Our Perspective

      • Afghanistan's future security lies in securing development | Ajay Chhibber

        11 Jul 2013

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        Constructed with the support of UNDP Afghanistan, 1,400 kilometres of road connect 4,600 villages to help 4 million people access markets. (Photo: UNDP Afghanistan)

        Recently announced negotiations with the Taliban and President Karzai’s reaction have put Afghanistan in the spotlight. There is intense interest in security. Equally important are issues of livelihoods and providing basic services such as water, roads, electricity, justice and the rule of law. These issues will determine how Afghan people react to the changing political and security landscape. Despite the gloomy news from Afghanistan, there are many positives. Over 2 million children, including girls, regularly attend school. Connectivity has improved with more than 14 million cell phone users. Budgetary systems are improving at national and municipal levels, to ensure better accountability and delivery of public services. Yet challenges remain. The likelihood of a sharp drop in aid post 2014 occupies attention. A pact made in Tokyo pledged around $4 billion per year in assistance to Afghanistan, but less than 50 percent has been delivered.   Part of the problem is lack of expertise at the local level to efficiently use this assistance, which will require a buildup of local government. Also, refugees returning from abroad and migrants from the countryside make Kabul the world’s fastest growing city. But this vulnerable population also creates insecurity. Without jobs no security is possible. There Read More

      • South Sudan is running a marathon, not a sprint | Toby Lanzer

        09 Jul 2013

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        As part of the formation of a new nation, women police train in Western Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan. (Photo: UNDP South Sudan)

        Two years ago today, South Sudanese around the world celebrated their country’s independence after decades of war and struggle. Today, the hope remains but reality has set in. It is going to take a long time for South Sudan to achieve its goals. Like a marathon runner, South Sudan and its international partners need to commit for the long haul. Building health services, a professional police service, and a judicial system, along with all the other institutions needed in a modern state, can seem daunting in the best of circumstances. Only one in seven children complete primary school and only 27 percent of people over 15 know how to read and write. Fifty percent of South Sudan’s civil servants lack the appropriate qualifications for their jobs. To meet the gaps in the short term, the U.N. is helping to deploy civil servants from neighboring countries across South Sudan’s ten states, transferring knowledge and skills in 19 institutions. In the long term, overcoming the capacity gap requires huge investments in education. Encouragingly, this is on the government’s agenda: the budget presented to parliament for the 2013/14 fiscal year makes it a priority. In 2013, aid agencies are planning to reach nearly 200,000 Read More

      • Using laws to help tackle HIV/AIDS resonates widely | Helen Clark

        09 Jul 2013

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        In 2005, a new national AIDS law developed with UNDP's support was approved by the Government in Kyrgyzstan. (Photo: UNDP Kyrgyzstan)

        Laws which safeguard dignity, health and justice are essential to effective HIV responses. This was one of the main messages of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, an independent panel of eminent legal, political and public health experts convened by UNDP on behalf of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS. The Commission’s landmark report, HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health, which provides a compelling evidence base and recommendations on how the law can be used to protect people living with and most vulnerable to HIV, was launched at the United Nations on 9 July 2012. One year later, the understanding that laws, based on evidence and grounded in human rights principles, are a relatively low-cost way of controlling HIV and reducing stigma, is taking root. Today, UNDP is working in partnership with governments,the United Nations and civil society partners in 82 countries to take forward the Commission’s findings and recommendations. National dialogues on issues of HIV, human rights and law in 20 countries have brought people living with and affected by HIV together with those who shape, interpret and enforce laws. Judicial sensitization, parliamentary development and strengthening national human rights institutions are also important elements of taking forward Read More

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