It’s the year 2012 and still more than 1.6 billion people around the world have no access to electricity. Reason enough for the United Nations to declare 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” .
Especially Africa faces big challenges but also great opportunities. 650 million people live without access to energy on the African continent, at least 80 percent depend on wood and charcoal for their energy supply. Hospitals, schools and private households have to get by without light and electricity. A serious obstacle to development – but also a huge opportunity to supply vast parts of Africa right from the outset of electrification with renewable energy.
Renewable and decentralized energy production has environmental and economic benefits. On top of such it also allows the population to be a market participant and independent of companies, in other words “Power to the People”: the guiding principle for us at WFC in the year 2012.
With best regards from Johannesburg,
Director WFC Africa
New Councillors to Change the World: International Strengthening of the WFC
The WFC-family is growing: Seven new Councillors were elected at our last Annual General Meeting in November 2011. We are proud to welcome them among us. From now on, these international personalities will help develop and support the activities of the WFC:
American actress Daryl Hannah is committed to the topics of sustainability, organic agriculture and regenerative energy. Daryl Hannah is an environmental advocate and activist. Read her blog here dhlovelife.com.
The Minister of Coordination of Heritage from Republic of Ecuador, María Fernanda Espinosa, will enrich the work of the WFC with her expertise in environmental conservation and sustainability. She has a wide range of experience in her roles at the United Nations, UNICEF and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, President of the parliamentary network GLOBE International, will support the World Future Council with his knowledge of environmental policy matters. Lord Deben has over sixteen years of top-level ministerial experience in the UK.
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest conservation membership organization, will support the World Future Council with her expertise in sustainable development. She puts her heart and soul into issues related to nature conservation and sustainable economies.
Thais Corral is co- founder of the Women, Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and other initiatives geared towards mobilizing and strengthening sustainable development platforms. Today, Thais Corral coordinates the Adapta Sertão Project and the Center for Innovation and Sustainability which contributes to sustainable development in Brazil.
Mexican physician Ana María Cetto will assist the WFC with her social commitment as a scientist. Her breadth of activities includes having co-founded the Third World Organization for Women in Science (OWSD). Besides her functions for the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México she engages in peace and disarmament matters.
Anuradha Mittal is welcomed into the WFC as an internationally renowned expert on development, human rights and agriculture issues. She established the Oakland Institute, a progressive policy think tank, and deals with social, economic and ecological challenges of our time.
From Popstar to Politican
Millions of records sold, but success as a musician is not enough for our Councillor Youssou N’Dour. He wants to enter his country’s political arena. The presidential elections in Senegal are approaching in February. Reason enough for N’Dour to suspend his music career and make his debut in politics.
“For me, there are two Senegals. The Senegal of the have-nots and Senegal of the haves. My concern is the Senegal of the have-nots,” he says.
Youssou N’Dour is a celebrated musician in his country and also has an international following. In a few weeks we will see if he can mobilize these powers for his election campaign against President Abdoulaye Wade.
Green Economic Growth for Ethiopia
Economic progress and ecological preservation – a contradiction in terms? Not at all: ““Ethiopia, like any other nation, has to take measures to adapt to the inevitable reality of climate change. But we are going much further than that: we are demonstrating we can deliver an ambitious economic growth agenda, yet do so in a green way,” said Dr. Tewolde G. Egziabher, Director General of the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority and WFC-Councillor.
With the help of the recently introduced green economic growth strategy Ethiopia sets out the dual objective of lifting Ethiopia to a middle income economy by 2025 while keeping greenhouse gas emissions constant. The Environmental Protection Authority wants to achieve this by improved crop and livestock production, effective reforestation and forest management, expanding electricity generation and leapfrogging to modern and energy-efficient transport technologies. Ethiopia is the first African country with such a strategy.
For a World Without Nuclear Power: German Double Standards
The end of nuclear power generation in Germany has already been decided. The last German nuclear power plant will be switched off in 2022. So far, so good. Nevertheless the German Government wants to secure the construction of a controversial nuclear power station in Brazil with a Hermes guarantee.
Our WFC-Councillor Francisco Whitaker criticizes these double standards: “The people in Brazil can’t understand how Germany on the one hand can exit from nuclear power and on the other hand support the construction of new power plants someplace else.”
In an open letter to the German Government 40 WFC-Councillors and Right Livelihood Award Recipients expressed their goal for a consequent nuclear phase-out, including German exports. Thereby Germany could become a role-model with its energy revolution.
Zero Conference: International Summit in Terms of Accessibility
© Krzysztof Goluch
Great challenges for politics: The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force in 2008. Nevertheless there are only a few precise policies actively protecting these rights.
This needs to change. For this reason the WFC, Essl Foundation and Bank Austria are presenting visionary policies for disabled people: During the conference “Good Policies for Disabled People” parliamentarians as well as representatives from business, foundations and the disability rights movement will come together for the first time. From January 22nd to 23rd they will discuss topics including antidiscrimination, accessibility and equality in Vienna.
Post-Kyoto-Era: Climate Change in Africa
The Kyoto-protocol will expire in 2012. We need basic conditions for climate protection beyond that date. The conference “Climate Finance & Carbon Markets Africa”, which takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from January 24th to 25th, will be dedicated to these challenges. The participants will focus mainly on the outcomes of COP 17 and their significance for the African continent which already suffers disproportionately from the effects of climate change.
Our Africa-Director, Ansgar Kiene, will present finance possibilities for the implementation of renewable energy as part of the event. We are convinced: Africa has enormous potential for the new technologies, and it is precisely this which must be made visible and its implementation encouraged.
© Fortis Wind Energy
After Durban is Before Rio: Future Justice Teams is Getting Ready
With the dust barely settled over the COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, the next important conference to be attended is Rio+20. The UN-Conference for Sustainable Development will take place in Rio de Janeiro from June 20th to 22nd. Our Future Justice Team is busy preparing:
The focus is on our campaign “Ombudspersons for Future Generations”. Future generations do not have a voice in current political decision-making even though they will inherit the consequences of many of those decisions. We want to change this. We are promoting Ombudspersons at the international, national and local levels who have legislative powers to protect the rights of those who are yet to be born.
The zero draft of the final outcome document for Rio+20 which was published on January 10th, includes the key demand of our Future Justice Commission for an Ombudsperson for Future Generations.
Catherine Pearce, WFC-Campaign manager for Future Justice is certain: “Ombudspersons, or Guardians, offer a clear solution to break the short-term orientation in our governance structures. They act as a representative for those who are not able to express their interests and bring sustainability to the heart of decision making. As a tried and tested initiative, this institution has proven to defend and protect the rights of future generations and the planet.”
Get information on all other upcoming events.
Climate Conference XXL: WFC Team in Durban
Politicians, decision-makers and ministers from all over the world met for COP 17 in Durban from November 28th to December 9th. What happens outside the negotiating rooms is often just as important as what occurs behind closed doors:
Our team in Durban primarily focused on spreading our ideas and concepts to decision-makers and cooperation partners. Next to an exhibition booth we informed visitors about the climate work of the WFC. Stefan Schurig, WFC-Director Climate and Energy, presented political solutions for sustainable urban development under the motto “Regenerative Cities: Governance for sustainable development in megacities” and initiated a lively and focused discussion. Our second presentation “Solving the funding problem of the energy transition with the help of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)” gave us the opportunity to present the main aspects of Special Drawing Rights in connection with the Green Climate Fund.
Get information on all other recent events here.