The middle Road - a global thought leader platform enabling social change and impact with a focus on Media & EdTech. The startup blends publications, podcasts, videos, and online learning for educating and promoting themes within the international development sector, finance, economics, science & technology, art, culture, and well-being.
Episode 28: Social Impact Special on Understanding Biodiversity
Today, I (Nishant Malhotra - Sole Founder of The middle Road thought leader platform) will be covering a brief overview of the Biodiversity Ecosystem. In this educational video/podcast, you will know the origins of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the risks facing the global environment landscape, and the social and economic importance of nature-based systems. It's prudent to know about the Strategic Plan for biodiversity from 2011 to 2020 with a peek at the Global Status of Aichi Biodiversity Goals. The module focuses on the financial tools & metrics to achieve biodiversity goals with a brief overview of Sustainable Finance as an enabler.
Convention of Biological Diversity CBD, is the apex body overlooking the biodiversity sector and is the apex body enabling social change and impact within biological diversity globally. CBD was formed in 1992 during the Foundation United Nations Conference on Environment and Development also known as the Rio "Earth Summit". An international legal instrument, CBD's mandate is to drive the Global Framework of Biodiversity. Today 194 countries have ratified the agreement. The mission of CBD is to Encourage actions that lead to a Sustainable Future, its governing body termed COP or Conference of Parties, CBD has authority over all the signatories.
So, what do we mean by Biodiversity?
In a broader sense Convention on Biological Diversity represents a dramatic step forward in the Conservation of biological diversity, the Sustainable use of its components, and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.”
The areas under biodiversity are broad- divided into Ecosystems, Species, and Genetic Resources. It operates in all these domains and much more. The convention of Biological Diversity is under the umbrella of the United Nations Environment Program. Listed names of some important actors/entities and initiatives within this space. Example of few entities/actors within this space are as follows. The Nature Conservancy is the largest environmental nonprofit in the world with World Wide Fund for Nature dominating conservation of natural habitat. ICMA is the driver of sustainable bonds principles, Iceberg Data Lab is one of the drivers of metrics for estimating Biodiversity footprint.
Why is preserving, nurturing, and enhancing Biodiversity so important? To begin with we have a looming Global Environmental Crisis. According to a report, the natural ecosystem has declined by 47% from the earliest recorded state. According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), human actions have significantly altered the natural environment. About 75% of the land-based environment and roughly 66% of the marine environment. With one million species under threat of extinction, the loss of biodiversity has a significant impact on the wellbeing and wellness of society. To top it all, The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) estimates annual funding needs between $150 to $440 billion but $52 billion is spent per year. This translates into a gap of $98 billion to $388 billion per year. Further, WEF estimates more than half of the world’s GDP is exposed to the risk of nature loss.
Nature-Based Solutions and Transitions not only solves the equation of ecological imbalances enabling sustainable wellbeing for everyone but also have significant quantifiable achievements. Business for Nature and ICC estimates nature-based transitions will lead to $10 trillion in the business opportunity, generating 395 million jobs by 2030. For countries example India where a majority of jobs are in the unorganized sector, nature-based solutions are a panacea for enabling social change and impact for the less privileged people of the society. Nature Based Solutions can lead to one third of the net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions required to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals based on
Episode 27: Social Impact Special on Biodiversity with Nishant Malhotra
A very warm welcome to a very insightful and informative podcast from The middle Road platform. This is Nishant Malhotra, your host discussing a special social impact story on Biodiversity.
In today's educational podcast, I will share an overview of the biodiversity sector, why the persevering biodiversity sector is key to a more equitable future, its impact on the society observed through the financial sector, sustainable finance, tools, metrics used to measure the impact of human interaction and policies on nature conservation and restoration. Recently, The middle Road became a member of the European Union Business @ Biodiversity platform, a global thought-leading platform enabling social change and impact within the biodiversity-ecosystem. The middle Road is a thought leadership terminal blending Media and EdTech for a more sustainable and equitable future. Key sources of references are Finance for Biodiversity Guide on biodiversity measurement approaches, Positive Impact Finance for Business & Biodiversity, EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 among others.
Why is Biodiversity so important and what do we mean by the term Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is defined as ‘the diversity of species, variation of genes and different ecosystems’ (Term used by the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD).
About a million species are under threat of extinction, and based on World Economic Forum more than 50 percent of the World’s Global GDP are dependent on nature and exposed to the risk of alteration of the natural habitat. This analysis forms the bedrock of the importance of nature for the social development of humanity. International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021, estimates global GDP for selected countries to be $95.6 trillion approximately. According to World Bank national accounts data, and OECD National Accounts data files, the top five countries the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom’s combined GDP accounted for 52.2 trillion approximately, accounting for 55.2% of the World GDP. The inequitable distribution of national wealth shows the increasing responsibility of a few nations to drive the sustainable development agenda. Based on a report by Business for Nature & ICC, a nature-based transition could lead to $10 trillion in business opportunity creating 395 million jobs by 2030.
The pandemic has shown the importance of preserving nature for bettering humans’ response to the wellbeing of society. One of the major reports to be published on the economic impact on this subject matter is Das Gupta’s The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. The above analysis underpins the importance of biodiversity, both social and economic importance to the world. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (popularly known as Rio "Earth Summit") started the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on 22 May 1992 where the adoption of the agreed text of Convention on Biological Diversity took place. The proliferation of worldwide drive towards sustainable development led to an accelerated focus towards facilitating policies for enhancing thought leadership for biodiversity.
In the words of CBD “It represents a dramatic step forward in the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.”
Looking at the enormity of the social and economic problem, multiple actors came together to work out a comprehensive plan to develop a framework for understanding positive biodiversity impact within the financial parlance. To devise policies, measure social and economic loss: - policymakers, social impact practitioners, financial intuitions and corporates need to understand the positive impact for financial institutions. To understand more about biodiversity and financial institutions let’s look at Fina
Episode 26: Nishant Malhotra recaps 2021 A Social Impact Special Feature
This is a special feature on 2021, kickstarts the first podcast on Social Impact Update from The middle Road. Do refer to the add on educational publication following this podcast. This is going to be a regular feature from The middle Road.
First a bit about The middle Road platform. Inspired by the seventeen sustainable development goals, and keeping the model simple yet elegant, The middle Road’s mission is to make a holistic change within the world. The startup promotes themes on sustainable development, art, culture, well-being supported by well-rounded and comprehensive online learning initiatives. Despite being a one-person company, The middle Road platform has a global audience with readers and learners from across the globe. Known for its intense and educative reads, insightful and informative podcasts, webinars and videos, and educational online courses, the company is a global thought leader in social impact. The startup is a refreshing change from any of its peers, youthful yet measured, enlightening yet fun, creative yet simplistic, thought-provoking, multifaceted and, instructional. Within a short period, the startup has interviewed leading social enablers across continents, posted research focussed futuristic publications on topics related to the social and development sector artistically leading the way. This read captures some significant news from 2021, especially the reads covered on The middle Road platform.
GRAPH DATA SOURCE UNESCO | THE MIDDLE ROAD
Note: GERD figures are in PPP$ (constant 2005 prices). Many of the underlying data are estimated by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics for developing countries, in particular. Furthermore, in a substantial number of developing countries data do not cover all sectors of the economy.
# The Ongoing Pandemic
2021 will go down as the fastest vaccine rollout, yet the vaccination against the novel coronavirus is riddled with vaccine inequality. The share of fully vaccinated people in low income countries still hovers around 4 percent. Compare this to ~70% fully vaccinated population in high-income countries and 72% in Upper Middle-Income countries as per data shared by Our World in Data as of 30 December 2021. As of today, the cumulative cases exceed 284 million, registered deaths overtaking 5.4 million with actual figures much higher than the reported figures.
The emergence of Omicron further exacerbated the problem of global recovery. Omicron is now the most dominant strain in the US and has exploded in Europe. First reported in South Africa on 24 November 2021, the new variant accounts for 73% of cases as per the CDC report for mid-December. CDC’s national genomic surveillance efforts are statistically powered to detect a variant that is circulating at 0.1% with 99% confidence and can monitor changes over time. To know more confidence intervals, refer to the online courses’ statistics modules on The middle Road. Both the World Bank and IMF took out packages to fine-tune the global asymmetries caused to the pandemic. The World Bank Group has committed $157 billion since the beginning of the pandemic while IMF proposed a $50 billion plan in 2021 enabling social change impact within the global arena. This pandemic has seen upwards of $16 trillion stimuli, the largest amount in modern history to fight the novel coronavirus. African Development Bank and Asian Development Bank are other multilateral that stood out for their work during the pandemic. Asian Development Bank announced a $20 billion dollar to support its developing countries in April 2020 and the $9 billion APVAX vaccine initiative announced in December 2020 offers support for its member countries for an equitable and safe rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. According to many estimates, the COVID-19 crisis has caused the worst recession since World War 2 with Global Debt standing at $296 trillion by Q3, 2021, according to the Institute of International Finance.
Episode 25: The middle Road interviews Dr. Helene Clark Founder and Director of ActKnowledge, and Board Chair of The Center for Theory of Change
Welcome to another smashing episode from The middle Road. In this episode, Nishant Malhotra welcomes Dr. Helene Clark for the thought leadership podcast series. In today’s podcast, Nishant chats with a leading global expert and social change maker within the International Development Sector.
Dr. Helene Clark is the Founder and Director of ActKnowledge, and Board Chair of The Center for Theory of Change, a global thought leader in enabling social change and impact within the social impact sector. ActKnowledge is a social enterprise that connects social change practice with rigorous study of how and why initiatives work. ActKnowledge is the founder of Center of Theory of Change, a nonprofit focusing on outcome-driven intervention based strategic framework tool called Theory of Change (ToC). Theory of Change is a valuable tool to understand the impact of policies/interventions/programs (measures) connected to understand the outcomes linked to these measures.
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Theory of Change
Theory of Change is today ubiquitous within the international development sector to understand, analyze, plan and implement long-term change through backward mapping of interventions to define the sustainable outcome. Theory of Change technique/program logic can be implemented in any organization or within our lives to bring about a more holistic change for the better. The conversation focuses on the development and importance of the Theory of Change program logic within the international development sector.
Helene breaks down the Theory of Change framework to explain the causal intervention-linked outcome-based methodology and shares a snapshot of its evolution. Helene, highlights key concepts in ToC, for example, the difference between outcome and output, backward mapping of interlinked interventions for the desired outcome etc. We discuss at length how ToC can be used in the educational institutes with real-time examples to foster a long-term strategic change including embedding the concept in the curriculum and about the prestigious Theory of Change certification.
Dr. Helene, I thank you for taking time for a fabulous chat about your work.
You are a leading authority on the Theory of Change (ToC) framework. Theory of Change is one of the most critical program logic for evaluating Impact Evaluation, made famous by the Aspen Roundtable for Community Change, ActKnowledge initiatives, publications and outreach on this topic.
Helene, as the Founder and Director of ActKnowledge, and Board Chair of The Center for Theory of Change, do share the evolution of this multi-stakeholder community-driven outcome focused framework for measuring the impact of projects/ interventions especially from the early 90s.
But first, for the benefit of the audience, since we would be speaking about interventions repeatedly, please explain in your parlance, how would you define interventions. Do elaborate on your definition of strategy.
Theory of Change concept came through a collaborative movement among multiple actors/entities. ASPEN, ActKnowledge, and other global actors/entities played a monumental role in designing the Theory of Change framework.
How did these partnerships evolve over time?
In your paper Theory of Change Technical Papers (Dr. Dana H. Ta
Episode 24: Nishant Malhotra‘s interview with Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, India
Nishant Malhotra is the Sole Founder of The middle Road platform and host of podcast series The middle Road.
This the audio version of the video interview series - Illumo.
Nishant Malhotra has an MBA from China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China and from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, (SIBM) Pune, India. nishant has a MPA from Ford School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. A slight correction. Nishant mentions about impact measurement, the framework is SROI.
SIBM is a leading business school in India.
SIBM Team: "SIBM Pune is delighted to have hosted Mr. Nishant Malhotra, Founder and CEO, The Middle Road OPC Pvt Ltd. and our dear alumnus from the Batch of 2002 as a part of the video interview series - Illumo. 'Sustainable Finance' has emerged as the new buzz word but it has also unfurled new career paths for future corporate leaders.
While the interview did revolve around the scope and trends related to Sustainable Finance, by leveraging his experience and knowledge, Mr. Malhotra also explained other topics such as Impact Investing, Green Bond Market Development, Partnership for Action on Green Economy and more. This was a wonderful opportunity to have learnt lessons from an industry leader in the field of finance. We are grateful to Mr. Nishant Malhotra for his time and guidance and will continue to have more such knowledgeable conversations as a part of the Illumo series."
Highlighted section is message from the SIBM team.
Episode 23: The middle Road interviews Muhiddin Tojiev from NGO Sadoqat, Tajikistan
Muhiddin Tojiev is from the Devashtich district of Tajikistan. He earned his BA in Translation in 2004 and Higher Education Diploma (equivalent to MA) of English Teacher in 2005 from Khujand State University. Muhiddin wore many hats and his work experience includes position as an Independent Contractor for the BBC World Monitoring Service, Central Asia Unit (2003-2005), Press and Public Affairs Officer at the British Embassy in Dushanbe (2005-2007), and Public Education Specialist at the International Finance Corporation Tajikistan (2007-2009).
Mr. Tojiev joined the NGO Sadoqat as a Fundraising and Partnerships Volunteer in 2019 and has successfully raised funds for the construction of two additional classrooms in Secondary School No 51 in Ghazantarak Village. Furthermore, the list of his accomplishments includes the refurbishment of surgery and intensive care units of Devashtich District Central Hospital, as well as the Project on Support of Hospitals in Istaravshan, Shahriston, and Devashtich districts with COVID-19 response through crowdfunding. Muhiddin is full of desire to continue this work to improve the rural population's access to quality education and healthcare services in Tajikistan.
NGO Sadoqat, is a nonprofit and non-commercial organization established in 2000 and officially registered with the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan. Sadoqat is committed to improving rural lives through thoughtful partnerships and sustainable practice. The organization implemented about 25 projects in various fields, including but not limited to women and youth empowerment, reproductive health, healthy lifestyle among the youth, prevention of STDs, support of persons with disabilities, English skills improvement, and education and healthcare infrastructure with the support of various donor institutions during 20 years of its operation. Currently, the NGO has been raising funds through the Global Giving Crowdfunding Platform to implement projects on the improvement of the rural population's access to quality healthcare and education services.
Hello Muhiddin Tojiev great to have you for another riveting conversation about your work at NGO Sadoqat based in Tajikistan. NGO Sadoqat, is a nonprofit and non-commercial organization established in 2000 and officially registered with the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan. This is the first podcast with an entity/actor from Tajikistan, a fascinating country in Central Asia. First, a bit about NGO Sadoqat.
Sadoqat is committed to improving rural lives through thoughtful partnerships and sustainable practice. The organization implemented about 25 projects in various fields, including but not limited to women and youth empowerment, reproductive health, healthy lifestyle among the youth, prevention of STDs, support of persons with disabilities, English skills improvement, and education and healthcare infrastructure with the support of various donor institutions during 20 years of its operation. Currently, the NGO has been raising funds through the Global Giving Crowdfunding Platform to implement projects on the improvement of the rural population's access to quality healthcare and education services.
Q). Tajikistan joined the World Bank in 1993, the International Development Association (IDA) in 199 and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in 2002. (MIGA has not, so far, provided any political risk guarantees for investment projects in Tajikistan). During this time, the World Bank invested over $1.4 billion to support Tajikistan’s efforts to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. Between 2000 and 2018, the poverty rate fell from 83 percent of the population to 27.4 percent, while the economy grew at an average rate of 7 percent per year.
For a detailed overview refer to the read on The middle Road here.