Issues Calling for Global Commitments

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  • Global poverty. There are three billion people in the world who live on less than USD 2 per day, and half a billion live on less than USD 1 per day. The world poverty should be reduced to one half by 2015. One of the many ways is debt cancellation for the poorest countries allowed by the developed industrialised countries, and also the aim mediated by the so-called Marshall Plan (see below).
  • Preservation of peace, prevention of conflicts, fight against terrorism. The War of Congo alone, for example, has cost two million human lives, not to mention Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. So many conflicts have sprung up in post-colonial Africa that every fifth person has been affected by them (loss of relatives, homes, health, etc.). Not only does terrorism pose a threat to economic growth, social and political stability in industrialised countries, but it also slows down the economic development and poverty reduction in developing ones. Approximately 40,000 UN forces are maintaining the world’s fragile armistice and peace.
  • Education: Every sixth child in the world cannot write and read, including 600,000 women and 300,000 men; 99% of this number is in developing countries. Women’s education contributes to lower birth rates, thus to solving the demographic problems. In addition, education programmes help increase the national products of developing countries. This is therefore one of the most important tasks under the Marshall Plan.
  • Pandemic danger: At present, 40 million people are affected by AIDS, and 25 million more have died since the eruption of the pandemic. These figures are close to the number of victims of the Black Plague of 1347-1352. The spread of other infectious diseased (tuberculosis, malaria, avian fever, etc.) calls for preventive measures, including setting up emergency funds, providing access to medication, tax incentives for research in developed countries, etc.
  • Digital inequity: Two billion people have never had the chance to wield a telephone in their hand. The author uses the term ‘digital apartheid’ in this context. Means of communication for poor countries mean less isolation, improved healthcare and medical aid, enable education and environmental management, stimulate business development and efficient use of foreign aid, allow improvement in civil service. This subject area is also part of the Marshall Plan.
  • Avoidance of natural disasters and alleviation of their effects. The failure to do this was typically proved by the consequences of the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004, where timely warning could have averted the enormous death toll. It is worth reminding that two billion people live within 100 km of sea cost. Global warming further increases the risk of similar disasters, caused by hurricanes (see the series of hurricanes in the autumn of 2005).