Friday, March 21, 2003


If this Blog is about “Knowledge for Development”, and if “Development” is mostly about the reduction of poverty, then I ought to do some things about poverty, knowledge about poverty, and the role of knowledge in reducing poverty. So here are some readings:

THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, 2002 REPORT - Escaping the Poverty Trap
Highlights: “The least developed countries (LDCs) are a group of 49 countries that have been identified by the UN as "least developed" in terms of their low GDP per capita, their weak human assets and their high degree of economic vulnerability. This Report is the first international comparative analysis of poverty in the LDCs. It is based on a new set of poverty estimates constructed specifically for the Report. The new estimates enable empirically based analysis of the relationship between poverty, development and globalization, and thereby the elaboration of more effective national and international policies to reduce poverty in the LDCs. The Report shows that extreme poverty is pervasive and persistent in most LDCs, and that the incidence of extreme poverty is highest in those LDCs that are dependent on primary commodity exports. The incidence of poverty is so high because most of the LDCs are caught in an international poverty trap. Pervasive poverty within LDCs has effects at the national level that cause poverty to persist and even to increase, and international trade and finance relationships are reinforcing the cycle of economic stagnation and poverty. The Report argues that the current form of globalization is tightening the poverty trap. With improved national and international policies, LDCs can escape the poverty trap. Indeed a central message of the Report is that there is a major, but currently underestimated, opportunity for rapid reduction in extreme poverty in the LDCs through sustained economic growth. However, the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), which are currently the focus of national and international efforts to reduce poverty in poor countries, are not grasping that opportunity. The Report proposes an alternative approach to improve the design of poverty reduction strategies. It also shows that effective poverty reduction in the LDCs needs a more supportive international environment. This should include increased and more effective aid and debt relief, a review and recasting of international commodity policy, and policies which recognize the interdependence between the socio-economic marginalization of the poorest countries and the increasing polarization of the global economy.” Published by UNCTAD, 2002. (PDF, 320 Pages, 3790Kb; the report can also be downloaded chapter by chapter from this site, or purchased in hard copy.)]

MIGRATION AND CHRONIC POVERTY“This paper provides an overview of conceptual understandings of, and methodological research issues on, the relationship between chronic, or long-term, poverty and processes of migration. The paper presents a framework to enable an analysis of social relations and processes of exclusion, and the ways in which these are structured around poverty-related capitals.” GRADE posting on the Development Gateway.

Regional Overview of the Impact of Failures of Accountability on Poor People
“This paper provides a regional overview of the impact on the poor people and disadvantaged groups of the failures of accountability of institutions of governance, and the different kinds of actions taken and policy options discussed in order to improve accountability. Part Two of the paper presents a theoretical framework within which interests of the poor and disadvantaged people could be reflected in the decision-making processes, ensure accountability of the institutions of governance, the promotion of sustainable human development and the eradication of poverty. Part Three of the paper focuses on the impacts of accountability failures on poor and disadvantaged peoples in Africa. Part Four reviews the various measures taken to enhance accountability of the institutions and mechanisms of governance. The evolution of a global and African consensus on the importance of peace, security and good governance as precondition for human development and the eradication of poverty is discussed in Part Five. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the ‘virtuous circle’ of good governance creating the enabling environment for the promotion of human development and the eradication of poverty, which in turn reinforces the importance of good governance.” Quoted from the Dev-Zone email alert. By Ahmed Mohiddin, Human Development Report Office, United Nations Development Program, Occasional Paper, (Background paper for HDR 2002), 2002/10.

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