The World Health Organization (WHO) was formally established in June 1948 as a specialized agency of the United Nations. This organization resulted from the unification of 3 different international agencies concerned with hygiene, public health and health emergencies: the Office of International Public Hygiene (located in Paris), the League of Nations Health Organization (located in Geneva) and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA, in New York). The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), set up in 1901, then took on the role of the American Regional Office of WHO.
The first Health Assembly opened in Geneva on 24 June 1948 with delegations from 53 of the 55 Member States.
‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care…’
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published the
first Human Development Report, which amplified the message that poverty was on the
agenda and made the case for a broad-based conceptualisation of poverty and poverty
The United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development also known as the ‘Earth Summit’ or ‘Rio Summit’. This was successful in
mobilising public attention on environment and development but failed in its grander
objective of reaching a global consensus on issues such as climate change and
Important event for the MDG process. The ICPD discussions proved to be much broader than the previous conferences, which had assumed that population control was the priority goal and had concentrated on demography and family planning.
With an unprecedented 117 heads of state and government attending the Summit, the
final declaration was never going to be radical, but it did have exceptional legitimacy. It was structured around three pillars – poverty
reduction (from a multi-dimensional perspective), employment and social integration –
but it was the first of these that dominated discussion. Indeed, the UNDP (1997:108)
refers to Copenhagen as ‘…a giant step forward…with the new political commitment to
At the World Summit for Social Development, held in March 1995 in Copenhagen, Governments reached a new consensus on the need to put people at the centre of development. The Social Summit was the largest gathering ever of world leaders at that time. It pledged to make the conquest of poverty, the goal of full employment and the fostering of social integration overriding objectives of development.
189 member states of the United Nations (UN), including 147 heads of state and government, adopted the Millennium Declaration in which they pledged to do their best for those suffering from
poverty, hunger and disease. The MDGs have eight specific goals and a definite time frame: the goals are to be met by 2015
At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from the private sector, NGOs and other groups, came together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet.
The official discussions focussed on two main themes: how to build a green economy to achieve sustainable development and lift people out of poverty; and how to improve international coordination for sustainable development