Our Perspective

      • UNDP has unique role to play in fighting non-communicable diseases | Olav Kjørven

        18 Oct 2012

        Conditions have dramatically improved at the Haret Hreik health centre in the southern suburbs of Beirut, thanks to the UNDP ART GOLD programme. (Photo by Adam Rogers / UNDP)

        A year after the first UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases, The Washington Post this week convened an expert panel to review what progress has occurred and what work remains to fight diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and depression. A small invited audience on site and much larger audience online heard alarming statistics. Among them: One-third of humanity is projected to suffer from diabetes by the year 2050, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are leading causes of death and illness in developed and emerging economies alike—they account for the majority of health-care needs and spending and contribute to some 36 million, or 63 per cent, of 57 million deaths around the world every year. As the medical journal The Lancet has written, these diseases amount to a worldwide emergency requiring a global response that has to date fallen far short. According to the journal: “Despite the threat to human development, and the availability of affordable, cost-effective, and feasible interventions, most countries, development agencies, and foundations neglect the crisis.” Low- and middle-income countries bear the brunt, accounting for nearly 80 percent of global NCD deaths. These diseases drag down economic growth and can push familiesRead More

      • What we owe our youth | Heraldo Muñoz

        16 Oct 2012

        More than 30 youth organizations, young leaders and governmental counterparts will participate in a meeting in Mexico City to boost the involvement of young people in politics in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Photo: UNDP Mexico)

        Today we kick off a three-day meeting in Mexico City to boost the involvement of young people in politics in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than 30 youth organizations, young leaders and governmental counterparts will participate. This is a crucial issue—and not only in Latin America. Almost half the world's population is under 25 and more than one third is aged 12-24. This fact, along with social and economic inequality among youth expressed in recent social movements like the Arab Spring, Spain’s 15M, Mexico’s YoSoy132 movement and the student protests in Chile reaffirm the need to address the young generation’s demands and recognize young people’s critical role in promoting social change. Of the 600 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean more than 26 percent are aged 15-29. This is a unique opportunity for the region’s development and for its present and future governance. The UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Reports have shown that young people have enormous potential as agents of change. But despite Latin America’s remarkable progress in reducing poverty and inequality—and its strides toward strong democracies with free and transparent elections—​​income, gender, ethnic origin, or dwelling conditions are all decisive barriers to young citizens’ rights.Read More

      • Biodiversity and Ecosystems Essential for Human Development | Olav Kjørven

        15 Oct 2012

        UNDP’s global biodiversity portfolio currently includes projects in 146 countries, covering an area larger than India and Indonesia combined. Since 2000, UNDP has helped leverage nearly US$ 5 billion in funding for biodiversity work around the world. (Photo: UNDP Lao PDR)

        Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth in all its forms, and protecting that life is fundamental to eradicating poverty and advancing human development, as was reaffirmed at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. People rely on biodiversity and ecosystems for their livelihoods – to meet their food, water, energy and health needs - and to cope with climate change. A study from India in ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ report, showed that ecosystem services contribute up to 57% of the GDP of the poor. When we lose species and ecosystems, we are losing essential services that sustain life. Recent assessments of global biodiversity find that species are continuing to decline and that the risk of extinction is growing; that natural habitats are continuing to be lost and are becoming increasingly degraded and fragmented. The 2011 IUCN Red List includes 44,838 species, of which 16,928 (38 per cent) are threatened with extinction. To halt this alarming trend, UNDP is calling for urgent action to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan and the 20 Aichi Targets. UNDP’s new Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework, which is being launched this week at the Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention onRead More

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