Our Perspective

      • Allow the poor to define their future | Olav Kjørven

        02 Jan 2012

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        For growth to be inclusive, it must be sustainable and equitable. Photo: UNDP

        Over one billion of us live without many of the basics that the other six billion take as given. In the least-developed countries, conflict, disaster and broader human insecurity impose structural limits on efforts to move from crisis to risk reduction and from growth to sustained development. Significant and sustained progress will require faster and better efforts. Beyond the critical issues of 'carbon footprints', 'low-carbon development',' green economy' and the economics behind saving the planet, we must draw attention back to the continuing challenge of ensuring that growth and development deliver for and with the poor and vulnerable. In its many forms - energy poverty, lack of access to water and sanitation, malnutrition or insecure access to food and lack of access to education and health - the scale and scope of global deprivation call current development policy and practice into question. How can we achieve sustainable development?                “For growth to be inclusive, it must be sustained and sustainable and that, for it to be sustained and sustainable, it must also be equitable", concludes the special issue of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) Poverty in Focus magazine (pdf).  Growth, gender, poverty and the environment can no longer Read More

      • Sustainable energy access critical for development in Africa | Helen Clark

        29 Dec 2011

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        Access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries is essential for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals. Photo: UN Foundation

        Almost 45 per cent of those who lack access to energy live in Sub-Saharan Africa, making up 69 per cent of the region’s population. They number 585 million people. Seventy eight per cent of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa use traditional biomass for cooking and heating (650 million). Energy needs extend well beyond having electricity available in homes. In Africa, where so many depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood, expanding access to energy for irrigation, food production, and processing is vital. It can boost agricultural productivity and rural incomes, and empower women who make up a significant proportion of the continent’s farmers. For UNDP, access to sustainable energy is critical for making societies more equitable and inclusive, and for encouraging green growth and sustainable development overall. We advocate for equity, inclusiveness, resilience, and sustainability to be the guiding principles for efforts to achieve universal energy access.  We recognize that different groups have different energy needs. Therefore, governments need to balance the financing of large-scale energy projects with support for the off-grid, decentralized energy solutions which will help meet the needs of the poorest and most marginalised people. Cleaner cooking and heating fuels and motor power for productive activities are also Read More

      • Volunteering changes our world for the better | Helen Clark

        02 Dec 2011

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        One of the local volunteers participating in the UNV Sudan supported Diversity campaign in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Ayman Suliman

        On the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers coming up Monday, December 5, we celebrate the work of volunteers worldwide and the contribution they make to the development and wellbeing of communities.   Every day, volunteers make a difference for the environment, for peace, for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, and much more.  There are countless examples of volunteering having an incredible impact. In Nepal, nearly 50,000 female community health volunteers, supported by UNICEF, UNFPA, USAID, and the Gates Foundation, have helped cut child mortality by two- thirds over the past fifteen years. Japanese Red Cross volunteers played an indispensable role in dealing with the aftermath of the terrible earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. UN Volunteers form a significant part of UN peacekeeping missions, making up around one third of the international civilian staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Liberia, and elsewhere. A guiding principle for UN Volunteers is that people closest to the problems are also often the people most able to contribute to the solutions. The first State of the World’s Volunteerism Report to be released on Monday says that there is still plenty of room in development for volunteer and citizen action. Read More

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