Our Perspective

      • Road to Rio: Growth and employment need to be the heart of development | Magdy Martinez-Soliman

        15 May 2012

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        Growth and employment are firmly back on the development agenda—and will be a key topic during the Rio+20 Conference next month. Photo: UNDP

        Growth and employment will be at the heart of a discussion taking place this week in Tokyo, organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the host Government of Japan on the ‘post-2015 development agenda’. The structural adjustment programmes that were common around the 1980-90’s, which sought to tackle intractable problems, ended up holding back development and growth—often  in a painful and insensitive way that exacerbated poverty and underdevelopment. Growth got a bad name.  But now growth and employment are firmly back on the development agenda—and will be a key topic during the Rio+20 Conference next month. The one Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target that relates to full, productive and decent work is unlikely to be met by 2015. The global financial and economic crisis have slowed growth, and led in turn to an employment crisis: Total global unemployment is expected to increase another 6 million over the next three years. to 206 million in 2016, up from 200 million today.  And this is not a challenge for developing countries only.  My own country, Spain, has nearly one in four working-age people out of work.  As a result, the growth agenda has currency with a large Read More

      • Look beyond the obvious | Ajay Chhibber

        11 May 2012

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        Better poverty measures are central for improving development programmes in India. Photo: UNDP

        India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision to set up a new panel for re-examining the measurement of poverty is a fresh opportunity to rethink India's approach towards poverty. The question is: if we no longer measure human progress by income alone, then why do we still use income as a measure of poverty? In 1990, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s Human Development Index (HDI) broadened the measure of human progress beyond income to include health and education. This idea had its initial skeptics but today HDI is an accepted measure of human progress. Twenty years later, UNDP, working with scholars of Oxford University, proposed a Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI). The MPI measures poverty by taking into account access to education, health, water, sanitation, etc. Such an approach will not only give us a better measure of poverty but it will also help widen our understanding of the nature of poverty. There are countries like China, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan, where the poverty rate based on the MPI is lower than the one based on income poverty because other criteria such as health, education and shelter come into play. Many countries have now started calculating both the MPI and income poverty, Read More

      • From Aid to Coherence - Making Development More Effective | Helen Clark

        09 May 2012

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        The policy coherence agenda is critical for achieving sustainable development and building the trust necessary between developed and developing countries to tackle global development challenges together. Photo: UN/Shehzad Noorani

        There is growing awareness that many of the most pressing challenges we face, from climate change to the spread of epidemics, the consequences of financial crises, and the forced displacement of people, require global solutions.  The focus must shift from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness.  Below, I am outlining some key policy areas where more coherence is needed: Trade and finance: Trade barriers are detrimental to the efforts of developing countries to grow their exports.  Climate change: Donors continue to invest in fossil fuel-based energy production. Migration: Recruiting health personnel from developing countries and investing in the health sector of those countries at the same time can be costly for donor countries and cause critical shortages of labor and a brain drain in developing countries. Investment policy: Without environmental, labour, social, and fiduciary standards, foreign direct investment may become exploitative of people, a country’s institutions, and the environment, instead of fostering economic growth and sustainable development.  Food security: Fears have emerged that other policies, like support for biofuel production in the global North to promote cleaner energy, contribute to raising food prices and jeopardize food security for food importing countries in the south. Tax and aid policies:  A lack of transparency Read More

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