Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 4, Number 3 --- December 2002
FROM THE EDITOR
Too long has passed since the previous issue of LEAVES and the editor apologises for the delay in getting this issue out to you. This is primarily a function of all the work connected with the IEF activities parallel to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August and September. The months thereafter both the editor and the Board had to take a bit of rest and catch up with the rest of their lives so to speak. But for those of you who have the habit of checking out the IEF website regularly you have already seen a lot of reports from the activities there. Below is a short summary thereof. Through the enormous, enthusiastic and skilled support from a range of IEF members who travelled all the way to Johannesburg we achieved so much.
The report of the 6th General Assembly also held in Johannesburg parallel to the Summit has been sent out to all Members. The new Board has since then elected its officers: Peter Adriance (USA), Irma Allen (Swaziland), Arthur Dahl (President-Switzerland), Sylvia Karlsson (General Secretary-Germany) and Roxanne Lalonde (Zambia).
Finally, I would like to welcome Bettina Moser, IEF Member from Germany, on the editorial team of the newsletter. She has offered to help in the coming months, which is truly appreciated, and a step towards delegating more of the IEF tasks from the Board.
- Sylvia Karlsson
6TH IEF CONFERENCE IN JOHANNESBURG!
The International Environment Forum (IEF) held its 6th Annual Conference as a series of parallel events at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, 27 August-3 September 2002. The conference report is posted at http://www.bcca.org/ief/conf6.htm and summarized below. One tenth of the IEF members gathered in Johannesburg to participate in the various activities and to support the efforts of the Bahá'í International Community to draw the attention of the summit to the importance of the spiritual and ethical dimension in sustainable development.
The conference theme "MAKING GLOBALIZATION SUSTAINABLE AND JUST - THROUGH SCIENCE, VALUES AND EDUCATION" built on the conclusions from the 5th IEF conference where the complementary roles of knowledge, values and education for sustainable development were explored. The various IEF events initiated a dialogue on these three essential components of decision-making. In this dialogue, "globalization" was approached in its many facets - cultural, spiritual, material, scientific, economic and social - to explore how individuals and societies can foster a process of globalizing the world in a sustainable and just way.
The IEF events opened with a DIALOGUE ON INDICATORS FOR SUSTAINABILITY as part of the official WSSD Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development. Sustainability itself is difficult to define as a target for action, and cultural, ethical and spiritual dimensions are often ignored. Sustainable development indicators are excellent tools to assess the impacts of sustainable development activities and to move human activities in more just and sustainable directions. The dialogue session addressed the key challenges ahead in developing and using indicators of sustainable development for decision-making at all levels, including improving the coherence between levels, and capturing the moral, ethical and spiritual dimensions of development.
The seminar on EDUCATION AND VALUES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT explored the role of education and values in the promotion of sustainable development.
The seminar on INTEGRATING SCIENCE IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES considered innovative partnerships and institutional arrangements for the application of science to sustainable development at the local level. This seminar suggested how science could be used to address issues of poverty and sustainable development at the local level.
The last event, MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS OF GLOBALIZATION, was a joint seminar of the IEF and the European Bahá'í Business Forum (EBBF). It extended the debate on globalization beyond the present narrow focus on economic and trade issues to consider its wider negative and positive dimensions in the context of the evolving complexity of human society. Initial panel presentations on the environmental/ecological, economic, and political/institutional dimensions of globalization provided the basis for an open exchange on the importance of relating processes of globalization to sustainability. A major issue was the need to reinforce the ethical and spiritual dimensions of society.
The conference allowed the IEF to emerge from obscurity and to cultivate new partnerships at the international level. There was a widespread willingness to consider the ethical dimension of scientific, environmental and developmental issues, and to see the relevance of spiritual principles to the practical problems facing the summit and all of global society. The door is now open to continue these collaborations after the summit and to pursue further opportunities. Much will depend on the human resources the IEF can assemble and the continuing commitment of its members.
INTERESTED IN FORESTS?
In an effort to increase our area of activities as well as the engagements of more IEF members, the Board has decided to explore the interest in the focus area "Forests". Concrete possibilities for activities range from a time-limited electronic discussion forum to writing a position paper on forests for use in interaction with other groups at the international level. The level of ambition will depend on the interest and expertise of the members. If you are interested to become actively involved in this area please contact the IEF Secretary.
ECOAGRICULTURE MEETING REPORT
(Submitted by Sylvia Karlsson)
In the days just preceding the WSSD, the Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future organised the "Implementation Conference". The purpose was to encourage various organisations, governments etc. to formulate concrete action plans for projects. Thirty parallel working groups gathered around various themes; many of the groups had already prepared their project for close to one year.
I participated in a working group on "Ecoagriculture"
representing the IEF. The agenda of this interesting and
efficient working group focused on combining the production goal
of agriculture with preserving biodiversity. The group agreed to
the following definition of ecoagriculture: "Sustainable
agriculture and associated natural resource management systems
that embrace and simultaneously enhance productivity, rural
livelihoods, ecosystem services and biodiversity". The group has
formed a formal WSSD partnership and wants to actively promote
the concept of ecoagriculture by putting it in practice in a
variety of ways. One of their first concrete activities will be
to organize an international conference on ecoagriculture in
late 2003 or early 2004. The goals of this conference include
(1) to draw attention to ecoagriculture, and (2) to provide a
platform for experts from around the world to assess the current
state of ecoagriculture and to design a strategy for moving
forward. Interested IEF members please contact the IEF Secretary
to explore opportunities to participate in this initiative.
SECOND GLOBAL SUMMIT ON PEACE THROUGH TOURISM
(Submitted by Gail Lash)
Below is a letter from the IIPT (International Institute for Peace through Tourism) President, Lou D'Amore, and the IIPT newsletter with details on the upcoming 2nd Global Summit for Peace Through Tourism in Geneva, Switzerland, this February 2003 (letter and newsletter shortened, Eds. note). As I am Coordinator of the IIPT Spirituality Network, the discounts for delegates can be applied by simply having attendees send their name and email address to me, Gail Lash, at firstname.lastname@example.org, after they register for the Summit. ALSO -- if any IEF member is interested in speaking on Spirituality and Tourism, I am coordinating our Spirituality Network's program for Feb. 5th and still have a few slots available for presenters. Please email me with an abstract (250 words or less) for your talk (15 mins.). I look forward to seeing many of you there! Thanks for spreading the word about this important Global Summit.
"The Second Global Summit on Peace through Tourism will feature Roger Moore, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, as a Keynote Speaker. The Summit is being held at the International Conference Center, Geneva (CICG), February 5-8, 2003. Honoring the legacy of U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold as a Man of Peace, the Summit is being organized by the International Institute for Peace through Tourism in partnership with the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Themes: The aim of the Summit is to continue "Building a Culture of Peace through Tourism" and to harness the world's largest industry, Travel and Tourism, as a leading force for Poverty Reduction. Within this context - themes of the Summit are: Strategies for Tourism Related Micro-Enterprise and SME Development in Least Developed Countries; Development and Marketing of Destinations Emerging from Conflict; Youth Travel for Peace and International Understanding; The Role of Sport in Peace and Development; Educating for a Culture of Peace through Tourism; Linkages of Tourism, the Arts, Culture, and Heritage in Building a Culture of Peace; Tourism, Environment, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development; Building Community through Community Tourism; Accessible Travel for All; and the Role of the Media in Building a Culture of Peace through Tourism."
Registration: To register directly on-line: www.iipt2003.ch
DYNAMICS OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC
NEWS FROM GHANA
(Shortened from a contribution by T. Dehday Beh, IEF Member, Ghana)
A new Meaning of Sustainable
Updated 31 December 2002