Our Perspective

      • Road to Rio: People's voluntary involvement is key | Flavia Pansieri

        04 Jun 2012

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        One of the local volunteers participating in the UNV Sudan supported Diversity campaign in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Ayman Suliman

        Volunteering is a key driver of the changes needed in our societies to achieve sustainable development. If we - each one of us - don't engage, participate and be the change we seek, how can we expect to build a sustainable future for generations to come? Every single person is acting for sustainable development, by helping friends and family, by recycling waste, by teaching the kids how to turn off the tap. Most people engage voluntarily without even thinking about it, just because they know it is the right thing to do. Some people volunteer further, and get involved in development or environmental action for a week, for a month, for a year. Their work, big or small, might sometimes go unnoticed to the world. But their actions count in the communities that benefit from their hard work. That is where the power of volunteering comes in. Recent comparative international studies give an idea of the scope of volunteerism. For example, the Gallup World Poll (GWP) concludes that 16 per cent of adults worldwide volunteer for an organization. The Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project (CNP) finds that the number of volunteers contributing through voluntary organizations in 36 countries, taken together, Read 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 population Read More

      • How can Africa achieve food security? | Tegegnework Gettu

        22 May 2012

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        It is a harsh paradox that sub-Saharan Africa, a continent blessed with ample agricultural endowments, still faces hunger and malnutrition. Photo: UNDP

        It is a harsh paradox that sub-Saharan Africa, a continent blessed with ample agricultural endowments, still faces hunger and malnutrition. Adding to that paradox is the fact that the region’s high rates of economic growth in recent years – some of the fastest in the world – and improvements in life expectancy and schooling have not led to commensurate improvements in food security. More than one in four Africans – nearly 218 million – remain undernourished and more than 40% of children under five – almost 55 million in total -- are malnourished. The spectre of famine, all but gone elsewhere, continues to haunt millions in the region. Yet another famine occurred in Somalia in 2011, and the Sahel is again at risk in 2012. Chronic food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa stems from decades of underinvestment in the countryside, where infrastructure has deteriorated, farming has languished, gender and other inequalities have deepened and food systems have stagnated. Smallholder farmers, on whose shoulders the recovery of its agriculture rests, have long been pinned between a rock and hard place. Erratic weather patterns and seasonal food price variations, coupled with new threats from population growth, environmental pressures and climate change, have only made Read More

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