Our Perspective

      • 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 theRead 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 aRead More

      • People are cities, cities are the future | Chris de la Torre

        23 Oct 2013

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        Kampala, Uganda at night. (Photo: UNDP in Uganda)

        Making cities more sustainable is central to global development, and it's easy to see why. The report of the Secretary-General's High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda (PDF) describes cities as "engines for business and innovation," adding that "with good management they can provide jobs, hope and growth, while building sustainability." Following current trends, by 2025, 65 percent of the world's economic growth could be generated by just 600 cities. Urbanists like Alan Ehrenhalt have studied the impact of development on cities, portraying them as dynamic and diverse systems that help shape the trajectory of economic and social evolution. People are coming together, and fast. The current influx of people to urban areas, projected to have two thirds of the earth's population living in cities by 2050, underscores the need for improved infrastructure and social relations. The global urban slum population will increase by 6 million each year unless improvements are made. The rapid growth of cities demands an integrated approach to sustainable development that considers equality, human rights and resilience. Success hinges on partnerships between Member States, multilateral organizations and civil society — in essence putting people at the forefront of global change. While the Universal Declaration of HumanRead More

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