Our Perspective

      • Protecting people with disabilities in times of disaster | Jo Scheuer

        11 Oct 2013

        image
        Lahore resident Jamila Hasan and her disabled daughter negotiate their way across a flooded street. Photo: Tariq Saeed, IRIN

        Approximately 10 percent of the world's population lives with a disability. Often ignored, forgotten or stigmatized, people with disabilities not only struggle for daily recognition, but face life-threatening challenges in times of disaster. Those whose mobility is impaired cannot access evacuation routes; those with visual or hearing impairment don’t receive early warnings; and those dependant on health and other community infrastructure suffer disproportionately from disaster. During the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, the death rate amongst people with disabilities was twice that of the general population, and when Hurricane Katrina hit the US in 2006, the immobile poor were disproportionately left behind in New Orleans. Fourteen percent of those who remained were living with a disability that made them physically unable to evacuate, while 23 percent were caring for a disabled person. October 13 is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. The theme this year is ‘disability and disasters,’ a welcome move to draw awareness to the difficulties those with disabilities face in times of disaster. 157 countries have now signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities pledging, among other things, to protect persons with disabilities during conflict, humanitarian emergencies and disasters. In planning and preparing Read More

      • Energy and development: Did you cook your coffee with wood or with charcoal today? | Mina Weydahl

        09 Oct 2013

        image
        Christine Kyomugasho, 67, cooks using bio gas at her home in Uganda. (Photo: Matthias Mugisha/UNDP Uganda)

        With few exceptions, all of us engage in some sort of cooking every day, in various ways, and sometimes with varying success. Some of us cook with an electric stove, some with gas stoves, some cook outside, some inside. 2.7 billion people across the world cook with traditional stoves and with wood, charcoal and other so-called “traditional fuels.” Cooking with wood or charcoal is a bit more challenging than cooking with gas or electricity. First of all, it’s trickier to get – whether I buy wood or charcoal at the market or I actually go to the forest and get the wood myself, it takes a lot longer than turning on a gas flame or an electric stove. In the state of Himachal Pradesh in India, for example, rural women typically spend 40 hours collecting fuel every month, many of them walking more than 6 kilometers round trip. Secondly, traditional fuel is a lot heavier – a family cooking with wood will use, on average, 2400 kilograms per year. This can contribute to deforestation in areas where wood is the only affordable and available option. Thirdly, wood and charcoal produce more smoke than a gas or electric stove, depending on what Read More

      • Africa's mineral wealth can be a springboard for development | A. mar Dieye

        04 Oct 2013

        image
        Africa is poised to make the delicate transition from growth to shared prosperity and increased well-being. Photo: UNDP in Togo

        Africa is on the verge of a development breakthrough. Extreme poverty has come down, child and maternal mortality have been sharply reduced, and most countries have made progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight internationally-agreed targets to reduce poverty, hunger, and disease by 2015. But it will take a different kind of growth - faster and more inclusive - to improve the lives of people in Africa on a much broader scale. There is today a unique combination of high commodity prices and very large discoveries of oil, gas, minerals that has the potential to both accelerate growth and improve standards of living in Africa in the years to come - provided that African countries can do three things. First, capture effectively and transparently the proceeds from extracting resources. Much of the income generated from mining, oil, and gas industries usually goes to the foreign companies providing the technology, skills, and finance. Whether Africans benefit depends largely on how effective governments are in raising revenues from taxes and royalties. Second, managing revenues from oil, gas and mining also implies making decisions on how much to invest now, versus how much to save for later, given that these resources Read More

The Speakers Corner
thumbnail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Speakers Corner helps connect think tanks, academia, the media and the public to a diverse group of experts who can speak to UNDP’s commitment to “empower lives” and build "resilient nations.”

Visit the Speakers Corner
Follow us