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MEDIA REPORTS

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/26/10

 

2008


Human Development Media Report Archives: 2010; 2009; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 200
3; 2002

DECEMBER 2008

UN DISASTER MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE IN DEMAND
In a year-end summary, issued on 23 December 2008, the head of the Emergency Services Branch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Arjun Katoch, highlighted that in 2008, UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) – which helps disaster-stricken countries to rapidly assess priority needs and coordinate relief on-site –
experienced increased demand due to the rise of natural disasters caused by extreme weather. He noted that 67 countries, including Spain and the United Arab Emirates, have joined the UNDAC system to share their expertise on how to better prepare for and manage emergency relief after natural disasters. In 2008, UNDAC sent disaster-management professionals to 16 areas, and organized disaster-awareness training programmes in the Middle East and in Russia, for members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In 2009, UNDAC is expected to organize a training session for the West African region.

Links to further information

UN News Centre, 23 December 2008
Reliefweb Press Release, 23 December 2008

UNDP SENDS A MESSAGE FROM DOHA TO POZNAŃ
On 3 December 2008, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Derviş commended the outcome document from the Financing for Development Conference, held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November-2 December 2008, for endorsing the call of the UN Secretary-General to reaffirm international commitments to address poverty reduction and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The UNDP Administrator highlighted that Doha recognized the centrality of meeting developed countries’ commitment made in Monterrey 2002 to increase official development assistance (ODA) by 0.7 percent of GNP to developing countries by 2015, as essential to resolve the triple crisis posed by financial turmoil, global poverty and climate change. He stressed that the crises are interconnected and called upon negotiators at the UN climate change conference in Poznan to focus on opportunities, such as establishing an effective carbon market and price of carbon, and mechanisms for resource flows to developing countries to finance green growth policies and poverty reduction. He noted that UNDP will continue to support developing countries to build up the capacities required to promote sustainable green growth, while reducing poverty.

Links to further information

UNDP Newsroom, 3 December 2008
UN News Centre, 4 December 2008

UN HCHR CALLS FOR A HUMAN RIGHTS APPROACH TO TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE

As the world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) Navi Pillay stressed that a wide range of universally recognized rights – such as the right to food, to adequate housing and water, and to life – are under threat due to climate change. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Council mandated the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake a study on the interlinkages between human rights and climate change. The OHCHR study is emphasizes the need for a human rights based approach to provide the legal rationale to climate change policies and programmes currently under negotiation, indicating that human well-being and security in developed and developing countries are under risk. The study also gives special consideration to the poorest and most marginalized groups, as age, gender, and socio-economic status can reduce or increase vulnerability. The Human Rights Council will consider the study next March and make it available to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, in December 2009.

 

Links to further information
OHCHR News

OHCHR climate change consultation meeting

UNCCD AND UNU TO EXPAND RESEARCH ON ENVIRONMENTALLY-INDUCED MIGRATION
The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN University (UNU) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be carried out as a joint work plan, beginning in 2009, to expand research on forced migration due to desertification, land degradation and drought. As a result of the 28 November 2008 MOU, a preliminary policy position paper is expected to be prepared and presented at the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in May 2009, followed by a joint publication, to be prepared by October 2009 for the ninth session of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties.

Link to further information
UNCCD Press Release

FAO RELEASES PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF CARBOAFRICA

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has issued preliminary findings of CarboAfrica, an international research project gathering 15 institutions from Africa and Europe. The project aims to quantify, understand and predict the carbon cycle and other GHG gases in Africa. According to Riccardo Valentini, CarboAfrica project coordinator, the evidence so far indicates that Africa seems to be a relevant ‘carbon sink,’ meaning that it takes more carbon out of the atmosphere than it releases. It is estimated that Africa’s GHG emissions from fossil fuels are less than 4% of the world’s total. The preliminary findings of the project were the subject of the Africa and Carbon Cycle Conference held in Accra, Ghana, from 25-27 November 2008.

 

Links to further information
FAO Newsroom, 25 November 2008

CarboAfrica

 

NOVEMBER 2008

NEW UN REPORT SHOWS CULTURAL SENSITIVITY CRITICAL TO SUCCESSFUL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES
On 12 November 2008, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) released its flagship publication, State of the World Population, in London, UK. The 2008 Report – “Reaching Common Ground: Culture, Gender and Human Rights” – notes that development strategies that are sensitive to cultural values can reduce harmful practices against women and promote human rights, including gender equality and women’s empowerment. The report emphasizes that culture is a central component of successful development of poor countries, and that it must be integrated into development policy and programming. The report coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it is based on the idea that international human rights have universal validity, while promoting culturally sensitive approaches to development. At the launch of the report, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid noted that human rights are “everybody’s work,” that culturally sensitive approaches are essential for reaching the Millennium Development Goals, and that analyzing people’s choices in their local conditions and cultural contexts is a precondition for better development policies.

Links to further information
UNFPA 2008 Report
UNFPA News, 12 November 2008

UNGA PROMOTES AN INTERACTIVE PANEL ON THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann organized an Interactive Panel on the Global Financial Crisis on October 30, 2008 at UN Headquarters in New York. The Panel aimed to identify recommendations for member states suffering from the global financial crisis, and to provide guidance to the work of the Task Force that Professor Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics and Columbia University Professor, has agreed to chair. UNGA President d’Escoto Brockmann stressed that solutions must come not only from the G8 and G20 countries, but also from the G192, referring to all UN member states and their responsibilities to address the crisis. During the panel discussion, Stiglitz said emerging markets and less developed countries are likely to suffer from the current financial crisis and that any global solution must pay due attention to impacts on these countries and hear their voices. According to Stiglitz, the current crisis provides an opportunity for reassessing and rearranging the global economic arrangements. Other members of the Task Force are Professor Prabhat Patnaik, Jawahawl Nehru University, India, and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, New School University, Japan.

Other panelists were Pedro Páez, Minister of Economic Policy Coordination of Ecuador and Coordinator of the Bank of the South; Calestous Juma, Professor at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University; and, Francois Houtart, Chief Editor of the International Journal of Religion Social Compass. The panel was moderated by Paul Oquist, senior advisor to the UNGA President and Minister and Private Secretary on National Policy to the President of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Link to further information
UN General Assembly report

UNDP PRODUCES CLIMATE CHANGE COUNTRY PROFILES
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the School of Geography and Environment at Oxford University, has developed a dataset of climate change country profiles for 52 developing countries. The profiles aim to address the climate change information gap for selected developing countries by making use of existing climatic data to generate country-level data plots from the most up-to-date climate observations and multi-model projections of each country as country-average time series as well as maps and diagrams illustrating changes, and summary tables of the data. The country profiles include analyses of the climatic parameters on an annual and seasonal basis such as mean temperature, monthly precipitation, indices of extreme daily temperatures (frequency of hot days and nights, and cold days and nights), and indices of extreme daily precipitation (proportion of total rainfall falling in heavy events with one to five maximum day rainfall). A consistent methodology has been applied to all 52 countries, which allows for comparison across ten-year time periods.

Links to further information
UNDP Climate Change Country Profile

ALM Country Adaptation Profiles

OCTOBER 2008

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CONVENES EMINENT ECONOMISTS TO DISCUSS IMPACT OF FINANCIAL CRISIS ON POVERTY
On 23 October 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Kemal Dervis, met with five eminent economists to discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on UN efforts to achieve the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals, financing for development, the international reserve system, trade issues and the regulatory role of multilateral institutions. The participating economists were Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University; Kenneth Rogoff  and Dani Rodrik of Harvard University;  and Nancy Birdsall, President of the Centre for Global Development.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 23 October 2008

UN-HABITAT REPORT FOCUSES ON COASTAL CITIES’ VULNERABILITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE

The UN Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has launched the State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009: Harmonious Cities, a flagship report published every two years by the UN agency. The Report indicates that half of humanity currently lives in cities, and that this proportion will increase to 60% within two decades. The report also finds that urban growth is most rapid in the developing world, and stresses the importance of harmony among the spatial, social and environmental aspects of a city, and between their inhabitants. In relation to climate change, the report finds that many cities are at risk from rising water levels, and more needs to be done now to mitigate the impact this will have on their populations and assets.

 

Link to further information
UN-HABITAT Press Release, 23 October 2008

OVER 100 MILLION PEOPLE ‘STAND UP’ WITH UN AGAINST POVERTY
From 17-19 October 2008, almost 117 million people mobilized under the slogan ‘Stand Up - Take Action’ at events in more than 100 countries around the globe, setting a new record. People gathered to demand that world leaders not use the financial crisis as an excuse for breaking the promises they made in 2000 to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Stand Up Global Campaign, managed by the United Nations Millennium Campaign, was first launched in 2006 and aims to raise awareness on poverty and inequality to support the MDGs. Salil Shetty, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, noted that the new record indicates that millions of people that took part of the campaign this year, almost 2 percent of the world’s population, demonstrated they will not remain seated in the face of poverty and broken promises.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 22 October 2008
UN News Centre, 17 October 2008

Stand Up Against Poverty

UN AND EU PARTNERSHIP – HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS
The UN Team in Brussels has released its third annual report, which details UN/EU partnership achievements. The report is based on inputs collected from UN Country offices around the world. Emphasis is placed on the support that the UN and EU provide to national development strategies and initiatives related to strengthening national capacities. The report details how UN/EU cooperation has positively impacted people in the areas of humanitarian assistance, sustainable livelihoods, democratic inclusive processes and policy formulation. Special emphasis is given to human rights, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 60th anniversary, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) vis-à-vis emerging challenges such as high food and energy prices and climate change. The report also includes a section on strengthening governance, which details the work of the European Commission at different international fora, in particular the OECD/DAC Environment Working Group. The report also recalls that the 2007 European Development Days focused on climate change, and takes stock of such events.  

Link to further information
Improving Lives: Results from the Partnership of the United Nations and the European Commission in 2007

UN CALLS FOR COORDINATED ACTION TO ADDRESS THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang issued appeals for coordinated action from multilateral institutions and major economies to address the global financial crisis. Both expressed their hope that international commitments made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 in the areas of aid predictability, trade, debt reduction, access to technology and affordable medicine will continue to be honored as pledged. Next month in Doha, Qatar, the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus will take place, and will provide a forum to discuss how additional financial resources vis-à-vis the global financial crisis can be raised to support the MDGs.     

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 13 October 2008
Doha Financing for Development Review Conference, 29 November-2 December 2008, Doha, Qatar

FAO AND DUTCH UNIVERSITY TO COLLABORATE TO ACHIEVE THE MDGs 
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), the Netherlands, to promote education and research in developing countries with the objective of contributing to reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The agreement between the institutions will foster the exchange of scientific staff and experts, identify technology, and enhance farm production through the sustainable use of natural resources.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 10 October 2008

EQUATOR INITIATIVE RECOGNIZES FIVE COMMUNITIES FOR CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY PROJECTS
On 6 October 2008, the Equator Initiative, a UN-led partnership that supports grassroots efforts in biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, announced the selection of five communities to receive special recognition for the Equator Prize 2008. The five communities, from Ghana, Sri Lanka, Peru, Indonesia and Ecuador, were awarded for their outstanding leadership in adapting to climate change and conserving biodiversity while improving the livelihoods of their community members.

Links to further information
Equator Initiative

UNDP Newsroom, 7 October 2008

FAO URGES REVIEW OF BIOFUEL POLICIES TO ENSURE THE POOR CAN BENEFIT
On 7 October 2008, at the launch of its flagship publication, The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2008, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf noted both the risks and opportunities created by biofuels. Diouf highlighted the need for an in-depth review them, aimed to ensure world food security, protect poor farmers, promote broad-based rural development and ensure environmental sustainability. Diouf emphasized the need to invest on research and technology for the production of second generation biofuels, which put less pressure on the natural resource base.Diouf also emphasized the need to remove agricultural and biofuel production subsidies, along with trade barriers, in order to facilitate developing countries’s ability to reap some benefits.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 7 October 2008

The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2008

SEPTEMBER 2008

MDG SUMMIT ENDS WITH US$16 BILLION IN NEW COMMITMENTS 
On 25 September 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the UN General Assembly convened a High-Level Event (HLE) on the Millennium Development Goals at UN headquarters in New York. The HLE brought together Heads of State or Government, as well as leaders of the private sector and civil society to reaffirm existing commitments and announce new ones needed to achieve the MDGs by 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that fresh contributions and commitments to the MDGs could amount to around US$16 billion, which was remarkable given the current financial crisis. Among the commitments, some US$1.6 billion was pledged to enhance food security. Anew initiative, “Purchase for Progress,” to buy surplus crops directly from poor farmers in Africa and Central America, was launched. US$3 billion was committed to launch the Malaria Action Plan and new pledges of almost half a billion dollars were committed for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Commitments relating to child mortality and maternal health reached almost US$2 billion next year, rising to US$7 billion in 2015. The Global Campaign on Health has committed to mobilize an extra US$30 billion by 2015, including the training of more than 1 million health workers. Considering that MDG 5 on maternal health has the lowest record of achievement, an additional US$12 billion was pledged to provide 21 million trained birth attendants to prevent deaths in childbirth. Investments of US$2.2 billion were committed to provide water and sanitation to 30 million people by 2015, and  US$4.5 billion was promised to launch the “Class of 2015: Education for All” multi-stakeholder partnership, which aims to put children into school by 2010. Attention was also given to the threat of climate change in reversing the achievements made on the MDGs, and over US$750 million was pledged by member States, along with renewed commitments to reduce deforestation.

A formal summit on the MDGs to review implementation in 2010 will convene and will monitor the commitments made. The High-Level Event also sent a message to the Doha Review Conference from the highest political level, on strengthening the global partnership for development and building consensus on financing for development. The Doha event will take place from 29 November to 2 December 2008, in Doha, Qatar.

Links to further information
High-Level Event on MDGs, 25 September 2008

UN News Centre, 16 September 2008
IISD RS Coverage
Financing for Development Review Conference

HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT NEEDS ADOPTS POLITICAL DECLARATION
The High-Level Meeting on Africa’s Development Needs took place at UN headquarters on 22 September 2008, under the theme “Africa’s development needs: state of implementation of various commitments, challenges and the way forward.” The President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, opened the plenary and noted that, while official development assistance (ODA) has increased from 1.3 % of GDP in 2005 to 1.8 % in 2007, levels of ODA should be further increased to meet the commitments undertaken in Monterrey. He urged G8 members to double ODA for Africa by 2010, as promised at the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, pointed out that no African country will achieve all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, but that they remain achievable in Africa. He emphasized that the MDG Steering Group assessed that US$72 million per year is necessary to achieve the goals by 2015. The meeting ended with the adoption of a resolution entitled Political Declaration on Africa’s Development Needs (A/63/L.1). Leaders from Africa expressed their determination to achieve the MDGs and reaffirmed that NEPAD provides an agreed foundation. They noted that this framework can only be implemented if the international community fulfills its commitments to tackle the myriad challenges faced by Africa.

Links to further information
Africa’s Development Needs, 22 September

IISDRS Coverage

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS MDGs ARE ACHIEVABLE BY 2015
Speaking to the UN Radio and News Centre on 16 September 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon said the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are on track and achievable by 2015 if the necessary resources and political will are mobilized. He stressed the role of developed countries, which have the technology and knowledge necessary to support less developed countries. He emphasized that the High-Level Event on the MDGs, to be held on 25 September, will aim to revitalize the commitments made by governments, the business community and civil society towards the MDG agenda and to ensure that necessary resources are available.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 16 September 2008

UN RELEASES MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS REPORT 2008
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Millennium Development Goals Report 2008 on 11 September 2008, noting that substantive success has been achieved but regional disparities remain, with Asia leading the process and Sub-Sahara Africa lagging behind. He noted that developing countries are increasingly devoting more resources to education and health due to debt relief and new financing mechanisms. The MDG Report is the most comprehensive global assessment of progress to date, based on work carried out by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the official MDG Indicators. It provides evidence for each of the eight MDGs, showing what has been accomplished so far in each of the world’s major geographic regions. The report also outlines what the world needs to do to succeed in achieving the MDGs by 2015. An addendum to the Report reflects new data on global poverty just released by the World Bank. The World Bank found that more people were living in extreme poverty in developing countries than previously thought, as it adjusted the recognized yardstick for measuring global poverty to $1.25 a day from $1. The Bank has indicated that there were 1.4 billion people - a quarter of the developing world - living in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day in 2005.

Links to further information
Millennium Development Goals Report 2008
Addendum to the MDG Report 2008
UN Secretary-General Opening Remarks, 11 September 2008

UN: GAPS REMAIN FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF MDGs
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the report “Delivering on the Global Partnership for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” On 4 September 2008. The report was prepared by the MDG Gap Task Force, and aimed to track global commitments on aid, trade and debt, and to follow progress on access to essential medicines and technology. The report’s main message is that, while progress has been made in achieving the MDGs, important gaps remain in delivering on the global commitments in the areas of aid, trade, debt relief and access to new technologies and affordable essential medicines. The report emphasizes that the weakening world economy and the steep rises in food and energy prices threaten to reverse some of the progress related to human development. The report calls for strengthened global partnerships to avoid any reversal of progress made thus far. The report, which is being release ahead of the 25 September High-Level Event on MDGs,  notes that donors will need to increase their development assistance by US$18 billion per year between now and 2010 if they are to meet their 2000 pledgeto halve poverty by 2015.

Links to further information
MDG Gap Task Force Report
UN News Centre, 4 September 2008

High-Level Event on MDGs

MDG BLOG LAUNCHED PRIOR TO HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON MDGs
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) have launched a blog discussion on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Blog is facilitated by the MDG Network and the UN Development Group Policy Network for MDGs, and will run from 26 August to 26 September 2008. The Blog seeks to provide a space for stakeholders from government agencies, civil society and the private sector to offer comments on five main themes related to the MDG framework. The themes covered by this Blog are drawn from the
Secretary-General’s background note for the High-Level Event on MDGs, “Committing to Action: Achieving the MDGs,” which are: poverty and hunger; health and education; environmental sustainability; gender equality and empowerment of women; and global partnership for development. Comments submitted through the Blog will be summarized and considered by the Co-Chairs and Thematic Experts of the round-tables at the High-Level Event on MDGs, which will convene in New York on 25 September 2008.

Link to further information
High-Level Event on MDGs
MDG Blog

 

AUGUST 2008

YOUTH REPORT CALLS FOR ACTIVE ROLE TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE
The UN Development Programme has launched a youth version of the 2007/2008 Human Development Report on climate change. Entitled “Two degrees of separation between hope and despair” and prepared by young people between the ages of 16 and 25, the report explains the negative impacts of climate change, presents mitigation and adaptation policies, and concludes with a call to action by young people. The report was released at the World Youth Conference held in Quebec City, Canada, on the occasion of World Youth Day, celebrated on 12 August. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s message for World Youth Day stressed the active role youth are capable of playing in making choices for a low-carbon lifestyle and providing support for comprehensive legislation on climate change. 

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 12 August 2008
UN News Centre, 11 August 2008  

WFP ANNOUNCES EFFORT TO RELIEVE FOOD CRISIS IMPACT IN 16 COUNTRIES
The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced its efforts to provide US$214 million to minimize the impact of the food crisis and fuel prices in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Tajikistan, Uganda, Yemen and the Palestinian Territory. The assistance will target vulnerable groups through the provision of food rations, school feeding programs, and supplemental nutrition to pregnant women and young children. WFP’s budget has risen from US$3.1 billion to US$6 billion in 2008.  

Link to further information
WFP News Release, 12 August 2008

WHO AND UNICEF REPORT ON DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION PROGRESS
According to a report released on 17 July 2008 by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, while nearly 1.2 billion people defecate without sanitary facilities, posing a major health threat to their communities. The report indicates there are 746 million people in rural areas without improved water sources, compared to some 137 million urban dwellers. If current trends continue, the world will fall short by 700 million people in meeting Millennium Development Goal 7, on sanitation.

Links to further information
WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for water supply and sanitation
WHO press release, 17 July 2008
UNICEF press release, 17 July 2008
International Year of Sanitation

The Report on Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, July 2008

JULY 2008

MDG AFRICA STEERING GROUP RECOMMENDATIONS LAUNCHED AT AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT
On behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, joined by Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Chair of the African Union and President of the United Republic of Tanzania; Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chair of the African Union Commission; Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group; and Maxwell Mkwezalamba, African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs, launched the recommendations of the MDG Africa Steering Group at the eleventh African Union Summit, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 1 July 2008. This session of the AU Summit focused on meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water and sanitation.

Regarding the launch, Kikwete noted that the MDG Africa Steering Group recommendations were included in a report considered by the AU Executive Council, which met from 27-28 June 2008. He added that a draft resolution recommending that AU members endorse the recommendations was forwarded from the AU Executive Council for adoption to the Assembly of the African Union, which was in-session from 30 June-1 July 2008. Migiro emphasized that endorsement of the Steering Group recommendations by the AU Assembly would give them further leverage going into the 2008 G8 Summit in Hokkaido, which the UN Secretary-General attended. The MDG Africa Steering Group is an initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, launched in September 2007, which brings together eight major multilateral institutions working on development in Africa to take countries closer to achieving the MDGs and lay the foundation for robust economic growth.

 

Link to further information

MDG Africa Initiative


FOOD CRISIS BRIEFING HIGHLIGHTS NEW WORLD BANK AGRICULTURE FACILITY
On 20 June 2008, Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the UN Secretary-General’s special adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, briefed UN correspondents on the status of the food crisis and recommended action by the G8 leaders in Hokkaido, Japan. Sachs underscored that the World Bank’s recent announcement at TICAD IV regarding its new agriculture facility, stating this it represents an important step in aiding developing countries with food insecurity, but much remains to be done if the crisis to be addressed in the short- and long-terms. (IISDRS sources)

UNDG LAUNCHES CORE COURSE ON MDGs
The UN Development Group (UNDG) has developed a self-paced, on-line course covering core concepts on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to advance a common understanding of the Goals and to strengthen the capacity of UN staff and development practitioners to effectively support national efforts to achieve them. With this on-line course, practitioners can improve their knowledge of concepts, introduce tools, and develop skills for operationalizing MDGs, and increase collaboration on MDGs within and outside the United Nations system. The course focuses on practical, concrete and substantive actions at country, regional and global levels that can enable the UN system to respond more effectively and efficiently to the needs of developing countries as they scale up action to achieve the MDGs.

Link to further information
MDG Course at the UNDG website

MAY 2008

ALBANIA DELIVERING AS ONE UN PILOT SCHEME IS DISCUSSED
On 29 May 2008, the President of the UN General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim and Government officials in Tirana, Albania, discussed Albania’s progress in the pilot programme “Delivering as One UN.”  Discussions revolved around priority issues of the current Assembly session, such as climate change, financing for development, human security, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking. Other pilot “Delivering as One UN” countries include Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Viet Nam.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 29 May 2008

UNDP and CBD to promote biodiversity in development
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed, on 27 May 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to better integrate the purposes of the Convention into development programming and substantially reduce biodiversity loss by 2010 and achieve the MDGs. As part of the agreement, UNDP will use its knowledge network and country presence to train staff from the CBD Secretariat and the Convention’s national focal points. A steering committee, comprised of members from both organizations, will monitor the MOU’s implementation, and a programme of work is expected to be developed. 

Link to further information
UNDP News, 27 May 2008

UNDP launches INITIATIVE on negotiation of natural resources contracts
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched a regional African initiative to boost capacity for the negotiation and regulation of large-scale investments contracts in the natural resources sector. The initiative, which was launched on 22 May 2008, will focus on the capacity of countries to manage pro-poor natural resource revenues, increase financing for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and reduce missed business opportunities and integrate African markets into the global supply chain at the most favorable terms. The initiative will build the capacity of African governments that are rich in natural resources, to undertake business negotiations by providing short-term international expertise to negotiations and reviews. Work is already ongoing in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.

Link to further information
UNDP Newsroom, 22 May 2008

FIFA AND UN JOIN FORCES TO SCORE ON DEVELOPMENT GOALS
On 9 May 2008, the President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA),Joseph Blatter, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, reached an agreement to strengthen their collaboration to enhance the role of sports in development and peace. The 2010 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in South Africa, and both FIFA and the UN are undertaking efforts to use this location as an opportunity to advance development issues in the African continent. FIFA already has related initiatives, including “Football for Hope,” which focuses on achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 9 May 2008

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY FOCUS ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION TO EMPOWER PEOPLE
The theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on 3 May, was “access to information and the empowerment of people.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the day emphasized the role of free and independent media as one of the foundations of peace and democracy. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in its role as the UN agency tasked to protect freedom of expression, stressed that freedom and access to information are essential pillars for empowering people to participate in the political process and for achieving the overall goals of development.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 3 May 2008

KNOWLEDGE NETWORK TO LINK DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
The UN International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD) has approved a grant to expand and support a knowledge network to connect development partners working on initiatives to reduce rural poverty in Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. The network known FIDAfrique-IFADAfrica, which has operated since 1999, will allow members to share lessons learned, experiences and ideas for development.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 30 April 2008

FIDAfrique Network

BIODIVERSITY LOSS AFFECTS HUMAN HEALTH - STUDY
A new generation of medical treatments may be lost unless the current rate of biodiversity loss is reversed, a recently published book involving more than 100 experts has revealed. Such medical treatments include a new generation of antibiotics and painkillers, and new treatments for thinning bone disease, kidney failure, blindness and cancer. The book, Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, which has been supported by UNEP, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Development Programme and IUCN, was edited and written by Eric Chivian and Aaron Bernstein, from Harvard Medical School, along with more than 100 scientists who contributed to writing and reviewing it. The book explores how the natural world holds secrets to the development of new kinds of medical treatments, and its authors warn that threats to land and marine-based life forms reduce the chances of revealing and creating them.

Links to further information
Harvard Medical School Sustaining Life website
CBD press release, 24 April 2008
BBC News, 23 April 2008
Reuters News Service, 24 April 2008

Oxford University Press

DELIVERING AS ONE STOCKTAKING SUMMARY MADE PUBLIC
The UN Development Group has released Delivering as One 2007 Stocktaking Summary, which compiles the assessments provided by UN Country Teams, national governments and UN agencies on progress, emerging issues and lessons learnt in the eight pilot countries - Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Viet Nam. According to the summary report, the key lessons learnt include the importance of: government leadership and involvement; greater Resident Coordinator accountability; support from headquarter level; resource mobilization; and sharing of country experiences.

Links to further information
Delivering as One 2007 Stocktaking Website

APRIL 2008

PESTICIDE BANS DO NOT REDUCE AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT – STUDY
A Sri Lankan study on the impacts of banning insecticides monocrotophos, methamidophos, and endosulfan found no reduction in agricultural productivity. The chemicals were banned in the 1990s in an effort to reduce fatal poisonings and suicides. The study, which was published in the April 2008 issue of the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, concluded, that where affordable substitutes exist for pest control, there is no significant impact on agricultural output.

Link to more information
Article, April 2008

WFP CALLS FOR US$ 750 MILLION TO FEED WORLD’S HUNGRY
On 18 April 2008, the World Food Programme (WFP) indicated it would need an additional US$ 756 million to meet its commitment to feed 73 million hungry people this year. The dollar figure represents an increase of over US$ 250 million since a WFP announcement in February, which was itself on top of an initial 2008 appeal for US$2.9 billion to carry out its efforts. The appeal for additional funds is in response to increasing food prices.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 18 April 2008

ILO DIRECTOR-GENERAL CALLS FOR DIALOGUE TO ADDRESS EMPLOYMENT DIMENSION OF CLIMATE CHANGE
On 10 April 2008, on the occasion of
the Spring 2008 Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, International Labour Office (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia identified four priorities for the multilateral system: fiscal policies for social and economic stability; international regulation of financial markets; sustainable enterprise development; and the employment dimension of policies to address climate change. Somavia noted that enterprises will invest in building up an economic infrastructure to tackle carbon emissions, adapting production systems and shifting to renewable resources to mitigate climate change effects. He emphasized the role for dialogue between management and union representatives as “an essential mechanism for developing strategies for such transitions that are both efficient and equitable,” as existing jobs become redundant and new jobs are created. He highlighted that “green” jobs may be one of the solutions against the current economic slowdown, and said that the ILO is partnering with UNEP on the Green Jobs Initiative, to promote dialogue and action to address the challenges of climate change to employment.   

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 10 April 2008

Statement of Juan Somavia, ILO Director-General

CLIMATE-HEALTH LINKS HIGHLIGHTED ON WORLD HEALTH DAY
On the occasion of World Health Day 2008, Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), issued a statement indicating that climate change will erode the foundations of public health, and noting that “climate-sensitive impacts on human health are occurring today.” To address the health effects of climate change, WHO is coordinating and supporting research on the most effective measures to protect health from climate change, with specific attention to vulnerable populations in developing countries.

Links to further information
World Health Day 2008 website
UNEP press release, 7 April 2008

NEGLECTING AGRICULTURE MAY DRIVE 218 MILLION TO POVERTY – UNESCAP REPORT
On 27 March,
Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath launched the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2008 in New Delhi, India. The Report emphasizes that continued neglect of agriculture in Asia and Pacific is estimated to be driving 218 million people to exacerbated poverty, while increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. According to Heyzer, the rising prices of food commodities reinforce the message of the report on the need to revitalize the agriculture sector, making it economically and socially viable, while contributing to poverty reduction efforts. The report further notes the need to implement land reforms, create opportunities for the poor or small producers to access markets and diversify their skills, and facilitate access to loans and insurance mechanisms.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 27 March
ESCAP Press Release, Press Release No. G/11/2008

 

MARCH 2008

 

UNDP RECEIVES US$ 137 MILLION GRANT FROM JAPAN

With a view to strengthening its partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Japan transferred a grant of US$ 137 million to UNDP on 12 March 2008. According to UNDP, the grant will support projects such as reconstruction assistance in Afghanistan and the response to humanitarian crisis and peace-building in Africa, with a particular focus on African countries that are vulnerable to climate change. US$ 96 million will be earmarked for the latter project.

Links to further information
UNDP press release, 12 March 2008

FEBRUARY 2008

WFP launches Cambodia Food Security Atlas
On 15 February 2008, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) launched an interactive and online map of the food security situation in Cambodia, identifying ‘hot spots’ of vulnerability and indicating areas where improvement has taken place but further interventions are still needed. WFP Cambodia Country Director Thomas Keusters indicated that food security goes beyond food production, but it is directly impacted by different socio-economic vulnerabilities such as poverty levels, maternal health, access to clean water and health services and natural disasters. Keusters emphasized that climate change, high energy prices and globalization will have a significant impact in changing food production patterns. The Atlas, he noted, will provide an important reference for public policy makers to target and make the interventions needed.

Links to further information
World Food Programme's Food Security Web Atlas of Cambodia
WFP News Press Release, 15 February 2008
UN News Centre, 15 February 2008

NewsFood.com, 15 February 2008

UNDESA AND UNDP ORGANIZE e-DISCUSSION ON ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) are organizing a moderated e-discussion on Achieving Sustainable Development. The discussion, which will take place from 4 February to 14 March 2008, is part of a larger global consultation process for the 2008 Annual Ministerial Review, which will take place in July 2008.

Link to further information
e-Discussion website

 

JANUARY 2008

UNDP and Cadbury team up for sustainable cocoa farming

Cadbury has announced the establishment of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ghanaian Government, which will seek to secure the sustainable livelihoods of a million farmers in cocoa-growing communities across Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean. Cadbury is expected to invest US$ 2 million in 2008 to establish the Partnership, with annual funding levels rising to US$ 10 million by 2010. The majority of the funds will be invested in Ghana, where the Partnership is designed to help cocoa farmers increase their cocoa yields, as well as introducing new sources of rural income through microfinance and investing in community-led development ranging from schools to biodiversity protection projects. This public-private partnership will take on a bottom-up model, with farmers, non-governmental organizations, governments and UNDP working together to determine how best to turn plans into sustainable action.

Link to further information

UNDP News release, 28 January 2008
MicroCapital Press Release, 29 January 2008

Cadbury Press Release, 28 January 2008

UNFPA REPORTS RECORD DONATIONS FOR 2007
On 14 January 2007, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid announced that the UN Population Fund had received from its 181 member States a total of US$ 419 million in contributions. Top donor countries included the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Spain and Canada.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 14 January 2008

UN REPORT UNVEILS EDUCATION NOT ENOUGH AS YOUTH JOBLESS RATE GROWS
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has launched the World Youth Report 2007, titled �Young People�s Transition to Adulthood: Progress and Challenges.� The Report focuses on the obstacles faced by youth in finding decent work. According to the Director of the Division of Social Policy and Development at UNDESA, Johan Scholvink, educational gains have not been translated into increased employment opportunities. The Report reveals that, although education enrolment rates have increased, inadequate and low quality education perpetuates a mismatch between the skills acquired by youth at school and the demands of labour markets. The Report calls on governments to undertake measures to address the obstacles that limit youth participation in the development of their societies and to facilitate access to quality education and decent work opportunities.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 18 December 2007
UN Press conference news release, 18 December 2007
UN World Youth Report 2007

TSUNAMI REPORT HIGHLIGHTS PROGRESS AFTER THREE YEARS
UNICEF (UN Children�s Fund) recently released a three-year update on the 2004 tsunami, which provides a detailed financial analysis of the funds it collected and expenditures it made since the Indian Ocean Tsunami. The report indicates significant progress in the social conditions in tsunami affected countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In addition to UNICEF�s achievements, including the investment of US$ 150 million dollars in education and upgrades and construction of new schools, the report notes improvements in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and HIV/AIDS. The report indicates that issues of security in Somalia, Sri Lanka and Myanmar remain areas of concern, and that geographical dispersion in the Maldives and land disputes in Indonesia have slowed down operations.

Links to further information
UNICEF Press Release, 18 December 2007

Tsunami Three Year Update

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