Berlin calling: for a different kind of Liberia Connection

Civil society workshop on woodchip-imports from Liberia to Berlin – and on the need to overcome energy poverty everywhere

– to learn about the reality in Liberia
– to question Vattenfall’s investment in producing wood ships in Liberia for Berlin
– to discuss implications of energy poverty and problems of land grabbing in this context and
– to develop alternatives that really serve the needs of the people in Liberia.

Berlin calling for connecting civil societies, not businesses!

Date: Monday, 16 May 2011
Time: 10am – 4pm
Place: Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, Großer Saal 2

For “lightening up Berlin” (and other places) the Swedish state company Vattenfall has begun to import large quantities of wood from around the world. The first deal for Berlin was signed with Buchanan Renewables – a transnational corporation operating in Liberia. Initially for five years 200.000 tones of woodchips made of old rubber plantation will be shipped to Berlin. Afterwards even higher quantities are foreseen. This allows Vattenfall not only to continue the centralised energy infrastructure of the last century but to let old coal fired power plants look greener.
The Senate of the City of Berlin and Vattenfall signed an agreement that wants to set sustainability standards for importing biomass to Berlin. But what is the real situation in Liberia? Don’t people need biomass for their own energy needs? What are the environment and development policy implications of this proposed procurement of raw materials from Africa?
There are experiences of renewable energy projects realized in developing countries (focus on biomass and photovoltaic projects) and cooperation projects between Berlin/Germany and African civil society organisations. We want to build on these experiences to develop ideas for a different kind of Liberia connection.

10:00 – 11:30 Berlin – Liberia – Berlin
Andreas Jarfe (FoE Berlin): Vattenfall’s Liberia connection – Introduction; Presentation: Biomass for Berlin and the Position of the BUND
Silas Siakor (Sustainable Development Institute/FoE Liberia): The social and ecological situation in Liberia: An overview; Presentation: Rights Under threat_WOOD CHIPS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
– discussion

11:30 – 11:45 break

11:45 – 13:15 Energy and development for whom?
László Maráz (Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung): The good, the bad and the ugly of the Vattenfall deal; Presentation: The good, the bad and the ugly of the Vattenfall deal
Thomas Fritz (FDCL): Peak Soil – the global rush for energy and land; Presentation: Peak Soil_Land Grabbing, Liberia and Vattenfall’s woodchip deal
– discussion

13:15 – 14:30 lunch break

14:30 – 16:00 Overcome energy poverty – Civil society demands and ways forward in North and South
Dr. Uwe Hartmann (DGS – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sonnenenergie): Remarks on the use of solar Energy in the Global South; Prsenatation: Some remarks on the use of solar energy in the global south
Susanne Laudahn (Sodi): It’s the system, stupid! Get active in north and south
– discussion

For more information on Vattenfall’s deal visit PowerShift (German). Civil society workshop on woodchip-imports from Liberia to Berlin – and on the need to overcome energy poverty everywhere

– to learn about the reality in Liberia
– to question Vattenfall’s investment in producing wood ships in Liberia for Berlin
– to discuss implications of energy poverty and problems of land grabbing in this context and
– to develop alternatives that really serve the needs of the people in Liberia.

Berlin calling for connecting civil societies, not businesses!

Date: Monday, 16 May 2011
Time: 10am – 4pm
Place: Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, Großer Saal 2

For “lightening up Berlin” (and other places) the Swedish state company Vattenfall has begun to import large quantities of wood from around the world. The first deal for Berlin was signed with Buchanan Renewables – a transnational corporation operating in Liberia. Initially for five years 200.000 tones of woodchips made of old rubber plantation will be shipped to Berlin. Afterwards even higher quantities are foreseen. This allows Vattenfall not only to continue the centralised energy infrastructure of the last century but to let old coal fired power plants look greener.
The Senate of the City of Berlin and Vattenfall signed an agreement that wants to set sustainability standards for importing biomass to Berlin. But what is the real situation in Liberia? Don’t people need biomass for their own energy needs? What are the environment and development policy implications of this proposed procurement of raw materials from Africa?
There are experiences of renewable energy projects realized in developing countries (focus on biomass and photovoltaic projects) and cooperation projects between Berlin/Germany and African civil society organisations. We want to build on these experiences to develop ideas for a different kind of Liberia connection.

10:00 – 11:30 Berlin – Liberia – Berlin
Andreas Jarfe (FoE Berlin): Vattenfall’s Liberia connection – Introduction; Presentation: Biomass for Berlin and the Position of the BUND
Silas Siakor (Sustainable Development Institute/FoE Liberia): The social and ecological situation in Liberia: An overview; Presentation: Rights Under threat_WOOD CHIPS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
– discussion

11:30 – 11:45 break

11:45 – 13:15 Energy and development for whom?
László Maráz (Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung): The good, the bad and the ugly of the Vattenfall deal; Presentation: The good, the bad and the ugly of the Vattenfall deal
Thomas Fritz (FDCL): Peak Soil – the global rush for energy and land; Presentation: Peak Soil_Land Grabbing, Liberia and Vattenfall’s woodchip deal
– discussion

13:15 – 14:30 lunch break

14:30 – 16:00 Overcome energy poverty – Civil society demands and ways forward in North and South
Dr. Uwe Hartmann (DGS – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sonnenenergie): Remarks on the use of solar Energy in the Global South; Prsenatation: Some remarks on the use of solar energy in the global south
Susanne Laudahn (Sodi): It’s the system, stupid! Get active in north and south
– discussion

For more information on Vattenfall’s deal visit PowerShift (German).

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