Our Perspective

      • A brutal murder recalls the need for laws that protect LGBTI people | Mandeep Dhaliwal

        15 Aug 2013

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        Campaign encourages voluntary HIV testing in Cameroon. Photo: UNDP in Cameroon

        Despite the strides in HIV prevention and treatment responses, the brutal murder of a prominent AIDS activist in Cameroon serves as stark reminder of the work that still lies ahead. Eric Ohena Lembembe, Executive Director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS, was found dead at his home on 15 July 2013, his body showing signs of torture. His was a powerful voice for those at the margins in Cameroon, notably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people—but his violent death was hardly unique. LGBTI people around the world commonly face violence, the threat of violence, discrimination, exclusion, and harassment, often with tacit or explicit support from authorities and with grave consequences for public health. A new law in Russia, for example, imposes fines and up to 15 days in prison for people accused of spreading “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. This law will certainly fuel homophobia and could have the unintended consequence of criminalising sexual health education for young people in Russia, where rates of HIV infection have been rising dramatically. Marginalised citizens are far less likely to seek HIV counseling, testing and treatment. Most recently, data from the Global Men’s Health and Rights Survey show that experiencesRead More

      • Does being ethical pay? | Peter Liria

        06 Aug 2013

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        I recently read an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Does Being Ethical Pay?”, which raised the following  question: "Do consumers reward socially responsible companies?" And while UNDP is a non–profit organization, the question is very pertinent to us as well. Yes. Unequivocally. Being ethical pays. By operating at a high moral and ethical level, we engender trust which helps grow confidence in our ability to deliver results. With trust, donors are more willing to commit and local governments more willing to engage with us. It is critical that we reinforce this message at every turn. Fostering an ethical culture throughout the organization instills in every staff member an obligation to do what's right. Embedded in our organizational fabric, it will guide staff’s behavior and decision-making. And does being unethical cost? Absolutely. In the private sector, daily headlines report on many companies facing untold fines and lost business. But we in the UN can also be damaged. Donor countries are already scaling back contributions. If scandal were to hit, donations might dry up, projects cease and jobs be lost. Most importantly, our mandate would go unfulfilled, and the population we serve would suffer. Our reputation is our most important asset.Read More

      • Conflict has changed, and this needs to be reflected in the future development agenda | Jordan Ryan

        02 Aug 2013

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        Camp residents in Somaliland displaced due to drought or conflict. (Photo: Stuart Price/UN Photo)

        Ever since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, the global community has focused on addressing the challenges of inter-state conflicts. But in 2013, the face of conflict is changing. Today armed conflicts that cause 1,000 or more deaths per year have declined dramatically. More than 526,000 people still die violently every year, but the majority of conflict deaths occur during internal clashes, as opposed to during wars between states. New forms of violent conflict have emerged to take the place of traditional wars. These include inter-community violence, as in the DRC, Somalia and Syria, and violence linked to crime, as in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, for every death from a recognized war, there are nine casualties from gang violence and crime. This violence stunts efforts to lift people out of poverty, scars communities and makes women and girls more vulnerable to abuse. As world leaders prepare to discuss the new global agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals from 2015 onward, recognizing the changing nature of conflict and addressing armed violence as a barrier to development have become top priorities. This will demand the building of institutions able to respond effectively to theRead More

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