Around Europe


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Around Europe

  1. 1. Around Europe Quaker Council for European Affairs No. 319 January/February 2010 Quakers at COP 15In December ten Quakers from six countries He said he had better things to do; he planned to watchattended the COP15 climate conference in football on television. I happen to have been in the crowdCopenhagen as members and guests of Quaker that went home in disappointment.Earthcare Witness (QEW), which is based inNorth America. We each came with questions But a friend of Zinn’s in the State Department told himin mind, and left with new questions. that behind the scenes there was panic. Phone calls flew back and forth among theBeing at COP15 was White House, thechallenging. As you Pentagon and the Stateknow, the international Department, and plans forcommunity was not able a massive bombing thatto come to an agree- week were cancelled. Itment, and the web is full was clear to the decision-of hypotheses about why makers that the publicnot. The “Copenhagen would not stand for it. WeAccord”, put together had been effective afterthrough irregular all, although there was nochannels that excluded visible sign.both less powerfulnations and civil society, Our small Copenhagenis not an outcome Quaker group hasdocument from COP15, dispersed to our variousand its place in the homes with renewednegotiations of nations energy to continueis as yet neither working both locally andunderstood nor tested. internationally. We are now writing up ourThe official negotiations thoughts and experienceswere exasperating and for publication in QEW’sdisappointing, but newsletter, BeFriendingevidence of civil Creation, in early spring;society’s growing these will be available oncommitment was Quakers demonstrating in Copenhagen: written inside the QEW’s website. (Go to:encouraging. We ten banner’s open letters are messages from the heart about among a crowd of climate change. If anyone wants to include their own mes- Now that the climate45,000 who came to sage to be printed for future climate demonstrations - and conference is behind us weCopenhagen to show our there will be many - send them, along with your name and are continuing our meeting to lin@phonecoop.coopconcern for the climate. international collaborationIt would seem that we had by means of effect on the negotiations, but they certainly knewwe were there. I have a short story to tell that gives me I can’t speak for the others, but here in the US,hope every time I think of it: according to a respected poll, only 51% currently believe that human-caused climate disruption is actuallyShortly after the Vietnam War, I went to hear American occurring, down from about 67%. This is not anhistorian Howard Zinn. He told of a huge rally in accident, but a result of both the work of the fossil fuelWashington DC protesting the war, and reminded us that industry lobby and the selective coverage of climatethe then President had refused to meet with the people. issues by our media. We have a lot of work to do here.
  2. 2. 2And so do you, wherever you are. Our Earth is best It is time for Quakers to think and pray together aboutunderstood as a living entity, whose health depends on the future of our planet, and to discern what we arethe delicate interconnectedness of all the cycles and called to do. And then, of course, we are called to do it.functions that support us and other beings. We don’t For this we need each other’s support.manage the Earth, we participate in it, and the natureof our participation is a spiritual matter. It concerns Mary Gilbertwho we are and how we relate to the ultimate ground of Friends Meeting at Cambridge (MA, USA)being, to God. Quaker Earthcare Witness Rep to UN This year’s Programme Assistants I started working for I studied Language and History at the University QCEA in October 2009 of Freiburg, Germany, and have an MA from the College and attended the latest of Europe where I specialised in the EU’s role as a global Council meeting where I actor with a particular emphasis on sustainable develop- already had the chance to ment and energy security. Right afterwards I was lucky meet many very interest- enough to attend the UN’s Graduate Study Programme ing people. I’m currently which convinced me to continue my commitment to covering the topics sustainability, environmental protection and economic energy and climate justice. I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to change and I’m just engage in development cooperation on the ground in finishing some research Togo, where I taught English and Maths in a high schoolon foreign policy drivers. I’m also responsible for the and witnessed several ecological development projects.editing of Around Europe, the maintenance of thewebsite and I sit on one of the European Peacebuilding I consider it a very rewarding opportunity to contributeLiaison Office’s working groups on gender, peace and to QCEA’s fight against climate change and to engagesecurity. In the upcoming months I will also work on the actively with the EU institutions to ensure that when iteconomic role of the EU in Israel and the Palestinian comes to European decision-making, civil society hasTerritories as part of a bigger QCEA project. and will always have a voice. SonjaI started working for QCEA at the beginning of January, ing forward to theand will be devoting much of my time to (hopefully) challenge – and trustcontinuing the really impressive work QCEA has done in me, it will be athe past on criminal justice matters. I am excited about challenge!getting my teeth into this brief, and continuing the longQuaker tradition of providing a voice to those people Outside of work, I amall too often-forgotten by society. I have also taken over a keen sports fan andthe role of European and Middle Eastern Young Friends will also be running the(EMEYF) Secretary; everything Anya and Calum have told Edinburgh Marathon inme makes me believe I am in for a busy but fun-filled May raising money foryear. Alzheimer Scotland, and competing in theI read History at the University of Cambridge, followed London Triathlon in August on behalf of Whizz-Kidz. Bothby a year at the Judge Business School. Since are great causes that I passionately believe in, and Igraduating in the summer I have lived in New York City hope my efforts will, in a small way, help both charitiesworking for an international education company, interned to continue their crucial London at a Westminster think-tank, and now facethe challenge of overcoming my considerable If you have any questions, or just want to say hello, pleaseshortcomings in French to ensure I can fully embrace do not hesitate to email me: I lookeverything Brussels has to offer. I am very much look- forward to meeting some of you over the coming year. Joe
  3. 3. 3 EUBAM: security, stability, supportThe EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine EU. Implementing the JD has also helped cut smuggling(EUBAM) supports security and stability in South and increase customs revenues. EUBAM monitors itsEastern Europe. It has helped ensure good quality implementation at key border crossing points.border and customs services for people and businessesin Moldova, Ukraine and the EU since November 2005. The Head of EUBAM is also the Senior Political AdvisorEUBAM’s mandate has been extended twice and to the EU Special Representative for the Republic ofcurrently runs until 30 November 2011. Moldova, Dr. Kalman Mizsei. Dr. Mizsei’s mandate includes contributing, in close coordination with otherEUBAM helps tackle smuggling, illegal migration and international partners, to a peaceful settlement of theother cross border crime, in particular involving the Transnistrian conflict whilst respecting the sovereigntyTransnistrian segment of the Ukrainian / Moldovan and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova withinborder. Transnistria is part of the Republic of Moldova, its internationally recognised borders, as well asbut has been in a state of frozen conflict since 1992. improving border and customs controls at the Moldovan- Ukrainian border, particularly through EUBAM.Mission HQ is in Odessa, Ukraine, with six field officesalong the 1222km border, including the 470km More efficient border guards and customs mean moreTransnistrian segment. A liaison office is located in the secure borders. EUBAM‘s Deputy Head of Mission wasMoldovan capital, Chisinau. The Mission is unique, in also personally appointed as EUBAM‘s permanentthat operates in two post-Soviet States simultaneously. representative on the Joint Moldovan-UkrainianCurrently 19 EU Member States are represented in the Commission on Border Demarcation in March 2008.Mission’s European complement of 94. EUBAM proactively supports the Commission’s efforts.There are also currently 103 Ukrainian and Moldovanstaff. The UNDP, as the implementing partner, brings As a knowledge hub, EUBAM works closely with interna-experts from a number of countries including two tional partners, including FRONTEX, the EU’s borderCentral Asian Republics. agency; EUROPOL, its policing coordination agency; the World Customs Organisation and with key partners inThe Mission’s role is technical and advisory; its main the EU Member States.aim is to help the Moldovan and Ukrainian customs andborder guards in improving their work in light of EUBAM understands that it must be seen favourablyEuropean Union best practices. EUBAM also supports locally to thrive, so outreach programmes withconfidence and trust building as a corner stone of universities, schools and the media help ensure EUBAM’seffective integrated border management. But it also support is properly understood.provides technical aid in support of internationalefforts to peacefully resolve the Transnistrian conflict. Through EUBAM assistance, Ukrainian and Moldovan border guards and customs are practising far improvedQuakers have helped build peace across the world for risk analysis techniques. Put simply, risk analysis meanshundreds of years. So, although the Mission’s main aim using their people, kit and procedures more precisely tois to build partners’ capacity, it’s worth explaining our solve problems. They are also applying improvedconflict resolution role. investigation techniques and management methods.The Joint Customs Declaration (JD) is the best But there is more work to be done. EUBAM supports theexample. It was signed by the Ukrainian and Moldovan partner services’ efforts to bring in modernPrime Ministers in late 2005. management techniques, systemic reform and counter-corruption initiatives.Moldova enjoys positive trade benefits with the EU.Under the Joint Declaration between Moldovan and For more information, see, become ourUkrainian customs, businesses in the Transnistrian fan on facebook or get in touch with me personally atregion can also enjoy these. Bringing businesses back matthew.taylor@eubam.orginto the Moldovan mainstream gives Moldova andUkraine a better idea of what’s crossing the border and Matthew Taylorbusinesses based in the Transnistrian region a chance EUBAM Reporting and Communication officerto thrive legally across the border, including into the (and former QCEA programme assistant)
  4. 4. 4 Equality WorksI believe that meeting for worship has brought the same against these indicators are almost always better inawareness to all who have seen and heard the message societies with less inequality. The book then also looksthat everyone is equal in the sight of God. (Ursula Franklin, at these indictors in a comparison between the States1979, as quoted in Quaker Faith and Practice, Britain YM, of the US; there, the pattern is the same: States with23.32) less inequality fare better.Quakers believe in equality; it is one of the Quaker testi- The book shows that inequality does harm to societymonies which build on our experience and on our faith; in and to individuals. It is a wake-up call to politiciansthe nature of testimony, it is something Quakers and to civil society. Here is the agenda for socialendeavour to bear witness to in their lives. change. Here is the evidence that shows why things don’t get better just because the rich get richer. InBut it is one thing to believe in equality and another to essence, it says the ‘trickle-down’ effect doesn’t work;prove that equality makes for a better society. The world this is the post-Thatcher agenda where those of uswe live in loves facts and figures; scientific evidence is a who care about justice can stand up, be counted andcornerstone of debate. So it is immensely gratifying to not be written off as dreamers.find an academic book that sets out in clear terms and inan accessible and readable way that equality makes for a Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett and others havebetter society. founded the Equality Trust which campaigns to gain the widest public and political understanding of theThe Spirit Level written by Richard Wilkinson and Kate harm caused by inequality. Their website atPickett and published in 2009 by Allen Lane sets out the is full of resources – includingevidence that explains why more equal societies almost the graphs from the book.always do better than less equal societies. The basicquestion at the heart of the book is: is it poverty or This is a book that should beinequality that leads to social ills? And by looking at a read by everyone who wants towhole range of indicators in a wide range of countries, make a difference. It should be(principally countries that are western and industrialised), a compulsory text in secondaryit shows how those countries that have more equality schools; it should be a(rather than those with more wealth) fare better on compulsory text for anyonemental health, drug use, physical health, life expectancy, running for political office at anyeducational performance, teenage pregnancy, violence, level. I cannot commend it toocrime and imprisonment, social mobility, community life highly.and social relations. In other words, social outcomes Martina WeitschTake out an annual Around Europe Subscription! 22•/£16 for hard copies, 15•/£10 for e-mailed copies. For information on how tosubscribe to Around Europe or to become a QCEA Associate or Supporting Member please visit our website at: qcea, ringus on 0032 2 230 4935 or write to us. We look forward to hearing from you. Around Europe Belgique-België P.P.-P.B. Bruxelles X Quaker Council for European Affairs aisbl BC 8843 Square Ambiorix 50, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium Editeur responsable : Elizabeth Scurfield No entreprise 0420.346.728 - Périodique mensuel. Bureau de dépôt : Bruxelles X