Our Perspective

      • Haiti: The key to recovery | Marc-Andre Franche

        25 Apr 2012

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        Haiti’s ability to successfully manage people and resources, establish and enforce norms, monitor and report progress, is foundational to its development. Photo: UNDP

        The difference in Port-au-Prince today is striking. The visible progress is testament to the limitless dedication of Haitians towards rebuilding their country. It also shows unprecedented support from the international community. As the humanitarian effort winds down, it is crucial to understand Haiti will continue to face humanitarian situations, but these must be integrated into medium and long-term recovery and development strategies.  The international community cannot forget Haiti and must scale up the quality and quantity of its support.  In particular, support should ensure Haitians are genuinely front and center of the reconstruction process.  For their part, Haitians and in particular the economic and political elites must revive the extraordinary sense of unity and solidarity which was so moving after the earthquake.  Urgent decisions on realistic actions plans that count on actual available resources are needed.  Agreements between the legislative and executive and between ministries regarding division of labor and issues of leadership are critical for any progress to materialize. Furthermore, improving the quality of aid requires new focus and investments to build durable Haitian institutions.  Haiti’s ability to successfully manage people and resources, establish and enforce norms, monitor and report progress, is foundational to its development. The government and the Read More

      • Road to Rio: The moral link to the global economic crisis | Olav Kjørven

        23 Apr 2012

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        Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, argues that a key underlying failure in recent decades has been the almost complete decoupling of economics and policy-making from moral and conscientious reflection. Photo: UNDP

        I was honored to host a discussion with Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen in contribution to the post-2015 development dialogue on Friday in New York.  Our discussion, focused on the ‘ethos of inclusion’, took place as the global economy may be going through its worst crisis since World War II. What we have is a global, multifaceted crisis that brings to the fore existing deficiencies in policy making. It highlights the weaknesses of measuring progress only in terms of growth, as the 2011 Human Development Report stresses, and divorcing economic rationale from the social and environmental considerations of development. If these deficiencies are not addressed comprehensively and forcefully over an extended period of time, they threaten to reverse the impressive gains in human development the world has seen over the last few decades. But how did we get here and what can be done? Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, argues that a key underlying failure in recent decades has been the almost complete decoupling of economics and policy-making from moral and conscientious reflection. The framing of economics and economic policy as instruments to achieve broader human and social ends has been the subject of intense study by Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, John Read More

      • Road to Rio: What kind of world do we want to live in? | Helen Clark

        17 Apr 2012

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        I personally want to live in a sustainable and equitable world, where decisions taken at all levels are driven by respect for and promotion of people’s choices, freedoms and opportunities, while also respecting the boundaries of nature. For me, achieving sustainable development is not about trading economic, social, and environmental objectives off against each other. It is about seeing them as interconnected objectives which are best pursued together. The act and consequences of reducing environmental degradation, for example, can stimulate employment and reduce poverty. The reverse is also true: in degrading the environment, a country can undermine the long term prospects of its economy and society. Such ideas shaped discussions in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Known as the Earth Summit, it attracted more heads of states and governments than any previous UN meeting had, addressed an unprecedentedly broad set of concerns, and attracted record numbers of actively involved and newly empowered non-governmental organisations. In about two months, the international community will meet again in Rio, twenty years after the Earth Summit, for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or what is called Rio + 20. So often, discussions about sustainable development seem to focus on Read More

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