The 1975 Dag Hammarskjöld Report on Development and International Cooperation was conceived as a tribute to the man who, more than any other, gave the United Nations the authority which the world needs more than ever. Neither a manifesto nor an academic exercise, the Report was designed primarily for those, citizens and statesmen, officials and diplomats who, by their actions and by their decisions, on both a national and an international level, can influence the direction of world affairs.
The crisis of development facing the world today lies in the poverty of the masses of the Third World, as well as that of others, whose needs, even the most basic — food, habitat, health, education — are not met; it lies, in a large part of the world, in the alienation, whether in misery or in affluence, of the masses, deprived of the means to understand and master their social and political environment; it lies in the growing feelings of frustration that are disturbing the industrialised societies.
The existing ‘order’ is coming apart, and rightly so, since it has failed to meet the needs of the vast majority of peoples and reserved its benefits for a privileged minority. The task is to create another one. This will not be possible without a clear identification of the often divergent interest at stake, without struggle and without eventual transformation.
Redefining the content and direction of development and re-ordering international relations and the United Nations system to serve them will be a painstaking and lengthy endeavour but, as the Chinese proverb says, ‘even the longest journey beings with the first step’. This report attempts to point us in the right direction.