Our Perspective

      • Optimism in the field of anti-corruption | Magdy Martínez-Soliman

        07 Nov 2012

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        "Fighting corruption is everyone’s business" Photo: Kenny Miller / Creative Commons

        Every year, corruption is estimated to cost more than 5% of global GDP (US$2.6 trillion). But its costs in terms of dignity cannot be calculated. Widespread rent-seeking and patronage have the power to undermine democracy and the rights of communities, especially those who live on the land of their ancestors, on mineral resources or surrounded by global commons.  These communities can then be subject to exploitation by companies or interest groups who push for environmental and social safeguards to be ignored or bypassed. High-profile corruption cases and publication of resources lost through illicit forms have begun tempting many to believe the fight against corruption is being lost. Weak anti-corruption agencies, porous institutions and opaque political party financing do not help. I would like to argue, however, that there is still hope for cautious optimism for the following reasons. First, even as gaps in enforcement and practice persist, over the years global instruments and related international initiatives have grown in number and fame. From international diplomatic conventions to new instruments to citizens armed with cellphones, fighting corruption is everyone’s business. Second, corruption has now been termed clearly as a governance deficit and a development challenge, rallying the forces that work on democraticRead More

      • Men of the world, let’s unite for women’s empowerment | Martín Santiago Herrero

        05 Nov 2012

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        EMPOWERING WOMEN IS A TASK FOR EVERYONE. PHOTO: UNDP INDIA

        We continue to live in a world that is profoundly unequal, where the opportunities are not the same for men and women. Women represent 70 per cent of the world’s poor. On average their salaries are  10 to 30 per cent less than men’s for the same work, with the same tasks. Women are responsible for two thirds of the work carried out around the world, but receive only 10 percent of the benefits. They own 1 per cent of cropland, even though they perform 80 per cent of rural work. And as if this were not enough, two thirds (60 per cent) of women are victims of some type of violence or abuse (physical, sexual, psychological or economic) within or outside their homes. By continuing to deny this reality or leave the responsibility to women to "do something about it" themselves, the injustices against women are only exacerbated. We need to act, just as women's movements have done for years, but this time with greater support from men of all ages, and on a grand scale. A road less travelled until now is trying to debunk the underlying myths that sustain inequality between men and women:  Why do so manyRead More

      • UNDP has unique role to play in fighting non-communicable diseases | Olav Kjørven

        18 Oct 2012

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        Conditions have dramatically improved at the Haret Hreik health centre in the southern suburbs of Beirut, thanks to the UNDP ART GOLD programme. (Photo by Adam Rogers / UNDP)

        A year after the first UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases, The Washington Post this week convened an expert panel to review what progress has occurred and what work remains to fight diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and depression. A small invited audience on site and much larger audience online heard alarming statistics. Among them: One-third of humanity is projected to suffer from diabetes by the year 2050, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are leading causes of death and illness in developed and emerging economies alike—they account for the majority of health-care needs and spending and contribute to some 36 million, or 63 per cent, of 57 million deaths around the world every year. As the medical journal The Lancet has written, these diseases amount to a worldwide emergency requiring a global response that has to date fallen far short. According to the journal: “Despite the threat to human development, and the availability of affordable, cost-effective, and feasible interventions, most countries, development agencies, and foundations neglect the crisis.” Low- and middle-income countries bear the brunt, accounting for nearly 80 percent of global NCD deaths. These diseases drag down economic growth and can push familiesRead More

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