Leaves 5(1) April 2003



Newsletter of the
Volume 5, Number 1 --- April 2003


"Briefly, it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man. Man hath not grasped this truth, however, and he believeth that physical sensations are confined to human beings, wherefore he is unjust to the animals, and cruel. And yet in truth, what difference is there when it cometh to physical sensations? The feelings are one and the same, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever. And indeed ye do worse to harm an animal, for man hath a language, he can lodge a complaint, he can cry out and moan; if injured he can have recourse to the authorities and these will protect him from his aggressor. But the hapless beast is mute, able neither to express his hurt nor take its case to the authorities. If a man inflict a thousand ills upon a beast, it can neither ward him off with speech nor hale him into court. Therefore it is essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow-man."
'Abdu'l-Bahá. Selections from the writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.


Friends, the spring newsletter is here with information about: The 7th Annual IEF Conference, A United Nations Convention on Climate Change in India, On-line courses in climatology, A consultancy opportunity in Honduras A non-Bahá¹í-organized conference on sustainable resources. New members 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.

- Dr. Bettina Moser (for the LEAVES team)


Announcing the 7th Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum (To be held in association with the Bahá'í Conference on Social and Economic Development for the Americas and the pre-Conference Bahá'í Development Seminar for experienced practitioners)

Where: Orlando, Florida, USA
When: 17-21 December 2003

"'To build anew the whole world' is the claim and challenge of His Message... [T]his Revelation...[is] designed to carry humanity forward into a world civilization the splendours of which can as yet be scarcely imagined."
(Universal House of Justice: Kitáb-i-Aqdas , Introduction, Pages: 1-2,)

"Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements."
(Bahá'u'lláh: Gleanings, Page 213)

Inspired by Bahá'u'lláh's vision for a prosperous and enduring world civilization, and motivated by His call to be anxiously concerned with the needs of this day, Bahá'ís worldwide are striving to apply the Bahá'í teachings to the ills facing humanity, in partnership with like-minded individuals and organizations.

Since the 1992 Earth Summit, "sustainable development" has become the term used to describe the process of addressing the world¹s challenges holistically by integrating environmental, economic and social goals. Toward that end, beginning in 2005, the UN will launch the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development.

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the U.S. has set in motion an effort in its community to raise awareness of the connections between the Bahá'í teachings and sustainable development and to inspire actions accordingly. The International Environment Forum is committed to helping with that process and will devote all its sessions at this conference to that end.

WATCH FOR additional information, coming soon, on the web pages of the International Environment Forum (www.bcca.org/ief) and the Bahá'í Conference on Social and Economic Development for the Americas (www.rabbanitrust.org). If interested in helping with the program, contact the IEF Conference Committee c/o Peter Adriance at padriance@usbnc.org.


(Edited from a contribution by Dr. Shakti Prakash, IEF member, India).

COP 8: The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was made fully operational with adoption of Delhi Ministerial Declaration on climate change and sustainable development.

The eighth Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC; http://unfccc.int/) Conference of the Parties, COP 8, was held in Delhi, the capital city of India, from 23rd October to 1st November 2002. There were around 5000 participants from around 170 countries and from several organisations committed to the cause of climate change and sustainable development. Making CDM fully operational was the most striking accomplishment during COP 8, adopting the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate and Sustainable Development.

From the very outset of COP 8, battle lines were drawn between developed and developing nations over issues relating to finance and developing country commitments. Despite numerous sessions into the morning hours, parties remained deadlocked on Article 2.3 (adverse effects of policies and measures), on providing special guidance to the GEF Special Climate Change Fund, and on Canada's Clean Energy proposal to allow special allowances for hydro, natural gas and other clean energy exports. All three issues were referred for consideration at COP-9. Tensions were highest in meetings of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) where Parties accused SBI Chair, Raul Estrada-Oyuela (Argentina), of using strong-arm tactics and failing to accurately represent differing opinions in the SBI's reports.

But not all was a failure at COP 8. Parties did manage to agree on guidance to the Least Developed Countries Fund; the rules and procedures for the CDM; and, after three years of negotiations, guidelines for reporting and reviewing information under Articles 5, 7 and 8 (including registries).

Other serious deliberations made during various negotiations and reported in Delhi declaration were:
-- Stress on effective action on all international commitments made under UNFCCC.
-- More emphasis on the faster implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures to combat and prevent the ongoing and future climate change
-- Effective promotion of innovative and less polluting energy technologies through effective research & development (R&D), both at intra- country as well as inter-country collaborative R&D.
-- Promotion of renewable energy technologies
-- Effective technology transfer for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in main economic sectors.
-- More emphasis for more work on reporting of GHG emissions data for both, annex1 and non-annex 1 parties.
-- Promotion of public awareness, education and training on different issues, especially related to R&D and implementation aspects of mitigation and adaptation measures.
-- Persuasion of more developed countries such as Russia (which has very recently ratified) and USA to ratify the Kyoto Protocol
-- Public participation was a dominant theme at COP 8. The US delegation was the most vocal in calling for greater access by observers and parties to UNFCCC meetings and the need to eliminate arbitrary seating limits. The US particularly targeted the public participation procedures developed by the CDM Executive Board and the UNFCCC Secretariat. Partly in response to such criticism, the CDM Executive Board has agreed to meet with Parties, business and NGOs during the Subsidiary Body meetings and the Conference/Meeting of the Parties.

During a meeting with business representatives, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Joke Waller-Hunter indicated that the Secretariat is planning to place workshops and meeting announcements on the UNFCCC web site and circulate notices to interested parties. Conclusions on effective participation in the UNFCCC process were adopted by SBI (FCCC/SBI/2002/L.13).

The UNFCCC web site (http://unfccc.int/) provides more information on the COP 8 report, the Delhi Declaration and COP 8 decisions.

Additional interesting links include:
http://www.envfor.nic.in/cc/ (Govt. of India web page on climate change and COP 8; information on NGO and side events during COP8)
http://www.weathervane.rff.org/features/feature048.html (informative article about CDM from the Resources for the Future (RFF).
http://www.wri.org/cdm/ (Climate and atmosphere - Climate change and energy. Clean Development Mechanism)
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/tiempo/floor0/recent/issue28/t28a3.htm (Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary, Tiempo - Issue 28)
http://www.enda.sn/energie/cdm.htm (Should African positions change after the Kyoto Protocol(1)? ...)
http://www.uccee.org/CDM/ (Clean Development Mechanism in Africa)
http://www.mct.gov.br/clima/ingles/quioto/mdl.htm (Brazilian Climate Change Forum.)
http://www.bellona.no/en/energy/fossil/wp_1-2000/17077.html (The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows industrialized countries to finance projects in developing countries and to receive credit for emission reduction. ...)

Interested IEF members may contact IEF for a list of additional links (too numerous to publish in this newsletter).



(from a contribution by Michael Richards, IEF member from UK)

Following (non-comprehensive) information highlights opportunities to pursue long-distance education in the field of Climatology. (Source:"Climate Change Info Mailing List" climate-l@lists.iisd.ca). Some of these programs offer on-line MSc degrees or courses counting towards a MSc.

1. DeMontfort University offers a distance learning MSc course on Climate Change and Sustainable Development - It can be taken as One year full-time; two to six years part-time and distance learning.
http://www.dmu.ac.uk/Subjects/Db/course2.php?courseid=572&NavIn=P& NavInVal=5

2. University of East Anglia offers an MSc in Climate Change currently on-site but plans to offer on-line soon.

3. The University of California San Diego offers two courses on climate change.

4. The University of Staffordshire offers a distance learning course called SCM82008-M - Sustainability Issues and Case Studies (covers climate change issues to some extent).

5. IGES offers 4 short eLearning courses on climate change. Please refer to: http://www.iges.net/ecourses.htm
These courses are not counted for a Masters Degree program.


IEF received a "Consultancy Opportunity" announcement for a team of specialists to evaluate the environmental and social sustainability of the lobster fishing industry in Mosquitia, Honduras. Analysis of the lobster fishing industry¹s many facets will include legal, industrial, economic, and environmental aspects. This is a great opportunity for professionals with experience in fishing laws, regulatory systems, marine biology (resource management), industrial modernization (fishing sector), and occupational security (divers), interested to work in Central America.

For more information and if you would like to apply, please send your resume to Soheil Dooki at sdooki@tropicohn.com.


Where: University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
When: 1-4 October 2003

This conference, not Bahá'í-initiated, is co-organized by The University of Colorado at Boulder, The Sustainable Village, and The Marpa Center for Business and Economics at Naropa University. Unfortunately the official submission deadline for lectures, workshops and short courses has passed but it is still possible to exhibit projects, which may be a good opportunity to present the IEF.

The conference "will provide a platform of multidisciplinary exchange where poverty issues faced by the developing world can be addressed globally and solved locally. It will also help develop recommendations toward a cooperative action plan in areas of concern to the developing world (water, sanitation, infrastructure, energy, shelter, health and hygiene, economic development, security, strategy, whole systems design, food and nutrition, social and cultural concerns, communications, and environment). Exhibition space will be available for participants to showcase their projects, services, or products" (from conference announcement).

The conference will be a unique opportunity for non-profits, NGOs, donors, funding agencies, humanitarian organizations, educators, engineers, business people, volunteers, students, and representatives of developing communities to meet, learn from each other, network, discuss new approaches for outreach, and create new partnerships.

The preliminary conference web site is: www.edc-cu.org/SR2003.htm

Please contact the IEF secretary Dr. Sylvia Karlsson for more information about the conference or if you are interested in attending.


(as of April 2003)

Jose Maldonado, Switzerland (Honduras)
Melike Yetkin, USA


The next issue of LEAVES is planned for September.
Please send your submissions by 31 August

Sylvia Karlsson
Sigmund Freud Str. 36
D-53127 Bonn
Email: ief@bcca.org
website: www.bcca.org/ief

Updated 29 June 2003