Our Perspective

      • Green energy saves more than environment | Helen Clark

        03 May 2013

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        Ethiopia has set out to invest US $150 billion over the next two decades to become a carbon neutral country by 2025. Photo: UNDP in Ethiopia

        The United Nations Rio+20 Conference called last year for urgent action to put the world on a more equitable and sustainable development path. Countries agreed that systems and behaviors that worsen poverty and inequalities, exclude women and marginalize others, are pushing our planet to its limits and must change. Achieving sustainable energy yields benefits beyond the environment. It enables children to study at night, allows health clinics to store needed vaccines, and frees women from backbreaking chore and life-threatening smoke from wood-burning stoves. It creates a platform for better and more productive lives. Germany, for example, developed with a heavy carbon footprint but now leads the way in making the transition to sustainability. The renewable share of Germany’s energy mix doubled from 2006-2012. This suggests to me that with bold leadership and farsighted policies, countries can make the transitions to become more sustainable. Indeed, we have no choice if we are to avoid an irreversible rise in global temperature and its dire projected consequences. These would see citizens in developed countries funding ever more elaborate flood defense systems, compensating farmers for lost crops, and adjusting thermostats to cope with heat waves. But shifting weather patterns and more extreme climate events in Read More

      • High-level panel takes a strong stand for health of women, girls | Mandeep Dhaliwal

        02 May 2013

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        A mother and child recover from malaria in a hospital in Burundi. The government provides free health care for pregnant women and children under five. (Photo: Maria Cerna/UNDP Photo Contest)

        New recommendations by a high-level panel on population and development mark a major step forward in advancing the health of women and girls, who are widely acknowledged as the crux of global development but still suffer needlessly from violence, discrimination, unwanted pregnancies and high rates of maternal mortality. On 25 April, the new, independent High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) launched its Policy Recommendations for the ICPD Beyond 2014: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All. The task force, created in 2012, is charged with reviewing and advancing the work of the 1994 ICPD in Cairo. That meeting resulted in a groundbreaking programme adopted by 179 governments, placing the human rights of women, including their health and reproductive rights, at the centre of the sustainable development agenda. The panel aims to galvanize political will to  advance an agenda that ensures the rights of all—putting sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and empowerment of women and young people front and centre in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Task Force notes that 800 women die every day as a result of avoidable pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications, while 222 million women who would like to Read More

      • 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

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