Our Perspective

      • Ridding Developing Countries of Armed Violence

        31 Oct 2011

        image
        As part of UNDP Kenya’s initiative to reduce and control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the Government of Kenya burnt to ashes over 2,500 illegal firearms at a public event in March 2010. (Photo: Jemaiyo Chabeda/UNDP Kenya).

        In the next two days, more than 3,000 people are expected to lose their lives to armed violence all across the world. The economic cost of violence is sobering.  It is literally reversing development—destroying livelihoods, wrecking infrastructure, reducing foreign direct investment, stunting economic growth, and inhibiting achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In many countries insecurity is also diverting public resources from education and health towards law enforcement. The question, as ever, is “what can be done?” By understanding and addressing the sources of violence, and by investing in prevention, early warning and early response capabilities, we will be able to avert conflict and violence and save lives and resources. Education has a significant role to play in preventing conflict and violence.  Countries with high levels of primary education enrolment generally have low levels of violence – and, similarly, children who are deprived of education are more likely to turn to a life of conflict. Education must be part of any effort to address violence. We are also aware that violence is often a symptom of a breakdown in the rule of law, and more broadly in state-society relations. A more just and equitable world is one which will be more Read More

      • Development in an age of economic uncertainty

        17 Oct 2011

        image
        Sewing machine operators work at the "Multiwear" Factory at Sonapi Industrial Park, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN.

        Today, the world economy is more volatile than ever, endangering recent progress in developing countries. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 marked a significant moment in history that addressed issues of universal human importance. It was a hopeful moment in which there was a global conviction that human deprivation could be alleviated through the coordinated and sustained effort of the world's nations. Nearly twelve years later, many countries have made impressive strides towards achieving the MDGs. However, we also now live in a more uncertain and integrated world where economic and financial shocks are more likely than ever, and their impact can be more broadly devastating. With such an environment come different and profound challenges for human development. To be clear, vulnerability to shocks directly impacts how well households meet basic needs, how many people live in poverty, the access children have to schooling, and the ability of men and women to find meaningful and productive employment. Therefore, fostering human development now demands that we effectively leverage recent lessons about how such crises affect developing countries and the world's most vulnerable populations. Only then can we develop and promote policies and programmes that successfully manage vulnerability, build Read More

      • Investing in sustainable development is not a choice, it’s the only option

        13 Oct 2011

        image
        Solar panels provide heat and electricity for homes in rural Botswana. (Photo: UNDP)

        International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - 17 October 2011 This month, as we mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the number of people on our planet is estimated to reach 7 billion. A secure and peaceful future for our world requires that they all have access to sustainable sources of food and water, and the means to enjoy a decent living. Investing in sustainable development is no longer a question of choice. It is the only option. That is why a meaningful outcome from the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil next June is so critical. Twenty years after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit set a forward looking agenda for sustainable development, we have a unique opportunity at Rio+20 to review progress on that agenda, examine the gaps in it and the new needs, and reach agreement on how to move ahead together. At UNDP we believe that truly sustainable development for present and future generations must safeguard ecosystems while also enabling economic and social progress. Sustainable development will also build countries’ resilience to external shocks and protect development gains. It is particularly critical to ensure that the most vulnerable are not Read More