A View Inside Primary Schools – a UNESCO report

Human Rights Day (10th December) has non-discrimination as its theme so it may be worth exploring inequalities in primary classrooms through a recent UNESCO report.

This new study highlights the strong effect of social inequality on primary education systems in many countries and the challenge to provide all children with equal learning opportunities.

AbdelhakSenna

The World Education Indicators’ Survey of Primary Schools (WEI-SPS) offers unique insight into the classrooms of 11 diverse countries* in order to understand and monitor the factors shaping the quality and equality of primary education. It examines the main issues and inputs shaping primary schools: the background characteristics of pupils; demographic and educational characteristics of teachers and school heads; school resources and conditions; instructional time; school management; teaching and learning styles in the classroom; as well as learning opportunities provided to pupils.

The survey was designed to ensure that these data could be compared internationally. It serves as a valuable resource for everyone interested in education quality and equity – from policymakers to teachers and academics. By analyzing the diverse components and issues shaping policies and programmes regarding primary schools, the study can be used to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of educational systems. Furthermore, the comparative nature of the study allows each participating country to evaluate its position in relation to others in terms of the inputs, policies and processes of schools. These comparisons must obviously be interpreted within the unique traditions and contexts of each education system. But this framework will serve as a resource now and in the years to come for those committed to improving educational quality and equality.

For access to the study, please visit:

http://www.uis.unesco.org/template/pdf/wei/sps/Report.pdf

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Teacher Training for Psychosocial Care and Protection of Children in Emergencies -excellent free resource for trainers

In the latest Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies Bi-Weekly Bulletin INEE (December 2009 Volume 1) there is reference to an excellent UNICEF resource for trainers/teachers who are involved in education programs in emergencies.

Here is the introduction to the resource:

In order to strengthen its efforts to promote psychosocial support within educational programming in emergencies, UNICEF has developed teacher-training materials to promote greater understanding of the impact of and effective responses to the psychosocial impact of emergencies on learners. The aim of this training is to improve the psychosocial well being of children in emergency environments. However, vulnerability is something many children experience in their developmental stages of growth and learning, so the skills learned during this training can be utilized by all teachers in the everyday classroom context. Over the course of the training, teachers will be exposed to innovative thinking and discussion whereby they will be able to implement identified goals and plans in order to provide a psychologically and emotionally safer environment for all children in their
school.

This manual is grounded in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Taskforce (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (MHPSS), which outline appropriate minimum responses and standards for psychosocial support and mental health in emergencies. In addition, this manual promotes the standards set forth in the INEE Minimum Standards.

Pirozzi

Initial pilot sessions of the training have shown that maximum results are achieved when the approach to psychosocial support by teachers is mainstreamed into the school curriculum and extra-curricular activities. There may be significant relevance to school counsellors as well, though the materials may require some adaptation for their training. Providing exposure to the content for administrators and other school personnel helps to ensure acceptance and sustainability of the programme, as well as a consistency of approach throughout the school system. The materials are oriented towards experienced teachers who already possess strong teaching skills. Shortened or modified versions of the training should be developed to meet the differing needs and capabilities of education personnel other than skilled teachers.

For access to the manual please click here.

The resource is a comprehensive 5 day facilitation guide, and would be useful for all teacher trainers, not just those working in emergency contexts, as it is important to consider children’s psychosocial well being  no matter where they live.

‘Universal Access and Human Rights’ -World Aids Awareness

Universal Access and Human Rights

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. The World AIDS Day theme for 2009 is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS.1 Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.2
The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2009 is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’. Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and care, recognising these as fundamental human rights. Valuable progress has been made in increasing access to HIV and AIDS services, yet greater commitment is needed around the world if the goal of universal access is to be achieved. Millions of people continue to be infected with HIV every year. In low- and middle-income countries, less than half of those in need of antiretroviral therapy are receiving it, and too many do not have access to adequate care services.3
The protection of human rights is fundamental to combating the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. Violations against human rights fuel the spread of HIV, putting marginalised groups, such as injecting drug users and sex workers, at a higher risk of HIV infection. By promoting individual human rights, new infections can be prevented and people who have HIV can live free from discrimination.
World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us – individuals, communities and political leaders – to take action and ensure that human rights are protected and global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.

From WHO (Philippines)

Violation of human rights or insufficient compliance with human rights principles, compounded by limited or no access to health services, could significantly contribute to the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Asia, the World Health Organization warned today.

WHO said that unless drastic measures are taken to address these issues, the Region’s HIV/AIDS problem could significantly worsen despite progress in some countries.

WHO, in collaboration with Member States, marks World AIDS Day on 1 December to raise awareness worldwide about HIV/AIDS and to promote solidarity in the face of the pandemic. This year’s theme, “Universal Access and Human Rights”, seeks to ensure that human rights are protected and that global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.

WHO said violations against human rights fuel the spread of HIV and put marginalized groups, such as injecting drug users, sex workers, and men who have sex with men and transgender people at a higher risk of infection.

These population groups are more vulnerable to contracting HIV because they are often unable to realize their full civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. They also lack access to information and education and to the services necessary to ensure prevention and care and treatment of infection.

While access to HIV services is expanding in some settings, most-at-risk population groups continue to face technical, legal and socio-cultural barriers to accessing those services, WHO said.

Globally, an estimated 33.4 million people are living with HIV, with the Western Pacific Region accounting for 1.4 million infections at the end of 2008. The epidemic continues to grow in the Region, although showing signs of stabilization, with an estimated number of new infections of about 136 000 in 2008, a slight decline compared to earlier years.

The burden of HIV continues to be predominant among men (69% of HIV-infected adults in 2008), due to the more predominant engagement of men in high-risk behaviours such as unprotected commercial sex, unsafe use of injecting drugs, and unprotected sex amongst men.

Of concern is the number of new infections among children in the Region, with the total reaching 5700 in 2008. This is mainly a consequence of the low provision of services related to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in most Western Pacific countries. By contrast, paediatric HIV has become very uncommon in other settings with better PMTCT coverage.

APC – Association for Progressive Communications

With the explosion of communication technologies we often wonder if there are any rules? We  hear of countries blocking internet sites, but do we hear of those who are trying to provide frameworks and structures to allow more and better access to communication technologies? Well APC is the cyberplace to go…

What do they do exactly?

APC helps people get access to the internet where there is none or it is unaffordable, we help grassroots groups use the technology to develop their communities and further their rights, and we work to make sure that government policies related to information and communication serve the best interests of the general population, especially people living in developing countries. In all of our work we encourage people to network as a means of making other activities more sustainable. If people share their experiences and skills they have greater value over a longer period and often create a ripple effect.

Some examples of their present projects:

Communication for influence in Central, East and West Africa (CICEWA)

APC and KICTANet draw on the experience of their successes in the Africa ICT Policy Monitor project and the CATIA project to bring an integrated approach to ICT policy research, dissemination and advocacy through the building of sub-regional networks. They operate using the principle of multi-stakeholder partnerships developed through the CATIA experience to engage in evidence-based policy change. The project seeks to identify the political obstacles to extending affordable access to ICT infrastructure in Africa and to advocate for their removal in order to create a sound platform for sub-regional connectivity in East, West and Central Africa that will provide a platform for the effective use of ICTs in development processes.

Communications and Information Policy in Latin America – Advocacy

Oriented to influence national and regional ICT policy processes to ensure that demands and perspectives of civil society organisations are considered.

EroTICs: An exploratory research project into sexuality and the internet

What is “harmful content” on the internet? The definition is contestable, subjective and open to a range of interpretations, and the majority of interventions to combat it are mostly concerned with obscenity and child pornography. Sexual rights workers are troubled by the growing role of conservative forces – supported by religious extremists – and their attempts to encourage new legislation that would treat all online sexual exchanges as sexual predation and all adult content on the internet as pornography. This protectionist approach overshadows other important aspects of the internet that directly impact on internet users’ lives and their ability to access to vital information on sexuality, sexual health and sexual rights. EroTICs, an exploratory research just starting at APC, aims to narrow the gap between political assumptions and a better understanding of content and “harm” based on women’s real experience of sexuality online.

Feminist Tech Exchange

While the existence of a “digital divide” between ICT “haves” and “have nots” exists, the additional gender divide is often overlooked and women, particularly women in developing countries, are far less able to benefit from and influence the male-dominated ICT development than their male counterparts. Through skills diffusion and capacity building, the Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) seeks to empower women’s rights organisations, advocates and feminists sidelined in the growth of the global digital commons. The Exchange has been developed in response to the expressed needs of feminist and women’s rights movements for greater understanding of emerging ICT and applications. At the same time, the Exchange is an opportunity to foster exchange between feminist and women’s rights movements and the ICT4D community through the participation of individuals involved in ICT for development projects who are looking to get a stronger understanding and integration of gender analysis and feminist values within their work.

GreeningIT – APC on ICTs, Climate Change & Environmental Sustainability

As a network promoting local community sustainable development, promoting the development and use of ICTs has been always closely linked with issues related to environmental sustainability. APC members have been implementing projects ranging from monitoring environmental degradation, to natural disaster and accident reporting, to the use of ICTs in managing energy resources more efficiently to research on low-power computing, alternative energy sources and e-waste management in developing countries. In 2008 these efforts led to a new APC-wide GreeningIT initiative that aims to address two critical challenges: How national ICT policy environments address ICTs, environmental sustainability and climate change; and How ICTs can be used more sustainably by ICTD practitioners, civil society organisations and service providers?

Take a look at their publications section:

APC 2009 APC’s assessment of the fourth Internet Governance Forum Johannesburg APC English
Wairagala Wakabi 2009 Bringing affordable telecommunications services to Uganda: A policy narrative and analysis Johannesbourg Association for Progressive Communications Full report
Willie Currie 2009 Written Submission to the United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) NEW YORK APC Full document
LC 2009 Media monitoring and evaluating 2008 MONTEVIDEO Association for Progressive Communications Media monitoring report
APC 2009 ICTs for democracy: Information and Communication Technologies for the Enhancement of Democracy – with a Focus on Empowerment Stockholm Swedish International Development Agency English

Take Back the Tech -Activism Against Gender-based Violence

What is Take Back the Tech?

Take Back The Tech! is a collaborative campaign that takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (25 Nov – 10 Dec). It is a call to everyone – especially women and girls – to take control of technology to end violence against women.

This campaign is organised by the Association of Progressive Communications, Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP).

APC WNSP is a global network of more than 175 women in over 55 countries promoting gender equality in the design, implementation, access and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and in the policy decisions and frameworks that regulate them.

What is VAW?

VAW, or violence against women, means any act that results in harm and disproportionately affects women. The root cause of VAW lies in unequal power relations between men and women in almost all facets of life. Some examples of VAW include domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment.

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines VAW as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”.

VAW was recognised as a violation of fundamental human rights in 1993, less than two decades ago, officially through the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the United Nations General Assembly. Women’s movements across the world are continuously bringing to light new dimensions and different forms of VAW.

What is ICTs?

ICTs, or information communication technologies, broadly means tools and platforms that we use for our communication and information needs. Some examples include radio, mobile telephones, television broadcasts, and the internet.

Sometimes ICTs are understood in “old” and “new” forms. Simply put, “older” forms of ICTs are where information is transmitted in analogue format like radio, and “newer” forms of ICTs are those transmitted in digital formats like wireless technology.

In reality, the distinctions are not absolute, and there are many kinds of ICTs that move from one to the other. The important point is that ICTs carry different meanings and value in different contexts, and impact upon societies significantly in different ways.

VAW & ICTs

Both ICTs and VAW affects our capacity to completely enjoy our human rights and fundamental freedoms. There is an increased recognition of the connection between VAW and ICTs. For example, the websites can be a useful place for women in violent relationships to get information and help. However, tools like spyware and GPS tracking devices have been used by abusers to track and control their partner’s mobility.

There are at least two ways to see how ICT impact power relations:

  • Representation
    ICTs are able to transmit and disseminate norms through representations of “culture” and social structures and relations. Often also acting as media, images reinforce notions of “difference” between men and women by normalising stereotypes of gender roles as reality.

However, this dynamic is not straightforward or simple, as cultures are not homogeneous or static. The increased diversity of content producers on the internet also allows an array of representations that affect gender relations in complex ways. The strands of gender, sexual, cultural, and racial discourses communicated through ICTs must be unravelled to assess their role in affecting culture and norms.

  • Communication
    The speed, vastness and relative ease of use, especially of “new” ICTs reduce distance and time between people. This can have a great influence on social relations. ICTs can allow survivors of VAW to seek information and assistance, but can also endanger survivors if utilised without an understanding of their dimensions. Local strategies by organisations can be compromised by ICTs through issues of privacy, misrepresentation and misunderstanding.

On the other hand, organisations have utilised the capabilities of ICTs to network across great distances and mobilise immediate action on urgent situations of VAW. By examining how ICTs have been employed, women’s movements can shape stronger connections with greater understanding of their potential and limitations.

More information and examples on how VAW & ICTs are interconnected, including example of case studies, can be read through APC WNSP’s research papers here.

 

TakeBackTheTech Campaign featured on Global Voices

Renata Avila has written on Global Voices about the Take Back The Tech Campaign.

She focused on the importance of such a campaign in Central America, highlighting some of the female bloggers who focus on technology:

“This is one of the many initiatives across the globe that are encouraging women not to be afraid of technologies and through education [es] on how to use it to improve their lives. Today more than ever, it is important for women and girls to use technologies to improve their lives, especially in Central America.”

With the millions of blogs out there, how can you choose which blogs to read, what if you want to read about what’s happening in other countries.. that will most probably not be written in your language too? You can search and translate,. or you can try something like Global Voices.

Global Voices is what is called a Bridge Blog, building small bridges across language and culture barriers, where you can peek at what other people are concerned with and struggling against right now.

“Global Voices aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore.”

They are covering many countries in different lauguages, by volunteer authors. Check their website and see whether your blogosphere is represented.

 

CREATE AND BE A PART OF TAKE BACK THE TECH!

Build the campaign with your thoughts, ideas, words and imagination. Create and share digital postcards. Find out more about the reality of violence against women by watching digital stories. Blog with us. Upload and share video and audio clips. Create your own Take Back The Tech! campaign.

Campaign Against Gender Violence‏ – free resources

The Inter agency network for education in emergencies  (INEE) is supporting an international campaign that calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women, begins tomorrow (November 25) and continues until December 10, International Human Rights Day.

  • Worldwide, approximately 75 million children are out of school; more than half of them are living in conflict-affected states. Millions more are living in situations affected by natural disasters.
  • In Ethiopia, between 70 and 80 percent of young adults in a study reported experiencing psychological or physical violence at school.
  • In countries including Sudan, Colombia and Uganda, the recruitment of boys and girls into armed groups keeps many children out of school.
  • In Afghanistan and Pakistan and many other countries, female teachers and female learners have experienced violent attacks by armed groups. Girls’ schools have been destroyed. The fear of sexual violence en route to school keeps many internally displaced girls at home.

Education is an important protection measure during all phases of conflict*:

  • When creating safe spaces and “zones of peace,” education plays an important role in physical and psychosocial protection. The normality and routine provided by daily schooling is a stabilising and crucial factor for children’s development.
  • Deployment and retention of female teachers can enhance protection, as female teachers are often seen as contributing to greater security for girls in school.
  • Schools are effective sites for educa- tion on such issues as HIV/AIDS , landmines, human rights, tolerance, and non-violent conflict resolution, as well as other issues.
  • Education may contribute to positively altering social dynamics when curricula and textbooks are free of abusive and sexist messages, and display girls and boys, women and men as equally valued and active.

INEE has gathered together some useful resources :
Importance of Education
Produced By: The Brussels ad hoc Working Group on Violence Against Women in Conflict (VAWIC)

This advocacy resource outlines how education can both mitigate and perpetuate violence in conflict settings. It provides concrete statistics and suggestions for best practices in addressing violence against women and girls in schools.

Established in 2008, VAWIC includes representatives from NGOs and NGO networks and coordinates closely with relevant UN Agencies who act as observers to the group.  This group has been created to combine each organization’s expertise in advocating EU institutions to address sexual and gender-based violence as a priority.

For further information and documentation, or to contact group members, please email: vawicgroup@yahoo.com

Training Package: Gender and Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Recovery
Produced by: IRC on behalf of the INEE Gender Task Team

The IRC is finalizing the production of a Task Team training package based on trainings carried out in 2008. The training package features:

  • Facilitators’ Guide
  • Training Session Power Points
  • Handouts and Background Resources
  • Exisisting gender frameworks, tools and strategies
  • Links to INEE Minimum Standards, Sphere Minimum Standards and IASC Guidelines

The full package will be available online and in CD-Rom format at the end of the month. To pre-order the CD-Rom, please your full mailing address and the number of copies required to Diksha at Diksha.Mudbhary-Sitaula@theirc.org

Working with young women; empowerment, rights and health
Authors: Ricardo,C.; et,al; Produced by: Instituto PROMUNDO

This manual, part of an initiative called Program M, includes a series of group educational activities to promote young women’s awareness about gender inequities, rights and health. It also seeks to develop their skills to feel more capable of acting in empowered ways in different spheres of their lives.

All of the activities draw on an experiential learning model in which young women are encouraged to question and analyse their own experiences and lives, in order to understand how gender can perpetuate unequal power in relationships, and make both young women and men vulnerable to sexual and reproductive health problems, including HIV/AIDS. The activities engage young women to share ideas and opinions and think about how they can make positive changes in their lives and communities.

Gender sensitive disaster management: a toolkit for practitioners
Authors: Pincha,C; Produced by: Earthworm Books (2008)
The risks and vulnerabilities that people face from natural disasters are as much a product of their social situation as their physical environment. Vulnerabilities and capacities of individuals and social groups evolve over time and determine people’s abilities to cope with disaster and recover from it. Social networks, power relationships, knowledge and skills, gender roles, health, wealth, and location, all affect risk and vulnerability to disasters and the capacity to respond to them. There is enough evidence that in any disaster disproportionately large number of women are affected more severely relative to men.

This toolkit provides a guide to incorporating a gender perspective in the overall planning and practices of disaster management. The tools are intended for use by all those engaged in the disaster management, i.e., policy makers, donors, NGOs and researchers in their efforts to build resilient and gender-just communities.

Engaging Boys and Men in GBV Prevention and Reproductive Health in Conflict and Emergency-Response Settings – A Workshop Module
Authors: CARE/EngenderHealth, Produced by: USAID and The Archive Project

This is a training guide for a two-day skill-building workshop to introduce participants to the topic of engaging boys and men in reproductive health in conflict and emergency-response settings. The module includes a facilitator’s guide, handouts, slides for presentations, and participant resources for additional reading. The module is intended for personnel working in conflict and other emergency-response settings who are interested in engaging boys and men in gender-based violence prevention and reproductive health. It is appropriate for staff that have had some training in gender, gender-based violence prevention, and reproductive health.

If you would like to order a CD-Rom version, please contact Manisha Mehta at mmehta@engenderhealth.org.

USAID’s Student, Community Counselor and Teacher Programs to Reduce Gender-Based Violence in Schools
SafeSchools Program, USAID

USAID’s Office of Women in Development is pleased to announce the release of the Doorways training manuals.  The manuals, developed under the USAID-funded Safe Schools Program, were designed to make classrooms safer and more conducive environments for student retention and learning.   The set of manuals can be integrated into existing programs for teacher training, Parent Teacher Association strengthening, scholarships, support to orphans and vulnerable children, and HIV prevention education or as part of a comprehensive national or local plan to reduce gender-based violence against children.   Piloted in Ghanaand Malawi, students (ages 10-14) and adults who participated in the programs demonstrated positive changes in attitudes and knowledge concerning gender-based violence.   The manuals and accompanying resource booklets can be found here:

Web Campaign: Investing in Girls: www.girleffect.org
A web-based campaign on the importance of investing in first education. A fact sheet useful for advocacy is also available to download.

The INEE Thematic Guide on Gender-Based Violence (from the INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit) contains practical tools and resources from different agencies to help field staff and Ministry of Education officials implement the INEE Minimum Standards and contextualise the indicators to local settings in order to prevent and respond to gender-based violence through education.

The Toolkit Thematic Guide can be downloaded here. Here is a small sample of the kinds of tools available:   INEE Gender Strategies for Education in Emergencies: Preventing and Responding to Gender Based Violence In and Through Education
[INEE Gender Task Team]

Using the INEE Minimum Standards as a framework, this tool provides a series of concrete and practical strategies and promising approaches for preventing and responding to gender-based violence in and through education.
INEE Gender Strategies in Emergencies, Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction Contexts: Recruiting and Supporting Women Teachers
[INEE Gender Task Team]

Using the INEE Minimum Standards as a framework, this tool provides a series of concrete and practical strategies and promising approaches for recruiting and supporting women teachers.

INEE Gender Strategies in Emergencies, Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction Context: Gender Responsive School Sanitation, Health and Hygiene
[INEE Gender Task Team]

Using the INEE Minimum Standards as a framework, this tool provides a series of concrete and practical strategies and promising approaches for providing gender responsive school sanitation, health and hygiene. It also contains a case study of an IRC program in Ethiopia that provided an integrated approach to addressing sanitary protection needs.
INEE Gender Strategies for Education in Emergencies: Preventing and Responding to Gender Based Violence In and Through Education
[INEE Gender Task Team]

Using the INEE Minimum Standards as a framework, this tool provides a series of concrete and practical strategies and promising approaches for preventing and responding to gender-based violence in and through education.
Guidelines on Gender Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings: Sheet 9.1: Ensure girls’ and boys’ access to safe education [UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee]
Pdf pages 83-84 / Document Pages 73-74

The Education Action Sheet within these guidelines articulate a series of key minimum prevention and response actions to ensure girls’ and boys’ access to safe education and protect them from gender-based violence.   You can access the entire INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit at www.ineesite.org/toolkit

Cop15 – Copenhagen conference – climate and attitude change

Maris Kassabian 10

After all the fuss, the conference has started , and remarkably positively.

Are we interested?

Due to the range of self interest groups there are a number of alternative interpretations of the scientific evidence. During the last few days we have seen the results of the Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad and Tobago – a wholehearted yes to global action on issues to do with climate change. Of course the commonweath of countries include many small island states who are immediately in danger due to a rise in sea levels. Some active polluters would also like to put a different spin on science,suggesting that temperatures are actually going down and the fuss is just political not scientific. Our job is to cut through the obvious bias and find out as much as we can before coming to some conclusions.

Commonwealth nations representing one-third of the world’s population threw their weight on Saturday behind accelerating efforts to clinch an “operationally binding” U.N. climate deal in Copenhagen next month.

Leaders of the 53-nation Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad and Tobago used their summit to bolster a diplomatic offensive seeking wide consensus on how to fight global warmingbefore December 7-18 U.N. climate talks in the Danish capital.

“The clock is ticking to Copenhagen … we believe that the political goodwill and resolve exists to secure a comprehensive agreement at Copenhagen,” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told a news conference in Port of Spain.

The Commonwealth Climate Change Declaration pledged the group’s backing for Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in his efforts to secure wide attendance and commitment from world leaders at the Copenhagen climate talks.

“We pledge our continued support to the leaders-driven process … to deliver a comprehensive, substantial and operationally binding agreement in Copenhagen leading towards a full legally binding outcome no later than 2010,” the Port of Spain declaration said.

Tackling the thorny issue of funding for poor nations’ efforts to fight climate change and global warming, developed countries in the Commonwealth led by Britain backed an initiative to establish a Copenhagen Launch Fund, starting in 2010 and building to $10 billion (6 billion pounds) annually by 2012.

Reflecting debate that has dogged the road to Copenhagen, developing states said much more money needed to be committed by rich nations to help poorer countries counter global warming and adapt to the pollution-reducing requirements of a climate deal.

Will Cop15  be a case of missed opportunities by leaders who should know better?

Get daily updates from earthwire e.g.

Climate pledges ‘not enough for deal’, says EU
EurActiv | 30 Nov 2009
Pledges made so far by governments to cut greenhouse gases are not enough for an effective pact to fight climate change, European Commission President Jos’ Manuel Barroso said on Sunday (29 November).
EU Emission Trading SchemeClimate ChangeSouth Africa: Zuma Calls for Binding Emission Reduction Targets
AllAfrica.com | 30 Nov 2009
President Jacob Zuma has during a bilateral meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for world leaders to commit to legally binding emission reduction targets at the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen.
Climate Change and DevelopmentClimate Change ImpactsClimate Change

Did the Kyoto protocol make a difference?

The debate is hotting up…

Check the youtube channel on Cop15

and the youth climate debate

Perhaps we need to keep an open mind and start learning more about what the issues are for us personally, for our local environment,for our country and last but not least, the planet and all those who will need to live on the planet for the foreseeable future.

Rodrigues -Indian Ocean

While working on Rodrigues island (Mauritius) I was discussing with some young people about their hopes and fears for the future. We were doing this as part of a larger research study where several countries were sharing ideas about what concerned young people about their future and what action should be taken. Out of all the places only primary school students from Rodrigues said they were concerned about rising sea levels. Of course they were the only ones who lived near sea level and who lived on an island small enough to be totally engulfed by an increase in seal level.

Ten years later,and more news is coming out about Pacific islanders and Maldive inhabitants anxiously watching their coasts disappear and desperately asking the world’ s polluters to give them a break.

Whatever the reality of the situation , to do nothing should not be an option for any of us. We can learn more , understand more,ask difficult questions and perhaps take some action. During the next two weeks I will try like many others to ensure that more information is available.

Lets start with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

[UNEP’s Work > Science > Climate Change Science Compendium ]


Climate Change Science Compendium

UNEP’s Climate Change Science Compendium is an annual snapshot of how the science has been evolving since the publication of the IPCC’s landmark fourth assessment.

One of the many sobering conclusions is that:

The growth in carbon dioxide emissions from energy and industry has exceeded even the most fossil-fuel intensive scenario developed by the IPCC at the end of the 1990s. Global emissions were growing by 1.1 percent each year from 1990-1999 and this accelerated to 3.5 percent per year from 2000-2007.”

Click on the images below to read the chapters’ abstracts or click here to download the full report.

earth systems
earths ecosystems
earth's ice
earth's oceans

eco management


Transfer of climate technologies

This report contains ideas and proposals on the elements contained in paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan, focusing on technology. It was originally submitted by UNEP to the UNFCCC in December 2008 as an input to the deliberations of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) under the title “Thoughts Concerning Technical Assistance and Capacity Building to Support the Transfer of Climate Technologies: Possible activities and their potential impact.

Indigenous voices speak:

And what about “the Truth about Climate Change”:

and some animation…

From the COP 15 website:

Some predictions from the Ministry of Climate and Energy of Denmark

Predicting the consequences of global warming is one of the really difficult tasks for the world’s climate researchers. Firstly, because the natural processes that cause precipitation, storms, increases in sea level and other expected effects of global warming are dependent on many different factors. Secondly, because it is difficult to predict the size of the emissions of greenhouse gases in the coming decades, as this is determined to a great extent by political decisions and technological breakthroughs.

Many of the effects of global warming have been well-documented, and observations from real life are very much consistent with earlier predictions. It is the precise extent that is difficult to predict. Among the effects that can be predicted are:

More droughts and more flooding:

When the weather gets warmer, evaporation from both land and sea increases. This can cause drought in areas of the world where the increased evaporation is not compensated for by more precipitation. The extra water vapor in the atmosphere has to fall again as extra precipitation, which can cause flooding other places in the world.

Less ice and snow:

Glaciers are shrinking rapidly at present. The trend is for the ice to melt faster than estimated in the IPCC’s latest report. In areas that are dependent on melt water from mountain areas, this can cause drought and a lack of drinking water. According to the IPCC, up to a sixth of the world’s population lives in areas that will be affected by this.

More extreme weather incidents:

The warmer climate will most probably cause more heatwaves, more cases of heavy rainfall and also possibly an increase in the number and/or severity of storms.

Rising sea level:

The sea level rises for two reasons. Partly because of the melting ice and snow, and partly because of the thermal expansion of the sea. Thermal expansion takes a long time, but even an increase in temperature of two degrees Celsius is expected, in due time, to cause a rise in the water level of almost a metre.

In order to get an idea of the extent of the consequences, researchers typically work with scenarios that show various possible developments. Other scenarios are being described by people such as economists and planners:

Ranging from business as usual to “a real deal”, Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, sees six very different possible outcomes of the UN conference on climate change to be held in Copenhagen this December.

Mr. Stigson’s views, first presented earlier this summer, are highlighted as an expert group under the US National Academies of Sciences releases a new video on the process ahead. His six scenarios are:

1. “A real deal”: the US and China provide the driver for a new, ambitious and comprehensive agreement.

2. “Business as usual”: the various countries follow current national targets.

3. A limited deal: headed by for example the Group of Eight (G8) a deal outside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is found.

4. A mere prolonging of the present agreement, the Kyoto Protocol.

5. A stretching of the Copenhagen conference (COP15) into 2010.

6. “Window dressing”: a grand declaration but no real deal.

As the only non-American, Björn Stigson is a member of the expert group “America’s Climate Choices” under the US National Academies of Sciences.

APC

GreeningIT – APC on ICTs, Climate Change & Environmental Sustainability

As a network promoting local community sustainable development, promoting the development and use of ICTs has been always closely linked with issues related to environmental sustainability. APC members have been implementing projects ranging from monitoring environmental degradation, to natural disaster and accident reporting, to the use of ICTs in managing energy resources more efficiently to research on low-power computing, alternative energy sources and e-waste management in developing countries. In 2008 these efforts led to a new APC-wide GreeningIT initiative that aims to address two critical challenges: How national ICT policy environments address ICTs, environmental sustainability and climate change; and How ICTs can be used more sustainably by ICTD practitioners, civil society organisations and service providers?

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