Our Perspective

      • Working together to find solutions to insecurity | Pablo Ruiz Hiebra

        17 Apr 2014

        In recent years, public outcry for improved citizen security has led to the introduction of quick, high-visibility solutions to address the problem – solutions such as putting the army in the streets or drafting hasty penal reforms. Unfortunately, results from such initiatives tend to be more questionable than their initial popularity. In light of this, some countries (namely Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, or the Dominican Republic) are attempting to come up with more comprehensive, wide-ranging solutions – solutions combining better coercive capacity of the State with real efforts geared towards the prevention of violence. These countries have succeeded in implementing comprehensive public policies for citizen security, introducing short-term, medium-term and long-term initiatives. Over the last few years, UNDP has supported the development and assessment of such initiatives as one of its priority areas, placing special emphasis on human rights and the fight to end gender-based violence.  I think it would be useful to examine two processes of citizen participation that can serve as a reference for the rest of the region: In Brazil, the call for the first Conference on Public Safety (CONSEG) marked a historic turning point, as municipalities, states, security experts, social bodies and government agencies responsible for citizen Read More

      • Toward a proposal for shared parenthood │Carina Lupica

        15 Apr 2014


        In the past decade in Latin America and the Caribbean, around 22.8 million women joined the labour market. This advancement has contributed to a labour force today with more than 100 million women. Nevertheless, their labour-force contribution in urban areas (52.6 percent) is still lower than that of men (79.6 percent), and women are still working in low-quality jobs, with negative consequences on their income level and their potential for development. Housework and family care that women still fundamentally provide help explain this. Two main principles underlie the resistance to re-organizing the time men and women dedicate to working in the market and in households. First, men are strongly identified with paid work and women with reproductive work. Second, due to the traditional organization of productive work, there are obstacles to men’s greater commitment to caretaking. Labour laws in the region were established for male workers in an industrial sector working full-time and who are responsible for the family’s financial support; they do not indicate conciliation provisions because they do not consider men responsible for housework and caretaking. The main advancement in labour legislation in the region promoting shared caretaking has been the recognition of the father's right to participate in Read More

      • Inequality at the crossroads | George Gray Molina

        04 Apr 2014

        Sustainable agriculture in Apúrimac, Peru. (Photo: UNDP in Peru)

        After recording a drop in income inequality for the past decade, new data shows the trend has stagnated across Latin America – and in some cases, there has even been an increase in the concentration of income. This analysis is based on the latest revision of household data coming from the  Socioeconomic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean (SEDLAC) and published by the World Bank. The regional Gini coefficient (the index most frequently used to measure income inequality) decreased by an average of 0.94 percent per annum, whereas in 2011 it fell by just 0.33 percent, and by a meager 0.02 percent in 2012. Based on these figures, our UNDP estimates indicate that in six of the 16 countries under review, inequality levels have stagnated between 2010 and 2012. How to account for such stagnation? With no appreciable fluctuations in social transfers or in pensions for this period, the culprit appears to be the labor market, namely the segment of low-skilled workers in the service sectors – sectors that provided most of the new jobs during the economic boom. As growth in earned income is both a benefit to society (leading to poverty reduction) and a cost for businesses (due Read More