Updated: 4 minutes ago Published: 4 minutes ago
The draft global economic development strategy, or CEDS, for 2022-2027 is available online at https://ua-ced.org/statewide-ceds. The lead state agency is the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. The University of Alaska Center for Economic Development is facilitating the process, which began in January 2022. CEDS’s mission is “to create a shared approach to Alaska’s future prosperity that is locally based, regionally driven and connected to the state “. Alaska needs this mission to be fulfilled. The draft CEDS offers a solid starting point, but it needs three changes to fulfill its mission: link indicators to objectives, lengthen the timeline, and broaden the objective.
First, you need a way to track your progress. The measurable indicators are listed in a two-page scoreboard separated by the six objectives and their related objectives and actions. The scoreboard is important because what people can point to with the data often takes priority. As they say, “what is measured is managed”. While not everything that matters can be measured, measurable indicators provide a way to track and communicate progress towards stated goals and objectives. The indicators in the CEDS must be directly linked to each objective, objective and action; everyone needs a measurable indicator to track progress.
Secondly, a longer timeline is needed. The CEDS project is 2022-2027. Five years is too short to co-create and implement a state-level strategy. In order for every Alaskan citizen to have the opportunity to engage in the process, for all voices to be heard, a longer time horizon is needed. It is also beneficial to go beyond the political election cycles. Fifteen years is a more feasible timeline for fulfilling the CEDS mission “to create a shared approach to Alaska’s future prosperity that is locally based, regionally driven, and connected to the state.”
Third, we need to look beyond the traditional lens of economic development to understand and move towards a new vision of Alaska’s future prosperity. The CEDS is seen through a traditional lens of GDP, income, jobs, business competitiveness, capital investment and infrastructure. Economic growth is only one dimension and must be seen alongside social and environmental well-being to see the full picture of prosperity. To create a prosperous future, our way of life must be seen as holistic and interconnected. An appropriate starting point is an indigenous lens, to see the place we call home today from the perspective of the Alaskans who have lived here for 10,000 years.
In conclusion, CEDS has an important mission to “create a shared approach to Alaska’s future prosperity that is locally based, regionally driven and connected to the state.” The draft is a good starting point, but it needs three elements to fulfill its mission: 1. measurable indicators to be linked to specific objectives; 2. a time horizon of 15 years; and 3. a broader goal that includes social, cultural, and environmental goals rooted in the values of the Alaskan natives.
Joel Cladouhos is an entrepreneur and activist for sustainable development. He lives in Anchorage.
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