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MEDIA REPORTS

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/26/10

2003

Human Development Media Report Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2002

NOVEMBER 2003

 

GLOBAL COMMISSION ON MIGRATION FORMED
The Global Commission on International Migration has been established to provide a comprehensive response to migration issues. Co-chaired by Jan Karlsson, former Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy, and Mamphela Ramphele, World Bank Managing Director, the independent Commission is jointly headed by Sweden and Switzerland.

 

During the launch of the Commission, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan highlighted how migration is a key development issue, with economic and human rights implications. Noting that win-win outcomes are possible for both countries of origin and receiving countries, Annan said “Our approach to migration will be an important test of our commitment to universal values, and of our capacity, as an international community, to cooperate for mutual advantage.” 

 

The Commission will begin its work in December 2003 and is expected to complete its report by mid-2005.

 

Links to further information

World Bank press release, 21 November 2003

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20140551
~menuPK:34463~pagePK:64003015~piPK:64003012~theSitePK:4607,00.html  

UN press release, 12 November 2003

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sgsm9064.doc.htm

 

OCTOBER 2003

 

TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS SHOULD BE HELD TO HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS, UN EXPERT SAYS
In a report to the UN General Assembly released on 13 October, Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the right to food, recommended that UN Member States better monitor transnational companies to secure food supplies for the poor. Suggesting that NGOs could play a role in this effort, he also praised the governments of Sierra Leone and Brazil for their food initiatives. Ziegler noted that “the growing power of transnational corporations and their extension of power through privatization, deregulation and the rolling back of the State also mean that it is now time to develop binding legal norms that hold corporations to human rights standards and circumscribe potential abuses of their position of power.”

 

A resolution containing a set of guidelines to ensure compliance by international companies with existing human rights, labor and environmental standards was also recently adopted by the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the main subsidiary body of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The resolution containing the “draft Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights” reflects a first step by a United Nations body toward regulating transnational corporations.

Links to further information

UN Press Release, 13 October 2003
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=8536&Cr=right&Cr1=food

Ziegler’s report

http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/58/330

Website of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food

http://www.righttofood.org/

UN wire news service, 14 August 2003

http://www.unwire.org/News/328_426_7496.asp

INDEX RANKS FINLAND AS LEAST CORRUPT, BANGLADESH AS MOST
Finland is perceived as the world’s most transparent and least corrupt country, finds Transparency International in its Corruption Perception Index 2003. Charting corruption levels of 133 countries through perceptions of both locals and expatriates in each country, the Index reports that seven out of the ten nations assessed scored less than five out of a possible clean score of ten, with 90 percent of developing countries in that category. At the bottom of the list was Bangladesh, preceded by Myanmar, Paraguay, Haiti, and Nigeria. Listed at the top of the index following Finland were Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.

 

Noting the high degree of corruption in developing countries, Peter Eigen, Chair of Transparency International, urges practical support tailored to the needs of national anti-corruption strategies. Eigen adds that “for these strategies to succeed, such support must go hand in hand with international backing for civil society to monitor the implementation of these strategies … and donor countries and international financial institutions should take a firmer line, stopping financial support to corrupt governments and blacklisting international companies caught paying bribes abroad.”

 

Links to further information

Transparency International press release, 7 October 2003

http://www.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2003/dnld/cpi2003.pressrelease.en.pdf

 

SEPTEMBER 2003

 

GERMAN CITY, BASF AND UN-HABITAT COLLABORATE TO ADVANCE “SUSTAINABLE CITIES OF THE FUTURE”
The German city of Ludwigshafen, together with UN-Habitat and the global chemical company BASF have approved a joint project to promote the development of sustainable cities. The agreement was made at the City of the Future: Opportunities for Europe conference, held in Ludwigshafen on 8-9 September. With an overarching theme of sustainable urban development in a European setting, the conference focused on energy-saving technologies. The new initiative will compile a collection of experiences in environmental technology and successful public-private sector partnerships that will build a knowledge base, which other cities can draw on to help build “sustainable cities of the future.

 

Links to further information

UN-Habitat press release, 9 September 2003

http://www.unhabitat.org/ludwigshafen.asp

 

AUGUST 2003

 

UN HUMAN RIGHTS BODY APPROVES GUIDELINES ON TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS
A resolution containing a set of guidelines to ensure compliance by international companies with existing human rights, labor and environmental standards was recently adopted by the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the main subsidiary body of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The resolution containing the “draft Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights” reflects a first step by a United Nations body toward regulating transnational corporations.

 

Addressing general obligations, the right to equal opportunity and non-discriminatory treatment, the right to security of person, rights of workers, respect for national sovereignty and human rights, obligations with regard to consumer protection, obligations with regard to environmental protection, and general provisions of implementation, these Norms are to be transmitted to the UN Commission on Human Rights for consideration and adoption at the Commission’s next annual meeting in March 2004.

 

David Danzig of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights noted in support of the resolution, “This is the first time that companies, not just States, are being put on notice that they will be expected to meet these basic standards.” Opposing the resolution, the Secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce Stefano Bertasi stated, “We don't have a problem at all with efforts that seek to encourage companies to do what they can . . . to protect human rights. We have a problem with the premise and the principle that the norms are based on.” The ICC supports voluntary initiatives by corporations with respect to human rights issues, such as the UN Global Compact on corporate governance launched by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000.

 

Links to further information

UN wire news service, 14 August 2003
http://www.unwire.org/News/328_426_7496.asp

Financial Times, 13 August 2003
http://search.ft.com/search/article.html?id=030813000343

 

WORLD BANK LAUNCHES GLOBAL FUND FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
A Global Fund for Indigenous Peoples, designed to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples’ in development decisions that affect their lives, has been initiated by the World Bank. Launched on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (8 August), the Fund will provide financial support for: a Grant Facility that will provide small grants directly to Indigenous Peoples Organizations for development related activities; a capacity building programme for Indigenous Peoples leaders in the Andean region; and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

 

The outcome of a series of dialogues with Indigenous Peoples leaders from around the world, the Fund seeks to increase the participation of Indigenous Peoples in policy formulation and in the design and implementation of projects in their respective communities and countries. It also aims to help Indigenous Peoples Organizations in their ability to engage government agencies in their policy reform dialogue.

 

Links to further information
World Bank press release,
8 August 2003
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20123218~menu
PK:34463~pagePK:64003015~piPK:64003012~theSitePK:4607,00.html

World Bank Indigenous Peoples website
http://www.worldbank.org/indigenous

 

JULY 2003

 

ILO LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO CREATE A BILLION JOBS FOR YOUTH
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched an initiative to stimulate the creation of a billion jobs for youth worldwide over the next decade. A two day session of a “High-Level Panel on Youth Employment” convened in Geneva from 30 June to 1 July 2003 to clarify a “road map” aimed at bringing policy on youth employment to action at the national level. The High-Level Panel was established following the 2000 Millennium Summit in order to “develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work.” The Panel’s road map proposes five steps to be undertaken by a Youth Employment Network (YEN): endorsing the Panel’s recommendations; translating strategy into national action plans; mobilizing financial resources for youth employment; building bridges between school and work; and inviting youth organizations to play an active role in the design and implementation of national action plans.

 

“Youth Employment is an indispensable task,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “We should make job creation a result, not just an objective of policy. Youth employment is a gigantic idea, but we have an instrument to implement it, and the main instrument is to believe in it.” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan added, “In the next decade, more than one billion young people will enter the working age population … We have seen, all too often, the tragedy of youthful lives misspent in crime, drug abuse, civil conflict and even terrorism.”

 

Links to further information

ILO press release, 3 July 2003
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/pr/2003/37.htm

 

MAY 2003

 

UNRISD LAUNCHES PROJECT ON UN WORLD SUMMITS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ENGAGEMENT

The Untied Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) has launched a two-year research project on civil society engagement at UN World Summits. Aiming to critically assess the impacts of various UN Summits on civil society activism at the global, national and local levels, the project will undertake three sets of activities, namely studies on: national and local civil society organization (CSO) dynamics in countries hosting UN Summit and Preparatory meetings; the impact of UN Summits on global civil society activism; and the experiences of preparatory and follow-up processes on UN Summits.

 

Links to further information

UNRISD news, 27 May 2003

http://www.unrisd.org/80256B3C005BE6B5/(httpNews)/3A98F9A251FC
27B0C1256D33004F6376?OpenDocument

 

APRIL 2003

 

MILESTONE MADE IN DECODING GENETIC-ENVIRONMENTAL LINKS TO DISEASES
Scientists will soon be able to identify which human genes can increase a person’s susceptibility to environmentally linked diseases. The initial phase of the Environmental Genome Project is now completed, with 200 environmentally responsive genes re-sequenced and catalogued, and links to vascular disease, leukemia and other illnesses identified. This accomplishment provides the foundation for researchers to study the potential links between environmental exposure, human genes and disease development. Kenneth Olden, Director of the US National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, which is leading the Project, commented that “Gene-environment interactions contribute to many of the most common diseases affecting Americans ... the Environmental Genome Project has enabled the health science community to take a major step forward in understanding and potentially preventing environmentally induced disease in susceptible individuals.” Scientists note that only a few, relatively rare diseases are caused by single gene defects, suggesting that most diseases develop from interactions between our genes and environmental exposures. Built upon the Human Genome Project, the Environmental Genome Project aims to identify the genetic variations in individuals that impart susceptibility to environmental agents.

 

Links to further information

Environment News Service, 18 April 2003

http://ens-news.com/ens/apr2003/2003-04-18-10.asp

 

UNFPA EXPRESSES CONCERN AT DECLINE IN RESOURCES FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
The international community is lagging behind its commitment to invest US$17billion annually on population and reproductive health, says the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), referring to a pledge made at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo. UNFPA released preliminary data revealing a decline in investments in 2001 from 2000. Highlighting the benefits of investing in health and education, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid said, “Whether the world will eliminate illiteracy and gender disparity or add 2.6 billion people will largely depend on the actions that we all take over the next decade.” At its recent session in New York, the UN Commission on Population and Development also underscored the vital role of education in confronting population growth and enhancing development.

 

Links to further information

UN News Centre, 2 April 2003

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=6639&Cr=population&Cr1=

UN News Centre, 31 March 2003
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=6621&Cr=population&Cr1=development

 

FEBRUARY 2003

 

UN REVISES GLOBAL POPULATION PROJECTIONS, ESTIMATES DROP BY 400 MILLION

UN global population projections for 2050 have dropped by 400 million from the 9.3 billion that was estimated two years ago. The new figure of 8.9 billion reflects the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and of a reduction in the number of projected births. For the first time, the UN Population Division expects that future fertility levels will be less than the population replacement level, that is below 2.1 children per woman. Estimates predict that by 2050, 75 percent of developing countries will experience below-replacement fertility.

 

Links to further information

UN Population Division report

http://www.un.org/esa/population/unpop.htm

UN press release, 26 February 2003

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/pop850.doc.htm

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