Our Perspective

      • Op-ed: Paris and its climate legacy for future generations

        29 Nov 2015


        By: Titon Mitra* As world leaders converge on Paris from 30 November to 11 December, the importance of arriving at an ambitious yet implementable agreement on climate change action has been graphically underlined by the fact that, based on UK Met Office data for 2015, for the first time, global mean temperature at the Earth's surface will have reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels (data from January to September shows 2015 global mean temperature at 1.02 °C [±0.11°C] above pre-industrial levels). We are already experiencing the adverse impacts of a warming climate: 14 of the hottest summers since 2000; rising sea levels; changing rainfall patterns; increased droughts; and more erratic and destructive storms. Only those who choose to willfully ignore the ample scientific evidence available – and the disturbing news coverage we see regularly - can deny that climate change induced by human actions is happening and its consequences are indeed very dangerous. The Paris agreement will require compromise and importantly a recognition that the burden to take action will fall disproportionately between the developed and developing world. The key principle that has to be adopted with genuine commitment is that of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”.  This means that  Read More

      • A Historic Opportunity for Lasting Peace I Ola Almgren

        18 Sep 2015

        School children in the ‘School of Peace’ in Manila de Bugabos, Agusan del Norte are taught about peace. (Photo: MP Duran/ UNDP Philippines)

        The Philippines faces a historical moment. Legislation can be passed that will put the Philippines on the path to sustained peace and inclusive development ending decades of conflict and marginalization in the proposed Bangsamoro. The Constitution of the Philippines mandates a unitary state to drive development in the interests of all Filipinos. At the same time, the Constitution holds out the promise of meaningful autonomy for Muslim Mindanao and for the Cordilleras. In doing so, it seeks to balance the prerogatives of a unitary state with historical aspirations of unique identity groups who form part of the diverse mosaic of Filipino society.  It is not an easy balance to find, and many countries—both developed and developing—are still grappling with the challenge. However, there is ample experience of successful efforts to achieve lasting peace and inclusive development through autonomy, including as seen in the Northern Ireland, Aceh and Bouganville peace agreements.  Autonomy granted in such diverse situations as Quebec (Canada), Scotland (United Kingdom) and Catalonia (Spain) offer further pointers. First, autonomy can be meaningful. Autonomous regional governments exist that consolidate and re-allocate the powers and resources of all sub-units within their territory. Without this power, they cannot reflect the voice and aspirations  Read More

      • Where are we with the Yolanda Recovery?

        10 Aug 2015

        UNDP is helping communities in Yolanda-affected areas restore mangrove forests as a disaster risk reduction effort.

        By Titon Mitra*   There is an enduring adage that ‘the whole is only the sum of its parts’. Recent Press and commentary on the statement of Professor Beyani, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, underlines the problems with highlighting certain issues in the absence of the whole.  Beyani was complementary about the Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation efforts.  He commended the institutional and policy structures and frameworks that have been put in place, noting that the Philippines has much valuable experience that should be shared internationally.  This is a view UNDP shares. Our then Senior Recovery Coordinator said that from his experience in many different disasters, he had never seen a recovery happen so quickly and so effectively. But there is no question that significant challenges remain to be resolved in areas affected by Yolanda.  This is neither surprising nor unusual.  Remember that 2 years following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was in far worse shape.  Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, 230,000 people today are still in temporary shelters.  Clearly the baseline in the Visayas (and for that matter nationally) relating to economic development, infrastructure, local capacity, financial resources, systems and processes for emergency and  Read More

      • What needs to happen now? | Interview with Sanny Jegillos

        18 Dec 2013

        A UNDP cash-for-work crew clears debris from Tacloban's Barangay (village) 88. UNDP operates cash-for-work projects focused on removing debris and restoring livelihoods. These employment schemes bridge the transition between the humanitarian phase and reconstruction. (Photo: OCHA/Jose Reyna)

        Q: What needs to happen now in the areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)? A: We have to keep in mind that humanitarian needs persist, even as recovery efforts proceed in many locations. To get lives back on track, the means of livelihoods and family incomes must be restored, houses rebuilt, local infrastructure fixed. So, shelter and livelihoods remain a significant priority for the humanitarian community to get people back on their feet. Challenges over the coming months will involve reopening damaged schools and public buildings, and restoring services. Farmers will need seeds and other support in order to replant rice crops before the rains begin. There is much work to be done and the road to recovery will also need to be a road to building resilience. Q: Can you give me examples of resilience measures? A: Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction start at understanding the nature of the hazards that pose danger and the shocks that affect the recovery of the affected population. It is important that UNDP supports risk assessments that can provide evidence on building codes, on safe locations of important and critical infrastructure, and on government policy, such as “No Build Zones”. While risk assessments  Read More

      • 1,000 days to MDGs deadline; options for PH | Luiza Carvalho

        26 Apr 2013

        The Philippines must now focus on accelerating and intensifying efforts to reduce maternal mortality, one of the MDGs least likely to be achieved. The country must also increase access to universal primary education, reduce income poverty and vulnerable employment by half, and reverse the rising trend of HIV/AIDS. (Photo: UNICEF Philippines)

        The countdown to the last 1,000 days to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has begun. On April 5, the world marked the beginning of the critical last mile of the MDGs.  Launched in 2000 with the signing of the Millennium Declaration by 189 UN member-countries, the MDGs became the global agenda for development at the start of the new century. Being time-bound and measurable, the MDGs have made a difference and changed the way of achieving development objectives.  The 8 MDGs are: the halving of extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, gender equality, reduction of child mortality, improved women's health, stoppage and reversal of the spread of TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability, and global partnerships for aid, trade and debt relief. The MDGs are measured against 18 targets and 60 indicators. Twelve years hence, the MDGs have shown successes in mobilizing the global community into achieving its targets. As of the 2012 Global MDGs Progress Report, 4 targets have been achieved. First, the global target of halving extreme poverty from its 1990 level has been reached, equivalent to 600 million people.  The 2012 progress report notes that for the first time since poverty trends began  Read More

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