Our Perspective

      • Renewing commitments for Afghanistan’s sustainable development | Rebeca Grynspan

        10 Jul 2012

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        Today, more than 20 percent of public civil servants in Afghanistan are women, and girls make up 34 percent of the seven million children in school. Photo: UNDP

        The international community and the Government of Afghanistan have just agreed on how to engage further in Afghanistan. This was a crucial outcome at a conference I recently took part in, gathering representatives from over 70 countries, civil society and international organizations in Tokyo on 8 July. Participants decided to renew and monitor mutual commitments for Afghanistan’s long-term social and economic development by pledging US$16 billion in aid through 2015, with the Afghan Government pledging to tackle corruption resolutely. This is a vital boost as Afghanistan continues its path towards assuming full responsibility for its future—including its security, governance and development. The country has made huge strides comparing to its own recent past, when girls did not go to school at all, few boys got past third grade and incomes were at the bottom rungs of international subsistence levels.  Afghanistan has experienced a four-fold improvement in the number of expected years of schooling and per capita income tripled in the past 10 years. Women have seen advancements. Today, more than 20 percent of public civil servants are women, and girls make up 34 percent of the seven million children in school. From 2000-2011, adolescent fertility rates decreased 40 percent and maternalRead More

      • Preparing for Disasters: A key to Development | Jordan Ryan

        03 Jul 2012

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        In the last decade, almost one million people have been killed by disasters and more than one trillion dollars have been lost. Yet only 1% of international aid is spent to minimise the impact of these disasters. #ActNow and join our campaign!

        Since the year 2000 one million people have lost their lives to disasters caused by natural hazards, and another one billion have suffered from the consequences of these catastrophes. The vast majority of those affected live in developing countries. Studies show that the poor of the world are exposed to much greater risk from natural hazards. Disaster risk reduction needs to be at the center of development. Every dollar invested in minimizing risk saves some seven dollars in economic losses from disasters. Investment in disaster risk reduction remains low around the world. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2009, donors provided the world’s 40 poorest countries with US $363 billion in development assistance, yet only one percent of this sum was allocated to disaster prevention. In addition to investing in risk reduction, attention needs to focus on building resilience in the face of recurrent disasters. Communities that repeatedly invest and reinvest in poorly planned projects will face a continuous cycle of recovery. To build back better requires an approach that embraces knowledge, an understanding of context and a willingness to improve. When planned well, recovery efforts can help restore and support development efforts, transforming communities while repairing and addressing immediateRead More

      • 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 accessRead More

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