Category Archives: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The “Fihavanana” of Madagascar: corruption or culture of peace?

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

Translated and edited for CPNN from a post of July 30, 2022 on Blogger.com.

We will not stop repeating it, we must fight against corruption before corruption fights against us. Because not to act is to approve and to approve it amounts to showing non-assistance to a country in danger. And as corruption becomes a way of life on the Big Island, more and more people are pointing the finger at Fihavanana.

In its traditional use Fihavanana is a Malagasy cultural concept based on mutual aid that maintains a culture of peace and harmony by avoiding or resolving family disagreements, in the neighborhood or across the country.


Photo from the article The Fihavanana: Myths and Realities of a Value that Guarantees Social Peace

(click here for the original french version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Opposing tax havens and corruption: part of the culture of peace?

It’s a big problem that this collective way of thinking is now in the service of corruption. It threatens to lobotomize the Malagasy at the cost of a common value.

Mutual aid is being diverted towards bribes; officials in charge receive compensation to make procedures more flexible or to make requests favorable. The bribes are justified by the desire to maintain the “Fihavanana”. It is no longer even a question of avoiding disagreements, they will rather use it to make favoritism, priority to acquaintances in the neighborhood. Who care about skill and effort! Positions and places will go first to family members. It is nepotistic “Fihavanana”.

Some go so far as to falsify data to favor their relatives, risk their work for corruption. But ironically, is it really better to lose money than to lose family as the Malagasy proverb says?

The blame should not be on the “Fihavanana” but in the use that one makes of it. A culture of peace cannot be harmful. But a fight against corruption is necessary so that the “Fihavanana” regains its traditional meaning instead of corrupting a national value, a culture that characterizes Madagascar. And even if the country has made some progress by going from 149th in 2020 to 147th in 2021 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the fight is even becoming cultural.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)

Nigeria: Reps Push For ‘Silence The Guns’ Implementation

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Philip Nyam in New Telegraph

The House of Representatives recently passed a resolution calling on the executive to immediately implement the “silence the guns” peace policy of the African Union (AU). PHILIP NYAM reviews the roadmap

Worried by growing conflicts and widespread insecurity across the continent, the African Union met in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016 and drew a master roadmap of practical steps to silence guns in Africa by the year 2020. Six years after, the implementation of the roadmap titled “Lusaka Master Roadmap 2016” has been beset by challenges and Nigeria, the biggest black nation on earth is yet to fully integrate the policy.

It was in view of this that the House of Representatives last month passed a resolution to impress on the government to speed up the process of its implementation. The House resolution came barely after the meeting of the African Union Commission in Lusaka, Zambia, between June 6 and 8 brought together participants from the relevant departments of the AU Commission, Divisions within the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, representatives from RECS/RMs, representatives of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and representatives of AUC partners supporting silencing the guns project such as the UN Department of Political and Peace-building Affairs.

The meeting finalised an implementation plan that will guide the operationalisation of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework of the AU Master Roadmap Silencing the Guns AU and Regional Economic Communities converge to finalise the implementation plan and road map on practical steps to silence the guns in Africa. This is in addition to adopting the terms of reference of an AURECs/ RMs Steering Committee on Silencing the Guns. The meeting also agreed on the establishment of the Steering Committee including the relevant departments of the AUC and focal points/officers in each REC/RM to follow up and coordinate activities related to the STG Initiative.

It also served as a collaborative platform to facilitate regular exchanges between the AU, RECs/RMs, Civil Society Organisations, academia, the private sector and other stakeholders that have a role to play in the implementation of the Silencing the Guns Master Roadmap. Explaining why the implementation had to be postponed from 2020 to 2030, the Coordinator of Silencing the Guns under the Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the African Union Commission, Mr. Advelkader Araoua, said that “the extension of the life span of the AU master roadmap on practical steps to silence the guns in Africa to the year 2030, is a test of our ability to deliver on our commitments to free the African continent from wars, civil conflicts, humanitarian crises, human rights violations, gender-based violence, and genocide.” Also, the Head of Governance, Peace and Security at the COMESA Secretariat, Ms. Elizabeth Mutunga stressed the need to continuously assess the external environment in developing an implementation plan for the monitoring and evaluation.

“Emerging and unpredictable factors, that have not necessarily originated from our region are having a very big impact on the peace, conflict and security dynamics of our region,” she noted. The motion It was after the meeting that the House of Representatives passed a resolution pushing for the implementation of the roadmap. In a motion titled “Need to adopt and implement the “Silencing the Guns” Road Map, Hon. Ahmed Munir noted that “Silencing the Guns 2030” is a flagship roadmap project adopted in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016 by the African Union with the aim of realising a Conflict-Free Africa by the year 2030. He said that the concept of silencing the guns was borne out of the observation that the African Continent is the scene of numerous violent conflicts that make the desired economic and political integration of the continent difficult. As part of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the AU sought to ensure that Africa is characterised by peace, political tolerance and good governance.

Hon. Munir expressed concerns that initially, the roadmap was to be achieved by 2020 of which the continent fell short and the goal was further extended to 2030 “cognisant that peace and security matters across Africa are interwoven and the continent cannot afford to further miss the 2030 set target.” In adopting the motion, which was unanimously endorsed, the House urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fully embrace the report and ensure relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) key into the roadmap. The lawmakers also urged the office of the National Security Adviser to fully adopt the report and cascade it down to other relevant security agencies.

Synopsis of the roadmap

The African Union Master Roadmap of practical steps to silence guns in Africa by the year 2020 better known as the Lusaka Master Roadmap 2016 entails the following. The continuing insecurity, instability, disruption of political harmony, erosion of social cohesion, destruction of the economic fabric and public despondency in various parts of Africa call on the Peace and Security Council (PSC) to play a locomotive role in spearheading strategic interventions to put this sad situation to an end.

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Question related to this article:

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

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Most crises and violent conflicts in Africa are being driven by poverty, economic hardships, violation or manipulation of constitutions, violation of human rights, exclusion, inequalities, marginalisation and mismanagement of Africa’s rich ethnic diversity, as well as relapses into the cycle of violence in some post-conflict settings and external interference in African affairs. Undoubtedly, these challenges can be overcome, as long as the correct remedies are idenpletified and applied.

It is in this context that the PSC convened a Retreat that was dedicated to the theme: Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020, from 7 to 9 November 2016, in Lusaka, Zambia. The Retreat regrouped the PSC Member States, representatives of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), the AU Commission, Regional Economic Communities/ Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA).

This was all the more urgent given the central thrust of Agenda 2063 and the overall AU Vision of building a peaceful, stable, secure, integrated and prosperous Africa, and the essence of Agenda 2030 on sustainable development goals. Notably, the 4th aspiration of Agenda 2063, which is the African Union’s strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next five decades, highlights the need for dialoguecentred conflict prevention, as well as the management and resolution of existing conflicts, with a view to silencing the guns in our Continent by the Year 2020. Agenda 2063 provides that in order to achieve sustainable conflict prevention and resolution, a culture of peace and tolerance must be cultivated and nurtured in our children and youth, among others, through peace education.

Furthermore, in its first 10 years implementation plan, Agenda 2063 stresses the imperative of ending all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence and violent conflicts and prevent genocide, as part of Africa’s collective efforts to silence the guns in the continent by the year 2020. In organising the retreat, the PSC was inspired and guided by the clarion call in the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration adopted by the AU Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa on 26 May 2013, in which they, among other aspects, expressed their “determination to achieve the goal of a conflict-free Africa, to make peace a reality for all our people and to rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, human rights violations, humanitarian disasters and violent conflicts, and to prevent genocide.”

The PSC’s resolutions further read: “We pledge not to bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars in Africa by 2020. In this regard, we undertake to address the root causes of conflicts, including economic and social disparities; put an end to impunity by strengthening national and continental judicial institutions, and ensure accountability in line with our collective responsibility to the principle of non-indifference.

“We undertake to eradicate recurrent and address emerging sources of conflict including piracy, trafficking in narcotics and humans, all forms of extremism, armed rebellions, terrorism, transnational organized crime and new crimes such as cybercrime; push forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peace-making, peace support, national reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction and development through the African Peace and Security Architecture; as well as, ensure enforcement of and compliance with peace agreements and build Africa’s peacekeeping and enforcement capacities through the African Standby Force.

“We will maintain a nuclear-free Africa and call for global nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy; ensure the effective implementation of agreements on landmines and the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons; address the plight of internally displaced persons and refugees and eliminate the root causes of this phenomenon by fully implementing continental and universal frameworks.”

In conceiving practical steps to silence the guns in Africa by the year 2020, the PSC took into consideration the political history of the African continent, which has been marred particularly by three major tragedies, namely, slavery, colonization and the unpaid extraction/ exploitation of natural resources, which have created a huge burden for Africa and its people. The end of slavery at the end of the 19th century and the fall of colonialism under the weight of protracted nationalist and liberation struggles across the continent ushered in a new era in Africa.

However, the new era is faced with a myriad of challenges that the continent has not yet been able to successfully overcome. The cycle of violent conflicts and disruptive crises persist on the continent, so do situations of relapses back into the cycle of violence and destruction for some countries that were perceived to have already emerged from conflicts. It is therefore critically important for Africa and its people to put in place strategic guidelines for addressing these challenges.

In some instances, the African continent has also not been able to foster and manage effective political transitions, partly due to the fact that the erstwhile liberation movements have taken too long to transform themselves into dynamic governing political parties, which could more successfully adapt to operating in pluralistic democratic societies as agents of political discourse and crucial facilitators rather than act as a stumbling block to any democratic dispensation.

Similarly, failures to transform some of the military wings of some of the liberation movements into professional and disciplined national armies, which pledge loyalty to civilian government regardless of the political party in power, have brought problems to some parts of Africa. All of these facts have stifled serious attempts to silence the guns in Africa.

Yet, peace, security and socio-economic development should be pursued simultaneously. Equally challenging is the task of sustaining transitions from war to peace and to prevent relapses. This is why the AU PSC developed a Master Roadmap of realistic, practical, time-bound implementable steps to silence the guns in Africa by 2020.

The master Roadmap is premised on the principle that Africa should take, assume total responsibility for its destiny. Assuming such responsibility should also take into account the fact that, while appropriate decisions and programmes have been adopted with a view to resolving some of the challenges Africa is faced with, there has been encroachment on some of those decisions by the implementation deficit.

Evo Morales: “an economic model that belongs to the people, not to the empire”

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

Excerpts from an article by Matt Kennard*, 14 July, in Declassified UK

The President of Bolivia from 2006-19 invites Declassified to his house deep in the Amazon rainforest for an exclusive interview – on the UK role in the coup that overthrew him, how he reversed 500 years of history and industrialised Bolivia, and the efforts of the US and its British ally to bring him down.



Video of interview

When Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, was overthrown in a British-backed  coup in November 2019, many believed his life was in danger. Latin America’s history is littered with liberation leaders cut down by vengeful imperial powers. 

Legendary resistance leader Túpac Katari, like Morales from the Aymara indigenous group, had his limbs tied  to four horses by the Spanish before they bolted and he was ripped apart in 1781.

Some 238 years later, Bolivia’s self-declared ‘interim president’ Jeanine Áñez appeared in Congress days after the coup against Morales brandishing a huge leatherbound Bible. “The Bible has returned to the government palace,” she announced.

Her new regime immediately forced through Decree 4078  which gave immunity to the military for any actions taken in “the defence of society and maintenance of public order”. It was a green-light. The following day, 10 unarmed protestors were massacred by security forces.

When the coup was looking inevitable, Morales had gone underground. 

His destination, with his vice-president Álvaro García Linera, was El Trópico de Cochabamba, a tropical area deep in the Amazon rainforest in central Bolivia, and the heartland of his Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party and its indigenous base. . . .

Days after Morales and Linera arrived in El Trópico, Mexico’s left-wing president Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent a plane to rescue them, flying them out of Chimoré airport again. 

Obrador later said that the Bolivian armed forces targeted the aircraft with an RPG rocket moments after it took off. It appears the UK-backed coup regime wanted the deposed president – who had served for 13 years – dead. Morales credits Obrador with saving his life

Villa Tunari

Morales is back in El Trópico now, but in very different circumstances. 

After a year of ‘interim government’ democracy was eventually restored in October 2020 and Morales’s MAS won the elections again. The new president Luis Arce, formerly Morales’ economy minister, took power and Morales made a triumphant return from exile in Argentina.

After a tour of much of the country on foot, Morales settled back in El Trópico. 

He has recently moved into a house in Villa Tunari, a small town that sits just 20 miles down the road from Chimoré airport. It has a population of just over 3,000. . . .

I got the interview because of an investigation I wrote in March 2021 revealing the UK’s support for the coup which deposed Morales. . . .

Local journalists told me that Morales often mentions the article in his speeches, so I start with that.

“Just last year, through the media, we were informed that England had also participated in the coup,” he tells me. This, he continues, was a “blow against our economic model, because our economic model has produced results.”

He adds: “It is an economic model that belongs to the people, not to the empire. An economic model that does not come from the International Monetary Fund. An economic model that comes from the social movements.”

Morales continues: “When we came to government in 2006, Bolivia was the last country in South America in terms of economic and development indicators, the penultimate country in all of America.”

Over the next 13 years of his government Bolivia experienced its most stable period since it declared independence in 1825, and achieved unprecedented economic success, even praised by the IMF and World Bank. Crucially, this success was translated into unprecedented improvements  for Bolivia’s poor.  

“For the first six years we had the highest levels of economic growth in all of South America and that was because of those policies that came from social movements based on nationalisation,” Morales tells me.  

He was part of the “pink tide ” of left-wing governments in Latin America in the 2000s, but his model was more economically radical than most. 

On his hundredth day in office, Morales moved to nationalise  Bolivia’s oil and gas reserves, ordering the military to occupy the country’s gas fields and giving foreign investors a six-month deadline to comply with demands or leave. 

Morales believes it was this programme of nationalisation that led to the Western-backed coup against him.

“I continue to be convinced that the empire, capitalism, imperialism, do not accept that there is an economic model that is better than neoliberalism,” he tells me. “The coup was against our economic model…we showed that another Bolivia is possible.”

Added value

Morales says the second phase of the revolution – after nationalisation – was industrialisation. “The most important part was lithium,” he adds. 

Bolivia has the world’s second-largest  reserves of lithium, a metal that is used to make batteries and which has become increasingly coveted due to the burgeoning electric car industry.

Morales remembers a formative trip to South Korea he made in 2010. 

“We were discussing bilateral agreements, investments, co-operation and they took me to visit a factory that produced lithium batteries,” Morales says. “Interestingly, South Korea was asking us for lithium, as a raw material.”

Morales said he asked at the factory how much it cost to build the facility. They told him $300m. 

“Our international reserves were growing,” he adds. “I said at that moment, ‘I can guarantee $300m dollars’. I said to the Koreans, ‘let’s replicate this factory in Bolivia. I can guarantee your investment’”. The Koreans said no. 

“That’s when I realised that industrialised countries only want us Latin Americans so that we can guarantee them their raw materials. They don’t want us to give us the added value.”

At that point, Morales resolved to start industrialising Bolivia, reversing half a millennium of colonial history. 

The traditional imperial dynamic which had kept Bolivia poor was that rich countries would extract raw materials, send them to Europe to be made into products, industrialising Europe at the same time, and then sell them back to Bolivia as finished products, at a mark-up. 

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can Latin America free itself from US domination?

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With the country’s lithium deposits, Morales was adamant this system was finished. Bolivia would not just extract the lithium. It would build the batteries, too. Morales calls it “value added”.  

“We started with a laboratory, obviously with international experts that we hired,” he says. “Then we moved on to a pilot plant. We invested around $20 million, and now it’s working. Every year it produces about 200 tonnes of lithium carbonate, and lithium batteries, in Potosí.” 

Potosí is a city in southern Bolivia that became the centre of the Spanish empire in Latin America after gargantuan silver deposits were discovered there in the 16th century. Called  “the first city of capitalism”, it is estimated up to eight million  indigenous people died mining Potosi’s Cerro Rico (Rich Hill) for silver, all of it destined for Europe.

Morales continues: “We had a plan to install 42 new [lithium] plants by 2029. It was estimated that profits would be five billion dollars. Profits!”

“That’s when the coup came,” he says. “The US says China’s presence is not permitted but…having a market in China is very important. Also in Germany. The next step was with Russia, and then came the coup.” 

He continues: “Just last year, we found out that England had also participated in the coup – all for lithium.” 

But Morales says his people’s long struggle for control over their own riches is not unique.

“This is a struggle not only in Bolivia, or Latin America, but throughout the world,” Morales says. “Who do natural resources belong to? The people under the control of their state? Or are they privatised under the control of transnationals so they can plunder our natural resources?”

Partners or bosses?

Morales’ nationalisation programme put him on a collision course with powerful transnational companies who were used to the traditional imperial dynamic.

“During the 2005 campaign, we said, if corporations want to be here they do so as partners, or to provide their services, but not as bosses or owners of our natural resources,” Morales says.  “We established a political position with regards to transnational companies: we talk, we negotiate, but we do not submit to transnational corporations.”

Morales gives the example of hydrocarbon contracts signed by previous governments.

“In previous contracts – contracts made by neoliberals – it literally said ‘the title-holder acquires the rights to the product at the mouth of the well.’ Who is the title-holder? The transnational oil company. They want it from the mouth of the well.” 

He adds: “The companies tell us that when it is underground it belongs to the Bolivians, but when it comes out of the ground it is no longer the Bolivians. From the moment it comes out, the transnational corporations have an acquired right to it. So we said, inside or outside, it all belongs to Bolivians.”

Morales continues: “The most important thing now is that of 100% revenue, 82% is for Bolivians and 18% for corporations. Before it was 82% for the companies, 18% for the Bolivians, and the state had no control over production – how much they produced, how they produced – nothing”. . .

Placing conditions

Since the formation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 – which claimed the Western Hemisphere as the US’s sphere of influence – Bolivia has been largely under its control. This changed for the first time with the advent of the Morales government. 

“As a state, we want to have diplomatic relationships with all the world, but based on mutual respect,” Morales tells me. “The problem we have with the US is that any relationship with them is always subject to conditions.”

Morales continues: “It’s important to have commerce and relations based on mutual benefit, not competition. And we found some European countries that do that. But above all we found China. Diplomatic relationships with them aren’t based on conditions.”

He adds: “With the US, for example, their economic plan, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, if you wanted to access it you had to, in exchange, privatise your natural resources.”

The MCC was a project  of the George W. Bush administration which sought to run aid more like a business. Headed by a CEO, it is funded by public money but acts autonomously, and has a corporation-style board which includes  business people expert in making money. The aid “compacts” it signs with countries come with attached policy “conditionalities”.

“China doesn’t place any conditions on us, same as Russia, and like some countries in Europe,” Morales adds. “So that is the difference” . . . .

Morales believes that information and communication for the “people who do not have a voice” is the most important issue today. He is currently working on building independent media in Bolivia. 

“The people without many means of communication are faced with a hard struggle to communicate,” Morales says. “We have some experience, for example in El Trópico. We have a radio station, we don’t have a national audience, but it is listened to and followed a lot by the right-wing media.” They follow mainly to find attack lines on Morales.

“How nice it would be if the people had their own media channels,” Morales continues. “This is the challenge the people have. This media we have, which belongs to the empire or the right-wing in Bolivia, that’s how it is in all Latin America. It defends its interests…and they are never with the people.”

He adds: “When, for example, the right-wing makes a mistake it is never revealed, it’s covered-up and they protect themselves. The [corporate] media is there to defend their big industries, their lands, their banks, and they want to humiliate the Bolivian peoples, the humble people of the world.”

‘I have a lot of hope’

Latin America has long been the world’s home of democratic socialism. I ask Morales if he has hope for the future. “In South America, we are not in times of Hugo Chávez, Lula, [Néstor] Kirchner, [Rafael] Correa,” he says.

Together these progressive leaders pushed for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, through organisations such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2008 and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2011. 

“We came down, but now we are recovering,” Morales adds.

Recent events point to another left-wing resurgence in the continent. Morales points to recent victories in Peru, Chile and Colombia and Lula’s expected return to the presidency in Brazil soon. 

“Those times are returning,” he says. “We need to again consolidate these democratic revolutions for the good of humanity. I have a lot of hope.”

He continues: “In politics we must ask ourselves: are we with the people or are we with the empire? If we are with the people, we make a country; if we are with the empire, we make money. 

“If we are with the people, we fight for life, for humanity; if we are with the empire, we are with the politics of death, the culture of death, interventions, and pillaging of the people. That is what we ask ourselves as humans, as leaders: ‘Are we at the service of our people?’” . . . .
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* Matt Kennard is chief investigator at Declassified UK. He was a fellow and then director at the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London. Follow him on Twitter @kennardmatt

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(Thank you to Joe Yannielli for sending this article to CPNN.)

UN General Assembly declares access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from the United Nations

With 161 votes in favour, and eight abstentions*, the UN General Assembly adopted a historic resolution on Thursday (July 28), declaring access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, a universal human right.

The resolution, based on a similar text adopted last year by the Human Rights Council, calls upon States, international organisations, and business enterprises to scale up efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all. 

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, welcomed the ‘historic’ decision and said the landmark development demonstrates that Member States can come together in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

“The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people, especially those that are in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples”, he said in a statement released by his Spokesperson’s Office.

He added that the decision will also help States accelerate the implementation of their environmental and human rights obligations and commitments.

“The international community has given universal recognition to this right and brought us closer to making it a reality for all”, he said.

Guterres underscored that however, the adoption of the resolution ‘is only the beginning’ and urged nations to make this newly recognised right ‘a reality for everyone, everywhere’.

Urgent action needed

In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also hailed the Assembly’s decision and echoed the Secretary-General’s call for urgent action to implement it.

“Today is a historic moment, but simply affirming our right to a healthy environment is not enough. The General Assembly resolution is very clear: States must implement their international commitments and scale up their efforts to realize it. We will all suffer much worse effects from environmental crises, if we do not work together to collectively avert them now,” she said.

Ms. Bachelet explained that environmental action based on human rights obligations provides vital guardrails for economic policies and business models.

“It emphasizes the underpinning of legal obligations to act, rather than simply of discretionary policy.  It is also more effective, legitimate and sustainable,” she added.

A resolution for the whole planet

The text, originally presented by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland last June, and now co-sponsored by over 100 countries, notes that the right to a healthy environment is related to existing international law and affirms that its promotion requires the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.

It also recognises that the impact of climate change, the unsustainable management and use of natural resources, the pollution of air, land and water, the unsound management of chemicals and waste, and the resulting loss in biodiversity interfere with the enjoyment of this right – and that environmental damage has negative implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of all human rights.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr. David Boyd, the Assembly’s decision will change the very nature of international human rights law.

“Governments have made promises to clean up the environment and address the climate emergency for decades but having a right to a healthy environment changes people’s perspective from ‘begging’ to demanding governments to act”, he United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm, which ended with its own historic declaration, was the first one to place environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water and the ocean, and the well-being of people around the world.

UN Member States back then, declared that people have a fundamental right to “an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being,” calling for concrete action and the recognition of this right.

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Question for this article:

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

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Last October, after decades of work by nations at the front lines of climate change, such as the Maldives archipelago, as well as more than 1,000 civil society organisations, the Human Rights Council finally recognised this right and called for the UN General Assembly to do the same.

“From a foothold in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, the right has been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements. Today’s decision elevates the right to where it belongs: universal recognition”, UN Environment chief, Inger Andersen, explained in a statement published this Thursday.

The recognition of the right to a healthy environment by these UN bodies, although not legally binding— meaning countries don’t have a legal obligation to comply— is expected to be a catalyst for action and to empower ordinary people to hold their governments accountable.

“So, the recognition of this right is a victory we should celebrate. My thanks to Member States and to the thousands of civil society organizations and indigenous peoples’ groups, and tens of thousands of young people who advocated relentlessly for this right. But now we must build on this victory and implement the right”, Ms. Andersen added.

Triple crisis response

As mentioned by the UN Secretary-General, the newly recognised right will be crucial to tackling the triple planetary crisis.

This refers to the three main interlinked environmental threats that humanity currently faces: climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss – all mentioned in the text of the resolution.

Each of these issues has its own causes and effects and they need to be resolved if we are to have a viable future on Earth.

The consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, through increased intensity and severity of droughts, water scarcity, wildfires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity.

Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the largest cause of disease and premature death in the world, with more than seven million people dying prematurely each year due to pollution.

Finally, the decline or disappearance of biological diversity – which includes animals, plants and ecosystems – impacts food supplies, access to clean water and life as we know it.

* States who abstained: China, Russian Federation, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, Syria, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.

(Note from the editor: Here is a translation of the explanation of their vote by the Russian Federation.

Mr Chairman, We would like to start by thanking the delegations of Slovenia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Maldives and Morocco as the main sponsors of the draft resolution “The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” for their openness and constructive approach upon approval of the document.

The Russian Federation attaches great importance to the protection of environment and gives it increased attention both at the national, as well as at the international level. The theme of the draft resolution is at the intersection of two branches of law – international human rights law and international environmental law. However, neither universal environmental agreements nor international human rights treaties do not disclose the content of such concepts such as “clean environment”, “healthy environment”, “sustainable environment” or any similar concepts.

The wording of the existing international acts differ significantly. The main legal content of these concepts today occurs in national level. Each of the countries, based on the situation prevailing there and conditions, defines its own standards.

In this regard, the proclamation of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, without defining at least minimum standards universal character, prematurely.

Moreover, we are convinced that a new right can be recognized exclusively within the framework of international treaties, which are carefully prepared by authorized experts and approved by states. Only in this case can we speak of legal recognized law to be taken into account by States. Chosen one the authors of the method – the recognition of the right through the resolution of the General Assembly – is, at least controversial from a legal point of view, and in the future may lead to negative consequences.

In view of the foregoing, the Russian Federation cannot support the submitted draft resolution A/76/L.75 and puts it on vote. However, recognizing the importance of the topic under consideration as a whole, the Russian delegation will not oppose, but will refrain from voting.

Thank you for your attention.

(Thank you to Georgina Galanis for sending this article to CPNN.)

NAM Baku Summit unique opportunity to find solutions to solve real world issues – Pakistani expert

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Nargiz Sadikhova from the Trend News Agency

The Youth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member countries is being held in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku on July 25-29.


Photo from twitter. Click on photo to enlarge.

Representatives of youth from more than 60 countries of the NAM are taking part in the event.

The NAM Baku Summit is a unique opportunity where youth delegates from across the globe belonging to multiple NAM countries from diverse cultures and expertise would participate physically, Qaiser Nawab, Pakistani strategic communications expert, advocate for social change told Trend.

He noted that the world today is home to the largest generation of young people in history.

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Question for this article:

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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“Connected to each other like never before, young people contribute to the resilience of their communities by proposing innovative solutions and driving social progress. At the same time, they continue to face multifaceted challenges, including, among others, access to quality education, healthcare, and decent work, forced displacement, different forms of discrimination and marginalization, all of which impede them to achieve their full potential,” he said.

Nawab noted that the way young people navigate their way and overcome these challenges is critical for the progress of mankind.

“The NAM Baku Summit is a unique opportunity where youth delegates from across the globe belonging to multiple NAM countries from diverse cultures and expertise would participate physically. The youth of today are progressives that go unconventional about different global issues. So, the best brains from different corners of the NAM member states would happen to share ideas, find solutions to solve real world issues as well as help in advocating the case of humanity, global culture of peace and Sustainable Development,” he said.

In his words, the youth of the NAM members states can play an important role in advancing the principles of the movement by using technology and by presenting an innovative ideas, visions, recommendations as well as perspectives on current challenges that they face in ensuring sustainable progress and how these difficulties could be overcome through concerted and adequate responses of the NAM Member States.

“In order to have a sustainable solutions, youth must be involved and convinced that the multilateral rules-based order is the need of the hour considering the multifarious challenges confronting the international order in the form of climate change, poverty, rising inequality, migration, as well as weapons proliferation, deteriorating oceans and cybercrime. It’s indeed a great initiative by the Chairmanship of NAM, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev,” he said.

Pretoria, South Africa : Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2022

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

Excerpts from the website of Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress

The Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress (SRI) unites more than 2000 global sustainability research leaders, government and civil society experts, funders and innovators to inspire action and promote a sustainability transformation.

A joint initiative of Future Earth and the Belmont Forum, this truly global, annual event sparks meaningful conversations, provides a platform to share innovative ideas, and creates an inspiring and inclusive space for collaboration and action.

This year, hosted by the Future Africa Institute in Pretoria, South Africa, and online, the second edition of SRI offered a program of over 200 interactive sessions, workshops, trainings, networking events, innovation demonstrations, satellite events, and much more. 

Highlights from Day One – June 21

Transdisciplinary research in Africa could be the turnkey that unlocks progress in the research and scientific innovations that address climate change, gender-based violence and achieving net zero targets – but collaboration is pivotal.

This was the consensus among speakers at the opening plenary session on the first day of the Sustainability, Research and Innovation (SRI) Congress in Pretoria.

Highlights from Day Two – June 22

The second day of the SRI Congress saw many diverse topics take center stage as a series of transdisciplinary hybrid content sessions showcased sustainability’s impact on culture, art, and finance.

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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In a special session held in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) titled The role of Biodiversity Finance in a changing world post the pandemic, key stakeholders and leaders in the biodiversity finance space participated in a lively discussion on government initiatives across Southern Africa to improve investment into biodiversity, and also showcased innovative approaches to Biodiversity Finance globally.

Highlights from Day Three – June 23

The ethical concerns around the development and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI), harnessing Africa’s natural capital, and taking healthcare solutions to where they are needed most, local communities, were just some of the insightful discussions held on the third day of the Sustainability, Research and Innovation Congress (SRI) 2022.

Highlights from Day Four – June 24

As extreme weather events continue to have an increasing and intense impact across Africa and the world, governments along with the private sector will have to join hands in planning for the “cities of tomorrow” that allow for healthy environments with access to clean power, air and water.

The fourth day of the Sustainability, Research and Innovation Congress (SRI) 2022, saw engaging sessions that addressed these broad yet interconnected issues and crucially, what sustainable strategies and solutions could be implemented.

Highlights from Day Five – June 25

Predicting the future is hard. Scientists and foresight experts work with data and stakeholders to build scenarios, historians lean on their knowledge of the past to peek into the present and beyond, investors read weak signals – yet more often than not, we are surprised by life.

At the Sustainability, Research and Innovation (SRI) Congress’s closing plenary session, a group of leading professionals actively engaging with the future, scientists and science fiction writers, as well as foresight analysts, convened to give a taste of the future – or at least their makings of it.

SRI2023 to be held in Panama

The National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (Senacyt) will host the congress in collaboration with its co-host, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI).

(Note: Thank you to Uzma Alam for calling this event to the attention of CPNN.)

The Era Of Northern Hegemony Over Mexico Is Coming To An End

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Rodrigo Guillot / Globetrotter from Scoop Independent News (reproduced as creative commons – no commercial purpose or end)

In 2010, Cuba’s former President Fidel Castro said: “López Obrador will be the person with the most moral and political authority in Mexico when the system collapses and, with it, the empire.” He was referring to Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO), who is the current president of Mexico and head of the Morena  (National Regeneration Movement) political party.


Photo by Edgard Garrido / Reuters

Despite the wide lead  he had in all the polls before the elections, López Obrador’s victory in 2018 took almost everyone by surprise. Even the Morena militants remained doubtful for some days, since the dynamics of electoral fraud in Mexican politics had made defeat seem inevitable.

Few of us knew what to expect from Mexico’s new government since AMLO is the first leftist president in our country’s modern political history. The first two years of his term were marked by the absence of any concrete foreign policy, at least publicly. The theory that the best foreign policy is domestic policy led President López Obrador to concentrate his efforts on trying to solve the larger problems being faced by the Mexican people, as well as dealing with former U.S. President Donald Trump’s aggressive anti-immigration policy that was mainly directed toward the Mexican migrant population entering and already in the United States.

Fourth Transformation

The only noteworthy Mexican public diplomacy initiative undertaken by López Obrador during the first three years of his six-year term was to advocate for the Comprehensive Development Plan for Central America. This plan was developed by El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). President López Obrador’s government began working on the plan from the day he took office. The initiative addressed both issues, the attacks faced by migrants from Central America in the United States and the real needs of the people who are compelled to migrate to other countries from the region. The structural causes of migration—poverty, inequality and insecurity—framed the discussion by the stakeholders who worked on finalizing the initiative. The plan challenged the U.S. border security doctrine, which treats socioeconomic problems as military problems.

The triumph of Morena in one of Latin America’s largest countries opened a cycle of hope among progressive forces in the region; Latin American leaders and intellectuals have spoken of Mexico as the epicenter of the new progressive wave in the hemisphere. But Morena’s triumph was met by three complexities. First, the difficulties being faced by López Obrador as he has tried to lay the foundations for national development and address the glaring inequalities in the country (10 percent of Mexicans hold  79 percent of its wealth); this included a national project  to end inequality and discrimination, which would be funded by the revitalization of the oil industry, the nationalization of lithium, and the implementation of various infrastructural works.

Second, because the pandemic accelerated the process of the neoliberal crisis at a global level, including in Mexico, López Obrador has spoken  about the need to “end” neoliberalism by 2022 in the country.

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can Latin America free itself from US domination?

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Third, there has been a renewed aggression by the United States through its blockades and sanctions campaigns against several Latin American countries, including Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. López Obrador’s fourth transformation  (4T), which is the name of his political project—referring “to a moment of change in the political system”—has led to disputes with the U.S. government and U.S.-controlled institutions (including the Organization of American States). This is what gradually drew Mexico’s government into a more prominent role in the Americas.

López Obrador’s Public Diplomacy

The increase in López Obrador’s activity relating to international diplomacy has been gradual and well-calculated. López Obrador gradually introduced some of these foreign policy matters into the arena of national political debate before he tested the waters in the region with them. Each morning he holds a press conference, where many of these ideas are first introduced. López Obrador’s commitment to building a revolution of conscience has transformed Mexican diplomacy into a public phenomenon.

Before López Obrador, foreign policy matters were discussed behind closed doors. Now, López Obrador uses his press conference to provide the public with the historical and political reasons for Mexico’s position on, for instance, the U.S. blockade of Cuba and its economic war against Venezuela, the violent anti-immigrant policy of the United States and the war between Russia and Ukraine. Because López Obrador has tried to explain the reasons for the diplomatic decisions taken by Mexico regarding various global matters, it has helped build a consensus among large sections of the population for these decisions, including the most recent decision taken by him to not attend the Summit of the Americas.

Summit of the Americas

United States President Joe Biden announced  in January that the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS) would host the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles from June 6 to June 10. López Obrador toured  Central America and the Caribbean, which ended in Cuba, before the summit. During the tour, López Obrador developed Mexico’s position on the summit. This viewpoint was also apparent earlier when Mexico hosted the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit in September 2021, where Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were able to participate—unlike during the Summit of the Americas where these countries were banned from attending the event. At that 2021 summit, López Obrador proposed  to shut down the OAS and replace it with “a block like the European Union,” such as CELAC.

Before the Summit of the Americas began, López Obrador announced that Mexico would not attend it because of two principles of Mexican foreign policy: First, the United States’ decision to not invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela violated the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. Second, the principle of legal equality of all countries should allow all people to be represented at the international level through their governments. López Obrador’s decision to withdraw from the summit surprised both Washington and Latin American capitals; his decision was followed  by both Bolivia and Honduras and was backed up by countries such as Argentina.

Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, meanwhile, tried to negotiate to ensure the presence of the Mexican president at the summit, but without  any success. The hegemony of the OAS had begun to decline after the CELAC summit in 2021 but seems to have reached its end with these latest developments during the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

But the more important outcome of the summit was the reaction of the different Latin American leaders who joined Mexico’s show of dignity and displayed the strength of popular power and assumed positions of support for a new form of regional organization, which does not require the support of the United States. The general mood in Latin America is that the U.S. should not waste its time interfering south of its border but should, instead, spend its energy trying to resolve its cascading internal crises.

Argentina says has China’s support to join BRICS group

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Reuters (reprinted by permission)

Argentina’s government said on Thursday (July 7) it had received China’s formal support for the country’s bid to join the BRICS group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a bloc seen as a powerful emerging-market alternative to the West.


China’s President Xi Jinping attends the Dialogue with BRICS Business Council & New Development Bank during the BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

Argentina’s foreign minister Santiago Cafiero met with his Chinese counter Wang Yi at a G20 event in Indonesia, where that support was formalized, the ministry said in a statement. Argentina is a major exporter of soy, wheat and corn.

“Wang Yi formally confirmed his country’s support for Argentina’s membership of the BRICS group, in line with what was agreed between the group’s leaders,” Argentina’s foreign ministry said.

It added that if Argentina joined the group it would “strengthen and broaden its voice in defense of the interests of the developing world.”

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez had previously said that the country, which is battling an economic crisis with high inflation and weak foreign currency reserves, wanted to join the BRICS group. That process required the support of its members.

The term BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill in 2001 to describe the startling rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The BRIC powers had their first summit in 2009 in Russia. South Africa joined in 2010.

China has by far the largest economy in the BRICS grouping, accounting for more than 70% of its collective $27.5 trillion economic might. India accounts for about 13%, with Russia and Brazil representing about 7%, according to IMF data.

La Via Campesina calls on States to exit the WTO and to create a new framework based on food sovereignty

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A press release June 15 from La Via Campesina

La Via Campesina, the global peasant movement representing the voices of more than 200 million small-scale peasants from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, has been mobilizing all week against the WTO. The food crisis that is currently hitting the world is further proof that free trade – far from bringing about food security – is making people starve.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has once again failed to offer a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes. For more than eight years, rich countries have been blocking concrete proposals from African and Asian members of the G33 in this regard.

Jeongyeol Kim, from the Korean Women Peasant’s Association and an International Coordination Committee (ICC) member of La Via Campesina, points out that:

“Free Trade Fuels Hunger. After 27 years under the rule of the WTO, this conclusion is clear. It is time to keep agriculture out of all Free Trade Agreements. The pandemic, and the shock and disruptions induced by war have made it clear that we need a local and national food governance system based on people, not agribusinesses. A system that is built on principles of solidarity and cooperation rather than competition, coercion, and geopolitical agendas.”

Burry Tunkara, from the Gambian Organization of Small-scale Farmers, Fishermen and Foresters and one of the main youth leaders of La Via Campesina, echoes the same sentiment in this testimony:

“The WTO only defends the rich and their commercial interests. It is a tool of neo-colonialism. It only serves the interests of multinationals to find new markets and cheaper labour. It’s time to stop that!

The socio-economic agenda of the poorest and low-income countries is not a priority for the WTO. The proof: its inability to provide a safeguard mechanism against the “dumping” of rich countries and its approach to fisheries subsidies to the detriment of small-scale fisherfolk. There is no point in trying to reform an institution built to favour the business interests of a handful of multinational corporations.

Perla Álvarez from Paraguay, and member of the Latin American Coordination of La Via Campesina (CLOC) stated that a systemic change is urgent and necessary:

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(Click here for the article in French or click here for the article in Spanish).

Question for this article:

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

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“The global food crisis is our moment of reckoning. There is no place for a ‘business as usual’ approach here. We are presenting short-term and long-term proposals that can radically shift the way in which trade affects farming communities around the world.”

Today, June 15, from Geneva, while the WTO Ministerial Conference has once again betrayed the expectations of the populations that have been most affected by the food crisis, we, La Via Campesina, share our proposals;

La Via Campesina calls on all national governments to rebuild public stocks and to support the creation of food reserves at the community level with local products from agroecological practices. LVC also called on all governments to put in place the anti-dumping legislation necessary to prevent exporters from destroying local markets.

Yudhvir Singh of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, one of the unions that spearheaded the historic mobilization of Indian peasants in 2021, shared his country’s experience with public food stocks:

“Peasants need strong public policies, such as minimum prices and public stock, to continue to make a decent living by producing food. The WTO’s attacks against our model of market regulation are extremely dangerous. The G33 must continue to resist and build based on the aspirations and hopes of small-scale producers.”

La Via Campesina has called for an immediate suspension of all existing WTO rules that prevent countries from developing public food stocks and regulating market and prices. Governments should have the right to use self-selected internal criteria to protect and promote their food sovereignty. Each country should be able to develop its own agricultural and food policy and protect the interests of its peasants, without harming other countries. The use of agricultural products for agro-fuels should be prohibited. La Via Campesina has also called for a halt in speculation.

“Agrarian Reform is necessary to build food sovereignty,” added Zainal Arifin Fuat of Serikat Petani Indonesia and member of LVC’s International Coordination Committee. “Governments must put an end to grabbing water, seeds and land by transnational corporations and ensure small-scale producers fair rights over common resources.”

We, La Via Campesina, insist that within the framework of the pandemic and the global supply crisis, governments should prioritize local markets.

Morgan Ody, peasant in Brittany, France, and general coordinator of La Via Campesina, stated on behalf of the global peasant movement:

“The World Trade Organization is a failed project. Our global peasant movement calls on all States, especially those in the South, to leave the WTO immediately. We must create a new international framework for agriculture and trade based on food sovereignty. Only then can we defend the interests of small-scale food producers.”

For queries, write to press@viacampesina.org | Press Kit: https://linktr.ee/laviacampesina

Note: La Via Campesina counts 181 peasant organisations in over 80 countries as its members. The global peasant network and its allies led the negotiations in the UN for 17 years, resulting in the United Nations adopting a UN Declaration for Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) in 2018.

Australia: On our “frightening” future: how this election shows young people are taking back their voice

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Rose Mary Petrass from The Fifth Estate

This election, young people turned out to vote in record numbers to address the issues they care about most: climate change, housing affordability and the rising cost of living.


Greens candidate Max Chandler-Mather unseated Labor in the Queensland electorate of Griffith

You may or may not have heard the news: young people felt ignored in this election.

They felt there was no plan put forward to address the issues that affect them the most: namely, the climate crisis, housing affordability and cost of living. 

Against a backdrop of unprecedented social upheaval, economic uncertainty and collective trauma, young people feel that the future is uncertain. 

They felt that politicians were short-sighted and with selective hearing; that they were prioritising the short-term over the long-term.

So young people turned up in record numbers to let their voices be heard.

A record number of more than 700,000 enrolment applications were received by the Australian Electoral Commission in the span of just one week. 

In fact, 18 April set a record as the biggest single-day enrollment in Australian history, in what was described by the electoral commission as a “modern-day democratic miracle”.

The AEC said about 80,000 18-24 year olds enrolled to vote in the lead up to the election. That means 97 per cent of the eligible population is now enrolled.

“The majority of people who have enrolled to vote since the election was announced are young Australians aged 18 to 24,” Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said.

According to the AEC, young people make up 26 per cent of enrolled Australians; 55 years and older make up around 40 per cent. 

Yet only two per cent of 18-29 year olds believe that politicians are working in the best interests of young Australians, a recent Triple J survey found.

What’s more, a Plan International report in early May revealed that most young women don’t think politics is an equal space for women and people of colour.

Young people are feeling left out of the political discussions, but have proven to be more politically engaged than ever

The unprecedented wins for The Greens, teal independents, women of colour and Indigenous candidates  demonstrate just how powerful that vote really is. 

Let’s take a look at why this election saw such a turnout

In the ABC’s Vote Compass survey, climate change, cost of living and the economy were ranked as the most important issues to Australians this election, with the cost of living seen as more important to voters in 2022 than in the past two elections.
 
Young people are often quickly labelled as being self-absorbed and narcissistic, but it was 18-29 year olds that most commonly put climate action on the top of their wishlists. 

They are seeing climate change as the massive existential threat that it really is, and also seeing the lack of action from those in leadership as a serious red flag.

The climate crisis, like the pandemic and the housing crisis, is also inextricably linked to a mental health crisis, with one study last year finding that young people feel abandoned by their governments and by older generations. Inadequate action by those in power has, according to the study, led to feelings of betrayal, abandonment and “moral injury”.

The results of the study were harrowing. Over half the respondents said they believed “humanity is doomed”.

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Question for this article:

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

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Among young people surveyed 84 per cent were “at least moderately worried,” nearly 60 per cent were “very or extremely worried,” and 75 per cent felt that the future was “frightening”. 

Seventy five per cent. 

Let that sink in for a moment.

Yet there was largely radio science from the major parties on climate in this election. No wonder the younger demographic turned out in higher numbers than ever before to vote Green.

The “greenslide” is made mostly of wins for seats that have the highest population of young people. 

Electorates that turned Green (Brisbane, Griffith, and Ryan) have the highest proportion of youth voters in the country.

For example, Greens candidate Max Chandler-Mather unseated Labor in the Queensland electorate of Griffith after knocking on 90,000 doors. 

He lives in a sharehouse with his partner and two friends. He represents the majority of youth today who are living in similar circumstances. And his party has had climate at the top of its agenda since the beginning. 

Chandler-Mather says that people have “lost faith in a political system that puts the interests of a few big corporations ahead of the rest of us”. 

Griffith has the third-highest proportion of voters under 30 in the country, at 24.7 per cent.

A similar number of young people live in Melbourne (25.7 per cent), where Adam Bandt held strong. 

“People have delivered a mandate for action on climate and inequality,” Greens leader Adam Bandt said. 

Only 1 per cent of young people believe politicians are working in the best interests of our planet.

This election dragged into the daylight how much those in power treat our high-stakes future like a game, offering what last week we called “show bags stuffed with a few self-interested goodies” against large-scale existential threats to the survival of humanity.

Young Australians simply didn’t have many options on the ballot paper.

For example, much of the election focused on cost of living, without much in the way of housing affordability. 

Young people have been actively encouraged to tap into their superannuation in recent years, and steal from their future in order to afford a roof over their head. 

Australia is staring down the barrel of a housing affordability crisis. This year, house prices have jumped by 22.4 per cent, the biggest price increase since 1989. Rental prices in capital cities rose by up to 21.2 per cent in the 12 months to April.

With the average house in Sydney and Melbourne selling for over $1 million, many young adults are forced to keep living at home with their families or renting homes with friends or strangers well into their 30s.

Meanwhile, the rate of annual wage growth has stagnated over the past decade, with wages growing by 2.4 per cent – less than half the rate of inflation. 

In the Reserve Bank’s quarterly statement on monetary policy  released this month, Australians’ real wages are set to shrink by 3 per cent in 2022 as salaries lag behind inflation.

New PM Anthony Albanese’s plans to address the cost of living include a “Help to Buy” scheme that would only be available for up to 10,000 homes a year. 

That’s a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated two-thirds (roughly 2.6 million people) of young Australians who said last year that they would never be able to afford a home

Young people are looking for some kind of beacon in the darkness of an increasingly uncertain future. 

The “Greenslide”, the “teal independants”, and unprecedented success of women of colour on Saturday night should not have come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the increasingly politically engaged young people around them. 

For many young people, it was the first time that they saw an election win that showed positive signs for the future.