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17 June , 2020

WEAll Knowledge and Policy lead Amanda Janoo was a panellist at a session of the UN World Academy of Art and Science on “Emerging New Civilisation(s)” this week.

She was one of six female speakers, with one from each continent:

  • Amanda Janoo, Knowledge & Policy Lead, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, USA
  • Audrey Lobo-Pulo, Founding Director, Phoensight; Founding Board Member, Open Data Australia
  • Azadeh Farajpour, Research Associate, FAW/n (Research Institute for Applied Knowledge Processing), Iran / Germany
  • Mamphela Ramphele, Co-President of the Club of Rome; Co-founder Reimagine South Africa
  • Rebecca Hueting, Activist, Extinction Rebellion; dissemination specialist, Deep Blue, Italy
  • Samantha Suppiah, Sustainability strategist, Urban Doughnut, Philippines

It was a rich and fascinating discussion, exploring cultural and economic experiences from around the world. The focus was how sustainable wellbeing can be delivered for all.

Watch the event below or on the UN WASS Facebook page here.

Emerging New Civilization(s)

Emerging New Civilization(s)

Posted by World Academy of Art and Science on Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A message from WEAll Youth:

“We are thrilled to announce that Wellbeing Economy Alliance Youth (WEAll Youth) has been selected as one of the 50 Youth Solutions featured in the Youth Solutions Report 2019. 4300+ solutions originating from 170+ countries were submitted and based on a rigorous review process, 50 were selected to be featured in this year’s report. We are so excited to be selected among many inspiring youth solutions. Young innovators all over the world are working towards a sustainable future – we’re proud to be part of the change!

You can read all about us at www.youthsolutions.report (WEAll Youth can be found on p85).

We are so proud we have been selected and can’t wait to see what the future will hold. All of the solutions selected are so promising which is amazing to see as our world often portrays all the negative sides. We are excited to see so many young people getting involved @ their future.”

More about the report:

NEW YORK, USA; September 26: The third edition of the ​Youth Solutions Report,​ which identifies ​50 youth-led projects that are accelerating global progress on the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)​, has been released today, at the ​74th UNGA High-Level Side Event on Social Business, Youth and Technology.

This year, the selected solutions have been chosen by an advisory panel of 24 leading experts across all SDG sectors and geographical regions, among a pool of applicants that included over 4,300 submissions from ​174 countries​. Winning projects were particularly focused on introducing innovative approaches to lifting vulnerable communities in developing countries out of poverty, with solutions targeting areas such as digital health and education, financial inclusion, innovation in agricultural practices, sustainable livelihoods, and circular economy.

Like its 2017 and 2018 predecessors, this year’s Youth Solutions Report provides ​selected initiatives with a powerful platform to secure funding, build capacity, communicate experiences, and scale efforts. In addition, the new edition includes an in-depth analysis of the role of youth-led innovation in achieving the specific SDGs that have been reviewed at the July session of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum, focusing on the role of young people in improving access to quality education, promoting decent work for all, reducing inequality, combating climate change, promoting peaceful societies, and supporting a renewed global partnership for sustainable development.

One key aspect of the Report consists of its discussion of cross-cutting challenges to youth-led innovation and the importance of seeing young people as a fundamental component of the broader innovation systems that are required to implement the 2030 Agenda. ​

Mariana Mazzucato, Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London​, said: ‘The SDGs are the world’s challenges, and can only be achieved through directed, mission-oriented, innovation activities, taken on through bold new partnerships between the public sector, business and civil society. The Youth Solutions Report provides a loud, dynamic forum for youth to be heard and learned from in this critical solutions-oriented process.’ Ms Mazzucato’s auspices were echoed by ​Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and recent founder of Imagine,​ who recognized that ‘creating the right policy frameworks for engaging young people in SDG implementation will a big enabler of the entire Agenda’. According to Mr Polman, ‘the Youth Solutions Report serves as a platform that will increase exposure to youth-led projects that will hopefully push policy reform in the future.’

Siamak Sam Loni, Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth​, added that while young people are already contributing to the implementation of the SDGs, they still face common challenges that prevent them from realizing the full potential, including the lack of visibility, limited access to finance, and the lack of training and technical support. ‘The 2019 Youth Solutions Report will help investors, donors, and supporters better understand the multi-faceted role of young people in sustainable development and give them additional opportunities to showcase and scale their work’ concluded Mr. Loni.

As further testimony of SDSN Youth’s commitment to concretely supporting its growing global cohort of young innovators, this year’s report was prepared in collaboration with Junior Chamber International (JCI), which ensured that ​5 of the selected solutions could be provided with grants from the Global Youth Empowerment Fund. ​The Fund, founded by JCI in partnership with the UN SDG Action Campaign, offers grants and training to youth-led projects that advance theSDGs.​EarlSawyer,Interim Secretary-GeneralofJCI​,said:‘JCIisproudtocollaboratewith SDSN Youth on their 2019 Youth Solutions Report. We are excited to offer young people the recognition, tools, training and resources needed to scale their SDG-focused projects in order to tackle global problems’.

Reposted from Club of Rome 

New York – September 24th. 

As national leaders meet in New York for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, the Club of Rome has issued a statement proposing nations declare a planetary emergency for climate and nature in 2020. The statement – the Planetary Emergency Plan – makes the case for immediate and wide-ranging action to protect the global commons – the rainforests, ice sheets, oceans and atmosphere. At the same time, the authors say, the global economic system must undergo an equitable transformation in order to properly value a stable planet.

Download the press release here.

The Planetary Emergency Plan, issued by the Club of Rome with the scientific support of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), sets out 10 urgent commitments to save our global commons and immediate underpinning actions for the necessary social and economic transformations needed to secure the long-term health and well-being of people and planet.

The action countries are taking is utterly inconsistent with what the science is saying. We need to reduce risk of dangerously destabilising our planet. Our school children deserve better from this generation of leaders,” said Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome.

In 2020 we have a unique moment on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations to rethink our relationship with our planet,” she added.

Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a co-author of the plan said, “Scientifically we can say with confidence that this is an emergency. We have a narrow window to reduce risk of triggering irreversible changes that would commit all future generations to a destabilised planet with potentially catastrophic consequences.”

For 10,000 years, human civilisation has grown and thrived because of Earth’s remarkable climate stability and rich biological diversity. These are our essential global commons, yet we are dangerously undermining them.” he added.

Dixson-Declève said, “We can see this as opportunity to not just avert disaster but to rebuild, improve and regenerate economies. We can emerge from emergency to a world that benefits all species, within planetary boundaries and leaving no one behind.”

WWF International supports the need for an emergency declaration for people and planet.

“Leaders meeting in New York will have the chance in 2020 to secure a sustainable future for people and nature. The decisions they make in the next year will continue to have impacts for decades to come. Most urgently, leaders must recognise today’s planetary crisis we now face by working to secure an ambitious and science based emergency plan for nature and people.” says Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.

The ten 10 commitments included in the plan are.

TRANSFORMING ENERGY SYSTEMS

1. Halt all fossil fuel expansion, investments and subsidies by 2020 and shift investments and revenues to low-carbon energy deployment, research, development and innovation.

2. Continue the doubling of wind and solar capacity every four years, and triple annual investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies for high-emitting sectors before 2025.

3. Set a global floor price on carbon (>30 USD/ton CO 2 and rising) immediately for developed countries and no later than 2025 for the most advanced transition economies, that internalises high-carbon energy externalities in all products and services.

SHIFTING TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY

4. Agree in 2020 to halve consumption and production footprints in developed and emerging economies and close loops in inefficient value chains, by 2030.

5. Internalise externalities in unsustainable and high-carbon production and consumption through targeted consumption taxes and regulation, as well as consumption-based accounting, by 2025.

6. Develop national and cross-national roadmaps for all countries towards regenerative land-use and circular economies, including a reduction in global carbon emissions from basic materials to net-zero, by 2030.

CREATING A JUST AND EQUITABLE SOCIETY FOUNDED IN HUMAN AND ECOLOGICAL WELL-BEING

7. Introduce economic progress indicators that include socio-ecological and human health and well-being by 2030, recognising that the latter depends on the flourishing and stewardship of natural ecosystems.

8. Provide legal tools by 2025 that allow indigenous, forest and tribal communities to secure their rights to traditional land, recognising their vital role as stewards of these lands in mitigating climate change and ecosystem degradation. Such mechanisms must include funding and legal aid to guarantee that these communities have access to justice.

9. Shift taxation from labour to the use of all natural resources, final disposal, emissions to land, air and water by 2020.

10. Establish clear funding and retraining programmes for displaced workers, rural and industrial communities by 2025.

The manner and priority in which these actions are implemented will vary from country to country and between developed economies and economies in transition, but the overall objective of rapid carbon emissions reduction and nature regeneration should be a common goal over the next decade,” said Dixson-Declève.

This piece was originally published by UN Association 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) speak to an agenda that is familiar the world over, even though different terms might be used to describe the key ideas: quality of life, flourishing for all people and sustainability for the planet. These ideas are increasingly coalescing around the notion of wellbeing, in all its dimensions.

This shared vision for a better way of doing things can be found across a range of sources. It is embedded in the scripts of many religions. It is contained in the world views of First Nations communities. It can be read in the scholarship of development experts and in research findings about what makes people content. This vision echoes in evidence from psychology about human needs and from neuroscience about what makes our brains react. Perhaps most importantly, it can be heard loud and clear in deliberative conversations with people all over the world about what really matters to them. It is set out in the 17 SDGs, and perhaps is best captured by the overriding mantra of ‘leave no one behind’.

An economy that leaves people behind
This is a call to ensure that everyone is included, that no one is marginalised. ‘Leave no one behind’ implies that it is the system, our collective institutions and their interactions, which does the ‘leaving’ – not that it is those left behind who are to blame. Taking this system-wide viewpoint enables a conversation about the interconnected nature of people’s opportunities and conceptualisations of development, how they interact with the environment, and how shifts in one sphere have consequences in the other. In the worst-case scenario, these interactions can spark spirals that devastate lives, threaten human rights and undermine peace.

The systemic nature of these processes means that it is inadequate to keep plastering over “wounds caused by inequality by building more prisons, hiring more police and prescribing more drugs” (as Danny Dorling puts it in his book Injustice: Why Social Inequality Still Persists). Expenditure on such items is a grave testament to the failure to help people flourish and enjoy quality of life. This tally is even higher when one looks at the expenditure necessitated by environmental breakdown – cleaning up after climate-change-induced flooding or storms, treating asthma exacerbated by toxic particles in the air, and buying bottled water when rivers and streams are polluted.

Of course, such expenditures are the preserve of those fortunate enough to have the resources to spend. Environmental breakdown hits those without such resources the hardest due to their increased vulnerability. People’s ability to escape from sources of toxicity and risk is determined by whether they can command access to uncontaminated, safer land and food sources, or if they are among the great numbers of those who must make do with what is left.

The vulnerability of those who are least to blame reflects the unequal distribution of power, resources and opportunity: economic resources are as unequally shared as the impact resulting from plunder of natural ones.

An unequally shared harvest
One of the best-regarded authorities on economic inequality is the World Inequality Report. The 2018 publication revealed that in recent decades income inequality, measured by the top 10 per cent’s share of income, is getting worse in almost all parts of the world. Statistics compiled by Credit Suisse show that the richest one per cent own as much wealth as the rest of the world. The gap between the real incomes of people in the Global North compared to those in the Global South has expanded by approximately three times since 1960. Taking the broader definition of poverty adopted by Peter Edward’s ‘ethical poverty line’ (identifying the income threshold below which life expectancy rapidly falls, currently $7.40 a day) as many as 4.3 billion people live in poverty.

Those GDP-rich economies that most epitomise the current economic model provide some of the starkest evidence that the prevailing system distributes inadequately. The McKinsey Global Institute reports that 81 per cent of the US population is in an income bracket which experienced flat or declining income over the last decade. The figure is 97 per cent in Italy, 70 per cent in Britain and 63 per cent in France. People living in GDP-rich countries are struggling to get by. In the UK, for example, the use of food banks has risen dramatically in recent years.

Those who reap most of the rewards of this system are also those putting the planet in most danger. On climate change, figures published by Our World In Data show that the richest countries (high and upper–middle income countries) emit 86 per cent of global CO2 emissions. In the UK, emissions are strongly correlated with income, while in the US, the richest 10 per cent have a carbon footprint three times that of people in the poorest 10 per cent of incomes.

Rebuilding the system
It is not unusual to hear people who are concerned about the state of the world pointing to the levels of inequality. They cite the lack of sufficient job quality, bemoan the plunder of the planet and declare that the economic system is ‘broken’.

But if one peers beneath the symptoms, it becomes apparent that the root cause of so much of this is directly due to how the economy is currently and proactively designed. Our economic system does not sufficiently account for nature, is blind to distribution of resources, and elevates measures of progress that encompass perverse incentives (such as short-term profit and GDP at the expense of human wellbeing).

The system is not broken: it is doing what it was set up to do. The roots of inequality and environmental breakdown are found in a heady mix of institutions, processes and power relations that shape allocation of risk and reward. Decisions taken over many years by successive governments have resulted in: inadequate minimum wage levels and inadequate social protection; different rates of tax on income compared to capital; relatively low rates of top income tax (particularly in the UK and US compared to other OECD countries, and compared to previous levels); loopholes inserted in legislation that enabled tax avoidance; undermining of unions’ scope to collectively bargain and fight for workers’ pay and conditions; narrow ownership of many firms; and corporate governance that fixates on short-term profit.

The same system dynamics are seen in the links between inequality and environmental impact. These links arise through: the pressure to consume status items to maintain the appearance of wealth; the consumption patterns of the richest; the way inequality undermines collective efforts to protect environmental commons; and the break that inequality exerts on pro-environmental policies. These structures are deliberate, even though the side effects may not be. Although they stretch back many decades (centuries even), they can be dismantled and designed differently.

Building a wellbeing economy
The patterns highlighted above suggest that while the vision might be to leave no one behind, today’s reality is that some might be too far ahead – hoarding economic resources and doing much damage to natural ones. This arrangement is a construct that reflects political decisions and choices by enterprises.

A wellbeing economy can be built that would deliver good lives for people from the beginning, rather than requiring so much effort to patch things up, to cope and recover after the damage is done, and to redistribute what is unevenly shared. A wellbeing economy can be achieved by reorienting goals and expectations for business, politics and society.

A wellbeing economy is one that is regenerative, that is cooperative and collaborative, and that is purposeful. It will have equal opportunity at its core: not simply by meekly redistributing as best one can the outcomes from an unequal economic system, but by structuring the economy so that better sharing of resources, wealth and power is built in. For example, it would entail:

  • regenerated ecosystems and extended global commons;
  • a circular economy serving needs rather than driving consumption from production;
  • people feeling safe and healthy in their communities, mitigating the need for vast expenditure on treating, healing and fixing;
  • switching to renewables, generated by local communities or public agencies wherever possible;
  • democratic economic management (in terms of power, scale and ownership);
  • participatory, deliberative democracy with governments responsive to citizens;
  • purpose-driven businesses with social and environmental aims in their DNA, using true-cost accounting;
  • economic security for all, and wealth, income, time and power fairly distributed, rather than relying on redistribution;
  • jobs that deliver meaning and purpose and means for a decent livelihood;
  • recognising and valuing care, health and education in the ‘core’ economy outside the market; and
  • focusing on measures of progress that reflect real value creation.

A growing movement is forming around the idea of such an economy. It comprises academics laying out the evidence base, businesses harnessing commercial activities to deliver on social and environmental goals, and communities working together not for monetary reward, but following the innate human instincts to be together, to cooperate and collaborate. Such efforts will be made so much easier as pioneering policymakers are emboldened to step away from the constraints imposed by a 20th century vision of ‘development as GDP’. Instead, they must embrace a new agenda for the 21st century – an economy geared up to deliver human and ecological wellbeing. This work bodes well for the creation of a world in which no one is left behind.