DEVELOPMENT ISSUES: GLOBAL

June 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Development, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Research, Science & Technology | Leave a comment

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SOCIAL INVESTMENTS DESERVE PRIORITY IN ECONOMIC

RECOVERY SCHEMES – UN REPORT

UNNews (UNNews@un.org)

New York, Jun 22 2011

A new United Nations reporthttp://social.un.org/index/ReportontheWorldSocialSituation/2011.aspx“finds that many governments did not pay enough attention to the social implications of the recent global financial crisis and urges that social investments be given priority in recovery programmes.

http://social.un.org/index/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=v0LQqd2FT3k%3d&tabid=1561 “The Report on the World Social Situation 2011: The Global Social Crisis, published today by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), explores the ongoing adverse social consequences of the 2008-2009 financial and economic crisis – the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

One consequence of the crisis is that unemployment rose sharply to 205 million people in 2009 from 178 million in 2007. The loss of jobs means not only a loss of incomes but also an increase in vulnerability, especially in developing countries without comprehensive social protection, notes the report.

It adds that various estimates suggest that between 47 million and 84 million more people fell into, or were trapped in, extreme poverty because of the global crisis, which occurred immediately after food and fuel prices had risen sharply. As a result, the number of people living in hunger in the world rose to over a billion in 2009, the highest on record.

The report states that the global economic downturn has had wide-ranging negative social outcomes for individuals, families, communities and societies, and its impact on social progress in areas such as education and health will only become fully evident over time.

“However, initial estimates show that the effects have been sharp, widespread and deep. Given the fragility of the economic recovery and uneven progress in major economies, social conditions are only expected to recover slowly.

“The increased levels of poverty, hunger and unemployment due to the global crisis will continue to affect billions of people in many developed and developing countries for years to come,” the report says.

It is essential, it adds, that governments take into account the likely social implications of their economic policies. Further, economic policies considered in isolation from their social outcomes can have dire consequences for poverty, employment, nutrition, health and education, which, in turn, adversely affect long-term sustainable development.

“There is renewed realization that social policy considerations, especially productive employment, must be given greater importance within economic policy,” said Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development. “The disconnect between economic policies and their social consequences can create a vicious cycle of slow growth and poor social progress.”

The economic crisis is a reminder, he said, that it is essential for people to be healthy, educated, adequately housed and well fed to be more productive and better able to contribute to society.
Jun 22 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

UN OFFICIAL CAUTIONS AGAINST REDUCING ASSISTANCE TO SMALLHOLDER FARMERS

New York, Jun 21 2011

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with combatting rural poverty today cautioned developed countries against cutting assistance to smallholder farmers in poorer nations, saying most food producers across the world were small-scale growers.

“When people cannot afford to eat because they cannot make a decent living, they become desperate, which led to riots during the 2008 food crisis,” “http://www.ifad.org/media/press/2011/39.htm” said Kanayo Nwanze, the President of the UN International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), speaking ahead of the two-day Group of 20 (G20) agriculture ministers’ meeting, which opens in Paris tomorrow.

“The current food price increase has pushed an estimated 44 million people into poverty, creating once again a volatile mix. During the last price increase, when smallholders were assisted in accessing markets for finance, seeds and fertilizers, they were able to benefit from higher prices and both poor producers and consumers were better off,” added Mr. Nwanze, who will address the meeting.

France holds the presidency of the G20, which is made up of the world’s largest economies.

The G20 agriculture ministers are tasked with developing an action plan to address price volatility in food and agricultural markets and its impact on the poor. Studies have shown that the gross domestic product (GDP) growth generated by agriculture is more than twice as effective in reducing poverty as expansion in other sectors.

Mr. Nwanze is expected to tell the ministers that the G20 has a comparative advantage in promoting the sharing of experiences of countries that have made significant progress in boosting agricultural production, and which have created an enabling environment for investment in agriculture, including Brazil and China.

In addition, the G20 can strengthen policy coherence and coordination, which is essential in dealing with sensitive issues in trade, biofuels and responsible investment in agriculture, he said.

“I take this message to the ministers on behalf of the smallholder farmers around the world: the development of rural areas is central to overcoming hunger and poverty, mitigating climate change, achieving energy security and protecting the environment, and it is the smallholder farmer that holds the key. But we must seriously start investing in their potential to support them to deliver.”
Jun 21 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

UN OFFICIAL STRESSES NEED FOR UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO ENERGY TO BOOST DEVELOPMENT

New York, Jun 21 2011

The lack of access to affordable and reliable energy is a major hindrance to human, social, and economic development, a senior United Nations official told delegates attending an “http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/pressrels/2011/unisous089.html” international forum that got under way in Austria today to discuss ways of ensuring universal access to energy.

“Without access to modern forms of energy it is highly unlikely that any of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved,” said Kandeh K. Yumkella, the Director General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Participants in the three-day Vienna Energy Forum – organized by UNIDO, the Austrian Government and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) – highlighted the wide inequality in energy access between rich and poor societies, pointing out that the poorer three quarters of the world’s population use only 10 per cent of global energy.

An estimated 1.5 billion people still do not have access to electricity, and around 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass and coal as their primary source of energy.

Demand for energy in developing countries is expected to grow dramatically, and the increases in population and improvements in living standards are adding to the scale of the challenges, according to delegates at the forum.

Mr. Yumkella noted that China, Peru and Viet Nam have significantly improved their citizens’ access to energy in recent decades, but across sub-Saharan Africa, and in parts of Asia, people still live without basic energy services.

Last year, the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC), which is chaired by Mr. Yumkella, called for the adoption of a target to achieve universal access to modern energy services, and for a 40 per cent reduction in energy intensity by 2030.

The forum coincides with the pre-launch of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), the most comprehensive analysis of the global energy system ever undertaken.

The GEA estimates that the global investments required to achieve the goal of universal access to energy are about $40 billion annually, a small fraction of the total energy infrastructure investment required by 2030.

Jun 21 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news 

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