Our Perspective

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

        13 Dec 2013

        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 toRead More

      • A life of dignity for all | Mandeep Dhaliwal

        10 Dec 2013

        Legal aid services for HIV patients at the Daytop Drug Abuse Treatment Rehabilitation Centre in Yunnan, China. Photo: UNDP

        Without a doubt there has been great progress in the AIDS response. The numbers tell us that the overall rates of new HIV infections are in decline. However, this is not the case for typically excluded populations such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, women and men who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender people. In these groups, HIV is on the rise and alarmingly so.  For example, in Bangkok HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men rose from 11 percent in 2003 to 29 percent in 2011 and a review of available evidence from 15 countries found that over 19 percent of transgender women were living with HIV. At the same time, evidence points to worrying under-investment in health services for these very populations who bear a disproportionate burden of HIV. Social marginalization, stigma and human rights abuses are often the reality for excluded groups worldwide, and these increase vulnerability to HIV. Additionally, among people living with HIV, members of typically marginalized groups tend to experience heightened stigma and discrimination due to HIV-status. There is an urgent need to address the legal and policy barriers that intensify inequalities – including gender inequality –Read More

      • Political quotas for women: Myths & facts | Elizabeth Guerrero

        09 Dec 2013

        Salvadorian parliamentarians celebrate the approval of the new law that addresses violence against women (Photo: El Salvador Legislative Assembly)

        Women still comprise only 21.4 percent of members of parliaments (MP) around the world. While Latin America has more than 24 percent of women MPs — one of the highest shares in the world — the region still has a long road to travel towards gender parity. The provision of quotas — an idea that began in Europe and has spread to other continents — has effectively been used to boost women’s political participation, adopted as a temporary measure to encourage political parties to nominate a minimum percentage of women. This may take place as a voluntary action by political parties or through law-driven measures which push parties to nominate a certain number of women candidates. Yet several myths remain: Myth 1: "Quotas contradict the principle of equality before the law" This argument is based on the assumption that men and women actually have the same opportunities to run for elections. But that simply does not reflect reality. In many countries women can vote, but they cannot be elected. Evidence shows that women and men do not share the same opportunities to be appointed candidates because women face a number of barriers to be nominated by political parties. Therefore, the ideaRead More

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