Our Perspective

      • Road to Rio: Greening Human Development | Olav Kjørven

        22 Mar 2012

        In Istanbul this morning I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at our Global Human Development Forum on Sustainability and Equity, co-hosted with the Government of Turkey. This conversation happened in the right place at the right time. Istanbul is the place where East meets West – Europe meets Asia - across the Bosphorus Strait. Istanbul as a city illustrates how two unique and distinct cultures can come together, live together and thrive, creating a new, vibrant community. That is what needs to happen now with the three strands of sustainable development. As the UN SG said in his message to the Istanbul conference this morning, leaders will find themselves at a crossroads in Rio. It is an appropriate metaphor. Many of us in the sustainable development business come from the environmental movement. We have deep passion and belief in the obligation of today’s generation to preserve species, protect ecosystems and tackle climate change. We will never apologize for that. But we know that green is not enough. Sustainable development requires something more. In 2011 and so far in 2012, we have heard clear warnings from Nature that humanity is arrogantly pushing her boundaries, just as we have heard societiesRead More

      • How to address surging violence in the Caribbean | Heraldo Muñoz

        20 Mar 2012

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        Twelve of the 20 most violent countries in the world are in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is home to 8.5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for 27 percent of all homicides. Photo: UNDP

        Twelve of the 20 most violent countries in the world are in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is home to 8.5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for 27 percent of all homicides. The consequences are devastating, as UNDP’s first Caribbean Human Development Report and an earlier report on human development in Central America show. The report Human Development and the Shift to Better Citizen Security showed that homicide rates have increased substantially in the last 12 years across the Caribbean —with the exception of Barbados and Suriname— while falling or leveling off elsewhere. The study covering Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago showed that a great deal of the violence stems from the transnational organized crime which has been active in the Caribbean. While murders in Jamaica dropped after the report’s completion to 1,124 in 2011, a seven-year low, the country has the highest murder rate in the Caribbean and the third-highest worldwide, only surpassed by El Salvador and Honduras. Lives are lost and damaged. Productivity, social capital—and the trust of citizens in their national institutions—are also hindered. Crime deters investment, diverts youths from jobs to jail, and absorbs funding thatRead More

      • Why Equity and Sustainability Matter for Human Development | Helen Clark

        17 Mar 2012

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        Dried up river bed in Rayer Bazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Inclusion and equity are indispensable for sustainable development. Photo: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan/UNDP

        Since 1990, the baseline year against which we measure progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. The world is within reach of seeing every child enrolled in primary school, and many fewer lives are being lost to hunger and disease. Overall people are healthier, wealthier, and better educated than ever before. Yet aggregate figures disguise some inconvenient truths: that ending poverty is a vast and unfinished agenda; that inequality is increasing in many countries; and that our planet’s eco-systems are under considerable stress.  The question which needs to be addressed is: What do we want our common future to look like? Uppermost in our minds must be the importance of integrated decision-making which seeks to weave together the economic, social, and environmental strands of sustainable development. Expanding access to sustainable energy offers a good example of how to advance all three pillars of sustainable development simultaneously. Living standards can rise, economic growth can be pursued, and environmental balance is maintained. Goals of equity and sustainability are advanced. Inclusion and equity are indispensable requirements for sustainable development. Just as development cannot be only about economic growth, nor can sustainability be only about protecting theRead More

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