Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 4 — 8 April

World Health Day draws attention to climate crisis as a health threat and IPCC climate mitigation report released

(Photo: iStock)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group III will be holding a colloquium on the sixth assessment report on climate mitigation; the South African History Archive will be relaunching at Wits University after reintegrating with the institution; and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and First National Bank CEO Jacques Celliers will be launching the first national measure of the state of early childhood in South Africa, the Thrive by Five Index.

Monday 4 April is the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

The theme for 2022 is “Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home”. The purpose of this day is to bring the achievements of the global mine action community to the fore, starting with the work of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the occasion. 

“‘Safe Ground’ is the name of the global campaign ‘turning minefields into playing fields,’ which was launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2019, and the concept of clearing the Earth of landmines and other explosive hazards to make it safe for development,” according to the UN.

The concept of ‘Safe Steps’, meanwhile, refers not only to the trepidation that some people experience when they move about, due to the risk of detonating an explosive, but also to the procedures deminers use when working in mine-affected areas.

‘Safe Home’ is about “restoring the personal security of individuals and communities in post-conflict settings”, according to the UN.

On Monday, 350.org will be launching its International People’s Platform for Climate Justice (IPCJ) — an online space in which the stories of resistance and people-powered solutions to climate change impacts will be shared.

The International People’s Panel on Climate Justice, which is made up of activists, experts, academics and other stakeholders, will be leading the initiative. The platform and the stories it holds will show the human impact of climate change issues, as well as the power of people in finding and implementing solutions to these. The intention is to shift the narrative from one of despair to one of solidarity and hope.

The IPCJ can be found here.

At 8am on Monday, members of the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) have invited “all freedom-loving organisations” to stand in solidarity with those suffering in Swaziland in the form of a picket at the OR Tambo Building, 460 Soutpansberg Street, Pretoria.

“The extra-ordinary troika summit comes at a time when the state security forces have resumed and escalated their brutality on peaceful protesters in Swaziland,” stated Pudemo’s press release on the matter. 

“The recent announcement by the prime minister, Mr Cleopas Dlamini, of an intent to hold the national dialogue appears to be both testing the waters, and a pre-emptive strike directed at subverting the SADC- [South African Development Community] led dialogue on the eve of extra-ordinary troika summit taking place on 4-5 April in South Africa.”

Pudemo claims that King Mswati III of Swaziland is announcing a national dialogue on his own terms, independently of agreed-upon SADC processes. This, they said, is an affront to the well-intentioned process announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, chairperson of the SADC Troika, on 2 November 2021 after his visit to Swaziland.

Those seeking more information on the picket can contact Lucky Lukhele, chairperson of Pudemo in the external region, on 081 458 5658.

Later on Monday, at 2pm, Equal Education (EE) will be holding a Facebook live discussion titled, “Why a Mass Democratic Movement?”

The discussion will centre on the importance of democratic movements led by young people. 

“We’ll be reflecting on what we’ve achieved the past three years, how our congresses are shaped and the learnings we can offer on movement building,” stated the event description.

The moderator for the discussion is Axolile Notywala, activist and former general secretary of the Social Justice Coalition. The speakers include Nontsikelelo Dlulani, EE Western Cape head of organising; Minhaj Jeenah, director at My Vote Counts; Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari, advocacy director for the New York State Alliance for Quality Education; Nthabeleng Lekau, Western Cape facilitator and former equaliser; and Zikhona Maqhina, EE post-school youth member.

Tuesday 5 April is the International Day of Conscience. In order to save future generations from the “scourge of war”, there needs to be transformation towards a culture of peace, according to the UN information page on the event.

The UN declared 5 April the International Day of Conscience out of an awareness that there is a need to create conditions of stability, well-being and peaceful relations based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

“The General Assembly invited all Member States, organisations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organisations, as well as the private sector and civil society, including non-governmental organisations and individuals, to build the Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through quality education and public awareness-raising activities, thereby fostering sustainable development,” stated the UN.

At 9am on Tuesday, there will be a colloquium on the sixth assessment report on climate mitigation by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group III. 

The report assesses methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing these from the atmosphere. At the event, the South African co-authors of the document will discuss their findings and share insights.

Register here.

At 11am on Tuesday, the South African Litigation Centre and Trans Bantu Zambia will be hosting a webinar to discuss “key issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression identified by community consultation”. 

Register here.

At 12pm, a talk titled “Accomplices to Capture” will see Athol Williams discuss his book, Deep Collusion, with Zen Mathe of Open Secrets.

Register here.

At 1pm on Tuesday, the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) will be holding a webinar titled “Power and Inequality in the South African wine value chain”.

Those involved in the discussion will be exploring how different combinations of power shape the functioning of the South African wine value chain; the circumstances under which these power combinations impact inequalities in the distribution of value along the chain; and what policies and strategies could be developed to address existing inequalities.

The speakers will be Stefano Ponte, professor of international political economy at the Copenhagen Business School, and Reena Das Nair, associate professor at the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development, University of Johannesburg. The chair of the discussion will be Prof Andries du Toit from Plaas at the University of the Western Cape.

Register here.

At 5.30pm, the South Africa Liaison Office will be hosting a multi-stakeholder public dialogue on the March 2022 by-elections in Zimbabwe, as well as expectations for the 2023 general elections, in their Twitter space.

“This dialogue will discuss the environment ahead of the 26th of March by-elections, the lessons that can be drawn from the by-elections, the significance of the results, and what can be expected in the lead up to the 2023 general election,” stated the event description.

Set a reminder for the Twitter space here.

Wednesday 6 April is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. This day is an opportunity to recognise the positive role that sport and physical activists play in communities and lives across the world, according to the UN information page on the event.

“Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right and a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace, as well as solidarity and respect for all,” according to the UN.

The 2022 theme for the day is “Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport”. This is intended to promote the use of sport as a tool to advance human rights and sustainable development.

The UN emphasised the need to better understand the relationship between sport and climate, while advocating for finding ways to address the impact of climate change through sport.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch will be releasing a report about ethnic cleansing in the Western Tigray Zone in northern Ethiopia. 

The report is titled “‘We Will Erase You From This Land’: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone”. It exposes a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Tigrayans, including killings, rape, mass detention and forcible transfers.

On Wednesday 6 April at 10am, Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (Tips) in collaboration with the Green Economy Coalition will be looking at “The EU’s [European Union] Green New Deal and its implications for South Africa”. 

The webinar will involve a discussion on the European Green Deal — being a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission that aim to make Europe climate neutral by 2050 — and its potential implications for South African trade with the EU.

“The particular proposed headline initiative of the EGD in the form of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will be covered, while an analysis of potential opportunities to expand trade associated with ‘environmental goods’ products will be discussed,” stated the event description.

Among the speakers that will be present are Ariane Labat, counsellor for climate action, environment and agriculture at the EU Delegation to South Africa; Lerato Valentia Monaisa, an economist working in the Sustainable Growth pillar at Tips; Trudi Hartzenberg, executive director of the Trade Law Centre (Tralac); and Martin Cameron, a quantitative economist specialising in quantitative executive decision support modelling.

The facilitator for the discussion will be Elize Hattingh, a Sustainable Growth researcher at Tips.

Register here.

On Wednesday at 5pm, the South African History Archive (Saha)will be relaunched at Wits University. The university formally endorsed the proposal to reintegrate with Saha at the end of 2020.

Today, Saha has offices in the History Workshop and exists next to Historical Papers as an archive in the library. The reintegration was formally completed in early 2022. 

The relaunch will consist of an exhibition and a number of speeches. Those speaking at the event include Zeblon Vilakazi, the Vice-Chancellor of Wits; Dumisa Ntsebeza, the chair of the Saha board; and Luli Callinicos, a founder member of Saha.

Thursday 7 April is the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The day marks the start of the 1994 genocide.

Thursday is also World Health Day. This annual observation draws attention to a specific health topic of concern for people around the world.

In 2022, the World Health Organization [WHO] aims to focus global attention on “urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being”, according to the organisation’s information page on the event.

The WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year can be attributed to avoidable environmental causes. The political, social and commercial decisions people are making are driving the climate crisis. 

Currently, the climate crisis is the biggest health threat facing humanity, stated the WHO.

At 10am, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) will be hosting a support group for people who have lost their pets. Those wishing to join the group can RSVP to Dianne at 08 2662 6659.

Later on Thursday, at 6pm, Dr Yogesh Jain will be giving a free talk on unequal healthcare in the world. 

Jain has an MD in paediatrics but is a public health physician in practice. His involvement in community health programmes in central India has given him a strong understanding of technical and political issues in clinical care, observational research and training.

Those wishing to participate in the event can RSVP at [email protected],

On Friday 8 April at 9.30am, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and First National Bank CEO Jacques Celliers will be launching the first national measure of the state of early childhood in South Africa, known as the Thrive by Five Index.

“The event will present data from the inaugural Thrive by Five Index on the proportion of preschool children who are developmentally on track for their age in key areas including mathematics, literacy, and physical growth,” according to the event description. 

“The presentation on the findings will be followed by insights from a range of thought-leaders into the collective efforts needed to build a South Africa where every child thrives by age five.”

The event will be taking place at the Bill Gallagher Room of the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton, Gauteng.

At 12pm, there will be an NPOwer support group meeting for members of non-profit organisations.

Register here.

At 2pm, meanwhile, the Wits School of Law will host the launch of Advocate Stuart Wilson’s book, Human Rights and the Transformation of Property. This event will form part of the Wits University’s centenary celebrations.

Wilson is an adjunct professor at the Wits School of Law, as well as an acting Judge at the Gauteng division of the high court. The book puts forward a novel theory on how law leads to social change, while exploring the potential for the South African Constitution to shape a more just distribution of property.

Register here. MC

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