Our Perspective

      • Toward peace, unity and growth in Kenya | Modibo Touré

        28 Feb 2013

        Mr. David Ngige, the project coordinator of Nyeri Social Forum, carries out mock elections training at Gatitu Nursery school, a set polling station in Nyeri. (Photo: Ricardo Gangale/UNDP Kenya)

        Next Monday, in a crucial test of Kenya’s new political system, millions of voters will head to the polls to elect a new president and a host of parliamentary and local representatives. With the 2007/2008 post-electoral violence on everyone’s mind, it would be easy to forget how much progress the country has made over the past five years. 2008 ushered in a new government coalition and a peace deal, paving the way for the adoption in 2010 of a constitution that would transform the country’s political landscape. Opportunities under the new constitution offered a wide-ranging set of reforms designed to break the cycle of corruption and tribal violence, including a decentralized system of government, independent courts, a new citizens’ Bill of Rights and increased numbers of women in public office. UNDP accompanied the reform process from the beginning, supported the organization of a peaceful constitutional referendum and assisted the government in the creation of a country-wide platform that has helped communities to report and respond to violence. Kenyans are justified in the very high degree of confidence which they have in the neutrality and capability of the bodies which will oversee the forthcoming elections – in particular the Independent Electoral andRead More

      • Rare optimism in Serbia as corruption drops | Zarko Petrovic

        22 Feb 2013

        Photo: Kenny Miller / Creative Commons

        Public support for Serbia’s crackdown on corruption increased sharply in 2012, and confidence in state institutions is also rising. A new UNDP Corruption Benchmarking survey shows: —Twice as many citizens say their country is “on the right path,” while 25 percent say corruption decreased in the second half of the year —41 percent say corruption will decrease further in the next 12 months —The fraction of people who reportedly paid bribes fell to 8 percent, down sharply. In the vast majority of instances, bribes were not solicited; they were paid to get a service, or avoid a problem such as a traffic ticket —40 percent of Serbians say they “would not pay” if solicited for a bribe, while 33 percent said they would look for help elsewhere —71 percent endorsed “severe punishment” and 79 percent want “harsh legal sanctions” against graft and abuse Taken together, these findings may reflect public intolerance resulting from growing empowerment and increased trust in government. How do we account for this change? A new government committed to change, promoting transparency, good governance, and accountability — because it’s good for investment, good for business, good for jobs. Donors historically encourage countries to exhibit “will, conviction, commitment, andRead More

      • The picture of recovery in Pakistan | Ajay Chhibber

        15 Feb 2013

        A Pakistani man tends to mangroves in the evergreen forests in the areas between land and sea. (Photo: Satomi Kato/UNDP)

        I had the great pleasure this week of speaking at the National Press Club in Washington at an exhibit of photos taken in 2010-2011 in Pakistan by the Japanese photojournalist Satomi Kato. Key partners from the U.S., Japanese, Pakistani, and other governments, journalists, World Bank officials, civil society organizations, and others all turned out to see these remarkable images—which beautifully illustrate our recovery work after floods devastated the country.   We at UNDP focus intently on concrete results and measurable outcomes—as we should. This is a crucial part of our efforts to deliver maximum value with the full transparency and accountability that our partners rightly expect. But these photos remind us that the tangible results and unique value of our long-term work, supporting human development, is reflected not only in spreadsheets, indices, and growth rates, but also in the faces and stories of the people whose lives and communities we’ve helped restore.   These floods caused unprecedented destruction, submerging one-fifth of the country and affecting close to 20 million people. Some 1.67 million houses were destroyed or damaged, and 2.2 million hectares of agricultural land was covered with floods, destroying crops that were the only source of income for hundreds ofRead More

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