Our Perspective

      • The world’s two top economic powers turn to an emerged Latin America | Heraldo Muñoz

        07 Jun 2013

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        Participants in a micro-credit and skill-training programme in Bolivia tend to a sweet-onion harvest. Programmes like this one have helped thousands in Latin America emerge from extreme poverty. (Photo: UNDP Bolivia/Bolivia Produce)

        In the last six weeks, United States President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and President of China Xi Jinping all have visited Latin America and the Caribbean. Far from being a coincidence, the leaders of the world’s first and second largest economies are turning to a transformed Latin America and the Caribbean—defined increasingly by opportunity, growth, democracy and optimism. Yes, it’s the economy. In 2012, U.S. exports to the Caribbean, South and Central America totaled $205 billion, compared to $110 billion in exports to China. US exports to Mexico alone reached $216 billion last year. The bottom line is that Latin America has already emerged—and is not tied to any particular external partner. Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest economy; Argentina, Brazil and Mexico hold seats in the G-20; Chile and Mexico have joined developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).   Over the last decade, it has become a region of middle-income countries growing faster than the global average, reducing trade deficits thanks to a commodities boom , improved investments—and to growing domestic markets. The region has lifted 58 million people out of poverty and into the middle class since 2002. And despite some setbacks, the Read More

      • Gearing up to support national transformation in Myanmar | Toily Kurbanov

        07 Jun 2013

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        Micro-financed projects in Bangan Townships, Myanmar. (Photo: Mark Garten/UN Photo)

        After two decades of restricted operations and 18 months of unprecedented and ongoing national reform, UNDP — along with our partners and other international organizations such as the World Bank — is now poised to help Myanmar lift itself out of widespread poverty and isolation following 18 months of unprecedented opening and reform.   The road ahead is long and filled with challenges, but the promise and potential—given Myanmar’s large, young population, vast natural resources, strategic position next to emerging economies of China, India and South East Asia, and strong commitment to reform—are encouraging.   UNDP has worked in Myanmar since the 1960s, but in 1993 our mandate was restricted to interventions at the grassroots level, sidestepping the regime. We helped communities directly with livelihood support and infrastructure projects, such as building hurricane-resistant housing.   Now we’re engaging the government to help sustain the momentum behind its political and socio-economic reforms.   Our new country programme includes a major focus on responsive, transparent, democratic governance—a central component of UNDP’s work worldwide—in three priority areas.   The first supports institutional strengthening of local governments and civil society, while providing livelihood support and poverty reduction in border and ceasefire areas.   The second comprises Read More

      • Development gains at risk without rule of law in Post-2015 agenda | Magdy Martinez-Soliman

        04 Jun 2013

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        A woman waits to be served by one of UNDP Iraq’s Access to Justice legal help desks in Erbil, Northern Iraq. (Photo: UNDP Iraq)

        Rule of law is part of the structure of all societies. It reflects the shared notion that human dignity and justice matter, and that institutions and behaviours need to be geared towards the respect of such dignity, justice and fairness. Our field experience showcases how important well-structured justice systems and the rule of law are to deliver social services effectively and fight corruption.  Development without citizen’s participation and public accountability tends to be short-lived and fragile with a higher risk of corruption, repression and social conflict. Our role is to reinforce collaborations to support our national partners in their efforts to provide a more inclusive and just future for those in need. Accelerating progress in the remaining 1,000 days to the MDG’s target date is key. We are also supporting a global and open conversation on how the next development agenda should look after 2015 by engaging with people around the world. The energy and interest they are unleashing is unprecedented. People want to be heard. They want to have a say in setting the agenda, monitoring results and holding public officials accountable. For example, parliamentarians and civil society organizations in Dhaka and Manila, as well as national consultations with civil Read More

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