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Posted on on March 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



It is all because of interests of big business why Africa is held down – and this with the help of corrupt African Governments’ leaders.  If this continues – there is indeed no future for Africa. Foreign aid by old industrialized
Nations is wasted effort.


US aid to DR Congo: No more free rides for corrupt government officials!
Did you know your tax dollars are subsidizing corrupt bureaucrats in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? Instead of subsidizing millions of dollars in theft, fraud and unpaid taxes, the US should…
Read more

Herakles Farms must Stop Unjust Lawsuits Against a Cameroonian Activist
Herakles Farms, a US based agribusiness has filed a lawsuit against Mr. Nasako Besingi, a Cameroonian activist for defamation for peacefully protesting against the company’s grabbing of his ancestral land in South-West Cameroon. For the defamation case, the maximum penalty is 6 months imprisonment and $4,000 in fines, money he does not have.
Today, ask Mr. Patrick Jones to withdraw this lawsuit.



Posted on on April 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

On Rwanda Genocide, UN Silent on Its Own Role, So ICP Asks, Duhozanye Answers


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 — When the UN invited two Rwanda genocide survivors to speak on April 9, commemorating 19 years after UN peacekeepers left in the face of mass murder, one expected the “lessons learned” to also be about the UN.

  But the formal presentation asked Daphrose Mukarutamu, founder of the Duhozanye organization, and her fellow survivor only about reconciliation in the country. The UN Women panelist, Nahla Valji, spoke about the gacaca courts.

  But in terms of “Never Again,” what of the UN’s own performance, its abandonment of the victim, even helping the genocidaires to escape into Eastern Congo?

  As we have noted, current chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous in 1994 as Deputy Permanent Representative of France advocated for and facilitated this rescue of genocidaires, through “Operation Turquiose.”

Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press questions about his role, then refused to answer ANY questions from Inner City Press, including about rapes by the Congolese Army, his partners.Video at  On Tuesday night, the UN did not ask about these issues either. So Inner City Press did. YouTube video as above.

  Daphrose Mukarutamu replied with dignity that members of Duhozanye have testified in Arusha against those who committed the genocide, and the government is trying to track more down.

  But what of, for example, Callitxe Mbarushimana, who while working for UNDP in 1994 used UN vehicles and radios to kill at least three dozen Tutsis, including Florence Ngirumpatse, the director of personnel at UNDP’s office in Kigali?

  The UN let him keep working for them, in Angola where he was not even language qualified, until he was outed in 2001 working for the UN in Kosovo. Even then, he was paid an additional $35,000.

  After Inner City Press’ question, and Daphrose Mukarutamu’s answer, a participant hissed to Inner City Press, do you think that question elevated the discussion?

  It had to be asked. It should have been in the introduction. It should have been in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s canned statement over the weekend. And it will continued to be asked.

  Duhozanye is composed of, and cares for, genocide survivors, now focusing on those who are aging without family members to take care of them. They want to start a retirement community. The event was strangely lacking in contact information for them. But we suggest an Internet search: Duhozanye. And check out, as well, Callitxe Mbarushimana and the history of Herve Ladsous, while you’re at it.

Footnote: the UN Department of Public Information, the evening’s host, does some good programs, and surely will do more. But they should have included some mention of the UN’s own role.

 And, just within UN Headquarters itself, they should be more forthright about how and why they raided the office of Inner City Press without consent or even notice on March 18, and how photographs they took were leaked to on March 21. The Rwandan mission is aware of what DPI did, even referred to it on UNTV earlier this month. Accountability, high and low. Or impunity?


Posted on on September 24th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (


Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan today proposed to the General Assembly the creation of a conflict mediation commission within the office of the United Nations Secretary-General to develop strategies for the resolution of disputes across the world.

Such a commission would be tasked with collating information on conflicts, identifying the parties to them and developing rules of engagement, including the sanctions that would apply to those who obstruct efforts to resolve disputes peacefully, Mr. Jonathan told the Assembly’s annual general debate in New York.

“For the world to move from a culture of response after conflict to that of a culture of prevention, the international community must muster the political will to promote preventive diplomacy, in particular through mediation,” said Mr. Jonathan.

He said conflicts were also linked to the proliferation of small arms and pledged that Nigeria remains committed to the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty that addresses the problem of illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Mr. Jonathan also voiced concern over the increasing incidence of piracy and maritime crime in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea and expressed his support for the Secretary-General’s proposal to send a UN assessment mission to the region to study the situation and explore possible options for UN support and action.

He pointed that Nigeria had in the recent past faced an upsurge in incidents of terrorism, including the suicide bomb attack on UN House in the capital, Abuja, on 26 August that claimed the lives of 23 people, including 11 UN staff, and said his country will continue to work with the world body and other partners to combat the scourge.

He announced that the UN Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) will launch its first project in Abuja in November intended to prevent conflict and counter the appeal of terrorism to youth through education and dialogue.

* * *


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with the leaders of Eritrea and Tanzania today to discuss some of the many political and humanitarian challenges confronting Africa.

In a tête-à-tête with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, held on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual general debate, Mr. Ban discussed peace and security issues in the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, Sudan and the long-standing border demarcation issue between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Separately, the Secretary-General also met Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete and offered his personal condolences following the boat accident off the island of Zanzibar on 10 September that claimed the lives of nearly 200 people.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Kikwete also discussed Tanzania’s constitutional review process, as well as regional peace, security and development, including the situation in Somalia.

* * *


Conflict mediation efforts will be far more successful if they are home-grown and harness the capacities of young people and regional groups or institutions, Rwandan President Paul Kagame told the opening of the General Assembly’s annual general debate today.

Speaking at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Mr. Kagame warned that traditional methods of diplomacy can frequently take a toll on the people they are supposed to help.

“Too often, while resolutions are being debated and refined, people are dying,” he said. “And sometimes when those resolutions are eventually adopted, enforcement is slow, or they only halt the conflict for a short time but with no sustainable solutions.”

The theme of this year’s general debate is the role of mediation in resolving conflicts and the Rwandan leader stressed in his remarks that national ownership of the process remains vital.

“Mediation efforts must be based on an over-riding desire to bring conflicting parties to resolve their differences. But this should not be confused with supporting one side in the conflict, or imposing a solution in the interests of the mediators.”

He said the most effective way to prevent conflict from even arising was to empower citizens, particularly young people, so that they feel they have an important stake in the management and stability of their community or country.

“This generation carries less historical and political baggage, and is more inclined to getting the most out of this global village we all find ourselves sharing.

“With social and communication tools, they are key innovators and thought leaders not only of tomorrow but right now. We have an important responsibility to empower them.”

Mr. Kagame said mediation processes must be based on “specific cultural and political contexts. In Rwanda, for instance, we have seen this produce long-lasting solutions and tangible results on the ground because they are home-grown.

“It is also important to involve regional and sub-regional players, who have ample knowledge of the often complex regional dynamics of the conflicts in the mediation efforts. These organizations should be supported expeditiously, before disputes escalate into intractable conflicts.”


Posted on on June 6th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

[gu-new] (20110606) Concept papers of GEWS/GUS projects for Bangladesh, DRC, Nigeria and Rwanda.

<<20110606>> Archived distributions can be retrieved at;
<> This archive includes a html version of this
list distribution and its MS/WORD version with its filename as
³year-month-date.doc.² You can also access all of its attachments, if any.


> (a) Concept Paper to Create a South Asian Hub of Global Early Warning System
> and Global University System in Bangladesh (June 6, 2011)
> (b) Concept Paper to Create a Central African Hub of Global Early Warning
> System and Global University System in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (May
> 9, 2011)
> (d) Concept Note: The Global Early Warning System (GEWS) with Global
> University System (GUS) In Rwanda (May 1, 2011)

Dear E-Colleagues:

(1) I just came back from my very fruitful, two weeks trip to Japan.

(2) The References above are the concept papers of our GEWS/GUS projects in
Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, and Rwanda.

I sincerely thank you for those people who contributed to produce those
excellent concept papers.

(3) We will then forge ahead to raise funds with those papers.

(4) Pls feel free to contact me if you have any comments and suggestions to
improve them, and of course, any ideas about possible funding sources.

Best, Tak

* Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E., Chairman, GLOSAS/USA
* (GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.)
* Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education
* Founder and V.P. for Technology and Coordination of
*   Global University System (GUS)
* 43-23 Colden Street, #9L, Flushing, NY 11355-5913, U.S.A.
* Tel: 718-939-0928; Skype: utsumi
* Email:, Web:
* U.S./IRS Employer ID: 11-2999676 <>
* New York State Tax Exempt ID: 217837 <>
* Brief bio and photo: <>
* CV: <>


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

The World Future Council (WFC) consists of up to 50 respected personalities from all five continents. They come from governments, parliaments, the arts, civil society, science and the business world. Together they form a voice for the rights of future generations. The World Future Council is a charitable foundation dependent on donations.

The World Future Council Foundation is a registered charity in Hamburg, Germany where its head office is located. Additionally,  staff is working in Brussels, London, Washington and Addis Ababa.

WFC works in close collaboration with civil society groups, members of parliament, governments, businesses and international organisations we research future just policies and legislation. We then advise political decision-makers, offer them tried and tested courses of action and support them in the concrete implementation of new policies. We make politicians aware that they have an ethical responsibility to assess every decision-making process on the basis of how it will affect future generations. As an independent non-profit organisation with no interest in short-term profit or prestige, autonomous from governmental and institutional interests, our organisation enjoys the highest level of credibility in its political advocacy. To identify holistic solutions on a wide range of issues and to enable the application of these solutions, the WFC has created the following programmes:

  • Future Justice
  • Climate and Energy
  • Sustainable Ecosystems
  • Sustainable Economies
  • Just Societies
  • Peace and Disarmament

What we want to achieve:

The lifestyle in industrialized countries has led to people using up natural resources at a threatening pace. Consequently, our environment is being destroyed and the unequal distribution of wealth and natural resources is increasing. Mankind today is living and consuming at the price of future generations. The World Future Council works to safeguard the rights of future generations. Our aim is to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children and grandchildren.

What makes us unique:

The lifestyle in industrialized countries has led to people using up natural resources at a threatening pace. Consequently, our environment is being destroyed and the unequal distribution of wealth and natural resources is increasing. Mankind today is living and consuming at the price of future generations. The World Future Council works to safeguard the rights of future generations. Our aim is to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children and grandchildren.

How we finance our international work:

The city of Hamburg and Hamburg entrepreneur Dr. Michael Otto provided initial funding for the period from 2007 to 2009. This has enabled the WFC to work effectively and professionally for the good of future generations. For us to continue our work in the years to come we are completely reliant on further donations by people who want to help us to protect the rights of future generations. We are committed to using donations conscientiously and utilize funds as efficiently as possible to realize our goal of creating a just and sustainable world.

More on organisation, council members and staff

Press release – Sustainability can be made a political reality.

WFC co-hosted in Lisbon a legal experts conference on intergenerational justice.

Lisbon, May 28, 2010. The international conference on “Ways to Legally Implement Intergenerational Justice“ brought international legal experts to Lisbon on May 27-28 in order to create anti-dotes to the political and economic short-termism that increasingly threatens our future living conditions.

The conference was co-hosted by the World Future Council and the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations.

Its goal was to discuss policy concepts and concrete law changes that would help to finally make sustainability a reality: “The term sustainability can be found in almost every declaration and corporate report now, but policy advances to implement sustainable solutions are regularly watered down”, summarizes Dr. Maja Göpel, Director Future Justice of the World Future Council.

“Democracies have a strong tendency to favour present voters and lobbyists over future citizens that have no political or financial power. But the results of this myopic game are that we are rapidly closing the options for our children and grandchildren.”

Among the delegates to the conference were personalities that have officially been given the role to defend such options. Dr. Sandor Fülöp, Ombudsman for Future Generations in Hungary, for example, pointed out that his mandate is to protect fundamental rights of every citizen when he is stopping projects destroying too much nature. “Every Hungarian has the right to life and to intact nature. We cannot irreversibly destroy natural wealth in order to realize high economic profit today. We determine the conditions for life tomorrow.”

While some speakers were more optimistic about the opportunities of technological revolution than others, consensus prevailed that we have to quickly change course to safeguard our environment and end poverty at the same time. Shlomo Shoham, former Commissioner for Future Generations in Israel, did not fall short from calling for changed future intelligence: “Humanity is facing a future in which change takes place at an ever-increasing speed. The unknown awaits us beyond the horizon and our ability to digest and deal with the sheer volume of change is diminishing. We need to find new paths, train ourselves to ‘let go’ of certain ideas, fears, and concerns and change not only our rules, but also the way we think and act. We need to create future intelligence – and use it.”

The World Future Council is currently launching a campaign on the promotion of such Guardians for Future Generations on the European and national governance level. In its most ambitious form these Guardians of the long view would not only speak up for long-term interests in decision-making, but also help develop the knowledge base we need to make sustainability a reality.


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

{This just on the Congo Story – But What about Sudan/Darfur and the UN itself? What about the UN not being ready to tackle misdeeds by Sudan and ITS OWN PEACEKEEPING FORCES? What is the future of the UN itself under these circumstances? Can one show “understanding” in such cases?}

  • The Wall Street Journal, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010…

U.N. Report Faults Peacekeepers.


UNITED NATIONS—A United Nations official told the Security Council on Tuesday that U.N. peacekeepers charged with protecting civilians failed to prevent armed rebels from raping 242 victims in several eastern Congo villages five weeks ago.

“While the primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the state, its national army and police force, clearly we have also failed,” said Atul Khare, deputy head of United Nations peacekeeping operations. “Our actions were not adequate, resulting in unacceptable brutalization of the population of the villages in the area.”

Mr. Khare briefed the council in a public session after a recent fact-finding mission to the region.

Marc Hoffer/AFP/Getty ImagesA soldier posted in the village of Luvungi on Sunday in northeastern Democratic Republic Congo that was attacked on July 30 by Hutu rebels. .

Mr. Khare said when he was in Congo investigating the 242 rapes, he came across evidence of 267 additional sexual attacks in villages in North and South Kivu provinces. Ten were committed by Congolese army soldiers and the rest by rebels, he said.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo, known by its acronym Monusco, has drawn criticism from human-rights groups and some governments for its failure to respond sooner to the rapes, which were carried out from July 30 to Aug. 2 by two rebel groups in the villages in mineral-rich North Kivu province.

The 242 victims were primarily women, but included a handful of men and children, Mr. Khare said.

“I feel personally guilty for the people who have suffered … and I trust that all of us can do better next time,” he said.

To deter more attacks, Mr. Khare called for targeted sanctions against rebel leaders. Mr. Khare also said the terrain made travel and mobile communications difficult but recommended that the U.N. increase financing to build up a cellphone network so that peacekeepers can be warned early by locals of impending attacks. He said Monusco would begin conducting evening and night patrols.

Over the past decade, more than five million people have been killed and more than 200,000 women raped, during the war between rebel groups and the government in eastern Congo, according to the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based group. The rebels are largely financed by illegal mining and use rape to intimidate local populations, the U.N. says.

To protect civilians, the U.N. has deployed the largest peacekeeping force in its history to Congo. The force, which costs more than $1 billion a year,, comprisesing nearly 20,000 troops.

Eighty peacekeepers were deployed in a base about 20 miles from the scene of the rapes, patrolling an area of about 115 square miles. Mr. Khare said U.N. humanitarian officials in the area received unconfirmed reports of a rebel attack, including a rape, in the villages on July 30.

A Monusco patrol didn’t enter one of the villages until three days later, when mass rapes were under way. The troops spoke to the locals through an interpreter but departed after they saw no evidence of attacks and weren’t told of anything amiss, Mr. Khare said. Three days after the sexual attacks ended the peacekeepers received reports that 15 rape victims had sought medical attention.

Roger Meece, an American diplomat who heads the U.N. mission in Congo, told reporters two weeks ago he was unaware of the rapes until Aug. 12, a full week after peacekeepers learned of them.

Margot Wallström, the special U.N. representative on ending conflict-zone sexual violence, said she knew nothing about the attacks until reading about them in media reports on Aug. 21.

On Tuesday Ms. Wallström told the Security Council that women in the villages described being hunted down by half-a-dozen rebels and gang-raped in their homes. She said rebels searched for gold in the women’s genitals.

“The women of Congo are tired of wondering when their time will come to be robbed, tortured and raped,” Ms. Wallström said. Many had concluded that being gang-raped was “normal for a woman,” she said.

Write to Joe Lauria at


For the full postings of the following – please go to :

On Sudan, UN Ban Admits Limits on Peacekeepers, Gambari Summoned, Change Pledged.

In Darfur, As UN Is Blocked from Tabarat Killing Site, It Claims It Resists Sudan Restrictions.

In Central Asia, UN Office Ignores Human Rights While Presiding Over Car Bombs.

UNICEF Dodges Questions of Congo Mass Rape and Rwanda MDG Irony.

On Darfur, UN Admits 50 Dead in Tabarat, Khare Says Sudan Shouldn’t Restrict Movement

At UN, Council To Discuss Darfur, As UN Confirms It Awaited Approval Before Helping.

On Congo Rape Scandal, Khare Spins July 30 E-mail, Congo Army Rapes

At UN, Darfur Deaths Dismissed By Security Council Members, Inaction Like UNAMID.

After Darfur Killings, Calls for Gambari to Resign, No Responses, UN Speaks to Itself.

As Darfuris Lay Dying, UN Leak Shows Failure to Respond, Stonewalling, UNSC Soon?

Amid Death in Darfur, UN Silent, Awaiting Permission 15 Miles from Killing.

In Sudan, As Complaints of UN Inaction on Rights Mount, No Comment for 2 Days.

In Congo, July 30 UN E-mail Spoke of FDLR & Rape, 22 Rapes Reported to UN Aug 6.

On Congo Rapes, UN Admits 240 Victims, Dodges Meece Inaccuracies, Wallstrom Inaction.

In Sudan, UN Rebuffs Rights Complaints, Vets Statements With Bashir Government.

On Congo Rapes, UN Inaction & Dissembling Stretches to Wallstrom, Meece, Higher.


USUN PRESS RELEASE #173                                                                    September 7, 2010

Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the situation in the Congo and Darfur, at a Security Council Stakeout, September 7, 2010

Ambassador Rice: I want to begin by thanking Assistant Secretary General Khare and SRSG Wallstrom for what was both in the chamber and in our consultations a very frank, comprehensive and we think illuminating briefing on the tragic events that transpired over the last several weeks in Eastern DRC.  The rapes, the sexual violence are outrageous and the United States and the Council have condemned them in the most forceful terms.  But today, we got additional information which shed more light on what transpired, how and why.  Many of the questions that we had been asked I feel have been well answered, and we had the opportunity in consultations to really delve into such issues as why was it that when the UN patrols went through the areas subsequently they were not informed of the rapes that had occurred by the villagers.  We were able to learn better about the communications infrastructure and what might be done to improve it.  We were able to understand better some of the delays in information flowing up the chain from the field all the way through to the Security Council.  It was a very helpful and constructive discussion.

At the United States’ request we will receive, in detail, the recommendations that were made in the open Council and any others that the Secretariat feels worthy of discussion and consideration with the Security Council.  We have asked for, and there will now be, a subsequent session of the Council in which we discuss these recommendations and the way forward, such that protection of civilians in Congo, and in particular protection of women and children against rape and sexual violence can be improved and enhanced in a sustainable way.  And we’ll also look at whether the lessons learned in Congo can be applied elsewhere where sexual violence and violence against civilians is of grave concern and where protection of civilians is core to the mandate of the United Nations.  So we look forward to pursuing this with vigor.  As Ambassador Apakan said, the Council is going to be very active in following this up in partnership with the Secretariat, and with MONUSCO officials on the ground.  From the United States’ point of view, we will take up the mantle of leadership, as we have to date, in this and other contexts, on ensuring that the perpetrators of the violence are held accountable, including through our efforts in the Sanctions Committee to add them to the lists that exist and to ensure that they are sanctioned.

Finally, I want to underscore an important point, that SRSG Wallstrom made.  And that is, it is absolutely right and appropriate and necessary for the United Nations to ask what went wrong, and to take responsibility for its failings, and all of us as member states in that process.  But the United Nations did not perpetrate these crimes.  The FDLR and the Mayi-Mayi did, and it is they who ought to be held accountable and responsible.  It is they who deserve the scrutiny and the spotlight of the international community, as well as those that are there to protect innocents.  And the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has its responsibilities, and I think as we heard, they have some distance still to go in meeting them.  So with that, I will take a few questions.

Reporter: Given what you’ve come to a better understanding of what happened, do you feel like there are any flaws in what the UN did that need to be corrected there, and secondly, some names came up in the briefing, and is there going to be anything targeted at them, I mean two or three commanders names came up, is there going to be something—request to take sanctions or actions against them.

Ambassador Rice: First of all absolutely, as we heard from the Secretariat, there were flaws and failings in the UN’s response, and I will leave it to Assistant Secretary General Khare to characterize those as he did in the full Council.  But there’s no doubt that things could have been done differently and better and the aim will be to ensure that this is done differently and better in the future.  With respect to the individuals named, obviously we have now information that we didn’t have previously as to who might be responsible for these atrocities and rapes.  That’s information that the United States will want to look into further and take seriously as we determine who are the appropriate individuals to be subject to potential sanctions.

Ambassador Rice, there was—SRSG Wallstrom spoke of the systematic and organized approach to this rape, that it was organized by individuals—these people have been named.  How clear is it that there is some sort of strategy behind all of this?  It has been going on for quite awhile, what is the U.S. sense, what is your intelligence on this, what’s going on there?

Ambassador Rice: That is very difficult frankly, to state with certainty, we have nothing to suggest that there isn’t a systematic aspect to this, but I think that given the prevalence and the frequency of sexual violence as a tool of conflict throughout the Congo, we also have to assume that while some of it, and perhaps this set of instances is systematic, others just seem to be random and frightenly routine and perpetrated by various different parties of this conflict, obviously most egregiously and most frequently by the FDLR and the Mayi-Mayi and the like, but not exclusively. So, these are among the deeper questions that in our view still remain to be asked and answered. I felt today that we learned a lot more about what transpired and what particular instances that we were most concerned about of late and that the Council focused on, but the underlying causes and motivation is something that we all, I think, need to understand better, and we are grateful to SRSG Wallstrom for her efforts to investigate and illuminate that long term aspect of it and the Council will want to follow up and not only immediate mechanisms, to prevent violence and to protect civilians, but also to understand the root causes.

The, Mr. Khare mentioned at least 10 rapes by the FARDC, by the Congolese Army in (inaudible) and South Kivu, I wonder if that, since MONUSCO works with the Government, is it easier to make sure that these perpetrators are in fact prosecuted and what steps is the Council going to take? And also, we understand that France called for some kind of consultation at the end on Darfur and the killings. Can you say what information was transmitted and the what the US thinks of the events in Zalingei Camp and also in Jebel Marra where the janjaweed apparently killed 50 people over the weekend?

Ambassador Rice: Well, we just heard a brief summary of what information is available to the Secretariat on the violence that occurred over the last several days in Darfur. Obviously we are gravely concerned about it, we are awaiting further information and so there is still much that is unknown. I will let Assistant Secretary General Khare, since he is here, give you any more detail. With respect to the FARDC, this has been an issue that the Council has been seized with for years and during our visit to Congo in 2009 we, the Council and the United States and others, focused on particular commanders who have been identified as perpetrators of violence against civilians. And we have been pressing the Government of Congo to take them out of command and hold them accountable, with some mixed results. Some of the five have been removed, some of them held, some of them under house arrest, and others have escaped. Focusing on the FARDC is not new, and indeed the conditions that the Secretariat and the Security Council have put on cooperation by MONUSCO and previously MONUC with the FARDC are designed to ensure that any units that have engaged in violence against civilians are not the beneficiaries of support and cooperation from MONUSCO.

Bosco still a part of the government, of the Government? He was one of the names indicted by the ICC?

Ambassador: No, not to my knowledge.


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

We must abandon oil before it’s too late.

The Gulf of Mexico spill has made it imperative that we end our dependency on petrol.

How much should we worry about running out of oil? Of late, there have been disparate predictions for our oil reserves, with some claiming that oil will last us for decades. In fact, the question is not so much: “When will there be no more oil left for us to take?” but, rather: “When will demand outstrip production?” And that could happen sooner than most people realise. This is an issue that governments around the world, including our own, are ignoring despite the potential risk to our economies.

Conventional oil production has a limited capacity. Most additional demand must be met by unconventional sources, which are abundant. But the capacity for production depends on the effective management of environmental, social and technical challenges that unconventional sources pose. The current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is a clear indicator of how these boundaries are being pushed.

The most significant concern is transport; while there are many other ways to provide heat, light and electricity, liquid transportation fuels would be hard to come by if oil supply dried up.

The International Energy Authority (IEA) predicts that over the next 20 years there will be a steady increase in demand for liquid fuels, most of which will come from China and India. It also predicts that the supply of oil from fields that are currently in production will plummet over the same time frame.

There will be additional sources of oil to help fill this gap – from fields that have been found but not yet exploited, from those yet to be found, and from unconventional sources such as Canada’s tar sands (though this is costly and particularly damaging from the point of view of climate). There is also the possibility of converting natural gas to liquid fuels. However, even adding all these into the mix, the IEA notes that there will still be a significant shortfall between demand and supply.

Moreover, some of the estimates of future supply look overly optimistic. Analysis from my institute, the Smith School, suggests that by taking the Opec figures at face value, the IEA is overestimating the reserves in fields yet to be developed by some 30%, making the shortfall even worse.

The bottom line is that demand for liquid fuels is virtually certain to outstrip production by a considerable margin over the next two decades, regardless of how much oil remains in the ground.

Knowing this, can’t oil companies simply boost their production rates or find other options? Shell recently built a plant to convert natural gas to liquid fuels in Qatar, but at some $20bn, the capital costs were enormous. Such plants can only hope to provide a sensible return on investment in the few places in the world where natural gas is plentiful. As for biofuels, although the US is likely to hit 10% of biofuels for cars later this year, globally these fuels are still only a tiny percentage of the total.

Thus, as the world emerges from the current economic downturn, all the evidence is that oil prices will take a substantial hike. Our analysis predicts that prices will soon be considerably more than $100 a barrel, peaking at around $130 by 2015. This in itself is likely to stall the global economic recovery following the financial debt crisis.

In principle, that’s good news for oil-rich countries such as Norway and the Gulf states, where higher prices mean higher GDP. But most countries in the world are oil importers and as prices rise their economies will suffer. Developing countries will be especially vulnerable, as their economies depend heavily on manufacturing and distribution, which are, in turn, dependent on transport fuels. Take Rwanda, an ambitious country whose economy is currently growing by 8% to 9% per year. We estimate that rises in oil prices over the next two decades will cumulatively cost Rwanda some 30% of its GDP.

That’s a large number. As scientific adviser to the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, I have recommended that the country should do everything in its power to decouple its economy from oil. But Rwanda is by no means atypical. In the face of rising oil prices, most net importers of oil around the world will face further recession if they have not found other ways to move themselves and their goods around. The coming supply crisis provides a clear imperative to all who are dependent on oil imports to find ways to kick the habit.

What, then, should we do? There is no silver bullet. To achieve this necessary change, we will need every weapon at our disposal. Improving the energy efficiency of our transportation will be crucial – by reducing air friction, improving engines and running smaller, lighter vehicles. Alternative fuels will also be important, moving from petrol to new generations of biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells and electric vehicles.

But we will also need to go beyond the designs of the vehicles and fuels themselves and look at changing urban design, building and improving mass transportation systems and changing the ways that people drive.

This, of course, is independent of the additional, but pressing imperative to reduce carbon emissions and prevent dangerous climate change. Put the two together and the case for change becomes overwhelming.

There’s a final reason to wean ourselves off our current dependency on oil. In these difficult economic times, we need to stop bleeding our economies by pouring money into the handful of countries that hold most of the oil.

Today, the rest of the world pours more than $2 trillion a year into the Gulf states, which is $6bn per day. This money would surely be better spent developing energy resources that are much closer to home?

Sir David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford, was chief scientific adviser to the government from 2000 to 2007


Posted on on February 22nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

February 18, 2010

Religion rejuvenates environmentalism

By Courtney Woo
The Miami Herald

Evangelical pastor Ken Wilson’s environmental conversion began a few years ago with goose bumps, watery eyes and an appeal for help.

“I heard Gus Speth, the dean of forestry at Yale, say to a group of religious leaders, ‘I used to think the top environmental problems facing the world were global warming, environmental degradation and eco-system collapse, and that we scientists could fix those problems with enough science,’ ” Wilson recalls. “‘But I was wrong. The real problem is not those three items, but greed, selfishness and apathy. And for that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that. We need your help.'”

For full story, visit:…

February 17, 2010

Rwanda Named Global Host of World Environment Day 2010

United Nations Environment Programme

Kigali (Rwanda)/Nairobi (Kenya) – Rwanda, the East African country that is embracing a transition to a Green Economy, will be the global host of World Environment Day 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.
World Environment Day (WED), which aims to be the biggest global celebration for positive environmental action, is coordinated by UNEP every year on 5 June.
This year’s theme is ‘Many Species. One Planet. One Future.’ – a message focusing on the central importance to humanity of the globe’s wealth of species and ecosystems.

For full story, visit:…


Posted on on January 24th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

 UNSG Ban Ki-moon and Diplomats accredited to the UN came Saturday January 24, 2009, to Park East Synagogue in New York City for a Holocaust Remembrance Day Service.

In November 1, 2005, 60 years since the creation of the UN in the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust, the UN decided to designate January 27 as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. This year will be thus   thus the fourth year of such a   Commemoration and it will be held at the UN next week, while some at the UN will try to connect   these memorial events by holding parallel activities targeting the State of Israel for the recent invasion of the Gaza Strip and for the essence of its existence. As one example of this cloud over the UN, we posted   — posted:….

With above in mind, nevertheless, the Park East Synagogue community, in the presence of Holocaust survivors, was proud to host the UNSG, four more UN officials, and the Diplomats that showed up – including the Diplomats from six European countries on whose territory the Holocaust was committed – Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Italy. The Ambassador to the UN from Rwanda, a non-Muslim African country came as he knows the impact of genocide from his own country’s experience. Also present were diplomats from Australia, Israel and the United States, and from the Latin American countries – Argentina, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Thus,14 countries out of the 192 Representations to the UN, showed up at this memorial service, but then, thinking of the WWII differences – seeing Germany, Russia, Israel, and the US sitting side by side, in the presence of survivors, and honoring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in the presence of the UNSG, means that change is possible. Albeit, change through the UN maybe still very far off. There a great number of members may still take the position that Jews are not entitled to sit in the same bus with them, and when the issue is the Holocaust they will try to muddle it with “The question of Palestine.” January 26-27, 2009 will be just this sort of UN days. So what?










Posted on on November 24th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (


The volume (405 pages) was edited by Pascal C.Sanginga, Ann Walter-Bayer, Susan Kaaria, Jemimah Njuki, and Chesha Wetlasinha.

Earthscan, is a publishing house for a sustainable future, based in Dunstan House, 14a St. Cross st., London EC1N 8XA, UK – with a branch at 22883 Quicksilver Derive, Sterling, VA, USA.

The project, meeting and book, were sponsored jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the roof of the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The goal is tp promote African agricultural development through capacity-building, research and pilot testing of interventions.

At the Kampala meeting participated 140 practitioners and the best 24 articles appear in the 5 parts of this volume.

The conclusions led to five observations,   and I will mention here just the fifth – that says that real innovation emerges by encouraging creativity, and that is not achieved by over-engineering a multiple level of bureaucracy that poses the risk of stifling real discovery. So, it is better to create enabling conditions and incentive structures that encourage information exchange, cooperation and policy changes that unleash bottom-up or lateral innovation.

The first article is of 26 pages on “Conceptual and Methodological Developments in Innovation,” presented by Niels Roeling.

I found interesting his use of “innovation” as a noun – denoting a technology or even a product i.e. hybrid maize. Then he talks about the “diffusion curve” of introducing this innovation for gain by the users. That was the way the subject was taught in the American Mid-West. Eventually he mentions that his thinking was affected by the observation from Landcare in Australia, that “erosion, salination, desiccation and other environmental problems” resulted from the introduction of European farming practices to a continent to which they were not suited. Thus we reach out to grassroots innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the book presents many ways of organizing this sort of development of agricultural knowledge and information systems.

The book ends up presenting many conceptual and methodological developments in promoting innovation by showcasing on-the-ground experiences in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria.

The volume mentions the changes in global agriculture, the use of biofuels, the increase in meat consumption, droughts and extreme weather caused by climate change, and the resulting increase in the price of food, and asks if those events will make African smallholders competitive in African urban markets. The author is nevertheless not over optimistic. It is the global “treadmill” that prevents African farmers from contributing to global food security and African countries from gaining food sovereignty. The imports of food haveinterfered with the marketting of the local produce beyond the subsistence level.


Posted on on July 1st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (



So, what we have here is that the UNSG, on the eve of his departure to East Asia, with a full schedule of events that day, that also took him that evening to the Japan Society – an event we reported, had also made sure that the UN Outreach Division of DPI organize an event intended to save future generations from the horrors that supposedly belong to times predating the UN. The problem is that it took 60 years to reach the point that the institution has finally decided to remember the 1939-1945 Holocaust against Jewish people, the Roma and Sinti, and the murders of others that bared for all to see the extent of the capability of the human species of being subhuman.

But this was not the end to the   sub-humanity – it is being demonstrated in continuing fashion. We know of Rwanda, Bosnia, and we try not to see now Darfur. Different people have different views on ongoing killings. Are these genocide? Let’s sit down and talk – this while the killings go on daily. Neigh, there is no UN decision to go in and stop the killings but we preach that every individual has the responsibility to do what the Governments sitting at the UN refuse to do.

Mr. Akasaka, a UN UnderSecretary-General, opened the meeting and said that fundamental human rights are the basis for the UN charter codified three years later in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He also told us that the Paris September 3-5, 2008 gathering of DPI and NGOs will deal this year with Human Rights as this is the 60th celebration of the signing of the Declaration.

Mr. Akasaka said here something very important.   The UN Charter governs relations between States – large and small; the Universal DHR guards the relations between human beings and the States – The INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF HUMAN BEINGS. And furthermore – on December 9, 1948, the day before the signing of the UDHR, The UN General Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention. Thus he continued this logic by saying that the UNSG has said that preventing genocide is a collective and Individual Responsibility and called for the entire UN system to be empowered to prevent massacres.

He Continued by saying that the panel will present stories on how individuals have helped, also how modern technology like satellite imaginary can help and that we will hear how NGOs and media have brought to the front the horror stories.

Prior to that he also said that the UN was established because of the horrors of the Holocaust and the two- the Holocaust and the UN are interrelated like cause and effect that was intended to avoid any repeat of such horrors.

Mr. Akasaka finished his introductory. left the place and Mr. Eric Felt took over.

Mr. Felt introduced   Mr. Jean-Marc Coicaud as moderator. He is the Head of the New York Office of the Tokyo based UN University. He wrote: an article   “Meaning and Value of Political Apology” that he presented on May 23, 2008, at an earlier part of this two part series of the UN DPI Outreach Programme on Genocide related issues.

DOWNLOAD: age-of-apology-jm-coicaud.pdf

That presentation was based on a chapter from “The Age of Apology: Facing Up To The Past” that was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. That book was a product of the Tokyo office of the UNU   Peace and Governance Program. So we see the UN relates Holocaust and Genocide to the future of humanity and the future of the UN – by first taking the step to recognize the wrongs of the past.

On June 26 Dr. Coicaud made reference to that first round of these meetings, and said that the first session dealt with “Can Genocide be Prevented?” and he said that the answer was not clear. WHAT WAS MISSING WAS THE OPERATIONAL ANSWER – how to achieve results in operational terms. He expressed the hope that in this second session we might come up with an answer – and that would be an achievement.

We clearly blessed on his hope, but we, honestly, do not expect such a thing from the UN – though clearly, an institution like the UN University should be allowed to point fingers and say just that – the UN does nice talk sometimes, but is short of actions most of the time. The world cannot do just with talk and demands actions – so one must think of reforming the UN so it would act when action is warranted.

Mr. Felt added to Mr. Coicaud that there is an individual as well as a collective responsibility to prevent genocide.

Now, the first presentations by the   Holocaust   Remembrance institutions. First to make the presentation was Mr. Robert Rozett, Director of Libraries at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. He presented cases of rescue in the hope we can learn from actual happenings.

He said that we are trained to look at rescue in the form of a cavalier on a white horse, but in the Holocaust we look mostly at neighbors, at the Pope, at people as individuals.

(a) the rescue of Aron Wolff and his family by a neighbor in Carpathia at Scoll. In this case it was a man who was once helped by a loan. Swisten remembered that deed and came to help now without doing this for money. In the end of the war Swisten was killed by another neighbor because he helped a Jew.

(b) the case of Rabbi Weissmandel who tried to get the Vatican to help with the Slovak government. His argument was to create labor camps right there in Slovakia rather then send the Jews to Poland for working camps there (this as in the euphemism for the extermination camps in Poland). His idea would benefit the slovaks he said. Eventually 60,000 Jews were deported – 30,000 stayed.

August 1944, Weissmandel himself and his family were in a car to go to Auschwitz, but was allowed to stay and had to leave his family in the railroad car. He was smuggled to Switzerland to continue his rescue efforts but never forgave himself for leaving his family to go to their death.

(c) the case of a little boy saved by a dog while the farmer who knew the boy was in the dog-house never took a stand – not for the boy nor against him. The dog stood guard for the boy and not just shared his food with him, but actually let him eat first. The lesson here is about the ethics of the dog vs. the ethics of humanity {just go and tell this today to those committing genocide in Africa, Bosnia, or to the likes of Ahmedi-Nejad}.

Here, Mr. Joseph Rubagumya, now with the School of International Public Affairs of Columbia University, originally from Rwanda, told about his own experience from Africa’s wars of extermination. His family left first from Rwanda in 1960   to Congo, then to Uganda,Sierra where they worked on a coffee plantation.   He returned in June 1994 to Rwanda and everything they had was from cans sent in from donors. Eventually people from an NGo helped him get a scholarship to the US.

Further material about Rwanda was distributed at the entrance to the room. It spoke about “Never Again” and the “Responsibility to Protect: Who is responsible for protecting vulnerable peoples?” It also had a couple of pages about “Sexual Violence: A Too of War.” It extolled “Supporting Survivors” and paragraphs about the various   International Criminal Tribunals.

The third speaker was a lady with experience at many of these International Criminal Tribunals – Sierra Leone, Cambodia ….Ms. Daphna Shraga is Principal Legal Officer in the UN Office of Legal Affairs. She seems to be a top lawyer and the crispness of her presentation was in itself a demonstration how tough it is to do justice in a warped UN system.

The UN recognizes as punishable crimes of genocide if bodily and mental harm are committed and killings if it is an act by one group against another by reasons of religion or ethnicity, but excepts if harm is done because of political or cultural differences. So, the genocide convention refers only to racial, ethnic, religious differences.

Prevention and Punishment are two different notions. If punishment prevents – this is only for next cycle of violence – and obviously the violence was not committed yet – so this is something that does not come under the convention.

These strange principles were established at Nuremberg – that the individuals are responsible because states are abstract entities that do not commit crimes. The responsibility thus falls on individuals.

The genocide is about the fact that one is born into the group – this is why political and cultural reasons are not included.

In the case of Bosnia-Herzegowina – the Serbs against the Muslims – there was killing of the young only – not the whole group – the argument was that this does not constitute by definition genocide! As no other crimes come under the statute except crimes a defined genocide by that statute – these crimes were not punishable.

In 2007 the International Court of Justice made the judgement that if the individual is made responsible it is still the responsibility of the State – also because the State did not prevent or punish the crime.

Srebeniza was a special case as here there was enough evidence that genocide was committed against a whole group – basically – here all men were killed – not just young ones.

Is there an obligation of all States to prevent genocide in any State? Even though it was decided already that the obligation extends from the State were it was started – the prevention is to be obligatory to those outside that State.

{we had here a belly full of doubts about much of what was said – legalistics aside. What is culture if not a combination of ethnicity and religion? How can one exclude crimes against people because of their culture? Albeit, it is obvious that the Soviets and China had no interest in safeguarding rights of politics and culture in those dingy days of post San Francisco negotiations, but should not the UN step in and straighten this mess out today?).

Presentations four and five take us back to the Holocaust. Both presenters part of the Washington DC US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Ms. Bridget Conley-Zilkic, the director of the Committee on Conscience, who stated that there is a commitment that the memory is tied to action today – Agitation, Memorialization and Conscience are the three committees in the Museum.
The Holocaust was based on total collapse – the individual, the social, the national, and the international.

Mr. Larry Swaider, Chief Information Officer at the Museum stepped in explaining the communication technology he use at a website with 17 million uniques/year coming from 100 countries.

He uses now GoogleEarth and can see villages being burned. Looking at what happens today in the world he can see people fleeing when he picks at following a particular person.

there is today the possibility to use “World of Witness” – a Geo-blog. Also some book clubs, like Oprah’s do follow genocide.

The sixth and last presentation was by the honorable Edward C. Luck, Now on leave from his position at Columbia University, he is Director of Studies at the International Peace Academy and is and was Special Adviser to the last two UN Secretary-Generals. He was also a President of the UN Association of the US. His Focus is on the obligations that come under the Responsibility To Protect and he was involved with former UNSG Kofi Annan in getting this concept accepted by the UN. So, no wonder that his topic was about the Responsibility of the State to Protect its Citizens.

He started by saying that he is sorry Mr. Akasaka is not in the room anymore. This because he wanted to set the record straight on a very important issue. He said that the Holocaust was not mentioned in San Francisco of 1945.
Basically the idea was then to establish the institution of the UN and the hope was that once there is an institution it can then be used for all sorts of things. This was a very fast creation and then the question was posed – so what will the UN do?

The Holocaust teaches us that genocide today is not just about Africa – it is about anywhere. just think what one of the most advanced nations – Germany – did. It can thus happen in a most advanced country in Europe – it can happen anywhere.

There are now policy tools, institutions, and individuals themselves that can make a difference.

Mostly – there is now a responsibility to try. To recognize what is happening and to do something. In Darfur we see a response.

1998 – 1999, Kofi Annan, with the help of Canada worked on this and came up with the R to P idea in 2001.

Responsibility to Protect is not the enemy of Sovereignty because States were created with the responsibility to protect their citizens.

The international community has the responsibility to assist the State. Not to punish the State when they failed, but to help them solve the internal problem. When they fail – there is a responsibility to use diplomacy and help.

Here Prof. Luck brought to his help front page recent news – the Kenya case when Kofi Annan went in recently to mediate between the two warring factions.

Another not so distant case was the dilemma the US had in how do you prevent WWIII with the USSR and all those economic and social issues that came up? The US did not pay enough attention to those issues – only to the National Strategic side.

Ms. Daphna Shraga pointed out that there is this concept that the UN is immune – but it is for the member states to evoke the UN immunity in court. To this Prof Luck said that there is also something like a Court of Public Opinion.

Yad Vashem found very strong interest in China – this also because of receptivity from their own experience at Nanjing. Young audiences in China are interested in how the memory of the Holocaust is kept alive. The task is to keep good documentation of what has happened and such documentation is being organized now in China.


Posted on on June 5th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

ICC Prosecutor: Darfur is a huge crimes scene

Den Haag, 5 June 2008

Today in New York, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo informed the United Nations Security Council that he will present in July a second Darfur case before the ICC judges.

The entire Darfur region is a crime scene.   For five years, civilians have been attacked relentlessly. In their villages. Then into the camps. They cannot return. Their land has been usurped. To plan and commit such crimes, on such a scale, over such a period of time, the criminals had to mobilise and co-ordinate the whole state apparatus, from the security services to the public information bureaucracies and the judiciary.   Cover up of crimes by Sudanese officials, pretending that all is well in Darfur, blaming crimes on others, is a characteristic of the criminal system at work. We have seen it before, in Rwanda, in the former Yugoslavia, in my own country Argentina during the military dictatorship’.

The victims are being attacked by the Sudanese officials who have to protect them.

If the international community is persuaded to look away and fails to recognise the situation for what it is – the execution of a massive criminal plan to destroy entire communities in Darfur – it would be a final blow to the victims.” The Prosecutor said, asking the UNSC to issue a statement requesting full co-operation of the Sudanese with the Court.

He also mentioned that one year after the first arrest warrants were issued by the ICC, the Government of Sudan has not complied with Resolution 1593, has not arrested Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb, a militia Janjaweed leader. They remain free and involved in criminal acts against civilians in Darfur.

“They are fugitives from the ICC” the Prosecutor said.   ‘Ahmed Harun is still Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs; he is a member of the committee overseeing the deployment of UNAMID peacekeepers. Impunity is not an empty word. Ahmed Harun is attacking civilians; he is hindering the delivery of aid and the protective functions of the peacekeepers.   The international community is sending firefighters and the Government of the Sudan is promoting the arsonist’ added Luis Moreno Ocampo.

“As long as Harun and Kushayb remain free in Sudan, the criminal system will remain at work.   Girls will continue to be raped.   Schools will be attacked. Land will be usurped. Entire groups will disintegrate. Impunity emboldens the criminals.”

The International Criminal Court is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes if national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.    

The Office of the Prosecutor is currently investigating in four situations:   The Democratic Republic of Congo, Northern Uganda, the Darfur region of Sudan, and the Central African Republic, all still engulfed in various degrees of conflict with victims in urgent need of protection.

In New York

Florence Olara, OTP Public Information Co-ordinator
+31 (0) 6 5029 4476 (cell)
Email:  Florence.olara at

In The Hague:

Ms Nicola Fletcher, OTP Media Liaison
+31 (0)70 515 8071, cell: +31 (0) 65 089 0473
Email:  nicola.fletcher at


Posted on on June 4th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (


UNEP Announces Winners of 2008 Sasakawa Prize –
Bringing Renewable Energy to Remote Communities: Projects from Peru and Lao PDR Share Prestigious Environment Award.

NAIROBI/WELLINGTON, 4 June 2008 – Two projects bringing renewable energy to
villages in Peru and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have been awarded
the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Sasakawa Prize for 2008.

The two winning projects are Sunlabob Rural Energy Ltd (Lao PDR) and
Practical Action (Peru). Both projects are bringing clean power – solar
and hydro – to remote rural communities that do not have access to grid
electricity, on the eastern slopes of the Andes and in the farthest-flung
regions of the Lao PDR.

The UNEP Sasakawa Prize, worth $200,000, is awarded yearly to individuals
or institutions which have made a substantial contribution to the
protection and management of the environment. The winners, who will each
receive $100,000, were chosen by a five-member jury from a shortlist of six
projects at a meeting in Tokyo.

The Prize acts as an incentive for grassroots environmental efforts that
are sustainable and replicable. It recognizes extraordinary initiatives
from around the world that make use of innovation and groundbreaking
research and ideas and empower people at the local level.

This year’s theme for the award was “Moving towards a low carbon economy”,
the theme of World Environment Day 2008. The shortlist included four other
outstanding projects bringing clean energy to thousands of people, from
families in the Philippines to rural households in south India and prisons
in Rwanda.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director,
said: “Addressing the monumental energy challenge of the 21st century
involves practical projects at ground level that bring tangible changes to
the way people live. Sunlabob and Practical Action are showing tremendous
leadership in bringing clean energy to remote communities in Peru and the
Lao PDR, and in doing so they are setting further examples of the energy
alternatives available to the developing but also the developed world.”

The Winners

Sunlabob Rural Energy Ltd., set up in 2001, is bringing energy to remote
rural communities in the Lao PDR, a country where just 48 per cent of the
population has access to grid electricity, mostly in cities and town.
Through Sunlabob, over 1,800 solar-home-systems (SHS) and 500 solar
lanterns are being rented to families in 73 different villages across the

In an area where most people rely on highly polluting kerosene lamps, the
initiative rents out solar lighting at a lower price than kerosene,
providing families with a real incentive to switch to the cleaner energy.
The cheapest solar systems costs 35,000 kip per month ($3.80) to rent,
while households typically spend 36,000 to 60,000 kip per month ($4 to
$6.60) on kerosene for lighting. As well as being far less sustainable
than solar energy, kerosene lamps can be dangerous, causing burns, starting
fires and polluting the air indoors.

The equipment is rented through Village Energy Committees (VEC) selected by
the whole community; this puts the community in control of setting prices,
collecting rents and performing basic maintenance.

The potential for growth in the use of solar PV in the Lao PDR is huge.
Sunlabob is installing systems at a rate of 500 per year, and a new
investment this year will allow it to scale up to 2,500 systems per year,
and 5,000 per year after that.

The project is also highly replicable. Sunlabob is already starting work
in Cambodia and Indonesia, and is exploring possibilities with interested
potential partners in Bhutan, East Timor, Eastern Africa and Latin America.
(See…, for more information.)

Practical Action, founded in 1966, is working in Peru’s eastern Andes where
68 per cent of the population – around 5 million people – do not have
access to electricity. The project makes use of the region’s vast
potential for hydroelectricity: to date, 47 micro-hydro schemes have been
installed in the area through Practical Action, bringing clean power to
about 30,000 people.

Through this project, Practical Action is also boosting local industry, as
most of the turbines are manufactured by small companies in Peru to
Practical Action designs – with each company making three or four turbines
a year. Practical Action says it sees local manufacture as a key step
towards widespread use of renewable energy.

The electricity supply is boosting the development of the remote
communities. Previously, people moved away to start businesses in places
where the infrastructure was better, but the electricity from the
micro-hydro schemes has brought them back. Some villages have doubled in
size, with people returning and others starting or expanding businesses
including restaurants, bakeries, furniture makers, welders and internet
cafes. (See, for more information.)

The UNEP Sasakawa Prize was originally created in 1982 by the late Ryoichi Sasakawa.

The Prize wasre-launched in its current format in 2005, and is currently chaired by Mr.
Sasakawa’s son, Yohei Sasakawa of Japan’s Nippon Foundation.

The five members of the 2008 UNEP Sasakawa Prize jury are UNEP Executive
Director Achim Steiner, Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa, 2004
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai, 1995 Nobel Chemistry
Prize Laureate Professor Mario Molina, and Ms Wakako Hironaka, Member of
Japan’s House of Councillors.

As well as the two winning projects, the 2008 shortlist also included four
other projects bringing renewable energy to remote communities in Africa
and Asia.

The Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management has
brought biogas power to six prisons in Rwanda, halving the need for
firewood and improving sanitation for 30,000 prisoners.

The AlternativeIndigenous Development Foundation is installing hydro-powered water pumps
for poor communities in the Philippines.

The Mwanza Rural Housing Programme is training villagers in northern Tanzania to make high-quality
bricks from local clay, fired with agricultural residues rather than wood.

And SKG Sangha has set up a biogas programme in southern India to replace
fuelwood with biogas for cooking in rural households, and also to increase
household income by making a saleable fertilizer from biogas residue and
other unmanaged agricultural organic waste.

For more information, please visit the UNEP Sasakawa Prize website at: or e-mail:  sasakawaprize at

To find out more about World Environment Day, go to:


Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson/Head of Media, UNEP on Tel: +41-79-596-5737,
E-mail:  nick.nuttall at
Or Anne-France White, Associate Information Officer, at tel:
+254-20-762-3088, Mobile: +254-728-600-494, or e-mail:
 anne-france.white at

Jim Sniffen
Information Officer
UN Environment Programme
New York
tel: +1-212-963-8094/8210
 info at


Posted on on March 21st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Modern Purim thoughts include the UN.

Purim is the day when Jews remember the plans made by Haman to eradicate all the Jews of the old Persian empire. He did not succeed and paid with his life – as we say – the rest is history.

Jews were ordered to remember what happened then – so they read that story – the Megillah (the parchment of Esther) – year after year – on the evening before Purim. This year it happened on Thursday, March, 20th – so last night we participated at the “Megillah Madness” – at The New York Synagogue in Manhattan – led by Rabbi Marc Schneier.
The celebration was at very high tone and at serious decibels – this to the sound and projections of the Beatles Music and the noise of the traditional “grogger” rattles. Each time the name Haman is read – and this happens 54 times during the readings – mayhem brakes lose and the costumed servers came forth to bring us delicious Haman’s Ears (“Oznei Haman” in Hebrew – staffed with marmalade or poppy seeds), or glasses of sweet whisky spiked drinks. Purim is in effect an annual of catharsis, healthy for the mind and the soul. Quite nice when all you are supposed is to remember evil, so you are better prepared when it strikes again. You see, Purim does in effect obligate today the State of Israel to the UN mandate of: “The Principle to Protect.”

On Purim, the Jewish Jockers are used to run a competition for the coveted “Haman of the Year Award” and this year’s two top candidates were two heads of UN Member States who appear daily on the UN menu: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of the Sudan. The former attacks Jews verbally every day, and has also sponsored militants that fight Jews and Israel daily, while the latter was reportedly actually engaged in genocide against less Arabized Africans of Darfur. has posted many times articles on above deeds. We even tried to understand the background of the genocide in Darfur by considering climate change aspects as an influence on what started the warfare. But whatever the reasons, it is the government of Khartoom that backed its favorites. We see here fights between intruding, more Arabized, pastoralists against lesser Arabized, and blacker, agriculturalists. Our claim was that this is genocide that was started by increased desertification in the region. The UN as an institution did not want to hear such arguments, and eventually it took Sir Nicholas Stern, and the intervention of the UK government at the UN Security Council, to vindicate last year what we were saying three years ago. Whatever the issue, it was al-Bashir’s responsibility “TO PROTECT” his citizens. Instead he puts hurdles before those from the outside that came to help.
The UN Security Council has had Darfur on its agenda for five years, and the genocide continues. But the Council spends disproportionately more time considering Israel’s actions with various UN diplomats berating Israel for defending itself vigorously.
Our “Haman of the Year Award” goes to President al-Bashir. If his enemies don’t get him, the UN has established an International Criminal Court and we wonder why was it not invoked yet in the matter of Sudan’s actions in Darfur. Our website described last week how Dr. al-Bashir let UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wait for him in Dakar, and never showed up for the meeting claiming a headache.

Happy Purim – and I would like to note further that this year Purim falls on the same day as Good Friday – or Easter Friday. This has happened only the second time since 1910.

Easter occurs on the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, and that full moon usually coincides with the first day of Passover. That is how both religions – Judaism and Christianity have the renewal holidays aligned. This year this is not the case, and the reason is that it is leap year in the Jewish calendar, and an added month (a 13-th month) has been introduced. That brings instead the strange alignment between Easter and Purim. We would like to see in this an opportunity for healing – in the sense that we could say changes could be introduced so that Haman-type of hatred is removed from our lives – our society gets renewed like at Passover time, though this is Purim time. Would it be so terrible to ask the UN to consider this proposition of making sure that evil is remembered and actually acted against?


Posted on on October 26th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (


Regional Governance Forum Challenges Africa’s Heads of State on Transparency, Legitimacy, Participation African countries commit to strengthening state capacities for good governance.

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 26 October 26, 2007 — After three days of around-the-clock deliberations, the 300 delegates at the Seventh Africa Governance Forum (AGF VII) here agreed today on recommendations to boost the efficiency and responsiveness of African governments to deliver essential social services to their people. Their proposals will be presented to Presidents and Prime Ministers from across the region at the next African Union Summit.

Capped off by a dialogue with Burkina Faso’s President, Blaise Compaore; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; and Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem of Algeria, the AGF VII brought together government officials, civil society representatives, journalists and business leaders from more than 30 countries under the theme “Building the Capable State in Africa.” A flagship governance initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the AGF VII was convened by the agency’s Regional Bureau for Africa.

“The Ouagadougou Summit is for us an opportunity to remind the international community about the importance of additional support to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,” said President Compaore.

Having hosted the 2006 edition of the AGF in Kigali, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said that the region has made much progress, with rising economic growth rates, democratic elections in many countries, increased space for civil society and the media, and the creation of effective regional institutions. Despite these advancements, he noted, many African states have low capacity, leaving them unable to lift their citizens out of poverty. “The creation of the capable state in Africa is long overdue. These discussions have been going on for a long time. It is now time to translate these discussions into actions.”

During the Forum, participants focused on the following topics:

Redefining the role of the state and development challenges in Africa;
Developing institutional and human capacity for public sector performance;
State legitimacy and leadership;
Strengthening state performance through decentralized governance;
The role of non-state actors;
Globalization and state capacity; and
The role of women in building the capable state in Africa: challenges and opportunities.

In their “Commitment of Ouagadougou,” participants assert that capacity is one of the key missing links to development and democratization in Africa. They identify a number of challenges which factor into Africa’s capacity equation, including the need to improve popular participation and electoral systems; peace and security issues, such as preventing and resolving conflicts; service delivery, including investments in education, health, water and sanitation, and housing; economic governance, especially the effective and transparent use of natural resources and transparency in accounting and contracting and procurement systems; promoting civil society and media development and supporting marginalized groups like youth; globalization; and gender, including how to ensure that women have access to education, land and credit.

The delegates recommend 11 steps to help strengthen the capacities of the state in Africa – from increasing government efforts to consolidate the rule of law (mainly by ensuring the efficiency, integrity and independence of the judiciary); invest in education, with a view to nurturing future generations; factor women’s participation into the process of building a capable state in Africa – to placing importance on good governance as a guarantee of political stability so as to improve the quality of people’s lives.

They challenge African Heads of State to take the “Commitment of Ouagadougou” seriously and put its recommendations to good use.

A high point of the Forum was the presence of Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique and Chairman of the African Forum, who peacefully left the reigns of his country in 2005 and was recently named the first winner of the Mo Ibrahim Award, which recognizes African countries and former presidents for their achievements in good governance in Africa. During the opening ceremony he said that political change is taking hold in Africa. “Increasingly, African States have renounced the culture of military and single party rule and presidency for life. I stand before you as a clear testimony to the emergence of this new form of political governance in Africa.”

On the sidelines of the Forum, UNDP, in collaboration with the Reuters Foundation, conducted a media dialogue for journalists from AGF countries. The dialogue provided participating journalists an opportunity to explore from a media point of view the meaning and definition of a capable state in Africa and hear about the prevailing capacity development challenges and opportunities. The agenda for the media dialogue included an exclusive group interview with President Chissano and a briefing by Protais Musoni, Rwanda’s Minister of Local Administration, Good Governance, Community Development and Social Affairs.

“At the heart of all development challenges that African governments are facing is the lack of capacity to deliver education, water, sanitation, health, electrical power, telecommunications or roads to their people,” said Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, UNDP Regional Director for Africa. “Human development is ultimately defined by degree of access to these services. I hope that the countries and partners represented here will take home the message that building capacity for effective service delivery is the critical element in the agenda for building the capable state in Africa.”

The AGF was conceived as a UNDP joint initiative with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Previous AGFs have focused on the African Peer Review Mechanism, Local Governance for Poverty Eradication, Parliament as an Instrument for Good Governance, Conflict Management for Durable Peace and Sustainable Development, Accountability and Transparency in Africa and Meeting the Governance Challenge in Africa.

The following countries participated in the Forum: Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In addition, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Guinea Conakry, Mali and Niger attended as observers.

For more information, please visit:…

For press queries, please contact:

In Ouagadougou:
Cassandra Waldon:  casandra.waldon at, Cell Phone: +1-917-432-7965, +226-76-940-793
Theophane Kinda:  theophane.kinda at, Cell Phone: +226-70-218-256
Simon Omoding:  simon.omoding at, Cell Phone: +226-76-337-681

In New York:
Niamh Collier-Smith:  niamh.collier at Office: +1-212-906-6111

UNDP is the UN’s global development network advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.


Posted on on October 19th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

OCTOBER 19, 2007, A report by the International Action Network on Small Arms, Saferworld, and Oxfam International, states that Armed Conflict Costs Africa $18 Billion Each Year.
Between 1990 and 2005, 23 African nations have been involved in armed conflict. The list includes Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda.
During the past 15 years, almost $300 billion has been squandered on armed conflict in Africa, capital that could have been used to lift the continent out of extreme poverty and to prevent continued disease epidemics, a new study revealed.

The estimated $18 billion per year “is a massive waste of resources—roughly equivalent to total international aid to Africa from major donors during the same period. It is also roughly equivalent to the additional funds estimated to be necessary to address the problems of HIV and AIDS in Africa, or to address Africa’s needs in education, clean water and sanitation,” the report stated.

In effect, 38% of the world’s armed confrontations take place on African soil.

In addition, the report highlighted that “the average annual loss of 15 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) represents an enormous economic burden—this is one and a half times average African spending on health and education combined.” “This is money Africa can ill afford to lose,” Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf stated in the introduction of the report.

“The sums are appalling; the price that Africa is paying could cover the cost of solving the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa, or provide education, water and prevention and treatment for TB and malaria. Literally thousands of hospitals, schools, and roads could have been built, positively affecting millions of people. Not only do the people of Africa suffer the physical horrors of violence, armed conflict undermines their efforts to escape poverty.”

President Johnson-Sirleaf understands the huge loss it represents for the continent, including her own country. Since 1991, Liberia has been one of the African nations that has been the target of armed combat and widespread civil strife. Although conditions for peace in the country were established in 2003 after President Charles Taylor left office, Liberia continues to experience political and economic perils, including the challenge of accommodating thousands of Liberian refugees who have returned to their homeland since the war ended.

However, it is not only robbed human lives and financial resources stolen in conflict that continue to cause the most damage to the continent, but the intangible daily mental and physical effects felt by the people themselves—and in some cases, other nations around them not directly involved in the conflict itself.

According to the report, African countries involved in conflict have, on average, “50 per cent more infant deaths, 15 percent more undernourished people, life expectancy reduced by five years, 20 percent more adult illiteracy, 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient, and 12.4 per cent less food per person.”

In the report, experts conclude that the majority of the problem lies in poor regulation of arms movement across borders—approximately “95 per cent of Africa’s most commonly used conflict weapons come from outside the continent.” These include the Kalashnikov assault rifle, more commonly known as the AK-47.

Also of primary concern is the tendency for regionalized conflicts to be magnified into international ones. According to the report, the situation in Darfur has already “drawn in neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic,” and other clashes in the area have caused similar situations.

Additionally, the economies of countries in armed skirmishes become intertwined. “In 2002, when fighting in Cote d’Ivoire made access to the key Ivorian seaport of Abidjan virtually impossible, foreign trade was disrupted in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger,” the report stated. And in Somaliland and Mozambique, “informal economies that provided a basic means of survival in wartime have been partly responsible for the collapse of formal rural market networks and have been an obstacle to post-conflict resolution,” the report said.


Source: MCT