Human development and poverty
Special Feature

COMMENTARY - TIME TO ACT

 
 

Surprising as it might seem, healing, economics, communication media resources development, education, and politics are all interrelated and interconnected.

We cannot have human development without observing the exploitation of millions of people around the world by an economic rationalist system, which seeks to take at the expense of giving back.

The ethos of the world in which we live is based on patriarchy, conflict, competition and war. REF1

In the past few thousand years, particularly since the development of agricultural settlements we have accepted that the only way to survive is by killing competing and exploiting.

In the process, women are subjugated into submission and the whole process and ethos of our global culture is towards the eminence of materialism and masculinity at the expense of anything else. What this means is that the whole planet ,is here purely for our use, and domination.

The Medical System

REF2 In the medical system, patriarchy, authoritarianism, reductionism and manipulation with chemicals ( drugs) is the way that we seek to cure or basically, band aid disease.

Inequity, poverty, malnutrition, ill-health, infection, are vicious circles, which support each other with impunity.

Will we ever achieve, the so-called UN millennium goals (see Addendum) where we see education and health for all especially in the developing world. Or will we see cultural addictions, maintaining the subjugation of women and abuse of children, the use of child labour,and the use of child soldiers. In the developing World, disempowerment, ill-health and impoverishment prevent self development.

ON our planet ,we have a situation where half the population can barely survive and where 5% or less own more than 90% of material wealth.

Unless as doctors and health professionals and nurses, we begin to take a more active part in stewardship of our Global society and of the land, we can hardly call ourselves healers. We cannot help but partake of the suffering in this world, which we see constantly portrayed in the printed media and on the television screens. The impact is greater for those in the health professions, because the immediacy of symptomatology, impels us to seek for diagnosis, causes and treatments This shadow side of humanity is also reflected in ourselves as we seek to heal that which is within as well as that which is without.REF3

A good proportion of trials in medicine are biased because they are funded by the pharmaceutical industry, whose aim above all else is to make profits and Band-Aid treatment rather than seek for the real cause and cure. You only have to look at any prescription book that Doctors use such as MIMS or any medical Journal to see the vast amount of side effects, which are caused by pharmaceutical chemicals.

The conspiracy gets worse when we realise that the World health organisation, in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry wishes to stamp out the use of vitamins and supplements by health practitioners,in order, that they may be patented and sold purely by the pharmaceutical industry through the act of the Codex aliamentarius.

As Doctors and Nurses and Health Professionals ,we are victims of a medical system which seems to have a mind and way of its own. The individual doctors are dedicated and hard-working and compassionate towards the patients, and yet the basic system as it is ,seems to override our basic human qualities for kindness and concern.

The cultivation of fear, in our post 9-11 world, and the economic rationalist model which looks upon people as a mere numbers or collateral damage in a game for economic superiority is creating a culture which is anomic and alienated from itself, from humanity and from nature.

We need to get back to the garden. We need to get back to the source and core of who we really are.

When we see the burgeoning incidence, of cancer, cardiovascular disease, iatrogenic disease, infectious disease in the developing world, and depression, which is worldwide, we realise that basically medicine, is not doing its job.

We doctors, are being hoodwinked by a pharmaceutical chemical and technological medical industry, which by its very nature is taking us over very much like the Industrial Revolution made slaves of the artisan. We are losing the art of medicine by becoming mere servants of the medical industry, which is becoming the high church and sole arbiter of life and death of millions of people.


An Integral World

REF4 Socrates speech on "The Cause and Effect of Love" 419 B.C says. But souls which are pregnant - for there certainly are men who are more creative in their souls than in their bodies - conceive that which is proper for the soul to conceive or contain. And what are these conceptions? - wisdom and virtue in general. And such creators are poets and all artists who are deserving of the name inventor. But the greatest and fairest sort of wisdom by far is that which is concerned with the ordering of states and families, and which is called temperance and justice.

Can we indeed, envisage a world, which is ordered, through temperance, Justice, wisdom, and virtue? Do values count in a world, in which there is no real set of universal values, by which to live.

It requires a true sense of civilisation, a sense of tolerance and an all encompassing acceptance that other groups of people may have differing value systems, in order that we may begin to shift to new ways of looking at the human condition.

Inequality in Socio-economic conditions, are preludes to marginalisation, exclusion and unemployment, which leads to suffering, depression, disease, wars and terrorism. There is an inextricable connection between deepening poverty, inequity, and over population. This in turn has irreversible effects on the living and non living environment.

We do not realise how we quantify life rather than qualify life. Our Western science teaches us to look at people in terms of numbers in epidemiology and see wars in terms of collateral damage, and hospitals and casualties in terms of triage. This lack of sympathy, rapport, identity, leads to a distancing of our souls and our minds from the real disasters occurring around is, which should in fact, be wake-up calls.

The growth of the Internet, and the new forms of communication gives a more personal touch to what is going on in the outside world. But at the same time, journalism, by its very nature is objective and cannot be seen to be too involved with the subject of observation. That job, is left to the commentators and the opinion makers. And in these days, opinion makers have a field day in creating opinions, which tend to follow the agendas of governments and the current economic system.

Why is it that ordinary people, are so utterly manipulated by the media and political expediency? Why cannot there be an education system, which could allow people to, start thinking for themselves Why is the educational system, so mediaeval and archaic to the extent that we now have an epidemic of child suicide and child attention deficit disorder. The educational system has become so distorted, that children, who appear depressed are given antidepressants, and the attention deficit children are put on other drugs like Ritalin.

Our future is dependent, not on the short term goals of politicians or feverish competition amongst Nations for scarce resources, but on the ability of the population at large to rear children, who will be happy, creative, resourceful and optimistic for the future.

And yet, the world is ruled still, as if it were a multitude of mediaeval nation states, run by Kings, who have a great deal of control, once elected to office, and are surrounded by a bulwark of officers, armies and bureaucrats. They act like the ramparts and fortifications of the castle, which inures the King, president, or Prime Minister from any real understanding as to what is going on in the real world.

If you listen to the news, the main stories are about how the powerful elite, share resources amongst themselves. The Kings and Queens are not representatives for the voice of the people.

And yet with the development of the Internet, as the voice of the ordinary person is heard, there is becoming a decentralisation of power and expression. New ways of thinking are being expressed, which go against the Darwinian experience of survival of the fittest and Win lose.

This is because people are beginning to think in terms of creative expression ( especially seen on the Internet ) a universal philosophy of oneness, an understanding that life is a reciprocally maintaining and symbiotic meshwork process and relationship and that life and livingness and humanness are priorities, when it comes to creating a livable and sustainable world for the future.

REF5 As we see nature, all around us, becoming chaotic and out of balance, we begin to realise, just how important it is to respect and love our basic origins, originating from Gaia or planet earth.

The infinite reaches of the universe are now accessible to us through telescopes which probe to the very limits of the known universe and people begin to realise that we live in an extra ordinarily, abundant universe and that we are much greater and more significant than we think we are when we see the vast spaces and the myriad stars of the universe reflected in our own hearts.

How do deal with this dissonance between economics, which is the major religion of our globalised world, conventional religion which in order to have any semblance of universality has to resort to constant interfaith dialogues and the new spirituality and consciousness, called the new paradigm which sees everything is being interconnected and in the state of process in oneness?


Inconsistencies in world views

The inconsistencies in world views are seen particularly in the way the world continually impedes progress towards the UN. Millennial goals. It is seen in the way than US military industrial complex spending at $650 billion for 2008 outstrips the rest of the world`s combined, defence spending by at least five to one with $40,000,000, being spent on novel bio viral warfare agents.

It is seen in the way all the 50 American states, have been broken down into a supply chain and an assembly-line to supply the military industrial complex. This is why, almost every member of Congress supported the 2008 defence appropriation Bill.

It is seen in the way the war in Iraq is a giant advertisements for US weapons systems.
REF7

In the meantime, to advance the Alliance of Civilizations, http://www.unaoc.org/repository/report.htm the UN Secretary-General has established a High-level Group of eminent personalities and tasked this Group with generating a report containing an analysis of the rise in cross-cultural polarization and extremism and a set of practical recommendations to counter this phenomenon.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe ( OSCE) has adopted the Alliance and, by treaty, politically binds its member states to the initiative.
The OSCE is the world's largest regional security organization whose 56 participating States span the geographical area from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

The OSCE derives its power from:

  • The Council of Europe
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • The European Community (European Union)
  • The Western European Union (WEU)
  • The United States is one of those participating states politically bound to OSCE decisions.

The United Nations, is the administrator of the initiative of the Alliance of Civilizations,
By its very nature, this Alliance derives its power from the use of the vast technologies of the military industrial complex. Administered by an elite, its aim would seem to be to protect a good proportion of the world, including:

  • South-Eastern Europe
  • Eastern Europe
  • Caucasus
  • Central Asia
  • Western Europe and North America

from possible conflict arising from the Middle East, China, Pakistan, India and the threat of terrorism.

However, closer look, shows that it seeks also to deal with a term called, cross-cultural polarisation. Is this not indeed, a euphemism, for the involvement of the military using "dual-use" technology in law enforcement affairs in secular society. Is this not the beginning of the establishment of Big Brother as expressed in a Myriad local and global surveillance systems for the everyday citizen, as predicted by George Orwell in the book 1984.REF8 REF9

In the meantime The World Bank has agreed to lend more than $20 billion each year for projects meant to improve the lives of the poor. This is a minuscule amounts compared with the amount of money, the world spends on killing and armaments. The money is only given with strict strings attached, and stringent impact evaluation. Often, evaluation has to be accompanied with economic profitable returns and the involvement of the private sector. The World Bank in its enormous amount of literature, constantly stresses the need for economic growth, above all else.

This of course is very much tied in with the neo-Conservative Washington consensus model of economic rationalism, which is basically, our current world. Religion. This religion is controlled by a politically motivated, economically powerful global monetocrady.

Although couched in complicated language of economics, which according to Dr Hazel Henderson http://www.hazelhenderson.com/editorials/cuckoos_egg_in_nobel_prize_nest.html
has no significance as a science, the main aim of this metaphysics is for the accumulation of wealth for a small powerful controlling elite who enhance their doctrines through the manipulation of infantile desires and impulses (Quote Erikksonn) http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-3433(1976)13%3A1%3C1%3ASVACSP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Z
and the cultivation of an educational system which is geared towards competition, Win lose, material success and the production of conditioned brains which are fodder for the machine like hierarchical processes of the transnational, political, medical, and military industrial sytems.REF10

40 to 50% of scientists in the world, work on the global military industrial complex. Current global military spending is more than the total annual income of the poorest 45% of the global population. There is one soldier for every 43 people in the World and only one doctor for thousands of people.

The combined effects of globalization, dwindling natural resources, lack of educational and economic prospects and the corruption of a large number of developing-world regimes have today left 3 billion people, roughly half the world's population, living on $2 a day or less. The overwhelming majority of child soldiers are drawn from this poor, uneducated, disenfranchised and marginalized segment of society. At any one time, there are more than 300,000 child soldiers serving with non state armed groups.(P.W. Singer's Children at War)


Globalisation

Globalisation on the free trade model of the neo-liberal Washington consensus economics is colliding with local cultures natural economic sovereignty, social customs and values, as well as traditional agriculture, indigenous rights and the protection of biodiversity and the environment. The fundamental issue is the very economic model underlying today's Globalisation of technology, trades and markets. The critics from many diverse perspectives agree that free trade doesn't account for social and environmental costs and cultural disruption in the price in traded goods and services will continue to cause more harm than good.

The World Bank, the IMF, the US Government and the WTO still refuse to recalculate prices and microeconomic indicators including the GDP to include these social and environmental costs, which contribute towards the deterioration of human life. Civil society movement groups throughout the world are committed to the idea of preserving human identity and enriching biological and cultural diversity.

Quote--Globalization" is obviously not a movement toward more democracy, peace, general welfare, wealth, and ecological sustainability, as its propagators are pretending everywhere. On the contrary, the opposite is true. Never in history are so many people dying from hunger and thirst, environmental destruction, and war, most of them women and children. Never in history have so many people been confined to poverty, income reduction, expulsion, expropriation, and extreme exploitation, again, most of them women and children. Never in history has technological progress led to such intense and threatening destruction of the environment globally. Never in history has the nuclear threat been so acute. Never in history have the political systems been changing so clearly in the direction of authoritarian, if not despotic rule in many parts of the world. And never in history has such a tiny minority on the globe been so incredibly rich and powerful.REF11

How can we act to change this unsavoury state of affairs in order to give the ordinary person and the ordinary citizen a voice and an expression of hope. How can ordinary people, truly create lives , which are full of hope and creativity for the future not only for themselves but for the future generations.

In this deeply divided world, old embedded cultural archaic forms of thinking and forms of education, lobotomize the true self expression of infants, children and adults acclimatising them to ways of thinking, acting and perceiving, which are mere caricatures of the self actualised human being.

There seems to be indeed a great divide, between the way of thinking of politicians, cultural elites, large companies and and the ordinary global citizen who wishes only for security, happiness, health and well-being. In their heart of hearts, every person wishes for this sense of wellness and security in their own lives. We all wish basically to survive, on a sustainable planet, and very few people realise that our future is at stake not because of potential or actual wars and conflicts that because of the ravaging of the living and non living resources of the total planet and climate change, which is currently at tipping point.


New Ways Of Thinking

The new way of thinking, invokes new forms of education and the formation of new disciplines, in virtually all fields of human endeavour. It requires, an enormous Paradgm shift and vast change in consciousness, if we are to survive.

Human development, out of poverty, whether this poverty be material or based on lack of quality of life, chronic disease, depression and unhappiness depends on the life sciences and the new science of consciousness taking a greater role in determining the future of humanity. Socio-economic factors, are but the base for the creation of our consciousness of well-being which is the birthright of every human being on the planet.

Happy, contented creative self expressing human beings are much more capable of creating a sustainable economically successful human civilization than are people who are in hierarchic competing arginalizing exploiting and discriminating societies.


REF12 On October 16th and 17th , millions all over the world will once again Stand Up and Speak Out against poverty and inequality and in support of the Millennium Development Goals
We indeed need to deal with the internal battlefields of our own minds, hearst and souls.

REF13 We also need to be aware of the many organisations in the world, which are seeking for and creating world peace.

These include at least two million organizations -- part of the earth's own immunological response, as executed collectively who are devoted to ways of creating a sustainable planet by looking at new forms of collective integration ,community sustainability, environmental sustainability, environmental conservation and the endless expression of a generosity on behalf of all humanity.REF14

In particular, we should be aware of the vast growth of a new spiritual wave, consisting of millions of people on the planet, who leaving traditional modes of institutionalised religion are devoting themselves to new ways of thinking and consciousness based on our inextricable connection with all of life and a basic philosophy of oneness, which transcends race, culture and creed.

Arising out of this fertile ground of expression, and newness are a significant number organisations wishing to establish a transnational models of world democracy based on global governance and an overarching, international law based on human rights and human justice.

The peoples of the world require our voices to be heard and represented for example, by a world Parliament.REF15

The USA, Australia the United Kingdom, and Canada have also started initiatives to have Departments of Peace or Ministries for Peace to be established that would sit alongside existing government Departments.

REF16 http://www.mfp-dop.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=22

REF17 http://www.law.widener.edu/envisioning
A participatory model of global governance could lead to much more effective global programs, policies, proposals, and international laws being developed and implemented.REF18

A "human political system" will need to be developed. http://www.globalcitizensforpeace.com/subtopic/links.htm

A human political system means one which organizes goods and services in a manner consistent with the benefit of all of humanity rather than simply for the benefit of a particular nation or state as today's national political systems do. Without such a "human" political system attempts to promote human development will continue to founder upon the rock of national differences, as has happened in the past, with governments putting national priorities before human priorities.REF19 http://www.humanunion.info/

Humankind has reached a state of development in which old modes of thinking and behaving threaten to destroy our civilization.

The old paradigm is not working for us individually or collectively. It is based upon the illusions of scarcity, separation, judgment and guilt .It is based on a philosophy of "no pain, no gain" and "stress for success" and guarantees the outcomes of: greed, inner poverty, competition and war .It creates the belief that there is not enough to go around and this belief system /inevitably lead to self- (and planetary-) destruction.

Within our heart-of-hearts many of us recognize that the old paradigm has kept us disconnected from the living, breathing Universe -- and from one another. We feel a heart felt pull towards a new way of looking at life, shifting our perspectives and living in balance within a new paradigm.REF20


Paradigm Shift

There appears to be on horizon of the 21st Century a major new paradigm which will touch every person on the planet. This paradigm seems to be a new religiousness or cosmology that is to change and transform thousand s of years of belief systems to bring us closer to the understanding of what we may call infinite intelligence, the life force, God, the Buddha State or enlightenment.

Albert Einstein said that A human being is part of the whole, called by us "universe", limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us.Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.

We create our own reality.. and have access to the tremendous creative potential within.
Every illness and stress is a tremendous opportunity for growth and transformation.

The new vision of reality incorporates quantum physics, psychoneuorimmunology, complimentary medicine and the science of consciousness.

REF21 www.CommonPassion.org
The new world view gives us tremendous potential to actualize the possibilities that are that are most appropriate for our own happiness and wellness.

REF23 www.globalmarshallplan.org
George Bernard Shaw stated "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want. And if they can't find them they make them."

This new vision of reality gives us the opportunity to access the tremendous creative potential within and create our own reality. Often understanding occurs through an intuitive leap.

This new paradigm is based upon the recognition that: the universe is abundant and that we are all interconnected and we each have within us the power to shift our current "reality." The new paradigm invites us to come from a sense and anticipation of completeness, to re-connect with our own personal power and to support one-another in our missions as we realize that "there is more to life than what we see;" and that the point of power is in the present moment

At the present time the old paradigm is crumbling .Although many are reacting with anxiety and fear many are deliberately choosing to embrace a new perspective.
There is a global shift in terms of political, economic, social and national boundaries as we can non longer think of ourselves as separate and have to acknowledge that in a globalised society we are all connected and what happens to one person, one society, one culture or one regional environment affects us all spiritually, psychologically and ecologically.

Now is the time to act
REF24 Transition to a Sustainable Civilisation


TIME TO ACT
The world has an unprecedented opportunity to "make poverty history".(73) With nearly 3 billion people(74) struggling to live on less than $2 a day; one woman dying needlessly every minute in childbirth; 6,000 young people acquiring HIV daily; and millions of women and girls living in fear of violence, the ethically-acceptable response is selfevident:

http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2005/english/ch9/chap9_page4.htm

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REFERENCES

REF1 CAPITALIST PATRIARCHY AND THE NEGATION OF MATRIARCHY THE STRUGGLE FOR A "DEEP" ALTERNATIVE CLAUDIA VON WERLHOF

REF2Human development and poverty and the new integral medicine
Join the Medical Renaissance Group-http://www.medicalrenaissance.com/

REF3 The Wounded Healer Paul Levy

REF4 Socrates speech on "The Cause and Effect of Love" 419 B.C

REF5 Ethics today must create a moral impact capable of over-hauling the political system Wolfgang Fischer

REF6 THE VISION OF WHOLENESS A Vision of Life's continuity by Wolfgang Fischer

REF7 War and the Money Economy, Why politicians (still) don't really want peace--- Wolfgang Fischer

REF8 Arming Big Brother:The EU s Security Research Programme
Ben Hayes, April 2006 http://www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/bigbrother.pdf

REF9 A Time, Times, and a Half a Time Richard Peterson http://pineline.blogspot.com/
QUOTE
Myriad local and global surveillance systems; the introduction of biometric identifiers; RFID, electronic tagging and satellite monitoring; "less-lethal weapons"; paramilitary equipment for public order and crisis management; and the militarization of border controls - technological advances in law enforcement are often welcomed uncritically but rarely are these technologies neutral, in either application or effect. Military organisations dominate research and development in these areas under the banner of "dual-use" technology

REF10
From The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot- Naomi Wolf'-
Naomi Wolf's 10 steps to fascism

  • Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
  • Create a gulag
  • Develop a thug caste
  • Set up an internal surveillance system
  • Harass citizens' groups
  • Engage in arbitrary detention and release
  • Target key individuals
  • Control the press
  • Dissent equals treason
  • Suspend the rule of law

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end

REF11 CAPITALIST PATRIARCHY AND THE NEGATION OF MATRIARCHY THE STRUGGLE FOR A "DEEP" ALTERNATIVE CLAUDIA VON WERLHOF

REF12 STAND UP and SPEAK OUT: October 17th, 2007 Day of global mobilization against poverty and inequality.
On October 16th and 17th , millions all over the world will once again Stand Up and Speak Out against poverty and inequality and in support of the Millennium Development Goals. The Stand Up Speak Out initiative is planned to coincide with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. On this day last year, 23.5 million people stood up against poverty in a 24 hour period setting a new Guinness World Record.

REF13 DIALOGUE Ram Varma and Jonathan Stemer

REF14 Blessed Unrest" by Robert Sullivan

REF15 Bridging the Globalization Gap: Toward Global Parliament by Richard Falk and Andrew Strauss

REF16 Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace - A Vision for the Future
http://www.mfp-dop.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=22

REF17 Envisioning a More Democratic Global System:http://www.law.widener.edu/envisioning

REF18 The importance of establishing a participatory model of World Democracy or Global Governance by Rob Wheeler

REF19 Human development and the need for a human political system: Lyndon Storey

REF20 HAVE WE EVER REALLY CONSIDERED ? GEORGE BESCH

REF21 The Convergence of Science, Spirituality and Peace by Joseph R. Giove, Executive Director of www.CommonPassion.org
The new world view gives us tremendous potential to actualize the possibilities that are most appropriate for our own happiness and wellness.

REF22 WP1 is the first installment of a Ten Year Global Peace Initiative, aimed at ending war and establishing lasting peace for the entire human race http://www.worldpeaceone.com/WP12007/events.html

REF23 Global Marshall Plan Initiative www.globalmarshallplan.org

REF24 Transition to a Sustainable Civilisation Authors: Dr. Michael Ellis and Dr. Pavel Kasyanov

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The New Paradigm Journal in conjunction with The Global Citizens For Peace aims to create a platform which mobilises youth, talent and creativity in developing a more participatory and equal World?

We need to get on side, some of the world's great innovators and social entrepreneurs who are creating a more equal and participatory world, and ask them to be on a panel, which would assess the great social and environmental and political achievements for societal well-being, environmental sustainability and international peace occurring in Australia and in the world at large

We need your help, your vision and your participation to create this panel, a web site and a TV show, which will focus on these themes, thereby educating the public as to the best projects they can create for the well-being of all of Australian and Global society

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Addendum

THE ICPD( International Conference on Population and Development ))AND THE MDGS (Millennium Development Goals) LINKAGES FOR POVERTY REDUCTION,
GENDER EQUALITY AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2005/english/ch1/index.htm

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

  • Investments in the economic rights of women-equal employment opportunities and wages, credit, agricultural resources, inheritance and property rights-increase productivity, farm yields, and family well-being. Women's control over household resources leads to higher investments in children's health, nutrition and education.
  • Many of the poorest countries are those in or emerging from conflict. Investing in women and young people furthers the rebuilding of societies and economies, poverty reduction and lasting peace and stability.
  • Reproductive health problems disproportionately affect women and the poor and can push families deeper into poverty.
  • Smaller families help reduce hunger and increase investments per child. This leads to a healthier and better skilled labour force, slower population growth, reduced public expenditures, increased savings and investments, and accelerated social and economic development.

MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education

  • When mothers are educated and families are smaller, the likelihood that all children will go to school increases.
  • Gender biases keep many girls from school, often to help mothers care for siblings and manage household needs. For many families, the priority is educating boys. Eliminating school fees and supporting poor families can ensure that all children complete their education.

MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

  • Gender inequality slows development. Equal political, economic, social and cultural rights are required to reduce poverty.
  • Women's ability to decide freely the number and timing of children is key to their empowerment and expanded opportunities for work, education and social participation.
  • Men play a pivotal role in achieving gender equality, poverty reduction and development goals, including improved infant and maternal health and reduced HIV transmission and genderbased violence.
  • Violence against women and girls results in high social and economic costs-to individuals, families and public budgets.
  • Eliminating child marriage, enabling adolescent girls to delay pregnancy, ending discrimination against pregnant girls, and providing support to young mothers can help ensure that girls complete an education. This can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
  • Girls' secondary education provides high payoffs for poverty reduction, gender equality, labour force participation and reproductive health, including HIV prevention and women's and children's health and education status overall.

MDG 4: Reduce child mortality

  • Reproductive health can improve infant survival and health. Birth spacing and maternal health care can help prevent infant deaths. Family planning also prevents unintended pregnancies: Unwanted children are more prone to illness and premature death.
  • Screening pregnant women for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections can prevent infant illness, disability and death.
  • Empowering adolescent girls to delay pregnancy can prevent many newborn deaths. Babies born to adolescents face higher mortality rates than those born to older women.

MDG 5: Improve maternal health

  • Key reproductive health components-family planning, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care-save lives.
  • Family planning can reduce maternal mortality by 20 to 35 per cent.
  • Improved quality of care and access to maternal health services (prenatal, during delivery, post-partum) improves women's health and quality of life for them and their families.

MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

  • Reproductive health care includes prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Gender discrimination fuels the HIV/AIDS epidemic, placing adolescent girls and women at risk, including within marriage. Reproductive health programmes counsel individuals and couples on prevention, prevent mother-to-child transmission and unwanted pregnancies in HIV-positive women, and offer options should they wish to have children.

MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

  • In developing countries, women are the primary food producers and managers of community and household water and fuel resources. Investments in safe water, sanitation, time-saving technologies and skills training can improve sustainable resource management, food security, nutrition and health, and lessen time spent on collecting water and firewood. This releases girls and women for educational and other productive activities.
  • Environmentally-friendly sources of energy can protect women and children from the harmful effects of pollutants and cooking fires.
  • Family planning and the prevention of unwanted births, can help stabilize rural areas, slow urbanization and environmental pressures, and ease demands on public services, thereby balancing natural resource use with the needs of the population.

MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development

  • Decent work for youth-one of the goal's targets-coupled with enlightened socio-economic policies can increase savings, productivity and living standards. Among these policies is family planning, which enables young people to delay having a family until they have acquired the skills and experience to earn a viable income.
  • Increased income-earning opportunities offer young women alternatives to early marriage and childbearing and sexual exploitation.
  • Global partnership to secure adequate supplies of essential reproductive health drugs and commodities for poor countries- including contraceptives, testing kits and treatments for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections-is critical for achieving poverty reduction, gender equality and health goals.

    http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2005/english/ch1/index.htm

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