Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
So what is the verdict on Climate Week, the summit meeting on global warming convened by the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, in New York?
SundayReview | The New York Times Editorial – A Group Shout on Climate Change.
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD – Sunday September 27, 2014 – That is one week since the Sunday September 22, 2014 PEOPLE’s CLIMATE MARCH and the September 23, 2014 one day – UNSG Ban Ki-moon Climate-topics UN display.
The marchers and mayors, the ministers and presidents, have come and gone. So what is the verdict on Climate Week, the summit meeting on global warming convened by the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, in New York?
The meeting was not intended to reach a global agreement or to extract tangible commitments from individual nations to reduce the greenhouse gases that are changing the world’s ecosystems and could well spin out of control. Its purpose was to build momentum for a new global deal to be completed in December 2015, in Paris.
In that respect …… it clearly moved the ball forward, not so much in the official speeches but on the streets and in the meeting rooms where corporate leaders, investors, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and state and local officials pressed the case for stronger action.
It was important to put climate change back on the radar screen of world leaders, whose last effort to strike a deal, in Copenhagen five years ago, ended in acrimonious disaster. President Obama, for one, was as eloquent as he has ever been on the subject: “For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week — terrorism, instability, inequality, disease — there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”
But most of the positive energy at this gathering came from people closer to the ground, like the 300,000 activists who marched last Sunday. They included mayors like New York’s Michael Bloomberg and his successor, Bill de Blasio, who both spoke of the critical role that cities can play in reducing emissions. They included governors like California’s Jerry Brown, who is justly proud of his state’s pathbreaking efforts to control automobile and power plant pollution. And they included institutions like Bank of America, which said it would invest in renewable energy, and companies like Kellogg and Nestle, which pledged to help stem the destruction of tropical forests by changing the way they buy commodities like soybeans and palm oil.
Underlying all these declarations was a palpable conviction that tackling climate change could be an opportunity and not a burden, that the way to approach the task of harnessing greenhouse gas emissions was not to ask how much it would cost but how much nations stood to gain by investing in new technologies and energy efficiency.
This burst of activity comes at a crucial time. A tracking initiative called the Global Carbon Project recently reported that greenhouse gas emissions jumped 2.3 percent in 2013, mainly because of big increases in China and India. This means it is becoming increasingly difficult to limit global warming to an upper boundary of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (the long touted 2 degrees Celsius limit) above pre-industrial levels. Beyond that point, scientists say, a world already suffering from disappearing glaciers, rising seas and persistent droughts could face even more alarming consequences.
Avoiding such a fate is going to require a revolution in the way the world produces and consumes energy, which clearly has to involve national governments, no matter how much commitment there is on the streets and in the boardrooms. The odds are long that a legally binding treaty will emerge from Paris. Congress is unlikely to ratify one anyway. The smart money now is on a softer agreement that brings all the big polluters on board with national emissions caps, and there are reasons for hope that this can be done.
Mr. Obama is in a much stronger leadership position than he was at Copenhagen, having engineered a huge increase in automobile fuel efficiency and proposed rules that will greatly reduce the United States’ reliance on dirty coal. The Chinese, in part because their own air is so dirty, have been investing heavily in alternative energy sources like wind and solar, and they are giving serious consideration to a national cap on coal consumption. The cooperation of these two countries could by itself create the conditions for a breakthrough agreement. But what might really do the trick — if Climate Week is any guide — is the emergence of a growing bottom-up movement for change.
Copenhagen was the COP 15 (Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP9 of UNFCCC – and those who follow our website will realize that we stopped counting after Copenhagen even though this year’s end of the year’s meeting will be already the 20th meeting – or COP20 of the UNFCCC – and it will be held in Lima, Peru. We have no intention of opening a new page for this meeting either – but we are optimistic nevertheless that we will be in much better shape when we go to COP21 of the UNFCCC in Paris – December 2015.
With the 70th celebration of the UN and the need to do something to mark this date – we believe that a more responsive Climate Change reduction path will be fleshed out by that time.
The People’s March of last Sunday will then be remembered as the People’s expression that they demand action from those that sit at UN’s New York Headquarters in what they see as seats of the Global management. Also, please note the fact that even the UN has recognized by now that the Assembly of Governments will not reach the needed consensus to create true action – it will be rather the involvement of Civil Society, and business – led by scientists, economic and social developers and plain people that care for their environment – ethical and mass leaders from he line – that will do it.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
NO! it is not as simple as that – it is our own evaluation of what we heard from the mouth of Heads of State.
For unclear reasons they like the number 3 as in the old shaky “TRIPOD” idea of Sustainable Development that was supposed to hold the planet on legs of “Social, Economic, and Environment nature – when they left out Good Governance from the structure.
Now we heard from the President of Niger about his three Ds – DEFENSE, DEMOCRACY and DEVELOPMENT, but then the Prime Minister of the Netherlands spoke of DEFENSE, DEVELOPMENT and DIPLOMACY.
We decided that there cannot be a trade-off between Democracy as in GOOD GOVERNANCE and Diplomacy as a way to avoid conflict – granted that there is a 2014 agreement that the post-2015 agenda is about SECURITY from terrorism and DEVELOPMENT for the poorer Nations.
I SUGGEST HEREWITH THUS the FULL SPECTER OF THE NEEDED Ds: DEFENSE, DEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT, and DIPLOMACY – and would like to see the 4Ds adopted by the Development-Poor, by the Oil-rich, and by the old-Democracy States of the North – all of them fueled by Renewable Energy based steam.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 23rd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Sobald israelische Angriffe auf Hamas-Terroristen in Gaza die ersten Opfer fordern, kennt die globale Empörung kein Halten mehr.
In ganz Europa wird gegen Israel marschiert. In Wien demonstrieren 11.000 gegen das einzige demokratische Land im Nahen Osten (sogar 30.000, wenn man den Veranstaltern glaubt). In Paris versperren muslimische und rechtsradikale Antisemiten Juden den Ausgang aus einer Synagoge, die Reihen dicht geschlossen. Dass Juden im 21. Jahrhundert mitten in einer europäischen Metropole von einem randalierenden Mob gefangen gehalten werden und um ihr Leben fürchten müssen, ruft hierzulande weniger Empörung hervor als der Text einer unnötigen Hymne, gesungen von einem unnötigen Sänger. Genau genommen gar keine.
Eine halbe Million Tote und 2,5 Millionen Vertriebene im Sudan. Unzählige Tote in Syrien und mehr als 1 Million syrischer Flüchtlinge, die im Libanon unter entsetzlichen Bedingungen ihr Dasein fristen. Die Massaker der ISIS, der nicht enden wollende Terror der Boko Haram. Verfolgte Christen von Ägypten bis Sudan. Vasallen Putins, die ein Flugzeug mit 289 Passagieren vom Himmel holen. Die Aufzählung des Schreckens ist beliebig fortsetzbar. Wer warnt vor der Spirale der Gewalt? Wer ruft zur Mäßigung auf? Wer fordert den Schutz der Zivilbevölkerung? Wo bleiben die Massendemonstrationen? Vergeblich warten weltweit hunderttausende Opfer von Verfolgung und Vertreibung, Verstümmelung und Mord, auf flammende Appelle Ban Ki-moons, auf Hilfe und moralische Unterstützung.
Auch weil das Schweigen der Weltöffentlichkeit zu nahezu jedem Verbrechen auf dieser Erde ohrenbetäubend in meinen Ohren gellt, kann ich die scheinheiligen Friedensmahner schwer ertragen, die jetzt wieder überall das Wort ergreifen. Die sich nicht dazu äußern, wenn die Hamas tausend Raketen auf Israel abfeuert, aber in einem israelischen Wohnblock die größte Gefahr für den Weltfrieden wittern. Die nie auch nur ein einziges Mal die antisemitische Hetze in palästinensischen Medien und Schulbüchern monieren aber jedes Mal verlässlich zur Stelle sind, wenn es gilt, Israel zu mahnen. Die mir vorwerfen, nicht neutral sondern parteiisch zu sein. Selbstverständlich bin ich parteiisch! Wie kann man das denn nicht sein?
Auf der einen Seite steht eine islam-faschistische Terrororganisation, für deren Mitglieder, Anhänger und Mitläufer die Vernichtung von Juden identitätsstiftend ist. Die korrupten Despoten verwenden Geld, mit dem sie von der Weltgemeinschaft überschüttet werden, für die Bezahlung von Judenmördern anstatt für Infrastruktur und Bildung. Frauen gelten nichts. Oppositionelle werden verfolgt und ermordet. Schwule werden verfolgt und ermordet. Sie verstecken sich hinter ihren Frauen und Kindern, opfern sie mit zynischem Kalkül für ihre Propaganda. Sie feiern ihre Mörder als Helden anstatt sie zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen. Sie lieben den Tod mehr als das Leben. Wenn der Staat, den sie wollen, jemals Wirklichkeit wird, gibt es einen Unrechtsstaat mehr, in dem das Kollektiv alles und der einzelne nicht das Geringste gilt.
Auf der anderen Seite steht die einzige Demokratie im Nahen Osten. Ein Rechtsstaat, der so gut funktioniert, dass selbst Regierungsangehörige strafrechtlich belangt werden, wenn sie sich etwas zuschulden kommen lassen. In dem Araber mehr Rechte genießen als in jedem arabischen Land. Mit emanzipierten Frauen und Love Parades. Eine High-Tech Oase der Bildung und des Wissens. Mit einer Armee, die mehr als jede andere in der Geschichte versucht, zivile Opfer auf Seiten des Gegners zu vermeiden. Ein Land, das denen, die es vernichten wollen, gratis Strom liefert und in seinen Krankenhäusern deren Kranke und Verwundete versorgt. Ein Land, das jedes Leben so sehr schätzt, dass es lieber Dutzende Mörder freilässt als ein einziges wissentlich zu opfern.
Nur ein Lump kann in diesem Konflikt neutral sein. Nur ein Lump bewahrte zwischen Hitler und der freien Welt Äquidistanz. Niemand mit einem Funken Anstand im Leib hätte zu den Verbrechen der Nationalsozialisten geschwiegen und gleichzeitig von Roosevelt die Rechte der Schwarzen eingefordert oder bei Churchill den Schutz der deutschen Zivilbevölkerung eingemahnt.
Und nur ein Lump macht die Solidarität mit Israel davon abhängig, ob er mit dessen demokratisch gewählter Regierung einverstanden ist oder nicht. Ein Land, das von Nachbarn umgeben ist, die schon am Tag seiner Gründung darüber hergefallen sind und es lieber heute als morgen aus den Seiten der Geschichte löschen möchten, ein Land, das ständig um seine schiere Existenz kämpfen muss und trotzdem demokratisch und zivilisiert geblieben ist, ein solches Land hat sich jede Unterstützung und jede Sympathie verdient. Egal welcher politischen Couleur man anhängt. Ich möchte mir lieber nicht vorstellen, was aus Österreich würde, wenn jahrelang tagtäglich Raketen von Slowenien auf Kärnten herab regneten.
Ich halte den Sieg über die Hamas für eine unabdingbare Voraussetzung für Frieden. Wer Empathie für die palästinensische Bevölkerung empfindet, muss für die Vertreibung der Mörderbande sein, die sie regiert. Erst nachdem die Nationalsozialisten wenn schon nicht vernichtet so zumindest besiegt waren, konnte auf deutschem Boden ein demokratischer Rechtsstaat entstehen, konnten Deutsche in Frieden und Freiheit leben. Mit der Hamas kann es ebenso wenig Frieden geben wie es mit Hitler Frieden geben konnte. Free Gaza from Hamas.
Ja, ich bin parteiisch in diesem Konflikt. Ich ergreife Partei für Israel und schäme mich dafür, dass so wenige in meinem Land es mir gleichtun. Und noch mit meiner letzten Tinte will ich gegen die Heuchler anschreiben, die es sich in den Feuilletons bequem gemacht haben und aus ihren sicheren, warmen Stuben heraus ebenso anmaßend wie herablassend der israelischen Bevölkerung ausrichten, wie sich diese zu verhalten habe. Gegen die Zyniker, die das Missverhältnis von palästinensischen und israelischen Opfern anprangern, als dürften sich Juden erst ab einer bestimmten Zahl von Toten gegen ihre Vernichtung wehren. Gegen die Antisemiten und deren nützliche Idioten, die das Ende des Judenstaates willentlich betreiben oder unwissentlich in Kauf nehmen. Gegen die Beschwichtiger und Terrorversteher, die kein Wort des Mitgefühls für die Opfer finden, aber für jeden Anschlag und jede Rakete auf Israel eine Begründung parat haben. Gegen die Oberflächlichen, die nicht zwischen Terroristen und einer demokratisch legitimierten Armee unterscheiden können oder wollen. Gegen die moralisch Verwahrlosten, die sich an Israel abarbeiten, um die Schuld ihrer Väter zu relativieren.
Es ist eine Schande, dass dies nicht selbstverständlich ist.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 20th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
High-level Dialogue on Sustainable Cities, Transport and Tourism (HLD) and Global Forum on Human Settlements (GHFS): As a follow-up event to commemorate the second anniversary of the Rio+20 Conference and implement its decisions, the HLD and GHFS aim to support the rapid and effective implementation of the Rio+20 decisions. The objectives of the HLD and GHFS include: providing a platform for information exchange; highlighting proven policies and measures and identifying best practices; facilitating capacity building through exchanges of information; and contributing to the discussions under the post-2015 UN development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. dates: 10-12 August 2014 location: Bogotá, Colombia contact: Carolina Chica Builes phone: +57-1-335-8000 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: www.idu.gov.co/web/guest/riomas20
WHO Conference on Health and Climate: This three-day conference, hosted by the WHO, will bring together leading experts in the fields of health and climate change, to discuss: strengthening health system resilience to climate risks; and promoting health while mitigating climate change. dates: 27-29 August 2014 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: Marina Maiero phone: +41-22-791-2402 email: email@example.com www: www.who.int/globalchange/mediacentre/events/climate-health-conference/en/
International Solid Waste Association 2014 Solid Waste World Congress: This event will convene under the theme of “(Re)Discovering a New World: Sustainable Solutions for a healthy future,” and is intended to provide the opportunity for the international community to exchange ideas, integrate solutions and develop a common vision for the future of a sustainable and healthy world. dates: 8-11 September 2014 location: Sao Paulo, Brazil phone: +55-11-3056-6000 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: iswa2014.org/
2014 Climate Summit: This event is being organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the aim of mobilizing political will for an ambitious legal agreement through the UNFCCC process. date: 23 September 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York www: www.un.org/climatechange/summit2014/
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 20th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
|Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants
Conference of the Parties
Economic Community of West African States
Global warming potential
CCAC High-level Assembly
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Short-lived Climate Pollutants
Scientific Advisory Panel
Supporting National Planning for Action on SLCPs
United Nations Environment Assembly
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
World Health Organization
|· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)
|Volume 172 Number 16 – Sunday, 20 July 2014
|SUMMARY OF THE WORKING GROUP MEETING OF THE CLIMATE AND CLEAN AIR COALITION TO REDUCE SHORT-LIVED CLIMATE POLLUTANTS
16-17 JULY 2014
|The Working Group meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) convened in Paris, France, from 16-17 July 2014. The meeting was attended by more than 90 participants, representing state and non-state partners of the CCAC, its Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), the CCAC Secretariat and observers.
Over the two days of the meeting, the Working Group heard updates on partners’ activities and considered new initiatives. It approved requests by two new organizations to join the Coalition, bringing the total number of partners to 93. The Working Group also discussed preparations for the upcoming CCAC High-level Assembly (HLA) and the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, both of which will be held in New York in September 2014. The SAP updated the Working Group on its work. The CCAC also discussed its vision for moving forward and strategies for engaging partners and increasing capacities.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CCAC
The CCAC is a voluntary international coalition of governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which focuses on addressing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). The CCAC was created in February 2012 by Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the US, together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It is open to countries and non-state actors wishing to join the coalition, and currently consists of 93 partners with 40 country partners and 53 non-state partners.
SLCPs include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These pollutants have a near-term warming influence on the climate, and, in many cases, are also harmful air pollutants that affect human health, agriculture and ecosystems. The objectives of the CCAC include raising awareness of impacts and transformative mitigation strategies of SLCPs. It also seeks to: enhance and develop new national and regional actions; promote best practices and showcase successful efforts; and improve scientific understanding of SLCP impacts and mitigation strategies.
INITIATIVES: The CCAC has approved 10 initiatives. Its seven sectoral initiatives include:
- accelerating methane and black carbon reductions from oil and natural gas production;
- addressing SLCPs from agriculture;
- mitigating SLCPs and other pollutants from brick production;
- mitigating SLCPs from municipal solid waste;
- promoting HFC alternative technology and standards;
- reducing black carbon emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines; and
- reducing SLCPs from household cooking and domestic heating.
The CCAC also has three cross-cutting initiatives on: financing mitigation of SLCPs; regional assessments of SLCPs; and supporting national planning for action on SLCPs (SNAP).
GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE: The CCAC institutional structure includes the HLA, Working Group, Steering Committee, SAP and Secretariat.
The HLA consists of ministers of state partners and heads of non-state partners. It meets at least once a year to provide strategic guidance and leadership to the CCAC. The Working Group includes focal points from each CCAC partner. It convenes at least twice a year to oversee activities.
The CCAC also has a Steering Committee composed of the two Working Group Co-Chairs, four state partners, one representative of international organizations and one NGO representative. The Steering Group meets every month to provide oversight support and recommendations to the HLA and Working Group. Current members of the Steering Group are Nigeria, Sweden, Canada, Jordan, Mexico, the US, the World Bank and the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.
The CCAC Secretariat is hosted by UNEP in its Division of Technology, Industry and Economics in Paris, France. The SAP consists of 14 scientists, including the UNEP Chief Scientist.
REPORT OF THE CCAC WORKING GROUP MEETING
OPENING: On Wednesday morning, 16 July, Co-Chair Annika Markovic (Sweden) opened the CCAC Working Group meeting. She highlighted upcoming milestones, including the HLA and the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, both to take place in New York in September 2014. She also identified the need to agree on a new initiative focusing on the health sector and urban air pollution, and consider the way forward beyond the September meetings. She welcomed Kenya, India and the Philippines which had been invited to observe the meeting together with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
Ligia Noronha, UNEP, expressed satisfaction that the CCAC was more than a “coalition of the willing” and has shown itself to be a “coalition of the working.” She stressed the timeliness of the Working Group meeting. Regarding the way forward, she identified HFCs, waste and kerosene as important issues that need to be addressed.
UPDATE ON PARTNERSHIP AND CCAC: New partners: On Wednesday morning, Co-Chair Bahijjahtu Abubakar (Nigeria) reported on new partners that had joined the CCAC since the previous Working Group meeting in April (WG/JUL2014/2). The Working Group approved the applications of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement to join the CCAC, bringing the total number of partners to 93.
Partners in Action: CCAC partners presented on new data, achievements and opportunities.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted the main findings of the report “The Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impacts of Road Transport,” released in May 2014. She explained that new data from WHO shows that the number of deaths related to outdoor air pollution is much higher than previously believed, estimated at 3.5 million in 2012.
The OECD underscored that the economic cost of deaths from outdoor pollution in OECD countries amounted to approximately US$1.6 trillion in 2010. She noted that while the number of deaths caused by air pollution has reduced by 3.5% in some OECD countries, 14 of the 34 OECD members have shown worse statistics in this regard.
The OECD underscored the contribution of road transport to outdoor air pollution, saying its role has been particularly critical in countries such as India and China. She outlined actions to reduce pollution identified in the report, including: removing incentives to purchase diesel cars; maintaining and strengthening regulatory regimes; implementing more ambitious climate mitigation actions; continuing research on the economic value of morbidity impacts of air pollution; and paying attention to the most vulnerable populations.
Presenting on national actions, Chile noted that over 4,000 premature deaths are estimated to be caused by air pollution with transport as the most critical sector. He said the Chilean Government intends to establish a 2015-2019 strategy, including on sustainable heating and transport programmes.
Regarding the CCAC, Chile reported on work launched to address heavy-duty emissions in ports, municipal solid waste, methane and brick production. He said future steps include encouraging behavioral change, reducing housing energy demand and developing cleaner heating technologies. On the transport sector, he noted the development of retrofit and freight programmes.
Mali drew attention to important opportunities to reduce SLCPs in Mali and reported on national initiatives addressing, inter alia: emissions from heavy-duty diesel; air pollution in Bamako and other major cities; wood stoves; and black carbon emissions from open burning in agriculture.
Business for Social Responsibility emphasized the importance of private sector engagement to make CCAC a “coalition of winning.” He underscored the need to communicate in a way that is more accessible for business, saying issues should be framed in a way that speaks to narrow business interests. He proposed preparing short reports that concentrate on essential issues and business interests.
Business for Social Responsibility further highlighted the importance of engaging private sector coalitions in the CCAC discussions. He highlighted the diversity of the business sector, emphasizing the need to identify the most effective ways of engaging with it, for example, by taking into consideration the market share of involved organizations.
Switzerland announced a contribution of CHF2 million to the CCAC over a three-year period until 2017. Mexico underscored initiatives on black carbon and brick production in a national strategy and drew attention to increasing cooperation within Latin America on SLCPs.
Bangladesh reported on new national legislation on brick production criteria and a regulation on HFCs. He also drew attention to cooperation between Bangladesh and the World Bank on clean air and sustainable development. Sweden highlighted work in the Arctic Council to reduce black carbon and methane emissions, and announced a new contribution of SEK3 million to the CCAC.
ClimateWorks Foundation highlightedthe role of non-carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gases in achieving the 2°C climate temperature target. She noted that a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 and a 80% reduction by 2075 will lead to an average of 3.4°C of warming. She underscored calculations showing that reducing methane emissions by 26% by 2030, black carbon by 20%, F-gases by 49% and nitrous oxide by 7% can achieve important progress towards the 2°C target in the near-term, if quick action is taken.
Côte d’Ivoire reported on the set-up of an inter-ministerial committee to work on SLCPs with increasing interaction between different ministries on environment, agriculture, health and communication, contributing to increased public awareness of SLCP impacts. He also noted a national alliance for clean cook stoves. The Russian Federation highlighted the St. Petersburg Initiative launched at the Baltic Sea Forum in April 2013. He explained that the initiative focuses on air quality and sustainable maritime transportation.
The US underscored the CCAC as a vital venue for exchanging experience on SLCPs. He reported that the US has recently launched a national methane strategy. Morocco announced the creation of a national charter for sustainable development, and the task force meeting to be held in Rabat in September 2014. She highlighted this as an occasion for multiple stakeholders to meet, particularly on air pollution, and invited CCAC partners to attend.
OECD said the OECD environmental review, which takes place every five years, has been extended to some non-OECD countries such as Brazil, China and South Africa. She highlighted further research on the social costs of energy taxation and on promoting greater private sector engagement in low carbon transportation. She explained that CCAC partners could benefit from this review and methodology.
Ethiopia highlighted national action on cook stoves and solid waste. India highlighted the importance of black carbon emissions and reported that work has already been undertaken in most sectors to address: improved design of brick kilns; alternative uses for crop residues so that they are not burnt in the fields; and bio-gas generation as well as bio-methanation or composting of municipal solid waste.
India further called for greater opportunities to share experiences, in particular, to address black carbon and to consider low-cost particulate traps to reduce particulate emissions from diesel vehicles, fuel quality upgrade and fuel efficiency norms. He also stressed that, for a paradigm shift, a new breakthrough is necessary. Kenya reported work on many of the mentioned areas and expressed interest in sharing their experiences.
Nigeria announced new investments in solar energy from the Clean Technology Fund. He also highlighted a Presidential initiative to provide a million clean cook stoves by November 2014.
Outreach: On outreach and partners in action (WG/JUL2014/3), Co-Chair Markovic highlighted CCAC engagement in the context of: the Abu Dhabi Ascent in preparation for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit; Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All); and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for enhanced Action (ADP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Co-Chair Abubakar noted a forthcoming ADP workshop on non-CO2 greenhouse gases in October and drew attention to increasing interaction between the CCAC and the UNFCCC, emphasizing that the two processes are complementary. She also reported on various other outreach activities.
The CCAC Secretariat emphasized the importance of visibility and reported on discussions in Abu Dhabi between Coalition partners and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She highlighted the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) as a great opportunity for CCAC partners to discuss air quality. She also noted media roundtables with journalists and a green room event on the CCAC held during the UNEA.
The CCAC Secretariat also emphasized the 20th session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 20) in Lima, Peru, as an important outreach opportunity.
Drawing attention to the agreed template for CCAC partners to share information about their activities, the CCAC Secretariat noted submissions from 15 partners and invited more of them to submit information on their activities using the template. Co-Chair Markovic stressed the importance of collecting and disseminating stories on action by CCAC partners. She encouraged partners to share information on their activities with the Coalition and others.
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S CLIMATE SUMMIT MILESTONE FOR CCAC: This issue was considered on Wednesday morning and afternoon.
Cynthia Scharf, UN Secretary-General’s Office, updated participants on preparations for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit (WG/JUL2014/5). She commended the CCAC as an “exciting partnership,” stressing the role of the SLCP agenda in showing that results are feasible and giving people hope that progress towards the 2°C climate target is possible.
Scharf reported that all heads of state have been invited to the Summit, along with heads of business, the private sector, financial sector and NGOs. She highlighted the Summit’s two goals of mobilizing political will for the 2015 Paris climate agreement and catalyzing ambitious action on the ground given that the new climate agreement will only apply from 2020 onwards.
On the structure of the Summit, Scharf explained that the morning will consist of statements by heads of state in three parallel plenary sessions. In the afternoon, sessions focusing on multilateral and multi-stakeholder action announcements will take place on each of the 10 Action Areas identified in the UNEP Emissions Gap Report, including SLCPs. She explained that in parallel, thematic sessions will be held on science, co-benefits, economic case for action and voices from the frontlines.
Questions were raised concerning, inter alia: the role of ministers; criteria for allocating countries to the various sessions; time allocated for heads of state to speak; how to help heads of states to choose which session to attend; and links to the UNFCCC process. Scharf clarified that statements by heads of state will be limited to less than five minutes and countries will be allocated to the three parallel plenaries based on alphabetical order or UN protocol. She said countries that are not invited to chair sessions may choose freely the sessions they wish to attend in the afternoon.
Scharf stressed that the objective of the Summit is to engage heads of state, but that there will be opportunities for ministers to participate in private meetings. She noted that while there is no formal link between the UNFCCC and the Summit, the objective is to build political momentum around climate change. She specified that the UNFCCC parties will decide whether to use the Chair’s summary of the Summit as a contribution to the UNFCCC negotiations.
CCAC Initiatives for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit: Participants presented on potential initiatives for the CCAC to showcase at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit.
On HFC Phase Down, one of the lead partners underscored that while HFCs are not dangerous for the ozone layer, they are powerful greenhouse gases and their emissions are growing rapidly. He added that due to their high global warming potential (GWP), the increase in HFCs can cancel the impact of climate change mitigation efforts addressing CO2 emissions.
The lead partner noted that discussions on global HFC phase down currently focus on four deliverables: refrigerant management; reducing emissions in the cold-food chain; public procurement of climate friendly alternatives; and global phase down of production and consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
On the Green Freight Programme, one of the lead partners highlighted “significant” stakeholder engagement after the call to action at the HLA in Warsaw in 2013 and explained that work has started in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bangladesh and Vietnam. He noted that the objective is to promote, enhance and scale up green freight programmes. As a deliverable, he proposed engaging high-level industry and government sign up and implementation of the action plan.
On the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, one of the lead partners highlighted upstream methane emissions as one of the four key areas of climate change mitigation identified by the International Energy Agency. He outlined ongoing efforts to engage companies in this public-private partnership through Memoranda of Understanding, and called for governments and companies with connections to the relevant companies to support the launch.
On the Municipal Solid Waste Initiative, one of the lead partners emphasized landfills as the third largest anthropogenic source of methane emissions and an important source of black carbon. He identified the need to improve waste management through proven technologies and move cities up in the “waste hierarchy.” Reporting that 26 cities currently participate in the initiative and the goal is to engage 50 cities by 2016, he said replication would be driven by collaboration between cities and linkages with national governments.
On Agriculture, one of the lead partners explained that the aim is to share and implement best practices for minimizing SLCPs from agriculture in a way that ensures climate change mitigation benefits and enhances food security. He identified livestock, paddy rice and open burning in agriculture as the three focus areas. He also invited participants to assist in the designation of a “champion case” to be highlighted at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit under the Agriculture Action Area.
The World Bank presented on the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation (PAF), saying the initial focus of this pilot project is on methane and on maximizing the involvement of the private sector.
Speaking for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Co-Chair Abubakar informed the Working Group of a statement that ECOWAS intends to deliver at the Climate Summit, underscoring the impact of indoor air pollution on deaths in ECOWAS countries and emphasizing the goal of focusing on clean cooking and phasing out kerosene lighting. She also noted the intention of ECOWAS to commend the work of the CCAC and suggest the establishment of a regional CCAC Working Group.
Following discussion, Co-Chair Markovic noted the plan to present the initiatives on oil and gas, HFCs, green freight and municipal solid waste during the Action Area on SLCPs at the Climate Summit.
Outreach: Côte d’Ivoire presented on a communications plan for the Summit and HLA. He noted the intention to draw attention to SLCPs through opinion editorials before the Summit. He outlined plans, inter alia, for a CCAC press release in context of the HLA. He also noted plans for: a press briefing at the UN Climate Summit media room; photos and stories from the Assembly and Summit in social media; UNEP-DTIE photo exhibit outside the UN headquarters; and a launch of a health and air pollution campaign on 24 September 2014.
NEXT HIGH-LEVEL ASSEMBLY: Participants discussed the next HLA, focusing on the proposed agenda (WG/JUL2014/7). They addressed, inter alia, private sector engagement; key deliverables for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit and for the CCAC more broadly; announcements on domestic commitments; and engagement of new partners and observers.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL: This issue was considered on Thursday morning, 17 July.
Update on SAP work: The Working Group considered an update on SAP work and plans. SAP member Johan Kuylenstierna, University of York and Stockholm Environment Institute, presented on the SAP’s role in finalizing the CCAC’s Time to Act report. He emphasized the need to communicate the importance of addressing SLCPs for near-term climate change and public health, as well as food and energy security.
Kuylenstierna explained, inter alia, that: the net total impact of black carbon remains almost the same compared to the previous year; shifts in rainfall patterns remain a significant challenge for livelihoods; and uncertainties concerning the influence of aerosols remain significant. He highlighted key messages from the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change regarding SLCPs, including the evaluation of metrics. He explained that the use of GWP risks being misleading in the case of SLCPs and that the AR5 does not endorse any particular time horizon or metric.
SAP members also re-emphasized that the CCAC’s focus on SLCPs does not substitute CO2 mitigation, but acts as a complementary effort to tackle climate change with public health, ecosystem and other air quality benefits, as set out in the Coalition Framework.
On health and SLCPs, Andy Haines, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, highlighted the powerful links between black carbon and ozone depletion as a major cause of death. A.R. Ravishankara, University of Colorado, briefed the Coalition on latest HFC research, as released in the Ozone report of WMO/UNEP. Concerning freight, he noted that methane leakage is critical and indicated that rules for chemicals trade tend to become stricter.
During discussion, SAP members also noted a forthcoming SLCP research agenda briefing, which will serve as outreach towards other scientific experts and further the work of the CCAC, notably through the development of a roster of experts to bridge some knowledge gaps. Briefing notes on the economic case, kerosene lamps are also being prepared by SAP.
Issues raised during discussion included: the choice of metrics; communications strategies for the UNFCCC COP in Lima; linkages between SLCPs and health; the relationship between fracking and SLCPs; improvement of the CCAC website; and recruitment of a new scientific expert to the CCAC Secretariat.
SAP members responded by, inter alia, clarifying differences between GWP and global temperature potential and the impact of different time horizons. They recognized that the Kyoto Protocol uses GWP and that changing the metrics would be difficult. They noted the rapidly changing conditions of fracking procedures and investments, while pointing out the need to address linkages between health and SLCPs through an economic perspective.
SAP membership and roster of experts: On the SAP membership rotation plan (WG/JUL2014/9), SAP members recalled that the panel currently has only 14 instead of 15 members as indicated in its terms of reference. They recommended that an expert with a background in agriculture should fill this vacancy. They also suggested the expansion of the SAP number of experts through the creation of an extended list of experts available for consultation as a roster of experts (WG/JUL2014/10).
It was also noted that six SAP members are reaching the end of their two-year term. The Working Group agreed to renew the term of the other six SAP members, if they wish to remain in the SAP. The issue of SAP membership will be considered further at the next Working Group meeting in September.
The Working Group concluded the discussion by emphasizing the overarching goal of the CCAC to focus on the benefits of significantly curbing SLCPs for fighting climate change and that this should remain the guiding principle of the Coalition’s work. One participant stated that “magnitude matters more than the metrics,” with which SAP members agreed.
VISION FOR MOVING FORWARD: On Thursday morning, the Working Group discussed the CCAC vision for moving forward (WG/JUL2014/6).
INITIATIVES: On Thursday morning, the Working Group considered proposed new initiatives. Co-Chair Markovic explained that lead partners oversee the development and implementation of initiatives. Countries that are not coalition members can join initiatives as actors but do not become coalition members. She noted that 10 initiatives have been approved thus far and that all new initiatives are first reviewed and then approved by the Working Group. She also explained that activities under initiatives can be funded through funding requests.
WHO presented on an initiative focusing on realizing health benefits from SLCPs in cities (WG/JUL2014/11 and WG/JUL2014/12). He highlighted that: more than seven million people die annually from air pollution; its role in causing heart disease and strokes is not well known; and the local healthcare sector could play a more active role in providing advice on best ways to address SLCPs. Justifying the focus on the local-level, he underscored the importance of cities as sources of air pollution, especially in developing countries.
WHO also noted that many relevant policies, such as those on waste management and transport, involve local-level decision-making. He explained that the initiative aims to support policy choices and behaviors that realize SLCP reductions and maximize health benefits in cities, and equip urban health and development sectors with knowledge, tools, strengthened capacity, collaborative frameworks and awareness-raising. WHO noted that the initiative will develop tools for assessment, monitoring and evaluation, and disseminate results to city networks.
Norway emphasized that this “transformative” initiative will bring local-level benefits to developing counties in addition to addressing climate change. She noted the emphasis on capacity building at many levels, highlighting that the initiative will also empower poor and affected people, helping them to avoid exposure to air pollution.
During discussion, many participants commended the initiative and some expressed interest in joining it. The Working Group approved the proposal as a concept and agreed that a revised proposal will be presented at its September meeting along with a funding proposal.
The World Bank, with the ClimateWorks Foundation, presented the main findings of the report on climate-smart development, which examines the multiple benefits of policies related to transportation and energy efficiency in industry and buildings in different country-contexts. Focusing on Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the US and the European Union, the report shows, through a quantitative analysis, that emission reductions and economic development can be complementary.
UNEP underscored opportunities to engage with the Global Environment Facility to develop projects on SLCPs, highlighting projects on smart agriculture, urban sustainable policies, air conditioning and refrigeration.
In the afternoon, participants considered a new initiative model, governance and process for CCAC (WG/JUL2014/13). Canada and the US reported on the work of the task force dedicated to this issue, noting that the proposal aims to enhance the CCAC’s efficiency by simplifying procedures for funding and revision of proposals. The Working Group approved the proposal with agreement to address minor issues at a later stage.
STRATEGIC DISCUSSION ON ENGAGING PARTNERS AND INCREASING CAPACITIES: This issue was taken up on Thursday afternoon. The Working Group considered how the CCAC can engage the private sector more systematically, including proposed specific goals for private sector engagement (WG/JUL2014/14). It agreed to the private sector engagement plan as proposed by the CCAC Secretariat.
The Working Group also considered the proposed tasks of the Capacity Strengthening Advisory Group and participation in the group (WG/JUL2014/15). During discussion, participants stressed, inter alia, the need for strong donor presence in the group, as well as participation by developing countries and international organizations with experience in capacity development. The full composition of the Working Group will be considered at the Working Group meeting in September.
The Working Group considered an update on SNAP institutional strengthening activities to support CCAC developing country partners to further coordinate and scale up activities to reduce SLCPs and increase their participation in CCAC activities and decision-making. During discussion, it was noted that 14 developing countries have expressed interest in participating in this initiative. Participants also highlighted the need to take into consideration lessons from similar activities under the Montreal Protocol and other agreements.
HOUSEKEEPING: On Thursday afternoon, the Working Group considered various housekeeping issues, including: update on the CCAC Secretariat staffing (WG/JUL2014/16); overview of the CCAC Trust Fund (WG/JUL2014/16); invitation for pledges to the Trust Fund; review and approval of the compiled document with all Coalition decisions on partnership (WG/JUL2014/17); CCAC meeting dates in 2015 (WG/JUL2014/18), including possible additional HLAs in 2014 and in 2015; preparations for the mid-term evaluation; update on CCAC Annual Progress Report; and launch plans for a new website (WG/JUL2014/19).
The Working Group also considered a draft revision to the coalition framework (WG/JUL2014/8), identifying the need to insert some further revisions, including on extending the CCAC mandate beyond 2017 and defining a new deadline. It also discussed composition of the CCAC Steering Committee, with the objective that the new Steering Committee will start working after the HLA in September.
CLOSE OF THE MEETING: Co-Chair Markovic thanked her Co-Chair, participants, the CCAC Secretariat and interpreters for their work during the meeting. She said she looks forward to having the CCAC featured prominently in the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September and closed the meeting at 6:00pm.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
UN to Observe Earth Hour to Focus Global Attention on Need for Climate Action.
New York, 27 March – The UN will participate in the 2014 edition of Earth Hour on Saturday 29 March. Coming in the lead-up to the Climate Summit this September, this global initiative aims to focus attention on the need for climate action.
Organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour encourages individuals, companies, organizations and governments throughout the world to switch off their lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m., local time worldwide.
The initiative started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage over 150 countries and hundreds of millions of people last year.
The date traditionally coincides with the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global “lights out” event.
All UN staff members around the world have been invited to take part both in their office and home in order to demonstrate the UN’s commitment to support action on climate change, one of the top priorities of the Organization.
For the last few years, the UN Headquarters in New York and many other UN offices around the world have been part of the many international landmarks participating in this initiative.
This year the UN is going the extra mile and turning off all non-essential lights within the UN complex in New York for three hours from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Geneva and many other UN offices worldwide will also participate.
Earth Hour recognizes that everyone’s involvement is needed in order to make a collective impact and take accountability for their ecological footprint.
For more information please visit: www.un.org/climatechange
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 4th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
UN’s musical chairs.
Richard Falk’s wife is top nominee for a post on the Human Rights Council
By Hillel Neuer
March 3, 2014
As UN chief Ban Ki-moon today joins foreign ministers from around the world in Geneva to inaugurate a month-long session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, he should tell the 47-nation body to stop a controversial appointment that will expose itself to ridicule.
The secretary-general is surely looking forward to the upcoming exit of Richard Falk, the council’s pro-Hamas investigator of “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.”
More than once, Ban had to take the extraordinary step of condemning one of his organization’s own human rights experts — Falk — for spreading “preposterous” 9/11 conspiracy theories. After six years, term limits finally require Falk to go.
Yet it turns out that Falk may not really be leaving after all: the Human Rights Council is set to appoint his wife and closest collaborator to a similar post at the end of the month, days after Falk makes his final presentation to the plenary.
According to a UN document circulated in Geneva, Hilal Elver — a Turkish academic on law and climate change who has been married to Falk for the past 18 years, co-authoring many of his articles — is rated first among three nominees to become the council’s next “Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.”
The troubled history of this UN mandate suggests the practices Elver would likely follow.
Despite its lofty title, the position was created by Cuba in 2000 as a political tool to attack the West, one of several UNHRC mandates created by third world dictatorships to disguise themselves as victims of human rights violations committed by Western capitalism, imperialism and racism.
The first right-to-food expert was Swiss socialist politician Jean Ziegler, a long-time shill for Havana’s Castro regime, and the shameless co-founder (and 2002 recipient) of the Mummar Gaddafi Human Rights Prize.
Turning a blind eye to genuine starvation in places like Burundi, Ziegler spent much of his time finding imaginative pretexts to use his UN mandate on hunger to attack America and Israel. He condemned the Jewish state so often that journalists began to describe him, mistakenly, as the council’s investigator on Palestine.
Sadly, there are many reasons to suspect that Elver would follow in this politicized and prejudiced path.
First, although Elver and Falk own a million-dollar Santa Barbara home by the Pacific Ocean, she devotes much of her writing to condemning America, and the West.
Like Falk, Elver is explicitly acknowledged in the world’s leading 9/11 conspiracy book, “The New Pearl Harbor” by David Ray Griffin, for the help she provided the author.
In turn, Elver’s academic work cites to Griffin’s conspiracy book, which argues that the Bush Administration helped orchestrate the attacks on the World Trade Center to justify wars against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Elver’s words are more cautious, but hint in the same direction. In a 2012 law journal article citing to Griffin’s notorious conspiracy tract, Elver compares 9/11 to Pearl Harbor, saying that both incidents “gave permission to the government to unleash the war power” and “invade countries”, “create new hegemonies”, and “racially discriminate against and segregate the people inside the United States.”
According to Elver, the “American establishment” – she singles out the media and Hollywood — is guilty of “hostility towards Islam.”
Second, like her husband, Elver’s work is infused with dogmatism and tendentiousness, with sloppy attention to facts.
In June 2011, after the Economist advised Turkish voters to vote against the party of Recip Tayyip Erdogan, Elver and Falk published an article on the Al Jazeera website accusing the British magazine of a “Eurocentric virus,” because it “never did venture such an opinion on the eve of the election of such reactionary and militarist figures as George W. Bush, Stephen Harper, or Binyamin Netanyahu.”
The magazine, they wrote, revealed “a mentality that has not shaken itself free from the paternalism and entitlements of the bygone colonialist days.”
The only thing was that the Economist indeed had advised American, Canadian and Israeli citizens how to cast their votes. “Don’t professors do any homework nowadays?” asked the magazine in response.
Similarly, Elver’s very application for the UN post underscores her unprofessionalism. Her form is replete with spelling mistakes, non-sequiturs, and even self-disqualifying answers. Asked if she satisfied the job’s conflict-of-interest rules, she replied “No.”
Third, there is every indication that Elver would, like Ziegler, twist the hunger post to go after Israel.
In 2007, Elver connected the Jewish state to “genocide” and Israelis to “Nazis.”
As UN food expert, we know exactly what her first charge will be. At a December conference in Qatar, she gave a lecture on Israel entitled “Water Apartheid.”
Like Erdogan, Elver is obsessed with what she calls in her Turkish articles the “Yahudi lobisini” — “the Jewish lobby.”
On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Elver wrote that “the Jewish lobby” is “manipulating American politics” to ensure unlimited support for Israel.
In 2012, she warned about “the strong Zionist lobby” in the United States. Indeed, “many Muslim organizations are being controlled” in the American political arena by “pro-Israel lobbyist groups.”
Appointing Elver will be like appointing Falk. They travel, work and write together. She is not only his “constant companion,” says Falk, but also his “deepest collaborator.”
When in 2012 I urged Human Rights Watch director Ken Roth to finally remove Falk from one his organization’s influential committees, after he was condemned by the UK and other countries for anti-Semitism, they did so. Yet Falk’s wife remained on, allowing the couple to continue hosting HRW events in their home.
It seems like the UN is now trying to pull the same trick.
Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Kerala bags an United Nations award for sustainable tourism initiatives.
Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014
Kerala, God’s own country is recognized for its sustainable tourism policies by the United Nations. Kerala tourism is awarded by the United Nations for creating innovative initiatives in sustainable tourism.
This is the first ever UN award for any state in India.
The coveted award from the United Nations was mostly influenced by the sustainable development initiative in the world famous backwater resort of Kumarakom. According to a press release from the Kerala tourism, they received the award at the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism held in Madrid, Spain.
Kerala won the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance, the highest honour given to the government bodies for shaping global tourism policies through innovative initiatives.
Kerala Tourism was chosen for the honour for its path-breaking ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the Hospitality industry and government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.
The Kumarakom initiative had earlier won the National Award for Best Rural Tourism Project in March last year and also the PATA Grand Award for Environment.
Dr. Tej Vir Singh awarded the UNWTO Ulysses Prize for the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge.
Dr. Tej Vir Singh, professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Tourism Research & Development (CTRD) in India, has been named winner of the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge. The Award honors outstanding members of the academia for their significant contribution to the development of tourism education and research.
Dr. Singh, the Founding Editor of Tourism Recreation Research, the oldest and highly respected, international tourism journal in Asia, is a pioneer in introducing extensive tourism research in the region. A specialist in Himalayan tourism, Dr. Singh has produced several books on tourism and many papers on tourism development and its impacts.
“I would like to commend Dr. Singh´s lifelong dedication to tourism research and his pioneering the concept and practice of sustainability in the field of tourism. His work has inspired many other academicians to develop their own research in the field, contributing greatly to the advancement of tourism education and of the tourism sector as a whole,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
As the Founding Director of the Institute of Himalayan Studies and Regional Development at the University of Garhwal, Dr. Singh started the first Himalayan tourism training course. In 1976, he established the CTRD, a non-government organization devoted to the cause of tourism academics and research, with a special focus on India. Under his leadership, the Centre started an outreach programme that included education, training, research guidance, consultancy, curriculum design, and tourism programme initiation to several Indian universities, management institutions and colleges. Today, the CTRD is recognized for the generation and publication of valuable research on recreation and tourism, and is well-known as a leading organization for developing and disseminating scholarships in tourism in India.
The UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge will be presented during the UNWTO Awards Ceremony to be held on 22 January 2014, within the framework of the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain.
Volatile Bangkok turns out positive for Indian tourism.
Published on : Thursday, January 23, 2014
While Bangkok faces a tourism fall due to the ongoing political crisis, Indian tourism reaps the dividends. Thailand government’s decision to impose emergency in Bangkok is supposed to cause a loss of almost B10 billion for the Thailand tourism industry. On the contrary, foreign tourists are preferring to book a holiday in India.
According to the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the volatile political condition in Bangkok has spurred a huge interest of international travelers seeking holiday escapades in Indian. Political volatility has been on the rise in Bangkok, especially in the past few days. A couple of bomb blasts took place in the capital amidst wide protests. Protesters have been trying for more than two months to bring down the government. The Indian embassy in Thailand too is continuously tracking the situation and coming up with updates.
The global tourism industry has seen such shift of choices due to political and violent condition in a particular destination. To site an example, Spain tourism had a major share of international travelers last year owing to the political strife in Egypt. While Bangkok is one of the most popular destinations in Asia, India enjoys the advantage of volatile currency and a plethora of destination choices. In fact, domestic tourism also got a boost as many Indians are also going for home holidays rather than opting for Bangkok as every year about 500,000 Indians visit Bangkok.
Tourism can foster sustainable development in Central America – UN General Assembly.
Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014
Sustainable tourism is an ally of poverty eradication in Central America and the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – as reflected in the UN resolution on “Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America”.
The 193-member UN General Assembly adopted the resolution unanimously during its 68th session. This represents an important step towards mainstreaming sustainable tourism in the international development agenda and the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (New York, USA, 22 December 2013).
Emphasizing that sustainable tourism in Central America is a cross-cutting activity with close linkages to other sectors and thus generating trade opportunities, the UN General Assembly recognizes tourism as a fundamental pillar of regional integration and an engine of social and economic development, income, investment and hard currency in the region. The resolution further “encourages giving appropriate consideration to the issue of sustainable tourism in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda”, which will follow the deadline of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Against this backdrop, the UN General Assembly invites States and other stakeholders, as well as the World Tourism Organization, to continue to support the activities undertaken by the Central American countries for the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism and extend the benefits of tourism to all sectors of society, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of the population.
International tourism in Central America grew significantly in recent years. In 2012, Central America received almost 9 million international tourists who generated US$ 8 billion in revenues, up from, respectively, 4.3 million arrivals and US$ 3 billion in 2000. Today, international tourism accounts for as much as 17% of all Central American exports.
The UN resolution was sponsored by 51 Member States: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Cape Vert, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, United States of America, Ukraine and Uruguay.
Central America poised for tourism growth: SITCA
Published on : Sunday, September 15, 2013
The Secretariat of Central American Tourism Integration (SITCA), along with the tourism authorities of the seven Central American countries – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvado r, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – have conducted a study on the evolution of the tourism sector in the region over the past 12 years and found a positive forecast of expected 6.1 per cent growth for this year.
In the period between 2000 and 2012, tourism to Central America has grown by 122.8 per cent from 4.23 million visitors in 2000 to 9.39 visitors in 2012, an annual increase of seven per cent on average stated the study.
Domestic tourism from within the region accounts for 40 per cent while North America accounts for between 35 per cent and 40 per cent of visitors.
Costa Rica and Guatemala received the highest number of visitors, but Nicaragua and Panama have registered the biggest growth in the period covered by the study, moving from fifth and sixth position (in terms of the total number of visitors received) to fourth and third respectively.
The average spend by tourists has also grown considerably over the last 12 years, thanks to an increase in the amount of products consumed, moving from an average spend per person of US$700 in 2000 to US$1,016 in 2012.
Based on the results of the study, it is expected that the number of visitors will increase by 6.1 per cent this year compared to last year, with an expected total of 9.96 million visitors.
For 2013, the average spend per tourist is expected to reach US$1,016.63, compared to US$1,016.18 in 2012. Revenue from tourism revenue is expected to be highest in Panama and lowest in Nicaragua.
The data presented by SITCA shows that the tourism sector in Central America is becoming the main source of revenue for all seven countries and a true driver for the economic growth of the region.
International tourism exceeds expectations with arrivals up by 52 million in 2013.
International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Despite global economic challenges, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013. For 2014, UNWTO forecasts 4% to 4.5% growth – again, above the long term projections.
Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), Africa (+6%) and Europe (+5%). The leading sub-regions were South-East Asia (+10%), Central and Eastern Europe (+7%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%) and North Africa (+6%).
“2013 was an excellent year for international tourism” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies”, he added.
UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to increase by 4% to 4.5% in 2014, again above its long-term forecast of +3.8% per year between 2010 and 2020. The UNWTO Confidence Index, based on the feedback from over 300 experts worldwide, confirms this outlook with prospects for 2014 higher than in previous years
“The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth”, added Mr Rifai.
2014 regional prospects are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (+5% to +6%) and Africa (+4% to +6%), followed by Europe and the Americas (both +3% to +4%). In the Middle East (0% to +5%) prospects are positive yet volatile.
Europe welcomes most of the new arrivals
Europe led growth in absolute terms, welcoming an additional 29 million international tourist arrivals in 2013, raising the total to 563 million. Growth (+5%) exceeded the forecast for 2013 and is double the region’s average for the period 2005-2012 (+2.5% a year). This is particularly remarkable in view of the regional economic situation and as it follows an already robust 2011 and 2012. By sub-region, Central and Eastern Europe (+7%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+6%) experienced the best results.
In relative terms, growth was strongest in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), where the number of international tourists grew by 14 million to reach 248 million. South-East Asia (+10%) was the best performing sub-region, while growth was comparatively more moderate in South Asia (+5%), Oceania and North-East Asia (+4% each).
The Americas (+4%) saw an increase of six million arrivals, reaching a total of 169 million. Leading growth were destinations in North and Central America (+4% each), while South America (+2%) and the Caribbean (+1%) showed some slowdown as compared to 2012.
Africa (+6%) attracted three million additional arrivals, reaching a new record of 56 million, reflecting the on-going rebound in North Africa (+6%) and the sustained growth of Sub-Saharan destinations (+5%). Results in the Middle East (+0% at 52 million) were rather mixed and volatile.
Russia and China – leading in growth in 2013
Among the ten most important source markets in the world, Russia and China clearly stand out. China, which became the largest outbound market in 2012 with an expenditure of US$ 102 billion, saw an increase in expenditure of 28% in the first three quarters of 2013. The Russian Federation, the 5th largest outbound market, reported 26% growth through September.
The performance of key advanced economy source markets was comparatively more modest. France (+6%) recovered from a weak 2012 and the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia all grew at 3%. In contrast, Germany, Japan and Italy reported declines in outbound expenditure.
Emerging markets with substantial growth in outbound expenditure were Turkey (+24%), Qatar (+18%), Philippines (+18%), Kuwait (+15%), Indonesia (+15%), Ukraine (+15%) and Brazil (+14%).
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Ahead of the 20th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP20) to be held this year in Lima, Americas Society/Council of the Americas hosted UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, the principal voice on the international climate change negotiations, on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
At the November 2013 UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, governments took a step toward a new, universal climate change agreement said Ms. Figueres in her presentation at AS/COA, Ms. Figueres addressed the concrete steps that must be taken in 2014, which will pave the way for the 2015 conference in Paris, where a new global climate agreement for the post-2020 period is to be adopted.
With 195 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties and its ultimate objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
Christiana Figueres was appointed executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2010 and was reappointed for a second three year term in July 2013. Ms. Figueres has been involved in climate change negotiations since 1995.
Americas Society (AS) is the premier organization dedicated to education, debate and dialogue in the Americas. Established by David Rockefeller in 1965, our mission is to foster an understanding of the contemporary political, social and economic issues confronting Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas and the importance of the inter-American relationship,” it says.
Council of the Americas (COA) is the premier international business organization whose members share a common commitment to economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Contacts to the outside: Adriana La Rotta at email@example.com or 1-212-277-8384
and Kariela Almonte at as-coa.org
The following day – January 15, 2014, Ms. Christiana Figueres, participated at the UN Headquarters at the
Investor Summit on Climate Risk at UN Headquarters – 15 January 2014 – co-hosted by the UN Foundation, UN Office for Partnerships,and Ceres.
Complete agenda can be found at: www.ceres.org/press/press-releases/500-global-investors-to-gather-at-united-nations-summit-on-climate-change
In that room were insurance company and re-insurance companies and other investors – and I was told that about $13 Trillion were represented there. The talk was that $1 Trillion will be invested in clean energy – this is an economics must.
Christiana Figueres – on a panel that included the relentless Timothy Worth who as maverick Senator was part of the US “B” (the Senate) delegation to the Rio 1992 Conference and now heads the UN Foundation that was created with a one Billion US Dollars by Ted Turner, and Mr. Orr representing the UN Secretariat. The agreed conclusion was that INVESTORS OUGHT TO MOVE OUT OF HIGH-CARBON ASSETS.
We posted at the time: “Costs to the economy – The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through global financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. The costs to human and environmental health that is another matter. But luckily – fossil fuel consumption is already in decline — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes economic sense. But do not count on it – the financial moghuls will not step aside easily.” – See more at:
Financing Solutions for Clean Energy in Latin America,” which seems to be a – Microfinance Panel: Financing Solutions for Clean Energy in Latin America.
Why this enhanced interest of Latin America in Climate Change? Is this only because of Brazil that over-extended itself in these topics?
Brazil was host of the Rio 1992 Conference that introduced Environment and Development into the routine lingo of the UN as a double helix of Sustainable Development. They were hosts to creation of the high-level product AGENDA 21 and the three conventions – on Biodiversity, Desertification, and Climate Change. But the majority of the Developing Countries were not ready for it yet – they just wanted DEVELOPMENT – read INDUSTRIALIZATION – and professed not to be the address for Global Sustainability.
The Developed/Industrialized States on the other hand thought that the whole concept was just a give-away to the poorer Nations – something that the established ethics thought to take care of with simple hand-outs of Foreign aid – not an issue of rights.Sustainable Development just did not work in practice.
Then we had the stale-birth of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and the answer five years later – the Millennium Development Goals.
After another 10 years, at the Rio 2012 meeting, Brazil stepped into the breach again, and with excellent diplomacy, and got rid of the Sustainable Development Commission establishing a new debating platform that will channel its activities to a new Agenda – the post 2015 Global Agenda built on a set of Sustainable Development Goals. Part of this process is anchored in Paris at a COP21 meeting of the UNFCCC.
To get there we have the Lima, Peru, meeting of 2014 – and that is the last chance for Latin America to have an impact.
So, here we get to the Latin Year of which Costa Rican Chrstiana Figueres wants to take advantage of, and she is lucky in many respects. The UN stars seem to line up in her direction.
The idea was to have the 2014 UNFCCC meeting in Latin America and at first it was Venezuela that wanted to host the event. In parallel they also wanted to be at the UN – the G77 leaders this year. Bolivia decided to contest both posts. Bolivia won the G77 position – but with the strong opposition from the US to both original candidates – it was Peru that got to be the location of the COP with Venezuela hosting – as a consolation prize – the last preparatory meeting. That is how this year’s Latin UN stars are Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela.
Considering the central place of Bolivia in all of this – them speaking for the ALBA group – the micro-finance answer to the mega-finance of the UN makes sense as well and the Latin Year might turn out to be an ALBA year to be followed by a Developed & Already Emerged Economic States at the Paris Summit with the real power to lead.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
An Algemeiner exclusive announces that The Arab League has twisted successfully UNESCO resulting in a last minute cancellation of an exhibit intended to show there is a 3500 years relationship between Jews and the Land the Arabs claim as their own. Just one more example how the Arab States turned the UN into a marshmallow that leaves Arabs as main victims as there is no goodwill left to lift a finger to save Syrian or other Arab lives.
The exhibit was sponsored by Israel, Canada, and Montenegro, agreed upon with UNESCO, and undone by the Arab States recognized as a UN group under the Arab League flag. Arab appointees work on UN payroll with a main task to turn the UN into an Arab partisan organization. Each UN office has such an Arab on its staff. Sure, this truth will be opposed – but how do you deny reported occurrences?
The result is clear, the Arabs won this battle but have long lost their war. With this attitude why should anyone care to help the slaughtered Syrians or other Arabs?
The exhibit at UNESCO headquarters in Paris just needed to be installed.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, has pulled a Jewish exhibit two years in the making, entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,” after a zero hour protest from the Arab League, The Algemeiner has learned.
The exhibit, which was created by Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) together with UNESCO, was scheduled to open on January 20th, 2014, at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters. The invitations had already gone out, and the fully prepared exhibition material was already in place. The display was co-sponsored by Israel, Canada and Montenegro.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of the SWC, told The Algemeiner that the move was an “absolute outrage.” “The Arabs,” he said, “don’t want the world to know that the Jews have a 3,500-year relationship to the Land of Israel.”
Hier said that his organization, which is accredited by UNESCO as an NGO, worked in intimate co-operation with the international body on the project, which his center initiated after the Palestinian Authority was unilaterally accepted as a UNESCO member state in 2011.
“We made a clear attempt to work with them and the system, they can’t say they were blindsided, they commented on every sentence (in the exhibit’s materials) and still, in the end, the Arabs protested and they kicked us out,” he said.
“It is not supposed to be a place of censorship,” Hier said, “It is not supposed to deny one nation the right to their history.”
“The Arab world doesn’t know that Isaiah didn’t live in Portugal, Jeremiah didn’t roam France and Ezekiel wasn’t from Germany.”
UNESCO informed the SWC of the change on January 14th in a letter to the Center’s Shimon Samuels, asserting the Arab League’s claim that going ahead with the show “could create potential obstacles related to the peace process in the Middle East.”
In a letter to Irina Bokova, president of UNESCO, President of the Arab group within UNESCO, Abdulla al Neaimi, from the United Arab Emirates, expressed “deep worry and great disapproval” over the program showing the age old connection between Israel and the Jewish people.
“The subject of this exhibition is highly political though the appearance of the title seems to be trivial. Most serious is the defense of this theme which is one of the reasons used by the opponents of peace within Israel,” the Arab League wrote. “The publicity that will accompany… the exhibit can only cause damage to the peace negotiations presently occurring, and the constant effort of Secretary of State John Kerry, and the neutrality and objectivity of UNESCO.”
“For all these reasons, for the major worry not to damage UNESCO in its… mission of support for peace, the Arab group within UNESCO is asking you to make the decision to cancel this exhibition,” Al Neaimi concluded.
Interestingly, 10 days prior to the suspension of the exhibit, the United States declined co-sponsorship on remarkably similar grounds.
“At this sensitive juncture in the ongoing Middle East peace process, and after thoughtful consideration with review at the highest levels, we have made the decision that the United States will not be able to co-sponsor the current exhibit during its display at UNESCO headquarters,” wrote Kelly O. Siekman, Director at the Office of UNESCO Affairs of the State Department, in an email seen by The Algemeiner.
SWC’s Hier told The Algemeiner that he was disappointed in the U.S. position on the issue, and said that he was sure the exhibition would not have been suspended has the U.S. aligned itself as a formal co-sponsor. “This is not the end of this story,” he said.
In its formal response to UNESCO’s Bokova after the suspension of the program, the SWC said, “we insist that you live up to your responsibilities and commitments as the co-organizer of this exhibition by overturning this naked political move that has no place in an institution whose mandate is defined by education, science, and culture — not politics.”
“Let’s be clear, the Arab Group’s protest is not over any particular content in the exhibition, but rather the very idea of it – that the Jewish people did not come to the Holy Land only after the Nazi Holocaust, but trace their historical and cultural roots in that land for three and a half millennia,” SWC wrote. “If anything will derail hopes for peace and reconciliation among the people of the Middle East, it will be by surrendering to the forces of extremism and torpedoing the opening of this exhibition — jointly vetted and co-organized by UNESCO and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.”
“Madame Director General, we hope you have the courage to do the right thing and we are still looking forward to cutting the ribbon on the exhibition with you next Monday night, January 20, at UNESCO headquarters,” SWC concluded.
In a letter seen by The Algemeiner written in response to the decision, Nimrod Barkan, Ambassador of Israel to International Organizations, recounted the degree to which the SWC co-operated with UNESCO on the project over two years, and blasted the decision.
“This unjust and outrageously last moment decision is biased and discriminative towards Israel. In the past UNESCO hosted numerous events and exhibitions accentuating the relations between Muslim and Christian religions with the Holy Land, and of course it holds and annual ‘Palestine Day,’” he wrote.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York and UNESCO representatives in Paris could not immediately be reached by The Algemeiner for comment.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 12th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Center for Traditional Music and Dance & Verite sou Tanbou present
VODOU IS NATURE!
A conversation about Vodou and the Environment
followed by a Vodou singing session
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
OUNGAN DIEUDONNÉ JEAN-JACQUES
MANBO MARIE CARMEL
Sunday, Jan 19th, 6:30PM
138 South Oxford Street, 2nd Floor
FREE ADMISSION – PRIOR RSVP IS REQUIRED
(Kindly RSVP by January 18th
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!
FOR UP-TO-THE-MINUTE SUBWAY DIRECTIONS VISIT WWW.HOPSTOP.COM
Verite sou Tanbou image design by Kesler Pierre. firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Sustainabilitank.info on December 11th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York, NY
December 10, 2013
In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly established Human Rights Day so as to honor the newly drafted Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and its new global standard of dignity for all people, in all nations, all around the world. On this Human Rights Day, let us remember what we created but also why we had to create it, why the UDHR was written and why the world came together to forever enshrine the words “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
While we commemorate Human Rights Day and recall the terrible events that caused the world to come together to create it, we must also recognize that its solemn vows are broken every day. Human rights are the rights of girls in India not to be gang-raped, the rights of Syrians not to be attacked by snipers and SCUD missiles and the rights of people in Central African Republic not to be assaulted with machetes. They’re the rights of people in Chinese civil society to freely express themselves, Burmese political prisoners to voice their beliefs without threat of detention and the rights of all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, to be treated as equals. And as we take this day to remember the injustices we face in today’s world, we cannot forget about those fighting against them, fighting for the promises enshrined in the UDHR. People like Biram Dah Abeid, a son of freed-slaves trying to eradicate the menace of human bondage in Mauritania; Liisa Kauppinen, who is standing up for the rights of the deaf and disabled in communities all over the world; and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl we all now know well, who stood up to the Taliban and in doing so changed the world. These remarkable individuals were recognized today with the 2013 United Nations Human Rights Prize, but represent so many unheralded others who struggle to elevate human dignity every single day.
Today, sixty five years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we recommit ourselves to this vital cause.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 25th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
from: Ricken Patel of www.Avaaz.org
30 months to save the world
Dear Avaaz community,
This may be the most important email I’ve written to you. Scientists have found that vast areas of Arctic sea ice are disappearing, accelerating the destruction of our planet — it is a climate tipping point and we CAN stop it, if we act very fast, and all together. We have 30 months until the biggest climate summit ever. To win it, we need to blast out of the starting gate. Click below to make a donation and help us get there:
This may be the most important email I’ve ever written to you.
Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but on her last trip, she couldn’t believe what she saw. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.
This is what the experts warned us about. As the earth warms, it creates many “tipping points” that accelerate the warming out of control. Warming thaws the Arctic sea ice, destroying the giant white ‘mirror’ that reflects heat back into space, which massively heats up the ocean, and melts more ice, and so on. We spin out of control. Already this year — storms, temperatures — everything is off the charts.
We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we can pull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.
We have 30 months until the Paris Summit, the meeting that world leaders have decided will determine the fate of our efforts to fight climate change. It might seem like a long time – it’s not. We have 30 months to get the right leaders in power, get them to that meeting, give them a plan, and hold them accountable. And it’s us vs. the oil companies, and fatalism. We can win, we must, but we need to blast out of the starting gate with donations of just a few dollars/euros/pounds per week until the summit. For the world we dream of, let’s make it happen:
Fatalism on climate change is not just futile, it’s also incompetent. The hour is late, but it is still absolutely within our power to stop this catastrophe, simply by shifting our economies from oil and coal to other sources of power. And doing so will bring the world together like never before, in a deep commitment and cooperation to protect our planetary home. It’s a beautiful possibility, and the kind of future Avaaz was born to create.
Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here’s the plan:
1. Go Political: Elect Climate Leaders — 5 crucial countries have elections in the next 30 months. Let’s make sure the right people win, and with the right mandate. Avaaz is one of the only major global advocacy organizations that can be political. And since this fight will be won or lost politically, it could be at some points just us vs. the oil companies to decide who our politicians listen to.
2. Make Hollande a Hero — French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit – a powerful position. We have to try every tactic and channel — his personal friends and family, his political constituency, his policy advisors — to make him the hero we need him to be to make the summit a success.
3. Take it to the Next Level — The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.
?4. Out the Spoilers — Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change – funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.
5. Define the Deal — Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. We need to invest in top quality policy advice to develop ingenious strategies, mechanisms, and careful compromises so that when the summit arrives, a critical mass of leaders are already bought in to a large part of the deal, and no one can claim that good solutions don’t exist.
We need tens of thousands of us to make small donations to blast out of the starting gate on this plan. The amount doesn’t matter as much as the choice – to hope, and to act:
At the last major climate summit in Copenhagen 2009, we played a pivotal role in German and Japanese ‘climate’ elections, in shifting Brazilian policy, and in helping win a major global deal on financing, with rich countries promising $100 billion per year to poor countries to help them address climate change. Back then, Avaaz was 3 million people. After Copenhagen, we reflected that we needed to be a lot bigger to meet the challenge posed by climate change. Now, we’re 23 million, and growing by 1 million per month.
Climate change is the ultimate global collective action problem, requiring cooperation from every government in the world. And Avaaz is the ultimate collective action solution, with millions of us united in common vision across every nation. This is our time, to build a world for our children that’s beauty matches our dreams. Let’s get started.
With hope and appreciation for this amazing community,
Ricken and the entire Avaaz team
With Arctic sea ice vulnerable, summer melt season begins briskly (The Christian Science Monitor)
Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days (Guardian)
Five Reasons We Need a New Global Agreement on Climate Change by 2015 (Switchboard NRDC)
The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth (The Guardian)
Arctic sea ice melt disrupts weather patterns (NBC News)
The Arctic Ice “Death Spiral” (Slate)
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Posted in Archives, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Copenhagen COP15, European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, New York, Norway, Obama Styling, Paris, Real World's News, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from UNFCCC Meetings, Reporting from Washington DC, Russia, United Kingdom, Vienna
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Transforming the Global Economic Paradigm ASAP.
Rachel’s Network “Green Leaves”
Spring Newsletter 2013
We all know well the challenges facing us. From reversing ecological and economic collapses to meeting the development needs of seven billion (and growing) residents of our planet, we’ve got our work cut out for us.
But what can one person—or one organization—do?
Join me on an adventure to transform the global economic paradigm.
Nations, companies, and NGOs are all seeking a new global agenda. Many of these groups are now coalescing around the United Nations’ work to replace the Millennium Development Goals—the targets set back in 2004 for poverty reduction—that expire in 2015.
I’ve been asked by the King of the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan to help the world shift its development model away from the current approach of increasing the throughput of stuff and money through the economy (as measured by gross national product) to an agenda of increasing human well-being, measured as “gross national happiness.” I’m part of an International Expert Working Group, convened by the King to set forth the intellectual architecture for this new paradigm.
Where do you come in? The Expert Group has created the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity, or ASAP for short, to convene the expertise needed to bring genuine prosperity and well-being to everyone on the planet.
ASAP seeks your ideas. The world needs help and its leaders are asking for your answers.
How do we encourage governments, companies, and an economy obsessed with measuring and growing gross national product to shift to maximizing total well-being? For example, a divorcing cancer patient who gets in a car wreck has added to the GNP. Is she any better off? Clearly not. If you stay home to care for your children you add nothing to the GNP, but have contributed significantly of your family’s welfare, and to a healthier society.
Humankind has all of the technologies needed to solve the crises facing us.
Why aren’t we using them? How do we overcome the gridlock of governments, and inspire the best of the private sector to take more of a leadership role?
Explore the ASAP site at www.asap4all.org. The “Articles” section provides pieces written by ASAP members. See, in particular, “Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy-in-Society-in-Nature,” with lead author Robert Costanza.
The “Public Forum” invites your best thinking. ASAP experts have been working on this for over three decades.
But the state of the world today is a testament to the fact that we can’t do it alone. The radical utopian forecast is that we can sustain business as usual. It’s not going to be like that.
What sort of future do you want to see for the world? How do you think we can achieve it? What is already working that should be replicated more broadly? That has to be fixed? And what’s the purpose of the economy that we’re all a part of? Do we exist to serve it, or can we transform it, instead, to serve us?
If you have a good idea, but no clue how to achieve it, submit it—maybe another of you has the answer you’re seeking.
ALL of us are smarter than any of us.
We believe that it is possible to transform the global economy into one that delivers greater human well-being and happiness, while nestling gracefully into the larger ecosystem that sustains all life. Indeed, doing this is key to ending the global economic crisis. We can’t achieve one without doing the other.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
The problem at hand are the major interests of the agri-industry’s corn-growers and the chemical industry.
In Europe – it all started with corn-borers advancing from East Europe into Central Europe and attacking the roots of corn plants. The corn-growers got help from the chemical industry pesticide-producers. The side effect is that this pesticide kills more then just the corn borers – in effect it kills bees and butterflies as well and without the pollen-transfer by the bees, there
is no agriculture period. Now genetic engineering provides the seeds to the corn-monoculture big-business that goes under the “farmers” name and this industry can survive without the bees, and seemingly are in a position to get benefits from what is the misery to anyone else. A Minister whose terrain was concieved with great fanfare as LIFE MINISTRY because it combines Agriculture and the Environment, sided with the agri-business interests, but when the uproar from the environmentalists became deafening, he decided to offer compensation to the BEE-KEEPERS for their losses – thus adding further insult to the environmentalists and to the dying bees.
THIS IS UNSUSTAINABLE FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW!
Small Family farms were the backbone of a Nation and the large oil-based monoculture industry is the anti-thesis to that past. We would like to believe that the whole political spectrum will turn around and churn out ways to save bees and humans as well.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
World headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Some Arab nations are making an effort to isolate Canada at the United Nations in retaliation for the Canadian government’s pro-Israel stance.
Qatar is working to gather votes from 115 countries to relocate the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which determines global rules for airplane transportation, from Montreal to the Middle East by 2016. In addition, Arab UN ambassadors met in New York on April 23 to discuss Palestinian issues, and discussed ways to rally support against the Canadian government among international organizations.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is known for his staunch support of Israel and maintains a close relationship with the Israeli government. In April, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stoked Arab anger by meeting Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in eastern Jerusalem, an area where the Palestinians dispute Israeli jurisdiction.
Joseph Lavoie, a spokesman for Baird, said Canada will “fight tooth and nail” to keep the ICAO in Montreal. “Canada will not apologize for promoting a principled foreign policy,” Lavoie said, according to the Daily Globe and Mail.
Comment from Mel
The United Nations headquarters and its overfed diplomats have earned deportation to the Middle East.
The enemies of Western Civilization have not earned the right to enjoy its benefits.
New York and Montreal are too good for them.
Let’s find out how they like eating and swimming in sand!
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 12th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Introduction to a Green Economy:
Concepts and Applications
E-Learning Course, 3rd Edition
27 May – 19 July 2013
In order to provide interested stakeholders from government, business, civil society and academia with an introduction to the green economy concept UNITAR in partnership with UNEP, ILO and UNIDO is delivering the e-learning course “Introduction to a Green Economy: Concepts and Applications”, 27 May to 19 July 2013. Participants will learn about different concepts and facets of the green economy, including its contribution to addressing climate change. Special attention is given to global, national and sector-specific challenges and opportunities to advance low-carbon, climate resilient and socially inclusive development. Additionally, participants will begin to acquire basic skills for applying the green economy concept in an economic, policy-making and personal context.
The ability of national actors to act on the green economy is key for effective policy making and achieving tangible results. To address this challenge UNITAR is working closely with UNEP, ILO and UNIDO in a new Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), focusing on national capacity development.
Comprehensive information and registration details are available at:
Registration is open until 17 May 2013.
Please feel free to disseminate information about this course through your networks, and don’t hesitate to contact us (email@example.com) should you need any further information.
The UNITAR Environmental Governance Programme Team
The concept of a green economy is receiving increasing international attention, as countries explore new patterns of development that take into account economic, social and environmental sustainability considerations. The recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), June 2012, reaffirmed the role of a green economy in achieving sustainable development. The ability of national actors to act on the green economy is key for effective policy making and achieving tangible results. To address this challenge, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is working closely with UNEP, ILO and UNIDO in a new Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), with a focus on national capacity development.
In order to provide interested stakeholders from government, business, civil society and academia with an introduction to the green economy concept UNITAR, together with PAGE partners, is delivering an interactive e-learning course from 27 May to 19 July 2013.
The course targets groups and individuals that are interested in obtaining a general understanding about the green economy concept and latest developments. They include:
• Civil servants in national Ministries, provincial departments and local authorities
• Diplomats from Permanent Missions and Ministries of Foreign Affairs
• Environmental managers in private sector and civil society organizations
• Faculty, researchers and students
• Interested citizens
Participants will learn about different concepts and facets of the green economy, as well as global, national and sector-specific challenges and opportunities to advance low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive development. Additionally, participants will begin to develop basic skills for applying the green economy concept in a real world economic, policy and/or personal context.
After completing the course, participants will be able to:
- Define the concept of a green economy and explain its value
- Identify enabling conditions for greening national economies
- Identify principal challenges and opportunities for greening key economic sectors
- Describe national planning processes in support of a green transformation
- Recognize international and regional initiatives and support services to foster green development
- Apply the green economy concept to a real world economic, policy and/or personal context
The course pedagogy is adapted to professionals in full-time work. Participants are provided with the opportunity to learn through various experiences: absorb (read); do (activity); interact (socialize); and reflect (relate to one’s own reality). The total number of learning hours is 40 over an 8 week period. During weeks 1-5 the reading of an e-book is complemented by a range of learning activities and experiences that include interactive exercises, discussion forums, and an applied case study. Weeks 6-8 are reserved for wrap-up and completing course assignments.
COURSE FEE AND REGISTRATION: The course participation fee is 600 USD. For details please contact the
UNITAR Environmental Governance Programme at firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration deadline: 17 May 2013.
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
On Rwanda Genocide, UN Silent on Its Own Role, So ICP Asks, Duhozanye Answers
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 9 — When the UN invited two Rwanda genocide survivors to speak on April 9, commemorating 19 years after UN peacekeepers left in the face of mass murder, one expected the “lessons learned” to also be about the UN.
But the formal presentation asked Daphrose Mukarutamu, founder of the Duhozanye organization, and her fellow survivor only about reconciliation in the country. The UN Women panelist, Nahla Valji, spoke about the gacaca courts.
But in terms of “Never Again,” what of the UN’s own performance, its abandonment of the victim, even helping the genocidaires to escape into Eastern Congo?
As we have noted, current chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous in 1994 as Deputy Permanent Representative of France advocated for and facilitated this rescue of genocidaires, through “Operation Turquiose.”
Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press questions about his role, then refused to answer ANY questions from Inner City Press, including about rapes by the Congolese Army, his partners.Video at On Tuesday night, the UN did not ask about these issues either. So Inner City Press did. YouTube video as above.
Daphrose Mukarutamu replied with dignity that members of Duhozanye have testified in Arusha against those who committed the genocide, and the government is trying to track more down.
But what of, for example, Callitxe Mbarushimana, who while working for UNDP in 1994 used UN vehicles and radios to kill at least three dozen Tutsis, including Florence Ngirumpatse, the director of personnel at UNDP’s office in Kigali?
The UN let him keep working for them, in Angola where he was not even language qualified, until he was outed in 2001 working for the UN in Kosovo. Even then, he was paid an additional $35,000.
After Inner City Press’ question, and Daphrose Mukarutamu’s answer, a participant hissed to Inner City Press, do you think that question elevated the discussion?
It had to be asked. It should have been in the introduction. It should have been in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s canned statement over the weekend. And it will continued to be asked.
Duhozanye is composed of, and cares for, genocide survivors, now focusing on those who are aging without family members to take care of them. They want to start a retirement community. The event was strangely lacking in contact information for them. But we suggest an Internet search: Duhozanye. And check out, as well, Callitxe Mbarushimana and the history of Herve Ladsous, while you’re at it.
Footnote: the UN Department of Public Information, the evening’s host, does some good programs, and surely will do more. But they should have included some mention of the UN’s own role.
And, just within UN Headquarters itself, they should be more forthright about how and why they raided the office of Inner City Press without consent or even notice on March 18, and how photographs they took were leaked to BuzzFeed.com on March 21. The Rwandan mission is aware of what DPI did, even referred to it on UNTV earlier this month. Accountability, high and low. Or impunity?
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
New York Daily News ?- 1 day ago
A Saudi court has ordered that 24-year-old Ali Al-Khawahir be surgically … I think about my son’s fate and that he will have to be paralyzed.” …
1 day ago – A young Saudi man faces being forcibly paralyzed as a punishment under … she did not have even a fraction of this money, meaning the court …
2 days ago – A Saudi Arabian court has ruled that a man should be paralysed as punishment for … but your IP address will be logged to prevent abuse of this feature. … Amnesty claims that the paralysis sentence would contravene the UN …
2 days ago – Saudi court orders criminal to be surgically paralyzed Add to . … A government-approved Saudi human rights group did not respond to requests …
1 day ago – A Saudi court has ordered that 24-year-old Ali Al-Khawahir be surgically paralyzed as … A decade later and he will now be paralyzed for life.
1 day ago – Surgical Paralysis Ordered in Saudi Arabia as Punishment for … Ali Al-Khawahir, 24, is awaiting court-ordered surgical paralysis in Saudi Arabia for an … and said the defendants did not have legal representation during court …
||1 day ago – Unless he can quickly raise $270,000, a Saudi man will soon face court-ordered surgical paralysis from the waist down, Amnesty International …
1 day ago – Saudi Arabian court ‘orders man to be paralysed’ … has sentenced a man to be paralysed in retribution for causing the paralysis of a friend when he was fourteen years old. … John Kerry: US will ‘empower’ Syria opposition …
Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to pay for childhood stabbing. By NY Daily News Latino | Published: 2013-04-04 19:47:21 UTC | Read more, click …
1 day ago – Saudi judge orders man surgically paralyzed to pay for childhood … his friend in the back and paralyzing him will be surgically paralyzed …
Reports of Saudi Paralysis Sentence (Taken Question)
Office of the Spokesperson
April 5, 2013
Question: What is the U.S. response to reports that a Saudi judge gave a court order for a prisoner to be surgically paralyzed?
Answer: If these reports are true, they would be incredibly disturbing. We expect the Saudi Government to respect international human rights norms. We regularly make this point as part of our bilateral dialogue.
Texas Refinery Is Saudi Foothold in U.S. Market.
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
The Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, the largest in the United States, ensures a bigger market for Saudi crude and a stronger global voice for the kingdom.
This can now be seen in context!
Jewish Times // The Times of Israel
‘Shell to dump energy firm over its ties to Israel’
Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has a 30-percent interest in Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field
THE HAGUE (JTA) – Royal Dutch Shell declined to comment on reports that it will divest its stake in an Australian energy firm because of that firm’s investment in Israel’s gas fields.
According to the RTL Dutch television network, a spokesperson for Shell said on Wednesday that he had no comment on a report by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia which said Shell would likely dump its 23.1-percent stake in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum.
The report said Shell planned the move to avoid the risk of boycott by Arab countries following Woodside’s agreement to purchase a 30-percent interest in Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field. RTL reported that Shell’s stake in Woodside is worth more then $7 billion.
Last year, Shell said that involvement with Woodside was “incompatible” with Shell’s “long-term plans.”
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 4th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
On Mali at Columbia, Nameless Discussion of Colonialism & Other Big Issues
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 2 — On Mali there was an event at Columbia University Tuesday night, advertised as “free and open to the public, but please register by writing.” So Inner City Press did, identifying itself as the Press, listing its office at the UN.
Columbia’s Stephen Wertheim, the last name you’ll see in this piece, wrote back, “You are now registered for the talk, which starts at 7:30 pm. We look forward to seeing you there.”
After that, notice of the event was further publicized on the website of the Free UN Coalition for Access, as still is another event at the UN this Thursday.
After a final story about the day’s Arms Trade Treaty vote in the UN General Assembly, Inner City Press arrived at the event. There were twenty to twenty five people, of all ages — and all nameless here.
After a lengthy speech and two social media missives, as the question and answer began, the moderator suddenly said — and we’ll paraphrase and not quote here — that he should have said so from the beginning, this would be under Chatham House rules, you can use the idea but no quote.
And so what were the ideas?
That the media focuses too much on the military offensive, which one participant called the kinetic aspect.
That there is a lot of corruption even in the south of Mali.
That the Malian military commits human rights violations, and that the UN does not have the resources to have a crew of human rights observers ready to go there.
That the UN will soon name a Special Representative of the Secretary General.
That the Malian press is reporting rumors of relations of Nicolas Sarkozy and the MNLA. (Inner City Press has been more focused on Sarkozy’s hardly concealed try out to help invest Qatar’s money, with his contacts in the center-right government in Spain.)
That the Security Council implicitly endorsed the French approach.
Inner City Press, which is surely free to report its own questions but apparently not the answers, asked if the envisioned “parallel force” would be under UN control; if coup leader Amadou Sanogo will continue to play a role in the Malian military, and how the fast action to defend Bamako differed from the decision to let Bagui in the Central African Republic fall.
There was a response to each question, but how to report the answers under the spirit of the Chatham House rules is not clear.
As Inner City Press left it was told, despite the language of the invitation and its RSVP as the Press, that it is somehow understood that events in the university are under Chatham House rules.
No, that is not automatically understood. People give on the record speeches at universities. In fact, since students have Facebook pages and blogs and, yes, Twitter accounts, it is entirely unclear what restriction on a class or seminar would look like, or how they could work.
Nevertheless, Inner City Press has complied with the belatedly announced Chatham House rules. Who is served? The Security Council hears Wednesday on Mali. Watch this site.
Footnote: the UN office that Inner City Press listed on its RSVP has, as we’ve noted, been raided by the UN and others on March 18.