Monday, March 09, 2009

The Millennium Development Goals – bankable pledge or sub-prime asset?

The bad news is that projections of economic
conditions are getting worse and worse.
The not so bad news is that they may not
be very credible.

Kevin Watkins and Patrick Montjourides of the team writing the Education for All Monitoring Report made a presentation to a UNESCO Future Forum session titled "The Global Financial and Economic Crisis: What Impact on Multilateralism and UNESCO?" (Others of the presentations at the session are available online.)

A UNESCO press release summarizes the presentation, beginning with this assessment:
We are in the greatest economic crisis since 1929 – international experts at the UNESCO Future Forum (Monday, 3 March) were in agreement on this. Its consequences could be disastrous, starting with the deaths of two million children between now and 2015.

A further 200 million people, mostly in Africa, could be living on less than US$1.25 per day (up 6.1% on 2007 figures) and, as Aart de Geus, Deputy Secretary-General of OECD, pointed out, the world’s unemployed could swell to 30 million, even 50 million, over the course of the coming years, if the situation continues to worsen (see interview). This would mean an unemployment rate of 7.1% with 230 million job seekers worldwide, over half of them women.
The report from which this presentation was drawn is not yet published, but I have obtained a copy of the presentation itself which you can download from

The Gender Mainstreaming facet of the UNESCO website makes streaming videos available of some of the presentations from the Future Forum that focused specifically on women and gender equality.

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