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Posted on on October 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Ethiopia: Official says climate change causing migration.

News From Africa – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 16, 2010 – Climate change is causing growing internal population migrations and displacements in Africa, a top official of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Chrysantus Ache, said Friday. Ache, the UNHCR representative at the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, said more and more people were on the move, escaping climate change-induced disasters such as droughts and flooding.

Chrysantus Ache warned, at the Seventh African Development Forum, that the situation would become critical in coming years as the impact of global warming worsens.

‘We want people to understand that this impact (migration and displacement) was taking place now and that our efforts to mitigate climate change should be for to day and not for tomorrow’ he said.

According to him, more and more climate change-related disasters, such as flooding and drought, were striking Africa, throwing increasing numbers of people on the move in search of new livelihoods.

He noted that the migration was causing many problems, including conflicts over scarce resources and security risks.

Ache cited the Mbororo tribe in the Congo basin, which had become nomadic because of climate change-related disasters and migrated widely within the region, even across borders.

‘In some countries, they (Mbororo people) are accepted but in others, they are not because of security and conflict issues,’ he said.

‘Climate change is already undermining the livelihoods and security of many people, exacerbating income differentials and deepening inequalities. Over the last two decades, the number of recorded natural disasters has doubled from some 200 to over 400 per year. Nine out of every ten natural disasters today are climate-related,’ he said.

He warned that as temperatures rose further and land became increasingly less productive, urbanization in Africa will also accelerate, generating additional competition for scarce resources and public services in cities.

Other experts at the forum also warned that incidences of vector-borne diseases will increase as a result of climate change, as will the cost of food and energy.

In the end, this will cause increased social and political conflicts, which on the surface will be difficult to trace to climate change, they said.

from Addis Ababa  by Pana 16/10/2010


Posted on on October 16th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


African leaders gathered in a United Nations-backed meeting today urged the international community to support a fund intended to help poor countries adapt to the consequences of climate change and mitigate its effects of their economies and the environment.

“Finances are critical,” Abdoulie Janneh, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told UN Radio at the end of the five-day Seventh African Development Forum in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“We must mobilize our own resources to really again underpin the importance we attach to climate change. But this is the challenge that was imposed on Africa.

“We are not contributing much to this phenomenon of climate change and therefore what we are saying is that those countries that have created this should really come up with the resources necessary,” Mr. Janneh said.

The theme of the Forum was “acting on climate change for sustainable development in Africa,” and was jointly convened by the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and ECA.

At the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, last December, developed nations pledged $30 billion of fast-track funding for developing countries through 2012 and committed to raise $100 billion annually by 2020.

* * *


The African Union (AU) today launched the African Women’s Decade, with a top United Nations official calling on the continent’s leaders to seize the opportunity to eliminate a raft of ills, from exclusion from land tenure, credit and inheritance to violence and genital mutilation.

“Empowering women is a moral imperative, a question of fundamental rights,” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told an AU forum in Nairobi, Kenya, in a keynote address. “It is also sound policy. This is our chance to put principle into practice… Investing in women and girls is one of the greatest investments we can make.

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are not add-ons – they are integral to development. Furthermore, they will have a multiplier effect on sustainable growth, and provide resilience to future challenges. Let us therefore work to empower Africa’s women and girls.”

She recited a litany of discrimination faced by women, especially those in rural areas. They do most of the agricultural work, yet endure the worst working conditions, with low pay and little or no social protection. They produce most of the food, yet are often excluded from land tenure, credit and business services. They are the primary users and custodians of local natural resources, but seldom have a voice on the bodies that decide how these resources are managed.

“They are the care-givers and managers of households, but rarely share these responsibilities equally with men or have a say in major household decisions,” Ms. Migiro declared. “We need to right these wrongs. We must ensure that rural women can access the legal, financial and technological tools they need to progress from subsistence agriculture to productive agriculture.”

She called for better income-generating opportunities and education for women, noting that women make up over two thirds of the 800 million adults in Africa who cannot read and write.

“This is denying women the chance to work, to prosper, to assert their rights and take their place as equal participants in society,” she said. “It also denies their countries an invaluable asset.”

More than half of Africans infected of HIV/AIDS are women, up to three-quarters of those aged 15 to 24. “The statistics tell a shocking story,” she added. “Young women are powerless in negotiating safer sex. Let us empower them. Healthy women and girls means healthy societies, healthy nations.”

Turning to violence against women, she called it “a topic that pains me – that should pain us all… It is endemic in our societies. We must unite to end it. It comes in many forms: domestic violence; the abuse of vulnerable young girls; genital cutting; rape. Such crimes can never be rationalized as culture or tradition. Wherever they occur they should be condemned. They should be prosecuted. And most of all, they should be prevented.”

African leaders must take their commitments seriously, Ms. Migiro underlined.

“We need national and local action to make women’s rights a reality, to end discriminatory traditional practices, and to end impunity for gender-based violence,” she said. “Let us accept in our minds, and in our laws, that women are rightful and equal partners – to be protected, to be respected, and to be heard.”

* * *


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon touched down in Morocco today, where he will address an international policy conference on the theme of global governance.

In his speech to the gathering organized by the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) tomorrow, Mr. Ban is expected to spotlight the need for enhanced ways of working together as global interdependence deepens.

He will identify three main challenges for global governance: ensuring that the global economy works for all people; combating climate change; and addressing new challenges, such as migration and organized crime.

The three-day gathering in Marrakech will draw some 140 representatives from governments, the private sector, academia and the media.

While in the country, the Secretary-General will meet with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and the UN Country Team in the capital, Rabat.

From Morocco, he will travel to Strasbourg, France, to address the Council of Europe and meet with European officials.

* * *


Said Djinnit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for West Africa, visited Niger today as part of a joint mission with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to underline the support of the international community for the country’s transition to constitutional order.

A coup took place in the impoverished Sahelian nation in mid-February when renegade soldiers stormed the presidential palace and deposed Mamadou Tandja, who had been accused by opposition figures and others of anti-democratic practices.

Niger’s head of State, General Salou Djibo, reassured the ECOWAS-UN delegation today that recent developments in the country will not affect the transition or respect of the agreed timeline.

The electoral timetable provides for polls to be held between 31 October and 6 April 2011, beginning with a referendum on the new constitution and culminating with the election of a new president who will be inaugurated on 11 April. Members of the transitional government and the military and security forces will be ineligible to stand.

Last month, Mr. Djibo called on the UN and other international organizations to observe the upcoming elections, stressing the transitional Government’s determination to “guarantee free, fair, transparent and credible elections.”

Addressing the annual high-level General Assembly debate, he noted that “the commitments that we made the day after the events of 18 February 2010, are at an advanced stage of fulfilment and will be held within the agreed timetable, with your support.”

Mr. Djinnit and the joint delegation later travelled to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where they will meet with President Blaise Compaoré, the ECOWAS mediator for Guinea, to discuss the situation in the country ahead of the second round of the presidential election, set to be held on 24 October.

Yesterday, Mr. Ban spoke with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in his role as head of ECOWAS, which has been assisting the process to ensure that the much-delayed run-off is held as scheduled in Guinea.

The Secretary-General voiced hope that in the remaining days, any outstanding issues would be resolved, according to his spokesman.

He thanked Mr. Jonathan for his direct engagement together with Mr. Compaoré of Burkina Faso to ensure that the poll is held in a peaceful climate.

Guinea’s independent electoral authority earlier cited technical difficulties when it postponed the second round between Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Condé, the two candidates with the highest number of votes in the first round in June.

Mr. Djinnit has warned that further delays could seriously undermine the transition process in Guinea. At least one person died earlier this month following clashes in the capital, Conakry, related to the election tensions, and Guinea has been plagued by misrule, dictatorships and coups since it gained independence in 1958.

The election is the final stage of the interim Government’s efforts to set up a democracy after the forces of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara – who seized power in a coup in 2008 after the death of long-time president Lansana Conté – shot, raped and attacked hundreds of civilian demonstrators attending a rally in Conakry in September 2009, killing at least 150.


Posted on on August 12th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


Juba: Facing a serious challenge in the future.…

Saturday, 31 July 2010

By Zekarias Sintayehu,

The pilot instructs passengers to fasten our seatbelt as we approach to Juba International Airport. I try to get a glimpse of the city through the cabin window but all I can see is a marshy green area.
Some shanty houses are seen scattered here and there. The plane makes the final turn and safely touches down.

There was a drizzle when I got off the plane but I could still feel gust of the humid air gushing over my face. I quickly headed to the so-called terminal. I believe that most of the time the passenger terminal tells you a lot about the country. And I tried to visualize how the city would be like.

The terminal is very small and operates its activities in an old house. While I queue up to pass through the terminal, an immigration officer asked me to give him my yellow fever vaccination card. I told him that I didn’t have it. Then he told me to pay 20 Sudanese pounds which is above 8 USD. “Why should I pay the money?” I requested. He replied confidently, “It is a fine for not bringing the card.” He then pointed to a bunch of his colleagues’ and told me to talk to them.

A slim young guy approached me and uttered “What is the problem?” I told him that I did not bring my vaccination card. “Did he tell you to pay 20 USD” was his quick response, referring to his friend. I was a little bit surprised with the drama at the airport. Finally, he lets me go because I told him that I didn’t have an exchange.

After all the hustle at the airport, I was lucky enough to pass through the terminal. Another friend told me a true story about the immigration officers which took place a couple of years ago. They used to ask for a yellow fever vaccination card when passengers departed from Juba. I finally met a friend who was waiting for me outside the terminal. While driving to my hotel with him, I thought I was still in Ethiopia because the city resembles the Gambella region.
We arrived at Habesha Continental Hotel, which is owned by an Ethiopian businessman. The checking-in process took a few minutes and then I headed to my room. After I take a nap, I went to the hotel’s restaurant.

The big screen was blazing Ethiopian music at the open air bar. High ranking Ethiopian officials and businessmen came here every day to chill out and update each other. There were also Sudanese, Ugandans and Eritrean at the open air bar. As one friend told me, most of the officials stay at hotels since they don’t have homes. Meanwhile, the government has decreed that officials should build their own homes, as it cannot afford the exorbitant hotel expenses.

Habesha Continental Hotel is located on a riverside and the graceful White Nile draining from Lake Victoria streams down to Khartoum. I was very pleased to see ships carrying folks and goods on the river. As I heard, the ships take three weeks to get from Juba to Khartoum. I also saw small boats passing by the river. In addition, the locals fish on the river. Though I didn’t get a chance to see the Blue Nile, it was a marvelous experience to watch the graceful White Nile.

Unlike Ethiopia, the Injera (Ethiopian bread) is made from rice. I was very eager to test the white rice Injera. To be honest, there is a remarkable difference from with teff Injera but I can still stomach the rice Injera.

The next morning I went out to explore the city. The famous means of transportation at the town are the motorbikes which are called “Boda Boda.” Most of the motorbikes are owned by Ugandans. After I negotiated the price with driver to drop me off at my friend’s house in Juba, I jumped on and started to enjoy a ride on the “Boda Boda”.  While riding the bike, the wind was constantly blowing the sand into my eyes, so I had to hide my face behind the back of the driver.

I also visited the biggest market place in the city called “Konyo Konyo.” Unfortunately, at that day was a public holiday most of the shops were closed. Everything is sold in “Konyo Konyo” staring from consumers goods to electronics and cars. The shops which were open were selling fruits, onions, potatoes, meat, and other consumers goods.

That day the city was somehow calm since it was commenting the fifth year of John Garang’s death memorial. Officials and many folks memorized their hero by going to his funeral place.

I also had the chance to travel by minibuses which are mostly owned by Ethiopians and Eritreans. The locals refer to Ethiopians and Eritrean as “Habesh.” Though the Habeshs’ own the minibuses, they can’t drive in the city due to the new legislation imposed by the government. All the taxi drivers are Sudanese.

Most of the big hotels in Juba are owned by Eritreans and the hotel I stayed is the only big hotel owned by an Ethiopian. But there are many small bars and hotels owned by Ethiopians. I visited a Ugandan bar which is located next to my hotel. There are many tents in the compound which are ready for rent. Their price, 100 USD per day, amazes was what amazes me most during my stay at Juba.

The temperature, which was around 31 degree centigrade, was relatively cold during my visit of Juba. But I still needed to be in my air conditioned room after midday. The city badly needs network infrastructures if it is to cop up with the emerging economy. The city gets electricity from generators and areas in the outskirt of the city are still in darkness. Frankly, a tough homework awaits Juba city, which will be the capital city of the Southern Sudan after the 2011 referendum.


August 10, 2010 (KHARTOUM) as per www.SudanTribune.comSouthern Sudan Referendum Commission denied its intention to ask the Sudanese presidency to postpone the referendum scheduled for January 2011.

Southern Sudanese take part in a march for southern independence in Juba Sudan, Wednesday, June 9, 2010 (AP) The official denial comes after statements published last Saturday by a member of the commission saying that some arrangements required in the conduct of referendum will have to be skipped if the vote was to be held as planned in January.

Pagan Amum, Secretary General of Southern Sudan’s ruling party SPLM, rejected the request stressing “any attempt to delay the referendum would be considered as reneging on the CPA”.

The Chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, in remarks aired by the Sudanese radio on Monday dismissed reports about the intention of the Commission to submit a request for the president to delay the referenda on southern Sudan’s independence.

Demanding to delay the referendum is a “political valuation and the Commission has a legal and constitutional mission according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Interim Constitution and the referendum law,” Khalil pointed out.

Tarek Osman Al-Tahir, a member of the commission who requested the delay said that it would be impossible for the commission to achieve the completion of voters’ registration three months before the vote as required by the law.

“We have only two choices left: skip some of the procedures, which would be unacceptable because it could affect the endorsement of the referendum result or resort to the other choice of a limited delay to the referendum timetable to complete these procedures,” Tahir said.

However Khalil said they filed a letter to the presidency in which they demanded more support to enable the referendum commission to perform its functions. He said the commission will start work next week.

He said that in the south 80% of structures of the Commission had been completed, adding that they are currently preparing a budget for the referendum process.

He said the referendum body signed a number of agreements with the United Nations and U.S. Aid to provide technical and logistical support for the referendum.


Posted on on July 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Be’chol Lashon is the Hebrew for “In Every Tongue” and it advocates for the Growth & Diversity of the Jewish People. Today Jews come indeed in every color and every stripes and some leaders do the outreach to embrace them all. Just look at Dr. Lewis Gordon of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, Mr. Romiel Daniel of Queens, New York, The head of Jews of India in our region, Dr. Ephraim Isaac, of the institute for Semitic Studies. They do not look like your stereotype Jew. I met them and was impressed – the latter actually for the first time as we both visited Addis Ababa at the time of the delayed Ethiopian Millennium. Then Rabbi Hailu Paris with his communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Ethiopian born and graduae of Yeshiva University, and his Assistant Monica Wiggan (, and Rabbi Gershom Sizomu of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda from whom I got a very distinctive kippah with the menorah – of the old temple worked in. Then Dr. Rabson Wuriga of the Hamisi Lemba clan in South Africa and Zimbabwe and so on – in Nigeria, in Peru, in India, in China.

And who has not heard by now of the present White House Rabbi – Cappers Funnye – the cousin of Michelle Obama – and associate director of Bechol Lashon and spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nei Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of Chicago?

The New York regional director of is Lacey Schwartz who is also National Outreach Director of, assisted by Collier Meyerson and to top it all Davi Cheng, Director of the Los Angeles region is Jewish, Chinese, and Lesbian. As I said it is all a new image of the Jew.

Last night, at the Gallery Bar, 120 Orchard St., NYC there was a Shemspeed Summer Music Festival event.

The two further upcoming events in New York will be on:

Monday, August 2nd – the Shemspeed Hip Hop Fest at Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleeker Street NYC Featuring Tes Uno, Ted King & guest Geng Grizlee and others with CD Release parties for “A Tribe Called Tes” and “Move On.”

Thursday, August 5th – Shemspeed Jewish Punk Fest at Pianos, 158 Ludlow Street, NYC Featuring Moshiach Oil & The Groggers.

info on each event above and at


Mona Eltahawy
A Jewish Woman Living in Ethiopia

Rethinking How U.S. Jews Fund Communities Around the World.

The Forward
Published: May 27, 2010

For more than half a century, North America’s Jewish federation system has divided its overseas allocations between the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Joint Distribution Committee. The Jewish Agency has been dedicated to building up Israel and encouraging aliyah, while the Joint has focused on aiding Jewish communities in need around the globe.

Today, both agencies are working to assert their continued relevance in a changing Jewish world. With aliyah slowing, the Jewish Agency is moving toward embracing a new agenda: promoting the concept of Jewish peoplehood. The JDC, meanwhile, has sought to claim a larger share of the communal pie, which had long been split 75%-25% in the Jewish Agency’s favor.

After a recent round of sniping over the funding issue, the two sides are now stepping back from their public confrontation and recommitting to negotiations over the future of the collective funding arrangement. Underlying this fight, however, is a more fundamental tension over communal funding priorities: Should overseas aid be focused on helping needy Jews and assisting communities that have few resources of their own, or should it be used to bolster Jewish identity?

With this debate raging, the Forward asked a diverse group of Jewish thinkers and communal activists from around the world to weigh in and address the following question: How should North America’s Jewish community be thinking about its priorities and purposes in funding Jewish needs abroad?

New Century, New Priorities

By Yossi Beilin

During the 20th century, the challenges facing world Jewry were the following: rescue of Jews who encountered existential danger, assistance to Israel, helping with the absorption of those who immigrated to new countries and opening the gates for those who were denied the right to emigrate. In the 21st century, ensuring Jewish continuity is the greatest challenge facing the Jewish people.

Yet too often Jewish organizations in the United States and elsewhere remain focused on the challenges of the previous century. (Indeed, Jewish groups were not very receptive when I first proposed the idea for Birthright Israel 17 years ago.)

Ensuring the existence of Jewish life (religious and secular) throughout the world via Jewish education, encounters between young Israeli and Diaspora Jews, creating a virtual Jewish community using new technologies — these must be at the top of the global Jewish agenda. This requires American Jewish philanthropy and leadership, which in turn requires discerning between past and present priorities.

Yossi Beilin, a former justice minister of Israel, is president of the international consulting firm Beilink.

Reviving Polish Jewry

By Konstanty Gebert

The rebirth of Central European Jewish communities after 1989, though numerically not very impressive, remains significant for moral and historical reasons. It is also crucial for Jewish self-understanding. An enormous proportion of American Jews can trace their origins to what used to be Poland alone. This is where much of Diaspora history happened.

Alongside the courage and determination of local Jews, the far-sighted support of several American Jewish organizations and philanthropies made this rebirth possible. In Poland the Joint Distribution Committee, the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and the Taube Foundation played key roles. Their support has translated not only into Jewish schools and festivals in places once believed to be Jewish-ly dead, but also in most cases into changed relations between local Jewish communities and their fellow citizens as well as clear support for Israel on the part of these countries’ governments.

Yet for all this progress, Central European Jewish communities might never become self-financing. The support given them by American Jewry remains a vital Jewish interest. It must be strengthened.

Konstanty Gebert, a former underground journalist, is a columnist at the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza and founder of the Polish-language Jewish monthly Midrasz.

What We Give Ourselves

By Lisa Leff

More than any Jewish community in history, postwar American Jews have used our prosperity to help Jewish communities around the world. On one level, the greatest beneficiaries of this support have been Jews abroad. But we should also recognize that these philanthropic efforts have shaped our communal values and identity.

Through our international aid, we have dedicated ourselves to universalist and cosmopolitan ideas like tikkun olam and solidarity across borders. In helping disadvantaged and oppressed Jews abroad, we have also deepened our community’s commitments to democracy, human rights and economic justice for all. It’s only natural that Jewish groups pitch in on Haitian earthquake relief and advocate on behalf of oppressed people of all backgrounds.

Whatever the outcome of the federations’ deliberations over how to divide allocations between the Jewish Agency and the Joint Distribution Committee, it is imperative that American Jewry maintain its commitment to our values through supporting international philanthropy.

Lisa Leff is an associate professor of history at American University and the author of “Sacred Bonds of Solidarity: The Rise of Jewish Internationalism in Nineteenth-Century France” (Stanford University Press, 2006).

Putting Identity First

By Jonathan S. Tobin

The choices we face are not between good causes and bad or even indifferent ones but between vital Jewish obligations. But since the decline in giving to Jewish causes means that we must make tough decisions, programs that reinforce Jewish identity and support Zionism both in the Diaspora and in Israel must be accorded a higher priority.

At this point in our history, with assimilation thinning the ranks of Diaspora Jewry and with continuity problems arising even in Israel, the need to instill a sense of membership in the Jewish people is an imperative that cannot be pushed aside. Under the current circumstances, absent an effort that will make Jewish and Zionist education the keynote of our communal life, the notion that Jewish philanthropies or support for Israel can be adequately sustained in the future is simply a fantasy.

Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of Commentary magazine.

Collective Responsibility

By Richard Wexler

One cannot have a meaningful discussion about framing the national Jewish community’s priorities and purposes in funding Jewish needs abroad without first asking the question: Is there actually a collective “North American Jewish community” today?

Collective responsibility has been and remains the foundation upon which the federation system and, therefore, the national Jewish community are built. It is what distinguishes the federations from all other charities. It is embodied in our participation in the adventure of building Israel and in meeting overseas needs through the Jewish Agency and the Joint Distribution Committee, in the dues that federations pay to the Jewish Federations of North America and so much more. But today, federations “bowl alone.”

Collective responsibility gives meaning to kol Yisrael arevim zeh l’zeh — all Jews are responsible for one another. Until federations understand once again that Jewish needs extend beyond the borders of any one community, we cannot have a meaningful priority-setting process for funding Jewish needs abroad.

Richard Wexler is a former chairman of the United Israel Appeal.

Originally published here:


Avi Rosenblum
Rabbi Gershom Sizomu and Be’chol Lashon director Diane Tobin at the opening of the Health Center.

Gary Tobin’s Legacy Lives on in New Ugandan Health Center

By Amanda Pazornik

The J Weekly
Published: July 22, 2010

On the day of the grand opening of the Tobin Health Center in Mbale, Uganda, health professionals were already hard at work treating patients inside.

The center was open for business, but that didn’t slow down the lively June 18 celebration, which featured song and dance performances and speakers. About 3,000 people gathered at the center’s grounds to mark the occasion.

Seated under colorful tents was Diane Tobin, director of S.F.-based Be’chol Lashon and wife of the late Gary Tobin, for whom the center is named, along with three of their children, Aryeh, Mia and Jonah.

“Everyone was amazing, friendly and so generous of spirit,” said Tobin, who was visiting Uganda and its Abayudaya Jewish community for the first time. “They were so appreciative of having the center and demonstrated a tremendous willingness to work together. It’s a great model for the rest of the world.”

Andrew Esensten, Be’chol Lashon program coordinator, and Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, spiritual leader of the Abayudaya Jews and the first chief rabbi of Uganda, joined them, in addition to government and medical officials, and representatives from Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities.

The Tobin Health Center is named for Gary Tobin, the founder of the S.F.-based Institute for Jewish and Community Research, of which Be’chol Lashon (“In Every Tongue”) is an initiative. Tobin died one year ago after a long battle with cancer. He was 59.

“He really has left a legacy,” said Debra Weinberg of Baltimore, who attended the opening with her husband, Joe, and their 14-year-old son, Ben. The couple also helped fund the project. “I think he would feel deeply comforted to know it’s improving the lives of people.”

The 4,000-square-foot facility is a major component of the ongoing Abayudaya Community Health and Development Project undertaken by the Abayudaya Executive Council and Be’chol Lashon, a nonprofit that reaches out to Jews of color and helps educate the mainstream community about Jewish diversity.

It cost approximately $250,000 to erect the two-story center, using donations collected over five years. While patients pay for their services, continuous fundraising is a necessity, Tobin said.

Construction began in July 2009, enabling more than 50 Africans from diverse ethnic backgrounds to earn a living.

Stars of David are featured in the window grids, ceilings and floors of the health center, a “lovely expression of their Judaism,” Tobin said. Private rooms make up most of the top floor, with patient wards on the ground floor. A mezuzah is affixed to every door.

A large portrait of Gary Tobin hangs in the lobby.

“It’s so heartwarming,” Diane Tobin said of the visual tribute. “Gary would be so honored to have this health center in the middle of Africa named after him.”

Prior to the opening of the Tobin Health Center, the nearest medical facility to the Abayudaya Jews was Mbale Hospital, an overcrowded and understaffed institution not accessible to all the residents of the region. Tobin said there are other clinics in the area, but they lack the preventive health care measures necessary to respond to the community’s needs.

The Tobin Health Center is licensed by the Ministry of Health and is certified to operate a pharmacy and laboratory. It serves all who seek basic medical care in the region, providing life-saving health services and simultaneously creating jobs.

“The goal is to raise the standard of medical care,” Tobin said.

In addition, rental units on the bottom and top floors of the center will provide more job opportunities for locals. The first business recently opened — a hardware store that sells bags of cement, plumbing equipment and sheet metal — with a beauty salon and video rental outlet in the works.

The center “is rewarding on a number of levels,” said Steven Edwards of Laguna Beach, who, along with his wife, Jill, has been involved with the Abayudaya for six years. “The most obvious is to see this beautiful, clean building. On top of that, local dignitaries noted how lucky Mbale is to have the Jewish community and how much they contribute to the larger community by bringing jobs.”

The Abayudaya Jews comprise a growing, 100-year-old community of more than 1,000 Jews living among 10,000 Christians and Muslims. They live in scattered villages in the rolling, green hills of eastern Uganda. The largest Abayudaya village, Nabagoye, is near Mbale, the seventh-largest city in Uganda and the location of the center.

Research conducted by Be’chol Lashon in 2006 showed that contaminated water and malaria-carrying mosquitoes pose the biggest health risks to the community. A year later, the organization launched the Abayudaya Community Health and Development Project with the drilling of the first well in Nabagoye.

Since then, nearly 1,000 mosquito nets have been purchased and distributed throughout the community.

“Our goal is to respond to the needs of communities,” Tobin said. “If there are other communities that need health centers, we will be there.”

Originally published here:


Posted on on July 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Excerpts from “At UN, Of Africa Days and Al Qaeda Evenings, Burundi and Bacardi Gold.”
By Matthew Russell Lee.

UNITED NATIONS, July 15 — With small countries in Africa dominating the Security Council’s July 15 schedule … one of the four countries already on the “Peace Building Commission” (PBC) agenda, Burundi, recently had a one party election marred by tossed grenades and now the threat of attack by Al Shabab.

Burundi has soldiers in Somalia {and this is the reason why it has become fair game to Al Shabab}. Inner City Press spoke this week with the UN’s envoy to Burundi Charles Petrie. He put a positive spin on the one party election, saying it was not as violent as it might have been.

Petrie said the opposition is weak, and the UN must play the counter-balance that civil society and opposition parties would in other countries. He should know: he was thrown out of Myanmar by the government, then served for a time in a humanitarian role on, but not in, Somalia. He was in the French military …. The Council should have heard from him but didn’t.

The same might be said of the UN’s new envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga. He went into the Council’s quiet room on July 14, but was not heard from by the Council as a whole. He met with the Permanent Five, one by one. He stopped to speak to Inner City Press, about including Al Shabab on the Al Qaeda sanctions list under Council Resolution 1267 in the wake of the Kampala bombings {This again, because Uganda has military forces for peace Keeping in Somalia.}.

Later on July 14, at an ill-attended UK reception on climate change in the General Assembly lobby, Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant about 1267 and the Shabab. He pointed out that they are already on the Somalia sanctions list, and who knew who is or is not truly affiliated with Al Qaeda. An Ethiopian diplomat added, not surprisingly, they are “definitely” with Al Qaeda.

But the Council sticks to its schedule. Guinea Bissau was the topic for July 15. The coup leader now heads the military; the UN “took note” of it. A Presidential Statement is to be drafted in the coming days.

Still and all, the Permanent Representatives of France, Japan and Mexico strode into the Council just after 10 a.m..

{Liberia is now becoming the fifth small African Country on the PBC operating table.}
* * *
{And further at the UN} – In Wake of Uganda Bombing, UNSC Statement Does Not Assign Blame, Even After Al Shabab Takes Credit.

UNITED NATIONS, July 12, updated — A day after the Kampala double bombing which killed more than 60 people, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had yet to issue any kind of statement. In front of the Security Council on Monday morning, one non-permanent member’s spokesperson wondered under what agenda item the Council might issue a statement: Somalia?

Another spokesperson said moves were afoot for the issuance of a press statement, later in the day. Would it say who is responsible? After the bombing of trains in Madrid, the Council issued a statement blaming it on ETA. When Al Qaeda later took responsibility, the Council’s statement was never retracted.

Here, nearly all speakers including Uganda authorities are pointing the finger at Islamist Somali insurgents. They had vowed retaliation for the Ugandan and Burundian AMISOM peacekeepers’ shelling of a market in Mogadishu. Others pointed out the targeting of “Ethiopian Village,” given antagonism between irridentist Somalia and Ethiopia. Motive is certainly there– and, the media pointed out, opportunity.

As the draft text of the press statement was distributed to members, a Council diplomat told Inner City Press it did not assign blame, only the Council’s “standard terrorist attack language.” Might that change?

Update of 3:20 p.m. — Nigeria’s Ambassador, the Council’s president for July, read out a four paragraph statement. As Inner City Press predicted this morning, it did not assign blame. But in the interim, the spokesman for Al Shabab has taken credit for the bombings, saying they were months in the planning.

Inner City Press asked Nigeria’s Ambassador on camera why blame was not ascribed, and if this might not discourage countries from sending peacekeepers to Somalia. She declined the first, and to the second question said “there is a peace to keep in Somalia.”

Afterward, Inner City Press was told that Al Shabab’s confession came after the statement was circulated and concurrence obtained. They didn’t want to delay it. But wouldn’t it have been stronger if more specific? An Ethiopian diplomat spoke about Eritrea. If ten Taliban are coming off the 1267 Al Qaeda sanctions list, does that mean there’s room for Al-Shabab?

In Kampala, the Ethiopian Village?

Incoming UN envoy on Somalia, Tanzania’s former Ambassador Mahiga, spoke to Inner City Press at the UN in New York last week, including about the peacekeepers’ use of “long range artillery” and the civilian casualties caused. Will Mahiga take this so-called “collateral damage” more seriously than Ould Abdallah did?


From the above we see clearly that when it come to the need to blame an Islamic insurgency, the UN is very slow at pointing a finger. There clearly must internal UN be reasons for that.

Now let us see what Fared Zakaria and his high-brow participants in his circle of policy reviewers think about the situation:

His program included Jeffrey Gettleman, the New York Times Bureau Chief in East Africa Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya) who saw the situation on location in Somalia, and Ken Menkhaus of Davison College in New Jersey, who served as UN Political Advisor in Somalia 1993-94.……



Chaos and lawlessness rule in Mogadishu, Somalia. And Al Shabab, a Somali affiliate of Al Qaeda, is exploiting that power vacuum and exporting terror.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the bombing of World Cup viewers in Uganda and is practicing an extreme form of Islamic justice.

What exactly is Al Shabab doing in Somalia and what can we expect next? Is there anything the U.S. or its allies can do to help the country that is called “the world’s worst failed state?”


Somalia is a country of 6-8 million people and at the end of the cold war they were the most militarized country in the world. Now there are 1-1.5 million people living outside Somalia and the country was destroyed – not by bombings but by small caliber guns. There is no central authority in the country and it has become ideal terrain for an Al Qaeda base.

In 1992 the First President Bush had there 20,000 troops and left to avoid worst disaster leaving behind total vacuum.

The locals are incapable of establishing a functioning government. Foreign funds that go to an interim government are dissipated but nevertheless there is a will on the outside to view this government as a transition – the question transition to what?

The Al Shabab is widely unpopular but viewed as an alternative to useless government. This Al Shabab practices the most tuthless of Islam justice – like the cutting off of arms for suspected thieves.

In this second level of vacuum move in the foreigners – be these the Al Qaeda people from Pakistan who want to see if they can move here as a new home base, and some more benevolent home comers from among the Somali diaspora that actually are ready to provide their skills in building government at locality levels like cities. These are very welcome by the elders who are ready to back their efforts with the elder prestige.

This latter is the hope – but this is a bottom up government – and who will say that this will lead to a National government in its present borders? Would it not make sense to let them rule according to the ethnic divisions of the country and resulting in two or three smaller States that can then go their own ways? Jeffret Gettleman has seen this function on the ground in several locations where the situation is thus much better then in the country at large.

The importance of this goes well beyond Somalia and the case that came to mind in this CNN/GPS program was Iraq.

With the Iraqi elections held 133 days ago and a Parliament that todate has met only for the grandiose time of 18 minutes, and with the upcoming holidays, the evidence that nothing else can be expected before September and the US troops starting by then to leave the country, is Iraq going to be next Somalia?

So – the conclusion is that government can be built only bottom up if the idea is to reach up to democracy – and then why insist on having a non-unified country when the only evidence at hand is that the people actually hate each other and belong to various groups with the only semblance of unity is the unity of cleptocrats?

This disaster of Somalia may turn out to speak not only of Africa, but also of Iraq and why not of Afghanistan?

These problem go well beyond the limited scope we started out with.


Somalia Centre Stage Ahead of AU Summit.
Joshua Kyalimpa –   ipsterraviva.netKAMPALA, Jul 18 (IPS) – The African Union summit opens in Kampala on July 19 amid heightened security following twin bomb attacks a week earlier. The official theme of child and maternal mortality will likely be overshadowed by discussion of the AU’s mission in Somalia.

The blasts, which killed at least 74 people and wounded 82 others watching the World Cup finals on big screens at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kampala’s Kabalagala neighbourhood, and at the Kyaddondo rugby grounds. The attacks came just two days after a spokesperson for Somalia’s al-Shabaab group, which is fighting against the weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for control of the country, said Uganda would be targeted for its role in the conflict.

Questioning military solutions
Some analysts argue that a troop surge will achieve little, pointing to the difficulties faced by Ethiopia. Ethiopian soldiers entered Somalia in December 2006 to push back the Union of Islamic Courts, an Islamist group with ambitions to establish sharia law in Somalia, from which al-Shabaab subsequently emerged.

But while the UIC’s bid for control was halted, this larger force was unable to fully capture the capital or impose itself in the countryside; the Ethiopians pulled out and were replaced by the Ugandan-dominated AMISOM.

Makerere University political scientist Yassin Olum believes it is time for Uganda to review its position in Somalia, with a view to withdrawing.

“We have to ask ourselves why other African countries are not sending troops to Somalia. Maybe they have realised it’s a hot potato or they view it as an internal matter,” says Olum.

Targeting the AU mission in Somalia

Uganda contributes the majority of the 5,000 troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has helped the TFG maintain a tenuous hold over parts of the capital, Mogadishu, but little more.

We are sending a message to every country who is willing to send troops to Somalia that they will face attacks on their territory,” said al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rage following the attacks. He added that Burundi, the second-largest troop contributor to AMISOM after Uganda, “will face similar attacks if they don’t withdraw.”

Bahoku Barigye, spokesperson for AMISOM, told IPS that the mission’s mandate should be expanded from peace-keeping – its terms of reference originate in a U.N. resolution authorising a “training and protection” mission – to one of peace enforcement, for which more soldiers would be needed.

“We have troops guarding the airport, the presidential palace, the port and other key installations this leaves us with few men to defend the civilians,” says Barigye.

Security personnel in Uganda have so far made 20 arrests; two men have also been detained in neighbouring Kenya in connection with the bombings.

Despite previous commitments by members of the African Union to contribute to a force of 20,000 peacekeepers, there are only about 5,000 troops in the Somali capital in support of the weak transitional federal government. Over 3,000 of these are from Uganda, the rest are from Burundi.

Uganda undeterred

At a Jul. 14 meeting called after the Kampala bombings, the Inter Government Authority on Development, a regional bloc of countries in the Horn of Africa, agreed to send an additional 2,000 soldiers.

Uganda has indicated it will send in more of its own troops if other countries are not willing.

Addressing a news conference at his private home in Ntugamo, western Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni said, “It was a very big mistake on their side; we shall

Development goals overshadowed by conflict?
African civil society has voiced concerns that the AU summit to be held in Kampala from Jul. 17-19 could be dominated by the Somalia question.

The official theme of the summit is “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa,” but consideration of this development goal seems likely to suffer the same fate as previous themes on water and sanitation and promotion of agriculture: a formal declaration will be made, but the summit will be dominated by al-Shabaab’s bombing of Uganda, the leading contributor of troops to the AU’s mission in Somalia.

Civil society organisations organised a forum in Kampala ahead of the summit to enable civil society, ordinary citizens and key stake holders deliberate on the key issues and demand action, but now doubt they will get a platform to present their case to African leaders.

l deal with the authors of this crime.” He is also reported to have assured the U.S., which takes an active interest in Somali Islamist activity, that Uganda would not try to disentangle itself from the conflict in Somalia.

The U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, said, “We believe the Uganda mission is more important than ever now.”

The ambassador said the U.S. planned to increase assistance to Uganda and AMISOM.

Political scientist Yassin Olum says the Ugandan president needed more time to reflect on the matter before making statements.

“What this means is that we are no longer neutral in the conflict and we are fighting on the side of the Transitional Federal Government which is dangerous. This is not conventional warfare where you need more troops to defeat the enemy.”

Fred Bwire, a Kampala city resident, voices the attitude of many ordinary Ugandans towards the Somali mission. “What are we doing there? Our people are being killed for nothing. Why aren’t Kenyans – who are neighbors with Somalia – bothered?”

Hussein Kyanjo, an opposition member of parliament, believes the main beneficiary of Uganda’s continued involvement in Somalia is President Museveni himself. “He knows that the United States of America opposes the al-Shabaab and so he fights U.S. enemies to blind them to his dictatorial tendencies.”

Amama Mbabazi, Uganda’s minister for security, responds that Kyanjo forgets that Uganda was suffered terrorist attacks long before it sent troops to Somalia.

“The Allied Democratic Forces – another rebel outfit with links to Al-Qaeda – killed many people in the past and my friend Kyanjo seems to have forgotten this.”

In their struggle against the government, the Islamist ADF rebels attacked police posts, schools and trade centres in the west of the country beginning in 1996; in 1998, it carried out several bombings in Kampala, killing five and wounding six others. Military action by the Ugandan army largely destroyed the group the following year.


July 21, 2010 as per official UN NEWS we are not convinced the UN has the faintest idea of what to do about Somalia beyond calling for wasting some more money on it:

UN DAILY NEWS from the

21 July, 2010 =========================================================================


As Somalia remains in the grip of a humanitarian crisis, it is vital to ensure adequate funding to assist the 3.2 million people – or more than 40 per cent of the population – who rely on international aid, a senior United Nations aid official stressed today.

UN agencies and their partners have so far received only 56 per cent of the $600 million needed to fund critical areas such as health, water and sanitation, nutrition and livelihood support in Somalia, which is recovering from drought and years of chaos and is also in the throes of ongoing violence.

“My major concern at this time of the year is that there is a renewed emphasis on ensuring that we do address the funding gaps in Somalia to help us to sustain the achievements that can continue to be made in one of the world’s most difficult and acute humanitarian crises,” said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Somalia.

He told a news conference in New York that the situation in the Horn of Africa nation is characterized by severe child malnutrition, loss of livestock and livelihoods, as well as ongoing displacement owing to continued clashes between Government forces and Islamist militant groups.

The conflict has led to Somalia being one of the countries with the highest number of uprooted people in the world – an estimated 1.4 million displaced within the country and almost 595,000 living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

“Conflict is the driving cause behind displacement and most of it comes from Mogadishu,” he said, noting that 20,000 people were displaced in the capital in June, and an estimated 200,000 people have been displaced from the city this year.

In addition, fighting in Mogadishu since March this year has led to more than 3,000 conflict-related casualties.

“What I genuinely hope is that we try to find some way of reducing the impact of this conflict on the civilian population and all parties need to find more peaceful means of settling their disputes,” he said, adding that where that is not possible, to at least avoid the considerable collateral damage on civilians.

Despite the ongoing crisis, Mr. Bowden noted that the situation in Somalia “isn’t all bad news,” although it is one of the most complicated humanitarian situations the UN is facing.

Some major achievements include keeping the country free of polio amid a resurgence of the disease in a number of other African countries. This is thanks to the provision of clean water to 1.3 million people, as well as vaccination campaigns that were carried out, even in volatile areas.

“We are able to make progress in terms of managing humanitarian operations in extremely difficult circumstances, which include control of large parts of the country by rebel groups and active conflict in other parts,” he noted.


And Inner City Press from the UN continues its bleak reporting from the UN that really shows again and again that the UN will not lead the Somalis out of their misery.

See –…

Killing of Civilians by UN Supported Troops in Somalia Admitted But Not Acted On.

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, July 21 — In the wake of the World Cup finals bombing in Uganda, there has been even less discussion of the civilians being killed in Mogadishu by the peacekeeping mission which the UN is supporting. But a memo leaked from within that AMISOM mission notes continued firing into civilian neighborhoods.
Inner City Press asked UN Humanitarian coordinator Mark Bowden whether there is a special responsibility on the UN to ensure that the troops to which it provides logistical support through its UNSOA office are not killing civilians. “Yes there is,” Bowden said, adding that he’s “had discussions” with Ambassador Diarra of the African Union about “reducing civilian casualties.” ………..  it continues

On Child Soldiers Supported by UN in Somalia, UNSC Will Respond After 3 Years.

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 16, updated — Days after the UN-supported Somali Transitional Federal Government’s use of child soldiers was widely exposed, the UN Security Council’s lack of seriousness on the issue was on display on Wednesday. Mexican foreign minister Patricia Espinosa presided over a day-long series of speeches about children and armed conflict. At noon, Inner City Press asked her what she and the Council would do about their support of the TFG, which uses children as young as nine and 12 to wield AK-47s in Mogadishu.

This has not been raised to the Security Council, Secretary Espinosa replied, not even to the Working Group. …… more



Posted on on July 16th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy & International Affairs David Sandalow.

TOPIC:              Upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial July 19-20th

This is written on the basis of a US Department of State Press Conference  – Thursday, July 15, 2010.


This article follows our posting of July 14, 2010:

The Major 17 Economies were joined by Bangladesh, Denmark, Barbados, Ethiopia, Singapore and the UAE at the recent Rome meeting – to be followed by a July 19-20, 2010 Washington DC Meeting on Clean Energy – all this to build a program for Cancun.  Posted on on July 14th, 2010 by Pincas Jawetz ( PJ at

We said at the time that the July 19 – 20, 2010  Washington DC Ministerial meeting will be a sequel – now we are convonced that is actually a different kind of meeting and I do not think that its eyes will be towards Cancun.


The Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, David Sandalow, gave a background briefing and answered questions on the web regarding the importance of the upcoming Washington DC – Clean Energy Ministerial meeting. He discussed Energy Secretary Chu’s hopes on what will be accomplished.

The following countries will be represented:  Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the Russian Federation, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, the U.A.E. and the U.K.

This list excludes Indonesia from the Major Economies Forum which are 16 + The EU and then at their Rome meeting of June 30 – July 1, 2010, added on Ministers from a variety of representative smaller economies: Bangladesh, Denmark, Barbados, Ethiopia, Singapore, UAE.

This list includes in addition to the EU also all The Scandinavian States: Denmark, Norway, Spain and Sweden. As well it includes Belgium and Spain. It does not include Bangladesh, Barbados, Ethiopia, Singapore which were part of the meeting of June 30 – July 1, 2010 but it does include from that meeting Denmark that was a participant because of its hosting the Copenhagen meeting, and the UAE that seemingly represents the oil exporting countries.

The Washington meeting includes also Belgium because by now they have become the half year Presidents of the EU for July 1 till  December 31, 2010, and it retains Spain that held this position during the first half of 2010. To top this there is also an actual EU delegation at the table besides the temporary Presidents. We assume that this delegation is there because Malta, Cyprus and other EU delegations are not there. Place was also found for all major four Scandinavian Countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden – surely nice people all of them.

I write all of this in order to say that some better way has to be found on how to treat the EU and the World, when the Obama Administration wants indeed to show that it is serious about climate change by inviting just the large emitters that total 80% of the global emissions, or, if intent to bring in also some small representation of the small countries, that do not have substantial emissions, but proportionately are going to bear a major part of the suffering, the Rome initiative of having present also Bangladesh, Barbados and Ethiopia would have been just fine – and the total figure would have been then 16 + 1 (the EU) + 3 (this for Bangladesh, Barbados, Ethiopia) and it obviously would have included as part of the 16 also Indonesia.

For more information, the link to the website is:


At question time I asked from Mr. Sandalow why is Indonesia not at the meeting, and why was the symbolic, but important participation of the small number of really very small economies dropped?

The answer was that Indonesia said they are not coming because they participate at that time at a South  Asia meeting. The fact that the small economies were dropped is “because this is for the large energy markets – for 80% of the ENERGY MARKET  and not for the whole world.”  THE IDEA IS COME UP WITH ACTIONS TO PROMOTE CLEAN ENERGY, he said.

It would have been easier to accept that answer had the US also kept out the additional 6 EU States that were not among the original 16 + EU. We also would like to ask why UAE – though we think that they clearly are a better choice then Saudi Arabia – but still not exactly your ideal partner when you try to disengage from oil even though they do in effect – as holders of serious financial reserves – also participate in the financial benefits from looking for a cleaner future.

The above, because after Copenhagen we hoped for the involvement of business interests in order to create the working alternative to the Kyoto process – the interest of business in going green. For this to be effective one must have at the table mainly the real big emitters who indeed coincide with the biggest economies.

We thought that amounted to the maximum of 16 and – under EU conditions – just one more chair for the EU. Now there will be 23 chairs at the Washington table. The higher number decreasing the chance for success.

Monday, July 19, 2010 at 9am there will be an open press conference when the meeting starts.


Posted on on July 14th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Discusses Advancing Agreement at COP 16

1 July 2010: The seventh Meeting at the Leaders’ representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate took place in Rome, Italy, from 30 June-1 July 2010.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the 17 major economies, UN officials, and representatives from Bangladesh, Denmark, Barbados, Ethiopia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Participants discussed various issues related to the international climate change negotiations and, according to the Chair’s Summary, they emphasized the importance of quickly implementing the Copenhagen Accord’s fast-start financing provisions, highlighting that maximum clarity and transparency will build international confidence and be an essential part of a balanced outcome of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) to be held Cancun, Mexico, in late 2010.

Participants exchanged ideas on Annex I Parties mitigation and support. They also addressed non-Annex I Parties mitigation, highlighting that it should be party-driven, non-politicized, have a “multilateral anchor” and be based on national communications. Participants discussed whether the targets and actions included in the Copenhagen Accord may be reflected in a future outcome and whether such outcome will be legally binding and contained in a single instrument or two. Extensive discussion focused on progress on measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) at COP 16 with regard to: Annex I Parties mitigation; financial and technological support of non-Annex I Parties mitigation; and non-Annex I Parties mitigation. Participants also emphasized the need to focus adaptation efforts on vulnerable countries.

Follow-up meetings were also announced, including: a Clean Energy Ministerial meeting to be held from 19-20 July 2010, in Washington, DC, US, to follow up on the Technology Action Plans of the Global Partnership launched by G-8 leaders in L’Aquila, Italy,  in 2009; and a ministerial meeting on technology to be co-hosted by Mexico and India from 8-9 November 2010.
[Co-Chair’s Summary] [Major Economies Forum website]


The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) was launched on March 28, 2009.

The MEF is intended to facilitate a candid dialogue among major developed and developing economies, help generate the political leadership necessary to achieve a successful outcome at the December UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The 17 major economies participating in the MEF are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. That is 16 + EU + Denmark as host to the Copenhagen Meeting.

Denmark, in its capacity as the President of the December 2009 Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the United Nations have also been invited to participate in this dialogue.


Posted on on July 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Bloomberg News

Ethiopia on Track to Halve the Poverty Rate by 2015, UN Says.

July 13, 2010.

Ethiopia will probably meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving the poverty rate by 2015 assuming it maintains current economic growth levels, according to the draft copy of a report written by the United Nations.

The government has “made an enormous progress in the provision of social services such as education, health, and infrastructure by spending a large share of its budget in the pro-poor sector,” the report said. “This could be taken as the best practice from which others may learn.”

Poverty reduction is central to policy in a country where half of children are “chronically malnourished,” 47 percent are stunted and 38 percent underweight, the UN said. Still, economic growth remains vulnerable to poor weather and external financing because of the poor domestic savings rate, according to the report.

{But then we also find – } “The sustainability of this growth trajectory leaves much to be desired,” the UN said.

Rising inequality in urban areas and the poor quality of education in many schools represents a threat to the millennium goals, according to the report.

Ethiopia is also on target to achieve its goal of universal primary school education by 2015, while it is less likely to meet the targets on child mortality and environmental sustainability. The East African country is unlikely to achieve goals related to gender equality and maternal health, the UN said.

–Editors: Philip Sanders, Digby Lidstone

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at  MDGs).

Established last month, the MDG Advocacy Group is co-chaired by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Each of the group’s members has been asked to focus their advocacy efforts on specific Goals such as slashing poverty, boosting school enrolment rates, improving maternal health and increasing access to clean water and decent sanitation, all of which are to be achieved by 2015.

Among those in the “collection of superheroes in defeating poverty,” as the Secretary-General described the group, are two Nobel Peace Prize laureates – the Bangladeshi pioneer of microcredit Muhammad Yunus and the Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai – as well as former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and businessmen and philanthropist Bill Gates.

The meeting in Madrid comes ahead of the high-level MDG Summit that will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York in September.


Posted on on June 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Russia Wants Global Fund After Gulf Oil Spill

Alfred Kueppers, Reuters from Moscow, June 7, 2010

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called on the world’s leading economic powers on Saturday to consider creating a fund to insure against large-scale environmental disasters like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“Perhaps we should consider setting up a global fund for insuring or re-insuring against these sorts of (environmental) risks,” the president wrote in his official Kremlin blog.

Medvedev said he expected to raise the issue at a G20 summit in Canada later this month.

Russia, the world’s leading oil producer, has paid close attention to BP’s reaction to the Gulf spill, in part because 25 percent of the British energy giant’s global output comes from its Moscow-based TNK-BP joint venture.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin on Saturday said Russia would introduce stricter safety requirements for oil producers as a result of the Gulf spill, now considered the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Medvedev also called for the creation of a new legal framework to deal with such large-scale disasters.

“We need to put in place a modern framework of international law in this area, perhaps in the form of a convention or several agreements that will address issues of the kind arising from disasters such as that in the Gulf of Mexico,” he wrote.

Leaders from the Group of 20 wealthy and developing nations are scheduled to meet in Toronto on June 25 and 26.


Rescuing Ecosystems Can Save Trillions Of Dollars: U.N.

Jeremy Clarke, Reuters from Nairobi, June 7, 2010

A few million dollars invested by governments in restoring nature could prevent far greater losses of the free services that ecosystems provide to people around the world, a U.N. report said on Thursday.


Norway PM Succeeds UK’s Brown In U.N. Climate Group.

Alister Doyle, Reuters from Oslo, June 7, 2010

Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will take over from Britain’s Gordon Brown as co-chair of a U.N. group looking at ways to raise finance to help poor nations to combat climate, Norway said on Sunday.

“It’s decisive to ensure sufficient financing of measures against climate change in poor nations to get a new international climate deal in place,” Stoltenberg said in a statement after his appointment.

In February, Brown, then British prime minister, was named by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to co-chair the group of 19 leading experts with Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi. Stoltenberg, head of Norway’s Labour Party, had been among members of the panel.

Brown lost last month’s British elections to Conservative David Cameron, meaning Ban had to appoint a new co-chair for the group, seeking ways of raising $100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing nations tackle global warming.

“Norway and I have worked on these questions for many years,” Stoltenberg told Norway’s NRK public broadcaster when asked why he thought he had got the job. There had been some speculation that Cameron might succeed Brown on the panel.

Stoltenberg hosted a meeting last month in Oslo at which donors promised $4 billion to help developing nations safeguard tropical forests, which soak up carbon dioxide as they grow.

Norway, rich from oil, has promised to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 30 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels — among the most ambitious goals in the world. The country’s emissions are, however, far above the target.

The Copenhagen summit in December outlined initial finance for poor nations of $10 billion a year from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020. Ban’s “High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing” is due to report on how the money might be raised by November 2010.

Stoltenberg said one important principle was that polluters should pay for their emissions.

The money “will go to two things. The one is to cope with the damage that climate change brings to many developing nations,” he told NRK. “But the most important is that it will go to measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“That can be, among other things, protection of rainforests and it can also be environmental technology, energy savings and other measures that cut emissions,” he said.

The U.N. panel of climate scientists has projected that global warming will bring more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels. It is currently under review after errors including an exaggeration of the thaw of the Himalayas.


Posted on on June 3rd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

from Jessica Boyle <>
date Thu, Jun 3, 2010
IISD Side Event in Bonn June 4: Improving the Effectiveness of International Climate Change Governance.

Improving the Effectiveness of International Climate Change Governance

Hosted by IISD

Side Event

Friday, 4 June 2010

18:00 – 19:30

Room Air (FIDMED)

IISD is undertaking research to examine an effective system of international governance to address the climate change challenge. Five experts will provide regional perspectives on critical issues, and exchange views on climate change governance. The discussion will focus on the following topics and questions:

The shift from a top-down (Kyoto) to a bottom-up approach

§             What are the advantages and disadvantages of the shift to a bottom-up regime?

§             How do we create incentives for broad participation in GHG mitigation?

§             How do we MRV action; connect commitments to actions?

§             What is the role of the UNFCCC?


  • How should funds be managed and accounted for under the UNFCCC?
  • What should be left to other processes?
  • What decision-making/governance models are needed for both the raising of funds and their distribution and use?
  • How to expand the limited space for non-national government actors (e.g., private sector, cities/states, NGOs)?
  • How can market-based instruments best be designed?
  • How do we account for the strong linkages between climate change and traditional development activities?

The side event will be facilitated by John Drexhage, IISD, who will provide opening comments.

The expert panel will include:

  • Jürgen Lefevere, Policy Coordinator, International Climate Change, European Commission
  • George Wamukoya , Climate Advisor, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
  • Fernado Tudela, Vice Minister for Planning and Environmental Policy and Principal Negotiator on Climate Change Issues in Mexico
  • Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C

The panel presentations will be followed by a discussion session with the audience.

For further information, please contact Jessica Boyle at


Posted on on May 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

For the third year in a row, public-health professionals and climate scientists from around the world are visiting Columbia University’s Lamont campus, where the International Research Institute for Climate and Society is based, to learn how to use climate information to make better decisions for health-care planning and disease prevention. They’re taking part in the third Summer Institute on Climate Information for Public Health, organized by IRI, in partnership with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

World leaders have grown increasingly concerned with finding ways to adapt to climate change and climate variability, which threatens the stability of many facets of life, such as energy, food, and water. Climate also affects the fundamental requirements for good health. The public health community recognizes the need to better understand climate’s role as a driver of infectious diseases such as malaria and meningitis, as well as its potential to change the geographic distribution of disease.

The 13 participants this year come from ten countries, including Ethiopia, India and China. They include heads of meteorological offices, laboratories and institutes, medical epidemiologists and researchers, program officers and medical advisors.

For two intense weeks, they will sit in on lectures and exercise sessions to introduce them to computational tools that integrate epidemiological data with available climate, population and environmental data. In addition to lectures, the participants will also attend numerous hands-on, practical training sessions, including one on IRI’s powerful Data Library, a free tool that allows users to manipulate, view and download more than 300 data sets through a standard web browser.

To learn more, please visit

The course home page is

Francesco.Fiondella | Communications Officer
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society ( IRI ),
The Earth Institute, Columbia University


Posted on on April 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

UN climate change officials told to cut carbon footprint with permanent home.
Ben Webster, Environment Editor, The Times. April 1, 2010

It is a giant traveling circus that has spent 20 years touring some of the world’s most exotic locations — Bali, Marrakesh, Barcelona, Rio, Buenos Aires — all at taxpayers’ expense. { But this is really just the tip of the melting ice-berg. Just think of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon going from New York to Valencia via the Antarctica where he encountered Korean Scientists at the Chilean military base – so he can say that he experienced the melting polar cap  (our web editor’s addition)}

But the good times may soon be over for the 20,000 people who attend the annual climate change summit because the Government {that is the UK Government – God and Nature bless their souls} wants to reduce its carbon footprint by choosing a permanent location.

The proposal will prompt an international squabble over which city should win the right to host all future Conferences of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

More than half of those who attend come from Europe and, with flights contributing more than 80 per cent of each summit’s carbon footprint, a European city might seem the obvious choice.

The UNFCCC’s secretariat is based in Bonn, which already hosts several smaller climate meetings each year. The last summit was in Copenhagen, which has one of Europe’s biggest convention centres.

However, developing countries will be bound to argue that Europe and the US already have more than their fair share of UN institutions.

The climate circus will set up its next camp in November in the Mexican resort of Cancún. Next year’s summit is due to be held in South Africa but, under the Government’s plan, from 2012 there would be a permanent home.

A Government official said: “We want to strength the UNFCCC by creating a permanent governing council and appointing a new head with additional authority.

“We also want to reduce the air miles of the meetings by having a permanent location.”

He said that the current system of holding the two-week summit in a different city each year distracted from the negotiations. The host country, which chaired the talks, spent much of the time organising facilities for the visitors.

Kat Watts, climate adviser for the environmental lobby group WWF and a veteran of several summits, welcomed the idea of a permanent home but said that there were some advantages to varying the location.    He said – “The atmosphere of the location can make a difference to the mood of delegates. There is a difference between being able to go out to a café by the sea in Bali and have a discussion as opposed to winter in Poland.”  {We feel sympathy for this point of view as we also like to be on the beach during November -December when it is European winter, but there might really be quite beneficial for the work of the meeting with less pleasures – we actually wonder about the argument!}

The Copenhagen summit, attended by 20,000 delegates, lobbyists, activists and journalists, had a footprint of around 46,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide: 6,000 tonnes emitted in the city and a further 40,000 tonnes by the attendees’ flights.


The UK Government tried to move beyond the failure of the Copenhagen summit by saying that it would accept two separate treaties covering emissions cuts by different countries.

The EU had been pushing for a single deal to cover all countries and replace the Kyoto Protocol, which only requires developed countries to reduce their emissions. The negotiations at Copenhagen were hampered by the demand from China, India and other developing countries that the protocol be retained.

Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “We do not want to let a technical argument about whether we have one treaty or two derail the process. We are determined to show flexibility as long as there is no undermining of environmental principles.”

Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, hosted the first meeting of an international group of politicians and financiers seeking ways of raising up to $100 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

The meeting at Downing Street was attended by Guyanan President Bharrat Jagdeo, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi, as well as US President Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser Larry Summers and the billionaire financier George Soros.

The group, the creation of which was one of the few positive outcomes of the Copenhagen summit, is considering several options, including a tax on international financial transactions, a levy on global aviation and shipping and schemes that would raise money from auctioning off “permits” to emit greenhouse gases. It is due to make recommendations in time for the Cancún summit.


Posted on on April 2nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

President Barack Obama celebrating the Seder on Monday in the White House.

Last update – 09:19 30/03/2010

Obama in Passover message: Fight oppression everywhere.

By Natasha Mozgovaya and Haaretz Service

The celebration of Passover reminds us to fight oppression everywhere, U.S. President Barack Obama said in his annual holiday greeting on Monday, also highlighting the battle against all forms of discrimination.In a statement released by the White House and signed by Obama, the U.S. president wrote that the story of Exodus taught that, “wherever we live, there is oppression to be fought and freedom to be won.”

“In retelling this story from generation to generation, we are reminded of our ongoing responsibility to fight against all forms of suffering and discrimination,” Obama wrote, adding that by doing so “we reaffirm the ties that bind us all.”

The American president concluded his greeting by saying that “these bonds are the source of inextinguishable courage and strength, and provide hope that we can repair this world.”

Later Monday, President Obama is expected to hold a Passover seder in the White House, making it the third year in a row he had done so, and a second time as president.

The president’s weekly schedule indicated that he and the first lady president and are planned to host some 20 friends and staff members.

Obama, who has promised to conduct a dialogue with the whole world, sends many greetings over the year, including for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan and the Persian New Year, Nowruz.

While the Hanukkah party he hosted at the White House was for Jewish community leaders (and was closed to the media), the previous seder was an intimate event for his Jewish campaign workers; a recreation of the makeshift seder in April 2008 – during the campaign, on the roads, in the basement of a hotel in Pennsylvania.

The battle for the nomination against Hillary Clinton was two months away from a decision. Criticism of the controversial statements of the pastor of the Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, which Obama attended with his family, refused to die down. But at the end of one more grueling day, the Jewish staffers, including Arun Chaudhary, the videographer who documented Obama’s campaign and who is half-Jewish, half-Indian, and Eric Lesser, a former baggage handler on the campaign trail who has since become senior adviser David Axelrod’s aide, were determined to keep the tradition.

Most of the people at the seder were not Jewish, but some continued with Obama to the White House, among them senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Reggie Love. According to nostalgic reports of that historic evening, it is said to have ended with Obama saying the words, “Next year in the White House.”

The next seder did indeed take place in the White House – on the second night of the holiday, after the president had delivered a greeting in which he called the Haggadah “among the most powerful stories of suffering and redemption in human history.”

It was not the hoped-for intimate family event with no wait staff; the White House kitchen went all out. But the first daughters, Malia and Sasha, lived up to their part in the evening’s festivities, searching for the afikoman.

Some Jewish community leaders were at first surprised to hear about the president’s Passover seder. Hanukkah parties at the White House have become a tradition, but the seder did not rank on the list of Washington events to which one must wangle an invitation, because there simply wasn’t one at the presidential level.

Many wondered who would be on this year’s guest list. When it turned out to be a private event, most still quickly and warmly praised the respectful nod to Jewish tradition.

This year’s guest list has not been released yet, but according to reports, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will again not attend, while David Axelrod will be there, along with Valerie Jarrett and one of the younger aides, Herbie Ziskend.

6,000 Ethiopian Jews to attend world’s largest Communal Seder in Gondar.
By Haaretz Service, March 30, 2010.

Approximately 6,000 Ethiopian Jews will gather at a massive Seder in Gondar on Monday night, most of them hoping that Israel will soon accede to their request to make aliyah.

The Falash Mura tribe has been preparing for this night in their refugee camp for weeks, learning the songs and traditions from Israeli emissary Getent Awake, who emigrated more than a decade ago and has returned to Ethiopian to supervise the religious character of the community.

“We left our families in order to strengthen [the Jews in Ethiopia],” said Awake. “This will be the biggest Passover Seder in the world, facilitated by two rabbis. We have more than 250,000 matzahs and 2,000 liters of wine.”

In preparation for the Seder, the children at the refugee camps learned to sing the “ma nishtana”, while the adults undertook study of the Passover rulings and rituals.

Many in the community have been in Gondar for years, waiting to immigrate to Israel and have experienced this Seder before.

The Falash Mura are Ethiopians of Jewish descent whose ancestors converted to Christianity. They are not Jewish according to Jewish law, but in 1999, under pressure from local Ethiopian immigrant groups and American Jewish organizations, the government agreed to bring them to Israel.

In recent years, however, many have remained behind in Ethiopia after Israel placed a quota on their immigration.

{When they finally get to Israel, the place they fight for being accepted and moved to  – housing has to be prepared for them.}


We celebrated last night at the Communal Seder at the 92nd Street “Y” in Manhattan.


Posted on on March 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

We posted this first February 10, 2010, but felt compelled to pick up the subject of the meeting when we saw This Friday and this Saturday/Sunday Financial Times having in both issues a full spread by OIC on “The International Donors’ Conference For The Development & construction of Darfur” (The small “c” for construction is the way they said it.)

It says that the conference aims at mobilizing donations for and investments in the following sectors:

– Water

-Health & Education

– Agriculture, Livestock & Forests

– Rural & Women’s Development & Capacity Building

– Housing and Physical Planning

– The Cement Industry & Agricultural Process

a conference website –

The page is adorned with the flags of SUDAN, SAUDI ARABIA, TURKEY, EGYPT.

Though we were very positive about our first posting, this addition is rather approached by us as skeptics.


I thought that finally the Arab world has seen that they must intervene in Sudan as a matter of Arab or even better – Islamic – pride. It was obvious to us that the funding and work will have to be sort in the family. After all, does OIC believe that anyone outside the Arab world will channel through them donations for the poor people of Darfur via Sudanese the Government? Will anyone invest except in drilling for oil and that you do not get via an add in the FT.

Further, 30% of the page is a self advertisement of the OIC – “About OIC” – which is good PR but nothing for the Darfurians.

On the other hand – weekend The Financial Times (Saturday/Sunday March 20-21. 2010 had in the Life & Arts Section pages 1-2, a large article by Barney Jopson – “The road to independence” that was about South Darfur – “Sudan’s ‘Wild South’ is a country-in-waiting and could become a sovereign state next year, But is this shattered region ready to stand alone?”

The truth seems to us that Sudan has so badly mishandled Darfur that in effect it could become next State-in-waiting and the Sudan empire may fall apart. OIC could help sort this out in nice, quiet, discreet diplomacy and by backing the economy first using the oil income of Sudan and investment from other oil funds.


Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Turkish OIC Secretary General : The Donors Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur on 21 March.

But the OIC Calendar posted in the same posting says: “March 23: OIC Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur – Cairo, Egypt.” (??)

OIC Secretary General  Ihsanoglu also expressed his great satisfaction on the visit of H.E. Idriss Deby, the President of Chad, to Sudan and the agreement reached between the two countries to normalize their bilateral relations.

Also – OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu expressed his deep disappointment over the announced decision of the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to direct the pre-trial chamber to decide anew on the charge of genocide against the President of Sudan Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir.

All the above seems to show that the Islamic countries are ready to step into a problem solving mode in Sudan – but will the UN keep its Darfur and South Sudan watchdog positions? White washing Al-Bashir should not be allowed. What was done in Sudan was a series of Government sanctioned crimes. We also said that some of the motivation to those crimes had to do with impacts of climate change – will the oil rich Islamic countries – those countries that got financial advantage by selling the oil to the rest of the world, will they indeed pay their dues in the form of real help to the black people of Darfur – be they Islamic or not?


The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu discussed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Ahmad Aboul Gheit the current arrangements for the organization of the ‘International Donors Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur’, due to be held in the Egyptian Capital, Cairo, in March 21, 2010. The meeting was at Aboul Gheit’s office in Cairo on 6 February 2010. During the meeting, the two sides discussed the facets of joint cooperation between the OIC and Cairo, and their bilateral relations.

The meeting also addressed the ongoing arrangements for the next Islamic Summit Conference, which will be held in Egypt in March 2011, as well as various other issues of mutual interest.

The Secretary General had arrived in Cairo on 5 February. During his visit he also met with the Egyptian Minister of Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Himdi Zaqzouq and discussed the existing cooperation between the two parties in many fields.
In statements made to journalists, the Secretary General said that the Donors’ Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur will be held in Cairo on 21 March 2010, commending at the same time the concrete Egyptian role towards making the conference a success and its provision of all facilitations for organizing the conference. He also highlighted the significant support the OIC receives from both the leadership and the people of Egypt.

Ihsanoglu said that the Conference, which will be held at the ministerial level, will submit to the donors a number of vital projects in Darfur with the aim of completing the development process, which will strengthen stability in the province.

On another level, the Secretary General delivered on February 7, 2010 a lecture on ‘The Future of the Muslim World’ at the International Book Exhibition in Cairo.


Turkish Minister of Trade and Industry visits the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah.

A ninety-member Turkish delegation led by the Minister of Trade and Industry of Turkey Dr. Nihat Ergun visited the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah on 8 February 2010. The Minister, whose delegation comprised industrialists and businessmen from the private and public sectors in Turkey, was received by the Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Ambassador Hameed A. Opeloyeru, and the Director General of the Cabinet and Chief Advisor to the Secretary General Ambassador Sukru Tufan, on behalf of the OIC Secretary General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. They exchanged views on how to expand cooperation between the OIC and Turkey in economic sector.

The Minister and his accompanying delegation attended a briefing session on expanding intra-OIC cooperation in the fields of trade and industry delivered by Ambassador Opeloyeru. The presentation covered a range of vital issues which included Intra-OIC Trade, Trade Preferential System of OIC, Cotton Rehabilitation Program, Agro-Food Development, Development of OIC Halal Food Standards, Cooperation in Tourism, Banking and Financial Sectors, Transportation and Private Sector initiatives.

Minister Ergun for his part stressed that his country will continue to take an active role in the OIC initiatives. He also noted that Turkey will soon finalize the ratification process of the Statute of the Standards and Meteorology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) which will function under the umbrella of the OIC.


The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the nterests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969). The Headquarters of OIC are in Jeddah –…


Posted on on March 1st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

from:     sniakan at

date:    Thu, Feb 25, 2010
subject:    World Bank participates in the Africa Carbon Forum

Africa Carbon Forum – March 3-5, Nairobi, Kenya

The World Bank Group is pleased to support the Africa Carbon Forum taking place in Gigiri, right outside Nairobi on March 3-5. Bank staff will be participating in a number of plenary sessions as well as side events.
Furthermore, a press conference will be held on March 3, briefing media on the recently registered Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project. The press conference will take place at 1pm in the UNEP Press Room (Lower Library) in Gigiri – that is the location of the UNEP headqarters near Nairobi. Transportation from downtown Nairobi will be provided.

The Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project is located in Ethiopia and is Africa’s first large-scale forestry project under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). It was recently registered under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project, developed by World Vision, brings both economic and social benefits to poor communities in Ethiopia as well as environmental benefits, cutting an estimated 880,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 30 years. The future sales of carbon credits will bring more than US$700,000 to the local communities over ten years.

At the press conference, the National Director of World Vision Ethiopia, Mrs. Tenagne Lemma, will present the project together with Ms. Ellysar Baroudy, the manager of the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, which is purchasing a share of the carbon credits generated by this project.

For more information, please contact by email.

For more information on the World Bank BioCarbon Fund, please see:…

For more information on World Vision, please see:

For more information on and registration for the Africa Carbon Forum, please see their website:…. Registration is free.

Isabel Hagbrink
Senior Communications Officer
Carbon Finance Unit
Environment Department, The World Bank Group
1818 H Street, NW, Washington D.C. 20433

Tel : 202 458 0422 Fax : 202 522 7432
email :  ihagbrink at
Web : (See attached file: Africa Carbon Forum Events Booklet external.pdf)


Posted on on February 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

The correction – Yes – the Press Conference was at 7:30 am with the UNSG and four journalists present, but the two leaders – Gordon Brown and Meles Zenawi were present only via video-conference. They were at confortable hours back there in London and Addis Ababa.


The most important issue in our opinion that the following shows that the UN is incapable to address, is the question if it will be unavoidable to bribe China into being more effective in its efforts to curb CO2 emissions in its development and manufacturing-for-export policies – and use for this the funds that the UN tries to raise for helping developing countries in joint projects with the old industrialized nation. We think that the UN Secretary-General owes the funding countries a clear answer on this and the UN needs an open PRESS CORPS that is capable of asking such questions. Obviously, Matthew Lee points out also other issues – some of which in our opinion are really non issues – but nevertheless they become issues if clear answers are not provided by the UN – such as the IPCC problems. Also, the snow-in-New York issue could have been handled better by turning it into science from the intended background of a joke. This is why we will post the following also in our “cartoons” categoty on our website.


At UN, Climate Change Financing Discussed, IPCC Glacier and Pachauri Questions Not Taken, China Eligibility Debated.

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 12, 2010 — At an ill-attended press conference held at 7:30 am Friday in UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon introduced Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi and his UK counterpart Gordon Brown as chairs of an Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing.

In a tightly controlled media Q &A session that followed, Mr. Ban did not address the controversy swirling about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific blunders and chairman Doctor Pachauri.

Rather, Mr. Ban took on a straw man question, about whether the snow in New York undermined climate science. He also said that he will ask the heads of state of Guyana and Norway to join.

Of the four journalists at the UN in New York who raised their hands to ask questions, three were called on by Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky. Before a softball question about the snow outside, one asked repeatedly if any of the climate change financing would be given to China. As Mr. Ban looked uncomfortable, both Prime Ministers denied it.

Despite hand raised from the beginning of the question and answer session to the end, Inner City Press was not allowed to ask a question. In fact, the question had back on February 3 been asked and dodged by Nesirky:

Inner City Press: There has been a lot of controversy around the finding of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) about the Himalayan glaciers, and they have essentially back-tracked and said that they apologized; it was unverified information. Mr. Pachauri has said he won’t apologize. But, I wonder what, given the importance of climate change and the IPCC to the Secretary-General’s agenda, what does he make of this controversy and how can the IPCC process be reformed to not create this kind of controversy on the issue?

Spokesperson: The Secretary-General is obviously aware of these reports and what’s been happening in the last few days and weeks. But, you know, ultimately it’s for the IPCC to address this. It’s for the IPCC to talk about this, and they have talked about this in some detail. They have said that they regret what happened, and reaffirming their strong commitment to a high level of performance in their reporting and so on. So, therefore, it’s not really for the Secretary-General to weigh in on this specific report. There are many reports, there are many other aspects to the work on climate change, which is absolutely vital, as you’ve mentioned; it’s one of his priorities. So, I think that the most important thing is to focus on the road to Mexico and how you can improve the prospects for that meeting and what needs to be done between now and then.

Inner City Press: [inaudible] because… in the last 24 hours… Mr. Pachauri….

Spokesperson: IPCC regrets, Matthew, IPCC regrets.

Question: So, I mean, Mr. Pachauri says he wasn’t responsible for it. So, I guess what I’m saying is, who is in charge of the agency on which Ban Ki-moon rests his, you know, the case has been made by that agency [inaudible].

UN’s Ban and Meles Zenawi, glaciers and Pachauri not shown

Spokesperson: No, no, Matthew, the Secretary-General does not rest his case purely on the IPCC. There is an enormous body of evidence and information out there from various different sources, not just from the IPCC, however important that may be. And an error in one report does not undermine the entire science that is clearly proven.

So who apologized — the IPCC’s website? To have nothing to say about the various scandals surrounding the IPCC and Pachauri seems strange. To not allow the question a week later is worse.

Update: in the hallway after the press conference, away from the screen of the Spokesperson, UN climate advisor Janos Pasztor at least took Inner City Press’ other question, on the way to Ban’s next appearance, signing compacts with some senior officials, on which we will later report — how this UN Panel would interact with the IMF’s idea of using SDRs. It will consult, Pasztor said. Possible duplication of effort?

Also after the press conference, a senior Chinese official told Inner City Press that the question about China taking climate change funding was “stupid” and “insulting.” He said, “We are entitled to it!”

* * *

UN’s Ban Has No Comment on Himalayan Glacier Gaffe, Doesn’t Rely on IPCC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 3 — With various ice research related scandals opening up around UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s signature issue of climate change, Inner City Press on Wednesday asked his spokesman Martin Nesirky for Ban’s views on the misleading of the public about the melting of Himalayan glaciers.

While Nesirky dodged the question, Ban’s climate change advisor later in the day told Inner City Press that Ban may have something to say later on the topic. Meanwhile Doctor Pachauri, with no guidance from Ban, it attacking those who question him, refusing to answer questions or apologize. From the UN’s transcription of its February 3 noon briefing, video here:

Spokesperson Nesirky: Last question, Matthew.

Inner City Press: There has been a lot of controversy around the finding of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) about the Himalayan glaciers, and they have essentially back-tracked and said that they apologized; it was unverified information. Mr. Pachauri has said he won’t apologize. But, I wonder what, given the importance of climate change and the IPCC to the Secretary-General’s agenda, what does he make of this controversy and how can the IPCC process be reformed to not create this kind of controversy on the issue?

Spokesperson: The Secretary-General is obviously aware of these reports and what’s been happening in the last few days and weeks. But, you know, ultimately it’s for the IPCC to address this. It’s for the IPCC to talk about this, and they have talked about this in some detail. They have said that they regret what happened, and reaffirming their strong commitment to a high level of performance in their reporting and so on. So, therefore, it’s not really for the Secretary-General to weigh in on this specific report. There are many reports, there are many other aspects to the work on climate change, which is absolutely vital, as you’ve mentioned; it’s one of his priorities. So, I think that the most important thing is to focus on the road to Mexico and how you can improve the prospects for that meeting and what needs to be done between now and then.

Inner City Press: [inaudible] because… in the last 24 hours… Mr. Pachauri….

Spokesperson: IPCC regrets, Matthew, IPCC regrets.

Question: So, I mean, Mr. Pachauri says he wasn’t responsible for it. So, I guess what I’m saying is, who is in charge of the agency on which Ban Ki-moon rests his, you know, the case has been made by that agency

UN’s Ban and Pachauri, no one responsible for Glacier-Gate, novel

Spokesperson: No, no, Matthew, the Secretary-General does not rest his case purely on the IPCC. There is an enormous body of evidence and information out there from various different sources, not just from the IPCC, however important that may be. And an error in one report does not undermine the entire science that is clearly proven.

So who apologized — the IPCC’s website? To have nothing to say about the various scandals surrounding the IPCC and Pachauri seems strange. It’s why some say Ban is now shifted to rolling the dice on a trip to North Korea — our next story, forthcoming.

Footnote: The UN’s and Ban’s climate unit under Janos Pasztor, which was told there was no room for it in the UN’s Temporary North Lawn Conference Building where Ban has his office, is now looking at space in the Alcoa Building on 48th Street, Inner City Press is told.

For now, they are left behind in the nearly empty UN skyscaper where asbestos removal has already begun. Meanwhile, Pachauri has wished asbestos on his critics….

* * *


Posted on on February 4th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

In a room where members of the Security Council met after us, the subject was “GLOBAL CRISIS, MORE THAN JUST ECONOMICS,” and we learned it is actually a Triple Crisis – Finance, Food, Climate – Crises – a global security problem.

The introducer/moderator was Dr. Jean-Marc Coicaud, Director of the United Nations University Office in New York.

The Presenters were from the World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) of the UNU-WIDER in Helsinki: Professor Finn Tarp the Director of WIDER who is also Chair of Development Economics at the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen, and Professor Tony Addison the Chief Economist/ Deputy Director of WIDER who hails from the Universities of Manchester and London.

The Discussant was Joseph H. Melrose Jr., a retired US Ambassador with an illustrious career and stays with the UN during the 61st to 64th UNGA Sessions (2006-2009) and now Professor of International Relations at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.

The Event Brief read: “As the global economy is passing through a period of profound change, the immediate concern is the financial crisis, originating in the developed world. The global South is affected by lower demand and decreasing prices for their exports, reduced private financial flows, and remittances. Simultaneously, climate change remains unchecked with the growth in greenhouse gas emissions exceeding previous estimates. Finally, malnutrition and hunger are on the rise, propelled by the recent inflation in global food prices. Seeking potential policy solutions, the discussion will address threats to development arising from the global economic crisis, food shortages and climate change.

To put this in simple words – there is a Triple Crisis:

(1) a Finance Crisis
(2) a Food     Crisis
(3) a Climate Crisis.

These three crises sit in their separate “POLICY SILOS” and undermine World Peace. A voice must be heard that this is not just a question of economics but it is a series of social problems that undermine World Peace.

The present economic downturn is the deepest in 60 years and let us remember that the UN is only 65 years old. Just a short few weeks ago we used to say that the world crisis has engulfed the whole world except MENA – now came the Dubai crisis and we see that nobody is safe. I would like to add here that the globalization process got us to this situation and now clearly – when there is a sneeze in one corner of the world its echo will thunder all over. Will the North respond to the need of increased assistance for development? The World Pie, or cake, has shrunk – but that means that the percentage for foreign aid must increase if the pace is to be held in place in what regards the needs by the poorer peoples of the world. Their needs become a question of security for all – Is it likely that the richer countries will increase their aid percentage wise? But see – aid did not increase since the late 80’s. We even look now at a world that will call for CARBON TAXES because of the need to react to climate change. What will be the impact on the economic development in the emerging countries?

Dr. Melrose pointed out that the US funded since 2006 activities on nutrition – last year there was a seminar on the subject. Good ……but?

A question from the room – Nobody mentioned demography & population increase – the population explosion!

Tony Addison – on the global food architecture & population – at $80/barrel of oil going to $200 – biofuels becomes attractive – so global food architecture calls for higher efficiency. 1.5 billion people in high poverty – institutions are needed – even remittance flows are drying up.

Fossil fuels subsidies are much higher then is the ecosystem aid. Watch the origins of conflict and energy resources and follow the lines of fossil fuels. That was the greatest finale I witnessed at a UN show. This could happen only in a Think tank environment and one would wish every country to send someone to these sessions – they might learn something about what makes human disasters happen. You just cannot paint man made catastrophes with the natural disaster hazard colors.

I am also thinking of our recent posting about Ethiopia, a country with 5.2 million people needing food help from abroad, while plans are being made to turn it into a new bread-basket for exports. Is this something that we should also look at closely? Is there someone who will help integrate local needs with export potential?


Posted on on February 3rd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Abbay Media

‘The Ethiopian Information Bank’

Ethiopia: The new breadbasket of the world?

Al Amoudi’s Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, receives 10,000 hectares in Gambella to farm rice for 60 years rent-free.

Women water palm seedlings at the 300,000-hectare farm leased by Karuturi Global in Gambella, western Ethiopia. Photograph: Mary Fitzgerald

As swathes of their country’s land is leased, cleared and prepared for food production by foreign companies, Ethiopians are divided over whether this constitutes ‘agro-colonialism’ or much-needed development, writes MARY FITZGERALD Foreign Affairs Correspondent

‘WHY ATTRACTIVE?” reads an Ethiopian government poster pinned to a wall at the rambling offices of the Gambella regional investment agency. Next to photographs of lush fields and a map showing huge tracts of land earmarked for investment comes the answer: “Vast, fertile, irrigable land at low rent. Abundant water resources. Cheap labour. Warmest hospitality.”

Gambella, a remote and sparsely populated region located where Ethiopia’s western tip borders southern Sudan, is in many ways an unlikely choice for investors. Its searingly hot, malarial lowlands, coupled with ethnic tensions that have at times erupted into violence, have given the region a somewhat forbidding reputation in Ethiopia.

But in the past year Gambella has become one of Africa’s biggest testing grounds for the growing phenomenon of land leasing, whereby investment firms and rich countries lacking sufficient arable land snap up huge swathes elsewhere to produce staple food crops. The trend has prompted accusations of “agro- colonialism” and “land-grabbing”, but some argue that it could hold the key to the continent not just feeding itself but also the world.

This new scramble for land is rooted in fears, amplified following the 2007-2008 global food crisis, that world food supplies may run dangerously low in the future. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that in order to feed the world’s projected population in 2050 – some nine billion people, up from six billion today – agricultural production must increase by a yearly average of at least 1 per cent.

“Humanity has never come to the brink of such crisis before . . . if there is a potential catastrophe for mankind, it is related to food,” says Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, managing director of Karuturi Global, an Indian company which is the world’s largest producer of roses. Such apocalyptic calculations brought Karuturi, who runs flower farms in Kenya and Ethiopia, to Gambella as a prospective investor more than two years ago. He made an agreement with the regional government to lease 300,000 hectares – an area larger than Luxembourg – for 50 years at an annual rate of 20 birr (€1.12) per hectare to farm crops including maize, wheat, and rice. Karuturi predicts that, when operating at full capacity, the farm will employ 25,000 people and produce three million tonnes of cereal per year.

“We are on a mission to make a difference . . . when we produce three million tonnes it will be nearly half a per cent of the world’s cereal production,” he says. “How many people will have the opportunity to do something which meaningfully impacts on humanity like that?”

So far, almost 65,000 hectares of the land has been cleared of the forest that carpets much of the Gambella region. Bright-green John Deere tractors imported from India bounce over stubbly rows of turned soil (“The most potent I’ve ever seen – anything can grow here,” says one supervisor), while women from the nearby settlement of Elliah tend more than 100,000 palm seedlings at a nursery on the banks of the River Baro. Land is also being cultivated on a 10,900-hectare farm the company has leased near the central Ethiopian town of Bako.Investors such as Karuturi are promising to build infrastructure, including schools and health centres, where little or none exists, in addition to creating jobs and producing food for both the Ethiopian and wider African market as well as those overseas.

Haile Assegide is a former Ethiopian government minister who now serves as chief executive of Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, a company which was given 10,000 hectares in Gambella to farm rice for 60 years rent-free. He estimates that 45 per cent of the farm’s yield will be sold on the Ethiopian market. Saudi Star, which is owned by Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, a Saudi Arabia-based billionaire who was born in Ethiopia and maintains close ties with the country’s ruling party, aims to increase its agricultural holdings in Gambella to 250,000 hectares. It has similar plans for the expansion of land it has leased in another part of Ethiopia. Assegide argues that the massive investment will result in employment for locals, and corporate tax revenue and foreign currency for the federal government.

He says the firm is also examining the possibility of handing over some of the land in Gambella to local families once it has been developed. “We are doing a study on it at the moment, but it will probably involve allocating one hectare per family,” he says. “It will be a type of outsourcing . . . Our interest is not only to harvest rice, wheat and corn, it is also to develop the region.”

BUT MANY IN Ethiopia and other African states experiencing this new land rush are wary of such pledges and wonder who exactly stands to benefit in the long term. Aid groups, including Oxfam, have raised concerns about the use of farmland to produce food for export from countries such as Ethiopia, which is reliant on aid to feed almost one-tenth of its population. Some critics worry that indigenous communities may be sidelined or exploited, while others warn of the environmental impact of decades of industrial farming.

Last year Madagascar cancelled a controversial agreement with South Korean company Daewoo Logistics that would have allowed the firm to produce corn and palm oil on 1.3 million hectares, around half of the country’s arable land. Public anger over the deal contributed to the collapse of the Madagascar government.

Merera Gudina, a political science professor and chairman of Ethiopia’s largest opposition grouping, is one of the sceptics. He says his party plans to make the issue a central plank of its campaign ahead of parliamentary elections due to take place in May. In addition to voicing concerns about the displacement of pastoralists from land which government officials claim is “virgin” territory, he questions the motives of foreign investors now scouting Ethiopia for suitable land.

“Will they just be using Ethiopia to feed their own people while Ethiopians go hungry? That is very worrying,” he says.

Ethiopia’s prime minister, Meles Zenawi, says that such agricultural investment will not take away from his government’s insistence on small-scale farmers being at the centre of Ethiopia’s development efforts.

“Where there is unutilised land that could be used by commercial farmers, then it makes sense for us to encourage private-sector commercial farming to develop this land,” he says. “Where commercial farming is promoted at the expense of small-scale farming, we believe that would be a disaster.”

Meles says he is under no illusions regarding the motives of investors. “We have to be aware of all the possible risks because there is not going to be any free lunch. The pioneers who are here to develop agricultural land are not philanthropists, they are businessmen out to get profit – which is fine so long as we too benefit as they do.”

Neither is he particularly worried about whether they produce food for the local market or export. “I assume they are bona-fide capitalists and so they will sell it where it makes more sense for them to sell. That is fine with me,” he says. “If they export their products to Saudi Arabia because is more profitable than Ethiopia, let them bring the dollars back and we will use the dollars to buy the type of products we need for ourselves from the international market . . . My hope and expectation is that we will feed Ethiopia through the produce of our small-scale farmers.”

Many in Gambella are adopting a wait-and-see approach. “Our region needs development, we know that,” says Omud, a clerk in his 30s. “It is too early to judge whether this will prove to be positive, negative or a mix of both.”

KARUTURI INSISTS THAT he is attuned to local sensitivities. His company turned down an offer by the regional government to relocate the Elliah settlement, he says, and next month it will bring electricity to the village for the first time.

“It is their land and we are the strangers, so we have to put in efforts to integrate and not make them feel alienated,” he says. “I keep telling my people we have to be very careful and sensitive in the way we engage with them.”

The company pays local workers a daily rate of 10 birr (56 cents) – which Karuturi compares to the going rate of eight birr for farm labour in Ethiopia – and it provides three meals a day on top of that. Asked about reports that Karuturi employees at the Bako farm have complained about their wages, he replies: “I could pay 50 birr and they would still complain. Who does not complain about their pay after all? . . . I am paying a meaningful wage – what more can I do? I am not a philanthropist sitting here to distribute my money.”

Karuturi’s land deal was agreed with the Gambella regional administration, but since then Meles has changed the rules. The Ethiopian constitution allows regional governments to manage their land – all land belongs to the state – but from now on all commercial farming deals must be negotiated through Addis Ababa.

“ we saw large-scale interest, we as a federal government felt that we had to take another step to make sure there are no mishaps,” says Meles. “We have to make sure that interact with one entity, that there is a process that is transparent . . . and which is with eyes wide open.”

Karuturi acknowledges the need for safeguards. “There will be concerns within the government that this should not be misused. That worry is unfounded in ] case,” he says. “We have no problem with any further assurances that the government wants, because we mean business. It’s a learning process for all of us, the entrepreneurs and the government. It’s new . . . the jury’s out.”

Source: Irish Times

Posted in Agro Colonialism |
3 February, 2010

The number of people in Ethiopia who will need food assistance this year has risen to 5.2 million, an increase of several hundred thousand from estimates released just two months ago by United Nations relief agencies and the Horn of Africa nation’s Government.

The worsening food security situation is attributed to poor rainfall last year, particularly during the February-May and June-October seasons, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.

According to the humanitarian requirements document for Ethiopia, launched yesterday in Addis Ababa, the total net emergency food requirement from January to December 2010 and non-food needs for the first six months of this year amounts to $286.4 million.

The document – prepared by the Government and UN agencies working in the country – also stated that the net food requirement stands at 290,271 metric tons, estimated to cost around $231.3 million.

In addition, $55.1 million is required to respond to non-food needs in the areas of health and nutrition, water and sanitation, agriculture and education.

The food security situation in Ethiopia had already been weakened last year by poor rains in 2008 and the impact of the high food prices globally.


Posted on on February 3rd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

The kernel of the future – the projected five world leaders – are in trouble. With the US and China in a tiff because of Taiwan (arm sales by US manufacturers) and Tibet (a visit with the Dalai Lama), now South Africa, one of the three IBSAs that met with the G2 in Copenhagen, shows sings of 21st century immaturity. You just cannot go on living by Zulu rules if you want to lead your people out of poverty. Tiger Woods learned that very very fast that the limelight of world media will do you in, and even oil rich monarchs do not father now 20 children anymore. The stories about Zuma’s ascent in South Africa were plenty and his people we know told us so when it was rumored that he is in line to take over his country’s helm. It seems that Mandela’s South Africa deserves better – so does the 15 States group of Southern Africa { }, and black Sub-Sahara Africa at large. We said before, South Africa is the third IBSA not alone, but as the symbol of all that immense Sub-Sahara black chunk of resources rich land and its one billion people that have the potential of evolving into next great consumers market to drive their own economy and the world economy. To this mass of people, the South African President must be an example and our prejudice that we knowingly attempt to show by this posting, calls for an exemplary leader for South Africa – someone fit to try on Mandela’s shoes.

This week the African Union rejected the attempt of Libya’s rambling Gaddafi to hold on to the chairmanship of Africa for another year, and voted instead to give the position to Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika. We attach the story about that event at the end of this posting, as we focus on the further ramblings by a Libyan-sponsored group of African traditional leaders from an unnamed French speaking African country, who crowned Qaddafi “King of Kings.” Africa seems to react indeed with understanding to the fact that the world is changing into a 7 to 10 countries structure and that Africa wants one of its own, and that means not Qaddafi, to be part of this structure – a modern man rather then a traditional chieftain – neither do they think anymore that the position of leader in Addis Ababa belongs to a Mediterranean North African settler. They want a black leader – but hiding under a Zulu mantle, and invoking rules of the desert, simply  can not do anymore.

South Africa’s President Sows (Another) Sex Scandal.

Theunis Bates Contributor, February 2, 2010.
John Edwards might have reason to feel a little jealous of Jacob Zuma right now. The South African president has faced many accusations of sleazy behavior during his 20-year-long political career, from corrupt business dealings (the charges were withdrawn) to having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman (which he admitted). Yet his popularity in South Africa appears to be surviving even the latest addition to his scandal sheet: the revelation that last year he fathered a child – rumored to be his 20th – with a woman who is neither his fiancee nor one of his three current wives.

According to South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, Sonono Khoza, 39 – the daughter of Irvin Khoza, the chief organizer of the 2010 soccer World Cup in South Africa and a close friend of Zuma’s – gave birth to a girl in October, three months before the president wed for the fifth time. The paper added that Zuma was believed to have paid his former lover “inhlawulo,” a traditional Zulu form of compensation handed over when a child is born out of wedlock.

The African National Congress issued a statement Monday confirming that Jacob Zuma, pictured, fathered a daughter out of wedlock. The child, born last year, is rumored to be the South African president’s 20th offspring.

Opposition politicians condemned the African National Congress leader’s bed-hopping antics as unpresidential. “We recommend Zuma goes for sex addiction therapy as Tiger Woods did,” said Christian Democrat Kenneth Meshoe.

Other parliamentarians pointed out that Zuma is sending the wrong message to his fellow countrymen and women, about 5 million of whom are infected with HIV/AIDS – the highest number of any nation in the world. Although the president was praised for increasing the availability of lifesaving anti-retroviral drugs after his election last year, opposition parties say his behavior is now undermining campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of condom use and faithfulness.

“South Africa now has a president who, both through his words and actions, is doing similar damage to the struggle against HIV/AIDS – a life-and-death struggle for millions of South Africans,” said Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance. “President Zuma’s behavior directly contradicts the government’s campaign against multiple sexual partners, and the inherent AIDS risk in having unprotected sex.”

Zuma, who defends his right to have more than one wife as part of his Zulu culture, has yet to comment on the revelations, although the ANC issued a statement Monday confirming that he had fathered a child.

“There is nothing wrong that the president has done. There is nothing shameful when two adults have a relationship,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu. “By being involved with any other person, President Zuma is not guilty of any offense and he has not breached our constitution or any of our laws.”

With Zuma’s approval ratings still sitting comfortably above 50 percent, most ordinary South Africans seem disposed, at least for now, to agree with that verdict.


After Losing a Post, Qaddafi Rebukes the African Union
February 1st, 2010,

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, delivered a rambling rebuke of fellow African heads of state Sunday after they chose to replace him as chairman of the African Union and failed to endorse his push for the creation of a United States of Africa.

“I do not believe we can achieve something concrete in the coming future,” said Colonel Qaddafi, before introducing President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi as his successor at the African Union’s annual summit meeting, held in Addis Ababa. “The political elite of our continent lacks political awareness and political determination. The world is changing into 7 or 10 countries, and we are not even aware of it.”

South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria were among the countries opposing Colonel Qaddafi’s attempts to form a continental government, which many view as impractical given the political and economic disparities in Africa.

Colonel Qaddafi argued that individual African states are too weak to negotiate with major powers like the European Union, the United States and China. His efforts to become the first African leader to win another one-year term as chairman of the African Union were thwarted by a push for Mr. Mutharika, 75, by the 15-member Southern African Development Community.

The Libyan leader also complained that such summit meetings were boring, that his colleagues were too long-winded and that he often was not informed of African Union decisions.

Colonel Qaddafi did not leave the lectern before giving the microphone to an unnamed representative of a Libyan-sponsored group of African traditional leaders who had crowned him “King of Kings” in a ceremony in 2008.

The representative, bearing a golden scepter and trailed by an aide fanning him with a large feather, spent much of his address praising Colonel Qaddafi.

“You have the African people with you,” said the man, who spoke in French and did not identify himself. “This is what is important, not politicking. It is politicians who have destroyed us.”


Posted on on January 25th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Date: Mon, Jan 25, 2010
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