Our Perspective Articles

      • Empowering the world’s largest generation of youth | Magdy Martínez-Solimán

        31 Mar 2014

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        Arab youth volunteering in Syria. (Photo: UNDP)

        Our world has 1.8 billion young people. One third of them live in countries that have suffered a violent conflict, and 75 million are unemployed. It is not time for business as usual, and as UNDP is launching its first global Youth Strategy, “Empowered Youth, Sustainable Future," in Tunis, working with young people, particularly those who are in need, is indispensable if we are to achieve sustainable human development. In the Post-2015 Consultations, youth are demanding education, jobs, honest and responsive governments, and participation in decision-making; they have innovative ideas and are willing to engage, even to take risks for the causes they believe in. Young voices not only deserve to be heard — young people need to be listened to and their views must count. Doors need to open up. UNDP is determined to play its part by strengthening its cooperation with young women and men themselves, their own organisations, other partners in the UN system, governments, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector. In a recent study, we showed how the political representation is systematically much older, in all regions of the world, than the society it represents and rules. The age gap needs to be reduced by Read More

      • Creating opportunities for Youth: The Way Forward for the Arab Region | Sima Bahous

        31 Mar 2014

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        Photo: UNDP Jordan

        This week the United Nations Development Programme is convening a forum in Tunis to launch a new global strategy that puts youth at the center of all the work we do around the world. Around the world today, young people are shaping social and economic development, challenging social norms and values, and building the foundation of the world’s future. The strategy is important because it allows us to better recognize and tap into that energy for the benefit of all. Titled Empowered Youth, Sustainable Future, the strategy is centered on the vision that when youth are informed, engaged and empowered to contribute to sustainable human development, families, communities and nations grow stronger and are better placed to withstand the challenges of the world today.    It was a special honor for me, as Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States of UNDP that UNDP launched the strategy in Tunisia, an Arab country which today stands in a powerful position at the crossroads of youth and development in the Arab world. Here more than three years ago youth took leading roles in one of the most remarkable transformations that the Arab region — or indeed the entire world—has ever seen.  Their courage Read More

      • The Syria Crisis at Three Years | Sima Bahous

        16 Mar 2014

        This week the Syria crisis reached another ominous milestone, passing the three-year mark with no clear sign of an end to the death, destruction and suffering that have plagued the Syrian people since 2011. The tragedy of this crisis weighs heavily on all of our hearts and minds, and our thoughts must be with the hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods that have been lost or destroyed, the families torn apart, the communities made to suffer. More than 120,000 Syrians have been killed since fighting began. Over six million are now displaced from their homes. Women and children are suffering. Educations are on hold, businesses are shuttered, health centers destroyed. Altogether, Syria is now the most pressing humanitarian crisis in the world. Faced with the death, destruction and impoverishment of a whole nation and it's peoples, the only possible response sometimes seems to be stunned silence. But we must speak out because in the midst of horror there is hope. Communities themselves under stress in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt have received the more than 2.5 million refugees with extraordinary generosity. Families already living in poverty have opened their homes, and shared their livelihoods with Syrians seeking safer havens. Read More