First of all can I thank UNISON for hosting this event. I can think of no more appropriate place to make a speech about the services that people rely in the developing world than this positively public platform. But it’s also a pleasure because international solidarity has always been one of UNISON’s defining characteristics, and one you should rightly be proud of as a union. And also because trade unions play a fundamental and important role in changing peoples’ lives.
This is the fourth in a series of speeches I am making as part of our consultation on the Government’s development White Paper to be published in the summer. The aim is to hear your views, and I am enjoying the debate. And I can see one or two people who are back for more!
The new White Paper will set out what the UK will do to help deliver the promises the world made in 2005, so that, over the years ahead, developing countries can make poverty history for themselves, and change peoples’ lives for the better.
Long-term economic progress comes mainly from the invention and spread of improved technologies. The scientific revolution was made possible by the printing press, the industrial revolution by the steam engine, and India’s escape from famine by increased farm yields – the so-called “Green Revolution.” Today’s era of globalization emerged with the spread of computers and the Internet. Thus, when we seek solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems, they, too, are likely to be found, at least in part, in new technologies that can resolve old and seemingly intractable problems.
During the past decade – particularly since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States – Westerners have generally considered international terrorism to be the most urgent threat to human security. Accordingly, vast resources have been mobilized and expended to counter its many forms.
Ten years after the United Nations launched the "Decade for the Eradication of Poverty", more than one billion people still live without access to safe drinking water, health care, adequate housing and other essentials of daily life, development experts and independent observers here say.
The International Monetary Fund expects production in Sub Saharan Africa to increase by almost six percent in 2006. The growth rate is higher than at any time in the last thirty years, and the performance is not isolated but continues a trend towards accelerating growth. It is, moreover, not solely the poorest economies who are growing rapidly, or oil producers, although both of these groups are benefiting. It is also countries such as South Africa and Kenya for whom the largest economic management problem is not just ending civil conflict, a problem all too common in the continent.
The debate is intensifying over how local communities should share the benefits of research based on Africa's biodiversity while protecting the intellectual property rights of the researchers involved.