Democracy opens doors to inclusive growth, says UNDP

29 Jul 2011

Washington — Good governance and empowerment of women play a critical role in sustaining inclusive development, UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said today speaking at the Society for International Development’s World Congress.

During a discussion panel, Rebeca Grynspan was asked about several development challenges – from the crisis in Horn of Africa to the state of democracy and social inclusion in Latin America.

“We need to help Somalia and the Horn of Africa today to overcome this current hardship,” Grynspan said, referring to the complex emergency in East Africa involving severe drought, civil strife, and a flood of Somali refugees.  “At the same time, we also need to put in place mechanism to prevent similar crises in the future.”

Nearly half of Somalia’s estimated 10 million people are in need of relief aid, after two decades of civil conflict and a drought, which prompted the UN to declare famine for the first time this century.

Responding to questions on the linkage between democracy and equitable growth, Grynspan showcased Latin America as a case study.  

“With democracy, the voice of the people really was heard much more calling for education, health improvements, and for policy interventions that made the economy grow in a more equitable way,” Grynspan said. “Better economic, social and political institutions are an important part of the success of Latin America.”

“When you look at all the studies about Latin America, the conclusion is that inequality was falling due to the intervention of the state through the right public policies, such as conditional cash transfers to the poor and the expansion of education.”

The Associate Administrator also stressed that addressing the needs of the young is still an urgent challenge in the region.One in every four young people in the region is not studying and not working:  25 percent out of the education system and out of the labor market.

“We need to remember that socioeconomic and political inclusion is central to avoid conflict and foster peace and stability.”