Our Perspective

      • UNDP report cites new trends to celebrate—and more work ahead | Helen Clark

        20 Mar 2013

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        Bhutan, which pioneered “Gross National Happiness,” successfully backed a UN Resolution declaring March 20 the International Day of Happiness. Above, a panoramic view of Wangdue, Bhutan. (Photo: Gill Fickling/UN Photo)

        Today marks the world’s first International Day of Happiness, thanks to a 2012 UN resolution declaring wellbeing a universal goal and calling for more inclusive, equitable growth to make wellbeing and happiness achievable for all. Wellbeing is very much on the rise, according to UNDP’s new flagship Human Development Report, which shows developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty and propelling many into a new global middle class. More than 40 developing countries have made greater than expected human development gains through investment in education, health care, and social programs, and open engagement with a world made smaller by information and communication technologies and globalisation. Among these is Mexico, which hosted the Human Development Report launch and is seen as a pioneer in devising proactive development policies, which have both expanded integration with global markets and proven innovative in social initiatives. In an unprecedented but little-noticed poll that challenges long-held assumptions, Gallup reported Feb. 25 that only 11 percent of Mexicans would emigrate now if they could—identical to the share of Americans who would choose to leave the United States. That finding reflects how our world is changing. So why are pollsters and researchers studyingRead More

      • Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda: Why does participation matter? | Veerle Vandeweerd

        18 Mar 2013

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        Elected women representatives in India use locally available resources to draw social maps and other micro planning tools. (Photo: Sephi Bergerson / UNDP India)

        The MDGs have been a powerful tool in influencing the policy agenda with a strong human development focus. During the next 1000 days until the MDGs deadline, we will focus on helping countries to accelerate MDGs progress. In order to help countries identify bottlenecks and accelerate results, UNDP introduced the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) in 2010. The MAF has been applied in 46 countries with considerable success. As we approach the MDGs deadline, the UN embarks on the most comprehensive global consultation ever undertaken. The post-2015 process is a truly global conversation, involving and engaging both developed and developing countries, civil society, youth, the private sector, parliamentarians, the poor and the marginalized. The next development framework should build on lessons learned through the MDGs so as to make sure that the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are adequately appropriated by national institutions and the civil society. The ongoing consultations have been raising a number of important aspirations for the SDGs. Firstly, there is a clear message calling for the full incorporation of the three strands of sustainability – the social, the economic, and the environmental. Secondly, there is a strong call for moving beyond GDP as for adequately measuring human wellbeingRead More

      • ‘Post-2015’: Failing to address disaster risk is not an option | Jo Scheuer

        13 Mar 2013

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        Haitians employed by UNDP-coordinated initiatives clear debris in post-quake reconstruction. The risk of disasters like the Haiti quake should be taken into consideration when development goals are created and implemented. (Photo: UNDP Haiti)

        This week in Helsinki, the global community continues to consult on how it will follow up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set to expire in 2015. As we look to the future, one thing is clear: We can no longer afford to ignore disaster risk or the relationship between disasters and development. Disasters set back development achievements. This is obvious when a hurricane washes away a school. However, development decisions can also affect disasters – for example, when houses are built to a standard that doesn’t resist earthquakes. Sometimes the relationship is more nuanced; even an earthquake-resistant highway isn’t much good if it encourages poor people to move into a flood plain. Disasters must be part of the new development framework because it is the poor and marginalized who are most vulnerable to catastrophe. The 2010 floods in Pakistan and earthquake in Haiti, and the 2011 flooding in Thailand are recent clear examples of how, long after the debris is cleared, disasters still affect every single one of the MDGs. The poor are deprived of crops, homes, schools and health centers, and the struggle to escape poverty is reversed, sometimes by decades.   The total global cost of disasters in 2011Read More