Africa Today: Culture, Economics, Religion, Security

What role does culture play in development?
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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 04, Hubert rated it really liked it Shelves: africa , academic-general , economics , history , politics-economics , sociology. Bureaucratic issues are overemphasized in this primer on the politics, sociology, and religion of contemporary Africa. In , elections in which all South Africans were allowed to participate on an equal basis led to the establishment of a multiracial Government. A long-term objective of the United Nations has been to improve the lives of women and empower them to have greater control over their lives.

Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Action

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by countries, has helped to promote the rights of women worldwide. Thirty-five per cent of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime. Some million women live in countries in which domestic violence is not considered a crime.

As many as one in four women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy. Domestic violence is still condoned in many societies. To address the problem, UN-Women seeks to engage men and boys, works with local partners and supports the adoption of laws against domestic and sexual violence. The global campaign UniTE to End Violence against Women works to raise awareness and increase political will and resources for ending violence against women and girls. The International Labour Organization ILO has established standards and fundamental principles and rights for work, including freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and the abolition of forced labour, child labour and workplace discrimination.

To allow all people to obtain information that is free of censorship and culturally diverse, UNESCO has helped to develop and strengthen the media and supported independent newspapers and broadcasters.

UNESCO also serves as a watchdog for press freedom, and publicly denounces serious violations like the assassination and detention of journalists. The United Nations has been at the forefront of the fight for full equality for persons with disabilities, promoting their participation in social, economic and political life. The UN has shown that persons with disabilities are a resource for society, and has negotiated the first-ever treaty to advance their rights and dignity worldwide: the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by more than countries.

The United Nations has brought to the fore injustices against the million to million indigenous people who live in some 90 countries and who are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the world.

The member Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues works to improve the situation of indigenous peoples all over the world in development, culture, human rights, the environment, education and health. The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples makes proposals on improving indigenous rights. It evolved into a lagoon after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution. The United Nations has been at the forefront in assessing the science and forging a political solution.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which brings together 2, leading climate change scientists, issues comprehensive scientific assessments every five or six years: in , it concluded with certainty that climate change was occurring and that human activities were a primary cause. The members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are negotiating agreements to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and help countries adapt to its effects.

The UN helps developing countries to respond to the challenges of global climate change. Thirty-nine UN bodies have formed a partnership to deal comprehensively with the problem. For instance, the Global Environment Facility, which brings together 10 UN agencies, funds projects in developing countries.

The United Nations is working to solve global environmental problems. As an international forum for building consensus and negotiating agreements, the UN is tackling global problems such as ozone layer depletion, toxic waste, loss of forests and species, and air and water pollution.

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Populists movements are seeking to fill this vacuum, and there is a risk that the political scene in Zanzibar will be overtaken by proponents of radical organisations, such as the increasingly popular Uamsho movement, which promotes Islamic principles and total independence for Zanzibar. These political stances, however, did not adequately capture the reality that both sides of the East-West conflict were struggling with issues related to the full range of rights. Nonso Obikili, Toggle navigation Language:. The World Food Programme WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency, fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. How is it that religions - which supposedly espouse peace, love and harmony - are so commonly connected with intolerance and violent aggression?

Unless these problems are addressed, markets and economies will not be sustainable in the long term, as environmental losses are depleting the natural capital on which growth and human survival are based. As a result of a treaty known as the Montreal Protocol, countries have been phasing out chemicals that cause the depletion of the ozone layer and replacing them with safer alternatives.

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This will spare millions of people from contracting skin cancer because of exposure to increased ultraviolet radiation. During the first UN decade on water , more than a billion people gained access to safe drinking water for the first time in their lives. By , another 1. In , the International Year of Freshwater raised awareness of the importance of protecting this precious resource. The second international water decade aims to reduce by half the number of people without a source of clean drinking water. Ninety per cent of major marine commercial fish stocks are exploited to their sustainable limits or beyond.

FAO monitors global fisheries production and the status of wild fish stocks and works with countries to improve the management of fisheries, stamp out illegal fishing, promote responsible international fish trade and protect fragile species and environments. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants seeks to rid the world of some of the most dangerous chemicals ever created.

Mashood Baderin and Robert McCorquodale

Ratified by countries, the Convention targets 23 hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals that can kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders and interfere with child development. Other UN conventions and action plans help to preserve biodiversity, protect endangered species, combat desertification, clean up seas and curb cross-border movements of hazardous wastes. By prosecuting and convicting war criminals, the UN tribunals established for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda have helped to expand international humanitarian and international criminal law dealing with genocide and other violations of international law.

Both tribunals have contributed to restoring peace and justice in the affected countries and in the region. The International Criminal Court is an independent permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of the most serious international crimes—genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes—if national authorities are unwilling or unable to do so.

Situations in nine countries have been referred to the Court, which has already established itself as the centrepiece of the system of international criminal justice. UN-backed courts in Cambodia and Lebanon are prosecuting those responsible for serious violations of international law, including mass killings and war crimes.

Over multilateral treaties—on human rights, terrorism, global crime, refugees, disarmament, trade, commodities, the oceans and many other matters—have been negotiated and concluded through the efforts of the United Nations. By delivering judgments and advisory opinions, the International Court of Justice ICJ has helped to settle international disputes involving territorial questions, maritime boundaries, diplomatic relations, State responsibility, the treatment of aliens and the use of force, among others.

The United Nations has spearheaded international efforts to regulate the use of the oceans under a single treaty. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has gained nearly universal acceptance, provides the legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas. The Convention lays down rules on the rights and duties of coastal and landlocked States—including with regard to navigation, the establishment of maritime zones, the protection of the marine environment, scientific research and the conservation and sustainable use of marine life.

The treaty includes mechanisms for settling disputes.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC works with countries and organizations to counter transnational organized crime by providing legal and technical assistance to fight corruption, money-laundering, drug trafficking and smuggling of migrants, as well as by strengthening criminal justice systems. It helps countries to prevent terrorism, it is a leader in the global fight against trafficking in persons and, together with the World Bank, it helps countries to recover assets stolen by corrupt leaders. The Office works with countries to improve public health, as well as public security, in order to prevent, treat and control drug abuse.

Efforts to contain the global drug problem have reversed a year rise in drug abuse and headed off a pandemic. Nevertheless, several countries and regions remain vulnerable to the instability caused by drug cultivation and trafficking. The World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO promotes the protection of intellectual property rights and ensures that all countries are in a position to harness the benefits of an effective intellectual property system.

Intellectual property, which at its core is a mechanism designed to recognize and reward inventors and creators for their ingenuity while safeguarding the public interest, helps to promote development and create wealth. The incentives built into the intellectual property system act as a spur to human creativity, pushing forward the boundaries of science and technology and enriching the world of literature and the arts.

More than 60 million refugees fleeing persecution, violence and war have received aid from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR since , in a continuing effort that often involves other agencies. UNHCR seeks long-term or "durable" solutions by helping refugees repatriate to their homelands, if conditions warrant, or by helping them to integrate in their countries of asylum or to resettle in third countries.

There are more than 42 million refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons, mostly women and children, who are receiving food, shelter, medical aid, education and repatriation assistance from the UN. As the global community strives for a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA , a relief and human development agency, has assisted four generations of Palestinian refugees with education, health care, social services, microfinance and emergency aid.

When natural disasters and emergencies arise, the UN coordinates and mobilizes assistance to the victims. UN appeals raise several billion dollars a year for emergency assistance. The World Meteorological Organization WMO has helped to spare millions of people from the calamitous effects of natural and man-made disasters. Its early warning system, which includes thousands of surface monitors, as well as satellites, has made it possible to predict with greater accuracy weather-related disasters, has provided information on the dispersal of oil spills and chemical and nuclear leaks and has predicted long-term droughts.

It has also allowed for the efficient distribution of food aid to drought-affected regions.

The World Food Programme WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency, fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries, providing food and nutritional support to the poorest, most under-nourished people and working towards the Global Goal of Zero Hunger. This included their administration of more than schools and Islamic centres in 30 African countries.

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Currently, about 3, African students are studying at Al-Mustafa branches on the continent and 2, are enrolled on courses in Iran and are sent as missionaries to their native countries several times a year. The Islamic Azad University has international branches and offices at local universities in several countries, including Tanzania.