Dear Colleagues,

I am not sure if the time on this focused discussion is up, but it would
be too bad if it was, because I feel there is much to discuss and the
discussion here has been continual and robust. 

[***Moderator's Note: Although today is the last day of the focused
discussion, the GKD List is ongoing (and has been for over 7 years); we
will continue to post messages relating to the theme of "Technology,
Globalization and the Poor" after today, as well as more general

When I fist read your article Shahid, I thought you were referring to
ecological sustainability. Reading it more carefully I now see you are
talking about financial sustainability. However many say the same truth
also applies to the development of ecologically and socially sustainable
projects. I know there are at least a few of us here who are concerned
with the social, ecological as well as financial issues of
sustainability. In America, we refer to this as the triple bottom line.

In terms of what we at OVF <> are shooting
for, we want an integrated model for rural or urban (what do we actually
mean by rural) development that is community oriented. There are several
missing gaps I have seen in these email exchanges that focus on these
two areas:

1. The important social and community aspects of sustainability
2. A whole systems approach to sustainability as mentioned below

Andrew Kean previously worked for a leading eco-think tank in America
called Rocky Mountain Institute. He explains the importance of whole
systems thinking, specially looking at the development of the Factor Ten
Engineering movement in the engineering field:

Factor 10X engineering is based on a proactive approach and optimistic
outlook despite the challenges. An influential book - Factor Four
suggested that large productivity gains are possible, that it is
possible to double output while halving resource consumption. Factor Ten
is based on a revision of this by Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek of the
Wuppertal Institute <> of Germany who
suggested that in developed countries factor four was unlikely to be
enough. Professionals from governmental, industrial and academic
institutions met in Carnoules, France
<> to
further define Factor Ten in 1994. This is known as the declaration of
the Factor 10 club.

The phrase factor ten, comes from the realization that globally, the
material turnover (per unit of production) needs to be drastically
reduced in order to ensure sustainable resources use and ultimately
survival of industrial society. They noted that to address adverse
ecological and the associated health and social affects of modernization
to sustainable levels, we would need to reduce the current human
footprint by around a factor of TEN.

Large gains in resource productivity are achieved by a shift in
thinking, by an integration of management, technological and process
improvements. Attention is directed not only to the manufacture of
products and delivery of services but to consideration of the way your
products and services are designed, produced, packaged, transported,
sold, used and disposed of <>

While we at oneVillage Foundation are not engineers we feel that we have
a grasp on the necessary changes that need to take place to make human
systems sustainable over the next few years.

1. Introduce pedagogic tools on whole system design. The first stage of
our program is aimed at developing Community and Technology centers to
provide hands-on experiences in the design of sustainable systems for
the grassroots/bottom up economy starting with communities we have
identified in Africa to be the first sites for Unity Centers. Our
proposed Open and Distance Learning Program will teach Africans to
develop and evolve sustainability concepts based on their own local
perspectives and needs.

2. The next step involves exploring case studies/best practices on whole
systems design that are relevant to local needs. Sustainable systems
will be designed to boost resource productivity and replicate them at
the community level, first in the centers and then expanding to the
surrounding community or communities, using factor ten or similar
methodologies in all aspects of human design and development.

3. Develop financially profitable self-sustaining economies at the local
rural level to encourage local production empowering local economies and
mitigate unsustainable global trade flows of capital and resources.

All social initiatives do not need to be financially viable but they
have to be aligned with cross sector partners who will see a reason to
fund these projects indefinitely. I see a model that might fit your
needs and concerns.

It is not so much an issue of whether a project is of a purely business
nature so much as the reality that the money has to come from somewhere
and I think we would all prefer that capital flow be sustainable and not
interrupted. The core issue is not financial sustainability but
financial stability and local empowerment. Many current projects are not
financially sustainable and they are dependent on funding from affluent
countries. Now I am not necessarily against this but I do feel that it
needs to be a system that is more accountable, more direct, focusing on
"end-to-end human services" rather than on sustaining bloated,
inefficient and highly centralized bureaucracies with high overhead.

With ICT, we can enable networks that make the bottom-up economy empower
the grassroots in emerging markets but also the grassroots in affluent
countries. This is what we call at oneVillage a multi-track approach
because it considers the complementary (rather than adversarial)
nature/relationships of people in both the affluent and non-affluent
worlds and explore how we can work together through the development of
end-to-end human services.

I would say the donor driven ideology is problematic in the development
field because it encourages a disconnect to emerge between the people
who are served and people who provide the funding, organize the projects
and design and build them. It also encourages a dependency mentality
whereby people spend much time filling out grant proposals and all the
associated paper work. This from my perspective has a very limited ROI
and actually inhibits our creative and innovative capacity to find
solutions and effectively more forward in reaching our ambitious
sustainable development goals.

An alternative non-profit subsidy framework could involve using ICT to
develop a research database to outline the costs of the current
globalization model and to evaluate the economic, social and ecological
sustainability of existing capital and resource flows. For example,
because Ghana faced a high debt load in the 80s, it was forced to
increase the export of natural resources and much of this was not
ecologically sustainable as the forest cover dwindled.

Now if these transnational trade flows were deemed unsustainable (as
most are), then a tax would be levied on that product or service.
Consumers in affluent countries would then more accurately pay the full
ecological and social cost of that product. This fee would go to defray
and mitigate the costs of these unsustainable practices possibly
building rural development/empowerment centers. The emphasis would not
be on profitability but on developing local social enterprises that
would provide local services using ICT to build capacity through
education, health and improved agricultural practices, and to promote
the sustainable management of natural resources. They might actually be
profitable in many cases with the money plowed into the
replication/expansion of these sustainable prototypes. Their focus would
be on addressing local ecological degradation such as biodiversity loss,
soil loss, water loss, desertification, and loss of cultural identity
through tree planting, land preservation, carbon sequestration and
sustainable agriculture, etc.

Jeff Buderer
oneVillage Foundation
Sustainable Design/Project Development
Cell 408.813.5135
Yahoo IM: jefbuder

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