Géopoli­tique et développe­ment durable

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Rubrique: In Eng­lish

equipment FRANCEFrance was at war long before the attacks on Novem­ber 13. How­ever, those attacks have greatly served as a pre­text to inten­sify mil­i­tary oper­a­tions. Since the begin­ning of the 21st cen­tury, wars of plun­der for con­trol of resources have not been lack­ing: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, the Cen­tral African Repub­lic,
to name a few. These con­flicts have to be labelled for what they are, wars of impe­ri­al­ist inter­ven­tion. France has no «pos­i­tive role» in these inter­ven­tions despite claims drawn from a colo­nial past.
These mil­i­tary inter­ven­tions by the French state go largely unre­ported in the media. The lit­tle that is men­tioned imposes a ratio­nal­ity based on secu­rity, with or with­out human­i­tar­ian pack­ag­ing. The hawk­ish lan­guage is intended to anaes­thetise or paral­yse the pop­u­la­tion. Yet how is it pos­si­ble not to recall the dis­as­ters that war cre­ates, the mil­lions of dead, wounded and dis­placed, the mis­ery and despair that force pop­u­la­tions to flee while those prof­it­ing from war, the multi­na­tional arms deal­ers, get ever richer? France is the fourth most impor­tant arms man­u­fac­turer in the world. The colos­sal cost of war diverts pub­lic money from vital social, cul­tural and eco­log­i­cal needs. Fur­ther­more, the state, which car­ries out these wars like a pyro­ma­niac fire­man, drags us into a mon­strous spi­ral of ever more hatred lead­ing to ever more attacks. Rafale air­craft kill civil­ians just as inno­cent as those at Bat­a­clan (the­atre).

Lire la suite : Nei­ther war nor state of war

banner2unepThe accep­tance that legal pro­tec­tion for the envi­ron­ment from the rav­ages of armed con­flict needs improve­ment has a long his­tory. Dur­ing the last three decades, ini­tia­tives have repeat­edly flow­ered, only to wither and die in sem­i­nars and con­fer­ence rooms, while wartime envi­ron­men­tal dam­age con­tin­ues largely unchecked. What lessons should a new gen­er­a­tion wish­ing to tackle the topic take from past fail­ures?
As we reported ear­lier, Ukraine needs to find $30m to cover the cost of a two year pro­gramme of urgent envi­ron­men­tal assis­tance, doubt­less mil­lions more will be needed beyond that. Dam­age to Ukraine’s nat­ural envi­ron­ment and direct and urgent threats to pub­lic and envi­ron­men­tal health thanks to dam­age to indus­trial sites are wide­spread. In Iraq and Syria, pro­tracted con­flicts are con­tin­u­ing to cre­ate new envi­ron­men­tal threats and exac­er­bate pre-​existing prob­lems. Envi­ron­men­tal dam­age from con­flict is not just of his­tor­i­cal or aca­d­e­mic inter­est, it is threat­en­ing civil­ians and liveli­hoods around the world. How then to recap­ture a sense of urgency in efforts to min­i­mize dam­age and ensure that envi­ron­men­tal assis­tance gets to where it’s needed?

Lire la suite : The 5th Geneva Convention

earth afeu et a SANGIt is sheer coin­ci­dence that Paris was struck by ter­ror­ists on the eve of a key cli­mate con­fer­ence known as COP 21.
To some, the attacks may appear like an unfor­tu­nate dis­trac­tion in the face of efforts to meet a civ­i­liza­tional chal­lenge like no other. Yet there are impor­tant cross-​connections between secu­rity and cli­mate con­cerns.
Run­away cli­mate change will impose grow­ing stress on nat­ural sys­tems and human soci­eties, and it could well usher in a whole new age of con­flict. We live, after all, in a world marked by pro­found dis­par­i­ties in wealth, social and demo­graphic pres­sures, unre­solved griev­ances, and a seem­ingly end­less sup­ply of arms of all cal­ibers. Far from being a sep­a­rate con­cern, cli­mate change is cer­tain to inten­sify many exist­ing chal­lenges. More fre­quent and intense droughts, floods, and storms will likely play havoc with har­vests and com­pro­mise food secu­rity. Extreme weather events, sea-​level rise, and spread­ing dis­ease vec­tors could under­mine the eco­nomic via­bil­ity and long-​term hab­it­abil­ity of some areas. The result could be esca­lat­ing social dis­con­tent, mass dis­place­ment, and worse.
In fact, such sce­nar­ios are no longer mere con­jec­ture. Con­sider Syria.

Lire la suite : Why Syria is the canary in the coal mine for a new era of world conflict

TERMINUS horizon2015An argu­ment can be made that COP21 must address the sub­ject of war and peace as an eco­log­i­cal issue.
Because secrecy veils the true num­bers, it is dif­fi­cult to accu­rately deter­mine the amount of atmos­pheric pol­lu­tion caused by the mil­i­tary. Nonethe­less, it is sig­nif­i­cant.
A cer­tain cor­re­la­tion can be found between the biggest C02 emit­ters of the world
and those who are in charge of the most mil­i­ta­rized com­plex.
How come the IPCC does not take into account this form of destruc­tive human activity?

Let’s look at Air­craft emis­sions, for example.

To tackle the issue of mil­i­tary pol­lu­tion we need real, hard data. This means find­ing the right means, the right peo­ple, in the right place to work with us.
The video shows one exam­ple of the pol­lut­ing aspect from the impact of mil­i­tary con­flict. Burnt fields, exploita­tion and out­right theft of raw mate­ri­als diverted to mil­i­tary rather than peace­ful use, and the «dif­fer­en­ti­ated sta­tus» granted to cer­tain coun­tries under the Kyoto Pro­to­col are other exam­ples of pollution-​inducing mil­i­tary activ­i­ties that should be explored and dis­cussed.
US mil­i­tary oper­a­tions to pro­tect oil imports com­ing from the Mid­dle East are cre­at­ing larger amounts of green­house gas emis­sions than once thought, new research from the Uni­ver­sity of Nebraska-​Lincoln shows.

imagesCAODFC6HGreen cli­mate fund

sanguineThe mas­sive finan­cial resources allo­cated, absorbed or con­fis­cated by the mil­i­tary is another essen­tial issue to be addressed, but we have to be smart because the armed forces are posi­tion­ing them­selves as part of the solu­tion. And, whether we like it or not, they will have an influ­ence amongst the var­i­ous del­e­ga­tions. We must move beyond the pre­vi­ous idyl­lic con­cepts — that fund­ing for mis­siles and tanks should be diverted towards so-​called «devel­op­ment», for exam­ple. The «pol­luters pay» prin­ci­ple seems to have been for­got­ten. New pro­pos­als are needed, not only tax­a­tion of weapons trans­fers or even­tual taxes on nuclear war­heads but also other link­ages that would cre­ate spe­cific funds for dis­crete and com­pelling pur­poses. Money to aid and res­cue refugees, assist NGO’s work­ing on de-​pollution and decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion of mil­i­tary sites, fund­ing to help and defend whis­tle blow­ers. We have an oppor­tu­nity to high­light the huge gap between money spent by cer­tain big pow­ers on mil­i­tary assis­tance and that which is offered for cli­mate assistance.

Lire la suite : COP21 – war and peace

1 – Athena is the Greek god­dess of war who dis­liked bat­tles and pre­ferred to end quar­rels in a peace­ful man­ner.
whistleblower1002 – Athena’s favourite crea­ture was the owl, which to my mind sym­bol­ises the whistle­blower.
Whistle­blow­ers like the Inter­na­tional Net­work of Engi­neers and Sci­en­tists for Global Respon­si­bil­ity (INES) which advo­cates for nuclear weapon dis­man­tle­ment.
3 – “War­fare is inher­ently destruc­tive of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment”, in the words of Prin­ci­ple 24 of the Rio Dec­la­ra­tion.
4 – Prin­ci­ple 25 of the same Dec­la­ra­tion states: “Peace, devel­op­ment and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion are inter­de­pen­dent and indivisible”.

Lire la suite : At least 21 rea­sons to… take a look at this blog