Human Rights of Older Persons: Active Aging

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October 1, 2018 -, the symposium “Celebrating Human Rights of Older Persons” took take place in Vienna. To get a proper job is for older persons the most important matter. Many programs and projects about “Active Ageing” were carried out in Austria over the last decade and their proposals implement more or less successful, but the practice looks sobering maybe caused by the Financial Crises starting 2008. Today the situation is better for elderly people. One of these projects is presented in the publication “Active Ageing, Regionale Handlungsoptionen in Österreich,” based on the accumulated experience of the EQUAL Development Partnership “TEP_EQUAL_ELDERLY” (7/2005 -6/2007).  Unfortunately, the website www.elderly.at is deleted. It is an exciting task to compare the visions, challenges, general suggestions and examples presented in December 2007 with today. Please leave a reply below: 

Roland Leithenmayr VfV


Science Diplomacy to solve the Sustainable Development Goals

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Research institutes like IIASA (*) produce essential knowledge for governments, diplomacy, multinational organization (such as UNO), and NGOs. It is surprising that they do not have implemented an integrated system “…for bringing science to advise into its decision…” (1). Because policy decisions are made mostly in individual countries, not by the international organization, it needs integration between international agencies and “domestic science advisory system.” Additional this advisory system shall include national and international NGO’s, who should put pressure on both sides to use the available know-how and experiences, including theirs. Global interest is on stake such as climate change, ocean pollution, water use, etc. in general to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It needs to connect scientific knowledge, national and international community incl. NGO’s, businesses and UN Agencies and domestic policy.

(1) OPTIONS, Summer 2018, page 10,

For further info: In November 2017, Sir Peter Gluckman delivered an IIASA45th Anniversary Lecture on this topic. The full text is available online: www.iiasa.ac.at/events/Gluckman-18

(*) IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) uses systems analysis to research the critical issues of environmental, economic, and technological change we face today. IIASA,  is located in Laxenburg near Vienna, Austria

Roland Leithenmayr VfV

The decrease of fossil emission is too slow

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IIASA (1) criticise the assumption of international policymaker that heavy implementation of negative emission technology later can offset the slow decrease of fossil fuel emission today.  IIASA proposes that the policymaker “…need a broader range of scenarios as they seek to limit climate change to below 2°C above the pre-industrial level .”  

(1) IIASA – International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, www.iiasa.ac.at is located in Laxenburg near Vienna, Austria. IIASA uses systems analysis to research the critical issues of environmental, economic and technological change we face today.

(2) Thinking outside the box on climate mitigation, Option Summer 2018, page 5.

Further reading: Obersteiner M, Bednar J, Wagner F, Gasser T, Ciais P, Forsell 

N, Havlik P, Valin H, et al. (2018), How to spend a dwindling greenhouse gas budget.Nature Climate [pure.iiasa.ac.at/15031]

Roland Leithenmayr VFV

Drivers of Migration

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EU policy-makers have no control over the situation caused by migration. Their attempt to look at the big picture and long-term impacts of migration on the European society and its labor force failed until now. That is the reason why the EU policymakers turned 2016 to IIASA (-1-) to launch a partnership with the goal to get a more scientific basis for their policymaking. IIASA focuses on their systematic analysis on the drivers of migration such as pull factors that drive people towards to a new country and push factors that drive people to leave their homes. This partnership plans to produce scenarios exposing “…the potential impacts of different immigration policies, allowing policymakers to make educated decisions and smart planes…” (-2-). The present findings of IIASA are that the EU future labor force depends not only on migration but also on the proportion of people working (-3-): (1) people over the age of 65 become progressively active in the labor market. (2) Women were to work in the EU at rates common in Sweden. (3) Increasing Digitalisation and Automatization reduces the need for unskilled workers, but increase the need for more educated workers. The result is that the future EU labor force size requires only a moderate rate of migration in the long term. IIASA is just not only modeling the accumulated population but include the characteristics of the individual. Those characteristics include demographics (age and sex, education), ethnocultural (place of birth, ethnicity, language, religion), and economic (labor activity, employment). IIASA applies microsimulation (contrary to the macro-level approach used for the broad population) to find answers “- how well immigrants -are able – to adjust to their new countries, learn the language, find jobs -.“ (-4-) , and to asses the integration of migrants into society. IIASA does not restrict their scenarios to Europe but takes into account worldwide drivers for migration: the population growth in Africa, climate change, food security, and other challenges.

(-1-) IIASA, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, located near Vienna in Laxenburg Austria, use systems analysis to research critical issues of environments, economic, and technology change we face today. www.iiasa.ac.at

(-2-), (-3-), (-4-) “What Drives Migration,” Options, Summer 2018. Page 18.

Roland Leithenmayr VfV

Wicked Problems and the 17 SDGs

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The members of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development (CSD) in Vienna/Austria debate how to solve the problem of poverty in context to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (17 SDGs). The members struggle to define the problem or let alone to solve it. Linked to other issues like the economy, education, nutrition, and fairness, and so on, the solution to one aspect of the problem often reveals other more complicated problems.  Often the members of  CSD find no perfect solution to a “wicked problem”, although many solutions might fit well and help to mitigate the problem.

Roland Leithenmayr VFV

Developing Green Economies for Cities -APCEL News Report

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E/Prof Koh Kheng-Lian was invited by the United Nations for Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) & Finance Center for South-South Cooperation together with Ökostadt to present a paper, and an exhibition on Sino- Singapore Tianjin Eco-City. The title of her presentation was “The Sino- Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and the BRI ‘Bridge for Cities’ ”.
Her exhibition was one of the eight exhibitions, entitled, One-Belt-One-Road and Sustainable City Exhibition and Dialogue. There were over 400 participants which included representatives from 220 organizations/institutions/companies, 113 cities, and 50 countries. This is a significant conference & exhibition sponsored by the Peoples Republic of China which recently launched its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  

Read more about APCEL News Report July to Dec 2017 Final

The unsustainable history  of SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)

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SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) are becoming increasingly popular – a paradox!

Before US car companies developed the new car type- the SUV- there were ingenious constructions of cars with fuel consumption of about 1.2 liters per 100 km. This was in line with rising mobility demands, dwindling supplies of oil, and growing concerns about climate change. Although the SUVs required on average 10 times as much fuel, the US government favored the SUV, offered tax incentives and stopped promoting the further development of fuel-efficient and electric cars. The SUV was a triumphal development,  still not ending.  Moreover, the US government called on its citizens to buy a house outside the city and offered low down payment and interest on the loans. The author of this posting himself acquired a house near Philadelphia, where the bank granted him a 120% loan with a low-interest rate and, also, put a large tax-exempt SUV in front of the garage door. The author lived with the feeling of being able to afford everything in the USA. There were hardly any reasons to pay much attention to “sustainability” and environment. One looked fascinated at global finance capitalism and was annoyed only by the outrageous bonuses to the acrobats of the financial circus. These magicians wrapped the mortgages in Christmas paper and sold them on to banks around the world to reduce the risk of US state-owned mortgage lenders (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). In 2007 and 2008, the mortgage bank crisis broke out, which in turn disrupted the global financial system. The investment banks, which were commissioned by the US government, bet for themselves that the mortgages become worthless. Back to SUV! The aforementioned urban sprawl and the tax-subsidized fuel-cutting SUV combined with the shock of crude oil prices in 2007 and 2008 and mortgage interest rates triggered the crisis, which can be outlined as follows (Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Factor Five, The Formula One sustained growth, 2009): 2007: world oil prices go crazy -> long-distance commuting becomes a nightmare in the US -> the pumped-up houses lose value -> subordinate mortgages turn into financial junk -> mortgage banks crash. This triggers an avalanche, many car stocks are scrap. Over the next 20 years, the shift to electric motors and digitization will lead to further economic upheavals that require a transformation of capitalism (destructive innovation, Joseph Schumpeter).

Roland Leithenmayr VfV


2nd BRI Event – Belt and Road Initiative: Developing Green Economies for Cities, 26 – 28 Sept 2017, Vienna, Austria

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APCEL NEWS Highlights: 1 July – 31 December 2017

E/Prof Koh Kheng-Lian was invited by the United Nations for Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO- Vienna-AUSTRIA) & Finance Center for South-South Cooperation together with Ökostadt to present a paper, and an exhibition on Sino- Singapore Tianjin Eco-City. The title of her presentation was “The Sino- Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and the BRI ‘Bridge for Cities’ ”. Her exhibition was one of the eight exhibitions, entitled, One-Belt-One-Road and Sustainable City Exhibition and Dialogue. There were over 400 participants which included representatives from 220 organizations/institutions/companies, 113 cities, and 50 countries. This is a significant conference & exhibition sponsored by the Peoples Republic of China which recently launched its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

E/Prof Koh Kheng-Lian 





Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City

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Many discussions arise about Eco-Cities sustainability. One of the more advanced is the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City. It was a pleasure to hear the presentation of Dr. KOH, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Law, NUS; and Honorary Director, Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law, National University of Singapore. Thank You Dr. KOH Kheng-Lian. 

E-Mail: lawkohklnus.edu.sg

Website: www.law.nus.edu.sg/apcel

Download in pdf: Tianjin Eco-City

Sustainable Cities and their Liveability

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The Global Liveability Report 2017

For the first time in a decade, global liveability is finally showing an improvement. The latest findings of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Report (assessing which locations around the world provide the best or worst living conditions) reveal that after a decade recording a fall in global liveability, it has finally stabilized.  The current improvement does, however, come against a backdrop of some notable declines in livability, with recent terror attacks highlighting the continued threat of global terrorism.

What are the latest findings from this year’s report? And which cities feature in the rankings as this year’s most and least livable?  

Download the free report by clicking on the button below.


P.S.: For the seventh consecutive year, Melbourne in Australia is the most liveable urban centre of the 140 cities surveyed, closely followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna.

Kind regards,

Robert Ward

Editorial Director