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Do We Need a Global Convention of Common Principles for Building Peace? E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 17 May 2019 12:45

 

 

alt

Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson

STOCKHOLM, May 17 2019 (IPS) - When the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) concluded a three-day forum on “Peace and Development” on May 16, the primary focus was the daunting challenges threatening global security, including growing military interventions, spreading humanitarian emergencies, forced migration, increasing civil wars, extreme weather conditions triggered by climate change and widespread poverty and conflict-related hunger.

For many decades, said the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson, the rules of war were designed by the Geneva Conventions.

“Do we need to develop and adopt common principles for building peace?,” he asked, before a gathering of more than 400 high-level policymakers, researchers and practitioners in the Swedish capital during the opening session of the sixth annual Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development

The United Nations, he pointed out, is currently implementing reforms for improved delivery on crisis response, sustaining peace and sustainable development while the World Bank has initiated the development of a new strategy for “Fragility, Conflict and Violence.”

At the same time, the European Union (EU) is implementing its “Integrated Approach to Conflict and Crises” while the African Union (AU) is stepping up its “engagement beyond crisis response.”

And the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC) has developed new recommendations on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus.

Are there sufficient mechanisms in place for bringing actors in crisis-response together with peace building and development actors? If not, what is needed?, Eriksson asked.

alt

Jan Eliasson addressing the SIPRI Forum

Addressing the Forum, Jan Eliasson, chair of the Governing Board of SIPRI and a former UN Deputy Secretary-General, said over the past five years the Forum has shaped global discussions, developed innovative policies and built crucial bridges.

He said SIPRI has a Sahel programme focusing on local perspectives on peace and security, and local perspectives on international interventions in Mali and the region.

The Forum was co-hosted by SIPRI and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

SIPRI, in cooperation with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), has been embarking on a project to better understand the linkages between food security and hunger and help improve the conflict-sensitivity of one of the most important crisis-response programmes, he noted.

“Our work on gender and social inclusivity in peace processes continues to move forward as we advance the knowledge-base and linkages between the SDGs.

SIPRI’s Deputy Director has joined the newly launched Lancet–Sight Commission, evaluating how health and gender equality contributes to peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

The global challenges can never be overcome in isolation but can only be tackled through dialogue and cooperation, Eliasson declared.

Asked for a response, Susan Wilding, who heads the Geneva Office of CIVICUS, the global alliance of civil society organisations (CSOs), told IPS: “The answer to the Minister’s question should be yes, we do need to develop common principles for building peace.”

She said the OECD/DAC recommendations speak about ‘prevention always, development wherever possible, humanitarian action when necessary’ and the ‘humanitarian, development and peace nexus’.

But what they fail to take into account, especially with regards to the prevention portion, is the nexus with human rights.

“How can we expect to prevent conflict if we do not first focus on the prevention of human rights abuses? How can we expect to achieve the SDGs at a national level while human rights abuses and civic space restrictions prevail?,” she asked.

“If we do not start to see the link between human rights, civic space and the humanitarian, development and peace agenda, we will surely fail in our endeavours to reach any of the goals.”

Alex Shoebridge, Oxfam Novib’s Peacebuilding Advisor, told IPS that while the World Bank, the UN, and some donors have sought to reflect on and rework their contribution to building peace, there is a need for a more fundamental shift in international support.

Sustainable peace can only be achieved by locally-led efforts that are inclusive, interconnected, and go beyond Governments alone, he noted.

This is especially the case in contexts where Governments themselves are part of the conflict, as we see in an increasing number of contexts, including Middle Income Countries, Shoebridge pointed out.

“Women and young people must play a key role in shaping peaceful futures for their countries, and not be side-lined or involved in a tokenistic way.”

He said it also requires that external support to peacebuilding go beyond the project cycle and beyond technical solutions focussing on reform of state led institutions.

Research shows that it takes at least two decades for a country to emerge from and transform legacies of conflict. Conflicts are relational, with deep seated inequalities, historical grievances and negative gender norms sustaining and perpetuating conflicts between groups.

And 60 percent of conflicts take place in countries that have experienced conflict before, meaning that development and humanitarian assistance must do more to ensure peacebuilding outcomes are supported in the short, medium, and longer-term, he added.

“We can’t take our eye off the ball, when structural causes of conflict such as inequality and marginalization remain unaddressed,” declared Shoebridge.

 

comment by joan Russow

 

We could start with redefining what constitute security as true security; "common security"

“The US nuclear weapons are essential for our security” is the reason given, in December 2016, by most non-nuclear NATO states for not adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Prior to the1985 Women’s conference in Nairobi, Dr. Ursula Franklin, physicist, pacifist, and educator stated, “We must reappropriate the word ‘security’ and not allow it to be distorted by the military” and recalled Dr. Olof Palme’s 1982 UN report: Common Security a Programme for Disarmament.

 

 

The Global Compliance Research Project has been working on an educational programme which includes: (a) Redefining “security” as common security. (b) Identifying threats to common security. (c) Placing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) --the most recent international expression of common security – within the context of international precedents. (d) Delineating some UN systemic constraints, which could be overcome, to achieve common security? (e) Making a modest proposal for a Universal Declaration of Common Security.

nn

REDEFINING WHAT CONSTITUTES TRUE SECURITY:

COMMON SECURITY

. “True security exists when all are secure, through common security.” (Olof Palme, 1982) whose objectives could be extended to include but not limited to the following:

(a) To achieve a state of peace, and disarmament; through reallocation of military expenses and delegitimization of war;

(b) To ensure the preservation, conservation and protection of the environment, the respect for the inherent worth of nature beyond human purpose, to reduce the ecological footprint and to move away from the current model of unsustainable and excessive overconsumption

(c) To enable socially equitable and environmentally sound employment, energy and transportation and the right to development,

(d) To promote and fully guarantee respect for human rights including  labour rights, civil and political rights, indigenous rights, social and cultural rights – right to food, to housing, to safe drinking water and sanitation , right to education and right to universally accessible not for profit health care system; right to water and sanitation

(e) To fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

(f) To respect the international rule of law, its instruments and the jurisdiction and decisions of the international Court of Justice

 

 

Do We Need a Global Convention of Common Principles for Building Peace?

alt

Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson

STOCKHOLM, May 17 2019 (IPS) - When the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) concluded a three-day forum on “Peace and Development” on May 16, the primary focus was the daunting challenges threatening global security, including growing military interventions, spreading humanitarian emergencies, forced migration, increasing civil wars, extreme weather conditions triggered by climate change and widespread poverty and conflict-related hunger.

For many decades, said the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson, the rules of war were designed by the Geneva Conventions.

“Do we need to develop and adopt common principles for building peace?,” he asked, before a gathering of more than 400 high-level policymakers, researchers and practitioners in the Swedish capital during the opening session of the sixth annual Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development

The United Nations, he pointed out, is currently implementing reforms for improved delivery on crisis response, sustaining peace and sustainable development while the World Bank has initiated the development of a new strategy for “Fragility, Conflict and Violence.”

At the same time, the European Union (EU) is implementing its “Integrated Approach to Conflict and Crises” while the African Union (AU) is stepping up its “engagement beyond crisis response.”

And the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC) has developed new recommendations on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus.

Are there sufficient mechanisms in place for bringing actors in crisis-response together with peace building and development actors? If not, what is needed?, Eriksson asked.

alt

Jan Eliasson addressing the SIPRI Forum

Addressing the Forum, Jan Eliasson, chair of the Governing Board of SIPRI and a former UN Deputy Secretary-General, said over the past five years the Forum has shaped global discussions, developed innovative policies and built crucial bridges.

He said SIPRI has a Sahel programme focusing on local perspectives on peace and security, and local perspectives on international interventions in Mali and the region.

The Forum was co-hosted by SIPRI and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

SIPRI, in cooperation with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), has been embarking on a project to better understand the linkages between food security and hunger and help improve the conflict-sensitivity of one of the most important crisis-response programmes, he noted.

“Our work on gender and social inclusivity in peace processes continues to move forward as we advance the knowledge-base and linkages between the SDGs.

SIPRI’s Deputy Director has joined the newly launched Lancet–Sight Commission, evaluating how health and gender equality contributes to peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

The global challenges can never be overcome in isolation but can only be tackled through dialogue and cooperation, Eliasson declared.

Asked for a response, Susan Wilding, who heads the Geneva Office of CIVICUS, the global alliance of civil society organisations (CSOs), told IPS: “The answer to the Minister’s question should be yes, we do need to develop common principles for building peace.”

She said the OECD/DAC recommendations speak about ‘prevention always, development wherever possible, humanitarian action when necessary’ and the ‘humanitarian, development and peace nexus’.

But what they fail to take into account, especially with regards to the prevention portion, is the nexus with human rights.

“How can we expect to prevent conflict if we do not first focus on the prevention of human rights abuses? How can we expect to achieve the SDGs at a national level while human rights abuses and civic space restrictions prevail?,” she asked.

“If we do not start to see the link between human rights, civic space and the humanitarian, development and peace agenda, we will surely fail in our endeavours to reach any of the goals.”

Alex Shoebridge, Oxfam Novib’s Peacebuilding Advisor, told IPS that while the World Bank, the UN, and some donors have sought to reflect on and rework their contribution to building peace, there is a need for a more fundamental shift in international support.

Sustainable peace can only be achieved by locally-led efforts that are inclusive, interconnected, and go beyond Governments alone, he noted.

This is especially the case in contexts where Governments themselves are part of the conflict, as we see in an increasing number of contexts, including Middle Income Countries, Shoebridge pointed out.

“Women and young people must play a key role in shaping peaceful futures for their countries, and not be side-lined or involved in a tokenistic way.”

He said it also requires that external support to peacebuilding go beyond the project cycle and beyond technical solutions focussing on reform of state led institutions.

Research shows that it takes at least two decades for a country to emerge from and transform legacies of conflict. Conflicts are relational, with deep seated inequalities, historical grievances and negative gender norms sustaining and perpetuating conflicts between groups.

And 60 percent of conflicts take place in countries that have experienced conflict before, meaning that development and humanitarian assistance must do more to ensure peacebuilding outcomes are supported in the short, medium, and longer-term, he added.

“We can’t take our eye off the ball, when structural causes of conflict such as inequality and marginalization remain unaddressed,” declared Shoebridge.

 
Monsanto’s “Rain of Death” on Canada’s Forests E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 16 May 2019 13:42
 
By Joyce Nelson
 
 
egion: Canada
 
Theme: Biotechnology and GMO, Law and Justice
 
altFirst Nations in Ontario have run out of patience. For 43 years, the forest industry has been conducting aerial spraying of glyphosate herbicide on Indigenous lands – a “rain of death” used in forest management practice that has slowly been killing off a wide range of animals, plants, fish and insects. First Nations have tried to stop this practice since the 1990s through a variety of measures including meetings with logging companies and government officials, protests and reports, but all to no avail. The “rain of death” keeps coming.
 
 
Now, members of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Elders of the North Shore of Lake Huron say they will be going to court to force the Canadian federal government to live up to Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850. That treaty guarantees First Nations in the area the right to hunt, fish, gather berries and use plant medicines in traditional territories. The TEK Elders say that by allowing the aerial spraying to continue, the Trudeau government is violating this treaty and the Constitution Act of 1982, which reaffirms those rights.
 
“We’re done waiting,” Raymond Owl, one of the founding members of TEK, told the press in April. [1] Formed in 2014, the TEK Elders group is comprised of Elders from 21 bands in the area.
Read more...
 
UN chief concerned nuclear 'coffin' leaking in Pacific E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 16 May 2019 09:05

 

By 
 
 
 
A huge concrete dome built over a crater left by one of the 43 nuclear blasts on Runit Island photographed in 1980 (AFP Photo/)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres raised concerns Thursday that a concrete dome built last century to contain waste from atomic bomb tests is leaking radioactive material into the Pacific.

Speaking to students in Fiji, Guterres described the structure on Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands as "a kind of coffin" and said it was a legacy of Cold War-era nuclear tests in the Pacific

Read more...
 
Warnings of 'Gulf of Tonkin 2.0' as Trump Officials Blame Iran for Oil Tanker Attacks E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:18
Published on

 

by Jake Johnson, staff writer Common Dreams

 Warnings%20of%20%27Gulf%20of%20Tonkin%202.0%27%20as%20Trump%20Officials%20Blame%20Iran%20for%20Oil%20Tanker%20Attacks
 45 Comments
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The Al Marzoqah oil tanker on Monday, a day after it was attacked outside the Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates. (Photo: EPA-EFE)

Is the Trump administration attempting to concoct a false pretext to justify launching a war against Iran?

"We are in grave danger of being sleepwalked into military confrontation with Iran over an incident that is blamed wrongly on Iran." 
—Gareth Porter

That question has become increasingly common and urgent among anti-war commentators and activists in recent days as U.S. intelligence officials—without citing any concrete evidence—blamed Iran for reported attacks on Saudi and UAE oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend.

Commentators quickly likened the accusations to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, referring to the "fabricated" event that President Lyndon Johnson used to massively escalate America's war in Vietnam.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:31
Read more...
 
Internal Displacement “Deserves Visibility” E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 13 May 2019 12:45

 

alt

Gul Jan, 90, and her family fled their village in Ab Kamari district and went to Qala-e-Naw in search of drinking water and food during the 2018 drought in Afghanistan. When this photo was taken in 2018, she, her son Ahmad and her four grandchildren had been living in a makeshift home in the Farestan settlement for internally displaced people for at least four months. Courtesy: NRC/Enayatullah Azad

UNITED NATIONS, May 11 2019 (IPS) - More people are displaced inside their own countries than ever before, and only higher figures can be expected without urgent long-term action, a new report found.

 

Launched by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the new Global Report on Internal Displacement examines trends in internal displacement worldwide and has found a dismal picture.

 

“This year’s report is a sad reminder of the recurrence of displacement, and of the severity and urgency of IDPs’ needs. Many of the same factors that drove people from their homes now prevent them from returning or finding solutions in the places they have settled,” said IDMC’s Director Alexandra Bilak.

“The findings of this report are a wake-up call to world leaders. Millions of people forced to flee their homes last year are being failed by ineffective national governance and insufficient international diplomacy. Because they haven’t crossed a border, they receive pitiful global attention,” echoed NRC’s Secretary-General Jan Egeland.

According to the report, over 41 million people were estimated to be living in internal displacement as of the end of 2018, 28 million of which were new displacements.

A majority were due to natural disasters and just three countries accounted for 60 percent of all new disaster-related displacements.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2019 12:53
Read more...
 
Open Letter to Jason Kenny E-mail
Posted by Dragon Slayer   
Monday, 13 May 2019 10:45

DearJason Kenny,

 

Thank you so much for accepting responsibility for turning off the taps to BC.

Your friendly "overworked and underepresented" environmentalist.

 

What the %^&*$#@ are you thinking shutting down Alberta's oil exports to BC?

Your not so friendly oil industry.

Your not so happy oil patch worker.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2019 11:11
 
The US Is Spending $1.25 Trillion Annually E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 13 May 2019 05:07
 
on War May 7, 2019
By William D. Hartung, Mandy Smithberger & Tom Dispatch
https://truthout.org/articles/the-us-is-spending-1-25-trillion-annually-on-war/
 

The military gravy train is running full speed ahead. - AIRMAN 1ST CLASS VALERIE SEELYE /
U.S. AIR FORCE May 7, 2019
In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking
 
U.S. AIR FORCE May 7, 2019
In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750
billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities, an astonishing figure by any
measure. If passed by Congress, it will, in fact, be one of the largest military budgets in
American history,topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. And
keep one thing in mind: that $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of
our national security state.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2019 05:20
Read more...
 
Internal Displacement “Deserves Visibility” E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 13 May 2019 05:05


MIGRATION & REFUGEES

Internal Displacement “Deserves Visibility”

alt

Gul Jan, 90, and her family fled their village in Ab Kamari district and went to Qala-e-Naw in search of drinking water and food during the 2018 drought in Afghanistan. When this photo was taken in 2018, she, her son Ahmad and her four grandchildren had been living in a makeshift home in the Farestan settlement for internally displaced people for at least four months. Courtesy: NRC/Enayatullah Azad

UNITED NATIONS, May 11 2019 (IPS) - More people are displaced inside their own countries than ever before, and only higher figures can be expected without urgent long-term action, a new report found.

 

Launched by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the new Global Report on Internal Displacement examines trends in internal displacement worldwide and has found a dismal picture.

 

“This year’s report is a sad reminder of the recurrence of displacement, and of the severity and urgency of IDPs’ needs. Many of the same factors that drove people from their homes now prevent them from returning or finding solutions in the places they have settled,” said IDMC’s Director Alexandra Bilak.

“The findings of this report are a wake-up call to world leaders. Millions of people forced to flee their homes last year are being failed by ineffective national governance and insufficient international diplomacy. Because they haven’t crossed a border, they receive pitiful global attention,” echoed NRC’s Secretary-General Jan Egeland.

According to the report, over 41 million people were estimated to be living in internal displacement as of the end of 2018, 28 million of which were new displacements.

A majority were due to natural disasters and just three countries accounted for 60 percent of all new disaster-related displacements.

While many were saved, many are also still without homes.

Read more...
 
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Exceed Pentagon Spending E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 08 May 2019 15:15
Study: U.S. Fossil Fuel Subsidies Exceed Pentagon Spending
The world would be richer and healthier if the full costs of fossil fuels were paid, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund
Tim Dickinson May 8, 2019 https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/fossil-fuel-subsidies-pentagon-spending-imf-report-833035/
 
 
alt
The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen behind the smoke stacks of the Capitol Power Plant, the only coal-burning power plant in Washington, D.C.
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/REX/Shuttersto
 
The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen behind the smoke stacks of the Capitol Power Plant, the only coal-burning power plant in Washington, D.C.
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/REX/Shuttersto
The United States has spent more subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. 
 
The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion.
 
The study defines “subsidy” very broadly, as many economists do. It accounts for the “differences between actual consumer fuel prices and how much consumers would pay if prices fully reflected supply costs plus the taxes needed to reflect environmental costs” and other damage, including premature deaths from air pollution.
Read more...
 
Port Renfrew chamber decries logging plan E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 04 May 2019 09:44
 
Lindsay Kines / Times Colonist
An aerial photo of the old-growth forests where B.C. Timber Sales has seven pending cutblocks totalling 109 hectares. Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is along the coast and the town of Port Renfrew in the background.
Photograph By TJ WATT
 
a7--Renfrew-Aeria00.jpg
Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce has joined a growing outcry against B.C. government plans to log old-growth forests near Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.
 
President Dan Hager said Friday that clearcutting the ancient trees will hurt tourism and damage a regional economy already hard hit by chinook fishing restrictions.
 
 
“I’m in the accommodation business in Renfrew. People ask about it. I’m the one that responds to all the inquiries that come in off the chamber email and people are asking about the trees.”
 
Hager said that will be put in jeopardy if B.C. Timber Sales proceeds with plans to sell off 109 hectares of the region’s old-growth forest in seven cutblocks — including two that come within 50 metres of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.
 
“If I was an editor of a newspaper, I would say: ‘Canada’s tall tree capital is now Canada’s clearcut capital,’ ” Hager said.
 
“What kind of damage is that going to do our reputation in the long term?”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2019 15:14
Read more...
 
Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:38

 

by
 
Point Barrow

 

 

Point Barrow, the northern-most location in the United States sits between the Chukchi Sea (west) and the Beaufort Sea on the east. (Photo: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team/Flickr)

new study shows that emissions of a potent greenhouse gas from thawing permafrost in the planet's northernmost region may be 12 times higher than previously thought.

 

 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/16/thawing-permafrost-emitting-higher-levels-potent-greenhouse-gas-Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide

"This needs to be taken more seriously than it is right now."
—Jordan Wilkerson, lead author

That's according to a study published this month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The paper's findings add even more weight to scientists' urgent warnings about the mounting threats of permafrost thaw.

Permafrost is a frozen mix of soil, rocks, and sand that covers about a fourth of the Northern Hemisphere—and is primarily found in the uppermost areas, where temperatures are rising more rapidly than the rest of the world.

When permafrost melts because of human-caused global warming, it pours greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) into the atmosphere, further heating the planet.

Nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more potent than CO2, stays in the atmosphere for an average of 114 years, per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

N2O "has conventionally been assumed to have minimal emissions in permafrost regions," the report said, citing research published in the 1990s.

But the new study's findings challenge that assumption.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:53
Read more...
 
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