Beahrs ELP Blog

Lessons from Chernobyl: remembrance, greater nuclear safety and sustainable energy is still on the agenda

Dr. Alexander Belyakov (ELP 2001)

The end of April is a tragic time for many people who were affected by the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy in 1986. Unfortunately, this ongoing crisis is often lost among today’s challenges. Therefore, 27 years later, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has reminded the world: “The countless women, men and children affected by radioactive contamination must never be forgotten”.

The UN remembers Chernobyl.

Alexander Belyakov Chernobyl fundraising

What about the ordinary people on the streets? I had the unique opportunity to learn more on April 26 in downtown Toronto, Canada. As a member of the Advisory Board of the international non-profit organization, Chernobyl Foundation, I joined an annual fundraising event at Dundas Square.

The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about Chernobyl issues and to fund-raise for a blood donation network in Ukraine that serves sick children. The organizers increased attendance by bringing a “replica” of the nuclear reactor’s shelter, Sarcophagus, to the square and by giving a chance to win a trip to Chernobyl for those whom donated online through the Foundation’s web-site.

With average daily traffic of 62,100 pedestrians and 55,500 vehicles, Dundas Square offers interesting opportunities to learn more about public opinion and fundraising support of Torontonians. Toronto is the financial heart of Canada with many banks and other wealthy organizations. Nevertheless, a major interest in the Foundation’s event came from ordinary people.

The most touching experience for me was with the donations from a Japanese street-musician, youth and the homeless donors. People in need were offering help, but the affluent and wealthy preferred to ignore the fundraising efforts.

Is the Chernobyl crisis really forgotten? Was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster’s reminder not enough to learn more from the Chernobyl consequences?

Going back to the UN Secretary-General’s commitment of the UN system to stand by those affected by the Chernobyl disaster, and to work for greater nuclear safety and sustainable energy worldwide, I consider everyone’s involvement in this process.

In the framework of sustainability thinking we also pay attention to inclusiveness. The global nuclear disasters should not leave us indifferent to challenges of history. After all, there is no future without a past.

Alexander Belyakov Chernobyl


Changes in ELP

Prof. David Zilberman, Beahrs ELP Co-Director

Dear Alumni:

David Zilberman

You have received Dean Gilless’s e-mail, which I view as part of a broader reform that the College is taking to enhance and develop its international programs. The CNR has always had a strong research program in development and, through the ELP, we have developed a strong outreach. Building upon these accomplishments, the recent Master of Development Practice Program has helped meet the high demand for professional education. These initiatives all serve to illustrate the College’s continued and deepening commitment to international development at the college level. The ELP is the key component of professional outreach programs and will continue to prosper and grow. We are very proud of our past, the ELP Alumni Network, and the many relationships that it has built and activities generated. I intend to stay with the ELP and am convinced that it will be a sustainable and effective program and that the Alumni Network and Small Grant Initiative Program will be stronger than ever.
I want to thank Robin for her 12 years of leadership, vision, and passion, which really helped the Program grow to its present state. I am sure that she will continue to make major contributions. We are really fortunate to have had a wonderful team over the years that included Leslie, Elna, Marcia, Andy, Joyce, Jade, Sarah, and Anita.  Anita, Andy, and various student assistants continue working in close coordination with the MDP and are looking forward to the summer course as well as the new initiative that will be taken by CNR to make a world-class international program with the ELP as its key component.
We look forward to your input and continued interaction through our blog, Facebook, and hopefully soon in person.

Why I Like Blogging and why it is Good for the ELP

David Zilberman

Prof. David Zilberman

Several years ago, my son suggested I start a blog on the website he designed for me ( I was suspicious of blogging and tweeting, and it took me a long time to accept and enjoy Facebook (now I don’t need to buy People magazine and I know what is going on with my family and friends). I decided to start my own personal blog, and later on I joined the Berkeley blog community. I’ve come to realize what an incredibly powerful tool blogging can be. As a professor, I am producing ideas constantly, and I update myself by reading and interacting with people. My challenge is to be current and to contribute to knowledge. Of course, I enjoy writing journal articles, especially when they are accepted, and if I am lucky and have a piece printed in the newspaper or popular media it is great, but it is constricting in terms of style, content, and most importantly, there is a delay between what is said and when people see it. Blogs, on the other hand, allow the freedom of expression. Of course, you are unsure about how many (or if any) followers you may have, but even the act of expressing oneself is satisfying, and after a while the comments reflect that some people are actually reading the blog and some of them strongly disagree.

Writing for the Berkeley blog is a great experience as it allows me to express ideas about sustainability, sell the Masters of Development Practice, argue in favor of GMOs, and write about people that I appreciate, and it has been rewarding. I found a way to reach people and exchange ideas. But viewing the Berkeley blog once in a while, I learn about some of the most exciting ideas my colleagues have, what they are thinking about, and the directions of their research. Actually some ideas that started with a blog entry end up in presentations and papers, and even in business relationships. Blogging doesn’t mean you have to write long essays. You can present graphics, music, pictures, etc. My wife has a great blog on knitting and other crafts ( which I love.

The ELP has an alumni network of friends and people that share common interests. The blog provides a place where one can let his or her ideas fly. The challenge is to make it appealing in order to attract responses, and I believe that over time, once in a while we will have the pieces to start a dialogue that may lead to collaborations and partnerships. Now we have several vehicles of communication among ELP members: a Facebook page, a blog, and the “old” email connection. Lets use them, and that will allow us to grow together.

Check out my latest post, “Is ‘sustainable’ attainable?” on the Berkeley blog here.

The Go Green (Nde’ho Maitso) Strategy

by Zoely Ramanase (ELP 2006)

The Go Green Strategy or “Nde’ho Maitso,” as termed in Madagascar’s local language, is currently being implemented by the food security program, Strengthening and Accessing Livelihood Opportunities for Household Impact (SALOHI), and Rural Access to New Opportunities for Health and Water Resource Management (RANONALA). Both of these projects are led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and are financed by USAID in Madagascar. Additionally, CRS is involved to ensure environmental compliance of these projects as required by USG regulation 216 (US donor) and the Malagasy Government Environmental Chart.

The Go Green/Nde’ho Maitso Strategy is an approach that focuses on environmental reflexes. It consists of anchoring one or several environmental actions to an entity after repetitive implementation. A reflex is not obtained at once. This is valid for both simple and rather complex actions. The exercise is meant to be repeated at least four times through four evaluations. Each evaluation will take place every semester, and after each evaluation, improvements will be given to ensure the mastering of the action, its consolidation and an end result in behavioral change.

The Nde’ho Maitso-Go green strategy has four steps:

  1. The functioning period
  2. The trial period
  3. The consolidation period
  4. The anchorage period

At the end of these periods, it is hypothesized that the environmental reflex and behavioral changes will be attained.

I am the consultant who designed this strategy and has trained the SALOHI and RANONALA teams to implement it at the field level. In addition, I’m currently writing my doctoral thesis on “Environmental Reflex” at the University of Antananrivo in Madagascar where this strategy is the basis of my research. My thesis is expected to be finished in June 2013.


Mongolia’s New Environmental Law Packet

by G.Erdenebayasgalan (ELP 2009) and A.Sainbayar (Mongolia’s Ministry of Environment and Green Development)

Right after the approval of the 68th decree for the elimination of overlaps, contradictions and gaps in the law, the first priority of the Mongolian government was to do an analysis of the 18 environmental laws. These laws were systematically compacted into eight laws. Two new laws were then added and all were subsequently ratified through the Mongolian Parliament in May 2012. The following principles were adhered to in these legal innovations: to enable sustainable national development, exalt economic efficiency, responsibility, environmentally friendly development, implementation of compliance to international standards of auditing, “polluter recoup damage”, “local involvement in environmental protection”, “rising value of natural resources”, “generation of sustainable financial resources for funding environmental protection”, and “embedding sustainable management of natural resources.”

The newly revised Environmental Impact Assessment law reflects environmental strategic assessment and will impact environmental decision-making by facilitating public involvement in environmental assessment, control, and verification. Additionally, measures include appropriated protection and clear mining closure procedures along with actions to facilitate the implementation of the law. This law is significant as it reflects implementation procedures to offset biodiversity conservation and helps Mongolia to be on par with the global stage.

The soil protection law includes measures of desertification prevention as a consequence of the intensification of agriculture, mining, road construction, and urban land use as well as climate change. All of these activities increase negative and destructive impacts on soil, lower soil fertility, result in overgrazing and desertification, and decrease systems for prevention of soil erosion. An important consideration is also the facilitation of a safe and healthy environment for the human population. Additional measures include the establishment of accountability in environmental protection along with more elaboration on soil degradation, desertification gradation criteria and soil assessment methodology.

The water regulation law merges water resources with basin protection and introduces proper utilization and restoration practices. What is especially novel in this law is that it implements the integration of water resource management in 29 basins. To update adaptive measures based on the protection of ecosystems and the restoration of river basins susceptible to climate change, a project funded by the “Adaptation Fund” of UNDP is currently being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Green Development. Through this project, actions and strategies are being determined for biodiversity conservation of Mongolian dahurica, Uvs Lake Basin area, and to instill values that will assist people in adapting to new conditions resulting from climate change. According to the water pollution reimbursement law, individuals, economic entities, and organizations should be charged for water pollution.  Procedures are being carried out to further develop and improve payment and related regulatory systems.

With the expansion of the Ministry of Environment and Green Development into the Strategic Ministry, this will play a main role in determining the main steps of country development. Besides this, the Ministry is also working on the introduction and adherence to principles of raising the public’s ecological awareness, the establishment of a new system for economic incentives, and a merge between the financial structures of bank policies with green policies.

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