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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

‹Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe›
Europa, USA: Was ändert sich mit Trump? What Changes With A Trump US Presidency?

Der neue US-Präsident Donald Trump wird eine andere Außenpolitik vertreten als Barack Obama. Es ist zu erwarten, dass die USA ihre bisherige Rolle als „Weltpolizei“ nicht mehr in dem Maße wie bisher ausüben wollen. Das hat Auswirkungen auf die Bündnispartner, nicht nur in der Nato. Was haben die Europäer von Trump zu erwarten?

 www.burgtheater.at/Content.Node2/…

THAT WAS THE GIVEN – THE US WILL STOP BEING LESS THE WORLD COP AS IT WAS BEFIRE TRUMP.

That was the Monthly Meeting at the Venerable Vienna Burgtheater for the Month of March 2017 (March 5th).

It will have a sequel on April 2nd, 2017 WHEN POPULISM IN GENERAL WILL BE DISCUSSED..

IRITH JAWETZ REPORTS FROM VIENNA.

It was interesting, although no major surprises. They all agreed that Trump will represent a different foreign policy that Barack Obama or any US President who preceded him. Is it to be expected that the US will no longer want to exercise their role as world police to the extent they have done in the past? This has an impact on the alliance partners, not only in NATO. Trump’s turn to Russia presents the EU with challenges to which they must respond.

Under the leadership and Moderation of Alexandra Foederl-Schmid, the Speakers were:

Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Europe; Alison Smale, head of the Berlin New York Times office; Robert Dornhelm, Film Director and Movie Script-Writer; Former US Republican Congressman; and Ivan Krastev, Political Science Professor, Bulgaria and Permanent Fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences (Instituts fuer Wissenschaften vom Menschen – IWM) Vienna.

THAT WAS THE BURGTHEATER PROGRAM FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2017. EUROPE BEING DISCUSSED (Europa Im Diskurs) -EUROPE-USA: WHAT WILL CHANGE UNDER TRUMP?

ON SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2017 11:00, there will be a sequel –

Burgtheater | Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe
Leben wir im Zeitalter des Populismus?

“DO WE LIVE IN A TIME OF POPULISM?” – this is like seeing if what happened in te USA will
happen in Europe as well.

————————————-

On March 5, 2017 – Most speakers were not Trump supporters (except Irish lady Dempsey who did not really support him but said one must give him a chance). Nevertheless – all of them view him with caution, to say the least.

The two surprising participants for me were Jim Kolbe, Former Republican Congressman from Arizona (1985 till 2007) who is now Board member of IRI (International Republican Institute).

He started by stating that he will definitely not get a phone call from the Trump Administration to join their cabinet. He did not support Trump from the start, and still does not support him. In his closing remarks, Congressman Kolb said that some Republicans are starting to doubt Trump’s ability to be President. He mentioned his fellow Arizonian John McCain and Lindsey Graham in particular. He criticized Trump’s Administration by saying that very often he says one thing and his Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense say something different – and who is to believe? Is Steve Bannon running the show?

As for Trump’s relationship with Russia, Europe should worry – said Congressman Kolb.

The second surprise was Robert Dornheim, a Film Director and Screenwriter, who was born in Romania but has dual citizenship Austrian and US and lives now mainly in Los Angeles.

As a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter he is is completely against Trump. Dornheim was also angry at the media, that fell for Trump’s ability at showmanship during the whole campaign and gave him about 10 hours of coverage to 10 minutes of coverage to Sanders. As a result many Sanders supporters voted for Trump and he personally has lost many friends that way. He urged Jim Kolbe to use his influence on his fellow Republicans to do something! He even went as far as to suggest that all debates about a Trump Presidency should not be taken so seriously – since he is not worth it. One should not even discuss him. This brought a mixed reaction from the panel and audience and was not taken too seriously.

The other panel members were Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation, an Irish journalist, who was the most lenient towards Trump and said, among other things that we cannot forget that he was elected with the support of millions of people, and he is now the President and must be given a chance.

Ivan Krastev, Political Scientist analyzed Trump at length, mentioned his obsession with Radical Islam which dates back to many years before, obsessed with the Trade deficit and the idea that deficit is always bad (although it has existed in the US for many years already), and his idea of “Make American great again” is his main goal.
As for Russia, none of the people around Trump are specialists on Russia, and Trump is somewhat obsessed with Putin. Both Trump and Putin have something in common as both dislike the state of the world right now. FYI for you, nobody mentioned Yalta or Malta and the dividing of Europe.Maybe they do not believe it will go that far.

As for Trump’s latest accusation of President Obama wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower, all agreed that this is absurd, there is no evidence to it. Jim Kolbe explained that in the US you need a court order to do that, and it was definitely not asked for or given to President Obama.

Ivan Krastev said that this is Trump’s tactic. He rules by distraction. When an important issues come up (right now Sessions reclusing himself from the Russia investigation) Trump comes up with some sensational Tweet to distract. This is his governing tactics.

All panel members agreed that Europe has to stay united and become stronger together.
Europe cannot rely on the US anymore and must become a powerful counterpart.


They did not touch on the Immigration issue or Climate Change.

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

THE APRIL 2017 EVENT:

Burgtheater | April 2, 2017 – 11.00 o’clock |
Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe
Leben wir im Zeitalter des Populismus?

DO WE LIVE IN TIMES OF POPULISM?

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

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 27th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Once a month, on Sunday 11am, the Burgtheater main hall is taken over by Ms. Alexandra Foederl-Schmidtdt, the editor of “Der Standard” who chairs a podium-discussion loaded with local and foreign intellectual lights.
She is backed in the endeavor not just by the theater direction and her paper’s foundation, but also by the Erste Bank Foundation and most important by IWM – the Vienna Institute for Human Sciences – an NGO run now by Shalini Randeria, Rector of IWM, Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute in Geneva with strong involvement of Ivan Krastev, Chair of the Board at the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia (Bulgaria).

Look at the ways the USA and the EU Member States are evolving these days, I would like to p0int out the last podium discussion – that of February 19, 2017 titled: “Do We Live In Revolutionary Times? and my intent is also to announce next meeting – it will be held March 5, 2017. The title of the next meeting will be

“EUROPE, USA: WHAT CHANGES WITH TRUMP.”

The panel for the upcoming March discussion, under Ms. Foederl-Schmidt leadership, will include Ivan Krastev of IWM, Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow Carnegie Europe, Allison Smale, Chief Correspondent of the New York Times in Berlin, Robert Dornhelm, Writer and Film Director, and Jim Kolbe, a former Republican member of US Congress.

Now regarding the February meeting of this EUROPE IN DISCOURSE SERIES:
the question – “DO WE LIVE IN REVOLUTIONARY TIMES” was addressed by Karel Schwarzenberg, former Czech Foreign Minister, Hans Christian Stroebele, a founding member of the Green Party of Germany, Phillip Blom, Writer and history journalist from Vienna, and the magical Agnes Heller, a boiling philosopher, born in Budapest in 1929, fled Hungary in 1956 to Australia, made an impact in many English speaking countries and is listed at 97 years young as emerita at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Among the many points presented in the discussion I will try to mention those that seemed to me as having made most impact.

Prof. Heller wants to start with defining democracy – what does it mean today? States like Iraq, Turkey, or Russia have democracy but these are not the same. We want a Liberal Democracy in the West. But look at Greece, Portugal, or Spain – there is no unity at the EU on their meaning.

The crises, yes – there is something positive in them. People start to see that there is something to lose.

Prof. Blom says that we are not living in a Weimar Republic. We are too rich and have a civil Society. Next revolution will not be in uniform but rather it will come as a normalization process.

The National Socialism was no Socialism, and the Italian Fascism was no Nazism. In 1945 the World was as exhausted as Europe after the Napoleon Wars. The revolution came only in 1956 and he sees today a similarity to 1968. “WE WILL NOT GET FASCISM BUT SOME NEW STUPIDITY!”

Stroebele says that the real question remains the lack of distribution of wealth. The problem is with migrants from a country like Iraq that saw no part in the wealth.
Europe is to be blamed because it used its agriculture power and destroyed the agriculture in
the countries it touched. The corn in the Midwest is cheaper then in Mexico and sending it there makes Mexico poorer. If you want to help – give them money. To this Ms. Heller said
“I loved it.” She wrote a book – “FROM UTOPIA TO DYSTOPIA.”

She added that historians and philosopher do not deal with hope but with facts.

Prof. Heller returned to the subject by saying revolution is a European concept. In the 20’s there was a belief in independence and freedom. This was a political revolution. Today people do not trust this. Also – too few children in Europe. Change is not in the cards.

Stroebele: the French revolution was a revolution of poverty. Now you can build walls but the Africans will come nevertheless.

Heller: you are right – the problem is not European but Global.

Schwarzenberg: We must bring the jobs to Africa.

Blom: Digitalization will lead to less jobs not more. The business model is so damaged it cannot be sustained. We must have politicians that ask what society needs in 30 years.
To have such politicians we must want to have them.

He also said that there will be migration from Mexico, and Trump reheats ideas from 100 years ago under belief that humans are not equal. He may even conclude that Humans are not the most clever apes.

Schwarzenberg’s conclusion was that in Gatopardo: We must change everything in order to remain where we are.

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

Other events at the IWM building at are:

March 2nd, 6:00 pm — lecture by Rainer Bauboeck

DEMOCRATIC INCLUSION: A PLURALISTIC THEORY OF CITIZENSHIP.

March 9th, 6:00 pm — book presentation by Luuk van Middelaar

A WAY OUT OF CRISIS: THE EU AND THE ART OF POLITICAL IMPROVISATION.

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

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 26th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Having reported on the situation in the USA, and not seeing there hope before the more solid Republicans start impeachment procedures on the base of Trump’s instability, we see no reason
to spend more attention on a temporarily lost land.

Our attention will now switch to resiliency in Europe – much of what we neglected so far.
As we are based in Austria – much of our attention will thus go to Austria which is simmering full with positive thinking.

First let us congratulate Austria for the recent election of an excellent Presidential choice.
The background of those elections was very similar in the two countries.

In both countries historically there was a two party system – two parties that nourished from the same establishment – and in both countries people had enough of the frozen establishment
and clamored for change.

We know the US had a frozen Democratic Party that its leadership did not realize that times were changing. The Republicans were more fortunate in the sense that the Conservative Action wing established by President Reagan and nourished by Patrick Buchanan, then reinvigorated
by Sarah Palin, did in effect take over the party from the inside. Their establishment thought they will master Trump and happily followed him to victory. The Democrats on the other hand
did not accept the Bernie Sanders challenge – so the only force declaring he was for change –
was Trump and the voters in their naivete responded with – he was the only game in town.

In Austria it was just as clear, but there was a different result. Simply, perhaps it is true,
the Austrian farmers are wiser then the American goons, and the Austrian establishment was not afraid in recognizing the need to correct course.

So, what happened there? “The Reds” or the Austrian Socialist Party, and “The Blacks” or
the Austrian Peoples Party, in a perpetual coalition, though afraid from the growing “Blue”
Party” or the Austrian Right Populist Party, just did not recognize that people were fed up
with corruption tales involving the two ruling parties and wanted change. The two separate candidates of these ruling parties were no promise for change, and in the first round lost to the Blue candidate and “the Green” candidate – the candidate of the environmentalists who left the Green Party he once led, and ran as an independent. So- the run-off was between Blue and Green. And here comes the clever move on part of nearly all Red voters, and a substantial part of the Black voters – they voted Green in order to keep the Blue out of the Presidential
building.

This needs further explanation. The Austrian President is elected in direct elections but has really no powers except on one topic – and on this later. The full powers to run the State
is in the hands of the Chancellor – like in Germany – and he/she are elected by the Parliament in direct party-lines count of the representatives of the public vote. The only power held by the President is to supervise the function of the government, and if he finds it not functioning to his satisfaction he can dissolve the Parliament and force new elections.
That is exactly what the Reds and Blacks feared. A Blue President dissolving the Parliament and leading to the possibility of a Blue Chancellor. So, a nice Independent Green was by far
better then a Trumpist Blue. To nail this down further – let us just note that Blue candidate Norbert Hofer and Blue Party chair Heinz Christian Strache, both, though uninvited, decided to travel to Washington for the inauguration of President Trump. Hofer is the Second Deputy Chair of the Austrian Parliament and Strache just a Party Chair – both no official representatives of the Austrian Government – so there really was no need to invite them officially. Their standing clearly no better then that of British Nigel Farrage.

The Editor of the “Wiener Zeitung”, Reinhard Goewell pointed out February 2nd, 2017, that in totality, the EU of 28 has an economy much better and more robust then commonly accepted – this because figures are per member state; he points out the count of Olympic medals. If aded up – tey are the winners by far. He also said that Europe’s citizens are not presented these total numbers and just do not realize their united strength. If President Trump directed by his chief ideologue Steven Bannon want to distance themselves from the 1776 formulation of a global world of Human Rights based on Life, Freedom, and striving for happiness, Europe must take over the leadership. This must be a united Europe. Thinking of the Islamic Berbers and the Ottomans – their relations to Spain and the Balkan, Europe must find its own way as the Trump/Bannon team is strange to Europe despite the present problems with Islamists.

Even though population-wise, the pert of the “old continent” is sinking, remembering it still is the strongest economic power has to light its way.

At this month’s summit EU meeting in Valetta, the present EU leadership by tiny Malta, has started a process to reform the EU Charter with further ideas to be presented by Mr. Donald Tusk of Poland, the EU Council Chair. A more powerful central leadership is being called for,
though clearly not a full Federal Government. The right way is not a European melting pot – but the Patrick Moynihan idea of a stew that respects its various separate ingredients.
That seems now imperative in a Trump/Bannon world that might again try to split the European States for the benefit of the USA and Russia.

EU Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg sees the need to divide the EU
post-Brexit membership into into more capable and less capable States for sake of dividing te responsibilities as per capacity of fulfilling them. This would create a two-level Union.

The European Central Bank (ECB) governing council member for Austria, the honorable Ewald Nowotny, said already November 9th 2016 that Donald Trump’s shock election win in the United States “is not a good day for the world economy” and “Close observation is certainly necessary right now.” Nowotny, is on the ECB’s governing council that makes monetary policy decisions as he is head of Austria’s Central Bank the National Bank of Austria. Today, despite the seemingly positive moves of economy and banking globally – Nowotny is not impressed and advocates the European decoupling from the American financial system – as inevitable downs are bound to come. So, a Europe United but moving at different speeds – internally and externally is in the making.

Above leads us to efforts, by young and old, to help insulate the European Union from the vagaries of a changing America. Also, seeing no future in American leadership, the EU, fending for itself will also continue to pursue global goals as formulated under the accepted US leadership of President Obama days. From our point of view the themes of the Global environment and the halting of Climate change to an acceptable minimum will now be pursued by the Europeans as if the US were no partners or residents of this planet. As long as Trump still resides at the White House – it will be impossible to hold him responsible for these prior agreements. As above, our main reporting will deal with Vienna – as in Austria and as at the UN Vienna Center.

As part of this series of reports we look at IAAI and ACUNS meetings in Vienna – The “International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges” and the “Academic Council on the United Nations System,”

IAAI is an Austrian NGO run out of Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria and Ljublijana, Slovenia.
January 16, 2017 it held a Workshop: “Youth, Agenda2030, Social Entrepreneurship & Digital Social Currencies.” The Workshop was held at the Vienna UN Center and had also te Sponsorship of UNIDO and UN-Habitat and of RAUN (the Regional Academy on United Nations) as well.
The keynote speaker was former Austrian Chancellor – Werner Faymann.

RAUN – created with the help of Sweden’s Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary General, as an Austrian organization belongs to the larger ACUNS and the IAAI Workshop was in conjunction to the bi-yearly meeting of ACUNS. That followed then January 17 – 20, 2017.

At this year’s meetings, RAUN was represented by Lisa Mokra and IAAI by its head – Miroslav Polzer and ACUNS by Alistair Edgar, the head of te organization who is from Waterloo, Canada.

The gist of above meetings was to continue, Austria based the work of UN New York.

At the Vienna Business University (“Wirtschaftsuniversitaet”) February 9-11, 2017 there was a conference titled “The 2nd Congress for a GOOD LIFE FOR ALL.” A good life is not consumerism!
We must learn to give up some things to attain good life, but we want Human Rights and an ecological background.

In his Keynote speech, Prof. Andreas Novy said “Change comes in Chaos.” He defined the GOOD LIFE as the life of those that do not live on account of others. This is a direct continuation of the French Revolution and the Austrian Revolution of 1918 that led to the First Austrian Republic. He sounded like Senator Bernie Sanders of the US.

Freedom for all needs borders that are set democratically – sustainability is a basis to this.
The Red Vienna was terminated by the establishing of Nazism. Now we strive to a concrete Utopia of Civilization.

On the second day there was a guest from Ecuador – an embattled State that saw some of its worst allowing oil and mining companies rip up the land and make its inhabitants destitute.
Yvonne Yanez is from Accion Ecologica of Ecuador that for 20 years fights for Ecuador and Cuba. She reminded the audience that Austria is part of the Europe that uses more land overseas then in its own country – to be exact 65% of the land use is outside the country.
So, really what is true Good Life? The question is – How do we degrade the planet less
so we do not flood the Danube?

Further on – February 15-17, 2017 the large Conference at the Technical University of Vienna – “Climate Goals for 2050 – Chance for a Paradigm Change?”
The book of abstracts weighs 1.4 kg. The areas covered technology-wise are very large.
Much goes to electricity production and use. Austria has already 10,000 electric cars and
plans with 16,000 more. At Linz Austria is developing Hydrogen Technology and plans with
a decentralized Hydrogen based system. Much more on this in future postings.

Then, not to forget a truly High-Tech event February 14-15, 2017 at the Austrian Presidential Hofburg. Title: “Global Summit on Blockchain Technology in the Energy Sector.”
Presenters and in audience people from all over the World. Much talk of Cybertechnology.
Vienna does not wait anymore for Washington to show te way – actually – how can one defend himself of Washington intrusion seems to be the order of the day.
Is it true that Germany is now surveying American encrypted messages?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 24th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This is the first posting on SustainabiliTank that will be followed by another posting based on an event at the CLUB OF LOGICAL THINKERS, Vienna – February 8, 2017.


‘Sobering’ poll finds European support for Trump’s Muslim ban.
Curbing migration enjoys support in most countries at the centre of the refugee crisis.

By ESZTER ZALAN, February 9, 2017, The EUObserver from Brussels.

The majority of Europeans, according to a poll of more than 10,000 people in 10 EU countries, would support a Trump-style ban on migration from mainly Muslim countries.
The London-based think tank, Chatham House, conducted the poll before US president Donald Trump’s executive order was announced and asked if immigration from Muslim-majority countries should be stopped.

An average of 55 percent of those surveyed agreed, 25 percent neither agreed nor disagreed and 20 percent disagreed, the poll, published on Tuesday, (7 February) said.

According to the survey, 71 percent of people in Poland, 65 percent Austria, 64 percent in Hungary and Belgium, and 61 percent in France agreed.

Support was also high in Greece (58%), Germany (53%), Italy (51%), the UK (47%) and Spain (41%).

Chatham House called the findings “striking and sobering”.

^^

“They [the results] suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Trump’s electorate in the US but is fairly widespread,” it said in a statement.

^^

Most of these countries have been central in the migration crisis, or have seen terrorist attacks over the last years, and the radical right is part of their political scene, Chatham Hose pointed out.

Support for the ban was stronger among older populations, with only 44 percent of people aged 18-29 being in favour, while 63 percent of those older than 60 said they agreed with a ban.

The notion of a ban was more popular with men and those living in rural areas. Urban dwellers and female respondents were less likely to support the move.

Education was also a dividing factor: of those with secondary level qualifications 59 percent opposed further Muslim immigration, while less than half of all degree holders supported further migration curbs.

^^

European leaders have slammed Trump’s immigration ban from seven mainly Muslim countries, while leaders of Europe’s populist right-wing parties have praised the move.

Lack of faith
Another recent survey also showed that 80 percent of respondents have lost confidence in political parties, and the media, and are looking for strong leaders who break rules.

The worldwide survey conducted online by Ipsos targeted adults under 65 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

The results, published in late January, showed that people say they were more likely to support a party or political leader who promised radical change.

^^

European respondents participating in the survey generally lacked trust in international institutions.

After the eurozone turmoil and bank bailouts, people also lacked faith in banks, with Spain and Italy leading the way, on 92 and 80 percent, respectively, followed by Germany on 75 percent.

People tended to distrust the justice system as well, although to a lesser degree, with Spain, Hungary, Italy, and Poland being the most sceptical among the surveyed European nations.

Lack of confidence in the media was also well above 50 percent in the European countries participating in the poll.

In Hungary, where prime minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz has dominated the media landscape, respondents distrusted the media the most, with 87 percent saying they lack confidence.

Seventy five percent of British respondents also said they do not trust their media.

Most respondents had no confidence in their government either, with Spain distrusting their political leadership with 89 percent. Polish and Hungarian respondents also said ( 82 percent) that they do not trust their governments.

In all European countries participating in the survey, over 70 percent of the respondents said they did not trust political parties.

Outspoken leaders
No surprise then that a high proportion of people was more likely to vote for a political party or leader that stood up for common people against the elite, and that around half were attracted to political parties and leaders promising to upset the status quo. The same group would support a leader who offends others, but speaks his/her mind.

With the presidential election campaign heating up in France, where far-right leader Marine Le Pen is a front-runner, 80 percent of French respondents said they want a “strong leader who breaks the rules”.

In some European countries, which have been victims of terrorist attacks, like Belgium and France, people favour “stopping terrorism over protecting civil rights”. In Germany, only 40 percent supported that notion.

Around half of the people in Hungary, Belgium, and Italy thought that their country would be stronger if immigration was stopped, a curious result in Hungary where there is virtually no immigration, as last year it granted asylum protection to just 432 people, according to official figures.

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

In order not to create the wrong impression with the Israeli Government that above represents a change regarding the opposition to land-snatch in the West Bank, we are obligated to post s well another article of the EUobserver of today:


Germany leads EU rebuke on Israeli land snatch.

By ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS, February 9, 2017

Germany and France have spoken out in strident terms against Israel’s plan to confiscate privately-owned Palestinian land by legalising settler outposts.
“The confidence we had in the Israeli government’s commitment to the two-state solution has been profoundly shaken,” the German foreign ministry said on Wednesday (8 February).

Jewish settlers create illegal outposts under the protection of Israeli soldiers (Photo: Rosie Gabrielle)

It said that those people in Germany who felt friendly toward Israel had been “disappointed” and urged it to restore its “credibility” by restating its promise to establish a future Palestinian state alongside Israel and to “underpin this with practical steps”.

It added that such a promise was also needed because members of the right-wing Israeli coalition had “openly called for the annexation of parts of the West Bank and are preparing bills to this end.”

^^

The French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, and its ambassador to Israel, Helene Le Gal, also spoke out.

“I call on Israel to respect its international obligations and rescind the [settler outpost] law,” Ayrault said, adding that it “could exacerbate tensions in the region.”

Le Gal said: “The international community is wondering if they should trust Israel when Israel is saying that [it] is ready for discussion with … the Palestinians, and to reach an agreement on the two-state solution.”

She said the fact that Israel planned to financially compensate the Palestinian landowners did not make it any better.

^^

“If there is an agreement, of course, that these settlement blocs are within Israel, then of course there is no problem. But there is no discussion. It’s only Israel who decides,” she said.

^^


Israel on Tuesday passed a law to retroactively legalise 3,900 outposts.

Outposts, unlike settlements, are private initiatives by Jewish settler groups who pitch camp on Palestinian land protected by Israeli soldiers and claim it for their own on Biblical grounds.

In January, Israel also announced plans to build 6,000 new official settler homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in a decision that also flouted international law and drew foreign rebukes.

A European diplomatic source told EUobserver that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, a pro-Israeli hawk, in the US and that he was also using the settlement controversy to distract media attention from a corruption affair that could see him lose power.


The US has stayed silent on his actions.

^^
New German attitude:

France is an outspoken critic of Israel and has even warned that it would unilaterally recognise Palestine if it lost faith in the peace process.

^^

The strong statement by Germany, which has in the past shied away from criticising Israel due to Germany’s Holocaust-era crimes, was a new development, however.

The UK, which has been trying to curry favour with the Trump, and the Czech Republic, formerly a staunch Israeli ally, also attacked the outpost law.

^^

The legalisation “damages Israel’s standing with its international partners”, Tobias Ellwood, British minister for the Middle East said.

The EU foreign service was the first to react, already on Tuesday, saying that the outpost law “entrenched … a one-state reality”.

EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini had planned to hold a summit with Netanyahu on 28 February, but EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels on Monday quietly decided to postpone the initiative due to the earlier announcement on the 6,000 settler homes.

^^

Speaking to EUobserver in an interview over the weekend, Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, said the EU’s verbal rebukes had little meaning unless they were backed up by sanctions, such as banning exports of settler products.

“Lack of accountability, impunity, is what provides the Israeli government with enough confidence to move ahead with its plan to bury the prospects of the two-state solution,” he said. “The Netanyahu administration knows that no action will be taken,” he said.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Humanitarian Congress Vienna 2017 – Forced to Flee – Humanity on the Run


The 4th Humanitarian Congress – Forced to Flee – Humanity on the Run – takes place on
3 March 2017 in the ceremonial halls of the University of Vienna.
Please note that registration is open until 28 February 2017.

The Humanitarian Congress gives you the chance to benefit from the unique insights of the experts as for example Mr. Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR or Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations discussing the following themes:


(Failed) Policy making with Global Consequences

Why are People Forced to Flee?

Refugee Health – Time for Change

The Erosion of International Law – Who Cares?

Civil Society and Refugees: Lessons Learned

Leaving No One Behind – A Mission Impossible?

For more information please visit www.humanitariancongress.at and the attached Newsletter.
We look forward to welcoming you on 3 March 2017.

With kind regards,

Mag.a Annelies Vilim

GLOBALE VERANTWORTUNG –

Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Entwicklung und Humanitäre Hilfe

Apollogasse 4/9, 1070 Wien

Tel.: (+43 1) 522 44 22

 office at globaleverantwortung.at

www.globaleverantwortung.at

www.humanitaerer-kongress.at /  info at humanitaerer-kongress.at

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 1st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Oil production releases more methane than previously thought.

Emissions of methane and ethane from oil production have been substantially higher than previously estimated, particularly before 2005.

Laxenburg, Austria, 1 February 2017: Global methane and ethane emissions from oil production from 1980 to 2012 were far higher than previous estimates show, according to a new study which for the first time takes into account different production management systems and geological conditions around the world.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, which scientists rank as the second-most important contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide. Yet while methane concentrations in the atmosphere can be easily measured, it is difficult to determine the contribution of different sources, whether human or natural. This is necessary information for reducing emissions.

“In an oil reservoir, there is a layer of gas above the oil which has a methane content of 50 to 85 percent. When you pump the oil to the surface this associated gas will also escape,” explains IIASA researcher Lena Höglund-Isaksson, who led the study. In oil production facilities in North America, almost all of this gas is recovered and what is not recovered will for the most part be flared to prevent leakage (and potential explosions), while a very small fraction is simply vented. In other parts of the world, where recovery rates are lower, much larger quantities of this gas are released into the atmosphere.

“Existing global bottom-up emission inventories of methane used rather simplistic approaches for estimating methane from oil production, merely taking the few direct measurements that exist from North American oil fields and scaling them with oil production worldwide,” says Höglund-Isaksson. This approach left a large room for error, so Höglund Isaksson decided to develop a new method that could better account for the many variations in oil production around the world.

In the new paper, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, Höglund-Isaksson estimated global methane emissions from oil and gas systems in over 100 countries over a 32-year period, using a variety of country-specific data ranging from reported volumes of associated gas to satellite imagery that can show flaring, as well as atmospheric measurements of ethane, a gas which is released along with methane and easier to link more directly to oil and gas activities.

She found that in particular in the 1980s, global methane emissions were as much as double previous estimates. The study also found that the Russian oil industry contributes a large amount to global methane emissions. A decline in the Russian oil industry in the 1990s contributed to a global decline in methane emissions which continued until the early 2000’s. At the same time, Höglund-Isaksson found, methane recovery systems were becoming more common and helping to reduce emissions. Yet since 2005, emissions from oil and gas systems have remained fairly constant, which Höglund-Isaksson says is likely linked to increasing shale gas production which largely offsets emission reductions from increased gas recovery.

Höglund-Isaksson points out that her estimates are only as good as the data allow and that there is still uncertainty in the numbers. She says, “To improve the data, a close collaboration between the scientific measurement community and the oil and gas industry would be needed to make more direct measurements available from different parts of the world.”

Reference
Höglund-Isaksson L, (2017). Bottom-up simulations of methane and ethane emissions from global oil and gas systems 1980 to 2012. Environmental Research Letters, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa583e.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 27th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We just returned from a cruise of ports in the Western Mediterranean and observed that in all those countries there is no unification of Exxon (or Esso) and Mobil. We got the hinch that Mr. Tillerson wants the less interesting job of Secretary of State for good company reasons. He will be now in a position to wrestle those stubborn states that do not see good reason to allow a monopoly of the petroleum, or what he better describes as energy management.

The Climate Change and non-petroleum energy issues ExxonMobil learned to handle to its advantage from the old Mobil. We saw tat in the way Mobil Oil brought about the unneeded “Gas-to-Gas” project in New Zealand where the locals lost their chance to become independent of Petroleum and the Whangarei refinery by going for a CNG transportation system in the North Island and a methanol from Natural gas in the South Island.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has stories to tell about that company’s dealings in the USA and in the UK. Now Tillerson surely hopes to be able to manage the World at large.

UCS writes – ExxonMobil is attacking UCS because they are a real threat. They know UCS does not take government or corporate funding so they’re more independent and less susceptible to intimidation. They know wUCS is bipartisan and can mobilize people across the political spectrum. They’re hoping the prospect of an expensive legal fight will convince UCS to drop the role as a defender of science.

But we won’t stop fighting. Even with fossil fuel allies controlling Congress and the presidency next year, UCS can and will continue to work for real climate change solutions.

Take palm oil, one of the biggest agricultural commodities on the planet. Over the last 10 years, booming demand led to massive tropical deforestation—and colossal carbon emissions. So we worked with investors, targeted huge brands like General Mills and Procter & Gamble, and collaborated with other organizations—securing sustainability policy changes at 24 major global brands in just the last few years. And as of this year, most globally traded palm oil is covered by solid commitments to zero deforestation, saving millions of acres of forest and keeping tons of carbon out of the air.¹

By coincidence, today the “WIENER ZEITUNG” had a large article by Petra Tempfer based on studies at the local IIASA – a scientific think-tank – on the true economy of palm oil.

Or take our progress in the last year, even with a hostile Congress: We helped pass best-in-class clean energy laws in California, Oregon, Illinois, and Massachusetts and won strong national fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty trucks (which will prevent 1.1 billion tons of carbon pollution).

We won these victories after years of smart campaigning—often under political climates that were discouraging.

Help UCS show opponents that they can’t bully it into silence. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

We’ve already organized thousands of scientists to pressure the incoming Trump administration—getting media attention in The Washington Post, NBC News, and The Scientist magazine—and we will continue to make our voice impossible to ignore.

We can do all this and more because of generous donors who stand up for science and the truth, and who believe that progress is possible, no matter the obstacles from fossil fuel companies and their political allies.


Under the new president and Congress, we expect more and more political and corporate attacks on science, on scientists themselves, and on safeguards for our health and the environment.


ExxonMobil has subpoenaed UCS staff’s emails and documents related to UCS’s efforts to hold the company accountable for deceiving investors and the public on climate change. This followed a similar subpoena by the Exxon-friendly chair of the House Science committee, Representative Lamar Smith.

Their strategy: tie up the people and organizations who exposed their efforts to deceive the public, cost them time and money, and scare nonprofits off from future accountability efforts.

And with Donald Trump’s nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, it’s clear Exxon’s political power will be more formidable than ever.


based on a letter from Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 19th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

IIASA study assesses land use impacts of EU biofuel policy

Laxenburg Austria, 16 March 2016 – The indirect impacts of biofuel production on land use change and greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union vary widely depending on the type of biofuel, according to a study published last week.

{The Study Argues – this is our insert}
Biofuel policy in the European Union has been under scrutiny for several years, with intense debate around its efficiency in reducing greenhouse gases emissions. Indeed, biofuel production can take up agricultural land otherwise used for food and feed, and lead to land use conversion elsewhere that would offset some of the climate benefits of the policy, a problem known as indirect land use change. In a new study for the European Commission in partnership with the sustainable energy consultancies Ecofys and E4tech, IIASA researchers have now brought more precise insight to the topic, showing the different levels of impact that different biofuels have on land use change and the climate.

The study revisits the impacts of biofuels consumed in the European Union and is the most comprehensive comparison to date of land use effects across feedstocks. It provides the first analysis, in a consistent modeling framework, of both conventional (or first-generation) biofuels, produced from food crops such as vegetable oil, and advanced (or second-generation) biofuels, produced from residues or energy crops such as grasses, forestry residues and cereal straw.

IIASA researcher Hugo Valin led the modeling for the study. He says, “First generation biofuels have been criticized in the past due to their indirect land use change impact, which our study confirms. But by looking at a much broader range of biofuel options, we clearly show that not all biofuels are equal.”

On one end of the spectrum, the study shows that certain types of vegetable oils, such palm or soybean oil, can lead to significant greenhouse gas emissions. It also shows that impacts of ethanol feedstocks are relatively lower than for biodiesel, in particular for high yielded crops such as sugar beet or maize. And on the other end of the spectrum, second generation crops, included for the first time in the analysis for the EU, showed a good performance overall with in several cases net negative emissions.
{This part is a very wise conclusion with which we can completely agree – our insert}

The study also included mitigation scenarios which showed that promoting agricultural expansion on European land compared to the rest of the world would help reducing the impacts in the short run. However, in the long run, the most efficient policy for limiting land-based greenhouse gas emissions would be a better control of agricultural land expansion globally, through policies to preserve forests and other natural ecosystems which can sequester large amounts of carbon including peatlands in Southeast Asia.

The study also included an in-depth analysis of uncertainties in the scenarios to better inform stakeholders. While in some cases uncertainties can be large, the study clearly indicates how impacts of different policy orientations compare.

Valin says, “It’s impossible to remove all uncertainties in such an analysis, but the real value of this study is that it helps decision makers to better anticipate the potential implications of the option they choose. Models help to develop a common understanding of what the problems at stake are and how to mitigate them. In the context of biofuel policies this is especially true, as modeling illustrates the trade-offs between greenhouse gas emissions, food consumption, land occupation, agricultural income, and other issues.”

More information
Ecofys: Report quantifies land use change impact of biofuels consumed in the EU

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We, at SustainabiliTank, find some problems with above study based on our own experience.

Years ago – end of seventies-beginning of eighties – we published via US Congressional hearings about land use and industrial liquid biofuels production. Our argument was that agriculture in industrialized countries is managed by government policy. This was clearly true in the US, and I was approached by the newly formed Brussels based EU Agriculture Commissioner who was interested in that analysis of policy for the EU States as well.

The argument was that the various Departments of Agriculture support the price of food commodities by limiting their production or simply put – by paying farmers NOT TO PRODUCE or keep land out of production. My argument was to use that land – the so called SET-ASIDES – for the new industry of liquid biofuels and stop non-production-subsidies. I went so far as to calculate that for the US I could PRODUCE ETHANOL FROM CORN THAT WAS NOT GROWN AND PAY FOR IT WITH MONEY THAT WAS NOT SPENT. That testimony caused – because of request from Members of Congress – to my being hired as a consultant by the Office of the Comptroller General Of the United States – the US GAO – the General Accounting Office – in order to have them check out those arguments. Surely they found that there was a base for my arguments. They also found that the reduction of the quantities of agricultural commodity produced was much smaller then expected because, naturally, the farmer kept out of production the worst parts of their land. The funniest part was that agricultural corporations would switch the non-production claims from one commodity o another contingent on which ‘asides” provided higher subsidies that year – one year it could have been historic corn, but another year it could have been a claim of not growing wheat.

Whatever, at least for the EU and the US – the “set aside” policy is just public money dished out to the large farming industry for no good purpose and the concept of “hunger in China” just did not hold water. Environmentalists in this context did rather play up to the big oil and farming interests rather then my perception of reduction of dependence on petroleum. Surely, this is different when replacing natural forests in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil with oil- producing palm trees in the tropics. In those cases the damage to the environment is real. But not when we talk about the vast already deforested agricultural expances of Europe and America. Further, it is clear to us that in a globalized world – producing those commodities in smaller farms overseas, and subsistence farming, would save CO2 emissions that occur in the transport of those commodities originating in highly agriculture-industrialized economies – albeit this means lower take in the industrialized countries, lower need for food production by industrialized countries, and a parallel gain in employment by therural sector in non-industrialized countries we usually define as Developing Countries.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 10th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


As our readers must have realized by now – we are posting a series of columns focusing on activities in Vienna, Austria, that are of value to the global network intent to support Sustainability for all.

After having decided that global agreements chased by the UN Headquarters in New York are just pipe dreams. All we can hope for is this network of individual country promises that in their sum-total can answer needs like a decrease in CO2 presence in the atmosphere while not forgetting goals of poverty reduction, energy, climate, security, or equity. We were grateful to President Obama when we realized that this was his thinking as well, and the Paris2015 Outcome – that some insist on calling the Paris Agreement – does in effect constitute the answer to our needs – but only if a “verification of progress” system is put in place.

We looked around and realized that most energy related UN affiliates are headquartered, or at least have a foot, here in Vienna. So I started this series of articles. The more I looked at this – the harder it became writing it – this because of the richness of material – literally daily I am involved in activities, or at least get material that all relate to these topics.

In this last posting I take the advantage of an exceptional boon – the fact that again Vienna was declared the most livable city in the World. This can clearly help. Would you not rather want to live in the best city in the World?

———————–

Besides the city of Vienna, among the first 31 out of the 230 cities with ranking by Mercer, we find a total of 8 cities from German speaking Europe; further 8 assorted cities from other Western Europe (Copenhagen, Geneva, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Stockholm, Brussels, Helsinki, Oslo); New Zealand/Australia account for 9 cities, Canada for 4 cities, Singapore that this year dropped to only 26th place, and highest ranked US city – San Francisco – at 28th place.

Paris is at 37th place, London at 39, New York and Tokyo are at 44-45.

Dubai is at 75th place, Abu Dhabi at 81, Taipei at 84.

First Developing Country city is Durban, South Africa, 86th place.

Buenos Aires, first Spanish speaking South American city is at 93rd place.

Tel Aviv is at 104th place, Brasilia at 106, Muscat, at 107, Tunis at 113.

Beijing, first city in China, is at 118th place. Istanbul at 122.

Mexico City is at 127th place, Riyadh at 164, Moscow at 167, Tehran at 203, Damascus at 224, and at bottom 230 Baghdad.

What are your conclusions from looking at the above?

Is it not so that you would rather like to live in Western Europe – in Vienna and surrounding countries? In Australia, New Zealand and Canada? Would you contemplate on reasons why some of the richest countries’ capital-cities are low on the list?

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I will proceed now to review some of the most resent activities that occurred in the city of Vienna that were rooted with the city itself and not with organizations from afar planted here or organizations formed here in response to needs afar.

In our series we posted so far about: The IAEA Headquarters, The SE4All Headquarters The Outer-Space UN affiliates, The Laxenburg Palace based IIASA, and the Kommunalkredit Public Consulting Group that works with the Austrian Foreign Aid office connected to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Let us look now first at cultural life – and I will go after two amazing shows that just opened:

DER KONGRESS TANZT – “The Congress Dances” – an amazing Operetta that opened at the VOLKSOPER on the Guertel.

The Historical facts are that the Congress of Vienna (German: Wiener Kongress) was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815.

The Congress was intended to organize the post-Napoleon Europe and through that – the World. In many ways this was an attempt to create an overarching EU. All came except Napoleon who was left behind on his exile-island.

It was said that instead of being in session this Congress danced. The Congress of Vienna was the first of a series of international meetings that came to be known as the Concert of Europe, which was an attempt to forge a peaceful balance of power in Europe. It served as a model for later organizations such as the League of Nations in 1919 and the United Nations in 1945.

Covering the lighter side of this Congress Erik Charell used some of the songs from a Con ference-time operetta and produced a film that was released in 1931. Recently, Richard Heymann extracted some of the music from the film, added some of his own, and with the help of conductor and arranger Christian Kolonowiits recreated the operetta that was released now in 2016. This because Vienna celebrated in 2015 the 200th anniversary of the Vienna Congress. This operetta, a parody of the Congress, approached gingerly by the Volksoper, is now the newest “must see” in Vienna.

The BURGTHEATER on the Ring, premiered this week Peter Handke’s – DIE UNSCHULDIGEN, ICH UND DIE UNBEKANTE AM RAND DER LANDSTRASSE (Those Without Guilt, I and the unknown on the edge of the country road) – a masterpiece of modern theater in the celebrated hall of classicism.

Handke (born in 1942 – the war years – his mother resettled in the village Griffin in 1948 after leaving the DDR) was a young Austrian writer (novelist, playwright and political activist) who believed that at the beginning there was the word. Handke’s first play was PUBLIKUMSBESCHIMPFUNG (Talking Rough to the Public) that automatically made him a sensation in Germany – Austria was too small for him those days. Back those years we saw his work and works by the German Hans Magnus Enzensberger at the Brooklyn Academy of Music – the old Brooklyn Opera House. Handke’s luck was that He was recognized by the German Director Claus Peyman who staged that first play and since then another 10 plays by Handke. Handke gained international attention after an appearance at a meeting of avant-garde artists belonging to the Gruppe 47 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Landstrasse, stage work by Karl-Ernst Hermann, has a vague autobiographical content and ia all played out on the county road that connects his village Griffin with a neighboring village and in itself becomes a stage for the locals and the World at large. It reminds one of Martin Luther who already then saw the importance of taking reality to the streets – this for him a direct connection between humans and God. For Handke, this is not God but human truth. The simple staging – a broad white ellipse winding to a distant corner – is the path where the action walks by and we peep in on it. This is modern poetic theater at its best – a good place to relax when trying to deal with the World’s woes.

The action is not specific but rather full of hints and you get out really what you want to see. The hints include totaliarism – quite clearly a reminder of the villages Nazi past, butb then there are aspects of budding love and perhapse unanswered love and bitterness – but also hope for a better world.

I started with Vienna’s high locally centered life – but then there are musical events, not just Staatsoper and the Philharmonic, but locally produced musical events where Austrians play foreign folks to perfection. We just enjoyed evenings sponsored by the Austro-American Society with Irish and Mexican music. The Irish evening was held in a typical Austrian pub, and the Mexican and American event was at the organization’s Club rooms where the manager, an Austrian, is loved by all – an ideal American host.

But, the purpose of our Vienna series is not just to say that Vienna is the most livable city in the World – but that I contend that work with global scope can be performed right here – so let us look also at local organizations that can be enrolled in support of global activities – and the first to be mentioned is “the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA).” You will find there a department that deals with all global topics you may be interested to work on. Also, the city hosts many NGOs and great Think Tanks to work as local NGOs – sometimes connected to one of the many active Universities.

One such institution is “the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM).” I will mention the Presentation of last night by Professor Dr. Shalini Randeria, the IWM Rector, titled “Precarious livelihoods, disposable lives, and struggles for citizenship rights.” Dr. Randeria, from India, holds chairs at Budapest, Berlin, Zurich, and Vienna Universities. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalization, law, the state and social movements. Her presentation last night was the Keynote address at a IIASA and Forum Alpbach meeting at the Austrian Academy of Sciences on the occasion of the IIASA meeting called to formulate a “World in 2050” Programme.

The Academy of Sciences public event – “Human Capital, Geopolitical Complexities, and Our Sustainable Future” had two panels (I) The release of a book by Professor Wolfgang Lutz – “Who Survives? Education Decides the Future of Humanity.
and (II) “Human Capital, Geopolitical Conflict, and Sustainable Development Goals.”

Panel II – Chaired by Professor Pavel Kabat, Director General of IIASA – had:
– Ambassador Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Director-General Section VII-Development, Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign-Affairs.
– Professor Dirk Messner, Co-Chair, German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)
– Professor Carlos Nobre, President Brazilian Federal Agency for Support an Evaluation of Graduate Education. Brazilian Member of the Board of IIASA.
– Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Chair of the Leadership Council and Advisor to the UN Secretary-General; Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University.
– Dr. David Wilkinson, Director, Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety at the Joint Recearch Center, European Commission.

While the first panel dealt with education as an imperative if one wants to take advantage of the SDGs and in effect achieve the wished-for results, he second panel touched upon the topics that are the framework for the program-in-construction for the year 2050 and on tis we will deal separately.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 5th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Precautionary Principle: Governance of Innovation and Innovations in Governance – CEU/EEA summer school.

from: Anton Shkaruba March 5, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Applications are now open for the 2016 Summer School: “The Precautionary Principle: Governance of innovation and innovations in governance”. It will be held in Budapest (Hungary) from June 26 to July 2, 2016.

The course is co-organised by Central European University (CEU), Median S.C.P., and the European Environment Agency (EEA) as the first event of its EEAcademy.

The purpose of the School is to explore challenges and possible ways forward for the effective and appropriate application of the precautionary principle in sustainability governance, in particular in such an uncertainty-prone area as climate change. It will bring together a solid and diverse group of scholars and practitioners with expertise on the precautionary principle, risk assessment, vulnerability and adaptation management, health research, science and technology studies, the governance of innovation, environmental governance, and long term transitions to sustainability.

The School is designed as a strategic knowledge and experience sharing course at the intersection between a research-oriented course and a professional development course, dedicated to collaborative exploration and learning. It will provide intensive research training, but also allow for policy discussions in a variety of sector and contexts and, through a knowledge co-creation approach, help to identify and find solutions to course-related issues in the participants’ research, policy, and business application fields.

We aim to achieve a mix of participants and faculty from a variety of backgrounds (including both researchers and practitioners from public bodies, NGOs and business) and research interests related to the Course.

Participants from public institutions, business, public institutions and research are encouraged to apply.

Application deadline is April 1, 2016. For more information on the Summer School, including a detailed course description and application instructions please visit: www.summer.ceu.hu/precautionary-2…

For the organising team,
Sybille van den Hove & Anton Shkaruba

———————————————————————————————
ANTON SHKARUBA
Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Research Associate, PhD

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 26th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


SE4All WATER-ENERGY-FOOD NEXUS.
The very important WEF NEXUS for SUSTAINABILITY that links the Paris 2015 Outcome and the SDGS.

Theme of a meeting sponsored this week by the Hungarian Mission to Austria and to the UN offices in Vienna.


Water-Energy-Food Nexus – Responding to Emerging Needs and Opportunities.

Date: February 22, 2016
Host & Location: Hungarian Embassy, Bankgasse 4-6, 1010, Vienna, Austria.

Background:
In September 2015, world leaders formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,
including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets which are aimed at
stimulating action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance for a more equitable and
sustainable world. The strong linkages between the SDGs underlines the notion that progress on each
goal will be critical for progress on others, with increasing understanding for the implementation
of the SDGs through an integrated framework that demands close collaboration at all levels of governance.
As a result, the water-energy-food nexus (WEF NEXUS) has emerged as a crucial policy and governance approach for
integrated planning and implementation of the SDGs.

AGENDA

10:00 –10:05 Welcome remarks: H.E. Ambassador Karoly Dan

10:05– 0:45 Setting the Scene
– Background and scope of the workshop, approach, expectations and potential outputs/outcomes –
Mr. Paul T.Yillia, SE4All
Presentation: The cross-cutting nature of the SDGs – emerging opportunities for operationalizing
the water-energy-food nexus (WEF NEXUS) – Prof. András Szölösi-Nagy

10:45–12:45 Session I: Discussion Session on partner experiences
Session Chair: Mr. Olivier Dubois, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO);
Co-Chair of the SE4All High Impact Opportunity (HIO) on the WEF NEXUS
– What are the realities, needs and challenges in the countries partners operate?
– How can the SE4All Nexus HIO respond to the needs and challenges?

14:00 –15:30 Session II: Discussion Session on identifying emerging opportunities
Session Chair: from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ);
Co-Chair of the SE4All High Impact Opportunity on the WEF NEXUS
– What opportunities are emerging on the WEF NEXUS
– Presentation: SE4All initiative on Technical Assistance Programme to Strengthen Inter-sector Coordination
(TAPSIC) – Mr.Paul T. Yillia, SE4All
– Exploring the possibility to develop a concrete framework to anchor emerging opportunities within o the SE4All Nexus HIO

15:45-17:45 Session III: Synthesis of Sessions I & II – Developing key elements for action
Session Chair: Mr. Martin Hiller, Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)
– Mobilizing resources – exploring the possibility of a call for funding
– Mobilizing additional partnerships, including the private sector, civil society and the public sector
– Key message from the workshop (short communication)

17:45–18:00 Closing remarks – Ms. Rachel Kyte, SRSG & CEO, SE4All

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Above the entrance to 21 Zerubabel Street in the Yemenite Quarter in Tel Aviv – next door to the Rabbi Shabzi Synagogue and the warning – a dog in the courtyard – it says – in Hebrew:Sun light is very bleak to someone who does not find sense in his life. Next tomit in English is written: “There is no Fear in Love.”

The Israeli papers that are still not owned by an Israeli government related American individual – The HAARETZ and the Yedioth Aharonot – are now full with hints at internal culture wars started by an uneducated Culture Minister – Ms. Miri Regev who contended that even uneducated people can be educated. That is not my topic here – for those interested please read The New York Times article of today – “Israel, Mired in Ideological Battles, Fights on Cultural Fronts” – By STEVEN ERLANGER January 29, 2016. We are here rather interested in what the rather officialpro-government papers say – The MAARIV and The ISRAEL HAYOM say.

A main report comes from the meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus between Israel’s Prime Minister Mr. Netanyahu and His counterparts from Greece and Cyprus titled as the “Mediterranean Alliance.” As I just arrived here from Vienna I am quite familiar with the Merkel & Faymann problems with Greece and Turkey and the simple facts that the EU in ordr to survive tends now to shed Greece and trade it for higher reliance on Turkey. What I sense thus is the contemplation of the Israeli government to look as well for new allies in its troubled corner of thev World.

Then, no misunderstanding here – President Obama just declared for all to hear that Putin is corrupt and Mr. Putin reacted by asking for evidence. No problem on this front – the UK obliged and declared Putin involved in the execution of a financial competitor – mafia style. This sort of language was not heard even in the days of President Regan’s attacks on the Soviet “Evil Empire.”

Obama looks at the mess in Western Asia he inherited from G.W. Bush who really turned all local devils there lose by taking off the lids that kept a modicum of order as left by the British and French colonial powers. G.W. continued the reliance on the Saudis that came down from Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and thus became partial to an evolving Sunni Shia rift with an ever increasing Iranian threat to the US oil supplies from the Middle East. Obviously, US interests did not match in all of this the European effort to build their own power bloc and the difficulties the EU put before Turkey’s attemp to join in the Union. Russia had its own problems with the EU and when life for the US and the EU became difficultbin the Arab region – they jumped in and used the occasion to move on the Ukraine as well.

So what now?

My suggestion based on an acknowledged very superficial reading of the real news – is: By necessity there are now two new potential NEUTRAL Centers in a renewed COLD WAR scenario.

Oman is the Neutral space between the Saudis and Iran – to be cherished by the US.

The small group of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel – a new buffer zone between the EU & Turkey alliance and the Sunni Arab Golf and the US – with Syria and Iraq the actual battle-field that will churn the Arab World until it reorganizes the remaining waste-lands. Russia has gained a footing via the Shiia Muslims and the US will see to limit this by making it more profitable to Iran to play the US in exchange for diminished role to the Saudis. It is all in the new world cards.

And what about the Arab North African States? Will they fall into the hands of extreme Sunnis as preached by Saudi Wahhabism – the source of what has moved to the creation of the new Islamic powder keg? I do not think this is possible in North Africa – simply because there are no Shiia elements there that justify to the Sunnis such an effort. Will there be another neutral zone in the North African region in the Cold War arena? This makes sense eventually.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 24th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This present posting was conceived as a sequel to our posting that pointed out the Vienna Burgtheater as a provider of “Theatre for Ideas” events. That posting was titled:

The TTIP is flushed out – January 17, 2016 – in a great panel at the Burgtheater, Vienna. It seems that the present differences between US and EU make a legislature-overriding agreement impossible.

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 19th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz ( PJ at SustainabiliTank.com)

 www.sustainabilitank.info/#36141

January 24, 2016 I had the opportunity to listen in on the interview of theater director Andrea Berth by Ms. Haide Tenner of the Burgtheater. The event took place in the smaller hall – the Casinotheater on Schwarzenberg Platz. The title was: “What is Theater?” and the pre-event publicity was saying it was about language. So I got interested.

Andrea Breth is a large-size woman – a chain-smoker that gives the impression of a Midwest cowboy. But inside this large body it was clear that resides a sensitive and self deprecating woman. Her breakthrough in the theater came in 1983 with the Freiburg City Theater where she staged Federico García Lorca’s “The House of Bernarda Alba.” This staging brought her an invitation to the Berlin Theater Conference and the Theater Magazine “Theater” nominated her as best Theater Director of the Year. Many rewards followed. This year she got the German Republic Cross of Merritt and the Schiller prize of the City of Marbach (Schiller’s birthplace). Since 1999 she is also home-director for the Vienna Burgtheater and did stagings for the Salzburg Festival.

Indeed she says theater is about language but she enlarges o the meaning of language. What is important is for te actors to relate to te text. A movement of the foot becomes language. The actor has to develop by himself his method – there is not one for all she said. Nevertheless, a text by Tennessee Williams can not be worked out in a different way from how it was intended. She does not want to bend her actors – she want them rather to be themselves and brought in the example of Michael Kramer who she knew his father was a large orchestra conductor – so she had Michael work with big groups.

Her direction is not for the public but for te piece – the original work. I am retelling it and ten comes the public.

The interviewer proposes that a person changes according to whom they speak with. The director answers there must be something above this which she demonstrates with a large movement of her whole arm.

The interviewer insists – one more topic – language: There always is less information available.

———-===============———


WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE DEMOCRACIES?

This is next topic at the “DEBATING EUROPE” Theatre for Ideas exercise and thresh-out.

This time under the moderation of Der Standard Editor Alexandra Foederl-Schmid personally – the panel will include:

Kinga Goencz – a former Foreign Minister of Hungary;

Rebecca Harms – Fraction Chair of the Greens in the European Parliament;

Giorgos Chondros – Member of the Central Committee of the Greek Governing Syriza Party;

Peter Keller – Swiss Journalist and Politician with the Swiss Peoples’ Party;

Adam Krzeminski – Polish Journalist and Publicist.


The Discussion will take place February 14, 2016 at 11:00 at the Burgtheater in vienna, UNIVERSITAETSRING 2, 1010 VIENNA.

This will be a debate about the Democratic model of Government at a time that in Europe new authoritarian structures are being created, and protest movements like Syriza, Podemos, Pegida are taking roots as well. It seems as if we are entering a POST-DEMOCRACY age. Politologues point out that he participation at elections is in retreat.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 20th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Today I had the good fortune to be present at a debate between Professor Franz Cede – former Austrian Ambassador to the Russian Federation and now with the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), and Russia’s Ambassador to Austria H.E. Dmitrij Liubinskij (Dmitry Lubensky) – in diplomatic service since 1989.

The discussants had agreed beforehand to touch on most topics of contention between the European Union and the Russian Federation – the Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the EU-Russia relations. Being a good diplomat Ambassador Lubensky proposed the official answers as per the the Russian Federation government: Autonomy for the Donbas region as part of an Ukrainian Federation; There was no recent annexation of the Krim this was rather the redress of the annexation that Under Mr. Chruschtschow he gave the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine; about his rule; Russia does not bsck Assad to keep him in Power, only the Syrian people can decide what to do; the Iran deal showed the strength of diplmcy and discussions. Econoic relatios with Iran go on already a long time – he was told – also Germany and Austria. He knows this from his many contacts.

On EU and Russia relations he said that since te 90s there exists the concept of integration of the European Union and the Eurasian Union.

This last item is my reason for writing this up.
My belief is in – rather then using valuable time to discuss ongoing problems for which hardened positions already exist – I would rather start a debate that is intended to create rapprochement by bringing up first – reasonable potential future problems. In today’s case Russia and the West – I would rather start with depicting a situation where China becomes the real danger for Russia – the danger from the East.

The reality is that the Russian Federation is rather a large State but small in the number of its people.
Looking at a future world partitioned between blocks of one billion people plus (each) – neither Russia, nor the EU could make it without supporting each other. The Eurasian Union is only a half backed idea – a much better idea would be a Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok – incorporating the EU and the Russian Federation. In such a Union Russia could find its security much easier then tackling the West in those proposed four areas.

At the end of the meeting I discussed this idea of using potential future problems to help cure present on-going problems,
and it seemed to me that even the Russian Ambassador did not shy away from this idea.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 19th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This last Sunday, the venerable Austrian jewel – THE BURGTHEATER – once more lived up to the Brechtian concept of an ideal Theater as an arena for Ideas. Let me confess that I am not innocent when it comes to this. Back in the sixties and seventies I was part of a team that was running THE THEATER FOR IDEAS in the West Village of Manhattan, and in the summers – out of a summer house I shared in East Hampton on Long Island, the State of New York. Shirley Broughton, a former dancer and Brechtian theater person, from the days Brecht exiled himself from Nazi Germany and was active in the US,
picked up the idea after Bertolt Brecht returned to East Berlin. With the help of some family foundations she established this institution that at its best was described as a play-ground for the cream of New York intelligentia. For the 1965-1966 season, THE THEATER FOR IDEAS was awarded an OBIE Special Citation “for encouraging exploration in dramatic literature and music and providing a forum for thought in the theater.” It is the 11 am Sunday debates at the Burgtheater that remind me now of those old days.

Under the general topic of DEBATING EUROPE – and under the leadership of the Editor of DER STANDARD – Alexandra Föderl-Schmid – and with support from the ERSTE FOUNDATION and the IWM (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen – The Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna), The Burgtheater organized a debate on the topic “Wozu brauchen wir TTIP? – What for do we need TTIP? – “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” – a series of trade negotiations being carried out mostly in secret between the EU and US.

The Chair of the panel was Ms. Shalini Randeria, Rector of IWM in Vienna and Research Director and Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva.

The Panel (in seating order) included Mr. Peter-Tobias Stall, professor of public international law at the Georg August University of Göttingen; Ms. Eva Dessewffy, lecturer at the Department of European Integration and Economy-Right at the Danube University in Krems, Austria and Consultant with the Labor-Unions Headquarter, Austria; Mr. Franz Schellhorn, Head of the liberal-economy think-tank Agenda Austria and previous Economy-Journalist for Die Presse; Mr. Lutz Guellner, a German, the new elected Head for Communication in the Trade Office of the European Commission, Brussels; Ms. Petra Pinzler, in September 2015 she published a volume on un-free-trade under the domination of big companies and government officials – “Der Unfreihandel. Die heimliche Herrschaft von Konzernen und Kanzleien” (Rowohlt) – a critical review of the European Trade policy with an analysis of the rights, democracy and economy aspects of the Free-Trade planned programs such as TTIP, CETA und TISA.

As we see – the panel was well balance and all points of view present – from the self justifying European Commission and the liberal economist to the strict guardians of labor rights and honest analysts of what it means for Europe to allow itself to be dominated by American business interests based in very different legislature then any of the EU member states. So, I see no sense in repeating here the arguments, and I will now rather point out why a deal between two un-equals is just not to the Europeans’ interest.


The two un-equals are a United States – united under the banner of pure capitalism that rejects the niceties of social and environmental aspects in running the economy. This American Democracy gives people the right to earn money with money. This naturally leads to concentration of wealth and to more power to the wealthy.


On the other hand, the European Democracy has evolved as a Social Democracy that uses taxes in order to provide services to the citizens. True, Europe is not as united as it ought to be and the individual states are pursuing the social democracy goals with different levels of enthusiasm. It is the old established democracies that are better off, and have thus more advanced social norms – with some of those that more recently freed themselves from totalitarian systems lagging behind and being more susceptible to US charms.


The European Commission as such, seemingly as well, has allowed itself to be dragged into secret negotiations with the US super-business and this seems completely unacceptable to the labor unions and the environmentalists that judge correctly the immense danger from losing protective laws – laws that protect the people and the environment from the power of immense money grab and loss of judicial cover.


The goal of an economy ought to be SUSTAINABILITY rather then GROWTH – the charms of FREE-TRADE can mean that a Country with lower protective legislation – or no protective legislation at all – can by overriding in name of agreed upon expediency – simply wipe away the protection that so painstakingly has been established in a more advanced social state, that night evaluate sustainability more then the immediate financial gain that destroys the environment, lowers quality of life, and is responsible for health problems.

To be sure – I do have a personal story on this. Back in the seventies, the US decided finally that the health problems created by combustion of lead-contained gasoline where not worth the profits of the petroleum refinery – and leaded gasoline was outlawed. So what? The company that produced the Tetra-Ethyl-Lead – the compound that was used by the refiners – created a daughter company in Canada, and under THE FREE TRADE NAFTA agreement moved to export this to California where the petroleum industry was happy to buy it from them. Under NAFTA they just tried to over-ride US law. And what do you know, the US government said they had no legal means to stop this. They cannot close the border to poison because that would unravel NAFTA. California had to pay off that company to get them to desist from exporting the stuff – plain extortion on an international level. A story that should be known to all those European TTIP dreamers. What made things worse was the fact that by then there was proposed an alternative to lead – low percentages of ethanol mixed to the gasoline did provide the octane boost need to replace the lead compound – but refiners did not want this solution.

The opposition to TTIP in Austria is clear in the unwillingness to accept transnational legal system that is intended to override the Austrian and European legislation. That is clear.

Austria is fighting genetic engineering technologies and requires clear information about content of food and other products – any decrease in this sort of safeguards imposed by someone with less stringent rules is unacceptable.

Social and ecological achievements by Austria and the EU cannot be rolled back for sake of profit – that is clear.

Most countries including the EU, the US, and Canada, have accepted the 8 minimum-agreed-norms of the ILO – such as the right to collective agreements – to unionize and have an agreement; no children’s work; no forced labor; non-discrimination of any kind. Above all – no secrecy allowed. Democracy is based on transparency.

———————–

Hoping I will get another hint to something about Europe, I went to see the Burgtheater project “Hotel Europa oder Der Antichrist” (Hotel Europe or the Anti-Christ) fashioned freely after a novel written by Joseph Roth with further inputs from other pieces and correspondence.

Moses Joseph Roth (1894 in Brody, eastern Galicia, Austria-Hungary – died in 1939 in Paris exile having committed suicide with excess drinking) was an Austrian writer and journalist.

This piece deals with someone coming back after World War I to the gates of Europe. It is possible to see in this theater event the slide to World War II. The one point I found in the direction I was looking to is Roth’s equalizing Hollywood and Hitler. Could we say that I saw there the danger from an excess that dehumanizes us? Maybe.

Whatever – this was very good theater and the four actors looked like Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph dressed as Hotel bell-hops. I guess – a bow to Mr. Roth living in hotels in exile from his Austria.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 28th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

AG Globale Verantwortung, Dreikönigsaktion, IUFE, KOO, Paulo Freire Zentrum.

Die Transformation unserer Welt? Die Umsetzung der UN-Ziele für Nachhaltige Entwicklung in Österreich und Europa

29.10.2015, 19 Uhr, VHS Urania, Dachgeschoß, Uraniastraße 1, 1010 Wien

Anmeldung unter: www.pfz.at/article1780.htm

Details  www.globaleverantwortung.at/start…)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 25th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The movie was shown this weekend twice (23rd and 25th of October) to sold out audiences at Vienna’s Film Festival – the Viennale. Another Israeli movie- maker plaid it safer – he showed killings in Indonesia. In an interview with the “Wienner Zeitung” – Gitai said that he does not want to end up the same way as Rabin.

The problem is that in the Middle East there seems to be a practical alliance between those that do not want peace. Be those extremist Palestinians or extremist Jews.

The movie includes that stairway scene where Rabin was supposed to pass to the car waiting for him after he spoke at the peace rally. The media film showed in real time the killer coming towards him and shooting.

Every action and every word uttered in the film to be released is what really happened and what was said. Gitai says he checked everything for at least two sources. The film is therefore freitening in its truth that extends to today’s situation in the Middle East.

Let me mention here that Vienna these days is also the locus where the situation in Syria is openly on the operational table and not much hope is there either. The Austrians, after years of denial to themselves – are now clearly embracing the guilt of the Holocaust and this puts them in a situation that they will not be themselves if rejecting true refugees that escape the Middle East mayhem. All this points at this movie becoming a true document
and those in Israel that hatted Rabin for his attempt to lead to peace, can be counted on hating this retelling of their deeds.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 7th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Fwd: Invitation to join the SDG Symposium on ‘Evaluating the Sustainable Development Goals – New Challenges for Research, Policy and Business’ on 28 October 2015

From: Jingchao zhou of the Society for International Development (SID), Vienna, Austria.

The Institute for Managing Sustainability was originally founded by S.I.D. vice-president Uwe Schubert
>
> ———- Forwarded message ———-
> From: Institute for Managing Sustainability
> Date: Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 10:32 AM

> Subject: Invitation to join the SDG Symposium on ‘Evaluating the Sustainable Development Goals – New Challenges for Research, Policy and Business’ on 28 October 2015 at the University of Economics and Business (Wirtschaftsuniversitaet) Institute for Managinng Sustainability.
>
>
> Invitation to join the SDG Symposium on Evaluating the Sustainable Development Goals – New Challenges for Research, Policy and Business
>

> Organised by the WU Institute for Managing Sustainability at Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) in collaboration with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the European Evaluation Society (EES)
>
> Date: 28 October 2015


> Location: Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria

> Registration: Please visit their website to register for the event and find out more about updates on the programme and speakers
>
> The WU Institute for Managing Sustainability at Vienna University of Economics and Business in collaboration with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the European Evaluation Society (EES) is pleased to invite you to a symposium on “Evaluating the Sustainable Development Goals – New Challenges for Research, Policy and Business”.

>
> With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations in September 2015, a new set of objectives for global sustainable development will guide the global development agenda. The SDGs provide a comprehensive approach, ensuring a high level of ambition for achieving results, involving development agencies and governments, international organisations, civil society and business.

>
> Coinciding with 2015 as the International Year of Evaluation and the European Year of Development the symposium aims to be a forum for discussion on the implications of the SDGs for the impact evaluation of policies, programmes and projects across sectors.
>
> The symposium will address the central question of how the SDGs may inform research and practice in evaluation. We cordially invite you to join the symposium and

>
> Find out more about the contribution of evaluation, research and practice to the effective implementation and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
> Discuss the implications of the new international development agenda on evaluation research and practice across sectors (policy, civil society, business, academia)
> Engage in a dialogue with key actors and experts from research, business, policy, international organizations and civil society
>
> Watch the conference website for updates on the programme, speakers and registration.

>
>
> André Martinuzzi
> Institute for Managing Sustainability, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business,
> email:  andre.martinuzzi at wu.ac.at
>
> Patricia Schindler
> Institute for Managing Sustainability, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business,
> email:  patricia.schindler at wu.ac.at
>
> Norma Schönherr
> Institute for Managing Sustainability, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business,
> email:  norma.schoenherr at wu.ac.at
>
>
> This newsflash is being published by
>
> Institute for Managing Sustainability
> Vienna University of Economics and Business
> Welthandelsplatz 1, A-1020 Vienna, Austria
>
> phone: +43-1-31336-4698
> fax: +43-1-31336-90-4698
> www: ” title=”http://www.sustainability.eu” target=”_blank”>, Vienna

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 6th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Postcapitalism and the refugee crisis

Julian Sayarer 5 September 2015

This was brought to our attention by the London based OpenDemocracy
 www.opendemocracy.net/julian-say…

and was written by Julian Sayarer of “this is not for charity.” That site and blog arose from his 2009 world record for a circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle – a protest against the corporatisation of sport and human endeavour. You can buy his account of the adventure – “Life Cycles.”

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The response of European citizens to the imperative to offer refuge has been inspiring, unlike the response of some governments. It shows the best face of postcapitalism.

2,200 cars are moving from Austria to Hungary, so as the drivers might ease the march of those Syrian refugees walking away from Hungary’s xenophobic position on the refugee crisis, and towards the safe haven that has been offered, in particular, by Germany.

The refugee crisis is dire and has been for a long time. We should not allow ourselves to forget that the image of a drowned toddler served only to bring us belatedly to our collective moral senses – we might have expected many of the innocent deaths before his to have done so already, but you cannot undo the past, only make good on your mistakes. The obligatory mention of western culpability, which is not the point to be dwelt on here, must also be made; western governments and media rushed into rash and heady military interventions that were painfully ill-judged. Some news outlets that now run hot for a refugee crisis have cultivated the indifference that saw the same crisis ignored for so long. It would be dangerous were we to forget that we have been fickle and that we have acted poorly, but it would be no less dangerous to have that remorse stopper our attempts to do good in the face of so much that is now ill. Right now, as 2,200 Austrian drivers head to Hungary to pick up refugees, positive things are happening in Europe.

This week, a flatmate asked me if we could house a refugee in our front room in London. I am, ordinarily, the flatmate urging we switch to a provider of renewable energy, the flatmate encouraging his flatmates consider a look at a Triodos ethical savings account rather than one with Lloyds Bank. My flatmates know that’s what I’m like, and so too do I know it, and as a result I go easy on them; well aware that there are arguments to be made on the part of ethics, but if you disregard the demanding daily lives of those you mean to convince, then they will soon disregard your ethics. And so I was not about to suggest we have a Syrian move in. Not only, however, was it my flatmate and not me who suggested we house a refugee, but a third housemate, on hearing the suggestion of the second, responded to the proposal with borderline approval. At this point, naturally, I announced that I would not be the flatmate that vetoed the decision to house a Syrian refugee. More significant than this good intention, however, is the extent to which it is already being put into practice; a UK initiative is in the process of trying to find ten thousand willing homes for Syrians, an Icelandic initiative has already found ten thousand (on an island of only 300,000), and a German initiative is actively pairing refugees with homes around the country and beyond. This is to say nothing of the assorted crowdfunding ventures and, once again, the 2,200 Austrians currently driving to Hungary to help drive refugees towards asylum.

That so many individuals now care enough to do so much so out of the ordinary is, in itself, remarkable. Still more encouraging, however, is the fact that it is working. Europeans are creating a trickle-up politics whereby Austrians drive to collect Syrians from Hungary and so Hungary feel compelled to – at least – provide buses, Iceland’s government realise it has misjudged the popular mood in only 50 asylum places and so return with an offer in the thousands. David Cameron is yet to announce how many Syrians will now be granted asylum in the UK, but – even before a 12th September march on Downing Street that will number into the tens of thousands – the figure will be substantially higher than the one the Government once felt it could get away with as the bare minimum of human rights duties. None of this is to say that now is a time for congratulating ourselves, quite the opposite – it is simply a reminder that the campaigning is working and we should keep at it. What is more, however, is that this is no longer only adversarial – whether it is the Daily Mail or the Conservative Party, some of the voices most steadfastly opposed to the movement of human beings – be that in refuge or migration – are being swallowed by the size of the consensus now under construction. The silent majority on immigration is, at last, speaking – the centre ground is being redefined. We have a humanitarian crisis and so we must respond as humans – some who would have bemoaned the issue of refugees a fortnight ago are doubtless becoming more sympathetic to the matter, and while it would be nice if we’d all of us agreed all along, this is real life, and the reality of winning a debate is that people who disagreed with you come to agree. It should be welcomed, not condemned.

This is – it bears saying – a work in progress; Eritreans, Afghans and the Sudanese are every bit as brutalised as Syrians, the latter are not the ‘special case’ some tabloids have sought to define them as – a cherry-picked victim by which we superficially re-legitimise World War Two narratives of safe-havens and our own morality. This is not to say that we can or should take infinite refugees, rather, that we must give according to our own ability and the needs of others, and that our foreign policies ought be waged (if that is still the correct verb) in a fashion that considers these human repercussions and where they flee to.

My own position on how much we might do is, probably, more utopian than most. I love to imagine British people talking of the successes and difficulties faced in integrating the Syrian couple now living with them for six months. Of people telling their boss they’ll be late for work because of dropping-off an adopted child at an English class – the boss understanding because his neighbour is running a day care centre for similar reasons. I fantasise about the idea of us all being forced to interrupt our business as usual, being reminded that millions of ruined lives and our ability to help a little was worth more than what the damn markets are saying. Sure, plenty of it is fantasy, but, there again, a week ago the UK was to take a few hundred Syrians. Next week, already with a certainty that that number will have increased, tens of thousands will march on Downing Street to demand more. I don’t go in for the nationalist baloney that The British People are good and moral… I simply believe that people are good and moral, especially where an agenda can be cleared of ulterior motives and polling data-induced paralysis, at which point you let people make up their own mind as to whether they like helping or vilifying those in need. That this open heartedness should not stop at international refugees goes without saying, but those I’ve seen most active on the refugee crisis are also those most active on UK inequality, its housing crisis, and the reliance of millions on food banks. What we are exercising is our emotional-political muscle to do good and demand more.

Individually, our own, personal morality-politics already represents as much. Countless memes circulate the internet on a feel-good theme that performing an act of kindness, of generosity, does not leave you depleted of that energy, but rather gives you your own energy redoubled. It is good to be a good person, just as it is good to be a nation that stands for values and humanity. Buddhist monks forego all possession and work so as to allow those around them opportunity to be humane in their support – the west and westerners have not, collectively, behaved with the piety of monks, and we should seek no self-congratulation, but societies have an impulse for compassion, and where that impulse is continuously stifled – where we are consistently bludgeoned with ideas that we haven’t the time, the capital, the empathy – we eventually come to believe it. Western society needs to be reminded that it can stand for change and stand for good, not only for a cheap fiscal orthodoxy; it is vitally important that we seize this moment, for it is in times of crisis that humans are able to reinvent themselves by either rising to, or falling, in the face of the challenge. We should continue to campaign, work and innovate for the sake of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, but we should also be doing it for ourselves.

Crucial in the call to action now rising are the voices of those elderly people who remember the evacuation of children from cities during World War II – their memory is essential for in them is a precedent, a recollection, that people can take in strangers for the good of all, and that life as you know it can legitimately be interrupted for an act of conscience. In those born since that time, the idea is only a text book or a history lesson, and it is so very important that each generation builds these examples anew so that they can continue to live on in the memory of those who come next.

There are, of course, practical considerations beyond only the good intention. As has been pointed out, even the 800,000 asylum places made available in Germany cannot be accessed from a refugee camp in Turkey or Lebanon, nor – quite possibly – even from the consulates within those nations. People are being obliged to make perilous and extortionately costly journeys (which, from the outset, marginalise the most economically vulnerable) to get to those asylum spaces; the momentum now needs to turn to military airlifting or charter flights. The pairing of refugees and willing hosts needs to gather momentum, and crowdfunding of – for example – the necessary bank deposits for visa sponsors could be an avenue for investigation.

None of these measures will, in themselves, solve the crisis, but by asking for them we will continue to build pressure on our governments to deliver the more adequate responses being demanded by their populations. In many ways, what we are seeing now is a hacking of government politics – the mechanisms of a much-vaunted ‘sharing economy’ put to humanitarian rather than market ends. Pressure should be applied to Airbnb to make good their ‘sharing credentials’ and have their reach and infrastructure leant to implementing, genuinely, the open-hearted human values they market themselves as espousing. People – whether in their accommodation, vehicles, expertise, time or spare belongings – are taking the unused value of their surpluses and investing it towards making good. This is what postcapitalism looks like, and here we see are seeing the network technologies of the twenty-first century mobilised to ameliorate the sort of crisis not seen since the twentieth.

The response of European governments and campaigners so far has – by and large – been one of terrible inaction on the part of governments shamed by enterprise and passion on the part of people. Governments can be embarrassed, either by other governments’ positions (read: Germany) or when their own populations demand more of them, either vocally, or by outdoing the efforts of the government itself; creating such a clamour that you break the machinery of government, the emotional armour, and break through to the humans that wear it. The Greek bailout crowdfunder, which so cheerfully managed to raise under 1% of only one debt instalment, illustrates that the efforts of networked individuals cannot match the smallest clout of a government. We should let this refugee crisis show that, whilst groundswell cannot replace government, it can and must help shape it.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 17th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


IPCC chair election: 5 candidates, 8 weeks to go

By Megan Darby of ” title=”http://www.rtcc.org” target=”_blank”>www.rtcc.org/2015/08/14/ipcc-chai…

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SustainabiliTank supports Naki (Nebosja Nakicenovic) because of his years long personal involvement in energy matters and his understanding of the importance of energy in the economy, on the environment and in development matters. Further, we think his Vienna base at the former East-West IIASA institution – is a tremendous plus – and as well – practically all UN and international energy active centers are based in Vienna be it UN affiliates like IAEA and OPEC and then the new SE4All which ought to be a major locus for post-Paris-2015.

Also, we think it as a plus, the fact that Naki was not part of the outgoing IPCC management – we found years ago that the influence of oil interests reached into the minds and actions of that outgoing management.

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