Our Perspective

      • Empowering youth as ‘the engine of transition’ in Yemen | Ismail Ould Cheick Ahmed

        22 Nov 2013

        More than 73 percent of working-age youth in Yemen is jobless. Our Youth Economic Empowerment Project helps thousands of young men and women find employment and start small businesses. (Photo: UNDP in Yemen)

        Yemen is currently facing an explosive “youth bulge”: the country holds the world's record for fertility rate (5.4 children born per woman) and about a quarter of the population is aged 10 to 19, with 46 percent of them under 16.   In that context, it is hard to think of a successful transition in Yemen without the participation of the country’s youth, and their innovative contributions for the future. But Yemen’s investment in its human resources has been low — nearly 50 percent of Yemenis are illiterate in a mostly rural population of 25 million, more than 40 percent of the population is estimated to be “either hungry or on the edge of hunger", and 73.3 percent of working-age youth are jobless. A recent study assessing youth’s needs in this important phase for the country revealed that young Yemenis feel they do not get the attention they deserve and that they lack a creative environment and opportunities for scientific, cultural and technical talents.   Chronic poverty, inequity and lack of employment opportunities are also causes and triggers for conflict, internal wars and insurgencies. Young people deprived of opportunities can turn to activism or fall into despair, and the active presenceRead More

      • Latin America: The paradox of economic growth hand-in-hand with citizen insecurity | Heraldo Muñoz

        12 Nov 2013

        In recent years, Latin America has set the stage for considerable advances in two areas: economic and social progress and crime. Despite the headway that has been achieved in terms of growth and improvements in health, education and the reduction of poverty and inequality, Latin America has become the most dangerous region in the world. In fact, in this region, homicide rates exceed the "epidemic" level, with more than 10 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants.   This is one of the conclusions reached by the Regional Human Development Report, “Citizen Security with a Human Face: Evidence and Proposals for Latin America,” which we have recently made public. The finding that insecurity is a shared challenge and simultaneously an impediment to social and economic development in all Latin American countries resulted in our dedicating two years of research in order to assess the problem and suggest a number of remedies that would improve public policy as and when required.   The report highlights the fact that Latin America has witnessed low-quality growth, based on consumption and with insufficient social mobility. The deterioration of citizen security is also related to demographic trends caused by rapid and uncontrolled urban growth as well as byRead More

      • Countries in crisis: A new approach to rebuilding the future | Jordan Ryan

        08 Nov 2013

        Jean-Marie, 42, was forced to leave his village due to conflict, now he has returned home and dishes out the latest hair styles to a steady stream of customers at his barber shop. Photo: Aude Rossignol/ UNDP in Burundi

        Around the world, 1.5 billion people live in a place affected by conflict or violence, waiting, often for decades, for something more than a temporary respite from death and destruction. Throughout my 20 year career at the United Nations, I have seen my share of conflicts come to an end. For instance, Liberia recently marked a decade of progress towards building lasting peace. However, often countries relapse into violence and chaos because underlying economic, social and political causes are not properly addressed. If donors and organisations took a longer-term view of conflicts and crises, and continue to build upon immediate humanitarian responses to focus on sustainable development goals, they could help prevent recurring violence and eradicate the sources of conflict. In communities, this means re-integrating those displaced by conflict and former combatants, and providing young people with job skills for future employment. This can help participants set aside their differences, rebuild their destroyed communities and create new business ventures. From our experience in Burundi, we have learned that targeting specific groups such as former soldiers, people displaced by conflict, or refugees is not enough. The approach needs to be inclusive and has to focus on integrating all excluded groups into theirRead More