Tuesday, 28 May 2013

OECD Forum 2013 - What is the Greatest Challenge We Face Today?

Held in Paris each May to coincide with the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, the OECD Forum has emerged as a major international stakeholder summit. 

Leaders from all sectors of civil society gather to debate the most pressing social and economic challenges confronting society. Together with current and former heads of state and government, Nobel Prize winners, top CEOs, leaders of key non governmental organisations and trade unions, and prominent members of academia and media
... YOU TOO can play your part in helping shape responses to global challenges.

The big question at this year’s OECD Forum is 

what is the greatest challenge we face todayjobs, inequality, economic growth?’ 

Over the course of two days, panels discussed Promoting Inclusive Growth, Rebuilding Trust in economic and social interactions, Fostering sustainability and Inequality.

This blog gives you a brief overview of the Forum. 

You can find out more on the Forum, here or follow #OECDwk or for twitter updates.

Tuesday 28 May

10:00-10-30am: OECD Better Life Index presentation and the launch of the BLI in Spanish

10:00-12:00  Three Parallel Sessions
  • The 21st Century Production Revolution 
  • What’s Up with Banks?
  • SMEs – Backbone of the Economy

Lunch Time Debates

13:45 – 15:15   Three Parallel Sessions
  • The Asian Century 
  • The Unemployees 
  • Old Politics, New Politics 

15:15 – 16:45  Three Parallel Sessions
  • Austerity vs Growth: A False Dilemma
  • The New Societal Contract 
  • From School to Work 

17:00-18:30  Two Parallel Sessions
  • Trade in Value Added: The World Factory
  • Out with the Old, In with the New

18:30   Reception and Video Competition Award - See one of he videos below. 

Wednesday 29 May

9:00 – 10:30  Three Parallel Sessions
  • Addressing Inequalities for a More Inclusive Society (follow @Wikiprogress live tweeting)
  • Too Big to Pay Tax? 
  • Women of Influence (follow @Wikigender live tweeting)

10:30-11:00 – Keynote Address by Ministerial Council Meeting 

11:00 – 11:40 – Presentation of the Economic Outlook 

11:45 – 13:00 – Economic Outlook Debate – Growth and Jobs 

Lunch Time Debates

15:00 – 16:30  Two Parallel Sessions
  • The African Renaissance
  • The Enterprising State

16:30 – 17:00 – Forum Closing Session

See the full list of 100 plus speakers, here.

A great deal was packed into the two days so we hope this article helps you to  identify your areas of interest and navigate your way through the different sessions.

Wikiprogress has a page on the Forum, click here!

We hope you enjoy finding out about the 2013 OECD Forum

Before you go check out this video on the OECD's Better Life Index!

The Wikiprogress Team 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Week in Review

Hello Wikiprogress followers and welcome to this Week in Review! This week’s highlights include a UN report on human rights in the context of the post-2015 agenda, an update from UNICEF on global progress on sanitation and drinking water and an Oxfam report on risk and poverty reduction.

Released this week, the UN’s Who will be Accountable? – Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agendacalls on countries to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda focuses on equality, social protection and accountability, noting that one billion people around the world are still living in poverty. 

“The rise of inequality has severely undermined the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs,” UN Spokesman, 21st May 2013
The “OECD E-Government Review of Egypt” assesses Egyptian e-government policies and implementation, and makes recommendations for future actions. The report highlights Egypt’s progress and proposes that to enhance the use of ICTs in the public sector Egypt should undertake a number of measures. Find out more!

No Accident - Resilience and the Inequality of Risk – This report from Oxfam stipulates that governing bodies and aid agencies must challenge the politics and power at the heart of the increasing effects of climate change, growing inequality and people’s vulnerability to disasters. Oxfam highlights the increasing threat of various major external risks and points out that the majority of these are actively dumped on poor people, with women bearing the brunt because of their social, political and economic status. 

Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water - 2013 Update – UNICEF’s annual report card presents country, regional and global estimates on improvements (or lack of them) in access to drinking water and sanitation. According to the publication, the world will not meet the MDG sanitation target of 75% and if current trends continue, it is set to miss the target by more than half a billion. To find out more about sanitation inequality, read our recent Progblog article on the subject.  

The right poverty measure for post-2015 – is part of a series of blogs that debate how a post-2015 framework ought to measure poverty. This article by Stephan Klasen, Professor of development economics and empirical economic research at the University of Göttingen, puts forward a proposal for internationally coordinated national poverty measurement. 

Thanks for checking in - we are pleased to inform you that our theme of the month in June will be Environment so we look forward to bringing you articles, blogs and Week in Reviews related to the subject in the coming weeks!

The Wikiprogress Team

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Gender equality and post-2015: what's new? Perspectives from the 11th OECD Gendernet meeting

Last week, Wikigender attended the 11th meeting of the OECD DAC Network on Gender Equality. Among the discussion topics on the agenda, participants exchanged their thoughts about the “unfinished business” of the MDGs and the post-2015 development agenda. Here I would like to share with you some of the points and questions raised during the meeting and invite your comments below this blog post.

Participants capitalised on the positive lessons learnt from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and identified areas of improvement for the post-2015 agenda.

On the positive side for example, it was mentioned that MDG3 was at the heart of poverty reduction strategies and therefore helped to get the dialogue started on gender equality issues - for example we have seen very good results in terms of girls’ education, especially at primary level. Many participants agreed that having a standalone goal on gender equality as well as comprehensive mainstreaming of gender equality across all of the goals was the best way to achieve visibility in the post-2015 framework. This should be accompanied by concise and strategic language around the goals as well as key partnerships. Also, goals should reconcile the human rights based approach with the development practical approach – so that, through the intrinsic value of gender equality and women’s empowerment, we can reaffirm policy commitment and funding and continue to rally gender equality advocates.

In terms of what could be improved, it was mentioned that there should be more focus at sub-national level, in particular to address the needs of specific populations such as ethnic minorities. On content, it was agreed that MDG3 was too narrow and there were serious omissions, such as gender-based violence for example. Some priority areas outlined for post 2015 included women’s choices and capabilities, violence against women and women’s participation in the household, including unpaid work and decision-making in both the public and private spheres.

Overall, there was agreement that we need to address the structural drivers of gender inequality (such as violence against women, early marriage, etc.) now  (why wait until 2015 when we can act now?); use what worked as “pivot points”, as some can have a multiplier effect and can help in prioritising the actions needed; and further improve data collection, reporting as well as quality and coverage.

What are your experiences in your country? Which areas of the MDGs can we build upon and where can we be transformative or innovative?

Estelle Loiseau
Wikigender Co-ordinator

Friday, 17 May 2013

Highlights of the week: Governance and more!

Welcome to another Week in Review! This week’s post includes a ‘Resource Governance Index’, a ‘World Health Statistics’ report and World Telecommunication & Information Society Day.

State of Civil Society Report 2013 by CIVICUS calls for an enabling environment for civil society, it includes nearly 50 contributions from experts and civil society leaders from around the world.  These experts highlighted good practices and challenges on the horizon for citizens and civil society globally. 
"57% of the world’s population live in countries where basic civil liberties and political freedoms are curtailed" State of Civil Society Report 2013
The 2013 Resource Governance Index Report measures the quality of governance in the oil, gas and mining sector of 58 countries. The RGI scores and ranks the countries, relying on a detailed questionnaire completed by researchers with expertise in the extractive industries. According to this year’s study there is a major governance deficit in natural resources around the world, and the deficit is largest in the most resource- dependent countries, where nearly half a billion people live in poverty despite that resource wealth.
Wikigender Special Focus: Women and Elections – As part of our focus on Governance, Wikigender is currently spotlighting the critical role that women have to play in elections to have their voice heard, both as voters and elected representatives. This ‘Special Focus’ looks at the role of women in elections, drawing on articles from various situations around the world.
World Health Statistics 2013 – this report contains WHO’s annual compilation of health-related data for its 194 Member States, and includes a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and associated targets.  

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day  (WTISD) is on 17 May - The purpose of  WTISD is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. Make sure you follow the #WTISD for updates!

Finally, don't miss World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development - The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and raise awareness about the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity and inclusion.

We look forward to checking in next week to bring you more highlights from the world of well-being and progress.

Robbie Lawrence
The Wikiprogress Team
WikiprogressWikgender and Wikichild

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Can good governance solve youth unemployment?

This article by Robbie Lawrence, highlights how young people are very much part of the solution to youth unemployment. This post is part of the Wikiprogress Governance and Civic Engagement Series

“Education is our top priority but, once educated we want to be trained, enabled – and funded – to take action to address the challenges faced by our generation through youth-led development. We want, in Gandhi’s words, to ‘be the change’ we want to see in the world…” World Youth Congress, Hawaii, 1999

On the same day that the Bank of England upgraded its economic forecast, stating that inflation is expected to drop within the next two years, the Trades Union Congress reported that UK unemployment figures grew by 15,000 in the first three months of 2012 to 2.52 million. Rising employment numbers in the latter months of 2012 had offered a level of respite for the British government following a bruising financial year, however, today’s findings show that joblessness is still extensive.

The issue remains embedded among young people, with jobless rates soaring towards the one million mark and standing at 21.2% across the country. The TUC is concerned that while employment prospects for older workers have been improving, those for young people are far worse, and have deteriorated further since mid-2010. The damaging effects of unemployment on young people are well documented, and there is an increasing risk that the UK’s current 15-24 year olds will suffer lasting damage to their earnings potential and job prospects throughout their lives.

Global figures are equally gloomy. Over the last few years we have been inundated with statistics on the deteriorating situation in Europe (particularly Spain) for young job seekers and in Africa well over half of 15-24 year olds are currently out of work. According to a UN led report released last week, the weakening world wide recovery has further aggravated the youth job crisis and as a result the problem will continue growing over the next five years. The International Labour Organization’s ‘Global Employment Trends forYouth 2013: A generation at risk’ estimates that 73.4 million young people (12.6 percent) are expected to be out of work in 2013, and by 2018, this will have reached 12.8 percent.

Graph taken from ILO Report 2013

The report stipulates that young people face persistent unemployment, a proliferation of temporary jobs and growing discouragement in advanced economies; and poor quality, informal, subsistence jobs in developing countries:

“The economic and social costs of unemployment, long-term unemployment, discouragement and widespread low-quality jobs for young people continue to rise and undermine economies’ growth potential,” ILO - Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report.

Despite vocal concern around the issue, it seems that governments and organisations have struggled to find an effective means of combating youth unemployment. The recent World Economic Forum in Davos touched upon the subject on a number of occasions with some leaders suggesting that a global fund for unemployment be implemented. Yet there have been murmurings among critics that such steps are simply inadequate when faced with the ‘tidal wave’ of jobless young people sweeping the world’s nations. Lynda Cratton of the London Business School believes that in a similar way to global warming, the sheer complexity of the challenge renders it almost impossible to solve.

Following the release of ‘A generation at risk’ the ILO’s assistant director-general for policy José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs stated, ‘These figures underline the need to focus policies on growth, massive improvements in training systems and targeted youth employment actions’. 

Two recent Wikichild Spotlight reports look at tackling youth unemployment through effective governance.

- Developed by UNICEF and Save the Children, Children's Rights and Business Principles provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing the impact of business on the rights and well-being of children. The Children’s Rights and Business Principles are built on existing standards and practices and helps to explain the opportunities for business of investing in children.  

- First published in Nairobi last year, UN-HABITAT’s State of the Field in Youth Development sheds light on how youth are positively impacting communities around the world. As part of wider series, this particular report stresses how young people can be beneficial to communities, and how local, national and international governments can implement, engage and support youth and youth led initiatives.

Both reports look to brand young people as ambassadors of change. ‘Children’s Right’s and Business Principles’ recognizes that children are among the most marginalised members of society, yet when provided with the agency to participate, they have shown that they can offer vital alternative viewpoints and make effective contributions. Similarly, ‘State of the Field’ emphasizes the need to have faith in the power of young people to contribute constructively to the good of society. It seems that both publications hope to change the attitude of governing bodies towards young people by showing that they themselves have placed youths at the center of their own projects. The ‘State of the Field’ report lists countless examples of how initiatives led by young people have positively benefited society.

Youth unemployment is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges facing governments this century and will worsen as populations swell and education becomes more readily available. However, the two publications featured provide hard facts about how the integration of young people in a country’s workforce can catalyse economic prosperity. With the development of more projects similar to the ones mentioned in the ‘State of the Field’ it seems that we can go someway to combating the problem.   

Robbie Lawrence 
Wikichild Coordinator