International Environment Forum - A Bahá'í inspired organization for environment and sustainability en IEF 22nd Conference <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">IEF 22nd Conference</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 10-14</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">9. June 2018 - 0:33</span> Fri, 08 Jun 2018 21:33:30 +0000 admin 927 at Leaves - June IEF newsletter is available <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Leaves - June 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">15. June 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="/newslt108"><strong><em>Leaves</em></strong> 20(6) June 2018</a> light text version with fewer illustrations.<br /> Download as a <a href="/fl/IEF_Leaves180615.pdf">pdf version</a> [0.9 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> Fri, 15 Jun 2018 19:40:52 +0000 admin 255 at UN Secretariat Reform on Sustainable Development <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">UN Secretariat Reform on Sustainable Development</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. June 2018 - 20:45</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/70" hreflang="en">United Nations</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">Sustainable Development</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);">UN Secretariat Reform on Sustainable Development</h2> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>The United Nations Secretary-General is moving ahead with his reforms within the UN Secretariat. After achieving gender balance in all his senior appointments, he has now reorganised the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, responsible for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. The following is a summary of the new divisions (edited from <a href=""></a>).</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development</h3> <p>The Office supports the work of the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). It works with Member States, other UNDESA divisions, the UN system entities, NGOs and other major groups and other stakeholders of society to support the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda by UN intergovernmental bodies.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Division for Sustainable Development Goals</h3> <p>The Division for Sustainable Development Goals will act as the Secretariat for SDGs, focusing on providing substantive support and capacity building to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their related thematic issues, including water, energy, climate, ocean, urbanization, transport, science and technology, the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), partnerships and SIDS. It will organize focal teams on the Sustainable Development Goals and their interlinkages, including UN-Ocean, UN-Water, UN-Energy, UN Transport and UN-climate. It will also play a key role on evaluation of system-wide implementation of the 2030 Agenda and on advocacy and outreach activities relating to Sustainable Development Goals.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Population Division</h3> <p>The Division produces constantly updated demographic estimates and projections for all countries, including data essential for the monitoring of the progress in achieving the SDGs, developing and disseminating new methodologies, leading the substantive preparations for the United Nations major conferences on population and development. It studies population dynamics and monitors demographic trends and policies worldwide. Population estimates and projections prepared by the Division for all countries – on fertility, mortality, international migration, urbanization, and population size and structure – are widely used.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government</h3> <p>The Division focuses on analyzing and supporting efforts to make institutions inclusive, effective, accountable and well-equipped to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as reflected in SDG 16. By focusing on building strong institutions and governance for the 2030 Agenda, the Division assists UN intergovernmental bodies in reflecting on the role of institutions as an integral part of their examination of the SDGs. The Division nurtures a multi-stakeholder dialogue on transforming institutions and building people’s trust in them at the annual UN Public Service Forum. Its analysis and capacity development activities help governments reflect on how to organize, mobilize and equip all parts of national and local government and public servants for implementing the SDGs, placing a special focus on policy integration, coherence and innovation. The Division also focuses on information and communication technologies (ICTs) whose transformative role is highlighted in the 2030 Agenda.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Financing for Sustainable Development Office</h3> <p>The Office provides coherent and integrated support to Member States in addressing the issues related to financing for development, as well as the means of implementation for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It plays a critical role in supporting various work streams to mobilize the means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to strengthen the United Nations cooperation with other international organizations in the area of fiscal affairs.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Division for Inclusive Social Development</h3> <p>The Division seeks to strengthen international cooperation for achieving social inclusion and the reduction of inequalities, by fostering effective policy impact and intensified global dialogue on social development issues. The Division is the main vehicle for promoting the social dimensions of the 2030 Agenda, particularly in the areas of inequality, poverty eradication, productive employment and decent work, family, cooperatives and the social inclusion of older persons, youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and persons marginalized from society. It is responsible for coordinating the entire scope of social development progress and implementation. The Division takes an integrated and multidimensional approach to its work to address and analyze policy issues, working at the interlinkages and overlaps of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, as well as at the intersections of development, rights and peace-building, to provide coherent, evidence-based policy advice.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Statistics Division</h3> <p>The Division is a global centre for data on all subject matters, bringing to the world statistical information compiled by the entire UN system. It is committed to the advancement of the global statistical system, by compiling and disseminating global statistical information, developing standards and norms for statistical activities, and supporting countries’ efforts to strengthen their national statistical systems. It also facilitates the coordination of international statistical activities and supports the functioning of the United Nations Statistical Commission.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Economic Analysis and Policy Division</h3> <p>The Economic Analysis and Policy Division (EAPD) provides research and policy analysis on global macroeconomic trends and prospects, frontier issues, emerging issues, and issues associated with countries in special situations, in the broad context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. EAPD manages capacity development projects in developing countries, providing assistance through research, training and workshops.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">United Nations Forum on Forests</h3> <p>The Secretariat is the UN DESA focal point on all forest policy and forest-based sustainable development issues. It promotes sustainable forest management based on the 2030 Agenda, the Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration, Forest Principles, Global Objectives on Forests, and the UN Forest Instrument. It provides substantive support to the annual sessions of the Forum, prepares technical reports and analytical studies, and fosters dialogue to enhance cooperation and coordination on forest issues. It provides a comprehensive and integrated view of forests which encompasses economic, social and environmental aspects.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Capacity Development Office</h3> <p>The Office provides strategic support to the effective translation of the outcomes of intergovernmental processes in the areas of economic, social and environmental development, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, into the Department’s operational programmes and capacity development work. It assists the Department in delivering integrated policy advisory services and other forms of capacity development support drawing on the expertise of UN DESA’s subprogrammes, as a contribution to the formulation of national sustainable development strategies. These include the identification of policy options to balance the achievement of social, economic, and environmental goals. The Office promotes a more coherent and coordinated system-wide approach in implementing the 2030 Agenda including the SDGs.</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 8 June March 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 08 Jun 2018 17:45:17 +0000 admin 926 at New Shape Forum and Prize <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">New Shape Forum and Prize</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">4. June 2018 - 1:47</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/51" hreflang="en">Governance</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);"> New Shape Forum, Stockholm</h2> </div> <p>Two members of the International Environment Forum, Maja Groff and Arthur Dahl, together with Augusto Lopez-Claros, submitted a proposal to reform the UN Charter to the New Shape Prize competition organized in 2017 by the Global Challenges Foundation. The proposal was one of 14 finalists invited to Stockholm, Sweden, on 25-30 May 2018, for the New Shape Forum and final judging for the US$ 1.8 million New Shape Prize, and came in first. This is the report on the New Shape Forum.</p> <hr> <p>The Global Challenges Foundation (<a href=""></a>) was founded in 2012 by Swedish financial analyst and author Laszlo Szombatfalvy, with the aim to contribute to reducing the main global problems and risks that threaten humanity. </p> <p>The Foundation is particularly concerned about a number of risks that could threaten the existence of at least a tenth of the Earth’s population, referred to as global catastrophic risks. These include climate change, other large-scale environmental damage, politically motivated violence, extreme poverty and population growth. These five main challenges are interdependent and influence each other detrimentally, requiring immediate joint action by the world’s states. As these risks include the greatest threats to humanity, they should be on top of the international political agenda in order to ensure safety for existing and future generations. </p> <p>In November 2016, the Global Challenges Foundation launched a global prize competition, “<b>The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape</b>”, which challenged thinkers all over the world to formulate proposals for new models of how the major global risks could be managed more effectively and equitably to avoid an extreme global catastrophe in coming decades. The New Shape Prize was the biggest competition of its kind, seeking improved frameworks of global governance of global catastrophic risks. During the time it was open for submissions from November 2016 to September 2017, it received 2,702 entries from 122 countries. There were proposals from people in every continent and from diverse backgrounds – from academic institutions, think tanks, researchers, and business, to university students and non-governmental organisations. Regional selection panels went through all the entries, and a global selection panel identified about a hundred semifinalists from which 14 finalists were presented to the final jury at <b>The New Shape Forum</b> in Stockholm, Sweden, on 27-29 May 2018 (<a href=""></a>).</p> <hr> <div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">The New Shape Forum</h2> <p> <img src="/gr/NSFgroup.jpg" alt="New Shape Forum"><br> <small>Participants in the New Shape Forum</small> </p> </div> <h3 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">Public event and presentations to the jury</h3> <p>The first day was a public event that addressed two questions: <b>How well are the greatest risks to humanity governed today? What are the latest ideas on how to fix them?</b> There were keynotes, panels, and short presentations by each of the finalists with questions from the jury. More than 200 participants came together with the aim of reshaping global governance to better tackle global catastrophic risks. </p> <p>The opening keynote was given by Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, on the <b>Global Challenges the UN is Facing</b>. He noted both the UN's accomplishments and progress made, and the changes in the world over the last 70 years that make the UN unfit for present challenges. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals provide a roadmap for the way ahead, requiring a paradigm shift. The UN needs to take on climate change, the financial system, the gap between rich and poor, the trust deficit, and those walking away from values and norms. He looked forward to the proposals coming out of the Forum.</p> <img src="/gr/NSFMoller180528.jpg" alt="Michael Moller"><br> <small>Michael Møller</small> <p>The first panel on <b>Global Governance: What is it, how does it affect you, and what is its current shape? </b>included Inge Kaul (Adjunct Professor, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin), Yang Zheyu (Opinion Editor of Caixin Global), Paul Dickinson (Executive Chair, Carbon Disclosure Project), and Malini Mehra (CEO, Globe International)</p> <p>The panel described the UN as buildings for meetings of States, reflecting the power politics of States, and civil society had to fight to get in. Now there are companies bigger than most states, and through their lobbying the world is now run by business. It will be important to get corporate money out of politics. With some countries now preferring bilateral to multilateral relationships, the future depends on how countries manage their disagreements. They still look at national interests first, not the global public good. There are bits and pieces of global governance but they do not add up to systemic integrity.</p> <h3 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">Presentations by the finalists to the jury</h3> <p>The finalists of the New Shape Prize then presented their proposals before the jury, chaired by Maria Ivanova (Professor of Global Governance and director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, Boston), with Reshma Anand (founder of the Earthy Goods Foundation, India), Susan Avery (President Emeritus of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA), Jacques Marcovitch (board member of IHEID-Graduate Institute of International Relations and Development Studies, Geneva, and Professor of Environmental Management and International Affairs, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil), Julia Marton-Lefèvre (former Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and former Rector of University for Peace), Wanjira Mathai (Wangari Maathai Institute, Kenya), Folke Tersman (Chair Professor of Practical Philosophy at Uppsala University, Sweden), and Anote Tong (former president of Kiribati).</p> <img src="/gr/NSFjury180527_11.jpg" alt="Final jury"><br> <small>Final jury: Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati; Wanjira Mathai (Kenya), Susan Avery (USA), Reshma Anand (India), Julia Marton-Lefèvre (Hungary / France / USA), Jacques Marcovitch (Brazil), Folke Tersman (Sweden), Maria Ivanova, Jury Chair (Bulgaria)</small> <h3 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">The finalists</h3> <p><b><a href="">A truly global partnership - helping the UN to do itself out of a job</a></b><br> Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of the United Nations Association – UK</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">A Global League of Sustainable Cities</a></b><br> Adrian Mihălțianu, science fiction author and journalist, Romania</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">Evolutionary Organisation</a></b><br> Morya Short, programme designer, facilitator and coach, UK</p> <hr> <p><img src="/gr/NSF_Groff180527_26.jpg" alt="Maja Groff"> <small>Maja Groff</small></p> <p><b><a href="">Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</a></b><br> - Augusto Lopez-Claros, Senior Fellow, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and World Bank, Bolivia/USA<br> - Arthur Lyon Dahl, President, International Environment Forum and retired senior official of UN Environment, Switzerland<br> - Maja Groff, international lawyer based in The Hague, Canada/Netherlands<br> (<a href="">see the full proposal</a>) </p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">Planetary Condominium: the legal framework for the Common Home of Humanity</a></b><br> - Paulo Miguel Ferreira Magalhães, jurist and researcher, CIJE-Center for Legal and Economic Research, University of Porto, Portugal<br> - Will Steffen, Earth system scientist; Councillor, Climate Council of Australia; Emeritus Professor, Australian National University (ANU), Canberra; Senior Fellow, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden; Fellow, Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Stockholm<br> - Maria Alexandra de Sousa Aragão, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra, Portugal<br> - Katherine Meyer, Director, Ecometrics, New Zealand<br> - Leena Iyengar, Director, Tune Into Earth, Geneva, Switzerland<br> - Alessandro Galli, International Coordinator, Common Home of Humanity Initiative, and Senior Scientist and Mediterranean-MENA Program Director, Global Footprint Network, Italy</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">Global Governance by Cooperative Communities</a></b><br> Stephan Bettzieche, Katharina Peter, PacELNoroc civil society initiative, Germany</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">A (Simplified) Blockchain Approach to Non-Coercive, Decentralized Global Governance</a></b><br> John R. Bowley, Attorney, USA</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">The “Sponsored Loans Program” – How to Mobilize Private Sector into Global Development</a></b><br> Eduardo Pascual Pouteau, Cofounder, Contrarian-View, and consultant for the World Bank, Spain/USA</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">Social Conditionality in Patents: Achieving a Paradigm Change in Private Sector Participation</a></b><br> Thomas Höhne-Sparborth, Director, Economics and Analytics, Roskill, Netherlands</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">Emergent Dynamic Governance Ecosystems (EDGE project)</a></b><br> Andrew Goldring, Chief Executive, Permaculture Association, UK</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">A Club-Based Model of Global Governance</a></b><br> Luca Rade, student at Princeton University, USA</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">Basic Tax Control</a></b><br> Aleksandar Ristevski, author and IT professional, Ukraine</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">Insurance-based Global Governance</a></b><br> Len Fisher, scientist, writer and broadcaster, and Senior Research Fellow, School of Physics, University of Bristol, UK</p> <hr> <p><b><a href="">AI-supported global governance through bottom-up deliberation</a></b><br> Soushiant Zanganehpour, social scientist, entrepreneur and Founder/CEO/Architect of Swae, Canada/UK</p> <hr> <h3 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">Four panels followed:</h3> <p><b>The UN: Reforms and New Global Actors</b>, with Maher Nasser (Director, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information), Yang Yao (Director, China Center for Economic Research, Peking University), John Mukum Mbaku (Professor of Economics, Weber State University), and Rama Mani (Convenor of the Enacting Global Transformation Collaborative Initiative, University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies, Founder of Theatre of Transformation Academy)</p> <p>The panel noted that the moderate proposals of the 1995 Commission on Global Governance did not come to much, although there is more involvement of civil society and all stakeholders. The new Secretary-General is also pushing ahead with reforms, with more women than men in the Senior Management Group, and aiming for gender parity at all levels. More reform is needed for cross-country issues like climate change and migration. The UN should become a people-driven organization, promoting the values that matter to its stakeholders, especially those that have been marginalized like indigenous peoples, women, the poor and youth. Poverty is the main problem. Students see no jobs after graduation. People need help to develop their own capacities. The UN should help countries with dysfunctional governments to maintain the rule of law and provide basic social services. The veto power is difficult to step around, and UN resolutions are not implemented, so mechanisms are needed to enforce binding agreements. The major machinery should be reformed before 2020.</p> <hr> <p><b>Key Risks threatening Human Existance: What is being done about them?</b></p> <p>Janos Pasztor (Senior Fellow, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and Executive Director, Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative), Ruhee Neog (Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi), Mosoka Fallah (Deputy Director for Technical Services, National Public Health Institute of Liberia), and Philip Osano (Deputy Centre Director, Capacity Development and Partnership, Stockholm Environment Institute, Africa)</p> <p>For the panel, the world is getting scarier, with rising risks of the use of nuclear weapons. Emerging technologies are leading to new vulnerabilities. We are facing environmental collapse and climate change, while the economic system does not signal environment impacts and growth is destroying our life support systems. There are 1300 multilateral environmental agreements, but they are voluntary with no enforcement. Pandemics are another threat, with climate change amplifying outbreaks. We need carbon removal from the atmosphere to reach climate change targets, but there is no governance for solar geoengineering proposals which may not be reversible. Governments make irrational decisions. Which is more terrifying, climate change or geoengineering solutions? There is tension between local and global governance mechanisms. The geopolitical situation is more insecure, requiring more cross-domain conversations and holistic policy perspectives. Today we are deciding for generations to come.</p> <hr> <p><b>What is the power of visionary thinking to change institutions? A discussion between two pragmatic visionaries</b>, Helen Goulden (CEO, The Young Foundation), and Maina Kiai (Co-director, InformAction, and Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association)</p> <p>This dialogue highlighted the importance of visionary thinking to overcome our fear of change. There is no incentive for civil servants to make decisions if mistakes are fatal. The UN is more resistant to change because there is no benefit to doing anything right. Human rights are still a constant struggle. There is a rebellion against the elites who think they deserve to be there, but this is leading to populism and the new serfdom of the gig economy. Change must come from both the bottom up and the top down. Desperate communities need to rise up and find their own solutions, bringing respect to the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. How do we deal with rotten corrupt societies that glorify in theft, with two thirds of young people saying it is fine to be corrupt and benefit from one’s position? We must change our cultures.</p> <hr> <p><b>Overcoming Challenges in Relating to the UN and Global Catastrophic Risks</b>, with Anthony Banbury (formerly United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support), Hajer Sharief (Co-founder, Together We Build It, Libya), and Cristina Manzano (Editor-in-chief, Esglobal).</p> <p>One key issue for this panel was the challenge of informing the public of risks when the media are changing so rapidly, and the Internet revolution is making old news outlets disappear, while we are overwhelmed by too much information. Global issues are pushed out by local and national events that attract clicks. What news is available reflects a mostly Western world view. There have been some successes like the global network against corruption and the save-the-bees campaign. The UN is essential, but it is failing, facing backwards and changing too slowly, influenced by the most important states. It is input-driven rather than looking at outcomes. It does not reflect the pressing needs of today. People feel disconnected from it. It is important to build bridges between the global and local. The UN needs to be relevant to people on the ground. If you are affected by a local issue, you are the expert. The Ebola crisis pushed the UN to create an emergency health mission, engaging with communities, using local leaders as communications channels. The challenge is to create global narratives when the global does not affect everyone the same way. There is a growing global consciousness, changing the parameters in society against injustice. Each of us can do something, for example against plastic pollution. No other organization can find solutions, so what can we do to support the UN?</p> <hr> <h3 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">Second day of the Forum</h3> <p>The second and third days were more interactive. Notable policy-makers in global governance and cooperation and leading academics, among others, came together in the beautiful setting of Münchenbryggeriet, Stockholm, for creative workshops and discussions to examine what the future of global governance could look like.</p> <p>Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Center, a board member of the Global Challenges Foundation, and a leading researcher on planetary boundaries, provided a scientific overview of the catastrophic risks that have emerged in the last 50 years with the Anthropocene, when human impacts have reached planetary scale, causing climate change and pushing us over planetary boundaries. The world needs governance capabilities for global catastrophic risks that are operational, legitimate, viable and scalable.</p> <p>Carin Ism, Executive Director of the Global Challenges Foundation, presented the challenges for the forum. We must raise the level of global governance if we are to reduce the risks. There were so many ideas in the 2,700 entries for the New Shape Prize. We need to refine these ideas and put together many more. The GCF Library has all the semi-final propositions as building blocks. The GCF is working with the Stockholm School of Economics on business risk. We need to inspire and organize individuals to work together, and form groups to take these proposals further towards acceptance and make them operational. In the next phase, the GCF will support groups on the reform of existing institutions within global decision making, new institutions within traditional global decision making, beyond traditional global decision making, and the emergence of a movement for global governance reform.</p> <p>The participants were divided into work streams on:<br> - New models for global decision-making<br> - Reforming existing models for global decision-making<br> - Global governance beyond traditional political systems and mechanisms.<br> They were asked how to approach operationality, legitimacy, and viability to create change.</p> <hr> <h3 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">Third day of the Forum</h3> <p>The third day opened with a keynote by Margot Wallstrom, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs.</p> <p>She emphasized the power of multilateralism and the 2030 Agenda as a unique framework for equitable and sustainable development, with national government implementation plus multistakeholder partnerships. The UN needs the capacity to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, with its targets for measuring progress. More inputs are needed from behavioural scientist if we are to change behaviour for our grandchildren’s future. The top Swedish priority in their feminist government was more actors and more engagement in society to do their share, since national and global issues cannot be separated. She saw four challenges: the increasing complexity of issues, requiring a long-term planning perspective of generations; the emergence of new powers, both state and non-state actors; defending the legitimacy of democracy, western liberal values and the freedom of the press against those for whom multilateralism is no longer a given; and mastering technological innovation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The international order needs to be strengthened and reformed for a multipolar and highly changeable world, with inclusive globalization to spread economic benefits more evenly, and a social dialogue on decent work. We all have a personal responsibility to be kinder and do something unselfish. We cannot give up if we are to make the world a better place to live in. She wished good luck to the winners of the New Shape Prize.</p> <hr> <p>The collaborative work-streams prepared presentations to share and discuss with all the forum participants</p> <hr> <h3 style="color: rgb(0, 51, 51);">Gala Prize Awards Ceremony</h3> <p>The New Shape Forum concluded on the evening of 29 May with the New Shape Prize Awards Ceremony Gala, where the winners were to be announced. The dinner was entirely vegan.</p> <p><img src="/gr/NSFfinalists-NSP.jpg" alt="Finalists for New Shape Prize"><br> <small>Finalists for the New Shape Prize</small></p> <p>Mats Andersson, Vice Chairman, Board of the Global Challenges Foundation, announced the winners of the New Shape Prize.</p> <p>The distinguished final jury, led by Professor Maria Ivanova, selected the following three proposals out of the 14 put forward by the semi-final review panel:</p> <p> <img src="/gr/NSFDiapositive1.jpg" alt="Global Governance"> </p> <p><img src="/gr/NSFDiapositive2.jpg" alt="Global Institutions table"></p> <p>"<b>Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</b>"<br> Augusto Lopez-Claros, Arthur Lyon Dahl, Maja P.C.E. Groff</p> <p>"<b>A truly global partnership - helping the UN to do itself out of a job</b>"<br> Natalie Samarasinghe</p> <p>“<b>AI-supported global governance through bottom-up deliberation</b>"<br> Soushiant Zanganehpour</p> <img src="/gr/NSFAward180529s.jpg" alt="Award"><br> <small>Maja Groff, Arthur Dahl, Laszlo Szombatfalvy, Natalie Samarasinghe, Soushiant Zanganehpour</small> <p>The Global Challenges Foundation decided to award a total of USD 1.8 million, rewarding the three submissions with USD 600,000 each. Speaking about the process, Professor Ivanova noted that “This competition has unleashed the creativity of thousands of people around the world and has launched a new community of thinkers, advocates and doers.”</p> <p>An invitation was extended to participate in the Paris Peace Forum next November.</p> <hr> <p>The New Shape Prize initiative had an ambitious goal: to inspire ideas and stimulate debate around new, more effective forms of global cooperation at the highest levels about how the world community manages global catastrophic risks, ranging from climate change effects to weapons of mass destruction. The New Shape Forum was a starting point in efforts to reshape global cooperation in order to better tackle global catastrophic risks based on the proposals put forward in the New Shape Prize. The best ideas from the New Shape Prize can be improved and repurposed for individual objectives and concerns in companies, cities, organizations and communities. </p> <p>The New Shape Forum marked the starting point of a new phase in the Global Challenges Foundation’s efforts to find new global governance models. It will support the reworking and refinement of the best ideas toward more holistic models that emerge from this process. Working groups began to convene at the Forum and will continue to develop frameworks for global governance. As the models evolve over the next five months, these ideas will come to life, and the most promising ones will be presented in Paris in November at the Paris Peace Forum. </p> <hr> <p>For the report with more pictures, see <a href=""></a></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 15 June 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sun, 03 Jun 2018 22:47:00 +0000 admin 925 at BIC/IEF Contributions to Talanoa Dialogue <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">BIC/IEF Contributions to Talanoa Dialogue</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">5. May 2018 - 14:02</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);">BIC/IEF Contributions to Talanoa Dialogue</h2> <p>Bonn, Germany, 6 May 2018 </p> </div> <p>The Fijian presidency of COP23 under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change launched the <a href="">Talanoa Dialogue</a>, named for a Fijian tradition of trust building through story telling, to prepare governments for increasing ambition in their greenhouse gas reductions before COP24. The International Environment Forum submitted a first written contribution in March 2018: <a href=""></a>. Face-to-face dialogues were then organized at the Bonn Climate Change Conference on 6 May 2018, with seven dialogues in circles each consisting of 30 state party representatives, with 5 representatives of other stakeholders in rotation each addressing one of three questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?. Each participant was given 3 minutes to tell a story, and could then take part in the following discussion. The stories were intended to be positive and encouraging, inspiring others to increase their ambition. The Talanoa Dialogue brought an example of constructive consultation sharing a diversity of perspectives and experience in support of a formal diplomatic negotiating process. Two IEF members participated in these dialogues.</p> <p><img src="/gr/ENB_SB48_6May18_KiaraWorth-24Rakiraki.jpg" alt="Talanoa Rakiraki Dialogue"><br> <small><a href="">Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth</a></small> </p> <p>The Bahá'í International Community, represented in the UNFCCC by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, in partnership with the IEF, was accepted to participate in one of the dialogues on the question "How do we get there?" with IEF President Arthur Dahl as the representative. The following is the story shared in the dialogue in Bonn. </p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <i> <p>My story is about faith-based organizations in the Bahá'í International Community, represented in the UNFCCC by the Bahá'ís of the United States, that are working around the world to build resilient communities and stimulate social action at the grassroots.</p> <p>The International Environment Forum is a Bahá'í-inspired professional organization with members in over 70 countries including Fiji. Our members have worked for a decade developing educational materials on climate change and community resilience that incorporate interfaith, intercultural and indigenous perspectives, and empower local involvement and action. These are implemented on line, in local communities and, for example, in a national programme in Vanuatu. This experience could easily be replicated.</p> <p>In many countries, political leaders do not want to get too far ahead of public opinion, and will only raise their ambitions if they know that they have public understanding and support. Informing the public about the science of climate change is not sufficient to change attitudes or behaviour if it is not coupled with messages with ethical, moral or spiritual content that trigger an emotional involvement and motivation to change. This requires public education that reaches wider constituencies beyond those already concerned about climate change.</p> <p>Religious communities and their faith-based organizations are already heavily involved in education, and can spread climate messages linked to their spiritual teachings, as in the Pope's <a href="">Encyclical</a>, the <a href="">Islamic Declaration on Climate Change</a>, and <a href="">Bahá'í International Community statements</a> on the topic. Indigenous communities, with deeply-held values and concern about climate change affecting their future, can also be assisted to share relevant climate messages.</p> <p>Governments and the UNFCCC can identify such potential additional partners in public education about climate change and the need for action. These organizations and communities have strong ethical frameworks and public trust. They may need assistance to understand the science of climate change in culturally relevant ways, so that they can relate this to their own values and develop educational programmes to build motivation for change in individual lifestyles and consumption patterns, in support of government ambition. Our Bahá'í experience can serve as a model for similar action in other communities and countries.</p> <p>We encourage governments to partner with the many faith-based, civil society and indigenous groups in their country to expand educational outreach on climate change, combining science and ethics, to build wide support for their enhanced commitments under the Paris Agreement.</p> </i> <hr> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">IEF RESOURCES on climate change education referred to in the story</h3> <p>Courses on the Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate change<br> - English: <a href=""></a><br> - French: <a href=""></a><br> - Spanish: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Climate Change Disaster Risk Reduction in Vanuatu (case study): <a href=""></a></p> <p>IEF Contributions to COP21 on community resilience, accountability and education: <a href=""></a></p> <hr> <p><img src="/gr/ENB_SB48_6May18_KiaraWorth-38Kadavu.jpg" alt="Talanoa Kadavu Dialogue"><br> <small><a href="">Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth</a></small></p> <p>IEF governing board member Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen also participated in the Talanoa Dialogue representing Wageningen University where she teaches. She was in a circle addressing the question "Where are we?". She has a particular interest in the effectiveness of intergovernmental processes and holding governments accountable for what they agree to. The following is her story.</p> <i> <p>This is the story of a species with a unique capacity for science and morality that inhabits a beautiful blue planet. As a result of a tumultuous history its members are divided into some 200 countries. These countries are finding more and more reasons to unite to address common challenges. The changing climate is one example. After many years of struggle they agreed on an accord with a common objective. Joy and celebrations! In this accord countries accepted to do their very best to address climate change. As was their habit – however – they did not want to prescribe how much each country should do. </p> <p>So to make sure that the total contributions are sufficient to reach their common objective they created a mechanism of global reflection on past action every five years. Each country then has to consider the outcome of this when deciding how much they will do next. This is a collective accountability mechanism. Accountability can be defined as being about telling a story, based on some obligation and with some consequences. </p> <p>We are now in a trial run of this mechanism. This we know. But we do not know how obligatory story telling at global level can have sufficient national consequences. We can develop two sets of questions to find out.</p> <p>First, how do we tell our stories and reflect on them at the global level?</p> <p>• How do we create an environment of amity and trust for sharing stories of both failure and success for mutual learning?</p> <p>• How earnest and uplifting can we make our collective deliberations based on these stories?</p> <p>Second, how do we bring the global reflection home to our countries?</p> <p>• How open and timely are our national climate planning cycles to consider the outcome of the global reflection?</p> <p>• How much do parliamentarians and other domestic actors support considering national responsibilities in light of a global perspective? And how can these actors hold the government to account for its climate policy?</p> <p>Even more relevant is: how do we hold ourselves to account? Do we regularly look ourselves in the mirror, reflect on our own actions and compare those to our ethical standards? And if we find a mismatch do we strengthen our pledge to do our best to support the Paris Agreement?</p> <p>Finally, do we go home from here and have uplifting and meaningful conversations with our family members, co-workers, friends and strangers to accompany others towards such self-reflection? Then we can say this process is about facilitative accountability. </p> </i> <hr> <p>The Fiji-inspired Talanoa Dialogue is quite close to the Bahá'í concept of consultation in a constructive spirit of sharing diverse experiences in support of decision-making, explicitly asking for respectful and constructive interactions, building empathy and trust as the objective and avoiding naming and shaming. In a reflection session on the Dialogue on 8 May all countries expressed appreciation for the approach and several pointed out how it added emotional aspects and values as important. As one delegate said: "We went into the dialogue knowing and came out understanding." Some governments made proposals to continue the Talanoa Dialogue process beyond COP24, but in this year there is strong encouragement to organize Talanoa Dialogues at national and local levels. You all might explore if there are opportunities where you are to participate. </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 9 May 2018</small></p> </div> </div> Sat, 05 May 2018 11:02:02 +0000 admin 923 at Information: private property or public good? <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Information: private property or public good?</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">12. April 2018 - 13:07</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;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Information: private property or public good?</h2> </div> <p>On 15 February, I gave a TEDx talk at the Institut National Polytechnique: École Nationale Supérieure d’Électrotechnique, d’Électronique, d’Informatique, d’Hydraulique et des Télécommunications (INP ENSEEIHT), Université de Toulouse, France, on the topic "Information: private property or public good?". The full series of TEDx talks that day in French can be seen on YouTube at TEDxINPENSEEIHT. My talk is at <a href=""></a>. This article is the English translation of what I shared with the students in Toulouse with a few added quotes from the Bahá'í writings.</p> <hr /> <p>We are living in an information age, and corporations built on information technologies have become the wealthiest and most powerful in the world. But behind this is a fundamental problem that has not been properly debated. Should information be considered private property to be bought and sold, or a public good accessible to everyone like the air we breathe?</p> <p>In 18th century England, the aristocrats decided to fence the pastures and make them their property, leaving peasants who formerly grazed their flocks there without resources. This was the privatization of the commons. Today we are experiencing a new privatization of the commons as knowledge and information that used to be freely available becomes the property of multinational corporations intent on managing it for maximum profit. With the medium of the new information technologies and social networks, we are all exploited to extract our information, which is assembled in "big data" without any benefit to us in return. On the contrary, our information is used to target us with the advertisements we will be most susceptible to, and the news that will reinforce our prejudices and confirmation biases.</p> <p>This presents us all, and society in general, with an ethical challenge: where is the common good in all this? Two questions will illustrate the problem.</p> <p>Is there a human right to access information, or is it normal that we have to pay for it? Perhaps we should distinguish between information to which we should have a right, such as news of the world, and other content, such as for entertainment, that we should expect to pay for. And for those who cannot afford to pay for information, is it damaging for society that they do not have access? Inequality in access to information is as unjust as extremes of poverty and wealth.</p> <blockquote>"Arts, crafts and sciences uplift the world of being, and are conducive to its exaltation. Knowledge is as wings to man's life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone." (Baha'u'llah)</blockquote> <p>Second, how should we reward the creators of information? Is profit the only motive for creation and innovation? What about scientific curiosity, the desire to help others or to advance civilization? Are we inherently selfish, or can altruistic motivations be more important? How do we encourage creation for the common good, for everyone's benefit? For individuals, an ethical education and spiritual motivation will be determinant. For corporations, which today are driven only by profit, we need to add a social motivation and responsibility to be of service to society. Profit should be one measure of efficiency among others, but not an end in itself.</p> <p>A few cases will illustrate the problem. We have built a system for intellectual property rights, including patents, trade marks, and copyright, enshrined in national law and managed globally by the UN World Intellectual Property Organization. Patents are the foundation of modern industries, and are intended to make new discoveries public in exchange for a limited period (usually 20 years) of exclusive rights. There has always been a debate about whether intellectual discoveries should be considered property, and the WIPO tries to balance public and private interests. The system is legally cumbersome, with constant lawsuits that often benefit the biggest and richest, but it has serious drawbacks. For example, a poor sick person could be cured by a patented medicine, but he will die because it is priced to maximize dividends to the shareholders. For a new discovery that could improve the welfare of everyone, should we have to wait 20 years before all can benefit, while the rich enjoy it first?</p> <p>Agriculture is an interesting case, because two parallel systems of innovation have existed since the mid-twentieth century. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) coordinates research centers around the world that maintain seed banks for important crops and share seeds freely as they make crosses adapted to each local situation. They were behind the green revolution of the 1970s that allowed India to go from a country of famines to a food exporter. Alongside this, the multinational agroindustries produce patented seeds, some with genetic engineering, adapted to their herbicides and other agricultural chemicals that they sell around the world for large-scale intensive agriculture, all designed to maximize their profits. In Canada, they so control prices that farmers are always close to bankruptcy, while all the profits of the agricultural sector are captured by corporate interests. Are monopoly monocultures or sustainable ecological diversity more in the common interest?</p> <p>Even worse, with the new information technologies of remote sensing, drones and other instruments, the same multinationals can offer information services on the state of crops and the localized treatments needed. These help farmers to increase productivity, but all that information is captured by the corporations in big data that allows them to see the larger picture and to manipulate the whole agricultural system to maximize their profits, while farmers simply become passive consumers.</p> <p>Another case is that of genetic information increasingly privatized by multinationals. For example the company that discovered certain mutations favouring breast cancer patented them, so that anyone wanting to know if they were carriers had to go to them for expensive testing. One woman whose results were inconclusive wanted a second opinion, but the company refused to give her the analyses, and only a long court case finally ruled that genes should not be patented.</p> <p>Even access to scientific discoveries has largely been privatized, as the major journals have increasingly been bought up by multinational scientific publishers who protect everything by copyright and require payment to read each paper. Everything is available on line, but if you do not have access to an academic library that pays high subscription fees, you have to pay. I cannot even read my own publications, or those of my grandfather from a century ago, except for a high fee, up to $50. Scientist in poor countries are thus excluded from access to much scientific information, except the too few open access journals.</p> <p>Private property makes some sense for a scarce resource. If I eat a sandwich, you cannot eat it too. But information is not like that. It can be printed in a book (requiring payment for paper and printing but readable by many people ever after), but also broadcast over radio waves or sent to a screen, at no cost increase for the number of users. In fact, information becomes more valuable the more it is shared, benefiting thousands or millions of people without diminishing the original information. With the internet, free access is universally possible as a public utility, although some companies would like to privatize it.</p> <blockquote>"A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity." (Shoghi Effendi, 1936)</blockquote> <p>There are many benefits from the free access to information, from political transparency to health information and environmental warnings. It facilitates democracy and elections, and encourages public participation. It can also shed light on attempts to manipulate people, to incite hatred (as during the genocide in Ruanda), or even to wage cyberwarfare. It seems odd that the essential public service that journalism provides to keep us informed should largely be financed by advertising for things we do not need. The Guardian newspaper decided to make its articles freely available on line without ads, asking for contributions instead, and now receives more than it did from advertising.</p> <blockquote>" the sight of God knowledge is the greatest human virtue and the noblest human perfection. To oppose knowledge is pure ignorance, and he who abhors knowledge and learning is not a human being but a mindless animal. For knowledge is light, life, felicity, perfection, and beauty, and causes the soul to draw nigh to the divine threshold. It is the honour and glory of the human realm and the greatest of God’s bounties. Knowledge is identical to guidance, and ignorance is the essence of error." ('Abdu'l-Baha)</blockquote> <p>What are some other options for rewarding innovation and the creation of information and knowledge? There are public subsidies and research grants, employment as researchers in universities or institutes, prizes for innovation, and crowd-sourcing. Even the present system of intellectual property could be modified to guarantee the free access to information and discoveries, with a requirement that any profits from the use of those discoveries be shared with the original creator.</p> <p>From the perspective of system science, it is the exchange of information between the different components that allows the system to organize and function. The more highly evolved and productive a system is, the more developed and diversified are its networks of communication and coordination. Limiting the circulation of information by privatizing it deprives the poor and slows the advance of our civilization.</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 12 April 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title">Blog comments</h2> <a id="comment-48"></a> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="2427" about="/comment/48" typeof="schema:Comment" class="comment js-comment clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1527977268"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/2427" class="profile"> <a href="/blog/2427">View recent blog entries</a></article> <p class="comment__author"><span rel="schema:author"><span lang="" about="/user/2427" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dennis Worley</span></span> </p> <p class="comment__time">3. June 2018 - 1:07 <span property="schema:dateCreated" content="2018-06-02T22:07:48+00:00" class="rdf-meta hidden"></span> </p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/48#comment-48" hreflang="en">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3 property="schema:name" datatype=""><a href="/comment/48#comment-48" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Ever advancing civilization </a></h3> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Comment</div> <div property="schema:text" class="field__item"><p>Arthur's book  'The Eco Principle ' is, in my opinion, essential reading for all Baha'i's.</p> <p>My question is ....when is the next one to be released?</p> <p> </p></div> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=48&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="OrvEVqV-UezZv7CqEUFdTN7wkGEbOXOU7VDTkUNmtKE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </article> </section> Thu, 12 Apr 2018 10:07:17 +0000 Arthur Dahl 921 at IEF participation in the Justice Conference 2018 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">IEF participation in the Justice Conference 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">8. April 2018 - 18:01</span> <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 class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/242" hreflang="en">Justice</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);">IEF participation in the Justice Conference 2018</h2> </div> <p>The 23rd annual Justice Conference was held at the de Poort Conference Centre in the Netherlands on 30 March-2 April 2018. The International Environment Forum (IEF) previously partnered with the Justice Conference as its annual conference in 2017 (<a href=""></a>), so a number of IEF members were present again this year, including Iko Congo, Arthur Dahl, Maja Groff (conference organizer), Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Wendi Momen, Halldor Thorgeirsson, and David Willis. A side discussion on IEF over dinner allowed us to recruit some new members.</p> <!--break--> <p>The theme of this year’s conference was “Shining a Light of Illumination in Turbulent and Divided Times”, with both plenary presentations and parallel workshops over the three days. The opening plenary was by Michael Karlberg on “Power and the Baha’i Community”, and our turbulent and divided times were well illustrated by a presentation on the war in Yugoslavia, first-hand experiences of former Baha’i prisoners in Iran and Yemen, and the films “Mercy’s Blessing” and “The Cost of Discrimination”. This report focuses on the parts of the conference with direct IEF involvement.</p> <p>IEF members Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Wageningen University, and Halldor Thorgeirsson of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, together with Sjoerd Luteyn of, presented a plenary panel on “The Talanoa Dialogue under the Paris Agreement - Reflections on the illuminating Power of the Reflection-Action-Consultation Cycle”, as well as a follow-up workshop.</p> <p><img alt="Justice Conference" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/gr/Justice180331_12.jpg" /> . <img alt="Sjoerd Luteyn, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Halldor Thorgeirsson" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/gr/Justice180331_panel2.jpg" /><br /> <small>Justice Conference; Sjoerd Luteyn, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Halldor Thorgeirsson</small></p> <p>Halldor introduced the concept of the Talanoa Dialogue in implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. He has been responsible for organising the intergovernmental negotiations on climate change, and in particular the science-policy dialogue. The Paris negotiations revolved around a moral issue: how much global risk were governments willing to take to limit global warming to 1.5° or 2°C. These are indicators of different levels of global risk, with 2°C an existential risk for the most vulnerable countries. Do you give priority to the scientific necessity to minimize human impacts, especially on the poor, which is based on values and calls for justice, represented by the aspirational 1.5°C target, or do you favour economic and political feasibility, as an engineer would determine what is possible from empirical evidence, with an upper limit of 2°C? Reaching 1.5°C will require unprecedented rates of decarbonisation of the economy. The basis is the scientific assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the science-policy interface. Uniting on the necessity to limit warming to a responsible level should change feasibility and make the impossible possible, as the recent rapid expansion of the renewable energy sector is demonstrating. The big question is the legitimacy and efficacy of global arrangements based on national sovereignty. The Paris Agreement represented the beginning of a new governance paradigm, with clear objectives and national stocktaking, national leadership coupled with action at all levels, and international transparency through binding requirement for reporting. An inclusive global, regional and domestic conversation, keeping justice at the centre as a moral compass, will ensure cohesion between global and the local action through multi-level governance. The Talanoa Dialogue, inspired by a Fijian concept of story-telling to build trust, calls for governments and other stakeholders to share positive stories that can encourage further ambition. It forms a bridge between the global and the national, considering three questions: where we are, where we want to be, and how we get there. The Talanoa Dialogue is the precursor to the first comprehensive global stocktake under the Paris Agreement in 2023. Halldor concluded by saying that climate change is testing the moral fabric of the global community and the strength of its commitment to the principle of the unity of mankind.</p> <p>The Talanoa process is about the ambition of governments to reach the global warming target through a global process of reflection on past actions and what they have led to, future goals to reach and the steps to get there. Sylvia, in her presentation, explored the role of reflection to increase ambition, drawing on experiences from the Bahá’í community. The purpose of the Talanoa Dialogue is to share stories, and build empathy and trust, in order to advance knowledge through common understanding, encourage better decision-making for the collective good, and inform decision-making and increase ambition. It includes inputs to an online platform, and a face-to-face dialogue between government officials and non-state representatives in May, both reporting to the December Conference of the Parties. The method of learning in the Baha’i community includes cycles of reflection, consultation and action. The reflection meeting maintains unity of vision, sharpens clarity of thought and heightens enthusiasm, using a review of vital statistics to suggest the next set of goals to be adopted. The technique is used at multiple levels, enabling learning across the world. It is a process based on equality, containing careful analysis of experience through participatory discussions, providing an earnest and uplifting deliberation on all efforts of a community in an environment imbued with love, where shortcomings are overlooked with forbearance, obstacles are overcome with patience, and tested approaches are embraced with enthusiasm. She left it to the workshop to discuss how these criteria work in the Talanoa Dialogue.</p> <p>Sjoerd Luteyn spoke on “From despair to hope or unlocking the will to act” in which he shared what has learned from applying Action, Reflection and Consultation in a corporate environment. Their aim is to transform companies into communities, creating a new mind. Too often a company tries to control its workers, so that less action is possible and there is less trust, with hope diminishing over time. If there is less effort to control the outcome, then it is possible to see more possibilities, increasing hope and then action, followed by reflection to identify progress, increasing hope even further. With less control, there is more trust. With a process of action, reflection and consultation identifying progress and seeing possibilities, there is growing trust, turning despair into hope and unlocking the will to act.</p> <p><img alt="audience" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/gr/Justice180331_3.jpg" /> . <img alt="panel and Iko Congo" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/gr/Justice180331_26.jpg" /><br /> <small>audience; panel with Iko Congo</small></p> <p>The panel was followed by a workshop moderated by IEF President Arthur Dahl, which started with participants sharing their own experiences with reflection. Reflection builds trust, and having a voice is empowering. Vision is a capacity to see what is happening, with a broad systemic approach, which makes it possible to decide on next steps in unity. It is an inclusive process requiring a change in mindset, and learning to be detached from failures, which are opportunities to learn. It should be non-confrontational and positive, building a collective vision from the differences within the group. Reflection must be coupled with action, including the next steps to be taken, and should be framed by a moral purpose such as achieving justice.</p> <p><img alt="Workshop" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/gr/Justice180331_panel.jpg" /> . <img alt="David Willis" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/gr/Justice180331_31.jpg" /><br /> <small>Workshop with panel; David Willis</small></p> <p>Another workshop was led by longtime IEF member David Willis on “The Unity of Religions: ‘prefer all religionists before yourselves’” based on a statement from ‘Abdu’l-Baha as He was leaving America. David had seen in India how religion was something for everyday use, and the many schools devoted to moral education. He drew on different religions’ approaches to the importance of setting an example, and the common purpose of all the Messengers of God. He also linked prophecies of the native American peoples and their fulfilment in the Baha’i Faith. Consultation and compassion were two gifts that the Baha’is had to offer. The workshop explored what unity in religion meant, and the extent to which religious disunity was one of the causes of the breakdown of society.</p> <p>Another keynote was by IEF President Arthur Dahl on “The Great Dichotomy: from Egoism to Altruism - from Love of Power to Love of Justice”. He noted that the media drown us in stories of turbulence and division. To find hope we need a wider perspective. A universal theme, the struggle between good and evil, can help us to make sense of our world. Good and evil are not equal forces pulling in opposite directions, but the negative as the absence of the positive, as darkness is the absence of light. We are born with self-love, but our higher human purpose is to grow out of this and bring light. Our individual dichotomy is self versus others, egoism versus altruism, with the ultimate love the love of God. Knowledge faces the same dichotomy, for selfish purposes or to serve others. In the collective dimension of social organization, the dichotomy is between power and justice. Politics reflects the selfish side of human nature, where power corrupts individually and collectively. Justice is for the collective good, ensuring equity for everyone, and collective security for the world. Individual and collective transformation must go together with constant effort, changing ourselves and helping others to change. Our individual and collective problems come from the lack of love and justice, the wrong end of the dichotomy, showing us the direction of travel. The full paper is available at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>The 2018 Justice Conference was another opportunity for IEF members to explore how ethical and spiritual principles combined with science can help us to make sense of the chaotic world we live in today.</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 12 April 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sun, 08 Apr 2018 15:01:47 +0000 admin 920 at Story of Stuff: A Baha'i-inspired Program for Youth <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Story of Stuff: A Baha&#039;i-inspired Program for Youth</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item">Muller, Christine</div> </div> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1386" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Christine Muller</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">23. March 2018 - 21:14</span> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 19:14:35 +0000 Christine Muller 919 at Motivating the transition at the grassroots <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Motivating the transition at the grassroots</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">19. March 2018 - 12:55</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);">Motivating the transition at the grassroots</h2> <p>International Environment Forum Contribution to the Talanoa Dialogue<br /> United Nations Climate Change input for COP24<br /> 19 March 2018<br /> Topic: How do we get there?<br /> Objective: Wider partnerships in public education about climate change<br /> <a href=""></a> or<br /> <a href="">…</a></p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p style="margin-left: 1cm; margin-right: 1cm;">SUMMARY: It is easier for government to increase ambition if they have public support. Public education about climate change should combine scientific and ethical perspectives to motivate action, as demonstrated by a decade of experience with interfaith climate change courses available on line. In Vanuatu, a climate change course was prepared for use in rural training centres around the archipelago. Governments should partner with a wide range of stakeholders to spread values-based education about the science and ethics of climate change and to encourage practical actions everyone can take to build community resilience.</p> <!--break--> <hr /> <p>The climate crisis demands large scale fundamental change at all levels, and increasing ambition from governments. Yet political leaders are often afraid to get too far ahead of their electorates and public opinion. One answer to the question “How do we get there?” is to build public understanding of, and support for, strong action at all levels.</p> <p>Present incremental progress only slightly mitigates global warming without preventing catastrophic climate change. Courageous leadership is required to accelerate the massive changes needed in economic activities and energy systems, and to sustain the momentum for fundamental transformation. Yet around the world, most people are still not properly informed about the real threat of climate change, with some even confused by deliberate misinformation. The poor have more immediate priorities, while those better off are steeped in materialism and consumerism and in the expectation of continual economic growth.</p> <p>The negative messages communicated by science do not motivate change in individual behaviour. What is needed is positive messages of a better world that can result from learning to live within planetary boundaries. This calls for a new kind of education that combines the science of global warming and the social, cultural and spiritual visions of a more just, equitable and humane world with no one left behind, as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. The best way to leave no one behind is to involve them in the process in ways they understand.</p> <p>Only education of both mind and heart has the potential to bring about profound and widespread change in public attitudes. The International Environment Forum (IEF) has worked for more than 20 years to bring science, ethics and spirituality together. In 2009, alongside the faith-based action plans on climate change launched at Windsor Castle, and in preparation for its participation in COP15, IEF developed an Interfaith Study Course “Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change” freely available online (<a href=""></a>). The course has since been used by grassroots study classes around the world including the US, the UK, and Australia, and for COP21 it was translated into French and Spanish. The IEF also created more comprehensive online courses on climate change and on Sustainable Development offered annually by the Wilmette Institute. These online courses have included participants from many countries including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Laos, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Singapore. Such initiatives would be easy to scale up with other partners.</p> <p>One important objective of these courses is to impart basic knowledge about climate change and how it exacerbates many other environmental and social problems. But, as recent social science confirms, knowledge is only an essential prerequisite, not the decisive factor in motivation for action. People often despair when they are confronted with the immensity of the climate crisis and the seemingly insurmountable efforts needed to mitigate it. Despair results in a paralysis of will, if not denial. From the beginning therefore, these courses have included a spiritual dimension from an interfaith perspective and discussed the ethical imperative for climate action and sustainable development. The faith perspective connects climate action with people's hearts, with their values and world view. It touches people's core, so that the motivation for action becomes strong and enduring. It also opens up a vision of a just, sustainable, and peaceful world, a goal worthy of effort and sacrifice.</p> <p>Participants in the courses have taken many actions in a wide range of areas, starting with changes in their lifestyles. For example, they reported that they would reduce or eliminate meat from their diets, use their bicycles and walk more, help with community gardens, change to public transportation, install solar power, start to compost, reduce water and energy use, switch to green energy, divest from fossil fuel companies, and generally reduce their consumption.</p> <p>Some participants became actively involved in environmental organizations such as Interfaith Power&amp;Light and Citizens Climate Lobby or began to help their town become more environmentally sustainable. One student wrote letters to members of the US congress about taking action on climate change and letters to the editor of the local paper, another one talked with the mayor. Some were able to use the inspiration from the courses in their professional lives, such as one participant in the US who was planning environmentally and socially sustainable housing developments. The Bahá'í Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, provided land for a community garden and now hosts bi-monthly sustainability meetings. A participant in Cameroon planted 40 trees and started a small business that up-cycles tires and used clothing and trains young women to sew.</p> <p>Probably the most effective outcome of the courses has been the participants' initiatives to pass on their insights and encourage others to learn more and take action. Many participants reported hosting interfaith devotional gatherings with themes like climate justice and sustainable development. Many created talks, art projects, and presentations on climate change and presented them in a large variety of settings. Some facilitated the IEF interfaith study course in their local community. Especially significant are the efforts of participants to incorporate aspects of sustainability in teaching children's and youth classes. One group of participants created a special course for youth that helps them to free themselves from consumerism and lead a more meaningful life. The ripple effect of these educational efforts has the potential to reach many more people.</p> <p>An IEF event at COP21 reported on Bahá’í-inspired grassroots education helping to build community resilience in Vanuatu (<a href=""></a>). In 2014, the non-governmental organization Vanuatu Rural Development Training Centres Association (VRDTCA) produced a climate change course for use in rural training centres around the archipelago. Topics covered by the course include causes and impacts of climate change, mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, hazard risks in Vanuatu, the importance of traditional knowledge in building community resilience, and the promotion of community action to prepare for climate change and disaster risk reduction. The basic aim of the course is to empower the participants to become agents of change in their communities, able to conduct awareness programmes and demonstrate practical techniques of mitigation and adaptation. Students learn how to present key concepts to village communities, do research to produce hazard risk maps, discover traditional techniques of weather prediction, food preservation and fishing, analyze the adaptive and coping capacities of communities, establish their own agro-forestry plot, practice how to do coral planting to replace degraded reefs (using methods developed by an IEF member in Fiji), prepare action plans for building resilience to disasters, and take a two-day course in First Aid so as to be able to handle emergencies during hazard events (<a href=""></a>).</p> <p>While not directly covering spiritual topics, the course emphasizes participatory learning and promotes reflection and learning through experience. Interactions between students and communities are conducted with humility, with a focus on consultation between the parties concerned. Emphasis on fostering unity and coherence is paramount, since these attributes are key factors in strengthening community resilience to hazards and climate change.</p> <p>All these courses aim to elevate the level of knowledge, capacity, and motivation to take effective climate action among increasing numbers of people and to empower them to become strong protagonists of sustainable development. Governments should reach out to the many partners in faith-based organizations, indigenous communities and civil society who can help to spread values-based education about the science and ethics of climate change. This can inspire positive action in communities to begin the transformation to a carbon-neutral sustainable society from the bottom up, while encouraging ambitious climate leadership from their governments.</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 12 April 2018</small></p> </div> </div> Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:55:11 +0000 admin 918 at 2018 Faith Climate Action Week in USA <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">2018 Faith Climate Action Week in USA</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">15. March 2018 - 11:32</span> <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);">2018 Faith Climate Action Week in USA</h2> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>On 14 March 2018, the United States national Bahá'í council wrote to all the members of the American Bahá'í community, as they have every year since 2011, encouraging their participation in <b>Faith Climate Action Week</b>, sponsored by Interfaith Power and Light.</p> <!--break--> <p>They note that, in the nearly a decade that has passed since then, enormous strides have been made both globally and nationally, though there have also been some setbacks. As evidenced in Volume I of the <a href="">U.S. National Climate Assessment</a>, released on November 3 last year, the impact of carbon pollution is steadily increasing as average global temperatures, extreme weather events, and global sea levels continue to rise. Public acceptance of scientific findings strongly suggesting the human origins of the problem has increased significantly. Much consensus building remains to be achieved, however, and it is here that faith communities - with their emphasis on justice and on spiritual qualities as the means to bring it about - can play a critical role.</p> <p>Both the Universal House of Justice's letter to the Bahá'ís of the world on March 1 last year regarding economic inequality (see excerpts at <a href=""></a>) and its November 29 letter to three individuals on climate change (see excerpts at <a href=""></a>) underscore applicable spiritual principles and help us to recognize the agency to bring about change we can exercise as Bahá'ís. In connection with our efforts to participate in public discourse on pressing issues of our time, the Supreme Body notes in its November 29 letter that "[w]henever Bahá'ís do participate in activities associated with [climate change] in the wider society, they can help to contribute to a constructive process by elevating the discourse above partisan concerns and self-interest to strive to achieve unity of thought and action."</p> <p>The letter encourages all the American Bahá'ís to participate in Interfaith Power and Light's Faith Climate Action week on April 14-22. Suggested activities - together with a kit to facilitate their implementation - can be found on the <a href="">Faith Climate Action Week</a> website. It invites those interested in learning more about climate change in the context of the Bahá'í teachings to consider participation in the <a href="">climate change course</a> being offered by the Wilmette Institute, which is scheduled to run from 1 April to 26 May (see separate articles in this and last month's IEF newsletter <i>Leaves</i>).</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 15 March 2018</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 15 Mar 2018 09:32:16 +0000 admin 916 at