Public Release: 

The case for a global development organisation

N. B. Please note that if you are outside North America the embargo date for all Lancet press material is 0001hours UK time 23 August 2002


As the World Summit on Sustainable Development approaches in Johannesburg, South Africa, a Commentary in this week's issue by Lancet Editor Richard Horton argues the case for a new Global Development Organisation to be accountable for human development.

Richard Horton comments: The pulling 1.2 billion people out of the grinding poverty that less than US$1 a day affords is that there is no implementing institution to do so. Globalisation lacks governance. Without a Global Development Organisation there is no prospect that the UN's development goals will be met. Indeed, human development may actually go into reverse. A decade of governmental paralysis and institutional fragmentation has seen the number of people in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa rise from 242 million to 300 million.

The Commentary states how existing organisations with influence--such as WHO, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund--for various reasons including transparency, political will, and financial resources, are unable to meet the development needs of the world's poorest countries.

Horton adds: "A Global Development Organisation...would provide a unified institutional framework to set standards for best practice, help to avoid duplication of work across existing agencies, and co-ordinate the activities of all national departments for international would aim to overcome the barriers that have done so much to neutralise the hopes laid down in Agenda 21 [of the Human Development Report] - fragmentation, strategic incoherence, continuing resource overconsumption, and an inability to oversee the global development process. The notion of a GDO as a scientific and technical agency could protect it from the political turf wars that do so much damage to existing UN and Bretton Woods institutions. A GDO would aim to improve the quality and range of information available to partner agencies, such as WHO and the IMF, and hold those institutions accountable for the impact of their work on development."


See also Editorial ('On the way to Johannesburg', p 581).

Contact: Richard Lane,
THE LANCET Press Office,
32 Jamestown Road,
London NW1 7BY,UK;
T) +44 (0)20 7424 4949;

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