Global Parliamentary Sector – New IPBES Chair Appointed: Leading Global Biodiversity Science

Source: IPBES

Ana María Hernández Salgar has been appointed as the new Chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The IPBES Plenary approved her appointment at the conclusion of its seventh session in Paris, France – the same session that saw the approval of the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Formerly the Head of the International Affairs Office in the Colombian Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, Ms. Hernández Salgar has been the Head of International Affairs, Policy and Cooperation at the Alexander von Humboldt Research Institute for Biological Resourcessince 2010. She served as the Vice-Chair of the Bureau of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification from 2003-2005; as a member of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity's Expert Group on Access and Benefit Sharing from 1999 to 2012; and has been a member of Colombia's national delegations to international negotiations related to biodiversity, including multilateral agreements such as the CBD, but also at bilateral level for free trade agreements with, among others, the United States, Canada and the EFTA.
Ms. Hernández Salgar was a professor at El Rosario University and Javeriana University from 2008-2017, and has been Colombia's National Focal Point for IPBES since 2012, and also supervised the IPBES Technical Support Unit for the Regional Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas.   
Reacting to her election, she said: "It is a real honour to take on these fundamental challenges. The impact of the IPBES Global Assessment over just the past week has shown the urgent need to take action – based on the best available evidence – for sustainability. The enormous IPBES collective process involves governments, organizations, experts and stakeholders from around the world – representing a wide and very valuable range of knowledge systems – including those of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities." 
Turning to the work that lies ahead for IPBES, Ms. Hernández Salgar added: "We face a wonderful challenge with the approved work programme for IPBES to the year 2030, especially in the context of the sustainable development and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. More than ever we need to strengthen the dialogue between science and policy-makers, to ensure measurable, achievable and concrete actions for people and nature."
Ms. Hernández Salgar replaces Sir Robert Watson, who served as Chair of IPBES since 2016. She is the first woman to serve in the role since the establishment of IPBES in 2012.

About IPBES:
Often described as the "IPCC for biodiversity", IPBES is an independent intergovernmental body comprising more than 130 member Governments. Established by Governments in 2012, it provides policymakers with objective scientific assessments about the state of knowledge regarding the planet's biodiversity, ecosystems and the contributions they make to people, as well as the tools and methods to protect and sustainably use these vital natural assets. For more information about IPBES and its assessments visit
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Source: AFP

Agence France-Presse has filed a complaint to the French Data Protection Authority, following the disclosure that the lobbying firm FleishmanHillard had compiled data about four AFP journalists, on behalf of the agrochemical company Monsanto (Bayer group).

AFP considers practices of this kind to be totally unacceptable and “fully support their journalists who work hard and objectively, every single day”, said Global News Director Phil Chetwynd.

Global Oil Sector – Equinor – Awarding contracts worth NOK 2.5 billion

Source: Equinor

 May 14, 2019 13:19 CEST – Equinor has awarded drilling service contracts at a total value of about NOK 2.5 billion, exclusive of options, to several suppliers. The services will be delivered to both new and existing fields on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Contracts for services related to liner hangers were signed in Equinor’s digital laboratory at Forus, Stavanger, on 14 May. Contracts for additional completion and downhole monitoring have been signed earlier.

“These contacts will help us continue our safe and efficient drilling and well operations. The suppliers are specialists that we have worked with before, and we know what they stand for. We look forward to continuing our good cooperation,” says Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s senior vice president, Drilling & Well.

The total contract value for these services is estimated at about NOK 2.5 billion for the 3-year fixed contact term. In addition, there are five 2-year options for all awards.

Niche deliveries
The contracts now signed cover niche deliveries complementing the integrated drilling and well service contracts signed in 2018.

“We have standardised the contract set-up between various suppliers. This simplifies the collaboration and creates win-win solutions. For these services, we do not buy services from the biggest suppliers only, but also from small-size suppliers with the required specialist competencies,” says Peggy Krantz-Underland, Equinor’s chief procurement officer.

The services are key to capturing additional value on the Norwegian continental shelf, aiming to improve the recovery rate from 50 to 60 percent.

Three services
The services related to liner hangers and additional completion are based on framework contracts with standardised conditions where the volume may vary. The estimated value is NOK one billion and NOK half a billion respectively for three years.

The downhole monitoring contracts were awarded in March, covering a predetermined scope at a value of about NOK 1 billion for three years.





Halliburton AS  

Halliburton AS  

Halliburton AS  

Schlumberger Norge AS *  

Schlumberger Norge AS  

Schlumberger Norge AS  

Baker Hughes Norge AS  

Baker Hughes Norge AS  

Baker Hughes Norge AS  

Weatherford Norge AS  

Weatherford Norge AS  

Roxar Flow Measurement AS  


Ramex AS  

Weatherford Norge AS  


NOV Wellbore Technologies – NUF  



Petroleum Technology Company AS  






Interwell Norway AS  



Welltec Oilfield Services (Norway)  


About the services 
Liner hangers reduce the length of the last liner set in the well by several hundred meters by allowing the liner to be suspended below the ground, rather than extending a single casing string to the top of the wellbore. This saves metal/cementing costs and time for rig and personnel.

Additional completion is a collective term for equipment and service deliveries that help prepare the well for production.

Downhole monitoring – technologies that use an electric or fibre-optic cable run through the well, with a gauge at the bottom measuring pressure and temperature. It is not possible to complete the well without this technology.

Global Oil Sector – Equinor to increase share in high value asset in deepwater US Gulf of Mexico

Source: Equinor

May 13, 2019 14:00 CEST – Equinor has exercised its preferential rights to acquire an additional 22.45% interest in the Caesar Tonga oil field from Shell Offshore Inc for a total consideration of USD 965 million in cash. This will increase Equinor’s interest from 23.55% to 46.00%.  Anadarko remains the operator with a 33.75% interest, and Chevron retains its 20.25% interest.

The Caesar Tonga field is located 180 miles (290 kilometres) south-southwest of New Orleans in the Green Canyon area and is one of the largest deepwater resources in the US Gulf of Mexico.  Equinor’s current share of production from Caesar Tonga is 18,600 boepd (net to Equinor).

“We are pleased to increase our presence in the US, one of our core areas. This is an asset we understand well, and our larger interest will deliver significant additional free cash flow from day one”, says Christopher Golden, Equinor’s senior vice president for Development and Production International, North America Offshore.

Since 2005 Equinor has built up a sizable position in the Gulf of Mexico. In the first quarter of 2019 Equinor’s equity production was 110 000 barrels per day, making it one of the largest producers in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Deepwater Gulf of Mexico forms an important part of Equinor’s portfolio. This deal will strengthen our position in this prolific basin and build on the recent discovery in the Blacktip well. Later this year we will be drilling the Equinor-operated Monument prospect, which has the potential to further develop our position in the Gulf of Mexico," adds Golden.

The transaction will have an effective date of 1 January 2019. The closing of the transaction will be subject to customary consents and approvals.

Equinor has been present in the US Gulf of Mexico since 2005 with exploration prospects and interests in eight producing fields and two in development. Equinor is the owner and operator of the Titan facility.

Equinor is planning to drill the Monument Paleogene prospect in the US Gulf of Mexico in 2019.

In addition to its offshore portfolio in the US Gulf of Mexico, Equinor has extensive US onshore operations in the Eagle Ford (Texas), the Bakken (North Dakota) and the Appalachian basin (Ohio and Pennsylvania).

Equinor has approximately 1,000 employees in the US with main offices in Houston (TX), Austin (TX) and Stamford (CT).

Australia Education Sector – Technical faults must prompt full NAPLAN review

Source: Essential Media

The Australian Education Union in Victoria says media reports today that online NAPLAN testing technical difficulties are widespread show the federal government must review the test. Victorian schools are expected to administer NAPLAN tests this week despite a raft of unresolved problems with the standardised test and technical problems with NAPLAN online.

AEU Victoria has repeatedly called on the Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan to conduct a thorough review of NAPLAN. Standardised tests like NAPLAN undermine the quality of student learning and cause significant and unnecessary disruption to schools.

"NAPLAN online is a debacle. Schools have raised a raft of problems in practice tests over recent weeks," said president of the AEU Victorian Branch, Meredith Peace.

"NAPLAN online has been fraught with technical difficulties. Schools are having trouble logging on to the online NAPLAN system and then difficulties with system drop-outs and internet bandwidth.

"Parents won't be able to trust the 2019 NAPLAN results and their confidence in their school will be undermined.  

"Schools are left to deal with significant workload issues associated with administering the test. The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has consistently failed to identify and act on critical errors.Underfunded public schools also do not have the IT infrastructure and support to administer the tests smoothly.

"The most effective way to assess students is the informed judgement of a teacher. A point in time standardised test cannot capture the abilities and progress of a diverse student population.

"We call on the Morrison Government to conduct an urgent review of NAPLAN, rather than proceeding blindly with a flawed testing system," said Ms Peace.

Australia University Sector – Deakin law expert unpacks UN declarations of threats to global peace

Source: Deakin University

A Deakin University international law expert has published an analysis of the UN Security Council's condoning the use of force to broker peace, in a bid to help diplomats better understand and negotiate within the world's most powerful organisation.

The analysis, detailed in a new book from Deakin Law School's Dr Tamsin Paige, is the first to attempt to define what constitutes a 'threat to the peace' under Article 39 of the UN Charter.

Petulant and Contrary: Approaches by the Permanent Five Members of the UN Security Council to the Concept of 'threat to the peace' under Article 39 of the UN Charter, will be launched at the University's Docklands centre, Deakin Downtown, on 15 May.

Dr Paige said that for the past 70 years, since the UN's Security Council was established in the wake of World War II, what constitutes a 'threat to peace', and therefore where military intervention is warranted, has been intentionally undefined.

"So what I've done is look at the practice of the Security Council, in particular the five permanent members, to give a practical explanation of what they've decided in the past constitutes a threat to the peace," Dr Paige said.

"This will allow for greater predictability in what the Security Council is going to do in any given situation, and that matters because the UN Security Council is the most powerful organisation in the world. They are the only authority that can legally authorise the use of military force."

Dr Paige used a ground-breaking method to pull together her research for the book, an analysis tool called meta-synthesis that was developed in the 1990s and has never been applied to this area of study. She has already presented her work to the Australian diplomatic mission to the UN.

"This book will allow diplomats to better tailor their negotiations to veto nations, whether they're lobbying for or against a possible intervention," she said.

"It will help make diplomats' life easier, especially those in non-permanent nations like Australia who are only there for two years, so really need to hit the ground running."

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. Each has veto rights over any decision made by the Council.

"The UK and US are very similar in their voting record. There are key differences in how they get there, but they both typically arrive at similar worldviews. They have a tendency to uphold democratic rights or human rights, in preference to states' rights where there is a conflict between the two," Dr Paige said.

"France is the most unpredictable, but has the strongest history of supporting Security Council action.

"In Russia and China they both have a preference of upholding states' rights. They see the collective state as a higher preference in social order. They are in favour of the right of states to not have their internal affairs meddled with by outsiders.

"But while Russia typically vetos proposed action it doesn't agree with, China will usually abstain and is much more conciliatory. So there are those important cultural differences between the members it's critical to understand."

Dr Paige said it was easy to see these preferences play out in the recent situation in Syria.

"Russia and China have kept vetoing security council action. They're consistently opposed to details of plans put forward by the US and UK for intervention, because they believe these plans are more focussed on regime change, bringing in a government palatable to US and UK interests, rather than focussed on peace," she said.

"They also see this as a violation of the Syrian people's right to self-determination. They will look at a peace plan if it's determined by the people it protects. They argue that outsiders don't have a right to determine Syria's government.

"But neither side can agree, so we see these increasing issues in the region, and individual action that is actually making the situation worse. As a result there has been Russian military involvement in Syria in an alliance with government against fractured rebel groups.

"There will be no real changes in government, the Syrian government will just crush its opponents under its boot heel because the Security Council never came to agreement. What we're seeing now is eight years of civil war and a country wholesale destroyed."

Despite the spectre of Syria, Dr Paige said she did see the veto system working effectively.

"The veto serves a very important function, it's easy to say the Security Council should do something, but it shouldn't do that if there's no agreement. It can't become a proxy war machine for any one government," she said.

Australia Banking Sector – Commonwealth Bank announces changes to the Bank’s Board of Directors

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia Monday, 13 May 2019 (SYDNEY): The Board of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia announces that Sir David Higgins will retire as a non-executive director on 31 December 2019. CBA Chairman Catherine Livingstone AO expressed her appreciation on behalf of the Board, the Group’s executives and shareholders: “I would like to thank Sir David for his service, commitment and contribution to the Board.” Ms Livingstone said Sir David’s decision to retire was reflective of the time commitment required for the Board and travelling to Australia when considered with his portfolio of directorships from 1 January 2020. Sir David has been a Director of the Bank since September 2014 and has been the Remuneration Committee Chairman and a Risk Committee member. To find out more, please visit the CBA Newsroom.

Australia Banking Sector – Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) March Quarter 2019 Trading Update

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

Monday, 13 May 2019 (SYDNEY): Commonwealth Bank of Australia has today released its trading update for the March quarter 2019 together with its 31 March 2019 Basel III Pillar 3 Capital Adequacy and Risk Disclosures. The relevant documents have been lodged with the ASX.

Chief Executive Officer, Matt Comyn, and Chief Financial Officer, Alan Docherty, will be hosting a teleconference for investors and analysts at 10.30am AEST.

An audio webcast of the teleconference will be available at:

For further information visit the CBA Newsroom:

Australia This Privacy Awareness Week, don’t be in the dark on privacy

Source: Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)

Privacy Awareness Week is being marked around Australia from 12 to 18 May 2019, shining a spotlight on personal information and how to protect it.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is encouraging consumers, business and government agencies to focus on a series of privacy priorities throughout the week, from data breaches and online security to credit reports and health information.

The central message of the campaign is “Don’t be on the dark on privacy”.

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said record support for the event shows privacy has come into sharp focus as a leading priority for organisations and the community.

“Our personal information is a vital input into the economy and government agencies,” the Commissioner said.

“Managing this information responsibly, as organisations face increasingly complex data protection challenges, is critical.

“Privacy Awareness Week is an important opportunity to demonstrate this shared commitment to making privacy and data protection a priority.

“We’re pleased to see a record number of organisations have signed up as supporters this year, to spread the message about the importance of good privacy practice and respecting personal information rights.”

Now in its 14th year, Privacy Awareness Week is held every May as an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities.

Entities regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) can sign up to support Privacy Awareness Week at and join in the campaign on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.

The Privacy Awareness Week website has event information, posters and digital assets to download.

It also features privacy resources for organisations and individuals, including the ten top recommendations to protect privacy in your daily life:

1. Know your rights

Your privacy is valuable and worth protecting – be informed so you can exercise your rights.

2. Read privacy policies and collection notices

If you don’t understand a privacy policy or notice, ask for an explanation.

3. Always ask why, how and who

Don’t give out your personal information unless you’re comfortable with how it’s going to be used.

4. Check your credit report

Make sure your credit information is correct and up to date.

5. Protect yourself online

Use strong passwords and don’t use the same ones across different accounts.

6. Be aware of your mobile security

Treat your phone like your wallet and keep it secured at all times.

7. Use security software

Keep your online security tools up to date.

8. Be careful what you share on social media and other digital platforms

Use the privacy settings to control the amount and type of information you want to share.

9. Don't leave your personal information lying around

Securely dispose of hard copy and electronic records.

10. Beware of scams

If it looks too good to be true, don’t share your personal information.

Global University Sector – Allegedly divine knowledge found in the Thanksgiving Psalms derived by interpreting earlier traditions

Source: University of Helsinki

A recently completed doctoral dissertation in Old Testament studies supports a notion gained through prior research, according to which scribes and wisdom teachers had a central role in transmitting divine knowledge in the Second Temple period (approximately 200 BCE–70 CE).

Katri Antin has investigated how the transmission of divine knowledge, or divination, is described in the seven sapiential Thanksgiving Psalms, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Qumran Caves.

"The Thanksgiving Psalms date back to a time beginning with the books of the prophets in the Old Testament, many of which were born as successive generations of scribes interpreted old prophecies through the prism of their time. At the other extreme are the biblical texts of Qumran, also known as pesharim, and the New Testament where old prophecies and related interpretations have been separated from each other," the doctoral candidate explains.

The dissertation is part of a broader research trend, according to which Jewish prophecy did not end or decline in the Hellenistic period; rather, methods of divination had changed from the time of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

"In part, the Thanksgiving Psalms describe divination in a manner similar to earlier prophetic literature: a divine council is stated as the source of information, or the Holy Spirit is depicted as a divine mediator. Then again, the knowledge transmitted by wisdom teachers does not resemble earlier prophecies; rather, it is teaching typical of wisdom literature: God has ordained the eternal order of things, evidenced through His creation."

Antin's study indicates that the knowledge allegedly revealed by God according to the Thanksgiving Psalms has been derived by interpreting earlier traditions, particularly those pertaining to creation. The phenomenon, known as inspired interpretation, was prevalent in the late Second Temple period (approximately 200 BCE–70 CE).

"The Thanksgiving Psalms demonstrate that also texts other than those that eventually ended up in the Bible were studied and interpreted. For example, Instruction, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is a great influence on how the authors of the Thanksgiving Psalms perceived the world order planned by God."

The doctoral candidate finds it possible that the creation, copying and presentation of the Thanksgiving Psalms were means of divination.

"Interpreting earlier traditions requires, of course, substantial learning, making it a privilege of the educated elite, such as scribes and wisdom teachers."


The dissertation is also available in electronic format through the E-thesis service.