Our Perspectives

FGM ban begins a pivotal era for women and girls in The Gambia

image
Commemorations for the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting are especially significant for The Gambia this year, following the banning and criminalization of FGM/C. UNICEF photo

In November 2015, the practice of Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) was banned and subsequently criminalized in The Gambia. This marks an important milestone in the country’s journey to end FGM/C and ensure that the fundamental human rights of girls and women are protected and fulfilled. The achievement places The Gambia proudly among 26 other African countries that have banned FGM/C through legislation. And it comes after years of work to raise awareness among individuals and communities, reinforced by intense advocacy with decision and policy makers. As a result, where FGM/C used to be a taboo, the subject is now openly discussed in Gambian homes and communities.… Read more

Zika is a wake-up call for all of us

image
A girl receives anti-malaria treatment in Bolivia. Through our partnership with the Global Fund and malaria programmes in nine countries, UNDP can share expertise on multi-dimensional mosquito control responses. Photo: UNDP Bolivia

Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the spread of the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern. Unlike other viruses spread through the bite of the Aedes mosquito —such as dengue, yellow fever, or chikungunya — the Zika virus often went unnoticed and was considered a mild tropical disease with most virus carriers being symptomless. Yet Brazil recently found itself in the throes of an unprecedented Zika outbreak — with more than a million people infected — and an unusually high number of babies born with microcephaly. There is growing international consensus, although not yet definitive proof, that the virus has potentially catastrophic implications for infected pregnant women and their unborn children, as well as possible links to other serious neurological conditions. Experts believe that environmental destruction caused the Zika virus to infect humans and is fuelling its dramatic spread through the Americas.… Read more

Managing the refuse of the refused

image
Looking at current waste management practices in the town of Elbeyli, Turkey. Photo: Alpert K. Doğan

Imagine yourself as the mayor of a small border province in Southeastern Anatolia five years ago. It is a big day for you. After years of petitions, meetings, and a heavy financial burden you are about to open a sanitary landfill site to serve your community for at least 25 years. You and your team are proud to make a lasting contribution both to the community and environment. You are reading about the events in neighboring Syria but hopeful that the conflict will end soon. Your heart is with them, as you think maybe of the distant relatives of yours living in Aleppo. Then refugees begin to arrive. First in a trickle, then a flow. Camps are erected, and you do your best to fulfill basic needs and cooperate with relevant government offices. You feel a little bit tired, but satisfied knowing that you’re helping out a neighbour in need.… Read more

Young people are building peace in Colombia

image
UNDP has supported the actions of more than 10,000 college students from across Colombia to participate in peace talks. Photo: UNDP Colombia

Why have young people embraced the opportunity to lead and participate in the efforts to build peace in Colombia? Perhaps it is because in over sixty years, Colombians haven’t known one day of peace? At a festival for peace last year in the province of Norte de Santander, a young woman told me that “this is a unique opportunity to get to know a country that I’ve never really known, a country in which no one dies because of a war.” Colombia is a country with a unique geography and history that produced a rich cultural diversity. Each region of the country has its own unique cultural and social norms. With this in mind, the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the left wing FARC guerrillas highlight the importance of peace building at the local level.… Read more

Making airports fit for emergencies

image
Workers perform a GARD simulation at Rafic Harriri Airport in Lebanon. Photo: UNDP Lebanon

In March 2015, two major earthquakes hit Nepal, requiring a fast and vast humanitarian response. But authorities were forced to close the only international airport that could accommodate large aircraft, as its runway was deteriorating under the weight of the large planes. Delays ensued in the arrival of both relief goods and personnel. Nepal’s situation is not unique. During major disasters, authorities and relief suppliers often face serious delays due to the strain on capacities, leaving relief supplies piling up or emergency materials and personnel held up at customs. Managing the logistics of large scale disaster response is a complex operation. It involves military and civil agencies leading an effort that includes dozens or even hundreds of stakeholders.… Read more

A recipe for sustainable development

image
The Roca Brothers have a walk at the food market in New York to look at the local food products. Photo: Freya Morales/UNDP

Food has always been a central part of our lives: the food in our parents’ restaurant where we grew up; food as an element of creativity, emotion, dialogue and discovery in our work. Food is an important part of our heart and soul. Over the years, we realized that how people experience food, cook, and preserve culinary traditions have a direct impact on the fundamental areas of life. What we eat affects our health, our economy, and our planet.… Read more

After conflict, functioning governments are key for peaceful and inclusive societies

image
Women voting in Libya. A transparent voting process helps increase the levels of legitimacy and trust from citizens towards their governments. Photo: UNDP Libya

New Year, new goals, new approaches. It is the starting of the implementation and localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the baseline year against which the 2030 Agenda will measure progress or set-backs. Fragile countries emerging out of conflict will likely be where it is most difficult to implement these goals. But this is also where it will be crucially important. In these countries, citizens are most deprived of basic public services and poverty is most acute.… Read more

A new, ambitious vision requires new, ambitious ways of working

image
Indian Railways is the single largest consumer of electricity in India, consuming 17.5 billion units a year. As track and passengers continue to grow, being more energy efficient, and exploring clean sources of energy is central to the Railways vision for the future. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/UNDP India

31 December 2015: During a visit to Kerala, India, I drive past gleaming malls and the skeleton of a new metro in a hometown virtually unrecognizable from my childhood. But I also see stubborn challenges, like the very poor left behind in this economy and the deteriorating quality of air and food. 1 January 2016: A new year begins, with a new era in the quest to combat poverty, inequality, and climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come into force, part of a “2030 Agenda” for the next 15 years, to achieve development where progress in one sector is not at the expense of another, where present gains do not threaten that of future generations.… Read more

For a young Haitian, hope beyond the earthquake

image
Oriental was born in a slum area of Port au Prince. Before the earthquake hit, life had already hit him hard. Photo: Raul de la Fuente/Kanaki Films

Oriental Meliance was born in Haiti in 1990. When he was 10 years old, world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Oriental was among the 2 billion poor worldwide classified as living on less than US$1.25 a day. By the time he turned 25 in 2015, the world had halved the number of poor. These huge numbers eclipse the real faces of people, like Oriental.… Read more

Gearing up to avoid a deeper crisis in Burundi

image
To overcome the crisis once and for all, we must avoid short-term solutions and focus on youth and the employment of young people. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP Burundi

The situation in Burundi is extremely worrying. The political crisis comes on top of structural development problems, with repercussions in terms of humanitarian needs, social cohesion and the human rights situation, all against a familiar historical backdrop. For the most visible humanitarian manifestation of these issues, look no further than the displaced persons who have left Burundi. Internally displaced people are a lot less conspicuous because they stay in communities where they feel safe. I was in Burundi on mission at the beginning of 2015. Our delegation met with representatives of the government, civil society and development partners. We made a field visit to the south of the country where we inspected a site for displaced people, a clinic, and a food distribution centre. The mission will put the spotlight on Burundi and raise its visibility on the list of humanitarian assistance priorities in the event that the situation deteriorates even further.… Read more

Search blog posts
Tag Cloud
The Speakers Corner
thumbnail

The Speakers Corner helps connect think tanks, academia, the media and the public to a diverse group of experts who can speak to UNDP’s commitment to “empower lives” and build "resilient nations.”

Visit the Speakers Corner