Leaves 4(3) December 2002



Newsletter of the
Volume 4, Number 3 --- December 2002

"When...thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of all things, and the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord mercy in every created thing, and see the spreading rays of His Names and Attributes throughout all the realm of being...
Then will thou observe that the universe is a scroll and discloseth His hidden secrets, which are preserved in the well-guarded Tablet. And not an atom of all the atoms in existence, not a creature from amongst the creatures but speaketh His praise and telleth of His attributes and names, revealteh the glory of His might and guideth to His oneness and His mercy..."

Paris Talks, p.123


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


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.


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.


(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.



(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 ursainternational@hotmail.com, 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.

In Peace,

"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


Apatity, Russia, 9-12 April 2003

The Institute of Economic Problems KSC RAS organizes the second conference "Dynamics of Socio-economic Processes in Northern Regions" in Apatity, Russia, 9-12 April 2003.
This is the first call for papers. Please contact:
Professor Vladimir S. Selin, Director of the Institute, selin@iep.kolasc.net.ru
or Ludmila Ivanova, International Department, Institute of Economic Problems, Kola Science Centre RAS, ivanova@iep.kolasc.net.ru


11-14 July 2003, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Organiser: Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University

The Conference will focus on the intersection between natural resource management of commons and political changes with a special emphasis on how development is articulated and the consequences of these interactions for local practices. The conference will be organized around five key themes as follows:
1. Situating the commons in post-colonial and (post)-socialist thinking/ articulation
2. Transnationalizing the commons and the politics of civil society
3. Local voices in the globalising market: cultural diversity and pluralism
4. Politics of Tenure Reform
5. Crisis and access: critical times for the commons

Proposal for panel sessions within the above theme areas as well as individual submissions are encouraged. Full funding is available for only a limited number of participants from countries in Asia. Important Dates:
1 December 2002: Deadline for submission of panel proposals
15 January 2003: Deadline for pre-registration and submission of abstract
1 February 2003: Announcement of abstract accepted for the conference and travel grant recipients
15 April 2003: Deadline for paper submission and a specific announcement
There is no registration fee. All participants are expected to present papers.

RCSD Conference Secretariat, Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University
Tel: 66-53-943594 / Fax: 66-53-943596
e-mail: rcsd-con@soc.cmu.ac.th


Worcester, Massachusetts, 18-21 May 2003

The Carnegie Council and College of the Holy Cross invite applications for a faculty development seminar on "Ethics, Science and Policy: Environmental Education for a Transnational World", to be held from May 18-21, 2003, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Selected participants of the three-day seminar will explore ways in which the humanities, social and natural sciences can broaden our understanding of environmental ethics. This interdisciplinary approach will explore the full range of ethical issues that affect the study of environmental problems like global climate change, water scarcity, transboundary air pollution, global consumption patterns, and the accumulation of hazardous waste. The seminar will also devise intellectual and pedagogical tools that enable faculty to undertake research and develop new teaching and curricular strategies in environmental values and ethics.

Please email yyemni@cceia.org, or visit the Carnegie Council website at http://www.cceia.org for more details. The Deadline for applications is January 31st, 2003.


Braunwald, Switzerland, July or August 2003

The Alliance for Global Sustainability is hosting two Youth Encounters on Sustainability (Y.E.S.) this summer in Braunwald, Switzerland. These meetings will bring together students from around the world to focus on developing ideas for how Agenda 21 can be implemented worldwide and to address ways in which the next generation of industrial and governmental leaders can play a more significant role in the challenging issues of sustainable development.
Location: Braunwald / Switzerland
Session 1: Saturday, July 12, - Saturday, July 26, 2003
Session 2: Saturday, August 9, - Saturday, August 23, 2003
They are seeking upper-level undergraduate and graduate students from all fields
Applications will be available online shortly at
The deadline this year is February 28, 2003.

The Alliance for Global Sustainability is a unique university partnership with global reach involving the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), the University of Tokyo (UT) and Chalmers University of Technology. Focused on environmental research and education, these four leading technical universities from three continents bring together the intellectual and technological synergy required to meet contemporary challenges. AGS works with industry and governments throughout the world in securing a prosperous future.
Read more at: http://www.globalsustainability.org


(Shortened from a contribution by T. Dehday Beh, IEF Member, Ghana)

A new Meaning of Sustainable Development:
The Refugee "Vegetable Growers Association"
Refugees in Sustainable Development

This is a story on how refugees mastered their own lives when funding ceased for the camp they were living in. A story about Sustainable Development.

The Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana is home to about 22,000 Liberian refugees. It was set up in 1990 and run by the UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) from 1990-1998 but funding ceased in 1999. The refugees mastered this new challenge by developing initiatives to generate their own income for their livelihood. Several refugees mobilized immediately to form the "Vegetable Growers Association" (V.G.A.). They negotiated a parcel of land from residents in the area and started to produce vegetable crops for the camp residents and their neighbors. A board of directors was formed to govern the Vegetable Growers Association and a small monthly member fee of 5,000 Cedis (less than 1 USD) was established. The funds were used to buy seeds, tools, and chemicals and to support members in times of illness. Members skilled in agriculture provided technical support and offered workshops, ranging in topics from tools management, seeds multiplication, soil improvement, and proper use of chemicals to business skills. The proceeds from the garden enabled the members to expand their business activities. They constructed reservoirs and bought polytanks to reduce the acute water problem of the camp. They also set up a small market place to sell the produce from the garden. Additional funds were used to pay the children's school fees and to build modest dwellings for those without shelter. One member summarized the success story of the V.G.A.: "When I return to my country, Liberia, I will tell my people not to wait on aid from the government or NGOs but to be self-sufficient and independently develop projects vital to our well-being and our environment." Sustainable development stems from peoples own initiatives and developmental projects, geared towards the improvement of their lives and environment. In the words of a prominent writer [name not known]: "What we are after is the maturation of the person; removing the blocks that prevent a person from standing on his own feet. We try to help him make the transition from environmental support to self support".


IEF member Roxanne Lalonde moved in August from Canada, where she had been teaching geography and environmental studies at the University of Alberta, to Zambia to serve at the William Mmutle Masetlha Foundation for three years. Roxanne was thrilled to be able to combine her move to Zambia with participation as a delegate at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Her work for the Foundation is multi-faceted, ranging from careers and other guidance and tutoring at Banani International Secondary School to seeking and fostering more internal and external support for the School and the Foundation's other programs. As a "baby African," she has experienced many thrills and challenges in her new home, but doesn'tanticipate getting homesick for Canada, especially at this time of year. She can be reached at Rlalonde@banani.sch.zm, but please remember that the digital divide is in effect: no attachments more than 200K or you'll clog the Foundation's server!


(as of December 2002)

Lesley Bradley-Vine, New Zealand
Elainna Crowell, Canada
Laurent Mesbah, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ron Mitchell, Australia
Sadia Niyakan-Safy, Trinidad
Nabil Robiati, Italy
Robert Sarracino, South Africa

Kaykhosrov Manucheri
Erin O'Connor
Terry Robinson

Please inform the IEF Secretariat if you have a recent email for any of these members. We have lost contact with them.


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.


Please send your contributions continously. Ideally the next issue should be out in March with the announcement for the next IEF annual conference but it is best to make any promises!

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

Updated 31 December 2002