The Páramo de Sumapaz, will be the scene of Colombian cinema festival


An article from El Cine Suma Paz

The protection of the environment, citizen participation and the culture of peace will be the main themes of the first edition of the International Festival El Cine Suma Paz.

The festival will take place from September 10 to 25 with 10 face-to-face stages and a worldwide access platform to the festival’s contents for training, creation, transmission, promotion and circulation of audiovisual and cinematographic content.

Bogotá, DC, August 2021. The last great páramo in the world, El Páramo de Sumapaz, will be the setting for the first edition of the International Film Festival “El Cine Suma Paz” which aims to generate spaces for reflection through cinema that allow the discussion on the protection of the environment and the culture of peace to be shared by an international audience.

(Editor’s note. The scene, the Páramo de Sumapaz, is a unique high-altitude ecosystem in Colombia, above the tree line.)

On this occasion, the programming has been carried out in a hybrid way from September 10 to 25, with face-to-face and virtual activities. This project was born as an initiative of the Social Cinema Foundation with stories about the protection of the environment and the culture of peace.

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(Click here for the Spanish original.)

Questions related to this article:
What is the relation between the environment and peace

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

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The first edition of the Festival will feature international exhibitions, academic spaces and an official selection made up of 80 films from around the world that positions cinema as a tool that raises awareness about the protection of the environment and the culture of peace among humans and the ecosystems that surround it.

It should be noted that this festival takes place in a complex social context, in a country that has seen more than 100 assassinated social leaders. “The Suma Paz Cinema is a space with which we seek to reaffirm our commitment to environmental education, with the defense of the environment and with the people who fight for social and environmental transformations, from different parts of the world,” said Cristhian Ossa, Director of the Social Cinema Foundation.

“We believe that this is a great opportunity to make visible the stories of the community and the relationship between the protection of our environment and the culture of peace. In these times where Colombians go through such a deep division, we need to generate bridges of communication and dialogue between us, in addition to nourishing ourselves with experiences related to the themes of the festival where the world has already explored historical paths and solutions, which sometimes we do not know. and make it impossible to implement them in our daily lives. ” Ossa added.

One of the films within the framework of the festival is Pico de Plata, which tells the story of a group of peasants who fought a historical battle to protect the Pico de Plata hill from mining in Fusagasugá . This short film will premiere on September 10 at the Festival’s opening ceremony.

Within the framework of the festival there will be exhibitions of the films in the communities that make up the Province of Sumapaz, Municipalities of Cundinamarca and the city of Bogotá, in the same way, during the development of the festival, there will be a platform that will allow to reproduce the films and the contents of the festival without any cost in any country of the world.

For more information visit

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC


A press release from the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released today. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.

However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26.

The Working Group I report is the first instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022.

“This report reflects extraordinary efforts under exceptional circumstances,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making.”

Faster warming

The report provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.

The report shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. This assessment is based on improved observational datasets to assess historical warming, as well progress in scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”

Every region facing increasing changes

Many characteristics of climate change directly depend on the level of global warming, but what people experience is often very different to the global average. For example, warming over land is larger than the global average, and it is more than twice as high in the Arctic.

“Climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways. The changes we experience will increase with additional warming,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai.

The report projects that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions. For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows.

But it is not just about temperature. Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans. For example:

* Climate change is intensifying the water cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions.

* Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns. In high latitudes, precipitation is likely to increase, while it is projected to decrease over large parts of the subtropics. Changes to monsoon precipitation are expected, which will vary by region.

* Coastal areas will see continued sea level rise throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion. Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.

* Further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.

* Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence. These changes affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century.

* For cities, some aspects of climate change may be amplified, including heat (since urban areas are usually warmer than their surroundings), flooding from heavy precipitation events and sea level rise in coastal cities.

For the first time, the Sixth Assessment Report provides a more detailed regional assessment of climate change, including a focus on useful information that can inform risk assessment, adaptation, and other decision-making, and a new framework that helps translate physical changes in the climate – heat, cold, rain, drought, snow, wind, coastal flooding and more – into what they mean for society and ecosystems.

This regional information can be explored in detail in the newly developed Interactive Atlas  as well as regional fact sheets, the technical summary, and underlying report.

Human influence on the past and future climate

“It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed,” said Masson-Delmotte. Yet the new report also reflects major advances in the science of attribution – understanding the role of climate change in intensifying specific weather and climate events such as extreme heat waves and heavy rainfall events.

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Question for this article:

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

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The report also shows that human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate. The evidence is clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main driver of climate change, even as other greenhouse gases and air pollutants also affect the climate.

“Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” said Zhai.

For more information contact:

IPCC Press Office, +41 22 730 8120
Katherine Leitzell
Nada Caud (French)
Notes for Editors

Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Working Group I report addresses the most updated physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, global and regional climate simulations. It shows how and why climate has changed to date, and the improved understanding of human influence on a wider range of climate characteristics, including extreme events. There will be a greater focus on regional information that can be used for climate risk assessments.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) as well as additional materials and information are available at 

Note: Originally scheduled for release in April 2021, the report was delayed for several months by the COVID-19 pandemic, as work in the scientific community including the IPCC shifted online. This is first time that the IPCC has conducted a virtual approval session for one of its reports.

AR6 Working Group I in numbers

234 authors from 66 countries
31 – coordinating authors
167 – lead authors
36 – review editors
517 – contributing authors

Over 14,000 cited references

A total of 78,007 expert and government review comments

(First Order Draft 23,462; Second Order Draft 51,387; Final Government Distribution: 3,158)

More information about the Sixth Assessment Report can be found here.

About the IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.

Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals. As part of the IPCC, a Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments (TG-Data) provides guidance to the Data Distribution Centre (DDC) on curation, traceability, stability, availability and transparency of data and scenarios related to the reports of the IPCC.

IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency. An IPCC assessment report consists of the contributions of the three working groups and a Synthesis Report. The Synthesis Report integrates the findings of the three working group reports and of any special reports prepared in that assessment cycle.

About the Sixth Assessment Cycle

At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and the Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle.

Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty was launched in October 2018.

Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems was launched in August 2019, and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate  was released in September 2019.

In May 2019 the IPCC released the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, an update to the methodology used by governments to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

The other two Working Group contributions to the AR6 will be finalized in 2022 and the AR6 Synthesis Report will be completed in the second half of 2022.

For more information go to

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Several Social Movements are boycotting the UN Food Systems Summit, will hold counter mobilizations in July


An article from Via Campesina

Over 300 global civil society organizations of small-scale food producers, researchers and Indigenous Peoples’ will gather online  (25-28 July) to protest against the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit. The People’s Counter-Mobilization to Transform Corporate Food Systems is the latest in a series of rejections of the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), including a coalition of scientists who petitioned  to boycott it. 


The  People’s Autonomous Response to the UNFSS  argues that the Summit distracts from the real problems the planet faces at this critical juncture. Resulting from a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum (formed by the world’s top 1000 corporations), the Summit is disproportionately influenced by corporate actors, and lacks transparency and accountability mechanisms. It diverts energy, critical mass and financial resources away from the real solutions needed to tackle the multiple hunger, climate and health crises. 

Globalized, industrialized food systems fail most people, and the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation . According to the 2021 UN Report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition, the number of chronically undernourished people has risen to 811 million, while almost a third of the world’s population has no access to adequate food. The Global South still reels from Covid-19, unveiling the entrenched structural power asymmetries, fragility and injustice that underpin the predominant food system.

Over 380 million people make up the transnational movements of peasants and farmers, women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, pastoralists, landless, migrants, fisherfolk, food and agricultural workers, consumers, and urban food insecure joining the protest. They demand  a radical transformation of corporate food systems towards a just, inclusive and truly sustainable food system. They equally demand  increased participation in existing democratic food governance models, such as the UN Committee for World Food Security (CFS) and its High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE).

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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 UNFSS threatens to undermine CFS, which is the foremost inclusive intergovernmental international policy-making arena. By exceptionally prioritizing a human rights-based approach, the CFS provides a space for the most affected to have their voices heard. Yet the multilateral UN system is being hijacked  by corporate interests to legitimize an even more detrimental, technologically-driven and crisis-ridden food system.

This counter-mobilization reflects concerns about the Summit’s direction. Despite claims of being a ‘People’s Summit’ and a ‘Solutions’ Summit, UNFSS facilitates greater corporate concentration, fosters unsustainable globalized value chains, and promotes the influence of agribusiness on public institutions.

False solutions  touted by UNFSS include failed models of voluntary corporate sustainability schemes, ‘nature-positive’ solutions which include risky technologies such as Genetically Modified Organisms and biotechnology, and sustainable intensification of agriculture. They are neither sustainable, nor affordable for small-scale food producers, and do not address structural injustices such as land and resource grabbing, corporate abuse of power, and economic inequality. 

The parallel counter-mobilization will share small-scale food producers and workers’ realities, and their visions for a human rights-based and agroecological transformation of food systems, highlighting the importance of food sovereignty, small-scale sustainable agriculture, traditional knowledge, rights to natural resources, and the rights of workers, Indigenous Peoples, women and future generations.

Discussions will center on real solutions: binding rules for corporate abuses, ending pesticide use, and agroecology as a science, practice and movement. The program will include the following activities:

*25 July 2021:  A Global virtual Rally with small-scale food producers and people’s voices.  
*26 July 2021: A political declaration followed by three public round table discussions on the Covid-19 context, the hunger and climate crises and the Summit’s push for corporate capture of governance and science.
*27 July 2021: 15 virtual sessions on people’s alternatives and visions on food systems.
*28 July 2021: A closing Panel will present preliminary conclusions and discuss ways to challenge the UNFSS in September. 

For more information, visit this link.

Argentina: Teachers lead national strategy for Comprehensive Environmental Education


An article by Graciela Mandolini from Education International

We live in a historical time in which all kinds of emergencies are constantly being played out: environmental, climate, energy, health, economic … All of these converge in what many authors define as the crisis of civilization. The environmental agenda has been setting the pace and environmental conflicts have burst into school settings, appearing with unprecedented speed and persistence.

If we understand education as a process that is permanently under construction, we could say that teachers in Argentina are carrying out some important actions in terms of comprehensive environmental education. These include interventions in curricular designs, as well as in projects and programs aimed at incorporating the environmental dimension for sustainable development as part of teaching-learning proposals.

Teacher and Union Training School

For 25 years, the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (CTERA) [Educational Workers Confederation of the Argentine Republic] has generated teacher training processes in Environmental Education: postgraduate courses and specializations in environmental education for sustainable development, in cooperation with public universities, face-to-face meetings with in-service teachers, projects, programs and actions on environmental education for secondary school students and teachers… practical, recreational and learning activities have also been organized, such as planting trees, composting activities, etc.

The union has worked with dedication on a project aimed at creating spaces for building knowledge in order to promote a dialogue of knowledge and skills development, consolidating teacher training at all levels and modalities of the formal educational system, so as to promote environmental education for sustainable development.

This issue has been one of the fundamental pillars of the training activities promoted by our organization’s “Marina Vilte” Teacher and Union Training School.

Initially, in the late 1990s, CTERA produced a training proposal for an Advanced Specialization Course in Environmental Education for sustainable development, in cooperation with a public university that offered lectures nationally through its grassroots entities. In the training space, more than 4,000 teachers specialized in Environmental Education.

Pandemic and environmental education

During 2020, as we moved through the stages of isolation and later of social distancing, whilst tackling the pandemic, a pedagogical proposal was drawn up based on training itineraries and paths, to consider different theories and concepts on the issue affecting us.

Firstly, through mechanisms designed for this purpose, the CTERA Education Secretariat and various grassroots entities offered training opportunities using the co-self-assisted methodology, so that teachers felt this was an invitation to study and an occasion for lifelong learning, without feeling pressured to meet requirements that could create an overload of teaching work. These training formats made it possible to reflect on educational practice, based on personal interests and motivations and in a self-regulated manner.

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(Click here for the article in French or here for the article in Spanish

Question for this article:

What are good examples of environmental education?

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Secondly, and in coordination with the INFoD (National Teacher Training Institute), CTERA further developed the proposal, moving towards creating a tutored course.

In both situations, it was felt necessary to consider the particular conditions that lead to problematizing the Teacher Training curriculum, based on the situations it addresses and analyzes, the complexity of associated trends and the practices of meaning, intervention, research, outreach and transcendence, which allow it to interact in and with the communities of origin.

Pino Solanas Law

The National Congress of Argentina recently approved the National Law of Comprehensive Environmental Education. This law, named after the Argentine filmmaker, Pino Solanas, proposes a “permanent, crosscutting and comprehensive” national public policy for all educational establishments in the country. It covers the interdependence of all the elements that make up and interact in the environment; respecting and valuing biodiversity; equity; recognizing cultural diversity; caring for our natural and cultural heritage and exercising the right to a healthy environment.

The law proposes the establishment of a National Strategy for Comprehensive Environmental Education. It promotes the creation and development of Jurisdictional Strategies and raises the issue of an Intergenerational Environmental Commitment. It also provides for the implementation, on the educational agenda, of actions to improve institutions. It affirms that any educational proposal must be based on educating young people and children. This project clearly establishes a public policy that reinforces the paradigm of citizen participation for sustainability.

Environmental education, education for life

We believe that any environmental education proposal, project or program for sustainable development that we carry out must, without question, interact with history, trajectories, institutional projects, stakeholders, local and regional projections, that will give it meaning and make it unique.

Environmental Education, based on the paradigm of Latin American Environmental Thought, makes it possible for the community’s knowledge to be discussed, thus recovering its voices, trajectories, expectations, experiences, demands, concerns and proposals, in order to highlight environmental conflicts in the territory, dismantling naturalized practices on a daily basis, generating dialogue and linking different disciplinary knowledge so as to reimagine and alter our practices.

CTERA sees Environmental Education for sustainable development as the establishment of environmental criteria, as raising awareness about environmental conflicts, understanding environmental complexity, as creativity, wonder, empathy; it means thinking in an inter-connected manner; learning as you live and learning from life.

It is a conceptual proposal that is interwoven and integrated with methodological work. That is why how we make the content available, the way we present work dynamics and proposals, and encourage participation is very important. This includes:

* Recreational activities that allow us to express our sensations, emotions, and feelings, our mind-body thoughts

* Actions that make it possible to develop proposals where identity is expressed in an artistic and creative way.

* Ancestral ceremonies that occur, highlighting the need to re-connect with nature, recognizing ourselves as children of Mother Earth.
Taking part in tree planting, composting, recycling, materials recovery, camping activities, etc.

The didactic strategies that we can use as environmental education workers to address the issues, problems and conflicts that affect and challenge us, are under continuous construction. In this process, much searching is done to ensure culture and nature, teachers, students, schools and the community support each other, generating creative processes committed to reality, promoting the construction of teaching – learning processes aimed at creating a society based on environmental, social and, of course, curricular justice.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

WWF report: The custodians of nature crucial to any and every effort to protect our planet


An article by Lilian Gikandi from World Wide Fund For Nature (reprinted according to Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 3.0 License)

2021 is the super year for our planet. Global leaders will convene in a series of meetings to determine solutions to the planet’s climate, nature and sustainable development challenges and it is critical they support nature’s original custodians – the world’s Indigenous peoples and local communities. Any global conservation efforts including calls to protect and conserve at least 30% of the world’s land, freshwater and oceans by 2030 hinge on strong IPLC participation and leadership and will be unattainable without them.

A new, first of its kind collaborative study compiled by conservation organizations and experts, with guidance from and peer reviewed by Indigenous Peoples experts and organizations highlights the importance of recognizing and respecting the rights, governance, and conservation efforts of Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC) as custodians of their lands. 

Photo © Luis Barreto / WWF-UK

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Question for this article

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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The study finds that Indigenous peoples and local communities’ lands and territories cover at least 32% of the planet’s terrestrial surface and the majority (91%) are considered to be in good or fair ecological condition today. This is mostly because IPLCs have lived sustainably for generations in their ‘territories of life’ and safeguard many of the world’s remaining natural landscapes. Many of these areas support unique cultural and spiritual values and practices, and are critical in combating nature loss and climate breakdown. 

IPLC knowledge and practices have helped preserve their lands for generations. And yet, more than a quarter of IPLC lands could face high development pressures in the future, underlining the need to secure the rights, governance and practices of those who are best-placed to safeguard many of the natural systems on which we all depend.

As countries meet to negotiate a new Global Biodiversity Framework  later this year, we hope the findings of this report catalyze  support for Indigenous peoples and local communities so that they can defend and restore their lands and territories as part of global conservation efforts.   

Only with IPLCs leading, will conservation that benefits both people and the biodiversity on which we all depend, be fruitful.

Read the The State of the Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ lands and territories report here.

Pope urges inclusive and sustainable food systems


An article by Robin Gomes from Vatican News

As the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) kicks off its 4-day Conference on Monday, Pope Francis has pledged the support of the Holy See and the Catholic Church for their “dedication to a more just world, at the service of our defenseless and needy brothers and sisters”.  He urged special attention for the poor rural food producers, who are more likely to suffer from malnutrition and hunger. 

A vegetable and food vendor in a market in Jakarta, Indonesia  (ANSA)

The Pope made the remarks on Monday in a message to Michal Kurtyka, the Polish Minister of Climate and Environment, who is chairing FAO’s 42nd Conference at it headquarters in Rome, June 14-18.  While reviewing the state of food and agriculture in the world, the virtual session has as its overall theme, “Agriculture Food Systems Transformation: From Strategy to Action”.

Creating inclusive and sustainable food systems

FAO coordinates international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security. The Pope said that this task assumes a special prominence during the Covid-19 pandemic, as “many of our brothers and sisters still do not have access to the food they need, either in quantity or quality”.  Last year, he noted, the number of these people was the highest in the last five years. With conflicts, extreme weather events, economic crises, together with the current health crisis, the future could be worse. Hence, policies capable of tackling the structural causes of these growing vulnerabilities need to be adopted.

In this regard, a circular economy, which guarantees resources for all, including future generations, and promotes the use of renewable energies, will help create resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems that will provide healthy and affordable diets for everyone. However, the fundamental factor in recovering from the crisis that is ravaging us is an economy tailored to mankind, not subject only to profit, but anchored in the common good, friendly to ethics and respectful of the environment.

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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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Farming and rural communities

The reconstruction of post-pandemic economies should take into account the valuable role of family farming and rural communities. The Pope lamented that those who produce food are the ones who suffer from the lack or scarcity of food. “Three-quarters of the world’s poor”, he said, “live in rural areas and depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihoods”.

However, due to lack of access to markets, land ownership, financial resources, infrastructure and technologies, they are most vulnerable to food insecurity.

Pope Francis expressed appreciation for the international community’s effort to enable individual countries achieve food autonomy while preserving local ecosystems and biodiversity. He urged innovative ways to support and help small producers improve their capacities and resilience.

Fraternity vs virus of indifference

As the world prepares to re-launch after the pandemic, Pope Francis said it is fundamental to promote a culture of care against the individualistic and aggressive tendency to discard, which is very present in our societies.

“While a few sow tensions, confrontations and falsehoods”, he said, “we, on the other hand, are invited to patiently and decisively build a culture of peace, which is directed towards initiatives that embrace all aspects of human life and help us to reject the virus of indifference”.

Pope Francis said mere outlining of programs is not enough. Tangible gestures are needed that have as their point of reference the common belonging to the human family and the fostering of fraternity. Gestures that facilitate the creation of a society that promotes education, dialogue and equity.

He urged that all welcome the current trial as an opportunity to prepare for a future for all without discarding anyone, warning, “without an all-embracing vision, there will be no future for anyone”.

The Conference is FAO’s supreme governing body whose main functions are to determine the policies of the Organization, approve the budget, and make recommendations to members and international organizations. 

Netherlands: Court orders Shell to cut carbon emissions 45% by 2030


An article by Laureen Fagan in Sustainability Times (creative commons license)

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent by the end of 2030, according to a landmark ruling by the Rechtspraak court in The Hague on Wednesday. It’s being celebrated across the globe by climate advocates who filed the suit and millions who support them.

“This is a turning point in history,” said Roger Cox, lawyer for Friends of the Earth Netherlands. “This case is unique because it is the first time a judge has ordered a large polluting company to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement. This ruling may also have major consequences for other big polluters.”

Friends of the Earth, six other organizations and some 17,000 co-plaintiffs filed the suit, following initial requests made in April 2018 that the oil company align its operations and policies with the climate accord. The Paris Climate Agreement calls for no more than 1.5ºC in global temperature rise, in order to limit sea level rise, extreme storms and other harmful consequences to the environment.

But Royal Dutch Shell documents cited in the full court ruling established the company’s Net Carbon Footprint targets – that is, the total emissions from both producing fossil fuel products and the emissions from end users – at just 20 percent reduction by 2035 and 50 percent in 2050. Shell also assured stakeholders that there would be no stranded asset losses across a longer transition timeline, with continued operations on that basis.

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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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The Rechtspraak ruling stopped short of finding that Royal Dutch Shell is already in breach of its climate obligations, as the plaintiffs had argued. But the court concluded that breach was imminent because although Royal Dutch Shell is making progress, the company policies don’t actually reflect the changes necessary to realistically achieve the Paris targets.

“The Shell group is nevertheless heading towards more instead of less CO2 emissions in 2030, because of the growth strategy for the oil and gas activities, which has been set out until at least 2030, with a production increase of 38 percent,” the court said in its ruling.

“The policy, policy intentions and ambitions of Royal Dutch Shell for the Shell group largely amount to little concrete, yet to be elaborated and non-binding intentions for the longer term (2050),” the court continued. “Moreover, those intentions are not unconditional, but – as can be read in the disclaimers and cautionary notes with the Shell documentation – depending on the pace at which global society moves towards the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Targets for emission reduction by 2030 are completely lacking.”

The court-mandated target of 45 percent emissions reduction by 2030 also includes its suppliers and customers within its compliance, and holds Royal Dutch Shell accountable for any human rights violations arising from environmental and supply chain impacts. It also calls on the company to begin compliance immediately.

In response to the decision Royal Dutch Shell spokesman Harry Brekelmans said the company was disappointed by the ruling and expects to appeal. He reiterated the company’s goal of net-zero operations by 2050.

Although environmental lawyers and activists are jubilant over this decision, they’re already looking to the future.

“This is a historic victory for the climate and everyone affected by the climate crisis,” said Andy Palmen, interim director of Greenpeace Netherlands. “Coal, oil and gas must remain in the ground. People all over the world are demanding climate justice. Today the judge has confirmed that we are in our right. Multinationals can be held liable for the climate crisis.”

Think African Podcast Episode 1: Planting Seeds


A podcast from African Arguments

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

Click here for podcast

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Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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

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

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

France: March for the Climate: Thousands Demonstrate in Paris


An article from BFM TV (translation by CPNN)

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

Frame from video of BFM TV

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

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

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

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

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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?

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“A missed meeting for the climate”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biden’s Climate Summit Falls Short : Lofty Words But Where is the Plan?


A press release from

350 teams from across the globe share their reactions to Bidens Leaders Summit. 

40 world leaders gathered to participate in the Biden Administration’s first step onto the international climate stage. The Leaders Summit on Climate took place on April 22nd/ 23rd. The summit saw global leaders making big promises on carbon emission reduction, but the biggest red flag from climate activists is the overall lack of explicit commitments to stop financing fossil fuel projects, one of the key areas that can speed up the transition away from fossil fuel energy. 

Agnes Hall, Global Campaigns Director at said 

“There can be no meaningful climate action if world leaders don’t make a decisive move to keep all fossil fuels in the ground. It’s one thing to make climate goals, but governments simply can’t afford to keep on funding the flames by pouring money into subsidizing coal, oil and gas. The Biden Summit is a critical meeting of world leaders ahead of COP26 this November. Talk of “net-zero” emissions won’t cut it: we demand more from our world leaders than the false promises, false solutions and empty negotiations we heard at Biden’s Climate Summit. The task now is to hold politicians to their lofty words,  and to do that the global climate movement needs to keep up the pressure on our governments at home as well as on the international stage to take urgent action now to reduce carbon emissions and ensure a Just Recovery from the global COVID-19, economic and climate crises by creating a sustainable, fossil-free world ”. 

Pacific Pacific Managing Director Joseph Sikulu issued the following statement:

“In a world recovering from COVID-19 and the climate crisis, governments need to quickly divest from the fossil fuel industry and begin investing in a just recovery for all. Countries with high emissions, such as the United States and Australia, must stop subsidizing oil, gas and coal and direct their investments toward clean and just renewable energy so that we can limit Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees.

To date, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not announced a concrete plan to reduce emissions. Instead, he thinks that fossil fuel companies can solve the climate crisis, which is a massive irony. The Summit is an excellent opportunity for him and other leaders to look on the leadership of the Marshall Islands – the only Pacific island nation present. Australia must recognize that they have few options: either catch up by COP26 or remain a climate laggard who contributes to climate disaster.”

Japan – Japan Finance Campaigner Eri Watanabe issued the following statement:

“This goal is highly insufficient if we want to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the warming of the Earth to 1.5 degrees. I strongly urge the Japanese government to set a more ambitious target with a minimum of a 62% reduction from 2013’s emissions. This is based on research published by Climate Action Tracker.

This target may be higher than previously at a 26% reduction, but if we look closely – this is a numbers game1. Compared to the United Kingdom’s and European Union’s targets, which are 78% in 2035 and 55% in 2030 respectively compared to emission levels in 1990, Japan’s target is much lower.

When the Paris Agreement was signed, we agreed that there were “common but differentiated responsibilities” across the world. As the world’s fifth-highest emitting country with a large amount of historic emissions, Japan owes the world a carbon debt. This makes it necessary for our country to reduce as much carbon emissions as possible — or more than half of 2010’s emissions in order to be a solution to the climate crisis. We must start urgently setting bold and ambitious targets, and strengthening the measures necessary to achieve them. 

One of the policies urgently needed is a rapid phase out of coal infrastructure. Another to direct Japanese banks to rule out fossil finance. Japan is the biggest lender to the global coal industry, and they must cut the flow of money to reduce their emissions.

Only if Japan government walks the talk, can they show climate leadership.”

Bangladesh Organizer Shibayan said:

“We are heartened by the Chair’s response and his ambitious goals of targeting a 100% renewable transition by 2050. For Bangladesh to have a just recovery from the twin crises of COVID-19 and climate change, this transition away from coal must exclude gas, and bring about a Green New Deal focusing on clean and just energy such as solar and wind. At the upcoming Leaders Summit for Climate, we hope to see countries that have built their wealth based on fossil fuels such as the US working hand in hand with most affected countries such as Bangladesh. World leaders must start cooperating and sharing resources to combat the climate crisis. They need to act now, while there is still time.”

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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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Africa  Landry Ninteretse, the Africa Director of said:

“During the virtual summit, the world’s major economies will share their efforts to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep a limit to warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.

1.5 degrees is our global beacon for climate action. The safety and wellbeing of millions of Africans depends on keeping below it. But it is slipping from our grasp and we need to urgently halve global emissions by 2030, which means that we need to limit fossil fuel consumption and stop new developments such as the EACOP and Mozambique LNG projects that threaten this climate ambition.

Fixing the climate crisis requires more than simply cutting carbon; we need bold action that prioritizes alternative sources of energy that meet the needs of the people and accelerate investments in real climate solutions with the aim of driving a fast and sustainable transition away from fossil fuels.”

 Canada Amara Possian, Canada Campaigns Director with

The problem with Justin Trudeau’s new climate pledge can be summed up in two words – fossil fuels. Neither Trudeau’s new climate plan, nor his budget, nor this new climate promise include a plan to tackle soaring emissions from tar sands, fracking and other fossil fuel expansion that makes Canada the only G7 country whose emissions have gone up since signing the Paris Agreement. Canada needs to cut our emissions at least 60% by 2030 and pass legislation like a Just Transition Act to make sure we meet our Paris commitment and leave no one behind.  

Since Justin Trudeau won’t act at the pace and scale of the climate emergency, we need the NDP and the Greens to form a Climate Emergency Alliance ahead of the next election to push Canada to set ambitious targets and follow through with the policies to meet them. It’s not too late for Canada to do what’s necessary, but we can’t afford four more years of Trudeau’s status quo”. 

US Natalie Mebane, Policy Director of

“On Day 1 in office, Biden canceled Keystone XL. Now he must follow through on his promises and do the same with Line 3, the Dakota Access pipeline, and all new fossil fuel projects. A 50% emissions reduction falls short of the United States’ fair share, and should be seen as the floor, not the ceiling. Ambitious climate action requires keeping all fossil fuels in the ground. Biden must show the world that the U.S. is serious about tackling the climate crisis at scale, centering communities most impacted, and creating millions of good, green jobs in the process.”

Brazil: Ilan Zugman, Latin America Managing Director of, based in Curitiba, 

“Bolsonaro lied when he said that Brazil is at the forefront of the climate efforts. It may have been true someday, but not in his government, which has been consistently attacking the policies and state agencies necessary to stop deforestation and lead the energy transition. He talked much about the past achievements of Brazil and too little about the future, not to mention that in the present, his environmental record is a disaster.”

“In the days before the Climate Summit, there was an impressive flow of open letters and social media campaigns in Brazil asking President Biden not to close any agreement with President Bolsonaro without hearing the Brazilian civil society first, and it seems to have worked. There is a very justified concern, based on the current attitude of the Brazilian government towards the environment, that no matter what the Bolsonaro government promises, it will be just empty words, and that an agreement with the US would end up endorsing the destruction of the Amazon and other biomes.”

“Brazil has the potential to be a global leader in the efforts to solve the climate crisis, and in fact it has been a very important voice in this conversation for many years, since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. However, the Bolsonaro government shrank Brazil’s ability to take climate action, by dismantling major policies against deforestation in the Amazon and threatening conservation in Indigenous Lands and Protected Areas. The key to take Brazil back to its leading role in the climate efforts is to empower and support the civil society, especially Indigenous leaders, and strengthen community-based solutions as opposed to ignoring or even encouraging the irresponsible expansion of mining and agribusiness, as President Bolsonaro has been doing”, said Ilan Zugman, Latin America Managing Director of 

Argentina Ignacio Zavaleta, Campaigner 

“What stood out in President Fernández’s speech was the fact that he did not mention any change in the government’s policies of investment in the expansion of oil and gas extraction in the Vaca Muerta area. Taxpayers’ money has been subsidizing a highly ineffective and environmentally harmful operation, which benefits a few foreign companies and brings no development to the country or even the region where it is based. These billion dollars wasted every year in fossil fuels should be redirected to policies of the energy transition, that are able to create more jobs in a moment when Argentinians desperately need it”, said Ignacio Zavaleta, Campaigner in Argentina.