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Newsletter - 03/2009
Dear Friends! April 2nd, 2009
We need an economic and financial order based on an understanding of natural limits and a reverence for life. Our economies must assist and not hinder our efforts to promote global equity, reduce climate change and stop resource depletion.

This is no utopia! Concrete steps and policy proposals were identified during the first meeting of the WFC Future Finance and Economics commission (March 27th -30th) in Egypt. For example, while detailed regulation of financial speculation is time-consuming and complex, "negative legal enforcement" is much faster and shifts the burden of proof, making financial products not approved by the respective supervisory authority legally un-enforceable.

Corporate law can also be reformed quickly. The WFC will initiate parliamentary hearings for new corporate charter and shareholder legislation. This would inter alia oblige corporations to account for natural and social capital depletion caused by their activities. Laws to link corporate rights and privileges, e.g. limited liability, to duties and responsibilities have existed in many countries and can easily be reintroduced. In addition, as no company’s success depends on the CEO alone, salary increases for the top management should be reflected across the whole workforce. The gap between highest– and lowest-paid employees should be reduced to pre-bubble levels, i.e. around 20 to 1.

Organisations set up to supervise the financial sector and manage assets and institutions saved by the taxpayer must be accountable to the public. The majority of their board members should therefore be nominated by parliaments, civil society and the wealth-producing business sector.

Such reforms will be crucial for rebuilding confidence and trust in the economic sector, the lack of which is at the core of the current crisis.

With best regards from the Board of Directors and Secretariat,

Jakob von Uexkull
Chair, Board of Directors

Content
Commission Briefs >
Notes from the Council >
Upcoming Events >
Recent Events >
Donor Information >
Media >

Introducing...

Councillor
Dr. Scilla Elworthy


Dr. Scilla Elworthy founded the Oxford Research Group in 1982. She has been very active in peace-building and conflict prevention work recently.

To read
Scilla Elworthy's report about her current activities, click here.


     
Commission Briefs
Future Finance
Future Finance and Economics Commission meeting at SEKEM

Diverse, inspiring and delivering numerous concrete policy proposals – the first meeting of the WFC’s Future Finance and Economics Commission from March 27th to 30th turned out to be a real success. WFC Councillor Ibrahim Abouleish cordially hosted the meeting at the SEKEM community near Cairo. The 13 attendees included Councillors Frances Moore-Lappé and Olivier Giscard d´Estaing, member of the Board of Advisors Margrit Kennedy, and WFC founder Jakob von Uexküll. Council members Riane Eisler, Prabhu Guptara, and Chico Whitaker could not attend the meeting, but are determined to take part in the commission’s further work.

The commission started by debating the very foundations of future finance and living economies serving people and planet, how new measures of human well-being can trigger an economic paradigm shift and which frame and wording is appropriate to foster this transition.

In the second part of the meeting, the discussions about the role of complementary currencies and a new taxation based on the depletion of natural resources led the commission to a number of concrete policy recommendations to curb speculation and to break the dominance of finance.

Helmy Abouleish, Managing Director of SEKEM Holding, organised a business dinner with the Egyptian Junior Business Association. More than 30 entrepreneurs discussed trends in future finance, monetary policies and sustainable economy with Councillors and invited experts.

The commission took home plenty of new ideas to transform finance – and the insight that SEKEM itself is the very best place to develop sustainable economics.
Jakob von Uexkull, Margrit Kennedy, Ibrahim Abouleish and Frances Moore-Lappé at the meeting
   
Notes from the Council
Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Duerr, WFC Councillor:

Creating an Information Network for the Future


There are several areas of work I am involved in at present that offer particular interest for the WFC. One such initiative from the Global Challenges Network (GCN), Munich, aims to generate an appropriate information network, the WorkNet:future (WNf) serving as a “conveyer belt” between top-down organizations like the WFC and the highly diversified bottom-up organizations and civil society groups which have already accomplished a remarkable amount tackling many of our global problems in the past decades.

Rather than competing with these groups I consider it very important and psychologically appropriate for the WFC to base its engagement and further goals as much as possible on these already available achievements as a kind of 'top soil'. The cooperative approach is quite obvious and hence welcomed as a very sound procedure.

However, because of the tremendous diversity of the various groups and the richness of their particular contributions it often proves rather difficult to obtain a reliable overview of valuable existing insights and suggestions for resolving particular problems. Also to find out by whom, where and with what quality these were established. It therefore appears very urgent indeed to construct a network appropriately representing these groups in such a way that all of them are capable of extracting the relevant information necessary for efficient and successful progress of their particular work. This applies equally to all types of groups, approaching the problems from "above" as well as from "below". The questions being asked and the guidance sought from the network will, of course, have quite a different character for the top-down and bottom-up groups but all will need to find transparent answers.

Conditions to join this WorkNet:future will be generous but within the value system which also guides the WFC embracing the preamble of the UN and the wider scope of the Earth Charter in agreement with the 'Paradigm of Life'. The structure of the Network will be "horizontal" (as stated by WFC Councillor Chico Whitaker) contrary to the common hierarchical umbrella organizations. Click here for further information and here for a preliminary view of the database.

Hans-Peter Duerr is WFC Councillor, nuclear physicist and philosopher.
 
To learn about all current councillor activities, click here.
Top upcoming WFC Events
WFC Councillor Count Sponeck, Former UN Assistant Secretary General
April 3, 2009:
UNESCO Delegates on Tour with the WFC

Hamburg, as an official City of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, has invited delegates of the UNESCO World Conference taking place in Bonn from March 31st to April 2nd, to the historic City Hall. On April 3rd, World Conference participants can meet members of the "Hamburg Learns Sustainability" initiative. In the afternoon, the World Future Council will take delegates on a boat trip through the harbour. WFC Councillor Count Hans-Christof von Sponeck, Development Director Alexandra Wandel and Campaign Manager Ansgar Kiene will present the WFC’s work.
April 17, 2009:
Sustainable Cities – how Cities can combat Climate Change

The World Future Council and Hamburg’s HafenCity University will co-organise a panel discussion on April 17th in Hamburg. Panel members Prof. Peter Droege, (Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy), Prof. Herbert Girardet, (WFC Co-Founder), Christian Maaß (Council of State of the Department for Urban Development and Environment, Hamburg), and Prof. Dr. Dieter Läpple (advisor of the Urban Age Network) will discuss political approaches for sustainable city development and Hamburg’s potential pioneer role. Read the invitation (in German) here. The event takes place during the second meeting of the WFC expert commission on Cities and Climate Change.
The WFC expert commission on Cities and Climate Change
To read about all upcoming WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at www.worldfuturecouncil.org
Top WFC Events in March
Climate Change and Energy Access – Parliamentary Hearing in Guyana
The WFC was invited to a hearing for legislators from the Caribbean region organised by e-Parliament in Georgetown, Guyana on March 14th and 15th. WFC Director Climate & Energy Stefan Schurig presented policy instruments encouraging private investment in renewable energy, such as feed-in tariffs.
The Caribbean region is already suffering from the consequences of climate change, and at the same time it has a huge potential for renewable energy. This was also expressed by the participants: parliamentarians, experts and business representatives from eleven Caribbean states, among them both Guyana's Prime Minister Sam Hinds and President Bharrat Jagdeo. In a joint communiqué, the law-makers agreed that Caribbean countries should draw up action plans for renewable energy, develop solutions for the problem of rising sea-levels, and create feed-in tariffs where appropriate.
Nine WFC members nominated for Climate Award!
111 ”Climate Friends“ were nominated by the bimonthly German ”KLIMA-MAGAZIN” for its new International Climate Award. An amazing nine nominees are part of the World Future Council. The shortlist has: WFC founders Jakob von Uexküll and Prof. Herbert Girardet, councillors Bianca Jagger, Frances Moore-Lappé, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Tim Flannery and Dr. Hermann Scheer as well as honorary councillors Dr. Michael Otto and Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker. Votes can be cast here until the end of May. The winner will be presented with the award “Climate Friend 2009” in autumn.
Creating Impact: How the WFC has promoted Feed-In Tariffs around the World
An accelerated switch to renewable energy is essential if the world is to avoid climate chaos. And Feed-In Tariff policy is essential to that effort; the single most effective way to speed up the switch to renewable energy. Click here to read the recently issued documentation about the World Future Council's successful promotion of Feed-In Tariffs.
Sustainable Cities: “Earth Matters” in Mumbai
Herbert Girardet delivered a keynote lecture at the 361/ Earth Matters conference in Mumbai on urban sustainability challenges in the age of climate change. Speaking to 800 urban planners and administrators, architects and environmentalists mainly from India, he emphasised the need to share best policies across the world. Unprecedented urbanisation in India and across Asia is driven by unprecedented use of fossil fuels. As melting glaciers and rising sea levels threaten India, all its creative energies will be needed in developing and implementing both mitigation and adaptation strategies. The WFC will do its best to help.
WFC at German Federal Congress for Political Education
At the 11th Federal Congress for Political Education in Halle, Germany, WFC Councillor Count Hans-Christof von Sponeck and Member of the Board of Directors Alexandra Wandel spoke at a panel discussion on "Visions of global social life in the 21st century" attended by 400 participants. Whilst von Sponeck presented the perspective of the United Nations as an important, vivid organisation for the 21st century, Wandel underlined the moral responsibility of current generations to promote solutions in the interest of future generations. You can read the paper by Count Sponeck here and Alexandra Wandel's paper here.
WFC demands Food Security for all – Today and in the Future
At a conference near Frankfurt, Germany, WFC Campaign Manager Dr. Maja Göpel presented the WFC approach for food security and the World Future Award. The conference addressed the questions of climate crisis, financial crisis and food crisis – one central result was that these crises can only be tackled with a holistic approach. You can see Maja Göpel's presentation (in German) here.
To read about all recent WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at www.worldfuturecouncil.org
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