Reducing effects of environmental disasters

We may not forget that reducing the greenhouse gas emissions shall not only have an impact at global warming of 1.5, 2, 4 and 6°C but shall have implications for food, water security, energy security, flooding, infrastructure, ecosystems, health, and human migration.
The increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST), which reached 0.87°C in 2006–2015 relative to 1850–1900, has increased the frequency and magnitude of impacts (high confidence), strengthening evidence of how an increase in GMST of 1.5°C or more could impact natural and human systems (1.5°C versus 2°C).

We can not ignore that global warming results in more ice water melting and bringing an increase in the frequency and duration of marine heatwaves. Further, there is substantial evidence that human-induced global warming has led to an increase in the frequency, intensity and/or amount of heavy precipitation events at the global scale, as well as an increased risk of heavy rain- and thunderstorms plus extreme drought and destructing fires in the Mediterranean region. Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5°C of global warming occurred.

Robust global differences in temperature means and extremes are expected if global warming reaches 1.5°C versus 2°C above the pre-industrial levels. For oceans, regional surface temperature means and extremes are projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming. Temperature means and extremes are also projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C in most land regions, with increases being 2–3 times greater than the increase in GMST projected for some regions. Robust increases in temperature means and extremes are also projected at 1.5°C compared to present-day values. There are decreases in the occurrence of cold extremes, but substantial increases in their temperature, in particular in regions with snow or ice cover.

Having the seawater rising shall be chasing away many coastal residents and island residents from their submerged lands.

Climate-related hazards are posing additional difficulties to these countries and to the humanitarian organizations that work to save and protect the millions of people in need. The University of Exeter estimates that a rise in global temperatures of 4°C would affect the lives of more than 1.8 billion people, causing devastating effects due to flash floods, droughts and higher exposure to natural disasters. This shall have an economic impact on the states but also on the local people themselves who shall undergo much more pressure financially to keep their head above water.

Poverty shall increase.

A daily income of less than $2 per person is the internationally recognized threshold for extreme poverty. According to the World Bank, roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide live below this threshold, and 85% of them are concentrated in the top 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Depending on future socio-economic conditions, limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared to 2°C, may reduce the proportion of the world population exposed to a climate change-induced increase in water stress by up to 50%, although there is considerable variability between regions. Regions with particularly large benefits could include the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Socio-economic drivers, however, are expected to have a greater influence on these risks than the changes in climate. The global terrestrial land area projected to be affected by ecosystem transformations (13%, interquartile range 8–20%) at 2°C is approximately halved at 1.5°C global warming to 4% (interquartile range 2–7%). Above 1.5°C, an expansion of desert terrain and vegetation would occur in the Mediterranean biome, causing changes unparalleled in the last 10,000 years.

Risks of water scarcity shall make it more difficult to have regular crops of rice, potatoes and the necessary vegetables for human and animal consumption.
Recent studies confirm that observed climate change has already affected crop suitability in many areas, resulting in changes in the production levels of the main agricultural crops. These impacts are evident in many areas of the world, ranging from Asia (C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016) to America (Cho and McCarl, 2017) and Europe (Ramirez-Cabral et al., 2016), and they particularly affect the typical local crops cultivated in specific climate conditions (e.g., Mediterranean crops like olive and grapevine, Moriondo et al., 2013a, b).
Temperature and precipitation trends have reduced crop production and yields, with the most negative impacts being on wheat and maize (Lobell et al., 2011), whilst the effects on rice and soybean yields are less clear and may be positive or negative (Kim et al., 2013; van Oort and Zwart, 2018). Warming has resulted in positive effects on crop yield in some high-latitude areas (Jaggard et al., 2007; Supit et al., 2010; Gregory and Marshall, 2012; C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016; Daliakopoulos et al., 2017), and may make it possible to have more than one harvest per year (B. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015). Climate variability has been found to explain more than 60% of the of maize, rice, wheat and soybean yield variations in the main global breadbaskets areas (Ray et al., 2015), with the percentage varying according to crop type and scale (Moore and Lobell, 2015; Kent et al., 2017). Climate trends also explain changes in the length of the growing season, with greater modifications found in the northern high-latitude areas (Qian et al., 2010; Mueller et al., 2015).
Trends in actual crop yields indicate that reductions as a result of climate change remain more common than crop yield increases, despite increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Porter et al., 2014).

Taken together, the findings of studies on the effects of changes in temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration and extreme weather events indicate that a global warming of 2°C is projected to result in a greater reduction in global crop yields and global nutrition than global warming of 1.5°C.

Food prices shall increase. A loss of 7–10% of rangeland livestock globally is projected for approximately 2°C of warming, with considerable economic consequences for many communities and regions.

At approximately 1.5°C of global warming (2030), climate change is expected to be a poverty multiplier that makes poor people poorer and increases the poverty head count (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Poor people might be heavily affected by climate change even when impacts on the rest of population are limited. Climate change alone could force more than 3 million to 16 million people into extreme poverty, mostly through impacts on agriculture and food prices (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Unmitigated warming could reshape the global economy later in the century by reducing average global incomes and widening global income inequality (Burke et al., 2015b). The most severe impacts are projected for urban areas and some rural regions in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

The risks of declining ocean productivity, shifts of species to higher latitudes, damage to ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs, and mangroves, seagrass and other wetland ecosystems), loss of fisheries productivity (at low latitudes), and changes to ocean chemistry (e.g., acidification, hypoxia and dead zones) are projected to be substantially lower when global warming is limited to 1.5°C .

1 in 10 people worldwide live in extreme poverty.
Image: PovcalNet Sources: World Bank, Washington, DC, World Development Indicators; World Economic Outlook; Global Economic Prospects; Economist Intelligence Unit.

 

The only way to reduce the effect of environmental disasters is to be prepared before a disaster happens.

Being prepared for a catastrophic event is not just a matter of supporting people in emergency circumstances. Anticipation rather than reaction needs to become the approach for most humanitarian donors worldwide in order to save lives and leave no one behind.

Strengthening the emphasis on local communities can break the never-ending circle of humanitarian operations. The future of crisis-affected communities ultimately lies within themselves. Building a network of local advocacy practitioners might be a good starting point.

It is important that we try to call a halt to overconsumption which plays a major role in climate change and in the abuse of human resources and child labour. We also have to be aware that population migration and scarcity of resources like food and energy shall give rise to new conflicts. (The estimated number of climate refugees by 2050 is 250 million people.)
Encouraging better use of natural resources, stopping massive deforestation as well as making agriculture greener and more efficient should be one of the priorities.

Together we can try to consume less and to use our sources better. For sure we do not have to think electric cars would be a good solution. Electricity has to be available and atomic waste is dangerously very polluting for hundreds of years.
Furthermore, we have to move away from fossil fuels looking for better alternatives like wind, biomass and geothermal. We may not forget that renewable energy from solar cells shall present also a lot of avoidable (dangerous and polluting) waste.

Hydrogen force may be too a good solution to think about. It can definitely help reduce CO2 emissions and thus fight global warming.
In order to reduce the CO2 emissions from buildings – caused by heating, air conditioning, hot water or lighting – it is necessary both to build new low energy buildings, and to renovate the existing constructions and looking for heatpumps and other systems to provide cold and warmth in the residency.

Adopting responsible consumption habits is crucial, be it regarding food (particularly meat), clothing, cosmetics or cleaning products. Last but not least, recycling is an absolute necessity for dealing with waste.

We may not forget that reducing the greenhouse gas emissions shall not only have an impact at global warming of 1.5, 2, 4 and 6°C but shall have implications for food, water security, energy security, flooding, infrastructure, ecosystems, health, and human migration.
The increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST), which reached 0.87°C in 2006–2015 relative to 1850–1900, has increased the frequency and magnitude of impacts (high confidence), strengthening evidence of how an increase in GMST of 1.5°C or more could impact natural and human systems (1.5°C versus 2°C).

We can not ignore that global warming results in more ice water melting and bringing an increase in the frequency and duration of marine heatwaves. Further, there is substantial evidence that human-induced global warming has led to an increase in the frequency, intensity and/or amount of heavy precipitation events at the global scale, as well as an increased risk of heavy rain- and thunderstorms plus extreme drought and destructing fires in the Mediterranean region. Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5°C of global warming occurred.

Robust global differences in temperature means and extremes are expected if global warming reaches 1.5°C versus 2°C above the pre-industrial levels. For oceans, regional surface temperature means and extremes are projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming. Temperature means and extremes are also projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C in most land regions, with increases being 2–3 times greater than the increase in GMST projected for some regions. Robust increases in temperature means and extremes are also projected at 1.5°C compared to present-day values. There are decreases in the occurrence of cold extremes, but substantial increases in their temperature, in particular in regions with snow or ice cover.

Having the seawater rising shall be chasing away many coastal residents and island residents from their submerged lands.

Climate-related hazards are posing additional difficulties to these countries and to the humanitarian organizations that work to save and protect the millions of people in need. The University of Exeter estimates that a rise in global temperatures of 4°C would affect the lives of more than 1.8 billion people, causing devastating effects due to flash floods, droughts and higher exposure to natural disasters. This shall have an economic impact on the states but also on the local people themselves who shall undergo much more pressure financially to keep their head above water.

Poverty shall increase.

A daily income of less than $2 per person is the internationally recognized threshold for extreme poverty. According to the World Bank, roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide live below this threshold, and 85% of them are concentrated in the top 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Depending on future socio-economic conditions, limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared to 2°C, may reduce the proportion of the world population exposed to a climate change-induced increase in water stress by up to 50%, although there is considerable variability between regions. Regions with particularly large benefits could include the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Socio-economic drivers, however, are expected to have a greater influence on these risks than the changes in climate. The global terrestrial land area projected to be affected by ecosystem transformations (13%, interquartile range 8–20%) at 2°C is approximately halved at 1.5°C global warming to 4% (interquartile range 2–7%). Above 1.5°C, an expansion of desert terrain and vegetation would occur in the Mediterranean biome, causing changes unparalleled in the last 10,000 years.

Risks of water scarcity shall make it more difficult to have regular crops of rice, potatoes and the necessary vegetables for human and animal consumption.
Recent studies confirm that observed climate change has already affected crop suitability in many areas, resulting in changes in the production levels of the main agricultural crops. These impacts are evident in many areas of the world, ranging from Asia (C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016) to America (Cho and McCarl, 2017) and Europe (Ramirez-Cabral et al., 2016), and they particularly affect the typical local crops cultivated in specific climate conditions (e.g., Mediterranean crops like olive and grapevine, Moriondo et al., 2013a, b).
Temperature and precipitation trends have reduced crop production and yields, with the most negative impacts being on wheat and maize (Lobell et al., 2011), whilst the effects on rice and soybean yields are less clear and may be positive or negative (Kim et al., 2013; van Oort and Zwart, 2018). Warming has resulted in positive effects on crop yield in some high-latitude areas (Jaggard et al., 2007; Supit et al., 2010; Gregory and Marshall, 2012; C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016; Daliakopoulos et al., 2017), and may make it possible to have more than one harvest per year (B. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015). Climate variability has been found to explain more than 60% of the of maize, rice, wheat and soybean yield variations in the main global breadbaskets areas (Ray et al., 2015), with the percentage varying according to crop type and scale (Moore and Lobell, 2015; Kent et al., 2017). Climate trends also explain changes in the length of the growing season, with greater modifications found in the northern high-latitude areas (Qian et al., 2010; Mueller et al., 2015).
Trends in actual crop yields indicate that reductions as a result of climate change remain more common than crop yield increases, despite increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Porter et al., 2014).

Taken together, the findings of studies on the effects of changes in temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration and extreme weather events indicate that a global warming of 2°C is projected to result in a greater reduction in global crop yields and global nutrition than global warming of 1.5°C.

Food prices shall increase. A loss of 7–10% of rangeland livestock globally is projected for approximately 2°C of warming, with considerable economic consequences for many communities and regions.

At approximately 1.5°C of global warming (2030), climate change is expected to be a poverty multiplier that makes poor people poorer and increases the poverty head count (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Poor people might be heavily affected by climate change even when impacts on the rest of population are limited. Climate change alone could force more than 3 million to 16 million people into extreme poverty, mostly through impacts on agriculture and food prices (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Unmitigated warming could reshape the global economy later in the century by reducing average global incomes and widening global income inequality (Burke et al., 2015b). The most severe impacts are projected for urban areas and some rural regions in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

The risks of declining ocean productivity, shifts of species to higher latitudes, damage to ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs, and mangroves, seagrass and other wetland ecosystems), loss of fisheries productivity (at low latitudes), and changes to ocean chemistry (e.g., acidification, hypoxia and dead zones) are projected to be substantially lower when global warming is limited to 1.5°C .

1 in 10 people worldwide live in extreme poverty.
Image: PovcalNet Sources: World Bank, Washington, DC, World Development Indicators; World Economic Outlook; Global Economic Prospects; Economist Intelligence Unit.

 

The only way to reduce the effect of environmental disasters is to be prepared before a disaster happens.

Being prepared for a catastrophic event is not just a matter of supporting people in emergency circumstances. Anticipation rather than reaction needs to become the approach for most humanitarian donors worldwide in order to save lives and leave no one behind.

Strengthening the emphasis on local communities can break the never-ending circle of humanitarian operations. The future of crisis-affected communities ultimately lies within themselves. Building a network of local advocacy practitioners might be a good starting point.

It is important that we try to call a halt to overconsumption which plays a major role in climate change and in the abuse of human resources and child labour. We also have to be aware that population migration and scarcity of resources like food and energy shall give rise to new conflicts. (The estimated number of climate refugees by 2050 is 250 million people.)
Encouraging better use of natural resources, stopping massive deforestation as well as making agriculture greener and more efficient should be one of the priorities.

Together we can try to consume less and to use our sources better. For sure we do not have to think electric cars would be a good solution. Electricity has to be available and atomic waste is dangerously very polluting for hundreds of years.
Furthermore, we have to move away from fossil fuels looking for better alternatives like wind, biomass and geothermal. We may not forget that renewable energy from solar cells shall present also a lot of avoidable (dangerous and polluting) waste.

Hydrogen force may be too a good solution to think about. It can definitely help reduce CO2 emissions and thus fight global warming.
In order to reduce the CO2 emissions from buildings – caused by heating, air conditioning, hot water or lighting – it is necessary both to build new low energy buildings, and to renovate the existing constructions and looking for heatpumps and other systems to provide cold and warmth in the residency.

Adopting responsible consumption habits is crucial, be it regarding food (particularly meat), clothing, cosmetics or cleaning products. Therefore the governements should stimulate re-use of materials and stimulate secondhandshops and thrift stores. Recycling is not only an absolute necessity for dealing with waste, but can contribute to lesser use of grounfdmaterials to produce the products in the first place.

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Stepping forward with public commitments for Making different sectors carbon neutral by 2050

Already months we can find youngsters coming on the streets to wake up politicians, opening their eyes for the miserable predicament for our climate and conservation of plants and animals.

This week, leaders from some of the most heavily polluting industries on the planet – shipping, aviation, iron and steel to name a few – stepped forward with public commitments to make each sector carbon neutral by 2050. Others in the private sector committed themselves to advancing universal healthcare, improving air quality, halting deforestation and tackling child labour, all key elements in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

In its third year the SDI Summit is already able to get more business leaders coming to this meeting than any other organized meeting by the World Economic Forum outside the Annual Meeting in Davos. A back-of-the envelope calculation based on the CEOs and chairs that joined the SDI suggested the combined annual turnover of companies they represent was nearly $1 trillion.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, was allowed to kick off the proceedings telling how the Netherlands has set very ambitious climate targets. According to him – 49% emissions reductions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.

But as well as mitigation efforts such as reducing emissions, Rutte says his government has also focused on adaptation – building resilience to the climate conditions that are becoming unavoidable, such as rising sea levels.

What’s the PM’s advice for other countries? Be clear on the steps you want to achieve, he says, and make sure you educate and bring as many people along with you as possible.

The 18-year-old Indonesian activist Melati Wijsen, a few days after millions of young people swarmed the streets in cities all over the world in an effort to pressure governments to take meaningful action against climate change, spoke about the role of young people in finding solutions to the climate crisis.

“We’re unstoppable,”

she said.

“You saw us on the streets on Friday, millions of us came out. It’s an unstoppable movement that’s demanding change.”

Action such as bans on single-use plastics has taken too long, she adds, and with 2030 just around the corner, we need to speed up the implementation of climate solutions.

**

It is incredible how we still have so many politicians who still keep denying we are facing a terrible situation for plant, animals as well as human beings. It is like they prefer not to see that greenhouse gas emissions are rising.  In preference for creating more jobs in polluting industries they have no ears for scientists’ extreme weather predictions which appear to be coming true. All over the world we find politicians who put economic matters in front of ecological matters. The keep their nose closed for the air in our cities which is becoming dangerous. How long shall it take before they come to see how our earth is crying, having groundwater getting scarce, ocean health and fish stocks declining, whilst they allow forests and natural habitats being destroyed. But the ordinary citizen is also often at fault, polluting their habitat with all the rubbish they produce. Lots of people also do not have an eye for the plastic in our ocean which is out of control. They do close their ears for the many researchers that warn that a “biological annihilation” of wildlife means a human-driven sixth mass extinction event is underway.

Mankind risks flipping itself out of the goldilocks “Holocene” period of predictable warm weather (which has allowed humans to flourish during the last 12,000 years) and into a highly risky “hothouse earth” scenario, with uncontrolled feedback driving faster warming and more droughts and storms.

Global middle class is expanding, and millions of people are being lifted out of poverty. The bad news: wealth inequality within countries, in both the industrialized and developing worlds, is actually worsening. Meanwhile many people (23 million in 2017 alone) are already being displaced by natural catastrophes aggravated by the effects of climate change. While a number of public-private partnerships have been formed to tackle these issues, more must be done to restructure development finance in such a way that makes it more attractive to a wider array of investors. Excluding people from the benefits of economic growth can undermine the sustainability of that growth – and failing to address serious environmental issues, like threats to biodiversity and natural resources, is a formula for disaster.

People should be aware that answers for our climate won’t come from governments, businesses, and academia alone – they should also come from the public.
Delivering on the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement is no easy task.

Taking place during the United Nations General Assembly, the SDI summit engages the most relevant and influential leaders across business, government, civil society, NGOs and academia to collaborate on and address the world’s most pressing problems. But without contributions of people from all over the world, to this important debate, they’ll be speaking only to themselves.

If you’d like to get involved, read more about the five questions below, and head to the WEF submissions page to upload your video, from mobile or desktop. Please take note of their recommendations when shooting video, otherwise they may not be able to feature your submission.

1. What’s the biggest thing we should change in the way we live to create a #sustainableworld?

2. What action should governments take to create a #sustainableworld?

3. How should business change to create a #sustainableworld?

4. How can we work together to create a #sustainableworld?

5. What technology can best help us achieve a #sustainableworld?

You can share your perspective. The Forum is asking participants on the ground at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit (#sdi19) to also give them their answers to these questions, and they’ll be featuring the best of the responses on weforum.org/sustainableworld, as well as across Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

The complexity of today’s world calls for new ways of working together to tackle global challenges. Driving progress towards meeting the SDGs and tackling climate change aren’t easy tasks, but no global challenge is too daunting to address as long as we work together.

> Record a short video answering one of the 5 questions.

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Communication and Multilingualism

The European Union is only e very tiny part of the world surface.

In that Union loads of languages are spoken and it is very important to come to a harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages. It is one of the most distinctive features of the European project. Multilingualism is not only an expression of the EU countries’ cultural identities but it also helps preserve democracy, transparency and accountability. No legislation can enter into force until it has been translated into all official languages and published in the Official Journal of the EU. Crucially, the provisions relating to the EU language regime can only be changed by a unanimous vote in the Council of the EU. Having to translate all the documents makes those in charge looking for the traps or loopholes in the texts and as such makes it possible to discover certain weaknesses in what seems clear in one or another language.

Official EU languages since 1958

Official EU languages since 1958

Having so many languages spoken in one country or all over the Union, makes people to find a way to communicate with each other. In Belgium for example, having three national languages, Dutch, French and German, all together there can be found 67 different languages spoken by inhabitants. A 2012 poll suggests that a slim majority of Europeans (54 %) can hold a conversation in at least one foreign language. English seems a very usable language for many to have a fluent conversation with each other. But worryingly today, strangely enough, having obligatory education until the age of 18, nearly half of all Europeans (46 %) cannot, and only four in 10 pupils attain the basic level of competence allowing them to have a simple conversation in a foreign language.

The European Parliament is committed to ensuring the highest possible degree of multilingualism in its work.
Based on the 24 official languages that constitute the public face of the EU, the total number of linguistic combinations rises to 552, since each language can be translated into the 23 others. Currently, over 1 000 staff employed in translation and over 500 in interpretation care for the translation and interpretation needs of the 751 Members of the European Parliament. Internally, the EU institutions mostly use just three working languages: English, French and German.

The overall cost for delivering translation and interpretation services in the EU institutions is around €1 billion per year, which represents less than 1 % of the EU budget or just over €2 per citizen.

Degrees of language endangerment

Between 6 000 and 7 000 languages are spoken in the world today. Giving a precise figure is impossible, since the borderline between a language and a dialect is not well defined. Strikingly, 97 % of the world’s population speaks about 4 % of the world’s languages, while only about 3 % speaks the roughly 96 % of remaining languages. Half of the world’s 7.7 billion inhabitants share just six native languages. Some 3 % of the world’s languages (255) belong to Europe. The highest number of living languages – 2 165 – is found in Asia.
Unless current trends change, some 90 % of all languages spoken today may be replaced by other dominant ones by the end of the century. The Unesco Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger reveals that 40 % of languages spoken in the world are endangered (see Figure 2). Worryingly, at least 2 000 of the world’s endangered languages have under 1 000 speakers, and 4 % have disappeared in the past 70 years.

Endangered languages in the EU

Endangered languages in the EU

Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages.

Posted in B4Peace, Culture, Language, News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump the second silencing parliament

Great-Britain has its own Trump, who likes to put the whole country at his hands and the European Union at his feet.

Boris Johnson is fully aware that he does not have the backing of the House of Commons. Like with so many other matters, he tried to ignore it. Because he felt it would not be so easy to fool those chosen people in parliament, he could only think of the best solution, to silencing it.

He very well knows that if the elected representatives are not present, they are powerless. Where there should be a frenzy of action, there will be inactivity. Where there should be furious opposition, there will be incapacity of response. Where there should be fierce democratic debate, there will be silence.

As the one he likes to follow as his example, his great mouth needed an extra tool of bandage, to silence possible opponents. And what other good way to get rid of those who could get with better plans than yours, than making sure they can not speak nor propose anything better.

Knowing very well about the pro-forma position of the queen, he gave her no choice, to fulfil the duty she would be expected to fulfil. Listening to the prime minister and going into his request. As such, the Queen gave her assent for the prorogation.

Not for the first time, in a few months time, Democracy has failed in the United Kingdom.

Johnson has no scruples when it comes to the damage he is doing his utmost to inflict upon British and European citizens, but he’s not the only guilty one. The opposition parties have dragged their heels in setting aside their party political interests.

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has taken three years to propose cross-party action (spearheaded, naturally, by himself). Jo Swinson, leader of the centrist Liberal Democrats, has thrown up a tantrum about working with Corbyn. Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Greens, proposed a working group composed entirely of women.

From the continent we have the impression those puppet-players of the U.K. Parliament are seriously not aware of the terrible position they can bring all the businesses and British people in. It seriously looks like they do not understand that Great-Britain and Europe are in crisis. They also seem not to be fully aware that there shall be the economical impact, but also the danger of Scotland, Ireland, Shetland and Wales going to step out of Great-Britain, making an end to that great empire!

The British should realise that 31 October won’t wait for them to stop bickering over who you will or won’t work with or hang around until they get organised.

Luckily we can see British people with more common sens, coming on the streets, showing they do not agree with this coup d’état by Borish Johnson, wo did not receive his position by a democratic election.

The British MPs better should show their seriousness and love for their country, by tackling this crisis with full earnest sincerity Those who have an interest in protecting the British society, economy, security and peace – should better join hands and shut themselves  in a room, for not coming out of it, until they agree on a way to work as a united front against the imposter in Number 10.

The clock is ticking

We are at a historic turning point, two months from a precipice. It is already unbelievable that with this crisis and disastrous no deal Brexit, the Parliament could have a summer recess.

To suspend Parliament from 9 September until 14 October, more than half of the time there is left, seems ridiculous and bringing the country its people and economy in danger.

Have they forgotten the words of Donald Tusk:

“Do not waste this time,”

advising the British politici to followthe last extension of Article 50.

At the moment we are facing a Drowning Street at Downing Street.

Night has fallen over the ongoing protests in London, which gathered at short notice for impassioned speeches from journalists and activists, blocking great swathes of streets in Westminster and Whitehall. The true meaning of “Take Back Control” has finally come to light: take it from the people, take it from their representatives – give it to the government, give it to the elites.

This weekend, there will be mass demonstrations. People may not stay mumbling or staying silent at home. By now they should have come to see how populist rightwing politicians have fooled them and have caught them in the trap of the dictatorial right.

Johnson may succeed in silencing Parliament, but let the British people show their government that he shall not be able to kill the democratic process and will not silence the people!

Posted in B4Peace, Crisis, News and Politics, Reflection - Consideration or Contemplation, Warning, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jerusalem Ballet paying tribute to Franceska Mann

Seventy-six years have passed, but few people have ever heard of Mann, even though she could easily have become a hero and a symbol. Perhaps her story sounds too far-fetched; perhaps it was simply shunted aside by the many other stories of heroism and horror in the Holocaust.

But on September 1, the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, Mann will return to center stage for a few hours. The Jerusalem Ballet will be staging the world premier of “Memento – Franceska Mann’s Last Dance at Auschwitz,” at the Suzanne Dellal Center, in her memory; a second performance will be held at the Jerusalem Theater on September 7.

There are a few versions of what occurred during the final moments in the life of Franceska Mann, a Jewish dancer living in Poland. Given that everyone who witnessed the incident, on October 23, 1943, is no longer alive, we will probably never know what really happened.

Mann, who was 26 at the time, arrived at Auschwitz that day on a transport of 1,800 so-called VIP prisoners from Poland in Germany, who had been lured into thinking they were en route to freedom as part of an exchange for German POWs ostensibly organized by the Allies. The Germans promised that Auschwitz was merely a stop on the way to Switzerland, but the women among the group soon found themselves being led to the gas chambers.

According to one version of events, Mann undressed slowly, using seductive dance movements. First she lifted her skirt. Then she removed her blouse, and leaned against a pole to remove her high heels. The SS soldiers standing across from her didn’t know how to react. Mann exploited their confusion, took off one shoe and threw it hard at one of them, hitting him in the forehead; the soldier began to bleed and collapsed. Mann jumped on him, stole his weapon, and shot him to death. Two other Nazis were wounded by the gunfire.

Zakład fotograficzny: “Van – Dyck”

Another account described a Nazi officer standing in front of Mann and ordering her to strip completely. When she refused to remove her undergarments, he yelled at her. In response, she took off her bra, threw it in his face, and jumped on him. In the chaos that ensued, she managed to grab his pistol and shoot him.

The other women who were about to meet their death were apparently spurred to attack the SS men surrounding them. According to one version, the camp commander, Rudolf Höss, was even summoned to the scene. In any event, the women’s fate was sealed; many were shot to death on the spot and whoever survived was gassed.

The Nazi officer who was by all accounts shot to death in the incident was Josef Schillinger, a butcher in civilian life who had enlisted in the SS in 1939 and was dispatched to Auschwitz. There, he was in charge of the men’s kitchen at Birkenau and later of the Jews who arrived in transports at the train platforms and were sent to the crematoria. Eyewitnesses described Schillinger as a sadist, and he was mentioned in one of the testimonies at the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel.

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Trump’s main effort to crack down on “illegal immigration”

“Without a single change in the law by Congress, the Trump public charge rules mean many more U.S. citizens are being and will be denied the opportunity to live together in the U.S. with their spouses, children, and parents,” said Ur Jaddou, a former Citizenship and Immigration Services chief counsel and now director of the DHS Watch immigrant advocacy group. “These are not just small changes. They are big changes with enormous consequences for U.S. citizens.”

Read more:

Trump rule can deny legal status for immigrants using public assistance

 

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Croatia: Majority (Croat) Rights Vs. Minority (Serb) Rights

A big black spot for the conscience of the European citizen, with incomprehension for such killings, while the media watched but a insufficiently strong UN action drove an unwelcome number of victims outrageously to death.

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To remember

  • November 2013: Vukovar council proclaiming Vukovar “city of special significance” exempt from Croatian minority rights legislation <= suffered when besieged + destroyed by Serbian forces in 1991.
    Kosovo conflict

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (centre) surrounded by Albanian refugees as he speaks with media correspondents at a refugee camp in Macedonia, 1999.

  • August 2015, Vukovar changed town statute > collective rights of Serb minority [re street signs, government building signs etc.) to be ensured when conditions are met => councillors in Vukovar of Serb extraction could get documents issued in Serbian Cyrillic language/script
  • 2 July 2019: Constitutional Court decision overturned some of the Vukovar Town Council statue change> Vukovar City councillors from Serb ethnic minority = same conditions as councillors of Croatian ethnicity.=> Council meeting minutes, agendas etc. official documents in their own language & available in Serbian Cyrillic script.
  • Constitutional Court of Croatia misses beat of its own country’s heart > reason victory over brutal Serb aggression in Homeland War => undermining of its defining morality + character> beacons for justice + democracy.
  •  minority rights taken out of context of national suffering + need to pursue justice for victims of brutal aggression=> major problems + discontent => blatant unfairness at basic human level
  • Croatia battles a political crisis with overtures of restructure of its government
  • Serb minority rights claims in hot seat => requires determination + resolve to end Serb provocation in Croatia
  • constitutional courts’ success in protecting democracy = measured by their jurisprudential record – performance according to legal professional standards of appropriate decision-making => courts  essentially reactive institutions
  • constitutional courts should be seen as political institutions with  capacity to adjust their decisions according to their likely effects.
  • most judges still sitting in that court in Croatia = remnants of the Yugoslav communist minds political pull or effects of Constitutional Court judgments > Yugo-nostalgia rather than independent Croatia.=> still be gasping + pleading for justice + human fairness towards  enormous number of victims of Serb aggression.
  • Friday 19 July 2019: Ivan Penava, Mayor of Vukovar,  accused sections of Croatian society of turning their heads away from the Homeland War + its victims.
  • thousands of those killed + imprisoned, of hundreds that were raped +  again of thousands of displaced people, of those whose rights were denied them > unfortunately too late for any kind of justice
  • Miroslav Separovic, President of the Constitutional Court >Vukovar Town Council will have to extend level of rights of the Serbian ethnic minority + court will not tolerate any delays because nothing has been done so far.
  • Friday 19 July, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic points to Article 8 of the Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities = rights must be interpreted + applied with aim of respecting minorities + the Croat people, developing understanding, solidarity, tolerance and dialogue among them <>fundamental human rights neglected = necessary prerequisites for expansion of special rights = democratic standard in Croatia not been procured + bad to delay them.
  • Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic called for same criteria to be applied to proceedings against war crimes suspects + declaration by appropriate authorities regarding those cannot be delayed
  • inconceivable nobody been made responsible for massacre at Borovo Selo + 30,000 concentration camp detainees  missing
  • call for patience + consideration = Vukovar still treating its wounds

 

 

Croatia, the War, and the Future

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of Croatia (L)
Ivan Penava, Mayor of Vukovar (R)
Photo: uredpredsjednice.hr

When the Constitutional Court of Croatia (of any country) evidently and blatantly misses the beat of its own country’s heart (and reason for existence – in the case of Croatia that reason is victory over brutal Serb aggression in the Homeland War) then one could justly pose the question of whether the nation should permit such undermining of its defining morality and character that are the beacons for justice and, if you like, full democracy. When minority rights are taken out of the context of national suffering and the need to pursue justice for the victims of brutal aggression, one inevitably ends up with major problems and discontent; and blatant unfairness at the basic human level. And so, while on the one hand Croatia battles a political crisis with overtures of restructure of its government, Serb…

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EU well placed to protect and enhance citizens’ living standards while pursuing an ambitious transition to an environmentally sustainable economy

Marianne Thyssen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said:

In 2018, we witnessed positive developments in the European economy, labour markets and society. For the sixth consecutive year, the EU’s ambitious agenda for jobs, growth and investment boosted a robust and job-rich recovery.

an dcontinued

The Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) review is here again to provide evidence-based groundwork for this reflection. The 2019 edition focuses on “Sustainable growth for all: choices for the future of social Europe”. It explores the EU’s understanding of sustainable development and its links to economic growth, social inclusion, equality and well-being, climate and natural resources, and labour market institutions.
The news from ESDE’s analysis is good. Making Europe’s development sustainable is a perfectly realistic goal. Mainstreaming our actions upfront in the social domain as well as on climate and the environment can be a productive investment in economic performance. This is key to preserve our living standards.

ESDE confirms the continued expansion of the EU’s economy, all-time records for high employment and low unemployment as well as an improving social situation with the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) continuing to fall below its pre-crisis level.

Nonetheless, ageing, globalisation, technological transformation, climate change and geopolitical uncertainties challenge the sustainability of these achievements and the EU’s socio-economic model. Citizens increasingly expect policymakers to accelerate the transition to a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economy that benefits the well-being of all and leaves nobody behind. This is why the 2019 ESDE is dedicated to the theme of sustainability with a focus on its social dimension. ESDE discusses policy options that can preserve the EU’s competitiveness, sustain growth for the entire EU population and future generations, while transitioning to a climate-neutral economy. Making this a just transition requires mainstreaming social considerations upfront, in the design phase as well as in the implementation of all policies.

At global level, new risks such as protectionist tendencies in trade and increased international economic and geopolitical uncertainties contributed to a slowdown in global and EU growth in 2018 and led to further downward corrections of economic forecasts.

It was nice to see that more young people could bring older ones to think about climate change. In several countries we could find youngsters for several weeks bringing the climate to the forefront. Climate change, environmental degradation and inefficient use of natural resources also weigh on sustainable development prospects in the EU and the world. More Europeans are increasingly demonstrating a keen awareness of these challenges and of the importance of addressing all three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – together. The aim is to make all of Europe’s achievements — its competitive economy, high living standards, valued welfare state, and pioneering engagement with the environment — sustainable in the long term for future generations. In particular by participating in weekly ‘climate marches’ across Europe since
the second half of 2018, students and other EU citizens have requested accelerated action against climate change.

Greta Thunberg (2018 August 27)

It was lovely to see the movement for climate growing. The action by students, “School strike for the climate”, known as truancy for the climate or climate march for a better future, calling on governments to take measures against global warming could not be ignored any-more by the politicians.
The actions came about following the international movement School strikes for climate, School Strikes 4 Climate, Fridays for Future (Germany and Austria) and Klimastreik (Switzerland), which started in August 2018 on the initiative of Greta Thunberg.

Climate truants on January 24, 2019 in the Trierstraat, near the European Parliament, in Brussels

In Belgium, the first Youth for Climate actions started in December, 2018, at the initiative of a young climate activist from Mortsel (Antwerp) Anuna De Wever together with Kyra Gantois.

Galvanized by the COP24 Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, strikes continued at least in 270 cities in countries including Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

Feb 21, 2019 – Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has led a march of thousands of Belgian students who skipped classes for the seventh Thursday in a row to march through Brussels and draw more attention to fighting climate change.

“FridaysForFuture” protest in Berlin on 14 December 2018. Students Strike for Climate in front of the German parliament in Berlin.

Meanwhile, other parts of the population voiced their anxiety about the cost of the economic transition necessary to combat climate change and the fairness of sharing that cost.

In recent Eurobarometer surveys, Europeans mention social concerns
related to rising prices, health and social security, pensions and the financial situation of their household as the most important issues they face at a personal level. Concerns relating to environment, climate and energy issues and housing are gaining ground over time. Europeans increasingly demand action to address the evident contrasts, while continuing efforts to address other important challenges – notably migration and security – and combat climate change and environmental degradation.

We can well say that the policy challenge is multiple and requires simultaneous responses: to those who face difficulties making ends
meet, who feel uncertain about their employment prospects, who enjoy lower levels of well-being or feel left behind; to those who believe that climate action is currently too limited and too slow; to those who fear that it is happening faster than they can afford, or adjust to or that it is diverting resources away from other investments or innovation; and also to those who caution that unilateral climate action might hurt the EU’s productivity and competitiveness.

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ESDE is the European Commission’s flagship analytical report in the area of employment and social affairs, mandated by Articles 151, 159 and 161 TFEU.

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Tackling climate change can be a driver for growth and jobs

The Commission has published the 2019 edition of its yearly Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) review, this time dedicated to the theme of sustainability.

Tackling climate change can be a driver for growth and jobs, according to ESDE 2019

The 2019 report shows that tackling climate change and preserving growth go hand in hand. It sets out a number of policy options that are able to preserve the EU’s competitiveness, sustain growth and spread its benefits to the entire EU population and future generations, while pursuing an ambitious transition to a climate-neutral economy.

The 2019 review also confirms the continued expansion of the EU’s economic activity, with new record levels in employment and an improving social situation.

Marianne Thyssen EPP Political Assembly, 4 June 2018.jpgMarianne Thyssen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said:

Signum Juncker anno 2014.jpg“This annual review shows that the recovery has taken hold in the European economy. With 240.7 million Europeans at work, up by 13.4 million jobs since the start of the Juncker Commission, the employment rate in the EU is the highest ever recorded. Unemployment in Europe is historically low. And the number of people at risk of poverty continues to drop. This is a good springboard for stepping up the delivery for citizens on the basis of the European Pillar of Social Rights. This must include a fair transition to a climate-neutral economy that makes full use of the ‘green growth’ opportunities ahead. We can improve everybody’s living standards provided that the EU and Member States, together with the social partners, invest in new and better skills, higher qualifications and social services.”

By 2030 the transition to a climate-neutral economy is expected to create an additional 1.2 million jobs in the EU, on top of the 12 million new jobs already expected. The transition could mitigate the ongoing job polarisation resulting from automation and digitalisation by creating jobs also in the middle of the wage and skill distributions, particularly in construction and manufacturing.

The impacts of the transition will vary across countries and sectors. Therefore countries must prepare for this transition to make sure that people in occupations, sectors and regions that are still linked to high-carbon models are not left behind.

More generally, the review shows that to continue economic growth, the EU will need to invest in people’s skills and innovation. It also finds that social investments, such as access to childcare and early childhood education, make people more productive and increase their well-being. Affordable and adequate housing enables Europeans to fulfil their potential on the labour market and participate in society.

The annual Employment and Social Developments in Europe review provides up-to-date economic analysis of employment and social trends in Europe and discusses related policy options. It is the European Commission’s analytical flagship report in the area of employment and social affairs.

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Defeating populism in the EU by education of the young people

We sincerely should make some more work to have the young people come to see how it comes we may live in a peaceful Western Europe for nearly 75 years.

Some years ago students still had separate classes of geography and history, but then in several countries they were joined in one hour per week with World Orientation. Time is here that we should make work again for presenting more hours of education about Europe and the necessity of the European Union.

The last few years several populist politicians want to have most people to believe we would be better off without Europe. At the same time it looks like Europe was bombarded with several crisis’s, one after the other.

In the global recession, EU countries and the world economy sank into its biggest crisis since the Wall Street Crash in the 1930s. At that time, it led to the rise of Nazism and Fascism in Germany and Italy. I can’t help it, but nowadays I also have to think a lot about that period and I also notice how so many people are swept away by boisterous language. Today we are also several times confronted with hate talk against people who are different than the majority or who have an other religion than the mainstream.

Javier Ortega Smith giving a speech in 2018 in Vistalegre.

The failing economies of Spain, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Portugal, them losing sovereignty over control of their finances was a drop of oil on the hot plate. The bailouts of those countries crucially came with harsh austerity imposed amongst member states across Europe. This led to the rise in populism across Spain with the rise of the right-wing Spanish Vox party as well as the left-wing populist party Podemos to some extent.

The Arab Spring crisis in Syria which escalated heavily in 2014, caused an extra influx of migrants to European shores and borders, presenting a seizure in South Italy and the Greek islands. Trying to find their way into the other countries of Europe Countries Hungary felt the migration crisis more than most other EU member states due to the influx of migrants passing their border.

With the growing populism, questions are raised in which way far right movements can be allowed and how the parliament should react to groups like the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the political group in the European Parliament of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

One may argue, that if EU parties worked together to defeat populism, they would be able to act as one voice and would increase the chances of the federalisation process of the EU. The overall aim of the populist movements and parties together, whether they are united or not, is to undermine the EU and its structures.

One good thing is that the populists movements are so different and not prepared to work together, at the same time spreading lots of leis of others, making it easier for us to show their weak spots. Therefore EU parties, should come to act as a single movement, putting aside all their own political agendas and views, working together against the populist movement in the European parliament, to destabilise the populist movement.

Though that working together the last few years seems to be so very difficult.
In case EU parties would be willing more to work together to cooperate on laws cracking down on populists who undermine the rule of law, the Union can be made stronger. First of all we should focus on those who are the easy pray of the populists and come to open their eyes. This requires giving much more information about what and how the European Union works. Secondly the Union has to require more that every one in the Union keeps to those things they voted for. Too often we could see that several countries did not want to put up their hand or give the others who did not keep to the set regulations a sever warning. This way we could see that countries such as Hungary and Poland could get away unpunished with many things we should not allow in the Democratic Union.

The Hungarian government of Orbán, last year, tried to undermine the rule of law by interfering in the judicial process by appointing their own judges. The EU decided to invoke Article 7 which could have led to the suspension of Hungary and Poland’s voting rights but action was never taken further. Hungary has also undermined the Acquire Communitaire, part of the Copenhagen Criteria by disrespecting basic human rights. They did this by declaring homelessness as illegal in an attempt to decrease the influx of migrants into Hungary.

If EU parties decided to work together as one movement against the populist movement, they would be able to defeat the populist movement by cracking down on member states which undermine basic human rights. 

The successor to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group which existed during the sixth, seventh and eighth terms from 2004 to 2019, reformed for the Ninth European Parliament term became Renew Europe (RE) , after temporarily having styled itself “ALDE plus Renaissance plus USR Plus“, talked about meeting up in order to cooperate in the next European parliament over the next five years.

We all should be aware that the future of Europe and of the EU will be shaped and developed by our young people – by the students sitting in classrooms today. Them being lured by social media, mostly only reading short attractive titles on Facebook, and/or going to striking and remarkable stories (usually not true) should come to see how populists make use of those media for their propaganda and fake news.

The foundations of the youngsters their perceptions of and attitudes towards developments in Europe and the EU, and of their according them value, or rejecting them, were already being laid in class and during discussions at school, but should get even more time.

The aim of a “Teaching Europe” initiative would be to put more emphasis on Europe and the EU in teaching in schools, and to highlight the EU’s main achievements and its future challenges. The way the history of the EU Member States is taught should also be taken into consideration. As an idea, easy-to-use teaching materials could be developed, which would explain, among other issues, the role played by the EESC, civil society and the social partners.

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Preceding articles

Re-Creating Community

Pushing people in a corner danger for indoctrination and loss of democratic values

Populism endangering democracy

At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights

June – July 2019

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Additional reading

  1. Declining commitment to democracy : What’s going on around the world ?
  2. Institutional Racism
  3. Fight against nationalism main struggle for feminists today

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