Our Perspective

      • Democracy: Where are women, youth, indigenous people and people of African descent? | Gerardo Noto

        10 Mar 2014

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        (Photo: Álvaro Beltrán / UNDP)

        In 2014, Latin America and the Caribbean will hold seven presidential elections, many of which are to be determined by run-offs. Fortunately, in general, our region has become accustomed to holding transparent elections where citizens can freely express their will in electing their representatives to public office. Empowered citizens demand better institutional quality: they call for more and better representation and participation in the processes of shaping and implementing public policies. From the perspective of a citizens' democracy, which UNDP strongly promotes in Latin America and the Caribbean, the right to elect and be elected is a key dimension of political citizenship. Thus, it is important to take the pulse of various sectors of society who participate in the elections, and how the elected representatives reflect the heterogeneity of our societies. Fortunately, there is good news regarding the exercise of voting rights and gender, as women effectively exercise their right to vote. However, there are still major shortcomings regarding the right to be elected. While the region has shown significant progress in recent decades, increasing from 8.2 per cent women’s representation in national legislatures in 1990 to 20.6 per cent in 2010, on average, there are still deep heterogeneities across countries. Read More

      • Is the Global Partnership relevant? | Jérome Sauvage

        06 Mar 2014

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        A post-2015 consultation with young indigenous Brazilians. (Photo: Juliana Wenceslau)

        In Washington, D.C., a number of U.S. Government agencies and think tanks are preparing for the forthcoming Mexico Ministerial Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. At a recent prep meeting, I met enthusiasts and skeptics. The optimists pointed at the progress achieved from Monterrey 2002 to Busan 2011 and how the Paris Declaration started to align programs with developing countries’ priorities. This brought more harmonization and accountability between donor and recipient countries. The process now includes inter-governmental, civil society and private-sector actors and addresses gender equality, climate-change financing and the fight against corruption. The skeptics think that the “aid business” is beyond repair, that the so-called aid effectiveness agenda does not measure "effectiveness" but "efficiency" — looking at bureaucratic processes rather than the actual impact of aid on reducing poverty. One of their spokespersons, American scholar William Easterly, attributes a good share of aid’s failings to a lack of feedback and accountability: “The needs of the poor don’t get met because the poor have little political power with which to make their needs known and they cannot hold anyone accountable to meet those needs.”   But optimists and skeptics seem to agree on one thing: the need to Read More

      • Post-2015: On our way to the World We Want | Olav Kjorven

        24 Feb 2014

        Within the next fifteen or twenty years we could live in a world where everyone has enough food, access to basic health services, schooling and jobs.   That’s a different world from the one we inhabit today, but I’m optimistic, because a new emerging vision is galvanizing support from governments, business and civil society. My optimism comes from following the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG). The 70 governments in the group held in-depth discussions on how we can transform our economies, societies and environment into a more sustainable system. There is a common understanding between the governments that ambitious targets on providing access to food, education, jobs, health, energy, water and sanitation will be included in the next development goals. There is strong agreement that we need targets to reverse environmental degradation and protect the eco-systems. There is commitment to building just societies for women and girls, and to reverse the trend of rising income inequality. There is also agreement that this agenda needs to be for all countries, North and South. Another reason for optimism is that during each of the sessions of the OWG, the Member States have engaged with world-class experts, civil society and the Read More

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