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INTERNATIONAL EDITION | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
A World Without Land Degradation Is Possible
In order to strengthen public awareness of the urgent need for nuclear abolition, the Tokyo-based Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist association, and the Inter Press Service global news agency have initiated a media project which aims to help to shed light on the issue of nuclear abolition from the perspectives of civil society through the global media network of IPS and beyond. As part of this project, IDN InDepthNews, the news analysis service of the Globalom Media group, in partnership with the Global Cooperation Council, has launched this special website.
CONTENTS CONSIDER THIS US Elections: Romney Flubs Foreign Policy Tour By Ernest Corea
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THE FUTURE WE WANT Rio+20 Was Not All In Vain By Martin Khor
Buddhist Leader Pleads For Paradigm Shift By Ramesh Jaura A World Without Land Degradation Is Possible By Ramesh Jaura The Arduous Search For A Fair Global Climate Policy By R. Nastranis Tensions Between Canada and USA Over Arctic By Julia Meyer NEWS ESSAY Fighting For Pluralism In The Media By Ramesh Jaura
MIGRATION Population Flows Make The World Go Round By Jaya Ramachndran UN Censures Practice of Detaining Migrants By Jaya Ramachndran NEWS ANALYSIS Global Piracy Acquires a New Dimension By Taro Ichikawa
'South China Sea' and Beijing's Naval Strategy By Rodger Baker and Zhixing Zhang China Prepares to Avert Looming Water Crisis By Taro Ichikawa VIEWPOINT What Africa Can Learn from China By Dr. Lim Mah-Hui
China's Rare Earth Monopoly Being Challenged By Ajey Lele PERSPECTIVES Need to Focus More on Preventive Diplomacy By R. Nastranis 32
Post-2014 Afghanistan Draws Focus at Tokyo Meet By Taro Ichikawa NUKE ABOLITION Doomsday Clock One Minute Closer to Midnight By Jamshed Baruah Hiroshima, Nagasaki Bombings Were Avoidable By David Krieger
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04 06 08 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 27 28 30 32 34 36 38 3
US Elections: Romney Flubs Foreign Policy Tour By Ernest Corea* WASHINGTON - Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has returned home from a three country tour that does not appear to have done him much good. Romney's foreign policy Grand Tour of the UK, Israel and Poland was expected to be a voyage of exposure. He would expose his foreign policy gravitas to his hosts. They would expose their expectations of American foreign policy
to him. It turned out, however, to be a wrong-footed foray. In under a week, he managed to rile the British and humiliate the Palestinians. In Poland, a member of his communications team created a public relations fiasco. Romney's American donors who were with him in Israel will continue to pour out their support to help eject President Barack Obama from the White House. Some voters whose thoughts are in Israel while their bodies are in the US will vote for him, as they are likely to have done in any case. Beyond that? Not much. Easy Question One of Romney's first public tasks on reaching London was to face an interview with Brian Williams, the affable anchor of NBC Nightly News. One of his questions was about preparations for the UK Olympics, a question that could have been anticipated because British organisers had faced a number of problems, and Romney has a record of having managed an Olympics in Utah. Romney could have chosen to reply with any one of several options from stonewalling through diplomatic mumbo jumbo to outright praise. Giving his hosts the impression that he was questioning their capacities was not one of the options. That's what he chose. Reports of various problems encountered by the organisers were, he told Williams, "disconcerting." But that alone would not do. He was, after all, the manager of Utah's Olympic Upsurge. He had to say it all, as in: "…There are three parts that make Games successful. Number One, of course, are the athletes. That's what overwhelmingly the Games are about. Number Two are the volunteers. And they'll have great volunteers here. But number three are the people of the country. Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that is something which we only find out once the Games actually begin." To suggest to the Brits that there might be any question about their uniting to face a national challenge is an act of folly. Re-
member how Churchill reacted when he learnt that a French general had said that in "in three weeks, England would have its neck wrung like a chicken"? Churchill: snapped back: "Some chicken. Some neck." Romney's inept comments inspired the British in general and the media in particular to let loose a blitz of angry scorn. Boisterous Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, used the comments of "some guy named Mitt Romney" to rouse a large urban crowd into united, spirited, and highly vocal support for the Olympics organisers. The media got all fired up. "Nowhere Man," The Times called Romney. "Party Pooper," said the Daily Mail. "Mitt the Twit," declared The Sun. The ripple of derision expanded in concentric circles, as the media leapt on Romney for addressing Edward Milliband, leader of the opposition, as Mr. Leader, and said that he had enjoyed the panoramic view from the "backside" of the British Prime Minister David Cameron's official residence.. When Romney, breaking the bounds of diplomatic discretion, announced that he had visited the head of Britain's super-secret MI-6, a spokesperson for the intelligence agency's head said that he "meets many people but we don't give a running commentary on any of these private meetings." The most punishing comment, however, came from Cameron who said: that the UK Olympics were being held "in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world….Of course, it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere." Enough said. Frankly Speaking So, on to Israel, where Romney was expected to make a soft landing – and he did. His old friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed him with the shared affection of corporate sector buddies who had maintained their connections over the years. Some of his most generous donors were at hand. He had his solemn photo-op at the Western Wall. In such friendly company, Romney must have felt comfortable enough to be frank and indiscreet. He named Jerusalem as Israel’s real capital, although the official US position held by both Republican and Democratic administrations has been and remains: "The status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. We continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue and others in a way that is just and fair, and respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians." (The US embassy and others are located in Tel Aviv.)
*The writer has served as Sri Lanka's ambassador to Canada, Cuba, Mexico, and the USA. He was Chairman of the Commonwealth Select Committee on the media and development, Editor of the Ceylon 'Daily News' and the Ceylon 'Observer', and was for a time Features Editor and Foreign Affairs columnist of the Singapore 'Straits Times'. He is Global Editor of IDN-InDepthNews and a member of its editorial board as well as President of the Media Task Force of Global Cooperation Council.
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
CONSIDER THIS Palestinian official, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that Romney's statement on Jerusalem was unhelpful to peace negotiations, pointing out that it "contradicted the previous positions held by the American administration". Romney also commented favorably on the Israeli economy to the detriment of Palestinian efforts at economic development. London's Guardian quoted him as saying: "As I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognise the power of at least culture and a few other things." Among the few other things were "a climate of innovation, the Jewish history of thriving in adversity, and the hand of providence." 'Racist Statement' Palestinian leaders were angered by the assumption that their economic plight was caused by their own culture and a downward push by the "hand of providence" – not by a grueling occupation and blockade. Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, said of Romney's demeaning words: "It is a racist statement, and this man doesn't realise that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation. "It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people. He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority." Romney is unaware or cannot acknowledge that economic conditions in Palestinian territory are held in thrall by a grueling occupation. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have both said that the Palestinian economy cannot flourish until the occupation and blockade end. Amb. Palitha Kohana, chairman of the UN’s committee investigating Israeli practices in occupied territory (established in December 1968) said after a recent visit to Gaza: "In Gaza, imports remain at less than 50 percent of preblockade levels. …..Israel's near total ban of exports stifles economic growth and makes job opportunities scarce. Between 30 and 40 percent of Gazans are unemployed…..Business has ground to a standstill with little possibility of importing new equipment or exporting products" But Romney's task was done. All that was left was to decide how best to use the enhanced campaign funding that was expected to roll in. Romney cruised through an effective program in Poland where he was expected to assure that country’s leadership that if elected he would be a stronger ally than Obama. In addition to meeting top members of Poland's current leadership, he also called on Lech Walesa the former trade union leader and president. Walesa, in effect, "endorsed" Romney and opposed Obama. Members of the legendary trade union Solidarity did not share their former leader's view. Solidarity issued a public statement which said, in part: "Solidarity was not involved in organizing Romney's meeting with Walesa and did not invite him to visit Poland." "Regretfully, we were informed by our friends from the American headquarters of (the American trade union federation) AFL-CIO, which represents more than 12 million employees… that GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
Mitt Romney supported attacks on trade unions and employees' rights," Solidarity added. Undaunted, Romney moved on. One of his last official acts was to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He was Romney at the Western Wall in Jerureturning to his limousine salem | Credit: deathandtaxesmag and motorcade when the traveling press was told that Romney would not be fielding questions, and they should return to their buses. The press was by now fed up. They resented being routinely denied access to the candidate although their purpose in going along for the ride – at the expense of their employers – was precisely to have access to and write about him. During the entire foreign policy tour Romney had taken only three questions from them. Obama, on a similar tour in 2008, took twenty-five. Frustrated and angry, they ignored the directions of the Romney campaign's media manager for the tour, Rick Gorka, turned away from their buses and walked in the direction of Romney's limousine, while shouting questions at him. The questions included such "naturals" as Governor Romney, are you concerned about some of the mishaps on your trip? Are you going to issue a statement for the Palestinians? What about your gaffes? Gorka was obviously unprepared to deal with the bedlam. A placatory "C'mon guys, give him a break" approach might have helped. Instead he did what will go down in the records as his celebrated imitation of a drill sergeant going berserk at boot camp. He is said to have shouted at the media: “Kiss my ass. Show some respect. This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect. Shove off." Like his boss who was disconcerted at the beginning of the tour he was disconcerted at its end. Consider This Elections are rarely won or lost abroad. Consider the example of Indira Gandhi. The western-dominated international community had barely ended their sighs of relief at the thought that she was out of their hair, after defeat at a general election, when Indian voters sent her roaring back into office with a landslide victory. Or consider this: Churchill and his party were defeated in a parliamentary election after he had provided Britain with aweinspiring leadership during the Second World War. Pierre Trudeau was a hugely admired and respected figure abroad at the same time that he was losing a parliamentary election at home. These real-life examples must offer some solace to Romney's supporters who wonder whether his mumbled, foreign policy tour will tarnish his image and erode his support at home. Not to worry. The British media has derided him as a rude naïf, the Palestinian leadership considers his comments racist, and Solidarity, Poland’s legendary trade union, thinks of him as an union-buster. But what counts will be the responses and reactions of American voters to the choice between two ways forward that the contenders offer them. 5
THE FUTURE WE WANT
Rio+20 Was Not All In Vain By Martin Khor* GENEVA - The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, more popularly known as Rio+20, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit (concluded on June 22) with expressions of deep disappointment from broad sections of members of the media and the environmental NGOs, who saw little new commitments to action in the final text that was adopted by the heads of states and governments and their senior officials. But there are grounds for a more positive assessment of Rio+20. It achieved an agreed outcome, something that is increasingly rare in multilateral high-level meetings. It managed (just) to reaffirm previous understandings on sustainable development, thus maintaining the foundations for international cooperation. And it directed the diplomats and officials of all countries to continue negotiating and come up with solutions to important unresolved issues within one to two years – including on sustainable development goals, finance and technology, and a new political forum on sustainable development. The summit adopted a 53-page document, "The Future We Want". It reaffirmed or recalled what had been agreed to 20 or 10 years ago (at the first Rio Summit that produced the Rio Principles and Agenda 21, and the Johannesburg Summit that marked the 10th anniversary and produced a Plan of Implementation respectively). And it directed that the talks continue in the United Nations (in New York) to strengthen sustainable development and environment institutions, examine how and whether to provide finance and technology to developing countries, and establish new sustainable development goals. Measured against the urgent tasks needed, there were no breakthroughs. But neither was the summit the failure that many portrayed it to be.
and not “dropped” on the governments by the UN Secretary General or UN-chosen experts (as in the case of the Millennium Development Goals), and that the SDG process should interact with and not replace the separate process of the UN’s post-2015 development agenda after the expiry of the MDGs. They also preferred that no specific SDGs be named in Rio, in order not to pre-empt the approach of having goals balanced from all three pillars. The developing countries’ positions prevailed on all these aspects. In the final text, the SDGs are to be based on Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Action, respect the Rio principles, build on commitments already made, incorporate the three dimensions of sustainable development. They should be coherent with the and integrated in the UN development agenda beyond 2015 and should not divert effort from the MDGs. The goals should address priority areas, guided by the outcome document. Developed countries, especially the European Union (EU), were disappointed that the summit itself did not adopt five specific goals that were mainly environmental in nature, that they put forward as initial and priority SDGs. The developing countries argued there was no time to agree on what the initial goals would be, since economic and social goals also have to be included. The formulation of the SDGs, and their interface with the post-2015 development agenda, will be one of the most important followup actions initiated by the Rio+20 summit.
Sustainable Development Goals A new item in the Rio+20 outcome with considerable follow-up implication, is the decision to formulate sustainable development goals (SDGs). This will be done in the next year through a 30-member working group under the UN General Assembly, nominated by governments through the UN regional groups. The UN Secretary General is asked to provide initial inputs and the UN agencies’ support to the working group, which will submit a report on the goals to the General Assembly next year for its action. Establishing SDGs was not on the original mandate of Rio+20 topics but entered the process in late 2011 through a proposal of Colombia and a few other countries. It developed increasing support as a concrete "deliverable" for the summit and as a kind of replacement for the controversial Green Economy issue. Although establishing SDGs turned out to be a complex exercise, at least the concept of sustainable development was an accepted and comfortable one, unlike the green economy. The developing countries during the negotiations fought for several things: to have a good definition of SDGs, to ensure that there is a balanced approach among the three pillars (economic, social, environmental) of sustainable development in the selected goals, that the SDGs be formulated by an inter-governmental process
The Green Economy The outcome document has a large section on the "green economy". This topic had in fact absorbed most of the time and energy of the summit's preparatory meetings over the last two years. “The green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” had been included as one of the two specific themes of the conference (the other being institutional framework for sustainable development).
Picture: Martin Khor | Credit: iisd.ca *Martin Khor is executive director of the South Centre. This is an abridged version of the analysis carried by the South Centre's South Bulletin 64, re-published by arrangement with the South Centre in IDN-InDepthNews on July 9, 2012.
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
THE FUTURE WE WANT However, it soon became the centre of contention and controversy, partly because it was a new subject for multilateral negotiations that could potentially result in new obligations on states, and partly because the subject was being negotiated in the home of “sustainable development” and there was confusion about its inter-face conceptually and practically with sustainable development. From the early stages of negotiations, some developed countries, especially the EU, were advocating having an action-oriented and norm-related approach to the Green Economy. The EU proposed that Rio+20 formulate a UN green economy roadmap with several specific goals, targets and deadlines for issues such as water, forests, agriculture and oceans. This was seen as going too far with the concept by many developing countries. They had many concerns, including that the "green economy" concept would replace "sustainable development"; that it may be used to justify trade protectionism against developing-country products and new conditionality for aid and finance; that it would be used to create new markets based on economic valuation of nature’s functions, offsets and payment for environment services and thus lead to commodification of nature. There was also concern that there would be a one-size-fits-all approach as well as "green economy" obligations that all countries have to adhere to, without developing counties getting the corresponding means of implementation (finance and technology) from developed countries. After a long fight lasting over a year, it was finally agreed in the Rio+20 text that the green economy is one of the important tools for achieving sustainable development, providing options but not a rigid set of rules. The green economy policies should be guided by the Rio principles. The text also contains 16 points of what the green economy should be or not be. It should respect national sovereignty, promote inclusive growth,
strengthen finance and technology transfer to developing countries, avoid aid and finance conditionalities, not be used for trade protectionism, help close North-South technology gaps, address poverty and inequalities and promote sustainable consumption and production patterns. The main action points on the green economy are quite mild (Para 66). The UN system and relevant donors are asked to coordinate and provide information on matching interested countries with partners to provide requested support; to provide toolboxes and best practices and good examples in applying green economy policies, methodologies for evaluating policies, and platforms that can contribute. Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development The IFSD was one of the two major themes of Rio+20 and the chapter on it could prove to have the most significant results. It is widely recognized that while Rio 1992 was a success, its follow up mechanisms for implementation were weak. The main body for follow up was the new Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); it worked well as a convening body for Ministers and senior officials in its initial years, but had lacklustre results in recent years. The problem was mainly in design: it meets only two to three weeks in a year and has a small secretariat within the UN department on economic and social affairs, yet it has a large agenda of tasks and issues to fulfil. Potentially, the most important decision in Rio was to set up a high-level political forum on sustainable development, to replace the CSD. The idea of a Forum had been originally proposed by the G77 and China, while others, mainly the European countries, proposed transforming the CSD into a new Sustainable Development Council. The final text agreed to establishing the Forum; the text also incorporated some of the ideas proposed for the Council. According to the text, the high-level forum could have 12 functions, including to provide political leadership and recommendations for sustainable development, provide a platform for regular dialogue and agenda setting, have set the agenda and enable regular dialogue, consider new sustainable development challenges, review progress in implementation and improve coordination in the UN system, have an action-oriented agenda for new and emerging challenges, follow up on implementing all the sustainable development commitments, coordinate within the UN system, promote system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies. As the details have not been sorted out, Rio+20 decided to launch an intergovernmental process under the General Assembly to define the forum’s format and organizational aspects, aimed at convening the first forum at the General Assembly’s 68th session in 2013. A key issue is the extent to which this forum will only be a series of annual meetings and roundtables (during the time of the annual General Assembly session) or whether it will have a strong structure that addresses the social, economic and environmental dimensions, that meets regularly throughout the year and that is serviced by a strong enough Secretariat. If the new forum can have a wide agenda, a big enough mandate to act, a dynamic process of discussion and decision making, a strong secretariat and high political backing, then the modest document coming out of the Rio+20 summit can be transformed into a world-changing process and organisation. Rio+20 also agreed that the UN Environment Programme would be strengthened and upgraded, including through establishing universal membership of its governing council and increased, stable and adequate financing, and strengthening its regional presence. It is the only place in the text in which increased and adequate funding is committed. The General Assembly is invited to adopt a resolution on UNEP to this effect. This decision was a great disappointment to European countries which were strongly advocating that UNEP be transformed into a UN specialized agency. This was also supported by the African Group. However this proposal was not acceptable to other major developed countries including the US, Japan and Russia, or by many developing countries, each for their own reasons.
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
THE FUTURE WE WANT
Buddhist Leader Pleads For Paradigm Shift By Ramesh Jaura* BERLIN | TOKYO - In runup to the Rio+20 conference, an eminent Buddhist leader and philosopher – who has been persistently campaigning for abolition of all nukes and other weapons of mass annihilation for the last five decades – urged the international community to halt the plunder of planet earth's vital resources and agree on a paradigm shift from the pursuit of material wealth to sustainability. Daisaku Ikeda – who presides over the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI), based in Tokyo – tabled a set of proposals, one of which envisages the creation of a "global organization for sustainable development". In his 'Environment Proposal 2012', Ikeda says: "Every year, 53,000 square kilometres of forest are lost. In many countries, water tables continue to drop, provoking chronic water shortages, and almost 25 percent of the planet's land area is being affected by the processes of desertification." While these were among the pressing issues Rio+20 must grapple with, said Ikeda, the conference title "future we want" also represented "an effort to develop a clear vision of a more ideal relationship between humankind and Earth." Ikeda is pleading for a new set of sustainable development goals as a successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which should be "a catalyst promoting positive change among people toward the construction of a global society." The eight MDGs were agreed at the turn of the millennium (in 2000), when 189 nations pledged to liberate people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations by 2015. Educational Framework The Buddhist leader further exhorted world leaders attending the Rio+20 conference from June 20 to June 22, 2012 to recommend to the UN General Assembly the creation of "an educational framework promoting sustainability" and raising awareness among individuals and enabling people to "move from empowerment to leadership within their respective communities". Rio+20 – officially known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) – was held two decades after the Earth Summit, the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in the Brazilian city in June 1992. A major achievement of UNCED was Agenda 21, a thorough and broad-ranging programme of actions demanding "new ways of investing in our future to reach global sustainable develop-
ment in the 21st century." Its recommendations ranged from new ways to educate, to new ways to care for natural resources, and new ways to participate in designing a sustainable economy. Stressing the educational component, Ikeda's 'Environment Proposal 2012' proposes an educational programme for "a sustainable global society" to start in 2015 as a follow-up on the work of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). "The successor framework to the Decade should be focused on fostering the capacities of large numbers of people who can be genuine change agents, spreading waves of transformation within our communities and societies," he adds. The SGI president's Environment Proposal 2012 is a follow-up on his 23-page 'peace proposal,' titled 'Human Security and Sustainability: Sharing Reverence for the Dignity of Life,' published beginning of 2012. It was the thirtieth since1983 on January 26, the day SGI was founded eight years earlier. That proposal called for a nuclear-free world in which genuine human security, sustainable development and unwavering respect for the dignity of life do not only comprise an ideal but constitute an entrenched reality. [Read: 'Respect Dignity of Life, Convoke Nuke Abolition Summit'] New Global Organization Ikeda argues that a global organization for sustainable development would be the outcome of a bold, qualitative transformation of the current system that would involve "the consolidation of relevant sections and agencies, including UNDP (UN Development Programme) and UNEP (UN Environment Programme)". The participation of all interested governments in the new organization's deliberations would be indispensable. "At present both UNDP and UNEP are structured so that only those states that are members of the respective governing councils can have a final say in decisions. In light of the importance of sustainable development and the wide range of issues and sectors involved, we must ensure that all states that wish to may participate in full," writes Ikeda. The SGI president envisages "a fully collaborative relationship with civil society", arguing that the Rio+20 conference should be taken as an opportunity to place collaboration between the UN and the full spectrum of civil society actors including NGOs, businesses and academic and research institutions at the heart of any institutional restructuring. Ikeda also stresses the need for the active participation and involvement of youth. He pleads for setting up a "committee of the future generations" as a forum in which representatives of the youth of the world can consider paths to a sustainable future and advise the new sustainability organization on its annual plans and policies.
Picture: SGI President Daisaku Ikeda | Credit: daisakuikeda.org 8
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
THE FUTURE WE WANT Sustainable Future The Buddhist leader and philosopher regards "a new set of sustainable development goals" – as successor to the MDGs – a catalyst promoting positive change among people toward the construction of a global society. In his view, a visionary commitment to the welfare of all of humankind and the global community of life should be at the heart of such objectives. Core concepts could include human security, soft power and the green economy. The new goals should focus on the community as the key site for action, and they should include targets related to cities, linked with a system enhancing cities' ability to share with one another technical knowledge and best practices, says Ikeda in the set of proposals. Examples of the proactive engagement of local communities would constitute: afforestation projects to protect the local ecology; citizen-centred efforts to create more disaster-resilient communities; linking up with other communities to increase the degree of local production and consumption; making waste reduction and recycling an intrinsic part of people's lives, and encouraging the introduction of renewable energy. Ikeda pleads for focussing an educational programme for a sustainable global society starting in
2015 to follow up on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development on fostering the capacities of large numbers of people who can be genuine change agents, spreading waves of transformation within our communities and societies. Educational Framework According to the proposal, community-based education for a successor framework should not stop at simply providing knowledge of the natural environment, customs and history of the local community, but should encourage the determination to treasure it. It should inspire deep appreciation for the ways in which the surrounding environment, including the productive and economic activities of others living in the community, enhances our lives: it should encourage action based on that appreciation. And, it should support people to consider the issues of the local community in terms of what we must protect for the sake of future generations and the kind of society we wish to construct. "The overall aim is to enable people to move from empowerment to leadership within their respective communities, and to encourage individuals to act as protagonists and treasure the inalienable dignity of all people and the irreplaceable value of all that surrounds us," argues the proposal. Together with Earth Charter International, SGI also organised at Rio+20 an exhibition titled "Seeds of Change: Visions of Sustainability, Steps Towards Change". This exhibition was first launched at the Johannesburg Summit in 2002 and has since been shown in 27 countries and territories around the world. The Buddhist leader, who is also a poet and an avid amateur photographer, recalls his encounter with Amadeu Thiago de Mello, one of Brazil's foremost poets who has worked for years to protect the Amazonian rainforest, "the lungs of the world." He quotes "as a coda" to his Environment Proposal 2012 an impromptu verse that the Brazilian poet shared with him when they met in Tokyo in April 1997:
I live armed with love,
There are no new paths,
to perform my work singing,
only new ways of walking them.
to construct a new day.
With the pain of the dispossessed,
Love gives everything
the dark dreams
without holding back.
of the child who sleeps with hunger--
I have learned:
I plant the light of new life.
this Earth does not belong to me alone.
Once they tried to silence
And I have learned, in truth,
the cry of my heart's fraternity
that the most important thing
in the peaks of the Andes
is to work, while we still have life,
ablaze with flames.
to change what needs changing,
But I rose above those flames
each in our way, each where we are.
and continue to sing. Picture: The "Seeds of Hope" exhibition on display at the Japan Pavilion in Rio GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
THE FUTURE WE WANT
A World Without Land Degradation Is Possible By Ramesh Jaura on 'Desertification, land degradation and drought' (DLDD) in the 53-page outcome document endorsed on June 22. They said: "We recognize the economic and social significance of good land management, including soil, particularly its contribution to economic growth, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and food security, eradicating poverty, the empowerment of women, addressing climate change and improving water availability." Much to the contentment of Gnacadja, they said: "We stress that desertification, land degradation and drought are challenges of a global dimension and continue to pose serious challenges to the sustainable development of all countries, in particular developing countries. "We also stress the particular challenges this poses for Africa, the least developed countries and the landlocked developing countries. In this regard, we express deep concern for the devastating consequences of cyclical drought and famine in Africa, in particular in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region, and call for urgent action through short-, medium- and long-term measures at all levels." Uphill battle
Luc Gnacadja | Credit: Wikimedia Commons
BERLIN - Luc Gnacadja has rock-solid reason to be upbeat: some 100 heads of state and government agreed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – better known as Rio+20 – to strive for "a land-degradation neutral world", characterised by zero growth in desertification. In doing so they were responding to the UNCCD's clarion call in a "policy brief" for 'A Sustainable Development Goal for Rio+20: Zero Net Land Degradation'. The brief provides a snapshot of the world's land, explains causes and impacts of land degradation and suggests pathways to land-degradation neutrality. It reveals that sustainable land-use is a prerequisite for ensuring future water, food and energy security. Given the increasing pressure on land from agriculture, forestry, pasture, energy production and urbanization, urgent action is needed to halt land degradation. To achieve this goal, the policy brief called for avoiding the degradation of productive land and restoring the already degraded lands. The proposed goal of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) is underlined by the following targets: zero net land degradation by 2030, zero net forest degradation by 2030 and drought preparedness policies implemented in all drought-prone countries by 2020. UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja can draw satisfaction from the fact that Rio+20 outcome document devoted a chapter
This statement is the consequence of an uphill battle the Bonnbased UNCCD Secretariat has been fighting in the last two decades with the aim of this Convention being treated on par with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In the initial stages, UNCCD was described alternatively as the "African" or "poor man's" Convention under the misguided belief that desertification was essentially an African – and hence poor man's – problem of no relevance for the world at large. In contrast, climate change was right from the beginning considered a global problem calling for global solutions. After all, every year 12 million hectares of productive land are degraded through desertification and drought alone. This is an area half the size of the United Kingdom. In the same period, 75 billion tons of soil are lost forever. Globally, 1.5 billion people live off the degrading land. It is of vital importance against this backdrop that in the outcome document world leaders "recognize the need for urgent action to reverse land degradation" and adding that they "will strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world in the context of sustainable development." This, they aver, "should act to catalyse financial resources from a range of public and private sources." Financial resources are indeed critical. As the UNCCD Executive Secretary points out: "By 2030, the demand for food is likely to increase by 50%, and by 45% for energy and 30% for water. Each of these demands will claim more land. This would lead to more deforestation unless we commit to restore degraded land. Avoiding land degradation while restoring degraded land is especially crucial for the rural poor to achieve energy, food and water security."
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THE FUTURE WE WANT
Anti-sand shields in north Sahara, Tunisia | Credit: Wikimedia Commons
It is notable, therefore, that the Rio+20 outcome document resolved to support and strengthen the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the 10-year strategic plan and framework to enhance its implementation (2008-2018), "including through mobilizing adequate, predictable and timely financial resources." In accordance with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the world leaders also decided to take "coordinated action nationally, regionally and internationally, to monitor, globally, land degradation and restore degraded lands in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas." They took note of the importance of mitigating the effects of desertification, land degradation and drought, including by preserving and developing oases, restoring degraded lands, improving soil quality and improving water management, in order to contribute to sustainable development and poverty eradication. "In this regard, we encourage and recognize the importance of partnerships and initiatives for the safeguarding of land resources," participants in Rio+20 assured. "We also encourage capacity-building, extension training programmes and scientific studies and initiatives aimed at deepening understanding and raising awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable land management policies and practices, they declared. Rio+20 underlined the need to further develop and implement scientifically based, sound and socially inclusive methods and indicators to monitor and assess the extent of desertification, land degradation and drought.
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
"With such an outcome, we must now walk the talk, for which the need for synergies cannot be over-emphasized. This outcome can drive the synergies needed by actors to deliver together. It provides an enabling environment for the Rio Conventions (agreed in June 1992) to work effectively especially at the grassroots level to support food security," says Gnacadja, and lays out the commitment of the UNCCD secretariat to support the decisions. He vows that to ensure a timely implementation, the UNCCD, through effective partnerships among all stakeholders, will spearhead and facilitate global monitoring of land degradation and the restoration of degraded land, especially in the drylands. UNCCD will build capacity through knowledge management and knowledge sharing," To this end, UNCCD will harness science and lessons learned from grassroots-level success stories. We will also promote the adoption and implementation of national drought policy, preparedness and risk management measures in all droughtprone regions and countries. Putting things in perspective, Gnacadja says: "In 1992, the Rio meeting agreed to combat land degradation. Rio 2012 has given birth to a new paradigm, land-degradation neutrality. From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 we have learned that desertification, land degradation and drought are drying up 'The Future We Want' (the conference maxim)." He adds: "So I am pleased to acknowledge that in the context of sustainable development, a new concept calling for a paradigm shift to build a land degradation neutral world was born here at Rio +20." ď ˛
THE FUTURE WE WANT
The Arduous Search For A Fair Global Climate Policy By R. Nastranis BONN - Climate negotiators from around the world are wading through a jungle of multifarious vested interests to pave the way for substantive and forward-looking agreements at the next United Nations climate change conference from November 26 to December 7, 2012 in Doha, the capital of meanwhile ubiquitous soft power Qatar. There are miles to go before those urgently needed arrangements are made. With that in view, a series of consultations have been underway. One such gathering concluded on July 11 in Bonn after three days of intensive talks. Some 140 government officials, public and private finance sector representatives and members of civil society and academia discussed ways and means of mobilising long-term climate finance. The deliberations were based on extensive analytical work, including the UN Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing and the G20 report on mobilizing climate finance. It was the first of two transparent, interactive UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) workshops on longterm climate change finance. The discussions continue through Webinars and e-fora to be organised until the second workshop, so that stakeholders can continue to put questions to the Chairs and post comments via the UNFCCC online platform and social media. With 195 Parties, UNFCCC has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 193 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. The UNFCCC Secretariat noted with satisfaction that the Bonn workshop participants "moved closer towards developing a common understanding of how to go about significantly scaling up the mobilization of long-term finance which developing countries need to help them limit greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change." The gathering took place as part of a work programme on long-term climate finance agreed at the UN Climate Change Con-
ference in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9, 2011. The main issues discussed at length at the workshop included the scale of finance-related needs of developing countries, potential sources of climate finance in the longer-term, innovations and options for mobilizing climate finance from multiple sources and lessons learnt from fast-start-finance. "It is clear that we cannot continue to tackle climate change with old solutions, and that no one single source is going to be appropriate or sufficient to mobilize climate finance at a speed and scale that would allow people in developing countries to build their own climate-resilient futures. This event has allowed all stakeholders to think outside the box, to explore options in highly creative ways, and to pave the way for stronger climate action," said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. Long-term finance Co-Chair Zaheer Fakir from South Africa said: "The technical and analytical discussions initiated . . . in Bonn paved the way for identifying options to scale up finance for fighting climate change. We are looking forward to presenting the Co-chairs' report to COP 18 in Doha." The event was made accessible to all interested stakeholders with the help of live webcast, social media and an online platform on the UNFCCC website by which they could send in material and put questions to the two Chairs. More than 1,000 messages, comments and questions relating to the workshop were sent via Twitter using the #LTFchat hashtag or posted on Facebook. "The role of all stakeholders in mobilizing climate finance is absolutely crucial. Because of that, we tried to make the workshop as transparent and inclusive as possible. We achieved this objective and intend to continuously draw in relevant stakeholders in an interactive fashion throughout the year," said long-term finance Co-Chair Georg BĂ¸rsting from Norway. Climate negotiators will continue to explore ways of pinning down all 193 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to a global climate policy without 'ifs' and 'buts'. The informal additional sessions of three crucial Ad hoc Working Groups will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from August 30 to September 5. 'Petersberg Climate Dialogue' in Berlin An equally significant round of informal consultations titled 'Matching Ambition with Action' took place in Berlin on July 1617. It was co-chaired by Germany's Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Attiyah. German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a keynote address on July 16. The German hosts expect the caucus "to provide a realistic picture and a political development path for the conference in Doha and beyond". The focus was on:ďƒœ
Graphic Credit: indybay.org 12
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Bangkok Climate Change Conference in August 2012
- The ambition gap between the targets set so far and what actually needs to be done to meet the 2 degrees C target; - Transformation to a low-emission economy as a strategy for modernisation and growth; and - The new climate treaty to be negotiated by 2015 and implemented from 2020. This was the third such round of what is known as the 'Petersberg Climate Dialogue' which was launched on the Petersberg hilltop close to Bonn in May 2010 ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10, 2010. Its aim was to bridge the gap between implementation and negotiation so that climate negotiations can be backed and supported by experience gained in the implementation of climate policy measures. Explaining the rationale behind the previous Climate Dialogue in Berlin, German Environment Minister Altmaier said: "The international climate process needs new momentum. We will take practical examples from different countries and use them to discuss how concrete initiatives and alliances can advance international climate protection on all levels. I am hoping the meeting will inject new impetus into the upcoming UN climate conference in Doha." At the UN climate summit in Durban, the international community decided to negotiate a new climate agreement by 2015 to come into force in 2020. At the same time, there is a common consensus that the climate change mitigation measures already pledged will not be sufficient to keep the rise in temperature below the twodegree cap. "To successfully tackle the challenges of global climate change, we need a whole array of initiatives, combined with cooperation among countries who want to make progress together," Altmaier said. Doha should provide a space for initiatives of that kind. "It is crucial to ensure that there is always a close link between national action and international negotiation," he added. Climate Policy Departure The Environment and Development organization Germanwatch called on the Dialogue participants to depart from climate policy as pursued hitherto. Germanwatch's Sven Harmeling said, the Dialogue came at the right point in time: "In the largely disappointing Rio+20 Summit, the Heads of State and Government recognized however, that the current global climate policy is not ambitious enough to enable the world protect dangerous climate change."
The Germanwatch has published 'The Climate Change Performance Index', which on the basis of standardised criteria, evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 58 countries that are together responsible for more than 90 percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions. 80 percent of the evaluation is based on objective indicators of emissions trend and emissions level. 20 percent of the index results are built upon national and international climate policy assessments by more than 200 experts from the respective countries. The 2011 Index, published end of the year, shows worrying results. "The worldwide addiction to coal has not been stopped, but rather increased. 80 percent of the index is influenced by emissions trends and absolute emissions levels," says Jan Burck, author of the Index at Germanwatch. Five out of the ten biggest emitters, namely Iran (60), China (57), Russia (56), Canada (54) and USA (52) were rated with the label 'very poor' performance. "Among these countries, China is the only one with a good policy rating. Its encouraging development of renewable energies and energy efficiency targets in the 12th Five Year Plan can help China to climb up a few ranks in the future. But most countries cannot lean back either. Instead, we need a 'coalition of the responsible' for a better climate protection", adds Burck. ď ˛
Among these countries, China is the only one with a good policy rating. Its encouraging development of renewable energies and energy efficiency targets . . . can help China to climb up a few ranks in the future. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
THE FUTURE WE WANT
Tensions Between Canada and USA Over Arctic By Julia Meyer Arctic Council. The Council, which includes the representatives of the region's indigenous populations, has evolved into a decision-making organization with a permanent secretariat and budget. Subsequently it attracts more attention from the rest of the world. Since 2006, three successive chairmanships of the Council have been held by Nordic states – Norway (2006-2009), Denmark (2009-2011) and Sweden (2011–2013) – which agreed on a common set of priorities to pursue. From 2013 it will be chaired by Canada for two years (2013-2015) and then the United States (2015–2017). The study, titled 'The Arctic Policies of Canada and the United States: Domestic Motives and International Context' cautions that "the lingering disagreements" between Canada and the USA would undermine their ability to pursue their interests in the Arctic region. In fact the future of the Arctic will require close cooperation between Canada and the USA, not least if human activity in the area increases as it becomes more accessible. Increased traffic in the Northwest Passage will present a challenge to both Canadian and U.S. capacity to operate in the region, not least if responsibilities in the area are unclear. Bergh continues: While the USA has not particularly distinguished itself in the international cooperation over the Arctic – although it seems that this is now changing – Canada has repeatedly made clear that it is seeking a leadership role. Canada's domestic policy for the Arctic, the Northern Strategy, was presented in 2009. It was published under the authority of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (who is also Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-status Indians) and focuses on four priority areas: (a) sovereignty; (b) social and economic development; (c) the environment; and (d) improved governance for the people of the north. Canada’s Arctic foreign policy, presented in a statement in August 2010, focuses on the international dimensions of the same four pillars, with an emphasis on Arctic sovereignty. The United States deﬁnes the U.S. Arctic as all U.S. territory north of the Arctic Circle or "north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim Rivers; all contiguous seas, including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi Seas; and the Aleutian chain". U.S. foreign policy on the Arctic region is set out in a presidential directive from January 9, 2009. This document, the final presidential directive issued by President George W. Bush, has largely been accepted by the succeeding administration of President Barack Obama and is considered largely bipartisan. The U.S. policy emphasizes issues of national security in the changing and increasingly accessible Arctic region. Other issues highlighted in the document include the environment, economic development, governance, indigenous communities and science. While Canada has fairly comprehensive strategies to deal with its own Arctic areas as well as wider foreign policy in the region, the presidential directive that guides U.S. policy is quite limited, avers Bergh, the author of the study. However, the scope of the two policy documents also testiﬁes to the importance of the Arctic as a political issue in both countries. Bergh adds: "The Arctic has become a region of great political importance in Canada. However, the Canadian Government's statements about identity and sovereignty may not be conducive to international cooperation. Although U.S. public and political interest remains low and the USA's capacity to operate in the region leaves much to be desired, changes are visible in terms of U.S. foreign and defence policy."
STOCKHOLM - The focus of international attention on melting polar ice is hiding simmering tensions between Canada and the USA – two of the eight states with Arctic territory – which need be urgently resolved to avoid complications in a new emerging geopolitical situation, says a new study. "Both countries need to pay attention to the challenges in the Arctic but should also be wary of how their domestic posturing in the region is affecting their international relations, including with each other," says the study by the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Authored by Kristofer Bergh, the study says: "The abilities of Canada and the USA to pursue their interests in the region will rely on them cooperating closely, not least because from 2013 they will hold successive chairmanships of the Arctic Council. Canadian-U.S. relations will thus be an important factor in the future of a changing Arctic. Resolving key disagreements and identifying common priorities would strengthen both countries’ positions in the region." Together with Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Canada and the USA are members of the Image: Location of the Arctic | Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The United States deﬁnes the U.S. Arctic as all U.S. territory north of the Arctic Circle or "north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim Rivers; all contiguous seas, including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi Seas; and the Aleutian chain". 14
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Marine fossils in Canadian Arctic | Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Security The author of the study points out that both the Canadian and U.S. policies place heavy emphasis on sovereignty and security in the Arctic region. The U.S. directive states that the USA "has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region", while Canada's policy states that "exercising sovereignty over Canada's North . . . is our number one Arctic foreign policy priority". Both countries acknowledge that increasing accessibility will lead to more human activity in the region, with positive and negative consequences. While the USA mentions concerns about terrorist activities and maritime law enforcement, Canada identiﬁes concerns about organized crime and trafficking of drugs and people. The USA names several military challenges with implications for the Arctic, including "missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overﬂight". For both Canada and the USA the issue of sovereignty is closely related to the prospect of new resource discoveries in the GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
Arctic region, and the extended continental shelf and boundary issues that may affect their access to these resources. The USA recognizes that several disputed areas in the Arctic may contain resources critical to its energy security, including in the Beaufort Sea, where Canada and the USA disagree on the maritime bound- ary. Canada regards this and other disputes as "discrete boundary issues" that neither pose defence challenges nor have an impact on its ability to cooperate with other Arctic states. Another point of disagreement between Canada and the USA is the Northwest Passage, which the USA views as an international strait through which any ship has the right of free passage. "Numerous U.S. Government agencies acknowledge the status of both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route as having implications for strategic straits anywhere in the world," says the study. Canada, in contrast, claims that it "controls all maritime navigation in its waters" which, according to its own deﬁnition, includes the Northwest Passage. Both countries view the enhancement of their capacity to operate militarily in the Arctic as an important part of solving their respective security and sovereignty challenges. 15
Fighting For Pluralism In The Media By Ramesh Jaura BERLIN - When he took to the road to correct imbalance in the flow of information, which was very much to the detriment of newly independent and developing countries, there was an air of optimism and trust, recalls Roberto Savio, a global citizen par excellence who embodies culture of peace and is a relentless champion of pluralism in the media. "The economy was growing, the genie of uncontrollable finance was not yet out of the bottle in which it had been shut away by political power, and we young people knew that we had a future," writes Savio in the book titled The Journalists Who Turned the World Upside Down - Voices of another Information, telling the story of Inter Press Service (IPS) in a lucid and engaging style. While this book is expected to be published by Amazon in May 2012, its Italian edition I giornalisti che ribaltarono il mondo by Nuovi Mondi has been on the shelves since November 2011. A Spanish edition is under preparation. Savio – an eminent Italian/Argentine journalist – perceives the book as "a joint history", "a large quilt made of the stories and faces of people from different continents, with different lives, but united by the same commitment: to renew the world of information, making it more plural and more just." This commitment, during the time he was IPS Director-General until 1999, united several hundred people. It covers developments in IPS until 2002, when Uruguayan journalist Mario Lubetkin was chosen as Director-General. In a 52-page essay, Savio explains how he saw himself confronted with heavyweights as he inched forward; heavyweights who would not miss an opportunity to knock him out. But, gifted with an indomitable spirit, he would be back on his feet soon again to continue the walk to the goal he had set himself. The established western news agencies – Reuters, AFP, UPI and AP – which produced 91.3 per cent of international coverage, thus wielding "hegemony of the North" in the flow of information, were in no disposition to accept a new entrant in the field. What puzzled them was that IPS was sans affiliation to any state or commercial corporation. It was a non-profit cooperative of journalists and global communication experts who wanted to give voice to the voiceless. Much to his surprise and chagrin, a super power that claimed to be a lighthouse of freedom of the press felt no qualms of conscience while trying to give IPS a death blow. Others did not shy of denouncing it as a CIA or KGB outfit. The cold war was impacting also the attitudes of governments of countries, which should have felt every reason not only to defend but also support IPS without however attempting to further their narrow vested interests. And yet 50 years since the establishment of the Roman Press Service in 1962 and its successor two years later at Eichholz in Germany, IPS is still there alive kicking, though it
continues to fight an uphill battle – this time against wild forces unleashed in the aftermath of globalisation and the incapability of governments to tame these. When Savio joined hands with the Argentine political scientist Pablo Piacentini to set up the Roman Press Service, the primary objective was to fill the information gap between Europe and Latin America after the political turbulence following the Cuban revolution of 1959. With the passage of time, the network expanded to include all continents, and extended its editorial focus. In 1994, IPS changed its legal status to that of a "publicbenefit organization for development cooperation". Meanwhile, knowledgeable people admit, that the agency has established a niche in the international mediascape, not only by providing professional reporting on the Global South, civil society, and globalization, but also by covering topics in a more in-depth way than is common in the mainstream news. IPS has also been recognised by the United Nations as an NGO holding consultative status (category I) with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Though Savio is the news agency's President Emeritus and chairs its Board of Trustees (who include former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Portuguese, Finnish and Costa Rican presidents Mario Soares, Martti Ahtisaari and Oscar Arias, former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, and former UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor), it is not an IPS book. "It is a personal initiative for which I assume complete responsibility. IPS stayed outside of this editorial effort. Rather, it was achieved through the work of a team of IPS veterans and was entirely financed by myself as recognition of the hundreds of generous professionals that have accompanied me on this long journey since 1964, and from whom I learned so much," writes Savio.
Picture: Roberto Savio 16
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NEWS ESSAY The publisher and co-author Savio highlights yet another significant aspect: "This book is also a tribute of recognition to my first wife Colette, who disappeared before she could see it. Without her, IPS would never have existed. The agency was founded because Colette, as a young spouse, sold her house to finance the agency, and she kept on supporting the agency with personal loans in moments of major crisis. "She accepted living with a husband who was constantly travelling, without ever taking a vacation until the beginning of the 1980s, and was always ready to provide her unconditional and generous support. Each time the (IPS) Association found itself in financial difficulties, as captain of the ship, I would give up my salary to show everybody that I was sure about the future. "For the good of IPS, Colette accepted all the privations that came from an impossible husband. Even although she spoke five languages, was charming and had a marked capacity in the field of public relations, I never allowed her to work in the agency – not even for free – in order to avoid accusations of nepotism. Today, I realise that I asked too much and gave too little in exchange." This did not apply to his relations with supporters from different walks of life. Dr. Cees J. Hamelink, Emeritus Professor of International Communication at the University of Amsterdam and Emeritus Professor for Media, Religion and Culture at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam writes: Against all rational odds "The choice of a long lasting and intense association with IPS was, as most choices in life are, more emotional than rational. In the case of IPS, the choice was driven by an amalgam of an intuitive feeling of resentment against injustice, personal experiences with the practice of journalism, the charismatic inspirer Roberto Savio who made you believe things against all the rational odds. . . "My own writings on the mythology of the free flow of information, about the corporate control of information production and dissemination, and about cultural autonomy had prepared me well for a readiness to share the IPS struggle about a new informational ordering of the world. That struggle also brought the enjoyments of sharp debates, with the staunch supporters of the corporate world order, and the pleasure of all those ridiculous accusations against the agency – ranging from suggestions of receiving KGB funds to being in the service of US imperialism – made by a global circle of opponents." Dr. Hamelink adds: "IPS tried constantly to seek liberation from the prevailing strongly held opinions and beliefs and vested interests about how journal ism should operate. This was in line with the demand in the 1970s for a new information order which was inspired by a vision of liberation and emancipation. Essential to the 1970s projects on a New International Economic Order and a New International Information Order (NIIO) was the desire to create 'freedom for development', constructing free spaces for people to develop their potentialities." Five decades since the foundation of IPS, writes Savio, "We have come to the current New International Market Information Order (NIMIO), which young people believe to be the natural order of things."
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But it is certainly not the "natural order of things". NIIMO follows NIIO debate As in the Italian version too, Savio points out that the NIMIO has defeated all the actors of the debate about a NIIO but a few: three of the large transnational agencies – AP, AFP and Reuters – have survived, while UPI as an international agency has almost disappeared, just like TASS and other agencies from the former Socialist countries. The few surviving Third World agencies have little influence, while those from the new emerging countries, such as India and China, in spite of heavy investments, enjoy limited international circulation. The European agencies Efe, ANSA and DPA are much less relevant today than they were in the 1970s. Savio rightly regrets: "The press is becoming concentrated in the hands of a small number of very rich owners, who are certainly bent on using their power to pursue their own personal agendas. The role of the professional editor is disappearing." He adds: "Besides the concentration of media ownership, we are witnessing an ever-increasing homogenisation of style and content, alongside a decline in the number of readers, particularly among the young, who tap into the Internet to find the information they want. The idea of the media as a window on the world for all citizens is becoming weaker by the year. "And, finally, journalism has surrendered to the market. Today, the first lesson is to write stories that sell, in the simplest possible way, slowly and with no great effort. Journalists are taught to use a plain style, with short sentences and no adjectives, and to keep to less than 850 words, otherwise their stories become unsuitable for publication. "Television has effectively become the window open on the world for most citizens, although it does not offer much by way of analysis. Indeed, information on TV is mostly about impact and entertainment. We have managed to turn citizens into people who can listen, but few of them are capable of seeing. "The theory whereby markets provide a basis for free and responsible journalism has not only reduced the number of actors in the South, it is also dealing a hard blow to information in the North. Young journalists who are starting their careers today will never earn the level of salary, recognition and freedom that I enjoyed in the 1960s. Thanks to the new technologies, for the first time in history communication has become global and costless. "Millions of young people use the Web to forge alliances and take action at the local, national and international level. Their networks are based on common values, on ideal choices, and on global issues ranging from the environment to human rights, from gender roles to democratic participation. They are the new actors fighting for a different world." Savio concludes: "My hope is that this new reality will produce a new Renaissance in information, and that the growth of socalled civil society will lead to a new NIIO, based not on the market, but on citizens' willingness to be, to participate and to grow, and on their values beyond the market." If there were a Nobel Prize for pluralism and culture of peace in the media, Savio will be an incontestable choice.
Population Flows Make The World Go Round By Jaya Ramachndran BRUSSELS - The 27-nation European Union is one of the main catalysts for international economic exchanges, including migration. Its prospects of growth and employment have a direct bearing on global migration flows. What is happening in Europe today is therefore one determining factor for international migration flows in the coming years. In fact, as OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría [left picture] says, labour market developments and migration flows are closely linked. "The decline in labour demand has been the driving force behind the fall in migration during the crisis, not restrictions imposed by migration policies, as our 2012 International Migration Outlook shows," he said presenting the report in Brussels on June 27, with EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion László Andor and EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström. "Countries should therefore pay more attention to their longterm labour market needs, focus on skills and devise policies for the integration of migrants, particularly the young, whose competencies will be needed as the global economy recovers," he added. The OECD report finds that the global financial and economic crisis and the subsequent Great Recession had a tremendously negative impact on employment globally. Migrants, along with youth, were particularly affected by the global jobs contraction – and even more so young migrants. The impact was so strong, that migration flows into OECD countries experienced important declines during 2008 and 2009. In 2010, migration inflows declined again, for a third year in a row. However, as the recovery started gaining momentum in several OECD countries, this decline was modest (of around -3% compared to 2009) and the number of migrants in the 23 OECD
countries measured (plus Russia) totalled just over 4.1 million, a higher number than in any year prior to 2005. The preliminary figures for 2011 show that immigration flows started to increase again in 2011 in several OECD countries." We will have to see if this trend holds, given the new bout of economic weakness," said Gurría. Interestingly, these new increases are not related to the particularly hard times that some Southern European countries are going through. In fact, emigration from countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain increased only very modestly. Free mobility of labour A second key message of the study, said Gurria, is that free mobility of labour enhances its adaptability to changing labour market conditions. "Take the case of Europe. Free mobility within the region accounted for much of the overall decline in immigration inflows since 2007, almost half a million. Still, free mobility continues to account for almost 40% of migration flows into the European OECD countries," the OECD head pointed out. This issue of free mobility and its broader implications for the labour market is at the heart of another OECD publication on migration released on June 27: 'Free Movement of Workers and Labour Market Adjustment - Recent Experiences from OECD countries and the European Union'. This study shows how free mobility favours the labour markets adaptability to changing conditions or downturns, and portrays it as a great advantage. Referring to the salient features of the '2012 International Migration Outlook', Gurria said. the decline in intra-EU migration flows in the post-crisis period has not been driven by policy restrictions, but rather the decline in demand for labour. "This important lesson is reflected in the experience of countries like Sweden, which fully opened up its labour market for migration in 2008 but did not experience a strong increase in labour immigration. This should make us think twice before we consider closing the doors to immigration as an adequate answer to unemployment."
"The decline in labour demand has been the driving force behind the fall in migration during the crisis, not restrictions imposed by migration policies” - OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, Launch of the OECD International Migration Outlook 2012 “Mobile workers go where the jobs are. This is why I want to underline the potential of labour mobility to help to rebalance supply and demand in different EU countries' labour markets (...)" - EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor, Launch of the OECD International Migration Outlook 2012. 18
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Another determinant factor for migration policies is the demographic change, said Gurria. "It is highly important to gauge the implications of the current crisis on migration flows and to review our policies under this challenging dynamic. But it is also crucial that we take into account longer term trends, like the demographic transformations in our societies. And this is not just a question of how many new workers there are to replace those who retire. As the 2012 International Migration Outlook reflects, labour markets are changing too rapidly to consider demographic imbalances alone as a reliable indicator of future occupational needs." The report projects that by 2015, immigration â€“ at the current level â€“ will not be sufficient to maintain the working age population in many OECD countries, especially in the EU. But the coming labour and skills shortages are not a simple function of demographic imbalances, they also depend on the changing nature of demand for particular skills and the extent to which they can be filled from existing sources of supply. "The links between occupational growth and decline, demographic imbalances and the need for immigrant workers are therefore far from obvious," noted Gurria. Over the past decade, new immigrants represented 15% of entries into strongly-growing occupations in Europe, and 22% in the United States. They are thus playing a significant role in responding to labour demand in the most dynamic sectors of the economy. Many jobs which migrants are entering are new jobs, while many jobs from which older workers are retiring are being cut.
But even in occupations where overall employment is declining, there is still recruitment. New immigrants account for around 25% of new entries in these occupations in Europe and the United States, as these jobs are often less attractive to native workers. In other words, labour migration is not so much about replacing retiring workers, but about satisfying the changing needs of the labour market. According to Gurria, one particularly interesting trend analysed in the latest International Migration Outlook is the changing role of Asia in international migration: Migration dynamics in, from and to Asia are becoming more and more important for OECD countries. Asia's share in migration flows to OECD countries has grown impressively: In 2010, Asia has been the leading source region of new migration and accounted for 35% of all immigration flows. This represents more than 1.8 million persons, an increase of 56% over 2000. According to the report, the share of migrants from Asia among immigrants to OECD countries rose from 27% in 2000 to 31% in 2010, with China alone accounting for about 10%. China and India between them also account for 25% of international students in OECD countries. In the long-term, as Asia develops and offers more attractive jobs locally and itself attracts more skilled workers from abroad, OECD countries will be less able to rely on this steady stream of skilled workers. "So if OECD countries want to rely on a steady stream of skilled workers from Asia in the future, they must take steps to maintain or rather improve their attractiveness as a destination for Asian skilled workers and students," averred Gurria. ď ˛
The recent global economic crisis has highlighted the resilience of migration and further confirmed that human mobility forms an integral part of our globalized world. Migration is one of the ways in which the exchange of talent, services, skills and a diversity of experience is achieved. Yet migration remains politically sensitive and governments face the difficult task of dispelling the misunderstandings surrounding it. Indeed, misinformation and misperception can trigger a vicious cycle which influences government policy, and in turn, perpetuates negative attitudes in mass media and the community at large. Policies and political discourse can therefore play a major role in shaping the image of migrants in home and host societies. Communicating effectively about migrants and migration policy to the wider public remains one of the biggest challenges governments in countries of origin and destination face. - World Migration Report 2011 GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
UN Censures Practice of Detaining Migrants By Jaya Ramachndran GENEVA - The United Nations has in a new report expressed grave doubts about the widespread practice of detaining migrants. States use a variety of reasons to justify this practice and some see irregular migration as a national security problem or a criminal issue, notes the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, in his latest report to the Human Rights Council. However, he warns, there are a number of human rights issues at stake. Different categories of migrants are subjected to detention, including migrants who are undocumented or in an irregular situation, asylum-seekers awaiting the outcome of their asylum application and failed asylum-seekers awaiting removal. The Special Rapporteur, a Canadian national, emphasizes that "there is no empirical evidence that detention deters irregular migration or discourages persons from seeking asylum," adding: "Despite increasingly tough detention policies being introduced over the past 20 years in countries around the world, the number of irregular arrivals has not decreased. This may be due, inter alia, to the fact that migrants possibly see detention as an inevitable part of their journey." "Any detention of migrants must be prescribed by law and must be necessary, reasonable and proportional to the objectives to be achieved," says Crépeau, drawing attention to the fact that the right to liberty and security of person, the protection against arbitrary detention, and all other human rights are applicable to all detained persons, regardless of their migration status. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees to "everyone", including migrants in an irregular situation, the right to life, liberty and the security of person and provides that "no one" shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Article 9, paragraph 1, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ordains that everyone has the right to liberty and security of person, no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention and no one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. The Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the Covenant, in its general comment No. 8 (1982) on right to liberty and security of persons stated that this provision is applicable to all deprivations of liberty, including immigration control. The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families also
protects the right to liberty and security of person and provides all migrant workers regardless of their status with the right not be subjected individually or collectively to arbitrary arrest or detention and the right not be deprived of liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law (Articlea 16, paras. 1 and 4). The Special Rapporteur adds that a decision to detain should only be taken under clear legal authority, and all migrants deprived of their liberty should be assisted, free of charge, by legal counsel and by an interpreter during administrative proceedings. Migrants under administrative detention should be placed in a public facility specifically intended for that purpose, not those intended for persons imprisoned under criminal law. Legal authority However, information received by the Special Rapporteur indicates that migrants are detained in a wide range of places, including prisons, police stations, dedicated immigration detention centres, unofficial migration detention centres, military bases, private security company compounds, disused warehouses, airports, and ships. These detention facilities are placed under the responsibility of many different public authorities, at local, regional or national level, which makes it difficult to ensure the consistent enforcement of standards of detention. Migrants may also be moved quite quickly from one detention facility to another, which also makes monitoring difficult. Moreover, migrants are often detained in facilities which are located far from urban centres, making access difficult for family, interpreters, lawyers and NGOs, which in turn limits the right of the migrant to effective communication. Crépeau adds: "Privately run migrant detention centres pose particular difficulties in terms of monitoring. They may also pose particular concern if the contracts for managing detention centres are awarded to the company that offers the lowest cost, without giving sufficient attention to the obligation to treat those detained with humanity and with respect for their dignity." The Special Rapporteur says in his report that immigration detention should never be mandatory or automatic. It should be a measure of last resort, only permissible for the shortest period of time and when no less restrictive measure is available. "Governments have an obligation to establish a presumption in favour of liberty in domestic law, and should consider progressively abolishing the administrative detention of migrants." Crépeau also focuses on providing special protection for certain categories of migrants in detention, including women, children, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, victims of torture, and victims of trafficking.
Picture: François Crépeau | Credit: http://oppenheimer.mcgill.ca/Francois-Crepeau 20
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MIGRATION Women in detention should be separated from men and supervised only by women officers in order to protect them from sexual violence, he says. The detention of pregnant women migrants and breastfeeding mothers should be avoided, and legislation should not permit the detention of unaccompanied children. "Legislation should prevent trafficked persons from being prosecuted, detained or punished for illegal entry or residence in the country or for the activities they are involved in as a consequence of their situation as trafficked persons," the expert adds. In his report, Crépeau shares a range of successful noncustodial alternatives to detention, which are also considerably less expensive than detention measures. However, he warns, the success of those alternatives depends on the adoption of a human rights approach. The report is submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 17/12, and is the first to be presented to the Human Rights Council by the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. Crépeau assumed his functions on August 1, 2011. The Situation in Turkey The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants visited Turkey from June 25 to June 29, 2012 in his regional study on the human rights of migrants at the borders of the European Union. Stressing the importance of the visit, Crépeau said: "Turkey is one of the key bridges to Europe. Its unique geographical location makes it as a hub for migrants from all over the world including Sub-Saharan and North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Many of those migrants are in an irregular situation and some are transiting through Turkey with the wish to enter the EU. Indeed, the Turkish-Greek border remains one of the key points of entry for irregular crossings to Europe. In recent years however, because of its economic strength, coupled with the difficulty many people face in reaching EU territory due to strict migration controls, Turkey itself has increasingly shifted from being solely transit country to also becoming a destination country for migrants worldwide." He added: "Given this reality, and combined with the fact that migration management is one of the key issues negotiated in view of Turkey’s possible accession to the EU, and the pending readmission agreement with the EU, it is clear that the issue of migration, including the related matter of border management, will remain firmly on both Turkey’s and the Turkish-European agendas in the years to come." Crépeau noted that while the EU and Turkey have developed a close cooperation on migration issues, which has led to some notable positive developments, the assistance offered to Turkey regarding migration management appears to focus largely on securitising the borders and decreasing irregular migration to the European common territory through focusing on projects related to the detention and removal of migrants in Turkey and the increased monitoring of the Turkish border. Often neglected from GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
the equation, is an equivalent emphasis on the human rights of those most vulnerable and most affected by the migration process: the migrants themselves, he said. The UN Special Rapporteur urged the Turkish government to: Ensure the swift enactment of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection without amendments that would weaken its provisions, as well as the development of the relevant secondary legislation in a consultative manner. Ensure the protection of all human rights for everyone, including migrants, regardless of their status, in the new Constitution. Establish an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles, and an office of the Ombudsperson, with effective mandates to monitor the human rights of everyone, including migrants. Ensure that an independent National Preventive Mechanism, which Turkey is required to establish by September 2012 (within one year of the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture), is mandated to visit all places where migrants may be deprived of their liberty. Lift the geographic limitations to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees Exercise caution before detaining individuals for the sole purpose of their irregular migration, explore alternative measures to detention and ensure adequate monitoring access to all places where migrants are detained to lawyers, NGOs and UNHCR, including the transit zone of Istanbul Airport. Refrain from detaining children and families with children, in conformity with the principles of the best interests of the child and of family unity. Establish clear procedures to avoid prolonged detention of specific nationalities of migrant detainees. Facilitate, where possible, the voluntary return of migrants who are willing to return to their countries, as opposed to deportation proceedings, in accordance with all principles of international human rights law. Ensure that all migrants deprived of their liberty are able to promptly contact their family, consular services and a lawyer, which should be free of charge if necessary, seek asylum if requested, have access to a doctor and to an interpreter, and have the right to promptly challenge their detention. Abolish the satellite city system, allowing asylum seekers to choose their residence within the country. Submit its initial report under the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which is more than six years overdue. This will allow an assessment on the rights of migrant workers in Turkey, which in turn could lead to increased protection of their rights. Encourage and support independent NGOs that support migrants. Ensure access to social services, including education, health and housing, for all migrants including children, and those an irregular situation.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference on capacity-building to counter piracy in the Indian Ocean | Wikimedia Commons
Global Piracy Acquires a New Dimension By Taro Ichikawa TOKYO - Piracy attacks off the Horn of Africa and in Southeast Asia have attracted most attention but the Gulf of Guinea has emerged as a new "hot spot". Increased assaults are threatening the economic development of the region, particularly the exploitation of its marine resources, according to a maritime security expert. The menacing dimensions of such attacks are underlined by the fact that the Gulf of Guinea adjoins the shores of West and Central Africa between Guinea Bissau and Angola. Eminent countries in the region include Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria. Large quantities of oil, fish and other marine resources make the region a potentially rich economic zone, which produces more than 5 million barrels of oil each day and more than three quarters of the world’s supply of cocoa. The Gulf of Guinea region, along with the Congo River delta and Angola further south, are in fact expected to provide around a quarter of the United States' oil imports by 2015. The region is regarded as one of the world's top oil and gas exploration hotspots. However, as Sam Bateman points out, "the region has more than its fair share of problems, including civil unrest, political instability, border disputes, corruption and poor governance." An increasing number of acts of piracy are posing another problem, which calls for regional cooperation and international assistance to address it effectively, says Bateman, a former Australian naval commodore with research interests in piracy and maritime terrorism, in a commentary for the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. RSIS was listed among top 50 think-tanks in the world in the 2011 Global Go to Think Tanks results released by the University of Pennsylvania’s International Relations Program on January 18, 2012. RSIS was ranked 47 in the list of top 50 think tanks world22
wide (non-U.S.), marking the first time the School had made it into this prestigious list. RSIS was also ranked 22nd among university-affiliated think tanks globally. Piracy According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 52 actual and attempted piracy attacks were reported around the Gulf of Guinea during 2011, as opposed to 39 in 2010. 19 attacks occurred in the first quarter of 2012. The 52 attacks in 2011 represent about 12 per cent of the total attacks around the world during the year. Along with the Horn of Africa with 239 attacks during the year and Southeast Asia with 101, these three areas account for nearly 90 per cent of global piracy. Analysing the IMB figures, Bateman says: While most attacks have occurred off Nigeria, more attacks occurred in 2011 in the waters off Benin with 20 attacks during the year as compared with only one in the previous four years. The situation off Nigeria improved during 2011 with 10 attacks that year compared with 19 in 2010. The first quarter of 2012 saw a resurgence of two attacks off Nigeria, but there was some improvement off Benin, partly due to joint naval patrols by Nigeria and Benin. Some attacks off Benin and Nigeria involve a ship being hijacked and a significant part of its cargo stolen – losses from each attack range from US$2 million to $6 million. "These attacks suggest considerable planning, organisation and sophisticated modes of operation by the pirates," says Bateman, adding: "Most attacks occur at night and target oil and chemical tankers that are stationary while conducting ship-toship transfer operations, often at a distance of over 40 nautical miles offshore."
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A suspected pirate skiff in the Gulf of Aden burns after being destroyed by the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).
In a recent incident, the 76,600 dwt product tanker BW RHINE under the Panama flag was seized from an anchorage off Togo on April 28, 2012. The vessel was released a few days later after some of its cargo of gasoline had been stolen. According to the IMB, at least 16 similar incidents have been reported along the coastline from Togo to Nigeria over the past year. "Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has its origins in political instability, corruption and the economic problems of the region," writes Bateman, adviser to the RSIS's Maritime Security Programme. "Oil and gas developments, particularly offshore in the Gulf of Guinea, provide attractive targets. Attacks in Nigeria in the 1990s were often perpetrated by groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which attacked pipelines and offshore platforms," he adds. According to estimates, piracy currently results in an annual loss of about US$2 billion to the economy of the West African sub-region. Nigeria is believed to lose about 7 per cent of its oil revenues to criminal activities. A large and highly developed black market for oil and its products exists in the region. Piracy in the region also affects the operation of vessels associated with the exploration and exploitation of offshore oil and gas, such as seismic research vessels and offshore supply vessels. Seismic survey vessels are low and slow and thus vulnerable to 'hit and run' attacks to steal valuables or even kidnap crew members. Unlike Somali pirates, writes Bateman, West African pirates have no place to hold a vessel securely while ransom negotiations take place; so they sometimes kidnap crew members, usually more senior or highly skilled technical people who may attract higher ransoms. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
The RSIS maritime security expert notes that countries around the Gulf of Guinea are sensitive to foreign warships patrolling in their waters. An international naval response to piracy in the region would therefore be controversial. Regional leaders believe that the presence of foreign warships might be more destabilizing than helpful if they widened the strategic nature of the problem and attracted criminal or terrorist attacks. "Countering piracy in the region requires extensive capacitybuilding assistance," writes Bateman. "The required capacity includes the development of national legal frameworks; national and regional arrangements to better coordinate anti-piracy activities and information-sharing; and the necessary operational resources (ships, aircraft, skilled people and surveillance systems)." He welcomes that various initiatives under the umbrella of the UN and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) are now underway to develop the required capacity in the region. "Fortunately there are several reasonably strong regional organisations, such as the Gulf of Guinea Commission and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to provide the necessary regional cooperation and dialogue," says Bateman. Nevertheless, he cautions, just as elsewhere in the world, the fight against piracy and sea robbery in West Africa begins on land. "Any viable or lasting regional strategy to combat piracy needs to take account of the root causes of regional piracy: high levels of youth unemployment, wide income disparities within society, the uncontrolled circulation of illicit weapons, and the prevalence of corruption." ď ˛
'South China Sea' and Beijing's Naval Strategy By Rodger Baker and Zhixing Zhang* China is a vast continental power, but it also controls a long coastline, stretching at one time from the Sea of Japan in the northeast to the Gulf of Tonkin in the south. Despite this extensive coastline, China's focus has nearly always turned inward, with only sporadic efforts put toward seafaring and even then only during times of relative security on land. Traditionally, the biggest threats to China were not from sea, except for occasional piracy, but rather from internal competition and nomadic forces to the north and west. China's geographic challenges encouraged a family-based, insular, agricultural economy, one with a strong hierarchal power structure designed in part to mitigate the constant challenges from warlords and regional divisions. Much of China's trade with the world was undertaken via land routes or carried out by Arabs and other foreign merchants at select coastal locations. In general, the Chinese chose to concentrate on the stability of the population and land borders over potential opportunities from maritime trade or exploration, particularly since sustained foreign contact could bring as much trouble as benefit. Interpreting the 'Nine-Dash Line'
China's Nine-Dash Line | Stratfor
Over the past decade, the South China Sea has become one of the most volatile flashpoints in East Asia. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan each assert sovereignty over part or all of the sea, and these overlapping claims have led to diplomatic and even military standoffs in recent years. Because the sea hosts numerous island chains, is rich in mineral and energy resources and has nearly a third of the world's maritime shipping pass through its waters, its strategic value to these countries is obvious. For China, however, control over the South China Sea is more than just a practical matter and goes to the center of Beijing's foreign policy dilemma: how to assert its historical maritime claims while maintaining the non-confrontational foreign policy established by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1980. China staked its modern claim to control of the sea in the waning days of the Chinese Civil War. Since most of the other claimant countries were occupied with their own independence movements in the ensuing decades, China had to do little to secure this claim. However, with other countries building up their maritime forces, pursuing new relationships and taking a more active stance in exploring and patrolling the waters, and with the Chinese public hostile to any real or perceived territorial concessions on Beijing's part, Deng's quiet approach is no longer an option.
To understand China's present-day maritime logic and its territorial disputes with its neighbors, it is necessary to first understand the socalled nine-dash line, a loose boundary line demarcating China's maritime claims in the South China Sea. The nine-dash line was based on an earlier territorial claim known as the eleven-dash line, drawn up in 1947 by the then-ruling Kuomintang government without much strategic consideration since the regime was busy dealing with the aftermath of the Japanese occupation of China and the ongoing civil war with the Communists. After the end of the Japanese occupation, the Kuomintang government sent naval officers and survey teams through the South China Sea to map the various islands and islets. The Internal Affairs Ministry published a map with an eleven-dash line enclosing most of the South China Sea far from China's shores. This map, despite its lack of specific coordinates, became the foundation of China's modern claims, and following the 1949 founding of the People's Republic of China, the map was adopted by the new government in Beijing. In 1953, perhaps as a way to mitigate conflict with neighbouring Vietnam, the current nine-dash line emerged when Beijing eliminated two of the dashes. The new Chinese map was met with little resistance or complaint by neighbouring countries, many of which were then focused on their own national independence movements. Beijing interpreted this silence as acquiescence by the neighbours and the international community, and then stayed largely quiet on the issue to avoid drawing challenges. Beijing has shied away from officially claiming the line itself as an inviolable border, and it is not internationally recognized, though China regards the nine-dash line as the historical basis for its maritime claims. ďƒœ *This is a slightly abridged version of an article in Geopolitical Weekly and was reproduced in IDN-InDepthNews on July 21, 2012.
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NEWS ANALYSIS Like other claimant countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines, China's long-term goal is to use its growing naval capabilities to control the islands and islets within the South China Sea and thus the natural resources and the strategic position they afford. When China was militarily weak, it supported the concept of putting aside sovereignty concerns and carrying out joint development, aiming to reduce the potential conflicts from overlapping claims while buying time for its own naval development. Meanwhile, to avoid dealing with a unified bloc of counterclaimants, Beijing adopted a one-to-one negotiation approach with individual countries on their own territorial claims, without the need to jeopardize its entire nine-dash line claim. This allowed Beijing to remain the dominant partner in bilateral negotiations, something it feared it would lose in a more multilateral forum. Despite the lack of legal recognition for the nine-dash line and the constant friction it engenders, Beijing has little ability now to move away from the claim. With the rising international attention and regional competition over the South China Sea, the Chinese public – which identifies the waters within the nine-dash line as territorial waters -- is pressuring Beijing to take more assertive actions. This has left China in an impossible position: When Beijing attempts to portray joint developments as evidence that other countries recognize China's territorial claims, the partner countries balk; when it tries to downplay the claims in order to manage international relations, the Chinese population protests (and in the case of Chinese fishermen, often act on their own in disputed territory, forcing the government to support them rhetorically and at times physically). Any effort to appeal to Beijing's domestic constituency would risk aggravating foreign partners, or vice versa. Developing a Maritime Policy The complications from the nine-dash line, the status of domestic Chinese developments and the shifting international system have all contributed to shape China's evolving maritime strategy. Under former leader Mao Zedong, China was internally focused and constrained by a weak navy. China's maritime claims were left vague, Beijing did not aggressively seek to assert its rights and the independence struggles of neighboring countries largely spared China from taking a stronger maritime stance. China's naval development remained defensive, focused on protecting its shores from invasion. Deng Xiaoping, in concert with his domestic economic reforms in the late 1970s and early 1980s, sought the more pragmatic joint economic development of the East and South China seas, putting aside claims of territorial sovereignty for another time. China's military expenditures continued to focus on land forces (and missile forces), with the navy relegated to a largely defensive role operating only in Chinese coastal waters. To a great degree, Deng's policies remained in place through the next two decades. There were sporadic maritime flare-ups in the South China Sea, but in general, the strategy of avoiding GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
outright confrontation remained a core principle at sea. China's navy was in no position to challenge the dominant role of the U.S. Navy or to take any assertive action against its neighbors, especially since Beijing sought to increase its regional influence through economic and political means rather than through military force. But joint development proposals for the South China Sea have largely failed. China's expanded economic strength, coupled with a concomitant rise in its military spending – and more recently its focus on naval development – has raised suspicions and concerns among neighboring countries, with many calling on the United States to take a more active role in the region to counterbalance China's rise. The issue of the nine-dash line and territorial claims have also risen in significance because countries had to file their maritime claims under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, bringing the competing claims a step closer to international arbitration. China, which was a signatory to the treaty largely due to its potential maritime gains in the East China Sea, found itself forced to file numerous counterclaims in the South China Sea, raising alarm in neighboring countries of what was seen as an outright push for regional hegemony. It was not only counterclaimant nations that considered the Chinese moves troubling. Japan and South Korea are heavily dependent on the South China Sea as an energy transit corridor, and the United States, Australia and India among others depend on the sea for trade and military transit. All these countries saw China's moves as a potential prelude to challenging free access to the waters. China responded with increasingly assertive rhetoric as well as a larger role for the Chinese military in foreign policy decisions. The old policy of nonconfrontation was giving way to a new approach. The Foreign Policy Debate In 1980, Deng expressed the shape of Chinese foreign policy as one in which China should observe the world, secure its position, deal calmly with foreign affairs, hide its capabilities and bide its time, maintain a low profile and never claim leadership. These basic tenets remain the core of Chinese foreign policy, either as guidelines for action or excuses for inaction. But China's regional and domestic environment has shifted significantly from the early days of Deng's reforms, and China's economic and military expansion has already passed Deng's admonition to hide capabilities and bide time. Beijing understands that only through a more proactive policy can China expand from a solely land-based power to a maritime power and reshape the region in a manner beneficial to its security interests. Failure to do so could enable other regional states and their allies, namely the United States, to contain or even threaten China's ambitions. At least four elements of Deng's policies are currently under debate or changing: a shift from non-interference to creative involvement; a shift from bilateral to multilateral diplomacy; a shift from reactive to preventative diplomacy; and a move away from strict nonalignment toward semi-alliances.
Creative involvement is described as a way for China to be more active in preserving its interests abroad by becoming more involved in other countries' domestic politics â€“ a shift from noninterference to something more flexible. China has used money and other tools to shape domestic developments in other countries in the past, but an official change in policy would necessitate deeper Chinese involvement in local affairs. However, this would undermine China's attempts to promote the idea that it is just another developing nation helping other developing nations in the face of Western imperialism and hegemony. This shift in perception could erode some of China's advantage in dealing with developing nations since it has relied on promises of political non-interference as a counter to Western offers of better technology or more development resources that come with requirements of political change. China has long relied on bilateral relations as its preferred method of managing its interests internationally. When China has operated within a multilateral forum, it has often shaped developments only by being a spoiler rather than a leader. For example, China can block sanctions in the UN Security Council but has rarely proffered a different path for the international community to pursue. Particularly through the 1990s, Beijing feared its relatively weak position left it little to gain from multilateral forums and instead put China under the influence of the stronger members. But China's rising economic power has shifted this equation. China is pursuing more multilateral relationships as a way to secure its interests through the larger groups. China's relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, its participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its pursuit of trilateral summits are all intended to help Beijing shape the policy direction of these blocs. By shifting to the multilateral approach, China can make some of the weaker countries feel more secure and thus prevent them from turning to the United States for support. Traditionally, China has had a relatively reactive foreign policy, dealing with crises when they emerge but often failing to recognize or act to prevent the crises before they materialize. In places where Beijing has sought access to natural resources, it has often been caught off-guard by changes in the local situation and not had a response strategy prepared. (The division of Sudan and South Sudan is one recent example). Now, China is debating shifting this policy to one where it seeks to better understand the underlying forces and issues that could emerge into conflict and act alone or with the international community to defuse volatile situations. In the South China Sea, this would mean clarifying its
maritime claims rather than continuing to use the vague ninedash line and also more aggressively pursuing ideas for an Asian security mechanism, one in which China would play an active leadership role. China's stance on alliances remains the same as that put forward by Deng in the 1980s: It does not engage in alliance structures targeted against third countries. This was both to allow China to retain an independent foreign policy stance and to avoid international entanglements due to its alliances with others. For example, Chinese plans to retake Taiwan were scuttled by its involvement in the Korean War, and thus its relations with the United States were set back by decades. The collapse of the Cold War system and the rise of China's economic and military influence have brought this policy under scrutiny as well. Beijing has watched cautiously as NATO has expanded eastward and as the United States has strengthened its military alliances in the AsiaPacific region. Beijing's non-alliance policy leaves China potentially facing these groups alone, something it has neither the military nor the economic strength to effectively counter. The proposed semi-alliance structure is designed to counter this weakness while not leaving China beholden to its semialliance partners. China's push for strategic partnerships (even with its ostensible rivals) and increased military and humanitarian disaster drills with other nations are part of this strategy. The strategy is less about building an alliance structure against the United States than it is about breaking down the alliance structures that could be built against China by getting closer to traditional U.S. partners, making them less willing to take strong actions against China. In its maritime strategy, Beijing is working with India, Japan and Korea in counte-rpiracy operations and engaging in more naval exchanges and offers of joint exercises and drills. China's world is changing. Its emergence as a major economic power has forced Beijing to rethink its traditional foreign policy. Closest to home, the South China Sea issue is a microcosm of China's broader foreign policy debate. The ambiguity of China's maritime claim was useful when the region was quiet, but it is no longer serving China's purposes, and coupled with the natural expansion of China's maritime interests and naval activity it is instead exacerbating tensions. Old policy tools such as trying to keep all negotiations bilateral or claiming a hands-off approach are no longer serving China's needs. The policy of joint development inherited from Deng has failed to bring about any significant cooperation with neighbouring countries in the sea, and the assertion of the nine-dash line claims amid the U.N. sea treaty filings has simultaneously increased domestic Chinese nationalism and countermoves by neighbouring countries. Despite the lack of clarity on its maritime policy, China has demonstrated its intent to further consolidate its claims based on the nine-dash line. Beijing recognizes that policy changes are needed, but any change has its attendant consequences. The path of transition is fraught with danger, from disgruntled domestic elements to aggressive reactions by China's neighbours. But by intent or by default, change is happening, and how the foreign policy debate plays out will have lasting consequences for China's maritime strategy and its international position as a whole. ď ˛
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China Prepares to Avert Looming Water Crisis By Taro Ichikawa TOKYO - China is girding up its loins to stave off a serious water crisis by 2030 when population is expected to rise to 1.6 billion. With water consumption soaring, per capita water resources will drop to 1,760 cubic meters â€“ perilously close to 1,700 cubic metres, the internationally recognized benchmark for water shortages, according to Chinese experts. Li Rui, head of the Soil Conservation Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), warned already ten years ago that if no effective measures are taken, the country is likely to suffer a serious water crisis in the future. Since then, Beijing has been exploring possible ways and means to face the challenge. China Daily reported on June 11, 2012 that "by the end of 2012, a water resource allocation plan for 25 rivers that flow through more than one province will be launched, limiting the amount of water that can be taken from the rivers by each of the provinces." The gravity of the problem lies in the fact that water resources are unevenly distributed in China, with northern parts of the country deficient in water, and southern parts rich in the essential element. The areas south of the Yangtze River, China's longest, which account for only 36.5 percent of the country's total territory, have 80.9 percent of its total water resources. However the areas north of the Yangtze, which make up 63.5 percent of China, possess only 19.1 percent of total water resources. According to the China's Soil Conservation Institute, the combined area of the three valleys of the Yellow, Haihe and Huaihe rivers accounts for 13.4 percent of the country's total territory. Arable land, population, and gross domestic product (GDP) of the three river valleys comprise 39 percent, 35 percent, and 32 percent respectively of the national totals. But water resources in the three river valleys account for only 7.7 percent of the national total. Per capita water resource in the three valleys stands at 500 cubic meters, so that there are areas where the water shortage is already grave. Most stringent regulations Referring to the new plan, Chen Ming, deputy head of the Water Resources Department at the Ministry of Water Resources said: "We are doing our best to accelerate the process (of adequate regulations). Hopefully, the plan will come out by August." China Daily said: "The water resource allocation plan is one of the moves the ministry has taken to promote the implementation of the most stringent regulations in Chinese water resource management." The plan is expected to be based on the regulation announced in January 2012 by the State Council, which set four "mustcomplete" targets by 2030. These include limiting the country's annual total water consumption to less than 700 billion cubic meters. The plan also envisages limiting the scale of water GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
exploitation, improving the efficiency of water usage and curbing water pollution throughout the country. "There are no other countries that have set such detailed targets to restrict their own development by limiting usage of water resources," Chen said. Presently, China's average per capita water capacity amounts to 2,100 cubic metres, which comprises only 28 percent of the world's per capita level. The annual average water shortfall is 50 billion cubic metres, according to the ministry. It also points out that in contrast with the severe water shortage the efficiency of water usage is far below the world's leading level. "If we don't change the way we use water resources, by 2030 the country's average per capita water capacity will be only 1,730 cubic metres," said Chen. Anything below 1,700 cubic metres is deemed as "falling short with water", according to the standard set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to international common practices, the exploitable water resources of a country must be less than 40 percent of its total water resources, otherwise the ecosystem will be largely damaged. Chen said the first target in the regulation â€“ the figure of 700 billion cubic metres annual total water consumption - was calculated after considering the necessary amount needed for development, the exploitable amount that the environment can afford and the principle of a properly tightened budget. The current figure is about 600 billion cubic metres. Many cities rely heavily on water-consuming industries to boost the local economy. The central government has come up with several policies to deal with this situation, China Daily reported. "The core is a plan called water resources assessment, which is completed in some cities before the environmental impact assessment. Newly built water-consuming projects must use recycled water or seawater during production to receive approval from the National Development and Reform Commission," China Daily said quoting Chen. He said the enterprises should also improve their production line to reduce the water consumption of each product. Those who do well will receive subsidies from government at various levels. "If the enterprises were cows, there are both policies to lead and to force them to run," said Chen. "But in the long run, they are sure to benefit from the policies." Chen emphasized that once the water quota is allocated to all provinces, it cannot be traded in the market, because the legal system to explain the notion of water rights is still inadequate in China. "Administrative measures and market mechanisms are now working in parallel in China," he said. "The former is currently in the lead because it hasn't played enough of a role in the past. But the trend in the future is the latter." ď ˛ 27
What Africa Can Learn from China By Dr. Lim Mah-Hui* GENEVA - We are living in interesting and perilous times. The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters – danger and opportunities. Times of danger also offer opportunities to those who are able to use them to their advantage. The international economy is in its worst crisis since the Great Depression. There could be a break-up of the Euro zone with momentous consequences for the world economy; and the U.S. economy is limping along with high level of unemployment five years after the great financial meltdown.
Growth in these two largest economies is below 2% at best. On the other hand, the Asian economies, particularly China, though affected are better off. Growth is forecasted to be about 8% for China and 5.8% for Africa in 2012. Why has China been able to maintain such stellar economic performance over the last two decades? To me, the key lies in its ability to combine the positive elements of a state economy and a market economy. While a rigid and centrally planned economy of the Soviet type is unsuitable for a complex modern economy, the free-for-all market fundamentalist economy that was touted as the end of history is discredited by the present global economic and financial crisis. I see two mega-trends or issues for the 21st century. The first is the relationship between the state and market and what is the right mix between the two; the second, related to the first, is the contest between labor and capital for the fruits of growth and its social and political consequences. On both these issues, the experience of China’s development offers valuable insights.
China’s spectacular economic growth took off after Deng Xiaoping introduced market reforms. One of the most important experiments he started in the late 1970s was the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the southern coastal region of China that had a rich history of entrepreneurship. In 1992 after he made a historic visit to the southern region again, he declared the SEZs to be a success and he pushed for expansion of market economy to the whole country. In the same year he appointed Zhu Ronji to head the powerful state planning committee and later also as governor of China’s central bank. Zhu took the best of state planning and market reforms to drive the economy forward. Fortunately, he rejected the Washington Consensus and the shock therapy model that was foisted on Eastern European countries after their breakaway from the USSR. He implemented his famous 16 macro-economic policies that combined capitalist fiscal and monetary policies with outright state planning and administrative controls. He was not wedded to a rigid ideology. To everyone’s surprise it worked. He brought down inflation to 1% but maintained growth at 9% by 1998 that continued for the next two decades. China introduced market reforms, but they did not abandon state planning and controls. His theory can be termed as "managed marketization". He cleaned up the banking system, reformed state owned enterprises to become more responsive to market forces, kept a tight control over capital flows, managed China’s foreign exchange rate, encouraged high savings rate, provided incentives for selected foreign direct investments, and drove a hard bargain for technology transfer. In short, instead of succumbing to neo-liberal market fundamentalism, China combined elements of state and market economy. This is perhaps the most important lesson that China offers to countries that are looking for alternatives to neo-liberalism. The great financial crisis of 2007-09 called into question market fundamentalism. The trickle-down theory of market fundamentalism has not worked. While it has generated growth, some of which are financially fictitious and unsustainable, it exacerbated inequality, unemployment and poverty. However, rather than taking corner solutions of either market fundamentalism or total state control, we should engage in theory and in practice to find the right mix between the two, realizing that there is NO SINGLE MODEL for all societies. There is a role for both market and state forces; and they should be harnessed and regulated to achieve sustainable development from an ecological, social and economic viewpoint.
Picture: African students at Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan | Wikimedia Commons
*This Viewpoint is based on a talk by Dr. Lim Mah-Hui on behalf of the South Centre at a Seminar on Trade and Export Development in Africa, in Beijing on July 13, 2012. The seminar was held in conjunction with the 19th General Meeting of Shareholders of African Export-Import Bank. It is being republished by arrangement with the South Centre. 28
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VIEWPOINT This is not to suggest that China’s growth is without problems. There are three pillars to development – growth, distribution and sustainability. China combining state and market forces has produced super-charged growth over the last two decades. But she has not adequately addressed the issues of distribution and sustainability. This is best captured by Premier Wen Jiabao's remarks after the National People Congress in March 15, 2007. He said that although China has experienced steady and fast growth, she cannot remain complacent. He continued that China's growth is "unsteady, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable". How China will address the last two pillars is crucial not only for China but for the rest of the world. In the recently concluded Rio Plus 20 summit in Brazil, all countries agreed to intensify the implementation of sustainable development, which incorporates the three dimensions of economic growth; social development, social inclusion and social equity; and environmental protection. All three have to be integrated in an appropriate model of development in the future. Of course each country and each region is free to choose how to do this. But both China and Africa have to reconsider their development strategy to take social distribution of benefits, and environmental sustainability into account, when planning economic growth. Lessons for Africa Next, I will sketch briefly the areas that China can cooperate with and assist in Africa’s development. Over the past two decades, China's economic relation with Africa has grown significantly in terms of trade, investments, and official aid. However, most of these have been concentrated in the extractive industry and the provision of infrastructure related to this sector. There have undoubtedly been gains for African countries from this expansion of export earnings due to increased commodity demand and prices. The assistance provided by China for infrastructure development has also been favourably commented upon. However, while the resource rich African countries have benefitted from the commodity boom generated by China, there have also been concerns raised that in many countries there has not been enough diversification of the economies beyond commodities, especially into manufacturing, for example by value addition through more processing of the commodities and manufactures based on the commodities. Also, there have been concerns about the environmental and distributional consequences of the extractive sector. It would be useful for African countries to examine more deeply these issues of economic diversification, and social and environmental issues, so that sustainable and equitable benefits can be derived from future commodity production. Going forward, more emphasis should be placed on developing the manufacturing capabilities of the African countries be it the forward and backward linkages of extractive industries, agriculture, manufacturing for exports, as well as small scale manufacturing industry. Some Chinese firms have set up export manufacturing platforms in the textile and apparel industry in East Africa to take advantage of trade preferential status given by the U.S. and EU countries to Africa. Another area that China can assist is to assist African countries to build up their capacity in the pharmaceutical drug industry. Africa like other developing regions urgently require access to affordable medicines, not only for HIV-AIDS and malaria, but also for a wide range of diseases and this need will increase in the future. China has increasingly efficient drug companies that have the potential to develop and produce more medicines in the future. It would be useful to consider setting up joint ventures between Chinese and African companies. This is especially because African countries that are LDCs enjoy exemption from implementing the TRIPS agreement with respect to patents in medicines until 2016, and this exemption may also be extended after 2016. Through such joint ventures, African companies may seek to gain technology transfer from Chinese companies, while the joint venture companies may enjoy exemption from patents, thus GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
Chinese 1950s propaganda poster showing Africans reading Mao Tsedong's book
facilitating their ability to produce generic medicines and to export them to other African countries. Special Economic Zones have been a major catalyst for growth in China. In 2009, China announced the setting up of 7 Special Economic Zones in several African countries. This is an important experiment to build manufacturing capability, but whether this success can be replicated in Africa depends of the presence of enabling local conditions such as good infrastructure and institutional governance. China has introduced bilateral local currency swaps with important trading partners in Asia and Latin America recently. The same could be done with African countries to generate greater trading and investment opportunities. Finally the present global financial and economic crisis gives China an opportunity to consolidate its relationship with Africa. It is clear that there is no political will at the international level to institute any meaningful changes to the international financial architecture. Hence, the next best solution is to look for regional support and solutions. The alternative of promoting regional cooperation and groupings and a multipolar world instead of nationalism or a single super power world should be further developed. Asia is in the process of doing it. Likewise Africa and Latin America are doing it. Continued assistance by China to Africa will serve China's long-term strategic and political interests.
China's Rare Earth Monopoly Being Challenged By Ajey Lele * Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China's economic transformation, declared in 1992: "There is oil in the Middle East; there is rare earth in China." China reportedly possesses about a third of the world’s rare earth deposits and controls 97 percent of the global market for rare earth elements. But Beijing's near monopoly is being challenged, among others by countries such as India, Japan and Vietnam – a development which is not leaving China unimpressed. NEW DELHI - Recently, there has been some buzz about China’s stockpiling of Rare Earth Elements (REE). Interestingly, this debate originated within China, starting with a story published on June 20, 2012, which highlighted China's first ever White Paper on REE tilted 'Situations and Policies of China's Rare Earth Industry' delineating the country's national rare earth industry. The REE issue raises major concerns in various parts of the world for the simple reason that China presently controls almost 97 per cent of the world's REE market. REEs are an integral part of various modern technologies. Many such technologies
rare earth smelting products, accounting for 90 [per cent] of global output. The nation holds 23 [per cent] of the world's total rare earth reserves." But disputing this, some analysts claim that China has only 36 per cent of REE reserves. Be that as it may, whether it is alumina or zinc, China is presently the leading producer of at least 38 minerals while South Africa and Russia are leading producers of six minerals each and the US five minerals. Economics of Mining
have relevance in the areas of defence, energy, etc. In the electronics industry, for example, in computers and televisions, REEs are of much use. They are important for manufacturing small-sized products like cell phones and laptops. In the defence arena, they are important for the production of cruise missiles, precision guided munitions and reactive armours. They also are useful in making radar systems. Further, REEs are finding increasing utility in the production of various green technologies. Here, they are currently being used in contemporary wind turbines and plug-in hybrid vehicles. In oil refineries, REEs are used as a catalyst. According to the White Paper, "China can produce over 400 varieties of rare earth products in more than 1,000 specifications. In 2011, China produced 96,900 tonnes of
Interestingly, REEs are actually not as rare as the name suggests. They are found in various rock formations, although mostly in low concentrations. Hence, the major challenge is the economics of mining. China offers major support to its mining industry in the form of subsidies; the industry has, at its disposal, cheap labour as well. The Chinese have realized a complete monopoly in this field by manipulating the economics of business: they have made products available at very cheap rates in the international market, which has indirectly led to other countries losing interest in the business. Now, with the major market share in the hand, the Chinese can afford to control the market.
*Ajey Lele, a former Wing Commander, is a research fellow at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). This is a slightly abridged version of the original article, which appeared as IDSA Comment on July 19, 2012. It was re-published by IDN-InDepthNews on July 30, 2012. 30
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VIEWPOINT While the White Paper states that China's REE industry is showing growth (market value $15.8 billion), however, some reports indicate that China's REE exports quota has fallen dramatically between 2006 (61,560 metric tonnes) and 2011 (30,246 metric tonnes; for 2012, the current estimates are 31,438 metric tonnes. Japan has primarily been the major importer of China's REE. The US was once self-sufficient in domestically produced REEs, but over the past 15 years has become 100 per cent dependent on imports, primarily from China because of lower-cost operations. Sensing its importance in the REE market, China had, in early 2012 announced new restrictions on rare earth exports to the US and other countries. (Earlier, in 2010, it had temporarily stopped shipments to Japan due to a territorial dispute over fishing rights.) As a result, the US, Japan and the European Union made an official complaint to the WTO about China’s restrictive export policies. They are of the opinion that China is using its nearmonopoly "to subsidize domestic manufacturers and to force foreign manufacturers to move their operations there." China appears to be intentionally choking-off global exports to derive benefits domestically. In early July 2012, China formally rejected the request by the US, Japan and the EU for a WTO panel to arbitrate (as per the rules, only one such blocking of a proposal is permitted). It is now expected that both parties would try to resolve the dispute amicably; otherwise the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body would take up the case. Others girding up their loins Over the last few years, realizing the dangers of Chinese monopoly, countries like India, Japan and Vietnam have started collaborating in REEs. North America countries are also planning to increase their investments. It is expected that more than 15
per cent to 20 per cent of rare earth minerals could be mined outside of China by the end of this decade. Vietnam is known to have significant rare earth reserves and – by collaborating with Japan – is expected to make significant inroads in this field. India is also planning to increase its output three times over by 2017. In India's case, rather than competing with China for a slice of the REE exports pie, it is important to remain self-sufficient to cater to the requirements of its domestic industry. Such materials have utility in various areas from space to shipbuilding to defence. China has successfully controlled the global REE market for many years. However, it is only now that the Chinese have felt the need to bring out a White Paper on this subject. This clearly indicates that their monopoly is being challenged internationally. It is possible that China is using the White Paper to inform others that it has regulations in place and plans to improve existing legal structures further. The Chinese are also keen to cooperate internationally on export mechanisms and the development of new REE-related technologies. However, the REEs’ strategic relevance is far greater than their economic importance, and China’s core interests in this business cannot be commercial alone. It appears to have made investments in this business both for economic and strategic purposes. India, too, understood the importance of REEs decades ago, and within a few years of independence, established the Indian Rare Earths Ltd. (1950). This organization has four production plants and is presently a profit-making organization. However, there is need to revisit the increasing requirements of REEs in the defence, space, energy and green technology sectors. The REE sector offers commercial, strategic and diplomatic advantages and India should exploit their potential to its benefit.
Rare earth ore, shown with a United States penny for size comparison
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Need to Focus More on Preventive Diplomacy By R. Nastranis cal, radiological and nuclear weapons, particularly with respect to so-called intangible transfers of technology." Dr Gill highlights three salient features of the study related to worldwide developments in 2011: constraints on established powers; continuing emergence of new powers and non-state actors; and struggling norms and institutions. Established powers
SIPRI Director Dr Bates Gill | Credit: Global Zero
STOCKHOLM - Short of passionately pleading for a profound change in the military-oriented mind-sets of decision-makers, SIPRI Director Dr Bates Gill has called for a "far greater focus on less militarized solutions" to the global security challenges ahead, and stressed the need for resorting to "an innovative integration of preventive diplomacy, pre-emptive and early-warning technologies, and cooperative transnational partnerships." Before this becomes a reality, the world's powers will have to develop a new framework for relations among themselves, rebalance military and non-military resources, reform institutions and respond to the influence of non-state actors. Since that is not going to be easy, the world will continue to face "a lengthy period of uncertainty and a diffuse range of unmet and potentially destabilizing risks and challenges for security, armaments and disarmament". In an analysis of the SIPRI Yearbook 2012, Dr Gill considers major global or regional interstate wars unlikely in the near term, but warns that the international system is vulnerable to shocks arising from localized and intensive warfare. Eventual disruptions in the flows of people, capital, commodities, technologies and information would hit the very backbone of modernizing and stable societies, he adds. The SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) report also draws attention to the role of non-state and quasi-state middlemen in the supply chain including brokers, shippers, banks and other financial institutions and scientists. These, warns Dr Gill, "may knowingly or otherwise play a part in the proliferation of materials, technology and know-how related to chemical, biologi-
A significant and on-going trend in 2011 saw established world powers – especially the U.S. and its major transatlantic allies – face constraints on their economic, political and military capacities to address global and regional security challenges. These limitations were mainly imposed as a result of the crisis in public finances. At the same time, uprisings and regime changes in the Arab world drew international attention and responses, which were manifested in the UN-mandated and NATO-led intervention in Libya that brought about the downfall of the Gaddafi regime. The United Nations deployed more than 262 000 peacekeepers in 52 operations around the globe in 2011 to help bring peace to unstable parts of the world. But the widespread support for and expansion of traditional peace operations over the past decade are also facing constraints in the years ahead, says the SIPRI director. Besides, the world's major donors to peace operations – chiefly the advanced economies most badly affected by the global financial crisis – are considering to cut back support to multilateral institutions and to focus instead on smaller and quicker missions. "This will undoubtedly have an impact on the design and implementation of future interventions in armed conflict around the world," avers Dr Gill. New powers and non-state actors According to the SIPRI director, a second major trend evident in 2011 involved states around the world outside the traditional U.S.-led alliance system building greater economic, diplomatic and military capacity to affect regional and, in some cases, global security developments. "The remarkable growth in military spending in China, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia is only part of the story," he says, adding: "States and state-based regional organizations are not alone in gaining in relative influence and impact. In-depth tracking of armed violence around the world reveals the destabilizing role of non-state actors in prosecuting conflicts and engaging in violence against civilians."
. . . the world's powers will have to develop a new framework for relations among themselves, rebalance military and non-military resources, reform institutions and respond to the influence of non-state actors. 32
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PERSPECTIVES The international community has yet to fully grapple with the ongoing structural changes which define today's dynamic, complex and trans-nationalized security landscape. "These changes often outpace the ability of established institutions and mechanisms to cope with them," says Dr Gill. "It will certainly take time for established and newly emergent powers to reach an effective consensus on the most important requirements for international order, stability and peace, and on how to realize and defend them." Struggling norms and institutions The SIPRI director sees in the established powers' diminished capacity to shape the terms of discussion and implement preferred responses, combined with the diffusion of power to other players in the international system, a third significant trend: struggling norms and institutions. As a result, multilateral organizations tasked with promoting and enforcing norms for stability and security are confronted with difficulties in generating the political will and financial resources needed to meet their mandates. Subsequently, gaps remain which require new or more effective mechanisms, says Dr Gill.
The SIPRI director, an American national, urges institutions to continue bold reforms that more fully take into account the emerging power relationships among states at the global and regional levels. Expansion and reform of the UN Security Council would be a welcome move towards better reflecting the emergent realities of hard and soft power in the world today, he argues. But such measures seem unlikely given – what he calls – the "understandable reluctance on the part of the current five permanent members to dilute their influence". Instead, it appears to him that members of the UN Security Council will look to regional organizations for political buy-in and, increasingly, material support for action. "However, such 'outsourcing' would be more effective if regional organizations – such as the African Union, the Arab League, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and others – significantly reformed their decision-making structures and improved their capacities for cooperative action in such areas as preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping, countering crime, border surveillance, disaster relief, disease surveillance and developmental assistance," advises Dr Gill.
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Post-2014 Afghanistan Draws Focus at Tokyo Meet By Taro Ichikawa
TOKYO - Japan is Afghanistan's second largest donor behind the United States. Since the Tokyo Conference in January 2002, it has provided $3.3 billion till the end of 2011, to support political processes, assist infrastructural, agricultural and industrial development, help meet basic human needs, and promote Afghan culture that has profoundly suffered in the past about three decades. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba announced at the Tokyo Conference 2012 – convened to chart future assistance for Afghanistan, ahead of the withdrawal of 100,000 foreign combat troops stationed in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 – that Japan will provide "up to around three billion dollars of assistance to Afghanistan in about five years from 2012 in the field of socio-economic development and enhancement of security capabilities". Gemba told representatives from 70 countries – including Afghan President Hamid Karzai – and international organizations that Japan will assist Afghanistan in three priority areas of economic social development based on Afghanistan’s development strategy, These include the agricultural sector in which about 80 percent of the Afghan labour force is engaged, infrastructure and human resource development. Gemba expressed the country's intention to continue to provide contribution to the Afghan-led nationbuilding even after 2017 through assistance in that area as well. In order to further strengthen regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, Japan announced that it is implementing projects worth around $1 billion in neighbouring countries, and through these projects it would support the development of the corridor which goes across Afghanistan from Central Asia to Karachi in Pakistan.
The significance of such commitments as those of the international community totalling $16 billion in aid through 2015 for Afghanistan's economic and development sectors cannot be over-emphasised. The pledge came as Afghanistan reportedly agreed to new conditions to deal with endemic corruption that is eating into arduous development efforts. The World Bank has calculated that Afghanistan will need $3.3 billion to $3.9 billion in annual non-security spending for those first three years of the transition to cover a shortfall in its gross domestic product of just over $17 billion. The development aid announcement come on top of $4.1 billion pledged in May 2012 at a NATO conference in Chicago to fund the Afghan National Security Forces from 2015 to 2017. As the World Food Programme points out, Afghanistan faces enormous recovery needs after three decades of war, civil unrest and recurring natural disasters. Despite recent progress, millions of Afghans still live in severe poverty with a crumbling infrastructure and a landscape that is suffering from environmental damage. This rugged, landlocked country remains one of the poorest in the world, with more than half the population living below the poverty line. The 2007-2008 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) found that 7.4 million people – nearly a third of the population – are unable to get enough food to live active, healthy lives. Another 8.5 million people, or 37 percent of the entire population, are on the borderline of food insecurity. Besides, some 400,000 people each year are seriously affected by natural disasters, such as droughts, floods, earthquakes or extreme weather conditions. Help in Quest for Security Against this backdrop, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the international community to continue its engagement with and support for Afghanistan. "We must all continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan in their quest for security, stability and prosperity. An Afghanistan at peace with itself would at long last respond to its peoples' hopes of better lives for themselves and their children," he said. "And an Afghanistan living in harmony with its neighbours, near and far, would make a tremendous contribution to regional and international peace and security," Ban told the Tokyo Conference participants. The gathering was the third international conference on the Central Asian nation in three months.
Picture: The military terminal at Kabul International Airport | Wikimedia Commons
Japan announced that it is implementing projects worth around $1 billion in neighbouring countries, and through these projects it would support the development of the corridor which goes across Afghanistan from Central Asia to Karachi in Pakistan. 34
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PERSPECTIVES In his remarks to the event, the Secretary-General said that the world had reached a critical moment in Afghanistan's history, with a transition from reliance on aid that has enabled the country's institutions to take root, to a normalized relationship of a sovereign, functioning Afghanistan with its people and with its international partners. "But let us be clear: transition must not translate into shortterm measures only. We should give the people of Afghanistan the long-term prospect of a better future, and ease their worries that Afghanistan may be abandoned," Ban said. He said: "We are all aware of serious concerns regarding Afghan delivery and accountability on governance commitments. These must be addressed in the interest of the Afghan people and also to maintain donor confidence – but we must be fully conscious that Afghanistan's institutions are still in their nascent stages." Ban welcomed the establishment of a so-called Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework – which sets out the principles of the partnership between the international community and Afghanistan – as a means of providing confidence to Afghans and international donors that the commitments they have made to each other will be monitored and honoured. “Donors should live up to the commitments they have made to provide predictable assistance in a way that genuinely strengthens national ownership and capacity," the UN chief said. "At the same time, it is of course Afghanistan itself that bears the primary responsibility to live up to its obligations to better serve its people in line with the commitments made in Bonn, Kabul and London." Ban added that the UN will continue its long-running engagement with Afghanistan, noting the need for "reasonable expectations of what the United Nations can and cannot achieve." "“In close coordination with the major stakeholders and within the limits of our limited resources, we will do our utmost to help the Afghans fill the gaps that may arise as transition deepens," he said. "That means strong support, throughout the Transformation Decade (2015-2025), for the country's economic and social development, for building its institutional capacity, for basic services and social protection, for jobs, justice and the rule of law." Promises According to analysts, the Tokyo Declaration emerging from the July 8 gathering shows that Kabul has made big promises. In 16 points, the diplomats have listed "joint commitments" which President Karzai should tackle in his final two years in office. These include organizing free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2015, improving controls on
financial markets and tackling rampant corruption. Some points are tied to specific dates, such as the implementation of a law condemning violence against women or establishing a fixed time frame for the upcoming elections by early 2013. Although the paper remains vague in many aspects, diplomats secured some achievements. Their plans include a regular external review of Kabul's reforms. At least once a year, countries' senior representatives will gather to take stock of Afghanistan's progress. By 2014 there will be a follow-up conference in Britain to reassess the financial aid. The hope is that the fixed schedule will push Afghanistan to fulfil its obligations. However, speaking in Tokyo, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle warned against inflated expectations. "We're not talking about European standards," he said, referring to corruption. "We're talking about making things a bit better." But making things better may also turn out to be an uphill task. This is underlined by a rather vulnerable security situation once again manifested in a suicide bomber killing at least 22 and wounding more than 40 people at a wedding reception for the daughter of a prominent politician in Afghanistan on July 14. Within less than a week of the Tokyo Declaration on 'Partnership for Self-Reliance in Afghanistan - From Transition to Transformation', the head of the United Nations agency tasked with advancing gender equality has condemned the recent violence against women in Afghanistan and stressed the need to protect their rights. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), noted in a statement that recent weeks have witnessed cases of "extreme abuse and appalling violence against women." They include the torture and rape of a young woman, Lal Bibi, by Afghan Local Police and the public execution of a young woman, Najiba. "These cases have once again focused attention on the continuing and urgent need to protect women’s and girls’ rights as the world redefines its role in Afghanistan, and as the Government of Afghanistan moves forward in [its] transition," Bachelet said. Stressing the need for concerted action, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "Afghanistan has made substantial progress with the help of the international community. . . . But now we have to ensure the strongest possible collaboration among four groups so that this decade of transformation can produce results: the Afghan Government and people, first and foremost; the international community; Afghanistan's neighbors; and the private sector. This collaboration depends on mutual accountability, and all sides have work to do and responsibilities to uphold."
At least once a year, countries' senior representatives will gather to take stock of Afghanistan's progress. By 2014 there will be a follow-up conference in Britain to reassess the financial aid. The hope is that the fixed schedule will push Afghanistan to fulfil its obligations. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
Doomsday Clock One Minute Closer to Midnight By Jamshed Baruah It is five minutes to midnight on the Doomsday Clock. Inadequate progress on nuclear weapons reduction and persistent inaction on climate change have prompted the eminent Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) to move the hands of the famed clock one minute closer to midnight. The last time the Doomsday Clock minute hand moved was in January 2010, when the Clock's minute hand was pushed back one minute from five to six minutes before midnight. Commenting on the Doomsday Clock announcement on January 10 in Washington DC, Lawrence Krauss, co-chair, BAS Board of Sponsors, said: "Unfortunately, Einstein's statement in 1946 that 'everything has changed, save the way we think,' remains true. The provisional developments of two years ago have not been sustained, and it makes sense to move the clock closer to midnight, back to the value it had in 2007." Krauss, who is also director of New Origins Initiative of the Arizona State University, explained: "Faced with clear and present dangers of nuclear proliferation and climate change, and the need to find sustainable and safe sources of energy, world leaders are failing to change business as usual. Inaction on key issues including climate change, and rising international tensions motivate the movement of the clock." Krauss added: "As we see it, the major challenge at the heart of humanity's survival in the 21st century is how to meet energy needs for economic growth in developing and industrial countries without further damaging the climate, exposing people to loss of health and community, and without risking further spread of nuclear weapons, and in fact setting the stage for global reductions." Near a point of no return Allison Macfarlane, chair of the BAS Science and Security Board, and member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, said: "The global community may be near a point of no return in efforts to prevent catastrophe from changes in Earth's atmosphere. The International Energy Agency projects that, unless societies begin building alternatives to carbon-emitting energy technologies over the next five years, the world is doomed to a
warmer climate, harsher weather, droughts, famine, water scarcity, rising sea levels, loss of island nations, and increasing ocean acidification." Macfarlane, who is also associate professor at the George Mason University pointed out that since fossil-fuel burning power plants and infrastructure built in 2012-2020 will produce energy – and emissions – for 40 to 50 years, the actions taken in the next few years will set us on a path that will be impossible to redirect. Even if policy leaders decide in the future to reduce reliance on carbon-emitting technologies, it will be too late. Leadership is failing Jayantha Dhanapala, a member of the BAS Board of Sponsors, former United Nations under-secretary-general for Disarmament Affairs (1998-2003), and ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States (1995-1997), said: "Despite the promise of a new spirit of international cooperation, and reductions in tensions between the United States and Russia, the Science and Security Board believes that the path toward a world free of nuclear weapons is not at all clear, and leadership is failing." "The ratification in December 2010 of the New START treaty between Russia and the United States reversed the previous drift in U.S.-Russia nuclear relations. However, failure to act on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by leaders in the United States, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, and North Korea and on a treaty to cut off production of nuclear weapons material continues to leave the world at risk from continued development of nuclear weapons. The world still has over 19,000 nuclear weapons, enough power to destroy the world's inhabitants several times over," Dhanapala said. Obstacles Robert Socolow, member of the Science and Security Board said: "Obstacles to a world free of nuclear weapons remain. Among these are disagreements between the United States and Russia about the utility and purposes of missile defence, as well as insufficient transparency, planning, and cooperation among the nine nuclear weapons states to support a continuing drawdown." "The resulting distrust leads nearly all nuclear weapons states to hedge their bets by modernizing their nuclear arsenals. While governments claim they are only ensuring the safety of their warheads through replacement of bomb components and launch systems, as the deliberate process of arms reduction proceeds, such developments appear to other states to be signs of substantial military build-ups," Socolow, professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and co-principal investigator, of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative at the Princeton University added.
Picture: Jayantha Dhanapala | Wikipedia Commons
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
NUKE ABOLITION Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: "The Science and Security Board is heartened by the Arab Spring, the Occupy movements, political protests in Russia, and by the actions of ordinary citizens in Japan as they call for fair treatment and attention to their needs. Whether meeting the challenges of nuclear power, or mitigating the suffering from human-caused global warming, or preventing catastrophic nuclear conflict in a volatile world, the power of people is essential. For this reason, we ask other scientists and experts to join us in engaging ordinary citizens. Together, we can present the most significant questions to policymakers and industry leaders. Most importantly, we can demand answers and action." BAS noted that other key recommendations for a safer world have not been taken up and require urgent attention, including: - Ratification by the United States and China of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and progress on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty; - Implementing multinational management of the civilian nuclear energy fuel cycle with strict standards for safety, security, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, including eliminating reprocessing for plutonium separation; - Strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency's capacity to oversee nuclear materials, technology development, and its transfer; - Adopting and fulfilling climate change agreements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through tax incentives, harmonized domestic regulation and practice; - Transforming the coal power sector of the world economy to retire older plants and to require in new plants the capture and storage of the CO2 they produce; and - Vastly increasing public and private investments in alternatives to carbon emitting energy sources, such as solar and wind, and in technologies for energy storage, and sharing the results worldwide.
The January 10, 2012 Doomsday Clock followed an international symposium held the previous day at the Jones Day law firm in Washington, D.C. The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, with participation from the Sponsors, reviewed the implications of recent events and trends for the future of humanity with input from other experts on nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, and biosecurity. Questions addressed on January 9 included: - What is the future of nuclear power after Fukushima? - How are nuclear weapons to be managed in a world of increasing economic, political, and environmental volatility? - What are the links among climate change, resource scarcity, conflict, and nuclear weapons?; - What is required for robust implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention? About the BAS Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences. ď ˛
Image: The cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has featured the famous Doomsday Clock since it debuted in 1947, when it was set at seven minutes to midnight. | Wikimedia Commons
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a nontechnical online magazine that covers global security and public policy issues, especially related to the dangers posed by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. It has been published continuously since 1945, when it was founded by former Manhattan Project physicists after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of Chicago. The Bulletin's primary aim is to inform the public about nuclear policy debates while advocating for the international control of nuclear weapons. It is currently published by SAGE Publications. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
Hiroshima, Nagasaki Bombings Were Avoidable By David Krieger | President of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered and World War II was over. American policy makers have argued that the atomic bombs were the precipitating cause of the surrender. Historical studies of the Japanese decision, however, reveal that what the Japanese were most concerned with was the Soviet Union's entry into the war. Japan surrendered with the understanding that the emperor system would be retained. The U.S. agreed to do what Truman had been advised to do before the bombings: it signalled to the Japanese that they would be allowed to retain the emperor. This has left historians to speculate that the war could have ended without either the use of the two atomic weapons on Japanese cities or an Allied invasion of Japan. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that, even without the use of the atomic bombs, without the Soviet Union entering the war and without an Allied invasion of Japan, the war would have ended before December 31, 1945 and, in all likelihood, before November 1, 1945. Prior to the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. was destroying Japanese cities at will with conventional bombs. The Japanese were offering virtually no resistance. The U.S. dropped atomic bombs on a nation that had been largely defeated and was trying to surrender at the time of the bombings. Despite strong evidence that the atomic bombings were not responsible for ending the war with Japan, most Americans, particularly those who lived through World War II, believe that they were. Many World War II era servicemen who were in the Pacific or anticipated being shipped there believed that the bombs saved them from fighting hard battles on the shores of Japan, as had been fought on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. What they did not take into account was that the Japanese were trying to surrender, that the U.S. had broken the Japanese codes and knew they were trying to surrender, and that, had the U.S. accepted their offer, the war could have ended without the use of the atomic bombs. Most high ranking Allied military leaders were appalled by the use of the atomic bombs. General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Europe, recognized that Japan was ready to surrender and said, "It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing." General Hap Arnold, commander of the U.S. Army Air Corps pointed out, "Atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse."
Admiral William Leahy, Truman's chief of staff, put it this way: "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. In being the first to use it, we adopted an ethical standard common to barbarians of the Dark Ages. Wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." What Truman had described as "the greatest thing in history" was actually, according to his own military leaders, an act of unparalleled cowardice, the mass annihilation of men, women and children. The use of the atomic bombs was the culmination of an air war fought against civilians in Germany and Japan, an air war that showed increasing contempt for the lives of civilians and for the laws of war. The end of the war was a great relief to those who had fought for so long. There were nuclear scientists, though, who now regretted what they had created and how their creations had been used. One of these was Leo Szilard, the Hungarian ĂŠmigrĂŠ physicist who had warned Einstein of the possibility of the Germans creating an atomic weapon first and of the need for the U.S. to begin a bomb project. Szilard had convinced Einstein to send a letter of warning to Roosevelt, which led at first to a small project to explore the potential of uranium to sustain a chain reaction and then to the Manhattan Project that resulted in the creation of the first atomic weapons. Szilard did his utmost to prevent the bomb from being used against Japanese civilians. He wanted to meet with President Franklin Roosevelt, but Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. He next tried to meet with the new president, Harry Truman, but Truman sent him to Spartanburg, South Carolina to talk with his mentor in the Senate, Jimmy Byrnes, who was dismissive of Szilard. Szilard then tried to organize the scientists in the Manhattan Project to appeal for a demonstration of the bomb rather than immediately using it on a Japanese city. The appeal was stalled by General Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, and did not reach President Truman until after the atomic bombs were used. The use of the bomb caused many other scientists to despair as well. Albert Einstein deeply regretted that he had written to President Roosevelt. He did not work on the Manhattan Project, but he had used his influence to encourage the start of the American bomb project. Einstein, like Szilard, believed that the purpose of the U.S. bomb project was to deter the use of a German bomb. He was shocked that, once created, the bomb was used offensively against the Japanese. Einstein would spend the remaining ten years of his life speaking out against the bomb and seeking its elimination. He famously said, "The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe." ď ˛
Picture: David Krieger | Credit: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | JUNE-JULY-AUGUST 2012
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