Our Perspective

      • Rio+20: Health is a sustainable development issue | Olav Kjørven

        22 Jun 2012

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        Technicians testing blood for HIV in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

        The global development framework is undergoing fundamental changes. Human challenges associated with climate change, decent work and access to quality social services are increasingly converging in the world’s developed and developing countries. The answers to these challenges revolve around the adoption of holistic, multi-sectoral national approaches that make use of best international practices, irrespective of where they come from. Nowhere are these new realities more apparent than in the health sector. Non-communicable diseases—cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases—are posing growing challenges for upper- and middle-income countries, as well as lower-income and least developed countries. In responding to the changing nature of global public health challenges associated with non-communicable diseases, I have three messages to share. First: many non-communicable diseases are a sustainable development issue. Up to ¼ of the disease burden could be prevented by reducing air, water and chemical pollution.   Second: Now more than ever, integration is the name of the game. Economic growth, environmental preservation and social equity can no longer be pursued as conflicting agendas. Let us look at the question of how to provide access to electricity for the 1.3 billion people who don’t have it worldwide? There is a carbon constraint that suggests that creating energy access Read More

      • Universal access to energy: Getting the framework right | Veerle Vandeweerd

        19 Jun 2012

        Improving access to affordable and sustainable energy services is absolutely central to broader development efforts to reduce poverty, and improve education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability. Globally, 1.4 billion people across the globe lack access to electricity (85% of whom live in rural areas), and 2.7 billion people (approximately 40% of the global population) rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating. Currently, the largest concentrations of the ‘‘energy poor’’ (that is, people who are both poor and lack access to sustainable modern forms of energy) are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Recent projections suggest that the problem will not only persist, but in fact deepen in the longer term without an international recognition and commitment to effect change. The challenge of increasing access to sustainable and cost-effective energy for the poor has to be met by setting new and bold targets for financing and implementation at the global and country level. Given its capacity as the lead development organization of the UN, UNDP is supporting the publication of a Report on ‘‘Universal access to energy: Getting the framework right’’. This report is the unique outcome of collaboration amongst experts focused on addressing key issues emanating from Africa and Read More

      • Rio+20: What are the parameters of success? | Nils Boesen

        15 Jun 2012

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        Community mobilization and participatory approach in Haiti involves people in building their homes, neighborhoods and cities in accordance with their expectations and needs. Photo: UNDP Haiti

        We are in the midst of a tectonic shift - from the post-World War 2 order to a new, very different order where new powers arise. But not only, as so often depicted, through the rise of new nations and economies. Important as they are, there is more to it than the welcome arrival of the “BRICS” –the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, seen as the leading emerging economies. The broader tectonic shift is the move away from nation states being the dominant players to a much more diverse, complex - and exciting - multi-faceted set of players influencing (as opposed to single-handedly governing) the directions of change. Think civil society linking up and using social media. Think global corporations doing the same, and developing new corporate social responsibility approaches far beyond cosmetics. Think universities and think-tanks actively fostering innovations - be they social, technological, or managerial. And, not least, think cities (and maybe, even city-states, as competitors/alternatives/supplements to nation-states) with their amazing mass of energy, power and resources, and how they address sustainable development challenges - nearly by default across the strands of the social, economic, environmental and the technological. Little wonder that with such a mass of actors, interests Read More

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