Dear Friends of the World Future Council,
a busy year 2012 is behind us, beautifully decorated Christmas trees are springing up all over Hamburg and our thoughts are with those who can not enjoy the Christmas season in peace. Given the many negative developments in world affairs, it is not easy to be upbeat: In 2012 global CO2 emissions rose again, the storms Sandy and Bopha wreaked havoc and the UN Climate Change Conference in Qatar ended without a success. However, International agreements are fortunately not the only means to address the great challenges of our time. The World Future Council concentrates on giving information and advice directly to policy makers, especially in Europe, the U.S. and Africa. In Africa, we see a very special opportunity of leapfrogging the "dirty" power generation of the industrialised countries. Here, the activities of the World Future Council and the African Renewable Energy Alliance (AREA) have already contributed significantly to the considerable progress some countries have made in the uptake of renewable energies. Organizing an Africa-wide workshop for decision-makers costs around 65,000 US Dollars or 40,000 British Pounds. This is a lot of money for an independent, donation-funded organization such as the World Future Council, but a very worthwhile investment when it results in nations turning to the use of renewable energies. With your end-of-year donation we can continue our successful work for the benefit of present and future generations. Whatever you can give will help! On behalf of all Councillors and staff members, we deeply thank our supporters and friends and wish you a peaceful Christmas and a happy and regenerative year 2013.
With kind regards from Hamburg,
Jakob von Uexkull,
WFC Founder & Chairman
Symbolic handover of a healthy planet. From left to right: Maha Al Fahim, Abdul Majeed Al Fahim, Abdul Muqeet, H.H Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahyan, Jakob von Uexkull, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Ebrahim Al Haddar.
Securing our World: Annual General Meeting 2012
At the invitation of businessman and visionary Abdul Majeed Al Fahim, the 6th Annual General Meeting of the World Future Council was held in the Arab world for the first time. From November 21 to 24 the Council convened in Abu Dhabi to discuss the 2013 work programmes of the Commissions for Future Justice, Climate and Energy, Sustainable Ecosystems, Sustainable Economy and Peace and Disarmament, which were adopted unanimously. On the initiative of Council members Dr. Scilla Elworthy and Dr. Rama Mani, a new "Circle of Vision and Ethics" was formed with the aim to investigate how psychology, communication and spirituality can contribute to creating a more ethical, equitable and sustainable world. "We will continue working with all our power to ensure that the rights of future generations are respected worldwide," said Jakob von Uexkull. "A quick change of course is an absolute prerequisite to prevent the impending consequences of unchecked climate change." Pictures and more information can be found here.
Report: Feed-in Tariffs Key to African’s Energy Future
A new report for policy makers launched by the World Future Council and the Heinrich Böll Foundation at the UN climate summit (COP 18) in Doha, Qatar shows that Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFiT) policies are the most promising mechanism to unlock renewable energy development in Africa. The report provides an in-depth analysis of existing policies in 13 African countries and doubles as a comprehensive guide for African policy makers. COP18 provided an ideal platform to kick-start the debate with a side event and press conference. For further information on our activities at the UN conference and TV interviews with Councillors and senior staff members, please see here.
More than a Coffee Table Book: Forests for People
Our Future Policy Award is the first award that aims to draw global attention to good policies and encourage other countries to introduce comparable measures. Rwanda's National Forest Policy, to which we awarded the 2011 Future Policy Award, has not only halted deforestation but has seen the country's forested area increase by 37 per cent since 1990. This successful forest policy is explored in a new book titled “Forests for People – Insights into Rwanda’s Prized Forest Policy”. It illustrates Rwanda’s forest innovations in an engaging and enjoyable way and promises “a story of world records, brave people, rare animals and good solutions for the challenges of our time”. The book can be viewed and ordered here and is an ideal Christmas present for everyone who has a love for forests! As a special Christmas treat we raffle off one copy of this beautiful book. If you want to win it, write an Email with the subject heading "Forests for People" to firstname.lastname@example.org until 19 December, and indicate whether you would prefer the German or the English version.
Handbook: Supporting Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
The Inter-Parliamentary Union has commissioned Rob van Riet, Coordinator of the WFC Disarmament Programme, and Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and WFC Councillor, to produce a handbook identifying existing examples of good practice in the area of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and offering recommendations for further parliamentary action. It was released on 24 October 2012 during the 127th IPU Assembly in Quebec City, Canada. It is now available online in English and French and has been provided to all 170 IPU member parliaments to encourage, support and guide parliamentary action. IPU, PNND and WFC are working on securing funding for translations into key additional languages, especially Spanish, Russian and Arabic.
WFC Study: The Costs of the Non-Use of Renewable Energy
It is often claimed that renewables are still too costly and not yet competitive with conventional energy sources. But what costs are incurred when renewable energies are not used? Every day during which potential renewable energy sources are not utilised but exhaustible fossil fuels burnt instead speeds up the depletion of these non-renewable fuels. Our study concludes that, estimated conservatively, the future usage loss resulting from our current oil, gas and coal consumption is between 3.2 and 3.4 trillion US Dollars per year! Download the study here.
Proposal: Finance TÜV
"Separating the wheat from the chaff does not get rid of the chaff: What we need is preventive testing of financial innovations". This was the World Future Council’s answer to the European Commission’s consultation on the Liikanen report. The report's key proposal was to separate investment banking activities from deposit-taking within a banking group. Read the WFC's answer here.
Working for the Rights of People with Disabilities: Zero Project Conference - 18/02-19/02/2013
Vienna: In cooperation with the Essl Foundation the World Future Council will hold the second Zero Project Conference on "Employment Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices" in collaboration with the International Labour Organization. More than 30 parliamentarians, together with a further 150 academics, NGO and foundation representatives, social entrepreneurs and business leaders, as well as disability rights activists, are expected to attend. The Zero Project Report 2013 was launched on 3 December 2012, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, at the Vienna International Film Festival for Human Rights and can be downloaded here. The WFC program for the rights of people with disabilities is now coordinated from Geneva where we opened a new liaison office on UN Human Rights Day, 10 December. More information about the Zero Project can be found here
Get information on all other upcoming events.
Celebrating Good Solutions: Future Policy Award 2012
How can we save the world’s oceans and coasts? The Future Policy Award 2012 celebrated the world’s most inspiring, innovative and influential policies on the protection of oceans and coasts. The winning policies from Palau, Namibia and the Philippines were celebrated during a beautiful ceremony on October 16 in Hyderabad, India at the 11th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-11). Watch our video!
Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: Basel Peace Office Opened
The World Future Council has opened a new office in Basel, Switzerland jointly with Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, the Middle Powers Initiative and the Global Security Institute. The Basel Peace Office is established to advance research, teaching and policy-development programs dedicated to international peace, conflict resolution and security to achieve the global abolition of nuclear weapons. At the opening ceremony on 16 November WFC Councillor Alyn Ware spoke on the incompatibility of the threat or use of nuclear weapons with international law. WFC Councillors Chico Whitaker and Anda Filip were among the more than 90 guests. Find more information on the Basel Peace Office here.
Fighting Climate Change: COP18 Side Event on Regenerative Cities
In partnership with HafenCity University Hamburg and WWF, the WFC hosted a side event in Doha on climate change resilience and the role of regenerative cities in the Gulf Cooperation Council. While cities in the Gulf are the main users of energy and water, and are, at the same time, the places most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, they also provide the potential for solutions to these problems. The debate highlighted the strong need for a regenerative city model that can be applied to regional conditions to restore the balance between ecosystems and human development. Our report "A Future for Gulf Cities" can be downloaded in English and Arabic here.
Implementing 100% RE Targets: Folkecenter Parliamentary Hearing
The World Future Council, together with the Climate Service Center and the Nordic Folkecenter, hosted a parliamentary hearing on “Regional Development and Renewable Energy in Europe: Best Policies for 100% Renewable Energy in European Regions” to discuss the potential of decentralised and community-owned renewable energy supply. Forty experts and political decision makers from national, regional and local governments from 15 European countries shared knowledge, developed strategies and established a network with the overall goal of implementing 100 per cent renewable energy targets across European regions. The debate proved that 100% renewable energies is no longer just a pipe dream in Europe. The hearing was a starting point for several new initiatives, collaborations and ideas. The World Future Council is committed to take up the work and strategize towards a global 100% Renewable Energy Campaign. Further information can be found here.
Get information on all other recent events.
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Picture for "Working for the Rights of People with Disabilities": ©Phoenix Society