- October, 2010 (5)
- September, 2010 (8)
- August, 2010 (12)
- July, 2010 (11)
- June, 2010 (25)
- May, 2010 (15)
- April, 2010 (15)
- March, 2010 (17)
- February, 2010 (12)
- January, 2010 (15)
- December, 2009 (9)
- November, 2009 (15)
04/30/2010 - 10:54am
Monday May 3 will mark the beginning of the 8th Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, and 189 governments party to the treaty and hundreds of NGOs will flock to New York to discuss our world’s greatest security concern – nuclear weapons. The stakes are high, with issues such as demands of disarmament and Iranian development of nuclear weapons topping the agenda. The last review conference, held five years ago, was such an abysmal failure that the pressure is strong on all parties to reach agreement on the many controversial issues.
Yesterday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote an op-ed in the New York Times laying out the urgency of the Review Conference and some of the top considerations for the agenda. While stressing the importance of holding realistic expectations, Ban Ki-moon asserted that the opportunities presented by Review Conference must not fall by the wayside, especially on the topics of disarmament, non-proliferation, a nuclear weapons free-zone in the Middle East, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
In particular, Ban Ki-moon focused on the need for a serious and thorough consideration of disarmament. “The Earth’s very future leaves us no alternative but to pursue disarmament,” he said. “And there is little prospect of that without global cooperation.”
If the Review Conference does not address the issue of disarmament, it is sacrificing an opportunity to start taking the necessary steps to make the world safer. The very real possibility of nuclear terrorism – highlighted in President Obama’s recent Security Summit– reinforces the widespread relevance of the issue and underscores the necessity of international cooperation. “Nuclear terrorism is not a Hollywood fantasy,” wrote Ban Ki-Moon. “It can happen.”
Sign an international petition calling on President Obama to initiate talks on an international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons. Call on President Obama to work with international leaders to abolish nuclear weapons – within our lifetimes. You can be a part of the over 5 million signatures that will be delivered to the White House and the United Nations next week. Click here to Sign the Petition Now.
Fri, 04/30/2010 - 10:54am » 0 comments
04/28/2010 - 4:13pm
|Photo: Human Security in Northern Uganda
A step in the right direction!
On April 28, 2010, the members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted by voice vote on S. 1067 the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. A voice vote is a voting method used by the U.S. House of Representatives in which a vote is taken on legislation by responding verbally. The decision is made by the chair, although it can be challenged.
The bill is summarized here by the Congressional Research Service:
Directs the President to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a regional strategy to guide U.S. support for multilateral efforts to eliminate the threat to civilians and regional stability posed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and to enforce the rule of law and ensure full humanitarian access in LRA-affected areas. Authorizes the President to provide assistance to respond to the humanitarian needs of populations in northeastern Congo, southern Sudan, and Central African Republic affected by LRA activity. Expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State and Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) should work with the appropriate congressional committees to increase future assistance to Uganda if the government of Uganda demonstrates a commitment to reconstruction in war-affected areas of northern and eastern Uganda. Expresses the sense of Congress that the President should support efforts by the people of northern Uganda and the government of Uganda to: (1) promote local and national reconciliation including mechanisms outlined in the Annexure to the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation between the government of Uganda and the LRA; and (2) assist internally displaced people, establish mechanisms for the demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, and enhance the competency of local institutions including the police.
The bill is not law yet. Next, the legislation will be decided upon by the entire House of Representatives.
We'll keep you posted!
Wed, 04/28/2010 - 4:13pm » 0 comments
04/28/2010 - 10:23am
“I state with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” ~President Obama, Prague Nuclear Security Speech, April 2009
The existence of nuclear weapons remains the greatest threat to life on earth. Sign the petition and call on President Obama to make good on the commitment he declared in Prague one year ago. Call on President Obama to initiate talks on an international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons. Call on President Obama to work with international leaders to abolish nuclear weapons – within our lifetimes.
You can be a part of the over 5 million signatures that will be delivered to the White House and the United Nations in early May to coincide with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York. Click here to Sign the Petition Now.
In 1970, the NPT was created to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. But it is unequipped to deal with 21st century challenges, and the NPT alone cannot bring about a world free of nuclear weapons. The 8th Review Conference of the NPT (May 3-28, 2010) provides a key forum to initiate good faith talks on disarmament, and it is an opportunity for President Obama to publicly restate his commitment to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Libran N. Cabactulan, President-Elect of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Source: UN News & Media
Nuclear weapons must be eliminated to ensure a safer future for generations to come. Unite with more than five million voices and urge President Obama to begin multilateral talks on an international agreement to abolish nuclear weapons.
More on the 2010 NPT Review Conference:
As the only binding multilateral treaty that mentions disarmament, the NPT sets up a grand bargain. It says that nuclear weapons states will ultimately disavow these weapons in exchange for an agreement from non-nuclear states to stay clear of developing nuclear weapons capabilities.
Since 1970, several states have dismantled as a result of the Treaty: Belarus, Kazahkstan, South Africa. And Argentina, Brazil, Libya and Sweden were all dissuaded from pursuing their nuclear aspirations. But India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have all become nuclear weapons-states, and many non-nuclear weapons states have argued that the states outside the Treaty are receiving the most benefits.
Now forty years have gone by since the Treaty’s establishment, and the Non-Aligned Movement (with 118 member countries mostly in the developing world) is pushing the disarmament agenda seriously. It wants to see the five nuclear powers completely fulfill their disarmament obligations under the NPT. Some states in the NAM already have declared that they will oppose U.S.-supported measures, such as stronger nuclear energy inspections and punishment for countries that withdraw from the NPT. These same states want the major powers’ nuclear programs to be subject to UN inspections as well as a timeline for disarmament.
Review conferences for the NPT are held in five-year intervals, and last conference in 2005 was deemed a failure when its efforts to produce a final document were botched. This makes the outcome of the 2010 Review Conference absolutely critical. Still, there are many challenges ahead that must be addressed to prevent this conference from going the way of the 2005 meeting.
Because the final conference document must be a consensus piece, any country can use the veto at its disposal. For the Obama administration to sustain the momentum on nuclear security coming off the tail winds of the April Security Summit and the signing of the New START agreement with Russia, the issue of disarmament must remain on the table. The demands of the NAM must be taken seriously otherwise the meeting may be compromised as the 2005 Review Conference was. How the U.S. delegation maneuvers its position and considers the issue of disarmament during the month of May will certainly affect the impact of the Review conference’s outcome.
Sign the Petition Today!
Wed, 04/28/2010 - 10:23am » 0 comments
04/26/2010 - 2:08pm
As the congressional campaign season gets rolling, Citizens for Global Solutions is pleased to announce the release of our 2010 Congressional Report Card. This report “grades” members of the Senate and House of Representatives on their record of support for CGS legislative priorities over the past several years, as well as highlighting additional work certain members of Congress have undertaken which has helped to advance the goals of CGS. You can read the entire Report Card online by clicking here, as well as clicking on state-by-state links to quickly find the scores of your own Senators and House member.
The Report Card focuses on 10 votes in the Senate and 11 in the House of Representatives occurring between 2007 and 2009 on issues of particular importance to CGS and its supporters. These votes cover topics such as providing appropriate levels of funding for international and multilateral organizations; addressing climate change; prohibiting torture; and ensuring protection of human rights around the globe. Just like school, each member of Congress was given a grade between an F and an A+ based on how frequently their votes aligned with CGS’s positions on these issues.
Additionally, since not all the hard work of members of Congress is revealed solely through their voting records, CGS invited Senators and Representatives to apply for “extra credit” by telling us about other work they have done on these and other issues that are CGS priorities. This extra credit might come from making floor speeches, sponsoring legislation, or publishing op-eds on issues important to CGS. Lawmakers must earn extra credit in order to receive the highest grade of A+.
In this year’s Report Card, we are also posthumously honoring the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) for his outstanding work on CGS issues over the course of his nearly half-century in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, we are acknowledging Representatives Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-LA) for their roles as co-chairs of the new bipartisan American Engagement Caucus.
The 2010 Congressional Report Card is used by the Citizens for Global Solutions’ Political Action Committee to assist in deciding which members of Congress to endorse and/or give monetary contributions. We hope it will also be useful to you in judging the performance of your Senators and Representatives, as well as that of Congress as a whole, in standing up for our shared beliefs and legislative priorities.
Mon, 04/26/2010 - 2:08pm » 0 comments
04/26/2010 - 10:20am
|Former child soldiers of the Thomas Lubanga UPC militia, Ituri, eastern Congo
Join us next Wednesday, April 28th, from 7 to 9 pm to watch and discuss The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court. The film follows dynamic ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his team for three years across four continents as he issues arrest warrants for Lord's Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, shakes up the Colombian justice system, and charges Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur.
Established by treaty in 2002 in response to the mass atrocities that stained the late 20th century, the International Criminal Court (the ICC) is the first permanent international criminal court created to seek justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, the Court is not supported by a police force or other enforcement arm and faces major obstacles in pursuing its mission from nations that did not join the treaty.
Citizens for Global Solutions will be discussing genocide prevention at our Annual Meeting, May 19th – 22nd. Click here for more information.
Mon, 04/26/2010 - 10:20am » 0 comments
04/23/2010 - 2:58pm
-A guest blog written by former intern Komal Hiranandani-
Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have plans to unveil a comprehensive climate change bill in the Senate next weak, tentatively called the "American Power Act." Running on the heels of Earth Day celebrations, this Senate Bill follows the passage of the House’s H.R. 2454 Waxman-Markey Bill in June last year.
A lot has happened between then and now. President Obama attended the Copenhagen climate summit in December, which acknowledged the scientific need to prevent climate change, acknowledged the assistance needed for developing countries to transition to clean energy economies, and saw the U.S. agreeing to pledge aid to developing countries for this purpose. However, the summit failed to produce the binding agreement across nations to take specific measures to fight this threat. The U.S. Senate debated the Kerry-Boxer climate bill that tried to follow H.R. 2454, but this moved fizzled out as Senators refused to come together and other issues clogged the agenda.
Once again, Senator Kerry has attempted to pick up the reins, and lead efforts to complete this process in the Senate. Conjecture has already begun about what this might and might not include. Reports indicate that it will pursue a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, which was H.R. 2454’s target. The new bill is expected to move away from the House version’s economy-wide cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, limiting itself to the utilities and industrial sectors. Support for the nuclear industry is also expected. Manufactures can expect to see tax breaks for employing energy-efficiency measures.
However, the bill still needs to iron out several points of contention. These include opposing views on whether the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority should be retained, oil and gas revenue- sharing systems from federal waters with coastal states , and the issue of new federal legislation superseding stronger state and regional measures already taken in states like California.
As Senators work out such technicalities, the need for finding common ground must be kept in mind. NASA confirmed that the earth has experienced the warmest decade on record. The U.S. draft report on climate change said that "Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced,” and the International Energy Agency calculated that the cost of greenhouse gas emissions abatement increases by half a trillion dollars for every year that the world fails to take comprehensive steps to address climate change.
Meanwhile, Senator Kerry has emphasized the tremendous opportunity that a clean-energy economy represents. He noted that the energy market is a 6 trillion dollar market with about 4.5 billion eligible users. This explains why China is currently investing aggressively in alternative energy development.
Don Kraus, CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions pointed out that, “the Senate must pass a climate bill for three reasons: morality, security, and diplomacy. First, reducing U.S greenhouse gas emissions is the right thing to do. We continue to have a lopsided impact on the global climate that affects the lives of people throughout the world. Second, our oil habit still supports tyrannical regimes and makes our nation less secure. Finally, the U.S. will not be seen as credible partner at global climate change negotiations without it. The history of our presidents making agreements that are not back by the Senate is long, sad, and too well known.” Kraus went on to add that the EPA’s authority should be retained saying that “whatever is passed will only be a first step. This and future administrations will need an ‘EPA stick’ along with carrots to keep Congress engaged.”
The new Senate Bill must provide incentives for such a transition to take place in the U.S. Speedy legislation is necessary to mitigate uncertainties currently faced by companies here because they are unsure about what new laws might penalize or reward. Easing cap-and-trade to only apply to utilities and industries may be an acceptable short-term compromise, but this should be pushed as a concession that is accepted in exchange for broader cap-and-trade coverage in the future. The use and development of clean energy, like solar and wind, should be amply rewarded, and the EPA’s regulatory authority should be retained as far as possible. Strong incentives should be provided for companies to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency. If this is accomplished, the Senate might successfully win this battle in the long chain of steps we need to take to fight climate change.
This Earth Day urge your Senator to pass strong climate change legislation.
Fri, 04/23/2010 - 2:58pm » 0 comments
04/22/2010 - 12:15pm
HAPPY EARTH DAY!
As Citizens for Global Solutions, we naturally love the earth. Today, we are proud to join in celebrating the milestone 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
Earth Day was first launched on April 22, 1970 as the brainchild of the late Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who was frustrated by Washington’s failure to adequately address environmental issues. A few months after the first Earth Day celebration, Congress had passed and President Nixon had signed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created. Ever since the first Earth Day celebration, April 22nd has provided environmentalists with an opportunity to both celebrate the earth and to stress that despite environmental progress, much more still needs to be done to safeguard the health of the planet for future generations.
In the U.S. Senate, a new climate change bill is expected to be introduced early next week to coincide with Earth Day celebrations. This legislation, sponsored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), is expected to place greenhouse gas emission limits on different sectors of the U.S. economy, and also to expand domestic production of oil and gas, as well as nuclear power. To learn more about climate change legislation, visit our website at http://www.globalsolutions.org/issues/climate-change.
Plans are afoot to celebrate Earth Day around the nation. Here in Washington, DC, a “Climate Rally” is scheduled to take place on the National Mall this Sunday, April 25th at noon, with participants urging Congress to “get serious about climate change.” If you are unable to make it to DC, there are plenty of other events taking place around the country. To learn about Earth Day events in your area, visit http://www.earthday.org/events/search/distance/21048.
Thu, 04/22/2010 - 12:15pm » 0 comments
04/21/2010 - 11:35am
|Photograph by Peter Bennetts/Getty Images
The island nation of Tuvalu has less than 10 square miles of total actual land area. Those ten square miles of land area hold the 12,000 residents of this tiny nation. Lately, environmentalists around the world have been infatuated with Tuvalu. But why? Tuvalu's islands are mere feet above sea level and the slightest increase in sea level threatens life on the islands. Increases in sea level are caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. Close to Tuvalu, the Federated States of Micronesia have dealt with similar troubles. The Federated States of Micronesia already had to declare a national emergency last year due to a rise in sea levels. The government spent more than 7 percent of its budget and $42 million to bring rice and drinking water to the islands. Taro, one of the staple foods on the island had been impossible to grow due to the increase in sea levels and rising high tides as the soil has been soured and the aquifer heavily salted. Unfortunately, Tuvalu may be in the same dire straits.
The Federated States of Micronesia, under the principle of transboundary harm, actually lodged a legal challenge to the Prunéov plant, the largest polluter in the Czech Republic, on the grounds that its chronic pollution threatens the nation's existence. Transboundary harm in the sense of air pollution means pollution whose physical origin is situated wholly or in part within the area under the jurisdiction of one Party and which has adverse effects, other than effects of a global nature, in the area under the jurisdiction of the other Party. Micronesia filed a formal objection against the Prunerov Plant under the Czech Republic's environmental impact assessment law.
Countries affected by oceanic changes could also seek redress via the Convention on the Law of the Sea, although it can't be used against the US—which hasn't ratified the treaty. At CGS, we're fighting to see the U.S. ratify the Law of the Sea treaty. Click here to tell your Senator how YOU feel.
For more information, you can hear from Rachel Morris at Mother Jones Magazine or Max Fisher from the Atlantic Wire on the same topic.
Wed, 04/21/2010 - 11:35am » 0 comments
04/16/2010 - 5:07pm
When most Americans think of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States—whether they remember him personally or simply learned about him in their U.S. history classes—they are likely to recall a few key things about him: he was our country’s longest-serving president (in office for twelve years); was elected more times than any other American president (four); created the New Deal; and served as Commander-in-Chief during World War Two. However, in addition to these noteworthy achievements, FDR, who died sixty-five years ago this week on April 12, 1945, has another enduring legacy—his role in the creation of the United Nations.
Even as the Second World War was raging across Europe and the Pacific, FDR played the role of “global statesman” by looking not simply to ensure that the Allies won the conflict, but that after the war was over, there would be an international venue for nations to resolve their differences without resorting to war. A previous attempt to create such a body—the League of Nations—after World War One had proven a failure, in part because the United States never agreed to join the League despite the efforts of then-President Woodrow Wilson. President Wilson had championed the League but was unable to get U.S. membership ratified by the Senate once the war was over and American attitudes had grown more isolationist.
Determined to avoid a similar outcome, FDR worked throughout the final years of his life to create the United Nations and ensure that the U.S. would play an active role in the organization. On October 24, 1945, six months after FDR’s death, the U.N. officially came into existence once the U.N. Charter was signed by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories. FDR’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, also played a large role in the creation of the U.N. and served as U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.
From 51 original members, the U.N.’s membership has grown today to include 192 member states. The United Nations today is actively involved in a wide range of areas including peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.
On the 65th anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt’s death, Citizens for Global Solutions acknowledges his key role as a “global statesman” in helping to create the United Nations…a legacy which, six and a half decades later, still endures.
Fri, 04/16/2010 - 5:07pm » 0 comments
04/12/2010 - 5:25pm
Usually, when the topic of European Union foreign policy comes up, responses range from doubts as to whether the 27-member body can even be said to have a coherent foreign policy, to questions on whether EU foreign policy matters much in a world increasingly dominated by rising powers such as China, India, and Brazil, as well as the United States. But at a Brookings Institution event on April 8th entitled “The Foreign Policy of the European Union: Assessing Results, Ushering in A New Era,” panelists sounded a generally optimistic note on the future of a common foreign policy for the EU, and how Europe might still exert a positive influence on the world outside its borders.
Featured speakers at the briefing were Giuliano Amato, former Prime Minister of Italy and Vice President of the European Constitutional Convention; Daniel Hamilton, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politics and Director of the European Union Program at Princeton University; and Pierre Vimont, French Ambassador to the United States. Former Prime Minister Amato noted that Americans are often much more enthusiastic about the EU than are Europeans; however, he asserted that grounds for optimism about the Union do exist. He pointed out that the expansion of the EU to include twelve new nations, ten of which were formerly Communist states, since 2004 illustrates the “transformative power of Europe” and the attraction that the EU holds for non-member states in the region. While Europe can play a positive role outside its own region of the world, Amato said that Europeans will have to work with the U.S. in order to tackle global problems, thus making the transatlantic relationship more important now than ever.
Daniel Hamilton described the EU as lacking a traditional foreign policy for the time being but stated that it does have an “untraditional” one. Specifically, the accession of formerly Communist states to the EU in the decades since the end of the Cold War represent an historic achievement in uniting former bitter enemies across the continent in a united Europe after centuries of bloodshed. He added that the recently enacted Lisbon Treaty, which provides new foreign policy instruments if not a traditional foreign policy for the EU, challenges Europe to “step up” its collaborative work in areas such as homeland and justice issues, and humanitarian assistance around the world—90 percent of which is currently provided by Europe. Like Amato, he emphasized that strong U.S.-EU ties are essential in order for Europe to play a powerful role on the global stage in the future.
Professor Moravcsik cited several reasons for optimism about European foreign policy. First, Europe is, in his words, the “second superpower” of the 21st century alongside the United States. Also, he asserted that increasing decentralization of power in the EU, with more power being taken back by member states, would lead to a more effective Europe in the foreign policy sphere. Finally, looking towards the future, he anticipated the EU playing a larger role in the areas of justice, home affairs, and development as more power devolves to individual European states.
The final panelist, Ambassador Vimont, remarked that the EU enlargement process of recent years has forced European countries to work together and was therefore useful. In some ways, however, today’s enlarged Europe is now a “victim” of its own success—how can a such a multilateral institution of twenty-seven diverse countries hope to function successfully? He urged Europeans to find ways to increase their flexibility and ability to work together in order to promote European ideals and values around the world. Vimont echoed earlier statements that in today’s multipolar world, an improved transatlantic relationship is increasingly important and the time is right to work to improve U.S.-EU ties.
For more information on the event, please visit the Brookings Institution website at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2010/0408_european_union.aspx.
Mon, 04/12/2010 - 5:25pm » 0 comments
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