1. Monaco Ocean Week

2. Using Data to End Homelessness in the US


“Monaco Ocean Week program revealed”

Full article:

[Our partner, the Oceanographic Institute is organizing with other institutions the 3rd edition of the Monaco Ocean Week. Starting this Sunday, next week will be full of events and conferences meant to gather representatives from NGOs, the civil society and scientists in order to exchange on the preservation of the Oceans.]

The program for the third edition of Monaco Ocean Week has been unveiled and its set to be an intensive seven days, with everything from the future of yachting to biomimicry on the agenda.

From 24th to 30th March, the Principality of Monaco will once again be putting key ocean issues in the spotlight.

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, together with the Monaco Government, the Monaco Scientific Centre, the Oceanographic Institute and the Monaco Yacht Club have all reaffirmed their commitment to take action against threats to the environment, especially the ocean.

Monaco Ocean Week allows stakeholders to share their analysis of major issues related to the preservation of the marine environment and to enable them to find concrete solutions.

‘The future of our shared heritage’ will be the subject of the third edition, which is bringing together scientists, experts, NGOs and representatives of civil society to discuss the key issue of ocean protection. On the agenda are topics addressing innovation, research and developing a blue economy.

The possibilities offered by biomimicry, the opportunities created by bioplastics, rethinking yachting of the future, pooling initiatives to curb and tackle plastic pollution more effectively, and developing a sustainable ocean economy are among the themes that will be tackled during a variety of workshops and talks being held throughout the week.

Opening Monaco Ocean Week is the 10th edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative, whose objective is the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by increasing their effectiveness and extent. These sanctuaries appear to be one of the most appropriate solutions for protecting marine ecosystems from human activities, yet still only represent 7.44% of the surface of the world’s oceans.

Among the questions being debated this year are: in the context of conservation and exploitation, how can we ensure the effective protection of the marine environment beyond the Aichi targets, how does a coherent network of MPAs contribute to the protection of migratory species, and what economic value should be attached to MPAs?

The Principality of Monaco’s commitment to marine ecosystem conservation is deeply rooted in its history with the inauguration of the Institute of Oceanography by Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1911, and more recently, with the creation of Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006.

For the full programme: click here


“How three US cities are using data to end homelessness”

Full article:World Economic Forum

Homelessness is a complex issue, but one that’s possible to solve, if the success of three cities in the United States is anything to go by.

Policy-makers and non-profit organizations worldwide have wrestled with homelessness for decades. Like poverty, it has been assumed that it will always exist. But a US national programme called Built for Zero is offering a glimmer of hope.

A Gallup poll last December found that homelessness was among the top five concerns for Americans, ahead of worries about healthcare, crime and unemployment.

Tech to the rescue

Led by a non-profit called Community Solutions, Built for Zero uses sophisticated analytics software to track the lives of individual homeless people, allowing agencies to intervene and help them into housing.

So far, the programme says three municipalities have ended what it terms “chronic homelessness” where people have been living rough for more than a year: Bergen County, New Jersey; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Rockford, Illinois.

Nine cities – the latest being Abilene, Texas – have ended homelessness among military veterans, one of the hardest-to-reach groups, using Built for Zero. Community Solutions defines an end to homelessness, what it calls “functional zero”, as “a place where it’s rare, brief and it gets solved correctly and quickly when it does happen.”

Abilene’s achievement actually occurred a few months earlier but had to be delayed due to the US government shutdown at the start of 2019. Built for Zero is working in 70 communities with populations ranging from 120,000 to one million. So far, 64 have gone live with realtime data on their homeless populations.

A data issue

The breakthrough has come from a partnership with Tableau software, which specializes in on-screen visualizations of complex data. The Tableau Foundation announced that it was committing $1.3 million to support Built for Zero.

“Homelessness isn’t just a housing, public health or policy issue,” said Lindsey Giblin, lead at Built for Zero. “It’s also a data issue. Local leaders need current, accurate data to tackle the issue head on.”

Until now, agencies had only census data to gauge the level of homelessness. Built for Zero uses seven key data points to create a dashboard for each homeless person in an area, which is shared across all the agencies involved.

Since January 2015, the programme has helped 96,000 people off the streets and into permanent housing, including 65,000 veterans. It estimates there are still 84,000 Americans who have been homeless for more than one year.

Some people are uneasy about collecting personal data on so many homeless people. Built for Zero says it does not share data with law enforcement, even when police are among the multiple agencies involved. And so far, it says, the police have never asked to see the data.

So can the programme scale up to major cities like New York, which spent $3 billion on homelessness in the last fiscal year? Community Solutions says it can make a big difference by bringing agencies together and providing a clear picture of the multiple problems facing the city.

San Francisco has already built its own solution – the ONE System – but has had difficulty persuading people to sign up. Built for Zero believes it can do better. But persuading major cities to join the programme is a goal is has yet to realize.