Our Perspective

      • Rare optimism in Serbia as corruption drops | Zarko Petrovic

        22 Feb 2013

        Photo: Kenny Miller / Creative Commons

        Public support for Serbia’s crackdown on corruption increased sharply in 2012, and confidence in state institutions is also rising. A new UNDP Corruption Benchmarking survey shows: —Twice as many citizens say their country is “on the right path,” while 25 percent say corruption decreased in the second half of the year —41 percent say corruption will decrease further in the next 12 months —The fraction of people who reportedly paid bribes fell to 8 percent, down sharply. In the vast majority of instances, bribes were not solicited; they were paid to get a service, or avoid a problem such as a traffic ticket —40 percent of Serbians say they “would not pay” if solicited for a bribe, while 33 percent said they would look for help elsewhere —71 percent endorsed “severe punishment” and 79 percent want “harsh legal sanctions” against graft and abuse Taken together, these findings may reflect public intolerance resulting from growing empowerment and increased trust in government. How do we account for this change? A new government committed to change, promoting transparency, good governance, and accountability — because it’s good for investment, good for business, good for jobs. Donors historically encourage countries to exhibit “will, conviction, commitment, andRead More

      • The picture of recovery in Pakistan | Ajay Chhibber

        15 Feb 2013

        A Pakistani man tends to mangroves in the evergreen forests in the areas between land and sea. (Photo: Satomi Kato/UNDP)

        I had the great pleasure this week of speaking at the National Press Club in Washington at an exhibit of photos taken in 2010-2011 in Pakistan by the Japanese photojournalist Satomi Kato. Key partners from the U.S., Japanese, Pakistani, and other governments, journalists, World Bank officials, civil society organizations, and others all turned out to see these remarkable images—which beautifully illustrate our recovery work after floods devastated the country.   We at UNDP focus intently on concrete results and measurable outcomes—as we should. This is a crucial part of our efforts to deliver maximum value with the full transparency and accountability that our partners rightly expect. But these photos remind us that the tangible results and unique value of our long-term work, supporting human development, is reflected not only in spreadsheets, indices, and growth rates, but also in the faces and stories of the people whose lives and communities we’ve helped restore.   These floods caused unprecedented destruction, submerging one-fifth of the country and affecting close to 20 million people. Some 1.67 million houses were destroyed or damaged, and 2.2 million hectares of agricultural land was covered with floods, destroying crops that were the only source of income for hundreds ofRead More

      • World We Want Post-2015 campaign takes off in Zambia | Kanni Wignaraja

        05 Feb 2013

        A woman in Zambia harvests her crops. Photo: Patson Mwasila/UNDP

        It takes foresight to look into the future and imagine the way you want it to be. And then, it takes persistence and courage to influence it to be so. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are not imaginary – they are tangible, and many countries are on the way to achieving them. But more than 1 billion people still live in poverty. Growing inequality and injustice, or the effects of climate change and terror activity may not have been what the MDGs were designed to address. But our world is one where the lines are blurring between development and humanitarianism, between short- and long-term impact, between planning for development and for emergencies. Our imagination has to stretch. This time around, while we look to accelerate progress toward the MDGs, two elements could drive and shape this future vision: first, a people’s sense of equity, and second, a people’s sense of engagement in making their own choices. Let us look at some numbers and the stories they tell: - Zambia has reduced the rate of extreme poverty from 58 percent in 1991 to 43 percent in 2010. However, extreme poverty continues to be higher in rural areas (57 per cent) than urbanRead More

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