International Environment Forum - A Bahá'í inspired organization for environment and sustainability http://iefworld.org/rss.xml en IEF Governing Board election http://iefworld.org/node/940 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">IEF Governing Board election</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">27. August 2018 - 11:15</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>In the recent election of the International Environment Forum Governing Board for 2018-2019, the following members were chosen: Arthur Dahl, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Christine Muller, Victoria Thoresen, Laurent Mesbah, Wendi Momen, and Michael Richards. However, Michael Richards is unable to serve, so a by-election is now being held to replace him.</p></div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Mon, 27 Aug 2018 08:15:18 +0000 admin 940 at http://iefworld.org Leaves - September IEF newsletter is available http://iefworld.org/node/255 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Leaves - September IEF newsletter is available</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">17. September 2018 - 22:40</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Read on line: <a href="/newslt111"><strong><em>Leaves</em></strong> 20(9) September 2018</a> light text version with fewer illustrations.<br /> Download as a <a href="/fl/IEF_Leaves180915.pdf">pdf version</a> [0.7 mb].</p> <table background="/gr/BLEAF1.JPG" style="background-color: rgb(0, 153, 0); width: 100%; height: 55px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Mon, 17 Sep 2018 19:40:52 +0000 admin 255 at http://iefworld.org http://iefworld.org/node/255#comments Capitalism, Short-termism, Population and the Destruction of the Planet http://iefworld.org/node/944 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Capitalism, Short-termism, Population and the Destruction of the Planet</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Arthur Dahl</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">14. September 2018 - 0:28</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Come On! Capitalism, Short-termism, Population<br /> and the Destruction of the Planet<br /> A Report to the Club of Rome</h2> <p>by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Anders Wijkman, Co-Presidents, Club of Rome<br /> New York: Springer. 220 p.</p> <p>Book review by Arthur Dahl</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>For the 50th anniversary of the Club of Rome, whose first report "<i>The Limits to Growth</i>" in 1972 warned of global collapse in the 21st century if we continued business as usual, its current presidents have written a new book repeating that warning, but also looking optimistically at the future. They have drawn on many other distinguished contributors to reflect the best content of progressive thinking.</p> <p>The first chapter describes the many ways that current trends are unsustainable, most of which will be familiar to IEF members. In particular it notes that present conceptions of the world and institutions to manage it evolved when the world was largely empty, while in the last few decades we have rapidly reached what is now a full world, as we overshot planetary boundaries and entered the Anthropocene. Climate change is already an existential threat and accelerating. The chance that nuclear weapons might actually be used has recently increased. The population is still growing rapidly among the poor in some regions while others have ageing populations that are not replacing themselves. More people are crowding into cities, but the agriculture that feeds them is unsustainable. The digital revolution contains both opportunities and threats. Governments have set optimistic goals in the 2030 Agenda, but implementation is far from certain, and there are counter-forces of disintegration. It is a picture of a world in disarray.</p> <p>Chapter 2 is more philosophical, starting with the challenging message from the Pope in Laudato Sí, and then exploring the errors of the market doctrine and reductionist philosophy. It calls for a New Enlightenment based on balance between humans and nature, short term and long term, speed and stability, private and public, women and men, equity and awards for achievement, and state and religion.</p> <p>The half of the book in chapter 3 is full of positive examples of many efforts to build a more sustainable world. They range from a regenerative, blue or circular economy, through energy, climate and urbanization, to the financial sector, investment, economics and alternatives to GDP. It explores collaboration and collective leadership, global governance, and examples of national action in China and Bhutan, closing with a short but excellent section on education for a sustainable civilization. It describes future education as active and collaborative, based on connectivity, value-based, focussed more on the topic of sustainability, fostering an integrated way of thinking and pluralism in content.</p> <p>With reference to values, it is worth quoting the whole paragraph. "Values represent the quintessence of human wisdom acquired over centuries. And in the new system that's developing, they must embody the fundamental principles for sustainable accomplishment, whether individual or social. These must be even more than the inspiring ideals that supply the energy needed to fulfil human aspirations. Values are a form of knowledge and a powerful determinant of human evolution. They are psychological skills that have profound <i>practical</i> importance. Education must be founded on values that promote sustainability and general well-being for all. A move toward inculcating sustainable values would amount to a paradigm change in our current society's value system. It would consider as its aim the greater well-being of both human and the natural systems on which they depend, rather than a valuation for more production and consumption. Conscious emphasis will be placed on values that are truly universal, as well as on respect for cultural differences. At the grass-roots level, the movement towards sustainability can build on deep local values. Values can create transformational leadership, leadership in thought that leads to action." (p. 198)</p> <p>The Club of Rome has built on its half-century of service to humanity with another important report to prepare us for the challenges ahead, and to inspire us to positive action.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 13 September 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 13 Sep 2018 21:28:44 +0000 Arthur Dahl 944 at http://iefworld.org Migration: A Chance to Reflect on Global Well-Being http://iefworld.org/bic_migration2018 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Migration: A Chance to Reflect on Global Well-Being</span> <div class="field field--name-field-year field--type-integer field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Year</div> <div class="field__item">2018</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-event field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Event</div> <div class="field__item">Sixth Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, Geneva, 12 July 2018</div> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">2. September 2018 - 18:19</span> Sun, 02 Sep 2018 15:19:50 +0000 admin 943 at http://iefworld.org IEF Position on Climate Change http://iefworld.org/IEFclimatechange <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">IEF Position on Climate Change</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">9. August 2018 - 22:33</span> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-hidden comment-wrapper"> </section> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/9" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">International Environment Forum Position on Climate Change</h2> <p>adopted by the IEF Governing Board 8 August 2018</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>In a few countries where climate change science has become a political issue, the International Environment Forum has been criticized for taking sides in the “debate”. The following paragraphs explain the clear position of IEF concerning climate change.</p> <p>The International Environment Forum recognizes that climate change is a reality and that it poses one of the most serious threats to human civilization and to all life. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is a result of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, by deforestation, and by other economic activities.</p> <p>This position is in alignment with the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, the Supreme Institution of the Baha'i Faith. Its 29 November 2017 letter commenting on climate change, states:</p> <blockquote> <p>… there does exist at present a striking degree of agreement among experts in relevant fields about the cause and impact of climate change.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the same letter, the Universal House of Justice emphasizes the importance of science:</p> <blockquote> <p>Among the Bahá’í teachings are those concerning the importance of science. “Great indeed is the claim of scientists … on the peoples of the world,” Bahá’u’lláh observed. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote that the “sciences of today are bridges to reality” and repeatedly emphasized that “religion must be in conformity with science and reason.”</p> </blockquote> <p>The letter refers to the Paris Climate Accord as a “starting point for constructive thought and action...,” emphasizes how “remarkable is the fact that at a time when nations have difficulty reaching agreement on many important issues, the governments of nearly every country on earth have reached political consensus on a joint framework, in the Paris accord, to respond to climate change...,” and points to the agreement as “another noteworthy demonstration of that development anticipated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá” when He referred to “unity of thought in world undertakings, the consummation of which will erelong be witnessed.” The Universal House of Justice also guides the participation and the written statements by the Baha'i International Community at UN conferences on climate change.</p> <p>The IEF is aware of the widespread misinformation campaign that deliberately sheds doubt on the science of climate change. There are some skilled science writers and well-funded front groups who “dismiss or contend with relevant scientific findings,” but their claims are politically motivated – in the words of the Universal House of Justice - “by political and vested interests.”</p> <p>The IEF does not provide a platform to discuss whether climate science is real. Its intention is to spread awareness about climate change, to stand up for science, to apply spiritual principles (especially the Baha'i teachings) to this issue, to provide space for consultation about the numerous ways to effectively mitigate this problem, and to assist its members and the wider public in meaningful climate action.</p> <p>The mission of IEF, as a professional organization at the interface of science and ethics, is to address issues such as this in the spirit so clearly worded in the above cited letter of the Universal House of Justice:</p> <blockquote> <p>One of the most pressing problems of humanity in the current century is how a growing, rapidly developing, and not yet united global population can, in a just manner, live in harmony with the planet and its finite resources.</p> </blockquote> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 8 August 2018</small></p> </div> </div> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 19:33:27 +0000 admin 936 at http://iefworld.org 22nd General Assembly 2018 http://iefworld.org/genass22 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">22nd General Assembly 2018</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">9. August 2018 - 20:39</span> <div class="field field--name-field-year field--type-integer field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Year</div> <div class="field__item">2018</div> </div> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 17:39:40 +0000 admin 935 at http://iefworld.org Annual Report 2017-2018 http://iefworld.org/report2018 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Annual Report 2017-2018</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">9. August 2018 - 15:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-ar-year field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Report Year</div> <div class="field__item">2017-2018</div> </div> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 12:47:36 +0000 admin 934 at http://iefworld.org IEF 22nd Conference at HLPF: Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies http://iefworld.org/conf22 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">IEF 22nd Conference at HLPF: Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies</span> <div class="field field--name-field-dates field--type-string-long field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Dates</div> <div class="field__item">2018 July 9-18</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-place field--type-string-long field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Place</div> <div class="field__item">New York City, USA</div> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">20. July 2018 - 0:33</span> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 21:33:30 +0000 admin 927 at http://iefworld.org Science, Technology and the Human Spirit http://iefworld.org/node/932 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Science, Technology and the Human Spirit</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">8. July 2018 - 12:46</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/60" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/226" hreflang="en">Technology</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/56" hreflang="en">Spirituality</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Science, Technology and the Human Spirit</h2> <p><b>Triglav Circle</b><br /> Chateau de Poussignol, France<br /> 29 June-1 July 2018</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>The Triglav Circle (<a href="http://www.triglavcircleonline.org/">http://www.triglavcircleonline.org/</a>) was founded in 1996 after the UN Social Summit in Copenhagen to discuss the spiritual and ethical dimensions of public policies. Today it seeks to enrich the public discourse on global problems, encouraging political concern, social engagement and cultural sensitivity. It held its 2018 meeting at the Chateau de Poussignol in the Nievre Department of central France (<a href="http://yabaha.net/dahl/travel/t2018/TriglavCircle/Triglav2018.html">report with a few pictures)</a>. A small but high level group from different fields spent a day and a half discussing the theme “Science, Technology and the Human Spirit”. A report on last year’s meeting, also at Poussignol, is at <a href="https://iefworld.org/node/885">https://iefworld.org/node/885</a>, with more pictures of the chateau and the region at <a href="http://www.yabaha.net/dahl/travel/t2017/Nievre/Triglav.html">http://www.yabaha.net/dahl/travel/t2017/Nievre/Triglav.html</a>.</p> <p>Participants included the founders of the Triglav Circle, Jacques Baudot (former senior UN official and coordinator of the 1995 Copenhagen Social Summit) and Barbara Baudot; Konrad Raiser, the former General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, and his wife Elisabeth; Geneviève Jacques, retiring president of CIMADE, a French association to help foreigners in difficulty; Marie-Aimée Latournerie, jurist and member of the French Council of State, author of a report on social inequality; Kishore Mandhyan, former Political Director for peacekeeping, humanitarian and human rights affairs at the United Nations; Simone Rignault, with a long political career as a Deputy, Regional Councillor and Mayor in France; and several others.</p> <p>Arthur Dahl prepared a paper for the meeting, “<i>Reflections on Science, Technology and the Human Spirit</i>,” that provided the background for many of his contributions, and will eventually be published on the Triglav Circle web site. It can be seen at <a href="https://iefworld.org/node/930">https://iefworld.org/node/930</a>.</p> <p>The meeting started with viewing a video documentary on the life of Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (1912-2007) made and presented by his daughter Elisabeth Raiser. His early fearful memories of the First World War, and efforts to find a reflection of God in the stars, and later in the laws of physics after meeting Werner Heisenberg when he was 14, led him to fundamental discoveries in quantum physics, nuclear fusion and planetary formation in the early Solar System. He was then drawn into the efforts in Germany under the Third Reich to understand if a nuclear bomb was practical, before succeeding in convincing the government that it would take years to develop and that they should drop the idea. The moral dilemma this represented between his theoretical research and its applications, and failed efforts with Heisenberg to convince the Americans through Neils Bohr also to drop research on nuclear weapons, showed him the limits that scientists had over the use of their own discoveries and led him to take strong anti-nuclear positions and warn of environmental degradation after the war. The video was a powerful evocation of the ethical challenges presented by science and technology.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Situation of scientists in today’s world</h3> <p>The discussion then revolved around the situation of scientists in today’s world. Scientific discoveries are accelerating change, but we do not foresee the consequences. Researchers often do not consider the ethics of their own work in science and technology. For example, what are the implications of Artificial Intelligence for human society? In science, there is no sense of humility before something that is greater than we are.</p> <p>The paradigm in the natural sciences has been their objectivity, and they have not addressed ethical considerations, while the social sciences explore relationships within communities involving ethical concerns. However, as science becomes more collaborative, these distinctions are diminishing, as illustrated by the recent merger of the International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council into a single global body for all of the sciences. The mechanistic Cartesian view of science is also challenged by quantum theory.</p> <p>Today, many scientists find themselves in authoritarian structures or large corporations where they have little choice of the subjects they work on or the uses that are made of their discoveries. The scientific landscape has changed, with ”pure” science in retreat, and financial patronage becoming all-important. Whose money is invested? For whose agenda? Whose intellectual property? Who owns the applications? The public character of scientific knowledge, with science seen as a public good, is increasingly replaced by corporate research protected as intellectual property. Artificial intelligence is being pursued for corporate profit, but where are reflections on its impacts taking place? The growing proportion of private funding for science is not looking after the public interest, or whether its uses are good or bad.</p> <p>The legitimacy and integrity of science are today under threat. There is growing scepticism of elite knowledge and the scientists’ “agenda”, with science discredited as representing special interests. People see science leading to long-term destructive effects on the environment and the lack of sustainability. The concept of the environment itself separates humanity from nature, and the conservation movement separates nature from us, with only the ecologists still seeing a whole. The European Enlightenment has misled us into patterns of thinking that need to be replaced by a new more holistic enlightenment. Support for the social sciences is being cut in many countries for political reasons because they raise too many questions. We may be entering a new dark age.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Technologies and transcendental ideals</h3> <p>A second theme was on technological “progress” and transcendental ideals. Technologies give us new liberties, but they are also a leveller of culture and philosophies. It can be hard to find transcendent ideals. Political groups may practice meditation without it leading to good character. Some technologies oblige you to pursue goals you do not want, driven by commercial interests, or by hidden or overt purposes and goals. There are also differences in transcendent goals across different groups. Technology is now another tool to exclude people from access to their rights, as when migrants must make applications on line but do not have access to the Internet. In discussing the Sustainable Development Goals, should people have a right to technologies, or do we need a way to limit technologies? Transcendent ideals include human dignity and social justice. How do you get to justice without love and concern for others? Individual freedom is too often linked to neoliberal competition. The French ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity need to be taken together. These ideals need to be strengthened against the new totalitarianisms and forms of power that can come with technologies.</p> <p>Another discussion revolved around sources of knowledge. Science is one obvious source, but what about spiritual insights, beyond seeing, experiencing and feeling? Nature is more than the natural sciences. Knowledge can also come from the humanities if they are not diminished by reductionist language. The German term wahrnemung (perception) literally means to take in the truth, a form of knowledge beyond investigation, close to insight or intuition, seeing and receiving the truth with an inner cohesion and wholeness, that has no English equivalent. This led to a discussion of religion as a second knowledge system complementary to science, touching on justice, peace and the integrity of the creation. Religion is the most elementary form of wahrnemung, an encounter with the whole. All religions point to this experience as the source of life and being, and give it shape to communicate it through symbols and rituals. The sequence of religious revelations build on this experience, until they become exclusive and competitive. What we need today is to build a new culture of values instead of valuing culture.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 14 July 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sun, 08 Jul 2018 09:46:56 +0000 admin 932 at http://iefworld.org World Conference on Religions, Creeds and Value Systems http://iefworld.org/node/931 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">World Conference on Religions, Creeds and Value Systems</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">8. July 2018 - 12:30</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/69" hreflang="en">Religion</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/64" hreflang="en">Human Rights</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/282" hreflang="en">Citizenship</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> World Conference on Religions, Creeds and Value Systems:<br> Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights</h2> <p>Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland<br> 25 June 2018 </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <p>On 25 June 2018 the International Environment Forum participated in the <b>World Conference on Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights</b>, held at the United Nations Palais des Nations under the patronage of H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who gave the opening keynote, along with a message from the UN Secretary-General. It was organized by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, and co-sponsored by the Arab Though Forum, Bridges to Common Ground, the European Centre for Peace and Development, the International Catholic Migration Commission, the World Council of Churches, the World Council of Religious Leaders, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The 34 speakers and panelists included high level representatives of Islam, the Catholic and Protestant churches, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and interfaith movements, as well as former ministers, ambassadors, heads of UN agencies, academics and theologians, and several Special Rapporteurs on human rights.</p> <p>In his inaugural address, H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal asked if this was a make-or-break moment, with a gold curtain separating rich and poor, and an insecurity council unable to address weapons that destabilise the world. He described the global hunger for human dignity, and the need to speak out against injustice, calling for a social global Marshall Plan. We should empower and enable international citizenship to wage peace, which is less expensive than war, for our mutually assured survival. Only fearlessness is adequate for our time. He hoped that the Global Compacts for Migration and for Refugees would be agreed by the end of 2018. To support the 2030 Agenda, we need a moral lobby for equal citizenship rights, appreciating our diversity.</p> <p>There were then eight keynotes on religious perspectives which shared common themes of the need for dialogue among religions to stand up for our shared humanity and nurture equality in schools, jobs and places of worship. Today the religious and secular worlds are separated by a huge gap, with religion seen as part of the problem. Extremism and fanaticism kill religion, and religious leaders must speak out against the instrumentalization of religion for division. Religions should serve as a bridge over differences, since they share one common origin, thus ensuring religious freedom for all.</p> <p>A first panel focussed on the concept of equal citizenship and points of convergence between religions, with reference to an extensive working document prepared by the organizers. Religions agree on almost all points, with only 10% of theological differences. Humanity is a single family, and we have responsibilities towards each other and the world. Several panelists referred to shared positions on human rights, and on the needs of refugees and migrants. </p> <p>A second panel considered equal citizenship rights for vulnerable, disadvantaged and discriminated social segments, looking at case studies of gender, religious minorities, people with disabilities, and indigenous people. It highlighted citizenship as a moral concept, and the need to educate for citizenship and participation in decision-making. Still today, there are movements using fear of minorities, xenophobia, chauvinistic nationalism and toxic rhetoric, reinforced by hate speech in social media. More than three quarters of stateless people are minorities. The UN only began to engage with religion in 2010, with an Interagency Task Force on Religion. The 2006 Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities has changed the approach from medical (protected patients) to social, opening the way for the disabled to be integrated into society.</p> <p>The third panel explored issues with migrants, refugees, and internally-displaced persons. People move to escape violence, persecution, or poverty and lack of opportunities, and suffer from the breakdown in education, health, shelter, security and land rights. Neoliberal policies are not based on the dignity of human beings and protection of the environment, leaving far too many behind, and creating a growing disconnect with the economic and social elite. Faith movements have a responsibility to move forward on this issue, becoming a driving force for a sustainable world order. There is a new level of dynamism at the inter-religious level based on shared principles and values, but there is still too little sharing of knowledge and working together among faiths. We need spiritual values and a moral compass to address this issue. All displaced persons have human rights, and a lack of citizenship undermines their human potential. Many displacements can drag on for years, and will increasingly become permanent, for example from small island developing states. Present arrangements to deal with this are insufficient. IEF President Arthur Dahl was one of the panelists, with a paper on Religion and Migration. A short report is at <a href="http://www.gchragd.org/en/article/dr-arthur-dahl-migrants-are-denied-most-fundamental-human-rights">http://www.gchragd.org/en/article/dr-arthur-dahl-migrants-are-denied-mo…</a>, and the paper is available at <a href="https://iefworld.org/node/929">https://iefworld.org/node/929</a>.</p> <p>The final panel was on moving towards a new paradigm. It noted some of the disconnects in religious sentiments, with the problem not in beliefs but in divisive belonging becoming tribal and rejecting others. There is a wide gap between legal equality and equality before God. A new paradigm is obviously needed. We must give people the right to hope. Finding relevant texts in the Holy Books can counteract fear from religious bias, and provide resources to respect the others. God is testing us by what he has revealed to us. We should compete with each other in doing good deeds. Large majorities want reduced military expenditures and more on social needs, but all countries do the reverse. It was pointed out that the youth are absent from the conference, but they will inherit the world. Equal citizenship can be a gateway to global citizenship and peace.</p> <p>A declaration was signed at the end of the conference (see extract below), and the proceedings and papers will eventually be published (<a href="http://yabaha.net/dahl/travel/tswiss/2018WCRCVS/WCRCVS2018.html">report with pictures</a>).</p> <hr> <p>The Declaration signed at the end of the conference includes the following <b>Ten-Point Global Strategic Plan</b></p> <p>1. To unite in a common endeavor of religious and lay institutions, and their respective leaders, to harness the collective energy of all religions, creeds and value-systems to uphold equal citizenship rights, to reject the instrumentalization of religions, to promote their authentic meanings and universal values, and finally to advocate openness and plurality of approach towards other faiths, creeds and value-systems; To move towards a world where the generalization of equal citizenship rights contributes to social and cultural diversity to be celebrated in resilient and inclusive societies thus preventing conflict among diverse sub-groups in society which gives rise to Islamophobia, Christianophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination;</p> <p>2. To address the legitimate concerns relating to the connotation of “minorities” as allegedly exogenous groups when referring to segments of the population which are an integral part of a nation’s citizenry. Harmonious integration of all segments of the population in resilient and inclusive societies should be enhanced through effective achievement of equal citizenship rights making the re-grouping of citizens into denominational sub-identities superfluous as a political tool;</p> <p>3. To enforce all rights and duties of people on the basis of their role as rightsholders of civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights. The promotion and safeguarding of equal citizenship rights should encompass the concept of entitlement and preclude a freezing of accumulated inequalities;</p> <p>4. To preserve the diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious heritages of transit and host countries, while, at the same time, offering opportunities for integration to arriving refugees and migrants. The aim is to promote mutual contributions and respective resilience, thus avoiding forced assimilation of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons, in line with the provisions set forth in Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to avoid proselytization;</p> <p>5. To work towards the full realization of equal citizenship rights which will require not only vertical interaction between society and the State but also horizontal interaction within society itself. To be successful, both forms of interaction will require, where necessary, to transform a culture of compliance into a culture of accountability based on answerability and enforcement. This initiative will involve local, national or regional initiatives for promoting spiritual convergence and commonality of social purpose. The implementation of equal citizenship rights will gradually weaken discrimination, whether gender-related or based on other specificities including inter alia disability, ethnic or religious origin, age bracket, access to employment, health care, or sharing of resources;</p> <p>6. To guarantee respect for the equality of women and men, girls and boys, within families, local communities, and society at large, by integrating in all efforts the promotion and the implementation of equal citizenship rights. Gender discrimination with respect to citizenship rights is a salient issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. In many parts of the world there are States that deny female citizens equal rights with male citizens with regard to acquiring, changing and retaining their nationality, and to conferring nationality to non-national spouses or children. Religious traditions can and should play an important role in understanding and accompanying societal changes as they address progress toward recognizing equality between women and men and to prevent potential tensions between such evolving social mores and traditional teachings and practices;</p> <p>7. To promote equal citizenship rights as a sustained objective, starting with its implementation at school level. Education about, through and for equal citizenship rights can only be achieved by promoting a change in national policies, reviewing school development plans and developing inclusive classrooms and teaching methodologies. Decision-makers must acknowledge and embrace the idea that equal citizenship education is essential to promote peace, dialogue and social cohesion as well as to alleviate social tensions;</p> <p>8. To encourage political and civil authorities to dialogue with spiritual leadership in order to assist in promoting inter-religious literacy and in applying ethical principles to the local context. Whether religion is central or either marginal or absent from public discourse in a given country, while at the same time being central to social components thereof, it is important to encourage the state authorities including those that identify as secular, to engage with the relevant religious traditions thus enlisting the collaboration and understanding of all to prevent potential social and/or religious tension or conflict;</p> <p>9. To respect within and between all countries, whether there is a separation between State and faiths or not, the right to freedom of religion and ensure that public laws and policies are applied equitably through an inclusive approach to religious diversity and not through exclusion of their public and private expression, so as to comply with article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights;</p> <p>10. To spread equal citizenship rights as the gateway to the concept of global citizenship, a gateway in other words, to world peace.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" height="66"></p> <p><small>Last updated 14 July 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sun, 08 Jul 2018 09:30:10 +0000 admin 931 at http://iefworld.org http://iefworld.org/node/931#comments