United Nations: Guterres urges countries to recommit to achieving SDGs by 2030 deadline


An article from the United Nations News Service

More than half the world is being left behind at the midpoint for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told ambassadors in New York on Tuesday (April 25). 

UN News Students in Tanzania hold Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) cards.

Launching a special edition of the Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs) progress report, he warned that their collective promise made in 2015 of a more green, just and equitable global future, is in peril. 

“Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda  will become an epitaph for a world that might have been,” he said.
Rising poverty and hunger 

The report reveals that just 12 per cent of the 169 SDG targets are on track, while progress on 50 per cent is weak and insufficient. Worst of all, he said is the fact that progress has either stalled or even reversed on more than 30 per cent of the goals. 

The 17 SDGs are in a sorry state due to the impacts of the COVID-19  pandemic and the devastating “triple crisis” of climate, biodiversity and pollution, amplified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As a result, the number of people living in extreme poverty is higher than it was four years ago.  Hunger has also increased and is now back at 2005 levels, and gender equality is some 300 years away.   Other fallouts include record-high inequality and rising greenhouse gas emissions. 

Fundamental changes needed 

The UN chief noted that many developing countries cannot invest in the SDGs because of burdensome debt, while climate finance is far below commitments. Richer nations have not yet delivered on the $100 billion promised annually in support, he recalled, among other climate pledges. 

“The 2030 Agenda is an agenda of justice and equality, of inclusive, sustainable development, and human rights and dignity for all.  It requires fundamental changes to the way the global economy is organized,” he said. 

“The SDGs are the path to bridge both economic and geopolitical divides; to restore trust and rebuild solidarity,” he added.  “Let’s be clear: no country can afford to see them fail.” 

SDG Stimulus 

Mr. Guterres has appealed or an SDG Stimulus  plan of at least $500 billion a year, and for deep reforms to the international financial architecture, both key recommendations in the report.

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Question for this article:

Can UN agencies help eradicate poverty in the world?

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The SDG Stimulus aims to scale up affordable long-term financing for all countries in need, tackle debt and expand contingency financing – all areas that require action.
Although these measures can help to turn the situation around, he stressed that they will not solve the fundamental issue of the current unjust and dysfunctional global financial system, which will require deep reforms.  

Globalization that benefits all 

Repeating his call for “a new Bretton Woods moment” – when the first negotiated international monetary rules were established in 1944, including the International Monetary Fund – Mr. Guterres said developing countries must have greater representation in global financial institutions.
“We need a financial system that ensures the benefits of globalization flow to all, by putting the needs of developing countries at the centre of all its decisions,” he said.  

The SDG progress report also contains five other important recommendations.   
Commit and deliver 

The first calls for all UN Member States to recommit to achieve the goals, at the national and international levels, by strengthening the social contract and steering their economies to the green transition. 

The second point urges governments to set and deliver on national benchmarks to reduce poverty and inequality by 2027 and 2030, which requires focus on areas such as expanding social protection and jobs, but also education, gender equality, and “digital inclusion”. 

The report calls for all countries to commit “to end the war on nature”. Governments are urged to support the Acceleration Agenda for climate action, under which leaders of developed countries commit to reaching net zero emissions, and to deliver on the new Global Biodiversity Framework, signed in December. 

Support for development 

The fourth point focused on the need for governments to strengthen national institutions and accountability. “This will require new regulatory frameworks and stronger public digital infrastructure and data capacity,” said Mr. Guterres. 

His final point underscored the need for greater multilateral support for the UN development system and decisive action at the Summit of the Future  to be held next year. 

Hopes for SDG Summit 

In the interim, world leaders will gather at the UN in September for the SDG Summit. This will be a moment of truth and reckoning, Mr. Guterres said, though adding that it must also be a moment of hope towards kickstarting a new drive to achieve the goals. 

The Secretary-General insisted that “SDG progress is not about lines on a graph”, but rather about healthy mothers and babies, children learning the skills to fulfil their potential, renewable energy and clean air, and other such development accomplishments. 

“The road ahead is steep. Today’s report shows us just how steep,” he said.  “But it is one we can and must travel – together – for the people we serve.” 

Lula demarcates six indigenous territories in Brazil, the first in five years


An article fromIstoé (translation by CPNN)

President Lula signed, this Friday (April 28), decrees demarcating six new territories for indigenous peoples, the first since 2018 and one of them in a vast territory in the Amazon, during a meeting with representatives of indigenous peoples in Brasília.

These new reserves, which guarantee indigenous people the exclusive use of natural resources while preserving their traditional way of life, are considered by scientists as one of the main barriers against deforestation in the Amazon, whose control is one of the government’s priority objectives.

Video from Terra Livre Camp

“It is a somewhat lengthy process, it has to go through many hands, but we are going to work hard so that it can demarcate the largest possible number of Indigenous Lands”, said the president.

Lula made the announcement on the occasion of the closing of the 19th edition of the “Terra Livre” camp, an annual meeting that brought together thousands of indigenous people from all over the country in Brasília this week.

“It was like lifting a weight off our shoulders, like music to our ears,” Claudia Tomás, 44, from the Baré ethnic group, whose lands were included in the demarcations, told AFP.

No new indigenous lands were demarcated during the mandate of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), who had promised, before coming to power, “not to give any centimeter” to the original peoples.

Tehe Pataxó, a 29-year-old girl with her face painted in red and black lines, said she was relieved by the conquest for the native peoples: “It was four years suffering with militiamen in our Pataxó territory in the south of Bahia, where indigenous people were murdered”.

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(Click here for the original Portuguese version of this article.)

Question for this article

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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During Bolsonaro’s tenure, average annual deforestation increased by 75% compared to the previous decade.

The last approval had been on April 26, 2018, under the presidency of Michel Temer (2016-2018), referring to the Baía do Guató indigenous land, an area of 20,000 hectares in Mato Grosso.

Two of the six new approved reserves are located in the Amazon, including the largest, called Unieuxi, intended for 249 indigenous Maku and Tukano peoples, on more than 550,000 hectares in the Amazon.

Two other reserves are located in the northeast of the country, one in the south and the other in the center-west.

Lula signed the decrees alongside prominent indigenous leaders, such as the iconic chief Raoni Metuktire, who thanked him and placed a traditional headdress of blue and red feathers on the president’s head.

“In four years we will do more (for the indigenous peoples) than in the eight years we have already governed the country (2003-2010)”, promised the president.

– New territories –

According to the last census, in 2010, approximately 800,000 indigenous people live in Brazil, the majority in reserves, which occupy 13.75% of the territory.

“When they say that you occupy 14% of the territory, and you think that’s a lot, you need to know that, before the Portuguese, you occupied 100% of that territory”, completed Lula.

It is anticipated that new demarcations will be approved soon.

Last month, the Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sonia Guajajara, announced that 14 territories (including the six approved this Friday) were ready to be legalized, totaling around 900,000 hectares.

“We are going to write a new history, for the good of all humanity, of our planet”, said the minister this Friday, shortly before the signing of the decrees.

Youth Statement from the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit


An article from The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons 

On 27 April 2023, the delegates of the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit have presented their joint statement and requests of the G7 leaders for the upcoming Summit. Read the statement in full below. 

Video of event

Esteemed members of the press, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens, warm global greetings from the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit.

On behalf of all the youth delegates and leaders from all over the world, we are honored to welcome you to the Presentation and Adoption of the Outcome Statement from this Summit. We have gathered in the historically significant city of Hiroshima, a poignant reminder of the devastating consequences of nuclear weapons and the urgent need for disarmament. Over the past week, we have had the unique opportunity to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and meet the hibakusha, the courageous survivors of nuclear weapons. Their stories have moved us deeply, further strengthening our resolve to create a world free from the horrors of nuclear warfare.

We would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the country of Japan and particularly the city of Hiroshima on which we have gathered for this Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit. We would like to pay our respects to the Elders past and present. We extend that respect to all the community from Hiroshima and also to all the souls who died from the atomic bomb. 

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the organizations and individuals who have made this event and summit possible, including The Center for Peace at Hiroshima University, ICAN: the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear, Peace Boat, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, ANT-Hiroshima, Soka Gakkai International (SGI), the City of Hiroshima, Religions for Peace Japan, and Heinrich Boell Stiftung Hong Kong. This summit is held as part of the Hiroshima University 75+75th Anniversary Project and we are grateful for their support and contributions.

Not only this summit is a way to gather the youth in participation in authentic encounters, together with openness for diversity and acceptance of differences but also a way to use youth voices to call out injustices like the use of nuclear weapons and its consequences.

So please, let me invite you now to listen carefully to the Outcome statement from the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit.


Esteemed Leaders and Representatives to the G7 Hiroshima Summit,

We, as youth delegates and changemakers from around the world, are honored to be here in Hiroshima, the city that symbolizes the devastating consequences of nuclear weapons. We gather here with experts and advocates for peace from every corner of the globe to address the existential threats the world faces, including climate change and nuclear weapons. We applaud the G7 countries and civil society for convening this crucial summit and acknowledge the need for immediate action towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

As emerging leaders of the world, we have a responsibility to ensure that the danger posed and inflicted by nuclear weapons to humanity and the environment is eradicated and remediated. We come together, united in our resolve to achieve a safer world free from nuclear weapons and their devastating consequences.

In Hiroshima, we call on the world to listen to the hibakusha — the survivors of nuclear weapons — and recognize the moral imperative of nuclear disarmament. We urgently demand action on nuclear weapons to honor the lived experiences of the hibakusha and other communities affected by nuclear weapons, and to secure a safer world free from weapons of mass destruction for generations to come.

The possession or use of nuclear weapons is illegitimate as recognized by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and our future security cannot be dependent on distrust among countries or the threat of devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences.

Given the conflicts and crises we face today, we believe that the time for action against nuclear weapons is now. As young people, we champion the TPNW as the most effective path to eliminating nuclear weapons.

Youth Voices and Concerns

As the last generation with the opportunity to directly hear the testimonies from global hibakusha, it is our mission and responsibility to embed their stories in our work and share them with younger generations.

Survivors, their families, and Indigenous communities disproportionately affected by nuclear weapons use, testing, production, and waste continue to suffer from traumatic experiences, devastating land loss, and critical health issues. We have a duty to these communities and ourselves to pursue the complete disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

We are aware of the concerns about dumping 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive waste water this year, and support in solidarity with the states who sit on the frontlines of this crisis and see this as an act of trans-boundary harm upon the Pacific.

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Question for this article:

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Requests to the G7 Countries

As young people working for a world without nuclear weapons, we request that the G7 countries take the following actions:

1. Support and listen to global hibakusha by welcoming their testimonials, attending the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and sincerely committing to steps towards nuclear disarmament;

2. Take concrete steps towards the pursuit of the TPNW including but not limited to the promotion of the TPNW within regional and international organizations, observation of the Second Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, and cooperation with TPNW states parties to support treaty implementation;

3. Promote the immediate assessment and research in regions and communities affected by nuclear weapons, so that states, organizations, and individuals may engage in processes of victim assistance and environmental remediation in cooperation with international institutes, civil society and affected communities;

4. Fulfill the legal obligation of nuclear disarmament bound by Article 6 of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), by initiating the discussion in national governments regarding the complementarity between the NPT and the TPNW. 

5. Recognize the legitimacy of and opportunities for processes of irreversibility and verification provided by the TPNW;

6. Uphold the principles of Articles 6 and 7 of the TPNW to promote cooperation for the implementation of the Treaty, and to provide victim assistance and environmental remediation efforts to address the past and ongoing harms of nuclear weapons;

7. Ensure the involvement and genuine representation of marginalized communities based upon race, gender, economic status, and geographical borders, and to include and empower individuals especially from Indigenous or nuclear-affected backgrounds in the decision-making processes of nuclear policies as well as initiatives for peace and disarmament at national and local levels;

8. Restrict spending on weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, and instead shift funding towards sustainable investments in mitigating the effects of climate change, programs for education, and peacebuilding efforts;

9. Call on countries to take responsibility for past and present nuclear waste disposal and ensure that disposal does not harm surrounding communities and countries;

10. Recognize the value of peace and disarmament education, and ensure funding for the education and empowerment of youth, women, and affected communities to engage in processes of nuclear disarmament;

11. Engage in constructive dialogues to shift the security paradigm away from the immoral possession and valuing of nuclear weapons, commit to a sustainable future by condemning the threat or use of nuclear weapons, and develop new policies which are based on the principles of nuclear disarmament and norms of non-use rather than false deterrence.


Esteemed G7 leaders and delegates, as the torchbearers of tomorrow, we stand resolute in our commitment to the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. We acknowledge the past efforts made by G7 states to pursue shared goals of security and humanity. However, we urge you to take bolder and more decisive actions by honoring our recommendations.

Our generation has the right to choose the future we inherit, and we possess the unwavering determination to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable world — one that is free from the shadow of nuclear weapons. Now, more than ever, we call upon you to join our mission, to heed our voices, and to work together to safeguard our collective humanity and the future of our planet.
Closing Remarks:

As we conclude this important event, we urge the G7 leaders to not consider it the end but rather a new beginning in our collective efforts for a world free from nuclear weapons. The experiences we have shared throughout the G7 Youth Summit including our first-hand visit to
the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and our engagements with the hibakusha, Ms. Keiko Ogura,  er life and memories of WWII Hiroshima will forever be etched in our hearts and minds, reminding us of the tremendous responsibility we have to advocate for sustainable peace and
harmonious coexistence.

We, the youth delegates, are determined to commit to the task of carrying the lessons we have learned here in Hiroshima back to our respective countries and throughout the world, and to continue working tirelessly for nuclear disarmament. We call for a renewed focus on empowering victim assistance and protection, for the  increase in nuclear disarmament education and peace education in schools, and to continue expanding opportunities for global citizens to engage with the hibakusha and their invaluable stories, for the sake of sustainable international peace-building.

From the 21st Century and beyond, we are resolved to unite across borders, languages, and local cultures to create a global culture of peace and total nuclear abolition. We believe that we must forge a world not just free from the devastating consequences of nuclear weapons, but one that is constructive and intentional for lasting peace. We are determined to ensure that the sacrifices and stories of the hibakusha willnever be forgotten. We urge the G7 leaders to heed our words and take concrete action for a sustainable and mutually prosperous world. 

Thank you very much

BRICS: A New Leader’s Big Banking Opportunity to Improve Global Development


An article by Marco Fernandes from Transcend Media Service

The first event of President Lula da Silva’s long-awaited visit to China in mid-April 2023 is the official swearing-in ceremony of Dilma Rousseff as president of the New Development Bank (popularly known as the BRICS Bank) on April 13. The appointment of the former president of Brazil to the post demonstrates the priority that Lula will give to the BRICS countries (Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa) in his government.

In recent years, BRICS has been losing some of its dynamism. One of the reasons was the retreat of Brazil—which had always been one of the engines of the group—in a choice made by its right-wing and far-right governments (2016-2022) to align with the United States.

A New Momentum for BRICS?

After the last summit meeting in 2022, hosted by Beijing and held online, the idea of expanding the group was strengthened and more countries are expected to join BRICS this year. Three countries have already officially applied to join the group (Argentina, Algeria, and Iran), and several others are already publicly considering doing so, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, and Mexico.

The BRICS countries occupy an increasingly important place in the world economy. In GDP PPP, China is the largest economy, India is third, Russia sixth, and Brazil eighth. BRICS now represents 31.5 percent of the global GDP PPP, while the G7 share has fallen to 30 percent. They are expected to contribute over 50 percent of global GDP by 2030, with the proposed enlargement almost certainly bringing that forward.

Bilateral trade between BRICS countries has also grown robustly: trade between Brazil and China has been breaking records every year and reached $150 billion in 2022; between Brazil and India, there was a 63 percent increase from 2020 to 2021, reaching more than $11 billion; Russia tripled exports to India from April to December 2022 compared to the same period the preceding year, expanding to $32.8 billion; while trade between China and Russia jumped from $147 billion in 2021 to $190 billion in 2022, an increase of about 30 percent.

The conflict in Ukraine has brought them closer together politically. China and Russia have never been more aligned, with a “no limits partnership,” as visible from President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Moscow. South Africa and India have not only refused to yield to NATO pressure to condemn Russia for the conflict or impose sanctions on it, but they have moved even closer to Moscow. India, which in recent years has been closer to the United States, seems to be increasingly committed to the Global South’s strategy of cooperation.

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(Click here for an article in Spanish on this subject.

Question for this article:

What is the contribution of BRICS to sustainable development?

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The NDB, the CRA, and the Alternatives to the Dollar

The two most important instruments created by BRICS are the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). The first has the objective of financing several development projects—with an emphasis on sustainability—and is regarded as a possible alternative to the World Bank. The second could become an alternative fund to the IMF, but the lack of strong leadership since its inauguration in 2015 and the absence of a solid strategy from the five member countries has prevented the CRA from taking off.

Currently, one of the major strategic battles for the Global South is the creation of alternatives to the hegemony of the dollar. As the Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio confessed in late March, the United States will increasingly lose its ability to sanction countries if they decrease their use of dollars. Almost once every week, there is a new agreement between countries to bypass the dollar, like the one recently announced by Brazil and China. The latter already has similar deals with 25 countries and regions.

Right now, there is a working group within BRICS whose task it is to propose its own reserve currency for the five countries that could be based on gold and other commodities. The project is called R5 due to the coincidence that all the currencies of BRICS countries start with R: renminbi, rubles, reais, rupees, and rands. This would allow these countries to slowly increase their growing mutual trade without using the dollar and also decrease the share of their international dollar reserves.

Another untapped potential so far is the use of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (totaling $100 billion) to rescue insolvent countries. When a country’s international reserves run out of dollars (and it can no longer trade abroad or pay its foreign debts), it is forced to ask for a bailout from the IMF, which takes advantage of the country’s desperation and lack of options to impose austerity packages with cuts in state budgets and public services, privatizations, and other neoliberal austerity measures. For decades, this has been one of the weapons of the United States and the EU to ensure the implementation of neoliberalism in the countries of the Global South.

Right now, the five BRICS members have no issues at all with international reserves, but countries like Argentina , Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Ghana, and Bangladesh find themselves in a bad situation. If they could access the CRA, with better conditions for repaying the loans, this would mean a political breakthrough for BRICS, which would begin to demonstrate their ability to build alternatives to the financial hegemony of Washington and Brussels.

The NDB would also need to start de-dollarizing itself, having more operations with the currencies of its five members. For instance, from the $32.8 billion of projects approved so far at NDB, around $20 billion was in dollars, and around the equivalent of $3 billion was in Euros. Only $5 billion was in RMB and very little was in other currencies.

To reorganize and expand the NDB and the CRA will be a huge challenge. The leaderships of the five countries will need to be aligned on a common strategy that ensures that both instruments fulfill their original missions, which won’t be easy. Dilma Rousseff, an experienced and globally respected leader, brings hope for a new beginning. Rousseff fought against Brazil’s civil-military dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s and spent three years in prison for it. She became one of President Lula’s key ministers in the 2000s, and she was elected Brazil’s first female president and then won reelection (2010 and 2014). She was in office until she was overthrown by a coup based on fraudulent grounds by Congress (2016)—which has already admitted the fraud. She just returned to political life to run one of the most promising institutions in the Global South. After all, President Dilma Rousseff has never shied away from huge challenges.

Tschüss, Atomkraft: the end of nuclear power in Germany


An article by Roland Hipp from Greenpeace

April 15: After decades of protests, the era of nuclear power in Germany has ended. Roland Hipp, Managing Director of Greenpeace Germany, looks back – and with joy into the future.

Millions of people worked towards this day for years. People who protested against reprocessing plants, nuclear waste transport, unsafe nuclear waste storage facilities and the construction of new nuclear power plants. Those decades of resistance were worth it. 

The German nuclear phase-out is a victory of reason over the lust for profit; over powerful corporations and their client politicians. It is a people-powered success against all the odds. 

frame from video of Euronews: Greenpeace celebrates end of Germany’s nuclear era with T.Rex dinosaur

I thank all the brave people who took risks for their beliefs; everyone who took part in demonstrations; all the people who signed petitions and sent letters of protest. And I’m proud of the role Greenpeace has played in opposing high-risk nuclear technology.

In the current debate about the last remaining nuclear power plants in Germany, it is often forgotten how big the movement against nuclear plants was in this country, even before the catastrophic events at Chornobyl and Fukushima. 

The construction of the planned reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf was stopped in 1989 after years of widespread protest, a first major success of the anti-nuclear movement, with which Greenpeace is inextricably linked.

Greenpeace: protest and research

Greenpeace has repeatedly protested against the transport of nuclear waste from German nuclear power plants to the reprocessing plants in Sellafield (England) and La Hague (France) and was also able to prove that these plants are anything but harmless.

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Question related to this article:
Is there a future for nuclear energy?

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Greenpeace measurements from 1998 showed that soil samples from the vicinity of the Sellafield nuclear plant were comparable to radioactively contaminated samples taken from the 30-kilometre exclusion zone around the Chornobyl reactor.

At the turn of the century, in the North Sea off La Hague  we found radiation levels well above regulatory limits, revealing routine illegal discharges of radioactive waste water.

In 2005, shipments to so-called nuclear fuel recycling plants in England and France from Germany were banned. This is also a success of Greenpeace, of protest based on facts.

The latest major milestone of the anti-nuclear movement, here in Germany, was the decision against the Gorleben repository. Once again, the nuclear industry and their political apologists were unable to oppose or overwrite the science: the dilapidated salt dome is demonstrably unsuitable for storing radioactive waste, which must be kept safe for hundreds of thousands of years. 

At the same time, the success points to the huge problem that advocates of nuclear power want to pass on to future generations: there is not one single safe repository for nuclear waste anywhere in the world. It is also good that Germany will not produce any new nuclear waste after 16 April.

Nuclear power is not only risky, but also not a solution to the energy crisis. Before the anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, Greenpeace activists are calling for the German nuclear power plants to be finally switched off.

The accidents in Chornobyl and Fukushima have shown us in the most emphatic way that this technology cannot be controlled by humans in the event of a disaster. The German Federal Government’s decision in 2011 to shut down nuclear power plants was correct at the time, and it still is. 

Nuclear energy is expensive, risky and far from independent: more than half of the uranium traded worldwide comes from Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. With resources no longer squandered on the false promise of nuclear energy, following its removal from the energy mix, the renewable energy transition can finally pick up speed. I look forward to a safe and secure future with renewable energies, without fear of the next nuclear accident and misguided investments in error-prone and outdated technology. 

Today I celebrate the nuclear phase-out and the many people who made it possible.

Historic UN Ocean Treaty agreed – Greenpeace statement


An article from Greenpeace (reprinted according to CC-BY International License)

A historic UN Ocean Treaty has finally been agreed at the United Nations after almost  two decades of negotiations. The text will now go through technical editing and translation, before officially being adopted at another session. This Treaty is a monumental win for ocean protection, and an important sign that multilateralism still works in an increasingly divided world.

A school of fish swim in the Pacific Ocean in Australia. © Ocean Image Bank/Jordan Robin  published by the United Nations.

The agreement of this Treaty keeps the 30×30 target – protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030  – alive. It provides a pathway to creating fully or highly protected areas across the world’s oceans. There are still flaws in the text, and governments must ensure that the Treaty is put into practice in an effective and equitable way for it to be considered a truly ambitious Treaty. 

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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Dr. Laura Meller, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Nordic, said from New York: “This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics. We praise countries for seeking compromises, putting aside differences and delivering a Treaty that will let us protect the oceans, build our resilience to climate change and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.

“We can now finally move from talk to real change at sea. Countries must formally adopt the Treaty and ratify it as quickly as possible to bring it into force, and then deliver the fully protected ocean sanctuaries our planet needs. The clock is still ticking to deliver 30×30. We have half a decade left, and we can’t be complacent.”

The High Ambition Coalition, which includes the EU, US and UK, and China were key players in brokering the deal. Both showed willingness to compromise in the final days of talks, and built coalitions instead of sowing division. Small Island States have shown leadership throughout the process, and the G77 group led the way in ensuring the Treaty can be put into practice in a fair and equitable way.

The fair sharing of monetary benefits from Marine Genetic Resources was a key sticking point. This was only resolved on the final day of talks. The section of the Treaty on Marine Protected Areas does away with broken consensus-based decision making which has failed to protect the oceans through existing regional bodies like the Antarctic Ocean Commission. While there are still major issues in the text, it is a workable Treaty that is a starting point for protecting 30% of the world’s oceans.

The 30×30 target, agreed at Biodiversity COP15, would not be deliverable without this historic Treaty.  It’s vital that countries urgently ratify this Treaty, and begin the work to create vast fully protected ocean sanctuaries covering 30% of oceans by 2030.

Now the hard work of ratification and protecting the oceans begins. We must build on this momentum to see off new threats like deep sea mining and focus on putting protection in place. Over 5.5 million people signed a Greenpeace petition calling for a strong Treaty. This is a victory for all of them.

Tourism as a force for Global Peace


An article by Ajay Prakash from Peace Tourism

Tourism is a large industry but it is also a complex one since, unlike most other industries, there is not one clear product. It incorporates many aspects, including accommodation, transport, attractions, travel companies, and more. It comprises a broad group of businesses focused on the satisfaction of customers and providing specific experiences for them. It is unique because it’s an industry that is based completely on connecting people across all boundaries of race, religion or nationality and bringing joy to their lives.

 Ajay Prakash, President – Travel Agents Federation of India

India has assumed the Chair of the prestigious G20 and this is the perfect opportunity to emphatically present before the world all that India has to offer. Our traditional values, our Sanskar of universal love and brotherhood, of tolerance and acceptance, of embracing unity in diversity and of welcoming the guest with the expression Atihi Devo Bhava are India’s gift to the world. This is the opportunity to step up what I would term our “Cultural Diplomacy” – to present afresh Indian values, knowledge and leadership to the world through both, government to government and people to people initiatives.

Tourism offers great opportunities for emerging economies and developing countries. It creates jobs, strengthens the local economy and contributes to infrastructure development; it can help to conserve the natural environment, cultural assets and traditions, to reduce poverty and inequality and to heal the wounds of conflict. It is an industry that has a cascading and multiplier effect on many other industries, thereby providing a major boost to the economy.

The economic aspect and effect of tourism has been well documented – It accounts for almost 10% of global GDP and employs 1 in 10 persons (of course these are pre-Covid numbers because the industry took a huge hit in 2020 and 2021) and traditionally the tourism growth curve has always been ahead of the GDP growth curve by a couple of percentage points.

But its impact goes far beyond the economic benefits and it is worthwhile to look at Tourism as a social force as opposed to an industry and how we can use it to establish a Culture of Peace.

Tourism is about connecting people with each other and with the Planet. When you travel with a gentle heart and an open mind, you discover that the differences that seemingly divide us pale into insignificance before all the common needs, aspirations and desires that are universal across nations, races or religions. We all want good homes, a bright future for our children, a healthy environment free from disease, clean water, the support of our communities … and Peace. We all share the same ideals, hopes and aspirations and travel teaches us that diversity is no need for antagonism.

Mark Twain said it very well “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

It’s obvious to everyone that Peace is a prerequisite for the success of tourism, but the converse is equally true and Tourism can also be a powerful force to foster Peace. But first, let us redefine Peace. Peace has to be marked by a presence, not an absence – it is not simply the absence of war or conflict; it is the presence of tolerance, of acceptance of love and understanding.

The Dalai Lama said “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge and through humane ways.”
37 years ago, in 1986, a visionary man called Louis D’Amore established the International Institute for Peace through Tourism or IIPT. It was established with a vision that tourism, one of the largest industries, could become the first global Peace industry and the firm belief that every traveller is potentially an Ambassador of Peace.

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Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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

So how do we do this?

The first step is to understand that we can make a difference, that we matter! Tourism is a huge industry; if we account for 10% of global GDP surely we are an industry that can make its voice heard and we are an industry that can influence global events. But for that we have to come together and we have to realize that we have the power. Like other industries, we too need to lobby the government so as to make an impact at the policy level.

The effects of climate change are all around us. What we term natural disasters are often the result of unchecked human activity – glaciers melting, sea levels rising, unseasonal floods and uncontrollable fires, toxic air and contaminated water. Is this the world we wish to leave for our children?

Along with 190 countries India has signed the COP 15 pledge of 30 by 30 – a pledge to preserve at least 30% of global biodiversity by 2030. That is a step in the right direction. Many such steps are needed for the sustainability of the Earth – still the only home for human beings in this vast universe.

We have to prepare our travellers and ourselves to make the change. As stakeholders in the industry we have to build sustainability and responsibility into our core business practices. It can be as small as keeping the air conditioning at 25 degrees, switching off lights when they’re not needed, avoiding single use plastics or the compulsive printing of every document. It could be as large as converting your entire fleet to electric vehicles. Once you start on the path of conservation, the opportunities will keep coming. The magic mantra is “Refuse, Reduce, Recycle.”

Never underestimate the power of one. A river starts as a drop, a few more drops join and it becomes a trickle, the trickle becomes a stream and finally it’s a mighty river that sustains life until it goes and meets the sea. That is how movements are born, too. Let us today resolve to work for a more responsible, peace-sensitive tourism.

Another area where the tourism industry can make a big difference is in promoting gender equality. Almost 65 – 70% of the workforce in tourism is female, but only 12 – 13% of them are in responsible or managerial positions. Women comprise almost half the world’s population, but they have never got an equal chance. The “Beti padhao, beti bachao” is a great initiative but then they also need to be given the opportunity to put that education to use. Numerous studies have proved that empowering women is not only socially or politically correct, but that it actually leads to a healthier bottom line.

The next step is to educate our travellers, to awaken them to the higher paradigm of tourism. If they are travelling to a new place, we need to sensitise them to the social and cultural differences, we need to create experiences and situations where they can interact positively with the local host community, we need to encourage them to buy local products, try local food. Many times this push will come from the travellers themselves.

Today’s travellers are much more tech savvy, they’re more aware, they’re more discerning and the younger generation is much more conscious of the ecological footprint of any activity. So if that’s the segment you want to connect with, now is the time to rework your business strategy.

The IIPT has a global Peace Parks program and has dedicated over 450 Peace Parks across the world. We need to create such symbols to reassert that Peace is a fundamental global right and that India is willing and able to lead the way.

In conclusion, I present the IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveller as a first step on the path to use tourism to foster a Culture of Peace.

IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveller©

Grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and because peace begins with the individual, I affirm my personal responsibility and commitment to:
* Journey with an open mind and gentle heart
* Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter
* Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life
* Appreciate all cultures I discover
* Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome
* Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet
* Support travel services that share these views and act upon them and,
* By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace.

What is happening with solar energy?


A survey by CPNN

Here are two graphs published in the last few weeks that tell an important economic story.

The first graph was published in a report of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on December 6. We see that solar energy (photovoltaic) is predicted to surpass other energy sources within the next 3 years. Nuclear power is not shown in the graph, but it accounted for about 10% of global energy generation in 2019, down from a peak of 16.5% in 1997.

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According to an article published December 12 in Yahoo Finance, improvements in technology and increased economies of scale, have substantially decreased solar energy costs. While the cost of utility scale photovoltaic fixed tilt installation was $4.75 per watt in 2010, the cost was just $0.94 per watt in 2020. And for the future, it is likely solar costs will decline further.

According to an article in China Daily on December 26 quoting the IEA, the cost of photovoltaic production is lowest in China: costs in China tend to be 10 percent lower than in India, 20 percent lower than in the US and 35 percent lower than in parts of Europe.

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Question for this article:

Are we making progress in renewable energy?

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The second graph was published by the website Cleantechnica on December 14, based on a report from Rethink Energy. We see that China and the United States were at the opposite extremes of solar power installation last year. China increased its solar installation more than anywhere else in the world, while the United States actually decreased its installations.

According to an article in the Business Wire on January 3, China exported solar cells to more than two hundred countries and regions around the world in 2021. The publisher’s analysis shows that India, Turkey, Vietnam, South Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Netherlands and the Philippines are China’s major solar cell export destinations by export volume.

Solar exports from China to Europe are expected to increase as a result of the energy inflation and energy insecurity caused by the Russia-Ukraine tensions, as reported by the South China Morning Post on January 2. As for the United States, imports from China are reduced because Washington has imposed steep import tariffs on Chinese solar panels and banned solar energy components from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns of forced labour. “Chinese solar panels manufacturers will continue facing import restrictions imposed by the US government in the foreseeable future.”

Another impediment in the United States is the opposition to solar power by the right-wing Republicans, as described by the Los Angeles Times on December 13.

Russia’s Ukraine War and Energy Crisis have Scared the World into Turbocharging adoption of Wind, Solar for Power


An article by Juan Cole: Informed Comment

new report  by the International Energy Agency suggests that the 2022 global energy crisis, caused in part by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, has had the effect of greatly accelerating the world’s rush to green energy. The IEA suggests that its estimates for the pace of the transition to renewables, made only last year, now have to be revised upward by at least 30 percent, the highest revision the body has ever had to make. It estimates that the world will add 2,400 gigawatts of new renewable power over the next five years, equivalent to all the installed power capacity of China today.

Renewables were already growing with celerity, but they are now expected to rocket ahead.

Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director, said, “The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the previous 20 years.”

The IEA projects that global solar capacity will triple 2022-2027, and that wind power capacity will double in the same period. Wind and solar will account for 90% of new power installations over these next five years. Solar alone will overtake coal by 2027 as the single biggest source of power.

The world is making good progress, then, on greening electricity. It isn’t doing nearly so well in using renewables for heating purposes, where coal and fossil gas still dominate. Renewables in heating buildings will only increase from 11% to 14% from now until 2027.

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Question for this article:

Are we making progress in renewable energy?

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In Europe, IAE projections of renewables growth has have had to be upped by 50%, and in Spain 60%, given that governments in both countries are introducing streamlined permitting, increased auctions, and more generous payments to consumers with solar panels on their homes.

The rapid changes are being driven in Europe by the Ukraine War and consequent energy crisis. The U.S., China and India, which are less affected by the war, nevertheless are legislating incentives for private industry to turn to renewables at a pace far beyond what had been expected.

In India, new renewables capacity, primarily solar, are expected to double by 2025.

The Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which has already jump-started the construction of new battery factories and which incentivizes turning to renewables, is a case in point. The Act could scarcely be imagined in 2020, when Donald Trump, who called the climate emergency a “Chinese hoax” and actively promoted coal, was in power. Now the IEA is having to sprint to keep up with the new implications of the Act.

China alone is expected to account for over half of all new green energy installations during the half-decade leading up to 2027.

By 2025, only about two years from now, renewable energy will surpass coal as a power source globally.

The report also admits that it may be underestimating the speed with which these changes will take place, and if countries with advanced economies cut through the forest of regulation, we could see an addition 25% growth in renewables over the next five years.

All this is very good news if the projections are borne out, since only such an acceleration can hope to keep global heating to an extra 2.7 degrees F. (1.5 degrees C.) above pre-industrial averages. An increase in the average temperature of the earth’s surface any higher than that risks throwing the world climate system into chaos, according to scientists who are modeling these changes. We have already seen just this year a mega-flood in Pakistan that inundated a third of the country’s land area and briefly created a new inland sea 67 miles across. Cyclones and hurricanes are already more intense and more destructive than they had been in the twentieth century. Wildfires devastated Australia in 2020, and the U.S. Southwest also is suffering from them as it struggles into the 22nd year of a mega-drought. All of these phenomena will get worse, in unpredictable ways, if we shoot past a 2.7 degrees F. increase. We are already at a 2.16 degrees F. (1.2 degrees C.) increase over pre-industrial times, and we can see dangerous disruptions. You won’t like a 3C or 4C world.

Greenpeace on COP15: A bandage for biodiversity protection


An article by Gaby Flores from Greenpeace

The 15th UN Conference on Biodiversity, known as COP15, has ended. The final deal, known as the Kunming-Montreal Agreement, is being labelled historic but is just the beginning of the work needed to halt mass extinction.

At a press conference in Montreal’s Hotel10 during COP15, global Indigenous leaders from Brazil, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Indonesia gathered to call for nature protection that centres Indigenous rights and shifts power from industry to Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
© Toma Iczkovits / Greenpeace

What’s good about the agreement?

The final text recognises Indigenous Peoples’ work, knowledge and practices as the most effective tool for biodiversity protection. Indigenous Peoples represent 5% of humanity but protect 80% of Earth’s biodiversity, and the language in the text is now clear: the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal deal must respect their territories, ensure their rights and their free, prior and informed consent ─  according to the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples ─ and their effective participation in decision making.

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Question for this article:

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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 In short, Indigenous-led conservation models must become the standard from now on if we are going to take real action on biodiversity.

What’s not so great?

The target to protect at least 30% of land and of seas by 2030 successfully secured a spot in the agreement but does not explicitly exclude damaging activities from protected areas. Without the crucial qualifiers, the needed goal risks remaining an empty number, with protections on paper but nowhere else.

Moreover, corporate schemes like nature-based solutions and offsets are included in the text and will allow industries seeking to profit from biodiversity to continue exploiting nature. These false solutions and greenwashing may prove to be costly mistakes. 

Finally, the often fought over question of finance is still not answered, with commitments made not yet sufficient to bridge the biodiversity finance gap. To save biodiversity, finance will not only be a question of how much, but how fast. 

What’s next for Biodiversity protection?

The Biodiversity COP15 left the most crucial work for nature protection as homework for world leaders. To start with: setting up a fund in 2023 to get money to developing countries faster as well as direct finance for Indigenous Peoples. Rights-based protections are the future of conservation and to global biodiversity protection. Additionally, vital to making 30 x 30 actually happen will be securing a historical Global Ocean Treaty at the reconvening of IGC5 in February 2023.

COP16 will convene in Türkiye in 2024, where governments will need to act fast to build upon the work done in Montreal.