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Posted on on August 19th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


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 on August 11th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (

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

Prospect Park, Lakeside Area,

Brooklyn, NY

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

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.
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: 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
– 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
Bwa Kayiman photo courtesy of Tony Savino:

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 on August 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


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 El cupo es limitado.


Posted on on February 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



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.
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.
For more information see:
 Hashtag: #islands2014





Posted on on January 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Critical of  “The Empire” But Proud of How Far his Nation’s Has Come.


     by George Baumgarten, Accredited United Nations Correspondent


     His face and native garb have grown more familiar now: the colorfully-trimmed jacket, and the wide, warm smile. Some have been critical, calling him a clone of the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But Evo Morales Ayma, Bolivia’s now 54-year old President for the last eight years, is nobody’s clone.

Left wing he most surely is—both Socialist and anti-American. But Morales is an original. His greatest pride and priority is his leadership and defense of Bolivia’s native peoples, of whom he most certainly is one. And he can now point with pride to what are said to be significant accomplishments on their behalf.


     Juan Evo Morales Ayma was born on 26 October 1959, in the small village of Isallawi, near Orinoca in western Bolivia’s Oruro Department, south of the capital city of La Paz and just west of Lake Poopo. As a youngster he worked as a farmer in Bolivia and northern Argentina, and first learned to speak the native Aymara language. He would go on journeys of several weeks with his father, to trade salt and potatoes for maize and coca (Coca, the raw material of cocaine, is also made into tea, which visitors are advised to drink to combat possible altitude sickness on Bolivia’s (and Peru’s)high plains.  It is a major cash crop, and an important part of their culture.). He also attended university in Oruro, and completed all but his final year. After university, Morales spent mandatory time in the army (1977-78), and even once served as a military guard at La Paz’s Palacio Quemado (Presidential Palace). These were tumultuous years in Bolivia, with five presidents and two military coups, in the short space of just two years.


     Bolivia shares with Paraguay the distinction of being one of only two land-locked countries on the American continents. It sits on a plain at high altitude, over which tower the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, most notably the volcano of Cotopaxi, overlooking La Paz. The city itself sits at an altitude of some 12,300 feet in a valley, with the airport, known as El Alto (“The High One”) International, overlooking it from a plateau one thousand feet higher. Coming into the capital at night has been described as descending from the airport into a “bowl of stars”.


     Returning from his army service, Morales moved with his family to the city of El Chapare, near Cochabamba in the eastern lowlands. There they had a farm which grew rice, oranges, grapefruit, papayas bananas and coca. El Chapare was a town of 40,000 in 1981, which grew in the next seven years into a city of 215,000 people. Morales became active in the union of cocaleros (coca growers), which was his initiation into local politics. He was one of a group of cocaleros who refused a payment to eradicate his coca crop, as urged by the United States. To the farmers, this was an issue of Bolivian national sovereignty.                                                                              


     After serving as General Secretary of the cocalero union, Morales was involved in huge protests against the price of water, and then was finally elected President in late 2005. He was widely regarded as the first democratically-elected indigenous President in Latin America. He quickly let it be known that the improvement of the lot and standard of living of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples would be his first and highest priority. At that time, 16% of Bolivians were said to have been illiterate, and within just a few years, he declared illiteracy to have been eradicated in the country. He also is said to have brought rural electrification to almost all of the country.


     Morales came to speak to the U.N. press corps, in his capacity as the newly-installed Chairman of the “Group of 77 [and China]”-  a non-aligned (and somewhat anti-western) group within the United Nations General Assembly (not to be confused with the “Non-Aligned Movement”, or N.A.M.).

   Bolivia had “inherited” the leadership of the G-77 from Fiji. I asked the President what he thought the Group of 77 could be doing—or should be doing, or what influence they hoped to have—given the current tumultuous world situation, with various wars on several continents. He told me that the “Empire” (as he calls the United States), can neither now stage coup d’etats, or win elections. Sometimes they send in the Blue Helmets (i.e., U.N. Peacekeeping Forces) or N.A.T.O. They “intervene, in order to seize the natural resources” (as in Iraq). Who, he asked, now controls the Libyan oil?


     He said that he would ask former Presidents of the G-77 for their advice. He noted that there had been a controversy over Bolivia’s doctors only working for 3-4 hours a day, and that there were those advocating a “blue helmet intervention” – Therefore, he would ask his predecessors as to how to deal with conflicts that are “created and financed” by the “Empire”.


     Morales also met with the President of the General Assembly, Antigua’s John W. Ashe, and informed him that he was calling for a conference this coming June in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the G-77. President Ashe thanked Morales for his invitation to participate, and the two leaders agreed on the importance of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the successor phase to the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. Thus was begun this new phase in the career of one of the world’s unique leaders.

Evo Morales may have some contempt for the U.S., and for the West in General. But he is a true leader of his people, and has dedicated himself to the redress of their long-held grievances. And he is genuinely beloved by those whom he serves.

    Copyright 2014  – George Alan Baumgarten



Posted on on January 12th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



CTMD Upcoming Events


Center for Traditional Music and Dance & Verite sou Tanbou present

Verite Sou Tanbou   


A conversation about Vodou and the Environment

followed by a Vodou singing session








Sunday, Jan 19th, 6:30PM
138 South Oxford Street, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY
(Kindly RSVP by January 18th to
Your RSVP will be confirmed via e-mail.)
The Center for Traditional Music and Dance and its Haitian Community Cultural Initiative, Verite sou Tanbou (formerly known as Ayiti Fasafas), invite you to “Vodou Is Nature,” an educational workshop on Haitian Vodou practice and performance in New York City. Oungan (Vodou priest) Dieudonné Jean-Jacques and Manbo (Vodou Priestess) Marie Carmel will lead a conversation discussing the roots of Haitian Vodou with respect to the environment, in its “four elements” (air, earth, fire, and water), and the Vodou spirits (lwa) which guard and represent the powerful forces and precious resources of the natural world.  The conversation will be translated into English and Kreyol and will be followed by a question-and-answer session, plus a performance of traditional Vodou songs on nature themes. Audience participation is encouraged!
WikiCommons Tree



Verite sou Tanbou image design by Kesler Pierre.

Roots/water photo by Pam Fray, 2007 (public domain via Wikimedia Commons).

Support for this program is provided to the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and Verite sou Tanbou by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Con Edison, the Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Gilder Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Scherman Foundation.

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 on December 11th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (



You are invited

To the

Cocktails, Hors D’oeuvres
Thursday, December 12, 2013
6:00 – 8:00 pm
at the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20036
Sponsored by:
American Gas Association (AGAthat when dominated by Mobil Oil used to fight the introduction of the Natural Gas that they were established with intent to support – i.e. they did not support use of CNG motor-vehicles), American Petroleum Institute (API – Washington DC based – all out oil), American Public Gas Association (regulated utilities), America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Ballard Spahr LLP, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (Geneva based – so far positive industry lobby established for the Rio UNCED in 1992), Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (a shipping interest), Chevron, Concentric Energy Advisors, Deloitte Services LP, Edison Electric Institute (established by the nuclear lobby), Embassy of Canada (with pipeline interests), Independent Petroleum Association of America, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (clearly not a decentralization proponent), National Ocean Industries Association (?fisheries?), National Propane Gas Association (petroleum refinery dependent – no relative of natural gas or biogas), Natural Gas Supply Association, NGVAmerica (Natural Gas or CNG motor-Vehicles), NiSource Inc, North American Energy Standards Board, Shell Oil Company, Williams, World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADEbased in Edinburgh – wind-mill operators or renewable energy proponents?).


Posted on on November 3rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (



from: Leida Rijnhout

Executive Director
ANPED – Northern Alliance for Sustainability
Fiennesstraat 77, 1070 Brussels

Mob: + 32 (0) 494 89 30 52

Dear Colleagues (please circulate),

As you know, the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa, to be preceded by activities related to the conference from 28 to 30 August 2014, also in Apia, Samoa. It will focus the world’s attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities.

A Conference website has been prepared by the SIDS 2014 Secretariat, available at


Several preparatory meetings are taking place throughout 2013, including national preparations and expert group meetings, following three regional meetings and an inter-regional meeting. A special accreditation process for organizations wanting to participate in the Conference and it’s preparation that are not in Consultative Status with ECOSOC. More information will be provided as decisions are made. A Global Intergovernmental Preparatory process will be launched by the President of the General Assembly at the end of 2013, with the first preparatory committee meeting to occur early in 2014. The preparatory process can be followed on the following page:

The page available at  lists various activities undertaken by the UN system, including expert meetings and other relevant events/conferences. If you wish to have a meeting/event included on this page, please send us the details to

Partnerships for Small Island Developing States

The modality resolution adopted during the 67th session ( of the General Assembly called for the “strengthening of collaborative partnerships between SIDS and the international community” as one of the important ways and means to address new and emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  At the SIDS inter-regional preparatory meeting held in Barbados, SIDS decided to recommend that the overarching theme of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States should be “the sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships.

The SIDS 2014 Conference website provides a “Partnerships Registry” of new and existing partnerships related to the sustainable development of SIDS, including relevant voluntary commitments from the Rio+20 Conference. It is expected that the SIDS Conference will lead to the announcements of new SIDS partnerships.

If you wish to include a Partnership in the Conference Partnerships Registry, please either 1) Register it online (address below), or 2) send us the details to for inclusion

Warm regards,

Chantal Line


Posted on on February 18th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Ambassador Peter Thompson from Fiji speaks for the G 77 and China at the Arria Formula Non-meeting at the UNSC and the same day speaks also on the MDGs at a different meeting at the UN. We have here both his presentations.

To put it in diplomatic terms, we are amazed how the representative of a Small Islands State participates in the thrashing of its own future by serving the forces of business-as-usual that came about because of the influence the Islamic Oil States have on what at the UN goes under the term G 77 & China.

The Arria formula meeting of the Security Council – by its own definition a Non-meeting – came about as Member States with eyes open – have realized that the UN was incapable of moving on the issue of Climate Change, and this while practically every UN State has already stories to tell about losses from Climate Change – within their own territory or in States they do business with. The most hurt are obvious the Small Island States that might be completely wiped out by the effects of man-made Climate Change committed by other States. As such, transferring the issue to the Security Council, from the moribund UNFCCC and UNCSD, is an attempt to move the issue from the General Assembly UN debating club to the only UN institution that has the power to act. The alternative would be to close this UN, like the League of Nations was closed, and negotiate anew an organization with 193 Nations participating in a decision-for-action new mechanism. Every decent person would say this alternative will be unachievable. So what does Ambassador Peter Thompson, a traitor to the SIDS, mean by his statement on behalf of the negativistic uncounted governments from among the 77+China?
Further, the UNCSD will expire at the 2013 General Assembly meeting this coming September – as per a decision of the Rio+20 meeting June 2012. They will be replaced by a mechanism yet unknown, and dependent on recommendations that will be forthcoming from a special panel that was established in September 2012. The Issues of the MDGs and the newly to be formulated Sustainable Development Goals is also pending in the air – and that is part of the decisions of new UN formulas for 2015 and beyond. The distinguished Ambassador does seem to ignore all of this and try instead to stick with the formula of things that were totally rejected in Rio. Our conclusion is thus in non-diplomatic terms – he is sticking with the old ways that are responsible for the inaction at the UN that resulted in 20 wasted years, and at the same time puts sticks into the possible wheels of the UNSC with which some try to find ways to move out from the UN swamp.
In our postings about the Arria-formula meeting of Friday, February 15th we were able to bring forward the ridiculous Statement made by Egypt that clearly shows, that though it started out differently it got bent in haste to the same conclusions as the G77+China with even not having had the time to reconsider its own numbering system from the previous Arab League bent. The ray of light comes from Pakistan that seemingly decided to cosponsor the call to the Arria formula event, and obviously the SIDS that part now ways with the G77&China that did nothing for them in these lost 20 years.

Mr. President,

I acknowledge the presence of Distinguished Panelist and Guest Speakers in today’s event. I thank the Secretary General for his Statement and note the interventions that have been made thus far.

I wish to express a special welcome to the Honorable Tony de Brum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, I welcome the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and the Vice-President and Network Head for Sustainable Development at the World Bank Ms. Rachel Kyte. I also wish to welcome the contributions through video recordings by the President of Kiribati His Excellency Mr. Anote Tong and the Foreign Minister of Australia Senator Bob Carr.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

We note the initiative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in organizing this Meeting which we note is being convened under the informal Arria Formula of the United Nations Security Council on the subject “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”

Mr. President,

The Group of 77 and China reiterates its position that the United Nations Security Council is not the appropriate forum for this discussion. The Group will repeat that the primary responsibility of the United Nations Security Council is the maintenance of international peace and security, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations.

On the other hand, other issues, including those related to economic and social development, are assigned by that same Charter to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to the United Nations General Assembly (General Assembly).

The ever-increasing encroachment by the Security Council on the roles and responsibilities of other principal organs of the United Nations represents a distortion of the principles and purposes of the Charter, infringes on their authority and compromises the rights of the general membership of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

The Group of 77 and China underlines the importance of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the ECOSOC to work within their respective mandates as set out in the Charter.

General Assembly resolution 63/281 recognized the respective responsibilities of the principal organs of the United Nations, including the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security conferred upon the Security Council and the responsibility for sustainable development issues, including climate change, conferred upon the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and invited the relevant organs of the United Nations, as appropriate and within their respective mandates, to intensify their efforts in considering and addressing climate change, including its possible security implications.

The relevant bodies in the field of sustainable development are the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and their relevant subsidiary bodies, including the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Group of 77 and China is of the view that it is vital for all Member States to promote sustainable development in accordance with the Rio Principles, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and fully implement Agenda 21 and Outcomes of other relevant United Nations Conferences in the economic, environmental and social fields, including the Millennium Development Goals Declaration.

We further emphasize the critical role of the international community in the provision of adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity building to developing countries.

We maintain that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. In this sense, we recall that an appropriate response to this challenge should address not only the consequences but mainly the roots of the problem. At the DOHA COP 18, we made progress towards addressing Climate Change through concrete decisions on remaining work under the Bali Action Plan, a Plan of work under the Durban Platform and a Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol with a clear time line. The Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol, however, lacks ambition and we hope that its level will be enhanced in 2014 as agreed in Doha

Mr. President,

Let me emphasize that there is a strong case for developed countries’ emission reductions and mitigation actions to avoid adverse impacts of climate change. In this context, we are extremely concerned that current mitigation pledges from developed countries parties in the UNFCCC negotiations are not at all adequate to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature according to what is required by science.

We reiterate the need to coordinate international efforts and mobilize partners to assist the observation networks through regional initiatives such as South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring, and Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. In this regard, we call upon the relevant agencies and organs of the UN, including OCHA, to reinforce regional broadcastings systems to help island communities during disasters and increase the effectiveness of observation in these regions. Any measures taken in this context need to ensure an integrated approach in responding to environmental emergencies

The response to impacts of climate change and disasters must include the strengthening of the Hyogo Framework for Action for disaster risk reduction, the increasing of assistance to developing countries affected states, including by supporting efforts towards enhancing their national and regional capacities for implementation of plans and strategies for preparedness, rapid response, recovery and development.

Mr. President,

The Group would like to underline the fact that developing countries continue to suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, and support for their efforts needs to be stepped up.

In this regard, we call for the full and effective implementation of the commitments under the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. We reiterate that sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose a significant risk to small island developing states and their efforts to achieve sustainable development and, for many, represent the gravest of threats to their survival and viability including for some through the loss of territory.

The Group of 77 and China will continue to pursue the achievement of sustainable development and eradication of poverty, which are our first and overriding priorities, as well as the fulfillment of commitments by developed countries in all relevant bodies.
Mr. President,

We strongly reiterate our expectation that the initiative of the Council to hold this debate does not create a precedent that undermines the authority or mandate of the relevant bodies, processes and instruments that already address these issues in all their complexities.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Thank you, Distinguished Co-Facilitators.

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

At the outset, may I express the Group’s congratulations on your appointment as Co-Facilitators on this very important item. I would also like to convey our appreciation for the dispatch of your Informal Food for Thought Paper which you intend to guide our reflections on the modalities and substance of the Special Event and, in particular, underlines the urgency of moving to an early decision on the modalities of the Event.


The Group of 77 notes that the Special Event is not a formal event of the General Assembly but an ad hoc meeting convened on a specific theme, that is, “To follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” This process follows on from the request we made as Members States of the United Nations back in 2010 and it is a review of the efforts undertaken to date towards the achievement of the MDGs.

The Group is of the view that the Outcome of this Special Event must feed into an intergovernmental process for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. Notwithstanding the link between the review of the MDGs and the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, the review that this Special Event will undertake must not be subservient to or dependent on other processes under way for the post-2015 agenda.

It is of fundamental importance that the Special Event produces concise and actionable outcomes which will sharpen the focus on achieving the MDGs. This must include means to prioritize funding for MDGs, particularly in line with international agreements on development financing.


Given the importance, complexity and time-sensitivity of the issues that the Special Event must address, the Group welcomes the holding of this event during the High-level segment of the 68th UN General Assembly. However, the Group is concerned that a one-day meeting may not achieve the kind of concrete results that is needed for this final push on MDGs within the MDG period. The Group would therefore like further consideration of the time allotted for this Special Event.


These are our initial thoughts. We will revert with more substantial input during the course of our consultations under your able facilitation. The Group assures you of its continued support and constructive engagement in the preparations and conduct of this Special Event.

I thank you Co-Facilitators.


Posted on on December 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Public-Private Alliance Foundation


December 27, 2012

January 12, 2013 will mark the third anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake from which Haiti continues to try to rebuild.

The  PPAF’s pilot study engaged in our Cookstove and Fuel Alternatives Initiative in Haiti.

Our work aims to bring jobs, better health and less deforestation

to the country.  You can help make a difference in peoples’ lives.

Happy New Year from the

Publc-Private Alliance Foundation!

End-of-year Giving

Support our work with a 2012 End-of-year tax-deductible gift to the Foundation!     Click here on our website (donate buttons at top right), or send a check to PPAF, 166 Edgars Lane, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706. Your participation will help bring cookstove and fuel alternatives to Haiti, as well as local jobs, better health and less deforestation. PPAF has been selected as a 2012 “Great NonProfit” because of reviews by volunteers, board members, interns and friends.  Click here to go to the Great Nonprofits website to add your review.

Sunday, January 6 –  You are invited!

Time: 1 – 3 pm

Place: Community Church of New York – Assembly Hall

40 East 35th Street  New York, NY 10016

Speakers: David Stillman, Executive Director and

George Garland, Board member, PPAF

Topic: Changing Lives in Haiti”

The Public-Private Alliance Foundation, with support from the Community Church and others, is leading pilot projects in Haiti that are laying the basis for major changes in how people cook.  Efforts are underway to meet a demand in households and small businesses to exit the poverty-disease-deforestation trap of cooking with charcoal.

Free of Charge


January –  Haiti – David Stillman and colleagues will travel to Haiti to develop ethanol production and stove distribution and follow progress of the piloting of the ethanol cookstoves and briquette press.

February 13 – New York City David Stillman will report on updates to the Haiti project at the Rotary International Breakfast, 8:30 a.m.   Guests welcome – $20.

RSVP to Rotary Club of New York,  322 Eighth Ave. Suite 1701,  New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212.633.1311;  fax:  212.633.1954;

How You Can Work with the Foundation

Your contributions make it possible for the Foundation to continue our work in bringing organizations and people together for sustainable development and clean energy.   Go to our website to Like us on Facebook, join us on Linked In and receive our Twitter feeds.

(1)  Donate Directly.  It’s quick, safe and easy to give online. Go to and click on the donation button you prefer.  Please consider a monthly gift.   You can also mail a check directly to Dr. David Stillman, PPAF, 166 Edgars Lane, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706, USA.  The Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

(2) Become a Corporate Sponsor. You’ll be listed on our website and in our newsletter as a corporation that supports important work in agribusiness, clean energy, and broad assistance to people in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Madagascar.  Contact David Stillman at

(3) Live Green! If you live in Connecticut, Massachusettes, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,  Maryland, Delaware, the District of Coumbia or Illinois, you can help by changing your electricity provider to Viridian Energy.  (Depending on where you live, you may also be able to switch your gas provider.)  This saves money and supports green energy and a smaller carbon footprint, with the Foundation earning a small fee.  Click here to learn more, and feel free to contact us. Go to or call 914-478-3450; email  You can watch a great 2-minute video by clicking at the top right on our page.

(4)  Volunteer, serve as an intern, or get involved as a professional.  Use the information above to contact us.


Posted on on October 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

from Nona Pelletier  –   
PORT-OF-SPAIN—October 26, 2012—The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is co-hosting a meeting of developing country negotiators with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the CARICOM Secretariat and the South Centre, to share information and develop strategies that further common development goals.

The Sixth Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators takes place in Port-of-Spain from October 29-31, 2012, and is expected to draw over 70 participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, representing over 30 countries.

Several regional and international organizations are also attending, including the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The theme of this year’s event is “understanding and harnessing new models for investment and sustainable development”.

The forum is part of an ongoing effort to help developing countries incorporate sustainable development issues into their international investment treaty negotiations, such as those now underway between CARICOM and Canada.

This year’s forum focuses on how to ensure the developmental goals and objectives of developing countries are promoted by international, regional and bilateral investment agreements.

The forum builds upon the successes of the five previous forums held in Singapore (2007), Morocco (2008), Ecuador (2009), India (2010) and Uganda (2011).

This event responds to a growing demand from developing countries for a counterbalance to the OECD Investment Committee as a place for developed country negotiators and policy-makers on investment. The forums have created a space for developing countries to freely consider and develop their own negotiating priorities and goals in relation to international investment treaties.

For over ten years, IISD has been providing technical assistance to investment negotiators across the developing world and the demand for our services has been growing in recent years. In order to maximize the sharing of experience—positive and negative—IISD decided to convene an annual forum of investment negotiators from developing countries.

This is the first time the annual forum will be held in the Caribbean region.

For more information on previous events, please visit
or contact Flavia Thomé at
or Yolande Agard-Simmons at


Posted on on September 21st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

High Level Debate organized by UNESCO at the International Day of Peace, United Nations Headquarters,

September 21st, 2012

The presentation by H.E. Leonel Fernández, former President of the Dominican Republic
and President of Global Foundation of Democracy and Development, FUNGLODE

Your Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations;

Your Excellency Vuk Jeremic, President of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly;

Honorable Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO;

Distinguished panelists;

Distinguished ambassadors;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

In celebrating World Peace Day today, we arrived to this High Level Debate organized by UNESCO here, in New York, preceded by a week of violence, threats and dreadful unrest in different parts of the world.

What has mostly caught our attention, however, was the amateur video about the Prophet Muhammad put in circulation by an individual, through the use of modern new media, that sparked a wave of riots, protests and killings in different countries of the Arab world.

Reflecting on the occurrence of these regrettable events, we need to analyze from a fresh perspective the role of the media and its impact in an environment of continuous and accelerated technological change, within an interconnected and culturally diverse planet.

In his classical work, titled, Public Opinion, the great American journalist and political philosopher, Walter Lippman, refers to the fact that in 1914, before the outbreak of World War I a group of French, German, British, Italian and Russian citizens, were living in a friendly and peaceful way, ignoring that what was to become the great war had begun among their respective nations in Europe.

Months later, a ship arrived in the island, bringing newspapers and magazines with the news of the events that had taken place in what traditionally has been called “the cradle of civilization”.

Right there, violence broke out and a war began between those that previous to the spreading of the bleak news, had friendly and peaceful ties.

In the video about the Prophet Muhammad, there are lessons to be drawn of symbolic significance to a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding, in the midst of religious and cultural diversity.

First, it is not only that a conflict of anywhere can spread conflict everywhere, as has been analyzed by a range of influential social thinkers, but that now, because of the information and communications technology revolution, for the first time in history, any individual in any part of the world can become a media content provider.

That means, that from being a passive receiver of information, the individual can now play the active role of a transmitter, making modern communication more interactive.

Furthermore, there is no longer need to wait for the boat to arrive to generate a collective behavioral reaction.

Now, it is instantaneous communication, with news cycles going 24/7.

Third, in relation to the showing of the video, government officials reacted by stating that even though they rejected and disapproved its content, they could not ban its distribution for respect of freedom of expression.

There, of course, seems to be a contradiction in the argument. If something is considered legal, it shouldn’t be the object of moral repudiation.

I think we can all agree that freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas do not necessarily mean that there are no limits to their exercise.

In different national legislations, due to libel, slander, defamation, calumny and character assassination, limits has been drawn, beyond which infringement, misdeed or violation are considered.

If this can be achieved at the national level, why not consider the possibility of drafting an international legal framework, legally binding to member states of the UN, that can prohibit and punish blasphemy as the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence toward something considered sacred?

In this second decade of the 21st century, the world has continued, at an accelerated pace, its transition from an industrial to a knowledge-based society, in which information and communication technology play a distinctive role.

Given the fact that it is in the interest of UNESCO to harness the media and ICTs, to promote peace, non-violence, tolerance and intercultural dialogue, it would be of significant value to consider including in its new Program of Action for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, a new international legal approach to the use of cyberspace and global digital media.

In addition, supporting and promoting creative new projects, with the active participation of youths around the world, in the areas of filmmaking, theatre, performing arts, sports, radio and television programs, oriented towards peace, non-violence and cultural diversity.

In that way, the media, instead of being perceived as an instrument at the service of hatred and insult to human dignity and cherished religious beliefs, can become the ideal catalyst for peace, knowledge, understanding, solidarity and pluralism in a new world order characterized for being borderless, wireless and interconnected.

It will depend on our ability and commitment to make it either “” or “”.

Thank you!


Posted on on July 13th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was established December 2011 in Caracas, as all three pre-existing organizations of Latin America prove to be behind the times – this mainly because of the US push to keep still Cuba outside the international system.

The Organization of American States does not include Cuba and similar problems are facing the Caribbean CARICOM and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

With China becoming more important in the Western Hemisphere – now CELAC – that includes all States except the US and Canada – becomes a more appropriate conversation partner to China – replacing ECLAC which is viewed as a tol of the US.

We have here a series of articles from THE GUYANA TIMES that show this evolution in changing inter-Western Hemisphere States around the time of the RIO+20 meeting, June 2012.

Chile is the linchpin to this Latin American reorganization – hosting both ECLAC and CELAC. The latter brought along also the members of CARICOM. How long will it take to the US to realize that its economic relations in the region are at stake?

Chinese premier proposes high-level cooperation forum with Latin America, Caribbean

July 4, 2012, THE GUYANA TIMES.
ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao enter the ECLAC building in Santiago, Chile

In order to deepen strategic relations with the region, today the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proposed the creation of a China-Latin America cooperation forum and the establishment of a regular dialogue mechanism with the troika of foreign ministers from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) – with a first meeting due to be held during 2012.
The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, welcomed Wen Jiabao on behalf of the commission.  From ECLAC, he then sent out a message to the Latin American and Caribbean region on the occasion of his official visit to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
In his ECLAC speech, the Chinese Premier put forward concrete proposals for cooperation in areas such as food security, innovation, science and technology and sustainable development.
Wen Jiabao announced the creation of a cooperation fund for the region with an initial input of US$5.0 billion to promote, inter alia, the development of the manufacturing industry, as well as a credit line of US$10 billion dollars to boost infrastructure cooperation through the Bank of China. He proposed creating various forms of intergovernmental consultation mechanisms, broadening contacts among legislative institutions, political parties and territorial governments and strengthening the exchange of experiences in terms of state governance and the handling of administrative matters. He also suggested the creation of a forum for agriculture ministers and another forum for Scientific and Technological Innovation.
He mentioned that his country will give active consideration to ECLAC’s proposal to hold periodic meetings with the region’s heads of state and government. In the context of the visit by Wen Jiabao, today ECLAC launched the document The People’s Republic of China and Latin America and the Caribbean: Dialogue and cooperation for the new challenges of the global economy, which examines recent trade and investment trends.
According to the report, trade between China and the region is strikingly interindustrial, which means that China exports manufactured goods to the region, while Latin America and the Caribbean exports mainly raw materials. The document states that this reduces the potential for possible Chinese-Latin American business partnerships, and hampers a more effective integration of the region’s countries into the production chains of Asia-Pacific. Only four of the region’s countries (all in South America) posted surpluses in their trade with China in 2011: Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and Peru. In all cases, this was due to sales of a smaller number of commodities.
At the other extreme there is Mexico’s trade deficit with China: while less than two per cent of Mexican exports in 2011 went to China, 15 per cent of Mexico’s imports that year came from China. With this in mind, Wen Jiabao stated that China does not seek to have a trade surplus, but rather that it wishes to have balanced trade with the region by increasing future imports of products with greater added value from Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the country’s premier, China expects the volume of trade with the region to be worth more than US$400 billion in the next five years.
According to Bárcena, “Latin America and the Caribbean’s growing economic and trade ties with China raise opportunities and concerns”, and it was therefore essential to set up an agenda for dialogue and cooperation between the two parties. The opportunities of the relationship with China mentioned by Bárcena included improved terms of trade, higher growth rates and additional resources to invest in education, infrastructure and innovation. The concerns related to the reprimarisation of exports, deindustrialisation, Dutch disease, land access and immigration.
Wen Jiabao proposed deepening the friendship between the peoples of China and Latin America, while promoting mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. He said that, although China had experienced dramatic changes, it was still a developing country and its cooperation policy and feelings of solidarity with Latin American and Caribbean countries remained unchanged. China will definitely continue its path of peaceful development.  Quoting a Chilean saying, he stated that “friends are like stars: they are far away but you know they are there”.

Final Declaration of Caracas unanimously approved by CELAC.

December 5, 2011, THE GUYANA TIMES.

The summit to establish the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) wound up on Saturday in Venezuela with the unanimous approval of the Final Declaration of Caracas, and the handing over of the chairmanship to Chile.
The presidents, prime ministers and heads of delegations of the 33 countries making up the new regional organisation expressed a common stance, while ratifying their agreement with the 18 documents discussed during the two-day historic meeting. Likewise, the plan of action of the CELAC was agreed, which, specified Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, should be honored by all member nations, particularly by the members of the so-called troika (Venezuela, Chile and Cuba: outgoing country, new pro tempore chairman, and the next venue, respectively).
Two communiqués can be found among the 22 documents signed, one on the need to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba, and another on the recognition of Argentina’s right over the Falklands.
In addition, participants approved a special declaration on the defense of democracy and constitutional order of the countries composing the CELAC. Political texts referred to commitment to social inclusion, food and nutritional safety, the situation of the human rights of immigrants, and the sustainable development of the Community of Caribbean States (CARICOM), were also agreed.
Other documents signed include texts supporting the Yasuni-ITT-CALC-CELAC ecological initiative in Ecuador; and the Central American emergency situation due to tropical depressions. Participants also agreed to declare 2013 as the international year of the quinoa (edible grain from Bolivia).
Also, documents reflecting support for Central American security strategy, and the total elimination of nuclear weapons were signed.  Support for the struggle against terrorism in all forms and expressions, and the struggle against the world problem of drugs and drug trafficking were also among resolutions agreed.

Ramotar reminds developed nations about climate change commitments

May 22, 2012, THE GUYANA TIMES.

President Donald Ramotar on Monday reiterated the need for developed countries to honour their commitment to support developing countries in their bid to improve their capacities for natural resources and environmental management.
The president made this call at the 11th Caricom- Mexico Summit held in Barbados.  In sharing the views of the Caricom bloc on the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20, President Ramotar said it is imperative that the issues surrounding small islands and low lying coastal states be reflected within the CELAC agenda so as to be mirrored in the Rio+20 Outcome Document.
He said too that issues of  non-communicable diseases; ecosystem services – especially pertaining to REDD+, marine ecosystem services and emerging blue carbon frameworks,  food and energy insecurity –should be addressed at the Rio+20 Conference.
“We are concerned that the negotiations over the Zero Draft document reveal a high level of disagreement on issues which are at the core of the objectives of the conference.” According to the president, it was recognised from the Rio meeting of 1992 that developing countries needed a great deal of assistance financially, materially, and through human resources in order to progress.
“The developed countries did make clear commitments to provide a significant level of assistance and to create a more equitable global environment for the developing countries. In the 20 years since then, developing countries have been able to significantly improve their capacities for natural resources and environmental management. Despite the fact that they have been helped through programmes and projects financed through the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Rio Conventions and bilateral arrangements with some developed countries, the sum total of assistance received is just a small part of what was promised in Rio in 1992,” President Ramotar said.

Unfulfilled promises
He added that as a result of unfulfilled promises, “developing countries are still badly in need of the promised support to meet the ever-increasing challenges” facing them. Ramotar said small island and low-lying coastal developing states, in particular, continue to face increasing pressures from more frequent and more intense attacks from natural disasters and need to develop appropriate and effective response mechanisms.
The president stated too that the preparation of the Zero Document should now focus on ensuring that the main hurdles to the implementation of Agenda 21 and related action plans are “honestly identified and appropriate measures be considered for a renewed effort to remove these hurdles and fulfil the expectations generated 20 years ago”.
Ramotar said there are several priority issues that should be addressed with Caricom in mind within the context of negotiation of the Outcome Document. He pointed specifically to tourism, health, oceans, climate change and energy. The president said too that Caricom is supportive of the call by other developing countries for there to be additional negotiation sessions to ensure a successful and mutually satisfactory outcome for Rio+20.
He said there are “two critical themes” that must be focused on during the upcoming conference in Brazil: the green economy in the context of sustainable development, and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development.
Under the first theme, President Ramotar said the concept of a “green economy framework” has a critical role to play in rehabilitating the economies of Caricom member states that are continually affected by the 2008-2009 global and financial economic crises.
“Caricom is committed to the green economy approach.  Member states have been and are interpreting the green economy concept according to their national sustainable development priorities and national economic and social conditions.  In fact, several of our member states have developed, or are in the process of developing, sectoral policies, sustainable development strategies, strategic and medium-term planning programmes, and natural resource management frameworks that serve as the basis for a greener, low-carbon economic transition and, at the same time, address the issue of poverty eradication and the broader goal of sustainable development,” he stated.

Green economy
He added that it is important that an enabling environment is created for entrepreneurship and innovation in the context of a green economy for Caricom as this is critical. “In the long term, the private sector should drive green growth in collaboration with government and using relevant technology as an enabler.”
He said a green economy should not be treated as the totality of the sustainable development agenda, as “it is one component among other vital aspects of that agenda”.
On that note, President Ramotar said the Rio+20 Conference must address fundamental sustainable development challenges crucial to achieving a green economy that should: ensure greater integration between the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development; be applied by each country based on its specific national circumstances and priorities; be consistent with Agenda 21 and the Rio principles; ensure greater equity and inclusion within and between countries; and provide greater opportunities and  benefits for all citizens and countries; provide appropriate policy space for developing countries; and involve all relevant stakeholders – big and small.
“Caricom is also of the view that developing countries will require significantly enhanced support from the international community, including new and additional finance, technology transfer, and capacity building, in order to develop a green economy,” the president reiterated.
Under the second theme, the institutional framework for sustainable development, Guyana’s president said new bodies for Caricom such as a sustainable development council should not be created without a clear understanding of how they will improve on the deficiencies of existing entities such as the Commission on Sustainable Development. He added that it is Caricom’s view that there must be clarity on their relationship with existing UN organs.
“Caricom does not support the creation of a World Environment Organisation or UNEP’s conversion into a new treaty body, due in part to the complexity implicit in this proposal. However, strengthening UNEP in some form might be desirable.”
President Ramotar added that Caricom is open to the proposal on sustainable development goals and considers that a “limited set of time-bound sustainable development goals might be useful in translating the international community’s vision into tangible objectives”.
He added that the sustainable development goals should not be seen as a competing agenda with the Millennium Development Goals.

Filed Under: NEWS

Progress and Poverty

May 17, 2012 THE GUYANA TIMES.

President Ramotar’s recent address to the Organisation of American States (OAS) Permanent Council was interesting for several reasons. The OAS, formed in the wake of the post WWII Cold War climate, has long been seen as a proxy for U.S. interests. Of recent, it has been challenged by newer regional groupings such as CELAC, which has all the members of the OAS with the notable exceptions of the U.S. and Canada. And as significantly, it includes, Cuba which is still barred from the OAS at the insistence of the U.S.
President Ramotar emphasised the importance of reducing poverty and inequality in the region and noted “the critical importance of development to democracy”. While the president did not expand too much on these themes, it is significant that they are at the base of the contending visions that are driving the newer groupings. The OAS has attempted to broaden its initial focus on regional security, but its equivocation on the coup in Honduras and the ouster of the democratically elected government of Aristide in Haiti, for instance, have fuelled accusations that nothing fundamentally has changed.
The movers and shakers in CELAC, notably Chavez of Venezuela have insisted that ‘democracy’ must go beyond issues surrounding the franchise. They emphasise the substantive concerns of economic and social justice, grounded in their socialist orientation and origins. The accusation that ‘bourgeoisie’ democracy of the ballot is hollow was the dominant message by both the PPP and the PNC up to the 1980’s. They insisted that the fulfilment of economic and social rights must take centre stage.
However, while the OAS still emphasises the importance of ‘representative democracy’ and spends much of its time ensuring that electoral systems are not subverted, it has found it difficult to effectively challenge the competing ‘development and participatory’ democratic model. The reason is that unlike the confrontation from the ‘left’ in the sixties, the present champions of the latter vision are willing to go to the poll. This might be for the simple reason that their mobilisation of the downtrodden, who benefit from their approach, consistently deliver overwhelming majorities to them.
Their ‘participatory and development’ democracy is therefore simultaneously ‘representative”. It is not too hard to find the reason of their success: President Ramotar pointed it out. He warned that there cannot be debate on democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean “outside the context of our intolerable levels of poverty, when 57 million people, or 11 per cent of our population live on less than one dollar a day, and 23 per cent exist daily on less than two dollars”.  Latin America has one of the starkest disparities in income disparity between their top and bottom strata.
It should be noted that the president did not ignore the traditional concerns of the OAS for ‘security’ issues, but he took a more expansive perspective on the concept. In addition to poverty and inequality, he emphasised the challenges posed by climate change, crime, drugs and violence. It is important that these issues – including the pertinent model of democracy for our country – be on the agenda of our politicians in our country.
Without a broad vision of the development path that is appropriate for our stage and level of development it is clear that there is a great danger of the contending politicians pulling so vigorously in opposite directions, the entire country might be brought to its knees. From this perspective we have to ask once again, as to what exactly are the opposition’s objections to the LCDS? One gets very contradictory and conflicting messages.
One other matter that needs urgent agreement is whether business is still ‘the engine of growth’ for the economy. If this is so, there should be a clear statement by the opposition as to whether they oppose the notion that businesses – appropriately regulated, of course – can only survive if they earn profits.

Filed Under: EDITORIAL


Posted on on June 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (


From: Will Bates –            Dear Friends,

This is huge. – Two weeks ago we joined a diverse coalition to launch an all-out offensive to end fossil fuel subsidies, and we weren’t quite sure how it would turn out. Well, we’ve currently got 958,422 signatures on our combined global petition — almost a million people strong!

Will you help us get to a million by the end of the week? Sign on here:

Once we get a million signatures, we’ll move on to phase two: a surround-sound campaign to put the pressure on world leaders at the G20 Summit in Mexico and at the “Rio+20 Earth Summit” coming up in Brazil.

We’ll be honest: we won’t win the campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies with a petition alone — and we won’t be able to wrap this up by the end of the Rio Earth Summit. But being a million strong is a powerful starting point, and our massive numbers will send an unignorable message to world leaders.

The truth is that ending these subsidies will take an ongoing and escalating campaign — which is why we’re digging deep on multiple fronts. As I type this, staff and volunteers are putting together a cutting-edge social media plan, planning a series of hard-hitting actions in countries around the world, and working on game-changing research that will expose just how massive the issue of subsidies is.

Our work on subsidies will continue in the weeks and months ahead — but with the global summits in Mexico and Rio happening in just a few weeks, we have a unique moment to shine a light on a topic that all too often gets hidden and ignored. And we can’t ignore it any longer — the issue of subsidies is just too important. New research shows that getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies would lead to massive reductions in the emissions that are super-heating our planet — and could help level the economic playing field and trigger a clean energy revolution around the world.

One more thing: we’re saving June 18 for something special. It’ll be the day when we’ll deliver our collective petition to world leaders, but also a day where we’ll try something a bit different — and a day to take our message to the halls of power in a brand new way.

We’ll keep you posted on the next steps, but for now please help us reach the 1 million mark before the week is up:


Will Bates for the Team

Articles and Info

Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies ‘could provide half of global carbon target’ |The Guardian


Posted on on May 31st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

2012 G-20 Mexico summit
Host country Mexico
Date June 18 – 19
Venue(s) to be determined
Cities Los CabosBaja California
Participants G-20 members
Follows Cannes summit, 2011
Precedes Russia summit, 2013
Website G2012 Mé

On the way to Rio the Rio Summit – June 20-22 – Mexico believes the forum June 18-19, can better represent developing countries in both vision and policy. Under the leadership of President Felipe Calderón, Mexico will seek to expand the scope of the G-20’s development focus.

At the recent CARICOM meeting in Barbados Mexico SAid:

The Mexican G20 Presidency does not intend to replace international organizations, but to guide and promote the processes undertaken in those organizations. We consider it a fundamental platform for dialogue, analysis and proposals that will allow peoples and governments to understand their mutual problems and to find their solutions.

Specifically, under Mexico’s G20 Presidency, we have put together an ambitious agenda for development. The present economic crisis will not be the only topic, nor is it likely to be the main concern on the agenda. We expect to discuss long-term plans for sustainable, balanced growth in   the future.

As a result, in the talks prior to the actual Summit meeting, we have included more subjects on development than have been discussed at any other Summit.

The current world financial crisis is on the agenda, but we have also included economic development of poor countries.

The restructuring of international financial institutions is part of the agenda; but we have also included, the topic of financial inclusion for the world’s poorest families, who are not eligible for loans or credit and whose future looks very bleak.

We have included topics regarding the economic balance between nations; but we have also included food security, knowing that the poorest people in the world, millions of which live in our countries, have suffered from severely harsh food price increases for years.

As per all our previous discussions, we are insisting on having such issues as infrastructure and green growth included on the agenda.

Another characteristic of the Mexican G20 agenda is the attempt to make the consulting process more inclusive. As President of the G20, Mexico has gone to great lengths to incorporate the opinions of all countries, particularly those of developing nations, through dialogue undertaken with non-member countries, a case in point being the CARICOM.

We have also invited Chile, as the President of the CILAC, to take part in the G20 Summit.

For Mexico, it is very important to hear the perspectives of developing countries regarding the best way to increase world economic growth.

I am aware of the problems experienced by many countries in the Caribbean, some of which are quite vulnerable, and I am aware of the fact that the classification of one of these countries as a middle-income nation results in unfair treatment for many of them.

That is why I would like to assure you, my dear friends, that Mexico will  try hard – we are already working on it– to have the ideas and suggestions of the CARICOM members considered during the next meeting the Leaders of the G20 in Los Cabos.

The Caribbean nations can count on Mexico as a friend and partner that will represent this region –a region we are proud to be a part of–.actively within the G20.

Ladies and gentleman, Heads of State and Government of the CARICOM and of the Caribbean region.

Mexico is a proud Caribbean country and we look on the sea that touches all our shores not as an obstacle that separates us, but rather as a bridge that will lead us to a better future.

History, geography, and culture have enabled us to have a common destiny.

Something I am also very interested in, an issue we will discuss at the G20, but that we will also have an opportunity to discuss here at this Summit, is the issue of the environment and the need to seek environmental alternatives.

Mexico – and I personally – share the concern of the island states, particularly with respect to climate change, the potential rise of sea levels, and the consequential demand for international commitment and action here and now.

This is why Mexico will continue to share and sympathize with the environmental anxieties of island states, including those of the CARICOM. This is not just a matter of charitable concern, but a true preoccupation for their survival.

As a result, we are also committed to finding alternative and renewable sources energy in order to be able to face the problems of climate change and also to lessen, through those alternatives, the suffering that our poorest families face given the price of fuel today.

My friends, It is a privilege for me to be in Barbados, with your happy and hospitable people, to visit this beautiful corner of our continent and to hold discussion with my dear friends, colleagues, and Heads of Government of the Caribbean community.


Which of the Heads of State that will be at Los Cabos will in effect continue to Rio? Will there be last minute changes?


Posted on on May 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (


Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice is published in cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and with funding from the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Directorate of Energy and Climate Change)


and as reported by the IISD Conference Recording Organization:

SE4ALL Publishes Global Action Agenda to Encourage Concerted Action on Sustainable Energy for All
Read More: SE4ALL Publishes Global Action Agenda to Encourage Concerted Action on Sustainable Energy for All

25_April_2012: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative has published an Action Agenda, containing summaries of key action areas to realize SE4ALL and an implementation roadmap to begin working towards that goal.

The document, titled “Sustainable Energy for All: A Global Action Agenda – Pathways for Concerted Action toward Sustainable Energy for All,” begins by identifying 11 high-impact “Action Areas” that can be leveraged to create and support an environment for widespread deployment of sustainable energy globally. These areas include seven sectors: 1) modern cooking appliances and fuels; 2) distributed electricity solutions; 3) grid infrastructure and supply efficiency; 4) large-scale renewable power; 5) industrial and agricultural processes; 6) transportation; and 7) buildings and appliances. It also includes four enabling action areas: 1) energy planning and policies; 2) business model and technology innovation; 3) finance and risk management; and 4) capacity building and knowledge sharing.

The Action Agenda continues with a chapter focused around an illustrative roadmap table for beginning work on the Action Areas. The table includes progress needed immediately (by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development- UNCSD, or Rio+20), in the short term (by 2015), and in the long term (2015-2030) at the country level in both developing and developed countries, at the sectoral level, and on enabling conditions to allow progress at these levels to begin. The document continues and concludes with a chapter on mobilizing action, outlining specific high-impact opportunities in each Action Area.

The Action Agenda was launched at the Clean Energy Ministerial, which took place on 25-26 April in London, UK.

The SE4ALL initiative is part of the UN’s International Year for Sustainable Energy for All, and has three main objectives: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. [Publication:

Sustainable Energy for All: A Global Action Agenda – Pathways for Concerted Action toward Sustainable Energy for All] [IISD RS Story on New Clean Energy Initiatives and Commitments Announced at CEM3]


and from the most outspoken Clean Energy advocates from among the G77 – The Small Island Independent States:t

SIDS High-Level Conference on SE4ALL Adopts Barbados Declaration
Read More: SIDS High-Level Conference on SE4ALL Adopts Barbados Declaration

9 May 2012:

On the second day of the SIDS High-Level Conference on Sustainable Development for All (SE4ALL), which convened in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 7-8 May 2012, delegates from the three SIDS regions – the Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea  (AIMS) – unanimously adopted the Barbados Declaration, which will be taken to the Rio+20 Conference in June.

The Barbados Declaration addresses challenges, opportunities, commitments and initiatives on sustainable energy in SIDS and the Rio+20 Conference, and includes an Annex of voluntary commitments by SIDS.

On Challenges, the Declaration notes that SIDS remain highly vulnerable, notably due to their small open economies, narrow resource base, disadvantages in economies of scale, remoteness, high export concentration, high dependency on imports with high vulnerability to energy and food price shocks, and relatively high levels of national debt.

On Opportunities, the Declaration emphasizes the availability of commercially feasible options for providing energy, such as wind, solar, geothermal and ocean energy, and that many SIDS are particularly suited to these options because of their geographical location. However, it notes that these technologies must be made accessible, affordable and adaptable to the needs and particular circumstances of SIDS communities.

On Commitments, the Declaration affirms the commitment by SIDS to work towards continued development and implementation of policies and plans to ensure the transformation of the current fossil fuel based energy sector to a modern, affordable and efficient renewable energy sector.

On Initiatives, the Declaration acknowledged and welcomed the work of SIDS DOCK, which is a sustainable energy initiative of SIDS in collaboration with the UNDP, World Bank, and donors. The Declaration also acknowledges the role of of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in supporting SIDS in their efforts to accelerate renewable energy deployment, calls for its greater involvement in supporting SIDS’ efforts, and encourages SIDS that have not joined IRENA to consider doing so.

On the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the Declaration reiterates that the outcomes of the meeting must be ambitious and reflect the needs of SIDS.

The Annex contains voluntary commitments by 19 SIDS: Barbados, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Timor Leste, Tonga, and Tuvalu. The commitments include Barbados’ announcement of its plan to increase the share of renewable energy in Barbados to 29% of all electricity consumption by 2029. Maldives committed to achieve carbon neutrality in the energy sector by year 2020. Marshall Islands pledged to electrify all urban households and 95% of rural outer atoll households by 2015. Mauritius committed to increasing the share of renewable energy – including solar power, wind energy, hydroelectric power, bagasse and landfill gas – to 35% or more by 2025. And Seychelles committed to produce 15% of its energy supply from renewable energy by 2030. The Annex will remain open for further inscriptions until 25 May.

The Conference was organised by UNDP in partnership with the Government of Barbados, SIDS DOCK, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, British High Commission Bridgetown, Archers Hall, Australian Aid and the United Nations Foundation.

[Barbados Declaration] [Meeting Website][IISD RS coverage of the meeting]


Posted on on April 24th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

In  we wrote about the Friday, April 20, 2012, International Development Law Organization (IDLO)/ Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) joint event with the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on the topic:


we have here the opening presentation by Ms. Elizabeth (Liz) Thompson, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, and Executive Coordinator of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – the so called RIO+20 June 2012 event being prepared right now in meetings at the UN headquarters in New York.

Ms. Thompson was a practicing attorney as well as a journalist. She was a lecturer in ecology, economy, energy and politics. She has degrees from the University of the West Indies, an MBA from the University of Liverpool and a Master of Law From Robert Gordon University of Scotland. She held Ministerial positions in Energy and Environment.

PROTOCOL: Philosophers and scholars of jurisprudence posit that law is a prerequisite for the regulation of a society, for the definition and underpinning of bounds of acceptable behaviour, for establishing certainty in commercial relationships and for the organisation of social and economic activity – particularly in regulating relations amongst citizens, between companies, and even between countries.

It is interesting to observe that when cynics say that nothing comes out of mega-conferences, the contribution of conference such as the Earth Summit of 1992 to a consequential body of legal principles is largely ignored. They also take for granted the multiple benefits and rights which are bestowed on societies as a result of the dialogue, negotiations and consequential global and national activities, including new legal frameworks.

  • The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), of 1992, was the catalyst and anchor for the creation of a body of law which bestowed broad political legitimacy on the concept of sustainable development, as elaborated in a detailed blueprint, Agenda 21.
  • Rio 92 became the platform from which was launched tracks of hard law in the form of international conventions such as – UNFCCC, UNCBD, UNFCD, and was the culmination of a fertile period of law-making and for providing the backdrop for the adoption of the Statement of Forest Principles. It also became the ultimate font of the creation and enactment into national legislation globally, of some of the Principles agreed at Rio. Finally, the Conference became the source for streams of soft law which enlarge our understanding of and the efficacy of national and international legal systems (although there is debate over the role of soft law in international law).

  • The Rio Summit Declaration gave expression to foundational principles of international environmental law, some of which have also been replicated in national laws. Some of the foundational principles to which I refer include:

§       The “no-harm” principle (Principle 2) stating States have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources provided that in doing so they do “not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.”

§       the “right to development” (Principle 3)

§       the precautionary approach (Principle 15), codified in various treaties and discussed in various international cases and journals

§       the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (Principle 7)

§       the “polluter pays principle” (Principle 16)

Since Rio a great deal of progress has been made in setting goals and targets, and the forging of partnerships in the field of sustainable development. Despite this clear progress, the sheer scale and acceleration of global problems – climate change, biodiversity loss, fisheries and oceans, food insecurity – lead to the conclusion that our efforts since Rio 92 need to be strengthened and that in so far as law contributes to development, then the enhancement of legal mechanisms which could secure and accelerate the process and progress of sustainable development, must be undertaken.

Against this background, I seek to pose two questions – What could Rio+20 contribute to the law and development nexus? Should Rio+20 initiate a new round of normative innovation?

Sustainable development is predicated on integrated policy-making and implementation.  Let us recall that Rio Principle 4 provides that: “In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.”   Hence, in my view, in legal and policy terms, success in Rio+20 will rest primarily on taking integration of the three pillars of sustainable development seriously at the national, regional and international levels, as well as dedicating ourselves to the implementation of both existing commitments and those which might be birthed at Rio+20. It will also rest on whether we can develop new and effective international frameworks to deal with water, energy, food security, oceans and their resources, living and non living, as some of the critical development challenges with which humanity is faced.

  • At least one law association is already addressing this issue of the integration of SD. The International Law Association’s New Delhi Declaration states: “The principle of integration reflects the interdependence of social, economic, financial, environmental and human rights aspects of principles and rules of international law relating to sustainable development as well as of the interdependence of the needs of current and future generations of humankind.”[1]

  • National Sustainable Development Councils and Commissions have also played pivotal roles in the integration of the three pillars at the domestic level. However, like much actual implementation, integrated policy-making and service delivery is not easy work. It is not easy because it requires us to break out of policy silos and depart from familiar ways of doing business. Sustainable development done right constitutes what management specialists refer to as disruptive change. Such change is disruptive of the status quo. And many of us fear that kind of change, even when it is beneficial.

  • Going forward, we need strong national institutions and mechanisms that foster and facilitate integrated policy-making. Examples of good practice exist, such as integrated water resources management (IWRM) and integrated coastal zone management. Framework legislation can be used to anchor key sustainable development principles, e.g. in the South African National Environment Management Act, setting the stage for mainstreaming in more detailed legislation and regulation, as well as empowering the judiciary to draw on relevant principles for the purposes of interpretation.


In any discussion of SD and the possible outcomes of the Rio process, we must also consider that the ubiquitous nature of technology has made it a powerful driver of innovation, new business, economic activity and knowledge but it has also spawned new forms of criminal activity, and a divide in how we define the “haves and “have nots” at both the level of the citizen and country. Perhaps some new body of legislation which will address these difficulties and help to bridge this technology divide and facilitate access might be considered.

  • Other potential jurisprudential Rio outcomes of hard or soft law could be the beginning or introduction of a new matrix for measuring sustainability which has been referred to as GDP+, or what some refer to as a Sustainable Development Index, as well as action on the calls for the possible consideration of a convention or consensus of business actors in relation to including principles of sustainability in their operating ethic. Rio+20 will very likely decide on principles and a process to define a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These could knit together the panoply of international sustainable development commitments and targets into an action-oriented framework, with well defined targets and time lines. The universal nature of the SDGs would serve to underscore the comprehensive nature of the commitment of all countries to sustainable development.

  • It is still unclear as to how Rio+20 will influence the international governance structures for SD. Reform and strengthening of the institutional framework is firmly on the agenda in respect of the broader issue of sustainable development governance, as well as the narrower issue of international environmental governance, together with a perspective on enlarged international governance through the crafting of new institutions to oversee the instruments and processes of hard law. What matters more, perhaps, than the details of any specific proposal is that the institutions which evolve from the Rio+20process should be effective in fulfilling key functions, especially in fostering coherence and coordinated action. Post-Rio the international sustainable development institutions must be effective in agenda-setting and responding to emerging issues. It should be however, noted that even with elaboration, the international architecture cannot properly function in isolation of national structures. Hence attention must also be paid to the manner in which national and regional institutions will synergise with the international structures.

In the context of the transition to a global green economy with the objective of achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty, part of the dialogue will clearly revolve around countries’ concern that the formulation of legal regimes arising from Rio+20 cannot be protectionist, must be equitable and transparent, must not exacerbate the trade and development divide between North and South and indeed between South and South and must make trade markets more accessible to developing countries particularly the smaller more vulnerable nation-states which have little trade and export capacity, and which because of their size and peculiar socio-economic characteristics and vulnerability, now have, and will continue to have miniscule shares of the international trade market.

In adopting their nationally-defined green economy policies, countries will be faced with questions such as how to craft policies that promote “greener” ways of doing business, while simultaneously advancing social goals such as job creation and gender equity. Governments will also have to develop national legal and regulatory frameworks which will enable and give rise to the investment necessary to construct national green economies. In this regard, it will be interesting to see how the law can contribute to this process by being used as a tool for social, economic and environmental engineering.

Finally, let us turn to another key conference objective and pose the question – what are some emerging legal themes and issues of sustainable development? In the legal development dialogue there is increased frequency in references to the rule of law, accountability, and access to justice as legal principles contributing to sustainable development. Voices are also rising in a caution to safeguard against the erosion of sound and established legal principles; these are finding mention in the concept of non-regression.

Law is the instrument by which we obtain justice. It is of critical importance in protecting people and planet, fostering prosperity and promoting peace in national and global societies. In addition, with globalisation and the shrinking of global physical and market spaces as a result of technology, the role and rule of law in sustainable development assume even greater importance. Professor Michael J Sandel in his work “Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do,” writes – “To ask whether a society is just is to ask how it distributes the things we prize – income and wealth, duties and rights, powers and opportunities, offices and honours. A just society distributes these goods in the right way; it gives each person his or her due.” Rio+20 is fundamentally a conference on global justice for the planet and all people who live on it; and supporting bodies of hard and soft law which give effect to that justice must be one of the outcomes of Rio+20 in helping us to achieve ”the future we want.” .

[1] International Law Association, ILA New Delhi Declaration of Principles of International Law Relating to Sustainable Development, 2 April 2002. See also, Commission on Environmental Law of IUCN and International Council on Environmental Law, Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development, art. 13.


Posted on on April 9th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Secretary Clinton’s Participation in “Brazil-U.S.: Partnership for the 21st Century” Conference.

Office of the Spokesperson
US Department of State
Washington, DC
April 9, 2012
Today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in and delivered opening remarks at the “Brazil-U.S.:
Partnership for the 21st Century” conference, alongside Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota.

This conference takes place during Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to the United States and reflects the depth and positive focus of the bilateral relationship.

The Partnership for the 21st Century conference is a joint effort to continue to grow commercial, economic, educational, and innovation ties between our two countries. The event includes panel discussions on business and trade advancements and on education and innovation cooperation, including President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas goal and President Rousseff’s Science without Borders initiatives.

Various documents and agreements were signed on the margins of the conference.

These included an Aviation Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU),

an MOU on State and Local Cooperation,

an MOU on Trilateral Cooperation on Food Security in Haiti and Honduras,

an Action Plan on Science and Technology Cooperation,

an MOU between Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Brazil’s Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES),

and a Fulbright-Science without Borders Scholar and Distinguished Chair agreement between CAPES and the U.S.-Brazil Fulbright Commission to expand research exchanges.

Other interagency agreements related to education, culture, environment, sustainable development, and trade were also signed.


Democracy in AmericaAmerican politics

Dilma Rousseff’s visit to America – Our friends in the South.

April 7th 2012, in THE ECONOMIST blog from Sao Paulo – in print Monday April 9, 2012 as “DILMA WHO?”|newe|4-9-2012|1340212|37415992|

BRAZIL has probably never mattered more to America than it does now. America has probably never mattered less to Brazil. Not that relations are bad between the two countries—far from it; they are increasingly cordial and productive. But America has finally, belatedly, woken up to the fact there is a vast, stable country to its south as well as its north; a country, moreover, with a fast-growing and voraciously consuming middle class that seems to offer salvation to American businesses struggling in a moribund domestic market. Brazil, meanwhile, neither needs loans from American-dominated global financial institutions, nor is it otherwise beholden to the country. The United States is no longer even its biggest trading partner. China took that spot in 2009.

A more balanced relationship may be a more fruitful one too. Since Barack Obama’s visit to Rio de Janeiro and Brasília last year, America has delighted Brazil by removing import tariffs on its ethanol and piloting a scheme to make it easier for Brazilians to get visas—two long-standing bugbears. Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, makes a return visit to Washington in the coming week, and there is much to talk about still. What Brazil wants from America above all is endorsement for a seat on the UN Security Council. Britain has already backed its bid, and during his visit to Brazil Mr Obama made baby steps in the same direction, acknowledging Brazil’s “aspiration”, though stopping short of full support.

That support is unlikely to be forthcoming, at least in the near future. Though Brazil is hardly geopolitically troublesome, its worldview—a hard-to-pin-down blend of pragmatism, relativism and a seemingly indiscriminate willingness to be friends with everyone—is unappealing to the United States. The previous president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was flexible enough to be “my man” to Barack Obama and “our brother” to Fidel Castro.

In 2010 Lula stuck his neck out trying to co-broker, with Turkey, an anti-proliferation agreement with Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That infuriated countries far more important to Brazil’s strategic interests, and left Lula looking silly when Mr Ahmedinejad made no concessions in return. Ms Rousseff has rowed back from that friendship, but it reinforced an impression that Brazil is unpredictable and naive.

Mr Obama will surely want to know, too, what exactly Brazil means by its big new foreign-policy idea. That is to complement the UN’s justification for intervention in another country’s affairs under the rubric “Responsibility to Protect” with “Responsibility while Protecting” after it has gone in.

Since Brazil tends not to support going in in the first place, when would it want to see this new responsibility kick in? Even some experienced and sympathetic diplomatic observers in Brasília say they have no idea what concrete difference this would make on the ground.

For America, trade, not diplomacy, will surely be top of the agenda. Judging from the number of American investors turning up in São Paulo every week, Mr Obama must hear about the glowing opportunities Brazil presents in just about every time he meets businessfolk. But with the most overvalued currency of any big economy, Brazil’s own industrialists are prodding the government to keep imports out. It has hiked already-high tariffs on many imports even further, and is taxing foreign-currency inflows increasingly heavily to keep out speculative inflows. Brazil has made it clear it only wants long-term investment, and is only interested in foreign businesses that are willing to make whatever it is they want to sell in Brazil.

If Mr Obama tries to argue for freer trade, he will get short shrift.

Both Ms Rousseff and her finance minister, Guido Mantega, regard the floods of cheap money being pumped out by the Fed and the European Central Bank as a far worse trade distortion than Brazilian barriers, which they term “safeguards” rather than “protectionism”.

Brazil’s drift towards protectionism is in fact becoming a problem for its own economy. But that is an argument for another day. Mr Obama will surely be aware there is still a lot of mileage to be got out of helping American companies to set up shop in Brazil.


Posted on on February 17th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

If interested – please read:

This is clearly the best event in North America – if you want to top it you will have to go to Brazil.

Years ago we visited and wrote about a simpler and perhaps more genuine event in Carriacou, Grenada, in the Caribbean.


Posted on on February 9th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

cumbre ALBA con Chavez

Hugo Chávez, anfitrión de la cumbre del Alba en Caracas.

Los presidentes de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez; de Cuba, Raúl Castro; de Bolivia, Evo Morales; de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; de Haití, Michel Martelly; el primer ministro de Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit; de San Vicente y las Granadinas, Ralph Gonsalves; el premier de Antigua y Barbuda, Winston Baldwin Spencer; y el canciller de Argentina, Héctor Timerman, acordaron celebrar dos reuniones al año, de carácter ordinario.

La Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas, creada hace 7 años por Cuba y Venezuela para fomentar la integración en la región bajo los principios de solidaridad, comercio justo, respeto estricto a la soberanía y complementariedad económica.

Los países que integran el ALBA son: Cuba, Venezuela, Dominica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Antigua y Barbuda, y San Vicente y las Granadinas.


América Latina: Cumbre del Alba entre la economía y Las Malvinas.


Caracas, 5 enero 2012

Las claves

  • El Consejo Económico de la Alternativa propuso la creación de fondos de reservas del Banco del Alba, al tiempo que el presidente Chávez, aprobó la incorporación del 1% de las reservas internacionales de Venezuela (300 millones de dólares), a la entidad financiera del bloque
  • El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, propuso este domingo la creación de un Consejo de Defensa de los países miembros de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (Alba).
  • ALBA estudia sancionar a R.Unido y no asistir a Cumbre de las Américas si no asiste Cuba.


Integración desnuda

“Y aquí estamos entrando en la segunda década del milenio, sin visión estratégica de la integración, perdidos entre siglas que a nadie dicen nada ALBA, Unasur o CELAC por solo nombrar algunas. Mientras tanto, los países del continente disfrutan de una relativa bonanza económica, producto del aislamiento y la exportación de materias primas que finalizará en cuanto se cierre el ciclo económico”. (Tal Cual. Venezuela)


La Alianza Bolivariana  (Alba)  dedicó la jornada a las políticas económicas conjuntas y la posición de apoyo a Argentina, por el caso de las Islas Malvinas, y a Cuba, para presionar su presencia en la próxima Cumbre de las Américas, a la cual no ha sido invitada aún.  El Alba propuso la creación de fondos de reservas del Banco del Alba, al tiempo que el presidenteChávez, aprobó la incorporación del 1% de las reservas internacionales de Venezuela (300 millones de dólares), a la entidad financiera del bloque

Los gobernantes del ALBA acordaron en Caracas la creación de un “espacio económico” y de un fondo de reservas de su banco regional. También se comprometieron a redoblar su apoyo a Haití y a estudiar sanciones contra Londres por el conflicto por las Islas Malvinas que mantiene con Argentina.

Los presidentes de los países del ALBA debatirán esta jornada la entrada de nuevos miembros, con el fin de consolidar sus objetivos integracionistas. Haití, nación que desde 2007 participa en este mecanismo como observador, figura entre las solicitudes de ingreso pleno, interés que fue ratificado por su mandatario,Michel Martelly, para acceder a todos los beneficios que el bloque subregional ofrece.

El canciller de Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez, detalló que para los próximos 2 y 3 de marzo se celebrará una Cumbre extraordinaria del ALBA en Haití, a fin de revisar el trabajo planificado en esta cita.

Los jefes de Estado también analizaron la posible incorporación de Suriname y Santa Lucía. De igual manera, debatirán los documentos de trabajo que se desprendieron de las reuniones realizadas por partidos políticos y medios de comunicación de los países que integran la Alianza.

La Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas, creada hace 7 años por Cuba y Venezuela para fomentar la integración en la región bajo los principios de solidaridad, comercio justo, respeto estricto a la soberanía y complementariedad económica.

Los países que integran el ALBA son: Cuba, Venezuela, Dominica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Antigua y Barbuda, y San Vicente y las Granadinas.


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