Official Development Assistance (ODA)
2. The Current Situation of the World's Socio-economic Development

Development assistance over the past half century has attained remarkable achievements in some sectors and countries. Mankind, however, is still confronted with a number of serious problems. The international community ought to grapple with these problems through the global partnership.

(1) More than One Billion People are in Extreme Poverty

Today, more than one billion people, or one-fifth of the world's total population, are in extreme poverty and are struggling to keep alive from one day to the next. It is projected that, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, this number of impoverished people will increase.

(2) Education -- Literacy Rate in the Least Developed Countries (LDC) is less than 50%

The adult literacy rate in developing countries amounts to 67% and in the least developed countries 45%. In addition, the literacy rate of women is still much lower than that of men.

(3) Serious Shortage of Nutrition and Medicine

About one-third of the world's children are suffering from lack of nutrition and half of the world's population is unable to get basic medicines.

(4) Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases, such as cholera, malaria and tuberculosis, once thought to have been conquered to a substantial extent, are increasingly resistant against potent antibiotics and vaccines and have once again started to become rampant. In addition, new diseases, such as AIDS and the Ebola hemorrhagic fever have been emerging.

(5) Environmental Destruction Endangers the Existence of Human Beings

In regions like Asia where development is progressing, the discharge of mercury, factory dust and acid rain are serious problems. Global warming caused by the greenhouse effect inevitably has a great influence on the entire Earth. Furthermore, one-fifth of the worldOs tropical forests, the nurturer of a variety of biological species, have already been destroyed by indiscriminate logging and clearing in the course of slash-and-burn agriculture as a consequence of poverty and population growth. It is projected that, if the destruction continued at the current pace, one-sixth of the world's plant species and an even bigger proportion of vertebrate and insect species would be exterminated in 30 years.

(6) Regional Conflicts

The total number of refugees and internally displaced persons reculting from regional warfare has reached some 27 million today. A great number of victims in regional conflicts are always the weak, especially women and children.

Graph : Chart 2 Economic Growth and Infant (Under 5) Mortality Rate (1995)

Photo (Acid rain withers trees in a coniferous forest in Eastern Europe)