Kaj Embren

We are now approaching the time for Sweden’s biggest political event – The Almedalen Political Week (June 30-July 7). An event on the island of Gotland in the Baltic sea which now brings together 20,000 participants from all Swedish political parties in the Swedish parliament, their stakeholders and foreign guests.

A strong contributing factor to the political discussion is the growing number of stakeholders in this political event. Almedalen as a venue is increasing year by year, something that became clear to me this week, after my interview with The Mayor of Gotland Region Åke Svensson and the project manager Karin Lindvall.

The discussion in the recent weeks about the Nordic welfare model in the international media will naturally characterize the political discussions in Almedalen. And it is not just about social unrest in the Swedish city suburbs but more about the political leadership in a variety of areas that relate to the Nordic welfare model. Discussions will have a stronger focus on global sustainable community development in relation to urban social problems and unemployment exclusion.

On 4th of July, Respect Sustainable Business along with the Think Tank Global Challenge, Nordic Association, Kairos Future, WWF and the magazine Metro Insider will organise a whole day seminar focussing in the Nordic welfare model. The event will involve top players in politics, business, media organisations.

Knowing that the OECD estimates that our planet will have 3 billion more people in the middle class in the 20 coming years, this will increase the pressure on energy, energy efficiency, water, transport and transform relations between countries, rural and urban. A community characterised by a holistic and systems thinking, is required.

Questions that we will address are:

1. What are the implications of these developments for the political system? What demands does this place on today’s politicians?

2. What are the consequences for the economy and financial systems –that today are short term, while the problems to be tackled are long term?

3. How can municipalities, regions, businesses and organisations become engines for a society in balance between the economic, ecological and social values ​​on a local, national and international arena?

4. How can the media and professional opinion makers promote transparency and accountability critical scrutiny critical to any changing process in society?

Dialogue on Sustainable Community Development and the Nordic welfare model also took off internationally in my previous blog – “Towards a Lagom society”. It inspires clearly seeking answers of the future of the Nordic welfare model.

The process to create political solutions must increasingly be characterised by the cooperation and the involvement of the new organisations that have emerged alongside the political parties. With business and the new stakeholder organisations having greater participation in the process to develop a sustainable social agenda, it creates a more interesting debate. It is time to bring new people into old policies.

Kaj Embrén



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