NEWSLETTER No. 29
Africa, A shaken continent
The negative consequences of violence. The region of the Great Lakes
Peace in the world and in Africa
Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Science and responsibility, political requests to science, scientific requests to policy
INES workshop: Regional aspects of sustainability and the role of universities
A shaken continent
Being strongly convinced that prosperity, peace and democracy are mutually dependent and that national and international security can only be guaranteed by cooperation, not by confrontation, we are confronted in Africa with an enormous challenge. Particularly since we as non-governmental organizations do not act through the force of colonial suppression and can only contribute with suggestions for non-violent conflict solutions. On the other hand, we may exert pressure on our own governments to provide more means for preventive measures and to remit the debts. We may stimulate scientific analysis that can contribute to a long-term improvement of the social, economic and ecological situation.
In addition we can help, without acting as the "big European father" of former times, by promoting grown and emerging democratic structures, by linking the African community tradition to a democratic development.
We can help the African women, who bear the brunt of the nutrition of the population, to gain the social importance they deserve.
And we can help with the removal of landmines, without raising once more the question where these weapons come from. We should accept this humane responsibility, specifically because our governments cannot accept it or are not willing to do so.
R R R
Since there is no common feeling about pacifism in Africa and in view of the alarming poverty and the lasting violence on the continent, in view of the social political conflicts, as well as the economic and environmental problems that hinder the sustainable development in Africa, action is taken to organize an international conference that should bundle the positive pacifist elements of the continent.
INES and its member organization Réseau-Open D.D. in Congo-Kinshasa have teamed up in the combined project
Conférence Africaine sur la Paix
to be held in Dakar, Senegal, in October 2000.
The initiative was taken by Reiner Braun, Germany and Dieudonné Bwelongo Kambilo from Congo-Kinshasa.
The conference is supported by the International Association of Conscientious Objectors (IRG), London, and by their German counterpart Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegner/Innen (DFG -VK Deutschland), and aturwissenschaftlerInnen-Initiative Verantwortung für Friedens- und Zukunftsfähigeit (Association of Scientists to support the Responsibility for Peace and Sustainability).
The conference should be held in the spirit of the UN declaration of the year 2000 as a "Year for the Culture of Peace."
As a preparation for the conference, a seminar has been held on 11th March in Dortmund, Germany with the title "Peace at the Great Lakes." About 60 participants came from Belgium, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, France, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Netherlands, Rwanda, Tanzania, Senegal and others. A final declaration of this seminar was formulated.
Because there is a Congolese proverb saying: "A single finger cannot wash a whole face," we make an appeal to public and private organizations, to those involved in the peace subject and to single persons who show interest, to contribute together with us to a solution of the manifold humanitarian problems and the poverty in Africa.
R R R
More information about the conference and the program may be obtained from Reiner Braun, Dortmund INES office.
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The negative consequences of Violence
The Region of the Great Lakes
T. Célestin Mputu was born in 1955 in Tshikula, Congo-Kinshasa. He is a member of INES and of the "Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegner/innen" (DFG-VK Deutschland).
Africa: A shaken continent
The treatment of the blacks, the colonization and today the neo-colonization stand for a further exclusion of the continent.
The always stronger worldwide networked economy simply forgets the weakened Africa, which is not in a position to straighten up its head in front of the profiteers who hide behind the alibi of progress.
It seems that strengthening of the economic growth increases the ditch between poor and rich, between the countries and within.
Forty years after the first countries got independent, Africa still ranks highest in the category of the countries dogged by misfortune and suffering.
Three plagues are ruining Africa:
Aids, corruption and wars.
The spread of the Aids disease finds ideal conditions south of the Sahara: malnutrition, lack of education and migration enable the virus to spread without restrictions.
Africa contains 70 % of the people infected with Aids. The death rate is immense. Five teachers die weekly of Aids in Botswana and Zimbabwe; at the Ivory Coast each hope for developing nips in the bud, since the progressive mortality already reached the younger generation. Probably, Kenya is the most affected country.
The corruption is institutionalized by the respective rulers of several countries. The situation in Cameroon, in Uganda and in Kenya speaks for itself. In addition, corruption and distortion of truth are practiced by many of those who are involved in the power, and who in this way share in the autocracy of their rulers. Everywhere civil servants, living in partially parasitic family structures, are striving no matter whether their payment is good or bad to set aside money for themselves and their clans, money that is badly needed elsewhere.
Unfortunately the war comes on top of this.
For the first time, war presents one of the ten most probable causes of death and health hazards according to the list drawn up by the World Health Organization (WHO).
No matter, how you call it: guerilla war, civil war, fight between the different tribes, armed rebellion, independence movement, mutiny or war of liberation.....
This scourge darkens the future of the peoples in a terrible way and at the same time is bleeding white the economy that was weakened already.
According to general knowledge, you have to kill the microbes in order to avoid infection. However, how can we act in the case of war? The logic demands the abolition of weapons (every single branch) and the abolition of those, who make use of them.
This presents the plague of the second and third millennium. Who may act to get rid of it?
In the region of the Great Lakes the existing conditions are the opposite of the human aims of our days. In each country, which is more or less involved militarily in the (non-democratic) Congo-Kinshasa, the attempt to abolish weapons is in jeopardy. The governments put out their empty wooden bowls to the World Bank and the FMI, in order to relieve the starvation of their people. Starvation which is caused by the purchase of Kalaschnikovs and artillery parts and is due to the expulsion of people by military rulers.
This country presents a caricature of the described situation.
Uganda has invested 2.1 billion Francs ($350,000,000) in 1999, in order to fight against its guerilla and to occupy Congo, but 55 % of its population has available less than 7 Francs ($1) per day for surviving. The ruling classes present the exception: they are enjoying a privileged lifestyle due to looted riches from Congo.
The profits that came in from the prospecting rights of the oil companies Exxon, Elf and BP-Ameco, have enabled Luanda to buy artillery parts, aircraft and tanks. It was not reported before that two million of resettled human beings (one sixth of the population) are in a cumbersome condition. In addition the war stopped the vaccination programme: Polio continues to be far from being wiped out and increases the number of disabled, who still exist as ever due to the unremoved landmines.
The civil war that rages in the South of the country, additionally paralyzes the economy that is strained anyhow by $18 billion external debts (a sevenfold of the gross domestic product).
The chances given to this country by the export of oil are sacrificed in favour of military expenses that exceed the capabilities of a completely weakened economy. Slavery is still practiced in an unscrupulous way. Especially the advisory status at the United Nations and the sub-organization "International Christian Solidarity" (C.S.I.) brought the Sudan into international difficulties.
The regular troops and gangs that are armed from Rwanda, Uganda, Angola and Zimbabwe, demand their tributes of mineral resources of the country, whereas the population lives in glaring poverty and has to renounce the bare necessities with the exception of the always-shining sun. The worries and troubles of the population remain unanswered. It had to pay already dearly for the war made in its country. In addition the reprisals of the troops from Rwanda and Uganda demand thousands of victims under the civilian population.
The geopolitical situation
Africa has 53 countries, which may be split up into 7 large regions:
The largest country is the Sudan with 2,850,000 km², which borders on Algeria with a size of 2,382,000 km². The third largest country is Congo-Kinshasa with 2,345,000 km².
Sao Tomé & Principe is the smallest country with a surface of only 960 km². Nigeria has the largest population (113.8 millions of inhabitants). By contrast the Seychelles have only 100,000 inhabitants. Mauritius has the highest population density, whereas Namibia shows the other extreme with only 1.9 inhabitants per km².
The gross domestic product sets up the record on the Seychelles with $6,450, by contrast to $90 per person in Mozambique. The growth rate is highest in Niger with 7.5 %, whereas Mauritius brings up the rear with 2 %.
The highest life expectancy exists in Libya with 75 years, followed by Mauritius and the Seychelles with 70 years each. Malawi and Zambia bring up the rear with 36 and 37.5 years.
As to the nutrition rates per person, the Republic of South Africa consumes 2,482 kgep. per inhabitant, whereas other countries only hardly reach 1,000 kgep. For some countries there are no rates at all, because they cannot be determined statistically.
The deployments in the region of the Great Lakes which are not made public
In order to reduce the chaos in the region, top priority should be assigned to neutralize the Hutu Rebels who come from Rwanda and Burundi, as well as the Ugandan rebellion, and equally to isolate the rearguard camps of the UNITA under J. Savimbi from further supply.
The Rwandan Government is not prepared to accept a peace that might strengthen its enemies. The government prefers to grant their troops on Congolese state territory the right to pursue its enemies.
It would be wrong to claim that the extremist groups that initiate the genocide are only in Congo: we can find them also in the same number in Tanzania, or in the Central African Republic and in the remaining French-speaking Africa. In addition, there are connections not only with Belgium and Switzerland but also with Canada.
The seventh clause of the Charter of the United Nations aims at neutralizing all parties. Approximately 10 party groupings are listed for Congo. Actually that would mean to drive out of the country all rebels who are on Congolese state territory for launching attacks against another regimes of the region.
In the specific case of the troops from Rwanda stationed in Congo region, under the cloak of security far less noble motives of Kigali and Kampala are concealed.
The genocide of the Tutsis (culprits themselves in the conflict with the Hutus in the Congo region) reminds of the partial responsibility of the United Nation and makes you think about the controlling, complicated function of the USA in this offensive.
The East of Congo presents a kind of hinterland for Uganda and still stronger for Rwanda, whose mineral resources are exploited by them. The riches gained in this way do not only serve the financing of the civil war, but also serve the ruling élites to maintain their privileged lifestyle. As a consequence of the occupation, the gold business in Kigali could be opened; the coffee of North-Kivu is exported via Rwanda and Uganda. There are no borders any more between these controlled zones and the occupying countries.
The covetousness caused by the mining of mineral resources in Kisangani, Mangwalu and Kilo Moto, explains the military conflicts between Rwanda and Uganda and the other political rivalries.
Under the pressure to dissociate from its former allies, Kabila is considered ungrateful by its neighbours, who aim for the continuation of the dividends of their own military commitment. According to his own confession, he did not keep the promises and signed contracts he had made himself. At present Kabila seems to understand that a military victory of the (so-called) rebels would only result in an aggravation of the political situation.
Several mining associations have advantageous contracts in the East of Congo-Kinshasa:
Such projects, which are published in the American press without reserve or restrictions, and are also known by the leading circles in Kigali and Kampala, take into consideration the true motives of the local population which is worrying about the unity of the country and sometimes gives the impression of chauvinism. Humanity seems not to have its place where profit-orientated markets exist.
The UN resolution 1234 that considers Congo-Kinshasa as a victim of aggression, is completely neglected. The agreements of Lusaka also are a clear disregard for this resolution. This makes the president appear as a shadow of his former self and has discouraged his former allies.
De facto the result is a continuation of the war with other means:
The contents of the contracts of Lusaka are distorted. The Congolese army is still in its phase of building up and defeated by the burden of the fights. It is far from defying the rebels who on the other hand are not able to get anywhere without the support of the powerful figures. Everything seems to indicate that nobody complies with the laborious agreements of Lusaka, and that the unpredictable Congo will again have its surprises in store. And the invaders, who aim at securing their sphere of influence, only consider the country as a territory to be exploited, not as a nation that has grown despite of its ethnic varieties.
2) Magazines from Congo-Kinshasa:
3) Journal of U.P.F (Pacifist Union of France)
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PEACE IN THE WORLD AND IN AFRICA
Without pacifists, all life on earth would already have been ruined by the military people, their own life included. Armies only exist because there are people who believe that they must obey. The right of refusing to kill is a basic value of our civilization. To prevent the admirers of weapons from making use of them and justifying their existence, needs a goal-oriented campaign of men and women from the people who intercede for the survival of the specie man.
The IRG (Internationale des Résistans à la Guerre): an acting force for peace
Founded in 1921in Bilthoven in the Netherlands, as an after-effect of the horrible battlefields of the first World War, the International Association of the Conscientious Objectors (IRG) brings all those together who are seriously engaged in fighting against any origin of war. In the 33 national organizations, both members and associated members strive for the right of refusing to kill, without religious background and on the basis of independent motives. When devoting to the IRG, one learns on one hand about foreign countries like Australia, Quebec, Thailand, India, on the other hand one recognizes that national borders are only dotted lines on geographical maps. Personally, I like to thank the IRG which I know since 1978, thanks to the Union Pacifiste de France (UPF). It was a pleasure for me to get acquainted to Myrtie Bolomon, Devi Presad, Jorgen Johansen, Joanne Sheehan and many others whom I met in 1984 at a conference on renunciation of violence in Zandvoort, the Netherlands and who did strengthen me in the course of years to act against the military societies.
On the Finnish Åland Islands that have been demilitarized since 1851, the 1998 Triennial was devoted to the subject "Switzerland without an Army." (36% of the votes were in favour of demilitarization; this year there will be further votings.)
At the Berlin Conference of 1989, shortly after the fall of the wall, the coordination of a Europe without weapons was discussed.
The Triennial of 1994 in Sao Leopoldo, Brasil, enabled me to discover a continent that is anti-militaristic on one hand and suffers under brutish dictatorships on the other. Here the resistance develops in spite of the death squads, and even at the risk that misery again may cause violence.
Neither the poor have anything to give away they are too hungry nor the rich, who are kept in a prison by their bodyguards. The Latin American societies will know justice, not before their tyrants in uniform are condemned.
The 1998 Triennial in Porec, Croatia showed the intention to open in eastern direction and, unfortunately, was also a kind of pre-view of the war between NATO and Yugoslavia.
In August 1999, during our meeting at Steinkimmen, the IRG working group for Africa came together, to discuss the creation of a conscientious objection movement on the African continent, where continuously armed conflicts with a great number of victims arise.
The objective of the ICOM Organization (International Conscientious Objectors Meeting) is clear: to reduce the number of people who are willing to fight in any war.
To finish the presentation of the IRG, I have it at heart to praise the courage of our partner the WarResisters League which is active in the USA, the center of the most militaristic world power. At their General Meeting in 1992 in Oregon, I met Indians for whom trees represent their own ancestors. When I took part in the demonstration "cut the military, not the trees," I realized how important trees are for life, long before the hurricane of 26 December decimated the French woods. This explains my present engagement with the forests of Africa: under the roots of colonialism, enormous military trunks have grown that only produce dead leaves.
ABOUT THE ROOTS
The colonial armies ruled over Africa between 1865 and 1975 for the profit-oriented Europe with an extremely brutish governance and with numerous victims. Their mission consisted of maintaining order and mastery and the exploitation by the foreign control.
During both World Wars the African countries had to pay a considerable tribute. A French example are the soldiers from Morocco and Senegal. The military examination went along with labour service and forced labour. The military command was white, the soldiers were black.
At the beginning of the sixties, the newly founded states used their granted or conquered independence to follow the European states and create little armies. The doubtful presidential guards, created and promoted by so-called military advisers, brought large-scale terror against the own population into action. The army, consisting of either professional soldiers or conscripts, serves to support the power of the dictators.
In addition to all the continued wars of the phase of decolonization, after the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, independence struggles broke out in Angola and Mozambique. The guerilla in Zimbabwe lasted from 1967 to 1979. The liberation war of the former West Sahara which is occupied by Morocco, is still going on.
The Organization for African Unity (OAU) and all other supranational organizations strive for recognition of the borders as inherited from the colonial era.
ABOUT THE UNIFORMED TRUNKS
Too many civil wars cover the continent with blood. The war in Zaïre between 1960 and 1965, has still not found an end. The war in Nigeria, in the province Biafra, between 1967 and 1970 was one of the first to evoke a strong attention in the media. The war in Chad between 1967 and 1990 was waged for numerous reasons of strategy and mineral exploitation.
The change of alliances between the Soviet Union and the USA in the case of Somali and Ethiopia, in which the same dictators maintained their power, are shocking examples of the intrigues between East and West in the times of the Cold War.
Since 1990, in some countries a process of democratization is going on. This development is reflected by a changed picture of the military organization. The "sympathetic" government (citation e.g. from the speech of Mitterrand at La Baule) recognizes liberal values. A free press facilitates the holding of elections. The army should "guarantee" the more-party system, the respect for human rights, the foundation of NGOs, and a cautious emancipation of women.
In some countries, the military is still considered as a protective force for the population. In fact, only the protection of the power élite is at stake. The low wages stimulate the general corruption.
In Africa, members of the armed forces enjoy a secured payment, as well as free access to training and career which both ensure a recognized social status.
In many cases the army changes into a bundling of armed gangs, like e.g. in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where thousands of people were mutilated, partly by drugged child soldiers. This happened on instruction of cynic warmongers who were subject to diamond fever. Sudan is ruled by a militant and religious-extremist regime that despises human values. The country is infested with starvation and contains three critical areas.
ABOUT THE FALLEN LEAFS
In the Congo which calls itself democratic, the Belgian colonization maintained a modern form of slavery, among others with the help of armies of Roman Catholic missionaries. When in 1965 Mputo took power with the help of the CIA, the military held out the only prospect of a profession for many people. The assumption of power by Kabila on 17 May 1997 resulted in an extension of the conflict into the whole of Central Africa, with alliances that remind of the entanglements of the first World War.
Eyewitnesses report that looting and acts of violence by the military steadily increase and lead to extreme suffering of the population.
The number of refugees in Africa is enormous, especially after the planned genocide in Rwanda (one million Tutsis were killed) and the mass murder organized by the Burundi military (800,000 Hutu people were carried off into camps in January of this year). The world opinion is wrong when believing that it is not necessary any more to care about this. The distribution of automatic weapons immediately changes a small neigbour conflict into a massive slaughter.
Angola, a country that is in war since 30 years, shows a whole variety of humanitarian catastrophes under the whip of military despotism. If one follows the arguments of president Dos Santos (belonging to MPLA) and Jonas Savimi (UNITA) and all their cliques, the war is a way to achieve peace. With the support of numerous private armies (South African commissioners and Western secret services), the powerful rulers control in a destructive way the economic interest and the weapon factories. Since more weapons circulate than bread, violence is increasing inevitably. The state is only a scaffold that supports looting and the contempt of human rights.
Campaigns for recruitment must be "organized," because the number of deserters increased to 20% of the conscripts.
The regular or non-regular armies loot and burn the villages and put landmines in the soil. The population is desperate, since there is no way back to their homes. Within one month, there are 1.6 millions of refugees. The military consider the women as their slaves for the transportation of weapons and material. In addition, there should be 5000 child-conscripts.
With this chaos in mind, the government searches for a justification to bring their troops into action abroad. This leads to the interference in Congo-Brazaville (coup détat against Lissouba) and in Congo-Kinshasa (support of Kabila). These attacks, must let the world forget the bloody war in the home country.
In Algeria that is under the rule of the generals since 1962, the army took the victory of the Moslims in 1992 as a pretext for a merciless psychological war. Manipulation of information, brainwashing, passing in of double agents, blackmailing, disappearance of people, corruption, tortures, sensational mass murders everything serves for the military security.
The interventions from abroad only can contribute to a stronger growth of nationalism. Peace can only be obtained, if each side renounces of the use of weapons and if the resistance in the country grows. This would allow to completely demilitarize Africa and the world and to abolish the juridical immunity of the military.
To promote pacifism, conscientious objection and termination of the subjection are priorities for those African women and men who did up till now not know the meaning of these words. On the occasion of the fifteenth of May, the day of the conscientious objection, the IRG starts a campaign for deserters from Algeria, Turkey, Russia and elsewhere, since they are the pioneers of a world without war.
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Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
by Xanthe Hall
Principles and Objectives become Problems and Obstacles
The NPT Review Conference is mainly discussing how to retain and strengthen the review process established in 1995 at the Conference to Review and Extend the NPT, where the States Parties agreed to extend the NPT indefinitely in return for a programme of action outlined in the "Principles and Objectives." There are several obstacles to the continuation of this process, which is seen by many as the glue that is presently holding the NPT together. The Principles and Objectives are an attempt to give a content to the commitment under Article VI by the Nuclear Weapons States to get completely rid of their nuclear arsenals, which is fundamental to the commitment of other States to also uphold their commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons.
The main obstacle is the credibility of the statement by the N5 (the five Nuclear Weapons States) that they are "unequivocally" committed to disarmament and also of the timeframe in which this will be achieved. The claim to be committed is undermined by recent developments in nuclear policies in the United States, NATO and Russia, all of whom have reconfirmed their belief in nuclear weapons as essential to their defence. The development of a National Missile Defence (NMD) by the United States and a leaked US document that proposes to the Russian Federation that it retain a robust nuclear arsenal on high alert to be able to overcome such a defence in order to maintain deterrence, indicates that an NMD would prevent total disarmament from ever taking place. Indeed, it suggests that deep cuts in arsenals below 2000 nuclear weapons would also be precluded. Moreover, given the state of Russias decaying nuclear arsenal, it would seem likely that they would need to rearm sometime in the future, in order to be able to overcome a US NMD or to prevent a first strike in the future. It would also ruin attempts to persuade Russia and the US to take their weapons off high alert, therefore increasing the risk of accidental nuclear war. China would be put in the position of having to expand its nuclear arsenal to protect itself from the US, since its present numbers of atomic weapons would be too low to overcome an NMD. This would in turn exacerbate the arms race in South Asia.
The problem of the timeframe is more pressing than ever before, since the relaxed atmosphere of the post Cold War period is being replaced by tensions about NATO expansion, intervention in other States conflicts and renewed mistrust. Two new nuclear weapons states (India and Pakistan) have emerged that are not Parties of the NPT and are in active conflict with each other.
The N5 have signed up to nuclear disarmament as an "ultimate" goal and some of them link nuclear with conventional (general and complete) disarmament, saying that one cannot be achieved without the other. A proposal has been put forward by the group of states known as the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), in the operative paragraph 1 of a Working Paper to the NPT Review Conference, that the timeframe already established as the length of the NPT Review Process, i.e. five years, should be a yardstick for an accelerated process of negotiation, thus underlining the urgency of the matter without setting an actual date for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The NAC also calls for an "unequivocal" undertaking to total nuclear disarmament, not linked to general and complete disarmament and as an obligation and a priority, not an ultimate goal. It is believed by many delegates that this position has wide support and that the Working Paper of the NAC could provide a basis for further negotiation. An alarming development is the suggestion from China that the Review Process agreed in 1995 expires in 2000 and, should there be no agreement on a new programme of action or a reconfirmation of the old one, the NPT state parties would revert back to the status before the agreement on the Principles and Objectives, removing the commitment to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and other strengthening measures.
Further problems are presented by the lack of fulfillment of the programme of action set out in the 1995 Principles and Objectives. Two of the most important elements a CTBT and a Treaty banning the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes ("Cut-Off") have not been achieved. Although the CTBT has been agreed upon and signed by many of the 44 nuclear-capable states, it has not yet been ratified by most of them and therefore cannot come into force. The ratification of the CTBT depends largely on US domestic politics and the outcome of the presidential election, on which it depends whether it will be presented to the Senate for ratification again in the near future. Without ratification by the US, it is unlikely that other states will ratify. The stalemate on the "Cut-Off" in the Conference on Disarmament largely rests on acceptance of an Ad-Hoc Committee on Disarmament (CD) and here five of the NATO states have once again put forward a compromise proposal to the NPT Review Conference that a Ad-Hoc Working Group to exchange views on ways and means to achieve disarmament should be set up in the CD.
A major stumbling block is the continuing disagreement about the Middle East and Israels nuclear capacity. Israel has not signed the NPT and the US continues to block any recognition of the necessity for Israel to renounce its nuclear weapons in order to move the Middle East peace process forward. In order to achieve consensus on a programme of action it is necessary to provide the Arab states with some kind of commitment by all the States Parties to deal with the issue so that they will not block consensus. Any further delay on this matter could have serious consequences for the NPT as a whole.
The main argument against nuclear disarmament and de-alerting of nuclear weapons is that verification is too difficult or impossible. This is claimed to be the main reason behind the word "ultimate" when discussing the commitment of the N5 to fulfil their obligation under Article VI. The United Kingdom has put forward proposals on verification which are seen by many to be helpful in negotiation about this point.
A noticeable area of progress is the relationship between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and states. Many states now regard NGOs as helpful in the negotiating process because of their concrete suggestions on specific points and continuing pressure on states to take their obligations seriously. Indeed, in comparison with 1995, the usage of the words "abolition" or "elimination" of nuclear weapons has significantly increased, so that there is no discussion of whether this is the goal, only of how it can be achieved and when. This is mainly due to NGO efforts. The NGO presentations to the Conference had a large turnout of delegates, many times more than in 1995, and some delegations actually contain representatives from NGOs advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons. Active consultations with NGOs before and during the Conference has led to some State Parties proposing measures that may otherwise not have happened Access to the Conference floor for NGOs has been much greater and informal meetings with delegates easier to arrange.
In conclusion, although the atmosphere in the Conference remains conducive to constructive proposals and there is a sense that the Parties are aware of the seriousness of the present situation, one cannot be particularly optimistic about the future of nuclear disarmament. Even if a upon final document is agreed, that contains a programme of action, it could suffer the same fate as the Principles and Objectives of 1995, which is that it remains largely on paper. Meetings with decision-makers in Washington showed a wide discrepancy between opinions in the Congress and Senate and those being expressed in the NPT Conference. The enormous support in the US for the National Missile Defence indicates that the proponents of "peace through strength" have the upper hand, despite the fact that NMD cannot effectively protect the US from attack using weapons of mass destruction. In Russia, the belief that nuclear weapons are the only hope of standing up to the conventional superiority of a US-led NATO and that deterrence actually prevents intervention in their domestic conflicts, hinders any possibility of disarmament in the near future. In short, time is running out for the present non-proliferation regime and it is likely that we will see another attempt at break-out at some time in the next few years, if the Nuclear Weapon States continue to signal that they consider nuclear weapons an indefinite requisite for their safety. There is no reason to suppose that other states will not also, like India and Pakistan, join this religious doctrine of belief in protection through strength and also develop a nuclear capability.
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Science and Responsibility,
Political Requests to Science,
Scientific Requests to Policy
Dr. Reinhold Christian of the University of Vienna is a member of the "Forum Wissenschaft und Umwelt, Wien."
The simple access
The interaction between politics and science can be drawn in a very simple manner:
Science produces information, knowledge, insight and delivers advice for politics
Politics make on this well-founded basis decisions.
Central objective in politics is to canvass votes, a maximum of votes. Evidently, a necessary precondition for politicians and politics is to impress and to please the voters.
An important request of policy to science therefore is the affirmation of political decisions. Politics wants security, clear results as a solid basis for its decisions and as justification.
Even this simple, very simple access allows for a comparatively broad band-width of widespread interpretations:
The benefit and the importance of science for political work and success lies not only in the direct effect (correct political advice, construction of rationally well-founded solutions for problems) but maybe to an even higher degree in the indirect effect of impressing and convincing the public by the high prestige of science and scientists.
A history of success
The basis of this even nowadays high prestige consists at least of the following 3 aspects:
Many advantages, problem solutions and increasing comfort are attached to natural sciences by the public. Benefits of 250 years of industrialization, especially of 50 years of economic growth after world-war II, increase in comfort, salaries, welfare, security, increasing average ages of people.
Unforeseen impressive developments and options of technology, overwhelming technological progress all that was not possible, cannot be thought of without the extraordinary progress in natural sciences. Misleading trials and problematic side-effects were neglected for a long time.
This successful long-term development lead to the establishment of a "network of success," a very stable structure based on interactions and interdependencies of politics, economy, technology and science. (NB: I am afraid, science is not the agenda-setting party in this relationship).
A network of science, technology, economy and politics
I would like to give you a small example: In Austria, regulation of riverbeds boomed during the fifties up to the eighties. The motor was to win the "tenth province:" To win land by riverbed-regulation. Various advantages were expected from security against floods to land-use for agriculture.
Concepts, projects, mechanisms of policy were developed and implemented: Taxes, budgets, laws, officers and administration, construction companies and planning bureaus. Capacity for many jobs and several billion ATS/year were established and as a "natural" logical consequence had to be used forth and forth, even after it had been recognized that the original aims were more than fulfilled and the negative "side"-effects became more significant than the positive ones.
You can easily find similar examples in many fields of human action, road-construction and energy supply for instance being embedded in by far larger complexes, whereby more money is invested, more people depend on the "network" and much more (political) power is attached to it. Social earthquakes disturb the successful "network."
And then, starting in the seventies of the 20th century, this nice world of cooperation and welfare was disturbed by some percussions, some "strange" events, which could also be called "earthquakes" of our societies. In Austria like in many other countries the issues and initiations of these earthquakes were discussions about power plants:
But "energy" was not the main issue in both cases:
"Zwentendorf" demonstrated in a very transparent way the existence of "different scientific truths," of contradictory results as answers to (almost) the same questions. Scientists, scientific institutions as "the Gods of knowledge, of truth and progress" were unmasked, interdependencies of science, economy, technology and politics were identified and made transparent to almost everybody by Austrian newspapers. As a result, the blind faith in science and technology decreased rapidly. It was also made evident that the so-called side-effects (physical dangers, environmental damage) of "modern technologies" in many cases exceed the expected benefits by far. So "Zwentendorf" was not a question of energy supply, of energy efficiency, but rather a question of positioning science and technology in our social system, and a point where some interdependencies of decision-making in our country and abroad were made visible.
The second case Hainburg was also not primarily a question of energy supply: Prima vista the struggle concentrated on questions of nature conservation, of protecting the unique flood plains of the mighty River Danube. But "Hainburg was not only a matter of nature conservation. All the efforts of nature conservationists would not have been sufficient to bring the final success. I think, to protect the flood plains of the River Danube below Vienna against the interests of the "network of power" was only possible because, during the discussions and "struggles" of Hainburg, anti-democratic structures of the "network" became evident, increasing public consciousness of the values of democracy, participation and the rights of citizens. Many people who never had seen the flood plains were not inclined to tolerate the brutal way in which the above mentioned network of success and power tried to push the hydro- power plant of Hainburg through all decision and permission mechanisms.
Some explaining aspects
Instead of being complete I would like to give just a few aspects which can help us to construct an interpretation and to derive some guidelines for our future work:
At the beginning of the eighties for instance the "Neue Waldsterben" was seen as an effect of SO2-emission, acid rain and acidification of soil. After having cut down the SO2-emissions in Central Europe by very large percentages (Austria: from 1980-1990 by about 30 80%!) the more complex mechanism of ozone, caused by VOC-and Nox-emissions, was identified as a very important cause of the Waldsterben. Lastly, many different factors (climate, humidity, air pollution) were identified to be responsible for this "Waldsterben" in complex interactions. So our way from simple interpretations to more complex insights and concepts can be expected to go on ever and ever.
Linear thinking in cause/ impact relations has to be replaced by systemic thinking and integrative concepts.
Since "Zwentendorf" it should be evident for everybody in Austria (but it is often forgotten), that the scientific process is influenced by financing, by (political) decision-makers, by personal positions and ambitions, by values, ethics. A lot of "hidden" aspects and parameters therefore define the results of scientific studies.
Against this background it can easily be seen that evidently contradicting statements can be produced under the same high scientific understanding and with the same formally correct procedures. In practice, one and the same power plant can be very secure or dangerous, environmentally sound or destroying, needed or redundant for the energy supply, economically sound or disastrous.
This short list shows that the discrepancy between the manifold of answers to almost the same questions and the myth of science as "production" (respectively discovery) of truth can easily be explained and understood.
Guidelines for Science
What are the demands for science resulting from these considerations?
I think, that this catalogue cannot be fulfilled easily, but I am also convinced that it is not complete, that we should take into account several aspects in addition.
To define further demands we would have to redefine the very simple model of politics I gave at the beginning.
General demands for politics
In the following I take politics as responsible for the activities of states, for the welfare of the people, for a positive development of the society.
Politics therefore has to develop long-term objectives and to establish suited political concepts and instruments ("policies") to meet these objectives.
Politics therefore cannot reduce itself to single measures, which are expected to solve single problems, but has to develop complete concepts, to take into account different aspects and issues, a broad variety of most important issues like peace, environment, social welfare, economy, etc.
Politics has to implement a process of continuous improvement, especially with regard to the fact of our incomplete but increasing knowledge (see above).
Politics furthermore has to mediate between different interest groups and conflicting objectives and, finally, politics has to make sure that about important questions there will be a public discussion, the essential issues being prepared and pointed out in a way that can easily be understood by almost everybody.
Politics then has to establish cross competences (corresponding to the interdisciplinary work in sciences).
Politics has not only to work on the basis of scientific work and expert knowledge, it has to refer at least as intensely to aspects of ethics and moral and to take the options of power and resources into account.
Some challenges on the way towards sustainability
To meet the condition "sustainability" we have to implement fundamental changes, e.g.:
An ideal model of politics and science participation
In an idealistic model of politics, decisions are made after a solid and transparent process of scientific work, of conception of solutions and of public discussions of all these various concepts and aspects. Politics has to define this framework and has to give the incentives for the actors (financial incentives as well as regulations, information, motivation, consciousness, education).
Participation, popular movements and commitment of the citizens will play an important role in this new system. Local decisions can be taken and solutions can be found by the local societies, based on the above mentioned fundamental decisions and framework-conditions.
The position of science
Science can and has to help:
In this connection, I would like to mention the Austrian concept of "Eco-Social Market-Economy" which was developed in Austria during the end of the eighties. Starting with the eco-social agricultural politics, this concept of the case-to-case well adapted policy-mix emphasizing financing incentives for all actors involved, was widened to all fields of politics. The hard-core of ESME is to make the "polluter pays"-principle economically viable, primarily by internalization of external effects, so as to give positive incentives to every actor involved in the solution of a special problem.
Obstacles in a real world
The obstacles we are confronted with in constructing such a system, a new network of politics, science, technology, economy and active citizens, are of course heavy and manifold:
Who will be able to implement the new network, to force the change?
Possible actors are:
Estimating the chances to implement the needed "new network" I am afraid, pessimism is reasonable: Neither politics nor science will make the turn. Analyzing systematically the possibilities, we finally end up with our only chance:
the critical and constructive citizen, who wants to design his own future.
The point of action is the weak point of the system: Elections!
The political system can be brought to a sustainable way of action by a special democratic "public pressure" of the voters, of committed citizens.
What do the committed citizens need to be successful?
Assistance by media
Here the very important role of the media gets transparent: The history of success in environmental protection and nature conservation shows, that in many cases media are the only partners on our way to sustainability, who are able to influence politics in the direction and intensity needed to avoid the worst, at least.
But the list of "ingredients" also shows some important requests to science:
Science by these means can mediate:
Universities, scientists, NGOs can be the basis and starting-point of this process and have to be the motor for innovation and for developing our society towards sustainability.
Especially I want to emphasize:
I would like to end up with a short example out of my professional practice as an assistant of the deputy governor of Vienna during the last two years:
Just for the short period of two years we have tried to increase transparency and citizens participation in local politics in Vienna. We developed a new model of participation and are encouraging people to participate. We concentrate our efforts in order to avoid tricks and traps of the prevailing system in cooperation with the citizens. In the Vienna model of participation, challenges, orders and work are assigned as precisely as possible, to the groups of actors in the following way:
facts and data transparent, to explain complex questions, to work out the different alternatives.
In these two years we got some encouraging results in questions of road-construction and integrative traffic-concepts for single parts of the city of Vienna, in questions of how to construct attractive streets and squares with urban flair and serving the interests of the habitants, in developing concepts for new underground lines etc.
Compared to the "earthquakes" of Zwentendorf, Hainburg and the more recent milestones in the dispute concerning genetic techniques or the international nuclear policies, this Vienna model of participation seems to be rather tiny and of minor importance. I agree: The new dimensions of consciousness, the capacities and qualifications needed for adequate problem-solutions and the challenge of developing political systems suited for sustainability need more and much stronger impacts. INES sets important impacts in questions of world-wide peace, and the Austrian Society of Scientists for the Protection of the Environment tries to push forward the fundamental discussion on environmental protection at least in Austria. But on the other hand, I am convinced that solving the sustainability problem will be based on local initiatives, on local skills and local decision-making. Globality could then loose some dangerous aspects and allow to transfer the best options to the single regions, where they must be adapted to the local framework. In this sense the Vienna model of participation is encouraging. So we will have to do hard work, it will be a strenuous way towards sustainability, but
Success is at least not excluded!
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Regional Aspects of Sustainability and the Role of the Universities
Kaliningrad State University, Geographical Faculty, 29 September 1 October 2000
Joachim Spangenberg (Germany), Basic ideas of sustainability
V. Ivtchenko, Economic and legal aspects of sustainable development of the First Special Economic Zone in Russia
Y. Zverev, Geopolitical Stability and civil society as a condition of sustainable development of the Kaliningrad Region
Barbara Hemkes (National Trade Union, Germany), The social dimension of sustainability
Armin Tenner, Reiner Braun, Which role do universities play?
L.S. Glushkova, S.I. Zotov, The university center role "Agenda 21" in ecological education
Vladiar, V.N. Bryushinksin, Organization of research in the framework of classical universities in modern Russia
Philip Smith (Netherlands), Economic transformation and sustainability
Peter Schaller (Mayor of Heidelberg), Local municipal experiences with the agenda process from German perspective
V. Bilchak, Kaliningrad as a pilot region and a pole of international cooperation (including EU)
V. Sauskan, Task priority and providing safety for the population of the Kaliningrad region for the period 2001 2005
E.V. Krasnov, On the rational usage of natural resources in the Baltic Sea regions
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The INES NEWSLETTER is edited by Armin Tenner, Buziaustraat 18, 1068 KN, Amsterdam, E-mail:
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