Our Perspective

      • MDGs 2015: Latin America needs equality and environmental sustainability | Heraldo Muñoz

        05 Apr 2013

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        Children in Uruguay, where a maternal and infant health programme has drastically improved health markers for children by providing the poorest populations with healthcare, nutritional training and food. (Photo: UNDP Uruguay)

        One thousand days from the 2015 target date, Latin America and the Caribbean is well on the way to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Poverty has been reduced to the lowest levels in three decades. Child mortality has dropped and we are fighting diseases, with some countries spearheading innovation in universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. The commitments made 13 years ago led the region to fine-tune some groundbreaking social policies which, along with rapid economic growth and job creation, helped lift millions from poverty while reducing inequalities. But Latin America and the Caribbean remains the most unequal region in the world—and the most violent. Moreover, too many women still die in childbirth and countries need to boost gender parity in employment and parliaments as well as access to education and reproductive health services. Sanitation must also be improved and more needs to be done to reverse forest loss. In addition, average MDG achievement for countries with historical inequalities is insufficient. In the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Piauí, or in the Mexican states of Nuevo León and Chiapas, MDG achievement rates are considerably different. To tackle such disparities, UNDP and other UN agencies have been partneringRead More

      • Violence against women also hurts business and development | Suki Beavers & Benjamin Kumpf

        29 Mar 2013

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        A sexual violence survivor in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After receiving psycho-social support and vocational training at a multifunctional community centre, she is working as a local merchant and can guarantee a livelihood for her family. (Photo: Yves Sambu/UNDP DRC)

        Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation – and this should be enough to trigger dedicated action. But this widespread violence also causes economic and development problems that remain invisible in most debates. Globally, seven in 10 women experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, and three out of 10 at the hands of an intimate partner.   This results in huge direct and indirect costs, not only to victims and their families but also to businesses and countries. In addition to the impact on women’s health, education and participation in public life, the economic costs include health care and legal services; lost productivity and potential salaries; and the costs of prosecuting perpetrators. In Chile, a study found that women’s loss of salary as a result of domestic violence cost US $1.56 billion or more than 2 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. This is not a problem confined to developing countries: In the United States, the cost of violence against women by an intimate partner exceeds $5.8 billion per year. In Canada, annual costs have been estimated at 684 million Canadian dollars for the criminal justice system, 187 million for police andRead More

      • Taking aim at lax arms control laws | Jordan Ryan

        25 Mar 2013

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        Following the installation of prefabricated armories in Kinshasa, DRC, the firearms of police officers stationed at Makala Central Prison and the military prison of N’Dolo are now numbered, cataloged and housed in secure storage facilities. This regulation of small arms and light weapons contributes to increased transparency and the professionalization of the public security sector. (Photo: Joseph Moura)

        We need to better regulate the international arms trade. Today. Thanks in part to the efforts of organizations like the United Nations (UN) and its Member States, wars between countries are rarer now than at any other time in history. To be sure, tensions, such as between Pakistan and India, and North and South Korea still exist, yet intense conflicts, i.e. those resulting in more than 1,000 deaths in a year, dropped by half between 1980 and 2000, and continue to fall. But we can’t celebrate just yet. Armed violence still kills more than half a million people a year. As participants meet at the UN in New York try to agree on an international Arms Trade Treaty, the widespread availability of guns still causes suffering for millions around the world. While “traditional” warfare between states is subsiding, new types of violence have come to the fore. Asymmetrical conflicts, such as those in Afghanistan and Syria; inter community violence like we continue to see in Somalia; and violence linked to crime, such as what we are seeing in El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico are becoming new norms in many fragile countries. For every death from a recognized war, there are nowRead More