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The Diversity Advantage Challenge

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The Shared Societies Project has been involved in the “Diversity Advantage Challenge“, an initiative supported by the ICC/Council of Europe in an effort to promote a new approach to managing increasingly diverse societies based on the concept of diversity advantage. It aims at raising awareness among the public about the benefits of diversity and to provide a large number of examples of how organizations, businesses and cities which have realized these benefits by creating innovative products, services, ideas and initiatives.

NETPLUSS Member Kinga Göncz was selected as a member of the jury of the Diversity Advantage Challenge in representation of the Shared Societies Project. The final stage of this process will be held next week on 24 March in Strasbourg in the framework of the plenary session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.

This process has represented a great opportunity to learn from key local stakeholders from difference cultural (ethnic, religious, linguistic) backgrounds that are greatly committed to the design of innovative policies and initiatives which contributes to the dissemination of the notion of Shared Societies at the local level.

These are the 5 finalist that will be presenting during the final session:

  • Ordinary Heroes, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • La diversité à l’œuvre: des habitants charpentiers d’une nouvelle dynamique dans leur quartier!, France.
  • NDM –for more diversity in the media, Germany
  • Festival O Bairro i o Mundo, Portugal.
  • XEIX, Fostering intercultural relations around local businesses, Spain

Video presentations of the finalist’s projects are available here: http://www.coe.int/t/DG4/CULTUREHERITAGE/CULTURE/DIVERSITY/

The winner will be announced at the prize-giving ceremony and we will publish additional information of each of the finalists in the blog during the next days.

We wish all the finalists the best of luck!

 

Shared Societies between Jewish and Arab Citizens of Israel

Photo from The Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society

On February 2014, the Inter Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues published the report, «Shared Societies between Jewish and Arab Citizens of Israel: Visions, Realities and Practices». The report, which is presented in two parts, “is a conceptual overview of the key approaches, meanings and milestones of Shared Society work in Israel and a mapping of current government and civil society Shared Society initiatives to provide a more granular illustration of these concepts as implemented today”. Moreover, this report aims to record the attitudes and understanding of the officials in Israel, in regards to Shared Societies, as well as to evaluate the relevance of these definitions for American Jewish organizations interested in Israel, the Arab Society the relations between them.

For their research, the Inter Agency Task Force members focused on the work, the key approaches and the underlying principles of Shared Society programs developed by civil society and not for profit organizations. The author the importance and the impact that the Shared Societies Project has had so far, by stating that the “best and most concise framing of shared society itself has been articulated by the Club de Madrid“. The report listed different approaches identified as guiding each organization’s decisions and actions when advancing into a shared society:

  1. Part of Israel’s Multicultural Diversity: For some organizations the issue of Jewish-Arab Shared Society is addressed as part of the wider context of multiculturalism or diversity in Israeli society.
  2. Singular Issue: Other organizations believe that the Jewish-Arab divide is “singular” in both character and importance within Israeli society and that therefore Shared Society work should address it as a unique and particular issue.
  3. Focus on Inter-Communal Relations: Some organizations focus on creating better relations between Jewish and Arab communities or particular stakeholders within the communities (i.e. students, teachers, artists) through encounters, shared living education, and joint projects.
  4. State-Minority Relations: Other organizations believe that the focus should be placed on state-minority relations.
  5. Focus on Arab Society Internal Development / Economic Integration: Another group of organizations views the need to enhance economic development and capacities within the Arab community as a priority in working towards a shared, equal and integrated society.
  6. Inclusivity in Service Provision: A number of civil society organizations that provide services to the entire Israeli citizenry, give special attention to enhancing a Shared Society by purposefully developing specially tailored services for the Arab communities.

Additionally, the report offers a very informative list of the initiatives that have been taken both by the government of Israel has taken over the years, through the Ministry of Education as well as on local government level and  by Civil Society and readers can find a list of efforts and projects that have been taken and various ideas for follow-ups that aim to create a society that may be diverse yet inclusive.

The Club de Madrid is very encouraged to have been included as a key reference in the work of a fellow organization and encourages the Inter Agency Task Force to continue its work on the issue of social inclusion and inter-communal relations between the Jewish and Arab groups, especially as it is operating in a region where the concept of “Shared Societies” is still relatively new.

 

Photo by The Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society

Australian PM Tony Abbott Affirms Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Partnership for Change Conference 2014: The World We Want

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Webinar Session on Social Inclusion: What You Need to Know

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The World Bank is launching a webinar series on social inclusion. The first session draw directly from use definitions, operating framework and examples from the recent World Bank Group report Inclusion Matters that places the discussion of social inclusion within global transitions and transformations.

These webinars can be accessed from anywhere and the spectators are expected to be researchers, students, policy makers and development practitioners primarily from developing countries.

The purpose of the webinar is to showcase the fundamental concepts related to social inclusion and policies and practices for their implementation. This session Foundations of Social Inclusion: What You Need to Know, conducted by Maitreyi Bordia Das, Lead Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, will draw important distinctions between social exclusion and related concepts of inequality, poverty, and discrimination. It will take place on December 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm Central European time.

Social exclusion can be felt everywhere. It is relevant for both developing countries and for developed economies as well as a fundamental element of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Therefore, as Club de Madrid has been working in the last 8 years, there is an urgent need for promoting leadership for social cohesion and shared societies as a key priority for the world today.

Into the doughnut: a new economic approach

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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.

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