Our Perspectives

The Goldilocks of gender data: Searching for “just right” on women in public institutions

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Ensuring gender equality in public institutions starts with gathering strong data. Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan

The bad news first: we don’t know the exact state of gender equality in the world’s public institutions. The good news: once we begin monitoring this, it will be harder to ignore inequalities in the public service, which we anecdotally know exist on a global scale. The Sustainable Development Goals have thrust us into a data revolution and we have impetus to make sure it is a gendered revolution. Inclusive governance is at the core of SDG 16 on peaceful and just societies. And so, SDG 16 has set out to measure the composition of public institutions. Without this information, governments will not have the evidence necessary for designing policies that foster equal access to and opportunities within public administration.… Read more

Leave no one and no city behind

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By Tammam Azzam, Freedom Graffiti II

The world has witnessed rapid and often unplanned urban growth. Cities are where the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost. Between now and 2030, the world’s urban population is projected to grow by 1.5 billion people. More than 90 percent of that urban growth will occur in areas located in the developing world, mostly in Africa and Asia. Urbanization and cities present opportunities for enhancing the economic prospects of countries and improving the lives of many. But rapid urbanization and rapidly expanding cities also pose challenges, especially to countries already grappling with a range of development priorities. Frequently, the urbanization process is poorly managed, resulting in inequitable, exclusionary and fragmented cities with marginalized populations. This can fuel an increased risk of violence.… Read more

Expanding financing options to advance the 2030 Agenda in the least developed countries

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Les pays les moins avancés se trouvent en grande majorité en Afrique. Photo: Aude Rossignol/ PNUD au Burundi

2015 was a milestone year for international cooperation on sustainable development. The Paris Agreement shows the commitment of the international community to tackle climate change. The 2030 Agenda, also adopted in 2015, puts forward 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to protect people and planet. Meeting the aspiration of leaving no one behind, and reaching the furthest behind first, implies focusing greater attention to those living in the Least Developed Countries. This group of countries includes those with the lowest levels of income per person, poor health and education levels, and high vulnerability to economic, health and other shocks and disasters.… Read more

Human Development – the Way Ahead

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The 2016 report will look into conceptual matters that were not made explicit in past reports such as the interconnectedness of choices (e.g. an individual’s choice to play loud music has an impact on the choice of quiet time by others). Photo: UNDP in DRC

Over the last quarter of a century, Human Development Reports have extensively influenced the development discourse, provided a strong lens to assess human well-being, and informed policy making. But the world today is different from 1990. Impressive human development progress has been achieved; yet advances have been uneven and significant deprivations still persist. As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states, there is a critical need for a transformational change in development, so that no one is left behind. From a human development perspective, the time has come to focus on three fundamental aspects: extending the frontiers of the paradigm, reviewing how human development is measured; and revisiting the policy options linking various strategies and focusing on institutions at country and global level. This is why the theme of the jubilee HDR is Human Development – the Way Ahead.… Read more

Hope for people living with HIV in post-earthquake Nepal

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Binod Kumar Tamang is receiving health care service at Trishuli Plus, Nuwakot. Photo: UNDP Nepal

A year ago, 20-year old Binod Kumar Tamang found out he was infected with HIV. He lives with his mother in Nuwakot district in the central region of Nepal. When Binod tested positive for HIV, one of the hospital’s staff introduced him to Trishuli Plus, a community-based organization that also serves as a community crisis center. It was established to provide HIV-related health services, support and home-based care for people living with HIV in the district and the surrounding areas. Binod started going to the clinic for treatment and support. After the earthquake struck Nepal last April, Nuwakot district was one of the hardest hit regions. Hospitals and community care centers were among the most affected facilities and many were destroyed. The provision of health services was disrupted, leaving people in need of basic supplies and treatment.… Read more

The Angry Birds wish you a Happy Earth Day

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Happy Earth Day to my feathered and non-feathered friends! I’m writing to you from Hong Kong. I’m here as part of my tour around the world tour as the United Nations Honorary Ambassador for Green. I’m talking with people about how important it is to take action on climate change. After all, by taking small actions like using public transportation or turning off your lights, we can all make a difference. And today is a big day! It’s Earth Day and the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement.… Read more

From signatures to action

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Climate change requires a global commitment and national level action- neither is mutually exclusive.

When governments gather at the UN to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, an important step will be taken to ensure the ambition, momentum and political will of December’s COP 21. Global buy-in is essential for any international agreement to be successful, but what often receives less attention is the equal importance of concrete action at country level to advance an agreement’s objectives. This is critical for the successful implementation of any agreement, and what makes a document negotiated thousands of miles away a tangible reality and source of support to national governments around the world.… Read more

Laws criminalizing drug possession can cause more harm

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Coca farmers sell coca leaves at a market in Villa 14 de Septiembre village in Bolivia. Photo: Carlos Cazalis/Corbis

In many countries, a criminal record, even for a minor offense, can have serious implications. Being convicted of a crime makes you ineligible for certain jobs, social programmes or benefits or from even being able to exercise your right to vote. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has identified illicit drugs and crime as a “severe impediment” to achieving sustainable development. But poorly devised drug control policies can also be harmful to people and societies.… Read more

Paris. Women. Now what?

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In Mali, a women’s collective helps enhance their resilience by strengthening food security. Photo: Imen Meliane / UNDP Mali

Coming off the heels of the climate change negotiations in Paris in December, which led to a momentous agreement for acting collectively on climate change, we have reason to feel proud and energized. Now our focus shifts to how we can support countries in implementing their climate targets or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). This will only be possible if we tap the knowledge, foresight, engagement, and action of all segments of our societies, especially those of women.… Read more

Protecting (scarce) fresh water in the Maldives

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A local Feneka operator stands in front of the desalinization system. Photo: Keti Chachibaia/UNDP Maldives

Water is a big deal in the Maldives. The archipelago nation of 300,000 people is more water than land. But while abundant in ocean resources, the only freshwater is rainwater that is harvested in special collection tanks. But poor rainfall leaves groundwater tables low and harvesting tanks half empty. This leaves many people and communities straining resources to buy bottled water or struggling to get by. A naturally vulnerable situation is only being exacerbated by climate change, as monsoonal cycles and associated rainfall patterns shift over the Indian Ocean. Greater variations are already occurring and the Maldivians, especially in the Northern atolls, experience longer-than-usual dry seasons. As a result, the National Disaster Management Centre is regularly called upon to deliver emergency water.… Read more

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