Our Perspective

      • The human face of regional integration in Africa | Abdoulaye Mar Dieye

        29 Oct 2013

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        A farmer in Uganda. (Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT)

        Regional integration is crucial for Africa’s development. There is no shortage of models and projections to support this assertion. For instance, an investment of US $32 billion in Africa’s road network could increase intra-African trade by $250 billion over a period of 15 years.   Yet the question remains: What can integration do for people? That theme is crucial as African countries figure out how to transition from economic growth to genuine poverty reduction and human development. First, regional economic integration would contribute to the creation of quality jobs, particularly for young women and men. African countries need to work together to achieve that goal, devising public policies that can create skills, facilitate labor mobility and access to finance. Second, basic social services and social protection: Countries can use integration as an opportunity to strengthen health, nutrition, education and vocational training, all of which contribute to making the workforce more productive. Third, integration can actually empower people, through the opportunity to migrate and take up jobs across borders. As countries vie to attract and retain new labor force, they have an interest in promoting stability and preventing conflict, protecting people’s rights, health and physical safety and involving them in decision-making. Fourth, Read More

      • Hurricane Sandy one year on: What have we learned? | Heraldo Muñoz

        28 Oct 2013

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        Flooding after Hurricane Sandy in Haiti. (Photo: UNDP Haiti)

        Originally published at Aljazeera Online. The full article can be viewed here. This week marks Hurricane Sandy's first anniversary. Most media attention will understandably focus on the destruction and suffering caused when Sandy struck the United States on October 29 last year, killing more than 110 people and causing more than $50 billion in damages. But what is likely to get less attention is that the US was just the last of many stops on the hurricane's tour of destruction and that there are many lessons we should learn from those living in the Caribbean, a region regularly tested by the Atlantic hurricane season. On a recent visit to Port-au-Prince, I witnessed the tenacity of Haitians who gave me a tour of their newly rebuilt neighbourhood, one of the hardest-hit by the 2010 earthquake. What struck me is that while Haiti suffered a double-hit — with Sandy arriving only two years after the earthquake which killed at least 100,000 people, and affected as many as 3 million more — many measures implemented during the quake recovery helped reduce some of the storm's impact. For example, more than 300,000 people in Haiti have been engaged in community clean-up, which aids reconstruction and limits the Read More

      • Electoral integrity makes governance legitimate | Magdy Martinez-Soliman

        25 Oct 2013

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        Zameer Akhtar conducts a polling training as part of a programme to improve the credibility and reliability of elections. (Photo: Tehseen Oweis/UNDP Pakistan)

        In 2002, UNDP published a Human Development Report titled “Deepening democracy in a fragmented world.” The central message of the report was that “effective governance is central to human development, and lasting solutions need to be firmly grounded in democratic politics in the broadest sense.” A functioning democracy allows all people to participate in decisions that affect their lives and hold their leaders to account. Democratic elections are still one of the most powerful and effective means to ensure such political accountability and are central to our human development approach. From countries emerging from conflict to peaceful, established democracies the ultimate aim of national authorities should be to conduct elections that are a legitimate and sovereign expression of the people’s will. The Sixth Global Electoral Organization (GEO) Conference, which I attended in Korea last week, highlighted the importance of sustainable electoral processes for strengthening democracy by looking at the integrity and inclusion of electoral processes; the central issue of  the capacity and professional development of electoral management bodies; and the challenge of cost-effectiveness in electoral processes. Integrity is key to a credible electoral process. Electoral integrity is more than the mere absence of political manipulation and fraud, however. It includes a Read More