new developments are ahead:
The Club of Amsterdam launches
Future Now Show
starting in September!
our next Season is going to be truely international with events in Germany,
Spain, Malaysia, UK maybe even Tunisia and of course the Netherlands!
and join our special event in Amsterdam - Monday, 13 October about
future of Historic Pianos
Felix F Bopp,
Founder & Chairman
Path to Prosperity
Philippe G. Nell, Minister, Head of Americas Unit,
State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Bern, Switzerland1
Manuel Santos has been reelected on June 15, 2014 for a second
four-year term as President of Colombia. During his first presidency,
he has provided new orientations to his country which is now at
several crossroads. On the political side, the government negotiates
with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) a
peace agreement. Peace is long due and would unleash significant
investments in departments strongly affected by the conflict and
open new perspectives for their population. The negotiations face
however great challenges and the most difficult issues remain
to be settled. On the economic side, fundamentals have been strong
for years and Colombia has started its accession process to the
OECD with the progressive adaptation of rules in several areas.
In order to close significant gaps with OECD members, major efforts
will be necessary to improve competitiveness, to diversify the
economy and to reduce informality, poverty, inequality and corruption.
The objective of this article is twofold: first, show why Colombia
is on the path to prosperity; and second, highlight some of the
most important challenges to achieve the status of a developed
1. Colombia at
Colombia has very interesting characteristics. The population
of 47 million is young, eager to learn, to work and to improve
living standards. Significant natural resources play a key role
in the economy. Its location is unique in South America with ports
on two oceans. Second in the world for biodiversity, Colombia
offers a great potential in terms of commercial applications of
natural products. The size of the country is impressive, twice
Texas and three times California. Huge parts are yet to be developed.
For 2014, economic growth should reach 5%. Colombia has become
Latin America's third largest economy and has overtaken Argentina
which is undergoing a very deep crisis. According to the Finance
Minister, Mauricio Cárdenas, an ambitious road-building
program using private investment will add an extra point to growth
in the next four years. Moreover, a peace agreement with the FARC,
ending an insurgency of half a century, would contribute an additional
2. Economic Policy
Colombia has pursued a rigorous monetary and fiscal policy for
years and never had to reschedule any foreign public debt. Even
during the world recession of 2009, growth was positive (1.7%).
Since 2000, except for 2002-2004 and 2007-2008, inflation has
For the coming years, the perspectives are encouraging for growth,
inflation and public debt. Colombia implements a 2011 structural
fiscal law and a medium-term fiscal plan with a framework for
deficit and debt reduction to 2025. Ambitious fiscal targets and
primary fiscal surpluses of 2% and above as of 2016 should be
achieved; this will require a new tax reform to increase revenue
and reduce evasion. Growth in expenditure will be driven by transfers
to victims of the armed conflict and subsidies to address social
needs, as well as higher spending on energy, road and housing
infrastructure. The debt/GDP ratio of 41.7% (2013) should decrease
to 37.5% by 2018.
Colombia has a sustainable foreign debt burden and should maintain
a current account deficit of 3.3% of GDP during the 2014-2018
period to be financed with substantial foreign direct investment
inflows focused primarily on energy, infrastructure and communications.
Foreign investment has strongly increased, moving from a yearly
average of USD 2.5 bn (1994-2002) to USD 6.9 bn (2003-2010) to
reach a new record in 2013 with close to USD 17 bn, that is more
than 3% of GDP.
These inflows complement domestic savings, contribute to higher
productivity and production and strengthen the international reserves
position. The steady increase of the investment/GDP ratio from
14.5% in 2000 to 28.4% in 2012 has been the basis for economic
3. Rating Agencies:
Colombia's sound position has been recognized by credit-rating
agencies. In 2012, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings and Moody's
lifted Colombia's sovereign debt rating to investment grade, coinciding
with excellent economic and financial conditions. This reflected
a reduction in vulnerability to external shocks, the historic
fulfillment of debt obligations, confidence in the country's macroeconomic
policy and a tangible improvement in security.
4. Foreign Economic
Colombia is a member of the Andean Community and of several other
Latin American integration schemes. In 2011, President Alan Garcia
of Peru initiated in Lima the Pacific Alliance with Chile, Colombia
and Mexico. The objectives are twofold: first, deepen integration
with the creation of a single market including the free movement
of goods, services, capital and people. Second, define common
actions to promote trade links with the Asia Pacific Region.
Over the years, Colombia has also set up a wide network of bilateral
and double taxation agreements3.
Preferential trade relations were established with the European
Union, Switzerland and its EFTA partners, Israel, Korea, the United
States, Canada and most Latin American countries; negotiations
are presently under way with Japan and Turkey. China has become
the second source of imports after the United States and represents
a formidable competitor for some local industries; between 2000
and 2013, its share in Colombia's imports has grown from 3% to
International trade openness4
has increased from 24.9% in 2000 to 31.4% in 2012 but remains
much smaller than its partners of the Pacific Alliance5;
Colombia protects sectors such as dairy, meat and automobiles.
Trade must be further enhanced and the potential of free trade
agreements (FTAs) fully exploited. To this effect, the government
has recently established a center to promote the effective use
of FTAs. In order to increase agro-based exports, major work is
necessary to address the sanitary and phyto-sanitary requirements
of developed countries.
After Mexico (1994) and Chile (2010), Colombia aims to become
the third Latin American country joining the OECD. This illustrates
the willingness to undertake a wide range of domestic reforms
to adopt OECD codes - liberalisation of capital movements and
current invisible operations, corporate conduct, corporate governance,
- and guidelines thereby increasing the international competitiveness
of the country.
5. Economic Issues:
Export Dependence on Commodities
Since 2004, exports have grown substantially mainly due to a strong
increase of commodity prices. Export concentration has also strengthened
over the years. In 1991, 15 products made up 62.2% of exports;
in 2012, only five products accounted for 68.1%. In 2001, commodities
and commodities-based products made up 74% of exports, and in
The share of manufactured products in GDP is low and has been
declining from 14.4% in 1996 to 11.3% in 2013. Why did manufacturing
not keep up with the economy which grew at about 4% per year?
a) The exchange
rate of the peso adjusted by inflation differential with Colombia's
major trading partners has appreciated by 41.7% during the past
10 years. As a consequence, manufacturing has been facing growing
difficulties to compete on foreign markets and internally against
b) Venezuela has fallen from second export market (16% share,
2008) to seventh (3.8%, 2013). Major disruptions in trade flows
have affected Colombia's manufacturing sector.
c) Some sectors are excessively protected.
A shrinking manufacturing
sector in GDP terms cannot boost job creation; nor does mining
(8.5% of GDP), agriculture and fishing (6.9%), or electricity,
water, gas (3.6%). This implies that the majority of the work
force (60 to 70%) operates in the informal sector, is mainly self-employed,
active i.a. in services (69.5% of GDP), and lives in very modest
6. Business Environment:
Starting in 2005 and with greater emphasis from 2007 onward, the
Colombian government has improved the regulatory environment by
strengthening policies and institutions with the aim of increasing
productivity, accelerating economic growth, and promoting competitiveness.
During the last eight years, Colombia gained 30 ranks in the World
Bank Doing Business classification to hold a position ahead of
all Latin American countries except Chile and Peru (same ranking)
(Figure 1). The difference with Argentina, Brasil, Ecuador and
Venezuela is very significant. Twenty-five programs were implemented
with the objective to facilitate entrepreneurship. The most important
improvements were in the areas of firms creation, paying taxes
and protection of investors.
The focus of the
reforms was the reduction in transaction costs, for instance through
the creation of one-stop-shop systems for starting a business,
registering property and trading across borders. Electronic data
interchange systems were developed to file and pay national taxes,
duties and social security contributions. In December 2012, the
government passed reforms lowering the cost to hire workers and
modifying the general royalty system to stimulate investments
and regional development.
7. Doing business:
Colombia fares fairly well for starting a business, paying taxes
and construction permits. Its performance is weak for enforcing
contracts due to the judicial system and for the cost of importing
a container due to local infrastructure (Table 1). It is more
expensive to move a container from a Colombian Pacific harbor
to Bogota than from China to Colombia.
Average investment in transportation infrastructure in Colombia
increased from 0.62% of GDP (2008-2010) to 1.14% (2011-2013).
Colombia has a weak ranking in Latin America for roads, railroads,
ports and airports due to geography and incomplete road infrastructure.
For transportation costs, the country ranks 130 out of 148 in
the WEF classification. The government plans to invest 3% of GDP
(1% public; 2% concessions) and looks for public-private partnerships
to fund its National Development Plan. Huge projects are under
way and envisaged. Investments of USD 55 bn are foreseen by 2021
USD 47 bn, 47 projects, construction and rehabilitation of 8,000
km of roads during the coming 5 years.
1,154 km, concessions; projects have recently been awarded by
800 km for maintenance of Rio Magdalena.
- Ports and airports:
several projects are under way.
9. Other Issues6
while 87% of the children get a primary school education, the
number drops to 71% for secondary school. Colombia ranks very
low internationally in the PISA ranking (the assessment of 15-year-old
students' proficiency in reading, mathematics and science
still better than Brazil, Argentina and Peru) and the PIRLS
test (10-year old, reading). Three universities get 50% of the
public funds, reflecting a very high concentration. Overall,
the level of English is low and there is a lack of specialists
in technical fields such as software. Major efforts were made
during the past ten years to increase technical education with
significant results registered by SENA (Servicio Nacional de
60% of the firms in manufacturing and 68% in services do not
innovate. Invention is much more developed in Brazil, Mexico
and Chile with coefficients 7.6, 4.5 and 1.3 times larger than
resources allocated to R&D remain modest at 0.2% of GDP
and are much smaller than in Brazil (1.2%) and in the OECD countries
there is a lack of mechanisms to enforce contracts and apply
rules and a significant backlog of cases. Various measures were
taken to address this, including the compilation of an inventory
of the various types of cases in cooperation with the World
Bank. The judicial system must also be modernized. A strategic
plan is under way to deal with electronic processes, information
and judicial training.
- Energy costs:
they are higher than in the USA and Peru.
it is a significant problem in both the public and private sector.
In 2013, Colombia's ranking (129) was lower than Brazil (133)
but higher than Peru (111), Mexico (105), Panama (85) or Chile
In the public sector, the perception of corruption is highest
for political parties and Congress (4.3 on a scale up to 5),
public officials (4), the judicial system, health services (3.8)
and the police (3.7).
Transparency norms are not met by several departments. In the
private sector, corruption is mostly present with payments to
facilitate and accelerate procedures.
The costs for society are very high in terms of misallocation
of resources which should instead be devoted to education, health
and infrastructure. The cost of doing business is higher and
foreign investors are affected. There is a need to develop a
culture of prevention.
Various measures are being taken including the adoption of the
OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials
in International Business Transactions and the establishment
of the Transparency Secretariat in charge of designing a public
anti-corruption policy and to coordinate public entities.
Issues: Peace Process
Negotiations with the FARC are under way under a six-point program;
three parts are concluded:
agrarian development policy: aims at transforming the conditions
in the countryside and reversing the effects of violence. It
is necessary to close a big gap between the urban and the rural
worlds with programs providing a boost to farmers' living conditions;
the government is aware that violence has flourished there due
to extreme poverty, lack of opportunities and weakness of institutions
to regulate public life.
b) Political participation of the FARC: the objective
is to break forever the link between political activity and
weapons and reestablish a basic rule of society: "that
nobody uses weapons to promote his political ideas and that
nobody that promotes his political ideas be victim of violence8".
The essence of any peace process is to facilitate the transformation
of an armed group into a political movement in a democratic
environment. To succeed, the whole population - farmers, indigens,
Afro-Descendants, business people, scholars, social organisers,
members of the church - must feel part of the same system. It
will be essential that the central, regional and local authorities
work together to build an harmonious and cohesive society. Consensus
has been reached on: rights and guarantees in general for the
exercise of political opposition; democratic mechanisms for
citizen participation; effective measures to promote wider political
participation at national, regional and local level from all
sectors of society, including the most vulnerable and with security
c) Solution of issues related to illicit drugs: the agreement
covers first comprehensive development plans including community
participation in the design, execution and evaluation of the
substitution and environmental recovery programs for the areas
affected by illicit crops; second, drug use prevention and public
health programs; and, third, measures against narcotics production
The three pending
issues refer to a) ending the warfare, disarming the guerrillas
and punishments; b) rights of the victims; and, c) implementation,
verification and endorsement of the peace agreement.
The negotiations must deal with the reincorporation of the guerrillas
into society. It is not enough to demobilize them. Land restitution
must also be addressed: it is a basic element of justice during
a transition. The government has launched an ambitious plan which
will be more effective if the land is being given back under the
framework of development programs. Difficult questions include:
to whom should the land be distributed? To the victims, to the
farmers without land or to the ex-guerrillas?
Any agreement with the FARC will be submitted to the Colombian
population for approval. Colombia has witnessed a significant
improvement in security matters during the past years. The current
peace process opens the possibility for a new era. The obstacles
are nevertheless significant: corruption, clientelism, networks
of interest and organized crime threaten a transition.
- Colombia is a
high middle-income emerging economy with strong macro-economic
fundamentals and a significant potential.
- China's competition,
the dependence on commodities and competitiveness represent
- The major tasks
ahead refer to diversifying the economy to break the vicious
circles of poverty, violence and insecurity and to bringing
the internal conflict to an end: a virtuous circle benefitting
the whole society would then ensue.
This article is based on a presentation at the 4th Impact Economy
Symposium & Retreat held at Greifenstein Castle located in
Thal, Switzerland, June 13-15 2014. The author sincerely thanks
Beatriz Londoño Soto, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia
in Bern and Bernardo Romero Calderon for valuable information
on Colombia. The views expressed are exclusively the author's.
In force: Canada, Chile, China, El Salvador, Honduras,
Guatemala, India, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Switzerland,
United States. In negotiation: Azerbaijan, Israel, Kuwait, Panama,
Russia, Turkey, Quatar, Uruguay.
In force: Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Spain,
Switzerland. In negotiation: Belgium, France, Germany, Japan,
Netherlands, United States.
Ratio of imports and exports to GDP.
Mexico (61.7%), Chile (58.8%), Peru (47.1%)
Consejo Privado de Competitividad, Informe Nacional
de Competitividad 2013-2014, Bogota, 2013.
WEF, Global Competitiveness Report, Geneva, 2013.
Sergio Jaramillo, La Paz territorial, Speech, Harvard
University, March 13, 2014. S. Jaramillo is Presidential Commissioner
for Peace, negotiator in the current peace process with the FARC.
Future Now Show - Launch in September 2014
Shape the future
now, where near-future impact counts and visions and strategies
for preferred futures start.
Do we rise above global challenges? Or do we succumb to them?
The Future Now Show explores
how we can shape our future now - where near-future impact counts.
We showcase strategies and solutions that create futures that
Every month, for 15
minutes, we roam through current events, discoveries, and challenges
- sparking discussion about the connection between today and the
futures we're making - and what we need, from strategy to vision
- to make the best ones.
the Show and participate!
The Future Now Show September
2014 > will be announced and can be viewed
The Future Now Show October 2014
> will be announced and can be viewed
Future Now Show features
Event: the future of Historic Pianos
future of Historic Pianos
& coffee: 19:30, conference & concert: 19:45
Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, Herengracht 518, 1017 CC Amsterdam
is not the regular museum entrance]
Euro 30, Euro
20 (Members etc.) or Euro
The conference language
A collaboration between Geelvinck Museum Hinlopen
Huis and the Club of Amsterdam and
supported by PerspeXo.
The Club of
Amsterdam in 2014 & 2015
Buisman, The Sweelinck
of Musical Instruments,
Egarr, Conservatorium Amsterdam
Museum of musical instruments Vosbergen, Eelde
and get your tickets
Liminality and Change
Colette Kavanagh, Ph.D., Cultural
The world as we know
it is ending. There are changes in the economy, the climate, technology
and lifestyle with globalization, technology and the internet
accelerating this process. The evolution of societies worldwide
is dependent upon the ability to generate new ideas, transform
infrastructures, design new cities, services, products, organizations
and companies. We need an in-depth understanding of the concept
of liminality while also creating new systems of education and
Transformation and change are nothing new. Since the beginning
of history indigenous societies were faced with the necessity
to evolve, and those who failed to do so did not survive. However,
the exaltation of scientific and technological reasoning has had
its price and all around us we see its negative effects. In these
times of spiritual, social, and economic breakdown, Western society
is no longer equipped to deal with the disruption of liminality,
nor able to integrate the tools for renewal. It is difficult for
us to incorporate transient realities and transformational movements,
and to navigate ourselves through the crucial liminal phase of
"an interlude or limen when the past is momentarily negated
and the future has not yet begun. It is a period of "fertile
chaos" when everything is uncertain, yet one of pure potentiality
where the mystery of possibility invites us to explore that which
is wanting to emerge" - Colette Kavanagh
word "liminal" comes from the Latin limen. It refers
to "the threshold, or the initial stage of a process"
(Oxford English Dictionary 8: 964). The World Book Dictionary
defines liminal as "the threshold of perception" (2:
1214). However, it is not one threshold or turning point
but two. Liminality is the passage between the two thresholds
where one "story" or experience ends and a new one begins.
terms, the first threshold to be crossed is leaving the "old
story" or pre-liminal phase. For example, a period in one's
personal life, a job, a marriage, or a company's way of being
in the world may need to come to an end. However, without successfully
navigating one's way through the liminal passage where transformation
takes place, one cannot hope to successfully enter the post-liminal
phase or "new story" with any degree of success.
Transformation and change are not the same dynamic and need to
be understood separately. Change frequently involves outer adaptations
to a new experience. For example, a company may re-design its
logo, modernize its image, uniforms, technology, the interior
of their premises or even appoint new leaders. However, the change
is results focused and usually involves a shift in the external
situations based upon somebody's perception of a problem. Change
is much easier for people to accept than transformation. Transformation
is the inner psychological process that people need to go through
to come to terms with change. It involves the three-phase process
mentioned above and may not be accompanied by short-term productivity.
Therefore modern culture sees the liminal phase of transition
as failure. It tries to quickly by-pass it especially when it
is accompanied with a great deal of resistence and the outcome
is uncertain. However, the greater the change the more attention
needs to be given to this liminal phase of transition.
Liminality can best be described as "fertile chaos,"
a storehouse of creative possibilities striving after new forms
and structure, or a gestation process. It is what goes on in nature
in the fertilized egg, in the chrysalis, and even more richly
and complexly in it's cultural homologues. Liminality is the seedbeds
of cultural creativity, an abyss of pure potential: a no-man's
land betwixt and between the structural past and the structural
Liminality is vital
to the maturation of any culture, society, organization, religion
or company that wishes to serve the deepest needs of its people.
Society is open-ended and is constantly re-generating itself.
At socially significant moments in time, between fixed cultural
categories, when elements of structural organization are temporarily
removed or rearranged, cultural creation takes place.
In liminality, the
individual may suffer a loss of identity. The previous social
status may no longer be effective, yet the new identity role has
not yet manifested. This transitional phase is disorientating
because it involves significant changes in the dominant self.
Individuals will be at different stages of transformation along
the change curve and the emotional response to change needs to
be recognised. Leaders of change also need to consider their own
process of transition.
In the liminal or
transitional phase of the transformational process, one enters
an in-between space or time where creativity is at its most intense.
It is a state where new values, behaviours, social dynamics and
functions or structures are emerging and coordinated. It is
vitally important that this phase is not completed too quickly.
The necessity to adapt to market dynamics and pressure for innovation
requires individuals and corporations to continuously transform
themselves. However, the process of transformation takes time,
and if the liminal phase is not given its due space the positive
effects of transition will be lost.
Colette Kavanagh, Ph.D., lives in Amsterdam. She is a Cultural
Psychologist who lectures internationally and has spent the past
twenty years specializing in transformation, liminality and change.
When Pope Benedict unexpectedly resigned in 2013, the Catholic
world was thrown into a state of chaos and liminality. If a pope
could resign, future popes could, perhaps, be forced to resign!!
At that moment, the University of California invited Colette to
speak for half an hour on their radio station to discuss this
historical transition and what it might involve for Roman Catholics
of Amsterdam blog
of Amsterdam blog
by Humberto Schwab, Philosopher, Owner, Humberto Schwab Filosofia
SL, Director, Club of Amsterdam
Ukrainian Dilemma and the Bigger Picture
by Hardy F. Schloer, Owner, Schloer Consulting Group - SCG, Advisory
Board of the Club of Amsterdam
impact of culture on education
by Huib Wursten, Senior Partner, itim International and
Carel Jacobs is senior consultant/trainer for itim in The Netherlands,
he is also Certification Agent for the Educational Sector of the
more demand for meat means for the future
Christophe Pelletier, The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.
peace and generosity
by Elisabet Sahtouris, Holder
of the Elisabet Sahtouris Chair in Living Economies, World Business
and many more contributions.
about the Future
for multifunctional roads
For Germany an increase
in heavy traffic volume of about 40% within the next 15 years
is predicted. Under these circumstances it is desirable to have
construction methods both for durable and noise reducing road
pavements. Nano-optimized concrete is a suitable material for
In the research project of the Federal Ministry of Education
and Research nanooptimized ultra high performance concrete is
developed for multifunctional roads. Ultra high performance
concrete (UHPC) is durable, robust, bearing and fine-grained.
Thus it is appropriate for realizing specially designed low
noise road surface textures achieving pass-by level reductions
up to 5 dB and at the same time providing good grip. In a joint
project with nine partners these textures were to be produced
in road surfaces made from UHPC.
The main tasks
included adapting the composition of the UHPC to the purposes
of site mixing and texturing, adapting the predefined texture
and the texturing method to the specific characteristics of
UHPC, reducing the energy consumption required for producing
the UHPC-compound by 40 % compared to standard UHPC-mixes. Appropriate
mixing and construction technologies for on site construction
in UHPC were developed.
Up Sound Waves
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed
a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can
bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories.
These self-bending bottle beams hold promise for ultrasonic imaging
and therapy, and for acoustic cloaking, levitation and particle
We need to find ways to bend acoustic wave fields without
depending on the use of a highly engineered medium, says
Xiang Zhang, director of Berkeley Labs Materials Sciences
Division. With our bottle beam technique, we can design
and synthesize acoustic bottles that are capable of directing
sound waves along paths of desired curvature through homogeneous
space without the need of metamaterials or any other highly engineered
medium. Our technique offers a new degree of freedom
for controlling the flow of acoustic energy at will.
These giant acoustic traps could lead to new technologies
and devices for a variety of applications in chemistry, materials,
as well as biosciences, he says. For example, by creating
this three-dimensional bottle-like acoustic trap, we could use
it as a micro-chemical reactor and manipulation of biological
Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible
by Daniel Burrus (Author), John David Mann
Flash Foresight offers seven radical principles you need to
transform your business today. From internationally renowned technology
forecaster Daniel Burrus - a leading consultant to Google, Proctor
& Gamble, IBM, and many other Fortune 500 firms - with John
David Mann, co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller
The Go-Giver, comes this systematic, easy-to-implement
method for identifying new business opportunities and solving
difficult problems in the twenty-first century marketplace.
change adaptation can help promote sub-Saharan
in ways to adapt to climate change will promote the livelihood
of 65 per cent of Africans, the United Nations environmental agency
reported, warning also that failing to address the phenomenon
could reverse decades of development progress on the continent.
Africas population is set to double to 2 billion by 2050,
the majority of whom will continue to depend on agriculture to
make a living, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
With 94 per cent of agriculture dependent on rainfall, the
future impacts of climate change including increased droughts,
flooding, and seal-level rise may reduce crop yields in
some parts of Africa by 15 20 per cent, UN Under-Secretary-General
Executive Director Achim Steiner said.
Such a scenario, if unaddressed, could have grave implications
for Africas most vulnerable states, he added.
In a new graphical report, Keeping
Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa (KTAA) Targeted Fiscal
Stimulus Actions Making a Difference
[pdf], UNEP details the implications of climate change, and provides
examples of adaptation projects that range from forest ecosystem
management to aquatics and agriculture.
The report describes sustainable examples of how countries in
sub-Saharan Africa enhanced environmental and ecosystem resilience
through the use of native plants and natural infrastructure, land
plans and rainwater harvesting, among other examples.
The projects are integrated into national development policies
which can strengthen and enhance the resilience communities against
the impacts of climate change, while also contributing to the
realization of the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), according to the report authors.
By integrating climate change adaptation strategies in national
development policies Governments can provide transitional pathways
to green growth and protect and improve the livelihoods of hundreds
of millions of Africans, Mr. Steiner noted.
The projects also highlight the urgency to act now in adapting
to challenges, especially in developing countries where capabilities
to respond to the magnitude of the problem are limited.
This years Africa Environment Day, marked annually on 3
March, focused on combating desertification on the continent and
enhancing its agriculture and food security. The continent has
lost 65 per cent of its agricultural land since 1950 due to land
degradation, according to figures cited by UNEP. Up to 12 per
cent of its agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) is lost
due to deteriorating conditions and 135 million people are at
risk of having to move from their land by 2020 due to desertification.
'atomic-switch' networks function like synapses
for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA):
While modern computers
have revolutionized information processing, the mammalian brain
continues to reign supreme in tasks such as recognizing sounds
or objects, reading handwriting, or predicting where food may
be found based on both memory and environmental clues. This contrast
in performance stems from the radically divergent physical structures
and operating mechanisms of neuronal networks and digital circuits.
Computers employ a microprocessor to rapidly perform simple, error-free
calculations in a sequential fashion and store data in physically
separate memory banks. In contrast, the brain comprises a vast
network of neurons serving simultaneously as both information
processors and memory units, resulting in comparatively slow and
imprecise operations in a parallel or distributed manner.
Most efforts to mimic
brain function involve programming computers to create virtual
neural networks. However, researchers at the California
NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)
at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the International
Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)
at the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan are developing
a neuromorphic device designed to incorporate structural aspects
inspired by the cortical neuropil and produce the class of operational
properties which underlie cognition in the mammalian brain.
The atomic switch,
a recently developed nanoscale circuit element, has been shown
to possess synapse-like properties in a purely inorganic device.
Using a nanoarchitectonic approach, millions of atomic switch
elements are incorporated into a densely interconnected network
of silver nanowires. These atomic switch networks (ASN) retain
the synaptic properties of their of individual component elements
and generate emergent behaviors comprised of their distributed,
collective interactions. Such emergent behaviors are a principal
characteristic of biological neural networks and many other complex
systems. Ongoing studies involve the utilization of these emergent
behaviors for information processing toward the generation of
a new class of cognitive technologies.
A look inside the ASN device reveals
its highly interconnected architecture which comprises synaptic
circuit elements at each point of contact between nanowires. The
collective interactions between these atomic switches result in
unique, emergent properties which have shown significant potential
for neuromorphic computing.
Portrait: Riel Miller
head of Foresight at UNESCO
For thirty years Riel has been co-creating innovation, leadership
and transformation in both the public and private sectors around
the world. He is one of the worlds leading strategic foresight
designers and practitioners. Currently Riel holds the position
of Head of Foresight at UNESCO in Paris. Previously he has worked
as a senior manager in the Ontario public service (Ministries
of Finance; Universities; and Industry) and for some thirteen
years in total at the OECD in Paris (Directorates of Economics;
Science & Technology; Education; Territorial Development;
Development Centre; International Futures Programme). In 2005
he founded an independent consultancy xperidox (which means
knowledge through experience) to advise clients on how to use
the future more effectively . Since 1988, when he managed his
first major participatory foresight exercise (Vision 2000), Riel
has designed over fifty applied futures projects around the world,
large and small scale, public and private. He is an accomplished
and innovative designer of processes for using the future to make
decisions in the present.
`[...] Open learning and closed learning can generate similar
capabilities a better understanding of knowledge creation
and acquisition. While closed learning emphasizes internalization
of existing knowledge and the development of pre-defined skills
and competences, open learning emphasizes the process of learning
itself. Open learning occurs in social networks where learners
gain and construct new knowledge and capabilities. It is often
self-directed and problem-oriented. It is self-motivated, grounded
in the learners personal context, and often it leads to
very rapid competence development. The learning-to-learn that
can augment closed learning and
vice-versa. [...]` - Promethean
Thinking Deeper Research Paper No.2 - Introduction
and Overview - Riel Miller
Interview of Riel
Miller by Sirkka Heinonen on Creativity and Futures Design2011
The Future Now Show
Future Now Show - September 2014!
Season Events 2014 / 2015
October 13, 2014
future of Historic Pianos
& coffee: 19:30, conference & concert:
19:45 - 22:00
Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, Herengracht 518, 1017
is not the regular museum entrance]
This is a collaboration
between Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis and
the Club of Amsterdam.
December 12 & 13, 2014
2014, 9:30 - 13:00 & 16:00 - 20:00
the future of Collective
January 28, 2015
Cube, Stdio 5, 155 Commercial Street, London
is a collaboration between The Cube and the
Club of Amsterdam.
future of South East Asia
the future of ...
and more ...
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