Wednesday 15 April 2015

Global Integrators--7

Taking the Pulse--World Reports
20th Century Death--Selected Major Causes
Click below to access and expand the diagram 
from the Information is Beautiful website

We think that the time is coming for a diversity of colleagues to come together intentionally, visibly, and practically on behalf of global integration (GI). GI put simply is how we skillfully integrate our lives and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity. Likewise we think that the time is coming for colleagues to carefully reflect and act on what it means to be good global learners-practitioners--to seriously consider what it means to be what we are calling global integrators (GI-People).
Global Integrators stay current with global events, issues, and developments. Or at least they try to...So to what degree, practically speaking, is this really possible, given the masses amount of information, news, publications, websites, organizations, gatherings, etc. that are increasingly being produced? And knowing that it is not just information that is needed but things like accurate analysis and wise application that are especially needed? The answer depends on how much time one is able to judiciously track with the core materials that seem the most relevant, knowing, as we certainly do, that there are often many gaps in one's awareness of and time for important materials and resources. Global Integrators, realistically, are more likely to be developing into Relevant People than Renaissance People.

Here are four items that have helped us recently--"world reports" (all but the fourth one is published annually). We usually cannot read lengthy reports word for word but we at least go over the Executive Summaries/Overviews in order to grasp the main messages and new terms/concepts as well as consider their applications for our GI-related work (member care, mental health, sustainable development). These world reports help us to take some of the world pulse.


1. World Disasters Report: Focus on Culture and Risk (2014). International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. "This year, the World Disasters Report takes on a challenging theme that looks at different aspects of how culture affects disaster risk reduction (DRR) and how disasters and risk influence culture. The report asks, for example, what should be done when people blame a flood on an angry goddess (River Kosi, India, in 2008) or a volcanic eruption on the mountain god (Mount Merapi). After the tsunami in 2004, many people in Aceh (Indonesia) believed that Allah had punished them for allowing tourism or drilling for oil, and similar beliefs were widespread in the United States regarding Hurricane Katrina, showing God’s displeasure with aspects of the behaviour of the people who live in or visit New Orleans. Most people who live in places that are exposed to serious hazards are aware of the risks they face, including earthquakes, tropical cyclones, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides and droughts. Yet they still live there because, to earn their living, they need to or have no alternative. Coasts and rivers are good for fishing and farming; valley and volcanic soils are very fertile; drought alternates with good farming or herding. Culture and beliefs, for example, in spirits or gods, or simple fatalism, enable people to live with risks and make sense of their lives in dangerous places. Sometimes, though, unequal power relations are also part of culture, and those who have little influence must inevitably cope with threatening environments." (quote from website)  [Note--the diagram at the top of this entry is included in this Report as a foldout between pages 18-19]. 

2. Human Development Report: Sustaining Human Development--Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience (2014). United Nations Development Program. “As successive Human Development Reports have shown, most people in most countries have been doing steadily better in human development. Advances in technology, education and incomes hold ever-greater promise for longer, healthier, more secure lives. Globalization has on balance produced major human development gains, especially in many countries of the South. But there is also a widespread sense of precariousness in the world today—in livelihoods, in personal security, in the environment and in global politics. High achievements on critical aspects of human development, such as health and nutrition, can quickly be undermined by a natural disaster or economic slump. Theft and assault can leave people physically and psychologically impoverished. Corruption and unresponsive state institutions can leave those in need of assistance without recourse. Political threats, community tensions, violent conflict, neglect of public health, environmental damages, crime and discrimination all add to individual and community vulnerability.” (p. 1, bold font added for emphasis)

3. World Development Report: Mind, Society, and Behavior (2015). World Bank Group. “This Report aims to integrate recent findings on the psychological and social underpinnings of behavior to make them available for more systematic use by both researchers and practitioners in development communities. The Report draws on findings from many disciplines, including neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, behavioral economics, sociology, political science, and anthropology. In ongoing research, these findings help explain decisions that individuals make in many aspects of development, including savings, investment, energy consumption, health, and child rearing. The findings also enhance the understanding of how collective behaviors—such as widespread trust or widespread corruption—develop and become entrenched in a society. The findings apply not only to individuals in developing countries but also to development professionals, who are themselves prone to error when decision-making contexts are complex.” (pp.2-3)

4. White Paper on Peacebuilding (2014), Geneva Peaebuilding Platform. "The White Paper on Peacebuilding reflects a 12-month collaborative multi-stakeholder initiative with peacebuilding professionals from all regions coordinated by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. The aim of this exercise is to present a range of voices and perspectives about the challenges, opportunities and future of peacebuilding practice. These reflections occur at a moment of several agenda setting processes including the 10-year review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and the work of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. The White Paper on Peacebuilding complements these efforts by broadening the discussion about how countries and societies can move towards sustainable peace, and about the assistance the UN and other international and local actors can bring to such processes." (quote from website)

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