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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 25th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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/

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 14th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

I just returned from the Vienna Topkino and found this film to be obligatory viewing for those that want to see progress at RIO+20.

Both – the film and its Director – Cosima Dannoritzer who resides now in Berlin and Barcelona – were extremely enlightening helped further by the Head of the Vienna UN Information Service, Janos Tisovszky, and Greenpeace campaigner on Consumer items – Claudia Sprinz, and about 50 members of a very lively audience.

The movie starts with the conspiracy that involved Phillips, Osram, and General Electric – the Phoebus Cartel documented in 1929 and eventually undone in US courts only in 1953 – that led to incandescent bulbs to last only 1000 hours, while in a firehouse in New Jersey about 800 people came to celebrate the birthday of a bulb that reached 100 years of continuous use. That bulb was a remnant of pre-conspiracy production.

With above introduction, the movie takes us to see how today’s corporate world leads us to squander resources by handing us products that are not intended to stay with us for a long time – and then the industry is not prepared to pick up the old products that include many valuable resources – instead these become objects that pollute – and the further indignity is that they end up in Ghana in Africa, destroying the environment there.

Mountains are literally moved to come up with the elements used in today’s electronics, while those elements could be mined from the scrap of these products. Then why are these rejected TV’s not repaired, why do they get exported as second hand to Ghana and do havoc there? Anyway – these are just a few points and we will revisit this very impressive movie that shows today’s business world in all its inglorious nudity.


Once upon a time ….. products were made to last. Then, at the beginning of the 1920s, a group of businessmen were struck by the following insight: ‘A product that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business’ (1928). Thus Planned Obsolescence was born. Shortly after, the first worldwide cartel was set up expressly to reduce the life span of the incandescent light bulb, a symbol for innovation and bright new ideas, and the first official victim of Planned Obsolescence.

“Ciné-ONU Vienna” is part of a Europe-wide initiative of regular film screenings of UN related topics followed by podium discussions with invited guests who were part of the film making process or are experts in the topic covered by the film. The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna is honoured to have “Ciné-ONU Vienna” partner with this human world (THW) film festival and Topkino for the regular film screenings in Vienna. For further information visit: www.unis.unvienna.org

Date / Time: 14 May 2012, 18:30 hrs

Location: Topkino, Rahlgasse 1, 1060 Wien


Participants of the panel discussion (to be held in English):

Cosima Dannoritzer – Film Director

Claudia Sprinz – Consumer Campaigner -GREENPEACE in Central – and Eastern Europe

Janos Tisovszky – Director / United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna (Moderation)

————————————————————————–

The following two photos by   Marc Martinez Sarrado / Media 3.14)  show us this documentary in a nut-shell.

It is from the incandescent bulbs cartel that was established to undo good products in order to continue production at the plant and release to the environment more and more garbage – to the land covered garbage as we see here in Ghana – a dumping ground to refuse from so called developed countries.

From having caused the demise of the good bulb:



to creating ecological disasters out there:

Cosima Dannoritzer is a director specialising in history, ecology and science who has made films for broadcasters in the U.K., Germany and Spain.

Her CV includes“Rebuilding Berlin”, which she directed and co-produced for the Channel 4 science slot “Equinox”, “The Duel” which she produced for Channel 4 History (nominated for a BBC Indie Award) and the BBC series “Germany Inside Out.”

Her documentary “If Rubbish Could Speak” (“El que la brossa ens diu”, TVE Spain) presents a portrait of the city of Barcelona via its rubbish containers. What would the archaeologists be able to learn from the rubbish we discard every day? The film has won several awards and was screened widely at international environmental film festivals.

“Electronic Amnesia” (“L’amnèsia electrònica”, TVE Spain) offers a reflection about our personal memories and the fact that most of them are increasingly stored in electronic form, using formats which are rapidly becoming obsolete. Will we leave any memories for future generations, or will they inherit stacks of illegible disks, tapes and documents?

With THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY, Cosima Dannoritzer continues to explore the themes of sustainability and our relationship with modern technology.Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand. As an influential advertising magazine stated in the 1920s: ‘The article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business’ – and a tragedy for the modern growth society which relies on an ever-accelerating cycle of production, consumption and throwing away.

The story starts in the 1920s when a secret cartel was set up to limit the life span of the incandescent bulb, converting the light bulb into the first victim of Planned Obsolescence and turning it from a symbol of progress and innovation into a model for designers and entrepreneurs aiming to increase profits and sales at all cost. Ever since then, Planned Obsolescence has been the basis of our economy, affecting the life spans of products as diverse as nylon tights, cars and cutting edge electronics.

The result of three years of painstaking research, THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY travels to the US, Germany, France, Spain and Ghana, and uses rare archive material and hitherto unseen internal company documents to separate fact from urban legend. It shows the terrible environmental consequences of Planned Obsolescence – like the immense cemeteries for electronic waste, which have appeared in countries such as Ghana – and presents a number of hands-on ideas from thinkers, designers, businessmen, as well as rebellious consumers, all working on saving the modern economy and the planet.

Press kit ENG.pdf Press kit ENG.pdf
1889K   View Download

the link on to the film pageof the Light Bulb Conspiracy: www.facebook.com/TheLightBulbConspiracys
We love to post  these links because we feel that people with a feel for these issues, as presented in this film and in the Slovak series of shorts at the UN compound in Vienna, can be further energised when watching these true facts.
The only problem with these UNIS showings is that the public at large has no access to them – this like in the case of them being shown inside the UN compound, or not having enough adverisement if done at TopKino. in this last case, the material that was available in the cinema did not include this special showing. Perhaps it could be arranged for a longer and better covered showing in the future.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

An African Chief in Cabby’s Clothing

By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY, The New York Times,

Isaac Osei, at home is a Ghanaian chief who wears a crown and oversees five towns – in New York he is a working capitalist – an independent  small business – a fleet of cabs – owner.

————-

 www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/nyregi…

————


Isaac Osei, who owns a taxi fleet in New York City with his wife, is also a Ghanaian chief who wears a crown                                     and oversees five towns.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

Kofi Annan was UN Secretary General 1997-2006. Under him the UN put forward the concept of “RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT” – which means that it is a Government´s  responsibility to protect its citizens – the most revolutionary idea at the UN since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt championing the concept of HUMAN RIGHTS and her managing the UN Declaration on the subject. Just think of the many dictatorships that are UN member governments and their treatment of their own citizens.

Kofi Annan, among other interests, was also a champion of issues of the Environment and the neeed to do something about air pollution from burning fossil carbons and the resulting effects on the Climate.

The Students of the class of 2011 of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna  recognized the visions of UNSG Kofi Annan by deciding to name the 2011 class after Kofi Annan. We see in this a recognition of the truth, that with with good people on the top, the UN can provide leadership even in the present world condition.

Power to the Vienna Diplomatic Academy students, and please see Kofi Annan´s acknowledgement of this honor-

www.sustainabilitank.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Brief_Annan.pdf

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 3rd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

I just watched Spain win in Johannesburg Ellis Park stadium, by 1:0 its game with Paraguay. This leaves Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Uruguay still standing,  and we dare now to make our own predictions about the  Semi-final and Final games.

July 4th and 5th there are no games.

Tuesday July 6th, in Cape Town’s new Green Point Stadium, Netherlands will play Uruguay and we predict a Netherlands win.

Wednesday July 7th in Durban’s new Moses Mabhida Stadium, Germany will play Spain and we predict a German win.

Saturday, July 10th in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth – The Port Elizabeth Stadium – we predict a Spain – Uruguay game and a Spain win for the third place in the 2010 World Cup.

Sunday, July 11th in the new Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium near Soweto, in the iconic shape of the African calabash, there will be the final game of the 2010 World Cup.

We predict that the game will be between Germany and The Netherlands – and we predict The German team wins.

Above means that the final standing, we predict, will be: Germany, The Netherlands, Spain.
An unexpected European ending of the 2010 World Cup that came about with the elimination of Brazil and Argentina in the quarter finals, and after the presence of five teams from the Latin American cone region among the 8 remaining teams when they entered the quarter-finals. Astonishing indeed.

On the European side, the early elimination of France, England and Italy was also considered by many as surprising.

 www.fifa.com/worldcup/destination…

A Disclaimer: The 2010 South Africa FIFA Football, though strange, but being still rather round, allows for the unexpected – so we take no responsibility for the case our predictions are duds! Do not blame us if you execute the wrong bets.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 2nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Netherlands Shocks Brazil 2-1

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: July 2, 2010. Filed at 2:09 p.m. ET

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) — Don’t call the Dutch underachievers anymore.

Not after the way the Netherlands rallied to upset five-time champion Brazil 2-1 in the World Cup quarterfinals Friday.

After waking themselves up at halftime, the title that has eluded the Dutch for all these years is now just two wins away.

”For 45 minutes we went full throttle,” said Wesley Sneijder. ”We were rewarded.”

One of the shortest players on the field, Sneijder put the Netherlands ahead in the 68th minute on a header — a thrill so huge he ran to a TV camera, tapped the lens and stuck his face in for a close up.

”It just slipped through from my bald head and it was a great feeling,” Sneijder said.

He was in the middle of the post-game party, too, as his teammates swarmed him when the final whistle blew. John Heitinga picked up Sneijder and slung him over his shoulder as Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a Brazil shirt in hand, leaped up and rubbed Sneidjer’s closely shaved head.

The result was a case of role reversal for both sides.

The top-ranked team in the world and one of the most impressive squads in the tournament until Friday, Brazil lost its composure after falling behind and defender Felipe Melo was ejected in the 73rd minute for stomping on the leg of Arjen Robben.

The Dutch made the championship match in 1974 and ’78, lost both, and rarely have lived up to their talent in other World Cups. They did this time, helped by an own goal off the head of unfortunate Felipe Melo that brought them into a 1-1 tie in the 53rd.

”I’m devastated. It was hard to see the players crying back there,” Felipe Melo said after emerging from the locker room.

”I have to apologize to the Brazilian fans. I came here thinking about giving Brazil the title, but I’m a human being. Everybody can make mistakes.”

He was almost the hero.

Robinho gave the Brazilians the lead on Felipe Melo’s brilliant low pass up the middle of the field that the striker put home with a low shot.

But the second half presented the unusual sight of the Brazilians scrambling wildly to find an equalizer.

It never came.

Instead, it was the Oranje and their fans doing the dancing as Brazil’s players lay on the turf.

Brazil also lost in the quarterfinals four years ago, falling to France 1-0. Former team captain Dunga was hired to coach the team after that defeat, despite having no previous managerial experience.

”We didn’t expect this,” he said. ”We know that any World Cup match is about 90 minutes. In the first half we were able to play better and we weren’t able to maintain that rhythm in the second half.”

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk agreed that everything changed at the break.

”We could have lost it in the first 15 minutes,” he said. ”At halftime, I made it very clear to the players. I told them time and time again, ‘You have to play your own game. You have to have patience against Brazil.”’

Said Sneijder: ”At halftime we said to each other that we had to improve things and put more pressure on the Brazilian defense.”

The Netherlands reached the semifinals for the first time since losing to Brazil on penalty kicks at the 1998 World Cup, and will next face either Uruguay or Ghana, which play later Friday.

Having won all five matches so far, the Netherlands extended its team-record unbeaten streak to 24 games, stretching back to a September 2008 loss to Australia.

On a warm afternoon before a sellout crowd of 42,286 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Brazil controlled the tempo early on. Before the Dutch comeback, goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg timed his leap perfectly to deflect a shot by Kaka that was headed into the right corner of the net.

The one-goal lead wasn’t enough. Brazil began to unravel when Felipe Melo jumped in front of keeper Julio Cesar and inadvertently headed the ball into his net.

”We had two players going for the same ball and what happened happened,” Julio Cesar said, his eyes filled with tears.

Sneijder’s goal followed a corner kick from Robben. Dirk Kuyt flicked the ball with his head to Sneijder in the middle of the 6-yard box and he rose high enough to deflect it into the left corner of the goal.

”It was an amazing game. I think we showed the whole world how we can play,” Sneijder said. ”Finally we won, we beat Brazil.”

———————–

 goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/02…

Here’s a perceptive comment from reader kevinati in Atlanta:

For once straight red card + penalty kick doesn’t seem like a harsh enough penalty. Surely thought shot was going straight in for the victory if the Uruguayan player didn’t punch it off the line, and now the handball’s giving Uruguay a chance to win it in penalties.

He’s right — to get thrown out at the end of the game, as Suarez was, means little, and of course, to stop a certain goal and replace it with a penalty kick … well, shouldn’t that just be an automatic goal? But that’s not the rule.

I really don’t know what to feel right now. So much happened at the end. Uruguay still amaze, with all they’ve accomplished over the years. But Ghana, the bright, charismatic hope of Africa, snuffed out. It’s all too much.

All I can say is, stay with this blog for more incredible action tomorrow, with Argentina-Germany and Spain-Paraguay. We’ll have both of them for you here, live.

Thanks, everyone, for reading along and sending in your comments. Cheers!

Joy and heartbreak |So sad for Africa

The whole continent behind Ghana, but such horrible disappointment! A penalty at the end of extra time, but Baby Jet Gyan shot it off the crossbar! And then the penalty-kick contest, but it is Uruguay who prevail. The Charruas, who put South Africa out with a 3-0 win in the group stage, now have put out another African side, Ghana. Such joy for brave little Uruguay, but such cruel deception for proud Ghana, and all the fans across the continent.

Unbelievable |Little Uruguay victorious! Ghana in tears!

The Black Stars inconsolable! The Charruas rejoicing! Incredible scenes at Soccer City … Africa, finished at this tournament! El Loco, the man whose penalty against Costa Rica in qualifying got Uruguay into the World Cup, gets the Celeste into the semifinals against the Dutch!

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 2nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The games are held for the first time in Africa – South Africa that is. for the first time an African country has the chance to reach the semifinals of four teams. Now they are the only non-Latin South-cone or classic European team among the surviving 8 teams.

The others are: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay from the South of South America, and Germany, Netherlands, and Spain from the European clasics.

The Wall Street Journal writes: “However bleak its prospects, Ghana has the backing of all of Africa. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has called the team“Baghana, Baghana” – a play on Bafana, Bafana, the beloved South African team’s home nickname.

In the US the feelings are mixed because of Ghana having been involved in eliminating the US both in 2006 and this year – but the US recognizes a good underdog and the chance for a good political win – SO – GO GHANA – GO!

Whoever saw the movie/documentary –  “A Beautiful Game” – recognizes the magic of soccer in Nation Building.

It is obvious – today the whole stadium will be for Ghana – let’s see if they make history.

————-

Also, The Wall Street Journal has a listing of “HOW MUCH ARE THESE TEAMS WORTH?” – that is in money terms.

They found that the top financial value is on Spain at $38 Million average value per player – with Xavi Hernandez topping the list at $87.4 Million.

They are followed by Brazil with $20.6 Million average and Kaka at $67.2 Million, and Argentina at $20.3 Million average but Lionel Messi at $107.6 Million – the top ranked individual player, of all players, these days.

The list continues in the following order:

4. Germany at $17.1 Million average;
5. The Netherlands at $ 14.9 Million average;
6. Uruguay at $7.6 Million average and Diego Forlan at $29.6 Million as top;
7. Paraguay at $3,8 Million average;

with last placed  – 8. Ghana at just $3.4 Million average and Sulley Muntan at $17.5 Million top.

Now, if you did not realize yet what underdog means – here you have it also in financial terms. Thanks Wall Street Journal for illuminating this aspect of the game and enlightening us. But, yes, we root for Ghana and hope the financial value will improve also.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 4th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune was down in the Gulf again this week. He said that if we all saw what he saw — pelicans struggling to fly under the weight of globs of oil, dolphins swimming through oil slicks — we’d be storming Washington D.C. calling for leadership and action.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do — we’re launching a bold new campaign to move our nation Beyond Oil.

Watching the largest environmental disaster in our nation’s history unfold has been infuriating — it’s clear that there is no quick fix to clean up this mess. We need to make sure this type of disaster never happens again.

Are you fed up? Sickened by what you’re seeing in the Gulf? This is the time to join together and help break our nation free from Big Oil’s stranglehold.

The Sierra Club will be holding rallies and events, running ads, and engaging people all across the country to generate a movement to move Beyond Oil. We have never needed President Obama’s visionary leadership more than we do right now — it’s time to stop letting the oil industry call the shots, and to start embracing clean energy, he said.


But nay, this is not the attitude of everyone, not even from among those most afflicted by the disaster.

We just saw on CNN the lady President of Lafourche Parish of Louisiana defending the drilling for oil because 60% of the people there are employed by the oil industry and 60 years there was no major problem she said.

The Nation must understand that we need to continue drilling she said. If you put on a hold on drilling the rigs may move to West Africa and never come back here. This will only cause more foreign oil that will be coming here.

That also echoes what I heard the other night from a US Department of State official. State is actively out after a list of over ten countries that are being encouraged to look for oil and start develop their resources. This is not a matter of foreign aid – but of security he said, though I wondered if we speak the same language – if we both understand the same thing when uttering security.

The countries mentioned are: Papua New Guinea, Timor L’Este, Uganda, Suriname, Guiana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Vietnam.

I remarked that except for Vietnam all of theses countries are countries in conflict and thought to myself that an influx of oil money will surely re-inflame civil strife and government suppression. That is what you get for having oil!

This seems the sequel to our posting – www.sustainabilitank.info/#15735

(Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre” of gluttonous Breughelland, explains the Louisiana suffering and Washington’s long standing lack of care. Amazing indeed!)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 7th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change Study:
The Global Report

 www.worldbank.org
 www.worldbank.org

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
3:00 – 4:30 PM
World Bank “J” Building, Washington D.C.
(entrance on 18th Street between G and H)
Room B1-080

Description:

The ongoing World Bank study – the Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change  – has tried to further the understanding on two key issues: what will it cost developing countries to adapt to climate change and how can countries make their development plans more climate-resilient?

This event will provide highlights of the groundbreaking Global Report and draw lessons from it to explain: (i) the what, how, and why of adaptation; (ii) whether adaptation is simply development (or not); and, (iii) how different estimates of global costs of adaptation fit together.

An overview will also be provided of the “Country Case Studies” track of the study, currently underway in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Samoa and Vietnam, and implications of adaptation for country-specific development paths.

Chair:
Warren Evans, Director,Environment Department, World Bank

Presenters:
Sergio Margulis, Study Team Leader and Lead Environmental Economist, World Bank
Urvashi Narain, Senior Environmental Economist, World Bank

Discussant:
Otaviano Canuto, Vice President,Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, World Bank

The study is made possible through the generous support of the UK Department for International Development (DfID), The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

RSVP to Ms. Hawanty Page:  hpage at worldbank.org by Friday January 8, 2010

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 25th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

With Kofi Annan on board, the deviners of “THE AGE OF STUPID” will have the official global launch of the movie in a solar powered tent, on September 21st 2009, in New York, on the eve of the UN’s special meeting on Climate Change. The event includes children that will be pleading from the very hall in Copenhagen where their seniors will meet this November for the purpose of showing that they can do good.

Brought to you by Fathom Events, The Age of Stupid will launch in America on September 21st 2009 from a solar-powered cinema tent in New York LIVE to 115,000 people in 400 movie theatres right across the country. This One Night Only live event is your only chance to see The Age of Stupid on the big screen and is timed for the day before the UN’s climate meeting on September 22nd, when 80 Heads of State – and therefore the world’s media – will gather in New York. (The event has also just been confirmed as being an official part of UN Climate Week.)
As an INclusive, rather than EXclusive event, everyone is invited to go to their local theatre to watch the VIPs arrive in Manhattan by boat, bike, rickshaw, chipfat car or skateboard, before braving the paparazzi on the green carpet. Following the first US screening of The Age of Stupid, there will be a further 40 minute live event featuring Kofi AnnanGillian AndersonMary Robinson, the film’s director Franny Armstrong, the star of the film Pete Postlethwaite, and other leading thinkers, celebrities and political figures from around the world.  Audiences will hear from scientists working in the Himalayas and Indonesian rain forest via live satellite link and from a group of children speaking from the very room in Copenhagen in which all our futures will be decided at the UN climate summit in DecemberRadiohead’s Thom Yorke will wrap up the evening with a short acoustic performance.
The timings are:  7:30 PM ET/  6:30 PM CT /  5:30 PM MT /  tape delayed 8PM PT.
For a taste of what to expect, have a look at the UK launch in March 2009, which produced just 1% of the emissions of a standard Hollywood event and which broke the Guinness World Record for biggest simultaneous premiere.
Tickets now on sale – and list of participating theatres – here: www.ageofstupid.net/usa

Unknown

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Take a deep breath and then take a look at this map of all the American cinemas who’ve signed up for the US launch on 21st September….  tickets for which are now on sale (see below)…. oh my oh my…
But it seems that we might be about to hit critical mass press-wise: there were 28,009 new articles mentioning “The Age of Stupid” in the last 24 hours… Helped by the fact that we were on the front page of the New York Times last week. Think that needs repeating… We were on the front page of the New York Times last week – in the same sentence as Quentin Tarantino, for god’s sake – which has now been syndicated to all sorts of massive publications like the Herald TribuneScotsman and Business Week.  Then yesterday we had a press screening at Paramount Studios – a thrill in itself – packed full of journos nodding furiously at my “the next three months will define our generation” line. Let’s hope they print it…  Then came interviews with Time, Wall St Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and Hollywood Reporter, some of whom are talking about big feature articles on everything from crowd-funding to green carpets to 440 cinemas to Copenhagen. And to top it off, I had a “chat” (read: audition) with a “talent-booker” for a VERY big, VERY famous chatshow which is considering doing a feature on climate change. If they decide to include Stupid in their piece – possibly even with Pete or me on the sofa – then we will be catapulted into a whole new stratosphere awareness-wise.
— — — — —

Global Premiere:

All Other Countries

Tickets will be going on sale later this week. Latest exciting additions: Nigeria, Iraq and Sierra Leone. But Antarctica not looking so good, as there is no ship/plane going there before September who could drop a DVD off –  and their broadband is apparently not up to downloading a whole film. Shucks.


Australia & NZ launch last week…
… was a bloody triumph. Lizzie hosting in Auckland, myself in Sydney, giant penguins walking the green carpet, koalas in boats under the Sydney Harbour bridge, top celebs crying, Keisha Castle-Hughes in a rickshaw, Piers the windfarm man getting a surprise phone call in his meeting in Cornwall and ending up speaking live to Oz & NZ, Senator Milne calling the Australian Government the “House of Stupid”, huge teams from Global Vision NetworksGreen Elephant,  LA Publicity, Oxfam and Greenpeace all working together seamlessly on either side of the sea, Lizzie’s Dad and my Mum together on the green carpet (not together together, obviously), the whole live-link-to-explorer-in-the-Arctic thing actually working, 20 mins on primetime NZ telly (between three different shows), the solar-powered tent in Auckland, Rod’s super-cool animation zooming from the whole globe right down to the Sydney Theatre, the writer of Happy Feet’s hilarious wisecrack, the singer of top Aussie band Cat Empire volunteering to play at Copenhagen…. Unbelievably, not a single element failed, which gives us mucho courage for the even-more-ambitious Global Premiere. My favourite bit of the whole thing was when we were speaking live to explorer Eric Philips in the Arctic. There was a time delay of a few seconds, so when the Sydney Theatre crowd gave him a massive cheer he just looked blank… for a few seconds… and then broke out into a massive green. 
-> The film is screening in cinemas across New Zealand and Australia for the rest of this week (only), so please tell all your friends:
-> Lizzie’s report of the NZ premiere here.
-> Compiled news reports here, including Lizzie on Good Morning New Zealand sofa and Franny doing battle with Kim Hill
-> Pictures of NZ solar-green-carpet cinema tent here
-> Pictures of OZ: haven’t got them together yet, will do soon
-> The full video of the satellite broadcast will be up on our website as soon as Ade sends the tapes from Oz and Andy gets a chance to upload them.
In other news
– “The idea we’ve been waiting 20 years for”. Big launch of the new climate campaign on 1st September. In normal circumstances this would be the headline, not a footnote… Anyhow, volunteers needed on August 28th to 1st September: some for very glamourous jobs, some pretty boring. More details here or contact alex@1010uk.org
– Really cute film about a recent pedal-powered Stupid screening in UK here
– Stupid-inspired local campaign to get shops turning off their lights at night here
– 350’s Bill McKibben on the Colbert Report: www.350.org/billoncolbert
– I’ve turned into a twitterer: follow me here: twitter.com/frannyarmstrong
– Lest we forget why we’re doing all this: latest from Greece

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 3rd, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Niger: UN Secretary-General urges restraint ahead of referendum

Less bustle at a market in Niger’s capital Niamey, as some heed calls for a strike to protest a constitutional referendum.
31 July 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the people of Niger to refrain from violence and exercise the utmost restraint, days before they vote on a controversial referendum to change the national constitution to allow the current President to run for a third term in office.
Mr. Ban “reiterates his support for an inclusive process to resolve the current crisis peacefully and in conformity with the country’s democratic values,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

On Tuesday Niger is staging a referendum that could endorse a constitutional amendment on presidential term limits and allow incumbent Mamadou Tandja to run for a third consecutive term.

Mr. Ban said he was concerned that the referendum was taking place, “despite sharp differences among the country’s political stakeholders,” and he urged all sides in the impoverished West African country to show restraint.

“The United Nations stands ready to support initiatives that would help resolve the current situation in a peaceful and sustainable manner,” he added.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 13th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Succession Issues Face Key U.S. Middle East Allies.
Analysis by Helena Cobban

WASHINGTON, Jul 12 (IPS) – Two key U.S. allies in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are now both facing succession crises that may absorb, or even split, their political elites. This promises a period of political unpredictability ahead in both countries.

It may well also complicate Pres. Barack Obama’s Israeli-Arab peace diplomacy, which is based centrally on the role these two large allies – and one smaller one, Jordan – can play in solving inter-Arab problems, reassuring Israelis, and helping to tempt everyone to the peace table.

Since January, the head of Egypt’s military intelligence, Lieut.-Gen. Omar Suleiman, has been in charge of three key Middle East mediations. He has been mediating between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas over both strengthening the Gaza ceasefire and winning a prisoner exchange between them. He’s also been mediating a chronically elusive reconciliation between Hamas and the other big Palestinian movement, Fatah.

Meanwhile, Washington is hoping this year, as always, that Saudi Arabia can buttress U.S. diplomacy with cash and some political leadership. Saudi Arabia has now won the support of all the relevant Arab leaderships, including Hamas’s political bureau, for a key 2002 peace initiative that promises Israel normal political and economic ties in return for a full Israeli withdrawal from lands occupied in 1967 and a fair resolution of Palestinian refugee claims.

The Saudi king, Abdullah ibn Abdul-Aziz, will be 85 this August. His longstanding crown prince (and half-brother) Sultan ibn Abdul-Aziz, is 83, and was recently hospitalised for several weeks with suspected cancer.

The big question regarding the Saudi succession hangs over whether, and how, the kingship will ever be transferred from the numerous ageing brothers and half-brothers who stand in line after Crown Prince Sultan, to the “next generation” of princes – some of the more senior of whom are already nearing 70 years old.

Earlier this year, King Abdullah named his 76-year-old half-brother Naif ibn Abdul-Aziz as “second deputy prime minister”, a position that places him a likely – but not certain -second in line to throne after Sultan.

When King Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi state, died in 1953, he left some 37 sons from his 22 wives. Various of these sons have ruled the kingdom in turn since then.

Many of Abdul-Aziz’s sons had a dozen or more sons of their own. Saudi Arabia has no system of “primogeniture” (first-son succession.) Thus, there are hundreds of possible eventual claimants to the throne. Indeed, the youngest of Abdul-Aziz’s sons, Prince Muqrin, is, at 64, some years younger than several of the next-generation princes who now hope to become king.

There have been no reports that any possible successor monarchs might want to change a foreign policy stance that, since the 1930s, has aligned Saudi Arabia very closely with Washington. But among the country’s political elite, including its princes, there are many differing views on domestic affairs, including oil policies, economic policies, the role of the country’s powerful religious institutions, and the role of women.

These differences are inevitably hard fought over at times of succession, and could at the least distract Riyadh from playing the role in regional diplomacy that Obama wants it to play. (At worst, the kingdom could see a struggle between its many power centres that is even deeper and more debilitating than the one now rocking nearby Iran.)

In Egypt, meanwhile, there have been many recent reports that the country’s 81-year-old president, Hosni Mubarak, is ailing and finally eager to quit. Some reports say he has already told the Saudi monarch he may not even finish serving his current six-year term in office, which ends in 2011.

Mubarak has led Egypt’s 76 million people since 1981. Throughout those years he has always refused to name a vice-president.

Now, one of the two main contenders to succeed him is his 45-year-old second son, Gamal, who has held an important post in the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) since 2002.

(It is not wholly strange that, even in a republic, a son might succeed his father as president. It has happened in North Korea, Syria, several African countries and even -with an eight-year interlude – when George W. Bush became president of the United States.)

Behind the scenes in Egypt, though, the military is still almost the same big force in the political system – and economy – that it has been since 1952. There is a considerable question whether the shadowy power centres in the Egyptian military will support Gamal Mubarak, an investment banker who has no record of service in the military.

The leading military man mentioned for possible next president is none other than Omar Suleiman, the intelligence chief who has been conducting so much of Mubarak’s sensitive Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. (It also remains possible that the military might throw its weight behind another “insider” candidate, not Suleiman.)

The fact that Suleiman has been tasked by Pres. Mubarak with diplomatic jobs that are so important to the broader progress of Washington’s regional peace diplomacy means this diplomacy may well become entangled in any succession struggle that occurs in Cairo.

For example, if – as many well-placed Egyptians claim – Pres. Mubarak strongly wants his son to follow him in office, he may be less than eager to see Suleiman gain public kudos as a successful negotiator. There has been some questioning whether Mubarak may have set Suleiman up for failure by giving him overly strict parameters for his diplomatic chores.

Certainly, though Suleiman has been heading all three of these building-brick negotiations since late January, he has not succeeded in any of them yet.

Egypt’s succession struggle is connected to the broader diplomacy in another way, too. Hamas has nearly always been closely aligned with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB), a broad, nonviolent Islamist movement that is the main challenger to Mubarak’s NDP.

Mubarak has never allowed the MB to participate freely in Egypt’s regime-dominated politics, though during a brief and very partial democratic opening in 2005, its candidates won 88 of the 444 elected seats in the Egyptian parliament.

If Suleiman succeeds in one or more of his diplomatic tasks, then Hamas would immediately gain much more international legitimacy as a valid participant in the broader peacemaking. Many NDP insiders fear that could reflect well on the MB, too.

Ominously enough, the most recent round of reports about Mubarak’s failing health has been accompanied by new arrest campaigns against MB leaders and activists. It is possible that Egypt might see additional political heat during the coming summer months. Jordan is smaller and weaker than Egypt and Saudi Arabia. There at least, the ruling monarch, Abdullah II, has laid to rest – for now – the questions that once swirled around his succession. On Jul. 2 he appointed his son Prince Hussein as crown prince.

Prince Hussein is only 15 years old. But since the king is only 47, there is a good chance the crown prince will not be taking over any time soon. (Or perhaps, ever. Back in 1999 when Jordan’s King Hussein died of cancer, in his very last days he revoked the appointment that his brother, Hassan, had held as crown prince since 1965; and he named Abdullah II his successor, instead.)

But in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, political succession issues are now taking centre stage.

*Helena Cobban is a veteran Middle East analyst and author. She blogs at www.JustWorldNews.org.

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NORTH KOREA LEADER KIM JONG IL REPORTED TO HAVE PANCREATIC CANCER.

The San Francisco Sentinel, 12 July 2009
BY RICHARD LLOYD PARRY

North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Il, is suffering from cancer of the pancreas and is in danger of dying of the disease, South Korean television reported this morning, the latest and most specific in a series of reports on the dictator’s health.

The information, which was attributed by Yonhap Television News to unidentified Chinese and South Korean intelligence sources, is consistent with a report in a Japanese newspaper over the weekend that Mr Kim has a “serious pancreatic disorder”, and with television images from North Korea last week, in which he appeared a frail-looking Kim Jong Il, emaciated and slow on his feet.

Mr Kim disappeared from public view for three months last year after what intelligence agencies assume was a stroke last August. Since then, judging from television footage of him, his health has declined.

The South Korean intelligence agency has reported signs that Mr Kim is paving the way for his youngest son, Kim Jong Un to succeed him; unconfirmed reports have even had the 25-year old visiting Beijing to get to know officials of the closest thing North Korea has to an ally – China.

All year, Pyongyang has staged a series of verbal and physical provocations, including the launch of an intercontinental rocket and an underground nuclear test, which suggest that it has abandoned expectations of negotiation with the international community in favour of whipping up nationalist fervour at home.

Thee are no obvious signs are that Kim Jong Il is in anything less than complete control, but close examination of recent internal developments leads many Pyongyang-watchers to the conclusion that he is leaning towards military hardliners, and away from the more reform-oriented advisers whom he favoured in the middle of the present decade.

————

For Immediate Release from ETE ON THE UN:
July 12, 2009, by Anne Bayefsky

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared in Forbes.
 info at EYEontheUN.org

President Obama in Ghana: What He Refused To Say in Cairo.
Stroking Muslim and Arab nations has become the hallmark of Obama’s foreign policy.

Speaking in Ghana on Saturday President Obama lectured Africans on local repression, corruption, brutality, good governance and accountability. The startling contrast to his June speech in Cairo was revealing. Stroking Muslim and Arab nations has become the hallmark of Obama’s foreign policy.

In Egypt, he chose not to utter the words “terrorism” or “genocide.” In Egypt, there was nothing “brutal” he could conjure up, no “corruption” and no “repression”.

In Ghana, with a 70% Christian population, he mentioned “good governance” seven times and added direct calls upon his audience to “make change from the bottom up.” He praised “people taking control of their destiny” and pressed “young people” to “hold your leaders accountable.”

He made no such calls for action by the people of Arab states–despite the fact that not a single Arab country is “free,” according to the latest Freedom House global survey.

Before the Muslim world Obama donned the role of apologist-in-chief. Over and over again his examples of shortfalls in the protection of rights and freedoms were American: the “prison at Guantanamo Bay,” “rules on charitable giving [that] have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation,” impediments to the “choice” of Muslim women to shroud their bodies.

Christian Africa was to be treated to no such self-flagellation. In a rare tongue-lashing for Africans from any American president, he chastised: “It’s easy to point fingers and to pin the blame of these problems on others. Yes, a colonial map that made little sense helped to breed conflict … But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy … or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants … tribalism and patronage and nepotism … and … corruption.”

He might equally have said to the Arab and Muslim world: “It’s easy to scapegoat Israel and blame your problems on the presence of Jews–albeit on a fraction of 1% of the territory inhabited by the Arab world–but Israel is not responsible for poverty, illiteracy, torture, trafficking, slavery and oppression rampant across your countries.” But he did not.

In Ghana he pointed to specific heroes that had exposed human rights abuse, singling out by name a courageous investigative reporter. In Egypt, though journalists and bloggers are routinely threatened, jailed and worse, no such brave soul came to mind.

In a Christian African nation he said, “If we are honest, for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.”

To the Arab and Muslim world he could have said: “Since the day of Israel’s birth Arab and Muslim countries have made conflict with Israel a part of life, warring over land and manipulating whole communities into fighting in the name of Islam to render the area Judenrein.”

Instead, he turned on the only democracy in the Middle East and said the presence of Jews on Arab-claimed territory–settlements–is an affront to be “stopped.” It didn’t matter that agreements require ultimate ownership of this territory to be determined by negotiation or that apartheid Palestine is hardly a worthy pursuit.

From Ghana he chided Africans: “No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end.”

For an Arab and Muslim audience he cooed: “America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities, which are also threatened.”

Ghanaians will likely turn the other cheek, secure enough to take it and even be grateful for the spotlight. But Obama’s double-standard is not a victimless crime. The disparity between the scolding he gave in Ghana and the love-in he held in Cairo illuminates an incoherent and dangerous agenda.

In his lofty, but empty, rhetoric in Ghana, Obama promised “we must stand up to inhumanity in our midst,” pledged “a commitment … to sanction and stop” warmongers and embraced the Zimbabwe non-governmental organization that “braved brutal repression to stand up for the principle that a person’s vote is their sacred right.”

These are devastating words for Iranians struggling valiantly to keep the hope of democracy alive but forced to bear witness to the contradiction. Betrayed, they have watched the Obama administration pledge to move forward on negotiations with illegally ensconced Iranian thugs–at the very same time their victims are being rounded up, tortured and readied for show-trials in advance of certain execution.

On Friday, Obama, and the rest of the G-8 with his blessing, announced that thinking about more sanctions on Iran can wait until September. And then we can expect yet another round of Security Council dickering over minimalist responses to more Iranian stalling tactics–until an Iranian nuclear weapon is inevitable. Though it is 2,202 days since the U.N.’s atomic energy agency first declared that Iran was violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Obama pretends legitimizing those same nuclear-proliferating fascists makes it more likely the clock will stop ticking.

Iranians standing up for their allegedly “sacred rights” know Obama has it exactly backwards. Speechifying about “our interconnected world” and “common interests” in Ghana was cold comfort to the voices of Muslim dissidents and Jewish victims deserted in the Obama wilderness.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 12th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

If President Obama wanted to show Africa that he appreciates those states that made democracy a way of governing, he had just two choices before him – these were Ghana and Botswana.

His clear intent was to go to Sub-Sahara, or black Africa, as this is the area from which people were brought to America as slaves, but these people contributed immensely to the powerhouse America has   become – so, stopping for 21 hours in Accra, with his wife, children and mother in law – descendants of slaves – he also spoke to America – see that is part of our roots – no less then Europe!

His previous trip to the African continent was to Cairo – but that was clearly a trip to the Arab world – Egypt and Saharan Africa are part of that world and not part of black Africa, even though in L’Aquila he had to shake the hand of Libya’s Muamar Gaddafi whom the States of all Africa appointed as the head of the African Union. Clearly that meeting had nothing to do with democracy nor with roots of America – even though it had one moment of grace – Libya, for whatever reasons, like South Africa and Brazil, are states that could have developed nuclear arms, but withdrew from doing so.

The stopover in Accra was, we think so, the only one positive event of this week-long Presidential trip overseas. This was a redeeming grace for the week and highlighted the statement that the President will in the future look forward to a decrease in large Summits that are too big to produce any good. From our point of view in effect counterproductive and just an increase of unjustifiable CO2 emissions.

We wonder even if the increase in the figure of an additional $5 Billion earmarked for Africa by the donors of the OECD could not have have been achieved in phone calls or by e-mails to Canada and the EU.

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Obama Wins More Food Aid but Presses African Nations on Corruption

unknown-1.jpg
Jason Reed/Reuters
President Obama and the first lady greeted President John Atta Mills of Ghana and his wife, Ernestina Naadu Mills, left, in the capital, Accra, on Friday.

EUROPE »
Obama Wins More Food Aid but Presses African Nations on Corruption
 
Group of 8 powers meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, for larger donations to the aid effort, citing his own family’s experiences in Kenya. As a result, the initiative grew from $15 billion over three years, which was pledged coming into the summit meeting, to $20 billion.

At a news conference afterward, Mr. Obama said that when his father came to the United States, his home country of Kenya had an economy as large as that of South Korea per capita. Today, he noted, Kenya remains impoverished and politically unstable, while South Korea has become an economic powerhouse.

“There had been some talk about the legacies of colonialism and other policies by wealthier nations,” he said, “and without in any way diminishing that history, the point I made was that the South Korean government, working with the private sector and civil society, was able to create a set of institutions that provided transparency and accountability and efficiency that allowed for extraordinary economic progress, and that there was no reason why African countries could not do the same.”

He also criticized the culture of corruption in some African countries, saying that those who wanted to start a business or get a job there “still have to pay a bribe.” While wealthy nations must help, he said, poorer countries “have an obligation” to reform themselves.

Mr. Obama said his thinking had been affected in part by conversations with his relatives who still lived in Kenya. “They themselves are not going hungry, but live in villages where hunger is real,” he said. “And so this is something that I understand in very personal terms.”

Other American presidents have called on African countries to take more responsibility for their countries’ problems and have pressed them to fight corruption, but none with Mr. Obama’s background. Just one generation removed from Africa himself, he occupies a powerful place in the African consciousness.

– QUOTATION OF THE DAY –

“No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.”
– PRESIDENT OBAMA,     on the need for reform in Africa.

————————————–

Obama Delivers Call for Change to a Rapt Africa
By PETER BAKER

11obama1-395.jpg
Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
President Obama addressed the Ghanaian Parliament at the Accra International Conference Center on Saturday.
President Obama traveled in Africa as a potent symbol of a new era but also as a messenger with a theme of responsibility.

Text of Obama’s Speech in Ghana

Obama in Africa: Welcome Back, Son. Now Don’t Forget Us.

www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/07/11/world/AP-AF-Obama-Text.html

www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/weekinreview/12gettleman.html

www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/world/africa/12prexy.html?em

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Ghana glows in spotlight of Obama visit.

 Unlike its neighbors, Ghana has a stable democratic system and has made significant economic gains, including halving the poverty rate. It is the only sub-Saharan stop in President Obama’s trip this week, a choice that analysts say acknowledges its democratic and economic gains.
By Robyn Dixon , July 10, 2009 Reporting from Accra, Ghana for the Los Angeles Times.

The White House’s choice of Ghana as President Obama’s only port of call in sub-Saharan Africa this week has triggered envy across the continent.

The visit, his first to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming president, is also being interpreted as a snub to those African governments with records of corruption, poor administration and tainted elections.

“It makes sense that Obama would want to go to Ghana. Because Ghana is everything we are not,” wrote journalist Ayisha Osori in the Nigerian daily This Day.

“Ghana is a shiny example of a West African country which has turned itself around and is doing well.”

Was Ghana chosen because it has slashed its poverty rate nearly in half? Or for its successive democratic changes of government without a shot being fired? Or perhaps its yet-to-be exploited oil in a region where petroleum riches have encouraged the rise of corrupt, venal elites?

“It’s a little bit of recognition of Ghana’s progress in democratic growth, peaceful electoral turnover, especially in a region otherwise full of reversals and disappointments,” said E. Gyimah-Boadi, head of the Accra-based Center for Democratic Development.

Politically stable, Ghana stands out in a chaotic neighborhood. Nigeria, the regional oil power, has been hit by frequent militant attacks, pipeline explosions and kidnappings. Kenya, the homeland of Obama’s late father, was rocked by violence after a disputed presidential election in 2007; more than 1,000 people were killed.

Ghana, with a population of 23.8 million, has become a regional leader since its transition from military rule to a multiparty democracy in the early 1990s.

Its democratic advance contrasts with a history of coups and disputed elections elsewhere in Africa.

“People are coming to understand what democracy is,” said Emmanuel Akli, editor of the independent Chronicle newspaper.

“We are in a volatile region, and it’s only Ghana that is really practicing democracy,” Akli said. “It’s the only country which has changed government twice without a single incident.”

Ghana’s economic growth has averaged more than 5% since 2001, according to World Bank statistics, although the country has been hit hard recently by the global recession. Its poverty rate has been halved to 28% in 2006 from 52% in 1992, according to the World Bank.

Gyimah-Boadi argues that Ghana’s democratic reforms and poverty reduction go hand in hand. Its democracy also may have helped put a brake on corruption: Successive incoming governments have been quick to expose the misdemeanors of the previous regime. Critics, however, say these prosecutions are often political, and that a culture of transparency hasn’t really taken root.

There are other flaws. Ghana ranks No. 135 among 177 countries on the United Nations human development index, a comprehensive measurement of quality of life. Analysts say the collapse of remittances and exports because of the global economic crunch could reverse the country’s progress.

Some analysts fear that revenue from Ghana’s oil reserves could spawn the kind of corrupt elite seen in neighboring countries, potentially squandering years of democratic gains. They argue that the true test of Ghana’s democracy lies ahead.

The global crunch has already hit Ghana’s job creation plan. More than 300,000 jobs were created in the last three years, according to the government.

Accra, the capital, is full of people such as Abu Ayoma, 42, a father of three. He came to the city a decade ago looking for work and ended up as a laborer, carrying heavy loads. Three years ago, he began work for Zoomlion, a private waste management firm contracted by the government.

As part of the National Youth Employment Program, Zoomlion hires and trains jobless people. The government pays the workers allowances.

“It’s better than going to steal,” Abu Ayoma said, pausing as he shoveled dirt into a dumpster at a busy market. “I don’t have any alternative to live on.”

Accra’s canals are green and grassy, with neat “Do Not Litter” signs posted by Zoomlion.

“People respect us. They always congratulate us on what we are doing. We clean up Ghana, so it’s good for the people,” Abu Ayoma said.

The National Youth Employment Program also trains unemployed people to patrol neighborhoods at night, direct traffic, or work as community nurses or teachers. They may also serve in the military, customs or in prisons.

“These programs do a tremendous amount in terms of poverty reduction. You have young people meaningfully engaged in work, young people who were doing nothing,” said Seibik Bugri, a spokesman for the program.

These days, though the jobs program is in arrears, with payments running six weeks late.

“That’s our biggest challenge — how to fund it,” Bugri said. “Even before the credit crunch, it was a problem, so now it’s getting worse. We are dependent on the government, so we are always in arrears.”

With the country aglow about playing host to Obama, Gyimah-Boadi fears the visit could make the people of Ghana complacent. He is afraid Ghana could face democratic setbacks — particularly when the oil money begins to flow.

“There’s a sense we should not be too hard on ourselves in terms of how we handle these new [oil] resources,” he said. “That is where the danger lies.”

Transparency is still weak, checks and balances ineffective, news media independence isn’t well established and power is too centralized, he said.

“It would be good if the [Obama] visit was used to encourage the incumbent administration and opposition to appreciate that they’re carrying a responsibility for themselves, for Ghana and for Africa,” Gyimah-Boadi said.

 robyn.dixon at latimes.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 9th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

G8 ITALY SUMMIT.
G8 summit gets off to rough start – Hu’s exit damages climate talks as emerging economies challenge the industrialized powers

By JUN HONGO
Staff writer, The Japan Times online. – Japan Time – Thursday, July 9, 2009.

ROME — With the relevance of the Group of Eight being challenged by emerging powers, the G8 leaders got down to business Wednesday addressing climate change and what their next move might be when and if the global recession subsides.

But the launch of the three-day G8 summit in L’Aquila was spoiled even before it began, with Chinese President Hu Jintao returning home to get a handle on the ethnic riots tearing apart the restive city of Urumqi in the northwest.

A shadow also grew over the climate change issue as chances appeared slim that the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, or MEF, would be able to hammer out long-term greenhouse gas emissions cuts, Japanese diplomatic sources said.

The key multinational emissions forum was to meet Thursday on the sidelines of the summit in the Italian mountain town.

The sources said MEF preparatory negotiations failed to bridge the gap between members of the industrialized and developing countries, effectively dashing hopes of achieving a substantial agreement.
Hu’s absence exacerbated the MEF discord, the sources said.

An initially prepared MEF draft declaration pledged a global emissions reduction of 50 percent by 2050, with industrialized countries promising an 80 percent cut in the same time frame, they said.

The 17-member MEF was established in March under the initiative of U.S. President Barack Obama to complete the groundwork for forging a new international carbon-capping framework to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Along with the G8, major greenhouse gas emitters China, India and Brazil are also members of the MEF.

Despite the forum’s apparent inability to produce tangible results, the G8 was nevertheless expected to issue a joint statement on climate change later in the day, in addition to discussing the global economy, the sources said.

The eight leaders were expected to share views on how not to jeopardize the “green shoots” of recovery being seen in some areas, as well as “exit strategies” for reversing the heavy fiscal stimulus that many countries embraced to revive their economies, the sources said, adding that how to stave off global unemployment was also on the agenda.

During a working dinner, the G8 was expected to focus on political matters, including domestic unrest in Iran and North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, who agreed Tuesday to reduce the size of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, were expected to lead the discussion on global denuclearization.

For Prime Minister Taro Aso,denuclearization and how to end North Korea’s nuclear threat are expected to be key concerns.

Earlier this month, Foreign Ministry officials in Tokyo listed five key themes for this year’s summit: Iran, North Korea, global denuclearization, the Middle East peace process and the war in Afghanistan.

The L’Aquila summit concludes Friday after assistance to Africa is discussed. But with emerging economic powers like Brazil and India being kept outside the discussion framework, critics say any talks held within the G-8 alone are incapable of resolving global economic issues.

In that sense, the Thursday meeting with the emerging powers will have more relevance than the G-8 itself, they said.

But Japanese officials defended the G-8 framework, saying its agreements are still influential in forming the base for discussions with other economic powers.

The G-8 includes the United States, Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany, France and Russia.

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www.SustainabiliTank.info take on the Wednesday-Thursday-Friday July 8-10, 2009 meetings follows:

President Obama of the US came to Rome after having achieved an agreement with the Medvedev/Putin leadership of Russia on what concerns nuclear arms reduction and certain aspects of non-proliferation. Those issues allow thus for US leadership at the G8 meeting. On the other hand, at the Obama created G-16 + the EU and the UN meeting on climate change, the fact that the US is well behind Europe on the main issues on Global Warming, the US is really not in position of leadership.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK is in very weakened internal position so he is no great asset at the G8 table.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper leads now a weak minority government and does not radiate influence either.

Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso is just as weak at home as Messrs. Brown and Harper and thus not really in a leadership position either.

Italy’s Berlusconi, thanks to his personal peccadilloes, is rather an international joke, even though his countrymen may think his behavior charming. His country-women – that is those that did not profit from his closeness – may think differently.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is in best position of them all when it comes to the issues of climate change, but in what concerns applying stimulus packages in Europe she is just slow or lacks interest as she saw that this might not have brought in the US the results that the Obama administration was promising to Americans and the world. She clearly has no intention to cooperate in what she is not convinced that it works, and is also critical of the US lack of progress in alternatives to the old fossil-fuels based economy. We do not think that President Obama will be able to convince her to change her mind during the three days of these meetings.

France’s President Nicolas Sarcozy is strong politically at home – so here no problems – but when it comes to evaluating his two years in office, one has difficulty finding his international agenda – thus another non-leader for these events.

Russia’s double-headed eagle – President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin – will rest on the perch and don’t expect them to lead either.

Looking at the above and at the ruins of the earth-quake damaged Italian age-old city of L’Aquila, one can only hope for reconstruction if the world is going to see a better economy in the future and in the process also create a program of what to do with the pesky issue of climate change. Let us face the reality that there is little chance to achieve progress at the   July 2009 meetings.

***

Thursday there is the meeting of 17 members that is the G16 + the EU – or actually the G8 + G5 (Brazil, India, China,   Mexico, South Africa) + Australia, Indonesia, Korea,   and the EU.

Those are the 17 that were invited to participate at the State Department building, in Washington DC, meeting for climate talks under the Major Economies Forum (MEF) April 27, 2009. That meeting was organized by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Later there was also a meeting in Mexico City and in September 2009 they will have yet another meeting in Pittsburgh. The intent was to come up with an agreement to be presented before the Copenhagen climate meeting this December.

OK – so where are we now? Did the US and China formally agree on how to proceed jointly on the effort to find a G2 solution? But really we will not find out if this is the case on Thursday, July 9, 2009. Chinese President Hu Jintao returned home today to deal with the ethnic riots tearing apart the restive city of Urumqi in the Muslim Northwest Province of Xinjang, and without him present there is little sense for the Thursday meeting. India also does not seem to be ready to let the OECD countries of the hook so indeed setting only long term targets without well funded immediate action will not do this time. India just released its budget plans and worldwide there are reactions that the government did not plan enough as stimulus packages either. Indeed, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will be going mid July to India like she did go to China at the start of her taking over at State. Will she be able to come up with better understanding with India, while it seems to the Indians that the US is back to a pre Bush China-first policy?

Also Indonesia will not be there as President Yudhoyono just was having a reelection campaign that it seems he won.

***

Friday is the last day and it is dedicated to the provision of funds for Africa. OK – this subject will get some figures and it will be $15 Billion that President Obama pushed for – as aid for poor farmers – and when President Obama will be on Saturday in Ghana he will be able to present those figures to his African hosts.

Our prediction is thus that from L’Anquila the main product of these meetings will be a new promis for Africa. Will it be funded this time in reality – that is something to check upon later. But then a serious review regarding Africa is really in the making indeed. The key is to be henceforth less reliance on food aid from subsidized produce in the US and the EU, and more investments and help in order to build up local agriculture in Africa – as the future economy of Africa. Some of the African NGOs have finally spoken up that the relliance on food hand-outs has destroyed Africans’ potential to feed themselves.

***

Will the real legacy of L’Anquila be that the G8 has lost its relevance in a world where most of the so called great economies are indeed dependent for their well being on some of the members of the lesser G5? With China, India and Brazil not part of the august post-World War II group is there any reason for the separate G8 pow wow? Would not going directly to a more updated group have been more effective? Then what about the EU? Could it not be practical to letthe member states finally decide that they could speak with one voice? If that is not the case why litter the G16 with an added presence at a time that the UN is rightly not mentioned at all?

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G8 must galvanise talks on warming.
The Financial Times, July 8 2009

The summit meeting of the Group of Eight industrialised nations that opened in Italy on Wednesday looks increasingly like an event in search of a purpose. The more broadly based G20, including China and India among others, is the place where deals on the global economy are being done. So what is the point of the G8?

The answer should be: to galvanise the debate on climate change. A consensus is needed between the rich and poor for a new deal to slow down global warming. It is supposed to be finalised by the United Nations at Copenhagen in December. But to have any hope of progress there, the leaders gathered in L’Aquila this week must give a clear sense of direction.

The European Union has been consistently in the lead in setting ambitious targets to cut emissions. The good news now is that the US president is engaged and enthusiastic. Barack Obama will co-chair Thursday’s meeting of the 17-member Major Economies Forum, including both China and India. The bad news is that Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, has gone home to deal with the ethnic unrest in Xinjiang. But that should not give an excuse for indecision.

The first ominous sign is that the two sides have not agreed on a target of halving global emissions by 2050. That is the minimum necessary to ensure that the rise in global temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, the danger level agreed by scientists. It would require the developed economies to cut their emissions by 80 per cent, to allow developing economies to pollute more as they grow faster. But China is not prepared to sign up to the target until there are more concessions on the table. It is hard to understand, as China stands to be a big beneficiary.

India is also playing hard to get. Delhi will not move on a complete package until there is more money on the table, with rich countries paying the poor to mitigate the effects of global warming, and adapt to them. Such an attitude could scupper any deal.

The G8 leaders can and should do more. In particular, they should start work on a commercial mechanism via the cap-and-trade system to finance bigger transfers from rich to poor. That would be politically more acceptable than straight handouts. The EU might also unilaterally increase its target to cut emissions in 2020 from 20 to 30 per cent. Both the US and Japan need to set more ambitious targets for 2020 as well as 2050. But in the end, a deal on climate change is not just for the rich to do. The poor will suffer most if it fails.

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Nations agree to steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
By Fiona Harvey in London, and Guy Dinmore and George,Parker in L’Aquila
Published: July 9 2009 03:00 | Last updated: July 9 2009 03:00
The Group of Eight industrialised countries yesterday agreed to more stringent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than ever before.

The G8, meeting in Italy, pledged to take on the lion’s share of the emissions reductions scientists say are needed, with cuts of 80 per cent by 2050 for developed countries. This would contribute to a hoped-for target of halving emissions globally by the same date.

They also resolved to try to hold global temperature rises to no more than 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, which scientists regard as the limit of safety.

This is the first time such a target has been formally adopted in a leading international forum. Gordon Brown, UK prime minister, hailed the deal as “historic”.

But British officials said there was “no chance” that these targets would also be agreed by a wider group of countries, including emerging economies, meeting today on climate change.

Leaders of 16 of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitting countries are meeting at the G8 at the request of Barack Obama, US president.

He called the meeting, known as the Major Economies Forum, which he is co-chairing with Silvio Berlusconi, Italian prime minister, to break the deadlock in climate change talks aimed at producing a successor to the Kyoto protocol at a conference in Copenhagen in December.

It is the first time leaders of all the big emitters have held a summit on climate change. The United Nations secretary-general held a meeting for world leaders in 2007, but George W. Bush, then US president, turned up only for the dinner at the end.

However, China and India have so far refused to agree to the target of halving global emissions by 2050, despite assurances that the G8 will take on the largest slice of the burden.

The early departure of Hu Jintao, China’s president, from the meeting yesterday made any change in position even less likely.

One of the aims of the MEF was to bring leaders of the main emitting countries together so that they could allow their environment ministers – who attend the UN negotiations – greater latitude in making a deal.

Anantha Guruswamy, Greenpeace programme director, said China and India had refused to sign up to the global target because the G8 club of rich nations had not put forward proposals for financing emissions cuts and measures to adapt to climate change in poor countries.

“It is up to Obama to show leadership on this,” he added.

Beijing and Delhi also want rich countries to agree higher targets on cutting emissions by 2020 than they have come up with.

The 16 countries in the MEF produce 80 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. The European Union and Denmark, as host of the Copenhagen conference, also attend its meetings.

***

to be a bit more exact the first 9 out of the 16 – CO2 emissions in billions of metric tons, 2006 are as follows – and if you wish it is about 75% just for the first 8 total and they are not the old G8.

China     6.0

US           5.9

Russia     1.7

India       1.3

Japan       1.3

Germany     0.9

Canada         0.6

UK               0.6

S. Korea       0.5

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CLIMATE CHANGE
Obama insists world climate accord possible.

By George Parker and Guy Dinmore in L’Aquila and Fiona Harvey in London
The Financial Times,   July 9 2009

Barack Obama, US president, insisted on Thursday there was still time for the world to agree binding commitments to cut greenhouse emissions, in spite of stalemate at the G8 summit in L’Aquila.

Mr Obama takes centre stage in the Italian town on Thursday when he chairs a session on global warming, bringing together 17 rich and emerging economies, including China and Brazil.

US diplomats say there is no chance that the countries will agree to cut world emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 – from a still undecided baseline of 1990 or later. They are however likely to agree on an aspiration to stop temperatures rising more than 2 degrees centigrade compared with pre-industrial levels.

The early departure of Hu Jintao, China’s president of China, from the meeting made any change in position on cuts even less likely.

But Mr Obama believes an agreement on binding intermediate targets – for a deadline sometime before 2050 – can be reached before a UN climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman, said Mr Obama told President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil that “there was still time in which they could close the gap on that disagreement in time for that important [meeting]”.

Mr Obama is seen as a pivotal figure in reaching any Copenhagen agreement, but months of tense negotiations lie ahead.

India, China and other big emerging economies want to be sure the west is serious about meeting medium term targets for cutting emissions before they commit themselves. They also want money to help them clean up their industries.

The credibility of the G8 on climate change was challenged by Russia, which had earlier signed up to a communique by the group committing wealthy nations to an even more ambitious 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 – again with a still undecided baseline. The Russian delegation however has questioned whether such a long-term target is meaningful.

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, said progress on climate change at the G8 was so far “not enough”. He added: “This is politically and morally [an] imperative and historic responsibility … for the future of humanity, even for the future of the planet Earth.”

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Further – the UN travelog:

UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
8 July, 2009 =========================================================================

SECRETARY-GENERAL EN ROUTE TO ITALY TO MEET WITH G8 LEADERS

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is heading today to the Italian city of L’Aquila, where he will meet with the leaders who are attending the annual summit of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, after wrapping up his first official visit to Ireland.

In a letter sent to G8 leaders ahead of their 8-10 July summit, Mr. Ban highlighted climate change and development as some of the current challenges requiring action.

Among other things, Mr. Ban asked G8 governments to take the lead on the issue of climate change by making “ambitious and firm commitments” to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40 per cent, the levels the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says are required on the part of industrialized countries to ward off the worst effects of global warming.

On development, the Secretary-General urged the G8 to outline how donors will scale up aid to Africa over the next year to fulfil the commitments the Group made at its summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005.

Mr. Ban departed for Italy from Ireland, where he met today with Irish Defence Minister Willie O’Dea. They travelled to the McKee Barracks, where the Secretary-General met with a group of veteran UN peacekeepers from Ireland and also took part in a ceremony paying respect to Irish peacekeepers that made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the Organization.

The UN chief is scheduled to travel again next week to attend the 15 July Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he will deliver an address encouraging the group to build on its leadership role to address some of today’s challenges, including disarmament, the economic crisis and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The eight MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education – have a target date of 2015, as agreed by world leaders in 2000.  

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 8th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Some interesting information for President Obama before he hits this week Ghana. Here some further reasons why he chose to avoid some of the other West African countries.
Whatever, the question is now how far can he go if he decides to speak truth to their closed ears.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 4th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

President Obama will this week become the first African American President to make an official visit to an African country.

The most interesting fact is that he does not go to South Africa or Nigeria – the two countries that compete for the unofficial title of leaders of black Africa. President Obama decided to go to the oil producing belt of West Africa, and this cut out South Africa;   then he chose the unassuming Ghana, rather then the feisty Nigeria – the most populous black state and important partner of the US in oil trade.

Why? What does he teach in this visit?

Nigeria is a corrupt state to its bone. Even its son, the Nobel Price winning Wole Soyinka said that neglecting Nigeria was just the right medicine that Nigeria needed. He continued then with the shocking statement: “I’d ‘stone’ Obama if he showed up in Nigeria and conferred legitimacy on its sorry government.”

Ghana on the other hand, a much smaller West African nation, as of now with little US trade, did hold fair multiparty democratic elections since 1992, and   has a history of incumbents stepping down once they reach their term limits.

Ghana is a beacon of hope to Africa and has produced the only two-terms African UN Secretary-General, Koffi Annan, who we hope will be at hand when President Obama arrives for a day at the end of this week.

Yes, we know, it is rumored that the US is interested in Ghana also as it is the newest arrival to the West Coast Oil-belt, and with China making inroads in the region, the US might be interested to establish here a military base as well as an oil trade relationship.

But even so, this US President showed preference for clean government if this is at all possible.

Africa watch and learn!

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 6th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Report Warns of ‘Resource Curse’ Ahead of Oil Boom.
Marina Litvinsky

WASHINGTON, Mar 5, 2009 (IPS) – The recent discovery of oil in Ghana could undermine its democratic development, warns the international aid agency Oxfam America and the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) in Ghana. The report, “Ghana’s Big Test: Oil’s Challenge to Democratic Development,” issued Thursday, says that Ghana’s weak institutions might not be ready to handle the burdens of an expected influx of cash from a burgeoning oil industry.

On the verge of an oil boom that could bring millions into the country, the report says, Ghana must make significant changes to support transparent, accountable and efficient development of the industry and the billions in government revenue it will generate. The report makes extensive recommendations to the government, oil companies, donors, civil society and journalists to move quickly but deliberately in the face of the coming oil boom.

The 2007 discovery of the major offshore ‘Jubilee’ oil field has generated enormous interest in the country’s oil production potential. Analysts warn that Ghana’s government, led by newly elected President John Atta Mills, should be careful to guard against the “resource curse” which has devastated other resource rich African countries.

“In too many countries, oil booms have bred corruption, underdevelopment, social conflict and environmental damage,” said the report’s author, Ian Gary, a senior policy advisor for extractive industries at Oxfam America. “Ghana’s challenge as ‘oil hot spot’ will be to ensure the right institutions and transparent policies are in place before production even begins.”

Last year, Africa produced 12.5 percent of the world’s oil through significant investment and exploration throughout the continent. But the continent’s rise in the oil sector has yet to translate into tangible benefits for Africa’s poor. Resource rich countries in Africa have actually experienced lower growth rates than countries with scarce resources.

Ghana remains different from its neighbours. It is an “African success story,” said Gary.

Ghana is one of the most peaceful and relatively prosperous countries in West Africa. The democratic election of Mills in January, in the closest vote in Ghana’s history, makes the West African nation one of the few African countries to successfully transfer power twice from one legitimately elected leader to another.

However, Ghana still remains poor. According to the report, almost 80 percent of Ghanaians live on less than two dollars a day. The new National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration is facing a widening budget deficit, weakening currency and rising inflation.

Finance Minister Kwabena Kuffuor presented the government’s new budget to parliament Thursday. The budget forecasts growth to fall to 5.9 percent in 2009, from 6.2 last year. It aims to cut the fiscal deficit to 9.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2009, down from 14.9 percent at the end of 2008. The new government hopes that oil revenues will help accelerate the country’s efforts to meet the anti-poverty U.N. Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

The start of oil production is scheduled to begin in late 2010 or 2011 and estimates are that Ghana will be producing approximately 120,000 barrels of oil per day, along with significant quantities of gas. The International Monetary Fund has predicted that government revenues from oil and gas could reach a cumulative 20 billion dollars – from just the Jubilee field – over a production period from 2012 through 2030.

Though the last 20 years have seen a boom in mining investment in Ghana, this has led to small government revenues, increased conflict between companies and local communities, and the removal of families from their lands and increased environmental degradation. Many are worried that without proper regulations in place before the start of drilling the oil boom will spell the same fate.

“Oil wealth threatens the growing democratic accountability that has been built in our country’s history,” said Steve Manteaw, media and campaign coordinator for ISODEC in Ghana. The government must “manage the oil sector in a way that benefits all Ghanaians.”

According to the report, the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) government launched a “homegrown” effort to tackle the challenges of the oil era, establishing technical committees composed of government staff and expatriate Ghanaians to address issues from the fiscal regime to gas utilisation.

The state oil company, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, has made some disclosures to the public, but key details remain secret, including the oil contracts as well as the development plan for the Jubilee field.

The new government “does not have a clear national policy for the oil sector,” Manteaw said.

A second revision of the petroleum regulatory authority bill, first drafted by the NPP government, is now being discussed in parliament.

The recommendations set out by the report include transparent revenue and payment practices; advising companies to volunteer to disclose their payments and contracts and participate in Ghana’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; open and competitive contract bidding; and active monitoring and participation by civil society.

The report also recommends that the government enact a moratorium on signing new licenses, so that they can organise an open bidding round and allow the country’s legal and institutional framework to ‘catch up’ to the pace of oil development.

While the oil discovery has attracted the attention of many eager foreign investors, the report cautions that Ghana must control the pace of the development of the petroleum sector so as to not let commercial developments outstrip the capacity of the government and society as a whole to meet the myriad challenges.

“Pacing can lead to better negotiating deals (over time),” added Oxfam’s Gary.

While the oil boom will certainly infuse Ghana’s economy with needed investments, it is important to remember that this oil boom “is not going to transform Ghana,” said Clive Armstrong, lead economist in the oil, gas, mining and chemical department at the World Bank. “Government spending is predicted to increase by only about 10 percent.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 18th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Drylands, Deserts, and Desertification – 2008 Conference. December 14-17, 2008, Sede Boqer Campus, The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Israel.

www.desertification.co.il

THE PROGRAM As Available on November 18, 2008. There might be still Changes and Additions, as well –   further Poster Sessions.

Download this schedule: detailed_program_sessions_1611_publish.doc

Drylands, Deserts and Desertification – 2008
December 14-17, 2008

Please note that the list of presentations is still not final. Furthermore, the breakdown into sessions may change. Abstracts for the Poster Sessions will be listed separately during the conference

Pre Registration will begin on the evening of December 13, 2008
Day 1, December 14, 2008: LIFE AND SOIL DEGRADATION IN THE DRYLANDS
8:00-9:00 Registration
9:00 – 9:30 Welcome
9:30 – 10:15 Plenary Address: Cutting through the Confusion: An Old Problem (Desertification) Viewed through the Lens of a New Framework (the DDP, Drylands Development Paradigm) – James Reynolds, Duke University (U.S.A)
10:15 – 10:30 Respondents: Thomas Schaaf,, Chief, Ecological Sciences & Biodiversity Section, UNESCO, Ingrid Hartman, Amoud University, Borama, Somaliland, Godfrey Olukoye Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Uriel Safriel, Hebrew University, Israel
Moderator: Alon Tal
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-12:30 Parallel Sessions I
1. Soil Degradation and the Drylands
Chair: Professor Yonah Chen, Hebrew University Agricultural Faculty, HYPERLINK “mailto:yonachen@agri.huji.ac.ilyonachen@agri.huji.ac.il
Causes and Consequences of Soil Damages in Bosnia and Herzegovinia: Some Experiences in Soil Conservation, Markovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Soil Decomposition in a Tropical Semi-arid Region in Central Mexico, Maria Hernandez Cerda, Enrique Romero, Gonzalo Madero, (Mexico)
Soil Communities in the Arava Valley Desert System, Stanislav Pen-Mouratov, Tamir Mayblat, and Yosef Steinberger (Israel)

Effect of plant patchiness on soil microbial community structure

Ali Nejidat, Eric A. Ben-David, Yonatan Sher, Regina Golden, Eli Zaady (Israel)
2. Desert Ecology (A)
Chair: Professor Tamar Dayan, Tel Aviv University, HYPERLINK “mailto:DayanT@tauex.tau.ac.ilDayanT@tauex.tau.ac.il,
Water and Carbon Balances of Tamarix Desert Vegetation Under Variation in Precipitation and Groundwater Table,Hao Xu, Yan Li, (China)
Periodic and Scale-free Patterns: Reconciling the Dichotomy of Dryland Vegetation, Jost von Hardenberg, Assaf Kletter, Hezi Yizhaq, Ehud Meron (Israel)
Water Balance in Desert Mammals and in Flying Birds: Different Evolutionary Paths with Similar Physiological Outcomes, Berry Pinshow (Israel)
Desertification In the Grasslands Of Central Australia: Effects Of Fire And Climate Change, C. R. Dickman, G. M. Wardle, A. C. Greenville and B. Tamayo (Australia)
3. Benchmarks and Indicators of Desertification
Chair: Professor Moshe Shachak, Ben Gurion University, shachak@bgu.ac.il
Spatial Vegetation Patterns Indicating Imminent Desertification Max Rietkerk (Netherlands)
Do Vegetation Indices Reliably Assess Vegetation Degradation? A Case Study in the Mongolian Pastures, Arnon Karnieli Y. Bayarjargal, M. Bayasgalan, B. Mandakh, J. Burgheimer, S. Khudulmur, and P.D. Gunin (Israel)
Results On Changes Of Vegetation Structure And Composition In Semi-Desert Steppe,B.Mandakh Ph.D, Ganchimeg Wingard, (Mongolia)
Restoration of Pasture Vegetation and Assessment of Desertification in Kazakhstan Mirzadinov R.А., Baisartova А.Y., Bayazitova Z.Е., Torgaev А.А., Makhamedzhanov N.Т., Usen К., Karnieli A., Mirzadinov (Kazakhstan)
4. Pastoralism and the Drylands (A)
Chair: Dr. Eli Zaady, Gilat Research Station, Volcani Institute
Complex Interactions Between Climate and Pastoralists in Desert Grasslands, Curtin, charles (U.S.A)
Sustainable Grazing Strategies for Semi-arid Rangelands of Central Argentina, Roberto Distel (Argentina)

Trophic interactions and the ecology of habitat degradation in grasslands, Yoram Ayal(Israel)

12:30 – 14:30Short Field Trips and Lunch Break
14:30-16:00 Parallel Sessions II
5. Remote Sensing and Assessment of Desertification Processes (A)
Chair: Professor Danny Blumberg, Ben Gurion University, blumberg@bgu.ac.il
Progress in mapping global desertification, S. D. Prince (U.S.A)
Desertification Risk Assessment in Northeastern Nigeria Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques, Taiwo Qudus, S.O. Mohammed, (Nigeria)
Integrating Remotely-sensed Vegetation Phenology and Rainfall Metrics to Characterize Changes in Dryland Vegetation Cover: Example from Burkina Faso Stefanie Herrmann, Thomas Hopson, (U.S.A)
On the Definition of Desertification through the Case Study of the Egyptian-Israeli Borderline, Arnon Karnieli, Christine Hanisch, Zehava Siegal and Haim Tsoar (Israel)

Evaluation of optimal time-of-day for detecting water stress in olive trees by thermal remote sensing, Nurit Agam, Alon Ben-Gal, Yafit Cohen, Victor Alchanatis, Uri Yermiyahu, and Arnon Dag, (Israel)

6. Drought and Salt Resistant Plants for Sustainable Dryland Development (A)
Chair: Dr. Gozal Ben Hayyim, The Volcani Institute HYPERLINK “mailto:vhgozal@agri.gov.ilvhgozal@agri.gov.il
Potentials for Utilizing the Mulberry (Morus Alba) and the Neem (Azadirachta Indica) For Desertification Control In Northern Ghana: the Experience of the Sericulture Promotion And Development Association, Ghana. Paul Kwasi Ntaanu (Ghana)
Phenology, Floral and Reproductive Biolgy Studies of Genus Zizipus in Negev Desert Conditions, Manoj Kulkarni, Bert Schneider and Noemi Tel-Zur (Israel)
Dissecting the Molecular control of Stomatal Movement in CAM plant: A Potential Source for Genes Conferring Drought Tolerance in C3 Plants, Yaron Sitrit (Israel)
Comparison of Germination Strategies of Four Artemisia Species (Asteraceae) in Horqin Sandy Land, China, Li Xuehua, Liu Zhimin and Jiang Demning (China)
Role of Hydrophilins in Water-stressed and Salt-stressed Environments, Dudy Bar-Zvi, (Israel)
7. Water Management Strategies in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Alfred Abed- Rabbo, Bethlehem University, abedrabo@gmail.com
Water Management in a Semi-arid Region: An Integrated Water Resources Allocation Modeling for Tanzania, Shija Kazumba (Tanzania/Israel)
Towards Sustainable Management of Wadis in Semi-Arid Environments- IWRM Approach, Walid Saleh, Amjad Aliewi, Anan Jayyousi (Dubai)
Is Desalination Right for Sydney? Phoenix Lawhon Isler(Australia)
16:00-16:15 Coffee Break
16:15-17:15 Parallel Sessions III
8. Remote Sensing and Assessment of Desertification Processes (B)
Chair: HYPERLINK “home.geoenv.biu.ac.il/lecturer_html.php?id=33” Prof. Hanoch Lavee, Bar Ilan University , HYPERLINK “mailto:laveeh@mail.biu.ac.illaveeh@mail.biu.ac.il
Assessing Land Cover Change and Degradation in the Central Asian Deserts Using Satellite Image Processing and Geostatistical Methods, Arnon Karnieli, Tal Svoray, Uri Gilad, (Israel)
A Dynamic Model of Dryland Hydrology Using Remote Sensing, Elene Tarvansky, (United Kingdom)
The Effect of Wildfires on Vegetation Cover and Dune Activity in Australia’s Desert Dunes: A Multi-Sensor Analysis, Noam Levin, Simcha Levental, Hagar Morag (Israel)
9. Desert Ecology (B)
Chair: Dr. Yehoshua Shkedy, Chief Scientist, Israel Nature and Parks Authorit, HYPERLINK “mailto:y.shkedy@npa.org.ily.shkedy@npa.org.il
Is Grass Scarcity in the Chihuahuan Desert A Result of Shrub-Grass Competition or Soil Moisture Limitation? Giora Kidron and Vincent Gutschick (Israel/U.S.A)
Short-term responses of small vertebrates to vegetation removal as a management tool in Nizzanim dunes, Boaz Shacham and Amos Bouskila (Israel)

Microbial diversity of Mediterranean and Arid soil ecosystem. Ami Bachar, Ashraf Ashhab, Roey Angel, M. Ines M. Soares and Osnat Gillor, (Israel)

Effects of woody vegetation and anthropogenic disturbances on herbaceous vegetation in the northern Negev, Moran Segoli, Eugene David Ungar, Moshe Shahack (Israel)
10. Land Restoration Strategies
Chair: Dr. Avi Gafni, Director of Research, Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael, Avig@kkl.org.il
Role of Wetlands in Sustainable Drylands D. Mutekanga (Uganda)
Restoration of Abandoned Lands, Gabrielyan Bardukh, (Armenia)

Desertification in the Sahel: causes, prevention and reclamation Dov Pasternak (Israel)

11. Strategies for Living in the Drylands
Chair: Prof. Avigad Vonshak, Director Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, avigad@bgu.ac.il

Micro-Climatic Effect of a Manmade Oasis During Different Season in an Extremly Hot, Dry Climate, Oded Potchter (Israel)

Ecological sanitation (ECOSAN) as an alternative approach for sustainable dry-land development, Amit Gross (Israel)
Has dependence on runoff agriculture on the dryland environment of the central Negev mountains changed significantly in the last few thousand years? Testing the contribution of the geological substrate, Wieler Nimrod. Avni Y. Benjamini C. (Israel)
12. Pastoralism and the Drylands (B)
Chair: Mr. Shmulik Friedman Head of Israel Grazing Authority HYPERLINK “mailto:shmulikf@moag.gov.ilshmulikf@moag.gov.il
Normative Carrying Capacity of an Isralei Forest for Domesticated Grazers. David Evlagon, Samuel Komisarchik, Yehuda Nissan, No’am Seligman (Israel)
Herd No More: Livestock Husbandry Policies and the Environment in Israel: from 1900 Until Today, Liz Wachs, Alon Tal (U.S.A)
17:15-19:00 Poster Session (including contest) and Cocktail
19:00-20:00 Dinner
20:00 Evening Activities (optional)
Moonlit Hike in Nahal Haverim (Please come w/ walking shoes and warm clothes)
OR Films from the Desert Nights Film Festival (sponsored by the Italian Embassy, Tel Aviv)

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DAY 2,December 14, 2008: VEGETATION’S ROLE IN SUSTAINABLE DRYLAND LIVING
8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30 – 10:15Plenary Addresses
Professor Pinhas Alpert, Director, Porter School of the Environment, Tel Aviv University,
“Climate Change’s Impact on Desertification in the Mediterranean Region”
Rattan Lal,Director, Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University. “Carbon Sequestration in the Drylands: Where we Are? Where we might go?”
Dan Yakir, Head, Department of Environmental Sciences & Energy Research, Weitzman Institute, “Israel Forestry, Carbon and the Drylands: Recent Findings from Israel”
Moderator: Mark Windslow, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Germany
9:45-10:00 Coffee Break
10:00-11:30 Parallel Sessions IV
13. The Role Vegetation in Combating Desertification (A)
Chair: Dr. Elli Groner, Arava Institute for desert studies/BIDR, elli.groner@arava.org
Use of Indicator Species in Enhancing the Conservation of Drylands of Kenya J. Aucha, V. Palapala, and J. Shiundu (Kenya)
Green Spots as a Tool to Combat Desertification in the Aral Sea Region, Lilya Dimeyeva, (Kazakhstan)
Vegetation Change in Response to Grazing and Water Level Decline in the Enot Zukim Nature Reserve (en Fescha) Israel, Linda Whittaker, Margareta Walczak, Amos Sabach and Eli Dror (Israel)
Improving sustainability and productivity of rainfed field crops in the Negev regions
David J. Bonfil (Israel)
14. Drought and Salt Resistant Plants for Sustainable Dryland Development (B)
Chair: Professor Micha Guy, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, HYPERLINK “mailto:michagu@bgu.ac.ilmichagu@bgu.ac.il
The chemical induction of Polyploidy Mutan in Zizphus Mauritiana, Noemi Tel Zur and Mohmmad A.Taher (Israel / Jordan)
Using the Model Plant Arabidopsis Thaliana and Extremophile Arabidopsis Relatives to Identify Genes that Can Confer Plant Tolerance to Arid Conditions, Simon Barak (Israel)
Recently Domesticated Native Desert Herbs for Sustainable Planting in Arid and Saline Areas, Elaine Solowey (Israel)
Pattern Formation, State Changes and Catastrophic Shifts in Poa bulbosa Production as Responses to Simulated Grazing, Hadeel Majeed, Yaakov Garb, Moshe Shachak (Israel)
Germination and seedling survival in NaCl solutions after desiccation of some halophytes-used in pasture and fodder production in the solonchak salinities of the Kyzylkum desert, in Uzbekistan, Tanya Gendler, Japakova Ulbosun, Nicolai Orlovsky and Yitzchak Gutterman (Israel)
15. Afforestation in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Gabriel Shiller, The Volcani Institute, HYPERLINK “mailto:vcgabi@volcani.agri.gov.ilvcgabi@volcani.agri.gov.il
Dryland Afforestation, Bill Hollingworth, (Australia)
Soil and Water Management along with Afforestation for Rehabilitation of Desertified Areas of the Israeli Negev, Yitzak Moshe (Israel)
Land Restoration in the Mediterranean, V. Ramon Vallejo, (Spain)
The Impact of Tree Shelters on Forest Survival of Eight Native Broadleaf Species in Forest Plantations in Israel, Omri Boneh (Israel)
16. Irrigation in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Alon Ben-Gal, Gilat Research Station, Volcani Institute, bengal@volcani.agri.gov.il
Combating Land Degradation in Irrigated Agriculture Through Systematic Characterization of Saline-Sodic Soils for Improved Irrigation Efficiency in Kenya – E.M. Muya, (Kenya)
Adaption of Drip Irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Towards a Strategy for Technology Transfer, Lonia Friedlander (U.S.A)
Managing salt, nutrient and soil structure in reclaimed water irrigated vineyards of South Australia, Biswas and McCarthy (AU)
Future strategies for drainage problems in the desert area (IGNP) of Western Rajasthan in India, Kiran Soni Gupta (India)
Root zone salinity management strategy for the Australian drought, Schrale (AU)
17. Climate Change in the Drylands
Chair: Dr. Yeshayahu Bar-Or, Chief Scientist, Ministry of Environmntal Protection, HYPERLINK “mailto:Ybo@sviva.gov.ilYbo@sviva.gov.il
Climate Change Trends in an Extreme Arid Zone, Southern Arava (Israel and Jordan) Hanan Ginat, Yanai Shlomi, Danny Blumberg (Israel)

Climate change and its effect on Mediterranean Basin ecosystems, Pua Bar (Kutiel) (Israel)

Climatic Change and Desertification Predictive Modeling In The Northeastern Nigeria.
Dr. Ojonigu Ati And Taiwo Qudus (Nigeria)
11:30-13:30 Open Campus Lunch Break
13:30-15:00 Parallel Sessions V
18. The Role of Vegetation in Combating Desertification (B)
Chair: Mr. Tauber Israel, KKL, HYPERLINK “javascript:addSender(%22IsraelT@kkl.org.il%22)” IsraelT@kkl.org.il
Desertification not at all costs – a matter of temporal and spatial scales and policies
Pua Bar (Kutiel) (Israel)
Cropping systems in the Indian arid zone and long-term effects of continuous cropping
N.L. Joshi (India)
Establishing the Relationships between Soils, Vegetation and Ecosystem Dynamics: A Strategy for Land Degradation Control in Nurunit Marsabit District, Kenya, E.M. Muya, (Kenya)
19. Indigenous Knowledge in the Combating of Desertification
Chair: Prof. Aref Abu Rabia, Ben Gurion University, HYPERLINK “mailto:aref@bgu.ac.ilaref@bgu.ac.il
Ethnobotanical Approach to the Conservation of Dryland Vegetation James Aucha (Kenya)
Environmental and Economic Potential of Bedouin Dryland Agriculture, Khalil Abu Rabia, Elaine Solowey and Stefan Leu (Israel)
Traditional Knowledge and Technologies: Administration of Common Goods from the Perspective of Goat Producers in the Lavalle Desert, Laura Maria Torres (Argentina)

 

20. Managing Drought in the Drylands

Chair, Mr. Yaakov Lomas, Israel Metereological Institute, HYPERLINK “mailto:lomasjakob@yahoo.comlomasjakob@yahoo.com

Drought Risk Reduction in Rajasthan, India Madhukar Gupta (India)
Merits and Limitations in Assessing Droughts by Remote Sensing, Arnon Karnieli and Nurit Agam (Israel)
The Impact of Long Term Drought Periods in Northern Israel, Moshe Inbar (Israel)
Hydric Characterization of the Sinaloa State (Mexico), Through the Aridity and Aridity Régime Indices, Israel Velasco, (Mexico)
Economic Sustainable rainfed wheat production under Semi-Arid climatic conditions – Agrometeorological criteria for planning purposes, Lomas (Israel)
21. Carbon Sequestration
Chair: Dr. Noam Gressel, Assif Strategies, HYPERLINK “mailto:noam@assifstrategies.comnoam@assifstrategies.com
Semi-arid Afforestation and its Effect on Land-atmosphere Interactions,
Eyal Rotenberg et. al., (Israel)
Capacity of the forest ecosystems to sequester carbon (Case of the watershed basin of Rheraya- area of Marrakech) ) Rachid Ilmen (Morocco)
Halting Land Degradation and Desertification: A Win-Win Mitigation Strategy Neglected by the Climate Establishment, Stefan Leu (Israel)
Special Round Table discussion: Mid-east Regional Cooperation to Research Desertification with Arab and Israeli Desertification Experts
Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli experts meeting and discussing common concerns and solutions to address desertification in the Middle East region.
Moderator: Prof. Avigad Vonshak
Jeffrey Cook Workshop in Desert Architecture and Planning
Architecture and Urban Planning in the Drylands
Dryland Urban Expansion: Environmental Problems and Urban Planning, the Case of Urmuqi China S. Liu (UK)
Towards a Comprehensive Methodology for Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE): A Hot Dry Climate Case Study, Isaac Meir, Eduoardo Kruger, Lusi Morhayim, Shiri Fundaminsky, Liat Frenkel, (Israel)
Sick Building Syndrome in a University Building – an Educational Survey, Lusi Morhayim, Issac Meir (Israel)
Urban Sustainability in Desert and Dryland Areas – a First Exploration, Yodan Rofe and Gabriela Feierstein (Israel/Argentina)
Microclimatic Issues in the Planning of a Modern City in a Desert Environment, Evyatar Erell (Israel)
Sustainable Architecture in the Outback/Desert Regions of Australia: The Paradigm in Theory and Practice, Terence Williamson (Australia)
Arch. Suhasini Ayer-Guigan (India)
Arch. Mary Hancock (UK)
Arch. Laureano Pietro (Italy)
15:30 Bus Ride to Mitzpe-Ramon
16:00-17:00 Sunset Overlooking the Ramon Crater, Visit to Ramon Visitor’s Center
17:30 PLENARY LECTURE: Professor Uri Shani, Director, Israel Water Authority,
“Addressing Scarcity in the Drylands: Israel’s New Water Management Strategy”,
Moderator, Ms. Hila Ackerman, Director of Environmental Department, Ramat Negev Regional Council
19:00 Dinner
20:00 Evening Activity: Music & Dancing OR Astronomy Lecture
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DAY 3, December 16, 2008: FIELD TRIPS

A detailed plan will be provided separately

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DAY 4, December 17, 2008: THE HUMAN DIMENSIONS- POLICIES AND PARTNERSHIPS TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION
8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30 – 10:15Plenary Addresses/ PanelReconsidering the Axiom of “Bottom Up” Desertification Programs: Lessons Learned about Partnerships and International Assistance
Chris Braeuel UNCCD Focal Point, Canada,
Christian Mersmann, Director, The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, Rome
Alon Tal, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research
DelphineOuedraogo, Ministry of Environment, Focal Point to UNCCD, Burkina Faso

Moderator: TBA

10:00-10:15 Coffee Break
10:15-11:50 Parallel Sessions VI

 

22. The Contradictions of “Gender Equality” in Development Discourses in Desert Regions (Panel A)

Chair: Prof. Rivka Carmi, President Ben Gurion University, president@bgu.ac.il

Rethinking modern education among indigenous Negev Bedouin, Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder (Israel)

Looking Ahead: Bedouin Women, Higher Education, Identity and Belonging,Ronnie Halevi (Israel/U.S.A.)

The nation and its natures: Depictions of women Environmental Educators in the Israeli Negev Desert, Miri Lavi-Neeman, (Israel/USA)

“My Life? What is there to tell?” : Interpreting the life stories of multiply marginalized women in an Israeli ‘Development Town” Sigal Ron (Israel)
23. Public Policy, Economics and Desertification
Chair: Dr. Moshe Schwartz, Ben Gurion University, moshesc@bgu.ac.il
Economic Instruments for Mitigation of Desertification Problems in Armenia Gevorgyan Suren, (Armenia)
Land Degradation, Subsidies Dependency and Market Vulnerability of Stock –breeding Households in Central Crete Hugues Lorent, et. al., (Belgium)
The Value of Israel’s Forests and Desertification, Tzipi Eshet, Dafna Disegni and Mordehcai Shechter (Israel)
Current Status and Issues for Combating Desertification In Western Rajasthan, Kiran Soni Gupta, (India)
How To Put Desertification and Water Management in The Political Agenda: The South Italy Development Policies, Carlo Donolo (Italy)
24. Food Security in the Drylands
Chair: TBA
Livelihood Strategies: Indigenous Practices and Knowledge Systems in the Attainment of Food Security in Botswana, Maitseo Bolaane (Botswana)
Drought and food insecurity: a rationale for national grain reserves, Hendrik Bruins (Israel)
Drought Management Planning in Water Supply System, Enrique Cabrera (Spain)
The Impact of Drought on Agriculture in Jordan, Sawsan Batarseh and Hendrik J. Bruins (Jordan)
25. Case Studies – Projects that Combat Desertification
Chair: Beth-Eden Kite, Deputy Director, Mashav, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, beth-eden.kite@mfa.gov.il
Combating Desertification: An Attempt at Wasteland Development in Rajasthan, India, Kusum Bhawani Shanker, (India)
Valuing the Successes of combating desertification – Experience of Burkina Faso in the rehabilitation of the productive capacity of the village territories, Ouedraogo Delphine (Burkina Faso)
Development of Drylands of Kenya Using the Jatropha Curcas Value Chain J.A. Aucha, V. Palapla, and J. Shinundu, (Kenya)
Production Diversification for Expanding the Economic Foundations of Argentinean Monte Desert Communities, Elena Maria Abraham, Giuseppe Enne (Argentina)
11:50-12:00 Coffee Break
12:00-13:00 Parallel Sessions VI
26. Bottom Up: Community Participation in Programs to Combat Desertification
Chair: Dr. Haim Divon, Deputy Director, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Man, Desert and Environment, Hanan Ginat, Noa Avriel-Avni (Israel)
People and institutional participation in forest management for sustainable development: options for drylands based on experiences from Sudan. Edinam K. Glover (Finland)
Dryland Gardening: A Sustainable Solution to Desertification? Southern Africa as a Case Study, Adam Abramson (U.S.A)

27. Culturing Desertification: Gender and the Politics of Development (Panel B)

Chair: Dr. Pnina Motzafi-Haller, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, pninamh@gmail.com
Development and the Role of Women in Pakistan, Masooda Bano, (UK)

Domestic Water Provision and Gender Roles in Drylands, Anne Coles (UK)

Women’s Work: Gender and the Politics of Trash Labor in Dakar,Rosalind Fredericks, (USA)

28. The Negev Desert – Development and Conservation
Chair: Dr. Yodan Rofeh, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, yrofe@bgu.ac.il
The Israeli Negev Desert: From Frontier to Periphery, Yehuda Gradus (Israel)
The National-Strategic Plan for Developing the Negev – Negev 2015: An Old Prospect or a New Future, Na’ama Theshner (Israel)
The potential of TOD for development of the Northern Negev, Prof. Dani Gat (Israel)
Sense of place and naming in Hura as an example of the changing spatial consciousness of Beduoin in the Negev, Arnon Ben Israel and Avinoam Meir (Israel)
29. The Political Ecology of Deserts and Desertification
Chair: Dr. Yaakov Garb, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, ygarb@bgu.ac.il
Rebuilding the Land: Political Ecology of Land Degradation in Somaliland Ingrid Hartman (Germany)
Desertification Narratives (and Their Uses) in the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Davis (U.S.A)
Desertification or Greening in the Sahel? Case study of Inadvertent Greening in the Oued Kowb, Mauritania, Stefanie Herrmann, Mamadou Baro, Aminata Niang (U.S.A)
Political Ecology: Wind Erosion on the U.S. Southern High Plains
R. E Zartman and A.C. Correa (U.S.A)
30. Assessing International Efforts to Combat Desertification
Chair: Professor Uriel Safriel, Hebrew University, uriel36@gmail.com
Follow the Money: Navigating the International Aid Maze for Dryland Development Pamela Chasek (U.S.A)
The Global Mechanism – Lessons Learned C. Mersmann, (Italy)
Research Priorities of the UNESCO Chair on Eremology Gabriels (Belgium)
An Analytic Review for International Collaborations for Drylands Research and Sustainable Development, J. Scott Hauger (U.S.A)
A Conference to Improve the Flow of Science into the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Mark Winslow (Germany)
13:00-14:30 Lunch and Concluding Session

e-mail:  desertification at bgu.ac.il
tel:   972-8-659-6997
fax: 972-8-659-6772

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See also:

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 17th, 2008

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