Our Perspective

      • South Sudan: Reflections on one year after independence | Lise Grande

        11 Jul 2012

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        Computer training programme for women in South Sudan. Photo: UNDP South Sudan.

        This has been an impressive year, but a difficult one. Let’s first recognize South Sudan’s achievements. South Sudanese are building their country from scratch. During the six-year Comprehensive Peace Agreement period, South Sudanese made huge progress. Nowhere else have so few people working from such a low base done so much. 29 ministries, 21 commissions, ten state governments, a national parliament and ten state legislatures were established. More than two million people returned to South Sudan, the number of children attending primary school tripled, measles was reduced from epidemic levels and 6,000 kilometers of roads were opened, connecting major cities and towns. Despite this progress, the state building exercise facing South Sudan is the largest of this generation. The human development indicators are amongst the worst in the world, with 80 percent of the population living on the equivalent of less than 1 USD a day. 4.7 million people are estimated to be food insecure this year. Less than half of the civil servants have the qualifications needed for their post. Much more needs to be done to ensure that proposed measures of accountability and transparency deter any mismanagement of public resources. During this first year of statehood, the UN agenciesRead More

      • Renewing commitments for Afghanistan’s sustainable development | Rebeca Grynspan

        10 Jul 2012

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        Today, more than 20 percent of public civil servants in Afghanistan are women, and girls make up 34 percent of the seven million children in school. Photo: UNDP

        The international community and the Government of Afghanistan have just agreed on how to engage further in Afghanistan. This was a crucial outcome at a conference I recently took part in, gathering representatives from over 70 countries, civil society and international organizations in Tokyo on 8 July. Participants decided to renew and monitor mutual commitments for Afghanistan’s long-term social and economic development by pledging US$16 billion in aid through 2015, with the Afghan Government pledging to tackle corruption resolutely. This is a vital boost as Afghanistan continues its path towards assuming full responsibility for its future—including its security, governance and development. The country has made huge strides comparing to its own recent past, when girls did not go to school at all, few boys got past third grade and incomes were at the bottom rungs of international subsistence levels.  Afghanistan has experienced a four-fold improvement in the number of expected years of schooling and per capita income tripled in the past 10 years. Women have seen advancements. Today, more than 20 percent of public civil servants are women, and girls make up 34 percent of the seven million children in school. From 2000-2011, adolescent fertility rates decreased 40 percent and maternalRead More

      • Preparing for Disasters: A key to Development | Jordan Ryan

        03 Jul 2012

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        In the last decade, almost one million people have been killed by disasters and more than one trillion dollars have been lost. Yet only 1% of international aid is spent to minimise the impact of these disasters. #ActNow and join our campaign!

        Since the year 2000 one million people have lost their lives to disasters caused by natural hazards, and another one billion have suffered from the consequences of these catastrophes. The vast majority of those affected live in developing countries. Studies show that the poor of the world are exposed to much greater risk from natural hazards. Disaster risk reduction needs to be at the center of development. Every dollar invested in minimizing risk saves some seven dollars in economic losses from disasters. Investment in disaster risk reduction remains low around the world. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2009, donors provided the world’s 40 poorest countries with US $363 billion in development assistance, yet only one percent of this sum was allocated to disaster prevention. In addition to investing in risk reduction, attention needs to focus on building resilience in the face of recurrent disasters. Communities that repeatedly invest and reinvest in poorly planned projects will face a continuous cycle of recovery. To build back better requires an approach that embraces knowledge, an understanding of context and a willingness to improve. When planned well, recovery efforts can help restore and support development efforts, transforming communities while repairing and addressing immediateRead More