links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter


 
Cameroon:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From:

AFJN

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 Sustainabilitank.info on October 25th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group of fifteen countries, founded in 1975. Its mission is to promote economic integration in “all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters”

Barely finished with its 40th birtday, IIASA together with Vienna based UNIDO and GFSE (Global Forum on Sustainable Energy) these institutions will have people travel t0 Accra, Ghana in order to team up with ECOWAS in order to launch the SE4All project that is spearheaded for the UN by Mr. Yumkella – the Director of UNIDO.

This summer we received the following:

It said – Before the Austrian summer is over I would like to inform you about recent developments and major up-coming events -

  • The GFSE continues to support the UN-SG’s Initiative “Sustainable Energy for All” ad has entered a commitment at www.sustainableenergyforall.org
  • One important way of making good on this commitment will be the ECOWAS High Level Forum “Towards Sustainable Energy For All in West Africa”,
    29 – 31 October in Accra, Ghana
    . GFSE partners with ECREEE (the Ecowas Centre on Rnewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and UNIDO to launch the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative in the ECOWAS region and establish an implementation framework for the ECOWAS region. The HLF will see the adoption by ECOWAS Energy Ministers of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy and its corresponding Action Plan; adopt the ECOWAS Small Scale Hydro Power Program; present ECOWAS energy efficiency initiatives on standards and labeling, lighting, electricity distribution, financing and report on the progress of the GEF-UNIDO Strategic Program for West Africa (SPWA) and launch the ECOWAS Observatory on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOREX).
  • Upon the encouragement of Executive Secretary Christine Lins, GFSE will join the REN21 network in the rubric of CSO.
  • Building on the successful 2009 Vienna Energy Conference and the 2011 Vienna Energy Forum, GFSE will cooperate with Austrian and partners to organize the 2013 Vienna Energy Forum in late spring 2013. Announcements on the date and major thematic thrust will follow in early fall.

Many good wishes and best regards

Irene Giner-Reichl

President, GFSE


GFSE has entered a commitment to “Sustainable Energy For All”
The GFSE continues to support the UN-SG’s Initiative “Sustainable Energy for All” and has entered a commitment at www.sustainableenergyforall.org . The commitment is “to raise awareness for and commitment to SE4ALL in Austria, to lobby for an Austrian nation SE4ALL action plan, to foster partnerships around concrete implementation proposals and to liaise with international processes”.

[more]

ECOWAS High Level Forum: “Towards Sustainable Energy for All in West Africa” 29 – 31 October 2012 , Accra
The ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Global Forum for Sustainable Energy (GSFE), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) are jointly organizing a three-day High Level Forum “Towards Sustainable Energy for All in West Africa” from 29 to 31 of October 2012, in Accra, Ghana.

[more]

SE4ALL press release: UN Secretary-General Announces Significant Commitments to Action in support of Achieving Sustainable Energy for All
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that more than one hundred commitments and actions have been already mobilized in support of his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, demonstrating powerful early momentum from governments, private sector companies and civil society organizations to achieve Sustainable Energy for All by 2030.

[more]

Imprint:

Österreichische Energieagentur – Austrian Energy Agency
Mariahilferstraße 136
1150 Vienna
Phone: +43 1 586 15 24-0
Fax: +43 1 586 15 24-40
Internet: www.energyagency.at

===============================================================
 www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research…

29 October 2012 – 31 October 2012

The Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana

ECOWAS-GFSE-GEF-UNIDO High Level Energy Forum

The Energy Forum, organized jointly by ECOWAS, GFSE and UNIDO, will feature the Global Energy Assessment from the 29-31 October, 2012 in Accra, Ghana.


The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Global Forum for Sustainable Energy (GSFE), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) are jointly organizing an ECOWAS-GFSE-UNIDO High Level Energy Forum on “Paving the Way for Sustainable Energy for All in West Africa through Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency” from the 29–31 October 2012, in Accra, Ghana. The event is hosted by the Government of Ghana.

The  High Level Energy Forum aims at the following objectives:

  1. launch the UN Sustainable Energy For All Initiative (SE4All) in the ECOWAS region and establish an implementation framework of for the ECOWAS region;
  2. adopt the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy and  its corresponding Action Plan by the ECOWAS Energy Ministers;
  3. adopt the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy and its corresponding Action Plan by the ECOWAS Energy Ministers;
  4. adopt the ECOWAS Small Scale Hydro Power Program;
  5. present the ECOWAS energy efficiency initiatives on standards and labelling, lighting, electricity distribution, financing and efficient cooking; and
  6. report on the progress of theGEF-UNIDO Strategic Program for West Africa (SPWA)andlaunch the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOREX).

For further information and registration to the Forum, please visit the ECREEE website.
 www.ecowas.int/

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 8th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Dear colleagues,

Every individual must act as if the whole future of the world, of humanity itself, depends on him. (Joseph Weizenbaum)

‘Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest’ initiative will be presented on Thursday 8th December 2011 from 11:00am to 11:20am in the framework of a mini side event at the “Climate Change Studio” at Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC) during the COP17.

The Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest is a global competition for young people organized by the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI) wide number of partners and youth networks from around the world on the occasion of United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which will be held in June 2012 in Brazil.

Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest has a team of seven young representatives attending the 17th Conference Of Parties (COP17) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place from 28 November to 9 December in Durban, South Africa.

Related IAAI and Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest documents and activities:

•   Rio+20 GYMC Call for Music and further info in several languages (English, German, Arabic, Chinese, etc.) www.glocha.info/index.php/riogymcresources

•   Report on presentation of Rio+20 GYMC at UN High Level Meeting on Youth 25 July 2011, New York www.glocha.info/index.php/latest-news/137-rio-2012-youth-song

•   Rio+20 GYMC letter to UN SG Ban Ki-moon www.glocha.info/images/stories/rio/group_statement_mr_ban_ki-moon.pdf

•   IAAI Input to Online Consultation for Rio+20 Zero Draft Outcome document www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php page=view&nr=105&type=510&menu=20&template=509&str=IAAI

•   IAAI side event “Mobilizing Civil Society for Sustainable Development and Rio+20 & The Special Role of Youth” at 2nd Rio+20 Intersessional Meeting New York City 15 December 2011  1.15-2.45 PM www.glocha.info/index.php/latest-news/174-joint-event-of-iaai-and-unicef-at-rio20-intersessional-in-ny

——————

Jean Paul Brice Affana
Coordinator, Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest
P.O. Box: 20387 Yaoundé, Cameroon |
Email:  JeanPaul at glocha.info  | Website: www.glocha.info

Miroslav Polzer
Secretary General, International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges IAAI
Address: Dunajska 104, SI-1000 Ljubljana/Slovenia,
Email: polzer@glocha.info website: www.glocha.info

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Israel and France signed (September 5, 2011) a declaration of intent for cooperation in extending aid to Haiti and to emerging countries in Africa. The agreement includes joint actions in the fields of agriculture and irrigation, public health and gender.  Implementation of the agreement will be through MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, at the Foreign Ministry.

Development is an important subject on the international agenda, especially against the backdrop of recent global crises (food, climate change, energy, etc.), which mainly hurt developing countries, many of which suffer from extreme poverty and hunger. Both Israel and France view this joint activity as adding a new phase to their relationship.

The Israeli-French cooperation will focus on sending experts, counseling, professional training and the like, appropriate to the needs and desires of the country receiving the aid. In the first stage, the countries designated to receive aid are Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Haiti.

A steering committee composed of representatives from Israel and France, charged with monitoring implementation of the agreement and approving the work plans, will meet once a year.

Dep.DG Carmon and HE Christophe Bigot sign aid cooperation agreement
MASHAV Dep.Dir-Gen Danny Carmon (right) and HE Christophe Bigot sign aid cooperation agreement.

Danny Carmon used to be #2 at the Israel Mission to the UN in New York and has long had contacts with Developing Countries’ representatives.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Overcoming rural poverty depends on a healthy environment, where local people can find sustainable solutions to their challenges. The Equator Initiative was launched in 2002 by UNDP’s Jim McNeil in order to help the search for sustainability by safeguarding biodiversity resources.

Every two years, the Equator Initiative partnership awards prizes to the 25 outstanding community efforts each of which receives $5,000 with five selected for special recognition and an additional $15,000 each. The recipients come from three groups:

AFRICA, ASIA-PACIFIC, and LATIN AMERICA – CARIBBEAN regions.

The announcement was “After an extensive process of evaluation, the Equator Initiative’s Technical Advisory Committee has selected an exceptional subset of 25 winning initiatives, from a total pool of nearly 300 nominations from 66 different countries.”

Africa:

Asia & the Pacific:

Latin America & the Caribbean:

Obviously, we have no problem with the choices, nor with the fact that the large countries of Kenya, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, and Mexico got two prizes each, nor that the two Mega-States got next to nothing – China nothing and India one – but we do wonder how it is that the Independent Pacific Island States, and the Independent Caribbean Island States, coincidentally both groups, got absolutely nothing. Does this mean that the rebelious SIDS and AOSIS, as groups, are in UN disfavor? They happen to be in the Tropics and quite a few are biodiversity very rich!

———-

The judges were:
Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan
Robert Edward “ted” Turner III, The father of it all and benefactor of The UN Foundation
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the Third World Tebtebba Foundation
M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman of the MSSRF Resarch Foundation
Steven J.McCormick, President, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Dr. Gro Brubdtland, Former Prime Minister of Norway and mother of it all
Professor Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate.
————–
The two specially honored NGO individuals:
Philippe Cousteau, third generation to the famous family,
Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General of IUCN.
————-
The three specially honored communities:
Mavis Hatlane for Makuleke Community of Pafuri Camp, South Africa,
Maria Alejandra Velasco for Consejo Regional Tsimane’ Mosetene of Pilon Lajas, Bolivia,
Diep Thi My Hanh for Bambu Village of Phu An, Viet Nam.
====================================
To increase our “puzzlement” – here the announcement how the UN General Assembly intends to treat this year the Small Island States in their deliberations – this was the only time we found a notion for their special problems:
Saturday, 25 September:
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Round table 2 — Enhancing international support for small island developing States.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

RECEIVED FROM: Editeur : RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
www.riaed.net/portail

from RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
reply-to dufail@gret.org
date Mon, Jul 19, 2010
subject: La lettre d’information du RIAED, n°41

THIS IS THE INFORMATION No. 41 from RIAED WHICH IS THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR ACCESS TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF WEST AFRICA, BUT THEY HAVE ALSO A LINK TO THE ENGLISH FORM OF THIS LETTER. THE POSTING IS INTERESTING AS IT SHOWS LOTS OF ACTIVITIES THAT GO ON IN THE REGION SINCE 2006 AND CONTINUE TO DATE.

Voici la lettre d’information du site RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables.

A la Une

Un inventaire des opportunités de réduction d’émissions de GES en Afrique subsaharienne

Un rapport de la Banque mondiale détaille, sur 44 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, les opportunités de réduction d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans 22 domaines. Au travers de l’approche MDP, cette étude a pour objectif d’explorer le potentiel offert par les projets énergétiques à faible contenu en carbone qui peuvent contribuer au développement de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce but, l’équipe de réalisation de l’étude a identifié les technologies pour lesquelles il existe déjà des méthodologies MDP et qui ont déjà donné lieu à projets MDP dans d’autres régions en voie de développement.

Actualités

Liberia : deux firmes américaines financent la construction d’une centrale hydroélectrique Les firmes Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) et Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC) basées aux États-Unis, ont déboursé 150 millions de dollars pour la construction d’une centrale hydro-électrique à Kakata, dans la région de Margibi (environ 45 kilomètres de la capitale Monrovia).

Maroc : lancement du plus grand parc éolien en Afrique Le Maroc a lancé le 28 juin 2010, au nord du pays, le plus grand parc éolien en Afrique, pour une enveloppe de 2,75 milliards de dirhams (400 millions de dollars) soit une des étapes – clés du Programme marocain intégré de l’énergie éolienne, qui table sur un investissement d’environ 31,5 milliards de dirhams (4 milliards de dollars).

Cap Vert : la CEDEAO ouvre un centre des énergies renouvelables La Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique d l’Ouest (CEDEAO) a ouvert un nouveau centre pour les énergies renouvelable (ECREEE) aux Iles du Cap Vert pour développer le potentiel de la région en énergies renouvelables.

Côte d’Ivoire : l’état relance le barrage de Soubré Dans le cadre des mesures annoncées pour palier aux difficultés dans le secteur de l’énergie électrique, l’état ivoirien va relancer le projet de construction du barrage hydroélectrique de Soubré.

Malawi : un projet de biogaz mène à d’autres services Une unité de production de biogaz de petite échelle au Malawi, récemment créée dans le but d’atténuer le changement climatique, peut également, si elle est bien exploitée, améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et les moyens de subsistance dans les régions rurales du Malawi.

Afrique sub-saharienne : les meilleurs produits d’éclairage hors réseau gagnent le soutien de Lighting AfricaCinq produits innovants ont été sélectionnés lors de la conférence de Lighting Africa et du commerce équitable à Nairobi en mai dernier.

Bénin : projet d’amélioration de l’acccès à l’énergie moderne Le Gouvernement de la République du Bénin a obtenu un crédit auprès de l’Association Internationale de Développement (IDA) d’un montant équivalant à quarante sept millions cinq cent mille Droits de Tirages Spéciaux (47 500 000 DTS) soit soixante dix millions de dollars US (70 000 000 USD) pour financer le Projet de Développement de l’Accès à l’énergie Moderne (DAEM).

Afrique de l’Est : Les micro-entrepreneurs font leurs entrées dans le marché de l’énergie, à temps pour la coupe du monde Un groupe de 20 micro-entrepreneurs originaires de Ranen, un marché local de l’ouest de Kenya, sont les premiers entrepreneurs DEEP formés et mis en relation avec les institutions financières pour obtenir des facilités de crédits et développer leurs affaires dans le secteur énergétique.

L’Égypte compte ouvrir sa première centrale à énergie solaire fin 2010 L’Égypte compte mettre en service sa première centrale électrique à énergie solaire d’ici la fin de l’année 2010, a indiqué lundi 14 juin 2010 le ministère égyptien de l’Énergie.

Accord entre le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain et la BEI Le président de la BEI (Banque Européenne d’Investissement) se félicite de la seconde révision de l’Accord de Cotonou et signe avec le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain un accord d’assistance technique en faveur d’un projet dans le secteur libérien de l’énergie.

Colloques, conférences, rencontres, forum…

France : Forum EURAFRIC 2010 La 10ème édition du Forum EURAFRIC « Eau et Énergie en Afrique » se tiendra du 18 au 21 octobre 2010 au Centre des Congrès de Lyon (France).(29/06/2010)

Sénégal : salon ENERBATIM 2011 La deuxième édition du Salon International des Energies Renouvelables et du Bâtiment ENERBATIM en Afrique se tiendra du 6 au 9 avril 2011 au CICES (Dakar).

Tunisie : Congrès international sur les Énergies Renouvelables et l’Environnement Ce congrès aura lieu du 4 au 6 novembre 2010 à Sousse (Tunisie).

Algérie : salon international des énergies renouvelables ERA 2010 Le Salon international des énergies renouvelables, des énergies propres et du développement durable, se tiendra les 19, 20 et 21 octobre 2010 à Tamanrasset (Algérie).

Afrique du Sud : forum Hydropower Africa 2010 Ce forum sur l’hydroélectricité en Afrique aura lieu du 16 au 20 août 2010 à Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud)

Ressources

Derniers documents (études, applications…) proposés en libre téléchargement :

La revue de Proparco – n°6 – mai 2010 Cette revue bimestrielle n°6 de Proparco (groupe AFD) a pour thème : « Capital-investissement et énergies propres : catalyser les financements dans les pays émergents »

Les petits systèmes PV font la différence dans les pays en développement La coopération technique allemande (GTZ), a publié une étude qui fait le point sur l’impact des petites installations photovoltaïques sur le processus d’électrification rurale hors réseau, dans les pays en développement.

L’électricité au cœur des défis africains Manuel sur l’électrification en Afrique – Auteur Christine Heuraux

Interactions bioénergie et sécurité alimentaire Ce document de la FAO fournit un cadre quantitatif et qualitatif pour analyser l’interaction entre la bioénergie et la sécurité alimentaire.

Blogues du Riaed

Petit site dédié à un projet, une rencontre, une institution… Vous pouvez présenter vos connaissances et proposer des ressources en libre téléchargement.

Accès aux blogues hébergés par le Riaed : www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41

Annuaire du Riaed

Inscrivez vous en qualité d’expert, ou inscrivez votre entreprise / institution / projet, etc. dans l’annuaire du Riaed pour être facilement identifiable et joignable. Vous le ferez en ligne, en quelques minutes, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve6. Vous pouvez aussi le faire en adhérant au réseau du Riaed, en qualité de membre, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve11 et en précisant à la fin votre souhait d’être aussi présenté publiquement dans l’annuaire (cocher la case ad hoc).

ASAPE ASAPE ou Association de solidarité et d’appui pour l’environnement

Burkina énergies et technologies appropriées (BETA) BETA est une entreprise solidaire qui a fait le choix de s’investir dans la promotion de l’accès à l’énergie en milieu rural.

Opportunités de financement de projets

EuropeAid – Facilité Énergie n°39 – Newsletter de juin 2010 Ce numéro de la lettre de la Facilité Énergie de la Commission Européenne nous fournit les statistiques sur l’évaluation des notes succinctes.

Formation, stages, partenariat, bourse d’échanges

Maroc : formation continue « La pérennisation des systèmes énergétiques décentralisés » L’objectif de cette session est la formation d’un groupe de techniciens impliqués dans les aspects techniques et socio-économiques de l’introduction de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque dans l’électrification des zones rurales et isolées.

Burkina Faso : formation continue « Développer son expertise pour économiser l’énergie dans les bâtiments climatisés » L’IEPF et 2iE ont développé une formule qui comprend non seulement la formation proprement dite, mais également le suivi des bénéficiaires de cette formation (en particulier les entreprises industrielles), avec un engagement de leur part à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations des audits, en finançant tout ou partie des coûts.

Sites francophones sur l’énergie

Une liste de sites francophones et de réseaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=34

======================================================

(Autres liens et réseaux)

THAT IS – THE SIMILAR TEXT IN ENGLISH FROM THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF AFRICA SEEMS TO BE AVAILABLE AT:

Une liste de sites anglophones et de réseaux internationaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=35

=====================================================

THE BLOGGS LINK IS THE FOLLOWING BUT IT SEEMS  OLD: www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 9th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

EU aid chief says rising food prices risk African ‘humanitarian tsunami:’ As food riots sweep the developing world, the EU’s foreign aid chief has warned that sky-rocketing food price rises threaten a “humanitarian tsunami” in Africa, and has promised a boost in aid to support food security.

“A global food crisis is becoming apparent,” said EU humanitarian aid commissioner Louis Michel after a meeting with African Union Commission President Jean Ping, “less visible than the oil crisis, but with the potential effect of a real economic and humanitarian tsunami in Africa.”

By Leigh Phillips, April 9, 2008, the EUobserver, Brussels.

The commissioner said that the EU would boost emergency food aid from the European Development Funds from its current €650 million to €1.2 billion.

In recent weeks, food riots have swept the developing world as UN World Food Programme officials warn that a ‘perfect storm’ of poor harvests, rising fuel prices, the growth of biofuels and increased pressure from a growing middle class in China and India is rapidly increasing world hunger.

The last two days have seen food riots in Egypt over a doubling of the price of staple food items in the past year. Some 40 people died in similar riots in Cameroon in February, with violent demonstrations also recently taking place in Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and Mauritania.

Less deadly protests in the last week have also occurred in Cambodia, Indonesia, Mozambique, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Bolivia.

In the last week in Haiti, five people have been killed in riots over price rises for rice, beans and fruit, with protesters attempting to storm the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday (8 April), while UN staff in Jordan have gone on a one-day strike this week asking for a pay rise to deal with the 50 percent increase in prices.

Elsewhere, China, Vietnam, India and Pakistan are introducing restrictions on rice exports.

The UN’s undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co-ordinator, John Holmes, on Tuesday said that rising food prices are threatening political stability throughout the developing world.

“The security implications [of the food crisis] should also not be underestimated as food riots are already being reported across the globe,” said Mr Holmes, speaking at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development (DIHAD) Conference, according to the Guardian. “Current food price trends are likely to increase sharply both the incidence and depth of food insecurity,” he added.

Kanayo Nwanza, vice president of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said on Tuesday: “Escalating social unrest as we have seen in Cameroon, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and in Senegal could spread to other countries,” reports AFP.

African finance ministers met last week in Addis Ababa to consider the food crisis. In a statement, the ministers warned that food price rises “pose significant threats to Africa’s growth, peace and security.”

Last month, the head of the UN World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, said that high oil prices, low food stocks, growing demand from China and the push for biofuels are causing a food crisis around the world.

“We are seeing a new face of hunger,” she said. “We are seeing more urban hunger than ever before. We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 13th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/c…

From www.policyinnovations.org of the Carnegie Council, New York – Oil and Turmoil.
By Saleem H. Ali. On the web – March 12, 2008

As rebel troops rolled into the Chadian capital N’Djamena last month, commentators were once again ready to blame it all on the country’s oil. Many saw the resource curse in action: An oil-rich country driven to civil strife by avarice and a sudden influx of wealth.

The headline on CNN immediately read: “Oil fuels ethnic violence in Chad.” Environmental groups and human rights activists felt vindicated that their campaigns against the Chad-Cameroon pipeline would now be taken more seriously. Given that many view Iraq as an “oil war,” there was a general presumption that the loathsome liquid was also the ultimate cause of this African conflict.

The connection between oil and conflict has been made since the earliest industrial uses of the fuel. Soon after the end of World War I, the French oil executive Henry Bérenger in a historic dinner speech alongside the distinguished British diplomat George Curzon said, “As oil had been the blood of war, so it would be the blood of the peace.” If oil was part of the problem it would perhaps be part of the solution as well.

Nevertheless, we need to consider the complexity of conflicts in regions like Chad far more carefully before assuming linear causality. Civil war in Chad predates the discovery of oil by at least two decades, thus the underlying ethnic rifts may be a more profound determinant of conflict.

As the recent violence in Kenya shows, such visceral tensions can even escalate into violence in nascent democracies with not a drop of oil to fuel the rage. Yet, we must recognize that a sudden influx of cash without appropriate planning and with national asymmetries can be a recipe for disaster.

Extractive industries are a kind of windfall development similar to the establishment of a casino in an impoverished neighborhood. In order for an oil windfall to be successful in the long run, it must be coupled with development strategies that utilize the revenues and minimize its environmental impact. With the growing influence of globalization on national policies, some of the fears of resource dependency in Africa and its connection to corruption may be assuaged.

Take the example of Equatorial Guinea, which has been a languishing dictatorship since its independence from Spain in 1968 (although it nominally formed a constitutional democracy in 1991). Following the discovery of oil in the mid-1990s, the international community became more engaged with this tiny country. The United States reopened its embassy in Malabo in 2003, and the State department asserts that U.S. “intervention has resulted in positive developments,” such as an office to monitor human rights in the country.

The viability of such a mechanism as a means of initiating change in Equatorial Guinea was tested by a recent scandal involving the alleged siphoning of oil revenues to an account held by President Teodoro Obiang’s family at Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. The account was linked to acquisition of property in the Washington suburbs, and this led to a U.S. Senate hearing on the issue and an investigation by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of Currency in 2004.

None of this would have happened if Equatorial Guinea had not been brought to the world’s attention by oil. Yet the onus for exerting such influence still lies with the international community. At the same time, the regulatory capacity of some African governments over oil activities has grown.



Some governments have gained expertise in the technical matters of the oil business, improving their capacity to negotiate concession contracts and regulate social and environmental issues. For example, Angolan authorities fined ChevronTexaco $2 million because of an oil spill in 2002. Despite a history of oil spills and pollution in the region, this was the first time an oil company was fined due to environmental degradation in Africa. ChevronTexaco also compensated local fishermen for losses in their incomes.

As peace returns to the streets of Chad, the eye of the international community should remain on how the oil revenues are managed and how the country ultimately plans for a post-oil economy. The elaborate system for revenue transparency that the World Bank set up for Chad’s oil must be enforced.

Despite oil’s tortured history and eventual demise as a fuel, it must not be summarily dismissed as a cause of turmoil in Africa. Rather it should be considered as a resource that needs to be managed with effective development planning.

Saleem H. Ali

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources

Saleem H. Ali is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, and on the adjunct faculty of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. For the 2007–2008 academic year, he is also serving as the Associate Dean for Graduate Education in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace.

Prof. Ali is also on the visiting faculty for the United Nations–mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica), where he teaches a course on Indigenous Environment and Development Conflicts. Much of his empirical research has focused on environmental conflicts in the mineral sector and he is the author of Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (University of Arizona Press, 2003). His most recent edited volume is Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press, September, 2007), with cover endorsements from E. O. Wilson, George Schaller, and Achim Steiner and a foreword by Julia Marton-Lefevre.

Dr. Ali is also a member of the expert advisory group on environmental conflicts for the United Nations Environment Programme with a specific interest in transboundary conservation zones. As part of this effort, he is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Taskforce on Transboundary Conservation.

Previously, Dr. Ali was an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric and a consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Health Canada as an Associate at the Boston-based consulting firm Industrial Economics Inc. Dr. Ali’s research appointments include a Public Policy Fellowship at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, a Baker Foundation Research Fellowship at Harvard Business School, and a parliamentary internship at the U.K. House of Commons.

Articles by this Author:

Oil and Turmoil (Commentary)
Salvaging Peace with Syria (Commentary)

Link: www.uvm.edu/~shali/

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 21st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Forest Day: Shaping the Debate on Forests and Climate Change in Central Africa.
Palais de Congrès, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Thursday, 24 April 2008, 09.00 – 17.00

‘Forests are a key issue for climate change discussions’, said Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC), during last December’s international climate meeting in Bali. The conference delegates also expressed an urgent need for ‘meaningful action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD).

The Central African Congo Basin, the second largest forest area in the world, will play a crucial role in the success of any climate change policy. Proposed new climate initiatives raise questions about the impact and role of these initiatives in the region.

That is why CIFOR is organizing Forest Day – to help shape the debate on forests and climate change in Central Africa. Forest Day will be held on 24 April 2008.

Speakers representing a broad range of forest stakeholders will present and discuss prominent forest issues central to the climate change debate. There will be scientists, local and international NGOs, university lecturers, policymakers, communities, experts and others interested in the subject.

Forest Day aims to provide a regional perspective on the discussions surrounding forests and climate change. By debating and analyzing the social, economic, scientific, technological and political issues, Forest Day will provide stepping stones for informed climate policies in the region.

Presentations, discussions and debates will focus on:

- Forest’s role in climate change mitigation
- REDD and mitigating climate change in Central Africa
- REDD, markets and governance
- Forests and climate change in Central Africa
- Financing mechanisms
- Estimating carbon stock
- Pilot projects and their technical, monitoring and data-related challenges
- The carbon market and the forestry sector
- REDD and rural poverty
- Interactions between REDD and other forest management approaches

Contact Information:

Janneke Romijn
Coordinator for Forest Day – Cameroon
Email:  ForestDay-Cameroon at cgiar.org
P.O. Box 2008, Messa, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Tel: (237) 2222 74 49 / (237) 2222 74 51.
Fax: (237) 2222 74 50.
 www.cifor.cgiar.org/Regions/CAfri…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 8th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PRESS CONFERENCE – Monday, January 7, 2008

UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK.

First let us give the “boiler plate statement, then the verbatim Q&A, and at the end a little further insight.

The Secretary-General: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to send my best wishes for a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I hope that 2008 will bring to all of you and your families best wishes, happiness and prosperity. It has been a great privilege for me to work with you during last year, my first year, and I count on continuing such a good relationship and friendship and exchange of ideas, including constructive criticism, even. Thank you very much.

By tradition, this is the season for taking stock—and for looking ahead.

We mourn the loss of 42 UN colleagues during the year 2007, including 17 killed in the Algiers terrorist bombing. Yet we enter 2008 with new determination—and new opportunities—to strengthen the UN’s role in the world.

You know that I am not one to speak easily of successes. The past year was one of immense challenges. But I think we have made certain progress. We opened a new chapter on climate change. We took on new and daunting challenges in peacekeeping, most specifically in Darfur.

We must build on this foundation. Protecting our planet and its people—our global commons—requires all our best efforts. So does the task of securing economic wellbeing, social justice, security and other global public goods. This requires sustained and coherent international action beyond what nations or markets can provide by themselves.

That is why I believe so strongly in the United Nations. Only the United Nations can take on the issues that affect us all, that shape the fate of the earth and its peoples.

These are powerful concepts: the “global commons” and “global public goods.” They are the basic building blocks of modern globalized society. If they are to have meaning, we must be mindful of the responsibilities they impose upon us.

We must address ourselves to the needs of the weak, the disadvantaged, those who have been excluded from the mainstream international community. I speak here of those who are most vulnerable to climate change. Those who suffer the most grinding poverty. Those who do not enjoy basic human rights.

And so I say, let 2008 be the year of the “bottom billion.”

That’s the phrase some economists use to describe the poorest of the world’s poor. They are the forgotten ones, the nearly one billion left behind by global economic growth. Most live in Africa or the small developing islands of Asia, eking out lives of hardship on incomes of less than $1 a day.

We must pay careful attention to these nations with special needs. We must heed the voices of the world’s poorest people, who too often go unheard.

For this reason, I shall work over the coming year to strengthen the UN’s role in development. We are at the mid-point of a great campaign to end world poverty, set forth in the Millennium Development Goals. Too many nations have fallen behind. We need fresh ideas and fresh approaches.

That is why, last year, I established the MDG Africa Steering Group. In April, world leaders will gather in Accra, Ghana, for the UNCTAD summit on trade and development. In September, we will host a high-level meeting at the beginning of the General Debate. The goal: to re-energize the world’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, with special attention to the poorest of the poor.

Last year, we used a similar forum to galvanize world action on climate change. This year, we will do the same for the bottom billion.

In the pursuit of the global good, human rights must be a core principle. It is fitting, then, that 2008 should also mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As I have said before, I say again. Economic and social advancement is an implicit human right. I will use this milestone year, therefore, to call for the universal ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

I am determined to press ahead with the special tribunal in Lebanon and to work with the international courts to promote justice and oppose impunity. We will launch a new global awareness campaign on human rights, push more aggressively to better protect women and children against violence, and strengthen the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.

The demands on the UN grow ever greater. If anything, the coming year promises to be even tougher than the last. Look how it has begun, with turmoil in Kenya and renewed violence in Sri Lanka. We must nurture a fragile peace process in the Middle East. We must do more to help the people of Iraq emerge from conflict and rebuild shattered lives. We must stay the course in Afghanistan, so that it does not again fall into lawless anarchy.

In Darfur, we must do our utmost to push the peace talks to a successful conclusion. We must manage the very complex deployment of UN-African Union forces. To succeed, we need the full cooperation of the government of Sudan. We also need the Member States—including the Security Council—to live up to their commitments.

The road from Bali will be difficult as well. Two years is not a long time to win a climate change deal that all nations can embrace. I intend to keep up the momentum. We need a global grassroots public awareness campaign to focus political pressure and keep global warming at the forefront of public consciousness.

We therefore move into the new year with renewed commitment to our ultimate mission—building a stronger UN for a better world. As ever, I seek results, not easy rhetoric. Our watchword must be effectiveness. I will continue my push to modernize, revitalize and streamline the UN system, upholding the highest standards of ethics, performance and accountability.

I want to stress this word. Accountability is not a technicality. It must be the fundamental operational principle of the UN—for the Secretariat, the agencies and Member States alike.

We will continue our work to stiffen procurement and management procedures. I will shortly ask all senior executives to sign management compacts with me, laying out specific and measurable benchmarks for performance. Last year we re-organized our Department of Peacekeeping Operations. This year, we will do the same with our development-related bodies and the Department of Political Affairs. I want it to become more proactive in tackling global crises, especially in the realm of preventive diplomacy.

Member States, too, must hold themselves accountable. They must put up the resources to deliver on their mandates. We must deliver on our promises—openly, effectively and promptly.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since my first day in office, I have sought an open and active dialogue with you in the UN press corps. You were the first people I met last year on my first day, and you are the first – after my Town Hall meeting with the staff this year – that I am meeting in this new year.

I look forward to our healthy, frank exchanges. They are valuable and, often, fun. Let me start by taking your questions. And again, my best wishes to you all for a very successful, rewarding 2008.

Q & A :

Question 1 – by tradition – from the UN Correspondents Association President (UNCA): Thank you very much for your kind wishes to the United Nations Correspondents Association.

On behalf of all my colleagues here, I would like to wish you and Madame Yoo Soon-taek all the best — and, of course, a very successful second year, despite the slow activities and results of the last year. You have set a lot of high expectations for this year.

So I wonder if you can tell us: First, there is a new crisis in Africa, in Kenya, where accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing have become more and more visible now and heard all over the world. I wonder what the United Nations is doing to prevent another case of Rwanda in 1994, where the United Nations is limited to providing relief services while the killing went on?

The Secretary-General: I have been in close contact with Kenyan leaders, including President [Mwai] Kibaki and opposition leader [Raila] Odinga, and President [John] Kufuor of Ghana, in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union, and many other international leaders to, first of all, calm down and stabilize the situation. I urged them strongly to avoid further killings of civilians. That was unacceptable, as I have stated in my two previous statements. I will continue to do that.

The United Nations has been doing our best efforts to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to many people there who have been unfortunately displaced because of this situation in Kenya. Protecting human rights is very important and paramount for us. We are taking all necessary measures to prevent the further deterioration of the situation.

As for the specific question you raised, that will always be a high priority in my mind. We will try our best to ensure that no further casualties will happen there. And as the leaders of Africa – including President Kufuor, who is expected to have consultations with the Kenyan leadership — as well as some former presidents are also expected to visit there — I hope, through those international interventions, the Kenyan leaders will sit down together and resolve this issue in a peaceful manner.

——–

Question 2 from the UN Correspondent for The New York Times, Warren Hoge, a paper favored by the UN: Mr. Secretary-General, both you and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping last month said that the force going in to Darfur would be at risk unless the Sudanese Government agreed to some of the troop assignments that you were requesting, and unless other countries gave you the transportation and logistics you needed. Neither of those two things has happened. You have had a formal change of command in Darfur, which basically is just changing the colour of the helmets. My question is: If this force is, as you say, at risk, how can you deploy them when they don’t have the capacity to protect civilians and don’t have the capacity to protect themselves?

The Secretary-General: That is exactly why I, as Secretary-General, and the United Nations as a whole, and the international community – Member States – must ensure a rapid deployment of the Hybrid Operation as agreed, to the level of 26,000, as soon as possible. We now have 9,000 re-hatted soldiers in Darfur. That is not sufficient. That is why we are very much concerned about this ongoing deteriorating situation in Darfur.

I had a long telephone discussion with President [Omar al-] Bashir last Saturday, and we agreed to meet again in Addis Ababa. Before that, before we meet again at Addis Ababa on the occasion of the African Union summit meeting, we will have a high-level consultation to resolve all these pending issues. There are, as you rightly said, two areas of pending issues, one to be done by the Sudanese Government. There are still many technical or administrative issues, to which the Sudanese Government must commit themselves as agreed, including a status of forces agreement and also composition of forces and other technical issues.

Then there are resources to be provided by the Member States in general, including critical assets like helicopters and heavy transport equipment. These are to be done by both sides: by the international community as a whole and the Sudanese Government. I will do my best to expedite this process. In fact, we have made a good framework to resolve these Darfur as well as Sudanese issues as a whole, including a peace process and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

All those three tracks will move hand in hand. And we are also looking at the possibility of resuming the second peace process. But that may take a little bit of time. My Special Envoy Mr. Jan Eliasson and African Union Envoy Mr. [Salim Ahmed] Salim, they are working very hard. Jan Eliasson is also going to visit Khartoum next week.

——-

Question 3 from a correspondent from Morocco: Mr. Secretary-General, there have been statements threatening war in the African continent lately. The POLISARIO has been saying that this is the last chance that they give the Moroccans in the Western Sahara; otherwise the preparation for war is afoot. Also, we have the worrying aspect of Chadian aeroplanes bombing areas of Sudan, Darfur, in chase of Chadian rebels, so they allege. And there are obvious and frank threats from the President of Chad to enter Darfur to chase the Chadian rebels. Your thoughts on both subjects, please.

The Secretary-General: On the Western Sahara issue: As you may know already, I am going to issue a statement this morning that there is going to be another consultation in Manhasset, in Greentree, between the parties concerned. I appreciate all the parties concerned to have accepted my invitation. Mr. [Peter van] Walsum is going to organize as well as facilitate this dialogue. This is a painstaking and very complex issue, and I hope that this time they will be able to make good progress on these issues.

On the situation in Darfur and, again, the Sudanese relationship, I am going to discuss with African leaders, including President [Idris] Deby of Chad. I have spoken with President Bashir. But I would really urge the leaders and countries concerned to refrain from all these exercises – refrain from using military forces. This will only aggravate the situations in Africa. I am very much concerned about all these ongoing deteriorating situations – not only here but elsewhere, including Kenya, Sudan, Chad and other areas.

I really hope that this new year, 2008, will see bright hope. We have started with gloomy prospects: the situation in Kenya and elsewhere. I really hope that, with active cooperation and dialogue among the leaders of the world, we will see some better world this year. This is my firm commitment as Secretary-General.

Question – a follow up: But the POLISARIO is saying frankly, and their statements are very clear, that this is the last chance they are giving the Moroccans. Your thoughts on that; are you having any contacts with the POLISARIO? I understand that you hope that they will reach an agreement, but it seems the obstacles are too high and, in the face of these threats, it sounds like dire straits to me.

The Secretary-General: I would not make any comment on such kinds of very definitive declaration by any one of the parties. All the issues, they have their background and very complex nature of the issues. And it needs the parties concerned to be, first of all, patient and persistent and consistent and faithful in resolving this issue through dialogue.

——–

Question 4 from Japan: We know that you are a very humble person, but if you were to rate your first year’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you give yourself, and why?

The Secretary-General: I am the sort of person – as you said, modest. I am the sort of person who is very strict to myself, officially and personally. Even in my home and my private life, I really want to be very strict to myself. When you set a guideline or rule, I want to be bound by that. I stick to that.

The assessment of my performance as Secretary-General during the last one year will be the role and duty of you and Member States and other public and private organizations, including many NGOs. I think that I have made certain progress. As I said, I am not a person who easily speaks about success, because one year may be too long or may be too short for anyone to assess my performance. All the issues which you may have seen last year, they are all ongoing projects, including reform of the United Nations, Darfur, climate change or all these Lebanese situations. All are ongoing and very complex, so we need to continue and step up our efforts. I think I have established good tracks on the basis of which I can move ahead on these projects.

———

Question 5 from Frank Ucciardo of CBS: Mr. Secretary-General, in your opening statement you talked about pressing on with the investigation in the Hariri assassination and the Lebanon tribunal. As you know, the family of Benazir Bhutto has asked for United Nations participation in the investigation of her murder. I would like to get your thoughts about that. And do you feel that the United Nations should be the one organization or agency in the world that is the place to go for such political assassination investigations?

The Secretary-General: In other places, you mean?

Question: Yes. In other words, Benazir Bhutto’s family has asked for the participation of the United Nations to investigate her murder and her assassination, and as you know, Scotland Yard has been invited in by the Government. But do you feel that the United Nations should be the place where the buck stops and where investigations start in such political assassinations?

The Secretary-General: First of all, the United Nations has not received any formal request from the Government of Pakistan, and as you may very well be aware, Scotland Yard are now providing technical assistance in the investigation process of this very tragic assassination case. Therefore, I am not in a position to comment on any request on a private, personal level. All this kind of establishing Special Tribunals should be, first of all, based upon the formal request of the Government concerned. And then that should be decided by the Security Council. That means that all Member States should decide. The assassination of Hariri case, which has been establishing this Special Tribunal, was a very special one, where the whole Security Council has made a consensus agreement on this.

——-

Question 6 from Ms. Raghida Dergham from Al-Hayat, London: Mr. Secretary-General, Happy New Year to you and your family, and thanks for welcoming constructive criticism. Actually, this is praise of what you have done in Paris, when you chaired the meeting in Paris on Lebanon. I am wondering if you are satisfied with the follow-up to that meeting you have chaired. And since you said you are pressing ahead with this tribunal on Lebanon, are you going to name the judges? You said you will accept the recommendations, but are you going to be naming the judges, and is the tribunal pretty much ready to be operational in February, as we have heard from the American ambassador? And is this tribunal now unstoppable?

The Secretary-General: We have made good progress on the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The United Nations remains committed to the search for truth and justice in this case. On 21 December, after three months of negotiations, we signed a headquarters agreement with the Dutch Government on the Special Tribunal, to be headquartered at The Hague. I have also received and adopted the recommendations of the selection panel created to help me recruit judges for the tribunal. It is a panel of international judicial experts, which includes my Legal Counsel, Mr. Nicolas Michel. I will announce the names of those selected at an appropriate time in the future. The judges will assume their functions on the date I will also determine soon.

In this regard, I would like to speak more broadly on the situation in Lebanon, if you will allow me to say a few words. I continue to be in close contact with Lebanese leaders and, more broadly, with international and regional leaders to try to find a solution to the prolonged political crisis. I am deeply disappointed by the current situation, in which the Lebanese people have not been able to elect their own President for such a long time. There has been a prolonged constitutional vacuum by not having a President yet.

Failure to reach an early agreement would represent a betrayal of the expectations of both the Lebanese people and the international community. You have seen the international donors conference, which was held in January last year in Paris, which committed almost $8 billion, and you have seen this meeting which I convened last December in Paris on the occasion of the other international meeting. I am, at the same time, encouraged by the efforts of the League of Arab States, announced yesterday.

I once again call on Lebanese leaders to think about the future of their country, transcending sectarian and individual interests. And, on the neighbouring countries, I urge them to help the Lebanese people, so that they will be able to overcome this crisis on their own will, without outside interference.

Question: A follow-up for you, Mr. Secretary-General: Have you been in touch with a particular neighbour who is thought to be interfering in Lebanon, and there is a Syrian presidency or Syrian Government: have you had any recent contacts with them? And what do you mean when you say that in due time you will announce the names of the judges? Do you mean when the tribunal becomes operational? And will that be in February, like the American ambassador said?

Secretary-General: The tribunal is making good progress, including the funding. We have been receiving necessary funding from many, many countries. Therefore, first of all, the headquarters agreement should be ratified by the Dutch parliament. We need to have sufficient funding. We are talking about $120 million for the period of three years, out of which we may need at least $40 million or $45 million, I am not aware of the exact amount, for the first year. I think necessary preparations are going on well. As soon as all these administrative and legal measures are finalized, then I will be in a position to announce the names of the judges.

Question: And Syria?

The Secretary-General: As you know very well, I have been in close contact with many leaders in the region, including President [Bashar al-]Assad of Syria. I think I have spoken with him last month, and I will continue to discuss this issue with whoever is known to have influence or interest in the future of Lebanon.

——–

Question 7 – from Nigeria or Cameroon: Thank you, Secretary-General, and happy New Year. I wanted you to give me your perspective – or the perspective of the United Nations Secretariat – regarding the Greentree accord between Nigeria and Cameroon. The Nigerian Senate keeps saying that the treaty has not been ratified, but the treaty is already being implemented. Now, did that decision, or did the information that the treaty was not ratified, did it come to the United Nations, as a surprise? Is the United Nations supposed to implement a treaty that has not been ratified by the competent authority in one of the countries that signed the treaty?

The Secretary-General: I will continue to discuss this matter and urge the leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon to abide by this Greentree agreement, which has provided a good framework for resolving all these pending issues.

Question: Let me follow up with you. Are you surprised that the Nigerian Government did not ratify the treaty before it was implemented?

The Secretary-General: That was a source of concern last year, which I have been discussing with the countries concerned.

——-

Question 8 – ?: Mr. Secretary-General, are you watching any of the US presidential debates, and who do you think is going to win, and will it make any difference to the United Nations?

The Secretary-General: I hope you will be able to tell me what are your own views. I am watching and closely following all these debates, but I have to wait until the final choice of the American people, who will be elected as the President of the United States. I will be very happy to work with anybody chosen by the American people.

——-

Question 9 – From a Francofone from Africa: If you allow me, I will ask my question in French, and you can answer in either English or French.

The Secretary-General: In French? Yes.

Question (spoke in French): You referred, in your introductory remarks, to the attack that took the lives of 18 United Nations employees, and you mentioned other recent attacks in the region, which received less media attention. There was an attack carried out against French tourists, another against Mauritanian soldiers and a further attack against Italian soldiers, and also a recent attack targeting police officers in Algiers. Do you share the view that is held by numerous individuals in the region who believe that the Sahel region is an area of arms trafficking, and therefore constitutes a base for the various terrorist groups that are threatening the region, and, beyond that, threatening neighbouring countries?

The Spokesperson: The question, for those of you who were not following in French, is about Algeria: the recent bombing in Algeria, and the prospect of –

Question: I am actually talking about the Sahel region as a zone of lawlessness and the smuggling of arms. And a lot of countries and people in the region are worried that those attacks mean that the region may be considered as ground for terrorist groups that may threaten the region. Given the recent attacks in Algiers and also the attacks in Mauritania that led to the cancellation of a major sporting event, the Dakar rally, do you share the views of those who think that this Sahel region is becoming ground for terrorist groups that may threaten the stability in the region?

The Secretary-General: Let me practice my French.

(spoke in French)

Thank you very much for putting that question to me in French. I think you are well aware of my passion for the French language. Now, if you will allow me, I am not fully prepared – but if you will allow me to continue in English. I discussed matters with President [Abdelaziz] Bouteflika when I was in Algiers last month, last year.

(spoke in English)

These are serious issues for any country in the world, including those in the Sahel area. It is not only Algeria. I told President Bouteflika that, while it was a very tragic – and I was so sad and so shocked, and they were also embarrassed very much by not having been able to protect the United Nations staff and United Nations premises – this should be a global issue, not Algeria or any countries in the Sahel area. Therefore, this needs a global, concerted effort to address, fight against international terrorism. I think the international community must do more. Regardless of what their belief may be, there cannot be any justification whatsoever when it comes to terrorism. Terrorism is terrorism, and therefore that bombing in Algiers really strengthened my resolve to work more. I again express my strong commitment to work for that.

Question: I think the talks start today on the Sahara issue. Don’t you think that this issue is also contributing to this instability, since there is no prospect for a solution? Do you expect a breakthrough in this round, or whether those talks will …

The Secretary-General: All sorts of grievances coming from these conflict issues may be the source of some elements of terrorism. That is why we must resolve all the conflict issues through peaceful means, through dialogue. I cannot but be general on your questions.

———

Question 10 – Benny Avni from the New York Sun: This is also about Algiers, Sir. In the wake of the bombing, the Algerian interior minister said that there were warnings against bombing of international institutions, including the United Nations. There are also all kinds of reports about internal warnings that came around. The question is, why doesn’t the United Nations, as it did with the Ahtisaari case in the aftermath of the Baghdad bombing, why doesn’t the United Nations create its own independent investigation, as opposed to just investigate by [David] Veness?

The Secretary-General: First of all, the United Nations has never received any advance warnings from whatsoever sources on this issue. Then, I have instructed the Under-Secretary-General for the DSS [Department of Safety and Security] to report to me by 11 January, this week, about his own investigation and findings of this terrorist bombing incident. On the basis of that, we are going to strengthen the measures for the safety and security of our staff and premises, and I’m going to discuss with Member States in general about how to strengthen the safety and security of staff. This is a very paramount issue, as we have seen four years ago in Baghdad. This was the second such terrorist bombing attack against the United Nations.

At the same time, the United Nations also needs to do more in communicating with the international community in general: why the United Nations is there and what the United Nations is doing. We need to make the international community appreciate more what the United Nations stands for. The United Nations is not working for any group of nations over another. The United Nations is working for the benefit and well-being of many developing countries; we are working for the promotion of human rights and peace and security. So this must be correctly understood and communicated to the world. And in that regard, I have been doing, on my own, efforts to communicate with the international community in general.

Question: Don’t you think it’s imperative for the credibility of the United Nations that there will be an independent investigation that is not being done by the person who was in charge of security, to see whether security procedures were actually followed?

The Secretary-General: I will see; I will reserve my judgement until I have a full report from DSS.

———–

Question 11 by a correspondent from the Middle East also following up on algiers: Happy New Year, Mr. Secretary-General. Just to follow up on that, on the Algiers issue, were you ever made aware during 2007, or the time since you became Secretary-General, that the head of United Nations security in Algiers, Babacar Ndiaye, had made repeated requests to his superior in Algiers – that also reached New York – that there were, in his view, likely to be attacks on Algiers, not maybe making a specific date or a specific warning, but saying that they were a target of Al-Qaida and asking for specific precautions to be taken, such as the erection of concrete barriers or the raising of the phase level? Were you ever aware of that, that it had ever reached your office? And if that’s the case, that he did make these warnings, why wouldn’t that, combined with the Ahtisaari report after the Baghdad bombing and the threat that the United Nations is under, really compel an independent investigation?

The Secretary-General: That’s a good point. That is why we are now working very hard. I have talked at length with President Bouteflika. First of all, as host Government, the Algerian Government is responsible for taking all measures to strengthen United Nations safety and security, and he assured me that he will find accommodations for UNDP and UNHCR. And this is not only to the Algerian Government; this is what I am going to discuss with Member States in general. I will keep in mind what you suggested.

Question: Well, can I get an answer to my question? Did warnings and requests for greater protection from Babacar Ndiaye, who was the head of the United Nations security in Algiers and who died in the bombing, ever reach your office, ever come to your attention?

The Secretary-General: I’m not going to tell you anything on these internal procedures. But I’m very closely looking at this matter, and I have instructed Mr. Veness to look into this issue very seriously and carefully to make an overall report for me.

———

Question 12 – someone with a Latin accent: It’s about Darfur. Last 21 December, the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly approved the budget about the hybrid force, and they were very concerned about the Lockheed-Martin contract, because it was without bids, and they asked for an investigation. And I don’t know now in what point is the process of this investigation. What are you going to do, and what do you think about this statement, this resolution of the General Assembly?

The Secretary-General: On what?

Question: On the Lockheed-Martin contract. You know, at the General Assembly, the members of the Fifth Committee said that they didn’t agree with the process used for doing this contract. And I only am wondering: what do you think about that?

The Secretary-General: I have answered this question, I think, at least two or three times already before. The situation in Darfur and all these preparations and constructions or procurement: the situation is a very difficult one there. You don’t have many vendors who are readily available to provide such service at a limited time. And that is why, in accordance with the necessary rules and regulations bestowed upon me as the Secretary-General, I have taken an exceptional decision. I am allowed to do that. And at the same time, I made it quite clear, when it comes to transparency and accountability, I will make sure that there should be a very transparent process of executing this procurement.

Question: When do you think you are going to inform the General Assembly about the process of the contract? I don’t know, because they asked, they made a request.

The Secretary-General: When they ask that question, as you do – Member States – this may happen in many national Governments too. You cannot always have all these open biddings, 100 per cent open biddings, as required. But this should not make any precedents, of course. But all the regulations – even in national Governments or other organizations, they have certain exceptional cases when you have to make such a decision. So I hope you will understand. But I’m not making to generalize this one.

——–

Question 13 from someone with a Slavic accent: Talking about strengthening the United Nations role in the world and the Security Council members to live up to their commitments, I was wondering, Sir, why it took you 10 days or a couple of weeks, to express your position towards the final status of Kosovo. And also, Sir, I remember last time, while you were in Portugal, as far as I remember, you advised them not to take any premature step by declaring their independence. I was wondering, what can you tell them this time?

The Secretary-General: I was mentioning in general, when there is a resolution, a mandate, for me to implement, there should be accountability, both for Member States and the countries concerned – and the party concerned. The Security Council has a particular responsibility: when they take necessary resolutions and decisions to deploy peacekeeping operations or any other security measures, then, in addition to my own work as Secretary-General, they should also help mobilize the necessary resources and funding. That is what I tried to mean.

Question: Would you tell us clearly, Sir, what is your position towards the issue of Kosovo? Do you still support Mr. [Martti] Ahtisaari’s plan? Do you call for new negotiations, and if so, on what basis? And is there a time schedule for these negotiations?

The Secretary-General: I will have to see and assess the situation as the situation unfolds on the Kosovo issue.

——

Question 14 – from Matthew Lee, of Inner City Press: There seems to be a difference of opinion between yourself and the Security Council on the issue of Somalia, where they’ve called repeatedly for an advance team to go in for, really, for exploring, dealing with this issue that [Ahmedou] Ould Abdallah has called more serious than Darfur, very serious. So can you tell us where things stand in terms of the Secretariat’s following up on what the Council has asked it to do in terms of Somalia?

And one follow-up on my colleague’s question about that contract: PAE. The General Assembly itself put into its resolution that it noted with concern and asked for an investigation of the process. So I know you’ve said transparency, and I believe you, but since you’ve said transparency, we haven’t had any briefing by the people that pushed for the contract, by Jane Holl Lute. We haven’t had the contract disclosed. So I think the reason that you have been asked the question three or four times is that it doesn’t seem there’s been any transparency, and the General Assembly in its resolution on UNAMID seems to agree with that. So I just wanted to make sure you understand what the question is, and that it is not an attempt to ask the same thing again and again, but to say “where is the transparency?”

The Secretary-General: On Somalia, I don’t think there is any difference between me and the Security Council. I have been continuously consulting with the members of the Security Council on these very important issues. I have suggested to Security Council members that there should be a two-track approach. One is, first of all, the Somalis themselves: they should engage in a broader political dialogue at the leaders’ level for national reconciliation. And secondly, on the security track, the international community should help AMISOM so that they can have a better capacity to address the security situation there.

As for this advance team, I have made it quite clear, even, I think, to you some time last year, that we are considering dispatching a technical assessment team some time early this year. On the basis of the report of this technical assessment team, we will discuss again with the Security Council what measures should be taken to help the situation in Somalia.

On this transparency and contract fraud: transparency is one of my top mottoes to make this Organization work as a trusted organization by the Member States. You should not have any question about my commitment, personally and officially and organizationally.

As for some reports about procurement fraud which have appeared in some of the media, I would like to make it quite clear that I do not agree with all that has been reported. It is true that there was some fraud, which was found, investigated by our own OIOS teams. The amount which has been the subject of procurement fraud was sort of an aggregate sum, not the fraud itself, so there were some exaggerations and incorrect reporting. I feel it unfortunate that the United Nations has been perceived in that way. It was not in the amount of several hundred million dollars. That several hundred million dollars was the total aggregate sum of the project fund. So I hope there should be no misunderstanding. But this issue was also discovered and investigated by our own.

At this time I think the United Nations needs some strengthened investigative capacity. We have many different mandates, different organizations and different agencies, starting from the ombudsman, OIOS, the Ethics Office; and there are all the specialized agencies and funds and programmes. In November of last year, with my consistent efforts, we were able to have a standardized ethics rule which will be applied to all the agencies, funds and programmes. That was very good progress in terms of ensuring and strengthening transparency and accountability. That effort will continue this year and in coming years.

But I hope that Member States one day will consider how we can strengthen the investigative capacity. We don’t have such investigative capacity in the United Nations. We have been relying upon this Procurement Task Force. Fortunately, that mandate has been extended for another year.

Thank you very much. Again, I wish you all the best: happy New Year to you.

————————-

So what we see here is that the Secretary General, in his presentation, says that 2007 was the Year of Climate Change, “I say, let 2008 be the year of the “bottom billion.” This because it is all about the “global commons” and “global public goods.” The intent is to make 2008 about development and to remember human rights also, because this year we celebrate 60 years to the Declaration on Human Rights. The other key word is “Accountability.” Otherwise the world is a work in progress.

In 2007 there was something talked about Darfur, Lebanon, the tribunal on the killing of Rafik Hariri, Kosovo, Somalia, Western Sahara and a few other places but the results are yet to show.

But a press conference is not really about what is presented before the journalists but what questions the journalists put before the presenter. So it is the Q & A that really counts and here we saw an interesting gradation in the questions put and the mood that the answers created.

The first question, by the president of UNCA, in our opinion was actually the worst question as it compared the killings in Kenya with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We argued in one of our previous postings that what goes on in Kenya is a political issue, it did not start out as the African endemic post-colonial tribal conflict. Actually it was created by Kibaki’s transgressions and his isolating himself from the country with the members of his own tribe the Kikuyus. The Kenya problem can be settled in the same way as the Iraq problem could have been settled five years ago – just tell the minority that usurped the government what is their right place on the national totem-pole. If you continue backing the usurper because you think this is better for you – you neither help ending the conflict, nor stop the killings. From here to genocide the distance is like from the understanding of a situation to the creation of a false image.

Two more questions were a bit of   line: One funny question asked the UNSG to rate himself, and he nicely avoided doing so, a second question asked him what he thinks of the contest in the US presidential primaries, and he very cleverly gave the only answer that he could give – that he will work with any US President that will be elected eventually.

There were a total of 14 questions including the above three. Some of the journalists had two follow ups, some asked a double question.

There was no question whatsoever on climate change and there was no question on development. The Journalists had pinpointed questions on what their outlets tend to publish.

We counted and found that among the remaining 11 questions – four questions contained elements of the Darfur problem, two about Lebanon, two about the Algeria/Sahel/arms traffic/terrorism issues, two about Western Sahara/Polisario, two about the Nigeria/Cameroon area, and one each about Chad, Pakistan, Kosovo, and Somalia.

The first questions passed by smoothly, but as time progressed, and questions came from a vaster net of journalists, follow up questions insisted on an answer, and the UNSG is a master at evading giving an answer, and it cannot be attributed to a conflict of language, but it might rather look like good diplomatic maneuvers when indeed there is no answer – this not because the SG does not want to answer – but rather because there is no answer that will cover on the intrinsic paucity of action at the UN. But then some subjects cannot be pushed under the UN red carpets easily.

17 people were killed in Algiers and the UN had warning that something is bound to happen. yes there was probably not a specific warning with a date attached – but there was a warning nevertheless – a head of security in algiers asked for reinforced walls and it was denied from headquarters – the man was among the dead.   A sequence of two journalists tried to extricate an answer – what will the UNSG do to investigate the security of the UN personnel that is being sent in the harms way without protection. This happened clearly in Baghdad, and the journalists want to know if this was the case also in Algiers.

In above process we also saw the following exchange:

“The Spokesperson: The question, for those of you who were not following in French, is about Algeria: the recent bombing in Algeria, and the prospect of –

Question: I am actually talking about the Sahel region as a zone of lawlessness and the smuggling of arms.”

We do not intend simply to pound on Spokesperson Michelle Montes, but this shows what happens quite often in Room 226 at the UN. The Spokesperson jumps at saying what she wants to say, and does not try to answer clear questions. In effect this is a rather common trend within the UN Information system, and it works counter-productive to Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s own stand, as we pointed out many times in regard to the topic of climate change.

Darfur has produced a lot of wind at the UN, but were are the helicopters to ferry the non-existent troops? And why was there a contract given to Lockheed without others having access to compete? There is a lot of money in this, and the fame of oil-for- food was not forgotten. It took four journalists in Sequence to hammer on this point and to make the UNSG quite uncomfortable. It showed eventually on his face.

Why can he not intervene in Pakistan to find a way to investigate the Bhutto killing, is the UN so restrictive that for even such events they have to wait for the invitation of the transgressing government in order to tell the truth to the world, and to the country that was hit – this might indeed be the only way to stop internal riots and killings. What will it take to turn the UN into an element of truth?

So, what will bring 2008? You can bet on it – more States will start to unravel – this because of climate change induced environmental disasters, and a decline in the world economy. The moment people suffer they tend to act and they may tend to take the wrong actions, kill and justify later. Will the UN be allowed to reorganize so that it can intervene even without invitation?

And What Did The Morning Papers Write About the Press Conference? What I can say for now – I did not see an article on Darfur in the New York Times, neither an article on any other item from the above.

——————-

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 11th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Commission on Sustainable Development Is It A Moribund UN Body Or Will It Be Revived Because It Is Needed After The Re-Engagement Hoopla That Happens Now At Bali?

Our Website was established in order to help create the awareness that there is no other development possible – not in the developing countries and not in the developed countries – that is not SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

We had experience starting from before the Brundtland Commission of 1987, we were engaged at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, and we wrote the “Promptbook on Sustainable Development for The World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002. In short we are strong believers that if the UN CSD were not created in 1994, we would have had to create it now.

Why that? Simply, because as it is crystal clear now that the development of tomorrow cannot go on by rules of the development of yesterday – and this was given, right today, full global recognition in Oslo, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the scientists of the IPCC, and to Al Gore – whatever will come out from the Bali-Poznan-Copenhagen process will be clearly a final global landing on the runway that was built in Rio for Agenda 21. And as we keep saying – this will be a joint Sustainable Development for North and South, East and West. It will be a world were those that have the needed technologies will share them with those that are only trying out for their own National development. This will not be done because of altruism – it will be rather because of self interest that comes from the simple fact that we are all residents of planet earth, and we understand that we have caused the planet to be on a path of destruction that harms the continuation of life as nature or god created.

After UNCED, The UN created a Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development and Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Gali appointed Mr. Nitin Desai, at the Under-Secretary-General level to head the Department. 1994-1998 Joke Waller-Hunter from the Netherlands was the first Director of the Division for Sustainable Development and the head of the Commission on Sustainable Development – so the Commission itself dates back, for all practical purpose, to 1994 – even though it officially was started in 1992. In May 2007 we witnessed the CSD 15 (that is counting back to 1992!).

In 1997, Secretary-General Kofi, in an effort to reduce the number of UN Under-Secretary-Generals, consolidated three economic and social departments and created UN DESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and eventually put Mr. Desai as head of DESA where he was until he was replaced in 2003 with Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, the former Finance Minister of Colombia; the new Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, brought in, July 2007, Mr. Sha Zukang, the previous China Ambassador in Geneva. In 1998 Ms. JoAnne DiSano, with a background of having worked for the Canadian Government, and then for 11 years with the Australian Government, became the Director of the new Division of Sustainable Development within DESA. She held this position until September of 2007 and since then the position is VACANT, and it looks as if the UN does not care.

Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter, left her position with the CSD in 1998 in order to become the Executive Secretary of the of Bonn based   UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where she remained untill her death in 2006. She was replaced there in 2007, by Mr. Yvo de Boer, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Yvo de Boer is also from the Netherlands, where he was Director for International Affairs of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment. He was in the Past Vice-Chair of the Commision on SD and Vice-Chair of the COP of the UNFCCC. Both, the CSD and the UNFCCC are outcomes of the 1992 UNCED. Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter’s departure from New York may have had something to do with the 1997 UN reorganization that replaced the Department of SD with a Division of SD within DESA. She may have sensed that her presence at UNFCCC will further SD goals easier then   at the new Division of SD – that its creation caused in effect a demotion in her position.

The present vacancy at the nerve-center of the CSD, at a time the CSD is needed indeed, following the latest push at the UNFCCC, on matters of climate change, that causes our renewed interest in the UN CSD and in the UN Division that was established specifically in order to run the CSD. We are afraid that it will be difficult to see progress on the UN level, in matters of climate change, without a functioning office that deals with sustainable development.

Now to be honest, our interest is not just because of curiosity – but rather because of the worry that we understand very well the reasons for the slow demise of the CSD – the factors that got it to start on what may be a path to extinction.

At CSD 9 it was decided that the CSD will discuss specific topics in cycles of two years. So the first cycle was Water for CSD11-CSD12, the second cycle Energy for CSD14-CSD15, the third cycle Land Use for CSD16-CSD17.

So 2006-2007 was the Energy cycle, and as in UN fashion it was supposed to be the turn to have a chair from Asia, it was the Asians that suggested Qatar to chair the energy subject. Now Qatar is a producer of gas rather then oil.

Some said that though sustainable development must help put forward development methods that are less dependent on oil and coal, this for reasons of global warming and climate change, nevertheless, recognizing the role of natural gas as a cleaner fuel and a potential intermediary fuel from an oil and coal economy to an economy that is starting to be based on renewable sources of energy, Qatar could have been acceptable also as a political peace-maker between the interests of conventional industry and the incoming new industry based on renewbles. But to the consternation of those optimists, we could see that behind the representative of Qatar, at the CSD sessions, there was always sitting a representative from Saudi Arabia, and in the end there was no resulting negotiated text for what is probably one of the most important topics of Sustainable Development – Energy.

Above was nothing yet when compared with what happened in the last day of CSD 15. As always, there are elections for the next CSD membership – the membership is held at 53 countries elected according to a regional key – and then there is the election of the “bureau” and the new chair. The turn according to UN habit was that next chair will be from Africa, and as said, the topic for CSD16 in 2008, and for CSD17 in 2009, will be Land Use. The Africans decided to put forward Zimbabwe as their choice and campaigned with the G77 that this is their wish. The UK did not want any part of this, and specially since the land policies of the Mugabe Government have run Zimbabwe agriculture from being a large agricultural exporter to becoming a starving nation, with an economy that was totally destroyed, a monetary situation that shows astronomic inflation rate, and human rights problems that clearly make it ineligible for a UN leadership position, it is this obstinacy that reduced the CSD to plain irrelevancy. We were there that night of Friday May 11, 2007, in room 4 in the UN basement, and watched in disbelief how the distinguished, low-key German Ambassador, head in New York of the EU presidency, with the German Minister of the Environment next to him, simply told the CSD Chair from Qatar that the EU cannot work with this sort of CSD.

If by any way I exaggerate now, 7 months later, please forgive my memory, but see what I, Pincas Jawetz, Inner City Press journalist Matthew Rusell Lee, and the EUobserver from Brussels, wrote about this – the references on the www.SustainabiliTank.info web are:

- EUobserver on the 5/11 Crash of CSD15 (May 14th, 2007)

- A First Analysis: From The Ashes of the CSD, Will We See A Rising Phoenix? A Brundtland II, To be Called – “OUR COMMON GROUND” ? (May 13th, 2007)

- The UN General Assembly Resolution of September 30, 1974 against South Africa was not Premised On Apartheid’s Threat To Security, But On Its Serious Violation Of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. WHY DOES
SOUTH AFRICA OF 2007 BACK MUGABE’s ZIMBABWE SAYING HE DOES NOT THREATEN INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY? (May 13th, 2007)

- 9/11 and 3/11 Have Become Symbols of what Oil Money Can Cause To Those Who Insist On Buying The Oil, Will 5/11 Become The Symbol of Awakening at the UN? This Because Of May 11, 2007 Late Evening Happenings At
The So Called UN Commission On Sustainable Development? (May 12th, 2007)

- At the UN, Zimbabwe Elected 26-21 to Sustainable Development Chair for CSD16, As EU and Others Reject Final Text of The Chairman from Qatar of CSD15. (May 12th, 2007)

I took then the 5/11 date and in ways of exaggeration tried to compare this with 9/11 in New York and 3/11 in Madrid. Was it really an exaggeration? Could we say that the backing Zimbabwe got from States with unresolved problems from colonial days, and oil states that think, completely wrong, that they have anything to gain from derailing the concept of sustainable development, sustainable energy, global warming, climate change…, from efforts to improve the life of billions of people?

Further, the UN recognizes three groups of States with greater needs – these are the Least Developed States (LDCs), the Small Island Independent States (SIDS), and the Landlocked States. These are the States within the UN system that are most in need of help via sustainable development. Why did the UN take them out from being under the Under-Secretary-General who heads DESA, and put them under a separate Under-Secretary-General? Does this not cause waste and decreased efficiency? Would they not be served better within a well functioning unified economic organization that takes, for instance, in account the interests of Island States when it comes to the subject of the effects of global warming/climate change?

Now, I was not going to allow myself to lose my hope for a functioning CSD. The articles I refer to above are actually articles of hope – that is I hope that from the ashes the CSD will rise, as a Phoenix, under the leadership of Brundtland II.

Does this look likely? I submit it is imperative, and by the end of this week, whatever wind will be blowing from Bali, people will see that it does not go without sustainable development. So why do the Africans not get together and try to rein in Mr. Mugabe? Again, just this week, the EU invited all Heads of State of Africa to Lisbon for discussions on trade that were needed in order to help restart the Doha trade round. The Europeans were ready to put aside the dispute with Mugabe, and he was also invited – then why did he have to show physically his raised fist? Is this the end of an EU-Africa relation? Clearly not. It was just a new beginning showing that rational people can try to restart negotiations even in the presence of a street-bully. And that brings me back to the UN DC-2 building – that is where one finds the CSD Secretariat.

CSD 16 will happen one way or another in May 5-16, 2008. The full list of topics is: “The Review Session of The Third Implementation Cycle that Will Focus on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Desertification, and Africa.”

The CSD expects Germany to fund the bringing to New York of youth representatives from the developing countries. A main topic will be “Drought and Desertification and Africa” – this means effects of climate change that helped cause warfare in Africa. Will the world allow Africa to commit suicide through obstinacy, or is the world obliged to look into the mirror and say we cannot continue on this path? Mr. Baroso bit his lip and made an effort. We assume the EU will continue to try to find a way to keep the Commission in business, if at least the UN Secretariat helps reestablish a CSD Secretariat – and at the minimum there must be a functioning Director of the CSD Secretariat. That is the closing of the three month old vacancy that was created with the departure of Ms. JoAnne DiSano.

I understand that part of the nominating and election process involves the Commission itself. The present 53 members are:

African States: 12 besides Zimbabwe. They are – Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo/Kinshasa, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Tanzania, Zambia.

Asian States: 11 – Bahrain, China, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand.

Eastern Europe: 6 – Belarus, Croatia, Czech Rep., Poland, Russia, Serbia.

Latin America and Caribbean: 10 – Antigua and Barbuda (the incoming head of G-77), Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Peru.

Western European and Others: 13 – Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, US.

By looking through this list I clearly see that Poland, the host of next year’s follow up meeting to Bali, motors of the UNFCCC track like Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, India, even China, Antigua, Korea,Tunisia, Congo/Kinshasa, Tanzania, Croatia will want to see a functioning CSD. What is needed is a low key peace maker with vision who comes from inside the UN system, and who has a history of having seen the difficulties when working with developing countries that seem to have memories from colonial days that they apply to new situations that really are of a totally different nature. Finding such a person would help, we hope, revive the CSD, so it could continue its functions and prepare for much larger importance when the UNFCCC track finally starts sputtering.

###