Our Perspective

      • Boosting indigenous peoples' political representation is an urgent debt for our democracies | Alvaro Pop

        04 Jun 2014

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        Indigenous communities can be adversely affected by local and global development processes, since their distinct visions, concerns and ways of life can be ignored by policy makers. Photo: UNDP in Peru

        In recent times, indigenous peoples have questioned current development models and democracies in Latin America and beyond. The main tool for measuring progress remains Gross Domestic Product, which distorts the true meaning of progress and wellbeing. The damage to ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, not to mention the erosion of cultural and linguistic diversity, have all been excluded from this general assessment. What’s more, the low representation of indigenous peoples in politics and as part of our human development -- below national averages -- is a clear indication that Latin American democracies and the development model have not fully served their purpose. However, many indigenous peoples have taken steps to become more involved in current political affairs and question our societies, accusing the latter of being exclusive, racist, and unaware of their history (for example, they often deny the existence of indigenous genocide) while stifling the diversity and existence of social issues based on a different culture and world view. Paying close attention to such issues and implementing initiatives to enact real change is the challenge faced by democracies. I would like to urge the adoption of a new and rejuvenating approach to issues related to indigenous peoples and their values.Read More

      • The nightmare of violence against women, seen up close | Neus Bernabeu

        28 May 2014

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        HOY, MÁS QUE NUNCA, EL TEMA ESTÁ PRESENTE EN LA AGENDA PÚBLICA Y PROVOCA EL RECHAZO SOCIAL Y MOVILIZACIONES. FOTO: PNUD PERÚ

        Nothing is more powereful to raise awareness abour violence against women than experiencing this nightmare first-hand. We always think such things only happen to others, but current data shows that violence against women is horridly common, albeit in different forms and degrees of cruelty. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), one in every four women in the region experiences some form of violence from her partner. This is also the leading cause of death worldwide for women aged 15 to 49 -- killing more women than cancer, malaria, traffic and war-related incidents. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as “Convention of Belem do Pará.” How much have we advanced in the past two decades? Less than one third of countries in the region (28 percent) have a specific national plan to respond to this issue, and most (78 percent) approach it tangentially in other plans or national security policies. This is corroborated by our UNDP analysis  carried out in 32 countries in the region, which led to the study “States' Commitment: plans and policies to eradicate violence against women in LatinRead More

      • Can Small Island Developing States wait for global development goals to be set? | Gonzalo Pizarro

        14 May 2014

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        THE UNDP DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OFFICE WORKS TOWARDS REDUCING RISK AND VULNERABILITY AND INCREASING CAPACITY TO REDUCE THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF DISASTERS AND ENSURE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. PHOTO: R. D. EMILIANO LARIZZA FOR UNDP.

        Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have been, and still are, facing major challenges in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):  low growth, high unemployment, aging population, brain drain, high debt levels, small carrying capacities and extreme exposure to the effects of climate change. One example is Saint Maarten, a small island in the Dutch Antilles, which every week welcomes more tourists arriving on cruise ships than it has inhabitants. As Saint Maarten is highly dependent on tourism, maintaining and protecting the natural environment is essential to its socio-economic wellbeing. The tourist industry accounts for 80 percent of the island’s GDP. Reef tourism and fishing are important attractions. But the development world’s attention is now being set on the post-2015 agenda and the proposal for a new set of global goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will emerge with their accompanying targets this September at the UN General Assembly. This new agenda is anchored on the understanding that you can’t have development without simultaneously caring for its social, economic and environmental dimensions.   For Saint Maarten, sustainable development is not just a matter of negotiations at UN Headquarters, it is a matter of immediate action.  The country, aware of this challenge,Read More