Our Perspective

      • Creating a brighter future: The pivotal role of access to modern energy | Vincent Wierda

        27 Nov 2013

        image
        Each year, the poor spend an estimated US$37 billion on poor-quality energy solutions to meet their lighting and cooking needs. Through programmes such as CleanStart, which UNDP helped develop, low-income consumers are able to access more affordable, quality clean energy products and services, like these improved cook stoves on sale outside Kampala, Uganda.

        Reaching the 1.3 billion people without access to electricity and the 2.6 billion consumers without clean cooking solutions is a major human development challenge, yet it is also an immense investment and business opportunity. How can we take this market to the next level? How can more partnerships be brokered and supported to expand the market? What role can international organizations play in catalysing action and pushing the energy access agenda forward? Our combined experiences – in particular from those who are in the front lines of offering viable energy solutions to low-income people – are needed to build a growing movement, one that is offering a greater range of quality, affordable energy products and services to those at the base of the pyramid. CleanStart, a global initiative co-founded by UNCDF and UNDP, aims to do exactly that by supporting poor households and micro-entrepreneurs to jump-start their access to clean energy through microfinance. In Nepal, where some 87.1 percent of the population still relies on traditional biomass fuels for cooking and heating, we are investing US $1.3 million over four years (2012-2015) to develop replicable business models for scaling up microfinance for cleaner and more efficient forms of energy forRead More

      • Tackling violence against women and girls: an urgent priority | Helen Clark

        25 Nov 2013

        This day reminds us that violence against women continues to be destructive and pervasive, and kills as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer. From Chile, where partner violence is estimated to drain as much as 2% of the country's GDP, to the United States, where the cost of domestic violence is estimated to exceed $12.6 billion per year, violence against women imposes highs cost on both its victims and society. Women who are able to live in a safe and secure environment can participate effectively in the economy and society. This helps overcome poverty, reduces inequalities, and is beneficial for children’s nutrition, health, and school attendance. Improving women's access to the justice system and to legal aid is vital. In countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we are helping to strengthen the justice sector so that the many cases of rape and violence committed by combatants can be addressed. Impunity for perpetrators must end. In addressing sexual and gender-based violence, it is important to know more about the entrenched attitudes and values which perpetrate it. A recent joint report surveyed 10,000 men in Asia and the Pacific. It found that 80% ofRead More

      • Scaling-up matters for South-South Cooperation | Grace Wang

        06 Nov 2013

        image
        A WOMAN EMPLOYED UNDER THE MAHATMA GANDHI NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE SCHEME IN INDIA ACCESSES INFORMATION RELATING TO HER EMPLOYMENT AT AN INFORMATION KIOSK. (PHOTO: UNDP INDIA)

        The global development cooperation landscape is changing rapidly. Emerging economies and other developing countries have become key actors in the new development architecture. They offer practical solutions, share rich knowledge and take leadership and collective actions. For example, the Brazilian bolsa familia programme, a cash transfer model, has helped improve childhood nutrition and education in Brazil, and the system has been successfully transplanted to Africa. India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme entitles each rural Indian household by law to 100 days of unskilled work per year on public works programmes. China’s emphasis on infrastructure development in other developing countries has resulted in improvements in electricity supply, an increase in railway connections and reduced prices for telecommunications services. In our new Strategic Plan (2014-17), we are committing to support South-South and Triangular cooperation, complementing the traditional North-South model, across the board, to be a critical part of the post 2015 development agenda.This vision cannot rest on any routine, isolated or short-term approaches. Scaling-up strategy will be the key to ensure our support delivers lasting impact. In this regard, we see ourselves as: • knowledge brokers, to help identify, share and adapt scalable Southern solutions that are tested, cost-effective, sustainable; • capacity builders, to support developing countries toRead More