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Human Development and the Environment

Challenges for the United Nations in the New Millennium

Edited by Hans van Ginkel, Brendan Barrett, Julius Court, and Jerry Velasquez

The new millennium sees humankind living in a vastly more complex, inter-linked and mutually dependent world. There are increasing numbers of participants in world affairs today, as private and public nonstate actors jostle alongside national governments in setting and implementing an ever more crowded agenda. This situation is throwing up new challenges—in the fields of security, governance, development and environment—and will require innovative thinking and new forms of global governance. In this period of transition, the UN is the focus of many people’s hopes and aspirations. This book looks at the problems, processes, and actors that will have a major role in human development and the environment in the new millennium. It charts some of the significant trends affecting human development: globalization; population; urbanization; poverty; equity; education; health; climate change; biodiversity; desertification; international cooperation and institutions. The book outlines productive ways in which the international community and the UN system can address the major challenges of eradicating poverty and reducing the rate of environmental deterioration. The authors conclude that among the existing global institutions, only the UN has the moral legitimacy, global credibility, and practical reach to mediate and reconcile the competing pulls and tensions associated with both the process and outcomes of globalization.

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