Green Cross International

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Logo of Green Cross International

Green Cross International is an environmental organisation founded by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, building upon the work started by the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1] Green Cross International's mission is "to help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering a value shift and cultivating a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity's relationship with nature."[2] This organisation publishes a newsletter and also came out with a publication entitled "Antarctica: the Global Warning."[3] More than thirty countries have established Green Cross National organisations which are part of Green Cross International.

History[edit]

In January 1990 during an address to the Global Forum on Environment and Development for Survival, President Mikhail Gorbachev (the former President of the USSR) brought up the idea for an organisation that would apply the medical emergency response model of the International Committee of the Red Cross to ecological issues and expedite solutions to environmental problems that transcend national boundaries.[4]

Developing this idea, delegates at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (June 1992), approached Mikhail Gorbachev urging him to create and launch such an organisation. Meanwhile the Swiss Parliamentarian Roland Wiederkehr founded the 'World Green Cross' with the same objective. The two organisations merged in 1993 to form Green Cross International (GCI).

GCI was then formally launched in Kyoto on 18 April 1993. Upon the invitation of Mikhail Gorbachev, many renowned figures joined its Board of Directors and its Honorary Board.

The first set of National Organizations formally joined GCI in The Hague, in the spring of 1994. These included:

  • Japan (President Shoo Iwasaki);
  • Netherlands (President Awraham Soetendorp);
  • Russian Federation (President Nikita Moiseev);
  • Switzerland (President Ronald Hess);
  • United States (President Diane Meyer Simon).

To date, Green Cross International is represented in more than 30 countries around the world. National offices are located in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA.

Green Cross International has a general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and with UNESCO. It is also an observer organisation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and has regular cooperation with UNEP, UN-OCHA and UN-HABITAT as well as other international organisations.

Green Cross International is a Founding Member of the World University Consortium, a major initiative of the World Academy of Art and Science to design a global system of higher education attuned to emerging opportunities and challenges.

Green Cross International Board of Directors[edit]

The Board of Directors and the Honorary Board of GCI are as follows:

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Mikhail Gorbachev, Founding President;
  • Jan Kulczyk, Chairman;
  • Alexander Likhotal, President & CEO (ex officio);
  • Sander Mallien, Treasurer, Green Cross Switzerland President;
  • Mohan Munasinghe;
  • Mario Soares;
  • Sergey Baranovskiy, Green Cross Russia President;
  • Celso Luiz Claro de Oliveira, Green Cross Brazil President;
  • Ousséni Diallo, Green Cross Burkina Faso CEO;
  • Shoo Iwasaki, Green Cross Japan President;
  • Scott Seydel, Global Green USA Chairman.

Honorary Board[edit]

Mikhail Gorbachev[edit]

As the founder of GCI, Mikhail Gorbachev was an active and important guiding force for the organisation. Through his writings and appearances, Mr. Gorbachev helped bring greater focus to the three connected challenges of ensuring human security, removing poverty and averting environmental catastrophes. In addition to the Green Cross, Mr. Gorbachev also used other channels such as the World Political Forum and the Nobel Laureates summits to sensitise world public opinion on these issues.

Mission[edit]

The mission of Green Cross International is to help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering a value shift and cultivating a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity's relationship with nature.

Areas of Activity[edit]

From advocacy programmes at national and international levels to training individuals on how to construct rainwater-harvesting systems, Green Cross provides comprehensive programmes that further the values of cooperation among all stakeholders. The human relationship with nature crosses all boundaries and transcends all ideas of class, which necessitates a solution that goes beyond good governance and good policy, and hinges on the shared responsibility for a sustainable and just future for all.

Green Cross International works in the following areas:

  1. Prevention and resolution of conflicts arising from environmental degradation;
  2. Provision of assistance to people affected by the environmental consequences of wars and conflicts;
  3. Promotion of legal, ethical and behavioural norms that ensure basic changes in the values, actions and attitudes of government, the private sector and civil society, necessary to build a sustainable global community.

Preventing and resolving conflicts over natural resources[edit]

In its mission to prevent and resolve conflicts over scarce natural resources, GCI runs the water for peace, access to water, right to water and smart energy for sustainable development programmes. Their objective is to promote cooperation between countries that share river waters, the meeting of basic consumption and sanitation needs of people for water, and the speedy deployment of renewable energy technologies to address climate change, rising energy demand and poverty. Addressing climate change and the inter¬-related challenges of security and development has become a focus point of GCI’s involvement in the UNFCCC climate change negotiation process.

Addressing the environmental consequences of wars and conflicts[edit]

The Legacy of the Cold War Programme, the Social and Medical Care Programme and Post-War Environmental Analysis are programmes implemented worldwide with the aim of assisting those affected by the environmental consequences of wars, conflicts and man-made calamities. Activities include support to children, families and communities suffering long-term socio-economic, medical and psychological stresses brought on by exposure to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. A number of successfully implemented projects include analysis of the environmental impacts of wars and conflicts in Kuwait, the Middle East, the Balkans, Argentina, Burkina Faso, and South Asia, ensuring that environmental rehabilitation is now regularly included within the umbrella of humanitarian assistance during and following conflicts. Expertise has also been developed in the cleanup and conversion of military bases to civilian use, dealing with nuclear contamination, and the environmentally responsible destruction of conventional and chemical weapons stockpiles.

Promoting values and behaviour changes[edit]

GCI also seeks to attain a value and behaviour shift through initiatives such as the Earth Charter, the Earth Dialogues and the Environmental Education and Awareness Programme. The idea is to sensitise people, especially the young, with a positive awareness of and responsibility towards these common threats to humanity posed by poverty, insecurity and environmental destruction.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.globalgreen.org/about/gci.html
  2. ^ http://gci.ch/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=7 Green Cross International Headquarters redirection
  3. ^ http://gci.ch/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=96&Itemid=1 Green Cross International Headquarters redirection
  4. ^ http://www.gcint.org/our-history

External links[edit]