The dumping of toxic waste in and around Abidjan at the end of August was a very serious and regrettable health risk, causing the deaths of seven local residents. Figures received by the EU in mid-September suggest that as many as 37,483 local residents sought some form of medical attention, although this figure does not necessarily reflect the total number of those affected. The UK, through the European Union Civil Protection Co-operation Mechanism, offered to provide an assessment of the impact of the toxic waste on the environment and population. In the event, however, this assistance was not required as the Ivorian authorities had sought the assistance of a private waste-management company.
The meeting on 20 September at the UN regarding Cote d'Ivoire concentrated primarily on the current stalemate in the peace process, although we understand the toxic waste dumping was deplored by several speakers. In a statement on 15 September a spokesman for the UN Secretary-General had already expressed concern over the tragic consequences of the dumping. The full text of the statement can be found on the UN website at: