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Lancet. 2005 Aug 20; 366(9486):613-615.The concept of health promotion as a public-health policy is of surprisingly recent vintage. Emerging in the mid-1970s, it was enthusiastically embraced at a 1978 conference sponsored by WHO and UNICEF at Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. There, almost all of the 134 nations represented reaffirmed health as a fundamental human right, and endorsed an ambitious new Declaration of “Health for all by 2000”. The Alma Ata conference is noteworthy for its recognition that health is a societal responsibility, but the great difficulty of providing primary health care to the extremely poor soon became apparent. Although world gross domestic product more than tripled between 1978 ($US 9.1 trillion, $2129 a head) and 2000 (31.5 trillion, $5198 a head), at the turn of the millennium there were still more than a billion people living on less than a dollar a day, with limited or no access to health care, clean water, or sanitation. Gross national income in then low-income countries, which account for 40% of the world’s population, was $430 a year, compared with $26 310 in high-income countries. (excerpt)
Lancet. 2004; 364:1801-1813.Major advances have been made during the past decade in the way the international community responds to the health and nutrition consequences of complex emergencies. The public health and clinical response to diseases of acute epidemic potential has improved, especially in camps. Case-fatality rates for severely malnourished children have plummeted because of better protocols and products. Renewed focus is required on the major causes of death in conflict-affected societies—particularly acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, malaria, measles, neonatal causes, and malnutrition—outside camps and often across regions and even political boundaries. In emergencies in sub- Saharan Africa, particularly southern Africa, HIV/AIDS is also an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Stronger coordination, increased accountability, and a more strategic positioning of non-governmental organisations and UN agencies are crucial to achieving lower maternal and child morbidity and mortality rates in complex emergencies and therefore for reaching the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. (author's)
DEEP. DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION EXCHANGE PAPERS. 1997 Dec; 18-9.The World Food Summit (WFS) charged the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with monitoring the implementation of the WFS's Plan of Action and target for reducing the number of undernourished people. In April 1997, the CFS held its first discussions about the monitoring procedures and heard reports from countries that had begun development of national action plans. In 1997-98, a provisional reporting system will allow governments, UN agencies, and other international organizations to report on actions taken to implement the commitments contained in the WFS Plan of Action. In June 1998, the CFS considered a standard reporting format for the future. During 1997, all of the FAO technical committees discussed WFS follow-up, and follow-up will be included on the agendas of 1998 FAO regional conferences. All reports submitted to the CFS will be widely disseminated. Part of the WFS process will include further monitoring of the 1992 International Conference on Nutrition commitments. The CFS also encouraged the continued involvement of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and took measures to broaden NGO participation.
DEEP. DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION EXCHANGE PAPERS. 1997 Dec; 15-6.In 1997, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and relevant nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worked to actualize Objective 7.4 of the World Food Summit Plan of Action that asks governments "to clarify the content of the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, as stated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other relevant international and regional instruments." The Objective also calls for a better definition of the rights related to food security. On May 29, 1997, the FAO Director-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding that created a framework of cooperation on issues related to the right to food. NGOs have crafted a 15-article draft International Code of Conduct on the Human Right to Adequate Food that includes a precise definition of the content of the right to food and indicates the obligations of states and other organizations. The FAO and the office of the UNHCHR plan to mark the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights with a public event recording their joint progress in clarifying and implementing the right to food.
DEEP. DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION EXCHANGE PAPERS. 1997 Dec; 13-4.While the 1996 World Food Summit Plan of Action was being approved, a companion NGO (nongovernmental organization) Forum provided opportunities for rural women from 29 countries to relay their perspectives and recommendations. The Rural Women's Workshop was organized by four NGOs: Isis International-Manila, La Via Campesina, the People-Centred Development Forum, and the Women's Food and Agriculture Working Group. Isis International-Manila seeks to create spaces, facilitate processes, and disseminate information for rural women to voice concerns, network, and plan responses. The La Via Campesina network operates in Latin American and the Caribbean where it applies a strong gender perspective to all of its activities. Ultimate progress on the World Food Summit Plan of Action can be evaluated using the ABCs of food security: does the program or policy assure 1) access for women to the total means of production; 2) benefits for women; and 3) community-based resource management and sustainable agriculture.