Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on April 17, 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes, and departments working on development issues. Prior to her appointment with UNDP, Helen Clark served for nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving three successive terms from 1999 - 2008.
The dust has settled on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and results have left stakeholders with enough to both lament and celebrate. Moving forward, the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development is a process that will marry with the MDGs as a single post-2015 global development agenda focusing on sustainable development. Based on this World Health Organization discussion paper, the issue of health seems well positioned to take a substantial place on the agenda. While this is encouraging news for the health sector, it will need to be explicit that strengthening health systems is a sustainable Millennium Development Goal for post-2015.
Within the next decade, more than 50 percent of new jobs will require employees are trained in STEM skills. However, too many students are leaving school without any of the skills they need to thrive in a changing job market. How can we address this skills gap in our global workforce?
At the millennium summit of the United Nations in September of 2000, the nations of the world adopted a series of goals aimed at increasing the quality of life for all of humankind by 2015. Eight specific initiatives, commonly known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ranging from eradicating hunger, reducing child mortality, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, were identified as the most significant impediments to our sustainability and improving the human condition. There has been measurable progress, with some research on the MDGs showing that global poverty has been halved five years ahead of the 2015 timeframe, with remarkable gains having also been made in the fight against communicable disease. These accomplishments should be celebrated.
We are living in a new era of development. There is growing recognition and proof that to make progress on global problems we need the ideas, expertise, and resources of every sector. Collaboration has been, and will continue to be, key to success in addressing some of the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.
It has been five years since the official end of the Great Recession in the United States, and yet young people are still reeling from its effect. About 5.8 million young people are out of work and out of school. Throughout the country, unemployment for young people reaches as high as twice the national unemployment rate. Clearly, an entire generation has been devastated by the economic crisis. But while young people face serious challenges, they also stand to take advantage of some incredible opportunities.
Anyone who has followed international affairs closely knows that one distinctive flaw in U.S. cultural diplomacy is our public welcome pavilions at major world events, including the Olympics and the World Cup. Due to legislation in the 1990s, the U.S. Government does not fund these pavilions, and it is left to private donors—corporations and individuals—to be the face of U.S. culture at such events. Sometimes this leaves gaps, such as Olympic pavilions where the public is not allowed to enter.
In 2011, the World Economic Forum (WEF) made the brave decision to create the Global Shapers community, a community that follows the 2005 Young Global Leaders Initiative and aims to bridge the gap between those below 30 and those above 40 years old. The mandate of the WEF, and its fundamental motto, is to bring in the community of young, passionate, future leaders with exceptional potential and strong commitment to improve the state of the world. The Global Shapers community does just that.
Epameinondas Gousopoulos is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, currently serving as Curator of the Zurich Hub. His passion is achieving impactful changes that drive the community and humanity forward. His commitment, emotional leadership, and strong communication skills constitute his main characteristics.
Ambassador Akan Ismaili started his career as an entrepreneur. Immediately after the NATO bombing ended in 1999, Ambassador Ismaili co-founded Internet Project Kosovo (IPKO), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the use of information and communications technology as a tool to foster rebuilding and development in Kosovo. IPKO has been credited with bringing the internet to Kosovo. In 2001, IPKO split into two entities: IPKOnet and IPKO Institute, and Ambassador Ismaili served as the CEO of IPKOnet, a company that expanded access to broadband, mobile, telephone, and television in Kosovo. Over his 10-year tenure, IPKO became a modern enterprise and is now one of the fastest growing telecommunications companies in Europe and a fundamental pillar of the new economy in Kosovo.
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