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Research paper topic: Globalization - 1405 words
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Globalization What are the function and problems within the globalization process? Globalization creates new challenges and opportunities for those people who are of greatest concern to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement - that is, the Disadvantaged. The humanitarian players - that is, the UN system and its organisations, the Red Cross Red Crescent, NGOs - have several roles to play in relation to globalization. We should monitor the impact of globalization and help governments to strengthen safety nets and provide basic social services. We must reinforce our efforts to address the needs of vulnerable people and we must adapt our methods of assistance and do all we can to prevent additional, or new, groups from becoming vulnerable. We need a stronger commitment to co-operation and co-ordination among ourselves, with governments and local civil society.
We must also contribute to the global policy agenda to ensure that globalisation moves in the right direction and supports efforts to reduce poverty and vulnerability. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is particularly well-placed to support this endeavour through its network of 176 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who are in a special position to inform their governments as to the needs of vulnerable people. This morning, I would like us - participants, fellow panellists - to examine together how globalization can reduce vulnerability. We need to ask ourselves some key questions. Firstly: How can we ensure participation in the globalization process? It is true that globalization can enable poorer countries to participate more effectively in the multilateral trading system.
However, it is not true that these opportunities are within the reach of all countries. In fact, only a handful of developing countries are really in a position to participate in the process and benefit from the new opportunities. 12 developing countries account for some 70% of exports from the developing world and they receive more than 90% of the investment flowing from developed to developing countries. These countries are mainly located in Latin America and Asia - none of them in Africa. There is a real risk of exclusion and further marginalization of countries and people. This is cause for real concern within the humanitarian agencies and this particular topic will be addressed at the forthcoming UN Conference on Least Developed Countries to be held in Brussels next month.
Humanitarian players need to to advocate forcefully in favour of inclusion for these least developed countries. The International Federation believes that more countries can take advantage of globalization if the international trading system is based on equitable trade rules, transparency and reduced trade barriers. The new WTO Round planned to start later this year will address the further development of the international trade regime. I do hope it earns its nickname - the development round. It is vital that all countries have a say in setting the agenda for the new Round and its implementation.
The poorer countries should seize that opportunity to influence the terms of international trade. And we must be ready to facilitate their participation, to enable them to make necessary adaptations and take advantage of new trade opportunities.We need to place increased emphasis on capacity building and the transfer of know-how to poorer countries. It is not only the countries which need better access. Vulnerable people need a stronger voice within the international system in order to make their concerns heard by governments and the institutions that manage the multilateral economic system. Over the last years, we have often seen vulnerable people and their advocates show their resistance to economic globalisation. This debate is legitimate but our objective should be to get it off the streets and into the boardrooms and assembly halls where it belongs.
Civil society should be included more consistently in the globalization processes. Humanitarian Agencies can - and should - contribute to the strengthening of local civil society. For the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement the strengthening of local capacities and local civil society is a necessary and important feature of our operations. Here is another question which I would like us to examine together: How can we encourage a better balance between economic growth and social progress? Increased export income does not necessarily improve the situation of vulnerable people. The distribution of new wealth and opportunities is often less then equitable, and can create new vulnerability and exclusion.
We need to seek an improved balance between economic efficiency and economic equity. I am glad that global consensus has been reached on the internationally agreed development targets. The UN Millennium Summit agreed to reduce by 50% the proportion of people who live in extreme poverty by 2015. The Humanitarian World should support governments in their fight against poverty through assistance programmes and through strengthening governments` poverty reduction strategies. Increased trade should assist in the overall reduction of poverty. A deeper consultation with civil society can help adjust strategies to better meet the challenges of ensuring that poverty reduction becomes a reality. In the International Federation we are ready to be a partner in this process.
Development concerns are addressed in all our programmes, even in the short term, and we focus on reducing vulnerability through disaster reduction, disaster preparedness and better disaster response as we have seen recently in El Salvador and India. Structural adjustment is often necessary for poorer countries if they are to take advantage of globalization. There is, however, often a lack of consistency between macro-economic objectives and the national poverty reduction goals. It is a challenge to help governments carry out the needed liberalisation of their economies in a manner that does not create or enhance vulnerability. The humanitarian actors have already seen the emergence of new vulnerability in this context in Asia and in Eastern Europe. The International Federation`s programme for helping people survive the winter in Russia is now a sad and regular feature of our annual appeal.
When new needs occur, humanitarian actors must adapt their programmes and activities. But we also possess extensive knowledge on how, and why, vulnerability increases and would be pleased to advise concerned governments and institutions. The next question is how to include the countries engaged in a constant fight against disaster and disease? Health problems are a major impediment to development and to globalisation. The detrimental effects of poor health on school attendance and productivity is well known. A London School of Economics study estimates that controlling malaria in parts of Africa would lead to a 20% increase in GDP over 15 years. The economic effect of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is devastating. In the most affected African countries, new problems are emerging - a smaller workforce, a lack of teachers, a large number of orphans and impoverishment in order to pay for the indispensable treatments.
Increased market access will not benefit these countries unless we first help them fight HIV/AIDS. In addition to maintaining a consistent focus on HIV/AIDS, which is one of our priorities, the International Federation advocates strongly for improving vulnerable people`s access to affordable drugs. When natural disasters strike, decades of development are destroyed. My distinguished panellist colleague from El Salvador can certainly confirm this. The countries most prone to natural disasters need assistance in order to strengthen their disaster preparedness. The International Federation assists governments in responding to disasters, and reduces vulnerability by building local capacity for preparedness.
A major challenge remains to be addressed. What does globalization mean to countries in almost permanent crisis, conflict, civil war, or for failed states? It is difficult to preach the advantages of globalization to the citizens of countries like the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan. We all know that peace, security and political stability are prerequisites for a sound economy. No strategies have yet emerged to help these countries reap any benefits from globalisation. This week in Afghanistan for instance we are assisting with other partners in vaccinating thousands of children against polio which has been eradicated in most other parts of the world.
The basic requirements for human development are not yet in place in many of these countries. A stronger global commitment to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace building is needed. We were encouraged by the Brahimi report, that sets out how the UN`s contribution in this area can be strengthened. Humanitarian actors should promote sustainable peace through a strong focus on post-conflict reconstruction, and programmes to facilitate demobilisation and reintegration. 4. Social Issues.
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