This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

  June 1998    

UNU Nexions review
Who's Hungry? And How Do We Know?
By Laurie DeRose, Ellen Messer, and Sara Millman
UNU Press; ISBN 92-808-0985-7; 188 pages; $19.95

Ludwig Feuerbach coined the expression "Man is what he eats." Adequate nutrition is the most basic of all human needs and rights, and hunger is the worst of all problems suffered by the poor. Hunger weakens bodies and damages tissues. It condemns parents to grief and children to death or disability. And it threatens the most precious attribute of being human: an able, alert mind.

As the title implies, Who's Hungry? And How Do We Know? has two main objectives. One is to identify the causes of hunger and recommend ways for effectively targeting intervention programmes. The other is to explain how hunger is commonly measured, to clarify the assumptions embedded in these measures, and to spell out the conclusions that can be made from such an analysis.

The book also looks at how the rules for distributing food under normal situations differ from such rules in times of crisis. The contributors come up with an analytical framework that is based on shortage, poverty, and deprivation that shows how hunger can be present even in conditions where food is abundant; likewise it incorporates ways to avoid hunger when food is scare. Various mainstream hunger policies are examined in detail and recommendations are given for those that work most effectively.

International Finance and Developing Countries in a Year of Crisis: 1997 Discussions at the United Nations
Edited by Barry Herman and Krishnan Sharma
UNU Press; ISBN 92-808-1011-1; 106 pages; $9.95

In 1997 the UN General Assembly hosted a series of discussions on the Asian financial crisis in which numerous prominent monetary authorities took part. Their ideas are outlined in this book. For instance, Michel Camdessus, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), points out the lessons to be drawn from the crisis from the IMF's perspective.

Four other timely topics are also addressed:

  • A review of policy issues regarding capital flows to developing countries;
  • How global economic governance could be strengthened through an official conference;
  • The conditions necessary for effective, liberalized capital markets in developing countries; and,
  • An appraisal of recent discussions about international financial issues that took place at the UN.

The book opens with background information on financial flows and the financial crisis, and an assessment of national and international financial policy needs. It also contains copies of texts from several UN resolutions on finance and a chronology of the 1997 crisis.

Eco-restructuring: Implications for Sustainable Development
Edited by Robert U. Ayres and Paul M. Weaver
UNU Press; ISBN 92-808-0984-9; 417 pages; $29.95

A new paradigm for ecological restructuring is introduced in this book. This paradigm involves shifts in technology, economic activities, and lifestyles that are needed to harmonize human activities with natural systems.

It does this by analysing several different sectors and technology fields that are searching for sustainable patterns of industrialization. Comprehensive coverage is given on such topics as materials futures, fuel decarbonization, agro-eco-engineering, and transportation. An overall appraisal is offered on the state of each sector and technology, the major concerns involved, and the technical means required for achieving sustainable outcomes.

Set forth in this way, the book breaks new ground in developing sustainability as a multidisciplinary issue.

Sixty-eight UNU Press publications mainly on Environment and Food and Nutrition are available full-text on the UNU homepage at for free downloading.

Keeping the heat down in Kyoto Contents Towards a greener UN in the 21st Century