Our Perspective

      • From Aid to Coherence - Making Development More Effective | Helen Clark

        09 May 2012

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        The policy coherence agenda is critical for achieving sustainable development and building the trust necessary between developed and developing countries to tackle global development challenges together. Photo: UN/Shehzad Noorani

        There is growing awareness that many of the most pressing challenges we face, from climate change to the spread of epidemics, the consequences of financial crises, and the forced displacement of people, require global solutions.  The focus must shift from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness.  Below, I am outlining some key policy areas where more coherence is needed: Trade and finance: Trade barriers are detrimental to the efforts of developing countries to grow their exports.  Climate change: Donors continue to invest in fossil fuel-based energy production. Migration: Recruiting health personnel from developing countries and investing in the health sector of those countries at the same time can be costly for donor countries and cause critical shortages of labor and a brain drain in developing countries. Investment policy: Without environmental, labour, social, and fiduciary standards, foreign direct investment may become exploitative of people, a country’s institutions, and the environment, instead of fostering economic growth and sustainable development.  Food security: Fears have emerged that other policies, like support for biofuel production in the global North to promote cleaner energy, contribute to raising food prices and jeopardize food security for food importing countries in the south. Tax and aid policies:  A lack of transparency Read More

      • Road to Rio: Nations on a mission for sustainable energy for all | Veerle Vandeweerd

        08 May 2012

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        Solar panels provide clean energy in remote places. UN Photo

        Jamaica is on a mission for sustainable energy for all. The government spent US$2.2 billion – or 40 percent - of its foreign exchange earnings importing fossil fuels in 2011. To make a change Jamaicans turned to the nature around them – sun, waterfalls and rivers – and invested in renewable energy. By 2030, 30 percent of Jamaica’s energy will now come from renewables. Jamaica is one of 29 Small Island Development States (SIDS) that came together at the Achieving Sustainable Energy for All Conference in Barbados this week to share their determination to be free from dependence on fossil fuels. Just weeks ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or ‘Rio+20’, these nations, with some of the highest energy bills in the world, put forward a list of commitments to change. By 2029, Barbados will reduce its fossil fuel bill by US$283million, Mauritius will increase the share of renewable energy to 35 percent or more by 2025; and Seychelles committed to produce 15 percent of energy from renewables by 2030. Timor Leste set out its timeline: by 2015, no households in the capital will need to use firewood for cooking; by 2020, 50 percent of energy will come from Read More

      • Road to Rio: Empowerment, accountability and the rule of law | Magdy Martinez-Soliman

        07 May 2012

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        In South Sudan, UNDP is supporting legal education and research to lay a strong foundation for a united, peaceful and prosperous society. Photo: UNDP

        Sustainable development is about ever-widening inclusiveness and transformation of impoverished people into empowered and informed citizens.  It is about governments being held accountable for the decisions they make. The three strands of sustainable development must go hand in hand along with civil and political rights. From our perspective, sustainable development must entail human development and democratic governance.  Why is it so crucial?  Because it is the poorest in the world who will bear the brunt of unsustainable practices, as their livelihoods and welfare are most closely linked to natural resources. Sustainable development boils down to the fundamental question of whether people have the opportunities to know their rights, claim their rights, voice their concerns and influence their future, and whether decision makers can be held accountable for policies that impact communities, their environments and livelihoods. ‘Triple win’ development policies can regenerate the global commons by integrating social development with economic growth and environmental sustainability.  Governance is the glue that binds together the three strands in policy and practice. Law and regulatory reforms should serve as a means to resetting the balance between economic efficiency, social fairness and environmental sustainability. This requires that legal and regulatory frameworks be assessed from a sustainability Read More