Our Perspective

      • Taking aim at lax arms control laws | Jordan Ryan

        25 Mar 2013

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        Following the installation of prefabricated armories in Kinshasa, DRC, the firearms of police officers stationed at Makala Central Prison and the military prison of N’Dolo are now numbered, cataloged and housed in secure storage facilities. This regulation of small arms and light weapons contributes to increased transparency and the professionalization of the public security sector. (Photo: Joseph Moura)

        We need to better regulate the international arms trade. Today. Thanks in part to the efforts of organizations like the United Nations (UN) and its Member States, wars between countries are rarer now than at any other time in history. To be sure, tensions, such as between Pakistan and India, and North and South Korea still exist, yet intense conflicts, i.e. those resulting in more than 1,000 deaths in a year, dropped by half between 1980 and 2000, and continue to fall. But we can’t celebrate just yet. Armed violence still kills more than half a million people a year. As participants meet at the UN in New York try to agree on an international Arms Trade Treaty, the widespread availability of guns still causes suffering for millions around the world. While “traditional” warfare between states is subsiding, new types of violence have come to the fore. Asymmetrical conflicts, such as those in Afghanistan and Syria; inter community violence like we continue to see in Somalia; and violence linked to crime, such as what we are seeing in El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico are becoming new norms in many fragile countries. For every death from a recognized war, there are now Read More

      • UNDP report cites new trends to celebrate—and more work ahead | Helen Clark

        20 Mar 2013

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        Bhutan, which pioneered “Gross National Happiness,” successfully backed a UN Resolution declaring March 20 the International Day of Happiness. Above, a panoramic view of Wangdue, Bhutan. (Photo: Gill Fickling/UN Photo)

        Today marks the world’s first International Day of Happiness, thanks to a 2012 UN resolution declaring wellbeing a universal goal and calling for more inclusive, equitable growth to make wellbeing and happiness achievable for all. Wellbeing is very much on the rise, according to UNDP’s new flagship Human Development Report, which shows developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty and propelling many into a new global middle class. More than 40 developing countries have made greater than expected human development gains through investment in education, health care, and social programs, and open engagement with a world made smaller by information and communication technologies and globalisation. Among these is Mexico, which hosted the Human Development Report launch and is seen as a pioneer in devising proactive development policies, which have both expanded integration with global markets and proven innovative in social initiatives. In an unprecedented but little-noticed poll that challenges long-held assumptions, Gallup reported Feb. 25 that only 11 percent of Mexicans would emigrate now if they could—identical to the share of Americans who would choose to leave the United States. That finding reflects how our world is changing. So why are pollsters and researchers studying Read More

      • Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda: Why does participation matter? | Veerle Vandeweerd

        18 Mar 2013

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        Elected women representatives in India use locally available resources to draw social maps and other micro planning tools. (Photo: Sephi Bergerson / UNDP India)

        The MDGs have been a powerful tool in influencing the policy agenda with a strong human development focus. During the next 1000 days until the MDGs deadline, we will focus on helping countries to accelerate MDGs progress. In order to help countries identify bottlenecks and accelerate results, UNDP introduced the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) in 2010. The MAF has been applied in 46 countries with considerable success. As we approach the MDGs deadline, the UN embarks on the most comprehensive global consultation ever undertaken. The post-2015 process is a truly global conversation, involving and engaging both developed and developing countries, civil society, youth, the private sector, parliamentarians, the poor and the marginalized. The next development framework should build on lessons learned through the MDGs so as to make sure that the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are adequately appropriated by national institutions and the civil society. The ongoing consultations have been raising a number of important aspirations for the SDGs. Firstly, there is a clear message calling for the full incorporation of the three strands of sustainability – the social, the economic, and the environmental. Secondly, there is a strong call for moving beyond GDP as for adequately measuring human wellbeing Read More