Have you ever thought about the various types of changes occurred in your surroundings since your childhood to the present day? Surely, you will come up with several answers and you will realize that with those changes our world has become more developed. But with development, come new challenges and to overcome these challenges some initiations need to be taken. For this, the world organisation United Nations (UN) has established several ways to overcome the challenges arising at the cost of development. UN has also dedicated a day to inform you about those challenges. The World Development Information Day is a day that is commemorated by UN on 24th of October every year to denote the developmental problems of the world.
What is World Development Information Day?
To find a solution of a problem is very complex task but before finding solutions it is very important that we understand the actual problem. There are many issues that are obstructing us in turning the world a developed place. Earth is the sole planet that contains life and to lead a healthy life is possible when we have healthy environment, developed countries along with facilities of food and security, medical health and sanitization, peace and harmony, etc.
So, the World Development Information Day draws attention of people worldwide to problems related to the development. This day is marked to educate the public on such concerns and to reinforce the achievements of humanity and to address global problems.
But, before knowing the developmental issues that need to be paid attention, first learn about the facts related to beginning of World Development Information Day.
Story behind the Origin of World Development Information Day
In the year 1972, on 17th May, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) proposed a resolution stating measures for the mobilisation of public opinion and information dissemination related to trade and development problems. In the same year on December 19, the UN General Assembly passed this resolution and named it 3038 (XXVII) and with this introduced World Development Information Day. This day aims to bring focus of people across the world towards development problems. So, next year of the establishment of the said resolution, the first World Development Information Day was observed on October 24, 1973.
With the induction of World Development Information Day, the UN General Assembly had the motive of drawing the attention of world public’s opinion each year on development problems. The UN also wanted people to understand the necessity of strengthening international co-operation to solve these development problems. Later, this day was recognized as the date on which the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade was adopted in the year 1970.
What is the need to celebrate World Development Information Day?
We know that the world in which we live is dynamic. Nothing stays permanent. So, here arises a need to create a stable world. Stability can only be maintained if we eradicate the issues that are stopping us from moving ahead. What is the role of World Development Information Day in eliminating those issues?
As mentioned above, World Development Information Day helps to draw the attention of people to development related problems. Once people understand the seriousness of the issues then only they can understand that how much strong international cooperation is necessary to find out ways to solve those problems.
Till now we have discussed the meaning, purpose, history of the World Development Day. Now we will learn about what makes World Development Information Day an important event.
Significance of World Development Information Day 2021
The fact UN decided to celebrate World Development Information Day on October 24 which is also United Nations Day itself tells about the significance of this day. In simple words, UN chooses its foundation day as World Development Information Day because it is very crucial to make people aware about the problems that are disrupting development and to make them understand the need of international cooperation to work out these problems. This day is a reminder for us to take the responsibility of growing our community and at the same time helping others to develop as well.
From the starting of this article, we have used the term development or developmental problems but do you really know what they really are? Let us now understand what actually the problems are we are talking about…
What are Development Problems?
Issues that transcend national boundaries and cannot be resolved by any one country alone are considered as development problems. UN has added new challenges in its initial goals such as safeguarding peace, establishing the framework for international justice, protecting human rights, and promoting economic and social progress. Let’s have a look on some of these challenges:
1) Concepts of Inequality
The evolution of understanding of inequality has come out from the traditional outcome-oriented view where income is used as a proxy for well-being. Some people struggle to fulfill their basic needs while some people can easily spend on their desires. This situation created a gap between the people and lead to inequality in the society. This inequality is primarily based on income but there are other factors as well contributing to it.
2) Violation of Human Rights
Human rights are those rights that are inherent to all human beings without the discrimination of any race, sex, ethnicity, nationality, religion, language, or any other status. These rights include people’s right to life and liberty, work and education, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom from slavery and torture, etc.
But there are some regions of the world where violation of these rights are committed especially against women and children. Many countries have low women literacy ratio as education for women is not allowed in those countries. This factor has become a big hindrance in the development.
3) Public Health
Global public health focuses on the needs related to health of people around the world. It has a medical as well as political dimension as it has been drawn on a variety of disciplines including economics, epidemiology, sociology, environmental science and more. Public health is a global problem and in narrower terms it is obviously related to medical like impact of parasites on farmers in tropical regions, sanitization facility, etc. but in broader picture it will also show us that how income inequality influences health outcomes.
In 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a public health emergency after the outbreak of COVID-19 and it became very necessary to respond comprehensively to the unprecedented humanitarian, public health and development emergency.
4) Climate Change
Climate change is a major issue at present time. From shifting of weather patterns that have threaten our food production, to depletion of ozone layer which has increased severe skin diseases, the impact of climate change is at global level is massive in scale. Rising sea levels have also increased the risk of catastrophic flooding and living with these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly for us if we do not take any drastic action today.
5) Atomic Energy
The horror of the Second World War caused by the nuclear blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the need to address the nuclear issue. Millions of people were suffered from the blast and its aftereffects were so much severe that air of Japan still contains some particles from that blast that are affecting the health of people. Other incidents like Chernobyl in 1986, Fukushima in 2011, etc. also led to give more attention of nations to protect, manage and regulate the use of atomic energy.
Ways to Overcome Development Issues
Need to deal with several global issues like ageing, AIDS, decolonization, democracy, food and security, gender equality, international law and justice, etc. led to the birth of the world’s only universal global organization UN. Since its official establishment on 24 October in 1945, UN has been passing resolutions to maintain peace and security among nations, to control the climate change and to lead the countries towards more developed zone by setting sustainable goals. So, to eradicate the developmental issues, UN has taken some measures that provide a key of solution to those problems.
1) Eliminating Poverty and Inequality
Worldwide it is calculated that around 700 million people are still live on less than US $1.90 per day where 1.3 billion people are multi-dimensionally poor and most of them are women. So, UN is looking at dynamics of exiting poverty and inequalities in all forms and dimensions. To eradicate both these problems, two factors are very important – addressing of interconnected socio-economic issues and management of these challenges that make people vulnerable. UN is working on coherent actions to ensure responses from multisectoral forms from global to local.
2) Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)
Amid the times of Covid Pandemic, information and communication technologies have became a new solutions to development problems. The ICT have the potential to overcome the challenges, mainly in globalization. It also acts as a means to foster economic growth, access to information and knowledge, competitiveness, poverty eradication, and social inclusion thus helping to integrate developing, undeveloped and developed countries.
An example of this can be seen in the field of education sector where students can access knowledge from any corner of the world by using ICT instruments like laptops, mobile phones, etc. which became very common and essential in the time of Covid-19.
3) Structural Transformations for Sustainable Development
Structural transformation refers to a particular period of growth in living standards and incomes that brings economic, social and political change. In a study conducted by UN, it is observed that the low income countries result better towards development by incorporating environmental initiatives into structural transformation goals than the countries which are making strategies for prioritising economic growth. Therefore, UN is supporting countries that are accelerating structural transformations for sustainable growth.
4) Nature-based Solutions
Healthy ecosystem is the heart of development. Through methods like sustainable management, protection of land, rivers, seas and oceans etc. we can offer nature-based solutions. By preventing these natural resources from pollution and over exploitation, countries can assure adequate food and water, and a better living environment for sustaining life. That’s why UN has established several sustainable developmental goals that motivate nations to shift to green economic pathways.
5) Access to Affordable and Clean Energy
Nuclear energy safety is the responsibility of every country that possesses and utilises nuclear technology. As UN and nuclear age were born simultaneously, so in its first resolution the UN General Assembly established the UN Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) to deal with the problems arisen due to the atomic energy. (UNAEC) works to provide a strong, sustainable and visible global nuclear safety framework that will not only protect the people but the society and environment also.
Ways to Celebrate the World Development Information Day
The main aim of this day is to propagate information and derive public opinion particularly among youth in context of problems surrounding development and methods how to increase efforts in the field of international cooperation for growth. Each international day provides community or any organization an opportunity to organize activities or events related to that day. Similarly, World Development Information Day also offers a chance to create public awareness on the issues related to development and its solutions.
So, here are some suggestions that show you how to observe this day in a fruitful manner.
1) On this day, schools, public and private sectors, governments and several organizations including United Nations organize events and debates on a variety of forums. Take part in these conversations to learn more about development problems.
2) Start with local level and think about the ways by which you can help your community to grow. Discuss with your community or society members, issues related to development of your community and methods to solving those issues.
3) Social media is the platform that is emerging fast in the present scenario so to emphasize on this day you can share posts on social media platforms. Share World Development Information Day images, quotes, articles to spread awareness about this day to more people.
4) Voluntarily promote activities that will help in instilling peace and harmony in the society.
5) Conduct surveys to find out the needy ones and organize or take part in the charity work for those people.
Imagine the world free of any inequality, having freedom and harmony and peace among humans and environment. How much our life will be better in such world? Celebration of this day is a step towards a new suitable world which is full of humanity and prosperity. So surely make use of this day in educating people about the serious development issues. If you wish to highlight any development problem like this or solutions to solve them then do tell us by commenting on the article.
World Development Information Day 2021: FAQs
Q1. What theme for World Development Information Day 2020 was selected by UN?
The theme for World Development Information Day 2020 was ‘Information and Communications Technologies — New Solutions to Development Challenges’.
Q2. On which position India ranks in World Development Report 2021?
As per the 6th Edition of ‘Sustainable Development Report 2021’ issued by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), India ranked 120 with a score of 60.1 out of 165 countries.
Q3. Which countries are on the top in Sustainable Development Report 2021?
Finland secured the first position in the index followed by Sweden and Denmark.
Q4. Who is responsible for preparing the World Development Report?
The World Development Report (WDR) is an annual report which was first published in 1978 and since then it is being preparing by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) or World Bank.