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Newsletter - 07/2008
Dear Friends! 12/01/2008
The call of the recent G20 meeting in Washington for a more multilateral, rational and responsible global financial system is to be welcomed. But the emphasis on continued global economic growth regardless of its environmental consequences must be strongly challenged. Global growth cannot continue indefinitely on a finite planet – humanity is already overdrawing the earth's regenerative capacity by 30 per cent. The central task now is to work towards global poverty alleviation whilst renewing the relationship between humanity and our host planet. In particular, money flows need to be directed towards ecosystems restoration and a global renewable energy revolution as a basis for new development opportunities, especially for the poorest countries.
Bolder and more holistic visions are now needed than the one that emerged from the G20 meeting. The current financial crisis pales into insignificance compared with the global climate crisis which is a direct result of basing economic growth on the excessive use of fossil fuels. As glaciers melt across the world, threatening to cause unprecedented disruptions and to turn hundreds of millions into climate refugees, new sustainable economic and financial models are urgently needed. The WFC is calling on world leaders, joined by a new American president, to allow holistic, long-term perspectives to prevail at the next G20 meeting in April 2009, facing up to the responsibilities we have towards future generations.

With best regards from the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Secretariat,

Herbert Girardet
WFC Director of Programmes

Content
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Introducing...

Ibrahim Abouleish
It has been a good month for WFC Councillor Dr Ibrahim Abouleish, the Founder of Egypt's foremost organic food and textile producer, Sekem.
Read more about Ibrahim Abouleish and his current activities here.

     
Commission Briefs
Climate and Energy
November 15-16: Parliamentary Hearing in Trinidad and Tobago – WFC proposes Climate Compensation Fund for Island States
The fifth joint parliamentary hearing of the WFC and e-Parliament this year focused on renewable energy for African countries and small island states. WFC Director Climate and Energy Stefan Schurig presented Feed-In Tariff (FIT) and best practice examples in Europe and Mauritius. He suggested measures on the islands should be financed by industrialized countries since they are largely responsible for the consequences of climate change.
Read more here.
Future Justice
November 1-2, 2008:
WFC Workshop in The Hague Defines Crimes Against Future Generations

A WFC Expert Workshop on Crimes against Future Generations brought together judges from the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice with WFC experts in The Hague, Netherlands, on November 1, 2008. At the workshop, participants discussed the results of intensive legal research on the definition of ‘Crimes against Future Generations’ and their possible indictment under international law.
Read more here.
The Future Justice Commission
   
Notes from the Council
Member of the Executive Committee Vandana Shiva: Water is priceless

Between last year and this, the market value of Lehman Brothers dropped from $38.4 billion to $5 billion, Merrill Lynch from $71.9 billion to $33.1 billion, and Morgan Stanley from $70.2 to $43 billion. Since then Lehman Brothers has collapsed.

There is clearly no reliable “market price” in a volatile world driven by greed and profits, with no social regulation. The idea that the management and distribution of and access to a scarce and vital resource like water can be left to the market is both absurd and irresponsible.

All cultures have viewed water as the basis of life. Marketisation, however, allows water to be perceived like any other commodity in the global market place - to be owned and bought and sold at arbitrary, unreliable prices.

When water's social and ecological values are ignored and markets determine how water flows, it starts to move against the law of gravity. It moves upwards – to money – from the poor to the rich, from agriculture to industry, from the countryside to the city. Water markets take water from where it is needed to where there is purchasing power for water as a commodity - the urban areas, industry and industrial agriculture. Managing a scarce and precious resource like water requires conservation, equity and the recognition that as the basis of life, water is priceless.
To learn about all current councillor activities, click here.
 
Top upcoming WFC Events
The WFC will focus part of this month’s energies on two key events: The opening of the WFC Brussels office and the UN Climate Conference in Poznan, Poland. Both provide opportunities to shape opinion toward radically increasing the use of renewable energies while providing decision makers with the hands-on experience and tools to implement the necessary legislation
December 1-12, 2008:
UN Climate Conference in Poznan: WFC demands Green Economies

Poznan, Poland, will host United Nations climate talks toward a post-Kyoto climate protection agreement in 2012. A WFC delegation including Director of Programmes Herbert Girardet will attend, representing the WFC position on achieving climate justice. The WFC will also host a side event on green economies and co-host a post-conference hearing with the e-Parliament on renewable energies. Read more here.
December 2: WFC Brussels Office Launch – Influencing EU Decision-making
WFC Founder Jakob von Uexkull and EU Brussels Office Director Dirk Hendricks will host the opening of the Brussels Office with a reception at the MEP Salons at 6 pm. Over 100 guests will include MEPs, EU Commission-, government- and civil society representatives and WFC supporters. One issue to be discussed will be the negotiations on the EU Climate and Energy package at the EU Summit on December 11-12.
January 23-25, 2009:
Vision, Values and Action: WFC Co-Organizes International Youth Future Forum in Preparation of UNESCO World Conference on Sustainable Education

Some 160 young people from around the globe will participate in a lead-up meeting to the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in January. Councillors Prof. Manfred Max-Neef, economist focussing on development alternatives, Cyd Ho, democracy activist and legislator from Hong Kong, conflict researcher and government advisor Dr. Rama Mani, nuclear physicist and philosopher Prof. Hans-Peter Dürr and ‘future research’ expert Prof. Rolf Kreibich will lead discussions and answer questions about issues ranging from ethics and sustainability to future conflicts and future justice. Read more and sign up here.
To read about all upcoming WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at www.worldfuturecouncil.org
Top WFC Events in November
The WFC Councillors have elected three new members to the WFC Executive Committee to fill vacancies. For the next three years, the five member body will include the president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation David Krieger as EC Deputy Chair, democracy activist and Hong Kong legislator Cyd Ho, and German MP and founder of Eurosolar Hermann Scheer. They will support Chair Bianca Jagger and EC member Vandana Shiva in preparing the work programme and activities of the Council.
Axel Bree
November 12-13, 2008:
WFC at EU Workshop on Renewable Energies in Prague
Policy Officer Axel Bree outlined the different design options for feed-in tariff systems at a workshop organized by the European Commission in Prague for new EU member states and candidate countries. The conference aimed at sharing knowledge about the technical and political deployment of renewable energies. Read more here.
November 13, 2008:
WFC and Pro-Environment Organizations celebrate UK Energy Bill Victory - Bianca Jagger and Herbert Girardet argue for Green Cities during high-level Panel Discussion in London

As renewable energy campaigners ranging from the WFC to Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace celebrate victory, having pushed through key elements of a feed-in tariff in the new Energy Bill in the UK, the WFC also continues its focus on sustainable cities. Read more here.
From left to right: Bianca Jagger, Mr Jacometti (Shell), Herbert Girardet, Mr Goss (Siemens)
To read about all recent WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at www.worldfuturecouncil.org

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