Our Perspective

      • Ridding Developing Countries of Armed Violence

        31 Oct 2011

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        As part of UNDP Kenya’s initiative to reduce and control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the Government of Kenya burnt to ashes over 2,500 illegal firearms at a public event in March 2010. (Photo: Jemaiyo Chabeda/UNDP Kenya).

        In the next two days, more than 3,000 people are expected to lose their lives to armed violence all across the world. The economic cost of violence is sobering.  It is literally reversing development—destroying livelihoods, wrecking infrastructure, reducing foreign direct investment, stunting economic growth, and inhibiting achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In many countries insecurity is also diverting public resources from education and health towards law enforcement. The question, as ever, is “what can be done?” By understanding and addressing the sources of violence, and by investing in prevention, early warning and early response capabilities, we will be able to avert conflict and violence and save lives and resources. Education has a significant role to play in preventing conflict and violence.  Countries with high levels of primary education enrolment generally have low levels of violence – and, similarly, children who are deprived of education are more likely to turn to a life of conflict. Education must be part of any effort to address violence. We are also aware that violence is often a symptom of a breakdown in the rule of law, and more broadly in state-society relations. A more just and equitable world is one which will be more Read More

      • Development in an age of economic uncertainty

        17 Oct 2011

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        Sewing machine operators work at the "Multiwear" Factory at Sonapi Industrial Park, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN.

        Today, the world economy is more volatile than ever, endangering recent progress in developing countries. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 marked a significant moment in history that addressed issues of universal human importance. It was a hopeful moment in which there was a global conviction that human deprivation could be alleviated through the coordinated and sustained effort of the world's nations. Nearly twelve years later, many countries have made impressive strides towards achieving the MDGs. However, we also now live in a more uncertain and integrated world where economic and financial shocks are more likely than ever, and their impact can be more broadly devastating. With such an environment come different and profound challenges for human development. To be clear, vulnerability to shocks directly impacts how well households meet basic needs, how many people live in poverty, the access children have to schooling, and the ability of men and women to find meaningful and productive employment. Therefore, fostering human development now demands that we effectively leverage recent lessons about how such crises affect developing countries and the world's most vulnerable populations. Only then can we develop and promote policies and programmes that successfully manage vulnerability, build Read More

      • Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction Saves Lives

        12 Oct 2011

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        Local Risk Management Committee volunteers in a UNDP-supported training exercise transferring injured people to a tent offering first aid in Mozambique. Credit: UNDP Mozambique

        2011 International Day for Disaster Reduction, October 13 The 21st century has been marked by an escalating impact of disasters from natural hazards and the huge loss of life and destruction of livelihoods and communities that come with them. In 2010, nearly 400,000 people were killed by disasters worldwide and more than 200 million people were affected. Economic damage was estimated at USD 110 billion. Disasters seriously undermine, or even reverse, years of hard-won progress in achieving Millennium Development Goals. Now more than ever, reducing disaster risks and preparing to respond to disasters should remain a top priority for every government in disaster-prone countries and for all of us working with such countries. The message is clear: investing in disaster risk reduction saves lives and secures hard-won development gains. Over the past 10 years, UNDP has worked with national governments in more than 50 high disaster-risk countries to strengthen governance structures and institutions for better prevention, mitigation and management of disaster risks, as well as more effective responses to disasters. Governments, with support from the international community, need to engage in building resilience on a sustained basis to address disaster risk reduction as an integral part of development.   Impressive reduction in Read More