NEWSLETTER No. 28
Science and the future of the biosphere, Peter Weish
INES regional contacts
Nuclear physics and peace at the threshold of the 21st century, Martin B. Kalinowski
An open letter to the leaders of all non-nuclear weapon states, David Krieger
New INES members
Have you ever been to Korea? Sandra Striewski
Séminaire de réflection sur la Conférence Africaine sur la Paix
University crisis in Mexico, Alberto Salazar Martínez
Challenges for science and engineering in the 21st Century
Due to the achievements of the electronic industry,
we have access to various ways of communication. INES is a network; and, in the last few years, has become a largely electronic network through the general use of e-mail for personal communication, for the bulletin WHAT'S NEW and for the INESnet. Or, we use telephones and some of us even FAX. We do not use TELEX any more. The INES Newsletter still appears in the classical printed form, but there is an INTERNET version, linked to the web page inesglobal.org and an e-mail version, for which you can request the editor to put you on his distribution list. We certainly will continue to distribute a printed version of the Newsletter in the coming years. But we ask our readers who generally read the Newsletter from INTERNET if they could do without the printed version. It would save paper and money if we stop mailing it to them. Note that the current issue and back issues of the Newsletter and the "What's New" weekly bulletins are available on the web site archives. So let us know if you do not need a printed Newsletter any more. Write an e-mail to with the message "STOP MAILING." Of course, you can write a few lines more with suggestions how the INTERNET version should look.
The INES Newsletter
Editorial address: Armin Tenner, Buziaustraat 18, 1068 KN Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Print: Jürgen Heinze, Dortmund, Germany
The editor supplies an e-mail version of the Newsletter on request.
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Science and the future of the biosphere
Prof. Peter Weish is Human Ecologist at the University of Vienna.
He is a member of the Executive Committee of INES.
I will begin with some thoughts about changes in the biosphere including the human race. I will also deal with the role that science can play in the solution of the problems connected with these changes.
When I speak about the future, I do not mean tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. As a biologist dealing with Human Ecology, I try to have a look at the biosphere with a long-term perspective.
The earliest traces of life on earth date back about 4 billion years. Astrophysicists assume that the sun which is a fundamental condition for life on earth will deliver the necessary energy for another several billion years. Therefore, the biological evolution has approximately reached its half time.
A relatively young product of the biological evolution is the human race which developed culture and began to dominate other forms of life only a few thousand years ago. This naked ape, as it was called by Desmond Morris, labeled his own species Homo sapiens, the wise being. The technological progress of the past few centuries seemed to support this designation, but at present we can easily recognize it as a euphemism. The Austrian ethnologist and Nobel prize winner Konrad Lorenz put it like this: The long-searched-for missing link between the ape and the truly human being that is us!"
An important question arises: How long will the future of Homo sapiens be? Hundreds, thousands or millions of generations? We do not know. However, we do know that the present generation determines the conditions for life on earth as no generation did before. Ecology can be called the science of small causes and big consequences. Many things we are doing have consequences which extend far into the future. For example, if we release radioactivity into the environment, there will be mutations in living cells with the consequence of a genetic load which produces an increasing number of inherited health effects in future generations. In addition, look at species depletion. Every extinct species is an irreversible loss. On the other hand, every successful measure pertaining to nature-conservation or environmental hygiene has far reaching positive consequences.
The concept of sustainable development
Only recently has the future aspect of the environment been taken into account by official bodies. In 1987 the United Nations world commission on environment and development defined sustainable development" as: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
As indicated before, future generations should not mean a few, but countless ones.
Sustainable development clearly is an ethical concept. One of the basic criteria for evaluating an act is, whether those who are affected by the consequences of the act could agree. Consequently, we should treat the ecosphere in a way that future generations would be able to give their consent.
Sustainable development is an anthropocentric concept because it takes into account only the wellbeing of humans.
Anthropocentric environmental ethics, however, is not able to attain its own objective. Inasmuch as only human needs are taken into consideration, non-human forms of life and ecosystems are only exempted from destruction if they are clearly useful to humans. Those judged to be useless will be traded off cheerfully for shortsighted interests. Therefore, the narrow-minded egotism of humankind will fail because in our vast ecological ignorance we do not know in which way the web of life supports the existence of humankind. The experiment Biosphere II showed clearly that it was not possible to compose a sustainable ecosystem with a few components. A wise man once said: Planning replaces chance by error." Therefore, a farsighted anthropocentrism comes close to biocentrism, a position that respects the right to exist of every form of life.
So I think, that the only sustainable foundation for a future in dignity is a radical ethic of Reverence to Life" such as Albert Schweitzer proposed and followed.
If the worlds air is clean for humans to breathe but supports no birds or butterflies, if the worlds waters are pure for humans to drink but contain no fish or crustaceans or diatoms, have we solved our environmental problems?" asked David Quammen in his paper Planet of weeds" (Harpers Magazine Oct. 1998). In fact, currently we are on the best way to approach this situation. Because of the destruction of forests, water bodies and other natural habitats as a consequence of overpopulation and ever growing demands, we can observe an alarming decline in biodiversity comparable only to a few mass extinctions which took place in the past.
The so-called Ordovician extinction, 439 million years ago, resulted in the disappearance of about 85 percent of marine animal species at a time before there were any animals on land. The worst extinction ever was the Permian extinction about 245 million years ago which eliminated about 95 percent of all known animal species. The most recent and most familiar was the Cretaceous extinction which at the boundary between the Cretaceous and the Tertiary ended not only the age of dinosaurs but also brought extinction of the marine reptiles and the ammonites, as well as major losses of fish species, mammals, amphibians, sea urchins, and other groups, totaling more than 70 percent of all species. The reasons for these breakdowns in biodiversity are not yet well understood.
In our present human-made decline in biodiversity, five causal factors account for most extinctions: habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, overkill, invasive species, and secondary effects cascading through an ecosystem from other extinctions.
Cascading effect means that if for example a bird species is eradicated which disperses the seeds of a rainforest tree, this tree species will also be lost in the end and so will many other species whose ecology is not yet understood.
Among the first well-documented cases of fragmentation is the Borro Colorado island. This island was isolated from the large rainforest area by flooding when the Panama canal was constructed. In the following decades the number of species there declined steadily. One branch of ecological theory is called island biogeography. It connects well studied island cases with the mainland problem of forest fragmentation and it arrives at estimates which suggest that by the year 2040, between 17 and 35 percent of tropical forest species will be extinct or doomed to be.
If the present trends of deforestation continue, the result could be the loss of one or two thirds of all species. Can the creation of protected areas stop this process? The present worldwide total of protected areas is about 6 percent of the planets land area. Even in those parks and reserves, it is not possible that their full biological diversity will be retained.
Human population growth will make a bad situation worse by putting ever more pressure on all available land. Human impact is a product of three variables: population size, consumption level, and technology. Even if there is a lot of progress in clean technologies, an undeniable reality will remain: more people will need more land.
Extinctions are not only caused by destruction and isolation of ecosystems but also by dislocation" of species. A well-documented case is the introduction of goats to St. Helena island by Portuguese sailors shortly after its discovery in 1500. At that time, the island was covered by tropical forest. The goats began to multiply rapidly and prevented the rejuvenation of trees. Three hundred years later, the forest with its high biodiversity was gone and so was most of the fertile topsoil. A rich ecosystem had been destroyed by only one introduced species. At present, a breakdown of endemic fish species is taking place in Lake Victoria after the introduction of the Nile perch Lates niloticus in the sixties. There are countless similar cases which show that narrow-minded human attempts to improve" nature lead to catastrophic consequences by throwing ecosystems into disorder.
Dogs, cats, goats, pigs, rabbits and unintentionally also rats, mice and certain insects have become cosmopolitans together with man. Some of the dislocated species went wild and invasive and began to cause havoc in what for millions of years had been sheltered and less competitive ecosystems.
Dislocated species which are versatile, prolific, aggressive and ready to travel are termed weedy species. These features they have in common with the human species.
Many people argue that the ultimate question connected with the global ecological crisis is the survival of the human species. I do not think Homo sapiens is an endangered species as far as its survival is considered. Our species is so dominant, prolific, generalistic and adaptive that perhaps it will be one of the weedy species which will survive the ongoing mass extinction. Some look at humans as the most successful weed of the planet earth. The question therefore is not survival or not the question is about the conditions of survival.
There are not only the spiritual and aesthetic values which a rich biosphere offers to man, there are many other benefits of diverse balanced ecosystems, for example the cleaning and regeneration of air and water. Losses of these systems will make life for humans more stressful and difficult, especially for the growing number of the poor. It is not the human species that is in danger, but the human values.
Therefore, if we speak about sustainable development we should put the emphasis on stopping the process of ecosystem destruction. One motto must be: Reforestation instead of deforestation!
Given the need for more fertile land for a growing human population, the inevitable expansion must not be at the expense of natural ecosystems.
Reforestation of destroyed areas is not so easy as cutting down trees to create additional land for agriculture, but it is possible. In any case, it is worth the effort. Instead of directing huge financial and human resources into weapons and trained armies for mass-murder, it should be possible for a being calling itself Homo sapiens to reverse the process of destroying the biosphere.
The role of Science
Until recently, science and philosophy were a unity. Their objective was the search for knowledge, the search for the only truth which they expected to find.
Basic questions of Philosophy were:
Who am I?
What can I know?
What am I to do?
The claim that the quest for knowledge and truth should not be hindered by ideologies or dogmas seems to be so justified and self-evident that it automatically leads to the postulate of the freedom of science. However, science is not only the quest for pure knowledge. Francis Bacon, who profoundly influenced modern thinking claimed that Knowledge is power!" He understood science as a means to get nature under control.
In the modern times since then, considerable progress has been made and many splendid achievements have been attained which seemed to be impossible before. (E.g. aviation, nuclear fission, microcomputers, or genetic engineering). Knowledge and technological capabilities reached truly unbelievable dimensions, but at the same time, the dimensions of catastrophic failures on global scale also became manifest.
Why is this so?
Here we touch the second philosophical question I mentioned: What can I know?
Since Immanuel Kant we have known that a priori to every knowledge there are the categories of space, time and causality. Man is able to think in the categories of cause and effect in a simple, linear way but he is not able to understand complex systems. Science and engineering are masters only over small sections of reality and must fail when they apply their concepts to the complex biosphere. Scientism and technocracy reflect the current common attitude that science is the only way to knowledge and that there is a technological fix for the solution of every problem. Technology is the answer but what was the question," Amory Lovins once said.
The specialization of modern science leads to the fragmentation of knowledge, and that fragmentation again leads to what can be called the sin" of modern science viz. the attempt to explain and improve the world from a reductionist position.
On the other hand, ecology, as the science of the complex interrelated systems of the biosphere has demonstrated that interference with the delicate web of life can be very effective. It can quickly destroy viable and proven diversity, the evolution of which has taken a very long time.
The catastrophic failure of many experts promises has discredited modern science. However, it would be quite stupid to draw the conclusion, that because science is not sufficient for the solution of many problems, science is unnecessary. Today we do not need less but more rationality or rather a comprehensive rationality. For example, it is not rational to believe that genetic engineering with its molecular biology approach which ignores the ecological and socio-economical implications will improve the world.
The only legitimate realism is the one of the laws of nature nature can not be deceived.
Specialized knowledge must be complemented by systems knowledge.
Science and responsibility
Scientific responsibility today must be more than perfect methodological professionalism in a special field.
The potentially grave implications of modern technology mean that it is not sufficient to evaluate acts according to the motives behind them. It is not sufficient to justify innovations from only one aspect. This ethic of motives must be complemented by an ethic of responsibility (in the sense of Hans Jonas) also called the ethic of consequences. An action is justified only if according to the best knowledge available severe negative consequences can be excluded.
To participate in obtaining the best knowledge" and in helping to make it effective in society should be a prime task for a scientist. Science can not be separated from responsibility. Freedom of science should first of all be the freedom to act responsibly, the freedom to oppose the exploitation of science by corporate and political interests.
Scientists must not play with new possibilities like naive children. If they close their eyes to potential irreversible consequences of their work, they have to accept being called ecologically and ethically infantile and retarded.
Science needs control from inside but also from society. This requires openness, and a scientific community which not only communicates with the public but also opens itself to borderline and value questions.
Normal science produces knowledge but not wisdom.
Critical science in the interest of life has to strive for wisdom that is the knowledge of how to use knowledge and so it has a close affinity to philosophy. Perhaps in the end science can contribute to the justification of our species name of Homo sapiens.
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INES REGIONAL CONTACTS
INES as a network relies on healthy nodes. Readers are encouraged to approach the INES contact person in their region. Please raise any question you have.
COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES
BALTIC REGION (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland)
Lars Rydén, Fax: , E-mail:
CENTRAL / EASTERN EUROPE (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Successor states of former Yugoslavia)
Jiri Matousek, , E-mail:
Reiner Braun, , E-mail:
WESTERN EUROPE (The Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Switzerland)
Armin Tenner, Tel / Fax: , E-mail:
WESTERN / SOUTHERN EUROPE (France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, Greece),
Jean-Paul Lainé, Fax: E-mail:
CENTRAL , SOUTHERN AFRICA
Ogunlade Davidson, , E-mail:
Hamed El-Mously, Fax: , E-mail:
Chitralekha Marie Massey, E-mail:
Eric Fawcett, Fax: +1 , E-mail:
David Krieger, Fax: +1 , E-mail:
Luis Masperi, Fax: , E-mail:
AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND
John Peet, Fax: E-mail:
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Nuclear Physics and Peace
at the threshold to the 21st Century
Proposal for expert working groups to prepare grounds for a Cut-off Treaty and a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Martin B. Kalinowski
Associated researcher with IANUS
Member of the INESAP Coordinating Committee
Severingasse 1/6, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
Non Governmental Organisations achievements to ban the atomic bomb and the role of scientists and engineers
Since the first nuclear bombs exploded in 1945, scientists and engineers got involved in activities with the goal to free the world of the atomic bomb. Especially physicists felt their responsibility to ban this weapon of mass destruction that was made possible due to the results of nuclear physics. Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) were able to influence the politics of nuclear weapon states which are still extremely resistant against any concrete measures towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons. Over several decades, the Pugwash Conferences for Science and World Affairs played a major role and were honoured together with its co-founder Prof. Joseph Rotblat with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Some more recent NGO achievements will be described here with an emphasis on the role of scientists and engineers in these.
1. IPPNW and IALANA and IPB started the World Court Project in May 1992 in Geneva. Four years later, this project reached its goal. On 8 July 1996, the International Court of Justice in The Hague announced its Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons." Accordingly, nuclear weapons need to be regarded generally illegal. Under the current international and humanitarian law, all states have the obligation to negotiate in good faith and bring to an early conclusion a treaty that bans all nuclear weapons.
2. In 1993, IALANA, INESAP, IPB and IPPNW formed the International Coalition for a nuclear-weapon-free world (NWFW). The focus was put on the NPT Review and Extension Conference 1995. On this occasion, INESAP published the report Beyond the NPT a NWFW" which was co-authored by 50 scientists and engineers form 17 countries. During the NPT conference, INES participated in the foundation of the international network Abolition 2000 with the goal of binding declarations for the abolition of nuclear weapons from all states by the year 2000. By November 1999, this network has grown to 1377 organizations in 89 countries that have endorsed the Abolition 2000 statement.
3. A Model Nuclear Weapons Convention was drafted by a group of scientists and disarmament experts led by LCNP and INESAP. The first draft was presented in April 1997 in New York. It was submitted to the UN by Costa Rica in October 1997 and became an official UN document with the number A/C.1/52/7. A second draft was released together with a commentary and responses in April 1999. (IALANA, INESAP, IPPNW: Security and Survival. The Case for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. Cambridge 1999.)
4. The Middle Powers Initiative was proposed by former Canadian ambassador Douglas Roche and formed by IALANA, IPB, INES, IPPNW, NAPF, PGA and SWF in March 1998. Three months later, eight governments launched the New Agenda Coalition. Both follow the same goal of putting pressure from middle power states to the nuclear weapons states towards serious nuclear disarmament. (Martin B. Kalinowski, Wolfgang Liebert, Jürgen Scheffran: Beyond technical verification. Transparency, verification, and preventive control for the Nuclear Weapons Convention. INESAP Briefing Paper No. 1/1998.)
Where do we stand now? What should we do?
Before looking ahead, a closer look at the role of scientists and engineers in establishing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) should help to draw lessons for a Nuclear Weapons Convention and identify the most urgent and success-promising activity that should be undertaken by scientists and engineers in the next couple of years towards this goal.
Role of scientists and engineers in establishing a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
The parallel development of the global verification system and the political conditions for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is illustrated in Table 1. Obviously, there were simultaneous developments. However, it is very remarkable that there were phases when the political process was in a deadlock and, nevertheless, scientific activities were carried on even with a political mandate. For some years, the scientific activities kept up the momentum and prepared the ground for political progress. This was clearly the case with the Geneva Group of Experts (1958-1960) as well as with the Group of Scientific Experts (since 1976) which formed the main basis for continuity for almost two decades until the CTBT negotiations started in 1993.
Table 1: Parallel development of the global verification system and the political conditions for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
|Verification related scientific activities||Political developments|
|1945||First nuclear explosion|
|Since 1945||National technical means to detect nuclear tests|
|1958-1960||Geneva Group of Experts
(with experts from 10 countries)
|1963||Limited Test Ban Treaty|
|1974||Threshold Test Ban Treaty|
|1977-1980||Trilateral test ban negotiations|
|1976||Establishment of the
Group of Scientific Experts (GSE)
|by the Geneva Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD)|
|1978||First comprehensive GSE report|
|1980-83||GSE Global Telecommunication System technical tests|
|1982/83||Ad Hoc Committee at the Conference on Disarmament|
|1984||GSE Technical Test GSETT-1|
|1986/87||US-USSR bilateral negotiations|
|1991||GSE Technical Test GSETT-2|
|1993-1996||CTBT negotiated in Geneva|
|1995||GSE Technical Test GSETT-3 with Prototype International Data center in Arlington|
|1996||CTBT opened for signature|
|Since 1997||The Provisional Technical Secretariat of the PrepCom for the CTBTO is being established in Vienna|
Lessons from the Geneva Group of Experts (1958-1960):
Lessons from the Group of Scientific Experts (since 1976):
As a conclusion from these experiences and in view of the current deadlock in nuclear disarmament one can draw the conclusion that scientists and engineers may have the chance to make a significant move in preparing the ground for a political breakthrough towards a nuclear-weapon-free world. It makes sense to start scientifically based work early and even when the comprehensive goal appears to be remote. The lessons learnt in the experience of the four decades lasting developments leading to the CTBT are encouraging and need to be carefully taken into account.
Proposals for future work of nuclear scientists towards global elimination of nuclear weapons
Two different but interconnected areas are described here on which nuclear scientists could concentrate their efforts. The global elimination of nuclear weapons is the more visionary goal that basically builds on a more imminent universal and comprehensive
control of nuclear-weapons-usable materials. Nevertheless, it makes sense to initiate internationally co-ordinated and technically detailed scientific work on both areas as soon as possible. Therefore, appropriate proposals are made in this section for both areas.
Nuclear-weapons material cut-off
In March 1995, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva reached consensus on a mandate to negotiate a Fissile Material Treaty (Cut-off). Since then, absolutely no progress was made. In August 1998, the Ad Hoc Committee met for the first time but did not achieve much. In 1999, the Ad Hoc Committee did not meet at all. Since the negotiations on the CTBT were concluded in 1996, the CD found itself most of the time in a deadlock. Other ways for progress on this issue are required.
Other international forums might play a role in strengthening fissile material controls. One important example is the conclusion of the International guidelines for the management of plutonium that was reached in December 1997.
It is suggested here that scientists could establish an independent expert working group on technical issues of nuclear-weapons-usable materials, preferably mandated by the CD in Geneva. The goal of this group would encompass the following:
Global elimination of nuclear weapons
In 2000, the CD may pick up the NATO-5 proposal for a working group to study ways and means of establishing an exchange of information and views on nuclear disarmament. This would be an ideal opportunity for scientists to offer their expertise and to suggest the creation of an expert working group on verification of complete nuclear disarmament. Even without an agreement on formal political discussions on nuclear disarmament, scientists could offer to establish this working group. It would address the following critical issues:
Already in April 1998, INESAP proposed to start a study process, tentatively entitled Beyond technical verification: Transparency, verification, and preventive control for the Nuclear Weapons Convention." # ) The main purpose of this proposed study would be to increase awareness concerning the scientific-technological constraints and boundary conditions for a way leading to a nuclear-weapon-free world. It would illuminate the verification needs and limits and it would stress especially the importance of transparency. Recommended is a comprehensive approach which carries the Nuclear Weapons Convention as the central element.
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AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LEADERS OF ALL NON-NUCLEAR WEAPONS STATES
The nuclear perils to humanity are not sufficiently widely recognized nor appreciated. In the words of writer Jonathan Schell, we have been given "the gift of time," but that gift is running out. For this reason vision and bold action are called for.
General George Lee Butler, a former Commander in Chief of all US strategic nuclear weapons, poses these questions: "By what authority do succeeding generations of leaders in the nuclear weapons states usurp the power to dictate the odds of continued life on our planet? Most urgently, why does such breathtaking audacity persist at the moment when we should stand trembling in the face of our folly and united in our commitment to abolish its most deadly manifestation?"
It is time to heed the warnings of men like General Butler, who know intimately the risks and consequences of nuclear war. The time is overdue for a New Agenda on nuclear disarmament. What is needed is commitment and leadership on behalf of humanity and all life.
The heart of the Non-Proliferation Treaty agreement is the link between non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The non-nuclear weapons states agree in the Treaty not to develop nor deploy nuclear weapons in exchange for the nuclear weapons states agreeing to negotiate in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament. The Treaty has become nearly universal and the non-nuclear weapons states, with a few notable exceptions, have adhered to the non-proliferation side of the bargain. The progress on nuclear disarmament, however, has been almost entirely unsatisfactory, leading many observers to conclude that the intention of the nuclear weapons states is to preserve indefinitely a two-tier structure of nuclear "haves" and "have-nots."
At the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference many countries and non-governmental organizations challenged the nuclear disarmament record of the nuclear weapons states. They argued that to extend the Treaty indefinitely without more specific progress from the nuclear weapons states was equivalent to writing a blank check to states that had failed to keep their promises for 25 years. These countries and NGOs urged instead that the extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty be linked to progress on Article VI promises of good faith efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament. Pressure from the nuclear weapons states and their NATO allies led to the Treaty being extended indefinitely, but only with agreement to a set of non-binding Principles and Objectives that was put forward by the Republic of South Africa. These Principles and Objectives provided for:
Progress toward these goals has been unimpressive. A CTBT was adopted in 1996, but has been ratified only by the UK and France among the nuclear weapons states. The US argues that the CTBT necessitates its $4.6 billion per year "Stockpile Stewardship" program, which enables it to design new nuclear weapons and modify existing nuclear weapons in computer-simulated virtual reality tests and "sub-critical" nuclear tests. Despite the existence of this provocative program, ratification of the CTBT by the US Senate was rejected in October 1999. The US and Russia continue to conduct "sub-critical" nuclear weapons tests. Negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty have yet to begin, and the "determined pursuit" promise has been systematically and progressively ignored by the nuclear weapons states. In its 1997 Presidential Decision Directive 60, the US reaffirmed nuclear weapons as the "cornerstone" of its security policy and opened the door to the use of nuclear weapons against a country using chemical or biological weapons. The US, UK and France have also resisted proposals by other NATO members for a review of NATO nuclear policy. Under urgent prodding by Canada and Germany, they did finally agree to a review of nuclear policy, but this will not be completed until December 2000, after the 2000 NPT Review Conference.
The US seems intent on moving ahead with a National Missile Defense plan, even if it means abrogating the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which most analysts view as a bedrock treaty for further nuclear arms reductions. The US is also moving ahead with space militarization programs. In the US Space Commands "Vision for 2020" document, the US proclaims its intention of "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment."
Russia has abandoned its policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons in favor of a policy mirroring that of the western nuclear weapons states. The START II agreement is stalled and is still not ratified by the Russian Duma. The date for completion of START II has, in fact, been set back for five years from the beginning of 2003 to the end of 2007. Negotiations on START III are stalled.
China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal. India and Pakistan, countries that have consistently criticized the discriminatory nature of the NPT, have both overtly tested nuclear weapons and joined the nuclear weapons club. Israel, another country refusing to join the NPT, will not acknowledge that it has developed nuclear weapons and has imprisoned Mordechai Vanunu for more than 13 years for speaking out on Israels nuclear arsenal.
In the face of the intransigence of the nuclear weapons states, the warning bells are sounding louder and louder. These warnings have been put forward by the Canberra Commission, the International Court of Justice, retired generals and admirals, past and present political leaders, the New Agenda Coalition, the Tokyo Forum, and many other distinguished individuals and non-governmental organizations working for peace and disarmament.
The future of humanity is being held hostage to self-serving policies of the nuclear weapons states. This is an intolerable situation, not only for the myopic vision it represents and the disrespect for the rest of the world that is implicit in these policies, but, more important, for the squandering of the precious opportunity to eliminate the nuclear weapons threat to our common future.
The more nuclear weapons in the world, the greater the danger to humanity. At present we lack even an effective accounting of the numbers and locations of these weapons and the nuclear materials to construct them. The possibilities of these weapons or the materials to make them falling into the hands of terrorists, criminals or potential new nuclear weapons states has increased since the breakup of the former Soviet Union.
What is to be done? Will the 2000 NPT Review Conference again be bullied by strong-armed negotiating techniques and false promises of the nuclear weapons states? Or will the non-nuclear weapons states, the vast majority of the worlds nations, unite in common purpose to demand that the nuclear weapons states fulfill their long-standing promises and obligations in Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Ridding the world of nuclear weapons is the greatest challenge of our time. We ask you to step forward and meet this challenge by demanding in a unified voice that the nuclear weapons states fulfill their obligations under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. As we stand on the threshold of a new century and millennium, we ask that you call upon the nuclear weapons states to take the following steps to preserve the Non-Proliferation Treaty and end the threat that nuclear weapons arsenals pose to all humanity:
You have a unique historical opportunity to unite in serving humanity. We urge you to seize the moment.
David Krieger, President
cc: Leaders of United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel
David Krieger, President Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
PMB 121, 1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1
Santa Barbara, CA 93108-2794
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NEW INES MEMBERS
Solomon Zewde / Eng.
Director of the National Scientific Equipment Center
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
President Pridneprovie Cleaner Production Centre (PSEIC)
Allelign Zeru Tamirat
Postgraduate student civil engineering
Interest: Environment and development
Interest: INESAP, Abolition 2000
Bwelongo Dieudonné Kambilo
Coordinateur du Reseau-Open-D.D "ASBL" Kongo
Cadre de Devellopement
Interest: CAP 2000
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Have you ever been to Korea?
The Role of NGOs in the 21st Century:
Inspire, Empower, Act! Seoul, 10-16 Oct 1999
A conference report by Sandra Striewski, INES Council member
"Inspire, Empower, Act!" was the title of the 1999 International NGOs Conference at the Olympic Park in Seoul, which was organized by a Korean Committee in collaboration with United Nations agencies. For five days, some 7,000 participants from all world, divided over 10 round-tables and over 180 working groups, debated the following issues: Peace and Security, Environment, Education, Ethics, Human Rights, Social and Economic Development, Youth, Gender Justice, Aging, Health and Strengthening the NGOs. Representatives from a variety of NGOs presented their activities in the working groups, where particularly human rights and gender justice issues were discussed. In addition, there were cultural activities, an NGOs' exhibition hall, as well as other activities such as a Youth Forum.
The Conference aimed as a continuation of the work of NGOs on UN Conferences, started in the 90s to develop a vision for the upcoming 21st century; -- to put networking into effect, to strengthen NGO activities and to implement the vision.
At the Youth Forum, introduced by the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, an opportunity was offered to debate the issues of the main Conference in additional working groups. At this Forum, the goals were to provide a forum for young people in the framework of which they could exchange their views on current and future problems, as well as to discuss the role of NGOs. On the other hand, the idea was that NGOs would be inspired by the results of this Youth Forum to stimulate their own future activities.
At the second conference day, the programme was changed at short notice. The subsequent changes obviously lead to some confusion, resulting in an unexpectedly high participation in the Round-Table about gender justice.
The Final Declaration gave a vision for the 21st century emphasizing demands to governments, the United Nations and NGOs as to how to implement the following visions:
To the Governments, to implement aims adopted at previous UN conferences, to respect the NGOs as equal partners and to support their work, as well as to strengthen the UN;
To the UN to intensify their role as "peace founder" and to widen the process of NGOs' involvement into UN activities;
To the NGOs to network among themselves, and to broaden the cooperation with governments and the UN.
In summarizing the conference, it should be stated that expectations were frustrated in various ways. For example, intercultural communication was hardly possible due to language problems. This happened in some working groups and speeches which were presented without any translation (i.e. given only in Korean language). In addition, many projects and initiatives were presented without sufficient space for questions and discussion. Concerning the final debate it was criticized that the particular women-related aspects were not sufficiently taken into consideration. Further critical voices such as the demand by an Italian participant to introduce gay and lesbian issues into the Final Document, were welcomed only with "Asian politeness." Furthermore, a number of working group issues appeared to be unbalanced: for example, the theme area of environment was only marginally covered.
Despite organizational problems and differences concerning the contents, it was possible to have a lot of talks, to establish contacts and to exchange ideas and experiences. Especially through this kind of contacts, as well as actions such as the Youth Forum, the motivation of many participants has been strengthened to continue their activities.
If you are interested to participate in the drafting of the Working Program, send an email to:
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Séminaire de Réflexion sur la
Conférence Africaine sur la Paix
Le 11 Mars de lan 2000, aura lieu à Dortmund (Allemagne) la première journée de réflexion concernant la Conférence Africaine sur la Paix (Cap 2000), qui se tiendra certainement à Dakar / Sénégal au courant du mois doctobre de lan 2000.
Les thèmes de cette rencontre seront principalement centrés sur lélaboration dun DOCUMENT CADRE de la recherche sur la paix durable en Afrique.
Adresse de contact: INES Gutenbergstr. 31, Dortmund, Allemagne
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University Crisis in Mexico
Alberto Salazar Martínez
Physics PhD. Student; National Autonomous University of Mexico;
Member of the INES Council.
Globalization is not the same everywhere nor is it at the same level. We are all facing this process but certainly, we do not enter with empty hands. On the national level, the present scenario set by neoliberal politics has now questioned the role of public universities and scientific research. The changing economic framework has weakened the state apparatus and therefore imposed either a shortage in public funding and/or requirements for alternate financing sources, administrative, structure and goal reforms, or developed new evaluation criteria.
On April 30th 1999, the Mexican Congress, after a brief discussion approved the new National Law to Promote Science and Technology, which establishes the prevailing criteria to certify and evaluate science and technology research programs and institutions; a similar system already existed to evaluate researchers. This law is implemented under a general process, tending to homogenize scientific activity in the public sector (where it is most relevant in this country) and differentiate science from technology when possible. The notion of efficiency, quality, competitiveness, innovation and impact on the productive sector are mentioned. It tacitly refers to profit and value linked to science and development in order to involve enterprise interest and investment. In the future, it might even render a consultancy and commercialization characteristic to this activity. Along with these criteria, it says how to adjust to this general process of planning research and directs its orientation, it says who or what can be subject to support from the government, according to the view of the scientific community and the enterprise sector. A Permanent Evaluation Forum looks after the criteria and certifies institutions. It also outlines a National System of Information and describes Supporting Funds to be created either by institutional or sectorial interest, and considers complementary credit sources to promote science and technology research. In a sense, this law promotes technological innovation, however, since there is still the need to identify the areas where this activity has to be promoted, there is little opportunity but for merely buying technology from developed countries. It also includes the risk of devaluating basic and full time research. How autonomy of research might be affected, will depend upon the response of the national scientific community itself and on the collaboration with others. The private interest is not yet used to and/or convinced to take a mid-term waiting period for results to come out, among other things because it is sort of weak, unless it happens to be associated with an external or stronger partner. I do not intend to reject this kind of initiatives, but many times these criteria are set without understanding what a university is and how it works. It has to be very carefully discussed on different levels by specialists as well as by the scientific community. My concern now goes into the direction that community participation on decision making can be easily kidnapped, either by authoritarian ways or by nonsense yelling, as I will be shown by the example in the following paragraph.
I will explain the present crisis in a leading public institution in Mexico. The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the major university of Latin America (280 thousand students, and matching infrastructure) is now suffering its biggest crisis ever. Since April 99, it has been occupied and closed almost entirely by a relatively small pseudo-student group. About two years ago, the university authorities began to implement a reform project, which began with decentralization and reorganization of several entities, running new study programs and trying to tie research and teaching. It created discontent is several sectors, as might be understandable in all changing processes. Then a student protest movement exploded after the approval by the University Council of moderate fees to be paid by all students, where public education is considered free by law. Some weeks later, other main items were added to the protest. The first against an external, national-level process of evaluation, driven by a National Center of Evaluation, that is supposed to regulate the entrance examination and to certify graduate students. This is not a simple task, since eventually the national certification can decide whether or not you can get a job. It therefore can be said to be market oriented. The second opposition is against new criteria for staying on the universitys payroll. It is said that the socioeconomic profile of university students has changed in the last decades, and many of them have to work. This lengthens their course duration and we do not like to have "life students" all around.
On June 7, the University Council decided that fees would be voluntary, more or less as they used to be before. UNAM, founded in 1551, plays a fundamental role as an avant-garde scientific and ideological center, with national-level consequences of its activity. Mainly in this century, it has been the main and most ambitious educational and cultural project in Mexico; it has a rich historical and intellectual background. The discussions about this conflict reached the national level since the very beginning, because the university is considered a property of the entire nation. During these months, the student-protest movement proved to be unable to join any academic or educational proposals. UNAM holds 60-70% of the scientific research in the country, and 1/3 of our superior education budget. Due to this, even out-of-proportion significance, local and group interests have worsened the consequences of the interrupted university reform project. Sooner or later the university has to be transformed and/or improved, since we are on an immensely changing scenario, but the process is more traumatic than anyone expected. I hope that this major institution will redefine its social impact and will strengthen its prestige. Elimination of the strong bureaucracy and democratization of the internal government structure of the university may then be the result.
The continuation of the crisis showed that what could have been believed to be a democratic student movement, early fell into practice of a mad coorporativism, with no other strategy but to resist and attempt over and over again to take over the rule of the university. Never in the universitys history, a student movement had succeeded in acting against the university itself. The result is the kidnap of a public space which the university is supposed to be.
We understand that our university is autonomous and free by law. It is not just a big school but an entire cultural community, living together with freedom and respect, understanding democracy rather as a cultural value than just a political system, where capable, critical and active men and women are prepared to work out new and alternative solutions of the needs and problems facing our society, to contribute to the development of all sciences and technology towards a common progress, and being able at last to understand, preserve and diffuse our cultural diversity.
A country like Mexico, with so much poverty and so many young people, has to confront a growing number of social and economic problems that have proven so far being bigger than any solutions or plans that can be or have been done. In this sense, studying or working in the university is not only a right, but also implies a social responsibility. Therefore the existence of our university cannot be considered a luxury; it is after all a public good, and for this reason adequate conditions for study and work should be guaranteed for every one, and forever.
The university has a precise and well-defined purpose. The purpose of service and collaboration with the community by the production, enrichment and diffusion of culture and knowledge with attention to national problems and expectations in the present globalization process. It is related with the most high and pure aspirations of human improvement. It will not, ever, rise against this will, because it is it is very essence and without it, it has no longer reason to exist.
As time goes on, it becomes harder to convoke the community and avoid its disintegration. Our community is not able to participate and even try to help solving the conflict as long as authorities do not want; all attempts have failed so far. However, it is obvious by now that there must be other important reasons to leave this conflict unsolved for so long. Since we will have elections in six months, one can guess a number of different theories: from political image to security, from some obscure groups enforcement to a complete lack of interest and/or responsibility. The fact is that the campus of the university is almost entirely closed. During these nine months, one might think who are the losers: many career projects, more than two hundred thousand families, science and development based on the educational apparatus, our city and our country. As students, all we can do by now is to try to stop this decomposition process and promote collaboration among the scientific community both national and international.
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CHALLENGES FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING IN THE 21st CENTURY
International INES Conference, 14-18 June 2000, Stockholm, Sweden
The conference will open up unique possibilities to discuss the present constitution of science and engineering, the relation between science and society in the new century, the demands on science in a rapidly changing world, the impact of scientific methods on social life and the environment, and the responsibility of scientists and engineers for the consequences of their work.
The conference consists of 14 plenary presentations and 20 workshops, dealing with a broad spectrum of subjects in four theme areas: a) Developing the culture of science and engineering, b) Science and engineering for a finite world, c) Humanizing the economy in a global context, and d) Steps towards comprehensive security and lasting peace.
Titles of workshops are e.g.:
Find more information on the web page www.ines2000.org,
or contact the organizers by e-mail: .
Prof. Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner, President of the Club of Rome and Member of the INES 2000 Advisory Board writes:
Science and Engineering based on cultural heritage in a process of continuous enrichment are the extraordinary fruits of the human brain and spirit that contribute to broader knowledge and drive progress.
The International Conference convened by INES has thus been timely and wisely designed in the context of culture, globalization, and peace to better serve humanity in overcoming the main challenges facing us in the 21st century.
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