Nearly two decades ago, the UN’s Rio Declaration had the goal of “establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies and people”. And then a decade ago, the major outcome of the Johannesburg follow-up Summit (Rio+10) was around the launching of 350 ‘partnerships for sustainable development’.
Imagine this: You manage a successful company that distributes Portable Toilet Cabins (PTC) in India. You see 24% of India’s urban population living in slums with very limited access to formal toilets, 50% of India’s population still defecating in the open, and around 6,000 children dying each day from diseases related to poor sanitation, such as diarrhoea.
I was very interested to read the new report from Vodafone – ‘Connected Agriculture: The role of mobile in driving efficiency and…, having been a participant in one of the external workshops that helped to shape it. I wasn’t disappointed.
What may once have been seen as a problem for individuals now threatens whole societies, and the threat is as great in developing as in developed countries. Although personal responsibility must play a role, good intentions are easily overcome by a world which is more and more unsupportive of living healthily: high-fat, high-salt foods are an easier choice for reasons of taste, cost, accessibility and preparation time; urbanisation and a built environment militate against physical activity; social networking and video-games are taking over from sport-based leisure activities; and jobs are increasingly desk-based and stressful.