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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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

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

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

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

Africa:

Asia & the Pacific:

Latin America & the Caribbean:

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

———-

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

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 25th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from Kreisky Forum <kreiskyforum@kreisky.org>
date Wed, Aug 25, 2010
subject WOMEN CARRY THE BURDEN;

Mittwoch, 8. September 2010, 19.00 Uhr

im Rahmen der Reihe Talking for Peace. A Karl Kahane Lecture Series laden wir Sie sehr herzlich zu der

folgenden Veranstaltung ein:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 7.00 p.m.

WOMEN CARRY THE BURDEN CONFLICT PREVENTION AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Opening event in the framework of the 2010 International Meeting of National Committees for UNIFEM (Part of UN Women) presented by DER STANDARD

Welcome: Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, Federal Minister for Women and Civil Service

Introduction to UN Resolution 1325: Maj. Gen. Johann Pucher, National Security Policy Director, Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports

Keynote: Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of UNIFEM (Part of UN Women)

Contributions:

Sonja Biserko, Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Serbia

Taghreed El-Khodary, New York Times, Gaza

Liberata Mulamula, Executive Secretary, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Burundi

Anat Saragusti, Executive Director of Agenda, Israel

Moderator: Gudrun Harrer, Senior Editor, DER STANDARD

In cooperation with

the Austrian National Committee for UNIFEM (Part of UN Women)

and the support of the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry for Women and Civil Service,
the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports (Directorate for Security Policy,
and the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation.

Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien

Please register: Tel.: 3188260/20 | Fax: 318 82 60/10 | e-mail: einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org

Melitta Campostrini
Bruno Kreisky Forum
for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
A-1190 Vienna

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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

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

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

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

A la Une

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

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

Actualités

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colloques, conférences, rencontres, forum…

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

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

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

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

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

Ressources

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

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

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

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

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

Blogues du Riaed

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

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

Annuaire du Riaed

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

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

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

Opportunités de financement de projets

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

Formation, stages, partenariat, bourse d’échanges

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

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

Sites francophones sur l’énergie

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

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

(Autres liens et réseaux)

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

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

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

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

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

UN-SUPPORTED RENEWABLE ENERGY CENTRE FOR WEST AFRICA OPENS IN CAPE VERDE.

A new regional centre to help develop the renewable energy potential for West Africa opened today in Cape Verde, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which is supporting the facility, said.

The Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), a specialized agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is based in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. It is supported by UNIDO and the Governments of Austria, Cape Verde and Spain.


It will help develop renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in West Africa, formulate policy, build capacity and quality assurance mechanisms, as well design financing plans. The centre will also implement demonstration projects with potential for regional scaling up.

“The current energy systems in the ECOWAS region are failing to support the growth prospects of the over 262 million inhabitants, especially the needs of the poor. The creation of ECREEE is a central milestone in efforts to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and services in the region,” said Yoshiteru Uramoto, Deputy to UNIDO’s Director-General.

“Investing in renewable energy systems and introducing energy efficient technologies will contribute to the region’s economic and social development without harming the environment,” he added.

It is estimated that a total of 23,000 megawatts of large and small hydroelectric potential is concentrated in five ECOWAS member States, of which only 16 per cent has been exploited.

Traditional biomass is already the main source of energy for the poor majority and accounts for 80 per cent of total energy consumed for domestic purposes. There are also considerable wind, tidal, ocean thermal and wave energy resources available. The region has vast solar energy potential.

UNIDO has a number of projects in Africa where renewable energy sources like small hydro, biomass gasification, wind energy, solar thermal and photovoltaic energy are used to promote the development of small industries, particularly in rural areas, that contribute to growth and poverty reduction.

The agency has also developed an energy programme for 18 countries in West Africa, including all ECOWAS member States, funded by the Global Environment Facility. ECREEE will become the main implementing agency of the $150 million programme that will focus on the energy access agenda and energy efficiency in key sectors of the economy.

###

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.

###

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!

###

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.

###

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.

###

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!)

###

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

from WICKREMASINGHE, Ravindra <R.Wickremasinghe@unido.org>
date Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:48 AM
subject Views of the UNIDO DG on the green energy-based industrial revolution

Hello Pincas Jawetz,

I have the honour to submit some comments of and by the Director-General of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO),  Dr Kandeh K. Yumkella of Sierra Leone, on the food, fuel and financial crises afflicting the world and the solutions that he proposes, including the role of women as energy entrepreneurs.  Under his leadership UNIDO is committed to sustainable industrial development.

As you may be aware that Dr. Yumkella is the Chair of UN-Energy and also the Chair of the UNSG’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate. The report was released in New York yesterday and it can be found at the link below.

He was unanimously reelected for a second four year term in December 2009.

Thank you and best wishes

Mr. Ravindra Wickremasinghe

Advocacy Unit

UNIDO

Vienna

Austria

www.unido.org

Office: 00431 26026 5022

Mobile : 004369911123504

[Report] UN Secretary-General’s advisory group report calls for new initiative to bring clean energy to the poor

www.un.org/wcm/webdav/site/climatechange/shared/Documents/AGECC%20summary%20report%5B1%5D.pdf

www.unido.org/index.php?id=7881&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=467&cHash=db2f49a6e6

UNIDO Director-General Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella

www.unido.org/index.php?id=o3358

Snow Days, Pancakes, and Energy Justice

The Huffington Post

October 30, 2009

… Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), opens the conference with the three F’s: food, fuel, and financial crisis. As a result of these F’s, 100 million people have been pushed back to living on $1 a day, causing food riots that are rapidly spreading to a “full scale, full world crisis.” Dr Yumkella speaks of living his own personal dichotomy, having come from a small village in Sierra Leone?the third poorest country?and currently living in Vienna with the best of everything. When he travels back to his village, he brings a generator and bottled water, because there is no electricity or potable drinking water. His passionate work for energy justice is grounded in his personal experience of this extreme energy disparity…

www.huffingtonpost.com/joellen-raderstorf/snow-days-pancakes-and-en_b_339570.html

Cabler of the Week: Timothy E. Wirth

Posted By Josh Rogin  Friday, February 12, 2010

Josh Rogin reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for

The Cable.

Where we ask questions that help us to understand one of the personalities making foreign policy in the age of Obama: This week’s subject: U.N. Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth

1. Which American president do you look to as the model for your approach to foreign policy ideology? Jefferson, Wilson, FDR, LBJ, JFK, George W. Bush, someone else?

I think the Roosevelts did a great job – all three of them! Teddy Roosevelt promoted a strong but humble foreign policy (“walk softly but carry a big stick”) and won the Nobel Prize for his work negotiating a peace settlement between Russia and Japan. He was engaged in the world and had a vision for shared progress through such endeavors as the Panama Canal.

FDR helped steer us successfully through the Second World War and inspired the nation to greatness. He helped broker the deal that resulted in the creation of the UN. And he supported his wife as she became a worldwide leader on behalf of human rights. Eleanor Roosevelt’s work on behalf of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains one of the most important contributions to human dignity and progress.

2. How do you view U.S. hegemony leadership in the world in the 21st century? Is America a hegemon in decline or going strong? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

We live in an interdependent age.  No one nation – not even one as well-intentioned and powerful as the United States – can go it alone in addressing the great global challenges we face.  This reality is both humbling and inspiring. Humbling because even as strong as we are, we must recognize the limits of our power and the necessity of international cooperation. Inspiring because the United States has the responsibility and opportunity to lead in solving the world’s great global challenges related to economic progress and poverty alleviation; global warming and protecting the Earth’s life-support systems, human rights, peace and security.

3. What’s the number one narrative about the UN so far that you feel has been mischaracterized by the media?

The media has underestimated the effectiveness of the UN. In an interdependent age, the world has 200 board members with different backgrounds, perspectives and views on global plans and priorities. In this context, the UN does a remarkable job. UN peacekeepers are deployed in the world’s most dangerous places, and have been instrumental in post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction in places like East Timor, the Balkans, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As the world’s 911 service, the UN leads humanitarian relief in places like Haiti and quietly cares for 20 million refugees around the world. And the UN is the platform through which nations work together to address common economic, environmental and social challenges — with concrete agreements in place to protect the environment, ensure equal rights for women and men, and enable the trade, travel and commerce we take for granted.

4. Who is the UN official that we should watch more closely?

Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Chairman of UN Energy. Yumkella, from Sierra Leone, is one of the bright young international civil servants drawn into the UN and is typical of the remarkable talent there. A graduate of Cornell with a PhD from the University of Illinois, Yumkella taught at Michigan State before returning to his native country. Among his other responsibilities, he is tasked with coordinating and building the UN’s capacity for factoring energy access into all their policies.

5. What do you see as the top three challenges for the UN over the next three decades?

Strengthening the UN so that it has the systems, governance, personnel and resources needed to propel international cooperation on the new and emerging challenges of the 21st century, from climate change to terrorism;

Ongoing work to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and promote peace around the world;

Addressing persistent poverty and global demographic challenges that will alter the world’s economic, environmental and security priorities, rapid population growth in the world’s poorest countries, aging and associated dependency issues, urbanization and the issues of scarcity of food, water and energy. Climate change will exacerbate all of the challenges facing the UN, and must be both understood and factored into every programmatic and political calculation.

6. Why did you decide to go to work for the UN? What do you hope to accomplish?

I don’t work for the UN directly, of course, but I am delighted to help support and advocate for the UN as part of an independent organization.  I was honored when Ted Turner asked me to work with him and the board to create the UN Foundation. Having served as undersecretary of state for global affairs, I was and remain convinced that the great challenges of the future require broad-based international cooperation. It doesn’t matter whether coal is burned in Cleveland or Calcutta, we all get warm together. Global problems require global solutions and that is why the UN is more indispensable than ever before. But the challenges are great and this institution, like every institution, needs support from the outside. That is what we do at the UN Foundation and I think this is one of the most interesting and important jobs in the world.

7. Who was your mentor in the early stages of your career and how did they help you?

John Gardner, the former secretary of health, education and welfare, and leader of the non-profit sector was a great mentor to me. He encouraged everyone around him to aspire to excellence, to be true to enduring values and to work very, very hard. John impressed on me the importance of attention to detail, which makes all the difference. And he insisted that meetings be less than one hour.

8. What is your favorite country to visit for pleasure and what should we do when we go there?

Argentina – visit the Tango Parlors of Buenos Aires!

thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/02/12/cabler_of_the_week_timothy_e_wirth

The imperative of green industry

The Economic Times [India]

February 5, 2010

KANDEH K YUMKELLA

Industry-led growth has been the engine of the global economy for over two centuries. All developed nations have harnessed industry as the main driver of their prosperity, and it is still the best hope for ending the dominance of poverty over the so called Bottom Billion of humankind.

But we need another kind of industry-led growth: Green Industrial Revolution. Rather than limiting growth, such a revolution can, and should, form the core of our response to climate change. The potential is there for new, clean methods of production; industries focusing on mitigation and adaptation services; and greater use of renewable energy.

But why green industry? Because, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), industry accounts for a third of global energy use and almost 40% of worldwide CO2 emissions. We should switch to clean and renewable energy to power our economies; improve the efficiency of our energy, material and water use; and practice conservation. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective, least polluting and the most readily-available industrial energy savings option available in the industrial sector worldwide. Capturing these potential end-use energy-efficiency improvements rapidly is essential to keeping greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels.

There is also significant potential to reduce, at low or no cost, the amount of energy used to manufacture goods. In the IEA’s stabilisation scenario for greenhouse gas emissions, over a quarter of all energy-efficiency gains need to come from the industrial sector by 2050. Changing our present paradigm of development will not be easy. But many countries in Asia are already taking concrete steps to encourage and expand the use of clean energy and improve their resource efficiency. China has reduced the energy intensity of its economy by over 60% since 1980 and expects to reduce it further by 20% by 2010. It plans to double the proportion of energy it uses from renewable energy sources by 15% in 2020. China has also become the world’s leading renewable energy producer in terms of installed generating capacity and has now surpassed Japan as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic technology. It is also expected to become the world’s leading manufacturer of wind turbines this year.

India increased its renewable energy target to 14 GW renewables capacity by 2012. It has also emerged as a major producer of solar photovoltaics and wind turbines. Most importantly, India has adopted a National Action Plan for Climate Change whose aim is to protect the poor and the vulnerable through an inclusive and sustainable development strategy that is sensitive to climate change. And new policies are leading to $18 billion in new manufacturing investment.

Unido and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are contributing to improving resource efficiency through cleaner production centres in China, India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea, among others. Overall, there have been significant gains made by Asia in moving towards resource-efficient and low-carbon industries over the years. But more needs to be done especially since resource use in the region continues to increase in absolute terms with the region’s continuing economic growth.

Recognising the importance of sustained economic growth and sustainable development for the future of the globe, Unido organised a series of conferences on green industry and renewable energy in 2009, including in Austria, the Philippines and Mexico. The culmination was the recently-concluded 13th Session of the Unido general conference held in Vienna in December 2009 with the thematic focus of Green Industry.

Among the decisions and resolutions of the general conference was the one adopted by Unido’s 173 member states urging the organisation to continue to develop, within its mandated thematic priority of energy and environment, activities geared towards sustainable industrial development. This should be done through a 10-point strategy that includes, among others, recommendations such as continuation of assistance in the fields of renewable energy for productive uses, industrial energy efficiency, cleaner production, green industries and sustainable low-carbon emission industries including capacity-building to shift to more sustainable patterns of industrial output. It also includes the collection and dissemination of best industrial practices on the most suitable environmentally-sound technologies; and formulation and implementation of programmes, including facilitating transfer of adequate technologies that maximise the reuse and recycling of resources.

Clearly, there is a need for fundamental change in how we produce, consume and exchange goods. That is to say, how we ‘green’ our economies, our growth strategies, our transportation systems, our buildings and our homes. And in doing so, we will find ourselves building the industries of the 21st century: creating new jobs, maintaining the momentum of growth and protecting our planet.

(The author is director-general of Unido)

economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5536655.cms?prtpage=1

Turning the global crisis into an opportunity

Today’s unprecedented financial and economic crisis can be used as an opportunity to achieve a green energy revolution and put energy sector development on the right track.

Kandeh K. Yumkella, UNIDO Director-General and Chair of UN-Energy 24/06/2009 12:15

But for this to happen, we must make sure that the global fiscal stimulus packages, introduced by the major economies and totaling US$3 trillion, are used to support the priority investments required for such change.

Our volatile and rapidly changing world requires swift and determined action to address the urgent needs of today, as well as rigorous analysis to guide sensible decision-making for the future.

Some one billion people in the world still live in abject poverty and some two billion have no access to modern forms of energy services. Inadequate investment levels today and likely future energy price hikes mean that economic and human development may be compromised for a long period of time.

Energy access and the provision of energy services are directly linked to many, if not all, of the global challenges of the 21 st Century. Taking bold action today to make energy affordable, accessible, more efficient and sustainable will help address many of these challenges. This is especially crucial for the developing world and the continent I come from, Africa.

There are positive signs out there. As the latest REN21 Renewables Global Status Report points out, the world’s energy markets are going through a fundamental transition with many governments enacting new policies and setting ambitious targets. Innovation was boosted by a continuing flow of private equity investment and venture capital, at least prior to the credit crunch.

Responding to the financial meltdown, some governments have directed economic stimulus funding towards the new green jobs that the renewable energy sector can provide. The U.S. plans to invest $150 billion over ten years in renewable energy. President Obama’s goal for the United States to get 25 per cent of the nation’s power from renewable energy sources by 2025 is highly commendable and should serve as an example to others.

European countries, such as Austria, are moving forcefully ahead, getting over 20 per cent of overall primary energy consumption from renewable energy sources. Austria is also one of the leaders in renewable energy production and technologies, with a share of renewable energy in total energy production set to rise to 34 per cent by 2020. Most of its electrical energy is generated from hydro power, but wind power is booming as well.

In the developing world, China and India are playing a much more visible role in the field of renewable energy. China’s total wind power capacity doubled in 2008 for the fourth year running. It is also one of the few countries that have established an ambitious national goal to reduce energy intensity by 20 per cent.  New laws and policy provisions for renewables appeared in Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Syria, and Uganda.

To achieve a successful energy transition, we need a judicious mix of policies and investments in research and development. Proper policies will help eliminate market barriers, promote adequate power sector structures, and economically coherent pricing schemes could provide access to energy for all.

World leaders must reach a new global deal to shape the international and domestic policy environment to make it conducive for rapid technology deployment, by focusing on three areas:

  • energy access
  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energy

The Global Energy Assessment carried out by the International Institute for Applied System Analysis with the support from several governments, UNIDO, the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP, is a positive step. Preliminary findings will be presented to the United Nations COP15 meeting in December. The study will identify the achievable goals for renewable energy in the next 10-50 years in quantity and cost terms, offer policy changes for an effective and efficient transition to renewables, and suggest the way forward for the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Everyone understands that we need a major transformation of our economic systems to eradicate energy poverty, avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change, and provide the adequate energy services required for a sustainable world.

To ensure future prosperity, we need to learn how to get more with less, be energy and material efficient, and reach a high level of growth based on low-carbon economies. It would be incorrect to assume that countries would suddenly decide to walk away from traditional fossil fuels, like oil and gas. It will take time and a new, affordable generation of renewable energy sources and technologies for this to happen. In the meantime, clean and efficient production and use of all forms of energy is essential for energy security and economic growth (particularly in developing countries). In the interim period, the use of clean technologies such as clean coal will be critical.

The longer we wait to introduce the necessary changes, the higher the costs and the greater the green house gas emission reductions that will be required to address climate change. The longer we wait, the more we will have to confront the long turnover times that characterize the energy industry and, particularly, energy end use.

As bad as it is, the crisis can turn out to be the opportunity of our lifetime. To make this happen, we must invest and transform the unsustainable energy systems we have, turn the historical crisis of the “old” into an opportunity to sow the seeds for “new” sources of energy supply. But, most of all, we require the enlightened and strong leadership and vision to get us there.

Kandeh K. Yumkella is UNIDO Director-General and Chair of UN-Energy

en.cop15.dk/blogs/view+blog?blogid=1600

Don’t shut the door on Africa

In this recession, a failure to help the ‘bottom billion’ would bring a larger crisis leading to famine, unrest and mass migration

Kandeh K Yumkella

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 June 2009

Kandeh K Yumkella is director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). [www.unido.org]

These days, a dollar won’t get you very far in a rich economy. But in a poor country like the one I come from, Sierra Leone, even half a dollar can save a life or feed an entire family. Every penny invested in Africa counts today and to secure Africa’s future.

Experts are unanimous: the financial, food and energy crisis will hammer the “bottom billion” – the poorest in some 60 countries that survive on about a dollar a day – the hardest. Because of the crisis, many African countries are likely to miss the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goal of poverty reduction.

The continent has made some significant socio-economic gains over the last decade. I’ve seen this for myself during recent travels to Benin, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. These gains include, to name a few: free-market reforms, liberalisation of economies, the steady introduction of pro-business environments, empowerment of women and education. But most of these gains are now seriously threatened.

The financial crisis has dealt a blow to remittances. Migrants are losing their jobs or struggling to set aside cash for their relatives back home. The World Bank’s latest global economic outlook suggests remittances will fall by 5% to 8% this year.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg of the tens of millions that can be tracked. Foreign companies are pulling back capital, drying import and export financing. Trade is declining. The unemployment rate, especially among disadvantaged groups – young people and women – is staggering. In Sierra Leone alone, more than 60% of the country’s youth are jobless.

A failure to help the “bottom billion” could fuel mass migration and global insecurity. Ignoring the poorest nations means postponing a much larger crisis which will lead to famine, unrest, and massive migration. Poverty is also an incubator for diseases, and the flow of legal and illegal migrants will carry them to rich nations.

Poverty is not just “their” problem. It is “our” problem too. If developing countries collapse, there will be millions knocking on our front doors, and the first port of call will be Europe. Such mass migration will severely hurt already strained social relations in some countries and lead to unpredictable consequences. Only a co-ordinated global response can guarantee that in the long run people from the poorest billion will visit Europe as tourists and business partners, not as asylum seekers.

Africa needs to do its share. It needs investments to shift away from a dependence on a donor-driven agenda and peasant-driven agriculture, and learn to compete on a global level. It can generate sustainable growth through industrialisation, and by creating a single market. It needs to promote production and trade, expand agribusiness and agro-industries, and create wealth and new jobs. Agribusiness development can stimulate broader economic growth and boost regional trade, while enhancing food security and reducing poverty.

Globalisation has been good to many in the developing world. At this critical moment, we can’t allow this to fade away. We need to make this a more inclusive process, and make sure that:

• Financial resources keep flowing to Africa and the developing world so they continue integrating into the global economy

• Protectionism is avoided and markets stay open

• The poorest nations can grow out of poverty through trade

• There is good governance of natural resources to fuel broader and inclusive development.

The abundance of relevant experiences from the newly industrialised countries in Asia and elsewhere can show African countries how to galvanise their economies, accelerating the process of wealth creation and poverty reduction on the continent.

And last but not least. Development without access to energy won’t happen. This crisis could help formulate a new approach: increase access to reliable, affordable and renewable energy services for sustainable development and promote energy efficiency to make sure economic growth does not raise energy demand and environmental degradation, including climate change.

Africa has great hydropower potential but only 7% has been exploited so far. Africa’s natural gas reserves amount to about 8% of global reserves. It has 10% of global oil reserves. But it requires major investments to develop both traditional energy means and renewable ones.

It is still unclear exactly how much of the $1tn pledged at the London G20 summit will find its way to Africa. That’s why we need to keep an eye on the figures and keep reminding world leaders of the needs of those in the developing world that live in their shadow. This will set policy priorities straight, put strategies in place to avert a human catastrophe and help Africa secure its rightful place at the global economic table.

Kandeh K Yumkella is director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). [www.unido.org]

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/28/africa-recession/print

ECONOMY:  Africa Should Seize Control of its Development??

By Annelise Sander

GENEVA, May 29 (IPS) – Colonisation can be blamed for Africa s underdevelopment but today Africans must take their fate in their own hands and become ambitious. The continent badly needs industrialisation but it has fallen back into the trap of merely exporting commodities because of booming prices.

These are the innovative statements made by some of the regions highest decision-makers at the first African Forum for Dialogue, organised by the African Union in Geneva under the heading Africa ?s Development: Whose Responsibility on May 27.

I am angry because Africa is in such a bad way, said a passionate Kandeh Yumkellah, the director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). We are paying the price for other peoples mistakes, like climate change and the financial crisis, but whose responsibility is it?

Ours! We are educated. We can blame colonialism for the past 350 years but, for the next 50, we are responsible.

It was a sentiment also shared by Jean Ping, chairperson of the African Union Commission. But it doesnt mean that we don?t need the rest of the world. We live in a globalised world and need to open up, he added.

Speaker after speaker stressed that Africa needed to become more self reliant. But they also called for the strengthening of development cooperation. It is not a contradiction. It is all about development cooperation that takes into account the choices of the countries concerned.

Yumkellah cited the following model: In Asia , the mantra is competitiveness, and then you create the roads and the port facilities you need. In Africa we talk everyday about crisis and poverty and our minds become small. Lets be ambitious! Deng Xiao Ping said: I want China to be the powerhouse of the world in thirty years. And today it is.

With the increase in commodity prices, Jean Ping remarked that trade terms are favourable to Africa for the first time in a century.

But Yumkellah warned: Suddenly we are addicted to commodity trade again. But where is the value added? How do you create jobs if you don?t have the manufacturing base? Manufacturing must take place in Africa – otherwise we will not cope with the huge forecasted growth in population.

Africa is perceived as irrelevant in globalisation because its contribution to manufacturing is less than three percent. And 70 percent of global trade takes place in this sector.

For the dynamic Sierra Leonean, Africans want to talk about transformation and not only about the wars in Darfur and the Congo . But they (the North) dont want to,he says.

The Gulf of Guinea is one of the richest regions in the world but it has the poorest countries. Fishers are coming in from outside and over-fishing the waters. Let?s pray that young men and women will not become the next pirates.

Development assistance today is not about aid, but how you make Africa competitive to create jobs, otherwise our children will leave for the North.

He expressed regret that the continent was again missing an opportunity: The third industrial revolution is green. We financed the first one with the slave trade. Let us not let the new industrial revolution pass us by, he added, pointing to the lack of interest and debate over green technologies and jobs on the continent.

www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=47022

Green Energy for All by 2030?

Stephen Leahy

VIENNA, Jun 26 (IPS) – While industrialised countries struggle to switch from climate-damaging, carbon-based energy to greener energy sources, much of the world is desperately energy poor, with 1.6 billion people having no access to electricity and 2.4 billion relying on wood and dung for heat and cooking.

“Over 1.6 million deaths a year are attributed to indoor use of biomass for cooking and heating,” Kandeh Yumkella, director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), told more than 600 participants from 80 countries at the Vienna Energy Conference this week in Austria’s capital city.

The conference concluded with a recommendation to create a 20-year plan to end energy poverty by 2030.

Women and children in many parts of the world have little choice but to spend hours each day in search of firewood, trapped in a vicious cycle of deforestation that increases erosion and reduces the fertility of their land. “Energy interacts with all of the development challenges we face,” said Yumkella.

The developing world – and especially those without access to electricity – must be part of the new green energy revolution, he said. “We can’t leave people out. We must have climate justice and energy justice,” he told IPS in an interview.

While energy is a major topic in the run-up to the final round of climate negotiations this December in Copenhagen, access to energy is not on the agenda. Energy is essential to economic development, making it the key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said.

“A country’s quality of life is directly proportional to the amount of energy and the efficiency with which it is used,” said Albert Binger, director of the Centre for Environment and Development at the University of the West Indies and an advisor to the Alliance of Small Island States.

“That is the best definition I’ve seen regarding the importance of access to energy,” Binger said.

Small island states have contributed the least, less than 0.05 percent of total global carbon emissions, and yet will be the most affected. “We don’t want to be refugees,” he told conference participants. “Educate your populations about the dangers we face,”

Oil and natural gas production is declining in many non-OPEC nations, leaving the bulk of oil and other fossil fuel production in the hands of a few countries and increasing the likelihood of future price volatility, said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate concerns aside, that’s very bad news for many developing countries dependent on fossil fuel imports. If oil stays at 100 dollars a barrel for any length of time, some countries simply couldn’t afford the price and their economies could collapse.

Business as usual ? increasing reliance on fossil fuels – will result in stark climate, food and energy crises, leading to failed states, Pachauri told IPS.

“Renewables (green energy sources) can buffer you from that. We need a major revolution in the energy sector,” he said.

But who will finance that revolution when many developing countries are living hand to mouth?

Small island states in the Caribbean and Pacific are locked in short-term survival mode, dependant on imported fossil fuels that is keeping them poor, said Susan McDade of the U.N. Development Programme. The oil tanker comes in one day and the next it leaves with much of a country’s money, making it impossible to invest in longer term projects McDade told attendees.

“These states have plenty of sun and wind resources but can’t make the green investments they need,” she said.

There have been plenty of green energy pilot projects but no support to help them get over the ‘energy revolution hump’. “Why not a balance of payments support programme to help them buy the oil they need, freeing up their capital to make the green energy investments?” she suggested.

One-third of the world lacks access to modern energy, which is a major burden on the poor and on the environment, said Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl, director general of the Austrian Development Corporation.

The Vienna Energy Conference shows that there is a need for energy development goals to supplement the Millennium Development Goals. And the first of those energy development goals is to develop a 20-year plan to bring access to energy for all by the year 2030, said Freudenschuss-Reichl.

There is plenty of money in the rich countries of the world to pay for all this, suggested UNIDO’s Yumkella. “The North needs to see and understand that doing so is matter of enlightened self-interest,” he stressed.

Trillions of dollars were found to prop up the world’s banks because there was the perception of a “clear and present danger”. If there is agreement that climate change represents the same risk then the funds will be mobilised, he said.

www.ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=47378

BBC News Interview: Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella

Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, UNIDO, Director-General in an interview with the BBC News. The Andrew Marr Show

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbI0sBI2Nes

UNIDO chief wants “green revolution”

4 June 2009

APA News Service

Vienna – UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, said on Thursday the financial and economic turmoil may lead to a new green industrial revolution, but cautioned that developing countries must not lose out.

“We must make sure that the crisis is used to launch a new green industrial revolution. But it has to be a truly global one. Developing countries and poor communities, already the most afflicted by climate change, cannot afford to lose out”, said Yumkella according to a UNIDO press statement.

“They will need continued support to make their industries cleaner, to enhance their technological know-how, and to build policy toward new green industries and renewable forms of energy for productive purposes.”

The Director-General made his comments to mark World Environment Day, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, and observed on 5 June. This year’s theme is “Your planet needs you! UNite to combat climate change”.

“I’m certain – a new industrial revolution is just around the corner, and this time it will be green. Industry, long regarded as the main source of emissions that cause climate change, should be in the driving seat, moving the world towards a sustainable future.

The UNIDO chief called for cleaner production and renewable energy, as well as resource and energy-efficient technologies

Yumkella said that action was needed “at individual level to reduce, reuse and recycle; at corporate level to invest in energy-efficient and low-carbon production, and at governmental level to ‘seal the deal’ ” at the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

UNIDO will focus on these issues in a range of major international conferences, including one on energy in Vienna from June 22 to 24, and on Green Industry in Asia, to be held in Manila from 9 to 11 September.

www.apa.at

Letter to all Permanent Missions and Permanent Observer Missions to the United Nations regarding an Interactive Thematic Dialogue of United Nations General Assembly on ” Energy Efficiency, Energy Conservation and New and Renewable Sources of Energy” to be held on 18 June 2009. Also included is a brief description of the format of the thematic dialogue. (1 May)

www.un.org/ga/president/63/letters/letters.shtml

Ban launches UN advisory group on energy and climate change

17 June 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today launched a new group consisting of business leaders and experts who will advise him on energy and climate change challenges, particularly in identifying key issues in the run-up to the major United Nations conference to be held in Copenhagen in December.

The high-level Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group held its first meeting today at UN Headquarters under the chairmanship of Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and head of the inter-agency mechanism known as UN-Energy.

The Group will help the UN prepare for Copenhagen, especially regarding the role that energy plays in climate change, and monitor implementation of what is decided at the conference, Mr. Yumkella told a news conference in New York.

Countries will meet in December to ‘seal the deal’ on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions targets. The first phase of the 1997 Protocol expires at the end of 2012.

He said that he had seen reports that energy efficiency alone could reduce global polluting emissions 30 to 40 per cent, “but it is not happening.”

The Group will consider ways to comprehensively address climate change and boost energy efficiency and clean production, with a focus on developing countries.

Mr. Yumkella said it is important to focus on developing countries because they not only required help in tackling climate change, but also needed access to energy options. Many parts of the developing world still burned charcoal, wood and other biomass, which led to ecological damage and is a primary cause of pulmonary diseases.

Among those invited to participate in the group are top executives from companies such as Tata (India), Suntech Holdings (China), Edison International (United States), the New Energy and Technology Development Organization (Japan), and ESKOM Holdings (South Africa), as well as political figures, including former Costa Rican President Jose Figueres, and UN officials.

www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31179&Cr=climate+change&Cr1

Welcome to UN-Energy

UN-Energy, the interagency mechanism on energy, has addressed the importance of access to energy in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in its recent report entitled The Energy Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The report draws on the collective expertise of the entire United Nations system, including the World Bank, and argues that the lack of modern fuels and electricity in most developing countries entrenches poverty, constrains the delivery of social services, limits opportunities for women, and erodes environmental sustainability. Currently 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity and 2.4 billion people lack access to modern fuels for cooking and heating.

About UN-Energy

[Message clipped]  View entire messageYouTube – Videos from this emailLoading…

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Because of our mixed feelings in three articles about the “UN Energy for Development Event” that was billed also as Energy and Climate Change, we received backing for Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, UNIDO, Director-General, and as we concur that his leadership is the best the UN offers on the the 3F (food, fuel, financial crisis) – specially in regard to Africa – and we recognize the UN Foundation work – we post those interesting inputs in full.

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To our credit – I would like to point out that we have already introduced our readers to Dr. Yumkella in:

www.sustainabilitank.info/2006/09/30/latin-americas-energy-security-looks-at-renewables-as-a-viable-alternative/

He said there:

“Kandeh Yumkella, UNIDO Director General, noted that although similar energy issues were present 30 years ago, new ones have emerged, and that the “energy divide” and the inability to attract investment has resulted in economic marginalization of more than two billion people and prevented this region from benefiting from globalization. He cautioned that foreign investment in Africa’s energy resources has not resulted in local development. He noted that renewables can provide access to energy prior to the extension of a national grid, and recognized the region’s progress in this field, highlighting Mercosur cooperation. He said that humanitarian assistance is insufficient, and that true development requires job creation.”

NOW – THOSE ARE WORDS OF WISDOM –renewables can provide access to energy prior to the extension of a national grid” that is the kind of stuff “energy and climate change should talk about rather then the extractive industry represented by Statoil and Vattenfall on the Ban Ki-moon panel. Simply said – the panel was not even about Energy for a Sustainable Future as the title of the UNIDO report has it.

I tried to speak to Dr. Yumkella and contacted by e-mail Mr. Mikhail Evstafyev, UNIDO press officer who sent me a copy of the summary, and Mr. Dan Shepard from the UN DPI who never got back to me following e-mails and phone message. I would rather want someday to interview Dr. Yumkella as I feel he has much more to contribute to the subject then the people here in New York.

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

The UNFCCC official “press headlines” is a daily compilation providing a general overview of international media coverage of climate change-related issues, that does not purport to be exhaustive. The information contained in the compilation is taken as is from sources external to the UNFCCC secretariat, that are freely available on the Internet. No evaluation on the part of the UNFCCC secretariat has been done in terms of the information that they contain. The UNFCCC secretariat makes no warranty, either express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or content of such information.
updated: 29 April 2010 09:13

The above is the disclaimer, but then see what they published on the meeting – these are clearly just good party-line coverage that does not do justice to the subject they deal with. THAT WAS IT! The Inner City Press coverage or our articles, are never part of this. So how can the world know if all what they read is the UNFCCC News?



PTI
UN report pushes for energy access and efficiency to fight poverty and climate change
Increasing access to clean energy and improving its efficiency will be vital to both enhancing global prosperity and combating climate change, according to a report issued Wednesday by an advisory group of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the nexus between energy and climate.
Xinhua
World needs clean energy revolution: UN chief
Rich and poor nations need a “clean energy revolution” in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said here Wednesday.
AFP



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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After Losing a Post, Qaddafi Rebukes the African Union
February 1st, 2010, abbaymedia.com/News/?p=3699
By JASON McLURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

— — — — —
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 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 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 29th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

COMPRENDRE LA COMPENSATION CARBONE.
[ Livres Climat  ]
compensation_carbone_70
Auteur : Benoît Leguet, Valentin Bellassen
Editeur : Pearson

Prix : 9.95€

Aujourd’hui, chacun peut « compenser » ses émissions de carbone sur Internet, en quelques clics, lorsqu’il achète un billet d’avion. Mais que signifie au juste « compenser » ? Comment la compensation est-elle arrivée jusqu’au particulier ? Qui compense volontairement, et comment ? La compensation carbone est-elle un moyen efficace de lutter contre le réchauffement climatique ou sert-elle simplement à alléger notre conscience, et celle des entreprises, à bas coût ?

Benoît Leguet et Valentin Bellassen apportent des explications et des réponses claires et concises à toutes ces questions, qui concernent autant les entreprises que les particuliers.

La “compensation carbone”, qu’est-ce-que c’est ? La compensation carbone s’inscrit au nombre des instruments qui sont à notre disposition pour tenter de résoudre le problème du réchauffement climatique. S’appuyant sur l’idée que des gaz à effet de serre émis en des points différents du globe ont un effet identique sur le réchauffement, ce système propose à qui désire améliorer son impact climatique de financer des projets de réduction des émissions, afin de contrebalancer ses propres rejets de gaz à effet de serre. Un système de calcul élaboré permet de rendre les réductions effectuées grâce à ce financement équivalentes aux gaz à effet de serre émis. On dit alors de ceux-ci qu’ils ont été « compensés », et de l’activité qui les a produit (trajets en avion ou en voiture, chauffage, consommation d’énergie, etc.) qu’elle est « climatiquement neutre ».

Les auteurs

Benoît Leguet est diplômé de l’Ecole polytechnique (spécialité Economie environnementale).
Valentin Bellassen est diplômé de l’ENS (spécialité Ecologie, Biodiversité, Evolution) et doctorant en sciences de l’environnement.
Ils sont respectivement chef de projet et chargé d’études à la Mission Climat de la Caisse des dépôts sur les projets réducteurs d’émissions et la compensation carbone.

La Mission Climat est un centre de ressources qui anime et coordonne les travaux de recherche et de développement dans le champ de l’action contre le changement climatique. Elle réunit une équipe d’économistes et d’ingénieurs spécialisés.

Soutien promotionnel de la Caisse des dépôts, par l’intermédiaire de la Mission Climat.

Public

– Dirigeants d’entreprises, responsables développement durable et environnement, responsables communication
– Toute personne ayant une conscience écologique et souhaitant être mieux informée sur la compensation carbone

Sommaire
1. L’effet de serre : égalité dans le réchauffement, diversité dans les émissions
2. Quand on ne peut plus réduire, on peut toujours compenser
3. Dans le monde du protocole de Kyoto, la compensation a déjà 7 ans : l’âge de raison
4. Les réductions d’émissions de ces projets sont-elles réelles ?
5. La compensation volontaire a 3 ans et commence à trouver ses marques
6. En route vers la standardisation : une quête de garanties de qualité sur le marché volontaire
7. Compenser, c’est déjà réduire, mais ce n’est pas encore refroidir

Nombre de pages : 96
Date de parution : 14/11/2008
Public : Grand public averti

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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