Thursday, March 25, 2010

Water Wars Part... uhm... I lost count

Not that I am actually counting - but i do consistently tag posts by 'water' when relevant. Future "Water Wars" is warned of every now and then, occasionally toned down. Two more recent stories:

New Statesman / The real water wars
"Unlike oil, water's unique importance for human and economic development means that dependence on this shared resource generally does more to bring people together than force them apart."

United Nations: Water shortage can cause global conflict
"Increasing demand for water and shortage of the resource across the world can become a potential source of conflict, the United Nations has warned."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Dalai Lama and the UN

The COP15 barely ended before the UN started planning the 2010 meeting on the MDGs and the year of biodiversity. Having just failed to curb climate change world leaders now must try to evade their promises of ending poverty, illiteracy, the destruction of nature and more.

Recently the UN put Keeping the Promise - A forward-looking review to promote an agreed action agenda to achieve the MDGs by 2015 ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION on their website. Ironically, in a chapter titled "Progress so far", conflict is first mentioned:
Countries in or emerging from conflict are more likely to be poor and face greater constraints as basic infrastructure, institutions and adequate human resources are often absent while lack of security hampers economic development.


Income-based disparities intersect with wider inequalities: children from rural areas, slums and areas affected by or emerging from conflict, children with disabilities and other disadvantaged children face major obstacles in accessing good quality education.

Then again in a chapter on Emerging issues and challenges, sub-chapter on humanitarian crises:
Armed conflicts (inter-state and civil) are also a major threat to human security as well as to the hard-won MDG gains. Thus, there is urgent need for focusing on the root causes of these conflicts and advancing people-centred solutions. This requires strengthening institutions that mitigate conflicts as well as identifying and resolving existing tensions before they turn into armed conflicts and lead to humanitarian crises. Reforms to strengthen institutions should include promoting transparency and giving voice and representation to previously underrepresented communities to make them stakeholders in the peace process.
Post-conflict resolution steps are also vital. These should include promoting the rule of law, early economic recovery support, rebuilding capacities, building democratic institutions and reengaging countries in the global architecture without undermining national ownership of these strategies. This period must be used more effectively to eliminate inequalities and discrimination in law and in practice, and to guarantee equal access to resources and opportunities.

I leave speculation on the following observation up to someone else (for now):
The distribution of development assistance remains highly skewed. Although the share of ODA [official development assistance] flows allocated to the poorer countries increased somewhat between 2000 and 2007, with Sub-Saharan Africa continuing to be the largest recipient of ODA, having more than doubled receipts in current dollar terms, most of the increase in ODA since 2000 has been limited to a few post-conflict countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Together, these two countries received about a sixth of country allocations from DAC countries, even though they account for less than two per cent of the total population of the developing countries. African aid lags far behind commitments and far behind needs. Detailed analyses by the IMF and the UNDP have shown that highly worthy MDG-based programmes are unfunded because of non-delivery of promised donor funding.

Then in The Way Forward:
Working in partnership with all stakeholders, the international community must support national development strategies, expand national policy space, accelerate investments in developing countries, minimize the likelihood of crisis and conflict and substantially improve the international response to humanitarian, rehabilitation and recovery needs, and encourage and sustain reforms for a more conducive international environment for development.

Once again war and strife is strongly linked to humanitarian and environmental issues. And not just by the UN. The Tibetan Dalai Lama put a post on his Facebook page (it's really 2010, huh):
lack of respect [for Earth] extends even to earth's human descendants, the future generations who will inherit a vastly degraded planet if world peace does not become a reality, and destruction of the natural environment continues at the present rate. [...] Global communication is possible, yet confrontations take place more often than meaningful dialogues for peace.

2,466 "likes" as of quoting.

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