A recently launched documentary shows how a couple of artists is changing the landscape of the dying rural ‘pueblos’ in Spain

The documentary is directed by Alfonso Kint

After many years living in the city, Alfonso and Lucía were tired of the busy, dirty streets, the noise and the lack of connection that define virtually any metropolis in the world. Like all artists, they needed inspiration and space to create – also like most artists, they didn’t have much financial means. Then, Lucía has discovered herself pregnant and that changed everything. After little Greta was born, the couple moved to Torralba de Ribota, a 100 inhabitants’ town in Aragon, Spain and went to live in an old house that belonged to Lucía’s grandmother.

How many of us have a country side heritage?”, asks the recently launched documentary “Soñando un Lugar” (In English, Dreaming of a Place), presented this week to a selected audience in CCCB, in Barcelona. Through the 7-year filming and editing process, Alfonso has realized he was telling a bigger story than his family’s: the one of the dying pueblos, small rural Spanish towns that are almost deserted.

Fields are not worked anymore, as the young people moved on to more “reputable” jobs in the city. The dry earth is shown as a scar of old times, when the land provided all the food: potatoes, beans, nuts. Some of the remainders still breed bees and goats, but they are few. There are not enough hands anymore.

Full of empty houses and kept alive by the old neighbours’ memories, Torralba de Ribota had no children, though no future. The arrival of the small family started to shake things up – as Alfonso filmed the documentary, Lucía was creating an innovative project that aimed to transform the ancient pueblos in stages for artistic residencies and projects, while little Greta built her own fantasy world among hills, art and meaningful conversations with the elders. After them, many others came: musicians, performers, painters started to search for houses in the town. One of the biggest challenges was to find houses to buy: telephones didn’t work anymore, people were not reachable. Most buildings were kept closed and empty. Many of them remain so.

As the project “Pueblos en Arte” flourished, the life of the town has changed – connections between old and new started to be made, artists had space and time to create, children had access to nature and played ‘like the old times’. More towns were added to the project, that now has 6 ongoing projects, a patronage funding plan and high hopes for the future. “We want to start a dialogue between city and town”, said Alfonso, who’s now touring though Spain to promote his film.

Horyou, the social network for social good, promotes artistic projects with social impact related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The documentary “Soñando un Lugar” helps communities and cities to become more sustainable and self-sufficient (Goal 11).

A global claim has been echoing for many years: since 2000, when the UN launched the Millennium Development Goals, the world hasn’t seen such public debate about the need to commit to social and environmental targets. As the years have passed and global leaders have complied with the reviewed and renamed Sustainable Development Goals, society started to be bolder about expanding the commitment to a better future.

In the last few years, more companies have been vocal about their own actions thanks to an increased responsiveness of their stakeholders: investors, clients and civil society who demand more engaged action for the SDGs.

Clients and consumers are the first group to put pressure on the private sector, carefully choosing ecofriendly products and brands. Last September, 87 companies, including Danone, Amazon and IKEA, committed to set climate targets across their operations and value chains, setting zero net emissions by 2050. A recent Accenture survey shows that 80% of consumers believe it’s important or extremely important for companies to design environmentally conscious products. It affects the whole supply chain: from lighter and smaller packaging that will require less material to components that are recyclable and reusable.

Jobseekers are another important group that influences companies’ commitment to sustainable actions. MBA graduates are now able to see if corporate social responsibility strategies are legitimate or pure PR – and choose companies they want to work for accordingly. A 2015 survey covering more than 3,700 MBA graduates shows that 64% of them don’t think businesses are making enough efforts to address environmental challenges. Recruiters are getting used to questions about these CSR policies and are feeling the need to develop their employer’s branding, the capacity to attract talented people, investing in real sustainable actions.

Finally, there is the deciding factor for many businesses: money. Asset managers are increasingly taking sustainability into consideration when shaping their investment strategies, according to a recently published article in the Financial Times. Some of them, like Hermes, are launching SDG Equity Funds focused on small and medium-sized companies engaged with the UN Goals. Others, like the Scandinavian investment group Summa, are focusing on some sustainable development areas like infrastructure and innovation (goal 9). These initiatives follow the launch of UN Impact, a program that aims to channel funds to SDG-related projects and companies.

Other funding opportunities like HoryouToken, the utility token 100% dedicated to inclusion and sustainability, are also spotting projects and actions that resonate with the UN SDGs. Built on the concept of Blockchain with a purpose, HoryouToken supports and promotes social and economic inclusion while enhancing a positive circle of interactions benefiting civil society, social entrepreneurs and social good doers.

To know more about HoryouToken, click here.

L’humanité et la nature sont en péril et qu’en particulier les effets néfastes des changements climatiques, l’accélération de la perte de la biodiversité, la dégradation des terres et des océans, constituent autant de violations des droits fondamentaux des êtres humains et une menace vitale pour les générations présentes et futures.

– Gabriel TCHANGO, Maire de la Commune de Port-Gentil – LEPAGE Corinne, Ancienne ministre et Présidente de l’Association des Amis de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Humanité – PEISSE Michel, Président de l’OMECA – GIOVANNETTI Christophe, Vice Président OMECA – MEREHJ Julia , Vice Présidente OMECA – Prof TEHINDRAZANARIVELO Alain, Former Ministre de Madagascar – LASMARTRES Yves, Trésorier de l’OMECA – HUGLO Christian, Docteur en droit, Avocat au barreau de Paris – SWAGATH LEYOUBOU Ingrid Marina, 1er Adjoint au Maire du 1er Arrondissement de la Commune de Port-GENTIL ; – MOUVENGUI Serges, 2ème Adjoint au Maire du 4ème Arr ; – BABONGUI-NIANG OUMI Arielle, Conseillère Municipale 3ème Arr ; – MOUKIELOU Georges, Conseiller Municipal 2ème Arr ; – ONANGA Sylvestre, Secrétaire Général de la Mairie de la Commune de Port-Gentil ; – LEWOURRAH Patrick, Aide de CAMP Principale de Monsieur le Maire de la Commune de Port-Gentil. – BIAGGINI Amandine, Ambassadrice de la DDHu – SIQUILINI Jean Roger, Président de l’Institut Français de l’Intelligence Artificielle et de la Génétique (IFIAG) – PARIENTI Yonathan, Founder of Horyou and Expert OMECA

Constatant que l’extrême gravité de la situation, qui est un sujet de préoccupation pour l’humanité tout entière, impose la reconnaissance de nouveaux principes et de nouveaux droits et devoirs, rappelant son attachement aux principes et droits reconnus dans la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme, y compris à l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, ainsi qu’aux buts et principes de la Charte des Nations Unies, rappelant la Déclaration sur l’environnement de Stockholm de 1972, la Charte mondiale de la nature de New York de 1982, la Déclaration sur l’environnement et le développement de Rio de 1992, les résolutions de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies « Déclaration du millénaire » de 2000 et « L’avenir que nous voulons » de 2012, rappelant que ce même péril est reconnu par les acteurs de la société civile, en particulier les réseaux de personnes, d’organisations, d’institutions, de villes dans la Charte de la Terre de 2000.

Après Strasbourg, Paris, et de nombreuses villes partout dans le Monde, Port Gentil est la première ville d’Afrique à reconnaitre l’impérieuse nécessité de signer la DHHU. PortGentil est un port maritime du Gabon, pays situé sur la côte centrafricaine.

Cette ville à l’activité pétrolière importante se trouve sur le cap Lopez et possède un port abrité ainsi que plusieurs plages, notamment celle du Dahu. Édifiée en 1927, l’église Saint-Louis est l’un des monuments emblématiques de la ville.

Au bout de la péninsule se trouve le phare du cap Lopez, construit au XXe siècle. Au sud, le fleuve Ogooué est connu pour les nombreuses espèces de poissons qu’il renferme. Monsieur le Maire a souligné dans son discours la nécessité et le devoir de participer a cet élan Mondial pour protéger nos générations futures. L’OMECA qui soutient la DDHU depuis le 13 Fevrier 2018, date officielle de son engagement, était largement représenté à la signature officielle de Port Gentil et participe activement à la promotion de la DDHU dans le Monde. 90 Ambassadeurs, présents sur tous les continents et faisant partie des personnes influentes participent à cet élan de diplomatie environnementale.

 

16-year-old Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri – HP1EF9N1AIFX9

I must confess that I was disturbed by Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Action Summit, which took place last September at the UN Headquarters in New York. I’ve seen many teenagers angry for whatever reason, but never for such a genuine and clear purpose as the future of their own kind. It’s not about the planet anymore, it’s about the hundreds of thousands of climate refugees, it’s about the species that are under threat and whose disappearance could unbalance the environment só strongly that it would cause famine and chaos. It’s about us, the ones who have a few more decades ahead to live.

Although I’ve seen many angry teenagers before, I’ve never seen a 16-year-old be so disruptive with her words and receive so much criticism for being too «bold and pessimistic». But I know I’ve never seen such mobilization of so many young people. It was beautiful to see millions of children going on strike for the climate just a few days later, inspired by a clear message that said we must create other rules because the current ones are no longer working. I saw it as a call to re-create capitalism and rethink our consumption and production system, as well as our way to reassess national growth and wealth. Isn’t there a better way to be rich than to always seek to produce more and more?

It was the first time than I saw such anger coming from someone so young and, yet, so right that she strokes hearts all over the world. She disturbed some, angered others, inspired and caused strong emotion on many – I haven’t heard of nobody say they were not touched by her words.

A few days later, surrounded by business people from an industry that is marked by their not-too-sustainable methods, all I’ve heard was: we need to change the way we work, the raw materials we use, our waste management. Greta was right, they say, and Greta is the future: she is the angry face of new consumers who are not happy about how the current system goes and demand change now. Greta’s generation might not have the smooth personality we expect from our children, but they know what they will face if we don’t act now. And we don’t dare not to.

Horyou is proud to support the global efforts to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages (SDG3). As part of our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we invite Dr. Alexey Kulikov from the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases, based at the World Health Organization, as a guest writer.
Growing ageing populations have resulted in a 30%
increase in the global prevalence of mental health disorders since 1990
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health disorders account for 30% of the non-fatal disease burden and 10% of the overall disease burden, worldwide. Mental health disorders include depression, anxiety, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, and developmental disorders, including autism (1).
Growing ageing populations have resulted in a 30% increase in the global prevalence of mental health disorders since 1990 (2). The heavy burden of mental disorders and small proportion of national budgets earmarked for mental health (less than US$2 per person per year in low and middle-income countries) has resulted in a substantial gap between the need and availability of mental health disorders and treatments (1). Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age but most cases go undetected and untreated due to the lack of mental health care available in many countries. Mental health is an integral part of an individual’s capacity to lead a fulfilling and productive life, and persons with untreated mental disorders experience an average of 10-20 years reduction in life expectancy (3).
The high burden of mental disorders is not just of public health concern but has growing economic implications, too. Common mental disorders alone cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion per year, resulting in increased health and welfare expenditures as well as reduced economic productivity (4). Persons with mental health conditions are more likely to exit the labor force, miss days of work or perform at a reduced capacity while at work.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the Ministry of Health of Jamaica and RTI International developed a pilot Mental Health Investment Case in Jamaica in 2018. The investment case modeled clinical interventions selected by Jamaica’s Ministry of Health to scale up treatment of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and psychoses disorders. The selected scale-up of interventions was projected to cost approximately 16 billion JMD in the next 15 years but also to lead to large economic productivity and social benefit gains valued at approximately 60 billion JMD over the same period (5). The take-away point from this study in Jamaica is that the benefits of mental health treatment significantly outweighed the costs by 375%.
The need to address social and economic challenges posed by mental disorders was highlighted during the High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in 2018 (6). Together, UNDP along with WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and the WHO Secretariat for the United Nations Interagency Task Force for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (UNIATF) is developing the methodology for mental health investment cases to enable national governments to develop national mental health investment cases to strengthen their responses to mental health disorders and promote health and well-being.
Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages is the Sustainable Development Goal #3
Capitalizing on UNIATF’s experience in development of national NCD investment cases, mental health investment cases will assist national governments in estimating the “hidden” cost of mental disorders resulting from labor force reductions, presenteeism and absenteeism. Based on empirical, nationally owned data and WHO and UNDP tools, analyses from mental health investment cases will identify the leading behavioral, social and environmental risk factors in a country and propose concrete national policies and relevant clinical interventions to combat mental health disorders. From these analyses, an estimation of the return on investments (ROIs) of scaled-up action for the treatment and prevention of mental disorders will be calculated. These ROIs will compare the monetary value of health impacts and economic outcomes of scaled-up interventions with the cost of these interventions. As in the case of NCD Investment Cases, ROIs will allow ministries of health to make compelling economic arguments for taking multi-sectoral and holistic action to promote, protect and restore mental health.
By Alexey Kulikov, Jenna Patterson, Mark Humphrey Van Ommeren,Dudley Tarlton and Nicholas Banatvala 
1. World Health Organization, 2014. Mental health atlas. Available at https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/178879/9789241565011_eng.pdf
2. World Health Organization, 2019. Investing in Mental Health for Sustainable Development. Available athttps://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/324949/WHO-UHC-CD-NCD-19.99-eng.pdf
3. Firth, J. et al., 2019. A blueprint for protecting physical health in people with mental illness.. Lancet Psychiatry.
4. Chisholm, D. et al., 2016. Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: a global return on investment analysis. Lancet Psychiatry.
5. Scaling up treatment for depression, anxiety and psychosis in Jamaica: A return on investment analysis, 2018. RTI International.
6. United Nations General Assembly resolution 73/2. Political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. A/RES/73/2 (10 October 2018) from undocs.org/en/A/RES/73/2

Technology has been central to development throughout the course of human history. The rapid growth of information and communication technologies (ICTs) across the world proves this fundamental connection on an unprecedented scale – and with revolutionary impact.

Copyrighted_Marton_Kovacs_2019

Today, it could be said that all development is linked to digital development: from education to transportation, urban planning, sanitation, health, manufacturing, industry and, of course, communication, there is no industrial sector today that does not rely on ICTs as the essential backbone infrastructure providing access to services – and the associated benefits of social and economic development.

At the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the specialized United Nations agency for ICTs, one of the priorities is to ensure that those benefits are made available to all of the world’s population, not just a limited few. ITU is committed to connecting all the world’s people, wherever they live and whatever their means. And connectivity, and the ICT services, products and solutions it enables, is essential to meeting every one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

But how can we accelerate universal connectivity and the development it brings when nearly half of the people in the world remain offline?

The ICT sector is working with us towards an ambitious long-term goal of connecting the next 1.5 billion citizens by 2020. This will require not only enormous investment in networks and other infrastructure, but also – crucially – significant political commitment.

Infrastructure alone, however, is not enough. According to ITU, around 90% of the world’s population is covered by at least 2G or 3G services – yet adoption remains at barely 51%. So for connectivity to be meaningful, to actually reach people and change lives, affordable, fit-for-purpose services and equipment are needed, as well as local content in local languages, relevant to local context. And programmes to raise awareness of the benefits of connectivity, as well as to teach the digital skills essential to taking full advantage of this potential.

Digital literacy is just as important for meaningful connectivity as cheap handsets or 3G networks in rural and remote areas. Innovation and inclusivity are as vital as infrastructure and investment.

It’s clear that neither public nor private sector can go it alone. The task of connecting the whole world is as enormous as the developmental benefits it will bring. The leadership, resources and skills required are as great as the impact it will have. Government must work closely with the private sector, with all stakeholders throughout the digital ecosystem, with NGOs and international organizations, with civic society, communities, academia and media.

Public private partnerships, in whatever form, are the key to driving meaningful connectivity and bringing the world online. This is where ITU’s leading annual event, ITU Telecom World, has such an important role to play. By bringing together leaders from government, industry, regulatory bodies, international agencies, consultants and academia from developed and emerging markets alike, the event works towards meeting the SDGs through digital technology, focusing efforts on infrastructure, investment, innovation and inclusivity.

It features an international exhibition of tech solutions and projects, a world-class forum of interactive, expert-led debates, an Awards Programme, and a networking programme connecting organizations, nations, individuals and ideas.

The ITU Telecom World Awards Programme, in particular, is an opportunity to encounter, engage with and celebrate the best in innovative tech solutions with very real social impact.

The international visibility, UN credibility and access to networking, investment potential and partnerships offered by the Awards has proved highly valuable since the programme’s introduction in 2015 – and is an excellent stage for precisely those public-private collaborations so essential to growing connectivity.

Additionally, the event provides a powerful stage for exhibiting the projects, technologies and ideas that are driving development at local, national and international levels on the showfloor, as well as attending the Forum debates on “Innovating together: connectivity that matters” to learn, network and share knowledge.

Held this year in HungExpo, Budapest, Hungary, from 9 – 12 September, ITU Telecom World 2019 is only one small step towards connecting the world. Every step counts, however, on the journey to accelerate development throughout the world through technology. And together, we can make those steps larger, longer and more effective.

Horyou is a media partner of ITU Telecom World 2019

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