The United Nations is the largest institution of the modern world, whose activity is generally focused on the peaceful development, the prevention of war and etc. All these moments are impossible, in its turn, without respect for human rights and implementation of specific programs which should be aimed at achieving these goals. At first glance, it may seem that humanity has reached a new level of development thanks to the development of modern technologies, the achievements in agriculture, industry, positive impacts of globalization and others. However, all of the above has a reverse side of the coin when it comes to developing countries. All the activities of the United Nations are currently aimed at reducing disparities of such kind. The program was adopted in 2000 at the Millennium Summit for these purposes (United Nations, n.d.). It has 8 points, each of which deal with the most acute and urgent problems of humanity. According to the sponsors of the program, these goals must have been achieved already by 2015. But even if you do not delve into the statistics and data, we can say, that they are not fully achieved in any of the points. We have a situation where, on the one hand, everyone has the right to a life without hunger, disease, right to the education and etc. On the other, these rights are not secured by a local or international level. Of course, because of this, many questions arise. Does UN operate in this area effectively? Do the activities of UN efficacious in eradication of mankind’s global problems or not? Can the UN alone contribute to human rights all over the world or this issue is too complex and difficult for the UN? It is necessary to consider specific statistics, cases and various evidences of work in this direction in recent years to assess this.
The Constitution of each country contains articles that every citizen has the right to life, name, education, freedom of thought, speech and so on. Additionally, there are plenty of international treaties, conventions, declarations which also contain similar items. It is interesting, when did the concept of human rights emerge?
Although ideas of rights and liberty have existed in some form for much of human history, there is agreement that the earlier conceptions do not closely resemble the modern conceptions of human rights. The European wars of religion and the civil wars of seventeenth century England gave rise to the philosophy of liberalism and belief in human rights became a central concern of European intellectual culture during the 18th century Age of Enlightenment. The idea of human rights lay at the core of the American and French revolutions which inaugurated an era of democratic revolution throughout the nineteenth century paving the way for the advent of universal suffrage. The world wars of the twentieth century led to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, n.d.). It was adopted by General Assembly in 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights consists of 30 articles which touch on common human rights. The second article tells us that «everyone is entitled to all the rights…without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status» (United Nations, n.d.).
A materialization of different theories and conceptions is very difficult task even in our developed world. UN tries to do whatever it can, but the indexes of, for instance, hunger continues be appalling.
This phenomenon kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis combined. The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 13.5 percent of the population is undernourished. Asia is the continent with the hungriest people – two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years, but in western Asia it has increased slightly. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished. One in four of the world's children are stunted. 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone (World Food Programme, n.d.). Basically, it is clear that the UN carries out various food programs which should improve the situation of hunger. And nobody wants to diminish the activity of the UN. But I want to give another example, not entirely positive and honest. Although this instance does not refer to the activities of the UN and its structures, however, it is a good illustration in this case.
The program «New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition» was adopted in 2012 at the initiative of G8. The aim was to facilitate the development of the agricultural sector in Africa by investing resources of corporations with a worldwide reputation. Thus, developed countries were going to contribute to the rise of Food Security in the African continent. In the future, it should have been to reduce hunger and the number of deaths from it. About a hundred of large farms were involved in this program. Overall, the program has not achieved its goals and has led to bankruptcy the farmers, because it was imposed improper conditions of farming to them: use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides increased, an addictive to a similar method of managing happened. Thus farmers become dependent on these «innovations» that increase the risk of ruin. In addition, export of products was limited under the terms of the program even in the case of emergencies. African farmers called this program as «a new wave of colonialism». British non-governmental organization «World Development Movement», in solidarity with African farmers and civil society, demanded that the UK government to stop funding these programs and instead to direct the released funds (about $600 million pounds) to maintain food sovereignty of the African continent. An example of this program is one of the few occasions when the targets are not attained and mercantile goals hide under the good intentions.
Also I started to wonder why the same G8 had not consulted with the United Nations before the start of this program’s implementation. I guess such kind of campaign should receive permission of the entire international community. Perhaps they should make a discussion in the UN bodies and only then take something by a majority.
However, relying on the data from UN website, we can see the positive shifts in the Food Secure problem. Firstly, the latest FAO estimates indicate that global hunger reduction continues. About 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–2014, down more than 100 million over the last decade, and 209 million lower than in 1990–1992. In the same period, the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen from 18.7 to 11.3 percent globally and from 23.4 to 13.5 percent for developing countries (Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations, n.d.). According to UN statistics, the figures demonstrate that the hunger target of the Millennium Development Goal – of halving the proportion of undernourished people in developing countries by 2015 – is within reach.
In my opinion, sustained political commitment at the highest level with food security and nutrition as top priorities is the best way for the reduction of hunger over the world. The case studies of the State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014 shows that some regions such as Africa, the Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as individual countries have strengthened their political commitment to food security and nutrition. For more big success in this issue it requires complex approach, which will include many types of aim to the developing countries. It can be social protection for the most vulnerable (children, women, old folk), public and private investments to raise agricultural productivity (but according to the previous case it should be checked by highest bodies of the UN). I suppose the very good option for the poor countries is to debt cancellation. In the most cases they have huge debts and instead of direction of money to the education, health and so on developing, they have to pay their debts. Of course, the international community should not be naive. So, it is necessary to create some mechanism and system to control actions Third World countries, because, as a rule, such states have corruption and other negative phenomena within them.
Actually, the World Food Program and the mission of WFP are to end global hunger. Every day WFP works worldwide to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry and that the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and children, can access the nutritious food they need. WFP's Strategic Plan for 2014-2017 provides the framework for WFP’s operations and its role in achieving a world with zero hunger. It continues WFP’s focus on food assistance for the poorest and most vulnerable women, men, boys and girls. The Plan lays out four objectives:
- Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies;
- Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies;
- Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs;
- Reduce undernutrition and break the intergenerational cycle of hunger (World Food Programme, n.d.).
According to the World Food Program, there are five hunger emergencies in the world: Central Africa Republic, Ebola Emergency, Iraq, South Sudan and Syria (World Food Programme, n.d.). What about these cases?
The Central African Republic (CAR) faces a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. As well as the violence which has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the country's economy has almost collapsed. The majority of the Muslim trading community has fled, with the result that existing food-supply systems no longer work.
In Iraq hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the crisis that first hit Mosul in mid-June and spread to surrounding cities and governorates. In recent days, a rising number of Iraqis have found themselves stranded around Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains, fleeing violence. Since 4 August, WFP has set up four emergency kitchens in Dohuk and Lalish, enabling the food agency to assist more than 100,000 people who have fled the Sinjar area.
As for South Sudan, than the latest surveys show that in several counties of the northern Unity State, up to three quarters of the population currently face severe hunger. WFP and partners have already provided food for more than 750,000 people displaced by the recent violence in South Sudan. But given the worsening humanitarian situation, we are aiming to assist 3.2 million people through the end of the year.
Syrians have now been living with civil war for over three years and assessments show that almost half the population inside Syria is having trouble getting enough food. WFP is concerned about the growing risk of malnutrition among people living in hard-to-reach areas of the country. It is also concerned about the impact of a looming drought in the northwest of Syria. This could have a major impact on the next cereal harvest.
The United Nations marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with calls to accelerate efforts in eliminating poverty in all its forms on the 17th October. «Entrenched poverty and prejudice, and vast gulfs between wealth and destitution, can undermine the fabric of societies and lead to instability… Where poverty holds sway, people are held back. Lives disfigured by poverty are cruel, mean and, often, short» – Ban Ki-moon said.