The 2006 Human Development Report on global water crisis

Throughout history water has confronted humanity with some of its greatest challenges. Water is a source of life and a natural resource that sustains our environments and supports livelihoods – but it is also a source of risk and vulnerability. In the early 21st Century, prospects for human development are threatened by a deepening global water crisis. Debunking the myth that the crisis is the result of scarcity, this report argues poverty, power and inequality are at the heart of the problem.

In a world of unprecedented wealth, almost 2 million children die each year for want of a glass of clean water and adequate sanitation. Millions of women and young girls are forced to spend hours collecting and carrying water, restricting their opportunities and their choices. And water-borne infectious diseases are holding back poverty reduction and economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Beyond the household, competition for water as a productive resource is intensifying. Symptoms of that competition include the collapse of water-based ecological systems, declining river flows and large-scale groundwater depletion. Conflicts over water are intensifying within countries, with the rural poor losing out. The potential for tensions between countries is also growing, though there are large potential human development gains from increased cooperation.

The Human Development Report continues to frame debates on some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. See

Press clippings:

Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank

Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, divided into two equal parts, to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development from below. Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.

Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries. Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has, first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty. Grameen Bank has been a source of ideas and models for the many institutions in the field of micro-credit that have sprung up around the world.

Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development. Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions. Economic growth and political democracy can not achieve their full potential unless the female half of humanity participates on an equal footing with the male.

Yunus’s long-term vision is to eliminate poverty in the world. That vision can not be realised by means of micro-credit alone. But Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that, in the continuing efforts to achieve it, micro-credit must play a major part.

See also the comment MICROCREDIT, MACRO ISSUES by Walden Bello:

Lamy: Doha Round failure would hurt developing countries

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, in his report to the General Council on 10 October, said that, from his contacts with many trade ministers, ‚it is now obvious that the cost of failure [of the Doha Round], and the missed opportunity to rebalance the trading system, would hurt developing countries more than others”. Lamy said he was aware of the political difficulties but added, ‚the fact remains that there is no acceptable alternative to the successful conclusion of the Round, and we all need to act upon that basis”. Highlighting the widespread support for swift resumption of Doha negotiations from ‚every quarter”, he said the next step was to determine how and when everyone could be brought back to the table, but that the established parameters were:

– Resumption only when substantive positions have changed on key issues, notably agriculture;

– Resumption across the board only, i.e. the whole negotiating in step;

– To finish in 2007, the latest time for a breakthrough is between November 2006 and Spring 2007.

Lamy undertook to keep up his engagement with WTO Members ‚to facilitate the movement we need” and encouraged the Negotiating Group Chairs to do the same. ‚This is no time for inaction but rather for discreet and quiet activity‘, he said.

Africa: UNCTAD report recommends new aid approaches

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has suggested a new aid architecture for Africa, saying the current system is chaotic, with too many agencies pushing too many development projects that often do not match the recipients` development goals. UNCTAD´s 2006 report on Economic Development in Africa examines how the commitment by the international community to double aid to Africa might place the continent on a sustainable development path. The central message of the report is that, if this commitment is to translate into big reductions in poverty and lasting gains in economic welfare, new thinking is required to tackle the unbalanced state of the international aid system. The report identifies the flaws in the existing system, such as high transaction costs, politicization, lack of transparency, incoherence, unpredictability, and excessive demands placed on the weak institutions of recipients. According to the report, a ‚big push‘ provides a sensible alternative in seeing how renewed capital accumulation (in both the private and the public sector) can link up to structural and technological change, unleashing a cumulative process of rising productivity, incomes and savings. A ‚big push‘ would require a new aid architecture with a much larger multilateral component, managed under different institutional arrangements, and the provision of much greater policy autonomy to recipients.

U.S. and Germany top Business Competitiveness Index 2006

The United States and Germany remain atop the latest Business Competitiveness Index, with China continuing to slip in the rankings while India ascends, according to a report released from Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. In addition to ranking countries by overall competitiveness, the report identifies national competitive strengths and weaknesses, highlights global economic trends, and signals the ingredients of successful economic development. The Index is part of the research contributing to The Global Competitiveness Report 2006-2007, released by the World Economic Forum.

International Development community meets in Brussels for the first European Development Days

The most important players of the international Development community will meet in Brussels between the 13th and the 17th of November for the First edition of the European Development Days (EDD) organized by the Directorate General for Development of the European Commission, under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. This first edition will focus on the African continent and the challenges in terms of governance as main topics and will include an EU-Africa Business Forum.

Network for Corporate Accountability (CorA) founded in Germany

‚Corporate Accountability‘ as defined in an NGO-statement submitted to the United Nations in 1997 refers to ‚the legal obligation of a company to do the right thing. The aim of corporate accountability is to be sure a company’s products and operations are in the interests of society and not harmful.‘ Corporate accountability is especially relevant to the current situation of increasing economic globalization. Transnational Corporations (TNCs) are the main protagonists and beneficiaries of globalisation but their activities often have detrimental environmental and social impacts. This Website aims to facilitate the flow of information among NGOs and social movements who believe their governments, private sector and civil society need to make greater efforts to ensure the accountability of business and industry, especially Transnational Corporations, to society.

THE READER 2006 – Implementing Sustainable Private Sector Development

THE READER 2006 – Implementing Sustainable Private Sector Development:

Striving for Tangible Results for the Poor

This year the Reader focuses on sustainable private sector development strategies. The 2006 Reader by Alexandra O. Miehlbradt and Mary McVay, edited by Jim Tanburn.

The 2006 Reader Content:

Private Sector Development: What’s Next?

Systemic Market Development in Action

Current Trends in Reforming the Business Environment

Developing Value Chain Systems that Benefit the Poor

Foundation Markets

Relief to Market Development in Crisis-Affected Economies

Accountability for Results in Reducing Poverty

Progress and Challenges in Implementing Sustainable Private Sector Development: Striving for Tangible Results for the Poor

Annexes: Training and Events, Websites, Bibliography

Trainer’s Manual: Local Economic Development Strategies

Making Local Economic Development Strategies: A Trainer’s Manual has been developed as a resource to train municipal officials and community representatives in the core elements of local economic development strategic planning. The Manual consists of six separate but complimentary sections that together form a comprehensive teaching tool for devising an LED strategy. The Trainer’s Guide to Manual outlines the core trainer competences, approach and requirements necessary to successfully deliver the LED training program. The five teaching modules that follow comprise the training program and provide a structured approach to learning, reflecting the five stage approach to LED strategic planning. Each module is accompanied by a supporting series of PowerPoint slides, exercises, templates and supplementary learning materials.

Knowledge for Sustainable Business Development

The ‚Knowledge for Sustainable Business Development‘ CD-ROM provides an introduction for companies and institutions about the search for economic information in the Internet. In addition there is a ‚Business Information Guide,‘ several work aids and useful tools for the export business, language tools, translation aids and dictionaries, Google marketing tools, as well as other helfpul tips and tools. InWEnt activities and it@inwent projects are also presented in a .PDF brochure with a 15 minute video. Order by fax: +49 228-4460-1382, Order by e-mail: