Leaves 13(3) March 2011


Newsletter of the
Volume 13, Number 3 --- March 2011



21 March 2011
Website: iefworld.org
Article submission: newsletter@iefworld.org Deadline next issue 13 Apri 2011
Secretariat Email: ief@iefworld.org General Secretary Emily Firth
President Email: ief@iefworld.org Arthur Lyon Dahl Ph.D. Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: +41 (0)22 797 0211

Let us then trust in the bounty and bestowal of God. Let us be exhilarated with the divine breath, illumined and exalted by the heavenly glad-tidings. God has ever dealt with man in mercy and kindness. He who conferred the divine spirit in former times is abundantly able and capable at all times and periods to grant the same bestowals. Therefore let us be hopeful. The God who gave to the world formerly will do so now and in the future. God who breathed the breath of the Holy Spirit upon His servants will breathe it upon them now and hereafter. There is no cessation to His bounty. The divine spirit is penetrating from eternity to eternity for it is the bounty of God and the bounty of God is eternal. Can you conceive of limitation of the divine power in atomic verities or cessation of the divine bounty in existing organisms? Could you conceive the power now manifest in this glass in cohesion of its atoms, becoming non-existent? The energy by which the water of the sea is constituted, failing to exert itself and the sea disappearing? A shower of rain today and no more showers afterward? The effulgence of the sun terminated and no more light or heat?

(Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 102)

From the Editor

Please share the Leaves newsletter and IEF membership information with family, friends and associates. Please encourage interested persons to consider becoming a member of the IEF.

Request for information for upcoming newsletters

Please share your experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on climate change action. Please also share information about upcoming conferences, like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to be included in upcoming newsletters to newsletter@ief.org.


The following letter urging Ministers to support a Special Procedure on climate change and human rights
has been circulated at the Human Rights Council, and it is also posted on the IEF web site.

Letter by NGOs concerned with the Human Rights Council's Action on Climate Change

Geneva, Switzerland, 28 February 2011

Your Excellency,

We respectfully request your attention to the issue of climate change and human rights, an issue that is of vital importance for the human rights of hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable people in the world.

In 2008 (Res. 7/23) and 2009 (Res. 10/4), the Human Rights Council considered the human rights consequence of climate change. Additionally, in March 2009 the High Commissioner for Human Rights produced a study and later that year the Council held a special panel on climate change. It is vital that this important work serve as the foundation for further study and action concerning the consequences of the adverse impacts of climate change for human rights. There is an urgent need to elaborate the work done by the Council on climate change for the important UNFCCC meeting that will be held in Durban, South Africa in December 2011. The most effective way of doing this is to establish a Special Procedure on climate change and human rights, such as a special rapporteur, to consider the important issues of climate change that affect human rights.

The resolution being tabled at the 16th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council on the relationship between the environment and human rights, does not build on the previous work of the Council in relation to climate change. Instead it reverts back to the general issue of environment and human rights that has been on the United Nations' agenda for decades and on which several resolutions have been adopted. While another resolution on the environment and human rights is welcomed, we are very much concerned that this resolution does not adequately address the urgent issue of climate change. Moreover, there is no mention of a Special Procedure in the proposed resolution.

In recent months numerous civil society organizations, including the undersigned, have called for the establishment of a Special Procedure on climate change and human rights at the Council’s Social Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, in September 2010. This call was reiterated at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2011. We urge you to hear our call. Our planet and the lives of hundreds of millions of vulnerable people are at stake and need you to act.

We strongly urge you to publicly call for the creation of a Special Procedure on climate change and human rights who reports to the Human Rights Council in a resolution to be adopted at the 17th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in June 2011.

Thank you for your attention to the voices of civil society.

Signatories listed in alphabetical order:

Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
Catholic Center of Geneva
Center for Law Information (Indonesia)
Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (Argentina)
Edmund Rice International
Franciscans International
Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland
International Environment Forum
International Peace Research Association
International Presentation Association
International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations
Lutheran World Federation
Nord-Sud XXI/ North-South-XXI
Northern Alliance for Sustainability
Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance
Planetary Association for Clean Energy (Canada)
Samata - India
Stand Up For Your Rights
World Council of Churches
Worldwide Organization of Women

Human Rights Letter addressees:

H.E. Mr. Ahmed Naseem
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
By recorded fax: +41-22-732-6339

H.E. Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
By recorded fax: +41-22-849-5432

H.E. Minister Maria do Rosário Nunes
Head of the Human Rights Secretariat
By recorded fax: +41-22-910-0751

H.E. Hon. Dr. Dipu Moni
Foreign Minister
By recorded fax: +41-22-738-4616

H.E. Ms. Birnur Fertekligil
Deputy Foreign Minister
By recorded fax: +41-22-734-0859

H.E. Mr. Mourad Medelci
Minister for Foreign Affairs
By recorded fax: +41-22-774-3049

H.E. Mr. Nicolás Maduro Moros
Minister for Foreign Affairs
By recorded fax: +41-22-732-2881

H.E. Mr. Abelardo Moreno Fernández
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
By recorded fax: +41-22-758-9431

H.E. Dr. José Serrano
Minister of Justice and Human Rights
By recorded fax: +41-22-732-4834




Several IEF members participated in the second meeting of the intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Rio 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which took place at the United Nations in New York on 7-8 March, including Peter Adriance, Arthur Dahl, Duncan Hanks and Victoria Thoresen. Arthur Dahl spoke in a high-level side event on International Environmental Governance during the PrepCom. He also facilitated a workshop during a UNEP/Stakeholder Forum seminar on governance the Sunday before the PrepCom. There were also side discussions with the Earth Charter Initiative and faith-based organizations on cooperation in preparation for Rio.

The dates of the Rio 2012 conference have been changed, and it will now be on 4-6 June 2012, with a final Preparatory Committee on 28-30 May. This means the IEF annual conference will probably take place during 1-3 June 2012. Other important events in the lead up to the Conference include:
The 19th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, 2-13 May 2011, which should adopt a 10-year Framework of Action on Sustainable Consumption and Production
The UN Department of Public Information is organizing a conference for civil society on the conference themes in Bonn, Germany, on 2-4 September 2011
Five UN regional implementation meetings will become regional preparatory meetings for the Conference (Latin America and the Caribbean, Santiago, Chile, 7-9 September 2011; Asia/Pacific, Africa and West Asia still to be scheduled, and Europe, Geneva, 1-2 December 2011
Several major groups are planning conferences or regional meetings to prepare for Rio
A second Intersessional meeting of UNCSD will be held in New York for 3 days in mid-December 2011, and there will be one week each of informal negotiations in February, March and April 2012
The best opportunities for civil society inputs to the conference will be to the secretariat before 1 November 2011, and at the regional preparatory meetings

IEF members are encouraged to become involved in conference preparations at the national level, in consultation if appropriate with national Baha'i institutions, as this will enrich our 2012 IEF conference in Rio de Janeiro.

We shall try to provide resource materials on the IEF web site, and encourage you to send in anything you think is relevant to info@iefworld.org.



The Partnership for Education and research about Responsible Living (PERL) held its international conference at Maltepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, on 14-15 March 2011, on the theme "Enabling Responsible Living".

IEF board member and PERL Director Victoria Thoresen gave an opening keynote and a paper on "Exchange, Empathy, Encouragement and Enabling - Keys to Collaborative Progress Towards Responsible Living". Onno Vinkhuyzen and Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen gave a paper on "The Role of Leadership in Responsible Living". Arthur Dahl presented papers on "Multi-level Frameworks to Enable Responsible Living" and on "Values-based Indicators for Responsible Living", which are available on the IEF web site. For the full programme, see http://www.perlprojects.org/.

Arthur stayed on the rest of the week in Turkey to give seminars on "The State of the World: Is Sustainable Development Really Possible?" at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and Ozyegin University in Istanbul. He also met with local members of the European Baha'i Business Forum.


Correction: In the book review article (Prosperity without Growth) in the February issue

Peter Adriance was not on the panel with Tim Jackson. Duncan Hanks was moderator, and Victoria Thoresen spoke, along with two others.

Additional information from the Rabbani Charitable Trust
Conference on Social and Economic Development

The IEF had an exhibit again this year at the conference, which was held in Orlando FL in December, and more than 60 brochures were taken.

Peter Adriance also facilitated the Environment and Agriculture networking session, and it was lively, useful and fun. Peter has a short video from the speed-networking activity they did, which gives a great sense of the energy there. The environment is indeed a hot topic for many!

Updated 23 March 2011