Our Perspectives

Next time could be different – Towards risk-informed development finance

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State-contingent financing can help countries manage risk and deal with shocks more effectively. Photo: UNDP in Sierra Leone

History provides a stark reminder that sovereign debt crises have been and are a regular feature of international development and finance. But is this the inevitable reality of international finance? Or can we think of new forms of risk-informed development finance?

In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues... Read more

There is no honour in barring women from voting

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Pakistani women exercise their right to vote on the Cantonment board elections in Lahore. Photo: UNDP Pakistan

On 30 May, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan went to the polls to exercise their hard-earned democratic right to choose their local leaders.

But newspaper reports emerged of candidates, community elders, and religious leaders conspiring to bar women from voting. In an earlier by-election, local media reported that out of 47,280 registered women voters, not a single woman cast her vote, following a decision by local leaders to ban women from voting.... Read more

We all must do more to promote gender equality

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The UNDP Gender Seal has encouraged allies to government and civil society using new measures to promote gender equality in Cuba. Photo: Carolina Azevedo/UNDP

Gender issues and concerns relating to equality and fairness involve women and men, in all different “shapes and sizes” - age, skin color, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity. Men are in a position to do far more to contribute to gender equality in all walks of life, in workplaces, families, and other groups to which we belong. For those of us who lead forums in the field of development cooperation, this has to be more than a policy and institutional mandate. It must be a binding obligation that we dare not ignore and which makes us grow as people.... Read more

Helen Clark welcomes Pope Francis' climate change encyclical

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Building resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector is a central issue in Lao PDR, where almost a third of GDP (29.9 percent) is generated through the agriculture sector, and approximately 80 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. Photo: Luke McPake/UNDP Laos

Pope Francis today issued an encyclical in which he called climate change a “principal challenge” for humanity.

In the 184-page letter, Pope Francis noted that the poor are the most vulnerable to climate change, and the Pontiff urged that “swift action” be taken to “confront the crisis.”

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark praised the Pope’s climate message.... Read more

Why rice farmers are key to tackling climate change in the Philippines

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In the Philippines, rice is the most important crop and its agriculture represents 11% of the growing GDP of the country.

When I began supporting the Philippines Programme for rice cultivation, I saw it through the lens of climate change mitigation. The logic was, if we made some necessary improvements to cultivation methods, we could reduce greenhouse gas emission (GGE) and help mitigate climate change. This is especially important in a country where 29 percent of the GGEs come from rice cultivation.

However, I quickly learned was that although you might be driven and committed to work towards reducing global warming, it does not necessarily lead to the critical buy-in of stakeholders like the Department of Agriculture, the National Irrigation Administration, and farmers. ... Read more

Costing crises and pricing risk: delivering on ‘sustainability’

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The cost to the Ebola-affected countries has been pitched at US$1.6 billion, equivalent to 12% of their combined GDP. Photo: UNDP in Sierra Leone

Earthquakes. Cyclones. Drought. Conflict. The Ebola outbreak. Oil price collapses.

Shocks and stresses of different kinds strain countries, communities and families and set back development, sometimes for decades.

In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues.... Read more

When it comes to governance, millions have an opinion

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Somwati Bai is the leader of a local self-government organization in India’s Madhya Pradesh province, where she leads meetings and addresses questions ranging from government entitlements to access to basic amenities. Photo: UNDP India

Recently, the world was gripped by a global corruption scandal, involving alleged bribes and kickbacks across continents and institutions.

In May, ten times as many people tweeted about issues related to transparency, corruption, and ‘good governance’ than about health or food issues. But even before the FIFA scandal broke, ‘honest and responsive government’ was consistently one of the most tweeted development issues.... Read more

South-South cooperation -- how can we maximize its impact on sustainable development?

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Risk Reduction Management Centers, a successful initiative in hurricane-prone Cuba, are being scaled up across partnering Caribbean states. Photo: Carolina Azevedo/ UNDP

South-South Cooperation is gaining new momentum as global political and economic realities change rapidly. It is also adding critical value to development. So how can we ensure that the larger potential of SSC is reflected in ongoing discussions on financing for development, while recognizing its differences from more traditional forms of ‘North-South’ development cooperation?

In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues.... Read more

My voyage on the Human Development Report "Enterprise"

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Selim Jahan and Amartya Sen at the Human Development Report Office in the 1990s. Photo: UNDP

“It is an intellectual Enterprise,” Mahbub ul Haq, a Star Trek fan, would fondly say about the Human Development Report (HDR).

The Report was his brainchild, and he was the captain of the HDR Enterprise. And it was this Enterprise’s dynamism, out-of-box thinking and intellectual courage that attracted me to it.

What a journey I have had with the HDR over the last quarter of a century...... Read more

Years of effort are paying off in the fight against female genital mutilation

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Women attend a community meeting at Qena governorate to call to an end to female genital mutilation. Photo: UNDP in Egypt

I was recently in Aswan to meet with the local government, partner NGOs, and people working together to fight against female genital mutilation (FGM), a widely-spread practice in Egypt that predates both Christianity and Islam and was criminalized by Egyptian law in 2008.

The commitment and dedication I found are not only commendable but quite encouraging: Whole communities are taking a firm stance against a traditional practice that has no religious, medical or moral basis, as declared by both Al Azhar and the Coptic Church.... Read more

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