Our Perspective

      • AIDS 2012 offers hope, new responses | Emilie Pradichit & Mandeep Dhaliwal

        26 Jul 2012

        Washington—Science suggests an AIDS-free generation is within reach. We must reflect on lessons and human rights struggles of the last three decades of the AIDS response if we are to do better in delivering the best that science and innovation can offer to those most in need. More than 8 million people with HIV in poor and middle-income countries received AIDS medications last year, up from 6.6 million in 2010. Nearly 60 percent of the 1.5 million pregnant women living with HIV in poor countries also received medications in 2011, so their babies are less likely to be infected. Since this epidemic began, we have grappled with social and structural inequalities fuelling HIV. Presenters at the International AIDS conference this week called for enabling legal environments and urgent action against stigma, marginalization, discrimination, and criminalization on the basis of HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Recommendations by the UNDP-led Global Commission on HIV & the Law report, “Risks, Rights & Health,” address many of these issues. Increasingly we hear calls for the abolition of laws criminalizing HIV transmission, exposure, and non-disclosure. At a session convened by The Lancet, data showed that criminalization of male homosexual practice was associated in AfricanRead More

      • Women Gain at Rio+20: Securing the Future We Want by Securing Gender Equality | Winnie Byanyima

        23 Jul 2012

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        The global development agenda is undergoing drastic changes, so how can we ensure that gender issues are adequately addressed in these processes? Photo: UNDP South Sudan

        The global development agenda is undergoing drastic changes, so how can we ensure that gender issues are adequately addressed in these processes? Rio+20 reaffirmed the goals of building an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable world. The representatives of more than 100 governments made over 690 voluntary commitments, including five specifically on gender equality.  But critical questions remain: Did Rio+20 adequately represent all global citizens? Will Rio+20 advance women’s rights worldwide? The outcome document references gender equality in 44 paragraphs. World leaders affirmed that gender equality and women’s participation “are important for effective action on all aspects of sustainable development.” The outcome document encourages donors and non-governmental organizations to fully integrate commitments and considerations on gender equality and women’s empowerment in development programmes and policies. The document made a “call for the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.” Despite proposals for powerful language that would have backed gender equality and women’s empowerment outcomes during the negotiation process, most were lost to numerous rounds of editing. The Rio+20 outcome document has been criticized as being too soft on gender equality. Women’s organizations have expressed disappointment withRead More

      • E-governance can help boost democracy in developing countries | A. Degryse-Blateau

        19 Jul 2012

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        UNDP supports 222 e-governance and access to information projects in 92 countries.

        Two rights stand out in all open democratic societies: freedom of expression and access to information. E-governance—as in electronic, or technology-driven, governance—is about both of these. Efficient e-governance is an innovative and transparent way to deliver government services and exchange information with citizens in a convenient and transparent way, saving time and money. The mass digital migration from personal computers to mobile phone applications also brings new opportunities to boost e-governance. Over five billion people—around 77 percent of the global population—own or have access to mobile phones worldwide. In regions with no electricity, computers or internet access, mobile phones are increasingly helping spread mobile government, banking or health. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) supports 222 e-governance and access to information projects in 92 countries. More than 20 percent focus on the use of Information and Communications Technology to enhance citizens’ access to public information and 18 percent to deliver services more effectively. And there is a world of knowledge to be shared. In Korea, which won the UN’s global e-governance 2010 and 2011 awards, citizens can petition government, complain about government services, pay their taxes and apply for patents online. Businesses can get goods through customs quickly at a lower costRead More

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