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Event: Scaling-up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice

13. Dezember 2018 - 17:13
EventWhat?

Scaling-up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice

When?

18.01.2019, 15:30-17:30

Where?

Heinrich Böll Foundation
Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Registration until 14.01.2019:

Please register with your full name:
ingrid.heindorf@worldfuturecouncil.org

Event: Scaling up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice

On the occasion of International Green Week and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019, the World Future Council is hosting a panel discussion on Friday, January 18, 2019 in Berlin. The aim is to promote the strengthening of agroecology in politics and practice in Germany and beyond – the theme of this year’s Future Policy Award.

The event is supported by a broad coalition of organizations committed to more sustainable food systems, including the Schweisfurth Foundation, IFOAM – Organics International as well as the German NGO Alliance on Agroecology, to which the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Inkota, Bread for the World, Misereor, Oxfam and Welthungerhilfe belong.

It has long been recognized that agroecological systems are not just more productive and provide more people with healthy nutrition, but they also protect our natural resources and make farms more resilient against the effects of climate change such as extreme droughts or prolonged rains. Given the diversity and complexity of the agroecosystems, the transformation process towards agroecology is equally multifaceted.

How can we create environments in which agroecology thrives? Which essential and prompt changes do we need in the agricultural, development and subsidy policies? Which successful policies and practices examples exist and how can we learn from them? Exemplary solutions which successfully scale-up agroecology are to be found across all continents, such as the two winners of the 2018 Future Policy Award 2018 – 100% organic state of Sikkim in India or the participatory urban agricultural programme of the Ecuadorian capital Quito. In addition, excellent practice examples – Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 – will be presented; a recognition, which the World Future Council organizes for the grow platform GmbH.

How do the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the German Government see agroecology? What challenges exist? How does civil society view the state of affairs and, from their perspective, what must be done to strengthen agroecology? These questions and more we wish to discuss with our guests and with you. In addition to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the German NGO Agroecology Alliance, our Supervisory Board Chairman and Chairman of the Schweisfurth Foundation, Prof. Dr. Franz-Theo Gottwald, will also participate in the discussion. The event will be moderated by journalist Dr. Tanja Busse.

With this event, the World Future Council builds on past events, which have been sustaining the urgent debate with decision-makers on how to increase Germany’s activities in promoting agroecology.

The event will take place on 18 January 2019 from 15:30 to 17:30 h at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Interested parties can register by e-mail until 14.1.2019, 12 noon, stating the full name of those to attend:
ingrid.heindorf@worldfuturecouncil.org

Further information can be found in our invitation.

This event is sponsored by the Schweisfurth Foundation:

The post Event: Scaling-up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

Greetings from COP24’s 4 per 1000 Initiative Day!

13. Dezember 2018 - 16:44

On the occasion of the UNFCCC COP24 (December 2018) in Katowice, Poland, the international “4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate” organised, in partnership with the University of Silesia, the second 4 per 1000 Initiative Day on 13 December 2018. An important event to which the World Future Council was invited to speak.

Numerous ministers and renowned personalities took the floor to underline the importance of soil protection and how improved soil health can absorb greenhouse gases and thereby fight climate change. World Future Council’s Climate Director Rob van Riet underlined the need to advance urgently the transition towards sustainable food systems and presented the winners of Future Policy Award 2018 – exemplary policies that work towards this transition and scale up agroecology.

After working in 2017 with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the World Future Council had organized this year’s Future Policy Award in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organic International. In 2017, the 4 per 1000 Initiative that was launched in 2015 during the Paris Climate Change Conference by H.E. Stéphane Le Foll, then French Minister of Agriculture, AgriFood and Forestry, won the Future Policy Vision Award as it created an unprecedented attention to the role soils play for food security and climate stability.

More about the 4per1000 Initiative More about the Future Policy Award 2018

 

The post Greetings from COP24’s 4 per 1000 Initiative Day! appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

Press Release: Global Renewables Congress to be launched at UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland

10. Dezember 2018 - 10:22

A new cross-country and cross-party platform for parliamentarians aims for the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewable energy solutions, as “Only a swift transition to renewable energies can halt climate crisis and save us from its devastating impacts.“

Hamburg/Katowice, 10 December 2018 – The 24th UN Climate Conference (COP24) is underway in Katowice, Poland (2-14 December). After countless unusual weather events have wreaked havoc all over the globe this year, this round of climate change negotiations comes at a critical time. Implementing far-reaching changes to our societies to cut carbon and phase-out fossil fuels has become inevitable. Against this backdrop, the Global Renewables Congress (GRC) will be launched on December 11 on the sidelines of COP24. The GRC is a new cross-country, cross-party platform for ongoing dialogue between and with legislators for the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewable energy solutions. Current and former legislators from national and regional parliaments can become members of the GRC. The GRC is chaired by Bärbel Höhn, former MP of the German Bundestag and acting Commissioner for Energy Reform in Africa for the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

“Only a swift transition to renewable energies can halt climate crisis and save us from its devastating impacts”, states Bärbel Höhn. “We must deliver renewables at scale. In order to stand a chance of avoiding the catastrophic consequences of climate crisis, renewable energy solutions need to be deployed more widely and rapidly than ever before. The GRC has great potential to advance them on a global level.”

Co-Chairs are appointed representing each of the major regions of the world. The World Future Council provides the secretariat of the GRC.
“A series of recent reports, including the IPCC 1.5 Special Report, makes it clear that we are nowhere near on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement”, argues Rob van Riet, Director of the Climate Energy Programme at the World Future Council. “The good news is that a clean energy transition is technologically feasible, and that it can act as a catalyst for achieving the Agenda 2030; the bad news is that political will still falters and vested interests resist this transformation of our energy system. The GRC aims for the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewables and I am optimistic it will bring decision-makers together to create the synergies needed for this process.”

The GRC is made possible through the support of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt/DBU) and the Stiftung Mercator. Additional support for this project was made available by Mr. Amir Roughani, Ambassador for the World Future Council.

MORE INFORMATION

www.renewablescongress.org
Anna Skowron
Project Manager Climate & Energy, World Future Council
anna.skowron@worldfuturecouncil.org

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager
World Future Council
miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org
+49 (0) 40 3070914-19

About the World Future Council

The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org

The post Press Release: Global Renewables Congress to be launched at UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

Ghana on its way to offer better protection for survivors of child violence

6. Dezember 2018 - 10:47

For majority of children in Ghana, violence is an unfortunate part of their everyday life.  According to official statistical reports, 9 out of 10 children are victims of mental or physical violence, and physical punishment is a common phenomenon. More shocking are the figures for sexual violence: about 4% of all girls are victims of genital mutilation and one out of five girls is sexually abused every day. There is an urgent need for action to protect children from violence! For girls and boys who experience and survive violence or abuse, a central, child-friendly contact point would be established from the first quarter of 2019, where trained personnel from the Domestic Violence Unit of the Police Service, Social Welfare and Ghana Health Service are available to offer prompt, secured and confidential service to victims.  Our team conducted a technical workshop with representatives of Ministries and other State institutions responsible for Child Protection in Ho, South-East Ghana to train them on the processes in establishing and managing One Stop Centers. These are the main results at a glance.

Samia Kassid during the technical workshop for the establishment of a one-stop-center pilot program in Ghana

In November 2017, the World Future Council Foundation invited political decision-makers from 12 African and Asian countries to Zanzibar to acquaint themselves with the country’s progressive Child Protection Law and its implementation. Zanzibar won the Gold Award of the “Political Oscar” Future Policy Award in 2015.

The Ghanaian delegation, consisting of representatives from the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Law Faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration were inspired by the one-stop-center model that Zanzibar has currently implemented in 6 out of 11 districts.

 

 What is a one stop center?

One-Stop-Center (OSC) are central contact points for children affected by (sexualised) violence. Here the children can find medical, psycho-social and, if necessary, legal help under one roof. Also, the case is taken directly by the police. The graphic illustrates the model:

As an important element of a strong national child protection system, the one-stop-center for (sexual) violence and abuse provide victims (girls and boys, women and men) with a one-stop shop that offers various services under one roof. As a result, the affected person does not have to go through the trauma of narrating the incident several times and also receives quick help. It helps parents stay focused on treating their child and persecuting the perpetrator. In cases without the OSC, survivors mostly have to visit different institutions – that costs money and time. The later a case is reported, the harder it is to gather evidence of abuse on a child’s body.

Ideally, a one-stop center provides four services and is usually integrated into a hospital:

  1. Psycho-social care – this is where the first interview takes place and the social worker decides which further steps are required. If there is an abuse / violence, the child will be escorted to the next room, where a police trained officer in civilian clothes and child-friendly relations will take the case.
  2. Medical examination: in a second room, the child visits a doctor. Here the first medical and forensic examinations take place. If the child needs further special treatment, it will be treated immediately in the hospital.
  3. The employees of the one-stop-center are provided by the relevant ministries (Health, Interior, Gender) and the Centre is (at best) coordinated by the Ministry of Health. They all receive same training so they can better collaborate and follow same procedures and guidelines in writing all reports. This makes it easier for the Police and the courts to track and prosecute cases.
  4. Support for counseling and legal aid is ideally offered in the fourth room.

 

Ghana on the way to a pilot program

A member of the Team from Zanzibar sharing her experience at the workshop

After intensive discussions with the Department of Children from April 2018, the World Future Council Foundation organised a technical workshop to fully introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-center model in Ghana from the 25-27 November 2018. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana: Deputy Chairwoman Halima Abdallah, who spearheaded the establishment of the One-Stop-Center in the Ministry of Family and Health, Dr. Marijani, who has been responsible for medical and forensic investigations since its implementation in 2011, and Farshuu Khalfa, head of a one-stop center in Stone Town. Their insights, expertise and practical experience were most welcome and helpful in drawing up the roadmap for Ghana.

Under the auspices of the Children’s Department, 30 key representatives and decision-makers took part in the workshop to discuss the need for the OSC and to develop the roadmap for a pilot program. The participants represented the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Social Welfare Department and the specialised Domestic Violence Unit of the Police service – DOVVSU.  Other international child rights organizations including ActionAid, World Vision, International Needs, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present.

The Director of the Department of Children, speaking at Workshop

After intensive discussions with the Department of Children from April 2018, the World Future Council Foundation organised a technical workshop to fully introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-center model in Ghana from the 25-27 November 2018. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana: Deputy Chairwoman Halima Abdallah, who spearheaded the establishment of the One-Stop-Center in the Ministry of Family and Health, Dr. Marijani, who has been responsible for medical and forensic investigations since its implementation in 2011, and Farshuu Khalfa, head of a one-stop center in Stone Town. Their insights, expertise and practical experience were most welcome and helpful in drawing up the roadmap for Ghana.

Under the auspices of the Children’s Department, 30 key representatives and decision-makers took part in the workshop to discuss the need for the OSC and to develop the roadmap for a pilot program. The participants represented the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Social Welfare Department and the specialised Domestic Violence Unit of the Police service – DOVVSU.  Other international child rights organizations including ActionAid, World Vision, International Needs, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present.

The most important results of the workshop at a glance:

  • Development of a timetable
  • Coordination of the One-Stop-Center pilot program scheduled for the Ministry of Health
  • An inter-ministerial conference scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 to decide on the timetable
  • A core group will identify a possible location for the pilot program

A final communiqué summarises the results of the workshop and the further planned steps.

Arbeitsgruppen während des Workshops

The post Ghana on its way to offer better protection for survivors of child violence appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

Why is soil so important?

5. Dezember 2018 - 10:06
Happy World Soil Day!

In order to stress the importance of environmental and soil protection, the United Nations celebrate this indispensable natural resource every year with World Soil Day, on 5th December. Celebrations are taking place around the world and so they do, for instance, in the Republic of San Marino, to which the World Future Council was invited to speak.

Why is soil so important?

Soil health is fundamental for a healthy food production. It provides essential nutrients, water, oxygen and support to the roots, all elements that favour the growth and development of plants for food production. The soil hosts a big community of diverse organisms that improve the structure of the soil, recycle essential nutrients, helps to control weeds, plant pests and diseases. Another important aspect is that when soil is healthy, it contributes to mitigate climate change by keeping or increasing soil organic carbon. Soil is the basis of food systems as well as the place where all plants for food production grow. For that reason it is extremely important to preserve soils and to start a global cultural movement which returns to soils the primary importance that they deserve.

What does the World Future Council to promote soil protection?

The World Future Council identifies and promotes successful solutions to protect our soils. Our Future Policy Award, which is the world’s only prize for exemplary laws and policies, was awarded in 2009 on the topic of Food Security. The Gold Award went to the outstanding legislative programme from the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, which promotes urban and community-based agriculture and protects thereby precious soils.

Our Future Policy Award 2017 was awarded in the area of ​​desertification and land degradation, in close cooperation with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The Tigray region in Ethiopia which has rehabilitated degraded land by mass mobilization and on a massive scale, won Gold Award. Since 1991, soil and water conservation measures have been carried out on 960,000 hectares, and despite a growing population, the region has thus achieved reduced soil erosion, better water infiltration and improved soil productivity.

Recently, we celebrated with our Future Policy Award 2018 the world’s best policies for scaling up agroecology in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and all winning policies from Brazil to India, from Denmark to the USA, from Senegal to the Philippines show how to successfully protect soils and biodiversity, increase productivity, making farming more climate resilient and profitable for those who do the job.

The World Future Council engages to show what is possible, how much more you can achieve if you invest sustainably and not just short-term ideas. It is extremely important that these forward-looking solutions are increasingly taken up and disseminated. Because still we have the possibility to limit the globally rapidly spreading problems. Please help us and support our work for healthy soils!

What happens today in San Marino?

 

Today, on 5th December 2018, at 10:30 am Augusto Michelotti, San Marino’s State Secretary of Territory, Environment and Tourism, and

Ingrid Heindorf, World Future Council’s Geneva Representative, will both address San Marino’s Presidency (Capitani Reggenti), stressing the urgency to protect our soils from land degradation. Thereafter, from 11 am onwards, they will participate in a Roundtable in Palazzo Graziani to present solutions on how to best advance soil protection in San Marino and to discuss with renowned experts, relevant associations of San Marino as well as the general public.

 

 

You are interested in finding out more?

Have a look here or read our recent news posts on the Future Policy Award.

Help us and donate to our work!

Follow us on Twitter!

 

The post Why is soil so important? appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

Berlin welcomes the World Future Council into the Bundestag

4. Dezember 2018 - 11:33
100% Organic Sikkim, World Future Councillor Vandana Shiva and Director Alexandra Wandel in the German Parliament with Former Minister for Food and Agriculture Renate Künast

 

On Thursday 29th November, Berlin provided a solace of winter sun after a week of heavy-hanging weather to welcome World Future Councillor and world-renowned environmental activist, Prof. Dr. Vandana Shiva, and the Director of the World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel in the capital’s Parliament Complex. They were invited by Member of Parliament, Renate Künast, former Minister for Food and Agriculture to discuss the agro-political situation in India, the world’s first 100%-organic state and Gold-winner of the Future Policy Award 2018, Sikkim, as well as the road-map to sustainable global agriculture.

 “Sikkim shows that we can turn this around and walk the agro-ecological path.”

Vandana Shiva

In a simple yet elegant conference room, the Honourable Künast welcomed her guests and 30 audience members from the German Parliament, European environmental institutes and the general public, and opened the discussion. The conversation quickly turned to agriculture in India. As a country whose agricultural face was profoundly transformed under the Green Revolution of the mid-20th Century, India is a notable example of the extreme conflicts and contrasts in the current global food system. Councillor Shiva described the horrors incurred by input-intensive agriculture in the country, which she has repeatedly encountered across four decades of environmental activism. An ongoing suicide-epidemic of hundreds of thousands of debt-ridden farmers, a ‘cancer train’, from the Punjab the Rajasthan, and a youth driven from agriculture and into drug abuse were some of the images she invoked. But the old techniques based on an old reductionist “lego-logic” have been recognised and, by some, reversed in the most radical and inspiring ways.

 

“A new knowledge of an old knowledge will be the future of humankind.”

Renate Künast

Over the past 45 years, Sikkim state in the Himalaya Region of India has made the transition to 100%-organic agriculture. Model farms, farmer field schools and a total ban on non-organic food-products have been instrumental in training over 65,000 farmers across 75,000 hectares into sustainable, fully-organic methods. World Future Council Director Wandel described how this unprecedented and entirely-successful transformation has earned the region countless benefits for its farmers and the health and well-being of the local people, as well as a 50% boom in tourism and recognition on the global stage. It is for this tireless work in organic agriculture that Sikkim was awarded the Gold Future Policy Award 2018 at the ceremony in front of 170 heads of state in Rome. Whilst 51 other nominations to the post were extensively researched and other policies from Denmark, Ecuador and Brazil received a Silver recognition, Sikkim’s efforts proved by far by the most exemplary.

 

“A truly visionary and holistic approach to agriculture.”

Alexandra Wandel

As part of her work with the Parliamentary Group on India, Hon. Künast recently had the opportunity to visit Sikkim experience their ground-breaking (and ground-making) work first-hand. She said she was wholly impressed by how the state uses public money to provide possibilities and livelihood dignity for its citizens in organic agriculture. Their valuing of traditional knowledge fuses with the goodness of the people in an atmosphere of respect for one another and the Earth.                                                                                                

 

“Sikkim is the light. The struggle must continue.”

Vandana Shiva

After all speakers had passionately shared their experiences and knowledge, the floor was opened up for questions from the audience. The opportunities and risks of digitalisation of agriculture came first, and Councillor Shiva was quick to insist on the stark difference between the right to technology and free internet, versus the forced digitalisation of agriculture. We must remain wary of the dangers of commodification of agricultural data for use by big companies. “Defining the commons in this new context,” said Prof. Dr. Shiva, “is extremely important.”

A second audience member asked how Sikkim was perceived at national level – is this the dawn of an organic India? There certainly exist other positive examples, for example, efforts in the Northern state of Ladakh to become organic. However, at national level, major obstacles remain. Vital here is the ongoing commitment to a sustainable vision by all spheres of society.

“We need a real debate across all of our societies or the future is a dead-end. Only food democracy will feed us in 2050.”

Vandana Shiva

The Director of the World Future Council Alexandra Wandel mentioned that unfortunately not a single German law was nominated for the Future Policy Award on Scaling Up Agroecology and that parliamentarians were invited to have a look at the awarded policies, including the organic policy of Sikkim and also the silver award from neighbouring country Denmark which received the Future Policy Silver Award and has the highest share of organic products in the world.

The event in the German Parliament came a day after the World Future Council and Councillor Shiva were invited to celebrate Bread for the World’s (Brot für die Welt) 60th anniversary in the German Theatre, and proceeded two exciting events at the historic Babylon Cinema in Berlin’s Mitte district. The first – “Vision for Agriculture 2050” [1] [2] –  was a debate between Councillor Shiva, Norbert Lemken, Director Agricultural Policy at Bayer and Prof. Dr. Sonoko Dorothea Bellingrath-Kimura of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). As the audience outed their respective support and outrage, the debate raged over the science behind chemical inputs, the capacity to feed the world and the morality behind this monumental task. After a short break where audience members could inform themselves with Councillor Shiva’s literature and speak with Liam Innis about the World Future Council and the Future Policy Award, the night continued with the screening of “SEED: The Untold Story[3]. The film, wherein Councillor Shiva is a protagonist follows the rich and treasured history of Earth’s 12,000 year-old food legacy, which continues to be threatened to extinction by – and fight back against – an all-encompassing agro-industry.

 

“I think it’s time to bring care, sharing, love, the commons and our brains back into the picture of agriculture.”

Vandana Shiva

 

[1] https://www.2000m2.eu/de/vandana-shiva-visions-for-agriculture-2050/

[2] https://theworldnews.net/de-news/aktivistin-streitet-mit-konzern-vandana-shiva-vs-bayer-lobbyist

[3] https://www.seedthemovie.com

The post Berlin welcomes the World Future Council into the Bundestag appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

The World Future Council at COP24 Climate Conference in Katowice: Our events

28. November 2018 - 18:04
The World Future Council at COP24 Climate Conference in Katowice: Our events

With the annual UN Climate Conference just around the corner, we are excited to invite you to meet our Climate & Energy Team at our side events on December 12 in Poland. This year, the 24th conference is taking place in Katowice, Poland from 2-14 December 2018. The Polish Presidency aims for the full implementation of the Paris Rule Book helping countries to implement and enhance their determined contributions.

The three key topics will be

technology – providing climate-friendly modern solutions,
human – leading change together with people, and
nature – considering climate, biodiversity and desertification.

Our side events contribute to technological solutions and focus on the role of 100% Renewable Energy and the building of roadmaps to achieve the Agenda 2030.

Join our discussion, we would love to meet you during our side events!
In case, you cannot make it to Poland, all side events will be broadcasted via Skype Meeting Broadcast.

Side Events Webcast Page
More about COP24

1. Delivering Renewables at Scale: A must to meet the Paris Agreement

  • Date:

    Wednesday, 12.12.2018 at 16:45 – 18:15, Room 3

  • Speaker/ Panel:

    Laura Williamson, REN21
    Rob van Riet, World Future Council
    Sebastian Helgenberger, IASS

  • Facilitator:

    Stefan Schurig, F20

  • Theme:

    Join a lively exchange about delivering renewables at scale. How can we ensure effective investment of the $52 trillion needed to meet 2030 climate objectives? How can the co-benefits of renewable energy drive an ambitious climate agenda? How are Agenda 2030, the NDCs and achieving 100%RE linked?

2. Building successful 100%RE roadmaps – leading in post-Paris times

  • Date:

    Wednesday, 12.12.2018 at 10:00 – 11:15, WWF Pavilion

  • Speaker:

    Michael Schäfer, WWF
    Anna Skowron, World Future Council
    Sven Teske, UTS
    Sixbert Mwanga, CAN Tanzania

  • Facilitator:

    tbc

  • Theme:

    The recent IPCC report urges us to fully decarbonise the way we live – this means a transition towards 100% renewable energy. How can this transition can be achieved? What are the RE potentials? Why do we need national roadmaps? How are Agenda 2030,  the NDCs and 100% RE linked?

The post The World Future Council at COP24 Climate Conference in Katowice: Our events appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

Winning Policy of our Future Policy Award Ndiob is running for Climate Initiative Awards

22. November 2018 - 18:22

Agroecology is key to increase climate resilience of our agriculture and food systems! We are therefore very excited to see that these days one of our winning policies of the Future Policy Award 2018 from Ndiob in Senegal is running for 2018 Climate Initiative Awards of the 8th Africities Summit that is held these days at Marrakesh, Morocco and is dedicated to the theme “The Transition to Sustainable Cities and Territories, The Role of Local and Sub-National Governments of Africa.” We have interviewed Mayor Ba, who along with his fellows at the municipal council and villagers, has kicked off a truly exemplary transition process in the Senegalese municipality of Ndiob:

Mayor Ba, you have recently received an Honourable Mention of the Future Policy Award 2018, at the FAO Headquarters – how do you feel about this high-level recognition?

Honourable Mentions of the Future Policy Award 2018: Los Angeles, Ndiob and Kauswagan.

It was a great pleasure to receive this award. It is the confirmation that our vision and our programme are relevant. However, we won’t brag about this award. We consider it as a motivation to keep working and fighting. It is like an “engagement letter” that the stakeholders gave us to promote agroecology and to prove that agroecology is a credible alternative to conventional agriculture that fails to feed the world.

When did you actually think about agroecology for the first time, and about starting an agroecological transition in Ndiob? Was there a key moment triggering your action?

I am of peasant origin and in spite of the responsibilities I’ve had at the national level, I’ve always been closely related to my family. It allowed me to note the constant degradation of natural resources, fauna, flora, ecosystems and the lower yields that generated impoverishment! Poor agricultural practices and excessive use of synthetic chemical inputs have contributed significantly to soil leaching and declining soil fertility. Our parents and grandparents did not use these synthetic products but had good harvest and preserved biodiversity. So we decided that the best thing we could offer to the younger generations and to the future generations was a sound environment and the abundance we had when we were young. When we realized that, we turned to agroecology. We researched to understand agroecology and we experimented with success in fields and farm schools. Encouraged by our first results, we decided to scale up by generalizing the experience throughout our community. However, to be more effective, it was necessary to have the support of local government. So we decided to run in the municipal elections on an environmental list. The people trusted us and we won by a landslide. Since then we have initiated the process of ecological transition for our municipality. This earned us the award from FAO and its partners like World Future Council and IFOAM – Organic International.

Looking at what has been achieved so far in Ndiob, what are your impressions?

Mayor Ba in an interview about the award winning policy. Watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/TqVedM0LFLs

We have successfully launched the agroecological transition process. There was a lot of training, awareness raising and experimental activities. We managed to increase the yield of millet from 350 to 1000 kg per hectare on a 100-hectare sample. The populations are enthusiastic and embrace more and more our vision. The use of chemical inputs is decreasing and we are slowly moving towards the use of organic inputs.

What will be the next steps ahead of you?

At the local level, the next step will be to achieve in 2019 the agroecological transition of two villages (Thiallé and Soumnane) of the municipality. These two villages unanimously decided to adopt agroecology as a rural development model. We defined a support programme to help them achieving their ecological transition. We are currently looking for technical and financial partners for the realization of this programme. This territorial approach is important. We will build on this process and model it in view of its replication in the other villages. The objective is to extend the project within three to four years to all the villages in order to make Ndiob a green and resilient municipality. At the international level, it would be great if a programme of exchanging experiences that were awarded by the 2018 Future Policy Award could be set up. As champions in this field, we need to strengthen our relations and establish a core group that will, with the support of partners, provide leadership in the promotion of agroecology at the global level.

Learn more about Ndiob by visiting our Future Policy Award 2018 winners page.

The post Winning Policy of our Future Policy Award Ndiob is running for Climate Initiative Awards appeared first on World Future Council.

Kategorien: Hamburg

“It’s all about the landscape” – new Film on land restoration launched

22. Oktober 2018 - 18:36

Healthy soils are key for food security. But today, huge parts of our land are degraded. So restoring land will have a huge impact on food, soils, and livelihoods on the continent. How can we restore Africa’s degraded land? The new film of our Africa manager, Ina Neuberger Wilkie “It’s all about the landscape” is now launching at the 4p1000 Africa Symposium in Johannesburg.

The film explores good solutions in Tigray (Ethiopia), Jordan, Egypt and Namibia – solutions we identified in our 2017 Future Policy Award on Combating Desertification. We talk to our Councillors and experts Wanjira Mathai (Green Belt Movement), Luc Gnacadja (former UNCCD Executive Secretary) and Helmy Abouleish (CEO of Sekem). We also interview Dr. Hans Herren and Dr. Melaku Worede: Dr. Herren, Right Livelihood Award (“Alternative Nobel Prize”) Laureate and Member of the World Future Council. He is known for his biological pest control in Africa. Dr. Worede is received the Right Livelihood Award in 1989 and is a renowned Agronomy expert from Ethiopia.

We find that in Africa, it is all about the landscape.

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World Food Day 2018: Celebrating the World Best Agroecology Policies

16. Oktober 2018 - 15:40

It’s World Food Day today! Being one of the most celebrated international days, the World Future Council is especially proud that we just distinguished eight truly exemplary policies scaling up agroecology with our Future Policy Award 2018. Among them are policies from Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, India, the Philippines, Senegal, the United States of America, as well as TEEBAgrifood that accelerate the transformative change in the way we produce and consume our food.

Yesterday evening a high-level Award Ceremony was held in the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Centre of FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, in presence of more than 150 Heads of State, Ministers, Permanent Representatives and other eminent guests, including FAO Deputy Director-General Ms Maria-Helena Semedo.

(c) FAO

(c) FAO

(c) FAO

Three World Future Councillors – Prof. Dr Vandana Shiva, Dr. Hans R. Herren and Helmy Abouleish – who are also Right Livelihood Award Laureates were on stage.

 

(c) FAO

Among the representatives of winning policies was H.E. Dr. Pawan Chamling, Honourable Chief Minister of the Indian State of Sikkim, who received the Gold Prize for having realised the first organic state in the world. H.E. Dr. Chamling was accompanied by an entire delegation, including Mr. Somnath Poudyal, Agriculture Minister of Sikkim, and Mr. Mani Kumar Pradhan, Director of Sikkim Organic Mission.

Ms. Vibeke Gram Mortensen representing the current Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Hon. Mette Gjerskov, former Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Mr. Paul Holmbeck from Organic Denmark all came to collect the Silver Award for Denmark’s Organic Action Plan of 2011-2020, which resulted in Denmark having today the highest market share of organic products in the world.

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From Brazil, H.E. Alberto Beltrame, Minister of Social Development, joined, along with Ms. Lilian Rahal, National Secretary for Food and Nutrition Security, Mr. Henrique Villa da Costa Ferreira, Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Rogério Augusto Neuwald, Executive Secretary of  National Commission of Agroecology and Organic Production (CNAPO), and Ms. Maria Verônica de Santana, Executive Secretary of the Northeastern Rural Worker’s Movement (MMTR-NE). Together, they were handed over the 2nd Silver Prize for the country’s Policy on Agroecology and Organic Production, which in its first cycle of activities led to impressive quantitative results in terms of advancing the agroecological agenda in the country (budget and initiative-wise), investing over EUR 364 million.

The third Silver Award that went to Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme AGRUPAR, Ecuador, was personally accepted by Mr. Alfonso Abdo, Executive Director of CONQUITO. AGRUPAR fosters food security, increases incomes, and enhances ecosystem functions, and led to over 3,600 urban gardens growing on 32 hectares and more than 21,000 people trained in ecological production.

This year’s Future Policy Vision Award honoured TEEBAgriFood, a unique comprehensive evaluation framework which allows assessing of impacts and externalities of food systems. The trophy was proudly received by Dr. Steven Stone from UN Environment, Mr. Pavan Sukhdev, Goodwill Ambassador of UN Environment and former World Future Councillor, and Mr. Alexander Müller, TEEBAgriFood Study Leader.

Mr. Rommel C. Arnado, current Mayor of Kauswagan in the Philippines, Mr. Oumar Bâ, current Mayor of Ndiob and President of REVES, Senegal, and Ms. Paula Daniels, Chair of Board and Co-Founder of Center for Good Food Purchasing, and Ms. Alexa Delwiche, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Center for Good Food Purchasing from Los Angeles, USA came personally to receive the Honourable Mentions for Kauswagan’s From Arms to Farms Programme of 2011, Ndiob’s Vision to become a green, resilient municipality of 2014 and Agriculture Development Programme of 2017, and the Good Food Purchasing Policy that was first adopted by Los Angeles in 2012.

Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council, who acted also as Master of Ceremonies, says: “It was a truly exciting live webcasted event! We profoundly thank everyone. We thank all our partners – foremost FAO, IFOAM, DO-IT, GCI, SEKEM, and ECORNATURASI, all awardees and speakers, as well as jury members, but also the many experts and volunteers, who supported us in making this year’s Future Policy Award possible. It has been a great success!”

Alexandra Wandel, World Future Council (c) FAO

After the Award Ceremony all guests were invited to a 100% organic cocktail reception. Partners, awardees and speakers then came together for a Roman agroecological dinner, which rounded off this exceptional occurrence and celebrated the eve of World Food Day with local, healthy, organic and agroecological food.

NOTE: All images shown in this post are the property of UN FAO. Available via Flickr.

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Press release: 2018 Future Policy Award winners announced

12. Oktober 2018 - 9:00
Future Policy Award 2018 crowns best policies on agroecology and sustainable food systems The “100% organic state” Sikkim in India wins Gold. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Ecuador honoured with Silver Awards

 

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Hamburg/Rome, 12 October 2018 – The world’s best laws and policies promoting agroecology are awarded the Future Policy Award (FPA) 2018. The “100% organic state” Sikkim, in India, is this year’s winner of the “Oscar for best policies”, beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Quito (Ecuador) take home Silver Awards. This year’s award is co-organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM – Organics International.

 

Gold Prize winner Sikkim is the first organic state in the world. All of its farmland is certified organic. At the same time, Sikkim’s approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens. Embedded in its design are socioeconomic aspects such as consumption and market expansion, cultural aspects as well as health, education, rural development and sustainable tourism. The policy implemented a phase out of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and achieved a total ban on sale and use of chemical pesticides in the state. The transition has benefitted more than 66 000 farming families. The Sikkim tourism sector has benefitted greatly from the state’s transition to 100 percent organic:  the number of tourists increased by over 50 percent between 2014 and 2017. As such, Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other Indian states and countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology.

 

Three Silver Awards are granted to:

  • Brazil’s National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production (PNAPO, 2012): In its first cycle of activities PNAPO invested 364 million Euros. Amongst others, it helped 5,300 municipalities to invest 30% or more of their school feeding budgets in organic and agroecological products purchased from family farmers.
  • Denmark’s Organic Action Plan (2011-2020, updated in 2015): As a result of the Action Plan, Denmark has the highest market share of organic products in the world, with almost 80 percent of Danes purchasing organic food.
  • Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme (AGRUPAR, 2002): With over 3 600 urban gardens growing on 32 hectares and more than 21 000 people trained, AGRUPAR fosters food security, increases incomes, and enhances ecosystem functions.

 

The Vision Award goes to TEEBAgriFood, an initiative of “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) by UN Environment. TEEBAgriFood has developed a comprehensive evaluation framework for food systems that helps decision-makers to compare different policies and the market to value food more accurately.

 

The three Honourable Mentions of the Future Policy Award, this year go to the Good Food Purchasing Policy of Los Angeles, USA (2012), to the Agriculture Development Programme of Ndiob, Senegal (2017) and to the From Arms to Farms Programme of Kauswagan, the Philippines (2011).

 

Winners of this year’s Future Policy Award will be celebrated in a ceremony on 15 October 2018 at FAO headquarters during the World Food Week in Rome. A life webcast is available at http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/4874/icode/ and photos at: https://flic.kr/s/aHskKjojGW

The Future Policy Award 2018 is co-organised by the World Future Council, FAO and IFOAM – Organics International, with the support of Green Cross International, DO-IT – Dutch Organic International Trade, Sekem Group, Egypt and EcorNaturaSi, Italy.

Statements from the World Future Council, FAO and IFOAM – Organics International:

“By scaling up agroecology, it is possible to tackle malnutrition, social injustice, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. Through effective, holistic policymaking, we can transform our food systems so that they respect people and planet. The 2018 Future Policy Award winners prove that it is feasible – and how. Policymakers across the globe should follow their example and step up similar exemplary political action!” says Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council.

 

Maria-Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, states: “A transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems is critical to achieving sustainable development, and the 2018 Future Policy Award is unique as it highlights policies that advance such a transition. FAO is proud to honour, along with the World Future Council and IFOAM – Organics International, such leadership and political will.”

 

“This year’s Future Policy Award honours exceptional policies adopted by political leaders who have decided to act, no longer accepting widespread hunger, poverty or environmental degradation. They are committed to better food and agriculture systems, and have achieved unimaginable change,” notes Louise Luttikholt, Executive Director of IFOAM – Organics International. “One of them is Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Chamling who set an ambitious vision and achieved it: Sikkim became the first organic state in the world – 100% Organic is no longer a pipe dream but a reality, serving as an outstanding role model for others to follow.”

Note to editors

More Information about the winning policies can be found here: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/future-policy-award-2018-agroecology-brochure

Follow the 2018 Future Policy Award on Twitter with #FuturePolicyAward or #FPA2018

About the Future Policy Award

The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies on an international level. Each year, the World Future Council chooses a topic for the Future Policy Award on which policy progress is particularly urgent. In partnership with FAO and IFOAM – Organics International, the 2018 Future Policy Award will highlight policies that scale up agroecology to contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods of small-scale food producers, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement climate resilient agricultural practices. More information about this year’s Future Policy Award is available at: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/2018-agroecology

This press release & additional information in other languages

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Press Release: Shortlist Future Policy Award 2018

1. Oktober 2018 - 18:44

The official press release on the shortlist of this year’s Future Policy Award on Agroecology will be published on 4th October 2018, 9:00 am CEST.

Thank you for your patience!

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Kategorien: Hamburg

Strengthening the child protection system in Ghana

27. September 2018 - 18:35

Last week, the World Future Council was on a scoping mission to Ghana to introduce the model of one-stop-centers to stakeholders in Ghana. The aim is to build on the existing structures to strengthen the child protection system in Ghana. Together with the Department of Children we had good discussions with the National Child Protection Committee in Accra and the Northern Regional Child Protection Committee in Tamale. We met dedicated and engaged partners and look forward to work with them on a pilot in November this year.

one-stop-centers

The one-stop-centers provide essential services for survivors of abuse under one roof. During our international conference on child protection we hosted in Zanzibar last year, we introduced the model of one-stop-centers, which inspired Ghanaian policy makers attending the conference. The Zanzibar’s Children’s Act 2011, which won our Gold Future Policy Award in 2015, layed the foundation for the child protection system in Zanzibar.

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Interview on the Energy Transition in Germany

27. September 2018 - 17:33
„We need a citizen-oriented energy supply“

The energy transition can only succeed if energy supply is democratised. We talked to Uli Ahlke, head of the district office for climate protection and sustainability in Steinfurt (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), about success factors of community energy.

Citizens contribute significantly to the energy transition. Including farmers, individuals own about 42% of all renewable energy installations in Germany[2]. Unfortunately though, the German federal government does not support community energy sufficiently. At this point, local governments can make a decisive contribution to promoting community energy. The German District of Steinfurt, near the Dutch border, is setting an exemplary path. Its 24 municipalities with about 445,000 inhabitants aim to be energy self-sufficient through renewable energies by 2050 – with the greatest possible participation of the local population. Already today more than 60% of the electricity stems from renewables. We talked to Uli Ahlke, head of the district office for climate protection and sustainability, about strategies and possibilities for local authorities to support community energy, about dealing with national obstacles, and about the future of the energy transition.

Community Energy

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action describes community energy as “the economic and operational participation and/or ownership by citizens or members of a defined community in a renewable energy project” – regardless of size and scope of the project.[1] Community energy is any combination of at least two of the following elements: Local stakeholders own more than half or all shares of a renewable energy project; voting control rests with a community-based organisation; and the majority of social and economic benefits are decentralised locally.

Engagement for community energy: Uli Ahlke is head of the district office for climate protection and sustainability in Steinfurt (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)

World Future Council: The district of Steinfurt aims to be energy self-sufficient through renewable energies by 2050. Supporting community energy is an integral part of your work. Why did you choose to support community energy to promote the expansion of renewables rather than focusing on large-scale investments?

Uli Ahlke: We have conducted several surveys in our region, and we know that the balance sheet energy self-sufficiency can only be accomplished once we operate in a regionally decentralised manner – and that it won’t work without the citizens. About 18 years ago, we experienced a very intensive expansion of wind energy with a lot of foreign investors in our region. At that time, we quickly reached acceptance limits.

We are convinced that we cannot achieve our ambitious goals without wind energy. That is why we asked ourselves what we need to do to maintain acceptance for a new expansion momentum. We needed to involve people in the planning process and to give the local community the opportunity to participate in local value creation. After all, the district of Steinfurt spends 1.5 billion euros a year on energy – for electricity, heat and mobility energy. Money we want to keep in the region.

How exactly can community energy be integrated into local climate action planning, and which participation mechanisms were particularly effective in Steinfurt?

What we do here is only possible because we have this team. We are 22 employees who take charge of the region’s sustainable development, of rural development, climate protection and education for sustainable development. Structurally, we consolidated the whole procedure last year and founded an association – the “energieland2050”. We communicate through traditional media, but are increasingly active in social media; we organise broad-scale participation proceedings; we place a strong focus on the regional advantages; and we have many amplifiers, especially on the part of the wind farmers.

As part of the wind energy expansion, we have set guidelines for all upcoming civic wind farms – in cooperation with the property owners, i.e. the farmers, with the farmers’ association, the municipal utilities and our 24 mayors. These guidelines not only guarantee the involvement of citizens, but also ensure that the first focal point for loans are local banks, and for energy marketing the municipal utilities. For the recruitment of financial resources through public participation we organised three events for one wind farm alone, attended by around 900 people. Two weeks later, we had 30 million euros, although we only needed 15.

In 2011, we set up a “Wind Energy Service Station”. There, we have a colleague, who deals with conflict management. She talks to the people and seeks solutions with them whenever there is a problem. We also launched a “Wind Energy Round Table”, where we regularly invite all stakeholders involved in wind energy to address conflicts openly and transparently.

Round table discussions for solving conflicts

But wind energy is just one piece of the puzzle. Our goal is to initiate climate action in the region, involving more and more people. Many people trust us; that we practice what we preach, that we do things well, and that we act in accordance with the Agenda 21[3]. But that did not come out of the blue – it emerged over the years, during which people got to know each other, and learned to trust each other. I also believe that sustainability and regionalism are closely interlinked because we give up anonymity and work with people we know.

I agree with you. How do you deal with national legal and regulatory obstacles to citizen-owned renewable energy installations at the local level, such as the 2017 Renewable Energies Act (EEG) Amendment[4]?

I believe that the energy transition can only succeed if there is – in Hermann Scheer’s words – the “democratisation of energy supply”. The 2017 EEG Amendment, however, weakened the community energy movement. The reason for this weakening is presumably an energy policy that is geared towards corporations. But we need a policy that is citizen-oriented. The corporation-oriented policy actually prevents a successful energy transition. I am following Berlin’s energy policy with concern. If we do not change course very quickly, we will certainly miss the 2-degree target.

The approach we chose in Steinfurt is characterised by our energetic imperative “regional – decentralised – CO2-neutral”. This is supported and accompanied by the “energieland2050 network of entrepreneurs”. Only responsible companies from the region are involved in this network.

A study by the Leuphana University of Lüneburg has shown that the main obstacle to initiate community energy projects are the availability of equity capital and access to vacant space for renewable energy installations like wind turbines. How can local authorities help in these areas?

At the beginning, we conducted a study to identify our potentials for the wind energy expansion. We must not forget that our region is not particularly suitable for wind energy; we are not a coastal region and are partially suburbanised. On the basis of the potential study, we developed the guidelines for civic wind energy together with the farmers’ association, the mayors and many other stakeholders. This accelerated the expansion of wind energy. We implemented the wind energy expansion with regional stakeholders and did not rely on any external project planner or consultant. The expansion was also largely financed from the region – from its citizens, and its local banks. This is a relatively unique approach in Germany.

Construction of the bioenergy park Saerbeck

When we started to address wind energy with some actors in 2010 and even approached it strategically, people were very sceptical. And today I look back very relaxed and say: It worked!

I am glad to hear that. Let us now come to the last question. You have been working with passion for many years in this area. Which advice can you give to people in local governments not to lose patience and confidence in their work for renewables and citizen participation?

What you need is perseverance, patience and the faculty of abstraction. Human beings are often too impatient and cannot imagine the world changing but it is changing faster than ever. I think that in order to win people it is not enough to have good arguments, but it is important to draw a picture, a future scenario, of where you want to go and how positive the future can look like. At the end of my speeches, I often show a picture of the district of Steinfurt, which says: “District of Steinfurt – 24 health resorts”. If the energy transition succeeds, we will breathe clean air and it will be quieter. So if it succeeds, and I suppose that it does succeed at least partially, then life becomes more enjoyable and we get out of the air pollution dilemma which we are in now.

Interview conducted by Nele Kress.

References

[1] IRENA Coalition for Action (2018). Community Energy. Broadening the Ownership of Renewables. https://bit.ly/2MCevv9 (28.08.2018).

[2] Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien (2018). Bürgerenergie bleibt Schlüssel für erfolgreiche Energiewende. https://bit.ly/2nztV4q (28.08.2018).

[3] Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organisations of the United Nations system, governments, and major groups in every area in which human beings impact on the environment. It was adopted by 172 governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

[4] The Renewable Energies Act (EEG), which came into force for the first time in 2000, is the central control instrument for the expansion of renewable energies in the field of electricity in Germany. The fundamental changes of the last major amendment to the EEG in 2017 relate to compulsory direct marketing and a fundamental system change from the feed-in tariff model to the tendering procedure. This model has been criticized for failing to meet the climate protection goals of the Paris Agreement and for discriminating against community energy projects.

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Kehkashan Basu speaking on the UN High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament in New York

26. September 2018 - 16:01
Presentation by Kehkashan Basu to the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament

Today, on September 26, the United Nations Assembly holds a High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Our Youth Ambassador and environmental activist Kehkashan Basu got elected to speak to the UN High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament. Please find her presentation below.

New York, September 26, 2018

“Honorable President of the General Assembly, Your Excellencies, distinguished Heads of Delegations and my dear colleagues

I speak on behalf of the World Future Council, a member of the Abolition 2000 global network to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Myopia is the word that comes to mind as I begin my address to you today.

168 million – that’s the number of children trapped in child labor worldwide, many of them girls much younger than me.

Every second, a person dies of hunger. Which means that by the time I finish speaking, 500 more people would have died of hunger and starvation.

And yet the nuclear-armed States continue to spend billions of dollars for building nuclear stockpiles, ostensibly in the name of security, but in reality threatening current and future generations and violating the rights of children to a peaceful and non-irradiated planet.

And our banks, universities, cities, pension funds and governments continue to invest in the corporations manufacturing and promoting the nuclear arms race for their own personal gain with no consideration for the ethics of investing in death.

This is the myopia that afflicts our society, our governments and our policy makers and each one of us has to take ownership for the situation we find ourselves in today.

Your Excellencies, my name is Kehkashan – I am the 18 year old Youth Ambassador of World Future Council and am here to urge you on behalf of the future generations to take action.

I am growing up in a world where factories churn out Trident submarines at $4 billion each, while in the developing world 80,000 children die each day due to poverty – most of whom could be saved with food or medication costing less than 1/10th of the cost of one Trident submarine.

In 2015 the world’s nations adopted the sustainable development goals with concrete programs on reducing poverty and protecting the environment. Yet governments continue to
undermine progress by investing more in military, including nuclear weapons, than in achieving the goals.

I recognise that for many countries, nuclear weapons provide a sense of security. Perhaps they play a role in preventing war. But we are a civilised and intelligent society, are we not? We know how to resolve conflicts, prevent aggression and enforce the law without having to threaten to destroy civilisation.

We have the United Nations, the OSCE, the International Court of Justice and many other mechanisms for diplomacy, common security and law. So even if we can’t prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons overnight, we can start the disarmament process, slash the nuclear weapons budgets and start funding peace.

A first step is to disarm the nukes. Take them off alert and launch-on-warning. Take the warheads off the missiles.

The UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, which was scheduled to be held in 2018, could provide a vital platform to make progress on these issues. The conference could definitely give some momentum to the implementation of Article 26 of the UN Charter – the obligation to reduce military spending in order to address economic and social needs.

Parliaments, cities and civil society representatives around the world are urging you, the members of the United Nations, to not give in to the nay-sayers, but to continue with the High Level Conference in 2019 and ensure that you all attend at the highest level.

Regardless of what governments do, civil society will step up our action for nuclear disarmament and sustainable development.

Civil society organisations, in cooperation with parliamentarians from around the world, have launched the ‘Move the Nuclear Weapons Money’ campaign to cut the $100 billion annual nuclear weapons budget and reallocate these resources into the Sustainable Development Goals and other areas of human and environmental need. This includes direct cuts to nuclear weapons budgets, and divestment from the nuclear weapons industry. Already four governments and a number of cities, banks and investment funds have adopted nuclear weapons divestment policies.

And we are supporting the Iran peace and nuclear non-proliferation deal and the Korean peace and denuclearization process, which we urge all nations to also support.

Your Excellencies, I thank you and the United Nations for holding this High Level Meeting. Let us pledge together to build common security that has no need for nukes, and utilize instead our  carce resources to prevent the death of the next child from hunger, from disease, from exploitation. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, let us use our tools of poverty destruction. Let us  remember and act on what the late Kofi Annan said “Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.

Thank you!”

Kehkashan Basu

Click here to download the presentation.

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September Updates

26. September 2018 - 15:13

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How can we build Peace?

19. September 2018 - 16:28
We asked our expert policy staff on the occasion of World Peace Day 2018

Building peace is a very complex endeavour: Social injustice, economic inequalities, climate change, lack of opportunities, resource scarcity, depletion of natural habitat, hunger and poverty, and violation of human rights can cause social unrest or even violent conflict. All these factors are interdependent and intertwined. Is building peace a futile mission? No, because proven solutions and successful approaches already exist. On this year’s UN World Peace Day, we asked our dedicated policy staff what can be done to achieve and sustain peace:

 

 

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Press Release: Kehkashan Basu to speak at UN High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament

12. September 2018 - 12:07
18 year old environmental activist Kehkashan Basu selected to speak at September 26 United Nations High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament She calls for disarmament for sustainable development

Hamburg/New York, 12 September 2018  18 year old environmental activist and youth leader Kehkashan Basu was selected by the President of the UN General Assembly to address the September 26 United Nations High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament as one of the two representatives of global civil society. She is Youth Ambassador of the World Future Council and was last week named as one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence for 2018. Ms Basu says: ‘The United Nations and its member countries should focus more on disarmament for sustainable development’

Kehkashan Basu
Kehkashan, Youth Ambassador of the World Future Council, is the founder of the GREEN HOPE FOUNDATION, which seeks to provide a networking platform to children and youth, to take action for a more sustainable future.
Picture (c) Kehkashan Basu

 

 

 

The nuclear arms race, in particular, should be halted and the $100 billion global nuclear weapons budget be redirected towards ending poverty, reversing climate change, protecting the oceans, building a sustainable economy and providing basic education and health care for all of humanity,’ says Ms Basu who was also the winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize. ‘Instead, the nuclear armed States are squandering resources and keeping their nuclear weapons poised to strike. One mistake would cause a humanitarian disaster, robbing children and youth of their health and future, and maybe even ending civilization as we know it.’

The High Level Meeting on September 26 will involve Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and UN ambassadors presenting either their hopes and aspirations for nuclear disarmament, or their excuses for keeping the nuclear arms race going. It falls on the anniversary of the incident in 1983 when a nuclear war was almost fought by accident.
On that day, an incoming United States ballistic missile attack against Moscow was ‘detected’ by Soviet satellites relaying information to the nuclear early warning center Serpukhov-15. With only 15 minutes between detection and impact, standard procedure was to confirm the incoming attack to the President of the Soviet Union (at the time it was Yuri Andropov) who would initiate an immediate ‘retaliatory’ attack before Moscow was hit.

Stanislav Petrov, duty officer at Serpukhov-15, defied protocol and reported a ‘false alarm’. His action, which is chronicled in the award winning movie The Man Who Saved the World, prevented a potential nuclear calamity the like of which we have never experienced and hope never to see.

‘The lesson of the 1983 incident, and the 15-20 other times we have nearly had a nuclear exchange, is that nuclear deterrence could fail – and that failure would mean game over,’ says Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council. ‘As such, the nuclear armed States have to replace nuclear deterrence with better ways to achieve security, just as the overwhelming majority of other countries have already done.’

In 2013 the UN General Assembly decided to hold a series of annual High Level Meetings every year on September 26 at which governments could express their views and proposals, followed by a UN High Level Conference in May 2018 to take action on effective measures for nuclear disarmament. However, the High Level Conference in May was postponed and now might be cancelled altogether.

‘High Level Conferences and Summits on global issues are vital to build the public attention, media coverage and political traction to make progress,’ says Alyn Ware, Chair of the World Future Council Disarmament Commission.  ‘The United Nations must not cave in to the pressure from the nuclear armed States to drop the High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament.’

‘Regardless of what the governments do at the UN, civil society will step up its action for nuclear disarmament,’ says Ms Basu. ‘The most powerful lobby for the nuclear arms race is the nuclear weapons industry. From Oct 24-30, in locations around New York, we will count out the $1 trillion nuclear weapons budget for the next 10 years and demonstrate how this money can be reallocated from the nuclear weapons industry into the Sustainable Development Goals and other areas of human and environmental need. This includes direct cuts to nuclear weapons budgets, and divestment from the industry, and is part of the global campaign Move the Nuclear Weapons Money.’

Jakob von Uexkull (left)
Founder of the World Future Council (2007) and the Right Livelihood Award (1980), often referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’.

Alyn Ware (right)
Chair of the World Future Council Disarmament Commission, Founder and global coordinator of the network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND)

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Annual Report 2017

10. September 2018 - 13:01

Annual Report 2017

Our new Annual Report is out now! Let’s take a tour through the diverse and numerous solutions we identified and promoted during 2017. This Annual Report looks back at our impact in 2017 and shows, yet again, our supporters’ strong commitment.

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Annual Report 2017

10. September 2018 - 12:43

Excerpt

The world we live in is changing fast, and, it seems, not necessarily for the good. Every day we are confronted with negative news and shocking headlines. But this problem-orientated approach towards today’s challenges is paralysing and unproductive. Because of that, it is important to talk about solutions.

Let’s take a tour through the diverse and numerous solutions we identified and promoted during 2017! This Annual Report looks back at our impact in 2017 and shows, yet again, our supporters’ strong commitment: collectively we can be proud of what we achieved in climate protection, advancing 100% Renewable Energy, combating land degradation, protecting children from violence, fostering a sustainable economy, and promoting peace and disarmament.

Annual Report 2017

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