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UN Human Development Report

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  • John Frazer
    KOFI ANNAN S Astonishing Facts! By Barbara Crossette (The New York Times U.N. bureau chief) Every year, the United Nations Human Development Report looks for a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2001
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      KOFI ANNAN'S Astonishing Facts!
      By Barbara Crossette (The New York Times U.N. bureau chief)

      Every year, the United Nations Human Development Report looks for a
      new way to measure the lives of people.
      Putting aside faceless statistics like per capita gross domestic
      product or export-import figures, the report burrows into the facts
      about what children eat, who goes to school, whether there is clean
      water to drink, how women share in the economy or who doesn't get
      vaccinations against diseases that go on killing even though they are
      preventable.
      This year, the report takes its first look at what people have --
      from simple toilets to family cars -- and what proportion of the
      world's goods and services are consumed, comparatively, by the rich
      and by the poor.
      The pie is huge -- the world's consumption bill is $24 trillion a
      year -- but some servings are very small indeed.

      NATURAL RESOURCES -- Since 1970, the world's forests have declined
      from 4.4 square miles per 1,000 people to 2.8 square miles per 1,000
      people.
      In addition, a quarter of the world's fish stocks have been depleted
      or are in danger of being depleted and another 44 percent are being
      fished at their biological limit.

      THE ULTRA RICH -- The three richest people in the world have assets
      that exceed the combined gross domestic product of the 48 least
      developed countries.

      THE SUPER RICH -- The world's 225 richest individuals, of whom 60
      are Americans with total assets of $311 billion, have a combined
      wealth of over $1 trillion -- equal to the annual income of the
      poorest 47 percent of the entire world's population.

      COSMETICS AND EDUCATION -- Americans spend $8 billion a year on
      cosmetics -- $2 billion more than the estimated annual total needed to
      provide basic education for everyone in the world.

      THE HAVES -- The richest fifth of the world's people consumes 86
      percent of all goods and services while the poorest fifth consumes
      just 1.3 percent.
      Indeed, the richest fifth consumes 45 percent of all meat and fish,
      58 percent of all energy used and 84 percent of all paper, has 74
      percent of all telephone lines and owns 87 percent of all vehicles.

      THE HAVE NOTS -- Of the 4.4 billion people in developing countries,
      nearly three-fifths lack access to safe sewers, a third have no access
      to clean water, a quarter do not have adequate housing and a fifth
      have no access to modern health services of any kind.

      THE GANGES -- The Ganges River symbolizes purification to Hindus,
      who believe drinking or bathing in its waters will lead to salvation.
      But 29 cities, 70 towns and countless villages deposit about 345
      million gallons of raw sewage a day directly into the river. Factories
      add 70 million gallons of industrial waste and farmers are responsible
      for another 6 million tons of chemical fertilizer and 9,000 tons of
      pesticides.

      AFRICA -- The average African household today consumes 20 percent
      less than it did 25 years ago.

      MEAT -- Americans each consume an average of 260 pounds of meat a
      year. In Bangladesh, the average is six and a half pounds.

      THE FUTURE -- By 2050, 8 billion of the world's projected 9.5
      billion people -- up from about 6 billion today -- will be living in
      developing countries.

      SMOKE -- Of the estimated 2.7 million annual deaths from air
      pollution, 2.2 million are from indoor pollution -- including smoke
      from dung and wood burned as fuel which is more harmful than tobacco
      smoke. 80 percent of the victims are rural poor in developing
      countries.

      WRISTWATCHES AND RADIOS -- Two thirds of India's 90 million
      lowest-income households live below the poverty line -- but more than
      50% of these impoverished people own wristwatches, 41% own
      bicycles, 31% own radios and 13% own fans.

      TELEPHONE LINES -- Sweden and the United States have 681 and 626
      telephone lines per 1,000 people, respectively. Afghanistan, Cambodia,
      Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have only
      one line per 1,000 people.

      ICE CREAM AND WATER -- Europeans spend $11 billion a year on ice cream
      -- $2 billion more than the estimated annual total needed to provide
      clean water and safe sewers for the world's population.

      AIDS -- At the end of 1997 nearly 31 million people were living
      with HIV, up from 22.3 million the year before.
      With 16,000 new infections a day -- 90 percent in developing
      countries -- it is now estimated that 40 million people will be
      living with HIV in 2000.

      LANDMINES -- More than 110 million active landmines are scattered
      in 68 countries, with an equal number stockpiled around the world.
      Every month more than 2,000 people are killed or maimed by mine
      explosions.

      PET FOOD AND HEALTH -- Americans and Europeans spend $17 billion a
      year on pet food -- $4 billion more than the estimated annual
      additional total needed to provide basic health and
      nutrition for everyone in the world.

      $40 BILLION A YEAR -- It is estimated that the additional cost of
      achieving and maintaining universal access to basic education and
      health care for all, reproductive health care for all women,
      adequate food and clean water and safe sewers for all is roughly $40
      billion a year -- or less than 4 percent of the combined wealth of the
      225 richest people in the world.
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