Category Archives: global

Havana Declaration Outlines Vision for Building Just World Economy

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An article by Kenny Stancil in Common Dreams

Delegates to the Havana Congress on the New International Economic Order—a gathering organized  by the Progressive International and attended by more than 50 scholars and policymakers from 26 countries across all six inhabited continents—agreed over the weekend on a declaration that outlines a “common vision” for building an egalitarian and sustainable society out of the wreckage of five decades of neoliberal capitalism.


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“The crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities,” the declaration asserts, or it can “embolden” popular movements throughout the Global South to “reclaim” their role as protagonists “in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace.”

Delegates resolved to focus their initial efforts on strengthening the development and dissemination of lifesaving technologies in low-income nations.

This decision comes one year after Cuban officials announced, at a press conference convened by the Progressive International (PI), their plan to deliver 200 million homegrown  Covid-19 vaccine doses to impoverished countries abandoned by their wealthy counterparts and Big Pharma—along with tools to enable domestic production and expert support to improve distribution.

It also comes as Cuba assumes the presidency of the Group of 77 (G77), a bloc of 134 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where “the combined crises of food, energy, and environment” are escalating, PI noted.

“What is the common vision to guide the Global South out of this crisis?” the coalition asked. “What is the plan to win it? What is the New International Economic Order for the 21st century?”

“After two days of detailed discussions about how to transform our shared world, delegates agreed that a key priority must be to secure science and technology sovereignty,” PI general coordinator David Adler said  Sunday at the conclusion of the Havana Congress. “From pharmaceuticals to green tech, from digital currencies to microchips, too much of humanity is locked out of both benefiting from scientific advances and contributing to new ones. We will, as today’s declaration calls for, work to build ‘a planetary bloc led by the South and reinforced by the solidarities of the North’ to liberate knowledge and peoples.”

Speaking at the January 12 ceremony  during which Cuba ascended to the G77 presidency, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla emphasized the need for coordinated action across the Global South on science and tech, arguing that “scientific-technical development is today monopolized by a club of countries that monopolize most of the patents, technologies, research centers, and promote the drain of talent from our countries.”

The G77 Summit on Science, Technology, and Innovation, scheduled for September in Havana, seeks to “unite, complement each other, integrate our national capacities so as not to be relegated to future pandemics,” said Parrilla.

During his speech  on the first day of the Havana Congress, meanwhile, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called for a new non-aligned movement to “end the legalized robbery of people and Earth fueling climate catastrophe.”

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

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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Read the full Havana Declaration on the New International Economic Order:

The Havana Congress,

Recalling the role of the Cuban Revolution in the struggle to unite the Southern nations of the world, and the spirit of the 1966 Havana Tricontinental Conference that convened peoples from Asia, Africa, and Latin America to chart a path to collective liberation in the face of severe global crises and sustained imperial subjugation;

Hearing the echoes of that history today, as crises of hunger, disease, and war once again overwhelm the world, compounded by a rapidly changing climate and the droughts, floods, and hurricanes that not only threaten to inflame conflicts between peoples, but also risk the extinction of humanity at large;

Celebrating the legacy of the anti-colonial struggle, and the victories won by combining a program of sovereign development at home, solidarity for national liberation abroad, and a strong Southern bloc to force concessions to its interests, culminating in the adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO);

Acknowledging that the project of decolonization remains incomplete, disrupted by concerted attacks on the unity of the South in the form of wars, coups, sanctions, structural adjustment, and the false promise that sovereign development might be won through integration into a hierarchical world system;

Emphasizing that the result has been the sustained divergence between North and South, characterized by the same dynamics that defined the international economic order five decades prior: the extraction of natural resources, the enclosure of ‘intellectual property,’ the plunder of structural adjustment, and the exclusion of the multilateral system;

Recognizing that despite these setbacks, the flame of Southern resistance did not die; that the pursuit of sovereign development has yielded unprecedented achievements—from mass literacy and universal healthcare to poverty alleviation and medical innovation—that enable a renewed campaign of Southern cooperation today;

Stressing that this potential for Southern unity is perceived as a threat to Northern powers, which seek once again to preserve their position in the hierarchy of the world system through mechanisms of economic exclusion, political coercion, and military aggression;

Seizing the opportunity of the present historical juncture, when the crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities or embolden the call to reclaim Southern protagonism in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace;

The Havana Congress calls to:

* Renew the Non-Aligned Movement: In the face of increasing geopolitical tensions born from a decisive shift in the global balance of power, the Congress calls to resist the siren song of the new Cold War and to renew the project of non-alignment, grounded in the principles of sovereignty, peace, and cooperation articulated at the 1955 Bandung Conference, 1961 Non-Aligned Conference, 1966 Tricontinental Conference, and beyond.


* Renovate the NIEO: To accompany the renewed non-aligned movement, the Congress calls to renovate the vision for a New International Economic Order fit for the 21st century; a vision that must draw inspiration from the original Declaration, but also account for the key issues—from digital technology to environmental breakdown—that define the present conditions for sovereign development; and to enshrine this vision in a new U.N. Declaration on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.


* Assert Southern Power: The Congress recognizes that economic liberation will not be granted, but must be seized. As the original call for a New International Economic Order was won through the exercise of collective power in the coordinated production of petroleum, so our vision today can only be realized through the collective action of the South and the formation of new and alternative institutions to share critical technology, tackle sovereign debt, drive development finance, face future pandemics together, as well as coordinate positions on international climate action and the protection of national sovereignty over the extraction of natural resources.


* Accompany Cuba in the G77: The Congress recognizes the critical opportunity afforded by Cuba’s presidency of the Group of 77 plus China to lead the South out of the present crisis and channel the lessons of its Revolution toward concrete proposals and ambitious initiatives to transform the broader international system.


* Build a Planetary Bloc: The Congress calls on all peoples and nations of the world to join in this struggle to definitively achieve the New International Economic Order; to build a planetary bloc led by the South and reinforced by the solidarities of the North, whose peoples recognize their obligation to resist the crimes committed in their names; and to bring the spirit of this Havana Congress into the communities that we call home.

What Steps Can the US Take to Foster Peace Talks in Ukraine?

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Medea Benjamin and Nicholas Davies in Common Dreams

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has just issued its 2023 Doomsday Clock statement, calling this “a time of unprecedented danger.” It has advanced the hands of the clock to 90 seconds to midnight, meaning that the world is closer to global catastrophe than ever before, mainly because the conflict in Ukraine has gravely increased the risk of nuclear war. This scientific assessment should wake up the world’s leaders to the urgent necessity of bringing the parties involved in the Ukraine war to the peace table.

So far, the debate about peace talks to resolve the conflict has revolved mostly around what Ukraine and Russia should be prepared to bring to the table in order to end the war and restore peace. However, given that this war is not just between Russia and Ukraine but is part of a “New Cold War” between Russia and the United States, it is not just Russia and Ukraine that must consider what they can bring to the table to end it. The United States must also consider what steps it can take to resolve its underlying conflict with Russia that led to this war in the first place.

The geopolitical crisis that set the stage for the war in Ukraine began with NATO’s broken promises not to expand into Eastern Europe, and was exacerbated by its declaration in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually join this primarily anti-Russian military alliance.

Then, in 2014, a U.S.-backed coup against Ukraine’s elected government caused the disintegration of Ukraine. Only 51% of Ukrainians surveyed told a Gallup poll that they recognized the legitimacy of the post-coup government, and large majorities in Crimea and in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces voted to secede from Ukraine. Crimea rejoined Russia, and the new Ukrainian government launched a civil war against the self-declared “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The civil war killed an estimated 14,000 people, but the Minsk II accord in 2015 established a ceasefire and a buffer zone along the line of control, with 1,300 international OSCE ceasefire monitors and staff. The ceasefire line largely held for seven years, and casualties declined substantially from year to year. But the Ukrainian government never resolved the underlying political crisis by granting Donetsk and Luhansk the autonomous status it promised them in the Minsk II agreement.

Now former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have admitted that Western leaders only agreed to the Minsk II accord to buy time, so that they could build up Ukraine’s armed forces to eventually recover Donetsk and Luhansk by force.

In March 2022, the month after the Russian invasion, ceasefire negotiations were held in Turkey. Russia and Ukraine drew up a 15-point “neutrality agreement,” which President Zelenskyy publicly presented and explained to his people in a national TV broadcast on March 27th. Russia agreed to withdraw from the territories it had occupied since the invasion in February in exchange for a Ukrainian commitment not to join NATO or host foreign military bases. That framework also included proposals for resolving the future of Crimea and Donbas.

But in April, Ukraine’s Western allies—the United States and United Kingdom in particular—refused to support the neutrality agreement and persuaded Ukraine to abandon its negotiations with Russia. U.S. and British officials said at the time that they saw a chance to “press” and “weaken” Russia, and that they wanted to make the most of that opportunity.

The U.S. and British governments’ unfortunate decision to torpedo Ukraine’s neutrality agreement in the second month of the war has led to a prolonged and devastating conflict with hundreds of thousands of casualties. Neither side can decisively defeat the other, and every new escalation increases the danger of “a major war between NATO and Russia,” as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently Questions related to this article:

 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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For years, President Putin has complained about the large U.S. military footprint in Eastern and Central Europe. But in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. has actually beefed up its European military presence. It has increased the total deployments of American troops in Europe from 80,000 before February 2022 to roughly 100,000. It has sent warships to Spain, fighter jet squadrons to the United Kingdom, troops to Romania and the Baltics, and air defense systems to Germany and Italy.

Even before the Russian invasion, the U.S. began expanding its presence at a missile base in Romania that Russia has objected to ever since it went into operation in 2016. The U.S. military has also built what The New York Times called “a highly sensitive U.S. military installation” in Poland, just 100 miles from Russian territory. The bases in Poland and Romania have sophisticated radars to track hostile missiles and interceptor missiles to shoot them down.

The Russians worry that these installations can be repurposed to fire offensive or even nuclear missiles, and they are exactly what the 1972 ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union prohibited, until President George W. Bush withdrew from it in 2002.

While the Pentagon describes the two sites as defensive and pretends they are not directed at Russia, Putin has insisted that the bases are evidence of the threat posed by NATO’s eastward expansion.

Here are some steps the U.S. could consider putting on the table to start de-escalating these ever-rising tensions and improve the chances for a lasting ceasefire and peace agreement in Ukraine:

* The United States and other Western countries could support Ukrainian neutrality by agreeing to participate in the kind of security guarantees Ukraine and Russia agreed to in March, but which the U.S. and U.K. rejected.

* The U.S. and its NATO allies could let the Russians know at an early stage in negotiations that they are prepared to lift sanctions against Russia as part of a comprehensive peace agreement.

* The U.S. could agree to a significant reduction in the 100,000 troops it now has in Europe, and to removing its missiles from Romania and Poland and handing over those bases to their respective nations.

* The United States could commit to working with Russia on an agreement to resume mutual reductions in their nuclear arsenals, and to suspend both nations’ current plans to build even more dangerous weapons. They could also restore the Treaty on Open Skies, from which the United States withdrew in 2020, so that both sides can verify that the other is removing and dismantling the weapons they agree to eliminate.

* The United States could open a discussion on the removal of its nuclear weapons from the five European countries where they are presently deployed: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Turkey.

If the United States is willing to put these policy changes on the table in negotiations with Russia, it will make it easier for Russia and Ukraine to reach a mutually acceptable ceasefire agreement, and help to ensure that the peace they negotiate will be stable and lasting.

De-escalating the Cold War with Russia would give Russia a tangible gain to show its citizens as it retreats from Ukraine. It would also allow the United States to reduce its military spending and enable European countries to take charge of their own security, as most of their people want.

U.S.-Russia negotiations will not be easy, but a genuine commitment to resolve differences will create a new context in which each step can be taken with greater confidence as the peacemaking process builds its own momentum.

Most of the people of the world would breathe a sigh of relief to see progress towards ending the war in Ukraine, and to see the United States and Russia working together to reduce the existential dangers of their militarism and hostility. This should lead to improved international cooperation on other serious crises facing the world in this century—and may even start to turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock by making the world a safer place for us all.

Authors

Medea Benjamin is co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace. She is the co-author, with Nicolas J.S. Davies, of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, available from OR Books in November 2022.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist and a researcher with CODEPINK. He is the co-author, with Medea Benjamin, of War in Ukraine:

The Elders warn urgent action on climate, pandemics, nuclear weapons needed to turn back hands of the Doomsday Clock

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from The Elders

The Elders warned today (January 24) that only a crisis mindset from global political leaders can generate the urgent action needed to address the existential threats facing humanity, including the climate crisis, pandemics and nuclear weapons.


Mary Robinson and Elbegdorj Tsakhia join the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for the 2023 Doomsday Clock announcement. Photo: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The warning came as former Presidents Mary Robinson and Elbegdorj Tsakhia joined members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for the unveiling of the Doomsday Clock, which today moved to 90 seconds to midnight – the closest it has been to catastrophe since its creation in 1947.

Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine and President Putin’s reckless nuclear rhetoric have worsened tensions and made nuclear conflict a more real threat than at any time since the height of the Cold War, The Elders warned.

But while Russia alone bears responsibility for its war on Ukraine, for which its leaders must ultimately face justice under international law, all states bear responsibility for the broader failures of governance and leadership that have undermined the multilateral system.

Their failure to take collective action has hampered effective responses to the climate crisis and COVID-19, as well as conflict prevention and resolution efforts from Syria and Yemen to Myanmar and the Sahel.

The Elders underscored that the world faces interlocking crises, each illustrating the unwillingness of leaders to act in the long-term interests of their people, and that dialogue in good faith and multilateral cooperation are indispensable to finding sustainable solutions that meet the needs of all the peoples of the world.

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Question related to this article:
 
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said:

“The Doomsday Clock is sounding an alarm for the whole of humanity. We are on the brink of a precipice. But our leaders are not acting at sufficient speed or scale to secure a peaceful and liveable planet. From cutting carbon emissions to strengthening arms control treaties and investing in pandemic preparedness, we know what needs to be done. The science is clear, but the political will is lacking. This must change in 2023 if we are to avert catastrophe. We are facing multiple, existential crises. Leaders need a crisis mindset.”

Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said:

“Three years ago, I helped unveil the Doomsday Clock when its hands were last moved. Today they are even closer to midnight, showing how much more perilous our world has become in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather events and Russia’s outrageous war on Ukraine. Leaders did not heed the Doomsday Clock’s warnings in 2020. We all continue to pay the price. In 2023 it is vital for all our sakes that they act.”

Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former President of Mongolia and member of The Elders, added:

“As a former President of a country landlocked between two large powers, I know how important international diplomacy is when it comes to tackling existential threats. Today our world faces multiple crises. A common thread runs through them all: failure of leadership. We need a collective response rooted in the spirit and values of the UN Charter that can put us back on a pathway to peaceful co-existence and sustainable development.”

The Elders

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders
Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General and Deputy Chair of The Elders
Graça Machel, founder of the Graça Machel Trust, co-founder and Deputy Chair of The Elders 
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the WHO
Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former President and Prime Minister of Mongolia
Zeid Raad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Hina Jilani, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and co-chair of the Taskforce on Justice
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Laureate
Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile
Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Laureate
Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico

Basel Peace Office announces the nine finalists for the 2023 PACEY Youth Award

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from the Basel Peace Office

Basel Peace Office is pleased to announce the nine finalists of the 2023 PACEY Youth Award. We invite anyone interested in youth initiatives for a better world to join us for the PACEY Award ceremony on January 21 to vote for the three winners, each of whom will receive a prize of €5000 plus organizational support for their initiatives.

“The PACEY Award supports innovative projects which empower youth to lead transformative actions in the fields of peace, climate security and disarmament”, says Ms Marzhan Nurzhan, Deputy-Director of Basel Peace Office and Co-founder of Youth Fusion, a global youth network for the abolition of nuclear weapons. “We received nominations of over 80 inspiring youth projects and project proposals from around the world. The nine finalists are just a sample of the quality and level of youth action on these important issues for humanity and the planet.”

“Young people in Europe and around the world are standing up to demand policy progress on the climate crisis, nuclear abolition and ending war,” says Prof (em) Andreas Nidecker MD, founder of the PACEY Award. ‘They clearly see the threats to current and future generations and are taking action.”

“Peace and security are the central starting points on the path to sustainable development,” says Dr Lukas Ott (lic. phil.), Head of Canton and Urban Development, Presidential Department of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. “Peace is the foundation that something good can grow out of it. Youth-led projects and activities that promote peace, climate-protection and disarmament are more important now than ever.”

According to Prof Lukas Kundert, Director of the Basel-Stadt Evangelical Reformed Church, the award highlights youth action that connects ethical ways of living with practical approaches to achieving peace. “Righteousness and Peace kiss each other” he says.

The PACEY Award will confer one prize for a project based in Europe and two prizes for projects based outside of Europe.

Finalists

The three finalists in the European project category are:

* Global Perspectives on Corporate Climate Legal Tactics (United Kingdom), a project to examine the unique aspects of climate litigation across the corporate world leading to the production of a toolbox for the effective implementation of climate law. With research from 17 different legal systems, the project will analyse and compare best practices from those jurisdictions and provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders in order to facilitate continuous improvement in the implementation of climate change law.

* Peace in our Schools (Georgia), a project to work with young Ukrainian refugees and Russian immigrants, who have fled the Russia-Ukraine war. The project, founded by Jewish and Muslim peacemakers from Georgia and Afghanistan, aims to provide emotional intelligence and conflict resolution training to Ukrainian and Russian youth, through programs in Georgian schools. The project is managed by the Network of Former Youth Delegates to the United Nations.

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Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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* SAFNA Youth Forum Database Project (Switzerland), a project to create a database on nuclear disarmament and arms control, with commentaries on national legislation and jurisprudence. The project, being led by the Swiss Association of Lawyers for Nuclear Disarmament (SAFNA) Youth Forum, is inspired by the ICRC databases on international humanitarian law, and aims to assist, students and professionals in the fields of international law, international politics and international relations.

The six finalists for the Beyond Europe category are;

* Adopt a tree, not a weapon (Democratic Republic of Congo), a project to address the climate crisis and activism of local and foreign armed groups using children as soldiers to commit violence and destroy the biodiversity. The project, run by former child soldiers and other young volunteers from the Amani-Institute, uses a range of innovative approaches including inter-active theatre, to educate and engage other youth.

* Ertis Mektebi school (Kazakhstan), a project to provide mainstreamed education for children with special needs.  The school is being established in Semipalatinsk, where there are over 4000 children with neuropsychological and musculoskeletal disabilities, most of whom are likely to be third and fourth generation victims of Soviet nuclear tests, more than 450 of which were conducted in the Polygon/Semipalatinsk region Kazakhstan from 1949 -1989. The mainstreaming approach is to establish a school where both children with disabilities and children without health problems will study together.

* Nuclear Lives: Uranium Mining on Indigenous Communities of Meghalaya (India), an interview series documenting the testimonies of victims of uranium mining in Meghalaya. The uranium is used for both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The project uses a story-telling approach to complement academic research in order to elevate public knowledge and political attention regarding the negative impacts of uranium mining – the widespread acres of forest cleared, water bodies contaminated, soil rendered fruitless, stillborn births and death of local wildlife.

* Silence the Guns (Cameroon), a project led by Children for Peace to educate and engage children, especially girls, in Central Africa in non-violence and peace-building. The project works with  schools, university, mosques, churches & faith-based organizations, refugees, UN agencies and other organization in order to counter violent extremism, armed conflict and the illicit proliferation of weapons.

* Storytelling as a Catalyst of Action for Peace, Love, and Climate Justice in MENA (Middle East and North Africa), a project led by the MENA Youth Network which aims to establish an online media archive of stories and voices of youth in the MENA region most affected by the intersection of conflict and climate change, and run workshops and exhibitions in collaboration with civil society groups in communities across the region. The project will harness the power of storytelling to advance and highlight urgent needs, and empower and unite youth towards establishing peace, love, and climate justice in the region.

* Youth Peace Caravans (Sudan/Uganda), a peacebuilding program initiated and led by a former child soldier from South Sudan in the refugee settlements in northern Uganda to foster peace among the South Sudanese young Refugees. South Sudan is home to 64 tribes with long history of animosity. When the civil war broke out, those who fled the country were forced to live in shared refugee settlement areas where negative assumptions led to clashes, death and injuries. Through youth peace caravans, young people are unlearning the negative assumptions by engaging more with each other through community exchange visits, sharing stories, skills and ideas and doing community service together.

The PACEY (Peace, nuclear Abolition and Climate Engaged Youth Award) was established by Basel Peace Office in 2020 as a €5000 award for a European Youth Project. In 2021, the City of Basel (Switzerland) joined and added a prize of €5000 for Beyond Europe/Global Youth Project. And we are pleased to announce that from 2023, we are joined by the Reformed Evangelical Church of Basel-Stadt with support for another award of €5000 for a second Beyond Europe/Global Youth Project, making three awards in total.

Finalists in each category will present their projects/proposals at the PACEY Awards event which takes place online on January 21, in conjunction with Basel Peace Forum 2023 and the annual Basel Inter-generational Forum on Peace, Disarmament and Climate Action ( hybrid events). Participants at the PACEY Awards event will vote by secret ballot to determine the three winners.
 

International Women’s Day 2023: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from UN Women

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023 (IWD 2023) is, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. This theme is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. 


Photo: UN Trust Fund/Phil Borges

The United Nations Observance of IWD recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. IWD 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. The event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

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Questions for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs: as per UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade—a loss that will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025 without action. Reversing this trend will require tackling the problem of online violence, which a study of 51 countries revealed 38 per cent of women had personally experienced.

A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals. Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital revolution also present a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. Growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide. The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.

The United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day under the theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, will be marked by a high-level event on Wednesday, 8 March 2023, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EST. The event will bring together technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and gender equality activists to provide an opportunity to highlight the role of all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools and be followed by a high-level panel discussion and musical performances.

What is happening with solar energy?

.. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ..

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

.. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ..

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

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

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. 

About the Soccer World Championship and Education for Cultures of Peace

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

Special for CPNN from Professor Alicia Cabezudo, Rosario, Argentina, December 2022 (translation by CPNN)

A Soccer World Championship has always been a “party” for the entire population of the world, whatever the age considered, gender, socio-economic and cultural condition that is analysed, geographical and climatic situation. For many days people live pending transmission schedules in all possible media, comments and sports press, results, bets, penalties, player names, generating endless meetings and talks about the infinite winning combinations.


Photo by Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images

It is an obsessive topic among friends, neighbors, relatives, and fellow students and workers – turning the world’s greatest sporting event into a field for dialogue, criticism, defending positions, sharing hours of expectation, happiness and grief, physical and spiritual accompaniment, of solid and liquid food and where hopes, despair, misfortune, joy and expectations will be present.

It is a party that facilitates meeting, communication, the exchange of ideas and socializing tinged with affection. Invaluable practices in the entire teaching process.

It is an extraordinary opportunity in the educational task of parents, families, teachers, professors and communities to make this global sports festival a learning experience in itself. In such a way that the values of coexistence, respect for others, interculturality as social wealth, cultural differences and similarities and, above all, the enormous collective effort that being a good team implies, is also perceived as an ethical and political value, an urgent and necessary pedagogical dimension in today’s world.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

How can sports promote peace?

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We should be able to turn the Soccer World Cup into a space for democratic education where “soccer knowledge and experiences” are also an active, popular and irreplaceable pedagogical resource as a source of new learning and tools for understanding reality.

Tools with a resignified educational value according to possible didactic transfers and particular disciplinary applications according to the various areas of knowledge and even the specific school curriculum at all levels of formal education and in the field of non-formal learning.

Knowledge about other countries, their position and geographic characteristics; its form of government and laws; art, folklore and customs; the various religions and cults; past and present history with the problems of the world in which we live; economic links; trade; the arts ; common science and technology; The global problems that afflict everyone and the collective search for solutions, as well as many other topics of interest, open up new possibilities for analysis, reflection and creative dialogue inside and outside of schools and in all areas where we meet and meet.

Understanding diversity and differences; the multiplicity of ways of life and visions of the world; the different civilizations and their manifestations; the richness of the diverse cultures that these multicolored, multilingual, multireligious soccer teams represent, with men so different and so absolutely interdependent that they esteem and respect each other, creates the possibility of an enriching pedagogical dialogue and demonstrates a lesson in political pluralism, religious and cultural that enriches every educational process and is part of the civic-democratic training of children, youth and adults in current education.

The construction of these values, the defense and international recognition of the free self-determination of peoples, the right to peace, respect for human rights as international law and learning about the collective and united effort of men as creators of socio-political, economic and cultural transformations are part of this pedagogical proposal that should be added to the merely sporting one.

It is time for today’s world to become a huge solidarity football team, where each “player” contributes from his “position” to the necessary and urgent collective construction of a harmonious, balanced and cooperative result through the practice of a game. clean, mutual help, respect for others and sensitivity to their needs and problems.

In this way the game would probably make more sense, giving the world exemplary vital lessons in human warmth, teamwork, collective spirit and efficiency – which is exactly what is sorely lacking and . . . what we need so much.

Let us consider this pedagogical challenge without hesitation. . .

Revealing He Too Had Manning Leaks, Ellsberg Dares DOJ to Prosecute Him Like Assange

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Jessica Corbett in Common Dreams

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Tuesday dared U.S. prosecutors to come after him like they have Julian Assange by  revealing  in a BBC News interview that the WikiLeaks publisher sent him a backup of leaked materials from former military analyst Chelsea Manning.

“Let me tell you a secret. I had possession of all the Chelsea Manning information before it came out in the press,” Ellsberg said to BBC’s Stephen Sackur in the on-camera interview. “I’ve never said that publicly.”

Assange had sent him the materials—which include  evidence  of U.S. war crimes—in case “they caught him and they got everything,” the 91-year-old explained. “He could rely on me to find some way to get it out.”

Australian-born Assange is currently detained in London and  fighting  in British and European courts against his extradition to the United States, where he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted under Espionage Act charges.

Inviting action by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Ellsberg said that “I am now as indictable as Julian Assange and as everyone who put that information out—the papers, everybody who handled it.”

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Question related to this article:
 
Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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“Yes, I had copies of it and I did not give them to an authorized person. So, if they want to indict me for that, I will be interested to argue that one in the courts—whether that law is constitutional,” he continued, referring to the Espionage Act.

Highlighting that the highest U.S. court has never held that it is constitutional to use the Espionage Act as if it were a British Official Secrets Act, Ellsberg said that “I’d be happy to take that one to the Supreme Court.”

The Espionage Act, “used against whistleblowers, is unconstitutional,” he asserted. “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment.”

Ellsberg’s public confession comes after editors and publishers at five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 for articles based on diplomatic cables from Manning  released  a letter late last month arguing that “it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.”

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” the letter states. “Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.”

The new Ellsberg interview also follows the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) confirming earlier this month that 51-year-old Assange has asked the tribunal to block his extradition to the United States.

Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton  told  Reuters last week that “I would imagine the U.S. wants to avoid” a case going before the ECHR for “trying to extradite a publisher from Europe for publishing U.S. war revelations when the U.S. is asking Europe to make all sort of sacrifices for the war in Ukraine.”