Climate Change Denial

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Climate change is a serious threat! One of the primary causes is our current wealthy lifestyles affecting poor countries, human, animals, biodiversity and our future generation. Certain individuals want more evidence and deny the problem caused by climate change. Most of the arguments used in a climate change debate turn around giving up their own conveniences to help the poor or weak. This is not a convincing argument to someone who is tough-minded, suffers under close-mindedness and predisposition, and considers the world from a hierarchical view. It’s better to describe how everyone will benefit to battle against the climate change and don’t see it as a threat to their own economy or current social structure. The question is how the issue of climate change can best be presented to people to convince them of the need for action.(Kirsti Jylhä) 

Web source: accessed 7. July 2017 



Letter to Donald Trump

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 A note of concern

Logo of Congo

Mr. President, you have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement at your peril – and at the peril of humankind.

The main objective of the agreement is to protect our planet from environmental, economic and social catastrophe and so safeguard its future.

Global warming is a man-made threat to the Earth and its inhabitants. The global climate is changing, seas are rising and ice caps are melting. Our habitat and we are at enormous risk on account of greenhouse gas emissions.

All nations, developed and developing alike, have accepted those facts. They came to the negotiating table in Paris and brokered an honest and historic deal to prevent our planet from overheating to such an extent that it may never recover.

You, Mr. President, have elected misguidedly to break that deal. You have abandoned your country’s leadership role. Most regrettably, you have explicitly refused to do as much as you can to clean up the atmosphere that we all share. Sustainable energy and cleaner energy are key factors in the survival of humankind.

Mr. President, you have squandered an opportunity to pave the way in key emerging industries, thus creating a vacuum that China will waste no time in filling. You have also forgone the opportunity for your country’s industries and businesses to develop and profit from new solar and wind technologies. Moreover, you have wittingly ignored the growth potential for jobs in the related industrial sectors and the economic benefits of reduced emissions.

Overall, climate change will make it more difficult to grow crops, raise cattle and catch fish. Malnutrition and famine will follow in the wake of environmental collapse. Violent storms, warmer temperatures, and unrelenting drought will pose a threat to pastures and food supplies. Many of those most in need will lack the water and food essential to their survival. The children of the world and their children’s children are at an almost insurmountable risk.

Nothing, Mr. President, stands to be gained from ignoring climate change or hankering nostalgically for the past. For the sake of the world’s population, all countries must take up the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future. We must all make the world great again.

Logo of Congo

NGO Committee on Sustainable Development



President Trump turned his back on the Paris agreement.

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In November 2016 the Paris Accord became the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement and framework for countries to adopt clean energy and collectively mitigate global warming. 

On June 1, 2017, in a Rose Garden speech, President Trump turned his back on the Paris agreement. Trump said he represented “the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” 

Apparently, the citizens of Pittsburgh hadn’t been consulted. 

“As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy, and future,” tweeted Mayor Bill Peduto. He then issued an executive order recommitting the city government to its goals of cutting energy use by half and sourcing all its energy from renewable sources by 2030. 

Trump may be out, but two hundred and forty-seven US cities are in, including nine of the ten largest cities in America – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose – along with hundreds of additional cities large and small in both red and blue states.

In the Climate Mayors statement, the mayors claim that not only will their cities individually adopt the Paris accord, but they will also work as a group to push for even stronger climate action. “We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create the 21st-century clean energy economy,” reads the statement. “The world cannot wait – and neither will we.”

As we build, so shall we live,

Kirstin Miller, Executive Director

Kirstin Miller

Executive Director at Ecocity Builders, San Francisco Institute of Architecture


United Nations Uses Smart Contracts (Blockchain Technology)

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United Nations World Food Programme transfers vouchers to a total of 10.000 refugees in Syria using the Ethereum Blockchain technology (smart contracts, cryptocurrencies). The World Food Programme (WFP) plans to extend the project even further to cover 100,000 people in Jordan by late 2018. The UN is planning more Blockchain technology-related projects to move the aid to disaster-stricken countries faster. 


Roland Leithenmayr, VfV 


The Headscarf Affair versus UN 2030 Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals)

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Austrians appreciate the dry humor and the offhand ironical remarks of the Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. His statement that all women should wear a headscarf out of solidarity with Muslim women to restrict the swelling Islamophobia found negative repercussions both nationally and internationally. Van der Bellen regrets that he has been misinterpreted and that his statement is to be understood as a resistance to the discrimination against minorities like the headscarfed women. Van der Bellen should encourage the self-conscious women to put down their headscarf for a limited time to protest against the oppression of the Muslim women primarily in Islamic countries.  Muslim women should demand among others the removal of inhuman practices such as child-, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation; equality for women at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life, as well as access to property, control over land, financial services and inheritances. Van der Bellen would not only strengthen his reputation as a wise statesman, but he would promote the United Nations – 2030 Agenda of the 17 Sustainable Goals. When is he ready?

Roland Leithenmayr, VfV, 4. April 2017 

2017 Global food policy report

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FPRI’s flagship report reviews the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2016, and highlights challenges and opportunities for 2017 at the global and regional levels. This year’s report looks at the impact of rapid urban growth on food security and nutrition and considers how food systems can be reshaped to benefit both urban and rural populations. Drawing on recent research, IFPRI researchers and other distinguished food policy experts consider a range of timely questions, read more 

2017 Global food policy report

Ilona Graenitz  & Dora Vrdlovec




World Water Day -Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Project

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Dear Members,

I would like to share with you the link to a video (https://youtu.be/JWxOLbRUcgo). This video, released on World Water Day, 22 March 2017, presents the importance of transboundary cooperation for equitable and sustainable water resources development. It showcases perspectives of civil society organization representatives, including IUCN Members and what key stakeholders view as key success factors towards effective shared water resources management.

The video is produced as part of the BRIDGE Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (BRIDGE GBM) project, an initiative launched by IUCN Asia in 2016, to develop a regional civil society organization vision for cooperative transboundary water resource management in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River Basin shared by Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal.

We have also posted an article announcing the video’s launch – would be great if you could share it with your wider network: https://www.iucn.org/news/asia/201703/world-water-day-iucn-video-highlights-key-success-factors-sustainable-shared-water-resources-management

Please like and follow the IUCN Asia Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/iucn.asia/

As well as the IUCN Asia Twitter page: https://twitter.com/IUCNAsia

With best wishes,


Raj Kumar
Membership Manager, Asia
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
N 63 Sukhumvit 39 Soi Phrompong
Sukhumvit Road, Wattana, Klongtan
Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Tel: ++6626624029 Ext: 117 Fax: ++6626624388

Smart Contracts: Blueprint for Sustainable Development Goals?

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SmartContracts are blockchain-based solutions first applied on Bitcoin’s virtual currency. The blockchain is a Distributed Ledger Technology in which operations are no longer handled or stored by a central location, instead of in the database located in each of the participant’s computers and managed automatically in a decentralized manner in real-time. The Blockchain not only creates high data security, but eliminates the intermediaries such as banks, notaries, trustees, business intermediaries, and so on. With SmartContract, complex transactions can be processed:  contracting, contract processing, government and court inputs, and those complete automated. The blockchain technology will support the achievement of the sustainable development goals, the SDGs immense. The UN applies the blockchain technology as one of the tools to generate “smart contracts” to accelerate the creation of Public Partnerships (SDG 17) and for the achievement of SDG 16 by focussing on a variety of areas related to transparent government and fair justice systems.  

To see the blockchain in action, access www.bluehorizon.network. It is a project of IBM Blue Horizon, a platform, applying the blockchain technology to sensor the air quality worldwide in cooperation with PurpleAir.org (http://www.purpleair.org/) and private participants using the  Raspberry PI, a minimal computer, 5 cm ×  12 cm small, with appropriate sensors.

Roland Leithenmayr, VfV 

Common Weal vs. Common Goods Economy

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Adam Smith ( 1723-1790) was the first “Common Good” economist concerned about the quality of human livelihood in the community and about ideas (including basic income) contributing to this ethical and moral goal. For him, all individuals and groups must have equal access to basic conditions enabling them to realize, –  under their own  “free” responsibility – individual self-development and their own ends. The Vienna School of Economics (Carl Menger, Eugen Böhm Ritter von Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises) took over this basic idea in their economic thinking. Later it occurred to some degree (Ordoliberalism) in the Social Market Economy ( Alfred Mueller-Armand, Walter Euken, Wilhelm Röpke, Ludwig Erhard) in  West-Germany and Austria after the Second World War, – contrary to the Communists in East Germany and in other countries under Russian (Stalin) domination.  As an alternative to the Social Market Economy (based on Capitalism), Christian Felber developed the “Common Goods Economy.” Well-known economists criticize it as a politically motivated social movement. Now the important question arises which economic way of thinking, including the communist ones, are suitable to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals?  The author assumes that all ways of economic thinking shall contribute and not be excluded for ideological reasons.

Roland Leithenmayr, VfV

The Threat to use Nuclear Weapons increases!

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Through the current political chaos, the threat using nuclear weapons rises. The 2017 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee hold their event in Vienna, Austria from 2-12 May 2017, and NGOs will participate in the discussions, side events, presentations and exhibitions. The civil society shall take care to investigate the impact of the Agenda 2030, – 17 SDGs and the approach of P.P.P.P.P (Prosperity, People, Planet, Peace, and Partnership) to mitigate this threat and propose methods to prevent such catastrophe. It seems the political establishment is overstrained with its diplomacy and the intellectual “elite” too arrogant rejecting participatory democracy.

Link: Reaching Critical Will website

Roland Leithenmayr, VfV