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Posts Tagged ‘The Economist’

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

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This week’s firing of General Stanley McChrystal and his being replaced by General David Petraeus, comes at a time when the World Affairs Council and the Marines’ Memorial Association are preparing to host the Honorable Robert Gates, United States Secretary of Defense. Secretary Gates will speak on August 12 as part of the George P. Shultz lecture series, which brings distinguished leaders from the US Armed Services to speak in San Francisco, most recently General Petraeus and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. To register for this event, visit the MMA’s website or call 415.673.6672, ext.229.

To learn more about the changes at the Defense Department, read this article about Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen’s thoughts on General McChrystal in the New York Times. For more about the American leadership in Afghanistan now that General Petraeus is slated to take over for McChrystal, read this article from the Economist.

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On Monday, November 23, the Council will be joined by Ambassador Richard Jones, Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. He will discuss the IEA’s current analysis of energy supply and demand and the implications for energy security and the environment. The Economist wrote about current and future demands for oil and included a chart displaying the IEA’s projections. Ambassador Jones will be speaking with energy expert David Victor, Professor at UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and Director of the School’s new Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.

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The Economist published an article yesterday on the effects of the credit crunch on philanthropy – both from rich to poor countries, and within rich countries themselves.  The author seems optimistic about the ability of US foundations to continue to give at the levels of past years, and highlights discussions on this subject at GPF last month:

The word at a do-gooders’ shindig held in April, the Global Philanthropy Forum, was that big private donors will want cannier use of their money. One change would be to tie donations more tightly to specific projects. Another would be to concentrate on collaboration with existing projects rather than starting prestigious new ones. The outfits that receive the money to carry out the good works see it a bit differently. They want more flexibility, not tighter rules.

Look for videos from GPF posted here.

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