Erin Gear, University of South Australia
This year sees the OECD hosting its 20th annual multilateral forum in Paris, which I have so fortunately been able to attend. The OECD is a dynamic intergovernmental organisation comprising of 36 member states that aims to achieve equality and well-being at a global scale by providing the framework to shape better domestic policies.
Highlights from the second day at the OECD Forum included meeting with the Deputy-Secretary General Ulrik Vestergaard-Knudsen in the Chateau, sitting in on discussion panels on the role of media in reinvigorating democracy and achieving the United Nation’s sustainable development goals, as well as meeting with Australian delegate and Deputy Permanent Representative at the OECD, Simon Cramp over lunch.
This year the OECD has placed a particular emphasis on including youth voices in their discussions on preparing for, and safeguarding the future, with twenty-somethings from the likes of Canada, Sweden, Korea, and of course Australia, in attendance. The Forum has been progressive and inclusive between generations, with near equal representation between men and women. This diverse and equitable representation has enabled participants to come together to discuss and produce unbiased and realistic ideas for the future of OECD nation countries.
One aspect of the second day I would like to draw attention to is a session that was not originally on my agenda to attend, but I am so glad I happened upon it. The OECD’s Better Life Index branch hosted a civic innovation hub that provided entrepreneurs with projects in sustainability, equality or inclusivity, a platform to share their work. Elliot Lepers, a digital designer and environmental activist, introduced his enviro-friendly app, 90jours, which challenges and motivates users to practice more sustainable living. Much like the 90-day mindfulness, weight-loss and budgetary challenges we’re all familiar with, 90jours is an app that customises daily eco-friendly challenges based on users’ level of motivation.
More than 600,000 people have already downloaded the app and pledged to take the challenge, which is specifically designed so that users are able to continue practicing their new environmentally sustainable habits. Climate change and the destruction of our environment is an overwhelmingly large and complex issue, and 90jours provides a platform that demystifies it by bringing it to the individual, micro-level, to find solutions in the everyday. The philosophy behind the app is to inform people of better habits for sustainability, and to provide them with the tools to continue on an environmentally-friendly life path. While this app is in French, it has undoubtedly sparked an interest, and English versions are sure to come soon.
In a time of social, economic, political and environmental uncertainty, it has been incredibly uplifting to be able to discuss the direction of the future with innovative, like-minded thinkers at the 2019 OECD Forum.