A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2003 Foreword by Kofi. A. Annan Ideas and concepts are arguably the most important legacy of the United Nations. Ahead of the Curve? analyses the evolution of key ideas and concepts about international economic and social development born or nurtured, refined or applied under UN auspices since 1945. The authors evaluate the trajectory of policy ideas coming from UN organisations and associated scholars in relation to such critical issues as de-colonisation, sustainable development, structural adjustment, basic needs, human rights, women, world employment, the transition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the role of non-governmental organisations, and global governance. The authors find that, in many instances, UN ideas about how to tackle problems of global import were sound and far-sighted, although they often fell on the deaf ears of powerful member states until it was apparent that a different approach was needed. UN conferences, for example, provided the first forums for addressing issues that rather belatedly became global concerns, such as gender equality, population policies, environmental problems, social questions, and urban management. Moreover, these conferences have resulted in concrete actions and the achievement of important goals. Better late than never, the United Nations demonstrated the severe limitations of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy promoted by the Bretton Woods institutions. Only recently have these institutions begun to re-evaluate their approach to consider the importance of putting people first. The UN was also at the forefront in acknowledging the importance of non-governmental organisations for good global governance. The UN has benefited from their expertise and enlisted their support in implementing policy ideas, a course of action that has resulted in the growing acknowledgement of the importance of civil society. The authors do find important areas where the UN has not stood constructively at the fore. They lament, for example, the UN's hesitations in a global response to the AIDs pandemic and tardiness in pointing out the human costs and growing income gaps associated with economic liberalisation and globalisation.
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 16 mm
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