South Countries to World Bank and ADB: Stop Funding Climate Change, Stay Out of Climate Talks , News Release, by Bobby Diciembre
Jubilee South – Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD)
For more details:
Lidy Nacpil, Jubilee South Regional Coordinator, email@example.com, (+63) 917 880 0410
BANGKOK, Thailand – In an effort to sustain the pressure mounted on the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Talks, different climate, debt and development advocates protested for the third consecutive day in front of the UN ESCAP building here in Bangkok, the venue of the latest Intersessional meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Jubilee South-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS –APMDD) and the Freedom from Debt Coalition of the Philippines (FDC) and other members from more than 10 countries in the region demanded the UNFCCC and all governments represented in the meetings not to give international and regional financial institutions such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) any role in financing mitigation and adaptation programs. The groups said it would only put developing countries deeper into the debt quagmire while making the climate crisis worse.
“These lending institutions flaunt their new image as ‘climate protectors’. However, these institutions have for the longest time been funding projects and dirty industries that are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions,”JS-APMDD said.
The groups cited the $4.4-billion 4,000 Megawatt ‘Ultra Mega’ Imported Coal and Supercritical Technology-based Power Plant in India jointly funded by World Bank and ADB. Another example is the construction of a $122 million 60MW Mine-mouth Coal-fired Power Plant in South Kalimantan, Indonesia funded by the International Financial Corporation.
The groups also said World Bank and ADB have been funding fossil fuel projects for many decades with investments amounting to $51.4 billion and $7.3 billion, respectively, in Asia alone.
“Clearly, these financial institutions share a great responsibility for the worsening of the climate crisis,” JS-APMDD said.
The groups also asserted that the said lending institutions couldn’t be trusted with the global climate fund as they push the same loan projects that aggravate climate change. Instead, JS-APMDD and FDC-Philippines enjoined all governments to set-up a new global funding mechanism that is people-oriented, democratic and transparent.
A bigger mobilization is scheduled this 5th of October together with other international and regional networks workin g on the debt and climate. The said mobilization will also take place near the UN-ESCAP building. ###
Performance of Persistence: A March for Gender Justice in Climate Justice by Nina Somera, Isis International
Bangkok, Thailand – Despite the midday showers, more than three hundred people led by indigenous women joined the women’s march on 1 October 2009, heading to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific (ESCAP) building here in Bangkok, Thailand.
Chanting “No Climate Justice without Gender Justice”, the participants, mostly coming from Armenia, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand stressed that women are among
the hardest hit by climate change despite their minute carbon footprint. Moreover, they demanded the meaningful engagement of women in climate talks.
One of these women was Aleta Kornika Baun, one of the scores of Indonesian indigenous women affected by the lucrative mining industries. “Mining cleared the forests of trees and now causes periodic erosions. Today, we walk for at least two kilometers just to fetch water. If we allow mining, the number of women victims will keep on rising,” she lamented.
Another is Elvie Baladad of the Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK) or the Philippine National Rural Women Coalition. She owns an orchard of some 300 mango trees that are expected to yield about 6,000 kilos. But in one of her last harvest, she only manage to collect 300 kilos.
“I’m still paying my debt, with the devastation brought about by insect infestation, which in turn is brought about by climate change. We have a crazy weather, as crazy as those inside who would not want to reduce their carbon emissions and who are responsible for messing up our climate. I blame the countries especially the United States. In pursuit of development, it has trampled those who have less in life,” she expressed.
Northern women likewise joined the women’s march. United States-based Felicia Marie Davis, who came at her own expense hoped to learn the politics and energy from Asian women who have strongly articulated the links between gender and climate change.
As she explained, “I came on my own resources to see and hear first hand how Asian women represent gender in climate change discussions, showing that gender and climate are connected and connected globally. I can connect what happened in the Philippines to hurricane Katrina where more women died. Women from the developing worlds are truly taking the leadership in this issue especially in terms of equity.”
During the march, some women participants periodically danced to the drumbeats, with their red umbrellas, batik banners and placards shaped like the Venus sign. Such fusion of energies, at once serious yet creative drew the attention of passersby. Just before the march, the participants were thrilled to see four motor boats of SEAFish for Justice plying the Chao Phraya river and heading towards the park beside the Phra Sumen Park.
At the end the women reiterated their call for accountability particularly among developed nations as well as women’s meaningful participation in both formal and informal processes. As Baladad asserted, “We call for reparations that are free of conditionalities. They owe it to us, our children and the next generation. Finally Baun remarked, “Women and men must work together. We need to learn from our traditions. We have to think of ourselves as friends of the environment.”
UPDATES of Bangkok Climate Talks; Day 5 , by Samsusddoha, EquityBD
On the 5th day of Bangkok Climate Talks, various contact groups and informal consultations held on the negotiating text on the issues relating to adaptation, technology, capacity building, mitigation, finance and a shared vision.
MITIGATION: In the morning session Chair invited parties to comment on text and frameworks for action by all parties on mitigation. Brazil, for the G-77/CHINA, opposed including the proposals for the ‘development of a common frameworks’ saying that mitigation by developed and developing countries are distinctive both in magnitude and legal nature. This is not our binding commitment and we will not go under a common framework. It’s the responsibility of the developed countries, given the ground on of their historical contribution in global warming, to go for deep emission cut. In this backdrop, the US explained that his country’s vision is different from the Protocol and builds on the Convention’s commitments and obligations that are common for all parties. He called for enhancing action and reporting by all parties, while recognizing that actions would be different for developed and developing countries. He stressed the need for upfront information on countries’ actions. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION underlined the importance of this discussion as one of the prerequisites to a Copenhagen agreement. INDIA stressed that the US conflict with the Convention and the Bali Action Plan (BAP), as they seek to erase the distinction between developed and developing countries and impose new mitigation and reporting commitments on the latter. CHINA also opposed the US proposals and statement, noting historical responsibility and the clear distinction between mitigation by developed and developing countries, also reflected in subparagraphs 1(b)(i) and 1(b)(ii) of the BAP.
TECHNOLOGY Transfer: The EU and AUSTRALIA outlined their low carbon development planning processes and highlighted them as a way in which all countries could, in the context of appropriate levels of funding, facilitate action on technology transfer. The G-77/CHINA stressed that the discussion should focus on how to enhance the Convention’s implementation through meeting developed countries’ commitments to provide new and additional financial resources to enable mitigation and adaptation actions. INDONESIA noted the need to include discussion of intellectual property rights (IPR) and asked to clarify IPR issues in technology transfer. In relation to the role of ‘CDM to Mitigation’ BANGLADESH highlighted the high cost of operationalizing CDM projects, including the registration fee and validation by a Designated Operational Entity, calling for exemptions for LDCs.
ADAPTATION: Co-Chair invited parties to continue providing guidance on the process of streamlining text. The G-77/CHINA and the AFRICAN GROUP presented suggestions for streamlining the section on institutional arrangements. The AFRICAN GROUP highlighted a desire to avoid creating bureaucratic institutions, with MALAWI calling for arrangements that make adaptation funds more accessible. BANGLADESH, for the LDCs, underlined the importance of national, regional and international adaptation centers and highlighted that, while adaptation on the ground should be recognized. BOLIVIA, supported by the AFRICAN GROUP, underscored that the language should reflect a “fulfillment of the commitments of developed countries,” rather than “contributions.”
FINACE: In a discussion on financing CANADA said the public versus private sector funding debate was leading to a “false argument” by suggesting that the public sector should be the main source of finance. BANGLADESH again pointed out that the global markets had failed to deliver and “no place for LDCs and SIDS” had been created. We need finances from the public sources from the developed countries and it should be 1.5 % of their GDP. Barbados, for AOSIS, said that financing must meet recipient requirements and should be derived from a combination of public and private sources, with the public sector being the main source.
Upadtes of Bangkok Climate Talks; 30 September 2009, Day 4, by Shamsusdoha, EquityBD
Throughout Wednesday, various contact groups convened to consider adaptation, technology, mitigation and finance underthe AWG-LCA, and Annex I emission reductions and otherissues under the AWG-KP.
In the morning session a consolodated text on Mitigation ( Paragraph 1-b-i if the Bali Action Plan) has been presented before the conuntry Parties for further streamlining and negotiation. The text proposed several blocks for discussion which include; Comparability of efforts, mitigation commiments and actions; and compliance.
Brazil, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed the need for a “solid and strong” definition of comparability, highlighting the Protocols. The basis for comparability assessment should be through international negotiations rather than nationally. TUVALU stressed the need for a legal and prescriptive approach to comparability and highlighted the Protocol as the benchmark. CHINA identified four pillars of comparability, namely: comprehensiveness; nature of commitments; proximity; and compliance. The G-77/ CHINA noted that the Protocol’s targets were based on pledges, which was not the solution preferred by all countries, and stressed the need for adequate mid- and long-term mitigation by developed countries. In reply to this, the US said “comparability” issue should de negotaited focusing on national compliance structures.
In another session, the Secretariat presented a table illustrating commonalities and differences between proposals for market-based mechanisms. He explained that the proposals had been divided into crediting and trading approaches. The US said experiences in the past ten years have shown that markets have enabled more cost-effective emission reductions and that the CDM has stimulated clean investment, stressing that the proposals could make an important contribution to the Convention’s objective.
In reply to this BANGLADESH noted that it is “ironic” that markets are proposed as the solution for a problem they have caused. VENEZUELA stated that trading countries’ obligations under the Convention is inconsistent with the Convention’s principles and called for a more principled discussion rather than commenting on the proposals reflected in the table.
In the afternoon session, Parties continued to discuss how the text for ADAPTATION should be further streamlined. SAUDI ARABIA reiterated that the definition of vulnerable countries as laid down in Convention Article 4.8 (adverse effects/impacts of response measures) should be used. He called for referencing the impact of response measures where reference to impacts of climate change appears in the text. The EU reiterated that response measures should be addressed in the relevant contact group i.e in the Mitigation measures. Few countries of G 77 and China like BARBADOS opposes Saudi Arabia’s position; that creates a ground of different opinion among the G77 group.
The G-77/CHINA said the structure of the text should be streamlined and emphasized that the key message on adaptation finance should not be lost. He highlighted the need for immediate medium- and long-term adaptation actions. BANGLADESH, for LDCs, said adaptation finance should be considered under means of implementation and that activities relating to migration and displacement due to climate-related events should be emphasized. Bangladesh also called for funding equal to 1.5% of developed countries’ GDP.
Upadtes of Bangkok Climate Talks, by Shamsusdoha, EquityBD
On 29th September most of the discussions rounded on Mitigation approach of the country Parties. The EU noted that the major element that is affecting the level of aggregate emission reduction by the Annex 1 country Parties is ‘the efforts of the countries those are not Parties to the Protocol’. In this perspective Newzealand noted that the ‘ambition emission reduction requires effective implemntation of REDD and effcetive carbon market mechanism;…this is again emphasising on ‘Market Based Approcah of Emmision Reduction’.
‘MAJOR EMMITERS’ : a Non-negotiable World: The developed country Parties including EU, Australia, Japan etc are pushing emission reduction by the MAJOR EMMITERS; which includes the Parties of advanced developing economies like China, India, Brazil. Japan specifically emphasized that their pledge of reducing emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 is premised on an effective and fair agreements with the participation of the MAJOR EMMITERS. In contrary to this, Chain-India-Kuwait emphasized that the words like ‘Advanced Developing Countries’, ‘Major Emmiters’ are mentioned nowhere in the Convention and Protocol; therefore the discussion should be based on ‘Historical Responsibility’ and the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibities’. Thus isuues of equity and justice on the ground of negotiation is little heard and becoming sidelined in the discussion by the Annex 1 Country Parties.
In another discussion on Adaptation Financing the OPEC countries specifically Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait etc are pushing to include ‘Response Measures’ in the objectives and scope of the Adaptation Financing. This means that the Petroleum Exporting Countries whose economic growth will be impacted for lossing ‘Petroleum Market’ should be supported under adaptation financing. The Annex 1 Parties opposes this position of the OPEC countries. LDC country parties further forwarded their demand-inclusion of special needs of the LDCs in the text.
FEW UPDATES from the Bangkok Climate Talks, by Shamusddoha, EquityBD
This morning i participated in a plenery of AWG KP ( Ad Hoc Working Group on Kyoto Protocol). The key discussion and submisssion to the Plenery are;
– G 77 and China underscores agreegated and quantified emission reduction target by the Annex I parties for the 2nd committment period beyond the Kyoto; this group also appreciated the recent commitment made by Japan i.e. 25 percent emmission reduction by 2020 from the 1990 level. This is really a positive direction and would be supportive for future negotiation what the other developed country parties could follow. This group also urged genuine commiment and and strong political leadership from the Annex I parties.
— Nations of Small Island States call to keep GHG concentation below 350 ppm and temperature rise below 1.5 degree; they strongly said that tragets of 450 ppm GHG and 2 degree temp. is irresponsible.
– The submission of LDC group ( lead by LESOTHO) was very specific and radical; they included ”ECOLOGICAL DEBT’ to the text and strongly argued that Ecological Debt should be considered for the current and historic trend of emmission of GHG by the developed countries. This also underscores the new target to keep GHG concentation below 350 ppm and temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.
Civil Society Observer, Volume 6, Issue 3, June – July – August 2009, by NGLS
NGLS’s Civil Society Observer aims to keep readers informed of developments and specific topics related to NGOs and civil society, whether it be through the media; academic and scholarly discourse; civil society position papers or statements at multilateral meetings or events; or analysis and research originating from civil society.
– Special Section: Climate Change
– Special Section: A humanitarian perspective
– In the press
– Trends and Debates
– CSO and the Multilateral System
– Research and Analysis
– Special Section: Climate Change –
This special section focuses on some of the most hotly debated issues in the run-up to the climate change talks taking place in Copenhagen at the United Nations Climate Change Conference UNFCCC (COP 15) from 7-18 December 2009 that is expected to culminate in an effective global response to climate change.
The first three rounds of negotiations this year took place in Bonn from 29 March – 8 April; 1 – 12 June; and informal consultation from 10 – 14 August. Two further sessions will be held prior to Copenhagen: 28 September – 9 October in Bangkok and 2 – 6 November in Barcelona. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening a Climate Change Summit in New York on 22 September, which will present an opportunity for world leaders to provide clear political guidance.
Speaking at the close of informal consultations on 14 August, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer warned that a climate deal in Copenhagen this year was “an unequivocal requirement to stop climate change from slipping out of control.” Listen to Our Voices: The Future Needs Strong Vision and Leadership Children and youth are demanding radical changes and concrete actions from all governments to prevent climate change. They are calling for “more actions and less talking” and urge citizens from all over the world to put pressure on their governments and industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Read also: Hundreds of youth mobilise against climate change, OneWorld South Asia, 24 August 2009; and Tunza International Youth Conference on Climate Change 2009, NGLS, August 2009 Most vulnerable countries must stick together to be heard at climate talks
Oxfam International, 29 July 2009
Civil society from 18 of the countries most vulnerable to climate change met in Dhaka (Bangladesh) from 27 – 29 July 2009 for the “International Civil Society Conference: The Rights of the Most Vulnerable Countries in Climate Negotiations.” In their final declaration, they called upon all governments to recognize the threats to survival and development that anthropogenic climate change poses to the most vulnerable countries and for rich countries to limit average global temperature rises to no more that 1.5 degrees centigrade, reflecting that an increase in excess of that would seriously threaten their survival and development.
Oxfam International’s Briefing paper 128 entitled Hang Together or Separately? How global co-operation is key to a fair and adequate climate deal at Copenhagen, which argues that climate security will now be won or lost as a result of co-operative efforts in which rich countries finance large-scale reductions in emissions in developing countries. Establishing a Global Mitigation and Finance Mechanism could achieve these reductions while respecting principles of equity, and delivering tangible development gains for poor people.
Briefing paper 130 on Suffering the Science: Climate Change, People and Poverty, which notes that climate change is damaging people’s lives today and even if world leaders agree the strictest possible curbs on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the prospects are very bleak for hundreds of millions of people, most of them among the world’s poorest. The paper puts the dramatic stories of some of those people alongside the latest science on the impacts of climate change on humans in order to help explain why climate change is fundamentally a development crisis.
Sign-on Letter calling for Repayment of Climate Debt
Third World Network, 2009
Third World Network (TWN) notes that in the build-up to Copenhagen, a key issue that has occupied much attention is the issue of mitigation and the burden-sharing between developed and developing countries. Over the past few months, issues have been raised about the Earth’s limited carbon budget and how there should be fair shares in the use of this environmental space for enabling sustainable development. Issues of historical responsibility, fair effort sharing and the repayment of a climate debt have been advanced by several developing countries, including the Heads of States of several Latin American countries, Sri Lanka, China, Algeria and others. Indigenous peoples and civil society groups have also been highlighting this. TWN has compiled a sign-on letter calling for repayment of climate debt, as well as a primer on climate debt.
Stop! The UNFCCC is going off the rails!
Via Campesina, 3 July 2009
Via Campesina has launched a call to mobilise its members for a “Cool Planet – Copenhagen December 2009” in Copenhagen and around the world during the UNFCCC Conference, including a special action day on agriculture.
Proposed action at the national and local level includes: collecting data and information related to the impact of climate change on small farmer agriculture and small farmer livelihood; collecting data and information related to the impact of market-based solutions/ false solutions to climate change on small farmer; bringing information from the grassroots level on how small farmers’ agriculture has been conserving ecosystems; persuading governments to reject market-based and pro-business “solutions” and to promote real solutions to the current crisis such as the protection of small-scale sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty. http://www.viacampesina.org/main_en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=1
New Working Paper–Projecting Population, Projecting Climate Change: Population in IPCC Scenarios
Population Action International, Volume WP09, Issue 02, 23 June 2009, Malea Hoepf Young, Kathleen Mogelgaard and Karen Hardee
Population Action International’s latest working paper shows that population growth is not adequately accounted for in the emissions scenarios produced by the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This second working paper in a three part series (that explores role of population dynamics in climate change mitigation and adaptation) explains the population projections used in scenarios of emissions growth; examines the assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration that are built into the population projections; shows that the SRES likely underestimates demographic impacts on emissions growth; and highlights the need to incorporate a more nuanced understanding of population size, age structure, household size, and urbanization into climate change scenarios that provide the basis for policy decision-making and strategy development for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement
Report written by Koko Warner, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security; Charles Ehrhart, CARE International; and Alex de Sherbinin, Susana Adamo, and Tricia Chai-Onn, Center for International Earth Science Information Network at the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
The impacts of climate change are already causing migration and displacement and although the exact number of people that will be on the move by mid-century is uncertain, the scope and scale could vastly exceed anything that has occurred before. In Search of Shelter provides empirical evidence from a first-time, multi-continent survey of environmental change and migration; original maps illustrating how, and where, the impacts of climate change may prompt significant displacement and migration; and policy recommendations that reflect the collective thinking of key multilateral and research institutions, as well as NGOs working directly with many of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Seeing signs of victimisation
The Star online, 6 July 2009, Martin Khor
In an article that appeared in the Malaysian daily newspaper, The Star, on 6 July 2009, Martin Khor, Executive Director of South Centre, an inter-governmental think tank of developing countries, notes that developing countries are opposing a move by the US Congress that would impose charges on developing countries’ imports linked to their emissions of gases that cause climate change as this “unfairly” pushes the costs of coping with climate change onto them. Khor argues that the issue can be expected to be brought up at both the World Trade Organization and the climate convention, and that “[i]t is one of the issues that will be hotly debated for years to come.”
Gender and Climate Finance: Double Mainstreaming for Sustainable Development
Heinrich Böll Foundation North America, 1 June 2009, Liane Schalatek
According to this report, the last few years have seen a proliferation of several dozen new instruments for climate financing with a multitude of actors, yet Gender and Climate Finance: Double Mainstreaming for Sustainable Development argues that so far none of these new financing initiatives has been engendered. There can be no fair and equitable global climate agreement without a comprehensive global climate financing understanding. And this understanding can only be fair, equitable and comprehensive when it incorporates gender awareness and strives toward gender equitable climate financing solutions.
Securing Water for Ecosystems and Human Well-being: The Importance of Environmental Flows
Forslund, A., et al., Swedish Water House Report 24. SIWI, 2009
Healthy ecosystems simultaneously serve multiple aspects of human well-being, especially among poor communities living close to the land-water interface. Ecosystem services have real economic value today and special importance in mitigating future problems and economic losses related to climate change. This report highlights the service role played by healthy ecosystems in helping water managers meet their goal of maximising the economic and social welfare of all water users in an equitable manner. To preserve and benefit from these services, the water manager must ensure that an environmental flow regime is maintained in rivers and wetlands, the report suggests.
– Special Section: A humanitarian perspective –
In the months June, July and August, various humanitarian aid related events took place at the United Nations, such as the World Refugee Day, a General Assembly Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect and the first-ever World Humanitarian Day.
World Humanitarian Day
On 19 August 2003, the United Nations office in Iraq was bombed, killing 22 people; among them was Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
On 11 December 2008 the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/63/139 decided to “…designate 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in order to contribute to increasing public awareness about humanitarian assistance activities worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in this regard, as well as to honour all humanitarian and United Nations and associated personnel who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause and those who have lost their lives in the cause of duty, and invites all Member States and the entities of the United Nations system, within existing resources, as well as other international organizations and non-governmental organizations, to observe it annually in an appropriate manner.”
On 19 August 2009, the first World Humanitarian Day was celebrated all over the world.
In a message, H.E. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the UN General Assembly, said: “As we reflect on the increasingly central role that humanitarian work plays in our societies, we must press back against those who want to disrupt the work of governments, of non-governmental organizations and the United Nations as we attempt to mobilize assistance for those most in need. We denounce the escalating attacks on humanitarian workers and demand that those responsible are brought to justice. We demand that States fulfill their obligations under international law to protect humanitarian workers and UN personnel, too many of whom continue to be harmed and even murdered, often with impunity.”
The World Humanitarian Day brought three key messages:
1. The humanitarian community’s ability to respond rapidly, effectively and predictably to crises, natural or man made, has improved beyond all recognition in the last 20 years.
2. This inaugural World Humanitarian Day is in part dedicated to the memory of all those aid workers who have lost their lives while bringing assistance to others, the majority of them from the communities they are trying to help.
3. While much has been achieved, the challenges faced by many millions of people around the world are still formidable, and the need for principled and effective humanitarian action is greater than ever.
For more information, visit: http://www.un.org/en/events/humanitarianday/2009/.
Humanitarian action under siege
Irin News, 19 August 2009
This article reports on diminishing “humanitarian space” as a result of the increasing integration of aid goals into broader social and security agendas, leading to decreasing access of beneficiaries to humanitarian aid and increasing attacks on beneficiaries and humanitarian aid workers.
On World Humanitarian Day, CARE asks: Why is it more dangerous to be an aid worker than a peacekeeper?
Care International Secretariat, AlertNet, 19 August 2009
Care International is urging the international community to have a closer look at why humanitarian workers are increasingly being attacked. It argues for a clearer distinction between civilian and military operations; a better reflection of humanitarian principles in integrated missions; and safe humanitarian access to conflict areas.
UN’s Responsibility to Protect
On 21 – 28 July 2009, the United Nations General Assembly held a thematic dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at UN Headquarters in New York. R2P, emanating from the World Summit 2005, includes the responsibility of each individual State to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The international community is supposed to assist States in exercising this responsibility. When a State manifestly fails in its protection responsibilities, and peaceful means are inadequate, the international community must take stronger action, including collective use of force authorized by the Security Council under Chapter VII.
During the dialogue, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented his latest report entitled “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect,” which seeks to further situate the R2P under the roof of the United Nations; offer a balanced and nuanced approach to prevention and protection; and spur policy development within the international community.
See also articles that report on the thematic dialogue and provide positive and critical views of R2P:
UN weighs its responsibility to protect
InfoSud and Human Rights Tribune, 25 July 2009
Civil Society groups welcome governments’ commitment to prevent and end mass atrocities
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, Media Release, 27 July 2009
“Implementing the responsibility to protect” Responding to the UN Secretary-General’s report on the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, June 2009
This note by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect sought to advise States on how to respond to the Secretary-General’s report on implementing R2P and to urge them to ensure a constructive debate in the General Assembly.
World Refugee Day
On 20 June World Refugee Day was observed under the theme “Real People, Real Needs.” According to UNHCR, the millions of people forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution and natural disasters have real needs, yet many of these basic needs are far from being met. The current world economic crisis will have an impact on aid budgets and refugees must not be forgotten.
Building Livelihoods: A Field Manual for Practitioners in Humanitarian Settings
Women’s Refugee Commission, May 2009
This field manual by the Women’s Refugee Commission is based on two-and-a-half years of research and ten field assessments covering all contexts of displacement: refugee, IDP and returnee situations, in camp settings, as well as in rural and urban areas. The manual, produced to assist practitioners who seek to strengthen their skills and enhance their knowledge in order to do better livelihoods and economic recovery programming, provides guidance, ideas, tools and suggestions to assist practitioners and programme managers in making strategic choices about their livelihood interventions so that programmes can be appropriately designed and have greater impact.
– In the press –
This section aims to demonstrate how the international press reflects opinions, work, achievements and challenges faced by civil society organizations, and to also highlight “global civil society.”
Saving the World’s Women
The New York Times Magazine, 17 August 2009, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
This article emphasizes that there is growing recognition that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism: “The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.”
G8: “Just Invest in Women”
Inter-Press Service (IPS), 8 July 2009, Sabine Zaccaro
Recognizing that women play an important role in development and economic recovery, civil society calls upon the G8 for dedicated funding and policies that will protect the health and rights of girls and women.
Strange Attractor: Why is social media important to civil society?
Corante, 8 July 2009, Suw Charman-Anderson
In her blog, Ms. Charman-Anderson, referring to the report Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics by Jessica Clark and Patricia Aufderheide, argues that social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr are no longer only used for day-to-day socializing and content sharing, but increasingly as news filters, platforms for collaboration, and places to organize activism. She also argues that “civil society associations, by using social tools, can extend the reach of their web presence and the strength of their network, and form direct relationships with the individuals in their constituency,” which will increase engagement.
Africa: Reaffirm Support for International Criminal Court
Human Rights Watch, 30 July 2009
Following a decision by the African Union (AU) at its summit meeting on 1 – 3 July 2009 that its Member States “shall not cooperate” with the ICC in the arrest of President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, more than 130 African civil society organizations and human rights groups issued a statement in which they call upon all African States that are parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reaffirm their commitment and their obligation to cooperate with the Court.
Uganda: Have NGOs Contributed to Development?
allAfrica, 9 August 2009
With a focus on Uganda, this article raises issues for monitoring NGO contributions to national development in Africa, http://allafrica.com/stories/200908100036.html
– Trends and Debates –
Trends and Debates focuses on academic publications on civil society issues that are freely available online.
Civil Society, Health, and Social Exclusion in Bangladesh
Anna T. Schurmann & Simeen Mahmud, Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Volume 27 (4), August 2009
With a focus on Bangladesh, this paper examines the barriers to positive civil society input into public policy decision-making on social exclusion and health equity. It considers the role of NGOs, the influence of foreign bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as political, cultural and economic factors and finds that, with a few exceptions, civil society seems to replicate the structural inequalities of society at large.
International NGO Journal
The International NGO Journal (INGOJ) publishes articles in all areas of NGO activities, including proposals, appraisals and reports of NGO projects. The Journal aims to cover NGOs from all over the world and provide links to their websites. The August 2009 edition is available online: http://www.academicjournals.org/INGOJ/contents/2009cont/Aug.htm.
Africa and the challenges of unipolar world: Sovereignty, civil society and women’s rights as case studies
F.A. Olasupo, African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, Volume 3 (8), pp. 320-340, August 2009
This paper examines how African States are opening up the political space for increased popular participation, including civil society and African women’s groups.
The Impact of Civil Society on Refugee Politics in Egypt
Shahira Samy, CARIM Research Reports 2009/07, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, San Domenico di Fiesole (FI): European University Institute, 2009
This Research Paper builds upon the notion that the role of civil society has rarely gained sufficient research interest within the local refugee context, nor have studies on civil society paid particular attention to refugee issues. Therefore, it seeks to explore the main characteristics and challenges faced by civil society, and in particular by human rights advocacy organizations, on the refugee scene in Egypt.
Civil Society and Democratization in Africa: The Role of the Civil Society in the 2005 Election in Ethiopia
Wondwosen Teshome B., International Journal of Social Sciences, Volume 4 (2), 2009
In the past, Africa’s civil society organizations have been constrained to fully play a role in the continent’s democratization process. However, more recently their involvement has been growing, as in Ethiopia, where civil society had an active role during the 2005 elections. This paper assesses the consequences of such involvement for both civil and political society. It also examines what it calls the “peculiarities” of civil society formation in Africa in general, and in Ethiopia in particular, by assessing both “traditional” and “modern” civil society organizations.
CEU Political Science Journal, Volume 4 (1), February 2009
This volume includes various papers on civil society issues, such as diffusion and civil society mobilization in coloured revolutions; the role of external actors in civil society building in the Republic of Macedonia; and civil society, democracy and good governance in Africa. It also considers some book reviews.
From Food Crisis to Food Sovereignty: The Challenge of Social Movements
Eric Holt-Giménez, Monthly Review, Volume 61 (3), July-August 2009, pp.142-156
This paper argues that the neoliberal strategies proposed by various international institutions to cope with the food crisis are in stark con¬trast to the proposals for ecological approaches to agriculture and food sovereignty by farmer federations and civil society organizations worldwide.
Trade unions and women’s empowerment in north-east Brazil
Ben Selwyn, Gender and Development, Volume 17 (2), July 2009
A global trend in developing countries is the “feminisation of agriculture,” as in the horticulture sector. With a focus on north-east Brazil, this paper aims to explore this trend and what it means for the role of rural trade unions in both representing workers generally, and, women workers in particular. The research finds that in the case of Brazil, women workers have become increasingly active within the trade union – an outcome that is also expected for other regions of export horticulture.
See also Oxfam GB’s and Gender and Development’s joint Learning project on Gender and the Economic Crisis, which aims to provide a forum for researchers, academics, feminist activists and gender and development advocates and community workers to come together to focus on gender equality and women’s rights in the economic crisis. http://www.genderanddevelopment.org/crisis.asp
– CSO and the Multilateral System –
This section includes statements and position papers from civil society regarding multilateralism and covers differing views on the relation between multilateral institutions and civil society organizations.
Conference on Civil Society Organisations Development Effectiveness, Prague, 23 – 24 June 2009
Czech NGDO platform FoRS & the European confederation CONCORD, 23-24 June 2009
More than 170 representatives of civil society organizations, donors and governments from nearly 50 countries from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, and Latin and North America, attended the Conference on Civil Society Organisations Development Effectiveness. The Conference organized by FoRS and CONCORD addressed various issues, such as principles for CSO development effectiveness, the specific role of CSOs in development and the conditions set by donors and governments for CSOs. The outcome was a conference statement.
To access the statement: http://fors.cz/assets/files/konference/Conference%20Statement.pdf
For the Conference Report: http://fors.cz/assets/files/konference/FoRS%20CSO%20DevEff%20Conference%20Report%20final.pdf
For other information: http://fors.cz/en/eu_presidency/seminars_conferences/international-conference-on-cso-development-effectiveness
Outcome Document of CoNGO’s CSDF 2009 – Geneva Component
CoNGO, 04 July 2009
At the Civil Society Development Forum, which took place in Geneva on 2 – 4 July 2009, civil society organizations made various proposals to UN Member States relating to “Global Public Health in the context of the Global Economic Crisis.” As such, they call upon governments to take a human rights based approach to health; to tackle shortages in health care workers; to address the increase in non-communicable and chronic diseases; to finance access to global health and to ensure gender equality in this regard.
Spring Alliance: Manifesto
Spring Alliance, 9 July 2009
The Spring Alliance is a newly-formed participatory movement to ensure that the European Union puts people and the planet first. Created by the European Environmental Bureau, the European Trade Union Confederation and Social Platform, and later joined by CONCORD, the Alliance is supported by various civil society organizations, such as development NGOs, the Fair Trade movement, anti-poverty campaigners, consumer organizations and representatives from the research community. It has developed a Manifesto, which includes various proposals on a number of issues – governance, economy, jobs, environment, democracy – and calls for a major shift in the EU’s strategic direction.
For more information on the Spring Alliance: http://www.springalliance.eu/
To access the Manifesto: http://www.concordeurope.org/Files/media/internetdocumentsENG/3_Topics/Topics/Alliance/Spring-Alliance-Manifesto—final.pdf
The United Nations Must Act Now To Help End Rape in Conflict Zones
CARE, 6 August 2009
Despite the adoption of resolution 1820 by the Security Council to end sexual and gender based violence in June 2008, still today, women are not protected enough of any sexual abuses during wars. Therefore CARE outlines 15 immediate concrete steps to urge the United Nations and especially the UN Security Council to strictly end sexual violence in conflict.
The central role of the United Nations, or the G192, in economic governance nearly vanished!
Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, 27 June 2009
In this article, the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development expresses their dissatisfaction after the adoption of the Outcome Document on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development. According to them, the wording of some paragraphs showed the lack of commitment for follow-up.
– Research and Analysis –
This section brings forward new research reports produced by civil society organizations themselves that address global issues.
Growing pains: the possibilities and problems of biofuels
Christian Aid, August 2009
This report looks at the problems and opportunities surrounding biofuel use and argues for a new vision for biofuel production, one that is geared toward energy self-sufficiency, rural development, and clean energy for the energy-poor in the developing world. http://christianaid.org.uk/images/biofuels-report-09.pdf
In July 2009, Christian Aid also launched its Poverty Over Report, which argues for that the main obstacle for poverty eradication is the lack of political will.
Water Scarcity Looms
WorldWatch Institute, 6 August 2009, Gary Gardner
WorldWatch Institute draws attention to increasing water scarcity as a result of population growth, climate change, pollution, lack of investment, and management failures. It also discusses some solutions that are being advocated by various stakeholders. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6213
Global Peace Index for 2009
Institute for Economics and Peace & the Economist Intelligence Unit
The third edition of the Global Peace Index ranks countries on the basis of their peacefulness and identifies some of the drivers of that peace.
Harvest Reaped, but Hard to Reach: The Food Crisis and Women in the Global South
Isis International, WIA Issue 1, 2009
This issue of Women In Action features and analyses the impact of the food crisis on women, especially poor rural women, women farmers and fish workers in the global South. Many of the articles contribute insightful analyses on the inter-linkage of the food crisis with other compounding crises such as the economic, climate and energy crises and its implication on women and the latter’s access to social justice. However, there are some issues which are equally important to further discuss and address as these are likely to be aggravated by the food crisis: the right to food in situations of armed conflict and in contested territories.
Steadfast in Protest
Observatory for Human Rights Protectors, FIDH and OMCT, 2009
Steadfast in Protest states that international law reminds us that it is the primary responsibility of States not only to fight against human rights violations, but also to protect the human rights defenders who denounce these violations and to ensure a favourable environment in which they can carry out their work: “This is why there is no more current debate today than the debate on human rights. It is the fundamental debate that should permit us to define what a human being is, where his or her path leads and, above all, to confirm once again that where there is no freedom to be, to speak, to express oneself, to decide one’s own destiny, a human ceases to be a human.”