INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
20TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Nur University, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 7-9 October 2016
on the theme
Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals as communities and individuals
In this important year for the launching of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, the conference will focus on three issues that concern everyone, and are of particular interest to Latin America:
• Responsible and sustainable lifestyles (SDG12)
• Values and education (SDG4)
• Sustainable urban communities (SDG11)
The Interfaith Study Course on the Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change prepared for IEF by Christine Muller and used successfully in many communities for study circles, is now available in Spanish, translated by IEF member Zulay Posada of Colombia. The original course in English in 9 modules is available on the IEF web site, and was used to design the very successful on-line course on Climate Change offered through the Wilmette Institute.
Workshop on Implementing the SDGs
Geneva, Switzerland, 27 April 2016
A high-level workshop on "Implementing the SDGs: creating and sharing knowledge" was held at International Environment House in Geneva, Switzerland, on 27 April 2016. The workshop was organized and convened by IEF member Dr. Joachim Monkelbaan with the assistance of the University of Geneva Institute for Environmental Sciences and the support of the Swiss Network for International Studies, and brought together over 40 experts from the international organizations, academic community and civil society organizations in the Geneva area. IEF represented civil society organizations in the planning of the workshop.
IEF Governing Board member Duncan Hanks has co-edited with Roy Steiner a book: "Harnessing the Power of Collective Learning: Feedback, accountability and constituent voice in rural development" (London and New York: Routledge, 2016, 260 p.). The book includes eleven case studies of organizations trying to develop and implement collective learning systems as an integral component of sustainable development practice. Both the editors and several of the authors are Baha'is, and this is reflected in their approaches to professional challenges in their field.
Justice in Action: From Local to Global
Several members of the International Forum participated in the 21st annual Justice Conference at de Poort, the Netherlands, a Bahá'í-inspired forum for the exploration of international law, global governance, justice and ethics, which draws lawyers and other experts from all over the world. The theme of the conference this year on 25-27 March was "Justice in Action: From Local to Global". Ismael Velasco presented his work on suicide prevention with young people in Greenland, gave a workshop on "The Next 30 Years: Perspectives on Radical Technological Change & the Social Transformation of Justice - Trends, Prospects and DiIemmas", and also entertained with evening story-telling. Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen spoke on a plenary panel on "Perspectives on Global Order and the Rule of Law" looking at issues of accountability. Arthur Dahl gave a keynote on "Using the new UN 2030 Agenda to work for justice at the local level". IEF members Nigel Jollands, Wendi Momen and Iko Kongo also attended the conference.
11 March 2016 – The United Nations Statistical Commission today agreed on a set of global indicators that will measure success towards the new sustainable development agenda, which will lead anti-poverty efforts through 2030.
The IEF Governing Board is pleased to announce that Ian Hamilton, the new Representative for Sustainable Development in the U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs, has agreed to contribute his expertise to IEF as a co-opted member of the Governing Board. Co-opted members are invited to join in the work of the board to contribute a particular perspective or diversity of opinion that the board feels it needs, without the right to vote that is the prerogative of elected members of the board.
In the United States, people of many faiths, including the Baha'i community, will be celebrating Faith Climate Action Week on 15-24 April 2016 to coincide with Earth Week, including Earth Day on 22 April. Activities are being organized by Interfaith Power and Light, which in previous years held a Preach-In on Global Warming in February. This will be an annual interfaith event aiming to create greater awareness of the changing climate, the challenges it presents, and solutions.