Developing the Global South: A United Nations Prescription for the Third Millennium

Developing the Global South: A United Nations Prescription for the Third Millennium

Developing the Global South: A United Nations Prescription for the Third Millennium

Developing the Global South: A United Nations Prescription for the Third Millennium


In this unique book Dr. Milkias places the focus on the United Nations? contribution to the development of the nations of the Global South and summarizes what the UN has accomplished in advancing development during the last half century. The data is up to date and the mantra of ?Millennium Development Goals? is explained in simple language. Another new element in the book is the author?s down-to-earth but comprehensive explanation of the gap between the North and the South. In succeeding chapters he explains reasons for the gap, elucidating the position of liberal economists on the one hand and dependency as well as participatory development analysts on the other. He enumerates structural inequalities in the era of globalization, the advantages of participatory development and sustainable growth as well as needs for technology transfer. Although there are several books on the gap between the north and the south, not many explain chronologically and in detail UN attempts to help the south develop. In terms of actions to close the gap, the only book that comes near to covering the main features of development goals as this monograph does is a book published by the UN Millennium Project itself under the title: Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goal (2005.) That official publication brings together the core recommendations of the UN Millennium Project and outlines practical investment strategies and approaches to financing them. It also presents an operational framework that will allow nations of the south to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and suggests that even the poorest of the poor among nations would be able to do so. This rosy picture is, however, far from reality and fails to pinpoint the problems that would hinder many nations? development goals to be achieved by the target year of 2015. Developing the Global South, clearly upbeat about the future, not only explains the problems in detail and how to overcome them but also documents over 40 years of dramatic achievements as well as considerable amounts of unfulfilled hopes the traces of which can be clearly observed more than half way into the deadline set by the United Nations. The book is written for Third World Development scholars but in a style that is accessible and engaging for the layman as well.


The ideological confrontation between the East and the West has abated following the end of the Cold War but the problem of the economic gap between the North and the South continues to frustrate the inhabitants of the planet. Many developed nations and their citizens would like to shelve this problem once and for all but doing that is far from easy. the first bold move towards that was taken several decades ago by Nobel laureate Lester B. Pearson, former prime minister of Canada. in the 1960s, the Commission on International Development chaired by Pearson was established at the initiative of the World Bank. the Commission surveyed the condition of the developing countries of the South; it examined the conduct of private and official assistance and discussed the role of international organizations in the development efforts of the South. It presented many far-reaching recommendations including a proposed development assistance target of 0.7% to be taken from every rich nation’s gnp and allocated to the South.

Then in the 1970s a second and even more ambitious commission was set up. This commission which was chaired by the former chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt gave a report entitled “North–South: a Program for Survival.” the “Brandt Report” dealt with global issues arising from the economic and social disparities of the world community. It particularly called for attention to the problems of the poorest countries, such as of hunger and food shortage as well as population explosion and the looming threat to the global environment. It endorsed disarmament, the conservation of the world’s energy resources and the amelioration of the existing conflicts on tariffs and trade.

1 Thomas, G., “The United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries: the Relevance of Conference Diplomacy in International Negotiations,” International Affairs, no. 59, (autumn 1983): 649-75.

2 Independent Commission on International Development Issues, “North–South: a Program for Survival,” Report of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues, pm.

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