Archive for SSP related News and Videos

Into the doughnut: a new economic approach


What would it be like living inside a doughnut? Kate Raworth developed this idea in an economic sense.

As we can see in the diagram above, Kate Raworth offers a brand new view on economics and on sustainable development. In the central hole, we find the cornerstones that are key in achieving what she calls “social foundation”.

Reaching social foundation means ending human deprivation by guaranteeing to the global population the coverage of their basic needs, to create the safe and justice space for humanity in the center of the diagram.

Once the social foundation is attained, the social boundary is created. In this way, people would live in “the safe and just space for humanity”. Nonetheless, living in that space requires the establishment of a new boundary: the planetary one.  It’s necessary to reach social the foundation without breaching the environmental ceiling in order to obtain actual sustainable development without causing environmental degradation.  So, planetary and social boundaries must always be in balance.

This is the challenge that the leaders of the 21st century must face: reaching equity for all whilst avoiding human deprivation with the limited resources that the planet offers and, at the same time, respecting the environment.

As explained by Raworth, the social foundation can be achieved without crossing planetary boundaries. For example, 13% of the global population is suffering from hunger and this situation could end with only 1% of global food supply; 21% of the people live with less than $1.25 per day. To bring this situation to an end, it would require just 0.2% of the global income.

There is a lot of work to do. The social foundation needs a big amount of work to be done on it and the environmental ceiling is being broken by human action, the loss of biodiversity and the use of nitrogen.  Wealthy countries are making an excessive use of the resources that are creating an unsustainable lifestyle that is leading the world towards increasing inequality and rising environmental stress.

Policies carried out until now to eradicate poverty should be reconsidered as the rise of GDP has not affected those living in poverty and this rise has had, as a consequence, the degradation of natural resources.

So, living inside the doughnut requires more efficiency and equity in the distribution both of income and resources. Raworth leaves the following question: is the rise of GDP the tool that will allows us to live within the doughnut or is a new vision on economic development necessary. It should make us think about  what prosperity means and what price do we want to pay for it now and in the next generations.

Kate Raworth has compared this analysis of development and the future of the world alongside the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the Open Working Group of the General Assembly.

She states that the Open Working Group’s proposed SDGs include all the items she lists as  required to achieve the social foundation except for the one related to “voice” (understood as democracy) which she considers has been placed on the secondary level of a target. However there are other opinions more optimistic including the one expressed by Clem McCartney of the Shared Societies Project, who commented on Raworth’s post in the Intermon Oxfam blog that “voice” was well-treated in SDGs as long as it was applied clearly and without ambiguities and pointing out that it also mentioned women’s participation, stressing the importance of voice to achieve the social foundation.

So, we have to decide between eating the doughnut or living within it.

Club de Madrid Members José Ramos-Horta and Martti Ahtisaari Talk Shared Societies


On November 14, 2013, Club de Madrid Members José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste and Maarti Ahtisaari of Finland met with various UN delegates and NGO representatives at the 8th UNOG-UNITAR conference in Geneva, Switzerland, speaking about the complexities of peacemaking and need for more inclusive social policy.

Common themes of the symposium included the importance of trust and inclusionary policies for building peaceful societies, topics to which the Club de Madrid gives the highest importance in our work to build Shared Societies upon a foundation of inclusion and respect for diversity. As Ramos-Horta remarked, “In some countries, respecting diversity is perceived as undermining the state when in fact we should look at this as wealth.”

In his speech, Ahtisaari importantly identified the core upon which division and deprivation occurs, noting that “conflicts are rooted in poverty, feelings of insignificance, and the people´s experience of unfairness.” Furthermore, “if we consider conflict resolution and mediation only as a redistribution of political and economic powers…we will never succeed. Sustainable peace is not measured only by the absence of violence and violence structures, but by opportunities and functions available in a society.”

Globally respected for their peacemaking efforts, Ramos-Horta and Ahtisaari greatly embody the efforts of Club de Madrid as we work in spreading the awareness of the Shared Societies Project and its desperate need in our crisis-stricken world today.



Maastrich Papers


On March 2012 the Maastrich School of Management and the Club de Madrid hosted an International Workshop within the framework of the Shared Societies Project to discuss with scholars and practitioners the following topic: “Can the Economics of Shared Societies Support more Resilient Economies and Global Sustainability?

The workshop papers deal with different topics such as: Violence, Conflict and Shared Societies; Regional and National Experiences; Civil Societies and Social Change towards a Shared Society; and Making the Case for Shared Societies.


We are pleased to announce that the papers have been collected under the title “Shared Societies: The Case for Inclusive Development” and you can find them by clicking here.

The issues discussed in the workshop are of outmost importance, highlighting the profound impact of economic policy on Shared Societies and the contribution of Shared Societies to economic wellbeing. Prosperous development of heterogeneous societies depends on accepting and embracing differences and, as Wim Kok (Prime Minister of The Netherlands, 1994-2002 and President of the Club de Madrid at the time of the Workshop) said, it is key to bridge the difference, as this is the actual meaning of “The Economics of Shared Societies”. The goal of the workshop and this collection of papers is to make understandable and to raise awareness of the link between social and economic wellbeing and Shared Societies.



In the papers, you will be able to read the solid arguments and valuable contributions of the experts that attended the workshop.  They show the importance of including every member of a society in its economic model, without discrimination so that every individual can achieve his or her life goals and in doing so contribute to the wellbeing of the whole society.

We encourage you to learn more from these must-read papers in order to get to know the importance of economic policies to Shared Societies.

Shared Societies in Guatemala – Overcoming social exclusion

Mejoremos Guate

The CEO of the Guatemalan Development Foundation (FUNDESA), Juan Carlos Zapata, recently published an article ¨How Guatemala Is Tackling Its Social Issues¨ in the Americas Quarterly‘s latest edition. Fundesa is a private non-profit think tank formed by Guatemalan entrepreneurs in their personal capacity, who have been working on improving social inclusion on the back of last year’s poor evaluation of Guatemalan in the Americas Quarterly´s 2013 Social Inclusion Index.

This work, through an initiative called Mejoremos Guate (Let’s Make Guatemala Better), emphasized that promoting active and direct dialogue has resulted in increasing of public expenditure on human development, in particular, through the support of the Intercultural Commission, a group of Indigenous people and private sector actors; who are actively engaged in promoting actions on social development issues.  A direct result is the deepening participation of indigenous peoples in international discussion forums such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Ensuring the sustainability of these actions represents a major challenge that lies ahead. At this point the Shared Societies Project is playing a significant role in advocating and supporting initiatives aimed at overcoming social exclusion. On 2013, the Club of Madrid organised a mission to Guatemala City in which the project exchanged ideas about the importance of building partnership at the local level between the state and political leaders, civil society, religious institutions and the private sector, as an effective way to address the challenges of achieving an inclusive society.

In Guatemala, while some progress has being made in terms of social inclusiveness thanks to the joint actions between all stakeholders, issues still remain unresolved; the Shared Societies Project is committed to supporting national efforts in making progress towards building the consensus needed to develop effective public policies in order to achieve sustainable Shared Societies.

Mejoremos Guate is a good example of the mechanism of Consulta Previa (prior consultation in policy and planning with affected groups) in practice.  On July 16 the Club of Madrid had the opportunity to share its work-in-progress initiative on Consulta Previa in Peru at the launching of the Americas Quarterly issue on “The Perils and Promises of Consulta Previa” in New York. According to Christopher Sabatini the editor-in-chief of AQ, the adoption and implementation of the Consulta Previa processes in Latin America ¨represents one of the defining issues in politics, economics, and investment in the region¨, and a critical step in promoting a society based on respect for diversity and minority rights.

Myanmar Portraits of Diversity, a new project by Kannan Arunasalam


Filmaker and journalist Kannan Arunasalam has launched last 15 July his new film Myanmar Portraits of Diversity, which brings the religious diversity in Myanmar into focus.

This project seeks to stimulate discussion and move audiences towards recognising, accepting and celebrating diversity in this country, featuring individuals that represent Myanmar’s different religious communities and making visible the kinds of inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around this country.

Kannan Arunasalam uses documentary, photography and multimedia forms of storytelling. He was born in Jaffna (Sri Lnaka), grew up in London and returned to Sri Lanka in 2004. Kannan now splits his time between Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the United Kingdom. His work have been awarded and screened at international film festivals, winning awards and has been broadcasted on Al-Jazeera English language channel. His first film Kerosene won best documentary short at the South Asian International Documentary Festival 2013, Seattle; and his subsequent documentary short The Story of One won the inaugural Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation grant prize in 2013.

Myanmar Portraits of Diversity  trailer is already available and the complete film will be on line for free in the coming days at Facebook.

Facebook Page of the film

Youtube channel of the film



Peace, Democracy, Shared Societies and The Global Peace Index 2014



Measurement is a crucial factor to foster the efforts towards building an effective Shared Societies. The project has been working during the last years on developing tools to measure different peace and democracy items, all of them relevant for a Shared Society. The latest is the 2014 Global Peace Index Report ‘Measuring Peace and Assessing Country Risk

The increasing interconnectedness of the global economy means that local actions and shocks can impact individuals, communities and businesses on an international scale. Just consider the widespread and lasting impacts of high youth unemployment in Europe, the Arab Springpolitical turmoil in Thailand, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continuing violence in Syria. Although these tend to confirm the old adage of change being the only certainty, there are clear benefits to being able to better anticipate such events with greater understanding providing us with a means to protect against, and alleviate the impact of economic and social shocks.

Although there are many methods of measuring sovereign risk there are few standard means of assessing risks as it pertains to violence, conflict and instability. We know many societal factors are adversely affected through higher interpersonal violence, terrorism, rising political instability, crackdowns on social, political and religious freedoms as well as increasing inter-state conflict. Similarly, improvements in social conditions and the economy can have a positive effect on peacefulness. Consequently, by analysing the interconnectivity between violence and societal dynamics, it is possible to develop risk estimates that improve on the accuracy of the existing techniques currently used and deepen our understanding of those factors which underlie peaceful and prosperous societies.

Recognizing this, the Institute for Economics and Peace has developed a new approach to assessing country risk as part of the 2014 Global Peace Index Report ‘Measuring Peace and Assessing Country Risk.’ By combining risk theory and quantitative analysis IEP has implemented frameworks to operationalise a series of risk models. The approach places a significant focus on understanding the trajectory and development of the long term institutions which support peace and observing how particular combinations of societal strength or ‘Positive Peace’ interact with violence and conflict.

The current approach, and resulting ‘Risk Scores’ have proven to be reliable in identifying the countries that were at risk and subsequently fell in peace. IEP Risk Scores can therefore be interpreted as the likelihood of a country deteriorating in peace in the presence of a trigger factor.

Broadly, IEP’s research found that the countries that will be at the most risk of economic loss, violence and societal breakdown tend to have lower levels of ‘Positive Peace’, the term used to describe the structures, attitudes and institutions that move society towards resolving conflict in a non-violent way. Nations with low levels of Positive Peace are less likely to remain flexible, ‘pull together’ and rebound in the face of crisis.

In fact, many of the societal factors defined by IEP that support peace also support the Shared Societies agenda of creating a society in which “people hold an equal capacity to participate in, and benefit from, economic, political and social opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, language and other attributes, and where, as a consequence, relations between the groups are peaceful…”.

Furthermore, IEP’s research found that not only do countries with stronger institutions have lower risks of experiencing an increase in violence over the next two years, but that democracies face the lowest risks. Specifically, it was found that the risk tends to be higher in regimes where there tends to be a deficit in political and social freedoms. In addition, it was found that although full democracies experience small deteriorations in peace, the likelihood of full democracies experiencing larger deteriorations is much lower.

Although the human costs of higher levels of violence provides a striking illustration of the importance of strong and accountable institutions, so too does the economic implications of peace. For instance, using IEP’s Global Violence Containment model, estimates were made of the economic impact of the projected falls in peace. From this the overall financial impact of a small to medium rise in violence was found to be greatest in South Korea, Indonesia and Argentina. Such an increase in violence would be equivalent to US$3.8 billion, US$3.7 billion and US$2.0 billion respectively.

However, perhaps most alarmingly, IEP estimated that 16 countries, or over 500 million people, live in countries with an IEP Country Risk score of more than 50, indicating a higher chance of experiencing a small to medium deterioration in peace over the next two years. For instance, if Angola, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea were to experience a ‘small to medium’ deterioration in peace they would experience an increase in their violence containment costs equivalent to $31.0, $10.6 and $10.3 per person respectively.

Although the findings provide a powerful illustration of the potential financial impacts of violence, one of the most important insights is the benefits that could be obtained through governments targeting policies which build Positive Peace. This is because, not only is excess expenditure in areas such as the military fundamentally unproductive, but by freeing up these resources more can be invested in activities such as health, education and infrastructure which encourage economic growth and improve wellbeing. In addition, societies which are peaceful, socially cohesive, stable and safe are undeniably worthwhile in and of themselves; they also make economic sense, with research by IEP consistently finding that more peaceful societies are also more resilient and prosperous.

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress.

You can read more about the findings discussed in this blog by clicking here.


Global Peace Index interactive map:

Global Peace Index report:

Global Peace Index Video:



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