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Liberia:

 

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 February 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The May/June issue of the Austrian Business Magazine for Economy, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility “corporAID” stayed that11% of total monetary transactions by African Governments vanish in dark alleys towards foreign banking deposits. The paper knows because much of the money ends up in Austrian Banks. Further – the article states that by 2006  $700 t0 $800 Billions nave vanished this way.

The article mentioned names:

Champion was Hosni Mubarak of Egypt who stashed away in his family foreign accounts during his 30 years of Government Service – a neat amount of $70 Billion.
He is followed by the Gaddafis of Libya who needed all of 42 years in order to stash away only $60 Billion.

The list of the first 10 highest  Kleptomaniac African Heads of State is rounded up in the following order:

#3  – Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe                 — $10  Billion.

#4  –  Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan                         –    $9 Billion

#5  –  Mobutu Sese Seko of the DR of Congo – $5 Billion

#6  –  Sani Abacha of Nigeria                                    – $5 Billion

#7  –  Zine Ben Ali of Tunesia                                   – $5 Billion

#8  –  Yoweri Museveni of Uganda                      – $4 Billion

#9  –  Charles Taylor of Liberia                             –  $3 Billion

#10 –  Omar Bongo of Gabon                                   –  $2 Billion

These evaluations are backed by the British All Party Parliamentary Group and by the Washington Global Financial Integrity GFI Group.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 7th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)



Before today’s  announcements from Oslo, 12 women had been honored previously with the PEACE PRIZE, including Mother Teresa, Jane Addams, and Wangari Maathai, the 2004 winner who died two weeks ago.

Speculation had centered on whether the prize would be awarded to leaders involved in the Arab Spring protests that toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. But the deadline for nominations is February 1, when President Hosni Mubarak was still in power in Egypt and before protests had spread to much of the rest of the Arab world.

“I very much appreciate the bloggers,” Jaglund said when asked why Karman and not others involved in the protests had received the prize. But Karman’s “courage was long before the world media was there and reporting,” he said.

For  Nobel Prize for Peace – THIS WAS THE YEAR OF THE WOMEN. The Three Recipients are: Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni opposition leader, honored for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Karman, 32, is one of Yemen’s most vocal and well-known activists and a member of the country’s main Islamic opposition party, Islah. Wearing her trademark pink floral headscarf, and using text messages, Facebook and other social media, she organized the first student demonstrations at Sanaa University challenging the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Nobel committee hopes that the prize “will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realize the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent,” Jagland said. He said that in the fight for democracy in the Arab world, “One must include the women and not set them aside.”

It seems that before the onset of the Arab Spring – or the larger upheaval in the Arab World, this was supposed to have been the African Women Year.

So we have – Johnson-Sirleaf, a 72-year-old, Harvard University-trained economist, was elected president of Liberia in 2005, becoming the first female democratically elected president of an African nation.

Sirleaf faces an election next week, and Jagland was questioned after the announcement as to whether the Nobel committee was interfering in politics by announcing the prize so close to a poll. He said that the committee’s decision had nothing to do with the domestic affairs of the country. Seemingly the prize to her is pure recognition of a woman’s achievements in the African male world.

Gbowee, a social worker and trauma counselor, organized the Women of Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a non-violent group of women who demonstrated wearing white t-shirts to symbolize peace, and, in 2003 she has worked this way to mobilize the women across ethnic and religious dividing lines and helped bring an end to Liberia’s civil war.

—————————————

SANAAFri Oct 7, 2011

(Reuters) – Yemeni winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Tawakul Karman said on Friday the award was a victory for Yemen’s democracy activists and they would not give up until they had won full rights in a “democratic, modern Yemen”.

“This is a victory for the youth first and foremost. We are here to win our freedom and dignity in their entirety. Our youth revolution wants our complete rights,” she told broadcaster Al Jazeera, from “Change Square”, centre of the protest movement.

“We will not allow our revolution to be left incomplete. We want a democratic, modern Yemen. That’s what the youth and the martyrs and the wounded have vowed to gain. We will continue our peaceful movement.”

Tawakul has been a key figure among the youth activists since they began camping out at Change Square in central Sanaa in February demanding the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s three-decade rule.

She has often been the voice of the street activists on Arabic television, giving them on the ground reports of the situation at the square outside Sanaa University, where dozens of activists have been shot dead by government forces.

Karman said all Yemenis she was in contact with were thrilled about the award.

“Yemen will go down in history thanks to Tawakul Karman. She deserves the prize. She has kept fighting for the sake of her peoples’ freedom,” said Abdulbari Taher, a protest leader in Sanaa.

A government official also praised Karman’s award, expressing hope it would lead to a resolution of a crisis that has ground Yemen’s economy to a halt.

Saleh, who survived an assassination attempt in June, has repeatedly refused to sign a peace deal arranged by Gulf Arab countries that would see him step down ahead of new elections.

“I’m very happy with the news that she won the Nobel Prize and it’s something that all Yemenis can be proud of,” Deputy Information Minister Abdu al-Janadi said. “I hope this prize will be a step toward rationality.”





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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 29th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010

 ipsterraviva.net/UN/currentNew.as…
Q&A: “There Is Almost Total Impunity for Rape in Congo”
Jennie Lorentsson of IPS/TerraViva interviews MARGOT WALLSTRÃ-M, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 28 (IPS) – Sexual violence against women has become part of modern warfare around the world. In some countries, women cannot even go out to draw water without fear of being attacked and raped.

On Apr. 1, Margot Wallström became the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Her job is to investigate abuses and make recommendations to the Security Council. The appointment of Wallstrom, currently a vice president of the European Commission, comes amidst continued reports of gender violence, including rape and sexual abuse both locally and by humanitarian aid workers and U.N. peacekeepers, mostly in war zones and in post-conflict societies.

The incidents of sexual attacks, both on women and children, have come from several countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Haiti, Burundi, Guinea and Liberia. One of Wallstrom’s first assignments was a trip to the DRC, a nation she calls “the rape capital” of the world. Excerpts from the interview with Wallström follow.

Q: Tell us about your trip.

A: Congo has attracted attention in the media [as a place that is suffering] systematic rape in war. One statistic quoted is 200,000 rapes since the beginning of the war 14 years ago, and it is certainly an underestimate.

When in Congo, I met government representatives and particularly women who had been raped and violated. It was interesting but also disappointing – nothing is getting better and more and more civilians are committing rapes.

But I should be fair and say that there has been progress, the government has introduced laws against rape, it has a national plan and there is political will. There is a lot to do to implement the legislation, but now there is an ambitious legal ground to stand on to be implemented by the police, judiciary and health care.

Q: What are the roots of the problem?

A: The sexual violence in Congo is the result of the war between the many armed groups. To put women in the front line has become a part of modern warfare.

Men often feel threatened in times of conflict and stay inside, but the women have to go out and get water and firewood and go to the fields to find food. In many cases they’ll be the first to be attacked. Especially if there is no paid national army that can protect civilians, rape is a part of the looting and crimes against the innocent. In addition, there is almost total impunity for rape in the Congo.

Q: The U.N. has its own force, MONUC, in Congo to protect civilians. What is being done to help women?

A: MONUC has had to adjust their operations after the conditions in the country. For example, MONUC has special patrols which escort women to health care clinics and markets.

Q: The U.N. and the Congolese government are discussing when the U.N. should leave the country. What would happen if the U.N. left the Congo now?

A: We have reason to be worried if the United Nations would leave the Congo. It is still unsettled in some parts of the country and the U.N. provides logistics for many of the NGOs operating in the country, and they rely in the U.N.

What is happening right now is that [the government] wants to show that it can protect the country itself – it’s a part of the debate on independence.

Q: How do feel when you hear about U.N. peacekeepers committing atrocities?

A: Just one example is too much. It destroys our confidence in the U.N.’s ability to do great things.

Q: There is criticism that the U.N. is a bureaucratic and inflexible organisation. Do you agree?

A: In every large organisation there is critisism like this. After 10 years in the European Commission, I can recognise such trends here, there is always. But basically, there are high hopes and great confidence in the U.N. and the energy and passion that exists for the U.N. is very useful.

Q: The Security Council has promised to focus even more on the issue of violence against women. Which countries should be focused on?

A: Congo is a given, also Darfur and a number of other countries in Africa. We will also focus on Liberia, where it is more a post-conflict society which has been brutalised and where rape is the most common offence. We cannot be in all countries with conflicts, we will comply with the Security Council agenda. This is a problem that not only exists in Africa.

Q: What can your staff do on site?

A: Our team of legal experts can help a country to establish a modern legislation. Impunity is the foundation of the problem, the women have to go with guilt and the men go free. We must try to understand how such a culture is created and how it can be a method of warfare. Then we can stop it.

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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 August 11th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

This posting comes as a correction of our previous postings that said that President Obama had in reality only three choices when trying to show solidarity with African democrats. now we are left only with two SubSaharan States that qualify – this at a time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trying to drum up interest in democracy by traveling through further seven states that showed once promise for democracy but have hit harder times now.
Also, western interest in stable governments in Africa should not be viewed as merely an economist’s decision on who provides safety for his investments. This is the view that allowed China to look away from the Sudanese atrocities – will this sort of thinking provide excuse now for French views about Niger?
The remarks come after Niger authorities said 92.5 percent of people in a recent referendum voted in favour of keeping the president in power until at least 2012 and potentially for life.

 

Opposition groups say just five percent of the population even took part. But pro-democracy campaigner Morou Amadou has landed in jail after calling for a general strike.”

 

The seven states visited by Secretary Hillary Clinton are: Kenya, South Africa, Congo (DRC), Angola, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde. We wish to note that only two of the seven, Angola and Nigeria, export oil to the US.


 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 17th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

COTE D’IVOIRE- Agreement Paves the Way for the Socio-Economic Reinsertion of Former Combatants- IOM has signed a comprehensive agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide sustainable socio-economic reinsertion assistance to former combatants and ex-members of self-defence groups.

The USD 1,4 million, six-month programme, funded by the UN’s Peacebuilding Fund, aims to provide vocational training and in-kind assistance to set up the first 250 of 1,000 micro projects that will benefit 1,300 individuals who are currently demobilized in the Central and Western departments of Séguéla, Duekué and Guiglo.

The micro-projects will seek to support agricultural, cattle farming, small business and retailing activities, through the provision of a reinsertion kit, which will include a set of essential equipment and tools.

Priority will be given to former combatants and members of self-defence groups who choose to work together on common income-generating projects.

“Cote d’Ivoire is currently in a post conflict phase with elections scheduled for the coming months,” says Jacques Seurt, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Abidjan. “It is therefore critical to ensure the sustainable reinsertion assistance for former combatants, particularly in areas that have been worst affected by the conflict”

To date, some 10,000 ex-combatants have been disarmed, demobilized and regrouped throughout the country. A further 34,000 combatants and 20,000 members of self-defence groups are still in need of disarmament and demobilization assistance.

For more information, please contact Jacques Seurt at IOM Abidjan, Tel: +225 22 52 82 00, Email  jseurt at iom.int
***
LIBERIA – Reintegrating Ex-Combatants – Two hundred former combatants of the conflict in Liberia will be given an opportunity to not only earn a living and complete their reintegration into society, but also to make a difference in reducing pollution and improving the health and living conditions of the most vulnerable communities in the capital, Monrovia.

The former combatants will take part in a new IOM programme funded by the German government which will help municipal authorities re-start and manage a comprehensive waste management system in Monrovia.

The fourteen year conflict which killed more than 200,000 people and displaced another one million also destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, contributing to the spread of poverty and disease.
A middle-income country before the conflict began in 1989; seventy-five per cent of Liberia’s population now lives on less than a dollar a day.

The capital in particular is facing particular stress. Monrovia has more than tripled in size since 1989 and is now home to a third of the country’s total population. One million people are living in an over-crowded city severely lacking in key infrastructure including a waste management system.

Efforts to bring the country back to normal are dependent on the successful completion of the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants, more than 103,000 of whom have been registered so far through a national demobilisation programme. Monrovia itself has large numbers of unemployed former combatants on its streets with the national unemployment rate estimated as being as high as 85 per cent.

Coordinating the programme with Monrovia’s Municipal Public Works (MPV), the World Bank and the International Labour Organization (ILO) which are also supporting and carrying out projects focused on addressing unemployment and waste management issues, IOM will help restart a waste collection and management service.

The Organization will provide technical assistance to local authorities; create the necessary premises to implement a waste collection system; identify, recruit, train and manage a local workforce from among unemployed former combatants and devise information campaigns aimed at raising awareness among the city’s population of environment and health-related issues.

For further information, please contact Ferdinand Paredes at IOM Monrovia, Tel: + 231 6 448 129 or +231 666 5950, Email:  fparedes at iom.int

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 6th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

“Avaaz” means “Voice” in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European languages.

 www.AVAAZ.org – The World In Action -7,222,100 actions taken since it was established January   2007.

In just one year, Avaaz has grown to over 3.2 million members in every nation of the world.
Avaaz.org is a new global web movement with a simple democratic mission: to close the gap between the world we have, and the world most people everywhere want.

Across the world, most people want stronger protections for the environment, greater respect for human rights, and concerted efforts to end poverty, corruption and war. Yet globalization faces a huge democratic deficit as international decisions are shaped by political elites and unaccountable corporations — not the views and values of the world’s people.

Technology and the internet have allowed citizens to connect and mobilize like never before. The rise of a new model of internet-driven, people-powered politics is changing countries from Australia to the Philippines to the United States. Avaaz takes this model global, connecting people across borders to bring people powered politics to international decision-making.

Coming together in this way, Avaaz has become a   community of people from all nations, backgrounds, and ages brought together by our care for the world, and a desire to do what we can to make it a better place.
In just one year, Avaaz has grown to over 3.2 million members in every nation of the world.

The core of this model of organizing is the email list, operated in 13 languages. By signing up to receive the alerts, you are rapidly alerted to urgent global issues and opportunities to achieve change. Avaaz members respond by rapidly combining the small amounts of time or money they can give into a powerful collective force. In just hours we can send hundreds of thousands of messages to political leaders telling them to save a crucial summit on climate change , hold hundreds of rallies across the world calling for action to prevent a genocide, or donate hundreds of thousands of euros, dollars and yen to support nonviolent protest in Burma. Their web gives the list of campaigns and impacts in 2007.

In just one year AVAAZ has begun to make a real impact on global politics. The Economist writes that Avaaz is poised to deliver “a deafening wake up call” to world leaders, the Indian Express welcomes “the biggest web campaigner across the world” and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore says “Avaaz is inspiring, and has already begun to make a difference.”

This weekend AVAAZ has taken a full page add in The Financial Times in which African leaders: Mandela, Koroma, Tutu, Merafhe, Mwanawama, Johnson-Sirleaf call for the non-recognition of Mugabe’s Presidency of Zimbabwe. It also notes that todate only Sudan and Iran have recognized the Zimbabwe power-grab as legitimate government.

AVAAZ says: After a terror campaign and a sham ‘election’ Robert Mugabe has declared himself President of Zimbabwe. The country is in crisis and its fate depends on talks between Mugabe and the winner of the first round election — Morgan Tsvangirai.

If Governments from around the world do not recognise Mugabe, his position will be weakened, and he could be pressured into a deal with Tsvangirai that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people.

Also,   Avaaz will attend the July 7th Summit to deliver a worldwide public outcry to G8 leaders for strong climate commitments. This is our chance to urge rich country leaders for bold action on climate change – they say.

The Avaaz community is served by a small team of global campaigners working in many countries to identify and develop opportunities for members to take action. Our campaign team consults with Avaaz.org members to develop campaigns and set the priorities of the organisation. Avaaz also relies on teams of expert advisors to help develop our campaigns, and often Avaaz members volunteer to work with the team on specific projects. We currently have staff based in Rio de Janeiro, Geneva, New York, London, and Washington DC. Our core campaign team members are:

Ricken Patel – Co-Founder and Executive Director (Canada)
Paul Hilder – Campaign Director (UK)
Ben Wikler – Campaign Director (US)

Milena Berry – Chief Technical Officer (Bulgaria)
Galit Gun – Campaigner (Mexico)
Iain Keith – Campaigner (UK)
Graziela Tanaka – Campaigner (Brazil)
Pascal Vollenweider – Campaigner (Switzerland)

Avaaz.org was co-founded by Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org, an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States.

The co-founding team was also composed of a group of global social entrepreneurs from 6 countries, including our Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser, Andrea Woodhouse, Jeremy Heimans, and David Madden.

Avaaz is lucky to have the founding partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world, including the Service Employees International Union, a founding partner of Avaaz, GetUp.org.au, and many others.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 19th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: MCT

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