Not even the UN Secretary General can direct the UN to Civility when ingrown forces of hatred rule in the UN bureaucracy. The Hatred of a Jewish State is endemic and switching from Falk to his wife Elver is in the UN future.
UN’s musical chairs.
Richard Falk’s wife is top nominee for a post on the Human Rights Council
By Hillel Neuer
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.
“GLOBE” – The UN via UNFCCC tells us that the word GLOBE means now “Global Legislators Organization” which is encouraging as their meeting hosted by the US Senate, covers 50 countries responsible for 88% of global carbon emissions, and is the best the UN can do trying to work for the People of the World.
THE FOLLOWING SHOWS THAT UNDER UK LEADERSHIP, AND US BACKING, THE UN TURNS TO ITS MEMBER STATES’ LEGISLATORS IN ORDER TO FIND A WAY TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE. IT SEEMS THAT FINALLY THE UN HAS LANDED ON SOMETHING – AND WE GIVE A LOT OF CREDIT FOR THIS TO Dr. ROBERT ORR – a US citizen - UN Assistant Secretary General in the UN Secretary-General’s office.
We are told that In 2013 there was substantive legislative progress in 8 countries (passage of “flagship legislation”) and positive advances in a further 19 countries:
– Americas: Bolivia passed its Framework Law on Mother Earth and Integral Development to Live Well; El Salvador adopted its National Climate Change Strategy; In Ecuador, Decree 1815 established the Intersectoral National Strategy for Climate Change; and in Costa Rica a draft General Law on Climate Change has been introduced and is expected to pass in 2014.
– Asia-Pacific: China published its National Adaptation Plan and made progress in drafting its national climate change law; Indonesia extended its forest moratorium; Kazakhstan introduced a pilot emissions trading scheme; Micronesia passed its Climate Change Act in late 2013.
– Europe: Poland adopted its National Strategy for Adaptation and Switzerland overhauled its CO2 Act to increase ambition.
BUT WHEN THINGS MOVE UP THEY MAY ALSO COME DOWN – SO -
* The Partnership For Climate Legislation will support national legislators in 66 countries to share best practice and to develop and oversee the implementation of legislation on climate change, natural capital accounting and forests/REDD+. The Partnership directly responds to the demand from legislators for technical, policy and analytical capacity.
* Specific aims:
* Recognizing that developing and passing laws is not sufficient in itself, the Partnership will support legislators to ensure they are equipped to effectively oversee the implementation of the law by national governments, including ensuring national budgets are consistent with climate goals, as well as assessing the impact of climate-related laws on the national
About the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE):
FURTHER – A PRESS RELEASE – THAT WAS EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 UK/GMT 27 FEBRUARY 2014
STUDY REVEALS RAPID ADVANCE OF NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE LAWS CREATING BASIS FOR NEW INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE AGREEMENT
UN and World Bank support partnership with the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE) to encourage development of national climate change laws.
Thursday 27th February, US Senate, Washington DC, 115 senior national legislators from 50 countries along with the heads of key United Nations Institutions, United Nations Climate Negotiations and the World Bank Group receive the results of the most comprehensive analysis to date of the reach and depth of national climate changes laws in 66 of the world’s countries. The Summit will be hosted in the US Senate Kennedy Caucus Room by Senator Edward Markey.
The Study covering countries responsible for 88% of global carbon emissions was co-authored by the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE) and the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE). The Study sets out a series of politically significant findings that will have a direct bearing on success of the international negotiations. Legislators will also consider how national laws can be recognised within a 2015 international climate change agreement.
Responding to the Study, the Global Legislators Organisation is launching a major new international initiative, The Partnership for Climate Legislation, supported by the United Nations and the World Bank Group. The Partnership will help national legislators to develop and implement climate change laws. It will work across the 66 nations covered by the Study by sharing best legislative practice, provide detailed policy, analytical and legal capacity to cross party groups of legislators as they develop their own laws.
The GLOBE Climate Legislation Study findings show:
US Senator Edward Markey, said: “Climate action is happening in legislatures around the globe because climate change is harming countries and their people around the globe. We need an international movement to pass climate legislation, and nowhere is that movement needed more than here in the United States. The GLOBE study show legislators around the
President of the Global Legislators Organisation, Rt Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, said: “The message from the 4th GLOBE Climate Legislation Study is clear – more countries than ever before are passing credible and significant national
“Understanding this message from the Study and embracing it in how major international processes and institutions work between now and Paris 2015 will be critical. We must see more countries develop their own national climate change laws so that when governments sit down in 2015 they will do so in very different political conditions to when they did in Copenhagen. The Partnership for Climate Legislation will support legislators across party political lines to advance climate change-related legislation. The Partnership will provide a combination of political, analytical and administrative capacity. It will also serve as a platform where legislators from across the world can meet, discuss common barriers, issues and successes and share information about best legislative practice”.
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres said: “It is no exaggeration to say that theclean revolution we need is being carried forward by legislation. Domestic legislation is critical because it is the linchpin between action on the ground and the international agreement. At the national level, it is clear
World Bank Group Vice-President and Special Envoy Rachel Kyte said: “2014 is the year we need to step up climate action. Legislators have a critical role to play in raising political ambition and ensuring that effective laws and regulations support low carbon and resilient development. For this reason, we’re pleased to support the new Partnership for Climate
The President of the Mexican Congress, Hon. Ricardo Anaya Cortes said: “With the support of GLOBE, Mexico has passed ambitious climate legislation. We are here today in the US Senate to share our experience, to build a global coalition of parliamentarians against the damaging effects of climate change and to challenge inaction.”
UK Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon William Hague said: “A global and legally binding deal on emissions reductions in the UNFCC in 2015 is imperative. As we work towards that agreement, it is clear that domestic legislation has a key role to play in building consensus and cementing ambition, which is why GLOBE’s work is so important. The launch of GLOBE’s Partnership forClimate Legislation, with the backing of the UN and World Bank, is an important step towards sustaining this work for long term, which the UK Government wholeheartedly supports”.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers included:
Representing the United Nations Secretary General’s Office:
Representing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:
Representing the United Nations Environment Programmes:
Representing the Congress of Mexico:
Study results and policy:
On the occasion of the International Year of Family Farming 2014,
the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with this human world (THW) Film Festival and Topkino,
the Ciné-ONU Vienna screening of the documentary“The Moo Man”
(by Andy Heathcote, UK 2013, 98 min, English)
followed by a Q&A session with invited guests, free entry.
Date / Time: 24 February 2014, 18:30 hrs
Location: Topkino, Rahlgasse 1, 1060 ViennaParticipants of the panel discussion:
Elisabeth Sötz - Advisor for Environment and Natural Resources, ADA (Austrian Development Agency)
as reported for SustainabiliTank by Ms. Irith Jawetz:
“The Moo Man” tells the remarkable story of a maverick farmer and his unruly cows, filmed over four years on the marshes of the Pevensey Levels*. In an attempt to save his family farm, Stephen Hook decides to turn his back on the cost cutting dairies and supermarkets, and instead stay small and keep his close relationship with the herd. However farmer Hook’s plans to save the farm do not always go down well with his 55 spirited cows. The result is a laugh-out-loud, emotional roller-coaster of a journey.
“Heart warming, a tearjerker of a movie, about the incredible bonds between man, animal and countryside.”
Mr. Hook describes his cows as “family”. While the average life span of a cow on a farm is 5 to 6 years, his cows live 9 to 10 years. “We do not push them, they are more relaxed” he explains as the reason for their long life.
The film follows partly the story of his favorite cow, Ida. “Ida is a symbol of what we do” says Mr. Hook. We follow her life until she passes away and the sadness expressed by Mr. Hook is really touching. “She was a lovely cow the queen of the herd, and had a lot of character” Mr. Hook laments .
Farming is a 24/7 job, with no time off. Mr. Hook explains that the work is hard and you basically work for nothing. He milks the cows himself with little help, since he cannot afford to employ people, bottles them and brings them to the customers in his truck. This milk is literally brought from the cow to the consumers directly. However, it is a losing battle because of the high costs. As Mr. Hook explains nobody wants to farm anymore because you work hard for nothing. Family farms close down all over England and Wales.
The discussion after the film focused basically on how the private farms could be helped. They all agreed that farmers need subsidies, that is why the United States had the farm Bill. There is also a big difference between small farms in developed countries and those in developing countries – and that is where three essential facts were put forward to produce the best conditions for successful farming:
1) Stable policy on environment by the respective government;
2) Providing education, skills, and know-how to the farmers;
3) Organization, i.e. lobbying & marketing.
This is where developing countries falter, while developed countries are doing better. In the developed countries, especially in the EU, the farmers are well represented, have a strong lobby and basically do better.
One big problem for the farmers is Climate Change. Since they cannot predict the weather, it is difficult for them to know when to plant what and whether the weather will cooperate.
Sudden floods, drought may ruin the whole crop.
A second problem is urbanization. Young people move to the cities seeking easier and more profitable jobs.
Agri-tourism is a small help. Small farms, especially in the EU open B & B facilities for families, particularly city folks with children, to spend time on the farm. The income helps.
It was all in all an interesting evening, combining an endearing film with lots of emotions, yet also laughter, and a serious discussion afterwards.
* Natural England – Pevensey Levels NNR
Pevensey Levels NNR lies in the heart of a large grazing marsh which is home to many species of wetland bird.
This event – the showing of the movie to the public at large – by a UN Information Service/Center – shows what an outreach of the UN can do even in a developed country – that is not just assuming the role of the UN is just to teach the backward developing countries.
A global journey to 2030: Reviewing the First Steps …
The article below is the excerpt of a commentary authored by Molly Elgin-Cossart, former chief of staff for the secretariat of the High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. In her commentary, Molly draws on her experience with the High Level Panel offering a valuable insight of the process by looking at its strenghts, weaknesses and lessons learned. Molly is a Senior Fellow on global development at the Center on International Cooperation (CIC), at New York University, USA.
by Molly Elgin-Cossart - now she is with the New York University Center on International Cooperation – published by The Society for International Development – original link: The SID Forum Alert – February 17, 2014
The UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post- 2015 Development Agenda (HLP) – a group of 27 eminent world leaders including a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Yemeni journalist, a Nigerian Minister of Finance, a Brazilian Minister of Environment, the CEO of Unilever, and three Heads of State/Government from Indonesia, Liberia, and the United Kingdom – came together a few months ago to make a deceptively simple statement at the United Nations: we can end extreme poverty by 2030.
For the first time in history, we have the knowledge, tools, and resources to Leave No One Behind. Not only that, we can do it as part of a broader economic transformation that will lead to sustained prosperity for all, and in a way that preserves our planet, for this generation and those to come.
This is an extraordinary moment. Never before has the opportunity to share prosperity been more within reach. To say that not a single person need live in the most desperate circumstances may sound innocuous. It may sound as if it is inevitable. But that is not the case. Continued growth will continue to reduce poverty, but it will not end it.
Cycles of poverty, perpetuated by injustice and inequality, trap the most vulnerable individuals and prevent them from fulfilling their potential. Often the poor are subject to overlapping forms of discrimination. For example, women who live with disabilities in isolated rural areas face a fight even to survive, let alone prosper, due to the discrimination, lack of mobility, and social exclusion they face.
Only through a transformational approach can we hope to give every person on this planet the chance she deserves. The members of the HLP agreed that we can – and we must – transform the way we approach development, to tackle global challenges through a new global partnership to end extreme poverty and put the world squarely on the path to sustainable development.
Crucially, though, the HLP report, A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development, is not the final word on the post-2015 development agenda. The world’s next development agenda will be decided at a summit of Heads of State in September 2015.
Between now and then, global leaders will discuss the future of poverty and sustainable development. Will they rise to the challenge? Or will they let the chance pass them by, distracted by problems at home and the frustrations of international negotiation?
It will be a difficult journey to agreement in 2015. But the stakes are too high to allow leaders to shirk their responsibility to get serious about taking action to confront the challenges we face, from poverty to inequality to environmental degradation. Because the deliberations of the HLP provide a preview of the debates to come, reviewing some of the lessons of the Panel’s experience may provide insight into the next two years of negotiations.
The Panel’s journey from London to Monrovia to Bali – through debates, discussions, and consultations, led them to a worthwhile destination: a coherent, effective and sustainable road map to tackle global challenges.
Yet more than the destination, it is the Panel’s journey that offers insight on navigating the rough waters ahead to 2015.
What follows are a few key observations from my experience as Chief of Staff of the Panel secretariat that I think are worth highlighting as we head into two years of intense multilateral negotiations.
Vienna’s History and Legacy of the Past 150 Years.
Celebrating the Arts, Learning From Politics, War and Reconciliation.
In memory of the First World War – the 1914 War only 100 years ago.
A Symposium divided into three days – part of a larger 90 events Festival organized by Carnegie Hall.
VIENNA 1860 TO 1914:
CREATIVITY, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND POLITICS.Fin de siècle Vienna was creative, cosmopolitan, and modern, as well as a hothouse of political ferment. How did arts and politics intermingle and influence a city’s and country’s destiny? A panel of leaders in arts and science discusses creativity as well as historic and contemporary examples of the arts as both a political tool and healing mechanism. Participants: Eric Kandel, Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, Christian Meyer, Dominique Meyer, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Franz Welser-Möst; Moderator: Carol Off
HOW DID THE CULTURED, CREATIVE SOCIETY OF
VIENNA LOSE ITS MORAL COMPASS – COMING TO TERMS.
Vienna’s creative, cultured, and open society deteriorated in the years leading to the 1938 Anschluss. Why did it happen and why did Austria take so long to recognize the horrors of the Holocaust? A panel explores a new generation’s constructive efforts at remembrance and reconciliation.
Participants: Martin Eichtinger, Stuart Eizenstat, Clemens Hellsberg, Oliver Rathkolb, Alexandra Starr; Moderator: Morley Safer
A GLOBAL ETHIC, CONTEMPORARY RISKS
AND APPROPRIATE RESPONSES – LESSONS OF HISTORY.With the experience of past conflicts and an examination of contemporary problems and risks, how does an increasingly globalized and interdependent world deal with ongoing issues and tensions? A panel of diplomatic and crisis-response experts debates whether the world is doing enough to avoid moral atrocities and advance ethical behaviour. Participants: Louise Arbour, Robert Hormats, Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff; Moderator: Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal
The Symposium at a glance:
The symposium explores a specific period in history, seeking to inform
current thinking and facilitate participation in a dialogue on current
conditions and foster action on vital ethical choices:
• What makes a community creative, dynamic, productive and
comfort able? What can we do to inspire more of what was best
about that legacy in our communities today?
• What causes a society to become morally destructive? What
constructive measures can we take today, some years and even
generations of leadership later, to learn from past horrors
• Are there signs of trouble around us? What are the prospects of
doing what is needed for an ethical outcome?
The events take place at the Paley Center for Media
25 West 52 Street
New York, NY 10019
Monday February 24, 2014 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Thursday February 27, 2014 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Friday February 28, 2014 12:00 – 2:00 PM
Sheldon Chumir was born in Calgary. He studied law at the University of Alberta, graduating in the year 1963 with the gold medal. He continued his education as a Rhodes Scholar and earned a Bachelor of Letters degree from Oxford University in 1965.
Chumir began his professional career as a tax lawyer with the federal Department of Justice in Toronto. In 1971, he joined a Calgary law firm. In 1976, he launched his own private practice focusing on civil liberties cases which on occasion provided representation on a pro-bono basis. He lectured on civil liberties and human rights at the University of Calgary Law School and founded the Calgary Civil Liberties Association.
Churmir was an active entrepreneur, he founded a small oil and gas company, and co-founded the entertainment promotion firm Brimstone Productions and engaged in real estate.
In 1983, he ventured into activism by creating “Save Public Education”, an organization which opposed public funds to support religious schools. The group ran a successful slate of candidates in a Calgary Board of Education election. As an MLA, Chumir advocated community service, and he advocated legislature that supported human rights and civil liberties.
Chumir was elected in the 1986 Alberta general election for the Alberta Liberal Party defeating Progressive Conservative Brian Lee. He was among a group of four Liberal MLAs who first elected Legislative Assembly of Alberta since 1969. In the Assembly, he advocated on legal affairs, human rights, energy and finance.
Chumir was elected to a second term in the Legislative Assembly in the year 1989.
Chumir died in 1992. The unmarried Chumir having no close kin to bequeath to, left his estate to establishing the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics Leadership. As a politician and human rights attorney Chumir was an advocate for human rights and believed ethical values are fundamental to a healthy society. The foundation was intended to advocate for leadership and legislature to further the cause of democratic legislation and social reform. The foundation offers internships and scholarships for students studying the field of Leadership and Law, publishes material pertaining to civil rights, and supports initiatives in the community.
The Sheldon M. Chumir Centre, an eight-story medical facility named in honor of Chumir, opened in Calgary in April 2008. The facility includes an Urgent Care Centre, Mental Health clinic, Diagnostic Imaging department and the Southern Alberta HIV Clinic.
Chumir was called one of Alberta’s New Mavericks by Jamie Komarnicki of the Calgary Herald, who in Chumir’s obituary described him as a “soft-spoken man with a quirky sense of humour [who] was a determined champion of public education and individual freedoms.”
In 2012, Chumir was posthumously honored by the Calgary Stampede Foundation with the centennial edition of the Western Legacy Award. This unique edition award recognized contributions of 100 Calgarians and their services to Calgary.
CVS Pharmacies are ready to lose $2 Billion by stopping sales of Tobacco. Will National Governments finally stop the charade of making money from pushing sales of Tobacco? Can the UN OWG for SDGs make it a Goal to Stop Smoking Worldwide ?
CVS/pharmacy stores will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October 1, its parent company, CVS Caremark, says.
Pharmacy chain CVS said Wednesday it will stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 locations across the United States, a move that public health advocates hope will become a watershed and pressure other large drug store franchises to follow suit.
CVS executives said the decision could cost billions of dollars in revenue because cigarettes draw so many customers in their stores. But by jettisoning tobacco products, CVS can further evolve their pharmacies into full-fledged health care providers and strike more profitable deals with hospitals and health insurers.
Read more at:
Ending tobacco sales “is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a statement.
The company also announced that it plans to launch a national smoking cessation program in the spring.
The retailer estimates it will take an annual loss of $2 billion from tobacco shoppers. CVS Caremark hasn’t reported its year-end results yet, but it took in nearly $94 billion in revenues in the first nine months of 2013, according to its most recent earnings report.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Dr. Christiana Figueres spoke at the New York Americas Society/ Council of the Americas about COP20 in Lima, Peru – December 1-12, 2014. She told her Americas audience that 2014 is the LATIN YEAR in the Climate Change negotiations.
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.
The following day – January 15, 2014, Ms. Christiana Figueres, participated at the UN Headquarters at the
Investor Summit on Climate Risk at UN Headquarte
TALKING FOR PEACE. KARL KAHANE LECTURE SERIES
Thursday, February 6, 7 p.m.
Bruno Kreisky Forum for international Dialogue | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien
THE JEW, THE ARAB: A HISTORY OF THE ENEMY
Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University
Fellow, Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem
In his book, The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy (Stanford UP, 2003), Gil Anidjar examines the absence of the enemy together with the absence of a history of Europe’s relation to both Jew and Arab in the Western philosophical, political and religious canon. The book is an attempt to analyze, in historical and theoretical terms, why these two absences are not reflected upon, what prevents such reflection.
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.
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?
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.
Sunny winter day in Vienna
A Forsythia bush comes into blossom in front of Votivkirche church on a sunny winter day in Vienna January 10, 2014.
Invitation to the debate of “The participat
On behalf of the Austrian Institute for International Affairs – oiip
I would like to invite you to the following Debate:
“The participation of Civil Society in peace negotiations
is indispensable for sustainable peace”
For the motion:
Véronique Dudouet, Berghof Foundation, Berlin
Christian Wlaschütz, Independent consultant, Vienna
Against the motion:
Jan Pospisil, oiip
Stefan Khittel, oiip
Otmar Höll, oiip
In 2012 peace processes in Colombia and the Philippines were resumed after months of secret negotiations.
How is it possible to involve Civil Society in such a process? And why should one do so?
What are the conceivable pitfalls of Civil Society participation and what does its exclusion entail?
Monday, 20 January 2014,
Austrian Institute for International Affairs – oiip,
Berggasse 7, 1090 Vienna
Programme, please see here
Sponsored by OeNB-Jubiläumsfonds Project nr 14694.
Event held within oiip’s research area of Comparative Foreign & Security Policy Analysis.
Monday, 13. Jänner 2014, 7 p.m.
Bruno Kreisky Forum for international Dialogue | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien
THE CRISES IN THE SAHEL REGION AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE FOR EUROPE.
Michel Reveyrand de Menthon
EU Special Representative for the Sahel
Federal Ministry for Defense and Sports; Head of Africa Policy Department
Member of the Board of the Bruno Kreisky Forum
For some time now, the European Union has recognized the Sahel Region as an area where security and development are closely interlinked and where the EU can and should play an important role in bringing these two aspects together. The EU had therefore worked out a ‘Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel’ and made this by Council decision an official part of European Common Foreign Policy. With the events in Mali, not even one year ago, this strategy took on a special significance and the EU decided, in March 2013, to nominate Michel Reveyrand de Menthon as EU Special Representative for the Sahel Region. The key aspect of his mandate is to contribute to the implementation, coordination and further development of the Unions comprehensive approach to the regional crisis, on the basis of its Strategy, with a view to enhancing the overall coherence and effectiveness of Union activities in the Sahel, in particular in Mali.
Although the Sahel region had designated as its primary focus namely Mali, Mauritania and Niger, it was clear that the regional ramifications would extend to the Maghreb and South and East to the adjacent African countries.
The presentation of M. Reveyrand de Menthon will therefore cover a wider geographical area, and will have a particular significance also in view of the very recent intensification of the conflict in the Central African Republic.
For Austria, the topic, and the visit of M. Reveyrand de Menthon has particular relevance because of the participation of a small contingent of troops in the EU Training Mission in Mali.
At least one human said – “I really feel ashamed to be Arabic” – when watching the 400,000 fireworks extravaganza of Dubai’s Guinness-Record Shattering New Year Environmentally Disatrous and Financially Obnoxious Event by people that complain about Gaza.
Posted: 03 Jan 2014 01:44 PM PST
Dubai rang in 2014 with a record-shattering fireworks display. In an effort to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest fireworks extravaganza previously held by Kuwait, the emirate exploded a whopping 400,000 fireworks in less than 10 minutes.
Choreographed by America’s Phil Grucci, Dubai’s fireworks display was spread across 100 kilometers and lasted six full minutes.
The event took 10 months to plan and more than 200 pyrotechnicians arranged around The Palm and The World artificial islands ensured the display went off without a hitch.
Fireworks used were purchased in China, Spain and the United States, according to The National, and were hauled to the launching site by a long series of trucks.
We’re being given the challenge of breaking the world record,” said Grucci, who has worked in Dubai in the past, “so the scale of this is nothing that anybody has had the opportunity to oversee.”
Kuwait’s previous record was shattered by Dubai’s over-the-top performance, where nearly 100,000 fireworks were set off every minute.
“[Kuwait's] firework display stretched over 5 km (3.11 miles) of seafront, started at 8 p.m. and lasted 64 minutes,” according to the Guinness World Record website. “Event organizers Parente Fireworks srl and Filmmaster MEA produced the event, which included the pyrotechnic display and a lights and sound show. Preceding this, an airshow was staged in the afternoon.”
Albeit impressive, the show somehow undoes all of the small steps that Dubai has taken over the last year to become a little less environmentally destructive.
While those that saw the show were extremely impressed and lauded Dubai’s efforts to draw tourists to the city, some commentators expressed regret over the extraordinary expense and extravagance.
“When I see this and remember that Gaza has been without electricity for 40 days,” said Oussama Bargougui on YouTube “I really feel ashamed to be Arabic.”
Screengrab from Dubai Media video
Above reminded me of the Arab UN official supervisor who at 60 years age bragged of just having had a baby.
from: Seita Romppanen firstname.lastname@example.org
Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change
Master’s Degree Programme in Environmental Policy and Law
A multidisciplinary two-year (120 ECTS) Master’s degree programme offered by the
University of Eastern Finland, Law School, Joensuu campus, Finland.
EXAMPLES OF THE COURSES WE OFFER
- Climate change law and policy
- International energy law and policy
Joensuu is located on Lake Pyhaselka, is a North Karelian city in the heart of the eastern Finnish lake country and is the economic and cultural center of the region. Joensuu offers a variety of winter sports, including skiing, skating, and ice-swimming.
Often called the “Forestry Capital of Europe,” Joensuu is the capital of the North Karelia province.
Semester 2 is early January to late May.
The University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu is an ideal place for students who want to experience the best of northern Europe while taking great courses in fields such as education, forestry, environmental science, and bio-sciences. Known as the Land of a Thousand Lakes, the Midnight Sun, and the Northern Lights, Finland is famous for its natural beauty, and its education system is ranked #1 in the world by the OECD.
An added address we found: Tulliportinkatu 1, 80130 Joensuu, Finland
Phone:+358 29 4451111
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.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Climate Action Rainbow called Regions 20 (R20) stretches from Santa Monica to Geneva. What Governments may be too weak to do – chunks of Regions and the Private Enterprise may be able to achieve easier.
Welcome to the Regions 20 website
The R20-Regions of Climate Action is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other global leaders in cooperation with the United Nations.
The R20 is a coalition of partners led by regional governments that work to promote and implement projects that are designed to produce local economic and environmental benefits in the form of reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; strong local economies; improved public health; and new green jobs. These local actions can help the world achieve our shared global environmental and economic goals.
” R20 is not just another NGO or network of regions, it is much more than that. It is a real coalition of forces which believe that climate change and green economic development can be tackled at the subnational level.” — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the Global Journal, May-June 2011. Official Arnold Schwarzenegger website
Note: Bold denotes founding member.
Schwarzenegger flexes green muscles in Geneva.
Arnie also visited the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show to put the spotlight on the latest green cars (Reuters)
by Simon Bradley in Geneva, swissinfo.ch
The war against climate change must become “hipper” to interest more people, says former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Hollywood action hero was in Geneva this week in his latest role as green activist to inaugurate his R20 non-profit environmental group, which has established a headquarters at Versoix, on the city outskirts.
During his three-day visit Schwarzenegger broke Geneva University audience records at a public conference on his latest “crusade” – climate change and the economy.
Schwarzenegger’s R20 brings together a diverse alliance of 30 city and regional governments and partners “to develop, finance, implement, evaluate and replicate low-carbon and climate-resilient projects on a worldwide scale”. The long-term objective is to increase that to 200 regions with green investments worth $100 billion by 2017.
Launched in December 2009, the public-private group, which held its first general meetings in Geneva this week, is all about action, said Schwarzenegger.
One of the R20’s aims is to spread knowledge of the benefits of clean energy.
A number of projects are underway, such as more efficient public lighting, and a “cool roofs” initiative – the installation of white roofs, which reflect the sun and keep houses cool.
Martin Beniston, head of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at Geneva University, said the R20 was a “key example of actions in favour of the environment that open up opportunities for local and national economies”.
‘Sustainia’ will be presented to world leaders in June at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, alongside “Sustainia100”, a catalogue of 100 ideal solutions and technologies.
Versoix was chosen as the R20 headquarters due to the concentration of United Nations specialist environmental agencies, as well as NGOs like the WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Economic Forum, as well as private banks.
“It has the potential to play an important role, particularly in resource efficiency which is crucial to achieving climate change goals,” he told swissinfo.ch. “This is a signal that reflects the fact that Geneva has become a critical hub for environmental issues.”
He agreed that there was a “desperate need” for bottom-up approaches, but added that looking at those alone would not be sufficient.
Born in Austria on July 30, 1947, he holds dual Austrian-US nationality. He stormed the world of bodybuilding winning the Mr Universe title at the age of 20 and went on to hold the Mr Olympia title seven times.
He gained world fame as an action film icon in movies such as Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Last Action Hero, The Running Man, Twins, True Lies, Batman & Robin. He is back working on a series of new films.
He was governor of California from 2003 to 2011 serving two terms. In 2006, California became the first US state to place a cap on greenhouse gases. The law set new regulations on the amount of emissions utilities, refineries and manufacturing plants are allowed to release into the atmosphere.
Schwarzenegger also signed a second global warming bill that prohibits large utilities and corporations in California from making long-term contracts with suppliers who do not meet the state’s greenhouse gas emission standards.
The two bills are part of a plan to reduce California’s emissions by 25 per cent to 1990s levels by 2020. In 2005, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order calling to reduce greenhouse gases to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.
CO2 emission cuts
As a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, Switzerland in 1997 committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In an initial phase CO2 emissions were to be reduced ten per cent over 1990 levels by 2010.
The government foresees raising the target to at least a 20 per cent cut in emissions by 2020, partly through a CO2 tax, an emissions trading system and compensation measures outside Switzerland.
Parliament approved the 20 per cent target, but wants cuts to be achieved through measures within Switzerland only.
Discussions are continuing on extending the CO2 tax from heating oil, gas and coal to also include petrol.
Environmental groups collected enough signatures for a nationwide vote on separate proposals for a 30 per cent cut in emissions.
The EU, which does not include Switzerland, has also set 20 per cent emission cut targets.
EXIL: BRUCHSTÜCKE UND LEBENSMODELLE
JULYA RABINOWICH IN TEXT UND GESPRÄCH.
Julya Rabinowich: österreichische Schriftstellerin, Dramatikerin, Malerin und Simultandolmetscherin.
Moderation: Isolde Charim, Autorin und Philosophin
Fax: 318 82 60/10