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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Regenerative Business for Local Economies

The underlying principles of recycling and their relevance in a business model can be used to revive local economies.
The concept of reusing human resources and abandoned physical assets if applied correctly can be the catalyst towards increasing economic activity. Archer Groupe located in Romans-sur-Isère in Drome, France is a prime example of a successful application of this unique concept.

A Taste of Change Through Participatory Dinners

I had the opportunity to attend “Taste of Change,” a well orchestrated dinner that engaged farmers, NGOs, UN Officials, intellectuals and Swiss government officials. The dinner commemorated the partnership between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Biovision  and the Millennium Institute, which exists in order to bring about sustainable agricultural and development practices. The dinner was co-hosted by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Shumei, the Sustainable Food Trust and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). In order to showcase the collaboration of the organizations, the hosting organizations brought together a celebrity chef and a local farmer to develop the menu.  One of the best organic food chefs, Chef Domencia Catelli, a Northern Californian who has cooked for celebrities like Julia Roberts and Lady Gaga, worked with fifth generation Japanese-Brazilian farmer, Flavio Fujita, who farms only organic produce. Together they developed a menu that was strictly vegetarian and with explicit local produce.

A Tour of the WWF6: Bringing People Together, Developing Solutions, and Increasing Awareness

The World Water Forum 6 took place from March 12-17th, 2012 in Marseille, France.  The Forum aimed at bring people together, allowing for conversation, presenting solutions, spreading awareness, solving challenges, and making commitments.  The Forum, according to the event’s website,
“…mobilises creativity, innovation, competence and know-how in favour of water. It gathers all stakeholders around today’s local, regional and global issues that cannot be undertaken without all stakeholders into a common framework of goals and concrete targets to reach.  The goal of the 6th World Water Forum is to tackle the challenges our world is facing and to bring water high on all political agendas.”  
Take a Tour of the WWF6

Take a tour of the World Water Forum 6 by watching the video below.  The opening ceremony featured a song by The Marseille Rêve Choir, which felt optimistic and inspirational.  This optimism continued throughout the Forum as individuals from diverse backgrounds, numerous countries, and varying opinions discussed important issues related to water.  The twelve thematic targets organized discussions to focus on certain key issues in water governance, energy, food, access and others.  It wasn’t only talk, however – the Village of Solutions presented concrete and unique solutions addressing a variety of problems.


How Successful was the Forum? 

Some may argue that the Forum lacked conflict, which is explored in this post.  I think determining the success of the Forum depends on what outcome is considered success.  One thing that the Forum successfully accomplished was to initiate dialogue between individuals, groups, and countries that may not have otherwise interacted with one another.  The ability to communicate between so many languages with the use of live translation was fascinating.  Second, the Forum increased awareness of water challenges, both in Marseille (which had signs advertising the event at many bus stops) and around the world (through articles published in newspapers and blogs).  I now intend to share the knowledge I learned from others at the Forum with my own friends and family at home.  Finally, many connections were forged between water professionals.  The Forum was an open space for meeting like-minded individuals who are passionate about water.  Personally, I met youth from around the world and spoke with experienced professionals working in the field of water who I will stay in touch with.  These connections lead to research and solutions: for example, a classmate found the inspiration for a master’s capstone project through a Forum panel discussion and interview. However, I wonder how many concrete changes will result from the Forum and if the solutions and commitments made were enough.  On Friday, the second to last day of the Forum, I attended a high level panel that I expected might end in a series of clear steps to take in the coming months or years.  But much of the time was spent sharing perspectives from different individuals on the panel.  It is valuable to share these experiences, but I did not expect this to still be the focus so far into the Forum.  Because of a lack of concrete next steps in some of the panel discussions I attended, I left finding it difficult to explain to others specific steps that will be taken as a result of the Forum.  

Did you attend the World Water Forum?  As the largest global meeting for water, do you think it addressed appropriate issues?  What impact has or will the WWF6 have on water issues globally?

Can we set priorities between Health and Climate Change? An entrepreneurial approach to tackle the Millenium Development Goals

Laura Burger reports from the International Environment House in Geneva where two short documentaries were screened, “When the Water Ends” and Carbon for Water, which focus on the subject of health, lack of clean water and climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa, Friday 28 October. The United Nations launched a large Millennium Campaign in 2000. Eight goals were chosen to improve dramatically the state of the world by the year 2015. Today, increasingly more people have a sceptical view on this campaign. Four years are left, but the chances that any of the goals is met are very low.