“Declare SEE a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone of Peace under NATO,” SEED
Delegates from most countries of the South East Asian Division (SEED) of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) meeting in Zagreb on April 18-19, called for declaration of SE Europe as a nuclear free zone with guarantees for peace and security under the umbrella of NATO. SEED also emphasized the benefits of collaborating in NATO’s civilian scientific program.
Originally founded in 1960 by eminent intellectuals such as Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell concerned with the dangers of nuclear annihilation, spokesmen for the World Academy and SEED pointed out that the threat of nuclear weapons is still very real. Sixteen years after the end of the Cold War, thousands of nuclear missiles are on active alert targeting major population centers in hundreds of cities in Europe, Russia and North America. The refusal of the nuclear weapon states to renounce possession and use of these weapons according to their legal commitments under the Non-proliferation Treat are providing an incentive and justification for other countries to drop out of NPT or clandestinely develop weapons of their own.
A recent meeting of 24 non-nuclear states in Vienna, including Canada, Italy, and Netherlands, co-sponsored by the Academy also expressed deep concern over the refusal of the nuclear powers to provide positive assurances that nuclear weapons will never be used against non-nuclear countries. The increased reliance on nuclear energy is also increasing the concern over nuclear proliferation, since the conversion of peaceful nuclear programs into military programs has become relatively easy. Therefore, the Academy asserts that only a total abolition and legal ban on the production, possession and use of nuclear weapons can eliminate the threat of nuclear war. Assurances of peace and security are essential for the stability and rapid development of the war-ravaged Balkan region. Stability in the region can best be ensured under the NATO umbrella. At the same time, the extension of NATO should not bring with it the introduction of nuclear weapons or the targeting of civilian populations in the region. Therefore, hand in hand with the move toward NATO membership, the countries of SEE should join together in declaring the region a nuclear weapon-free zone (NWFZ) similar to the NWFZ recently established in Central Asia and those already existing in Latin America and the South Pacific.
“Croatia can become a model of for Full Employment,” SEED
The South East European Division (SEED) of the World Academy of Art & Science (WAAS) has proposed a triple helix approach -- Government, Education and Business -- to eradicate unemployment in Croatia and make the country a model for the rest of the region. At a meeting in Zagreb on April 18-19, SEED experts presented a detailed strategy for achieving full employment in the region. In spite of the global population explosion, during the past 50 years the number of new jobs has increased 50% faster than the growth of population and during the past decade global job growth has been 21% higher than population growth. In Croatia, this trend has been reflected as a 19% decrease in unemployment from 2000 to 2005. The employment issue is of crucial importance to Croatia, which is trying to establish the private sector as the engine and principle source of employment opportunities. Employment is the principal means by which citizens in democratic, market economies can meet their needs and fulfill their socio-economic aspirations. Particularly troubling is the extremely low youth employment rate (24.9%) and high youth unemployment rate (36%). The Academy believes that the problems of low employment rate and high unemployment in Croatia can be totally eliminated within 2-3 years provided that there is a willingness to adopt fresh and innovating pragmatic approaches that reject conventional wisdom and a concerted decision and determination by all parties to do everything necessary to achieve full employment. The right to employment should be guaranteed to every citizen. The Academy’s approach is to consider employment in its widest social context in relationship to the development of the society as a whole. Based on this approach, a wide range of strategies can be formulated to accelerate job creation, including
- Fill the skill shortage: There is a global shortage of workers with the required level of skills to fill vacant positions in every sector. Equipping job seekers with the skills companies are seeking can significantly accelerate job creation and business growth. Collaboration between education and business is essential to identify the skills needed for career success in a rapidly changing economy and society. The first necessity is to study the skill gaps in both the domestic and international job market and evolve effective programs, such as computerized vocational training, to impart these skills.
- Part-time employment: Present regulations prevent or discourage people from seeking part-time instead of full-time employment. Experience in countries such as Netherlands shows that removing the disincentives for part-time work can raise total employment by 2 or 3% or more, since many young mothers and older workers now working full-time would prefer to work fewer hours for less pay. This would create additional job opportunities for those who are presently unemployed.
- Education: Unemployment rates in Croatia are highest among young people with the lowest educational attainments. Raising the minimum mandatory level of education will slow the movement of youth into the workforce, enhance the learning capacities and employability of new job seekers, and increase job growth in education and education-related fields such as publishing. The issue of employment embraces the entire society – its values, culture, attitudes, expectations, organization and skills, as well as technology and public policy. Taking this wider perspective, ample means can be found for expanding employment through measures that accelerate development of the society as a whole. Full employment is an achievable goal for Croatia today.