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Intergovernmental Bodies; 
UN Agencies


Governments on the WWW
Directory of links to individual countries and their ministries and multi-governmental institutions


Sustainable Livelihoods (SL)
Building on the Wealth of the Poor
Global programme element aiming to refine the SL concept, building electronic information and resource networks, and piloting new SL initiatives. Regional and country programmes are addressing specific country priorities in the development, empowerment and activation of human resources, especially those living in poverty.
This site has information on the programme and full text background papers.


Towards the Elimination of Poverty
Visit this site for sections on
  • People-centered budgets
  • Poverty Reduction Strategies
  • Poverty & Gender
  • Income Inequality & Poverty Reduction
  • Resource Center
Social Development & Poverty Elimination Division
WIID World Income Inequality Database
UNU/WIDER and UNDP/SEPED, in partnership with SIDA, have conducted an important research project entitled "Rising Income Inequality and Poverty Reduction: Are They Compatible?" The project aims at critically evaluating different methods of measuring income inequality, understanding the dynamics of the relationship between economic growth, poverty alleviation, and income inequality. It will produce empirical and policy studies addressing the poverty policy implications of rising inequalities observed in most countries in the last two decades. An important component of this project is the UNU/WIDER -UNDP World Income Inequality Database (WIID).
Debt Relief & Poverty Reduction Strategies
Teams to end Poverty
A global communication and action oriented campaign against poverty
For the first time ever, the world has the wealth, the technology and the know how to eliminate poverty and social exclusion. Yet, poverty entraps the lives of 1.3 billion people around the globe and kills a child every 3 seconds.
The United Nations proclaimed 1997-2006 "Decade for the Eradication of Poverty". To turn that period into one of unprecedented progress, UNDP, the leading agency in the UN system for development co-operation, is launching a global mobilisation campaign and calls upon individuals, institutions, and private as well as public entities to each do their share of the collective effort required.
The campaign will explain that poverty can be overcome and that everyone can contribute to ending it. It is neither a fund-raising campaign nor does it seek to promote specific institutions or people. It is a call for concrete actions in every field and at every level. Its core message will be: "wherever you live, whoever you are, and whatever you already do, there is always something more you can do to make poverty decline".


Social Development and Poverty Elimination Programme (SEPED)
Aims at providing catalytic support to country anti-poverty efforts by: (1) raising public awareness of the extent, distribution and causes of poverty, and creating political space for a debate on national development priorities; (2) strengthening the capacity of government agencies and civil society to gather, analyze and monitor social indicators and to review public policies, budgets and programmes that impact on people's well-being; (3) defining national goals and targets for the reduction of overall poverty and the elimination of extreme poverty; (4) improving coordination among agencies dealing with social and economic policy; and (5) building a consensus among public, private and civil society actors on the most effective means to tackle poverty in their country.
WWW site has information on programme, selection of full text publications. - The Poverty Mandate


SEPED Poverty & Gender Research Programmes and Initiatives


Human Development Report 1991

The lack of political commitment, not of financial resources, is often the real cause of human neglect. This is the main conclusion of Human Development Report 1991- the second in a series of annual reports on the subject. The Report points to an enormous potential for restructuring of both national budgets and international aid allocations in favour of human development. But the plea for greater allocative efficiency and more effective spending does not mean indifference to the need for economic growth, or for increased resource mobilisation. On the contrary. The Report's position is that a more efficient and effective public sector will help strengthen the private role in human development. And the best argument for additional resources is that the existing funds are well spent.
Human Development Report 1991 lays the foundations for a fresh set of priorities. It explains how they can be chosen, how they can be assessed-and why we can afford to pay for them.
Future reports will build on this foundation. The aim will be to refine further the concepts and the methods of measurement-and to distil more practical experience from many countries. Another aim will be to do more research and analysis on participatory development and to examine the global dimensions of human development, looking at familiar international issues from a human perspective.
The final message of this year's Report is one of hope. If the obstacles to human development lie in the paucity of resources, in insuperable technical barriers, the task would be hopeless. We know instead that it is too often a lack of political commitment, not of resources, that is the ultimate cause of human neglect. If we can mobilize the political base for action-nationally and globally-the future of human development is secure.


UNDP Human Development Report 1993


The Report examines how and how much people participate in the events and processes that shape their lives. It looks at three major means of peoples' participation: people-friendly markets, decentralised governance and community organisations, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and suggests concrete policy measures to address the growing problems of jobless growth. The Report concludes that five pillars of a people centred world order must be built:

• new concepts of human security
• new strategies for sustainable human development
• new partnerships between state and markets
• new patterns of national and global governance
• new forms of international


UNDP Human Development Report 1994


The Report introduces a new concept of human security, which equates security with people rather than territories, with development rather than arms. It examines both the national and the global concerns of human security. The Report seeks to deal with these concerns through a new paradigm of sustainable human development, capturing the potential peace dividend, a new form of development co-operation and a restructured system of global institutions. It proposes that the World Summit for Social Development approve a world social charter, endorse a sustainable human development paradigm, create a global human security fund by capturing the future peace dividend, approve a 20/20 compact for human priority concerns, recommend global taxes for resource mobilisation and establish an Economic Security Council.


Human Development Report 1995

Human Development, If not engendered, is endangered. That is the simple but far- reaching message of Human Development Report 1995. The Report analyses the progress made in reducing gender disparities in the past few decades, highlights the wide and persistent gap between women's expanding capabilities and limited opportunities, introduces two new measures for ranking countries on a global scale by their performance in gender equality, analyses the under-
valuation and non-recognition of women's work and offers a five-point strategy for equalising gender opportunities in the decade ahead. An innovative feature of this year's Report is the design of two new composite indices - the gender related development index (GDI) and the gender empowerment measure (GEM), both of which rank countries on a global scale of gender equality. The GDI captures gender inequality in human capabilities, and the GEM reflects inequalities in key areas of political and economic participation and decision-making. The Report also brings together, for the first time, considerable data from a sample of countries on the contributions of women and men to paid and unpaid work. The Report concludes that that the unvalued contribution of women is so large that any reasonable valuation would lead to a fundamental change in the premises on which today's economic, social and political structures are founded.


Human Development Report 1996

The Report argues that economic growth, if not properly managed, can be jobless, voiceless, ruthless, rootless and futureless, and thus detrimental to human development. The quality of growth is therefore as important as its quantity¾ for poverty reduction, human development and sustainability.
The Report concludes that the links between economic growth and human development must be deliberately forged and regularly fortified by skillful and intelligent policy management. It identifies employment as critical for translating the benefits of economic growth into the lives of people. But for this to happen, new patterns of growth will need to be developed and sustained well into the 21st century¾ and new mechanisms must be developed to integrate the weak and the vulnerable into the expanding global economy.


Human Development Report 1997

Eradication of Poverty
Eradicating poverty everywhere is more than a moral imperative - it is a practical possibility. That is the most important message of the Human Development Report 1997. The world has the resources and the know-how to create a poverty-free world in less than a generation.
The Report focuses not just on poverty of incomes but on poverty from a human development perspective - poverty as a denial of choices and opportunities for living a tolerable life. The strategies proposed in the Report go beyond income redistribution - encompassing action in the critical areas of gender equality, pro-poor growth, globalization and the democratic governance of development.

Main features of the Report

  • A new concept and measurement of poverty, including the new "Human Poverty Index", or HPI. This index provides a country-by-country analysis that goes beyond the conventional yardstick of income, measuring deprivation in longevity, education and economic provisionings.
  • A global view of poverty trends providing data on the impressive achievements in poverty eradication and an analysis of some distressing setbacks.
  • A thought-provoking analysis of the impact of economic globalization on poor countries and poor people.
  • A discussion on the politics of poverty and the need to create a democratic space for partnerships between government, civil society and the private sector, all joining together to fight poverty.
  • A six point action agenda, starting with empowerment of the poor by building the assets of poor communities and poor people based on gender equality, pro-poor growth and people-friendly markets, demanding better management of globalization, and stronger national and global commitments for poverty eradication.


UNDP Human Development Report 2000

Human Rights and Human Development
Human rights and human development share a common vision and a common purpose—to secure, for every human being, freedom, well-being and dignity. Divided by the cold war, the rights agenda and development agenda followed parallel tracks. Now converging, their distinct strategies and traditions can bring new strength to the struggle for human freedom. Human Development Report 2000 looks at human rights as an intrinsic part of development—and at development as a means to realizing human rights. It shows how human rights bring principles of accountability and social justice to the process of human development.
Achieving rights for all people in all countries will require action and commitment from the major players in society. Tracing the struggle for human rights as common to all people, the Report concludes that the advances in the 21st century will be won by confronting entrenched economic and political interests.


Netaid is a new, long-term effort to use the unique networking capabilities of the Internet to promote development and alleviate extreme poverty across the world. The Netaid Foundation serves as a global exchange point to link people to successful agents and agencies of change. Netaid's mission is to use the powers of the Internet to help the millions of men, women, and children who live on the edge of survival.
Our goal is to connect all those who share these common values to promote the useful exchange of ideas, challenges, resources, and success stories. Netaid works to:
  • Facilitate community building, direct communications, and coordination among the millions of people dedicated to these aims.
  • Act as a one-stop resource for people interested in making a commitment to change.
  • Build new on-line tools to promote exchanges of ideas and success stories.
  • Help our developing country partners get access to and learn to utilize new technologies.
  • Issue periodic calls to action on items of urgency and focus attention on what works.
World Wide Web Helps War on Poverty


Africa goes online
Gambia leads 12 African countries on the information highway
In Africa, cyberspace looks like a good place to start solving age-old problems by leapfrogging outdated communications systems. Through an Internet Initiative for Africa supported by the United Nations Development Programme, Gambia has become the first of 12 countries south of the Sahara to go online. It is tapping local knowledge, as well as international expertise, to fight poverty.
Africa needs to master today's computer technology if it is to compete in the global marketplace. Although Africa has the potential for enormous wealth from its natural resources, two fifths of its 620 million people live on less than $2 per day. Through its Internet Initiative for Africa (IIA), the United Nations Development Programme aims to "leapfrog" old communications systems to link 12 countries south of the Sahara with each other and with other continents via the Internet.


UNESCO - Education For All Forum
The International Consultative Forum on Education for All, or the EFA Forum, as it is generally known, is a coalition of agencies and specialists that keeps basic education high on the world's political agenda. It was set up after the World Conference on Education for All in 1990 to guide follow-up action and provide a forum for continuous consultation among governments and their partners. Its goal? To expand and improve the provision of basic education in order to meet the basic learning needs of all children, youth and adults.
Since July 1998, some 180 countries have participated in the most in-depth assessment of basic education ever undertaken. Headed by a national EFA coordinator, national assessment teams have prepared reports outlining the progress towards education for all as well as pinpointing shortcomings towards that goal since 1990 in their country.


World Health Organization (WHO)
Founded in 1948, the World Health Organization leads the world alliance for Health for All.
A specialized agency of the United Nations with 191 Member States, WHO promotes technical cooperation for health among nations, carries out programmes to control and eradicate disease and strives to improve the quality of human life.
WHO has four main functions:
 - to give worldwide guidance in the field of health
 - to set global standards for health
 - to cooperate with governments in strengthening national health programmes
 - to develop and transfer appropriate health technology, information and standards.


World Health Report


Africa regional office
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)
UNICEF's web page offers a good overview of initiatives to improve the health of children around the globe. Includes the annual Progress of Nations, with a special section on health (


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations System-wide Special Initiative on Africa (SIA)
The United Nations System-wide Special Initiative on Africa (SIA), launched in March, 1996, singled out Africa's key advancement challenges and enlisted international community assistance in meeting them through coordinated development commitments. The SIA's key programmes have been devised for implementation within 13 development clusters. For each programme cluster, specific leadership roles are taken by agencies around the UN system, including the Bretton Woods Institutions. SIA is different from earlier undertakings in Africa because it seeks to muster indispensable backing for Africa-determined priorities and efforts, and secure pledged international commitment towards Africa determined goals as reflected in the Cairo Plan of Action on Re-launching Africa's Economic and Social Development. The Cairo Plan was adopted by the OAU Heads of State Summit in 1995


Africa News Online
United Nations and Africa


Africa Recovery Online
UN Publication


UN Economic Commission for Africa


Africa regional office


Enterprise and Cooperative Development  Social Finance Unit, ILO
Section of ILO focusing on the social dimension of finance, particularly microfinance for poverty alleviation, employment and social integration.
This site offers information on activities and an archive of full text ILO documents on the issue.


International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
:International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD see separate entry) is a UN agency providing loans and grants for rural poverty alleviation in developing countries.


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
To fight world hunger, policy-makers, the public and the media need to know precisely who is hungry and why. This is the information contained in FAO's latest publication, "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 1999" (SOFI). SOFI provides detailed data on the number of people facing hunger by region and looks at a broad range of factors that contribute to food insecurity


International Fund for Agricultural Development - Rome, Italy
IFAD, a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established in 1977 as an international financial institution as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. The Conference was organized as a response to the food crises of the early 1970’s primarily affecting the Sahelian countries of Africa. The Conference resolved that "an International Fund for Agricultural Development should be established immediately to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries". One of the most important insights emerging from the Conference was that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production, but structural problems relating to poverty and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations were concentrated in rural areas.


Conference on Hunger & Poverty
The Conference on Hunger and Poverty was held in Brussels on 20-21 November 1995. The focus was on the civil society, its experiences and potential in fighting hunger and poverty. Participants examined the possibilities of forming a coalition to increase the ability and the capacity of organizations within the civil society to empower the poor and hungry, provide them with appropriate and meaningful technology, strengthen the coping strategies of vulnerable groups and provide ways and means by which the people and the local communities can reverse the degradation of their natural resource base.
Find Discussion papers on
The World Bank -
Social Summit
Information on the UN Special Session
Visit this site for information on:
- The World Bank and the Copenhagen Commitments
- Role of the World Bank in Special Session and Preparations

The World Bank participated in the 1995 World Summit on Social Development and is fully committed to collaborating with its UN partners and others in preparing for the Geneva Special Session. These preparations, and the Special Session, provide an important opportunity for the World Bank to reaffirm and demonstrate its commitment to social development issues as it works with clients and other partners to help achieve poverty reduction goals.

- What's new - section on actions and initiatives, including the following reports on:

- Strengthening Infrastructure for Social Development 
- The Bank's continuing work on the World Development Report 2000/01 on Poverty and Development emphasizing a number of aspects of social development, including empowerment, gender, security, and opportunity, and provides a contribution to the development of strategies, policies, and programs for poverty reduction 
- The Social Dimensions of Adjustment Lending 


World Bank -
World Development Report on Poverty
go to this page to find a draft version of the WDR In September 2000 the World Bank will publish its once-in-a-decade World Development Report on poverty. The Bank is widely circulating a draft WDR. There has been a global on-line discussion of the draft from 21st February to 31st March. 


World Bank - Sustainable Banking with the Poor (SBP)
Project aiming to help improve the ability of donors, governments, and practitioners to build sustainable financial institutions that effectively reach the poor. SBP is a collaborative effort of the World Bank, Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Ford Foundation.
This site has information on project, abstracts of working papers (some full text), directory of some 1000 microfinance institutions worldwide (dating from 1995) plus a lengthy inventory analysing this data and giving an overview of microfinance practices worldwide.


World Bank - Poverty Lines
Poverty Lines is a brief, two-page newsletter summarising World Bank research on poverty. Mostly summaries of work appearing as LSMS working papers. Available in print and on the World Bank www site. While the working papers summarized may be technical in presentation and require training in economic theory or statistics to read, the summaries provided by Poverty Lines are written for readers who may not have this training.


World Bank - Development Economics Vice President (DEC)
World Bank - Development Economics Vice President (DEC)
Offering a range of analytical and training activities with a focus on: causes/consequences of long term growth; redefining the role of the state; aid effectiveness; global integration.
DEC is organisationally responsible for a number of units/programmes including the Economic Development Institute (EDI), International Economics Department (IEC), Policy Research Department (PRD), Research Advisory Staff (RAD) and World Development Report (WDR): see separate entries for each of these.
This site organises information from all DEC programmes on a thematic and organisational basis, including a separate section on learning resources aimed at teachers and trainers.


World Bank - Partnerships for Poverty Reduction
Documentation and support for initiatives on poverty reduction for the Latin American and Caribbean region
Programme sponsored by the Economic Development Institute (EDI) at the World Bank, UNDP and the Interamerican Foundation (IAF).
WWW site includes:
(a) Database of poverty related projects in Latin America and Caribbean. Some include summaries, and some are more extended case studies
(b) Bulletin boards
(c) Newsletter


The World Bank - Poverty Net
Website designed to serve a range of users by providing both broad introductions to key issues as well as more detailed analysis and data for researchers and practitioners.
This site includes full text materials, bibliographical references, newsletter, job announcements, statistical data.


World Bank -
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) 
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
was established on April 12, 1988, as the newest member organization of the World Bank Group. Its purpose is to encourage the flow of foreign direct investment to its developing member countries for economic development. Its primary means of facilitating investment is through the provision of investment guarantees against the risks of currency transfer, expropriation, and war and civil disturbance (political risks).


World Bank and International Monetary Fund
various sub-organisations of World Bank and IMF related to Africa

Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP)
Multi-donor organisation, coordinated by the World Bank. Aims to address poverty through the support of micro-finance programmes.
This site has information on the programme, full text of short-note series (Focus), occasional papers and newsletter. CGAP's goal is to significantly expand very poor people’s access to quality financial services from sustainable or potentially sustainable microfinance institutions


The World Bank's Page on Health, Nutrition & Population
The World Bank's page offers the complete text to many documents, while also providing links to their partner organizations.


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The OECD groups 29 member countries in an organisation that provides governments a setting in which to discuss and develop economic and social policy. They compare experiences, seek answers to common problems and work to co-ordinate domestic and international policies that increasingly in today's globalised world must form a web of even practice across nations. Their exchanges may lead to agreements to act in a formal way - for example, by establishing legally-binding codes for free flow of capital and services, agreements to crack down on bribery or to end subsidies for shipbuilding. But more often, their discussion makes for better informed work within their own governments on the spectrum of public policy and clarifies the impact of national policies on the international community. And it offers a chance to reflect and exchange perspectives with other countries similar to their own.
The OECD is a club of like-minded countries. It is rich, in that OECD countries produce two thirds of the world's goods and services, but it is not an exclusive club. Essentially, membership is limited only by a country's commitment to a market economy and a pluralistic democracy. The core of original members has expanded from Europe and North America to include Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Korea. And there are many more contacts with the rest of the world through programmes with countries in the former Soviet bloc, Asia, Latin America - contacts which, in some cases, may lead to membership.
Visit for a section on OECD's activities


Inter American Development Bank
The Inter-American Development Bank, the oldest and largest regional multilateral development institution, was established in December of 1959 to help accelerate economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution, was founded in 1966 by 31 member governments to promote the social and economic progress of the Asian and Pacific region. Over the past 31 years, the Bank's membership has grown to 57, of which 41 are from within the region and 16 from outside the region.
The Bank gives special attention to the needs of the smaller or less-developed countries and priority to regional, subregional, and national projects and programs.
The Bank's principal functions are (i) to extend loans and equity investments for the economic and social development of its developing member countries (DMCs); (ii) to provide technical assistance for the preparation and execution of development projects and programs, and for advisory services; (iii) to promote and facilitate investment of public and private capital for development purposes; and (iv) to respond to requests for assistance in coordinating development policies and plans of its DMCs.


Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) - the word organization of parliaments of sovereign States -plays a uniquely important role in the mobilization of the world parliamentary community to follow up on the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by WSSD.


World Parliament
World interdependency keeps growing in all areas related to quality of life: environment, employment, health, food and security. They escape more and more from State control within national boundaries.
Read about the mission, legitimacy, representativity and working modalities of a World Parliament.


British Government
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
FCO is the British Government department responsible for overseas relations and foreign affairs, through headquarters in London and Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates throughout the world.


UK Parliament

Debate on the Outcomes of the UN Social Summit (between Tony Colman MP and Peter Hain MP Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) is recorded on the UK parliamentary website under Tuesday 11th July, Westminster Hall, 'social development'.


British Government Department for International Development (DFID)
The Department for International Development (DFID) is the British government department responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty. The government elected in May 1997 increased its commitment to development by strengthening the department (formerly the Overseas Development Administration) and increasing its budget.
Globalisation and Development
Outline of a new White paper on International Development (with a specific focus on the changes resulting from globalisation and the opportunities and challenges this presents for faster progress in systematically reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development in the poorest countries). 
DFID welcomes ideas from the wider public within and outside the UK on these important questions (comments should be sent by 31 May 2000). 
DfID suggestions on social policy principles


UK Government's Social Exclusion Unit
The latest in the series of policy reports from the UK Government's Social Exclusion Unit has been released. Entitled 'Jobs for All', the report for Policy Action Team 1 addresses issues around employment and social exclusion. The report also includes an examination of the role transport and access to jobs plays in the equation and it makes a series of policy recommendation.
However, it is 186 pages long and takes several minutes to download and half a forest to print. For an abridged version of the report see
This details only the part of the report on mobility and access to jobs.


US AID Regions and Countries
The U.S Agency for International Development is the U.S. federal government agency that implements America's foreign economic and humanitarian assistance programs. USAID's history goes back to the Marshall Plan reconstruction of Europe after World War Two and the Truman Administration's Point Four Program. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and created by executive order USAID.
Since that time, USAID has been the principle U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.
USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. We provide assistance in four regions of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa; Asia and the Near East; Latin America and the Caribbean, and; Europe and Eurasia.
US AID Famine Early Warning System
- Youth Page


Descriptions have been taken and adapted from the web-sites linked to.