lundi 26 septembre 2011

La Kényane Wangari Maathai est décédée

La Kényane Wangari Maathai, prix Nobel de la paix en 2004 pour son engagement en faveur de l'environnement, est décédée dimanche à l'âge de 71 ans des suites d'un cancer. "C'est avec une immense tristesse que la famille du Pr Wangari Maathai annonce son décès survenu le 25 septembre 2011 après un long et courageux combat contre le cancer", annonce le site Internet de son mouvement. La Kényane Wangari Maathai, prix Nobel de la paix en 2004 pour son engagement en faveur de l'environnement, est décédée dimanche à l'âge de 71 ans des suites d'un cancer, a annoncé lundi le mouvement qu'elle avait fondé, le Greenbelt movement.
En 2004, la militante s'était vu attribuer le prix Nobel pour le travail de son "Mouvement de la ceinture verte" qu'elle a fondé en 1977, devenant ainsi la première femme africaine à recevoir cette récompense.
Son mouvement, avec pour principal projet la plantation d'arbres en Afrique, vise à promouvoir la biodiversité tout en créant des emplois pour les femmes et en valorisant leur image dans la société. Cette organisation a planté depuis 1977 près de 40 millions d'arbres sur le continent.
Le Kenya, victime du climat
Elle a été la première lauréate d'un doctorat en Afrique centrale et de l'Est. Elle a dirigé la Croix Rouge kényane dans les années 70, puis été secrétaire d'Etat kényane à l'environnement entre 2003 et fin 2005.
Dans son autobiographie publiée en 2006 intitulée "Insoumise: l'histoire d'une femme", elle racontait comment, sous l'effet du changement climatique notamment, l'environnement s'était dégradé dans sa région du Mont Kenya.
Mais au delà de son pays natal, Wangari Maathai avait étendu son combat pour l'environnement à toute l'Afrique. Ces dernières années, la militante s'était investie dans la sauvegarde de la forêt du Bassin du Congo en Afrique centrale, deuxième massif forestier tropical au monde.

Compléments d'information: lien1 , lien2

Afrique et Paix : Wangari Maathai par CulturePaix

Femmes en révolution

Disintegrating European Diplomacy and the Necessary Rise of NGO Mediators

Disintegrating European Diplomacy and the Necessary Rise of NGO Mediators

Rene Wadlow*

On Friday 23 September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority formally requested that the UN Security Council grant Palestine full membership as a state. Currently the Palestine Liberation Movement (PLO) has an observer status as an “entity” at the UN from the time that the South African African National Congress, another South African movement, a South West African liberation group and the PLO were given “observer entity” status. With the changes in South Africa and what is now Namibia, the status of the other movements disappeared and only the PLO remains.

The request for an upgrade of status, following UN rules of procedure will be first presented to the Security Council. Nawaf Salan, Lebanon’s ambassador to the UN and the current Security Council President said that discussions on the application would start on Monday the 26th. However, it may take several weeks of backroom negotiations before the application is put to a vote. The negotiation process may be speeded up for fear that frustrations on the part of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza lead to violence. The United States has indicated that it will veto the application. For a Security Council accord, there needs to be a positive vote of 9 out of the 15 Council members but no veto. In the case of a veto, the Palestinian Authority can transfer the application to the General Assembly to upgrade the status from “observer entity” to “non-member observer.” It is most likely that the General Assembly would vote positively on this request; the only question is how many states would vote against or abstain.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that there should be a favourable vote on the upgrade to non-member observer state. The only other non-member observer state is the Holy See (often referred to as ‘the Vatican’ after the name of its chief – and only- city). The Holy See has an influential position despite its non-member observer status. Although its diplomatic corps is formed of only Roman Catholics — often clergy — they can be drawn from all countries of the world. They are especially trained in a Vatican-sponsored university in Rome and tend to be specialists in some important issues negotiated at the UN. In the 1960s, when the development of African and other states newly entered to the UN was a key issue, the Vatican delegation to the UN in Geneva had as representatives people who were leading specialists on development issues. Unfortunately, the PLO observers have been of very uneven quality. They have contributed nothing to general discussions, only raising Palestinian issues. Thus, it is always the quality of a diplomat and not the status of a state that counts. This is especially true since from the mid-1960s on, issues are no longer decided by votes but by negotiations to reach a consensus text.

The upgrading of the status of Palestine from an entity to a state would be a positive step. It would permit the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel on a state-to-state basis and would allow Palestine to step out of the shadows of its ‘protector’ Arab states and to speak as an independent state.

It was clear from this June on that the Palestinian Authority would request an upgrading of status. There were discussions in the UN halls in New York and Geneva and, no doubt, in Foreign Ministries. Many efforts were made to convince the Palestinians not to make the application, especially on the part of the USA and certain member states of the European Union (EU). It was repeatedly stated that UN membership could not replace direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The argument was reinforced by the threat of US and/or EU cutting off funding to the Palestinian Authority if a membership application were made. However, public threats are always counterproductive.

Both US and EU diplomats were particularly ineffective. Both started late in the day, had nothing other than threats to propose, and underestimated the changes that were going on in the Arab world — the Arab Spring. While the English have a tradition of professional diplomats — often a father-to-son tradition, — the two English non-professional diplomats involved, Baroness Catherine Ashton for the European External Action Service (EEAS) of the EU and Mr Tony Blair as representative of the non-existing Quartet (UN, EU, Russia, USA) are particularly incompetent.

It is not clear that even if the 27 EU members shared the same policy that they would have any impact on Middle East events. As it is, they have different evaluations of the situation and the EEAS is far from being a real diplomatic corps. European diplomacy is disintegrating as fast as the Euro zone is economically.

Likewise the US government, led by President Obama, has destroyed what little standing it had in the Middle East. The US started late to avert a Palestinian application but had nothing to propose, especially not when a US re-election campaign is starting. Russia, that other state member of the non-functioning Quartet, is also involved in presidential elections and so views the Middle East with a distracted eye even if its presidential campaigns are run differently from those in the USA. Although the ‘UN’ is a member of the Quartet, there is no ‘UN’. There are members of the Secretariat who have limited powers of initiative or there are member states. The Quartet has always been a phantom body.

Thus today, we find ourselves in a situation where there are no credible state actors who can serve as mediators. States are discredited by their actions and the incompetence of their representatives. We find ourselves largely in the same position as in 2003 when it became obvious to those who analysed deeply that the much praised 1993 Oslo agreement was going nowhere. Thus, a decade later, on December 1, 2003, in Geneva was presented publicly the “Geneva Initiative”, a ‘Track Two’ initiative facilitated by Alexis Keller, a professor of European political philosophy at the University of Geneva. His father, Pierre Keller, had been vice-president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, thus well aware of the techniques and difficulties of international negotiations. The Kellers’ Alpine chalet was scene of two-weeks of final drafting among a team of Israelis and Palestinians, some of whom had served in government. Because of violence and tensions, the Geneva Initiative had to be drafted in closed sessions so that there could be no public debate during the drafting stage. Once made public, the Geneva Initiative led to an enlightened debate at least for a short time. The Initiative held out the possibility for new and younger leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian society to come to the fore and to help rebuild constituencies for peace within both communities.

However, the Geneva Initiative hit against deadlocks, tired leadership and mutual fears and insecurity. Negotiations returned to being government led. While intellectually, most of the outlines for a ‘two-state solution’ have been set out, there has been little visible progress. Now the governments have played their role by drawing again world-wide attention to the Israel-Palestine issue and to the broader Middle East.

Although President Sarkozy has proposed a new conference of governments, it is not clear that governments can do more than ‘awareness building’. The times call for a rise of NGO mediators, probably a wider coalition than that formed around the Geneva Initiative. However, time is short. We need to watch closely the current negotiations to see which governments at the UN might play a positive role. There may be possibilities for government-NGO peace-builders to work together.

* Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva, Association of World Citizens

dimanche 25 septembre 2011

Premier citoyen du monde

A quelques jours de la fin de son mandat à la présidence de l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU , Joseph Deiss nous parle de son année exceptionnelle.

suite de l'interview complet ici

Joseph Deiss a assisté à la reconnaissance du 193 ième état mais ne verra pas celui qu'on pensait être le 194 ième et qui attend depuis 1948: La Palestine.

samedi 17 septembre 2011

Le gouvernement se rapproche des propositions des citoyens du Monde

RIO+20 : la France soutient la création d’une Organisation mondiale de l’Environnement

9 septembre 2011 - Énergies et climat
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, ministre de l’Ecologie, du Développement durable, des Transports et du Logement, a présidé vendredi 8 septembre 2011, la réunion du Comité Rio+20. Composée d’experts et de représentants de la société civile issus du Comité national du Développement durable et du Grenelle Environnement (CNDDGE), cette instance consultative contribue aux propositions de la France en vue de la Conférence des Nations Unies pour le développement durable qui se tiendra au Brésil du 4 au 6 juin 2012.

Reflexions about declaration or not to be member of UNO

The 7 August 2008 entry of Georgian armed forces into the separatist Republic of South Ossetia, followed by an overwhelming response of South Ossetia's Russian allies evoked to many the “Guns of August”. The image of the “Guns of August” is a reminder of August 1914 when a rather minor incident, the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire by Serb nationalists led, by action and reaction, to World War I, changing the face of Europe and in many ways of world politics. One always knows how a conflict starts; one never knows how it ends.
Fortunately, the fighting did not spread and “a new Cold War” which some had predicted did not start.  Talks began in Geneva among representatives of Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, the Russian Federation, the United Nations, the organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union and the USA.  The talks did not modify the status quo — a situation which in OSCE terminology is ‘frozen‘ — that is, no settlement, the issues unresolved but no fighting.
The start of the Geneva talks, however, was a symbol of the willingness of all parties that armed violence should not continue or spread.  What is now certain after the recognition of their independence by Russia and a small number of other states is that Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not be reintegrated into the Georgian state any more than Kosovo will again become an autonomous region of Serbia.
A Step Forward
In an article “Coming in from the Cold: UN Membership Needed for the Phantom Republics” (1), I suggested that Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria and Kosovo be given UN membership as a necessary first step for security and a lessening of tensions.  I stressed that it was important “to find mutually acceptable forms of government in these conflicts which will require political creativity (breaking out of thinking in fixed patterns) and then new forms of federal-confederal types of government, greater popular participation in decision-making and new forms of protection of minorities.  Flexibility, compromise and cooperation are the hallmarks of success when it comes to resolving such conflicts concerning independence and autonomy. There is a need for a healing of past animosities and a growth of wider loyalties and cooperation.”
My proposal is for their simultaneous entry into membership into the UN as a necessary recognition of  “things as they are” — not necessarily the ideal or even “what might have been” but a recognition of reality.  Without such recognition, it is impossible to build a reasonable system to provide security and economic welfare.
There is one precedent for such a simultaneous entry of states into the UN — 1955 when the ‘logjam’ on membership was broken. During the first ‘hot round’ of the Cold War — the June 1950 to July 1953 Korean War — the Soviet Union and the USA blocked each others potential allies from UN membership.  At the end of the Korean War, there was a host of pending membership applications on which no progress had been made.  There seemed to be little possibility of moving things forward.
The 1955 membership issue was my start at looking closely at diplomatic negotiations around procedural issues at the UN. In a period when I should have spent my time chasing girls, I was a university student representative on the Executive Committee of what was then the United World Federalists in the USA. In 1955, the issue of a review conference on the UN Charter was to be placed automatically on the agenda of the General Assembly.  During the 1945 negotiations that led to the UN Charter, a review conference was to be placed on the agenda after 10 years.  This was a demand of some of the smaller States at San Francisco, in particular Australia.  It was expected in 1945 that such a review conference would be held and that was still the expectation in the period 1953-1954.  There was a good deal of reflection on how to improve and strengthen the Charter during such a Review Conference.  Universal membership was one of the demands of UN reformers, both some diplomats and activists such as those in the United World Federalists who had taken a lead on the Charter Review issue.
However, both the USA and the USSR opposed holding a Charter Review conference and brought most of their allies along with them.  The result was that when the Charter Review conference came upon the agenda, it was swept under the rug, and there has never been a review.  Nevertheless, the diplomats of the USA and the USSR felt that some of the ‘steam’ for a Review conference had to be lowered and this could be done by getting rid of “universal membership” as an issue.  Negotiations to break the logjam on pending applications started with the aim of making as close-to-possible balance between pro-USA, pro-USSR and neutral States entering the UN.  The negotiations were carried out in 1954 and in 1955, before the debate on Charter Review, the membership logjam broke and Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sri Lanka entered the UN. Japan should have been part of the group, but there was still the “enemy states” clause in the Charter which took more negotiations concerning Japan.  Japan only came in the next year, 1956.
The point I have repeatedly made is that membership does not solve difficulties; it just provides a framework where serious negotiations might be carried out.  The 1955 access to membership of Cambodia and Laos did not ‘solve’ the Indochina conflict. The French-led war in Vietnam had just finished and was to be followed a decade later by the US-led war.
2011— A Year of Opportunity?
2011 may be an occasion for breaking a new logjam with the simultaneous membership of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria and Kosovo.  However, time is short for difficult negotiations before the September start of the General Assembly — membership issues coming up usually in the first weeks.  Membership issues have again become a “hot issue” with the possible request of the Palestinian Authority to upgrade its status from observer to full membership in the organization.  There is a good deal of discussion in the halls of the UN both in New York and Geneva as well as in Foreign Ministries in the hope that there can be an agreed-upon program of action (or non-action) by September when the new General Assembly meets.
One approach favored by the USA, some of the Western European members of the European Union, Israel, and perhaps some others more privately is that the membership issue should go away.  It is felt that there are enough problems in the world, especially in the Middle East not to have a complicated procedural battle in September.  To reinforce their argument the US and the Western European governments have a strong card — they can cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority.  The Palestinian Authority depends largely on external financing; thus cutting off financing is an argument that carries weight — even if it is called ‘blackmail’ in other settings.
Whatever the outcome of the Palestinian request, new UN membership has been pushed high on government agendas of concern.  Thus, these next few weeks is the time for cooperation among the authorities of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria and Kosovo to raise their membership demands as a joint  approach even if the original situation was different in each case. A joint approach will make the membership possibilities harder to ignore.
Existence is not Enough: The Liechtenstein Option
One should not expect a warm welcome to such new membership requests.  Palestine has had “observer status” at the UN for many years and has built up support among Arab and Islamic States but its membership is still in doubt.  Kosovo has been recognized by a good number of States but is still strongly opposed by some governments which fear the violent division of countries.  However, the relatively peaceful creation of South Sudan may be a model of new state-creation accepted and facilitated by the UN.
Arguments for UN membership for Abkhazia and the others must go beyond simply saying “we exist and therefore others should recognize us” to a more positive “we can play a useful role in the world community”. The positive role is what I call the Liechtenstein Option. Liechtenstein served as the not very disguised model for the 1955 novel by Leonard Wibberly The Mouse that Roared where it was presented as the Duchy of Grand Fenwich situated between Switzerland and France rather than its real location between Switzerland and Austria.
For a long time all of Liechtenstein’s foreign affairs was administered by Switzerland. However, when the Swiss in a referendum refused to join the UN, Liechtenstein joined the UN on its own in 1990.  The decision-making elite decided that it would shed “the mouse that roared” image and started taking an active and creative role in UN affairs. Liechtenstein also played a leading role in the review conference on the statute of the International Criminal Court. Liechtenstein diplomats are respected well beyond the size of the country. It has a small but well-trained diplomatic corps, and no one smiles when the Liechtenstein position is set out.

Thus the Liechtenstein Option is one that requires Abkhazia to play an independent and creative role for the benefit of the world society.
(1) Rene Wadlow. “The Phantom Republics”
Rene Wadlow, Senior Vice-President and Representative to the UN, Geneva, Association of World Citizens. Formerly, he was Professor and Director of Research, Graduate Institute of Development Studies, University of Geneva.

Témoignage sur la Syrie qui souffre

Témoignage sur la Syrie qui souffre

Alors que la tendance « printemps arabe » bat son plein depuis les défilés de Tunisie, d’Egypte, et de Libye, pour ne citer que les plus médiatisés, la mode automne-hiver s’est invitée en Syrie. Peu de jours passent sans que l’on cherche à nous convertir à toutes sortes de larges rhétoriques conspirationnistes ou fatalistes dans le but de ringardiser un peuple qui porte le pacifisme bien serré et voudraient échanger un vieux costume de dictateur contre celui de la liberté.
Le couvre-chef en vogue, au sens propre comme au sens figuré, de petites mains sales tentent de faire porter à la révolution syrienne un turban islamiste, une kippa sioniste et aussi un chapeau de cow-boy impérialiste tant et si bien que ce pauvre peuple syrien ne sait plus où donner de la tête pendant que la bande à Bachar cherche d’abord à la lui arracher !
Des malfaisances de l’intérieur aux malveillances de l'extérieur, la propagande pro-Assad n’est pas à court de théories parfois complexes (« Vous ne pouvez pas comprendre !»), souvent basiques (« Vous le savez bien !») pour démobiliser, désillusionner et surtout désinformer le plus grand nombre et faire que, doucement mais sûrement, nous disions adieu au printemps pour nous emmitoufler dans le manteau de l’ignorance, de la passivité et du mépris en attendant que ça passe !
Reste qu’il faudra alors s’habituer à la couleur rouge sang le matin et noir deuil le soir parce que des milliers, des dizaines de milliers de femmes, d’hommes et d’enfants seront assassinés, jour après jour, mois après mois, encore et encore. Et cela risque de durer très longtemps tant il est troublant de voir que, malgré le déchaînement de violence qu’ils subissent, les Syriennes et les Syriens n’ont jamais été aussi heureux que depuis qu’ils sortent dans la rue crier «Liberté ! ». Pour ces quelques minutes de bonheur, ils seront des millions à bien vouloir mourir. Supporterons-nous d’assister, passivement, à ce massacre?
Et puis chaque fois qu'il y aura en Syrie un homme torturé, une femme violée avec une matraque électrique, des parents qui recevront leur enfant en morceaux dans un sac poubelle et qu'ici on se taira, il y aura un acquis de la civilisation qui pèse de son poids mort, une régression universelle qui s'opère, une gangrène qui s'installe, un foyer d'infection qui s'étend et que rien n'empêchera de s'inviter chez nous, chez vous si on ne l’arrête pas. C’est le principe de la mode !
Alors si le monde n’est pas composé que de cyniques, s’il y a encore des nostalgiques de la liberté des peuples, des utopistes de la paix dans le monde, des humanistes sans frontières, le peuple syrien a besoin de vous, de votre empathie active, de votre indignation audible, de votre solidarité visible.
Il ne peut, il ne doit exister aucune théorie, aucune posture, aucun doute qui puisse justifier de ne pas assister un peuple en danger.
Le 17 septembre 2011, une Marche du Jasmin aura lieu dans toutes les capitales et les grandes villes du monde. En Suisse, nous marcherons à Genève de la place des Nations à la place Neuve, de blanc vêtus. Pour arrêter de compter les morts en Syrie, nous comptons sur vous !
Shady Ammane, fondateur du Collectif Jasmin "Article Tribune de Genève du 14 septembre 2011"