Our Perspective

      • The art of the possible: listening to the real experts | Gonzalo Pizarro

        01 Oct 2013

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        Foto: PNUD Perú

        Several years ago I was taking part in a conference on the roots of the conflict in Darfur, and potential ways out of it.  After many of us so-called experts had presented our varied research findings and our different ideas, a representative from the Darfur pastoralists stood up and asked a simple question: what they were supposed to do, as many of us had contradicted each other with our suggestions. This gave us pause for thought. After several convoluted answers, a wise man told him: ‘The best thing you can do is stop listening to the experts and outsiders’. I witnessed that advice being used to good effect a few years later. I was in Belize at a consultation meeting with stakeholders to support the Government in the roll-out of the MDG Acceleration Framework on water and sanitation. As a group of international experts on the subject and a local consultant, we thought we had a pretty good idea of what the problems, and potential solutions, would be. All the relevant stakeholders were in the room: from the water company, to the different ministries in charge of water and sanitation aspects, to the representatives of water councils and villagers associations, most of them Mayans. Read More

      • The time is right to place governance and anti-corruption at center stage | Rebeca Grynspan

        30 Sep 2013

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        STUDENTS IN EASTERN SUDAN PARTICIPATE IN ARTISTIC COMPETITION ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY, 2012.(PHOTO: UNDP IN SUDAN)

        Thirteen years ago, when the MDGs were formulated, governance-related goals or targets were not included, mainly for political reasons, but what we learned from that experience is that deficits in governance — such as corruption, elite capture of key resources, and low capacity of government institutions — hinder inclusive growth by squandering resources badly needed for development. I was pleasantly surprised that more than 1 million people, who voted through the MYWorld global survey, expressed their opinion that “an honest and responsive governance” should be one of the top priorities in the post-2015 development framework. It is reassuring that both the High-Level Panel Report and the Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly  corroborated many of the views expressed by citizens on holding their governments transparent, accountable and responsive. According to data from the World Bank, each year US $1 trillion is paid in bribes and it is estimated that corruption can cost a country up to 17 percent of its GDP. Imagine the impact of reversing this! A recent UNDP study found that 76 percent of women surveyed think corruption has prevented them from accessing public goods and services. To counter this, we are promoting and supporting specific anti-corruption measures integrated into basic service delivery systems. Momentum is shifting Read More

      • Peace and stability must be at the heart of the global development agenda | Helen Clark

        26 Sep 2013

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        THOUSANDS OF FANS ATTENDED A LIVE CONCERT IN BAUCAU, TIMOR LESTE ON 9 OCTOBER 2013, PART OF A SERIES OF EVENTS ORGANIZED BY MTV EXIT’S NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING. PHOTO: MARTINE PERRET/UN PHOTO

        This week, world leaders gather at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss, among other topics, a new global development agenda. The body's eight millennium development goals, which include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, expire in 2015, giving UN member states the opportunity to shape the future of development. They also have the chance to position peace and stability at the centre of the debate. In countries marred by conflict and disaster, development tends to focus on promoting economic growth and progress in specific social sectors such as health and education. Fundamental issues for lasting peace and stability – rule of law and justice, good governance, social cohesion, economic and environmental sustainability – are often left at the margins. To my surprise, I often hear arguments against including peace and stability in a new global development agenda. One of the most common of these arguments is that building long-term peace and stability is separate from the work of long-term human development. In fact, peace and stability do not fall outside of the boundaries of development. The two must go hand in hand. Violence not only claims lives, but also unravels the very fabric of society, leaving schools and Read More