The International Environment Forum organizes an annual conference somewhere in the world, contributes to events organized by its partners, and participates in conferences and forums organized by the United Nations and other organizations. Many of these are reported on the home page, and the annual conference reports have their own page. Some continuing activities are also described in more detail in the Activities part of the web site.
The Wilmette Institute organizes on-line learning courses every year on Sustainable Development and Human Prosperity, on Climate Change, and on Bahá’í Perspectives on Agriculture and Food, with IEF members as faculty.
IEF LECTURE SERIES
The IEF is presenting a monthly online lecture series on topics of current interest.
5th IEF Lecture on Saturday 24 April 2021
Deforestation – interconnected Causes and Solutions
with Michael Richards at 1pm EDT (New York), 18:00 GMT (UK), 19:00 CET (Europe), 22:30 IST (New Delhi)
Registration & Information: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrcOCvpzoiHtbYIA_gdCWMGGnzbtuOQYct
This talk presents a personal view of the causes of, and solutions to, tropical deforestation. Following a brief review of the environmental, social and economic importance of forests, I look at the main causes of deforestation and forest degradation, both the direct or immediate drivers and the underlying causes. Most of these are values or consumer education-related. But some, like those associated with poverty drivers, are more nuanced. I will then look at some of the main international strategies that have been promoted to counteract deforestation. The presentation particularly explores the ‘win-win’ potential of a ‘rights-based’ approach that involves supporting the land rights and forest management practices of forest-dependent communities, especially indigenous peoples. Ultimately, any effective and durable solution comes back to global governance and the values that underpin it.
Dr. Michael Richards’ article “Deforestation – What is Causing it and How can we Prevent it?” was published in the September 2014 issues of IEF Leaves https://iefworld.org/newslt63 and is also available here: https://everlastingearth.box.com/v/Richards-Deforestation
Dr Michael Richards is a natural resources economist with 40 years experience in Latin America, Asia and Africa. He has worked in Malawi, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Honduras and Ghana. Since the early 1990s his work for various international NGOs and UN agencies has focused on policy, and social and institutional issues around the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests.
The sixth lecture by Ndeley Agbaw will be on 22 May on
UN World Food Programme in the Lake Chad Region
In response to the goals set by world leaders under the SDGs, the World Food Programme (WFP), which is the food arm of the United Nations, adopted SDGs 2 and 17. In the Republic of Chad in Central Africa, WFP has worked with both the central and local governments as well as other agencies and NGOs to achieve these goals. In doing so, WFP established 13 field offices in the country and signed various MOUs with partners and government institutions. These arrangements that aim to achieve zero hunger (SDG 2) and help with capacity development among various institutions are covered under a number of project areas such as emergency food distribution, seasonal assistance to vulnerable communities, emergency school feeding, nutrition focused activities and supporting vulnerable communities to build against various shocks. In addition, supply chain management and capacity development of our partners and government institutions play a major role. These activities are carried out in the Lake Chad Province, which is the focus of this discussion as well as other provinces of the country.
Ndeley Agbaw was born in Cameroon where he did his early education. He then continued his studies at Eastern Connecticut State University before undertaking an internship at the UN that was organized by the Bahá'í International Community. Thereafter he served as a volunteer at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa before going to Angola where he began his UN career. He has worked with the WFP in various capacities since 1992 in various countries and is presently based in Bol, Lake Province in Chad as Head of the WFP Field Office.
The fourth lecture on Saturday 27 March 2021 was on:
Discourse: A Baha’i Perspective
presented by Dr. Stephen Friberg. The lecture is now posted on the IEF webinar playlist at https://tinyurl.com/7p09o73q.
The Universal House of Justice has asked the Baha'i community to engage in the discourses of society. Discourse, along with social action, is one of the ways that we can apply good and transformative ideas to change and improve society. It is the action component of our activities and where the rubber hits the road for learning and being involved in our communities, towns, places of work, and our professional spaces. What is discourse, why are we being asked to participate in it, and how do we do it? This presentation and discussion addressed these questions, with a focus on discourse applied to environmental issues.
The third lecture in the IEF Lecture Series on 20 February was presented by Prof. Rafael Shayani of Brazil on:
The lecture is now posted on the IEF webinar playlist: https://tinyurl.com/7p09o73q
The fact that the energy system has been practically the same since its inception is partly related to the traditional training that engineering students receive at universities. In order for the energy sector to be able to align itself with the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, students graduating from universities need to have studied these issues - but in most cases they have not. Even though engineering is a traditional and important profession for ensuring the growth of infrastructure within a country, there is a need to modernize university programs so as to train professionals with new capabilities required by current demands. Students often choose engineering programs because they want to help society progress. By understanding environmental and social issues that predominate in our world, students will be properly prepared to address the challenges most important today. Dr. Shayani’s wrote an article on this topic for IEF, it can be found here.
Speaker Bio: Rafael Amaral Shayani, IEF member, has an electrical engineering degree with a focus on power and energy. He obtained his MS and PhD on photovoltaic solar energy. He is professor of electrical engineering at University of Brasilia, Brazil.
The second lecture in the IEF Lecture series on Saturday 23 January 2021 featured Dr. Joachim Monkelbaan who talked about:
Exploring Barriers to Justice and Sustainability in Economic Systems:
Discussion on Root Causes and Potential Remedies
The video recording is now posted on the IEF webinar playlist: https://tinyurl.com/7p09o73q
We are at a critical juncture as we face a growing number of global challenges that we can remedy if we act boldly and in unity. Many of those challenges, including climate change and inequality, have economic root causes. On this basis, the questions at the heart of this piece are the following:
Which challenges is the world facing?
What are the root causes of those challenges?
What could be some remedies for addressing the root causes (including concepts such as circular economy, doughnut economics, green deals, and indicators of success that go beyond GDP)?
What opportunities does the pandemic and its aftermath offer for making the economic systems more just, sustainable, and resilient?
Joachim Monkelbaan is Representative for Sustainable and Just Economic Systems at the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in Geneva, Switzerland. He lectures on sustainability governance at International University in Geneva. Previously, Joachim has worked with organizations such as UN Environment (Economics and Trade Branch), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), WHO, and Climate-KIC. He was a team leader for several Sustainability Impact Assessments of trade agreements for the European Commission (DG Trade). He did postdoctoral research at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the Institute for Developing Economies (IDE) in Tokyo, Japan. His book on Governance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is available now. He holds a Ph.D in governance for sustainable development from the University of Geneva and Master’s Degrees from the World Trade Institute and Maastricht University.
The first IEF webinar was held on 6 December 2020, with IEF President Arthur Dahl speaking on:
Many of today's existential threats including climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, and mass population displacements are interrelated and can only be managed effectively at the global level. Yet, present mechanisms for global environmental governance are woefully inadequate to the need for urgent action all around the world. The good efforts of some are neutralized if not reversed by the contrary actions of others. We shall explore recent proposals for global governance for the 21st century that could finally manage the necessary transition to sustainability while embodying the principles of world federalism and the oneness of humanity.
His powerpoint presentation with the main content can be downloaded here.
SOME REPORTS ON PAST EVENTS
IEF events at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris in December 2015
16th IEF Annual Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 16-19 June 2012, in association with the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)
Planet Under Pressure 2012 scientific conference, London, England, 26-29 March 2012
Last updated 15 April 2021