What will government look like in 2050? | World Economic Forum

Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s painting Allegory of Good and Bad Government (1337-1339) covers three walls of the Sala dei Nove in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. The depiction of good government shows a dignified ruler sitting among the virtues of Courage, Justice, Magnanimity, Peace, Prudence and Temperance. The image of the city is one of stability, prosperity and happiness.

This marvellous depiction reminds us that citizens have been discussing the importance of good government for as long as there have been governments for them to discuss. In every historical era from our own back to ancient Greece, citizens have clearly perceived that the difference between good and bad government decisively affects their quality of life.

While good government is in some ways a timeless issue, however, it is also being transformed by the digital revolution. Cheap and speedy communication makes it easier for citizens to compare the performance of their government with that of others. All things being equal, if the citizens of country “X” know that the citizens of country “Y” enjoy, for example, better living standards, it exacerbates their dissatisfaction with the government of country “Y”.

Technology can give voice to a plethora of networked groups, and make it easier to participate in decision-making processes. It can allow for a greater transparency of government actions and service delivery – undermining, for example, the ability of corrupt officials to withhold from citizens information about their rights and to demand discretionary payments. It can flatten hierarchical structures, making it easier for citizens to hold governments accountable.

Yet while technology can strengthen good government, the digital era also brings challenges. Keeping pace with changing tools and technologies can be complex and expensive. Security and protection of data becomes a critical risk to be managed. The more essential government services are delivered electronically, the greater the risk that citizens who do not have access to technology, or are not comfortable with it, will be left behind.

The Future of Government Smart Toolkit report, published today, asks how governance could look in 2050. By identifying the trends that will change the future of government, leaders can envision the future that they want for their countries and map out how to get there in a context of uncertainty. For example, governments may decide they need to invest in improving the digital literacy of the population, or in infrastructure such as e-service kiosks in rural locations.

In charting a route towards better government through technology, two themes are paramount. The first is restoring trust in the political process, which is worryingly low. In 1964, three-quarters of Americans said they trusted their government; now, only a quarter feel that way. In the European Union, according to the Eurobarometer, trust has almost halved from 53% in 2001 to 27% in 2012. It is no coincidence that the decline in trust has coincided with widening inequality and a weakening sense of social cohesion.

While open data and e-participation have the potential to reduce alienation, technologically enabled government surveillance and control can increase it. Delayed or ineffective e-government platforms can also undermine citizens’ trust in the competence of their leaders.

The second underlying factor is leadership: the information revolution is redefining structures of power by reducing the traditional sense of distance between those in leadership positions and their constituents. Future disruptive technologies are likely to further change the nature of leadership, and the ways in which this happens will shape the evolution of the social contract between governments and citizenry.

If Lorenzetti were to be given another three walls to cover in 2050, it’s hard to predict exactly what his painting might depict; technology is rapidly evolving, and potentially destabilizing as well as often empowering. Only if leaders develop a long-term strategic vision will they be able to identify the right tools and approach to shape the future of good government in their societies.

See also:

2050: How can we avoid an electronic 1984? By Rod Beckstrom

2050: How can we avoid a gated world? By Joseph Nye

2050: What if cities ruled the world? By Razeen Sally

Author: Joseph S. Nye Jr is University Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University, USA

Image: Members of Italy’s parliament look at their computers during the second day of the presidential election in the lower house of the parliament in Rome April 19, 2013. REUTERS/M

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New Generation of National Urban Policies | UN-Habitat

 

A National Urban Policy (NUP) is a coherent set of decisions derived through a deliberate government-led process of coordinating and rallying various actors for a common vision and goal that will promote more trans-formative, productive, inclusive and resilient urban  development for the long term (which can be from 20 to 30 or even 100 years horizon).

An NUP is an interactive process that could have at-least four phases: diagnostic, formulation, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. A specific analysis framework has been developed for the diagnostic phase. Other complementary tools for each of the phases and processes are under development.

UN-Habitat is prioritizing NUP in low and middle income countries with rapid urbanization. The approved NUP should be the stakeholder’s framework for implementation of inclusive urban development.

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Development of International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning | UN-Habitat

 

 Different types and approaches of urban and territorial planning exist and have been tested worldwide without simple and universally agreed principles to guide decision makers towards sustainable development.

The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP) intend to constitute a global framework for improving policies, plans and designs for more compact, socially inclusive, better integrated and connected cities and territories that foster sustainable urban development and are resilient to climate change.

 

 

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1600 Cities Are At Risk From Increasing Pollution in the Mediterranean |Sustainable Cities Collective

100 million people live in 1600 cities around the Mediterranean Sea and they are poisoning it. Ultimately, they are signing their own death warrant. Ministers representing these cities are meeting in Athens this week to determine what may be done to reverse this trend.

For example, wastewater from Beirut’s 2 million people empty straight into the Mediterranean Sea without treatment. Landfills leach out into water courses and toxic waste finds its way into the sea. Astonishingly, almost 6,000,000 people living in urban areas bordering the sea do not have access to sanitation.

The Mediterranean is also a hotspot in climate change scenarios. In the future it expects to see higher temperatures, less rain and more extreme weather. This will have the effect of concentrating the pollutants.

All of this is focusing the minds of attendees at the first gathering since 2006 of the Janez Potočnik at the Union for the Mediterranean Ministers happening today in Athens and at an informal European Commission Environmental Council meeting tomorrow.. These people are in charge of environment and climate change in the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

The Meeting is being co-chaired by Al Shakhshir, Minister of Environment of Jordan and Janez Potočnik (right – @JanezPotocnikEU), the Slovenian European Commissioner for the Environment, who says that “Co-ordinated action is needed if we have to be effective.”

He says that the private sector “will have to be part of the solution. This is because nearly 60% of our plastic waste is packaging and 70-to 80% of marine litter and pollution comes from sources online. To see real and tangible results we need to address the problem at source.”

Today is also the launch of “Marine Litter Week”, which is advocating increased awareness and resource efficiency as a way of protecting the oceans.

The main causes of Mediterranean pollution are municipal waste, oven wastewater and industrial pollution. Progress has been made in depolluting the Mediterranean since 2007 but gaps in our data need to be filled,” said Hans Bruyninckx of the European Environment Agency.

The Agency has published a new report, the “Horizon 2020 Mediterranean report – Toward shared environmental information systems“, coordinated by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan with financial support from the European Commission under the ENPI-SEIS project that is being presented at the meetings.

Besides the European Union the main countries involved include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, which work with the European Union within the European Neighbourhood Policy.

The key findings are that although sanitation has improved in the region over the last 10 years, with a proportion of the population with access to sanitation increasing from 87.5% to 92%, there are still 17.6 million people in the region without sanitation, one third of whom live in urban areas.

Progress in managing urban waste water is difficult to assess as the data sources are not sound, says the report, but on the positive side they note that there is great potential to reuse waste water in the region. Water is becoming increasingly scarce.

Only about 1% of wastewater is presently reused so there is a growth opportunity for investment in treatment to be back into circulation instead of emptying it into the sea.

Waste generation in the southern Mediterranean region has grown approximately 15% in the last decade because of growing population and increased consumption patterns.

As a result, waste management need significant improvement. Around a quarter of waste is still not collected and that which is collected is mostly dumped into landfill, finding its way into the sea. Recycling rates are below 10%.

Industrial emissions include heavy metals that discharge into the sea, although these have reduced in recent years, but there is much marine pollution from cities, industry and tourist resorts.

One impact is on tourism, since beaches end up being polluted.

The report has specific annexes on Palestine and Israel. Just under half of Palestinians are still not connected to a sewage treatment system. Most West Bank households rely on cesspits for wastewater disposal, although in the Gaza Strip sewage collection networks are now the norm.

The Israeli Environment Minister MK Amir Peretz told the conference that he is willing to be involved in bilateral cooperation to tackle the problem.

Better cooperation

Ministers were told today of the urgent need to invest in creating an emissions inventory to show annual emissions of pollutants from different industrial facilities. There is plenty of scope for increasing cooperation and information sharing.

The main report says that “the emergence of urban poverty ‘pockets’ and inequities between urban and rural areas are still significant. The gap between urban and rural coverage (for sewage and waste treatment) is striking”.

Industrial pollution and nutrient run-off from agriculture ends up in the Mediterranean, a problem that is worsening particularly in states to the east and south of the sea. The worst culprits for pollution are the energy, petroleum, urban wastewater, food packaging, cement and metallurgy sectors.

These sectors also are poor on providing information on pollution. Although all states have policies in place, few actively monitor pollution. Ministers will be urged today and tomorrow to strengthen the institutional setup at national and regional levels to cope with the challenges of pollution control and prevention.

This means significantly enhancing the capabilities of public authorities to enforce environmental legislation.

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“Towards achieving Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements and localizing the Post-2015 Agenda” | UCLG

Members of the Global Taskforce gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York for the Integration Segment of ECOSOC 2014 have released their joint messages “Towards achieving Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements and localizing the Post-2015 Agenda”, on the eve of the debates with Member States. 

Local and regional government organizations, representing sub-national governmental stakeholders, and collaborating in the Global Taskforce for the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Towards Habitat III, welcome the mandate given to the Economic and Social Council to promote the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, as well as its decision to dedicate its first Integration Segment to Sustainable Urbanization. This is a strong acknowledgement of the important role that local urban and territorial governance will play in the sustainability agenda.  

Members of the Global Taskforce confirm their willingness to contribute to the definition, implementation and monitoring of the global Post-2015 Agenda and of local SDG targets, as well as their aim to shape societies from the bottom up, making them resilient and ready to tackle the challenges of our time. The members recall their campaign advocating for a stand-alone goal on urbanization, which has mobilized thousands around the world, and is raising awareness of our membership in the Post-2015 process. 

The Global Taskforce calls for a renewed global partnership that will continue to bring together key partners of civil society, the private sector and the international community, as well as all countries, including small island developing states (SIDS).

To read the full statement, click here.

Official Hashtag of the Segment: #OurCitiesOurWorld

For more please click here 

Source: wwwgtf2016.org

 

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“Energía y Geoestrategia” | CESEDEN

Presentación del Cuaderno de Estrategia 165

El Comité Español del Consejo Mundial de la Energía (CECME), y el Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos (IEEE), presentaron, el 13 de mayo de 2014, la publicación “Energía y Geoestrategia”, en el Auditorio Campus Repsol. El acto fue presidido por el Ministro de Defensa, Pedro MorenésEl Comité Español del Consejo Mundial de la Energía (CECME), integrado en Enerclub, y el Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos (IEEE), que forma parte del Centro Superior de Estudios de la Defensa Nacional (CESEDEN), presentaron, el martes, 13 de mayo de 2014, la publicación “Energía y Geoestrategia”, en una jornada en la que se pusieron de manifiesto la importancia de la colaboración entre instituciones, y la puesta en común, contraste e intercambio de opiniones desde diferentes ángulos, especialmente cuando se tratan temas tan interesantes como los incluidos en el libro presentado.

El acto, presidido por el Ministro de Defensa, Pedro Morenés, tuvo lugar en el Auditorio Campus Repsol, y fue inaugurado por Antonio Brufau, Arturo Gonzalo y Rafael Villaseca, Presidentes de Repsol, CECME y Enerclub, respectivamente. El acto contó, así mismo, con la participación del General de Brigada Director del IEEE, Miguel Ángel Ballesteros.

La publicación, que ha sido coordinada por Claudio Aranzadi,  Ex – Ministro de Industria, y cuya edición cuenta con el patrocinio de CEPSA, Enagás y Repsol, resulta de especial interés al suponer una puesta al día de algunas de las cuestiones más relevantes del panorama geopolítico energético, como son, entre otras, la seguridad del suministro como factor estratégico de España y de la UE, la ciberseguridad y su influencia en el sector energético, el impacto geopolítico del desarrollo de los hidrocarburos no convencionales, o el papel de China en el suministro global de energía

 

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