Worldwatch_2005_Foreword_and_Preface

Worldwatch_2005_Foreword_and_Preface - FOREWORD Mikhail S....

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FOREWORD Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Chairman, Green Cross International Worldwatch, State of the World 2005. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005 Five years ago, all 191 United Nations member states pledged to meet eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015, including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability. These critical challenges were reaffirmed by health officials from across the globe in October 2004 at the tenth anniversary of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo. The overarching conclusion from this 2004 meeting was that while considerable, albeit erratic, progress was indeed being made in many areas, any optimism must be tempered with the realization that gains in overall global socioeconomic development, security, and sustainability do not reflect the reality on the ground in many parts of the world. Poverty continues to undermine progress in many areas. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS are on the rise, creating public health time bombs in numerous countries. In the last five years, some 20 million children have died of preventable waterborne diseases, and hundreds of millions of people continue to live with the daily misery and squalor associated with the lack of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation. We must recognize these shameful global disparities and begin to address them seriously. I am delighted that the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Wangari Maathai, a woman whose personal efforts, leadership, and practical community work in Kenya and Africa inspire us all by demonstrating the real progress that can be made in addressing environmental security and sustainable development challenges where people have the courage to make a difference. Humankind has a unique opportunity to make the twenty-first century one of peace and security. Yet the many possibilities opened up to us by the end of the cold war appear to have been partially squandered already. Where has the “peace dividend” gone that we worked so hard for? Why have regional conflict and terrorism become so dominant in today’s world? And why have we not made more progress on the Millennium Development Goals? The terrible tragedies of September 11, 2001, the 2004 terrorist attacks in Beslan in Russia, and the many other terrorist incidents over the past decade in Japan, Indonesia, the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere have all driven home the fact that we are not adequately prepared to deal with new threats. But better preparation means thinking more holistically, not just in traditional cold war terms. I believe that today the world faces three interrelated challenges: the challenge of security, including the risks associated with weapons of mass destruction and terrorism; the challenge of poverty and underdevelopment; and the challenge of environmental sustainability. The challenge of security must be addressed by first securing and destroying the world’s arsenals
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Worldwatch_2005_Foreword_and_Preface - FOREWORD Mikhail S....

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