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

Invest in infrastructure, invest in development

29 Jul 2015 by Stefano Pettinato, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative for El Salvador and Belize

airport workerDuring the year and a half project, it directly employed 314 men and 23 women and generated 1,500 indirect jobs. Photo: Mauricio Martínez/UNDP El Salvador
Roads, buildings, airports – seemingly practical infrastructure developments can not only meet the demands of society, but also fulfill the requirements and rights of individuals, leading to better human development. The development and strengthening of logistical and transportation infrastructure has a potential impact both on economic development and poverty reduction. Transportation infrastructure is of vital importance to the standard of living of a population. It links urban and rural areas, connects the country internationally, facilitates access to basic services such as education and health, and contributes to the sound functioning of cities, rendering them more competitive. Furthermore, logistical infrastructure can play an instrumental role when it comes to creating high-quality jobs and bolstering competitiveness in the production of goods and services, enhancing increased productivity and efficiency, which reflects lower costs. … Read more

Caring about those who care for others

28 Jul 2015 by René Mauricio Valdés, Resident Representative, UNDP Argentina

 In Argentina, women currently devote almost twice as much time as men to care-related tasks: 6.4 hours a day compared to 3.4 hours.
All societies have people to care for and care-givers. Although there are different forms of care-giving, it is often undertaken by family members, mostly women and girls whose labor is usually unpaid. Here in Argentina, a country which has made remarkable progress in women’s rights and gender equality, women currently devote almost twice as much time as men to care-related tasks: 6.4 hours a day compared to 3.4 hours. The ability to meet care needs is also critical to national well-being, and the economic dimension of care-work is becoming more visible in Latin America. Studies undertaken in Colombia and Mexico indicate that the economic value of care activities accounts for approximately 20% of GNP. … Read more

Stronger partnerships with foundations to take sustainable development further

27 Jul 2015 by Marcos Neto, Team Leader, Private Sector and Foundations and Karolina Mzyk, Policy Specialist, Foundations, UNDP

HC in IndonesiaA farmer in Kenya, one of four countries where UNDP is partnering with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Photo: UNDP Africa.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” This old African proverb underpins UNDP’s engagement with philanthropic foundations for the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda. Ghana is the fourth country – following Kenya, Colombia and Indonesia – where we are connecting local foundations with the UN, government, private sector and civil society led policy discussions and development initiatives. The project is in collaboration with our partners the Foundation Center and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and aims to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). … Read more

Haiti at a turning point

16 Jul 2015 by Hervé Ladsous and Jessica Faieta

Elections 2011 in Haiti.Elections in 2011 in Haiti, where there has been significant progress in restoring confidence in the political process. Photo: UNDP Haiti
Haiti will reach a major historic milestone this summer. Starting 9 August, some six million Haitians will choose 1,280 representatives for local administrations, 140 mayors, 139 Parliamentarians and finally, their President, in several rounds of electoral processes that could last until the end of the year. It has not been easy to arrive at this moment. The Haitian people have been waiting three years for these elections. A Parliament has been absent since January. Haiti has made significant strides to restore confidence in the political process and to hold these elections on time. The electoral council, appointed in January, has been impressive in taking on several challenging technical, logistical and financial tasks aiming to ensure a credible, inclusive and transparent process. … Read more

An HIV milestone achieved in Cuba

10 Jul 2015 by Carlos Cortés Falla, Principal Technical Advisor, HIV projects, UNDP Cuba

HIV testIn Cuba, preventive services, like HIV testing for all pregnant women, contributed to the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Photo: UNDP
This is a momentous moment for us working in Cuba. The World Health Organization recently declared that Cuba had eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child. Cuba is the first country to reach this goal and it is a great milestone for us. But it is also a landmark in the response to HIV globally. How was Cuba able to achieve this? Cuba’s comprehensive health system is available for all Cuban citizens equally, and is effective in integrating the health care of mothers and children with the management of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. … Read more

Eleven countries, one commitment:
Youth inclusion

10 Jul 2015 by Pablo Gago,Specialist, Youth and Civic Engagement, UNDP Regional Centre in Panama

YouthMore than 160 million Latin American and Caribbean youth are fighting against the inequality between different generations in public policy. Photo: UNDP El Salvador
In Latin America and the Caribbean, there is approximately a 50 percent deficit in the share of public spending on youth in relation to other age groups, considering their demographic weight and the concept of evenly distributed spending. This is not consistent with the fact that one in four people in the region is between 15 and 29 years old. More than 160 million youth are struggling to end the inequality between different generations in public policy. In order to boost investment in youth and their political participation and inclusion, last month we launched the Iber-American Programme, IberJóvenes, which will initially be implemented in 11 countries. … Read more

The paradox of development financing in Caribbean small islands

07 Jul 2015 by Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Trinidad and Tobago Country Office

Small island developing states in the Caribbean continue to experience social development challenges related to citizen security, public health, climate change and natural disasters. Hurricane Sandy's impact in Jamaica, 2013.
Small island developing states in the Caribbean are, for the most part, middle income countries and rank relatively high on the Human Development Index. In spite of this, they continue to experience social development challenges related to citizen security, public health, widening income gaps, retention of highly trained nationals, climate change and natural disasters. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues. … Read more

Sustainable agriculture key to green growth and reducing poverty

02 Jul 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

palm oil in IndonesiaIndonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are plagued by bad production techniques. Photo: UNDP in Indonesia
The production of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, and cocoa, plays a pivotal role in global efforts to improve livelihoods across the globe. Sadly, agriculture is also the main driver of deforestation today, and is threatening to devastate the very environment upon which we depend to survive. In this blog series, our experts share their thoughts on key financing for development issues … Read more

We all must do more to promote gender equality

22 Jun 2015 by Claudio Tomasi, Deputy Resident Representative, Cuba

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