Social Watch news

In July 2010 the UNDOC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) launched the report: "The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment". It is the first ever “threat assessment”, that tries to fill a knowledge gap and pave the way for future world crime reports. It focuses on trafficking flows, connects the dots between regions, and gives a global overview of illicit markets: it reports about the ways and means international mafias have grown into an international problem.

The current economic and political crises in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have revealed crumbling social safety nets when confronted with economic hardship. Children and young people living with HIV/AIDS face social exclusion in the only region where infection rates remain clearly on the rise. A new report by UNICEF launched at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, revealed the region is badly off track to meet MDG 6, which calls for halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

The idea that poverty can be measured by income alone has been sustained by international organizations including the World Bank to this very day. Numerous efforts were made in the recent years to provide new approaches to measure poverty that are more complex and multidimensional.

On July 2010, at the UN headquarters, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to create the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women - to be known as UN Women - a new entity to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide. Will it be able to meet expectations?

Civil society organizations, including Social Watch’s focal point in Kenya, SODNET, developed a web platform to monitor the development of the country’s constitutional elections that took place on 4 August 2010. This was the second attempt to give Kenya a new constitution after the failure that provoked post election violence in 2008 killing thousands, displacing 300,000 and affecting all Kenyans.

The Federation of Organizations of the Cameroon Civil Society (FOSCAM, for its initials in french), Social Watch´s Focal Point in Cameroon, participated in the elaboration of a draft bill for mainstreaming gender into national policies for growth and employment in that country.

FOSCAM presented the draft bill at the opening of a multi-stakeholder Forum held on 20 March, 2010, in Mvolyé. The event that aimed to promote gender mainstreaming in development strategies gathered government representatives, international institutions, the private sector and civil society.

Members of Social Watch Lebanon and the coordinator of the network came together with government representatives in Beirut in July 2010 to launch the Social Watch report 2009 for the Arab region. The event also followed the presentation of the UNDP report "Assessing the MDG Process in the Arab Region" and provided an opportunity for a public debate between government authorities, civil society organizations from several Arab countries and United Nations experts.

The second Forum on Cooperation for Development held 29-30 June at the UN headquarters in New York, reviewed the Official Development Assistance (ODA) agenda. The main conclusions focused on aid effectiveness to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the need to reconsider the financial paradigm and incorporate new forms of cooperation.

This month’s “Focus on…” section highlights the work of Social Watch (SW) Focal Point in Bolivia: the Labour and Agricultural Development Research Centre (CEDLA, in Spanish), which will be hosting the next regional training workshop for Latin America, to be held from 20 to 22 October 2010 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Roberto Bissio - Coordinator, Social Watch International Secretariat

Growth with equity is one of the major challenges which national economies throughout the world are facing and which gives rise to the greatest differences even amongst developing countries. Although there is a certain amount of consensus regarding the fact that State and public policy play a fundamental role in redistributing wealth more equitably, there is still resistance to the concept of equality of rights. A glance at the latest data from Latin America and the Caribbean shows the principal obstacles to combining growth with equity.

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