Our Perspective

      • Bangladesh tragedy exposes need for responsible globalization | Ajay Chhibber

        28 May 2013

        In Bangladesh, UNDP-supported local Community Development Committees help people establish small businesses such as weaving on a traditional hand loom. (Photo: UNDP Bangladesh)

        As capital moves to find the cheapest locations for production in a race to the bottom, the ugly side of globalization is brought home to the world through horrific pictures of the tragic collapse of the Bangladesh textile factory. Poor regulations and standards are widespread in sweat shops across the developing world. Brand name buyers hide behind the fact they are unaware of the working conditions under which their cheaply sourced products are being produced. The Bangladesh tragedy shows how costly it is to ignore safety and working condition standards, when thousands are packed into unsafe buildings in order to reduce costs and increase profits. The government is now considering allowing unionisation and raising the minimum wage. Working in a textile sweat shop was a way out of rural poverty for thousands of Bangladeshi women, as is the case in many other parts of the developing world. But can we not do better by ensuring a minimum safety and decent working conditions for such workers? A few cents extra for the clothes we buy in fancy department stores is a price worth paying for those who died in Bangladesh and for the millions who toil under very harsh conditions in similarRead More

      • Post-2015: Are women and men equally shaping future development goals? | Tracy Vaughan Gough

        27 May 2013

        A woman joins her two male co-workers at a brick field in West Bengal, India. (Photo: Joydeep Mukherjee/UNDP Photo Contest)

        Roughly half of the 700,000 people who have taken part so far in the UN’s global discussions about the future development framework are women and girls. Demand is increasing for both an individual goal on gender equality which would tackle underlying discrimination and for more emphasis on gender issues in general. This is partly because men and women do not always share the same concerns, as is illustrated by the MY World global survey. Data shows that both sexes agree on the top development priorities for their lives — a good education, better healthcare and an honest and responsive government — but a key difference is that women rank equality between men and women in ninth place whereas men rank it second to last, in 15th place.   Differences have also emerged during the 88 national consultations that are taking place around the world. In Kosovo for example, women said they were concerned about discrimination and social attitudes toward them, whereas men focused more on their status and health issues. In Egypt, female participants highlighted how violence against women and girls is used as a means to limit their public engagement.   Gender issues came up in many other Post-2015 platforms. A meetingRead More

      • Africa's renaissance deserves continued support | Helen Clark

        24 May 2013

        Women in Burundi recycle waste as part of a programme to reintegrate returnees and ex-combatants into society. (Photo: UNDP Burundi)

        Many African countries have made significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  Many more children, including girls, are getting an education than ever before. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty is falling.  The numbers of women elected to legislatures is growing, and the tide is turning on HIV. Meanwhile, there has been a rise in trade, investment and development cooperation with emerging economies, which have been successful in the fight against poverty. Over the past decade, nearly half the financing of infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa was provided by governments and regional funds from elsewhere in the South. The rise of Africa is thus associated with a rising South overall. A significant number of developing countries have transformed themselves into dynamic emerging economies with growing influence, and the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has fallen from 43 percent to 22 percent. This good news has been the result of pragmatic economic strategies, innovative social policies, and the willingness of proactive developing states to invest in physical infrastructure and human development. Africa’s battle against poverty and hunger is not yet over, but at UNDP we are confident  it can and will be won. The challenge now isRead More

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