Fear and Want. Obstacles to Human Security: 2004 Social Watch report will be launched in New York

“Frustrating the hopes of peoples and nations all around the globe will certainly not help make the world a more secure place for our children” concludes the Social Watch report 2004, summarizing the findings of citizen coalitions in 50 countries, poor and rich, about what they see as main obstacles to human security.

The Social Watch report keeps track every year about progress and regression in the path towards eradicating poverty and achieving gender equity, a promise made by governments at the UN in 1995 and reaffirmed in the year 2000 in the largest gathering ever held of world leaders.

Yet, according to Social Watch, the necessary increase in aid has been too little and too slow, the international trade system is still biased against the poor farmers that constitute a majority of the people living in poverty and the world finances have not been reformed in a way that might help poor countries overcome chronic indebtedness that sucks away the their scarce resources. In contrast, military expenditures are on the rise everywhere.

Contributors to the Social Watch report 2004 include organizations from places as diverse as Iraq and Switzerland, from the richest and the poorest countries in the world.
Armed conflict and high crime rates are perceived as major threats by citizens in many of them, but poverty and declining coverage of social services are feared the most by citizens in many others. Corruption, lack of responsiveness by governments to the concerns of their subjects, gender or ethnic discrimination… the list goes on and the culprits identified include local authorities, international institutions and large corporations.

Social Watch was created around the idea that unless citizens monitor the commitments made by governments they will not be met. Even international institutions whose declared task is to fight poverty, like the World Bank, in practice grade countries against their allegiance to corporate-friendly policies and not according to their success in helping people make a decent living.

The Social Watch report will be officially launched at the United Nations in New York nextApril 26.

It is available on the Internet at: