Warren 'Chip' Lindner, 1942 - 2000
When he shall die
Today I learnt that I had lost a close friend. Chip Lindner passed away last Wednesday in his sleep.
Chip has been an inspiration to so many of us.
The work he did as Secretary of the Brundtland Commission paved the way for the success of the Global Forum at the Rio Conference in 1992. Chip had many great strengths, for me the one I cherished most was his strong belief in giving to the global community because he believed so deeply in trying to make this a better world for all of its inhabitants.
Chip had known he was HIV positive from 1988 and his doctor was unsure if he would survive organising the Global Forum in 1992. Survive it he did and it set the standard by which future 'Global Forums' would be viewed.
Chip created the Centre for Our Common Future in 1988 which he set up to promote the Brundtland Report. It was the most effective information outreach organization we have yet seen. Network the Centre's monthly newsletter went to over 100,000 NGOs, stakeholders and key individuals around the world. It helped connect all of us as we prepared for the Rio Summit in 1992. The Global Forum at Rio helped us become a family to which so many more have joined since. To all of us we owe a lot to Chip and his dedication. In 1991 he promoted the idea of the Independent Sector - something we now call the Major Groups or stakeholders. UNED named its monthly online newsletter Network 2002 in honour of the work of Chip and the Centre.
His analysis of the Rio Conference was that the Conference had failed to deliver the funds to enable developing countries to implement Agenda 21. He said often that we should have said that loud and clear in 1992 and the failure to make the Heads of State to realise what their obligations to humanity was the legacy of Rio for millions of people who suffered even more as Aid flows fell.
In 1999 he has presented with the Order of the Southern Cross by the President of Brazil, the highest civilian award granted by the Government of Brazil.
After the Rio Summit Chip became senior advisor on North-South issues to the Chairman of the 1998 Twelfth World AIDS Conference, his doctor. He considerably contributed to the refocusing of the AIDS debate to developing countries and it was his suggestion that the title of the 1998 Conference should be 'Bridging the Gap'. He also ensured that the Conference in 2000 would be in a developing country - South Africa.
When we set up UNED Forum he was the first person we thought to invite on to the International Advisory Board.
I met Chip for the first time in 1992 at the Rio Conference, he has been an inspiration to me ever since. He was someone who read so much and who had so much to offer in intellectual understanding of what we needed to do. We worked together on two books that UNED brought out, the last one on Earth Summit 2002. At the end of the chapter he wrote Chip said:
"I feel very strongly, as I did during both the Brundtland and Rio processes, that priorities need to be established by the international community when facing an agenda as wide and diverse as sustainable development. .........Earth Summit 2002 must provide the motivation; and in the area of health it must make securing access for all (whether through concessional funding, compulsory licensing or parallel importing), and finding a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, central priorities for the first decade of the 21st century. Without such a renewed commitment, the judgment of history will fall heavily upon shoulders of today's government and business leaders."
In June we were meant to attend the World Aids Conference in Durban to jointly promote Earth Summit 2002. Chip was not well enough to travel, but he was looking forward to helping the South African Government and stakeholders learn from the experience that he had in 1992.
I last saw Chip in Geneva in September with my children Robin and Merri; we were meant to come for the weekend to his chalet - when we arrived Scott, one of Chips sons took us to the hospital. Chip hadn't told us he was unwell because he thought we wouldn't come as we were looking forward to a relaxing break. Chip always did things for other people, part of his enjoyment was making other people happy.
It seems so very unreal to think that we will not have Chip to help us as we prepare for 2002. For those who knew him and worked with him we each carry a piece of him with us in the way we act and the way we think and the values we try to live by. To those who we meet perhaps we can share that and through that Chip lives with us.
To paraphrase Bobby Kennedy:
"Some people see things as they are and ask why? Chip saw things that never were and said why not!"
Chip, we will miss you.
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In Memory - by Mencer Donahue Edwards, Justice & Sustainability, Washington, DC
(In response to the above message from Felix Dodds)
This is indeed a blessed day. For now I know that Chip has passed into the realm of our ancestors. According to the African world view, Chip now dwells with all the ones for who time no longer has meaning. He is now an Immortal.
He is there with the prophets and messengers, with the inventors and discoverers, with the philosophers and teachers, with the builders and planters. Where he is, there is no North or South, no rich or poor. He is with my mother and father, my grandparents -- so many multitudes. I feel joy knowing he has reached peace.
If we listen, we will hear him speak to us as the wind blows through the trees, as the water runs through the streams, in the crackling fire's breath. I was looking forward to infrequently seeing him from time to time as we run towards Earth Summit 2002. Now, we can be with him whenever we take time to be still.
And what of us, the living?
"Though much is taken, much abides;
Chip Linder. Presente! Viva!
Please let me know who is organizing for December 18 here so I can offer assistance.
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The Earth Times / ENVIRONMENT:
W arren H. Lindner, a longtime worker in the field of sustainable development, died in his sleep on November 29th. Memorial services were held at the John Knox Centre in Geneva on December 4th and in Washington on December 18th.
Lindner created the Center for Our Common Future in 1988 which was set up to promote the report of the Brundtland Commission. The Centre's monthly newsletter went to over 100,000 nongovernmental organizations or NGOs and individuals around the world. He was well known for his work as secretary of the Brundtland Commission which would help pave the way for the Global Forum where thousands of NGOs from around the world met in conjunction with the 1992 Rio Earth Summit or United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
Lindner was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1988. According to Felix Dodds a friend and co-worker of Lindner at UNED International, Lindner's doctor believed he would not survive the disease to complete his work for the Global Forum.
However, Lindner did survive. In 1995, he announced his HIV positive status. He would be a senior adviser for the 12th World AIDS Conference held in Geneva in June 1998. He also was the Deputy Director-General of the World Wildlife Fund for two years.
Lindner told this newspaper that he found a harsh climate for employment after he announced his HIV positive status.
"I have been labeled and stigmatized with the disease; and therefore have not been considered by many as suitable for gainful employment - unless it is in an area where being seropositive is, by tokenism, an advantage," Lindner told The Earth Times in 1999. "I think no one wants to be treated as a token for any issue."
Lindner was presented with the Order of the Southern Cross by the President of Brazil, the highest civilian award granted by the Government of Brazil, in 1999.
"I met Chip for the first time in 1992 at the Rio Conference, he has been an inspiration to me ever since," said Dodds of Lindner. "He was someone who read so much and who had so much to offer in intellectual understanding of what we needed to do."
Linder worked on two books for UNED International, an international association of NGOs where he worked with Dodds and Derek Osborn, the last one on the Earth Summit 2002.
UNED Forum is facilitating a Warren H. Lindner memorial service in the UN on the evening of the 30th of April. Ashok Khosla will give the lecture and the subject will be from Rio to Earth Summit 2002. If you are going to attend please let Beth Hiblin know at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Copyright © 2000 The Earth Times All rights reserved.
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