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Social Watch Annual Report 2004
Fear and Want
Obstacles to Human Security

Download the complete "Social Watch Report 2004" in one big file (4346 kb) or by chapter.

Table of contents
Preface. The cost of not daring
It is impossible to give final, uncontroversial answers to hypothetical questions about current events and yet much international debate these days is centred around just such a question: is the world a better place without Saddam Hussein in power? This kind of question inevitably begs another: wouldn’t the world be better off if the money and efforts invested in the war in Iraq had been directed elsewhere, for example to helping the poor? 2004
Obstacles to human security. Analysis of the 2004 Social Watch national reports
From the Social Watch national reports it emerges clearly that in industrialised or developed countries the main obstacle to human security is linked to the economic dimension. The main problems are recession, weak growth, economic crises, and deterioration in the quality and conditions of people´s lives. The outstanding obstacles are the lack of equitable parameters in the distribution of social benefits and the provision of access to basic services for all sectors of society. These reports offer a vision of human security which will enable all human beings to live in dignity. 2004
Judge and jury: the World Bank’s scorecard for borrowing governments
The World Bank uses a controversial “one-size-fits-all” scorecard - the Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) to rate each borrowing government. The CPIA ratings are prepared annually and consist of 20 criteria (grouped in four clusters) related to a government’s policy and institutional performance. The CPIA rating system may represent a new and more powerful kind of conditionality that interferes in a country’s domestic affairs. Rather than reward governments for promises to adopt loan conditions, CPIA helps make it possible to reward those that have already conformed to donor and creditor policy preferences. Many poor and/or heavily indebted governments see compliance with these policy preferences as essential to maintaining their lifeline to external aid and debt relief. 2004
Tax evasion: hidden billions for development
The tax burden is shifting from the rich to the poor. Developing countries are losing at least USD 50 billion per year, a loss equivalent to the annual official aid of the OECD countries to developing countries. This is the amount required by the World Bank and the UNDP to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is also equivalent to six times the estimated annual costs of achieving universal primary education. And it is almost three times the cost of universal primary health coverage. The only successful way to counter harmful tax practices and international tax competition is through global initiatives. Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations. Bruno Gurtner 2004
Stopping mass murder: action against AIDS
UNAIDS estimates that USD 10.5 billion will be needed by 2005 just to support a “bare bones” effort against AIDS. This huge sum is thrown into dramatic relief by what one country alone can manage when it comes to war. By the end of 2003, the cost of the war on Iraq to US taxpayers was more than USD 200 billion. One “mad” cow in North America can command sustained headlines in the land of the rich and powerful, while millions of humans die silently abroad. 2004
No human security without gender equality
Women’s empowerment is essential to human development and poverty eradication. Human security, a promising platform and framework for the United Nations to promote peace, human rights and human development, will become one more lofty idea that does not translate into action if it is not used to improve the situation of women in their families and communities. 2004
Women’s agency in the midst of crises
When macroeconomic policy is viewed together with its microeconomic effects a broader picture of the economy emerges. In this way the linkages between them become clear - linkages that should be borne in mind in the pursuit of “growth with equity” and “downturn with security.” The emphasis on “human freedoms and human fulfilment” under the umbrella of human security ensures that, whether in times of growth or crisis, women’s agency is recognised, preserved and strengthened. 2004
The most unequal of the unequal
If for most of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean human security is a long way from becoming a reality, this is especially true for women, for whom human security is only a dream. In the region, women have suffered historically from discrimination and social exclusion in the non-recognition of their specific rights as women and the violence to which they are subjected. The region faces a huge challenge in the next few years: to provide and guarantee the conditions that will make it possible for all its citizens, men and women, to live in dignity and peace. 2004
European Union security concerns vs. human security aspirations
The strengthening of the European Union’s role in the world must respect the principles enshrined in the first European Constitution that provides a clear and solid independent legal basis for development co-operation and humanitarian aid. Europe must provide strong institutional and financial backing for these two policies if it wants to be a responsible actor contributing to the eradication of world poverty. The increasing emphasis on security issues, the fight against terrorism and concerns over weapons of mass destruction threaten to overshadow all European foreign policy, leaving little or no room for policies geared towards human security. 2004
The linkages between international, national and human security
Human security is not an alternative to national security, rather they are complementary concepts in that the former is one of the means of achieving the latter. It is important to highlight the effects on human security of the US occupation of Iraq as well as its influence on politics, the economy and culture in Arab countries. It is clear that two things are indispensable for addressing the roots of human security problems in the region: action by civil society organisations and a transformation in institutional policies. Arab NGO Network for Development Ziad Abdel Samad 2004
Countries by critical development areas
Thematic areas: • Poverty and distribution • Food security • Health security - Morbidity and mortality - Women’s reproductive health - Water and sanitation • Education • Information, science and technology • Gender equity - in Education - in Economic activity - in Empowerment • Public expenditure • Development aid • International commitments and human rights
Country gender ranking
General classification of countries: situation by thematic area and Quality of Life Index (QLI)
The present situation of poverty in the world
Food security
Children’s immunisation
Women’s reproductive health
Information, science and technology
Gender equity
Public expenditure
Trends in Official Development Assistance
Status of ratifications of the principal international human rights treaties
Status of ratifications of fundamental ILO conventions
Status of ratifications of international treaties mentioned in the Millennium Declaration
Status of official countries’ reports to the UN human rights treaty bodies
Reports to be submitted to the UN treaty bodies during 2004 - 2005
Compilation of articles on human rights mentioned in the statistics tables
Terror, poverty, crisis and earthquakes.  Algeria is experiencing widespread and increasing poverty, and frequent terrorist attacks. Natural disasters - droughts, earthquakes and floods - have also ravaged the country. Together these are the main threats to human security. A series of economic reforms and a political crisis dating from the early 1990s have only made the situation worse. Association El Amel pour le Développement Social. 2004.
Peace under-mined. The signing of the Luena Accords on April 2002 between the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) Government and the insurgent National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), paved the way for a tense post-war period. Obstacles to human security abound. In the aftermath of the war, characterised by destruction and poverty, with thousands of people killed or mutilated by mines, the Government’s response is repression and terror. Sindicato Nacional de Professores (SINPROF) Miguel Filho 2004
Time for Democracy. Egypt, as well as other Arab societies, is afflicted by a significant amount of poverty and illiteracy resulting in a lack of knowledge and awareness of human rights and it suffers from a set of tightly bound values and traditions exemplified by submission and dependency. This clearly precludes any democratic process and stands in the way of creativity and free thought, thereby preventing improvement and development. There are many societal and cultural obstacles to human security (among them, the prevalence of tribal, ethnic and family allegiances), but the Government and its policies are the main political threat. National Association for Human Rights and Development Amir Salem2004
The frightening picture behind the pin-up. Against the background of a region racked by civil wars Ghana is highly regarded as an enclave of “peace and stability”. However, mass formal unemployment, growing landlessness and insecurity of tenure and the upsurge in crime are growing threats to Ghanaians’ human security. A leading Ghanaian organisation has described aspects of the situation as “frightening.” Ghana Social Watch Coalition. 2004
“Hot peace” and landlessness. With the end of the Cold War and the apparent halt to the nuclear arms race many Kenyans expected that the world (and their country in particular) would be a safer place. But poverty continues to grow and responsibility for the provision of basic needs is being abdicated by the State. The rise of organised crime has exacerbated insecurity at the social, economic and political levels. The end of the Cold War has given place to what people call a “Hot Peace”. Kenyan Social Watch Coalition (KSWC) 2004
Widespread violations. Obstacles to human security in Nigeria are widespread. Governments have been high-handed, secretive and corrupt, and not accountable to the electorate. Discrimination on grounds of sex, ethnicity, tribe, colour, race, religion or political belief is rife. Massacres and forced evictions are common, while the fight to control or manage resources accruing from oil and other minerals has led to loss of hundreds of lives. The only conditions for peace and development are respect for human rights, the rule of law and the possibility to change governments through democratic and peaceful means. Socio-Economic Rights Initiative Concerned Professionals of Nigeria Rural Women Empowerment Network Legal Defence & Assistance Project Gender & Human Rights/Social Watch-Nigeria South East Budget Network Ray Onyegu / John Onyeukwu / Mma Odi Itolo Eze-Anaba / Gina Iberi / Cletus Onyegu 2004
Corruption, poverty and other weapons.Thousands of light arms are in the hands of the population; the political system is weak and ineffective; poverty is rife and corruption is the norm. Given these conditions, in spite of efforts by civil society, it is impossible to build social, cultural and economic systems that guarantee human security in Senegal and bring it within reach of the Millennium Development Goals. ADESEN Abdoul Souleye Sow 2004
The scourge of corruption, violence and robbery. As corruption becomes the surest way for people to access certain rights and services, Tanzanians are increasingly forced to dispose of their assets in order to obtain cash to bribe officials. As a result, corruption is exposing both households and individuals to a constant erosion of income or assetrelated resources. In this context, violence, robbery and insecurity are prevalent even within households, where women are now at greater risk than in public places. Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA) Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) Women Advancement Trust (WAT) Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) Youth Partnership Countrywide (YPC) Women Legal Aid Centre (WLAC) 2004
Deteriorating living conditions and job instability. The last couple of years have witnessed the emergence of two contrasting trends in Tunisia. On the one hand, the Government is enforcing policies aimed at limiting the negative outcomes of structural adjustment programmes implemented since the early 1980s, while on the other hand, it is becoming increasingly more evident that the adoption of market-oriented policies poses serious threats to the economy. Tunisian League for Human Rights Salah Edeen El-Jourchi 2004
Forgotten crisis, irreversible damage. For the past seventeen years the north and east of the country have suffered an armed conflict that has been described by the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs as “a forgotten crisis”. In the context of the war between government troops and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) guerrillas the most brutal atrocities have been committed and the human rights of over two million people have been violated. The resolution of this conflict demands urgent international intervention. DENIVA David Obot 2004
No war but many victims.Inhumane policies inflicted on Zambian society by Western institutions and states have combined with ill-fated local policies, escalating poverty levels and HIV/AIDS to make it virtually impossible for ordinary citizens to live in dignity. Life in Zambia is a far cry from human security, an expensive paradigm for most children, women and men. Women for Change - Social Watch Project Michelo Hansungule 2004
Progress and setbacks in a period of transition. Since the reforms initiated in the early 1990s, the country has taken steps towards repealing legislation and measures that adversely affect human rights and dignity. Although Bahrainis today enjoy more freedom than ever, the right of citizens to have a say in the country’s affairs remains restricted, and the Government has still not addressed the pressing problems of unemployment, discrimination, women’s rights and housing, nor for that matter, the human rights and conditions of thousands of Asian workers. Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) 2004
The drawbacks of poor governance. The failure in governance in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, is accompanied by a score of other specific threats to human security, including the pressures of globalisation, poverty, unemployment, an outdated legal system, a weak civil society, lack of political commitment, an insensitive approach to gender issues, etc. Both the Government and NGOs are trying to improve the situation. Their separate actions, however, have not yet managed to strengthen human security rapidly enough. Unnayan Shamannay, Social Watch-Bangladesh. Atiur Rahman / M Ismail Hossain Mahfuz Kabir / Arifur Rahman 2004
The race to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Despite the heavy flow of foreign aid into the country, only a small portion went into the national budget. Most of the funds were allocated to projects implemented by a third party, either NGOs or private contractors. So far, reform has gone at a snail’s pace. Serious administrative and structural reform will have to be implemented in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Strengthening the judiciary and the rule of law should be prerequisites for large loans and Official Development Assistance. NGO ESCR Monitoring Committee/Social Watch Cambodia SILAKA Thida Khus 2004
Neglected by the State. The paradox embedded in the Indian development model: on the one hand increasing mobilisation of civil society groups and attempts at empowering the marginalised at various levels with seemingly positive influences on policy pronouncements, while on the other, withdrawal of the State from its essential roles and functions especially in its constitutionally mandated function of ensuring social equity. The results are appalling, particularly regarding human security. Deprivation and increased repression of marginalised groups have led to communities being pitted against each other. National Social Watch Coalition Bobby Kunhu1 2004
Longing for peace. Endemic violence and ingrained government corruption are the main concerns in relation to human security. These problems have caused social and economic conditions in the country to deteriorate. People will only finally be freed from fear if there is a thorough and complex reform of the whole system. The forthcoming general elections may provide just such an opportunity. Centre for Development of Women’s Resources (PPSW) Women Heads of Households Empowerment Programme (PEKKA) Nani Zulminarni 2004
Globalisation and the impact of war. In 2002 the Government implemented a national strategy for eliminating poverty. It has also managed to make improvements in areas such as health and education. However, much remains to be done in a country threatened by a scarcity of water resources, foreign debt, political instability and threats to security, lack of gender equity, poverty and unemployment. Jordanian Women’s Union Ghosoun Rahhal 2004
Insecurity for all. Eight months after the “official” end of war, the general feeling among Iraqis was that the US forces were doing nothing but obsessing about their own security. In the mind of the public the US presence in the country is as illegitimate as Saddam’s regime. Iraqis today almost unanimously believe that the Bush administration wants to perpetuate the military occupation by maintaining chaos, exacerbating violence and promoting divisions among Iraqis. The facts seem to confirm this perception. Iraqi Al-Amal Association1 Shiar Yousef 2004
KOREA, Republic of
Suicides, credit default, natural catastrophes and the threat of war. Korea, the last remaining divided country, is in a state of high military tension, and the threat of war is a source of fear to all Koreans. South Korea’s economic troubles and structural social problems have led to an unprecedented spate of suicides. In addition, the lack of effective countermeasures to respond to large-scale accidents and natural catastrophes has deepened South Koreans’ feeling of insecurity. Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ), Policy Research Dep. Daehoon Kim 2004
No guarantees, no security. Political, institutional, and psychological factors have led to the loss of any sense of security due to the lack of official and public legal and institutional guarantees. NGOs will not be able to face the challenges without the participation of other major civil society groups such as political parties, trade unions, and the private sector. Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) Adib Nehmeh / Zena Halabi   2004
Development at any cost.Malaysians have been vocal in advocating for better human security, taking stands against policies and development projects that impact on their health, social well-being, livelihood and environment. The current National Security plan adopted by the Government (conceived within the framework of the global War on Terrorism), has not helped to alleviate the sense of political insecurity affecting the country. Consumers’ Association of Penang Mageswari Sangaralingam / Shamila Ariffin Theivanai Amarthalingam / Meenakshi Raman 2004
Adding insult to injury. The main obstacle to human security in Nepal is poverty, with 38% of the population, or 9 million Nepalese, living below the poverty line. The absence of the rule of law, the on-going Maoist insurgency and the resultant pattern of gross human rights violations (killings, torture, disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests) and persistent discrimination based on caste, class, ethnicity and sex are other factors that pose a threat to human security. Rural Reconstruction Nepal Arjun Karki / Mukunda Kattel / Rakhee Lohani 2004
Israel’s wall: less security for all.By imposing collective punishment, seizing and destroying private property, demolishing homes, making access to health and education difficult, separating families, annexing occupied land, and violating Palestinians’ rights to work and freedom of movement, Israel is violating a long list of human, social, cultural, and economic rights as well as international laws. Bisan Center for Research and Development Izzat Abdul Hadi / Nadya Engler 2004
A question of (in)security. The Philippines is something of a paradox, since it is a democratic society (some say the most democratic in this part of the world) enjoying a large margin of freedom, and yet at the same time experiencing a great deal of human insecurity. As long as the Government talks peace but makes war, and as long as the economic model does not recognise the need to battle inequality and poverty, human security will remain a remote possibility. Social Watch-Philippines Isagani R. Serrano 2004
Two different worlds. The effects of globalisation on government policies, particularly in the field of natural resources management, has been even more devastating than the effects on human security of economic shortcomings and natural disasters. The construction of a gas pipeline in partnership with Malaysia and the monopoly of telecommunications in the hands of corporations owned by members of the political elite are the most alarming issues in a society where economic growth has widened the gap between the rich and the poor. Social Agenda Working Group Ranee Hassarungsee 2004
Latin America:
Post-crisis reconstruction. The changes in the political and institutional system after the crisis of 2001 have caused large sectors of the population to again consider politics as a viable tool for improving the people’s material conditions of life. However, the seriousness of the social crisis calls for urgent measures to guarantee the full exercise of economic, social and cultural rights for all Argentines. This means attaining sustained economic growth and a change of approach in the design and implementation of economic and social policies and in the relationship between the Government and the multilateral credit organisations. Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) - Programa de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales. Jimena Garrote / Luis Ernesto Campos 2004
Endemic poverty and state violence. Unemployment, extreme poverty and growing inequality are structural ills that plague Bolivian society. They set the stage for bloody conflicts in 2003. The outcome: President Sánchez de Lozada fled the country in October, leaving 80 dead in his wake. Such upheavals are the result of the economic model imposed on the country for decades that is making human security and human development impossible to achieve. Proyecto Control Ciudadano - CEDLA Tom Kruse 2004
Urban violence, public safety policies and responses from civil society. In 2000, 45,233 Brazilians were murdered, a national rate of 27 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, which places Brazil among the most violent countries in the world. For young people in impoverished urban areas, the rate is 230 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, which almost amounts to genocide. Civil society has been responding more and more to this violence with demonstrations, projects, programmes and local initiatives as ways to tackle the problem and promote human security. Centro de Estudos de Segurança e Cidadania da Universidade Candido Mendes (CESeC) Observatório da Cidadania - Brasil Silvia Ramos / Julita Lemgruber 2004
Low-intensity democracy. Despite its economic stability and the substantial improvements that the Government has achieved in the rates of poverty and education, 52% of Chileans “feel they are losing out, and 74% have negative feelings about the country’s economic system”. This is no paradox, since according to the World Bank, Chile is among the 15 countries with the worst income distribution in the world. Things are not much better in politics, where the principle of “one person, one vote” is not viable in the “protected democracy” inherited from the military dictatorship. Centro de Estudios de la Mujer (CEM) Solidaridad y Organización Local (SOL) Programa de Ciudadanía y Gestión Local Fundación de Superación de la Pobreza ACTIVA Ana María Arteaga / Carlos Ochsenius 2004
Eradicate poverty, negotiate war. Enjoyment of full human security cannot be guaranteed while the war escalates, and the poverty and inequality generated by neoliberal policies continue. Human security and human rights cannot be viewed as contradictory. Corporación Región Alberto Yepes / Rubén Fernández 2004
A risky business. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) recently signed between Central American countries and the United States will have a marked effect on the region’s economies, legislation and social policies, and will influence governance and, therefore, human security. Social organisations are pessimistic about any positive results accruing from the FTA for the benefit of ordinary citizens; they are more inclined to envisage considerable difficulties arising in the medium term. Centro de Estudios y Publicaciones Alforja Carlos Pentzke / Mario Céspedes Ávalos 2004
Between poverty and violence.Poverty, increasing inequality and a culture of violence are threatening the human security of the Salvadorean people. The acts and omissions of the Government, far from protecting people in the current critical situation, have deepened their insecurity. Actions taken by civil society are still fragmented, and have not managed to revert government inefficiency. Control Ciudadano El Salvador1 Rosío Villatoro Pineda / Ana Murcia / Armando Pérez Salazar Jeannette Alvarado / Mario Antonio Paniagua 2004
Hungry for peace. The high rates of corruption, insecurity and violence; the low levels of state investment in education, health and social security; insecurity about food; the devaluation of life and the denial of human rights; the slowness of the legal system; all these factors contribute to the insecurity affecting the people of Guatemala. The recently elected Grand National Alliance Government represents an opportunity to attain a real democracy that will foster and guarantee the security of the people. INIAP - Iniciativa Social Luisa Eugenia Morales 2004
An insecure and corrupt model. Honduras’ economic model, driven by transnational investment, tourism and the concession of natural resources to foreign interests is causing an increase in poverty, inequity, criminality, gender violence and discrimination, all of which pose a serious threat to human security. The final ingredient in this scenario of insecurity is a corrupt and out-of-touch political system that is closed to dialogue with civil society. Centro de Estudios de la Mujer (CEM-H) Mirta Kennedy / Suyapa Martínez Ana María Ferrera / Filadelfo Martínez 2004
Rights and human security to break the vicious circle. Neo-liberal economic policies generate multiple vicious circles of human insecurity. One of these circles (involving indiscriminate trade liberalisation, the crisis in rural areas and migration) illustrates the extent to which economic, social, cultural and environmental rights are being violated. In December 2003, following recommendations made in the Diagnosis of the Human Rights Situation in Mexico, President Vicente Fox made a commitment to set up a National Human Rights Programme. It is essential that the State addresses the question of rights by taking a holistic approach that recognises their interdependence, in order to start creating “virtuous” circles of human security. DECA Equipo Pueblo, A.C. FIAN Sección México Espacio de Coordinación de Organizaciones Civiles sobre DESC Frente Democrático Campesino de Chihuahua Areli Sandoval Terán 2004
High spending, poor results. The greatest challenge for human security in a country where 40.5% of the people are poor and 26.5% are extremely poor is to fight poverty, especially in the rural areas and particularly among indigenous peoples. The high level of social spending has failed to have the expected impact due to an inadequate budget and to corruption. Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana José Emilio Champsaur / Manuel Ferrer 2004
The redundant military. The Paraguayan State is still clinging to an outdated model of security based on military security rather than social development. In the last national budget, expenditure on the armed forces and the police increased while social spending went down. This means that Paraguay will not meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2015, since the Government’s policy will lead to higher rates of poverty and will limit still further the human security of the people. DECIDAMOS - Campaña por la Expresión Ciudadana Juan Carlos Yuste 2004
Towards a new founding pact. After the most intense and prolonged period of violence in the country’s history (during which the State showed its inability to guarantee human security), a process of national reconciliation is needed. This involves establishing a new founding pact between the State and society aimed at the construction of a country which must recognise itself as multiethnic, multicultural and multilingual. This report synthesizes the conclusions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR).1 Conferencia Nacional sobre Desarrollo Social (CONADES) Milagros Varela 2004
Want in a rich country.Suriname ranks seventeenth among the world’s richest countries in development potential. At the same time, the vast majority of the population live under the poverty line, and economic inequality almost doubled over the last 30 years. Decades of ethnical divide and rule, political patronage, and a stifled civil society have left governance institutions open to both national and international destructive influences. Stichting - Ultimate Purpose Maggie Schmeitz 2004
In search of food security. The Commission for Human Security maintains that one of the keys to attaining economic security and eradicating poverty is that markets should function properly and that institutions should be set up outside them. It is necessary to redouble efforts to ensure sustainable standards of living and security for everybody through the creation of new jobs. This report outlines a series of measures the Government is taking to try to promote economic and food security for the whole population. Frente Continental de Mujeres Comité de Base “Juana Ramírez, la Avanzadora” Red Popular de Usuarias de Banmujer 2004
Industrialised and former central planned:
Belligerent but poor. Bulgaria has the highest poverty rates in Europe, both in terms of overall numbers and as a proportion of the country’s population. Without a referendum being held, or at the very least a public survey, Bulgarians have become involved in an illegitimate war, the war against Iraq, for which the National Annual Budget was readjusted, allocating an undisclosed figure to mount the “peace-keeping” operation. It is clear that the money for this operation was either relocated from other budget areas - possibly education, or social assistance - or borrowed, in which case it will make the burden of foreign indebtedness even heavier than before. Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation Bulgarian European Partnership Association Plamenka Markova / Genoveva Tisheva / Ivan Petkov 2004
Trading off human security for fiscal balance. After posting a string of budgetary surpluses for the past six years, Canada is the only G7 nation to forecast budgetary surpluses. Looking back on this period of economic and fiscal luxury, will the country be judged as having squandered this unique fiscal opportunity? Canada appears poised to under-invest in its own people and in developing nations - the future of the globe - for the sake of “small government”. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to invest in human development could be squandered for a little more debt reduction, and a little more consumer spending. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Armine Yalnizyan 2004
Social security under threat. Since public funds are tight, due not only to the country’s sluggish economic performance but also to a drop in revenue following the introduction of tax reforms, the Federal Government seems determined to initiate a phase of more rapid cuts in welfare spending. Although economic and social insecurity that threatens livelihood will be the exception, a growing number of Germans will experience social exclusion and unpredictability in planning for the future. Social Watch Germany1 Uwe Kerkow 2004
Sliding into insecurity. Over the last four years, decades of social achievements have been lost due to structural reforms and privatisation, benefiting a small proportion of the population. There is a clear decline in the quality of life together with an increase in inequalities (through the re-establishment of privileges for the few). Insecurity is growing, favoured by a government that shows increasing disdain for democratic rules, institutional and social dialogue, and the civil rights of those who are (politically, socially or culturally) “different”. ARCI ACLI Fondazione Culturale Responsabilità Etica Manitese Movimondo Sbilanciamoci Unimondo Alessandro Messina / Sabina Siniscalchi / Jason Nardi 2004
Richer than ever - and tougher. Although the issue of physical security is high on the public and political agenda in the Netherlands, it is insufficiently visible in the broader context of human security for all. The fact that the national economy has become richer did not lead to more space for humane policies and more tolerant attitudes towards migrants, refugees, the elderly or other vulnerable groups in society. On the contrary, more obstacles for human security have been put in place. On global human security, there has been continuity in Dutch foreign policies, but these policies are under increasing political pressure. National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) Novib/Oxfam Netherlands 2004
A culture of irresponsibility. Unemployment, corruption, and problems linked to immigration, health and consumption; these are some of the factors that the Portuguese perceive as obstacles to their human security. In a context of economic crisis, general dissatisfaction and bleak future prospects, it is essential that democracy be strengthened through the exercise of a critical and responsible citizenship. OIKOS Rita Veiga / Catarina Cordas / Patrícia Melo Isabel Costa / Bruno Nune 2004
Ineffective aid and emerging risks. The Government is projecting to the international community an image of inefficiency in matters of human security. This is reflected in the way that Official Development Assistance is allocated. The distribution of aid is tied to political and media strategies rather than to the people’s needs, which postpones the fight against poverty and the humanitarian response in most crises. On the home front, terrorism is being tackled with repressive military and police measures, and responses to the problems of unemployment, domestic violence and immigration have been totally inadequate. Intermón Oxfam Eva Quintana / María Truñó 2004
At the crossroads. The country has reached a defining moment. On the one hand, the solidarity-based minimum retirement benefit and equal access for all to a high-quality healthcare system are firmly anchored in the public consciousness. On the other, these social rights are being gradually undermined. The fact is that tax cuts are making it increasingly difficult to achieve social improvements and inequality has grown. Furthermore, social inequality will grow steadily worse. The year 2004 will bring landmark discussions and decisions in social policy. Swiss Coalition of Development Organisations Swiss Coalition of Social Organisations Pepo Hofstetter / Matthias Wächter 2004
The poor are poorer and more insecure. In the United States, the concept of human security is often subsumed under that of “national security”. The country has the highest degree of human insecurity among industrialized nations. For all the government’s talk of national security, US citizens have rarely felt less secure. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Center of Concern Steve Suppan with Alexandra Spieldoch 2004
Sources and resources