Hamburg / Bonn / Ordos, 22nd August 2017: More people, less erosion – Ethiopia’s Tigray region demonstrates that this can be a reality: They will take home the Gold Future Policy Award 2017, beating 26 other nominated policies to the prize.
Ethiopia wins Gold Award │ Other winning policies from China, Brazil and Jordan
Hamburg / Bonn / Ordos, 22nd August 2017: More people, less erosion – Ethiopia’s Tigray region demonstrates that this can be a reality: They will take home the Gold Future Policy Award 2017, beating 26 other nominated policies to the prize. Also known as “Oscar for Best Policies”, the Future Policy Award highlights the world’s best policies that combat desertification and land degradation this year. With unique collective action, voluntary labour and the involvement of youth, the people of Tigray are restoring land on a massive scale. As a result, erosion has decreased significantly, groundwater levels are recharged, and the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices made a significant contribution to food self-sufficiency and economic growth.
Two Silver Awards were granted to:
- Brazil’s Cistern Programme, which empowered millions of the country’s poorest people by building 2 million cisterns in the Semiarid region and providing water for consumption and for growing food and keeping livestock
- China’s Law on Prevention and Control of Desertification, the world’s first integrated law dedicated to combating desertification. Over the last 15 years, China has reversed the trend of desertification.
The Vision Award goes to the international “4 per 1000” Initiative which communicates a new concept for mitigating climate change through the increase of soil organic carbon.
The international jury further bestowed Bronze Awards to:
- Australia’s Indigenous Protected Areas and Rangers Programmes, where more than 2,600 indigenous rangers are at the forefront of tackling environmental degradation
- Jordan’s Updated Rangeland Strategy, which is enshrining the Middle East’s most widespread and longstanding indigenous traditional conservation institution ‘Hima’ into law
- Niger’s large-scale, cross-sectoral 3N Initiative ‘Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens’ addressing land degradation and food security.
Statements from the UNCCD and the World Future Council
Monique Barbut, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD):
“Drylands cover close to 40% of the Earth’s land surface. Hundreds of millions of people are directly threatened by land degradation and climate change is only going to intensify the problem. So far, this underestimated environmental disaster has received far too little attention. The Future Policy Award 2017 is turning the spotlight on the looming environmental challenge and effective responses. The seven Future Policy Awardees are all from affected countries, and demonstrate great environmental and political determination.”
Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council (WFC):
“The Ethiopian Tigray Region’s win of the Gold Future Policy Award is sending a strong, empowering message: they show how a small region in a climate vulnerable country can find a smart and highly effective way to successfully address a global challenge. This is placing Ethiopia firmly on the map as an environmental leader.”
The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies rather than people on an international level. Each year, the World Future Council chooses a topic for the Future Policy Award on which policy progress is particularly urgent. In 2017, in partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), laws and policies were evaluated that contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods in the drylands, and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 15, target 3, to “combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.” The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in September 2017, at the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD in Ordos, China.
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Hamburg/Bonn, 20 July 2017 – The 2017 Future Policy Award has released a shortlist of the world’s best policies for tackling land degradation, one of humanity’s foremost challenges that undermines food security, livelihoods and the health of hundreds of millions of people.
The six shortlisted policies are from Australia, Brazil, China, Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, Jordan, and Niger. The international 4 per 1000 initiative is also contending for the Future Policy Award.
The prestigious award, which focuses on a different area of policy progress each year, celebrates exemplary laws that create better living conditions for current and future generations.
For this year’s award, the World Future Council teamed up with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to highlight laws and policies that contribute in two ways.
First, laws that protect of life and livelihoods in the drylands. Drylands cover close to 40 per cent of the Earth’s land and are extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation, inappropriate land use and climate variability. They are among the most conflict- and drought-prone regions of the world.
Droughts, which are getting more severe, frequent and widespread with climate change, are common in drylands, and can amplify tensions within and between communities. In the last century, droughts killed more people than any other weather-related catastrophe.
Second, laws that advance Sustainable Development Goal 15, target 3, which is to combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.
Political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all contribute to desertification. Without action to restore and rehabilitate degraded land, an estimated 135 million people are at risk of being displaced by desertification.
UNCCD’s Executive Secretary Monique Barbut describes desertification as “a silent, invisible crisis that is destabilizing communities on a global scale.”
In total, twenty-seven policies and initiatives from 18 countries were nominated. Shortlisted as the world’s best policies to combat desertification and land degradation are:
- Australia: Indigenous Protected Areas programme and Working on Country Indigenous Rangers programme. Indigenous Rangers are at the forefront of tackling environmental degradation right across Australia. 75 Indigenous Protected Areas now make up more than 44 per cent of the National Reserve System and have created the world’s largest contiguous area of protected arid land.
- Brazil: Cistern Programme and the National Programme to Support Rainwater Harvesting and Other Social Technologies for Access to Water. This programme is a participative, bottom-up way to provide water for consumption and for growing food and keeping livestock. It empowers millions of the poorest people in the region to be in control of their own needs, to generate income and enhance their food security.
- China: Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Desertification. This is the world’s first integrated law dedicated to combating desertification. It provides a framework for China’s National Action Programme and a host of projects aimed at rehabilitating at risk land. Over the last 15 years, China has reversed the trend of desertification. It is no coincidence that the country lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty during the same period.
- Ethiopia’s Tigray Region: Conservation-Based Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization supported by Mass Mobilization Campaigns and the Youth Responsive Land Policy More people less erosion. The Tigray region’s interpretation of Ethiopia’s development strategy focusses on food self-sufficiency and economic growth by conserving land and promoting sustainable agriculture. With unique collective action, voluntary labour and the involvement of youth the people of Tigray are restoring land on a massive scale.
- International: The 4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate. This awareness raising, high-level political initiative communicates a new concept for mitigating climate change through the annual increase in soil organic carbon by 0.4 per cent in the top 30-40 cm of the agricultural soils. It encourages a paradigm shift in agricultural practice.
- Jordan: Updated Rangeland Strategy for Jordan. Traditionally, Bedouin people in Jordan effectively govern their rangelands through their own land tenure systems and grazing rights known as “Hima”. The Rangeland Strategy embraces this holistic concept which integrates natural resources, community life, ethics, animal welfare and more.
- Niger: 3N Initiative ‘Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens’ – Strategy for food security, nutrition, and sustainable agricultural development. The initiative is a large-scale and cross-sectoral policy enhancing sustainable agricultural development and socio-economic resilience of farmers and herders. It was developed in an inclusive and participatory process. Since 2011, Niger has reduced the number of people suffering from hunger by 50 per cent.
The winners will be announced on 22 August 2017. The award ceremony will take place during the Thirteen Session of the Conference of the Parties of UNCCD in Ordos, China, scheduled from 6-16 September 2017.
The Future Policy Award is unique in focusing global attention towards the most effective policies changing lives across the planet. The aim of the award is to raise global awareness for exemplary laws and policies.
The policy evaluation is based on the “Seven Principles for Future Just Lawmaking.” Consequently, policies score high not only by promoting the sustainable use of resources but also by addressing equity, eradication of poverty, participation, and peaceful resolution of conflicts.
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2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the World Future Council. As we look into the future – to new challenges and opportunities – we want to take a moment to celebrate the impact and success of the past decade.
Climate change, the destruction of the environment and continued wars are just some of the signs that today’s civilization is living at the expense of future generations. We can and need to initiate an orderly transition to a regenerative, resilient and flourishing future.
Judged by either its speed or scale, China has fully exceeded developed countries in urbanization progress. The magnificent scale of cities and rapid urbanization in China make sustainable development a priority that not only concerns Chinese policy-makers, but also draws attentions from the entire world. The WFC launched the Regenerative Cities program in 2015 to stand with China in meeting the inevitable challenges that occur during sustainable urbanization reform. After one year of trial and error, 2016 marked the second year since the WFC initiated the Regenerative Cities program.
This report captures the full scope of the project in 2016. We are very proud to share these achievements with you and look forward to the journey ahead.
A regional approach to achieving a European Renewable Energy Union
In times of rising populism, internal cleavages and climate scepticism across EU Member States, Europe needs to reconnect with its citizens. Uniting the continent and re-gaining people´s trust in the European integration has never been more relevant. In fact, building a European Renewable Energy Union with regions, cities, municipalities and indeed citizens at its core could be the vehicle to realize this goal. The idea of regional cooperation can fill the ambition gap between national energy strategies and a standardized EU-wide approach. For MEP Claude Turmes, rapporteur of EU´s renewable energy governance reform, the direction is clear: “We are stronger together. [..) Can we think of a more positive project than local energy citizens?” And Brendan Devlin from DG Energy in the European Commission adds “We now see that individuals and communities are the actors that can bring us to meet the Paris Agreement goals”.
EU legislation must foster regional cooperation on the sub-national level.
So, what is needed to put words into action? In a policy debate on cross-border cooperation for renewable energy, organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation EU and the World Future Council, hosted by the European Committee of the Regions, about 50 policy makers and key energy stakeholders concluded that EU legislation must foster regional cooperation on the sub-national level. While the “Clean Energy Package for All Europeans” only supports member states to collaborate on renewable energy development and to interconnect the transmission grid across borders, municipalities and regions lack political support.
The project “Smart Energy Union Emmen Haren” (SEREH), which aims at building a regional, decentralized and mostly community-owned cross-border energy system, is a living example of the untapped potential that micro-level cooperation can unlock in accelerating the pace of energy transition in Europe. It is also illustrative of the current regulatory and legal barriers that local and regional pioneers are facing on the ground. “The current regulation is based on centralized systems that work top-down, while we need a distributed system that works bottom-up”, says Melinda Loonstra from the Dutch municipality Emmen. Emmen and its German neighbour Haren want to build a cross-border interconnection between their local renewable energy markets to become carbon neutral. “This link can help to build up a robust, reliable and affordable energy supply based on renewable sources in the Netherlands and Germany.” A direct exchange of electricity between the two regions could be the first step to another type of electricity market – a market where communities and small producers can trade their own energy via a digital platform. This micro-level form of cooperation could bring various advantages for European citizens: community-owned energy sources, keeping revenues in the region, reducing transport costs through local production and use, more affordable energy and the emergence of new businesses. One of the biggest challenges that Emmen and Haren are facing is conflicting national regulation on interconnection. And according to European law, only the Transmission System Operator (TSO) is permitted to transport electricity across border on the high-voltage grid. Also, legislative proposals that are currently discussed in the European parliament do not allow local DSOs to build interconnections on the medium-voltage grid between two countries.
According to Roberto Zangrandi, Secretary General of EDSO for Smart Grids, contradicting and diverse regulatory frameworks are indeed the biggest impediments to a rapid evolution of local networks. Depending on the respective national policies, the autonomy of the DSOs varies from country to country. In addition, the different support schemes, permitting procedures and administrative rules on the two sides of the borders also pose significant obstacles to the cross-border interaction between neighbouring regions or municipalities. Despite the possibilities for European funding of cross-border projects, these funds are in most of the cases considered out of reach for local actors, mostly due to co-financing and the complexity of application and reporting.
It is local actors that catalyse change.
However, it is exactly these local actors that catalyse change. As Jan Carsten Gjerløw from the Akershus County Council, Norway highlighted in the policy debate: “I think citizens and regions are actually the most important drivers. And we will see that governments and law, they will come after, they will follow up.” The City of Oslo has improved air quality standards, which has been the driving force behind the development of new national low carbon solutions in the transport sector. Also Susanne Nies, Corporate Affairs Manager with ENTSO-E underlines that local actors are at the frontline of innovation. “TSOs, regulators and national governments work in a triangle. The local level has to push this triangle.” Meanwhile, Magdalena Jaworska-Dużyńska from the Polish city Karlino highlighted that it is not only the big cities but also the small towns and municipalities that need political support. “People in Karlino want to be green and do more than the national government. But for this, we need Europe´s support.”
According to Claude Turmes, there should be an obligation to incorporate multi-level governance dialogue in the current legislation. The concrete proposal in the new governance regulation aims at establishing a permanent multi-level energy dialogue platform gathering among others regional and local authorities, civil society actors, business communities and investors to discuss different energy scenarios and shape the development of national energy and climate plans is a step in the right direction. It is now essential that Member States will institutionalize this dialogue in the legislative framework.
“The sky is the limit with this EGTC tool.”
A very concrete and in fact promising tool to support local actors especially in border regions is the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC). This tool has been designed to facilitate cross-border, trans-national or interregional cooperation in any sector. Regarding renewable energy, the EGTC can provide subnational frontrunner regions with regulatory support and flexibility to adopt a specific framework of rules and regulation in a specific cross-border territory. By creating one single legal entity to attract funding for cross-border areas, the tool will not be dependent on political changes at national level and could bring benefits directly to local communities without the need to involve national governments. This could simplify the complex and cumbersome administrative procedures and enable local and regional actors to develop long-term strategies in the context of a more stable regulatory environment. “The sky is the limit with this EGTC tool”, comments Slaven Klobučar from the European Committee of the Regions.
Aiming to strengthen territorial cohesion during its Presidency, the Luxembourg government launched further proposals for improving this legal tool that would allow cooperating cross-border regions to set up their own set of fitted legislation for a specific area or project. In this way, two municipal entities on both sides of the border could negotiate a specific regional legislative agreement that could be reviewed and approved by the national states before it becomes binding. While it would not deprive Member States from sovereignty, it will give possibilities to regions to “pull legislation from one side of the border to the other” and become “living laboratories”. The improved tool could also provide legal certainty to bottom-up initiatives, ensure better control of the outcomes, accelerate the adoption of new rules and promote cross-border experimentation zones. The next step in the process is the implementation of this tool. “The ball really lies with the Commission”, explains Frederick Richters from the Government of Luxembourg. In order to bring these concrete suggestions to fruition, the Commission has to turn them into a legislative proposal, for example, through incorporating them into the EU cohesion policy package.
One of Luxembourg´s supporters in this process is Alexandra Lafont from Mission Opérationelle Transfrontalière. “Often people do not even know which people to speak to on the other side of the border. This is why they need platforms and institutions” , she points out in the policy dialogue in Brussels. In fact, in a Europe that is close to its citizens, EU institutions should be seen not only as a regulator but rather as an enabler that brings together various actors at different levels, promotes an interactive exchange through an institutionalized dialogue and facilitates access to financing for small towns and municipalities and community-owned projects. “Europe is more than legislation” , says Brendan Devlin from DG Energy in the European Commission. “Even though it will be difficult to move from a regulator towards an enabler of policy outcomes, this is what we need.”
– Radostina Primova (Heinrich Boell Foundatin EU Office), Maren Preuss (Heinrich Boell Foundatin EU Office) and Anna Leidreiter (World Future Council) –
To watch the recording of the full policy debate that took place on 6 th June 2017 in the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, please click here. You can also find some photos here and more background information about the topic and other activities in this programme here.
On 4 September 2017, a charity concert will take place in the Kammermusiksaal of the Berliner Philharmonie in order to support the World Future Council.
Before the concert, a round table discussion will take place at 6 pm in the lounge of the Kammermusiksaal, with Jakob von Uexkull, founder of the World Future Council, and Dr. Peter Hauber, IPPNW Concerts, moderated by Gerhard Forck, Head of the Philharmonie’s Communications Department.
The concert will begin at 7 pm, with a welcome speech by Jakob von Uexkull.
After the concert, the audience is invited to join a reception in the lounge of the Kammermusiksaal.
The charity concert is a joint event by IPPNW-Concerts, Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin and Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation
Amore Perduto – Music of the Early Italian Baroque
MARCO UCCELLINI [ca. 1610-1680]
Sinfonia seconda for five instruments in C major 
LUIGI ROSSI [ca. 1598-1653]
from the opera L’Orfeo 
SALOMONE ROSSI [1570-1630]
The Songs of Salomon (selection) 
ANTONIO SARTORIO [ca. 1630-1680]
Excerpts from L’Orfeo 
ALESSANDRO STRADELLA [1639-1682]
Sinfonia for violin, cello and basso continuo in D minorl
“Affligetemi pure, amare memorie”
Cantata for soprano and basso continuo
JOHANN ROSENMÜLLER [1617-1684]
Sonata nona for five instruments in D major 
Sinfonia quarta for five instruments in C major 
FRANCESCO CAVALLI [1602-1676]
Dunque, Giove immortale – Verginella io morir vo‘
Recitative and aria of Calisto from the opera La Calisto 
Sinfonia sesta for five instruments in D major 
Sien mortali o divini – Non è maggior piacere
Recitative and aria of Calisto from the opera La Calisto 
Claudio Monteverdi’s contemporaries, pupils and successors in spirit assemble here to perform virtuoso works with and without vocal accompaniment. Salomone Rossi, named “Hebreo” due to his Jewish origins, was one of Monteverdi’s colleagues in Mantua. His instrumental works, as well as his many-part compositions for a reformed synagogue service, which he published under the title “Songs of Solomon”, were pioneering pieces of music. Luigi Rosso and Antonio Sartorio, who were one to two generations later than Monteverdi, are just two examples of the stimulating history of reception of Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” on later composers. Francesco Cavalli was summoned by Monteverdi to his court chapel at San Marco in Venice; first as a boy soprano, then as a tenor, he soon became the most famous opera composer of his generation after Monteverdi. Marco Uccellini’s musical-theatrical works have not survived; but his instrumental works, which are virtuoso in their demands, have an original use of form, survived. Alessandro Stradella extravagances in art, both vocal and instrumental, corresponded to escapism from life.
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Dr Abouleish, founder of SEKEM, received the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ in 2003 for implementing an innovative business model which combines commercial success with social and cultural development.
Dr Monika Griefahn, Chair of the Foundation’s Board, said: “On behalf of the entire Right Livelihood Award family, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the Abouleish family. Dr Abouleish was a true visionary and trailblazer, and the world is only now starting to catch up with his 40-year-old model of environmentally sustainable, socially just and economically viable development. A joyful and warm-hearted person, he will be greatly missed by all of us and his many colleagues and friends around the world.”
Dr Abouleish founded SEKEM in 1977 as a blueprint for the healthy corporation for the 21st century. Taking its name from the hieroglyphic transcription meaning “vitality of the sun”, SEKEM was the first entity to develop biodynamic farming methods in Egypt and has since broadened its scope to address health, educational and cultural issues. Dr Abouleish also founded the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development where students study science, technology, arts, engineering and economics with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Over the years, SEKEM and the Heliopolis University played host to meetings of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award Laureates.
“Ibrahim Abouleish’s remarkable initiative SEKEM has brought the desert alive. His Heliopolis University broadens the human mind, challenging modern monocultural thinking. Both show how much more humans can achieve when their work is based on cooperation, solidarity, mutual respect and the common good. His life achievements SEKEM and Heliopolis University are pioneering projects healing people and planet,” said Right Livelihood Award and World Future Council Founder Jakob von Uexkull.
A tireless advocate for sustainable development over five decades, Dr Abouleish has received numerous awards and recognitions in addition to the Right Livelihood Award, including the German Federal Cross of Merit and the United Nations ‘Land for Life’ Award. He was also named a distinguished social entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation.
According to Islamic traditions, Dr Abouleish will be buried tomorrow, Friday, 16 June at 12:00.
Berlin/Hamburg, June 13, 2017: Today, an alliance of over 30 foundations representing a capital in the double-digit billion range (US dollars) has joined forces with a group of stakeholders from science, business, and civil society to call on the G20 to implement the Paris Agreement even without the US. In a joint statement, the alliance – consisting of G20 engagement groups such as the Business 20, Think Tank 20, Women 20 and Labour 20 – criticised the US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement as “short-sighted and irresponsible”, adding that the Paris Climate Agreement is indispensable in tackling the global climate crisis.
“The remaining 19 members of the G20 should convincingly show their willingness to implement the Paris Agreement at the upcoming G20 Summit in Hamburg”
the statement says.
“Heads of State around the globe have spoken out in favour of the Paris Agreement with impressive force. It’s now time to translate our ambitious words into action. A great number of businesses, investors, scientists, environmental and human rights organisations, mayors and citizens have offered their support for this undertaking”
says Johannes Merck, spokesperson of the Foundations Platform F20 and Chairman of the German Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection.
The alliance has asked the 19 leading economies to submit revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that are sufficient to reach the climate goals set forth in the Paris Agreement, to create a global mechanism on carbon pricing and to agree on a concrete timeline for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Furthermore, the group has urged the G20 to enable financial markets to deliver on sustainable development by promoting international disclosure and reporting standards for environmental and climate-related financial risk.
The G20 engagement groups consist of international organizations from all G20 countries and beyond. They represent business (B20), civil society (C20), trade unions (“labor”, L20), youth groups (Y20), women groups (W20) and think tanks (T20). The statement was signed by the respective heads of the climate, energy and sustainability task forces of the engagement groups B20, C20, T20 and is supported by L20, Y20, W20 and F20.
The Statement of the G20 Engagement Groups is available here
The F20 Foundations Platform was founded in the run up to the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. On 4th July, the Foundations Platform will gather leaders from civil society, business, science and politics at an event in Hamburg. The aim is to demonstrate strong support for the global climate agenda as well as to discuss how to leverage the opportunities and benefits arising from transformational processes.
The F20 members are: Rockefeller Brothers Fund (US), the Wallace Global Fund (US), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (India), the Tata Trusts (India), Avina Foundation (Latin America), FARN (Argentina), SEE Foundation (China), C Team (China), Instituto Arapyaú (Brasil), European Climate Foundation (Netherlands), Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit, Stiftung Mercator, Foundation 2° – German CEOs for Climate Protection, Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection, WWF, German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius and the World Future Council (all Germany) and others. In total, the foundations represent a capital in the double-digit billion range (US dollars).
For more Information on the F20 Foundation Platform, visit www.foundations-20.org/
Head of Communications, European Climate Foundation
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