SEATTLE — The belief that policy must be localized and could not benefit from the lessons of other regions is outdated in this era of globalization. Politicians are entrusted to create policies to solve massive, complicated issues, yet they are often expected to do it with little access to relevant information. Globally connected policy is a better informed policy.
According to the World Bank, one third of its reports are never read. Problems like environmental degradation, managing the refugee crisis and inequality are found in countries around the world. What if decision-makers around the world could collaborate on policy, instead of working in isolation?
Vision Zero is a program that reduced the number of car accident deaths in New York to its lowest amount since before World War I. The program was invented in Sweden 17 years before it was implemented in New York.
The program may never have reached New York without the help of the father of a man who was killed in a bicycle crash in the city. When traveling to Sweden for business, the father noticed that roads were designed in a way that was much safer for cyclists; he was inspired and pushed for better roads in the U.S.
About 40 percent of GDP in the average OECD country is spent on government work, which amounts to an estimated total of $30 trillion globally. As a result, small improvements in policy effectiveness translate into massive savings for taxpayers.
Apolitical is an online platform that connects public servants worldwide to help them solve the world’s toughest challenges. The organization believes that connection is crucial to solving difficult issues, such as sustainability challenges, rapid urbanization and online security.
Effective policy solutions to these problems often already exist in other parts of the world, but lack of access to information prevents great programs from spreading beyond national borders. Apolitical allows policymakers to shop for effective solutions, giving them access to ideas and evaluations that inform better, more connected policy.
There is no profit motive for those who choose to work in government, and they are working on difficult problems with limited resources. Apolitical aims to give public servants the tools they need to make effective policy decisions and thus improve the lives of their constituents.
Health Care in Ghana
Another example of the power of connected policy is health care in Ghana. The adoption of community health workers is transforming health care in rural areas. The idea originated in China’s Rural Reconstruction Movement in the 1930s and has recently grown to become an important force in improving health care for many countries.
In Ghana, the switch from volunteers to paid community health workers has greatly increased the accessibility of basic health care. Ethiopia’s use of community health workers decreased the child mortality rate by 64 percent.
Problems are solved when failure is a learning opportunity and successful ideas are spread. Idea sharing between policymakers equips them with the resources that are required to enact connected policy that effectively tackles great challenges.
– Kristen Nixon