The Global Festival of Ideas
NEW THINKING FOR A BETTER WORLD
The latest WFP logo – Feb 2017
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This session invites participants to focus on how countries can advance an agenda that promotes both economic growth and environmental sustainability.
The first session addresses how critical natural resources – water, food and energy – can be used more efficiently. Water and food are vital resources that are increasingly threatened by climate change, pollution, demographic pressures and unsustainable agricultural practices, while energy efficiency is widely regarded as a powerful driver of sustainable production and consumption. For each of these resources, through diverse formats, participants will engage with the scale of the problem and discuss solutions.
The second session seeks to identify practical steps to promote a green economy agenda. While the potential of green growth is well established, it requires advances on several fronts. These include the need to expand renewable energy in line with Paris Protocol Commitments, to develop a ‘circular economy’ through the recycling, reuse and recovery of waste materials, and to advance natural capital accounting methods which take into account the costs of ‘business as usual’ practices on the environment and reorient the economy towards sustainable development.
This track addresses two key ‘crunch points’ or trade-offs countries and other actors need to confront to further an equity-based agenda: political opposition and the circumstances of groups who have been ‘left behind’ by globalisation. Our first session, ‘Lining up the politics with policy’, is focused on how countries have been able to advance inequality reducing policies in the face of elite and other vested interests which have an incentive to forestall change. An interactive panel discussion will debate experiences ranging from the removal of fossil fuel subsidies in Indonesia to women’s land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa; a policy-simulation game will enable participants to grapple with the key trade-offs efforts at reducing inequalities face; and a ‘knowledge café’ will invite participants to share their thoughts and experiences on how inequalities can be reduced when a source of opposition is government itself.
Our second session, ‘Rethinking globalisation that works for all’, seeks to address the disillusionment associated with globalisation, which has been a focal point for mobilisation for several years and has had particularly profound consequences this past year. The aim is to foster a better understanding of who is being ‘left behind’ and why, and what can be done to address their concerns. A dialogue between a polling company representative and civil society activist will focus on why some people report disillusionment, how these perceptions map on to realities and how they can be addressed, while an interactive game will address trade-offs involved in trying to compensate various groups for negative effects. And in a series of lightening talks, speakers (and interested participants) will deliver two-minute interventions focused on possible solutions.
Shocks come in a wide range of forms: exogenous macroeconomic shocks such as severe food and commodity price fluctuations; sudden shocks ranging from homicides to landslides, to conflict and epidemics; and slower onset shocks such as climate change. Governments need to be resilient to them all, especially as countries which are experiencing one are more vulnerable to the impacts of other types. This track is focused on how governments can address sudden onset shocks while also dealing with macroeconomic fluctuations. The aim is to explore how new data sources and analytical approaches can help reduce community and individual exposure, and enhance people’s ability to adapt.
The first session in the track focuses on economic crises and violence as disruptors, and on their wide-reaching effects on physical safety, food security, population movement, and human development broadly. In a high-level panel discussion, experts will discuss these issues, alongside a ‘data dive’ that enables participants to engage directly with data on the experiences of those fleeing armed conflicts, and a policy simulation game.
The second session of the track focuses on the potential and pitfalls of new technologies to rewire the responses of governments, donors and civil society organisations, including new generations of early warning systems and safety nets. In this track, through diverse approaches – a plenary discussion, policy simulation and data dive – participants will analyse the requirements, risks and rewards of leveraging new data sources and technologies to provide more timely and targeted assistance and support.