Our Perspective

      • Women Gain at Rio+20: Securing the Future We Want by Securing Gender Equality | Winnie Byanyima

        23 Jul 2012

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        The global development agenda is undergoing drastic changes, so how can we ensure that gender issues are adequately addressed in these processes? Photo: UNDP South Sudan

        The global development agenda is undergoing drastic changes, so how can we ensure that gender issues are adequately addressed in these processes? Rio+20 reaffirmed the goals of building an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable world. The representatives of more than 100 governments made over 690 voluntary commitments, including five specifically on gender equality.  But critical questions remain: Did Rio+20 adequately represent all global citizens? Will Rio+20 advance women’s rights worldwide? The outcome document references gender equality in 44 paragraphs. World leaders affirmed that gender equality and women’s participation “are important for effective action on all aspects of sustainable development.” The outcome document encourages donors and non-governmental organizations to fully integrate commitments and considerations on gender equality and women’s empowerment in development programmes and policies. The document made a “call for the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.” Despite proposals for powerful language that would have backed gender equality and women’s empowerment outcomes during the negotiation process, most were lost to numerous rounds of editing. The Rio+20 outcome document has been criticized as being too soft on gender equality. Women’s organizations have expressed disappointment with Read More

      • E-governance can help boost democracy in developing countries | A. Degryse-Blateau

        19 Jul 2012

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        UNDP supports 222 e-governance and access to information projects in 92 countries.

        Two rights stand out in all open democratic societies: freedom of expression and access to information. E-governance—as in electronic, or technology-driven, governance—is about both of these. Efficient e-governance is an innovative and transparent way to deliver government services and exchange information with citizens in a convenient and transparent way, saving time and money. The mass digital migration from personal computers to mobile phone applications also brings new opportunities to boost e-governance. Over five billion people—around 77 percent of the global population—own or have access to mobile phones worldwide. In regions with no electricity, computers or internet access, mobile phones are increasingly helping spread mobile government, banking or health. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) supports 222 e-governance and access to information projects in 92 countries. More than 20 percent focus on the use of Information and Communications Technology to enhance citizens’ access to public information and 18 percent to deliver services more effectively. And there is a world of knowledge to be shared. In Korea, which won the UN’s global e-governance 2010 and 2011 awards, citizens can petition government, complain about government services, pay their taxes and apply for patents online. Businesses can get goods through customs quickly at a lower cost Read More

      • A Visionary for a Better Tomorrow - Celebrating Nelson Mandela | Helen Clark

        18 Jul 2012

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        Nelson Mandela addresses the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran

        Nelson Mandela International Day is an occasion for us all to celebrate the vision of this extraordinary man for freedom, peace and justice; his service to humanity; and the hope for a better tomorrow which he represents to this day. Many in my generation in my country were inspired by Nelson Mandela’s vision, and were appalled and disgusted by the apartheid system in South Africa which grossly discriminated against people on the grounds of race. Dismantling that system and building a new free and democratic South Africa is the cause to which Mr. Mandela has devoted his life. In faraway New Zealand, the struggle for freedom in South Africa divided our small nation for many years. The major link between the two countries was rugby football, with the two national teams usually considered the best in the world. But South Africa’s team had a fundamental flaw – it was racially selected. In New Zealand, Maori players had long been prominent at all levels of the game. Yet up to and including the All Black tour of South Africa in 1960, Maori players were left at home when the All Blacks played there. A citizens’ movement to oppose that injustice and eventually Read More

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