Our Perspective

      • On World No Tobacco Day, don’t use as directed | Dudley Tarlton

        31 May 2013

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        A young man smokes in Timor-Leste. Tobacco use kills more people in Asia and the Pacific than in any other region. (Photo: UN Photo/Martine Perret)

        “Use as directed” generally suggests "do as the manufacturer tells you and you’ll be safe." Tobacco, used as directed, kills about 6 million people yearly, roughly half those who use it. That includes about 600,000 people sickened by second-hand smoke. May 31 marks World No Tobacco Day, and this year’s theme is “Ban tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship”— which are proven to increase tobacco use. Tobacco is the leading global cause of preventable death worldwide – and it kills more people in Asia and the Pacific than in any other region. In Southeast Asia, an estimated 1.3 million people die every year from tobacco-related disease. In the Western Pacific region alone, two people die every minute. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tobacco use killed 100 million people in the last century and is on track to kill 1 billion people more by the end of this century. While high-income countries have historically consumed the most tobacco, low- and middle-income countries are closing the gap: Western European cigarette consumption has fallen by more than 25 percent since 1990, but African and Middle Eastern consumption has surged 57 percent during the same period. In Nepal, where UNDP recently took part inRead More

      • Post-2015: One development agenda for everyone | Olav Kjørven

        30 May 2013

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        Nearly 750,000 people from 194 countries have expressed their views so far on the future development agenda after 2015. Photo: UNDP Vietnam

        A “single, universal development agenda” built around “five transformational shifts” sits at the heart of the report handed over on May 30th to UN Secretary General (SG) Ban Ki-moon by the President of Indonesia on behalf the 27-member independent High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda. The panel, co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, was established by the SG to inform his thinking on a bold but practical vision for the world we want. For the past year, the panel has deliberated what that jigsaw puzzle could look like, and how best to put it together. The resulting 80 pages give excellent food for thought. “It would be a mistake to simply tear up the Millennium Development Goals and start from scratch,” writes the panel in its report,“A New Global Partnership: eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development”, (PDF) recognizing the difference it has made to have eight, simple goals to which everyone can subscribe. There can be no stronger basis for a new framework than showing that the existing one delivers, which allows us to lay the ground for even more ambition. The ReportRead More

      • We must rethink the role of aid for a new era | Jonathan Glennie

        29 May 2013

        The nature of international development co-operation is changing, fast.   It’s time for us to think more about how traditional “aid,” or official development assistance, fits in to the new landscape. Countries that recently reached middle-income status are taking centre stage, providing “horizontal” or “South-South” co-operation with other developing countries. Yet they also contain most of the world’s poor, so they still need support. This is one "known known," to borrow from Donald Rumsfeld, amid much uncertainty. "Known unknowns" are things we know we don’t yet fully understand, like the changing geography of power and poverty. Will the middle-income countries continue to rise? In the past, some fell back to lower-income status when shocks hit. Could there be a new middle-income trap, in which countries are forced to lower wages to compete, making the step up to higher value production even harder?   In his famous quote, Rumsfeld neglected to mention "unknown knowns." By this I mean things we think we know, but we’re actually wrong about. These include key aspects of the dominant (neoliberal) development model, now being challenged more than ever, such as the role of the private sector, the importance of agricultural development, regulation of the financial marketsRead More

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