Our Perspective

      • Why – so far – the Millennium Development Goals have been a success

        23 Aug 2011

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        Fishermen bring in the daily catch in south-eastern Viet Nam. Photo: Tran Vinh Nghia/UNDP

        The world has 1,520 days to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight commitments that were agreed upon at the turn of the century with the aim of creating better living conditions for all. The MDGs were criticized when they were first adopted.  They continue to be criticized. Some believe they lack ambition, others say that they are unrealistic. Many have pointed out that they do not adequately consider unjust conditions in areas such as trade, investment and debt. Others have pointed to a weak emphasis on environment and climate issues, or that the goals are isolated indicators of poverty. Despite the criticism – and the fact that we do not yet know whether the goals will be achieved globally – we can, in my opinion, state that the MDGs have been a phenomenal success in two ways.  First, they have contributed to ensuring that a majority of developing countries are giving increased priority to policies that put people at the center: freedom from hunger, education for all, basic healthcare, clean drinking water. Around the world, the goals have guided budget decisions and law-making processes. As such the MDGs have contributed to a significant shift.  Growth, investment, asphaltRead More

      • Honouring humanitarian workers worldwide | Jordan Ryan

        19 Aug 2011

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        A UNDP worker helps in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Photo: UNDP/Mariana Nissen

        Today, 19 August 2011, the United Nations celebrates the third World Humanitarian Day to honour people who have dedicated their lives to helping those in need around the world.  Humanitarian workers assist those who have lost their loved ones, their homes, and sources of income to the terrible toll of disasters and conflict. Many humanitarian workers face danger, live in difficult conditions often far apart from their families and loved ones. Their commitment and dedication advance the cause of our common humanity and make us proud. Wherever there are people in need, there are people at the ready to help – brave individuals seeking to ease suffering and bring hope to those less fortunate. Far too many have paid the ultimate price for this commitment, and have lost their lives. It is with them in mind that we mark this day. It is only fitting that each of us consider what we can do to help people enduring disaster, violent conflict, and hardship. We should not underestimate the positive impact each of us can make for those in need.  The current crisis unfolding in the Horn of Africa requires immediate and concerned action. Thousands of people are in danger from drought, famine and conflict.Read More

      • The Epicentre of a Crisis

        09 Aug 2011

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        Humanitarian aid workers are working hard to assist the IDPs through the distribution of corn-soya blend to assist the malnourished children as well as the elderly. (Photo: OCHA/Abdi Noor Yussuf)

        Almost two million Somalis have left their homes in search of food and tens of thousands have died from hunger.  And the numbers continue to rise. I went to Dollow on the Somali side of the Ethiopian border to see for myself what was happening. What I saw and heard was alarming. About 150 families a day were arriving and all of them told the same story. They were running out of resources and knew they could not survive much longer. They had walked for three to four weeks, often leaving relatives too weak to follow by the roadside. After my trip we began to collate the information and the latest round of surveys was horrifying. In some areas over 50% of children were classified as being acutely malnourished— these are globally unprecedented figures. The mortality figures were just as grim with four to five children under five years-old per 10,000 dying each day. The declaration of famine was not a decision taken lightly and demonstrates the severity and urgency of the crisis. The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was asked to validate the findings.   In the next few weeks other areas of southern Somalia will slide intoRead More