Development Dialogue

Development Dialogue is a language of contemporary discourses on human development which aims to stimulate each entity of the society for a new history of humanity. It stands for communicating the problems that people face and hence is more value-based than other units of human life. Envisioned with better quality of human life it admires the imagination of ordinary citizens, their daily concerns and necessities and circulate these elements in policy articulation.

5:45 AM

An essay on the right to food 

Eating is a basic biological necessity for human beings. When a person does not get adequate food, he suffers from hunger. Hunger has a harmful effect on human health and on the quality of life. Malnutrition is the main cause of many deadly diseases. The lack of nutritious food halts the  psychical and intellectual development of hundreds of children. The fight against hunger has long been recognized as an important goal for the international community. The first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commits to halve between 1990-2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.  However, the number of undernourished people has increased over the past years. According to statistics, there was  around one billion  undernourished people worldwide in 2012. Africa, Asia and South America face the biggest food-related problems. 

International law recognizes the right to food  as a basic human right. It aims to  protect the right of all human beings to feed themselves in dignity, either by producing their own  food or  by purchasing it. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the right to food does not imply that people should be given food for free.  However, it implies that enabling environment should be created, so that people could produce food or access it through the market. To purchase food, a person needs sufficient incomes, consequently, the right to food requires states to ensure employment and social protection policies enabling citizens to realize their right to food. Furthermore, if people cannot get food due to the reasons beyond their control e.g. after a natural disaster, the government or international community should provide food to ensure their survival.

The right to food is enshrined in several international treaties. “The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” recognizes the “fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger”. The right to food is also stated in 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights,  Convention on the Rights of the Child and others. There are also a number non-legally binding resolutions, declarations and recommendations concerning the right to food. In 2012, the Food Assistance Convention was adopted requiring  it’s signatories to  provide at least a minimum amount of food aid for those in need.

Despite these legal efforts, the hunger still persists today and millions of people cannot exercise their right to food. Why? Firstly, most international commitments are not legally binding. Even after signing them, states may not implement these commitments fully or lack adequate resources to put them into force. Furthermore, the reason of world hunger is not a scarcity of food, but the unequal distribution of food and the lack of access to it by deprived persons. Experts claim that sufficient food is available or could be produced from current resources globally,  even in those countries where large numbers of people suffer from malnutrition. Wars, natural disasters, the concentration of resources in the hands of a small group of wealthy people-all these reasons may limit the access of the poor to food.  No doubts, that bad governance, corruption, mismanagement of resources are  also among the major causes of hunger and poverty in many countries of the world.

2:30 AM

2013-the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. As the  global demand for water rises fast, the objective of this International Year is to raise the awareness about the importance of water to human well-being and sustainable development.  

Water is the basic necessity to sustain life.  The accessibility and quality of water resources are fundamental to human health. However, today around 900 million people still lack access to clean water supplies.  Furthermore, as population grows, water as a resource will become scarcer in the future.  Many people around the world suffer not only from the scarcity of water, but also from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation. More than 80% of diseases like diarrhea or dysentery are the result of contaminated water. Water-borne diseases is the second leading cause of child death.  

The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7C states :”Halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”.  Access to water and sanitation is also declared as  a human right. Securing the access to clean water is critical  in helping to achieve other MDGs on reducing the  poverty, achieving child and maternal health, reducing  child mortality. The adequate supply of clean water could stop the spread of dangerous water-borne diseases and significantly improve public health and human well-being.

Nepal is one of the Asian countries with the highest level of water resources. However, the country faces serious problems related to water management. Only 10% of the country’s groundwater potential is utilized and for many families the adequate supply of water is out of reach. Rural areas are often remote from water supplies and only 31 % of Nepal has sanitation coverage. According to government statistics, more than 4.4 million people in Nepal do not have regular access to safe drinking water.  The pollution of flowing streams with waste is also high. Furthermore, in some places arsenic occurs naturally in ground waters and causes a contamination problem. There is no simple solution for the problems mentioned above. The active involvement of international organizations, NGOs and the government are crucial for providing clean and safe water to the population. There are some NGOs working to provide safe water and improved sanitation in Nepal like  WaterAid,  the World Water Organization, Nepal Water for Health. However, still lots  should be done to ensure that all  people in Nepal and in many other regions of the world have access to safe water and water-related services.

In 2013 the  UN will organize a large  number of seminars, workshops and other events related to water education, water diplomacy, cooperation in providing safe and clean water. Hopefully, these messages will reach policy-makers and others in power. Providing adequate access to safe water is one of the most important development goals and it should be a priority for the governments and international organizations.  



 Joint G8 Science Academies’ Statement on Water and Health,

Dr. Suresh Das Shreshtha, “Water Crisis in the Nepal Himalayas”