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Many to Many
September 2003

I.    EDITORIAL – Faith


III    BOUNTY – Poem by Joanna Margaret Paul





VIII.    "GLOBAL CIVILISATION: A BUDDHIST-ISLAMIC DIALOGUE" - book by Daisaku Ikeda and Majid Tehranian

IX.    "HEALING THE HURTS OF NATIONS, The Human Side of Globalisation – book by Palden Jenkins



I.    Faith

As the farmer – in early spring - looks for that shimmer of green over the seemingly barren fields, announcing the arrival of new crops, so too in this first quarter of a new millennium there is a sense of expectancy of new and better things to come.

In the wake of violent acts and the habitual retaliatory responses in kind, the feeling of spring makes us watch out for opportunities for change: for new methods of healing and restoring relationships.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring approaches to repairing relations between the peoples of a brutally divided and traumatized nation was the proceedings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the 1990s. Based upon the principle that reconciliation depends on forgiveness, and that true forgiveness can only take place if gross violations of human rights are fully and openly disclosed, this Commission, through its committees, began the process of healing the nation. From the beginning it was made clear that for repairing all relationships and building a peaceful society there would be the need for understanding, listening and fairness  – not vengeance and retaliation, or victimization.

It may take some time before this and other methods of overcoming evil with good will have fully replaced the old eye-for-an-eye tactics. Because although hoping for the best, we tend to fear the worst: fear continuously driving us instinctively to strike out at what could be an enemy. And in today’s tumultuous and rapidly changing world nations as well as individuals are struggling to restore a sense of security, stability and order to their lives; some relying on the old means of force and intimidation – others on the building of good neighbourhoods.

In increasing numbers throughout the world people are, like the farmer, looking for that which we know in our hearts is about to appear into full view.

"Faith", says St Paul, "is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".  

We can, if we choose, give substance to the things we hope for. We can, if we have courage, bear witness to the kind of world we would like to see, for ourselves and for our children.

There is for sure already a shimmering of light dawning over the fields of the past – the evidence of an emerging new civilization and a more enlightened culture.

"Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden
but never extinguished"
- Nelson Mandela -


In his message on the International Day of Women, 8 March 2003, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, stressed that: "across all levels of society, we need to see a deep social revolution that transforms relationships between women and men". When women thrive, he said, "all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life".

In the groundbreaking 18-point resolution (1325) on women and peace and security unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council, October 2000, a commitment was made to work resolutely towards greater protection of women and girls in conflict zones; to appoint more women in peacekeeping operations and ensuring that women would increasingly become more active participants in decision-making processes, whether on national, regional or international levels.

Some of this resolution’s points were included in the commitments made by the 191 UN member states in the so-called "Millennium Declaration" in which they resolved: "to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable", and "to combat all forms of violence against women and to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women."

The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) is among those organizations and women’s groups who work continuously to help these commitments and goals become common practice throughout the world.

A recent independent study, initiated by UNIFEM, which has been examining the impact of war on women and children and the role of women in peace-building, describes a number of examples of women introducing new ways to reconstruct their war-torn and conflict-ridden communities.

"Women" says the UNIFEM Executive Director, Noeleen Heyzer, "often have informal social service systems already in place that can service as a foundation for reconstruction." As an example of this she reminds us of how women in Afghanistan, during the Taliban rule, ran schools for girls, provided health care for women and set up home-based work to support their families.

In an interview appearing in the International Herald Tribune Noeleen Heyzer draws attention to the current situation in Iraq and the important role Iraqi women – known  to be among the most educated in the Middle East – would be able to play in the rebuilding of the nation: "Women have the collaborative outlook needed to deal with Iraq society’s complexities and the pragmatic organizing expertise need to cut through the current chaos."

The following extensive excerpts are taken from a statement made, 20th May 2003, by the NGO WORKING GROUP ON WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY * to the UN Security Council, entitled:

The Implementation of and Strict Compliance with UNSC
Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in the Case of Iraq

Given that  "major combat operations have ended in Iraq", and the US-led Coalition is now engaged in "securing and reconstructing Iraq", according to US President Bush,

Bearing in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the primary responsibility of the Security Council under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Given that at the first US-sponsored meeting in Nassiriya on April 15 to discuss the development of an interim government, only four out of 123 participants were women,

Given that at a subsequent meeting in Baghdad on April 28, there were only three women, out of approximately 300 participants,

Given that no women are included in the exclusively male legal team of lawyers and judges appointed by the US-led Coalition to develop a new legal code,

Recognising that the exclusion and under-representation of Iraqi women in decision-making processes and other aspects of the post-conflict period of rebuilding undermines the spirit and the letter of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the UN principles of equality,

The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security calls for:

I. Women in decision-making

The Security Council to ensure that women are involved in political, formal and informal decision-making processes and in any legal training that may be relevant for all women and men appointed to decision-making positions.

Democratically representative Iraqi women and Iraqi women’s organizations to be fully involved and supported in all peace negotiations and their implementation, as called for in UNSC 1325.

The Security Council to ensure women’s equal participation in the creation of legislation, incorporation of the principle of equality of men and women in the legal system and abolition of discriminatory laws against women as is endorsed in CEDAW and in article nine of UNSC Resolution 1325.

II. UN Peacekeeping and Peace-building

A United Nations peace-building and peacekeeping mission to be deployed in Iraq to create an environment that facilitates the work of humanitarian organizations and promotes a fully representative Iraqi governing structure with regard to gender, ethnicity and religion.

The peacekeeping monitoring and protection components to have the appropriate capacity and special training on the provision of protection for women and girls, as called for in article six of UNSC Resolution 1325.

III. Protection of Women and Girls

The Security Council to ensure that all international humanitarian and human rights laws are implemented to protect the rights of women and girls in the post-conflict period, as required by UNSC Resolution 1325.

The special needs of women and girls to be taken into account during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction, as called for in article eight of UNSC Resolution 1325.

IV. Security Sector Reform

The Security Council to explicitly build into peace-building mandates support for the development of a gender-aware police, military and other operating security bodies, which are trained to monitor these issues.

V. Gender Justice

The Security Council to mandate appropriate authority to ensure that there is no impunity for gender-based crimes during and after conflict and to support indigenous community-based reconciliation initiatives that will allow women to seek justice.

VI. Humanitarian Considerations

The Security Council to request that all UN humanitarian bodies working in the region maintain gender perspectives and include the protection of women and girls in all aspects of their work.

Women and girls to have full access to programs for education, health care, prevention and response to gender-based violence, housing, employment and related skills training. We stress that these programs must reach women in disadvantaged rural areas, widows and women who are disabled, displaced or illiterate.

Therefore, the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security recommends and supports your urgent attention to and action on the above.

*The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security includes: Hague Appeal for Peace, International Alert, International Women’s Tribune Centre, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Contact: NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security
c/o Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,
777 United Nations Plaza, 6th floor, New York, NY 10017, USA

Among recent publications on the issue of human rights and the role of women in future societies is a publication by PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Education, entitled:

I. "Passport to Dignity: connecting the 12 Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform
For Action, to the human Rights Framework for the Fulfillment of Human Rights of Women of all Ages, Worldwide",
Written by Betty Reardon with Shulamith Koenig and Epilogue by Ivanka Corti.

This 536 pp. publication aims to "initiate an interactive process whereby readers can adopt the human rights framework in their own actions" and develop "proactive strategies in the global struggle for economic and social justice with the realization that all are born equal with dignity."  It is designed to affect the lives of women and of men within local communities and enable them to join the development of a just and harmonious society.

Contact: Women Ink. 777 UN Plaza, NY. NY 10017, USA


III. Bounty

American bounty falls on Baghdad
In the fallout of twenty thousand heads
Of stainless shining steel.
A cornucopeia of death
Rains, reigns

Joanna Margaret Paul


IV.   Steps Toward an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East
by Rene V.L. Wadlow*

    Jean Monnet, one of the fathers of the European Union, had said "Men take great decisions only when crisis stares them in the face."  Crises have dragged on in the Middle East, in particular Iraq and Israel-Palestine without any great decisions being taken that could lead to peace. Mistrust has grown, for in international relations mistrust is a function of military build-ups and the disposition of forces, as well as of trends in security postures and armaments. Inter-State relations in the Middle East are today essentially militarized power relations. They inherently tend to generate mistrust and mutual perceptions of malevolent intent. Stereotyped images of the enemy become fixed, and adversaries get caught in an endemic process of cognitive rigidity and competitive armaments. Suspicion and mistrust are sustained by deeply ingrained nationalism and self-righteousness, as reproduced daily by the official media and a pseudo-patriotic educational system.

    In such circumstances, it is not easy to reverse the process and infuse confidence. Theoretical exhortations of peaceful intent are certainly not enough. Rather, declared willingness for change has to be validated and corroborated by tangible measures in the military disposition of forces and by credible communication of non-aggressive peaceful intent. If we are to arrive at greater confidence, then misperceptions and distorted attitudes on the nature of the security predicament have to be made transparent and eliminated. The establishment of trust and confidence has to be seen as a process. Nothing can be achieved overnight. However, even small steps should be acknowledged as progress. The aim of active public opinion organized through non-governmental organizations should be to accelerate this process.

    An important need is to create a framework in which Middle East security questions can be discussed on a permanent basis. While the United Nations remains the overarching organization for world politics, it is important to have regional bodies with an independent secretariat, which can facilitate different elements of the needed confidence-building and peace process.

    The prime example of a multi-purpose regional security organization is what is now the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The creation of such an organization arose from proposals and discussions in the late 1960s as an effort to find ways for structured discussions between NATO, Warsaw Pact, and neutral countries of Europe. The creation of such an organization was negotiated in the early 1970s and then signed at a Summit in Helsinki in 1975. Military confidence-building measures and arms control, economic cooperation, human rights and cultural development were to be the areas in which measures could be facilitated on a permanent basis, a step forward from the segmented discussions on economic questions in the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe or in ad hoc conferences which had existed from the start of the Cold War in 1945. Today, the OSCE has a decentralized secretariat and a host of conflict reduction missions as well as technical assistance programmes for strengthening civil society institutions and an independent press.

    While the OSCE has not fully lived up to its security aims, as the conflicts in former Yugoslavia and Chechenya show, the over all record is good. Important precedents have been taken, including the creation of a Parliamentary Assembly where elected members of national parliaments meet to discuss policy and cooperation.

    The Middle East needs such a security and cooperation framework for action. Beyond the Iraq and Israel-Palestine conflicts which make the headlines of the world’s press and which are fundamental crises of the world political-security system, there are other tensions in the Middle East area, currently overshadowed, concerning water, minorities, natural resources, relations with the States of Central Asia which could grow if not discussed openly and creatively.

    The times call for leadership and concerted action. Most historical progress is achieved by leaders who can discern the main currents of their time and give a new sense of direction and ascent to a community. Today, the crises and opportunities of the Middle East call for the creation of an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East.

    *Rene Wadlow is the editor of, an internet journal of world politics and social policy. Formerly he was professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies, University of Geneva. Since the early 1970s, he has represented the Association of World Citizens at the United Nations, Geneva, working on conflict resolution, human rights, and social development.



Among the events marking the 2003 World Press Freedom Day (3 May) was a panel discussion held in the United Nations headquarters and organized by the UN Department of Public Information.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette opened the discussion and, referring to the theme of the panel "Media and Armed Conflict", made the appeal that the 2003 World Press Freedom Day should be used to call for action against hate media, noting the way such media had helped to trigger genocide in Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ms Frechette acknowledged that journalism always involved difficult choices, but "wartime raises the level of intensity, leading you into a veritable minefield of issues; objectivity versus propaganda; skepticism versus chauvinism; bigger picture context versus single dramatic images". The need to cover the traumatic impact of conflict on civilians must be tempered by sensitivity and respect for the dignity of suffering individuals. Saturation coverage could end up "diminishing our capacity to feel, to care, and to act".

Ms Frechette also mentioned the struggle by reporters to balance the need for objectivity with the benefits of access from being "embedded", as in Iraq, with troops. This point was taken up by several panelists and speakers, who felt that the practice of "embedding" journalists (as was the case of most CNN journalists in Iraq) did not allow them to get a full picture of the situation.

Tony Jenkins, UN Correspondents Association (UNCA), made the comment that "like all rights, if you do not use the freedom of the press to its fullest, it will wither", and "I fear", said Jenkins, "that is what is happening in this country as dissenters to the government line are forced to shut up, drowned out by the chorus of voices accusing them of being unpatriotic or traitors. Tony Jenkins warned that, "the American media has come to worship power and that is not a recipe for protecting true freedom of press".

In his message to the 2003 World Press Freedom Day, the UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, spoke of the importance of press freedom as a prerequisite for a healthy functioning democracy in which people are free to speak their minds. He reminded the meeting of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and import information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

The 2002 report published by Reporters Without Borders, entitled Freedom of the Press throughout the World, presents the results of its fact-finding missions in some 155 countries. At the top of their "World’s Worst Places to Be a Journalist" list is named Iraq, where nine journalists, covering the US-led war were killed in action during the first three weeks of hostilities, by US or Iraqi fire, land mines, or suicide bombers. Another four died in accidents or from illness. As proof that respect for freedom of expression is not limited to the developed, western countries, the report mentions the freedom enjoyed by reporters in countries like South Africa, Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Mali and Mauritius. Israel had the record for journalists arrested, including several Palestinians.

The report also pays tribute to all the journalists around the world who make many sacrifices and in spite of physical violence, harsh press laws and indiscriminate gunfire persevere in bringing us the news.

Contact: Reporters without Borders, 5 rue Geoffroy-Marie, 75009 Paris, France.


The Hague Appeal for Peace is a strong and persistent promoter education. The goal of its Global Campaign for Peace Education is to "assure that all educational systems throughout the world will educate for a culture of peace".  

The Campaign Statement says that "a culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems; have the skills to resolve conflicts constructively; know and live by international standards of human rights, gender and racial equality; appreciate cultural diversity; and respect the integrity of the Earth". The Statement underscores that "Such learning can not be achieved without intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace."

In order to accomplish the task of building public awareness and political support for peace education and of promoting the education of all teachers to teach for peace, the Campaign works in a networking style. Therefore it depends on the support and collaboration of local and international educators, organizations, researchers, youth activists, and policy-makers committed to the vision and goal of the Campaign.

A visit to the Campaign website: or will give detailed information on how to get actively involved in the peace education work.

Coordinating Offices:
Hague Appeal for Peace, c/o IWTC, 777 UN Plaza,
New York, NY 10017, USA. E-mail:
International Peace Bureau (IPB), 41 Rue de Zurich, CH-1201 Geneva,
Switzerland. E-mail:

VII. Thinking About an Ethical Career in Science and Technology

On the 7 March 2003 the first three in a series of 8-page briefings entitled "Thinking About an Ethical Career in Science and Technology" was launched by the UK based Scientist for Global Responsibility (SGR). Co-editors of these papers are Stuart Parkinson, the new elected Executive Director of SGR, and Vanessa Spedding.

Each of these briefings offers an in-depth discussion of an area of science and technology and is intended to give young scientists and engineers an understanding of the wider ethical dimensions of various careers within these fields. The briefings focus on areas in which science and technology can play a major role, for good or bad, and examine the social and environmental controversies within these areas.

The first three briefings already available are:

Two further briefings, one on sustainability and career choice and the other on the militarisation of space, will be published shortly. Further briefings will be published later this year or early next year. These will cover issues such as the military and space technology; ethics and genetics; assessing the sustainability of your career; nuclear issues; and military involvement in science and technology.

Copies of the briefings can be downloaded from SGR’s ethics web page: . Paper copies can be ordered from the SGR office: Scientists For Global Responsibility, P.O.Box 473, Folkestone. CT20 1GS, England.

VIII. Book

Global Civilisation: A Buddhist-Islamic Dialogue
Daisaku Ikeda and Majid Tehranian,
Published by British Academic Press.

Daisaku Ikeda, the spiritual leader of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a worldwide lay Buddhist organization, has conducted over 1500 dialogues during the past 40 years with world figures such as Zhou Enlai, Michael Gorbachev, Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela and has written over 80 books on Buddhist themes. This volume is a sequel to his dialogues with Arnold Toynbee and Johan Galtung.

Majid Tehranian is professor of international communication at the University of Hawaii and director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research. His latest of over 20 books are Dialogues of Civilisations: A New Peace Agenda for a New Millennium and Bridging a Gulf: Peacebuilding in West Asia.

The book focuses on the spiritual and ethical foundations of a global civilization in the process of formation and begins with the central importance of dialogue to the physical and cultural survival of humanity. It ranges over the worldview and cultures of Islamic and Buddhist civilisations. It emphasizes the importance that dialogue can make to a world torn by political, economic and cultural divisions. As noted in the preface to the book, this dialogue is of particular significance since Islam and Buddhism seem the farthest apart of all the religions and remain the last frontier, the least likely arena for fruitful interfaith dialogue.

One of the needed transformations stressed in this conversation is the shift from what both participants agreed could well be described as "cultural narcissism" to "cultural altruism" as a basis for the norm of a global civilization in the making. In its charter issued in 1995, the SGI stresses respect for cultural diversity and the promotion of cultural exchange, "thereby creating an international society of mutual understanding and harmony".

Daisaku Ikeda quoted the German poet and critic H.M. Entzenberger, who described our time as a period of transition "from the cold war to civil wars", citing as examples the conflicts in Bosnia, to which Prof. Tehranian added the conflicts in the caucasus between
Azerbaijan and Armenia, Georgia and Abkhazia, and Russia and Chechnya, all these having much to do with the rise of ethnic nationalism and conflicting territorial claims.

Regarding the bigger picture Daisaku Ikeda stressed that there was no alternative but to patiently promote "intercivilisational dialogues" in order to avoid the "clash of civilizations". Ending the chapter on this part of the discussion, Prof. Tehranian expressed the view that the time had come for us to embrace some such "axial" principle as the Gaia Hypothesis, itself based on much scientific evidence, in order to unify the world against war, ignorance and injustice. A global civilization must, he said, be founded on a human revolution that considers the Spaceship Earth as a vehicle for our common journey of discovery towards inter-civilisational peace, friendship and transcendence.

Commenting on the future role of the United Nations Daisaku Ikeda said that he and Prof. Tehranian had for years been urging the creation of a "Peoples Assembly", to function creatively as a coordinating force, the timing now being good to pool know-how from around the world and seriously to consider how the UN can be reformed to function as an "assemblage of humankind", a human agency. Prof. Tehranian said that a Peoples Assembly was needed with members elected on a representative basis, using a system that employed elections as for the European Parliament. The Toda Institute in collaboration with La Trobe University (Australia) and Chulalongkom University (Thailand) had already resulted in the publication of two books, focusing on proposals to democratize global governance at the UN and beyond.

Both participants in this dialogue agreed that there should be a clear-headed examination of the history behind the tragedies that have occurred so that the right lessons can be learnt and the needed changes take place.

In his epilogue to the dialogue Diasaku Ikeda states:  "It is the function of evil to divide human beings. This world and our own lives are the stage for a ceaseless struggle between hatred and compassion. In the end, the evil over which we must triumph is the impulse towards hatred and destruction that resides within us all. We must restore and renew our faith in human goodness and one another."

"It is my prayer and conviction that the reverence for life illuminating our conversations will become the prevailing spirit of the times, and that waves of dialogue that will inspire and elevate us all with faith in humanity and in one another will engulf the whole globe".

Contact: Soka Gakkai International
15-3 Samoncho shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0017, Japan
Web site:


IX. Healing the Hurts of Nations, The Human Side of Globalisation,
By Palden Jenkins.

To attempt a worthy review of this timely, groundbreaking analysis of the human condition, and its prospects for the future in the context of today’s tumultuous and rapidly changing world, would present a challenge to any reviewer.

In the introduction to his book the author makes the point that we people are "desperately addicted to individuality and distinction". Yet we need mutual agreements upon which we can build a global neighbourhood. "Paradoxically", says Palden Jenkins, "to join the global community, nations need to feel they can make their own decisions."

In "Healing the Hurts of Nations" the author has sought to address "humanity’s unconscious, basic, bottom-line feelings, from which conflict and resolution arise".  Rummaging around in the "heavy globs of fermenting gunk underneath", he is offering suggestions and giving us some "contextual perspectives" which he hopes will help us in turning  "a quagmire into fertile soil".

At the end of the book we are presented with a hypothetical roadmap taking us, decade by decade, to an evolutionary stage where the meaning of relationship has been lifted to a whole new dimension.

"Healing the Hurts of Nations" is a book with vision.

Contact: Gothic Image Publication, PO Box 2568, Glastonbury
Somerset BA6 8XR, England.
Website:  or

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Throughout the 2003 International Year of Freshwater there has been an intense worldwide effort to raise public awareness on the vital role water plays in the all our lives and involve us in the discussion on how we can – and must – find ways of treating this source for life with greater care and use it wisely.

"Today war is being waged over oil, tomorrow it will be for water",  was the note of warning by Leonardo Morelli, Social Water Forum organizer and coordinator of "Shout for Water" (Brazil).

The Social Water Forum was held in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, with similar gatherings taking place in Florence, New Delhi and New York, at the same time as the Third World Water Forum (Japan March 2003), bringing together non-governmental organizations and individuals to discuss the issue of managing our common freshwater resources.

The meetings resulted in a Social Water Forum Statement which outlines a number of guiding principles, including: fighting for transparency, accountability and participatory communitarian management of the national and international resources for environmental projects; promoting the globalisation of scientific knowledge for eco-efficiency on a daily basis, thinking globally and action locally; and promoting awareness that global equilibrium is related to the consciousness of human ecology, among others.

According to the World Water Development Report – Water for People, Water for Life -  compiled by the World Water Assessment Programme (hosted by  UNESCO), the global water supply is expected to decline by a third in the next twenty years. The seriousness of this dire forecast is compounded by what it describes as widespread "political inertia."

The World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) comprises all UN agencies and commissions, which are dealing with water issues and working together to monitor progress against water related targets within various fields, such as health, food, ecosystems, cities, industry, resource sharing, governance and others. Through maps, charts and graphs WWAP is continuously assessing how diverse societies are managing water scarcity, distribution, pollution, etc

WWAP’s worst-case scenario prediction estimates that seven billion in 60 countries will be experiencing water shortages by 2050, while a more ‘positive’ projection believes that two billion people in 48 countries will be experiencing water scarcity by the same time. Climate changes are seen as accounting for some 20 per cent of the increase in global water scarcity. Humid areas are likely to see more rain, while in drought-prone regions rain could decrease significantly. To this gloomy picture the report is adding the prospect of the continuous worsening of water quality, due to rising water temperatures and pollution levels. The poor will continue to be the worst affected, says the report, "with 50 per cent of the population in developing countries exposed to polluted water".

Water and sanitation also formed part of the 19th Session of the UN Human Settlements Programme’s, UN-HABITAT’s, Governing Council meeting (May 2003, Nairobi).
UN-HABITAT has estimated that the figure of the one billion poor people now living in urban slums in developing countries will have doubled by 2030.

At the conclusion of their meeting governments approved an increase by 40 per cent of the budget for the UN-HABITAT and Human Settlements Foundation’s  2004-2005 biennium. UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Anna Tibaijuka saw this as a clear signal from the international community of its readiness to help improve the living conditions of the urban poor: "Together we can make sure that one day our children will live in cities without slums, where every family will have adequate shelter with clean water and decent sanitation."

This year’s worldwide debate on freshwater has highlighted the many diverse and complex problems and challenges that must be faced and solved and – hopefully – opened our eyes to the gross ‘disparities’ that exists as to how this vital and precious resource is distributed and used. It seems that we – all of us – wherever we live, are part of the problem. Therefore we shall have to be part of the solution.

Contacts: World Social Forum on Water, Leonardo Morelli,
E-mail:  Website:
World Water Assessment Programme, UNESCO Division of Water Sciences, 1, rue Miollis,
75015 Paris, France. E-mail, website:
UN-HABITAT, Sharad Shankardass, Spokesperson & Head, Press & Media Relations Unit,
PO Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya. E-mail Website:



From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.

From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men
May Christ return to Earth.

From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men –
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

From the centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.

Let Light and Love and Power restore the plan on Earth.