoreline were contaminated to varying degrees.

  9. On 25 July 2006 a short circuit in the external high voltage network caused problems with the emergency power supply of the Forsmark (Sweden) nuclear power plant. As a consequence there was a shortfall in the supply of water coolant to the reactor, and a number of display units and regulators failed. For more than 20 minutes the operating team did not have the reactor fully under control. (Level 2 out of 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES))

  10. In the course of the conflict in the Middle East, the oil-fuelled power plant of Jieh, located directly on the coastline approximately 30 km south of Beirut, was hit by bombs on July 13 and 15, 2006. Part of the storage tanks caught fire and were burning for several days. 30,000 tons of heavy fuel oil was spilled into the Mediterranean Sea as a result of the blast.

  11. Friends of the Earth in Germany, Italy and Switzerland together with the Dutch Vlinderstichting call for a nationwide butterfly counting on the 1st and 2nd of July. The count is to take place during the 1st International Butterfly Day.

  12. The former "German Environmental Information Network (gein)", established in June 2000, has been relaunched by the "German Environmental Information Portal (PortalU)". PortalU is the result of a cooperation between the German "Länder" and the German Federal Government, implementing requirements of the Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information.

  13. The compulsory deposit has been extended to all ecologically unfriendly one-way packaging and the so called individual solutions were discontinued. Under the "individual solutions", discounters only had to take back one-way drink packaging sold by their own sales chain. Since May 2006, stores that sell drink cans, glass or plastic bottles are obligated to take back corresponding packaging from other drinks manufacturers. Empty one-way bottles and cans can be returned to any outlet where one-way packaging is sold. This is also done to promote the development of a uniform nationwide return system which is now being build up by the economic operators.

  14. World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was initiated in 2006 and is a global awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. On the second weekend each May, people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programs and bird watching excursions to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and to help raise awareness around a specific theme. The first ever World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) took place on the weekend of 8-9 April 2006 and focused on the topic “Migratory birds need our support now!”.

  15. On March 20, 2006, the members of the NaDiNe expert group working on the topic of oil spills gathered at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven for their first meeting. Participants were scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and the GKSS Research Center Geesthacht.

  16. Adopted by the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) on 6 February 2006 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework to foster the sound management of chemicals. SAICM was developed by a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral Preparatory Committee and supports the achievement of the goal agreed at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development of ensuring that, by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health. Another goal of SAICM is to bundle the variety of existing activities and initiatives for a safe chemicals management within an overall framework .

  17. Butterfly of the Year is the Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).

  18. Mollusc of the Year is the thick shelled river mussel (Unio crassus).

  19. Lichen of the year is the common greenshield lichen (Flavoparmelia caperata).

  20. Laboratory Animal of the Year 2006 is the mouse in animal testing for the regular analysis of algae toxins in mussels.

  21. Water plant of the year 2006 is the Fringed Waterlily (Nymphoides peltata).

  22. Fish of the Year 20015 is the European bullhead (Cottus gobio).

  23. The Common Lizard (Zootoca vivpara) was nominated to the first Reptile of the Year by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT).

  24. Every year the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT) selects the "Amphibian / Reptile of the Year". The aim of the campaign is to call attention to the threats with which these species are confronted and to encourage people, organisations and municipalities to initiate conservation activities. The fist "Reptil of the Year" was chosen 2006.

  25. Insect of the Year 2006 is the Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata).

  26. Invertebrate of the Year 2006: Pill millipedes (Glomeris marginata)

  27. Orchid of the Year: Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine)

  28. Spider of the Year is the Crab spider (Misumena vatia).

  29. Flower of the Year 2006 is the Cuckoo Flower or Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis).

  30. Bird of the Year 2006 is the Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europea).

  31. Animal of the Year: Common seal or Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina)

  32. The European Black Poplar (Populus nigra) is Tree of the Year 2006.

  33. Vegetable of the Year 2006 is the Cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.)(red and white cabbage, savoy).

  34. Medicinal Herb of the Year: Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

  35. Poisonous plant of the year 2006 is the European spindle (Euonymus europaeus), also known as the Common spindle.

  36. Medicinal Plant of the Year 2006 is the Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

  37. Perennial Herb of the Year is the Phlox.

  38. Moss of the Year 2006 is the Greater Water Moss (Fontinalis antipyretica).

  39. The Haplic Albeluvisol is the soil of the year 2006.

  40. The year 2006 was declared the International Year of Deserts and Desertification (IYDD) by the United Nations General Assembly. The main objective of the year is to spread awareness about the desert areas of the world and especially the problem of desertification.