A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 2013, May 29th.

 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to be observed at Headquarters, 29 May


  On this International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, observed annually on 29 May, the world body honoured 111 peacekeeping personnel who died last year and paid tribute to the some 3,000 others who have fallen in the line of duty since the first peacekeepers deployed 65 years ago.



This year’s International Day of Peacekeepers is an opportunity to raise awareness about new developments in the field while honouring those who lost their lives over the past year serving under the blue flag.
United Nations peacekeeping is increasingly called on to deploy multi-dimensional operations to help countries transition from conflict to peace, with a significant focus on protecting civilians, including the most vulnerable among them: women and children. 
To meet emerging threats and rise to new challenges, United Nations peacekeeping is adapting its policies to better fulfil its mandates to bring lasting peace to war-torn countries.
We see one example of a new approach in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the Security Council has authorized the deployment of an “Intervention Brigade” as well as unarmed, unmanned aerial vehicles to improve our ability to operate in this vast region.
Peacekeepers in Mali will operate under tough conditions marked by armed groups that threaten national and regional security. The mission will help stabilize the country, foster national reconciliation and protect civilians.
UN peacekeeping is also working to help reform national rule of law institutions. By strengthening the police, courts, and corrections, UN peacekeeping forges trust in local authorities. A fair and predictable rule of law system contributes, in turn, to stability and sustainable development long after our troops leave.
While we welcome these advances, we acknowledge that peacekeeping will always carry risks. Unidentified assailants have recently ambushed and killed peacekeepers in the DRC, Sudan and South Sudan, while blue helmets serving in the Middle East have been detained.
One hundred and eleven peacekeeping personnel died last year, and more than 3,100 have lost their lives during the UN’s 65-year history of peacekeeping.  We salute their bravery and mourn their passing.
On this International Day, let us pay solemn tribute to those who have fallen, support the more than 111,000 serving soldiers and police from 116 countries, and continue adapting our operations to better help civilians who need protection and support.
Ban Ki-moon





International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers recognizes the selfless contribution made by men and women who have served across the world as Blue Helmets under the UN flag.
I join in solemn remembrance of the 101 peacekeepers who died in 2012. They made the ultimate sacrifice in the discharge of their duty. Collectively, we should celebrate the nobility, integrity and courage with which they dedicated their lives to the UN.
I would also like to pay tribute to the over 110,000 military, police and civilians who continue to serve in 15 peacekeeping operations in some of the world’s harshest environments. They are truly in the front-line of the UN’s global operations, never far from harms’ way.
The presence of the United Nations on the ground in troubled areas is an indispensable instrument of peace. For many decades, it has greatly contributed to reducing hostilities between belligerents, while helping create an atmosphere more conducive to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.
The preamble of the UN Charter states that one of the aims of the organization is to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”
Through their dedication and professionalism, the colleagues we are honoring today embody and personify the aims of our august gathering of nations. They have defended the aspirations of the United Nations towards peace and security, development, and human rights, values that we all hold so dearly.
The General Assembly is proud to have established the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers following a resolution adopted in 2002. As President, I remain committed to strengthening the role of UN peacekeeping.
I continue to engage with Member States on how we can more decisively support those who serve under the UN flag in conflict-ridden areas throughout the world.
Vuk Jeremić

Monday, 27 May 2013

United Nations Secretary-General's message on Africa Day 2013

New York, 25 May 2013 - Secretary-General's message on Africa Day

This year’s celebration of Africa Day has special significance as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, the continent’s first regional organization and forerunner of the African Union.
As Africans pay tribute to the giants and visionaries of the 20th century who worked for Africa’s sovereignty and unity, we also look forward with hopes for an era of prosperity and peace.

The past decade saw unprecedented progress.  The launch of the AU’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development and Peer Review Mechanism has helped to advance economic, social, political and institutional reforms.  Similarly, the African Union is playing an increasingly more dynamic leadership role in preventing, managing, and resolving Africa’s conflicts through its revamped Peace and Security Architecture.  Many countries have also sought to energize the private sector.

As we celebrate Africa’s achievements, we know numerous and serious challenges remain -- including conflict, environmental degradation, and the need for strengthened infrastructure and institutions.  We must accelerate efforts towards the Millennium Development Goals, from maternal health to HIV/AIDS, and keep Africa’s needs and aspirations front and centre in discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.
As Africans write a new narrative for the next 50 years and beyond, the United Nations will proudly continue to work in partnership with the African Union and the peoples of Africa to help build a continent of opportunity and hope for all.

Statements on 25 May 2013

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Vesak 2013

United Nations Secretary-General's Message for the Day of Vesak 2013

Vesak Day is a celebration for Buddhists worldwide and an opportunity for all members of the international community to benefit from their rich traditions.
This year’s observance, falling at a time of widespread strife and misery, is an occasion to examine how Buddhist teachings can inform our response to prevailing challenges.
Confronting the troubling problems facing our world is consonant with Buddhism. The Buddha himself, as a young prince, left the safety of his palace to discover the four sufferings of birth, sickness, old age and death.
While such painful realities cannot be avoided, Buddhism offers insights into how to cope with them. Its history is replete with inspiring examples of the transformative power of Buddhist philosophy.
The legendary King Ashoka, a conqueror who presided over a brutal reign in India some three centuries after the Buddha’s passing, ultimately converted to Buddhism, renounced violence and embraced peace.
The values that King Ashoka espoused, including human rights, democratic governance and respect for the dignity of life, are common to all great religions. The fact that he was able to embrace them after years of brutal war offers proof that the goodwill of individuals can end widespread suffering.
Now more than ever, we need the spirit of non-violence to help inspire peace and quell conflict.
I offer my best wishes to believers celebrating Vesak Day, and my sincerest hopes that we may all draw on spiritual ideals to strengthen our resolve to improve our world.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2013, May 17

Poster WTISD 2013 
The purpose of  World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

 17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.
Fifth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum

International Day of Family 2013, May 15

Families hold societies together, and intergenerational relationships extend this legacy over time. This year's International Day of Families is an occasion to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family. It is also an opportunity to reflect on how they are affected by social and economic trends – and what we can do to strengthen families in response.

Unemployment is forcing many young people, often eager for independence, to rely on their parents longer than they would have hoped. The lack of affordable and quality childcare is complicating efforts by parents in dual-earner families to combine their work and home obligations. Inadequate pensions and care for older persons demands more attention as we succeed in our goal of extending lives.

These challenges make family support more important than ever – for the young person seeking a job while living with their parents, for the grandparent who relies on their children for shelter and care, and for the many members of extended families who take on childcare responsibilities.

Around the world, family members are doing their part. They deserve support from policy-makers and decision-makers, from public institutions and private businesses.
There is a growing recognition around the world that we need to strengthen policies promoting intergenerational solidarity and support intergenerational programmes and initiatives. Evidence shows that adequate pensions and caregiver support help not only older persons but whole families. Intergenerational programmes promoting volunteering among the young and old benefit all generations. Opportunities for people of all ages to bond revitalize whole communities.

Intergenerational initiatives also address global development priorities. They counteract inequality and exclusion, encourage active citizenship and even improve public infrastructure through community-based projects.

On this International Day of Families, I call on governments, civil society, families and individuals to support initiatives that bring people together across generations toward building a healthier world for all.
  Click below for the message in all the UN Official Languages
  | English | French | Spanish | Chinese | Arabic | Russian |

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Boeing Company and the Environment

 Designed for the Environment : Planning-in  Aircraft Recycling !

Boeing is designing jetliners with the environmental impact of their life span in mind. From the fuselage to the carpet, Boeing Director of Environmental Performance Jeanne Yu explains why Boeing considers how entire airplanes will be recycled before they're ever built.

Boeing's new 787 facility in South Carolina is adding one of the largest solar installations in the U.S., part of a plan to use 100% renewable energy at the manufacturing site. 
Boeing's new 787 facility in South Carolina is adding one of the largest solar installations in the U.S., part of a plan to use 100% renewable energy at the manufacturing site.
At Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner factory under construction in coastal South Carolina, they’re dreaming green. Like the ultra-efficient airplane soon to be built there, the 1.1 million square-foot (102,193 square meters) final assembly building is about to set a new standard for environmental performance. Boeing announced a partnership with South Carolina Electric & Gas that will enable Boeing South Carolina to operate as a 100 percent renewable energy site.
"This solar installation will be the sixth largest on a building in the United States."
“Our 787 Dreamliner is manufactured using fewer hazardous materials and designed to consume less fuel, and produce fewer emissions. It only makes sense that our business operations in South Carolina reflect the environmental progressiveness of the airplane we’ll build here,” said Jim Albaugh, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The Boeing 787 is setting a new standard in environmental performance. An increased use of composites, more-electric systems architecture, advanced aerodynamics and efficient new engines will allow the Dreamliner to use 20 percent less fuel and produce 20 percent fewer emissions compared to today's similarly-sized airplanes. 
Renewable energy will be generated in part with thin-film solar laminate panels installed on the new 787 final assembly building roof. This solar installation will provide up to 2.6 megawatts of electrical power, enough to power about 250 homes. The installation will be the largest in southeastern United States by production capacity, and the sixth largest on a building in the country. “All of the energy generated on this solar roof top will be used on site by Boeing,” said Bob Long, general manager for resources planning at South Carolina Electric & Gas.  “We’re actually going to be installing the generator on the customer side of the meter.”
"Our customers expect that Boeing's products and services be environmentally progressive." Mary Armstrong, Boeing Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety.
Construction on the new facility is on schedule, with airplane production due to begin in July 2011. At full production rate, Boeing will assemble and deliver three 787s per month from South Carolina. Boeing’s manufacturing site in Everett, Wash., also produces 787s.
Boeing Construction crews are putting the final touches inside the new 787 final assembly building in North Charleston, South Carolina. Airplane production is set to begin in July, 2011. 
While the solar setup will provide 20% of the power needed for the South Carolina site, the rest will come from other sustainable sources.
“The renewable energy that we’re going to buy here comes from a biomass facility, where they basically take shrub waste, tree waste from construction and process it to generate energy with very low emissions into the atmosphere,” said Rick Muttart, site services director for Boeing South Carolina.
Recycling is an important part of Boeing’s commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen in South Carolina’s Low country. The site, which broke ground in November 2009, will send neither waste nor byproducts to a landfill, instead recycling, reusing or otherwise repurposing.
“Our customers expect that Boeing’s products and services be environmentally progressive, and our communities expect that we take credible actions to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Mary Armstrong, vice president of Environment, Health and Safety for Boeing. “This partnership demonstrates that we share those priorities, and shows that it is possible to commit to renewable energy on a large scale.”

Thursday, 9 May 2013

2013 Moscow Victory Day Parade

The Kremlin & Red Square, Moscow, Russia holds Victory Day Parade on May 9,2013 to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945.


The Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow's Red Square will be held on 9 May 2013 to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945. The parade will mark the Soviet Union's victory in the Great Patriotic War on the very day on the signing of the German act of capitulation to the Allies in Berlin, on the very midnight of May 9, 1945 (Russian time). The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, will deliver his second holiday address, and it will be the first parade for both the Minister of Defense General of the Army Sergey Shoigu (parade inspector) and Russian Ground Forces commander Col. Gen. Vladimir Chirkin (parade commander) as well as the first in four years for the Suvorov Military School and the Nakhimov Naval School and the first appearance from a Cossack cadet corps unit, joining the more than 11,000 service personnel that will be marching on Red Square this year, and the return of the full air fly over after two years. The BTR82A IFV will make its parade debut this year as part of the mobile column. Sevastopol in the Ukraine, where the Black Sea Fleet is based, and 22 other Russian cities will also hold parades on this day. As per tradition Kharkiv in Ukraine also holds a full parade on this day as well.


Since November 2012, preparations for the parade have been well attended at the unit level. Individual and unit practices were held in the various military installations for all the participant units.
In March of 2013, the full rehearsal started at the training center at Alabino, Moscow Oblast. The parade preparations started on April 11-12 for all the units as the mobile column of more than a hundred military vehicles finished up their practice runs on the field. Also undertaking practice runs are the massed military bands that will take part in the parade led by no less than Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov in his 11th Victory Day Parade appearance and the squadron of Mil Mi-8 helicopters from the Army Aviation Training Center for the fly past segment later on, which will feature various other military aircraft. In all 68 aircraft are taking part after a 2 year absence.
Moscow practice runs for the parade proper commenced on April 24-26, 2013 on Red Square itself, and the practice runs ended on May 3 and 4 with two general practice runs. One final practice was scheduled for May 7, two days before the parade itself with Defense Minister Shoigu inspecting as a full final rehearsal run, starting at 10 AM Moscow Time, the time in which the parade two days later will commence. Col. Gen. Chirkin led the marchers on that day's practice run on the Red Square grounds.

15th Independent Commandant's Regiment's change of title

As the parade practices commenced on April 11, the 154th Independent Commandant's Regiment, the official honor guard regiment of the Russian Armed Forces, joined the rehearsals as always as permanent participants, this time as the 154th Independent Commandant's Preobrazhensky Regiment, the new title bestowed on it several days ago via a Presidential executive order by no less than Vladimir Putin himself in his constitutional duty as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. That very act was done on April 9 the same year. This entrustment of the honorary title is a continuation of the great military traditions of the Russian armed services ever since the raising of the first two regiments of the Imperial Russian Army by no less than Peter the Great himself. As always the First Honor Guard Company of the regiment's Honor Guard Battalion did well in the first rehearsal and is expected to perform better in this year's parade.


Parade Participants (full list)

Bold indicates first appearance, italic indicates multiple appearances, Bold and italic indicate returning appearance.

Military Bands 

  • Massed Military Bands of the Armed Forces under the direction of the Senior Director of Music of the Military Bands Service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov
  • Corps of Drums of the Moscow Military Music School

Ground Column 

Mobile Column 

Air Column 

Monday, 6 May 2013

World Migratory Bird Day, 11-12 May 2013

World Migratory Bird Day

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) raises awareness about the threats to migratory birds and the need for their protection.

Working Together to Conserve Migratory Birds

This year’s theme also highlights the importance of networking and connecting globally amongst governments, conservation organizations and dedicated people to conserve migratory birds. Joint action in the form of international cooperation is needed, since conservation efforts in one country can be completely jeopardized by the loss of a single site in another area or country. World Migratory Bird Day aims to encourage the international community that shares migratory birds – governments, conservation organizations and dedicated people alike – to further work together to conserve migratory birds.


According to BirdLife International’s “State of the World’s Birds” a range of threats drives declines in bird populations. The threats to birds are many and varied: agriculture, logging and invasive species are the most severe, respectively affecting 1,065 (87%), 668 (55%) and 625 (51%) globally threatened species, making change of land use by far the greatest factor leading to species’ falling numbers. These threats create stresses on bird populations in a range of ways, the commonest being habitat destruction and degradation, which affect 1,146 (93%) threatened species.
Source: BirdLife International
Source: BirdLife International “State of the World’s Birds” (Ppages 4 and 8)

Declining bird numbers is not a new phenomenon, as the “State of the World’s Birds” shows that in total 153 bird species are believed to have gone extinct since 1500. Avian extinctions are continuing, with 18 species lost in the last quarter of the twentieth century and three more known or suspected to have gone extinct since 2000. The rate of extinctions on continents appears to be increasing, principally as a result of extensive and expanding habitat destruction.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

BNEF’s Turner on growth of renewables to 2030


Bloomberg New Energy Finance — Guy Turner, head of economics & commodity research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, talks about investment in renewable energy and how the sector is expected to grow by the year 2030. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.”

° Global Renewable Energy Market Outlook 2013 – fact pack

° McCrone: Summit 2013 Discussed How to Avoid Energy’s Extinction Events

To download the full VIP Brief in PDF format, click here.

Are you a mammal? Well, you clearly are – in a biological sense. And if you got as far as reading this article, the chances are that you are also a mammal in the metaphorical sense that I am about to describe.
At the sixth Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York last week, our chief executive, Michael Liebreich, showed in his keynote a slide that likened the old way of doing things in energy – centralised and relatively inflexible grids, a small number of multi-GW power stations, national or regional energy systems, a shortage of data on the patterns of energy use, and a lack of consumer choice – to a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Below I discuss the Summit’s main messages for efficiency, renewable energy and gas – but first, more on the link between paleontology and energy. Dinosaurs like the T-Rex did have their day of dominance, but – in what is now known as the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction Event, some 66 million years ago – were wiped out by their failure to adapt to a sudden and catastrophic change in the environment.
After that Extinction Event, the mammals – small, fast-breeding, flexible, able to work in groups – proved resilient and took over the world. Many of their species perished, of course, but enough survived to set forth, multiply and evolve into more and more specialist niches over the ensuing tens of millions of years.
In energy, there may not be one single extinction event coming, but a combination of events appears poised to bring change. Energy systems need to be resilient in the face of natural disasters, terrorism and cyber-attack, climate change and technological upheaval. Instead the big systems are often found wanting. The Summit heard, for instance, how Superstorm Sandy last November resulted in a loss of power for some 8-10m people in the US, but also how a combined-heat-and-power unit at New York University kept the lights on there, and how New Jersey’s 12,000 solar systems survived intact.


The main theme of the 22-24 April Summit was “ROI” – resilience, optionality and intelligence. The concept, introduced by Michael in this column in February, struck chords not just with clean energy fans at the event, but also with a wider constituency. Resilience is the ability of an energy system to cope with natural disasters, environmental change and security threats; optionality is the ability to adjust to rapid technological change, shifts in energy costs and patterns of consumption; intelligence is the ability to identify sudden shifts in supply and demand, and come up with answers.

Peter Evans, director of global strategy and analytics at General Electric, told the Summit that there were 400 natural disasters per year in the 1980s, but that this had risen to 900 per year in the last three years. After decades of urbanisation, 60% of the planet’s major cities are now vulnerable to natural disasters. Water is another issue – he said that there were 26,000 energy installations, using water for cooling, in areas of the world facing medium to high water stress.

The entrenched electricity system is also grossly inefficient. David Crane, president of NRG Energy, said that the US power plant fleet runs at a 43% capacity factor, “because it has to be able to meet peak demand in the summer”. He said that the US electricity network is essentially a system established in the 1930s with “one hundred and thirty million wooden poles”. “Our energy system is very much a command-and-control, centralised system. In the future, we see that command and control happening in the home,” he added.
The Summit made clear that ROI is not necessarily all bad for conventional energy, or all good for renewable energy – although it is all positive for energy efficiency. Distributed solar was a technology cited by many speakers as one set to grow strongly in importance, offering improving cost-competitiveness but also reducing the vulnerability of countries’ electricity systems.

Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said that he was seeing increases in US solar photovoltaic usage of 40% a year, much to the discomfort of utilities. He added: “A more distributed system is much more resilient, whether it is using cogeneration, or CHP, or distributed PV.”
Developing countries are increasingly looking for an energy mix that will enhance resilience. Jorge Bunster Betteley, energy minister for Chile, told the gathering in New York that his country switched from a hydro-heavy power system years ago to one dependent on natural gas imports. After 2006, however, crisis in Argentina meant Chile had to turn to LNG imports at much higher cost to keep the power stations running. It is now going plural –”developing very strongly biomass and wind”. South Africa’s energy minister, Dipuo Peters, cited an even wider mix, of coal, nuclear, wind, solar, smart grid and decentralised distribution, as her country’s blueprint. And there is a special variant of the resilience motive for South Africa – it is participating in the proposed 40GW Grand Inga hydro project in Congo partly to avoid “South Africa being lit up and the rest of the continent being dark. We would then have challenges because everyone would want to go there,” she said.


Energy efficiency appears finally to be moving from the clichéd “low-hanging fruit” that never gets harvested, to one with firm political and entrepreneurial momentum behind it. The North America dialogue session at the Summit heard Jeffrey Holmstead, partner at Bracewell & Giuliani and former official at the Environmental Protection Agency, report that the new Congress is looking for more cooperation on energy than the last. “I think we can expect modest moves, for instance on energy efficiency.”

Daniel Poneman, acting US secretary for energy, was forthright in his support, saying that the “cheapest megawatt is the one you don’t have to build” and that, while 100% efficiency was not attainable, “we must do better than 45%.”

There were striking examples of entrepreneurial effort. Tony Fadell, formerly a designer of the iPod and now founder and chief executive of Nest, told us how his company’s intelligent thermostat “learns your behaviour patterns and manages energy appropriately”. He said that it can also challenge consumers to do more – for instance, with the customer’s permission of course, slowly increasing the house’s summer temperature by a degree over three weeks, in the hope of achieving 5-10% savings without the occupants even noticing the difference.

And among Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Pioneers – 10 young companies selected from more than 200 entrants for their potential growth – there were several efficiency-oriented firms. One, Advantix Systems of Florida, is exploring the use of liquid desiccants to reduce energy consumption in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems by 30-50 percent, while another, BuildingIQ of California, provides energy management software to adjust predictively HVAC settings in commercial buildings.


The battle to limit carbon emissions continued to loom large with many speakers at the Summit – including United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, who noted that the band of climate sceptics is “shrinking by the day” and promised to engage with private and public financial institutions over “the coming month” to try to mobilise additional capital for mitigation projects.

However it is far from plain sailing for renewables. The damage done to wind and solar investment in Europe by the retroactive subsidy cuts, introduced first by Spain, had been transmitted like a virus through other southern and eastern European countries, according to Riccardo Puliti, managing director of energy at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He predicted that the EBRD would be lending just EUR 50m to European renewables this year – compared to an average of some EUR 600m in recent years. On the same tack, Akio Fukui, chairman of Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe, commented that it was now easier to raise finance for a renewable energy project in Latin America, South Africa or Japan than it was in Europe.

However, real hope emerged in New York last week that enough bipartisan support could be assembled to extend Master Limited Partnership structures, long available for oil and gas investments, to renewable energy projects too. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told Summit attendees that she supports such legislation, and the next day American Petroleum Institute chief executive Jack Gerard told attendees that the oil industry actually supports the idea. Such a move from his powerful lobby could provide the cover that oil state members of Congress need to support an extension of MLPs to renewables.

There were also further hints that the long-awaited arrival of long-term institutional money into the ownership of renewable energy assets may be gathering pace. Senior financiers at the Summit talked of “investment yield vehicles” designed especially to make it feasible for pension and insurance funds to invest without having to wise up on the nitty-gritty of wind and solar. The Greencoat Wind initial public offering in the UK has been a small step in this direction this spring, and in the US, Bloomberg News reported last week that power generator AES and private equity firm Riverstone plan to raise $171m on the Toronto Stock Exchange via a vehicle known as Silver Ridge. This is a portfolio of solar projects that will eventually consist of 522MW.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest forecast, known as GREMO (Global Renewable Energy Market Outlook) is encouraging for renewable energy, whichever of its three scenarios you choose for the evolution of world energy markets. Published on the first day of the Summit, GREMO sees renewables accounting for between 69% and 74% of all new power capacity added between now and 2030 (see chart), driven by remorseless cost reductions for wind and particularly solar technology and – ironically perhaps – by the impact of low carbon prices and the meagre expected profitability of gas-fired plants. The latter factors make it unattractive for countries outside the US to switch from coal to new gas capacity, and more attractive to plump straight for renewables.

Both Summit speakers and our own GREMO forecast envisage an energy world that will remain highly divergent for many years to come. Gas prices will stay very different across the continents, despite the efforts of an enlarged fleet of LNG carriers. Speakers in the Summit’s gas panel session, including David Khemakhem, corporate strategic planning advisor at Exxon Mobil, and Gordon Shearer, chief executive of Hess LNG, argued that the runaway US success at exploiting shale gas may take some considerable time to be replicated elsewhere, because other countries will have to build up data, skills training and a service company infrastructure – and some may be held up by property rights that give landowners little incentive to allow drilling.

What all countries will increasingly have in common, however, is the imperative to reduce risk and improve options by making sure that their energy policy-makers and utilities, in the words of former Colorado Governor Bob Ritter, “do not put all their eggs in one basket”.
Come to think of it, the vulnerability of their eggs probably contributed to the undoing of the dinosaurs. Mammals, as we know, have a different system.

To read excerpts from the Summit blog, see

The future of renewable energy as scientists look to cheaply create a new, non-food ethanol bio-fuel.

° Harry Boyle, lead analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, discusses The future of renewable energy as scientists look to cheaply create a new, non-food ethanol bio-fuel. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.”

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

2013 Themes for World Press Freedom Day - 3 May

2013 Themes for World Press Freedom Day - 3 May

" Ensuring the Safety of Journalists and Media Workers."
" Combating Impunity of Crimes against Press Freedom. "
" Online Safety."

 For 20 years, May 3 has been a day when the world celebrates freedom of expression and stands together for its protection. This is the spirit of the 1991 Declaration of Windhoek, whose anniversary the United Nations General Assembly chose for World Press Freedom Day. UNESCO was instrumental in framing the Windhoek Declaration and works today to promote freedom of expression across the world.

 Joint Message from  Mr, Ban Ki-Moon and Ms Irina Bokova - WPFD2013

PRESSING FOR FREEDOM - 20 Years of World Press Freedom Day

" Ensuring the Safety of Journalists and Media Workers."

Fundamental to the UN Plan is the insight that the experiences in one country or region can be useful for others trying to improve the safety of journalists. Compilation and sharing of up-to-date information and best practices and conducting international missions and investigations into particular cases can be highly beneficial. However, much work is still needed to achieve an optimum level of information exchange and joint learning, and in adapting good practices to different regional and national contexts.

Points for reflection:

  • What are the biggest opportunities and threats to the UN Plan of Action?
  • How do threats to press freedom differ from region to region?
  • How can various strategies to improve safety be replicated in different regions?
  • What are the preventive mechanisms to prevent journalists from being harmed in the first place?
  • How do we ensure that international standards for safety of journalists and combating impunity are respected and adopted in the country context?
  • How can public awareness be developed to ensure that press freedom is widely cherished and that public opinion at all levels will not tolerate attacks on journalists?

 Our hands write history when they are not handcuffed.

A free, independent and pluralistic media environment, online and offline, must be one in which journalists, media workers, and social media producers can work safely and independently without the fear of being threatened or even killed. It needs to be an environment where attacks, intimidations, harassments, abductions, arbitrary imprisonments, and threats are the exceptions and not the norm. Journalists (as well as citizen journalists), editors, publishers and online intermediaries alike should not be subjected to political or financial coercion and manipulation. They should especially be protected from threats to the security of themselves and their families.

 " Combating Impunity of Crimes against Press Freedom. "

Various countries and organizations have been working on reducing impunity independently or in close cooperation.  The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issues an annual index on impunity tracking some of the highest rates of impunity around the world. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Inter American Press Association (IAPA) have regular programmes and reports on impunity.  IFEX has led the process in the promotion of the International Day to End Impunity on 23 November as a global awareness raising campaign. What are some of the more effective measures taken globally to reduce impunity? And can they be replicated elsewhere? What are the lessons to be learnt?

Points for reflection:

  • What is the extent of impunity in your country and how best to address it?
  • What is the state of impunity globally?
  • How to improve research into the extent, visibility and consequences of impunity?
  • What are some of the good practices of to fight impunity that could be replicated elsewhere?
  • Is the legal justice chain adequately designed and equipped to handle crimes against freedom of expression?
  • What are the challenges of investigating crimes against press freedom when these are committed by non-state actors including extremist organizations or criminal enterprises?

 " Online Safety."

The issue of safety online also concern more than just the individual blogger or professional journalist. With the rise of institutions playing a mediating role on the Internet between authors of content and audiences, they need to understand international standards and their implications. Any limitation to freedom of expression must be imposed as a truly exceptional measure, must be provided by law, and in the pursue of legitimate purpose and be proven as necessary and the least restrictive means possible .  Accordingly, awareness and sharing of best practice is needed to ensure that intermediaries can provide principled responses if they are to protect freedom of expression in the face of mounting pressures to disclose user identities, conduct surveillance operations or take down content when there is an objection.
All this resonates with the evolution of the Internet as a platform that to date has attracted less restriction than other media platforms. The free and open character of the Internet, which is a precondition for online safety, is underpinned by a multi-stakeholder model of governance as confirmed by the resolutions of the World Summit of the Information Society.

Points for reflection: