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The Youth Press Agency is an initiative of youth participation through the creative use of new and traditional tools of communication and information. 
Promoted by: Viração Educomunicação (Brazil), Viração&Jangada (Italy), Fundación TierraVida (Argentina) and ClimaLab (Colombia). 
The Youth Press Agency is an initiative of youth partecipation through the creative use of new and traditional tools of communication and information promoted by the association Viração&Jangada in collaboration with the association In Medias Res, associations of youth and schools.
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19/07/2018, 14:44


 The Paris Agreement is not enough and we need to strive for 1.5°C rather than 2°C

The 2015 Paris climate deal outlined two distinct goals: holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

The Climate Home News website ( ) has published  the version sent by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the governments of the 1.5°C executive group. This second draft of the report assesses the difference between the two goals, namely 2°C and 1.5°C, in terms of impacts on human life, economy and global environment. The report is due to be officially released in October after receiving some feedbacks from governments.

Here is list of the most significant assessed results: 

  • The human-induced global warming reached approximately 1 ± 0.2°C above pre-industrial levels in 2017, and is currently increasing by 0.2 ± 0.1°C per decade.

  • Past emissions alone are unlikely to raise global average surface temperature (GMST) to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but do commit to further changes, such as sea level rise and associated impacts. If emissions continue at the current rate, human-induced warming will exceed 1.5°C by around 2040. 

  • Risks to natural and human systems are lower for global warming of 1,5°C compared to that of 2°C depending on geographical location, levels of development, vulnerability and adaptation strategies and mitigation options.

  • Sustainable development, poverty eradication and implications on human rights will be key considerations in mitigation efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C and in efforts to adapt to global warming by 1.5°C.

  • There is no simple answer as to whether it is feasible to limit heating to 1,5°C and to adapt to global warming consequences. This is because multiple dimensions need to be considered simultaneously and systematically. 

  • Currently, there are substantial increases in extreme weather events both in a world heated at 1.5°C, and between 1.5°C and 2°C. Such extreme events include high-level temperature in all inhabited regions, extreme precipitation in most regions, and extreme droughts in some regions.

  • On land, the risks of climate-induced impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including loss and extinction of species, are substantially less at 1,5°C than 2°C. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will bring great benefits to terrestrial ecosystems, wetlands and the preservation of their services. Overheating, if much higher than 1.5°C (near 2°C), can have irreversible impacts on some species, ecosystems, their ecological functions and their services to humans, even if global warming stabilizes at 1.5°C until 2100.

  • Limiting warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C would substantially reduce the risks to marine biodiversity, ecosystems and their ecological functions, and to the services provided to humans in coastal and oceanic areas, especially in the Arctic ecosystems and hot-water coral reefs. By 2100, the sea level rise would be about 0.1 m lower with global warming limited to 1,5°C.

  • Impacts on health, livelihoods, food and water supply, human security, infrastructure will increase with 1.5°C of warming compared to today, and even more with a heating of 2°C compared to 1.5°C.

  • Limiting global warming to 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication requires a portfolio of mitigation and adaptation actions in all sectors and scales. These actions can be implemented only with adjustments in finance, technology and behaviour.

  • Implementing policies to successfully limit warming to 1.5°C, and to adapt humankind to this warming, implies international cooperation and the strengthening the institutional capacity of national and subnational authorities, civil society, the private sector, cities, local communities and indigenous peoples. 

For further information, here is the whole report.

Francesca Melis

29/06/2018, 17:42


 Economist and coordinator at Banco Palmas (Brazil), Asier Ansorena talks about the contribution of social currencies in building a fair and solidarity economy.

Economist and coordinator at Banco Palmas (Brazil), Asier Ansorena talks about the contribution of social currencies in building a fair and solidarity economy. 

YPA: What is social currency?

AA: It depends on the angle you look at. There are a lot of different models in countries such as Kenya, France and Japan, also known as local or complementary currencies. The important thing about each currency is that one local community defines what are the principles, what is the use, how to use it and which should be the investment mechanism. Issues that are important to the sovereignty of each population. The local currency of Banco Palmas was created within the Palmeiras group, which is where Banco Palmas operates. It’s a currency that was created to contribute to the organization of local economies, and by organization I mean the dynamization of networks of local producers and consumers. When this network of local production and consumption is developed, people create a differentiated, solidarity and sustainable economy. Currency is one of the important tools, not only in practical and operational terms, because it allows the local consumption, but also in pedagogical terms of sovereignty and symbolic, because it is a tool of local power.

YPA: During your speech at the closing table of the International Forum for Well-being you said that until a few years ago the circulation of a currency parallel to the official currency was illegal. How and when has this changed and what is the role of Banco Palmas in this change?

AA: Banco Palmas was born in 1998. During the first 4 or 5 years we were ignored by the economic system. When this group learnt about Banco Palmas, it certainly did not like the proposal, because this system wants to maintain this monopoly of creating money and economic vision in the country. The first years were years of resistance and Banco Palmas faced two lawsuits. The last one in 2003, when facing the Central Bank’s indictment against the Brazilian state, we get a favorable sentence in which the judge, in other words, stated that Banco Palmas existed because the Central Bank was not complying with its mandate, which is to work for the financial inclusion of the Brazilian people. Twenty years ago, close to 70% of Brazilians did not have access to the financial system. It was in the first place a fight of resistance, because Conjunto Palmeiras exists for 45 years. Then, Banco Palmas is another symbol of resistance of this movement. Later, during the Lula administration, the National Secretariat for Solidarity Economy was created, which allowed and facilitated the implementation of community banks in other regions of Brazil. Through this program it was possible to reach the current number of 113 community banks in the country.

First, a moment of resistance facing the financial system and then, support for the creation of community banks. This is our vision for the strengthening of civil society, with greater independence and sovereignty in economic issues. 

YPA: What is the measurable impact on local communities that have social currencies? How does this relate to the concept of well-being?

AA: It has issues that are measurable and others that are not. I’ll explain that with a case: in 2010, Banco Palmas started an exclusive microcredit line for women beneficiaries of Brazil’s conditional cash transfer program. There are other models like this in the world, but the Brazilian is the largest of them, where something around 13 million Brazilian women receive help to support their families. Nearly 30% of Brazilian families are beneficiaries of the program. Our line of productive microcredit was created to think about how these women could start different activities for income generation, with small enterprises or with small activities that they could carry out in the home to generate complementary income. That’s because it’s important to generate local wealth, which is one of the main functions of community banks such as Banco Palmas. After three months of running the program, we surveyed 100 women benefiting from the credit and one of the strongest things we’ve noticed was that in a neighborhood like the Palmeiras complex on the outskirts of Fortaleza, a beach town, half of these women had never gone to the beach. Think of the level of isolation of these women who were born or who have lived for over 20, 30, 40 years at that location, 50-year-old women who had never been to the beach.

We realized that more important than a line of microcredit, we had to take these women to the beach. That is well-being in the vein. Explain this to the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank. I tried, several times. But they look and wonder, not being able to get if they understood it correctly. They call you communist, anarchist, anti-system, because you say that taking those women to the beach is more important than microcredit. Obviously, microcredit is important, but in this context of isolation, in the handcuffs on the heads of those women who are the main local development institution of any community, who are the head of these families, caring for the next generation, thinking about the economy of the house, situations in which the husband is often not present or is not a positive reference, we realized that we needed a much more holistic look. 

We created the ELAS project from this data that we’ve collected, a project of socio-productive inclusion of women from Bolsa-Família which, in addition to microcredit, it built all the skills, provided time for leisure, for women to get to know the city, to connect in a space only for them. Working the psychological issue, as many speakers spoke during the Forum for Well-Being, to look inside before looking outside, to have this internal peace to face this great challenge of removing families from the situation of inequality or economic poverty, which is very strong.

So, this is our contribution to well-being. A conventional bank would never do that. But a community bank that thinks of microcredit and uses it for investments in production and generation of local wealth, uses the social currency, sees that it can intervene in this condition by the proximity to the territory, realizing that the challenge and dimensions of poverty are very broad. A community bank has this capability, a conventional bank will never do this. Firstly, because they will believe that they’re very risky operations, therefore, they are not worth it, and they think that some paternalistic or assistance policy is the unique way. A community bank, where the community itself works on it, completely changes a project that had started with microcredit and turned out to be something much bigger.

We have an example with the digital currency in the city of Maricá, in the state of Rio de Janeiro: we have issued a notice of the city hall to distribute a benefit that the city of Maricá offers with the royalties of petroleum, which is the bolsa-mambuca. Basically a local conditional cash transfer, but distributed through our digital community bank platform, e-dinheiro (e-money). It turns into local currency managed by the local community bank that owns the platform and then this money is consumed only in that territory. We already have 5 months of experience there, with over 5 thousand users registered in the platform, accessing their benefit, despite locals consuming in the area. As a result, we have generated more than R $ 1,500,000.00 of local purchases using our digital community bank platform, and the difference of making this purchase with our platform or with a Visa or MasterCard is that these companies will charge, on average, 6% merchant fee to receive purchases with these cards.

With Banco Palmas’s digital community bank model, merchants pay 2% instead of 6% and those 2% are reinvested in that territory. These R$ 1,500,000.00 generated 30 thousand reais to invest in the region. What did the community bank in Maricá do? Talked to the community to decide what to do with the 30 thousand reais generated by local consumption. Money belongs to the community, they themselves produced and generated that income via local consumption and are a popular local sovereignty. They decided to invest in productive microcredit without interest. A big difference from the traditional market that can charge up to 50%, 60% of annual interest of entrepreneurs for productive microcredit.

These are some of the examples that have the greatest impact. Not to mention that if these same purchases had been made in the traditional system with rates at 6%, this would represent  90 thousand reais, leaving the territory never to return. The profit that Visa or Mastercard obtains from these operations goes to large financial centers of the institution’s headquarters in São Paulo or the United States and never returns to the territory that produced that wealth. That’s the differential of the social currency and the community bank, that the wealth that you generate within the territory, most of it circulates and is distributed in the region. Issues such as well-being help to better work this multi-dimension of a situation of inequality or poverty.

YPA: What are the current challenges facing social currencies inside and outside communities?

AA: The parliamentary coup against the democratically elected president Dilma Rousseff, in 2016, put Brazil in an extremely complex situation, politically and economically. Those in power today generate a lot of uncertainty about what will happen after the elections, there is a huge polarization and we do not know what the future of the country looks like. This greatly undermines the types of public policies that can be created for community banks. We are looking at the alternatives and the example of Maricá, of using a digital community bank, and palmas e-dinheiro to distribute social benefit instead of opting for a traditional bank like Santander or Itaú is a big gain, because it shows what  community banks can be in terms of impact and financial sustainability. A more transparent system, much cheaper, with no owner and, once again, with the notion that the wealth created locally should be distributed locally, gaining an independence of public policies and giving sovereignty to the civil society that works with economic rights. I believe that this is our main opportunity, along with the challenges of convincing different communities, municipalities and other private entities that this is very interesting for Brazil. Brazilian financial system is one of the most profitable in the world. We have a very serious problem and we need to talk about this because these private commercial banks are not investing in the population that has the capacity to produce at different levels. That’s what generates employment, income. When we put people as protagonists we have a much better chance of thinking about a more sustainable country.For example, when you put the riverside communities, the outskirts of the big cities, the backwoods in local decision-making, I think the chance to work out is much greater. What kind of reform can we do in the country when banks are stealing the economic capacity of the population?

YPA: Local currencies, by definition, are limited to a particular area where they circulate. Is this going against globalization?

AA: During the Forum I heard a speech that we should be careful not to deliver this wonderful gift that is the globalization of peoples to the capitalist markets and to the companies. We are in different struggles, but in reality it’s the same fight. We cannot deliver into the hand of capitalism the gift of indigenous peoples, descendants of slaves in Latin America and Brazil, the people of the peripheries, immigrants and refugees in Europe, the French middle class, this worldview through economic democracy, well-being, circular economy, the challenge of the environment, all into the hands of the market, which has a single-minded vision. We have to bring all the different looks and work together. The social currency is countercultural if we compare it to the only currency in the world that is bank money, supposedly produced by the Central Bank.

We believe (that the production of money) should not be just a centralized activity, but we have to be careful because in Brazil that’s illegal. So our currency is counterculture in the sense that it is a community that is producing and thinking a currency as a tool to support local consumption, not a confrontation. Banco Palmas has already been accused of crimes against the Brazilian state. So for each unit of social currency that we create, we have to have R$1 of ballast. We create the currency to stimulate consumption and local production so that we can reorganize the local economy and power. Palmas currency facilitates this. What we would like to see eventually is how we can create alternative currencies that are not backed up in the official currency, to have greater autonomy and local financing capacity.  Often communities cannot develop because they do not have the opportunity to invest, since we don’t have mechanisms to share risks and wealth. The wealthiest places in the world, like California for example, have investment models where investors and entrepreneurs share the gain and the risk as well. In the microcredit model, for example, the responsibility is far above the entrepreneur. If we can create alternative currencies, it will be easier to think of self-financing models. We’re not asking for a miracle. What we ask is that people have the capacity to produce, to do what they already know how to do.

That is a fundamental aspect and it’s where the digital coins that we are developing come in. The models we have created are allowing local consumption to self-finance those regions. That’s solidarity finance in the vein.

This year, Banco Palmas is holding the Global Meeting of Solidarity Development Banks in 2018, bringing together the entire network of Brazilian community banks and with the unprecedented participation of actors and international initiatives related to the theme of solidarity economy. The event will take place between September 4 and 6, in the city of Fortaleza.

Natalia Aquino


25/06/2018, 18:31

indigenous, society, well being, latin america


 Buen Vivir, which can be translated to "well-being", is a concept inspired by various Andeans’ cosmovisions like the "Suma Quasaña", among the Aymaras’ people, or the "Sumak Kasay" for the Quechuas’.

Buen Vivir, which can be translated to "well-being", is a concept inspired by various Andeans’ cosmovisionslike the "Suma Quasaña", among the Aymaras’ people, or the"Sumak Kasay" for the Quechuas’. These concepts were visualized at aninternational level by their incorporation into the constitutions of Boliviaand Ecuador during the first decade of the 21st century, witch alsoresulted endangering it by the same process, making it lose its essence duringthe political use. 

Strongly related to the way of lifeof indigenous communities and fundamentally indivisible from the holisticconcept of Mother Earth called Pacha, these cosmo-visions are based on various principles like a non-linearperception of time, the concepts of contradiction and complementarity and thesearch for a global balance. 

About politics
A powerful indigenous movement wasinitiated by the end of the 20th century, particularly by the creation of strong grassroots organizations andvarious nonviolent actions such as giant protest marches to defend the rightsof indigenous peoples and mother earth. They fought, among others, for theright to land, the free exploitation of natural resources, self-determination,cultural recognition or the establishment of a participatory political system. 

These strife happened in a contextdominated by neoliberal policies and the failure of socialism in the 1990s.These instances, by integrating the concept of Buen Vivir as ideological andpolitical basis, have institutionalizedthe rights of the autochthonous populations and the mother earth, wich isgreat progress. Unfortunately, the policies implemented by governments haveonly partially allowed the application of these laws and, while significantlyimproving the condition of the indigenous populations, have not allowed a deepand lasting structural reform. 

The expansion of this concept raisesanother problem which is that of the instrumentalization and the loss of valueswhich results from it. Indeed, it is feared that the use of the concept of BuenVivir, emptied of its essence, for political purposes in particular, is afactor hindering the sincere expansion and the preservation of thiscosmo-vision. 

A holistic worldconception 

Although fundamentally diversebecause of its intimate relation totraditions, histories, territories and specific cultures of each community, the Buen Vivir sharessome conceptual bases that constitute a commonfundament. Buen Vivir conceives the universe as a great whole. This unityof the universe is expressed in particular by the indivisible quality of thisone, by the interconnection whichbinds each of the elements which composes it. 

Humans are thusentirely connected with the nature, rivers, mountains, the lamas, to the music,etc. Another philosophical aspect is the non-linearity of time. According to theAndean conception, time is circularand unfolds as a spiral, which means that in the future there is necessarilyalso the past. Everything that comes to be, has already been. 

In this context the linear progress and the ideaof unlimiteddevelopment and growth does not exist. In any part of progress there is apart of regression. Taking a step forward is also taking a step backwards.Another element of the conceptual construction of Buen Vivir is its contradictory aspect.All things have its opposite, there is nohappiness without sadness, life without death, etc. Life moves and istransformed by these contradictions. To these contradictions is added theprinciple of complementarity whichmakes it possible to create balance

Every single thing has a place, arole, a complementary action with other elements within the universe, and it’s this balance,fundamental, universal and harmonious, that must be sought by Humanity. Thehuman being must find its complementary place in the universe. 

IsBuen Vivir possible beyond the indigenous communities? 

The lifestyles that flow from thesecosmovisions cannot simply be transposed into today’s globalized society, orinto any other society ultimatly. Indeed, being deeply linked to thehistorical, cultural and territorial contexts of Andean indigenous communities,Buen Vivir has been unable to provide concrete or ideological answers tovarious challenges of our "modern" societies, such as the end ofpatriarchy or the definition of the role of the state. Incapable because theyare far removed from these concepts and these contemporary problems. 

Making Buen Vivir possible outsideindigenous communities would most likely involve rethinking our relationship tothe world as a whole, rethinking interactions among people and thenature, reconsidering our relationships to "others" through the eyeof the Pacha that unites us all. 

These well-beings would happen inour societies, at a global level, by the awareness of our impact in the world around usand the responsibilities incumbent to us, to work to drastically change our national andinternational policies in terms of respect for nature, human beings, cultures,etc. In the end, it is this question of respect that allows us at an individuallevel to aproach the Buen Vivir, this respect that we owe to all that surround us and who ultimately is not foreign to us. Thesearch for harmony can only be achieved with the commitment and respect of each for everyone’s well-being. 

I would say that there are as manywell-beings as there are societies. Well-being is also found in our quotidian,it shares and depends on a personal way of our traditions, histories andterritories. The Andean Buen Vivir must be fedby other well-beings, progress and struggles around the world and also fedon other initiatives and conceptions. It is not a question of creating a greatsyncretism and to impose it on a global level, but to complement eachwell-being, each way of life. To protect the cultures, foundations andtraditions and to fill in their gaps and weaknesses by building a globalwell-being context, infinitely multiple and diverse like our Humanity.  

Fabio Trapani

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