A Wish-List for 2024

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  1. There should be immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and this should be followed by a very well-planned and adequate relief effort to meet all basic needs of the people of Gaza, with special emphasis on treatment of those who are injured or ill. Their future life with dignity and safety in Gaza should be ensured, and similarly a life of dignity and safety for the people of West Bank should be ensured. A two state solution can provide the basic framework for resolving the problems of this region, but in addition more needs to be done for peaceful co-existence and ending hostile feelings on both sides. Whatever the bitterness from the past, both sides must realize that there has to be a new beginning for peace one day, and so why can’t this be very early in 2024?
  2. In the Ukraine conflict an unconditional ceasefire should be declared as early as possible on the basis of the existing line of control and territorial positions, while all contentious issues can be resolved later by negotiations. The negotiations can be as prolonged as required, but these should not break down. Simultaneously many-sided efforts should be made to re-establish friendly relations among the people of Russia and Ukraine at various levels. At the same time, a big relief and rehabilitation effort should be launched with special emphasis on the most devastated parts of the conflict zone.
  3. The United Nations should initiate a major effort to bring peace to many conflict-affected parts of Africa, with special emphasis on the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region, as well as Congo, Sudan, South Sudan and Libya. Simultaneously, a big boost should be given to taking urgent food and medicine supplies to the conflict zones as well as other areas affected by serious hunger situation.
  4. The United Nations should set up a new agency devoted to resolving all aspects of the human-made crisis which threaten the basic life-nurturing conditions of earth. These aspects include the most serious global environmental problems including climate change and all weapons of mass destruction (nuclear weapons, AI weapons as well as other WMDs). This organization should be able to simultaneously take forward the resolution of all these life-threatening problems together. The aim should be to achieve this while meeting the basic needs of all people, a task that necessarily involves a big reduction of inequalities.
  5. Sustained efforts should be made to strengthen people’s movements to improve their existing good work but also to increasingly link them with the resolving of existential problems within a framework of justice. Hence people’s movements working on justice and equality, peace and disarmament, protection of environment and biodiversity, gender and child issues should increasingly work with increasing unity and solidarity.
  6. The next decade 2024-2034 should be declared as the Decade to Save Earth Now, a decade when the task of saving the life-nurturing conditions of earth get the highest priority, within a framework of justice, peace and democracy. This would be a decade when the world learns to prioritize the most urgent issues. At the level of communities, educational institutions and at other levels, several activities will be taken up to spread this message.
  7. A movement for worldwide strengthening of inter-faith harmony should be initiated, aimed at better understanding, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence among people of all religions, sects and faiths, as well as atheists and non-believers. This can be facilitated by the United Nations. This movement will take forward understanding of various religions in such a way that conflict and misunderstanding are avoided and instead people start inter-acting with mutual respect. Efforts will be made to avoid fundamentalist and sectarian trends within various religions, as well as interpretations which impose undue restrictions and discriminations. Efforts to obtain the cooperation of leading religious and spiritual leaders and scholars in this effort will be made.
  8. Efforts to move towards a no-wars effort should be made, and this effort should be integrated with various other initiatives which are on the same path and can be helpful. The various peace movements and the United Nations can be particularly helpful.
  9. Efforts to increase humanitarian and emergency help should be enhanced significantly so that all countries which face a serious humanitarian and disaster crisis are able to get much more international help without any political or other bias or without any undue conditions being imposed, the effort being to reach out to the suffering people as effectively as possible.
  10. Related to this, all countries which have suffered a lot in wars imposed on them should get special relief and compensation ( with special emphasis on Iraq and Afghanistan) while efforts rooted in democracy and justice to end internal conflict in other countries like Myanmar and Yemen should be stepped up.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children, Planet in Peril, A Day in 2071 and Man over Machine.   


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