How can we build Peace?

We asked our expert policy staff on the occasion of World Peace Day 2018

Building peace is a very complex endeavour: Social injustice, economic inequalities, climate change, lack of opportunities, resource scarcity, depletion of natural habitat, hunger and poverty, and violation of human rights can cause social unrest or even violent conflict. All these factors are interdependent and intertwined. Is building peace a futile mission? No, because proven solutions and successful approaches already exist. On this year’s UN World Peace Day, we asked our dedicated policy staff what can be done to achieve and sustain peace:

 

 

Press Release: Kehkashan Basu to speak at UN High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament

18 year old environmental activist Kehkashan Basu selected to speak at September 26 United Nations High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament

She calls for disarmament for sustainable development

Hamburg/New York, 12 September 2018  18 year old environmental activist and youth leader Kehkashan Basu was selected by the President of the UN General Assembly to address the September 26 United Nations High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament as one of the two representatives of global civil society. She is Youth Ambassador of the World Future Council and was last week named as one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence for 2018. Ms Basu says: ‘The United Nations and its member countries should focus more on disarmament for sustainable development’

Kehkashan Basu
Kehkashan, Youth Ambassador of the World Future Council, is the founder of the GREEN HOPE FOUNDATION, which seeks to provide a networking platform to children and youth, to take action for a more sustainable future.
Picture (c) Kehkashan Basu

 

 

 

The nuclear arms race, in particular, should be halted and the $100 billion global nuclear weapons budget be redirected towards ending poverty, reversing climate change, protecting the oceans, building a sustainable economy and providing basic education and health care for all of humanity,’ says Ms Basu who was also the winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize. ‘Instead, the nuclear armed States are squandering resources and keeping their nuclear weapons poised to strike. One mistake would cause a humanitarian disaster, robbing children and youth of their health and future, and maybe even ending civilization as we know it.’

The High Level Meeting on September 26 will involve Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and UN ambassadors presenting either their hopes and aspirations for nuclear disarmament, or their excuses for keeping the nuclear arms race going. It falls on the anniversary of the incident in 1983 when a nuclear war was almost fought by accident.
On that day, an incoming United States ballistic missile attack against Moscow was ‘detected’ by Soviet satellites relaying information to the nuclear early warning center Serpukhov-15. With only 15 minutes between detection and impact, standard procedure was to confirm the incoming attack to the President of the Soviet Union (at the time it was Yuri Andropov) who would initiate an immediate ‘retaliatory’ attack before Moscow was hit.

Stanislav Petrov, duty officer at Serpukhov-15, defied protocol and reported a ‘false alarm’. His action, which is chronicled in the award winning movie The Man Who Saved the World, prevented a potential nuclear calamity the like of which we have never experienced and hope never to see.

‘The lesson of the 1983 incident, and the 15-20 other times we have nearly had a nuclear exchange, is that nuclear deterrence could fail – and that failure would mean game over,’ says Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council. ‘As such, the nuclear armed States have to replace nuclear deterrence with better ways to achieve security, just as the overwhelming majority of other countries have already done.’

In 2013 the UN General Assembly decided to hold a series of annual High Level Meetings every year on September 26 at which governments could express their views and proposals, followed by a UN High Level Conference in May 2018 to take action on effective measures for nuclear disarmament. However, the High Level Conference in May was postponed and now might be cancelled altogether.

‘High Level Conferences and Summits on global issues are vital to build the public attention, media coverage and political traction to make progress,’ says Alyn Ware, Chair of the World Future Council Disarmament Commission.  ‘The United Nations must not cave in to the pressure from the nuclear armed States to drop the High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament.’

‘Regardless of what the governments do at the UN, civil society will step up its action for nuclear disarmament,’ says Ms Basu. ‘The most powerful lobby for the nuclear arms race is the nuclear weapons industry. From Oct 24-30, in locations around New York, we will count out the $1 trillion nuclear weapons budget for the next 10 years and demonstrate how this money can be reallocated from the nuclear weapons industry into the Sustainable Development Goals and other areas of human and environmental need. This includes direct cuts to nuclear weapons budgets, and divestment from the industry, and is part of the global campaign Move the Nuclear Weapons Money.’

Jakob von Uexkull (left)
Founder of the World Future Council (2007) and the Right Livelihood Award (1980), often referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’.

Alyn Ware (right)
Chair of the World Future Council Disarmament Commission, Founder and global coordinator of the network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND)

Annual Report 2017

Excerpt

The world we live in is changing fast, and, it seems, not necessarily for the good. Every day we are confronted with negative news and shocking headlines. But this problem-orientated approach towards today’s challenges is paralysing and unproductive. Because of that, it is important to talk about solutions.

Let’s take a tour through the diverse and numerous solutions we identified and promoted during 2017! This Annual Report looks back at our impact in 2017 and shows, yet again, our supporters’ strong commitment: collectively we can be proud of what we achieved in climate protection, advancing 100% Renewable Energy, combating land degradation, protecting children from violence, fostering a sustainable economy, and promoting peace and disarmament.

What is the Future Policy Award 2018 and why is it so important?

Would you like to know more about the Future Policy Award 2018? Here are some fundamentals:

Every year, the World Future Council honours the best policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations with the Future Policy Award, the “Oscar on best policies”. If that sounds complicated, let us explain to you what it actually means – it’s pretty simple and important: We look at the greatest challenges of humankind and search the world for the best solutions in order to spread them.

A quick Q&A session will help you understand. We also interviewed Poppe Braam, founder of DO-IT (Dutch Organic International Trade) why they support the Future Policy Award this year.

First of all, what’s the Future Policy Award?

The Future Policy Award is the first award that celebrates policies rather than people on an international level. It raises global awareness for exemplary policies and speeds up policy action. Each year, the Councillors of the World Future Council identifies one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent.

What is the focus this year? 

This year’s Future Policy Award is focusing on policies scaling up agroecology. Policies that contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods of small-scale food producers, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement climate-resilient agricultural practices.

Who are the main organisations you partner with this year?

In 2018, the World Future Council partners with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organics International. We received support from Green Cross International, DO-IT – Dutch Organic International Trade and Sekem Group, Egypt.

Why does, for instance, DO-IT support Future Policy Award? And why does this Dutch company think scaling up agroecology is so important?

We asked Poppe Braam, who founded DO-IT, an organic food trading company from the Netherlands and he said: “In many countries DO-IT supports farmer transition to certified organic agriculture. Many of them are smallholder farmers, who urgently need more support. This makes local and national policy by governments as well as action by NGOs and agricultural institutes a vital part of this transition. Chemical farming (i.e. today’s conventional agriculture using chemical pesticides and fertilizers) and agroecology are natural opponents. Chemical farming does not only harm nature, but it also harms our health and climate. Moreover, the business of organic farmers is threatened due to levels of pesticide and GMO contamination by wind or water. It is therefore critical to scale up agroecology and policymakers should now step up their efforts.”

What can I do to support agroecology?

Buy organic and agroecological local or regional produce and support thereby family farmers in your region! Just like every raindrop counts towards a river, so does every choice you make in what you consume.

Does the World Future Council need support?

Yes! Now that the Future Policy Award identified and highlighted policy solutions from around world, we need to make them known to policy-makers around the world. We need funding for publishing in-depth policy reports, campaigning events, etc. Every donation will help!

Presenting Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models on Smart Cities in China

Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen

The Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release was successfully organised during the Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen.

In cooperation with the China Center for Urban Development (CCUD) under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the World Future Council organised the Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release in the evening of August 21. During the Banquet, the Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models project was co-launched by the World Future Council and CCUD, with international and national best practices of smart sustainable cities introduced as well. Prof Herbert Girardet, the honorary councillor of the World Future Council gave the keynote speech, followed by international smart city experience sharing presented by Ms. Beate Weber-Schuerholz, the former load mayor of Heidelberg, Germany; Mr. Niall O’Connor, center director of Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden; Mr. Peter Sailer, project director of Sino German Urbanisation Partnership of GIZ, Germany; and Ms. Aisa Tobing, Deputy Secretary General of CityNet, Indonesia.

There are over 1,000 smart city pilots ready for or under construction worldwide, and China is home to about 500 of them, covering big and small cities. Three groups of cities have been listed as national pilot projects so far, and the country aims to nurture 100 new smart cities from 2016 to 2020 to lead the country’s urban planning and development. With such high development speed, the Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models project presents best practices from around the globe for Chinese cities to improve their strategy, design, operations and maintenance in developing smart urban areas, along with technology and infrastructure, to ensure residents’ needs can be met efficiently and in a timely manner.

About 300 guests attended the Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release by invitation, and over 120,000 audiences in total attending the Fourth China Smart City International Expo. The whole event is organised by CCUD and lasts for 2 days, with main forums on August 21 and 16 parallel sub forums on August 22.

Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen

What’s new in August

Chinese Delegation visited Maryland to learn about Environmental Education

Silver Winner of FPA 2015, Maryland, inspires education experts from China

Environmental Education has been a priority in the Chinese education system. But unfortunately, there was no significant increase in the students’ engagement for environmental protection so far. China is therefore interested in learning from successful models in other countries.

We organised a conference in Maryland in 2016, and presented their award-winning Environmental Literacy Standards. During the conference, we looked into the success factors of the legislation which aims to educate students to become environmentally and sustainability aware citizens.

A Chinese delegation has also been present back in 2016. Inspired by the conference, they now visited Maryland again and met with officials at  Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). They discussed various topics and  questions, for instance regarding the curriculum framework and the relationship between government environmental agencies and school systems. How to provide more suitable materials and publicity channels for environmental education? How to improve the teaching staff’s environmental education level? And how to raise national awareness of environmental protection and establish public awareness of environmental supervision?

The delegation would like to conduct exchanges of experience in environmental education legislation in Maryland, particularly its experience in formulating environmental education standards, as well as successful cases of environmental improvement through education.

The World Future Council facilitated the meeting will follow up on this topic with the Chinese delegation.

Updates in July

Annual Report 2017

Annual Report 2017

Our new Annual Report is out now! Let’s take a tour through the diverse and numerous solutions we identified and promoted during 2017. This Annual Report looks back at our impact in 2017 and shows, yet again, our supporters’ strong commitment.

Zero Poverty – a vision in action for the future of Oxford County

In Oxford County poverty eradication is high up on the agenda. To tackle this, the County has designed and implemented a comprehensive plan which is designed to assess inequalities across the community and suggest measures to lead as many people out of poverty as possible.