THE BEACON

PANOS NETWORK NEWS

Pr. Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister for Water and Environment, Uganda"Plant a tree to celebrate your birthday, wedding anniversary, plant a birthday tree for Jesus or prophet Mohammed, plant trees to demarcate boundaries of your land or trees, if every Ugandan did this, just imagine how many forests we would have in years to come."

JAMES DEANPart of an organisation I helped create is no longer going to exist. The panos institute london has announced that it does not have the resources to continue. It’s been struggling for some time, project income appears to have dried up, its executive director has left. Panos london’s trustees have decided understandably that after almost exactly 26 years it needs to fold.

One day in early autumn twenty-five years ago, I received a phone call from an acquaintance. Jon Tinker was on the line, wondering if I could spare two weeks of my time.  There was an international meeting that he and colleagues were organising on AIDS and they needed organisational support from someone who would not be embarrassed by the topic. At that time the disease was widely associated with homosexuality and the fact I was gay, was a part-time journalist and could speak several foreign languages meant that I could quickly undertake the necessary research.

I was one of the happy band of volunteers who helped set up Panos London in its earliest days. We were all refugees from Earthscan, who jumped ship when Jon Tinker’s idea of floating Earthscan off from the International Institute for Environment and Development, our organisational mothership, got sunk by the IIED board. We resigned en masse, and a number of us followed Jon, our intrepid leader, in setting up Panos as a brand new entity.