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Towards a green economy: Pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication. A synthesis for policy makers.
Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP, 2011.  p.We argue in UNEP's forthcoming Green Economy Report, and in this extracted Synthesis for Policy Makers, that the rewards of greening the world's economies are tangible and considerable, that the means are at hand for both governments and the private sector, and that the time to engage the challenge is now. In this report, we explored through a macroeconomic model the impacts of investments in greening the economy as against investments in "business as usual" -- measuring results not only in terms of traditional GDP but also impacts on employment, resource intensity, emissions and ecological impact. We estimated, based on several studies, that the annual financing demand to green the global economy was in the range of US$ 1.05-2.59 trillion. To place this demand in perspective, it is less than one-tenth of the total global investment per year (as measured by global Gross Capital Formation). Taking an annual level of US$ 1.3 trillion (i.e. 2% of global GDP) as a target reallocation from "brown" investment to "green" investment, our macroeconomic model suggests that over time, investing in a green economy enhances long-run economic performance and can increase total global wealth. Significantly, it does so while enhancing stocks of renewable resources, reducing environmental risks, and rebuilding our capacity to generate future prosperity. Our report, Towards a Green Economy, focuses on 10 key economic sectors because we see these sectors as driving the defining trends of the transition to a green economy, including increasing human well-being and social equity, and reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Across many of these sectors, we have found that greening the economy can generate consistent and positive outcomes for increased wealth, growth in economic output, decent employment, and reduced poverty. (Excerpts)
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2007 Oct; 85(10):734.posited that the process of development entails changes in incomes over time. Larger income levels achieved via positive economic growth, appropriately discounted for population growth, would constitute higher levels of development. As many have noted, however, the income measure fails to adequately reflect development in that per-capita income, in terms of its levels or changes to it, does not sufficiently correlate with measures of (human) development, such as life expectancy, child/infant mortality and literacy. The United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) human development index (HDI) constitutes an improved measure for development. HDI has been modified to be gender-sensitive with variants that reflect gender inequality. Various measures reflecting Sen's "capability" concept, such as civil and political rights, have also been incorporated. Countries where the level of poverty is relatively large tend also to exhibit low values of human development, thus lowering the mean values of the development measures. Where inequalities of development indicators are very large, however, the average values may not sufficiently reflect the conditions of the poor, requiring the need to concentrate on poverty per se. (excerpt)
Is trade liberalization of services the best strategy to achieve health-related Millennium Development Goals in Latin America? A call for caution.
Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública / Pan American Journal of Public Health. 2006 Nov; 20(5):341-346.In September 2000, at the United Nations (UN) Millennium Summit, 147 heads of state adopted the Millennium Declaration, with the aim of reflecting their commitment to global development and poverty alleviation. This commitment was summarized in 8 goals, 14 targets, and 48 measurable indicators, which together comprise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be attained by 2015. All of the MDGs contribute to public health, and three are directly health-related: MDGs 4 (reduce child mortality), 5 (improve maternal health), and 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases). Progress towards these goals has proved difficult. In an attempt to identify practical steps to achieve the MDGs, the UN Development Programme initiated the UN Millennium Project in 2002. This three-year "independent" advisory effort established 13 task forces to identify strategies and means of implementation to achieve each MDG target, and each task force produced a detailed report. A Task Force on Trade was created for MDG 8 to develop a global partnership for development. The mandate of the Task Force on Trade was to explore how the global trading system could be improved to support developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the poorest nations. (excerpt)
Africa Renewal. 2006 Jul; 20(2):16.Workers in Burkina Faso are angry. Four times in 2005 and then again this May, the country's trade unions shut down economic activity through a series of national general strikes. Thousands marched in the streets of that West African nation to protest low salaries, high prices, lost jobs and inadequate social benefits. Very often, the strikers contrasted their living standards with those of the elites. At one march in Bobo-Dioulasso, the main commercial city, union leader Bakary Millogo decried the workers' "rampant pauperization" as opposed to the "scandalous and ostentatious" lifestyles of high government officials. Burkina, commented a columnist for the independent daily L'Observateur Paalga, is "running the risk of a social explosion of unpredictable consequences." The dangers are all the greater, he added, because endemic poverty exists alongside visible signs of wealth. "Some take a plane to get treated for hay fever," he wrote, "while others die because they can't afford malaria treatment." (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., International Monetary Fund, 2005 Apr. 13 p. (Economic Issues No. 34)Twenty-eight heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) were receiving debt relief under the HIPC Initiative by mid-2004, eight years after the Initiative was launched by the IMF and the World Bank and endorsed by governments around the world, and about four years after it was enhanced to provide more substantial and faster debt relief. The HIPC Initiative, the first coordinated effort by the international financial community to reduce the foreign debt of the world's poorest countries, was based on the theory that economic growth in these countries was being stifled by heavy debt burdens, making it virtually impossible for them to escape poverty. However, most of the empirical research to date on the effects of debt on growth has lumped together a diverse group of countries, including both emerging market and low-income countries; the literature focusing on the impact of debt on low-income countries (those with 2001 per capita gross national income of less than US$865) is scant. The paper on which this pamphlet is based, "External Debt, Public Investment, and Growth in Low-Income Countries" (IMF Working Paper No. 03/249, December 2003), addresses this gap in the literature. The paper also appeared as a chapter in a book published by the IMF in 2004, Helping Countries Develop: The Role of Fiscal Policy, edited by Sanjeev Gupta, Benedict Clements, and Gabriela Inchauste. It assesses empirically the effects of external debt on growth in low-income countries and analyzes the channels through which these effects are transmitted, giving special attention to the indirect effects of external debt on growth through its impact on public investment. Readers seeking a more detailed description of our analysis and of the literature on debt and growth are directed to the original working paper, which is available free of charge at www.imf.org/pubs. Brenda Szittya prepared the text for this pamphlet. (excerpt)
In: Global health and governance. HIV / AIDS, edited by Nana K. Poku and Alan Whiteside. Basingstoke, England, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003 Dec. 109-122.Today in much of Africa economic growth has slowed and living standards for the majority have suffered in the face of rising unemployment and mass poverty, resulting in incomes that are presently below the 1970 level. One problem that has been the focus of much attention and contention over the past 20 years is the huge foreign debt owed by African countries to bilateral donors and multilateral institutions. Debt servicing is consuming a disproportionate amount of scarce resources at the expense of the provision of basic services to the poor. In order to receive help in servicing their debts, countries must agree to implement structural economic reforms. This often entails drastic cuts in social expenditures, the privatisation of basic services, and the liberalisation of domestic trade consistent with WTO rules. These policy decisions have had a direct impact on the capacity of African countries to promote, fulfill and protect the right to health of their citizens. This is further compounded by ill-conceived privatisation of basic services such as water and health services, without any regard for the ability of the poor to access these essential services at a cost they can afford. Finally, adherence to WTO trade rules, which often comes as an extension of liberalisation policy, hampers the capacity of African governments to produce or purchase less expensive generic drugs for their citizen without fear of retaliation from the developed countries. (author's)
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1990. 21 p. (Social Dimensions of Adjustment in Sub-Saharan Africa Working Paper No. 9)This paper starts with a look at the pattern of public expenditure in Africa during the adjustment decade, paying particular attention to the social sectors. It concludes that the poverty focus and the poverty reduction impact of public spending in Africa is very low. The reasons for this include a lack of funds for nonwage recurrent expenditures in core economic and social services, inadequate intrasectoral resource allocation from a poverty reduction point of view, and public expenditure management inefficiencies. Absolute levels of expenditure on essential services are low in Sub-Saharan Africa compared with richer countries. It is therefore concluded that increases in financial resources to support anti-poverty programs are needed in Africa. But raising the poverty focus of governmental expenditures also requires changes in the within sector and the functional composition of public spending, as well as improvements in the factors which hamper the effectiveness of program delivery. (author's)
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1990. 49 p. (World Bank Discussion Papers No. 71)Little is known about the overall impact of adjustment programs on poverty. To a large extent, this is because it is difficult to distinguish the effects of externally induced recession from the effects of the policies and programs designed to offset them. Nevertheless, one clear lesson from experience has been that an orderly adjustment process designed to establish a new equilibrium growth path is indispensable for improving the longer-term position of the poor. Some adjustment measures can affect the poor adversely. This adverse impact may result from reductions in public expenditures, increases in prices of goods and services consumed by the poor, and declines in employment or real wages in sectors in which they work. Appropriate social and economic measures can help to reduce the adverse impact on the poor and create opportunities for stronger poverty reduction in the future. The most common way of addressing the adverse impact of adjustment has been the implementation of targeted compensatory programs. Such programs can compensate those affected directly by adjustment (for example laid-off public sector employees) or provide temporary employment of relief to the chronically poor. But these programs have often been too complex and have faced serious shortcomings such as insufficient political commitment, institutional weaknesses, shortages of funding and poorly trained staff. Greater attention should be given in the future to identifying the most appropriate interventions as well as to their design and implementation. Changes in the design of adjustment programs can promote the longer-run interests of the poor, but have received relatively little attention. Appropriate design changes can help to foster pro-poor growth by, for example, removing biases that favor capital-intensive production or other impediments to employment growth. They can also enable reallocations of public expenditures in ways that support, or improve the efficiency of, programs that help the poor to take advantage of the emerging economic opportunities (by developing skills or providing the necessary complementary infrastructure). Finally, appropriate design changes can help mitigate the possible adverse impact on the poor, for example, by targeting subsidies more effectively. Subsidies that have a large impact on the income of the poor (even if only a small proportion of the subsidy reaches them), should not be reduced or eliminated unless alternative means of reaching the poor are introduced. (author's)
Humanist. 1993 Mar-Apr; 53(2): p..The images are so familiar that we have become all but inured to them: starving African children outlined against a broad expense of empty sky; ragged, impoverished families huddled together on a stony steppe. They could be Biafrans in 1968, Sahelians in 1973, or Ethiopians in 1985. The most recent pictures are from Somalia, a barren stretch of East African coastland that juts into the Indian Ocean. Once a consolation prize in the Cold War (the real trophy in the Horn was Ethiopia, a richer and more populous nation), Somalia has since disintegrated into fiefdoms of grizzled warlords armed with Kalashnikovs and AK-47s. Now 2,000 Somalis die every day from hunger and its attendant diseases, and reports from elsewhere in Africa suggest that Somalia is only the beginning; according to the United Nations, 20 million to 60 million people are at risk of starvation throughout the eastern and southern parts of the continent. (author's)
UN Chronicle. 2004 Jun-Aug; 41(2): p..Poverty to a great extent has been a thorn in the side of the road to progress and development for many nations across the globe, and economists would agree. Its scourge has been driving many researchers over the past few decades to study poverty-related topics and increase attention to poverty alleviation by Governments. Tackling the global effort head-on is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which calls for reducing by the year 2015 the proportion of people living on less than one dollar a day to half of the 1990 level. Such initiatives are encouraging, but many researchers say that a shift in focus and policy stance has yet to take shape while addressing income inequality. "Inequality matters", said Anthony Shorrocks, Director of the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU/WIDER), in introducing three new studies on growth, inequality and poverty at UN Headquarters in New York. "Inequality is important and should be given more attention when you are designing economic development policies for poverty alleviation." (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 2000 Spring; 37(1): p..Demography is not destiny, but this is a formidable challenge -- not so much because of the sheer number of people as because of the context of poverty and deprivation in which they will have to live unless we take decisive action now. If I had one wish for the new millennium, it would be that we treat this challenge as an opportunity for all, not a lottery in which most of us will lose. Young people are a source of creativity, energy and initiative, of dynamism and social renewal. They learn quickly and adapt readily. Given the chance to go to school and find work, they will contribute hugely to economic development and social progress. (excerpt)
Toronto, Canada, Association for Women's Rights in Development [AWID], 2003 Dec. 8 p. (Women’s Rights and Economic Change No. 6; Facts and Issues)Every day and in almost every aspect of life, gender equality and women’s rights are affected by economic policy. Choices and opportunities regarding education, health care, employment, and childcare, for example, are all directly impacted by national economic agendas and international financial forces. Women therefore have a lot to lose when economic policies do not take gender discrimination and gender roles into account. At the same time, women’s rights can be advanced through economic policies that put their concerns, needs, and livelihoods at the centre of the analysis. Neoliberal globalization, which is the dominant driving force for economic policies throughout the world today, is therefore a crucial focus of gender equality advocates. (excerpt)
Toronto, Canada, Association for Women's Rights in Development [AWID], 2002 Oct. 8 p. (Women’s Rights and Economic Change No. 5; Facts and Issues)Originally established in 1944, the Bank is the world’s largest supplier of development capital and know-how, having provided more than US $17 billion in loans to its client countries in 2001. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., and it has 100 country offices, in total employing approximately 10,000 staff. At its core, the World Bank is engaged in three activities: lending, development research and economic analysis, and technical assistance. It provides funding from public sources for development programs in areas such as health, education and environmental protection, focusing on national legal, political and economic structures. The Bank promotes reforms designed to create long-term economic growth and stability, lending to governments and using the profits generated from the loans to finance its operations. It has recently promised to allocate more of its future financing to the poorest countries in grants (not loans) for social programs. (excerpt)
Promoting the Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific. Meeting the challenges of poverty reduction.
New York, New York, United Nations, 2003.  p. (ST/ESCAP/2253)In September 2000 at the Millennium Summit the Member States of the United Nations issued the Millennium Declaration, committing themselves to a series of targets, most of which are to be achieved by 2015. Known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they represent a framework for achieving human development and broadening its benefits. This overview provides a summary of the ESCAP-UNDP report, Promoting the Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: Meeting the Challenges of Poverty Reduction. It analyses the prospects, challenges and opportunities for attaining the MDGs in the countries of Asia and the Pacific. Individual countries are preparing their own national MDG reports. A report such as this can also offer a valuable regional perspective and a basis for further action. It can, for example, help the countries in the region increasingly to cooperate and to learn from each other. And it should also be of value to people outside the region who want to learn more about Asia and the Pacific and how the region has succeeded in swiftly reducing mass poverty and sustaining rapid economic growth and social change. The report emphasizes that the prime responsibility for achieving the MDGs lies with individual countries. Countries in the region should, however, also be able to count on regional and international partnerships, and they would certainly benefit from changes in the global system and the global economy. Nevertheless, their success will depend ultimately on national commitment and on the quality and thoughtfulness of national decisions. (excerpt)
Human Rights Quarterly. 1997; 19:630-665.It is now well-established that structural adjustment and stabilization policies (SAPs) undertaken in developing countries to receive condition-based loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have exacerbated conditions of poverty and deprivation for large sections of the population. Several commentators have also shown that these macroeconomic policies are not class-neutral or gender-neutral. The World Bank's emphasis on "safety nets" to cushion the poor from the impact of orthodox stabilization and adjustment policies is an admission that these policies do not affect all sections of the population equally. The human and social costs of adjustment have evoked growing concern and unease at the United Nations, among governments, and among some donors. These concerns arise out of the institutionalization of the market model of economic growth that has made such growth synonymous with the dominant view of "development," although it does not favor equity, sustainability, or redistribution of wealth and resources. Recent UN conferences, most notably the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in March 1995 and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995, have highlighted the ways in which such economic policies have focused on debt repayment by developing countries at the cost of human development. Specialized UN agencies, such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), have also pointed to the growing human and economic inequalities caused by market driven growth and stressed the need to protect the vulnerable, women in particular, from marginalization. (excerpt)
New York, New York, UNFPA, 2002.  p.Almost all United Nations global conferences in the last decade have recognized that youth unemployment is a growing problem that needs to be addressed, and that placing youth at the centre of the development agenda is a key to sustainable development. Youth unemployment, especially among girls, is linked to problems of poverty, illhealth, illiteracy. Hence, preparing young people for productivity and healthy integration into their changing societies calls for attention to their economic, health and basic social needs. The ongoing and future demands created by large young populations, particularly in terms of health, education and employment, represent major challenges and responsibilities for families, local communities, countries and international community. To meet the special needs of adolescents and youth, especially young women, the challenge is to give due regard for their own creative capacities, and to provide social, family and community support, employment opportunities, participation in political processes, and access to education, health, counselling and high quality reproductive health services. Health, including sexual and reproductive health, is an important consideration in the employability of young people. At the same time, employment can improve young people’s access to health and other social services. Thus, securing their health and rights will enhance efforts to provide young people, especially girls and women with education, employment, and life skills that will benefit them as individuals, their families and society at large. (author's)
Micro-finance in rural communities in Southern Africa. Country and pilot site case studies, policy issues and recommendations.
Pretoria, South Africa, Human Sciences Research Council, 2002. , 170 p.While micro-finance in its various forms has helped to make loan capital more accessible to low-income rural communities, much remains to be done to increase its outreach, impact and sustainability. The essential objective of this study is to make well-researched recommendations for IRDP policy and strategy to enable the micro-finance agents that it will shortly be appointing to maximize improvements in these key indicators in the three pilot sites. Chapter 1 outlines the institutional context and terms of reference of the report and briefly discusses its timeframe, methodology, value and limitations. Chapters 2 and 3 depict, on the one hand, the demand for financial services in the three pilot sites and, on the other, access to micro-finance in the respective communities. In Chapter 4 an account is given of the essential nature and capabilities of microfinance, of recent developments in this regard, of fundamental lessons from international experience and of best practices in a rural context. Chapter 5 identifies the key sets of policy issues facing, in the first instance, public policy makers seeking to promote micro-finance development and, in the second, donors/investors/wholesalers seeking to support individual micro-finance retailers. It then applies the findings of Chapter 4 to the three on-the-ground pictures sketched out in Chapters 2 and 3 to arrive at some initial and very tentative recommendations for policy for the IRDP in the respective pilot sites. (excerpt)
In: Gender, economic integration, governance and methods of contraceptives / Genre, integration economique, gouvernance et methodes contraceptives, [compiled by] Association of African Women for Research and Development [AAWORD]. Dakar, Senegal, AAWORD / AFARD, 2002 Jun. vii-xi.The failure of the economic development policies of the 70s was recognized and replaced by other terms like "satisfaction of human needs", "humane appearance development." But this new discourse, not having any pertinent referential base towards the environment and the third-world realities, has done nothing but take advantage of structural inequality. Even worse, the southern countries have to face reimbursements "without end" of the debt. Elsewhere, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have set in place the political talks of Structural Adjustment (PAS), which hasn't responded to the needs of the populations, thus continuing the already existing inequality. Besides, they equally oblige the States to operate a group of compressions in their public dispenses especially in the domain of neuralgic sectors like health and education. These measures have contributed to aggravating the poor, above all the feminine population. As for globalization, it will accentuate the negative effects of the Structural Adjustment and will aggravate the social and economic crisis. (excerpt)
Santiago, Chile, United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 1991. 146 p. (Libros de CEPAL No. 31; LC/G.1648/Rev.2-P)This book reviews the issue of changing production patterns with social equity and the integration of environmental priorities within development objectives in Latin America and the Caribbean. The book is also a preparatory document for the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The book is based on six central ideas. 1) Environmental sustainability is a necessary outcome of economic policy in Latin America for meeting the needs of future generations and for ensuring sustained growth at present. 2) The origins and consequences of environmental problems differ between developed and developing countries. 3) Man's relationship to nature occurs at all levels from individual to global, and all levels are interactive. 4) Sustainable development outcomes secure a dynamic balance between all forms of capital and assets. 5) Integration of environmental concerns within the development process requires a systematic process, appropriate economic policies, management of natural resources, technological innovation, broad-based community participation, education, institutional consolidation, investment, and research. 6) The 1992 UNCED provided an opportunity to adopt a new perspective on development that was environmentally sustainable. The book examines the links between environmental sustainability and macroeconomic policy, natural resources, changing production patterns, poverty, development of strategies, financing, and international cooperation. It defines "sustainable development"; describes the nature of relations between economic policies, natural resources, and the environment; analyzes the main relations between poverty and the environment and the role played by technology in changing production patterns; identifies new institutional structures and financial policies and arrangements; and links the international agenda with sustainable development.
In: Health and disease in developing countries, edited by Kari S. Lankinen, Staffan Bergstrom, P. Helena Makela, Miikka Peltomaa. London, England, Macmillan Press, 1994. 13-8.In the 1980s average incomes in most African and many Latin American countries dropped by 10-25% partly because of their external debt and structural adjustment programs imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In 1990 the gap in living standards was nearly 30-fold between industrial countries and developing countries, whereas 20 years earlier this gap was only 11-fold. The political independence of formerly colonial countries was not matched by the reform of economic and social structures, and the structure of foreign trade is almost as one-sided as during the colonial period. Basic raw materials still make up nearly 70% of their exports, which are largely controlled by multinational corporations. During 1980-88 developing countries had a cumulative loss of 93 billion dollars as a result of declining terms of foreign trade as commodity prices fluctuated widely and settled at their lowest level since the Great Depression. Balance-of-payment and debt problems have further exacerbated this situation. The external debt of developing countries overtook the 500 billion dollar mark in 1979, it grew to over 1000 billion by 1987, and in 1993 it was around 1500 billion. In many African countries lack of foreign exchange earnings has led to cuts in imports and capacity utilization dropped to 30%. Debt cancellation has been partly implemented by creditors along with debt swaps for equity investments. Structural adjustment programs aimed at reforming inefficient administration, increasing exports, and reforming institutions have instead contracted the money supply, frozen wages, and cut public expenditures, causing the reduction in imports and overall output and employment. The effects of macroeconomic stabilization programs upon poverty have greatly alarmed UNICEF and the International Labor Organization because of severe deterioration of child health, education, and nutrition. In consequence, the IMF and the World Bank have urged African governments to take into account the needs of the poorest section of the population when implementing adjustment programs.