Our Perspective

      • Post-2015: One development agenda for everyone | Olav Kjørven

        30 May 2013

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        Nearly 750,000 people from 194 countries have expressed their views so far on the future development agenda after 2015. Photo: UNDP Vietnam

        A “single, universal development agenda” built around “five transformational shifts” sits at the heart of the report handed over on May 30th to UN Secretary General (SG) Ban Ki-moon by the President of Indonesia on behalf the 27-member independent High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda. The panel, co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, was established by the SG to inform his thinking on a bold but practical vision for the world we want. For the past year, the panel has deliberated what that jigsaw puzzle could look like, and how best to put it together. The resulting 80 pages give excellent food for thought. “It would be a mistake to simply tear up the Millennium Development Goals and start from scratch,” writes the panel in its report,“A New Global Partnership: eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development”, (PDF) recognizing the difference it has made to have eight, simple goals to which everyone can subscribe. There can be no stronger basis for a new framework than showing that the existing one delivers, which allows us to lay the ground for even more ambition. The Report Read More

      • We must rethink the role of aid for a new era | Jonathan Glennie

        29 May 2013

        The nature of international development co-operation is changing, fast.   It’s time for us to think more about how traditional “aid,” or official development assistance, fits in to the new landscape. Countries that recently reached middle-income status are taking centre stage, providing “horizontal” or “South-South” co-operation with other developing countries. Yet they also contain most of the world’s poor, so they still need support. This is one "known known," to borrow from Donald Rumsfeld, amid much uncertainty. "Known unknowns" are things we know we don’t yet fully understand, like the changing geography of power and poverty. Will the middle-income countries continue to rise? In the past, some fell back to lower-income status when shocks hit. Could there be a new middle-income trap, in which countries are forced to lower wages to compete, making the step up to higher value production even harder?   In his famous quote, Rumsfeld neglected to mention "unknown knowns." By this I mean things we think we know, but we’re actually wrong about. These include key aspects of the dominant (neoliberal) development model, now being challenged more than ever, such as the role of the private sector, the importance of agricultural development, regulation of the financial markets Read More

      • Bangladesh tragedy exposes need for responsible globalization | Ajay Chhibber

        28 May 2013

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        In Bangladesh, UNDP-supported local Community Development Committees help people establish small businesses such as weaving on a traditional hand loom. (Photo: UNDP Bangladesh)

        As capital moves to find the cheapest locations for production in a race to the bottom, the ugly side of globalization is brought home to the world through horrific pictures of the tragic collapse of the Bangladesh textile factory. Poor regulations and standards are widespread in sweat shops across the developing world. Brand name buyers hide behind the fact they are unaware of the working conditions under which their cheaply sourced products are being produced. The Bangladesh tragedy shows how costly it is to ignore safety and working condition standards, when thousands are packed into unsafe buildings in order to reduce costs and increase profits. The government is now considering allowing unionisation and raising the minimum wage. Working in a textile sweat shop was a way out of rural poverty for thousands of Bangladeshi women, as is the case in many other parts of the developing world. But can we not do better by ensuring a minimum safety and decent working conditions for such workers? A few cents extra for the clothes we buy in fancy department stores is a price worth paying for those who died in Bangladesh and for the millions who toil under very harsh conditions in similar Read More