Our Perspective

      • Road to Rio: Women 'out of sight, out of mind’| Helen Clark

        11 Apr 2012

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        Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and former UNDP staff, is the first elected female head of state in Africa as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner. Photo: UNDP

        Today, there are only eight women heads of state – representing slightly more than five per cent of the total.  This seems extraordinary in the second decade of the 21st century.  The global average of women holding parliamentary seats remains under twenty per cent, which is well below the thirty per cent target set in the Millennium Development Goals.  At the current rate of progress, that target will not be reached globally before 2025, and long beyond that in many countries.  That is too long for women and the world to wait. The proportions of women in national legislatures in the world’s regions range from roughly 22 per cent in the Americas and Europe (with the 42 per cent in Nordic countries pushing the average figures up) to 20.2 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, 17.9 per cent in Asia, 14.9 per cent in the Pacific, and 10.7 per cent in the Arab States.  Five countries – all in the Gulf and the Pacific – have no women parliamentarians at all. Only sixteen per cent of ministers are women, and most often they are allocated portfolios like those for social welfare, women, and children.   When women are “out of sight, out of Read More

      • Road to Rio: Partnering for the sustainable future we want | Sigrid Kaag

        10 Apr 2012

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        Installation of diesel-fueled engines in Mali was a joint partnership of the governments of Mali, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNDP, as well as other partners. Photo: UNDP

        When world leaders, NGOs, the private sector and others meet in Rio this June to discuss how to achieve a future we want, "sustainable development" will be the buzz word. But what does it actually mean and how can we achieve sustainable development?  Development that is truly sustainable must include economic, environmental and social aspects. It is paramount for the international community to forge strong partnerships with all parts of society to build a greener and more inclusive world.  But how can the international community establish successful collaborations between governments, the private sector and civil society to achieve the sustainable future we all want? Here are some possible solutions: - We need to focus on collaborations where there is a real, deep interest and rationale for the private sector to engage. Their engagement needs to be more than  philanthropic. - With support from the United Nations, governments and public organizations need to set policy frameworks and provide incentives for businesses to take action. - The United Nations can also help with systemic topics leading to large-scale investments, such as technology innovation or setting new rules and standards. - Finally, the UN can support large-scale change by establishing collaboration platforms and networks Read More

      • Gender equality is central to democracy | Sezin Sinanoglu

        04 Apr 2012

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        Image from UNDP's documentary "The Glass Ceiling,” shining light on political inequality. Photo: UNDP Thailand

        While the world's attention focuses on Myanmar's elections this week, we should not lose sight of a more regional concern about women's political participation in Asia and the Pacific. This part of the world has the distinction of having the lowest percentages of women in national legislatures of any region outside of the Arab states. Roughly 18.2 percent of national legislature seats in Asia are held by women, and only 15 percent in the Pacific. If you exclude Australia and New Zealand, it drops to just five percent. Globally, less than 20 percent of the world's parliamentary seats are occupied by women. We are still far from reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goal target of at least 30 percent by 2015. Why does it matter if women are so poorly represented? Women's perspective and their participation in politics are prerequisites for democratic development and contribute to good governance. Moreover, Asia is home to two-thirds of the world's population, but economic progress will be limited without equal opportunity for men and women to influence political and economic decisions. There are some basic prescriptions that could set the scene for more political equality: - Establishing consensus among party leadership to promote women's Read More

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