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

EU-UNU Tokyo Global Forum 2006
Doing More, Better, and Faster: A Global Partnership for Eradicating Poverty

With approximately one-sixth of humanity living in absolute poverty; the impetus for development has never been more urgent. While many developing countries, such as China, Brazil and India, have recorded impressive gains over the past several years, much of the developing world faces less rosy prospects.

September's World Summit gave international leaders and others a chance to reappraise the achievements of the UN's Millennium Development Goals after half a decade. While progress has been tangible, the possibility of attaining the goals by 2015 will require the redoubled efforts of all developed and developing countries working in partnership together.

Recognizing the centrality of development in and of itself, as well as its importance to global security, human rights, and environmental protection, the EU has played, and continues to play, a leading role. In 2004, the EU provided over one-half of the world's official development assistance, and has further pledged to increase aid over the next decade with the aim of reaching the MDG objective of 0.7% of GNI by 2015.

Japan is also a major contributor of ODA, providing $8.9 billion in net disbursement, three times the DAC average. Japan has focused much of its ODA on Asia and the Pacific, where providing economic infrastructure has helped nearly 200 million people out of poverty.

The EU-UNU Tokyo Global Forum will provide an opportunity for EU, UN and Japanese policymakers and practitioners to exchange views. The sixth in a series of forums organized by the Delegation of the European Commission and the United Nations University, this exchange will both reflect the close co-operation that exists between these two partners, and spark further topics for collaboration as well as co-operation with Japanese partners.

1. Development and Trade

Trade can play a critical role in development and the eradication of poverty. Recognizing this important, albeit not direct, link, the EU passed its "Everything But Arms" Initiative, which grants products (excepting arms and munitions) from the 50 least developed countries duty, and quota-free access to the vast European Union market.

The UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have stressed the importance of creating a "Global Partnership for Development" between poor and wealthy nations. The 2005 Report on MDGs shows that substantive progress has been made in the realm of international trade between the developed and developing worlds, as nearly two-thirds of products produced in the developing world now enter the developed world duty-free.

Japan has been active in promoting Asia-Africa Trade within the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Framework. Japan has also been active in facilitating business exchanges with Africa and promoting product development.

How might the EU, the UN and Japan build on what has already been achieved to encourage the developing world to play their part in its ascent out of poverty, by creating an attractive business environment through stable and transparent regulatory, legal, judicial, and institutional reforms ? How can the WTO continue to contribute to this movement in the wake of the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting?

2. Development, Democracy and Human Rights

Numerous issues stand at the intersection of development, democracy, and human rights. In the words of the 2000 UN Human Development Report, "A decent standard of living, adequate nutrition, health care, education, decent work, and protection against calamities are not just development goals - they are also human rights." The EU likewise incorporates human rights provisions into co-operation agreements, such as the Cotonou Agreement with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific states (ACP). Japan's ODA Charter also states that "full attention should be paid to efforts for promoting democratization."

Indeed, embedding development into a human rights framework can help raise living standards across the globe. As dire poverty frequently impedes the realization of human rights, state signatories to international treaties may be called upon to provide for the gradual enrichment of its people: from basic subsistence and universal education, to workers' rights and social development. What mechanisms are available to make sure development reaches all who need it?

3. Development and Security

The UN's In Larger Freedom campaign aims to reaffirm, in UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's words, "the three great purposes of this Organization: development, security and human rights." Likewise, speaking in the context of the EU's strong commitment to African development, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has noted that "there is no real development without security." In today's interconnected world, security threats can no longer be viewed as purely local phenomena. Development efforts need to focus on stabilizing post-conflict regions, and preventing terrorism. Otherwise, how can foreign aid and other forms of assistance be effectively channeled to respond to these threats?

4. Development and Environment

While development and environmental protection appear to be at loggerheads, the EU and UN have made several attempts to harmonize the two. A recent study by the UN and World Bank demonstrates that linking aid to environmental protection may effectively reduce poverty. Similarly, the EU has consistently promoted development policies that aim to preserve the environment. On many global environmental protection issues, such as climate change, it has received first-rate support from Japan.

This panel fleshes out ways in which development can proceed in an environmentally sustainable manner. What kinds of legislation can developing countries enact to ensure environmentally friendly use of their natural resources? What role can supranational organizations, multinational corporations, and individuals play in ensuring adherence to an environmentally friendly model of growth?

UNU Home | PG Home