Day: March 2, 2021

75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: CHINA’S GRAIN FOR GREEN PROGRAM

Planting trees is increasingly fashionable among policymakers, not least as a way to counter the climate-changing effects of carbon entering the atmosphere.     The largest reforestation programme in the world is the Grain for Green program, established by China in 1999, which has transformed 28m hectares of cropland and barren scrubland back to forest. …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: NORMAN BORLAUG’S MEXICAN PILOT SUCCEEDS

The rapid increases in agricultural production and efficiency achieved through a series of research technology transfer projects in the 1950s and 1960s have been variously called the ‘Green Revolution’ or the ‘Third Agricultural Revolution’, and credited with saving the lives of hundreds of millions of people.     Novel technologies, ranging from promoting high-yield cereal …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Adopted in 2015 by the UN General Assembly, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) comprise 17 inter-linked targets for the world that are intended to be achieved by 2030 as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.     The 17 themes of these “Global Goals” are: No Poverty; Zero Hunger; …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: SOUTH AFRICA’S TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

Post-apartheid South Africa established a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Cape Town under the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act No 34 of 1995. This was a radical alternative to the victor’s justice that is often meted out after extreme political transitions, which more often than not deepens the resentment of the losers, …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: NORWAY’S REHABILITATION POLICIES

In most countries, incarceration rates have risen because politicians have pushed ever harsher punishments instead of prioritizing rehabilitation. That was also the case in Norway, until the late 1990s, when the focus of its prison system was fundamentally changed.   In 1998, prisoners in Norway started to be offered daily training and educational programs, whilst …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: THE AMSTERDAM TOILET FLY

The seemingly minor innovation of etching an image of a housefly onto the men’s urinals at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has become a poster child for nudge policy. Nudge theory, based on behavioural economics, aims to influence people, individually or in groups, to make better decisions, by tapping into their psychological biases. The theory is described …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” So begins the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly as Resolution 217 in 1948. The …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: CALIFORNIA’S NO FAULT LAW

Until relatively recently, with the notable exceptions of 18th Century Prussia and post-revolutionary Russia, divorce laws, where they existed, typically required one spouse being found to be “at fault”—which maximized the chances of the whole process being acrimonious and difficult.     Not that divorce was always an option: Italy and Portugal only legalized it …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: SWEDEN’S PAID PATERNITY LEAVE

In the first half of the 20th Century a number of countries introduced some state payments and limited job protections for new mothers. However, in most places it remained common-place for working women to be fired on becoming (visibly) pregnant. It was not until the 1970s that countries, initially in Europe, started routinely to guarantee …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: ROE VERSUS WADE

One of the most controversial policy decisions in the United States was made by the Supreme Court, rather than the country’s elected politicians, who have notably shied away from passing clear legislation on the matter. In January 1973, America’s highest court ruled in favor of the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy—a decision …

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