• Military spending by African governments and by those who export arms to the region must decline more steeply.

  • African governments must make good on their commitments of greater proportions of revenues to human resources and to basic goals in health, nutrition, education, and family planning.

  • The international community should assist Africa in its struggle toward democracy through direct assistance to those policies and institutions that deepen democracy's foundations.

COMMENTARY

The State of the World's Children points to the considerable progress made in fighting the diseases that kill and disable children and lists those that are in retreat: measles, tetanus, polio, diarrhea, and iodine and vitamin A deficiencies. However, it notes other problems: the extreme deprivation and exploitation of children and the abuse of children in war, in the workplace, on the street, and at home, which afflict millions of children everywhere. Even here, however, the report notes a few tentative signs of an emerging new ethic that might one day offer children protection from the perils of the adult world.

Still, achievements in the health of children and the promise of further achievement can only be seen as fragile, set as they are in what the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) terms the poverty/population/environment spiralthe complicated dynamic among poverty, population growth, and environmental degradation. UNICEF sees the global management of that spiral and emergence to a sustainable future as the most complex, difficult transition in all human history.

The responsibility for that management falls to both the developed and developing countries. The most difficult challenge for the developed world will be a redefinition of its own concepts of growth and progress. If the transition is to be made, the developed world will also be challenged by a continuing need to play a major part in helping to resolve the problems of poverty, population growth, and environmental degradation in the developing world. A central point of UNICEF's argument is that it is hard to imagine this occurring in any way but cooperatively and with a fresh definition of progress.

In the context of this Synthesis, we are aware of UNICEF's perspective, that is, to locate ourselves along the paths of developmental progresson the one hand, to be certain of victories that are being achieved, and on the other hand, to ready ourselves for new challenges, particularly when they involve transitions to different kinds of problems requiring entirely different responses.



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