Go to IISD's website

IISD Reporting Services - Linkages
bringing you the latest news, information and analysis from
international environment and sustainable development negotiations

 

MEDIA REPORTS

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/26/10

 

2009


Human Development Media Report Archives: 2010; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 200
3; 2002

DECEMBER 2009

 

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON LEADERS TO ATTEND THE MDG SUMMIT

On 21 December 2009, following the approval of the UN General Assembly resolution (A/64/L.36) that calls for a summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) parallel to the Assembly’s annual General Debate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to attend the summit in order to boost efforts to achieve the development goals. Ban emphasized that evidence shows that the goals can be achieved by 2015 if backed by the right set of policies, adequate resources and political commitment. He noted that in the run-up to 2015, efforts need to be redoubled given the threat of climate change and the effects of the economic and financial crisis. He also noted that the 2010 MDG Summit to be held in September, at UN Headquarters, provides the opportunity to deliver on long-standing development promises to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, particularly in Africa.

 

The MDGs include eight time-bound and quantifiable goals on poverty and hunger eradication; achievement of universal primary education;  gender equality; reduction of child and maternal mortality; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and global partnership for development. 

 

Links to further information

UN News Centre, 21 December 2009

UN Secretary-General’s statement, 21 December 2009

UN GA press release, 21 December 2009

 

UNDP, IEA AND WHO REPORT UNDERLINES NEED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT TO ADDRESS ENERGY POVERTY
On 23 November 2009, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with the support of the International Energy Agency (IEA), released a new report titled “The Energy Access Situation in Developing Countries: A Review Focusing on the Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa.” The report indicates that over 1.5 billion people currently lack access to electricity. 

 

At the launch of the publication at UN Headquarters in New York, US, Olav Kjorven, Assistant Administrator and Director of Development Policy at UNDP, highlighted the need to ensure that any new climate agreement adequately addresses energy poverty. Noting that over three billion people rely on highly polluting solid fuels for cooking, he stated that “For a climate deal to work, it also has to be a development deal.” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol added that improving energy access for the disenfranchised would not have a significant impact on the environment, citing a recent study that found that if everyone in the world got access to electricity, carbon dioxide emissions would rise by only 0.9%.

 

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 23 November 2009
UNDP press release, 23 November 2009
UN press conference transcript

 

UNFPA REPORT FOCUSES ON WOMEN, POPULATION GROWTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE
On 18 November 2009, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) launched “The State of World Population 2009 Report on Facing a Changing World: Women, Population and Climate Change.” At the launch of the report, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid noted that the report focuses on the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable, such as the 1.5 billion poor people living under US$1 dollar a day, and on poor women who are most likely to lose their livelihoods and to die of natural disasters. The report stresses that policies, programmes and international agreements should take into account the special and unique needs and potential of women as agents for change. It makes the case that access to reproductive health services, including family planning and lower fertility rates, can contribute to climate mitigation and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The report also focuses on investments that can empower women and girls, such as education and health interventions, which can reduce poverty and contribute to addressing climate change.

Links to further information
UNFPA press release, 18 November 2009
UNFPA state of the world population 2009

 

NOVEMBER 2009

 

UNDP AND SPAIN SIGN NEW PARTNERSHIP TO BOOST EFFORTS TO ADDRESS POVERTY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
On 10 November 2009, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Soraya Rodriguez signed a multi-year Strategic Partnership Agreement primarily supporting UNDP projects targeting poverty and addressing climate change. The close to €400 million partnership will help finance projects that aim to reduce poverty and vulnerability by supporting interventions that improve environmental management and service delivery at the national and local levels, increase access to new financing mechanisms and enhance capacity to adapt to climate change. 

The earlier agreement signed between Spain and UNDP dates back to 2006, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Achievement Fund was established to manage €528 million – the largest contribution from a single bilateral donor into the UN system. Currently, the MDG Achievement Fund has financed about 130 projects across 50 countries in five regions. The Fund has six thematic funding windows including gender equality and women’s empowerment; culture and development; economic governance; youth, employment and migration; conflict prevention and peace building; and environment and climate change.
 

Under the thematic window for environment and climate change, 16 Joint Programmes have been approved so far, and are being implemented in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Jordan, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Senegal and Turkey, with an estimated total budget of $90 million.


Links to further information

UNDP press release, 10 November 2009

MDG Achievement Fund
 

OCTOBER 2009

 

UN CHIEF HIGHLIGHTS CONTRIBUTIONS OF RURAL WOMEN TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
On the occasion of International Day of Rural Women, celebrated on 15 October, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the contributions
of rural women, including indigenous women, to sustainable development and the sound management of natural resources. Reminding the world of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), he noted that rural women are amongst the most vulnerable and deprived of their basic human rights. He indicated that rural women have inadequate access to maternal health care, social security programmes, education, credit and loans, and infrastructure, including clean water, sanitation, transportation and paved roads. He called on all UN member States to ensure that women’s voices are included in decision-making processes and that they fully participate in rural development initiatives.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 15 October 2009
UN Secretary-General’s statement, 15 October 2009

UN SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS TO BOOST DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RECOVERY EFFORTS
On 8 October 2009, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced its partnership with Inmarsat and Vizada, two leading global satellite companies, aimed at strengthening emergency communications to prevent natural disasters and to better coordinate relief efforts. The companies have committed to donate 70 modern and highly portable satellite devices, capable of transmitting voice and broadband data in areas affected by disasters, to ITU. As part of the agreement, ITU is expected to
receive preferential airtime rates and technical support training.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 8 October 2009

UNDP’s HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT EXAMINES MIGRATION
On 5 October 2009, at a ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark launched the Human Development Report (HDR) 2009 on “Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development.” The 2009 issue of this annual report focuses on migration within and beyond borders, trends in growth and inequality, and short term and seasonal migration. UNDP Administrator Clark stressed that the report challenges many of the stereotypes surrounding the debate on migration. The report indicates that about 1 billion people are migrants, with the majority – 740 million – moving internally within their own countries. The report also indicates that less than three out of ten transnational migrants move from a developing country to a developed one.

The report notes that although demographic trends will continue to play a significant role in shaping pressures for migration movements, climate change phenomena will also come into play. It estimates that about 200 million to 1 billion people will be forced to migrate as a result of climate change. Nevertheless, the report cautions that this figure does not take into account the effect of adaptation measures that individuals, communities and countries may put into place. The report emphasizes that the effect of environmental factors on migration patterns are directly related to livelihood opportunities and public policy responses combined.

The 2009 HDR also calculates the human development index, which combines measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrollment rates and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, for 182 countries and territories. Norway, Australia and Iceland are top ranked this year, with Niger, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone at the bottom of the ranking.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 5 October 2009
UN News Centre, 5 October 2009
UNDP Human Development report 2009

WORLD HABITAT DAY FOCUSES ON “PLANNING OUR URBAN FUTURE”
On the occasion of World Habitat Day, celebrated on 5 October 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that the theme for this year, “Planning our Urban Future,” reflects the urgency of major urban challenges caused by rapid urbanization, including expansion of the informal sector and the role of cities in causing or mitigating climate change. He said that governments at all levels are failing to address these challenges and called for better and equitable urban planning that can rely on good urban governance and the involvement of the urban poor on decisions that affect their lives. He stressed the need to mobilize financing for urban development and to secure safer and more environmentally friendly public transport options, housing security, public services.

In her message on World Habitat Day, UN Human Settlements Programme (UNHABITAT) Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka stressed that urbanization and climate change are inseparable, noting that urban planning offers the best solution to reduce emissions through economies of scale and large-scale urban initiatives. Tibaijuka noted that there is a need to integrate the brown agenda, focused on the built environment, and the green agenda, focused on the natural environment. She noted also that climate change mitigation can be accomplished through the selection and improvement of building materials, development of distributive power and water systems, sustainable transport, reducing slums and striving for carbon-neutral cities. As part of the celebration of World Habitat Day, UNHABITAT released the Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, which focuses on the new role for urban planning for the future of sustainable cities.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 5 October 2009
UNHABITAT World Habitat Day 2009

UN-HABITAT ANNOUNCES AWARDS FROM “OPPORTUNITIES FUND FOR URBAN YOUTH-LED DEVELOPMENT”
UN-HABITAT member States passed a resolution (GC21/6) during the 21st session of the Governing Council that requested Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka to set up a special fund to support youth-led urban development initiatives. The resulting Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development, established with support from the Government of Norway, provides up to US$1 million per year to support youth-led initiatives worldwide and engages the partnership and leadership of young men and women in working towards sustainable urbanization. On World Habitat Day, celebrated on 5 October, the first recipients were announced. From 1,116 applications, 38 recipients were selected from African and Arab States, 21 from Asian States, and 8 from Latin America and the Caribbean States. The next call for proposals will be in February 2010.

Link to further information
UN-HABITAT Opportunities Fund webpage

SEPTEMBER 2009

 

UN MDG REPORT PUTS PRESSURE ON DONORS AHEAD OF UNGA AND G20 MEETINGS
On 16 September, UN officials launched the 2009 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Gap Task Force Report on Strengthening the Global Partnership for Development in a Time of Crisis.

The report was presented by UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who was accompanied by Jomo Kwame Sundaram (UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development), Olav Kjorven (UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Bureau for Development Policy at the UN Development Programme), and Rob Vos (Director of Policy Analysis in the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs.  

UN Deputy Secretary-General Migiro highlighted that delivering on commitments to fight global poverty are crucial in a world facing economic recession, food shortage and the continuing impact of climate change as factors impeding progress on the realization of the MDGs. The report emphasizes that the implementation of the commitments can advance economic and environmentally sustainable growth that has the potential to mitigate climate change, while addressing the deficits of political, economic and public health areas linked to extreme poverty.

The report indicates a gap of US$35 billion per year as part of the pledge made by the G-8 countries at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, including $20 billion of aid to Africa alone. The report also points out to an ODA coverage gap in distribution, noting that most of the aid increase has gone to countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The UN Secretary-General’s MDG Gap Task Force, led by the UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), brings together more than 20 UN agencies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2007, the Task Force aims to monitor global commitments on aid, trade and debt and access to technology and basic medicines.  

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 16 September
UNDP Newsroom, 16 September
MDG Gap Task Force

UN AGENCIES TO USE CLIMATE-RELATED DATA TO FIGHT HUNGER

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have partnered to share information on weather patterns and other climate-related data that can help predict the occurrence of the next emergency food shortage and to fight against global hunger.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both agencies, WMO will facilitate WFP’s access to data on droughts, lower precipitation, floods, hurricanes, mudslides and other forms of weather events and climate change impacts that can damage crops and peoples’ livelihoods. This information will enable

WFP to expand its emergency forecasting abilities and analyses for its emergency preparedness, disaster risk reduction and vulnerability assessment efforts to facilitate prompt food assistance.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 4 September 2009
WFP News, 4 September 2009

 

JUNE 2009

 

UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO FOOD PROPOSES MEASURES TO REGULATE LAND GRABBING
On 11 June 2009,
the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, proposed measures to regulate large-scale international land purchases and leases in developing countries, which are often referred to as “land grabbing.” It is hoped that these measures can inform the negotiations by the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations on agriculture investments. The guidelines are aimed to assist investors and host governments in the negotiation of large-scale land acquisitions, emphasizing transparency and full participation of local communities whose access to land and productive resources may be affected.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 11 June 2009

MAY 2009

DRAFT OUTCOME TEXT FOR UN SUMMIT ON GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ISSUED
On 8 May, UN General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto presented the draft outcome document prepared for the upcoming UN High-Level Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development. The meeting is expected to cover six priority areas – global stimulus for restructuring and survival, finance for restructuring and survival, emergency trade stimulation and debt relief, global and regional reserve systems, regulation and coordination of global economy, and restructuring international institutions. During a recent press conference, D’Escoto noted the need for donors to fulfill their pledge to provide 0.7 percent of GDP as overseas development assistance, and highlighted that the draft outcome document identifies new innovative sources of funding for development through the creation of a global public goods authority and an international tax base system. The document refers to regulation with taxes, permits, fines and controls of international ocean waters, space management and cyberspace management. The document also proposes an international taxation system that contributes to environmental sustainability, reduction of speculation in financial markets as well as income, including carbon taxes, pollution emission taxes and financial transaction taxes. The proposal envisages that carbon taxes would also cover a program for environmental refugees affected by climate change.

The high-level event will be held at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 1-3 June 2009. The final outcome is expected to detail the role of the United Nations in tackling the crisis, as well as the way forward and the participation of developing countries not directly involved in the Group of 20 major economies.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 8 May 2009
UN press conference, 8 May 2009
UN press conference, 7 May 2009
UN press conference, 1 May 2009

UN AGENCIES LAUNCH GLOBAL EFFORT TO ERADICATE MALARIA
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organization, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), have announced a rejuvenated international effort to combat malaria with an incremental reduction of reliance on the synthetic pesticide DDT. The global programme, entitled "Demonstrating and Scaling-up of Sustainable Alternatives to DDT in Vector Management," involves 40 countries in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia. Under the programme, these countries are set to test non-chemical methods ranging from eliminating potential mosquito breeding sites and securing homes with mesh screens to deploying mosquito-repellent trees and fish that eat mosquito larvae. DDT is being phased out under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 6 May 2009

MARCH 2009

UNESCAP TO SUPPORT DISASTER RISK EFFORTS IN ASIA AND PACIFIC
On 27 March 2009, over 200 representatives from governments, international organizations, the private sector and non-government organizations attended the first meeting of the Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction (CDRR). The Committee was set up by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and aims to promote partnerships and disseminate information to facilitate decision-making to reduce risks and vulnerability to natural disasters. The Committee will oversee the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action to develop the readiness of countries to respond to disasters.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 27 March 2009

UN ANNOUNCES US $1 TRILLION NEEDED TO HELP DEVELOPING COUNTRIES OVERCOME THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
In a letter written to the G20 members, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes that $1 trillion dollars is needed in the next two years to offset the impact of the financial crisis and promote growth in developing countries and to promote the protection of the most vulnerable people. The UN Secretary-General recommended a four pronged strategy including a truly global stimulus package that will meet the funding needs of the UN programmes and the World Bank, such as the proposed Vulnerability Fund. He called for the need to reject protectionism and to revive the Doha round negotiations. He also called for boosting the green new deal strategy and for G-20 leaders to commit to a post-Kyoto agreement in Copenhagen this December. Finally, he stressed that a new international financial and economic architecture is need to cope with the crisis and to provide legitimate solutions.

A UN expert panel on the financial crisis, chaired by Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, gathered from 26 to 28 March at the UN Secretariat to provide concrete recommendations ahead of the G20 meeting taking place in London, UK, on 2 April. The panel recommended for the establishment of an elected Global Economic Coordination Council under the UN, which would meet annually and would serve as a democratic alternative to the G-20.  The panel also recommended the establishment of a financial regulatory board and competition authority and a new international credit facility to be managed by the World Bank. An International Conference on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis and its Impact on Development, to be held in New York, US, in June, will further consider the recommendations.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 26 March 2009
UN News Centre, 26 March 2009

UN-HABITAT AND INTERNATIONAL WATER ASSOCIATION TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION TOWARDS THE MDGs

The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the International Water Association have signed an agreement to strengthen their cooperation in a renewed effort to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular target 10, which calls on governments to “reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water” by 2015. The agreement was signed at the Fifth World Water Forum, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 16-22 March 2009, and recognizes the importance of promoting partnerships among water operators at all levels, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Link to further information
UN-HABITAT press release, 25 March 2009

UN RELEASES NEW GLOBAL POPULATION GROWTH ESTIMATES
On 11 March 2009, the UN released revised estimates for the world’s population growth. The new estimates indicate that the global population will reach seven billion by 2012 and nine billion in 2050. The revised figures are based on the same assumptions as the previous calculation, with growth expected to increase in developing countries and global fertility rates to decline from 2.5 children per woman to 2.1 children by 2050. As per the new estimates, half of the world’s projected population growth from 2010 to 2050 will take place in nine countries – Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and the US.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 11 March 2009

 

UNGA PRESIDENT HIGHLIGHTS RIGHT TO WATER AT HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Speaking at the 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2-27 March 2009, Miguel D’Escoto, UN General Assembly President, warned that the economic and financial crises threaten poorer nations’ ability to attain basic human rights, such as the right to food and access to water and sanitation. He underlined the linkages between access to safe drinking water and sanitation and the enjoyment of the right to life or health, adding that “access to water is indispensable for a life in dignity and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of other human rights.”

 

Link to further information
UN Press Release, 4 March 2009

 

FEBRUARY 2009

UN PEACEKEEPERS BOOST FOOD SECURITY WITH ‘IDEAL VILLAGE’ PROJECT
Peacekeepers in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) have launched the “Bangla-Bong Ideal Village” project, which aims to use food security as a strategy for building and strengthening the peace process. The village comprises 150-acres of agriculture land, with poultry, a fish pond, school and community-based farms. 

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 26 February 2009

WORLD BANK SAYS 2009 WILL ADD 53 MILLION MORE PEOPLE TO POVERTY
The World Bank has estimated that the global economic crisis will drive 53 million more people into poverty in developing countries in 2009, in addition to the 130-155 million affected in 2008. This change is expected to bring the total number of those living on less than US$2 a day to over 1.5 billion. This estimate threatens the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 

 

World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick noted, on the eve of the Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers’ meeting in Rome, that while much of the response to the financial crisis has been devoted to rescuing banks and creating stimulus packages, the needs of the poor in developing countries should be on the agenda. The World Bank issued a policy note, entitled “The Global Economic Crisis: Assessing Vulnerability with a Poverty Lens,” reporting that almost 40% of 107 developing countries are highly exposed to the effects of the crisis and the remainder are moderately exposed. The note urges financial support in the form of grants and low or zero interest loans for developing countries, which are critical to job creation, delivery of basic services and infrastructure, and creation of safety net programmes for the vulnerable.

The establishment of a Vulnerability Fund, in which each developed country would devote 0.7% of its stimulus package to aid poorer countries, is expected to be discussed during the next G-20 meeting in April, to be hosted by the UK.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 13 February 2009

WFP USES FOOD VOUCHERS TO COMBAT HUNGER
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has launched its first food voucher programme in Africa. The programme will benefit 120,000 people affected by high food prices in urban areas in Burkina Faso. The voucher is expected to reduce transportation and storage costs related to food assistance and to inject new money into the economy. Each beneficiary family will receive six vouchers per month worth $3 dollars each, which can be used to purchase food at shops that have signed an agreement with WFP. 

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 13 February 2009

JANUARY 2009

 

UPDATE ON THE UN HIGH-LEVEL TASK FORCE ON THE GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY CRISIS

In a press briefing at UN Headquarters in NY, US, on 16 January 2009, the coordinator of the Secretary-General�s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, David Nabarro, updated journalists on measures implemented by the UN system to address global hunger. He highlighted that two approaches have been used. The first is food distribution, which is led by the World Food Programme (WFP). The second is addressing structural problems in the food sector, including improving agricultural development and access to markets for the poor. He noted that the 26-27 January 2009 Food Security for All meeting in Madrid, Spain, will be co-chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Prime Minister of Spain, Jos� Luis Rodr�guez Zapatero. The meeting will gather governments, private entities and civil society groups. He said the meeting will review progress made on food security since the High-Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome in June 2008.

 

Links to further information

UN Secretary-General�s High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis

UN News Centre, 16 January 2009

 

IFAD ANNOUNCES FINANCING FOR RURAL, LAND DEGRADATION PROJECTS
The Executive Board of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has approved US$258 million in new funding to reduce rural poverty in 16 developing countries, as noted by IFAD President Lennart B�ge. It is estimated that 75% of the world�s poorest people, around 1 billion, live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. IFAD hopes to support economic activities for an estimated 60 million of people through the projects. IFAD has also
announced it will provide US$16 million, in the form of a US$8 million loan and US$8 million grant, to support the second phase of a rural rehabilitation and development project in Niger. The project will establish local funds to finance the collective investments of 56 rural communes and empower them to decide on their agricultural priorities, in-line with the Government�s push for greater decentralisation. The project also seeks to reduce or reverse land degradation by promoting sustainable land management.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 15 January 2009

UN News Centre, 19 December 2008

up to top