Climate-Refugees in the 21st Century

pohl climate refugees jpegAt the debate on “Refugees in the 21st century” on 26 November 2015, MEP Elmar Brok, stated clearly, that the terror of Paris must not be associated with the refugees. Instead, it should be clear that the refugees are the consequence of the terror and not the cause. After all, 90% of the victims of the terror are Muslims.

Moreover, he added that religion is not the main reason for conflict between people. Rather the cause of these conflicts can be found in proxy wars of the USA and Russia as well as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Brok emphasized that this issue cannot be resolved within Europe and that we must get to the root of the political problems that are at stake.

While Brok emphasised war and crisis as the main cause of refugees, Prof. Dr. Curtius explained the relationship between climate change and refugees in the 21st century. Curtius argued that natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, storms and floods over the next decades will result in a flow of refugees. Droughts and dry periods as well as shortages of drinking water will be factors that will force people to migrate. We must be prepared that a co-occurrence of multiple factors (e.g. earthquakes, storms, droughts etc.) can cause streams of refugees up to 50-100 million worldwide.

Compared to the stream of refugees today these are completely different dimensions with which the world will have to cope. It does not matter whether the amounts of rising sea levels due to emissions of greenhouse gases are two or five meters. Just the fact that the sea rises, should mobilise politics and business to take actions on a global level to ensure the safety of inhabitants of endangered areas.

Prof. Dr. Pohl, head of the Scientific Advisory Board of the think tank Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, anticipates that “Climate-refugees” will surpass anything seen before in the 21st century. He estimates that between 500 million – 1.5 billion people worldwide will lose their homes and will be forced to flee.

Thus, the members of the think tank Frankfurter Zukunftsrat demand that the protagonists at the climate summit in Paris do not only discuss the origins of climate change, but also make a plan to take immediate global action.

About the author:

MP1Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is the Founder and Chairman of Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, the think tank that organises “My Europe”. more…


Message to our world leaders

Professor Pohl

Today we stand at an era of major change, but we are also at a crossroad where we have to make decisions on how we want to live our lives in the future.

The terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 and the terror in many parts of the world today (e.g. IS and Boko Haram) illustrate in an extreme way that patriarchal structures are still very dominant in most parts of the world.

Not only have men invented religion but they also use religion to justify their actions. They want to decide on how people should live their cultural, religious as well as their social and professional lives. They misuse religion as a justification for their terrorist acts and want to create chaos, fear and a feeling of insecurity worldwide.

The consequence in western countries is not only the fear of more terrorist attacks but also an increase of right-wing extremism. In other words, liberal democracy is threatened from two sites: Global terrorism and right-wing radicalism.

We also know that the world has become more connected through modern digital communication systems that enable the sharing of information on a global level within seconds. Yet, at the same time terrorists are also using the same media for their own purposes.

Thus, the world has become more connected but also more vulnerable. What can we do about it?

  • We need a global territorial reform. The main world leaders, who are currently meeting at the G20 summit in Turkey have to send a strong political signal showing that they condemn the terrorist acts and that they do not tolerate war and terror. Moreover they need to demonstrate their will to solve current and arising conflicts between their countries. This means that state borders have to be determined and guaranteed. The use of armed forces will be necessary to carry out this task.
  • Furthermore it is indispensable to promote the inclusion and equal opportunities in countries with a high number of socially deprived groups and a high unemployment rate. It is important to create structures with equal access to education as well as economic and social help for those who need it, so that people get the chance to live in their own countries and are not forced to be refugees in the search for a better life.
  • Finally, the separation of state and religion is necessary for a successful global territorial reform. Moreover, the acceptance of every culture and every religion are fundamental requirements for a peaceful coexistence.

All of this might seem utopian. However, it is a project that is feasible if the powerful of the world today are willing to put it into practice.


About the author:

MP1Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is the Founder and Chairman of Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, the think tank that organises “My Europe”. more…


European values – charade or heartfelt reality?

Are we refugees forever

The picture of three-year old Aylan from Kobanî (Syria) haunted people all over the world this week. The image of a little, innocent boy rejected by a European super power struck everyone. Full of hope, probably with horrible war memories from back home, Aylan was escaping his past in the hope of a better future.

We all know how the story ended. There is no more hope for Aylan having a better life. His dead little body was found at the shores of Turkey.

Has now the time come that we Europeans finally wake up? A time when we realize that we have to act in solidarity? A time when action counts more than words?

“We cannot ignore the boats that sink in the Mediterranean Sea almost every day, drowning with them the lives, stories, potential and dreams of hundreds or even thousands of migrants.”

A certain hypocrisy has been prevailing in Europe. A mood that we have to help refugees is certainly present, however, concrete action, particularly by individual states is still lacking. We cannot ignore the boats that sink in the Mediterranean Sea almost every day, drowning with them the lives, stories, potential and dreams of hundreds or even thousands of migrants.

Isn’t it hypocritical of the world’s leaders to ask for solidarity from their citizens but not providing for enough initial reception centres for asylum applicants, or making sure that the applications for asylum are being processed more quickly?

Just as an example: Pope Francis has been urging for international action on migrants for months. However, how many refugees are sheltered in Vatican City? Shouldn’t a surface of 44 hectres offer enough space to accommodate a certain amount of people in need? Is Christian preaching just valid for others? Shouldn’t the clergy know what escape and oppression means?

Nonetheless, it is overwhelming to witness the solidarity and help by the people. More and more initiatives are growing, more and more people are volunteering throughout Europe. Pensioners accompany refugees to the authorities. Young adults give language classes. Families arrange play dates with migrant families. Children donate their toys. The civil society is trying to stand up for what politics do not manage so far: trying to welcome refugees and making their lives a little bit brighter.

Thank you to all those who believe and act in accordance with humanity. May their voices and action always be louder and more visible than of those who ignorantly promote hate and discord.

About the author:

MP1Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is the Founder and Chairman of Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, the think tank that organises “My Europe”. more…


Scenarios of Europe in 2030

Future Scenarios

Last week we had a ”My Europe“ Workshop in Berlin in cooperation with the German newspaper “Die Welt”. Journalists of this this daily, which is published by the Axel Springer AG, had prepared five theses about Europe in 2030. These provocative scenarios paint quite a dramatic picture of Europe in 15 years’ time; however, they proved to be good food for thought. I would like to invite you to also reflect on these future scenarios and to contemplate the (un)likeliness of these set-ups.

Europe 2030:

  • The EU is an elitist project. The common man does not understand the procedures anymore, but that does not matter since he is not allowed to vote anyways.
  •  Our continent is a fortress, isolated from poor and sick intruders. In this way, the rich and the clever remain among themselves.
  •  Everyone speaks English only. There are no other languages.
  •  The EU does not exist anymore. It started with Greece and England, soon more and more states decided to exit.
  •  A dictatorship of pensioners is achieved; all young people under 30 have fled to Asia or Africa where they attract less attention.

Without doubt, Europe is once again at a turning point. The many talks between the Greek government, the European Commission and heads of states seem to be, once again, decisive. I would like to chip to in with the following proposition: a debt cut for Europe. Let’s abolish all debts, let’s create a new basis with new, equal criteria for everyone and a framework that is fair and consistent. What do you think?

About the author:

MP1Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is the Founder and Chairman of Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, the think tank that organises “My Europe”. more…


The Euro Needs a New Polish!

Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl, Spotlight Europe
In order that the Euro will stay our symbol and currency it needs a polish. (Remix by Spotlight Europe)

The Euro symbol in front of the old European Central Bank building in Frankfurt has gotten on in years. It was erected in 2011 by artist Ottmar Hörl. However, weather and vandalism have done serious damage to it.

Prof. Pohl giving an interview about the Euro symbol on 10.04.15 in Frankfurt. (Leonie Bueb)
Prof. Pohl giving an interview about the Euro symbol on 10.04.15 in Frankfurt. (Leonie Bueb)

The same applies to the Euro as our common currency. During the last months it has lost its splendor in European politics. Its image is not the best at the moment.

No one can imagine that the Euro symbol in Frankfurt is going to be taken down and scrapped. Just the same it appears unthinkable to abolish the Euro as common currency and reintroduce national currencies in its stead. Even in Greece.

With all possible power, the Euro has to remain as a symbol in Frankfurt. The statue needs its spring-cleaning in order that it may shine again with new LED lights in summer.

The actors in politics and economics should take the initiative of the euro statue’s owner (the NGO Frankfurter Kultur Komitee) as an example and should make sure that the euro currency also receives its spring-cleaning so that it can emanate safety and reliability again in summer.

Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is giving a press conference about the current state and restauration of the Euro symbol in Frankfurt on Monday, 20.04.15. Since last week the Euro symbol is in the news all over the world and was even published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

About the author:

MP1Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is the Founder and Chairman of Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, the think tank that organises “My Europe”. more…


About the Pursuit of Ideals

Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl, Spotlight Europe
This week’s message by the “My Europe” initiator Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl. (Remix by Spotlight Europe)

Young people have ideals. They are easily fascinated by ideas and/or promises that will shape their lives significantly and give them inspiration.

Today many of us might ask why young people in Europe choose to follow the ideals of the Islamic State movement – an organization which has been officially designated as terrorist by the UN. Why do young people leave their families and friends in order to support the jihad, the holy war?

Neutralized young jihad warrior 2008, Spotlight Europe
Young jihad warrior – following his ideals? (Flickr: Israel Defense Forces/licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

There is yet no concrete number of young people leaving their home to join the IS forces in Iraq and Syria. It is estimated that several thousand Europeans at the age of 15-25 years responded to the call of IS supporters. Also girls voluntarily undertake the journey in order to marry a jihad warrior or help to establish the terror regime. They are all victims of IS propaganda which is blinding them with wrong promises, stylized ideals and last but not least an image of a fulfilling life which is led by values.

The pursuit of ideals is also a pursuit of values that act as guiding lights of how to lead a satisfying life. Values provide for personal orientation and security with regard to the future. Especially young people seek to answer the question what they want to do with their lives. Fight for ideals – yes. But fight for false promises?

When these young people arrive for the jihad mission they are confronted with a cruel reality: Rape, murder and violence belong to the daily routine and one may wonder about the holiness and truthfulness of the mission. Are these still ideals or simply the banal pleasure on other people’s suffering?

Jihad propaganda poster of a female suicide bomber, Spotlight Europe
Jihad propaganda poster of a female suicide bomber. (Flickr: Israel Defense Forces/licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

The IS organization is trying to reach out to young people by using social media like Twitter or Facebook. There are pictures of glorious warriors and fierce speakers, women in arms fighting for their men and convictions. Of course you do not see a single shot warrior or raped woman who is enslaved to “produce” new jihad warriors.

There is nothing wrong in pursuing your ideas – when they are not related to terror, murder and violence. So many young people engage in peaceful initiatives where their idealism and creativity is highly welcomed. “My Europe” is one of these initiatives where young people are asked to help make the world a peaceful home to everyone. For this cause you do not need false promises, but true ideals.

About the author:

MP1Prof. Dr. Manfred Pohl is the Founder and Chairman of Frankfurter Zukunftsrat, the think tank that organises “My Europe”. more…