Archive for March, 2014

Chandrika Sharma and ICSF

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Most of the best leadership and action related to many of the stresses now plaguing our planet comes from international NGOs.

Sorting shrimp in Bagladesh. Small scale coastal fisheries vary immensely, but all need support (consult-poseidon.com)

Sorting shrimp in Bagladesh. Small scale coastal fisheries vary immensely, but all need support (consult-poseidon.com)

An effective example is The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF). In the face of the calamitous impact of offshore, industrial fishing fleets, its ambitious mission is “to support fishing communities and fishworker organizations, and empower them to participate in fisheries from a perspective of decent work, equity, gender-justice, self-reliance and sustainability”.

ICSF encourages the development and protection of small scale fisheries, like this one in Cambodia (flikr.com)

ICSF encourages the development and protection of small scale fisheries, like this one in Cambodia (flikr.com)

It started up 28 years ago and now involves coastal fishing communities around Southeast Asia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and East Africa. The ongoing challenge continues to be to achieve recognition of the importance of small-scale fisheries, fishworkers and fishing communities.

One of its publications is An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries that emphasizes the need for balancing human wellbeing and ecological wellbeing, for application of both the adaptive and precautionary approaches, for recognition of the value traditional knowledge, and for community participation in co-management.

This truly identifies the needs and hopes of the coastal fisheries of the whole world.

Chandrika Sharma was Executive Secretary of ICSF. She was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, on her way from KL to Beijing and then on to Mongolia where she would have represented ICSF at the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific.

Chandrika Sharma

Chandrika Sharma

We so need rational, articulate, committed, persistent and well-informed social activists like Chandrika Sharma to give us at least some hope in these increasingly perilous times.

Losing her is distressing for too many reasons.
I wish that I had known her.

Grassroots Alternative

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

How do we achieve a global response to the challenges of climate change? How do we protect the planet from the risks of global change?

Arguments built on evidence-based science of course are essential, but they are also clearly insufficient. More evidence isn’t going to sway the deniers or the oil and energy corporations.

Better leadership is always worth pursuing, and some good leaders do exist, but the process of changing poor leaders for good ones is painfully slow, unpredictable, and anything but inevitable – no matter whether we look at the US, Canada, Russia or China.

unfccc

The UN would seem to be a likely forum, with its annual UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings – but these are highly politicized and very frustrating meetings of government representatives, and exclude the representatives of the many NGOs and civil organizations that are forced to meet around the edges and have very little influence.

At every annual COP meeting, Canada has received 'Fossil of the Day Awards' for its abysmal action and leadership in dealing with climate change (climateactionnetwork.ca)

At every annual COP meeting, Canada has received ‘Fossil of the Day Awards’ for its abysmal action and leadership in dealing with climate change (climateactionnetwork.ca)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is calling together what he hopes will be a more inclusive Climate Summit in NYC in 2014, and perhaps it will do better, but too many of the government players remain the same.

The 2)the annual Conference of the Parties, COP 20, organized by the UNFCCC will be held in Peru this year (mocicc.org)

The 2)the annual Conference of the Parties, COP 20, organized by the UNFCCC will be held in Peru this year (mocicc.org)

We clearly need something more – more global, more representative of civil views as well as those of scientists and NGOs.

A proposal has emerged from several directions: we need an annual conference along the lines of the International AIDS Conference, with the intent of provoking global cooperation to protect the climate.

Like the IAC it would include scientists, NGOs, and representatives of civil society, but not the UN and not individual governments. Like the IAC, it would be a forum for sharing information, for developing policy, for advocacy, a place where we can encourage action and where we can also call out nations and corporations that are behaving badly, like Canada.

The International AIDS Society has also been holding annual AIDS conferences for 20 years. AIDS 2014 will be held in Melbourne, with 20,000 delegates expected. (iasociety.org)

The International AIDS Society has also been holding annual AIDS conferences for 20 years. AIDS 2014 will be held in Melbourne, with 20,000 delegates expected. (iasociety.org)

This is not an impossible dream. The IAC started small and has grown huge. It has effected important changes. Obviously there are many differences, not the least being the sense of immediate and personal medical urgency that has driven the IAC.

Still, the urgency we face with the risks of climate change gets greater every year. To deal with them, we need global cooperation. So far the UN conferences and other government gatherings have achieved little of substance. We need another route to building a global voice.

Why don’t we start up a Global Conference on the Risks of Climate Change? It needs to come from us, a grass roots initiative that ignores governments and corporations.

It can start as small as it has to, but why not start?

Why not? (le-mot-juste-en-anglais-typepad.com)

Why not? (le-mot-juste-en-anglais-typepad.com)