GNDE (Civil Society) ≠ GNE (European Commission): Vive la différence! : “Normality is the problem”

In the climate of uncertainty created by Covid 19 we are living in a waiting situation. It’s almost as if we are on a starting line waiting for the starting gun. But going where? To start everything all over again as before, once restrictions and limitations have been lifted? This tragedy – which has already seen tens of thousands of deaths –  must, and we repeat must make us reflect on and reconsider our way of life. The hardest hit generation is the oldest, those very people who in the postwar period enabled an oasis of happiness to be built in Europe. This oasis of peace, solidarity and mutual understanding is called the European Union. It was their energy and sacrifices that allowed us to lead a life of dignity, based on values that are the envy of those who are not part of the EU. It was they who provided healthcare, food and education for all, with no ifs or buts. And we are letting them be taken first. The carehomes of many countries – whether as a result of political decisions or for other reasons – are not getting the healthcare support they need. We are not trying to be critical, we are just asking people to spare a thought for these elderly people who are alone in the last moments of their lives, without the presence and comfort of their loved ones.

Policies based on profiting from the dismantling of the public sphere have led to the state of disintegration that we we see before us. The approach of “There Is No Alternative” has failed, as has that of unchecked globalization. At moments of crisis we turn to the state and to its ability to regulate not only the health emergency but also the economic survival of businesses and individuals. Continua a leggere “GNDE (Civil Society) ≠ GNE (European Commission): Vive la différence! : “Normality is the problem””

The latest report from the IPBES

IPBES is an intergovernmental organization set up in 2012 in order to provide politicians all over the world with assessments of the state of biodiversity and ecosystems, based on scientific data. We wrote about the IPBES in a previous newsletter.

Their reports on biodiversity and ecosystems are well-known and widely read. The latest Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services was published on 6 May 2019 . Its contents are alarming: more than one million species of animals and plants have become extinct or are in danger of extinction thanks to human activity. No longer can we pretend we don’t know. We have wasted the time we had and now we have to try to limit the damage. We can start by promoting farming techniques that respect the soil and its ecosystem.

SIP Forum: one step at a time

We reported in a previous newsletter how the SIP Forum’s draft law became a proposal in the Chamber of Deputies on 23 March. It did not stop there: in July the text was presented to the Italian Senate. The SIP Forum therefore now bears a growing responsibility. It would be a mistake to think that the “game” is over and that the text will swiftly obtain its final approval. Given that it has not been possible over the past 20 years to get a law passed against soil consumption, it will not be an easy task to gain approval in a short space of time for a law that puts in place solid foundations for the protection of the soil and establishes a radical change in the way building and large construction projects are conceived.

At the same time it would be a mistake to think that this draft law applies only to Italy.  It is worth remembering that a proposal for a European directive on the soil was discussed for no less than 8 years  (2006-2014) – without ever being approved! Although it was far from revolutionary, the proposal set out the path that needs to be followed in order to safeguard the soil for future generations. Since that proposed directive was withdrawn we have been in a vacuum that could allow whatever emerges from the Italian “door” back through the EU’s “window”. This is why we must consider immediately whether the text of the Italian draft law as it stands should be put before EU bodies and institutions in order to extract from it the principles of a new EU directive. Continua a leggere “SIP Forum: one step at a time”

Assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is often in the news. We hear much less about the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This too is an intergovernmental organization set up in 2012 to provide politicians all over the world with an assessment of the state of biodiversity and ecosystems based on scientific data. Its ultimate aim can be summed up in a few words: the preservation of the natural environment for future generations.

We are mentioning it here because in its plenary session in March 2018 the IPBES presented an exhaustive report on the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The collection and analysis of the data and the preparation of the report took 3 years and the work of hundreds of experts from 45 different countries. Subdivided into geographical regions, the report provides the most up-to-date snapshot available of the state of biodiversity and ecosystems. At the same time it sets out the measures that can be taken to avoid any further deterioration in natural conditions. Continua a leggere “Assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia”

The World Future Council rewards the 4per1000 initiative

The World Future Council (WFC) is a foundation that works internationally to enable policymakers to quickly tackle the global challenges we face. The WFC researches the best policy solutions, and advises decision-makers on their concrete implementation. In the past ten years of its existence, they have organized more than 100 parliamentary hearings, study tours and workshops in order to spread those policies that they have identified.

THE WFC is based in Hamburg, Germany, with offices in Geneva, London and Beijing. One of the Council’s annual activities is the celebration of the Future Policy Award. The award is internationally unique, as it celebrates policies rather than people. Since 2009, the Future Policy Award has highlighted policies in areas in which policy progress is most urgent: Food Security, Protection of Biodiversity, Forests, Oceans and Coasts, Advancing Disarmament, Children’s Rights, Ending Violence against Women and Girls. Continua a leggere “The World Future Council rewards the 4per1000 initiative”

4 per 1000 initiative: 16 November 2017, meeting in Bonn

The Initiative Forum’s second official meeting and the 4per1000 Consortium’s third meeting took place in Bad Godesberg (Bonn). The Initiative’s relevance at state and government level was shown by the fact several Ministers and members of the authority were present during the first part. The success is also shown with the Netherlands recently becoming new members of the initiative.

Report by the Secretariat and that by the Technical and Scientific Committee illustrated this year’s activities. In sum: the 4×1000 Initiative has been actively consolidating its organisational structure. We can affirm that the work done until now by both groups has achieved the organisational aims that had been set.

Among the main leaders’ speeches, the matter of potentially causing overlapping with existing actions of organisations like FAO, European Commission and others, was mentioned. Under the current scheme of the Initiative, it is clear that exists some form of “clash” risk with the organisations that have been dealing with these matters for years. However, room for collaboration is both offered to and asked of everyone. Continua a leggere “4 per 1000 initiative: 16 November 2017, meeting in Bonn”

4 per 1000 Initiative: Some data on national policies relating to 4per1000

An analysis on how a State can put a 4per1000 initiative into practice has been missing until now. The French Ministry for Agriculture filled this gap and, on 19 July, published a booklet (only in FR) entitled “Implementation of policies related to 4per1000 at national level”.

The starting points are clear: a) climate change is the top challenge for the agricultural sector, it has to be acknowledged by the large number of draughts and increasing environmental disasters over the past few years; b) promoting more carbon accumulation in soil is a strong contribution for the safeguard of agriculture; c) increasing organic matter in soil allows further fertility, which could confront the food security challenge as well as increasing resistance to erosion, and water accumulation.

The framework is well defined and gives full meaning to the 4per1000 initiative. Continua a leggere “4 per 1000 Initiative: Some data on national policies relating to 4per1000”

Biodiversity? Did you say biodiversity?

We are looking at a shameful manipulation of reality. More and more architects and engineers are making the effort to create areas containing traces of eco-friendliness. Milan now has the vertical wood in the Porta Garibaldi area. Other buildings (banks, public and private offices, …) contain trees, plants, shrubbery. But what about soil? It appears to be no longer necessary: all one needs nowadays is substrata, to which add water and nutritional elements. Those in charge will monitor plant growth and their development. As a result, two questions may arise: 1. Why all this? And 2. How much will it cost? Answers to these questions evoke safeguarding biodiversity alias plant, insect and animal biodiversity protection and net improvement of air quality. Costs are high and afforded by … those that have money! We are not sure that those plants, especially those in a closed building, help in protecting biodiversity and clean air. In the end, it is clear that normal people without high revenues cannot afford it.

We would therefore like to tell you about an initiative, which is also a challenge in itself:

“Biodiversity: a way to cultivate it home, every day”. Continua a leggere “Biodiversity? Did you say biodiversity?”