Our Perspective

      • Stopping violence against women | Marta Vieira da Silva

        29 Apr 2013

        Life isn’t easy for women – anywhere in the world.   I grew up in Dois Riachos – a poor, remote town in the north-east of Brazil. Our family didn’t have much money; my mother worked hard to raise me and my two brothers and sister by herself. We couldn’t even afford a football – if we had bought one, we would have gone without food.   At the age of 7, I knew I wanted to play football for the rest of my life. But being a girl, the path wasn’t straightforward. Everyone from my brothers to the other boys on the field tried to stop me from playing. I was lucky enough to have the support of visionary people who helped me fulfill my dream of being a professional footballer.   So many women don’t have the opportunities I did.   Every year, 2 million women and girls are trafficked into prostitution, forced slavery and servitude.   Up to 60 percent of women experience some form of physical or sexual abuse during their life – and as many as half of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 18.   This kind of violence is happening on all corners Read More

      • Trading health for wealth? Obesity in the South Pacific | Douglas Webb

        19 Apr 2013

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        Reduced physical activity and a shift from labour-intensive traditional production systems to the market and services economy have contributed to an obesity epidemic in the Pacific Islands. (Photo: Ferdinand Strobel/UNDP)

        The islands of the South Pacific have some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world, with obesity rates as high as 75 percent and diabetes rates as high as 47 percent. The islanders are raising the most obese generation of humans in history. A deeper look at the international trade regimes of these countries indicates that many of them have, in effect, traded health for wealth. The epidemic levels of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers in the Pacific region are closely linked to the progressive substitution of traditional foods with cheap, energy-dense and nutrient-poor imported foods — i.e., processed “junk.” These countries are being compelled by various trade agreements to further reduce import barriers, making over-processed foods like tinned meats even cheaper and more accessible — and limiting the policy space to respond to the problem on public health grounds. The correlation between imported food and unhealthy diets is exemplified by Kiribati, which is estimated to import a whopping 72 percent of its food and has the highest rates of unhealthy food consumption. Sugar alone accounts for more than 30 percent of the total daily caloric intake and 65 percent of the total Read More

      • Post-2015 agenda: Reinventing global decision-making | Olav Kjørven

        17 Apr 2013

        For the first time in history, the United Nations (UN) are engaging people all around the world in shaping a global agenda: the next development goals. We are breaking new ground using digital media, mobile phone technology and door-to-door interviewers to include as many individuals as possible in the debate on the future anti-poverty targets that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To date, close to half a million people have taken part in the ongoing “Global Conversation.” The discussion takes place on several platforms: close to 100 UN Member States are organizing local workshops with the participation of young people, vulnerable women, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups;  eleven global thematic consultations are taking place online through the World We Want 2015 website, where people can contribute their ideas on issues such as inequalities, food security, and access to water; and the MY World survey, available in 10 languages, invites people to vote for six out of 16 priorities for the future development agenda. I presented the voices from the conversation to the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and to the representatives of Member States who will ultimately negotiate the next set of goals. One Read More

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