Month: March 2018

Make Not Wasting a way of life

This video by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations looks at the sources of food waste and the amount of food lost and shares potential solutions to the problem. “Hunger is still one of the most urgent development challenges, yet the world is producing more than enough food. Recovering just half of what is lost or wasted could feed the world alone. The FAO-led Save Food initiative is partnering with international organizations, the private sector and civil society to enable food systems to reduce food loss and waste in both the developing and the industrialized world.” Watch the video on the YouTube channel of the FAO.

Leading our children to a safer Internet, from preschool to high school

Have a look at this very interesting article by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime  and learn more about how internet can be made safer for children: https://www.unodc.org/dohadeclaration/en/news/2018/02/leading-our-children-to-a-safer-internet–from-preschool-to-high-school.html

The Pursuit of Happiness: paying greater attention to Mental Health

Sunday marks the United Nations’ 5th International Day of Happiness. Few people are against the pursuit of happiness, but many argue that governments – and international organisations for that matter – have no business in setting happiness as a public policy goal. And yet leaders around the world, from France to Japan, Italy to Qatar, are increasingly paying attention to it. Bhutan has long advocated for the use of a Gross National Happiness Index to provide a fuller assessment of national development progress than what is captured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the US Surgeon General sees happiness as a part of the country’s public health agenda.   Economists and statisticians recognise that measuring happiness – or subjective wellbeing as it’s more accurately called – ...

A Caring Economy: What role for government?

This article by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB and author of ‘From Poverty to Power’, explores the role governments can play in helping produce a fairer deal for women when it comes to care work. “In economics we are taught that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Even if something appears to be free, there are always costs – to you and/or society. What is striking is that mainstream economists fail to recognize that this applies just as much to the lunch that has been prepared out of love by your mother, as it does to the unappetising conference sandwiches that cost you your entire day at an academic seminar.” Read more from the article on Duncan Green’s blog “From Poverty to Power”.  

Long Journey To Peace

Cambodia sets its sights on finally being free of landmines Tong Try remembers how, in the first years of his life, his father would polish his sky-blue moped out front of their flat in Phnom Penh. Now in his 50s, he can still hear the satisfying purr of the moped when idling, and taste the balut duck eggs his father would bring back from the market. That happy memory is from before more than 30 years of violence in Cambodia—civil war, foreign bombing, the Khmer Rouge regime, and ongoing conflict from 1979-1998, when warring factions laid an estimated 4 million to 6 million landmines around the country. Boyhood photo of Tong Try Tong Try is coordinator of the Mine Action Unit at UNDP Cambodia. © UNDP / Paul VanDeCarr Over a million mines have been cleared by the government, and many others...

A Hindu-Muslim Friendship That Helped Shape How the World Measured Poverty

One half of a friendship: Amartya Sen, the renowned Indian economist and a Nobel Prize winner, at a meeting in Brazil, 2012.  They were two young men studying at Cambridge University when they met in the wake of the bloody Partition of British India. One was a Kashmiri-born Muslim and the other a Hindu-born Bengali. But the two, Mahbub ul Haq of Pakistan and Amartya Sen from India, soon formed an intellectual bond and deep friendship. “It was an autumn morning in early October 1953 and Mahbub — elegantly attired (indeed I would say, nattily dressed) — was walking rapidly down King’s Parade on his way to the first lecture of the term by the redoubtable economist Joan Robinson,” Sen recalled in 1998, speaking at a memorial service for Haq, who had died that year at 64. “I was also going ther...

Are women holding up Chinese and African skies?

In 1968, Chairman Mao might have proclaimed that women hold up half the sky, but it remains a sad fact that the majority of top African and Chinese politicians are still men. This is also the case for CEOs of state-owned and other large Chinese and African businesses. No woman has been president of any African country since Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stepped down last year, and in a recent study by the World Economic Forum (WEF), China was ranked 77th out of 144 countries in terms of female political representation, and 86th for economic participation and opportunity. Only eight sub-Saharan African countries featured overall in the top 50 of the same index. When I attended the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2015, which has been running since 2000 and tends to be a very government-...

Disability and Vulnerability

The Human Development Report Office was fortunate to have #StephenHawking contribute to the #HumanDevelopment Report in 2014 with the message “disability need not be an obstacle to success.” Read his special contribution below: As a theoretical physicist I understand very well the concept of vulnerability: there is little in the cosmos that is not susceptible to harm. Even the very universe itself may someday come to an end. Humanity has always been vulnerable to different challenges. And there can be no doubt that great scientific discoveries—from penicillin to the periodic table, from evolution to electricity—have helped us to understand our world, reduce our vulnerability, and build more resilient societies. But, despite great and varied progress, vulnerable people and vulnerable groups...

Unpaid care and domestic work – a global challenge with local solutions

Read this very interesting blog by Clare Bishop, Senior Consultant for the OECD Policy Dialogue on Women’s Economic Empowerment, on OECD-Development Matters and learn more about the challenges of unpaid care and domestic work nowadays: https://oecd-development-matters.org/2018/03/14/unpaid-care-and-domestic-work-a-global-challenge-with-local-solutions/

A Symphony Of Hope

By UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME “I play the bassoon in the orchestra,” says Alberto Samudio. “This has become my career, my professional path, my life’s work. Alberto plays with the Orchestra Mario de Obaldía, which is part of the National Network of Children’s and Youth Orchestras and Choirs of Panama. “Being part of the Orchestra has encouraged many young people in my community to exchange weapons for a musical instrument, to stay off the streets … to change their lives for good,” Alberto says. Alberto Samudio (left) listens to directions while his partner plays a piece. Like Alberto, more than 1000 children and adolescents from Panama are part of the Network, a project of the National Institute of Culture (INAC) with support from the United Na...

10 Things We All Should Know About Indigenous People

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. To mark the occasion, the President of the UN General Assembly has convened a high-level event to take stock of progress and discuss what more needs to be done. It’s a good time for all of us to consider why it’s important to protect indigenous peoples’ rights. Here are 10 things we all should know about indigenous people. 1. WHEREVER WE LIVE, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE OUR NEIGHBOURS. There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. Indigenous communities are present in all geographic regions and represent 5,000 different cultures. 2. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE SPEAK AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE WORLD’S 7,000 LANGUAGES. Indigenous languages ...

Creative work

There is a charming anecdote about the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss. According to the version our mathematics teacher in Istanbul told us, a class of high school students in Germany was misbehaving (much like we were), and to punish them, their teacher told them to add up all of the numbers from one to one hundred. One of the students— Gauss himself— suddenly realized that the sum of the first and last number, the second and second-to-last, and so on, was always 101. Noting, too, that there were 50 such pairs within the first hundred numbers, it took him two minutes to work out the total (5,050) and come up with his famous formula to find it— saving him hours, possibly even days of calculations. To me, this story is not just about mathematics, but about creativity and “creativ...

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