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Green Cross International (GCI) is a Geneva-based non-governmental organisation founded by President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993. The idea, to apply the medical emergency response model of the Red Cross to ecological threats that transcend national boundaries, was first mooted by President Gorbachev during an address to the Global Forum on Environment and Development for Survival in 1990. At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, delegates gave whole-hearted support to the creation of such an organisation.
In the last 17 years, GCI has developed its network across 31 countries. It has plans to expand this network. GCI seeks to promote a just, sustainable and secure future for all. Guiding its work are fundamental human values that transcend cultural differences: respect, care, solidarity, integrity, equality and non-violence.
The main areas of GCI’s focus are addressing the challenges of security, poverty and the environment. Accordingly, GCI’s activities are organised around three pillars: to prevent and resolve conflicts over scarce natural resources, assist those affected by the environmental effects of wars and conflicts, and contribute to a genuine value and behaviour shift necessary to build a sustainable global community.
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 of an organization that would apply the medical emergency response model of the International Committee of the Red to ecological issues and expedite solutions to environmental problems that transcend national boundaries.
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 18th 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 (GCNOs) 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 31 countries around the world. National offices are located in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Uzbekistan 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 also has an observer status 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.
Mikhail Gorbachev Edit
As the founder of GCI, Mikhail Gorbachev continues to be an active
and important guiding force for the organisation. Through his writings and appearances, Mr. Gorbachev helps 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 uses other channels such as the World Political Forum and the Nobel Laureates summits to sensitise world public opinion on these issues.
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);
- Ernst Muhlemann, Treasurer (ex officio);
- Mario Soares;
- Sergey Baranovskiy, Green Cross Russia President;
- Shoo Iwasaki, Green Cross Japan President;
- Sander Mallien, Green Cross Switzerland President;
- Scott Seydel, Global Green USA Chairman.
Honorary Board Edit
- Princess Basma bint Talal, Jordan
- Jean-Michel Cousteau, France
- Victor Danilov-Danilyan, Russia
- Prof. Istvan Lang, Hungary
- Dr. Rita Levi Montalcini, Italy
- Dr. Rudolphus Ruud Lubbers, The Netherlands
- Prof. Wangari Maathai, Kenya
- Pat Mitchell, USA
- Adolf Ogi, Switzerland
- H. E. Javier Perez de Cuellar, Peru
- Robert Redford , USA
- Dr. Karan Singh, India
- Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, The Netherlands
- David Suzuki, Canada
- Dr. Monkombu M. S. Swaminathan, India
- Diane Meyer Simon, USA
- Ted Turner, USA
- Dr. Yevgeny Velikhov, Russia
- Wakako Hironaka, Japan
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:
- Prevention and resolution of conflicts arising from environmental degradation;
- Provision of assistance to people affected by the environmental consequences of wars and conflicts;
- 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 clean up 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.