Port of Rotterdam in Energy Transition

Planet in Transition Symposium presentation by the Diplomatic Council´s E-Mobility Forum (Chair: Steef Korfker) and UN COP17 speech by Nico van Dooren, Director Energy & Industry at Port of Rotterdam

Research by the Wuppertal Institute has mapped out which transition pathways Rotterdam’s industrial sector can follow to drastically cut back its CO₂ emissions, while continuing to manufacture products for which there is a public demand like fuels and chemical products. The main conclusion of this study is that by using a number of different techniques, it is possible to reduce CO₂ emissions by up to 98%. The institute’s study was commissioned by the Port of Rotterdam Authority, which aims to turn Rotterdam’s port area into a frontrunner in the current energy transition.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “The research shows that it is possible to drastically reduce CO₂ emissions, and that the various projects we are presently working on align very well with the detailed transition pathways – particularly the utilisation of residual heat and the capture and storage of CO₂. But the report also establishes that many of the local companies will need to switch to different technology in the decades ahead. The energy transition involves a large number of steps taken by a large number of parties over an extended period. The present study shows that this transition is feasible, and can mainly be seen as a call to launch new initiatives. Start with a small project and scale it up later on. We can do this in Rotterdam, although we do require a robust long-term policy and the support of both the Dutch state and the European Union.”

The Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy has researched which options Rotterdam has to bring its industrial sector in line with the targets set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change. Winding down specific industrial activities is out of the question, since in the longer term, our society will continue to need all sorts of chemical products and fuels. While certain parts of the transport network can be electrified, for the time being, this still presents a challenge in the case of aviation and marine shipping. And ceasing particular industrial activities in Europe would only result in our importing the associated products. On balance, this would merely lead to the relocation of industry, with many people here losing their job. In other words, it makes more sense to realise a transition towards production with a significantly smaller CO₂ footprint. The Wuppertal Institute has worked out four possible transition pathways in this context.

Four transition pathways

The first pathway is a ‘Business as Usual’ scenario. As its name implies, this scenario does not involve any major breaks in the trend. Improved efficiency in the industrial sector thanks to the implementation of ‘best available technology’ will result in lower emission levels. In addition, production is expected to decrease as a result of a reduced demand for fuels. This scenario will result in 30% fewer CO₂ emissions by 2050. This does not suffice to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Representing a reduction of 75%, the second scenario, ‘Technological Progress’ is a lot closer to the mark. The key element in this scenario is the large-scale capture and storage of CO₂.

Two other transition pathways presently suggest a potential CO₂ reduction of 98%. One pathway is ‘Biomass and CCS’, which relies heavily on a combination of carbon capture and storage and the use of biomass as a feedstock for chemical production. The fourth and final pathway is ‘Closed Carbon Cycle’, which is focussed on closing various loops. While fossil resources are still used in this pathway, they are almost entirely recycled.

Combination

Each transition pathway presents its own challenges or bottlenecks, including the availability of sufficient biomass or the difficulty of capturing 100% of CO₂ emissions or arranging a completely sustainable power generation system. Moreover, each transition pathway involves various technological uncertainties. Consequently, none of the aforementioned pathways can be considered a panacea – rather, we will need to use a combination of approaches to achieve our intended objective. In addition, the pathways all have a number of technologies in common, including hydrogen production based on electrolysis powered by sustainable energy (offshore wind power, for example), the electrification of industrial processes and the utilisation of residual heat.

A number of projects underway in the Rotterdam port area are already in line with these transition pathways. Examples include the development of a regional heat network, a demonstration project for the capture and storage of CO₂ (CCS), the conversion of plastic waste into chemical products (waste to chemicals), biobased fuels and chemical industry, the landing of power generated by North Sea wind farms, electrolytic hydrogen production, etc. Projects of this kind can serve as drivers and catalysts for the economic renewal of Rotterdam’s industrial complex.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has decided to follow an ‘and-and’ strategy in the current energy transition. The Port Authority is making a targeted investment in the development of sustainable industrial segments like renewable energy, biobased production and circular initiatives. At the same time, we work together with the existing, fossil-based industrial sector to steadily reduce its CO₂ footprint through projects that focus on utilising residual heat or the capture and storage of CO₂ emissions.

DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal Qaiser at the United Nations General Assembly 2016 in New York

Analysis of Afghanistan by DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Mr. Jamal Qaiser

AFGHAN NATION: FOR SWINGING FROM BARBAROUS DUSK TO BENEVOLENT DAWN

INTRODUCTION

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a land locked and mountainous Central Asian country with an area of around 245,000 square miles. Being bordered by Iran in the west, Pakistan in the south east, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north and China in the far north-east, it is geo-strategically described as being located within Central Asia, South Asia or the Middle East. For this reason it has been assigned a name, “Heart of Asia” by the poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal and “cockpit of Asia” by Lord Curzon.

Afghanistan has served in the history as an area of imperial aspirations, multiple perceptions and differing competitions in both the medieval era and the modern times. Even before its emergence on the globe as a geo-political entity the region has remained under influence of the Mongols, Persian, Mughal emperors etc.

HISTORY OF AFGHANISTAN

The Afghan history is closely associated with the Persian Empire. In the 2nd century AD it remained in link with the northern plains of India, under the “Kushan dynasty”. Later during the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, it existed in the form of a kingdom approximating closer to the modern borders of Afghanistan.

1747 ONWARDS

The era beginning the modern Afghanistan can be dated back to 1747, when the Afghans of Nadir Shah’s army returned home after his death. Their leader of that time Ahmad Khan Abdali entered Kandahar and got elected as king of the Afghan’s tribal assembly. In the next twenty-five years’ time of his reign, as a result of successful and ceaseless campaigns/attempts to protect Afghan boundaries, Afghanistan borders got extended from the Amu Darya in the north to the Arabian Sea and from Herat to the Punjab area. Owing of being a popular Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Abdali was titled as “BABA” (Father of the nation). The Afghan throne remained in hands of Ahmad Shah’s tribe until 1818 when his descendants ousted from Kabul.

1818-1838

Kabul was taken over in 1818 by an Afghan tribe named Barakzai, led by Dost Mohammed, the twentieth son of the tribal chieftain. Civil war remained interrupted until 1826 when the country’s throne got safely divided among Dost Mohammed and some of his brothers. Dost Muhammad eventually with time became accepted as the leader of the nation, and was assigned the formal title of Amir in 1837. His services for Afghan people have been credited by foreigners as well as by the Afghan tribes and in his time Afghanistan’s relationship with foreign powers greatly enhanced.
In the early 18th century and at the time of Peter the Great, Russia felt need of developing a direct trade linkage with India. To serve the purpose, Russia required either a friendly or a puppet regime in Afghanistan. The whole scenario inevitably rang alarming caution bells in London. This entangled Dost Muhammad in a critical situation as he got courted by both sides. This led to a British mission in Kabul in 1837 and a Russian envoy too in the region for negotiations. Unfortunately the negotiations went all in vain and British were ordered to leave Kabul. As a response of that behavior governor-general of India, Lord Auckland repudiated as a pretext for an invasion of Afghanistan, with the objective of reinstating a ruler from the Durrani dynasty in 1838.

Two Anglo-Afghan Wars (1838-1842 and 1878-81)

By December 1838 the British army got assembled in India for an Afghan campaign. In April 1839 after a difficult advance due to continuous harassment from tribal guerrillas, the city of Kandahar finally got captured. Upon this success British crowned their own puppet ruler, Shah Shuja. Four months later they succeeded in invading Kabul and enthroned Shah Shuja there too.
Under these circumstances Dost Mohammed was exiled to India and was imprisoned by the British. With time situation started worsening when the British garrisons in Afghan towns found difficulty in taking full control over the vigilant afghan tribesmen. Resultantly in January 1842 the British government started to withdraw its troops from the region. Later on by mid of 1842 Dost Muhammad was restored to his thorn and he ruled the region for another twenty years’ time. Dost Mohammed was succeeded by his son Sher Ali who perceived a considerable tilt towards Russia in his policies which again provoked British hostility. He welcomed a Russian mission to Kabul in 1878 while on the very same time rejected a British one. In November 1878 three British armies took control of Jalalabad and Kandahar and agreed on a treaty in May 1879 with Yakub Khan, the son of Sher Ali. Under the treaty Yakub Khan accepted a permanent British embassy in Kabul and British interference in Afghanistan’s foreign policy matters. In September the whole game changed when the British envoy including his entire staff and escort were massacred. This disaster led to the exile of Yakub Khan to India. In 1880 Britain accepted Abdurrahman as Amir of Kabul basing on the choice of Afghan tribesmen. This new leader had been in the Russian empire, in Samarkand and hence had acquainting himself profoundly with Russian methods of administration and policy making. In 1881 British finally withdrew its troops from the region.

1880-1933

Abdurrahman proved to be an excellent leader. In 1901 Abdurrahman was succeeded by his son Habibullah Khan who restricted his rule to a neutrality policy during World War 1. After the war Habibullah Khan demanded an international recognition of Afghanistan by the world. This claim prompted Britain’s third inefficacious intervention into Afghan affairs. After round of fight between British and Afghan forces a treaty was signed in Rawalpindi in August 1919 according to which Britain acknowledged Afghanistan as an independent nation. During the civil war in 1929, Amanullah, the successor of Habibullah was forced into exile. Situation started improving during the reign of Nadir Khan till his assassination in 1933. After a series of violence Zahir Shah, the only surviving son of Nadir Shah got into power.

1933-1978

In the forty years reign of Zahir Shah Afghanistan remained neutral and peaceful. Even at the time of cold war Afghanistan adopted a passive policy and did not devise any plan to derive personal benefits from the major players on both sides. Both the cold war players USA and the USSR built highways and hospitals, in a superpower competition orchestrated by Daud Khan, the prime minister of Afghanistan from 1953. Daud Khan resigned from his post in 1963 due of tense and bitter relations with Pakistan. This prompted Zahir Shah to bring about some major constitutional reforms in the country’s foreign policy. A constitution was framed up in 1964 that turned the country into a constitutional monarchy with a legislative assembly constituting of two chambers. Under the constitution, elections were held in the country in 1965 and 1969. In the beginning of 1970’s economic conditions in the region aggravated due to drought that brought famine and caused nearly 100,000 deaths. In 1973, Zahir Shah was exiled to Europe and Daud Khan got back into power by dint of military support. Under a new constitution drafted in 1977 Daud Khan took the office of the president.

1978-1979

In 1978 Daud’s government was over thrown due to a violent revolution in the country. Once the situation settled down the country’s state affairs were taken over by two leftist political parties – Khalq (the People’s party) and Parcham (the Banner party). Several reforms were introduced at that time including legal rights, rights for women, and laws for land redistribution. Meanwhile the leaders of the Parcham party were persecuted and killed. Due to such circumstances many leaders including Babrak Karmal took refuge in Russia. In March 1979 an Afghan resistance group declared a jihad against the godless regime in Kabul. Situation further worsened when more than 100 Soviet citizens living in Herat were seized and killed. In September 1979 the Afghan president Taraqi, attempted to assassinate his prime minister, Amin but failed in his idea and died after around three week by some medical issue.

Eventually with time by 1978 the Soviet presence had greatly enhanced in Afghanistan, which acted as not only a puppet state but also as a potential scalp in the Cold War for them. In 1979 Moscow decided to adopt an active policy. Resultantly in December that year Russian troops moved into Kabul area, with the aim of taking over full control of Afghan land.

Russian occupation (1979-1989)

The prime minister of that time Hafizullah Amin was either shot or committed suicide within a day of the Soviet invasion. Taking advantage of the scenario Russians brought Babrak Karmal from Moscow back to power in Kabul. The ruling situation of the country was totally unfavorable at that crucial stage of time as Russian tanks had taken control of the territory and Russian bombardment through air was ongoing. It was believed that only Kabul was relatively safe area in those ten years of devastation period. But as soon as the military force lessened the local guerrillas took control on the ground. Secondly, once the USA started to arm the guerrillas with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other military weapons, even the Soviet air attacks become dangerous missions. That situation of conflicts and warfare gave rise to a group of people presently known as Afghan mujahedeen.

In 1985 seven Afghan guerrilla groups held a meeting in Peshawar and formed a united front under the name of an Islami Etihad Afghanistan Mujahidin (IUAW). The whole period of warfare between Russia and the mujahidin tremendously devastated this already feeble country and depopulated it. It has been estimated that some 2 million refugees fled into Pakistan and nearly 1.8 million into Iran. In 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachev came into power in Russia, rankling Afghanistan was the foremost issue confronting him. Initially he devised a political solution and replaced Babrak Karmal with a former police chief, Mohammad Najibullah. Najibullah absolutely failed in reconciliations with Afghan people and in 1988 Gorbachev finally planned to withdraw Soviet troop for regional stability. The last battalion crossed the Friendship Bridge over the Amu Darya River in February 1989, thus leaving the President Najibullah to run a communist Afghan state at his own.

Civil war (1989 onwards)

Unfortunately Najibullah also failed to administer the state affairs and in 1992 he lost his hold from Kabul. He was given asylum in the UN compound in Kabul. In the meantime seven factions in the IUAW, along with three Shia groups from western Afghanistan, began dealing the state matters with mutual collaboration. The capital was even then bombarded by the tribal men and Kabul was experiencing warfare state. Due to that unrest around 1.5 million inhabitants fled the city.

The Emergence of Taliban: from 1994

In 1994 the most prominent group of present-day Afghanistan emerged unheralded when a mullah in Kandahar, Mohammad Omar Akhund (commonly known as Mullah Omar), organized a group which he named as Taliban. In that state of violence and chaos, the Taliban inevitably shaped up into a guerrilla group and their simple objective of Muslim fundamentalism impressed immensely. Recruiting mostly among Pathan tribesmen in the east Afghanistan and from refugee camps in Pakistan, the Taliban rapidly started gaining strength and popularity. By September 1995 after Kandahar, Herat also fell to Taliban militiamen followed by Jalalabad. After this conquer, Taliban had achieved their ultimate goal. In September 1996 they burst into the capital, moved towards the UN compound and seized the ex-president Najibullah. Local citizens welcomed them warmly owing to their incorruptibility. This led to an atmosphere where women were forced to wear veil in public, were prevented from working other than at home and were denied access to education. In short, Evil version in the name of God and sharia was incorporated. Though two-third of the country was under the Taliban control but there existed a strong opposing force named as the Northern Alliance. The Taliban areas mainly constituted of Pathan tribes whereas the Northern Alliance was formed of Uzbeks, Turkmen and others. Warfare situation continued from 1996 onwards full of rivalry and atrocities. In 1997 the Northern Alliance killed thousands of Taliban and as revenge Taliban captured Mazar-e-Sharif in year 1998 and massacred thousands of Shia Muslims and got control of over 90 percent of Afghanistan. In March 1999 Taliban representatives and those of the Northern Alliance agreed to form a mutual government. With time might be due to increased contact with Al-Qaeda fundamentalists Taliban started to develop extremism. Because of close link with Al-Qaeda, the hazardous events of September 2001 marked the end for the Taliban era.

War against Al-Qaeda

The hijacking and crashing of four U.S. jetliners on September 11, 2001 in America were the major acrimonious and triggering factor behind the Afghanistan war, which constituted of three phase. At first place the US applied sanctions on Al Qaeda and toppled the Taliban. In the next phase that marks from 2002 to 2008, US had planned to defeat the Taliban militarily and remodel core institutions of the state. The third phase began in 2008 with U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2009 decision of temporarily increasing the presence of U.S. troop in Afghanistan with the aim of reintegrating insurgents into Afghan society.

For several past years Osama bin Laden had made his base in Afghanistan and had formed close links with the Taliban leadership. The Bush administration adopted the stratagem for ousting the Taliban and dismantling Al-Qaeda. On October 7, America launched missile attacks against Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan (in an operation code-named Enduring Freedom), and started a bombing campaign that lasted till the early weeks of 2002. The Al-Qaeda training camps and Taliban military installations were rapidly destroyed. Northern Alliance was the right hand and strong ally of America. On December 7, the Taliban lost power in Kandahar but their leader Mullah Omar, escaped the net, the second most prime target after Osama Bin Laden. It was widely believed that Bin Laden along with his fellow Al-Qaeda fighters had hide in Tora Bora Mountains on the eastern border with Pakistan. The US headed their bombardment towards that side and killed large numbers of Al-Qaeda troops. On May 1, 2003, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced an end to “major combat” in Afghanistan. The Americans also teamed with anti-Taliban Pashtuns in southern region, including a tribal leader named Hamid Karzai. The first democratic elections were held on October 9, 2004, with approximately 80 percent of registered voters that gave Karzai a full five-year term as president. The CIA team was also joined by U.S. and British military contingents for providing arms and military equipment to the Afghans. By spring 2010 Taliban had killed more than 1,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, while the British troops suffered some 300 deaths and the Canadians some 150. Kandahar fell on December 6, marking the end of Taliban power. This ended the brutal Taliban regime to a great degree, but the ultimate primary aim of bringing Bin Laden to justice remained unfulfilled. An extensive manhunt for Mullah Omar, Bin Laden, and Al-Qaeda deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was undertaken.

TALIBAN RESURGENCY

Situation aggravated with the reassertion of Taliban into the region. They used suicide bombing attacks and buried bombs, known as IEDs (improvised explosive devices), causing heavy casualties. Between January 2005 and August 2006, Afghanistan endured 64 suicide attacks that largely increased the death toll over there. The Taliban’s resurgence led to a rise in anti-America and anti-West sentiment among Afghans locals. Earning source of Taliban was the donations from Gulf States and cultivation of poppy plant. Being financially sound, the Taliban managed escape in the tribal regions of Pakistan that adjoin Afghanistan.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SURGE

Once Barak Obama took presidential oath; the Afghan issue was the core agenda confronting him. On February 17, 2009, he ordered to send an additional 17,000 U.S. troops, on top of the 36,000 U.S. military personnel and 32,000 NATO service members already in the region. This surge was accompanied with U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan—one of which killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud as well. Pakistan offered to mediate Afghan peace talks, but Pakistan’s attitude toward the Taliban remained controversial.

Around 10 years after eluding capture at Tora Bora in Afghanistan territory, bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces on May 2, 2011, after U.S. intelligence allocated him living in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The operation was in the form of a raid carried out by a small team that reached the compound via helicopter, led to a firefight in which Bin Laden died. On June 22, Obama announced an accelerated schedule for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

In early 2012, White House and Afghan negotiators agreed on two agreements. According to first agreement, signed in March, a six-month timetable was setup for the transfer of Afghan detainees held by the U.S. military to Afghan custody. In the second agreement that took place in April the Afghan forces would lead night raids to kill Taliban leaders. Both the agreements paved way for a new agreement in May whose main feature was formulation of framework for economic revival and security cooperation between the two countries along with withdrawal of NATO combat troops in 2014. In late September 2014 Ashraf Ghani was appointed as president who signed the Bilateral Security Agreement that authorized an international force of approximately 13,000 to remain in the country. The U.S. and NATO formally put an end to their combat mission on December 28, 2014.

ARMED CONFLICTS

Fighting continued between Taliban and government forces in Afghanistan. Afghan government continued to expand its use of illegal militias to overcome riots. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) carried out indiscriminate aerial and mortar attacks. Thousands of Afghans became internally displaced, including many returned refugees and migrants.

The United Nations has documented around 8,397 civilian casualties till September 30 in year 2016, nearly the same as the record number set in the first nine months of 2015. The United Nations also reported a significant increase in terrorist attacks on schools by both the Taliban and groups affiliated with ISIS. The Taliban and other troublesome insurgents were responsible for 61 percent causalities, mostly from IEDs and suicide attacks. Government forces, including unofficial militias caused 23 percent of civilian casualties. On April 16, suicide truck bomb killed 56 civilians and injured more than 300 civilians. On July 23, multiple suicide bombings at a large protest on march of ethnic Hazaras killed around 80 and injured more than 250 locals; terrorist groups affiliated with ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. On August 24, insurgents attacked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, killing nearly 14 students and lecturers. On 18 February, Afghan police special forces raided a clinic of humanitarian Swedish Committee and assaulted medical staff and patients there. Hence the number of internally displaced civilians surged as fighting intensified in mid-year. Estimates reveal that more than 300,000 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) in year 2016 brought the nationwide total to nearly 1.3 million people.

Arbitrary Detention, Torture and Protection of rights

President Ghani implemented a national action plan to eliminate torture in early 2015. However, the government did not practically take any measures in this regard and cases of harassment, domestic violence, and detentions by police left unreported.
Likewise the Afghan government finalized an implementation plan for Women Peace and Security, under UN Security Council Resolution 1325. However, the government had not finalized a budget for the implementation plan.

A January 20, 2016 suicide attack by Taliban on a minibus in Kabul killed seven journalists affiliated with Tolo. On January 30, President Ghani ordered the Attorney General’s Office to investigate all deaths of journalists since 2002 but no outcome is seen so far.

The International Criminal Court also applied allegations of serious international crimes in Afghanistan, which it began in 2007. In October 2016, at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, donors committed US$15.2 billion to the Afghan government, but all in vain.

For the returning refugees from Pakistan, in September the UN high commissioner for refugees launched an emergency appeal to government to provide humanitarian assistance to returnees.

SUSTAINABLE REFORMS FOR AFGHANISTAN SOLUTION…A CONCLUSIVE VIEW

History claims that Afghanistan has undergone multidimensional issues. One set bunches from internal structural imbalances. The second set arises from involvement of foreign countries into the conflicts which further impacted the internal structural issues negatively. The accumulation of both has led to an insecure and unstable Afghanistan.

As a matter of fact every nation is playing on Afghan soil for its vested interest. Some sources say that Russia is financially supporting Taliban and providing weapons to fight against the USA for becoming a geo-political player again. USA has turned Afghan territory into battlefield with the sole agenda of eradicating terrorism and getting revenge from 9/11 game planners. China owing to its blooming economy wants a stable Afghanistan and considers unrest there a risk to its economic strength. That’s why China is playing its role to mend up the inflaming Afghanistan as China is nurturing economic and business ties with different nations. Iran, the neighbor of Afghanistan is supporting Taliban openly and playing role of a Muslim ally. India considers that an unstable and feeble Afghanistan can prove vital for creating disturbance and terrorist activities in its rival country Pakistan. Saudi Arab, a long-time ally of Pakistan has on one hand officially supported War against terrorism and American mission but on the other hand has provided financial assistance to local military groups in Afghanistan. Pakistan deems that a stable Afghanistan is the basic requirement for a peaceful Pakistan.

Hence there are so many players running on Afghan soil for their own interests along with local/tribal warlords and a corruption riddled state apparatus. In this scenario, the need of the hour is such a non-coercive policy reform or framework that helps in bringing the country back to a semblance of normalcy both politically and economically.

I consider that rather than military-centered initiatives humanitarian relief and recovery activities and reconstruction measures can help settle the matter harmoniously. Electoral reforms, registration of voters, promotion of good governance and rule of law, training of police, and ban on opium cultivation can immensely mend this land torn by violence. I believe that the international community needs to understand that military solution is not the answer. We need to emphasize more on civilian means for resolving out the situation and putting an end to this war. I deem that international community should exert immense pressure on Taliban and eradicate their evil ideologies. No doubt both security and law and order state in Afghanistan is continuing to deteriorate and this is yielding a deleterious impact on positive measures taken for improvements, but formulation of a peacekeeping force, under international humanitarian law can help lessen the persisting violence. Establishment of a pertinent peacekeeping force for taking into account the basic human rights, unjust tortures and detentions can help resolve this long standing issue.

It’s an established fact that Afghanistan has been suffering from massive power rivalry and military intervention by foreign countries since long. I believe that to handle the situation at the moment it is important that all parties should be a part of the negotiation process, the warheads, the American forces and all the countries who would like to support a peaceful Afghanistan including the Taliban.

Along with Taliban’s cooperation a negotiated withdrawal of US military forces, once political settlement has been attained is the best solution. The need is to consider peaceful dialogical model a mender in this case and take certain amicable steps and carry out adequate diplomatic measures to resolve the Afghanistan’s turmoil. The whole world needs to keep selfish approach and personal interests aside and deal with this hard nut liberally taking into consideration the significance of a peaceful Afghanistan for economic escalation and burgeon leading the world on a road of peaceful progression befitting the coming generations.
As it’s said

There is no path to peace rather peace itself is the path.

DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal Qaiser at the United Nations General Assembly 2016 in New York

Recommendations to solve the Rohingya Crisis

INTRODUCTION

Global antiquity reveals that many theorists, neo-liberals, neo-realists, idealists and conservatives have presented miscellaneous opinions and slants regarding the convergent analysis of global cooperation being the basis for human morality and have devised multiple frameworks concerning international peace and security imperative for promoting sustainable social and economic progress worldwide by taking actions on issues confronting humanity.

Woefully and unfortunately it’s a hard reality that history is still on a repetition mode as on one hand ink and pixels are being spilled, chronicling and documenting the growing humanitarian crisis and on the other hand ruthless episodes of brutality and violence continue to propagate and nurture.

Instead of realizing the attribute that

“The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war”

the world of today is engrossing towards squabbles, antagonism, hostilities, provoking conflicts and clashes thus diminishing basic human ethics and resultantly disparaging the worth of amity and harmony. Peace is a continuous process, a daily, a weekly, a monthly, a yearly phenomenon, gradually changing views and opinions of masses, slowly eroding old barriers and paving way for remolding and building up new structures in decades of time for humanitarian betterment.

REFUGEE CRISIS, A HINDERANCE UNDERPINNING WORLD PEACE PROCESS

History claims that refugee crisis has served as a pivotal in leading the world towards instability and violence. From the economic slowdowns in emerging markets to the ever rising number of terrorists, from inter-state conflicts to intra-state social insecurities and lawlessness, all are the result of spillover effects of influx of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. Refugee crisis not only brings about humanitarian implications but also possesses the tendency to give way to security implications. Factually connoting refugee crises in Syria, Ethiopia, Libya and other part of the worlds has produced enormous social, economic and political effects on countries who had either temporarily or permanently hosted the refugees. According to an estimate of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in 2017, nearly 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, or human rights violations alone.

ROHINGYA CRISIS

The Rohingya crisis is a refugee boat dilemma which caught the attention of international podium in the second half of May 2015 when the government of Myanmar state sponsored religious and ethnic discrimination against the Muslims of Burma. The Rohingya crisis highlights both humanitarian and security implications as huge exodus of the world’s largest stateless population is expected to infiltrate in different regions of Southeast Asia.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

According to historians Rohingyas are descendants of Arab, Turkish or Mongol traders and soldiers who in the 15th Century migrated to Rakhine state, previously known as the Kingdom of Arakan. For centuries this Muslim minority lived peacefully alongside Buddhists in the independent kingdom and according to historians some of them were even advisors to Buddhist royals and were among government functionaries. In 1784 the kingdom was conquered by the Burmese and later by the British following the first Anglo-Burmese war held from 1824-1826. Under the British rule, a large number of this minority started working as farmers and later as military recruits. By 1830s there was a massive influx of Muslim peasants from Bengal, mostly in the agriculture sector. Sources claim that by 1912, more than 30 percent of the total population of Arakan state was Muslims, up from five percent in 1869. Tensions between the minority Rohingya Muslims and the Myanmar’s Buddhist majority date back to the beginning of British rule in 1824.Following their divide-and-rule policy; the British colonists benefited Muslims at the expense of other groups. They not only recruited them as soldiers during World War II but also pitting them against Buddhists aligned with the Japanese as the war played out on Burmese soil. Both British and Japanese armies exploited the enmity and hostility in the local population to achieve their own military objectives. The status of Rohingya Muslims was fortified in 1947 when a new Constitution was drafted which enshrined this minority with full legal and voting rights, which would be later confiscated hence rendering them stateless. In 1962 military coup ushered in a new span of vicious ferocity and brutality. The country’s religious and ethnic minorities like the Rohingya did not fare well and suffered greatly.

THE 1982 CITIZENSHIP LAW

Rohingya’s were rendered stateless in 1982 under Myanmar’s Citizenship Law when the Burmese Junta ordered a new law on citizenship which required the minorities to prove they lived in Myanmar prior to the first Anglo-Burmese war in 1823 for acquiring nationality. Resultantly the Rohingyas were not recognized as one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups which automatically denied them not only of citizenship but also of civil rights, extortion and arbitrary taxation, access to social services, marriage restriction and limitation on number of children , confiscation of properties thus effectively rendered them as being stateless.
The 20th century saw a series of military crackdowns against this minority group: in 1978 and 1991-2, which prompted thousands of them to flee to Bangladesh. When the Junta was dissolved in 2011, the country saw a drastic rise in Buddhist extremism which further sidelined the Rohingya’s status and marked the starting point of the latest prevailing tensions.

RECENT UPMOUNTINGS

Tensions mounted again in October 2016, when a small and previously unknown militant group — the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) — staged a series of deadly attacks on Burmese military forces. The army responded with a massive security crackdown, sparking huge number of refugee arrivals into Bangladesh. On August 25, 2017, ARSA again launched an early morning attack on army installations in Rakhine, triggering a brutal military campaign in response. The security forces and military troops started burning down villages and killing innocent civilian population. According to an estimate of United Nations nearly 360,000 Rohingya’s have fled into Bangladesh since August as a result of military atrocities.

ROLE OF BURMA’S FAMOUS POLITICAL FIGURE SUU KYI

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, the Myanmar Government’s de facto head, since the national elections of 2015 has expressed very little publically regarding the Rohingya’s ongoing exodus to Bangladesh and has refused to condemn the military activities taking place in the region. According to sources even in the telephonic conversation with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan she put the blame on “terrorists” in the Rakhine State and summarized the whole scenario in terms of “iceberg of misinformation”. She withdrew from her visit to the United States in September for United Nations General Assembly, probably to avoid criticism from international leaders against her policies and brutal actions. Hence Suu Kyi’s tenuous hold on power and cruel mentality has led to this catastrophe.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RECONCILIATION

Establishment of an indigenous investigation team to look into violations of international human rights law and human rights abuses in the wake of the 2012 ethnic violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Arakan state in accordance with the United Nations Charta.

Instantaneous removal of blockade of aid like food, medical supplies and and other essential items by the government into the Rohingya IDP camps.

Provide access of safe passage to humanitarian and relief agencies into Rohingya IDP camps.

Immediate uplifting of discriminatory policies and restrictions such as on movement, marriage, holding property, taxation thus providing freedom and ease to live. Myanmar‘s policy for minorities requires to be in line with international human rights framework.
A policy transformation in the official attitude towards the minorities by acknowledgement of their narrative of history, upholding of respect for all forms of diversity and accepting their legal and social rights.

All world leaders’ particularly Asian leaders should call on the Myanmar army and force them to cease their clearance operations in Rakhine State. Every world leader who holds any meeting with Suu Kyi must emphasize on this brutal crisis basing upon humanitarian grounds.

Regional governments like those of China, India and Bangladesh should pledge to the Myanmar government that they will provide full support and cooperation to them in locating and arresting Rohingya militants if any such evidence is found.

International humanitarian architecture should play its role to allow UN investigation teams, aid workers, and journalists to operate freely for welfare.

Religious scholars should also actively work for the cause as no religion allows such coercive acts. Pope Francis who is scheduled to visit Myanmar in November should make pleas to Suu Kyi and the Burma government and take positive stand in favor of Rohingya Muslims.

The Constitution of Myanmar needs arbitration and requires recognizing scores of stateless people living within the country, and make amendments and alterations to not only provide them citizenship status but also generate religious, legal, social and economic space for the recognition of their basic human rights. To fulfill the purpose, the 1982 Citizenship Law warrants immediate modification for removal of discriminatory clauses against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in the region, and accord them citizenship status to enable them to enjoy their fundamental rights in a civilized, democratic country.

CONCLUSION

The circumstances in Myanmar are snowballing enormously into a major humanitarian crisis, and have begun to have ripple effects over the region in terms of rebirth of transitional crimes, insecure state borders, social impacts on hosting countries religious, ethnic and cultural balance etc. Despite international provisions, treaties, global conventions and other diplomatic measures to prevent the occurrence of atrocities, crimes and fiercely actions on civilians, violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar continues unabated. In case of Myanmar, strengthening and rebuilding its commitment to democratic ideals, human rights and Rule of Law, should not be under limitation of just providing immediate security and relief to the suffering Rohingyas, as it is the bare minimum possible i feel. It must include a long-term, permanent and accountable stratagem that helps integrate the Rohingyas and other minorities; recognizing their sacrifices and contributions to the country thus creating spaces for every person, without discrimination and giving full expression of speech to his or her potential, free from any fear, resultantly leading the peace and tranquility to prevail around the globe.

DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal Qaiser at the United Nations General Assembly 2016 in New York

Stop the Proliferation of Atom Bombs

Statement on the proliferation of Atom Bombs by DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Mr. Jamal Qaiser

INTRODUCTION: During the past decades life expectancy doubled as enormous life threatening diseases got uprooted and eradicated. This paved way to an era of new horizon. But we should not become an “owl in the day” and only praise scientific and technological discoveries. Considering the darker aspect of the sight, we have devalued the life quality improving measures by advancing in nuclear technology and building nuclear bombs, a human invention possessing the tendency of destroying life on earth in an instant. Just with a trigger or button-press life can transform to death. People owing to nuclear Armageddon fear, link the power of atom synonymous with global destruction.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: Factual analysis procures that the advancement in nuclear physics in 1898 by Pierre and Marie Curie, discovering pitchblende, an ore of uranium and services to nuclear physics by Ernst Rutherford and Fredrick Soddy deserve significant blame in heading today’s world towards the present climacteric situation, where there is no room left for complicacy.

Winston Churchill speculated its lethal and fatal military implications and in 1924 connoted “Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess a secret power to destroy a whole block of building- nay to concentrate the force of a thousand tons of cordite and blast a township at a stroke.”

Expressing the scenario in this perspective Leo Szilard who in 1934 patented the idea of nuclear chain reactions via neutrons, Irene and Frederic Joliot Curie who discovered artificial radioactivity in 1934, Otto Hann and Fritz Stassman who detected Barium in 1938 after bombarding uranium with neutrons and mainly the scientists at Columbia University who on January 25, 1939 conducted a successful first nuclear experiment in US which gave passage to the identification of an active uranium isotope U-235, fall under the blame game zone. But this deems unjust. Political factionalism is the keystone and fundamental linchpin that paved way to enriching uranium, polonium and flourishing weapon grading systems. Credit of bolstering in the field of nuclear technology goes to both physicists and political legislature/public office bearers. So rather than being a direful fission reaction, it’s a binary fusion- fission reaction, involving a game of two notations, one being scientific advancements and the other being nuclear armament race for political acumen.

CIRCUMSTANCS INSINUATING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION URGE: The Manhattan project led by US and the attack on Pearl Harbor enlivened the desideratum of nuclear armament for national defense, security and indemnity. During the era of World War 2 on July 16, 1945, first nuclear test with code name “trinity” was successfully conducted in New Mexico. On July 26, 1945 Potsdam declaration was issued to Japan containing an ultimatum to either surrender or otherwise face utter destruction. On August 6, 1945 the world underwent the biggest catastrophic situation when uranium graded nuclear bomb coded as “little boy” was detonated above the Japanese city of Hiroshima and after a gap of three days polonium based weapon was dropped down at Nagasaki exploding the yield of around 12,500 tons of TNT. The two atomic raids killed around 75 thousand Japanese where as tens of thousands died later owing to radiation sickness and destroyed nearly 50,000 building.

In the mean time nuclear anxiety spread across Europe expedite and wealthy industrialized states of that time like Italy, Sweden etc started working to explore nuclear option anxiously.

MEASURES FOR CURBING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION

Taking into consideration the destructions that would be visited upon in case of a nuclear war and perceiving that the proliferation of nuclear arms would seriously enhance the vulnerability to life, a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly was passed calling for the conclusion of an agreement on the prevention of wider dissemination of nuclear technology.

THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA)

The IAEA was established by a unanimous resolution of United Nations in 1957 with the aim of assuring that international community honors the treaty and uses nuclear technology for peaceful progression. The IAEA was authorized to inspect and maintain a check and balance on material accountability, Physical security and containment and surveillance of nuclear material

NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION TREATY (NPT)

In the year 1968 a treaty named Nuclear Proliferation Treaty was opened for signature to curb nuclear proliferation and in 1970 it entered into force. According to United Nations Office for Disarmament affairs (UNODA), USA, USSR, UK, France and China are the five states possessing nuclear technology out of total 191 signatories till 1995.

NPT AS A NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION SAFEGUARD

NPT serves as a commitment that the countries would neither transfer nuclear weapons nor assist non-nuclear states in attaining this technology. The treaty is reviewed on five yearly bases. NPT has been a perceptible international success in curtailing civil uranium for military uses. NPT stipulates and pursuit negotiations in good faith taking into consideration the cessation of nuclear arms race. It permits peaceful usage of nuclear energy which can contribute positively to mankind.

Only four recognized sovereign states India, Pakistan, Israel and are not parties to this treaty. Though they have attained nuclear capability after 1967 but they would need to dismantle their nuclear weapons and place nuclear material under international protection before signing in the NPT, the pathway only adopted by South Africa up till today. In short, the treaty has not been properly abided and is facing mounting challenges.

INDIA

India conducted nuclear tests in 1974. Though India indulged in dialogical process with NPT but didn’t join it criticizing it as discriminatory. India’s nuclear test gave momentum to Pakistan’s nuclear aspiration.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan’s nuclear program was successfully completed in 1975 when Dr. Qadir Khan launched a centrifuge plant at Kahuta. In May 1988 Pakistan conducted five nuclear tests.

ISRAEL

Israel according to some sources developed nuclear technology in 1960’s with assistance from French firms at Dimona but has not conducted nuclear tests publically as its arsenal.

NORTH KOREA

North Korea possesses active nuclear weapons program and has tested nuclear explosive devices in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. Being capable of enriching Uranium and producing weapon grade polonium, North Korea has deployed ballistic missiles and in January 2003 Pyongyang withdrew from the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear weapons (NPT) for the sake of not allowing the country’s security and the dignity to be infringed upon. In December 2015 Kim Jong Un claimed to possess thermonuclear capabilities and on September 3, 2017 North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test stating it to be a thermonuclear weapon/hydrogen bomb. This test soared tension and prompted great international condemnation.

IRAN

Iran endorsed NPT in 1970, describing its nuclear program subject to the IAEA’s verification; hence she has been in talks over its nuclear program with world powers. In 2006 the UN Security Council passed resolution 1696 and imposed sanctions on Iran after its refusal of suspension of its undergoing uranium enriching programs because that might trigger an arm race in the Middle East. In 2015 the Islamic Republic of Iran and the five world power :P5+1 (the permanent members of United Nations Security Council), signed a framework agreement which hindered Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapon armament and in return was given an incentive of uplifting of economic sanctions from Tehran.

NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION

Nuclear non-proliferation is a set of measures and restrictions that may aid in culminating the nuclear weapon technology and minimizing the existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons. To reach this milestone we need to draft a global alliance for developing a system of layered nuclear fuel assurance for combating nuclear terrorism. Valuing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), NPT, Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Zangger Committee and modeling new emboldened nuclear arm control treaties and recognizing their worth can play positively for nuclear elimination.

ASPECTS LINKED TO NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

Here a question arises:
Can we permanently get rid of terribly devastating consequences that we might have to face in future by dint of nuclear terrorism?

Technically, off course. Definitely we can. And moreover we can achieve this target cordially and amicably with unity. Rather than implying any harsh non-proliferation action like Operation Opera of 1981,in which Israel destroyed nuclear reactors in Iraq through air strikes, international political architecture possess the tendency to address this agenda and override its vulnerability through negotiations and dialogical process, keeping aside the status quo for the sake of economic bloom/escalation imperative for global burgeon and progression.

The following measures may prove fruitful in this regard:

A peaceful, stable and individualistic forum trusted worldwide which ensures absolute prohibition of nuclear technology use for military purpose.

Formulization of an international security system based on global mutual trust, equality and cooperation for aided countries in nuclear disarmament in a diplomatic manner.

Establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank where nuclear states may fabricate their nuclear assets and then that material could be used as a source of energy for peaceful scientific advancements.Use of thorium fuel cycles which would limit the production of destructive uranium isotope with time.

Burning out the material in nuclear reactors and converting it into electricity for generating cheap power source.
The states possessing nuclear arsenals should disarm themselves gradually giving a positive message to the others.
All nuclear weapon states should renounce the nuclear deterrence policy and imply legal instruments in this regard.
Both nuclear-bearing and non-nuclear weapon states should agree to use nuclear technology for peaceful advancements and forgo the “nuclear umbrella” policy.

CONCLUSIONDC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal Qaiser at the United Nations General Assembly 2016 in New York

The terribly devastating consequences brought up by the nuclear bombings upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki reminds us of its deadly ruinous and irreconcilable impacts. Secondly, the currently prevailing North Korean issue also holds nuclear armament as a base root. As a matter of fact recent trends have brought the nuclear non-proliferation regime to a moment of grave crisis. Bolstering international restraints on the world’s deadliest weapon requires such realistic and concrete steps which strengthens and rebounds the existing treaties, partnerships and institutions. The need of the hour is to draft a global alliance for developing a system of layered nuclear fuel assurance for combating nuclear terrorism, improving economic stats rather than military strengthening, resulting in improvement in the life of a common man by reduced poverty rate.

As it is said “a man with a hammer sees every problem as a nail”

So, I being a modest political technologist and tranquility promoting social leader feel nuclear non-proliferation a key to global peace and harmony conductive to increased trade linkages and lessened derogatory relations among nations imperative for global opulence and prosperity.

Machines and Humans

Digitalization transforms our world

Thi Thai Hang Nguyen, Secretary General Diplomatic Council, based on research from The Diplomatic Council Otto Schell Institute for Digital Transformation

Carl Frey and Michael Osborne from Oxford University have examined how susceptible jobs are to computerization and digitalization. According to their estimates, 47 percent of total US employment is at risk.

Over the past decades already, computers have substituted for a number of jobs – for example – bookkeepers, cashiers and telephone operators. Some sectors such as the insurance sector will be especially affected according to these two scientists – with an estimated computerization rate of 92%-98%.

The most radical technological revolution within human history

The insurance industry stands as an example for a sector that will obviously face the most radical technological revolution within human history – as a number of other branches. What happens with the bus and taxi drivers once the self-driving cars have taken over? What about the brokers, bank employees, lawyers or administration staff? The digitalization transformation is going to destroy millions of jobs, especially in the white-collar sector.

The digitalization and progresses in artificial intelligence are going to change our world in a dramatic way – In the race to make computers more intelligent than us – We – the human beings, the most intelligent species on earth until now, will become superfluous in a world of smart machines.

We are about to code ourselves into oblivion – Yet it seems the persons in charge still misjudge the menacing risks but also ignore the opportunities and benefits.

The Diplomatic Council Institute for Digital Transformation has recently been established to raise awareness for the political and social impacts arising from digitalization and artificial intelligence.

The risks of digitalization can be absorbed if political leaders prepare our society for this upcoming revolution. Instead of fixing minimum wage for jobs that will no longer exist in the near future, it would be more urgent to provide re-training measures for those jobs. And also the leaders in business and society have to assume accountability. Digitalization will definitely bring advantages to many people but about the “losers” in this development?

Common responsibility to leave no one behind

It is our common responsibility to leave no one behind as we head towards the most dire threats of the 21st century. The Diplomatic Council believes that within the next years and decades the following subjects must be dealt with:

• Shared and connected economy: Smart network connecting borders, humans and machines such as social networks, energy grids, digital healthcare system

• Technology as an enabler with Internet of Things as network and platform such as 3D printing, virtual und augmented reality

• Software and data in transactional and analytic processes such as data analytics, AI, realtime business, digital everywhere

• Digital governance (guidance, standards, safety, security)

• Education governance.

The governments have to make sure that their state education systems prepare the population for new professions in the emerging sectors starting from primary school to retraining/re-education. And also companies should think about their own positions in these future areas and act accordingly.

THE DIPLOMATIC COUNCIL IS TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

The Diplomatic Council, as a United Nations accredited global think tank and business network, we consider it our responsibility to raise awareness for these groundbreaking changes we are facing within the next decades. It is of utmost importance that both the risks and benefits of digitalization are known to everyone so we are well-prepared what lies ahead of us.

We all, politicians, scientists, entrepreneurs and all persons concerned, we have to make digilisation part of the political agenda, not only the scientific agenda. This is something that shouldn’t be left to scientists and private corporations.

We are talking about the future course of humankind so all of us – we must work hand in hand – together – to ensure a smooth transition to the next stages of mankind.

Human Touch in a Digital World

It’s a Digital World. How to Keep the Human Touch Alive. Thanks to modern technology, we may have more time to focus on relationships.

Melissa Lamson, president and CEO of Lamson Consulting, a global leadership expert with experience in more than 40 countries is, interviewed Annika von Redwitz, Chairwoman of the Diplomatic Council Global Diversity Program, and Otto Schell, CEO The Diplomatic Council Otto Schell Institute for Digital Transformation.

These days, pretty much everywhere you turn, there’s talk of digitalization–in how we travel, the products we buy, and how we pay for them. The trend is sweeping the world, many industries at a time. And with it, come a lot of fears.

Fears of security. Fears of machines replacing humans in the workforce. Fears of a loss of jobs. Some people are cynical, wondering if machines will really be reliable as workforce partners to get the job done.

I spoke with Otto Schell, founder of The Diplomatic Council Otto Schell Institute for Digital Transformation, and he feels strongly, “We must remain open to digitalization as it is rapidly enveloping us. Humans need not fear exclusion by Artificial Intelligence (AI), but understand we need to harness it and engage proactively by setting and maintaining the economic and social governance for our co-existence.”

A Diversity colleague of mine, Annika von Redwitz, and I are very interested in understanding what digitalization will do to the way the workforce builds relationships and interacts with each other–particularly in a diverse, globalized, and multicultural world. We spoke about whether or not digitization will make human connectivity obsolete.

For her, the answer is no. It may be even more important.

Below are the highlights of our conversation.

ML: Annika, what is digitalization exactly?

AR: Today, many businesses are looking at transforming their organizations to stay competitive in a fast-changing market. They may be moving from a product-oriented to a service-oriented business model, or adding new online services to their existing products.

ML: So, it sounds like digitalization is a significant evolution from humans using technology as a tool to, now, programming machines to run the business autonomously. Is that what makes the concept unique today in your mind?

AR: In the nineties, the concept of reengineering came up and described how companies re-invented their business processes with help of the Information Technology available at that time. A lot of manual work was automated, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems became the standard.

Today, we call this “digital transformation”–for example, the Internet of Things, connecting machines with each other, or Artificial Intelligence doing things human would have otherwise done. But it is a more radical shift than in the last century.

ML: Annika, if our job is to help leaders and teams work with people more efficiently and effectively, will that even be needed in the future?

AR: It won’t become obsolete. In fact, digitalization will offer new ways for human beings to interact with each other.
Ideally, thanks to modern technology, employees will have more time to focus on strategic and complex tasks. And, remember, robots are programmed by humans, so it is important that diverse teams (of humans) work well together to develop those algorithms.

ML: So, it sounds like we may be needed more than ever! If humans don’t need to focus on machines and simple tasks they need to do using technology, all they’ll need to focus on is human interaction.

AR: That’s right.

ML: If an organization is looking at digital transformation what are the first steps?

AR: It depends on the size and age of the company. According to the book, “Radical Business Model Transformation,” traditional companies need to analyze their status quo and enable established products and services to co-exist with new offerings.
Leaders need to establish “a corporate culture based on mutual trust, support and curiosity. „They need to be able to explain the vision and purpose of digitalization, and keep communicating those goals in a positive way.
In other words, never underestimate the power of good ol’ fashioned communication.

Published on Sep 5, 2017, by Melissa Lamson in Inc.com

Dieter Brockmeyer

A Discussion about Fake News

Dieter Brockmeyer

Dieter Brockmeyer, DC Chairman Global Media Forum

I did not want to write about this issue. However, everybody does and the impact of this discussion made me rethink:

It’s a pest indeed, the sudden rise of so-called fake news distributed via the internet and social media channels trying to influence public opinion. Authorities are panicking and their reactions may even prove dangerous to our societies, more dangerous than the fake news themselves. Passing legislation making platforms block and/or erase fake news and their authors is censorship that opposes the right of free speech! This right is essential to democratic societies granting to express your opinions and beliefs, even if it is mere nonsense. There are other and better ways to tackle the problem:

Yes, in digital environments also nonsense spreads rapidly. On the other hand, they also react to nonsense at the same speed. The impact of fake news is limited since almost immediately another wave of corrections will be out. The problem is only for those serious media adopting too fast and un-reflected to something that appears to be spectacular. For a big newspaper to correct a negative image deriving from being too un-reflected is painful. However, there is also a learning curve. By now, everybody knows double checking is essential. More so: Ethical standards like the ones laid down in the DC Codex on “Public Communications and Trust” are becoming essential.

The problem is with those who believe in fake news. They can’t be influenced by regular media channels. However, such filter bubbles are not a new phenomenon. It was hidden before social media allowed everybody to become a global publisher in their own interest, and it was hidden from “conspiracy activists” who found a loud and global voice. Our societies have begun to recognize the problem. However, the term “conspiracy activist” sounds as if there was only a small problem, that it’s people with limited education and influence. Wrong so! The more people are dissatisfied with our societies or feel cheated by politics and media the more even academics are attracted at least by some of these ideas.

The good thing is that we can no longer ignore the problem. That’s the first step to finding solutions! This cannot be censorship because that would be hiding the problem again! There is no covering up in digital networks. Communications would be hidden again but nevertheless be quite effective, for instance, via Facebook closed groups or WhatsApp. Certainly, many of these radical activists can be heard much louder than ever, and many who hadn’t expressed their discomfort and fears before are now doing so. Not all of them belong into conspiracy corners. But their discomfort opens them to alternative and fake news sources. This creates a spiral that can’t be stopped with bans. In the contrary: Why do you ban anything when it is nonsense?

We must return to the values of our democracies including open debate of ALL opinions, even if we feel hurt. I’m sure we have plenty of arguments and the better ones! By excluding opinions, we prepare the ground for more radicalism, in the worst case we wove them into mainstream. Even worse, our defending democracy may itself bury the freedom it stands for. We must leave our comfort zones and argue rather than cover up. There are many references to the pre-WW I and II period from clever minds. We are in times of rapid change and many have already lost their comfort or social status. There’s similarity, for sure! However, we are living in a different environment: Then, international relations were limited to the elites. Today there is mass tourism and most business is international. Then, wars still were considered to be „Ultima Ratio“, the final logic. Today, most people are aware of the consequence of a new world conflict. Euphoria as in the beginning of WW I seems not to be very likely anymore.

We have the chance to avoid the fatal mistake of our ancestors. Let’s take this chance – it will not return!

DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal Qaiser at the United Nations General Assembly 2016 in New York

Diplomatic Council Statement on Simmering Kashmir a disregarded Linchpin

DIPLOMATIC COUNCIL STATEMENT ON SIMMERING KASHMIR A DISREGARDED LINCHPIN

BY DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal A. Qaiser

Kashmir a rugged land rich in natural resources and nature’s beauty is situated in a very important geo-strategic Asian region. This nature enriched valley has always acted as a bone of contention and has kept the two neighboring south Asian countries Pakistan and India on a dangerous course of confrontation since inception. Both the countries are embroiled in territorial battle over Kashmir for more than six decades. Kashmir conflict has acted as a triggering factor and major acrimonious behind the three wars between the two rivals Pakistan and India. It paved way to fierceness and brought the two countries to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. Since 1998 it has been described as a nuclear flashpoint. Moreover tremendous drain of resources incurred by two countries on military buildup and arm race has immensely contributed in damaging the economy badly. Hence Kashmir issue appears to be the most thorny, obdurate and intractable dispute between India and Pakistan.

History cannot be brushed away

The history cannot be brushed away. The underlying fact and circumstances that forced Muslims in sub-continent for a freedom struggle which ultimately led to partition was Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s claim that Muslims being a minority in India were unable to acquire justice and legal rights especially in judicial matters. Before the partition, a resolution was passed on 23rd March 1940 stating that there is a need for Muslims in particular as they were minority in India and their religious, socio-political and cultural rights were being snatched and they were unable to lead their lives according to their religious and ethical values. After a hardcore struggle, partition took place in 1947 on the grounds of social, cultural, religious and geographical criteria.

Almost everything got settled except for the land of Jammu & Kashmir.

At the time of independence, Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state, preferred to remain independent and stay neutral between the successor dominions of India and Pakistan because if he decided for India ,the Muslims get hurt or if he decided for Pakistan the Hindus and Sikh would be unhappy.

But when Pakistani Pashtun tribes attacked Kashmir and the Maharaja faced an uprising by Kashmiri Muslims and lost control of the western districts of his kingdom. In order to override that prevailing Maharaja appealed to the Government of India for assistance and the Governor-General Lord Mountbatten agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Once the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani irregulars from all but a small section of the state. The Pakistani government immediately contested the accession, suggesting that it was fraudulent, that the Maharaja acted under duress and that he had no right to sign an agreement with India when the standstill agreement with Pakistan was still in force.

On January 1st 1948, the UN got involved

On 1 January 1948, India took the matter to the United Nations Security Council under Article 35 of the UN Charter and claimed that Pakistani tribesmen had attacked Jammu and Kashmir, which was their territory and requested the Security Council to prevent Pakistan from indulging into the matter. On 20 January 1948, the Security Council passed Resolution 39 establishing a three-member Commission for looking into the matter. Later on the Council increased the size of the Commission to five members and named it United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 on April 21, 1948. The Resolution recommended a three-step process for this disputed territory. In the first round, Pakistan was asked to withdraw its nationals from Kashmir region. The second step was that India was asked to lessen its forces to minimum for regulating law and order. In the third step, India was asked to appoint a plebiscite to determine whether Kashmir wants to be a part of Pakistan or India. The administrator would be nominated by the United Nations Secretary General who would conduct an impartial plebiscite. Though both India and Pakistan raised objections but welcomed mediation by the UN Commission. Subsequently, a cease-fire was achieved. However, a truce was not achieved due to disagreements over the process of demilitarization. Moreover none of the country raised this issue in the international court of justice for a verdict till date.

Presently, India and Pakistan each administer a portion of Kashmir and both claim this Himalayan territory in their entirety and integral territorial region.

It is sad to say that the turmoil in Kashmir valley is transforming into a vicious, ruthless war as the Indian force’s atrocities are creeping and enhancing day by day. If we only take a track back of 2016, then estimates say that the unrest known as Burhan aftermath remitted in death of more than ninety civilians and nearly fifteen thousand injured in the riots along with a 53 consecutive days of curfew imposed by Indian authorities. On 28 March 2017, a clash erupted between Indian security forces and protesters during an operation against a militant in Chadoora in which 3 Kashmiris were killed and at least hundred injured. The Indian security forces used live ammunition, pellets and tear gas against the locals. Around seventy protesting civilian youths were reported arrested from Srinagar, Shopiam. Recently on 9th April 2017 in a by-election for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, violence broke out in the region leading to 8 civilian deaths and over 170 injuries. Hence every new sunrise in Kashmir witnesses the Indian army’s devilish acts of tortures and heinous acts of brutalities.
Taking into account the multifaceted dimensions of Kashmir issue and its all-pervasive impacts on India and Pakistan.

The Diplomatic Council Commissioner for UN affairs Mr. Jamal Ahmed Qaiser consider that Kashmir issue is an obstinate and unresolved lingering core issue that has bedeviled and afflicted the two neighbor’s relations and this pending imbroglio needs to be resolved expedite. Pakistan possesses a striving economy and heavy financial budget for the boundary security and military acquisition and up gradation is enfeebling it badly. A huge military budget is being spent by both the countries to contest their rights over Kashmir. Secondly it’s an established fact that Kashmiri people don’t take active part in elections as in the last elections the turnout was only 2 percent which indicated that 98 percent people remained passive and did not vote. This is also a big sign and an indicator for India because its emerging economic market cannot escalate further if this dispute lingers on.

The DC Commissioner For UN Affairs,Mr. Jamal A. Qaiser contemplates that Kashmir issue is an agenda of innocent Kashmiri population whose position appears merely like a lame duck in the whole propagandistic scenario and is of the opinion that need of the hour is cessation of hostilities and conduction of free and fair plebiscite in accordance with the aspirations and consents of locals of Kashmir.

Decades of conflicts full of atrocities

Three wars between India and Pakistan and decades of conflicts full of atrocities have yielded no fruit and are reeling the region under constant political and economic instability. Local strikes, mass rallies, army surveillance and insurgency constantly menaces normal mode of life in Kashmir.

The DC Commissioner for UN Affairs added that these arbitrary arrests, curfews, raids, Indian security force’s check points and extra judicial executions restrict economic activities and promote extremism. Hence Mr. Jamal Ahmed Qaiser deems Kashmir resolution significant and emphasizes that it’s the prerogative and birthright of local Kashmiri people to decide their destiny and no one has the right to snatch their liberty or impose any limitation in this regard.
He emphasized that no military but a peaceful settlement of Kashmir conflict through dialogue, negotiations and mutual cooperation on bilateral level is indispensable for the economic stability and development of both India and Pakistan. A peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute will create an atmosphere conductive to peace and harmony in the region of south Asia where millions are haunted by poverty and hunger every day. By following an amicable settlement enhanced trade linkages and social contacts would help the two countries in emerging financially influential in the world’s economic market.

4 Steps to Peace

Keeping in view the peaceful impact globally, he has proposed the following agendas:

1- That if Pakistan is supporting in or arming, training or providing logistical support to militants fighting security forces in the troubled Indian state of Kashmir, or if India is using RAW for creating violance in Pakistan, it must be stopped immediately as its against International Laws and humanity.

2- The Diplomatic Council believes that plebiscite is the only authentic and legitimized passage that can create an atmosphere conductive to durable regional harmony and economic stability. A just plebiscite leading to regional trifurcation can result in the rule of majority and free will to prevail.

Both Pakistan and India need to respect the right of self-determination of Kashmiris and give them sovereign entity. Both the countries should work in tandem, avoid sensationalism and condemn fierce acts focusing on a peaceful resolution and affable dialogue.
Plebiscite that If the Kashmiris:

(a)Wants to be a part of India
(b)Wants to be a part of Pakistan
(c)Wants to be Independent

3- International fora and world insinuations such as the United Nations should facilitate and assist dialogue and help the two rivals in patch up for the sake of regional and economic stability and human rights. The Think Tanks like the Diplomatic Council members must come forward and help in such bilateral negotiations between these two countries.

4- If both the countries fail to agree on a final settlement, then this alarming violence in Kashmir issue must be forwarded and refreshed in International Court of Justice without violating any other bilateral agreement .Both the countries must agree upon the final verdict of ICJ respectfully .As it’s a matter of 1.6 billion people on both ends who wish to see a peaceful sub-continent.

Last but not the least, Mr. Jamal A. Qaiser DC Commissioner for UNO Affairs wisely stated that in today’s era it’s not a matter of how much land both countries acquire, they should think on establishing peace, by conducting absolute Justice and build economic stability.

DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal Qaiser at the United Nations General Assembly 2016 in New York

Statement on North Korea by DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Mr. Jamal Qaiser

North Korea, an East Asian state emerging on the globe after Japan relinquished its 35 years occupation of the Korean Peninsula at the end of Second World War and establishing its independence in1948 after splitting away South Korea possesses active nuclear weapons program and has tested nuclear explosive devices in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. Being capable of enriching Uranium and producing weapon grade polonium North Korea has deployed ballistic missiles and in January 2003 Pyongyang withdrew from the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear weapons (NPT). In December 2015 Kim Jong Un claimed to possess thermonuclear capabilities and on January 6, 2016 North Korea conducted fourth nuclear test. This test prompted great international condemnation. Even China though being her traditional ally endorsed further sanctions against her. North Korea is very much dependent upon China as more than 80 percent of their imports are from China. North Korea is an impoverished and proclaimed enemy Of South Korea which is a US ally. Apart from nuclear proliferations and cyber provocations North Korean supreme leadership has consistently proven to be irrational and impulsive. These circumstances exacerbate the threats because Kim Jong Un incites the west with his aggressive attitude. Hence the whole scenario appears acrimonious and carries with it tendency and potential for escalation.

Since the time North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006, sanctions have been used as a coercive tool for dealing out the matter. Being all multilateral and bilateral negotiating tracks withered, sanctions were crafted for ceasing nuclear proliferation and steering Pyongyong towards some diplomatic reversal for the provoking. The current sanctions appear quite unsuitable and mismatched. Though sanctions pressure possess vitality in dealing with such issues but they need to be in relevance overall stratagem for bringing about some non-proliferation legislation and systematic regulation for interdicting illicit arms shipment and lessening North Korea’s export earnings. North Korea perceives itself as being confronted by the increasing superiority of the US military. Hence DPRK considers nuclear deterrent as essential to its defense.

The US deployed the air craft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea to patrol the increasingly contentious South China Sea despite Beijing’s apprehensions. US claim that the deployment of the anti missile defense system-the terminal high altitude area defense (THAAD) is due to provocative attitude on the Korean Peninsula. Hence despite disagreement over its installation by China and Russia both USA and South Korea have mutually decided to speed up the installation and early activation of this weapon system.

It is a notified fact that in case of war South Korea would be the biggest victim but South Korea allowing weapon deployment like THAAD at their doorstep is equivalent to an international level security threat for other countries lying in that region too. Likewise China considers it a threat to her claims in South China Sea which she deems her territorial and jurisdictional possession. That’s why since the deployment of THAAD China has become tough on Seoul. Initial estimates reveal the Chinese economic pressure could cost the South Korean economy a loss of over $261 billion this year. China has also ordered nationwide military alert and tensions are accelerating on the Peninsula.

The DC Commissioner Mr. Jamal Qaiser perceives that the whole scenario is triggering a rivalry atmosphere among the big powers as USA, China and Russia are the major world players who are being unnerved and drifted towards warfare.
Mr. Qaiser has hallmarked the desideratum of insinuating such remodeled policies that have the tendency to retrench and truncate the prevailing tensions.

Mr. Jamal Ahmed Qaiser’s first proposal stresses upon the need of formulation of a commission which can keep a check and balance on the overall situation with a multi dimensional aim of facilitating diplomatic political process, assisting in military disarmament, changing antagonistic perceptions, ceasing some sanctions if deemed necessary, thus paving way for reintegration of combatants and restoring the rule of law.

Second proposal of Mr. Qaiser emphasizes on such policy formation that ensures pacific settlement and advices that no country should initiate any military strike as North Korea possesses weapons of mass destruction and any aggressive move can lead to devastating consequences.

DC Commissioner’s third proposal stresses upon the need of employing affable dialogical model that can lead to an amicable settlement. In order to override the vulnerability of this currently simmering tension and intra-state atrocities, he believes to dust off all propagandistic and antagonistic deeds and dress up a new frame work conductive to global peace, prosperity and progression, manifested for universal opulence and burgeon.

He stresses that China along with Russia should work for a peaceful agreement as regime change from outside is not at all an option to avail.

Mr. Jamal Qaiser says that the current circumstances in which USA and North Korea are hailing against each other and Russia and China are erecting defense infrastructure for their territorial defense, UNO should act as a beacon of positive hope. By dint of the powers vested in its charter it is the foremost forum possessing the potential of addressing issues that transcend national boundaries. Hence he says that the need of the hour is that UNO dictates such validate peace building reforms that lead to conflict resolution, imperative for global peace and harmony thus ensuring a harmonious and peaceful scenario to prevail around the globe.

DC Commissioner for UN Affairs Jamal Qaiser at the United Nations General Assembly 2016 in New York

Diplomatic Council proposes 10 Step Plan for Peace in Syria

The DC Commissioner for UN affairs Mr. Jamal Qaiser developed a peace plan for Syria after the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack which took place in Syria on 4 April 2017 on the town of Khan Shaykhun has been declared as the deadliest  chemical attack in Syria since the Ghouta chemical attack in 2013. The town was reported to have been struck by a heavy airstrike by government forces followed by massive civilian chemical poisoning. The release of the toxic gas, likely sarin, killed at least 74 people and injured more than 557, according to the Idlib health authority resources.

INTERNATIONAL FORASTANCE AND BLAME GAME

The opposition groups say that the Syrian air force dropped chemical bombs on innocent civilians. According to the statement of Syrian government officials the government does not and has not used chemical weapons. President Vladimir Putin said the attack might be a provocation. On April 11, Vladimir Putin suggested that the chemical attack was a false flag operation intended to discredit the Syrian government

According to the US government, the Syrian government under Assad was behind the chemical attack, and the Syrian jets carried out the bombing of a rebel stronghold. On the morning of 7 April, 2017, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles on Shayrat Airbase, a Syrian airfield near Shayrat, believed to be the base for the aircraft that carried out the chemical attack.

WIEVS OF OPCW

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expressed “serious concern” and said that its Fact-Finding Mission in Syria was “gathering and analyzing information from all available sources.  Amnesty International said the evidence points to an “air-launched chemical attack”, while the World Health Organization (WHO) said that victims carried the signs of exposure to nerve agents.

UNITED NATIONS PERSPECTIVE

France called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after this devastating attack. France, Britain, and the United States (the permanent members of the Security Council), circulated a draft to the Council’s 15 members condemning the chemical attack in Syria.

BASIS UNDERPINNING SYRIAN UPRISING

According to Mr. Qaiser following are the root causes of the dilemma being faced in Syria:

_ Political repression
_ Discredited ideology
_ Uneven economic conditions
_ Population surge
_State violence
_Minority Rule
_Persistent tensions and derogatory attitude
_ Increased acrimony and race of power
_Decreased solidarity and strategic vision
The Syrian Chemical attack raises the following questions in Mr. Qaiser’s opinion:
1. What kind of benefit will USA get from this devastating attack?
2. Is this blatant terrorism act victimizing innocents especially children the solution?
3. Is the United Nations Charta so meaningless and worthless for a big power that its violation is insignificant in their eyes?

KEY ELEMENTS FOR SYRIAN CONFLICT DIMINUTION

Mr. Jamal Qaiser, Diplomatic Council Commissioner for UN Affairs has proposed the following 10 step plan to bring peace to Syria:

1. Emphasize legitimacy
2. Take diplomatic measures
3. Assist conciliations, arbitrations and mediations
4. Maintain flexibility
5. Keep issue and power proportional
6. Seek common grounds
7. Resist aggression
8. Negotiate through dialogue and mutual co operation
9. Display commitment
10. Avoid sensationalism

POLICY-RELEVANT IMPLICATIONS FOR IRADICATING VIOLENCE IN SYRIA IN VIEW OF MR.QAISER:

1. A diplomatic negotiation with Assad for resolution.
2. Affable dialogue among western powers to resolve the issue.
3. Formulation of a Muslim-led convoy for gathering all on one table and settling the conflict.
4. Finding out ways to stem the flow of European fighters to Syria, arresting individuals suspected of planning to travel to Syria or who are recruiting others to do so, stopping the flow of masses to these conflict zones by confiscating passports on security grounds, detaining the returning fighters under laws that criminalize training in terrorist camps etc.

OBLIGATIONS ON UNITED NATIONS REGARDING SYRIAN UNREST

Being the world’s sole truly universal organization, the DC Commissioner believes that the diplomatic council is the foremost forum possessing tendency to address issues that transcend national boundaries and cannot be resolved by any country acting alone individually. By dint of its unique international character and powers vested in its charter, it has the force to take actions against issues confronting humanity, thus establishing framework for international peace and security, promoting sustainable social and economic progress worldwide.

In Mr. Qaiser’s opinion all needed in case of Syrian chemical attack is an investigation that would require well equipped professional corps, indigenous and international, fully trained and well equipped with peace building competency for conflict prevention, management and resolutions of matters ultimately. Syrian issue need to be settled peacefully and non-coercively so that the lives of innocent Syrian civilians are not endangered.
Conclusion

The Syrian ongoing conflict has presented challenges to the international community. The Ghouta chemical attacks, The Khan Shaykhun chemical attack , the call of the opposition for the regime change and the sectarian rivalry make the crisis in Syria one of the most troublesome conflicts in the last years. The Syrian war is the key factor that facilitated the emergence of ISIS. . The chemical weapons attack not only enhances atrocities globally but also victimizes innocents especially children.

According to Mr. Jamal Qaiser’s point of view the UN Sectary General should take such diplomatic measures that keep intra-state and inter-state tensions and issues from escalating into violent conflicts. He emphasizes war is not a solution at all. Bombings and killing of innocents can itself be regarded as an act of terrorism and hence is against the charter of United Nations therefore investigations need to be carried out against this unlawful act on the Syrian land. So, according to him instead of just behaving like a condemner and expressing deprecatory attitude the United Nation (global think tank) needs to:

WAKE UP AND SMEEL THE COFFEE

Carry out investigation of the brutal Syrian chemical attack, arrange a meet up of western powers and Muslim convoy on one round table, formulate some coercive policies for tackling the matter and resolve/settle the uprisings and unrest peacefully, affably and amicably through dialogue and negotiations in accordance with the UN Charta protecting the lives of innocent civilians of Syria.