The International Environment Forum, as a Bahá'í-inspired professional organization for environment and sustainability, shares and upholds the principles and ideals of the Bahá'í Faith and supports its efforts to establish and promote peace, the unity of the human race, and an ever-advancing world civilization that preserves the ecological balance of the planet.
IEF response to SG's Synthesis Report
Official IEF reaction to the UN Secretary-General's Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda
The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet
Meaning, Religion and a Great Transition
by Michael Karlberg
a review and commentary by Arthur Dahl
The Great Transition Initiative is an international collaboration for charting pathways to a planetary civilization rooted in solidarity, sustainability, and human well-being. It operates an on-line forum of leading intellectuals moderated by the Tellus Institute in Boston. Papers are commissioned for discussion, and then published. A couple of IEF members take part in these discussions, which have been largely on scientific, political and institutional themes. In November, for the first time, the topic was "Meaning, Religion and a Great Transition" with a paper prepared by Michael Karlberg which has now been published on line. The discussion was lively and controversial, with the more secular scientists contesting that religion could be considered a knowledge system or be anything more than subjective and not worthy of serious consideration, while others welcomed this as an essential part of any transition. At the end of the month, Michael responded to the debate, and his commentary is also on line.
UN Secretary-General releases Synthesis Report on Post-2015 Agenda
The Challenge of the Sustainable Development Goals
Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum
Rio+20 called for the preparation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which focussed on reducing poverty, but including a wider set of sustainability issues relevant to all countries. An intergovernmental Open Working Group built on an inclusive process to issue a set of proposed SDGs in July 2014 (OWG 2014), and these are now under intergovernmental negotiation for approval by a UN summit of Heads of State on 25-27 September 2015. The Open Working Group proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals with a number of targets under each goal, 169 targets in all (OWG 2014). The UN General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General have accepted that the proposals of the Group be the main basis for the post-2015 intergovernmental process (UN 2014). Indicators still need to be developed for these targets.
Lima Call for Climate Action Puts World on Track to Paris 2015
Based on UNFCCC Press Release / 14 December 2014
World on Track to New Universal Climate Agreement with Lima Call for Climate Action
Governments Agree Ground Rules on Contributions to Paris 2015 Agreement and Boost Adaptation
Clearer Elements of New Agreement Evolved in Peruvian Capital
IEF authors featured in two new academic books
Two books just published in the month of November by leading academic publishers include chapters by members of the International Environment Forum.
Review of Paul Hanley's new book Eleven
by Arthur Dahl
Eleven by Paul Hanley. Friesen Press, Victoria, BC, Canada, 2014. 400 p.
"Eleven billion people will populate this marvelous planet by the end of this century. Adding almost 4 billion to an already overburdened world will force everyone to change everything. The sweeping changes that make an 11 billion-world work will wholly transform humankind, reshaping its inner life and external conditions. This process will result in the emergence of a new culture, a new agriculture, and ultimately a new human race." This is how Paul Hanley introduces his new book and explains the title "Eleven".
Action on Climate Change
Mid-September has been an important time for action on climate change, with a report on the New Climate Economy, People's Climate Marches around the world, and a Climate Summit at the United Nations.
Small Island Developing States
Representatives from 115 countries attended the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, held in Apia, Samoa, on 1-4 September 2014. This was the third global conference to tackle sustainable development on islands, and the first to be held in the Pacific region, after conferences in Barbados in 1994 and Mauritius in 2005, where IEF was active (see http://iefworld.org/mim05.htm). IEF President Arthur Dahl included the proposal for international conferences on Small Island Developing States when he was drafting chapter 17 of Agenda 21, adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and contributed to the two previous conferences.
John H. Knox, the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment named by the Human Rights Council, has recently reported the following news items. For more information, see his website, http://ieenvironment.org/, and the UN website on his mandate, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/IEEnvironment/Pages/IEenviro…, including his reports to the Human Rights Council.