Our Perspective

      • 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

      • Sharing development experience between Latin America and Africa | Helen Clark

        29 May 2012

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        Cash transfer programmes – such as Brazil’s Bolsa Familia – target low-income households, help reduce poverty levels, and increase access to education and health services.

        More than 40 social development ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa are gathering this week in Brasilia to discuss how both regions can exchange experiences and increase co-operation to end poverty. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is proud to be the facilitator of this historic gathering. It takes place less than a month before the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.  There, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, and civil society organisations will gather to discuss how to build a more sustainable future—a crucial challenge for developing and developed countries alike.   It is clear that countries can no longer afford to grow first and try to clean up later. Or grow first and try to become more equitable later.  Growth divorced from advances in human development and without regard for the environment will not sustain advances in human development, and will damage the ecosystems on which life on our planet depends.   Two weeks ago, UNDP’s Africa Human Development Report on food security was launched in Nairobi with the President of Kenya.  Despite sub-Saharan Africa’s significant rates of economic growth, hunger continues to affect nearly a quarter of its populationRead More

      • Haiti: The key to recovery | Marc-Andre Franche

        25 Apr 2012

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        Haiti’s ability to successfully manage people and resources, establish and enforce norms, monitor and report progress, is foundational to its development. Photo: UNDP

        The difference in Port-au-Prince today is striking. The visible progress is testament to the limitless dedication of Haitians towards rebuilding their country. It also shows unprecedented support from the international community. As the humanitarian effort winds down, it is crucial to understand Haiti will continue to face humanitarian situations, but these must be integrated into medium and long-term recovery and development strategies.  The international community cannot forget Haiti and must scale up the quality and quantity of its support.  In particular, support should ensure Haitians are genuinely front and center of the reconstruction process.  For their part, Haitians and in particular the economic and political elites must revive the extraordinary sense of unity and solidarity which was so moving after the earthquake.  Urgent decisions on realistic actions plans that count on actual available resources are needed.  Agreements between the legislative and executive and between ministries regarding division of labor and issues of leadership are critical for any progress to materialize. Furthermore, improving the quality of aid requires new focus and investments to build durable Haitian institutions.  Haiti’s ability to successfully manage people and resources, establish and enforce norms, monitor and report progress, is foundational to its development. The government and theRead More