This issue of Development Dialogue brings together four themes—superficially disparate but, on a deeper level, interconnected—that have been prominent in the recent working programme of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation: the struggle for human rights; the prospects for nuclear disarmament in the post-Cold War era; the origins and consequences of the economic crisis in Southeast Asia and the responsibility of the media; and efforts to combat the secrecy surrounding medicinal drugs. The first contribution to this issue of Development Dialogue is Mary Robinson’s speech ‘Human Rights: Challenges for the 21st Century’. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave the speech as the first Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture on 1 October 1998 in Uppsala. She places particular emphasis on the importance of Civil Society Organisations and their decisive advocacy role in the fight for human rights, both as independent actors and in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other international institutions. Mary Robinson’s lecture is followed by an article by two Indian journalists and scholar-activists, Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik, who write about the post-Cold War momentum in favour of nuclear restraint and disarmament in a global perspective, but also scrutinise the alarming situation in South Asia.