SEEN – Sustainble Energy & Economic Network

Linked with our presentations of Oronto Douglas – Nigeria, and of Nigeria’s Oil and the population, also of Environemental Rights Action ERA – Nigeria. Also with The World Bank’s Recipe for Climate Disaster.

The Sustainable Energy and Economy Network is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies (Washington, DC) and the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam). It works in partnership with citizens groups nationally and globally on environment, human rights and development issues with a particular focus on energy, climate change, environmental justice, gender equity, and economic issues, particularly as these play out in North/South relations. 

SEEN views these issues as inextricably linked to global security, and therefore applies a human security paradigm as a framework for guiding its work. True security will only be achieved if we address the root causes of challenges we face as a global community collectively. Throughout this century, wars have been fought over fossil fuels. The reliance of rich countries on fossil fuels fosters a climate of insecurity, and a rationale for large military budgets in the North. In the South, it often fosters or nurtures autocratic or dictatorial regimes and corruption, while exacerbating poverty and destroying subsistence cultures and sustainable livelihoods. A continued rapid consumption of fossil fuels also ensures catastrophic environmental consequences: Climate change is a serious, emerging threat to the stability of the planet’s ecosystems, and a particular hazard to the world’s poorest people. The threat of climate change also brings more urgency to the need to reorient energy-related investments, using them to provide abundant, clean, safe energy for human needs and sustainable livelihoods.

SEEN views energy not as an issue that can be examined in isolation, but rather as a vital resource embedded in a development strategy that must simultaneously address other fundamentals, such as education, health care, public participation in decision-making, and economic opportunities for the poorest. And toward that goal, SEEN is working to steer the financial investments of wealthy countries away from support for fossil fuels and toward more socially responsible and environmentally friendly alternatives, while ensuring that the fundamental building blocks of human development are not stripped away. Support for energy efficiency and renewable energy is a key element, together with creating the conditions to meet the needs of the poorest, North and South, in an equitable and democratic manner.

SEEN works to marshal the wisdom of the people most directly impacted by energy and economic issues–from workers in the North to the indigenous people of the Niger Delta, village India, or the Amazon–in finding solutions and advancing a just transition to a sustainable economy. (For example, see Oilwatch Declaration and Jharkhand Declaration.) SEEN also provides information resources to a global network of citizens groups, non-governmental organizations, government officials, and the media. Our research focuses on investments made by international financial institutions and government agencies in developing countries and economies in transition–where the largest energy investments will be made in coming decades–as well as in economically disadvantaged regions of the U.S.

In addition to sharing information resources and advocacy work, SEEN is facilitating the formation of a global network of activists, all of whom are working on one or more of the following issues: international financial institutions and export credit agencies’ investments in fossil fuels, the human rights and environmental consequences of these investments, local community needs and participation in development, climate change, energy policies and political and corporate interests, clean energy alternatives, among others. SEEN convenes regular conferences around the world on many of these subjects, with the goal of educating activists, the media, and the general public about the problems associated with fossil fuel investments. SEEN also aims to help provide the tools to challenge these investments, and works with others to provide alternative forms of investment and technology that are truly sustainable and meet the human needs of a growing population, particularly the poorest.

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