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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 19th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Obama Finally Acts Like a Nobel Laureate.

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

18 December 2014

Normalizing relations with Cuba was an act worthy of consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The diplomatic thaw can lead to more peace and justice if it is the first step. The most important move that can be made would be to lift the cruel and unjust embargo against Cuba. For over 50 years the embargo has made a poor country poorer.

The failed policy has not weakened the Castro Government, instead it has exacerbated poverty in what was one of the most vibrant economies prior to the Cuban Revolution.

According to the Smithsonian: “By the late ’50s, U.S. financial interests included 90 percent of Cuban mines, 80 percent of its public utilities, 50 percent of its railways, 40 percent of its sugar production and 25 percent of its bank deposits – some $1 billion in total. American influence extended into the cultural realm, as well. Cubans grew accustomed to the luxuries of American life. They drove American cars, owned TVs, watched Hollywood movies and shopped at Woolworth’s department store. The youth listened to rock and roll, learned English in school, adopted American baseball and sported American fashions.”

For the Cuban elite and American investors all was great. But for many in Cuba, the resources were concentrated in the hands of an elite class that was enjoying life with their partners, the American Robber Barons. The inequality led to the Cuban Revolution. When the Batista regime fell and American-owned resources were nationalized by Castro, the capitalists in Washington decided that they would do all they could to make sure the revolution failed.

The Cuba policy reminds me of the Republican strategy for dealing with Barack Obama’s presidency. They did everything they could to make sure more Americans would suffer and blame the President for their pain.

The US embargo on Cuba was designed to inflict pain on the Cuban people and force them into regime change.

Regime change never came. Some would argue that the embargo helped Fidel Castro unite the Cuban people against the “real” boogeyman in Washington.

President Obama, while not fully lifting the embargo, did make some moves that will increase commerce between the two nations. While these actions should be applauded, we must be vigilant. A return to the day when Cuba’s economy is dominated by US corporations is not what the Cuban people need. Exploitation is not the answer, but if you listen to Obama’s cabinet it may be exactly what they seek.

In a statement released by the State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry said: “This new course will not be without challenges, but it is based not on a leap of faith but on a conviction that it’s the best way to help bring freedom and opportunity to the Cuban people, and to promote America’s national security interests in the Americas, including greater regional stability and economic opportunities for American businesses.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said: “These historic actions by the President chart a new course for our country’s relationship with Cuba and its people. It will improve the lives of millions and will help spur long overdue economic and political reform across the country. Expanding economic engagement between the Cuban people and the American business community will be a powerful catalyst that will strengthen human rights and the rule of law.”

So buyer beware, while increased economic activity between the United States and Cuba could be a good thing, we must make sure it does’t lead to more exploitation by Cuba’s powerful neighbor.

President Obama said in Cuba yesterday: “There’s a complicated history between the United States and Cuba. I was born in 1961 – just over two years after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and just a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which tried to overthrow his regime. Over the next several decades, the relationship between our countries played out against the backdrop of the Cold War, and America’s steadfast opposition to communism. We are separated by just over 90 miles. But year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between our two countries.”

Those differences have hardened for many Cuban Americans, but at the same time younger Cubans living in the United States support the president’s actions. They are the future, voices of hope and reconciliation. Let’s not listen to the voices of the past, being amplified by politicians like Marco Rubio who I am convinced express the view of an ideological fraction of the Cuban American community that will soon become the minority.

If we follow the direction the Obama administration is taking on Cuba, one day liberal Cuban politicians will start prevailing in South Florida and extremists like Marco Rubio will be out of office.

In a statement on Cuban television, Raul Castro called on President Obama to lift the embargo through executive action. Many are saying it will require an act of Congress. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait on the “just say no” Congress – since this policy was initiated by Obama, we know they will do everything they can to reverse it.

The Cuban and American people are pawns in the GOP’s political strategy. They will continue to do everything they can to make sure the Cuban and American people suffer, in hopes that they will blame the Castros and Obama. Let’s instead support the president’s Cuban policy and point the finger at the cruel politics of the Republican Party.

Scott Galindez was formerly the co-founder of Truthout.

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

Republicans were quick on Wednesday to accuse President Obama of appeasing our nation’s adversaries and showing weakness.

“First Russia, then Iran, now Cuba: One More Very Bad Deal Brokered by the Obama Administration,” blared the subject line of a release from Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) office.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another example of this administration continuing to show the rest of the world and dangerous leaders like those in Iran and North Korea that the United States is willing to appease them,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said.

“It is par for the course with an administration that is constantly giving away unilateral concessions, whether it’s Iran or in this case Cuba, in exchange for nothing, and that’s what’s happening here,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on Fox News.

But there’s one very important way in which Cuba differs from all of these other bad actors on the world stage. And it’s this: Americans aren’t scared of Cuba — like barely even a little bit.

Despite Cuba’s proximity to the United States (about 90 miles from Florida) and its alliance with other antagonistic countries like North Korea and Russia, Americans have grown progressively less and less concerned that the island country actually poses a threat to the United States.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll earlier this year, in fact, showed that just 5 percent of people viewed Cuba as a “very serious threat” and 21 percent said it was a “moderately serious threat.” Another 72 percent said it wasn’t a threat at all or “just a slight threat.”

Back in 1983, two-thirds of Americans viewed Cuba as at least a “moderately serious threat,” but that numbers has fallen steadily since then.

In addition, Cuba today simply can’t be compared to the likes of Iran, Russia, North Korea and the others as far as the threat it poses. Seven in 10 Americans say each of those countries poses at a least a “moderately serious threat,” compared to 26 percent for Cuba.

As President Obama makes his case that normalizing relations with Cuba is a good idea, this is a major factor working in his favor. As long as Americans aren’t afraid of Cuba, they will likely be more accepting of a diplomatic relationship.

It’s no coincidence, after all, that the sharp decrease in fear of Cuba has coincided with a sharp rise in support for diplomacy.

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


Obama secures Latin legacy

World leaders have welcomed a historic move by the US to end more than 50 years of hostility towards Cuba and restore diplomatic relations.

Pope Francis joined leaders from Latin America and Europe in praising the “historic” deal which saw the release of prisoners from both countries.


US-Cuba relations: Global praise for normalization of ties.

The BBC News, December 18, 2014
 www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-amer…

————————

Op-Ed Columnist – The New York Times, December 18, 2014
Welcome Back, Cuba!
By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Sending in gunmen to liberate the Bay of Pigs failed, but perhaps we’ll do better with diplomats, tourists and investors.

Op-Ed Contributor – The New York Times, December 18, 2014
Hectoring Venezuela on Human Rights
By DIOSDADO CABELLO

Instead of punishing my country, the U.S. should check its own record.

————————-

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The 23 September UN Climate Summit was a multi-dimensional event which brought together more than 120 Heads of State and Government, along with leaders from civil society and business, to catalyze ambitious action to address climate change. During July and August, UN-NGLS led an open, transparent nomination process to identify civil society speakers and attendees for the Summit. Ultimately 50 candidates were invited to attend, 18 of whom were provided with travel funding.


Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a 26-year old poet from the Marshall Islands – who is also a teacher, a journalist, a founder of an environmental NGO and a mother – was selected to speak during the opening ceremony of the Summit. She has since been widely commended for delivering the most memorable presentation of the day: a short statement followed by a stirring poem addressed to her daughter, titled “Dear Matafele Peinam.” She brought many to tears and received a long standing ovation in the General Assembly Hall.
A video that accompanied her performance, and the full text of the poem, can be found on her blog: jkijiner.wordpress.com/

Videos of her statement and poem are circling the globe, with more than 350,000 views combined in the last week. Watch her full presentation here:
Statement and poem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Climate Summit 2014 – Opening Ceremony

More than 120 articles have been written worldwide already about the messages she brought to the Summit, including by several major international media outlets. A tracking document can be viewed here: bit.ly/KJKarticlesClimateSummit

Currently, more than 60 articles convey perspectives and recommendations from many of the 49 additional civil society participants selected through the UN-NGLS process. The tracking document for these articles is available here:
 bit.ly/NGLS-CSO_Climate_Summit_Pr…

The global resonance of the messages brought to the Summit by this diverse array of civil society representatives illustrates the importance and value of civil society participation in UN processes. UN-NGLS expresses its highest respect and appreciation to all of the civil society representatives who brought their hopes and expertise to UN Headquarters for the Summit – several of whom had never left their countries before. UN-NGLS thanks the Climate Change Support Team in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for supporting this civil society engagement.

For more information about outcomes of the UN Climate Summit, please visit:
 www.un-ngls.org
Email:  info at un-ngls.org

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

THE POEM:

dear matafele peinam,

you are a seven month old sunrise of gummy smiles

you are bald as an egg and bald as the buddha

you are thunder thighs and lightning shrieks

so excited for bananas, hugs and

our morning walks past the lagoon

dear matafele peinam,

i want to tell you about that lagoon

that lucid, sleepy lagoon lounging against the sunrise

some men say that one day

that lagoon will devour you

they say it will gnaw at the shoreline

chew at the roots of your breadfruit trees

gulp down rows of your seawalls

and crunch your island’s shattered bones

they say you, your daughter

and your granddaughter, too

will wander rootless

with only a passport to call home

dear matafele peinam,

don’t cry

mommy promises you

no one

will come and devour you

no greedy whale of a company sharking through

political seas

no backwater bullying of businesses with broken morals no blindfolded

bureaucracies gonna push

this mother ocean over

the edge

no one’s drowning, baby

no one’s moving

no one’s losing

their homeland

no one’s gonna become

a climate change refugee

or should i say

no one else

to the carteret islanders of papua new guinea

and to the taro islanders of fiji

i take this moment

to apologize to you

we are drawing the line here

because baby we are going to fight

your mommy daddy

bubu jimma your country and president too

we will all fight

and even though there are those

hidden behind platinum titles

who like to pretend

that we don’t exist

that the marshall islands

tuvalu

kiribati

maldives

and typhoon haiyan in the philippines

and floods of pakistan, algeria, and colombia

and all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidalwaves

didn’t exist

still

there are those

who see us

hands reaching out

fists raising up

banners unfurling

megaphones booming

and we are

canoes blocking coal ships

we are

the radiance of solar villages

we are

the rich clean soil of the farmer’s past

we are

petitions blooming from teenage fingertips

we are

families biking, recycling, reusing,

engineers dreaming, designing, building,

artists painting, dancing, writing

we are spreading the word

and there are thousands out on the street

marching with signs

hand in hand

chanting for change NOW

they’re marching for you, baby

they’re marching for us

because we deserve to do more than just

survive

we deserve

to thrive

dear matafele peinam,

you are eyes heavy

with drowsy weight

so just close those eyes, baby

and sleep in peace

because we won’t let you down

you’ll see

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 31st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Fijians negotiating with Islamist captors of 44 {or 45?} peacekeepers.

Head of Fiji’s army says exact location of kidnapped troops cannot be confirmed.

By Times of Israel staff and AP  – August 31, 2014, 3:12 pm
For what the UN releases on this – please look www.InnerCity.Press.com – whose reporter at the UN Headquarters in New York – Matthew Russel Lee – is following closely this topic.
The Freedom House Map of “Press Freed0m 2014″ has Fiji and The Philippines among the “Partly Free States” – thus reflecting on the source of the UN Mercenary hired personnel that is the human fodder to Peace Keeping Missions that do not get full UN backing when finding themselves in difficult situations.
Members of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) using binoculars to watch the Syrian side of the Golan Heights near the Quneitra border crossing, on August 31, 2014. (photo credit: AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

Members of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) using binoculars to watch the Syrian side of the Golan Heights near the Quneitra border crossing, on August 31, 2014. (photo credit: AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

The Fijian military said Sunday that it was pursuing negotiations with the Syrian Islamic rebel group which kidnapped 44 UNDOF peacekeepers in the Syrian Golan Heights Thursday, but still had not received word on where the soldiers were being held.

Fiji has been told that the men were unharmed and were being treated well, but “we still at this stage cannot confirm the exact location of our troops. We are continuing negotiations at all levels,” said Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga, head of the Fijian army, according to a Reuters report.

 

“However, we are still very concerned that we cannot confirm at this stage their exact location, whether they are still in Syria or whether they have been moved to neighboring countries,” the general added.

Tikoitoga’s comments came after 40 Filipino peacekeepers made a daring escape after being surrounded and under fire for seven hours by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights on Sunday, leaving the 44 Fijian troops in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.

The peacekeepers became trapped after Syrian rebels entered the UN-patrolled buffer zone between Syria and Israel this past week, seizing the Fijian soldiers and demanding that their Filipino colleagues surrender. The Filipinos, occupying two UN encampments, refused and clashed with the rebels on Saturday. The first group of 35 peacekeepers was then successfully escorted out of a UN encampment in Breiqa by Irish and Filipino forces in armored vehicles.

As night fell and a ceasefire took hold, a further 40 Filipinos fled with their weapons, traveling across the chilly hills for nearly two hours before meeting up with other UN forces, who escorted them to safety inside Israel early Sunday, Philippine officials said.

The clashes erupted after Syrian rebel groups — including al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front — overran the Quneitra crossing on the frontier between Syrian- and Israeli-controlled parts of the Golan on Wednesday and seized the 44 Fijians.

The SITE Intelligence Group reported that the Nusra Front posted a statement on its Twitter account Saturday taking responsibility for detaining the Fijian peacekeepers. The Nusra Front stated that the Fijian detainees “are in a safe place, and they are in good health, and that we have given them what they need of food and treatment.”

The Nusra Front also posted a photo showing what it said were the captured Fijians in their military uniforms along with 45 identification cards, SITE said.

SITE added that the Nusra Front claimed the Fijians were seized in retaliation for the UN’s ignoring “the daily shedding of the Muslims’ blood in Syria” and even colluding with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army “to facilitate its movement to strike the vulnerable Muslims” through a buffer zone in the Golan Heights. The SITE report could not be independently confirmed.

The UN mission has 1,223 troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines. A number of countries had previously withdrawn their peacekeepers due to the escalating violence.

Philippine officials said Filipino forces would remain in Golan until their mission ends in October despite the rebel attacks and the capture of the Fijian peacekeepers.

Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council strongly condemned Saturday’s attack on the peacekeepers’ positions and the ongoing detention of the Fijian peacekeepers.

The Nusra Front has recently seized hostages to exchange for prisoners detained in Syria and Lebanon.

Read more: Fijians negotiating with Islamist captors of 44 peacekeepers | The Times of Israel www.timesofisrael.com/fijians-negotiating-with-islamist-captors-of-44-peacekeepers/#ixzz3BzEeLB38

————————————————————————————————————————————-

As of July 31, 2014 UNDOF has 1,223 peacekeepers from six countroies – Fiji, India, Irelamd, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.

The mission was established in 1974 with the purpose to monitor the disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after the 1973 war (the Yom Kippur War). In effect they monitor the line between the no-man’s zone and the Syrian State. But let us not forget that the Syrian Government these days rules only over part of Syria and rebels of Al-Qaeda persuasion – organized in the Al-Nusra front and the ISIL – Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – are what the UN peacekeepers are facing now – this rather then a Syrian State military. Does the original mandate hold under these conditions? Seemingly Austria had some doubts and pulled out their troops at last mandate-renewal.

Actually – the mandate is up to renewal every 6 months and the current mandate ends on December 31, 2014.  Would this not be a good opportunity to allow the current forces to go home? Ireland, Netherlands and Austria were not there for the money, and those that are in for the money better learn that this is a tough spot, and it is rather without real purpose – only potential harm.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 19th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

China to spend $1bn on massive Caribbean resort.

MENAFN – AFP – 19/08/2014

 
 
(MENAFN – AFP) Chinese investors are to plunge more than US1 billion into developing Antigua and Barbuda’s first mega-resort, creating 1,000 jobs for the tiny cash-strapped nation. 

Construction on the mammoth 1,600-acre (647-hectare) multi-hotel, residential and commercial project is slated to begin early next year.

The ‘Singulari’ scheme – 50 per cent bigger than the regionally-heralded Baha Mar resort under way in the Bahamas – is being lauded as a major feather in the East Caribbean country’s tourism cap.

Spanning 900 acres of land in the north of Antigua and 700 acres of tiny islands, it will include several luxury hotels, hundreds of private homes, a school, hospital, marinas, golf courses, an entertainment district, horse racing track and the Caribbean’s biggest casino.

It is being created on land previously owned by disgraced US financier Allen Stanford, once Antigua’s largest employer.

Sam Dyson, of Luxury Locations real estate agency which introduced Beijing-based Yida International Investment Group to the island in May 2013 and negotiated the deal with the land’s liquidators, said: “Singulari will provide Antigua and Barbuda with an economic boost and galvanise the destination as a tourism force to be reckoned with.”

A Yida spokesman said job fairs would be held within weeks to ensure locals were given first priority for the 200 positions being made available later this year when the land is prepared for development, and the 800 created next year when construction starts.

“Over the next 10 years, Yida Group and its global partners will create an additional US2 billion of gross domestic product and economic value to Antigua, including sales of real estate, creation of new industries and origination of foreign direct investment,” he added.

Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne signed a memorandum of agreement with the developers on June 13, one day after taking office following June’s general election. Browne declared his intention to transform the country, suffering crippling national debt and unemployment, into an economic powerhouse.

With national debt at almost 90 percent of GDP, the main challenges for the new government will include reviving the 108-square mile (280-square kilometer) country’s tourism-dependent economy.

Financial woes have been exacerbated by fallout from Texas businessman Stanford’s US7 billion Ponzi scheme. A citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Stanford was the private sector’s biggest employer before his arrest in 2009.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 11th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CTMD Upcoming Events

Gran Bwa Culture and Neg Gran Bwa Drummers present

Bwa Kay Iman Photo by Tony Savino

BWA KAY IMAN 2014   

An all-day Haitian arts and culture celebration

commemorating the uprising against slavery in 1791

that began the Haitian Revolution

 

Saturday, August 16th

(3-9PM)
Prospect Park, Lakeside Area,

Brooklyn, NY

(Take the Q train to the Parkside stop and
enter via Parkside entrance) 

FREE ADMISSION
   
Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD) and its Haitian Community Cultural Initiative, Verite sou Tanbou, are pleased to serve as media sponsors for Bwa Kay Iman, an all-day Haitian arts and culture celebration at lakeside in southeastern Prospect Park (near the Parkside entrance), presented by Gran Bwa Culture and Neg Gran Bwa Drummers, led by Oungan Asogwe (High Priest) Deenps “Gran Bwa” Bazile.
Bwa Kay Iman is a longstanding annual Haitian celebration in Prospect Park that commemorates the important slave social gathering on August 14th of 1791 that began the Haitian revolution.  The event celebrates and demonstrates Haitian culture with drumming, traditional Haitian folkloric dance, artwork, and storytelling followed by traditional Haitian Vodou drumming and singing between 3PM and 9PM.
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ARE WELCOME!
Seating is picnic-style; attendees are invited to bring
blankets, cushions, and lawn chairs as needed.

Suggested dress code
for this cultural gathering

is djan-djan (multicolored attire).

 To volunteer at this event (assist with set up, clean up, or picking up supplies)
or for further information, contact Gran Bwa at:
Granbwaculture@yahoo.com or 347-785-6419.

Set up begins at 11AM – assistance is welcome!
To make a donation via Paypal directly to Gran Bwa Culture
in support of this free cultural event click here
You can also donate via our GoFundMe campaign
by clicking
here.
OTHER ITEMS ARE WELCOME, INCLUDING:
- Cases of water, fruit (oranges, bananas, grapes, mangos),
cases of candles, lawn chairs, and tarps
- Art supplies (markers, crayons, white paper, construction
paper, paint, and paint brushes)

“Gran Bwa Culture is reaching out to everyone in the community of all age groups and cultures to partake in this great annual celebration. We are providing a series of hands-on workshops in the natural setting of Prospect Park, creating an opportunity for Haitians to reconnect with their culture and for the general community to learn about Haiti’s culture.”  –Erzuli Guillaume
For a preview of Bwa Kay Iman, courtesy of City Lore’s video documentation
of this celebration in the park in 2010, click on the image below.

Haitian Neighborhood Tour 3: Gran Bwa in Prospect Park
Haitian Neighborhood Tour 3:
Gran Bwa in Prospect Park
by City Lore www.citylore.org
FOR UP-TO-THE-MINUTE SUBWAY DIRECTIONS VISIT WWW.HOPSTOP.COM
Bwa Kayiman photo courtesy of Tony Savino:  www.tonysavino.com

Find out more about CTMD!
For more information about upcoming events, what’s happening in New York City’s traditional music and dance scene, to join or to donate, go to CTMD’s website.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

VIII Foro Latinoamericano y del Caribe del Carbono se realizará en Bogotá

 

Del 3 al 5 de septiembre se reunirán expertos de Europa, América del Norte,  América Latina y el Caribe para analizar los últimos avances en la implementación de políticas internacionales sobre  cambio climático, precios de carbono  y desarrollo sostenible


(Bogotá, 04 de agosto de 2014). Con el propósito de difundir conocimiento, promover el intercambio de información y de experiencias, así como propiciar un ambiente de oportunidades de negocio en el mercado de carbono, del 3 al 5 de septiembre se realizará en Bogotá el VIII Foro Latinoamericano y del Caribe del Carbono (FLACC), evento que reunirá a expertos internacionales que analizarán los últimos avances en la implementación de políticas internacionales sobre cambio climático, precios de carbono y desarrollo sostenible. La reunión pondrá  énfasis en la necesidad de avanzar hacia un  desarrollo bajo en carbono, e iniciativas y esquemas de comercio de emisiones.

Esta VIII edición está organizada por el Banco Mundial, la Organización Latinoamericana de Energía (OLADE), la Asociación Internacional de Comercio de Emisiones (IETA), el Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) y el centro PNUMA DTU, el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID), la Secretaría de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático (CMNUCC) el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD) y CAF –banco de desarrollo de América Latina.

La agenda contemplará siete reuniones plenarias, 14 talleres y una serie de eventos paralelos organizados por los expositores en los que se abordarán temas como las oportunidades para acelerar el desarrollo sostenible en la región, instrumentos de tarificación del carbono, el rol del sector privado y de los bancos de desarrollo para financiar las acciones climáticas  y las políticas y alternativas para revitalizar el mercado del carbono. Así mismo, se discutirá la fijación de precios de las reducciones de las emisiones de CO2, iniciativas de ciudades sostenibles en América Latina y las propuestas para reducir emisiones y discutir estrategias de desarrollo bajo en carbono en sectores como producción y uso de energía, transporte e industria, bosques, agricultura y manejo de residuos.

 

El FLACC es una plataforma regional creada en 2006 con la finalidad de compartir información, discutir nuevas tendencias, proponer soluciones y crear oportunidades de negocio. En ediciones anteriores contó con la presencia de más de 800 participantes provenientes del sector privado, público, bancos multilaterales y de desarrollo, expertos en políticas y estrategias de desarrollo bajo en carbono y promotores de proyectos, entre otros.

 

Para inscribirse en la VIII edición de forma gratuita visite www.latincarbon.com/2014. El cupo es limitado.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 2nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Cut-Backs at UNDP While Helen Clark in Belarus  …  Transparency I

 

By Matthew Russell Lee- The Inner City Press at the UN

 

UNITED NATIONS, May 31, more here — For many weeks there have been rumblings about “Helen Clark’s cut backs” at UNDP -  the UN Development Program.

   This week the rumbling spiked, with the UNDP staff union holding a meeting in the UN’s basement on May 29 to discuss the loss of up to 30% of UNDP’s jobs in New York.

 

  So on May 31 when Helen Clark re-tweeted praise of her visit to Belarus from her representative in the country, Sri Lanka national Sanaka Samarasinha, Inner City Press replied: “What about the UNDP layoffs?”

 

   The response came not from Helen Clark — who rarely if ever holds question and answer press availabilities at the UN in New York — but from Samarasinha, that the UNDP layoffs “must always be transparent & being fit for purpose. We strive toward that end.”

 

  Inner City Press thanked Samarasinha, adding it will try to make the proposed layoffs transparent. In that spirit, Inner City Press published now Helen Clark’s May 19 letter to the UNDP staff:

Dear Colleagues,

Last year the Executive Board approved a new Strategic Plan for UNDP, and since then the whole organization has been making the changes necessary to fully implement that plan. One of the three pillars of that plan was improving institutional effectiveness. To that end the organization has conducted significant reviews of its performance and we have all been involved in planning and implementing changes. At the country office level most of you are well on your way to completing the financial sustainability exercise which has led to many changes. Also, over recent months we have been going through a structural change exercise at the headquarters and regional levels to achieve a number of efficiency gains.

We committed to:

· Moving more of our policy and support services to the regional level so that we are closer to our country offices.

· Removing unnecessary duplication between bureaus

· Ensuring our functions are properly aligned through the organization to improve accountability and professional standards

 · Improving our span of control so that we have better career paths for younger staff.

· Reducing our spending on staff salaries so that we can stay within the integrated budget limits set by the Board in September.

· Ensuring we free up resources to invest in new areas required to deliver on the Strategic Plan

 

All Bureaus have been working hard on how to reorganize functions and reduce costs. This has not been an easy exercise and I must commend both my management and the many staff involved for their commitment to coming up with solutions.

We are now at the stage where we are ready to release new organograms for all bureau. This will happen on Wednesday this week (NY time). These organograms will reflect a much different UNDP from what we now have. Our services will be much more focused in the regions and we will be leaner. We will have significantly fewer D grade positions relative to other professional and general services grades.

 This means that many peoples jobs are affected, and we will be embarking on a realignment process aimed at being as fair and transparent as possible to fill the new positions.

Details of the new organograms will be released on Wednesday 21 May, and managers in all bureaux will be available to discuss with staff what the implications are for their bureau.

 

I understand, however, that some staff may wish to take the opportunity to leave UNDP, rather than compete for new positions. To facilitate this we will be making available a limited number of voluntary separation packages. The details associated with this are attached to this email, and if affected staff members are interested in taking this option they should discuss this with their manager.

All organograms will be made available on a dedicated intranet site, and at that time all staff at headquarters and working at regional level centres will receive formal notification that they are within the definition of affected staff. Bureau managers will then work with individual staff members to confirm the status of their existing position. Information will also be available on the processes which will be used for the realignment exercises which will have to follow. Let me assure you that these exercises will be designed to be as fair and transparent as possible and will ensure that existing rights under staff rules are respected.

 

Finally let me say to you all that I recognize that this is not an easy time for staff. I also know that we can be a stronger more effective development organization which can make real differences in millions of peoples’ lives. By demonstrating that to the world, I have no doubt that there are many exciting opportunities out there for UNDP to build on.

 

Helen Clark
UNDP Administrator

 

  Another source told Inner City Press that Clark wants to “force people, many women, many who are head of household, to be deported after one month [when their G-4 visas would expire], and force many staff who are just 2, 3, 4 years from early retirement age out, so they will miss out on their after-service health insurance. If they get away with this at UNDP, it will quickly spread to the rest of the UN system. Oh, and by the way, the men and women at D1, D2 and ASGs are unaffected.”

 

  This, Secretariat staff say, is similar to current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s mobility or “5 year rule” – now imposed on regular staff, but seemingly not applied Ban’s higher ranking friends. UNease is growing. Another description here, from IPS.

 

  The connection is that Helen Clark wants to replace Ban Ki-moon as Secretary General, despite the post as his successor said is being reserved for the Eastern European group which has never held it. Clark is banking on gender trumping geography, and job cutting seems to be her campaign issue for Western, donor countries.

  A well placed source tells Inner City Press Clark told management currently employed at UNDP to “drop what they are doing and work on her campaign” for S-G, they would be rewarded with a higher post in the Secretariat if she comes to replace Ban.

 

Footnote:    In the Secretariat, the hold-over staff union which barely fought Ban during its time in power now presents itself as supporting UNDP worker, and as… still the staff union … despite the December vote and the controversy since.

This rift only benefits those pushing for lay-off, just like the UN’s Censorship Alliance getting the first question and big room results in softball coverage of the UN, here. Matthew Lee says that he, Inner City Press, and the Free UN Coalition for Access will have more on this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut-Backs at UNDP While Helen Clark in Belarus, Transparency I

 

By Matthew Russell Lee

 

UNITED NATIONS, May 31, more here — For many weeks there have been rumblings about “Helen Clark’s cut backs” at UNDP, the UN Development Program.

 

   This week the rumbling spiked, with the UNDP staff union holding a meeting in the UN’s basement on May 29 to discuss the loss of up to 30% of UNDP’s jobs in New York.

 

  So on May 31 when Helen Clark re-tweeted praise of her visit to Belarus from her representative in the country, Sri Lankan national Sanaka Samarasinha, Inner City Press replied: “What about the UNDP layoffs?”

 

   The response came not from Helen Clark — who rarely if ever holds question and answer press availabilities at the UN in New York — but from Samarasinha, that the UNDP layoffs “must always be transparent & being fit for purpose. We strive toward that end.”

 

  Inner City Press thanked Samarasinha, adding it will try to make the proposed layoffs transparent. In that spirit, we now publish Helen Clark’s May 19 letter to staff:

 

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Last year the Executive Board approved a new Strategic Plan for UNDP, and since then the whole organization has been making the changes necessary to fully implement that plan. One of the three pillars of that plan was improving institutional effectiveness. To that end the organization has conducted significant reviews of its performance and we have all been involved in planning and implementing changes. At the country office level most of you are well on your way to completing the financial sustainability exercise which has led to many changes. Also, over recent months we have been going through a structural change exercise at the headquarters and regional levels to achieve a number of efficiency gains.

 

We committed to:

 

· Moving more of our policy and support services to the regional level so that we are closer to our country offices.

 

· Removing unnecessary duplication between bureau

 

· Ensuring our functions are properly aligned through the organization to improve accountability and professional standards

 

· Improving our span of control so that we have better career paths for younger staff.

 

· Reducing our spending on staff salaries so that we can stay within the integrated budget limits set by the Board in September.

 

· Ensuring we free up resources to invest in new areas required to deliver on the Strategic Plan

 

All Bureaux have been working hard on how to reorganize functions and reduce costs. This has not been an easy exercise and I must commend both my management and the many staff involved for their commitment to coming up with solutions.

 

We are now at the stage where we are ready to release new organograms for all bureau. This will happen on Wednesday this week (NY time). These organograms will reflect a much different UNDP from what we now have. Our services will be much more focused in the regions and we will be leaner. We will have significantly fewer D grade positions relative to other professional and general services grades.

 

This means that many peoples jobs are affected, and we will be embarking on a realignment process aimed at being as fair and transparent as possible to fill the new positions.

 

Details of the new organograms will be released on Wednesday 21 May, and managers in all bureaux will be available to discuss with staff what the implications are for their bureau.

 

I understand, however, that some staff may wish to take the opportunity to leave UNDP, rather than compete for new positions. To facilitate this we will be making available a limited number of voluntary separation packages. The details associated with this are attached to this email, and if affected staff members are interested in taking this option they should discuss this with their manager.

 

All organograms will be made available on a dedicated intranet site, and at that time all staff at headquarters and working at regional level centres will receive formal notification that they are within the definition of affected staff. Bureau managers will then work with individual staff members to confirm the status of their existing position. Information will also be available on the processes which will be used for the realignment exercises which will have to follow. Let me assure you that these exercises will be designed to be as fair and transparent as possible and will ensure that existing rights under staff rules are respected.

 

Finally let me say to you all that I recognize that this is not an easy time for staff. I also know that we can be a stronger more effective development organization which can make real differences in millions of peoples’ lives. By demonstrating that to the world, I have no doubt that there are many exciting opportunities out there for UNDP to build on .

 

Helen Clark
UNDP Administrator

 

  Another source told Inner City Press that Clark wants to “force people, many women, many who are head of household, to be deported after one month [when their G-4 visas would expire], and force many staff who are just 2, 3, 4 years from early retirement age out, so they will miss out on their after-service health insurance. If they get away with this at UNDP, it will quickly spread to the rest of the UN system. Oh, and by the way, the men and women at D1, D2 and ASGs are unaffected.”

 

  This, Secretariat staff say, is similar to current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s mobility or “5 year rule” – now imposed on regular staff, but seemingly not applied Ban’s higher ranking friends. UNease is growing. Another description here, from IPS.

 

  The connection is that Helen Clark wants to replace Ban Ki-moon as Secretary General, despite the the post as his successor said to be reserved for the Eastern European group which has never held it. Clark is banking on gender trumping geography, and job cutting seems to be her campaign issue for Western, donor countries.

 

  A well placed source tells Inner City Press Clark told management currently employed at UNDP to “drop what they are doing and work on her campaign” for S-G, they would be rewarded with a higher post in the Secretariat if she comes to replace Ban.

 

Footnote: In the Secretariat, the hold-over staff union which barely fought Ban during its time in power now presents itself as supporting UNDP worker, and as… still the staff union, despite the December vote and controversy since.

This rift only benefits those pushing for lay-off, just like the UN’s Censorship Alliance getting the first question and big room results in softball coverage of the UN, here. We’ll and the Free UN Coalition for Access will have more on this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut-Backs at UNDP While Helen Clark in Belarus, Transparency I

 

By Matthew Russell Lee

 

UNITED NATIONS, May 31, more here — For many weeks there have been rumblings about “Helen Clark’s cut backs” at UNDP, the UN Development Program.

 

   This week the rumbling spiked, with the UNDP staff union holding a meeting in the UN’s basement on May 29 to discuss the loss of up to 30% of UNDP’s jobs in New York.

 

  So on May 31 when Helen Clark re-tweeted praise of her visit to Belarus from her representative in the country, Sri Lankan national Sanaka Samarasinha, Inner City Press replied: “What about the UNDP layoffs?”

 

   The response came not from Helen Clark — who rarely if ever holds question and answer press availabilities at the UN in New York — but from Samarasinha, that the UNDP layoffs “must always be transparent & being fit for purpose. We strive toward that end.”

 

  Inner City Press thanked Samarasinha, adding it will try to make the proposed layoffs transparent. In that spirit, we now publish Helen Clark’s May 19 letter to staff:

 

 

Dear Colleagues,

Last year the Executive Board approved a new Strategic Plan for UNDP, and since then the whole organization has been making the changes necessary to fully implement that plan. One of the three pillars of that plan was improving institutional effectiveness. To that end the organization has conducted significant reviews of its performance and we have all been involved in planning and implementing changes. At the country office level most of you are well on your way to completing the financial sustainability exercise which has led to many changes. Also, over recent months we have been going through a structural change exercise at the headquarters and regional levels to achieve a number of efficiency gains.

We committed to:

· Moving more of our policy and support services to the regional level so that we are closer to our country offices.

· Removing unnecessary duplication between bureau

· Ensuring our functions are properly aligned through the organization to improve accountability and professional standards

· Improving our span of control so that we have better career paths for younger staff.

· Reducing our spending on staff salaries so that we can stay within the integrated budget limits set by the Board in September.

· Ensuring we free up resources to invest in new areas required to deliver on the Strategic Plan

All Bureaux have been working hard on how to reorganize functions and reduce costs. This has not been an easy exercise and I must commend both my management and the many staff involved for their commitment to coming up with solutions.

We are now at the stage where we are ready to release new organograms for all bureau. This will happen on Wednesday this week (NY time). These organograms will reflect a much different UNDP from what we now have. Our services will be much more focused in the regions and we will be leaner. We will have significantly fewer D grade positions relative to other professional and general services grades.

This means that many peoples jobs are affected, and we will be embarking on a realignment process aimed at being as fair and transparent as possible to fill the new positions.

Details of the new organograms will be released on Wednesday 21 May, and managers in all bureaux will be available to discuss with staff what the implications are for their bureau.

I understand, however, that some staff may wish to take the opportunity to leave UNDP, rather than compete for new positions. To facilitate this we will be making available a limited number of voluntary separation packages. The details associated with this are attached to this email, and if affected staff members are interested in taking this option they should discuss this with their manager.

All organograms will be made available on a dedicated intranet site, and at that time all staff at headquarters and working at regional level centres will receive formal notification that they are within the definition of affected staff. Bureau managers will then work with individual staff members to confirm the status of their existing position. Information will also be available on the processes which will be used for the realignment exercises which will have to follow. Let me assure you that these exercises will be designed to be as fair and transparent as possible and will ensure that existing rights under staff rules are respected.

Finally let me say to you all that I recognize that this is not an easy time for staff. I also know that we can be a stronger more effective development organization which can make real differences in millions of peoples’ lives. By demonstrating that to the world, I have no doubt that there are many exciting opportunities out there for UNDP to build on .

Helen Clark
UNDP Administrator

 

  Another source told Inner City Press that Clark wants to “force people, many women, many who are head of household, to be deported after one month [when their G-4 visas would expire], and force many staff who are just 2, 3, 4 years from early retirement age out, so they will miss out on their after-service health insurance. If they get away with this at UNDP, it will quickly spread to the rest of the UN system. Oh, and by the way, the men and women at D1, D2 and ASGs are unaffected.”

 

  This, Secretariat staff say, is similar to current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s mobility or “5 year rule” – now imposed on regular staff, but seemingly not applied Ban’s higher ranking friends. UNease is growing. Another description here, from IPS.

 

  The connection is that Helen Clark wants to replace Ban Ki-moon as Secretary General, despite the the post as his successor said to be reserved for the Eastern European group which has never held it. Clark is banking on gender trumping geography, and job cutting seems to be her campaign issue for Western, donor countries.

 

  A well placed source tells Inner City Press Clark told management currently employed at UNDP to “drop what they are doing and work on her campaign” for S-G, they would be rewarded with a higher post in the Secretariat if she comes to replace Ban.

 

Footnote: In the Secretariat, the hold-over staff union which barely fought Ban during its time in power now presents itself as supporting UNDP worker, and as… still the staff union, despite the December vote and controversy since.

This rift only benefits those pushing for lay-off, just like the UN’s Censorship Alliance getting the first question and big room results in softball coverage of the UN, here.

 

We and the Free UN Coalition for Access will have more on this promises Matthew Lee.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 23rd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

SHIPPING IN CHANGING CLIMATES: PROVISIONING THE FUTURE.

18th and 19th June 2014, Hilton Hotel, Liverpool, UK

 

We are pleased to announce that the final programme is now available for the Shipping in Changing Climates: provisioning the future conference which will take place on 18th and 19th June 2014, at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool.

 

Registration is open plus we are hosting a conference dinner and reception at the Hilton Hotel on 18th June.  Registration for the conference and conference dinner is available here

 

Keynote presentations will include speakers from the International Chamber of Shipping, Lloyd’s Register, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Shell and CE Delft.  In addition to keynotes, the conference will include presentation topics ranging from fuels of the future, alternative methods of propulsion, to policy implications and challenges. 

 

 

We would be extremely grateful if you would pass this e-mail onto any colleagues who might be interested in attending the conference. 

 

Places for both the conference and dinner are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me, or check www.tyndall.manchester.ac.uk, if you would like any further information.

 

Best wishes

Amrita Sidhu

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

Room H1-E, Pariser Building

The University of Manchester

Sackville Street, M13 9PL

0161 306 3700

 

 ==========================

Yet Jan Lundberg informs s on the progress he makes on trying for there-introduction of sail-shipping powered by wind which is there out free for those ready to “take-it.” This is renewable energy par excellence.

 This Mediterranean-based entity  -  promotes wind energy (sailing) for cargo transport, with pilot projects working with localized economies.  The projects will transport locally grown/made goods across the Mediterranean region and beyond.  As you’ve noticed from our reports, northern Europe has a lot going on in sail transport.   This is due to an EU funded project and forward-looking companies and individual in countries such as the Netherlands the UK.  Yet, there was nothing going on in southern Europe until we came along last summer.

SEE FURTHER:


This being an effort to figure out the economics of re-introducing a sail-fleet for the transportation of goods.

 

WE WONDER IF THE LIVERPOOL CONFERENCE IS READY TO TAKE UP THIS IDEA AS WELL?

 

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

THE FOLLOWING WE PICKED UP FROM THE GFSE (Global Forum on Sustainable Energy) Newsletter #2,  of  May 21, 2014.

 

SE4ALL Chief Executive proposes three “Creative Coalitions” to transform the world’s energy system.

NEW DELHI, 6 February 2014 – The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4All), Kandeh K. Yumkella, today proposed the establishment of three “Creative Coalitions” during a keynote address titled “Rethinking Development” at the 2014 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

Yumkella’s coalitions’ will focus on accelerating continued cost reductions for renewable energy technologies, forging a deal on energy efficiency among the twenty three highest green-house-gas emitters, and supporting a group of progressive developing countries to deepen energy sector reforms to attract investments in distributive energy systems and sustainable infrastructure.

(I)  Describing the first coalition as the Solar Coalition for Increased Cost Reduction, CEO Yumkella noted that accelerating massive cost reductions in renewable energy technologies is essential. “We need a group of countries to come together and agree to radically drive down the cost of renewable energy within a decade. Though there are already some locations where wind and solar power have reached grid parity with fossil generated electricity, the key is to make renewable energy universally as cheap as, or cheaper than, current centralized-fossil-based power generation,” he said.

(II) The second coalition, the Energy Efficiency Coalition will comprise the 23 members of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) who account for about 80 percent of global energy demand and 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. “They must agree to act collectively to achieve the doubling of the rate of energy efficiency in their economies and small actions such as energy-saving bulbs can reduce a household’s total electricity consumption by up to 15% and could save Europe 40 billion kilowatt-hours a year,” he said.
(III) Noting that African countries embraced mobile telephony more rapidly than other regions, Yumkella’s third coalition – the Coalition of Progressive Transformers would allow the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) to lead the coalition and help many least developed countries leap -frog into the energy internet. “The developing countries can ride the green energy wave into the energy internet by beginning to unbundle the power sector, reforming the governance of their power utilities to make them more transparent and profitable, and by establishing robust institutions, and longer-term predictable policies to crowd-in investment into the sector.”
Yumkella’s proposals are in keeping with the three interlinked targets of the initiative on sustainable energy including increasing access to energy, improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewables by the year 2030 and an effort to achieve a dedicated goal on “securing sustainable energy for all” in the post -2015 development agenda.

————-
For more information:

Mr. Anthony Kamara
Communications & Media Relations Coordinator
UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL)
W: +43-1-260-608-3402
M: +43-699-1458-3402
E: A.Kamara@SE4ALL.org

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

 

Energy: Finally Recognized as a Key Driver for Sustainable Development?

author irene ginerreichl

by  Ambassador Irene Giner-Reichl

How do we move towards sustainable development? How do we ensure the provision of water, food, and natural resources for a world population expected to peak around 9 billion people by mid-century? How do we balance economic growth with social justice and with a management of natural resources that respects the earth’s carrying capacity and takes into consideration future generations’ needs? And how does energy fit into the equation?

These are concerns the international community deals with in its search for a new development paradigm beyond 2015. A paradigm that should guide the development of so-called developing and developed countries alike. A paradigm under which governments and civil society, businesses and academia will have to find new ways of adjusting production and consumption. A paradigm which will operate within countries and across national boundaries.

 

Energy’s Slow Move unto the Sustainable Development Agenda:

Even though it is hardly conceivable to discuss “sustainable development” without also examining the production, distribution and use of energy, some 20 years had to pass since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit before energy considerations started to be included into global governance. Neither Agenda 21 (the seminal program of action passed at Rio) nor the Millennium Development Declaration adopted in 2000, included energy considerations.

Informal multi-stakeholder platforms operating patiently over lengthy periods of time and major international scientific endeavors contributed greatly to building a consensus about the role of energy in the pursuit of sustainable development. In the late 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, recognition spread slowly that poverty eradication would remain elusive as long as extreme energy poverty was not tackled; that none of the MDGs could be attained without appropriate energy interventions; and that curbing greenhouse gas emissions would require a major shift to more sustainable energy futures.

Expert groups such as Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC) brought together major stakeholders and their reports helped jell the emerging consensus. The Vienna Energy Forum meetings of 2009 and 2011, drawing on the international network built in yearly meetings of the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (www.gfse.at) since 2000, prepared the ground for the launching of the Initiative of the UN Secretary-General on “Sustainable Energy for All” (SE4All) in December 2011.

 

insights giner reichl  SE4All has three overarching objectives that are mutually supportive and should be reached by 2030:
• To provide access to electricity and to modern cooking fuels for those billion people currently without it;
• To double the rate of energy efficiency improvements;
• To double the share of renewable energies in the overall energy end use.

 

A New Form of International Cooperation on Sustainable Energy for All:

At the Rio+20 conference in June 2012, major partners of SE4All came together to publicly show their support for the initiative. On 21 June 2012, the UN SG announced more than 100 commitments to sustainable energy, estimated at over $50 billion and formulated by governments; private sector corporations, small and medium-scale enterprises; financial institutions, donors and development banks; by non-governmental organizations, artists, academia, and individuals.

Kandeh Yumkella, who had been working tirelessly to build the needed coalitions, was named as UN-SG Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All. He acts as SE4All’s full-time CEO since June 2013.

SE4All is in search of its future legal nature. Any format chosen will have to allow for a good interaction between the public and the private sectors. As the WEC Trilemma Reports 2012 and 2013  underline, public and private players need to listen better to each other and to interact more effectively. Governments need to set clear, long-term frameworks for markets; private sector players have to articulate their needs and expectations clearly to governments.

But an “Initiative” cannot sign checks, nor rent premises. The options are to align with the UN, to form another international organization, or to operate out of a non-for-profit non-governmental setting. For many stakeholders, strict intergovernmental settings and alignment to the UN are too narrow. Yet the UN’s convening power and ability to promote global consensus are irreplaceable.

In order to keep the momentum going Kandeh Yumkella has most recently proposed to form three “creative coalitions” to transform the world’s energy system. These would accelerate continued cost reductions for renewable energy technologies (Solar Coalition for Increased Cost Reduction); forge a deal on energy efficiency among the twenty three highest green-house-gas emitters (the Energy Efficiency Coalition); and support a group of progressive developing countries to deepen energy sector reforms to attract investments in distributive energy systems and sustainable infrastructure (the Coalition of Progressive Transformers).

 

Evolving Regional Cooperation:

As SE4All is unfolding as a network of networks, regional institutions are also evolving. In Africa, the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, in operation since 2010, has already catalyzed the adoption of regional policies on renewables, energy efficiency, hydro-power and biofuels.

ECREEE is perceived to be so successful that the Eastern African Community (EAC) is now emulating its approach, and so is SADC. The small island developing States, long averse to regional cooperation, are developing similar endeavors with the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) and the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE).

 

UN-Decade of Sustainable Energy for All:

In 2012, the UN decided that 2014 to 2024 should be the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. On 16 December 2013, member States agreed on the first overall energy mandate for the SG who is tasked to coordinate the UN’s work on the Decade of SE4All (2014-2024). All member States are urged to contribute to it.

 

Post 2015: a Sustainable Development Paradigm with Energy Goals:

So when the international community later this year negotiates the development paradigm for the post-2015 period , energy considerations will hopefully be fully integrated into the deliberations. The High-Level Report “A New Global Partnership” of 30 May 2013 includes, among the 12 indicative goals proposed, goals on energy: the three SE4All goals plus a fourth goal, “to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption”. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s report, “An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development” proposes 10 goals and includes “ensuring sustainable energy”. A global consultation process about targets and indicators is currently under way.

While it is not certain that the post-2015 development paradigm negotiations will agree on goals, targets and indicators, the energy community has every interest to keep energy considerations on the table and to see energy goals included, if at all there are goals.

 

Ambassador Irene Giner-Reichl is founder and president of the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy and a Vice-President of REN21. She currently serves as Austria’s Ambassador to the PR of China and to Mongolia.
==================================

UNIDO support for ECREEE and new regional sustainable energy centers in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.

VIENNA, 13 December 2013 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of the Austrian Development Cooperation, signed agreements to support the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and to set up three more centres in East and Southern African and in the Caribbean region. 

“The regional renewable energy and energy efficiency centres are another good example of our fruitful partnership with Austria. Local companies and industry will benefit from the growing sustainable energy market opportunities, as well as from regional cooperation and South-South and North-South technology and knowledge transfer,” said LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO.

“We consider the regional centres to be a powerful way to simultaneously address the challenges of energy access, energy security and climate change mitigation in our partner countries. We are pleased to see that our initial contributions have already leveraged major funding commitments from international donors and generated tangible results and impacts. In this context, we would like to thank the Energy and Climate Change Branch of UNIDO for the excellent cooperation in previous years,” said Martin Ledolter, Managing Director of the ADA.

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), based in Praia, Cabo Verde, was established in 2010 to create favourable framework conditions for renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  The new project will strengthen the ECREEE’s capacity to deal with a rapidly growing project portfolio and expanding external demands for its services.

The two new centres in sub-Saharan Africa will seek to replicate the success of the ECREEE model. One will be established, together with the East African Community (EAC), to serve partner States, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda; and the other will serve the 15 Members States of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). It is expected that both centres will be fully operational in 2014.

Recently, UNIDO was requested by the Sustainable Energy Island Initiative (SIDS DOCK) of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) to assist the island nations in the Caribbean and Pacific in the creation of similar centres. A final agreement on the centres is expected in 2014, which has been declared the International Year of Small Island Developing States.

 

ECOWAS Observatory Countries:

Benin
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Cote d Ivoire
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Liberia
Mali
Niger
Nigeria
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Togo

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 29th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

Photo

A worker at a hydraulic fracturing operation in Rifle, Colo. Natural gas production releases methane, which contributes to greenhouse gas pollution. Credit Brennan Linsley/Associated Press

 

 

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday announced a strategy to start slashing emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas released by landfills, cattle, and leaks from oil and natural gas production.

The methane strategy is the latest step in a series of White House actions aimed at addressing climate change without legislation from Congress. Individually, most of the steps will not be enough to drastically reduce the United States’ contribution to global warming. But the Obama administration hopes that collectively they will build political support for more substantive domestic actions while signaling to other countries that the United States is serious about tackling global warming.

 

In a 2009 United Nations climate change accord, President Obama pledged that by 2020 the United States would lower its greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels. “This methane strategy is one component, one set of actions to get there,” Dan Utech, the president’s special assistant for energy and climate change, said on Friday in a phone call with reporters.

Environmental advocates have long urged the Obama administration to target methane emissions. Most of the planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution in the United States comes from carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning coal, oil and natural gas. Methane accounts for just 9 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution — but the gas is over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so even small amounts of it can have a big impact on future global warming.

And methane emissions are projected to increase in the United States, as the nation enjoys a boom in oil and natural gas production, thanks to breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology. A study published in the journal Science last month found that methane is leaking from oil and natural gas drilling sites and pipelines at rates 50 percent higher than previously thought. As he works to tackle climate change, Mr. Obama has generally supported the natural gas production boom, since natural gas, when burned for electricity, produces just half the greenhouse gas pollution of coal-fired electricity.

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have campaigned against the boom in natural gas production, warning that it could lead to dangerous levels of methane pollution, undercutting the climate benefits of gas. The oil and gas industry has resisted pushes to regulate methane leaks from production, saying it could slow that down.

A White House official said on Friday that this spring, the Environmental Protection Agency would assess several potentially significant sources of methane and other emissions from the oil and gas sector, and that by this fall the agency “will determine how best to pursue further methane reductions from these sources.” If the E.P.A. decides to develop additional regulations, it would complete them by the end of 2016 — just before Mr. Obama leaves office.

 

Among the steps the administration announced on Friday to address methane pollution:

-  The Interior Department will propose updated standards to reduce venting and flaring of methane from oil and gas production on public lands.

-  In April, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management will begin to gather public comment on the development of a program for the capture and sale of methane produced by coal mines on lands leased by the ederal government.

-  This summer, the E.P.A. will propose updated standards to reduce methane emissions from new landfills and take public comment on whether to update standards for existing landfills.

-  In June, the Agriculture Department, the Energy Department and the E.P.A. will release a joint “biogas road map” aimed at accelerating adoption of methane digesters, machines that reduce methane emissions from cattle, in order to cut dairy-sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

Advocates of climate action generally praised the plan. “Cutting methane emissions will be especially critical to climate protection as the U.S. develops its huge shale gas reserves, gaining the full greenhouse gas benefit from the switch away from coal,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former White House climate change aide under President Bill Clinton, now with the German Marshall Fund.

Howard J. Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs for the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for oil and gas companies, said he hoped the steps would not lead to new regulations on his industry. “We think regulation is not necessary at this time,” he said. “People are using a lot more natural gas in the country, and that’s reducing greenhouse gas.”

Since cattle flatulence and manure are a significant source of methane, farmers have long been worried that a federal methane control strategy could place a burden on them. But Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said that his group was pleased that, for now, the administration’s proposals to reduce methane from cattle were voluntary.

“All indications are that it’s voluntary,” he said, “but we do see increased potential for scrutiny for us down the line, which would cause concern.”

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Related Coverage:

slideshow

Photographs: Rising Seas,

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Asia Pacific

Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land:

Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Consequences of Climate Change

Bangladesh, with its low elevation and severe tropical storms, is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, though it has contributed little to the emissions that are driving it. Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times

DAKOPE, Bangladesh — When a powerful storm destroyed her riverside home in 2009, Jahanara Khatun lost more than the modest roof over her head. In the aftermath, her husband died and she became so destitute that she sold her son and daughter into bonded servitude. And she may lose yet more.

Ms. Khatun now lives in a bamboo shack that sits below sea level about 50 yards from a sagging berm. She spends her days collecting cow dung for fuel and struggling to grow vegetables in soil poisoned by salt water. Climate scientists predict that this area will be inundated as sea levels rise and storm surges increase, and a cyclone or another disaster could easily wipe away her rebuilt life. But Ms. Khatun is trying to hold out at least for a while — one of millions living on borrowed time in this vast landscape of river islands, bamboo huts, heartbreaking choices and impossible hopes.

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Video|0:35

Home in the Delta — Like many of her neighbors, Nasrin Khatun, unrelated to Jahanara Khatun, navigates daily life in a disappearing landscape.

As the world’s top scientists meet in Yokohama, Japan, this week, at the top of the agenda is the prediction that global sea levels could rise as much as three feet by 2100. Higher seas and warmer weather will cause profound changes.

Climate scientists have concluded that widespread burning of fossil fuels is releasing heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet. While this will produce a host of effects, the most worrisome may be the melting of much of the earth’s ice, which is likely to raise sea levels and flood coastal regions.

Such a rise will be uneven because of gravitational effects and human intervention, so predicting its outcome in any one place is difficult. But island nations like the Maldives, Kiribati and Fiji may lose much of their land area, and millions of Bangladeshis will be displaced.

“There are a lot of places in the world at risk from rising sea levels, but Bangladesh is at the top of everybody’s list,” said Rafael Reuveny, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University at Bloomington. “And the world is not ready to cope with the problems.”

The effects of climate change have led to a growing sense of outrage in developing nations, many of which have contributed little to the pollution that is linked to rising temperatures and sea levels but will suffer the most from the consequences.

A woman stood where her house was before Cyclone Aila destroyed it in 2009. Scientists expect rising sea levels to submerge 17 percent of Bangladesh’s land and displace 18 million people in the next 40 years. Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times

At a climate conference in Warsaw in November, there was an emotional outpouring from countries that face existential threats, among them Bangladesh, which produces just 0.3 percent of the emissions driving climate change. Some leaders have demanded that rich countries compensate poor countries for polluting the atmosphere. A few have even said that developed countries should open their borders to climate migrants.

“It’s a matter of global justice,” said Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies and the nation’s leading climate scientist. “These migrants should have the right to move to the countries from which all these greenhouse gases are coming. Millions should be able to go to the United States.”

River deltas around the globe are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising seas, and wealthier cities like London, Venice and New Orleans also face uncertain futures. But it is the poorest countries with the biggest populations that will be hit hardest, and none more so than Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated nations in the world. In this delta, made up of 230 major rivers and streams, 160 million people live in a place one-fifth the size of France and as flat as chapati, the bread served at almost every meal.

A Perilous Position

Though Bangladesh has contributed little to industrial air pollution, other kinds of environmental degradation have left it especially vulnerable.

Bangladesh relies almost entirely on groundwater for drinking supplies because the rivers are so polluted. The resultant pumping causes the land to settle. So as sea levels are rising, Bangladesh’s cities are sinking, increasing the risks of flooding. Poorly constructed sea walls compound the problem.

The country’s climate scientists and politicians have come to agree that by 2050, rising sea levels will inundate some 17 percent of the land and displace about 18 million people, Dr. Rahman said.

Bangladeshis have already started to move away from the lowest-lying villages in the river deltas of the Bay of Bengal, scientists in Bangladesh say. People move for many reasons, and urbanization is increasing across South Asia, but rising tides are a big factor. Dr. Rahman’s research group has made a rough estimate from small surveys that as many as 1.5 million of the five million slum inhabitants in Dhaka, the capital, moved from villages near the Bay of Bengal.

The slums that greet them in Dhaka are also built on low-lying land, making them almost as vulnerable to being inundated as the land villagers left behind.

Ms. Khatun and her neighbors have lived through deadly cyclones — a synonym here for hurricane — and have seen the salty rivers chew through villages and poison fields. Rising seas are increasingly intruding into rivers, turning fresh water brackish. Even routine flooding then leaves behind salt deposits that can render land barren.

Making matters worse, much of what the Bangladeshi government is doing to stave off the coming deluge — raising levees, dredging canals, pumping water — deepens the threat of inundation in the long term, said John Pethick, a former professor of coastal science at Newcastle University in England who has spent much of his retirement studying Bangladesh’s predicament. Rich nations are not the only ones to blame, he said.

In an analysis of decades of tidal records published in October, Dr. Pethick found that high tides in Bangladesh were rising 10 times faster than the global average. He predicted that seas in Bangladesh could rise as much as 13 feet by 2100, four times the global average. In an area where land is often a thin brown line between sky and river — nearly a quarter of Bangladesh is less than seven feet above sea level — such an increase would have dire consequences, Dr. Pethick said.

“The reaction among Bangladeshi government officials has been to tell me that I must be wrong,” he said. “That’s completely understandable, but it also means they have no hope of preparing themselves.”

Dr. Rahman said that he did not disagree with Mr. Pethick’s findings, but that no estimate was definitive. Other scientists have predicted more modest rises. For example, Robert E. Kopp, an associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute at Rutgers University, said that data from nearby Kolkata, India, suggested that seas in the region could rise five to six feet by 2100.

“There is no doubt that preparations within Bangladesh have been utterly inadequate, but any such preparations are bound to fail because the problem is far too big for any single government,” said Tariq A. Karim, Bangladesh’s ambassador to India. “We need a regional and, better yet, a global solution. And if we don’t get one soon, the Bangladeshi people will soon become the world’s problem, because we will not be able to keep them.”

Mr. Karim estimated that as many as 50 million Bangladeshis would flee the country by 2050 if sea levels rose as expected.

Continue reading the main story
Disappearing Land

Losing Everything

Already, signs of erosion are everywhere in the Ganges Delta — the world’s largest delta, which empties much of the water coming from the Himalayas. There are brick foundations torn in half, palm trees growing out of rivers and rangy cattle grazing on island pastures the size of putting greens. Fields are dusted white with salt.

Even without climate change, Bangladesh is among the most vulnerable places in the world to bad weather: The V-shaped Bay of Bengal funnels cyclones straight into the country’s fan-shaped coastline.

Some scientists believe that rising temperatures will lead to more extreme weather worldwide, including stronger and more frequent cyclones in the Bay of Bengal. And rising seas will make any storm more dangerous because flooding will become more likely.

Bangladesh has done much to protect its population by creating an early-warning system and building at least 2,500 concrete storm shelters. The result has been a vast reduction in storm-related deaths. While Cyclone Bhola in 1970 killed as many as 550,000 people, Cyclone Aila in 2009 killed 300. The deadliest part of the storm was the nearly 10-foot wall of water that roared through villages in the middle of the afternoon.

The poverty of people like Ms. Khatun makes them particularly vulnerable to storms. When Aila hit, Ms. Khatun was home with her husband, parents and four children. A nearby berm collapsed, and their mud and bamboo hut washed away in minutes. Unable to save her belongings, Ms. Khatun put her youngest child on her back and, with her husband, fought through surging waters to a high road. Her parents were swept away.

“After about a kilometer, I managed to grab a tree,” said Abddus Satter, Ms. Khatun’s father. “And I was able to help my wife grab on as well. We stayed on that tree for hours.”

The couple eventually shifted to the roof of a nearby hut. The family reunited on the road the next day after the children spent a harrowing night avoiding snakes that had sought higher ground, too. They drank rainwater until rescuers arrived a day or two later with bottled water, food and other supplies.

The ordeal took a severe toll on Ms. Khatun’s husband, whose health soon deteriorated. To pay for his treatment and the cost of rebuilding their hut, the family borrowed money from a loan shark. In return, Ms. Khatun and her three older children, then 10, 12 and 15, promised to work for seven months in a nearby brickmaking factory. She later sold her 11- and 13-year-old children to the owner of another brick factory, this one in Dhaka, for $450 to pay more debts. Her husband died four years after the storm.

In an interview, one of her sons, Mamun Sardar, now 14, said he worked from dawn to dusk carrying newly made bricks to the factory oven.

He said he missed his mother, “but she lives far away.”


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Video|0:35

A Day’s Work:  At a brickmaking factory in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, Mamun Sardar works long hours to pay his family’s debts.

Impossible Hopes

Discussions about the effects of climate change in the Ganges Delta often become community events. In the village of Choto Jaliakhali, where Ms. Khatun lives, dozens of people said they could see that the river was rising. Several said they had been impoverished by erosion, which has cost many villagers their land.

Muhammad Moktar Ali said he could not think about the next storm because all he had in the world was his hut and village. “We don’t know how to support ourselves if we lost this,” he said, gesturing to his gathered neighbors. “It is God who will help us survive.”

Surveys show that residents of the delta do not want to migrate, Dr. Rahman said. Moving to slums in already-crowded cities is their least preferred option.

But cities have become the center of Bangladesh’s textile industry, which is now the source of 80 percent of the country’s exports, 45 percent of its industrial employment and 15 percent of its gross domestic product.

Photographs

Rising Seas

Some areas of the globe are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels and inhabitants are being forced to make stark changes in their lives.

OPEN Photographs

In the weeks after the storm, the women of Dakope found firewood by wading into the raging river and pushing their toes into the muddy bottom. They walked hours to buy drinking water. After rebuilding the village’s berm and their own hut, Shirin Aktar and her husband, Bablu Gazi, managed to get just enough of a harvest to survive from their land, which has become increasingly infertile from salt water. Some plots that once sustained three harvests can now support just one; others are entirely barren.

After two hungry years, the couple gave up on farming and moved to the Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second-largest city, leaving their two children behind with Mr. Gazi’s mother.

Mr. Gazi found work immediately as a day laborer, mostly digging foundations. Ms. Aktar searched for a job as a seamstress, but headaches and other slum-induced health problems have so incapacitated her that the couple is desperate to return to Dakope.

“I don’t want to stay here for too long,” Mr. Gazi said. “If we can save some money, then we’ll go back. I’ll work on a piece of land and try to make it fertile again.”

But the chances of finding fertile land in his home village, where the salty rivers have eaten away acre upon acre, are almost zero.

Dozens of people gathered in the narrow mud alley outside Mr. Gazi’s room as he spoke. Some told similar stories of storms, loss and hope, and many nodded as Mr. Gazi spoke of his dreams of returning to his doomed village.

“All of us came here because of erosions and cyclones,” said Noakhali, a hollow-eyed 30-year-old with a single name who was wearing the traditional skirt of the delta. “Not one of us actually wants to live here.”

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Produced by Catherine Spangler, David Furst, Hannah Fairfield, Jacqueline Myint, Jeremy White and Shreeya Sinha.

A version of this article appears in print on March 29, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: As Seas Rise, Millions Cling to Borrowed Time and Dying Land.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

FROM COHA – The Washington DC based Council on Hemispheric Affairs.
Photo Source: AP. Photo Source: AP.

NOW IT IS THE TIME FOR A WASHINGTON—CARACAS DIALOG, NOT SANCTIONS.

By: Larry Birns, Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs; Frederick B. Mills, Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs and Professor of Philosophy at Bowie State University.

At a time when Washington ought to seize upon overtures from Caracas for the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations and direct talks, the champions of the antiquated embargo against Cuba in the Senate are calling for sanctions against Venezuela. Such an approach to diplomacy with Venezuela would be detrimental to the development of a more constructive and mutually respectful US policy towards the region. Now is the time for a Washington—Caracas dialog, not sanctions.

 

Democratic Senator Bob Menéndez and Republican Senator Marco Rubio have introduced a proposed resolution in the Senate that would call on the Obama administration to study sanctions against Venezuela. The sanctions would be aimed at punishing “the violent repression suffered by pacific protesters” by targeting individual Venezuelan government officials. Of course, any state actors responsible for the repression of pacific demonstrations ought to be held accountable not only in Venezuela, but anywhere in the world. Indeed, the Venezuelan government is already taking steps to address this. The problem with the resolution is that it reflects a very myopic view of political violence in that nation. It also reflects an unproductive approach to diplomacy towards Venezuela as well as the region.

 

Not all demonstrations have been pacific. A significant amount of the violent demonstrations are ostensively anti- government.  The “exit” strategy being sought after by the ultra-right in Venezuela has generated violent anti-government demonstrations that have called for regime change through extra constitutional means. In other words, through a coup or by creating the escalating violence on the ground that might provoke a coup or an international intervention.

 

No doubt opposition demonstrators are not a homogeneous group and many prescribe to non-violent means of protesting. Yet it is indisputable that elements of anti-government protests, using the slogans of “exit,” have deployed incendiary bombs, rocks, guns, barricades, wire, and other instruments of violence against government and public property as well as people, resulting in injuries and death. But those who have resorted to violence are most often portrayed in the press as responding to repression, as if the government has no legitimate recourse in response to violent attacks on persons and property. To be sure, violence is generally condemned by the State Department, but accountability is selectively applied predominantly to government actors.

 

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs has been calling for a change of course in US policy towards Venezuela and the rest of the region based on mutual respect and dialog, not imperial intervention and subordination.

It was Caracas that instigated the tit for tat after the expulsion of consular officials, and COHA called the expulsion of US consular officials into question at the time. But now President Maduro has proposed a new ambassador to the US and direct talks with the Obama administration. The State Department has also, on occasion, expressed an openness to rapprochement, so now is the time to seize the moment, not wait to see which way the political winds will blow in Venezuela.

 

There is obviously a great ideological divide between nations that prescribe to some version of neoliberalism and those engaging in various experiments in 21st century socialism. Yet such differences need not translate into either hard or soft wars. At the January CELAC meeting in Cuba, the member states, despite their political differences, figured out a way to declare all of Latin America a region of peace and mutual respect. Meanwhile, there is a national peace conference underway in Caracas, called by the government, that commenced two days ago and includes an increasingly broad spectrum of opinion in the opposition, and seeks to overcome the boycott of the MUD.  This will take a pull back against war and for political competition through the ballot box.

 

Surely, in this context, there is room for Washington-Caracas diplomacy. Rather than impose sanctions on Venezuela, Washington ought to accept the proposed Venezuelan ambassador and enter into a dialog with Caracas based on mutual respect and the common goal of regional peace and human development.

Please accept this article as a free contribution from COHA, but if re-posting, please afford authorial and institutional attribution.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CIFNews
Administrative Unit,
Climate Investment Funds

T: 1.202.458.1801 | F: 1.202.522.2937 |
 cifnews@worldbank.org
1818 H St. NW, Washington D.C. 20433

www.climateinvestmentfunds.org | Follow us on @CIF_Action

Recent updates to the CIF Voices (blogs), videos  and news articles on CIF projects:

Snakes, Tomatoes, and Other Take Aways from the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on the GCF
Martha Stein-Sochas, CIF AU, Feb 26
Last week at the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on the Green Climate Fund (GCF), I heard many helpful suggestions and ideas from private sector participants on the GCF’s future Private Sector Facility, which aims to provide financing for climate action in the private sector.  But no advice was more powerful than that of Paul Needham, President and Co-founder of Simpa Networks, who related to us the need to move quickly, take risks, and be catalytic.

Lessons from the field on CIF results monitoring and reporting
Emmanuel Kouadio, CIF AU, Feb 14
For the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), understanding the tangible results of its funding is essential to learning and accountability. It has been no small task to make monitoring and reporting (M&R) a reality across the four programs and 48 countries that comprise the CIF. But this year, 2014, all CIF pilot countries will report on results and annually thereafter.

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World Bank, Government of Samoa Launch Climate Resilience Program
World Bank, February 6
“The World Bank is committed to helping small island states manage pressing risks from natural disasters and climate change,” said Drees-Gross. “Through the Climate Investment Funds, we are proud to support Samoa in critical efforts to increase the resilience of coastal communities and infrastructure, which could help protect their very survival as well as long-term development.”
Keeping Partnership Strong as PPCR Planning Turns to Action in Samoa
Litara Taulealo, Ministry of Finance, Samoa, Feb 18
Last week the government of Samoa and the World Bank announced the launch of a new project to support climate change adaptation measures for coastal communities. Our Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities Project, supported by $14.6 million from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), will assist 45,000 Samoans in coastal communities in adapting to climate change and climate variability, protect coastal infrastructure, and increase awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation activities among communities, civil society, and government entities.

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Drawing lessons from Turkey’s energy use, emissions and fuel mix
Sandy Ferguson, EBRD, Feb 5
One thing jumps out when looking at the Turkish Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (TurSEFF) report: with the right combination of financing, one can achieve substantial changes in energy use, emissions, and fuel mix in middle income countries.

Transforming Waste to Energy in Nepal
Nepal is part of the larger effort to expand energy access and markets for renewable energy in the world’s poorest countries. Today, Nepal is using SREP to develop large-scale commercial, institutional, and municipal bioenergy projects

Menengai Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya
Africa Express stopped in Kenya to learn more about geothermal power development at Menengai. SREP $25 million is supporting development of Menengai which envisions 120 wells injecting 400 megawatts of electricity into the national grid

AfDB facilitates private sector finance for climate-readiness in Niger, Mozambique and Zambia
AfDB, February 26
Over US $30 million in concessional funds has been made available for innovative private sector projects that seek to improve climate change adaptation or readiness in Niger, Mozambique and Zambia. This financing is part of the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), a financing window of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

Open Call to Private Sector
CIF AU, Feb 20
Access over $65 million in concessional financing set aside for innovative private sector projects in PPCR and SREP pilot countries. Proposals being accepted until March 31 (SREP) and April 30 (PPCR). Read more.

Rooted in Learning, Growing with Results
CIF AU, February 17
2013 was a year of growth for the CIF. The 2013 CIF Annual Report highlights emerging results, key lessons learned, and the momentum we are building for climate-smart development.

USELF Boosts Ukraine’s Renewable Energy Sector
EBRD, February 14
The first phase of the EBRD’s Ukraine Sustainable Energy Lending Facility (USELF) will deliver 200 GWh of renewable energy through an innovative combination of EBRD commercial financing, dedicated technical assistance support and

AfDB affirms its support for Power Africa, with a commitment of more than US $600 million
AfDB, February 13
In addition, under the aegis of the Climate Investment Funds, the Bank has led work on the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Investment Plan for Tanzania and prepared jointly with the World Bank the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Investment Plan for Liberia. This will lead to projects in both countries.

AfDB supports Ghana local communities with $14.55 million to reduce deforestation
AfDB, February 4
The project, called Engaging Local Communities in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) /Enhancement of Carbon Stocks, benefits from the support from the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) Forest Investment Program (FIP).  It will directly benefit 12,000 people, half of them women, by providing capacity building, seeds and equipment, and financial incentives through benefit-sharing agreements to develop forestry, agroforestry and alternative livelihoods. The project will also indirectly benefit 175,000 people in the two regions.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

United Nations Press Release
 
Small Island Developing States Call for Global Partnerships to Take  Urgent Action on Climate Change.
(New York, 24 February) – Small Island Developing States called for global support for partnerships to take actions that would assist them in building resilience against climate change impacts and achieve sustainable development.
 
Representatives from small islands told  the first preparatory committee for the third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States that just concluded that global action on climate change is essential not only for their sustainable development but also for their survival.
 
“A reality that can no longer be ignored in this process is climate change. The crisis has made realizing our sustainable development more difficult,” said Ambassador of Nauru Marlene Moses, who currently chairs the Alliance of Small Island States.
 
“Extreme weather and ecological degradation erode the economies we depend on for food and survival. In other words, we cannot develop sustainably if we fail to act on climate change and we cannot act on climate change without effective sustainable development. These issues are inextricably linked.”
 
The series of meetings at UN headquarters discussed the main objectives of the Conference, whose theme this year is “sustainable development of small island States through genuine and durable partnerships.”
 
Representatives from small island developing states also emphasized that the Conference, which will be held in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014 {during the UN year of special attention to the SIDS}, should result in a concrete and focused document that could not only benefit small islands, but also inform other processes such as the climate negotiations in Paris in 2015 as well as the UN’s post-2015 development agenda.
 
For their part, China, the European Union, and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to support small island developing states at a regional and national level, as well as develop new partnerships that could evolve into more comprehensive cooperation on global challenges.
 
“The recognition of the extreme vulnerabilities of small island developing states should propel us urgently towards clarity of collective vision and concrete actions,” said the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States Gyan Chandra Acharya. “In doing so, we will be rendering a great service to the global community as whole.
 
“The situation in islands should be an eye-opener for all of us given the severity and multiplicity of the challenges this should lead us to urgent action.”
 
 Conference Secretary-General, Wu Hongbo, encouraged small island developing States to take advantage of this “historic year” for them. In addition to the Conference, 2014 has also been declared the International year of Small Island Developing States with the objective of highlighting these countries’ economic, social and cultural contributions.
 
“The Conference will be a major milestone for small island developing states,” Mr. Wu said. “It will make an important contribution to the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. It will also result in tangible outcomes through strengthened and collaborative partnerships between small island developing states and the international community.”
 
For more information on the Conference and the preparatory committee see: sids2014.org
For information on the International Year and ways to get involved visit: www.un.org/islands2014
 
Media contacts: Florencia Soto Nino, sotonino@un.org, 917-367-4833; Melanie Prudhomme, prudhommem@un.org, 917-367-3541, UN Department of Public Information

What is missing from this UN PRESS RELEASE IS THE REALIZATION THAT THE PLIGHT OF THE SIDS IS NOT A MATTER FOR THE SIDS ALONE, BUT IN EFFECT THEY ARE THE PROVERBIAL CANARY IN THE ROOM THAT ITS CONDITION TELLS US ABOUT OUR OWN PLIGHT.

CLIMATE CHANGE DOES NOT ENDANGER JUST THE ISLANDS BUT ALSO THE MOUNTAINS AND HIGHLANDS – THE SHORES AND PLAINS – AND THE SIDS’ PROBLEMS WERE NOT CAUSED BY THEM,  BUT BY US – THOSE UNSCRUPULOUS EMITTERS OF FOSSIL CARBON FROM CHINA,  THE US,  THE EU, and other big-shots called now to participate in “PARTNERSHIPS” without any mention of the need for changes in production and consumption ways of the gluttonous Industrialized – old and new – States.Yes, we were there and attest that speakers did address these issues, but the PRESS RELEASE does not mention those criticisms. Giving money as aid has not washed clean the emitters in the past, and will not do so in the future – only a combined program that reduces emissions by those others – that is the mitigation work on climate change – linked with direct work with the Inhabitants of the SIDS – to help in their Adaptation to the misery that was created already,  can do.

The best we can say about the just concluded preparatory meeting for the Conference that will eventually be held in Apia, Samoa, is that it was a celebration of what those Island States contribute to the World Population at large – so it really is not only their loss from what goes on by our direct loss – beyond the Canary role – that should concern us.

That is why we find those meetings very important and we will continue to watch for signs that the UN talking about SIDS does not come instead of REAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE BY ALL.

ON THE OTHER HAND – with the UN General Assembly meeting in New York 16-29 September 2014, this means the UN schedule for the second half of September is already taken – the Arctic Circle meeting is scheduled for September 5-7, 2014,  so the Apia , Samoa meeting was set for 1-4 September or as we found in a Samoa posting - ” title=”http://www.sids2014.org” target=”_blank”>, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Samoa

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

Global launch of the International Year of Small Island Developing States
 
Monday, 24 February
UN Headquarters, Trusteeship Council
10:00 am

The United Nations will launch the International Year of Small Islands Developing States to celebrate the economic, social and cultural contributions that this group of countries has made to the world, as well as raise awareness of the challenges they face such as climate change and rising sea levels. The Year will highlight the common links between small islands developing States and other countries, and encourage new partnerships to achieve a sustainable future for generations to come.
 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open the ceremony along with the President of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe. A promotional video for the Year will be showcased followed by statements from senior representatives of small island developing States. The ceremony will close with cultural performances from each of the three small island regions.
 
WHO:            
Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
Mr. John W. Ashe, General Assembly President
Mr. Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General of the Third International Conference on the Small Islands Developing States
Mr. Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru
Mr. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa
Ms. Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Barbados
Mr. Devanand Virahsawmy, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Mauritius
Mr. Warren Chanansigh, Major Groups Representative

Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador of Climate Change and Small Island Developing States, Seychelles
 
The event will be webcast live on UN Web TV. webtv.un.org/
For more information see: www.un.org/islands2014
 Hashtag: #islands2014

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THIS IS A VERY UNUSUAL EVENT AT THE UN – A CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR DIEING STATES – STATES IN DANGER OF SINKING INTO THE RISING SEAS CAUSED BY THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE GLUTTONY FOR FOSSIL FUELS BY OTHER STATES – WE WILL BE THERE TO REPORT ON THIS AND TO WATCH IF THE OTHERS DO SHOW UP AT THE CELEBRATION. 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Feb 18. 2014

agri-climatmadagascar.blogspot.com/

 

Family farming and climate change

Drought a river in southern Madagascar
According to the FAO, “The family farming protects traditional foods, while contributing to a healthy and balanced diet, the conservation of the world’s agricultural biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources.”
For Madagascar, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. However, this sector is now in danger. But often, rural households face the new challenges made by climate change, lack of technical expertise and funds, a particularly important level of isolation, etc.. But the most important remaining exposure to climatic and environmental shocks, against which their resilience is very low. The problems of food insecurity are the most immediate consequence of this poverty.
Flooding of rice fields after passing a downpour

However, Madagascar is a country with high rates of endemic biodiversity and rich natural resources. Of those, family farming is very promising because this practice contributes to the management and sustainable use of these resources. Small farmers become key players in the preservation of the environment and the fight against climate change. Of those, sustainable family farming helps fight climate change.



Renewable energy for agriculture: An asset for the Indian Ocean

 

 

IOC, a vast untapped energy potential
Victoria Harbour Wind Farm, Seychelles
Member countries of the Indian Ocean Commission and IOC (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles) are highly dependent on fossil fuels at least 81% primary is imported (oil and coal) . 

In Madagascar, in particular, wood is the main source of household energy. 

Visit one of the turbines

Now the entire region has a vast potential for renewable energies (hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, wave energy etc.).

Underutilized.

Regarding solar energy, for example, the region of the IOC has a tropical climate where all countries in the region are quite sunny throughout the year. About wind energy or energy waves, the majority of countries of the Commission of the Indian Ocean islands are composed of small islands. Seychelles as currently they are developing the field of wind energy. Since 2013, eight turbines (Wind Farm Port Victoria) have been established to contribute up to 12% of all electricity in the Seychelles.
Where is Madagascar?
River Namorona feeding a hydroelectric plant
Madagascar is the largest island among the members of the IOC (5000km range). However, access to electricity is very limited, especially in rural areas. However, 80% of the Malagasy are living in rural areas. Hence, rural electrification through renewable energy is an important measure to promote sustainable development in Madagascar. It is also a key technology in the fight against climate change, which could have a material adverse impact on ecosystems

Visit the River Namorona

fragile Madagascar. Balanced combination of renewable energy, sustainable agriculture helps preserve rainforests. On hydropower, for example, only 1.3% of 7800MW are being exploited.


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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Today Is My Last Day at Rolling Stone.

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

20 February 14

 

oday is my last day at Rolling Stone. As of this week, I’m leaving to work for First Look Media, the new organization that’s already home to reporters like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras.

I’ll have plenty of time to talk about the new job elsewhere. But in this space, I just want to talk about Rolling Stone, and express my thanks. Today is a very bittersweet day for me. As excited as I am about the new opportunity, I’m sad to be leaving this company.

More than 15 years ago, Rolling Stone sent a reporter, Brian Preston, to do a story on the eXile, the biweekly English-language newspaper I was editing in Moscow at the time with Mark Ames. We abused the polite Canadian Preston terribly – I think we thought we were being hospitable – and he promptly went home and wrote a story about us that was painful, funny and somewhat embarrassingly accurate. Looking back at that story now, in fact, I’m surprised that Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana gave me a call years later, after I’d returned to the States.

I remember when Will called, because it was such an important moment in my life. I was on the American side of Niagara Falls, walking with friends, when my cell phone rang. Night had just fallen and when Will invited me to write a few things in advance of the 2004 presidential election, I nearly walked into the river just above the Falls.

At the time, I was having a hard time re-acclimating to life in America and was a mess personally. I was broke and having anxiety attacks. I specifically remember buying three cans of corned beef hash with the last dollars of available credit on my last credit card somewhere during that period. Anyway I botched several early assignments for the magazine, but Will was patient and eventually brought me on to write on a regular basis.

It was my first real job and it changed my life. Had Rolling Stone not given me a chance that year, God knows where I’d be – one of the ideas I was considering most seriously at the time was going to Ukraine to enroll in medical school, of all things.

In the years that followed, both Will and editor/publisher Jann S. Wenner were incredibly encouraging and taught me most of what I now know about this business. It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve had a front-row seat for some of the strangest and most interesting episodes of our recent history. At various times, thanks to this magazine, I’ve spent days hiding in a cell at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, gone undercover in an apocalyptic church in Texas (where I learned to vomit my demons into a paper bag), and even helped run a campaign office for George W. Bush along the I-4 corridor in Florida, getting so into the assignment that I was involuntarily happy when Bush won.

I was at the Michael Jackson trial, so close to the defendant I could see the outlines of his original nose. I met past and future presidents. I shared Udon noodles with Dennis Kucinich in a van on a highway in Maine. And I paddled down the streets of Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, so deep into the disaster zone that a soldier in a rescue copter above mistook me for a victim and threw a Meal Ready to Eat off my head. I still have that MRE, it has some kind of pop tart in it – I’m going to give it to my son someday.

To be able to say you work for Rolling Stone, it’s a feeling any journalist in his right mind should want to experience. The magazine’s very name is like a magic word. I noticed it from the very first assignment. Even people who know they probably shouldn’t talk to you, do, once they hear you’re from the magazine Dr. Hook sang about. And if they actually see the business card, forget it. People will do anything to get into the magazine, to have some of that iconic cool rub off on them.

There were times when I would think about the great reporters and writers who’ve had the same job I was so lucky to have, and it would be almost overwhelming – it was like being the Dread Pirate Roberts. It was a true honor and I’ll eternally be in the debt of Will and Jann, and Sean Woods and Coco McPherson and Victor Juhasz and Alison Weinflash and so many others with whom it was my privilege to work. I wish there was something I could say that is stronger than Thank You.

No journalist has ever been luckier than me. Thank you, Rolling Stone.

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

On Sri Lanka, Tamils “Shame Ban Ki-moon” at UN As Pillay Report Leaks.

 

By Matthew Russell Lee (Inner City Press) from the UN Headquarters in New York.

 

Photo: Tamil demonstration in front of Feb 12, 2014, they chant “shame on

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UNITED NATIONS, February 15 — As the Sri Lanka resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March grows closer, the Sunday Times has excerpted High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s report, see below.  Meanwhile on February 12 Tamils protested in front of the UN in New York, chanting “Ban Ki-moon, shame on you,” under the watchful eye of a Sinhalese UN Security officer known to report to the Sri Lanka mission to the UN (he asked a photograph for his photos of the protest — he refused). This is the UN.

 

   The same United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) which screened the Rajapaksa government’s denial of war crimes, “Lies Agreed To” complete with speech by Shavendra Silva (here recounted in Italian along with Reuters’ censorship) is set for another in its propaganda film series.

 

  Now, however, after UNCA tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, it is confronted by the new Free UN Coalition of Access (FUNCA), of which “the photographer who refused” is a member.

 

 

  The Sunday Times quotes Pillay:

 

“new evidence — including witness testimony, video and photographic material — continues to emerge on what took place in the final stages of the armed conflict. Human remains also continue to be discovered, for instance in Matale in November 2012 and Mannar in December 2013. As the emblematic cases highlighted above show, national mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and achieve justice. The High Commissioner believes this can no longer be explained as a function of time or technical capacity, but that it is fundamentally a question of political will… The High Commissioner remains convinced that an independent, international inquiry would play a positive role in eliciting new information and establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed. In the absence of a credible national process, she believes the international community has a duty to take further steps which will advance the right to truth for all in Sri Lanka and create further opportunities for justice, accountability and redress. The High Commissioner reiterates concern about the continuing trend of attacks on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, particularly against human rights defenders, journalists and families of victims; the rising levels of religious intolerance; and continued militarization which continues to undermine the environment where accountability and reconciliation can be achieved. She therefore reiterates and updates the recommendations made in her previous report to the Human Rights Council, most of which remain unimplemented.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 13th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Mr. Robert Orr is Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning with the Executive Office of the Secretary General.

Mr. Orr pointed out that the September 23 date was carved out by moving back by one day the UN General Assembly which makes for great timing because on the day of September 22 there are two additional High Level meetings at the UN – so it is convenient for having the largest number of Heads of State present.

The three hours briefing to the Missions to the UN was held Monday February 10, 2014 10:00 -13:00 by Mr. Orr flanked by principals from UNISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction), UN Habitat, UNEP, UNDP, and the World Bank.

ISDR was created in December 1999 as part of the UN Secretariat with the purpose of ensuring the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. We assume that finding ways to avoid the effects of Climate Change because of Global Warming ought to be one of their main concerns. Among the topics they seem to focus on at this time are: Climate Resilient Cities (partnering with Habitat); Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools and Health Facilities; and Innovations in Finance for Resilience – “Public and Private Finance Sector Tools and Instruments that Promote Resilience to Disasters.” Their office in New York will collect ideas about innovations in the Financial System, in Accounting, in microfinancing – here specially in helping governments work with their farmers with an eye on food and hunger. They want to have partnerships already in preparatory meetings.
Their point man is Mr. Glenn Dolcemascolo and he can be reached at  UN.org

I start my reporting with ISDR first, not because they were the first to speak – no they were not – but because I felt that they showed best the intent of the September Summit. They were all business – making it clear that to attack the subject of “risk” this is a private business issue and will have to be tackled with partnerships. They work with Insurance companies, investment funds and the UN affiliated global compact.

Mr. Orr kept stressing that the Summit will be a solutions-focused Summit. It will not have a negotiated outcome but it will be an enabling tool on the UNFCCC negotiating process.

Amazingly – he expects to fit into this single day four different components:

(1) A Plenary where Heads of State can put forward bold programs they intend for their States or for groups of States.  As there are 193 Heads of State and not much time available – it seems the organizers hope for Groups of State Spokesmen and only short announcements from those that have action examples to report on.

(2) Action Platforms for government, finance, business, and civil society announcements. It seems he hopes to have here technical people announcing “concrete” multi-lateral initiatives.

(3) Thematic Sessions to enable the sharing of innovative practice and policy on CLIMATE.

(4) An Outreach and Engagement Platform for “Communications and Networking” – this in order to reach “Beyond the UN walls.”

The Summit will pay attention to geography and will provide balance between mitigation and adaptation drawn from the “potential announcements available.”

The criteria for inclusion are:

(i) contributes to new, substantive, scalable and/or replicable actions to reduce emissions or strengthen resiliency;

(ii) drives to a low-carbon economy, reduces economic risks, advances economic opportunities;

(iii) takes a multi-stakeholder approach, engages governments, finance, business, and civil society

(iv) builds on existing efforts, initiatives, programmes.

 

The participant for UNDP Development Policy, the first to speak after Mr. Orr,  spoke mainly on the Forest Fund and their attention is on Land Use and Forests. The target being changing effects of deforestation with the help of private forestry and enhanced pledges to avoid deforestation.  Their point man in the process towards the September Summit is our old friend Mr. Charles McNeill  UNDP.org

 

They were followed by UNEP’s New York Representative who started by saying that CH4 is 84 times more potent then CO2 – so their focus for September is on Methane and black carbon from gas operations and motor-vehicle tail-pipes. They have already three oil companies, and others  committed and he mentioned also the Royal Bank of Sweden. They stressed the importance of working with the Oil & Gas industry and kept mentioning that some of the companies start to cooperate. This was a very unusual UNEP. Nevertheless, they also spoke of Green Trade Global System to reduce trade of Black Carbon with industry targets.

Also – a second topic for UNEP is Energy Efficiency and the vision that it has a positive economic impact. With existing technologies – lighting, buildings, transportation, made more efficient, can save a lot of oil – and figures were mentioned. This was closer to the old UNEP. The point person for September at UNEP is Ms. Merlyn Van Voore Merlyn,VanVoore@UNEP.org

 

Now spoke UNISDR – then followed by UN HABITAT.       Yamina Djacta, Deputy Director General and Officer in Charge of the HABITAT New York Office, started by mentioning Mayor Bloomberg’s visit recently, on behalf of the UN, at the meeting of local governments that was held in Johannesburg and said that the centrality of business is being recognized now in cities. Local authorities in cities can contribute to National targets she said – and also to save resources. Cities plan to decrease emissions and we will see Climate Action commitments prepared for September. Habitat is calling for low carbon targets reporting by local/subnational authorities. This in itself is quite revolutionary at the UN.

Also, with ISDR, Habitat works on 500 Climate Resilient Species to help build resilient cities she said.
The point person for UN HABITAT for September isMr. Robert Kehew  unhabitat.org

Next, and last was the World Bank. The spokesperson was Jane Olga Ebinger, an Energy Specialist – Health, Safety and Environment – and now manager for the Climate Policy and Finance Team of the Bank. She was the only one that is not a New York City resident and in effect also not a direct UN person. This was made clear several times.

The Bank’s interest is in “Public-Private partnerships and innovative market mechanisms to unlock climate finance.” The bank will try to focus the minds of finance ministers and of private financial institutions – via the economic “drivers” for climate finance.

She wants to build country coalitions to make climate smart economic and business decisions – To help evaluate climate favorable stock, she said. Potential partners are the insurance companies and financial investors. Her horizon includes Incentives for Green Investments, Efficiency, Environmental Stability – Sustainability. She talks of Green Funds and of having met recently at Davos with peers at the World Economic Forum to get low Carbon Funds on country level. The Bank initiated at Davos conversations with a number of governments.
The point person for the World Bank is: Mr. Patrick Verkooijen  pverkooijen at worldbank.org

Mr. Orr added here an additional announcement – this that in addition to the route to the September 23, 2014 meeting we heard up to now, that the UN Secretary-General has accepted the offer from the U.A.E. to have an Abu-Dhabi May 4-5, 2014 meeting as well – the ABU DHABI ASCENT – a high-level meeting to generate momentum for the 23 September Climate Summit being convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The two-day meeting will bring together ministers, as well as leaders from business, finance and civil society, to develop proposals for action and determine how their countries, businesses and organizations can increase their participation in initiatives that broaden and deepen partnerships, in order to deliver concrete action at the September Summit.  

We looked this up in “Green Prophet” and found – “Albeit one of the world’s largest oil producers, which also had the highest environmental footprint per capita for three years in a row, the Emirate continues to assert itself as a leading voice for dramatic environmental change.” – See more at: www.greenprophet.com/2014/02/oil-…

Yes, we know that the UN event is being planned with conventional energy industry at heart – but these added news, which we had in effect already February 5th, quite bother us. We know that without getting on board the oil producers there will be no UN agreement on substance – but placing the design of energy policy in the hands of oil producers doe not promise meaningful achievements on decarbonizing energy. So, let us make it clear – the September event is good public relations that will at best achieve a strengthening of the Natural gas market – in the sense that we will convince that it makes sense to oil producers to monetize their gas rather then flaring it or venting it to the atmosphere. We doubt that this will excite the environmentalists among us – who though glad with a reduction of the release of cH4, still want to see a decrease in CO2.

The UN has already witnessed the placement of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi and it held  this year  – the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, 19-22 January 2014,   and the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) hosted by MASDAR, that was described as the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East, and a significant platform for international dialogue and cooperation  – January 18-25, 2014 – but we never could warm up to these events as more then the study of potential investments for the oil money – we just cannot dance around this in a Halleluiah dance.

The policy reason for IRENA’s involvement is given in the provided material as: “RENEWABLE READINESS ASSESSMENT NETWORK: Assessment of country renewable energy potential and securing deployment.”
The point person for the UNSG effort at IRENA is Ms. Elisabeth Press   irena.org

 

1. A Commission on Economic Action;

2. The benefit of Climate Change Action on specific areas like health;
3. Science via the IPCCC new report to come out before the meeting in september;
4.Innovation announcements;
5. Sustainable Life Cycles and Livelihoods;
6. he invited the audience to come up with other subjects like devising Low Carbon Growth working with the Global Compact – that is the UN home for corporations large and small – he said.
HIS BOTTOM LINE FOR THE SEPTEMBER 23rd MEETING WAS: “We Can Offer the Platform But It Will Depend On Your Leaders To Provide The Substance.”

He Concluded with: THERE IS AMPLE TIME TO PREPARE and provided the site:

 

AFTER THE ORIGINAL PRESENTATIONS – THE REAL FUN STARTED AT THIS FEBRUARY 10 MEETING:

The first question came from Ambassador Peter Thompson of Fiji, former head of G77  and China, spokesman for the SIDS, Landlocked and Developing Countries with Lowest income, and for 2014 he was elected President of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS). He was the architect of the name-change effective 2011 of the UN’s Group of Asian States to the new name of the Asia-Pacific Group.

Ambassador Thompson remarked  skeptically about 193 Heads of Government and 3-7 minutes each – and the integration of the Oil & Gas Industry for a “Meaningful Commitment.” Then he said – This is a Meaningful Opportunity and we do not want to Second Guess.

He obviously targeted the Abu Dhabi Ascent and wanted to know how we lift the ambitions. Then he pointed out that the US President in the State of the Union said this January that “The Future of Our Grandchildren is at Stake!”

Others wanted to know how the private sector can be engaged in $the 100 Billion Fund that is suposed to kick in soon in order to help the Developing countries starting 2015.

Ambassador Patriota of Brazil continued pointing out the difference in responsibility between countries and issues of Transfer of Technology – the scope of economic drivers and the responsibility for pollution. In short – THERE ARE QUESTIONS OF DRIVERS, he said.

Further – we should avoid reopening issues that were already tackled in other places – like land use and deforestation questions – these will not let us move forward. He sees the basis in the list of the Annex 2 for the responsibility of nations as the starting point.

His conclusion was that the negotiated decisions should be rather under the UNFCCC and not a UNSG one day backed Summit.

The Ambassador from the Solomon Islands, Mr. Colin Beck, reminded us that the ocean acidification and the sea-level rise are here – it will be helpful if we talk on these issues. We would like to know these for Political involvement – he pointed out.

The answers started to point further that if the September event is intended just as a UN gloss-over it will fail.

Mr. Orr said that the Thematic areas are important not those few minute short statements by the Heads of State – everybody can speak but we hope there will be those that will present a “big program” he said and also used the word preference. He also said “we would like to have rather “group Statements.” He also remarked that “we would like Oil & Gas companies not just for political but FINANCIAL topics – we are engaged with them. {is this in the sense that he expects the oil money to finance the industry’s demise ior only the development of a new gas market}. T

The speaker for UNEP answered Brazil: WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE AT LEAST CH4 emissions – so this is an area we can relly on the science and existing technology – especially in the Oil and Gas industry – it helps to improve their image as well. The CH4 and the black carbon from tail-pipes. If we do this we start withserious improvements.

Mr. Orr added to the answer to Brazil that “all we do here is no substitute to UNFCCC – it is for them to cash in what we do here and do the text,” he said.

Also, when we talk of finance – many actors will be here and not in Lima or Paris. {that is to those places he expects again just environment ministers while the Finance and Economy Ministers show up in New York.}

Further, We want to unlock the private funding – there is plenty around that does not go where it is needed.

The Secretary-General talks of the Green Finance Fund – if we get at the Summit a start on this – the Capitalization of The Green Fund -  we could get positive financing agreements in Lima and Paris, he said.
The Pointman for The Green Climate Fund Secretariat is – Mr. Marcelo Jordan   gcfund.org


On Innovation he said that there will be WIPO interest in green technologies and he does not think we should open this discussion again. This is a topic for the UNFCCC. and the creation of a marketplace to accelerate green technology innovation and transfer has a pointman for September – MrJoe Bradley   Joe.Bradley at WIPO.int

 

The second round of questions/comments started with the Ambassador from Kiribati -  Ms. Makurita Baaro. She addressed the issue of resilience and pointed out that we speak about everything except what really counts – the people. Only ISDR had something on this about cities. For us – the Canaries in the Mine? The Ambassador was told her comment was right.

On Adaptation and Resilience Mr. Orr said we must have a “balanced view” for September and the specific areas must be brought up, He said that Land Use and Forests are helpful to the program – I take that the extreme cases today – should get preference.

The UN Representative for the European Commission reminded the meeting that President Baroso  is expected by the time of the meeting of the European Council on March 21st to have the eU proposals that wil be used also for the run-up to September and for the platforms intended for Lima and Paris.

Further comments dealt with Mitigation, Adaptation and Reductions of Risk and Loss and Damage provisions to be advanced at the September Summit – but Palau warned that there should be no duplication of UNFCCC.

There is blooming an issue of Stranded Assets – Various investments will be worth less if we do not do something to reduce risk. These are areas that cause him to hope that this will be a topic at the Global Compact lunch that will be populated with lots of business people – so here we have it – business is expected to save the planet for its own interest and this is fine with us.
Surinam spoke his hope that there will be a shorter list of speakers and most willing to listen. Groups will be speaking with the Summit being just an extra – some countries saying – “we can do this without committing ourselves.

Addressing the Abu-Dhabi Ascent – Surinam, a country that has still 90% of its trees standing, can commit to let the trees standing and “We need Partners” to develop such programs. If we can go there and propose this – the Summit might help.

Mr. Orr got the point that this also means funding travel gave a general anwer that these proposals will have to be fleshed out and that the Ascent is part of a two stage strategy – y in the following negotiations. That is exactly where Climate Finance and Forest Finance come in. The need to achieve this so we like to see this happen. We felt that finally we were hearing serious thoughts and money where it is now – in the hands of the oil people – might help improve the image of the oil industry and be the real reason why they want to be part of these Olympics.

Climate Finance and Sustainable Development Finance overlap. How do you work now so that they reinforce?

Pension Funds that do not invest in our topics but should – and will. Ms. Jane Ebinger said that this is the way the Bank works with the Asian Development Bank and the OECD – and gets to see joint benefits with flows to Climate change and other issues.

So, there is a method here at play – not a blind-leads-blind anymore – but money being led so that it saves money and makes more money – strange enough – but that is how the real world works – the SIDS and others among the poor nations do not have much of a chance unless there are suitors ready to find an interesting angle in them helping in image making.

One last comment – this one just from me. The highly touted UN SE4All (thin the e Sustainable Energy for All UN office headquartered at the UN in Vienna) was mentioned only in the two-sheet handout – but not mentioned once in the 3 hour long meeting. Seemingly business has not yet discovered how to make directly money out of them.

The Papers give for SE4All as challenge – Country Energy Action and Implementation  and as pointman we have Minoru Takada   un.org

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another UN reference for the 2014 Climate Summit:

About | Summits on Climate Change

United Nations website on climate change summits. UN icon in English by the Climate Change Support Team (CCST) working closely with the UN System.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 11th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

“A Mutable Feast”- Batch of Hemingway Ephemera From Cuba Is Digitized.

 

 

 
A passport is part of a new digitized collection of some 2,500 items from Hemingway’s onetime home near Havana. Ernest Hemingway Papers Collection, Museum Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

 

BOSTON — Ernest Hemingway was a hoarder. His own prose style may have been spare and economical, but he was unable to part with the words, printed or written, of just about anyone else. According to his fourth wife, Mary, he was incapable of throwing away “anything but magazine wrappers and three-year old newspapers.” A trove of some 2,500 documents collected and preserved at Finca Vigía, Hemingway’s farm outside Havana, and now digitized and newly available at the Hemingway Collection in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum here, includes diaries, letters, lists, telegrams, insurance policies, bank statements, passports, tickets to bullfights and the Longchamp racecourse in Paris, a brochure from a swimming pool filter company, a page of his son Patrick’s homework and seemingly every Christmas card Hemingway ever received.

“Was he a pack rat? Absolutely, absolutely,” Susan Wrynn, the curator of the Hemingway Collection, said last week. “We can only be grateful. But if you had to live with it, it would drive you crazy.”

The digitized copies, which arrived last year, are the second big delivery of Hemingway material to the collection. An earlier batch in 2008 contained many more letters and some important manuscripts, including an alternate ending for “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

“There’s no real bombshell in the new material,” said Sandra Spanier, an English professor at Pennsylvania State University and the general editor of the Hemingway Letters Project. “The value is in the texture of dailiness, the way it rounds out our picture of Hemingway.” She added: “Hemingway didn’t know when he left Cuba that he was never coming back. His shoes are still there. It’s as if he just stepped out for a moment.”

Hemingway lived at Finca Vigía, or Lookout Farm, from 1939 until 1960 — the longest he lived anywhere — and its 15 acres were probably the place where he felt most at home. He left in July 1960, traveled to Spain and then, in very poor health, returned to America. After a brief stay in New York, he moved to Ketchum, Idaho, where in July 1961, suffering from alcoholism, writer’s block and the aftereffects of two African plane crashes in 1954, he took his own life.

 
A ticket and telegram from the collection. Ernest Hemingway Papers Collection, Museum Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

 

After the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, when relations between the United States and Cuba couldn’t have been worse, President John F. Kennedy quietly arranged for Mary Hemingway to travel to Havana and meet with Fidel Castro. The two struck a deal whereby Mrs. Hemingway was allowed to take papers and paintings out of the country and, in return, gave Finca Vigía and its remaining contents to the Cuban people.

The Cuban government had little money for restoration, however, and for decades left the house more or less as it was, a tropical Miss Havisham’s, with a Glenn Miller record on the phonograph, the labels on the half-full Cinzano bottles fading in the sun, the roof leaking, the floors buckling. The remaining papers were moved to the basement, accompanied by a single overworked dehumidifier.

This decline was arrested, starting in 2005, thanks largely to the efforts of the Finca Vigía Foundation, started by Jenny Phillips, the granddaughter of Maxwell Perkins, Hemingway’s longtime editor. The foundation also helped arrange for the scanning and preservation of the documents. The preservationists are all American-trained Cubans, and they have gone about their work with more zeal than discernment: The new material includes, for example, dozens of blank sheets of airmail stationery printed with the Hemingway address.

 
Stamps on one of Hemingway’s passports. Ernest Hemingway Papers Collection, Museum Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

 

Letters and telegrams are sometimes filed under the sender’s first name, sometimes the last, and apparently no effort has been made to single out important papers from lesser ones. In the middle of a folder mostly dedicated to Christmas cards is a 1952 letter from the critic Malcolm Cowley in which, flouting the usual conventions of reviewer confidentiality, he tells Hemingway that he has been asked by The Herald Tribune to write about “The Old Man and the Sea,” and leaves little doubt about what he is going to say: “ ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ is pretty marvelous — the old man is marvelous, the sea is, too, and so is the fish.”

But the very randomness of this material — a telegram from Archibald MacLeish congratulating Hemingway on “For Whom the Bell Tolls” turns up with Mary Hemingway’s carefully typed hamburger recipes — turns out to be part of its appeal, its reminder that this is how lives are lived, haphazardly.

That Hemingway loved being famous is amply demonstrated here by the scrapbook he kept of congratulatory telegrams he received in October 1954 after winning the Nobel Prize. From Ingrid Bergman: “THE SWEDES ARENT SO DUMB AFTER ALL.” From Toots Shor: “WE LIFTED A FEW TO YOU ALL DAY KEEP DRINKING.”

The several Hemingway passports, besides providing a photographic timeline of him as his hair and mustache go white, attest to his restlessness and wanderlust. So does extensive correspondence with an automobile association about how to ship his Buick Roadmaster from Europe to Havana to the United States.

 
A gun license granted by the Cuban authorities in 1950. Ernest Hemingway Papers Collection, Museum Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

 

There are logs he kept aboard the Pilar, his beloved fishing yacht, and a 1943 note from the American naval attaché in Cuba authorizing him to use some experimental radio apparatus, a reminder that during the war, when he wasn’t chasing after marlin and tarpon, Hemingway was supposed to be on the lookout for German subs.

Some of the most interesting papers, however, belonged to Hemingway’s wife. There is extensive correspondence with Maison Glass, an exporter of luxury foods on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, from which she ordered things like fancy olives, turtle soup and French snails, and with the Conard-Pyle Company, a Pennsylvania nursery from which she ordered plants and got advice about how to grow roses in the Cuban climate.

The impression you get is of someone extremely disciplined and well organized. It’s reinforced by a notebook, probably from before the war, when she was a Paris correspondent for The London Daily Express, listing page after page after page of French vocabulary and nuances of French expression.

Apparently from the same period are a couple of mash notes. In one, addressed to “Hepsibah” or “Hepsey,” the writer has apparently been shopping and noticed a new display of sweaters: “And they are sumptuous, Hepsey. … To remember your sweaters and how they suit you … Your bosom under sweaters, blessed bosom, blessed haven.” Ms. Spanier believes that both messages were written not by Hemingway but by a newspaperman named Herb Clark, an old flame of Mary’s in the Paris days.

According to Ms. Wrynn, Mrs. Hemingway, while packing up papers to take back to America, also burned many. Were these Paris notes ones she overlooked, or ones she couldn’t bear to part with? We’ll probably never know.

We may also never know for sure the reason for some numbered notes Hemingway penciled to himself, probably in 1958. Ms. Spanier thinks they are arguments for why he should be allowed to rework some stories from the ‘30s that Esquire wanted to republish 25 years later in an anniversary anthology. They also read like all-purpose writing advice.

“You can phrase things clearer and better,” one note says. The next: “You can remove words which are unnecessary and tighten up your prose.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 5th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Palau Would Defend Marine Sanctuary With Italian Drones that crashed in DRC.

By Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press at the UN, Free United Nations Coalition for Access

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 — Palau’s president Tommy Remengesau returned to the UN on February 4, promoting a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal about the oceans and speaking of a marine sanctuary which would ban all commercial fishing in an area as large as France.

  Inner City Press asked President Remengesau how the ban on fishing would be enforced, given for example the illegal fishing that takes place off Somalia and, doubly illegal, off Western Sahara.

  Remengesau responded that drones could be part of the solution. Palau’s Ambassador Stuart Beck added that drones could take photographs which could be evidence.

  Italy’s Mission to the UN is promoting an event with its Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi and Palau featuring Italian firm Finmeccanica, which made the Selex Falco ES drone procured by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous which recently crashed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A crash in the ocean would be less dangerous. Still.

  Remengesau explained that sharks are worth substantially more to Palau alive than dead, given its eco-tourism economy. Inner City Press asked about other countries joining the shark sanctuary movement that Palau started. Beck mentioned Mexico, and hoped that the broader marine sanctuary idea would also spread. The oceans being a Sustainable Development Goal would be a good step in that direction.

Background: With fifteen months to go until the “Sustainable Development Goals” are determined by the UN General Assembly, Palau’s Ambassador Stuart Beck back on June 25 made the case for an oceans SDG. He recounted that only last night, Palau had its highest tide ever.

  The seas have become so acid, he continued, that mussels and clams are having a hard time forming their shells.

   Inner City Press asked Beck about Palau’s shark sanctuary, which became with 600,000 square kilometers and is now up to 12.5 million square kilometers, with subsequent joiners like Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica, Bahamas, Barbados, Micronesia and the Maldives. If sharks could say thanks, he concluded, they’d give thanks for the sanctuary. Video here from Minute 7:05.

  Accompanying Beck was Ghislaine Maxwell of the TerraMar Project, who said the oceans account for 16% of humanity’s food and spoke of using social media in the campaign. It must target all 193 states, Beck pointed out. (Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it is understood, doesn’t know much about the idea.)

It seems Ban’s UN doesn’t know much about social media or new style network organizations either. The new Free UN Coalition for Access, formed after the old UN Correspondents Association showed itself willing to spy for the UN and seek to get new media thrown out, has been using the Internet and now Twitter to press for media access.

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