Vai al contenuto


In 1987, the UNDP Office in Colombia published two volumes entitled Technologies for the Eradication of Poverty, with input from numerous institutions and academies in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Over twenty years have passed since the first publication of this work, yet its fascination is wholly undiminished. At the time it was compiled the internet was still unknown, but what was already evident was the race towards increasingly complex and costly technologies that were the fruit of the most sophisticated specialisations. Many people believed that poverty could be overcome through industrialization. Instead, according to available data, it has certainly allowed the production of wealth, but has also increased the distance between the few rich and the enormous number of poor. Today, industrial technologies have a profound influence on work, the economy, social life and even the emotional life of every individual. It is of no importance that many of these bring with them negative side effects. Millions of vehicles create traffic jams and pollute the air, but we only really become concerned when sales drop off. Millions of individuals are glued to computer screens, convinced that electronic relationships are better than human ones. Billions of kilowatts are produced that endanger the only environment we possess. It is of no importance that dependence on industrial technologies dulls the creative and critical capacities of individuals. It is progress based on growth. And when one of the inevitable crises linked to the very serious imbalances in dehumanised development comes along, the few who benefit from it brandish the spectre of poverty and unemployment, threatening the worst if we don’t set out again on the road that has rendered them so powerful: the very road that leads to poverty.

Fortunately, crises also generate new spaces for thought and action of those critical players who would like to change models of development and who oppose dependence on technologies and individual competition for success to the detriment of others. They will enjoy reading this work, not just for the simplicity and geniality of the proposed solutions, not just because of the type of problems dealt with, that evoke a healthy contact between humans, nature and other living beings, not just for the low cost and easy reproducibility of the highlighted technologies; but also for the underlying cultural message: technologies are a human product at the service of human needs. When technologies lose sight of this truth, they are unable to reduce poverty, nor are they able to resolve the other problems that worry people. Today, when risk has become global and people feel increasingly poor and disoriented, the road towards a more human form of development remains the only possible alternative.

Undoubtedly, since its first publication, the institutions and the authors of the solutions presented in this work have continued to gather and make the most of popular knowledge, improving technologies and making them more capable of resolving the concrete problems faced by people. Even in 1987 this publication anticipated the South-South cooperation strategies that today represent a priority for many Latin-American countries and for the UNDP. What is undoubtedly indispensable is a new undertaking of collecting and disseminating technologies for human development involving many countries and institutions.

The new edition of this publication was edited by the IDEASS programme that promotes South-South cooperation, supporting methodologies and technologies for human development. In particular I would like to thank the young experts who collaborated, Fernando Nicolás Bravo, Victoria Novales and Morgane Keramane, for their commitment and professionalism.

Bruno Moro
UNDP Colombia Resident Representative
Coordinator of the United Nations System in Colombia