Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 6, Number 1 --- March 2004
FROM THE EDITOR
Friends, our spring newsletter includes the following features:
-The 7th Annual IEF Conference in Orlando
-The World Environment Day 2004
-Greetings from a new member
Please send us contributions about environmental issues in your country which may be published in future issues of LEAVES. I hope that you will enjoy this issue of LEAVES and remain with warmest greetings.
- Bettina Moser (for the LEAVES team)
THE 7TH ANNUAL IEF CONFERENCE IN ORLANDO WAS A SUCCESS
The 7th Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum (IEF) was held in Orlando, Florida, USA in conjunction with the 2003 Bahá'í Development Seminar and Conference on Social and Economic Development (SED) for the Americas, organized by the Rabbani Trust (www.rabbanitrust.org) . Over 1,000 people participated in the SED conference. The IEF component consisted of four breakout sessions and one plenary lecture during the seminar, an Environmental Interest Group networking session, and two breakout sessions during the conference, each repeated twice to permit maximum participation. There were 30-50 participants in most IEF sessions.
The IEF Conference this year focused on education for sustainable development and was intended to provide materials and approaches for community involvement in the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development to begin in 2005. The conference was preceded by an IEF electronic conference using e-mail involving 38 participants from 16 countries.
For complete reports of the two IEF conferences please see: http://www.bcca.org/ief/conf7.htm
THE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2004
(Summarized from a UNEP News Release 2004/10)
The city of Barcelona, known for its commitment to culture and urban renewal, will be hosting World Environment Day 2004. This Year's Global Theme will be: Wanted! Seas and Oceans Dead or Alive? which reflects important United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) activities in the field of the marine environment and sustainable coastal livelihoods. The annual World Environment Day (WED) event, celebrated around the globe each year on or around 5 June, will take place during the nearly five-month long Universal Forum of Cultures that is being hosted by the Barcelona City Council, the Catalan Autonomous Government and the Spanish Government.
Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, said "the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which in 2002 drew up a Plan of Implementation with time tables and targets, had thrown down several challenges in respect to fisheries, marine protected areas, small island developing States and marine pollution. There was a time when humankind viewed the oceans and seas as vast and unchanging, able to absorb and dilute pollution, and provide seemingly limitless catches of fish and other marine-living resources... Unlike the land, where concepts of ownership and management have been established for centuries, the oceans have been viewed as truly wilderness areas, owned by no one and free for all, he added. That was fine in a world, now long ago, where a coastal mega-city might have been a few thousand rather than 10 million souls. But the growth in the global population, where more than 40 per cent now live by the coast, allied to our abilities to hunt faster and further for ever greater quantities of marine-living resources means we can no longer treat the seas and oceans as a free for all, uncared for and unmanaged", said Mr. Toepfer. "So I welcome the generosity and enthusiasm of the Government of Spain, the Catalan Autonomous Government and the City of Barcelona to host this year s World Environment Day with its theme of seas and oceans. I am sure that the awareness that will be raised will catalyze further, long-lasting action from governments, right down to the smallest seaside village, to deliver the WSSD Plan of Implementation. I am also impressed by the commitment to environmental technologies which show how a modern, 21st century city can reduce its ecological footprint, not only on the seas but on the air and the land", he added.
Joan Clos, the Mayor of Barcelona, said: "World Environment Day will be a key celebration of the Universal Forum of Cultures. Its focus on peace, sustainability and respect for cultural diversity, reflects the global issues confronting our world of which the seas and oceans and the peoples who are linked with them are a key part... Indeed, culture and its links with the environment, are critical. In many ways it is those culturally rich parts of the globe where concepts of conservation, of the sustainable harvesting of natural resources, of living in harmony with wildlife and landscapes, are so keenly understood. Loss of culture is not only a tragedy for the world's social fabric, but a loss of intimate knowledge of the natural world," he said.
WED, commemorated each year on 5 June is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP. Information on the day, logos, posters, fact sheets and ideas on how to celebrate WED can be found at www.unep.org/wed/2004
CALL TO ACTION: IEF AND THE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
The World Environment Day presents a good opportunity for IEF members to organize activities in their own communities. Please write to us and report on activities which can inspire others.
DATA BASE OF IEF STATEMENTS FROM WSSD
This is a link to the data base that includes all the IEF statements from WSSD:
A major online library of civil society documents that were produced in relation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development is launched. The library contains approximately 700 MB worth of documents. It is fully searchable. Each document is linked to the organization that produced it, which can then be contacted for further information. You can access the documents at www.wssd-and-civil-society.org. The website is made possible by the International Institute for Environment and Development and ANPED, the Northern Alliance for Sustainability.
ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
Sustainability's new report on NGOs in the 21st Century (www.sustainability.com/publications/latest/21C-ngo.asp) has important implications for the strategic directions of small NGOs like IEF, and in particular their relations with businesses and their role in proposing positive solutions to current problems. The full report is expensive, but the summaries on line are free.
2004 TUNZA INTERNATIONAL
NEW MEMBER SALUTES IEF
My name is Joseph Nga. I am delighted to join the vibrant and dynamic community at the IEF. I am inspired by the diverse and global approach IEF is using to address current problems facing the environment and sustainable development. Thanks immensely for the positive energy you are generating across all lands and cultures. My own life began in Africa. I was raised on the open farm fields in the tropical rainforests of Cameroon. I was privileged to work in the farms and collect medicinal plants with my illiterate parents before becoming a first generation college student. My mother cultivated various crops but picked lots of wild vegetables and aromatic spices from the woods to feed us. My father collected medicinal plants, planted palm trees, and hunted for our proteins. We cultivated and harnessed our farmland on nearly a daily basis. It s probably not by accident that I became a forester and conservation biologist. My environmental connection has been unlike weekend retreats to parks and botanic gardens in North America.
My connection to the land has been a tactile connection, a cultural connection, or perhaps an identity connection. I have often been enchanted by the beauty and power of many environmental metaphors used in Baha i scripture. They speak directly to my cultural imagination and provide an ethical framework for me to redefine my life and place in the community. I was intrigued and fascinated when I first read in Baha i writings that an unlit candle, however great in diameter and tall, is no better than a barren palm tree or a pile of dead wood . The above metaphorical quote literally transported my mind because my father in Africa will simply set a barren palm tree on fire for taking up his precious land for nothing. In the eyes of my mind, I began to see different layers of meaning and signs of a new day behind these compelling natural images. I began to understand why humans are the flowers of one garden and the fruits of one tree . I have been developing a keen interest in the interface between environmental stewardship and sustainable development. How do we express our spiritual nature outside our own boxes, in our profession, and in the development process? How can we measure development in terms of its impact on natural resources and on the spiritual and social advancement of humanity? I look forward to adding my humble contribution to the collective wisdom of the IEF community. I am a conservation biologist and policy analyst with two graduate degrees in biology and international development studies. I live in Washington DC
Cordially, Joseph Nga.
(as of March 2003)
Elaine Andrews, USAbr> Patrick Bergin, USA
The email addresses for the following members are bouncing. Please contact the IEF Secretariat if you have a more recent email for them.
Carlos Alberto Musfeldt
UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS
Please send information to the secretariat on changes of address etc. We are "losing" members whose email starts bouncing because they have not informed us of their new address.
International Environment Forum
Dr. Arthur L. Dahl
12B Chemin de Maisonneuve
CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva
goes to the General Secretary Sylvia Karlsson
Newsletter contributions should be sent directly to the newsletter editor:
Dr. Bettina Moser, Germany.
Email: BettinaAngela @ netscape.net
Updated 19 March 2004
PAST ISSUES OF LEAVES
Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1999
Vol. 1, No. 2, October 1999
Vol. 2, No. 1, April 2000
Vol. 3, No. 1, February 2001
Vol. 3, No. 2, June 2001
Vol. 3, No. 3, Sept 2001
Vol. 4, No. 1, February 2002
Vol. 4, No. 2, July 2002
Vol. 4, No. 3, December 2002
Vol. 5, No. 1, April 2003
Vol. 5, No. 2, October 2003
Vol. 6, No. 1, March 2004