Our Perspective

      • As the UN’s small arms review conference ends, what is needed to reduce violence? | Jordan Ryan

        10 Sep 2012

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        A child holds up bullets collected from the ground in Rounyn, North Darfur. (Photo: UNAMID / Albert Gonzalez Farran)

        You don’t have to look far to see the impact of armed violence. Just turn on the news. In New York two weeks ago, shots rang out at the Empire State Building as police were trying to stop someone with an illegal gun in a crowded area. Two people were killed and nine injured. Last year, Mexico saw more than 12,000 drug related murders. There is, on average, one death caused by guns every minute worldwide, and 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by conflict or high levels of violent crime.   This is not only happening in conflict countries; higher death-rates from criminal gun use are recorded in “peaceful” countries. Gun violence destabilizes legitimate governments and exacerbates poverty. For UNDP, armed violence is a development issue.  An international conference to curb the illicit trade in small arms wrapped up in New York on Friday September 7. States attending reviewed the implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, a political commitment among UN Member States.  The conference ended with Mexico, and other affected countries, urging the international community to make a stronger commitment to reducing the worldwide flow of illicit weapons. There remains, however, significant resistanceRead More

      • Rwanda: preparing for disaster is key to development | Auke Lootsma

        28 Aug 2012

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        Achieving sustainable risk reduction means taking into account a wide range of opportunities, such as boosting local participation, building people’s capacities and making women’s voice count.

        Across the world, both the number of disasters and their human and economic impact have been on the rise. In 2011, natural disasters killed more than 30,000 people and affected 244 million. That same year, resulting economic losses totaled USD 366 billion, the highest ever recorded. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of those affected live in developing countries, where the poor are exposed to much greater risk from natural hazards. This is especially true of the most marginalized, including women and girls. Rwanda is no exception to that rule. This year’s torrential rains have resulted in unprecedented floods and landslides, killing 32 people and destroying more than 1,400 houses and 2,222 hectares of land.  The extent of the damage has drawn attention to the interplay between climate change, land use, and overpopulation which are all serious development challenges Rwanda is facing. UNDP will continue to support Rwanda, as the post-2015 agenda for disaster risk reduction takes shape. Firstly, UNDP has been working with Rwanda to build disaster risk reduction into its development planning, from the local to the national level. Where disasters strike, we also strive to help the country build back better, creating opportunities for more resilient development. Secondly, laws,Read More

      • Improving human development among indigenous peoples: The Chiapas success story | Magdy Martinez-Soliman

        22 Aug 2012

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        Indigenous peoples in Chiapas, one of Mexico’s poorest states, have seen improvements in human development after the adoption of MDG-focused social policies. (Photo: UNDP Mexico)

        In many ways, history has been hard on the southwestern state of Chiapas, home to Mexico’s largest indigenous population. Poverty has been persistent, with the state lagging behind on most socio-economic indicators.    In recent times however, Chiapas has led the way in setting an agenda to improve the life of its citizens. In 2009 the state adopted the Chiapas-UN Agenda and amended its constitution, making it the first in the world to mandate a Millennium Development Goals-guided social policy. As a result, addressing poverty and its causes became a priority in Chiapas, with a strong emphasis on initiatives to improve health, education, environmental sustainability and extreme hunger. Following this constitutional amendment, public spending from the government at the federal, state and local levels followed the MDG priorities, producing some impressive results in a short period of time. Chiapas experienced progress in education, measured by literacy and enrolment rates from 2008 to 2010. During the same period the state also had the fastest improvements in life expectancy at birth. Many indigenous communities of Chiapas were at the origin of the Zapatista uprising in the 1990’s, which succeeded in obtaining new rights for indigenous peoples but also divided and displaced much ofRead More

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