‘End Fossil Fuels’ Protests Kick Off Worldwide Ahead of UN Climate Ambition Summit

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Jessica Corbett from Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Hundreds of demonstrations around the world demanding “rapid, just, and equitable phaseout from fossil fuels in favor of sustainable renewables” began Friday ahead of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ Climate Ambition Summit in New York City next week.


The Fridays for Future movement and other activists march in Berlin, Germany on September 15, 2023. (Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)

“From Pacific nations, heavily affected by sea-level rise and storms, through Mumbai to Manila, London to Nairobi, over 650 actions are planned in 60 countries, culminating in a march in New York City on September 17,” according to protest organizers.

The Global Fight to End Fossil Fuels “opposes the fossil fuel industry, which has made obscene profits at the expense of the world’s people, biodiversity, and a safe and livable climate,” added organizers, who expect millions to join the protests over the coming days. “It calls on governments and companies to immediately end fossil fuel expansion and subsidies.”

Demonstrators, journalists, and supporters shared footage from Friday’s actions on social media with the hashtag #EndFossilFuels.


Protest in Pakistan


Protest in Philippines

The actions come amid the hottest  summer on record and as experts continue to sound the alarm over unwavering environmental destruction, especially by the fossil fuel industry and its political and financial backers.

International scientists revealed  this week that six of nine barriers that ensure Earth is a “safe operating space for humanity” have been breached, which followed recent findings  that greenhouse gas concentrations, global sea level, and ocean heat content hit record highs last year.

Climate chaos—fueled by oil and gas giants that have spent decades lying about their planet-heating pollution along with rich governments and institutions that continue to break their promises and pump billions of dollars into the fossil fuel industry—is already killing people. The death toll from flooding in Libya this week has climbed to 11,300.

Protest in Uganda

Protest in Berlin

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Question for this article:

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

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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“The world is at a tipping point,” said Tyrone Scott of the War on Want and the Climate Justice Coalition in the United Kingdom ahead of protests this weekend. “Climate catastrophe is already devastating the lives and livelihoods of people across the world and primarily those in the Global South, who are least responsible for causing it.”

“We must uproot the systems of exploitation and oppression which keep the majority of the world’s population in poverty while lining the pockets of corporates and rich shareholders. This is a watershed moment. How we respond will determine how the world is shaped for generations,” Scott stressed. “We demand an end to fossil fuels. We demand a fast and fair transition. We demand climate justice.”

Protest in Manchester, UK

Protest in Stockholm

Tens of thousands of activists from across the United States are expected to join the March to End Fossil Fuels in New York City on Sunday. Marchers—backed by hundreds of organizations and scientists—have four key demands for President Joe Biden:

° Stop federal approval for new fossil fuel projects and repeal permits for climate bombs like the Willow project  and the Mountain Valley Pipeline;

° Phase out fossil drilling on our public lands and waters;

° Declare a climate emergency to halt fossil fuel exports and investments abroad, and turbocharge the buildout of more just, resilient distributed energy (like rooftop and community solar); and

° Provide a just transition to a renewable energy future that generates millions of jobs while supporting workers’ and community rights, job security, and employment equity.

“Despite his numerous and explicit pledges to the contrary, President Biden has turned out to be a strong supporter of fossil fuels,” Food & Water Watch  Northeast region director Alex Beauchamp, an organizer of the NYC march, said in a statement Friday.

“With each passing day, Biden’s failure to lead on clean energy drives the planet deeper into the abyss of irrevocable climate chaos,” he added. “We’re marching to send a message that true climate leadership means halting new oil and gas drilling and fracking, and rejecting new fossil fuel infrastructure like pipelines and export terminals—beginning now.”

Betamia Coronel, senior national organizer for climate justice at the Center for Popular Democracy, highlighted  in a Friday opinion piece for Common Dreams that “BIPOC communities have always lived at the intersection of wealth disparity and the climate crisis,” and “it is Black, Indigenous, immigrant, working-class people of color who have been leading the efforts in the lead up to this historic march in NYC.”

Dozens of actors, activists, and climate leaders—including Bill McKibben, Blair Imani, Cornel West, Jameela Jamil, Jane Fonda, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Klein, Rosario Dawson, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Rebecca Solnit, and Vanessa Nakate—joined more than 700 groups on Friday in sending a pre-march letter to the U.S. president.

“The U.S. is the top global oil and gas producer and the largest historic greenhouse gas emitter. It is imperative that the U.S. change course and become a true global climate leader by ending the extraction and use of fossil fuels,” they wrote, urging Biden to commit to phasing out fossil fuels at the U.N. summit on September 20. “The world is watching.”

Biden has also faced mounting pressure to declare a climate emergency this year, as the United States has endured a record-setting number of billion-dollar disasters, from a deadly fire in Hawaii to Hurricane Idalia. Since last week, eight campaigners have been arrested outside the White House for a series of protests demanding a climate emergency declaration and other executive action to end the era of fossil fuels.

Protest in Standing Rock, USA

Organizers planned to continue the nonviolent civil disobedience campaign in Washington, D.C. on Friday, and warned that “each day Biden delays in taking this step is precious time lost to save lives and secure a livable future for humankind and countless other species.”

Africa Climate Summit Issues Nairobi Declaration

. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Abayomi Azikiwe (editor of Pan-African News Wire) published by the Transcend Media Service

Despite statements of intent, western industrialized countries have not yet provided the resources needed for the transition to renewable energy production which benefits the majority of people on the continent

Nairobi, Kenya, the commercial center for the East Africa region, hosted the Africa Climate Summit which attracted thousands of delegates, investors and observers to discuss the worsening plight of the continent as it relates to environmental degradation.


Head of states and delegates pose for a group photo, during the official opening of the Africa Climate Summit at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Sept. 4, 2023.(AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

The meeting was scheduled from September 4-8 at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) where registered delegates from governments and non-governmental organizations articulated their views on what is needed in the present period to avert an even larger climate disaster for Africa’s 1.3 billion people.

This summit was held under the theme, “Africa Climate Summit 2023: Driving Green Growth & Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World.” The governmental leaders met for three days while the entire week was dedicated to the current situation and potential solutions.

Outside the ACS, there were thousands more representing coalitions, traditional communities and mass groupings, many of which were critical of the gathering and the way in which western governments, multi-national corporations and international financial institutions are seeking to dominate the dialogue on Africa climate issues and economic development. A host of delegates were present from the United States and the European Union (EU) making pledges to assist the AU member-states in halting the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

In the language for the summit overview, it states that:

“The inaugural Africa Climate Summit, championed by HE President [William] Ruto, aims to address the increasing exposure to climate change and its associated costs, both globally and particularly in Africa. With the expectation of escalating climate crises in terms of frequency and intensity, urgent action is required to mitigate these challenges. The Summit will serve as a platform to inform, frame, and influence commitments, pledges, and outcomes, ultimately leading to the development of the Nairobi Declaration.”

However, the previous commitments made by western states and multinational corporations have not yet been honored. The purpose of the ACS 2023 was to reach a consensus among African governments on a program to be taken to the United Nations Climate Summit (COP28) which will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December.

The adoption of the Nairobi Declaration was designed to position the AU member-states in their negotiations within the broader international community. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen how the AU can either convince or force the industrialized capitalist states to provide the necessary reforms that will turn the tide towards green and sustainable energy.

During the ACS it was acknowledged by the AU member-states and some corporations that Africa is one of the least responsible regions for the rise in global warming. Consequently, the continent requires assistance in preventing further extreme weather events, droughts and the subsequent food deficits which are plaguing various regions of East Africa.

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Question for this article:

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

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An article published  in the French newspaper Le Monde on the ACS noted:

“The declaration called for ‘concrete action’ on reforms that lead to ‘a new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa’s needs’, including debt restructuring and relief.

Ruto said it was time to overhaul global financial systems that ‘perpetually place African nations on the backfoot. We demand a fair playing ground for our countries to access the investment needed to unlock the potential and translate it into opportunities,’ he said. Leaders also pressed the world’s wealthy polluters to honor their pledges, including to provide $100 billion a year for clean energy and to help them brace for climate disasters.”

Defeating Climate Change Requires a Struggle Against the Current World Order

As long as the multinational corporations and banks can earn enormous profits under the existing economic system, the realization of change will require organized pressure from the AU member-states and their constituencies. This ACS gathering was not the first time that these demands have been put forward to the leading imperialist states.

When Republic of South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa paid a state visit to the U.S. nearly one year ago, he emphasized that his country along with others on the continent would need billions of dollars to address the goals set by the annual United Nations Climate Summit. Every year, the U.S., U.K. and the EU are able to veto significant resolutions at the COP meetings which would place definite responsibilities on the imperialist states.

During 2022, when the COP27 Summit was held in Egypt, a host of promises were made by the imperialist states which have yet to be fulfilled. Yet one year later, these same economic and political interests continue to pretend that they will make amends for their industrial and agricultural policies which are the main contributors to the rise in pollutants.

The New York Times wrote a report  on the ACS pointing out that there are serious questions being raised by people in Kenya about the effectiveness of the Nairobi Declaration:

“Outside the halls of the convention center, Kenyans were asking tougher questions about whom the conference and its lofty goals really served. ‘The energy discussion masks our economic crisis,’ said Mordecai Ogada, an author and a leading Kenyan voice on environmental issues. ‘Yes, we get most of our electricity from renewables. But we pay foreign companies to generate that power exorbitantly in foreign currency,’ he said. ‘Manufacturing has become expensive, which drives inflation. As far as the lives of Kenyans are concerned, the source of energy is completely immaterial.’”

In Kenya over recent months, the government of President Ruto has lifted fuel subsidies and raised taxes on essential goods. The hardships caused by these measures sparked demonstrations which were organized by the political opposition in the country. In real terms, the Kenyan national currency has lost one-third of its value over the last two years.

The overall global crisis prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences are largely to blame for the sharp rise in prices. Therefore, to insulate the people of Africa from external shocks, there must be a radical shift in the international division of labor and economic power which has reinforced the dependency inherited from the colonial system.

Africa News quoted a participant  in the demonstrations involving thousands outside the ACS 2023 meeting. This activist called Babawale from the Friends of the Earth Africa said:

“We are here to demand that Africa’s energy system must be de-colonized, it must be brought out from the hands of the culprits, it is time for the African people to stand together and make a demand, that what we need now is systems change, not climate change, what we need now is that Africa’s energy systemic must be de-colonized. It should be put in the hands of people, this is not the time that we should promote carbon markets it is not going to put to an end the different climate crisis that Africa is facing.”

During the demonstrations by civil society and mass organizations surrounding the Kenyatta International Convention Center, people carried banners which read: “Stop the neo-colonial scramble for oil and gas in Africa.” In Kenya alone, the government would need approximately $US62 billion to address the necessity of reducing emissions which contribute to climate change.

AU member-states overall would require an estimated $US290 billion to $US440 billion to achieve the same objectives. These resources will not be given by the imperialist states absent of a protracted campaign for climate justice and a sweeping redistribution of wealth on a global scale.

2023 United Nations High-Level Forum on The Culture of Peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

by CPNN

Every year CPNN carries articles about the United Nations High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace that has been convened annually by the President of the UN General Assembly since 2012. This year it took place at UN headquarters on August 31.


Scene at beginning of Forum, taken from UN video. (Note that in previous years, the room was filled with representatives of civil society and Member States)

A concept note with background about the culture of peace was published this year prior to the forum by the President of the General assembly saying that it would be dedicated to the theme “Promoting Culture of Peace in the Digital Era.”

As was the case in 2022, the United Nations did not publish a general article about the forum. The order of the programme was published in the UN Journal along with links to statements from 22 Member States, but a summary of the event was not published in the UN websites for meetings or press releases.

A three-hour video of the forum is available from the UN media center and a separate video of the presentation by Sri Lanka is available on YouTube.

In this article we have sought excerpts from other articles, including speeches delivered at the forum.

The following description of the event was published in Bangladesh

“Convened by President of the General Assembly Csaba Korosi, the forum’s inaugural session featured addresses from distinguished speakers, including the Under-Secretary General for Policy, Director of UNESCO’s New York Office, and the Head of UN Affairs of ITU.

“Later a panel discussion was held under the theme, “Promoting Culture of Peace in the Digital Era,” which was chaired by Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar, and participated by member states, observers and the civil society.

“Apart from Member States, expert speakers including the Secretary General’s Tech Envoy, Rector of the University for Peace and representative of Google presented remarks in the panel discussion.

“Applauding Bangladesh’s leadership in promoting culture of peace, the President of the General Assembly highlighted that sustaining a culture of peace in the digital age entails nurturing an inclusive online space that encourages respect and tolerance.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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“This involves countering online hate speech and discrimination and addressing the risks of misusing new technologies without depriving those who require them,” he said stressing the importance of collective involvement, he underscored that success hinges on robust multilateral cooperation.”

Since there was not other news coverage of the event, one needs to listen to the UN video to learn more.

The Director of UNESCO’s New York Office spoke from minutes 25-30. He did not mention UNESCO’s history with the culture of peace, such as its responsibility for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace (2000) and the succeeding Culture of Peace Decade, nor the fact that it prepared and submitted the Draft Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace eventually adopted by the General Assembly in 1999.

A prominent place was given to Google. The representative of Google, Zoe Darme, was one of the five presenters in the panel discussion, her presentation taking place from minutes 80 to 87 in the video. She also took an active role in the general discussion that followed, being the final speaker of the day. Curiously, a search by the Google Search Engine reveals photos of her at the forum, but no mention of the content of her remarks.

There was much less participation of the civil society this year. Unlike in previous years, the civil society organizations affiliated with the UN Department of Public Information were not allowed to participate. And Ambassador Chowdhury, who had mobilized civil society participation in previous years was not included in the planning. Back in 1999, when he was Ambassdor from Bangladesh, Chowdhury resisted opposition by the EU and United States and chaired the nine-month negotiations that led to the adoption of the above-mentioned Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

According to a recent article written by Chowdhury, the “cold-shoulder” given to the culture of peace for this forum this year is part of a more general rejection of the culture of peace by the current United Nations administration. Neither of the two general agendas for action – “Our Common Agenda” (OCA), and “New Agenda for Peace” (NAP) – mention “culture of peace” at all.

– – – –

Here are texts of some of the speeches submitted to this year’s Forum that are available on the Internet:

President of the General Assembly

Representative of the Vatican

Representative of the European Union

Representative of the United States

Representative of Bangladesh

Representative of the University for Peace

Submitted speeches from 17 other countries, as well as the International Telecommunication Union, are available online from the UN Journal.

UN-AUSC Youth Forum: The Role of Young People in the 13Th African Games

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

Excerpts from an announcement from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

DRAFT CONCEPT NOTE

BACKGROUND

. . . The United Nations acknowledges the value of the youth in peacebuilding through the development of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018), and 2535 (2020) on Youth, Peace, and Security that called upon the United Nations (UN) entities and Member States to improve capacity-building by integrating the Youth, Peace, and Security agenda into their technical assistance plans. Also, the African Youth Charter recognizes that “youth are partners, assets and prerequisite for sustainable peace and prosperity of Africa with a unique contribution to make to the present and future development.”

Through unique engagement, such as sports, the youth have led and sustained peacebuilding and development conversations across societies. Sports have historically played a significant role in disseminating positive values worldwide and across civilizations and cultures, thus making it a powerful vector for developing efforts to promote peace and prevent and counter violent extremism. . . .

PROPOSAL

The Global Sports Programme will organize a Youth Forum on the role of young people in the upcoming 13th Edition of the African Games (Accra, Ghana, set to commence in March 2024) in partnership with the AUSC, which oversees the coordination and organization of the African Games—building on the power of sport to promote increased youth participation in the organization of major sporting events. Other partners are the 13th African Games Local Organising Committee (LOC) which comprises key Ghanaian stakeholders, the Ghana National Peace Council which is responsible for implementing the National PVE Strategy, and the UN Country Team.

OBJECTIVES

Raise awareness of integrating youth in major sporting events, particularly from an African perspective.

Establish a dialogue between youth and decision-makers about the power of sports and major sporting events to prevent violent extremism, showcasing unique youth approaches, including those targeting the vulnerable youth population.

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Questions for this article:

How can sports promote peace?

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● Encourage more investment and support towards youth-led sport-based PVE initiatives and increased youth participation in major sporting events.

● Concrete guidelines on the greater inclusion of young people in PVE-based activities within the context of a major sporting event.

TIME AND PLACE

• 21-22 November 2023 (2 days) in Accra, Ghana

FORMAT

● We count on the participation of approx. 15 African civil society leaders between 18 and 35 years old and involved in major sporting events, decision-making, and/or sport for PVE. ● This Forum will feature ‘safe and brave spaces,’ working groups, presentations, etc.

● The young people will have the opportunity to go into dialogue with the organizers of the upcoming 13th African Games, including the AUSC and the LOC, as well as other PVE-through-sport/sport for peace stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the UN.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

● Raised awareness of the role and significance of sport in PVE. ● Inclusion of strategies for PVE interventions while organizing major sporting events and its integration into NAPs.

● Compiled recommendations on integrating young people in organizing major sporting events and related sport-for-PVE initiatives.

SELECTION OF PARTICIPANTS

● Due to limited slots, participants will be subjected to a selection process that will consider the relevance of their application, their experience, the motivation and interest demonstrated, as well as their potential contribution to the discussions. To the extent possible, the selection committee will balance age, gender, and diversity of backgrounds (cultural, educational, professional) among selected participants.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

● Age: 18-35 years of age

● Region: African Union Member States

● Interest in themes: the applicant demonstrates some experience and knowledge (or a great interest in getting involved) in issues related to PVE (through sport), the organization of major sporting events, sport for development and peace, and/or meaningful youth engagement.

● Future impact and follow-up: the applicant expresses a strong commitment to further engage on the topics and has the ability to consult with and reach a wider group of young people, audiences, or networks, including leading initiatives at the grassroots and community levels.

● Experience and potential: experience in the development of policies and guidelines and advocacy in PVE.

English bulletin September 1, 2023

. . MORE PEACEMAKERS . . .

As leaders around the world warn that the Ukraine War risks to escalate into a nuclear world war, there are new peacemakers joining with China and the Vatican that we quoted in this bulletin two months ago.

Leaders from throughout Africa who went to Russia last month proposed their peace plan for the Ukraine War. Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa and Macky Sall of Senegal were joined by three other African presidents and 49 delegations representing most African countries and regional organizations including the African Union. Al Jazeera quotes the Reuters news agency that the African proposal floats a series of possible steps to defuse the conflict, including a Russian troop pullback, removal of Russian tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus, suspension of an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against Putin and sanctions relief, and they quote President Putin that it could be the basis for peace in Ukraine.

And national security officers from over 40 countries, including all of the BRICS countries except Russia, converged in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for consultations and exchange of opinions for peace in Ukraine. Western media gave priority to the proposal presented to the conference by the Ukrainian delegation, a 10-point peace formula, which calls for the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory. But according to the DPA News Agency quoted by Russian , Macedonian and and Iranian media, informs that the Saudi’s presented their own peace proposal, which would envisage the preservation of Ukraine’s integrity, a ceasefire along the entire frontline, the beginning of UN-brokered talks, and the exchange of prisoners.

The African peace proposal, as well as the earlier peace proposal of the Chinese, was supported by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at their summit in Johannesburg.

Repeated remarks by Russian officials that nuclear weapons could be used if Russia’s integrity is threatened, and repeated remarks by American and NATO officials that the Ukraine War should lead to the defeat of Russia have led many leaders to demand peace in Ukraine in order to avoid a nuclear war.

UN Secretary-General Guterres warned that warned that “the drums of nuclear war are beating once again” in a message to mark the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, “The nuclear shadow that loomed over the Cold War has re-emerged. And some countries are recklessly rattling the nuclear sabre once again, threatening to use these tools of annihilation.”

In his annual peace declaration, the mayor of Hiroshima, said that “leaders around the world must confront the reality that nuclear threats now being voiced by certain policymakers reveal the folly of nuclear deterrence theory.”

And 100 top medical journals published this month an unprecedented joint call for the elimination of nuclear weapons, citing mounting nuclear tensions amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The editorial concludes that “The nuclear-armed states must eliminate their nuclear arsenals before they eliminate us.”

Can the Ukraine War be stopped? While the countries engaged in the war show no sign of being ready for a peace settlement, there are mounting contradictions in these countries that could lead them to the negotiating table, as described here. When they are finally ready to negotiate, there are many peacemakers ready to help. Let us hope that this does not come too late.

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



Russia-Africa Summit Held Amid Worsening Global Security Situation

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY



World’s Children Launch Appeal for Peace from Rabat

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Bill McKibben: Extraordinary Quantities of Human Tragedy Are in Motion

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Declaration from the BRICS Summit meeting in South Africa

  

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



From Rwanda To Beyond: New Collaborations And Collective Action At Women’s Conclave

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Brazil Federal District: Management of Culture of Peace and Mediation completes one year this Wednesday

HUMAN RIGHTS



Indigenous trade unionists from around the world call for more inclusion and solidarity

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



PAYNCOP Gabon Trained Youth and Women in Political Leadership in the City of Oyem

Indigenous trade unionists from around the world call for more inclusion and solidarity: “We are not just there to sing the songs and do the opening prayer”

… . HUMAN RIGHTS … .

An article from Equal Times (published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence)

More than 476 million people worldwide (6.2 per cent of humanity) belong to Indigenous peoples, most of whom live alongside the societies that colonised their ancient lands hundreds of years ago. In the 21st century, after a long journey during which they were not always able to survive colonial oppression without losing their identity, language or part of their culture, Indigenous peoples have won significant gains in various regions of the world but they continue to face challenges such as discrimination and limited opportunities, making it very difficult for them to enjoy fair labour market integration. Four out of five Indigenous workers earn a living from informal employment, and the remainder most often work in highly precarious sectors, without any form of social protection, where they are exposed to all kinds of rights abuses.

To mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, established by the United Nations in 1982, and to coincide with the call made by the ITUC for governments around the world to sign up to the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (C169) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) – which, despite being launched in 1989, has only been ratified by 24 countriesEqual Times interviewed three Indigenous trade union leaders from three continents.

 Māori, Sami and Mapuche trade union leaders talk to Equal Times. From left to right: Laures Park (New Zealand), David Acuña (Chile) and Sissel Skoghaug (Norway). (Equal Times/Composition by Fátima Donaire)

David Acuña Millahueique, the president of CUT Chile, the main trade union organisation in his country, speaks to us from the Americas. Acuña, who became the first leader of Mapuche origin to head the union a year ago, is currently involved in the historic process of developing a new constitution for Chile and the CUT is working to ensure that it enshrines freedom of association and decent work as fundamental rights in a country where the current constitution, in force since the military dictatorship (1973-1990), still does not provide for labour rights. Sissel Skoghaug, vice president of Norway’s LO union confederation for the past decade and a representative of the Sami people, the ancient nomadic ethnic group of the Arctic and the only Indigenous people left on the continent, joins us from Europe. And from Oceania, we speak to Laures Park, who holds the position of Matua Takawaenga (Māori for “chief mediator”) with the New Zealand teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa, where she is not only the main focal point for all matters relating to the Indigenous people of the island nation, but is also the acting union leader when the national secretary is absent, which is also seen as a symbolic gain for the Māori.

What is the current situation of the First Nation peoples in your country, in terms of social and labour integration or discrimination?

LAURES PARK (L.P.): In New Zealand there is still discrimination. There are lots of concerns, but there’s lots of integration as well. It depends on socioeconomic and geographical conditions. The Māori, who are about 12 per cent of the national population, tend to fill the lower paid labour-intensive jobs. They tend to be cleaners, rubbish collectors and landscape gardeners – those kinds of jobs. And yes, there are also a lot of Māori that move to the city and get jobs in the public service, but you have to move to get that kind of work. Poverty-wise, that’s probably very high for Indigenous people in New Zealand, and that’s because of poor access to education where they live, as well as lack of employment.

SISSEL SKOGHAUG (S.S.): So much injustice has been done to the Sami people. The authorities almost managed to rob an entire people of their identity and their language. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently concluded, this also applies to the Kven people and the Forest Finns. [But] especially in Norway and parts of Sweden, the Sami culture has been experiencing a very strong renaissance over the last four decades. Young people, and also quite a few in my generation, are taking back the heritage that was lost two or three generations back.

DAVID ACUÑA MILLAHUEIQUE (D.A.M.): The labour situation of people of Indigenous origin comes from the forced integration of the Indigenous society into the dominant society of the colonisers. Before reaching the situation we have now, there have even been periods of slavery, which initially involved working for a very basic income as day labourers, apprentice carpenters, bricklayers or bakers, for example. Many of those who migrated from rural to urban areas worked in these trades, while the majority of the Indigenous women worked as domestic and care workers. Today, a large percentage of the new generations have achieved access to various levels of formal education, so we have moved on from the worker who formerly did not know how to read or write to the literate workers of today, enabling a minimal level of social mobility in some cases.

What about the acknowledgment and respect for First Nation cultures, languages and rights, and their integration in the work environment?

S.S.: Nowadays, in Norway we have the Sami Parliament (Samediggi), established in 1989. That is the representative body of the Sami people in the country, and it promotes political initiatives and has authority on a number of issues. At the same time, the main Sami language is also an official language in Norway. Much more has been achieved since assimilation and discrimination was the official order of the day.

L.P.: In New Zealand it goes from one extreme to the other. There is a whole sector of the population that doesn’t even know about it or doesn’t care, because Māori don’t have anything to do with their lives. But there is also another part of the population that is learning the language and participating in the customs, and is very much part of all the things that happen in the education system [where there are a number of selected schools where the Māori language is taught to everyone since early childhood].

There is a whole generation of Māori who only speak Māori, and their families only speak Māori when they are out and about, and this can cause a bit of stress with other people, mainly white people. But on the other side, when we’re downtown, other people are delighted to hear Māori being spoken out in the community. So it varies. You get some people that see it as: “Oh, God, you’re trying to hide something from us,” and other people who think that’s just lovely to hear it. And we have a Māori television channel, and the number of non-Māori who watch it is just incredible. So, as I say, [the situation] varies.

D.A.M.: In Chile, the process of Indigenous integration has been strongly marked by social discrimination and also, in many cases, employment and racial discrimination, which have led to irreparable cultural losses, such as the use of our own mother tongue, especially as of the third generation [of Mapuche people who settled in the cities in the mid-twentieth century]. We were migrants in our own land, because we had to go to the more developed cities, and we lost everything from our language to our customs with these migration and integration processes.

The first generations of Indigenous migrants had to adjust to a new way of life, and of course, they had to behave like Chileans, and ended up “half-Chileanised”, often trying to hide or disguise their Mapuche ancestry, and little by little this began to take hold, to the extent that people even avoided using their own language and customs, all in an attempt to adopt the traits of a society that was not our own and steadily adapt to it. It has only been as of the fourth generation, to which I belong, that we began to see a gradual process of self-identification with our origins. Over the last five or six years, there has also been a reclaiming of the Mapuche flag itself, which became visible in 2019 with the social uprising, during which one of the most popular and most visible symbols in the protests was the Mapuche flag. There was almost a commercial boom, the Mapuche flag was suddenly selling so well. That showed that we were recognising an identity that we had lost until then.

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(Click here for the French version of this article, or here for the Spanish version .)

Question(s) related to this article:
 
The right to form and join trade unions, Is it being respected?

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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Has your country ratified the ILO’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (C169), from 1989? How does that affect the current First Nation peoples’ life in the country? How important is C169 for your people?

S.S.: In 1990, Norway was the first country to ratify the ILO’s Convention 169. I am proud of LO Norway’s role in making ILO 169 happen, and making it happen first in our own country. Alongside the Constitution and the Sami Act, ILO’s Convention 169 is one of the central pillars of the Norwegian Sami policy. ILO 169 is a monument to the collective spirit of cooperation that characterised Norway at the start of the 1990s. This collective spirit also carried the majority population through a rough period of unemployment and financial and political turmoil.

L.P.: In New Zealand the government has not ratified it, and their explanation is that our new laws need to comply with a lot of other previous laws before they ratify it. That doesn’t change things for us. If we want to make a point, we will still use the C169 and it still holds weight. In some ways, [the fact that New Zealand hasn’t ratified C169] probably supports our argument.

D.A.M.: Yes, Chile ratified it in 2008. By doing so, the state of Chile committed to a state policy of recognition for Indigenous peoples and pledged to establish policies of recognition and respect for this section of society. When national policies are developed that may affect the social, cultural, political and environmental conditions in which Indigenous communities live, we always end up with a consultation. That’s as far as we have got for now, but it is an important achievement, because it is a tool that gives Indigenous communities a voice in what directly impacts on them, and that’s something we didn’t have before.

Why did you join a union, what difficulties did you find in your working environment and in the unions themselves, just for being Indigenous?

L.P.: I joined when I was a teacher. Many years ago, we were talking about how to encourage Māori people to become interested in trade unions. That’s when it became a lot more relevant for me. And since then, that’s been the push – to make sure that unions work for Māori.

We have a saying, that was said by a very old tipuna [ancestor]: “There is but one eye of the needle through which all threads must pass: the white, the red, the black.” For our union, that actually is exactly the sentiment that we think people should embrace, because only by joining together and going in the same direction can we make things work. Otherwise, we’re pulling against each other.

D.A.M.: I’ve been working since I was 17; I had to support my family from a very young age and I’ve always been closely linked to work. When I was getting to know the trade union world, one day a union came to look for representatives at the supermarket where I was working, and there were two colleagues who put themselves forward as union reps. Three could be elected, and these guys had no class consciousness, let’s say, they were not very pro-worker, they were more pro-management, they were very close to the company. So, I said, “No, if we want to fight for labour rights, we need to have agreements with the company, but also disagreements and to fight for the rights we believe in.” It was time, a decision, to say: “Either I keep watching everything stay the same, or I make some kind of change,” and I chose to make a change, with all the sacrifices this also entails.

Given the leadership position that you have reached in your organisation, what does that symbolise for you and the continued struggle for Indigenous rights?

D.A.M.: It is a source of pride for me and my family. My first May Day as president was a personal milestone for me. That day, I acknowledged my identity, I said: “I am a retail worker, I am Mapuche and I come from an Indigenous community in Lleulleu, in the Los Ríos region.” More than a trade union leader, I see myself as a worker and, today, I also strongly recognise my historical legacy: that my mother was a migrant from the south of Chile to the capital, and that we lost our language, we lost part of our culture, but we did not lose our attachment to the territory. Recognising this is very important to me, because I feel proud to be representing, in this role, a people as combative as the Mapuche people were and are today in their territorial claim, which is still pending.

S.S: I have in later years discovered that my own family lost most of our Sami and Kven identity, including the language, as a result of the many decades of Norwegianisation policy. But we are taking back our heritage, with my daughter and son leading the way with language studies and much more. In my public appearances, I am very proud to be wearing the gakti (Sami traditional dress), which I recently had made. I feel that this process in itself is a victory over the injustice that was done.

How can the trade unions better help the Indigenous and First Nation peoples reach real integration in the working world?

D.A.M.: With solidarity and respect. Respect for identity, for beliefs, but also solidarity, inclusion within the world of work.

S.S.: We will look into what we in LO Norway can do to help combat racism, like we have done in the workplace. So far, in the working world, LO Norway has been a strong advocate for the legislation against discrimination now in place in Norway. Thanks to that, nowadays employees and job applicants enjoy equal opportunities, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sex or responsibilities as caretakers. All Norwegian employers are obliged to work actively, in a targeted way and systematically, to promote equality and prevent discrimination in the workplace, according to the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act. This employer activity duty is a preventative work that employers are expected to do before incidents of discrimination occur.

L.P.: Trade unions could change themselves internally and employ more Indigenous people in their organisations. And they shouldn’t be afraid to promote these things amongst the affiliates; at the moment it is seen a little bit as window dressing. But we all belong to this country, so we all should be doing the same thing across the board, not just letting people maybe be inclusive or maybe just say, and this is me being rude: “Go over there and play with your marbles while we get on with the real work over here”. Trade unions need to be more inclusive and more promotional about First Nations, so that we are not just there to sing the songs and do the opening prayer.

How can First Nation peoples contribute, with their particular sensibilities, culture and experiences, to the current global debates about just transition, social justice, labour and human rights and the democratic health of our societies?

D.A.M.: In Chile, the Indigenous peoples come from a culture of struggle that calls for many rights that were taken from them: the right to land is one of their main demands, but there are also the ancestral cultures, especially ancestral medicine, which now forms part of the entry of Mapuche culture into society in a way that was inconceivable before, because there has been, over the last 15 or 20 years, a cultural shift that has allowed the culture of the Indigenous peoples to re-emerge. Today almost every district has a Mapuche ruca, a ceremonial centre for gastronomy, culture and traditional medicine, such that, beyond a flag and a combative tradition, what is also emerging is an ancestral culture that speaks of solidarity, inclusion and participation, respect for elders and for one’s own body.

S.S.: I think we need to go back to that spirit of cooperation that characterised Norway at the start of the 1990s. We live again in a time of crisis and a lot is at risk. The polarisation we see both in the world and in our part of it gives room for forces that do not wish neither minorities, nor majorities or democracies well. Rights that have been won will not automatically be there forever. The fight is never over. We know all about this in the labour movement.

L.P.: When I think about just transition, and particularly climate change as well, I think Indigenous people or First Nations people have a lot to offer. But the powers that be don’t ask. For example, when you think about areas that are now suffering from drought and lack of water and so on, Indigenous people in Australia have lived like that for years. So, how come people don’t talk to them? About how you survive in those situations? And what is it that you bring to the table about those conversations? There are ways of doing things wisely, sustainably, that Indigenous people have always done, that they will continue to do. There’s a whole lot of that knowledge that First Nations hold and probably just use it like the everyday life common sense that it is for them. If anybody bothered to investigate or talk about it, I think First Nations have a lot to offer, but one: do they have a voice? And two: do people listen to what they have to say?

Declaration from the BRICS Summit meeting in South Africa

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A internet publication from the Office of the President of South Africa

(Editor’s note: Is this a case of censorship? A search of Google for the text of the following historic declaration made by the BRICS countries at their meeting in South Africa reveals no source published in Western Europe or North America. As indicated above, the following text comes from the office of the President of South Africa. Other sources listed on Google, as of August 25, come only from Brazil and Russia. Surprisingly, despite the censorship of Russian media, the publication by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is listed in Google. The following source from the government of China is not listed in Google https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/202206/t20220623_10709037.html.

XV BRICS Summit Johannesburg II Declaration

BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism

Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa Wednesday 23 August 2023

Preamble

1. We, the Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa met in Sandton, South Africa, from 22 to 24 August 2023 for the XV BRICS Summit held under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism”.

2. We reaffirm our commitment to the BRICS spirit of mutual respect and understanding, sovereign equality, solidarity, democracy, openness, inclusiveness, strengthened collaboration and consensus. As we build upon 15 years of BRICS Summits, we further commit ourselves to strengthening the framework of mutually beneficial BRICS cooperation under the three pillars of political and security, economic and financial, and cultural and people-to-people cooperation and to enhancing our strategic partnership for the benefit of our people through the promotion of peace, a more representative, fairer international order, a reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, sustainable development and inclusive growth.
Partnership for Inclusive Multilateralism

3. We reiterate our commitment to inclusive multilateralism and upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations (UN) as its indispensable cornerstone, and the central role of the UN in an international system in which sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and promoting cooperation based on the spirit of solidarity, mutual respect, justice and equality.

4. We express concern about the use of unilateral coercive measures, which are incompatible with the principles of the Charter of the UN and produce negative effects notably in the developing world. We reiterate our commitment to enhancing and improving global governance by promoting a more agile, effective, efficient, representative, democratic and accountable international and multilateral system.

5. We call for greater representation of emerging markets and developing countries, in international organizations and multilateral fora in which they play an important role. We also call for increasing the role and share of women from EMDCs at different levels of responsibilities in the international organizations.

6. We reiterate the need for all countries to cooperate in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect. We agree to continue to treat all human rights including the right to development in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis. We agree to strengthen cooperation on issues of common interests both within BRICS and in multilateral fora including the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council, taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfil human rights in a non-selective, non-politicised and constructive manner and without double standards. We call for the respect of democracy and human rights. In this regard, we underline that they should be implemented on the level of global governance as well as at national level. We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation.

7. We support a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more democratic, representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of developing countries in the Council’s memberships so that it can adequately respond to prevailing global challenges and support the legitimate aspirations of emerging and developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Brazil, India and South Africa, to play a greater role in international affairs, in particular in the United Nations, including its Security Council.

8. We reaffirm our support for the open, transparent, fair, predictable, inclusive, equitable, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core, with special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing countries, including Least Developed Countries. We stress our support to work towards positive and meaningful outcomes on the issues at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13). We commit to engage constructively to pursue the necessary WTO reform with a view to presenting concrete deliverables to MC13. We call for the restoration of a fully and well-functioning two-tier binding WTO dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024, and the selection of new Appellate Body Members without further delay.

9. We call for the need to make progress towards the achievement of a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system, ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, promoting sustainable agriculture and food systems, and implement resilient agricultural practices. We emphasize the need to deliver on agriculture reform in accordance with the mandate in Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture, while recognizing the importance of respecting the mandates with regards to a Permanent Solution on Public Stockholding (PSH) for food security purposes and special safeguard mechanism (SSM) for developing countries, including LDCs, in their respective negotiating contexts. BRICS members are also concerned with trade restrictive measures which are inconsistent with WTO rules, including unilateral illegal measures such as sanctions, that affect agricultural trade.

10. We support a robust Global Financial Safety Net with a quota-based and adequately resourced International Monetary Fund (IMF) at its centre. We call for the conclusion of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 16th General Review of Quotas before 15 December 2023. The review should restore the primary role of quotas in the IMF. Any adjustment in quota shares should result in increases in the quota shares of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDCs), while protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members. We call for reform of the Bretton Woods institutions, including for a greater role for emerging markets and developing countries, including in leadership positions in the Bretton Woods institutions, that reflect the role of EMDCs in the world economy.

Fostering an Environment of Peace and Development

11. We welcome the Joint Statement of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations meeting on 1 June 2023 and note the 13th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors and High Representatives on National Security held on 25 July 2023.

12. We are concerned about ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. We stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultations in a coordinated and cooperative manner and support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises.

13. We recognise the importance of the increased participation of women in peace processes including in conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction and development, and sustaining peace.

14. We stress our commitment to multilateralism and to the central role of the United Nations which are prerequisites to maintain peace and security. We call on the international community to support countries in working together towards post- pandemic economic recovery. We emphasise the importance of contributing to post- conflict countries’ reconstruction and development and call upon the international community to assist countries in meeting their development goals. We stress the imperative of refraining from any coercive measures not based on international law and the UN Charter.

15. We reiterate the need for full respect of international humanitarian law in conflict situations and the provision of humanitarian aid in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence established in UNGA resolution 46/182.

16. We commend continued collective efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and sub-regional organisations, including in particular the cooperation between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, to address regional challenges including maintaining peace and security, promoting peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction and development, and call for continued support by the international community to these endeavours using diplomatic means such as dialogue, negotiations, consultations, mediation, and good offices, to resolve international disputes and conflicts, settle them on the basis of mutual respect, compromise, and the balance of legitimate interests. We reiterate that the principle “African solutions to African problems” should continue to serve as the basis for conflict resolution. In this regard we support African peace efforts on the continent by strengthening the relevant capacities of African States. We are concerned about the worsening violence in Sudan. We urge the immediate cessation of hostilities and call for the unimpeded access of the Sudanese population to humanitarian assistance. We remain concerned at the situation in the Sahel region, in particular in the Republic of Niger. We support the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya. We reiterate our support for a “Libyan led and Libyan-owned” political process with UN-led mediation as the main channel. We emphasize the need to achieve an enduring and mutually acceptable political solution to the question of Western Sahara in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions and in fulfilment of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

17. We welcome the positive developments in the Middle East and the efforts by BRICS countries to support development, security and stability in the region. In this regard, we endorse the Joint Statement by the BRICS Deputy Foreign Ministers and Special Envoys for the Middle East and North Africa at their meeting of 26 April 2023. We welcome the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran and emphasise that deescalating tensions and managing differences through dialogue and diplomacy is key to peaceful coexistence in this strategically important region of the world. We reaffirm our support for Yemen’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, and commend the positive role of all the parties involved in bringing about a ceasefire and seeking a political solution to end the conflict. We call on all parties to engage in inclusive direct negotiations and to support the provision of humanitarian, relief and development assistance to the Yemeni people. We support all efforts conducive to a political and negotiated solution that respects Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity and the promotion of a lasting settlement to the Syrian crisis. We welcome the readmission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the League of Arab States. We express our deep concern at the dire humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories due to escalating violence under continued Israeli occupation and the expansion of illegal settlements. We call on the international community to support direct negotiations based on international law including relevant UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, towards a two-state solution, leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine. We commend the extensive work carried out by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and call for greater international support for UNRWA activities to alleviate the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people.

18. We express serious concern with the ongoing deterioration of the security, humanitarian, political and economic situation in Haiti. We believe that the current crisis requires a Haitian-led solution that encompasses national dialogue and consensus building among local political forces, institutions and the society. We call on the international community to support the Haitian endeavours to dismantle the gangs, enhance the security situation and put in place the foundations for long-lasting social and economic development in the country.

19. We recall our national positions concerning the conflict in and around Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UNSC and UNGA. We note with appreciation relevant proposals of mediation and good offices aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, including the African Leaders Peace Mission and the [Chinese] proposed path for peace.

20. We call for the strengthening of disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC), recognizing its role in safeguarding and for preserving their integrity and effectiveness to maintain global stability and international peace and security. We underline the need to comply with and strengthen the BTWC, including by adopting a legally binding Protocol to the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. We reassert our support for ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) and of its weaponization, including through negotiations to adopt a relevant legally binding multilateral instrument. We recognise the value of the updated Draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in 2014. We stress that practical and non-binding commitments, such as Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBMs), may also contribute to PAROS.

21. We reiterate the need to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means in accordance with the international law, and stress the importance of preserving the JCPOA and the UNSCR 2231 to international non-proliferation as well as wider peace and stability and hope for relevant parties to restore the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA at an early date.

22. We express strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed. We recognize the threat emanating from terrorism, extremism conducive to terrorism and radicalization. We are committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, and terrorism financing networks and safe havens. We reiterate that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to contribute further to the global efforts of preventing and countering the threat of terrorism on the basis of respect for international law, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, and human rights, emphasizing that States have the primary responsibility in combating terrorism with the United Nations continuing to play central and coordinating role in this area. We also stress the need for a comprehensive and balanced approach of the whole international community to effectively curb the terrorist activities, which pose a serious threat, including in the present-day pandemic environment. We reject double standards in countering terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism. We call for an expeditious finalization and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework and for launching multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, at the Conference of Disarmament. We welcome the activities of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group and its five Subgroups based upon the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Action Plan. We look forward to further deepening counter-terrorism cooperation.

23. While emphasising the formidable potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for growth and development, we recognise the existing and emerging possibilities they bring for criminal activities and threats, and express concern over the increasing level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs. We welcome the ongoing efforts in the Ad Hoc Committee to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes and reaffirm our commitment to cooperating in the implementation of the mandate adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 75/282 in a timely manner.

24. We reaffirm our commitment to the promotion of an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT-environment, underscored the importance of enhancing common understandings and intensifying cooperation in the use of ICTs and Internet. We support the leading role of the United Nations in promoting constructive dialogue on ensuring ICT-security, including within the UN Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of ICTs 2021-2025, and developing a universal legal framework in this realm. We call for a comprehensive, balanced, objective approach to the development and security of ICT products and systems. We underscore the importance of establishing legal frameworks of cooperation among BRICS countries on ensuring security in the use of ICTs. We also acknowledge the need to advance practical intra-BRICS cooperation through implementation of the BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on ensuring security in the use of ICTs and the activities of the BRICS Working Group on security in the use of ICTs.

25. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthen international cooperation and our collaboration against corruption and continue to implement the relevant international agreements in this regard, in particular the United Nations Convention against Corruption. With the knowledge that the scourge of corruption knows no geographic boundaries, and respects no society or humanitarian cause, we have jointly put in place a strong foundation to combat corruption through capacity building, including, conducting training programmes and sharing of current best practices applied in each of our countries. We will continue to reinforce these efforts and increase our knowledge of the emerging avenues. We will enhance international cooperation through collaborative information-sharing networks, and mutual legal assistance to combat illicit financial flows, counter safe havens and support the investigation, prosecution and recovery of stolen assets subject to domestic laws and regulations of BRICS countries.

Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth

26. We note that an unbalanced recovery from the shock and hardship of the pandemic is aggravating inequality across the world. The global growth momentum has weakened, and the economic prospects have declined owing to trade fragmentation, prolonged high inflation, tighter global financial conditions, in particular the increase in interest rates in advanced economies, geopolitical tensions and increased debt vulnerabilities.

27. We encourage multilateral financial institutions and international organizations to play a constructive role in building global consensus on economic policies and preventing systemic risks of economic disruption and financial fragmentation. We call for Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to continue implementing the recommendations which should be voluntary within MDBs governance frameworks, from the G20 Independent Review Report on MDBs Capital Adequacy Frameworks to increase their lending capacities, while safeguarding MDBs long-term financial stability, robust creditor rating, and preferred creditor status.

28. We believe that multilateral cooperation is essential to limit the risks stemming from geopolitical and geoeconomic fragmentation and intensify efforts on areas of mutual interest, including but not limited to, trade, poverty and hunger reduction, sustainable development, including access to energy, water and food, fuel, fertilizers, as well as mitigating and adapting to the impact of climate change, education, health as well as pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

29. We note that high debt levels in some countries reduce the fiscal space needed to address ongoing development challenges aggravated by spillover effects from external shocks, particularly from sharp monetary tightening in advanced economies. Rising interest rates and tighter financing conditions worsen debt vulnerabilities in many countries. We believe it is necessary to address the international debt agenda properly to support economic recovery and sustainable development, while taking into account each nation’s laws and internal procedures. One of the instruments, amongst others, to collectively address debt vulnerabilities is through the predictable, orderly, timely and coordinated implementation of the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment, with the participation of official bilateral creditors, private creditors and Multilateral Development Banks in line with the principle of joint action and fair burden-sharing.

30. We reaffirm the importance of the G20 to continue playing the role of the premier multilateral forum in the field of international economic and financial cooperation that comprises both developed and emerging markets and developing countries where major economies jointly seek solutions to global challenges. We look forward to the successful hosting of the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi under the Indian G20 Presidency. We note the opportunities to build sustained momentum for change by India, Brazil and South Africa presiding over the G20 from 2023 to 2025 and expressed support for continuity and collaboration in their G20 presidencies and wish them all success in their endeavours. Therefore, we are committed to a balanced approach by continuing to amplify and further integrate the voice of the global South in the G20 agenda as under the Indian Presidency in 2023 and the Brazilian and South African presidencies in 2024 and 2025.

31. We recognize the important role of BRICS countries working together to deal with risks and challenges to the world economy in achieving global recovery and sustainable development. We reaffirm our commitment to enhance macro-economic policy coordination, deepen economic cooperation, and work to realize strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic recovery. We emphasize the importance of continued implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025 in all relevant ministerial tracks and working groups. We will look to identify solutions for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

32. Recognising that BRICS countries produce one third of the world’s food, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthen agricultural cooperation and promote sustainable agriculture and rural development of BRICS countries for enhancing food security both within BRICS and worldwide. We emphasize the strategic importance of facilitating steady access to agricultural inputs, on ensuring global food security. We reiterate the importance of implementing the Action Plan 2021-2024 for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS Countries, and welcome the Strategy on Food Security Cooperation of the BRICS Countries. We underscore the need for resilient food supply chains.

33. We recognize the dynamism of the digital economy in enabling global economic growth. We also recognize the positive role that trade and investment can play in promoting sustainable development, national and regional industrialization, the transition towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. We recognize the challenges facing trade and investment development in the digital era and acknowledge that BRICS members are at different levels of digital development, and thus recognize the need to address respective challenges including the various digital divides. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Digital Economy Working Group. We reaffirm that openness, efficiency, stability, reliability, are crucial in tackling economic recovery challenges and boosting international trade and investment. We encourage further cooperation among BRICS countries to enhance the interconnectivity of supply chains and payment systems to promote trade and investment flows. We agree to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in trade in services as established in the BRICS Framework for Cooperation on Trade in Services, with the BRICS Business Council and BRICS Women’s Business Alliance (WBA) with the aim to promote implementation of BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap and relevant documents including the BRICS Framework for cooperation in Trade in Professional Services.

34. We reiterate our support to the African Union Agenda 2063 and to Africa’s efforts towards integration, including through the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. We underscore that the AfCFTA is poised to create a predictable environment for investments, particularly in infrastructure development, and provides an opportunity to find synergies with partners on cooperation, trade and development on the African continent. We underline the importance of strengthening the partnership between BRICS and Africa to unlock mutually beneficial opportunities for increased trade, investment and infrastructure development. We welcome progress made towards the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade and recognise its potential to be a catalyst for economic and financial inclusion of women and youth into Africa’s economy. We stress the importance of issues including industrialization, infrastructure development, food security, agriculture modernisation for sustainable growth health-care, and tackling climate change for the sustainable development of Africa.

35. We further note that the African continent remains on the margins of the global trading system and has much to gain through BRICS collaboration. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and BRICS cooperation presents opportunities for the continent to transition away from its historic role as a commodity exporter towards higher productivity value addition. We welcome and support the inclusion of the African Union as a member of the G20 at the New Delhi G20 Summit.

36. We commit to strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation to intensify the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) and create new opportunities for accelerating industrial development. We support intra-BRICS cooperation in human resource development on new technologies through the BRICS Centre for Industrial Competences (BCIC), BRICS PartNIR Innovation Centre, BRICS Startup Forum and collaboration with other relevant BRICS mechanisms, to carry out training programmes to address challenges of NIR for Inclusive and sustainable industrialization. We reiterate our commitment to continue discussion on the establishment of BCIC in cooperation with UNIDO to jointly support the development of Industry 4.0 skills development among the BRICS countries and to promote partnerships and increased productivity in the New Industrial Revolution. We look forward to the cooperation with UNIDO and request the PartNIR Advisory Group to coordinate with UNIDO.

37. We recognize the crucial role that Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) play in unlocking the full potential of BRICS economies and reaffirm the importance of their participation in production networks and value chains. We will continue joint efforts aimed at eliminating constraints such as lack of easily accessible information and financing, skills shortage, network effects, as well as regulation of excessive administrative burden, and procurement related constraints ensuring easily accessible information and financing, skill up gradation and market linkage. We endorse the BRICS MSMEs Cooperation Framework which promotes BRICS cooperation on such issues as exchanging information about fairs and exhibitions, and encouraging participation of MSMEs in the selected events to enhance interactions and cooperation amongst MSMEs which may secure deals. Member states will facilitate exchange of business missions, and promote sector specific Business to Business (B2B) meetings amongst the MSMEs, to enhance enterprise-to-enterprise cooperation and business alliances between the MSMEs of BRICS, with a particular focus on women-owned and youth-owned MSMEs. Member States will provide information relating to MSMEs, business development opportunities and possibilities of partnerships for the development of MSMEs in the BRICS countries. In addition, we will promote sharing of information on trade policies, and market intelligence for MSMEs to increase their participation in international trade. We will facilitate access to resources and capabilities such as skills, knowledge networks, and technology that could help MSMEs improve their participation in the economy and global value chains. We will exchange views on measures and approaches for integrating BRICS MSMEs into global trade and Global Value Chains, including by sharing experience on how regional integration approaches can support the development of MSMEs.

38. We reiterate the commitment to promote employment for sustainable development, including to develop skills to ensure resilient recovery, gender- responsive employment and social protection policies including workers’ rights. We reaffirm our commitment to respect, promote, and realise decent work for all and achieve social justice. We will step up efforts to effectively abolish child labour based on the Durban Call to Action and accelerate progress towards universal social protection for all by 2030. We will invest in skills development systems to improve access to relevant and quality skills for workers in the informal economy and workers in new forms of employment as we seek to increase productivity for economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable and inclusive economies. We will explore the development of a BRICS platform to implement the Productivity Ecosystem for Decent Work.

39. We acknowledge the urgent need for tourism industry recovery and the importance of increasing mutual tourist flows and will work towards further strengthening the BRICS Alliance for Green Tourism to promote measures, which can shape a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive tourism sector.

40. We agree to enhance exchanges and cooperation in the field of standardization and make full use of standards to advance sustainable development.

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Question related to this article:

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

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41. We agree to continue to deepen cooperation on competition amongst BRICS countries and create a fair competition market environment for international economic and trade cooperation.

42. We agree to enhance dialogue and cooperation on intellectual property rights through, the BRICS IPR cooperation mechanism (IPRCM). As we celebrate a decade of cooperation of the Heads of Intellectual Property Offices, we welcome the alignment of their workplan to the Sustainable Development Goals.

43. We support enhancing statistical cooperation within BRICS as data, statistics and information form the basis of informed and effective decision making. On the 10th anniversary of its first issue, we support the continued release of the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication 2023 and the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication Snapshot 2023 for engaging a wider range of users.

44. We recognise the widespread benefits of fast, inexpensive, transparent, safe, and inclusive payment systems. We look forward to the report by the BRICS Payment Task Force (BPTF) on the mapping of the various elements of the G20 Roadmap on Cross- border Payments in BRICS countries. We welcome the sharing of experience by BRICS members on payment infrastructures, including the interlinking of cross-border payment systems. We believe this will further enhance cooperation amongst the BRICS countries and encourage further dialogue on payment instruments to facilitate trade and investment flows between the BRICS members as well as other developing countries. We stress the importance of encouraging the use of local currencies in international trade and financial transactions between BRICS as well as their trading partners. We also encourage strengthening of correspondent banking networks between the BRICS countries and enabling settlements in the local currencies.

45. We task our Finance Ministers and/or Central Bank Governors, as appropriate, to consider the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms and report back to us by the next Summit.

46. We recognise the key role of the NDB in promoting infrastructure and sustainable development of its member countries. We congratulate Ms Dilma Rousseff, former President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, as President of the New Development Bank (NDB) and are confident that she will contribute to strengthening of the NDB in effectively achieving its mandate. We expect the NDB to provide and maintain the most effective financing solutions for sustainable development, a steady process in membership expansion, and improvements in corporate governance and operational effectiveness towards the fulfilment of NDB’s General Strategy for 2022-2026. We welcome the three new members of the NDB, namely Bangladesh, Egypt and United Arab Emirates. We encourage the NDB to play an active role in knowledge sharing process and incorporate the member-countries best practices in its operational policies, according to its governance mechanism and taking into account national priorities and development goals. We see the NDB as an important member of global MDB family, given its unique status as an institution created by EMDCs for EMDCs.

47. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance during 2022 and efforts to operationalise the Network. We will work towards the identification and designation of the lead Think Tanks from member countries. We endorse the Operational Guidelines for the BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance developed under South Africa’s Chairship, which provides guidance on how the Network will operate in terms of governance, delivery of outputs and funding of the

BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance

48. We recognise that infrastructure investments support human, social, environmental, and economic development. We note that the demand for infrastructure is growing, with a greater need for scale, innovation and sustainability. We highlight that BRICS countries continue to offer excellent opportunities for infrastructure investment. In this regard, we further recognise that leveraging governments’ limited resources to catalyse private capital, expertise and efficiency will be paramount in closing the infrastructure investment gap in BRICS countries.

49. We continue to support the work of the Task Force on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Infrastructure in sharing knowledge, good practices and lessons learnt on the effective development and delivery of infrastructure for the benefit of all member countries. In this regard, the Task Force has collated guiding principles that advance the adoption of a programmatic approach in infrastructure delivery and promotes the use of PPPs and other blended finance solutions in infrastructure development and delivery. We look forward to convening the Infrastructure Investment Symposium later this year for a discussion amongst BRICS governments, investors and financiers on ways to work with the private sector to promote the use of green, transition and sustainable finance in infrastructure delivery.

50. The BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) continues to be an important mechanism for mitigating the effects of a crisis situation, complementing existing international financial and monetary arrangements, and contributing to the strengthening of the global financial safety net. We reiterate our commitment to the continued strengthening of the CRA and look forward to the successful completion of the sixth Test-Run later in 2023. We also support progress made to amend the outstanding technical issues on the Inter-Central Bank Agreement and endorse the proposed theme of 2023 BRICS Economic Bulletin ‘Challenges in a post-COVID-19 environment.

51. We welcome the continued cooperation on topics of mutual interest on sustainable and transition finance, information security, financial technology, and payments, and look forward to building on work in these areas under the relevant work streams, including the proposed study on leveraging technology to address climate data gaps in the financial sector and support the proposed initiatives aimed at enhancing cyber security and developing financial technology, including the sharing of knowledge and experience in this area.
Partnership for Sustainable Development

52. We reaffirm the call for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental, in a balanced and integrated manner by mobilising the means required to implement the 2030 Agenda. We urge donor countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology along with additional development resources to developing countries, in line with the national policy objectives of recipients. We highlight in this regard that the SDGs Summit to be held in New York in September 2023 and the Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024, constitute significant opportunities for renewing international commitment on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

53. We recognise the importance of implementing the SDGs in an integrated and holistic manner, inter alia through poverty eradication as well as combating climate change whilst promoting sustainable land use and water management, conservation of biological diversity, and the sustainable use of its components and the biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources, in line with Article 1 of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and in accordance with national circumstances, priorities and capabilities. We also underscore the significance of technology and innovation, international cooperation, public-private partnerships, including South-South cooperation.

54. We underscore the importance of collaborating on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use matters, such as research and development of conservation technologies, development of protected areas, and the combatting of illegal trade in wildlife. Furthermore, we will continue to actively participate in international biodiversity-related conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), its protocols and advancing the implementation of its Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and working towards the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats.

55. We welcome the historic adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15) in December 2022. We thus undertake to strive towards the implementation of all the global goals and targets of the KMGBF, in accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and national circumstances, priorities and capabilities in order to achieve its mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and vision of living in harmony with nature. We urge developed countries to provide adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation, and access to and transfer of technology to fully implement the KMGBF. We also acknowledge the potential for cooperation on the sustainable use of biodiversity in business to support local economic development, industrialisation, job creation, and sustainable business opportunities.

56. We reemphasise the importance of implementing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement and the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) enhancing low-cost climate technology transfer, capacity building as well as mobilizing affordable, adequate and timely delivered new additional financial resources for environmentally sustainable projects. We agree that there is a need to defend, promote and strengthen the multilateral response to Climate Change and to work together for a successful outcome of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28). We recognise that the Means of Implementation should be enhanced by developed countries, including through adequate and timely flow of affordable Climate Finance, Technical Cooperation, Capacity Building and transfer of Technology for climate actions. Furthermore, there is a need for comprehensive financial arrangements to address loss and damage due to climate change, including operationalising Fund on Loss and Damage as agreed at the UNFCCC COP27 to benefit developing countries.

57. We agree to address the challenges posed by climate change while also ensuring a just, affordable and sustainable transition to a low carbon and low-emission economy in line with the principles of CBDR-RC, in light of different national circumstances. We advocate for just equitable and sustainable transitions, based on nationally defined development priorities, and we call on developed countries to lead by example and support developing countries towards such transitions.

58. We stress the need for support of developed countries to developing countries for access to existing and emerging low-emission technologies and solutions that avoid, abate and remove GHG emissions and enhance adaptation action to address climate change. We further emphasize the need for enhancing low-cost technology transfer and for mobilizing affordable, adequate new and timely delivered additional financial resources for environmentally sustainable projects.

59. We express our strong determination to contribute to a successful COP28 in Dubai, later this year, with the focus on implementation and cooperation. As the main mechanism for assessing collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals and promoting climate action on all aspects of the Paris Agreement under the UNFCCC, the Global Stocktake must be effective and identifying implementation gaps on the global response to climate change, whilst prospectively laying the foundations for enhanced ambition by all, in particular by developed countries. We call upon developed countries to fill outstanding gaps in means of implementation for mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries.

60. We welcome Brazil’s candidacy to host COP30 as the year 2025 will be key to the very future of the global response to climate change.

61. We further urge developed countries to honour their commitments, including of mobilizing the USD 100bn per annum by 2020 and through 2025 to support climate action in developing countries. In addition, importance of doubling adaptation finance by 2025 from the base of 2019 is also key in order to implement adaptation actions. Moreover, we look forward to setting up an ambitious New Collective Quantified goal, prior to 2025, as per the needs and priorities of developing countries. This will require enhanced financial support from developed countries that is additional, grant-based and/or concessional, timely delivered, and adequate to take forward adaptation and mitigation action in a balanced manner. This extends to support for the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

62. We acknowledge that the financial mechanisms and investments to support the implementation of environment and climate change programmes need to be enhanced, and increased momentum to reform these financial mechanisms, as well as the multilateral development banks and international financial institutions is required. In this regard, we call on the shareholders of these institutions to take decisive action to scale-up climate finance and investments in support towards achieving the SDGs related to climate change and make their institutional arrangements fit for purpose.

63. We oppose trade barriers including those under the pretext of tackling climate change imposed by certain developed countries and reiterate our commitment to enhancing coordination on these issues. We underline that measures taken to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss must be WTO-consistent and must not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade and should not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. Any such measure must be guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of different national circumstances. We express our concern at any WTO inconsistent discriminatory measure that will distort international trade, risk new trade barriers and shift burden of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss to BRICS members and developing countries.

64. We commit to intensify our efforts towards improving our collective capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, and strengthening our ability to fight back any such pandemics in the future collectively. In this regard, we consider it important to continue our support to the BRICS Virtual Vaccine Research and Development Center. We look forward to the holding of the High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response to be to be held on 20th September 2023 at the United Nations General Assembly and we call for an outcome that will mobilise political will and continued leadership on this matter.

65. We recognize the fundamental role of primary health care as a key foundation for Universal Health Care and health system’s resilience, as well as on prevention and response to health emergencies. We believe that the High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to be held at the UN General Assembly in September 2023 would be a critical step for mobilizing the highest political support for UHC as the cornerstone to achieving SDG 3 (good health and well-being). We reiterate our support for the international initiatives, with the leadership of WHO, on addressing tuberculosis (TB) and look forward to actively engaging in the United Nations High- Level Meeting on TB in New York in September this year and encourage an assertive political declaration.

66. Taking into account national legislation and priorities of BRICS countries, we commit to continue cooperation in traditional medicine in line with previous meetings of the BRICS Health Ministers and their outcomes, as well as the BRICS High-Level Forum on the Traditional Medicine.

67. We note that BRICS countries have significant experience and potential in the field of nuclear medicine and radio pharmaceutics. We welcome the decision to establish a BRICS Working Group on Nuclear Medicine to expand cooperation in this area.

68. We welcome South Africa hosting BRICS Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Steering Committee meetings throughout 2023 as the main coordination mechanism to manage and ensure the successful hosting of BRICS STI activities. We call on the Steering Committee to undertake a strategic review of the thematic focus areas and organisational framework of the BRICS STI Working Group to ensure better alignment as appropriate with current BRICS policy priorities. We commend South Africa for hosting the 8th BRICS Young Scientist Forum and the concurrent organization of the 6th BRICS Young Innovator Prize. We commend the success of the BRICS STI Framework Programme in continuing to connect scientists through the funding of an impressive portfolio of research projects between BRICS countries. We also appreciate the efforts of the BRICS STI Framework Programme Secretariat in facilitating a discussion to launch in 2024 a Call for Proposals for BRICS STI Flagship Projects. We recognize the progress achieved in the implementation of the BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation (2021-24). In this regard we encourage further actions to be taken on initiatives such as the BRICS Techtransfer (the BRICS Centers for Technology Transfer) and the iBRICS Network (the dedicated BRICS innovation network). We also welcome more actions to be taken, especially by the BRICS STIEP (Science, Technology and Innovation Entrepreneurship Partnership) Working Group, in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, for example, through support for the BRICS Incubation Training and Network, the BRICS Technology Transfer Training Program, and the BRICS Startup Forum.

69. We congratulate our Space agencies for successfully implementing the BRICS RSSC [Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation] agreement by exchanging of BRICS Satellite Constellation data samples; holding of the 1st BRICS RSSC Application Forum in November 2022; convening of the 2nd meeting of BRICS Space Cooperation Joint Committee in July 2023 and continue to successfully implement the BRICS Constellation Pilot Projects. We encourage the BRICS Space agencies to continue enhancing the level of cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing and applications, so as to provide data support for the economic and social development of the BRICS countries.

70. While emphasising the fundamental role of access to energy in achieving SDGs and noting the outlined risks to energy security we highlight the need for enhanced cooperation among the BRICS countries as major producers and consumers of energy products and services. We believe that energy security, access and energy transitions are important and need to be balanced. We welcome the strengthening of cooperation and increasing investment in the supply chains for energy transitions and note the need to fully participate in the clean energy global value chain. We further commit to increase the resilience of energy systems including critical energy infrastructure, advancing the use of clean energy options, promoting research and innovation in energy science and technology. We intend to address energy security challenges by incentivising energy investment flows. We share a common view, taking into consideration national priorities and circumstances, on the efficient use of all energy sources, namely: renewable energy, including biofuels, hydropower, fossil fuels, nuclear energy and hydrogen produced on the basis of zero and low emission technologies and processes, which are crucial for a just transition towards more flexible, resilient and sustainable energy systems. We recognise the role of fossil fuels in supporting energy security and energy transition. We call for collaboration amongst the BRICS countries on technological neutrality and further urge for the adoption of common, effective, clear, fair and transparent standards and rules for assessment of emissions, elaboration of compatible taxonomies of sustainable projects as well as accounting of carbon units. We welcome joint research and technical cooperation within the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform, and commend the holding of the BRICS Youth Energy Summit and other related activities.

71. We remain committed to strengthening BRICS cooperation on population matters, because the dynamics of population age structure change, and pose challenges as well as opportunities, particularly with regard to women’s rights, youth development, disability rights, employment and the future of work, urbanisation, migration and ageing.

72. We reiterate the importance of BRICS cooperation in the field of disaster management. We stress the importance of disaster risk reduction measures towards building resilient communities and the exchange of information on best practices, adoption of climate change adaptation initiatives, and integration of indigenous knowledge systems and improving investments in early warning systems and disaster resilient infrastructure. We further stress the need for holistic inclusivity in disaster risk reduction by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in government and community- based planning. We encourage expanding intra-BRICS cooperation through joint activities for enhancing the capacities of national emergency systems.

73. We agree with the importance placed by South Africa as BRICS Chair on Transforming Education and Skills Development for the Future. We support the principle of facilitating mutual recognition of academic qualifications amongst BRICS countries to ensure mobility of skilled professionals, academics, and students and recognition of qualifications obtained in each other’s countries subject to compliance of applicable domestic laws. We welcome concrete proposals made during the 10th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education focusing on critical areas in education and training such as entrepreneurship development, skills for the changing world, out-of- school youth, climate change, labour market intelligence, early childhood development and university global ranking. We appreciate the progress on education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) cooperation, in particular, the operationalization of the BRICS TVET Cooperation Alliance which focuses on strengthening communication and dialogue and early finalisation of the Charter of the BRICS TVET Cooperation Alliance thereby promoting substantial cooperation in TVET, integrating TVET with industry.

74. We commit to strengthening skills exchanges and cooperation amongst BRICS countries. We support the digital transformation in education and TVET space, as each BRICS country is domestically committed to ensure education accessibility and equity, and promote the development of quality education. We agree to explore opportunities on BRICS digital education cooperative mechanisms, hold dialogues on digital education policies, share digital educational resources, build smart education systems, and jointly promote digital transformation of education in BRICS countries and to develop a sustainable education by strengthening the cooperation within BRICS Network University and other institution-to-institution initiatives in this area, including the BRICS University League. We welcome the BRICS Network University International Governing Board consideration to expand membership of the BRICS Network University to include more universities from the BRICS countries. We underscore the importance of sharing best practices on expanding access to holistic early childhood care and education to provide a better start in life for children within BRICS countries. We welcome the decision to facilitate exchanges within BRICS countries on equipping learners with skills fit for the future through multiple learning pathways.

Deepening People-to-People Exchanges

75. We reaffirm the importance of BRICS people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation. We appreciate the progress made under South Africa’s Chairship in 2023, and including in the fields of media, culture, education, sports, arts, youth, civil society and academic exchanges, and acknowledge that people-to-people exchanges play an essential role in enriching our societies and developing our economies.

76. We recognise that youth is a driving force for accelerating the achievement of sustainable development goals. Leadership by young people is fundamental to accelerating a just transition premised on the principles of intergenerational solidarity, international cooperation, friendship, and societal transformation. A culture of entrepreneurship and innovation must be nurtured for the sustainable development of our youth. We reiterate the importance of the BRICS Youth Summit as a forum for meaningful engagement on youth matters and recognise its value as a coordinating structure for youth engagement in BRICS. We welcome the finalisation of the BRICS Youth Council Framework.

77. We commend the successful holding of the BRICS Business Forum. On its 10th anniversary, we welcome the BRICS Business Council’s self-reflection with a focus on milestones achieved and areas of improvement. We further welcome the intention of the BRICS Business Council to track intra-BRICS trade flows, identify areas where trade performance has not met expectations and recommend solutions.

78. We acknowledge the critical role of women in economic development and commend the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance. We recognise that inclusive entrepreneurship and access to finance for women would facilitate their participation in business ventures, innovation, and the digital economy. We welcome initiatives that will enhance agricultural productivity and access to land, technology, and markets for women farmers.

79. On its 15th anniversary, we recognise the value of BRICS Academic Forum as a platform for deliberations and discussions by leading BRICS academics on the issues confronting us today. The BRICS Think Tanks Council also celebrates 10 years of enhancing cooperation in research and capacity building among the academic communities of BRICS countries.

80. Dialogue among political parties of BRICS countries plays a constructive role in building consensus and enhancing cooperation. We note the successful hosting of BRICS Political Parties Dialogue in July 2023 and welcome other BRICS countries to host similar events in the future.

81. We reaffirm our commitments under all the instruments and Agreements signed and adopted by the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture and commit to operationalising the Action Plan (2022-2026) as a matter of urgency through the BRICS Working Group on Culture.

82. We commit to ensure the integration of culture into our national development policies, as a driver and an enabler for the achievement of the goals set out in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We also reaffirm our commitment to promote culture and the creative economy as a global public good as adopted at the World Conference on Culture and Sustainable Development-MONDIACULT22.

83. We agree to support the protection, preservation, restoration and promotion of our cultural heritage, including both tangible and intangible heritage. We commit to take strong action to fight against illicit trafficking of our cultural property and encourage dialogue among culture and heritage stakeholders and commit to promote digitization of the culture and creative sectors by finding technologically innovative solutions and pushing for policies that transform ways in which cultural contents are produced, disseminated, and accessed. We reaffirm our commitment to support participation of cultural enterprises, museums and institutions in international exhibitions and festivals, hosted by BRICS countries and extend mutual assistance in the organisation of such events.

84. We welcome the establishment of a Joint Working Group on Sports to develop a BRICS Sport Cooperation Framework, during South Africa’s Chairship in 2023. We look forward to the successful holding of the BRICS Games in October 2023 in South Africa. We commit to provide the necessary support for BRICS countries to participate in international sport competitions and meetings held in their own country in compliance with relevant rules.

85. We emphasize that all BRICS countries have rich traditional sport culture and agree to
support each other in the promotion of traditional and indigenous sports among BRICS countries and around the world. We encourage our sport organizations to carry out various exchange activities both online and offline.

86. We commend the progress made by BRICS countries in promoting urban resilience including through the BRICS Urbanisation forum and appreciate the commitment to further strengthen inclusive collaboration between government and societies at all levels, in all BRICS countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda and promoting the localisation of the SDGs.

Institutional Development

87. We reiterate the importance of further enhancing BRICS solidarity and cooperation based on our mutual interests and key priorities, to further strengthen our strategic partnership.

88. We note with satisfaction the progress made on BRICS institutional development and stress that BRICS cooperation needs to embrace changes and keep abreast with the times. We shall continue to set clear priorities in our wide-ranging cooperation, on the basis of consensus, and make our strategic partnership more efficient, practical and results oriented. We task our Sherpas to continue discussions on a regular basis on BRICS institutional development, including on consolidation of cooperation.

89. We welcome the participation, at the invitation of South Africa as BRICS Chair, of other EMDCs as “Friends of BRICS” in BRICS meetings below Summit-level and in the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue during the XV BRICS Summit in Johannesburg in 2023.

90. We appreciate the considerable interest shown by countries of the global South in membership of BRICS. True to the BRICS Spirit and commitment to inclusive multilateralism, BRICS countries reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process.

91. We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS from 1 January 2024.

92. We have also tasked our Foreign Ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit.

93. Brazil, Russia, India and China commend South Africa’s BRICS Chairship in 2023 and express their gratitude to the government and people of South Africa for holding the XV BRICS Summit.

94. Brazil, India, China and South Africa extend their full support to Russia for its BRICS Chairship in 2024 and the holding of the XVI BRICS Summit in the city of Kazan, Russia.

Bill McKibben: Extraordinary Quantities of Human Tragedy Are in Motion

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Common Dreams (reprinted according to terms of Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) license)

I didn’t expect to love Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories—a lot of the towns of the far north always seem hunkered down to me, a collection of Quonset huts braced against the long winter. Yellowknife, though, was charming: I hadn’t been off the airplane three minutes before the northern lights broke through, a green wave cracking across the sky. The next morning I wandered the shores of Great Slave Lake, past houses perched on the rocks of the vast shore like the most picturesque parts of downeast Maine. In between meetings with First Nations leaders key in the pipeline fights of the last decade, I wandered the trails around the capitol building—among other things, I happened across a pure black morph of a fox, one of the loveliest creatures I’ve ever seen.

And now Yellowknife is being evacuated—its 20,000 residents trying to drive south down the long road towards Edmonton, or being flown out in shifts from its small airport, even as flames and smoke lick at the city limits.


Residents watch the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, on August 17, 2023, from Kelowna. (Photo: Darren Hull/AFP via Getty Images)
(Click on image to enlarge)

It’s important—in this year that has seen global warming come fully to life—to describe accurately what’s happening on our planet. And one key thing is: the number of places humans can safely live is now shrinking. Fast. The size of the board on which we can play the great game of human civilization is getting smaller.

Yellowknife this week, and Maui, and Tenerife  in the Canary Islands, and Kelowna, a beautiful city in British Columbia’s Okanagan country. The pictures from each looked more or less the same: walls of orange flame and billows of black smoke. In each case many of the people hardest hit were Indigenous; in each case fear and sadness and anger and above all uncertainty. What would be left? When might we return? Could we build back?

The story of human civilization has been steady expansion. Out of Africa into the surrounding continents. Out along the river corridors and ocean coasts as trade grew. Into new territory as we cut down forests or filled in swamps. But that steady expansion has now turned into a contraction. There are places it’s getting harder and harder to live, because it burns or floods. Or because the threat of fire and water is enough to drive up the price of insurance past the point where people can afford it.

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Question for this article:

If we can connect up the planet through Internet, can’t we agree to preserve the planet?

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For a while we try to fight off this contraction—we have such wonderfully deep roots to the places where we came up. But eventually it’s too hot or too expensive—when you can’t grow food any more, for instance, you have to leave.

So far we’re mostly failing the tests of solidarity or generosity or justice that these migrations produce. The E.U., for instance, has this year paid huge sums to the government of Tunisia in exchange for “border security,” i.e., for warehousing Africans fleeing drought:

‘We all heard that the prime minister of Italy paid the Tunisian president a lot of money to keep the Blacks away from the country,’ Kelvin, a 32-year-old Nigerian migrant, said on Saturday from Tunisia’s border with Libya.

Like other sub-Saharan African migrants, many of whom can enter Tunisia without visas, he had spent several months cleaning houses and working construction in Sfax, scraping together the smuggler’s fee for a boat to Europe. Then, he said, Tunisians in uniforms broke through his door, beat him until his ankle fractured, and put him on a bus to the desert.

But the size of this tide will eventually overwhelm any such effort, on that border or ours, or pretty much any other. Job one, of course, is to limit the rise in temperature so that fewer people have to flee: Remember, at this point each extra tenth of a degree  takes another 140 million humans out of what scientists call prime human habitat:

By late this century, according to a study published last month in the journal Nature Sustainability, 3 to 6 billion people, or between a third and a half of humanity, could be trapped outside of that zone, facing extreme heat, food scarcity, and higher death rates, unless emissions are sharply curtailed or mass migration is accommodated.

But even if we do everything right at this point, there’s already extraordinary quantities of human tragedy inexorably in motion. So along with new solar panels and new batteries, we need new/old ethics of solidarity. We’re going to have to settle the places that still work with creativity and grace; the idea that we can sprawl suburbs across our best remaining land is sillier all the time. Infill, densification, community—these are going to need to be our watchwords. Housing is, by this standard, a key environmental solution. Every-man-for-himself politics will have to yield to we’re-all-in-this-together; otherwise, it’s going to be far grimmer than it already is.

Matters are moving quickly now.

– – – –

BILL MCKIBBEN
Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and co-founder of 350.org and ThirdAct.org. His most recent book is “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?.” He also authored “The End of Nature,” “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet,” and “Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.”

From Trauma to Healing: New Book Series from International Cities of Peace

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An announcement from International Cities of Peace

Announcing a Book Series on International Cities of Peace just published in China in Chinese and English. The Series is edited by Professor Liu Cheng, UNESCO Chair of Peace Studies in China and Board Member of Cities of Peace, a nonprofit U.S.-based association of nearly 400 global Cities of Peace. The Series already includes books on many cities that have experienced major trauma from war: Dresden, Nanjing, Warsaw, Coventry, and Hiroshima.

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Question related to this article:
 
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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“When the traumatic memory of a city is transformed into a common human memory,” the books begin, “we can understand the past disasters in a new way beyond stereotyped political memory. Only this can enable the traumatic history to be linked to the future peace, which can promote the reconciliation between the former hostile parties, and boost hope to the establishment of a community with a shared future for mankind.”

This book series on International Cities of Peace is a tremendous step forward in recognizing the horror of war and understanding the need to move our communities from simply memorializing the trauma toward cultural and personal healing. Great thanks to Professor Liu Cheng who is leading a surge of peacebuilding dialogues and Peace Studies programs in Asia. International Cities of Peace is a platform that can take the world beyond the traumas of the past into a new age of community engagement and healing.

(Thank you to Fred Arment, for sending this announcement to CPNN.)

UN pushes disarmament talks amid fears that drums of nuclear war are beating again

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from The United Nations

As United Nations-led talks on nuclear disarmament continued in Geneva, New York and Vienna, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Sunday that “the drums of nuclear war are beating once again”. 

In a message to mark the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Mr. Guterres urged the international community to learn from the “nuclear cataclysm” that befell the Japanese city on 6 August 1945.


Secretary-General Guterres

The drums of nuclear war are beating once again; mistrust and division are on the rise,” the UN chief said in a statement to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, delivered by UN’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu. “The nuclear shadow that loomed over the Cold War has re-emerged. And some countries are recklessly rattling the nuclear sabre once again, threatening to use these tools of annihilation.”

UN chief’s peace agenda

Pending the total elimination of all nuclear weapons, Mr. Guterres appealed to the international community to speak as one, as outlined in his New Agenda for Peace. Launched in July this year, the Agenda calls on Member States to urgently recommit to pursuing a world free of nuclear weapons and to reinforce the global norms against their use and proliferation.

“States possessing nuclear weapons must commit to never use them,” he insisted, as he stressed the UN’s commitment to continue working to strengthen global rules on disarmament and non-proliferation, notably the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

NPT talks are taking place at the UN in the Austrian capital until 11 August, where Ms. Nakamitsu reiterated her warning to the forum that not “since the depths of the Cold War” has the risk of a nuclear weapon being used so high – just as the rules-based order intended to prevent their use has never been “so fragile”.

“This is, to a large extent, because of the volatile times in which we live,” Ms. Nakamitsu continued, pointing to the “existential” threat facing the world today, which is the result of “the highest level of geopolitical competition, rising tensions and deepening divisions among major powers in decades”.

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

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Trillion dollar question

Coupled with rising global tensions is a record level of world military expenditure which reportedly reached a $2,240 billion in 2022.

This situation has led to an increased emphasis on nuclear weapons, “through modernization programmes, expanded doctrines, allegations of growing stockpiles and most alarmingly…threats to use them”, explained the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

“The fact that in the last 12 months nuclear weapons have openly been used as tools of coercion should worry us all,” she added.

The 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) is one of the only international agreements signed by both nuclear and non-nuclear states, aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and furthering the goal of nuclear disarmament.

After entering into force in 1970, 191 states have since become party to the treaty – the most signatories of any arms limitation agreement.

Bold goals

The treaty centres on the idea that non-nuclear States agree to never acquire weapons and nuclear-weapons states in exchange agree to share the benefits of the technology, whilst pursuing efforts towards disarmament and elimination of nuclear arsenals.

In addition to the Vienna talks now under way and which come ahead of the NPT’s five-yearly review in 2026, countries have also exchanged on disarmament and non-proliferation issues at the UN’s Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in the past week.

In recent days – and despite ongoing concerns that the Conference remains deadlocked by geopolitical developments – the forum’s 65 Member States heard briefings from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the battlefield.

The aim of such discussions is to establish a mechanism that allows for regular multilateral dialogue and the inclusion of the views of countries that are not actively involved in the development of artificial intelligence, to ensure the responsible development and deployment of AI in the military domain.

The Conference on Disarmament – which was established in 1979 – is not formally a UN body but reports annually, or more frequently as appropriate, to the UN General Assembly.Its remit reflects the Organization’s conviction that disarmament and non-proliferation remain indispensable tools to create a security environment that is favourable to human development, as enshrined in the UN Charter.

In addition to convening the Conference on Disarmament, Member States gather in Geneva to discuss a range of multilateral disarmament agreements and conferences including the Anti-Personnel Landmine Convention (APLC), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), The Convention on Cluster Munitions, The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), as well as NPT review panels.