Making Law More Accessible: EU Launches openlaws.eu Project

10 Apr

Today is the official starting date for the openlaws.eu project, an EU Project funded by DG Justice. Openlaws will make legislation, case law and legal literature more accessible for citizens, businesses, legal experts and also public bodies and legal publishers. It aims to work with the public to add a social layer on top of existing legal information systems, intending to make it easier to work with others and to organize legal information. The project is built on open data, open innovation principles and open source software.

The project is currently in its initial starting phase, with a term of 24 months. At the moment it is offering a meta-search engine for legal content in Europe (based on N-Lex databases) and a legal App environment, and over the next few years it will be providing a variety of tools to further assist the public.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation Release Report on ‘Climate Change and Social Justice: An Evidence Review’

28 Mar

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has released a new report entitled ‘Climate change and social justice: an evidence review’. JRF are a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to identify the root causes of poverty and injustice, and support the communities struggling through these problems.

This latest report from JRF explores the social justice aspects of climate change in order to build an evidence base and support the development of socially just responses to climate change. There is a considerable lack of understanding about the implications of climate change on social justice in the UK and JRF attempt to amend this by exploring the long-term, systematic views on the issue and strengthen solutions to climate vulnerability. It collects current research and ideas in this emerging field to support the development of socially-equitable responses to climate change and considers the implications of this perspective for policy. It examines both direct and indirect impacts of climate change on UK populations and recognises aspects of UK policy to mitigate climate change by bringing down carbon emissions, identifying the costs and benefits of these policies.

MORAL DISARMAMENT – A DefenceSynergia Opinion Piece

21 Mar

Our guest blogger, Dave Tisdale, recently published this opinion piece on the DefenceSynergia website, and kindly allowed us to reproduce it here. DefenceSynergia is a defence & strategy research group that exposes the incoherence and weaknesses in the United Kingdom’s defence and security strategies. Read more about the organisation here.

The Prime Minister (PM), David Cameron, is reported to have said:”…What has happened with respect to the Crimea is unacceptable… Russia has acted in flagrant breach of international law… This matters to the people of Britain because we depend on a world where countries obey the rules…”

As a graduate of Oxford, Mr Cameron must have a basic understanding of Great Britain’s geopolitical history. Not least the uncomfortable realisation that his stand against Russian ambitions in Ukraine, especially the Crimea, has striking symmetry with that of Mr Neville Chamberlain leading up to the 1938 Munich crisis. Like the hapless Mr Chamberlain the current PM has been taken off guard by the vehemently nationalistic intentions of a European leader who simply makes his own international ‘rules’. Herr Hitler in 1938 and Mr Putin in 2014 both using ethnic diaspora to provide the casus belli to initiate military intervention.

In the aftermath of the First World War Ukraine was absorbed into the emerging Soviet empire. Some seventy years later as the Soviet Empire itself disintegrated Ukraine declared its independence from Moscow and in 1994 the Russian Federation, the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) became guarantors of Ukrainian independence when the new state gave up its nuclear arsenal. Yet it is Russia, one of those guarantors, that has violated the agreement on the flimsiest of pretexts to ensure Russian interests dominate along its borders.

Launch of the 2014 Social Progress Index: Tuesday 8 April

20 Mar

The Social Progress Imperative is an organisation devoted to advancing human wellbeing by combining national social performance and capacity indicators with solutions-oriented outreach to sector leaders, and grassroots champions, in order to promote long-term, large-scale change.

On Tuesday 8 April, the Social Progress Imperative is launching its Social Progress Index 2014 at the Deloitte Auditorium. The Social Progress Index is an annual review that measures the performance of countries in terms of the quality of life of their citizens, using indicators of social and environmental outcomes exclusively. To effectively tackle the economic and social problems that challenge national stability and growth, both social and environmental factors must be measured. Covering critical issues such as healthcare, infrastructure and civil liberties, the Index benchmarks country performance to drive forward national debate and help prioritize investment decisions, and provides an invaluable framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress.

Thoughts on the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System Conference

18 Mar

Back in February, Cat attended the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) Conference in Brussels. Over the course of two days, a number of speakers and panels addressed the key concerns facing Europe in the coming years, ranging from the future of the European economy, to its response to resource scarcity and its role in an increasingly polycentric world. Speakers included a range of public figures and policy experts from across the world, who took this chance to explore current global trends, the impact on the European Union and possible policy options for the future. Read more about the conference here.

The ESPAS project started in 2010 as an attempt to assess the long-term political and economic environments for the EU over the next 20 years. This year, the process will culminate in the publication of a detailed appraisal of long-term global trends and the challenges and options for the period 2014/2019. This shared commitment to collective, strategic thinking will lay the ground for more permanent cooperation and dialogue.

The Millennium Project Launch Latest Report: ’2013 – 2014 State of the Future’

17 Mar

On 20 March, 2014 the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will launch the 2013-14 State of the Future report. This report integrates and distilles the rapidly changing global situation in technology, environment, social unrest, development gaps, security, energy, food, organized crime, gender relations, governance, health, education, and more. It gives an unparaelled overview of our current situation, propects, and suggestions to build a better future, plus the annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing and the 2013 State of the Future Index. Chapter 1 on 15 Global Challenges provides a framework for understanding global change. Other chapters share international assessment of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problem of hidden hunger, vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones, loan wolfs and individuals making and deploying a weapon of mass distrtuion, and the Global Futures Intelligence System. See more about the report here.

My @Wikistrat Report Released: “The Bicentennial Woman”

10 Mar

The first 200-year old woman is coming – or maybe she is already here…

With the 21st century promising to be the “century of biology”, one can plausibly conceive of a human – most logically a woman – finally breaking the 200-year age barrier. She will probably be born within the next century: indeed, some experts believe that the first “Bicentennial Woman” (BCW) may already be alive today

New Psychoanalytic Organisational Consulting Services Available for Businesses

7 Mar

Ben Metz, a contact of Cat’s, and a consultant who has been supporting civil society organisations in the UK and internationally for over 20 years, is now offering a new range of Psychoanalytic Organisational Consulting services to social enterprises, charities and not-for-profit organisations across the UK and internationally. Ben has been committed to developing his understanding of psychological processes personally, in groups and across organisations for some years, and has trained at The Tavistock Centre, and is an associate member of APPCIOS, The Association for Psychodynamic Practice and Counselling in Organisational Settings, a membership institution of the British Psychoanalytic Council.

This experience has led Ben to develop his own bespoke courses that aim to advise clients in understanding and addressing a range of challenges so their organisations may become healthier and more productive. Through this approach Ben assists people to improve their understanding of organisational dynamics in order to effect change and instigate new behaviours and innovations. Systems Psychodynamics, the core approach that he uses, draws direct parallels between the psychology of individuals and the psychology of organisations. Accepting this, within the context of one in four people experiencing mental health problems annually, and that these problems increase with social exclusion, it is simply astounding there are no psychological health services in the UK meeting the needs of civil society organisations.