Inter-sectoral collaboration - how to increase it and why?
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TOPIC: Inter-sectoral collaboration - how to increase it and why?

Inter-sectoral collaboration - how to increase it and why? 13 Jul 2014 21:02 #9335

  • Sowmya
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Dear all,

As most of you remember / participated, we have had a very enthusiastic, spirited, high-quality discussion with contributions from both WASH and gender experts in the discussion thread on the linkages between lack of safe access to toilets and sexual violence. (URL: http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/142-upscaling-sanitation-governance-institutional-aspects-sanitation-policies/8809-uttar-pradesh-rape-and-mur).

Starting from that point and considering that sanitation can help achieve goals in other sectors, inter-sectoral collaboration could greatly strengthen a WASH policy. The World Water Week could be a focal point for commencing such collaboration.

In this regard, please find attached a document on the way forward. It is a work-in-progress document and I would love to know your thoughts on the same.

Thanks and regards,

Sowmya
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Sowmya Rajasekaran
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Verity SmartLife Solutions
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Last Edit: 24 Jul 2014 10:53 by Sowmya.
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Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration 24 Jul 2014 11:12 #9471

  • Sowmya
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Dear all,

I had posted the above message originally in the category of Working Group 1 (Capacity Development), because it relates to enhancing our capacity to collaborate across sectors for reaching solutions and impact faster. Elisabeth has now opened a new thread for this topic, which I think is better because we should put our focus on the sector first (policy, evidence, program implementation) as it helps us develop an overarching perspective & goals for action.

I feel very passionate about increasing inter-sectoral cooperation and was particularly inspired into writing about it by the discussions we have had on gender-based violence (please see URL). It is a remarkable example of how experts in two sectors got together and openly shared their views and expertise resulting in a wonderful learning experience for everyone. The discussion was spontaneous, spirited, enthusiastic and open and I think everyone gained new insights and knowledge – the outcome being an enriching experience for everyone and a consensus about how strongly we feel about the issue and the need to address it properly.

Starting from that point, I have been trying to think about how we can continue to have such great discussions and create a platform / process for building it into something more impactful for achieving sanitation and other goals.

I have written a draft working document (please see the attachment in the above post). Please find below the main points (for faster reading):

Problem definition: (a) Sanitation has the largest performance gap on the MDGs and (b) irrespective of geography, we are far from achieving the highest goal of sanitation: safe, zero-emission chain of interface, collection, transport, treatment and use of human excreta.

Why is it urgent to accelerate access to sanitation: With hardly six months left to achieve MDGs, this is a chance to powerfully reinvent our sanitation sector and prove ourselves to be at the forefront of achieving our highest goals. For me, personally, the urgency comes from both positive (I am excited about actually doing something really meaningful for people and it is my venture as well) and negative (I do not want to read of those horrific incidents anymore and would like to make them a faded memory).

What will it take: Sanitation has several dimensions in terms of design (technical, socio-political, etc) as well as impact (health, environment, agriculture, etc). Therefore, I believe that the best way to achieve our goals is through inter-sectoral collaboration. I come to this conclusion mainly because (a) it is critical to have deep insights and knowledge of all relevant dimensions, but it is almost impossible to independently gain such insights and knowledge in so many domains; and (b) the knowledge may already exist in other domains.

What can inter-sectoral collaboration help achieve: This can (a) help increase awareness and make different sanitation solutions more affordable and acceptable for end-users; and (b) contribute to the achievement of other important goals (like reducing gender based violence arising from lack of safe access to sanitation).

Some practical examples of what inter-sectoral collaboration can achieve: (a) Recognition of processed excreta as organic fertilizer, (b) recognition of ecological sanitation as eligible “clean technologies” in emissions trading, (c) inclusion of ecosan in green building certification and (d) Energy Star rating (similar to what is available for wastewater treatment plants).

Yesterday, Linda Strande had posted an article on the Forum (please see URL). The authors recommended taking an integrated perspective for WASH focusing on four aspects: (a) enabling environment, (b) economic opportunities and incentives, (c) technology beyond the toilet and (d) motivation and drivers of behaviour change. The examples given above are some of the possibilities where inter-sectoral collaboration could help provide economic opportunities and incentives without significant investment.

The more we engage with other sectors and vice versa,
the more we can develop collaboration opportunities.

Wonderful precedents in inter-sectoral collaboration: We have already seen a wonderful example in the new gender toolkit for sanitation (the toolkit can be accessed at this URL and related discussions in SuSanA at this URL) which brings together all gender-related aspects for emotionally and culturally sensitive design and implementation. My academic background is in health and management sciences. While I am thrilled to be working in sanitation, I know that there is much that I have to learn. The gender toolkit answered my questions, made me aware of several nuances and I have gained several insights. I am sure others would benefit from reading the gender toolkit as well.

Another lovely example is the recently published study (please see URL) that explored the integration of WASH and nutrition programming, identified barriers to and necessary steps for successful integration. A quote: “To achieve more effective integration, respondents highlighted the need for more holistic strategies that consider both sectors, improved coordination, donor support and funding, a stronger evidence base for integration, and leadership at all levels.”

A whole new world for us to explore: Similar to the gender toolkit, there are probably several ways to enhance the way we collaborate across sectors. Let us explore every possible avenue to increase inter-sectoral collaboration. The Stockholm Water Week could be a great opportunity. Chris Canaday had an excellent suggestion and I quote: “establishing ties with online forums of those other sectors, such that potentially there could be direct moderator-to-moderator transfer of important relevant messages and queries. I think this is a key feature for strengthening SuSanA, since questions come up that no one has answers for. Key alliances would include those with microbiologists, epidemiologists, agronomists, psychologists, marketers, engineers, material experts, etc.”

Questions to SuSanA Forum members:
  1. What do you think of my suggestions about inter-sectoral collaboration? What is the potential?
  2. What are the barriers? Any ideas regarding how to overcome these barriers?
  3. What are the concrete steps each of us can take?
  4. What can we offer professionals from other sectors?
  5. What do you think of my working document draft?
  6. If we refine this working document, how could we somehow “launch” it and make use of it as a rallying point?

I look forward to seeing your comments and suggestions.

Thanks and regards,

Sowmya
Sowmya Rajasekaran
Director
Verity SmartLife Solutions
www.veritysmartlife.com
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2014 14:09 by Sowmya.
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Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration 28 Jul 2014 14:43 #9519

  • neilpw
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I am excited by Soumya's vision and the possibility to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between SuSanA and closely related CoPs such as HIFA (hifa2015.org)

I think there is an even wider potential to promote cooperation across the wider global health ecosystem of communities of practice (CoPs), and progressively across all CoPs committed to international development and social justice.

Best wishes,
Neil
Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All) and co-director of the Global Healthcare Information Network. He is also currently chair of the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), a partnership of 18 international development organisations promoting dialogue for international health and development. He started his career as a hospital doctor in the UK, and has clinical experience as an isolated health worker in rural Ecuador and Peru. For the last 20 years he has been committed to the global challenge of improving the availability and use of relevant, reliable healthcare information for health workers and citizens in low- and middle-income countries. He is also interested in the wider potential of inclusive, interdisciplinary communication platforms to help address global health and international development challenges. He has worked with the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Trust, Medicine Digest and INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications). He is based near Oxford, UK. www.hifa2015.org neil.pakenham-walsh AT ghi-net.org
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Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration 29 Jul 2014 09:31 #9525

  • muench
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I think in theory we all agree on the benefits of inter-sectoral collaboration between WASH, health, international development, social justice sectors and so forth (in fact this is one of the exciting things about sanitation that it touches on so many sectors!).

But in practice, what can be done to achieve this collaboration? Does anyone have any concrete ideas which are manageable given the time constraints that we all operate under?

E.g. going to other sectors' annual meetings or conferences would be one option but far too time consuming given all the important conferences we have for sanitation alone already (?).
(mind you, e.g. the AfricaSan conferences are pretty good in bringing at least sanitation and health together, as sanitation is "housed" in the Ministry of Health in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa - see the AfricaSan announcement for this October here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/21-eve...l-oct-8-10-2014#8619)

Perhaps a key role could be assigned to community moderators of the different CoPs who could act as "hinges" and feed relevant information from one CoP to the other? (CoP = community of practice). Any specific ideas?

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration 29 Jul 2014 09:58 #9526

  • neilpw
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Elisabeth wrote:
"But in practice, what can be done to achieve this collaboration? Does anyone have any concrete ideas which are manageable given the time constraints that we all operate under?"


One of the easiest and most dynamic ways to promote collaboration is to raise awareness of related communities of practice, so that we build a cadre of people who are active members of two or more communities. For example, I would like to encourage all SuSanA members with an interest in child health (including and especially water-borne diseases) to join our child health forum CHIFA (Child Healthcare Information For All):
www.hifa2015.org/chifa/

As assistant moderator of CHIFA, I would be happy to liaise with Elisabeth and others to promote this. Yesterday I sent a message to the 7,200 members on our main global health forum HIFA to let people know about SuSanA and I expect some of them will have joined SuSanA in the meantime, and would be able to help cross-fertilise discussions between the two groups.
Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All) and co-director of the Global Healthcare Information Network. He is also currently chair of the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), a partnership of 18 international development organisations promoting dialogue for international health and development. He started his career as a hospital doctor in the UK, and has clinical experience as an isolated health worker in rural Ecuador and Peru. For the last 20 years he has been committed to the global challenge of improving the availability and use of relevant, reliable healthcare information for health workers and citizens in low- and middle-income countries. He is also interested in the wider potential of inclusive, interdisciplinary communication platforms to help address global health and international development challenges. He has worked with the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Trust, Medicine Digest and INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications). He is based near Oxford, UK. www.hifa2015.org neil.pakenham-walsh AT ghi-net.org
Last Edit: 29 Jul 2014 10:08 by muench.
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Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration 29 Jul 2014 11:07 #9528

  • JKMakowka
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I partially share Elisabeth's concerns. Inter-sectoral cooperation sounds great on paper, but after many years of experience with it in IWRM (which has that as one of the core principles), many professionals are left with a feeling that it dilutes the focus too much.
Hence the recent "nexus" debate, i.e. to take a few key sectors only and limit cooperation within a tight framework.

For sanitation(/WASH) I would say that inter-linkages with nutrition and child-health make most sense or alternatively a focus on infrastructure development and municipal services.

Other themes/sectors, which themselves struggle with a clear focus (like gender, MHM, environmental protection etc.) might even be counter-productive (in the short run) for implementation and scale-up, even though I am not disputing their general importance.
Krischan Makowka
WASH Delegate - Philippines
Last Edit: 29 Jul 2014 11:10 by JKMakowka.

Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration 29 Jul 2014 11:53 #9529

  • neilpw
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Yes, indeed, I agree JK Makowka. The key here is for communities of practice to maintain their defined focus, while at the same time linking cross-fertilising with related forums. Moderators would encourage cross-fertilisation only when the message is clearly within the remit of the group to which cross-pollination is taking place. Furthermore, if people started to talk on CHIFA about different technical methods for dealing with waste, then as moderator of CHIFA I would encourage them to discuss further on SuSanA, where they will find the appropriate expertise and remit.

There is no need to dilute focus - indeed, encouraging people to move discussions to relevant forums helps to maintain the focus of each group.

All of this is fluid and dynamic. And we can all learn what we find to be effective as we proceed.
Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All) and co-director of the Global Healthcare Information Network. He is also currently chair of the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), a partnership of 18 international development organisations promoting dialogue for international health and development. He started his career as a hospital doctor in the UK, and has clinical experience as an isolated health worker in rural Ecuador and Peru. For the last 20 years he has been committed to the global challenge of improving the availability and use of relevant, reliable healthcare information for health workers and citizens in low- and middle-income countries. He is also interested in the wider potential of inclusive, interdisciplinary communication platforms to help address global health and international development challenges. He has worked with the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Trust, Medicine Digest and INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications). He is based near Oxford, UK. www.hifa2015.org neil.pakenham-walsh AT ghi-net.org

Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration 29 Jul 2014 12:59 #9533

  • Sowmya
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I am very excited about Chris Canaday’s suggestion regarding moderator-to-moderator interaction and further discussions regarding the same. And, I am thrilled that Elisabeth and Dr. Neil (moderator of HIFA2015 forum) are positive about it.

HIFA2015 shares several similarities with the SuSanA community. Launched in 2006, HIFA2015 is a global network of health professionals (practitioners, technologists, researchers, policymakers, librarians, et al) working together to realize the shared vision of “a world where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge”. Together, the HIFA Global Forums now have over 10,000 members from over 2000 organizations in 170 countries.

Similar Strengths of SuSanA and HIFA2015 communities:
  • Members: Between the members, there is extensive expertise on technical, policy, scientific and implementation aspects of the sector. The members have much diversity in background (academic and professional experience, sector experience, focus areas) and come from diverse organizations (public & private sector, NGOs, development institutions, universities and research institutions, UN agencies and bilateral institutions). I think what is special about both SuSanA and HIFA2015 is that the diversity and inclusiveness has created strong communities where commitment results in positive impact and wonderful work experience for all.
  • Focus on systems strengthening & other key areas: Both SuSanA and HIFA2015 have special focus on key aspects, such as, systems strengthening and enabling environment, technology, information dissemination, etc. While SuSanA has specific Working Groups (WG 1 to 12) (please see URL), HIFA2015 has three components viz., HIFA Forums, HIFA Voices Database and HIFA Advocacy Programme which provide information to members, present an open platform for informed discussion and also synthesize forum messages into important insights to inform policy (please see URL)
  • Activities: Both SuSanA and HIFA2015 communities have online forums, library / archives, conferences, support for interactive sessions (such as, webinars) and are associated with key events (such as, Stockholm Water Week / Bamako 2008 Inter-Ministerial Conference for Health Systems Strengthening).
  • Impact: Both SuSanA and HIFA2015 communities enable interaction between professionals with diverse backgrounds enabling members to quickly and effectively address their knowledge / information needs and find faster, better solutions. The forum discussions also inform policies and decisions by bringing to light complexities and nuances as well as insights and solutions for better outcomes.

The potential for collaboration:

Both SuSanA and HIFA2015 members have huge expertise from policy to grassroots implementation. Therefore, interaction between the moderators could help members of both forums discuss technically complex questions and nuances in topics / questions that are necessarily multi- or inter-disciplinary. Examples include the following discussion threads:
  • Pharmaceutical residuals in human excreta started by David Burdick (URL) and Detlef (URL)
  • Tropical Enteropathy as the key cause of child under-nutrition started by Robert Gensch (URL) and
  • Integrating Climate Resilience in (national) Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy and Plans – resources and experiences started by Peter J. Bury (URL); resilience and disaster risk reduction is a key focus area for health sector as well.

My experience as a member of HIFA2015:
I have wonderful experiences from interacting on both SuSanA and HIFA2015. Since we all know our SuSanA community, I would just like to write about HIFA2015. When I was struggling to understand health systems, the different issues and practitioners’ perspectives, HIFA2015 helped me gain knowledge and encouraged me to participate in healthcare discussions as well as apply learning from my academic background and work experiences to provide inputs for finding solutions. I got to learn of what is happening in health systems across the world, what is at the forefront of innovation and solutions being implemented. Be it a global health media project or enabling easier access to healthcare information in remote areas, I find it exciting that the ideas we contribute in an online discussion forum would find its way into creating the positive impact we yearn for – like the smile of an 80-year old grandma from a remote village in the mountainous district of Taplejung in Nepal after a cataract surgery (it made my long journey from Lumbini worth it – every second and every mile travelled ). To this day, I apply what I learn in my work. For instance, the discussion on professional difficulties faced by midwives and community volunteers informs the way I design my deployment strategy.

Hence, my excitement about the possibilities for discussion between SuSanA and HIFA2015. As Dr. Neil has written, all of this is dynamic and fluid and we will find the most effective way forward as we proceed. His suggestion of raising awareness regarding related communities of practice, I think, is wonderful as are the messages he has sent to HIFA members regarding SuSanA.

Hoping to see more interaction between our communities,

Thanks and regards,

Sowmya
Sowmya Rajasekaran
Director
Verity SmartLife Solutions
www.veritysmartlife.com

Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration - how to increase it and why? 28 Oct 2014 16:18 #10715

  • denniskl
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Hi all (and thanks to Elisabeth for pointing me towards this thread)

My responses to Sowmya's Questions to SuSanA Forum members are as follows:

What do you think of my suggestions about inter-sectoral collaboration? What is the potential?

++++++

RESPONSE: I think it's vital for a number of reasons - every time I think of multiple dev projects occurring "out of synch" in a country or region, it reminds of building a house (badly).

By this I mean - in a house construction, if the plasterers come in before the plumbers and electricians, and plaster the walls before the pipes and cables are in, then (as you can imagine) the walls have to come off for that plumbing and electrical work.

Then the plasterers have to come back in and redo all their work. (This of course results in extra costs and time - and a poor job).

In development work, (it seems), the "plasterers" NEVER EVEN come back, because they have moved onto other projects:)

But I also agree with Neil and others - there has to be care taken as to what to include and what not to, otherwise the focus can be lost and nothing gets achieved.
++++

What are the barriers? Any ideas regarding how to overcome these barriers?
++++++++
RESPONSE: The main barriers I believe are the "silo" thinking of most experts - and the failure to treat the communities wholistically - seeing the full range of issues that need addressing (and thereby missing some of the linked cross-cutting issues)

Donors also are not used to having a multitude of interventions at the same place at the one time - mostly, they fund for specific activities, so this could be a challenge

I think a new strategy of multiple experts (along with local partners who fully understand the local issues and conditions) coming together to address a complex range of issues and creating an inter-linked programme is where we need to be. And that programme is then taken to a range of funders (who have different sector focuses) for a multi-donor fund pool to pull it together
++++++++++++++++


What are the concrete steps each of us can take?

RESPONSE: Start creating programmes that need multi sectoral expertise - and start inviting those in at the concept stage


What can we offer professionals from other sectors?

RESPONSE: The chance to "play bigger" and make exponential improvements because of the inter-linked nature of solutions


What do you think of my working document draft?

RESPONSE: Very thorough, but a little too "scattered" because of the many strands yu were trying to include.

So it needs more tightening up and it also needs to "lead" somewhere - I got to the end and I thought "where's the last chapter?"

But of course, that's what we are here to do - proof read what you have, suggest linking "plot lines' and help you write the last chapter
++++++++++++++++

If we refine this working document, how could we somehow “launch” it and make use of it as a rallying point?

RESPONSE: I would use the final doc as a "blueprint" for a real project - pick a region, pick a community or communities, identify broadly the problems they face and propose to develop a programme according to the blueprint

Invite experts from the needed sectors to join the process and start.

and then see where it goes:)
Creator of the JigSaw Puzzle in-country capacity building Programme

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* See a problem.
* Make sure it's the real problem (by talking to the people with the problem).
* Find people who are solving this problem somewhere in the world and collaborate - and learn from them to solve the problem
OR
* Create a new solution where none exists
* Find passionate people who care about the problem to help implement solutions

Our solution approach - what's yours?

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Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration - how to increase it and why? 16 Jan 2015 12:56 #11628

  • Sowmya
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Dear Dennis,

My sincere apologies for the delay in reply. Thank you very much for your post and it made me think this: significant resources (both financial and non-financial) have been and continue to be committed towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) achievement; how can we use this opportunity to further the cause of International Peace and Development (IPD)?

Sanitation is gaining focus amongst the SDGs, with India being amongst the top countries to make significant commitment to achieve total sanitation and sanitation-related SDG targets ahead of time. At SuSanA, our discussions pivot on core sanitation issues (technical, implementation, financing, institutional, governance) as well as other sectors with which we have significant linkages (gender issues, healthcare with Ebola / handwashing / nutrition being prominent and the laudable work being done to make sanitation topics accessible to all by posting content on Wikipedia).

Moving forward on this trajectory, it would be great if we at SuSanA can discuss how to make the current efforts for sanitation become the foundation for leapfrogging IPD efforts:

The World We Want is 'One World': Our 'One World' is a non-divisive, peaceful society living in consonance with Nature that expects and supports us in being our highest selves. This include, inter alia, the following: (a) recognition of shared natural & microbiological environment, (b) resolution of all internal and cross-border conflicts, (c) evolving towards rights-based society with guaranteed human rights for all, and (d) synchronized action for world peace and enhanced global security & development.

Moving towards 'One World': (a) Convergence of global (country-level and international) efforts towards 'One World'; (b) Significant resources (both financial and non-financial) have been and continue to be committed towards SDG achievement; how can we use this opportunity to further the cause of international development, particularly, in qualitative aspects?; and, (c) How can we work with national stakeholders and enable transition towards becoming IPD Champions?

Realizing our most beautiful dreams: We all want this - for ourselves and for our future generations. We have sung about it, built folklore around it, yearned for it and lived it as our best moments in life - and this is what is possible to achieve:
  • A human society that is at peace with itself and with all other living things and Nature;
  • A world which enables every man, woman and child to be the best he/she can be;
  • A beautiful world where no one is left behind and human rights are guaranteed for all;
  • A future generation that will not know what is poverty, pollution or violence.

Specific examples include harmonization of law as well as quality of education across countries, evolving towards rights-based society, extra-territorial rights for special situations, shared rights & responsibilities with respect to people in special situations, global processes for "shared natural & microbiological environment" rights and obligations as well as synchronization of economies' investment & efforts. I have included further details / concrete examples in the next post.

Specific benefits to be realized: Specific benefits helps develop evaluation criteria which can then enable Possible Interesting Challenging Kill (PICK) sequencing of One World efforts, develop Key Performance Indicators (KPI) as well as appropriate methodologies for monitoring & evaluation (M&E). This can potentially result in: (a) enhanced global security at lower societal & unit-level costs, (b) enabling disruptive technologies to transform our society and environment, and (c) synchronizing worldwide research efforts in basic sciences & humanities as well as healthcare as a special applied sciences category.

Perspectives / categories for ideation: (a) Given the inter-dependencies between the various SDG targets (for instance, sanitation-education, sanitation-women empowerment, etc.,), SDG discussions relating to sanitation can cover targets relating to other sectors (such as, education) and vice versa; (b) accelerated SDG achievement and development at higher cost-effectiveness through inter-sectoral collaboration (for instance, include education / gender-related SDG targets in sanitation, recognition of ecological sanitation for carbon trading credits); (c) commence work on longer-term quality improvement aspects (for instance, harmonization of law and quality of education across countries); and, (d) synchronized planning, blueprint development & action across countries and across international organizations (for instance, reducing / reversing climate change, sharing waters of rivers flowing across international boundaries, health systems, maintaining ecological balance and risk reduction of natural / manmade disasters, synchronized economic activities across nations and across international organizations).

International peace and development - resource scenario: Western countries have largely borne the brunt of deploying resources (financial & economic, military, technical, human resources, other) since formation of the UN. This has been made possible by not only government action but also by the people of these countries who participate in activists' movements, volunteer, adopt children and brave death to save others (like the Ebola fighters) but the population pyramid has reversed in these countries and it is unfair that they should continue in the battle for world peace and development alone. Therefore, it is now morally and practically incumbent on rest of the world, with their favorable population pyramid, to join them and grow from being "beneficiaries" to "champions of peace and development" in the world.

SDG in the context of IPD: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a huge commitment by countries, at the national and international level to achieve essential living standards and quality of life for people all over the world. This commitment, sustained over several years and persevered through several challenges, has meant that children now live longer and gain a life-transforming education, that women and girls have access to healthcare, and the poor have the chance of freedom from poverty. Now, as we prepare for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we could also perhaps make the SDGs as the foundation to further the cause of IPD and accelerate transformation towards rights-based society. Make the rights enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights a reality.

Given the tremendous commitment made for the SDGs, one possible way to accelerate IPD achievement is to adopt SDGs as the platform to enable countries to transition from 'beneficiary/spectator' status to 'IPD Champions' status. In the present and subsequent three posts, I would like to present some of my thoughts for discussion: (a) a list of specific examples of what can be done as part of IPD efforts; (b) explore how the IPD manifesto and efforts can translate at a country level and the country context with India as an example - try to summarize country context from IPD and national perspective and also translate into a meaningful plan of action at a country level; and, (c) a suggestion to use the PICK Chart as a guide for discussions and giving progress reports. Each post is fairly long and is sort of a white paper by itself. My apologies, I am unable to condense this further at the moment.

Would love to hear your thoughts and those of others on the above.

With many thanks and warm regards,

Sowmya
Sowmya Rajasekaran
Director
Verity SmartLife Solutions
www.veritysmartlife.com
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Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration - how to increase it and why? 16 Jan 2015 13:08 #11629

  • Sowmya
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Dear Dennis and Everyone,

Please find below some specific examples of what can be achieved as part of International Peace and Development (IPD) efforts:

(a) Consensus on harmonization of quality of education viz., equalizing quality of education across all segments of people across all regions of the world, improving quality, some examples are given below:  
i. Include teaching about global citizenship along with national citizenship, civic studies to include awareness of legal rights etc.,
ii. Include a good deal of arts appreciation particularly music, dance and crafts
iii. Substitute some textbook content and/or teaching methods – for example, shift to speed maths and mental maths in school (does not matter if it is Trachtenberg system, abacus or vedic math, but the old system should probably be phased out),
iv. Include one compulsory “main” subject (not as an optional subject no one will care to teach) about critical thinking: for instance, some elements from Betrand Russell’s Principles of Mathematics and there is another book on Theory of Numbers, George Polya's 'How to Solve It' and also Introduction to Logic (not just the truth tables – about recognizing premise-conclusion arguments, logical fallacies (the Stanford Encyclopaedia on Philosophy has an excellent page if I remember correctly, for your quick reference on list of logical fallacies and the Wiki page is excellent as well), non-classical logic, etc) – these topics can certainly be watered down according to students' age, made interesting and textbook content made more advanced in higher classes but we could actually have all these);
(b) Explore linkages between the various sub-goals in the SDGs and see which intervention can bring about how much benefits in other sectors for the purpose of prioritizing;
(c) Include focus on the rights in Universal Declaration of Human Rights – if we just made a list of all the rights listed in the declaration and classified them on the basis of funding requirement, even without number crunching, it would be obvious that there are several that do not require significant funding (such as, women empowerment / right to dignity); ideally, we should include them in the negotiations;
(d) Start the process for ‘One World’ view – this means and includes the following:
i. Harmonization of law (basic rule is ignorantia juris non excusat and therefore it is only fair that countries harmonize law instead of expecting everyone everywhere to know the law everywhere);
ii. After some pre-determined goals are met (like how much economic benefit the SDG efforts bring in), the process starts for – yes, this is something I want just like a lot of other people – extra-territorial rights in certain matters (conducting immunization programs provided they are safe and backed clearly and specifically by WHO and with all other suitable safeguards, security for certain categories of press persons like war correspondents and those working in ‘insecure’ areas like internal conflicts etc., even if this means pulling them out of tough situations if there is no local support – these cases do exist – and similar matters that people have been wanting for decades, I don’t know all of it, we could simply include a point in the policy brief that during the next 6 months when the SDG report for negotiation is going to be made, we will simultaneously work on getting the initial wish list compiled in a participatory manner – there are so many options from social media to massive online games called MOOC games to gain inputs from the general public – and see how much can be built in and after including phased implementation also);
iii. ‘Shared natural and microbiological environment’ rights and obligations – these extend beyond climate change to having a unified view of all concerns like depleting resources;
iv. Start global process on the agriculture, animal and environment version of the Helsinki Declaration regarding Research on Human Subjects – at present, there are only some articles on research ethics related to flora and no international declaration (that I know of) but we should be having this and I am sure lot of people feel strongly about it as well – how can the Helsinki Declaration go through several revisions and we cannot seem to do enough about it because it relates to humans but we do not have even one international declaration for flora, fauna and the environment? Yes, some exist for endangered animals and climate change but there is nothing for agriculture, it would be great to have some working document in place, that is all;
v. Extra-territorial rights for humanitarian assistance in conflict areas (not necessarily really widespread violence / conflict though the definition can be negotiated);
vi. Shared rights and responsibilities with respect to certain population (for instance, orphan and vulnerable children (OVC), destitute women, aged persons without family / social support);
(e) Harmonization as well as improvements in qualitative matters – governance yes but some other matters as well, it has been proven scientifically that there is a distance of six steps between any two persons in this world and so how do we ensure that gets to enable bringing welfare benefits to people? It will not require a lot of funding or some such thing but achieving sanitation SDG means that massive grassroots access gets created and so we will be able to get lot of information – after addressing all privacy concerns – about the unreached population and can share for international development purposes provided they meet stakeholder concerns regarding privacy, safety, etc., and then we use it to bring in some welfare benefits. For instance, Elizabeth had mentioned about getting information relevant for other sectors as well when we conduct household surveys for sanitation (I will post the link a little later); and
(f) The international community could work on a multi-dimensional index of prosperity (we are hoping to end poverty, so our terminology has to remain valid after the probably one decade or so that it will take to fully eradicate poverty and hence I have rephrased it as multi-dimensional index of prosperity instead of multi-dimensional index of poverty) – this should not be some vague research which ends up in some forgotten corner but the basis for negotiating future efforts and evaluating SDG performance (we already have a lot of theory from Amartya Sen to Martha Naussbaum and several other economists – we just need to put it together to form a basis for negotiations, monitoring and performance evaluation).

Would love to know your thoughts as well as other matters that can be included in IPD.

Warm regards,

Sowmya
Sowmya Rajasekaran
Director
Verity SmartLife Solutions
www.veritysmartlife.com

Re: Inter-sectoral collaboration - how to increase it and why? 16 Jan 2015 13:15 #11630

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Dear Dennis and Everyone,

This post is intended as a starting point for discussing and exploring how the International Peace and Development (IPD) efforts can be contextualized for each country with India as an example.

India has over 1 billion and a favorable population pyramid, a globally recognized highly skilled / knowledgeable workforce and economic environment along with an excellent science & technology infrastructure and a favorable political scenario with a stable government in power led by a PM with demonstrated development track record. India has a long history of peace with strong values rooted in fairness and justice and has huge potential to become IPD Champions.

I think SuSanA is the perfect forum for this discussion. With collectively 12113 views and 64 posts across the 3 recent discussion threads on the sanitation status in India and the valuable insights and inputs from a broad range of stakeholders, experts from different sectors and hailing from different geographical areas, I am hoping we can come together yet again and explore the way forward to enabling the national sanitation campaign to build a strong foundation for Indians to become IPD Champions.

INDIA's NATIONAL SANITATION CAMPAIGN

A 'greater than each of us' campaign:

The current national sanitation campaign is an electoral promise kept. The Prime Minister said, "toilets first, temples next" and kept the promise immediately upon coming to power and, on Independence Day, spoke of the need to achieve total sanitation - a first I think in India's Independence Day speeches, and special particularly considering that toilets are taboo topic even as living room conversation.

I sincerely hope that the current gesture sets a powerful precedent everywhere - that of electoral candidates keeping their promise and it becomes something greater and starts a virtuous cycle. We have an international community that has led the global sanitation movement through all the rough ride that sanitation means - sustained commitment over several decades and also intensified its efforts. We have a PM who has kept his electoral promise. And, we have corporates coming together to support the government's national campaign

It is our opportunity to take India's national sanitation campaign to the next higher level and set the foundation for strong IPD contribution in the future.

It is also critical to recognize global processes, the international community and national stakeholders in this, hopefully, collaborative campaign. Contextualizing IPD efforts to the country means recognizing and pivoting the campaign around a cause that can be linked to the national identity which is and has to be dear to a billion people. In this 'greater than each of us' campaign, neither (global processes and national stakeholders) needs to overshadow each other - instead, each can simply magnify the other. Just like synergy viz., 1+1>2 and means >1 for each. This is a very important design goal for the joint campaign the result of which could inspire countries around the world to enthusiastically join the IPD movement - it is our opportunity to walk hand-in-hand in happiness to the world we want viz., the One World.

So, here is hoping that we can work together in this campaign to create something greater than each of us - for the sake of all of us together - and create a whole new world.

REALIZING THE IPD OPPORTUNITY - THE CONCEPT:

India is gearing up for achieving significant economic development. The focus of economic development should be to create an enabling environment for each stakeholder group (the government, media, corporates, NGOs, civil citizens, others) that enables them to contribute to IPD. Three key building blocks for India to play an important role in IPD are: (a) civil citizen engagement (people of the country have to support their country doing IPD work and direct participation can have significant impact - for instance, Charlie Hebdo's stand has united people across the world to join the battle against religious extremism), (b) participation in world affairs (to positively engage in specific issues at a regional and/or global level in non-economic matters such as resolving border issues, human rights violations and other IPD matters) and (c) develop significant expertise in developing and implementing blueprints that can be adopted across countries (India has the opportunity to develop and implement development within its own borders, so it can be done as demonstration projects and share expertise & lessons learnt with other countries / in other geographies).

The national sanitation campaign could be the first demonstration project for exploring and strengthening in all the three building blocks stated above. From this perspective, the principal areas for collaboration could be funding and technical support. The requirement for external funding might not be huge - I do not have the numbers but we can work it out. What I would really love to have for IPD and India is collaboration for technical support.

From a design perspective, it is best if all the efforts to strengthen the building blocks for India to play a greater role in IPD are brought under an overarching theme, a vision, that has meaning to the people of India, something that appeals to their values, emotions and logic. An overarching vision that combines strong contribution to IPD with their sense of patriotism and national pride. We will have achieved our objective when people see IPD and international citizenship as a way of celebrating their patriotic values and upholding national pride - then there will no dichotomy and we will have smoothly transitioned into an rights-based society committed to self-improvement and contributing to IPD.

What could possibly be the overarching theme? One possibility is India joining the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). We Indians have wanted this for a long time now and I think it will have meaning for the people of India. Further, this is the first government-backed, nationwide synchronization of voluntary corporate action through Corporate Social Reponsibility (CSR) initiative. This is also the first time that several mid-sized corporates and smaller conglomerates are getting involved in CSR. Therefore, it is vital to ensure a beautiful, wonderful experience for all corporates. An economic opportunity might not reach out to or matter so much to all corporates but something like UNSC membership would have meaning and unite all corporates to work together and participate in nation-building.

Should UNSC membership be the theme for all countries? Maybe, maybe not. While our objective is to galvanize countries to becoming 'IPD Champions', the efforts have to be contextualized for each country - whatever is meaningful for the people of each country. By developing a process, milestones and supporting India in moving towards UNSC membership, we would be setting a powerful precedent - we would be sending a strong message backed by constructive action to all countries: if a country puts in sincere and real commitment towards improving lives of people and is willing to play a greater role in IPD, we will support you and help you reach higher levels which have meaning to you and your people. So, let's join hands and create a whole new world. Our One World, the world we want.

What does it mean:

We (the international community and the national sanitation campaign) could work together on a 'greater than each of us' campaign and develop the blueprint for India to emerge as a leader with potential to contribute significantly to IPD and eventually becoming an UNSC member.

The IPD opportunity is to (a) contributing towards achieving something meaningful for Indians and (b) the collaboration should also help facilitate India moving from "beneficiary/spectator" status to "champion" status. This translates into: (a) making the national sanitation campaign a huge success and (b) getting ready to playing an important role in world affairs as a step towards becoming a member of the UN Security Council. Part (b) will include at least one milestone that demonstrates India's capability in becoming a member of the UN Security Council.

India emerging as a leader with potential to contribute significantly to IPD:

Supposing we can find a low-cost sanitation technology that vastly reduces sanitation campaign costs. With vastly reduced cost of achieving total sanitation, CSR contribution and government's commitment for sanitation, the requirement for international grant might not be high. We would love to work out a financing mechanism that enables the campaign to not have to depend on grants. Then, we can say that India can fund its own sanitation campaign - that makes a very strong statement of economic strength which is a requirement to be recognized as a leader. What we would love to have from the international community is technical support, with some specific examples given below:

(a) Share experience in managing aided projects: The international community has huge experience in aid across communities & geographies - from managing the project to exit management etc. This expertise is important because this is the first time a lot of corporates are getting involved in CSR, it is a government-backed national campaign and it is vital that corporates feel that their contribution has meaning, value and happiness for real - and how we design and implement the campaign is, therefore, vitally important.

(b) Co-create and support the campaign: We would like the international community to recognize India as leader, rising regional star or its equivalent.

No more 'land of snake charmers', no more 'can the elephant dance'. Instead, we move forward to co-create a process and dialogue that results in (a) promoting the concept of India as rising economic giant and (b) stating that, we hope India will henceforth play a larger role in world peace and international development. The first step in this regard could be working together on a 'greater than each of us' campaign (a note about this campaign is given below).

This could be followed by India saying 'we would love to do so and we look forward to working with you and here is what we can offer'. Ideation for what can be offered could pivot around (a) showcasing India's strengths so that people understand what can be explored further, (b) create a failsafe Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) list. Essentially, list India's strengths in manufacturing, services and research and develop the ODA list from there. For instance, we could say, we have 1000 higher education institutions and we can offer 1000 scholarships / we can offer 1000 scholarships in medical training at academic institutions and health systems facilities (which can help rapidly increase para-medical staff force in countries where training needs exceeds supply or quickly provide advanced medical training) / we have 1000 ISO certified manufacturing and IT facilities and we can offer 1000 vocational training fellowships, etc.,). That gives a really solid image, shows real commitment and can form the basis for recognizing India as a rising economic giant, conviction in India's commitment towards democracy and international development and, hopefully, enthusiasm in the international community for collaborating with India to further the cause of IPD.

Once we reach this consensus for working together, we can follow-up with a real discussion on a larger role for India to contribute to IPD, supported by the international community. Then, we can develop a plan of action, a plan that is One World path (with some specific examples listed in the previous post # 11629) as well as strengthen the building blocks for becoming IPD Champions. The plan of action could be structured as gradually increasing involvement in global IPD efforts. Probably start with playing an active role in the SDG discussions scheduled to commence in September this year, then start collaborating in peace negotiations or development negotiations and later do a secondment for an international campaign, follow it up with co-leading/leading an international campaign on some humanitarian issue and grow in strength in our ability to forge peace and development at the regional and international level. That creates a strong foundation for a strong bid at a future point of time for UNSC membership.

A gradually increasing involvement might be preferable as it gives us the time to explore different strategies to strengthen the three building blocks for becoming IPD Champions. For instance, we will need to run campaigns and create permanent structures for engaging civil citizen / media participation and support for India's IPD work. Further, pivoting international relations around IPD could probably require developing a new vision statement for our external affairs ministry and diplomatic circles and identify focus areas for capacity development from the perspective of preparing to play a greater role in world affairs. This would span increasing the influence that these institutions have within the country as well as managing relationships abroad.

For instance, increase engagement between diplomatic missions abroad and students and unskilled / skilled laborers - help them become international citizens by providing support right from when they plan to go abroad. We could require all recruitment agencies for overseas employment to register with Ministry of External Affairs, all recruitees should go through 1 week to 2 months training - preferably, at free or nominal cost - to become good international citizens, avoiding legal / social trouble, what to do in case of trouble, etc., as well as have agreement with diplomatic missions and embassies in India that issue visas to request applicants to take up the course. We can develop the course content together with diplomatic missions in India to ensure greater cultural fit through greater understanding and appreciation of other cultures. We could offer these courses to other Indians going abroad for study / work as well. We need to see Indians going abroad as ambassadors who strengthen the bond and shared history between India and other countries as well as promote cultural exchange and greater understanding. This role should be led and supported by the Ministry of External Affairs and will involve working with educational and institutions in India and abroad. Thus, the Ministry of External Affairs is a very key ministry that can contribute significantly to the national and world economy as well as IPD.

(c) Quality certification: We could also expand the scope of technical support to result in specific and tangible economic benefits in the immediate term. For instance, large scale preparation and training for ISO certification. In India, we need to establish a country-level self-image and brand equity of 'no compromise on quality'. We need to reach this point to be taken seriously and for our negotiations to be based on the value-add of the product instead of only low margins. Low margins do not necessarily mean value to customers even if they might not understand it consciously - we create value to the customer both by the product's functionality as well as its linkages to the higher values that really makes a person have the pride of ownership.

India has a INR 3 billion loss due to inadequate sanitation and some of it relates to lost tourism revenues, reduced livelihood opportunities, etc. Solving the sanitation challenge is only the first step in unlocking this huge revenue potential. This has to be followed by measures at the institutional and individual level to create an enabling environment that unlocks the economic potential of India.

Starting with the government's 'Make In India' Campaign, India is gearing itself to become a global hub for manufacturing, services and research. At this juncture, it is critical to reflect on the quality of work environment we are creating for ourselves in India and take action now. What is our vision? That of India as a high-quality manufacturing / service destination in an environment that guarantees best and most conducive situation for human development. We already have a great cultural heritage, great history of trade and international relations, of having held power in our hands and did great things, including spreading peace and fulfillment and science and technology. Let us win back our history and give something beautiful for our future generations.

I sincerely hope that we can explore/discuss the involvement of the international community in Indians transiting to becoming IPD Champions. Would love to know your thoughts and that of the others regarding the above.

Warm regards,

Sowmya
Sowmya Rajasekaran
Director
Verity SmartLife Solutions
www.veritysmartlife.com
Last Edit: 16 Jan 2015 13:16 by Sowmya.
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