Geneva

Organized by UNDP, the Social Good Summit will have guests and artists from all over the world to promote a message of justice

Social Good Summit 2017
Social Good Summit 2017

Held annually during the United Nations General Assembly week, the Social Good Summit focuses on the challenges of the 2030s. With its art installations, musical performances and conferences, the Summit will take place in New York on the 17th of September, and will adjoin a Geneva chapter, on October 13th, of which Horyou, the social network for social good, is media partner.

In a rapidly changing world, the New York Summit will contemplate the future via a dynamic exploration of life by 2030, exploring ways and means to unlock the potential of technology in order to make the world a better place.

Famous personalities, including The Color Purple’s actress Cynthis Erivo and Game of Thrones’ actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, are on the list of confirmed guests. An Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards-winning actress and singer, Erivo has been outspoken about the power of using your name and reputation to promote racial and social justice causes. Best known as a member of the villainous Lannister family in Game of Thrones, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for gender equality and climate change.

The two personalities will be joined on stage by a host of activists to introduce innovative solutions to global issues, that includes:

ElsaMarie D’Silva, CEO & Founder of Safecity

Rocky Duwani, Singer-Songwriter

Ronald de Jong, Executive Vice President at Philips & Chairman of the Philips Foundation

Erika Ender, Singer-Songwriter

Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Kate Hampton, CEO of the Children Investment Fund Foundation

Munira Khalif, United Nations U.S. Youth Observer

Rina Kupferschmid-Rojas, Head of Sustainable Finance at UBS & Society

Rachel Kyte, CEO & Special Representative of the UN Secretary for Sustainable Energy for All

Dr. Rebecca Martin, Director of the Center for Global Health (CGH) at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

David Miliband, President & CEO of the International Rescue Committee

Lawrence O’Donnell, Anchor of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

Juliana Rotich, Co-Founder of BRCK & Ushahidi

Martha Isabel “Pati” Ruiz Corzo, Director of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda I.A.P.

Horyou and the Social Good Summit Geneva

Horyou is media partner of SGSGeneva 2017, a closed door event targeting high level decision makers and impact finance, entrepreneurs, governments, international organizations and large private sector companies. It will be marked by networking sessions and discussions that should take the SDGs to a higher level. It will be hosted in Geneva, an important hub for sustainable finance.

More information about the Social Good Summit in New York on http://mashable.com/sgs/

The Social Good Summit in Geneva http://www.europe.undp.org/content/geneva/en/home/ourwork/social-good-summit.html

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. Horyou is also the host of SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan during the EXPO 2017, from 5-7 September. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Facing a challenging scenario with high youth unemployment rate, increasing digitalized economy and need for social development projects, the UNCTAD has launched a campaign to stimulate new generations to become entrepreneurs.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, and  UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, and UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi

The #e4youth campaign was announced during the 2017 UNCTAD E-commerce week, from 24-28 April, in Geneva. It came at a crucial moment when governments are looking to develop strategies on how to deal with a changing economic and social landscape brought about by the digital economy.

“E-Commerce can unlock new opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Not by accident but from deliberate, targeted acts of inclusion and empowerment”, said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, adding ” We cannot leave this important generation behind”.

The words of the Secretary-General resonate with the UN Sustainable Development Goals motto: Leave no one behind. According to the International Labour Organization (2016) and Youth Business International, 71 million young people are currently unemployed and the global youth unemployment rate to expected rise by 13% in 2017. #e4youth campaign is a call for the international community to support and enable youth to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by creating new businesses, jobs, and digital solutions for the future.

“The digital transformation implies disruptive changes to business models across sectors thereby affecting the nature of jobs and the skills young people need to successfully enter the labour market”, said Dr. Kituyi. “We must create opportunities for the young generation and consider them as partners in all our discussions for a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda”, added Dr. Kituyi.

The E-Commerce week took place in Geneva
The E-Commerce week took place in Geneva

One of the special guests of the E-Commerce week was Jack Ma, founder and chairman of the Alibaba Group, and UNCTAD’s Special Adviser for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business. “Globalization is still the solution, and trade is still the solution for solving job creation in the next 30 years”, said Jack Ma. At the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week, youth agreed that technologies and e-commerce offer the opportunity to chart a new path for globalization and provide huge potential to drive inclusive and sustainable development in a rapidly changing economic environment. “E-Commerce is for young people, it is for small businesses. And I think globalization and trade are the solution for job creation in the next 30 years” said Jack Ma.

During the e-commerce session, young men and women shared experiences and expressed their views on key issues to address in order to allow young people to contribute to and benefit from the digital economy.

#e4youth is linked to the sustainable development goals 1 (poverty), 4 (skills development), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and inclusive economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and 17 (partnerships for development).

The Sustainable Development Goals are admirable and necessary –still, they are more an agenda than a set of concrete policies. In a new report, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRIDS) shares examples of strategies and real policies to achieve the global objectives by 2030.

Policy Innovations for Transformative Change was launched on October 17th
Policy Innovations for Transformative Change was launched on October 17th

Launched on the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, October 17, Walking the Talk, the UNRIDS report on Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, brought a clear message to the governments and stakeholders involved in the implementation of the SDGs, engaging them to act on turning the agenda into fact. Displaying a full range of case studies along with a research-based social policy innovation approach, the report offers sustainable development, social care and economic solidarity solutions through the lens of transformative change.

Katja Rujo, the report coordinator for UNRIDS, asserted that transformative change digs to the roots of poverty, inequality and environmental destruction and is thus more effective than simply treating their symptoms. Palliative and one-size-fits-all interventions, for instance, are not enough; innovative and eco-social policies are more effective, as long as they promote sustainable production and consumption, power re-configurations and changes in economic and social structures.

Such programs are currently implemented in Brazil and India where an integrated approach that aims to achieve both social and environmental goals has been adopted. In Brazil, for instance, a program established in 2011 provides financial incentives to families that make a living out of collected forest products in return for a commitment to adopt a sustainable use of natural resources. In India, again, the law guarantees at least 100 days of paid employment each year for every rural household that focuses on water security, soil conservation and higher land productivity.

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On the care system side, the Uruguayan program Sistema Nacional de Cuidado enrolls young children and adults with specific needs or disabilities in the solidarity system, providing them with a minimum life quality standards. The program is a result of a broad political mobilization which includes social movements, women legislators and academics.

Isabel Ortiz, Director of the Social Protection Department with the International Labour Organization (ILO), pointed out that transformative change is a policy that reflects a new paradigm formed in the early 2000s in line with the SDGs. “It is the concept that social, economic and environmental issues are integrated, and that we should create policies and safety networks for everybody, not only the poor”, she explained.

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRIDS) shares examples of real policies to achieve the SDGs
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRIDS) shares examples of real policies to achieve the SDGs

The six keys areas mapped by the report are social policy, care, climate change, domestic resource mobilization, governance and social and solidarity economy. This multidisciplinary approach opens the gates to solutions in all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It requires, however, a commitment from all actors on local, national, regional and global levels. “In 2016, 132 countries are cutting their budgets – not only in rich Europe but in many developing countries. How to implement SDGs in this scenario?”, asks Isabel. The answer might lie in innovation and efficiency – and research plays a vital role in this equation.

Written by Vivian Soares

A conference dedicated to the relevance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the Private Sector took place last Friday at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The high-level event, in conjunction with the 2030 Agenda, was held by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in collaboration with the Rotary Club Genève International and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Services. During the conference, a panel of experts representing the public and private sectors, as well as the Swiss Government and International Organizations, shared their opinions on why it is necessary to encourage companies to implement SDG in their business policies and how can it be done.

The executive director of UNITAR, Nikhil Seth, kicked off the conference with a detailed presentation of the SDG. The 2030 Development Agenda was signed by 193 member countries on 25 September 2015. It includes a set of 17  SDG to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. According to Nikhil Seth, SDG cannot be achieved without the businesses commitment.

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But how can the private sector be encouraged to contribute to SDG achievement? Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of the UNCTAD, sees a part of the solution to the problem in building an innovation system that would enable countries to absorb new technologies. This could be reached thanks to a network of incubators and clusters linking universities to the private sector.

Implementing SDG collaboration between various institutions is essential, according to Monika Linn from UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). “While developing standards and regulations, we are bringing together all stakeholders: businesses, academia and civil society”, she said. UNECE believes that by bringing all actors together, a multiple perspective with respect to the diversity of interests is built.

Diverse thinking can be also applied to business models, according to Walter Gyger, who was speaking for Rotary International. He believes that the traditional business model is no longer an alternative. Companies need to focus not only on profitability but also sustainability and become more long-term oriented. In his opinion, no government can tackle the current problems alone, therefore all concerned parties, businesses, academia and civil society, have to contribute to the sustainability agenda.

Horyou CEO, Yonathan Parienti, emphasized the potential of the global civil society, which is ready to bring the change. Horyou creates conditions to move the society forward while building bridges to connect people across countries and cultures. The progress toward sustainability will be pushed forward as investors will intensify their funding of social innovation. “We must support the innovators of tomorrow”, he concluded.

Yonathan Parienti, CEO of Horyou
Yonathan Parienti, CEO of Horyou

So why are investors hesitating? Philip Moss from World Economic Forum explained: “Business representatives are anxious about implementing SDG and need assistance”. This phenomenon is evidenced in the context of investment in developing countries. Despite the high interest from investors and the attractive demographic conditions that promise huge market opportunities, companies estimate that the risk is to high in comparison to the expected ROI. A better business climate would encourage them to allocate more capital in developing markets. Those favourable conditions can be created by initiatives like Convergence, which is a platform that blends private, public, and philanthropic capital for the greater good. Convergence helps connect various investors for “blended finance” opportunities in emerging and frontier markets.

Along the same lines, Marion Jansen, Chief Economist at International Trade Centre, brought up the need for support of the private sector. She thus focused on the role of small and medium-sized businesses which represent about 80% of business worldwide and 70% of global employment. “SMEs are much less productive than large firms and the wages are accordingly lower” she stated. A way to preserve the viability of the SME is to increase its productivity. This can be done through collaboration with private and public partners like the Chambers of commerce. It is crucial to provide clear guidelines to small and medium-sized companies and help them to comply with the standards.

Wanda Lopuch, member of the board of directors at Global Sourcing Council, pointed out that language was another obstacle on the way to implementing SDG by private companies: “Unless we incorporate the language of business, which must include the word “profit”, we will be loosing tremendous opportunities”, she warned. According to Lopuch, the visionary and inspirational language of diplomacy used to communicate about SDG is not adequate to the private sector which prefers operational and measurable business terms. The communication style needs to be adapted to those recipients in order to make them feel like “SDG-owners” and to convince them to participate in the implementation of sustainability goals. She defined the expectations toward the private sector as «profit with purpose» that can be created through impact investment and financing high-risk businesses.

The discussion was completed with the optimistic observation of Matthew Kilgarriff, Vice-President of Global Compact Network Switzerland, who reminded the audience that more than 8,000 for profit organizations are already allied with UN through their voluntary commitment to Global Compact. This proves that companies are willing to take this step to transform our world through principled business and “gives hope for a more sustainable future”, he concluded.

Written by Joanna Kozik

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Horyou had the chance to interview Eleanor Watson, engineer, entrepreneur, futurist and believer in the positive future of humanity. Eleanor Watson grew up in Northern Ireland as an only child of an engineer, a childhood in which books taught her at an early age the challenges in this world and the hope in defeating them. Today, her continued interest in the psychology of technology has led her to study, speak about and encourage the emergence of social trends. Mrs. Watson is within the Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Faculty at the Singularity University, a benefit corporation that helps individuals, businesses institutions, investors, NGOs and governments with educational programs, training them to understand new technologies and the positive impact potential of these technologies. In this interview she tells us about her work and experiences at the University. — by Amma Aburam

Have you always wanted to be an advocate for Technology in Social Good and Impact? How did it come about?

I grew up as the only child of an engineer in a house filled with serious science fiction. From an early age I also had a cherished copy of the Gaia Atlas of Planet Management, a book that details the whole world’s resources, and the greatest problems of our world society.

I also learned that lasting humanitarian successes, such as the eradication of smallpox, seemed like science fiction not so long ago.

I believe that the combination of these two influences seeded an understanding of the immense challenges facing so many in this world, along with a sense of optimism in being able to continue our shaping our world for the better.

The University impacts Education, Innovation and Community, how are these three elements intertwined to tackle world challenges?

SU teaches new models for understanding the world, based upon principles of harnessing the power of exponential technology curves, and a cultivated mentality of abundance (as opposed to one of scarcity).

This leads to a whole new way of looking at the world, and people sometimes switch the whole track of their lives once they acquire these new tools for understanding the complex systems in which we live.

Such methods also create a clarity about predicting the future of technology and society, which leads SU alumni to found new ventures that are ahead of the curve that the solutions created may have no precedent, or no existing market for them. Many of these solutions are able to generate massive social impact, as well as building powerful engines of wealth creation, enriching society at least as much as shareholders.

Furthermore, we lead an extended community of alumni that is able to continue to collaborate all through their careers. I continue to work on a range of socially beneficial projects with colleagues that I first met during SU, creating a lasting legacy of creative benefit.

What are your best/favorite success stories of local impact with technology through the strategies at Singularity University?

SU students and alumni have founded a wide range of inspiring ventures, with missions as daring as detecting cancer at the earliest stages, mining old electronics to recover valuable materials (mined originally often in places of intense conflict), or even drones that can replenish entire forests by firing seedlings like a machine gun.

What in your opinion are the three building blocks in reaching solutions for local community issues?

The most important success factor is having in-depth understanding of the situation within the local areas that the issue has the strongest particular impact.

Very often, NGOs and public officials attempt to intervene in a situation with the best of intentions, spend a lot of time and money, and still not fix the problem, because they did not spend enough time ‘on the ground’ asking local people about the real issues, and how they themselves suggest fixing them.

Worse still, sometimes even seemingly beneficial actions can lead to unintended consequences for other parties, or for the wider environment. No lasting and useful social solution can ever arise without an intense learning and deep understanding of the core problems, as experienced by people affected by them.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? Any ideals?

I’m not sure if there is a universal ‘meaning of life’, but we can certainly choose one for ourselves. I have chosen one overriding personal goal in my life, and that is to seed as much good in the world as I reasonably can. I even keep a mental score counter of my hit rate.

There are many possible means of amplifying the good that one does:

One may launch new ventures, creating a self-sustaining engine of happiness for the world. One may educate and inspire others where knowledge is most crucial, and most lacking. One may discover complementary qualities between people that can cause them to flourish once connected. Sometimes one may simply pinpoint better places to allocate resources using reason and evidence, the core idea behind the Effective Altruism movement.

What does our mantra Dream, Act and Inspire mean to you personally and professionally?

An inquisitive spirit to dream of a better future, a valiant will to take action towards those ends, and the inspiration to continue against daunting odds, because humanity needs you to succeed. These are the ingredients of all world-changing efforts!

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By Amma Aburam

We sat in a booth at the rear of the Fert Barton hall in Geneva, a gracefully and beautifully lit white exhibition space. At its center, a long sculpture representing passing people and beyond that hang two large size photographs by photographer Jean Jacques Dicker. The two photographs represent two rooms he lived in during his many travels – Dicker has visited 92 countries in his lifetime and he masters six languages. They were part of an exhibition that was to showcase the African continent. Well-chosen they represented the highlights from his two years travel on the continent, in 1977-1978 and then again in 1984, crossing from North to South Africa. Horyou seized a chance to talk to Mr. Dicker about his lifetime of travels and the stories behind his photos.

As he walks in, it is obvious that Jean Jacques Dicker is a child of the Hawaiian Islands. Wearing sandals, a tussled scarf and a light khaki jacket, he states his rebellion against the cold weather and his desire to return to his home in Honolulu, Hawaii. Born and raised in Switzerland, he studied at the University of Geneva before heading to Honolulu to study at the University of Hawaii. Today, he still lives and finds inspiration on the island as a waiter and a photographer.

Jean-Jacques Dicker and his wife Yuko Kamiyama
Jean-Jacques Dicker and his wife Yuko Kamiyama

The Afrique exhibition began on the 24th of November 2015 and will carry through to the 15th of January 2016. The photos tell the story of a well-travelled man, one that has found his “home” in many different places. Michel Auer, founder of The Auer Foundation, made the exhibition possible: “I have known Michel for many years and he decided to organize this exhibition for my work and that’s how I’m here,” Mr. Dicker utters. His photography career was triggered by one simple fact: “I wanted to travel,” he confesses. “I finished University and worked for a year then I travelled. I came back and took photo course because I figured if I could do that I could make a little money on the side.” Little did he know he had a natural talent with the camera. He got countless compliments for his work, learnt how to print, entered competitions and won awards: “I was flattered and enjoyed doing it, which is the most important part”, he admits.

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At the age of 71, Mr. Dicker has made his “home” in Kenya, Japan, South Africa, France, Switzerland and New York. We asked him about the highlights of some of these experiences, starting with the African continent. “In Africa, the highlights are the people, the relationships I built,” he says. One of the exposed photos is a shot of his room in Kenya, where you can tell he lived a simple life. It shows a simple bed and a simple coat hanging above the bed. He lived with prostitutes in Nairobi, as part of one of his photographic projects. Then, finally, he made it to South Africa: “travelling through the continent I crossed quite a few unsettling countries; but South Africa was the scary one. It’s what we had been hearing on the news: Mandela was in jail, apartheid was in full bloom and I was breaking the law because I had a black girlfriend when I was there.” Mr. Dicker didn’t let himself be influenced by the social and political state of affairs; he treated everyone equally and made life long friends thanks to his kind attitude: “I worked in a restaurant where the waiters were white and the assistants black. I would help them out, I would eat leftovers with them, they would ask if I didn’t mind eating with them and I would say of course not! I was from Europe and that was normal to me”, he recounts. Upon his departure, the assistants made a circle around him and told him he was the only white man they respected because of his humility and kindness.

In his South-Asian adventures he met with his aunt. An experience he relates with emotion, joy and awe just as if he was reliving it: “I met my Aunt who was French and who went to live in India about 40/50 years ago. I had lost touch with her since 1962 but I knocked on her door and said remember me I’m your sister’s son. That was fun. I met my nieces as well.” This experience was proof that we can find home in travelling as well.

Jean-Jacques Dicker with Michel Auer
Jean-Jacques Dicker with Michel Auer

Today, If there is still a place he would like to visit, it is Brazil; having missed the chance to go years ago. A hitch hiker at heart, in the sixties he took the road from San Diego to Mexico and then to different places for about 3 months: “I did that in 1966, back then it was all about flower power. I’m not sure what it would be like to do that today”, he adds.

Aside from his travels, Mr. Dicker keeps photography close to home. One of his recent series is comprised of portraits of restaurant workers, his colleagues back in Honolulu; a black and white series delicately highlighting the different personalities he encounters and works with everyday. “I’m not big on messages in my photography. I want to capture beauty and experiences for myself. If people like it, that’s even better,” he explains.

Mr. Dicker is a dreamer from the sixties: “I dream that there will be no religions, no nations and no flags. These are the things that separate people,” he declares passionately. For him inspiration simply resides in photography. He points to one of his photos of his bedroom in Kenya: “Hopefully, when you see that you are inspired to go live in a room like it or get on the road,” he says. He then points to a photo of a child on a boat on a river in Kenya as well: “look at that kid. I am so fortunate to have witnessed that and it was even more fun and special that he didn’t notice me taking the photo. He certainly made me so happy and maybe he will make others happy too.” To act for Mr. Dicker is to share his experiences through conversations such as this interview: “To act is to talk to you and say all these things about nations, flags and religions and if you put that in an article and someone is inspired or semi-thinks about it, that’s a good thing.”

His exhibition continues until the 16th of January at the Espace Fert Barton in Geneva.

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