Yesterday, I attended the TEDxWorldBankGroup event, entitled Global Challenges in the New Decade. This first TEDxWorldBankGroup event was organized by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) to add to the critical discussions taking place during the Spring Meetings. The event aimed to encourage conversation on gender, climate change, agriculture and water, and to find possible solutions to these global issues.
The speakers at the event were great and made excellent points about each of the chosen issues. One of the takeaways from the event was that the development community should act as one in addressing critical issues and take a wholesome approach to resolving global challenges instead of tackling them piecemeal.
Jason Clay, Senior Vice President of Market Transformation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who presented on water issues at the event said that every time the development community tries to maximize efforts in one area, it takes away from another; therefore looking at all of these issues as a whole is the most effective way to solve them for the future generations.
The idea of working in tandem on issues was also underlined in the presentation of Irene Khan, former General Secretary of Amnesty International (AI). For instance, she mentioned that as the education of women goes up, the social status of women becomes better and child mortality goes down. Ms. Khan added that gender equality, gender empowerment and gender justice is more than giving women means to survive; it is about creating a just society.
Another aspect of working together was highlighted by Nancy Roman, Director of Public Policy, Communications and Private Partnerships of the World Food Programme (WFP). Ms. Roman mentioned that food security is not about increasing food production; it is about providing better access to food across countries and nations. She underlined that there have been a staggering lack of innovation in the food industry, which negatively affects food security and further exacerbates hunger around the world. To alleviate this problem, Ms. Roman called the development community to collaborate with the private sector and to utilize better their networks and skills.
The conversation was further enriched by Ken Chomitz, Senior Adviser at IEG. Mr. Chomitz shared his recent research findings on deforestation and climate, which show that mixed-use protected areas – where local people combine sustainable forest and land use – are more effective than strict protected areas. He mentioned the example of a successful project implemented by the World Bank in Colombia, which prevented deforestation through working with farmers to plant more trees near their pastures.
All of the presentations will be shortly available on the TEDxWorldBankGroup website. For more information and to watch the video presentations, please visit our website at tedxworldbankgroup.ning.com. We also hope to hear your opinions on the issues discussed at the TEDx event in our blog.
(Photos by Roy Gilbert)