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World Future Council endorses “Fridays for Future” movement: The voices of children and youth most impacted by climate change must be heard

Press Release

 

Hamburg, 14th March 2019. On the eve of the biggest global “Fridays for Future” youth strike for climate, the World Future Council offers its strong support to the dedicated young people holding leaders accountable for their climate commitments. If we are to meet the 1.5°C target of the Paris agreement bold action needs to happen now.

 

“Greta Thunberg, the Swedish student who initiated the strikes, once said that we adults claim to love our children above all else and we are stealing their future in front of their very eyes! I couldn’t have said it better”, says Prof. Herbert Girardet, Co-founder of the World Future. “Never before have had adults risked the future, even survival, of their children so frivolously. Future generations, in the short and long term, need our support more than ever. We cannot ignore either the climate crisis or the voices of those who will be most impacted by it.”

 

“As the ‘Voice of Future Generations’, the World Future Council has been highlighting sustainable solutions in order to keep our planet healthy and ensure a fairer and more just society for present and future generations. Children and young adults have a right to be heard and to be involved in decisions affecting their future, which is exactly what is happening in the ‘Friday for Future’ movement. The climate strikes are a sign of civil engagement, not skipping school. We now have to prove that child rights are more than empty promises”, declares Vandana Shiva, Founding member of the World Future Council and physician from India.

 

The World Future Council foundation advocates for climate protection, 100 percent renewable energy, ending fossil fuel and nuclear powered energy sources and supporting climate resilient and sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, it campaigns for greater inclusion of environmental and sustainable practice across our education systems. A new handbook on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) shows how a more holistic, progressive, hands-on education can play a central role in empowering learners of all ages to positively respond to local and global challenges and act in a more peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable manner. This approach is already helping people develop the skills, values and attitudes necessary to create more resilient societies and transition towards the skilled, green, low-carbon economies of the future.

 

“It’s already past the time we need to act! All the key facts concerning climate change are on the table and international political decisions have been made. Now we have to take action in the name of present and future generations,” urges Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council.

MEDIA CONTACT
Nico Scagliarini
Assistant Media & Communications
World Future Council
nico.scagliarini@worldfuturecouncil.org
+49 (0) 40 3070914-19

 

About the World Future Council
The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org

International Women’s Day: Celebrating achievements of women for a healthy planet

Press Release


Hamburg, 8 March 2019 – Today’s International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Women world-wide have already changed the world for good, and play a vital role in the transformation to a fairer, just and more sustainable world. The World Future Council is working to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren, and in the light of the global climate crisis especially highlights the accomplishments of their female environmentalists for a living planet.

The World Future Council includes female Councillors and Honorary Councillors on all continents who already have made a significant contribution to the protection of our planet working in a wide variety of working areas: Among them are Jane Goodall, primatologist and UN Messenger for Peace, Maude Barlow and Vandana Shiva, environmentalists and recipients of the Alternative Nobel Prize, Thais Corral, Co-Founder Women’s Environment and Development Organisation, Julia Marton-Lefèvre and Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, representatives of diverse environmental initiatives, Wanjira Mathai, active in the Green Belt Movement, Jan McAlpine, former Director of the UN Forum on Forests, Gertrude Mongella and Hafsat Abiola-Costello, both strongly engaging for women in Africa, Frances Moore Lappé, committed to food, agriculture and democracy policy, Auma Obama, known for her commitment for the rights of children and youth, Anna Oposa, strongly engaging for marine life, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Pauline Tangiora, who advocate for the rights of indigenous people. For a list of all Councillors see here.

Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council said:

‘On International Women’s Day I congratulate all women environmentalists for their achievements for a healthy planet. I applaud their tireless efforts to pass on a living planet to future generations. I invite all citizens to draw inspiration from women environmental leaders around the planet who take strong stands for climate protection and biodiversity conservation as innovators for change. In light of the skills of women and continued gender inequalities, we need to speed up providing women equal access to education, land, water and participation in leadership at all levels to achieve a healthy planet.‘

CVs of all Members of the World Future Council can be found here.

MEDIA CONTACT
Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager
World Future Council
miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org
+49 (0) 40 3070914-19

About the World Future Council
The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org

Press Release: World Future Council commends fossil fuel and nuclear weapons divestment policies in Göttingen

Another step towards future justice

Hamburg/ Göttingen (Germany) 18th July 2018 – The University of Göttingen (Germany) announced yesterday that they will end all investments in fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries. The move follows an appeal from students of the university organised by Fossil Free Göttingen, and a similar announcement by the City of Göttingen in May last year.

‘We commend the University of Göttingen for taking this important step to divest from fossil fuels and help protect the climate for current and future generations,’ said Alyn Ware, Disarmament Programme Director for the World Future Council.

‘The growing threat to our future posed by climate change has stimulated students to take action,’ says Luisa Neubauer, Communications Officer for Fossil Free Göttingen. ‘The fossil fuel industry has been blocking change to sustainable energy for their own financial interests. We must therefore make it in their financial interests to change. Divestment can help achieve this.‘

‘In line with our motto “IN PUBLICA COMMODA – FOR THE GOOD OF ALL”, we not only bear responsibility for the findings of science, but also for how these findings can influence and guide society,’ said President of the University Ulrike Beisiegel. ‘For this reason, we also take on social responsibility for our investments and select them not only according to economic considerations, but also, in particular, using socially, ethically and ecologically sound criteria.’

The decision by the University impacts its investment portfolio of €190 million. Following the decision, the University Stiftung (investment foundation) will not invest in coal, gas or oil companies, nor companies involved in nuclear energy. 

However, unlike the City of Göttingen which decided to also exclude nuclear weapons and conventional weapons from its investment policy, the University of Göttingen decided not to exclude these industries.

Nuclear weapons divestment is part of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, a global campaign initiated in 2016 by the World Future Council and others to cut nuclear weapons budgets, end investments in nuclear weapons and shift these budgets and investments into social, economic and environmentally beneficial enterprises.

‘We had hoped that they would also include nuclear weapons divestment in their recent decision. However, the nuclear weapons divestment campaign is still young, and perhaps the University will follow the example of Göttingen City once they have had experience of implementing their policy with positive result.’, says Alyn Ware, who is also the Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (‘Alternative Nobel Prize’).

‘Nuclear weapons also pose an existential threat to humanity and absorb billions of dollars that are sorely needed for better purposes, such as investment in renewable energy,’ says Ms Neubauer. ‘In times of increasing tension between nuclear-armed countries, a demonstration of financial restraint can help governments step back from the nuclear brink.’

‘The Göttingen City action to divest from fossil fuels and weapons producers is a wonderful follow-up to the example of the Göttingen Eighteen, the group of Nobel laureates and other scientists from Göttingen who in the late 1950s argued against the deployment of nuclear weapons in Germany,’ says Dr Ute Finckh-Krämer, PNND Council Member and an adviser to the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign. ‘The action complements similar divestment actions at State and Federal level. Berlin City, for example, has taken action to exclude investments from city funds in fossil fuel, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons and the conventional weapons industry.’

 

Media contact

For interviews and all other media enquiries, please contact

Alyn Ware
Programme Director Peace & Disarmament
Tel: +420 773 638 867,

Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager, World Future Council
Tel: +49 40 307 09 14 19

miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org

 

Press Release: Nuclear weapons in Germany inflame conflict between NATO and Russia

Hamburg, Büchel (Germany) 13th July 2018 – Peace and disarmament activists from the World Future Council, Büchel is Everywhere, Nukewatch, Abolition 2000 Youth Network, and other organisations gathering at the Büchel airforce base in Germany this weekend, claim that the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed at the base and at other NATO countries inflame the conflict between NATO and Russia, provoke nuclear counter measures and increase the risk of a nuclear exchange by miscalculation or accident. The weekend protest is part of an international peace action camp at Büchel which started on July 10 just before the recent NATO Summit and finishes two days after the July 16 Helsinki Summit of Presidents Trump and Putin. It includes delegates from a number of countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States.

A principle target of the protest is the controversial practice of placing US nuclear weapons known as B61s in other countries, and US plans to replace the current bombs with new ones. Under a program called “nuclear sharing” Germany, Italy, Belgium, Turkey, and The Netherlands still deploy a total of 150 Cold War-era US gravity H-bombs. The governments admit to nuclear sharing agreements, but will not confirm the numbers or locations of nuclear weapons on their territories. Critics point out that all five countries are parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which explicitly prohibits nuclear weapons from being transferred to or accepted from others.
An overwhelming majority of the German public objects to US/NATO plans to replace the B61s deployed across Europe (including the 20 at Büchel Air Base) with new Hydrogen bombs called the B61-12,’ said Marion Küpker (Germany), a disarmament campaigner with the organization Büchel Is Everywhere. ‘Each of these bombs is more than 10 times as powerful as the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Our united resistance will stop the new, illegal nuclear bombs nobody needs.’

‘The world wants nuclear weapons abolished,’ said Bonnie Urfer (United States), former co-director of Nukewatch. ‘To waste billions of dollars replacing them with new ones is outrageous considering the millions now in poverty or in need disaster relief, emergency shelter, and safe drinking water.’

Nuclear weapons threaten current and future generations,’ said Marzhan Nurzhan (Kazakhstan), Convener of the Abolition 2000 Youth Network. ‘We continue to experienced the catastrophic impact of nuclear weapons in our country decades ago, so we know that any use of nuclear weapons in a war would create a humanitarian disaster that would continue for hundreds and thousands of years.’

Presidents Trump and Putin are about to meet in Helsinki to discuss how to reduce the tensions and military provocations between the two countries,’ said Alyn Ware (New Zealand/Czech Republic), Council Member of the World Future Council speaking from Buchel. ‘The nuclear threat is the highest since the end of the Cold War. The two Presidents should use this opportunity to take their nuclear forces off high alert, commit to never initiating a nuclear war, renew the New START treaty and supplement the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty by removing all tactical weapons from forward deployment, i.e. the US nuclear weapons in Europe and Russian tactical weapons deployed near their western borders.’

On July 11, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation and Cooperation in Europe approved the Berlin Declaration which endorses the call for nuclear-armed States to adopt policies never to initiate a nuclear war (‘no-first-use’ policies) and to adopt other disarmament and confidence-building measures. The declaration also calls on OSCE governments to affirm and achieve the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

As the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly includes the legislatures of Russia and the United States, as well as of all NATO countries, the Berlin Declaration could be very influential in the run-up to the Trump-Putin Summit and beyond the summit,’ says Mr Ware who also serves as the Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.  ‘The Berlin Declaration joins other parliamentary and civil society calls for Dialogue, détente and disarmament, indicating the breadth of support for the Buchel action this weekend.’

Note: The World Future Council 3DnukeMissile will be on display at the gate of the Büchel airbase on July 14.

Contacts for comments  or photos of the action and 3DNukeMissileAlyn Ware +420 773 638 867, Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck +49 (0) 176 5062 8377, Marzhan Nurzhan +420 770 649 750 or Marion Küpker +49 (0) 172 771 32 66

 

 

 

Media contact

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact

Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager, World Future Council
Tel: +49 40 307 09 14 19

miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org

The World Future Council

The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. The Council consists of 50 eminent global change-makers from governments, parliaments, civil societies, academia, the arts and the business world. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information on the Future Policy Award, visit: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/future-policy-award

For press enquiries, please contact Miriam Petersen, miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org, +49 40 307 09 14 19.

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Press Release: María Fernanda Espinosa was elected President of the 73rd UN General Assembly

Member of World Future Council and Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, was elected President of the 73rd UN General Assembly

New York/Hamburg, 6 June 2018 – Dr. María Fernanda Espinosa, Member of the World Future Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility in Ecuador, was elected 73rd President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday.
According to the UN, Dr. María Fernanda Espinosa secured 128 votes against 62 votes obtained by the only other candidate, UN Ambassador Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake of Honduras.

Dr. María Fernanda Espinosa: The Ecuadorian politician and poet is the fourth woman and the first woman ever from Latin America and the Caribbean to preside over the UN General Assembly Picture (c) World Future Council

Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council (WFC), congratulates:

On behalf of the World Future Council, I would like to congratulate you on your election, and send my best wishes in your esteemed position as 73rd President. Your leadership and inspiring vision will help to strengthen the United Nations, and global society as a whole.

The forthcoming 73rd session offers a key moment to advance intergenerational equity in the UN System to ensure that the needs of present generations are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. We recognise the longstanding interest and support shown by the Government of Ecuador in these efforts, not least during your former position as Minister of Natural and Cultural Heritage. We are confident that with you as President of the UN General Assembly, future generations will have a strong advocate within the United Nations.

The World Future Council is working with the informal Governmental Group of Friends for Future Generations, which provides an important platform to develop new initiatives in this area. The Group of Friends endorsed the proposal to establish Global Guardians for Future Generations, to provide balanced advocacy for future generations, so that the UN can play a leading role in securing intra- and inter-generational equity globally. The innovative nature and normative legitimacy of the Global Guardians for Future Generations will play an important role in complementing existing efforts to help ensure that the UN Development System is more inclusive, impactful and coherent. With your esteemed leadership, the 73rd session of UNGA will seize new initiatives at a time when achieving fairness between generations in the context of sustainable development is becoming all the more important. This as a unique moment for significant breakthrough on the Global Guardians proposal, which would be welcomed by Member States and civil society.

We wish you just the best success for your endeavours, and strongly hope that working together decisively, we will promote the interests of future generations and our mutual values.

Yours sincerely,

Alexandra Wandel

Director

World Future Council

Ms. Espinosa (2nd from left) speaking during World Future Council (WFC) event in Hamburg in 2016. Also pictured: WFC Councillors Scilla Elworthy, Thais Corral and Rama Mani (from left to right). Picture (c) World Future Council

 

Media contact

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact

Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager, World Future Council
Tel: +49 40 307 09 14 19

miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org

The World Future Council

The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. The Council consists of 50 eminent global change-makers from governments, parliaments, civil societies, academia, the arts and the business world. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information on the Future Policy Award, visit: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/future-policy-award

For press enquiries, please contact Miriam Petersen, miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org, +49 40 307 09 14 19.

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International Women’s Day: Calling on world leaders to step up action to protect refugee women and children from violence

Hamburg, March 7, 2016: In a powerful joint statement, members of the World Future Council are calling on governments, international organizations, humanitarian actors and civil society to step up action to protect refugee women, children and unaccompanied minors from violence.

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Cities must be Regenerative. But what kind of Regeneration are we actually talking about?

It is not just about the regeneration of natural resources but it is also not just about what is commonly reffered as urban regeneration. As the term regenerative appears more and more within the international discourse on cities, clarity over its actual meaning is paramount.

The term ‘regenerative´ is becoming increasingly popular in the discussion around sustainable urban development and especially relevant now as it gets frequently mentioned within the UN discourse leading up to Habitat III. For example, the term has recently been re-adopted in the official document of the UN World Urban Campaign as one of the 10 final Principles of The City We Need 2.0.  The 6th principle explicitly states that “The City We Need is Regenerative and resilient”. The terms is also mentioned several times throughout this document as well as in other UN preparatory documents towards Habitat III such as the final Policy Paper 8 Urban Ecology and Resilience.

But what does Regenerative actually mean?

While the ultimate aim of a regenerative city is to be able to regenerate the natural resources that it absorbs, it is important to highlight that the concept is in fact much broader and comprehensive. It is therefore important to clarify the types of Regeneration that we would  see in the Regenerative City. In summary, we can say that the concept embraces 4 key types of regenerations, all extremely important for the effective implementation of the Regenerative City.

4 Fundamental Regenerations

  1. Regeneration of Resources (from Linear to Circular Flows)

Regenerative urban development seeks to mimic the circular metabolic systems found in nature. This will require a switch in paradigm away from the old linear metabolism (which allows cities to operate within an isolated segment of the resource cycle) to a new circular metabolism. This will mean closing the urban resource cycle by finding value in outputs that are conventionally regarded as waste and using them as resource inputs in local and regional production systems. For example, all the energy the city consumes needs to be able to be naturally regenerated by natural processes. For this reason, renewable energy is considered the only viable energy sources for regenerative cities, as it is continuously available and does not involve the consumption of a finite stock such as fossil fuels. Similarly all the material goods the city needs are not discarded into landfills but are kept in the resource loops by being upcycled, recycled, reused or by becoming a useful input in another processes such as energy production processes.

  1. Regeneration of Natural Capital and Urban Ecosystems (From Consuming to “Prosuming”)

The Regenerative city is not only conceived as a consuming entity, but actively contributes to the production of the resources it needs and to the restoration of the natural capital and ecosystems from which it depends. For example, food supplies are complemented through urban agriculture (including vertical agriculture), energy through solar rooftops, geothermal and bio-waste, and water through storm water collection at the block level and by allowing urban aquifers to be replenished through water percolation across the extensive green and permeable areas in and around the city. This enhanced ecosystem service infrastructure within the urban area improves the city’s self-sufficiency as well as its resilience. For example, increasingly relying on urban agriculture and on food from the immediate hinterland improves self-sufficiency while extensive greener areas provide benefits in terms of pollution mitigation, CO2 sequestration, water retention, natural filtering for cleaner urban aquifers, flood resilience etc. Similarly, relying on renewable energy sources from within the city or from the immediate surroundings increases the city’s resilience to energy prices fluctuation and dependency on imports. In addition, the regeneration of the productive capacity of the city and its ecosystems will lead to a renewed, enhanced relationship between cities and their hinterland and between urban and rural areas.

  1. Regeneration of Urban Spaces (from Sprawled to Dense)

Rather than sprawling and expanding on virgin land, regenerative urban development is about creating denser cities by redeveloping and regenerating the existing urban fabric and existing neighbourhoods (instead of simply developing new sites from scratch). Increasing density has in fact huge benefits in terms of efficient use of energy, resources, infrastructures and transport. At the same time, the focus of urban regeneration projects should be on making cities more people-centred, increasingly functional for the community, more accessible and inclusive and at the same time able to positively enhance the natural systems of the city and of the surrounding areas. Retrofitting and renovation projects are prioritized while at the same time historical and cultural heritage is also conserved and revalued. Enhancement of urban ecosystems is prioritized and it is achieved by making sure the city is rich of green areas and vegetation that, for example, help to block shortwave radiation, cool the ambient and create more comfortable urban microclimates. The latter can be highly beneficial, particularly given the risks of increase in temperature due to global warming. Improving urban ecology, promoting bioremediation of degraded areas and flora regeneration are also essential and have benefits beyond the environmental ones as they also increase the liveability and aesthetic value of the city.

  1. Regeneration of Communities (from Passive to Active Engagement)

Local communities and local businesses are themselves regenerated,revitalized and strengthened by becoming the actual leaders and drivers of all the regeneration projects taking place in the city. Citizens are constantly engaged and are encouraged to take part in the decision-making processes and community-based activities within the city. The informal sector, local youth and marginalized groups are also involved. For this purpose, it is crucial to establish a policy framework that promotes greater citizen participation, facilitates the processes of collaboration among stakeholders and of coordination across levels of governance and actively supports innovation and formation of new activities, locally based projects, start-ups and community initiatives. All of these processes contribute to the creation of a more dynamic, lively, people-centred and inclusive urban reality.

By Filippo Boselli, Policy Officer – Climate, Energy and Cities.

Five years after Fukushima: World Future Council criticises plans for new nuclear power plants

Press release – for immediate release

Hamburg, March 10, 2016: This week marks the five-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake followed by the tsunami and the nuclear meltdown of Fukushima nuclear power plants on March 11th, 2011. On this occasion, the World Future Council (WFC) expresses its solidarity with the people in Japan and the many communities who still have not been able to return to their homes because of the environmental radiation levels near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

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NGOs ask governments heading to Paris Climate Summit: 100% renewable energy, zero poverty, are you in?

Press release – for immediate release

Paris – 27 November 2015: Ahead of the UN Climate Summit, a group of NGOs is asking governments, “are you in?” – as part of a new report and video which highlight the development benefits of the transition to 100% renewable energy. This comes as Heads of State travel to Paris and thousands of people prepare to take to the streets in more than 150 countries to call for a fossil free future.

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Pioneering child rights policy from Zanzibar wins distinguished award

Hamburg/Geneva/New York – 20 October 2015: Zanzibar’s pioneering child rights law is the winner of the 2015 Future Policy Award on securing children’s rights, beating 29 other nominated policies to the prize. The Award will be presented at a ceremony in Geneva today by the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UNICEF during the 133rd IPU Assembly.

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