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MEDIA REPORTS

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/26/10

2005
 

Human Development Media Report Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2004; 2003; 2002

NOVEMBER 2005

 

INTERNET DIVIDE HARMING DEVELOPING WORLD

Limited access to the Internet in many developing countries is placing businesses at a disadvantage compared with competitors in Europe and North America, according to a new UN report. The Information Economy Report 2005, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, shows that the digital divide between North and South remains wide, in spite of some progress. For instance, almost nine out of ten businesses in the EU are connected to the Internet, compared with less than one it ten in Thailand.

 

Link to further information
The report

 

HABITAT “JAM” TO KICK-START WORLD URBAN FORUM PROCESS

The process leading to the next World Urban Forum in June 2006 is to be started with a 72-hour online discussion in early December. The “Habitat JAM” from 1-3 December – which is open to all – is expected to attract a number of high-profile experts and political figures for interactive discussions on such issues as slums, water access, environmental sustainability, finance, governance, security, and future issues. The online event is expected to feed into the World Urban Forum agenda. To join the discussion.
 

FAO AGRICULTURAL CENSUS TO ACCOUNT FOR MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) 2010 round of agricultural censuses, covering the period 2006-2015, will gather socio-economic data at the community level as well as conventional structural data at the farm level. More that 100 countries are set to participate in the agricultural census programme, which will help countries to monitor progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In addition to community-level data, the census will also add data on items such as soil degradation, irrigation by crop type, method and sources of irrigation, agricultural practices and services, demographic and social characteristics, household food security, type of aquaculture site and agro-forestry.

 

Link to further information

FAO news release, 8 November 2005

 

ANNAN MARKS DAY FOR PREVENTING ENVIRONMENTAL EXPLOITATION IN WAR

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has marked the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflicts, 6 November, by highlighting the growing focus of UN activities to address the environmental damage caused by war. He noted in particular UN activities in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and the Mesopotamian marshlands, and called on “all concerned to redouble efforts aimed at preventing the exploitation and degradation of the environment during times of war.”


Link to further information

UN news release, 7 November 2005
 

OCTOBER 2005

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE STILL FACE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES – UN

In spite of progress in some countries, many indigenous people still suffer human rights violations related to land use, discrimination, poverty, lack of access to social services and lack of protection of their cultures, according to a report submitted to the UN General Assembly. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, has issued a report noting the high degree of marginalization of indigenous people, serious deficiencies in access to basic social services, the troubling number of evictions and forced displacements, and environmental problems eroding the relationship of indigenous people with their traditions and means of survival. Stavenhagen’s report recommends that governments and UN agencies focus on enforcing existing legislation and implement measures to correct human rights abuses.
 

Links to further information

UN statement, 24 October 2005

Official report
 

ECOSOC SELECTS THEME FOR 2006 HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

The Economic and Social Council has selected the theme for the high-level segment of its 2006 substantive session: “Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development.”

 

Link to further information

ECOSOC news release, 21 October 2005

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE NEED SPECIAL ATTENTION TO COMBAT POVERTY - UN

Governments should recognize that indigenous peoples have special needs and the right to prior consultation and informed consent in the development of public policy and decisions about investments and development projects, a UN Committee has been told. This was the message of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, during a meeting of the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (the “Third Committee”) of the General Assembly on 20 October 2005. Poverty affects indigenous people more severely than the rest of the world’s population. UN human rights, economic and labor experts addressed the Committee on the need to promote sustainable development and protect the rights of indigenous people.

 

Link to further information

UN news release, 20 October 2005

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS WILL DISPLACE 50 MILLION BY 2010 – STUDY

As many as 50 million people will be displaced in the next five years due to climate change and other environmental factors, according to a new study. The UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security, based in Bonn, released the study on 12 October 2005, the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

 

Link to further information

UN University press release, 12 October 2005

 

UN OBSERVES DAYS FOR DISASTER REDUCTION, FOOD AND POVERTY ERADICATION

The UN has marked the International Day for Disaster Reduction, World Food Day and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, commemorated on 12, 16 and 17 October, respectively.

 

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on the International Day for Disaster Reduction was that this year “has reminded people everywhere that no place in the world is immune from natural disaster….The lesson we must draw is encapsulated in the theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction: “Invest to prevent disaster”. Annan stressed the links between this objective and those of the current International Year of Microcredit, which can “empower those with little or no access to traditional financial institutions, thereby reducing disaster risk and improving disaster management.”

 

On the occasion of World Food Day, which also marked the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, General Assembly President Jan Eliasson appealed “to all the peoples of the United Nations to support the Millennium Development Goal to reduce extreme poverty and hunger by half so that more than 850 million people can lead a life free from the daily torment of hunger and malnutrition.” The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty took as its theme “Achieving the MDGs: Empowering the poorest of the poor.”  

 

Links to further information

UN News Releases, October 2005:

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sgsm10136.doc.htm

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/gasm361.doc.htm http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/gasm362.doc.htm http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/note5971.doc.htm

 

SEPTEMBER 2005

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE OBSERVED

Events around the world have been held to mark the International Day of Peace. The day was adopted in the UN calendar following the Peace One Day campaign by activist Jeremy Gilley.

 

Links to further information

International Day of Peace 2005

Peace One Day

 

UN DECADE OF EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMENCES ON INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY

International Literacy Day, observed 8 September 2005, marked the start of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). On the occasion of the 8 September event, which was appropriately themed for the role of literacy in sustainable development, UN Secretary-General Annan stressed that “Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection.”

 

Link to further information

UN press release

 

AUGUST 2005

 

INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE NEEDED TO FIGHT HUNGER, ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, SAYS FAO

A genuine intercultural dialogue is a precondition for progress against hunger and environmental degradation, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The agency has declared “Agriculture and intercultural dialogue” as the theme of the 2005 World Food Day, which will be celebrated on 16 October.
 

Link to further information

Agriculture and intercultural dialogue

 

UN CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

The 11th annual commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People has taken place at UN headquarters in New York. In a special message, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that “we rejoice in the richness of indigenous cultures and the special contributions they make to the human family. We also recall the tremendous challenges which so many indigenous peoples face, ranging from unacceptable levels of poverty and disease to dispossession, discrimination and denial of basic human rights.” The commemoration takes place each year on 9 August.
 

Link to further information

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
 

JULY 2005

 

POPULATION AWARDS RECOGNIZE CHAMPIONS OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

The UN’s 2005 Population Awards have been awarded to an individual and an organization active in defending reproductive rights. The Population Awards, which were presented in a ceremony in New York on 7 July, were Mercedes Concepcion of the Philippines, and the Asociación Pro Bienestar de la Familia de Guatemala (APROFAM), in Guatemala. 
 

Link to further information
Press Release
 

UK BOOSTS POLIO CAMPAIGN

A campaign to eradicate polio has been given a boost by the UK government, which pledged in early July 2005 to give nearly US$110 million to support the cause. The funding will go towards the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. 
 

Link to further information
Funding Update
 

JUNE 2005

 

HELSINKI PROCESS REPORT TACKLES GLOBALIZATION

A new report has been released urging action to make globalization work for all. The report, Mobilizing Political Will, deals with issues of poverty and development, human rights, environment, peace and security, and governance. Recommendations including reviewing the Geneva Convention, seeking agreement on long-term greenhouse gas emissions reductions, reducing agricultural subsidies, and establishing a World Environment Organization and a new UN Human Rights Council. The Helsinki Process was started by the governments of Finland and Tanzania in 2002. The Helsinki Conference, scheduled for 7-9 September 2005, is intended to be the culmination of the Helsinkin Process.
 

Link to further information
Press Release
 

COALITION MARKS DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD, URGES ACTION ON POVERTY

The Day of the African Child, held annually on 16 June, has been held. The Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) held an “African White Band Day” to demand action to end extreme poverty that results in one child’s death every three seconds.

 

Link to further information
African White Band Day

 

POVERTY, CLIMATE LINKS STRESSED

Climate change, economic development and poverty have an “inseparable relationship,” according to a new report. Global Climate and Economic Development, a new study from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute, links climate change mitigation with economic development.

 

Link to further information
The report

 

WATER AND HEALTH PROTOCOL RATIFIED

The Protocol on Water and Health to the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes is set to enter into force. The Protocol reached the minimum number of Parties required for it to enter into force as an international treaty in May, when France became the 16th country to ratify. It will now enter into force on 4 August 2005. The aim of the Protocol is to promote, at all appropriate levels, the protection of human health and wellbeing, within a framework of sustainable development, through improving water management, including the protection of water ecosystems, and through preventing, controlling and reducing water-related disease. The first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol must take place within 18 months of entry into force.
 

Links to further information

The text of the Protocol

World Health Organization - Protocol on Water and Health

 

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY SPOTLIGHTS “GREEN CITIES”

Support for green cities was the theme of World Environment Day 2005. Held on 5 June, the annual event, which was hosted this year by San Francisco and marked by numerous events around the world, focused on the environmental challenges arising from rapid urbanization. More information

 

The UN Environment Programme marked World Environment Day with the launch of One Planet Many People, a new atlas of satellite images graphically demonstrating the environmental changes that are taking place. More information on the atlas

 

MAY 2005

 

MOST AID FAILS TO REACH THOSE IN NEED – REPORT

Two thirds of current donor money is “phantom” aid that does not reach who need it, according to a new report. In Real Aid: An Agenda for Making Aid Work, Action Aid International claims that the amounts of aid from donor countries is greatly exaggerated. The organization singles out the United States and France in particular for providing “phantom aid.” The US has argued that its aid levels have risen considerably in recent years, while France has agreed to an ambitious EU plan to increase aid over the next few years.

 

Link to further information
Action Aid press release, 27 May 2005
The report

 

EU STATES PLEDGE ODA INCREASE

The European Union’s Member States have agreed to increase substantially the EU’s official development assistance (ODA) over the next ten years. Half the increase will go to Africa.
 

By 2010, the 10 new Member States “will endeavor to increase their ODA to reach 0.17% on Gross National Income (GNI) by 2010” while the remaining Member States “commit themselves to reaching” the threshold of 0.51% of GNI. The EU Member States will seek to collectively reach 0.7% by 2015.
 

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan applauded the agreement and highlighted the boost that the increased funds would provide for meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
 

Links to further information

“European Commission welcomes Council’s decision to set new ambitious targets for Development Aid,” EUROPA Press Release, 25 May 2005

“Secretary-General Applauds European Union Decision to Substantially Increase Development Aid,” UN Press Release, 25 May 2005

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO BACK URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL ACCORDS

Officials from cities around the world are set to sign on to a range of UN-backed agreements on World Environment Day in June. The Urban Environmental Accords – Green Cities Declaration, will reportedly involve a range of actions the UN Environment Programme claims are “ground breaking.”

 

Link to further information

UNEP press release, 10 May 2005

 

UN LINKS ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION TO SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS

International efforts to promote development, security and human rights will not succeed if environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources are not addressed, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned. The speech was delivered by UNEP head Klaus Töpfer at the International Conference on Environment, Peace and the Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures held in Tehran, Iran, from 9-10 May.

 

Link to further information

Annan’s speech

 

APRIL 2005

WORLD BANK BOOSTS ANTI-MALARIA CAMPAIGN

The World Bank is to boost funding to combat malaria as part of a new global strategy on the problem. Malaria kills more 3000 people every day in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Link to further information

World Bank press release

 

GENETIC RESEARCH PROJECT RAISES INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ IRE

A five-year project to reconstruct a genealogy of the world’s populations and the migration paths of early humans has met with skepticism from indigenous peoples groups. The National Geographic Society and IBM project aims to collect 100,000 blood samples from indigenous populations around the world. According to its supporters, the project would help map humanity’s genealogy. However, the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism has voiced its opposition to the project and its genetic testing, alleging similarities with the Human Genome Diversity Project, which was resisted on bioethical grounds.

 

Links to further information

National Geographic, the Genographic Project

The Genographic Project: Indigenous Representatives Each Have a Story to Tell, National Geographic press release, 13 April 2005
Geographic Society is Seeking a Genealogy of Humankind, New York Times, 13 April 2005

Geographic Society is Seeking a Genealogy of Humankind, New York Times, 13 April 2005

Indigenous Peoples Oppose National Geographic and IBM Genetic Research Project that Seeks Indigenous Peoples DNA, Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism press release, 13 April 2005

 

MEDIA COMPANIES JOIN ANTI-AIDS CAMPAIGN

Executives from the world’s media companies have agreed to a UN request to expand the media’s role in helping combat HIV/AIDS. Media executives meeting in Cannes, France in mid-April were urged to strengthen the Global Media AIDS Initiative, which was launched by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in January 2004.

 

Link to further information

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sg2098.doc.htm

 

CLINTON APPOINTED UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR TSUNAMI RECOVERY

Bill Clinton has been named as UN special envoy for tsunami recovery. The former U.S. President will liaise with government, humanitarian and development agencies, and other institutions to support the transition from emergency relief to recovery. He will also mobilize support for regional disaster prevention and mitigation mechanisms. Clinton’s appointment was officially announced during a joint press conference with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 13 April 2005.

 

Link to further information

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sgsm9819.doc.htm    

 

EXPERTS, ACTIVISTS MARK WORLD HEALTH DAY

Events have been held around the world to mark World Health Day 2005. Held on 7 April each year, the 2005 World Health Day involved a series of meetings, ceremonies and other events. The World Health Organization’s annual World Health Report, which was released to coincide with World Health, highlighted the “unacceptable level of illness, suffering and death among mothers and children.” It also focused on the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Link to further information

World Health Day 2005: Make every mother and child count   

 

EU LOOKS TO INCREASE FOREIGN AID

The European Union is proposing an increase of US$25 billion in its members’ official development assistance by 2010. The proposal has been applauded by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who noted that it should help speed up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Link to further information

Secretary-General Heartened by European Commission’s Proposal for Ambitious Targets for Official Development Assistance, UN statement, 12 April 2005   

 

MARCH 2005

 

CHILE AND WHO LAUNCH NEW COMMISSION ON SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH

President Ricardo Lagos Escobar of Chile and World Health Organization Director-General Lee Jong-wook have recently launched a global commission to champion action on the social causes behind ill-health. The Commission on the Social Determinants of Health will seek to identify, evaluate, adapt and disseminate effective strategies to address social determinants, with the aim of supporting governments to scale-up actions. Social determinants are the conditions under which people live and work, and are typically the “causes behind the causes” of ill-health. Such determinants include poverty, social exclusion, inappropriate housing, unsafe employment conditions, and lack of quality health systems. The Commission will also work with national authorities to incorporate social determinants approaches into efforts towards achieving the MDGs. The 17-member Commission, comprising global experts on health, education housing and economics, will operate for three years.

 

Link to further information

WHO press release, 18 March 2005

 

DIGITAL SOLIDARITY FUND TO BE LAUNCHED ON 14 MARCH

14 March will witness the launching of the Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF), an initiative proposed by Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade that seeks to transform the digital divide in “digital opportunities to promote peace, sustainable development, democracy, transparency and good governance.”

 

Initially scheduled for mid-November, the launching of the DSF was postponed due to the situation in Côte dIvoire and the calling of an extraordinary Summit of the African Union, which rendered several of the DSF’s key supporters unable to attend the inaugural ceremony, now scheduled for 14 March 2005 in Geneva.

 

The DSF enjoys political support from the African Union, NEPAD, and numerous local governments around the world. In addition to cash and in-kind contributions, the Fund will be sustained through the voluntary commitments of public authorities and private entities through the “Geneva Principle” - an innovative financing mechanism that involves a 1% contribution on public ICT procurement contracts, paid by the vendor on his profit margin. At present, 60% of the resources of the Fund are earmarked for LDCs, 30% for developing countries and 10% for developed and transition economies.

 

Links to further information

Digital Solidarity Fund website

 

UN MARKS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

The United Nations family commemorated International Women’s Day on 8 March with activities around the world ranging from cancer prevention initiatives to rights seminars and education and leadership workshops.

 

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan underscored the critical importance of women’s empowerment, declaring that “No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health – including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation. And I would venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended.”

 

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer highlighted the special relationship that women and girls have with the environment, noting that they are often custodians of indigenous knowledge and promoters of biodiversity and environmentally-friendly management. The recent session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum adopted a decision on gender equality and the environment that seeks to mainstream gender concerns in the implementation of UNEP’s programmes.

 

Links to further information

International Women’s Day website

With clarion calls and worldwide events, UN marks International Women�s Day, UN press release, 8 March 2005

Celebrating women as custodians of the environment, UNEP press release, 8 March 2005

 

FEBRUARY 2005

 

AWARDS, AWARDS

The Theodor-Heuss Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2005 Theodor-Heuss prize. UNEP Executive Director Klaus T�pfer, Human Rights Watch, and Dr. Meinhard Miegel, a social and economic data analyst, will receive this year�s prize. The award ceremony is scheduled for 29 April in Stuttgart, Germany. The Theodor-Heuss Foundation�s mission is to support democracy and promote education and culture.

 

The 2004 Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment was recently presented to 10 recipients. The prize, which includes a US$30,000 cash prize, a trophy and a commemorative certificate, recognizes initiatives that improve living conditions on a sustainable basis. This year�s prize recipients are the: Urban Agriculture Programme, Rosario, Argentina; Tomorrow�s Seeds Human Development and Urban Poverty Reduction programme, Aur�, Brazil; First Nations Community Planning project, Canada; Brownfield Remediation of the Tangshan Southern Coal Mining Area, China; Green Path to Sustainable Development of Marginal Drylands, Iran; Sand Dams of Kitui: Providing Potable and Production Water in Semi-Arid Lands of Kitui District, Kenya; IT4YOUTH computer literacy programme for young Palestinians; Alba-Ter Consortium of the River Ter Basin, Spain; Business and Competence Development: Working to reduce poverty, unemployment and hardship in Togo; and Poverty Reduction Programme for women in Uzbekistan.

 

Links to further information

UNEP Executive Director Receives Theodor-Heuss Award

Major German Honor for Human Rights Watch�s Global Monitoring, 2 February 2005

Dubai Awards for best practices in human settlements, 31 January 2005

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