The Maitland Report references the effort to establish telecommunications in all areas. The ability to use telecommunication has become a vital part of today’s economy and necessary to be a part of the global context. The report is quoted as:
“virtually the whole mankind should be brought within easy reach of a telephone and, in due course, the other services telecommunications can provide. That should be the overriding objective. Achieving this will require a range of actions by industrialized and developing countries alike.”
This is because telecommunications have been neglected as an important part of integrating people in underdeveloped areas to the rest of the world. The combination of raising productivity, increasing efficiency, and enhancing the quality of life in these areas can be attained by an increase in access to telecommunications. Whether it is consistent access to a landline, cell phone tower installation for use with personal cell phones, or internet cafes for email use, these communications have proven vital in today’s world. Without these technologies, communities remain isolated despite other efforts to integrate them into the larger economy.
Another important note is that these telecommunications benefit everyday life in the developing areas in which they are implemented. For instance, health services will increase with the ability to call for emergency medical care or allow access to more advanced sciences. Another example is the increase in education available with the increase in telecommunication options. With access to stable internet, students are able to access the world of information usually regarded as a basic education tool in the developed world. Further, adults have access to information that could benefit any entrepreneurial venture they take.
The contributions they make towards the agricultural and infrastructure sectors of the global economy also benefits already developed areas. By allowing the fairer distribution of goods from these areas, it expands the global market and increases competition. This may sound like a threat to developed areas and their economies but it would allow for better products and increase opportunities for specialization.
The Internet Governance Forum through the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs serves as a multistakeholder process to manage internet access and behavior. The Internet Governance Forum Code of Conduct directly calls for 6 things: Treat all members of the IGF community equally, Act in a reasonable and informed manner when participating in any IGF Platform, Listen and respect all views of stakeholders when considering policies, facilitate transparency in policy discussions, act fairly and in good faith with other participants, promote ethical and responsible behavior within any IGF forum.
Once these things are established, the multistakeholder approach becomes vital to internet governance. It allows for new innovation in internet infrastructure, resolves an centralized institution surrounding the internet, and enhances inclusion of all people. This approach is necessary as the internet is intended for everyone and therefore governance of such requires input from all parties. This connects back to the Maitland Report and access to telecommunications. Moving beyond the situation of telecommunications in the 1980s when the Maitland Report was created, the idea of Multistakeholder Internet Governance takes the same ideas of inclusion and access to knowledge and applies them to the internet, now a main source of communication and information.
By considering all of the perspectives of people who could use internet, we allow for more people to be involved in internet use and overall knowledge. Not only do we allow more access to information and communication in underdeveloped areas, the knowledge these areas have to offer becomes available to the developed world. When these ideas of Traditional Knowledge are shared, it can help solve certain issues seen from scientific knowledge. Overall, by allowing for many perspectives and caring for the issues of everyone involved, the Internet Governance Forum facilitates benefits for all sides to communicate and collaborate on a wide range of issues facing the world today.
The United Nations was formed in 1945, officially coming into existence on October 24. As it stands today, its goals are to save people from war, to affirm human rights to all people, to uphold justice and respect, and to promote social progress as it relates to freedom. This is ultimately to create tolerance to find peace, unite in international peace and security, ensure the limitation of use of armed forces, and to enhance economic and social aspects of all lives.
Through the United Nations today, we have just passed the timeline for the Millennium Development Goals and come into the timeframe of the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs span a wide array of goals, economic and social, to benefit humanity as a whole. The 17 goals are:
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable
- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
One important thing to notice about the SDGs is that many of these topics can encompass the same issues. For instance, Clean Energy and Climate Action will have many similarities yet are different goals. This allows for two benefits that did not happen under the MDGs. First, metrics and indicators for each are more clear and precise to allow for better project implementation. Second, by allowing goals to have similar targets, there is a greater chance that something will be done when they can be approached from multiple perspectives at the same time.
Global Strategic Frameworks, and in this case specifically the Millennium Development Goals, have certain opportunities as well as limitations. While this post will focus on the limitations of these global strategic frameworks, it is important to note that even failures within them show us where to improve and demonstrate a desire to do so in the first place. On that note, the Millennium Development Goals were not reached. It is that simple. There are many arguments as to why but one of the most important that was heavily addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals was what and how the Millennium Development Goals measured initiatives and outcomes. One example of this is Goal 2 of the MDGs: Achieve universal primary education, was measured by enrollment rates and how many students attended school each day. While numerically, many country’s rates of student enrollment increased, it did not measure the quality of education they received as a result of rapid school building projects to achieve Goal 2.
Another argument, rooted in the one before, is that the MDGs were more useful to donors and program initiators then the governments behind them. Because these goals were largely drafted without the input of the developing nations that would be receiving the aid, the language was drafted in a way to benefit investors and donors than to be clear to locals or government officials.
Finally, the immediately obvious difference between the MDGs and SDGs is the number of goals. The MDGs lumped many things into single categories, not emphasizing certain issues enough. This has hopefully been addressed by separating many of these categories into their own entities in the SDGs.
Inclusive Education has many different aspects to consider. Physical and mental disabilities are important to remember in education accessibility as they carry a great ability to isolate people within education systems or even keep them out in many cases. In order to address this, the United Nations created the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or CRPD, under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict). The CRPD was created to develop a ‘model policy document to be used as a template to assist UNESCO member states in promoting the effective use of inclusive ICTs in education for learners with disabilities,’ according to the Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education for Persons with Disabilities. This model policy document serves two purposes: to act as a blueprint for short, mid and long-term action as well as to be an audit tool for member states to check their progress in relation to inclusive education.
The specifics of inclusive education can involve anything from personalized class lessons to screen readers or wheelchair ramps. The inclusion of both physical and mental disabilities has been considered under the CRPD which has led to a non-discriminatory approach regarding the intersectionalities between disabilities, human rights, gender equality, and access to services. This has been done through reasonable accommodations for different disabilities and an outlook for how to improve based on current technologies and capabilities. While there are still areas lacking in inclusive education, many areas have made huge strides to reduce the stigma around this group of people and allow for further educational advancements. In order to further this, individual needs must be met, ability for lifelong learning must see increased focus, and education for those with disabilities must see a systems approach in order to normalize this population’s education.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted on March 18, 2015 in Sendai, Japan at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. This framework allowed all participating countries 5 opportunities relating to disaster risk reduction according to the Framework’s Preamble:
- To adopt a concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction
- To complete the assessment and review of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters
- To consider the experience gained through the regional and national strategies/institutions and plans for disaster risk reduction and their recommendations, as well as relevant regional agreements for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action
- To identify modalities of cooperation based on commitments to implement a post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction
- To determine modalities for the periodic review of the implementation of post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction
This World Conference also gave the participating countries an opportunity to restate their dedication of disaster risk reduction efforts and initiatives.
This World Conference addressed common accessibility issues in a manner of ways regarding the Sendai Framework. These included International Sign Language Interpretation, Remote Participation, Webconferencing, Remote Hubs, Remote Participation via Telepresence Robot, Accessible documentation options, and the option to request accessible transport. These address General Assembly resolutions regarding accessibility for those who require sign language or are in areas that prove difficult to travel. While these steps are important, they do not reach nearly every community. Unfortunately, these communities and populations that may not have access to information that comes from the Sendai Framework are those communities and populations who are most likely to see heavy effects of disasters. For instance, there is only some access to the information at hand for those who live in small villages. The Remote Hubs were only located in four major cities, making them inconducive to include those in rural areas.
According to the United Nations World Urban Forum (WUF) website, the World Urban Forum is “the world’s premier conference on urban issues.” Established in 2001 by the United Nations, The World Urban Forum analyzes rapid urbanization and its effects on communities, cities, economies, climate change, and policies. The World Urban Forum was organized and convened by UN-Habitat and allows for high-level participation that creates a premier international gathering about one of the most pressing global issues. The World Urban Forum has three objectives:
- raise awareness of sustainable urbanization among stakeholders and constituencies, including the generic public;
- improve the collective knowledge of sustainable urban development through inclusive open debates, sharing of lessons learned and the exchange of best practices and good policies; and
- increase coordination and cooperation between different stakeholders and constituencies for the advancement and implementation of sustainable urbanization.
The World Urban Forum meets every two years to work toward these objectives. Coming in February 2018, The WUF will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many people are excited about the WUF being held in Asia again as it accounts for about 65% of expansion in urban areas across the world. Hosting the forum shows a dedication to sustainable development that would benefit many locations in Asia as rapid urbanization is a heavy burden in many Asian countries. Those involved hope to see many practices and new knowledge being shared by all stakeholders involved in the World Urban Forum.
The relevant stakeholders span a wide range of actors. National and local governments, non-governmental organizations, business, and communities alI hold a large interest in the WUF and its policies to attain the goals of Habitat III. National and local governments will be required to offer much of the funding for sustainable urban development as they must provide infrastructure to accommodate any development. Non-governmental organizations will hold stakes concerning environmental and social concerns while development is under way. NGOs will likely be the ones to hold businesses and governments accountable for these concerns. Businesses will play a role when they invest in an area, creating much of the development through economic opportunity and therefore hope to see beneficial policies from the WUF. Communities will be affected by all of the above as they live in these areas. If the governments do not comply with the policies set by the WUF, businesses will be less likely to invest as there isn’t proper infrastructure, NGOs will continue to see social concerns and attempt to mend these, and these communities will lose economic opportunity and in turn a chance for development.
The grand challenges of today are vast and many, as can be seen by looking at the Millennium Development Goals, the Millennium Development Goals Outcomes, and the Sustainable Development Goals. By following the changes between the Millennium Development Goals and its successor, the Sustainable Development Goals, we can see that there is an expanding understanding of what Grand Challenges we face as a society today. With the continuance of expanding technology and innovation, we are able to find more challenges surmountable even if we are unsure of just how to solve them.
One example is Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. This was broken down into six different goals in the Sustainable Development Goals. These include Affordable and Clean Energy (7), Sustainable Cities and Communities (11), Responsible Consumption and Production (12), Climate Action (13), Life Below Water (14), and Life on Land (15). The expansion of this single goal under the MDGs into six separate goals with their own measurements and specified indicators under the SDGs at least shows our greater understanding of the issues our world faces today. At worst, we learned what needs to be fixed further and things that did not work under the MDGs. At best, we have a more clearly defined notion for the future of these works and are able to build off of and add to what was accomplished under the MDGs.
While this is an international idea about Grand Challenges that should be addressed, it was interesting to find the domestic take by looking at the White House website for Grand Challenges. It was down for maintenance and has been for at least a month and a half. While things like this are common under a new administration and the government tends to run slowly, Trump’s campaign was built off a series of his perceived Grand Challenges that have yet to appear on this site. Compared with the USAID take on Grand Challenges, which is very in depth and has specific examples they are working to fix, there is a disconnect. While Grand Challenges are inherently difficult, they are focused on because they are able to be solved in some way, even if that way is difficult and tiresome. But this distinction shows that one reason we have not worked as far towards accomplishing these things is because of a division of resources and focus. Before we are able to fix these things, agreements must be made about how to do so.
The New Urban Agenda is pushing the idea that sustainable development and urbanization go hand in hand. There are many parts of development and urbanization that The New Urban Agenda focuses on which attain both of these simultaneously while promoting social agendas as well. Through poverty alleviation, inclusive economies, and environmental sustainability initiatives, The New Urban Agenda pushes for many benefits from cities themselves. Those listed include
- Adequate housing with accessible food, water, sanitation, and jobs
- Participatory communities in order to meet all needs
- Gender equality by ensuring numbers 1 and 2
- Meet social challenges in a way that is sustainable and inclusive
- Act as a center for the development at hand with administrative services
- Plan for age and gender mobility obstacles to link this population with people, places, goods, services, and economic opportunities
- Implement a disaster risk reduction and relief program as well as mitigate and adapt to climate change
- “Protect, conserve, restore, and promote” the environment within and around the city in order to minimize environmental impact and make a move to responsible production and production methods
All eight of these are included in the Outcome document of Habitat III as the vision of future cities. While these are all things every city should strive for, it is still a non-binding agreement with minimal accountability. As shown in the indicators under Sustainable Development Goal 11, the goals and indicators are clearly stated but do not mention clear measurements to strive for.
For example, 11.A aims to “support positive economic, social, and environmental links between urban, per-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning.” The indicator for this is 11.A.1, stated as “proportion of population living in cities that implement urban and regional development plans integrating population projections and resource needs, by size of city.” There are two large issues with this: a lack of measurement and not accounting for measures taken outside of cities. First, the lack of measurement relates back to the issues seen with the Millennium Development Goals. Without a set goal, these could be achieved in a minor way but have minimal impact. Second, while the goal is for urbanization, there will undoubtedly be interaction between rural and urban areas. Whether this is merely a trade of goods or includes people traveling regularly between the two, many of the urban plans should be applied to rural areas as well in order to have a fuller impact.
When considering a development project, the way in which things are measured and worded has a large effect on the project mechanisms and outcomes. The three concepts outlined by Andy Sumner and Michael Tribe in International Development Studies: Theories and Methods in Research and Practice are Development as a long term process of structural societal transformation, Development as a short-to-medium term outcome of desirable targets, and Development as a dominant discourse of western modernity. All three of these are presented as separate entities with different processes and outcomes. Despite this, one would hope that all three could be used in a way to make a cohesive form of development.
Development as a long term process has been attributed to academia as it is not practiced as often as it is spoken about. While the rhetoric of development has a clear impact on the way people think and how they wish to act through it, it is true that the idealistic ways in which long term development is projected does not easily lend itself to implementation.
Development as a short-to-medium term process is more measured than the long term processes desired by academics. There are performance goals and indicators that allow for this measurement to be documented within the development community and understood by funding groups and International Organizations. While this approach is able to tangibly accomplish more than long term processes, it typically only scratches the surface of the issue and has the ability to leave an even larger issue than before.
Development as a dominant discourse of Western modernity is a concept that criticizes the two aforementioned concepts. As a whole, it argues that the development being done may not benefit the communities reached in the correct ways. For example, a development scheme may detract from a community’s ability to engage in a cultural event. Considering the development community takes Western models and applies them elsewhere, this has some validity. It creates a superiority complex that continues to drive down those in receipt of development. Even with this, there are not many solutions offered that have been taken seriously.
Because all three of these have their positives and their drawbacks, they can play of each other to learn new techniques and measurement methods. Along with the third concept of development, the people being benefited can have input and truly benefit from the projects being implemented.