All posts by CPNN Coordinator

About CPNN Coordinator

Dr David Adams is the coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, proclaimed for the Year 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Outraged at apartheid Israel’s crimes against Palestinians? Here are 5 things you can do.

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

An article from the BDS Movement

In many countries, governments and corporations are deeply complicit with Israel’s decades-old regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, just as they were complicit in the apartheid regime in South Africa. Israel can only sustain this regime of oppression with international complicity.


(Click on image to enlarge.)

Here are the 5 most effective things YOU can do to challenge this complicity and support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality:

1. Work with progressive networks to pressure parliament and government to (a) end all military-security cooperation and trade (military funding in the US case) with apartheid Israel and similarly criminal regimes of oppression worldwide, (b) ban all goods/services of companies operating in Israel’s illegal colonial settlements; and (c) demand a UN investigation of Israeli apartheid.

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

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2. Mobilize pressure in your community, trade union, association, church, social network, student government/union, city council, cultural center, or other organization to declare it an Apartheid Free Zone (AFZ), ending all relations with apartheid Israel and companies that are complicit in its system of oppression.

3. Boycott products/services of, and/or mobilize institutional pressure to divest from, Israeli and international companies and banks that are complicit in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. This includes all Israeli banks (Leumi, Hapoalim, etc.) and major multinationals such as: Elbit Systems, HP, G4S/Allied Universal, AXA, CAF, PUMA, Caterpillar, General Mills/Pillsbury, Hyundai Heavy Industries, JCB, Volvo, Barclays Bank, Alstom, Motorola Solutions, and CEMEX.

4. Cancel all academic, cultural, sports, and tourism engagements in Israel or supported/sponsored by Israel (or its lobby groups and complicit institutions).

5. Join a BDS campaign or a strategic Palestine solidarity group near you to act collectively and effectively.

Channel your anger and mobilize to dismantle apartheid and all forms of racism and oppression.

People Around the World Stand Up in Solidarity With Palestine

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

A photo report from Left Voice

All over the world, people are standing up in solidarity with Palestine and against Zionist displacement and murder of Palestinians.


Image by Reuters, Protest in London

New York City
@left voice New York City’s solidarity rally with Palestine. Free Palsestine. Not one cent to Israel.

@KeiPritsker Several thousands marching for Palestine in New York City
click for video

Photo by Luigi Morris

Washington DC

@aletweetsnews Protest supporting Palestine near the White House this evening, featuring a gigantic Palestinian flag and a wooden peace tank adorned with flowers paraded from the State Department, where hundreds started marching a couple of hours ago.
click for video

London

@stopthewall Solidarity protest with #Palestine in #London. Whereever you are, endorse the #BDS call, share stories about what’s happening in #Palestine, and take to the streets changing: #FreePalestine, to end #Israeli brutality and hold it to account. #SaveSheikhJarrah #GazaUnderAttack

@PSCupdates Wow. No Words. #SaveSheikhJarrah
click for video

@ftwsope 8,000 people attended this protest in London for Palestine!! #FreePalestine
click for video

(Photos continued in the right column)

Question for this article

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

(Article continued from the left column)

South Africa

Turkey

Image by Reuters

Image by Reuters

Morocco

Beirut

(MEE/Kareem Chehayeb)

Pakistan

(Rizwan Tabassum/AFP)

Upcoming Virtual Events

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

At CPNN, we are beginning to receive notices of free virtual events concerning the culture of peace. In order to inform our readership of these events, we will try an experiment: a “rolling article” about these events. We will try to update the listing every day or two, removing the events that are past (listed here) and adding new events as they are received at our contact email address. To be included here, an event must be free and must provide a registration link. Unless otherwise indicated the events are in English.

We will also include here the application deadlines for initiatives promoting the culture of peace.


Zoom is one of many new technologies available for virtual conferences.

Sat May 15 @ 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time – USA)
Prohibiting First-Use of Nuclear Weapons

A conference organised by Peace Action Massachusetts to promote the adoption by the USA of a no-first-use policy. The conference will include break-out sessions to enable in-depth discusison with participants on key aspects to advance no-first-use including congressional strategy, supporting the ICBM Bill, reducing nuclear weapons budgets, social media and outreach/movement building.
Click here to register.

18 Mayo 2021, Martes | 16.00 (Central European Time)
Webinar : La protesta social en Colombia: más allá de la violencia

Al igual que ha ocurrido en muchos otros países, la pandemia del Covid-19 ha contribuido a exacerbar dinámicas de exclusión y polarización económica y social que han acabado incendiando los ánimos y dando lugar a explosiones descontroladas de violencia. El presente webinar pretende analizar las causas profundas de dicho desencanto social, y vislumbrar posibles soluciones que ayuden a desactivar las razones de la frustración política y social.
— Con Liliana Zambrano, Politóloga colombiana y Pedro Valenzuela, Politólogo de la Universidad Internacional de la Florida y de la Universidad de Pittsburgh.
Inscripción

19 May 2021 at 9am Eastern Standard Time
Equipping IRCs to Advance the Six Strategic Goals

Based upon the feedback and recommendations received from the first Global Webinar Series, Religions for Peace, in coordination with Regional Offices, will convene the second series of global capacity development webinars in 2021, with a view to continuing to facilitate the process of strategic Learning Exchange among IRCs across the movement. These webinars will focus on our Six Strategic Goals:
Promote Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies
Advance Gender Equality
Nurture A Sustainable Environment
Champion the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion
Strengthen Interreligious Education
Foster Multi-religious Collaboration and Global Partnerships
— Simultaneous translations for Arabic, French, and Spanish will be provided
— This event is by invitation only. Inquiries can be sent to pbartoli@rfp.org.

May 20, 12-1 pm Pacific Standard Time (California)
Nonviolence Skills Practice Hour- May Session

The Metta Center for Nonviolence is teaming up with Meta Peace Team for a monthly one-hour nonviolence skills practice sessions in 2021 with skills ranging across the spectrum of nonviolent intervention and personal nonviolent development.
— Meta Peace Team has trained and placed violence de-escalation peace teams locally, nationally, and internationally for over 25 years, and teaches these skills to anyone interested: They’re just as important in our own day-to-day lives! Their mission is to build a just and sustainable world through active nonviolence.
— The session will begin with a short inspirational reading, a skill review, and then participants will have a chance to practice together.
— You must register ahead of time and be available with video on Zoom for the sessions. (See below)
— This project is part of the Third Harmony Project and the Meta Peace Team “hub” project.
Register here

Saturday May 22 @ 3pm-5pm (New Zealand Time)
No First Use Of Nuclear Weapons: Asia-Pacific Perspectives

The New Zealand Centre for Global Studies is organising this webinar in order to examine what role NFU policies can play to reduce nuclear dangers and advance nuclear disarmament in the Asia-Pacific region. The region includes five nuclear armed countries (China, India, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia) and three additional countries under extended nuclear deterrence relationships which provide possibility of first-use of nuclear weapons (Australia, Japan and South Korea).
— Speakers include Professor Nobumasa Akiyama (Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo), Dr. Marianne Hanson (University of Queensland, Brisbane); Dr. Manpreet Sethi (Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi), and Dr. Tong Zhao (Senior fellow, Carnegie-Tsinghua, Beijing). Click here to register.
Click here to register.

Wed/Thurs May 26/27: Three sessions
Session 1 is timed for the Americas and Europe, Session 2 is timed for Asia/Pacific, and Session 3 is a joint session.
Global No First Use campaign meeting

This global event will bring together campaigners, policy makers, academics and others to discuss strategies, share initiatives and build cooperation for a GlobalNo-First-Use (NFU) campaign with the objectives to:
a) advocate for the adoption and implementation of NFU policies by nuclear-armed States;
b) assist the USA no-first-use campaign by building necessary support from US allies in Asia/Pacific and NATO/Europe;
c) advance NFU as part of the broader objectives of nuclear risk-reduction, non-proliferation and disarmament, and as complementary to other related measures and initiatives.
— This participatory event is organised by the Abolition 2000 working group on nuclear risk reduction (global), Basel Peace Office (Switzerland), Beyond the Bomb (USA), Peace Depot (Japan), People for Nuclear Disarmament (Australia), PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security (Czech Republic), World Future Council (Germany/International) and Zona Libre (Mexico).
— Registration is restricted to those supportive of NFU and interested in advancing the global campaign.
Click here to apply for registration.

May 28, 9:30 AM Central European Time
Webinar: 9th Luxembourg Peace Prize Ceremony

This two your webinar by the Schengen Peace Foundation features five Luxembourg Peace Prize laureates past and future, including Dr Scilla Elworthy, Dr William Vendley, Transatlantic Dialogue, and outstanding peace organization, technology, journalism, art and environmental.

Registration

Amnesty International : End brutal repression of Palestinians protesting forced displacement in occupied East Jerusalem

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from Amnesty International

Israeli security forces have used repeated, unwarranted and excessive force against Palestinian protesters in occupied East Jerusalem following four days of violence in which 840 Palestinians were injured, Amnesty International said today [May 10]. At least 21 Israeli police officers and seven Israeli civilians were also injured, according to Israeli police.

The organization calls on Israeli authorities to immediately halt forced evictions in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and end the ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

In the latest escalation, Palestinian armed groups have fired rockets and missiles into Israel injuring at least one Israeli and there have been reports of several people killed in Gaza from retaliatory attacks by Israel. Amnesty International calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and take all feasible precautions to avoid harming civilians.

“Evidence gathered by Amnesty International reveals a chilling pattern of Israeli forces using abusive and wanton force against largely peaceful Palestinian protesters in recent days. Some of those injured in the violence in East Jerusalem include bystanders or worshippers making Ramadan prayers,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“The latest violence brings into sharp focus Israel’s sustained campaign to expand illegal Israeli settlements and step up forced evictions of Palestinian residents- such as those in Sheikh Jarrah – to make way for Israeli settlers. These forced evictions are part of a continuing pattern in Sheikh Jarrah, they flagrantly violate international law and would amount to war crimes.”

[See last month’s CPNN bulletin: Overcoming Israeli Apartheid]

Eyewitness testimonies – as well as videos and photographs taken by Amnesty International’s researchers on the ground in East Jerusalem –show how Israeli forces  have repeatedly deployed disproportionate and unlawful force to disperse protesters during violent raids on al-Aqsa mosque and carried out unprovoked attacks on peaceful demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrah.

Since the beginning of Ramadan on 13 April tensions have been steadily rising as Palestinians protested against Israeli restrictions limiting their access to Damascus Gate, a main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. On 26 April, Israeli authorities removed the restrictions in response to the continuous demonstrations.  Anger has also been rising over the imminent plans to forcibly evict four Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah to make way for Israeli settlers.

Unlawful use of force

Tensions reached boiling point on 7 May, when more than 170 Palestinians were injured  as Israeli forces stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound in dispersing worshippers along with protesters, firing 40mm kinetic impact projectiles (KIPs) and concussion grenades into crowds gathered there for prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan.  
 
A Palestinian journalist present at the scene described how Israeli forces went on the rampage firing projectiles and tear gas. He also said they stormed the clinic at the mosque and beat protesters. He told Amnesty International: “I’ve been covering events taking place in Jerusalem for the past 10 years… and I’ve never been this scared in my life.  Everyone was a target, I want to say that the shooting was random, but that would be a lie. They knew exactly who and where they were aiming their bullets and grenades at. Most of the people were targeted in their upper bodies (eyes, face, and chest).”

He was also shot in the back – while holding up his camera and attempting to leave the area.

In response, protesters at al-Aqsa threw stones and lit fires as Israeli forces on horseback and in riot gear used stun grenades to repel them.

On 10 May, more than 300 Palestinian protesters were injured when Israeli forces stormed the al-Aqsa compound for the second time in days. A Red Crescent spokesperson told Amnesty International that the violence led to the hospitalization of at least 250 Palestinians, with seven in a critical condition. 

 One eyewitness said Israeli forces began breaking windows and firing tear gas and stun grenades, leaving many people inside struggling to breathe. 

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Question related to this article:

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

(continued from left column)

Another witness on the scene said Israeli forces started firing tear gas from rooftops before more forces stormed al-Haram square from al Magharbeh gate. “They kept moving in pushing people into al-Aqsa mosque, locking [the doors] with metal chains… and then breaking a window to throw in tear gas at people literally locked up with not much room to breathe or get medical assistance… on top of it they started to  shoot rubber bullets at worshippers inside,” he said.

He also reported seeing Israeli forces beating passers-by and stopping cars evacuating the wounded to photograph the injured before letting them go. He himself was shot in the chest while he approached a medic on the scene who had been injured.  

Sheikh Jarrah

Over the past week Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood have held nightly demonstrations in response to the imminent threat of forced eviction.  Amnesty International has documented arbitrary arrests of peaceful demonstrators, the use of excessive force, arbitrary use of sound and stun grenades as well as the arbitrary spraying of maloderant (skunk) water canons at demonstrators and homes in Sheikh Jarrah.   

Four Palestinian families in the neighbourhood are under imminent threat of forced eviction after a Jerusalem court rejected their appeal against an eviction order. Nahalat Shimon International, a settler company, has filed lawsuits to seize the homes of dozens of families in Sheikh Jarrah using inherently discriminatory laws, such as the Legal and Administrative Matter Laws as well as the Absentee Property Law of 1950, to confiscate Palestinian land or property and transfer it to settler groups. Forcible transfer of the occupied population is prohibited under international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crimes according to the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.

Amnesty International researchers witnessed an unprovoked attack by Israeli forces against a group of peaceful demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrah on 9 May. Israeli forces arrived shortly before iftar, the evening Ramadan meal. After the meal a tens of peaceful protesters formed a circle and began chanting against the imminent plans to evict Palestinian families from their homes. The demonstrators were at least 10 metres away from the Israeli forces who were stationed by a nearby Israeli settlers’ home. A short while later Israeli forces launched a coordinated attack to disperse the crowd of Palestinian protesters. Israeli forces on horseback began to sprint towards the crowd. One man limping in pain said he was trampled on by police horses as he tried to run away from the area. Residents were pushed into the walls of their homes and five men were arbitrarily arrested.

Israeli forces began to shove and hit the group -including an Amnesty researcher observing the protest. At around 10pm they brought the skunk water canons and sound grenades and began to arbitrarily fire at demonstrators.

Osama Dweik, was arrested during a nightly demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah on 6 May when Israeli police suddenly charged at the group of protesters and immediately detained him. At the police station he saw Israeli police kicking and beating with batons four Palestinians detained during the Damascus Gate clashes and Sheikh Jarrah protests. Seven other people were arrested at Sheikh Jarrah that night alone.

Gil Hammerschlag, an Israeli activist demonstrating against the forced evictions at Sheikh Jarrah on 7 May, was shoved and kicked by Israeli forces who threw sound grenades at peaceful demonstrators from less than 10 metres away. 

On the same day, a middle-aged Palestinian man was left badly bruised in the leg when Israeli forces threw a stun grenade that struck him in the thigh. A photographer also on the scene told how Israeli forces, including police on horseback, charged towards a crowd peacefully chanting after one of the protesters threw a plastic water bottle at them. 

“Amnesty International researchers witnessed deplorable conduct by security forces at Sheikh Jarrah including entirely unprovoked attacks on peaceful protesters standing up for rights and calling for respect of international law. Instead of further violating the rights of Sheikh Jarrah’s residents and solidarity activists, Israeli authorities must immediately scrap planned forced evictions,” said Saleh Higazi.

Amnesty International is calling on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its systematic violations under international law.

“Israel must not be allowed to continue its rampage against Palestinians who are simply defending their right to exist and protesting against their forced displacement. Mere expressions of concerns about Israel’s utter disregard for its obligations under international law are not sufficient.  There must be clear and strong denunciations of the flagrant violations, including forced displacement, the expansion of illegal settlements and the and the brutal repression of people protesting against such grave violations,” said Saleh Higazi.

 “As an immediate step we call on the United Nations Security Council members to convene an open session and for the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process to brief member states.”

Nabil el-Kurd, one of the residents under threat of forced eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, told Amnesty International:

“Sheikh Jarrah is sending a message to the whole world, including the US Congress, the UK Parliament, the French Parliament, the EU Parliament, the International Criminal Court, that what is happening to us is a war crime. It is not just an eviction, but a war crime. Remember that. I do not know why the entire world is watching what is happening and letting Israel get away with it. It is time they stopped spoiling Israel.”

Think African Podcast Episode 1: Planting Seeds

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

A podcast from African Arguments

African Arguments is delighted to partner with the Think African podcast series, created by Sound Africa.


Click here for podcast

(Article continued in right column)

Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

(Article continued from left column)

Think African examines the big questions that define the world from an unapologetically African point of view. It is platform on which African thinkers can critically engage with contentious, fraught and messy conversations, and grapple with the complexities of the continent’s history and present. Episodes are released twice a month and are hosted by Jedi Ramalapa, Editor in Chief of Sound Africa.

The inaugural season of Think African is inspired by Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai’s political philosophy, which she likened to a traditional African stool, comprising a seat and three legs. First leg: Inclusive Democracy. Second leg: Sustainability. Third leg: ” a culture of peace”; fairness, respect, compassion, forgiveness, recompense and justice.

The first episode features Kenyan climate change activist Elizabeth Wathuti. She is the founder of the Green Generation Initiative, which nurtures young people to be environmentally conscious from a young age and has planted 30,000 tree seedlings in Kenya.

France: March for the Climate: Thousands Demonstrate in Paris

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from BFM TV (translation by CPNN)

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated this Sunday in Paris for a more ambitious climate law , while doubts are emerging on a referendum to include the fight against climate change in the Constitution.


Frame from video of BFM TV

The demonstrators gathered behind a banner “Climate law = failure of the five-year term.” They marched from Place de le République to the Bastille via Châtelet.

Emmanuel Macron committed in front of the members of the Citizen’s Convention for the Climate (CCC) to send to parliamentarians their proposal to modify Article 1 of the Constitution but, faced with the reluctance of the Senate on the wording (the text must be voted on in the same terms by both chambers to be able to be submitted to a referendum), the JDD affirms that the president has renounced the ballot.

The Elysee assured that the constitutional amendment was “in no way buried”, without however mentioning a referendum.

“What I am the guarantor” is that “there will be no abandonment. This text will live its parliamentary life, which alone allows to go to the referendum if the senators and the deputies agree “, then insisted the Head of State, on the sidelines of a trip to Strasbourg .

(article continued in right column)

(Click here for the original article in French

Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

(Article continued from the left column)

“A missed meeting for the climate”

Despite Elysian assurances, ecologists, left parties and unions saw it as further proof of the denials of the executive, even as they demonstrated to denounce as “a failed meeting for the climate” the law “climate and resilience” adopted Tuesday in the Assembly .

A text meant to translate part of the 149 proposals of the CCC, convened by Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the crisis of the “Gilets Jaunes” to reduce French greenhouse gas emissions by 40% “in a spirit of social justice”.

According to the organizers, 115,000 people in total participated in 163 parades across the country, including 56,000 in Paris, a little more than claimed during the previous movement at the end of March, just before the start of the review of the climate law. Police counts were not immediately available.

“It is a question of continuing to denounce the lack of ambition of the climate law and, since this morning, the almost certain abandonment of the referendum which constitutes a further step backwards”, summed up the director and activist Cyril Dion, “guarantor “of the CCC, present in the last Parisian procession with a banner” Climate law = failure of the five-year term “.

Gatherings also took place in Besançon, Chartres, Cherbourg, Lannion, Laval, Lille, Martigues, Nantes, Quimper, Saint-Brieuc, Strasbourg and even Valenciennes …

The right has accused the head of state of “hypocrisy”, against a background of tension around the next regional and attempted macronist takeover on the moderate right electorate for 2022.

“Even before the Senate has voted anything and the discussion with the National Assembly begins, Emmanuel Macron accuses us of blocking to justify the cancellation of a referendum he did not want”, tweeted senator leader LR Bruno Retailleau.

Past virtual events in May

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Here are events and application deadlines in May that were previously listed on the CPNN page for upcoming virtual events. Where possible links are provided to recordings of the events. Unless otherwise noted the events are in English.

Sunday, May 02, 2021 • 10:00-11:30 AM • Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00-5:30 PM)
Webinar: Campaign to Ban Killer Drones Is Launched as Biden Appears Ready to Expand Drone War

This webinar will announce the launch of BanKillerDrones, a new campaign for an international treaty to ban weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance. This comes at the moment when the Biden Administration is reportedly looking to increase U.S. drone killing and drone surveillance as key to retaining some level of colonial control in Afghanistan, under the guise of countering Al Qaeda, as U.S. troops are removed. The reality appears to be that U.S. drones, and other U.S. military aircraft, will continue to support U.S. special forces operating in Afghanistan. A New York Times article on April 15 indicates that drone killing will be even more at the center of global U.S. military policy, quoting U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “‘There’s probably not a space on the globe that the United States and its allies can’t reach,’ Mr. Austin told reporters.” Civilians continue to be the primary casualties of drone war.
— With Brian Terrell, Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, Leah Bolger.
Click here for youtube recording.

Thursday, May 06, 2021, 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
An Online Conversation on Peace, Russia, and the United States with Vladimir Kozin and Ray McGovern

Two serious experts, Ray McGovern, former CIA briefer on USSR/Russia to several U.S.Presidents, and Vladimir Kozin, Russian expert on Defense, missiles and nuclear war, will discuss their concerns for where the United States and Russia are today regarding the potential for World War III.
— David Swanson, author, activist, journalist and Director of World BEYOND War, will host this ZOOM event.
Register here

May 6, 9 AM to 3:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Global Online Summit on ‘Repair, Reconstruction and Restoration’

You are invited to join Facing History and Ourselves for our global summit on repair, reconstruction and restoration. With scholars, educators, educational and civil society leaders we will reflect on how we develop equitable, just societies, redress historical violence and its legacies, restore trust, and build durable, multiracial and multicultural democracies.
Register here

May 13, 2021 04:00 PM Central European Time
How militarism fuels climate change

Second course of the series with Jan Oberg sponsored by the DNS International Teacher Training College
— The “democratic” governments we have today were made for the world more than 100 hundred years ago. While the world has become more globalized and interconnected, the governing institutions have remained the same. Western governments are still looking at their own bellybuttons, and the issues of militarism and Global warming are an example of that.
Watch the 30 minute online lecture any time before the discussion.
— After you watch the lecture join the zoom discussion with Jan Thursday 13th of May 16:00 with the link you get after registering for the event on this page
— To help the discussion be fruitful, send your questions to justas@dns-tvind.dk a day before the event. Otherwise put your questions in the chat during the discussion.

Europe: GENE Roundtables gather participating Ministries and Agencies twice a year to share national experiences and strategies

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An excerpt from website of the Global Education Network Europe (GENE)

GENE Roundtable 44 kicked off on 29 April with exciting and forward-looking high-level interventions by Ms. Henriette Geiger (Director, DG INTPA, European Commission), Ms. Cristina Moniz (Vice-President, Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language, Portugal) and a keynote speech by Prof. Elina Lehtomäki (University of Oulu, Finland). With a strong consensus that Global Education is now more important than ever, the roundtable continued with policy learning and networking sessions with over 60 Policymakers from across Europe.


(Click on image to enlarge)

Questions for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

On Day 2, the roundtable participants enjoyed a number of inspiring presentations and workshops. Ms. Ida Mc Donnell (Team Lead, OECD Development Co-operation Report) gave an important keynote on the need for new narratives of solidarity and asked important questions for the future of foreign and development policy and global education.

In a parallel keynote for education policymakers, Dr. Beatriz Pont (Project Lead, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills) reflected on ways to bridge the policy-implementation gap and shared a rich and data-informed perspective for a change. Both shared perspectives in the plenary session and provoked questions that will inspire a long-term vision for global education.

Finally, Mr. Mark Little (CEO, Kinzen) gave the closing keynote with a thought-provoking input on countering misinformation and the implications for educators and for global education. Participants also shared policy learning from national exemplars and considered the future of global education in the context of digitalisation, formal and nonformal education, alignment of global education and awareness-raising strategies.

Click here for the detailed agenda .

Nobel Prize Laureates and Other Experts Issue Urgent Call for Action After ‘Our Planet, Our Future’ Summit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A press release from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine

This statement was inspired by the discussions at the 2021 Nobel Prize Summit, issued by the Steering Committee on April 29 and co-signed by Nobel Laureates and experts.

Preamble

The Nobel Prizes were created to honor advances of “the greatest benefit to humankind.” They celebrate successes that have helped build a safe, prosperous, and peaceful world, the foundation of which is scientific reason.

“Science is at the base of all the progress that lightens the burden of life and lessens its suffering.” Marie Curie (Nobel Laureate 1903 and 1911)

Science is a global common good on a quest for truth, knowledge, and innovation toward a better life. Now, humankind faces new challenges at unprecedented scale. The first Nobel Prize Summit comes amid a global pandemic, amid a crisis of inequality, amid an ecological crisis, amid a climate crisis, and amid an information crisis. These supranational crises are interlinked and threaten the enormous gains we have made in human progress. It is particularly concerning that the parts of the world projected to experience many of the compounding negative effects from global changes are also home to many of the world’s poorest communities, and to indigenous peoples. The summit also comes amid unprecedented urbanization rates and on the cusp of technological disruption from digitalization, artificial intelligence, ubiquitous sensing and biotechnology and nanotechnology that may transform all aspects of our lives in coming decades.

“We have never had to deal with problems of the scale facing today’s globally interconnected society. No one knows for sure what will work, so it is important to build a system that can evolve and adapt rapidly.” Elinor Ostrom (Nobel Laureate 2009)

The summit has been convened to promote a transformation to global sustainability for human prosperity and equity. Time is the natural resource in shortest supply. The next decade is crucial: Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by half and destruction of nature halted and reversed. An essential foundation for this transformation is to address destabilizing inequalities in the world. Without transformational action this decade, humanity is taking colossal risks with our common future. Societies risk large-scale, irreversible changes to Earth’s biosphere and our lives as part of it.

“A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.” Albert Einstein (Nobel Laureate 1921)

We need to reinvent our relationship with planet Earth. The future of all life on this planet, humans and our societies included, requires us to become effective stewards of the global commons — the climate, ice, land, ocean, freshwater, forests, soils, and rich diversity of life that regulate the state of the planet, and combine to create a unique and harmonious life-support system. There is now an existential need to build economies and societies that support Earth system harmony rather than disrupt it.

OUR PLANET

“It seems appropriate to assign the term ‘Anthropocene’ to the present.” Paul Crutzen (Nobel Laureate 1995)

Geologists call the last 12,000 years the Holocene epoch. A remarkable feature of this period has been relative Earth-system stability. But the stability of the Holocene is behind us now. Human societies are now the prime driver of change in Earth’s living sphere — the biosphere. The fate of the biosphere and human societies embedded within it is now deeply intertwined and evolving together. Earth has entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Evidence points to the 1950s as the onset of the Anthropocene — a single human lifetime ago. The Anthropocene epoch is more likely to be characterized by speed, scale, and shock at global levels.

Planetary health

The health of nature, our planet, and people is tightly connected. Pandemic risk is one of many global health risks in the Anthropocene. The risks of pandemics are now greater due to destruction of natural habitats, highly networked societies, and misinformation.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest global shock since the Second World War. It has caused immense suffering and hardship. The scientific response in the face of catastrophe, from detection to vaccine development, has been robust and effective. There is much to applaud. However, there have been clear failings. The poorest and most marginalized in societies remain the most vulnerable. The scale of this catastrophe could have been greatly reduced through preventive measures, greater openness, early detection systems, and faster emergency responses.

Reducing risk of zoonotic disease like COVID-19 requires a multi-pronged approach recognizing “one health” — the intimate connections between human health and the health of other animals and the environment. Rapid urbanization, agricultural intensification, overexploitation, and habitat loss of large wildlife all promote the abundance of small mammals, such as rodents. Additionally, these land-use changes lead animals to shift their activities from natural ecosystems to farmlands, urban parks, and other human-dominated areas, greatly increasing contact with people and the risk of disease transmission.

The global commons

Global heating and habitat loss amount to nothing less than a vast and uncontrolled experiment on Earth’s life-support system. Multiple lines of evidence now show that, for the first time in our existence, our actions are destabilizing critical parts of the Earth system that determine the state of the planet.

For 3 million years, global mean temperature increases have not exceeded 2°C of global warming, yet that is what is in prospect within this century. We are on a path that has taken us to 1.2°C warming so far — the warmest temperature on Earth since we left the last ice age some 20,000 years ago, and which will take us to >3°C warming in 80 years.

At the same time, we are losing Earth resilience, having transformed half of Earth’s land outside of the ice sheets, largely through farming expansion. Of an estimated 8 million species on Earth, about 1 million are under threat. Since the 1970s, there has been an estimated 68% decline in the populations of vertebrate species.

Inequality

“The only sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity.” Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate 2001)

While all in societies contribute to economic growth, the wealthy in most societies disproportionately take the largest share of this growing wealth. This trend has become more pronounced in recent decades. In highly unequal societies, with wide disparities in areas such as health care and education, the poorest are more likely to remain trapped in poverty across several generations.

More equal societies tend to score highly on metrics of well-being and happiness. Reducing inequality raises social capital. There is a greater sense of community and more trust in government. These factors make it easier to make collective, long-term decisions. Humanity’s future depends on the ability to make long-term, collective decisions to navigate the Anthropocene.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the largest economic calamity since the Great Depression, is expected to worsen inequality at a moment when inequality is having a clear destabilizing political impact in many countries. Climate change is expected to further exacerbate inequality. Already, the poorest, often living in vulnerable communities, are hit hardest by the impacts of climate, and live with the damaging health impacts of energy systems, for example air pollution. Furthermore, although urbanization has brought many societal benefits, it is also exacerbating existing, and creating new, inequities.

It is an inescapable conclusion that inequality and global sustainability challenges are deeply linked. Reducing inequality will positively impact collective decision-making.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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Technology

The accelerating technological revolution — including information technology, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology — will impact inequality, jobs, and entire economies, with disruptive consequences. On aggregate, technological advancements so far have accelerated us down the path toward destabilizing the planet. Without guidance, technological evolution is unlikely to lead to transformations toward sustainability. It will be critical to guide the technological revolution deliberately and strategically in the coming decades to support societal goals.

Acknowledging urgency and embracing complexity

The future habitability of Earth for human societies depends on the collective actions humanity takes now. There is rising evidence that this is a decisive decade (2020-2030). Loss of nature must be stopped and deep inequality counteracted. Global emissions of greenhouse gases need to be cut by half in the decade of 2021-2030. This alone requires collective governance of the global commons — all the living and non-living systems on Earth that societies use but that also regulate the state of the planet — for the sake of all people in the future.

On top of the urgency, we must embrace complexity. Humanity faces rising network risks and cascading risks as human and technological networks grow. The 2020/2021 pandemic was a health shock that quickly cascaded into economic shocks. We must recognize that surprise is the new normal and manage for complexity and emergent behavior.

OUR FUTURE

A decade of action

Time is running out to prevent irreversible changes. Ice sheets are approaching tipping points — parts of the Antarctic ice sheet may have already crossed irreversible tipping points. The circulation of heat in the North Atlantic is unequivocally slowing down due to accelerated ice melt. This may further affect monsoons and the stability of major parts of Antarctica. Rainforests, permafrost, and coral reefs are also approaching tipping points. The remaining carbon budget for a 67% probability of not exceeding 1.5°C global warming will be exhausted before 2030. At the same time, every week until 2050, the urban population will increase by about 1.3 million, requiring new buildings and roads, water and sanitation facilities, and energy and transport systems. The construction and operation of these infrastructure projects will be energy and emissions intensive unless major changes are made in how they are designed and implemented.

In 2021, major summits will generate political and societal momentum for action on climate, biodiversity, food systems, desertification, and the ocean. In 2022, the Stockholm+50 event marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Summit. This is an important opportunity to reflect on progress to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), due to be completed by 2030. Yet a disconnect exists between the urgency indicated by the empirical evidence and the response from electoral politics: The world is turning too slowly.

Planetary stewardship

“We must break down the walls that have previously kept science and the public apart and that have encouraged distrust and ignorance to spread unchecked. If anything prevents human beings from rising to the current challenge, it will be these barriers.” Jennifer Doudna (Nobel Laureate 2020)

Effective planetary stewardship requires updating our Holocene mindset. We must act on the urgency, the scale, and the interconnectivity between us and our home, planet Earth. More than anything, planetary stewardship will be facilitated by enhancing social capital — building trust within societies and between societies.

Is a new worldview possible? 193 nations have adopted the SDGs. The global pandemic has contributed to a broader recognition of global interconnectivity, fragility, and risk. Where they possess the economic power to do so, more people are increasingly making more sustainable choices regarding transportation, consumption, and energy. They are often ahead of their governments. And increasingly, the sustainable options, for example solar and wind power, are similar in price to fossil fuel alternatives or cheaper — and getting cheaper.

The question at a global systems level today is not whether humanity will transition away from fossil fuels. The question is: Will we do it fast enough? Solutions, from electric mobility to zero-carbon energy carriers and sustainable food systems, are today often following exponential curves of advancement and adoption. How do we lock this in? The following seven proposals provide a foundation for effective planetary stewardship.

* POLICY: Complement GDP as a metric of economic success with measures of true well-being of people and nature. Recognize that increasing disparities between rich and poor feed resentment and distrust, undermining the social contract necessary for difficult, long-term collective decision-making. Recognize that the deteriorating resilience of ecosystems undermines the future of humanity on Earth.

* MISSION-DRIVEN INNOVATION: Economic dynamism is needed for rapid transformation. Governments have been at the forefront of funding transformational innovation in the last 100 years. The scale of today’s challenges will require large-scale collaboration between researchers, government, and business — with a focus on global sustainability.

* EDUCATION: Education at all ages should include a strong emphasis on the nature of evidence, the scientific method, and scientific consensus to ensure future populations have the grounding necessary to drive political and economic change. Universities should embed concepts of planetary stewardship in all curricula as a matter of urgency. In a transformative, turbulent century, we should invest in life-long learning, and fact-based worldviews.

* INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Special interest groups and highly partisan media can amplify misinformation and accelerate its spread through social media and other digital means of communication. In this way, these technologies can be deployed to frustrate a common purpose and erode public trust. Societies must urgently act to counter the industrialization of misinformation and find ways to enhance global communication systems in the service of sustainable futures

* FINANCE AND BUSINESS: Investors and companies must adopt principles of recirculation and regeneration of materials and apply science-based targets for all global commons and essential ecosystem services. Economic, environmental, and social externalities should be fairly priced

* SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION: Greater investment is needed in international networks of scientific institutions to allow sustained collaboration on interdisciplinary science for global sustainability as well as transdisciplinary science that integrates diverse knowledge systems, including local, indigenous, and traditional knowledge

* KNOWLEDGE: The pandemic has demonstrated the value of basic research to policymakers and the public. Commitment to sustained investment in basic research is essential. In addition, we must develop new business models for the free sharing of all scientific knowledge.

CONCLUSION

Global sustainability offers the only viable path to human safety, equity, health, and progress. Humanity is waking up late to the challenges and opportunities of active planetary stewardship. But we are waking up. Long-term, scientifically based decision-making is always at a disadvantage in the contest with the needs of the present. Politicians and scientists must work together to bridge the divide between expert evidence, short-term politics, and the survival of all life on this planet in the Anthropocene epoch. The long-term potential of humanity depends upon our ability today to value our common future. Ultimately, this means valuing the resilience of societies and the resilience of Earth’s biosphere.

SIGNATURES

Signatures are listed at the end of the press release.