Our Perspective

      • Building wealth long after the miners depart

        08 Nov 2011

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        UNDP Administrator Helen Clark with a felt processing entrepreneur who is part of the Enterprise Mongolia project. (Credit: UNDP)

        A conference on managing extractive industries in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, addressed the challenge of how resource-rich countries can make best use of their precious oil, gas or mineral assets and develop resilience to price volatility. Countries exporting these commodities need options to stabilise their economies and make them less vulnerable to the vagaries of unpredictable prices. Recent market history shows why: copper prices dropped nearly 15 per cent from July to September, and the price of gold has gone up more than 30 per cent since January. Such fluctuations make budget planning difficult and resource-rich developing countries vulnerable to market shocks. It’s also true that economies where extractive industries dominate do not always reap social and economic benefits for their people. Indeed, the extraction of mineral resources can become a curse where it fuels conflict and creates environmental disaster. The gross mismatch between the wealth generated and the paucity of local benefits derived is often exacerbated by weak governance and a lack of transparency and accountability. Yet it is possible to design policies that guard against the negative impacts of exploiting natural resources. That is why UNDP and the government of Mongolia brought together representatives of 17 resource-rich developing countries toRead More

      • Ultimate goal of development? Expand peoples’ choices

        02 Nov 2011

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        Human Development Report 2011: Investments in access to renewable energy, clean water, and improved sanitation will advance equity, sustainability, and human development. PHOTO: ©UNDP/ARANTXA CEDILLO

        Finding ways to make human development progress truly sustainable for the seven billion people who now live on our planet and for generations to come is a central challenge of the 21st century. The international community must find pathways to development which maintain ecosystem balance and reduce inequalities. This year’s Human Development Report asks whether we can expect the positive trends of the last forty years to continue and improvements to be sustained for the people who will live on this planet over the next four decades. The report warns that some 1.7 billion people in 109 countries are living in ‘multidimensional’ poverty. According to the report, escalating environmental hazards threaten to slow or reverse the notable progress in human development of previous decades. The impact in the worst case scenario is projected to be worse for countries which are low on the Human Development Index (HDI), leading to widening inequalities between high HDI and low HDI countries.  Key Messages of the Human Development Report 1 The most vulnerable suffer a double burden: They are more affected by environmental degradation and are less resilient towards its resulting threats such as unclean water, indoor air pollution from unhealthy cooking and poor sanitation.Read More

      • Ridding Developing Countries of Armed Violence

        31 Oct 2011

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        As part of UNDP Kenya’s initiative to reduce and control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the Government of Kenya burnt to ashes over 2,500 illegal firearms at a public event in March 2010. (Photo: Jemaiyo Chabeda/UNDP Kenya).

        In the next two days, more than 3,000 people are expected to lose their lives to armed violence all across the world. The economic cost of violence is sobering.  It is literally reversing development—destroying livelihoods, wrecking infrastructure, reducing foreign direct investment, stunting economic growth, and inhibiting achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In many countries insecurity is also diverting public resources from education and health towards law enforcement. The question, as ever, is “what can be done?” By understanding and addressing the sources of violence, and by investing in prevention, early warning and early response capabilities, we will be able to avert conflict and violence and save lives and resources. Education has a significant role to play in preventing conflict and violence.  Countries with high levels of primary education enrolment generally have low levels of violence – and, similarly, children who are deprived of education are more likely to turn to a life of conflict. Education must be part of any effort to address violence. We are also aware that violence is often a symptom of a breakdown in the rule of law, and more broadly in state-society relations. A more just and equitable world is one which will be moreRead More

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