The Despouy Report on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty/Annex II
|←Annex I HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTIONS WITH A BEARING ON EXTREME POVERTY MANY OF WHICH SUPPORT THE NEED FOR THE STUDY||The Despouy Report on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty
Annex II FURTHER ACTIVITIES BY INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS WITH A BEARING ON POVERTY
|Annex III A DEFINITION OF EXTREME POVERTY→|
|Source: United Nations Document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/13 28|
- 1 Contents
- 2 Annex II FURTHER ACTIVITIES BY INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS WITH A BEARING ON POVERTY
- 2.1 United Nations Children’s Fund
- 2.2 World Health Organization
- 2.3 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
- 2.4 United Nations Environment Programme
- 2.5 United Nations Population Fund; United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
- 2.6 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; International Fund for Agricultural Development; World Food Programme
- 2.7 International Labour Organization
- 2.8 The regional commissions
- 2.9 The contribution by non-governmental organizations
- Part I - THE SCOURGE OF POVERTY
- Part II - ACTIVITIES OF INSTITUTIONS AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS RELATING TO POVERTY
- Part III - A HUMAN RIGHTS APPROACH TO EXTREME POVERTY
- Part IV - HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL AS A UNIVERSAL OBJECTIVE AND AS A MEANS OF ERADICATING EXTREME POVERTY
- Part V - RECOMMENDATIONS
- Annex I HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTIONS WITH A BEARING ON EXTREME POVERTY MANY OF WHICH SUPPORT THE NEED FOR THE STUDY
- Annex II FURTHER ACTIVITIES BY INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS WITH A BEARING ON POVERTY
Annex II FURTHER ACTIVITIES BY INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS WITH A BEARING ON POVERTY
United Nations Children’s Fund
The central focus of UNICEF’s activities has always been the survival, protection and development of children. In addition to its noteworthy role in assuring the overall protection of children, it has distinguished itself by having allocated and continuing to allocate a considerable proportion of its resources to activities for the benefit of the poor and the neediest sectors of the population. Its long and first-hand experience of working with non governmental organizations has inspired a large part of this study and is given due importance in the chapters describing the obstacles to which poverty gives rise. (From among its numerous publications, the report has drawn, inter alia, on its annual reports on the state of the world’s children, particularly that for 1993 and its recent book entitled "Reaching the poorest", jointly published with ATD Fourth World.)
World Health Organization
Since poverty, and in particular extreme poverty, are among the prime causes of the chronically poor health of millions of human beings and of the high mortality rate in a number of countries, a high proportion of WHO’s policies are designed to limit the harmful consequences for health of both phenomena. This is borne out by its most recent report, entitled The World Health Report 1995: Bridging the Gaps, in which three of the four priorities established for international health activities concerned poverty. The first priority for the future is to ensure value for money in the health sector, by refocusing resources on those who need them most. The second priority is directly concerned with poverty reduction. The third is the promotion of a policy of health for all, based on the concept of "equity". By approving these choices, the international community undertook to improve the state of health of all its members and to reduce discrepancies both among countries and between different population groups (See, also, World Health Assembly resolution WHA 48.16, which calls for the development of a holistic health policy based on the concepts of equity and solidarity.) As will be apparent throughout this study, the analyses and information provided by WHO have been extremely useful in its preparation.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
The conviction that it is imperative to support the numerous efforts under way both nationally and internationally to prevent, reduce and eradicate poverty led UNCTAD to establish a standing committee for this purpose. The philosophy underlying the work of the Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation underscores the desirability of ceasing to consider the poor as a burden for society and confirms that it is the common interest of both rich and poor, donor and recipient, to give absolute priority to the struggle against poverty, in national and international programmes. (See, report of the Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation on its third session (TD/B/42(1)/10). See, also docs. TD/B/CN.2/2, TD/B/CN.2 8-10, TD/B/CN.2/GE.1/2, UNCTAD/PA/2-8, and more recently the Report of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD to the ninth session of the Conference (TD/366), January 1996.) The conclusions of UNCTAD’S ninth session, shortly to be held in South Africa, on globalization, liberalization and their impact on poverty mitigation are of considerable interest to this study.
United Nations Environment Programme
Since it produced its first studies, UNEP has emphasized the acute environmental deterioration that generally occurs in places or regions whose populations live in extreme poverty. Haiti, more than half of whose population live in abject poverty, is a case in point. It is sufficient to observe the extent of deforestation in the country to understand that it is no less than an ecological disaster caused by poverty. In turn, poverty itself is frequently the direct result of environmental deterioration. An example of this is the extreme poverty and marginalization which affect certain indigenous populations driven from their natural habitat by the environmental deterioration caused by the installation of polluting industry.
The aim of achieving sustainable and ecologically rational development has led UNEP to combat the vicious circle of poverty in which millions of human beings are trapped, compelling them to solve their daily problem of survival by destroying the environment and basic resources on which their survival and future well being depend. (All United Nations institutions should take this ecological dimension of development into account in their programmes and activities. In 1991, the World Development Fund, one of whose main contributors is the World Bank, was established to provide concessionary aid to help the developing countries to carry out projects that will contribute to preserving the world’s environment.)
United Nations Population Fund; United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
Activities supported by UNFPA have principally focused on the least developed countries and on the lowest-income sectors, with an emphasis on primary health care, women of reproductive age and family planning, etc. In turn, Habitat, which has played a major role in developing programmes to combat urban poverty, favours a comprehensive approach to community development. For this reason, it holds that "poverty is neither apparent,
nor can it be measured solely in monetary terms". In order to discover its multiple facets one must closely observe the deplorable living conditions of the poor and the growing housing crisis which worsens daily worldwide. For example, in 1980, only one third of the Third World’s population lived in towns or cities. Nowadays, half the world’s population lives in cities and as the world becomes increasingly urbanized so does poverty. (See Les Enfants du monde, Review of the French UNICEF Committee. In June 1996 Habitat will hold the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements.)
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; International Fund for Agricultural Development; World Food Programme
Since its inception, FAO has closely followed the trend in rural poverty and has put into practice numerous programmes to combat it. Where small farmers and the poor as a whole are concerned, FAO undertakes activities in various complementary spheres of action. (Its main spheres of action are promotion of the production and growth of the agricultural sector, particularly small farmers; promotion and technical assistance to provide the poor with greater access to production resources; the development of human resources among the poor through food policies and nutritional measures, and the promotion of food security programmes.) As rural poverty still remains considerable and is the main cause of domestic migration, IFAD devotes the bulk of its resources to relieving rural poverty by means of programmes to assist rural women, small landowners and landless persons. For its part, WFP orients food assistance in order to alleviate hunger and poverty, although like those of FAO and IFAD, its programmes always aim to integrate the poor into productive activity.
International Labour Organization
This organization, which was established at the end of the First World War, has performed a thankless task defending the interests of all workers. During the 1980s, however, "when the wind of deregulation and flexibilization was sweeping through the world" (see La lettre du Bureau International du Travail, No. 20, May-June 1996, Paris), ILO focused on fostering social programmes to offset the negative impact of structural adjustment policies, in close cooperation with the World Bank and IMF.
But "after having heard so many peremptory opinions and diagnoses and after having observed so many miracle cures and surgical operations", illustrated, in their time, by the forecasts of OECD and the remedies of IMF, "there’s no denying that the world’s employment situation has worsened in the last 20 years" (see, La lettre du Bureau International du Travail, No. 20, May-June 1996, Paris). Since it was designated as the lead agency, for the employment component, in the implementation of the Copenhagen Programme of Action, ILO has seemed determined to play a far more dynamic role in analysing the international situation and in developing specific proposals in its sphere of competence. Report V, prepared for its eighty-third session (1996) and entitled Employment policies in a global context, illustrates this point. Basically, ILO considers work to be the most effective means of achieving integration into society and combating poverty and exclusion, particularly if the work is productive and freely chosen. The keynote of recent contributions by ILO has been its emphasis on the need to comply with international labour norms as a whole as the most effective means of counteracting unemployment and exclusion. In this respect, trade union freedoms are the counterpart of and guarantee for free trade (see, also, fifth report of the working party on the social dimension of the liberalization of international trade, ILO, Geneva and Combating unemployment and exclusion: issues and policy options, ILO, Geneva).
The regional commissions
In the regional sphere, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific (ESCAP), together with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have directed a large part of their activities to
developing methods of measuring and assessing poverty and formulating policies and programmes to eradicate poverty, which have proved extremely valuable to the Special Rapporteur.
The contribution by non-governmental organizations
This deserves particular attention and should be the subject of a specific study, because the contribution by non governmental organizations to combating poverty, extreme poverty and social exclusion and their overall efforts to secure the right to development are so vast and their activities so diverse that it is impossible fully and adequately to describe them.
The activities of the body known throughout the world by its English
name of the Grameen Bank provide an illustration of the dimensions that non governmental ventures can assume. This bank has thrown traditional banking caution to the wind by deciding not to require collateral from borrowers and by creating a banking system based on mutual trust, transparency, participation and creativity. It grants loans to Bangladesh’s poorest village dwellers without requiring sureties. The Grameen Bank believes that credit is the way out of the vicious circle of poverty and the catalyst for the development process as a whole. It views credit as an instrument of emancipation, a weapon given to the poor, who have been denied access to the banking system simply because they were poor and thus financially unattractive, in order to allow them to change their socio economic status. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and Director General of the Grameen Bank, started from the principle that if financial resources were made available to the poor on appropriate and reasonable terms, "those millions of humble people with their millions of humble activities would be capable of achieving something quite prodigious in the history of development".