It was a pleasure again being with Thomas Fohgrub and friends in Geneva, discussing possible pathways for the transition for humanitarian agencies to use renewable energy to power their operations. Click on the image below to stay tuned:
Je viens de rentrer de Djibouti, ou j’ai animé l’atelier de cadrage pour la deuxième phase du projet Better Migration Management de l’Union Européenne. Etant un part essentiel du Khartoum Process, le programme vise à l’amélioration de la gestion des réfugiées dans la région, et notamment de soutenir les personnes dans le besoin et de lutter contre la traite des êtres humains.
C’est toujours très inspirant de travailler avec une multitude des experts et d’avoir, dans la même salle, des policiers, des activistes, des organisations de la société civile et de la coopération internationale, des délégués des ministères et des chefs des gouvernements locaux.
Ce que je n’avais pas su avant : C’est que 80% de la migration en Afrique est de la migration interne, c’est-à-dire que juste 20% des migrants africains s’orientent vers l’étranger, alors l’UE, mais aussi vers l’Arabie Saoudite. Pour Djibouti il est devenu claire ce qu’il faut supporter les supporteurs des migrants dans le besoin, mais aussi la population locale dans les zones éloignés, qui, aussi, nécessite de l’infrastructure de base comme des points d’eau. Et, bien sûr, a priori il fallait un changement dans les relations économiques vis-à-vis l’Afrique.
Last week was spent on Organisational Development work for a client that has just received additional tasks, and new personnel – and correspondingly needs to review internal roles and procedures.
As part of this, there was a retreat in Landgut Stober. This had once been a “model farm” where an anti-Hitler group met to plan for a “better world” once he was gone. Our task was not so secretive, but nevertheless challenging, given the ambition of the client is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy i.) in selected emerging markets and ii.) for displaced people.
It was a pleasure to return again to Cairo, and to have the chance to work with my dear friend Leena Ilmola to co-moderate the Union for the Mediterranean‘s first “Business Forum”. The speakers and organisers were excellent, and a real highlight for me (perhaps also as I could just relax and listen to that bit of the session as Leena moderated 😉) was to hear how entrepreneurs in the East and South of the Mediterranean are using e-commerce to beat entirely new paths to trade (and more). Certainly my congratulations to Roula Moussa, who now runs two super interesting ventures!
Mit GRM legt Sibylle Berg einen Roman vor, der einen Blick auf eine nicht sehr ferne Zukunft in Großbritannien irgendwann nach dem Brexit wirft und die Gemüter von jungen, abgehängten Menschen einfängt. Diese setzen sich mit einer Welt auseinander, die durch einen entfesselten Liberalismus/ Kapitalismus in Verbindung mit einer lückenlosen digitalen Erfassung und Verarbeitung menschlichen Handelns gekennzeichnet ist. Grundeinkommen gegen Totalüberwachung und immer mehr Menschen, die keine Funktion mehr in der Gesellschaft haben, während die KI ein Eigenleben zu entwickeln scheint.
Der Roman ist hart (Untertitel: „Brainfuck“) und zärtlich zugleich und setzt gegenwärtige Konsummuster in eine interessante Perspektive, indem diese extrapoliert werden. In jedem Fall eine gewinnbringende Lektüre! Weitere Rezensionen hier und hier. Homepage der Autorin hier (von dort stammt auch das Bild).
A most inspiring piece on a possible future! I strongly recommend reading this book by Tim Reutemann, who summarizes his work as follows:
“Liquid Reign is a work of speculative fiction, imagineering a fairly liveable future in 2051, neither dys- nor utopian. Melting the boundaries between science and fiction into a novel format, each chapter provides links to the sources of inspiration influencing it – ranging from Jean Jacques Rousseau‘s social contract of 1762 to blockchain startups from 2018.”
Just been helping a client to role-play a major competitor, and consequently refine their strategy. A number of interesting insights emerged – a combination of bringing many perspectives together, and breathing life into the business intelligence already gathered.
Particularly of note though, was that the existing strategy (which we already developed with the client two years back) remained valid in most parts, so this served to ensure the strategy remained a living process.
Interesting to realise just how exposed SE Asia potentially is to a major change in the (relatively broadly defined) electronics sector. The affirmation here is that electronics is “equivalent to 25 percent of the region’s total exports in goods.”
Just moderated a mini-workshop on electricity supply for the European Calculator project, as part of the out-reach to co-design a model that will help decision makers judge the impact of different policy levers when trying to reach the Paris Agreement commitments on climate change.
Particularly interesting to me was the bullishness of what was considered possible when it comes to balancing energy supply when demand suddenly peaks/renewable energy supply suddenly drops. Many seemed to believe that – relatively soon – a combination of battery/energy storage options (central and decentral), combined with demand management (paying e.g. large factories to turn down the dial immediately), smart, local, grids and devices (that use electricity only when it is readily available) and trans-European grids (allowing immediate cross-border import) will substantially reduce – or even eliminate! The need for gas powered generation (the part of the energy supply that is not baseload, and can quickly be turned on or off).
In beautiful Delft to run a workshop on possible social impact of alternative Climate Change Mitigation options! Some things are obvious – no coal means unemployment in coal producing regions – but now we need to tease out the less obvious implications for anything from gender equality to energy poverty… Thanks EU Calc!
Thanks to Daniele Réchard and her team for organising an excellent day as part of the ESPAS ‘Global Trends to 2030: The Making of a New Geopolitical Order?’ event, and good to see so many friends there, inter alia Angela Wilkinson, Aaron Maniam, Jeanette Kwek, Norbert Reez, Jaana Tapanainen, Kristel Vanderelst, Thomas Lehr, Alun Rhydderch, Duncan Cass-Beggs, Joshua Polchar, and Christopher Cordey …
Many speakers focused on the threats we face, so I used the chance to promote Garret Banning’s idea of a starting an Annual Opportunity Assessment hearing. His logic: the US has an annual threat assessment, so why not also look for the opportunities in a systematic way as well: social, technological and political change makes many things possible in international relations today that were not possible before, and as Mary Kalder pointed out, if we only look at things through the geopolitical lens, everything seems very bleak…. And my thought: no need to wait for the US on this, let’s have the European Parliament organise the opportunity assessment (and please, if so, not in a standard format, let us be creative for once!)
Last night I was a speaker in the e-conference “Looking at the Catalan crisis from a European angle“.
Listening to the arguments, it struck me that the voices we hear on both sides – Spanish and Catalan – are mainly the nationalist ones: Catalan nationalists point out that even today Catalan is not an official language in which they can write to the government in Madrid. But they sound like Margaret Thatcher when saying “I want my money back” – in their case from the Spanish budget, in hers from the EU. Both statements miss the benefits that flow from such transfers. The Spanish nationalists see Spain as a single entity that is indivisible, and a historic given that may not be challenged. The very idea that some people may not be happy with Spain is almost an existential challenge. But what about the others? As a European, I look at both nationalisms and do not like what I see. Both have an aggressive tone: Why should I pay for them? vs. They must stay with us whatever they think!. The start of a solution: a meaningful EU citizenship? Perhaps, but only if rights are matched with duties and there is a duty to fellow citizens elsewhere – there is no free lunch. Yes, speak your language, but if your neighbour cannot, do not insult them…