Our Perspective

      • Peace and stability must be at the heart of the global development agenda | Helen Clark

        26 Sep 2013

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        Thousands of fans attended a live concert in Baucau, Timor Leste on 9 October 2013, part of a series of events organized by MTV EXIT’s nationwide campaign against human trafficking. Photo: Martine Perret/UN Photo

        This week, world leaders gather at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss, among other topics, a new global development agenda. The body's eight millennium development goals, which include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, expire in 2015, giving UN member states the opportunity to shape the future of development. They also have the chance to position peace and stability at the centre of the debate. In countries marred by conflict and disaster, development tends to focus on promoting economic growth and progress in specific social sectors such as health and education. Fundamental issues for lasting peace and stability – rule of law and justice, good governance, social cohesion, economic and environmental sustainability – are often left at the margins. To my surprise, I often hear arguments against including peace and stability in a new global development agenda. One of the most common of these arguments is that building long-term peace and stability is separate from the work of long-term human development. In fact, peace and stability do not fall outside of the boundaries of development. The two must go hand in hand. Violence not only claims lives, but also unravels the very fabric of society, leaving schools and Read More

      • Rule of Law begins with justice and security | Jordan Ryan

        26 Sep 2013

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        Abdul Wasa Antazar, Deputy District in Rodad, Afghanistan, speaks during a training on women's rights, supported by UNDP Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA). (Photo: Farzana Wahidy/UNDP)

        In places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo where women face the constant threat of sexual violence, or in Guatemala where a failure to address the injustices of the past puts reconciliation at risk, the story is the same – a lack of access to justice and security breeds a culture of impunity. In the long term, this can destabilize countries, increase the chances of hostility and hinder the progress toward development goals.     I believe that improving justice and security services; modernizing prosecution mechanisms; increasing the number of available lawyers and judges, and training them to make better decisions; making police more accountable and trustworthy; and providing protection and support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence is vital to support crisis-affected countries and help them become more resilient to violence. And to ensure that this work has a lasting impact, people need to understand and have access to both the legal system and the protection provided by security forces. Much has been achieved through the support of UNDP and its partners, even in just the last year. For example: •   In Guatemala, homicide rates declined for the third year in a row after dramatically rising in the previous Read More

      • Why disaster risk reduction should be a priority in our development agenda | Jo Scheuer

        23 Sep 2013

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        In Bangladesh peasants now have the resources and capacities to build back better their homes after a tropical storm and become resilient in the face of environment threats. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh

        A new report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR) says what many of us already knew or long suspected—that disaster risk reduction is typically underfunded, misdirected and, as a result, inadequate. The numbers speak for themselves. Over the last two decades more than $3 trillion has been spent on development aid, an astronomical number by any comparison. Yet, of this staggering amount only a fraction, $13.5 billion or 0.4 percent, has been dedicated to reducing the risk of disasters. This may sound like a significant amount of money, but when you consider that this is spread over a 20-year time period and across numerous countries, you realize that the actual per-capita annual investment is very little. To add to this, UNISDR’s Global Assessment Report 2013 states that since the turn of the millennium disasters have cost nearly $2.5 trillion in terms of damage, lost productivity and reconstruction efforts. Given the sheer size of the impact, it is shocking that we are investing so little in safeguarding development. The authors of the ODI report ask: “How much could have been saved if funding had been doubled, or tripled, or more?” This is a Read More

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