In recent months, a number of rapid and dramatic developments have unfolded that demand our attention. The most prominent of these include the tsunami and the ensuing nuclear reactor crisis in Japan, political upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, and most recently the Green Party‘s swift rise in popularity in Ger many, which led to the election of Germany‘s first Green Minister President at the federal state level – namely in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster has provided us with a vivid example of the catastrophic risks inherent in nuclear power. Germany is re-negotiating its policies to phase out the use of nuclear power and to accelerate the transition to renewables-based energies. Blueprints for these steps have been prepared. For years now, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has been building up extensive expertise in dealing with the “myth of nuclear power”, and we are actively involved in domestic and international debates on this crucial issue.
Making the transition to the post-fossil fuel era and putting in place an economic system that uses resources efficiently is the central task of the coming decades. The prosperity of tomorrow will be based on resource efficiency, renewable energy sources, and environmentally compatible agricultural systems. These priorities must be accompanied by sustainable fiscal and budget policies. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure social participation and fair opportunities for advancement for everyone – this is the basic idea underpinning the Green New Deal to which the Heinrich Böll Foundation is committed.
The democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt signify a political transformation that we hope is irreversible. In contrast, developments in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain cause us great concern. We will intensify our activities focusing on Europe‘s southern neighbors. Our long-term experience in fostering democratic structures provides us with a strong basis for constructively supporting the shifts in the Arab world. At the same time, we support political initiatives aiming to achieve a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and we are committed to international guarantees for a two-state solution.
The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in October 2000 constituted a historic breakthrough. Since then, it is a mandatory rule under international law that women are to be appropriately involved at all levels in peace processes, security policy, and local conflict resolution processes. As is so often the case, however, the resolution‘s actual implementation is proceeding at an inadequate pace. We are committed to gender-sensitive foreign and security policies and continually develop new perspectives on this issue.
The knowledge and great dedication of our domestic and international staff form the essential basis for our successful work. Their efforts are complemented and enriched by the extensive voluntary support provided by our expert advisory boards, expert commissions, women‘s council, supervisory board, membership meeting, and the Green Academy.
We would like to express our great respect and special thanks to all of those who make our work possible.
Berlin, April 2011
Ralf Fücks Barbara Unmüßig
Presidents, Heinrich Böll Foundation
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