PelicanWeb's Journal of Sustainable Development
Vol. 6, No. 10, Rev. 2, October 2010|
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor
Going Forward After the UN MDG Summit
SUMMARY & OUTLINE
This issue is a report on the United Nations MDG Review Summit that was held 20-22 September 2010 in New York. The UN Secretary-General had made a formal invitation to all nations to participate in this summit on the MDGs. The basic outcome of this meeting is the document, Keeping the Promise - United to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The patriarchal mindset still prevails worldwide, and radically so in some institutions. Resistance to MDG3 may be the best case example of the nefarious influence of patriarchal institutions on sustainable development and other significant issues of social and environmental
justice. Full partnership between men and women is a prerequisite for sustainable human development.
It is anticipated that MDG8 -- creating a global partnership for development -- will be another hot topic for discussion. At the moment, there is stagnation in generating the international political will required for making significant progress toward the 2015 targets. The future of sustainable development worldwide hinges on the success of this summit.
Planning information and some of the working documents are already online at the UN MDG summit web site. This issue provides a roadmap of this online documentation, with emphasis on opportunities for participation. The outline for page 1 is as follows:
This issue includes updates of the three monthly supplements:
1. Current Status of the Millennium Development Goals
2. Review of the "Keeping the Promise" Declaration
3. Timidity of National Governments and Global Citizens
4. Ms. Michelle Bachelet and the UN Women Entity
5. Sustainable Human Development and the MDGs
6. Links to Key UN and MDG Documents and Resources
7. Links to News and Reports about the MDG Summit
8. Current Research on Sustainable Human Development
9. A Meditation on Sustainable Human Development
Supplement 1: Advances in Sustainable Development, is a monthly snapshot of significant recent contributions to in-depth understanding of the sustainable development process in general and integral human development in particular. This supplement includes the following items:
1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action
2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences
3. Advances in Sustainable Development
4. Advances in Integral Human Development
5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development
6. Recently Launched Games and Simulation Tools
7. Visualizations of the Sustainable Development Process
8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation
9. Sustainable Development and the International Community
Supplement 2: Directory of Sustainable Development Resources is an annotated directory of online resources on sustainable development and related issues. Links are provided to selected online content in the following categories:
1. Population and Human Development
2. Cultural, Social, and Security Issues
3. Financial, Economic, and Political Issues
4. Ecological Resources and Ecosystem Services
5. Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Sources
6. Pollution, Climate Change, and Environmental Management
7. Land, Agriculture, Food Supply, and Water Supply
8. Current Outlook for the Planet and Human Civilization
9. Transition from Consumerism to Sustainability
Supplement 3: Sustainable Development Simulation (SDSIM) - General Description is a preliminary draft of the user's guide for SDSIM Version 1.1, organized as follows:
1. The Sustainable Development Paradox
2. Sustainable Development Simulation Scenarios
3. SDSIM Version 1.1 Causal Loop Diagram
4. SDSIM Version 1.1 Model Diagram
5. SDSIM Version 1.1 Mathematical Formulation
6. SDSIM Version 1.1 User Interface
7. SDSIM Version 1.1 Simulation Results
8. SDSIM Version 1.1 Comparative Analysis & Synthesis
9. SDSIM Version 1.1 Limitations & Pending Issues
This issue also includes the following invited papers:
Socioeconomic Democracy: A Nonkilling, Life-Affirming and Enhancing Psycho-Politico-Socio-Economic System, by Robley George.
Composition and Trends of Homestead Agroforestry in Bangladesh - A Case Study in Dinajpur District, by Sourovi Zaman et al.
Will Working Mothers' Brains Explode? The Popular New Genre of Neurosexism, by Cordelia Fine.
A Paradise Built in Hell: Communities that Rise to the Challenge of Disaster, by Rebecca Solnit.
We Need Millennium Development RIGHTS, Not Just Goals, by Phyllis Bennis.
1. Current Status of the Millennium Development Goals
Regular readers of this journal should by now be familiar with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The following links are for the benefit of new subscribers who might need a quick introduction to this international development program:
For current status vis-a-vis the 2015 targets for each MDG, see MDG Report 2010 and MDGInfo 2010. For a summary chart, see MDG Progress Chart 2010. For detailed statistics, see the MDG Report 2010 Statistical Annex. The bottom line is that there has been some progress in some areas but not in others, and progress thus far is geographically uneven. The slowest pace worldwide is on making progress toward MDG 3 - the promotion of gender equality. Another problem area is MDG 8 - fostering a global partnership for development. The reasons are a mix of financial greed, the resistance to rethink ancient religious practices, and lack of political will.
2. Review of the "Keeping the Promise" Declaration
The UN Secretary-General published his Keeping the Promise report on 12 February 2010. After numerous revisions, the final draft , entitled Keeping the Promise – United to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals was approved by the general assembly on 10 September 2010, and by the High-Level MDG Summit on 22 September 2010. Readers are cordially invited to study the final MDG Outcome Document carefully. The following are some comments on the outcome document from a sustainable development perspective:
- The summit meeting and outcome document hopefully serve to remind national governments and global citizens that "the clock is ticking" as we continue to indulge in extravagant consumption, patriarchal power struggles, and abuse of natural resources.
- The outcome document states many good intentions, but gives few signs of growing political will to deliver
- It is stated that the MDGs are achievable, but there is nothing new on how and when.
- The time for rhetoric is gone; what matters now is commitments with specific delivery dates.
- Too much emphasis on financial issues and financial aid. It is time to recognize that sustainable development is not primarily a financial issue, not is it a matter of "trickling down" economics. Rather, it is a human development issue to be resolved by working from the ground up with local communities.
- There is nothing new about the promotion of gender equality (MDG3).
- The $40 billion for women & children health will help MDG4, MDG5, and MDG6, but not MDG3. Should it the assumed that the new "UN Women" entity will take care of MDG3?
- More rhetoric about gender quality and equal access of women and girls to education, basic services, health care, and economic
opportunities is useless unless backed up by penalties for excluding women and girls from opportunities for human development.
- Lamentably, gender equality is not explicitly declared to be a basic human right.
- There is nothing new about UN reform, democratic world governance, and concrete acts of international solidarity.
- Too much rhetoric about human solidarity, but no specific actions and timelines.
- Specifically, nothing new about promoting a global partnership for development (MDG8).
- There is nothing new on the need to address inequalities between and within countries.
- In particular, nothing about cancellation of unjust debts by the poorest countries.
- There is a lot of repetition of some good (albeit old and well known) statements, such as:
- Recognition of the interconnectedness and the need to ensure linkages between the MDGs.
- But no new structural analyses of the interconnections! Why the $40 billion focus on MDG4-MDG5-MDG6? Surely, this is a politically safe promise, and hopefully it will be kept. But all the MDGs are interconnected, are they not?
- Recognition that progress is uneven on hunger and malnutrition, gender equality, basic sanitation, and maternal health.
- What about linking these to human rights?
- Recognition of the need and benefit for verification and validation of statistical data and databases.
- We are already drowning in data! This is another politically safe resolution. But we don't need more data. We need analysis and we need action!
- Recognition of the need for increased sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation; and the need to close the sanitation gap and increase the coverage of basic sanitation especially for the poor.
- What else is new? What about the widening rich-poor gap between and within nations? And this gap includes the full spectrum of goods and services, not only water and sanitation!
- Again, what about linking all basic necessities to human rights?
There are lingering concerns that the summit rhetoric may not materialize in concrete actions pursuant to achieving the 2015 targets:
"There's ... what I might define as not an inspiring level of commitment, especially from the rich countries, in terms of doing their bit to help poor countries reach the 2015 target. There's still a lack of clarity in terms of the financing. Yes, they’ve renewed their commitment ... but there isn't any clear time frame ... Poor countries must fully commit to ensuring that the resources that are given and delivered are used for the intended purpose. But it's up to citizens in these countries to hold their leaders accountable. Secondly, we would also want to see citizens ... of rich nations putting pressure on their governments to give no excuse in delivering this aid." Henry Malumo, ActionAid's Africa|
So there are two sides to this drama: One side is the developing countries blaming the developed countries for not keeping their promises for financial and technical assistance. The other side is the developed countries blaming the developing countries for not being able to overcome patterns of inertia and corruption that nullify (or significantly diminish) progress toward the MDG 2015 targets. As long as this "blaming game" continues, significant progress cannot be reasonably expected. What is the root cause of this "blaming game"? Is it fear? If so, what is it that is feared?
3. Timidity of National Governments and Global Citizens
When it comes to making commitments (and delivering) on the MDGs, the timidity being manifested by national governments and global citizens is pathetic. What is the root cause of such timidity? To find the answer, we must follow the money trail. The financial crisis triggered in 2008 by Wall Street's unregulated greed is a case in point.
It has been estimated that "because of the financial crisis around 120 million more people may now be living on less than US$2 a day and 89 million more on less than US$1.25 a day" (see report). Poor people have been the most affected by the economic recession that was triggered by the financial crisis, in the USA (see report) and worldwide (see reports). The recently published book, Agenda for a New Economy: A Declaration of Independence from Wall Street, by David Korten, provides a very informative description of how this debacle came about. It is good to know that many people are becoming increasingly alarmed by the unregulated power of financial institutions worldwide. Consider the following:
Transforming Finance Group's Call Recognizes Finance as a Global Commons
Statement drafted by Hazel Henderson et. al.,
Ethical Markets (USA and Brasil), 12 September 2010
Reprinted with Permission
The Committee on Transforming Finance, a multinational network of career market participants: investors, asset managers, business executives, philanthropists, academics and financial authors, holds that the financial system is a global commons and calls for a new set of rules that would allow it to be governed in full conformance with this reality.
We as beneficiaries and active participants in capital markets affirm our responsibility to reform them from within, so that all those still-voiceless stakeholders who are now excluded and exploited can be heard and their communities appropriately served. If we are to avoid future systemic failures in the global financial system, we must re-think the underlying design flaws that precipitated the financial crises. We must move beyond Bretton Woods, where this financial commons was first defined within a set of global rules and institutions in 1945, as well as beyond recent attempts at reforms that have not addressed fundamental questions, including:
- What is the purpose of finance in human societies?
- What human values and principles should guide finance and its institutions?
- What are the limits of markets, money-based trading and transacting within the global commons?
- How can finance serve equitable, ecologically-sustainable governance of the global commons (climate, biodiversity, oceans, atmosphere, space) while reducing inequality, respecting human rights and acknowledging non-market-based, traditional societies?
Because we all benefit from healthy eco-systems, financially sound institutions and thriving human communities, rethinking the design assumptions of the regulatory framework of capital markets is an urgent global priority. Our call comes in the face of insufficient response by national governments to the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the demonstrated failure of traditional economics theory that markets are efficient in allocating capital, growing global interdependence, intensifying environmental crises, global social inequity and the technological interconnectedness of global financial markets. These 24-hour markets are dependent on satellites, internet and other technologies which were largely financed by taxpayers as public infrastructure investments.
Financial markets are founded on trust - now eroded by the irresponsible and unethical behavior of many players, including many of our leading financial institutions. Unbridled, greed-driven speculation, the improper use of public infrastructure technology for activities such as high-frequency trading, together with a misguided self-regulatory ideology reduced system resilience, damaged trust and thereby damaged the financial system commons. This led to unhealthy "financialization" now dominating vital businesses and activities in the world's real economies. In order to re-build trust, the Transforming Finance initiative seeks to democratize finance and widen the debate on reform by including all stakeholders and the innovations of many experts and groups advocating deeper re-structuring and reforms.
The key operating mechanisms necessary to build trust in the Global Financial Commons include:
- Stabilizing the value of national currencies and establishing a reliable global currency regime.
- Channeling savings into productive and sustainable investments that build real wealth.
- Managing fail-safe, transparent payment and settlement systems.
- Appropriate, dependable, transparent tools for managing financial risks and assuring that issuers, insurers and counterparties are accountable.
To correctly reframe global finance as a commons, the finance system needs to incorporate the following commons principles:
- Stakeholder co-governance,
- Access for all participants without sudden, cyclical capital market disruptions,
- Acknowledgment of the intrinsic value and assignment of rights to the environment,
- Decision-making at the most local level possible (subsidiarity),
- A commitment to environmental sustainability and social justice globally.
Since Bretton Woods, this commons approach has been expanded and well articulated in the theories of global public goods and their financing, and in many international UN conventions: the International Labor Organization (ILO), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the international rule-making bodies for securities exchanges and accounting standards as well as the Universal Postal Union, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the UN Principle for Responsible Investing. Many multi-stakeholder groups include the carbon market of the Kyoto Protocol and its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Global Reporting Initiative, the Club of Rome, the Carbon Disclosure Project, the World Social Forum, the Earth Council, the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, and financial groups, including the Investors Network on Climate Change, the Microcredit Summit Campaign, New Rules for Bretton Woods, the Global Compact and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.
The conventional wisdom of the "Tragedy of the Commons" articulated by biologist Garrett Hardin (Science, 13 December 1968, 1243) who maintained that common property is poorly managed, was based on outdated economic theory now challenged by endocrinologists, behavioral and brain sciences. This outdated view has been challenged by many scholars, who have documented how many societies over centuries have developed sophisticated mechanisms for sustainable decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts of interest, allocation of common resources and rights.
We applaud the progress made by many innovators and groups as traditional markets for what economists call "rival goods" have morphed toward serving today's markets based on new common scarcities and needs of the now 6.8 billion member human family for: clean air and water, restoring lands, forests, biodiversity and providing sustainable ecosystem productivity and stabilizing our global climate. These new needs require a commons approach where markets, as tools, can be designed to allocate these indivisible "non-rival" public goods and infrastructures for equitable access and opportunities for human development. Traditional competition for private goods is complemented by cooperation in organizing larger markets for public goods and services.
We will continue our own efforts to modernize capital markets to serve human societies as one of the tools for managing the global commons. As our Chinese colleagues say, markets are good servants but bad masters. Thus we will continue re-designing models of asset-management beyond outdated "efficient markets" and "rational actors" theories to expand use of "triple bottom line," ESG (environment, social, governance), integrated, ethical auditing standards and the criteria of thermodynamic efficiency: Energy Return on Investment (EROI) as well as Social Return on Investment (SROI). Prices must include social and environmental costs of production reflected in company accounts. Corporate funds and private money should never corrupt votes in politics.
Beyond these new company accounting standards, we support similar innovations to overhaul GNP/GDP money-based measures of national progress still using obsolete macroeconomics, ignoring social and environmental costs in national accounts (UNSNA). Beyond economics, systems metrics include the many indicators of health, education, environment, poverty gaps and quality of life, human wellbeing and goals of happiness presented at the European Union's Beyond GDP Conference, November 2007 (www.beyond-gdp.eu), and the global survey, International Public Opinion Measuring National Progress: 2007, by Globescan and Ethical Markets Media which found huge majorities in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Kenya and Russia that favor including these new indicators of human development. The next survey update will be released by the BBC in late 2010, including China and the USA.
We draw attention to many innovations to serve our common needs in stabilizing climate and creating equitable tools for the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, including: a floor price on carbon, removing the billions of dollar subsidies on fossil fuels, equitably allocating by auction all permits to emit carbon, reforming the Clean Development Mechanism and assuring that markets created for reducing atmospheric carbon and other pollutants damaging air, water, biodiversity and ecosystems are transparent, strictly regulated to prevent speculation. We recommend that proceeds from any sale of permits accrue to the public at large and to citizens of each country, and to finance the new 21st century infrastructure and public goods required in the global transition now underway from early Industrial Era technologies based on fossil fuels and unsustainable resource extraction (www.GTInitiative.org).
The shift to cleaner, greener, information-rich, more sustainable, equitable economies of the Solar Age is accelerating, as measured by the Green Transition Scoreboard. We support the carbon market of the UNFCCC and the proposed International Bank for Environmental Settlements (www.undp.org), both which were authored by Graciela Chichilnisky, and expanding the "common trust" models of Alaska's Permanent Fund and the Norwegian Fund for holding revenues from oil in trust for all citizens and future generations, and that these trust funds (Peter Barnes, Who Owns the Sky?, 2001) include other energy resources: solar wind, geothermal, hydro, etc.
Therefore, we the undersigned share a vision of a world in which the financial system serves a flourishing and sustainable human, ecological and spiritual future. We pledge to continue our efforts in Transforming Finance and invite all others who share and work toward these goals to co-sign this declaration.
For a list of the conveners, members of the drafting committee, and signatories, click
Ethical Markets, Reprinted with Permission.
Added 6 October 2010:
After the financial crisis precipitated by "toxic" financial assets, it would seem reasonable to think that appropriate regulations would prevent another such crisis happening. But take a look at the following recent news from Elliott Wave International:
NEW Financial Forecast now online:
We all saw subprime, not all of us learned from it
Robert Folsom, 4 October 2010,
Reprinted with Permission
"Investor psychology" is a very big beast. It's not about a person, but about people -- millions of them, and their collective state of mind as they participate in the financial markets.
And since it involves so many people, talking about investor psychology is like talking politics: It's far easier to be opinionated than it is to be accurate.
Even so: There are times when a certain news story can accurately reflect today's investor psychology. I recently came across a story which does exactly that.
It's about three words you probably never imagined would be combined (I know I didn't).
Yep -- there is indeed an active, growing market for "Securities linked to loans to consumers with credit considered subprime," which are bundled into "asset-backed auto debt issuance." These subprime auto loans amount to 20% of overall auto bonds, double the percentage of the previous two years.
The first time I read about these bonds I was speechless; all I could do was shake my head. The news source is reliable (Bloomberg), but I dug a little deeper anyway just to be sure it's true (it is). If the recklessness of this type of "finance" isn't obvious to you, I doubt any description of mine will help.
Of course, you might think that an instrument like this really isn't "new." After all, junk bonds have been with us for more than three decades.
Then again, not all forms of insanity are the same. In this case it's like the difference between being garden-variety crazy, vs. going stark-raving straight-jacket loco.
The larger point is that it's been barely two years since we all saw exactly how a story like this must end. But this time it's even worse. Previously the toxic assets were based on subprime mortgages; now the toxic assets are based on subprime auto loans. Auto loans, dear reader.
Lest you think this is only an anecdote, please allow me to offer a quantitative measure of where investor psychology is today. A recent survey of sentiment among market participants shows that just 24.26% are bearish. How extreme is that? Well, it's a smaller percentage of bears than was the case in October 2007 -- the month of the all-time high in the Dow Industrials.
Investor psychology is critical. In fact, nothing matters more to the trend that drives prices. The just-published October issue of The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast offers you a detailed, fact-based forecast of exactly where that trend is headed next. All the charts, analysis, and exclusive insights can be on your screen in a few clicks. Follow this link to learn more.
Thanks for reading,
Elliott Wave International, Reprinted with Permission.
Elliott Wave International
Question: How much longer will the nations and citizens of the world allow unethical financial institutions to engage in sordid financial manipulations and the creation and selling of fictitious financial assets? How much longer are we going to indulge a few rich people getting richer while jobs disappear by the millions, the number of people living in poverty increases, and the planet's natural resources are sacrificed to the idol of short-term profits?
4. Ms. Michelle Bachelet and the UN Women Entity
The Transforming Finance declaration is a sign that fear of the powers that be, and in particular fear of the powerful transnational corporations and financial institutions, can be overcome. Another sign that is most welcomed is the appointment of Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile (11 March 2006 - 11 March 2010), to head the recently formed UN Women entity. This is a woman who has conquered fear and served her country with distinction.|
Bachelet's U.N. debut brightened the MDG Summit. She has already stated that UN Women will champion gender equality, and she has credibility. Whether or not the woman who stood up to a military dictatorship in Chile can challenge the world patriarchal systems remains to be seen, but she is a sign of hope for MDG3.
MDG3 is the most crucial and the most difficult of the MDGs. It is the most crucial because gender balance is necessary for human development, and therefore necessary for making significant progress toward all the MDGs. It is the most difficult, because it is considered to be politically incendiary by both secular and religious patriarchies and, therefore, there will be powerful resistance to overcoming the patriarchal mentality. Ms. Bachelet has her work cut out for her. It is hoped that, under her guidance, UN Women will be a catalyst for further progress toward gender equality all over the world. She and
Dilma Rousseff (next president of Brazil?) could do great things together. See also $40 Billion for Women and Children, Millions of Lives at Stake.
5. Sustainable Human Development and the MDGs
Most of the recent and emerging research on the intersection between human development and the MDGs has been done in conjunction with the annual publication (starting in 1990) of the UN Human Development Report (HDR) and the Human Development Index (HDI):
A number of recent research papers appear to be converging on the notion that human development is the essential core of sustainable development:
HDR 1990 - Concept and Measurement of human development
HDR 1991 - Financing Human Development
HDR 1992 - Global Dimensions of Human Development
HDR 1993 - People's Participation
HDR 1994 - New dimensions of human security
HDR 1995 - Gender and human development
HDR 1996 - Economic growth and human development
HDR 1997 - Human Development to Eradicate Poverty
HDR 1998 - Consumption for Human Development
HDR 1999 - Globalization with a Human Face
HDR 2000 - Human rights and human development
HDR 2001 - Making new technologies work for human development
HDR 2002 - Deepening democracy in a fragmented world
HDR 2003 - Millennium Development Goals
HDR 2004 - Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World
HDR 2005 - International cooperation at a crossroads
HDR 2006 - Power, poverty and the global water crisis
HDR 2007/2008 - Human solidarity in a divided world
HDR 2009 - Human mobility and development
HDR 2010 - Rethinking Human Development
Note: The HDR 2010 is scheduled for publication in November 2010.
Human Development: Definitions, Critiques, and Related Concepts, Sabina Alkire, HDRP 2010/01, UNDP, June 2010.|
Global Governance and Human Development: Promoting Democratic Accountability and Institutional Experimentation, Arjun Jayadev, HDRP 2010/06, UNDP, June 2010.
Progress in Human Development - Are we on the right path?, Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan and Srijit Mishra, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India, July 2010.
Human Development and Sustainability, Eric Neumayer, HDRP 2010/05, UNDP, June 2010.
Capitalism, the state, and the underlying drivers of human development, Michael Walton, HDRP 2010/09, UNDP, June 2010.
Divergences and Convergences in Human Development, David Mayer-Foulkes, HDRP 2010/20, UNDP, September 2010.
A Household-Based Human Development Index, Kenneth Harttgen and Stephan Klasen, HDRP 2010/22, UNDP, September 2010.
Graphical Statistical Methods for the Representation of the Human Development Index and its Components, César A. Hidalgo, HDRP2010/22, UNDP, September 2010.
Can the MDGs provide a pathway to social justice? The challenges of intersecting inequalities, Naila Kabeer, IDS, 15 September 2010.
1970-2005 HDI Trends for 100 Countries
with 15 top movers highlighted
Source: César A. Hidalgo, HDRP2010/22, UNDP, September 2010, page 24.
If human development is the crucial driver of sustainable development in general and the MDGs in particular, then it is hard to understand why so much time and effort is being wasted top down in negotiating financial aid by donor countries and fighting corruption in the recipient countries. Perhaps it is time to leave banks and governments alone, and restructure the MDGs (and other sustainable development projects) from the ground up. This would entail enabling small groups of global citizens working directly with leaders and volunteers in specific localities in order to drive sustainable local development in all the MDG areas, with the proviso that nothing should be done locally that would be harmful for wider (national, global) communities.
6. Links to UN and MDG Documents and Resources
MDG-related reference documents:
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN 2000-2009.
MDG-related resources and databases:
MDG Progress Chart 2009, UNDP 2009.
MDG GAP Task Force Report 2009, UNDP 2009.
Millennium Development Goals Report 2009, UNDP 2009.
Millennium Development Goals Indicators Database, UN STATS, 2009.
MDGInfo and MDG Data Wizard, DevInfo, 2009.
Millennium Development Goals. This directory of links by the National Peace Corps Association is adapted from The Millennium Development Goals: A Report Card for the World, by Joanne Dufour, November 15, 2009.
Poverty in Focus - The MDGs and beyond: Pro-Poor Policy in a Changing World, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), UNDP, Brasilia, January 2010.
MDG Summit Fact Sheet, UN March 2010.
MDGs at a Glance, UN March 2010.
Women's Human Rights and Development: Inclusion, Participation, and Equality, Outcome Document of CSDF 2010, May 2010.
Database on the Financial and Economic Crisis, CoNGO, Geneva, 2 June 2010.
Social institutions and gender inequality: The missing link to achieving the Millennium Development Goals?, Karen Barnes, OECD, 1 July 2010.
UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), UN General Assembly, 2 July 2010.
Making the Millennium Development Goals Happen, UN Foundation and Devex, 2010.
MDG Good Practices, UNDG, 2010.
What Will It Take to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals? – An International Assessment, UNDP, June 2010.
Thematic Papers on The Millennium Development Goals, UNDP, 2010.
The path to achieving the Millennium Development Goals:
A synthesis of evidence from around the world, UNDP, June 2010.
Millennium Development Goals Report Card: Learning from Progress, ODI, UK, 2010.
FAQ About the UN MDG Summit, UNDP, 2010.
Mobilising Towards The World We Want: Five Point Action Plan for the Millennium Development Goals Review Summit September 2010, White Band, 2010.
New basis for UN Goals, Navi Pillay, Gulf News, 3 August 2010.
Former Chilean president to head new high-profile UN women's agency, UN News Service, 14 September 2010.
MDG Summit Outcome Document, UN, 17 September 2010 (approved 24 September 2010).
Millennium Declaration, United Nations, 2000.
Official list of MDG indicators after the 2007 revision, effective January 2008, United Nations, November 2007.
Summit, Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, 22-24 October 2009.
Keeping the promise: a forward-looking review to promote an agreed action agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 12 February 2010.
Global Civil Society Consultation for the MDG+10 Summit, UN March 2010.
2010 High-level Plenary Meeting Modalities Resolution, UN NGLS, 14 March 2010.
Summary of MDG Targets and Indicators, UN March 2010.
The MDGs at 10 and Civil Society, UN March 2010.
KEEPING THE PROMISE -
UNITED TO ACHIEVE THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS, "Zero Draft" of the Summit outcome document, dated 31 May 2010.
Report and Executive Summary of the Global Civil Society Consultation for the MDG+10 Summit, UN NGLS, June 2010.
What Will It Take to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals? - An International Assessment, UNDP, June 2010.
Ban Ki-Moon urged to take new approach ahead of key development summit, Letter by 170 Organizations, 13 July 2010.
7. Links to News and Reports about the MDG Summit
The following is a list of selected recent news and reports about the MDGs and the MDG Summit, for the reader's perusal:
Banging a drum for the MDG summit, IRIN Global, 7 September 2010.
In light of this sampling of post-summit reactions, it is clear that the summit was a small but positive step forward. However, it is also clear that there is widespread dissapointment and skepticism about the future of the MDGs. As long as there is no accountability, it would be unwise to assume that the MDGs will translate into global solutions to the global issues confronting humanity. Perhaps, as Phyllis Bennis has pointed out in a recent article, we need millennium development rights, not just goals. Indeed, it is time to stop talking and start acting.
Accord Reached On Draft Declaration For MDG Summit, Kaiser Family Foundation, 10 September 2010.
Global Development Blueprint Reveals Urgent Uphill Battle, Aprille Muscara, IPS, 10 September 2010.
Development, environment and UN reform the focus of new Assembly session, UN News Centre, 14 September 2010.
The mHealth Alliance and the Millennium Development Goal Summit, Mark Goldberg, UN Dispatch, 15 September 2010.
Progress Toward Millennium Development Goals Is Mixed, Media Newswire, 16 September 2010.
Time for World Leaders, and Everyday People, to Stand Up for the MDGs, Paul Zeitz, Huffington Post, 17 September 2010.
Universal Energy Access: Linking the MDGs to Global Climate Negotiations, Katherine Sierra, Brookings Institution, 17 September 2010.
Failure to respect human rights means MDGs are excluding the poorest people, Amnesty International, 17 September 2010.
Bridging the Chasm Between Rhetoric and Reality, Aprille Muscara, IPS, 18 September 2010.
Uneven progress of UN Millennium Development Goals, Barbara Plett, BBC News, 19 September 2010.
UN Chief Urges World Leaders to Meet MDGs as Summit Opens in NY, VOA News, 20 September 2010.
Investment in Women's Progress Key Focus of UN's MDG Summit and Clinton Global Initiative, Susan Carey Dempsey, 20 September 2010.
Picking the bones out of the pre-summit reports on MDG progress, Guardian, UK, 20 September 2010.
Breakthrough Action Plan Required to Achieve MDGs, The Mail, Ghana News, 20 September 2010.
Statements from Civil Society speakers in the Roundtables of the MDG Summit, UN-NGLS, 20 September 2010.
Liberia Wins MDG Award, The Inquirer, Liberia, 20 September 2010.
The world wants the millennium development goals to work, Jeffrey Sachs, The Guardian, 21 September 2010.
Concern Worldwide response to UN MDG Summit, PRWeb UK, 22 September 2010.
The millennium development goals and the gender gap, Jonathan Glennie, The Guardian, 22 September 2010.
MDGs: Commitment Plus Funding Equal Success, Voice of America, 22 September 2010.
UN Launches $40 Billion Campaign to Improve Women, Children's Health, Margaret Besheer, United Nations, 22 September 2010
$40 Billion for Women and Children, Millions of Lives at Stake, Thalif Deen, IPS, 22 September 2010.
Speeches of Heads of State Gathered at MDG Summit, UN News & Media, 22 September 2010.
World leaders to adopt declaration to keep the promise, UNICEF, 22 September 2010.
UN summit confident of achieving MDGs on time if world delivers on promises, UN News Centre, 22 September 2010.
General Assembly: High-level Plenary Meeting on Millennium Development Goals, UN Department of Public Information, 22 September 2010.
Global Strategy launched by United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit, UN Department of Public Information, 22 September 2010.
Secretary-General's closing remarks at High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals, UN, New York, 22 September 2010.
A progress report on the the Millennium Development Goals, The Economist, 22 September 2010.
World leaders conclude UN anti-poverty summit, Xiong Tong, Xinhuanet News, 23 September 2010.
MDG Summit: Achievements and future challenges, Irfa Ampri, The Jakarta Post, 23 September 2010.
UN summit ends with pledges and lingering pessimism, AFP, 23 September 2010.
Obama Lays Out Vision, Details Still Blurry, Aprille Muscara, IPS, 23 September 2010.
For Fragile States, MDG Summit Outcome Off-Target, Matt Crook, IPS, 23 September 2010.
UN human rights chief welcomes MDG summit outcome and notes some gaps, UN News Centre, 23 September 2010.
Tackling Corruption at the MDG Summit: Promises, Promises, Nancy Boswell, President and CEO, Transparency International-USA, Huffington Post, 23 September 2010.
U.N. MDGs Summit Concludes With 'Outcome Document', Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 September 2010.
MDG Summit Ends With No Result: Fragile States , WikiPeers, 23 September 2010.
Global targets, local ingenuity, The Economist, 23 September 2010.
MDGs: Focus switches to inequality, IRIN, Nairobi, 24 September 2010.
We Need Millennium Development RIGHTS, Not Just Goals , Phyllis Bennis, Yes! Magazine, 24 September 2010.
UN Millennium Development Goals summit gets mixed grades, Ecumenical News International (ENI), 24 September 2010.
MDG summit keeps goals on the world agenda but disappoints many, Olesya Dmitracova, Reuters, 24 September 2010..
Two East African leaders urge self-reliance at UN anti-poverty summit, The East African, 27 September 2010.
Media outlets examine reaction to MDGS summit, News-Medical Net, 27 September 2010.
Five takeaways from the MDG Summit, Nora Coghlan, One, 27 September 2010.
MDG Summit: The Talks Are Over. It's Time for Action, PR-USA.NET, 27 September 2010.
Summit Postmortem, Maha Atal, Forbes, 28 September 2010.
It's The End of The Road To The MDGs, SOP Newswire, 2 October 2010.
Development Rhetoric sans Much Substance, J. R. Ishwaran, Global Perspectives, 2 October 2010.
Lockouts and irrelevance, Curtis Doebbler, Al-Ahram, Cairo, 7 October 2010.
UN Summit Week, Kassidy Brown, The Huffington Post, 9 October 2010.
8. Current Research on Sustainable Human Development
That human development is pivotal for sustainable development is now widely recognized. Sustainable development is either people-centric or is not sustainable at all; for only human beings who have developed to their full potential (or a reasonable approximation of it) can make development sustainable. It is not a matter of creating superhumans; it is a matter of actualizing what we already are: human beings.
It is reasonable to think that a new era of human development practices started with Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, Nicholas Berdyaev, and other psychologists and philosophers of the 20th century. In previous centuries, most work on human development was superficial; with the exception of religious insights, most people thought of human development in terms of externals such as physical development and education - or intellectual development, which focuses on learning from the outside in. Then Jung came along with the theory of archetypes, which led to discovering the interplay betwen the conscious and the unconscious, including the crucial insight about the subconscious hosting both male and female polarities in every human being - male or female. This in turn was the catalyst for a new philosophy of human nature:
"Man is not only a sexual but a bisexual being, combining the masculine and the feminine principle in himself in different proportions and often in fierce conflict. A man in whom the feminine principle was completely absent would be an abstract thing, completely severed from the cosmic element. A woman in whom the masculine principle was completely absent would not be a personality. ... It is only the union of these two principles that constitutes a complete human being. Their union is realized in every man and every woman within their bisexual , androgynous nature, and it also takes place through the intercommunication between the two natures, the masculine and the feminine." Nicholas Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man, Harper, 1960, pp.61-62.
Maslow contributed the hierarchy of human needs,
in which "self-actualization" is equivalent to Jungs "individuation." Self-actualization requires learning from the inside out. The required human development process if often referred to as the "inner journey," which seldoms starts sometime during the second phase of life (30-60 years old) and can continue during the third phase until the time of death. There are no limits to individuation! But there is more: individuation can be perfected and transcended by divinization, whereby human beings do not become gods but become the imago Dei that has been imprinted in human souls since the very beginning (Genesis 1:27). Divinization is not a matter of becoming like God; it is, rather, a matter of allowing God to become the Human Being, i.e., allowing God to actualize -- in conscience and behavior -- the imago Dei that we carry, deep inside, from conception to death.
Walter Wink, Carsten Jochum-Bortfeld, Yochanan Muffs, Elizabeth Boyden Howes, and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, among others, have provided new vistas about human development as will be needed to support human development in the 21st century and beyond. These new horizons have little to do with organized religion, ancient dogmas, and ecclesiastical politics. As Walter Wink points out while commenting on Mark 14:62:
Jesus said, "I Am. And you will see the Human Being seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:62
"This is the most audacious claim of Christianity, more audacious than the resurrection or the assertion that this crucified artisan was the awaited Messiah. The Human being had entered Godhead as a human being. God wanted to become human so that humans might become like God. The violence imputed to God by so many religions, Christianity included -- the jealousy, the blind fits of rage, the subhuman wrath and vengefulness, the incapacity to forgive, the remorseless judgement -- were now categorically jettisoned from the God-image. What was left -- compassion, love, tender mercy, and fidelity -- became the basis of a clarified God-image. It is the greatest scandal and infamy that the church could not live with Jesus' God, and preferred the harsh judgemental God of much of Christianity. It is no secret why. A God who keeps score is much better at crowd control. A jealous God goes hand in glove with a tight hierarchy. Clerical dominance requires heavenly sanctions. A state built on unjust power relations needs a religion that blesses the status quo. To be able to dangle the sword of judgement over every Christian's head -- a sword that stays in place even without clergy -- was to create an incomparably efficient system of soul policing. The Jesus who changed the image of God was in turn changed into the God he had tried to change." Walter Wink, The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of Man. Fortress Press, 2002, pages 166-167.
Going forward, the authentic treasures of the various religious traditions must be conserved. But they also need to be sanitized of ancient errors, and centuries of bad religious habits, that obscure and distort the relations between the Human Being and human beings. The Roman empire, and other empires of antiquity, are gone. Along the path of human history, all empire-building attempts have collapsed, the most recent being the desintegration of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The future is not a future of powerful empires, secular or religious. The future belongs to those who pray and work for the liberation of the Human Being; a liberation that happens when the Human Being ascends from the subconscious to the conscious level, in each human being individually and in all human beings collectively.
9. A Meditation on Sustainable Human Development
"It has not yet been disclosed what we are to be" (1 John 3:2)
For human development to be sustainable, it must be based on the true nature of human beings. Such truth transcends all superficial human traits and behavior patterns. There is, in each human being, a deep longing to become what we are to be, even if it has not yet been disclosed what we are to be.
Any human development strategy, personal or communitarian, must be a search for everything that we are to be; in other words, it is a search for what we already are but has yet to emerge at the conscious level. Thus human development is a search for the fullness of being human, inside each human person and outside in each acting person. Human development utterly transcends economic development, let alone financial gain. Reducing human development to benchmarks of economic and consumption growth may be easy to define and quantify, but any such approach to human development is an exercise in futility and, therefore, intrinsically unsustainable.
Abject poverty is an obstacle to authentic human development inasmuch as lacking food, water, shelter, and other basic necessities makes inner growth impossible. But that said, there is more: overcoming poverty is necessary, but not sufficient for human well-being. At a time when human development is often reduced to a matter of having more money and more widgets, the reader is invited to consider the six points of the following meditation.
The Economics of Natality:|
Thinking of the World as a Household
Theses presented at the General Assembly of the
Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women (EFECW),
Loccum, Germany, 25 August 2010
Reprinted with Permission
1. Humans do not come into the world as autonomous, adult market players. Rather they are born bloody, mucous, entirely dependent newcomers. At first - and later as well - they need food, shelter and love. It is not possible to organize the satisfaction of these primary needs fully in the form of a market since they cannot be reduced to the logic of tough calculation between "equal" adults.
2. "Economy" originally means "law of the household" (oikos = house, household, nomos = law, teaching). To date it is still generally agreed that above all the question of how to meet human needs is at stake. Nevertheless economics has been turned into a market theory: i.e. - secondary problems and items have been placed in the centre while what is primary has been pushed to the margins or even suppressed. Moreover the satisfaction of real needs has - already in Greek antiquity - been defined as "low work", as "slave labour" or "a woman's job".
3. Today the consequences of this confusion of primary and secondary realities, which is notorious in patriarchal societies, are clearly visible. The circulation of money has to a large extent become detached from the real economy (cf. financial crisis), people who just exchange money for money become more and more wealthy while those who deal with real needs - mothers, house-husbands, nurses, peasants - live on the edge of or below the subsistence level.
4. What we need is an economic theory and practice that refocuses on the satisfaction of real needs. Such an economy levers out the patriarchal separation of the "higher" symbolically male sphere of market and money and the "lower" symbolically female spheres of households. It starts over with the original question: what do real people need for their wellbeing?
5. In order to launch this kind of thinking it is helpful to remember one's own birth (Mt 18, 2f): What did I need as a newcomer? Who fulfilled my needs then? Who is fulfilling my real needs now? What can (can't) I buy on the market? What is the real use of the (secondary) institutions of market and money? Where and when do they become obstacles to the good life? How can money and market occupy a meaningful position on this side of their patriarchal overvaluation or even veneration?
6. Whoever rethinks economics beginning with human newcomers will realize that the patriarchal hierarchical separation of markets and households doesn't make sense. He or she will primarily focus on realities such as nourishment, shelter, love, shit, vulnerability, fragility etc. instead of money, competition and profit. He or she will be able to reconceive the good life of all humans on this side of the bipartite world, more exactly: the good life of six and a half billion bearers of dignity that live, in ever new generations, together with innumerable other living beings in this unique, beautiful and vulnerable world.
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