Kieran Jones (He/Him)Forum Network Community Manager and Forum Programme Officer, OECD
Isn't much of the increase in "public support" due to the skyrocketing amount of fertilisers being bought across Africa, which is certain to ruin their already fragile soils and deoxygenate what little freshwater they have? Who is benefitting? A few large agrichemical companies in rich countries, keen to expand their markets in less technically proficient parts of the world while regions such as Europe get smarter about their use. The quality of public support matters more than the numbers. Nature-based solutions are cheaper, and better tailored to geographical specifics. Tackling diffuse pollution from agriculture and redirecting those fines to support non-polluting and biodiversity-enhancing farms will quickly change the behaviour that has been allowed to wreck ecosystems the world over.
Hi Lucy, thanks for your comment! Your point that the “quality of public support matters more than the numbers” echoes our own message that the “composition of support is at least as important as its level”, and we strongly recommend to reduce and phase out the forms of support that are most harmful to environment, climate and markets, and to reform other support to better target needy farmers and sustainable productivity growth, while putting in place carbon prices or other measures to effectively reduce agricultural emissions.
By way of background for the wider picture on fertiliser support: the OECD does indeed report significant support related to the use of variable inputs such as fertilisers—not in Africa, but in several South and South-East Asian countries (notably India and Indonesia). While overuse of fertilisers is an issue locally, such support more generally distorts fertiliser use ratios away from what would be optimal on a given field or for a given product. Support provided for fuel, electricity or water can have similarly harmful effects for the environment.
For more information, check out our recent publications: OECD Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2022 and the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2022-2031.
I have a great interest in this topic I worked on and published articles the topic as follows;
1. Impact of Enabling / Disabling Technologies on Higher Education
2. Impact of climate change and higher education.
Now I am already writing on the topic of Green skills implementation in higher education. Kindly let me allow you to use some text in my project and if possible I need its framework or more articles. I shall be very thankful to You
Azra Abdul Majeed
University of Management and Tecnology Pakistan
Thanks for your interest! We created a new badge just for posts like this, Green Skills, so you'll find lots more great articles in there and we'll keep adding new ones. To get notifications when we post content like this, subscribe to the Work & Skills channel.
Feel free to use this article and others in your work, please just include a link back to the Forum Network as the source—and feel free to tell your friends to join as well!
Thanks for your comment and good luck with your project!
In Germany, the government found a 'solution' to the overuse of packaging material and its processing. They introduced the so-called German Packaging Act, which obligates retailers shipping in and to Germany to license their packaging material. The money is used for waste processing and recycling purposes: https://www.lizenzero.de/en/blog/german-packaging-act-in-the-uk-obligations-when-shipping-to-germany/ As a consequence, retailers try to use less packaging material (the more packaging material, the more money they have to pay for it). In addition to that, less retailers from the US or other countries have shipped goods to Germany because they want to evade these costs. Thus, also emissions can be reduced. I think the law should or could be also introduced in the US.
It seems as though these ideas are gaining some traction—as you mentioned the United States, I asked my colleagues and they told me some states have in fact recently passed Extended Producer Responsibility laws for packaging, such as Maine, Oregon and Colorado:
How do you think Colorado's bill compares to the German Packaging Act? Is there anything they could learn from each other?
We also have a page dedicated to Extended Producer Responsibility where we post papers, reports and event information on all things EPR—and everything is available digitally so there's no packaging waste!
Thanks for your comment!
Under "Send us your book ideas" I'd like to recommend
These both look excellent, thank you very much! The publisher's link for The Richer, The Poorer doesn't seem to be working, but more details can be seen on Stewart Lansley's site:
My book suggestions:
- Globalization and the Decline of Social Reform by Gary Teeple
- Covid-19 The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab
- The Death of Money by James Rickards
- Collusion by Nomi Prins
- The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brezinski
- Money Land by Oliver Bullough
- Dark Towers by David Enrich
- And the Weak Suffer What they must by Yanis Varoufakis
- The Silent Take Over - Noreena Hertz
Happy New Year!
Thank you for this very wide-ranging selection—we'll take a look!
The post is about an essential topic, and addressing the so-called "pandemic era" requires increasing people's resilience also in relation to their psychological strength, especially as regards the more frail people.
I find the words of Husseini Manji very interesting. Where is it possible to read his entire speech, and perhaps even find any supporting literature?
Thank you very much for your comment; we agree focusing on mental health is a critical part of the medical response to COVID-19. We have covered a number of angles already on the Forum Network, which you can read in our Health section, and will continue to do so as the situation develops and we move towards the recovery.
You can hear Husseini’s full comments either in the video replay of this OECD Forum virtual event posted in this article or via the dedicated link on OECD Web TV. Husseini also wrote an article on the Forum Network following this session, The Growing Mental Health Crisis in the Wake of COVID-19. For the latest on the OECD’s work in this area check out Tackling the mental health impact of the COVID-19 crisis: An integrated, whole-of-society response, and with your experience as Health Sociologist we’d love to hear your opinions on it!
At least since David Ricardo, there can be no question that trade and investment are an important, even vital wealth generator. At least since Adam Smith, it is clear that, where the financial effects are more important than the external effects, it is more efficiently conducted by private enterprise than by governments. The exception of external effects is important and goes for other sectors of the economy also.
The upshot of the above is that transactions with large externalities are best regulated, executed and financially supported (including development aid) by governments, while the rest (including mainstream trade) needs a looser set of regulations for smooth operations only. Government's financial support will often be needed to finance the value of the externalities, since classical, transaction-based economic and financial measuring and statistics are unable to measure them, let alone well-being.
ODA is the prime tool to apply a correction for externalities, even if they are negative, such as arms, privacy infringement or tourism. OECD could work on that. There is low-hanging fruit in this area. Trade is a tool for development, but development is not a goal of private companies. Their overwhelming goal is profit or return on investment. Their prime restriction is risk. They do not need much support beyond the incidental education effort to find profit or return on investment. OECD should concentrate on risk.
The poorer the country, the higher the risk. Traders should be able to rely on a system of rule of law, with clear property rules. They need a reliable and fair payment system. They rightly consider corruption as a considerable risk. They consider weak or no consideration of ESG as risk.
More and more, they see non-activity (including no net zero targets, net zero targets after 2050, targets without credibility and targets linked to impossible demands) on climate change as very risky indeed in particular as it is clear already that laggard countries will eventually face prohibitive border controls for their goods and services. These risks, in particular climate change risks, are more important as the trade or investment project is longer term. Yet, longer term trade relations and long-term investments are exactly what most effectively drives development.
Taking risk mitigation as the central factor to stimulate trade and investment in the poorer countries would make OECD action significantly more effective. Such a policy would be an important argument towards the private actors in trade and investment and an impetus for co-operation between private and public parties.
As always, thank you very much for your insightful comment. From the OECD’s perspective, it’s important to note that Aid for Trade’s emphasis on trade facilitation plays a key role in reducing the risks traders face due to institutional shortcomings. With respect to risks linked to corruption, our research indicates a strong correlation between integrity and streamlined and transparent border processes.
We also agree that risk mitigation should be an important objective of Aid for Trade, as well as aid at large. The COVID-19 crisis has improved the perception of risk and how it affects the long-term value of assets, including in OECD countries. This should help promote better risk management and alignment of finance with the SDGs—the best roadmap to resilience.
Specifically on Aid for Trade, significant efforts are made to build the resilience of global or regional value chains, and mitigate the effects of external shocks. Innovative finance, for example, is a preferred tool for risk-mitigation, and blended finance contributes to de-risking investment in order to mobilise private finance in developing countries. Risk is also addressed through Aid for Trade with the improvement of the investment and business environments—this includes programmes in support of SME-upgrading or regulatory reforms in the services sector, which contribute to increased predictability of transactions and to securing the quality of local production and sourcing.