The Midwife of Collective Wisdom

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The world has many ‘wicked’ problems that defy easy solutions. These problems are systemic, interrelated and intractable. We need collective wisdom to engage with the wickedness. This wisdom exists amongst us. However, it needs to be surfaced.

We bring together the 'right' people to carefully designed spaces. Over time we prototype some ideas emerging from these spaces. We also produce and distribute tools to imagine, think and solve.

Socratus seeks to midwife the collective wisdom that is needed.

Socratus strives for a flourishing society on a thriving planet. We have started work in the areas of food systems, urban systems and livelihoods.

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We want to understand

  • How will India flourish in the era of Climate Change?
  • Can we provide nutritious food to all?
  • How will our cities become hospitable for migrant families?
  • How can our farmers live lives of dignity?
  • How will our youth respond to an uncertain future?

In summary

"What's Socratus you ask?

We take systems to task

Combining Socrates the Greek

with a designer and a geek

and collect their wisdom in a cask"

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About Socratus
Find out more...

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Write to us at: [email protected]

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Media

TypeTitleTheme PublisherDateLinkSummary
Report
2022 Global food policy report: Climate change and food systems
Climate ChangeFood systemWorldOptional Read
IFPRI
May 13, 2022
189 pgs -The 2022 Global Food Policy Report sets out a broad range of opportunities for accelerated action that should be considered in policy and investment decision-making for climate change adaptation, mitigation, and resilience Chapters- 1. Climate Change and Food Systems: Transforming Food Systems for Adaptation, Mitigation, and Resilience 2. Repurposing Agricultural Support: Creating Food Systems Incentives for Addressing Climate Change 3. Trade and Climate Change: The Role of Reforms in Ensuring Food Security and Sustainability 4. Research for the Future: Investments for Efficiency, Sustainability, and Equity 5. Climate Finance: Funding Sustainable Food Systems Transformation 6. Social Protection: Designing Adaptive Systems to Build Resilience to Climate Change 7. Landscape Governance: Engaging Stakeholders to Confront Climate Change 8. Nutrition and Climate Change: Shifting to Sustainable Healthy Diets 9. Rural Clean Energy Access: Accelerating Climate Resilience 10. Bio-innovations: Genome-Edited Crops for Climate-Smart Food Systems 11. Food Value Chains: Increasing Productivity, Sustainability, and Resilience to Climate Change 12. Digital Innovations: Using Data and Technology for Sustainable Food Systems
Article
Food production to dip, hunger to rise in India due to climate change, says report
Food systemIndiaClimate Change
May 13, 2022
India’s food production could drop 16% and the number of those at risk for hunger could increase 23% by 2030 due to climate change, says a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on climate change and food systems. These projections are part of a model that was used to evaluate the impact of climate change on aggregate food production, food consumption(kcal per person per day), net trade of major food commodity groups, and the population at risk of going hungry. IMPACT, as the model is called, simulates national and international agricultural markets. It was developed with inputs from scientists from the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) and other leading global economic modeling efforts, the report notes.
Article
Food systems under scrutiny as 12 million Ha of lands lost annually The Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification started May 9 to chalk out plans to restore 1 billion Ha of degraded land in the next eight years
Food systemClimate ChangeDesertificationWorld
Down to Earth
May 12, 2022
The fifteenth Conference of Parties (CoP15) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) started May 9, 2022, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Through May 20, heads of states and representatives of 196 member states and the EU will discuss an urgent agenda: Restoring a billion Hectares (Ha) of degraded land by 2030. During the CoP15, the food system will be under scrutiny, both as a cause of this unprecedented land degradation and also as an ultimate victim of this. This also threatens food security in future. The second Land Outlook by UNCCD termed food systems as the “single greatest driver” of land degradation and productivity loss, saying crop and grazing currently covers 40 per cent of the Earth’s land surface. The CoP15 has dedicated a day for food systems events and discussions, reflecting the centrality of this driver to future land use sustainability.
Article
Droughts reduced India GDP by 2-5% over 20 years: UN
IndiaCItizenshipEconomy
May 12, 2022
The number and duration of droughts has risen 29% globally since 2000 and the effect of severe droughts is estimated to have reduced India’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2-5% over the 20 years from 1998 to 2017, said a new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) released on Wednesday.
Paper
Strategy games to improve environmental policymaking
Nature
May 13, 2022
Current Integrated Assessment Model (IAM- Microsoft Word - Climate_Analytics_IAMS_briefing_Oct2018.docx (climateanalytics.org)) face limitations of data and also values and diverse human behaviors that are difficult to include in the assessment model. To include human agency in environmental decision making - strategy games can be used in policy formulation, conflict resolution and agreements. Involving stakeholders (significantly policymakers) to play the game and use of these games and explore the possibilities that exist to steer the course of events and potentially discover new solutions. Doing so takes games away from being a downward educational tool and transforms them into a vehicle for democratic dialogues bridging local, national and international processes, with an explicit set of rules shared by all players dictating how the system behaves.
Article
Bhupendra Yadav- Covid compounded global warming fight- India endorsed six restoration flagships that target the restoration of 12.5 million hectares of degraded land.
IndiaClimate ActionPolicy
May 11, 2022
Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday said that the pandemic has “compounded the challenge of fighting global warming” as economic pressures have delayed progress of climate action around the world. Despite which- India has made significant progress in its commitment to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. “Over 229 million Soil Health Cards have been issued to farmers between 2015 and 2019 and this programme has led to a decline of 8-10% in the use of chemical fertilizers and also raised productivity by 5-6%.”, he said. (Soil Health Card (SHC) is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. to provide nutrient recommendations to farmers based on local soil health tests, with the expectation that it will promote balanced nutrient management practices. Launched in 2015, the program provides SHCs to every farmer at two-year intervals. The cards  contain soil test results and crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers to help improve productivity through judicious use of inputs.) He added that following the global call for the submission of nominations for World Restoration Flagships, India endorsed six restoration flagships that target the restoration of 12.5 million hectares of degraded land.
Article
India facing its longest power cuts in 6 years could lead to coal imports
IndiaWar in UkraineCoal ShortageImport
TOI
May 10, 2022
Maharashtra plans to import 8 million tonnes for "blending purposes," while Gujarat will place orders for 1 million tonnes next week, the states' energy officials told the federal government on April 13, according to the minutes of the meeting reviewed by Reuters. The chairman of the Tamil Nadu government-run utility said the state was targeting importing 20% of its coal requirements, adding that it had already placed orders to import 1.5 million tonnes, according to the meeting minutes. The three states are the among the biggest power guzzlers in the country, cumulatively accounting for nearly a third of India's electricity demand in 2021
Article
South Africa gearing up to negotiate ‘new paradigm’ climate finance deal
WorldClimate FinanceOptional Read
May 11, 2022
The ‘Political Declaration on the Just Energy Transition in South Africa’ signed with EU, France, Germany, the UK and the US on a 8.5 billion USD. Processes are underway to support the transition from coal to renewable in the electricity sector – while also supporting coal workers and communities, as well as to lay the basis for the domestic production of electric vehicles and green hydrogen. This mechanism while reflecting South Africa’s contextual needs will also include , risk-mitigation instruments, grants, concessional loans, and other appropriate tools that contribute towards the cost of the country's transition, but without inhibiting or negatively impacting the country's national priority programmes and budgets.
Article
Climate Cooperation Between India and Germany - India receive €10 billion in aid by 2030 to boost clean energy
Climate FinanceGreen TechWorldIndia
May 10, 2022
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged 10 billion euros ($10.51 billion) to help India achieve its climate goals after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in early May and covered issues ranging from technical assistance to increasing the use of renewable energy and hydrogen, to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting biodiversity and improving agricultural land use.
Tweet
Indian MPs visiting University of Chicago on a session that presented ETS (emission trading system) as a tool to reduce air pollution
LegislatorAir pollutionETS
May 10, 2022
The 9 MPs in attendance are- Amar Patnaik, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Ritesh Pandey, Heens Gavit, Rahul Kaswan, Kotagiri Sridhar, Brijendra Singh, Shivkumar Udasi, and CM Ramesh. 9th May (Day 1)- an informal session during which they discussed topics including cryptocurrency, history of Uni of Chicago and ETS.
Report
Exploring the Inequities of Climate Finance
Climate FinanceCItizenshipWorld
ORF
May 6, 2022
General look into climate finance and climate action from the perspective of a developing nation
Article
Threatened crop yields, major waste: World needs a food system 'transformation', says expert
Food systemWorldClimate ChangeGHG
News24
May 8, 2022
With the latest climate scenarios, AgMIP's Global Gridded Crop Modelling Team found that the emergence of impacts on some of the agricultural regions around the world is now projected to be felt earlier, to really start biting even in the 2030s. Increasing carbon storage can help to fight climate change. We need to increase efficiency for crop production and reduce food loss and waste -- it's a rough figure but around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. If we don't waste as much food, we don't have to grow as much food -- thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production.
Report
How the failure to reform food systems has allowed the war in Ukraine to spark a third global food price crisis in 15 years, and what can be done to prevent the next one
Food systemWorldWar in Ukraine
IPES Food
May 6, 2022
This Special Report takes stock of the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on global food security. It identifies underlying vulnerabilities and rigidities in terms of food production patterns and import dependencies, in a context of declining international solidarity and systematic climate induced supply strain. With the invasion of Ukraine sparking a third food price crisis in 15 years, a new IPES-Food special report, ‘Another Perfect Storm?’ takes stock of the critical factors fanning the flames of global hunger - and what can be done about them. World food prices continued to see record-breaking highs in April 2022, hitting food insecure countries and populations hard. Numbers of undernourished people could increase by 13 million this year. The special report blames fundamental flaws in global food systems - such as heavy reliance on food imports and excessive commodity speculation - for escalating food insecurity sparked by the Ukraine invasion. These flaws were exposed, but not corrected, after previous food price spikes in 2007-8.
Article
Govt ready for bigger subsidy outgo, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman
Fertilizer SubsidyPolicy
Economic Times
May 9, 2022
With the Government’s focus on atmanirbhar, the finance minister (at the ET awards) announced that the fertilizer subsidy would increase further in this year (given that ”The Centre had budgeted ₹1.05 lakh crore for the fertiliser subsidy. However, global rating agency Crisil has said the outgo toward this could touch an all-time high of ₹1.65 lakh crore on account of the Ukraine crisis, which has led to a steep increase in urea and fertiliser prices”). Additionally , The Centre has already approved additional support of ₹60,939 crore for subsidies on non-urea fertilisers for the upcoming kharif crop. The extension of the food programme until September is expected to cost an extra ₹80,851 crore.
Article
Can India become competitive while pursuing climate resilient development? Difficult but possible
Climate ChangeEconomy
Economic Times
May 8, 2022
India and its dual objective of achieving Economic growth and its climate goals. through carefully curated and implemented policies for attracting public and private sector investments. Given the extreme inequalities in India, the policies for achieving these objectives, must prioritise sustainability (for future generations), inclusivity (for vulnerable groups) and equity (to reduce economic disparity). This can only happen when the fundamental building blocks of a competitive climate resilient economy, are in place.
Paper
White Paper- Improving India’s Competitiveness for Inclusive Economic Growth (An enabling environment for Samaj, Sarkar and Bazaar to work together)
EconomyCItizenship
CUTS International
January 31, 2022
This Whitepaper makes a thorough attempt to identify factors that determine the degree of competitiveness of Indian industries, promoting investment in intangible assets including skills, education and human resource development; better intra and inter-sectoral cooperation at firm level; ensuring fair competition; and modernisation of public institutions. The paper also attempts to recognise suitable solutions and policy recommendations in order to turn identified challenges into opportunities for ensuring improved competition in the industry.