Our Perspective

      • Public service for a new age | Olav Kjørven

        12 Mar 2013

        An example of effective public service, a joint UNDP-GEF programme in Mongolia provides rangers with motorcycles to monitor and collect information on wild habitats. (Photo: Eskender Debebe/UNDP)

        Separated in 1965 from the Federation of Malaysia, with no natural resources other than its people, Singapore set out as a new nation-state a half-century ago. With early support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), it built an increasingly prosperous society on the basis of farsighted economic policies, stable and capable institutions, and a public service globally renowned for its excellence. Today, the city-state of Singapore ranks among the world’s wealthiest nations, with one of the most disciplined and efficient public sectors in the world. While every nation must walk its own path, Singapore’s experience offers a number of lessons. This week it hosted the first Public Service Dialogue organized by UNDP’s new Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, which will function as a convener and connector of “thinker-practioners” around the globe who aspire to advance public service for sustainable human development. In setting up this global square for advancing public service, Singapore is signaling both its readiness to share its unique experience as well as its openness to learn from others as the practice of public service – and governance more broadly speaking—faces new challenges and opportunities. The Arab Spring highlighted the inadequacies of administrations out of touch with theirRead More

      • The scarcity of women in peace negotiations | Roma Bhattacharjea

        06 Mar 2013

        Women in Liquica District in Timor Leste hold up their voter registration cards as they wait to participate in Timor-Leste's 2012 Parliamentary Elections. (Photo: Louise Stoddard/UNDP Timor Leste)

        Women are often disproportionately affected by conflict and violence; the time has come to give them a greater role in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. I recently had the honor of visiting Washington DC to participate in the launch of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, & Security, an initiative focused less on women as victims and more on involving them integrally in peace-building and conflict prevention. I have worked on these issues for two decades—and these are exciting times. UNSC Resolution 1325, adopted in October 2000, marked a major evolution from a world in which peace negotiations have long comprised men with guns pardoning other men with guns for crimes all sides committed against women. In December 2011, US President Barack Obama issued a US National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security cutting across the executive and legislative branches of the US government, with the aim of accelerating and institutionalizing the women, peace, and security agenda. UNDP is a key player in advancing inclusive governance, inclusive economic recovery, rule of law and access to justice, notably for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. UNDP also works in some 80 crisis countries, where we advance women, peace, and security on theRead More

      • ICTs and MDGs: New opportunities on the development horizon | Raul Zambrano

        01 Mar 2013

        In Albania, 2,128 public schools were equipped with computer labs and 589,000 students were taught how to use them. (Photo: UNDP Albania)

        We must acknowledge the amazing and certainly unexpected growth in the use of mobile technologies and devices on a global scale. While at the beginning of the new millennium mobiles were practically nonexistent in developing countries, today almost 4.8 billion people use them. We have also seen the rapid emergence of social media and so-called Web 2.0 platforms. Unlike the Internet of the 1990s, social media empowers users to generate their own content and distribute it in real time to billions of people at almost no cost. Mobiles and social media are linked in multiple ways. Just recall the recent “Arab Spring” revolutions which capitalized on both, mobilized millions and triggered political change. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are not foreign to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), on the contrary. They are are an integral part of the Millennium Agenda as reflected in MDG 8, target 18, which calls on bringing access to ICTs for all. While this is a  commendable goal, the real development value of new ICTs stems from their transformational potential. ICTs can provide new and innovative solutions to traditional development goals. They can not only increase the efficiency and efficacy of public processes but also radically changeRead More

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