Saturday, May 20, 2006

the end

apologies for putting this up so late.
may 6th.
today was the concluding day for the ADB conference . the main events for the day were the seminar on energy related issues and also a confetrence on sustainaible energy.
the seminar is something that came up pretty recently, apparently greenpeace had a big role to play in getting them to open the platform where ADBs stupid destructive investments in the energy industry were to be considered.
sadly though ,none of us solar gen guys managed to attend the seminar due to a huge fiasco that happened at the gate( a very long boring and sweaty tale) and by the time we managed to sneak in, the seminar was over.
There were quite a few questions raised during the course of the seminar,some pertaining to the billion dollar "indictive" investment that the adb will have in the asia pacific region .
At our usual hang out on the first floor we heard a fair bit of discussion by red, athena,etc. and most of us lost a few brain cells keepinng up with them.
the next important event was the sustainaibility seminar headed by our very own Mr. Pachouri. the chairman of the IPCC and a man who has learnt the secret art of sneaking away very well. a bit of background search on him yields a few intersting facts, he graduated in diesel technology many years ago and in 2003 he was the spokesperson of the indian oil companies,which is quite an achivement .for someone who is supposed to be the worlds authority on climate change...
there were 4 other panelists who spoke quite a load of bullshit.
only one panelists out of the 4 actually talked about Renewable enery and that too in terms of statistical data. they talked at length about nuclear fusion, huge hydel projects and clean coal technoplogies. and these assholes(pardon my french ;-) actually had the nerves to call it a sustainability conference .What are they trying to sustain?
1) is it a complete continued disinterest in the futre of thousands of people?
2)is it the continued "sustainaible" increase in the profitt to be reaped by the western countries(and our dear friend japan) ?

i guess i would rather not know.
anyway we had a sort of payback time in the question and answer session in which we squeezed them through a few 'not so nice' questions. :-) but they deserves them.

thesre was a greenpeace press briefing at the end of the congerence in which srinivas ,laetitia and others gave some really cool quotes.

the day ended with the bank presidents speech. needless to say it was very boring,very bureaucratic and a quite a load of bullshit(please pardon my french,again ;-)

thus endeth our hyderabadi adventures with ADB. we will not forget em and they wont forget us either. This we can promise.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ice Cream and the ADB

The power of ice cream has never been denied, and today, its true power was revealed, rather like Superman ripping his shirt off to reveal a bright Red and Yellow logo, which said " The Asian Development Bank is contributing to the destruction of our environment by its continued funding of coal-powered energy projects," rather than just a simple 'S'.

I woke up around 5 in the morning because of great distress suffered by my lower limbs due to blood clot caused by the cramped position I was made to sleep in the entire night due to the antics of a certain woman named Shilpi who insisted on making her bus seat recline, insisting that she would not be able to sleep sitting up. And all this just to attend the 39th Annual Meeting of the Governors of the Asian Development Bank, which seems to be a measlier sibling of the World Bank, which like its senior, goes around loaning lots of poor governments money to hire foreign contractors who then proceed to build big smoke-belching power plants which contaminate the environment and make lots of poor people spend their lifetime savings on respiratory medicines from pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer.

Once in Hyderabad, went to the hotel, had a bath in boiling water, heated purely because the hotel's water tank seems to be on the roof, and in Hyderabad's 40 degree C, everything gets heated by solar power. Then left for the Hyderabad International Conference Centre, aptly acronymed into HICC (pronounced Hiss). The ADB Conference was being held there, and once we managed to successfully register ourselves as NGO delegates, as representatives from Greenpeace-affiliated Solar Generation, we entered the air-conditioned comfort of the hall, carrying our free laptop bags and 'Enjoy India' free gift, all sponsored by the funds generated by years of accumulated interest on the loans taken by governments to build their subsistence farmers coal-powered plants to generate electricity for their 2-cows-and-a-plough ploughed fields.

Then Greenpeace India sponsored a brazilian (new joke: please ask) ice creams, into which we stuck small flags with the Solar Generation logo on one side, with the other side saying ,” Don’t melt our future, stop coal now!" At first, the media people and the delegates seemed more interested in the ice cream than in our message, but when pressured into accepting a Greenpeace document on the shortfalls of the ADB along with vanilla, chocolate or butterscotch, they were more than happy to promise us a quick readthrough. We even managed to serve Mr. Ahluwalia and Mr. Chidambaram ice cream, and though Mr. Ahluwalia said that it would be impossible to totally quit coal, he did promise us that he 'would look into the matter,' a promise we hope to hold him to.

Mission successful, we ate all the remaining ice cream, and then left the venue, content in our new found repleteness. Ice cream truly can save the world.

The ADB Adventure

Today, I had the full Hyderabad experience. Most of the day I spent alone, in an underground printing place where they've printed out gigantic A1-size posters that we'll paste to our bodies for tomorrow's action (hopefully at the candlelight vigil at the Gandhi statue, if Ananda can make sure we won't be 'inappropriate' for the occassion). The International Youth Renewable Energy Declaration (i.e. Y-RED, codenamed the 'Red Paper') is finally ready and blown up, ready to be unveiled grandly to the media. The discussions with SG-Int'l were full of exciting ideas and intelligent debate about phrasing. Then we ran it by the GP guys, who suggested we hone our 'messaging' (which is a word we're hearing often -- very MBA, they can be sometimes). Tomorrow, the guys from Bangalore arrive. We spend the morning doing the following:
1. Briefing SG-Bang on the events of the last dramatic three days and alloting (no time to negotiate in any civil way...) duties: media team, action team, inside-centre team.
2. Trying to get everyone accredited to enter the convention centre (?)
3. Making windmills, flags, etc. for the action inside the convention centre.
4. Making placards, graffiti for the NVDA at the candlelit vigil (?)
5. Making the invitation for the media for our 5th ceremony
6. Drafting the press release for Y-RED
7. Making a press kit (Nayana was there to give out sage advice on the most effective forms of media manipulation and other dire duties.)

Going by past experience, we will do a set of things mutually exclusive from the above. Good night!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Asian Development Bank, AGM, Hyderabad 2006

About The ADB:
The work of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is aimed at improving the welfare of the people in Asia and the Pacific, particularly the 1.9 billion who live on less than $2 a day.
Despite many success stories, Asia and the Pacific remains home to two thirds of the world's poor.
ADB is a multilateral development financial institution owned by 65 members, 47 from the region and 18 from other parts of the globe.
ADB's vision is a region free of poverty. Its mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their citizens.
ADB's main instruments for providing help to its developing member countries are:
policy dialogue
technical assistance
equity investments.

ADB's annual lending volume is typically about $6 billion, with technical assistance usually totaling about $180 million a year.
The ADB headquarters is in Manila.

The Asian Development Bank and why we need to bother with it:
Between 1970 and 2003, 41 per cent (US$16.65 billion) of the Asian Development Bank’s co -financed projects were for the energy sector and, despite a new energy policy of actively promoting renewable energy resources; in 2003 only 1 of 8 energy projects was for some form of clean energy development.

ADB role in Coal:
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported “coal will continue to play a key role in energy mix. In 2030, coal will meet 22% of global energy mix, essentially the same as today”. Furthermore, the IEA projects that the world’s coal demand will “increase at an average rate of 1.4% to 2030” without further action to tackle climate change.

This year, the ADB is conducting its Annual General Meeting in Hyderabad. A large contingent of NGOs is also present, voicing their resentment at the ADB's policies in the region.
Greenpeace is also making its presence felt at this event, and this has provided a chance for Solar Generation members from 5 countries to come together and interact with each other, as well as take part in activities that carry Greenpeace's message to the ADB. Joining the Solar Generation gathering were a couple of youth groups form Hyderabad.

Day 1:
The day began with an introductory session to the skill-share. Participants introduced themselves and a review of the objectives and agenda of the skill share was carried out.
Next, an update on the worldwide climate and energy scenario was presented to us. Following that was a discussion on the awareness amongst the general public regarding climate change. This discussion led to a practical session, in which the participants were divided into small groups, who then went out onto the streets, interviewing people on the issue. Back at the skill-share venue, the various views obtained were once again discussed. This particular activity proved to be a valuable eye-opener to the SG members, and the enthusiasm shown by the locals in response to our activity impressed the SG members from abroad.
The afternoon session comprised presentations by the each of the SG member countries present, on the work that they've been carrying out in their respective countries.

Day 2:
Day 2 began with presentations by the Hyderabad youth groups.
Following that, Red Constantino (From GP International) and Laetitia (GP France) gave us presentations on the basic objectives of any campaign, steps to run an effective campaign, and the functioning of International Financing Institutions (IFIs).
During part of the day, a section of the SG members interacted with a journalist from the Times Of India.
The afternoon session comprised a workshop on campaigning strategies. Members were divided into groups, which then brainstormed on campaign strategies for a period of 6 months to 1 year. Once that was done, the groups presented their proposals to the rest, and fielded questions on the same. No doubt, several interesting suggestions and ideas cropped up that may help us build our Green Campus campaign.

The steps in running an effective campaign are:
a) Research and power analysis; energy consumption, cost and sources
measures already taken and the results.
b)Set a goal; (SMART- Specific, Measurable, Achievable,Relevant, Time bound)
c)Project your goals to the administration. If 'YES'...your victory. If 'NO'...start planning your campaign.
d)Make campaign plan and timeline.; Resources, allies, opponents, targets, timeline.
Step-by-step plan.
e)Develop campaign materials; Material should have information about the issue, the campaign, and how people can get involved.
f)Gather support from other players and get visibility.
g)Create a buzz/hype; capture attention, use it as a media tool, gather contact list for further involvement/future members.
h)Negotiate with administration again.
i) Victory!!!!! ; Communicate the victory as much as possible, look at ways of following up on commitments.

- Be creative and visible.
- Communicate and co-ordinate with other campuses.
- Develop positive relationships between the students, faculty and administration.
- Make your campus proud of your victory (your victory should be the campus' victory)

Day 3:
Somo (GP India) started the day with a small presentation on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
We then reviewed the previous day's workshop outcomes, with emphasis on sharing suggestions and clarifying unclear points. This took up the rest of the morning session. In the afternoon, we began our 2nd workshop of the day. 'Conducting Joint Activities and How to Build an International Network' saw several highly interesting ideas come up, especially regarding a new SG worldwide website and activities for the COP/MOP meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

The entire skill share was definitely very interesting and loads of fun (especially the energizing games!!) Apart from the ideas and suggestions we were able to take away from the skill share, notable was the enthusiasm shown by the Hyderabad youth groups...and the possible creation of SG Hyderabad.