Our Perspective

      • 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

      • Post-2015: Are women and men equally shaping future development goals? | Tracy Vaughan Gough

        27 May 2013

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        A woman joins her two male co-workers at a brick field in West Bengal, India. (Photo: Joydeep Mukherjee/UNDP Photo Contest)

        Roughly half of the 700,000 people who have taken part so far in the UN’s global discussions about the future development framework are women and girls. Demand is increasing for both an individual goal on gender equality which would tackle underlying discrimination and for more emphasis on gender issues in general. This is partly because men and women do not always share the same concerns, as is illustrated by the MY World global survey. Data shows that both sexes agree on the top development priorities for their lives — a good education, better healthcare and an honest and responsive government — but a key difference is that women rank equality between men and women in ninth place whereas men rank it second to last, in 15th place.   Differences have also emerged during the 88 national consultations that are taking place around the world. In Kosovo for example, women said they were concerned about discrimination and social attitudes toward them, whereas men focused more on their status and health issues. In Egypt, female participants highlighted how violence against women and girls is used as a means to limit their public engagement.   Gender issues came up in many other Post-2015 platforms. A meeting Read More

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