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29.11.2011: INES 20th Anniversary

Science & Sustainability


29. November 2012

Sustainable Energy News of INFORSE now available

The issue has focus on UNFCCC COP 18, where International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE) will exhibit and organise side event.
Selected topics:

  • Crucial Climate Decisions Ahead
  • East African Civil Society Engages in the UN "Sustainable Energy 4 All" Initiative
  • Solar Cheaper than Diesel
  • New EU Energy-Efficiency Directive and the Missing Efficiency
  • Lithuanian No to Nuclear
  • Women at UNFCCC COP18
  • The World We Want - Post 2015

Download the Newsletter here: www.inforse.org/s_e_news.php3


Source: http://www.unepfi.org/

21. November 2012

The Financial Risks of Ecological Limits

Some of the economic implications of resource constraints were introduced to the world of international finance this week in London, when Global Footprint Network and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), in collaboration with leading financial institutions, launched the E-RISC (Environmental Risk Integration in Sovereign Credit) report at Bloomberg, a leader in global financial data.

The interactive event drew over 150 participants, including representatives from leading financial institutions, investors, asset management firms and rating agencies, including Caisse des Depots, SNS Asset Management, Standard & Poor’s, J.P. Morgan, KfW Bankengruppe, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Barclays.

To date, tightening resource constraints and their impacts on national economies have been largely absent from financial analyses. The E-RISC report fills this gap by exploring to what extent resource and ecological risks can impact a nation’s economy and how these factors affect a nation’s ability to pay its debts. Download the report here: issuu.com/globalfootprintnetwork/docs/erisc
or visit www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/footprint_for_finance/





11. October 2012

Launch of the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (SDKP)

This new website has been launched by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Division for Sustainable Development following-up to Rio+20. The platform contains information on the past 19 years of normative and analytical work of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), a wealth of content from the preparatory process of Rio+20, and is the go to place for Rio+20 follow-up.Please visit it here: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.html


5. October 2012

Heliopolis University Opens its Doors

The Heliopolis University in Cairo is the first University in the world to focus on sustainable development. Lectures for the first 200 students started on the 1st of October. The University was founded by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, WFC Councillor and founder of SEKEM. At present, there are five different bachelor degrees available to students: B.A. Business and Economics, B.Sc. Energy Engineering, B.Sc. Water Engineering, B.Sc. Mechatronics Engineering and B.Sc. Pharmacy. The common basis of the specialist degrees is the core program, which is orientated towards the idea of humanistic education: there are compulsory courses for all students in the natural and social sciences, language and the arts. For more information please visit the University's Website.

28. August 2012

Seed Freedom Campaign

Vandana Shiva has launched a new global campaign Seed Freedom - defending seed sovereignty
"Seed is the source of life and the first link in the food chain. Control over seed means a control over our lives, our food and our freedom."
"Corporations like Monsanto have created a seed emergency, through patents on seeds, seed monopolies, biopiracy genetic engineering and creation of non renewable sterile seeds."
A global collective response is needed. Join the campaign by signing the declaration on seed freedom, in order to stop the corporate hijack of seed and with it, the hijack of our freedom and our future. seedfreedom.in/


22. August 2012

Earth Overshoot Day

In 8 Months, Humanity Exhausted its Budget for the Year
Today, August 22, is Earth Overshoot Day, marking the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. We are now operating in overdraft. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Read on here: www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day/


21. August 2012

World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability

Flagship report 2011 of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)

In this report, the WBGU explains the reasons for the desperate need for a post-fossil economic strategy, yet it also concludes that the transition to sustainability is achievable, and presents ten concrete packages of measures to accelerate the imperative restructuring. If the transformation really is to succeed, we have to enter into a social contract for innovation, in the form of a new kind of discourse between governments and citizens, both within and beyond the boundaries of the nation state. 

The new WBGU-Study „A Social Contract for Sustainability” appears at a time in which people around the world are increasingly committed to creating a future that is both sustainable and climate-safe. The study shows that such a future will only be possible if governments, business and  civil society collectively set the right course, making the most of regional, national and global cooperation. An important call to cross-cutting integrated action, the book deserves wide recognition.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Please find the report here:www.wbgu.de/en/flagship-reports/fr-2011-a-social-contract/


12. July 2012

Post-2015 development agenda

"The world is over armed and peace is under-funded […] sixty years of United Nations peacekeeping operations have cost less than six weeks of current military spending."

Ban Ki-moon, July 2012

During the preparatory process of the Rio +20 Summit, the idea of adopting a new set of goals, namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has emerged. These goals aim at addressing and incorporating in a balanced and broader way all the key dimensions of sustainable development. They also reaffirm the past political commitments of all actors. SDGs are mentioned in paragraphs 245 to 251 of the Outcome Document under the title IV: Framework for action and follow up. During the Conference, states agreed to develop SDGs through a process under the supervision of the UN, but failed to define the different themes that should be considered.

By September, the UN General Assembly will appoint a group of representatives from 30 countries to develop the SDGs and define the UN's overall Post-2015 development agenda. The group will submit its recommendations to the 68th session of the GA. The new programme is planned to enter into force in 2015 as an immediate follow up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which, some say, should not be retired before their targets have been reached. INES together with IPB and other partners are working on promoting a SDG on peace and security, an issue that was excluded from the MDGs. Meanwhile the UN System Task Teamhas published its Report to the Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This makes reference to the Rio commitments, and does incorporate a peace and security dimension. However the military spending aspect is completely excluded. We are now planning a post-Rio project focusing on this crucial missing issue.


Source: Nationofchange.org

19. June 2012

New Set of Sustainable Development Goals Looks Beyond 2015

By Thalif Deen
When world leaders from over 100 countries wind up their three-day Rio+20 summit in Brazil, they will leave behind the shattered remains of a slew of proposals that never got off the ground.
A 30-billion-dollar Global Fund for Sustainable Development? A Financial Transactions Tax? A Sustainable Development Index? A Sustainable Development Council? A Global Fund for Education? A World Environment Organisation? An Inter-governmental Body on Tax Matters?
The proposals originated from environmental activists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), human rights groups, the U.N.’s NGO Committee on Financing for Development and a High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability.
After continued stalemate – over issues relating mostly to financing and technology transfers – the 193-member Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) failed to reach agreement Friday on a blueprint for a green economy and sustainable development worldwide. Read the article at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/new-set-sustainable-development-goals-looks-beyond-2015-1340114259.


4. June 2012

INES Global Responsibility Newsletter No. 64 now online


Some featured topics:

  • Why we need Millenium Consumption Goals (MCGs) at RIO+20 (by Mohan Munasinghe)
  • How business hijacked the sustainability agenda (by Delyse Springett)
  • The role of think tanks in revising the policy agenda (by Dieter Plehwe).
  • Which "Green economy" for the future we want (by Joachim Spangenberg)
  • Rio+20 – Global Marshall Plan – Worldwide Ecosocial Market Economy (by F. R. Rademacher)
  • Appeal to the Rio+20 conference: Disarmament for sustainable development!
Read all about the INES activities at the  UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) conference (20.-22.6.) and the accompanying Peoples summit for Social and Environmental Justice from 15.-23. June, 2012 here: www.inesglobal.com/Disarmament-for-Sustainable-Development.phtml


Photo: Oxfam International

18. May 2012

Obama's 'Poverty-Relieving' Plan for Africa a Profit Boon for Giant Agribusiness

$3 billion investment from BigAg leaves sustainable agriculture, small-scale farmers' voices behind

President Obama's announcement today of $3 billion in private investments in a poverty- and hunger-relieving plan for Africa is set to be a boon for giant agribusiness, a move critics say leaves small-scale farmers and agro-ecological methods in the dust.

The pledged investments come from agricultural behemoths including Dupont, Monsanto and Cargill.

The G8, now meeting in Maryland, has presented a view of private investments as a way of solving poverty. “The G8 must not give in to the temptation to make bold and convenient assumptions about the private sector as a development panacea,” said Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy and Research at Oxfam America. Raj Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, argued that a public-sector solution to alleviating hunger is "highly unlikely." Kripke, however, dismisses that claim. “There is no evidence that the growing focus on private sector engagement at the expense of other approaches will truly deliver for the fight against hunger,” said Kripke.

The planned investment does not bring the voices of small-scale farmers to the table, but does set a plan for massive profits to be reaped by giant agribusiness.  “The rhetoric is all about small-scale producers, but they haven’t yet been a part of the G-8’s conversation,” Lamine Ndiaye of Oxfam said. Giant agribusiness' "objective is not to fight against hunger; their objective is to make money” Ndiaye said. Read on here: www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/18-3


15. May 2012

New Footprint and Biocapacity Data Released from Space: Trends Reveal a ‘Global Auction’

Astronaut Launches Living Planet Report 2012
Humanity is now using nature’s services 52 percent faster than what Earth can renew, according to Global Footprint Network’s latest data, published in the 2012 edition of the Living Planet Report. The biennial report, produced by WWF in collaboration with Global Footprint Network and the Zoological Society of London, was launched today by ESA astronaut André Kuipers from the International Space Station. Click here to see the video of the launch

Released just weeks before world leaders come together in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the report shows rising competition among countries for resources and land use.

“We’ve entered the era of the global auction,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D., “where nations are now forced to compete fiercely for more expensive and less abundant resources. It’s in their own self-interest to preserve and restore the natural assets they have within their borders and avoid ecological deficit spending. In a resource constrained world, such spending will become an ever more challenging economic burden.” Read on


30. March 2012

Sustainable Energy Roadmaps: Guiding the Global Shift to Domestic Renewables

Worldwatch Institute’s Sustainable Energy Roadmaps provide decision makers with a comprehensive toolkit for transitioning to sustainable energy. Tailored to a region’s unique circumstances, they examine opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and grid technologies; explore technical barriers and opportunities; and analyze socioeconomic impacts, including job creation. The roadmaps can be applied in a wide variety of locations and at multiple levels of political organization,offeringa long-term vision for energy development as well as specific policy, governance, and financial steps that are critical to making the shift to sustainable energy a reality.
Report by Alexander Ochs and Shakuntala Makhijani

ISBN: 978-0-878071-69-9, 46 pages, $12.95. Order here: www.worldwatch.org/sustainable-energy-roadmaps-report


27. January 2012

Quo Vadis, Ecosystem? Scenarios as a Tool for Large-Scale Ecological Research

As European leaders struggle to avert a second recession a new study finds that future economic growth and the sustenance of the continent’s ecosystem services may be incompatible, unless political priority setting focuses on sustainable development with a special emphasis on biodiversity conservation. The research, published in a special issue of Global Ecology and Biogeography , combines socio-economic, land use, climate and biodiversity models with other approaches to consider three possible routes for the future of Europe’s economy. The scientists explore the multiple impacts on biodiversity within the next century. The special issue is edited by Josef Settele, Ingolf Kühn and Joachim Spangenberg from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/Germany, Tim Carter from the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE/Finland, and Martin Sykes from the University of Lund/Sweden.

Free Access at the Journal URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/geb.2012.21.issue-1/issuetoc

11. January 2012

Rio+20 Zero Draft Outcome Document released

The zero draft outcome document – the official document to be negotiated by United Nations Member States in the lead up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) – has been released. Although the text will be extensively negotiated in the coming months and will most likely be modified, the zero draft in its current stage reaffirms Member States commitment to work together for a prosperous, secure and sustainable future for both people and the planet, including by eradicating hunger, want, and all forms of poverty; by committing to make progress on already internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and by enhancing cooperation.  More information here: www.un-ngls.org/spip.php


9.-10. November, 2011

Beyond the Crossroads: New Issues, Persistent Problems.

Linking food security, sustainability science and sustainability politics.

International Conference Berlin, German
The time is right to convene an initiative to analyse the impact of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). We need to look at emerging issues and to strengthen endeavours for a permanent assessment on agriculture within a broad, participatory, and transparent global network in which UN-organisations like UNEP and FAO play a key role as much as civil society organisations, scientists and interested national governments from the South and the North. Read on

Key note speakers on 10.11.

  • David Segovia, Bank of the South, Ecuador
  • Elba Rivera Urbina, W8 Oxfam Int., Nicaragua
  • Hartmut Graßl, former director of World Climate Research Program
  • Judy Wakhungu, African Centre for Technology Studies, Kenia


  • Hans Herren, Vice-Chair of IAASTD, laureate of world food price 
  • Gert Müller, Under-secretary of State for Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection

Visit website.

Read the Conference Program here:

Evening program 10.11.2011: Zukunft_der_Ernährung.pdf (658K)

The German INES member organisation is, together with other organisations, organiser of the conference.


12. October 2011

Real Prices for Resources against Squandering

Interview with Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, member of the INES Advisory Council

Prof. Weizsäcker has deep knowledge about resources. He is co-chair of the International Resources Panel; member of the Club of Rome; was Dean of the Donald Bren School at the University of California; and founded the Wuppertal Institute. His engagement was widely recognized, as he won prizes as the Takeda Award and the German Environmental Prize.

The core ideas of Weizsäcker are published in his bestseller Factor Four of 1997. In the book he shows 50 examples proving how the wealth gained from the resources we use can be increased at least four times. In 2010 he published Factor Five. The book focuses on innovation in industry and technology, as well as policy, of the last 15 years.
Read more and listen to the interview on studentreporter.org.


18. August  2011

Towards a green economy - Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

A Synthesis for Policy Makers

The Green Economy Report is compiled by UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative in collaboration with economists and experts worldwide. It demonstrates that the greening of economies is not generally a drag on growth but rather a new engine of growth; that it is a net generator of decent jobs, and that it is also a vital strategy for the elimination of persistent poverty. The report also seeks to motivate policy makers to create the enabling conditions for increased investments in a transition to a green economy.

To visit the UNEP report website click here.
Download the report here:

29. June 2011

Public Research should benefit Society, not big business

Scientists and NGOs slam Commission's Research funding plans

In an open letter sent today to the President and Members of the European Commission as well as the European Parliament and the EU Member states, 98 civil society and research organisations from across Europe warn that the Commission's draft proposals for the next Research funding framework (2014-2020) fail to address the real challenges faced by European societies and call for a research agenda geared towards the needs of society and the environment rather than those of big business.

The open letter is now open to individual signatories. To sign and to find 6 translations of the letter (english, french, german, spanish, italian and polish) please visit sciencescitoyennes.org/open-letter-eu-research/

Read the open letter and see the first signatories list:

12. June 2011

Open letter on military research at universities to the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP)

INES addressed the leaders of the IAUP with an open letter on June 10, 2011 asking the  university leaders to stand up against the militarisation of universities across the world.

Read the letter:


Commit Universities to Peace - Reject Research for the Military. It is time to act.

Today the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) launched a worldwide campaign against military research.

In an international appeal signed by Nobel Laureates, Right Livelihood Laureates and more prominent scientists* (see below) INES asks for the abandonment of all research and teaching for military purposes and urge university authorities and responsible academic bodies everywhere to adopt binding commitments in the university statutes similar to Civil Clauses in some countries.
Research carried out at universities includes military research. What is gathering strength at many German universities is a movement against what is being called “the increasing militarization of higher education”. The current German defence budget in fact does contain the impressive sum of 1.1 billion Euros for “research, development, testing” – the equivalent of more than one tenth of the entire German education budget.
More than 1000 Scientists from Japan already announced their support for the campaign.

For example the U.S. Defence Department has over 76 billion dollars yearly at its disposal for research and development. Every 2nd scientific position in the USA is armament related. In Russia about 40% and in UK 18%.

The signatures collected until June 2011 will be distributed to the world meeting of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) with the demand to take responsibility to stand up for peaceful and civilian research and education.
Further actions are planned.

* Signatories include: Daniel Ellsberg, USA; Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate Chemistry, UK; Jack Steinberger, Nobel Laureate Physics, Switzerland; Lisa Clark, former MEP, Italy; Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Peace Nobel Laureate, GB (Northern Ireland); Paul Crutzen, Nobel Laureate Chemistry, Germany/Netherlands; Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan.

23. July 2010

Scientists Condemn Government over Cuts to Environmental Watchdogs

Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) today condemned the government's decision to withdraw funding for the Sustainable Development Commission and abolish the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of SGR, said "The Sustainable Development Commission and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution have been highly influential watchdogs on environmental issues. Their robust reports have led to major changes in thinking within government and across British society. The announcement by the Environment Secretary is, in effect, saying that the government's environmental policies no longer need the level of scrutiny that these independent, expert bodies provided. This thoroughly undermines the government's claimed commitment to sustainable development."

Contact: Dr Stuart Parkinson +44 (0) 7941 953640

SGR is a member of INES and is an independent UK-based membership organisation of about 1,000 natural and social scientists, engineers, IT professionals and architects. It promotes science, design and technology that contribute to peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability.
For more information, see: www.sgr.org.uk/

Sustainability Science: A New Mode of Science. Another Step in the Evolution of Science Paradigms

By Joachim H. Spangenberg and Martion O'Connor

11-Sustainability_Science.pdf (2M)
This article is an excerpt from INES Global Responsibility Newsletter No 61/April 2010.


October 12, 2009

Corporate Influence on Science is Compromising its Social and Environmental Benefits

A new report reveals that the pressure for scientific research to deliver on short-term commercial aims is compromising its ability to yield social and environmental benefits.

The report 'Science and the corporate agenda' states that even tax-payer funded research is now less likely to work in the broader public interest. These findings are based on extensive evidence across five sectors: pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, military/defence, biotechnology and tobacco.

Read on

Article on the SGR report in "New Scientist" (4-11-2009): Stop selling out science to commerce


Maize marked "biohazard"
Montage: INES

June 16, 2009

Unwanted Transgenes Re-Discovered in Oaxacan Maize

Molecular biologist Elena Alvarez-Buylla and a team of scientists of the University of Mexico City (UNAM) confirmed the presence of genetically modyfied (GM) DNA sequences in maize samples from the State of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, and show that sampling and molecular methods that had been used before, were not effective to detect transgenes in local maize populations. The cultivation of GM maize is prohibited in Mexico since 1998. However, the import of GM maize for food and feed is legal. Unclear is how the pollution with GM maize occurred.

read on: www.unionccs.net (in Spanish)

See background articles in English:

INES-UNAM Conference, Oaxtepec, Mexico, March 2008

OAXTEPEC DECLARATION: Science for Peace and Sustainability

At the beginning of the 21st century, our planet is in severe danger. Many problems are threatening humanity and the biosphere we live in, including environmental destruction, climate change and biodiversity loss, poverty and hunger, population growth and refugees, drugs and crime, the spread of armaments and violence, and the threat of nuclear war. A mutually enforcing triangle of economic growth, concentration of political power and destructive military force and conflict is driving the world toward global disaster.Read on

Read the comments: OAXTEPEC_Declaration_Comments.pdf (70K)

See the signarories list: OAXTEPEC_Subscribers_List.pdf (56K)


INES Special Edition
for the INES-UNAM
Conference, Mexico City and Oaxtepec, 29.2.- 3.3.08

INES Special Edition - Mecixo.pdf (3M)


Harvesting machines in soy bean field
© Fernando Weberich/sxc.hu

The IAASTD report and some of its fallout – a personal note

By Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, ETH Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology, Zurich, Switzerland

The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a unique international effort that will evaluate the relevance, quality and effectiveness of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (AKST); and effectiveness of public and private sector policies as well as institutional arrangements in relation to AKST. The purpose of IAASTD is to assess agricultural knowledge, science and technology (AKST) in order to use AKST more effectively to reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods, and facilitate equitable, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development.

The IAASTD report and some of its fallout – a personal note by Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, ETH Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology, Zurich, Switzerland
Advisory Council member of the INES member organisation VDW (Federation of German Scientists, www.vdw-ev.de)

Executive Summary of the Synthethis Report of the IAASTD: http://www.agassessment.org/docs/SR_Exec_Sum_280508_English.pdf


African Tree
Photo: ijsendoorn, sxc.hu

Africa Project 2001

Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa

by Nicola Hellmich

On 26th November 2000 the idea was born to start up an Initiative for peaceful and sustainable development in Africa. This was founded on 20.01.2001 in Dortmund (Germany) with a participation of colleagues from 12 African States as well as from Europe. Out of this Initiative INES went on with its Africa Project: „Peace and Sustainable development in Africa“. Throughout the whole year INES supported different groups and single people regarding a variety of new project ideas and started to build up a wide spread network throughout different African countries, Germany and Europe ...

read on


Kaliningrad 2000: Economic Transition and Sustainability

How did the world get to where it is?

We are here to talk about how to create a sustainable world society under conditions of political and economic transformation. Before attempting to provide answers to this question, it is well to take a good look at the historical developments that got us into the situation, call it "mess" if you like, that the world, in particular Russia, is in. In his introduction to this meeting, Joachim Spangenberg has told us about indicators which can tell us whether or not a country is on the road to a sustainable future. These are very important and useful. Especially since Joachim has also introduced social sustainability indicators, and not only physical sustainability indicators in his efforts to decide ...

read on

An Appeal to Engineers and Scientists Presented to the INES Congress, "Challenges of Sustainable Development,"
Amsterdam August 22-25, 1996

Towards Sustainable Societies


Sustainability is a value-based aim and process with environmental, technological, political, social, economic and institutional implications. Sustainability requires that we organise our societies so that they evolve in harmony with nature; dominance over nature is a failed option.

Read on: Towards_Sustainable_Societies.pdf (56K)