Category Archives: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

ASEAN Tourism in the 2025 International Year of Peace and Trust

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Imtiaz Muqbil from eTurboNews (with links added by CPNN)

With brutal wars raging every day, it’s an interesting move for the UN to declare 2025 the International Year of Peace and Trust. ASEAN Tourism sees a window of opportunities.

2025 will mark the 80th anniversary since the end of World War II and the approval of the UN Charter, a good time to reflect on the state of the world since then.

The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 2025 the International Year of Peace and Trust (IYPT), and called for a fullscale mobilization of efforts to build sustainable peace, solidarity and harmony via political dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation amongst nations and peoples.

ASEAN 2025

Within ASEAN, 2025 will mark the 50th anniversary since the April 1975 end of the Vietnam War and the last year of the “ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together” master blueprint. That gives the ASEAN tourism, the Industry of Peace, a golden opportunity to take the lead in putting Peace at the heart of the future development agenda, assert the “centrality” of ASEAN, counter efforts to sow socio-cultural divisions and raise the definition of “sustainability” to a whole new level.

Approved on 21 March 2024, the UNGA resolution encourages all UN Member States, UN and other international, regional and subregional organisations, as well as civil society, the private sector, academia and individuals, to “disseminate the advantages of peace and trust, including through educational and public awareness-raising activities.” It invites the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN’s Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs to facilitate the implementation of the International Year.

Turkmenistan has proposed hosts an International Forum of Peace and Trust in December 2025, as a culminating event for the Year.

The resolution was sponsored by Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Singapore, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Venezuela.
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Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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UN Sustainable Development Goals

The move is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda as well as the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

The first UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace was adopted by the UNGA in October 1999, exactly 25 years ago next year. In September 2019, the UNGA declared 2021 the first International Year of Peace and Trust. Another resolution in July 2022 declared that IYPT would be held every five years.

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, especially the determination to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, the resolution notes that sustainable development, human rights, peace and security are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. It:

The Six pillows of Peace and Trust

1) Acknowledges that peace and trust entail accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognize, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way,

2) Recognises that peace not only is the absence of conflict, but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process where dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are solved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation,

3) Recognises the urgent need to promote and strengthen preventive diplomacy and peaceful prevention of conflicts through multilateralism and political dialogue.

4) Emphasises the role of women and youth, children and older persons, especially the active participation of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in activities promoting a culture of peace, including in post-conflict situations.

5) Recognises the importance of advancing equality, tolerance, human development, and promoting human rights, as well as investment in education to promote respect, reconciliation, and a culture of peace and non-violence,

6) Encourages the involvement of civil society organizations worldwide.

Windows of Opportunities for ASEAN Tourism

With escalating geopolitical conflicts and socio-cultural-ethnic polarisation posing a clear and present danger to the safety, security, and stability of Travel & Tourism globally, the IYTP opens a clear window of opportunity for the industry to rethink, refocus and reprioritize its future agenda.

(Editor’s note: The rest of this article is available only by subscription. It begins with the phrase “ASEAN tourism is well placed to take the lead for several reasons:”)

Greta Thunberg, 40+ Other Climate Activists Block Entrance to Swedish Parliament

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Thor Benson in Common Dreams ( licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Greta Thunberg and over 40 other activists blocked  the entrance to the Swedish parliament on Monday, demanding action on the climate crisis.

The activists held signs that said “Climate Justice Now,” and Thunberg expressed her dissatisfaction with how the Swedish government is handling the global emergency.

“Sweden is unfortunately not unique in completely ignoring the climate crisis, not treating it as an emergency at all. But actively trying to greenwash, deceive, and lie in order to make it seem like they are doing enough and that they are moving in the right direction, when in fact the exact opposite is happening,” Thunberg said.

Thunberg went on to say that Sweden is “very good at greenwashing,” even though the country has “very high emissions per capita.” She said the country cannot claim to be a climate leader.

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Question for this article:


Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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

Local resistance actions: can they save sustainable development?

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“The climate justice movement has for decades tried to get our message across, and scientists and the most affected people have been sounding the alarm for even longer than that,” she said. “But the people in power have not been listening. They have been actively ignoring and silence those speaking out.”

Thunberg has faced  the risk of going to jail over her climate protests repeatedly in recent years, and she has continued  to sound the alarm that countries are not doing enough to fight the climate crisis.

The Swedish government has been facing intense criticism recently for enacting policies that will likely increase its carbon emissions. Thunberg vowed to continue her resistance to such policies.

“The climate crisis is only going to get worse and so it is all our responsibilities, all of those who have an opportunity to act must do so. We encourage everyone who can to join us and to join the climate justice movement,” Thunberg said.

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Greenpeace: Here are the REAL culprits of the agricultural crisis in France

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Greenpeace France (translation by CPNN)

Why are many farmers unable to make a decent living from their work, even though they feed us? To this vital question, at the heart of the social and environmental crisis that the agricultural world is going through, the government has still not answered, preferring to attack ecological standards and favor agro-business, without looking at the root causes. . However, those responsible for this agricultural crisis are known: the massive industrialization of our production system and the ultra-liberal trade policies pursued for decades.

In order to denounce the real culprits of the agricultural crisis, this morning we carried out simultaneous actions in six cities in France, targeting groups in the agro-food industry, agrochemicals, seeds and mass distribution, as well as than the majority agricultural union. So many symbols of a system that profits from free trade agreements and impoverishes farmers, to the detriment of our health and our environment.


Photo Credit : © Micha Patault 2024

Who are the culprits of the agricultural crisis? Here are 5 very concrete examples of this agro-industrial system that we point out:  LDC, Avril, Bayer, Lactalis, E.Leclerc and the FNSEA.

LDC, the poultry giant that defeathers the breeders

Its name is little known, but it controls 40% of the poultry market in France! LDC is the owner, among others, of the Le Gaulois and Maître Coq brands, and it contracts with almost half of the broiler poultry breeders in France, owns slaughterhouses, manufactures animal feed, etc. This all-powerful group in its areas of establishment is capable of depriving breeders of alternative outlets . With its industrialized system, LDC relegates the breeder to the rank of “subcontractor”, a real an uncomfortable situation .

This chicken giant is also developing its activities in Belgium, the United Kingdom and Poland, not hesitating to resort to imports . During a highway blockade in France, breeders discovered Polish chickens imported for LDC in a truck . A real goose that lays golden eggs: LDC generated 5.8 billion euros in turnover in 2022, an increase of 8% compared to 2021. The fortune of the Lambert family, co-founders of the group, is as for it estimated at 825 million euros.

Avril, the big fish of the agro-industry

The fifth French agri-food group, Avril is the perfect example of the clever mix of economic, financial and political interests in the agricultural sector . The chairman of the board of directors of this agro-industrial behemoth is none other than Arnaud Rousseau, recently put in the spotlight as president of the majority agricultural union, the FNSEA (see below).

We are far, very far from small-scale farming. This multinational generates more than half of its turnover abroad, through multiple activities: food production, chemicals, energy, agrofuels, finance, etc. In France, the group is number 1 in the vegetable oils market. (via its Lesieur and Puget brands, among others) and commands 25% of the oleochemicals market share. Its influence is therefore considerable: Avril is very clearly one of the proponents of the policy of industrialization of French agriculture which is fueling the crisis in the agricultural world.

Bayer, the powerful lobby of pesticides and seeds

World number one in seeds and pesticides, Bayer is particularly famous for having bought Monsanto and its famous Round Up, a cocktail based on glyphosate , the most used herbicide in the world, classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the International Center for Research on WHO cancer. Not content with poisoning farmers and the environment, its commercial weight on the seeds and pesticides market makes farmers dependent on its products.

Bayer is also a powerful lobby, whose activities have disastrous consequences on the agricultural world, health and the environment. The German pharmaceutical and agrochemical giant spent more than 7 million euros on its lobbying activities at European level in 2022 alone. For decades, Bayer has actively fought for the development of GMOs and against the ban and reduction of pesticides, not without some success, unfortunately: the regulation of GMOs is now threatened, glyphosate has been re-authorized for 10 years and the European legislative project aimed at reducing the use of pesticides has just been purely and simply withdrawn…

Lactalis, the multinational that butters its bread on both sides

Dairy products are at the heart of the current agricultural crisis. And Lactalis (the world’s leading group in the sector which has joined forces with number 2, Nestlé, within the Lactalis-Nestlé company), bears a heavy responsibility for the impoverishment of the small farmer. In 2022, while consumers paid more for their liter of semi-skimmed milk, breeders saw the amount of their gross margin on this product drop by 4% compared to 2021, while agri-food companies experienced an increase of their gross margins of 64% and those of mass distribution of +188%! An extremely inequitable distribution observed across all dairy products, as denounced by the Foundation for Nature and Man in its report “ Farmers and consumers, big losers from the rise in dairy product prices ”.

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(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?

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

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Nearly 20% of dairy farmers live below the poverty line and are extremely dependent on public subsidies to survive. A concern that Lactalis does not experience, whose turnover increased by 28.4% in 2022 compared to 2021, climbing to 28.3 billion euros! Added to this are various scandals: salmonella in infant milk, pollution of waterways, non-compliance with environmental standards, concealment of information. The company, known for its President, Lactel and Galbani brands, is described as a “lawless” firm by the investigative media Disclose, in an edifying investigation into the “milk ogre”.

E. Leclerc, the leader in mass distribution and secrecy

Today six groups control 90% of the mass distribution market. Among them, the leader E. Leclerc, with almost a quarter of market share, has become a dominant player in the lives of French consumers and farmers . In 2022, the French number 1 has increased its turnover, but not its transparency… The E. Leclerc group is regularly suspected of circumventing the French Egalim law in order to obtain lower prices from producers, in particular via a central d Eurelec purchase located in Belgium, where the law is much more flexible.

From their dominant position, the mass distribution giants do not hesitate to compress the prices paid to farmers to make more profits . Producer remuneration thus serves as an adjustment variable, with farmers going so far as to sell at a loss. Also at issue: products imported and sold at very low prices on the shelves of these major brands. Products that Michel Édouard Leclerc would like to sell even cheaper: he has denounced in the past the obligation of a 10% margin on food products from abroad, a measure precisely intended to protect the remuneration of producers.

FNSEA, historical defender of industrial agriculture

With 212,000 claimed members, the FNSEA is the majority agricultural union in France. But far from fighting for the interests and remuneration of small producers, its leaders continue to defend the agro-industrial and productivist model serving the largest farms. The very ones who receive the largest share of subsidies from the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). For decades, the FNSEA has ensured true co-management of agricultural policies, hand in hand with successive governments, successfully fighting in favor of industrial agriculture and agro-industry, to the detriment of peasant and organic agriculture. , and against environmental measures.

Its current president, Arnaud Rousseau, is himself at the head of a cereal farm of more than 700 hectares, ten times the average size of a French farm… In 2021, he received more than 170,000 euros from the CAP, or 5.6 times the average amount received by a farm in France. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the agro-industrial group Avril (see above).

Faced with those responsible for the agricultural crisis, what should we do?

If the culprits are known, the solutions are also known to overcome this agricultural crisis, allow farmers to live with dignity from their work and protect the health and environment of all.

Several measures seem essential to us today to meet the expectations of farmers regarding their remuneration, support them in the ecological transition and sustainably transform the agricultural sector. In particular, it is necessary:

° Put an end to Free Trade Agreements , by reviewing the agreements in force and establishing a moratorium on current negotiations (in particular between the European Union and Mercorsur, and with Chile).

° Establish a floor price , i.e. a ban on the sale of agricultural products below cost prices (including costs, labor remuneration and contributions).

° Regulate the margins of processors and large retailers , for better distribution of value.

° Establish a minimum entry price for imported products , particularly for the sectors most in difficulty, to deal with unfair imports on social and environmental levels.

° Reform the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) , in particular in order to direct public money as a priority towards the most vulnerable farmers, organic farming operations and towards supporting the agroecological transition.

° Massively increase support for farmers in the agroecological transition.

Environmental standards and the reduction of pesticides are necessary, both for the health of farmers and for that of consumers and the preservation of biodiversity. We must therefore maintain them and help producers in their implementation.

To find out more about the causes and solutions to farmers’ difficulties: The agricultural crisis (and how to get out of it) in 4 questions.

Global South unites for sustainable development, urges shift in global balance of power

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Xinhua, China News (with links added by CPNN)

Leaders of developing countries gathered in the Ugandan capital of Kampala over the past week, reaching a consensus to promote South-South cooperation to enhance their capability of pursuing sustainable development, seek strength from unity and increase the role of the Global South in international affairs.

High-level representatives of more than 100 countries and heads of United Nations agencies attended the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that concluded on Saturday and the 3rd South Summit of the Group of 77 (G77) that wrapped up on Monday.


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) greets President of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis (R) during the opening session of the Third South Summit of the Group of 77 and China in Kampala, January 21, 2024. /CFP

Participants said they are optimistic about the future of the Global South in world affairs, gearing up to influence the outcomes of the UN Summit of the Future scheduled for September in New York. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the September summit as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvigorate global action, recommit to fundamental principles, and further develop the frameworks of multilateralism so they are fit for the future.

In the outcome documents of the two summits, the countries of the Global South said they hope to play an influential role in shifting the balance of the geopolitical landscape from conflict, confrontation and mistrust to diplomacy, dialogue, peace and understanding.

NAM countries, in their declaration over the weekend, said they would positively contribute to the summit to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance.

Developing nations stressed that there is a need to reform the multilateral global governance architecture, including the United Nations and the international financial system. This reform would make the institutions fit for purpose, democratic, equitable, representative and responsive to the current global realities and the needs and aspirations of the Global South, according to the NAM Kampala Declaration.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of the article)

Questions related to this article:

How can ensure that development is equitable?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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They said the current violation of international laws and UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, coupled with the unfair treatment of developing countries facing debt distress amid a slow-growing global economy, are the key issues that have revitalized the call for a reformed global system.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the chairperson of the NAM Summit, said the forum should be used to exercise considerable influence, particularly at the UN, for an effective transformative process. “In the negotiations for the Pact of the Future, the outcome document of the upcoming UN Summit of the Future, we should clearly define priorities that favor developing countries by maintaining unity, solidarity, and collective coordination among member states,” Museveni said.

Dennis Francis, president of the UN General Assembly, said addressing the current global challenges requires creativity and consensus-building to fashion effective solutions.

Francis said the current crises, ranging from the Ukraine-Russia, Israel-Palestine and those in Africa, raise questions about the relevance and value of the UN in terms of its ability to resolve global issues. He argued that the Summit of the Future will offer a historic opportunity to forge a new global consensus to transform the multilateral system to deliver better impact for people.

The Global South, according to Secretary-General Guterres, bears the responsibility of changing the form of the global system, noting that those who currently benefit from it are unlikely to lead its reform.

“We have a chance to cultivate a just, peaceful, and prosperous future, where no one is left behind. But for that, a lot needs to be changed and reformed. Together, let’s unite and fight to make that a reality,” Guterres told the 3rd South Summit on Sunday.

He urged the international community to reform and revitalize multilateralism so that it works for everyone, everywhere, and meets the challenges of today. “We rely on the G77 plus China to make the Summit of the Future a success. To seize this opportunity and to find common solutions. The summit will consider deep reforms of the international financial architecture,” the UN top envoy said.

(Editor’s note. Putting the terms “Group of 77” and “Kampala” into the Google search engine for the preceding month on February 16, we found articles about the event above from press in Uganda, India, Brazil, Bahamas, Philippines, South Africa, Jordan, Angola, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Pakistan, Saint Vincent, Bhutan, Namibia, Cameroon, Yemen, Mongolia, Tanzania, Myanmar, Morocco, Cuba, Maldives, Kenya, Eritrea, Mozambique, Nigeria, Malaysia, Oman, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Somalia, as well as from China and from the United Nations, but with the exception of an agency by the name of Newsbeezer, ABSOLOUTELY NO ARTICLE IN ENGLISH from a press agency based in Europe or North America! By using other languages, we found an article in French in the news site of l’Humanité which remarked that the event was totally ignored by the West (” un événement totalement passé sous silence dans les pays occidentaux”>. And in Spain, one could read about the event in Spanish on the news media that subscribe to EFE. )

Wealth of five richest men doubles since 2020 as five billion people made poorer in “decade of division,” says Oxfam

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A report from Oxfam

The world’s five richest men have more than doubled their fortunes from $405 billion to $869 billion since 2020 —at a rate of $14 million per hour— while nearly five billion people have been made poorer, reveals a new Oxfam report on inequality and global corporate power. If current trends continue, the world will have its first trillionaire within a decade but poverty won’t be eradicated for another 229 years.


“Inequality Inc.”, published today as business elites gather in the Swiss resort town of Davos, reveals that seven out of ten of the world’s biggest corporations have a billionaire as CEO or principal shareholder. These corporations are worth $10.2 trillion, equivalent to more than the combined GDPs of all countries in Africa and Latin America.

“We’re witnessing the beginnings of a decade of division, with billions of people shouldering the economic shockwaves of pandemic, inflation and war, while billionaires’ fortunes boom. This inequality is no accident; the billionaire class is ensuring corporations deliver more wealth to them at the expense of everyone else,” said Oxfam International interim Executive Director Amitabh Behar.

“Runaway corporate and monopoly power is an inequality-generating machine: through squeezing workers, dodging tax, privatizing the state, and spurring climate breakdown, corporations are funneling endless wealth to their ultra-rich owners. But they’re also funneling power, undermining our democracies and our rights. No corporation or individual should have this much power over our economies and our lives —to be clear, nobody should have a billion dollars”.

The past three years’ supercharged surge in extreme wealth has solidified while global poverty remains mired at pre-pandemic levels.
Billionaires are $3.3 trillion richer than in 2020, and their wealth has grown three times faster than the rate of inflation. 

Despite representing just 21 percent of the global population, rich countries in the Global North own 69 percent of global wealth and are home to 74 percent of the world’s billionaire wealth.
 

Share ownership overwhelmingly benefits the richest. The top 1 percent own 43 percent of all global financial assets. They hold 48 percent of financial wealth in the Middle East, 50 percent in Asia and 47 percent in Europe. 


Mirroring the fortunes of the super-rich, large firms are set to smash their annual profit records in 2023. 148 of the world’s biggest corporations together raked in $1.8 trillion in total net profits in the year to June 2023, a 52 percent jump compared to average net profits in 2018-2021. Their windfall profits surged to nearly $700 billion. The report finds that for every $100 of profit made by 96 major corporations between July 2022 and June 2023, $82 was paid out to rich shareholders.

° Bernard Arnault is the world’s second richest man who presides over luxury goods empire LVMH, which has been fined by France‘s anti-trust body. He also owns France’s biggest media outlet, Les Échos, as well as Le Parisien.
 

° Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, holds a “near-monopoly” on cement in Nigeria. His empire’s expansion into oil has raised concerns about a new private monopoly. 
 

° Jeff Bezos’s fortune of $167.4 billion increased by $32.7 billion since the beginning of the decade. The US government has sued Amazon, the source of Bezos’ fortune, for wielding its “monopoly power” to hike prices, degrade service for shoppers and stifle competition.


“Monopolies harm innovation and crush workers and smaller businesses. The world hasn’t forgotten how pharma monopolies deprived millions of people of COVID-19 vaccines, creating a racist vaccine apartheid, while minting a new club of billionaires,” said Behar.

People worldwide are working harder and longer hours, often for poverty wages in precarious and unsafe jobs. The wages of nearly 800 million workers have failed to keep up with inflation and they have lost $1.5 trillion over the last two years, equivalent to nearly a month (25 days) of lost wages for each worker.

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Question for this article:

How can the growing economic inequality in the world be reversed?

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New Oxfam analysis of World Benchmarking Alliance data on more than 1,600 of the largest corporations worldwide shows that 0.4 percent of them are publicly committed to paying workers a living wage and support a living wage in their value chains. It would take 1,200 years for a woman working in the health and social sector to earn what the average CEO in the biggest 100 Fortune companies earns in a year. 

Oxfam’s report also shows how a “war on taxation” by corporations has seen the effective corporate tax rate fall by roughly a third in recent decades, while corporations have relentlessly privatized the public sector and segregated services like education and water.

“We have the evidence. We know the history. Public power can rein in runaway corporate power and inequality —shaping the market to be fairer and free from billionaire control. Governments must intervene to break up monopolies, empower workers, tax these massive corporate profits and, crucially, invest in a new era of public goods and services,” said Behar. 

“Every corporation has a responsibility to act but very few are. Governments must step up. There is action that lawmakers can learn from, from US anti-monopoly government enforcers suing Amazon in a landmark case, to the European Commission wanting Google to break up its online advertising business, and Africa’s historic fight to reshape international tax rules.”

Oxfam is calling on governments to rapidly and radically reduce the gap between the super-rich and the rest of society by:
 

° Revitalizing the state. A dynamic and effective state is the best bulwark against extreme corporate power. Governments should ensure universal provision of healthcare and education, and explore publicly-delivered goods and public options in sectors from energy to transportation.
 

° Reining in corporate power, including by breaking up monopolies and democratizing patent rules. This also means legislating for living wages, capping CEO pay, and new taxes on the super-rich and corporations, including permanent wealth and excess profit taxes. Oxfam estimates that a wealth tax on the world’s millionaires and billionaires could generate $1.8 trillion a year. 
 

° Reinventing business. Competitive and profitable businesses don’t have to be shackled by shareholder greed. Democratically-owned businesses better equalize the proceeds of business. If just 10 percent of US businesses were employee-owned, this could double the wealth share of the poorest half of the US population, including doubling the average wealth of Black households.
 

Notes to editors

Download Oxfam’s report “Inequality Inc.” and the methodology note.

It will take 229 (almost 230) years to ensure the number of people living under the World Bank poverty line of $6.85 was reduced to zero.

According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database, the combined GDP of economies in Africa in 2023 is $2,867 billion, while that of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean is $6,517 billion, for a total of $9.4 trillion.

Oxfam defines windfall profits as those exceeding the 2018-2021 average by more than 20 percent. 
 

Contact information

Annie Thériault in Peru | annie.theriault@oxfam.org | +51 936 307 990
Belinda Torres Leclercq in Belgium | belinda.torres-leclercq@oxfam.org | +32 (0) 472 55 34 43

For updates, please follow @NewsFromOxfam and @Oxfam

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Movement Milestone: Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Surpasses 1600+ Commitments

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Stand.earth

 On the heels of COP28, where world governments finally recognized the need to “transition away from fossil fuels” but failed to acknowledge the inevitable phase-out, the global fossil fuel divestment movement surpassed a major milestone, already leading the way to a fossil free world: 1600+ institutions, representing $40.6 trillion in assets, are cutting ties with the toxic energy of the past.

Swiss pension fund CPEG, the UK’s Wiltshire Pension Fund, and the largest private pension fund in the Netherlands are the latest to join the unstoppable movement. In 2023 alone, major divestment commitments were made by the Church of England, New York University, the National Academy of Medicine, and Triodos Bank.

“This 1600 commitment milestone is an undeniable proof of concept, all thanks to people-powered momentum, even in the face of climate chaos and collective grief,” said Amy Gray, Stand.earth Climate Finance Associate Director and coordinator of the Climate Safe Pensions Network. “Even in times of heartache, we are resolved in our work to hold polluters accountable for climate chaos, and to reclaim, repair, and rebuild healthy and safe communities.” 

From educational institutions and public pension funds, to faith-based and healthcare groups, to governments, nonprofits, and cultural institutions, fossil fuel divestment spans every sector of society, and continues to gain momentum with consistent reports of positive returns following fossil fuel divestment.

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Question for this article:

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

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Surpassing 1600 fossil fuel divestment commitments would not have been possible without millions of climate justice leaders around the world, countless economic, racial, and climate justice organizations, and steadfast support from Ellen Dorsey, who is stepping down from the Wallace Global Fund, as a long-time leader of the movement.

A June 2023 report from the University of Waterloo revealed that just six U.S. public pension funds would be $21 billion richer  had they divested from fossil fuels a decade ago. 

“This milestone follows years of attempted shareholder engagement, now a proven futile strategy, with fossil fuel corporations hell-bent on our destruction,” said Richard Brooks, Stand.earth Climate Finance Director. “Instead of financing climate chaos-causing fossil fuels, violence, and extraction, financial institutions like big banks and pension funds must protect people and planet alike, cutting ties with fossil fuels and reinvesting in proven community-led climate-safe solutions.”

Not only is a world beyond fossil fuels possible, millions are building it right now – it’s time for fossil fuel companies and their financiers – including major banks like Royal Bank of Canada and Citibank, and private equity firms like KKR – to stop holding us back.

The Global Fossil Fuel Commitments Divestment Database  is managed by Stand.earth, and is the world’s most comprehensive tracker of fossil fuel divestment commitments. 

Stand.earth also coordinates the Climate Safe Pensions Network, a group of 25+ grassroots campaigns across Turtle Island demanding local pension funds protect returns and our climate, phase out fossil fuel holdings, and reinvest in climate-safe solutions.

Stand.earth’s Climate Finance  program focuses on pushing the financial sector to divest from fossil fuel projects and invest in climate solutions, such as renewable energy infrastructure. We’re also pressuring major pension funds throughout North America to pull workers’ money out of fossil fuel companies that violate Indigenous rights and exacerbate the climate crisis, and reinvest in climate-safe solutions.

COP28 Fails to Deliver a Fossil Fuel Phaseout

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A survey of reactions by major NGOs concerned to the final statement of COP28, United Nations Climate Change Conference

The Climate Action Network headlines “New path to transition away from fossil fuels marred by lack of finance and loopholes.” The text says “COP28 in Dubai sends an important signal on the end of fossil fuels but leaves more questions than answers on how to ensure a fair and funded transition that is based on science and equity. . . Although COP28 recognised the immense financial shortfall in tackling climate impacts, the final outcomes fall disappointingly short of compelling wealthy nations to fulfil their financial responsibilities – obligations amounting to hundreds of billions, which remain unfulfilled.”


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Friends of the Earth says “COP28 outcome undermined by dangerous distractions and lack of finance . . . (and) enormous loopholes which only serve to prolong the fossil fuel era. . . . “The COP28 deal has fallen short of delivering meaningful commitments on fossil fuel phaseout and urgently needed climate finance. The deal opens the door to dangerous distractions that will prevent a just and equitable energy transition– carbon capture utilisation and storage, hydrogen, nuclear, carbon removal technologies like geoengineering and schemes that commodify nature.”

Oxfam headlines its reaction, “COP28 outcome misses the mark on justice for the majority of the world.” “Everyone fighting against the global climate crisis has little to celebrate from this disappointing COP28. Its final outcome is grossly inadequate. Oil, coal and gas won again, but they had to struggle harder to do so and their era is nearing its end. COP28 was doubly disappointing because it put no money on the table to help poorer countries transition to renewable energies.”

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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The Pacific Island States (Alliance of Small Island States, AOSIS), said that the resulting deal falls severely short. ““We see a litany of loopholes,” the AOSIS statement said. “It does not deliver on a subsidy phaseout, and it does not advance us beyond the status quo. . . We do not see any commitment or even an invitation for Parties to peak emissions by 2025.”

Activists of Fridays for the Future demonstrated their displeasure with the results in a demonstration in front of the Swedish parliament. Their spokesperson, Greta Thunberg, said, “This text is toothless and it is nowhere even close to being sufficient to keep us within the 1.5 degree limit. It is a stab in the back for those most vulnerable. It was undemocratic. It was signed when many island states were not in the room. We cannot talk about climate justice without having those affected in the room.”

The Center for International Environmental Law says “COP28 was unquestionably a fossil fuel COP – not because it was hosted in a petrostate, presided over by a fossil fuel executive, and flooded by fossil fuel lobbyists, but because people power and mounting political will led by progressive governments finally put the central cause of the climate crisis at the center of the climate talks.  The test for governments was not just to talk about fossil fuels, it was to act on them, by delivering an unequivocal commitment to end the era of fossil fuels, to leave no loopholes for delay or inaction, and to ensure rich polluters move first and fastest, with real money on the table. They failed profoundly –

Greenpeace says “Although the final text made a call for a transition away from fossil fuels, the outcome of the climate talks failed to produce the words ‘fossil fuel phase out’, resulting in yet another year of lack of accountability for polluters, as the planet moves closer and closer to warming limits. . . . Both weeks of the climate negotiations were spent swatting away the polluting interests of the record high fossil fuel industry representatives in attendance, to the end. Despite rumors and hopes of an early or on time finish from weary summit goers, negotiations went into overtime through Tuesday night, the scheduled last day. The dash to a finish line resulted in a mostly disappointing final text . . .”

The press release of 350.org says “It is frustrating that thirty years of campaigning managed to get ‘transition away from fossil fuels’ in the COP text, but it is surrounded by so many loopholes that it has been rendered weak and ineffectual. The prize is finally on the table – a phaseout of fossil fuels and a world powered by renewable energy – but rather than clearing the way to it, we’ve been presented with yet another set of distracting doors that could still hold oil and gas expansion, and we don’t know just where the finance will come from.”

NGO’s were joined in their criticism by leading scientists.

Tourism as an engine of peace: strategies for sustainable development in Colombia

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from LABARRA

On November 23 and 24, the IV National Congress of Confetur (Confederación de la Industria Turística de Colombia) was held in the city of Bucaramanga. As part of the agenda, Arturo Bravo, Vice Minister of Tourism of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia, made an important intervention on the strategy of tourism for a culture of peace, promoted by the national government to build the country through tourism.


Colombia peace destinations seal

Among the most crucial points of the conversation, the importance of peace tourism territories, local economic development, purposeful tourism promotion and the construction of a culture of peace around tourism were highlighted. A complete look at a key sector not only in the country’s economic recovery, but also in the construction of peace.

Peace tourism territories: a strategic approach

According to the information presented by Bravo in the congress, the ministry has managed to identify “the tourist territories of peace and 12 subregions at the national level, where of the 170 PDET municipalities, which are the municipalities that have special plans for compliance with the agreements of peace, 88 have a tourist vocation.” These findings have allowed the Government to create a strategy that not only promotes these tourist territories of peace, but also provides tourism entrepreneurs with tools to promote the economic and social development of their regions.

As part of this strategy, the ministry has begun the first phase that involves an investment of 8.2 billion in these territories. Regarding this point, the vice minister highlights that, although it does not seem like an important figure, it corresponds only to the first phase of a project that hopes to mark a significant milestone for the sustainable development of these destinations and tourism in Colombia.

Impact of the conflict on tourism: a historical perspective

Colombia is a country plagued by violence, which for decades has experienced the scourge of political and economic wars, which has permeated all sectors of society. Faced with this problem, Bravo poses a very pertinent question: “How much has been the cost generated by the armed conflict for tourism?”
And from the eighties to 2000, the number of tourists was below 1,000,000, a result precisely of the intensity of the armed conflicts experienced at that time. That situation closed the doors of the country to non-resident visitors in Colombia. However, the achievement of the peace agreements with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and the FARC, presented a notable change.

“With the first peace agreements with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, tourism increased almost 21% (…) When the final agreement was finally signed with the FARC instrument, it rose to 38%.”

For Bravo, this increase may not seem so significant if seen outside of the Colombian context, however, taking into account that the time it took the country to reach these numbers, it is clearly an achievement. “When you see it in that context, in almost two decades we we,t from 1,000,000 tourists to 7,000,000; “It is, without a doubt, an enormous challenge and a great achievement as a country,” he states.

Although the 2020 pandemic brought a significant decrease, as it did throughout the world, the possibility of a new peace agreement with the ELN offers an optimistic horizon of seeking to exceed 7 million tourists by 2025.

Challenges and opportunities in the PDET territories (Development Programs with Territorial Focus )
Faced with this point, the vice minister highlights the cost generated by the armed conflict in the PDET territories. According to the figures he revealed during the congress, there are significant sociodemographic challenges, such as high rates of informality, unemployment and monetary poverty.

“Of the total number of employed people in these territories, 58% are informal, there is an unemployment rate of 12.8%, higher than the national average, and a monetary poverty rate of almost 78%,” he says. Furthermore, according to the vice minister, 50% of the victimizing events are concentrated in these territories.

However, Bravo shared some figures on tourism development in these territories, which show their development potential. “More or less 10% of the country’s total industry is concentrated in these municipalities. In Colombia, there are around 94,000 formal tourism companies, of which only 9,000 are in those territories,” says Bravo.

The vice minister highlights the concentration of service providers in accommodation, pointing out the need to diversify the value chain to include other aspects such as transportation, gastronomy and tourist activities.

“77.43% correspond to accommodation service providers, while only 12% are travel agencies and 1.2% correspond to gastronomic establishments. This means that many aspects of the value chain need to be developed,” but above all, “in these territories there is a need for new entrepreneurial options,” he concludes.

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(Click here for the Spanish original.)

Questions related to this article:
 
How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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Peace tourism territories strategy: promoting local development

For the ministry, it was extremely important to create a strategy that promoted sustainable tourism within the framework of the consolidation of peace tourism territories. Thus, its proposal is based on four fundamental axes: the construction of tourist territories of peace, the development of economic opportunities, the consolidation of the culture of peace and the promotion of tourism with a purpose.

Construction of tourist territories of peace

Regarding the first point, Bravo comments that the challenge begins with understanding “what are the capabilities that these territories have” and from there strengthening human talent, improving staffing conditions and working as a network to share common experiences and challenges.

For Bravo, this last point has been vital, especially in terms of international cooperation. An example like that of Cuba, guest of honor of the Congress, is an example of everything that can be achieved in relation to the deepening of commercial and tourist relations.

Economic opportunities

During the congress, Vice Minister Bravo presented the Colombia peace destinations seal, a key element to promote economic opportunities in areas affected by the conflict. The seal, beyond being a badge, is a powerful narrative that carries with it a commitment to peace. Bravo emphasizes the importance of granting this seal to products, services and tourist activities from these areas.

A concrete example occurs in gastronomy: when buying from suppliers in areas of peace or connecting with people who have been signatories of the peace, victims or former victims, the peace seal can be applied. This not only highlights the quality of the products, but also builds a social fabric where everyone contributes to the peace process.

On the other hand, Bravo anticipates the holding of four regional roundtables in these peaceful tourist territories. With this strategic approach, we seek to promote collaboration between local entrepreneurs, promoting the development of direct local trade. This strategy not only benefits the timely development of the tourism product, but also addresses the challenge of the productive chain of tourism, crucial in remote regions of the country.

In a context where positive and ethical narratives are essential, the tourism sector emerges as a key agent for the positive transformation of Colombia.

And precisely, regarding this point, the vice minister was very emphatic about the need to improve connectivity so that the tourist services in these areas can reach tourists effectively. According to the president, connectivity is not only about facilitating access to destinations, but also about connecting strategies between entrepreneurs efficiently. Thus, business efficiency, in this context, becomes a key component for the success of the strategy.

Consolidation of the culture of peace

The third axis, for its part, focuses on the culture of peace, highlighting the importance of working with different ethical principles, especially on issues of historical memory. The objective is clear: to avoid glorifying war, not to repeat the tragedy and, above all, not to repeat victimization.

According to the vice-minister, enhancing memory tourism allows us to tell a different story and rescue what makes these territories great. “There we have to work hard on the construction and strengthening of peace narratives, to avoid negative tourism, and move on to positive tourism, one that does not make us forget, but does help us build towards the future,” he comments.

Tourism promotion with purpose

The fourth axis focuses on purposeful tourism promotion, headed by the implementation of the “Colombia Destinations of Peace” seal. This approach seeks to sell an emotion, a different way of contributing to the national purpose of building peace. The invitation is to actively participate in this initiative, where tourism promotion is not only about destinations, but about telling positive stories of what happened in those territories.

The Vice Minister points out the existence of previous programs, such as Peace and Coexistence tourism, which have already consolidated destinations for the culture of peace. The region of Urabá stands out; they will host the next congress and is presented as a destination of peace. The idea is to take advantage of these advances and consolidated experiences, sharing the lessons learned through networks and inter-institutional cooperation.

(Editor’s note: Regarding Urabá, see the The ‘Island of Enchantment‘: the mysterious island that “appears and disappears” in Urabá)

Without a doubt, the vision presented by Vice Minister Arturo Bravo within the framework of the IV National Congress of Confetur, reveals a comprehensive approach that will allow tourism to be positioned as a catalyst for peace and development in Colombia. The proposed strategy addresses not only tourism promotion and local economic development, but also the construction of a culture of peace through other narratives.

The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”

. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A media advisory from the African Union

INVITATION TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

What:  The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda   THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”

When: 22-24 November 2023, Luanda, Angola.

Who: The event is organized by the African Union and the Government of the Republic of Angola (the National Biennale Management Office) in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Why: The Biennale of Luanda – “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace” aims to promote the prevention of violence and conflict resolution, by encouraging cultural exchanges in Africa and dialogue between generations. It is held every two years in Luanda, the capital city of Angola.

The 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, 6 & 7 February 2021, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, underlined the Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace in Africa – Biennale of Luanda, as a privileged space for the promotion of cultural diversity and African unity, provides a unique platform for governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community, the private sector and international organisations to discuss and define strategies for the prevention of violence and conflict with a view to building lasting peace in Africa.

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Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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Objectives:

The aim of the Biennale of Luanda for the Culture of Peace in Africa is to work towards a daily and sustainable individual and collective appropriation and implementation, on the continent, of the concept of a culture of peace. 

This initiative reinforces the implementation of Goals 16 and 17 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 7 Aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, in particular its ”Silencing the Guns by 2030″ initiative. 

Background:

The first edition of the Biennale of Luanda, “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace” was held from 18 to 22 September 2019 in Luanda, which was a celebration of various African values, beliefs, forms of spirituality, knowledge and traditions that contribute to the respect of human rights, cultural diversity, the rejection of violence and the development of democratic societies. 

The second edition of the Biennale of Luanda took place from 27 November to 2 December 2021 and was celebrated under the African Union’s 2021 theme, “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.

For more information, visit the Biennale of Luanda webpage.

Journalists are invited to cover the 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda.

For further inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Ebba Kalondo | Spokesperson to the Chairperson, African Union Commission | E-mail: kalondoe@africa-union.org
Mrs Christiane Yanrou-Matondo | Principal Communication Officer, Cabinet of the Chairperson | E-mail: Yanrouc@africa-union.org
Ms. Limi Mohammed | Web Administrator, African Union Commission, Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate E-mail: shashlm@africa-union.org
Mr. Gamal Eldin Ahmed A. Karrar | Senior Communication Officer | Information and Communication Directorate (ICD), African Union Commission | E-mail: GamalK@africa-union.org

Information and Communication Directorate, African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@africa-union.org


Web: www.au.int | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Tourism at the International Day of Peace Has a Double Meaning

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by  Juergen T Steinmetz in E-Turbo News

The International Institute for Tourism will meet in New York this weekend to recognize the International Day of Peace 2023.

Louis D’Amore, the American founder and president of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism will give the leadership of this organization to Indian native Ajay Prakash, CEO of Mumbai-based Nomad Travels  at a dinner at Kellari Taverna, 19 W 44th Stree, New York on Saturday, September 23, at 6.30 pm -10.00 pm.

The International Day of Peace

Speaking in New York, Ajay Prakash, the president-elect for the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, stated that 2023 marks the midpoint in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the celebration of the International Day of Peace 2023 coincides with the  SDGSummit2023 to mark this mid-point milestone.

This year’s theme is “Actions for Peace:

Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals.”

It is a call to action that recognizes our individual and collective responsibility to foster peace. IIPT was formed 37 years ago with precisely this vision – that Tourism could become a global peace Industry and that every tourist is potentially an Ambassador of Peace.

IIPT has only one purpose – to spread greater awareness of the power of Tourism as a vehicle for Peace. The aim of “Peace through Tourism” is to eliminate, or at least reduce, the conditions that lead us to a perception that violence is necessary.

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Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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It’s obvious to everyone that Peace is a prerequisite for the success of tourism, but the converse is equally true and Tourism can also be a powerful force to foster Peace. But to be effective Peace has to be marked by a positive presence, not an absence – it is not simply the absence of war or conflict; it is the presence of tolerance, acceptance of love, and understanding which together address and mitigate the very cause of conflict. As the Dalai Lama said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

There is no Planet B for humanity (yet!) and it is imperative to check the acceleration of climate change and the proliferation of conflict. Tourism, as one of the biggest global industries, has the potential to foster a Culture of Peace and to work for the creation of a more equitable and sustainable world.

Let us on World Peace Day pledge to invoke this higher paradigm of tourism. Let us integrate responsibility, sensitivity, and ethics into the core of our business strategy, and let us together pledge to further the role of Tourism as a Force for Good. If each one of us in the industry takes a step in this direction, we have the power to make the change.

Never underestimate the power of one.

A river starts as a drop, a few more drops join and it becomes a trickle, the trickle becomes a stream and finally, it’s a mighty river that sustains life until it goes and meets the sea. That is how movements are born, too. Let us today resolve to work for a more responsible, peace-sensitive tourism.

Ajay Prakash, 
IIPT Global President-elect      

About the Institute for International Peace through Tourism (IIPT)

The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering travel and tourism initiatives that contribute to international understanding, cooperation among nations, improved quality of the environment, cultural enhancement, and the preservation of heritage, poverty reduction, reconciliation and healing wounds of conflicts; and through these initiatives, helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable world.