Month: February 2018

Education in an Uncertain World

Until the Industrial Revolution, neither formal education nor advances in technology made much of a difference for the vast majority of people. But as technological progress accelerated, education failed to keep pace, leaving vast numbers of people struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing world and contributing to widespread suffering. It took a century for public policy to respond with an effort to provide universal access to schooling. In recent decades, remarkable strides have been made toward realizing that ambition worldwide. But in an era when technological innovation is once again outpacing education, the effort to provide everybody with an opportunity to learn must not only be redoubled; it must also be retooled for an increasingly unstable and volatile world. Access to education ...

Decent Work Opportunities Central to Achieving Inclusive Growth in Asia and the Pacific

The 2015 Human Development Report (HDR) considers major changes in the world of work, affecting when, how, and where people work. Technological progress, deepening globalization, aging societies and environmental challenges are transforming work, posing challenges to all societies and with deep implications for human development. The report urges societies to act now to prevent widening inequalities, emanating from these challenges. For Asia and the Pacific, a region that is home to two-thirds of the world’s working-age population, the availability and quality of work becomes central to ensuring the human development progress. In fact, as the report highlights, the region may have been experiencing fast growth and rapid human development, but not necessarily fast job creation. Unless actio...

New hope through youth

Human development is about everyone’s future. But no one should have a greater interest in that future than the world’s young people because the future will shape so much more of their lives than older age groups. And yet, in most countries, young people have little say in the decisions that will determine their future. Lasting, sustainable change can only be achieved in a coalition between the young and the old. Recent years have seen several initiatives to give youth greater influence in development planning. National human development reports, focusing on the needs and wants of young people, have been written in countries including Mongolia, Somalia and Turkey. These reports continue to have an impact. In Turkey for example some 3,000 youth took part in a survey, and twenty-eight focus ...

Loans and energy-saving technology transform lives in rural Ethiopia

For Kimiyaa Umar, a 35-year-old mother of six, from the district of Meta in central Ethiopia, lack of money and knowledge on how to run a viable business restrained her from bettering life for herself and her family. That was the case until a year ago, when Umar received a 3,000 Birr (140USD) interest-free loan, along with entrepreneurship training through the UN Women-Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, which has benefited over 19,500 women throughout Ethiopia. “We were selected to benefit from the programme for being the neediest. We had no capital or the knowledge on how to deal with business. Today, we are models in our village and many women have started to organize themselves by self-initiation,” said Umar, who leads a group of 13 women under the programme. Ki...

Leveling the playing field: Human development and sports

There is a positive relationship between human development and practicing physical sports. Exercise is associated with improvements in health, cognitive processes, sociability, productivity (due to better physical and mental health) and quality of life in general. People who exercise tend to enjoy a longer life and participate more fully in society. This is the main message of the 2017 National Human Development Report for Brazil, entitled “Movement is Life: Sports and Physical Activities for Everyone.” In Brazil, recent research shows that the states with the highest rates of human development are also those where the population enjoys more exercise and participation in sport. For instance, in 2015 the Federal District had both the highest rate of sports participation in Brazil and ...

A new way of working in crisis

In Somalia, a test case for the UN’s commitment to bridging humanitarian and development work Nearly 895,000 people have been displaced due to drought compounded by armed conflict since November 2016. Photo: UNDP in Somalia Mohamed Ismail Yasin travelled 600 km to reach the sand dam near Bandarbeyla, in the Bari region of Somalia. He came with six members of his family and all the livestock they could bring. “I came from Mayle district,” Mohamed recounts. “We fled from the drought in the region. The livestock that we brought here got pasture, and today we brought them to the water dam to give then water.” The sand dam is one of the water harvesting structures built by UNDP in partnership with the Global Environment Facility. It aims to reduce the impacts of climate change-induced disasters...

Evidence-based Human Development: Measuring the opportunity cost of teenage pregnancy in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a fast-growing economy with an average growth rate of around 5%, above the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) average of 2% over the last 10 years. In 2014 it moved up in human development category, from medium to high human development. Despite these changes, the DR has shown little progress in some key indicators of well-being. One of them is adolescent pregnancy – with 22% of women between the ages of 15-19 who have already become mothers. Importantly, this percentage has remained relatively unchanged over the last 30 years and is still 34% above the LAC average. Adolescent pregnancy is concentrated among the poor, affecting not only the opportunities for young mothers to escape from poverty and improve their human development levels, but also those of th...

Orange the World

Imagine a world without violence against women and girls. Imagine a world without violence. This is the world we want for all. But we have a ways to go to get there. Today our newspapers are full of troubling headlines – from domestic violence, to sexual harassment in the workplace and the use of rape as a weapon in war. Sexual and gender-based violence is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world. Yet it often goes unrecognized. UNDP is joining with other UN agencies in the #OrangeTheWorld campaign to end violence against women and girls. Together with activists around the world, we’re using the colour orange to call attention to the various forms of violence that prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential. Gender-based violence damages mental and physical hea...

Niue to create large-scale marine protected area

Area will encompass 40% of Niue’s Exclusive Economic Zone, second largest in the world in terms of proportion of EEZ protected Ridge to Reef Concept for Biodiversity Conservation and for the Enhancement of Ecosystem Services and Cultural Heritage in Niue. A boy swims underwater near a shell of giant clam at Beveridge Reef area, Niue. © 2016 Vlad Sokhin. All Rights Reserved. The tiny Pacific island country of Niue is now in the global big leagues of marine conservation. At the Our Ocean Conference in Malta on 5 October, the government of Niue announced its decision to create a large-scale marine protected area (LSMPA) encompassing 40 percent of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).The LSMPA of about 127,000 square kilometres will include the coastal waters of Niue and nea...

Rapid urbanisation: opportunities and challenges to improve the well-being of societies

Throughout history, cities have been the main centres of learning, culture and innovation. It is not surprising that the world’s most urban countries tend to be the richest and have the highest human development. Ongoing rapid urbanisation has the potential to improve the well-being of societies. Although only around half the world’s people live in cities, they generate more than 80 percent of Global Domestic Product (GDP). Cities are also younger: home to relatively more young and working-age adults than rural areas, making them pivotal places to capture demographic dividends. And around the world cities are introducing initiatives aimed at addressing poverty, improving infrastructure and tackling pollution. For example, in a special contribution to the 2013 Human Development Report...

Women’s reproductive rights are human rights

The human development approach has long emphasized the importance of good health as a constitutive element that is both of intrinsic and instrumental value for an individual’s ability to thrive. Today, on the UN’s World Population Day, as global attention turns to the issue of family planning, it is important to underline the importance of safe and voluntary family planning services not only for individual health and wellbeing; for women’s empowerment and for prosperous communities and nations. Family planning has well-documented health benefits for mothers, newborns, families and communities. Pregnancies that occur too early or too late in a woman’s life, or that are spaced too closely, harm maternal health and increase the risk of prematurity and low birth weight. The ability to delay an...

Can horizontal inequalities be overcome?

Horizontal inequalities are inequalities between groups with different identities, like blacks and whites, women and men, Muslims and Hindus, or Hutus and Tutsis, among many examples. Such inequalities are unjust and resented. When severe, horizontal inequalities can cause violent conflict. These inequalities are often extremely persistent. Blacks in the United States have been poorer than whites since they first arrived as slaves; despite emancipation, they remain less well educated, poorer, and discriminated against in multiple ways. Similarly, the Romany people have been deprived throughout Europe for centuries. There are many persistent horizontal inequalities in developing countries, which are often linked to geography. For example, northern groups in Nigeria or Ghana; Somalis in Keny...

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