Our Perspective

      • Moving from transparency to accountability in the fight against corruption | Patrick Keuleers

        13 Dec 2013

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        Football Match Anti-Corruption Campaign in Argentina (Photo: UNDP Argentina)

        Corruption is a major bottleneck to sustainable development: it prevents public and private investment from going where it is most needed, drives up costs, and distorts resource allocations and priorities. This realization was at the heart of the commemorations for International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9th, and at the 5th Conference of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption which I attended in Panama City recently. Anti-corruption has been one of the fastest growing and most successful areas of work under our democratic governance portfolio. The World Bank estimates that corruption can cost a country up to 17 percent of its GDP. Imagine the impact on achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadlines if only 10 percent of that money could be channeled back into development. Through the MYWorld Global Survey, more than 1.5 million people have identified “honest and responsive governments” among the top priorities for the ‘World They Want’. A degree of consensus is now emerging around the importance of integrity, transparency and accountability in governance as key factors to reduce poverty, inequalities and exclusions. Addressing integrity in the public sector is an important component of that strategy. The public service is expected toRead More

      • Political quotas for women: Myths & facts | Elizabeth Guerrero

        09 Dec 2013

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        Salvadorian parliamentarians celebrate the approval of the new law that addresses violence against women (Photo: El Salvador Legislative Assembly)

        Women still comprise only 21.4 percent of members of parliaments (MP) around the world. While Latin America has more than 24 percent of women MPs — one of the highest shares in the world — the region still has a long road to travel towards gender parity. The provision of quotas — an idea that began in Europe and has spread to other continents — has effectively been used to boost women’s political participation, adopted as a temporary measure to encourage political parties to nominate a minimum percentage of women. This may take place as a voluntary action by political parties or through law-driven measures which push parties to nominate a certain number of women candidates. Yet several myths remain: Myth 1: "Quotas contradict the principle of equality before the law" This argument is based on the assumption that men and women actually have the same opportunities to run for elections. But that simply does not reflect reality. In many countries women can vote, but they cannot be elected. Evidence shows that women and men do not share the same opportunities to be appointed candidates because women face a number of barriers to be nominated by political parties. Therefore, the ideaRead More

      • Latin America: The paradox of economic growth hand-in-hand with citizen insecurity | Heraldo Muñoz

        12 Nov 2013

        In recent years, Latin America has set the stage for considerable advances in two areas: economic and social progressand crime. Despite the headway that has been achieved in terms of growth and improvements in health, education and the reduction of poverty and inequality, Latin America has become the most dangerous region in the world. In fact, in this region, homicide rates exceed the "epidemic" level, with more than 10 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants.   This is one of the conclusions reached by the Regional Human Development Report, “Citizen Security with a Human Face: Evidence and Proposals for Latin America,” which we have recently made public. The finding that insecurity is a shared challenge and simultaneously an impediment to social and economic development in all Latin American countries resulted in our dedicating two years of research in order to assess the problem and suggest a number of remedies that would improve public policy as and when required.   The report highlights the fact that Latin America has witnessed low-quality growth, based on consumption and withinsufficient social mobility. The deterioration of citizen security is also related to demographic trends caused by rapid and uncontrolled urban growth as well as by changes in family structure and deficiencies in the school system:Read More