Social Essay

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POVERTY REDUCTION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FRANCINE MESTRUM (e-mail: mestrum@xs4all.be) Universit´ Libu de Bruxelles e (Received 22 January 2003) Abstract. The prominent place of the chapter on poverty in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPI) is totally in keeping with the priority given to poverty reduction in the development thinking of the international community of today. The Johannesburg process did not lead to any new insights or new commitments in the fight against poverty. Section one sets out a factual comparison of the poverty chapters in Rio’s Agenda 21 (AG21) and in the JPI. Section two reviews the conceptual links between poverty reduction and sustainable development, since poverty is used both as a dependent and as an independent variable. This analysis shows a shift in the function of growth as related to environmental protection. Section three explores the ‘naturalization’ of development thinking in its economic and social dimensions and shows how this affects the policy options for social protection. I also explain how social and environmental sustainability have become elements of risk management and how are both aimed at conflict prevention and enhanced growth. Finally, in section four three lines of action are suggested to enhance the emergence of a socially meaningful sustainable development agenda that, ideally, would make poverty reduction strategies redundant. Key words: development, poverty, sustainability, United Nations, World Bank. Abbreviations: AG21 – Agenda 21; CEPAL – UN Economic Commission for Latin America; HIPC – Highly Indebted Poor Countries; ILO – International Labour Organization; IMF – International Monetary Fund; JPI – Johannesburg Plan of Implementation; LDC – Least Developed Countries; MDG – Millennium Development Goals; ODA – Official Development Assistance; PNUD – Programme des Nations Unies pour le d´
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