From migration to overpopulation, one model has the potential to shed some light on a path that could be helpful for innovative, future-proof policies. Robert Oakes, the Senior Researcher at the Institute for Environment and Human Security, at the United Nations University, is our guest on the META podcast. He talked to us about the model’s focus on people as a central element.

In the world of models, there are different categories. The models that answer a question – for instance, how do we halt climate change to 1.5 degrees? – and the models that suppose. The ones that suppose are full of uncertainty but they can bring a lot of data to the users of the models. That’s the case with WILIAM, the model of the LOCOMOTION project.

When you hear LOCOMOTION, a nostalgic 80s vibe might come to your mind. But in our case, LOCOMOTION focuses on the future, and on how to make our society future–proof.  

WILIAM, our own integrated assessment model, intends to propose some answers and ask even more questions.  

Traditionally, when policymakers decide on legislation, they look at the impact on the economy. This makes sense, as we do need an economy that supports people’s lives, jobs, access to food, education, and wellbeing. But we took the system too far. Now, the economy seems to have its own identity, which policymakers try to protect at all costs.  

Why not put the economy back in its rightful place, using it as a tool for people and nature to thrive together?  

The WILIAM model is constructed as a web, with people at the centre. The model prioritizes people’s basic needs: their wellbeing, health, poverty level, access to food, access to energy, water security, access to education and gender equality. All the other elements need to work together to ensure that people’s basic needs are met. No surprise, economy is one of the elements, not in the centre anymore but well placed as a tool to help people’s interests.  

From migration to overpopulation, the WILIAM model has the potential to shed some light on a path that could be helpful for innovative, future-proof policies. 

To learn more, listen to our podcast. 

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