Posts Tagged ‘international conference’

15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) first feedbacks

Written by Marianne on . Posted in General Information, India, News, News & Updates

Nektarina Non Profit and its Indian partner Zest Youth Movement attended the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) from 4th to 7th of February 2015 in New Delhi.

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The first day was dedicated to the High Level Corporate Dialogue under the theme “Delhi to Paris: Corporate Vision on Climate Change”. The main summit “Sustainable Development Goals and Dealing with Climate Change” took place during the three next days, with various plenary sessions, thematic tracks, keynote addresses and other contents.

An extremely rich programme thus! We kept our followers updated on the conference’s progress on our Facebook and Twitter pages during this special week and are in progress of preparing a complete feedback of the experience. In the meantime, here are some comments, outcomes and pictures we are willing to share.

DSDS 15 took place in the framework of the negotiations for the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) that will be held in Paris in December 2015 and of the current process of defining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a set of targets relating to future international development.

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High-level governments’ representatives from all over the world expressed their commitment and willing to reach a serious international agreement on climate change coupled with a strong and fair financial mechanism. The role of businesses and the question of green economy were also widely discussed with major corporates representatives and CEOs. Finally, the tiered role of developed and developing countries and positioning towards the future strategies was debated.

The DSDS was also an important moment to remind India’s role on the regional and international scene on major issues like climate change and sustainable development.

We will come back with more detailed information soon and keep an eye on further progress on these crucial issues.

Please visit our Flickr page to see our entire DSDS photo album.

And our India E4S BROCHURE here.

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Participating in the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

Written by Marianne on . Posted in India, News, News & Updates, Take Action, Uncategorized, Upcoming Events

Nektarina, together with its Indian partner Zest Youth Movement, is glad to inform on its participation in the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) that will take place in New Delhi, India from 5-7 of February 2015.

DSDS flyer

“The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), since 2001, annually organizes the DSDS, an International Summit to facilitate the exchange of knowledge on all aspects of sustainable development. Over the past 14 years, the Summit has hosted 37 current and former Heads of State, ministers from over 50 countries, and delegates from across continents. Each year, the Summit brings together Heads of State and Government, Nobel Laureates, business leaders, and academicians to address issues of global sustainability.”

TERI

DSDS 15 will take place under the theme “”Sustainable Development Goals and Dealing with Climate Change”. This year is indeed marked by a crucial agenda on the way towards sustainable development through the framework of the Post-2015 Development Agenda definition process and launch, and the negotiations towards an agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) expected to be reached in the 21st Conference of the Parties in December 2015.

We are active in India since 2012 to implementing the Education for Sustainability project by approaching governmental institutions in order to convince them that teaching sustainable development at youngest ages in school is a necessity, networking among local, national and international organisations having similar goals, conducting a series of activities and events with schools and civil society and promoting our goal in the media, online and offline.

Fostered by the positive feedbacks and encouraging progress we made so far, we see our participation to DSDS 2015 as a great opportunity to spread our word and contribute to the way toward a sustainable India.

For more information about DSDS: Official website

Nature’s Fury is Inevitable

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, E-Magazine, General Information, Green Economy, News, Publications, Take Action

Against the backdrop of the current political deadlock in Pakistan, many other important issues affecting thousands of people have been sidelined.

The media is all eyes and ears for the fiery speeches, debates and discussions in the power play, and the awareness definitely plays an important role in stabilising the situation.But what about the section of the populace greatly affected and displaced by the current war in north west Pakistan and the floods?PAKISTAN_-_0911_-_Alluvioni_e_Chiesa_(F)

Photo Source: www.asianews.it

At least 193 people have lost their lives and 164 injured across Pakistan during floods in the first week of September. The overflowing rivers are wreaking havoc on already frail infrastructure in many regions in Pakistan.

According to the National Disaster Management (NDMA) report, 28, 538 people have been affected in Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.The number of people displaced by floods at this moment is still unknown. Sadly, even catastrophes of this magnitude can’t bring our politicians together and prioritise these issues.

Just a glance at the record of floods from 2010 to 2014 shows how major a threat monsoon rains currently are. Surprisingly, in the 2010 floods, the number of individuals affected exceed the total of individuals affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Kashmir earthquake in 2005 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010.And the loss of lives is not limited to the figures or numbers reported every time in the media.How many more red flags do we need to realise that climate change is an issue which affects all of us?

It is sad to know that globally, the people most affected by climate change are the ones who are least responsible for it.Perhaps that’s why we’re so resistant to the climate change alarm, which sits comfortably amidst us as we go about our agendas with the ‘business as usual’ approach.There is near-universal agreement among activists that efforts to limit carbon emissions have failed miserably, and that failure doesn’t come because the movement has embraced the oxymoron of “sustainable growth” or because it needs to work more closely with the business community. Rather, it’s because climate change activism is not challenging the key invisible narratives that drive our civilisation.

Being part of the Rio+20 UN Earth Summit held in Brazil, I can say that the willingness to acknowledge the threat and act accordingly is lacking.Now with another UN Summit on climate crisis in September, it is hoped that meaningful action will be taken. We have had enough talks sitting comfortably in the past behind closed doors.Earlier talks have ended mostly without reaching any important conclusion or an action plan. It should be more than just about choosing an exotic destination, inviting world leaders and activists to talk. We have had enough talks and it is no rocket science that we are destroying the biodiversity which allows nature systems to work efficiently.

It is time to take action if we want the seven billion people living on this planet to live with finite resources. No amount of funds can save us if we keep on destroying and polluting the soil, water and air which keep us alive.

The People’s Climate March to be held on September 21 aims at gathering hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Delhi, New York, London , Berlin, Rio de Janeiro and Jakarta; and pressure world leaders who will be gathered for the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit to take action on global warming.This is the largest mobilisation in the history of climate change and it wants to send a strong message to the world leaders — it is time to take action.

“People from across the planet will be making sure that leaders gathered in New York know the demand for action comes from every corner. This is the first truly global problem, and it has spawned the first truly global movement,” says Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.

In Pakistan, the issue of climate change is often sidelined and replaced with more “important issues”, without the acknowledgement that the social, economic and political issues are all intertwined.The earthquakes, the floods, the energy crisis, the rising temperatures, the unavailability of clean drinking water — are these not ‘important’ enough problems? Or is it just that we choose to stay aloof?

 Recently, most Pakistanis rejected the hypothetical UN Study based on a conjectural 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the Makran Trench (a meeting point for Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, off the coast of Pakistan). The study stated that Karachi, home to around 18 million people, could be wiped out by a tsunami if something like that happens.

Karachi experienced a tsunami in the past too. In 1945, around 4000 people lost their lives to it.Instead of being sceptic about it, it is time to take aggressive measures to counter climate change. We are already seeing and feeling its effects. Let’s not shut our eyes to it.

Republished from http://www.dawn.com/news/1132137/how-many-disasters-does-pakistan-need-to-focus-on-climate-change

Kick-starting India

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, Books & Magazine, E-Magazine, General Information, Green Economy, India, News, News & Updates, Publications, Regions, Take Action, Weekly news

More than 170 million Indian voters chose Narendra Modi as the country’s 15th prime minister in the world’s largest democratic election. Apparently people wanted to get rid of Congress considering the many scams and corruption scandals that worked against the Congress for example Commonwealth Games scam, telecom scam, discreet distribution of coal mines to cronies etc. It was also said that the Aam Aadmi party was very new in the political arena hence had few chances of victory. So it was BJP the Bhartya Janta Party that came on the front with a sweeping victory. The sentiments were mixed definitely. While some celebrated the success others were infuriated. I guess this is what democracy is all about. The only thing that concerned me was regarding a fair democratic election in place not backed by any agenda so to say. A genuine and transparent voting system in place, allowing people to question the propositions made by the participating parties and then deciding whom to vote for.

Reuters mukesh guptaIndia’s Election 2014 : Modi’s supporters rejoicing in the victory

Photo Source: Reuters/Mukesh Gupta

A lot of people were surprised to see the results where Congress was badly mauled. In the Northern Uttar Pradesh state alone BJP won more seats than the Congress won in the entire country. By dividing the electorate on religious lines and by making use of religious polarization along with communalism like in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and adjoining areas in Bihar and describing Azamgarh, a predominantly Muslim town, as den of terrorists it ran an election campaign that proved to be of its advantage.

So the elections are over now and the truth is that BJP is in power hence I would not like to waste my time debating who should have won. People have a right to choose what they think is best for them. As growth in India flagged, the Congress lost support ending their legacy. The leadership of Monmohan Sigh was lackluster. The Congress party needed to be more inclusive and hard working by not treating the party as a hereditary right of the Gandhis.

So should India’s minorities especially Muslims be afraid keeping in mind the 2002 Gujarat communal riots? The Hindu nationalists and BJP should ensure the safety and justice for the minorities considering them citizens of India who are not unequal. The sooner BJP realizes it the better it is for Narendra Modi’s longevity as the leader of India. Also keeping in mind the Gujarat model that focused on growth, this time BJP needs to have an outward thinking focusing on the inequality of access to economic and social opportunities, resources and justice as growth goes hand in hand with the well being of all.

Narendra’s Modi echoing victory offers reasons to hope that his government will promote prosperity and development for all Indians. Legislating with majority should facilitate socio economic reforms that would prove beneficial in the longer run for the country. Modi faces higher expectations than his predecessor given the election campaign.

Termed as ‘Development Man’ during his mammoth election campaign Narendra Modi the chief of India’s ruling party plays a vital role in the fight against climate justice and trying to make the sustainable development goals a reality. Pushing a vision of prosperity with more electrified cities and wealthier citizens, his promise will undoubtedly have profound implications for the planet over the years to come.

AFPWomen going to vote during the democratic elections in India 2014

Photo Source: AFP

For the developing world like India there are three factors that lie at the heart of sustainability. That would be electricity generation, use of land in agriculture and deforestation and protection of water resources especially when it comes to agriculture. These three factors are intertwined making it challenging for the government to enact with other necessary reforms. The first customary address by the President Pranab Mukherjee struck an ambitious tone on sustainable development.

Looking at the BJP manifesto the importance is given on how much energy they are going to be able to produce, the focus in not on how. The manifesto promises to make the most of gas, oil, coal, ocean, wind, nuclear and hydel power, looking at the diverse supply of energy. Keeping in mind Modi’s pro-business attitude some are optimistic that he will be a force for good in contributing to India’s developing renewable market. Krishna Pallassana the executive director of Climate Group India stresses that Modi believes and has also publicly stated many times that he wants to embrace a clean energy model. Krishna Pallassana is expecting a huge boost to this sector with Modi as a prime minister. Modi’s tenure will overlap with the UN’s attempt in 2015 to sign a legally binding global climate deal and hence Modi has to familiarize himself with the international politics of climate change. There are many issues that need to be smoothed out between India and other big emitters such as US and EU and India’s stance at the talks so far has been less than pacifying. Adaptation and taking on mitigation actions should remain a priority for the new government equaling to those of developed countries. The developed countries are the largest per capita contributors to the grave problem of carbon emissions and until they make a dent in their emissions this issue will not be resolved. This opinion is shared by a large segment of Indian and surely Modi’s government will not differ from that no matter how testing it might seem. By raising awareness among the masses on the impact of climate change will save this grave issue from going into the back seat after elections. It is not an easy subject but more emphasis can be put on it to raise awareness among people.

Gail India Limited, India’s largest natural gas distributors, recently announced that it would purchase natural gas from American Henry Hub, this does indicate that the new government is serious about expanding India’s natural gas grid infrastructure and Nehru National Solar Mission. All the policies and agreements must incorporate the well being of the masses who are often neglected and sidelined in favor of making profits. The governments elected by the people with a hope to see a better future are and should be answerable to the public.

Trimming deforestation that has affected communities with regards to land use must be incorporated in drafting a national policy to reverse deforestation. Critics like Greenpeace India say that environmental considerations often take a back seat to economic development priorities. The Modi government has made it clear that this would not be the case this time. The new government has also stressed on prioritizing water. Water one of the most threatened resources is of particular concern to a country that relies on agriculture. The new government focuses on improving infrastructure of irrigation projects to tackle drought and flood.  The dispute over water rights among Indian states in previous years should be kept in mind and dealt with diligence.

If the priorities laid down by the new government remain true to the cause then it is to be commended as an indication of smart policy. The BJP’s election manifesto offers hints of methods to tackle climate change and deal with the issues regarding development. That includes efficient waste management practices, research and development of environmental sector and guidelines for green building. Reform will be challenging for the government to keeping in mind the lumbering bureaucracy. To achieve growth in order to reduce the ranks of India’s extremely poor in a way that preserves the environment and slows down the contribution to global greenhouse emissions will dominate the debates over India’s development plans for the coming years.

For any government an agenda that centers on development is indeed a boon for the planet. The question however is how we define development? Instead of a microscopic vision it should be about a telescopic vision that keeps in mind the well being of human species. In today’s globalized world the moves made by one country affects the other. We all are in it together and therefore an outward approach in needed that link the development agenda to a climate agenda. In the ailing economy where many issues are there to be dealt with, climate justice might not draw immediate attention.  It should however be considered of huge importance when designing policies as it is directly affecting us in many ways we don’t want to consider important.

Seeing the new government already beginning to make the link is a smart move. Trying to tap the opportunities in various areas of development has raised hopes of many. With the new regime in charge, the environmental minister has talked about project approvals beginning by the end of June. Modi seeking to press on a ferocious agenda of national development that looks great on paper by putting sustainability at the centre of thoughts and actions  has left experts wondering how much to expect from this new leader and his regime. Only time will tell whether the new regime is capable of delivering the promises it made. Ensuring growth while keeping an eye on the environment would prove to be an intelligent move. We have seen in the past and still experiencing that stubbornness and blinding oneself to grave issues threatening the human race has proved fatal. Instead of being a frog finding himself in a bowl of comfortably lukewarm water while actually sitting on a slow flame should be considered a red flag by the governments. With the benefit of hindsight it would be smart not to let the temperature in the bowl reach the boiling point because it would be too late to jump out.  It is better to prevent environmental disasters than wait till it’s too late.

Time will tell the efficiency and diligence of the new regime in India. With the hope to see the manifesto of the new government becoming a reality it would be fair on the masses to push for it, constantly reminding the government of the promises they made.

The Drowning Paradise Islands

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, Books & Magazine, E-Magazine, General Information, Green Economy, News, News & Updates, Publications, Regions, Take Action, Uncategorized

While talking to a friend the other day, being inquired what am I doing these days I was astonished when he said that you are a Pakistani journalist, write about issues from Pakistan. Interesting as it might sound yes I do write about issues faced by Pakistan but that does not stop me from opening my eyes to the rest of the world. I consider this globe my home and feel passionate to write about other places too. No matter how big or small those places are, just like a small island state Antigua and Barbuda I read about recently. I think I shouldn’t necessarily be from that place to raise the concern which that small island state is facing.

In 1982 this Caribbean small island state, less than one-year at that time, proposed to the United Nations that Antarctica should be considered a global common just like deep-sea bed and should be dealt and managed by the UN for the good of humankind. At that time the concern put forward by Antigua and Barbuda looked vague but now as the polar ice is melting, threatening small islands as they drown the proposition made in 1982 have become apparent. As it turned out Antigua and Barbuda had recently been an independent nation and thus lacking resources to continue to press the case for Antarctica being declared by UN a global common. The few countries given responsibility to decide the future of Antarctica failed to reach a consensus albeit having many discussions over a period of time.

Now there is clear evidence that the pristine condition of Antarctica raised in 1982 in the UN was very valid. Climate change in the Antarctica and Arctic and the ongoing human activity in the region have adverse affects on the small island making them vulnerable to flooding. It is not just small island states many coastal areas of big countries are also facing similar threats. For the Islanders it’s a red flag raised on various occasions, with the rise of sea levels due to climate change they face an unprecedented challenge.

The rise in sea level spurred by glacial melting in the polar regions of the world is an open secret. Burying our heads in the sand won’t let us get away with this issue.  It will only make things worse in the future. Many researchers and scientists have made connections between climate change, human activities and a rise in extreme weather conditions, drawing our attention to an obvious risky situation.

a girl in TuvaluA girl in Tuvalu Island

Photo Source: Google

The recent flooding in the Balkans reported as worst flooding in over 120 years is a case in point. Here it can be seen that it is not just the severity of climate change but the lack of resources to cushion people against the climate related disasters that will determine peoples’ fate.

So what are these small island developing States? There are 51 states and territories classified as small island developing States (SIDS) by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. These small islands developing states are located across Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans including the Caribbean Sea. The climate of SIDS of tropical and sub-tropical oceans is influenced by ocean atmosphere interactions resulting in cyclones, hurricanes, coral bleaching, erosion and inundation of land. Cyclones accounted for seventy six percent of the reported disasters in the Pacific Islands from 1950 to 2004. The climate in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean is dominated by North Atlantic subtropical high and Asian monsoon system respectively. The climate characteristics prevailing in the SIDS and their socio economic conditions make small island developing States most susceptible in the world to climate change.

Considering the fact that SIDS produce extremely low levels of greenhouse gases suggests that they will suffer unduly from the damaging impacts of climate change. Already facing similar sustainable development challenges like low availability of resources, vulnerability to natural disasters, dependence on international trade and small population the small island developing States suffer from costly administration and public infrastructure with weak economies.

The small island developing states are already experiencing the adverse affects of climate change with the sea level rise impacting the economies. The potential threats have made some islands like Kiribati, Maldives and Tuvalu uninhabitable. Changes in precipitation affecting drinking water and agriculture, sea level temperatures affecting fisheries and the extremities causing damage to the infrastructure have forced communities to leave putting the nations’ sovereignty at stake.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted in 1992 that was ratified by 195 parties has a role to play. The Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, no more effective, was a treaty making it binding on the industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. The UNFCCC was there to protect by laying down targets for the reduction or limitation of greenhouse gases in this highly industrialized world.  With various Conferences of the Parties (COP) held in exotic destinations like Cancun, Durban and Copenhagen etc it was seen that all these forums ended up being termed as failed dialogues, even the UN Earth Summit was labeled as a failed summit as no concrete decisions were taken by the powerful head of states to curb the menace of climate change. Now we have to wait till 2015 to see if there will ever be a significant step taken to resolve the issue or at least try to be honest about it.

With all these conferences and summits being held in a safe and luxurious environment every year, the Islanders are still facing the threats unaware that their future is in the hands of a few. It makes no difference in their lives whatsoever. Far away in the island of Kiribati many might not even know of UNFCCC or what this Kyoto protocol is all about.

Kiribati, pronounced KIR-e-bass, the local version of Gilbert, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean will start to disappear in 2030 according to some researchers because of the rising seas. Where will the people of Kiribati go? Many Islands face the threat of drowning not just Kiribati. I remember once being enchanted by a magical dance performance by the people of Samoa and Fiji, always smiling. The happy people of these various Islands deserve to be protected not letting the greed of a few wipe them out of the face of earth.

drowning-kiribati_i-bwi_3Island nation of Kiribati on the verge of drowning

Photo Source: Google

The President of Kiribati, a nation of 33 islands, Anote Tong has already started lobbying other nations to begin accepting his inhabitants 103,000 in number as climate refugees. He is also urging industrial nations like US to do more to control the rising tides. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, 68 percent of the carbon is emitted by half of world’s population, wreaking climate hardships on smaller countries. The leaders of industrialized nations have been quiet and resisted to pay attention and come to aid for the societies at risk.  China became the world’s top carbon emitter in 2007 due to the rapid development. Similarly US, India, Russia and Germany are contributing to the unpleasant fate of the SIDS.If scientists are right in their estimations, the ocean will swallow the island nation of Kiribati sooner than it seems. Water expands when it warms and lately the oceans received alarming amounts of melted ice.

The oceans are absorbing 15 times faster heat than the last 100,000 years according to some recent studies.  Before drowning though the islands will experience the poisoning of its inadequate supply of fresh water. The apocalypse can come sooner for Kiribati if the storms like the ones that struck Philippines and Haiti strikes the island. These are some reasons that will led to a mass migration forcing 103,000 citizens of Kiribati to leave their land resulting perhaps in the first migration due to global warming rather than famine or war.

The president of Kiribati is visiting various places in search of a place to move his people. No country so far has expressed interest in accommodating the people of Kiribati that is very much obvious when it comes to migration. However in Fiji the president of Kiribati has bought 6,000 acres of land to accommodate the inhabitants, apparently to the dismay of Fiji’s military rulers. It is sad to see that there is not enough room on this planet to accommodate some inhabitants of this world.

The inhabitants of Kiribati have lived peacefully with their surrounding for the past 3000 years. The ocean met their needs for food and the atolls gave them coconut palms, a reservoir gave them fresh water making them invisible to the world. Some historians believe that the people of Kiribati descended from the migrants from Indonesia. The invaders from Samoa and Tonga also mixed with the locals over a period of time. Surviving Japanese and British invasion one can see the remains of the war like a massive Japanese gun placed on one of the islands of Kiribati.  The Gilberts got independence in the late 70s when the British mining companies took the last guano deposits from the islet of Banaba, leaving Kiribati in a half developed state. Besides the sea level rise and saltwater inundation Kiribati is facing a crippling disease burden. There are other problems that plague the nation including many diseases that afflict hundreds like leprosy, tuberculosis and diabetes.

In an interview the president of Kiribati said that the Obama administration does care about the issue but there are people in the Congress allergic to the term climate change. He said he wants those people to visit Kiribati before it’s too late. When in need we always look for help from the privileged ones and the ones who are satiated have a huge responsibility to act conscientiously when faced with certain challenges. In a way the powerful nations when asked for help do have constraints whereas in reality these powerful nations are the cause of most problems being faced by the SDIS more or less. The sea level rise that has affected the entire cycle causing various problems is undoubtedly the result of high carbon emissions by the powerful nations.

Just like Kiribati Tuvalu is another island, the fourth smallest country in the world which most of us haven’t heard about. The anonymity of these islands will surely to come to an end when they are wiped from the face of this planet attracting the media craving for bad news. It is sad to know that in my life there will be places in the world that will become non-existent. The entire countries like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Maldives are particularly at risk of extinction. Most coastal communities face similar environmental struggle especially these places whose inhabitants are living at sea level. I have never had the opportunity yet to visit these paradise islands though I wish that I get to see these islands thriving with life instead of mere remnants left from a haunted past.

While searching on Google about the small island developing States I did come across many stories from the Islanders themselves crying for help to the international community. I also read stories of relocation of villages in many places. For the islanders it is not about survival, they will be finished if drowned. Struggling to get asylum in other places many Islanders did admit that they don’t want to leave their home as their spirits live here.

It’s safe for many of us to say that we haven’t heard of these places. Some environmental activists are struggling to put the concerns of the Islanders forward in all those posh UN conferences asking for action. But to be honest when it comes to policy development and industrialized nations taking action we fail again and again. We are doing the same things again and again expecting different results, Einstein rightly called that phenomenon stupidity.

Keeping our greed aside and letting all this stop is in our hands. Today it might be people of Kiribati but tomorrow it can any one of us saving ourselves from the floods caused by the unending greed of those hidden faces who have the authority to decide our future. They are the ones who are there to determine whether we should live or die.

Kiribati a nation that barely contributes to climate change will be losing everything because of it, they have to suffer not because of their own mistakes but because of the mistakes of others. I want to ask all these world leaders a question. What did you do in Copenhagen, Cancun or for that matter Brazil? These leaders leading nations are accountable to the people they represent.

Children Play amongst dead breadfruit trees in KiribatiChildren play amongst dead breadfruit trees in Kiribati

Photo Source: Google

Sustainable Development: A Global Youth Perspective

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, Green Economy, News, News & Updates

Sustainable development means different things to different people, but the most commonly quoted definition undoubtedly is ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (World Commission on Environment and Development).

Being part of few conferences on this issue and meeting people involved in the movement instead of having clarity of thought I was perplexed to how this broader definition can be translated into the local context among local communities. Obviously there is no one, clear cut solution to the challenges faced by the world today.

“More is always better” is an outdated orthodox rule of thumb. The scandalous and unfair distribution of this planet’s wealth, over exploitation of environment and depletion of natural resources should be brought to an end. This narrow economic rationality dominant in capitalism/post capitalism should be replaced with reason, an understanding that advocates greater common good. Just to have a better understanding on how this concept works in local contexts I got to speak with some active, young members of the globe taking part in the movement. My reason for getting to know how sustainable development is understood by various societies is based on an incident where once when we were discussing climate justice with local audience in Pakistan I got a backlash from the community saying that this is not our problem , we are deprived of our daily bread, that is our problem. Even today what they said echoes in my mind, isn’t everything interconnected? Economic, environment, education, don’t they all fit into one big puzzle to solve the mystery behind sustainable development, adopting an integrated version. To find answers I approached my interviewees belonging to various regions with three questions. What does sustainable development mean to you? What is the general perception of sustainability in the regions where you are coming from? What do you think should be the global link for sustainable development at large? Here is what they had to say.

“For me it means taking good care of the environment and of others around you. What I find very important is respect and responsibility. We need to respect nature (and people!) and we have a certain responsibility to take good care of the earth and manage resources in a sustainable way. Also, it means not screwing things up for future generations and leaving a world behind without environmental destruction, disasters due to climate change, and poverty. We have a lot to do to achieve true sustainability and sustainable development, but there is no other way than to develop in a sustainable way in the years to come, as it’s the only way to deal with resource scarcity, climate risks, and so on. Sustainable development means that we need to improve our current economic system (which for example makes it cheaper to pollute than to produce environmental-friendly, which is crazy), especially make the transition from linear to circular economy.

There is no true sustainability without the global part. We deal with trans-boundary problems so in the end no country can do it alone. I praise all local initiatives where real progress and power lies – however, we do need global cooperation on these issues. Which makes it difficult too, because opinions (and unfortunately, mostly interests) from governments around the world differ and that’s why countries – in my opinion – have not succeeded yet in making strong international agreements on sustainable development. The current process of defining a set of sustainable development goals (as successor of the MDGs) is hopeful, but governments unfortunately find it very difficult to be truly trans formative; which is really needed. That’s where I see the power of other actors, sustainable business leaders for example, but especially young people – taking the lead in their communities, working together with other young people from other countries, with a shared goal: achieving sustainability as soon as possible. More and more people are becoming aware and many (young) people are doing something about it, taking action themselves. That’s where the real hope and change lies. And it’s something we can see happening all around the world – which is amazing.”

Ralien Bekkers

Ralien Bekkers, Netherlands

Dutch Representative, Sustainable Development to UN

“Socio economics is regional,national and global. There are so many differences between places in terms of economics, society and their perception of what is right for themselves – sustainability varies with that psyche.  It varies with the history, culture and the situation the people are currently in. A group or a tribe with a long history of conservation will put environment before development. A more globalized group that thinks resources equal capital will put environment  behind development. A global perspective is difficult.It can only be realized when everybody realizes how the most vulnerable is suffering. It will only be realized when the economically higher set which is usually cushioned from disasters is made to reseal what people working in sensitive areas like farming are going through. Before we head towards a global, i feel there needs to be a lot of  traction between societies in a nation. “

Priti Rajagopalan

Priti Rajagopalan

Winner, Commonwealth Youth Award

“I define SD as development for all, the inclusive development with a collective consciousness. In Mexico there are two different approaches to SD and two key actors. At global, the government is the key player and it seeks for climate change commitments. The government strategy has been built mainly in the efficiency of the use of energy and the use and sanitation of water. Some examples of this were the inputs of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Patricia Espinoza in the High Level Panel report in which her work was fundamental to include energy in the Agenda Post 2015. At local, the CSOs are the key players. And the commitments are more local as well. We are working to include non formal education on SD in elementary schools, green jobs and local law that defend the protected natural areas, the rivers and the indigenous territories. I think the link is to translate the international/global commitments of our government to local projects. We already work in this, for example the food security we translate it into organic harvesting systems in schools or the water efficiency we translate it into harvesting water systems in schools and community centers. That´s how I think it should be SD at large, translate it to all and for all.”

Mariana Gonzalez

Mariana Gonzalez, Mexico

Project Coordinator, Global Youth Action Network

“Sustainable development to me incorporates energy,water, environment, economy, health , food, adaptation,climate, biodiversity,technology, change, to mention but a few.To expand a little bit  further on some key areas for example climate, we all now know it’s not something we have to be told, the climate has changed and this is really having a negative effect on food or crop yields hence the need for adaptation.Water in the rivers is drying up and we need to start thinking  of how do we get energy? This all falls under renewable energy, the environmental landscape is changing day by day how we do adapt?

Being in Africa and representing the African region , I see how sustainability is slowly coming into play. Take for example Solar energy. Our beautiful African sun shines for most days in a year and how we utilize that? It’s through the introduction of more solar use for generating the much needed power unlike relying on the usual hydro power that is proving to be a challenge with climate change. It also reduces even on pollution and replaces non renewable energy to a more eco-friendly energy.

The other aspect especially on adaptation  is on crop rotation. As you maybe aware that for example here in the Southern part of Africa maize is a major crop but due to climate change crop yields have really gone down and farmers  are being encouraged to plant other crops that are less water demanding and that improve soil fertility. This helps in many ways to mitigate  from poor to food shortages.

With all this said, I would say that as a region that is feeling the effects of climate change or global warming, we as a region are doing okay because we are most affected , I know the other regions have the more advanced technology. Still a lot needs to be done.Slowly but surely we can get there, and we just need more joint forces, more government commitments to make it a meaningful development.”

Chola Simzwana

Chola Simzwana, Zambia

Commonwealth Youth Climate Network

“Allowing the next generation to enjoy the current resources we are blessed with. It’s all about inter-generational justice and fairness. For example in some places climate justice is the main area of interest whereas in other regions education and economics are paid more attention though it is interlinked.

For the PACIFIC it is entirely about survival. Our islands are sinking and we contributed the least to this global issue. If our geographical homes are disappearing; this also threatens our histories, cultures, languages & identity. The world is turning a blind-eye to this because we are considered small & insignificant for prompt global action. Enough of the bullying! I plea anyone to please help us protect all we have.

Climate Change is the threatening our very own existence. The whole world is experiencing unorthodox, unprecedented weather episodes. The evidence is clear that we need action now!”

Simon Matafai

Simon Matafai, Samoa and NewZealand

Represented Commonwealth of Nations at Various UN Summits

Indeed a  central feature of sustainable development is adopting an integrated vision. Rather than just a concept it can also be seen as a political or normative act.

The power of the concept lies in the fact that it brings the differences and contradictions in current behavior to the surface creating a table for dialogue and discussion where varied world views are given heed and importance.  Keeping in mind the socio-political context of various regions and discussing the political priorities for sustainable development might be challenging but the need of our time. It’s better to think in that direction before it gets too late. After all sustainable development is about the quality of life we desire now and in future. An element of equity is important when we are talking about sustainable development as people spread across the globe have the right to quality of life. Making choices and policies visible within the context of our desired future is the essence of sustainable development. The numerous views on a desired future leads to various interpretations of sustainable development as a concept. But it can be seen through the views expressed that there is one thing which we all agree with, which we all share and that is a desire for change, a desire to make this world better.
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Weekly News # 20 – Join the UN Secretary General during a meeting with youth attending the UN Climate Talks

Written by admin on . Posted in General Information, News, Take Action, Upcoming Events

(shared post) Hello everyone,
Please find below a copy of the briefing for the virtual meeting between YOUNGO and the UN Secretary General tomorrow. It would be great if you could share the information amongst your networks and use the #TellBanKiMoon hashtag to engage on twitter. I believe this will also be posted on the IYCM website shortly: http://adoptanegotiator.org/2013/06/12/youth-tellbankimoon-at-the-un-climate-talks-2/
Youth #TellBanKiMoon at the UN Climate Talks
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will host a meeting with youth who are currently attending the UN Climate Talks.
The virtual call between New York and Bonn will take place this Thursday, 13 June, 18:30-18:45 CET, and participants will be able to tune in through webcast and can engage on twitter using the #TellBanKiMoon hashtag to send their messages and ideas to the Secretary General on issues related to youth, climate change and intergenerational equity.
During the current round of climate negotiations, YOUNGO, the official youth constituency to The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have stressed upon parties to institutionalise the principle of intergenerational Equity within the proposed 2015 climate change agreement.
In the midst of disputes between Russia and other parties this past week that have held up parts of the UNFCCC process, YOUNGO urged Poland, the hosts of the next climate conference (COP19), to inject ambition into the negotiations. Youth also pushed Poland to take the opportunity to make COP19 a pivotal point in history, where they can unite with the European Union and show the rest of the world how to tackle climate issues responsibly.
Addressing youth earlier this year, the Secretary-General called on the world’s youth to take the helm in steering the international community through its turbulent period of economic and political transition and towards a more “prosperous, equitable and peaceful future”. In response, youth are calling the Secretary General to ensure that they will be represented and given the space to indeed take a steering role in the high-level climate meeting of world leaders that Ban Ki-moon plans to convene next year, in order to mobilise political will and scale up commitments for the 2015 agreement.
Already in Bonn, YOUNGO helped to launch the Youth in Action  report. The publication, which features YOUNGO, highlights concrete action young people are taking to incite their governments to scale up action on climate change and raise ambition towards a post-2020 climate change regime.
Youth offered a reminder to negotiators at Bonn that “people’s lives and our futures are ticking away”. Of all the participants involved in the UN Climate Conference in Bonn, it will be youth who will grow up in the world that is currently being negotiated.
Jean Paul ………………………………. Jean Paul Brice Affana Youth and Action Instructor, Founder Coordinator Vital Actions for Sustainable Development [AVD]