Our Perspective

      • Planning the recovery: Three observations from the Philippines | Kamal Kishore

        18 Dec 2013

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        In areas around Tacloban city, even well-engineered buildings suffered serious damage. (Photo: UNPD in the Philippines)

        Arriving in Manila only a few days after Typhoon Haiyan, I found myself wondering why we were there in the first place. As we often point out, the Philippines is one of the best prepared nations in the region, with impressive early warning and emergency systems. So why then did Haiyan have such a devastating impact, and how can we avert future emergencies? One of the first things I noticed upon arriving is how damage, destruction and deaths from the storm varied significantly across the country. Guiuan, for instance, suffered about one tenth of the casualties endured by other regions, although it faced winds of a similar magnitude. It cannot be a coincidence then that the lower number of deaths seems to be directly proportional to how quickly and efficiently the local government responded. The second observation is that the transition from relief to recovery seems to be moving quickly. A sense of urgency is indeed welcome; however, the key challenge is to not only rebuild quickly but also to do it better, with a long-term view and resilience-building mindset. It is important to remember that during the recovery we are not only rebuilding physical things but also lives, livelihoods and Read More

      • Violence against women is not acceptable and it is preventable | Suki Beavers & Benjamin Kumpf

        16 Dec 2013

        Antonio Banderas, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, appeals to end violence against women

        Globally, three out of ten women report that they have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse by an intimate partner at some point during their lifetime. The toll of violence on  women's health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined, creates significant costs for societies and hinders development. Up to now, our efforts have largely focused on ending impunity for perpetrators and providing comprehensive services  for victims/survivors.  These are critical and must be accelerated. But they must also be accompanied by additional efforts to prevent gender-based violence before it happens. In order to frame effective prevention policies, programmes and advocacy, we need to better understand the factors associated with some men’s use of violence. As a contribution, we are investing in context specific research such as the multi-country study on the use of violence by men we commissioned with UN Women, UN Population Fund and UN Volunteers. The research found out that, out of the 10,000 men surveyed, nearly half reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner. For example eighty per cent of men who admitted to committing rape in two of the study countries cited a sense of sexual entitlement as their motivation. Overall, men who view Read More

      • Moving from transparency to accountability in the fight against corruption | Patrick Keuleers

        13 Dec 2013

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        Graphic design students from Sudan participate in a drawing contest for anti-corruption day. (Photo: Syed Haider/UNDP Sudan)

        Corruption is a major bottleneck to sustainable development: it prevents public and private investment from going where it is most needed, drives up costs, and distorts resource allocations and priorities. This realization was at the heart of the commemorations for International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9th, and at the 5th Conference of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption which I attended in Panama City recently. Anti-corruption has been one of the fastest growing and most successful areas of work under our democratic governance portfolio. The World Bank estimates that corruption can cost a country up to 17 percent of its GDP. Imagine the impact on achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadlines if only 10 percent of that money could be channeled back into development. Through the MYWorld Global Survey, more than 1.5 million people have identified “honest and responsive governments” among the top priorities for the ‘World They Want’. A degree of consensus is now emerging around the importance of integrity, transparency and accountability in governance as key factors to reduce poverty, inequalities and exclusions. Addressing integrity in the public sector is an important component of that strategy. The public service is expected to Read More