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Madagascar:

 

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

Feb 18. 2014

agri-climatmadagascar.blogspot.com/

 

Family farming and climate change

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

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



Renewable energy for agriculture: An asset for the Indian Ocean

 

 

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

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

Visit one of the turbines

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

Underutilized.

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

Visit the River Namorona

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


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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 22nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

At UN, Coup Leader of Madagascar Now Set to Address GA, Roadmap of SADC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 — Usually those who have led coups don’t speak, at least at first, in the UN General Assembly. With that background, Inner City Press on September 19 asked Nihal Saad, the spokesperson for the new President of the General Assembly, to confirm that coup leader Andry Rajoelina would not be speaking for Madagascar in the General Debate starting September 21.

Later on September 20 to her credit, Ms. Saad sent this reply:

“Regarding your question on Madagascar: The SADC roadmap has been accepted on Saturday. According to the roadmap, Andry Rajoelina will lead the transition. Hence, President Rajoelina will speak at the General Debate.”

The background here is that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dined next to Rajoelina at a meeting in Istanbul, but his spokesman Martin Nesirky later denied that they had met. Next, Rajoelina’s prime minister came to New York, and met with Ban’s political chief Lynn Pascoe.

When asked by Inner City Press, Pascoe hearkened back to the work of his envoy Mr. Drame — who appears in a Wikileaked cable as supporting Rajoelina’s “extra Constitutional” move. So now this UN takes in coup leaders. What’s next?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 3rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We received the following information and were indeed very interested in this event.

The United Nations lnformation Service (UNIS), Vienna, in cooperation with the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna, and the UNESCO Club Vienna invite you to the opening of the exhibition of “One Family”
on Friday, 2 September 2011 at 12:00 noon –  at the Vienna International Centre { this is the UN territory in Vienna }.
Rotunda, Wagramerstrasse 5, 1220 Vienna.
———-
The art project “One Family”, an initiative of the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna, the UNESCO Club Vienna and the artist Yusheng Zhao is a series of paintings by children on five different continents showing the children’s concept of their family and cultural identity.
——–
The first in the series of paintings, created by children in Vienna, was being displayed at the Vienna International Centre in August 2010 to launch the International Year of Youth.
———
The exhibit this year shows paintings from children from five continents, symbolizing a world for a constructive peaceful coexistence. Children having created the art work will be present at the opening.
———
The exhibition will be on display in the Rotunda from 2-15 September 2011.

———-

At the Friday, September 2, 2011 opening:

Welcome remarks: Janos Tisovszky, Acting Director, United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna

Speakers: H.E. Jingye Cheng, Permanent Representative of  the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations (Vienna)

and Professor Richard Trappl, Director, Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna

The opening was accompanied by a children’s musical performance – The children – the “Chinese Bridge” choir of a bunch of delightful little girls, that were running around and having great time even when not singing, came with their mothers from the Youth Department of the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna.

The musician was not Chinese – but from the Caribbean – Andri Joel Harison, and two young students from Hawaii spoke about the project – Kari Kehaulani Noe and Amanda Lee Nelson – they got involved with the project when on a vacation camp on the Island of Oahu.

* *** *

Though we follow China very closely on www.SustainabiliTank.info nevertheless, above invitation caused me sort of a culture shock.

First I realized that a Dante Alighieri Institute for Italian Culture and language, or a Goethe Institute for German Culture and language, or an Alliance Francaise Institute for French Culture and Language, or a Cervantes Institute for Spanish Culture and language would have meant no news to me. I simply caught myself not being prepared yet that the Chinese Culture and language, following the rise of global interest in China’s economy, is now a given – and I bet the future biggest such outreach – and after the end of the Mao period – why indeed not pick the Confucius name as boiler-plate for this endeavor?

Actually – this is a bit more complicated. No texts by Confucius survive that are demonstrably authored by him, and the ideas most closely associated with him were elaborated in writings that accumulated over the period between his death assumed to have happened in 479 BC and the foundation of the first Chinese empire in 221 BC. Since – these teachings were intermingled with the Imperial institutions.

The philosophy of Confucius, as it came down to us, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such  as Legalism or Taoism  during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220). His thoughts have been developed by others into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism that served the purpose of the Empirial House and it basically advises subservience.

The principles attributed to him had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He demanded strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He is considered as proponent of the Golden RuleDo not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.

Although Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese, arguments continue over whether it is a religion. Confucianism discusses elements of the afterlife and views concerning Heaven, but it is relatively unconcerned with some spiritual matters often considered essential to religious thought, such as the nature of the soul.

Confucius, to the Chinese, is a model of human excellence, – he serves as the ultimate model, this rather than a deity or a universally true set of abstract principles. For these reasons, according to many Eastern and Western commentators, Confucius’s teaching may be considered a Chinese version of humanism.

On politics – Because his vision of personal and social perfections was framed as a revival of the ordered society of earlier times, Confucius is often considered a great proponent of conservatism, but a closer look at what he proposes often shows that he used (and perhaps twisted) past institutions and rites to push a new political agenda of his own: a revival of a unified royal state, whose rulers would succeed to power on the basis of their moral merits instead of lineage. These would be rulers devoted to their people, striving for personal and social perfection, and such a ruler would spread his own virtues to the people instead of imposing proper behavior with laws and rules.

While he supported the idea of government by an all-powerful sage, ruling as an Emperor, his ideas contained a number of elements to limit the power of rulers. He argued for according language with truth, and honesty was of paramount importance.
In discussing the relationship between a king and his subject (or a father and his son), he underlined the need to give due respect to superiors. This demanded that the inferior must give advice to his superior if the superior was considered to be taking the wrong course of action.

Soon after Confucius’ death, Qufu, his hometown, became a place of devotion and remembrance. It is still a major destination for cultural tourism, and many people visit his grave and surrounding temples. In pan-China cultures, there are many temples where representations of Budha, Laozi, and Confucius are found together. There are temples dedicated just to him, which have been used for Confucianist ceremonies – also a tradition of holding yearly spectacular memorial ceremonies  Confucius birthday, using ceremonies that supposedly derived from a disciple as recorded by Confucius. This tradition was interrupted for several decades in mainland China, where the official stance of the Communist Party and the State was that Confucius and Confucianism represented reactionary feudalist beliefs which held that the subservience of the people to the aristocracy is a part of the natural order. All such ceremonies and rites were therefore banned. Only after the 1990s, did the ceremony resume. As it is now considered a veneration of Chinese history and tradition, even Communist Party members may be found in attendance.

In Taiwan, where the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) strongly promoted Confucian beliefs in ethics and behavior, the tradition of the memorial ceremony of Confucius is supported by the government and has continued without interruption. While not a national holiday, it does appear on all printed calendars, much as Father’s Day does in the West.

I remember in Chinatown, New York City, when it was decided to put up a statue of Confucius, there was an uproar from part of the community. Confucius just was not all inclusive so far as the Chinese diaspora was concerned.

With above in mind I found of interest that not only is the Chinese Culture and language Institute of the University of Vienna named after Confucius – www.Konfuzius-institut.at – but similar institutions exist in other parts of the world – this as in Hawaii (the US), Madagascar, Peru, Melbourne (Australia), and China, exist Confucius Institutes as well – as there were children at work as well on preparing paintings that are shown in this exhibit.

The project ONE FAMILY follows a Chinese proverb that says FOUR OCEANS – ONE FAMILY.  The Ocean here is not a barrier – but a unifying ocean. In a central position there was a conventional drawing of the world map with Europe/Africa in the center, that had four vertical water lines – the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and again the Pacific Ocean – so I quiped to Amanda – I see here only 3 Oceans – the globe is round – so there are only three.  She immediately volunteered that the Arctic Ocean is the fourth ocean. That was fine with me and I said that what I see there – to be exact – Four Oceans – One Family – One China.  Really what we have here is the simple fact that the Chinese communities all over the world make now the World One – For China.  The children of the world, in their cooperation, help China enter this globalization process as leaders – and it happens through the Confucius Institutes that link over the waters.

Like the choir – the children are the bridge – not all of them are Chinese. The children draw the things they know. The Madagascar kids did a banana plantation and life in villages, the Melbourne kids know they are in a different hemisphere – so they have people turned upside-down, the Peruvian kids even did some politics looking at indigenous people wanting independence – somehow everyone was touching the water’s edge.

The project inspired the children – and they replied with enthusiasm with a feeling of belonging and an intent of peaceful coexistence.

Some of the paintings were prepared for an earlier display in Berlin and the Chinese Cultural center there, that was titled “FUTURE CHINA.” Other paintings were done with the help of the Confucius Institutes that sponsored i.e. the camp in Oahu, Hawaii.  On the outer side of the circular exhibit at the UN Rotunda there were paintings, drawings, washes that were clearly done by full fledged artists – some from Taiwan and Tibet – China is one I repeated to myself as I use to do on our website.  A work from Beijing clearly stated – “One World – One Dream.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

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

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

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

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

Africa:

Asia & the Pacific:

Latin America & the Caribbean:

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

———-

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 14th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

India’s humble rickshaw goes solar.
by Elizabeth Roche Mon Oct 13, 2008.   NEW DELHI (AFP) – It’s been touted as a solution to urban India’s traffic woes, chronic pollution and fossil fuel dependence, as well as an escape from backbreaking human toil. A state-of-the-art, solar powered version of the humble cycle-rickshaw promises to deliver on all this and more.

The “soleckshaw,” unveiled this month in New Delhi, is a motorised cycle rickshaw that can be pedalled normally or run on a 36-volt solar battery.

Developed by the state-run Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), prototypes are receiving a baptism of fire by being road-tested in Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area.

One of the city’s oldest and busiest markets, dating back to the Moghul era, Chandni Chowk comprises a byzantine maze of narrow, winding streets, choked with buses, cars, scooters, cyclists and brave pedestrians.

“The most important achievement will be improving the lot of rickshaw drivers,” said Pradip Kumar Sarmah, head of the non-profit Centre for Rural Development.

“It will dignify the job and reduce the labour of pedalling. From rickshaw pullers, they will become rickshaw drivers,” Sarmah said.

India has an estimated eight million cycle-rickshaws.

The makeover includes FM radios and powerpoints for charging mobile phones during rides.

Gone are the flimsy metal and wooden frames that give the regular Delhi rickshaws a tacky, sometimes dubious look.

The “soleckshaw,” which has a top speed of 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) per hour, has a sturdier frame and sprung, foam seats for up to three people.

The fully-charged solar battery will power the rickshaw for 50 to 70 kilometres (30 to 42 miles). Used batteries can be deposited at a centralised solar-powered charging station and replaced for a nominal fee.

If the tests go well, the “soleckshaw” will be a key transport link between sporting venues at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

“Rickshaws were always environment friendly. Now this gives a totally new image that would be more acceptable to the middle-classes,” said Anumita Roychoudhary of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment.

“Rickshaws have to be seen as a part of the solution for modern traffic woes and pollution. They have never been the problem. The problem is the proliferation of automobiles using fossil fuels,” she said.

Initial public reaction to the “soleckshaw” has been generally favourable, and the rickshaw pullers have few doubts about its benefits.

“Pedalling the rickshaw was very difficult for me,” said Bappa Chatterjee, 25, who migrated to the capital from West Bengal and is one of the 500,000 pullers in Delhi.

“I used to suffer chest pains and shortage of breath going up inclines. This is so much easier.

“Earlier, when people hailed us it was like, ‘Hey you rickshaw puller!’ Police used to harass us, slapping fines even abusing us for what they called wrong parking. Now people look at me with respect,” Chatterjee said.

Mohammed Matin Ansari, another migrant from eastern Bihar state, said the new model offered parity with car, bus and scooter drivers.

“Now we are as good as them,” he said.

Indian authorities have big dreams for the “soleckshaw.”

India’s Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal who hailed the invention for its “zero carbon foot print” said it should be used beyond the confines of Delhi.

“Soleckshaws would be ideal for small families visiting the Taj Mahal,” he told AFP.

At present battery-operated buses ferry people to the iconic monument in Agra — but their limited numbers cannot cope with the heavy tourist rush.

CSIR director Sinha said he hoped an advanced version of the “soleckshaw” with a car-like body would become a viable alternative to the “small car” favoured by Indian middle class families.

“Greenhouse gas emissions are showing an increasing trend year on year and 60 percent of this comes from the global transport sector.

“In the age of global warming, the soleckshaw, with improvements, can be successfully developed as competition for all the petrol and diesel run small cars,” Sinha said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 14th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 From:      Allister.Slingenberg at ecorys.com

The SADC Region: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
AGRO-INDUSTRY 2008 Regional Matchmaking Forum in Tanzania for 14 countries of the SADC Region.

AGRO-IND 2008, the 5th forum for the promotion of investment in the SADC region (Southern African Development Community), will be facilitated by ESIPP – the EU-SADC Investment Promotion Programme   – from 6 to 8 May 2008 in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. This forum will be attended by about one hundred promoters and entrepreneurs from the 14 countries of the SADC Region in Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe), from Europe and the rest of the world. Carefully selected projects will be considered in the following sectors:
–     Agriculture (Food) (cereals, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, fisheries and aquaculture…),
–     Agriculture (Non-Food) (cotton and sisal, flowers, tobacco)
–     Agro-Industry & Value-Adding (Food) (fish, fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy processing..
– Agro-Industry & Value-Adding (Non-Food) (bio-fuel processing, natural textiles and dyes processing)
–   Agro-Industry Input Supply & Services (agricultural tools and machinery, irrigation equipment, livestock genetics, logistics and transport…).

Producers, traders and investors will get many networking and commercial opportunities during the AGRO-INDUSTRY 2008 Sector Partnership Meeting taking place from 6th to 8th May 2008 in Dar-Es-Salaam, whose aim is to encourage international financial, technical and commercial partnerships between investors or trading partners and promoters of projects within the SADC Region.

This is also an opportunity for potential investors in climate change projects to generate carbon credits with new partners focussing on biomass-based energy generation and other renewable energies.

The Forum’s focus will be the B2B matchmaking process allowing individual negotiations between project promoters in the SADC region and interested investors or trading partners. Furthermore, the companies from the South or the North attending the event in Dar-Es-Salaam will be introduced to institutions specialising in financial and partnership development such as the EIB (the European Investment Bank), the CDE (the Centre for the Development of Enterprise) or Government Agencies from the SADC Region (Ministries, etc…).

Besides B2B meetings, plenary sessions on the opening day and thematic round-table discussions will provide participants with relevant information on each targeted sector of the various SADC countries, highlighting business and investment opportunities and allowing to discuss trade issues and business environment.

Everything will be done to facilitate as many fruitful one-to-one business meetings as possible and allow participants to draw the most from genuine and carefully selected trade opportunities in 14 SADC countries within a short period of time and the least organisational and administrative burden.

Against a conference fee of 650 € to be paid through the website booking system when registering, participants will have access to very attractive travel/accommodation packages from different airlines to the venue being at the White Sands Hotel, a high standing sea-front hotel located 25 kms from Dar-Es-Salaam. Meals and coffee-breaks will be offered throughout the 3-days Forum. Simultaneous translation into French, English and Portuguese will be available during the plenary sessions; interpreters will also be at your disposal during the B2B meetings when necessary. Finally, post-event programmes will be proposed to the Zanzibar Island and/or the National Parks (Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro).

Please let us know of your interest as soon as possible. You can directly use the website online registration system at the following address:

 www.agro-ind2008.com

Then click on: International Business Partner Registration.

For further information, you are invited to contact Ms Agnes Janszen, Promoter of the event, either by email:  agnes.janszen at agro-ind2008.com or by phone: +31.10.53416786

Thank you
———————-
Allister Slingenberg
ECORYS
Energy and Climate Change

Tel:   +31 10 453 8829
Cell: +31 623 50 1882
Fax: +31 10 453 8650

PO Box 4175
3006 AD Rotterdam
The Netherlands

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 6th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Kyodo News Reports, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008

Japan selects 41 countries for priority climate aid: The government has selected 41 priority countries for assistance under its “financial mechanism” on climate change for developing countries in hopes of taking a lead in the battle against global warming, government sources said Saturday.

China and India, two of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, are included among the 41, which are mainly in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, the sources said.

Eleven of the countries, including Kenya, have been designated as “early implementation” countries.

By demonstrating the effectiveness of the mechanism in helping developing nations, Japan hopes to gain international support for initiatives on dealing with global warming.

The government is planning to speed up consultations with each country to hammer out the details, such as how to provide assistance and how much, the sources said.

The financial mechanism on climate change for developing countries is aimed at supporting developing countries that have the “will and ambition” to combat global warming by implementing energy-saving projects and specific action plans, among other steps.



In selecting the 41 priority countries, the government took into account their funding needs, their own undertakings to combat global warming, their international influence, and the degree of their understanding of and cooperation with Japan’s initiatives. China and India are expected to be key to Japan’s plan.

“It is impossible to resolve the problem of global warming without the active participation of both countries,” a Foreign Ministry official said of the two rapidly developing powerhouses. “It is important to show a cooperative stance on the financial aspect.”

Divided by region, the 11 “early implementation” countries are:

Kenya, Ethiopia, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Madagascar;

Indonesia and Malaysia;

Guyana and Mexico;

and Micronesia.

Japan and Indonesia have already reached a basic agreement on the framework for financial assistance, the sources said.

———–

Six of the countries are in Africa, then there are Guyana and Micronesia, but what is most important is that Japan will cooperate with China, India, Mexico, Indonesia, and Malaysia – all upper tier countries that have high growth rates.

The key for doing anything on climate change revolves around these countries and starting with them cooperative programs before the July G8 meeting, will be very significant for the success of that meeting.

Also, interesting to see that Japan intends to cooperate with Mexico – a country member of NAFTA – thus in the backyard of the US.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 15th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From: Republic of Botswana (15/7/07): TAUTONA TIMES no 23 of 2007
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President

July 16, 2007 – President’s Day in Botswana.

Today is the eve of President’s Day celebrations in Botswana. Like “Botswana Day”, which every year falls on the anniversary of our nation’s independence, President’s Day is an annual occasion for Batswana to reflect on the fruits of their political sovereignty. The creation of the State Presidency at the time of independence brought to an end a period of eighty-one year’s in which the British Crown had claimed and exercised sovereign rights over Botswana’s territory, much of which was thus demarcated as “Crownlands”.

During the colonial period, imperial sovereignty over Botswana was annually celebrated by the British administration as either “King’s” or “Queen’s” day, an Empire wide tradition that dated back to the time of Queen Victoria (“Mmamosadinyana”). Replacing Queen’s Day with President’s Day thus represented a break from foreign rule to self-rule.

Subsequently, it was also deemed appropriate to mark the 1st of July birth date of Botswana’s first President, Sir Seretse Khama with a separate holiday, while preserving the tradition of President’s Day.

It has also become an informal tradition for local political parties to hold meetings on the President’s Day long weekend. Thus, while H.E. the President has been attending the 32nd National Congress of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), elsewhere around the country there have been similar gatherings of various other political movements that, like stars in a constellation, collectively enlighten this nation’s democratic unity in diversity.

—————————-

From the President’s Statement:

CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT

14. Our government has championed citizen empowerment for the past 41 years, and we will continue enthusiastically to do so. A plethora of empowerment schemes exist and have existed as individual projects or as sectoral programmes in our development plans. Since they have not been isolated and highlighted in one document, some people, including members of the BDP have erroneously assumed that we do not have a policy on citizen empowerment.

15. The bottom line is that an enabling environment should exist, wherein all Batswana are empowered with requisite opportunities and skills to enable them to optimise their standard of living. Furthermore, it should be clarified, that most proponents of a stand alone citizen economic empowerment policy often refer to countries that have a preferential treatment policy for a specific segment of their society.

16. In most cases the segment that is being singled out for targeted empowerment tends to be a historically disadvantaged group, but in Botswana our empowerment efforts should and must focus on every single Motswana and not a specified segment of the population as we have all been previously disadvantaged.

POVERTY

17. The BDP Governments have over the years focused aggressively in resourcing the poor in our society. Not only has poverty dropped from 60% in our population in 1985/86 to 28% in 2002/03; a clear indication of our success in our poverty eradication efforts, but we have also very effective safety nets which ensure, that not one Motswana can perish because of hunger.

18. Our safety nets include schemes for the poor, the aged, remote area dwellers, orphans, the disabled and war veterans. As I speak, my government has allocated some P395m to drought relief projects for this year alone. This will provide part time employment for some 180, 000 Batswana the majority of whom would have depended on agriculture had the rains been good.

EMPOWERMENT IN EDUCATION AND LOCAL TRAINING PROGRAMMES

19. Education has been either heavily subsidized or totally free for all Batswana from primary to secondary education. All deserving Batswana continue to get substantial assistance for their education even at tertiary level. These subsidies on education are a targeted investment by the BDP government, intended to provide Batswana, with a springboard they could use to empower themselves.

20. The expansion of the University of Botswana; the planned Botswana International University of Science and Technology; and the Medical School and Training Hospital are recent examples of projects in education aimed at further empowering Batswana for employment and higher calibre job creation. Recently the Ministry of Education started to sponsor students at local private tertiary institutions for Diploma and Degree courses. Over 7000 are now so sponsored. This is empowerment.

SUBSIDISED HEALTHCARE

21. Health care is virtually free in Botswana. Even expensive medications such as ARV’s are availed free of charge. The BDP government is cognisant of the relationship between an individual’s health and their overall ability to command an acceptable living standard.

22. For this reason, we have ensured, on a sustained basis, that our people have the best healthcare we are capable of providing as a nation. The evidence is overwhelming! Our commitment and determination to arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS is total and unshakable – hence the modest success we have registered in reducing the rate of infection.

UNEMPLOYMENT

40. Our ultimate objective is to achieve full employment for all our citizens as reflected in our Vision 2016 statement. As Democrats are aware, the rate of unemployment was around 10% in the early 1990’s. However, as a result of a combination of chronic droughts and the plateauing of minerals growth with a concomitant depression in the construction industry unemployment rose to 24% and it hovered around that level for many years, until recently, when we were able to reduce it to 17.6%.

41. The big projects which your government has initiated should force unemployment to go down further. I must express my concern though, about the rather lax attitude of some of our people. Many jobs in the agricultural sector remain unmanned for a long time because Batswana are not interested in working in that sector. This is regrettable. If we are to fight unemployment successfully we must become less choosy.

ELECTIONS

51. This is the penultimate congress before the next General Elections in 2009. This means by the time we get to the 2009 Congress it will be too late to fine tune or sharpen our thinking in various policy areas. This congress is, therefore, the most important opportunity to do so.

52. Our election preparedness starts right now with the preparations for “Bulela Ditswe” our primary elections. The Central Committee has appointed a Task Force, which in turn has sent teams around the country to clean up our membership registration hitches. This is very important, as it will determine that we have a clean, peaceful primary election, not adulterated by incomplete voters’ rolls and allegations of rigging.

53. Of course ultimately the business of any political party that wants to run the country is to win elections. It is for this reason that everything that we do must be aimed towards – the attainment of that objective – the 2009 elections. I shall never tire of reminding you, to channel all your energies towards making sure, that the BDP not only wins those elections but does so convincingly.

54. A scenario where we win the majority of seats but fail to command a comfortable majority in the popular vote is not a good one. Let us face it, it would undermine our mandate. Although in other countries it is not uncommon for a party to win elections sometimes with numbers as low as 30%, our opponents seem to think our 52% gives them some hope and even reason to celebrate.

55. I know we can legally and legitimately exercise a mandate even with less than half of the popular vote, but this we should never aim at. If all Batswana who were carrying our cards in 2004 had voted for their party, we would have won with more than 60% of the popular vote.

OPPOSITION

56. As for the opposition, we should remember, that they still present no alternative to ourselves, united or separately. This is why Batswana look to us as their only hope. Our policies, programmes and projects are well thought out. I still do not know what our opposition stands for. This situation is further compounded by the very public disunity that currently plagues the main opposition party, the BNF.

57. Anyone who thinks their recent special congress has healed their rift has got another surprise coming. To begin with, the one group did not even accept the results and we are receiving reports of a divided and disenchanted opposition membership around the country.

58. We should not, however, just sit here and celebrate their current state of disarray. We must work hard to exploit it to our benefit. We should graphically point out their current state of affairs.
Imagine the leader of a political party contemplating to run in an election under another party name and symbol as we hear is being contemplated in Ramotswa! And as happened in Lobatse when the leader of PUSO, in the person of Modubule successfully usurped the BNF seat and came to Parliament. You could go through them one after another and still be left wondering. The answer is of course that there is still no alternative.

59. This is why it is laughable for an organization like the BCP, which is not even running for state power, to lampoon Botswana’s democracy. Our democratic credentials are impeccable. They constitute the foundation of our political culture. And as such they do not belong to a single party but to all Batswana.

60. An entity that dissociates itself from this democratic culture runs the risk, of being driven into the political wilderness by our voters. I would not be surprised if the lonely member the BCP has in Parliament, who is there by dint of our generosity, went into extinction after 2009.

61. Madomi a Mantle, as I mentioned at the recent Women’s Wing Congress, the Constitution of our country, quite properly decrees that I retire by the 31st March 2008. I thank you most sincerely for the support that you have always given me during my tenure as Party leader. I have no doubt that you will extend similar support to my successor, His Honour the Vice President, Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama. I should enjoy my retirement immensely if you would do so.

CONCLUSION

62. In conclusion, let me wish you well in your Congress and encourage you to be level headed in your discussions if you are to come up with meaningful resolutions. May I also ask that we end our Congress in the spirit of love and mutual respect that must reflect our current theme: Unity and hard Work: Towards 2009 and beyond. Those elected and their supporters must, as they celebrate their success, do so with the utmost restraint and have consideration for the feelings of those who will have been less fortunate.

63. Much as I will spend as much time with you as I can, the immediate affairs of the country require that I, as is usual, leave you at some point to join the people of Goodhope on President’s Day. I join Batswana in different parts of the country every year for these celebrations at this time.

64. It is now my singular honour and privilege to declare this the 32nd National Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party officially open. TSHOLETSA! TSHOLETSA!

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10/7/07 – from the World Bank Institute launches 2007 World Governance Indicators (WGI) Report:

With reference to the above, please find below [a] Statement by this Office, as well as [b] the full text of a media release received earlier this evening from the World Bank. The World Bank media release had been embargoed for forward transmission until 19hOO local time (CAT) (13h00 EST – Washington D.C.). Both statements’ can thus be understood as breaking news.

[a] “Botswana praised in latest World Governance Indicators Report

This Office is pleased to note that Botswana was once more been singled out for special praise by World Bank researchers in the context of today’s launch of the 2007 World Governance Indicators (WGI) Report, the full title of which is: “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”.

The launch was held at the World Bank Institute in Washington D.C.

In a statement released by the World Bank to coincide with the launch, Botswana has been singled out by researchers as being among a select group of developing countries that score higher on key dimensions of governance than a number of leading industrialized countries.

Botswana is the only African country to be so singled out in the statement. The other high achievers among those classified as “developing countries”, which are listed along with Botswana in the statement are Slovenia, Chile, Estonia, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Costa Rica.

The 2007 World Governance Indicators Report is said to represent a decade-long effort by a global network of researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public.

The latest indicators are further reported to cover a total of 212 countries and territories, drawing on 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

This Office is also pleased to note that Botswana has performed well in all six of the Report’s identified components of good governance, which are:

1. Voice and Accountability – measuring the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media.

2. Political Stability and Absence of Violence – measuring perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including terrorism

3. Government Effectiveness – measuring the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies

4. Regulatory Quality – measuring the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development

5. Rule of Law – measuring the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence

6. Control of Corruption – measuring the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as “capture” of the state by elites and private interests.

The aggregate indicators as well as data from the underlying sources will be available at the website www.govindicators.org, which currently posts last’s year’s aggregate data.

According to the World Bank statement measuring various countries’ governance performance, and their improvements over time, is both a key item on the international governance agenda and a complex challenge, as governance has many dimensions, each with inherent measurement challenges. It goes on to state that the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project shows how this challenge can be met.

[b] [World Bank Institute] Press Release No: 2007/009/WBI… [The Release is now accessible online at – www.worldbank.org]

E2) 11/7/06: “Botswana a global leader in Political Stability”

The World Bank Institute report “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”, which was released yesterday, has ranked Botswana among the global leaders for Political Stability and the Absence of Violence.

With a score of 92.8% Botswana was ranked number 16 in the category out of the 212 countries and territories covered by the study, as well as number one in Africa. The score also placed Botswana above:

* all of the G8 nations, i.e. Canada (80.3), France (61.5), Germany (75.0), Italy (56.3), Japan (85.1), Russia (23.6), UK (61.1), and USA (57.7);

* all but 2 of the member states of the European Union, i.e. Finland (99.0), Luxemburg (99.5);

* all but 2 countries/territories in the Western Hemisphere, i.e. Aruba (95.7), St. Kitts & Nevis (94.2);

* all but 3 countries/territories in Asia, i.e. Bhutan (95.2), Brunei (93.3), and Singapore (94.7).

The 2007 World Governance Indicators Report is said to reflect a decade-long effort by a global network of researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public. Its composite indicators for 212 countries and territories have been drawn from 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

Botswana scored exceptionally well for all six areas identified by the Report as being the key components of good governance. As labelled in the report itself, these are:

1) “Voice and Accountability” – measuring political, civil and human rights;

2) “Political Stability and Absence of Violence” – measuring the likelihood of violent threats to, or changes in, government, including terrorism;

3) “Government Effectiveness” – measuring the competence of the bureaucracy and the quality of public service delivery;

4) “Regulatory Quality” – measuring the incidence of market-unfriendly policies;

5) “Rule of Law” – measuring the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, including judiciary independence, and the incidence of crime; and

6) “Control of Corruption” – measuring the abuse of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture by elites.

With a composite score for all of the above categories of 74 Botswana occupies first position in Africa, followed by Mauritius (72) Cape Verde (66), South Africa (65), Namibia (62) and Seychelles (55).
13/7/07: 2007 Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) Africa Top Ten wrap up: “Botswana leads the way, as African countries make progress”

According to a now widely circulated news article, originally published in the New York Times, Africa has been portrayed “as a continent of great variety, with some countries making extraordinary progress over the past decade” in the latest World Bank Institute study “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”, which was released earlier this week in Washington D.C.

The article further cites the World Bank’s own descriptions of the study as providing strong evidence to contradict the notion of “Afro-pessimism”, while, moreover, establishing that wealthy, industrialized nations must also struggle with challenges of corruption and bad governance. In this respect the study is seen as a credible counter to negative media stereotypes of Africa as a whole as somehow being a continent that is uniquely mired in corruption, misrule and violence.

When combined, the World Bank Institute Report’s indicators place Botswana among the global leaders, as well as number one in Africa, for good governance. At the Report’s launch Botswana was thus singled out as being among an emerging group of developing countries that had scored higher on key dimensions of governance than many leading industrialized countries.

Described as the world’s most comprehensive database on governance issues, the Report incorporates composite indicators for a total of 212 countries and territories, which have been drawn from 33 different data sources. These are said to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

Botswana’s composite WGI score was 74, while Africa’s other top ten overall performers were, as ranked, were: Mauritius (72), Cape Verde (66), South Africa (65), Namibia (62), Ghana (55), Seychelles (55), Tunisia (53), Madagascar (48) and Lesotho (48).

In achieving its top score Botswana was also ranked well above the international norm, as well as in first, second or third position for Africa in each of the sub-category indexes for the six areas that were identified by the Report as being key components of good governance.

Botswana score and rank among Africa’s top ten for each of the six is reproduced below:

I. “Political Stability and Absence of Violence Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the likelihood of violent threats to, or changes in, government, including terrorism:

Botswana (93), Seychelles (84), Mauritius (79), Cape Verde (79), Namibia (75), Mozambique (64), Benin (59), Zambia (57), Libya (55), and Ghana (55). (In this index Botswana was also ranked 16 out of the 212 countries and territories surveyed.)

II. “Voice and Accountability Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring political, civil and human rights:

Mauritius (75), Cape Verde (74), Botswana (67), South Africa (67), Benin (66), Namibia (61), Ghana (60), Mali (58), Lesotho (56), Seychelles (54).

III “Government Effectiveness Index”, which is a composite indicators measuring the competence of the bureaucracy and the quality of public service delivery:

South Africa (77), Botswana (74), Mauritius (72), Tunisia (71), Cape Verde (62), Namibia (59), Ghana (57), Morocco (56), Seychelles (53), Madagascar (50).

IV. “Regulatory Quality Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the incidence of market-unfriendly policies;

South Africa (70), Mauritius (67), Botswana (63), Tunisia (58), Namibia (57), Ghana (51), Morocco (48), Cape Verde (45), Madagascar (43), Senegal (42).

V. “Rule of Law Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, including judiciary independence, and the incidence of crime:

Mauritius (76), Botswana (67), Cape Verde (66), Tunisia (60), Namibia (57), South Africa (57), Seychelles (55), Morocco (53), Ghana (51), Lesotho (49).

VI. “Control of Corruption Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the abuse of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture by elites:

Botswana (78), Cape Verde (72), South Africa (71), Mauritius (66), Tunisia (62), Namibia (61), Seychelles (61), Lesotho (58), Morocco (57), Rwanda (56).

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11/7/07: Report from VOA News  www.voanews.com) – “Six African Countries Win High Marks in New Study of Religious Freedoms”

Six African countries – Botswana, Mali, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, and Kenya – rank among the world’s most tolerant societies in terms of religious freedoms. That’s according to the latest study by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. It measured the amount of government regulation, government favouritism toward a particular religion, and the amount of social pressures and constraints imposed by other faiths and organized groups in the country.

These factors, along with a high economic correlation had a close bearing on the study’s rankings of more than 100 countries worldwide. Eritrea and Sudan ranked among the most restrictive. Paul Marshall is the Hudson Institute Centre’s Senior Fellow and editor of its latest study, Religious Freedom in the World 2007. In Washington, he said that the 20 African countries studied revealed several success stories and also displayed some surprising anomalies.

“Sub-Saharan Africa scores lower than western Europe and the North Atlantic countries, all of which tend to score pretty highly with ones, twos, or threes. It scores better than North Africa and West Asia (sometimes called the greater Middle East),” he says……”The study shows that religious freedom correlates very well with firstly economic freedom, and the development of markets. Secondly, it correlates with economic well-being, that income levels measure equality. It actually correlates even better than income with indexing, as measured in this context, by numbers of cell phones in use. And we have grounds to believe that we can actually show, in general, religious freedom helps development. This is true in Sub-Saharan Africa especially,” he says.

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