April News

Press Release: Disarmament and divestment conference in Basel

Reversing the financial interests in fossil fuels and the nuclear arms race

Basel, April 11, 2019 – The recent Fridays for Future protests demonstrate a global dissatisfaction with the continuing failure of governments and industry to protect the climate. And the setting of the Doomsday Clock hands to 2 minutes to midnight in January this year indicates a continuing high risk of a nuclear conflict. However, ‘devastating climate change and the risk of a nuclear war will not be prevented unless the international community tackles the economic and political influence of the fossil fuel and nuclear weapons industries’, according to participants of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, an international conference being held in Basel, Switzerland on April 12-13, 2019.

Companies manufacturing nuclear weapons and producing fossil fuels are making billions – if not trillions – of dollars fostering a nuclear arms race and destroying the climate,’ says Dr Keith Suter (Australia), Economics Futurist and member of the Club of Rome. ‘They have vested financial interests in producing more and more nuclear weapons and in preventing a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and they exert intense political power on decision makers to protect these interests. We must shift the economic incentives from destroying the planet to instead support peace and the environment.’ 

The conference – which will include legislators (mayors, city councillors and parliamentarians), financial managers, civil society representatives and experts in disarmament and climate change – will focus on socially responsible investment (SRI) as a powerful tool to shift this economic and political power. SRI includes ending investments in nuclear weapons and fossil fuels (divestment) and re-investing in sustainability (impact investment).

Most of us are currently supporting fossil fuels and nuclear weapons through investments made in these industries on our behalf by our governments, cities, universities, religious organisations, banks or pension funds,’ says Professor (em) Andreas Nidecker MD, President of the Basel Peace Office which is organising the conference. ‘We can each make a difference by calling on them to end these investments.’
Through divestment, we can put pressure on the industries to change,’ says Dr Ute Finckh-Krämer, Council Member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and former Deputy-Chair of the German Parliament Subcommittee on Disarmament and Arms Control. Such action highlights the immorality (and stupidity) of making vast profits on the destruction of the planet. It also gives support to legislators who are trying to adopt and implement policies for nuclear disarmament and climate protection.’

‘Impact investment is the other side of the Socially Responsible Investment coin,’ says Professor Laurent Goetschel, Executive Director of swisspeace. ‘By focusing investments on economic enterprises which support sustainable development, investors can benefit from stable returns as well as the satisfaction that their investment funds are being used for the improvement of human lives and the environment. It’s a win-win for all and should be a guiding principle, at least for all public investment funds.’

The conference is part of the move the nuclear weapons money campaign which is gaining traction around the world. ‘Already a number of sovereign wealth (national government) funds, pension funds, city and state funds, banks, universities and religious organisations have decided to end their investments in the nuclear weapons and/or fossil fuel industries,’ says Mr Thies Kätow, researcher for the World Future Council, one of the co-sponsors of the conference. ‘As a portion of the trillions of dollars of global investment money, the amount divested to date is only moderate,’ says Mr Kätow. ‘However, as the nuclear weapons and fossil fuel divestment campaigns grow, their political impact could be as powerful as the divestment campaign against South Africa in the late 20th Century, which was a critical factor in moving the South African government to end apartheid in 1994.”

CONTACTS

English: Alyn Ware, alyn@pnnd.org. Phone +41 788 912 156.
German: Andreas Nidecker, 
anidecker@bluewin.ch. Phone +41 765 573 712

 

Press release: Empowering Youth

Nominations now open for the Future Policy Award for exemplary policies that promote and support young people’s empowerment

Global contest announced by the World Future Council, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Youth Policy Labs.

Hamburg/New York, 5th April 2019 – On the eve of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum and the 140th IPU Assembly, the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Youth Policy Labs, have kicked off a global call for nominations to identify and honour the world’s most successful policies enabling youth empowerment.

Every year, the most visionary policies tackling humankind’s most pressing challenges are celebrated through the Future Policy Award (FPA), the only global award that recognises policies for the benefit of present and future generations. The World Future Council has awarded this annual prize since 2010 in partnership with UN agencies and the IPU. Recognising that youth empowerment is critical to achieve the Agenda 2030 and address key sustainable development and justice challenges, the Future Policy Award 2019 will put the spotlight on policies that empower young people through decent and sustainable jobs as well as civic and political participation for sustainable development and peace.

Youth empowerment: key to achieving a fairer, more just and sustainable future

Today, there are 1.8 billion young people – the largest generation the world has ever seen. The majority of them live in the so-called developing world. They are almost three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. Yet young people embody the potential of a society and play a crucial role as key architects of the future of their families, communities and countries. Young people are on the frontlines of political and social change and have the power to renew cultures as well as maintain important traditions. With the multiple global challenges we face – climate change, unsustainable food systems, dramatic loss of biodiversity, water scarcity, growing inequalities, conflicts and much more – it is absolutely critical that youth empowerment is promoted and supported through inclusive, effective, inspiring and innovative laws and policies that promote their rights and speed up common action. It is also vital that youth voices are heard and that they meaningfully participate in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of such laws and policies for example, through parliaments, civil society organizations, and other formal and informal means.

The award will highlight proven policies that effectively promote and scale up local, national and international youth empowerment solutions. We seek policies that advance the economic empowerment of young women and men in decent and sustainable jobs, for instance, youth skills development programmes that pave the way for youth to build the green economy we need. It also encompasses youth entrepreneurship or programmes targeting particularly marginalized groups including women. We also seek inspiring policy and legislative frameworks that enable much more civic engagement and political participation of youth. This includes, for instance, policies that promote enhanced youth representation in politics and decision-making, and enable the integration of youth at all levels of governance.

Representatives of international organizations, academia, non-governmental organizations, parliaments, government agencies, and others have until the 26th April to nominate exemplary policies through the online form (available in English, at http://bit.do/eNoZb) or with a word version of the form (available on request, in English, French and Spanish, at: fpa@worldfuturecouncil.org). Winners will be selected by a high-level jury of experts and announced in October 2019 at an award ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, during the 141st IPU Assembly. For further information, please visit: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/p/2019-empowering-youth/.

Youth at a crossroads

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator and Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group says: “Youth are powerful agents of change, driving important conversations and actions today on critical issues like climate change, peace building, and social entrepreneurship. In recognition of this role, UNDP supports initiatives globally that recognize, promote, and support youth leadership, expanding civic space for youth and encouraging youth-led innovation.”

“At a time when world youth population is bigger than ever before, only 2.2 per cent of parliamentarians worldwide are under 30 years of age. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the youth political deficit. Representation is a source of strength. Laws and policies that empower youth and better include them in decision making results in better outcomes for people of all ages and future generations. This Future Policy Award is a timely opportunity to share and celebrate laws and policies that have proved successful. I call on you all to nominate your experiences not only for a chance to win the Award itself, but to inspire further action around the globe,” underlines Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU.  

“This year’s Future Policy Award will celebrate proven solutions that make youth empowerment a reality. The World Future Council is determined to work with its partners in order to identify and share the best policies for advancing decent and sustainable jobs and civic and political participation in the interest of sustainable development and peace. It is critical that we learn from policies that are already making an impact,’’ says Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council.

“In the world there are 1.8 billion young people, the largest generation ever. Most of them live in developing countries where they tend to make up a large proportion of the population. This reason should be enough to understand the crucial importance of effective youth policies to promote young people’s meaningful political and civic engagement, as well as their economic empowerment and access to decent and green jobs,” says Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

The winners of the 2019 Future Policy Award will be celebrated at a high-level award ceremony at IPU’s 141st General Assembly in Belgrade (Serbia) in October 2019. The Award Ceremony typically brings together more than 200 decision-makers, including heads of state, ministers, permanent representatives, parliamentarians, youth, heads of international organisations and leading civil society organisations from across the world.

Follow the 2019 Future Policy Award on Twitter with #FuturePolicyAward and #FPA2019

CONVENING PARTNERS

The World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of law and policy making. The Council consists of 50 eminent global change-makers from governments, parliaments, the arts, civil society, academia and business. Together they form a voice for the rights of future generations. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and identifies and promotes effective legislative and policy solutions among decision makers. www.worldfuturecouncil.org

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the world’s organisation of parliaments. It was founded in 1889 as the first multilateral political organisation, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, IPU comprises 178 national parliaments and 12 associate members. It empowers youth by supporting parliaments to better provide access to youth to political decision-making, and include a youth perspective in legislation and policies. We build capacities of young MPs and provide platforms for them to coordinate actions at the global, regional and national levels. We also monitor youth representation in parliaments and issue policy and legislative guidance to boost it. https://www.ipu.org/

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. UNDP recognizes, supports and promotes the role of young women and men as agents of change and has implemented its first-ever UNDP Youth Global Programme since 2016. https://www.undp.org

SUPPORTING PARTNERS

UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth serves as a global advocate for addressing the needs and rights of young people, as well as for bringing the United Nations closer to them. The Envoy’s Office is part of the United Nations Secretariat and supports multi-stakeholder partnerships related to the United Nations system-wide action plan on youth and to youth volunteer initiatives. The office also promotes the empowerment and foster the leadership of youth at the national, regional, and global levels, including through exploring and encourages mechanisms for young people’s participation in the work of the United Nations and in political and economic processes with a special focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable youth. The UN Envoy on Youth works on realizing the Youth2030: The United Nations Strategy on youth. https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations agency for the world of work. It sets international labour standards, promotes rights at work and encourages decent employment opportunities, the enhancement of social protection and the strengthening of dialogue on work-related issues. The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The only tripartite U.N. agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. www.ilo.org

Youth Policy Labs

Youth Policy Labs is the leading global think-tank specifically focusing on youth and is hosted by the Berlin-based NGO Demokratie & Dialog e.V. We operate at the junction of research and journalism, producing high-quality and well-researched knowledge with the aim of improving public policies that affect the lives of young people. We champion the development of youth policies, promote young people as researchers, facilitate international discussion on youth policies, and advocate for stronger coherence within the United Nations and donor agencies on youth rights, policies and programmes. Our team is made up of youth policy experts, youth researchers, and young journalists. Our publications are published under Youth Policy Press, a global publishing house on youth issues. http://www.youthpolicy.org/

With special thanks to the Michael Otto Foundation and the Jua Foundation.

MEDIA CONTACT

World Future Council

Samia Kassid, Senior Project Manager, The Rights of Children and Youth

Phone: +49 (0)40 307 09 14 18

samia.kassid@worldfuturecouncil.org; media@worldfuturecouncil.org

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

Thomas Fitzsimons, Director of Communications

Phone: +41 (0)79 854 31 53

tf@ipu.org

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Sangita Khadka

Tel.: +1 212 906 5043

Sangita.khadka@undp.org

 

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: New lead for the „Voice of Future Generations“

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council, resigns as Chair of the Management Board. Supervisory Board appoints successors.

Project topics for 2019 work will be climate protection, child and youth empowerment, agroecology and peace and disarmament.

Hamburg, 7th February 2019 –  The Supervisory Board of the World Future Council Foundation announced the resignation of Jakob von Uexkull as Chair of the Management Board for health reasons. Von Uexkull founded the World Future Council in 2007 in Hamburg. As he resigns, the Vice Chair of the Management Board Alexandra Wandel (45) as well as Johanna Dillig (35), Head of Operations, were appointed Executive Members of the Management Board. Wandel now acts as spokesperson and Executive Director of the foundation, and Dillig as Director of Operations as well as Vice Chair of the Management Board.

The World Future Council (WFC) identifies and spreads the best and most sustainable policy solutions worldwide in order to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children. The new board announced that core topics of their work in 2019 will be climate protection and renewable energy, child and youth empowerment, agroecology  as well as peace and disarmament. One of the highlights will be the Future Policy Award, which will focus on improving the lives of youth this year.

Alexandra Wandel states: “1.8 billion young people on our planet are confronted with numerous challenges: access to jobs and quality education, climate change, destruction of their environment and digitalisation. This is why the World Future Council will dedicate its Future Policy Award on youth empowerment, researching and awarding policies that create decent and sustainable jobs, and engaging youth for meaningful societal purposes.”

The new Management Board is supported by strong advocates, amongst them Honorary Councillor Prof. Dr. Michael Otto (entrepreneur, Germany)  as well as the following Expert Commission Chairs from the Council:  Dipal Barua (Founder and Chairman of the Bright Green Energy Foundation, Bangladesh) for Climate and Energy , Helmy Abouleish (CEO, Sekem, Egypt) and Vandana Shiva (Founder, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology  India ) for Agroecology, Dr. Auma Obama (Founder and Director, Sauti Kuu Foundation, Kenya ) for the Rights of Children and Youth and Alyn Ware, Founder and Global Coordinator of the Network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), New Zealand/Czech Republic ) for Peace and Disarmament. Abouleish, Barua,  Shiva and Ware are also recipients of the Right Livelihood Award (also known as Alternative Nobel Prize).

MEDIA CONTACT

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

Greetings from COP24’s 4 per 1000 Initiative Day!

On the occasion of the UNFCCC COP24 (December 2018) in Katowice, Poland, the international “4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate” organised, in partnership with the University of Silesia, the second 4 per 1000 Initiative Day on 13 December 2018. An important event to which the World Future Council was invited to speak.

Numerous ministers and renowned personalities took the floor to underline the importance of soil protection and how improved soil health can absorb greenhouse gases and thereby fight climate change. World Future Council’s Climate Director Rob van Riet underlined the need to advance urgently the transition towards sustainable food systems and presented the winners of Future Policy Award 2018 – exemplary policies that work towards this transition and scale up agroecology.

After working in 2017 with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the World Future Council had organized this year’s Future Policy Award in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organic International. In 2017, the 4 per 1000 Initiative that was launched in 2015 during the Paris Climate Change Conference by H.E. Stéphane Le Foll, then French Minister of Agriculture, AgriFood and Forestry, won the Future Policy Vision Award as it created an unprecedented attention to the role soils play for food security and climate stability.

 

Ghana on its way to its enhanced child protection system for survivors of child violence

For majority of children in Ghana, violence is an unfortunate part of their everyday life. According to official statistical reports, 9 out of 10 children are exposed to mental or physical violence, and physical punishment is a common phenomenon. More shocking are the figures for sexual violence: one out of five girls is sexually abused. There is an urgent need for action to protect children from violence! For girls and boys who experience and survive violence or abuse, a central, child-friendly centre providing the most essential services under one roof would be established from the first quarter of 2019, where trained personnel from the  Social Welfare, Domestic Violence Unit of the Police Service (DOVVSU) and Ghana Health Service are available to offer prompt, secured and confidential service to victims. Our team conducted a technical workshop with representatives of Ministries and other key stakeholders responsible for child protection in Ho, South-East Ghana together with experts from Zanzibar to discuss and develop a roadmap to establish a pilot in Accra. These are the main results at a glance.

Samia Kassid – opening remarks

In November 2017, the World Future Council Foundation invited political decision-makers from 12 African and Asian countries to Zanzibar to acquaint themselves with the country’s comprehensive Children’s Act and its implementation. Zanzibar won the Gold Award of the “Political Oscar” Future Policy Award in 2015.

The Ghanaian delegation, consisting of representatives from the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Law Faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration were inspired by the one-stop-center model that Zanzibar has currently implemented in 6 out of 11 districts.

 

 What is a one stop center?

One-Stop-Center (OSC) are central contact points for children and their families affected by (sexualised) violence. Here survivors can find psycho-social support, a police office to initiate criminal investigation as well as medical treatment including collection of forensic evidence under one roof. Ideally, legal help is part of the centre. The graphic illustrates the model:

As an important element of a strong national child protection system, the one-stop-centres provide survivors (girls and boys, women and men) with various initial services under one roof. As a result, the affected person does not have to go through the trauma of narrating the incident several times and also receives quick help. It helps parents stay focused on treating their child and persecuting the perpetrator. In cases without the OSC, survivors mostly have to visit different institutions – that costs money and time and often parents lose the momentum to persue the case. The later a case is reported, the harder it is to gather evidence of abuse on a child’s body.

Ideally, a one-stop center provides four services and is usually docted at a hospital:

  1. Psycho-social support – this is where the first interview takes place and the social worker decides which further steps are required. If there is an abuse / violence, the child will be escorted to the next room, where a police officer in civilian clothes and trained in child-friendly behaviour will fill in the form to follow up the case.
  2. Medical examination: in a third room, a medical doctor takes care of the child. Here the first medical and forensic examinations take place. If the child needs further special treatment, it will be treated immediately in the hospital.
  3. The employees of the one-stop-center are provided by the relevant ministries (Health, Interior, Family Affairs) and the Centre is (at best) coordinated by the Ministry of Health. All employees receive same training so they can better collaborate and follow same procedures and guidelines in writing the reports. This makes it easier for the police and the courts to track and prosecute cases.
  4. Support for counseling and legal aid is ideally offered in the fourth room.

 

Ghana on the way to pilot a one stop centre

A member of the Zanzibar team sharing her experience at the workshop

The Director of the Department of Children, speaking at Workshop

After intensive discussions with the Department of Children from April 2018, the World Future Council Foundation organised a technical workshop to fully introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-center model in Ghana from the 25-27 November 2018. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana: Deputy Chairwoman Halima Abdallah, who spearheaded the establishment of the One-Stop-Center in the Ministry of Family and Health, Dr. Marijani, who has been responsible for medical and forensic investigations since its implementation in 2011, and Farshuu Khalfa, head of a one-stop center in Stone Town. Their insights, expertise and practical experience were most welcome and helpful in drawing up the roadmap for Ghana.

Under the auspices of the Children’s Department, 30 key representatives and decision-makers took part in the workshop to discuss the need for the OSC and to develop the roadmap for a pilot program. The participants represented the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Social Welfare Department and the specialised Domestic Violence Unit of the Police service – DOVVSU.  Medical representative and international child rights organisations including ActionAid, World Vision, International Needs, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present.

The most important results of the workshop at a glance:

  • Development of a roadmap for the establishment of a pilot in Accra
  • National coordination agency of the One-Stop-Center pilot program will be the Ministry of Health with support of other ministries
  • An inter-ministerial conference is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 to decide on the roadmap and timetable
  • A core group will identify a possible location for the pilot program in Accra

 

Working groups during the workshops.

Berlin welcomes the World Future Council into the Bundestag

100% Organic Sikkim, World Future Councillor Vandana Shiva and Director Alexandra Wandel in the German Parliament with Former Minister for Food and Agriculture Renate Künast

 

On Thursday 29th November, Berlin provided a solace of winter sun after a week of heavy-hanging weather to welcome World Future Councillor and world-renowned environmental activist, Prof. Dr. Vandana Shiva, and the Director of the World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel in the capital’s Parliament Complex. They were invited by Member of Parliament, Renate Künast, former Minister for Food and Agriculture to discuss the agro-political situation in India, the world’s first 100%-organic state and Gold-winner of the Future Policy Award 2018, Sikkim, as well as the road-map to sustainable global agriculture.

 “Sikkim shows that we can turn this around and walk the agro-ecological path.”

Vandana Shiva

In a simple yet elegant conference room, the Honourable Künast welcomed her guests and 30 audience members from the German Parliament, European environmental institutes and the general public, and opened the discussion. The conversation quickly turned to agriculture in India. As a country whose agricultural face was profoundly transformed under the Green Revolution of the mid-20th Century, India is a notable example of the extreme conflicts and contrasts in the current global food system. Councillor Shiva described the horrors incurred by input-intensive agriculture in the country, which she has repeatedly encountered across four decades of environmental activism. An ongoing suicide-epidemic of hundreds of thousands of debt-ridden farmers, a ‘cancer train’, from the Punjab the Rajasthan, and a youth driven from agriculture and into drug abuse were some of the images she invoked. But the old techniques based on an old reductionist “lego-logic” have been recognised and, by some, reversed in the most radical and inspiring ways.

 

“A new knowledge of an old knowledge will be the future of humankind.”

Renate Künast

Over the past 45 years, Sikkim state in the Himalaya Region of India has made the transition to 100%-organic agriculture. Model farms, farmer field schools and a total ban on non-organic food-products have been instrumental in training over 65,000 farmers across 75,000 hectares into sustainable, fully-organic methods. World Future Council Director Wandel described how this unprecedented and entirely-successful transformation has earned the region countless benefits for its farmers and the health and well-being of the local people, as well as a 50% boom in tourism and recognition on the global stage. It is for this tireless work in organic agriculture that Sikkim was awarded the Gold Future Policy Award 2018 at the ceremony in front of 170 heads of state in Rome. Whilst 51 other nominations to the post were extensively researched and other policies from Denmark, Ecuador and Brazil received a Silver recognition, Sikkim’s efforts proved by far by the most exemplary.

 

“A truly visionary and holistic approach to agriculture.”

Alexandra Wandel

As part of her work with the Parliamentary Group on India, Hon. Künast recently had the opportunity to visit Sikkim experience their ground-breaking (and ground-making) work first-hand. She said she was wholly impressed by how the state uses public money to provide possibilities and livelihood dignity for its citizens in organic agriculture. Their valuing of traditional knowledge fuses with the goodness of the people in an atmosphere of respect for one another and the Earth.                                                                                                

 

“Sikkim is the light. The struggle must continue.”

Vandana Shiva

After all speakers had passionately shared their experiences and knowledge, the floor was opened up for questions from the audience. The opportunities and risks of digitalisation of agriculture came first, and Councillor Shiva was quick to insist on the stark difference between the right to technology and free internet, versus the forced digitalisation of agriculture. We must remain wary of the dangers of commodification of agricultural data for use by big companies. “Defining the commons in this new context,” said Prof. Dr. Shiva, “is extremely important.”

A second audience member asked how Sikkim was perceived at national level – is this the dawn of an organic India? There certainly exist other positive examples, for example, efforts in the Northern state of Ladakh to become organic. However, at national level, major obstacles remain. Vital here is the ongoing commitment to a sustainable vision by all spheres of society.

“We need a real debate across all of our societies or the future is a dead-end. Only food democracy will feed us in 2050.”

Vandana Shiva

The Director of the World Future Council Alexandra Wandel mentioned that unfortunately not a single German law was nominated for the Future Policy Award on Scaling Up Agroecology and that parliamentarians were invited to have a look at the awarded policies, including the organic policy of Sikkim and also the silver award from neighbouring country Denmark which received the Future Policy Silver Award and has the highest share of organic products in the world.

The event in the German Parliament came a day after the World Future Council and Councillor Shiva were invited to celebrate Bread for the World’s (Brot für die Welt) 60th anniversary in the German Theatre, and proceeded two exciting events at the historic Babylon Cinema in Berlin’s Mitte district. The first – “Vision for Agriculture 2050” [1] [2] –  was a debate between Councillor Shiva, Norbert Lemken, Director Agricultural Policy at Bayer and Prof. Dr. Sonoko Dorothea Bellingrath-Kimura of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). As the audience outed their respective support and outrage, the debate raged over the science behind chemical inputs, the capacity to feed the world and the morality behind this monumental task. After a short break where audience members could inform themselves with Councillor Shiva’s literature and speak with Liam Innis about the World Future Council and the Future Policy Award, the night continued with the screening of “SEED: The Untold Story[3]. The film, wherein Councillor Shiva is a protagonist follows the rich and treasured history of Earth’s 12,000 year-old food legacy, which continues to be threatened to extinction by – and fight back against – an all-encompassing agro-industry.

 

“I think it’s time to bring care, sharing, love, the commons and our brains back into the picture of agriculture.”

Vandana Shiva

 

[1] https://www.2000m2.eu/de/vandana-shiva-visions-for-agriculture-2050/

[2] https://theworldnews.net/de-news/aktivistin-streitet-mit-konzern-vandana-shiva-vs-bayer-lobbyist

[3] https://www.seedthemovie.com

Press release: 2018 Future Policy Award winners announced

Future Policy Award 2018 crowns best policies on agroecology and sustainable food systems

The “100% organic state” Sikkim in India wins Gold. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Ecuador honoured with Silver Awards

 

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Hamburg/Rome, 12 October 2018 – The world’s best laws and policies promoting agroecology are awarded the Future Policy Award (FPA) 2018. The “100% organic state” Sikkim, in India, is this year’s winner of the “Oscar for best policies”, beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Quito (Ecuador) take home Silver Awards. This year’s award is co-organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM – Organics International.

 

Gold Prize winner Sikkim is the first organic state in the world. All of its farmland is certified organic. At the same time, Sikkim’s approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens. Embedded in its design are socioeconomic aspects such as consumption and market expansion, cultural aspects as well as health, education, rural development and sustainable tourism. The policy implemented a phase out of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and achieved a total ban on sale and use of chemical pesticides in the state. The transition has benefitted more than 66 000 farming families. The Sikkim tourism sector has benefitted greatly from the state’s transition to 100 percent organic:  the number of tourists increased by over 50 percent between 2014 and 2017. As such, Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other Indian states and countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology.

 

Three Silver Awards are granted to:

  • Brazil’s National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production (PNAPO, 2012): In its first cycle of activities PNAPO invested 364 million Euros. Amongst others, it helped 5,300 municipalities to invest 30% or more of their school feeding budgets in organic and agroecological products purchased from family farmers.
  • Denmark’s Organic Action Plan (2011-2020, updated in 2015): As a result of the Action Plan, Denmark has the highest market share of organic products in the world, with almost 80 percent of Danes purchasing organic food.
  • Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme (AGRUPAR, 2002): With over 3 600 urban gardens growing on 32 hectares and more than 21 000 people trained, AGRUPAR fosters food security, increases incomes, and enhances ecosystem functions.

 

The Vision Award goes to TEEBAgriFood, an initiative of “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) by UN Environment. TEEBAgriFood has developed a comprehensive evaluation framework for food systems that helps decision-makers to compare different policies and the market to value food more accurately.

 

The three Honourable Mentions of the Future Policy Award, this year go to the Good Food Purchasing Policy of Los Angeles, USA (2012), to the Agriculture Development Programme of Ndiob, Senegal (2017) and to the From Arms to Farms Programme of Kauswagan, the Philippines (2011).

 

Winners of this year’s Future Policy Award will be celebrated in a ceremony on 15 October 2018 at FAO headquarters during the World Food Week in Rome. A life webcast is available at http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/4874/icode/ and photos at: https://bit.ly/2Et5MI6

The Future Policy Award 2018 is co-organised by the World Future Council, FAO and IFOAM – Organics International, with the support of Green Cross International, DO-IT – Dutch Organic International Trade, Sekem Group, Egypt and EcorNaturaSi, Italy.

Statements from the World Future Council, FAO and IFOAM – Organics International:

“By scaling up agroecology, it is possible to tackle malnutrition, social injustice, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. Through effective, holistic policymaking, we can transform our food systems so that they respect people and planet. The 2018 Future Policy Award winners prove that it is feasible – and how. Policymakers across the globe should follow their example and step up similar exemplary political action!” says Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council.

 

Maria-Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, states: “A transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems is critical to achieving sustainable development, and the 2018 Future Policy Award is unique as it highlights policies that advance such a transition. FAO is proud to honour, along with the World Future Council and IFOAM – Organics International, such leadership and political will.”

 

“This year’s Future Policy Award honours exceptional policies adopted by political leaders who have decided to act, no longer accepting widespread hunger, poverty or environmental degradation. They are committed to better food and agriculture systems, and have achieved unimaginable change,” notes Louise Luttikholt, Executive Director of IFOAM – Organics International. “One of them is Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Chamling who set an ambitious vision and achieved it: Sikkim became the first organic state in the world – 100% Organic is no longer a pipe dream but a reality, serving as an outstanding role model for others to follow.”

Note to editors

More Information about the winning policies can be found here: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/future-policy-award-2018-agroecology-brochure

Follow the 2018 Future Policy Award on Twitter with #FuturePolicyAward or #FPA2018

About the Future Policy Award

The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies 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 partnership with FAO and IFOAM – Organics International, the 2018 Future Policy Award will highlight policies that scale up agroecology to contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods of small-scale food producers, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement climate resilient agricultural practices. More information about this year’s Future Policy Award is available at: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/2018-agroecology

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