How to address the emerging challenges?
Despite remarkable progress over the last decade towards the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals, there are significant new threats as we emerge from a strong era of global economic growth. The past year has witnessed a series of unprecedented events. The global financial crisis is bringing the most significant economic downturn for decades to all corners of the world, and global trade is likely to decline for the first time in a generation. The effects of climate change are ever more apparent, with unpredictable droughts and floods in both the north and south. Conflict and weak government is preventing progress for millions of people.
Many of these events are strongly linked and together they impact on peoples lives locally as well as on the global community. A banking crisis which begins in the US and rapidly spreads to close textile factories in South Asia. Poor harvests in Europe cause widespread hunger in the southern hemisphere. Climate change affects the sustainability of farmers’ incomes worldwide. Fragile countries risk destabilising whole regions. The complex set of global challenges we now face means greater international coordination and mutual support is needed than ever before. Because of globalisation, the world is more interdependent, with a shared environmental and natural resource dependency, and now with increasing realisation, a shared future.
This means we must continue to support issues that affect us all such as getting more children into school, and reducing the number of women dying in childbirth. Ensuring support to basic services, such as health and education, is critical for successful human development and poverty reduction. But it also means addressing a range of global challenges and priority areas, which are outlined in the following sections:
- How can we support countries to minimise the impact of the economic downturn on the poor?
- How can we build a low carbon and climate resilient world?
- How can we create a safer world and the right conditions for poverty reduction in fragile and conflict affected countries?
- How can the international institutions be reformed to deliver development?