Inclusive Sustainable Development

Moving Forward in Inclusive, Sustainable Development

The simple fact is that the world’s global, grand challenges cannot be solved overnight.  As a result, maintaining inclusive, sustainable development is truly a process that can be accomplished to varying degrees in the short-time, medium-term, and long-term.  For many, this process is codified in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the infamous set of 17 goals that will carry the international development community into the year 2030.  With (almost) the first five years of the SDG-era behind the world, where does international development stand and what can the world look forward to, both leading up to and beyond 2030?1_KanoHflyGPOdxIHhAol1zA.png Continue reading

Intersectionality in Development

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a diversity and inclusion training focused on the theory of Intersectionality.  This particular theory of identity was one that moved to the forefront in studying identity, as it conceptually makes the most sense to me.  I often envision identity as a set of moving plates that shift, rotate, and replace one another within a given context. For example, my identity as a woman shifts to the forefront in my male-dominated workplace.  However, that same identity transitions into the background as my identity age is brought forward in the context of my five-year master’s program.

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Live from the Internet Governance Forum

This week, I had the privilege of attending several panels and discussions at the Internet Governance Forum hosted in Paris, France.  This year’s theme, “Internet of Trust,” came at a very apt time on the eve of the 100 years Armistice celebration and the Paris Peace Forum, sentiments reiterated by several speakers throughout the 3-day event.  I was most interested in the discussion related to the dynamic coalitions, given my demonstrated support for comprehensive, multi-stakeholder engagement in processes as broad as the internet. However, the panel that most peaked my interest was the panel entitled, “WS80 Hack the Hate: Empower Society to Face Hate Speech – RAW.”  Initially, I did not see its connection to internet governance aside from the standard practice of censorship practiced online. However, I was genuinely engaged and fascinated by the discussions that ensued. Continue reading

Opportunities and Limitations in Global Strategic Frameworks

Undeniably, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) were a monumental step towards establishing a global framework for conceiving development and human rights.  With clearly defined targets and indicators of success for 8 goals, the MDGs were a revolutionary attempt to centralize and conceptualize how to eradicate poverty and uphold equality through the realms of education, environmental sustainability, poverty & hunger, gender equality, and more on the world stage. Continue reading

Multistakeholder Internet Governance and Sustainable Development

The internet is a world in and of itself, home to budding virtual communities, a wealth of knowledge, and immense power for growth and exploration. However, with the internet comes a desire to establish global norms and regulations in governing the space, manifesting in a multistakeholder approach based on principles determined by the international community.  These governance mechanisms are instituted for safety but also for access and human rights. NetMundial summarizes internet governance principles, citing the following seven criteria as the means for approaching internet governance:


  1. Human rights and shared values
  2. Protection of intermediaries
  3. Culture and linguistic diversity
  4. Unified and unfragmented space
  5. Security, stability and resilience of the internet
  6. Open and distributed architecture
  7. Enabling environment for sustainable innovation and creativity

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ICTs and Inclusive Sustainable Development

Whether for better or for worse, we have entered into a global, digitized age where access to the internet and technology are essential for everyday life.  From education to healthcare and even transportation, the use of technology and the need to be connected at all times is paramount. In terms of the path to development, technology and the internet play a pivotal role, supplementing where resources are lacking, providing global and national networks for communication, and offering innovative solutions to the world’s complex problems.  Yet, reports like the Maitland Report and Falling Through the Net have demonstrated that the distribution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is highly concentrated in the “developed world.” According to the Maitland Report, published in 1984, 75% of the telephones in the world were located in just 9 countries. While this is obviously an outdated number, one could imagine that the disparity has only grown.  Lack of access to a telephone not only limits to who and how individuals can communicate, but it also denies individuals the freedom of security/safety. Particularly in the age of the smartphone, complex mapping applications, safety and monitoring applications, and the simple comfort of being able to call emergency services is denied. Additionally, these facts are augmented for persons with disabilities who may also be facing constraints such as limited mobility, impaired sight or vision, etc.  Moreover, information sharing and the creation of social networks is stunted, stopping the flow of information sharing and socialization. Continue reading

Inclusive Education

I was particularly excited for the class on inclusive education, as inclusive education has been the focus of much of my research since beginning my academic career.  Access to quality, meaningful education is still an issue for many persons with disabilities, whether a result of accessibility issues, a lack of educational resources, or otherwise.  Often, scholars and experts in the field have maintained the power of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to help supplement where resources and educational access are scarce.  For persons with disabilities, the idea is that ICTs allow a more personalized learning experience and can be used as a tool to learn both inside and outside of the classroom. In fact, Sustainable Development Goal 4 identifies ICT access and skills as a major indicator for progress in inclusive education. Continue reading

Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

One of the major approaches of GP2017 was the creation of regional strategies for implementing the Sendai Framework.  The Sendai Framework itself recognizes the primacy of the state to control their own disaster risk reduction plans, but encourages partnerships in regional and subregional bodies.  I cannot help but wonder what something like this would look like in Europe. Upon a bit of research, it appears that the European Commission is doing the most organization and advocacy for disaster risk reduction strategies in tandem with UNISDR that has organized a European Forum on Disaster RIsk Reduction to be held again in November of this year in Rome, Italy.  Moreover, the Commission published an Action Plan in 2016 in accordance with the Sendai Framework, detailing how it would be achieved in Europe. Continue reading

Inclusive Cities, Habitat III and New Urban Agenda

The World Urban Forum is of particular interest to me because of my work with the DIAUD Network through IDPP.  The WUF concept is so interesting to me because of its commitment to inclusivity and emphasis on stakeholder involvement which is where DIAUD comes into play.  DIAUD is a network of stakeholders dedicated to both disability policy and policy concerning sustainable cities. They are established in partnership with UNDESA and IDPP and played a major role in both NUA and WUF9, advocating for language in the document and hosting their own side event. Continue reading

Habitat III and the NUA

This week, I was particularly struck by what the representative from Special Olympics presented in her presentation the class.  To start, I never realized how narrow the Special Olympics mandate is, narrow in the sense that they only work with individuals with cognitive and intellectual disabilities.  This notion peaked my interest, as my work in inclusive education is purely defined by access for learners with disabilities.  However, I now realize a major flaw in my approach to inclusive education research.  Often, the concept of “disability” is assumed to refer to persons with physical disabilities rather than intellectual.  This notion most certainly has informed my approach to inclusive education policy, a real detriment to my work.  While many of the policies and programs I advocate for in my research do encompass the needs of persons with intellectual disabilities, having that population represented specifically can go a long way in ensuring they too have access to meaningful educations and more broadly city infrastructure, employment, etc.  Continue reading