Our Perspective

      • A new environment for adapting to climate change

        03 Jun 2011

        A local farmer harvests sorghum in the Sudan
        A local farmer harvests sorghum in the Sudan. Photo: UN Photo/Fred Noy

        Climate change disproportionately affects the most vulnerable communities in the world. The impacts of extreme weather events and natural disasters hurt poor countries the most where lack of resources and weaker infrastructures leave people less equipped to respond and protect themselves. Read UNDP Chief Helen Clark's remarks on adaptation at the United Nations 2010 Climate Change Conference in Cancun. Even gradual changes can be a huge additional burden on these countries, increasing the difficulties people face to simply secure food, water and a basic livelihood. Niger is one such country struggling to adapt to climate change. With 80 percent  of its territory covered by the Sahara desert and the semi-arid Sahel zone, Niger has been hard hit by frequent droughts with a dry season that lasts for 9 months of the year, putting rural livelihoods at severe risk.  Three years ago UNDP began supporting Niger, along with 19 other African countries, to develop strategies to help prevent some of the worst impacts of a changing climate. The US$92.1 million Africa Adaptation Programme, funded by the Government of Japan, aims to support countries like Niger create a stronger environment to prepare for, and adapt to, climate change. By sharing knowledge and identifying Read More

      • Pulling Latin America out of the “inequality trap”

        25 May 2011

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        Urban Housing in Mexico. Photo: UNHabitat

        When we talk about development in Latin America, there are many reasons to be positive.  While the global recession left many developing countries with greater challenges in striving to reach the MDGs, Latin American and Caribbean economies have recovered more rapidly than expected reflecting the region’s economic resilience. On a different front, the region leads the world in social programmes that give financial aid to people in poverty on condition for maintaining children in school and keeping up with vaccines and medical checkups, a huge boost to reduce poverty in 18 countries in the region.  In spite of strong economic growth and advances in tackling poverty, high and persistent levels of inequality continue to be a great challenge. While the region is not the poorest in the world, it is the most unequal, as measured by the Gini coefficient. "Ten of the fifteen most unequal countries in the world are in Latin America", said Head of UNDP, Helen Clark at the Fourth Latin America Ministerial Forum on Development. "Our priority must be to take the fight against poverty even further and make inroads into reducing inequality". While economic growth is important for long-term development progress, it does not automatically translate into Read More

      • Indigenous peoples’ contributions to human development

        19 May 2011

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        Delegate at United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Photo: UNDP

        This week 1,500 indigenous representatives have gathered in New York to discuss indigenous issues  related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. The 10th United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in realizing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples everywhere. It is also a chance to focus in on what can be done collectively to address the pressing priorities that remain. Expanding the rights, voice, participation and opportunities of the world’s 370 million indigenous people is essential to generate the kind of inclusive development that can build just, diverse and cohesive societies worldwide. Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator at UNDP, opened the forum on Monday remarking, “Human development is not possible where discrimination, injustice, and social exclusion prevail, and where there is a lack of recognition that all groups bring value to society with their different worldviews.” Encouraging more effective dialogue and consultative process and strengthening access to justice remains a priority. This will help to bridge the cultural divide that gives rise to discrimination and exclusion and will increase the voice of indigenous people’s decision-making at every level. It will also help to Read More