Cultural Identity, Democracy and Global Equity
17-19 January, 2005
The dynamics of globalization, the increasing flows of commodities, capital, services, information and cultural goods as well as the accelerated migration of people, are rapidly changing the make up of societies. Some will benefit hugely from these changes while others will be unable to or even fall further behind. Inequalities will continue to widen and identity-related demands will get stronger. International and national governance of economic, political and social systems must adapt to this new reality of the 21st century.
In this context, government action is necessary and urgent. New approaches to governance need to be invented if we are to achieve progress in human development overall or at least in terms of extreme poverty as measured by the Millennium Development Goals.
Key questions the Forum examined included: What room for maneuver do governments have at their disposal for responding to the expectations of their citizens and to promote cultural liberty, respect for identities and equity? How can human development be promoted through international trade and foreign investment? What measures can improve the international financial and economic framework in order to reduce inequality? What resources can be mobilized to finance human development? On what basis can a new international solidarity be founded?
This third Forum promoted viable responses to the challenges of human development today and offering governments strategies for meeting their commitments as signatories to the Millennium Declaration of 2000.
About the Forums
Since the founding of the Human Development Reports in 1990, the Human Development Approach to development has stimulated a great deal of policy debate and research on the processes of economic growth, poverty reduction, and the promotion of human rights.
That growing prominence of human development within the greater field of development inspired the launch of a regular global event that would bring together the latest research work in this area, and further stimulate research and policy thinking on human development. In 1999, UNDP’s Human Development Report Office initiated the First Global Forum on Human Development, which was held in New York. According to Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, former HDRO Director, “the Forum was initiated as part of an overall strategy to reinforce human development as a movement – a school of thought that is alive with intellectual explorations in academia, and with a political movement and policy debate at the local and country levels.” Building on the success of the 1999 Forum, a second Forum was organized in Rio de Janeiro the following year.
The Global Forums on Human Development are large public events with participation of leading academics but also politicians and civil society advocates. They draw on and continuously expand a worldwide network for human development.
Eminent experts from academia, developing and developed countries, NGOs and other civil society groups investigate and discuss how to promote, implement and measure human development. This activity is important to extend the legacy of human development to an expanded network of proponents. From the field, authors of Regional and National Human Development Reports present the best experiences of developing countries. These reports inform development plans and contribute to applying a human development approach to all sectors of development and to filling the gap in data that constrains informed policy reform and innovation. Invited keynote and plenary speakers include the leader and ministers of the host country along with top UN officials, leading academics who have contributed to Human Development Reports, and distinguished economists, political scientists and philosophers, and development experts from around the world.
The Forums held so far have been highly successful in furthering cutting edge research on concepts, measurement, and policy priorities of human development; advocating the human development approach as a strategic approach to development that puts human well being and freedom as the central purpose of development; and facilitating contacts among researchers, politicians and civil society activists.
The Forums are part of an overall strategy of the Human Development Report Office to advance human development concepts and measurement by strengthening synergy between academic teaching and research and policy-making and implementation. They are an opportunity for debate, dialogue, and exchange of information and ideas, across regions. An important outcome is agendas to fill gaps in policy research and recommendations of actions to advance human development in practices.
This third edition of the Forum on Human Development is hosted and sponsored by France. The Human Development Report Office of UNDP is co-organizing this major event with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.
We are also working on this event in close collaboration with the Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales (IDDRI), which is a French Research Institution bringing together a whole network of non-governmental and public French actors on the issues of sustainable development.
Also, the Institute of Political Studies of Paris, called “Sciences-Po”, is closely collaborating with us, providing the Forum with a strong support from one of the most renowned and well-respected institution in the French academic world, and beyond.
On top of these partnerships, a number of organizations are cooperating with us on this major event.