CHAPTER_52(S)-01
INFOGRAPHIC: Regional share of employed poor in the developing world, 2011-2011
The first of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. In the past decade, though the proportion of people in developing countries living below $1.25 per day has reduced by almost half, over 60% of workers in the developing world still live on less than $4 a day. If you remove East Asia from the figures, it becomes clear that it accounts for a high share of improved incomes; in fact, in absolute numbers, the number of working poor in developing countries outside of Asia actually increased by 90 million. Data source: International Labour Organization (ILO) 2013. (French version). (French version)

— Abstract

The United Nations (UN) has played a very influential role in development thinking and action. Development approaches in the UN have been multidisciplinary, focused on human concerns and, increasingly, linked to human rights. The UN’s Global Conferences of the 1970s and 1990s mobilized worldwide attention to central issues: women, environment, climate change, biodiversity, population, food security, employment, and the problems of rapid urbanization. The UN has also set some 50 goals for development; the most recent are the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction. International as well as regional and national action has been a consistent feature of UN analysis and policy recommendations—emphasizing actions to offset inequalities of economic and political power such as fairer trade and concessional aid flows. For the future, the UN certainly needs reform but to build on its unique legitimacy in global governance and the positive elements in its record.

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— Suggested Readings

Annan, Kofi (2005). In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All. New York: United Nations. [PDF 277KB]

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, Gareth J. Evans, and Mohamed Sahnoun. (2001). The responsibility to protect report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre.

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, Gareth J. Evans, and Mohamed Sahnoun. (2001). La responsabilité de protéger rapport de la Commission internationale de l'intervention et de la souveraineté des états. Ottawa: Centre de recherches pour le développement international.

Jolly, Richard, Louis Emmerij and Thomas G. Weiss (2009). UN Ideas That Changed The World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Jolly, Richard, Louis Emmerij, Dharam Ghai and Frederic Lapeyre (2004). UN Contributions to Development Thinking and Practice. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Reinicke, Wolfgang H., Francis Deng, and Jan Martin Witte. (2000). Critical choices the United Nations, networks, and the future of global governance. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre.

Reinicke, Wolfgang H., Francis Deng, and Jan Martin Witte. (2000). Choix cruciaux les Nations Unies, les réseaux et l'avenir de la gouvernance mondiale. Ottawa: Centre de recherches pour le développement international.

Toye, John and Richard Toye (2004). The UN and Global Political Economy: Trade, Finance and Development. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development. (1997). On solid ground science, technology and integrated land management. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre.

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. (1993). Earth summit the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Ottawa: International Development Research Centre.

Weiss, Thomas G. (2009). What’s Wrong with the UN and How to Fix it? Cambridge: Polity Press.