Opportunities and Limitations in Global Strategic Frameworks

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were two strong efforts to increase development in all areas. While the SDGs are still in force, the MDGs have concluded, providing the valuable possibility of evaluating the opportunities provided by this framework, as well as its limitations. Continue reading

Multistakeholder Internet Governance

The rise of globalization and interconnectedness has had many implications for private and public society. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the concept of world governance emerged- a governance that was not done by one state but was done by all states working together. Instead of one nation controlling the others, this concept would mean that a power separate from the nations themselves would have the ultimate power. This concept eventually led to many regional and global organizations, the largest and arguably most powerful of which is the United Nations. While the UN is far from all-powerful, it represents a multistakeholder global governance: each member state has stake in the organization, as well as countless other groups and organizations. Continue reading

Inclusive Education

Education is possibly the most important contribution to the development of children. Education must be inclusive, not only in that it includes persons with disabilities and provides the frameworks needed to succeed, but also in that it allows for the education of all; teaching persons with and without disabilities the understanding and acceptance needed to create cultural changes that will make our society as a whole most inclusive.

Article 7 of the UNCRPD focuses on children disabilities and how children with disabilities have the right to enjoy the same freedoms as other children. An integral freedom of children with disabilities is the right to go to school and learn. Article 9, on accessibility, encourages the structural changes needed for children of all abilities to access not just the physical school but also the content learned. Article 30, on participation in recreation, includes the social and extracurricular activities offered in many schools, which should be accessible to all students. Though there are many articles from the CRPD that could be applied in a context that would increase inclusion in education, Article 24, on education itself, is the most comprehensive. This article covers everything from Braille and sign language to individualized support to maximize academic and social development.

According to a 2011 World Bank report, there are between 93 and 150 million school-aged children with disabilities globally. Inclusive education ensures that these children are not excluded from educational opportunities and that they reach the same level of education as those without disabilities. UNESCO, along with the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ICT), joined together to promote ways to implement the UNCRPD.

UNESCO worked together with G3ICT because information technology is an important way for schools to increase their inclusivity. At the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS), it was suggested that these ICTs could increase inclusion. These ICTs could have assistive technology, encourage personalized learning, have self-accommodation that could increase independence, and other important technologies. Screen readers, alternative keyboards, and alternative communication devices are just a few examples of amazing technologies that could be used to increase the accessibility of education for all. With information technology available, more people than ever will be able to access quality education and move further on the road to achieving their dreams.

ICTs and Sustainable Development

Information Communication Technologies, or ICTs, refer to communication technologies like the telephone, the internet, cell phones, other wireless networks, and more. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasize the integration of ICTs in development, especially in SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). Not only do ICTS help the environment by reducing the need to travel over long distances or use paper, they also significantly contribute to development. Continue reading

Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

As climate change continues to unfold, more and more disasters are occurring. Between 1980 and 2010, the number of natural disasters tripled globally. In order to slow down these natural disasters, we must slow down climate change. However, in the meantime, it is important to focus on both disaster risk reduction, to reduce the risks that people face during natural disasters, and disaster risk management, to deal with what happens when these disasters do occur.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, or UNISDR, holds many conferences regarding actions to be taken regarding disaster risk reduction. The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction takes place every 10 years in order to develop plans and practices to strengthen nations’ capacities to resist and adapt to natural disasters. The most recent of these conferences was the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which took place in Sendai, Japan, in 2015. Out of this conference came the Sendai Framework, which includes seven global targets and four priorities for action, including investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience and enhancing disaster preparedness to improve recovery efforts. The Sendai Framework emphasizes the importance of state actors, while also prioritizing collaboration with other stakeholders.

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction takes place more frequently than the World Conferences, to continue the important work. The GP meets every two years, and the most recent Platform took place in Cancun in 2017.

However, the United Nations is not the only international body working to reduce disaster risk. When natural disasters occur, they affect everyone differently. Persons with disabilities can be particularly vulnerable to disasters if there is not an inclusive evacuation plan. Non-state actors such as the DIDRRN and the International Disability Alliance are working towards more inclusive language and more inclusive policy. At the Dhaka Conference on Disability and Disaster Risk Management, disaster risk was assessed through the lens of disability inclusion. The Dhaka Conference resulted in the Dhaka Declaration, which includes tangible, specific indicators for inclusion. In the 2017 Global Platform, the Dhaka Declaration was incorporated into the Sendai Framework for even more inclusive disaster risk management on a global level.

Persons with disabilities need to be included not just in disaster risk reduction and management, but also in these conferences. The Niplon Foundation of Japan helped both the Sendai Conference and the GP 2017 to be as inclusive as possible, along with the support of the IDPP. The Global Platform even featured robots controlled by people in hubs who were not able to attend the conference. Participation by persons with disability is integral to ensure that disaster risk policy is inclusive and benefits everyone.

WUF and inclusive, sustainable cities

More than half of the world’s population is living in urban centers. By 2050, this figure is expected to go up to 66%. The majority of this growth will take place in Asia and Africa, especially India, China, and Nigeria. Cities are growing bigger and bigger, but as they do so, they become more of a burden to the environment. In order to support growing populations as well as support the diverse populations already residing in cities, governments must make efforts to make cities inclusive, sustainable, and ready to support the influx of people coming their way. Continue reading

Development Theories

Summary: What is development? Definitions of development differ, but are all interrelated. Most people think of development as an economic process. Typically, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and wealth are equated to a country’s level of development. However, this standard erases cultural and spiritual richness from consideration. Countries with low GDPs are considered developing nations, but if cultural wealth were instead evaluated, these same countries may be considered the most developed. Development is a mix of every theory; there are no theories that include every aspect of the process. Continue reading

The Grand Challenge of Inclusive Sustainable Development

Summary: Grand challenges have shaped the way countries set out to achieve their goals. Grand challenges are ambitious, time-limited, and clearly defined. The Millennium Development Goals were an incredible start at setting collaborative worldwide grand challenges, and the Sustainable Development Goals will continue the quest for sustainable development in a more inclusive manner. Continue reading