Our Perspective

      • Sustainability must combine environmental concerns with poverty reduction | George Bouma

        12 Jun 2013

        image
        Addressing poverty-environment issues is essential for achieving sustainable development. Above, children in Rwanda. (Photo: PEI)

        With 2015 around the corner, one question dominates the global development agenda: what will replace the Millennium Development Goals? Twelve years on from the historic Millennium Declaration, indicators show that our failure to protect our environmental systems is undermining much of the progress that has been made in helping the world’s poorest communities. The stories from around the globe are all too familiar. Small-holder farmers in Tanzania have been suffering smaller yields as a result of soil degradation; communities in Bangladesh are struggling to cope with increasingly erratic weather conditions as a result of climate change; indigenous peoples in Latin America and South-East Asia are searching for alternative livelihoods where high levels of deforestation have robbed them of their principal economic assets. It is now clear that the post-2015 agenda must tackle the relationship between poverty and sustainability if it is to bring about long-lasting change. Efforts to bring the three strands of sustainable development (social, environmental and economic) into a single policy lens have a long history, dating back to the 1980s and ranging up to more recent Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. Despite progress in many areas, such plans have struggled to bring about enduring and institutional change. Often, international Read More

      • A huge milestone in Zimbabwe’s recovery process

        03 Jun 2013

        image
        Consultation meeting on Zimbabwe’s constitution making, organized by the Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) in January 2011. The COPAC process culminated in the production of a draft constitution which was passed in the March referendum. Photo: UNDP Zimbabwe

        Over the past couple of years, there has been a lot of progress in Zimbabwe in terms of economic recovery, taming inflation and progress in the social sectors – with improvements in education and health. Accepted by a huge majority of the 3 million people who voted in the March referendum, Zimbabwe's new constitution is a huge milestone in this overall recovery process. The constitution is expected to provide the basis for the upcoming electoral process, which we hope will lead to the creation of a new government and usher Zimbabwe towards full recovery and development. The document is now slated to go to parliament where it will require two thirds of the vote to pass. The constitution-making process in Zimbabwe is one the major undertakings of the government formed in the wake of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), signed by the different political parties after the disputed elections of 2008.  The process of drafting the constitution was innovative in itself because it was people-driven. In the process of preparing the document, more than 5,000 meetings were held and close to one million people consulted, incorporating a wide spectrum of views into the text. Along the way, excellent opportunities were created Read More

      • Africa's renaissance deserves continued support | Helen Clark

        24 May 2013

        image
        Women in Burundi recycle waste as part of a programme to reintegrate returnees and ex-combatants into society. (Photo: UNDP Burundi)

        Meanwhile, there has been a rise in trade, investment and development cooperation with emerging economies, which have been successful in the fight against poverty. Over the past decade, nearly half the financing of infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa was provided by governments and regional funds from elsewhere in the South. The rise of Africa is thus associated with a rising South overall. A significant number of developing countries have transformed themselves into dynamic emerging economies with growing influence, and the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has fallen from 43 percent to 22 percent.   This good news has been the result of pragmatic economic strategies, innovative social policies, and the willingness of proactive developing states to invest in physical infrastructure and human development. Africa’s battle against poverty and hunger is not yet over, but at UNDP we are confident  it can and will be won. The challenge now is for Africa to get more poverty reduction from its growth. Investing in its youthful population and tackling inequalities will contribute to this. Women, youth, people living with disabilities, minorities and all those who are currently marginalized yearn for the opportunity to get ahead. Fast and inclusive growth also needs Read More