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Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Mary Meeker’s 2017 internet trends report: All the slides, plus analysis
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker is delivering her annual rapid-fire internet trends report right now at Code Conference at the Terranea Resort in California.  Here’s a first look at the most highly anticipated slide deck in Silicon Valley. This year’s report includes 355 slides and tons of information, including a new section on healthcare that Meeker didn’t present live.

Evaluating Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals
For this iteration of The GlobeScan/SustainAbility Survey (GSS), we chose to focus on the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or the Global Goals). These goals were agreed by the United Nations member states together with civil society and business in 2015, and set forth the agenda until 2030. These goals are new, and progress was expected to be limited. We asked more than 500 experienced sustainability professionals to evaluate the progress that has been made on each Global Goal, rank their relative urgency and also share insights into the priorities within their own organizations. We also wanted to know how companies specifically are responding to the SDGs and where they see opportunities for the greatest impact. Polled experts unanimously agree that, so far, society’s progress on sustainable development more broadly and the SDGs specifically has been poor.

Technology, jobs, and the future of work
McKinsey & Company
The world of work is in a state of flux, which is causing considerable anxiety—and with good reason. There is growing polarization of labor-market opportunities between high- and low-skill jobs, unemployment and underemployment especially among young people, stagnating incomes for a large proportion of households, and income inequality. Migration and its effects on jobs has become a sensitive political issue in many advanced economies. And from Mumbai to Manchester, public debate rages about the future of work and whether there will be enough jobs to gainfully employ everyone.  The development of automation enabled by technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence brings the promise of higher productivity (and with productivity, economic growth), increased efficiencies, safety, and convenience. But these technologies also raise difficult questions about the broader impact of automation on jobs, skills, wages, and the nature of work itself.

New Challenges to Human Security: Environmental Change and Human Mobility
Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University
From bustling megacities to remote Pacific islands, climate change has profound implications for how people live and work -- and whether conflicts over water, land, and other resources become local or global security challenges. To analyze how environmental shifts shape both internal and external patterns of migration, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy's New Global Commons working group met in late 2016 to explore the nexus between climate change and human security.  The working group's report, "New Challenges to Human Security: Environmental Change and Human Mobility," summarizes these discussions and provides a set of guiding principles for policymakers, non-governmental organizations, and international institutions. More than wacky weather and swamped islands, climate change has the potential to put millions of people on the move worldwide. This report looks at what experts in human mobility, climate change, and resource management understand about the environmental drivers of migration, as well as what local and national governments are already doing to mitigate the impact of climate change on communities, as well as prepare for planned migration events.

Digital Finance and Sustainable Water Service for All
CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor)
Thirsty? If you are lucky enough to have safe drinking water piped directly into your home, you can run the tap, fill up a glass, and take a drink. If you live in a city like New York, the cost of 12 ounces of water is about one-twentieth of one cent, or $0.0005. Without several glasses of life-saving water every day, you would not be able to survive. It is not a stretch to say that water is the single most important aid to your or anyone’s survival. And yet it is among the cheapest goods that we consume, by volume. That any of us are able to access safe, affordable, reliable, and convenient water is a miracle, given its cost, weight, and our low willingness to pay for it. This is a miracle we desperately need to replicate. Over 3 billion people do not have access to water piped into their homes, and hundreds of thousands die every year as a result. More than a $100 billion is needed annually through 2030 to finance the United Nations’ water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goal, but the median water utility in 2014 could barely cover its operating costs, let alone repair broken equipment or pay back investors. In rural areas of developing countries, a quarter of all water points are broken at any given time. Without fixing the business, tripling the sector’s funding will be difficult, if not impossible.

Compilation of Case Studies presented at the GPSA Forum 2015, “Social Accountability for Citizen-Centric Governance: A Changing Paradigm”
Global Partnership for Social Accountability
During the last couple of decades, social accountability has gained higher levels of visibility and attention from the international development community, national governments, the private sector, and of course, civil society actors as well. Social accountability involves a process of engagement and dialogue between citizens, civil society and the state, in order to make government more responsive to citizens’ needs. While it is widely understood that social accountability cannot solve all development problems, there is an increasing realization that this approach, in combination with other governance interventions, can play a critical role in helping countries move forward. This is especially evident when the approach is problem-based and contextually defined. However, there is not a single way for social accountability to operate and the field is defined by a heterogeneous group of approaches that have evolved over time. In this context, a new paradigm seems to be emerging in this field with implications for all stakeholders related to this agenda.

Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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