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Press Release: Eight top candidates contend for Future Policy Award

World Future Forum / 15th Annual General Meeting

15th Annual General Meeting of the WFC

Shared Humanity – The Future We Want – This was the working title of the 15th Annual General Assembly of the World Future Council, which took place from 28 to 29 August. For two days, the Council exchanged views on the pressing problems of the world, the dissemination of good policies and the work programme of the World Future Council for the next years. Thanks to everyone for their active participation and great inputs. We look forward to the next Assembly!

Pontresina Declaration: The Future for Life on Earth

The World Future Council met for its 15th Annual General Meeting at Pontresina, Switzerland, on 28-29 August 2022. Surrounded by the Alps, forests and melting glaciers, we met to identify solutions to secure our common future. We received a warm welcome from the local community and the World Ethic Forum.

The World Future Council highlighted the importance of civil society and the need to protect and strengthen democracy. The Council urges the UN system and the international community to step up efforts to secure the universal right of all life to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Each year we have seen this effort become more urgently needed in view of growing pressures on nature, democracies, societies and economies from ecological devastation, extreme weather events, pandemics, armed conflicts, pervasive poverty and deprivation, alienation, violence, trauma and depression. Living through collapse, we are committed to regenerate our future.

The World Future Council calls on public and private sectors, and civil society to:

Regenerate ecosystems and livelihoods

  • Make peace with nature in our political, legal and economic systems;
  • Protect the rights and enable the work of civil society actors and Earth defenders;
  • Deliver on commitments to protect, restore and regenerate ecosystems;
  • Recognize, reward and promote the regenerative practices of local and indigenous communities for their sustainable resource use on their ecosystems;
  • Prevent future zoonotic diseases by reversing wildlife habitat loss;
  • Adopt 100 percent agroecology and regenerative food systems to protect the earth, combat hunger and malnutrition, and to help eradicate poverty; and
  • Regenerate our oceans, while protecting at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans as highly or fully protected areas by 2030 and ensure the remaining 70 percent are sustainably managed by 2050, respecting indigenous fishing communities.

Stabilize the climate

  • Address the food-water-energy nexus through promoting regenerative land use systems and fairly compensating farmers and Indigenous forest keepers for sequestering greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change;
  • End financial support for fossil fuels (subsidies and investments), uphold a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty and cut greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by 2030;
  • Fully implement the existing commitments on climate finance, incentives and low-carbon technology transfer for developing countries, especially those countries which are climate vulnerable, including Small Island States; and
  • Strengthen legal protection of current and future generations of life on Earth for a sustainable climate and environment.

Transform economics and economies

  • Pioneer practical pathways for transforming our economic systems towards wellbeing of all beings;
  • Reward decision-making based on longer time horizons and visions; prices should tell the ecological and social truth;
  • Penalize short-term speculation and adopt alternative discounting methods to more accurately assess the costs and benefits of investments in climate protection and ecosystem regeneration;
  • Anticipate and prepare for black swan events, to be prepared for high consequence and low probability risks;
  • Avoid unintended consequences by assessing technology choices – notably disruptive technologies – and their impact on societies, nature and democracy;
  • End inequalities, defend the basic needs and livelihoods, reward resource conservation, ecological regeneration and sustainable livelihoods;
  • Factor in the true cost of ecosystem regeneration into international trade and business patterns; and
  • Change company laws to ensure that corporate and economic interests adhere to human rights, social justice and environmental protection principles.

Ensure the right to health

  • Treat human health, planetary health and food and nutrition as inseparable and interconnected;
  • Ensure that health is a fundamental human right and an integral part of human security;
  • Implement universal health coverage, allowing all people and communities to have access to quality public health services, leaving no one behind. Children, refugees, internally displaced persons, elderly and persons with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable and deserve special attention;
  • Implement the human right to live in a healthy, safe and toxic-free environment with clean air, clean water and sanitation, clean soils and the right to healthy and nutritious food; and
  • Implement working environments that are gender-sensitive, well-remunerated and safe.

Make peace

  • Live up to obligations under the UN Charter to refrain from the use of force, to resolve conflicts peacefully and to observe the principles of international law;
  • Commit to never launching a nuclear attack, starting by adopting no-first-use agreements;
  • Eliminate nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction globally no later than 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations;
  • Shift military budgets and investments to peace and human security. Much of the $2 trillion spent annually on militaries – including all of the $100 billion spent on the nuclear arms race – could be reinvested in environmental protection, public health, renewable energies, food security and the transition to green economies; and
  • Ensure gender parity in all aspects relating to peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

Deliver on the rights of children, youth and future generations

  • Connect the rights of the Earth, Earth democracy and Earth economics to the rights of children, youth and future generations, and incorporate the principle of intergenerational equity;
  • Ensure the meaningful participation of children and youth in decision-making;
  • Ensure that youth and children are key actors and agents of transformation;
  • Institutionalize champions for future generations at all levels of decision-making, including support for the establishment of a UN Envoy for Future Generations; and
  • Implement transformative education for co-creating regenerative futures as part of lifelong learning.

The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy and sustainable planet with just and peaceful societies to future generations of life on Earth. To achieve this, we continue to focus on identifying, developing, highlighting and spreading effective, future-just policies and transformative pathways to face the current challenges.

The WFC has shown that a better future is possible by recognizing 66 exemplary policies from 40 countries with our Future Policy Awards and the active advocacy of its Councillors from around the world.

We strongly believe that mistrust and pessimism can be transformed into renewed hope, cooperation and solidarity of people, leaders and policy makers to take the right transformative decisions, working together as an Earth family.

Pontresina, 29 August 2022 

Press release: Today is the World Future Council’s anniversary

The Good Council – The official podcast of the World Future Council

The Good Council – The official podcast of the World Future Council, season 1 out now

First episode with founder of the World Future Council, Jakob von Uexkull, to be launched 6 September 2021.
Hamburg, 6th of September 2021 – The new podcast series of the World Future Council, The Good Council, launches today for the first season of intergenerational dialogues involving the World Future Council’s youth forum, Youth:Present. Each dialogue involves two changemakers—Councillors and Youth:Present representatives or young WFC members—who discuss their work towards a sustainable present and a common future.

Established in 2007, the World Future Council is a foundation that envisions a healthy and sustainable planet with just and peaceful societies – now and in the future. To achieve this, the foundation identifies, develops, highlights, and disseminates future-just solutions for the current challenges of humanity. Every year, it celebrates outstanding policies in areas of urgent attention, such as biodiversity, rights of women and children, or protection from hazardous chemicals, with the Future Policy Award. This podcast series provides a behind-the-scenes insight into how a revolutionary idea became reality, from the very beginnings to its current agenda, offering inspiration, best practices, entertainment, and food for thought.

“For the first season of this new podcast series, we’re bringing together our co-founders and Councillors with young activists and entrepreneurs from around the globe in intergenerational dialogues”, says Alexandra Wandel, Chair of the Management Board, “We are very excited by this podcast which covers some inspiring stories, and personal insights between the trailblazers and changemakers who make up the World Future Council”.

The first episode of this brand-new season focuses on the establishment of the World Future Council, told by founder Jakob von Uexkull, as well as his concerns for the present and hopes for the future. How can the course of destruction be reversed? And is humanity still up for the challenge?

Part of the first season are Youth:Present representatives Raina Ivanova (Germany) and Patricia Kombo and Akinyi Obama-Manners (both from Kenya). They talk to German pioneer and thinker Prof. Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Kenyan environmentalist Wanjira Mathai (known for furthering the Green Belt Movement founded by Wangari Mathai), and Nigerian human rights activist Hafsat Abiola-Costello, respectively. Together with Greta Thunberg of Sweden, Raina is currently part of the first legal challenge by 16 young activists to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Patricia is promoting education for sustainable development in Kenya, including by planting trees, for which she has also been named a UNCCD Land Hero by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. And Akinyi Obama-Manners is advancing children’s education at Kenyan foundation Sauti Kuu, founded by Auma Obama.

Also featured in this first season of The Good Council are co-founders Prof Herbert Girardet, expert on regenerative cities and Club of Rome member, and Dr Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Otto Group in Hamburg, Germany. Both discuss successes of the work of the World Future Council, as well as what each person can do in their lives individually.

“In order to build our common future, it is of utmost importance to consult all generations. In particular, young people of today will be leaders of tomorrow – without them, we will not be successful in preserving our planet for future generations. That’s why intergenerational dialogues, as in The Good Council, play a crucial role in that endeavour, and I very much enjoyed being part of it,” says Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council and the Alternative Nobel Price.

Each episode will inform and entertain by providing listeners with inspirational stories of people and best practices that will help people and the planet towards achieving sustainable solutions for our common future. New episodes will be released every other Monday, starting 6 September 2021.

All episodes will be available at https://old.worldfuturecouncil.org/the-good-council/, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Anna-Lara Stehn
Media & Communications Manager
World Future Council
+49 (0) 1703813807

An inspiring Future Policy Award Ceremony 2021 celebrated the world’s most impactful policies on protection from hazardous chemicals

What an exciting event we held on 6th July: The World Future Council is truly proud about the Future Policy Award Ceremony 2021, at which our “Oscar for best policies” distinguished five truly exemplary policies protecting people and the environment from hazardous chemicals!

Among the winners were policies from Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Sweden that effectively minimise the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals on human health and the environment. Two Gold winners and three Special Awards winners were selected from 55 nominated policies from 36 countries.

Unlike the previous years, the winning policies of the Future Policy Award 2021 were celebrated with a virtual ceremony, held in Hamburg, Germany, on July 6, 2021, and had over a thousand viewers, including the awardees from across the globe. Moderated by Jennifer Sarah Boone, the event was opened by Alexandra Wandel, the Executive Director of World Future Council, who provided insights about the Future Policy Award (3:40) and with speeches by Prof. Dr Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency (UBA), and Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, Director of the Economy Division of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). (7:00) “Chemicals and chemical waste are a big topic, and we cannot treat them as a side aspect if we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to have more political attention for the topic of chemicals and chemical waste; the Future Policy Award makes an exciting contribution to generating this kind of attention,” said Prof. Dr Messner, President of the German Environment Agency (UBA).

The presentations of the awardees were opened with a beautiful song, “We are one,” from MaximNoise and Nicole Milik, who are both passionate musicians and support the good cause of the 2021 Future Policy Award (13:00).

Special Award for Colombia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka

Colombia’s Resolution 371 Establishing the elements to be considered in the Management Plans for the Return of Pharmaceutical Products and Expired Medicines (2009) received the first Special Award in the “Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants” category. The Resolution’s remarkable feature is that it places the responsibilities and costs of implementation on the manufacturers and importers of pharmaceuticals and medications, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle. Providing the congratulatory speech, Mr Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR, acknowledged Resolution 371 as the true pioneer in the region and applauded Colombia and all stakeholders for the effective implementation of the policy. The Award was delightfully accepted by H.E. Carlos Eduardo Correa, Colombia’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development. (19:50)

The Philippines’ Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds (CCO, 2013-24) won the second Special Award in the Category “Lead in Paint.” The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian country to successfully implement legislation towards lead-safe paint. Acknowledging the importance of risk reduction of lead, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mr Masamichi Kono, congratulated the Philippines and all stakeholders that contributed to the successful implementation of the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds (28:00). The Award was received by the Secretary of the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), H.E. Ret. General Roy Cimatu. (3:00)

The final Special Award went to Sri Lanka’s Pesticides Act and National Policy for Suicide Prevention under the Category “Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs).” Thanks to the policies Sri Lanka has been successful in banning a total of 36 HHPs, which has saved about 93,000 lives over 20 years at a direct government cost of less than USD 50 per life. In her congratulatory speech Prof. Dr Vandana Shiva, who is an internationally well renowned environmental and social activist from India and a Founding Councillor of the World Future Council, highlighted that thanks to these policies suicide rate has been reduced by an impressive 70 per cent.

Gold for Kyrgyzstan and Sweden!

Kyrgyzstan’s Resolution No. 43 won the Gold Award for being one of the few countries in the world to make the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) legally binding.  Kyrgyzstan’s Resolution No. 43 won the Award in the Fourth Category, “Chemicals Across the Lifecycle.” and was commended by Prof. Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, who is an expert jurist, Senior Director of the Center for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) and a Founding Councillor of the World Future Council. Delivering a speech on behalf of Kyrgyzstan’s Deputy of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Minister of Economy and Finance, the First Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance H.E. Daniiar Imanaliev expressed gratitude to the World Future Council for recognizing Resolution No. 43 in the prestigious Future Policy Award 2021. He also expressed their readiness to share their experience with others to create a toxic-free world.

Unlike all the other 2021 Awards that went to national policies, the second Gold Award was won by the Swedish Region Stockholm for its Phase-Out List for chemicals hazardous to the environment and human health in the same category, “Chemicals Across the Lifecycle.” The policy is credited for phasing out a significant proportion of hazardous chemicals since 2012, especially in the health sector. Presenting the laudatory speech for the awardee, Co-founder and Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council, Prof. Dr Michael Otto commended the Region Stockholm for taken bold action against the use of harmful chemicals and for safeguarding children’s health. (1:00:02) On behalf of Region Stockholm, the Award was received by the Regional Chair for Environment and Transport, Mr. Tomas Eriksson, and Regional Chief Executive, Mrs. Carina Lundberg Uudelepp. (1:03:50)

The Way Forward for the Future Policy Award

Following the award presentations, the Ceremony was also graced with speeches from Dr Auma Obama, Founder and Director of the Sauti Kuu Foundation, and Councillor of the World Future Council, Ms Kehkashan Basu, Founder and President of the Green Hope Foundation and currently the youngest Councillor of the World Future Council, and Mr Jakob von Uexkull, Founder for both the World Future Council and Alternative Noble Prize, who congratulated the awardees for their commitment towards saving millions of lives and protecting critical environmental resources.

Concluding remarks by Alexandra Wandel at Future Policy Award Ceremony
Concluding remarks by Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council © Markus Mielek Future Policy Award

In her concluding remarks, the Executive Director of World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel, reiterated a commitment to continue spreading knowledge about these impactful policies. Asked about what theme will be considered for the next award, she revealed that “the topic is decided by our Council that will be having its annual general meeting in October. During that meeting, they will certainly decide on a highly relevant topic. Once the topic is selected, we will, of course, inform our friends and supporters.” Finally, she thanked all partners, supporters, nominators, experts, and consultants who evaluated the policies and other stakeholders who contributed to the Future Policy Award 2021. The Award Ceremony, which included beautiful artistic contributions such as a stand-up speech by comedian and science journalist Dr Eckart von Hirschhausen, a lead-free painting by NY-based illustrator George Bates and a slam poetry by Berlin-based author Naniso Twsai, ended with a beautiful song cover from the Young ClassX, “Imagine”.

This article was written by Benjamin Dosu Jnr, Ph.D., Volunteer of the World Future Council and Research Assistant, University of Lethbridge.

Forward Thinkers Home Tile

Press Release: Forward Thinker Webinar Series launches

World Future Council to share its expertise in 2021 webinar series to address ecosystem loss, the food crisis, the rights of children and youth, and other urgent challenges.