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Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor

Highlights on the themes of civil society and education

Extracts from the UK Government 's Second White Paper on International Development see : www.dfid.gov.uk
Selection by George Clark of the Caledonia Centre for Social Developmentclark@srds.co.uk

Three Definitions

Selected Extracts

Where there are no rules, the rich and powerful bully the poor and the powerless

Globalisation

The growing interdependence and interconnectedness of the modern world through increased flows of goods, services, capital, people and information. The process is driven by technological advances and reductions in the costs of international transactions, which spread technology and ideas, raise the share of trade in world production and increase the mobility of capital.

Human capital

In general usage, the value to a society of the skills, talents, expertise, qualifications and health of the working-age population. In economic usage, the value over a fixed future period of the additional productivity of skilled people compared with unskilled people. General human capital includes literacy and numeracy levels, entrepreneurship and creativity, and specific skills acquired through vocational training (e.g. medical, legal, IT, scientific and other professional skills). These skills comprise part of a country's intangible assets, upon which enterprise and social structures are built. The basic building-block of human capital is low infant mortality, universal primary and secondary school education and affordable health care; followed by affordable university and vocational training, and increasingly, in more advanced countries, "life-long learning" and continuous skills acquisition. Possession of these skills increases and broadens earnings opportunities and directly influences standards of living for individuals and improves economy-wide productivity.

Civil society

All civic organisations, associations and networks which occupy the "social space" between the family and the state except firms and political parties; and who come together to advance their common interests through collective action. Includes volunteer and charity groups, parents and teachers associations, senior citizens groups, sports clubs, arts and culture groups, faith-based groups, workers clubs and trades unions, non-profit think-tanks, and "issue-based" activist groups. By definition, all such civic groups are non-government organisations (NGOs). The NGOs which have come together under the banner of global civil society to campaign on globalisation-related issues constitute a sub-set of broader civil society.

Selected Extracts

19. Managed wisely, the new wealth being created by globalisation creates the opportunity to lift millions of the world's poorest people out of their poverty. Managed badly and it could lead to their further marginalisation and impoverishment. Neither outcome is predetermined; it depends on the policy choices adopted by governments, international institutions, the private sector and civil society.

26. Stronger international institutions and a much stronger commitment to sustainable development at the national and the international level are needed to help the world shift to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. But if the world remains deeply divided and the poorest countries believe that improved environmental standards will prevent or hinder their development, international agreement to protect global environmental resources will become impossible. A world commitment to sustainable development is dependent on the guarantee of development for the poor

36. The reality is that all profound economic and social change produces winners and losers. The role of government in these circumstances is to help manage the process of change - to maximise economic opportunities for all, and to equip people, through education and active labour market policies, to take advantage of these opportunities.

41. First, the importance of political will. It is not inevitable that globalisation will work well for the poor - nor that it will work against them. This depends on the policies that governments and international institutions pursue. We need developing countries, developed countries, international institutions, the private sector and civil society to rise to the challenges of globalisation, to exploit better its opportunities and minimise its risks. Developing countries must lead the effort for greater poverty reduction in their countries. But developed countries and international institutions must support them in this process.

45.To succeed in the new global economy, poor countries need healthy and well-educated people, and greater access to knowledge, ideas and new information and communication technologies. And to reduce poverty more quickly, there needs to be a shift in the global research effort.

50. Where there are no rules, the rich and powerful bully the poor and the powerless. In a globalising world, poor countries need effective, open and accountable global institutions where they can pursue their interests on more equal terms.

104. Education and skills are the commanding heights of the modern global economy. Globalisation - and the growth of knowledge-based systems of production - is both increasing the rewards for education and raising the costs of exclusion from it. If globalisation is to work for poor people, increased investment in education, lifelong learning and skills is essential.

105. One of the ways in which globalisation could help to eliminate poverty is by speeding up the diffusion of knowledge and technology to developing countries. But for countries to make use of modern technology, they must improve education and skills training.

311. The UK Government is committed to working with others to build the capacity of governments to lead the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the Poverty Reduction Strategy process, and to ensure full participation of civil society. We will encourage development NGOs to strengthen their links with civil society in developing countries - so that faith groups in particular are empowered to lobby for a strong poverty reduction focus in government policy. We will continue to encourage the World Bank and the IMF to make the necessary changes to their own structures and working methods in a way that is consistent with their commitment to the Poverty Reduction Strategy process.

360. If the international system is to work for poor people, we need stronger national and global civil society demanding the changes necessary to deliver the International Development Targets. The spread of democracy across the world has created an opportunity for progress.

361. It is particularly important to strengthen the voices of civil society in developing countries. The Voices of the Poor consultation showed that poor people place their greatest trust in churches and faith groups. But other groups - human rights and women's organisati (sic)

THE UK GOVERNMENT WILL:

bulletSupport open and competitive processes for the selection of the top management of international institutions.
bulletWork to strengthen the development efforts of the G8, the OECD and the Commonwealth, and for G8 and OECD decisions to take greater account of developing country interests.
bulletSupport the development of international and national statistical capacity, so that we can measure progress against the International Development Targets.
bulletWork to enhance and improve the effectiveness the UN's role in conflict prevention and peace-building, and to secure agreement to the implementation of the Brahimi Report within 12 months.
bulletBring forward legislation to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and encourage other countries to do so.
bulletWork with civil society to strengthen the capacity of poor people to hold governments and international institutions to account for progress on poverty reduction.
bulletBuild on our successful programme of Development Policy Forums with a further round focused on globalisation and poverty in the new Parliament.
bulletPublish an account of progress towards the International Development Targets, which could form the basis for regular parliamentary debates.

 

 

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