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By Rajendra Shende
New Delhi: The Paris Climate talks was one of the biggest event of 2015 for the global environmental movement. However, 2016 began with the same old approach.
“Historic is an often-abused adjective in politics, but today’s agreement deserves this qualification”, he had said.
Interestingly, less than 50 days later, another adjective has emerged in the US on the climate change issue during the presidential debates among Republican and Democratic candidates. “Callous” is that adjective used to describe the attitude of the candidates, and even the moderators of the debate on climate change. The most crucial election in the world to elect a leader in the most powerful country is now signaling the true fate of the Paris climate agreement.
Benjamin Franklin, the first US ambassador to France, is credited with creating the world’s first bifocal lens. Tired of switching between two pairs of glasses, Franklin cut two sets of lenses in half and assembled them in a frame. The Paris summit did exactly that after two groups of countries haggled for more than two decades about their distinct history of carbon emission and future roadmap to de-carbonize the development space. Tired of these wrangles, the Paris summit succeeded in forging the two groups in such a way that both serve a common purpose with differentiated responsibility.
The significant success of bringing the two blocks together can be attributed to honesty and French diplomacy.
Interestingly, it was American diplomacy that raised a literally last-minute issue about an innocent and decent four-letter word – shall – that almost cracked the bifocal frame assembled so carefully by French presidency. That was in article 4 in its fourth para, that was earlier missed by the American team. When it was noticed, all hell broke and the whole COP-21 came to a halt.
French efforts with seductive diplomacy turned into a bizarre show of calls behind the curtain. The sentence that made the American delegate pull the chain in the running train was the sentence: “Developed country Parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts.”
English dictionaries, including American editions, explain that “shall” expresses certain laws, rules and events that are intended to be certain in the future. It gives a legally binding color to the sentence. “Should” is used to express advisability, possibility or making suggestions, permissibility, making propositions and recommendations that have colour of encouragement.
What happened next for nearly an hour in that high-frequency excitement is the subject of a classical case study in modern multilateral diplomacy. It was conveyed by the US that either the French presidency change the word to “should” or the Americans would not support it. It was, indeed, too late to fail the Paris agreement. The sentence was changed to: “Developed country Parties should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission-reduction targets.”
Witnessing that high-octane development, sitting and waiting in the delegates’ hall and corresponding at TGV speed on WhatsApp with my friends in the frontline of negotiations, I was not baffled. I had seen such terse turns, tricky trials and turbulent tribulations in environmental diplomacy before.
What baffled me was what triumphed at the end of that drama – a spirit of “we shall”, passing the phase of “we should”. Without such “we shall” instinct proactively demonstrated by the developing countries, the Paris Summit would have opened yet another round of negotiations for next two decades. But the French presidency’s seductive gravel went down to adopt the Paris agreement.
The American drama in the “green room” was brought on stage with a script that was read out by the UNFCCC secretariat as a “typographical error”, which of course was a cover-up. Earlier drafts clearly indicated “shall” and were overlooked by the Americans. It all boils down to the fact that the US did not want the Paris agreement to be legally binding because the Republican-dominated Senate would never approve it. The verb “should” would give a developed country the freedom from legality.
While presenting the draft agreement, French Foreign Minister, and COP-21 president Laurent Fabius described it as “ambitious and balanced, fair, sustainable, dynamic and legally binding”. French President Francois Hollande just described it as “binding” as did the UN press release issued immediately after Hollande’s gravel went down.
International legal experts say any agreement is not binding in so far as it does not provide for a coercive or punitive mechanism for countries that fail to comply with their commitments. If the states that would ratify the Paris agreement want to just walk out of commitment, there is no provision to deter them.
The intent, however, as can be read from the Paris pact is that legally binding policies on compliances would emerge in future. As per the agreement, countries are required to re-convene every five years, starting in 2020, with updated plans that would tighten their emission cuts and starting in 2023, to publicly report on how they are doing so. Considering the on-going presidential debate in the US, those dates appear to be, to use another adjective, a “distant” dream that does not show any sign of getting ready.
Benjamin Franklin’s quote, loaded with verbs, says: “By failing to prepare, you are
preparing to fail.”(IANS)
( Rajendra Shende, a former director of the UNEP, is chairman of the TERRE Policy Centre. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The 'Millennial Mood Index 2021' (MMI) was released by CASHe, India's AI-driven financial wellness platform with a mission to make financial inclusion possible for all. According to the survey, more than 84 per cent of millennials across the country have increased their wealth-management strategy to prepare for future contingencies while also looking for opportunities for stronger and more sustainable growth in the post-pandemic world. The pan-India survey, conducted among more than 30k customers on CASHe's platform, aimed to capture the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has altered millennials' everyday behaviour across a variety of topics such as health, travel, shopping, savings & credit appetite, and so on.
While the majority of millennials have become more cautious about their finances as a result of the pandemic, the report also highlighted the cohort's progress in saving and insurance awareness. While 52 per cent of respondents said they have increased their savings, 35 per cent have purchased comprehensive health and life insurance plans, and the remaining 13 per cent have committed to more extensive investment programmes.
The pan-India survey was conducted by CASHe among more than 30k customers. | Pixabay
The pandemic, combined with the 'work from home' culture, has also raised health awareness among Indian millennials. According to the MMI report, more than 71 per cent of millennials have become more health conscious as a result of the pandemic. In their quest for a healthier life, a sizable portion of the cohort has adopted new lifestyle changes. 54 percent of respondents said they now prefer eating home-cooked healthy food, and 28 percent have adapted to daily walks or some form of exercise. 11 per cent of respondents said they had started practicing yoga and meditation, while the remaining 7 per cent had signed up for a nearby gym.
When asked if they eat out at restaurants, more than 52 per cent said that even if they eat outside, they would prefer restaurants that adhere to health, safety, and social distancing norms. 22 per cent have become accustomed to ordering food online and prefer doing so because they can do so from the comfort of their own home while adhering to the necessary safety standards. Whereas 26 per cent of respondents remain cautious and avoid eating outside at all costs.
Following nearly two years of uncertainty and a travel ban, the report revealed a huge pent-up demand among millennials for a getaway vacation. More than 56 percent of those polled said they intend to take a vacation early this year, once the current surge in Covid-19 cases subsides. In terms of travel destination preferences, 71 per cent said they were going somewhere domestic, 9 per cent said they were going somewhere international, and 20 percent said they hadn't decided yet.
28 percent have adapted to daily walks or some form of exercise. | Unsplash
The report stated that 38 per cent of respondents have permanently shifted to shopping online as they now prefer it, demonstrating a clear shift in millennial shopping behavior altered by the pandemic. While 17 per cent preferred physical shopping, 45 per cent preferred a combination of the two depending on what they wanted to buy.
When asked about returning to work in the post-pandemic order, 68 per cent of respondents said they are eager to return to the physical world and work from their offices. While 15 percent preferred to continue working from home (WFH), the remaining 17 per cent preferred a hybrid model of functioning that included visiting the office once or twice a week.
V Raman Kumar, Founder Chairman, CASHe said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered our everyday behavior, perhaps forever. However despite the challenges and economic upheavals witnessed in the last two years, millennials have proven themselves as the most resilient generation. Millennials who also represent the country's largest workforce have showcased the grit and resolve to bounce back and kick-start the economy. Their unwavering "can do" spirit is what has put them at the global centre stage while showcasing India as the largest millennial market to lure in brands across the globe. They are not just aspirational, but are a very responsible cohort seeking to reimagine old orders. Millennials have the potential to redefine India's investment & consumption story, which will play a critical role in shaping our country's economy in the post-pandemic era."
Millennials will play a critical role in shaping our country's economy in the post-pandemic era. | Unsplash
The pan-India survey was conducted by CASHe among more than 30k customers. More than 65 per cent of the responses were received from the metro markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Chennai while the rest 35% were received from other tier-II and III towns. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : millennial, mood, index, survey, country, India, finance, pandemic, investment, health, lifestyle, vacation, challenges, resilient, generation, customers.)
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A renowned Harvard Business School professor delivers a persuasive reconsideration and defence of purpose as a management ethos, demonstrating the enormous performance advantages and societal benefits that can be realised when businesses get their purpose right.
Too many businesses use purpose, or a reason for existing, as a marketing tool to make themselves feel good and appear good to the public.
Some people have only hazy notions of what purpose is, conflating it with strategy and other concepts like as "goal," "vision," and "values." Even the most well-intentioned leaders are unaware of the full power of purpose and interact with it only half-heartedly and superficially. Outsiders see this and become sceptical about businesses and the capitalist enterprise as a whole.
Ranjay Gulati shows the catastrophic blunders leaders unintentionally make while seeking to create a purpose for being, based on significant field study. Furthermore, he demonstrates how businesses might further incorporate purpose than they now do, resulting in tremendous performance gains for consumers, suppliers, workers, shareholders, and communities alike.
Also read: Underrated Business Tips And Tricks by Eric
Organizations are being updated to create more autonomy and cooperation, allowing individual employees to work more meaningfully.
* Creating a community of inspired and committed stakeholders by employing strong narrative to express a purpose for being, arouse emotions, and develop a community of inspired and committed stakeholders; and
* Creating cultures that not only promote purpose, but also allow people to connect the company's mission to their own personal motivations.
As Gulati says, a stronger connection to purpose is the key not only to individual firms' success, but also to humanity's destiny. Purpose may serve as a completely new operating system for the organisation, boosting performance while also bringing real benefits to society, especially in light of capitalism's undermining and low levels of confidence in business.
(keywords: hi-performance companies, catastrophic blunders, "goal," "vision," and "values)
In India, on January 26, 2022, thousands of youngsters set fire to empty train carriages. They disrupted rail traffic in order to protest what they claim are irregularities in recruiting by the railway department, which is one of the world's major employers. (VOA/ MBI)
(Keywords: India, recruitment, bihar, train, burnt, job, employers, railway)