Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in a Time of FearAvailable Now.
The Nigerian Mission hosted a Seminar with Aviva Investors on the theme of Promoting Responsible Investments to finance the Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers included Gavin Power, Steve Waygood, Simson Zadek and Shari Spiegal.
October was also the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival. which I attended. This year is the 75th anniversary of Casablanca. It is one of the great films that has survived the sands of time. It is an extraordinary film not just because of the story that is told on screen but also the back story to who is in the film and why.
The film came out in November 1942 in the middle of the Second World War. Rushed out to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier. The original play was called Everyone Comes to Ricks. What most people do not realize is that the film has only three of its main actors who were born in the US. These are Humphrey Bogart playing Rick Blaine, Dooley Wilson as Sam the pianist, and Joy Page the young Bulgarian refugee Annina Brandel.
Most of the rest of the cast were refugee actors from Europe who had fled the Nazi occupation and persecution. This included Paul Henreid who had equal billing with Bogart and Bergman. He was a banned Austrian actor who was also banned in Germany. He was strongly anti-Nazi, so much so that he was designated an "official enemy of the Third Reich". In the film he plays Bergman’s husband Victor Laszlo, a renowned fugitive Czech Resistance leader. The wonderful Peter Lorre (born László Löwenstein;) born in Hungary – Jewish – so when the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Lorre took refuge first in Paris and then London and then the US. I could go on. The film was in many ways an opportunity to give refugee actors from Europe work and support. Many were also being put up in the homes of fellow actors while they worked to establish themselves in the US.
September i was attending the UN General Assembly High-Level Segment. One of the best events was and in the margins, AVIVA, UN Foundation, and others launched the World BEnchmarkign Alliance at the New York Library. The WBA will rank companies based on their sustainability performance and contributions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). WBA will make the information on companies also publicly available and free of charge.
Benchmarks provide a powerful incentive for companies to improve their sustainability performance and help to track progress, improve understanding and promote dialogue. Benchmarks will be designed through a multi-stakeholder process to ensure they reflect societal expectations. This will be a powerful and potentially transformative way to achieve this is to produce international league tables that measure and compare the performance of companies on the SDGs.
August was a great month I spent a long weekend in Asheville North Carolina working on my latest book 'Stakeholder Democracy.
Of course, i also explored the cafes and the art district and on my last night saw an excellent local production of the classic Mel Brooks play The Producers.
It was a little ironic that the play which is a Nazi-obsessed musical spoof was at end of the week of the tragic neo-Nazi charade in nearby Charlottesville, Virginia.
If you haven't seen the play or the film then you might think to make fun of Nazis is not an easy task sound. Who, save for a Jew who served in World War II named Mel Brooks ("Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein"), could pull off such a stunt and with such humor and pizzazz? "The only weapon I've got is comedy," says Brooks, "You've got to bring (this) down with ridicule... It's been one of my lifelong jobs — to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler." He does this within the context of a backstage Broadway concoction where two theater producers create a would-be flop called "Springtime for Hitler," and the rest is ... ...well you have to see it. We live in very difficult times and fighting fascism needs to be on all fronts.
The bookshop has a video of the event which you can watch here. There were some very good questions and information on how the SDGs were negotiated. I have to say it was a pleasure to work on the book with my fellow authors and the feedback has been very good from those who have read it.
The summer is here so time to work on book fifteen which will be on Stakeholder Democracy. I also plan a self-published book on the Rogue CNN stories from my blog and other new material around Christmas.
May brought a swing through San Francisco and me moderating a panel at the Sustainatopia Conference on the Nexus- Water-Food-Energy-Climate. Also appearing on the UNECE PPP Conference Panel in Hong Kong on the new draft Principles for PPPs by web. This was all on my way to the Palm Spring Film Noir which opened with over 1200 people and some great films. My favorite being the 1949 Oscar winning film 'All the Kings Men' It plots the rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal. Sound familiar? It is based on a novel by Robert Penn Warren first published in 1946 which has been in the top 100 novels for Time Magazine. In 1947 it won the Pulitzer Prize. It also won Oscars for Best Actor (Broderick Crawford), and Best Supporting Actress (Mercedes McCambridge).
May also saw the publication of the Communitas Legacy Report which gives an idea what we achieved in the 3 threes the project was active.
Also published in May a larger article I wrote for Oxford University Press - The Emergence of Environment as a Security Imperative for Oxford University Press which can be downloaded here.
Finally at the Finance for Development Forum I helped put together a lunch discussion for AVIVA and the Finance for Development Office around the subject of Investments for the SDGs, including Climate Action. Speakers included Steve Waygood (AVIVA), Shari Spiegal (FF Office) and Tomas Cristianson (PGA Office) it was moderated by Liz Thompson former ASG for Rio+20,
Moderating the United Nations Environment Management Group meeting in Geneva on the Nexus Dialogues.
The EMG provides a service to the operationalization of environmental issues within the UN system by promoting coordination, information exchange and joint action among the UN agencies. The EMG Dialogue series will contribute to a common understanding of the integrated goals and targets of the SDGs, as well as the requirements and opportunities these bring for UN entities to support the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in a coherent and collaborative manner. The Dialogues will provide an occasion for UN entities and other stakeholders to identify areas of mutual interest and to better understand the transmission channels through which an action in one sector may impact the outcomes of another.
On the way back to New York I visited my children in London and Norwich. IN London Robin was on his way to Greece to work in a refugee camp for a week. IN Norwich Merri is at UEA studying to be a midwife. We went out to the open Mike at Gonzo's and i had the opportunity to explain how to bracket text in UN negotiations.
On April 20th the Financial Times did an article on the SDGs and A crowded global jobs market is braced for 1bn more workers. They kindly quoted me.
I also had the pleasure of speaking at the UN DESA Partnership Forum from the floor on Principles and Guidelines for Multistakeholder Partnerships. which can be watched here on UN TV