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Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 27, 2009

Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

By Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia

Other Mindanao Peace Initiative Reports link

Sunday, September 27, 2009

“Indigenous Peoples Forging Partnerships for Unity and Peace of One Family of God”

Tribal Summit

Tribal Summit

Malaybalay, Philippines – In the first tribal summit in Mindanao, which brought together more than 40 tribal chieftains along with educators, politicians, representatives from international NGOs, and religious practitioners from Christian, Muslim, and indigenous peoples, there was a new focus. They did not discuss terrorism, politics, military strategies, or arms control. Instead, they directed their energies on children’s education. In a word: peace for the sake of others, for our precious children.

Dr. Estrella A. Babano, Chairwoman of the Mindanao Peace Initiative and Region 10 Director of Department of Education, declared before an audience of over 250 people, “We must focus on our children. They are the common concern we all share, and this must be the framework and platform for our peace initiative.”

Babano went on to outline eight peace programs that highlight this youth-centered approach:

•    The Peace Village is an out-of-classroom, residential program using a total immersion technique to have people experience different cultures and ways of life.
•    The Arabic Language & Islamic Values Education program teaches children, both Muslim and non-Muslim, that Islam is a religion of peace.
•    The Indigenous Peoples Education Center aims at functional literacy for underprivileged people to help uplift their self-esteem and enable them to advance socially.
•    School of Peace educates administrators and trains teachers about the inherent value of each of the various peace programs available; then, on this foundation, it organizes Peace Education Centers using school systems.
•    Harvest of Hope has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministries of Fisheries to train 240 Mindanaoans in aquaculture and fish processing.
•    Child of Peace is an adopt-a-school scholarship program working through the Department of Education.
•    Kids say “No” to Guns, billed as “turning arms into farms,” has children “surrender” their toy guns for saplings which they plant throughout the southern Philippine island.
•    Peace Parks makes learning fun as small groups of eight to ten students visualize and then construct themes related to peace.

In the Opening Session, Dr. Chung Sik Yong, the Regional Chair of the Universal Peace Federation–Asia and special representative of the Universal Peace Federation Founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, said that, “the Universal Peace Federation sees ‘leadership’ as one of the most critical issues facing our world today, both in developed and developing nations.” He emphasized this by saying that good leadership was essential to peace and social development precisely because a good leader must emulate the qualities of a good parent—absolute unselfishness.

Florencio T. Flores, Jr., the Mayor of Malaybalay and host of the two-day Summit, said he eagerly responded to the Mindanao Peace Initiative invitation because “without peace, there is no development.” The city of Malaybalay is in the heart of the island of Mindanao, and the mayor was very grateful there had not been any bombing in the city so far.

The highest ranking educator attending the summit, the Under Secretary of the Department of Education Program on Indigenous Peoples, Dr. Manaros B. Boransing, presented an overview of the national curriculum that was developed to preserve the culture of all indigenous peoples throughout the Philippines.

Commissioner Jeanette C. Serrano-Reisland, the Ethnographic Region of Central Mindanao at the National Commission on Indigenous People, gave current data on the various tribal groups in the Philippines. She also praised President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because although the ancestral domain legislation was passed 12 years ago, President Arroyo was the first to implement it by issuing land certifications. Dr. Norma Gonos, Senior Program Officer for Indigenous Peoples Education, described the components of the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao experience, which concentrates on improving education for indigenous peoples.

In the afternoon session on the first day, Mr. Massimo Trombin, the International Vice-President of Service for Peace, delighted the audience when he told them that the Global Peace Festival was conceived in and born in the Philippines in 2006. The chairman of the Global Peace Festival, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, was deeply touched by seeing the Filipino lifestyle that integrated Eastern and Western cultures.

Here the vibrant love for music, singing and dance is accompanied by the spirit of family where everyone is a Tito / Tita (uncle or aunt) or Kuya / Ate (older brother or sister). Filipinos immediately embrace so-called strangers as family, encapsulating the spirit of the Global Peace Festival with its motto of “One Family Under God.”

Finally, Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Education for UPF-Asia, pleased the multicolored crowd dressed in native costumes by saying that UPF had a very simple solution that would ensure peace in one generation — marry your enemy. It may take time for parents to love their in-laws, he said, but there is an instantaneous, irrepressible love between grandparents and grandchildren that bridges any historical resentment.

Two events highlighted the second day: a morning workshop where delegates drafted resolutions for the “Mindanao Tribal Summit,” followed by a Global Peace Festival (nearly 35 such festivals have been held throughout the Philippines this year). Over 200 participants performed skits, prayed, sang, and danced.

Concluding the two-day program at the Kaamulan Cultural Center, tribal chieftains signed the “Mindanao Resolution,” and 25 Ambassador for Peace certificates were distributed.

This Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival September 26 and 27 were sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, the Department of Education, the Province of Bukidnon, and the City of Malaybalay.

Photo Links

Further photo reports of other events:

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/45/Field_trip_in_Marawi.04102009

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/43/Garden_of_Peace_project

Original Report

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“Forgiveness and Reconciliation” Programme – 2:00 pm 4th October 2009 Friends Meeting House, Euston

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 25, 2009

CCWG Logo Community Cohesion Working Group copy

“Forgiveness and Reconciliation” Programme:

Universal Peace Federation   Community Cohesion Working Group

2:00 pm  4th October 2009      Friends Meeting House, Euston


Faith and Community Perspectives: Emcee Rev. Dr David Hanna: Unificationist Pastor Bromley

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke: President World Congress of Faith, Introduction & Christian Perspective

Prof. Natubhai Shah: Chair of Jain Network and Jain Academy, Jain Perspective

Rev Dr Sumana Siri: Buddhist Cardinal of Europe,

Mayura Patel: Hindu Meditative Chant with Translation by Vanessa Edwards

Mr. Edwin Shuker: Sephardic Jewish Association – UK   & Mrs. Ruth Barnett: Holocaust Educator

Mr. Bhai Mohinder Sahib Singh: Chair of British Sikh Consultative Forum

Mr. Shepetim: Muslim College, Muslim Chant

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid: Chairman Muslim Council for Religious & Racial Harmony UK

Miss Elisa Brann: Unificationist Youth Perspective

Mr Jehangir Sarosh: Zoroastrian Perspective

Mr Andrea Foulkes: UK TV’s Expert on Soul Freedom Therapy

Samana Prasana Pragya &  Samana Rohit Pragya: Jain Vishva Bharati London

Mr Robert Haines: Christian Reading   &    Miss Connie Rennie: Unificationist Reading

Mr Jack Corley: Regional Director, Unification Movement

Ms. Kulvinder Nagha: Sant Niramkari Youth Volunteer & Swami Saradananda: Hindu Perspective

Interfaith Water Ceremony: Rev. Dr. David Hanna: Explanation

Ms. Angad Kaur: Guru Ram Das Project ‘Be Compassionate Like Water’ by Bhai Gurdas

Break: Conclusion of Break – Bernard Chellew: ‘Ryhmes and Reasons’ by John Denver

‘Forgiveness & Reconciliation’ Experiences (1) Ms. Marcian Uwimana – Rwanda  (2) Mrs. Sabina Miller

‘Amazing Grace’ the origins by Prof. Ian Hall. Rev. Harriott, and others, to play Amazing Grace

Mr Glory Mbala, Poetry Reading

Anthony Padgett, A Jewish Artist, Reading from his Book, ‘The Rainbow Swastika Conspiracy’

Dance of Forgiveness narrated by Ms. Anusha Subramanyam of Beeja Dancing Group Performed by Dancers Elena, Jecinta and Katrina.

Lord King of West Bromwich: Universal Peace Federation Patron Concluding Remarks

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Report: United Nations International Day of Peace – Sept 21st, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 19, 2009

peacedaylogo

United Nations International Day of Peace

September 21st, 2009

“We Must Disarm”

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

IMGP0286 Speakers Panel

IMGP0272 audience We Must Disarm

The UN International Day of Peace on September 21st at the UPF – UK Peace Centre, supporting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s theme for the day, “We Must Disarm”. The International Day of Peace is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence. This year the Secretary-General is calling on governments and citizens to focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Universal Peace Federation centres all around the world were supporting this event and included a declaration for this day that follows this report or by this link

Vijay Mehta, (below left Shanti Mehta and Vijay Mehta) Chair of World Disarmament Campaign and Action for UN Renewal, ‘Towards a world Free of Nuclear Weapons – can United Nations & civil society make it happen ?’ (Video Link)

He explained the world was overspending on war and underspending on peace and consequently how education and health budgets were suffering throughout the world. (Full speech link)

IMGP0271  Vijay Mehta and Shanti Mehta 3

IMGP0266 Prof Bhupendra Jasani reduced


Prof. Bhupendra Jasani, (above right) King’s College London, Department of War Studies, is a specialist in Disarmament issues. He focused on the verification techniques that assist confidence building and facilitates disarmament. He illustrated the standard of currently commercially available satellite imagery and techniques for verification. He explained his impact on various Governments as well as the UN to improve verification methods and strategies. Video of his speech through link.

Verification Prof Jasani 210909 Please click on this link for the powerpoint presented by Professor Jasani.

Moeen Yaseen, (Below Left) Founder Global Vision 2000 an Islamic International Think Tank:  ‘The Military Influence on our Global Economy and the Need for a Paradigm Shift’     Video of his speech through link.

IMGP0270 Moeen YaseenIMGP0279 Jack Lynes

Jack Lynes: (Above Right) “Peace – a Jewish Perspective and some Food for Thought and Action” (A personal view.)

For More Photos Link

Robin Marsh
Secretary General
Mobile: 07956 210 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              07956 210      end_of_the_skype_highlighting 768

Cllr. Margaret Ali
Director
Mobile: 07723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK    www.uk.upf.org

https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

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Working for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons: Vijay Mehta

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 19, 2009

Celebration of UN International Day of Peace lecture

Public Meeting
6.30pm

Monday 21st September 2009
Universal Peace Federation

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

Speaker:  Vijay Mehta



Working for a world Free of Nuclear Weapons – what can the

United Nations and civil society do?

Vijay Mehta
vijay@vmpeace.org
http://www.vmpeace.org
http://www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk

Contents

1)   Introduction

2)   Threats posed by nuclear weapons

3)   Five steps the United Nations can take for disarmament and a nuclear free world

4)   What can civil society do?

5)   Conclusion
Introduction
Thank you Robin Marsh, Margaret Ali and Universal Peace Federation for inviting me here today to speak on an important and timely topic on ‘working for a world free of nuclear weapons – what can the United Nations and civil society do?’

There are renewed hopes as new opportunities for Global Disarmament appear on the horizon for the first time in decades. There is a strong will towards nuclear disarmament and this opportunity must be seized.  These include a Security Council summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on the 24th of September chaired by President Obama, talks between the Russian Federation and the USA for joint initiative to reduce their arsenal under START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty. It is also timely as various initiatives worldwide are being launched to build a momentum for the successful conclusion of nuclear disarmament agenda at next year’s 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Hence today’s meeting is important. It is also important because we are celebrating the UN International Day of Peace. Meetings like ours are happening all over the world.

Thank you for all the good work being done by your organisation on an ongoing basis. It is a privilege to be among peace campaigners. You are thinkers and change makers, the driving force for social change in our world.

Threats posed by nuclear weapons

Today we will be exploring not only getting rid of Trident UK nuclear submarine system but also bigger nuclear proliferation problems which require new proposals and viable solutions. It needs a new mindset. As Albert Einstein said, “the significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

There are 30,000 nuclear warheads in the possession of the declared nuclear weapon states USA, Russia, France, UK and China (the P5 states) with their arsenals on hair-trigger alert. On top of that there is worldwide proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology which is being deployed by countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and Israel. When so much military hardware is available around the world terrorists can easily create mayhem by indiscriminate mass killing and destruction. Political violence, organised crime and inciting fear in the civilian population are becoming the hallmark of new terrorism. The war on terror has offered a whole set of justifications for countries to increase their arsenals and push the budget on military spending, which is currently running at $1.4 trillion.

The development of mini nukes and bunker buster bombs by US and its doctrine of pre-emption which has replaced arm control and collective security have made the world a far less secure and stable place.  It also gives wrong signals to other countries as they feel vulnerable to attack.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty has been completely ignored by the major nuclear powers because under its provisions the nuclear powers have pledged themselves to negotiate nuclear disarmament and never to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state – a pledge that has been ignored, with direct threats that they might be used if a nuclear state felt endangered.

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the terrifying hallmark of which was the nuclear arms race and the doctrine of mutual assured destruction continue to exist. Their existence poses the greatest threat to the human race and the planetary environment.

In this presentation, I will argue that nuclear weapons have no utility and that any security issues they are purported to solve would only be made worse by their use.
There is no serious problem on which military action may be needed which cannot be solved through the use of peaceful dialogue. Most disturbing is that possession of nuclear weapons is proliferating, which enlarges the possibility that they may be acquired by non-State groups.

However, especially in the P5 states, the view is common that nuclear weapons from the first wave of proliferation somehow are tolerable, while such weapons in the hands of additional states are viewed as dangerous.

So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain, there is a risk that they will one day be used, by design or accident. And any such use would be catastrophic. Nuclear accidents, effects of radiation and damage to the environment pose grave threats to our world

Nuclear, biological and chemical arms are the most inhumane of all weapons. They are rightly called weapons of mass destruction and weapons of terror. Designed to terrify as well as destroy, they can, in the hands of either states or non-state actors, cause destruction on a vastly greater scale than any conventional weapons, and their impact is far more indiscriminate and long-lasting.

As weapons of mass destruction and disarmament form one of the gravest challenges facing the world, a world free of nuclear weapons is a global public good of the highest order.  Despite a longstanding taboo against using nuclear weapons, disarmament remains only an aspiration. So, is a taboo alone on the use of such weapons sufficient?

States make the key decisions where nuclear weapons are concerned. But the UN has important roles to play. It provides a central forum in which states can agree on norms to serve their common interests. It analyses, educates, and advocates in the pursuit of agreed goals.

Most states have chosen to forgo nuclear weapons, and have complied with their commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Yet some states view such weapons as a status symbol, and some view them as offering the ultimate deterrent against nuclear attack, which largely accounts for the estimated 30,000 that still exist.

Unfortunately, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence is contagious, making non-proliferation more difficult and raising new risks that nuclear weapons will be used.

The world remains concerned about nuclear activities in North Korea and Iran, and there is widespread support for efforts to address these concerns by peaceful means.

There are also concerns that a “nuclear renaissance” is looming, with nuclear energy seen as a clean energy alternative at a time of intensifying efforts to combat climate change. The main worry is that this will lead to the production and use of more nuclear materials that may be used for making bombs, proliferation and terrorist threats.

The obstacles to disarmament are formidable including the daunting challenges of multiple crises: food, fuel, flu pandemic and financial crisis. But the costs and risks of its alternatives never get the attention they deserve. Consider the enormous opportunity cost of huge military budgets. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military expenditures last year exceeded $1.4 trillion. Ten years ago, the Brookings Institution published a study that estimated the total costs of nuclear weapons in the United States alone to be over $5.8 trillion, including future cleanup costs. By any definition, this is a huge investment that could have had many other productive uses, i.e. eradicating hunger, poverty, diseases and the adverse effects of climate change.

The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded. Military spending continues to rise everyday. It is now well above US trillion. More weapons are being produced. They are flooding markets around the world. They are destabilising societies. They feed the flames of civil wars and terror. Around the world, gun violence is the number one cause of civilian casualties.

Concerns over nuclear weapons’ costs and inherent dangers have led to a global outpouring of ideas to breathe new life into nuclear disarmament. We have seen the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) commission led by Hans Blix, the New Agenda Coalition, and Norway’s Seven Nation Initiative. Australia and Japan have launched the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Civil society groups and nuclear-weapon states have also made proposals, such as the Hoover Plan, spearheaded by Henry Kissinger. There is further ray of hope with the new American administration, under Barack Obama, who has pledged to show the world that America believes in its existing commitments under the NPT to work to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons.

Five steps the United Nations can take for disarmament and a nuclear free world

To push forward the agenda, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, put forward a five-point proposal.

  • Disarmament must enhance security

First, to urge all NPT parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon states, to fulfill their obligation under the treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament. They could agree on a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments. Or they could consider negotiating a nuclear-weapons convention, backed by a strong verification system, as has long been proposed at the UN. A draft has been circulated to all UN members of such a convention, which offers a good point of departure.

The nuclear powers should actively engage with other states on this issue at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. The world would also welcome a resumption of bilateral negotiations between the US and Russia aimed at deep and verifiable reductions of their arsenals.

The Security Council’s permanent members should begin discussions on security issues in the nuclear disarmament process. They could unambiguously assure non-nuclear-weapon states that they will not be subject to the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons. The council could also convene a summit on nuclear disarmament. Non-NPT states should freeze their own nuclear-weapon capabilities and make their own disarmament commitments.

  • Disarmament must be reliably verified

Secondly, governments should also invest more in verification research and development. The United Kingdom’s proposal to host a conference of nuclear-weapon states on verification is a concrete step in the right direction.

The NPT state parties should pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament, either through a new convention or through a series of mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a credible system of verification.

  • Disarmament must be rooted in legal obligations

Thirdly, Universal membership in multilateral treaties is a key, as are regional nuclear free zones and a new treaty on fissile materials.

Unilateral moratoria on nuclear tests and the production of fissile materials can go only so far. We need new efforts to bring the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty into force, and for the conference on disarmament to begin negotiations on a fissile material treaty immediately, without preconditions.

There should be efforts made to support the creation of the Central Asian and African nuclear-weapon-free zones which should also strongly support efforts to establish such a zone in the Middle East. And all NPT parties need to conclude their safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and voluntarily to adopt the strengthened safeguards under the Additional Protocol.

Furthermore, an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in 1996 stated that “there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

  • Disarmament must be visible to the public

Fourthly, countries with nuclear weapons should publish more information about what they are doing about what they are doing to fulfill their disarmament agenda.

The nuclear-weapon states often circulate descriptions of what they are doing to pursue these goals. But these accounts seldom reach the public. The nuclear-weapon states should send such material to the UN Secretariat, and to encourage its wider dissemination. The lack of an authoritative estimate of the total number of nuclear weapons attests to the need for greater transparency.

  • Disarmament must anticipate emerging dangers from other weapons

Finally, a number of complementary measures are needed. These include eliminating other types of WMD; new efforts against WMD terrorism; limits on the production and trade in conventional arms; and new weapons bans, including of missiles and space weapons.

If there is real, verified progress on disarmament, the ability to eliminate the nuclear threat will grow exponentially. As we progressively eliminate the world’s deadliest weapons and their components, we will make it harder to execute WMD terrorist attacks. WMD should not stand for weapons of Mass Destruction but for We Must Disarm.

These proposals offer a fresh start not only on disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful use of nuclear energy, the three pillars of NPT, but also on strengthening our system of international peace and security leading to nuclear free world.
These can be enhanced by following the Article VI of the NPT which obliges its signatories “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.

What can civil society do?

Follow 13 Practical Steps for Disarmament which is reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control. (see end of the speech)

Here is a list of action points – things that we can all do to oppose nuclear weapons and promote a nuclear weapons world:

  • Before anything – study the problem.
  • Write to your MP and to key decision makers and put pressure on government ministers. Urge  UK government to send a delegation at ministerial level to represent the UK at the next NPT conference.
  • Ask your MP to sign the parliamentary motions.
  • Write letters to world leaders and the editor of newspapers.
  • Educate the public and organise a forum.
  • Plan a demonstration.
  • Hold a meeting or run a workshop.
  • Call a radio talk show.
  • Contact your local interfaith group to discuss the issue.
  • Make paper cranes to send to decision makers (they have become a symbol of disarmament).
  • Join the nonviolent initiatives for disarmament.
  • Attend a “Dialogue with decision-makers” workshop.
  • Get involved in your local disarmament group.
  • Promote complete and general disarmament by distributing information about 13 Practical Steps taken from the final document of 2000 Review Conference of the (NPT) Nuclear-non Proliferation Treaty. (see appendices to lecture).
  • Pray. The nuclear weapons danger cannot be addressed through action alone. All activism must be accompanied by an inner journey that faces the existence of nuclear weapons, the possibility of annihilation, and the power of God in the face of these threats. Religious people can be a voice of hope for the future.
  • Speak truth to power. Our elected officials are the ones who are making the daily decisions to fund new nuclear weapons or to follow our treaty obligations by reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons. Build a relationship with your local and national elected officials by writing letters, making phone calls, and setting up in-state lobby visits.

Conclusion

For total and general disarmament, education should be made a priority for bringing a culture of peace, nonviolence and reconciliation. By eliminating root causes of war we can eliminate the need for small arms and nuclear weapons leading to lasting peace. The world today spends billions preparing for war.  Should we not spend a billion or two preparing for peace? The reduction of defense budgets and demilitarisation should be applied to fund the economic aid and conflict resolution.

One of the sustainable long term solutions for elimination of nuclear weapons will be the prohibition of weapon usable nuclear materials. By signing the FMCT (Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty) Treaty, we can prevent nuclear proliferation by limiting the available sources and hence increasing physical safety and security.

The United Kingdom and the other nuclear powers have to recognise that their own weapons and policies are part of the problem and hinder international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and reduce proliferation incentives. Now is the time to begin phasing out nuclear weapons, starting with a decision not to replace Trident. Contrary to myth, giving up nuclear weapons will not happen overnight or leave the United Kingdom naked and vulnerable. It is high time to recognise their irrelevance and start planning for a safely managed transition to a more relevant security approach, with a more appropriate allocation of defence resources.

Now whilst the worlds leading nations talk of reducing nuclear weapons they still want to develop new weapons for themselves. This strikes me as a strategy that will never free the world of nuclear weapons.

That is why you and all other who care must ensure that governments will go into the non-proliferation talks next year ready to act. This is a precious opportunity to move towards a nuclear free world and i call upon you and all supporters of a world free of a threat of complete annihilation to sieze that opportunity.
It should be noted that Gandhi, was not only a keen supporter of substituting nonviolent resistance for war, but a sharp critic of the Bomb. In 1946, he remarked: “I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women, and children as the most diabolical use of science.” When he first learned of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Gandhi recalled, he said to himself: “Unless now the world adopts non-violence, it will spell certain suicide.” In 1947, Gandhi argued that “he who invented the atom bomb has committed the gravest sin in the world of science,” concluding once more: “The only weapon that can save the world is non-violence.” The Bomb, he said, “will not be destroyed by counter-bombs.” Indeed, “hatred can be overcome only by love.”


I will close with a paragraph from Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, director of IAEA:


“Imagine what would happen if the nations of the world spent as much on development as on building the machines of war. Imagine a world where every human being would live in freedom and dignity. Imagine a world in which we would shed the same tears when a child dies in Darfur or Vancouver. Imagine a world where we would settle our differences through diplomacy and dialogue and not through bombs or bullets. Imagine if the only nuclear weapons remaining were the relics in our museums. Imagine the legacy we could leave to our children. Imagine that such a world is within our grasp.”

If we can follow his wisdom and all the outline initiatives we have discussed today, then we have a golden opportunity to achieve a world free of nuclear arms.
Thank you very much for listening.

Notes

The following publications were consulted and excerpts have been taken from them during the writing of this article:

1)    Ban Ki Moon, “Five steps to a nuclear-free world” (Guardian, UK) 23 November 2008

2)    Penn State Live, Ambassador to address U.S. foreign policy, nuclear disarmament, 6 February 2009. http://live.psu.edu/story/37444

3)    Vijay Mehta, “Should Britain be building new nuclear weapons? What are its implications and what is the peace movement’s strategy?” 1 June 2006

Biography: Vijay Mehta

Vijay Mehta is president of VM Centre for Peace www.vmpeace.org , Founding Trustee of Fortune Forum Charity www.fortuneforum.org ,  Chair of Action for UN Renewal www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk and co-Chair of World Disarmament Campaign. He is an author, a champion for truth and global activist for peace, development, human rights and environment. Some of his notable books are The Fortune Forum Summit: For a Sustainable Future, Arms No More, and The United Nations and Its Future in the 21st Century.

His latest book is on Global Warming and is called ‘Climate Change IQ,’ which is available to download free of charge in electronic form from the website www.climatechange365.co.uk

He along with his daughter Renu Mehta founder of Fortune Forum charity held three summits in London in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The summits raised over a million pounds for charity and attracted a worldwide audience of 1.3 billion people (one fifth of humanity) including print and media coverage. The keynote speakers for the first and second summit were Bill Clinton, former US President and Al Gore, former US vice-President, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007. The guest speakers in 2008 were Ted Turner, Founder of CNN, Amritya Sen and Sir James Mirrlees both Nobel Prize winning Economists.

Vijay Mehta has appeared in various TV programmes including BBC World, Press TV, Ajtak-24 hour Indian news channel, and Think Peace documentary, Canada, among others. The Sunday Times, Independent, Observer, Irish Times and Guardian newspapers, among other journals have written about him. His life is devoted to the service of peace, humanity and our planet.

13 Practical steps

EXCERPTED FROM THE FINAL DOCUMENT OF THE 2000 NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE

The Conference agrees on the following practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and paragraphs 3 and 4 (c) of the 1995

Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”:

1.    The importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

2.   A moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending entry into force of that Treaty.

3. The necessity of negotiations in the Conference on / Disarmament on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in accordance with the statement of the Special Coordinator in 1995 and the mandate contained therein, taking into consideration both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation objectives. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty with a view to their conclusion within five years.

4.   The necessity of establishing in the Conference on Disarmament an appropriate subsidiary body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament. The Conference on Disarmament is urged to agree on a programme of work which includes the immediate establishment of such a body.

5.   The principle of irreversibility to apply to nuclear disarmament, nuclear and other related arms control and reduction measures.

6.    An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI.

7.   The early entry into force and full implementation of START II and the conclusion of START III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons, in accordance with its provisions.

8.    The completion and implementation of the Trilateral Initiative between the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

9.   Steps by all the nuclear-weapon States leading to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all:

*     Further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally.
*     Increased transparency by the nuclear-weapon States with regard to the nuclear weapons capabilities and the implementation of agreements pursuant to Article VI and as a voluntary confidence-building measure to support further progress on nuclear disarmament.
*     The further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process.
*     Concrete agreed measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems.
*     A diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.
*     The engagement as soon as appropriate of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.

10. Arrangements by all nuclear-weapon States to place, as soon as practicable, fissile material designated by each of them as no longer required for military purposes under IAEA or other relevant international verification and arrangements for the disposition of such material for peaceful purposes, to ensure that such material remains permanently outside of military programmes.

11. Reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control.

12.  Regular reports, within the framework of the NPT strengthened review process, by all States parties on the implementation of Article VI and paragraph 4 (c) of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”, and recalling the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July 1996.

13.The further development of the verification capabilities that will be required to provide assurance of compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

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UN International Day Of Peace: Disarm Now Moeen Yaseen

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 18, 2009

UN INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE: DISARM NOW

THE MILITARY INFLUENCE ON OUR GLOBAL ECONOMY AND THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT

Moeen Yaseen Managing Director   Global Vision 2000

EMBARGOED

Monday 21 September 2009  6.30-8.30

Thanks to UPF for organisation of another event and the extension of the invitation to speak today. I wish to dedicate my contribution to the silent voices of millions of people who were sacrificed by the Warmongers. This contribution will not focus on the scientific, technical or legal dimensions but on the political economy of war and address the 800 pound gorilla in the room which we are in denial.  As General Smedley Butler stated there are only two things we should fight for one is the defence of our homes and a Bill of Rights : War for any other reason is a racket. Last year in April 2008 Global Vision 2000 held a conference on the Global Financial Meltdown, socioeconomic injustice and war: cause and remedy with speakers from Stop the War Coalition, International Peace Bureau and the 9/11 Truth Movement. Today I will address the underlying ideological glue cementing the event.I will focus upon AngloAmerican imperialism and AngloAmerican financial usurious capitalism given it’s pre-eminent role with the British empire in the 19th century and Pax Americana in the 20th century to date. Jonathan Swift identified the following factors in the evolution of the imperial system:- Doctrine of Permanent War;  War, Money power/Banking elite which benefits from the State’s indebtedness and Public debt as well as the Militarists and Military-Industrial-Political complex which President Eisenhower coined. This is the context we are dealing with namely a world where might is right and white is right and wherein the spirit of power prevails than the power of the spirit. The Global Financial architecture established in Bretton Woods by the financial oligarchy underwrites this dominant paradigm.

In the modern era the foundation of the Military Industrial Political Complex was established in 1939-45; in the postwar coldwar period the Trilateral Commission in 1968 established the National Security Apparatus and Military Keynesianism. Post 1989 with the collapse of the cold war with Bush wars we have seen the rise of the New World Order and Disaster Capitalism in which pre-emptive wars are built around deconstruction and reconstruction of societies by warprofiteers who plunder the Treasury/Currency. Economic policies are run to benefit the financial elites. Pre 9/11 we also have the Project for the New American Century to kick in the 21st American century which is ending up as an own goal.

Underpinning the Warfare economy exists the TRIAD of the Military Industrial Political complex interlocked to the concept of Permanent war entrenched since World War 2. In the postwar cold era Bush introduced the New World Order with seeds planted in the Middle East for future wars. This idea originated with the Trilateral Commission’s concept of the New International Economic Order wherein military might enforces foreign policy which is based on economic interests. It is an agenda of perpetual warfare and violence fuelling global domination via economic means. Also international organisations such as NATO devised for defence originally are being transformed into aggressive forces to enhance US economic and geopolitical interests with NATO in effect becoming a surrogate military-political force for globalisation and US world economic domination. As many people are asking what is NATO really doing in Afghanistan? What are British/European soldiers dying for?  It should be noted that Afghanistan is a symbolic rock in history where empires have been smashed.

This warfare economy is a parasite which manipulates fears and paranoia; it trashes economies by diverting resources from domestic investment into productive uses such as green technologies and subverts university research massively.  It reduces economic growth and employment. Indeed the 9/11 attacks on the US homeland were used as a Cassus Belli and for the establishment of a National Security State. The Global War on Terror manipulates fears; keeps us afraid and stops dissent. As far as 9/11 is concerned our thinktank rejects the official narrative as Alice in Wonderland mythology and supports the notion of the existence of  the phenomenon  of State sponsored false flag terrorism. But that is another story. The military economy operates outside a competitive market and erases the line between the State and the Corporation. Disguises it’s growth via the privitisation of war with the rise of mercenaries such as Blackwater- XE services which is in effect the largest private army in the world.

Insane expenditure on Department of Defence aka the Department of War has NO correlation to National Security- this has been hijacked by the Financial Oligarchs. see Chalmers Johnson. Melman has proven that the DoD budget is the largest single block of financial capital resources. The exact costs are difficult to verify as there is a cloud of secrecy over it. Melman argues that since 1944 the US Federal Government has spent more than 50% of it’s entire budget on past, current and future military operations and this underwrites the permanent war economy. The Mlitary budget is greater than all other nations at 623 Billion for 2008 not counting the supplemental budget nearing 3000 Billion for the wars(Stiglitz). N.B 30-40% of DoD budget is BLACK i.e. hidden for classified purposes The true size and cost for the US mil empire is 1100 billion for 2008.

The Official Pentagon inventory includes:-

865 facilities/bases in over 40 countries;

190.000 troops in 46 countries this does not cover privitisation of war via contracted security firms which are mercenary armies

2 Billion dollars spent every day

US budget deficit of 1.75 Trillion and National Debt of 10.6 Trillion

Military Keynesianism see Seymour Melman on Pentagon Capitalism focusses on the political economy of war .Massive trade deficits financed by borrowing and the National debt is 10 Trillion in 2009. Therefore Military expenditure is Military Keynesianism used to keep and maintain a Permanent war economy and military output is seen as ordinary economic product although it makes no contribution towards production and consumption.  Even with Obama in Congress who swept into power on change has backtracked as Congress is not willing or able to articulate a rejection of the War economy. The economy has become preoccupied with Death; namely the business of killing and being killed. The war economy thrives on aggressive war and a perverse realpolitik of national security. There is a tacit acceptance of much that threatens to destroy anything and everything.

Hollowing out of the US economy has occurred with the lack of modernisation and replacement of assets has almost evaporated the US manufacturing base. The US is now the world’s leading Debtor nation with it’s influence reliant on it’s Military Industrial Political Complex which I would argue underpins the IMPERIAL DOLLAR.

SOLUTION

QUID PRO QUO for the survival of the USA in a Multi-polar world of Creditor nations:-

1. To save the dollar and the nation it requires a NATIONAL VOLTE FACE to show humility and repentance

2. Repudiation of the Neocon goal to achieve US Global hegemony

3. Liquidation of the American military empire and its overseas bases

4. Cessation of DoD budget as a Keynesianism jobs program and investment into a socially productive economy

CONCLUSION

We need to really reflect on Michael Jackson’s song Man in the Mirror; we need to look at this problem in the eye and make that change.

We need to end glorification of violence and repent. This entire military enterprise is surplus to requirement, damaging to the National Interest/security, cause of war with other nations. It shows a Global Hegemon in economic decline engaged in imperial outreach, perpetual war and insolvency with a real danger of the collapse and fragmentation of the US State.

Moeen Yaseen

(Note: Universal Peace Federation seeks to promote debate and discussion. Not all the views of contributors reflect a UPF perspective but are  still welcome in the process of encouraging dialogue and seeking understanding.)

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UPF Peace Declaration on 21st September, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 11, 2009

UPF - logos 2-0 cm

Universal Peace Federation

Peace Declaration

“Since wars begin in the minds of man, it is in the minds of man that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”  (UNESCO Constitution, 1945)

On the occasion of and in support of the International Day of Peace, September 21st, 2009, for which Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon gave the motto “We Must Disarm” (WMD), with a focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Universal Peace Federation offers the following affirmations:

First, human conflict and the resort to arms and weapons have their roots in the breakdown of human relationships, and the human failure to live up to our highest ideals and aspirations. Violence is a symptom of a moral and spiritual failure. If we are to eliminate violence and weapons of mass destruction, we must commit ourselves to a moral and spiritual awakening.

Second, lasting peace is secured not only through the reduction of nuclear arsenals, but, more importantly, by the growth in solidarity among the whole human family, and a recognition that we are all brothers and sisters who share a common spiritual and moral heritage. We are one family under God. It is this understanding that gives rise to the collective will to put an end to violent conflict.

Third, being the basic, building block of society, the family serves as the primary school of ethics, and should serve as the school where we learn to love, respect and serve others.  By strengthening marriage and family, we can educate our children to respect all people, thereby establishing a culture of peace.  Once humanity learns to resolve conflicts without weapons, massive resources will be reallocated for human development.

Fourth, laws alone cannot change the culture of violence, but must be undergirded by substantial educational programs aimed a promoting character education, conflict resolution, and a culture of service and peace. Men and women who are taught to fulfill their moral obligations and responsibilities toward others will respect and live for the greater good and fulfillment of others.

The Universal Peace Federation thereby resolves to join the United Nations to declare September 21st as
The International Day of Peace

To Be Declared this 21st day of September 2009  London UK.

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Lawence Bloom and Murad Qureshi AM ‘Green Economy Initiative’

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 4, 2009

Lawrence Bloom and Murad Qureshi AM Green Economy Initiative

September 3rd, 2009

Universal Peace Federation-UK HQ, 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

Lawrence Bloom, Marios Gerogiokas and Murad Qureshi

Lawrence Bloom, Marios Gerogiokas and Murad Qureshi

Murad Qureshi AM

Murad Qureshi AM

IMG_8290 IMG_8315Dr Zena Daysh and Nicky Gavron AM

Lawrence Bloom and Murad Qureshi AM discussed the alternatives facing London as a city and the world as a whole due to climate change. Lawrence Bloom, is the Chair of the United Nations Environment Programme and the former chairman, current Council Member, of the World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on Urban Development, Davos. Murad Qureshi AM is the Chair of the Environment Committee of the Greater London Authority’s London Assembly.

There were a number of notable contributions from the audience including Nicky Gavron AM who, as the former Deputy Mayor, was leading the climate change response on behalf of London during the Ken Livingston Mayoral administration.

Murad Qureshi began by emphasising the role of big cities like London in working with environmental issues because 50 % of humanity lives in cities and towns. Nation states will meet in Copenhagen but there is a lot of capacity for cities to collaborate and make their own impetus. He acknowledged Nicky Gavron’s work with the C40 Cities. London made a goal of 60 % reduction from 1990 levels by 2025. There is a localised green economy initiative possible through city level leadership. Transport and housing sectors can be handled locally. He added that a Plan B could be a city level agreement if the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit fails.

Lawrence Bloom said,  ‘At first the Universal Peace Federation seems a strange convenor for this discussion but when I thought about the crisis facing us I felt this is an ideal venue for climate change discussion. Climate change is a subset of an unsustainable energy system. There is also a lack of sustainability in food, water and the economy. This is not a crisis of climate but of vision based on a lack of values. We in the west find esteem based on buying the newest car and happiness is based on Gross National Product. Correcting the climate will affect all levels. Hence the Universal Peace Federation is an ideal convenor for this discussion.’ (Please see statement below, Reclaiming Tomorrow).

For more photos click here. Follow the link for more about Environment Awareness activities.

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Green Economy Initiative by Lawrence Bloom September 3rd 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 3, 2009


Green Economy Initiative

UPF - logos 2-0 cm

Universal Peace Federation

UPF-UK Environment Chapter

Understanding Copenhagen 2009: Community Leaders Awareness & Debate

Lawrence Bloom

Chairman, UNEP, Green Economy Initiative
Green Cities, Buildings and Transport.

6:30 pm 3rd September 2009, 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

Lawrence Bloom

Lawrence Bloom

and

Murad Qureshi, Assembly Member

Chair of the Environment Committee

London Assembly, Greater London Authority

You are cordially welcome to a consideration and discussion of the issues surrounding climate change from 6:30 pm on September 3rd at 43 Lancaster Gate. There are major negotiations ongoing that may affect our lives substantially from December 2009

UPF is organising a series of conferences to answer questions, promote discussion and bring awareness to the grass roots through community and interfaith leaders. UPF has been active in the area of community coherence, multi-cultural and interfaith and we want to mobilize our network of leaders in understanding environmental, renewable issues in view of the upcoming “Copenhagen 2009 Climate Change Conference” in December.

Lawrence Bloom is a chairman of the World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on Urban Development, Davos, and Chairman UNEP, Green Economy Initiative, Green Cities, Buildings and Transport.

‘’As world leaders search for creative solutions to restore global equilibrium, the opportunity for recognising the importance of both human and environmental capital has perhaps never been so possible or achievable’’ www.lawrencebloom.com.c

Murad Qureshi AM was an Executive Committee member of SERA (1994-2000) campaigning on green issues throughout the 1990s. He is especially keen on promoting the use of renewables as an alternative energy source and on promoting energy efficiency initiatives to deal with fuel poverty.

Kindly RVSP to reserve your place. There will be a small charge for refreshments. Click here for travel information.

Kind regards,

Dr Marios Gerogiokas
UPF-UK Environment Chapter
075 0789 3739

Mr. Muftah Benomran

Noble Cities Plc
www.noblecities.com


Reclaiming tomorrow…

‘We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase.’

David Suzuki Foundation

‘I have seen the future, and it won’t work’

Paul Krugman, New York Times[1]

T

he chilling accuracy of Paul Krugman’s observation was recently confirmed in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) review of more than 10 different future scenarios, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Royal Dutch Shell.

Of those, the MIT study concluded that Shell’s ‘Blueprints’ scenario resulted in the lowest realistically achievable CO2 emissions levels, because it was based on the rapid implementation of advanced technologies and energy efficiency initiatives, and involved a highly effective collaboration between government, industry, international institutions, NGOs and academia.

Even then CO2 levels would stabilize at around 650ppm…yet 450ppm is currently accepted as the viable maximum.

We now understand that at this level various serious trigger points and feedback loops start operating. Not least of these is the acidification of the oceans, causing them to become a net emitter of CO2 rather than a sink. These increasing CO2 levels then feed back into higher temperatures, accelerating both ice melt at the poles and the melting of tundra ice with its consequent release of methane.

So the evidence indicates that we cannot rely on technology alone to ensure our survival. ‘Business as usual’ is not an option – much more needs to be done to raise awareness and change our behaviour. The Blueprints scenario gives us a five-year window. We must act now!

Arguably the biggest obstacle to this critical change is the absence of public engagement toward the urgency of our predicament, resulting in a lack of any real commitment to carbon reduction.

In line with Einstein’s observation that ‘No problem can be resolved at the same level of thinking that created it’, I believe that only a world-class lifestyle behaviour change programme could take us through this next challenging period with a realistic prospect of minimizing its impacts on human survival and well-being.

Such a lifestyle change delivery programme will, in essence:

  • Be a community-based ‘bottom up’ process;
  • Local authorities and corporations will become an effective delivery mechanism for empowering and resourcing their communities and employees to create eco-neighbourhood community groups;
  • These groups will be imbued with the vision, role models, tools, implementation procedures, skill sets, and underpinning supportive structures to enable both visible and tangible success; and
  • Each individual will feel that their contribution has value and their drop is helping to ‘fill the bucket’.

Galvanizing communities around the world to work for their future in this way creates a dynamic shift, and with it real hope of significant change from our present trajectory.
Without such a change, the research demonstrates that technology alone will not save us.

Charles Darwin warned: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’

So if we are to survive, evolution demands we each recognise that:

  • We were mistaken in thinking we could go on exploiting the planet’s resources and ‘fouling our own nest’ with impunity; and
  • The time has come to take our next evolutionary step as a species.

This step is to respond to the present crisis by releasing from within ourselves a deeper understanding of our relationship with each other and the planet that gives us life.

As a society we are in the process of moving from the adolescent stage of ‘in reaction to’ to the more adult stage of ‘in relationship with’. The economic models of the adolescent stage no longer serve us. In the same way that the skill in a space shot is to know when to blow the explosive bolts, releasing the booster rockets and allowing them to fall away, so we must blow the symbolic bolts connecting us to outmoded thinking. The boosters have a specific function, to enable the craft to escape the earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Our current systems have enabled us to enrich and empower two billion of our species, but they can take us no further.

We must now change course from a fiercely competitive win/lose system to a collaborative win/win scenario, where humanity shares all its knowledge of what is and what is not working for the benefit of the whole, at both local and global levels.

Each human being, simply by virtue of their human birth, has the right to clean water, nutritious food, proper shelter, access to education, to healthcare, to justice and financial resources. These priorities are only sustainable in a healthy, natural environment, supported by a viable economic system and an environmental Bill of Rights.

While these universal values are not prioritised by our present economic system, they appear unattainable. However, once we prioritise them, we can build a new resilience within the current economic model, supporting it by authorising and encouraging the widespread use of community and other complementary currencies.

We will need to evolve a critical mass of people from all sectors of society, our private and public institutions, communities and individuals, coalescing around this recognition of the need for a dramatic change in our values. It should, however, be possible when we realise that it is only people that make up our institutions, and people have the capacity to change

Humanity is the result of five billion years of earth’s evolution. We will discover, within the next five years, whether we are still a viable species. If we cannot engage behaviour change at this scale, we will have failed the ‘intelligence test’ that evolution requires us to answer. The rewards for success are beyond our wildest dreams – but the penalties for failure surpass our worst nightmares.

Now is the moment for us to ‘be the change’[2] we wish to see in the world.

Lawrence Bloom
Chairman
World Economic Forum
Global Agenda Council on Urban Development,
Davos, Switzerland.

Deputy Chairman, Noble Cities Plc, UK

Chairman, Green Cities, Buildings and Transport Panel, Green Economy Initiative, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Switzerland

www.lawrencebloom.com


[1] Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, was awarded the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
[2] You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mohandas K. Gandhi

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‘Reclaiming tomorrow’ by Lawrence Bloom

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 2, 2009

Reclaiming tomorrow…

‘We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase.’

David Suzuki Foundation

‘I have seen the future, and it won’t work’

Paul Krugman, New York Times[1]

T

he chilling accuracy of Paul Krugman’s observation was recently confirmed in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) review of more than 10 different future scenarios, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Royal Dutch Shell.

Of those, the MIT study concluded that Shell’s ‘Blueprints’ scenario resulted in the lowest realistically achievable CO2 emissions levels, because it was based on the rapid implementation of advanced technologies and energy efficiency initiatives, and involved a highly effective collaboration between government, industry, international institutions, NGOs and academia.

Even then CO2 levels would stabilize at around 650ppm…yet 450ppm is currently accepted as the viable maximum.

We now understand that at this level various serious trigger points and feedback loops start operating. Not least of these is the acidification of the oceans, causing them to become a net emitter of CO2 rather than a sink. These increasing CO2 levels then feed back into higher temperatures, accelerating both ice melt at the poles and the melting of tundra ice with its consequent release of methane.

So the evidence indicates that we cannot rely on technology alone to ensure our survival. ‘Business as usual’ is not an option – much more needs to be done to raise awareness and change our behaviour. The Blueprints scenario gives us a five-year window. We must act now!

Arguably the biggest obstacle to this critical change is the absence of public engagement toward the urgency of our predicament, resulting in a lack of any real commitment to carbon reduction.

In line with Einstein’s observation that ‘No problem can be resolved at the same level of thinking that created it’, I believe that only a world-class lifestyle behaviour change programme could take us through this next challenging period with a realistic prospect of minimizing its impacts on human survival and well-being.

Such a lifestyle change delivery programme will, in essence:

  • Be a community-based ‘bottom up’ process;
  • Local authorities and corporations will become an effective delivery mechanism for empowering and resourcing their communities and employees to create eco-neighbourhood community groups;
  • These groups will be imbued with the vision, role models, tools, implementation procedures, skill sets, and underpinning supportive structures to enable both visible and tangible success; and
  • Each individual will feel that their contribution has value and their drop is helping to ‘fill the bucket’.

Galvanizing communities around the world to work for their future in this way creates a dynamic shift, and with it real hope of significant change from our present trajectory.
Without such a change, the research demonstrates that technology alone will not save us.

Charles Darwin warned: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’

So if we are to survive, evolution demands we each recognise that:

  • We were mistaken in thinking we could go on exploiting the planet’s resources and ‘fouling our own nest’ with impunity; and
  • The time has come to take our next evolutionary step as a species.

This step is to respond to the present crisis by releasing from within ourselves a deeper understanding of our relationship with each other and the planet that gives us life.

As a society we are in the process of moving from the adolescent stage of ‘in reaction to’ to the more adult stage of ‘in relationship with’. The economic models of the adolescent stage no longer serve us. In the same way that the skill in a space shot is to know when to blow the explosive bolts, releasing the booster rockets and allowing them to fall away, so we must blow the symbolic bolts connecting us to outmoded thinking. The boosters have a specific function, to enable the craft to escape the earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Our current systems have enabled us to enrich and empower two billion of our species, but they can take us no further.

We must now change course from a fiercely competitive win/lose system to a collaborative win/win scenario, where humanity shares all its knowledge of what is and what is not working for the benefit of the whole, at both local and global levels.

Each human being, simply by virtue of their human birth, has the right to clean water, nutritious food, proper shelter, access to education, to healthcare, to justice and financial resources. These priorities are only sustainable in a healthy, natural environment, supported by a viable economic system and an environmental Bill of Rights.

While these universal values are not prioritised by our present economic system, they appear unattainable. However, once we prioritise them, we can build a new resilience within the current economic model, supporting it by authorising and encouraging the widespread use of community and other complementary currencies.

We will need to evolve a critical mass of people from all sectors of society, our private and public institutions, communities and individuals, coalescing around this recognition of the need for a dramatic change in our values. It should, however, be possible when we realise that it is only people that make up our institutions, and people have the capacity to change

Humanity is the result of five billion years of earth’s evolution. We will discover, within the next five years, whether we are still a viable species. If we cannot engage behaviour change at this scale, we will have failed the ‘intelligence test’ that evolution requires us to answer. The rewards for success are beyond our wildest dreams – but the penalties for failure surpass our worst nightmares.

Now is the moment for us to ‘be the change’[2] we wish to see in the world.

Lawrence Bloom
Former Chairman, Current Council Member
World Economic Forum
Global Agenda Council on Urban Development,
Davos, Switzerland.

Deputy Chairman, Noble Cities Plc, UK

Chairman, Green Cities, Buildings and Transport Panel, Green Economy Initiative, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Switzerland

www.lawrencebloom.com


[1] Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, was awarded the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
[2] You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mohandas K. Gandhi

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Pilgrimage – Interfaith Perspectives

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 2, 2009

‘Pilgrimage’


Period of Silence to Begin

Period of Silence to Begin: Angad Kaur, Brother Tashi, Swami Saradananda, Joy Phillipou, Amarjeet-singh Bhamra, Imam Mahmadou Bocoum

What can we learn about pilgrimages that are common to all religions? On September 3rd we heard about jumping queues and ‘culturally determined’ mind sets that are challenged when we join a pilgrimage. Swami Saradananda, who coordinates pilgrimages (www.flyingmountainyoga.org), talked of India as a place where Europeans or Americans had to relearn everything from how to eat, talk, sleep and go to the toilet. The happiest pilgrimage was often the one where everything went wrong! Imam Mahmadou Bocoum spoke of wearing the white clothes of the Haj and putting away things of the world. Yet he struggled when others jumped queues, pushed and shoved to fulfil their heavenly duties. Brother Tashi spoke of accumulating merit by pilgrimages as well as purifying our karma. He demonstrated the sequence of devotion when approaching the holy mountain in Tibet near Llhasa: the sequential prostration every two metres along the path.

Angad Kaur talked of two pilgrimages. The first was similar to sightseeing. The second with a spiritual guide and mentor was an external manifestation of an enriching internal journey. She could experience the devotion suffused within the stones and creation where it was practiced by holy people of the past.

Joy Phillipou grew up in the Holy Land of the Levant, providing ample time to experience swimming in Lake Galilee while thinking of Christ walking on that lake or the joy of being given turkish coffee and sanctified bread at 4:00 am by monks after sleeping overnight in the Church of Holy Sepulchre or lying down in the Garden of the Tomb in the place where Christ’s body may have been laid to rest. She felt a sacred presence within the stations of the cross on Via Doloroso holding her arms out like Christ in crucifixion.

A Unificationist, Ashley Crosthwaite, saw life of faith as a journey. The pilgrimage is a small aspect of that journey. On a pilgrimage to a holy place in Korea he and his wife, who were having difficulty to have children, were told by a spiritual lady of that place to fast one day a week and have cold showers each day for three years. At the conclusion of those three years they had their first child.

Swami Saradananda quoted Mother Theresa’s conception of a castle with seven rooms in our inner world. Each room is guarded by those who check whether you have really learned all there is to learn from that room before passing to the next. Real peace must come from within she said as we change our own inner nature. A pilgrimage brings out the real inner nature in a way that allows us to deal with what we can easily hide in our own nation and regular life.

For more photos please click here. For other interfaith activities please use this link.

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Ambassador for Peace Award Presented to Mr Mohammed Khokhar

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 1, 2009

Ambassador for Peace Award Presented to Mr. Mohammed W. Khokhar

for his work with Muslim Aid Reported in Asian Finance

Mr Mohammed Khokhar receives an Ambassador for Peace Award

Ambassador for Peace Award Presented to Mr Mohammed W. Khokhar

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