Our Perspective

      • Road to Rio: Partnering for the sustainable future we want | Sigrid Kaag

        10 Apr 2012

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        Installation of diesel-fueled engines in Mali was a joint partnership of the governments of Mali, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNDP, as well as other partners. Photo: UNDP

        When world leaders, NGOs, the private sector and others meet in Rio this June to discuss how to achieve a future we want, "sustainable development" will be the buzz word. But what does it actually mean and how can we achieve sustainable development?  Development that is truly sustainable must include economic, environmental and social aspects. It is paramount for the international community to forge strong partnerships with all parts of society to build a greener and more inclusive world.  But how can the international community establish successful collaborations between governments, the private sector and civil society to achieve the sustainable future we all want? Here are some possible solutions: - We need to focus on collaborations where there is a real, deep interest and rationale for the private sector to engage. Their engagement needs to be more than  philanthropic. - With support from the United Nations, governments and public organizations need to set policy frameworks and provide incentives for businesses to take action. - The United Nations can also help with systemic topics leading to large-scale investments, such as technology innovation or setting new rules and standards. - Finally, the UN can support large-scale change by establishing collaboration platforms and networks Read More

      • Gender equality is central to democracy | Sezin Sinanoglu

        04 Apr 2012

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        Image from UNDP's documentary "The Glass Ceiling,” shining light on political inequality. Photo: UNDP Thailand

        While the world's attention focuses on Myanmar's elections this week, we should not lose sight of a more regional concern about women's political participation in Asia and the Pacific. This part of the world has the distinction of having the lowest percentages of women in national legislatures of any region outside of the Arab states. Roughly 18.2 percent of national legislature seats in Asia are held by women, and only 15 percent in the Pacific. If you exclude Australia and New Zealand, it drops to just five percent. Globally, less than 20 percent of the world's parliamentary seats are occupied by women. We are still far from reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goal target of at least 30 percent by 2015. Why does it matter if women are so poorly represented? Women's perspective and their participation in politics are prerequisites for democratic development and contribute to good governance. Moreover, Asia is home to two-thirds of the world's population, but economic progress will be limited without equal opportunity for men and women to influence political and economic decisions. There are some basic prescriptions that could set the scene for more political equality: - Establishing consensus among party leadership to promote women's Read More

      • Road to Rio: Green is not enough | Olav Kjørven

        27 Mar 2012

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        ONLY A ROBUST AND HOLISTIC APPROACH THAT BRINGS TOGETHER ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ACTION WILL BRING ABOUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Photo: UN Photo/Martine Perret

        Clean water is increasingly scarce. About a third of the world’s fisheries have collapsed and desertification now threatens the livelihoods of a third of the world’s people. Parts of our planet are in peril. For a comprehensive solution, green is not enough. To protect our home, we must empower people. The Arab Spring and the Occupy movement are clear calls for equality. We must heed them.  Only by working to ensure the next generation has jobs, basic services and opportunity, as well as a protected environment, can we ensure a truly sustainable future. Rio+20 is an opportunity to address these issues holistically. By cutting its fossil fuel subsidies Nigeria took a positive step for the environment and the economy, but people still rioted in the streets. Social protection was a missing link. The lesson was clear: only a robust and holistic approach that intertwines the three strands of development - environmental, economic and social - will bring about sustainable development. So how do we do it? For a start, we need more engagement to expand access to energy for poor communities, support clean and renewable energy development and improve energy efficiency. This will bring many benefits: it helps to keep children Read More

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