Our Perspective

      • Violence, crime still plague Latin America | Heraldo Muñoz

        31 Jan 2013

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        More than 1,000 judges, clerks, prosecutors and police officers in Haiti received training in technical areas of criminal investigations, sex crimes or judicial inspection. Photo: UNDP Haiti

        Latin America now enjoys stronger, better integrated economies and more solid democracies than it did 20 years ago. The region is more prosperous and less poor. But epidemic crime and violence threaten to undermine recent gains and demand urgent, innovative public policy solutions. From 2000-2010, homicide rates across the region rose by 11 percent while declining in most regions worldwide. In countries with data for 1980-90, robberies have almost tripled over the last 25 years. One in 10 robberies involves violence, usually with firearms. On a typical day in Latin America, 460 people are victims of sexual violence, usually women. A recent poll found people in Latin America and the Caribbean least likely in the world to feel safe in their communities, with slightly less than half of residents reporting in 2011 that they feel unsafe walking alone at night where they live. That poses a fundamental problem in furthering development. Why open a business only to have it robbed by armed gunmen? Why send a daughter to school if she risks assault along the way? Why such insecurity in a region whose economic and governance indices are moving in the right direction? UNDP’s forthcoming Human Development Report for Latin America Read More

      • One thousand days of action for the MDGs | Selim Jahan

        25 Jan 2013

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        In Cambodia, the MAF supports the creation of Women’s Development Centres. Photo: UNDP in Cambodia

        Many countries have made impressive strides towards achieving the MDGs. With over 400 national MDG reports already completed, progress is being closely monitored and used to guide improved policies. The target of reducing extreme poverty by half was reached five years ahead of the deadline.  About 14,000 fewer children died every day in 2011 compared to 1990. However, given that current projections indicate that in 2015 almost one billion people will be living on an income of less than $1.25 per day, there is urgent need to prioritize MDG achievement and reflect on lessons that can inform the post-2015 discussions. One of the key lessons learned is that nationally owned, multi-stakeholder action plans improve the rate of MDG progress. Building on UNDP’s global experience, we developed the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) in close collaboration with national partners and UN country teams.  The MAF is a flexible, yet systematic process of identifying and analyzing bottlenecks and targeting high-impact, transformational solutions.   The MAF has been an incredible success worldwide leading to concrete action plans for implementation. From an initial ten countries piloting the MAF in 2010, we are now working with 46 countries, and the number keeps growing. In Colombia, the MAF Read More

      • Beyond mountains, Haitians see a brighter future | Heraldo Muñoz

        11 Jan 2013

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        Young women entrepreneurs in Haiti received a US$500 grant for the development of their business. Photo: UNDP in Haiti

        “Beyond the mountains, more mountains,” one Haitian proverb goes, in a nod to the outsized challenges this half-island in the Caribbean has faced for as long as anyone can remember. Topping that list is the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people, displaced 1.5 million, and racked or razed some 300,000 buildings. The quake took its deadliest aim in Haiti’s hyper-urbanized capital, causing indescribable ruin and destroying roughly 80 percent of the country’s economy. But Haitians are accustomed to scaling mountains. Government, private sector, and international organizations are working with families and communities to rebuild the country and revive its economy. Women, who head almost 50 per cent of households, are playing a leading role. Keeping Haitians and their communities as protagonists of the recovery process is fundamental. Within neighborhoods, community members themselves set priorities for rebuilding homes and infrastructure through community platform meetings, with specific attention to the unique risks facing city-dwellers—strengthening the social and communal bonds that bolster post-crisis resilience by an order of magnitude. To enable families to take charge of repairing and rebuilding their homes themselves, UNDP has established community support centres to help strengthen damaged homes in the Haitian capital, where 30,000 people have benefitted Read More