Youth as allies of democracy

10 Aug 2015 by Gabriela Benazar, Social Media intern, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

students protestingStudents and civil society march against the government of Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela in February 2014. Photo: Gabriela Benazar
I was born in 1990. When I could barely walk, a former military staged a coup against the government. Six years later, in 1998, the people of my country elected him as president and he remained so until the day he died, when I was 23. He was elected for president every single time he ran. Despite these numerous electoral processes, however, I cannot say I grew up in a democracy. In his book, The inner enemies of democracy, Bulgarian philosopher Tzvetan Todorov states that democracy is not only characterized by how it is established in power and for the purpose of its action, but also by how it is executed. … Read more

Calling all superheroes for civic engagement

08 Aug 2015 by Guergana Botchoukova-Farkova, Social Media intern, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

kids in BurundiYouth in Burundi frame themselves. Get involved in #YouthDay like them by sending in a photo of yourself and civic engagement. Photo: UNDP Burundi/Rossignol
“Civic engagement.” The superhero term of our time is facing a big problem. It is virtually meaningless to the exact group of people (those between the ages of 14 and 25) which it is supposed to inspire and engage. Walking the halls of UNDP, you often hear the sentiment that if we could just get more youth to engage in their communities, the world would be a much better place to live. Yes, civic engagement is how modern day superheroes are born and you could be one of them. But what exactly is “civic engagement”? What does it entail? What is it not? And how can youth really take part in it? … Read more

Celebrating the world's indigenous peoples, declaring their rights

08 Aug 2015 by Patrick Keuleers, Director, Governance and Peacebuilding, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

indigenous manAn indigenous man at the Copán Ruinas Archaeological Site, Museum of Maya Sculpture in Honduras. Around the world, discrimination and structural inequalities disproportionately affect indigenous peoples. Photo: UN
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples celebrates the wealth and variety of indigenous cultures and the rights, achievements, and contributions of indigenous peoples worldwide. These rights are enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), but are not always upheld. There are more than 370 million Indigenous peoples living in some 90 countries. It is estimated that they constitute 15 percent of the world’s poor, and one third of the 900 million people living in extreme poverty in rural areas. In vast numbers, indigenous peoples live in some of the world's most resource rich areas, but their own forms of conservation and resource management have been historically undervalued. … Read more

Indigenous knowledge has life

07 Aug 2015 by Alejandra Pero, Coordinator, World Network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Land and Sea Managers, Equator Initiative

indigenous woman talking about plantsAustralian indigenous forest ranger Alison Hunt teaches people about Bush Tucker Yams. Photo: WIN/Anson Smart
How traditional knowledge is collected and shared is increasingly becoming an issue of both concern and opportunity for indigenous peoples and local communities around the world. Digital technology’s potential to record information can lead to great benefits, but also raise questions around consent and digital sovereignty. Who owns the data recorded, where is the data being stored, who has the right to the data, and can it be destroyed? There is potential for good use of the new available technology. … Read more

Decoding the alphabet soup of climate change

05 Aug 2015 by Carl Mercer, Advocacy, Partnerships & Communication, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Team

 woman near waterA woman in Odisha, India on her way to fetch water. Women have been hit hardest by the extreme weather conditions. Many have to walk for long stretches in search of safe drinking water. Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNDP India
Join any conversation on climate change this year and you’re likely to hear a host of confusing terms and acronyms: INDCs, NAPs, NAMAs, the GCF, COP21. Expanding doesn’t help much: ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’, the ‘21st Conference of the Parties’ – they’re a mouthful and still not immediately clear. While this terminology was once restricted to technical reports, the terms are increasingly finding their way into newspapers, op-eds and social media. But many people don’t know what they are and insufficient attention has been paid to translating them into something accessible. … Read more