Friday, December 31, 2010

When 2010 leaves…

This blog is my New Year’s Eve cocktail. Today I’ll  keep on writing this as and when thoughts come to my mind, amidst some other works, till I think it's enough. Therefore, there may not be a proper order. Well, it's fine, I don’t want to edit their order…let them appear on this page as they come…

The first imprint of 2010 in my mind is the recognition of climate change as a reality. Though it is a hard reality, the second imprint gives some relief. So what is the second imprint? – It is the knowledge that world as a general recognize climate change as a reality. This informed situation gives some expectation for 2011. Yes, let us hope that 2011 will strengthen the initiatives to save our green planet.

Another deadly thing comes to my mind is the plight of 925 million people who live in acute hunger with a child dying every six seconds in this world because of undernourishment related problems ( See FAO release) . We have to reduce hunger numbers substantially for any tangible achievements in global prosperity. Just imagine what happens when climate change and hunger join hands! Hi, friends, it is not to discourage you in this New Year’s Eve, but to inspire the world (including me) to join hands against these situations for a better 2011.

We have seen a catastrophic quake in Haiti at the very beginning of 2010; our hearts go out to the millions of people affected by it. World stands in solidarity during difficult times; definitely we are becoming a global village! We also have to strengthen our initiatives to explore ways to reduce causalities during natural calamities through scientific and environment friendly planning of habitats.

In 2010, world economy was found to be busy in its revival process from the recession of 2008. New equations, strategies, plan; yes, it was a time of experimentations through out the economy – whether it is government or banking or industry – in continuation or revision of the hectic activities initiated during 2009.

I expect that, from 2011 on wards the climate change factor is going to influence all our activities greatly than ever. The world is going to be more open because of the identical nature of the major issues being faced by all regions in the glob. When issues become more and more identical, approaches and strategies to face them will also become identical and open gradually. This transformation in turn will lead us towards the global village concept. It means, in the years to come, we are going to work intensely on open standards not only in technology and education but in governance also.

While writing about the open world, we can’t skip OER movement.  2010 was a good year for Open Educational Resources movement – that is my personal assessment. The movement was able to make substantial progress in the passing year.  The best indicator for this is the shifting of OER related discussions to the crucial operational levels as Stephen Downe's has said: “The dichotomy is not between proprietary content and open content, ... but between institutionally  manufactured content and community-based content". This ideological/ operational conflict indicates the very active presence of institutions and community in OER production and use.  This momentum has to be further boosted to push OER to the main stream of education through these kinds of active discussions that are actually a healthy internal democratic process within the OER domain.


One major obstacle I see in the use of OER in formal education sector is the ignorance about the open licenses, their merits and tremendous scope of applicability.  Though OER is adoptable in all levels of education, higher education sector can greatly benefit out of it. But the great open content licensing revolution triggered by the creativecommons.org is yet to be properly revealed to that sector.  I hope 2011 will witness tremendous advancement in this area with the launch of Open Content Licensing training programme by Open Educational Resources Foundation (OERF) through WikiEducator.



 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cancún Agreements & Knowledge/Technology/Support/Funds Sharing

As a volunteer supporter of OER and open technologies, I think, the agreements adopted by the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico (that concluded on 11 December, 2010) have opened up promising venues for knowledge/technology/support/funds sharing. This is definitely the most required thing and hence a great success. Because pushing planet friendly technologies to the frontline by sharing, adopting and supporting will provide a very strong framework for all other initiatives to succeed in protecting our green planet. Let us take a look at some of the highlights as seen in the Conference’s Press Release

  • Developing country actions to reduce emissions are officially recognised under the multilateral process. A registry is to be set up to record and match developing country mitigation actions to finance and technology support from by industrialised countries. Developing countries are to publish progress reports every two years.
  • The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanisms has been strengthened to drive more major investments and technology into environmentally sound and sustainable emission reduction projects in the developing world.
  • Parties launched a set of initiatives and institutions to protect the vulnerable from climate change and to deploy the money and technology that developing countries need to plan and build their own sustainable futures.
  • A total of $30 billion in fast start finance from industrialised countries to support climate action in the developing world up to 2012 and the intention to raise $100 billion in long-term funds by 2020 is included in the decisions.
  • In the field of climate finance, a process to design a Green Climate Fund under the Conference of the Parties, with a board with equal representation from developed and developing countries, is established.
  •  A new .Cancún Adaptation Framework is established to allow better planning and implementation of adaptation projects in developing countries through increased financial and technical support, including a clear process for continuing work on loss and damage.
  • Governments agree to boost action to curb emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries with technological and financial support.
  • Parties have established a technology mechanism with a Technology Executive Committee and Climate Technology Centre and Network to increase technology cooperation to support action on adaptation and mitigation.

All of the above agreement items have high potential for directly or indirectly supporting the development of effective mechanisms for knowledge/technology/support/funds sharing. However, to make this advancement sustainable, a considerable amount of knowledge and technologies (maximum extent possible) should reach the public domain. In this respect I would like to repeatedly highlight the Need for a Consortium for alternative open technologies , which UNFCCC may think aloud.