Just Focus Website offers you the meaning of all terms you may not know.
activismActivism means taking action with the goal of changing a political or social situation. Activists use heaps of different tactics in their protests, including writing letters, organising petitions, blogging, boycotting, holding marches, rallies and strikes and, at its most extreme, even guerrilla warfare.
Also: activist, take action
aidAid is the help, usually economic, given by countries to other countries (or sometimes communities within a country). The aim is usually either to improve the social and economic situation of a developing country, or to respond to a humanitarian crisis (for example, following a natural disaster, or in times of conflict). Usually it is the wealthier, developed countries which can afford to provide aid to economically developing countries. Aid is a topic of much debate and criticism, especially because of “tied aid” (see “tied aid”).
AotearoaThe most widely known and accepted name for New Zealand derived from the Māori language (te reo), translated as ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. This name was most commonly used by North Island Māori as the indigenous word for New Zealand, more traditionally only for the North Island, with Te Waipounamu being the name of the South Island.
assimilationThis is the process of absorbing’ immigrants, or other minority groups, into a larger, dominant community. It involves a loss of the characteristics which make the newcomers different, including language, customs, religion etc. This can happen naturally over time, and some people choose to actively assimilate into the mainstream culture. During the era of Colonialism, often a smaller, but more dominant, group attempted to assimilate the indigenous people into the colonial culture. Colonial governments deliberately created policies with the intention of causing people to assimilate. This is still a subject of debate today (how far should immigrants have to assimilate in their new country?), and many countries require immigrants to take citizenship’ classes and learn the language before they can become citizens.
asylum seekerArticle 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Asylum seekers are people who claim to have suffered persecution in their country of origin, and are looking for refuge in another country.
Also: asylum seeker
sautonomyHaving autonomy means being politically independent, so that an individual, a group, community or nation has the right to govern itself. Gaining autonomy is about self-determination — deciding how you want to live and not being controlled by an external power.
Also: autonomous, Autonomy
balance of paymentsThe balance of payments is a measure of the payments that flow from one country to another. It compares the amount of economic activity between a country and all other countries. It is calculated by measuring a country’s exports against its imports of goods, services, and financial capital, as well as financial transfers. Theoretically, the BOP should be zero, but in practice this is very rarely the case.
biodiversityBiological diversity is the amount of different species in a given habitat; the diversity of life. The distribution of biodiversity is not equal on earth. The most bio diverse areas are tropics. For example, the Amazon rainforest is one of the most bio diverse regions in the world. The region is home to about 2.5 million insects, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2000 birds and mammals. Areas that are more biologically diverse are believed to be more able to adapt to change and environmental stress. Biodiversity has also contributed to the development of human culture and is part of many cultures’ spiritual heritage. Currently there has been a decrease in biodiversity as extinction rates have been on the rise. The actual rates of extinction are controversial. Some claim that they are quite low while others estimate that it is above 200 species per day. However all scientists acknowledge that the rate of extinction is greater now than at any time in human history and many believe that it is essential that steps be taken by humans to be more sustainable.
Also: Biodiversity, biological diversity
biotechnologyThe use of technology applied to biology. For example, genetic engineering, or stem cell research are all forms of biotechnology.
boycottA boycott is a protest, shown in the refusal to buy, sell or trade with an individual or business or country which the boycotter views as morally wrong. For example, during Apartheid in South Africa many people refused to buy South African goods as a way of showing their opposition to the racist system. However, boycotts can have a damaging result. For example, a few years ago a boycott of carpets made using child labour in India and Pakistan actually deepened poverty by destroying the market for carpets, so the very poorest of the poor (i.e. families which send their children out to work) lost their income.
Bretton Woods InstitutionsThe Bretton Woods Institutions are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They were set up at a meeting of 43 countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA in July 1944. Their aims were to help rebuild the shattered postwar economy and to promote international economic cooperation. (The original Bretton Woods agreement also included plans for an International Trade Organisation (ITO) but these lay dormant until the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was created in the early 1990s. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATTS) formed the foundation for the WTO). These organizations became operational in 1946. They form the basis of international economic management and fix the rules for global commercial, financial and trade relations. They are heavily criticized for their neo-liberal economic approaches and Structural Adjustment programmes, and for being undemocratic.
carbon footprintA carbon footprint is a way to measure how much someone’s life impacts on the environment, by measuring the amount of greenhouse gases (in units of carbon dioxide) that they are responsible for. For example, a person who is a vegetarian and cooks food from fresh local ingredients and who walks or cycles to work would have a lower carbon footprint than someone who regularly travels by plane or car and eats lots of red meat and packaged and processed food and drink.
change for a just worldThis is the vision of the Development Resource Centre, which is the parent of the Global Education Centre and Just Focus. Change is important because it captures the dynamic nature of the world, reflects the need for a shift in attitudes and behaviours and the need to continuously act to create a world that is just. A Just World is a world where human rights are upheld and respected, where poverty is no longer tolerated, development is people centred, holistic and sustainable, and we all recognise the interconnectivity of our lives.
civil disobedienceCivil disobedience is when ordinary people deliberately refuse to follow (i.e. break) the law as a means of political protest. This tactic has been used very effectively in many non-violent resistance movements. Protesters know that they are likely to be arrested, or even attacked or beaten by the police for breaking the law. As a strategy it has worked best when huge numbers of people are involved, such as the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s or the struggle for Independence in India, led by Gandhi.
Also: Civil DisobediencecivilianA person who is not in the military, or the police.
cluster munitionsCluster munitions are bombs that have a canister which opens in the air to release several hundred “bomblets” which scatter to the ground. The bomblets are very dangerous because they don’t distinguish between military targets and civilians. Also, many bomblets don’t explode when they land, but can then do so at any time (they don’t even need to be stepped on), killing or injuring people, sometimes long after a conflict is over. Unexploded cluster bombs therefore pose the same threat as landmines. More than 30 states are known to have produced over 200 different types cluster munitions.
Also: bomblets, cluster bomb, cluster bombs, Cluster Munitions
colonisationColonisation is the process of settlement in a new country and the formation of a new community which is either fully or partly subject to the state from which the settlers emigrated. In the past this involved large numbers of people immigrating to an area/country that was already inhabited, usually by indigenous peoples. The colonisers then expanded their civilization into this area, e.g. Europeans into Australia and New Zealand. Today, the term is used more broadly, to include the erosion of a country’s indigenous culture (language, customs and way of living). This is sometimes termed “coca-colonisation”; the erosion of a country’s native culture and its replacement with corporate mass-culture, usually American in origin (also termed cultural imperialism). This is a more metaphorical usage as it is not necessary for people to move, only various kinds of cultural signals.
Also: coca-colonisation, Colonization, cultural imperialism
commodityA commodity can be anything bought or sold, but it usually refers to bulk goods and raw materials, such as metals, oil, and basic agricultural products (coffee, cocoa, grain, cotton and rubber). Commodities are often sold by developing countries and are then made into consumer products in developed countries, e.g. cocoa from Africa is made into chocolate in New Zealand.
conflictConflict happens when two or more sides believe that their needs, values and/or interests are in opposition. In political terms, conflict means wars, revolutions or other struggles which may involve the use of arms.
cooperativeA cooperative is an organisation of people who choose to join together to meet their social, economic and/or cultural needs. Cooperatives are jointly owned or managed, and are democratically controlled by the people who use their facilities or services. In the area of development, the most common kinds of cooperatives are workers’ co-ops, agricultural co-ops, and cooperative banks.
Also: co-op, co-operative, coop, Cooperative
cultural identityThe feeling of inclusion and belonging within a specific culture. This cultural group may be identified by race, age, ethnicity, language, national origin, religion, or other social categories or groupings. The concept of cultural identity usually means an individual identifies with others in that group by speaking the language(s) and behaving appropriately according to the values, institutions, social customs and laws shared by the group. The concept includes how one defines/constructs oneself — self concept, values, beliefs, interests etc as well as belonging.
Also: Cultural identity
cultureA set of learned attitudes and values, habits, customs, behaviours, history, folklores and institutions that are shared by a particular social group or organisation who are usually unified by ethnicity, language, nationality or religion.
decolonisationDecolonisation is the process by which a colony gains independence from a colonial power (the opposite of colonisation). This can happen as a result of violent revolt (for example the USA fought for independence from Britain and founded their nation in 1776) or by peaceful negotiation. The term decolonisation generally refers to the historical process which began after the Second World War ended in 1945, with the founding of India and Pakistan (gaining independence from Britain) in 1947. This gradual emancipation of colonies has not fully finished even today, and New Zealand remains a Commonwealth realm with the British Queen as its Head of State. In turn, New Zealand is responsible for the self-governing states of the Cook Islands and Niue and administers Tokelau and the Ross Dependency. Decolonisation has increasingly become a term for an emotional, cultural, psychological and spiritual emancipation from the colonisers’.
Also: de-colonisation, de-colonization, Decolonisation, decolonization
deficitOccurs when expenditure (what is spent) is greater than income. Sometimes called a net loss. The opposite of a deficit is a surplus.
democratic nationA democratic nation/system of government is based on the right of every adult citizen to participate, equally and freely, in choosing the government. This usually happens through electing representatives of the people (politicians, usually in political parties) who form a government reflecting the choice of the majority of the people. In practice, democracy is not perfect and, without responsible government or freedom of expression, it is possible for the rights of a minority to be abused by the majority.
Also: democracy, Democracy, Democratic
deregulationThe lessening or removal of regulations that control or restrict the operations of an industry, especially regarding who can offer the good or service for sale and at what price . Price is often determined by market forces. The belief behind deregulation is that regulations reduce the level of competitiveness, therefore lower productivity, reduce efficiency and raise prices overall. Deregulation is favoured by those who believe in Free Market Capitalism. Critics of deregulation (often part of the plans of the IMF and the WTO) argue that deregulation often produces massive de-industralization and unemployment, for example as happened in Argentina in the late 90s and helped cause the politico-economic collapse of 2001.
Dev-ZoneDev-Zone is the Aotearoa New Zealand non-governmental resource centre on international development and global issues. Dev-Zone is a programme of the Development Resource Centre (DRC). Dev-Zone runs a library and a website, provides email updates, publishes its magazine Just Change, engages in information related projects and works with like-minded organisations to raise awareness about issues.
developed countriesA developed country usually has an economic system based on continuous, self-sustaining economic growth. Development involves developing a modern infrastructure (both physical and institutional), and a move away from low value added sectors such as agriculture and natural resource extraction.
Also: developed country, economic north, first world, more developed countries, more developed country
developing countryA developing country is one which is relatively poor, where the population has a low average income compared to the world average. Developing countries have weak economies and lack infrastructure (transport systems such as airports, roads, ports, trains and social institutions including schools, hospitals, parliaments etc.) and the population has a low standard of living. The majority of the population is very poor and has limited (or no) access to basics such as education, healthcare, sanitation, safe water, housing etc. Typically the country’s economy is based on sectors such as agriculture and natural resource extraction. The term “developing” can be misleading (in suggesting a building up of capital and an industrial and commercial base) as many countries have experienced negative economic growth as a result of servicing international debts. The development of a country is measured with statistical indexes such as income per capita, the rate of illiteracy, and access to water. The UN uses a compound indicator using these lists of statistics to create, a “human development index” (HDI) which gives a sense of how developed countries are.
Also: developing countries, Developing Country, economic south, majority world, third world
Development Resource Centre (DRC)The Development Resource Centre (DRC) is Aotearoa New Zealand’s specialist information and education centre on international development and global issues. The DRC is an independent, not-for-profit, NGO governed by a charitable trust and core-funded by NZAID. The DRC operates under its two programme names of Dev-Zone and the Global Education Centre.
Also: Development Resource Centre, DRC
discriminationDiscrimination is when someone is treated or considered differently because they considered differently because of a certain characteristic they have, often because they are part of a group (including their gender, sexuality, race, or religion) rather than seeing them simply as an individual. Discrimination can be both positive and negative, but it is more usually used in the negative, when an individual is discriminated against because of prejudice against a particular group.
Also: discriminate, Discrimination
diversityDiversity refers to the things that make individuals different from each other. This includes both innate characteristics (that you are born with — e.g. age, race, gender, ethnicity, mental and physical abilities, or sexual orientation) and acquired characteristics (that you develop through your life — e.g. education, income, religion, work experience, language skills, geographic location, or family status). Diversity in a society ideally involves all people living together harmoniously, celebrating their differences without discrimination.
Also: diverse, Diversity
economic inequalityThe past few decades of trade liberalisation and globalisation have seen a widening gap between rich and poor. The top 20% have increased their share of the world’s wealth while the bottom 80% have experienced a decline in their income. The global trade system has not made for a more fair or equal world. Instead there has been a vast increase in power and influence for a small number of individuals, international organisations and large transnational corporations (TNCs).
emissionThe release of substances (usually pollutants) into the environment. Generally refers to the release of gases or particulates into the air. The Kyoto Protocol is an interntional agreement to reduce emissions by country.
empowerTo be empowered means to feel stronger and more confident, through your own actions or with the help of someone else, so that you can make decisions and take control of your life, and claim all your rights.Also: empowered, empowering
epidemicAn infectious disease that spreads rapidly and widely, affecting many individuals in a population at the same time.
Also: Epidemic, epidemics, Epidemics
Export Credit Agency (ECA)ECAs are the biggest class of International Financial Institution (IFI). Their mission is to promote exports to and investments in other (often developing) countries which maintain or create jobs and increase profits in their own country. ECAs are often criticised for following a path of unsustainable development because they are neither regulated nor required to consider the social, environmental or economic consequences of their actions.
Also: ECA, ECAs, Export Credit Agency
Export Processing Zone (EPZ)Export Processing Zones (EPZs) are found in poor developing countries. Typically, the zone is used for receiving imported parts or products, processing or assembling them and then storing the goods without the obligation to pay duties. They have been criticised as causing a “race to the bottom” as governments in a region compete for foreign investment by lowering labour standards, often restricting union rights and offering incentives to foreign firms. These are often so costly that they greatly limit the benefits of the investments to the local or national economy. However, these loosened restrictions on tax and labour do increase profits for foreign investors and shareholders.
Also: EPZ, EPZs, Export Processing Zone
fair tradeThe international fair trade movement promotes higher prices for commodities, particularly those exported from poor developing countries. A “fair price” covers the cost of production and guarantees a living wage for producers. Supporters of fair trade criticise the present inequalities in trading relationships that allow the wealthy to exploit the poor. Other goals of the movement are to introduce long-term contracts which provide real security for the producers and support to gain the knowledge and skills needed to develop their businesses and increase sales. The movement has been especially successful in raising awareness and bringing about change for producers of coffee and cocoa beans, tea, sugar and bananas.
Also: Fair Trade Associations, FTA’s
free trade and free market capitalismFree trade means trade without any government-imposed barriers, such as subsidies and tariffs. The economic theory of ‘comparative advantage’ says a country should specialise in supplying the commodities, manufactured goods and services which they are most efficiently at doing. It should freely export these and, in exchange, import the goods/services which are impossible/ inefficient for it to produce. The market therefore regulates itself under the economic ‘law’ of “supply and demand”. This theory determines the policies of the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs). Free Trade is presented as the partner of democracy, together forming the only viable basis for a developed society in representing the ultimate expression of social and economic freedom. However, a democratic government was overthrown in Chile and replaced by a dictatorship in order to pursue the free market dream. Also, China has moved towards a free market without any move towards democracy. In addition, some of the strongest advocates of free trade have massive subsidies on their own goods.
Also: capitalism, capitalist, capitalistic, Free Market, Free Market Capitalism, Free Trade, market liberalisation
G20The G20 is made up of the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea,Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The European Union is also a member, represented by the rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank. Together they account for two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global GDP and 80% of world trade.
Also: G-20, Group of Twenty
G8+5The G8+5 is a group of leaders created in 2005, including the heads of government from the G8 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), plus the heads of government of the 5 leading emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa), known as the Outreach Countries (OC).
Also: G8, OC, Outreach Countries
genderGender is the categories of being male or female that are created and reinforced by society. The term “sex” refers to biological categories, while “gender” refers to social or cultural categories. So while the ability for women to give birth to children is biologically determined, and therefore a characteristic of sex, the tendency for women to rear children is not determined by biology but rather by social norms and therefore is a gender characteristic.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) functions as the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trading system. The GATT is an international agreement aimed at establishing free trade between nations by limiting or removing tariffs and quotas on international trade. Each set of negotiations is called a “round”. The first round was in Geneva in 1948 and included 23 countries. The most recent was in Uruguay in 1993 with 123 countries and led to the foundation of the WTO. The current round of trade negotiations is called the Doha Round, which started in 2001.
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a very important World Trade Organization (WTO) treaty. The GATS agreement, in force since January 1995, is the first and only set of multilateral rules covering international trade in services. All WTO members have agreed to GATS. Whereas the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides a system for merchandise trade, GATS is similar in its system but regulates services. It aims to remove all barriers to trade in services. The GATS negotiations have come under increasing criticism. The underlying accusation is that GATS is ultimately about extending opportunities for large multinational corporations at the expense of everyone and everything else. There are worries concerning the negative impacts of GATS on access to basic services such as healthcare, education, water and transport. Also there is a basic conflict between liberalising trade in services and the right of governments/communities to regulate the actions of companies.
genetic engineeringThe altering or manipulation of a gene. Changing the original structure of a gene. This is normally done to create a new organism with a desirable trait(s) (see GMO.)
Also: GE, Genetic Engineering, genetically engineered, genetically modified, GM
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)Genetically modified organisms(GMOs) are organisms that have had their genetic makeup altered by humans. They include food, plants, animals, medicines, vaccines, and fibres. Science has made it possible to locate specific genes and add’ them to another organism for different purposes. For example, rice with a gene that produces more iron; crops that that are resistant to insects and viruses; plants which produce a sterile seed so they don’t produce another crop (terminator seeds). The USA is at the forefront of GMO production. There is great controversy over the use and labelling of GMOs. Supporters claim that using GMOs creates better food security and more efficient and advanced medicines. Critics claim that the environmental effects could be devastating, copyrighting of genes could lead to the domination of world food production by a few companies, and that labelling of GMOs in products should be mandatory so that consumers have the knowledge to choose. Many indigenous movements and environmental and consumer groups oppose the use of GMOs, seeing it as a threat to biodiversity and food sovereignty.
Also: genetic modification, genetically modified organisms, GMO
global citizenA person who is involved in his or her community both at a local and global level, who understands and exercises their rights and responsibilities as a citizen. They are educated on issues that affect them as well as others and get involved in them. They practice innovative and effective ways of challenging oppression and are aware of how their actions affect others in their local and global community. They are respectful and honour others’ differences and similarities and recognize that all views and beliefs are significant and crucial to creating a just world.
Also: Global Citizen, global citizenship
Global Education Centre (GEC)The Global Education Centre (GEC) is Aotearoa New Zealand’s specialist provider of global education. GEC provides a range of services to teachers, teacher trainees, youth workers, community educators, community groups and young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. GEC is part of the Development Resource Centre (DRC), along with sister programme, Dev-Zone. GEC is the parent’ organisation of Just Focus.
Also: GEC, Global Education Center
globalisationGlobalisation is the process of increased international interconnectedness; the organisation of social, cultural and economic life on a global scale, and the growth of a global consciousness. This process is age-old, but since the 1950s the pace of this global integration has accelerated dramatically. This is due to massive improvements in communications, information and transport technology which means goods and information can travel much faster. Increased trade liberalisation and financial market deregulation since the end of the Cold War have also encouraged the process. Globalisation is a complex phenomenon as it presents the global population with enormous opportunities, but it also has the potential to increase suffering and inequality. Statistics show that, so far, globalisation has widened the gap between rich and poor.
Also: Globalisation, Globalization, globalization
Greenhouse EffectGases in the atmosphere allow heat from the Sun to reach Earth, but stop all of it escaping. This thermal blanket is natural and necessary for life. However, humans have been adding to the trace gases (including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) in the atmosphere, resulting in too much heat being trapped, causing the average global temperature to rise. The consequences of this are a worldwide, and potentially devastating, change in the world’s weather patterns.
Also: climate change, Climate Change, Global Warming, greenhouse effect
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of the economic production of a country in financial capital terms during a specific time period. It is one of the measures of national income and output. GDP differs from Gross National Income (GNI) in excluding inter-country income transfers, in effect attributing to a country the product generated within it rather than the incomes received in it.
Gross National Income (GNI)Gross National Income (GNI) was previously referred to as Gross National Product (GNP). GNI is the value, in US dollars, of a country’s output of goods and services in a year. The value of GNI can be calculated by adding up the amount of money spent on a country’s final output of goods and services, or by totalling the income of all citizens of a country including the income from factors of production used abroad.
Group of 77 (G77)The Group of 77 (G77) was established by seventy-seven developing countries in 1964. A chairman, who acts as its spokesman, coordinates the Group’s work in each of its Chapters. Membership of the G-77 has grown to 132 countries, the original name has been kept because of its historic importance. The G-77 is the largest coalition of developing countries within the United Nations (UN) and allows these nations to promote their collective interests within the UN.
Also: G-77, G77, Group of 77
Group of Eight (G8)The Group of Seven (G-7) is made up of the leaders of the seven richest countries (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy) — or G-8 (G-7 plus Russia, which does not yet participate as fully). They meet to discuss major global (especially economic) issues. They control 48% of the votes at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and 46% of the votes at the World Bank. The G8 includes four of the five veto-holding members of the United Nations Security Council and, in 2000, controlled over two-thirds of the global economy. The G8 is one of the most important international policy-making bodies, with officials and ministers from G8 countries meeting regularly throughout the year outside of the annual summits. The G8 has been accused of being too secretive, for having limited public documentation and of being too powerful as it is not accountable to anyone. Also, despite expressing concern for the poor, the G8 have done very little for the welfare of the overwhelming majority of the world’s population who live in poverty.
Also: G-7, G-8, G7, G8, Group of Seven
Guerrilla warfareGuerrilla fighters are members of small independent groups who use small-scale military attacks against a conventional military force. Typically, guerrilla soldiers see themselves as resisting an unjust ruling government or foreign invaders. Guerrilla warfare uses various tactics which take advantage of their mobility and knowledge of the local area, including ambushes and raids, suicide bombings, and sabotage and attacks on targets in enemy territory. For example, the current Iraqi rebels uses guerrilla tactics against the US-led Coalition.
hapūA smaller social unit for Māori than ‘iwi’, often translated as “sub-tribe”, linked by a common ancestor. Also means ‘pregnant’.
Heavily Indebted Poor CountriesThe Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) are the 38 poorest nations. Because their debts are so huge they have no chance of repaying and are unable to spend money on health, education and other aspects of development. In recognition of this problem, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) set up the HIPC initiative in 1996 to give some relief by writing off some debts. The aim is not to cancel the debts but to reduce them to a level that can be repaid. This, however, has little to do with reducing poverty or increasing human development. The World Bank and IMF have admitted that the HIPC initiative isn’t working.
hegemonWhen we refer the hegemon, we are usually referring to the most dominant and powerful nation in the world. For example the global hegemon at present is the United States. Some people think China will be the next hegemon. In fact some people believe that the world can’t function without a hegemon, and support a theory called the Hegemonic Stability Theory’, which claims that without a dominant state to impose order in international affairs, the world would descend into conflict and chaos.
HIV/AIDSHuman Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is transmitted through contact between people in three ways: through blood, by a mother to her child (through pregnancy or breastfeeding) and through sexual contact. AIDS is the disease that develops from HIV, weakening the body’s immune system and making it unable to fight off secondary infections.
Also: Aids, AIDS, HIV
human rightsHuman rights are believed to belong to every person and were protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Forty-eight countries in the United Nations General Assembly voted for the Declaration (eight countries abstained and two countries were absent). Human rights are based on what is essential to human survival, integrity and autonomy and to the fulfilment of human potential in society. They are described as “inalienable” which means they cannot be given, limited, sold or taken away as they belong to every individual from birth. They are also “indivisible”, meaning one right cannot exist without all other rights existing. However, this concept is not upheld in many countries and there are many organisations working internationally to try to stop human rights abuses and to guarantee that all people’s rights are respected.
Also: HR, Human Right
simperialismImperialism literally means rule by empire – the policy of a powerful country exercising control, authority and dominance over foreign lands as colonies, as a way to its increase riches and power. Today the term has a broader meaning. A state can be termed imperialist by indirectly controlling the politics and/or economy (especially terms of trade) of a weaker country. Imperialism is increasingly used in a critical way, referring not only to economics or politics but also at a cultural level. People talk of “cultural imperialism” when expressing their concerns about the widespread global influence of American culture, and the loss of local cultural identity. Also: Cultural Imperialism
Also: cultural imperialism, Cultural Imperialism, Imperialism
indigenousComing from and living, or occurring naturally, in an area or environment. Being native to a place.
infrastructureThe basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society and that support daily economic activity. Infrastructure includes transportation and communications systems (including roads, bridges, dams, harbours, parks, public buildings, telephone service), water, sewerage, lighting, drainage and power lines, and public institutions such as schools, post offices, hospitals and prisons. Infrastructure has traditionally been provided and maintained by the government. However, some nations are experimenting with privatisation of some elements of the infrastructure as governments seek to cut their expenditures. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has often demanded that a borrowing country privatises some aspects of its infrastructure as a condition of receiving a loan.
intellectual propertyIntellectual property (IP) refers to a legal entitlement to (and therefore control over the use of) the expressed form of an idea, or to some other intangible subject matter. It treats what you create with your intellect as property like something you can create with your hands. It grants the creator of an idea, sole rights to control and profit from that idea. Intellectual property is sometimes used to describe other intangible subjects such as traditional knowledge. The best known types of IP include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Patents and trademarks have their own subset of IP known as industrial property. Once established, these entitlements are generally treated as equivalent to tangible property, and can be enforced in court. (See also TRIPS)
Also: copyrights, Intellectual Property, IP, patents, trade secrets, trademarks
internally displaced persons (IDPs)Displacement is the process of people being involuntarily moved from their homes. Displacement happens due to many reasons, including war, government policies, hunger, disease. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) remain in their native country but move from their homes to another part which is considered safer. Those who move across borders into other countries become ‘refugees’.
Also: displacement, IDPs
international debtMany developing countries were lent money in the 1960s and 1970s by developed country governments, commercial banks and International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. Some of this money was used for development, but a lot was spent unwisely or taken by corrupt governments who had not been democratically elected. To make matters worse, interest rates rocketed in the 1970s and 1980s meaning that many countries ended up owing more than the original loan, even after years of repayments. In recent years, there has been a worldwide campaign for the cancellation of these debts.
Also: debt, International Debt
international developmentInternational development is the efforts, by governments and non-government organisations, to change the social conditions that create poverty and inequality, and allow people everywhere to achieve their human potential. The aim is to improve people’s lives, both materially in eliminating poverty, but also by increasing the opportunities and choices available to the population. Many different things can contribute to development, for example promoting peace and ending conflicts, increasing trade and making it fair, working on the problems created by climate change, securing more and better aid, and improving health and education. However, development can also have negative effects. New economic systems, rapid urbanisation, changed food production and other social and economic changes can bring many problems for the people who are meant to be benefiting from development.
Also: development, Development, International Development
International Financial InstitutionsThere are two kinds of International Financial Institutions (IFIs); multilateral development banks (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund [IMF], and the regional development banks) and Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). IFIs invest large amounts of public money in developing countries, thereby gaining a level of control over the development agenda. IFIs have been heavily criticised for forcing a neoliberal development model upon communities all over the world, originally through Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) and now via Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), often with negative social and environmental consequences. (See entries for World Bank, IMF, ECAs and SAPs)
Also: IFI, IFIs, International Financial Institution
International Monetary FundThe aim of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to defend the international monetary system by providing member states with loans. The IMF lends money to governments which are in deep financial difficulty (often from taking out private loans) for example Mexico in the 80s, South East Asian countries and Russia in the 90s and Argentina in 2001. This money is only made available after the receiving country agrees to economic policy reforms, known as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) or Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). The IMF is accused of being inflexible in its approach and for uniformly enforcing its policies on all countries with no regard to their differences.
iwiThe largest everyday social group (as opposed to ‘waka’, the ancestral canoe which arrived in Aotearoa from Hawaiiki which each’ iwi’ traces itself back to) in traditional Māori society, made up of ‘hapū’ (kin groups) and ‘whānau’ (family groups). Iwi have a founding ancestor and territorial (tribal) boundaries. Before Europeans arrived in Aotearoa, iwi meant something similar to nationality’, and described the group of people that a person belonged and owed allegiance to. With the development of New Zealand, the meaning became similar to that of a tribe or clan.
Kyoto ProtocolThe world’s only international agreement with binding targets to reduce harmful trace gas emissions. As such, it is the key tool that governments have to address climate change. Specifically, the Protocol requires a minimal 5% reduction in emissions by developed countries worldwide, relative to 1990 levels, by 2008-12. So far 162 countries have signed up. The USA and Australia have not, although some states in both countries have developed strict targets despite federal resistance.
land reformLand reform is a big change in who owns the land. It usually means a government using its power to give agricultural land (usually breaking it up from large estates to smaller pieces) to the people who actually farm it. This can have both positive and negative outcomes.
Also: land reforms
landmineA landmine is an explosive device usually hidden in the ground. There are two kinds – anti personnel (designed to injure or kill people), and anti tank (designed to destroy or damage vehicles). They are usually set off either by pressure (i.e. by someone standing on them, or a vehicle driving over them). An area laid with landmines is called a minefield. There is an international campaign to ban the use of landmines, and treaties have been signed to ban the manufacture, use and stockpiling (keeping) of them. However, not all countries have signed, and many minefields still exist, in former conflict areas, and thousands of local people (often children) are injured or killed every year as a result.
Also: land mine, Landmine
Least/Lesser Developed CountriesThe category of least developed (poorest) countries is a social/economic classification status applied to 51 countries around the world by political scientists and economists at the United Nations. LDCs are often afflicted by political instability and controlled by dictatorships and are often victims of ethnic clashes and lasting legacies of colonialism. Almost half of LDCs are in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are 5 LDCs in Oceania: Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The majority of the population in LDCs lives in a state of extreme poverty.
liberationLiberation is the process of a person or a group being set free from a situation which has limited their freedom, and allowing them to claim their rights and equal status. This can be achieved with help from others, or by a group’s own efforts.
low value added sectorsThe amount by which the value of an article is increased at each stage of its production, exclusive of initial costs. The value added to a product as it passes from raw material along the production chain.
majority worldThe poorest countries, which generally have low average incomes, high birth rates, lack infrastructure and are not industrialised or technologically advanced. The majority of the countries in the world fit this classification. Also known as developing, lesser/least developed and Third World countries.
Also: developing countries, developing country, least developed countries, lesser developed countries, Third World countries
Make Poverty HistoryMAKEPOVERTYHISTORY is an international alliance of organisations, faith groups, trade unions and celebrities who are united by a common belief that there is currently an unprecedented opportunity for global change. MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY urges the government and international decision makers to create urgent and meaningful policy change on three critical and inextricably linked areas: trade, debt and aid.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)The United Nations Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), signed in September 2000 at the Millennium Summit, are eight goals that all 191 member states have pledged to meet by 2015. The MDGs are, by 2015, to: 1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2:achieve universal primary education 3: promote gender equality and empower women 4: reduce child mortality 5: improve maternal health 6: combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases 7: ensure environmental sustainability 8: develop a global partnership for development. The MDGs have become benchmarks of development progress, embraced by donors, developing countries, civil society and major development institutions. There is widespread concern that the goals will not be met, as although there has been some progress in all areas it is happening too slowly. There is also criticism that, due to conservative influences, the MDGs do not include goals or targets relating to sexual and reproductive health, a major component in women’s mortality rates, empowerment and equality.
Also: MDG, MDGs
misogynyMisogyny is a strong prejudice against women as a group. A misogynist might even hate all women, although the term is often also used for people who view women as inferior to men and therefore are hostile towards them.
Also: misogynist, misogynous
multilateralSomething which is multilateral means it has many sides, e.g. a multilateral treaty is one which has been signed by many countries. In politics, multilateral is used to describe actions, agreements, decisions etc that involve more than two actors. This is in contrast to unilateral (one side acts alone) and bilateral (involving two sides). Multilateral is often used in areas of international relations, and has increasingly become a term for international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
NAFTAThe North American Free Trade Agreement took effect on January 1st 1994. NAFTA was designed for the purpose of reducing barriers to trade and investment between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. It grants foreign investors a generous set of new rights and privileges that include easy relocation of factories across borders and the deregulation and privatisation of basic services like heath care, education, water and energy. It reduced tariffs, taxes, and legal barriers of trading between the three countries. Many workers unions, environmental and social justice groups opposed the agreement believing it would lower workers rights, cause job loss, lower environmental standards and would solely benefit large corporations. The actual impact of NAFTA is still hotly debated. Currently a new agreement that would create free trade through out Central America (CAFTA) is under construction. Also, the same interests that pushed NAFTA are now trying to expand the concept to 31 other Latin American and Caribbean nations through the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, (FTAA).
Also: The North American Free Trade Agreement
natural disasterA natural disaster is when people (a community, those living in a particular region, or even an entire nation) are affected by a natural hazard (such as a cyclone, landslide, earthquake, flooding, volcanic eruption, tsunami, epidemic, famine etc). For a hazard to be considered a cause of a natural disaster, it must first have had a negative impact on a significant portion of a population and or environment. For example, a tsunami travelling over open-ocean is not a disaster, but when it strikes a population located on a coastline, the results can be disastrous.
Also: Natural disaster
neo-liberal economicsThe hallmarks of neoliberal economics are privatisation, user-pays and the reduction and removal of trade barriers including tariffs and local subsidies. Neoliberals believe that the market is always more efficient and achieves a better distribution of goods and services than even the most well-meaning government. The argument goes that the wealth created in open markets will eventually “trickle down” to the poor so that everyone benefits and human development is promoted. This theory forms the basis of the policies of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. However evidence shows that the opposite happens; that wealth circulates and expands only within the rich classes (creating hugely wealthy individuals, Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and developed countries) whilst the poor remain poor. Instead of raising the standard of living and access to opportunities for everyone, practice shows that neoliberal economics currently benefit those who already have power and wealth, and marginalise the majority.
Also: neo-liberalism, neoliberal, Neoliberal policies, neoliberalism
Non Governmental Organisation (NGO)The wider definition of an NGO is a non-profit organisation that is independent of government. NGOs are usually value based organisations which focus on activities to relieve suffering, promote human rights and the interests of poor and marginalised peoples and cultures, protect the environment, provide education, community development and social services and provide and administer aid. NGOs are usually funded through charitable donations and grants. Although NGOs have become professionalised, they still heavily rely on voluntarism and goodwill.
Also: NGO, Non Government Organisation, non profit, Non-Profit Organisation, Not For Profit, not for profit
NZAID / Nga Hoe Tuputupu-mai-tawhitiNZAID is the Aotearoa New Zealand Government’s international aid and development agency. The agency is responsible for the country’s international assistance to developing countries. NZAID is a semi-autonomous body within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). The Maori name for NZAID is Nga Hoe Tuputupu-mai-tawhiti. This reflects New Zealand’s Pacific heritage and the partnership principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Also: Nga Hoe Tuputupu-mai-tawhiti, NZAID
objectificationObjectification is when a human being is reduced to the status of an object (therefore removing the idea of the person having feelings or a mind) which means it’s easier not to sympathise with them. For example, women are objectified in pornography.
Also: objectified, objectify
oppressionOppression is the act of using power cruelly or unjustly in the treatment of a person, or group of people, over a period of time. It often happens when a majority of a society believes that a particular group of people are inferior. Throughout history, and in some cases still today, groups of people have been oppressed because the people in power believe that these groups are inferior, for example because of their gender, race or sexuality.
Also: oppress, oppressed, Oppression
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentThe Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation of 30 member countries which share a commitment to democratic government and a free market economy. It has active relationships with 70 other countries, NGOS and civil society giving it a global reach. Best known for its publications and its statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation.
Pacific Youth FestivalThe first Pacific Youth Festival (PYF) was held in Tahiti in July 2007. It was a 5-day conference of over 1000 youth (aged 16-30) from across the Pacific, gathering to learn about and share experiences of globalisation, sustainable development, cultural diversity and peace. 8 members of Just Focus attended.
pandemicAn infectious disease that spreads rapidly and widely, affecting a whole country or continent, or the whole world.
Also: Pandemic, pandemics, Pandemics
paramilitaryA group of civilians who have organised themselves like an army, especially to operate instead of regular army troops.
Paris ClubThe Paris Club bills itself as “an informal group of official creditors whose role is to find co-ordinated and sustainable solutions to the payment difficulties experienced by debtor nations”. The club was established in 1956 when a heavily-indebted Argentina met its public creditors in Paris. Since then, the Paris Club have reached nearly 400 agreements concerning 80 debtor countries. It is an informal group of 19 countries (mostly European and the USA) which meets every 6 weeks to discuss international debt crises. They listen to appeals from desperate nations who have usually been referred by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The creditors agree to rescheduling debts they are due. Rescheduling gives a country debt relief through a postponement and sometimes a reduction in debt service obligations. A Paris Club debt rescheduling or debt cancellation is often seen as a last resort before default on loans.
participationParticipation is an umbrella term in Political Science describing the ways in which the public can ‘have a say’ or ‘take part’ in political, economical or management decisions. It implies the active involvement of the group affected by the policy, project or activity in deciding how it will progress. The group could range from a small community to a country’s population or even the global community. It suggests involvement at all stages, including consultation, decision-making, planning and implementing processes. For well-informed participation to occur, there needs to be some kind of transparency.
patentA patent is a set of protective rights, given from a government to a person or company which protects a product. This means that while an invention is under patent, other companies are prohibited from selling it, unless they do so with the agreement of the patent owner. The effects of a patent can result in high prices, as there is no competition. One example is in the pharmaceutical industry; when a drug is under patent it means no one else can copy it and therefore the company can set whatever price it likes.
Also: Patent, patented, patents
peacePeace is often used as the opposite of war’, and is used to describe the stopping of war. However, it can be much broader, meaning not only the absence of war, but also a non-violent way of life, and a relationship between people(s) that is based on respect, justice, and goodwill. Seeking peace therefore also includes promoting non-violent communication and conflict resolution, working for social justice and a less violent society, and disarmament.
Peak OilAs soon as the first oil well was tapped, oil started running out. Peak oil refers to the time when oil extraction peaks’ worldwide, and our ability to source and extract oil is overtaken by our demand for it. It is not so much that oil will run out’, but that it will take more energy to extract it than it’s worth. Combined oil and gas are expected to peak around 2010.
Also: peak oil
povertyPoverty means having less than a defined minimum income, e.g. a dollar or two dollars a day (half the world — 3 billion people — live on less than US$2 a day). People living in poverty don’t have proper access to the very basic things, including food and safe drinking water, clothing, shelter, and sanitation, nor to essential services such as healthcare and education. Poverty also means not having influence over decisions that affect your life, and not having the opportunity to change things.
Poverty Reduction Strategy PapersPoverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) replaced SAPs in 1999, but PRSPs still come under attack from critics who argue that they need to be more flexible to fit the needs of different countries as they are all at different stages of development, have different capacities and also different political and administrative systems. Before this change, Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) were the standard International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank policy package for developing countries. They combined loans with forced economic policy reform. Key measures included: privatising government-owned enterprises and government-provided services, cutting government spending, orienting economies to promote exports, trade liberalisation, higher interest rates, removing subsidies on consumer items such as foods, fuel and medicines and tax increases. SAPs were heavily criticised for deepening rather than reducing poverty. In the two regions with the most experience of SAPs, per capita income has stagnated (Latin America) or plummeted (Africa).
prejudicePrejudice is an opinion or feeling someone has which is usually negative about a group (e.g. racial, religious, national) but is often formed with no experience, knowledge or reason. This unreasonable, and often hostile, feeling towards a particular group leads people to be intolerant of, fear or even hate the group. Prejudices are often described using “ism” (e.g. sexism, racism) or phobia (which means fear, e.g. homophobia is against gays).
Also: Prejudice, prejudiced
privatisationPrivatisation is when a government sells off nationally-owned enterprises to private companies (who are often foreign investors). The International Monetary Fund and World Bank often make privatisation one of the conditions of their loans. Privatisation is typically associated with layoffs and pay cuts for workers in the privatised enterprises. Privatisation also changes the primary focus of the enterprise from providing a state service to making a profit.
Also: Privatisation, privatise, privatised
profitThe remaining surplus once expenses have been subtracted from revenue.
Also: Profit, profits
refugeeA person who has been forced to leave his/her home country (often because of fear of persecution due to race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, membership of a particular group or political opinion) and has crossed an international border to seek safety. International humanitarian law includes Internally Displaced Persons who have fled their homes during armed conflicts but have not left their homeland.
Also: Refugee, refugees, Refugees
repressionPolitical repression is when an authority (often a government) mistreats a rebellious individual or group, controlling (or silencing) their behaviour by force.
Also: repress, Repression
revenueIncome earned before any expenses are paid.
Sexual and Reproductive Health RightsSexual and reproductive human rights include the right to legal abortion, to control your reproductive functions (through family planning, e.g. condom use), to access quality reproductive healthcare (e.g. to have a trained person help a woman when she is giving birth), and to education so that you can make reproductive choices free from pressure or control, discrimination, and violence.
Also: reproductive health, sexual and reproductive health, sexual health
sovereigntyThe exclusive right to exercise supreme, permanent political authority, especially over a nation, but also a geographic region, group of people, or self.
specialisationFocusing on producing a narrow range of products or one product which you have particular skills or a geographical advantage for, e.g. lamb production in New Zealand or coffee/bananas in Central America.
stockRepresents ownership of a part of a company. Imagine a company is made up of, say 1 million blocks or stocks (shares), each of these blocks represents the amount that a shareholder owns in the company. Owners of stocks usually have some small say in how the company is run (typically through being able to vote for members of a company’s board). Stockowners, usually, earn money from the dividends that stocks pay. They may also make money if a stock rises in value. Theoretically the amount that a stock is worth depends upon the company’s value, profitability, and future prospects. However, in practice, stock values are often partially the result of speculation on behalf of stock buyers. Speculation can lead to stock market bubbles’: periods when stocks are significantly over-valued and when stock market bubbles burst’ the values of stocks can significantly decline causing people to loose money.
Also: shares, Stock, stocks
Stock ExchangeA market place for buying and selling stocks and shares. Individuals and institutions buy and sell stocks in an auction-like forum. An example is the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street.
Also: stock exchange
Structural Adjustment ProgramsStructural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) were, until recently, the standard International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank policy package for developing countries. They combined loans with forced economic policy reform. Key measures included: privatising government-owned enterprises and government-provided services, cutting government spending, promoting exports, trade liberalisation, higher interest rates, removing subsidies on consumer items such as foods, fuel and medicines and tax increases. SAPs were heavily criticised for deepening rather than reducing poverty. In the two regions with the most experience of SAPs, people’s average income has not increased but stayed the same (Latin America) or even dropped (Africa). Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) replaced SAPs in 1999, but critics still argue that they need to be more flexible to fit the needs of different countries.
Also: SAPs, structural adjustment
subsidyA subsidy is money paid by a government to the producer of certain goods or services (especially agriculture) to encourage production and/or to reduce the cost to consumers. Subsidies keep prices low while maintaining a good income for domestic producers, meaning that they can compete with foreign competition. In general, subsidies distort international trade and are therefore a crucial aspect of discussions at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Subsidies are theoretically in opposition to free trade, but are still used by governments to help to establish a new industry, or to protect an old one. For example, at the same time as pressuring developing countries towards trade liberalisation, the USA and European Union continue to protect their own farmers from competition through generous subsidies.
Also: subsidies, subsidise, Subsidy, susidised
sustainable developmentSustainable Development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development – the Brundtland Commission, 1987). The concept focuses on social, economic and environmental development, and aims to find a balance between the three. It’s about finding ways of living and working that allow all people to lead healthy, fulfilling, and economically secure lives without destroying the environment or endangering the future welfare of people and the planet. This is an increasingly important issue because, in the process of industrialisation and development, countries have tended to over-exploit resources.
Also: SD, sustainability, Sustainability, sustainable, Sustainable Development
sweatshopsA factory where people work in poor conditions for what is often less than a living wage, making a variety of products including clothes, toys, shoes, and other consumer goods. The term comes from the lack of adequate ventilation and implies generally unsafe conditions. Workers may suffer physical, mental, or sexual abuse as well as having to work long hours. Some companies employ children. Most countries where sweatshops are found forbid trade unionisation, making it hard for employees to protest or improve their conditions.
Also: Sweat Shop, Sweat Shops, Sweat-shop, Sweat-shops, Sweatshop, Sweatshop
tariffA tax imposed by a government on imports. Historically, international trade has been constricted by different national taxes, fees imposed on exported and imported goods, and non-tariff regulations on imported goods; theoretically, free trade is against all these restrictions. In reality, trade agreements that are labelled as “free trade” by their proponents may actually create their own barriers to a free market. Some critics of such trade agreements see them as protecting the interests of corporations. Some multi-national entities, such as the European Union, have implemented free trade in some forms between their member nations (customs union). However, there is continuing debate whether free trade would help developing nations with different economic problems and whether free trade is good for the developed world.
te reoThe Māori language (literally “the language”). It is considered a taonga’ (treasure) of Māori.
Also: Te Reo
Te WaipounamuThe indigenous name for the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. ‘Wai’ means water and ‘pounamu’ is greenstone/jade.
terroristThe definition of a terrorist is highly debated. However, it usually refers to any person, group or state which tries to achieve a specific political, ideological or religious goal by using extreme, and often random, violence. The targets of violence can be humans (both military and civilians) and also important buildings (e.g. the Twin Towers), or systems such as transport (e.g. the London train and bus bombs in 2007) etc. Because of the broad definition you might hear one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ and for individuals to argue that Osama bin Laden and the Government of the USA have both been involved in terrorism.
Also: terrorism, Terrorism, Terrorist
The United Nations (UN) International Court of JusticeThe International Court of Justice (known as the World Court or ICJ) seated in The Hague, the Netherlands, is the main judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). The ICJ is made up of fifteen judges elected by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. Judges serve for nine years and may be re-elected. Each of the five permanent members of the Security Council has always had one judge on the Court. No two judges may be from the same country. The main constitutional document is the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Article 38 states that in arriving at its decisions the Court shall apply international conventions, international custom, the “general principles of law recognized by civilized nations”. There are two distinct types of cases upon which the court may rule: contentious issues between states and advisory opinions usually at the request of the United Nations General Assembly.
Also: ICJ, International Court of Justice, World Court
The United Nations (UN) Security CouncilThe Security Council has 5 permanent members: the People’s Republic of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States. A representative of each member must always be present at UN headquarters so that the Council can meet quickly, at any time. Each permanent member has the power to veto (a single blocking vote that outweighs any majority) any resolution. Ten other members are elected by the General Assembly for 2-year terms, with five replaced each year. There has been discussion about increasing the number of permanent members, in order to become more representative globally. The Security Council has the power to investigate any situation threatening international peace; recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute; call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal, and radio communications, or to sever diplomatic relations; and to enforce its decisions militarily, if necessary.
Also: Security Council
The Washington ConsensusThe Washington Consensus is a set of policies which form a global economic model based on the principles of free trade, privatisation and deregulation. It was first presented as a formula for growing the economy of Latin American countries in 1989. Some critics argue that the consensus’ neoliberal policies were forced on economically vulnerable countries and led them into further crisis instead of overcoming or avoiding it. Other commentators argue that it was not the policies themselves, but the extreme speed at which they were implemented which caused the damage.
Also: Washington Consensus
The World Health Organisation (WHO)The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the branch of the United Nations for health. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping what issues are researched, setting standards, explaining evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.
Third WorldA Cold War (1950s to 80s) term for the countries which were not aligned with the USA and it’s allies, or the USSR and its allies. Today the term is outdated, but sometimes still used to denote the nations with smallest United Nations Human Development Index (UNHDI), irrespective of their political status. These countries are also known as the Global South, developing countries, least developed countries and the Majority World. Many “Third World” countries are in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. They are often nations that were colonized by another nation in the past.
Also: developing countries, least developed countries, the Global South, the Majority World, The Third World
tied aidTied aid is when a donor country (the one giving or lending the money) dictates conditions on how the money is spent. This means that if the country receiving the money wants to use it to buy goods or services then they must purchase these from the donor, or another country that is chosen by the donor. Unsurprisingly, this has been heavily criticised as aid then seems to be more about benefiting the economy of the donating (developed) country, and removes control and choice from the receiving country.
Also: tied aid
tino rangatiratangaA ‘rangatira’ is a chief and ‘-tanga’ means the quality of chieftainship. The phrase can be fairly literally translated as ‘absolute/unqualified chieftainship’. The nearest conceptual translation is self-determination’, although many also refer to it as ‘absolute sovereignty’ or Māori independence.
trade liberalisationTrade liberalisation is the process by which countries make decisions to reduce or remove existing barriers to trade in goods and services and investment.
Also: liberalisation, Trade Liberalisation
Trade Related Intellectual Property RightsThe World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) is an international treaty regulates intellectual property rules for all member countries. TRIPS was agreed in Uruguay in 1993 and is an attempt to harmonize the patents laws of different nations and enforce patent rights internationally. The obligations under TRIPs apply equally to all member states, however developing countries are allowed a longer period in which to implement the applicable changes to their national laws. TRIPS has been heavily criticized concerning its relationship to AIDS medication policies. Developing countries and NGOs argue that TRIPS allows pharmaceutical companies to keep the prices of their drugs higher than developing nations, who are the ones with the biggest numbers of HIV and AIDS sufferers, can afford. The WTO Doha ministerial conference in 2001 seemed to accept this issue must be addressed when ministers agreed that TRIPS should not prevent members from taking measures to protect the public health of its citizens. However, there has been disappointment at how little has changed since Doha.
traffickingTrafficking is another word for smuggling, i.e. buying, selling and transporting people or goods illegally. For example, drug trafficking is part of a multi-million dollar international black market which supplies illegal drugs all around the world. Human trafficking is another global problem, with women and children in particular sold into slavery or prostitution and moved against their will from one country to another. Other trafficked items include wild animals, weapons (from handguns through to bombs) and rare plants.
Also: traffic, Trafficking
Transnational Corporations (TNCs)Transnational corporations operate in more than one country. Typically, manufacturing is based in a developing country where labour is cheap, but the control and profits remain in the TNC’s own (developed) country. TNCs are one of the main forces behind the world trade system (both directly and via government) and are responsible for a large proportion of international trade. Such influence helps ensure that the system works for their benefit. TNCs are the subject of much criticism due to their extraordinary power and influence. They are undemocratic, unelected and therefore only accountable to their shareholders whose priority is pursuit of profits rather than social justice.
Also: multinational, TNCs, trans-national corporation
transparencyTransparency is the concept of making information available to the public. It is the opposite of privacy; an activity is transparent if all information about it is freely available. If an organisation is committed to honesty, openness and accountability it aims for its processes to be easy to understand and access. This allows public scrutiny, discussion, challenge and amendment if necessary.
Also: Transparency, transparent
Treaty of Waitangi/ Te Tiriti O WaitangiA treaty is an exchange of promises between two groups. The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti O Waitangi in te reo, the Māori language) is a founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand. It was signed by representatives of the British Crown and representatives of Māori iwi and hapū, for the first time on 6 February 1840. There were two versions of the Treaty, one in te reo and the other in English. The exact meaning of the promises has long been a matter of debate because some of the words used in the two versions do not mean quite the same thing. From the British point of view, the agreement was justification for making New Zealand a British colony. However, the Māori chiefs who signed the Treaty didn’t have the same understanding of particular words in the Māori version. This is a complicated topic and we recommend you read other definitions and articles on this site, and elsewhere, to increase your understanding.
Also: te Tiriti, the Treaty
United NationsThe United Nations (UN) officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, after World War II, when the UN Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories. The purposes of the UN are to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems; to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends. The most important organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council and the International Court of Justice. The UN is funded by contributions of Member States, organised on a scale (according to ability to pay) agreed by the General Assembly.
Also: UN, United Nations
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)The General Assembly is where the main discussions of the United Nations take place. All member states have representatives, who hold one vote each. A two-thirds majority is required for decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.
Also: General Assembly, UNGA
United Nations Human Development IndexThe United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) measures three aspects of human development: living a long and healthy life, being educated and having a decent standard of living. It looks at a combination of life expectancy, school enrolment, literacy and income. This gives a more useful view of a country’s development than only looking at the Gross National Income (GNI). However, development is a broad and complex concept and very difficult for any measure to capture. The HDI does not include some important aspects of human development, such as participation in the decisions that affect your life. It is also important to remember the HDI uses data from international sources, which may not be the most up-to-date or accurate.
Also: HDI, Human Development Index, UNHDI
user paysMany International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank loans introduce “user pays” as part of Structural Adjustment Packages. These are charges for government-provided services such as schools, health clinics and clean drinking water. For very poor people, even small fees can lead to their exclusion from access to such services.
Also: User Pays
warWar is violent conflict, either between nations/states (inter-state conflict) or peoples within a nation (intra-state conflict, revolution or civil war). War is often now used to describe any large scale struggle, such as the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.
whānauOften translated as ‘family’, whānau is a broader concept than just the immediate family of parents and siblings of western cultures, as it also includes aunts, uncles, cousins etc. It also links people of one family to a common ancestor. Also means ‘birth’.
World BankOriginally set up to provide loans to poor countries in the last two decades the World Bank has taken a central role in the delivery and management of development projects. As well as financing public projects such as roads, power plants and schools, the Bank also makes loans to reorganise a country’s economic system by funding economic and social programs. The Bank is governed by a board with voting power decided by the level of a nation’s financial contribution. Therefore, the USA has roughly 17% of the vote (and traditionally the President is American), with the G7 countries holding a total of 45%. Meanwhile, the developing countries who are most impacted by the Bank have relatively little influence. The Bank receives considerable criticism over its structural adjustment programmes and tied aid.
Also: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank, WB
World Trade Organisation (WTO)The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an international organisation that oversees a large number of agreements defining the “rules of trade” between its 148 member states. It is committed to reducing or abolishing international trade barriers, thus liberalising trade. The Act that established the WTO created a number of agreements on goods, agriculture, intellectual property (TRIPS) and services (GATS). In the late 1990s, the WTO became a major target of protests by the anti-globalisation movement. Protestors argue that the WTO is unfairly structured (with voting power biased towards the richer, more developed countries) and that while its policies affect the entire world, it is not democratically elected or accountable. Also, the WTO contains no minimum standards to protect labour, human rights, social or environmental standards.
Also: World Trade Organisation, WTO
YouthYouth is the age between childhood and adulthood, or a person in that stage of life. The age a person is described as a “youth” varies around the world. The Ministry of Youth Development in Aotearoa New Zealand defines it as age 12-24, but the United Nations uses 15-24 and some definitions go up to 29 years old.