Our Perspective

      • Women can be the best agents of peace — if we let them | Roma Bhattacharjea

        20 Sep 2013

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        A woman who manages a milk-chilling centre in India. A greater role for women in business helps promote long-term peace and stability. (Photo: Graham Crouch/UNDP)

        It is 21 September 2013 and the buzzword is peace. But when we talk about peace, we often think of men laying down weapons, signing treaties and rebuilding countries. On this International Day of Peace, however, we need to remember the fundamental role of women in countries affected by conflict. Remember women not as hapless victims, but as agents of change who invest in their families and communities and who have the potential to build peaceful and prosperous societies. The international community can do more to support women in accessing employment, property, markets and new skills. Supporting their financial independence may go a long way towards giving women a voice and the power to negotiate when it comes to making decisions within families and communities in even the most remote, war-torn corners of the Earth. Improving women's access to education, capital, jobs and markets promotes balanced and inclusive growth. The Asia-Pacific region loses $42 billion to $47 billion per year because of restrictions on women’s access to employment opportunities. This hurts social cohesion, stability and trust in institutions, which are fundamental for long-term peace. Women with jobs are also far more likely than men to invest their income in food, education Read More

      • UNDP brings the Social Good Summit to Rwanda | Auke Lootsma

        19 Sep 2013

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        Rwanda's blooming youth population will be part of discussions on how technological innovations, social media and entrepreneurship can support Rwanda’s development. (Photo: UNDP Rwanda)

        The Social Good Summit is a three-day conference where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. Last year, people gathered in nearly 300 cities and 150 countries to discuss how to make progress on local and global challenges. We at UNDP in Rwanda will be part of the bigger conversation about the challenges of the next generation, and how we can address them now. In Kigali on 23 September, we will investigate how key individuals in our country are already pioneering technological innovations to engineer social change that will leave lasting impacts. Young Rwandan entrepreneurs from different walks of life who are an inspiration to the nation will talk about their achievements and how organizations big and small can work together with individuals and national and world leaders to maximize their footprint. As in many African countries, Rwanda's youth population has boomed (65 percent of Rwandans are below 35 years of age). The Kigali Social Good Summit offers a unique opportunity to discuss how technological innovations, social media and entrepreneurship can inspire this youth population to support Rwanda’s development. UNDP Rwanda invited four reputable universities in Rwanda to a live-streamed meet up to connect with the panel and each Read More

      • No democracy without diversity | Heba El-Kholy

        19 Sep 2013

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        Libyan women proudly show their inked fingers after voting in the general national congress elections on 7 July 2012. Photo @ Samia Mahgoub / UNDP

        Some say history repeats itself. In 2004, UNDP issued what I believe is one of the best of its global Human Development Reports, Managing Cultural Diversity. The report argued that managing cultural diversity is one of the central challenges of our time and that policy choices about recognizing diverse ethnicities, religions, languages and values “are an inescapable feature of the landscape of politics in the 21st century.” But we still need to debunk powerful myths, including the one that some cultures have inherent democratic values and are more likely to make progress than others. In 2004, as now, the UNDP HDR report showed there was no evidence to support the trade-off between accommodating certain cultures and promoting democracy. Yet sadly, many people still believe this, arguing that the “Arab Spring” is freezing into an “Islamic winter.” Over the years, I have seen that democracy cannot exist without diversity. My work with civil society and with the UN has convinced me that addressing diversity in its broadest sense remains one of the core challenges of the democracy and development agenda. This is one lesson from the wave of revolutions in the Arab region that took the world by surprise, toppling authoritarian regimes Read More

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