Category: Education & Research

Higher education, research and technical development are quite essential not only for developed countries but also for the developing countries. These are basic instruments for raising the standard of life as expressed in terms of Gross Domestic Product GDP (PPP) per capita, the level unemployment and environmental quality. However, GDP (PPP) per capita doesn’t serve as a perfect indicator of the quality of life. Generation of knowledge, development of affordable and reliable products and services are driven by society and market needs, also the existing and emerging pressures on finding prompt solutions for the ever increasing environmental and climatic threats. These sectors – higher education – research – technical developments – are very resource demanding especially for the developing countries and hereby require high level of management in terms of policy-making, coordination, qualified human resources and solid infrastructures. The role of international organizations and donation institutes is vital for capacity building, financial and technical support including transfer-of-knowledge, training, instrumentation, education and research infrastructures.

Does the Nobel Prize Support Sustainable Developments on Planet Earth? If, Yes How & If No Why?

With the ongoing efforts to promote and implement the UN-SDGs including the EU vote to ratify the Paris Agreement (http://bit.ly/2dpyVoa) there are emerging key strategic issues. Countries around the world are called upon to act quickly to fulfill all the promises for the protection and preservation of the Earth’s natural resources. All society sectors (private and public), knowledge disciplines and human activities on planet Earth, both vertically and horizontally, have direct responsibilities in the ongoing process of transformation. There should be tools and instruments to assess the role and involvements on several levels, i.e. through coordinated webs of Key Performance Indicators. Among such instruments is the Nobel Prize which indeed played, and still playing, important role in promoting essential knowledge disciplines. However, knowledge in itself has to be promptly and effectively utilized by all sectors and on all levels to promote and implement the Paris agreement through effective coupling of diverse and wide spectra of knowledge to society, population and the market needs. It is interesting to see how far the Nobel Prize contributed in the past in developing the UN-SDGs, and also how much it will contribute in promoting and implementing these goals in future.

By founding the Nobel Prize in 1901 Alfred Nobel made the name Nobel famous worldwide. But Alfred’s prize was not the first Nobel Prize. As early as 1889 the Ludvig Nobel Award was founded. Ludvig was Alfred Nobel’s older brother and worked as a scientist, inventor and businessman in Russia during the second half of the 19th century. Alfred was most likely inspired by his brother Ludvig when founding his Nobel Prize, one of the most prestigious scientific awards of all times. Ludvig and his other bother, Robert Nobel, had an oil company in Baku, a manufacturing site for diesel engines in St. Petersburg and many other industrial sites throughout Russia during the late 19th century. Ludvig, however, strived to improve the conditions for the workers at the industrial sites by the introduction of shorter working hours, schools, healthcare, recreational facilities and also cooperative banking system for the employees. This was the 1st global initiative towards the implementation of Applied Sustainability but still lacked the environmental issues. In this context Sustainability and Social commitment was the trademark of the Nobel industries as visioned by Ludvig and Robert Nobel. The Russian revolution in 1917 changed the scene dramatically. Ludvig Nobel’s prize in science and research never became much more than a dream due to the revolution. 

Thanks to the global trends of human thinking and the recognition of R&D as an integrated part in socio-economic developments, i.e. in the framework of the UN-SDGs, today the efforts of Ludvig Nobel and his brother have not been forgotten specially in Russia and Azerbaijan.

Recently, the Nobel family has taken the initiative to honor the memory of Ludvig. The Nobel Sustainability Trust was founded with the purpose of encouraging research and/or practice of sustainable and renewable energy, through an award. Not to be confused with the Nobel prize of Alfred Nobel and will be given to worthy individuals or organizations that during the year have carried out significant accomplishments in the field of renewable/sustainable energy (http://nobelsustainability.org/history/). 

However, there are other wider initiatives to realize the importance of UN-SDG as they involve coupling many other sectors and disciplines in particular those related to Water – Energy – Natural Resources Nexuses. Still water, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries are taken much smaller proportion in relation to the R&D done within energy-related sectors and disciplines. In this context, additional steps are being taken by the United Planet Faith and Science Initiative by launching a website that attempts to win a Nobel Peace Prize for Sustainable Development (NP4SD.org) with a shared nomination of an organization and two individuals. As explained by “NP4SD.org” it is not a new Nobel Prize, it is a Peace Prize to be shared by nominees whose work is foundational and seminal in the field of sustainable development (http://www.upfsi.org/). Among cases in the past where sustainability issues were taken in consideration is 2004-Peace Prize (http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2004/press.html).

Among other strategic efforts to support UN-SDGs, is to give Ecological Economics greater worldwide exposure and to create more widespread understanding of other strategic fields of importance for our well-being, survival and life-quality on planet earth and its growing population (http://www.isecoeco.org/nobel-peace-prize-for-sustainable-development/). Yet, much more is still needed to be done to promote and implement better policies for education, R&D and Transfer-of-Knowledge in the developing countries. If the Nobel Prize is used as indicator for these strategic activities it is very easy to conclude that the major parts of planet earth suffer from huge knowledge poverty. Then we can simply ask how the UN-SDGs be effectively implemented to achieve global sustainable socio-economic developments? Would the UN-SDGs be only a day-night dream for generations to come?

This said, the traditional Nobel Prize has on large-scale and long-term perspective an long-standing importance, directly or indirectly, on improving our overall understanding of planet Earth and to some extent the fundamentals of improving life quality on the Earth’s surface. Building on science pyramid on large-scale and long-term perspective is strategic in pushing forward the wheels of technology and development. However, developments in science and technology in the past century along with the weak coupling with global sociey sectors through ineffective policy-making and lack of global coordination have caused the ongoing degradation in life quality on Earth. These negative trends could have be avoided or even limited if the UN-SDGs were realized and founded much earlier.

More information on the traditional Nobel Prize awards for 2016, please see (https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2016/press-sv.html).

Traditional Education and Conventional Schools Inhibit Lifelong learning 

In another post (in Swedish) the main source of funding higher education “CSN “Centrala studiestödsnämnden”, The Swedish Student Aid is being citized to inhibit lifelong learning. However, this is also the case of the majority of the existing education and school systems around the world. Traditional education and conventional school systems around the world are either being inherited or copied. These systems are supported by funding structures, traditions, market and employment rules that hinder life-long learning. 

Student loans are designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses. Such loans differ from other types of loans what regards interest rate and the repayment schedule. They also differ in many countries in the strict laws regulating renegotiating and bankruptcy. This article highlights the differences of the student loan system in several major countries (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_loan).

Formal education falls short of the requirements of a lifelong learning system in many terms. The needs for lifelong learning are enormous and expanding as jobs for life are a thing of the past. We need to bring on lifelong learning. Indeed, initiatives to help learners of all ages have been beset by problems, but it’s high time now to look at new models for a shifting employment landscape. There many reasons why lifelong learning should be a standard policy rather than an exception. The global employment and market landscape has changed in many aspects. Globalization, migration-integration pressures, growing global population with demographic anomalies, increasing free-mobility of labor and money and above all the ongoing transformation to sustainable socio-economic structures as consequence of recently launched UN-SDGs.

For some more reading see: https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/may/31/jobs-for-life-are-a-thing-of-the-past-bring-on-lifelong-learning

https://books.google.se/books?id=zfiyjdfSgUMC&pg=PR16&lpg=PR16&dq=student+loans+inhibits+lifelong+learning&source=bl&ots=yHY19e_L2u&sig=K1yvzYvPPQBPprEEJzrv0acitno&hl=sv&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjKvITf55_PAhXKJSwKHfIFDpgQ6AEIHzAA#v=onepage&q=student%20loans%20inhibits%20lifelong%20learning&f=false

Sustainability & Circular Economy – Free Award-winning E-Book

“Sustain-Earth.Com” is inviting you to visit the given link for free PDF downloading of an award-winning e-book (The Sustainable Business) about sustainability and the circular economy.

Free copies of the book are distributed for the purpose of explaining the fundamentals of waste elimination and resource-life extension (two core components of sustainability) and to facilitate sustainable business development and job creation.
Currently, the book is used as an introductory course text (in business schools), as a basic training manual in businesses, and as a beginner’s guide for educating the general public. You are welcome to use it to do the same.  
‘The Sustainable Business’ is updated approximately every two years and is available in five languages. All translations of the e-book (English, Arabic, Mandarin, Polish and Simplified Chinese) can be downloaded from EFMD here: https://www.efmd.org/research/the-sustainable-business   

EFMD is Europe’s premier academic-quality assessment organization; it accredits the world’s leading business schools. Just click on the book cover photo of the language you want.  
Again, you are welcome to share all the EFMD/CIPS sustainability portfolio materials (including the short videos) with your colleagues and networks – that’s what they are for!   

The Earth System as It Is and as It Should Be

There reasons why the Earth’s system, as it is, is evolving in such a way that life quality is gradually degraded with emergence of new large-scale and long-term irreversible threats, e.g. global warming, decline of natural resources, collapse in bio-divesity and accelerating degradation in life quality. However, understanding the base-line conditions and requirements for the appropriate functioning and metabolism of the Earth’s system calls for instruments and tools to define the Earth system as it should be. This is essential and imperative at least for the survival of life on earth and to bring about sustainable socio-economic developments around the world. 

Earth system science (ESS) is the application of system’s science to the Earth’s system. In particular, the interactions between the Earth’s “spheres”—atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, pedosphere, biosphere, and, also, the magnetosphere – as well as the impact of humans on these components. At its broadest scale, Earth system science brings together researchers across both the natural and social sciences, from diverse fields including ecology, economics, geology, glaciology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology, sociology, and space science. Like the broader subject of system’s science, Earth system science assumes a holistic view of the dynamic interaction between the Earth’s spheres and their many constituent subsystems, the resulting organization and time evolution of these systems, and their stability or instability. 
 
The Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, offers the following description: “Earth system science embraces chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and applied sciences in transcending disciplinary boundaries to treat the Earth as an integrated system. In this context, we can achieve a deeper understanding of the physical, chemical, biological and human interactions that determine the past, current and future states of the Earth. Earth system science provides a physical basis for understanding the world in which we live and upon which humankind seeks to achieve sustainability.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_system_science

Reverse Engineering Poverty and “Know-How” To Solve Global Poverty

Poverty is not new and has been with us for centuries and even for millenniums and there are several reasons for poverty (http://www.poverties.org/blog/causes-of-poverty). What we know from history is that there was no poverty, i.e. as we know it today, in Ancient Egypt (http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/economy/). However, the vast majority of the population, probably 90% during the first two millennia of Egypt’s history, lived on the land in mostly self sufficient village communities and in a state close to serfdom.In practice a virtual ownership evolved when land could be freely bought and sold. Apart from the tenant peasants, a large section of the population worked as farm labourers. Administrators, priests, traders and craftsmen lived mostly in the cities along the Nile, which could be supplied with victuals relatively easily and cheaply by boat.

From ancient Egypt, and other similar civilizations, modern poverty started somewhere at sometime and grown to the extent that it became an enormous problem and huge shame for humanity. In this process slaves became the route and even an official high-way to poverty. During this poverty became much rooted in many countries around the world, still it remain rooted and even expanding in many others countries (http://earthitude.com/top-9-problems-our-world-is-facing/). 

In this context, it must be a distinction between slavery and poverty, though both are not acceptable in modern democracies. One can be slave but not poor and one can be poor but not slave, however one can be both poor and slave. Poor can very easily be slaved for any purpose and once are slaved they can not decide, and even allowed to do so, and the only option for then is to carry out orders and even accept severe humiliation. This is even the case anywhere but in different forms and various levels.

Global poverty started as poor people were first exported as slaves out from where they are living, in particular out of Africa by the rich and through the rich as slaves with no economic rights. Later on, there were left in the hands of colonization and capital where they were used as slaves and servants (also with no economic rights) but this time, also, in their own home countries. After self-independence that became slaves for whatever they were paid for, i.e. the economic rights are totally in the hands of the owners and capital-investors. Now to be free from, or to get rid of poverty is not a simple task at all for both sides, i.e. for the poor who needs the money and for the rich who need to keep their business running. This is just to put facts flat and in this case there are no simple or patented solutions. 

Another huge source of modern slavery and poverty are wars, civil wars , and political conflicts, where whole groups, communities, populations and families are threatened and forced by the gun out of there homes. Typical examples exist in e.g. Africa the MENA regions, and still a continuous source of global insecurity and instability.  

Even the UN “United Nations” and the WB “World Bank” are seeking data and information “know-about” from people around the world to know what to be done, where and how. A possible solution is using “Reverse Engineering, RE” to slowly propagate knowledge, know-how and resources among communities of different populations. Here are some information on RE (http://definitelyfilipino.com/blog/reverse-engineering-a-way-out-of-poverty/; http://sbj.net/Content/ENEWS-ARTICLES/ENEWS-ARTICLES/Article/Work-to-reverse-engineer-poverty-underway-via-Northwest-Project/29/82/103878). If you know of anymore or your have your own RE-poverty solution get it posted here. We create, compile and have more wider discussion on the issue.

But what is Reverse Engineering “RE”. Reverse engineering, also called back engineering, is the processes of extracting knowledge or design information from anything man-made and re-producing it or re-producing anything based on the extracted information. By understanding the history, processes and dynamics of poverty evolution, it would be possible to reverse the process and make the poor more and more less poor and thereby achieving reasonable levels of equality of the benefit of everyone, i.e. it is a matter of sharing benefits (https://www.fastcoexist.com/3043531/how-the-sharing-economy-could-help-the-poorest-among-us). The process often involves disassembling something (a mechanical device, electronic component, computer program, or biological, chemical, organic matter or even socio-economic structures) and analyzing its components and workings in detail. The reasons and goals for obtaining such information vary widely from everyday or socially beneficial actions depending upon the situation.

(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_engineering)

 

For the Memory of Prof. Ahmed H. Zewail: Nobel-Prize-Winning Chemist who Dies at 70.

Israel (12), South Africa (11) and Egypt (4) are among few countries in Africa and the MENA region that enjoy several Nobel Prize winners. 

Dr. Zewail has devoted much of his time and efforts to promote education, science and R&D in the Arab world in particular Egypt. We deeply regret the loss of Prof. Zewail and we would alway remember his continuous efforts. For the memory of Professor Zewail sustain-earth.com will take on his mission to achieve its full potential. 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/08/06/science/ahmed-h-zewail-nobel-prize-winning-chemist-dies-at-70.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.se/

The Landscape of ICT – Analytical Communication or Individual Connection

An interesting article published in Asharq al-Awsat, July 7, 2016 by Fahad Shoqiran, a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. He has writings in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. See the while article (http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2016/07/09/Has-technology-defied-Arab-values-.html).

The article describes how information communication technology ICT, which has managed to create an analytical space that aims to uncover the hidden aspects of several dimensions, is taking another path in some regions of the world. Fahad Shoqiran describes how ICT is shifting from communicating to connecting “At the start, it was promising because it was going to bring everything closer, break borders, defeat intellectuals, end roles, intimidate politicians and mobilize for revolution. They are no longer sites for communicating as much as sites for connecting”. 

In the MENA region as Fahad Shoqiran puts it “The relations between millions of Muslims and Arabs through the modern tools of contact has not created any value worth mentioning, and has not expressed anything about their history that is rich in prestigious debate, serious dialogue and knowledge. Rather, they have dug up racial and sectarian matters that were long forgotten. Political affiliations became in control of approaches, debates and battles”. 

Fahad Shoqiran explains and reflects on existing difficulties hindering sustainable socio-economic developments in all of the MENA region “There is a struggle over leadership among Arabs. This is why it is impossible to create a general space that enables people to freely and equally discuss ideas and visions. This is all due to ignorance. There are modern tools in our hands, but our feet are drowned in the mud of decadence.” Instead “All this shows that Arab societies are drowned in the notion of the self. This is why you see the desire to become a poet, muse or cleric in every Arab. You do not see the desire to become a debater or intellectual who spreads knowledge and philosophy.”

With growing population around world, struggle of political systems for survival; emergence of new micro-, sub-cultures and NGOs; competition on resources; and modern needs for prompt promotion and implementation of the UN-SDG, the ICT is facing shaping and reshaping itself as an analytical space to achieve sustainable socio-economic developments apart from being pure technical instrument only (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/icts-government-action-plan-mena-region-2015-beyond-nabil-eid).

2050-2100: The Struggle of Humanity against Future Peaks

Any group preparing for a difficult mission such as climbing towards high tops against strong winds and steep heights, e.g. the Himalaya tops, knows that such mission is not free from an enormous number of excepted and unexpected risks. Accounting for such risks and taking all necessary measures and precautions is imperative not only for surviving, a long journey of such dimension, but also for fulfilling the goals of the mission. No one, whatsoever, can take such risks without careful planning and practise as well as having the necessary qualities and resources to withstand the all possible “known” and impossible “unknown” situations that can lead to failure. It is a matter of life or death and a journey where the very survival from the start to the end is a life mission, even after the mission itself is completed. The mission can, also be, understood and experienced as an instrument to learn and gain more merits  “added-value” to cope with other future difficulties beyond the mission itself. It is from the “knowns” we can uncover, solve and cope with many other “unknowns”.

If we have to continue our survival on planet Earth, improve whatever can be improved and sustain the quality of life in the near future of coming generations we need to think the same way. Thinking about 2050-2100 we will be struggling to solve serious problems “peaks” facing us on planet Earth. 

The future in this context requires convergence of our efforts and not divergence, i.e. to see the threats as common obstacles facing the life on earth and its quality.  “sustain-earth.com” is an instrument for transformation of all the threats to challenges and to find solutions and implementations of what, why and how. It is about sustainability (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability).

Have UN-SDG any Impacts on R&D around the World? 

Research and Development “R&D” has direct and indirect feedbacks and impacts on the global implementation, and also the successful achievements, of UN-SDG. One can expect that the UN-SDG can be achieved, and thereby implemented, as an Added-Value components to “R&D” Programs and Projects in cases where  they are clearly specified and defined by funding organisations and institutes. This in turn will generate stronger, active and vital engagement of universities, academies, researchers and education programs in the promotion and implementation of UN-SDG.  In particular shaping higher education, R&D for appropriate and timely promotion and implementation of the UN-SDG on local and regional scales with special focus on society and population needs. Also, with consideration to three pillars of sustainability (economic, social and environment issues) and building on the available natural resources in different regions. These are of course in addition to dedicated programs and projects where “R&D” directly deals with sustainability and sustainable developments in general. 

Currently, there are no exact, detailed and coordinated global assessment policies/strategies on when, how and where the UN-SDG are to be achieved, though there are fragmented data on such issues in limited counties and regions. However, some information can be indirectly extracted from the global view of R&D, so as to examine strengths and weaknesses in following-up and assessing the perfomance by sectors, products, technologies, markets, regions and countries.

Research and development (R&D) is defined as the process of creating new products, processes and technologies that can be used and marketed for mankind’s benefit in the future. What regards sustainability, the interests and needs of future generations have to be taken in considerations. As the R&D processes and their costs vary from industry to industry, from country to country and from year to year, we can expect wide-range of variations in effectiveness, performance and time-scales of relevance for UN-SDG.

R&D investment in Asian countries (e.g. Japan, India and South Korea) including China is currently accounting for more than 40% of all global R&D investments, the North American investments now less than 30% and European R&D only slightly more than 20%. The rest of the world (Russia, Africa, South America and the Middle East countries) account for a combined 8.8% of the global R&D investments with combined average growth of only about 1.5% per year. Much of the R&D growth in any country around the world is driven by that country’s economic growth.

There are substantial changes that are being seen in industrial R&D makeup. Life science R&D, for example, has been the largest sector in the industrial technology arena. However, the automotive arena is expected to grow their R&D programs due to strong technology shifts from internal combustion to electric propulsion systems, manual to automated driving systems and increasingly integrated electronic systems. Other changes include the rapid and mostly unexpected implementation of self-driving cars; the emergence of electric cars, which could supplant a significant portion of fossil fuel-powered vehicles in a relatively short period; and the availability of large amounts of fossil fuels at low prices not experienced in more than 20 years. Fast forward to today, unlike what was known before, there’s an oil glut on the world market, gas prices are where they were 25 years ago and the U.S. has considered exporting crude oil from its shale oil reserves. Saudi Arabia and other traditional oil exporting countries will be faced with serious economic difficulties because of low gas prices.

Solar-powered technologies continue to be a relatively small sector of the overall energy industry that is populated by comparatively smaller technology companies. Most of these small energy companies, with strong future market forecasts, expect to increase their R&D spending in 2016. Solar cells, power converters and associated hardware continue to improve in overall effiencies, while dropping lightly in overall prices. In the Automotive industry, lithium-ion batteries are improving which in combination with computers can bring about new trends in automotive markets. Solar-panel system, also for small industries and other consumer uses, can shape additional new trends. 

Except in the automotive arena, the U.S. industries gained more technological advantage than they lost in many other areas. This includes advanced materials, commercial aerospace, communications, computing/IT, energy, environmental, instrumentation, life science, military/defense, and pharmaceutical/ biotech. 

What regards R&D, academia has become the go-to organization for performing advanced basic research and even applied research when government or industrial organizations are looking for cost-effective ways to perform a development program. For many years now, academia has performed the majority of basic research as industrial organizations have reduced their involvement in basic research. The U.S. university and college systems continue to lead other countries in research, technology and innovation. For example, of the top 10 universities in the world, eight are in the U.S. (Harvard, Stanford, MIT, UC-Berkeley, Princeton, CalTech, Columbia and the Univ. of Chicago) and two are in the U.K. (Cambridge and Oxford). Of the top 20 universities in the world, 16 are in the U.S., with Switzerland’s ETH and Univ. College London being the non-U.S.-based standouts—the other top U.S. universities include Yale, UCLA, Cornell, UC- San Diego, Univ. of Washington, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins and UC-San Francisco. This ranking system is run by the Center for World Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ., China. However, five of the top 10 in the Economic Intelligence Unit’s 2015 Global Talent Index are in Europe—Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The same countries as were in the top 10 for the 2011 version of the Index. The U.S. was number one in both versions of the Index. The Nordic region of Europe is noteworthy as it has four of the top countries in the talent index. The Nordic region as a whole has high government spending, as a percentage of GDP which is maintained throughout all stages of education, right through to universities, which explains why it has outperformed so many prominent rivals in the developed world in the overall index. The linguistic and technical skills of the Nordic countries’ working population are also particularly strong.

What concerns R&D staff, the researchers surveyed indicated that money is likely the most important component for maintaining and attracting researchers. Tied closely to creating a strong research staff is the creation of an innovation culture within the R&D organization.

R&D has been, still and will remain imperative for understanding and making the “best” of “our” lives on planet “earth”. Here comes three questions: first, how to assess the outcome and “how best is best”; second, which lives and which are those included in “our”; third, what are the impacts on “earth” and would the earth provide all the necessary ingredients at all times.  The attached file demonstrates that R&D around the world is still driven with less investments towards solving the threats facing the majority of world population. The focus as far as the majority of the world population is concerned is still geared towards one of the three main sustainability pillars which is “Economy”. The “environment” and “social” issues of the majority of the world population have to remain of much less priority.

https://www.iriweb.org/sites/default/files/2016GlobalR%26DFundingForecast_2.pdf

Mission Is Cloudy – 70 Years of UN & International Bureaucracy

Today 70 years and half a trillion dollars later after the creation of the UN, we are faced with several legitimate questions. What the UN, and its complex systems of International Bureaucracy, has achieved in practical terms, e.g. for the poor, environment, water, agriculture, food, illiteracy, energy, climate, biodiversity, quality of life and in particular water and air …… sustainable developments and many many more? Also, how the future would like in terms of these aspects? 

Well, the United Nations has saved millions of lives and boosted health and education across the world. But what happened with the billions of people that were added to the world population since WW-II, i.e. about 4.5 billions? Did the majority of these new comers got better life and future, escape poverty and illiteracy, get better health, education and employment? As majority of the growing population, i.e. billions of them, is taking place in developing countries, then we can ask: what about affordability and accessibility to the basic needs as defined by the 21-century standards? Did the developing countries advance in the same way as the developed world did after WW-II? Whatever the answer is, it remains imperative to ask what would be the impacts of such trends on the global sustainability and what the developed world, modern technology and R&D did to save the planet Earth from total collapse?

In this context, what would be the future role of UN and its complex, ineffective bureaucratic systems? How would the UN and its bureaucratic systems change from “know-about” systems to “know-how” organizations with effectively managed instruments of implementation? What would be the next practical plans for effective actions and measures to achieve the so-called UN-SDG?

In a changing world with new powers of Internet, Google, Apple, Amazon, Ali Express, …. and the whole web of Social Media Instruments what would be the new role of the UN and its bloated international bureaucracy with undemocratic and ineffective cost-benefits solutions for the majority of the world population in particular the affordability and accessibility to basic life needs according to the 21-century standards?

It is totally true what Dag Hammarskjöld said, the tragic second UN secretary general, who had it best “The United Nations was created not to lead mankind to heaven but to save humanity from hell”? Did the UN save humanity from hell? More interesting what did Dag Hammarskjöld mean by hell? The kind of hell Dag Hammarskjöld had in mind was not hard to imagine in the wake of world war, massive destruction and with the atom bomb’s shadow spreading across the globe. But these threats are now more or less over and new emerging hells are either existing or soon facing us. 

Since it was set up in 1945, the UN helped save millions from other kinds of hell, e.g. the deepest of poverty, save children die of treatable diseases, starvation and exposure to classical wars. The UN’s children’s organisation, Unicef, provided an education and a path to a better life for millions. The UN’s development programmes were instrumental in helping countries newly freed from colonial rule to govern themselves. But in the very shadow of these achievements and on wide-scale prespective, the UN agencies ‘broke and failing’ in face of an ever-growing refugee crisis, global poverty, climate change and global warming, environmental threats and ecological degradation, the very late introduction and the ineffective implementation of UN-SDG with ultra-slow transformation speed to more sustainable future for planet Earth.

In its 70 years, the United Nations may have been hailed as the great hope for the future of mankind – but it has also been dismissed as a shameful organization with numbing bureaucracy, institutional cover-ups of corruption and undemocratic politics of its security council. Policies to go to war in the name of peace with no measures to clean up after collapse of states after wars and ineffective support for millions of victims.

These imperfections have now come to the surface and pressing the UN and its organisation to define its role in the 21st century. Tensions between western governments and developing countries have rippled across the organisation as ballooning costs drive the push for reform. The UN is overly bureaucratic and slow in the way it dealt with development issues. The UN has many organisations with overlapping mandates. It’s built systems on top of systems on top of systems with structures that protect the incompetence and ineffectiveness. Cooperation between organisations has been hindered by competition for funding, mission creep and by outdated business practises. This is clear in water, energy and environment sectors with many UN agencies are active and compete for limited resources without a clear collaborative framework. What we have now is another multiplication of targets and goals which are an extraordinarily comprehensive assessment of what’s needed to be done but there’s no operational clarity around them. Who’s going to do it? Who’s going to monitor it? Who’s accountable for it? The goals themselves are pretty impressive but it doesn’t say anything to the UN about what they should be doing.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/07/what-has-the-un-achieved-united-nations

But on the other hand the UN says it is the member states that fails to cooperate and to deliver effective local and regional solutions. The pile-up of mis- managements on local and regional scales is the major reasons for how the world looks like as it does today (http://m.sputniknews.com/world/20151023/1028980091/United-Nations-70-Years.html). 

So, in any case reforms are necessary and imperative to bring about remarkable changes for the majority of the world population. BUT WHAT,  HOW AND WHEN?