• Published Date: 24/09/2019
  • by: UNDP

Nas Daily, an influencer who campaigns against social segregation

Many of us have known today’s famous vlogger and influencer Nas Daily from his short one-minute videos and the signature send-off tagline, “That’s one minute, see you tomorrow!” Nas Daily is Nuseir Yassi, a 26-year-old Palestinian-Israeli who decided to travel the world and make one video every day not only to document his journey, but also expose his viewers to new experiences around the world. In one of Yassi’s more outstanding videos, he opens with,

“I hope this video make you angry, because it makes me angry”

 

 

This episode of Nas Daily is titled “Segregation”. When we hear the word segregation, we would think about the separation of people on the basis of race, skin color, sex, religion, and other differences, leading to inequality, discrimination and intolerance. Even as societies have advanced and connected without borders, and people’s views are more open; racial discrimination still often manifests itself in schools, societies, and communities, on and offline. What follows is nevertheless conflict.

 

 

At the beginning of his video, Nuseir Yassin talks about his childhood as an Arab who didn’t have any Jewish friends. It wasn’t because he hated Jews, but because Jews and Arabs didn’t want to live around each other. In Israel where Yassin lived, segregation exists much like in many more countries around the world. There, Jews and Arabs would live in different neighborhoods. They wouldn’t go to the same school or associate with each other in any way.

He adds that this racial segregation is no one’s fault. It’s only natural for humans to gravitate towards those with the same culture. But self-segregation from the rest of society on the basis of faith or race, he notes, is dangerous. For instance, although London has rich racial diversity; Muslims, black people and white people live separately. The Muslims have their own neighborhood and they’re surrounded by their own culture. Society is, then, broken up into parts that don’t mix with one another. And when they don’t see or understand the others, it becomes easier to hate. This is why segregation is frightening.

 

 

However, there’s a solution. Yassin shares about Singapore, a country with a diverse population of Malays, Chinese and Indians. 81% of the people live in public housing which is required by the government to fulfill a racial quota: in every 100 apartments, there are 74 Chinese families, 13 Indian households and 13 Malaysian ones. No one race occupies 100% of public housing, and this creates a good model for racial integration. Jun Xiang, a representative from Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) who is featured in the video also added,

“We have encouraged social mixing so that people of different racial groups stay together and understand the lifestyle of each other,”

 

This kind of social mixing enables people of different races to meet and mingle: children play together in the playground and become friends as their parents say hello to each other in the elevator. If this integration policy worked in Singapore, it can be adopted by any country in the world. Because no matter where they are, governments should find a way to encourage people of different races to live together. Not only in the policy level that should be changed, but we should also teach our children and the next generations to understand cultural diversity, and accept and respect others’ differences so that we can live harmoniously as one big society and there can be no place left for segregation.

 

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  • Published Date: 18/09/2019
  • by: UNDP

Data Innovation for Policy Development – Case Study

 

Nesta, a British innovation foundation, used data innovation to analyze the demand for labor in the UK in 41 million job advertisements. It predicted that data engineering is a skill most likely to be the best paying one around.

How could data innovation could help the Brexit crisis?

Let’s start with some background on Brexit – Britain and the EU’s chronic conundrum of four years. In the most recent turn of events, the British MPs have voted in favor of the bill introduced by the Labour Party that would extend the Brexit deadline to January 20, 2020 from the original date on October 19, 2019. The bill is meant to prevent a “no-deal Brexit” pursued by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The subject of the UK’s no-deal departure has caused turmoil in the House of Commons and, if realized, would greatly impact people’s lives in many ways, including the workforce. One of the defining arguments behind Brexit was immigration – EU Leavers were concerned about the increasing number of immigrants who might take a fraction of British jobs.

If we look closely at the data on the UK’s workforce, there are other sets of data related to it. Advancement in innovation would be most beneficial for managing and analyzing these big chunks of data. We’re talking, more specifically, about data innovation, which plays an important role in generating, analyzing and classifying data.

What is data innovation?

Data innovation is the gathering and use of new or non-traditional data, such as data from social media, digital content and more, to help us analyze, classify and “granulate” data efficiently. It provides insights into a particular issue as well as opportunities for development. Policy-makers can apply data innovation to drive their cities towards sustainability, because when they are able to granulate essential data, they can see what is overlooked or lacking and how they can solve the problems.

The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, or Nesta, a British innovation organization uses data innovation to project and analyze the post-Brexit future of the UK’s workforce. It found that there would be a shortage of certain skills and in the long run more human jobs would be done by artificial intelligence (AI). Together with policy-makers, educationists, business people, blue-collar workers and students, between 2012-2017 Nesta analyzed 41 million job advertisements in the UK and classified important skills for workers. This information will allow for better planning of recruitment, training and education, which are vital to driving the economy, as well as helping workers and students make more informed career decisions.

In Nesta’s analysis, skills are fundamental for a wide variety of jobs and they can change according to time and their market value assessment estimates. The following is the made-public classification of five skill groups with relatively high salaries and other five with relatively lower salaries.

 

Skill groups with relatively high salaries and rapid growth

1. Data engineering

2. IT security operations

3. Marketing research

4. Application development

5. Website development

 

Skill groups with relatively low salaries and low growth:

1. Shipping and warehouse operations

2. Medical administration and coding

3. General sales

4. Archiving and libraries

5. Journalism and writing

 

Nevertheless, these data sets are not definite. As previously mentioned, they can change over time and according to the market value assessment. Perhaps Nesta would have to present their analysis again before long. After Brexit and all the changes it entails, data innovation would remain a critical tool that helps us think, analyze and classify new sets of data, and help leaders and policy-makers achieve goals and run the country efficiently again.

Using data innovation to analyze the demand of the UK’s labour market following the Brexit crisis is only one example. There are more success cases from others that have adopted this method successfully and played an important part in the sustainable social and economic development of their countries.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.nesta.org.uk/news/nesta-creates-most-comprehensive-public-map-skills-uk-help-tackle-skill-shortages-ahead-brexit/

https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/big-data-sustainable-development/index.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887

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  • Published Date: 16/09/2019
  • by: UNDP

Learn to prevent violence before it ever happens

 

Undeniably, today’s world is covered with images of poverty, discrimination, inequality and injustice. They are the factors behind violent extremism whether at a community, national or global level. The timely important question is what does it take to prevent violent extremism? What tools or measures can stop violence-induced tragedies before they happen time and time again?

 

 

Preventing violent extremism is not averting violence with more violence. It’s about how to identify the problem as well as its root cause to collectively find a peaceful solution. The approach requires cooperation between the government, local authorities and citizens.

Although there hasn’t been a clear example of violent extremism in Thailand, the risks that can lead to it are in view. Here, the space for all people to share their opinion, dialogue and problems is quite limited. This includes various issues that still go unaddressed such as women’s limited social and political voice, the apparent gender inequality in Thai society, and inequitable access to opportunities for the excluded and underprivileged.

Getting informed or a better understanding of the issues is a good and essential first step. We had a chance to meet Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, a lecturer of international relations at the Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, and talked to her about preventing violent extremism in Thailand.

 

(photo credit : GM Magazine, January 2017 issue)

What is PVE?

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: PVE or Preventing Violent Extremism is to avert violence that is the result of extreme ideologies. The violence is justified by a certain extreme ideology or thought, and targeted at someone or some group who the extremist sees as their “opposition”, or who they think “taints” their society. To prevent such violence, we need to look at the social structure and culture that shape the extremists. These people often live in social conflict, and when people face conflict on a daily basis, being in this loop of animosity, they would harbour grievance. It can be grievance over economic injustice, glaring class disparity, or religious and racial discrimination.

Some may feel that a certain policy doesn’t give them equal access to education. Others may feel similarly about other policies. There are varying reasons for the grievance. So, to create protection against extreme ideologies, we need to study and understand people’s grievances, seeing what drives them to the point of violent conflict.

 

PVE in the context of Thailand

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: The meaning of violent extremism we understand now derives from the experience of our neighboring countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as many countries in the Middle East and the West, which may not represent the same experiences that Thai people have. From the dialogue in Thailand, the definition of violent extremism here is not quite set. Each group or sector has its own understanding of the term, depending on their experience and stance in different situations of conflict. For example, when we talk to the civil society, we’ll learn that the state is at the center of it, they’re the one inflicting violence on the people and therefore is the root cause of violence. Meanwhile, from the state’s point of view, violent extremism comes from a certain group of people who commit violence against another group of people who have a different identity from them. So for us, I think the definition of violent extremism should be based on the context of Thai society. That is, we understand the conditions of violent extremism by looking at the relevant dimensions – social, political, economic, etc – rather than look at who commits violence.

 

Work to prevent violent extremism

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: The UNDP’s work to prevent violent extremism in Thailand is divided into many units, but they can be grouped into two main areas, namely:

1. PVE in the conflict zones of Thailand’s three deep southern provinces: Various programs are set up to research the social and cultural conditions that enable or assist violent conflict. For example, a program that focuses on Thai-Muslim tolerance or a program that promotes dialogue between Buddhists and Muslims to develop good understanding between people of different faiths.

2. PVE in other areas in Thailand: research on the root causes of grievance in all regions – north, northeast, central and south – and what motivates violent extremist actions and how

UNDP also has a team of people that monitors hate speech in the country, identifying and analyzing open conversations and statements on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook that discriminate against minority groups. Additionally, we collaborate with government agencies to support various violent extremism prevention initiatives.

 

 

Public awareness

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: There still isn’t that much awareness about preventing violent extremism among the general public. Because its concept originated elsewhere, that is, violence-stricken countries or societies. So now we’re working to raise more awareness and create a better public understanding of the issue.

That being said, there are a lot more to be done and challenges to tackle. We’re going to focus on building cooperation between different sectors – from the private sector, organizations to civil society – through a strategic management approach, research, or consultation with experts in various areas in order to come up with Thailand’s approach to preventing violent extremism.

 

Sources :

– Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Lecturer of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University

– The United Nations and The World Bank, 2018, “Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approach to Preventing Violent Conflict”. Executive Summary, Washington D.C. Bank. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.

– http://www.asia-pacific.undp.org/content/rbap/en/home/programmes-and-initiatives/extremelives.html?fbclid=IwAR3G9xDf15DZCyru0BvszNMAL5rcdITCcR4YdKIPrmfT8JmzxIEAaz5QFzo

– https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development/peace/conflict-prevention/preventing-violent-extremism.html

– https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2019/new-approaches-to-preventing-violent-extremism.html

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  • Published Date: 27/08/2019
  • by: UNDP

SDGs in Action for Sustainable Tourism at Plean Yod Tarn Community with APYE

 

A mention of a coconut farm may bring to mind a picture of fresh, full coconut in your hand, ready to quench your thirst. But that very coconut has more to offer: coconut oil that is added to skincare products, the meat of mature coconuts that are extracted for coconut milk, or coconut blossoms – chan in Thai – from which the sap is used to make coconut sugar. In search of 100% natural coconut sugar, we went to a local farm and we saw all the hard work that goes into making it. It is no exaggeration to say all-natural coconut sugar is hard to come by nowadays.

 

 

We had an opportunity to follow the coconut farmers at Nang Ta Khian Sub-district, Samut Songkhram Province along with a group of young people from different countries thanks to the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE) program’s collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In this sixth iteration of the exchange program in Thailand, the youth got to stay with the local community for one week.

 

 

We learned how to make coconut sugar from our hosts, a new generation of farmers who have enlisted the locals to preserve their community’s traditional knowledge before it faded away with time. The young farmers asserted the value of their local heritage and resources, and eventually were able to strengthen the bond of the community. On top of getting to be a farmer for a day, we gained an insight into the community’s genial and harmonious way of life – all reflected in the warm smiles of the aunts and uncles we met.

 

 

Equally important is being on the ground to explore the community and learn about various issues relevant to development through talking and working with the people in the community. This opened up an opportunity for the youth participants to discuss and become part of community development. They were able to present ideas and proposals for the locals to take up to promote sustainable tourism in accordance with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations’ global goals for a better world.

 

 

You may have heard about sustainable tourism before, and you may wonder how we can promote tourism while balancing economic, social and environmental development, and ensuring participation from community members, the government, private sector, and tourists to protect the community’s livelihood and quality of life.

 

Let’s hear from Chareef Wattana, a law student at Thammasat University and one of this year’s APYE youth participants.

 

 

Why did you decide to apply to the APYE program?

One of the courses I’ve taken at Thammasat is Civic Engagement (TU100) so I’ve learned the basics of the Sustainable Development Goals. Thammasat is a university that cares about the environment and sustainability, which is very much aligned with the objectives of APYE.

“So being part of the program, I got to apply what I’ve learned to real work, theory to practice. I got to conduct a survey, identify problems in the community, and come together with youths from different countries to find possible solutions from our diverse perspectives.”

 

 

What is Plean Yod Tarn’s approach to sustainable development?

Plean Yod Tarn is a community-based social enterprise that was started by two young farmers together with the elders in Nang Ta Khian. Their initiative has led to better economy and livelihood for the community. Their product is environmentally friendly and that is a stepping stone to achieving other SDGs.

“First, I think it’s about participation. Because to mobilize actions for the SDGs, it takes more than a single person; it needs participation from different actors, from community leaders, people in that community, to young people. All of them are stakeholders when it comes to developing a particular community.”

 

 

What is the goal of sustainable tourism?

Attracting tourists to create jobs and income would advance the economy of the community. But we should keep in mind that their visits would not disrupt the locals’ way of life, both culturally and socially. We should also think about environment protection: how do we let people come into their environment without destroying it?

“The key objective of sustainable tourism development is being responsible for ecosystems and communities. Because sustainability is not just about today or tomorrow. It’s about this generation, the next generation, and the ones to come.”

“[It] isn’t just about today or tomorrow. It’s about this generation, the next generation, and the ones to come.”

 

 

How are youth important drivers of SDGs?

Youth are the future. They can do and will have time to do so much for our country. Most of them are now in university, acquiring knowledge in different areas of study. They will apply what they have learned to practice, and they will be proud of themselves for it.

“What we learn now isn’t just for a day job we’ll have in 4-5 years’ time. It is also for making an impact in your community, coming up with solutions to existing problems, and influencing policy change, urging the government or relevant agencies to recognize and redress the problems.

 

 

What did you take away from the program ?

Throughout the week where we got to interact with the locals, we saw how they genuinely felt about their community. One lady we talked to said she wanted to see her community making coconut sugar again. This sparked something in her and got her thinking about what they could do to preserve local knowledge and heritage and pass them on to future generations.

“It was such a new experience for me. I never knew we had so many great products and stories behind them. I feel hopeful that some people are thinking about developing the community and bringing about positive change. They make me want to do my part in making that happen, too.”

 

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There are many innovation platforms all over the world. What makes Thailand Social Innovation Platform unique is that we have created a Thai platform fully dedicated to the SDGs, where social innovators in Thailand can access a unique eco system of entrepreneurs, corporations, start-ups, universities, foundations, non-profits, investors, etc. This platform thus seeks to strengthen the social innovation ecosystem in Thailand in order to better be able to achieve the SDGs. Even though a lot of great work within the field of social innovation in Thailand is already happening, the area lacks a central organizing entity that can successfully engage and unify the disparate social innovation initiatives taking place in the country.

This innovation platform guides you through innovative projects in Thailand, which address the SDGs. It furthermore presents how these projects are addressing the SDGs.

Aside from mapping cutting-edge innovation in Thailand, this platform aims to help businesses, entrepreneurs, governments, students, universities, investors and others to connect with new partners, projects and markets to foster more partnerships for the SDGs and a greener and fairer world by 2030.

The ultimate goal of the platform is to create a space for people and businesses in Thailand with an interest in social innovation to visit on a regular basis whether they are looking for inspiration, new partnerships, ideas for school projects, or something else.

We are constantly on the lookout for more outstanding social innovation projects in Thailand. Please help us out and submit your own or your favorite solutions here

Read more

  • What are The Sustainable Development Goals?
  • UNDP and TSIP’s Principles Of Innovation
  • What are The Sustainable Development Goals?

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