Sustainable human development remains a substantial challenge for most developing countries and a priority for the United Nations system. The ESD theme on sustainable human development focuses on two important issues that affect growth and human development in poor countries - entrepreneurship and bureaucratic quality.
|For most countries in the world, and particularly the developing countries, human development is a greater challenge today than before. It is in view of the enormous problems and gaps in understanding this challenge that the ESD Programme has initiated research in this area. It seeks to explore the interactions between global and domestic processes, particularly the institutional aspects. This theme of activity broadly focuses on two important issues that affect growth and human development in vital ways - entrepreneurship and bureaucratic quality.
Sustainable human development remains a substantial challenge for most developing countries and a priority for the United Nations system. The issue of human development is at the heart of the UN and UNU Charters. The UNU Charter enjoins the UNU to "devote its work to research into the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare." The Preamble to the UN Charter highlights the need "to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."
The ESD theme on sustainable human development focuses on two important issues that affect growth and human development in poor countries - entrepreneurship and bureaucratic quality. The ESD initiative is an extension of the 1998-1999 projects on (i) Asia and Africa in the Global Economy and (ii) Institutions and Development in Africa. It still seeks to explore the interaction between global processes and domestic, particularly institutional, ones. The focus of the activities remains policy-oriented towards institutional aspects. This emphasis on institutions is particularly important, given the increasing practical emphasis being attached to institutions in development finance and technical assistance programmes. Given the magnitude of the problems and the gaps in understanding, the ESD programme focuses on this area. But there are also a number of other organizations that are also working on similar human development issues. Therefore, the issues selected are: (i) filling in the gaps in the current knowledge base; and (ii) undertaking innovative work of high academic quality.
For most countries in the world, and particularly poorer countries, human development is an even greater challenge today than when the UN and UNU Charters were drafted. A key contributor to the worsening situation has been economic decline. Around 70-80 countries' incomes are lower today than they were 10-30 years ago. Economic growth is the sine qua non for sustainable human development.
Projects and Initiatives:
- Environmental Management at the Local Level in Japan
The City Inspirations Initiative
The Project aims to document processes and initiatives in environmental management at the local level in Japan. It takes a project, programme, plan, or policy at the local level - at various stages of development from planning to implementation to evaluation - and documents its ingredients of success (or failure) for replication and transfer to developing cities in the Asia Pacific Region. Each of these documented cases will be termed a 'City inspiration' These are very basic in their content in order to keep their understanding and adaptability easy. A city or urban area can be a source for several City Inspirations - initiated and partnered with local stakeholders, and implemented at different levels of governance.