INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS FOR GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
NEWSLETTER no. 26
Bombs, missiles, and Pakistani science
Treeplanting in Scotland
* A commitment from the Amsterdam Congress
* The Caledonian Forest
Alan Watson Featherstone
The Hague and St. Petersburg Peace Conferences
* The Hague Conference
* St. Petersburg Conference
St. Petersburg Declaration
World Conference on Science
Monsanto now expanding monopolies from seed to water
INES Council meeting 1999
Committee for Establishing a European Tribunal for the NATO-War against Yugoslavia
BOMBS, MISSILES, AND PAKISTANI SCIENCE
Pervez Hoodbhoy is professor of nuclear and high-energy physics at the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.
This article has been submitted to an Islamabad newspaper for publication before May 28th, 1999.
Ten days of officially sponsored celebrations, leading up to the nuclear tests of May 28, are scheduled to culminate with the award of prizes and honours by prime-minister Nawaz Sharif to the leading members of Pakistans nuclear establishment. In preparation for this grand finale, Pakistan Television is continuously exhorting its viewers to celebrate Pakistans power for wreaking apocalyptic destruction. The Chaghi tests, together with the more recent Ghauri-II and Shaheen-I missile launches, have been deemed heroic symbols of high scientific achievement.
Making bombs and missiles has indeed demonstrated a high level of engineering and management skills, and the individuals to be decorated are undoubtedly competent, resourceful, and dedicated to the task they were assigned. However, these programs have little to do with cutting-edge science, original scientific research, high technology, or the countrys general scientific progress. Testing even a hundred bombs or missiles cannot change this reality by the tiniest bit.
The truth about science in Pakistan flatly contradicts all claims of scientific progress. However, it is pointless to answer hyperbole with more hyperbole. Therefore, I shall first define suitable criteria for gauging scientific achievement.
One essential criterion of progress is to see what new scientific discoveries, analyses, inventions, or processes a countrys scientists have produced. Since modern science is about the discovery and invention of new knowledge in highly specific areas, all scientists need to establish their professional credentials by publishing their work in internationally refereed journals or file patents.
Pakistans international status can be determined from publications of the Institute for Scientific Information that regularly tabulates the scientific output of each country. Professor Atta-ur-Rahman, Pakistans leading chemist, quotes the following facts published by the Institute. In the period 1990-1994, Pakistani physicists, chemists, and mathematicians produced a pitiful 0.11 percent, 0.13 percent, and 0.05 percent respectively of the worlds research publications. Pakistans total share of world research output in 1994 was just 0.08 percent.
These painfully small numbers are even more painful if one also looks at the usefulness of these papers, also measured by the Institute. The average number of citations per paper was around 0.3, which is barely above zero. In other words, an overwhelming majority of papers by Pakistani scientists had zero impact on their field. Atta-ur-Rahman also points out that between 1947 and 1986 the total number of Ph.Ds produced in the sciences by all Pakistani universities and research institutes was 128. In comparison, India produces over 150 science and engineering Ph.Ds in one single year.
With fewer than 40 active research physicists in the country, about 100 active chemists and far fewer mathematicians, Pakistan is starved of scientists. Even in nuclear physics, contrary to what may be suggested by Pakistans successful nuclear weapons program, there are just a handful of nuclear physicists. Ill-informed journalism is responsible for certain popular misconceptions. Abdul Qadeer Khan, pre-eminent architect of Pakistans nuclear program, is often called a nuclear physicist when, in fact, his degrees and professional accomplishments belong to the field of metallurgy, which is an engineering discipline, rather than physics. When Dr. Khan visited the physics department of Quaid-e-Azam University about two months ago, he endeared himself even more to his admirers by wistfully saying he wished he could come someday to this university to study physics.
The small size and poor quality of Pakistani science owes squarely to the miserable state of Pakistani universities, which rate among the poorest in the world. There are few qualified and motivated faculties, student quality is low, rote learning is normal, academic fraud is widespread, and student violence common. Pakistan does not satisfy the first criterion.
The second criterion for scientific achievement is the degree to which science enters into a nations economy. Again, the facts are stark. Pakistans exports are principally textiles, cotton, leather, footballs, fish, fruits, and so on. The value-added component of Pakistani manufacturing somewhat exceeds that of Bangladesh and Sudan, but is far below that of India, Turkey, and Indonesia. Apart from relatively minor exports of computer software and light armaments, science and technology are irrelevant in the process of production.
Thirdly, and lastly, a nations scientific level is estimated by the quality of science taught in its educational institutions, and the extent to which scientific thinking is part of the general public consciousness. It is not necessary to say very much in this regard. Even our leaders admit that the countrys schools, colleges, and universities are in shambles. An internationally administered test in 1983 established that 6th grade Japanese students performed better in physics and mathematics than 11th grade Pakistani students. In addition, with creeping Talibanization, the dawn of scientific enlightenment among the masses recedes daily. Pakistan fails the third criterion as well.
The arguments given above must have left some readers puzzled, and others angry but still confident that I am taking them for a ride. Everyone knows that nuclear bombs and long-range missile technologies are extremely complex systems. So, if a country is indeed scientifically impoverished how can it possibly manufacture them?
A large part of the answer lies in the modular nature of modern technology, and the ease with which separate modular units can be transported and then joined together to form highly complex and effective systems. You only need to know how the units are to be assembled, not how they work. Therefore, making bombs and missiles of the type Pakistan and India possess is now the work of engineers, and no longer that of scientists. Even here global technological advancement has created enormous simplifications.
Consider, for example, that 30 years ago an electronic engineer working on a missile guidance system had to spend years learning how to design extremely intricate circuits using transistors and other components. But now he just needs to be able to follow the manufacturers instructions for programming a tiny microprocessor chip, available from almost any commercial electronics supplier. Today sophisticated motorists and hikers can buy so-called GPSS units costing a few hundred dollars to determine their coordinates, and similar units can guide a missile launched thousands of missiles away to better than 50 meters accuracy.
Modular technology applies also to rocketry, including engine design and aerodynamic construction. Computer controlled NC machines have made reverse engineering of mechanical parts easy. No longer is "rocket science" a correct expression for indicating scientific complexity.
Famine-stricken North Korea, with few other achievements, clearly has a very advanced missile program. In fact, it has been repeatedly accused of transferring this technology to Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. None of these countries has a reputation for scientific and technological excellence, yet all three have intermediate range missiles.
The facts about nuclear weapons are equally stark. Unquestionably, the first atomic bomb was a exceedingly brilliant, if terrible, achievement by the worlds finest physicists. It required the creation of wholly new physical concepts, based on a then very newly acquired understanding of the atomic nucleus. The ensuing technological effort, the Manhattan Project, was quite unparalleled in the history of humankind for its complexity and difficulty.
However, here too the passage of 5 decades has changed everything and the design of atomic weapons, while still non-trivial, is vastly simpler than it was. Basic information is freely available in technical libraries throughout the world and simply surfing the internet can bring to anyone a staggering amount of detail. Advanced textbooks and monographs contain details that can enable reasonably competent scientists and engineers to come up with "quick and dirty" designs for nuclear explosives. The physics of nuclear explosions can be readily taught to graduate students.
Implosion calculations are also far simpler now. This owes to the free availability of extremely powerful but cheap computers, as well as numerical codes which allow one to see how a bombs characteristics change as one changes sizes and shapes, purity of materials, etc. In contrast, the early bomb calculations had been painfully carried out by hand or by programming huge and primitive vacuum-tube computers.
Todays pocket calculator, worth only 500 rupees, has more computational power than the room-sized early computers worth millions of dollars.
In a world where science moves at super-high speeds, nuclear weapons and missile development is today second-rate science. The undeniable fact is that the technology of nuclear bombs belongs to the 1940s, and the furious pace of science makes that ancient history. Nevertheless, the reader may still demand an answer to the question: exactly how hard is it to make nuclear weapons?
Hard and easy are relative terms. Therefore, to make things more precise, consider the following hypothetical situation. Let us suppose that the developed countries exercise no export controls, or that a given third-world country has a sufficiently clever purchasing network to get around these controls, and hence that it can obtain all the non-military technologies it wants. Assume also that it has the cash to pay for such commercially available equipment, electronic systems, machine parts, special steels and materials, and so forth, as are needed in a modern industrial setting. In addition, finally, suppose that the country either possesses naturally found uranium, or waste material from some reactor. What, then, would be the chances of success?
Botswana, Lesotho, and Somalia still could not make it, I am afraid. Nor could Madagascar or the Maldives. Libya or Saudi Arabia would also have great difficulty unless they hired scientists and engineers from abroad. But one can count more than sixty countries currently without nuclear weapons, which could very well have them if the conditions of the above hypothesis were fulfilled and, of course, if they wanted the weapons.
It is not my purpose to denigrate the considerable achievement of Pakistani and Indian nuclear and missile experts. They have accomplished their goal of being able to reduce each others countries to radioactive ashes in a matter of minutes. This is no mean feat because even today substantial engineering ingenuity is required to make any textbook method actually work. It takes intelligence to get complex machines to work, and reliably convert formulas given in books and documents into bombs and rockets. However, this does not amount to scientific genius or to meaningful overall advancement of the nations technology. Does it really matter that making bombs and missiles is no longer high-science? The answer is, yes, for three reasons. First, making these weapons no longer impresses the rest of the world. There was indeed a time when being nuclear and missile armed meant that a country was big and powerful, but todays international pecking order is determined by a nations economic, not military, strength. India had hoped for a Security Council seat after the May 11 tests but miserably failed.
Second, the highly focussed, and hugely expensive, Pakistani and Indian weapons programs are wasteful because they use scientific principles discovered and developed elsewhere and so cannot produce any important spin-offs. In contrast, the strongly research-oriented military-industrial complex in the US has often produced new spin-off technology with enormous applications, the internet being one example.
Thirdly, the irrelevance of high-science to bombs and missiles has yet another, and still deeper, implication. Pakistan has established that even a scientifically impoverished country can, with minimal infrastructure, produce bombs that will go off and missiles that will fly. The prescription for success is sufficient money and resources, a few hundred engineers working under the direction of effective and intelligent group leaders, an international buying network, and the will to do it all. Therefore, one does not need high-class research scientists or world-class universities. A couple of good engineering institutes will suffice, together with a few good schools and colleges. More would be welcome, but an expensive luxury. Hence, Chaghi cannot give an impetus for resurrecting an education system that had collapsed over a decade ago.
The Pakistani state has declared bombs and missiles as the touchstone of scientific progress and its present elation is understandable. However, it has been able to acquire these without having created an educated society, or working science institutions, or even attempting to move towards a society where science can ultimately develop. Historically, every society where science has flourished has necessarily submitted to the power of reason and been radically transformed. When science came to Europe three centuries ago, it swept away the old theocratic medieval order and replaced it with ideas of progress, humanism, and rationalism. Curiously the offspring of science, technology, has been summoned to serve and defend an increasingly Talibanized Pakistan. The countrys emerging new medieval theocracy, that now impatiently awaits its turn for power, counts upon having at its disposal the power of fiery jinns to use as it wills.
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The INES Newsletter is edited by Armin Tenner, Buziaustraat 18, 1068 KN, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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TREEPLANTING IN SCOTLAND
Original extent of the Native Pinewoods of Scotland ------ Existing remnants of Native Pinewoods
------------------------------------------------------------------ Forest regeneration area Trees of Life
A Commitment from the Amsterdam Congress
by Hartwig Spitzer, E-mail:
Many of you will remember that participants of the Amsterdam Congress "Challenges of Sustainable Development" contributed a CO2-compensation fee in order to make up for the CO2 emitted by Congress travel and operations. A workshop at the Congress led by Claus Montonen estimated that the total CO2 emission of the Congress amounted to 220 tons, mostly from long distance air travel (160 tons).
The original intention was to support from the fees collected a tree planting project in Nepal. This did not materialise for various reasons. It was thus decided to give half of the CO2 -compensation fund (DM 2000.-) to a tree-planting project in the Scottish Highlands. The Scottish charity "Trees for Life" has worked for many years to restore of the Caledonian Forest, which once covered major parts of Scotland (see map). The present tree-planting activities focus on the Glen Affric area (close to Loch Ness lake), see map. The area is a forest reserve, protected by the government of Scotland. It thus can be expected that the trees will reach full maturity and will not face logging.
Trees for Life planted some 120 trees for INES in mid-April 1999. At a survival rate of 80 percent, about 100 trees will reach full maturity. A mature highland Scots pine will on average grow to 6 tons in weight over an average lifespan of 200 years half of this weight consists of carbon taken up by the tree as CO2. Thus one tree will absorb about three tons of carbon or 11 tons of CO2 in its lifespan. It will take 20 trees to absorb 220 tons of CO2 in their lifetime or 100 trees to absorb the same amount in about 40 years.
We are looking for another promising and reliable tree planting project, preferably in a country of the South. If you know of any, please contact:
Hartwig Spitzer; E-mail:
British INES members are invited to visit the tree-planting site by prior contact with:
"Trees for Life," The Park, Findhorn Bay, Forres IV 36 OTZ, Scotland.
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The Caledonian Forest
by Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life Executive Director
The Caledonian Forest originally covered much of the Highlands of Scotland, and takes its name from the Romans, who called Scotland Caledonia, meaning wooded heights. The native pinewoods, which formed the westernmost outpost of the boreal forest in Europe, are estimated to have covered 1.5 million hectares as a vast primeval wilderness of Scots pines, birch, rowan, aspen, juniper and other trees. On the west coast, oak and birch trees predominated in a temperate rainforest ecosystem rich in ferns, mosses and lichens. Many species of wildlife flourished in the forest, including the beaver, wild boar, lynx, moose, brown bear and the wolf as well as several notable species of birds - the capercaillie, the crested tit, and the endemic Scottish crossbill, which occurs nowhere else in the world apart in the pinewoods.
Today less than 1% of the original forests survive, and the native pinewoods have been reduced to 35 isolated remnants. Gone with the trees are all the large mammals, with the exception of the deer. Species such as the brown bear and the wild boar had become extinct by the 10th and 17th centuries respectively, while the last to disappear was the wolf, when the final individual was shot in 1743.
The Trees for Life Project
Trees for Life has been involved in practical work to regenerate and restore the Caledonian Forest since 1989. Working with government agencies, private landowners and other conservation groups, we have fenced several areas in Glen Affric, one of the best remnants of the old forest. Our long-term aim is to return an area of approximately 1,500 square kilometres (shown in the map above) to a condition of natural forest. This area in the north-central Highlands is largely roadless and almost completely uninhabited, and is therefore one of the very few large tracts of land in Scotland which have the potential to be restored to a wilderness state. Containing mountains and lochs as well as formerly-forested land, it includes all the necessary habitats to support the extirpated species of wildlife which we aim to reintroduce.
Despite its size, however, this area alone would not be sufficient to support genetically-sustainable populations of the largest of the missing mammals, such as the wolf and the bear, which require a large range to live in. Thus, we envision linking the area outlined above to other sites of restored forest in the Highlands, using biological corridors. Two good possible sites to link with are to the northwest and southwest of our target 1,500 km2 area, and we are establishing contacts with the organisations working to regenerate the forest in them. We have also begun a research programme to support and document our forest restoration work.
A Strategy for Action
We have a threefold strategy for the return of the forest. The first part of our strategy is to facilitate the natural regeneration of the trees, by fencing the deer out of areas on the periphery of the existing remnants, so that seedlings can grow naturally to maturity again without being over-grazed. This is the simplest and best method of regenerating the forest, as it involves the minimum of intervention and allows nature to do most of the work. This is one of the basic principles of ecological restoration. However, this only works for locations where there is an existing seed source nearby, which is not the case in the treeless expanses which make up most of the Highlands today.
The second part of our strategy comes into effect in these situations, and it involves planting native trees in barren areas where the forest has disappeared completely. To do this, we collect seed from the nearest surviving trees, to maintain the local genetic variation in the forest. The resulting seedlings are then planted in a random, non-linear pattern inside fenced exclosures, replicating the natural distribution of the trees. We are working with all of the native trees from the forest, and are paying particular attention to the pioneer species, such as birch, rowan and aspen, as they have an important role to play in the succession of the forest as it gets re-established.
The third part of our strategy involves the removal of non-native trees which in some areas have been planted as a commercial crop amongst the old trees of the Caledonian Forest remnants, thereby preventing their regeneration.
Re-Weaving the Web of Life
Combining these three strategies, our intention is to re-establish areas, or islands, of healthy young forest scattered throughout the barren, deforested glens. As these new trees reach seed-bearing age they will form the nuclei for an expanded natural regeneration in the surrounding area. While the trees in these islands are growing, it will be important to reduce the numbers of deer, so that the forest restoration process can become self-sustaining, without the need for further fences.
As the trees grow, some of the other woodland species will return by themselves. Seeds will be blown in by the wind or carried in by birds, and flying insects and birds will move in as soon as there is habitat for them. The interconnected web of life which makes up the living community of the forest will thus begin to re-establish itself. Other species will need to be physically reintroduced to the regenerating forest, as and when the habitat can support them. In the long term, we plan to reintroduce all the locally-extinct large mammals. Those species, and particularly the predators at the top of the food chain, such as the brown bear, the lynx and the wolf are essential to maintain the overall health and balance of the forest ecosystem. This will need to be accompanied by an education programme to counter public fears and misconceptions about predators, and compensation measures for any livestock losses which result this is already being done in the USA.
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THE HAGUE AND ST. PETERSBURG
Tobias Damjanov is a peace activist and free-lance journalist with a background of social science.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the first two international peace conferences in 1899, two different NGO conferences were held in recent months: At The Hague, the "Hague Appeal for Peace Conference" took place from 12 to 15 May, while at St. Petersburg, the commemoratory event, held on 18-20 June, was entitled "Nuclear Policy and Security on the Eve of the 21st Century." Of course, both venues had been chosen in accordance with the historical places, at which the governments peace congresses were held a hundred years ago.
The Hague Conference turned out to be a truly centenary event for NGOs: no other previous international gathering of nongovernmental policymakers was ever attended by so many organizations and participants. Well over 700 NGOs were officially registered; up to 10,000 people were present, out of which almost 1,000 came from the United States alone, followed by Japan with some 500 participants. Around 400 officially scheduled workshops, round-table debates, panels, etc. plus quite a few additional ones set up on the spot covered nearly any subject one could imagine in terms of NGO concerns. To complete this unique picture, it must be noted that a large number of UN agencies, as well as governments, sent high-ranking representatives, including for example, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Queen Noor of Jordan. In addition, the Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, and Joseph Rotblat attended. Even UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan participated in the final plenary session to give a keynote speech to the conference.
However, these certainly impressive facts and figures do not say too much about the substance of discussions or about the overall outcome. In fact, it was quite difficult to get an overview on what was going on each day of the conference. To give an example: at least eight international key initiatives were either launched at or presented to the conference, including the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), the Global Campaign for Peace Education, the initiative to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, a call for a global ban on depleted uranium, the Global Coalition World Democracy 2010, an international network on disarmament and globalization, and, most prominently, the Global Ratification Campaign for the International Criminal Court.
One major striking point was the heated debate concerning the NATO war in Yugoslavia. Special meetings had been scheduled daily; however, there was no draft resolution or statement presented to the conference plenary because the pro and contra assessments of NATOs policy could not be bridged. A number of NGOs used this as an opportunity to present resolutions, call for actions etc. of their own a move that at least showed that NGOs do not get frustrated very quickly when an overall compromise cannot be found. In addition, particularly inspiring and helpful were the analyses and nonmilitary conflict solutions presented by the Scandinavian peace researchers Prof. Johan Galtung and Jan Øberg. After all, some kind of formula in terms of mere slogans rather than (a package of) demands as many participants apparently desired were found in the plenaries:, the conference president Cora Weiss called for "No more Kosovos;" Maj-Britt Theorín, president of the International Peace Bureau (IPB), one of the key initiators of the conference, was more clear when demanding for "no more bombing" as well as "no more human rights violations." As a general perspective, several plenary speakers pointed out that the need for peace must not be put against the need for justice. Profoundly elaborating on this demand could lead the NGOs to develop one of their most decisive principles concerning their specific influence on international security and non-military conflict resolution&
Addressing the conference for the host nation government, both the Dutch Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister should have felt lucky that only some 2,000 participants found space in the auditorium: The vast majority loudly disapproved the fact that representatives of a government being in war with another European country did dare to make their points to an audience committed to non-military politics. Although it might be considered unavoidable, polite and in agreement with common standards that officials of the host country have a word, people felt very uneasy about these statements knowing that the Dutch Foreign Ministry supported the event financially a decision which was taken only after NATO had started its bombings against Yugoslavia. (The mayor of the City of The Hague was less lucky when justifying the NATO bombing at a special reception for selected conference participants: he was criticized in public by Bruce Kent, a former president of IPB and the British CND who simply took the microphone from him to explain why the mayors statement was unacceptable.) Whatever one might think of these incidents, they characterized the very nature of non(!)-governmental approaches. And following the assessment of Kofi Annan, the "international community" needs the impact of non-governmental initiatives.
The situation in Yugoslavia was by far not the only concern of the conference, and seemingly, participants were more successful in finding common ground at other "hot spots" in this world: Kashmiris, Indians and Pakistanis reached an unprecedented peace agreement on Kashmir, Ethiopians and Eritreans held a dialogue on the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict; and young people from Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus wrote together an action-plan "Timetable for Peace in Cyprus." At the same time, the excellent conference daily newspaper reported that an entire delegation from Yugoslavia bound for the conference was not permitted to enter the country...
INES played a quite interesting role at this conference. By membership, INES certainly does not belong to the "big" international NGOs, and neither in terms of its budgetary capacity, if one takes this as a criterion. As a scientific NGO, however, INES appeared as one of the most, if not the most active organization: First, it was member of the sort of pretty exclusive 72-organization-strong Organizing Committee, where INES was represented by its chair Prof. Armin Tenner. Secondly, as it turned out during the conference, no other international NGO was directly involved in conducting more workshops etc. than INES and its international Project Groups INESAP and the INES Ethics Committee. In addition, one could notice that quite a few INES member organizations participated in the conference. In terms of public attention, INES was well advised to rent one of the hundreds of booths that built together a big "market" where organizations and initiatives displayed their material and could discuss their aims and approaches with visitors passing by all the day long.
The "Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century" is the title of the document which was finally adopted as an overall platform of the conference. Consisting of 50 paragraphs, it is not a declaration or a joint statement but a unique list of demands, campaigns and initiatives of all major fields in which NGOs are active. Apparently, the "Hague Agenda" is considered a high-ranking document, not only by the NGO community, which intends to present this compilation of international NGO policy to the governments of the world. Meanwhile, it has been adopted as an official UN document (Reference A/54/98) which underscores that the relationship between NGOs and the UN is obviously developing into an encouraging new stage of collaboration and joint activities.
Given the rare dimension of this conference, one should not overestimate the organizational and technical shortcomings of this event. More serious, however, were some political problems: It was never clear whether this conference followed the idea of a working congress or simply aimed to be a "big bazaar" for exchanging information and evaluation. Certainly, it was a mixture of both. The fact that the final program was published only some weeks before the event was not particularly helpful, to say the least: and it indicated that there was no clear orientation. A second major point, which raised concern and criticism among the conference participants, was that some global matters were simply excluded for whatever reasons: This refers mainly to the Middle East conflict, as well as to US foreign policy and US militarism. Cora Weiss was certainly ill-advised when, in her opening speech, she mentioned almost all war-dangered spots and regional conflicts the world over without any mentioning, however, of the Israel / Palestine situation, let alone the entire Middle East complex. That went along with no reference whatsoever to the role US foreign and military policy played in the past, as well as today. To criticize missing points in an opening speech would not be of too much relevance if it were not accompanied by the same lacks in the conference programme. At that point, one should remember that the historical event to be commemorated was a European peace conference. Thus, many attending NGOs were organizations concerned with peace and military issues, including weapons development and international arms trade or in other words: many, if not the majority of the attending NGOs are part of the international peace movement, which nowadays includes topics related to human rights, non-violent societal development and a progressive interpretation of sustainability. For them, it must have been disappointing in particular that an entire set of problems was almost excluded from the agenda. In addition, all this gave ground to rumours that US "governmental forces" had successfully influenced the conference process.
To balance this criticism, it must be added that the Hague Conference showed something brilliant: it reflected reality. This can also be said about the St Petersburg Conference (see below) which indicates that the NGO community especially those NGOs which have been closely related to the previous formula of the bipolar East-West deadlock seem to start scoring much better in the latest international developments than in the recent past. That shows at the same time that assessing NGOs policies is a matter of assessing a process of development sometimes over many years rather than considering only one essential event. That means that the obvious problems of the Hague Conference must not be evaluated as isolated phenomenon but as part of an overall process of NGOs development.
Concerning the perspectives of future NGO cooperation, the presentation of the "Hague Agenda" was a well-minded and well percepted idea but was presumably not enough: up to now, only rumours are flooding around whether or not the capability of so many different NGOs coming together would materialize in, say, a new approach of jointly networking. The launching of a number of international initiatives and campaigns at The Hague showed already that there is not only the need but also the will to elaborate on and promote various projects.
It would have been very encouraging if the leadership of the conference had been bold enough to present to this conference concrete suggestions on how to further develop this new type of international NGO cooperation, for example, by proposing the establishment of a joint coordination body, an international secretariat, or present other practical ideas for joint networking. In addition, a different but not less important point: the organizers must be sharply criticized for failing to set up an adequate media campaign for promoting this conference and its results to the public.
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The St. Petersburg Conference was quite different in many respects. Carried out as an "Abolition 2000" event, it concentrated on nuclear issues, and more specifically, on the corresponding situation in Russia and the Baltic countries. Very soon after the start of the workshops it turned out that ideological differences among participants from the former Warsaw Pact region are still determining the debate. For example, INES Executive Committee member Alla Yaroshiskaya, one of the keynote speakers, was criticized because some people still dislike that she was known as having been supportive to Gorbachevs policy. To some extent, western participants felt helpless because this was not openly admitted.
Two appearances drew very much attention to the conference: One was the speech by Robert Green, a retired Royal Navy Commander who is now working for Abolition 2000: He admitted that when he was in charge of nuclear weapons, they coincidentally were targeted against Saint Petersburg Airport. Robert Green publicly apologized for this irresponsibility which was widely reported by the media. A second highlight was that Alexander Nikitin was able to participate. Although stating he would not refer to his case, he later gave an overview on the latest development of his pending trial. It seems that the accusation against him is mainly based on "secret advises" by the Russian Defense Ministry rather than on current law. Nikitin called upon organizing an international information exchange regarding nuclear issues with special emphasis on incidents and environmental danger.
After controversial debates, it was a positive surprise that the conference ended with the adoption of a "St. Petersburg Declaration" which then was forwarded to the International Conference "Centennial of the Russian Initiative. From the First Peace Conference, 1899, to the Third, 1999" in St. Petersburg 22-25 June 1999, the governmental commemoration event. The excellent character of this Declaration is mainly due to the presentation of urgent and clear-cut measures to implement seven principles for the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. Somewhat in contrast to the conference at The Hague, some of the organizing NGOs are meanwhile working on follow-up projects which will try to establish better East-West understanding and cooperation, as well as to provide assistance for and promotion of NGOs in the Baltics and Russia.
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ST. PETERSBURG DECLARATION
St. Petersburg, Russia, 19 June 1999, Conference on Nuclear Policy and Security on the Eve of the 21st Century.
Abolition 2000, Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.
In 1899, the Russian Czar Nicolas II took the initiative to convene a general peace conference which was hosted by the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina in The Hague. 100 years later in St. Petersburg, we, the participants in the Abolition 2000 Conference, summarize our findings on nuclear policy and security on the eve of the 21st century. These will be forwarded to the International Conference "Centennial of the Russian Initiative. From the First Peace Conference, 1899, to the Third, 1999" in St. Petersburg, 2225 June 1999. There can be no peace and security with nuclear weapons. The dogma of "nuclear deterrence" led to the building of ever larger arsenals by the nuclear weapons states. It is illegal, immoral and irresponsible; it must be rejected. For worldwide security, nuclear weapons must be eliminated.
We must move to common security based on human and ecological values and respect for international institutions and law. NATOs recent assertion of the right to engage in "out-of-area" operations conducted without United Nations authority is contrary to this imperative. Future European security arrangements must comply with international law, encompass all European countries including Russia, and exclude nuclear weapons. Genuine and lasting peace cannot be achieved by building and expanding military alliances.
Despite reductions, the nuclear weapons states still hold enough explosive power to annihilate the planet. Nuclear weapons have not prevented war. Across the world and within Europe, at the end of the millennium, brutal conflicts rage. The spirit and the letter of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have been broken. By maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China have encouraged other states including India, Israel and Pakistan to follow their example.
In the development of nuclear weapons, these governments have brought death and suffering to succeeding generations of innocent people and irreversible environmental destruction. Vast resources have been devoted to nuclear warfare preparations. In the last 50 years, the gap between rich and poor has grown, not least within the nuclear weapon states. Funds have been denied to international bodies concerned with conflict prevention, especially the United Nations and its constituent regional organizations including the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE is a pan-European security organization, representing 54 countries including Russia, the United States, and Canada, which promotes non-military solutions to conflict.
We call for recognition and implementation of the following principles:
Redefine security in terms of peoples rather than states, where protection of human health and preservation of the natural environment have overriding priority;
Support and strengthen the role of the United Nations, which was created after World War II to resolve international disputes peacefully;
Place new emphasis on regional security organizations, such as OSCE, acting under Chapter VIII and the UN Charter and using political rather than military tools for conflict resolution;
Uphold and apply international law in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner;
Recognize the link between nuclear energy and proliferation, and give high priority to energy conservation and development of alternative energy sources. The following urgent measures are needed to implement these principles, which should be taken simultaneously and in parallel:
Massively increased funding and resources for OSCE; transparency and democracy in the creation of its forthcoming "Charter for European Security in the 21st Century" with the full involvement of civil society.
Taking all nuclear forces off alert status through coordinated measures lowering their readiness for use, including separation of warheads from delivery systems and withdrawal of nuclear-armed submarines from patrol;
Removal of US nuclear weapons from Europe back to the United States;
Initiation of parallel, reciprocal actions between the United States and Russia to de-alert, reduce, and account for warheads and fissile materials, bypassing the blocked START process;
Commencement of multilateral negotiations on the elimination of nuclear weapons to culminate in a comprehensive treaty. These negotiations could incorporate or be conducted in parallel with negotiations on interim steps including no first-use and no modernization pledges and a fissile materials ban;
Reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons research and development infrastructures and capabilities. This process should accompany the reduction and elimination of warheads and delivery systems. It will require a new emphasis on development of societal verification methods;
Reduction and elimination of other weapons of mass destruction and / or indiscriminate effect, including depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and land mines.
In conclusion, we strongly endorse the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as echoed in the words of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "Today security is increasingly understood not just in military terms, and as far more than the absence of conflict. It is in fact a phenomenon that encompasses economic development, social justice, environmental protection, democratization, disarmament and respect for human rights. These goals these pillars of peace are interrelated. Progress in one area begets progress in another. But no country can get there on its own. And none is exempt from the risks and costs of doing without... The world today spends billions preparing for war; should not we spend a billion or two preparing for peace?"
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World Conference on Science
Budapest, 26/6 1/7 1999
On Thursday the first of July 1999 at 16.30 h, the World Conference on Science (WCS) adopted a "Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge" and a "Science Agenda the Framework for Action." This concluded a week of intense work on the documents, which are supposed to be resulting in governmental and non-governmental organisation policies in the next millennium.
The WCS was organised by ICSU (International Council of Scientific Unions) and UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation). The unusual set-up of this conference, a joint venture of a non-governmental (ICSU) and a governmental organisation, gave new room for participation and cooperation.
ICSU played an active role in the preparation of the conference. They took part in the organisation of the scientific programme, the writing of the Draft Declaration, the Draft Framework for Action as well as in all the secretary work.
During the Conference the invited international scientific NGOs (Armin Tenner attended for INES) got together in a two-day forum to write amendments to the draft documents which were, in part, included into the final version. Overall, this is a new approach of world conferences, which previously used to exclude NGOs like in Beijing or Kyoto.
The success or failure of the meeting and its relevance for the future needs to be discussed. Especially, one has to think about the role of INES in this process. It should be clear that to sit with the government at the same drafting table is one thing, but an NGO should not stop trying to think ahead and to be provocative.
The input of the speeches and scientific meetings to the development of the conference documents were of several natures:
After a great keynote address of Sir Joseph Rotblat, calling for a Hippocratic oath for scientists, hopes were high that this would be included in the documents, but only the wish to establish a scientific code, based on ethical standards (Declaration (Decl.) Art. 41) was included. The proposal was discussed in the mentioned NGO meeting. It was felt that the Hippocratic oath is meaningful in medicine where purpose and goals are rather well defined, but that in general science a common definition of "benefit of mankind" is missing.
Traditional knowledge was one of the workshop themes within the scientific programme. A plea was made for scientific recognition of traditional knowledge and also for saving it from exploitation by the industries (compare with Krishna, INES Newsletter No. 25, p. 5). Conservative forces in the drafting committee washed these demands out; the result is a very vague formulation in the final documents. There was a hesitation to accept anything else but the "good old" science as science.
Property rights, which were also mentioned by Krishna in his paper, were addressed but not intensively discussed (Decl. Art. 38).
In contrast, the women were able to achieve a great success by integrating several items into the documents. Members of UNESCO, UNIFEM, the NGO Forum and others proposed the amendments. These additions point out that there is a historical imbalance in the participation of men and women in all science related activities (Decl. Art 24). This needs to be taken into account for the reason of equity and for the sake of womens contribution to science. It was made clear that a larger participation of women will broaden the scientific landscape (Decl. Art. 34).
Other important issues were brain drain (Decl. Art. 35), the importance of basic research, new materials, funding of science, co-operation with the social sciences, etc.
These examples make clear that some interest groups achieved their goals and some did not; but, according to the general feeling of the participants, it was worth while coming.
For an optimal gain out of this conference, the NGOs must define goals for the follow-up process and work out the formulated principles into practical application. INES must participate in this process, taking advantage of the fact that, compared with UNESCO, it does not face all the diplomatic obstacles.
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Monsanto now expanding monopolies from seed to water
Over the past few years, Monsanto, a chemical company, has positioned itself as an agricultural company through control over seed, the first link in the food chain. Monsanto now wants to control water, the very basis of life.
In 1996, Monsanto bought the biotechnology assets of Agracetus, a subsidiary of W.R. GRACE, for $150 million and Calagene, a California based plant-biotechnology company for $340 million. In 1997, Monsanto acquired Holden seeds, the Brazilian seed company Sementes Agrocerus and Asgrow. In 1998, Monsanto purchased Cargills seed operations for $1.4 billion. It bought Delta and Pineland for $1.82 billion and Dekalb for $2.3 billion. It bought Unilevers European wheat breeding business for $525 million. In India Monsanto bought Mahyco, Maharashtra Hybrid Company, E.I.D. Parry and Rallis. Mr. Jack Kennedy of Monsanto has stated "We propose to penetrate the Indian Agricultural sector in a big way. MAHYCO is a good vehicle." According to Robert Farley of Monsanto: "what you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it is really a consolidation of the entire food chain. Since water is as central to food production as seed is; and without water life is not possible."
Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water. During 1999 Monsanto plans to launch a new water business, starting with India and Mexico since both these countries are facing water shortages.
Monsanto is seeing a new business opportunity in water because of the emerging water crisis and the funding available to make this vital resource available to people. As it states in its strategy paper: "First we believe that discontinuities (either major policy changes or major trendline breaks in resource quality or quantity) are likely, particularly in the area of water, and we will be well positioned via these business to profit even more significantly when these discontinuities occur. Second, we are exploring the potential of non-conventional financing (NGOs, World Bank, USDA etc.) that may lower our investment or provide local country business building resources." Thus, the crisis of pollution and depletion of water resources is viewed by Monsanto as a business opportunity. For Monsanto "Sustainable Development" means the conversion of an ecological crisis into a market of scarce resources. "The business logic of sustainable development is that population growth and economic development will apply increasing pressure on natural resource markets. These pressures and the worlds desire to prevent the consequences of these pressures if unabated, will create vast economic opportunity. When we look at the world through the lens of sustainability we are in a position to see current and foresee impending resource market trends and imbalances that create market needs. We have further focussed this lens on the resource market of water and land. These are the markets that are most relevant to us as a life sciences company committed to delivering food, health and hope to the world, and there are markets in which there are predictable sustainability challenges and therefore opportunities to create business value." Monsanto plans to earn revenues of $420 million and a net income of $63 million by 2008 from its water business in India and Mexico. By the year 2010 about 2.5 billion people in the world are projected to lack access to safe drinking water.
At least 30% of the population in China, India, Mexico and the US is expected to face severe water stress. By the year 2025 the supply of water in India will be 700 cubic kilometres per year while the demand is expected to rise to 1050 units. Control over this scarce and vital resource will of course be a source of guaranteed profits. As John Bastin of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has stated "Water is the last infrastructure frontier for Private investors." Monsanto estimates that providing safe water is a several billion-dollar market. It is growing at 25 - 30% in rural communities and is estimated to be $300 million by the year 2000 in India and Mexico. This is the amount currently spent by NGOs for water development projects and local government water supply schemes, and Monsanto hopes to tap these public finances for providing water to rural communities and convert water supply into market. The Indian Government spent over $1.2 billion between 1992-97 for various water projects while the World Bank spent $900 million. Monsanto would like to divert this public money from public supply of water to establishing Monsantos water monopoly. Since in rural areas the poor cannot pay, in Monsantos view "Capturing a piece of the value created for this segment will require the creation of a non-traditional mechanism targeted at building relationships with local government and NGOs as well as through innovative financing mechanisms, such as microcredit." Monsanto also plans to penetrate the Indian market for safe water by establishing a joint venture with Eureka Forbes / TATA, which controls 70% of the UV Technologies. To enter the water business, Monsanto has acquired an equity stake in Water Health International (WHI) with an option to buy the rest of the business. Monsanto will also buy a Japanese company which has developed electrolysis technology. The joint venture with Eureka Forbes / TATA is supposed to provide market access, and to fabricate, distribute and service water systems. Monsanto will leverage their brand equity in the Indian Market. The joint venture route has been chosen so that "Monsanto can achieve management control over local operations but not have legal consequences due to local issues."
Another new business that Monsanto is starting in 1999 in Asia is aquaculture. The aquaculture business will build on the foundation of Monsantos agricultural biotechnology and capabilities for fish feed and fish breeding. By 2008 Monsanto expects to earn revenues of $1.6 billion and a net income of $266 million from its aquaculture business. While Monsantos entry into aquaculture is through its Sustainable Development activity, industrial aquaculture has been established to be highly non-sustainable. The Supreme Court of India had banned industrial shrimp farming because of its catastrophic consequences. However, the government, under pressure of the aquaculture industry, is attempting to change the laws, in order to undo the Supreme Courts order. At the same time, attempts are being made by the World Bank to privatise water resources and establish trade in water rights. These trends will suit Monsanto well in establishing its new Water Business and Aquaculture Business. The World Bank has already offered to help. As the Monsanto strategy paper states "We are particularly enthusiastic about the potential of partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank to joint venture projects in developing markets. The IFC is eager to work with Monsanto to commercialise sustainability opportunities and would bring both investment capital and on-the-ground capabilities to our efforts."
Monsantos Water and Aquaculture Business, like its seed business, is aimed at controlling vital resources necessary for survival, converting them into a market and using public finances to underwrite the investments. A more efficient conversion of public goods into private profit would be difficult to find. Water is however too basic for life and survival. The right to water is the right to life. The privatisation and commodification of water is a threat to the right to life. India has had major water movements to conserve and share water. The Pani Panchayat and the water conservation movement in Maharashtra and Tarun Bharat Sangh in Alwar have regenerated and equitably shared water as a commons. This is the only way that everyone will have the right to water and nobody will have the right to abuse and overuse water. Water is a commons and must be managed as a commons. It cannot be controlled and sold by a Life Sciences Corporation that peddles in Death.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is President of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy
New Delhi, India.
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INES Council meeting 1999
Wednesday 22 September, Arrival Day
16.00 - 19.00 INES Executive Committee Meeting
INES-Seminar with guests:
Science and responsibility at the threshold to the 21st century
Thursday 23 September, whole day
Prof. Peter Weish (Austria), Science and the future of the biosphere * Prof. Valery Petrosyan (Russia), Science and sustainability * Prof. Anna Maria Cetto (Mexico), Science and sustainability from the perspective of the South (to be confirmed) * Dr. Martin Kalinowski (Germany), Nuclear physics and science * Sandra Striewski (Germany), Education and sustainability
Friday 24 September
09.00 - 12.30 Dr. Reinhold Christian (Austria), Science and responsibility, political request to science, scientific request to policy * Ulrike Otto (Germany), Prof. Peter Weish (Austria), final discussion and summary.
13.30 - 15.00 INES Executive Committee Meeting
INES Council Meeting
15.30 - 18.00 Opening * Welcome by the chairman and local hosts * Council members introduce themselves * Where do we stand? * Report of the chairman, Prof. Armin Tenner * Financial report, Prof. Dieter Meissner * Report from the office, Reiner Braun * Discussion and outlook
20.00 Cocktail reception with the mayor of Vienna
Saturday 25 September
08.30 - 13.00 Status of INES projects, poster session on projects * Strategic goals for the next years of INES * Group photo
14.30 - 17.00 Group work INES projects 2000
17.30 Social event. Sightseeing in the city of Vienna
Sunday 26 September
8.30 - 11.00 Elections, next steps and decisions * Election * Next Council Meeting
11.30 - 13.00 Consequences of the Balkan War, introductions, Dr. Alla Yaroshinskaja, Reiner Braun
14.00 - 15.15 INES Executive Committee meeting
19.00 - 21.00 Meeting of the council members and conveners of the Stockholm conference. "Challenges for science and engineering in the 21st century." General introduction, information and questions.
Monday 27 September
09.00 - 13.00 Convener meeting continued
14.00 - 18.00 Excursion "Sustainable Vienna"
19.30 - 22.00 Convener meeting continued
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Committee for Establishing a European Tribunal for the NATO-War against Yugoslavia
On July 3rd 1999 a meeting was held of representatives from peace-groups and peace-organisations and of individuals in Berlin. They decided to prepare a European Tribunal for the NATO-War and a national conference in Berlin on October, 28 - 31. Following a similar action in the USA by Ramsey Clark and the International Action Center, a German bundling of peace groups came into existence that aims for a public rejection of the NATO-war and for punishment of the people who are guilty for the NATO-war. This happens due to the very active role of Germany for preparing and executing the war together with other European members of NATO.
The idea for the tribunal came up simultaneously from different European partners which ask the organisations of our today's conference for close cooperation. The idea was also pushed forward on the "Kasseler Friedensratschlag" which is a steady conference of peace initiatives in Germany. Initiators are the Organisation for Human Rights and the Union of Antifascists in Bulgaria, the Humanistic Organisation of Medical Doctors of the Czech Republic, the Peace Movement of Switzerland, a group of 20 representatives and judges of the States Council of Greece and a group of personalities in Italy, also representatives of the Russian Parliament (Duma) and the Polish Parliament, etc. As example of the various organisations in Germany, we wish to mention the organisation "Mothers against War," which was established during the war. In the meantime there are numerous contacts to peace-groups of other countries, which are also preparing for their own national conferences and tribunals. After a discussion, the participants decided to organize a European Tribunal together and to strengthen the peace-movement by this project. In doing so we want to effectively oppose politics which want to establish a "New World Order" by militaristic means. We want to prevent new wars and a new arms race.
Attorney Professor Erich Buchholz spoke to the conference about aspects of international criminal law for the tribunal. He pointed out that, according to the principles of the Nuernberg Trials, which were confirmed by the UN-General Assembly, and also to the statute of the adhoc-committee for crimes in Yugoslavia, and the statute of an International Criminal Court from Rome 1998, war crimes of different types, genocide and crimes against humanity are to be punished. This includes also the aggression of NATO against Yugoslavia.
At the European Tribunal complaints from different countries will report about the crimes of this war.
Several working groups of experts were established to assist for preparing the prosecution: -the new strategy of NATO, - for protection of the international law and human rights, - the role of the media, which acted like a warfare-party, - the role of the intelligence service. Very important is a working group for collecting material about the war crimes of this war, about the personal and material damages, the damages of ecology, culture and environment. The conference asks all interested peace-groups to join for the next meeting on July 31 in Berlin. The conference appeals to all personalities to contribute to the success of the tribunal by sending material, building up contacts to peace-groups in other countries and by donating money.
AG Tribunal c/o GBM, Weitlingstr. 89, 10317 Berlin,
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