Our Perspective

      • Countries in crisis: A new approach to rebuilding the future | Jordan Ryan

        08 Nov 2013

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        Jean-Marie, 42, was forced to leave his village due to conflict, now he has returned home and dishes out the latest hair styles to a steady stream of customers at his barber shop. Photo: Aude Rossignol/ UNDP in Burundi

        Around the world, 1.5 billion people live in a place affected by conflict or violence, waiting, often for decades, for something more than a temporary respite from death and destruction. Throughout my 20 year career at the United Nations, I have seen my share of conflicts come to an end. For instance, Liberia recently marked a decade of progress towards building lasting peace. However, often countries relapse into violence and chaos because underlying economic, social and political causes are not properly addressed. If donors and organisations took a longer-term view of conflicts and crises, and continue to build upon immediate humanitarian responses to focus on sustainable development goals, they could help prevent recurring violence and eradicate the sources of conflict. In communities, this means re-integrating those displaced by conflict and former combatants, and providing young people with job skills for future employment. This can help participants set aside their differences, rebuild their destroyed communities and create new business ventures. From our experience in Burundi, we have learned that targeting specific groups such as former soldiers, people displaced by conflict, or refugees is not enough. The approach needs to be inclusive and has to focus on integrating all excluded groups into their Read More

      • Scaling-up matters for South-South Cooperation | Grace Wang

        06 Nov 2013

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        A woman employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India accesses information relating to her employment at an information kiosk. (Photo: UNDP India)

        The global development cooperation landscape is changing rapidly. Emerging economies and other developing countries have become key actors in the new development architecture. They offer practical solutions, share rich knowledge and take leadership and collective actions.   For example, the Brazilian bolsa familia programme, a cash transfer model, has helped improve childhood nutrition and education in Brazil, and the system has been successfully transplanted to Africa. India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme entitles each rural Indian household by law to 100 days of unskilled work per year on public works programmes. China’s emphasis on infrastructure development in other developing countries has resulted in improvements in electricity supply, an increase in railway connections and reduced prices for telecommunications services. In our new Strategic Plan (2014-17), we are committing to support South-South and Triangular cooperation, complementing the traditional North-South model, across the board, to be a critical part of the post 2015 development agenda.This vision cannot rest on any routine, isolated or short-term approaches. Scaling-up strategy will be the key to ensure our support delivers lasting impact. In this regard, we see ourselves as: • knowledge brokers, to help identify, share and adapt scalable Southern solutions that are tested, cost-effective, sustainable; • capacity Read More

      • Why violence keeps women poor | Jeni Klugman and Matthew Morton

        04 Nov 2013

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        Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban last October for advocating education for girls.

        Conservative estimates of lost productivity resulting from domestic violence range from 1.2 percent of GDP in Brazil and Tanzania, to 2 percent of GDP in Chile — roughly what most governments spend on primary education, or about 1.5 percent. But those figures don’t include costs associated with long-term emotional impact and second-generation consequences. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. That’s about 938 million women — more than the number of undernourished people in the world and close to the population of Africa. Women in poverty, especially in poor countries, often confront multiple layers of difficulty in avoiding or escaping gender-based violence. They may have less financial independence and fewer exit routes, and they often live amid longstanding social norms that at best turn a blind eye to the brutalities they face — and at worst sanction them. They may face greater social stigma if they seek help, and institutions may be too weak to provide help when they need it. Asked why they wouldn’t report abuse, women in developing countries most commonly reply that they believe it would do no good. Gender-based violence reinforces Read More