Thursday, December 09, 2004

The State of the World

Several recent reports have been published by U.N. agencies that might be of interest to those interested in UNESCO:

The Human Development Report 2004: Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World
This is the annual report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which has become famous for its “human development index” which serves to complement the economic indicators of the past. This year’s report focus on culture, and thus is especially close to UNESCO’s interests.

"Childhood Under Threat: The State of the World's Children 2005"
While UNESCO focuses on children’s education, more than ten million children die each year before they can go to school. Sixty percent of those deaths are from preventable causes. The number of children under the age of five who die each year is equal to the total number of children under five in France, Germany, Greece, and Italy combined. The report is from UNICEF.

"The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2004"
According to FAO's latest estimates, the number of hungry people in the developing world has declined by only 9 million since the World Food Summit in 1996, despite commitments to eradicate hunger by 2015. “The number has actually increased over the most recent five years for which numbers are available. In three of the four developing regions, more people were undernourished in 2000-2002 than had been the case in 1995-1997. Only Latin America and the Caribbean registered a modest reduction in the number of hungry people.” The report is from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.

"World Employment Report 2004-05: Employment, Productivity And Poverty Reduction"
“Today there are 550 million people who work, but still live on less than US$ 1 a day. These "working poor" represent 20 per cent of total world employment. In spite of the record levels of global unemployment, the reality for most of the world’s poor is that they must work – often for long hours, in poor working conditions and without basic rights and representation – at work that is not productive enough to enable them to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. While it is clearly the case that employment is central to poverty reduction, it is "decent and productive" employment that matters, not employment alone.” The report is from the International Labor Organization.

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