Case Study: Human Rights Impact Assessment ( blog/AboutUs/_archives/2005/7/23/1069896.html) - Greg Walton (http:// - Independent consultant to Rights & Democracy, Montreal, Canada

The idea of the Workshop is that of having a general discussion on what kind of (conceptual, technical, etc.) infrastructures would be needed to foster the adoption of simulation as a research method for the social sciences. A slight risk, however, is that the discussion might degenerate from being general to being simply generic. To avoid this risk, the organisers felt that it would be useful to have a 'focal point', a concrete example of a complex model that someone might be willing to build and to which we can go back during the workshop to ask ourselves if and how the infrastructures we are discussing would be useful in this case. I will present our problem, with an emphasis on the methodology we are developing for civil society organisations, and seek your ideas on how social simulation might help (or hinder!) the research.

The methodology has been developed from the UN Norms for Business ( 2.2003.12.Rev.2.En?Opendocument) that were adopted by the UN Sub Commission on Human Rights in August 2003, which themselves draw on the entire body of international and regional human rights law. This methodology is to be tested on five different cases of international investment. In its current form the methodology consists of a series of open-ended questions. These questions should enable communities, corporate and government actors to understand how the various factors and different actors interact to result in a positive or negative impact on human rights. The process of using the tool is intended to increase awareness of human rights norms among all stakeholders, and could lead to engaging duty bearers, challenging violators, publicising violations, and improving policy.

So, our aim is to develop a consistent and comprehensive methodology for the analysis of investment projects, that helps to design strategies for sustainable, participatory, rights based development. The model would try to integrate legal, socio-economic, environmental and technological concepts including the development, integration, and demonstration of tools and methodology to improve forecasting, assessment and policy level decision support - at an early stage in the project cycle -> permenant, real-time 'mirror worlds' (installations processing ground based sensors and earth observation data to support e-government). Combining an indicator based approach with simulation models and scenario analysis, socio- economic and environmental impact assessment, managing legal documents, and collaborative writing, and a public information component, the model would include awareness building and educational initiatives for stake-holders participating in investment decision making processes. The five case studies involved in HRIA differ widely in terms of culture, environmental conditions, size, economic structure, social composition and demography. However, they all face common challenges in their projects such as those relating to health, workers rights, etc., but also related issues such as reducing social exclusion and promoting sustainable development. Agenda_Setting_Workshop_on_Social_Simulation#11:25-11:45_Focal_Point

On 8 Nov 2005, at 22:58, Anthony Townsend wrote:

Smart directions for green ideas
By Jonathan Amos
BBC News science reporter

Electro-car public transport and a scheme to track the proper disposal of waste are two of smartest ideas for using satellite- navigation technology. The applications have just triumphed in an international competition seeking novel ways to employ Galileo, Europe's soon-to- launch sat-nav system. The multi-billion-euro space venture will transform the quality of location and timing data available on Earth. And entrepreneurs are being urged to develop innovative ways to exploit it. The transport application devised by the Vu Log company in Sophia Antipolis, France, envisages a fleet of "green" vehicles on city roads.

Future skies

The electro-car concept was deemed to be the best in over 200 entries to this year's Galileo Masters competition.

The contest pushes small and medium-sized enterprises to start thinking now about how they could get the best out of Europe's satellite-navigation system, due to be operational by the decade's end.

At the moment, Vu Log's car scheme would have difficulty working because the American Global Positioning System (GPS) does not give sufficiently accurate and reliable location data to precisely pin- point a vehicle in a heavily built-up area.

Expected to be more than 400 million sat-nav users by 2015
European aerospace and electronics firms say it will create more than 100,000 jobs Rescue services will be able to pinpoint the exact location of a car driver's accident System will allow someone to find their way in an unfamiliar city using their mobile phone But with Galileo operating alongside GPS to "beef-up" the sat-nav signal, there would be less chance of community cars being lost in the steel and glass "canyons" that characterise modern cities. "This is definitely an application for the future," said Christian Stammel, from the competition organisers. "But when GPS is enhanced with Galileo, you can envisage all sorts of 'navigation guardian' solutions, which would guide you through a city using a mixture of buses, subway, electric cars and on foot." Galileo Masters 2005 accepted entries from seven European business regions, including from the UK which put forward the greatest number of ideas. Richard White, from Melbourn in Cambridgeshire, took the prize for the best of these. He has devised a secure, web-based system he calls "TrackerBack" for keeping tabs on large or valuable loads from pick-up to delivery. It issues secret numbers to sender, haulier and recipient which, when brought together, confirm the chain has been completed. "Only when the Pin codes are brought together are you able to track duty of care; you can prove an audit that is legally watertight," explained Mr White.
Green solution

With tighter controls being introduced for the disposal of waste and a growing problem of illegal dumping, the entrepreneur believes his TrackerBack system could play a useful policing role when combined with Galileo.

"With the sub-metre accuracy of Galileo, you'd even know how high off the ground that consignment of tyres was," he said. "You'd know instantly if it had been dumped over a hedge rather being taken to the reprocessing plant."

Lyn Dutton, from the Thales Group, which produces sat-nav receivers, was on the UK judging panel. "We liked the environmental aspect to Richard's solution and it addresses a real problem that exists at the moment," he said. "If you've paid a contractor to properly dispose of waste, you want to be sure they haven't just pocketed your money and dumped the load in some quarry. This has a position record attached to it and a log of what was done." Richard White is now working to develop his ideas further with the Hertfordshire Business Incubation Centre (HBic), which manages the Galileo Masters competition in the UK. HBic is also hoping to bring on many of the other British entrants, too, helping them to work through issues such as intellectual property rights. The 25-nation EU bloc is funding the early development of Galileo to the tune of 1.1 billion euros (£0.7bn). The deployment of the system - the launch of the satellites and the construction of ground stations - will cost a further 2.1 billion euros (£1.4bn), with two-thirds of the investment borne by the private sector. The latter is also expected to pick up all the running costs in the long term. The first demonstrator spacecraft are undergoing final testing and one will be launched next month. A full constellation of 30 spacecraft should be in orbit within the next five years.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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