Development:A Basic Needs Approach

Development:A Basic Needs Approach

Postby Rene Wadlow » Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:41 pm

September 18





Dear Colleagues,



On behalf of the Association of World Citizens and a preparatory group of persons from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, we are pleased to present the outline of the COMBE project on basic needs.



The project focuses on the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty as hunger reduction is essential for meeting all the other goals such as those set out by the United Nations in its Millennium Development Goals.



While the proposals are not new, we believe that global civil society needs to focus upon a small number of goals as an entry-point for broader reforms on the world, the national, and the local level. If people are no longer threatened by hunger and poverty, if they have experienced the solidarity of people from different cultures, different traditions, different regions, they will no longer be manipulated into killing “the Other” and treating him or her as inferior enemies. Empowered and self-confident citizens will develop democracies based on participation and universal ethical principles which will replace many current policies which are suicidal in nature.



Global civil society should be able to play an increasingly decisive role in shaping the world as States are less and less autonomous political entities or the sole depositories of political authority. Likewise, many transnational business corporations have narrow self-centered aims and are unwilling to share power and affluence, thus perpetuating the current unjust world system.



We welcome your support at my email address:wadlowz.@aol.com as together we construct a vision in order to move ahead in the next decade. We believe that the course for action is clear, and leadership should be at hand.



Ingrid Schittich, Director, AWC, Germany

Rene Wadlow, AWC Representative to the UN, Geneva



Coalition to Meet Basic Needs for Everyone (COMBE)



Hunger and extreme poverty are among the worst scourges of humankind. One of the UN Millennium Development goals has been to halve the number of hungry people in the developing countries by 2015. As it looks, the world is far from reaching that target. “The target date is drawing near, but the targets themselves are not”[1].

The idea that millions of people will have died from want by 2015 whereas there will be extreme wealth for others is unacceptable.

There are people and organizations working in the field of charity making noble attempts to alleviate hunger and extreme poverty. Yet, in order to eventually eradicate hunger and extreme poverty, fundamental structural changes are needed.

Innumerable ideas as well as elaborate tools and methods to bring about such structural changes do exist. Furthermore, there is an awakening civil society. The combined efforts of organizations and individuals of this critical civil society can and should open ways towards the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty in the shortest amount of time possible.



This is what must be done:



1. NGOs and other representatives of global civil society unite in a supranational coalition whose paramount goal it is to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty by meeting basic needs for everyone: the “Coalition to Meet Basic Needs for Everyone” (COMBE).

2. The participants of the coalition combine some of their agendas, time and resources for this common purpose, while continuing their respective political, social, economic or environmental activities.

3. The coalition (COMBE) develop a universally comprehensive ethic that recognizes the fact that we are one human family and that until everyone’s basic needs are met, extreme economic disparities, oppression and war will continue to plague global society.

4. The coalition draw the attention of the world public to the deplorable situation of the dispossessed everywhere.

5. The coalition plans strategies for common actions which should be simultaneously carried out in many countries, on different continents.



A global civil society that realizes its capability of being a motor for change will have strong impacts on world politics and could eventually generate a new type of political leadership that would appropriately restructure the United Nations (UN) to include an empowered global civil society. This conviction sets the basis and the justification for the project introduced in this paper.







Early Signers



Prof. Ada Aharoni Founder & President of IFLAC PAVE PEACE: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, Haifa, Israel
Prof. Vladimir Bransky Full Professor of the Saint-Petersburg State University, President of the Saint-Petersburg Scientific & Educational Center "Social Synergetics", Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation



Fred Duperrault Vice-President, Democratic World Federalists, Mountain View, CA, USA



Prof. Richard Falk University of California, Santa Barbara, Global Studies,

Santa Barbara, CA, USA



Asso. Prof. Ananta Kumar Giri PhD, Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation,
Institute of Sociology, Freiburg, Germany & Associate Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Madras, India and Freiburg, Germany


Nina Gonchorova Project Coordinator, Planet 3000, President, Siberian Center of Eurasian Projects, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
Wilfried Graf Co-Director, Institute of Integrative Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding, Vienna, Austria
Mussie Hailu African Diaspora Foundation, Chairperson for the Africa region, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



John Hallam, Friends of the Earth, & National Consultative Committee on International Security Issues, Sydney, Australia


Gudrun Kramer Co-Director, Institute of Integrative Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding, Vienna, Austria
Victor (Vyasa) Landa President, Global Coalition for Peace, Bethesda, Maryland, USA



Rose Lord Global Coalition for Peace, Director of Women’s Self Reliance Program, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA



Douglas Mattern President, Association of World Citizens, San Francisco, CA, USA



Prof. E.P. Menon India Development Foundation, Bangalore, India



Samuel Ogbede Director, Association of World Citizens, Nigerian branch



Nana Yaw Osei-Darkwa International Relations Officer, Association of Global Citizens, Accra, Ghana



Josep Ll. Ortega, Initiator, Community of World Citizens, Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra



Elly Pradervand Women’s World Summit Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland



Prof. Howard Richards Research Professor of Philosophy, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, USA



Jack Santa-Barbara PhD, Director, The Sustainable Scale Project, Associate, The Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University, Member, Transcend: A Peace and Development Organization, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



Ingrid Schittich Director, Association of World Citizens, German branch Ueberlingen, Germany



Dr. Ram Krishna Singh Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian School of Mines, poet, Dhanbad, India
Asso. Prof. Dambar Bir Thapa President, World Citizens Association of Nepal, President, National Federation of NGOs for Millennium Development Goals Promotion, Kathmandu, Nepal



Claude Véziau author-composer-interpreter, Québec, Canada



Prof. René Wadlow Association of World Citizens, Representative to the United Nations, Geneva,



Prof. Michael Whitty University of Detroit Mercy, National Chancellor, International Educators for World Peace, Detroit, Michigan, USA





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[1] FAO: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2005, Eradicating world hunger

– key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, p.6
Rene Wadlow is the editor of www.transnational-perspectives.org and the representative to the United Nations, Geneva, of Association of World Citizens
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Development: A Basic Needs Approach

Postby Rene Wadlow » Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:49 pm

This is a translation into Esperanto of the text above in English






Alvoko



Karaj gekolegoj,

nome de la „Asocio de Mondcivitanoj“ kaj preparanta grupo de personoj el Afriko, Azio kaj Eŭpopo kaj Norda Ameriko ni tre ĝojas prezenti al vi la projekton COMBE kaj ties necesajon.



La projekto fokuscelas al la elradikado de la malsato kaj de la ekstrema malriĉeco, al la redukto de malsato kaj al aliaj celoj, kiuj estas alcelata de la Unuiĝintaj Nacioj por la jarmilo.



Dume la proponoj ne estas novaj, sed ni opinias, ke la civila monda socio devas ŝtrebi al malmultaj celoj kiel enira punkto por disvastigendaj plibonigoj sur la mondo, por ŝtanaoj kaj lokaj retoj.



Se la homoj ne plu estas minacataj per malsato kaj malriĉeco, se ili spertas la la solidarecon de homoj de diversaj kulturoj kun diversaj tradicioj, el diversaj regionoj, oni ne plu estos devigotaj murdi aliajn aŭ agnoski ilin malmultvaloraj malamikoj. Provizataj kaj memkonsciaj civitanoj elvolvos demokratiojn laŭ participo kaj universalaj etikaj principoj, kiuj anstaŭas aktualan politikon, kiuj estas en la naturo memmurtigantaj.

Monda civila socio estu kapabla, ludi kreskantan rolon dum sia mondformado, ĉar situacioj estas malpli kaj malpli politikaj autonomaj estaĵoj, au solaj lokoj de la politika licenco.

Same multe da supernaciaj kapitalsocietoj havas mallarĝajn memorientadajn celojn kaj ne estas klinataj partigi energion kaj riĉecon, tiamaniere ili eternigas la nunan neĝustan mondsistemon.

Ni salutas vian subtenon al mia retadreso wadlowz@aol.com , ĉar ni konstruas vizion antauen en la sekvontan jardekon. Ni kredas, ke la kurso estas klara, kaj nesesus gvidado.

Ingrid Schittich, Direktorino, AWC, Germanio



Rene Wadlow, AWC Reprezentanto ĉe UNO, Genf







Koalicio por atingi bazajn vikonstancojn por ĉiuj (COMBE)



Malsato kaj ekstrema malriĉeco estas la plej teruraj trudiloj de la homaro. Unu de la celoj de la deklaracio de la UN estas duonigi la nombron de malsatanoj en la evoluantaj landoj ĝis la jaro 2015- Ni konstatas, ke la mondo estas tre malproksima de tiu celo.

La celpunkta datumo alproksimiĝas, sed ne la realigo de la celoj.

La imago tute ne estas akceptebla, ke ĝis la jaro 2015 pluaj milionoj da homoj mortas pro malsato, dume aliaj plukolektas riĉaĵojn.

Kvankam homoj kaj societoj laboras sur la kampo de karitativo kaj faras noblajn kontribuojn, por mildigi malsaton kaj ekstreman malriĉecon, estas nesesaj profundaj strukturjŝanĝoj por venki ilin.

La teknologia scio tiucele ekzistas, estas multe da ideoj kaj imagoj, kiamaniere oni povas realigi la necesajn ŝanĝojn. Aliaflanke, memkonscia, kritikema civilkomunumo sin evoluas. La komunaj klopodoj de organizoj kaj de unuopuloj de la kritikema civila socio povas kaj devas malfermi vojojn por venki malsaton kaj ekstreman malriĉecon tiel rapide, kiel eblas.



Tiuj estu la unuaj paŝoj:



1 NROj kaj aliaj anstataŭuloj de la monda civila socio unuiĝas al supernacia koalicio. La plej noblaj celoj de tiu estas venki malsaton kaj ekstreman malriĉecon kaj pretigu la aliron al socia baza provizado: La koalicio por certigo de baza provizado por ĉiuj homoj (COMBE)



2 La memroj de la koalicio kombinas same iliajn proprajn celojn, taskojn, kapablecojn ankaŭ parte favore al la komuna celo.



3 La koalicio evoluadas universalan validan etikon, kiu agnoskas, ke por ĉiuj, al homara familio apartenantaj homoj, necesas baza provizado, aliaflanke la fendego inter riĉa kaj malriĉa pli malaltiĝas, kaj milito kaj subpremo plue terure regas la vivon de la homoj.



4 La koalicio portas la hontantan kaj nedignan situacion de la ekonomie kaj socie maljuranoj en la konscio de la mondpubliko.



5 La koalicio planas strategiojn al agadoj, kiuj okazas je samtempe en multaj landoj, en diversaj kontinentoj.



Mondvasta civila socio, kiu konscias sian propran kapablecon por ŝanĝi la mondon, havos gravan influon al la mondpolitiko.

Finfine ĝi povus krei novan tipon de respondece politikaj agantoj, kiuj kapablas realigi veran reformon de UN, enhavantan pli fortigata civila socio, kiu prenas oportunan lokon.

Tiu konvinko estas la bazo por nia alvoko, kaj tio ankau estas ĝia rajtigo.



Fruaj subskribintoj:



Prof. Ada Aharoni Founder & President of IFLAC PAVE PEACE: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, Haifa, Israel
Prof. Vladimir Bransky Full Professor of the Saint-Petersburg State University, President of the Saint-Petersburg Scientific & Educational Center "Social Synergetics", Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation



Fred Duperrault Vice-President, Democratic World Federalists, Mountain View, CA, USA



Prof. Richard Falk University of California, Santa Barbara, Global Studies,

Santa Barbara, CA, USA



Asso. Prof. Ananta Kumar Giri PhD, Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation,
Institute of Sociology, Freiburg, Germany & Associate Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Madras, India and Freiburg, Germany


Nina Gonchorova Project Coordinator, Planet 3000, President, Siberian Center of Eurasian Projects, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
Wilfried Graf Co-Director, Institute of Integrative Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding, Vienna, Austria
Mussie Hailu African Diaspora Foundation, Chairperson for the Africa region, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



John Hallam, Friends of the Earth, & National Consultative Committee on International Security Issues, Sydney, Australia


Gudrun Kramer Co-Director, Institute of Integrative Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding, Vienna, Austria
Victor (Vyasa) Landa President, Global Coalition for Peace, Bethesda, Maryland, USA



Rose Lord Global Coalition for Peace, Director of Women’s Self Reliance Program, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA



Douglas Mattern President, Association of World Citizens, San Francisco, CA, USA



Prof. E.P. Menon India Development Foundation, Bangalore, India



Samuel Ogbede Director, Association of World Citizens, Nigerian branch



Nana Yaw Osei-Darkwa International Relations Officer, Association of Global Citizens, Accra, Ghana



Josep Ll. Ortega, Initiator, Community of World Citizens, Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra



Elly Pradervand Women’s World Summit Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland



Prof. Howard Richards Research Professor of Philosophy, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, USA



Jack Santa-Barbara PhD, Director, The Sustainable Scale Project, Associate, The Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University, Member, Transcend: A Peace and Development Organization, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



Ingrid Schittich Director, Association of World Citizens, German branch Ueberlingen, Germany



Dr. Ram Krishna Singh Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian School of Mines, poet, Dhanbad, India
Asso. Prof. Dambar Bir Thapa President, World Citizens Association of Nepal, President, National Federation of NGOs for Millennium Development Goals Promotion, Kathmandu, Nepal



Claude Véziau author-composer-interpreter, Québec, Canada



Prof. René Wadlow Association of World Citizens, Representative to the United Nations, Geneva,



Prof. Michael Whitty University of Detroit Mercy, National Chancellor, International Educators for World Peace, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Rene Wadlow is the editor of www.transnational-perspectives.org and the representative to the United Nations, Geneva, of Association of World Citizens
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Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:17 pm
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Postby Rene Wadlow » Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:39 pm

16 October is the United Nations-sponsored World Food Day. Food is a basic need and the elimination of hunger a goal in which we can all participate. Here is a short text devoted to World Food Day;

To Feed the Hungry : World Food Day

Rene Wadlow



To Feed the Hungry” is the title of the first book of Danilo Dolci, the Italian social reformer, translated into English in 1959. On 16 October, the FAO-sponsored World Food Day “to feed the hungry” remains the goal. Dolci’s book analyses hunger and unemployment in the areas around Palermo, western Sicily, in the mid-1950s. He stresses the link between hunger, unemployment, illiteracy, land tenure, and the power of the Mafia. He is sensitive to the ecological conditions of the area — improper land use, deforested and eroded hills, vanishing topsoils, rivers that either carry too little or else, when a too rapid run-off turns them into torrents, too much.



He also highlighted the impact of the city Palermo on the rural areas — the rural to urban migration, urban poverty and the lack of concern of the city dwellers for rural populations. His book is largely a series of interviews with the poor and hungry. Listening to the poor themselves has often been overlooked, and so many development projects have failed because the views, the hopes and the knowledge of local people was not used.



Recognition of human dignity means that international organizations as well as national administrations need to respect and build on traditional knowledge and practices in producing food rather than imposing alien production methods and models. Such a “listening to the poor” approach requires humility and interest in others; the most deprived are regarded not only as fellow human beings but also as experts in their own environment and lives. Once the concept is recognized, development can no longer be approached as a series of projects designed by outside experts, but requires the cross-fertilization of ideas, resources, and mutual respect that contribute to reducing hunger and fostering human dignity.



It is certain that governments have a role to play in improving education, employment, the laws of land tenure, and the control of rivers, but it is not civil servants who plant the crops. Thus, it is that every 20 years or so the United Nations and its Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) holds a large conference at which high government leaders make speeches on the importance of agriculture and the need to abolish hunger. In 1974 the World Food Conference was held in Rome to analyse the causes of the food crises and to identify remedies. The Conference adopted a “Universal Declaration on the Eradication of hunger and Malnutrition” which was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in the fall of 1974. The Conference had highlighted that during famines in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, hundreds of thousands of rural men and women — the very people who sowed the seeds, harvested the crops, and minded the herds — had perished for lack of food while, during the same period and in the same countries, starvation in the cities (which are the seats of power) had been relieved by government interventions with imported food stocks.



Country dwellers are dispersed over wide areas and are rarely threatening unless there is a march on the capital. Rural populations are also socially and economically divided during a famine, the rural rich tending to take advantage of the rural poor by depriving them of their meagre assets or forcing the poor into debt bondage.



Twenty-two years later in 1996, the world’s governmental leaders gathered again in Rome for the World Food Summit. They considered it intolerable that more than 800 million people in the world do not have enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs and pledged their political will to achieving food security for all and to an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries. The government representatives made the commitment that “We will ensure an enabling political, social, and economic environment designed to create the best conditions for the eradication of poverty and for durable peace, based on full and equal participation of women and men, which is most conductive to achieving sustainable food security for all.”



The big change between the two meetings was the growth and influence of non-governmental organizations. More than 1000 organizations from more than 80 countries participated in the NGO Forum of the 1996 conference. Thus some of the voices of the landless peasants in Latin America calling for access to land, the voices of indigenous peoples seeking recognition for their traditional land titles, and the voices of fishermen in Asia struggling against the destruction of local fishing grounds by industrial fleets could be heard by government delegates.



Today, governments, NGOs and the multitude of rural workers still strive for the same goals of a better life, free from hunger, oppression and violence. The difficulties remain great, but with increased cooperation and effort, the lives of many are improving. On World Food Day, we must keep our eyes on the goal and our feet on the path.
Rene Wadlow is the editor of www.transnational-perspectives.org and the representative to the United Nations, Geneva, of Association of World Citizens
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Postby Rene_Wadlow » Sat May 12, 2007 10:25 pm

Basic Needs: A Focus for Collective Action

Rene Wadlow

World Citizens have always seen the need to structure the world society in such a way that the basic needs of all the world’s people can be met. In an early statement of our aims, Stringfellow Barr wrote in Citizens of the World (New York: Doubleday, 1952) “Since the hungry billion in the world community believe that we can all eat if we set our common house in order, they believe also that it is unjust that some men die because it is too much trouble to arrange for them to live.” Stringfellow Barr went on to add “I am grateful that I live in a time of crisis, a time when real decisions can be made because real issues have emerged that the human mind can grasp, and real problems have been located that human will and human reason can solve.”

Much of the early world citizen movement’s efforts centered on the problem of hunger and the need to create food security. Hunger and starvation are among the most visible signs of the failure to meet basic needs. The emphasis on hunger also was the result of the leadership in the world citizens’ movement of two officials of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Sir John Boyd Orr, the first FAO Director General and Dr Jose de Castro, a Brazilian nutritionist, who was chairman of the FAO’s governing Council. De Castro’s The Geography of Hunger (Boston: Little, Brown, 1952) was a widely read and moving account of the role of famine in the world. De Castro was later in the early 1960s the Ambassador of Brazil to the United Nations in Geneva where we worked together on development issues. A more popular account of the ways in which modern science has placed in our hands for attacking world misery Let There Be Bread (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952) was written by Robert Brittain, also active in world citizen circles.

Hunger and food security are, of course, only part of the development process, and world citizens were on the staff of the two independent commissions created by the World Bank to review and make recommendations at the end of two crucial decades for broad development efforts: The Pearson Commission Partners in Development (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1969) and the Brandt Commission North-South: A Programme for Survival (London: Pan Books, 1980). The Honorary President of the Association of World Citizens, Robert Muller, was Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and played an important role in economic and social affairs. He later became Chancellor of the University for Peace in Costa Rica involved in designing teaching programs on development and stressing the link between development and peace.

In more recent years, world citizens have played a useful role in the United Nations system by stressing three crucial areas:
1 Fostering a people-centered policy framework;
2 Building human and institutional capacities;
3 Protecting the environment.

Now is the time to bring these earlier world citizen efforts together into a concerted program to provide momentum for world-wide efforts. We need to stress, as Stringfellow Barr noted the real problems “that human will and human reason can solve.” Thus, world citizens are bringing together a wide coalition of individuals working to make fulfilling basic needs for everyone the aim and the focus of development policies.

A new world citizen website has been created in which the Basic Needs Approach to development is set out, policy proposals are made, experiences analysed, and support is welcomed.

http://www.combe-online.org
Rene_Wadlow
 

Postby Rene_Wadlow » Sat May 12, 2007 10:27 pm

Making Basic Needs Operational in Development Planning

Rene Wadlow

The Basic Needs approach to development planning and mobilization has many early “fathers”. One was Mahatma Gandhi. His approach may be described as action oriented (the environment of domination and oppression was his laboratory), normative (the welfare of the poorest of the poor was his standard) and global (a non-violent world society was his ultimate goal).

A second “father” coming from humanistic psychology and the human potential movement is Abraham Maslow, who died in 1970. His book Toward A Psychology of Being and his later The Farther Reaches of Human Nature develop his concept of the hierarchy of needs, “self-actualization”, and “peak experiences”.

A third collective “father” is the American “structural-functionalist” school of sociology with Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton, Marion J. Levy and David Apter as the leaders. For an analysis of structural-functionalism’s contribution to development approaches, see Ankie Hoogvelt The Sociology of Developing Societies ( London: Macmillan, 1976).

It was the 1976 World Employment Conference of the International Labour Office which placed basic needs directly on the governmental world agenda. See the conclusions of the World Employment Conference Meeting Basic Needs: Strategies for Eradicating Mass Poverty and Unemployment( Geneva: ILO, 1977). For a useful collection of the working papers prepared for the Conference see Employment, Growth and Basic Needs: A One-World Problem (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1977).

The conclusions of the 1976 World Employment Conference state some of the requirements for satisfying human needs within one generation:
“Strategies and national development plans and policies should include explicitly as a priority objective the promotion of employment and the satisfaction of the basic needs of each country’s population…Often these measures will require a transformation of social structures including an initial redistribution of assets.

“The Programme of Action puts emphasis on the participation of the people, through organizations of their own choice in making the decisions which affect them… In view of the highly hierarchical social and economic structures of agrarian societies in some developing countries, measures of redistributive justice are likely to be thwarted unless backed by organizations of rural workers.”

The ILO report goes on to indicate two crucial elements in the Basic Needs approach:
“First, they include certain minimum requirements of a family for private consumption: adequate food, shelter and clothing, as well as certain household equipment and furniture. Second, they include essential services provided by and for the community at large, such as safe drinking water, sanitation, public transport and health, education and cultural facilities.”

The Basic Needs approach constitutes an attempt to come to grips directly with poverty in the fields of food, nutrition, health, education, and housing. It is predicated on a policy consisting of relatively high growth rates, redistribution of income, reorientation of investment and a review and modification of consumption and production patters.

A Basic Needs approach stresses the importance of the household as a basic institution. It is the household which allocates among its members incomes earned by members who are employed for wages, and it produces goods and services for its own use. Moreover, household activities play a crucial role in converting education, health and nutrition into improvements in the quality of life of individuals. By stressing the household, the Basic Needs approach comes close to reality and focuses on the family which has often been overlooked in development planning.

The ILO report stresses the importance of popular participation in development policies, especially of rural populations which are the least organized of workers. The report goes on to state “It is imperative for rural workers to be given every encouragement to develop free and viable organizations capable of protecting and furthering the interests of their members and ensuring their effective contribution to economic and social development.”

Rural workers’ organizations should represent the workers’ interests by engaging in planning development programs at local and national levels, providing an educational base for workers and in general mobilizing to improve the resources and services available to the workers as well as ensuring that social and economic development is responsive to the workers’ needs. Such groups of popular participation must not only breakdown old ways of doing things but must group human beings around new ways of doing them. Popular participation and the mobilization of the disadvantaged is an essential requirement of a Basic Needs approach to development. It is this requirement of popular participation that distinguishes a Basic Needs model of development from other kindred poverty eradication models.

The basic needs of the poor are often starkly apparent or amenable to easy discovery. The reason why basic needs are not met is that the poor cannot yet force an improvement in their condition, and the rich do not see it in their interest to grant new resources. Thus there needs to be a close link in the process by which needs are identified and the means by which needs may be met.

In two related essays we look at the Basic Needs approach within the framework of relief in times of conflict or natural disasters and in the work of the newly-created UN Peacebuilding Commission whose role it is to address the challenges of helping countries with the transition from war to lasting peace.
Rene_Wadlow
 

Postby Rene_Wadlow » Sat May 12, 2007 10:34 pm

Making Basic Needs Operational in Relief Action

Rene Wadlow

Coming to the aid of people caught in disasters, either natural or man-made such as war, has been a crucial aspect of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There are NGOs, often called humanitarian aid organizations, which are specialized in relief operations — the Red Cross societies being among the best known. Nearly all these organizations have developed disaster preparedness capacity dealing with issues such as water and sanitation, nutrition, food, shelter and health services.

Originally, relief was considered to be short-term action, such as helping people after a flood until they were able to return home. Anything longer-term was considered “development” and fell into another category, often to be taken up by a different set of organizations.

Increasingly, however, the world society faces long-term and more fundamental relief issues. The dividing line between relief and development is no longer sharp. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said recently that the lack of an effective link between relief and development “is not only an internal problem for the countries concerned. It also comes from dysfunctions in the collaboration of international institutions and can be exacerbated by the impact of different or even conflicting strategies of relief and development cooperation agencies, when poorly coordinated by some donor countries…Large-scale population returns are difficult to sustain if development stalls and instability grows. Hard-won solutions may in fact be tenuous, even after years of effort to build them.”

Refugees can live in camps for years while the conflict situation continues, such as Somali refugees living in Kenya, some since 1991 when the administrative structures of Somalia fell apart and have not yet been re-established. In addition to long-term refugees who will not be integrated into a host country, there are long-term internally displaced persons who remain within their country but not in their home area — such as many in the three Darfur provinces of Sudan. For all these uprooted peoples — refugees and internally displaced — a Basic Needs approach to planning is important.

Relief operations bring together humanitarian agencies, mostly NGOs, United Nations agencies and programs, and national governments some of which have specialized disaster-response agencies or the military who have transport facilities, shelter and battlefield health equipment. Each of these groups has a different “organizational culture” and they have to learn to work together in a cooperative spirit – (more easily said than done).

There is an important effort involving NGOs, the Red Cross societies, UN agencies with national governments providing ideas and funds which is called the Sphere Project. The secretariat is in Geneva, Switzerland and it has a useful website www.sphereproject.org. Its aim is to set universal minimum standards in core areas of disaster response and write a Humanitarian Charter. As its presentation states “The purpose of the Standards is to improve the quality of assistance provided to people affected by disasters, and to enhance the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response. The Humanitarian Charter, based on international treaties and conventions, emphasises the right of disaster-affected people to life with dignity. It identifies the protection of this right as a quality measure of humanitarian work and one for which humanitarian actors bear responsibilities.”

In its presentation of its understanding of human dignity, the Humanitarian Charter is close to a Basic Needs approach. “The principle of the right to life with dignity in the Humanitarian Charter is drawn from the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Life with dignity implies a certain level beyond provisions of life-saving assistance and is a powerful and important principle for the humanitarian system. Every person has a different perception of what dignity means. Consequently, participation is essential for people to define a programme that helps them achieve their right to life with dignity.”

If the line between relief and development is no longer clear cut, the line between refugees and internally displaced persons is not real in reality although there is a legal difference. Since 1948 as a result of experiences of the Second World War, refugees have been given an international legal status set out in conventions ratified by governments. There is a permanent UN High Commissioner for Refugees with an active and dedicated staff.

However, internally displaced people are particularly vulnerable. Compared to refugees, not only do they have less international legal protection, but also the international community has paid relatively little attention to their plight since legally they are still subject to the government of which they are citizens, even if they are displaced to escape violence from that government. The fact of internally-displaced persons has been highlighted by the conflict in Darfur, where over a million persons have been displaced. It is not known when —or if — they will be able to return home as many villages have been destroyed. Tensions between communities have been made worse by the violence. We have also seen large numbers of displaced persons in protracted conflicts in Africa such as those in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Uganda.

The United Nations has started to address the issue of the internally displaced. The UN Commission on Human Rights created the post of Special Rapporteur on the Internally Displaced who has helped to raise awareness both within the UN system and in national governments to the fate of the internally displaced. In July 2005, the UN created the “Inter-Agency Internal Displacement Division within the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Division is located in Geneva so that it may work closely with the High Commissioner for Refugees. Its website is www.reliefwed.int/idp. There is also a useful journal for those interested in internally displaced people and in practical experiences in working with them: The Forced Migration Review available on line: www.fmreview.org.

Relief, settlement and return can be planned within a Basic Needs approach. While it is natural to try to meet immediate challenges of people without food or shelter, it is necessary to start planning for the longer tem. Violence which results in people being forced to move is often related to unmet basic needs. The relationships between basic needs and relief have not received the detailed analysis that the International Labour Office gave to basic needs and employment. Thus we will welcome here ideas and experiences from those working in the humanitarian relief field.
Rene_Wadlow
 

Postby Rene_Wadlow » Sat May 12, 2007 10:36 pm

Making Basic Needs Operational in Post-violence Reconstruction

Rene Wadlow

On 23 June 2006, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the inaugural session of the Peacebuilding Commission, a new advisory body devoted to helping fragile countries make the transition from violence to peace. The International community now has a unique intergovernmental body devoted specifically to peacebuilding. Kofi Annan gave the reasons for creating the Peacebuilding Commission which some had hoped to be more than an advisory body but would have administrative functions as well. “We have seen an unacceptable number of peace agreements disintegrate within five years after the end of a civil war lapsing back into deadly conflict…As we have just seen in Timor-Leste (East Timor) undue haste to disengage from a transitional situation can result in reversals and a need to redeploy, at great cost to all, particularly the helpless civilian victims.”

Although it has become common to speak of post-conflict situations, there are rarely post-conflict situations; there are post armed-violence situations, but conflicts continue. The tensions that led to armed conflict rarely are resolved by an end to fighting. Post-violence situations need both analysis of root causes which led to violence and then measures to resolve the conflicts in non-violent ways.

It has taken the UN system a long time to create a body devoted to the results of violence within a state. Collectively, governments react slowly to new security challenges — although increasingly we see governments acting unilaterally or with small “coalitions of the willing” as in the case of the war in Iraq. The action of the United Nations or of regional bodies in the case of conflicts within a state is very uncertain.

When the UN was created, the Second World War was still being fought and was the image of the type of war that was to be avoided in the future: wars between States with a deliberate and public act of aggression marking the start of the war — German troops moving into Poland, Japanese troops into China or attacking Pearl Harbor.

Today wars between States still exist but more common are insurgencies within one country which quickly have trans-frontier implications. The UN is inadequately prepared for this type of conflict, and regional bodies also have an uneven record, be it the African Union in Darfur, Sudan or the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Chechenya..

The Peacebuilding Commission will be the focus within the UN system for post-violence efforts. There is a 31 Member Organizational Committee which is not expected to meet frequently but which will have over-all responsibility. Work should be carried out in country-specific working groups and will call upon institutions of the country under consideration, countries of the region, regional organizations, major financial, troop, and police contributors, UN field staff and the World Bank. The General Assembly resolution creating the Peacebuilding Commission also “encourages the Commission to consult with civil society, nongovernmental organizations including women’s organisations, and the private sector engaged in peacebuilding activities, as appropriate.” The “as appropriate” is the key term. We will have to see what role NGOs will be able to play in practice. They often have people in the field and often representatives at the UN in New York and Geneva. How they will be able to make their voices and patterns of analysis felt will be a challenge.

However, it is when a new institution is created within the UN system that there is a willingness to listen to new ideas. Once an institution is running for a while, it goes on to “automatic pilot” and new idea have a hard time in coming to the fore. Thus it is within the Peacebuilding Commission that there is the greatest opportunity of making the Basic Needs approach operational.

Burundi and Sierra Leone, two African countries emerging from years of violence, were chosen at their request as the first two countries for Peacebuilding Commission aid and analysis. Both countries have set forth priorities or critical areas. In practice, these are rarely
“priorities” but rather “shopping lists” of things governments would like to do. It is difficult to link emergency relief with reconstruction, institution-building, reconciliation and development .Burundi and Sierra Leone were both conflict-torn dictatorships before the armed violence broke out. Violence wreaked havoc on the economy, exacerbated poverty and social distress but did little to modify the basic conflict-creating structures of the countries.

There is obviously a need to transform violent and intractable conflicts toward peaceful and constructive outcomes and to mobilize and empower communities for broad-based, comprehensive and inclusive approaches to post-violence rebuilding. There is a need to move from cease-fires, a halting of the violence to a reweaving of the social web by addressing root causes, transforming the underlying conflicts and developing resources for peace and reconciliation.

A Basic Needs approach can provide a framework for such a reweaving process, and we must try to present ideas as the Peacebuilding Commission starts its work.

Its website is www.un.org/peace/peacebuilding.
Rene_Wadlow
 


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