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The International Labor Organization (ILO) is exploring what the future of work will look like around the world.

ILO hosted a global dialogue in early April to discuss the future of work and how various aspects of today’s world such as climate change, technological innovation and shifts in poverty affect labor. In addition, the Leaders Forum of the annual ILO conference will focus on the future of work. The conference is scheduled for June 5-17, 2017.

The ILO has seven initiatives to implement by 2019 to celebrate its 100-year anniversary. The director-general set these initiatives in 2013, to plan for challenges that face international labor. These include the future of work initiative, the end to poverty initiative, the women at work initiative, the green initiative, the standards initiative, the enterprises initiative and the governance initiative.

The future of work initiative will examine trends and issues that explore the challenges the workforce will face over the next century. The end to poverty initiative will help implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The women at work initiative will work toward equality of women in the workplace. The green initiative will focus on environmentally sustainable employment. The standards initiative will focus on revising international labor standards. The enterprises initiative will work with enterprises in the private sector in all regions of the world. The governance initiative will reform the ILO leadership structure, the International Labour Conference, regional meetings and evaluate the 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization

Formed in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles, ILO is founded on the values of social justice and human rights. The organization’s first members included Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. The organization, originally affiliated with the League of Nations, became a part of the first specialized agency of the U.N. in 1946. Today, the organization has 187 member states.

In 2017, the ILO is putting together a High-Level Commission on the future of work. In 2018, the commission is scheduled to publish a report and recommendations. At the 2019 ILO Conference, member states may adopt a Centenary Declaration.

Jennifer Taggart

Photo: Flickr

drop_of_water
Water is essential to all life, a phrase often repeated, yet the fact remains that over 800 million people cannot access potable water every day. 2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation increasing the likelihood of disease not just in that region but globally, an issue that goes hand in hand with poor access to water. Every year, 3.4 million die of water related diseases, equivalent to the population of Los Angeles.

When successful potable water projects enter a community, it has been shown to have beneficial impacts across many aspects of that communities life. In truth, it lies at the heart of the most cost effective and efficient solutions to global health, population growth, poverty, disease and climate change. The World Health Organization estimates a return of 3-34$ for every dollar invested in a clean water project, given the technology and region.

With such powerful ramifications, the debate on how best to approach this problem is an important one. Over the past 20 years, there have been two main approaches, that of charity/micro-finance projects, and the privatization model, the most famous case taking place in Cochamamba, Belize. Both have their critics.

There is now a third approach, a more holistic one, that considers unique environmental and cultural factors. Overall it has been coined as the Investment in Watershed Services strategy, and it combines tactics from the previous two long standing frameworks for improving access to potable water.

With the latest solution, initial capital for a given project is invested directly to farmers, or potential land owners in the natural watersheds of a given area. The money is used to clean up and maintain the natural functions of the watershed, which perform the same functions of treatment plants or ‘grey’ technologies without the expensive equipment.

Nonprofits and communities all over the world are recognizing the value in this framework as it  creates a co-dependent and cyclical dynamic with downstream water users and polluters funding and investing in the upstream maintenance. The headliner project of this nature is New York ongoing investment in the Catskills Mountains. New York municipality pays for riverbank protection and maintenance that have allowed it to save billions on costly filtration plants. However, there are projects all over the world at all different scales using the very same framework.

By not having environmental damage and natural resources as an externality in the financing of the project, many positive side effects occur wherever these projects are enacted. Aside from addressing the initial issue of access to clean water. The enhanced environmental and farming practices that make up the foundation of this approach, increase food yields and improve the natural habitat.

For more information on the overall framework of the strategy, ongoing projects or how to become involved, go to the Watershed Connect website.

– Tyler Shafsky

Sources: Watershed Connect, USAID, Huffington Post
Photo: Wanah Fong

kiribati_global_warming
There’s more to climate change than warmer summers and winters.

In the Pacific Ocean, the entire nation of Kiribati is facing a threat that has become all too common among the inhabitants of islands, archipelagos, and the like across the globe. Although this common threat is to be feared greatly, it is not terrorism or a military coup. This great threat is sea level rise and it is but one of the many effects of climate change that have become all too familiar for the inhabitants of many of the Earth’s once beautiful and lush islands.

But sea level rise is just the beginning. According to an article by The Guardian, carbon emission is at its highest point in 300 million years. As a result of the increased emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), the Earth’s climate has changed significantly – a change which has resulted in undesirable effects such as sea level rise and ocean acidification.

Many Americans think the effects of climate change (or global warming to many) will not be felt for many years and is a problem best left for future generations to handle. However, the effects of climate change can be felt right now, bringing more than just hot summers and warm winters. In fact, sea level rise and ocean acidification may be two of the biggest contributors to a problem that many agree is facing the world at present: global food security.

Ocean acidification and sea level rise dramatically affect the ability of the Earth’s many islanders to sustain the livelihood of the families who rely on the islands’ resources for survival. For instance, sea level rise has already caused significant damage to many island villages across the globe. A rise in sea level raises high water marks, and these increased high water marks have resulted in higher tides. These higher tides often destroy crops and contaminate drinking water, leaving many islanders with no choice but to seek refuge on the mainland once the sea level reaches a critical level.

While the effects of ocean acidification are less significant than that of sea level rise, there is strong evidence the current level of carbon emissions will likely soon begin to affect marine life. Currently, acidification damages coral reefs, which are vital to the health of fisheries, acting as a nursery to young fish and smaller species that provide food for bigger fish. Acidification also harms plankton, which fish rely on for development. Since further and more extensive acidification is inevitable at current emission rates, it is likely that those who rely on marine life as a significant source of food will be greatly affected in the coming years.

A rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide can also affect the availability of food on the mainland of several continents, not just on islands. For instance, a study by Rosenzweig and Parry suggests that crop yields in Africa and South America may decrease as concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere become greater.

Although reducing emissions will not have an immediate impact on climate change, if the process does not begin now, the livelihood of many islanders is almost guaranteed to worsen. Due to the significant effects the changing climate can have on feeding the world’s hungry, it is important to ensure that climate change legislation is pursued with as equal vigor as foreign aid legislation. Advocates of global food security should support climate change legislation by indicating so when calling their Congressional leaders to support international aid. Addressing climate change is a very slow and complicated process, but supporting climate change legislation can help protect the food security of many of the Earth’s inhabitants in the long term.

Cavarrio Carter

Sources: Pew Research Center, Huffington Post, phys.org, The Guardian, Mongabay ,The Telegraph, Washington Post, Climate Change and Food Security
Photo: Travel Brochures

 

farm_girl
According to the annual report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), government support for agriculture rose during 2012, ending a long-term downward drift and reversing the record lows recorded in 2011.

This support was documented in the 47 leading farming nations, which provide nearly 80 percent of the global farm output. This includes seven “emerging economies” that will soon be major players in the food and agriculture markets.

The OECD defines “support” as transfers to agriculture from government policies designed to support it. This money comes from consumers and taxpayers. This year, the Producer Support Estimate has risen to 17 percent of gross farm receipts in 2012 from 15 percent in 2011.

OECD Trade and Agriculture Director Ken Ash said wasteful policies of the past need to be moved away from to make sure “much needed innovation” is fully funded. This will also allow farmers to “respond to market signals” and governments to support wide-range farm reform.

Though this report saw a general rise in government support, the levels per country of this support vary widely. The highest support that countries recorded saw further increases, and countries with relatively low support continued to fall.

Some of the countries that saw sharp increases in this support have begun turning their policy toward a focus on self-sufficiency, according to the OECD. They also said food systems would be more efficiently improved by developing “safety nets” and reducing poverty.

The OECD said several multi-dimensional efforts are necessary to raise domestic production and improve access to imports and export markets. These efforts would also allow for the construction of emergency food reserves.

The report released by the OECD said “public investments for the sector overall should receive more attention.” They suggest investments that have “high social returns in the long run,” such as education, research and development, technology, and advisory services.

Food safety and food quality assurance systems contribute to long-term profitability, the OECD said.

– Alycia Rock

Sources: The OECD Newsroom, OECD Report, Huffington Post
Photo: Feather Down

 

Make a Difference
The world is a big place filled with billions of people. It can be easy to think that one person couldn’t possibly do enough to change the world. When the weight of global issues simply feels too huge for one person to handle, we have to remember that we do have power to make a difference, even if it starts on a small scale. Below are ten things you can do that may not change the whole world, but will change someone else’s world.

 

Simple Steps to Make a Difference

 

1. Smile: Who knew that a smile could go so far? Being friendly to others is a great way to brighten up someone else’s day. Whether it’s at the store, work, or simply walking along the street, a nice gesture like a smile could go a long way for someone having a bad day.

2. Do Some Volunteer Work: Volunteering is an amazing experience that gets us out of our daily routines and allows us to turn our efforts outwards. Go out and help feed the homeless, volunteer at local events – even picking up trash in your city is a great way to give back to the community!

3. Sponsor a Child: There are tons of organizations looking for people to sponsor children in need in countries around the world. These organizations are literally only a click away, and don’t take much time to sign up for. It is a small price to pay to make an incredible difference in a child’s life.

4. Invest and Listen: Society has become so drenched in the buzz of technology that real face-to-face interaction and relationship is growing scarce. Next time you throw out the standard, “Hi, how you doin?” make an effort to really invest in what is going in that person’s life. Ask questions that show you really care and want to listen.

5. Teach!: Go out and teach a skill to someone who wants to learn. Whether it’s teaching someone how to drive, or helping a student with their homework, your lessons will make a huge impact on their lives.

6. Donate: If you’re anything like the typical American, you probably have a lot of stuff. When it comes time to get rid of something or buy something new, make a donation instead! There are many ways to make donations online and in your community.

7. Stop What You’re Doing and HELP: It’s easy to think that our priorities are the ones that matter the most. When you’re driving and see someone along the road struggling with a flat, stop to help. Wouldn’t you want a person to do the same for you? There are tons of ways for us to lend a helping hand throughout our day.

8. Team Up with Someone to Live Healthier: Oftentimes having a workout partner is the best kind of motivation out there. If someone you know keeps talking about how he/she wants to get in shape, join them! This will make a huge impact on their lives, and together, you’ll both be on your way to a healthier life.

9. Make a Care Package: Care packages are easy and affordable to make and they can be used in so many different ways. They can be sent overseas or used locally! Next time you’re out and about and see a homeless person, offer them a care package. Keep a supply of the packages in your car and they can go a long way.

10. Having an Outward Gaze: We live in a pretty self-centered society. Many of us are taught at a young age to do what is going to make us most successful; this can lead us to do a lot things that are only self-serving. It’s time for a change of perspective! Start thinking in ways that turn that self-centered gaze outward. See what it’s like to put others needs before yours. You won’t regret it.

– Chante Owens

source: Zen Habits
Photo: ActionAid

 

Green_Cross_International_20th_Anniversary
According to the World Bank, by the year 2050 the planet’s GDP will reach $200 trillion a year. The world’s population will also pass 10 billion, and we will need three earths to provide the resources necessary to sustain our current way of life.

Since its founding in 1993 by former Soviety leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Green Cross International has been working to define a sustainable and secure world future, seeking solutions through dialogue, mediation and cooperation.

By analyzing and responding to combined challenges of poverty, security, and environmental degradation, Green Cross International hopes to “help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering a value shift and cultivating a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity’s relationship with nature.”

In Green Cross’s 20-Year Report, Gorbachev notes that “the burning issues of climate change, the water crisis, the situation in the Middle East, and the overall state of the global security system, we can see that we clearly need to intensify our efforts.”

Green Cross is particularly concerned with environmental and sustainability issues, and has recently begun making forays into China. They have launched a task force on climate change and is developing a road map in the hopes of resolving the situation of dimishing resources.

Businesses in the U.S. and Europe have begun implementing energy-saving policies, while the layperson can participate by thinking more closely about how we live, how we consume, and how we can live differently. Even slight symbolic changes, such as unplugging unused appliances and avoiding drinking bottled water, can make a significant difference when enough people participate.

– Michael DeZubiria

Sources: South China Morning Post, Green Cross International