Our Perspective

      • Arendalsuka: Changing the conversation on environment | Olav Kjørven

        23 Aug 2013

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        National consultations on the Post-2015 Agenda with Guarani indigenous peoples in Panambizinho, Mato Grosso do Sul state of Brazil. (Photo: Julia Wenceslau/UNDP Brazil)

        Arendalsuka. Does it ring a bell? Probably not, unless you are Norwegian.  Arendalsuka is an interesting Norwegian creation: an annual open forum in the city of Arendal where stakeholders in politics and industry meet with citizens to debate public policies and policy development. I had the pleasure of attending and introducing our perspective on integrating environmental sustainability into the next global agenda that will follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As we approach the MDGs' target date of 2015, the United Nations is leading an unprecedented public outreach effort that has so far given voice to almost 1.3 million people in 194 countries on their expectations for the next development goals. This new approach is re-shaping multilateral decision-making by empowering citizens to come together, discuss and take concrete action on pathways to a more sustainable future. Their voices are being heard by Member States and feeding into the process to deliver the next set of development goals. This “global conversation” has revealed that people believe overwhelmingly that sustainable development needs to be approached in an integrated way – addressing the economic, social and environmental aspects simultaneously. It also indicated that the link between environmental sustainability, income poverty and inequalities has been Read More

      • Linking HIV and women's human rights | Petra Lanz & Susana Fried

        22 Aug 2013

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        Gender inequality exacerbates HIV risk, and new goals for development should work to protect women from violence while enabling them to access treatment. (Photo: Marguerite Nowak/UNDP Iran)

        Women living with and affected by HIV often suffer stigma and discrimination, along with egregious violations such as coercive sterilization. Gender-based violence (GBV), meanwhile, puts women at increased risk of contracting HIV: One South African study found that one in every eight new infections in young women is the result of GBV. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is unequivocal on women’s rights to equality and health. It sets out specific measures States should adopt to advance gender equality in all areas, including the elimination of sex- and gender-based discrimination in the context of HIV. Examples of how gender inequality exacerbates HIV risk vary widely and span the globe. They include inadequate or non-existent legal and property rights; child marriages; higher dropout rates; denial of life-saving health care; and intimate partner violence. Globally, HIV is still the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age  and contributes to at least 20 percent of maternal deaths. Every minute, another young woman is infected with HIV, according to UNAIDS (PDF). We have CEDAW, with its accountability mechanism, and abundant data and research on our side. How then, Read More

      • Let us keep our eyes on Mali | Jean Luc Stalon

        19 Aug 2013

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        A Malian man votes in a polling station during the presidential election. (Photo: Ezequiel Scagnetti/EU EOM Mali)

        Last Sunday, massive numbers of Malians turned out to vote peacefully in the second round of the country’s presidential election. The ballot, declared by observers as credible and transparent, was nothing short of historic. It marked the end of 18 months of conflict, including a coup and takeover of the North by Tuareg and Islamist insurgents, followed by a French military intervention. Mali and its people have suffered hugely from this period of violence and uncertainty. More than 470,000 have been displaced, while 1.4 million Malians are in need of immediate food assistance. In much of the North, the government’s presence remains precarious. With the suspension of the country’s external aid, which accounts for a third of the national budget, and the withdrawal of foreign investors, Mali’s economy fell from an expected 5.6 percent into negative growth last year, with catastrophic consequences for livelihoods and basic social services. The elections are an expression of the Malian people’s deep resolve to bring the country back to peace, stability, unity and development. Mali’s political stabilization roadmap embodies these aspirations. Through the roadmap, the country committed to free elections and sweeping democratic and social reforms in exchange for unlocking new flows of foreign aid. Read More

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