Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Environment & Climate Change’ Category

Tomorrow night the Council will host a preview screening from this year’s United Nations Association Film Festival. Climate Refugees features interviews with Al Gore, John Kerry, Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and others, speaking about the impact climate-related migration has had on national security and other foreign policy issues.

Register for the program here. Watch the trailer for the film below:

Read Full Post »

Imagine if countries competed with each other to create the best environment in which social innovation can occur. And imagine if social entrepreneurs were actively encouraged and supported in countries around the world.

Two consultative bodies affiliated with the World Economic Forum (WEF) – its Global Agenda Council on Philanthropy and Social Investing and the Global Agenda Council on Social Entrepreneurship – are aiming to make those ambitions a reality. These bodies are just two of 60 interdisciplinary entities part of the forum’s Global Redesign Initiative, which is seeking ways in which international institutions or arrangements should be adapted to meet contemporary challenges.

“Particularly in the wake of the global economic crisis,” according to WEF’s Klaus Schwab, “we need to rethink our values, redesign our systems, and rebuild our institutions to make them more proactive and strategic, more inclusive, more reflective of the new geo-political and geo-economic circumstances, and more reflective of inter-generational accountability and responsibility.”

Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World summarizes and reports on proposals from the WEF’s global councils, focused on specific challenges, from health to economic growth to poverty to sustainability. The Council on Philanthropy and Social Investing, chaired by The Economist’s Matthew Bishop, proposes development of a Social Competitiveness Index that would inspire countries to become more socially innovative. More broadly, the goal is to help analysts and policymakers catch up with the revolution that has been taking place in the social sector for the past decade or so – to “chart its evolution going forward and show countries how to make the most of this opportunity.”

The Council on Social Entrepreneurship, chaired by J. Gregory Dees of Duke University, proposes development of a Global Alliance of Social Entrepreneurs, guided by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. This alliance, among other things, would establish a Consultative Group for Research to Advance Social Entrepreneurship (CGRASE) similar to the World Bank-hosted Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP), which has become world-recognized for its role in advancing microfinance. CGRASE’s mission would be to conduct research on and promote policies supporting social entrepreneurship, including working to have the UN designate 2011 the “Year of the Social Entrepreneur.”

Beyond philanthropy and social entrepreneurship, other ideas proposed include: creation of a global financial risk watchdog; development of a strategy to improve the diet of the poor; establishment of a new business model for humanitarian assistance with better coordination among all sectors; and establishment of an Ocean Health Index to strengthen information available about marine life. The report authors are currently seeking public debate and refinement about the many ideas contained. And this fall they will convene meetings to further discuss and develop these proposals, culminating in the forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next January.

The report concludes that today’s global challenges require a more integrated and proactive approach, with new or upgraded international institutions and greater international cooperation: “No network exists that is sufficiently interdisciplinary, interactive and international to overcome these barriers to collective intelligence and action.”

— Jane Wales

Read Full Post »

On March 11 and 12 the World Affairs Council hosted WorldAffairs 2010, a day and a half of incisive analysis on four key global issues: the economy, climate change and the environment, development and poverty, and global security. Videos from our plenary and breakout sessions as well as interviews with speakers and our Take Action Reception partners are now available. Watch them now at www.livestream.com/worldaffairs2010.

Read Full Post »

Climate change, power struggles, and the potential for economic development are bringing the Arctic front and center on the global stage. This Tuesday, March 23, geopolitics expert Charles Emmerson will speak at the Council in conversation with NewsHour’s  Elizabeth Farnsworth to explore the history and tenuous future of the Arctic. A recent interview in The Independent tracks Emmerson’s life-long obession with the region.

Read Full Post »

Captain Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and speaker at last week’s WorldAffairs 2010, was on the Late Show with David Letterman Monday, March 15. Watch a clip of the interview here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Read Full Post »

Water scarcity is damaging livelihoods, human health and ecosystems around the world – both in urgent situations, such as Haiti, and in long term crises in the making. But strategies are at hand according to a report from McKinsey & Company, undertaken in partnership with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. Charting Our Water Future finds that in just 20 years, demand for water will be 40-percent higher than it is now. Unless local, national and global communities come together and dramatically improve the way water is managed, increasing efficiency and productivity, there will be many more hungry villages and degraded environments, according to the report. And it will be very difficult to meet related resource challenges, such as providing sufficient food or generating energy for the world’s population.

The report was developed as part of the 2030 Water Resources Group, a consortium of public and private-sector actors working to advance solutions in presentations to governmental, commercial and philanthropic decision-makers.  It offers a “cost curve” as a means of analysis—one which demonstrates the long-term costs associated with failure to make near-term investments in infrastructure or conservation. And it demonstrates that multiple interventions are needed at all levels of investment and at differing stages, which is a reminder that we can each play a role within a larger strategy.

The report is meant to provide a means by which to compare the impact, cost and achievability of a range of measures and technologies that address water scarcity by boosting efficiency, augmenting supply and lessening the water-intensity of a country’s economy. Through case studies of India, China, Brazil’s Sao Paulo state and South Africa, the study reports that while improved efficiency in industry and municipal water systems is critical, enhanced agricultural productivity – increasing “crop per drop” – is essential to closing the gap between demand and supply. Agriculture today consumes 70 percent of the world’s water.

As the report makes plain, business as usual on the issue of water is not an option for most countries. Philanthropists and foundations that work in the area of international development are similarly committed to increasing awareness and promoting policies that address this issue. Family foundations have been key players in this space, and the Global Philanthropy Forum will feature access to safe water and sanitation as among its major foci at its annual conference in Silicon Valley, April 19-21. This gathering will include foundation executives, key officials from governments, private sector leaders and such expert voices as Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute; Atiq Rahman of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies; Barbara Frost of WaterAid; Gary White of Water.org; Monica Ellis of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation; Gebisa Ejeta, recipient of the 2009 World Food Prize Award; as well as an author of Charting our Water Future.

–Jane Wales

Read Full Post »