No. 43, November 2003
EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM, English text
University staff, researchers as well as trade unionists and citizens at the European Social Forum meeting -- Jean-Paul Lainé
FORUM SOCIAL EUROPEEN, texte Français
Universitaires, chercheurs comme syndicalistes et citoyens, au rendez-vous du Forum Social Européen -- Jean-Paul Lainé
Whistleblowers -- Armin Tenner
The second nuclear age -- David Krieger
From proliferation to nuclear war: the threat of mini-nukes -- Angelo Baracca
Sustainabulity Strategies -- Joachim H. Spangenberg
WHAT IS INES?
In the past centuries science and engineering made great progress. The improvement of our health, our food, our houses and our schools is based on scientific and technical achievements. Unfortunately, major parts of mankind are still excluded from these benefits and live in poverty and distress. Science and engineering could still do so much for them, but in addition to wealth also poverty increased in the passed decades in the world.
Also in another field of development scientists and engineers were actively involved. They acted in the gigantic production of weapons and military systems that threaten and ravage the world. In addition, they are still inventing new and more atrocious weapons for the future.
We live in a chaos of societies in which production and consumption are the only goals, without long-time vision, without responsibility and compassion. Moreover, we are threatened by future disasters: deteriorating of the climate, lack of water for the world community, ruin of the environment and still more wars.
We need to establish a culture of social responsibility and a culture of peace. All of us should act to reach this goal, but especially scientists and engineers, who should stop their activity in destruction and devote themselves to the solution of the problems of humanity and the improvement of the quality of life.
We hope that the present European Social Forum, the second event in Europe of its kind will help to guide us in this direction.
Science et technique ont fait de grands progrès dans les siècles passés. L’amélioration de notre santé, de notre nourriture, de nos maisons et de nos écoles est basée sur des réussites scientifiques et techniques. Malheuresement la plupart des hommes est encore exceptée de ces avantages et vit en pauvreté et détresse. La science et la technique auraient pu les aider considérablement mais pendant les dernières décennies non seulement la richesse mais aussi la pauvreté ont augmenté dans le monde.
Les chercheurs scientifiques et les ingénieurs se sont également impliqués activement dans un autre domaine de développement. Ils ont participé à la production gigantesque des armes et des systèmes militaires qui menacent et ravagent le monde. En plus, ils continuent d’inventer des armes nouvelles encore plus atroces pour l’avenir.
Nous vivons dans un chaos de sociétés dans lesquelles la production et la consommation sont les seuls objectifs, sans vision à long terme, sans responsabilité et compassion. En plus nous sommes menacés par des catastrophes futures: la détérioration du climat, le manque d’eau pour la communauté du monde, la ruine de l’environnement et encore plus de guerres.
Nous devons établir une culture de responsabilité sociale et une culture de la paix. Tous le monde devrait agir pour atteindre ce but, spécialement les scientifiques et les ingénieurs qui devraient terminer leur activités pour la destruction et devraient se consacrer à la solution des problèmes de l’humanité et à l’amélioration de la qualité de vie.
Nous espérons que le Forum Social Européen actuel, le second événement de ce type en Europe nous guidera dans cette direction.
Towards sustainable societies
An appeal to engineers and scientists
Sustainability is a value-based aim and process with environmental, technological, political, social, economic and institutional implications. Sustainability requires that we organize our societies so that they evolve in harmony with nature; dominance over nature is a failed option.
Sustainability calls for a significant reduction in use of global natural resources and a sharing of these resources between individuals, societies and generations so that a maximum of well being and dignity is achieved for all. It calls also for the creation of safe and peaceful living conditions and for respect for human, cultural and biological diversity.
2. The current situation
While encouraging initiatives and possibilities exist, the overall thrust of our economic systems, social structures and science and technology is working against sustainability; radical changes are required to preserve the options for future generations.
Human activities are producing unprecedented changes in the biosphere, degrading, for example, soil fertility, ground-water supply and biodiversity.
We are overusing natural resources, thus eroding our life-support basis; these resources are being used in an inefficient way, creating too little of value, too few jobs, and too much waste; further, there are growing inequalities, both on a national and on a global level, in the distribution of income, labour and wealth derived from the use of the resources; marginalization of individuals, societies and even whole regions has become a major threat to sustainability. In most countries, employment has become increasingly precarious and poverty is spreading. All these distortions diminish governability, give rise to insecurity and tensions that often result in excessive reliance on military force, and this reliance in turn exacerbates the problems referred to above.
3. A sustainable future
A positive alternative to the current situation is the development of new economic, technological and social structures and implementation of societal values, aiming at sustainable societies. Any process of development seeking sustainability should take the following criteria into account:
protecting the integrity of the biosphere:
practice sustainable agriculture and forestry;
preserve marine resources and biodiversity;
establish networks of nature protection.
efficient use of resources:
social innovation in production and product distribution and use;
development of new technologies and designs to increase efficiency.
enhancement of endogenous production capacity in the non industrialized countries using all opportunities available, adding value to the resources and creating jobs in the countries and communities of origin;
creation of structures that ensure access without discrimination of any sort including gender or income level to education, participation in civil and political life, health care, food and other resources, and means of production and labour opportunities; these structures should encourage people to bring their creativity into the political planning and decision process, and thus contribute new ideas and life styles to global sustainability;
establishment of fair trade patterns and regulatory mechanisms;
peace and non-violence:
creation of a culture of non-violence; establishment and strengthening of structures for peaceful resolution of conflicts; prohibition, elimination and verified safeguards against all weapons of mass destruction; severe restrictions on the development, transfer and use of all weaponry.
4. The role of science and engineering
Science and technology have become instrumental to the present patterns of development, and in many countries have evolved from mere instruments into autonomous driving forces; they are as much a part of the problem as they can be part of the solution. In some societies there is an impressive capacity for technical innovation; however, it is clearer than ever before that not every innovation can be considered as progress. Natural science draw their strength frequently from reductionist analysis, thus inherently favouring specialization and selective perception of problems. Consequently, the solutions proposed often fall short of an integrated approach.
A thorough reorientation of science and technology is necessary based on integrated system approaches and the acceptance that science can never claim to fully tackle all aspects of reality. Only through innovative reorganization and public accountability can the scientific and engineering communities meet their obligation to contribute to a sustainable future.
We, the undersigned engineers and scientists, commit ourselves as professionals and citizens, to work for a sustainable society, and appeal to other colleagues to join us by undertaking the following actions:
We appeal to decision-makers from the scientific and engineering communities wherever possible to
support and fund the integration of sustainable development in programs and projects;
emphasize a systematic interdisciplinary approach to the development of alternative technologies and the organization of their use.
We appeal to the scientific and engineering communities at large and to their institutions to:
be open for new, innovative contributions;
foster participation, freedom for and encouragement of innovative thinking and openness for ideas from inside and outside the academic community;
support integration of, rather than discriminating against, non-mainstream approaches;
investigate and promote all means by which deep inequalities between peoples and between countries can be reduced;
apply our insights to our own institutions, buildings, and ways of working.
We commit ourselves in our professional work to:
support the sustainability perspective in the way we develop and conduct projects, to foster systemic integration of different disciplines, schools of thought, and regional perspectives wherever possible;
uncover all available information about environmentally, socially or otherwise unsustainable developments.
For many scientists and engineers there is only limited scope for acting; nonetheless, other options apply:
to dedicate some of our time (5 to 10 percent) to active participation in citizens organizations;
to support personally, financially and scientifically engineers and scientists who are ill-treated or persecuted for having acted for sustainability in their professional work, or for equity and democracy in their country and in international relations.
Aria-Maria Cetto, Mexico;
David Krieger, USA;
Gerhard Rohde, Switzerland;
Joachim Spangenberg, Germany;
Hartwig Spitzer, Germany.
contents …… INES Declaration
Vers les sociétés soutenables
Un appel aux ingénieurs et scientifiques
Soutenabilité est un objectif et un procès basé sur des valeurs qui empliquent l’environnement, la technologie, la politique, la société, l’économie et les institutions. Soutenabilité exige que nous organisons nos sociétés de telle façon qu’elles se développeront en harmonie avec la nature; la domination de la nature est une option ratée.
Soutenabilité demande une réduction considérable de l’utilisation des ressources et la répartition de ces ressources parmi les individus, les sociétés et les générations afin d’obtenir un maximum de bien-être et de dignité pour nous tous. Cela demande aussi la création de conditions de vie sans crainte et paisible respectant la diversité humaine, culturelle et biologique.
2. La situation actuelle
Bien qu’il existent des initiatives et possibilités encourageantes, la force générale des systèmes économiques, des structures sociales, de la science et de la technologie fonctionne contre la soutenabilité; un changement radical est nécessaire pour préserver tous les options pour les générations à venir.
Les activités humaines causent des changements dans la biosphère sans précédent, dégradant par exemple la terre fertile, la réserve d’eau souterraine et la biodiversité.
Nous utilisons trop de ressources naturelles, érodant ainsi notre base de vie. Ces ressources sont utilisées d’une manière ineffective créant peu de valeur, trop peu d’emploi, trop de rebut. De plus, sur un niveau national et global, l’inégalité croissante de la distribution des revenus résulte de l’utilisation des ressources, de la marginalisation des individus, des sociétés et même des régions entières et est devenue une menace majeure pour la soutenabilité. Dans la pluspart des pays la situation de l’emploi est devenue de plus en plus précaire et la pauvreté s’aggrave. Tous ces déformations diminuent la possibilité de bien gouverner et créent une insécurité et des tensions qui résultent souvent en une dépendance excessive de la force militaire, une dépendance qui aggrave les mêmes problèmes.
3. Un avenir soutenable
Une alternative positive pour la situation actuelle est le développement de nouvelles structures économiques, technologiques et sociales et la réalisation de valeurs sociales qui visent une société soutenable. Chaque procès de développement qui cherche la soutenabilité devrait suivre les points suivants:
protection de l’ intégrité de la biosphère:
pratique d’une agriculture et sylviculture soutenables;
préservation des ressources marines et la biodiversité;
fondation d’un réseau pour la protection de la nature.
utilisation efficace des ressources:
innovations sociales de la production, de l’utilisation, et de la distribution des produits;
développement de technologies nouvelles afin d’augmenter l’efficacité.
amélioration de la capacité de production endogène dans les pays non industrialisés utilisant tous les occasions possibles, ajoutant de la valeur aux ressources et créant de l’emploie dans les pays et les communautés d’origine.
la création de structures qui assurent l’accès sans discrimination de n’importe quelle sorte, soit au niveau du revenu ou l’éducation, de la participation à la vie civile et politique, du traitement médical, de la nourriture ou d’autres ressources, des moyens de production et du travail. Ces structures devraient encourager les gens d’apporter leur créativité à la planification de la politique et au procèssus des décisions et devraient ensuite contribuer aux idées nouvelles et aux styles de vie pour une soutenabilité globale.
création d’un commerce juste et d’un mécanisme de régulation.
la paix et la non-violence:
prohibition et une garantie vérifiée contre toutes les armes de mass destruction; des sanctions sévères sur tous développement, transfert et création d’une culture de non-violence; création de structures pour la solution pacifique des conflits;
élimination utilisation d’armes.
4. Le rôle de la science et de la technique
Science et technologie sont devenues des instruments pour les modèles actuels de développement et dans beaucoup de pays ils sont même devenues des forces autonomes. Bien qu’elles forment souvent une partie des problèmes elles pourraient bien former une partie des solutions. Dans plusieurs sociétés il y a une capacité importante pour des innovations techniques. Mais il est plus clair que jamais, que beaucoup d’innovations ne sont pas favorables au progrès. Naturellement la science prend sa force d’une analyse réductionniste et ainsi privilège la spécialisation et une perception sélective des problèmes. Par conséquence les solutions proposées manquent souvent d’une approche intégrée.
Une réorientation sévère de la science et la technologie est nécessaire, basée sur une approche internationale, acceptant que la science ne peut jamais exiger de s’attaquer à tous les aspects de la réalité. Seulement par une réorganisation à fond et une responsabilité publique les communautés scientifiques et de l’ingénierie peuvent s’acquitter de leur devoir de contribuer à un avenir soutenable.
Nous, les ingénieurs et travailleurs scientifiques soussignés nous nous engageons comme professionels et comme citoyens de travailler pour une société soutenable et de faire appel aux collègues de nous joindre à entreprendre les actions suivantes:
Nous appelons à ceux qui prennent les décisions dans les communautés scientifiques et de l’ingénierie en tout lieu où il est possible, de:
soutenir et financer l’intégration d’un développement soutenable dans les programmes et projets;
insister sur une approche interdisciplinaire et systématique pour le développement des technologies alternatives et de l’organisation de leur utilisation future.
Nous appelons aux communautés scientifiques et de l’ingénierie en général et à leur institutions de:
être ouvertes aux contributions nouvelles et innovatives;
cultiver la participation, la liberté et l’encouragement de pensées innovatives et de montrer une ouverture d’esprit pour des idées de l’intérieur et de l’extérieur de la communauté scientifique;
soutenir l’intégration plutôt que faire de la discrimination contre des approches non-conformistes;
explorer et avancer tous les moyens qui peuvent réduire les inégalités graves entre peuples et pays;
appliquer notre savoir à notre propre institution, nos bâtiments et notre façon de travailler;
Nous nous engageons dans notre travail professionnel de:
soutenir la perspective de la soutenabilité dans la méthode de développement et d’exécution de projets, cultiver une intégration de disciplines différentes, écoles de pensée, perspectives régionales dans tous les cas possibles;
découvrir toute l’information disponible sur les développements non-soutenables.
Beaucoup de scientifiques et ingénieurs ont seulement une possibilité limitée d’agir, néamoins il existent plusieurs options:
consacrer un peu de notre temps (5 à 10 pourcent) à une participation active dans une organisation de citoyens;
soutenir personnellement, financièrement et scientifiquement d’autres travailleurs scientifiques ou ingénieurs qui sont mal traités ou persécutés a cause de leur engagement pour soutenabilité, égalité ou pour la démocratie dans leur travail professionnel.
Aria-Maria Cetto, Mexico;
David Krieger, USA;
Gerhard Rohde, Switzerland;
Joachim Spangenberg, Germany;
Hartwig Spitzer, Germany.
contents …… INES Déclaration
Universitaires, chercheurs comme syndicalistes et citoyens, au rendez-vous du Forum Social Européen.
Le Forum Social Européen (FSE) de Paris-Saint-Denis est l’occasion d’une immense réflexion collective sur toutes les grandes questions qui se posent à nos sociétés d’Europe mais aussi du monde entier, qui se posent à l’humanité toute entière et donc à chacun d’entre nous.
Il a l’ambition d’aborder sans tabous tous les sujets : politiques (la paix, la justice, le droit, la solidarité), économiques et sociaux (le néo-libéralisme, le développement dans/pour la justice sociale --écologiquement soutenable, une Europe des droits, ouverte sur le monde, accueillante aux réfugiés), idéologiques et culturels (contre le racisme et la xénophobie, pour une Europe de l’accès de tous à l’information, à la culture, et à l’éducation).
La Science sera présente au FSE, indirectement ou très directement dans plénières et séminaires: notre syndicat des enseignants de l’enseignement supérieur de France (SNESUP), organisation membre d’INES depuis 1997, avec INES et d’autres associations et réseaux a œuvré pour que la Recherche soit bien visible et bien discutée. Seront traitées les questions suivantes: son développement pour qui ?, dans quelle Europe ? (séminaire 85), pour sa démilitarisation dans le cadre de la lutte pour le désarmement (séminaire 189), pour sa contribution à la paix et au développement durable (séminaire 188).
Parler de la Science, c’est parler de politique au sens le plus noble: la satisfaction des besoins humains, la résolution des grands défis démographiques, énergétiques et environnementaux, la gestion et la maîtrise des contradictions société-individu: diffusion des connaissances et propriété intellectuelle, financement public ou privé et liberté du chercheur, responsabilité et éthique. En résumé parler de la science, c’est parler de l’humanité dans un aspect primordial: la préservation, le développement, le partage des cultures, des savoirs et des technologies.
Les dirigeants politiques et économiques en Europe --quoi qu’ils en disent --ne défendent pas réellement le modèle social européen, conjuguant démocratie, dynamisme économique et protection sociale --modèle en fait imposé dans l’après-guerre par une classe ouvrière forte et organisée: ils se livrent à des assauts sans précédents contre des acquis de plusieurs générations (salaires, pensions, indemnités, durée du travail, gratuité des services publics), ils rivalisent avec les Etats-Unis dans cette dérive typiquement néo-libérale. Le projet de constitution européenne en est totalement imprégné.
Dans ce contexte l’Education et la Recherche sont traités comme des charges et non comme des investissements avec cette contradiction essentielle que l’économie et même le profit ont besoin de « ressources humaines » de plus en plus qualifiées. Il s’agit donc de «contenir » les coûts, de faire dans le court terme, dans le « finalisé », dans le contrat avec des personnels contractualisés, précaires, sous-payés, sous influence en conséquence.
Le sort fait à l’Education et à la Recherche est non seulement central dans nos sociétés d’aujourd’hui mais emblématique d’une démarche politique: voilà pourquoi l’engagement syndical et l’engagement pour la paix, le droit international, la bioéthique ou la protection de la biosphère par exemple, sont indissolublement liés: nos professions sont au cœur des choix de société.
Quelles sont les questions qui sont au cœur de l’évolution de la Science et de la Technologie et des métiers correspondants dans l’Union Européenne ?
1 --L’investissement dans la Recherche
La part des richesses produites consacrée à la recherche dans l’UE reste autour de 2%: la contribution du secteur privé est insuffisante mais celle des crédits publics a même diminué au cours des années 90 et reste en deçà des chiffres américains (0,75% et 0,94% du PIB). La communauté scientifique et les forces de progrès s‘accordent à penser qu’il faudrait un effort global de 3% du PIB.
La part de l’effort de recherche consacré au militaire est toujours très important, particulièrement aux Etats-Unis ce qui relativise d’ailleurs leur effort.
L’emploi scientifique s’étiole quantitativement et qualitativement: de moins en moins considéré comme une profession à part entière et durable. La précarité est institutionnalisée, les grands organismes français ou allemands sont directement menacés, l’idée même d’être chercheur à temps plein et permanent est niée par nombre de décideurs politiques.
2 --La Science, au service de qui?
Si dans les crédits nationaux la part de la Recherche fondamentale diminue, dans les crédits de l’UE elle est devenue inexistante: le 6ème PCRDT met directement sous la coupe des besoins industriels les programmes de recherche : développer la compétitivité des entreprises, voilà le maître mot.
La valorisation de la Recherche, le transfert de technologies entre le fondamental et l’appliqué, ainsi qu’entre nos pays développés et les autres, doivent être développés dans la transparence, dans la logique de Service Public et non dans la logique de «profitabilité » qui prévaut actuellement.
Dans une logique de marchandisation, des pans entiers de la recherche sont à l’abandon faute de « clients »: les Sciences humaines mais aussi la recherche sur les maladies des « pauvres ».
3 --L’image de la Science.
L’attractivité des métiers de la science s’est effondrée en une génération et plus gravement encore celle de la connaissance scientifique alors que les sociétés humaines seront de plus en plus devant des choix qui exigent non seulement des experts mais des citoyens ayant un minimum de bases pour exercer un esprit critique.
La nécessaire mobilité internationale des scientifiques est soulignée par tous. Parle-t-on de mobilité temporaire vraiment ou n’est ce pas un «brain-drain » déguisé qui actuellement est à l’avantage écrasant des Etats-Unis. Il reste que les échanges et le dialogue permanent --y compris en présence --sont plus que jamais la clef de tout progrès conceptuel ou épistémologique.
Les modes de financement et d’évaluation, l’importance accrue de ces questions et du temps qui y est consacré ont des effets très pervers sur les chercheurs et la recherche: non seulement quantitativement. Il est urgent de protéger le travail et le travailleur scientifique, d’inciter, de protéger l’attitude honnête, de promouvoir l’éthique du métier. De la charte des thèses promulguée en France il y a quelques années protégeant le jeune chercheur jusqu’au projet de convention internationale sur la clause de conscience: il y a un Droit international à développer. L’apparition des «sonneurs d’alarme --whistle blowers » en dit beaucoup sur la droiture et l’humanisme persistant mais aussi sur l’étendue de la mainmise des multinationales ou des lobbies politico-militaro-financiers sur la Recherche et la Science en général.
Le FSE offre l’opportunité de poser ces questions au-delà des seuils militants devant le grand public, les médias et les dirigeants politiques. Il permet d’enclencher des partenariats au niveau de tout le continent : INES, ses organisations et personnalités membres, avec ses nouveaux partenaires va se saisir de ce rendez-vous citoyen pour construire et populariser ses analyses et ses propositions alternatives.
Jean-Paul LAINE, secrétaire national du
Snesup-Fsu , membre du Comité exécutif d’INES
contents …… Universitaires ….
University staff, researchers as well as trade unionists and citizens at the European Social Forum meeting
The European Social Forum (ESF) of Paris-Saint-Denis offers the opportunity of an immense collective reflection on all big questions of our European societies and of the whole world, questions that concern the entire humanity and, consequently, everybody among us.
The Forum has the ambition to discuss all subjects without any taboo: political subjects (peace, justice, laws, solidarity), economical and social subjects (neo-liberalism, the development of a social justice, sustainable ecology, a Europe of citizen rights, open to the world, open to refugees), ideological and cultural subjects (against racism and xenophobia, a Europe of equal opportunity for everybody to obtain information, education and have access to culture).
Science will be present at the ESF, indirectly and very directly in the plenaries and seminars: our Trade Union of Teachers in Higher Education (SNESUP), a member organization of INES since 1997, together with INES and other organizations and networks has acted to make science and research visible and brings them under discussion. The following issues will be considered: scientific development for whom?, in which Europe? (seminar 85), demilitarization of science within the scope of the struggle for disarmament (seminar 189), the contribution of science to peace and sustainable development (seminar 188).
Speaking about science is speaking about politics in the most noble sense: fulfilling the human needs, meeting the great challenges of the population, energy supply and environment, the guidance and the control over the contradictions between society and the individual: dissemination of knowledge against intellectual property, public or private financing against scientific freedom, responsibility against ethics. Summarizing, speaking about science is speaking about the primordial aspects of mankind: protection, development, sharing cultures, knowledge and technologies.
The political and economic leaders of Europe, in spite of their pretension, do not really defend the social model of Europe, bringing together democracy, economic dynamics and social protection, a model enforced in the post-war period by a strong and organized working class: in an unprecedented way they went onto the offensive against the powers of the establishment (salaries, pensions, social benefits, working hours, free public transport), they try to outdo the United States in its typical neoliberal drift. The project of the European constitution is completely interspersed with these issues.
In this connection, education and research are treated as a burden, not as an investment, with the essential contradiction that the economy and even the profit need «human resources» of increasing qualification. As a result, expenses have to be kept in control, restricted in the short and the long term, and in the temporary contract of personnel that is underpaid and in precarious position and therefore lives under pressure.
The fate of education and research is not only a central issue in our present societies, it is the symbol of an official policy: for this reason trade-union engagement, peace engagement, international law, bio-ethics and e.g. bio-sphere protection are inseparably connected: our professions are at the hart of the choices made in society.
Which are the questions that are at the centre of the evolution of science and technology and the corresponding professions in the European Union?
1 --Research investments
The fraction of the gross national product earmarked for research in the European Union stays around 2%: the contribution of the private sector is insufficient and the public funds have decreased in the nineties and lie below the American figures (0.75% and 0.94% of the GNP). The scientific community and the progressive movements agree about a necessary budget of globally 3% of the GNP.
The fraction for military research is always considerable, especially in the USA where, by the way, this contribution is kept in perspective.
The scientific profession is languishing both in quantitative and in qualitative respect: to a lesser extent it is considered as a full and permanent occupation. The suspense has been institutionalized, the big institutions in France and Germany are directly endangered, the very concept of being a researcher permanently for the full time is rejected by a number of decision-makers.
2 --Science, in the service of whom?
In the national budgets the percentage for fundamental science may decrease, in the budget of the European Union it does not exist at all: the Sixth Framework Program lists the research programs directly under the industrial needs: development of competitiveness of enterprises is the crucial term.
The utilization of science, le transfer of technologies between fundamental and applied science and between our developed countries and the others, must proceed transparently, according to the rules of public service, not the rules of «profitability» which is the ruling principle now.
According to the rules of commercialization, complete scientific disciplines are in jeopardy because of lack of «clients »: the social sciences but also the research on the diseases of the «poor ».
3 --The image of science
The appeal of the scientific profession has collapsed in one generation and, even more seriously, the appeal of scientific knowledge, although to an increasing extent the human societies have to make choices that not only need experts but also citizens with a minimum knowledge for forming a critical opinion.
The necessary international mobility of scientists is underlined by everybody. Can one speak about temporary mobility, or is this only a disguised «brain-drain » in which actually the United States have a tremendous advantage? Finally, the permanent exchange and dialogue, for which also presence is needed, is more than ever the key for conceptual and epistemological progress.
The methods of financing and evaluation, the increasing importance of these issues and the time which must be devoted to them have a very bad, not only quantitative influence on the scientists and on the research. There is an urgent need to protect the scientist and his work, to promote and protect the honest attitude, to promote the professional ethics. The charter covering PhD degrees "charte des thèses" as proclaimed in France a few years ago, protects young scientists but waits until the project of the conscience clause will be realized internationally: it is an international right to be developed. The appearance of «whistleblowers » gives good examples of persistent sincerity and humanity, but also reveals the extent of the attachment of science and research to the multinationals and the political-military-financial lobbies.
The European Social Forum offers the opportunity to ask these questions beyond the high barriers to the general public, the media and the political leaders. It allows to link together partners over the whole continent: INES, its member organizations and individual members together with its new partners will take advantage of this citizen’s meeting to construct and popularize their analyses and their alternative proposals.
Jean-Paul Lainé, national secretary of Snesup-Fsu, member of the Executive Committee of INES
contents …… University staff …
Whistleblowers, people who publicly reveal scandals, criminal or unscrupulous actions in their working environment or elsewhere or divulge dangers to human health and the environment, have not been very popular for a long time. Especially not in Europe, where the bellicose tradition gave betrayal a nasty meaning.
In recent times, starting in the United States, the revelation of secret actions in commerce and policy seems to lead to a reversal in the public opinion.
In addition, there is a growing consciousness that the ruling powers of this world, acting without responsibility and long-term vision, create new situations, new products and procedures and hide the hazards that arise from them. It is generally felt that our society and environment are endangered by a growing number of secrets and that those who reveal them are honourable people.
Whistleblowing occurs in a variety of situations and whistleblowers may be grouped together according to the subject of their disclosure or the treatment they undergo, the procedure of harassment and prosecution that may follow.
The most conspicuous examples of whistleblowers, the ones who reached the front-pages of our newspapers were generally revealing military or state secrets and were subsequently prosecuted by their government. Vanunu, Nikitin and Pasko were the most prominent examples.
Since many of the dangers to our life and our society come from new products and procedures which are the results of scientific development, scientists and engineers constitute an important category of whistleblowers. They may reveal negative health effects of commercial products or detect damages of the environment caused by technical innovation and development. In recent years, whistleblowing occurred in such fields as molecular manipulation, application of chemical compounds in food cultivation and preparation, radio emission by mobile telephones and the military and civil application of depleted uranium. INESPE, the INES working group for Protection and Promotion of Ethical Engagement recorded several examples in the past years and supported some individual whistleblowers.
Many scientists, especially those who are employed by a company, are assigned by their management to a specific type of research and a specific problem to be investigated, in many cases with an anticipated outcome of the investigation in the management’s mind. The problem then arises when the outcome is in disagreement with the expectation. In the environment of a university tribute is paid to the principle of academic freedom. Since at present expensive research always falls under the approval of administrative bodies and scientific program committees, this principle is often of little value. The committees may be reluctant to approve controversial research and many universities live under the pressure of their sponsors.
When a scientist publishes his or her results, revealing some danger or unpleasant effect on human health or when these results leak out without publication, a low-level discussion, mixed with slander may emerge in which the media, government officials, commercial companies and the military all with their own hired experts take part and give their opinion. In order to cover-up the fact finding on the health effects of "depleted uranium," an international conspiracy between scientists, physicians, politicians and military came into action.
The situation of whistleblowers may come rather complicated, since they may be harassed by an employer, by a government or state agency or are just attacked by the media with an anonymous pressure group behind. In a number of cases, the scientific results are rather harmless, but commercial enterprises fear that they may arouse a public discussion that could be harmful to their commercial interests and their reputation.
Publication of results of a scientific investigation, even if they are not conclusive, belongs to the normal tasks of a scientist. It should be stressed that publication of the results of a scientific investigation is not a mere privilege falling under the principle of free speech; it is the duty of the scientist. It cannot be expected that a scientific result is correct or complete from the beginning. It always needs corroboration and possibly correction by means of continued research and by the critical discussion with experts in the field. Without this corroboration, the discussion is held in an atmosphere of rumour and uncertainty and possible errors in the investigation are eagerly exploited by the scientist’s opponents.
Related to whistleblowing is the problem of making predictions. In the present time, decision-making in economy, state policy and warfare is largely based on predictions, often made by scientists and generally obtained with the help of computer simulation. The outcome of these calculations may be considered as facts by the decision-makers, they may actually depend on unverified models, forward extrapolation and doubtful assumptions. If the predictions are uncomfortable for the ruling powers, like those of a rising world temperature, authorities will immediately point out that the predictions are made on shaky grounds and will bring in counter expertise from their own scientists. If the scientist, a whistleblower, sounds a warning against a dangerous future effect, it is often difficult to show a valid proof, even if other analyses point in the same direction. The definite verification of the warning can only be made when the prediction comes true, which is too late in many cases. Such warnings should therefore be taken serious and the precautionary principle should be applied to them.
Two international conferences on whistleblowing were organized in September of this year. The first by the INES working group INESPE at Starnberg near Munich, the other in Geneva by the international trade union federations, Union Network International (UNI) and Public Services International (PSI).
At Starnberg, Prof. Asaf Durakovic (Canada/USA) and Dr Christopher Busby (UK) presented results of their investigation of the health effects of depleted uranium, being used in warfare on the Balkan, in Afghanistan and Irak. Both speakers reported about the harassment they had to suffer as whistleblowers. Dr Hyland (UK) reported about his experiences as a whistleblower in the field of mobile telephone safety. Interesting was also the testimony of several internal whistleblowing cases, where the whistleblower does not communicate to the outside world, but reveals to his management the wrongdoings of obviously influential powers and subsequently undergoes disciplinary punishment. Two shocking cases were reported from government offices in Germany.
A major issue of the conference was the establishment of legislation for the protection of whistleblowers. Legal protection exists already in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Dr Luis Clark (USA) and Guy Dehn (UK) spoke about the experiences in their countries. Dr Dieter Deiseroth discussed the options for the implementation of whistleblower protection laws in Germany. Existing legislation in a second big country in Europe would facilitate the establishment of laws in the whole of the European Union.
The conference in Geneva, named "Conscience Clause Conference" was limited to whistleblowing by scientists and engineers. The conference started with the presentation of three whistleblower cases. Pascal Diethelm (France) reported about the policies of the tobacco industry to reveal the real dangers of smoking. Prof. Árpád Pusztai (UK) described his classical whistleblowing in the research of DNA modified potatoes and Dr André Ciolella (France) testified about his case in toxicology.
The Conscience Clause
On behalf of the Association for the Promotion of Scientific Accountable Behaviour (APSAB) and the Science & Conscience Foundation (FSC) in Geneva, Henri-Philippe Sambuc and Frédéric Piguet made a presentation of the Conscience Clause to which the conference was devoted:
"The conscience clause entitles any scientist or engineer employed by any private or public organization and having duties or responsibilities in the field of science or technology to report to an independent body in the country in which the organizations headquarters or the headquarters of its parent company are located any and all activities undertaken in ongoing and deliberate breach of:
The precautionary principle,
Ethical and professional codes regarding scientific research and technological production…"
The conscience clause should, depending on the traditional and legal situation in different countries, be implemented in laws and collective agreements.
Several remarks must be made about this approach. First, the limitation to scientists and engineers cannot be a rigid one. In any scientific activity, various technicians and other employees are involved. Nikitin was not a scientist or engineer, but an officer of the Russian army. As such he discovered radioactivity in the Northern Ocean which he revealed to the public. His report could have equally been made by a scientist in charge of regular measurement of the radioactivity in the country.
A second fact to be mentioned is that the conscience clause only involves labour law, the relation between an employee and an employer. It would not cover the case of Grigorij Pasko who made a video presentation of the dumping of radioactive materials by the Russian navy in the Japanese Sea. Pasko was a journalist and his problem did not arise in connection with an employer.
Finally, both Nikitin and Pasko and also Vanunu would not benefit from a conscience clause, since exceptions would have to be made for the disclosure of military and state secrets as long as this is considered a crime by the existing legislation. It must be feared that most of the military complex, the largest employer in the world, would stay out of the whistleblower protection.
In spite of some shortcomings, the conscience clause is an important step forward and should certainly be supported by NGOs. Putting societal responsibility in the centre, it goes beyond existing ethics codes for scientists and engineers that are limited to the professional practice.
The detailed proposals for German protection legislation, as presented by Dieter Deiseroth at Starnberg are more general and refer to all employees in both private and civil service. The proposals also comprise soldiers and military personnel for which a modification of military law would be required.
The increasing number of scientific and technical applications leads to an increase of the number of products in the consumer and in the military area and of the number of communities that make these products or are dependent upon them. These communities make up a chaotic and hostile world in which, however, also the interdependence is growing. Whistleblowers may put their holes in the protective shells around these communities and convey information to the outside, fulfilling the demand of democratic openness.
It becomes evident, however, that hiding secret actions or situations is part of an internal culture that exists in commercial and civil organizations, a culture that often sharply contradicts with the task of these organizations. These internal cultures must be turned back. It is difficult to believe that a more widespread whistleblower protection alone will be enough to reach this goal. A world-wide change in culture, in the direction of social responsibility will be needed. This must go in parallel with the reorganization of our production and consumption patterns and the establishment of peace all over the world.
Picture: Public Convern at Work, London
THE SECOND NUCLEAR AGE
By David Krieger
David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org).
He is the co-author of Choose Hope, Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age.
You become a free on-line participating member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation by Internet: https://www.ndic.com/wagingpeace/supportus.htm
"The world has entered a new nuclear age, a second nuclear age. The danger is rising that nuclear weapons will be used against the United States. Just as bad, the danger is rising that the United States will use nuclear weapons against others."
-- Jonathan Schell
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, many Americans gave a deep sigh of relief and pronounced the nuclear threat at an end. It was a heady time. I can remember being asked, "What will the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation do now that the nuclear threat is gone?" My response was that the nuclear threat was still with us despite these momentous changes in the geopolitical landscape. It was far too soon to pronounce the Nuclear Age dead.
In retrospect, from a vantage point of more than 12 years after these tectonic shifts in geopolitics, we can see that the Nuclear Age, with new and growing dangers, is still with us. The first half-century of the Nuclear Age was marked by a mad arms race between the United States and the former Soviet Union that resulted in the development and deployment of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons capable of destroying civilization and most life on Earth.
While the nuclear standoff between the US and the former USSR is no longer the extraordinary danger it was, new nuclear dangers have arisen that have led many astute observers to the conclusion that we have entered a second Nuclear Age. Among these new dangers are:
the nuclear standoff between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, two countries that have more than a fifty-year history of warfare and serious tensions;
the partial breakdown of command and control systems that protect nuclear weapons and weapons-grade nuclear materials in the former Soviet countries, giving rise to the increased possibility that these weapons and materials could fall into the hands of other countries and terrorist organizations;
the pursuit of nuclear weapons programs and the development of nuclear arsenals by countries, such as North Korea and Iran, that feel threatened by the Bush administration’s policy of preemptive war;
the impetus that Israel’s nuclear arsenal gives to other countries in the Middle East to develop their own nuclear arsenals;
the provocative policies of the Bush administration to pursue smaller, more usable nuclear weapons and those with a specific use in warfare such as the so-called "bunker busters," blurring the distinction between conventional and nuclear arms;
the possibility that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has already lost its first member, North Korea, could fall apart due to the failure of the nuclear weapons states to fulfill their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty to engage in good faith efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament.
The United States, as the world’s sole surviving superpower, has had the opportunity to lead the world toward a nuclear weapons free future. It is an opportunity that our country has largely rejected, and has done so at its own peril. Political leaders in the United States have yet to grasp that nuclear weapons make us less secure rather than more so, and their policies have reflected this failure to comprehend the dangers of the second Nuclear Age.
In the year 2000, the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the United States, agreed to 13 Practical Steps for Nuclear Disarmament. These included "[a]n unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals," along with specific steps such as ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), preserving and strengthening the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, and applying the principle of irreversibility to nuclear disarmament.
In each of these areas the United States, under the Bush administration, has led in the opposite direction. The administration’s policies have sent a message to the world that the world’s strongest military power finds nuclear weapons useful for its national security and plans to maintain its nuclear arsenal for the indefinite future. The Bush administration has opposed ratification of the CTBT and has withdrawn from the ABM Treaty. Its approach to nuclear disarmament has been to employ maximum flexibility and make reductions fully reversible.
The US pact with Russia, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), signed by Presidents Bush and Putin in May 2002, calls for reductions in deployed strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 weapons on each side by the year 2012. The treaty has no timetable other than the final date to achieve these reductions, and there is no requirement to make these reductions irreversible. The Bush administration has already announced that it plans to put the weapons it takes off active deployment status into storage ready for redeployment on short notice. The Russians are likely to follow suit, creating more opportunity for the stored nuclear weapons in both countries to fall into the hands of terrorists.
In the meantime, the US and Russia are each maintaining over 2,000 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, subject to being launched accidentally.
In addition, the Bush administration pursued an illegal preventive war against Iraq because of its purported, but never found, weapons of mass destruction. This action sent a message to North Korea, Iran and other states that if they want to be more secure from US attack, they had better develop nuclear forces to deter the US.
North Korea has repeatedly made a simple request of the US. They have asked for security assurances from the US that they will not be attacked. This is not unreasonable considering that the Korean War has never officially ended, that the US maintains some 40,000 troops near the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, that the US keeps nuclear-armed submarines in the waters off the Korean Peninsula, and that the Bush administration has pursued a doctrine of preemption. In return for a Non-Aggression Pact from the US, the North Koreans have indicated that they would give up their nuclear weapons program and rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It would be a great shame if Americans only awakened to the dangers of the second Nuclear Age with the detonation of one or more nuclear weapons somewhere in the world. Given the increased threats associated with terrorism and the dangers that nuclear weapons or bomb-grade nuclear materials could fall into the hands of terrorists, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the next detonation of a nuclear weapon or other weapon of mass destruction could take place in a city in the United States.
It is of critical importance that Americans be made aware of these dangers and reverse our policies before we are confronted by such a tragedy. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has set forth a series of needed steps that have been widely endorsed by many prominent leaders, including 38 Nobel Laureates, in its Appeal to End the Nuclear Weapons Threat to Humanity and All Life. These steps are de-alerting all nuclear weapons, reaffirming commitments to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, commencing good faith negotiations on a treaty to eliminate all nuclear weapons, declaring a policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons and reallocating resources from nuclear arsenals to improving human health, education and welfare throughout the world.
Our challenge is to translate this program into action. It will require a sea change in the thinking of US political leaders. This cannot happen without a grassroots movement from below, that is, from ordinary citizens, who hold the highest office in the land. The starting point is the recognition that the Nuclear Age did not end with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and that we are now living in the second Nuclear Age. We ask for your support in this fight for the future of humanity and all life on our planet.
contents…… the second nuclear age
From proliferation to nuclear war: the threat of mini-nukes
By Angelo Baracca
The article by David Krieger and Devon Chaffee in the May 2003 INES Newsletter, concerning the failures of the NPT, presents an objective and disarming survey, that unfortunately can be completely shared. But the danger related of "vertical" proliferation (i.e., inside the existing nuclear powers) seems even more alarming.
Vertical proliferation of mass destruction weapons
The hope of eliminating nuclear and mass destruction weapons from the surface of the earth seems actually more far than ever: on the contrary, the danger of their effective use is presently more concrete than during all the decades of the Cold War. The US, in the framework of a striking arms race, in spite of a consistent numerical reduction of its redundant strategic stockpile, is performing the biggest effort of every time to renovate it with completely new nuclear warheads, while it is concretely preparing to launch a «preventive attack». Moreover, with the deployment of the antimissile shield it is building a tremendous offensive system. Washington is also developing chemical and biological weapons, while it is boycotting verifications and inspections that would implement the Conventions for the prohibition of these arms.
As a matter of fact, the use of nuclear warheads is becoming increasingly convenient in the wars Washington is planning and will fight in the future. In fact, the war operations of the last decade have shown that the cost-effect ratio of conventional explosives delivered by precision-guided munitions resulted exceedingly high (some targets require the expenditure of several delivery systems): this pushed the search for new more effective nuclear weapons that could be politically accepted for their low yield and residual radioactivity. It seems worth recalling that the decision of developing new low-yield, deeply penetrating nuclear warheads had been (officially) declared by Bush Jr. in March 2002. In this context, a front-line investigation performed in the big nuclear arms laboratories is trying to develop a new generation of «micro-nukes», that will erase the distinction between nuclear and conventional arms, legitimating the use of nuclear weapons in conventional conflicts, or lowering the threshold for a nuclear conflict, without formally violating the existing treaties.
It must be stressed that, since research and development in these fields are strictly classified, only speculations are possible, connecting and interweaving official information or evidence with clues, lacking links, disquieting open questions.
Anyhow, what has to be stressed is that new methods of «mass and indiscriminate destruction warfare» are being developed, improved and used in the context of what is considered «conventional» warfare, to weaken the enemy’s structures, infrastructures, population and moral; and testing moreover the eventual international reactions to such methods. For instance, the extensive bombardments of chemical plants in Panchevo and Novy Sad during the Balkans war, as a matter of fact produced on the civil populations, effects very similar to those of a true chemical warfare. In the case of depleted uranium (DU) munitions, it seems worrying that, although they were developed long time ago, they were not extensively used until the collapse of the Soviet Union, starting with the 1991 Gulf War. As a matter of fact, their use did not meet a sufficiently strong international and internal opposition, in spite of the thousands of US, Canadian and British veterans stroke by the «Gulf Syndrome», not to speak of the European soldiers in the Balkans and of the populations in Iraq, the Balkans and Afghanistan. In the usual appreciation, DU munitions are radiological bombs, «weapons of indiscriminate effect» in terms of the 1st Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions.
A new generation of low-yield nuclear warheads
Washington is making an unprecedented effort to realize a new generation of nuclear warheads, while it has refused ratification of the CTBT Treaty. A mega-project to carry out virtual nuclear tests, using the fastest super computers, calls for an expenditure of sixty-seven billion dollars in fifteen years (almost three times the cost of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Project). The yearly expense of 4.5 billion dollars only for this project is more than the 3.7 billion dollar yearly average during the cold war. The UK and France, probably Israel, are also developing projects for simulations of nuclear tests. We do not know much about the Chinese programs, but certainly they are going on.
Miniaturized, low-yield and highly penetrating nuclear warheads are among the main aims of these researches.
Radically innovative perspectives in this sense are open by the new frontier field of nanotechnology, i.e., the science of designing microscopic structures in which the materials and their relations are machined and controlled atom-by-atom (over distances of 10-9 m, compared to 10-6 m in microelectronics, that is of the order of 1,000 atoms): this field, in fact, was born a few decades ago just in nuclear weapons laboratories, in order to improve conventional and nuclear weapons, and above all to carry out a "Fourth Generation" of miniaturized nuclear weapons (the first two Generations corresponding to the early fission and fusion warheads, and the Third one to special warheads, such as the "neutron bomb").
Also the design of warheads which would detonate after deep penetration into the ground implies that the nuclear package and all components have to survive extreme conditions of stress until the warhead is detonated. The drive towards miniaturization of nuclear weapons and very-low yield explosives (between a few kilograms and a few tons of high-explosive equivalent) has become the main advanced research activity in nuclear weapons laboratories.
It seems worth noticing that the realization of such low-yield nuclear warheads has to resolve the problem of the "critical mass." Since the program of producing these warheads was officially announced, this problem has probably already been resolved, through some new type of nuclear process inside the condensed matter, that would obviously be kept strictly classified. If so, it would be also plausible that these warheads have been tested, or used in recent wars, which are effective laboratories in the field.
The 16 August issue of The New Scientist refers to another new nuclear process that is being developed by the US Department of Defense, without involving nuclear fission and fusion. If a group of appropriate nuclei are "pumped" into an excited, isomeric form, they later may return together to their lowest energy states by emitting gamma-ray photons, whose energy is thousands of times greater than that from conventional chemical explosives. This method could be used in any quantity, as it does not require a critical mass to maintain the nuclear reaction.
Such terrible perspectives seem unfortunately very concrete. The danger of effective nuclear warfare comes in the first place from nuclear countries like the US and Israel, and is more concrete than ever.
Angelo Baracca is Professor of Physics at the University of Florence.
contents……from proliferation to nuclear war
ROOTS, STATE AND CHALLENGES
By Joachim H. Spangenberg
Paper presented at the International Sustainable Development Research Conference,
University of Nottingham, 24-25 March 2003
The term and concept of sustainable development date back to 18th century Germany, when economic shortages (firewood for silver smelting) led to the introduction of sustainability principles in forest management. Similar concepts arose in France and in Britain.
The strategies suggested in feudal Europe resemble quite closely today’s discussion: to shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns, or to overcome resource scarcity (these days including pollution sinks) by means of global trade, relocating industries or forcefully seizing foreign resources. These strategies are discussed regarding their present applicability, and the need for structural change is highlighted.
The Johannesburg summit for all its weaknesses demonstrated that the integration of economic, social and environmental concerns has come a long way since "Our Common Future." The conference results are discussed regarding which of the strategic options mentioned they support.
The repercussions for policy strategy formulation in a rapidly changing political environment are discussed.
Key words: Sustainable management, sustainable production patterns, international trade, production displacement, resource substitution
1. Deep roots of unsustainability
Over utilization of the environment has been a constant feature of human behaviour since the Stone Age Again and again, human intervention caused unintended environmental side effects from reversible local disturbances to the irreversible extinction of species and regional changes in fauna, flora and farming conditions.
While hunters and gatherers minimized their environmental impact by migrating before resource problems emerged, early settlement changed their lifestyles as well as their impact on the biosphere dramatically. With less abundant food supply they had to extend working times and intensify work, resulting in the significantly higher yields needed to feed a growing population, and in first irreversible environmental impacts which grew with population and the development of ever more forceful technologies. So for instance Middle East migratory wildlife became extinct due to large scale hunting in the earliest phases of the Neolithic revolution of humans settling down for agriculture. Large birds in the Pacific islands including New Zealand fell victim to highly skilled stone age hunters and gatherers (Pimm 2002), despite their low population densities.
Salinization and deforestation occurred in the ancient Chinese, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and other empires7 organic, i.e. chemicals free agriculture is not necessarily sustainable (Rigby, Bown 2003). Wood shortage and the need for imports are one of the central motives in humanities oldest known piece of literature, the 5000 years old Mesopotamian Gilgamesh epic (Mielke 1993). Deforestation for heating and shipbuilding can have long term devastating impacts, as the landscapes around the Adriatic Sea illustrate. Similarly, the growth of the northern Sahara desert (caused by climate change) was accelerated by unsustainable use patterns of Roman, Byzantine and Arabic rulers.
Nonetheless, if examples of a rather sustainable economy are referred to, it is frequently case studies about ancient agro-economic systems (most often neglecting the dire social sustainability perspective of poor peasants, slaves, and the suppression of women). This can be explained by the attempt of creating a retrospective vision, inventing an idealized past (Giddens 1996; in these cases the legitimization base of environmentalists can be rightly claimed to be an idealized pre-modern situation), but partly also by the simple fact that modernity has neither lasted long enough nor has it produced stable enough situations to identify any of them as sustainable. In this case, the reference base is not an idealized past, but the lack of present examples in the globalizes European civilization, often in combination with (early) modern values like social security, solidarity and a good life (Spangenberg Joachim H. 2000).
Pollution from semi-industrial activities is not new, as waste management in ancient Rome, regulation of water use patterns (one day for tanning, one day for brewing) in 15th century Cologne, technical installations for reducing heavy metal emissions in 16th century Saxony or the complaints about the impacts of hard coal burning in China in the 13th and in England in the 18th century show. However, most these damages were rather local ones and manageable by local communities. With the development of the mercantilist nation state, the institutional setting changed and rapidly growing demand made the availability of increasingly scarce resources a prominent policy issue. Scarcity of resource supply first became obvious in the most developed nations during the late 17th century, when pre-modern industrial production led to the emergence of a foreseeable shortage of wood supply. This most important material was used for construction of houses and ships, production of goods and as the main energy carrier, making a shortage of supply a serious economic and security problem. For instance, Great Britain after having suffered significant losses of warships in a defeat against the Dutch navy felt to be in urgent need to rebuild the ‘wooden walls of the country, whereas in France the need was similarly urgent to construct a navy capable of challenging the British (and to some degree the Spanish) supremacy at sea in order to build and maintain its colonial empire in North America (as later in Africa and Asia), and to balance the British influence in Europe. In Germany, the division into a multitude of kingdoms inhibited colonial aspirations until the early 19th century, but the emerging industrial production was dependant on wood, for instance as the key construction material in mining and as the energy carrier for metal smelting. Little wonder, then, that the fuel wood crisis challenging the silver industry of August II of Saxony and Poland was of serious concern for king and country, and experience from France, Britain and Switzerland was used to develop a concept to deal with it. The result was a book by Carl von Carlowitz titled ‘Sylvicultura Oeconomica’ and published in 1713 which coined the term ‘nachhaltendes Wirtschaften,’ later translated into English as sustainable yield.’ The publication draw heavily on British and French sources like John Evelyn’s ‘Sylva’ of 1664 and Colbert’s forest ‘ordonnances’ of 1669, intending to refill the chronically empty coffers of Luis XIV (Grober 2002). Economic and military concerns were thus the root causes for developing the concept of sustainable development as a strategy for risk minimization.
2. Sustainability strategies
In any such situation of absolute scarcity, four strategies are theoretically feasible:
The political sustainability options reducing demand and thus increasing sustainability by efficiency increases (recommended by Carlowitz) and improved management (enforced by Colbert) as a political challenge, calling for adequate policy action towards substantial sustainability in defence of the public good. In the continental European tradition (as opposed to Anglo-Saxon thinking, The Economist 2002) the pursuit of public interests must be part of the public sphere and can not be handed over to private interests and the economic calculus. Authorities and (later) the ‘citoyen’ were considered key actors, rather than business and the consumer.
The imperial options increasing supply by seizing distant, so far unused resources, thus exporting local unsustainability by means of conquest, colonization and ‘plunder economies.’ This included the systematic suppression of local industries (e.g. textile in India) and investments in man-made and human capital exclusively for export purposes.
The liberal option: increasing supply by demanding and enforcing open markets and free trade (wood imports from Norway and the American colonies helped solving immediate English supply problem), or exporting the resource intensive production units to countries with abundant resources. For instance Evelyn recommended the dislocation of the ironworks from ‘Old England’ to the densely wooded territories of ‘New England,’ i.e. the American colonies (Grober 2003).
The engineering option: overcoming shortage of supply by substitution, an option also taken into account by Carlowitz, and a rather obvious one as the substitution of coal for wood was already under way in late 17th century Britain. Although well known in China in the 13th century (Polo 1298), it was massively exploited only with the beginning of the industrial revolution in England, against Evelyn’s warnings against serious health and environmental impacts (Grober 2003) (not yet climate change, which was predicted as a result of fossil fuel consumption by the Nobel price winning Danish chemist Arrhenius in the late 18th century).
In modern terms the first option of changing consumption and production patterns is called a strong sustainability approach. The second one of securing supply by geopolitical hegemony, the third one emphasizing globalization of trade and foreign direct investment and the fourth one of technological modernization by market driven substitution processes are weak sustainability strategies. Now, about 300 years later, the first option is discussed again, from the Stockholm World Environment Conference 1972 via the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Conference on Environment and Development, to the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. At the same time, the belief in technological fixes and the scientific-technological progress prevails, claiming that institutional reforms are unnecessary. Instead of structural reforms, problem solving by deregulated markets and global trade is promoted in the ‘Washington Consensus, including foreign direct investment and multilateral agreements to secure it, plus geopolitical strategies to safeguard access to increasingly scarce resources. The option of developing technological substitutes is pursued simultaneously, as a complimentary element of the same strategy.
So the question is whether the Earth is really at crossroads (Bossel 1998) and in need of a fundamental paradigm change from an Empty World to a Full World paradigm (Daly HE 1996), or if the traditional escapes can work another time. Given the eminent role global trade and substitution are expected to play in overcoming the 20th century sustainability crisis in the 21st century, and the New World Order the USA is striving for, the historic functions of trade, geopolitics and the potentials for substitution deserve a closer look.
2.1 Global trade: The liberal option
Ancient trade suffered from high transport costs (making it economically attractive only for luxury products and those of extremely high added value), and a high risk of loss. Roman and medieval trade suffered from the lack of adequate trading goods from Europe suitable for the high civilizations of Asia; as a result, it was more shopping trips demanding scarce gold to obtain Asian luxury (Krämer 1971). Throughout the Arab Caliphates time, a similar pattern prevailed, despite intensive annual monsoon driven trade exchange.
Gems, pearls, luxury timber, perfumes, but in particular spices and silk were traded from East and Central Asia to the Roman empire (Cesar dressed in silk in his triumph parades, two centuries before Roman ambassadors reached India and China), in exchange for copper from Cyprus, tin from Britain and wine from the Mediterranean, plus significant amounts of payment in gold and silver were exchanged in a barter trade via the Monsoon powered sailing routes, by some hundred ships a year already in the 2nd century (Krämer 1971). Trade was mainly luxury trade of high value added products like porcelain, with high risks and significant profit margins for the intermediate Arab, Malaysian and Indian traders in the case of success. This exchange pattern resembles the one between developed and underdeveloped nations in the 20th and 21st century, comprising an exchange of raw materials against manufactured, high value added goods. It remained unchanged for centuries: when Vasco da Game signed a trade contract in India in 1498, the agreement was to deliver spices and gems in exchange for gold, silver and Mediterranean corrals. Other goods from the European empires were considered of minor quality, not suitable for the Asian courts.
In the Americas, trade developed along similar patterns, focussing on luxury goods exchange between the Yucatan Mayas via the Toltec and the Aztec empires to the irrigation agriculture areas of what is now New Mexico, and further to north-east to the migratory hunters of the Great Plains (Parker 1994). In Africa, the trade of the early Ghanaian and the Mali empires with other African kingdoms and the Arab world followed a similar pattern, with a focus on trading gold, salt (as valuable as gold that time), ivory and slaves. 12th century north-east European trade e.g. in Prague as a main trading spot consisted of silver, fur, amber, salt and slaves (Krämer 1971).
Only when transport became more reliable and cheaper, commodity goods became a significant trade item, from ivory, gold and slaves (so the names of coats districts in West Africa given by Europeans) to ores, wood and tropical fruit. Although trade ships in Asia had been transporting staple food like fish and rice as volume materials in addition to the value added goods since the turn of the first millennium, the physical volume of trade remained rather marginal. It was not before the 1850s that a broad movement of middle class radicals, entrepreneurs and workers in the dominant trading nation, England, forced the parliament to overthrow the landlords’ interest and to dismantle the massive trade barriers which had protected the British market so far, as usual for any nation state: for business, this meant better export opportunities given a level of British economic and military supremacy never again reached by any later ‘superpower,’ and for the working class it meant access to affordable food, cheaper than the domestic produce (Bee 1984).
Although unsustainable production patterns had overexploited the natural sources of wealth, England continued to pursue the same development pattern by combining the options two to four, opening new territories to the exploitative quest, and promoting technological progress (the Royal Academy had been founded only a few decades earlier). Throughout the late 18th and the 19th century land-locked countries or those too weak to claim foreign colonies had to make a choice whether to integrate in the world market dominated by Britain and find suitable niches like Belgium and Switzerland did (like in the 20th century Singapore), to become mere suppliers of resources and customers of industrial products as for instance Romania, Argentina or later Indonesia, or to shelter their emerging industries with tariffs until they had gained enough strength to compete in the market (like France, Germany and -more recently- Korea) (Senghaas 1982). Only political heavyweights could resist massive pressure exerted on all trading partners to accept free trade and to open their markets for British products (most European states and even more vigorously the United States opposed the idea of free trade at that time) and thus pursue industrial strategies of their own, including developing different resource use patterns. However, such alternative models hardly materialized, and sustainable development remained restricted to the forestry sector. Here it was widely accepted to reduce consumption by improving efficiency through better management and by introducing substitutes (sustained yield in forestry and the shift to hard coal as primary energy source).
The commodities trade developing thereafter was physically dominated by British coal exports and biomass imports; minerals imports became relevant by the end of the century and began to dominate biomass imports no earlier than the 1980s, when manufactured products began to play a significant although minor role regarding their physical trade volume (Schandl, Schulz 2002). Today, the physical volume of European imports amounts to about 1,400 million tons, with exports of about 400 million tons, resulting in an import surplus or physical trade deficit of about 1 billion tons per year, a full sixth of the total direct material input in the EU. The financial balance looks rather different: it shows a small trade surplus with Third World countries and a small trade deficit with OECD partners (Giljum, Hubacek 2003). Together this illustrates the global production pattern that has emerged in the late 20th century: much of the raw material used in the global economy originates from the South, where mining and harvesting take place, plus some first steps of refining the products. Raw materials or semi-finished products are exported to the North where they refined, branded and packed and end up in domestic consumption or inner-OECD trade. In the production chain the most pollution and labour intensive but low value-adding steps are located in the South, while capital, technology and skills intensive steps with high value creating are predominantly located in the North.
For decades the Washington Institutions (IMF, World Bank, WTO) promoted this development pattern based on the assumption that environmental and social collateral damages have to be accepted, as in the long run the growth invoked by foreign direct investment and free trade will lead to more wealth, and this in turn will enhance social and environmental standards (the Kuznets hypothesis and its environmental corollary). This theory is appealing, and it has only two weaknesses: it is not in line with the empirical data (Spangenberg Joachim H. 2001b), and applying it undermines the proclaimed objective of increasing well being. Relocating industries to the ‘overpopulated and underpolluted countries’ of the South has been part of this strategy, but — while solving local problems in the North — this strategy does not reduce but spread and intensify the global environmental pressures, and relocates local damages to the South.
From a sustainable development perspective this pattern equals importing sustainability (or footprint area, Wackernagel, Giljum 2001) and exporting high entropy, importing physical wealth and exporting unemployment. Obviously, in a closed World a pattern where some countries permanently gain resources and money from others cannot be generalized: monetary and physical exchange are in the end zero sum games, and for every winner there must be a looser. This unequal exchange is accumulating social and ecological debt (Martinez-Alier 1998), if violations of the principle of fair sharing (Carley, Spapens 1998) are accounted for as debt.
Global trade means no ‘sinks’ are left to export unsustainability to: the global exports of local unsustainability accumulated to create the global problems from poverty and hunger to climate change and biodiversity loss we are now confronted with, a global state of unsustainability, a globalizes social and environmental crisis (most often forgotten these days, globalization has been the battle cry of the environmental movement in the 70s and early 80s, calling for global action against the emerging global problems; Spangenberg 1991). There is simply no new continent to explore, no new niches to find, no place to escape to in the long term: the environment is everywhere. So more trade and FDI is not the answer to the sustainability challenge, and free trade even less so: a better institutional regulation for international exchange is needed, reducing instead of accumulating the social and ecological debt burden (Döppe 2003).
2.2 The imperial option
Two of the most notorious examples are the plunder economies of the Mongolian empire of Dschingis Chan and the early Spanish con quista of South America. Already Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) focussed his attention on fruit to reap, gold to trade and humans to baptize (Columbus 1492, 1989); robbing the gold and enslaving the humans became the dominant pattern soon after. Spain grew by plunder, but while relying on the American gold it neglected its domestic development, got locked in an imperial overstretch and for centuries fell back behind other European nations. The plunder economy was not sustainable, nor was it efficient.
The same hold true for the early Mongolian empire, which destroyed much of the occupied countries’ wealth and culture, providing little more than a unified legal codex, a trade area based on the pax mongolica and a communication infrastructure (which was enough to make it superior to most rival forces for the time being). It fell in disarray to be sucked up and civilized by its former victims (Krämer 1971). Similar patterns can be found in the American history, where Aztecs and Incas built the 15th century fastest growing empires on the basis of exploiting the more peripheral peoples of their empires (a fact which contributed to their rather sudden collapse when attacked by the Spanish invaders, Parker 1994), as much as the infectious diseases spread by the Europeans (by the way, a clear proof of the superiority of the Europeans’ immune systems, testifying for a much better hygienic standard in the American indigenous empires, as in much of the world, in the early colonial period).
Besides the imperial overstretch resulting in declining power, and the social and economic cost of the Spanish empire’s suppression regime, there was a economic reason why this kind of rule failed: it prevented economic modernization, led to dependency on rent income and conserved unproductive structures, a fact Latin America is still suffering from. Instead economic dominance and benefits by unequal trade promised a higher and more durable income than simple plunder (the tax from the Spanish Netherlands generated more income in a more sustainable fashion than the plundering of South America; it was a fatal blow for the Spanish empire when the Netherlands broke away). Thus the Portuguese in establishing their (commercial and territorial) empire in the 16th century used military force to open trade routes in Asia (against Arabs, India and China) rather than occupying large scale territories. England developed a much more durable and efficient system of economic plundering by taxes and trade than Spain ever did, and Spain declined in economic, military and political importance for centuries, with a backwardish economy (and society) The English model of commercial exploitation of the colonial empire (if necessary with a heavy hand and sufficient military forces around the world) proved more modern, more cost-effective and more wealth creating.
Whereas the age of military-based empires seemed to be over in the 1960s, the current US policy seems to imitate the British imperial strategy of combining hegemonic politics based on military supremacy with economic interests (national economic interests in a globalizes economy!). Access to foreign resources has been officially declared to be of "vital national interest" already in the 1990s. Consequently, permanent military installations are mushrooming in former Yugoslavia, Panama, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Western Africa, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and soon in Iraq, safeguarding oil and other resources as well as their transport pipelines. On the other hand, troops are withdrawn from Europe. However, an imperial overstretch is already in the making, as the case of North Korea has illustrated (Korea is a special case rather unlinked to resources and trade routes). Finally, the war-proven credibility of the imperial attitude will not stop economic and political competitors: China and India, Russia and the European Union cannot be brought in line with military means, while the cost of the military expansion has driven the US budget deep into debt. A country, however, which can win military conflicts, but neither political nor economic ones will not be able to hold on to its imperial role: the strategy is bound to fail, unfortunately at a high cost to the victims as to the Americans themselves. Unilateral use of weapons of mass destruction, as threatened by the new US strategy may seem to be a cost cutting means of dominance, but would be a terminal blow to the legitimacy of the US empire, accelerating its collapse.
The hope for a new "Lebensraum" in space or in the deep sea has vanished, and the perspectives for resource security through military dominance are bleak — let alone the fact that the most scarce resources today are not the physical ones, but the environmental sinks which as a global common good can be over utilized but not occupied. The imperial option could only work regarding the environmental limits if it explicitly aimed at keeping the World majority poor in order for the emperor to stay rich and maintain her wasteful lifestyle which — according to president Bush sen.- "is not up to negotiation." This however would inevitable lead to a social eruption the empire could not survive.
2.3 The engineering option: technological progress and substitution
The engineering option relies on the hope that for any problem the modern industrial society produced it will as well provide a solution (ironically this centrepiece of soviet mantra became dominant in the West, and in particular in the USA after the collapse of the empire which so heavily leaned on it). In principle, three complementary options can be distinguished: reducing resource demand and environmental impact by increasing resource productivity (a substantial sustainability strategy), substituting abundant resources for scarce ones by developing new production processes (the coal-for-wood-option), thus modifying the pattern of environmental impact, and technologies to avoid environmental damages, or to manage and mediate them. However, the latter strategy of end-of-the —pipe damage management requires additional resources, relocating but increasing the overall environmental pressure, while reducing the economic efficiency of the production process. As far as resource scarcity refers to the availability of material inputs for the economy, substitution is a traditionally successful strategy, and also applicable to shortages in local environmental services (wastewater treatment to substitute for the biological potential of lakes and rivers). For instance, proposals for de-carbonizing the energy system by introducing a hydrogen-fuelled economy are abundant. Although it is questionable whether such a transformation of the World energy system will be achieved in due time before the global oil production begins to decrease in the next few decades, it could buy time and help smoothening the transition. Although effective against many ‘traditional’ scarcities, substitution faces limits when applied to global sustainability problems, i.e. to scarcity of global commons. Thus for the most pressing resource scarcity, the limited absorption capacities of the Earth’s natural systems, no substitution strategy can be designed: there is no substitute for the dynamic balance of ecosystems, the carbon fixing potential of nature or the UV-B protection by the ozone layer. The only way out is to cultivate and protect the eco-systems while reducing the human pressure on them, i.e. a substantial sustainability strategy.
Furthermore, none of the technology options is able to simultaneously deal with the Social sustainability problems, thus further limiting the problem solving capabilities and making an integrated, multidimensional sustainability strategy even more important.
2.4 Substantial sustainability strategies: an antagonistic option
Substantial sustainability integrates social, environmental, economic and institutional aspects, and extends the scope of planning to distant regions and future generations, based on the principles of respecting the Earth’s carrying capacity while safeguarding inter- and intragenerational justice. This requires a new policy for fair distribution and to cultivate and protect the eco-systems while reducing the human pressure on them. This pressure in its specific form is mainly dependent on the kinds of products consumed and the production processes applied; its total volume however depends on the physical size of the economies, their throughput (Daly 1991) in terms of energy consumption, material flows and land use (the environmental space use, (Spangenberg 2002a). As the resource consumption of the industrialized economies and sectors is driving the global demand, a heavy responsibility rests on the OECD countries. It is them who have the technological, financial and human capacities to develop another, less resource intensive lifestyle by decoupling resource consumption and economic value production: if technological progress enhances the resource productivity faster than the economy grows, it decreases demand and contributes to sustainable development (Spangenberg 2002b). Although first steps towards this direction have been taken (OECD 2001), the OECD countries — and most importantly the US — are still far away from establishing a new model of "wealth light." And it is them as well who command the means to modify the current trade system to provide better opportunities to Southern nations, narrowing the economic North-South divide (thus changing the past trend: the share of the World population poorest 1/5 in the global income declined from 2.3% 1960 to 1.1% 1998, while the share of the richest 1/5 increased from 70% to 86%, Heimann 2003).
How such a solution might look like in detail is still under dispute (and so it must be: sustainability is a multifaceted concept, not providing an ideological blueprint of any ‘ideal society’), but some conclusions can be drawn from our previous analysis:
As sustainability enforcement by imperial powers cannot work, the concept needs collaboration in partnership.
As free trade is enhancing rather than solving the problems, trade needs an institutional framework for social and environmental sustainability. As a market has no direction, this must be provided by defining the legal and institutional framework, with the market still the most effective allocation system, but corrected for its environmental and social blindness.
As foreign direct investment is not necessarily supporting technology transfer, economic growth and cleaner production, international standards are needed to make full use of its positive potential and corporate liability conventions to keep the challenges in check.
As technology can solve many scarcity problems, any successful sustainability strategy must include a technology promotion element, however not just any technology: public funding should be focussed on problem solving technologies, promoting resource productivity increases.
As an incentive to private R&D, the price system should reflect social and environmental priorities, e.g. by taxing the ‘bads’ (resource consumption) and not the ‘goods’ (goods, services, labour).
These conclusions are recommendations for necessary elements of a substantial sustainability strategy, using elements of the other options but in a rather different framework. Which role they play in international strategy development will be decisive for global sustainability. So it is of utmost importance to see which options dominate in the results of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development WSSD.
3. Johannesburg perspectives
The WSSD was a place to see how the balance of political powers really was: would it result in the final surrender of politically defined sustainability including all Global Environmental Agreements to the supremacy of the WTO rules, an idea indeed vigorously promoted by Australia at the WSSD, or had the tide begun to turn again? The stage was set and the battle order was rather clear: primacy of the economic over politics as understood by neo-liberal deregulators (establishing this dominance structure is in itself a political process, as is any change to it), and thus a strict aversion against binding multilateral agreements stood against the intention (amongst the industrialized countries represented by the EU and its European allies) to adopt binding social and environmental commitments. Was ODA to be increased, or would enhanced foreign direct investment FDI be considered an adequate substitute? Was scientific and technological capacity building still on the agenda (the USA opposed it in the preparation process), or would technology diffusion through the market be considered a viable alternative? Would the reduction of poverty, social tensions and environmental stresses be considered to be delivered automatically through economic growth stimulated by liberalization and globalization, or would policy measures be promoted to deal with these problems? What would be the result of the G77 demanding, the EU accepting and the USA rejecting a move to more sustainable production and consumption patterns? Altogether, what was at stake was the hegemony of the neo-liberal paradigm, the dominance of the economic over politics, against a substantial sustainability paradigm, based on the integration of social, environmental and economic objectives and constituting a primacy of politics against the economic. As UN conferences are based on the principle of unanimous agreement, no knock-out victory of either side could be expected, but the question seemed rather open to which side the balance would lean, with a clear advantage expected for the neo-liberal side.
The actual conflict areas followed these expectations, with mixed but frequently unexpected results
The main conflicts materialized concerning the following issues (results indicated in brackets)
(according to (IISD 2002), modified):
for sanitation (by 2015 halving the share of people with access);
for access to clean drinking water (by 2015 halving the share of people without access);
for renewable energies (to be increased with a sense of urgency, EU proposals for binding targets rejected);
for chemicals and health (ratification of the PlC Convention on Prior Informed Consent by 2003, of the POP Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants by 2004, globally harmonized system for classification and labelling of chemicals by 2008);
for natural resources (by 2015 halving the share of people suffering from hunger);
biodiversity loss limitation (a vague and half-hearted commitment to reduce the current rate of loss);
for fish stock regeneration (establishment of marine protected areas agreed, plus some vague phrases regarding replenishing fish stocks by 2015).
Rio principles, in particular
Principle 7, on the common but differentiated responsibilities (referred to frequently all over the Plan of Implementation);
Principle 15, on the precautionary approach (mentioned in the plan of implementation).
Kyoto Protocol (states who ratified it urge those who did not do it so far to join in as soon as possible, a call Russia and Canada could not resist. The protocol is now due to enter into force before the end of the year).
Health and human rights (included against some African and Muslim state resistance).
Governance (good governance is demanded, but no conditionalities attached. Support for capacity building is promised, but no binding obligation).
Trade, finance and globalization (The Monterrey Consensus was reconfirmed. Globalization is described as beneficial, but as a challenge to 3d World countries and economies in transition. Neo-liberal demands to open markets are included, but no binding obligations).
Total deregulation was not on the agenda, but fixing a hierarchy between the so far not integrated different international regimes (trade, finance, environment, peace, human rights, social rights, etc.) which together constitute the current system of global governance. It was a battle of interest over spheres of influence. The result reminded to a tug-of-war, with enormous power released at both ends in order to produce minor progress: in the end, the status quo ante prevailed as WTO rules and Global Environmental Agreements should be mutually supportive, and in case of conflicts a case by case solution must be sought (similarly with ILO rules and other social regulations). So although a lot of compromising wording was produced, the subordination of social and environmental objectives to the rules of free trade was clearly avoided. The reliance on neo-liberal, market based solutions was pushed back at least a few steps and the value of an adequate institutional framework and politically defined objectives and targets became ever more obvious as some achievements for substantial sustainability materialized, briefly indicated in the list of conflict issues above. Even where the issue of trade liberalization is stressed, the presupposed mutual supportiveness of trade, environment and development is couched in terms that preclude WTO precedence over environmental policy, thereby giving environmental concerns an increased weight (Rehbinder 2002). In total, the WSSD delivered more than could be expected given the political situation of a previously rather unchallenged neoliberal hegemony and the open US aversion against multilateral commitments.
One structural problem of the summit is obvious in all its results: the issue of peace and sustainability is virtually missing in all documents. This is a joint failure of all participants, but most of all a result of the unwillingness of the Worlds pre-eminent military power, the USA, to accept any critical remarks concerning the use of military force as an obvious contradiction to sustainable development. Although the World’s real problems like pollution, poverty, population and production patterns (P4) are obviously beyond the reach of military power (except for the fact that a year’s armament expenditures might be well enough money to solve most of these problems), the heads of state did not want to dismiss the military option of politics. However, opting for military means not only as a measure of last resort but as a standard political instrument like in the Bush administration’s strategy document is a kind of implicit admission of political weakness, despite all claims of general supremacy: although the US is still a politically and economically eminent power, it has lost its hegemonic status, as not only the Johannesburg results, but even more clearly the confrontation over Iraq in the UN Security Council has shown. This may be one more reason why peace was no issue of the WSSD debates, despite the fact that the UN Millennium Declaration ranking high on the Johannesburg agenda dedicates about half of its text to peace and security issues.
Black on white: the summit results
The WSSD adopted two documents, the Johannesburg Declaration (a four page, six item paper, WSSD 2002a) and the Plan of Implementation (WSSD 2002b), referred to as "PI" in the remainder of this text) , listing rather detailed goals, deadlines and policy measures.
The Declaration is a rather vague brief list of good intentions, reconfirming the commitment to Agenda 21 (United Nations 1993) and the UN Millennium Goals, although not reflecting the strong emphasis for peace and security issues in the Millennium Declaration (United Nations 2000). Themes mentioned include the need to increase official development assistance payments (ODA), problems of foreign occupation (referring to Israel/Palestine), strengthening multilateralism, opening markets and technology transfer, and finally armed conflicts, corruption, terrorism and intolerance. However, due to the character of a declaration, neither concrete policy demands nor any obligations are included, but the goals and deadlines of the Plan of Implementation are welcome.
The Plan of Implementation comprises ten sections, with the introduction in section one devoted to a general overview and section two to ten dealing in a quite concrete way with specific issues. Due to the compromise character of UN documents, both positions can be found in the final statements. The results of section five, emphasizing the role of market based solutions, are summarized here to illustrate the mixed character of the summit results.
The section contains no binding commitments due to the conflicts arising around the issue. It refers to globalization as "offering opportunities and challenges for sustainable development,’ a far cry from the initial enthusiastic support of globalization, but just as far from naming and shaming the problems. Its main recommendation is the implementation of the WTO Doha Declaration on free trade with specific attention to developing countries’ needs, and the Monterrey Consensus on debt reduction. ILO standards, the need to "actively promote corporate responsibility and accountability," and to "examine the relationship between trade, environment and development" are also mentioned.
4. Discussion: the clash of cultures
The reappearance of sustainable development as a new development paradigm indicates that the concept is an attempt to moderate the social, economic and security risks emanating from scarcity in essential resources. As 300 years ago, the political concept of substantial sustainability through internal change is challenged by an alternative focussing on economic, military and technological expansion. The international political situation begins to reshape, and two new blocks are merging: the expansive imperial block, led by the Anglo-Saxon countries and the ‘sustainability-plustechnology camp’ led by what has been called ‘Old Europe.’ The conflict is multi-dimensional: Ideological and cultural, geopolitical and economic. Whereas the US led group emphasises military supremacy, their challengers point to economic strength and the overestimated political influence of their competitors.
Regarding sustainable development, the expansionist option offers no solutions in a full world, as no place to export unsustainability to is left, in particular as the overall size of the economy has become the main environmental problem. Technological fixes are helpful to buy time, but tend to shift problems instead of solving them, as the total generation of entropy is hardly reduced. Focussing exclusively on deregulating the global market to enhance economic efficiency neglects the need to respect social and environmental effectiveness as a precondition for long term economic viability (Bossel 2000) The market driven strategy will probably turn out to provide the most economically efficient way to overload the carrying capacity of the institutional, social and environmental system by squeezing their resources most efficiently, thus maximizing the problem by postponing it. The dominance of the economic logic tends to ignore the existential needs of other systems as long as they cannot be expressed in economic terms (Spangenberg 2001a), making sustainable development a competing strategy (and probably the only one available) to geopolitics and imperial attitudes.
Based on the principle of cooperative agreements, the institutional structure for sustainable development (partnership, mutual support, integrating social and environmental objectives) is rather similar to what has been the receipt for success of the European Union so far, making it plausible and a matter of self interest for the Union to pursue this development path. Although as a result conflicts seem unavoidable, so far the only common ground for it seems to be the political stage: Europe cannot compete in military might, and the USA cannot dominate economically.
Ideologically, although both camps agree on some fundamental orientations like democracy and market economies, their understanding of these phrases is fundamentally different, due to significantly differing worldviews. The clash of cultures is emerging in a rather unexpected setting. One surprising commonality illustrates the differences: after decades of neo-liberal belief in unlimited growth, decision-makers in both the USA and Europe seem to embark on the ‘full world paradigm’ (Daly 1991), unadmittedly but effectively so far. While e.g. the German chancellor at the Johannesburg summit called for a ‘solar energy offensive’ of like minded countries to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, the Bush administration as well accepts the forthcoming scarcity of resources and the precautionary principle, but reacts differently: by securing claims for the USA by military means.
For sustainability politics, a new era seems to emerge: no longer dominates the necessity of neoliberal hegemony to explain why politics is necessary at all, but to distinguish between fairness based substantial sustainability politics and hegemonic approaches. Sustainability needs leadership in partnership: the World has to find like-minded actors for sustainability, and hope that the imperial camp will abandon the expansive strategy and join the quest for sustainable development without catastrophic natural or man-made disasters.
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Joachim Spangenberg is Vice President of the Sustainable Research Institute in Cologne, Germany, and member of the Executive Committee of INES.
contents …..sustainability strategies
Rectification: The author of the report "Forum for the destruction of Chemical Weapons" in Newsletter 42 is not Nicola Hellmich, but Bettina Bucher.
WHAT IS INES?
The International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) is an independent non-profit organization concerned with the impact of science and technology on society. INES was founded in 1991.
INES’ efforts focus on sustainable development, disarmament and peace keeping, ethics and justice. INES is affiliated with the United Nations and with UNESCO as a Non-Governmental Organization.
In twelve years, INES became a network of over ninety member organizations over five continents and of individual members in fourty countries.
INES is itself a member of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) in Geneva and of the Middle Power Initiative (MPI). It takes part in the European Network for Peace and Human Rights.
The ideas and intentions of INES are laid down in the founding declaration and in the appeal printed on pages 2 to 4 of this Newsletter.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN INES?
You or your organization are invited to join INES. Individual members and member organizations support INES by sharing a common objective and by paying their membership fee. Members are encouraged to attend INES workshops, meetings and conferences.
In addition, individual members and members of member organizations are welcome to join or initiate INES projects. Some projects are listed below.
The highest administrative body of INES is the Council. Each member organization has its representative in the Council, in addition there are elected members. The Council elects the Executive Committee.
INES PROJECT GROUPS
INES has several project groups that work in different fields of science, technical application, peace keeping and ethics. The members of the groups are worldwide distributed; they are specialists in the scientific or technical field or experts in the political implications.
INESAP, working group Against Proliferation works for the abolition of nuclear weapons and warfare systems. INESAP; it organizes international conferences and workshops, many times in collaboration with other organizations, like the Abolition 2000 network. It is involved in an action against the US Missile Defence system, together with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in the United States.
Coordinator: Regina Hagen, Darmstadt, Germany.
The project group for Chemical and Biological Weapons is concerned with policies to prevent the proliferation of these weapons and with methods to destroy them. A special investigation has been carried out about the use of the weapons for terrorist purposes.
Contact: Ji?í Matoušek, Brno, Czech Republic,
INESPE, the Ethics Protection Initiative of INES is concerned with the protection and support of whistleblowers. The activities are to promote openness about illegal activities and dangers to the society and the environment, and to obtain legal protection of whistleblowers. Individual whistleblowers are supported, partly financially. The working group organized an international conference near Munich in September 2003.
Coordinator Antje Bultmann, Wolfratshausen, Germany,
The aim of the INES group Science, Peace and Global Ethics is to activate young people to take part in the promotion of a just and sustainable world. The responsibility of universities is central in the activity.
Contact Maurice Errera, Brussels, Belgium,
The group Spiritual Dimensions of Sustainability organizes regular meetings and is strongly involved in the Earth Charter movement.
Contact Frank Meyberg, Hamburg, Germany,
The group Renewable Material Resources investigates and promotes the use of locally available and reproducible materials for construction, industrial use and consumption.
Coordinator: Hamed El-Mously, Cairo, Egypt,
INES regularly organizes workshops and small conferences and gives financial support to stimulate activities in various countries. Examples from the previous years are: Support of the University of Kathmandu (Nepal) to acquire laboratory equipment; support of the University of Kaliningrad, Russia to study regional aspects of sustainability; organization of seminars about peace promotion in Africa; support of a program of ethnic reconciliation in Serbia, contribution to the Havemann Scholarship for the financial support of students in Russia; establishment of a sustainability databank for Europe.
In 2002, INES took part in the Johannesburg Summit and set up a working group on "Peace and Sustainability" as a follow-up of this conference.
Homepages. INES has two websites: inesglobal.org, www.inesglobal.com
Newsletter, appears four times a year in printed form and on the INTERNET.
Editor: Armin Tenner,
What’s New in INES, weekly
e-mail bulletin, edited by Tobias Damjanov,
INESnet Discussion Group, E-mail communication network managed by Johan Swahn,
Publication list, available at the INES office, . Most of the publications can be found on a homepage.
INES organized three international conferences:
Challenges --Science and Peace in a rapidly changing environment, Berlin 1991;
Challenges of Sustainable Development, Amsterdam 1996;
Challenges for Science and Engineering in the 21st Century, Stockholm 2000.
At the Berlin conference INES was founded.
THE INES NEWSLETTER
is edited by Armin Tenner, Buziaustraat 18, 1068 KN Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: , E-mail:
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