Our Perspective

      • Drought in Kenya: Current Crisis Calls for Long-term Solutions

        25 Aug 2011

        A Somali woman holds a malnourished child, waiting for medical assistance. Somalia and Kenya are two of the most affected countries by the drought in the Horn of Africa. UN Photo/Stuart Price

        Only minutes after our take-off from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, the landscape below us starts changing from lush green to arid brown and yellow, seemingly devoid of life. We are heading to the dry rural regions of Wajir and Turkana in northern Kenya. With me on board are the World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran and the Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf. We set out to hear directly from those most affected by the unfortunate drought and famine unfolding in the region. Kenya has been hit especially hard by the crisis, with a food-insecure population of more than 3.5 million due to the drought. One farmer reports that in his village, close to the three-way border shared with Ethiopia and Somalia, it has not rained for almost two years and that there have been no harvests at all since 2009. Most families and communities in Wajir rely on goats and cattle for their survival, but with the severity and duration of the crisis, their livelihoods are now threatened. The people we meet during our tour are tough, and so is their livestock. But we can tell they have reached the limit of what they can take. Sadly, this crisisRead More

      • Why – so far – the Millennium Development Goals have been a success

        23 Aug 2011

        Fishermen bring in the daily catch in south-eastern Viet Nam. Photo: Tran Vinh Nghia/UNDP

        The world has 1,520 days to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight commitments that were agreed upon at the turn of the century with the aim of creating better living conditions for all. The MDGs were criticized when they were first adopted.  They continue to be criticized. Some believe they lack ambition, others say that they are unrealistic. Many have pointed out that they do not adequately consider unjust conditions in areas such as trade, investment and debt. Others have pointed to a weak emphasis on environment and climate issues, or that the goals are isolated indicators of poverty. Despite the criticism – and the fact that we do not yet know whether the goals will be achieved globally – we can, in my opinion, state that the MDGs have been a phenomenal success in two ways.  First, they have contributed to ensuring that a majority of developing countries are giving increased priority to policies that put people at the center: freedom from hunger, education for all, basic healthcare, clean drinking water. Around the world, the goals have guided budget decisions and law-making processes. As such the MDGs have contributed to a significant shift.  Growth, investment, asphaltRead More

      • Honouring humanitarian workers worldwide | Jordan Ryan

        19 Aug 2011

        A UNDP worker helps in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Photo: UNDP/Mariana Nissen

        Today, 19 August 2011, the United Nations celebrates the third World Humanitarian Day to honour people who have dedicated their lives to helping those in need around the world.  Humanitarian workers assist those who have lost their loved ones, their homes, and sources of income to the terrible toll of disasters and conflict. Many humanitarian workers face danger, live in difficult conditions often far apart from their families and loved ones. Their commitment and dedication advance the cause of our common humanity and make us proud. Wherever there are people in need, there are people at the ready to help – brave individuals seeking to ease suffering and bring hope to those less fortunate. Far too many have paid the ultimate price for this commitment, and have lost their lives. It is with them in mind that we mark this day. It is only fitting that each of us consider what we can do to help people enduring disaster, violent conflict, and hardship. We should not underestimate the positive impact each of us can make for those in need.  The current crisis unfolding in the Horn of Africa requires immediate and concerned action. Thousands of people are in danger from drought, famine and conflict.Read More

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