Our Perspective

      • Indigenous peoples’ political inclusion enriches democracy in Latin America | Heraldo Muñoz

        23 May 2013

        "Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions." - Article 5 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (UN Photo)

        One of the most significant roles of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is to help boost indigenous peoples’ political participation. It is crucial to ensure that all people participate in political life and are active decision-makers—especially indigenous peoples. This is essential to overcome historical inequalities and discrimination. In Latin America and the Caribbean there are approximately 50 million indigenous peoples, about 10 percent of the total population. In Peru and Guatemala indigenous peoples account for almost half of the population, while in Bolivia they are more than 60 percent. Even though in Mexico indigenous peoples cover only 10 percent of the total population, Mexico and Peru contain the region’s largest indigenous population: about 11 million people. Mexico, for example, is advancing the ‘coexistence’ of indigenous peoples’ legal systems with the national legal system. It is not an easy process. The indigenous peoples’ representation at local and national levels, including dispute resolution methods, can differ widely and also spark tensions. However, indigenous peoples have shown that they are aware of how modern democracies work, as well as the limitations imposed to their political participation. For this reason, indigenous peoples have been adapting their traditional knowledge systems and their institutionsRead More

      • Post-2015: Participatory, responsive institutions must top the agenda | Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi

        06 May 2013

        A participant casts her ballot at a mock elections training in Kenya. (Photo: Ricardo Gangale/UNDP Kenya)

        The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been instrumental in affecting development progress over the past decade, characterized in the latest Human Development Report with “the rise of the South”. However, a lot still remains to be done as the gap between the richest and the poorest, within countries and across countries, has kept growing. As we just passed the 1000-day mark before the deadline for achieving the MDGs, much remains to be done. The United Nations is pulling out all the stops to accelerate progress towards the MDGs by the deadline of 2015. Delivering on the MDGs’ promise has been met with numerous challenges, including governance failures and accountability gaps, a reality that has been acknowledged by a range of development players.   There is a growing acknowledgement of governance failures and accountability gaps as bottlenecks in the context of the MDGs. The Global Thematic Consultation on Governance, part of a global conversation through which people can help shape the next global development agenda, considered the following key issues: -  who should be  responsible for ensuring the achievement of Post-2015 goals -  how to align global governance goals and targets with international commitments -  how to tailor them as needed atRead More

      • Green energy saves more than environment | Helen Clark

        03 May 2013

        Ethiopia has set out to invest US $150 billion over the next two decades to become a carbon neutral country by 2025. Photo: UNDP in Ethiopia

        The United Nations Rio+20 Conference called last year for urgent action to put the world on a more equitable and sustainable development path. Countries agreed that systems and behaviors that worsen poverty and inequalities, exclude women and marginalize others, are pushing our planet to its limits and must change. Achieving sustainable energy yields benefits beyond the environment. It enables children to study at night, allows health clinics to store needed vaccines, and frees women from backbreaking chore and life-threatening smoke from wood-burning stoves. It creates a platform for better and more productive lives. Germany, for example, developed with a heavy carbon footprint but now leads the way in making the transition to sustainability. The renewable share of Germany’s energy mix doubled from 2006-2012. This suggests to me that with bold leadership and farsighted policies, countries can make the transitions to become more sustainable. Indeed, we have no choice if we are to avoid an irreversible rise in global temperature and its dire projected consequences. These would see citizens in developed countries funding ever more elaborate flood defense systems, compensating farmers for lost crops, and adjusting thermostats to cope with heat waves. But shifting weather patterns and more extreme climate events inRead More

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