When world leaders met last week for the UN summit, it was about more than grand gestures and speeches. Policy makers were asked if they had done their homework for promoting sustainable development. It turns out, they had not.
In the eyes of many, centrist parties have failed to deal with Europe's economic and social challenges. As elections in Denmark and Spain have shown, voters are increasingly turning towards the edges of the political spectrum.
An open, liberal economy combined with redistribution and social welfare: The Danish model has largely weathered the storm of the financial and euro crises. Yet, not all is rosy in the Kingdom of Denmark.
A balance between assistance, pressure and conditionality: Can cooperation between civil society and the donor community translate into better governance in Ukraine?
Chile is one of the world's top nations on e-governance. Yet without better policy knowledge and education, technological tools are not enough to improve the Andean nations democracy.
It does not need a Grexit to speak about European disintegration. A growing democratic vacuum also threatens the integration capacity of the European Union and its member states.
Klaus Iohannis' election as president was a signal that Romania is on a good path towards more political participation. But can the political will to reform outlast election euphoria?
In shaping the European response to Russia during the Ukraine crisis, Paris and Berlin have taken an assertive role. But do France and Germany provide enough leadership to turn the European Union into a true strategic power?
Jean-Claude Juncker's European Commission has declared to put social issues further up on its agenda. Yet, the European Union and its member states need to focus on more than economic growth to foster social justice in Europe.
Conserving natural resources and the environment is an integral part of a socially just society. The big challenge is to make sure that decision-makers recognize this – and act on it.
In Europe, Belgian citizens account for one of the largest per capita shares of foreign Islamic State fighters. Belgium must do more to promote equal opportunities to improve the integration of migrants, argues Craig J. Willy.
Rigid austerity policies have driven economic recovery in the United Kingdom but only at the cost of massive increase in social inequality. Poverty prevention and intergenerational justice remain major challenges.
The new EU Social Justice Index shows that all European Union countries have room for improving equitable access to their labor markets. Otherwise the union's promise of peace and prosperity will not be fulfilled.
The death of 43 students in Guerrero has shown once again that Mexico belongs to the world's most dangerous places. Yet long term solutions are needed restore citizens' trust in the the police and policy makers.
Canada's federal government should follow the example of provincial regulations and unify the country's climate policy.
Low fertility, low immigration and low female participation in the labor force: Japans needs more action to address demographic challenges, as those are major underlying causes of weakening economic growth in the island-nation.
The new EU Social Justice Index finds that fostering social justice is not only compatible with educational excellence but, in fact, often delivers well-performing school systems.
Political scientist Maurizio Cotta discusses the challenges of intergenerational inequality in Italy, Matteo Renzi's labor market reforms, and why Europe needs to put social justice at the top of its policy agenda.
Environmental policy in the OECD largely stagnates. While financing and enforcing policies is essential, geographic and demographic factors also play a role for countries’ success in conservation issues.
The election of Andrej Kiska as fourth Slovak president was a blow to Prime Minister Robert Fico. Kiska's first actions might even signal a change in the country's political atmosphere.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung's new EU Social Justice Index shows that social injustice in the European Union is on the rise. The study highlights the challenges of a multinational social policy.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung's new Social Justice Index finds that young people are affected most by the social division in Europe. This threatens the future viability of the European project and calls for a European social strategy.
Chile's media is highly concentrated. With two groups dominating the market, pluralistic public opinion is constrained. Hopes now rest on the new president who has promised to reform the system.
Which countries in the European Union are helping to stabilize the global financial system, and how? The latest edition of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Sustainable Governance Indicators gives some answers.
Media laws in Macedonia and Slovenia are largely in line with international standards. Yet to guarantee a transparent system and independent reporting this is not enough.
In contrast to neighbouring Ukraine, strong governance makes Estonia less vulnerable to internal challenges to stability. Yet, economic sanctions on Russia could have a profound impact on the Baltic state too.
Ten years after the European Union's Eastern enlargement, the diverging development of Poland and Hungary highlight how fragile attachment to Western orientation and institutions potentially is.
Nordic civil societies focus on interest group representation and recreational activities. Yet especially in Norway, civic engagement is increasingly motivated by individualistic goals. Does this affect the quality of democracy?
Turkey is deeply split between supporters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the opposition. The constitutional court remains one of the few buffers between them. But is this enough to uphold democracy?
As the SGI 2014 found, multilateral environmental cooperation in the OECD and EU stagnates. It might indeed be easier to create partnerships than enforceable regulations and law.
Martine Durand, Chief Statistician of the OECD, talks about the importance of measuring and analysing wellbeing and the impact this could have on policy making.
Gus O'Donnell, Chair of the Legatum Institute Commission on Wellbeing Policy, talks about the implications of applying wellbeing analysis to public policy.
Luxembourg leads the world on global social policy. This has not only aided developing countries but also the diminutive nation’s financial sector and its international influence.
Fukushima triggered vibrant civic engagement in Japan. Yet Japanese clientelistic politics undermines any effective democratic control. Not even the nuclear catastrophe has changed that.
The latest SGI findings show that the gap between rich and poor is growing in OECD and EU countries. Scandinavia tops the ranking, while participation opportunities in southern Europe are declining.
Asia's growth has been one of the success stories of the 21st century. But it has created pressure on the environment too, particularly water supplies. So, how do China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam protect their water resources?
While the Czech Republic shows signs of a new right direction to curb corruption and bolster the rule of law, Russia is taking steps to bring its judiciary under even tighter control. This might also dim its economic future.
"The more the merrier" or "as big as necessary"? Arctic governance shows how small-size policy-making can complement more inclusive agreements in order to ensure the right level of participation for "right-sized" policy-making.
The SGI team talks about the upcoming release of the SGI 2014, the creation of a Learning Network for Governance Innovations and what the financial and economic crisis reveals about governments’ capacity for reform.
Political scientist Lucio Renno talks about the role of personality in Brazilian politics and the dangers of debt and inflation, and he gives his outlook for the upcoming presidential election year.
All OECD countries are creating an ecological footprint that exceeds the earth’s capacity. To ensure intergenerational justice, nations must consider the impact of today’s exploitation of natural resources on future generations.
Political scientist Thomas Kalinowski talks about South Korea’s first female president, quality of democracy and social justice as well as the role of the national intelligence service.
When it comes to balancing the needs of current and future generations, the Nordic welfare states have done fairly well. Yet, environmental considerations remain neglected – in the Nordic countries and elsewhere in the OECD.
The world is increasingly a non-Western one. Europe will have to change, either forcing others to respect Western legal and commercial principles or adapting itself to the East Asian development model.
What should policy makers do to promote fairness between the young and the old? Invest in intergenerational measures and introduce proxy voting for children, for example, says SGI’s senior project manager.
As the global leader in hydropower, China must adopt environmental policies that account for methane and carbon emissions as well as ecosystem disruptions and erosion potential.
A country’s age distribution isn’t the best predictor of justice between the young and the old. What matters is good policy. A new SGI study analyses how 29 OECD countries deal with the fairness between generations.
In order to overcome the short-termism that plagues the practice of democracy, the idea of civic education needs to be revitalised, argues Halina Ward in the third part of our series. Do we need a new type of citizen?
What role does democracy play in sustainable development and governance in Asia? A new SGI study provides some answers. An interview with one of the authors of the study, political scientist Christian Goebel.
The election of Park Geun-hye as South Korea’s first female president signaled a historic change of governance. Yet, after her first six months in office Ms. Park still needs to translate her words into deeds.
In order to avoid a demographic “death trap” Western Europe must implement new and fair policies for both present and future generations. The SGI study suggests some radical solutions.
The recent anti-government protests in Turkey show that the country’s quality of democracy is the worst in the OECD. Brussels must treat Turkey’s bid for EU membership seriously to support reforms and the rule of law.
Singapore and Indonesia: two economic successes based on different modes of governance. Yet both share the challenge of ensuring that growth benefits everyone in their societies.
The recent protests in Brazil show that GDP growth alone does not suffice for sustainable development. The emerging economies must invest in better governance capacities to foster inclusive growth and social justice.
Dysfunctional politics in Europe and the US can stand in the way of attempts to make the top 1% bear the brunt of austerity measures, argues Max Rashbrooke.
Brazil’s media is characterized by oligopolistic ownership and certain opinions dominate. Journalists and human rights activist call for new laws to safeguard freedom of speech and access to information.
Relations between China and the EU on energy are fraught: The quarrel over tariffs could pit the two against each other in a wider struggle. Technical rather than political cooperation seems the most both sides can hope for.
Investing in natural resilience is key for communities to grow in concert with their environment. A look at how the Netherlands and Poland adapt to climate change.
A new study by the Sustainable Governance Indicators project ranks Estonia highest among 29 OECD countries in terms of fair policies for both the young and the old.
It’s time for the EU to re-assess its relations with Russia: Instead of hesitating between engagement and containment of its biggest neighbour, Europe should consider a strategic pause with Moscow.
Patent registration, scientific citations and R&D policies: How the emerging powers Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa demonstrate the path of uneven development.
Corruption is one of the greatest dangers to democracy. But current policies often don’t pay out. Anti-corruption efforts must focus more on civil society actors instead of governments.
Civil society in South Africa is vibrant – yet fragmented, underfunded and often under government auspices. But new initiatives in education and health show a new thinking about effective civic engagement.
Is this the key to fiscal sustainability? In contrast to what is said by some EU officials and the U.S. Tea Party, higher taxes tend to coincide with lower deficits and low debt, Craig J. Willy writes.
Boon or Bane? Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", stirs controversy. The technology offers temporary economic incentives, but also poses huge environmental risks, argues Alison Singer from the Worldwatch Institute.
Helmut Reisen, until recently head of research at OECD Development Centre, talks about the economic and social affairs of the BRICS countries and the reasons why South Africa is no longer a model for sustainable development.
New technologies can be useful tools for improving voter and registration rights when framed by strong institutions. A pilot project in Norway shows how this might work.
Mira Kamdar from the World Policy Institute in New York about democratic governance and women safety in India and the country's challenges of global warming.
In the post-Communist Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, democracy has become the only game in town. But how well is it played, and who plays it best?
Milos Zeman, a strong supporter of European integration, will be the next president of the Czech Republic: an opportunity to examine the relations between his country and Western Europe. Does the Iron Curtain still exist?
The benchmarks of the integration of immigrants are diverse. Antonia Sohns examines migration policies in the OECD and argues for more efforts in education, employment and civic engagement.
In New Zealand, a widening gap between the rich and the rest threatens many of the country's greatest strengths, writes Max Rashbrooke, who argues for a new settlement of welfare.
From economic success to health and social inclusion: education is a key element in many fields. Justine Doody examines education as cross-governmental priority for policy making in the OECD.
Do democracies promote sustainable policies better than autocracies? Yes, argues our author: Despite the partial success of autocracies in some fields, investigations show an overall advantage for democratic states.
The future of the Eurozone is deeply entwined with the political and economic relations of France and Germany. Yet while the Franco-German consensus is essential, it remains elusive.
While the leaders of the BRICS demand leeway on environmental protection, their people favour conservation. Environmental diplomacy remains a key tool for the emerging economies to impact global governance.
Guy Berger, Director of the Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development of UNESCO, about the role of media and education for sustainable governance in South Africa.
In Turkey, the need for reform is large – as is the country’s capacity to implement these reforms. So, how effectively does governance in Turkey serve the needs of present and future generations?
On environmental issues, cyberactivists in Russia are filling the void of state indifference and failure. Russian civil society is getting stronger, writes FutureChallenges blogger Masha Egupova.
In China, social media and blogs are essential for dealing with state censorship and control. But the official media is changing too, writes FutureChallenges blogger Dandan Wang.
In India, true sustainable governance can only come from an informed and educated electorate, reports FutureChallenges blogger Ajinkya Pawar.
History, politics and a lot of anger: FutureChallenges blogger Jan Hofmeyr analyses South Africa's education crisis and argues that skills development is vital for the country’s sustainable governance.
FutureChallenges blogger Elis Dos Anjos looks at education policy in Brazil and finds that success at school still largly depends on students' social and economic background.
SGI's new study “Sustainable Governance in the BRICS - Initial Findings” examines policy making in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Five bloggers from FutureChallenges to tell us what they think about it.
In the European salons of the 1920s, the intellectual avant-garde developed basic ideas that would inspire public opinion and political processes. Today, the Facebook community Salon Virtuel is carrying this idea to the internet.
Three traditional poles of the capitalist global economy – Japan, Europe and the U.S. – seem to compete for the largest public debt. Who’s the most fiscally irresponsible, and why?
Chile – the world's largest copper producer – is one of the economically most unequal countries in the OECD. Mining governance remains essential to abate social tensions and avert an energy crisis.
Annette Heuser, Director of the Bertelsmann Foundation North America, and Daniel Schraad-Tischler, SGI Project Manager, discuss INCRA – a new international non-profit credit rating agency.
In Greece, the crisis is leading to an ever increasing chasm between rich and poor. The austerity measures imposed by the EU are also contributing to growing social injustice. How much saving can the country cope with?
The magazine Der Spiegel recently singled out the Sustainable Governance Indicators as „the most ambitious experiment in comparative politics since Aristotle’s time“, Adrian Steinert from SGI Team reports.
Western dominance of global financial and political institutions is about to end if the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have anything to do with it. Their fortunes will certainly affect the world economy.
While people rely less and less on traditional media data blogs serve as a new guide through the information jungle. Craig J. Willy presents some of the most influential data blogs today.
The SGI project measures and compares the policy success of states. A comparison of press freedom in Hungary and Germany shows how it works.
The Sustainable Governance Indicators examine the political challenges of the 21st century. SGI News spoke with Daniel Schraad-Tischler and Najim Azahaf from SGI about the project and the latest developments.
In search of an effective multinational strategy to combat global warming many people are looking towards Europe. The old continent can’t provide a universal model but certainly inspiration for successful climate policy.
Antonia Sohns of the Worldwatch Institute discusses initiatives in the wake of the Rio+20 conference: Good governance is key to successful climate negotiations.