Key questions: How will we advance human well-being in varying contexts around the globe? How will efforts extend beyond capitals and population centers, to reach the countless rural areas that host half the world’s population? Who will do this work? How will these individuals receive support? Though national governments have unique responsibilities in this work, governmental action alone is not sufficient. We individuals cannot neglect the obligations and commitments of the current global order. If we are to succeed, the new agenda cannot remain the exclusive domain of institutions and governments, but must be embraced by people. Capacity building must begin to fulfill the promise of a world embracing human dimensions spearheaded by a cohesive global public policy.
Capacity building begins with every individual. It comes with acknowledgement that we all have a vested interest in self-improvement and must be willing to undertake appropriate measures to bring it about. This will manifest in ways that individual growth and performance will have positive effects on the family and by extension improve the community, support the larger society, and exert a positive influence that will help stabilize the natural environment. Taken together, these elements morphs as a collective effort to spearhead human development in a global context.
We must devise creative ways in which to incorporate fresh ideas and understandings into learning processes that foster additional dimensions in human behavior. It will require embracing a worldview with special consideration given to those factors currently impacting humanity that are demanding a restructuring of society now in protracted evolution and on a global basis. The problems may be similar but will require unique solutions defined by the social and culture context in which they occur.
Just a few years ago to gain pea personal perspective of a diverse ‘one world community’ composed of multi-ethnic components and cultures engaged in a collective effort to advance human development globally would be considered a challenge in the extreme, simply, a ‘leap too far’. But times have changed. The work of non-government organizations (NGO) and their companion international non-government organization (INGO), and advances in technologies accompanied by an explosion of knowledge through information sharing, has created a global awareness of that the human experience is not so different around the world. Approaches may vary but everyone desires to have a better life, to be free from oppression, be able to feed their families and provide education for our children. Distorted history and social indoctrination aside, humanity comprises a single race of people with an inherent creative intelligence and spiritual commonality. These are primary factors for building human capacity.
In a broader sense, building capacity is a set of complex processes where all elements of civil society seek to develop the capability needed to place in effect unified efforts to resolve global challenges. Key requirements associated with this endeavor lie with leadership enhanced by a moral component; initiating changes that strengthen administrative and judicial law; advancing family life and provide community stability; and making ethical performance criteria integral to systems of governance. These elements when placed into effect will help to ensure that the carriage of justice is foremost in society.
A major detriment to capacity building is the extremes associated with consumerism and its unbridled companion, excessive material consumption. At this adolescence stage in humanity’s growth these associated twins are rapidly snowballing commercialization into a global phenomenon, artificially redefining societal needs by promoting unrealistic and unaffordable lifestyles. It is a system designed primarily to psychologically induced insatiable desire for vast quantities of products and materials where most have little or no worth for quality of life. Excessive material consumption rapidly becomes a burden for the economically marginalized, those least able to afford a designer lifestyle but who may desire it as a way to project artificial social status. An increasing borderline financially strapped middle class is also affected, squeezed financially as new products emerge to compete for ownership.
Many people are in danger of becoming enslaved to market forces by becoming ‘debt friendly’ to exploiting financial institutions. The abuse of debt can rapidly become a constant companion that consumes vital resources and thereby stifle one’s ability to build individual capacity. During emergency situations if debt is not satisfactorily settled it is then assigned for settlement to the next of kin, and the cycle is repeated. In such a circumstance, only the wealthy survive to reap financial benefit, and as globalization expands the entire process endangers global human development.
Current ideas for capacity building relate to economic development, itself based on consumerism as primary means for growth, and just one example of how capacity building is ill defined and misrepresented. The current system robs individuals and families of the creative spirit and energy they need a achieve quality milestones, and if allowed to continue in its present form, it will cause dire consequences for an emerging global society, a society that dependents upon the quality and availability of human capital for its continued growth and development.